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Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > What the Secretary Has Been Saying > 2006 > March 

Interview With U.K. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw by Granada TV's Lucy Meacock

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
United Kingdom
March 31, 2006

QUESTION: You've seen some opposition from antiwar protestors. Can you understand their strength of feeling?

SECRETARY RICE: Oh, I certainly understand their strength of feeling. That's what it means to live in a democracy, to be able to have a voice. And I'm glad that in other places that people have not had a voice -- in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and Iraq -- they're getting a voice. It's the most important thing. But I have no problem with people saying what they think.

QUESTION: Have you ever had a sleepless night, though, about what's happening in Iraq?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, of course. We all mourn the loss of life. We all worry about the violence. But I think you also have to keep perspective and when you think about Saddam Hussein and mass graves in Iraq and the use of chemical weapons against Kurds and against Shia. You also wake up to a day when you know that the Iraqi people are having and can think of a better future. And they, too, will be able to exercise their rights.

QUESTION: But did you know some children have been kept away from school here today because of your visit?

SECRETARY RICE: That's quite all right, if that's what their parents wish to do, but I'm not going to fail to go into places because people have different views. I think it's important to go into places where people have different views. And I can tell you that it's not the first time I've seen protests. I'm a university professor. I've seen lots of protests.

QUESTION: So what about the children who are here today? What's the welcome that they've given you?

SECRETARY RICE: Oh, the children have been wonderful. First of all, these are incredibly articulate children and they seem to be very interested and very into their work. We saw kids who were doing animation. We saw kids who were doing something in math that I think I once learned to do but couldn't do if my life depended on it now. We also met with some of the school council and they clearly are having their own exercise in democracy where they represent their schoolmates in various decisions that have to be made in the schools. So it's been wonderful and they've been warm and lovely, as are the teachers and the head teachers.

QUESTION: What made you want to come to the northwest?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I believe very strongly that it's good to get outside of the capitals. As the Secretary of State, someone like me, to see another part of Great Britain, another part of England, gives me a much better sense of what people are thinking. And I was able to take Secretary Straw with me to my hometown, Birmingham, Alabama, because I also think it's important for foreigners to get outside of Washington and New York when they come to the United States.

QUESTION: Because we live in the northwest, we obviously agree. I know you're a big Beatles fan. How much are you looking forward to going to Liverpool?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, we landed in Liverpool last night --


SECRETARY RICE: The John Lennon Airport. I never thought I would. And you know, I actually used to skate to the song "Imagine".

FOREIGN SECRETARY STRAW: Oh, right. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY RICE: So, yes, when I was a figure skater. And so I'm a big Beatles fan. Isn't everybody?

QUESTION: So did you ever think that you'd end up coming to Liverpool?

SECRETARY RICE: No. I never thought I'd see Liverpool.

QUESTION: So "Imagine" is your favorite Beatles song?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I have a lot of favorite Beatles songs. But that one is special to me because I did skate to it and you remember the songs that you've skated to in competition even if, like me, you didn't skate very well.

QUESTION: It's great to meet you. Thank you so much.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. It's a pleasure.

FOREIGN SECRETARY STRAW: Thank you. Thanks very much.

QUESTION: Enjoy your visit.


Released on March 31, 2006
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