For Immediate Release
October 27, 2004
From remarks by Deputy Secretary of State Armitage in an interview with Al Hayat, 10/24/04
ON IRAQI ELECTIONS:
There were elections in Afghanistan and there will be elections in Iraq. Iraqi Interim Government officials want the elections to be open to all citizens. The Iraqi people are putting together their political parties now in preparation for a successful democratic election.
ON ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN RELATIONS:
There's been a great deal of difficulty in coming up with a negotiating partner for the Israelis among the Palestinians. Mr. Sharon appears sincere in his desire to get a political agreement with his government to get out of the 23 settlements in Gaza and four in the West Bank.
ON THE WAR ON TERROR:
There's no question that al-Qaida or their affiliates would like to do damage in the United States, but law enforcement and military disruptive actions have made it more difficult for them.
ON PROGRESS IN IRAQ:
There are signs of progress in Iraq; indeed, such as the fact that oil is being produced from 2.5 to 2.6 million barrels a day, of which about 1.9 million barrels is exported. The Government of Iraq is getting some money to pay salaries. It is a bumpy, difficult road, but there are some short areas of smoothness
ON IRAQ BORDER SECURITY:
There will be a meeting in Sharm el-Sheik in November between Iraq and its neighbors, the G-8, the OIC, the Arab League, and others, to talk about regional security and how to better coordinate the porous nature of the border.