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U.S. doesn't have 'permanent enemies,' Rice says

  • Story Highlights
  • Assessing 2007, Condoleezza Rice says conditions improved in Iraq
  • U.S. open to better relations with Iran and Syria, secretary of state says
  • U.S. has one-China policy, doesn't support Taiwan independence, Rice says
  • She dismisses as "ludicrous" the idea that U.S. has a go-it-alone foreign policy
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday that 2007 was a "busy and challenging year, but also a positive one" for U.S. foreign policy.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, earlier this month, looked back at 2007 on Friday.

In a year-end news conference at the State Department, Rice said challenges remained in Iraq but noted they were ones of how to build on gains made in the past year.

The so-called surge of additional troops this year, she said, made an "undeniable dent" in curbing violence and restoring security in the country.

As for Iran and Syria, Rice said the U.S. remains "open to better relations," but negotiations with Iran will stall as long as Tehran keeps up the enrichment of uranium.

"As long as the Iranians are talking and practicing enrichment, you're not going anywhere," she said. "In fact, they are using the cover of negotiations to perfect enrichment technology."

Rice said she and President Bush will work with Israelis and Palestinians and help turn their "discussions into substantive agreements."

"I do believe that you will see very serious efforts on the part of these leaders who have now staked a lot," she said.

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In Lebanon, the Bush administration will support the government to help "marginalize" violent extremists, according to Rice.

She said the United States will continue to build a close relationship with India while maintaining a partnership with Pakistan, two nuclear powers that have been at odds with each other.

Rice said the United States has a one-China policy and that the administration does not support independence for Taiwan.

She called Taiwan's referendum to join the United Nations under its name a "provocative" move.

Rice also said the United States expected North Korea to provide a comprehensive declaration of its nuclear program by the end of the year.

"We don't have permanent enemies," she said. "What we have is a policy that is open to ending confrontation or conflict with any country that is wiling to meet us on those terms. "

She said the contention the United States has adopted a go-it-alone foreign policy, a recent accusation by Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee, was "just simply ludicrous."

"I don't comment on other people's comments," she said of the former Arkansas governor's remarks in Foreign Affairs magazine that the Bush administration has an "arrogant bunker mentality."

"I really don't have time to worry about this," Rice said.

She said the United States is working with troublesome nations throughout the world such as North Korea and Iran. "I would just tell people to look at the facts," she added. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About Condoleezza RiceIraqIranSyriaIsraelPalestinian Politics

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