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Albright Reflects on Tenure at State Department

Aired January 15, 2001 - 2:38 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Secretary of State Madeleine Albright invested countless hours in the Middle East process. Though she leaves office this week with little hope of a final peace agreement, the first woman to head American diplomacy counts successes in other areas, perhaps most notably the NATO war in Kosovo and the fall of Slobodan Milosevic. One news magazine dubbed the Kosovo campaign "Madeleine's War."

CNN State Department correspondent Andrea Koppel sat down with the outgoing secretary today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It must be frustrating to come closer than any other previous administration in bringing the two sides together to now feel like time has run out for you to do it.

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, SECRETARY OF STATE: As I said, we are not giving up, but I think that the work we have done has been immeasurable, and when there is a comprehensive peace -- and there will be at some stage -- I believe it will be based very much on the work that we have done, because we have been able to talk about the issues that will be required, ultimately, for a solution.

The issue of territory and security and refugees in Jerusalem. Those are the basis of any comprehensive agreement that will come out, so the work is not wasted. Obviously it has been very frustrating, because we have wanted to have a solution for this for the people in the region, and I think, they deserve it. But I have no regrets about the amount of time we have spent on it, and I do believe that, ultimately, the work that we did will be the basis for a solution.

KOPPEL: Despite 10 years of sanctions, despite all your best efforts to get rid of Saddam Hussein; unlike your success in Yugoslavia with Slobodan Milosevic; he is still in power -- why do you think it worked in Yugoslavia, and it didn't work in Iraq?

ALBRIGHT: It's a very different situation, because ultimately, the people of Yugoslavia were the ones who found the inner strength to support a Democratic movement. And also, because they are just, even as ruthless as Slobodan Milosevic was, he did not totally isolate the Serb people and the isolation that took place was ones that we put in through sanctions, but there was a lot of contacts with Democratic movements and a hope there that thing would change. KOPPEL: As you now enter your final few days in office, you are seen as a maverick in so many ways; not only during your tenure at the United Nations, but here in the State Department as the first woman; are there any final thoughts that you have?

ALBRIGHT: It has been an unparalleled honor to represent the United States. Something that I obviously never expected, not having even been born here. And knowing that, as I walk up and down the halls here, I will be first portrait with a skirt on. And I think that -- so the honor has been great. It hasn't been easy all the time, because I don't think people expected there to be a woman secretary of state.

I have found my relationships with my foreign counterparts basically very, very good, mainly because I do represent the United States. And I hope very much that women's issues which I believe need to be central to American foreign policy, not just because I'm a woman, but because I understand that when women have economic and political power, nations are more stable.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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