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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Interview by Diane Sawyer Of ABC's "Good Morning America"
October 30, 2000, Washington, D.C.
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
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MS. SAWYER: Well, it is a time of tension in many parts of the world, and we turn this morning to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, joining us from the State Department. And we welcome you back from North Korea, a historic trip. Secretary Albright.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Good morning, Diane.

MS. SAWYER: I want to ask you right off, are you recommending that President Clinton go to North Korea now, and is he going to do it?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, we're going to be talking about that. We have to see what more can come out of the discussions that I had in North Korea about limiting their missiles, which are obviously of great concern to us. But the trip, I think, was truly important because North Korea has been the place of the greatest danger to the United States, and if we can do anything, I think to explore the possibilities of lessening that danger, it's very important. But the President and I are talking about whether he should go.

MS. SAWYER: A tough editorial in The Washington Post, which said that they understand that you know that North Korea has engaged in terrorism, blowing up an airplane, killing 115 people, 150,000 political prisoners, not to mention the control of every action by its citizens, and yet you did not demonstrate symbolically the repugnance of this to the rest of the world.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, I made very clear that that the glasses that I was wearing were not rose colored, that I fully understand it's a dictatorial regime. But if it's possible, I think, to lessen the danger to the United States by talking to them about their getting their missiles under control, I think it is very well worth it. And a performance I attended with 100,000 people performing was indeed amazing because it showed the total control that the government has over its people.

MS. SAWYER: Is Kim Jong Il still a terrorist?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, I think that he knows what he needs to do to get off our terrorist list. There are a series of issues that he has to take care of, and he knows that. But he is not the kind of peculiar person, I think, that has been described by many people who have never seen him before, but he is somebody that I had quite a logical and pragmatic discussion with.

But we have to test what his intentions are, and I think it's worth doing. It's important for the United States to keep testing the possibilities of changing the relationship with North Korea, along with the South Koreans. You know what's interesting, Kim Dae Jung won a Nobel Peace Prize for changing that relationship, and we are standing on his giant shoulders.

MS. SAWYER: Turning now to the USS Cole, which made its wounded way out of Aden over the weekend. As we know, the Yemenis have now prevented the FBI from interviewing suspects. What are we going to do about that, and do you believe Osama bin Laden is behind this?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, the FBI finished the forensic part of its investigation, and Director Freeh and I wrote a [statement] to President Salih saying that they had to cooperate more, and President Clinton spoke to President Salih over the weekend. And we think it's very important for them to be as cooperative as possible in trying to resolve this great tragedy, and I think that we have to figure out whether this leads to Osama bin Laden or not. I am not prepared to make that point. But, clearly, terrorism that is directed by him is a threat to the United States and to all our peoples.

MS. SAWYER: And a question, if I can, about the Middle East: 145 now dead, 137 of those Palestinians, including a 14-year-old boy just this weekend. I just returned from the Middle East. I want to play for you what Arafat said and what Barak said about those young people out in the street and get your comment on who's right about what's justified here.

First, Arafat.

(Begin Video Clip.)

CHAIRMAN ARAFAT: First of all, you have to remember they are human beings, and not toys. We have to respect them, their feelings, their claims, their siege.

MS. SAWYER: Thirty children? Out of 130 dead, 30 of them are children?

PRIME MINISTER BARAK: I don't know the exact number, but it's a tragedy. You know, it's tragic for children, a tragedy for a youngster of 18 years old. It's a paradox. It's painful for us, but we have a kind of commitment and a kind of contract with our own citizens and our own soldiers, and also missile defense. We have to protect ourselves.

(End Video Clip.)

MS. SAWYER: Is the Israeli force appropriate or excessive?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, we're deeply troubled by the violence that is going on there and have called on both sides to disengage and to lessen the violence. I think it's a huge tragedy, Diane, as we watch this, and this is not the future that the children on either side should be facing. We have the options of going back to the peace process. We believe that that's what's important, and it is a huge tragedy to see people suffering and dying. The future is either one of rocks and bullets and people dying, or one of a functional peace process, and the President and I are doing everything we can to get back to the peace process track.

MS. SAWYER: Secretary Albright, thanks so much for joining us this morning, covering so much ground with us. Thank you.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you.

[End of Document]
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