Assume the Position

Saturday, January 10, 2004
 
Using Your Question

On Friday, January 9, 2004, Condoleezza Rice gave a press briefing on the President's upcoming trip to Mexico for the Special Summit of the Americas. The briefing and questions touched on immigration (legal and illegal), Argentina and the IMF, Venezuela, Cuba, and other issues dealing with democracy and the economy of the hemisphere.

John King writes "Anti-war nations may get chance at Iraq contracts" for CNN:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Bush administration has signaled it may be open to making Canada and other opponents of the Iraq war eligible for major reconstruction contracts after an initial $5 billion in contracts are awarded in the near future.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said Friday the initial $5 billion in contracts will go to countries on a list the Pentagon previously declared eligible for the reconstruction work.

[…5 grafs of background…]

The contracting dispute is likely to be an issue next week when the president is to hold his first meeting with new Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin during a Summit of the Americas in Mexico.

Rice suggested Friday the contracting policy could change after the initial round of contracts are awarded.

"As further contracts are let, as further funds are released over the next several months, then we can review in some detail the circumstances, the changed circumstances for different countries," she said. "And I think that we will talk to the Canadians about this. I think there is some understanding of where we are going."

Here is the segment of Dr. Rice's briefing (at 8 minutes in if you watch the video or listen to the audio):

Q Dr. Rice, the Canadian government was unhappy when the list of countries that were eligible for the prime contracts in Iraq came out, and then the former Prime Minister, Mr. Chretien, said that when he spoke to the President, he was told not to worry, leading to the impression that this somehow would be changed. Do you see any progress or change on that front when the President meets with the new Prime Minister?

DR. RICE: There are several aspects of the contracting that is going to -- there will be about $5 million let -- $5 billion let in contracts very soon. And that will go with the list that is there. But, of course, subcontracts, which will undoubtedly make up a good part of that, are open to everyone.

Moreover, not everything is going to be let at once, and as further contracts are let, as further funds are released over the next several months, then we can review in some detail the circumstances and the changed circumstances for different countries. And I think that we will talk to the Canadians about this. I think there's some understanding of where we're going.

The questioner sounds male. What are the odds it was John King of CNN's Washington Bureau?



Original content copyright © 2002-2005 Lynxx Pherrett. All rights reserved.