For immediate release
August 2, 2006
Contact:
Emily Lenzner, NPR
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UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE NICHOLAS BURNS, SAYS U.S. IS IN PRODUCTIVE TALKS WITH ALLIES IN REGARD TO POLICIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

INTERVIEW WITH UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE BURNS AIRED TODAY ON NPR'S ALL THINGS CONSIDERED

TRANSCRIPT IS BELOW; AUDIO IS AVAILABLE AT WWW.NPR.ORG


Washington, D.C.; August 2, 2006 - In an interview today on NPR's All Things Considered, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, said that the U.S. is in productive talks with its European allies, England and France, over how to reach a cease-fire in the Middle East. He also told NPR's Melissa Block that he and his French counterpart are in "violent agreement" over the process.

A rush transcription of the interview with Nicholas Burns is below. All excerpts must be credited to NPR's All Things Considered.

+ When asked how the US can bridge the divide with its European allies over their policies in the Middle East, Secretary Burns said, "Well I'll say this as so often happens diplomacy is very complicated, but the stories that say that the US is somehow disaffected from its allies are completely wrong. I've spent most of today in very productive talks with the French and British governments, trying to see if we can design a joint French, American and British approach for the Security Council action. And I don't see much real room between America and Europe on this."

+ When asked why the French threatened to boycott a meeting scheduled at the UN tomorrow, Burns said, "Actually we agreed with the French. France and the United States went together to Secretary General Kofi Annan yesterday and said we don't think the time is right for that particular conference because what we've got to do first, we've got to get a basic agreement on what this Security Council resolution would look like, that would lead to an end to the fighting."

+ When asked if in regard to his response above whether his French counterpart would say the same thing, Burns said, "Well I just got off the phone with him about three minutes before we started our interview and he and I were in violent agreement about the process I just told you about."