Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice addressed the uproar over reports about secret CIA-operated prisons in some European countries where suspected terrorist are transported to and possibly tortured.
Rice is traveling to Germany, Romania, Ukraine and Belgium from December 5 to the 9th in an effort to increase foreign relations and for the U.S. to partner with Europe to meet similar world challenges.
Reports of the secret prisons have caused upheaval. The European Union has asked the Bush administration about these reports.
The Associated Press reports that by suggesting whatever the United States did had the cooperation of European nations, Rice may have imposed pressure on their governments to explain to their people whether they violated national or international laws which could make Rice’s trips in Europe difficult.
In a statement aired from Andrews Air Force Base before departure to Europe, Rice said the United States does not tolerate, or condone torture under any circumstances and in accordance with the policy of this administration:
- The United States has respected-and will continue to respect-the sovereignty of other countries.
- The United States does not transport, and has not transported, detainees from one country to another for the purpose of interrogation using torture.
- The United States does not use the airspace or the airports of any country for the purpose of transporting a detainee to a country where he or she will be tortured.
- The United States has not transported anyone, and will not transport anyone, to a country when we believe he will be tortured. Where appropriate, the United States seeks assurances that transferred persons will not be tortured.
“Debate in and among democracies is natural and healthy,” said Rice. ”I hope that that debate also includes a healthy regard for the responsibilities of governments to protect their citizens.”