Condoleezza Rice
M. Spencer Green  /  AP
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice takes questions from the audience after delivering remarks to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations on Wednesday in Chicago.
updated 4/19/2006 10:15:56 PM ET 2006-04-20T02:15:56

Even assuming Iraq forms a national government, there will be no immediate end to the violence, nothing like V-E Day marking World War II’s end in Europe, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday.

Peace will come gradually to Iraq, more than three years after the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, she said at the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations.

“Americans must be prepared for violence to continue in Iraq, even after a government is formed. There will be no Iraqi equivalent of V-E Day or V-J Day,” Rice said. Those are the days of Victory in Europe and Victory in Japan in 1945.

“Rather, peace will be secured as more and more Iraqis recognize that the democratic process is open to them and that politics, not violence, is the best way to achieve their interests and redress their grievances,” she said. “This is how democracy will conquer terrorism, but it will do so gradually.”

Parliament may reconvene Thursday
Iraqi leaders planned to convene parliament on Thursday in hopes of trying again to form a government, a process stalled for months over the choice of a prime minister. Shiite officials, however, indicated they might not attend.

President Bush said Wednesday that failure in Iraq “is not an option.”

Rice said she and Bush understand Americans’ concerns over the impasse. She added Iraqis are beginning to voice their frustrations, too.

The Senate’s second-ranking Democrat noted that Rice, in remarks to the same foreign affairs group in October 2003, asked Americans to be patient with rebuilding efforts. Rice’s words then were: “Our own history should remind us that the union of democratic principle and practice is always a work in progress.”

Durbin notes unchanged situation
Yet today, said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, “the Iraqi people are still not self-governing, basic services still are not being provided, whether it’s water or electricity, and there still isn’t peace or safety in the streets.”

Rice also discussed Iran and its nuclear program, saying she thinks “we can make the diplomacy work.”

Bush says “all options are on the table” to prevent Iran from developing atomic weapons, but that he is focusing on diplomacy.

The U.N. Security Council has issued an April 28 deadline for Iran to stop uranium enrichment. But council members Russia and China have resisted punishing an important trading partner.

“You know that there are states that have been saying, if we don’t get meaningful measures inside the Security Council, perhaps a coalition of the willing will think about other financial or political measures that could be taken,” Rice said.

Iran: Claims, counterclaims
Iran says its nuclear work is for peaceful purposes such as generating energy; the U.S. has accused Iran of seeking nuclear weapons.

Rice touched on the administration’s plan to share nuclear technology with India for its civilian program. She said she often is asked whether such a plan creates a double standard regarding U.S. nuclear policy on North Korea and Iran.

“Absolutely there’s a double standard,” one that Iran and North Korea created by “cheating on their obligations” to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and being “closed societies where everybody worries what they’re doing.”

By contrast, she said, “You have a democracy in India that is trying to move closer to the nonproliferation regime, and we ought to support that.”

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