Former Secretaries of State Call for
Posted: 28 Mar 2008 08:42
March 27, five former Secretaries of state from both Republican and Democratic
administrations said the next president should open talks with Iran, each saying it
was important to maintain contact with adversaries and allies alike.
Colin L Powell, Henry A. Kissinger, James A. Baker III, Warren Christopher and
Madeleine K. Albright spoke at a round-table discussion sponsored by the University of
Georgia. They also reached consensus that the next
administration should close the Guantanamo Bay
prison because of its legal implications and the damage it has done to America’s image abroad.
Madeleine Albright stressed the importance of finding "common
ground," and Warren Christopher urged diplomats to explore opening contact
with other "vectors of power," such as clerics and former political
James A. Baker III suggested the dialogue could center on a common dilemma,
saying a "dysfunctional Iraq,
a chaotic Iraq, is not
something that's in the interest to Iran. There's every incentive on their
part to help us, the same way they did in Afghanistan." His comments
were consistent with recommendations that were included in the 2006
Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group report that called for engaging Iraq's neighbors, including Iran and Syria. Henry Kissinger said,
"One has to talk with adversaries. Colin Powell compared the
potential talks to difficult visits he made as Secretary of State to Syria,
"They are not always pleasant visits. But you've got to do it."