Sydney, Australia (Rotters) – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday bristled at remarks from former US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage who had accused Bush and Rice of neglecting relationships in Asia secondary to the ongoing difficulties in Iraq. “We have been extremely involved in Asia,” stated Rice, in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “I think our relationship has grown stronger in this region.”
Bush has been attending the weeklong conference, mixing business with pleasure and vacation, prior to his anticipated early departure next week for the White House’s all-important rewriting of the heavily anticipated “Petraeus Report” on the war in Iraq. First lady Laura Bush declined the Australian trip secondary to back problems, and the likely danger involved with the president’s surprise visit to an isolated air base in Iraq earlier this week.
“We have one of the strongest relationships that any administration has ever had,” concluded Rice, “it’s a complex relationship, and we all serve at the pleasure of the president. War tends to bring people closer, and can sometimes have a positive effect on relationships.”