Good afternoon, everybody. I brought a special guest to discuss with you the President’s upcoming trip to Africa. Susan Rice is the President’s National Security Advisor. She has her own extensive personal experience in dealing with policy in Africa, and she obviously will be accompanying the President on that trip…
Question: Can you speak a little bit more broadly to the security concerns on this trip? Are they higher than normal for a presidential trip, given the countries that he’s visiting and the situation like this? And also, to just follow up on what Christi was saying, does the President consider the presidents of Kenya and Ethiopia democratically-elected Presidents?
Susan Rice: First of all, you mean — okay, let me come to the second one. The short answer is, on the security side, Isaac, I think I should refer you to Secret Service for any detailed questions. But obviously we wouldn’t be taking this trip if we thought that security conditions precluded us doing so. But it is important to note that Kenya in particular — Ethiopia less recently — has been the victim of terrorism, primarily perpetrated by al-Shabaab.
We are very concerned for the people of Kenya and for the region, that this threat remains a real one. And that’s why we’ve cooperated so actively not only with the African Union force in Somalia, which is countering al-Shabaab, but also in a bilateral way with the government of Kenya, the government of Ethiopia, and Uganda and others in the region that have experienced the threat from al-Shabaab.
So it’s something that obviously, given their history and given the strong counter terrorism cooperation we have with the countries in the region, that we take seriously.
The democrat role — first of all, yes, I think we would say that the President of Kenya was democratically elected. That was a competitive process. I think the Prime Minister of Ethiopia was just elected with 100 percent of the vote, which I think suggests, as we have stated in our public statements, some concern for the integrity of the electoral process — at least if not in the outcomes then in some of the mechanisms that supported the process, the freedom for the opposition to campaign.
Question: So is that — but does he think that that was a democratic election?
Susan Rice: Absolutely — 100 percent (WTF… Laughter … Laughter and a good Laughter)