Page last updated at 09:43 GMT, Friday, 25 July 2008 10:43 UK

Shopping lures Rice after office

Condoleezza Rice meets schoolgirls in Perth, Australia on Friday
Rice spoke to 400 Perth schoolgirls about her interests and ambitions

When Condoleezza Rice's term in office ends, she is looking forward to "getting back to shopping", she says.

The US secretary of state told girls at a school in Perth, Australia, that she used to "hit the stores" with her mother on Sunday mornings after church.

"It's a great pastime, shopping. I love it, even if I don't buy anything. I just love going to the stores to look."

Ms Rice was speaking as she stopped off in Australia on her return from the Asean summit in Singapore.

She is making the informal visit on the invitation of Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, and will also visit New Zealand - where protests against her are planned - before returning home.


"I love to shop... but now I don't have much time," Ms Rice, 53, told some 400 students in green blazers gathered in the gym of Mercedes College - including Mr Smith's daughter, a pupil at the private school.

Asked whether she would want to run for elected political office, or the presidency, Ms Rice said she had "never run for anything".

"I never ran for head girl... it's not quite for me."

Instead, Ms Rice - who has a PhD in political science and was a professor at Stanford University - said she was an academic at heart.

"Deep in my soul, deep in my being, I am an academic. I love the world of ideas, I love writing, I love teaching," she said.

"Don't let anybody define for you what you should be interested in," Ms Rice told the schoolgirls.

Reward for arrest

Ms Rice may receive a less warm welcome in her next stop, New Zealand, where she arrives on Friday for talks with Prime Minister Helen Clark and Foreign Minister Winston Peters on Saturday.

Students at one university are offering a reward of NZ$5,000 ($3,700; 1,870) for anyone who carried out a citizen's arrest on Ms Rice.

Her arrest is being sought for "overseeing the illegal invasion and continued occupation" of Iraq, said Auckland University Student Association (AUSA) president David Do.

But the police cautioned that the consequences of trying to carry out the arrest could be "very serious indeed".

Ms Rice responded to the protest plans at a news conference on Friday.

"I can only say that the United States has done everything that it can to end this war on terror, to live up to our international and national laws and obligations," she said, according to the Associated Press.

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