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The BBC's Paul Reynolds in Washington
"The change does signal a shift in American policy"
 real 28k

Monday, 19 June, 2000, 22:00 GMT 23:00 UK
US rebrands its rogues gallery
Saddam Hussein
Man in white: Saddam Hussein's Iraq is no longer a rogue state
The US is dropping the term "rogue state" from its official language - ending a long history which has seen the label applied to some of Washington's most enduring enemies.

Instead, states which cause concern will be called just that: states of concern.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stressed the change in name did not imply a clean bill of health for the countries.

They say: 'We've done some stuff so why are you still calling us a rogue state?

State Department official

"We are now calling these states 'states of concern' because we are concerned about their support for terrorist activities, their development of missiles, their desire to disrupt the international system," said Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Officials say the rogue state label is being ousted because some of the countries have made changes for the better and have even complained at being stuck with the same old label.

"Some of those countries aren't as bad as they used to be," said a State Department official.

Rogue no more: Libya has moved away from terrorism

"They say: 'We've done some stuff so why are you still calling us a rogue state?'."

Libya is being cited as an example of a state which has moved away from some of its entrenched positions, but has still not fully complied with United Nations requests over the Lockerbie bombing.

Other "rogue states" like Iran have moved towards democracy, say officials, or have addressed some of the concerns raised by the US, like North Korea, which has halted its long-range missile tests.

North Korea took a further step in from the cold on Monday, when Washington announced it was easing trade sanctions which had been in place for half a century.

Kim Jongi-
In from the cold: North Korea can trade again

Mrs Albright has previously divided the countries of the world into four categories: international good citizens, emerging democracies, rogue states and countries where a state hardly exists, such as Somalia and Sierra Leone.

She defined a rogue state as one that had no part in the international system and that tried to sabotage it.

But State Department spokesman Richard Boucher - referring to "states formerly known as rogue" - said there would be no easing of policy towards them.

"If we're able to encourage them or pressure them or otherwise produce changes in their behaviour, and therefore change in our relationship, we're willing to do that," he said.

President Khatami of Iran
Vote of confidence: Iran has moved towards democracy

"If they're not, then we're going to keep our sanctions on, we're going to keep our restrictions on, and we're not going to change our policies."

The BBC's Paul Reynolds says the change does signal a shift which has been under way in American policy for the past year, towards dialogue and away from outright confrontation.

Neither rogue states nor states of concern warrant an official blacklist.

Countries formerly in the rogue's gallery have included Serbia and Sudan as well as the more popular Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

Cuba and Syria have been on the US list of "terrorism sponsors" but were rarely if ever called rogues.

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See also:

19 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
US eases North Korea sanctions
19 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Behind North Korea's transformation
11 Dec 99 | Middle East
Libya seeks new beginning
27 May 00 | Middle East
Iran parliament enters new era
24 Jan 00 | Americas
US and China restore military ties
03 Dec 99 | Middle East
Libya denounces terrorism
08 Sep 99 | Middle East
Libya returns to world stage
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