Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hillary Clinton at the Pathways to Prosperity Ministerial in El Salvador

Intervention at Pathways to Prosperity Ministerial


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
San Salvador, El Salvador
May 31, 2009

Date: 05/31/2009 Description: Secretary Clinton listens to one of the participants of the Second Pathways to Prosperity Ministerial Meeting held in San Salvador on May 31. Diplomats from more than a dozen countries of the Western Hemisphere met to discuss mechanisms for strengthening trade and investment, cooperation, and business facilitation in the region.  © Photo by Salomon Vasquez, U.S. Embassy San Salvador
Thank you. I am delighted to be with you today and I feel privileged to be in El Salvador at this historic moment for the Salvadoran people. The transfer of power that we will witness tomorrow exemplifies the progress that has occurred throughout our hemisphere during the past two decades. This gathering – which is being co-hosted by two parties who were once at war – is hard evidence of the strength and durability of democracy and the promise it holds not only for this country, but for our region. The United States is grateful for the productive relationship we have had with El Salvador during President Saca’s time in office, and we are looking forward to similarly strong cooperation and friendship with the government of President-elect Funes.
In El Salvador and throughout the region, we are focused not on old battles but on new partnerships that improve lives, advance democratic principles, and promote the common good – and we seek to work in a spirit of mutual respect with those who share our goal to make the Americas more peaceful and more prosperous.
President Obama has emphasized that it's not important whether ideas come from one party or another, so long as they move us in the right direction. This meeting builds on the work of the previous U.S. administration, but the President and I are also committed to re-launching Pathways to Prosperity, and expanding its work to spread the benefits of economic recovery, growth, and open markets to the most vulnerable and marginalized citizens of our region.
To achieve the shared prosperity we seek, we must integrate our commitment to democracy and open markets with an equal commitment to social inclusion.
Rather than defining economic progress simply by profit margins and GDP, our yardstick must be the quality of human lives, whether families have enough food on the table; whether young people have access to schooling from early childhood through university; whether workers earn decent wages and have safe conditions at their jobs; whether mothers and fathers have access to medical care for themselves and their children so that children dying before adulthood is a rarity, not an accepted fact; and whether every person who works hard and takes responsibility has the promise of a brighter future.
The global financial crisis has reinforced how closely our economies are linked – if there was any doubt before, there should be none now. We know that commerce between our nations is and will be a crucial part of our economic recovery. And that trade should be an integral part of our national development strategies. Achieving the type of broad-based prosperity that citizens of the Americas deserve and demand will require us to harness the talents of all our citizens.
Pathways to Prosperity can and will help spread the benefits of economic engagement and trade to women, rural farmers and small businesses, Afro-descendents, indigenous communities, and others too often left on the sidelines of progress.
To succeed, we must:
  • Set concrete goals;
  • Broaden the scope and the impact of our efforts; and
  • Develop a plan with mile markers that will allow us to assess our progress.
The 14 Pathways countries represent 34 percent of the world’s GDP – we know how to get things done. Our work within this partnership should focus on achieving tangible results. We all need to be in what I call the solutions business.
We already have examples of cooperation on trade and development producing real progress for our citizens. In Honduras, the Food for Progress program found new markets for the potatoes grown by 1,400 small farmers.
As a result, the farmers’ sales doubled, and they increased their average annual income from less than $800 to $2,100. In Peru, the Micro and Small Enterprise Facilitation Program has helped more than 80 municipalities implement new regulations for business creation. They’ve cut business registration time by 80% and reduced costs by more than half. In Chile, collaborative work to satisfy trade and sanitary regulations allowed small farmers to take advantage of the season difference between the northern and southern hemispheres, and secure new markets for strawberries and other summer crops in the U.S. and Canada. We’ve also seen successful efforts to protect labor rights. And our newest trade initiatives, like Peru’s Free Trade Agreement with the United States, have been designed to encourage good environmental stewardship.
The farmers, small businesses, and workers that benefit from these programs know the difference between rhetoric and results. We need to build on these successes, and ensure that all citizens of our hemisphere can share in the benefits of economic engagement and social equity.
For Pathways, this will mean expanding beyond our current focus and our current membership. We should work to promote educational exchanges and language training programs to harness the power of underprivileged youth and lay the foundation for regional cooperation among future generations. We should provide technical assistance to rural businesses and others who lack easy access to global markets. I hope we will supply women entrepreneurs with mentors, training, and other tools for success, as the United States is planning to do through its Pathways Envoys program. We can expand the availability of microcredit loans.
And Pathways should be open to working with new partners including other nations and sub-regional banks that share our commitment to open markets and greater social inclusion. I want to note the presence of the observer countries – Brazil and Trinidad and Tobago – that are here today. Going forward, I hope you and other countries from our hemisphere will join us in this initiative as full members.
The Americas are becoming more connected and more dynamic. As this trend continues, our region will need to provide greater leadership on a broad array of global issues. Pathways is one example of the kind of multilateral partnership that can help address the complex challenges of the 21st century.
Today, in El Salvador, let us look back and acknowledge the progress we have made in building democracy and peace throughout our region. But let us also embark together down a new path defined by shared responsibilities, shared opportunities, and a commitment improve the life of every citizen in the Americas. We are part of the same family, this continent is our common home, and we will inhabit a common future. Let us do all we can to harness the untapped human potential that covers this vast hemisphere.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Viralizing (for) Hillary

I cannot resist Hillary when she gets excited. There's a contagion about her level of excitement and energy. This time her message and initiative are about the use of social networks to create diplomatic ties around the world.
She suggests that all of us, in our chosen roles in life, have something to offer on the world stage. To begin that effort, she put this video out. To further the effort, I am using my social networks to send Hillary and her message viral. You can too. Watch (enjoy - she's always cute to watch) and then share with your own social network homies. Let's send Hillary and her message all over the world.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hillary Clinton with Foreign Minister Gheit of Egypt

Press Availability With Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Ali Aboul Gheit

Press Availability

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
May 27, 2009

Date: 05/27/2009 Description: Press availability with Secretary Clinton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Ali Aboul Gheit. © State Dept Photo by Michael GrossSECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. We just had a very good working lunch with the foreign minister, General Suleiman, and the delegation from Egypt. I had the opportunity to thank them for their commitment to working with us and strengthening and deepening our bilateral relationship, and for the leadership that Egypt is showing on both regional and global matters.
I asked them to extend our thanks to President Mubarak and others in the Egyptian Government who are working to resolve conflicts and bridge divides. And I assured them that President Obama and I are fully committed to a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, to a two-state solution, and that we regard Egypt as an essential partner in helping us to realize that vision.
We appreciate the leadership that Egypt has shown in recent months, including convening the convention in Sharm el-Sheikh that I attended, as well as undertaking sensitive mediation among various parties in the region. I know that the President is looking forward to his trip to Cairo next week and the opportunity to speak about America’s relationships, not only in the Middle East and not just in the Islamic world but to people everywhere about what our common concerns are and how to seek common ground and realize our common objectives. And I look forward to continuing to work with the foreign minister and others in the Egyptian Government to address the full range of bilateral and mutual concerns.
So, Foreign Minister Gheit, thank you so much for being here.
FOREIGN MINISTER GHEIT: Thank you very much, Secretary. As you have rightly stated, it was a very fruitful discussion today. And in all honesty, it has been also a very fruitful discussion over the last two days. We have met American officials on the highest level, and we feel encouraged on the insistence and the determination of this Administration to push forward for a peace effort that ultimately we would hope will allow the Palestinians to have their state.
The message we were carrying to you is that the Middle East is looking forward for a determined action on your part to bring the idea on the two state to fruition, that the core of the problems in this part of the world is the Palestinian problem. And we have to keep working together, and we promise that we will be doing our part of the job, and hopefully soon we would have a job well done. That is an aspect.
The second aspect that we touched over the last two days is we are full of expectations for the President’s visit to Cairo on the 4th of June, and we are determined also to keep building up Egyptian-American relations as well as our cooperation with you on all levels of activity in relation to bilateral as well as problems tormenting this region.
Thank you very much.
MR. KELLY: We’ll take a few questions. First, Elise from CNN.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary, Mr. Foreign Minister. Madame Secretary, on North Korea, Pyongyang is threatening to go to war with South Korea over joining the PSI. Do you take those threats seriously? And how will the U.S. protect your ally, South Korea? There are also reports that North Korea is restarting its reprocessing facility. Would that be a violation of the U.S. agreement through the Six-Party Talks, and what should the consequences be?
Mr. Foreign Minister, the Bush Administration was very rhetorical and very critical on issues about human rights and democracy, particularly with Egypt. Have you noticed a difference in the way the Obama Administration approaches these issues? And how has the conversation been different here in Washington?

Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Do you want to start?
FOREIGN MINISTER GHEIT: Yes. They are no more rhetorical. They are discussing issues, showing their concerns, but they also listen. And that is very important to listen and to understand where you come from and what are the reason and the reasoning behind this or that action. I think they are very much different than the Bush Administration. I wouldn't characterize by that as good or bad, but there are differences, in attitude at least.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as the foreign minister said, we raised issues pertaining to democracy and human rights, as we have consistently in our bilateral discussions. And we will continue to do so. We are interested in working constructively with the Egyptian Government, and I think that there is a great opportunity to not only work together but listen to each other and figure out the best way forward to achieve common objectives.
With respect to North Korea – North Korea has made a choice. It has chosen to violate the specific language of the UN Security Council Resolution 1718. It has ignored the international community. It has abrogated the obligations it entered into through the Six-Party Talks. And it continues to act in a provocative and belligerent manner toward its neighbors.
There are consequences to such actions. In the United Nations, as we speak, discussions are going on to add to the consequences that North Korea will face coming out of the latest behavior, with the intent to try to rein in the North Koreans and get them back into a framework where they are once again fulfilling their obligations and moving toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
But they have chosen the path they’re on, and I’m very pleased that we have a unified international community, including China and Russia, in setting forth a very specific condemnation of North Korea and then working with us for a firm resolution going forward.
I want to underscore the commitments that the United States has and intends always to honor for the defense of South Korea and Japan. That is part of our alliance obligation, which we take very seriously. So we hope that there will be an opportunity for North Korea to come back into a framework of discussion within the Six-Party process, and that we can begin once again to see results from working with the North Koreans toward denuclearization that will benefit, we believe, the people of North Korea, the region, and the world.
QUESTION: The reprocessing plant, Madame Secretary (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: We’re working on bringing together the international community to determine our steps forward.
MR. KELLY: All right. Next question is (inaudible).
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, with your appreciated new efforts on the peace process, do you consider the previous commitment from the administration of Mr. Bush to the foreign – to the prime minister of Israel, Mr. Sharon, concerning the ‘49 lines and the situation on the ground? Is it – do you consider it invalid now, especially that the Palestinians had refused it then?
SECRETARY CLINTON: We are working very hard. And certainly, Senator Mitchell is leading our efforts to create a context for the negotiations to resume and go forward. Each of the parties, the Israelis and the Palestinians, have in the past committed themselves to certain undertakings that we expect them to be responsible for honoring. And we will be working together with partners like Egypt to bring about a comprehensive approach that can lead to a two-state solution that will give the Israelis and the Palestinians the chance to have a peaceful and secure future. But we’re just at the beginning of that process. And obviously, there is much work to be done before we have any results we can point to.
QUESTION: Well, what is the status of the previous commitment, the previous –
SECRETARY CLINTON: We are looking at all of that.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MR. KELLY: Next question, Kirit from ABC.
QUESTION: A question, Madame Secretary, about settlements. Prime Minister Netanyahu has said that he is going to freeze settlement expansion – new settlement expansion, excuse me – but he’s not made any commitment towards freezing existing settlement growth. Do you think that’s enough?
And then a question on Egypt, if I may. In the case of Janet Greer, a mother whose daughter was abducted by his – her abusive father and brought to Egypt 12 years ago. Mr. Minister, successive court rulings (inaudible) the daughter should be with the mother. Can you tell us why those court rulings have not been enforced?
And Madame Secretary, can you tell us whether you plan to raise such things, this case in specific, with the Egyptian Government?
FOREIGN MINISTER GHEIT: Yes. I am – I investigated that issue. And it seems that there is still a court appeal from the father. So a decision, I think, will be made in the next few days. If it will be finally judged that the child would be returned to the mother, I’m sure that the Egyptian Government would abide by the court ruling. But it is not yet – up till now, is not yet a final decision.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I would only add that the State Department and Consular Affairs, particularly the Children’s Bureau, has been working with the family, particularly the mother, on this case for many years. It has gone through the Egyptian judicial system. My understanding is that the mother has won.
But as the foreign minister said, there’s one more step to go through. We’re hoping that this is resolved. I mean, as a mother, the idea that I wouldn’t be able to see my daughter for 12 years is extremely painful to me just to think about. So we are very hopeful that this will be resolved and, as the foreign minister said, we’re confident that the Egyptian Government will react appropriately once it is.
With respect to settlements, the President was very clear when Prime Minister Netanyahu was here. He wants to see a stop to settlements – not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions. We think it is in the best interests of the effort that we are engaged in that settlement expansion cease. That is our position. That is what we have communicated very clearly, not only to the Israelis but to the Palestinians and others. And we intend to press that point.
MR. KELLY: And the last question to Sanaa Youssef.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you expressed your appreciations of the partnership and the experience of Egypt in bringing – in helping the peace process. And you did mention the principle of a peace process, you know, how it should be done. But isn’t it time to bring up a plan of action with a timetable and to move it ahead so really, the people in Egypt and in the whole Arab world would be appreciative of the work?
And for the minister of foreign affairs, did you discuss at all the Iranian folio with the Secretary?
FOREIGN MINISTER GHEIT: I have been responding all the time. Respond first and then I will come back to you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: We are going to be putting forward very specific proposals to the Israelis and the Palestinians. That’s what Senator Mitchell has been doing over the last several days. I will be meeting with President Abbas and his delegation tonight. We’ve also been reaching out to governments of Arab nations asking what they could be expected to do as we move forward to build confidence and to create a good atmosphere for decisions to be made.
But I’m not going to negotiate in public. We are making a very concerted effort. We have a well thought-out approach that we are pursuing. We have a lot of support from countries such as Egypt. But ultimately, this is up to the two parties. Israel and the Palestinians have to decide that they will take a commitment toward a resolution of their outstanding concerns. And the international community, led by the United States, will be very supportive of that.
So we are working to get the Israelis and the Palestinians into a negotiation where we can see the positive steps that you’re referring to take place.
FOREIGN MINISTER GHEIT: Yes. I think all issues related to the Middle East have been discussed today and over the last two days, including the so-called Iranian nuclear file and the position of Iran in relation to the region. We have been also stressing the need for an American measure – action to expedite the process, or expedite the action itself – the efforts.
The – what is needed today is not only to allow the parties to renegotiate, but what is needed is to allow the parties as they negotiate – we, all of us, the Quartet, the international community, the Arab countries – to show support, understanding, and to push them together, allowing them to negotiate in direct negotiations that are – we are hopeful that would lead to the emergence of the Palestinian state as soon as possible. In the absence of such negotiations and the success of the negotiations and seeing the emergence of a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel, then I think the situation will worsen in this part of the world, and we will be – all of us, not only people in the region or countries in the region, but also the United States and the Western world as well as the world at large – we will be all witnessing a very difficult situation.
So there is an opportunity, a window of opportunity, and let’s act and act decisively now, not tomorrow or the day after.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.
FOREIGN MINISTER GHEIT: Thank you very much.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Hillary Clinton surprises graduates at Yale by katie nelson, Associated Press

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has made a surprise return to her law school alma mater. She picked up an honorary degree 36 years after getting her law degree from Yale University. Graduates celebrating commencement Monday erupted in cheers as Clinton was introduced.

In keeping with Yale tradition, the names of honorary degree recipients are a closely held secret.

Clinton says the graduates should "use every creative gene you have" to work for the public good. She also urged them to apply for work in the Obama administration and the State Department.

The 60-year-old Clinton met her husband, former President Bill Clinton, at Yale.

Sculptor Richard Serra and writer John McPhee are among the others receiving honorary degrees from Yale this year.

And she is spending this Memorial Day afternoon "working the phones," as they put it, saving the world from potential North Korean aggression.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Another Award for Hillary

In four and a half months, Hillary's initiatives toward uniting Cyprus have earned her still another award. Wow! I think she's getting an award a week!

This is no small achievement. Cyprus has been divided as long as I can remember. I once worked with the niece of Archbishop Makarios whose family fled as refugees to the U.S. We may be seeing Hillary unite a country. That would be a HUGE achievement! GO HILLARY!

Remarks at Award Presentation from the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
May 22, 2009

Date: 05/22/2009 Description: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at Award Presentation from the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes. State Dept Photo
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Your Eminence. Thank you very, very much. Thank you. Well, thank you so much, Your Eminence. I am very honored by this recognition, and I am very privileged to have known you and worked with you now over a number of years from the moment of your induction and ascent to this position of eminence. I am very grateful to everyone here for the strong ties that bind our people. And it is a unique and fitting tribute that we would have earth collected from the birthplace of democracy and from the center of our own democracy here in Washington as we strive to fulfill the Athenian democratic tradition.
There is an extraordinary number of leaders arrayed behind me, and I want to thank each and every one of them. And I particularly am grateful to my long-time friend, Andy Manatos.
I’m delighted to welcome you to Washington for the 25th Annual Cyprus, Hellenic and Orthodox Issues Conference. I hope your time here will be productive, that your meetings with the policymakers of our country have been very positive, and that we will build on our progress in promoting stability, justice, and opportunity not only for the Hellenic and American communities, but really for all people of good faith willing to work together.
There are so many important issues, some of which have been mentioned. We are committed to the reopening of the Halki Seminary, to the unification of Cyprus as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, and we know these are difficult issues. The Hellenic community has been leading and working on them for many years. But I want to pledge to you that the Obama Administration is committed to making progress through our partnership. We are dedicated to advancing dialogue and cooperation and working to support the people of Greece and Cyprus as they advance stability and democracy in the Mediterranean.
As I mentioned earlier, I have enjoyed greatly my work on behalf of issues of regional and international significance with representatives of both Greece and Cyprus over the last four months. And we are committed to deepening and furthering that relationship. But of course, we know that it can’t be just government-to-government; it has to be people-to-people. We have to build confidence and trust and understanding in order to resolve the issues that we are concerned about today.
I am convinced that the unity we have, because of our strong cultural ties, sustained and enhanced by the millions of Americans with Hellenic heritage who serve in every sector and enrich the life of our nation, makes us stronger, and that we can commit ourselves to an agenda of prosperity, peace, and progress.
So I thank you for this award. I am greatly looking forward to my next visit to Greece at the end of next month where Greece will be hosting an important gathering of the OSCE countries to talk about stability in Europe and many of the other regional matters that we are working on together. And I wish all of you not only a very successful conference, but a very positive outcome of your efforts. And please extend my personal best wishes to the Patriarch. My opportunities to visit with him and talk with him have been true highlights of my life in public service, and I look forward to seeing him again. I understand he may be coming to the United States, I hope in the future, and it will be my great honor to receive him and to look forward to hosting him here at the State Department.
Thank you, Your Eminence. Thank you all very, very much. (Applause.)
Any questions? Do we have any questions?
QUESTION: I was wondering on another subject --
QUESTION: -- on the FYROM issue, which you mentioned.
QUESTION: There is hope that maybe this Administration will be a little bit more sensitive to Greece’s sensitivities, and you personally. Will you address the issue, and do you plan doing something so we can solve this and more forward with their accession to the EU and NATO?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have been very committed to that. I have spoken out about the need to resolve the name issue in a way that is acceptable to both parties. And Deputy Secretary Steinberg was recently in the region making that case. We have picked up this issue with a lot of commitment early on in our Administration. Obviously, this has to be resolved by the parties themselves, but we are urging that resolution. We think it is in everyone’s best interest. As you said, it would open the way for movement toward another nation joining the European Union, which we think promotes stability in the region, so we are very committed to doing what the United States can to facilitate that.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, what do you intend to do to help the parties in Cyprus to have a solution? And what do you intend to do for the direction of Turkey, which holds the key to the solution of the problem?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think both sides hold the key. I think this has to be a decision that is reached by the people of Cyprus themselves. We are strongly supporting the United Nations mediator. I have met with representatives of both Turkish and Greek Cypriots, and have underscored the Obama Administration’s commitment to supporting the steps that they would be willing to take themselves to resolve this. We believe in a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, and we’re going to continue to support that and work toward that. And again, we think it is in everyone’s interest.
Cyprus is so strategically located. And in terms of its impact on the actions in the region, its commercial possibilities, its opportunities for greater prosperity that can be shared among all of the people of Cyprus, I just think the future is unlimited. But this has to be resolved, but in a way that brings confidence and security to people on both sides, and that’s what we are going to work to achieve. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hillary Clinton's Bilaterals Today

Remarks With Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Before Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
May 21, 2009

Date: 05/21/2009 Description: Secretary Clinton with Tanzanian President Kikwete on May 21, 2009. State Dept Photo
SECRETARY CLINTON: This is a particular pleasure and honor for me to welcome the President here. We will be having a working meeting, and then he will be meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office. But Tanzania is a country that has made so much progress and has an extraordinary potential that we wish to partner with and assist in every way possible.
I myself have had a wonderful visit to your country, Mr. President. And I am delighted that I am the Secretary of State at this moment and have this chance to commit our efforts to working closely with you and to commend you on your leadership.
PRESIDENT KIKWETE: Madame Secretary, I thank you for the opportunity to meet. I thank you for – I thank President Obama for the invitation. Well, I’m here to reaffirm our commitment for continued cooperation and friendship. We have excellent relations on a political level, a bilateral level. We see eye-to-eye on many international issues. We work together at the multilateral level. I’m here to give you that assurance for continued cooperation efforts.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, sir.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Welcome, Mr. President. Thank you all very much.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, should Sri Lanka get an IMF loan (inaudible)? Has your thinking changed (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: We’re working with the Sri Lankan Government. I spoke with the president earlier today, and we discussed a number of the efforts that his government wanted to take, as well as the international community, to assist Sri Lanka in the work that lies ahead that is very important for the healing and reconciliation in the nation. And I’ve pledged our support, and we’ll continue to follow closely what is happening there.
Thank you.

Remarks With Angolan Minister of External Relations Ansuncao Afonso dos Anjos Before Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
May 21, 2009

Date: 05/21/2009 Description: Secretary Clinton with Angolan Minister of External Affairs dos Anjos on May 21, 2009. State Dept Photo
SECRETARY CLINTON: I am very pleased to welcome the foreign minister of Angola. We are impressed by the progress that Angola has made, and we look forward to a very close and deep coordination and working relationship that will enable both of our countries to have a greater understanding and a commitment to a better future.
MINISTER DOS ANJOS: I apologize, I am speaking Portuguese, because my English is bad, bad, bad. Sorry. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Don’t worry about it.
MINISTER DOS ANJOS: (Via interpreter) It’s a great, great honor for me to be here in the United States and to bring a message, a message of peace and a message of willingness to cooperate, to deepen our relations, to be here and ask for help from the United States to bring to Angola, help that the United States can bring to Angola because of the experience that the United States has to help Angola in its development for the future.
And we come here at this precise moment as a result of the exchange of letters between our presidents, President Obama and President Dos Santos, and their exchange of willingness to strengthen our overall relations and our relations in every sector that brings our countries together.
And we come here to meet with U.S. Government officials, with American public opinion, and also to bring information to all the parties, information about aliquid novo, aliquid novo being a new Angola, a more tolerant Angola, democratic Angola, a participating Angola, Angola who wants to be part of the African continent to help solve problems in Africa, to be a partner with other countries, to be prosperous and to grow. And therefore, to reach this goal, we are now going to work with the Secretary of State.
And therefore, the reason is that the American people, side by side with the Angolan people, will work together for the reconstruction of Angola. This is the moment to do it because the American people – the experience that it has accumulated and the ability, the capacity, the skills that we find in this country, will be of great help for the Angolan people to put together what’s necessary to, as our own president say, make living in Angola a pleasant experience, a fulfilling experience.
(In English) Thank you very, very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, sir. Thank you very much.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hill on the Hill Today

She is such a joy to watch and listen to: straight to the point, niceties where appropriate, but concise. She knows her stuff, and she says it well.

Foreign Policy Priorities in the President's FY2010 International Affairs Budget


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Washington, DC
May 20, 2009

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Senator Lugar, members of the Committee. And I appreciate greatly your action on our nominees. Obviously, that’s a matter of great concern, and I am grateful for your attention.
When I last appeared before this Committee at my confirmation hearing in January, I emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach to the challenges that our nation faces – instability in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq; threats in the Middle East and Iran; transnational threats like terrorism, nuclear proliferation, energy security, climate change; and urgent development needs, from extreme poverty to pandemic disease – all of which have a direct impact on our own security and prosperity.
These are tough challenges, and it would be foolish to minimize the magnitude of the task before us. But we also have new opportunities. By using all the tools of American power – the talent of our people, well-reasoned policies, strategic partnerships, and the strength of our principles – we can make great strides in solving or managing these problems. We have faced some for generations, and now we can also figure out ways to address the new threats of the 21st century.
The President’s 2010 budget is a blueprint for how we intend to put smart power into action. The FY 2010 budget request for the State Department and USAID is $48.6 billion. That’s a 7 percent increase over Fiscal Year ’09 funding. Other accounts that are not directly in the State Department and USAID jurisdiction but are part of our overall foreign policy are also deserving of attention.
We know that this request comes when some agencies are going to be experiencing cutbacks and when the American people are facing a recession. But it is an indication of the critical role the State Department and USAID must play to help advance our nation’s interests, safeguard our security, and make us a positive force for progress worldwide.
Our success depends upon a robust State Department and USAID working side-by-side with a strong military in furtherance of our three Ds – diplomacy, development, and defense – that will enable us to exercise global leadership effectively.
This budget supports the State Department and USAID in three key ways: it allows us to invest in our people, implement sound policies, and strengthen our partnerships.
Let me begin with our people. Many key posts across our embassy world are vacant for the simple reason we don’t have enough personnel. In Beijing, 18 percent of embassy positions are open. In Mumbai, 20 percent. In Jeddah, 29 percent. And we face similar shortages here in Washington. We need good people, and we need enough of them. That’s why the 2010 budget includes $283 million to facilitate the hiring of over 740 new Foreign Service personnel. This is part of the President’s promise of expanding the Foreign Service by 25 percent.
The staffing situation at USAID is even more severe. In 1990, USAID employed nearly 3,500 direct hire personnel to administer an annual assistance budget of $5 billion. Today, the agency's staff has shrunk by roughly a third, but they are now tasked with overseeing $13.2 billion in assistance. To provide the oversight our taxpayers deserve and to stay on target of delivering aid effectively and doubling foreign assistance by 2015, we need more people.
Our people also need the right skills. To help meet the challenge of development, especially in conflict and post-conflict arenas, we’re requesting $323 million for the Civilian Stabilization Initiative. And that includes an expansion of the Civilian Response Corps.
With the right people and the right numbers, the State Department and USAID will be able to focus on our priorities: first, the urgent challenges and regions of concern; second, the transnational challenges; and third, the development assistance.
You know very well that our efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan center on the President’s goal to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida. It requires a balanced approach, and that is what we are attempting to do by integrating civilian and military efforts. We’re helping the Afghans, for example, to revitalize their country’s agricultural sector. With respect to Pakistan, we’re supporting the Pakistani military as they take on the extremists who threaten their country’s stability. But we’re also making long-term investments in Pakistan’s people and the democratically elected government through targeted humanitarian and economic assistance, and I appreciate the leadership that Chairman Kerry and Senator Lugar are providing on that front.
We are also seeking the resources to deploy a new strategic communication strategy. We can win the war on the ground and literally lose it in the media, and that is what is happening in so many parts of the world today.
As we move forward with the responsible deployment of our combat forces from Iraq, this budget provides the tools we need to help transition to a stable, sovereign, self-reliant Iraq. And we are working with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to advance the goal of a two-state solution.
Now, there are many other hotspots around the world, but suffice it to say, we are attempting to address all of them. And in addition to these urgent challenges, we face a new array of transnational threats, and these require us to develop new tools of diplomatic engagement. We cannot send a special envoy to negotiate with a pandemic, or call a summit with carbon dioxide, or sever relations with the global financial crisis. We have to engage in a different way, and I appreciate Senator Lugar’s commitment to working with us on energy security. And an announcement will be forthcoming soon on a coordinator who will have very significant authorities within the Department, in addition to our Special Envoy on Eurasian Energy, which is already making a difference in terms of encouraging the Europeans and others to begin to work more on their own energy needs.
We’re also working through the Major Economies Forum to prepare for the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen. And we’re working now as a full partner in the P 5+1 talks with respect to new approaches to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. And the President and I have launched a six-year Global Health Initiative to combat the spread of disease.
It’s very important to recognize the leadership of this Committee when it comes to nonproliferation, energy, and climate change, and also to know that if we don’t get these right, a lot of what we’re doing in terms of dealing with the day-to-day headlines will not be sufficient.
It’s important that development plays a critical role in our foreign policy, and that’s going to require a new approach. We are taking a stem-to-stern look at USAID and our other foreign aid programs. How are we going to deliver aid more effectively? How are we going to get more of the dollar, the hard-pressed taxpayer dollar that is appropriated for development aid, to actually end up where we expect it to be? And we know that smart development assistance advances our values and our interests. And we look forward to working with you as we attempt to try to recast and revitalize our development efforts.
We also need new partnerships within our own government. Secretary Gates and I testified before the Appropriations Committee a few weeks ago to talk about how we are working with the Defense Department and how, in the process of that effort, the State Department will be taking back authorities and resources to do the work that we should be leading on.
Now, all of this is going to require new partnerships, not only strengthening our multilateral but also our bilateral ties. And our budget request will fulfill the United Nations peacekeeping support that we have committed to. But in addition to our government-to-government work, we are focused on people-to-people diplomacy. We’re working with women’s groups and civil society and human rights activists around the world.
Last week, I announced the creation of a Virtual Student Foreign Service that will bring together college students in the United States and our embassies abroad on digital and citizen diplomacy initiatives. All of this must be premised on sound principals and on sound management. So we’re working to make the Department and USAID more efficient, more transparent and more effective.
Mr. Chairman, we’re pursuing these policies not only because it is the right thing to do, but because we believe it advances America’s security, as well as democracy and opportunity around the world. We actually are the greatest beneficiaries when the world is flourishing. And if not, we bear the cost of the consequences.
As you said, I have traveled many miles since testifying before this Committee. And I can guarantee you that there is an enormous eagerness to partner with us. I look forward to working with this Committee on translating our plans and our words into the kind of action that will ensure a better, more peaceful and prosperous future for our children. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

These are pretty much the same, just a different angle, but as far as I am concerned, you cannot OD on Hillary.

FY 2010 Budget for the Department of State

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
Washington, DC
May 20, 2009

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Senator Gregg, Senator Specter, Senator Bond. I’m very pleased to be here with you and to have this opportunity to discuss in some detail both the threats and the opportunities facing our country.
When I appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee a few weeks ago with Secretary Gates, we both emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach to the challenges we face. We know we are confronting instability in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and the Middle East; we have transnational threats like terrorism, nuclear proliferation, climate change; and we have urgent development needs ranging from extreme poverty to pandemic disease, all of which have a direct impact on our own security and prosperity.
Now, these are tough challenges, and we would be foolish to minimize the magnitude of the task ahead. But we also have new opportunities. By using all the tools of American power – the talent of our people, well-reasoned policies, strategic partnerships, and the strength of our principles – we can make great strides against the problems we’ve faced for generations, and address the new threats of the 21st century. This comprehensive approach to solving global problems and seizing opportunities is at the heart of smart power. And the President’s 2010 budget is a blueprint for how we intend to put smart power into action.
The President’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget request for the State Department and USAID is $48.6 billion, a 7 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2009 funding levels. We know this request comes at a time when other agencies are experiencing cutbacks and the American people are experiencing economic recession. But it is an indication of the critical role the State Department and USAID must play to help advance our nation’s interests, safeguard our security, and make us a positive force for progress worldwide.
Our success requires a robust State Department and USAID working side-by-side with a strong military. To exercise our global leadership effectively, we do need to harness all three Ds – diplomacy, development, and defense.
And this budget supports the State Department and USAID in three critical ways: First, it allows us to invest in our people; second, implement sound policies; and third, strengthen our partnerships. We know it represents a major investment. And we pledge to uphold principles of good stewardship and accountability.
Let me begin with people. The men and women of the State Department and USAID may have the world in their hands, but too many are trying to balance all the balls they have in the air. Many key positions at posts overseas are vacant for the simple reason we don’t have enough personnel. In Beijing, 18 percent of our Embassy positions are open. In Mumbai, 20 percent. In Jeddah, 29 percent. And we face similar staffing shortages here at the Department in Washington as well as USAID.
We need good people and we need enough of them. That's why the President’s 2010 budget includes $283 million to facilitate the hiring of over 740 new Foreign Service personnel. This is part of a broader effort to expand the Foreign Service by 25 percent.
The staffing situation at USAID is even more severe. In 1990, USAID employed nearly 3,500 direct hire personnel to administer an annual assistance budget of $5 billion. Today, the agency’s staff has shrunk by roughly a third, but they are tasked with overseeing $13.2 billion. To provide the oversight that taxpayers deserve and to stay on target of doubling our foreign assistance by 2015, we simply need more people, good people, to do the jobs we’re asking them to do.
We need personnel with the right skills to respond to the complex emergencies of the 21st century. And that’s why we’re requesting $323 million for the Civilian Stabilization Initiative, and that includes expansion of the Civilian Response Corps. This group of professionals will help the United States stabilize and reconstruct societies in transition from conflict and civil strife.
Now, with the right people in the right numbers, we’ll be able to implement the policies that we think are right for our country, and we’re focusing on three priorities: first, urgent challenges and regions of concern, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iraq and Iran, and the Middle East; second, transnational challenges, such as the one that Senator Gregg just referred to, and development assistance.
Now, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, our efforts center on the President’s goal to dismantle, disrupt, and defeat al-Qaida. And we know this requires a balanced approach that takes more than military might alone. So we’re expanding civilian efforts and we’re ensuring that our strategy is fully integrated and adequately resourced.
We’re helping Afghans revitalize their country’s agricultural sector. In study after study, what we have found is that agriculture is still the mainstay for a country that is largely rural. It was once a major source of jobs, and in fact, of export revenue. Afghanistan was considered the garden of Central Asia. Unfortunately, that has been devastated by years of war and civil strife. We’re supporting the Pakistani military as they take on the extremists who confront their country’s stability. We’re making long-term investments in Pakistan’s people and the democratically elected government through targeted humanitarian assistance. And in both of these countries, we are holding these governments and ourselves accountable for progress toward defined objectives.

Finally, we’re seeking resources to deploy a new strategic communication strategy. I would love to get into more detail with you on this, but just suffice it to say, we are being out-communicated by the Taliban and al-Qaida. That is absolutely unacceptable. It is not only true in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but as Senator Bond, who is focused on Southeast Asia knows, it’s there as well. We have to do a better job of getting the story of the values, ideals, the results of democracy out to people who are now being fed a steady diet of the worse kind of disinformation. And even more than that, seeing the media used by these extremists to threaten and intimidate every single night, just as it used to be used in Iraq until we put a stop to it.

As we move forward with the responsible redeployment of our combat forces from Iraq, this budget provides the tools we need to facilitate the transition to a stable, sovereign, and self-reliant Iraq. I was recently in Iraq and we are very focused on implementing the strategic framework that went along with the Status of Forces Agreement so that we do what we can to help increase the capacity of the Iraqi Government.
And as you know, we’re working with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to advance our goal of a two-state solution, a future in which Israel and its Arab neighbors can live in peace and security.
In addition to these urgent challenges – and there are others that I haven’t had time to mention –we face a new array of transnational threats, none more important than the one Senator Gregg highlighted, but we have others as well: energy security, climate change, disease. The United States is not immune from any of these transnational threats. And we’ve got to develop new forms of diplomatic engagement. We cannot send a special envoy to negotiate with a pandemic, or call a summit with carbon dioxide, or sever relations with the global financial crisis. But what we can do is use our ability to convene, to create pragmatic and principled partnerships. We’re working through the Major Economies Forum in preparation for the Climate Conference in Copenhagen. We’re deploying new approaches to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. We’re now a full partner in the P-5+1 talks. And as you know, the President and I have launched a six-year, $63 billion Global Health Initiative to help combat the spread of disease.
Development will play a critical role in what we try to do. And I think we have underplayed the importance of development in creating both goodwill among people and stronger partnerships with governments. We’re going to be asking for $525 million for maternal and child health, nearly 1 billion for education, 1.36 billion for addressing the root causes of food insecurity, and 4.1 billion for humanitarian assistance, including care for refugees, displaced persons, and emergency food aid. We really believe this will advance our values. And I know, Mr. Chairman, you agree with us on that.
Our smart power approach will rely on partnerships, and that begins with our own government. We are seeking an unprecedented level of cooperation between our agencies. Secretary Gates highlighted this cooperation when he testified before you last month. These partnerships are critical. If we’re going to be successful in addressing food security, then we’ve got to get everybody who deals with food aid and sustainable agriculture in the same room, around the same table, hammering out the American approach, not the State Department or the USAID or the USDA or some other approach. It’s got to be a team. And we’re trying to forge those teams. We think it will make us more efficient and cost-effective at the same time.
We’re also looking to revitalize our historic alliances in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia, strengthen and deepen our bilateral ties with emerging regional leaders like Indonesia, Brazil, Turkey, Mexico, and India, and we are working to establish more constructive and candid relationships with China and Russia.
We’re asking for $4.1 billion for contributions to multilateral organizations and peacekeeping efforts. This is a good down payment for us, because for every peacekeeper that the United Nations puts in the field, like the ones I saw in Haiti a few weeks ago, it saves us money. We don’t have to intervene, or walk away, turn our back and live with the consequences.
We’re also expanding our partnerships beyond traditional government-to-government efforts. We’re working with women’s groups and civil society, human rights activists around the world, and we’re encouraging more people-to-people cooperation. I believe this may be one of the great new tools that we have in our diplomacy. Last week, I announced the creation of a Virtual Student Foreign Service that will bring together college students in the United States and our embassies abroad to work on digital and citizen diplomacy initiatives.
But finally, we must rely on sound principles to guide our actions, and we are committed to practicing what we preach. And that includes having an accountable government here at home.
We’re working to make the State Department more efficient, transparent, and effective. For the first time, we have filled the position of Deputy Secretary for Resources and Management. And we’re going to be reforming our processes in both the State Department and USAID.
Mr. Chairman, we’re pursuing these policies because we think it’s in America’s interests. No country benefits more than the United States when there is greater security, democracy, and opportunity in the world. And no country carries a heavier burden when things go badly. Every year we spend hundreds of billions of dollars dealing with the consequences of war, disease, violent ideologies, and vile dictatorships.
Since last testifying before this Committee, I’ve traveled around the globe, covering many miles and many continents. And I can assure you there is a genuine eagerness to partner with the United States again in finding solutions. Our investment in diplomacy and development is a fraction, a tiny fraction of our total national security budget. But I really believe our country will make very few investments that do more, dollar-for-dollar, to create the kind of world we want for our children. By relying on the right people, the right policies, strong partnerships, and sound principles, we can have a century of progress and prosperity led by the United States of America.
And Mr. Chairman, thank you for this opportunity to present the President’s budget request. And I look forward to answering your questions.
# # #

White House Hands Clinton Podium To Add Clout (NY Daily News 05.19.09)

Getty Images 1 day ago

WASHINGTON - MAY 19: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives to speak in the Brady Press Briefing Room about humanitarian aid plan to Pakistan at the White House May 19, 2009 in Washington, DC. Clinton announced 110 million dollars for emergency humanitarian aid in Pakistan, which is intended to help in the fight against the Taliban militants.

For someone entering a den of wolves, she looks pretty happy and confident to me!

May 19, 2009

When President Obama wants Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to drive home a point, he offers her up to the wolves in the White House briefing room.

“It ups the volume,” an administration aide said of Clinton addressing the White House press corps instead of her own gaggle of reporters over at Foggy Bottom.

For the second time in recent weeks, Clinton made an appearance Tuesday in the briefing room, to the delight of reporters itching to get a crack at one of the few real rock stars of the Obama administration. This time Clinton showed up to announce aid for Pakistanis displaced by the fighting between government forces and the Taliban in the Swat Valley.

“Today I am announcing that the people of the United States are responding to a request for assistance from the government of Pakistan with more than $100 million in humanitarian support. Now, this money comes on top of almost $60 million that the United States has provided since last August to help Pakistanis who have been affected by the conflicts, and in addition to the other funding for Pakistan that we are already seeking from the Congress,” Clinton said.

She also got chatty with her new pal Helen Thomas, dean of the White House press corps. The two were not that close during the Clinton administration, but they shared the stage at this year’s commencement at New York University and are apparently getting friendly (which makes sense for two women who have shattered their share of glass ceilings).

“Well, first I have to say how honored I was to share the podium and the stage with Helen Thomas last week at the NYU graduation ceremonies, where we were both given honorary degrees, and in Yankee Stadium, which was a pretty exciting experience,” Clinton said.

Thomas quietly responded with a simple, “Thank you.”

- Ken Bazinet

Read more:

Well, it seems to me that if they are itching to hear from a rock star (and I think she is the ONLY rock star in this administration) they are hardly wolves ready to sink their teeth into her. It's more accurate, in my view, to say they are eager to hear from a coherent, articulate, honest, spokesperson unlike the incoherent and contentious Mr. Gibbs who does seem to regard the press corps as a pack of wolves. Now having said that, I should add that if there is a person in that room who has reason to see the press within the context of that analogy, it is Hillary who was essentially gang-raped by most of the folks in that room last year. In meeting them eye to eye (she is so good at that) in her own direct way, she has tamed the wolf pack - or better, shown them that she really is the Alpha Female of the United States. Go Hillary! Go AFOTUS!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

HIllary Clinton's Media Interviews Today

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waves as she arrives at a hotel to attend a conference in San Salvador

-05/19/09  Interview With Abderrahim Foukara of Al Jazeera; Washington, DC
-05/19/09  Interview With Manelisi Dubase of South African Broadcasting Corporation; Washington, DC
-05/19/09  Interview With Mikhail Solodovnikov of RTR; Washington, DC

LULZ! CUTIE! Gives White House press briefing and pulls out the verboten cell phone! She's got your number, Gibbs!

OMG! I am seriously LOL. After Robert Gibbs performed disciplinary actions last week in the Press Room, he followed it up THIS week by making several statements regarding the possibility of a woman appointee to replace Justice Souter.   He told us we should not lobby for a woman, then that Justice Ginsburg should shut up and sit down. Pi$$ed, I suggested we trap him in the press room and start calling each other on our cell phones. LITTLE DID I KNOW! I was at work and could not watch this video till I got home, but I discovered in the late afternoon that Hillary made a return engagement today to the Press Room.I had seen Tweets all day saying she told us we could text contributions to programs assisting the Swat Valley refugees, but I had no idea, even after seeing a still pic of her with a cell phone, that she pulled out this verboten item in the White House Press Room and then GIGGLED.It was so seriously cute and defiant, how could you NOT text a contribution. I will, just to make Hillary happy.
*Waiting for the day when it will again be a contribution to for her 2012 race.*

If, like me, you are incensed by the remarks of the smug and sexist Mr. Gibbs, perhaps you would like to participate in the PUMAPAC Prowl. Read about it here.

Humanitarian Aid to Pakistan

Press Conference
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
Washington, DC
May 19, 2009

Released by White House Office of the Press Secretary
11:25 A.M. EDT
MR. GIBBS: A renewed guest appearance. Thank you all for coming. As we talked last week here, you all know the national security priority that Pakistan is for this administration. President Obama asked all those in the administration to respond quickly to the conditions that we're seeing now in the Swat Valley and in Pakistan. And I will turn it over to the Secretary of State for an announcement on that.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Robert. And I appreciate the opportunity to provide some information about what our government and the people of the U.S. are doing with respect to the humanitarian crisis that is affecting Pakistan.
The last time I was in this room, on May 6th, I spoke about the United States' commitment to stand by Pakistan's people and the democratically elected government as they work to restore security in their country. And President Obama is determined to match our words with our actions, because Pakistan's government is leading the fight against extremists that threaten the future of their country and our collective security.
At the same time, though, Pakistan is facing a major humanitarian crisis. Approximately 2 million people have fled their homes, and Pakistan's government, their military, and relief organizations are working to meet the needs of these displaced persons. So many are finding refuge with family members, or in schools or mosques; they are relying on the generosity of relatives and friends. And I'm confident that Pakistan's institutions and citizens will succeed in confronting this humanitarian challenge if the international community steps up and provides the support that is needed.
So today I am announcing that the people of the United States are responding to a request for assistance from the government of Pakistan with more than $100 million in humanitarian support. Now, this money comes on top of almost $60 million that the United States has provided since last August to help Pakistanis who have been affected by the conflicts, and in addition to the other funding for Pakistan that we are already seeking from the Congress.
Providing this assistance is not only the right thing to do, but we believe it is essential to global security and the security of the United States, and we are prepared to do more as the situation demands.
The United States has a history of working with the Pakistani authorities to alleviate suffering. When an earthquake struck the country in 2005, we moved quickly to assist. Altogether, the United States has provided more than $3.4 billion since 2002 to alleviate suffering and promote economic growth, education, health and good governance in Pakistan.
A U.S. Disaster Assistance Response Team -- a so-called DART team -- and embassy personnel from our embassy in Islamabad are on the ground working with and supporting Pakistani authorities in evaluating needs for shelter, food, health, water and sanitation services. And supplies from the U.S. are already flowing to Pakistan. USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance has delivered 30,000 family relief kits, 5,000 tents, FM radios, and generators to provide both light and water.
At the request of the government of Pakistan's special support group, the U.S. military is providing water trucks, halal MREs, and large tents within environment units for hot weather.
At the same time, one of our guiding principles of this assistance package is that it should be more than just the delivery of supplies. It should also be an investment in the people and the economy of Pakistan. So a significant portion of our pledged food aid will go to buy Pakistani grain in local markets, taking advantage of the country's bumper crop of wheat. And we will work to create quick-impact job programs that will put Pakistanis to work, making supplies that will help their countrymen who have been forced to flee the fighting. Our approach to the aid reflects our conviction that all Pakistanis have a stake in resolving this crisis.
In addition to supporting the work of Pakistan's democratically elected government, we are coordinating closely with the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross. And we appreciate the work that U.N. agencies, the ICRC, and nongovernmental organizations are already doing.
The United States is also deploying new tools to meet these challenges. We are working to support the Pakistani government in launching a text-messaging system that will alert local communities to assistance efforts and will help family members keep in touch.
We have been hard at work in this area for a number of weeks, looking for ways that we can get communications directly to people on the ground. And we know that a lot of the Pakistanis who are being displaced by the conflict have cell phones. So we're going to try to reach directly to them, not only to give them information that will be of assistance to them, but also to provide a way of connecting them up with other people, with the military, with the governing authorities.
Now, Americans can use technology to help, as well. Using your cell phones, Americans can text the word "swat" -- to the number 20222 and make a $5 contribution that will help the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees provide tents, clothing, food, and medicine to hundreds of thousands of affected people. And before I came over here, we did that in the State Department. So we are making some of the first donations to this fund.
President Obama and I hope that individuals who have fled the conflict will be able to return home quickly, safely, and on a voluntary basis. Some have already gone back to their communities. And as they do, the United States stands ready to help Pakistan's government support displaced persons as they rebuild their lives.
But as long as this crisis persists, our assistance will continue. We face a common threat, a common challenge, and now a common task. And we know that the work ahead is difficult, but we have seen an enormous amount of support and determination out of the Pakistani government, military, and people in the last weeks to tackle the extremist challenge. And we're confident that with respect to the humanitarian challenge the people of Pakistan and their government, as well as the international community, can come together and forge not only the assistance that is needed, but stronger bonds for the years ahead.
So I'd be happy to answer any of your questions.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, how much of this money goes directly to U.S.-run programs that are there where it's sort of the U.S. is in charge of how the money gets disseminated, and how much of it goes to the Pakistani government? And then can you also talk about President Clinton's role with Haiti?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, with respect to the money, the money is going primarily to international assistance efforts that the United States is deeply involved in supporting and helping to coordinate. The top United Nations disaster experts are either on the ground or shortly will be on the ground. We also have a very good working relationship with the Pakistani military coming out of our earthquake experience with them. And we believe that the person who's been put in charge, who was in charge of the earthquake relief, is especially well suited for that.
So we're going to be providing a lot of in-kind contributions and we're going to be providing financial support to multilateral organizations and NGOs. And as I said, we're going to try to be creative in buying locally produced goods and labor, so that the people of Pakistan have a stake in solving this humanitarian crisis. So it's a multitude of approaches, Chuck, and we think that's the smartest way to go.
QUESTION: But not much of it actually goes directly to the government?
QUESTION: It's just mostly -- okay.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, yes, that's right.
Well, with respect to Haiti, we're very pleased that the United Nations is taking such an affirmative role in trying to assist the people of Haiti. They have not yet recovered from the four hurricanes of last year. This is a high priority not only for the U.N., but also for the Obama administration. And we think that Ban Ki-moon has chosen a high-profile envoy to raise the visibility of the needs of the people of Haiti. And it's the kind of partnership that we're looking for across the board.
We had already begun putting a team together, led by my Chief of Staff and Counselor, Cheryl Mills, to harness the support of the United States government to assist Haiti. And this is going to be an added bit of leverage and focus for us that we can all work on together.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary. How much money do you expect to raise through these $5 increments from text messages? And can you really improve the situation in the Swat Valley at $5 increments? And secondly, what does the United States expect in return for this $100 million?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we can do a lot to improve the conditions of the displaced people coming out of the conflict areas. I'm hoping that we'll have a big response to the text messaging. Just think if a million people in the United States gave at least $5, that's $5 million. And that would be a significant contribution from ordinary citizens, just people who care about what's happening.
We're enlisting the Pakistani American communities. One of the results of our trilateral meetings has been a commitment to help assist Pakistani Americans to establish a 501(c)3 that will solicit contributions from the Diaspora, and then be able to provide that money for this kind of assistance.
So I think it's important on the financial front, but equally important is enlisting people-to-people diplomacy and assistance, which is something that we believe very strongly in. We don't want this just to be government to government. We want Americans weighing in to try to help, and we think this does that.
What we're looking for is what we're seeing, the kind of commitment from the Pakistani government and the military to go after the extremists who threaten the safety and security of Pakistanis and of the nation. And I've been encouraged by the very strong positions that have been taken across the political spectrum in support of the military actions. And that's why it's important that we step up now and help on the humanitarian front.
QUESTION: What assurance do you have that our assistance will not go to expand their nuclear power and arsenal? And what brought it center stage? We've been helping Pakistan for years and years and years, poured a lot of money into it. Why now -- I mean, I don't say why now -- I know the challenge of extremists. But what is it that that has been broken down?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first I have to say how honored I was to share the podium and the stage with Helen Thomas last week at the NYU graduation ceremonies -- (laughter) -- where we were both given honorary degrees, and in Yankee Stadium, which was a pretty exciting experience.
You know, Helen, I think that it is fair to say that our policy toward Pakistan over the last 30 years has been incoherent. I don't know any other word to use. We came in in the '80s and helped to build up the Mujahideen to take on the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The Pakistanis were our partners in that. Their security service and their military were encouraged and funded by the United States to create the Mujahideen in order to go after the Soviet invasion and occupation.
The Soviet Union fell in 1989, and we basically said, thank you very much; we had all kinds of problems in terms of sanctions being imposed on the Pakistanis. Their democracy was not secure and was constantly at risk of and often being overtaken by the military, which stepped in when it appeared that democracy could not work.
And so I think that when we ask that question it is fair to apportion responsibility to the Pakistanis, but it's also fair to ask ourselves what have we done and how have we done it over all of these years, and what role do we play in the situation that the Pakistanis currently confront.
I believe that what President Obama is doing with our new approach toward Pakistan is qualitatively different than anything that has been tried before. It basically says we support the democratically elected government, but we have to have a relationship where we are very clear and transparent with one another; where we have the kind of honest exchanges that have come out of our trilateral meetings, where we're sitting across the table and we're saying, what do you intend to do about what we view as an extremist threat to your country, which by the way, also threatens us.
And so in the last week I think we've seen an answer, which is very encouraging. And, therefore, it is our responsibility to support the democratically elected government, to be a source of advice and counsel where requested, but also to step in with aid that can try to make this government as successful as possible in delivering results for the people of Pakistan. That's what we are engaged in.
Now, we're doing this because we believe that the future of Pakistan is extremely important to the security of the United States. If we did not believe that I wouldn't be standing here, the President would not be directing us.
QUESTION: Why do you believe that?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, because we think that the advance of extremism is a threat to our security; that al Qaeda and their extremist allies are intent upon attacking not only our friends and allies in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan, but our homeland and American citizens and interests around the world. And as the President has said, our goal, coming out of our strategic review of Afghanistan and Pakistan, was to defeat and disrupt and dismantle the al Qaeda network.
We have seen al Qaeda driven out of Afghanistan to find refuge in the mountains of Pakistan. I don't think anyone doubts their continuing efforts to plot against us. They have not given up on their desire to inflict damage, harm and murder on the United States of America. That is how we in this administration view the threat coming from al Qaeda and their allies. We have walked away from Pakistan before, with consequences that have not been in the best interests of our security, and we are determined that we're going to forge a partnership with the people of Pakistan and their democratically elected government against extremism -- and that's what we're pursuing.
QUESTION: So what is the U.S. role, actually? Is it just transferring money, or is there also going to be a physical presence on the ground, and in particular, any boots on the ground in Pakistan to deliver this aid?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Chip, we're doing what the Pakistan has requested of us. Obviously our military will be delivering a lot of these supplies, but they'll be handing them off to the Pakistani military and to the relief groups, both international and non-governmental organizations. And we think that's the appropriate way to proceed.
We were very pleased that the government appointed General Nadeem Ahmad to head up these efforts, because he directed civilian relief efforts after the earthquake of 2005. He was extremely capable and produced positive results, and where necessary asked for help not only from the United States but from other international groups. And that's what we're expecting will happen this time.
QUESTION: Do you have any idea what the numbers of military would be involved in this? And is there any danger that they could get caught in the crossfire here?
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, no. We are not engaged in any military action whatsoever, and we are not engaged in the delivery of any civilian relief. We are there to facilitate the Pakistani military and the international and NGO relief agencies to be able to do that.
QUESTION: Thank you. Madam Secretary, are you worried the Pakistanis might abandon the fight against the Taliban without this aid? And is the lack of this kind of aid, in your opinion, the reason that former President Musharraf did not prosecute the war against the Taliban as efficiently as the current government?
SECRETARY CLINTON: You know, Wendell, I can't speculate on why former President Musharraf did what he did while he was in power. I just know that at the end of his time in office, the extremists had found safe havens in Pakistan and were stronger than they had been when he came into office, in terms of their willingness to make alliance with al Qaeda as part of what we view as a terrorist network -- a syndicate, if you will.
But what I do believe is that the current democratically elected government and the opposition has recognized the serious threat posed by the Taliban's advance out of their usual territory, moving closer and closer to Islamabad. And I am very encouraged by the comments that the Prime Minister has made, that opposition leaders like former Prime Minister Sharif has made. There is a real national mood change on the part of the Pakistani people that we are watching and obviously encouraged by. And I think it has to do with a recognition that this is no longer about a part of their country that seems quite distant from population centers, like Lahore or Islamabad or Karachi. That this is a potential direct threat to their way of life in Pakistan.
The beating of the young woman that was videotaped had an electric effect on people throughout Pakistan. I've talked to a number of Pakistanis and Pakistani Americans who said, "We were shocked by that." You know, sometimes it just takes a visual image or an act to break through your everyday concerns about the economy and politics as usual, and I think that's happened in Pakistan.
The humanitarian relief is the right thing to do, no matter what the politics. People are in need, they're having to leave their homes and their possessions. We hope that they'll be able to return home quickly if the military not only clears the Taliban from their communities but also holds that ground with a combination of military and policing forces.
But this is a tough battle and I don't think anybody should underestimate how difficult it is for the Pakistani military to wage this battle in very challenging terrain. I don't know how many of you have either flown over or visited that terrain, but this is hard. And that's why what the Pakistanis are doing now deserves our full support. They're doing it. And we're encouraging them to do it because we think it's in their interests, but we also believe it's in the interests of our long-term struggle against extremism and, in particular, the al Qaeda network.
MR. GIBBS: Thanks, guys.

Hillary Clinton at the Global Press Conference

Remarks at the Global Press Conference


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Foreign Press Center
Washington, DC
May 19, 2009

Date: 05/19/2009 Description: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton briefs at the Washington, DC Foreign Press Center on May 19, 2009. State Dept Photo
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon, everyone. It’s a real pleasure to be here with you today. We believe that a free press is an integral part of our democracy. And as I said earlier this month on World Press Freedom Day, President Obama and I are determined to continue the United States’ commitment to media freedom worldwide. And I’m very proud of the State Department’s long tradition of assisting foreign journalists reporting about the United States, and we will continue to support you in your work.
I’ve just come from the White House, where I announced a new United States initiative to support the Pakistani people, their government and military as they respond to the humanitarian challenges that have resulted from their efforts to combat and defeat the extremists who are threatening their country. I am confident that Pakistan’s institutions and citizens will succeed in confronting this challenge if the international community steps up and helps.
So today, I announce that the people of the United States are responding to a request for assistance from the Government of Pakistan with more than $100 million in humanitarian support, and we are prepared to do more as the situation demands. Our assistance is already arriving. But as I said earlier, one of our guiding principles is that this should be more than just the delivery of supplies; it should be an investment in the people of Pakistan. So we will buy locally from the bumper crop of wheat, and we’ll work to help create quick impact job programs that will put Pakistanis to work making goods for their fellow citizens.
As we support Pakistan’s democratically elected government, we’re coordinating closely with United Nations, the Red Cross and Red Crescent, and we are deploying new tools. We’re working to support the Pakistani Government in launching a text messaging system that will alert local communities to assistance efforts and help keep family members in touch. We believe we face a common threat, a common challenge, and a common task. But the Pakistani people and their government have shown resolve, and it is up to us now to show our support.
Before I take your questions, let me give you just a very brief overview of some of our efforts during these first few months of the Obama Administration – how we are trying to exercise what we call smart power in pursuit of our foreign policy goals. I don’t need to tell any of you that today’s world is interconnected. Whatever country we are from, we share urgent challenges that transcend borders – climate change, food security, diseases, energy, terrorism, piracy, and, of course, the global economic crisis.
The State Department is committed to a new diplomacy powered by partnerships, pragmatism, and principle. We are elevating development to its rightful place alongside diplomacy as a key component of our international efforts. And we are working to promote good governance, human rights, and social inclusion so that more people around the world can claim their rightful share in global progress and prosperity.
Now we are using new tools and seeking new partners to broaden the reach of our diplomacy because we understand that 21st century statecraft cannot just be government-to-government; it must be government-to-people and people-to-people. So we want to engage civil society, women, youth, political activists, and others as we pursue our agenda.
Speaking about some of the specific issues that we have been concentrating on, we have been working hard to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As you know, we’ve been holding these trilateral meetings among our three countries, and our engagement in that region will continue.
We are seeking constructive solutions in the Middle East, where we have made a major commitment to assist the Palestinian people, and in Iraq, where we are working toward a responsible deployment of American combat forces. And we are taking a new approach to Iran that relies on all the tools of American power, led by diplomacy.
We are reinforcing our relationship with key allies and historic partners in Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and we have engaged vigorously with a number of emerging regional actors. And we’re serious about establishing more candid, constructive relationships with both Russia and China.
In addition to our bilateral and multilateral relationships, the President and I are focused on food security so that developing nations can improve food production, affordability, accessibility, education and technology. Issues related to food, including high food prices, pose a threat to the prosperity and security of many countries. And so we are going to rebalance our programs in favor of agricultural development aid, rather than excessive reliance on emergency assistance.
Well, there’s a lot to talk about. This has been a very busy couple of months. And I appreciate the work that all of you do to report on the policies of our government and to help bring information to millions of people around the world. I hope we’ve kept you busy. But again, I am delighted to be here, and I look forward to your questions.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Madame Secretary, we’re going to take the first question from Rome on the monitor. It’s coming in from there. Hello, go ahead.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Hello, Rome on the monitor.
MODERATOR: This is Rai TV.
QUESTION: Hi. Hello, Madame Secretary. Thank you. Thank you very much for this opportunity to speak to you. So in a few weeks, Italy will host the G-8 summit in L’Aquila, the city that has been devastated by the earthquake.
First question is: What do you think of the decision to move the venue there? And the second: What the – Italy could do on international issues for helping and to be more helpful? I make two examples – first of all, would you like Italy to contribute more on troops for Afghanistan or ask to accept prisoners from Guantanamo?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you. With respect to the first question, I thought it was a very important decision to move the G-8 summit meeting. Clearly, it serves to highlight the devastation caused by the earthquake, and it also provides an opportunity for the G-8 to inject some very needed economic assistance into the region. The United States is working with the Government of Italy to assist with respect to the reconstruction following the earthquake. We are partnering with the – a group of concerned Italian Americans, and we expect to raise money that will go toward helping the university that was devastated in the earthquake. So we see this as a way of people-to-people diplomacy and development, and playing our part in helping Italy recover from the devastation of the earthquake.
I am very grateful for the leadership and support that Italy has provided on a number of the important priorities of the Obama Administration. Italy’s assistance in Afghanistan, its renewed commitment to work with other nations on a national police force, is incredibly important and welcome. I have met a number of times with your foreign minister and with the prime minister, and we’ve discussed the full range of issues, from not only the Middle East and Iran, but to climate change, energy security, and everything you can imagine.
So Italy is playing an important role, and its hosting of the G-8, which of course will be expanded this year and will include discussions of a number of issues with nations that are not formally members of the G-8, is going to be a very important step toward bringing the world together around the resolution of these challenges. And we are grateful for the Italian leadership.
MODERATOR: We’ll go here to Constance from Nigeria. Here’s the microphone.
QUESTION: President Obama is planning to visit Africa and he will be stopping in Ghana. Is that a snub to countries like Nigeria? Why isn’t he covering more countries on this trip? And secondly, what kind of partnership and engagement do you hope to forge with the Nigerian Government and the African Union?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, certainly President Obama is very focused on Africa, as I am. And I hope to travel to Africa later in the year on behalf of the President and our Administration. The President’s recently announced trip to Ghana is an effort to make sure that in the very beginning of his Administration he has the opportunity to travel to not only Egypt but also another country in Africa for a visit to demonstrate our commitment to Africa. It is not meant in any other way than what I just said. It is intended to tee up what will be a continuing intensive engagement with Africa.
I view our relationship with Nigeria as an important anchor, and I believe that there is a lot of work we can do together. I have spoken on several occasions with your foreign minister, and I look forward to more consultations, because we think that Nigeria has a critical role to play in not only its own ongoing democratization and development, but also as a key actor regionally and even globally.
So I think that our commitment to Africa transcends any one country. Obviously, the President couldn't be gone long; he has to get back in order to work with the Congress on all of his priorities. But he really wanted to make a stop in Africa that would send a message in Sub-Saharan Africa of his commitment to all of the nations there. And we will follow up very specifically on our agenda with Nigeria and other nations as well.
MODERATOR: We’ll go back for Australia, Geoff Elliott.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary, for this opportunity. I’m just wondering, Australia recently released its defense white paper, and in sum, it basically charted the rise of China and the potential decline of the U.S. as the sole dominant force in the Asia-Pacific region in the years ahead. I’m just wondering how you see the U.S. partnering with Australia in the future. Is it sort of business as usual between old mates, to use the local vernacular, or is there a case where the Australia-U.S. partnership needs to evolve over time, given that our economic interests seems to be increasingly allied with China?
And one quick one, if I may. The Bush Administration also made a specific request of Australia to accept Uighur detainees from Guantanamo, and I’m wondering if you’ve made a similar request. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say that our relationship with Australia is strong and enduring. We have both had recent changes of government. The underlying partnership remains very solid. But obviously, we are going to engage in a somewhat different way than our predecessor did, and I think it’s fair to say Prime Minister Rudd and his government are as well. We had an exceptionally successful visit from the prime minister. My counterpart, Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, and I had a really constructive, productive meeting with your foreign minister and defense minister.
I think that we are deepening and broadening our engagement. We don’t think it’s a zero-sum game. The fact that a country like China is becoming more successful or Indonesia is now a very successful democracy, we see that as to the good for the entire Pacific region. But we also are sending a clear message that the United States will be engaged. We are a transpacific power as well as a transatlantic power. My first visit as Secretary of State, as you know, was to Asia. We are going to have a very positive engagement on a range of issues with Australia, and we’re going to look for ways of enhancing our cooperation when it comes to regional security.
But we want Australia as well as other nations to know that the United States is not ceding the Pacific to anyone. We have longstanding bilateral relationships with nations like Australia and others, and we have a very active multilateral agenda that we intend to reinvigorate, such as our membership in ASEAN and other fora within the Pacific region.
So I believe that the assessment that is made about the future of Asia should include a very active partnership between Australia and the United States on behalf of security and stability and economic growth and prosperity, and we intend to work together to achieve that.
With respect to your other question, we obviously are very hopeful that a number of nations will assist us in delivering on the President’s commitment to close Guantanamo. And that will require the release and placement of a number of the detainees.
MODERATOR: We’re going to go to our New York Foreign Press Center, and from Pakistan, Shafiq Saddiqui.
QUESTION: Thank you. My question is the weapons in possession and in use by the insurgents in Pakistan are modern and sophisticated. The level of resistance shows the continuation of their supply line. Can America not find, detect, and destroy the supply line of weapons to Taliban? Second part of my question is: Can America not find out who is supplying the weapons to Taliban?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. I think it is important to underscore our very strong support for the steps that the people, government, and military of Pakistan are taking against the extremist threat that is not only aimed at Pakistan, but clearly beyond the borders to other nations as well.
And yes, we know that the extremists are being supplied. We are working closely with the intelligence services of Pakistan and other countries to try to determine where those weapons are coming from. And we are certainly supporting the Pakistani Government in their efforts to disrupt the supply lines that are providing the weapons.
As you know better than I, this is a very difficult terrain to operate in. Many of the extremists are aided by local residents who know every trail and every possible route into the areas of conflict. So it’s a challenge, but it’s one that we are supporting the Pakistani military in addressing.
And with respect to the specifics of going after those who are supplying them, I’m sure that when information is available and credible, the Pakistani Government will do what it must. And we stand ready to offer assistance if they request.
MODERATOR: Come back here to Washington. And we have Mitch Potter from Canada.
QUESTION: Thank you very much.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, there is a persistent myth, despite all evidence to the contrary, that Canada was a gateway for the 9/11 bombers. Canadian officials are vexed and frustrated by this. They say that it’s been fed by many sources, including comments that were attributed to you when you were a senator.
So my question for you today is to ask for clarity. Are Americans right to worry about the Canadian border more than any other point of entry when it comes to security concerns? And if the answer is no, perhaps you can help us understand why these perceptions are so entrenched.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me say that Americans are worried about every port and point of entry. I don’t think we have any lesser concern about any other route into our country than any other one. Obviously, we’re proud of the long, peaceful border that we share with Canada. But I think it is fair to say that since 9/11, we have been working with our friends in Canada to try to harden that border, to try to provide both more personnel and technology. The prior administration worked on that with the Canadian Government. Our Department of Homeland Security will continue to do so.
As you alluded, I represented New York for eight wonderful years, and our border was pretty porous, just to be blunt. And it had never been a problem before. We had both land and water points of entry that had been traditionally used without any questions being asked. And unfortunately, given the security environment that we have to deal with today, we have been focused on making sure that our northern border was as secure as possible without undermining either our relationship, or the trade in goods and services, the tourism, the natural flow of people who both work and go to school and recreate on both sides of the border.
But I think that the Canadian Government and the United States Government are both focused on this and have worked very hard together over the last years.
MODERATOR: We’re going to go back to New York. And we have from Poland, Tomasz.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, there was an independent study published today by East-West Institute that says that the missile shield in Europe would be ineffective. And also the Department of Defense has just cut spending on this project. So I wanted to ask you about a political aspect of this project. Do you still plan to build anything in Europe and in Czech Republic, or you want to abandon this project?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me say, first of all, I have not had a chance to read or review the study that you have just mentioned. I saw news reports, but that’s all I’ve seen of it. The Obama Administration is engaged in our own strategic review with respect to missile defense. We are not yet finished with that review, but we are looking at it from all angles.
But let’s remember what is really at stake here, especially when it comes to friends and allies like Poland and the Czech Republic. The United States takes very seriously our Article 5 responsibility under NATO to protect and defend the security and sovereignty of our fellow allies. Since I have been Secretary of State, I have pushed hard for NATO to be sure that we have all the contingency planning done that is necessary to make good on our Article 5 commitment.
The idea behind missile defense was to help both deter and defend against attacks from nations like Iran were they to obtain nuclear weapons with systems of delivery. So we will obviously take into account the technical aspects of this in our review, but we’ll also be taking into account our preexisting and continuing responsibilities to our friends and allies. And I will assure you that the United States is fully committed to the defense of Poland and our other allies within NATO.
MODERATOR: And Joyce Karam from pan-Arab media.
QUESTION: Yes, hi, Madame Secretary. Thanks for doing this. I want to ask you about the peace process. President Obama has stated yesterday that he would like to see a settlement freeze. Do you personally believe that this will actually happen, given that it has been requested so many times in the past and it never happened on the ground?
And if I could just – I feel I have to ask you about this. The Kuwaiti elections in the Arab world, we have seen four women break the glass ceiling, as you like to say, and made it to the parliament, if you can comment on that as well.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. I think the President was very clear yesterday in his statement that he wants to see a stop to the settlements. I hosted a dinner for Prime Minister Netanyahu later in the day at the State Department, and we reiterated that that is the position and policy of the United States Government.
We are committed to a two-state solution, and obviously, underlying that commitment is the conviction that the Palestinians deserve a viable state. And therefore, nothing should be done to undermine the potential resolution of the peace effort that could prevent such a two-state solution from taking hold. We are, as always, committed to the safety and security of Israel, but our goal is to see the people living together. We want to see Israelis and Palestinians having a chance to raise their children, to have a future free of conflict, and to give every child the opportunity to fulfill his or her God-given potential. That is our goal.
So we are at the beginning of what will be an intensive period. And you noticed that we started it right from the commencement of the Obama Administration. We appointed George Mitchell as our Special Envoy the second day of the President’s term in office. We have worked very hard already to determine what is possible. And it’s not only, as you know, what the Israelis and the Palestinians will do, but what will the Arab neighbors do, what will others do to help us bring about the conclusion we seek?
And let me just say with respect to the Kuwaiti elections how pleased I am. I started working with a group of courageous Kuwaiti women back in the 1990s, and encouraged their commitment to democracy and their desire to see women included in the growing democracy in their own country. And the election on Saturday is a watershed event. These four women were elected without the support of a political party and without any quota requiring that women be elected. I really congratulate the people of Kuwait, and particularly the Amir and the leadership.
Because you know how I feel: No country will be successful if half the population are denied their basic rights to participate and to lend their talents, their energy and their intelligence to the development of their countries. And so this is, for me, an incredibly important step along the path of seeing the full inclusion of women in their societies across the world.
MODERATOR: Madame Secretary, clearly, they’d like to keep you here a couple more hours, but we know your time is (inaudible) – so we would hope you would come back. She’s going to have to go. She has a very busy schedule. But hopefully she’ll be back.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I’m so sorry. I would love to stay.