Sunday, August 30, 2009

Haiti Chérie

With a dearth of Hillary news out there (and she is taking tomorrow off too - good for her!), I thought I would share this video sent to me by a friend. I spent ten years in Haiti, will always love that country and its people, and could not be more pleased with the way Bill and Hillary share that love for Haiti. I met Charlie Rangel down there when my faculté held a reception for him. I was not there when Bill and Hillary first visited, so I did not meet them.  I was visiting my sister in Florida for the holidays at the time.

The entire speech that Hillary gives here is posted in the archive of this blog. I put it up the day she made this speech. Haitian soldiers (then French) came here to help us fight the American Revolution. Apparently Bill was the first POTUS to thank Haiti for the support.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Farewell Senator Kennedy

Hillary at Ted's Funeral. I loved Bill's hand on her whenever he could. I also thought that nice, warm, long hug between Vicki and Hillary spoke volumes. Hillary looking up whenever she is in a place of worship - simply enchanting. She is a woman of faith, and I love that about her.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

On the Passing of Senator Kennedy

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC

August 26, 2009


Today I join all Americans in mourning the passing of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, one of our nation’s finest statesmen and a dear friend. My thoughts and prayers are with Senator Kennedy’s wife Vicki, his children, grandchildren, and all the members of the extended Kennedy family.

For five decades, Senator Kennedy was at the heart of our greatest debates, serving on the front lines of democracy. With optimism and courage, he helped us meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of our times. He was a champion for women and families, for health care, education, civil rights and the environment. He inspired generation after generation of young Americans to enter public service, to stand up for justice and to fight for progress. And he was a legislator without peer, who understood both when to stand his ground and when to seek out the common ground on which compromise and progress is built.

When I was First Lady, we worked together to provide health insurance for America’s children. When I arrived in the Senate, he was a generous mentor and a thoughtful colleague. We worked together to raise the minimum wage, improve education, and champion the cause we shared so deeply: ensuring that all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care. And as Secretary of State, I valued his counsel on how to make America a force for peace and progress around the world.

I will always treasure the memory of his friendship and the time we spent together, from the Massachusetts waters he loved so much, to the floor of the Senate that will feel empty without his booming voice and broad smile.

We have lost Ted, but his life’s work will shape our nation for years to come. His legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of millions of Americans who are freer, healthier, and more prosperous because of his efforts. As he said, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.

PRN: 2009/855

Hillary is the most graceful person I have ever seen in my life.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Special Relationship

With Hillary on a brief vacation beginning last Wednesday in Bermuda, there has not been much to post here. These dry news times routinely generate memory photo albums on Hillary blogs, so here are a few cute ones. Here's Hillary with her good friend British Foreign Minister David Miliband back in March at the NATO conference.

With HBO famously making a movie called "A Special Relationship" about the bilateral friendship between President Bill Clinton and then British PM, Tony Blair, the relationship between Hillary and Miliband appeared from the outset to reaffirm the special alliance between the U.S. and the U.K. despite a rather bumpy start when the Obama team decided to redecorate the White House by returning a bust of Winston Churchill to the Brits. Things got bumpier still when current PM, Gordon Brown, et famille visited the new First Family. But Hillary came through to save the day forming a firm and, by all indications cordial friendship with Miliband...cordial, that is until this happened:

David Miliband calls Hillary Clinton to voice anger over Guantánamo inmates' transfer to Bermuda By Toby Harnden in Washington Published: 6:34PM BST 12 Jun 2009.

Ooohhhh, noes! Hillary! How could you! Actually, Hillary and David have met since then, and we have not seen frost on the friendship. We have to remember that this was not a decision made within the State Department and although Hillary was certainly consulted, the decision was not hers to make.

Now the choice of Bermuda as a vacation spot is interesting! The Clintons only had a few days there making a quick getaway in advance of Hurricane Bill (I know! You can't make this stuff up!) closing the airport (and we haven't heard a whisper since of where they might be). But Bill did play some golf on the course where the Uighurs are groundskeepers, and Hillary has a penchant for making statements just by her presence. Maybe they DIDN'T go there to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the beginning of Chelsea (or maybe they DID!), but if there was a second good reason for Bermuda, I can see a reflection of Hillary's decision to stay at the Taj Mahal in Mumbai in this choice. "It's fine! You can still vacation here. See?" She probably promised David she would gladly make this gesture despite:

Release of Abdel Basset Mohamed al-Megrahi, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, Washington, DC, August 20, 2009

When that statement was released, she was already in Bermuda.

Over the weekend, and in total Hillary-blackout, the rage over Al-Megrahi grew legs:

FBI boss Robert Mueller rips Scots who released Lockerbie bomber: "Comfort to terrorists" by Christina Boyle, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER, Sunday, August 23rd 2009, 2:18 AM

So what is the take-away from all this? I think it's like when Scott Beckett hits Derek Jeter so next inning Andy Pettitte hits Big Papi - no harm meant just a little payback...and a compulsory warning.

One thing, though: You appoint and confirm Secretaries of State and Foreign Ministers to maintain diplomatic relations. Before any further moves of this kind are considered, the administrations would do well to consult and heed the advice of their top diplomats who seem to have a special enough relationship to get us past this bumpy patch.

Meanwhile, Quadaffi, the guy who gave Al-Megrahi the hero's welcome in Libya, is planning to pitch a tent here in New Jersey - not far from me! I told you, you can't make this stuff up! Stay tuned.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hillary Clinton Op-Ed: What I Saw in Goma


What I Saw in Goma

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 21, 2009

The following is an Op-Ed authored by Secretary Clinton that appeared on following the Secretary's trip to Africa. Read the article:,,20299698,00.html

In 11 days of travel across Africa, I saw humanity at its worst – and at its best. In Goma last week, I saw both.

The Mugunga Internally Displaced Persons Camp sits in a land of volcanoes and great lakes on the edge of Goma, a provincial capital in the eastern Congo. The camp is now home to 18,000 people seeking refuge from a cycle of violent conflict that has left 5.4 million dead since 1998. Chased from their homes and villages by armed rebels and informal militias, these men, women and children walked for miles with little food or water until they reached this relatively safe haven.

Now they live in tents, one next to the other, row after row, some clinging to life, others hanging on to whatever glimmer of hope remains in a region plagued by years of brutality. Many of these people have been robbed of their homes, possessions, families and, worst of all, their dignity.

Women and girls in particular have been victimized on an unimaginable scale, as sexual and gender-based violence has become a tactic of war and has reached epidemic proportions. Some 1,100 rapes are reported each month, with an average of 36 women and girls raped every day.

I visited a hospital run by the organization Heal Africa and met a woman who told me that she was eight months' pregnant when she was attacked. She was at home when a group of men broke in. They took her husband and two of their children and shot them in the front yard, before returning into the house to shoot her other two children. Then they beat and gang-raped her and left her for dead. But she wasn't dead. She fought for life and her neighbors managed to get her to the hospital – 85 kilometers away.

I came to Goma to send a clear message: The United States condemns these attacks and all those who commit them and abet them. They are crimes against humanity.

These acts don't just harm a single individual, or a single family, or village, or group. They shred the fabric that weaves us together as human beings. Such atrocities have no place in any society. This truly is humanity at its worst.

But there is reason to hope. We have seen survivors summon the courage to rebuild their lives and their communities. We have seen civic leaders and organizations come together to combat this appalling scourge. And we have seen health care workers sacrifice comfortable careers so they can treat the wounded.

In Goma, I met doctors and advocates who work every day to repair the broken bodies and spirits of women who have been raped, often by gangs, and often in such brutal fashion that they can no longer bear children, or walk or work. Caregivers like Lyn Lusi, who founded Heal Africa in Goma, and Dr. Denis Mukwege, who founded the Panzi hospital in Bukavu, represent humanity at its best.

The United States will stand with these brave people. This week I announced more than $17 million in new funding to prevent and respond to gender and sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We will provide medical care, counseling, economic assistance and legal support. We will dedicate nearly $3 million to recruit and train police officers to protect women and girls and to investigate sexual violence. We will send technology experts to help women and front-line workers report abuse using photographs and video and share information on treatment and legal options. And we will deploy a team of civilian experts, medical personnel and military engineers to assess how we can further assist survivors of sexual violence.

While I was in the DRC, I had very frank discussions about sexual violence with President Kabila. I stressed that the perpetrators of these crimes, no matter who they are, must be prosecuted and punished. This is particularly important when they are in positions of authority, including members of the Congolese military, who have been allowed to commit these crimes with impunity.

Our commitment to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence did not begin with my visit to Goma, and it will not end with my departure.

We are redoubling our efforts to address the fundamental cause of this violence: the fighting that goes on and on in the eastern Congo. We will be taking additional steps at the United Nations and in concert with other nations to bring an end to this conflict.

There is an old Congolese proverb that says, "No matter how long the night, the day is sure to come." The day must come when the women of the eastern Congo can walk freely again, to tend their fields, play with their children and collect firewood and water without fear. They live in a region of unrivaled natural beauty and rich resources. They are strong and resilient. They could, if given the opportunity, drive economic and social progress that would make their country both peaceful and prosperous.

Working together, we will banish sexual violence into the dark past, where it belongs, and help the Congolese people seize the opportunities of a new day.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hillary Clinton: World Humanitarian Day

Commemoration of World Humanitarian Day

Press Statement
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 19, 2009

Today, the United States is honored to join the international community in commemorating the first World Humanitarian Day. Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2008 to increase public awareness about humanitarian activities around the world, World Humanitarian Day is also an occasion to honor aid workers who labor every day on behalf of some of the world’s most vulnerable people. This day marks the sixth anniversary of the Canal Hotel bombing in Baghdad in which 22 people were killed, including Sergio Vieiro de Mello, the Secretary General’s Special Representative in Iraq.

Sadly, situations of dire need exist in every region of the world. The success of our collective response to humanitarian crises rests on the selfless commitment and dedication of professional humanitarian aid workers. Increasingly however, aid workers themselves are targets of attack – in 2008 alone a record 260 humanitarian aid workers were killed, kidnapped or seriously injured in violent attacks. We call upon all governments and parties in conflict to give their highest attention to the safety and security of humanitarian personnel. We are inspired by these workers’ personal dedication to humanitarian principles, especially in the face of grave danger. We honor their service, and we congratulate their successes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hillary Clinton With Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez

Remarks With Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez After Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
August 18, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon, and it’s a great pleasure for me to be able to welcome the foreign minister of Colombia to the State Department. I’ve had the opportunity of meeting with him before on several different occasions, but it is always an important time when we are able to discuss the many issues between us. Colombia is an important ally of the United States, and our partnership is based on mutual respect and mutual interest, and it’s a partnership that enhances the security and prosperity of both of our countries.
Today, the foreign minister and I had a very productive discussion about how we will strengthen and deepen that partnership. We discussed a wide range of common concerns. I asked that we have a chance to really explore our many different agenda items, and I thanked the foreign minister for Colombia’s leadership on both regional and global issues, including their contribution in Afghanistan, where Colombian troops will soon be helping the people of Afghanistan build a more peaceful and stable country. We’re very grateful for their service and sacrifice. We also greatly appreciate the role Colombian police are playing in Haiti and Colombia’s efforts to train security forces in the region, particularly in the Dominican Republic and Guatemala.
We discussed the ongoing situation in Honduras. The United States supports the peaceful restoration of democratic and constitutional order in Honduras, with President Zelaya’s return as president to finish his term. We continue to believe in the need for a negotiated solution and feel that President Arias’s plan was an excellent one for resolving this crisis. So once again, we call on the parties to avoid steps that increase division and polarization in Honduras and needlessly place people at risk.
The foreign minister and I also discussed the bilateral defense cooperation agreement that our governments hope to sign in the near future. This agreement ensures that appropriate protections are in place for our service members. It will allow us to continue working together to meet the challenges posed by narco-traffickers, terrorists, and other illegal armed groups in Colombia. These threats are real, and the United States is committed to supporting the Government of Colombia in its efforts to provide security for all of its citizens.
I want to be clear about what this agreement does and does not do. First, the agreement does not create U.S. bases in Colombia. It does provide the United States access to Colombian bases, but command and control, administration, and security will be Colombia’s responsibility, and any U.S. activity will have to be mutually agreed upon in advance. The United States does not have and does not seek bases inside Colombia.
Second, there will be no significant permanent increase in the U.S. military presence in Colombia. The congressionally mandated cap on the number of U.S. service members and contractors will remain and will be respected.
And third, this agreement does not pertain to other countries. This is about the bilateral cooperation between the United States and Colombia regarding security matters within Colombia.
Our hemisphere faces a number of pressing challenges, from the economic crisis to the climate crisis to public health concerns, such as H1N1 virus, to narcotics trafficking, terrorism, and organized crime. These all demand our attention and our collaboration. And so the United States and Colombia are committed to working together and to making it possible for us to deliver results for the people of our two countries.
So once again, I want to thank the foreign minister for his visit and invite him to say a few words.
FOREIGN MINISTER BERMUDEZ: (Via interpreter) I want to say good afternoon to everyone, and first of all I want to thank the Secretary of State for hosting me here today along with my delegation. I thank her, as always, for the generosity she shows when we come to visit and for the goodwill in our meetings.
The United States and Colombia enjoy a very close relationship, just as our personal relationship is a close one, and we hope and pray that this will continue in the future for the benefit of both our peoples. We have discussed a very broad, very far-reaching agenda, an agenda that includes all kinds of topics like clean energy, the fight against terrorism, the fight against narco-trafficking, technology. As you all know, Colombia has suffered greatly as a result of narco-trafficking and terrorism, two issues that unfortunately go hand in hand and to a certain degree have become synonymous. This is a very serious threat that we are all facing, and we in Colombia know this full well, unfortunately.
And also unfortunately, many times in different parts of the world, countries speak out against atrocities that are committed or they speak out against the assassination of people as a result of terrorism or narco-trafficking. Unfortunately, not all of them are willing to lend the same hand when it comes to cooperation. In the United States, we have found a partner who provides us with cooperation, who also provides us with very effective friendship and leadership in this area. It is important to be able to carry out efforts such as these everywhere. Drug trafficking is something that we will make sure is going to stop, and it is only when everyone is cooperating that we will be able to achieve this. Colombia wants this completely, and we know that the United States will help us towards this goal, because this is something that is going to be of benefit to all of us, both regionally as well as on our entire continent, and eventually for the entire globe.
Colombia does not just ask for cooperation; we also offer cooperation whenever we can. As I have said, we have suffered, and we have learned from the lessons as a result of this suffering. Therefore, we want to be able to help all those through global programs and anywhere where it is possible for us to provide our experience. We are doing this in Haiti, with Mexico, with Guatemala, with Panama. We are delighted that we will soon be signing agreements with the United States on this very topic, and we hope that we will be able to embrace such agreements regionally as well in the future.
Once Colombia is free of all these scourges that we are now suffering, everyone will benefit as a result. I thank you, Madame Secretary, for this meeting today, for your kind words, and I look forward to continuing to work on our very broad agenda.
MODERATOR: We’ll take a few questions. The first question is for Andrea Mitchell of NBC.
QUESTION: Thank you very much, Madame Secretary, on another subject, what have you learned since your husband’s return from North Korea about the state of that regime, of Kim Jong-il, his health, the succession, and the possibility that this could, while a private mission, become a circuit breaker and open the door towards renewed negotiations?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Andrea, the briefing that my husband and those who traveled with him have provided to us is extremely helpful because it gives us a window into what’s going on in North Korea. But our policy remains the same. Our policy is consistent. We continue to offer to the North Koreans the opportunity to have a dialogue within the Six-Party Talk framework with the United States that we think could offer many benefits to the people of North Korea. But the choice is up to the North Koreans. They know that we are committed to the goal of full and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
So we’re exploring with our Six-Party partners, as well as other international partners, what additional steps could be taken to begin the framework discussions once more. But it’s going to be up to the North Koreans to determine.
QUESTION: But what have we learned from that window? What window has been opened? You used the phrase “window.”

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, right. Well, that is up to us to determine whether there are some opportunities and some insights that can be used to try to create this positive atmosphere. But it’s truly up to the North Koreans.
MODERATOR: Next question, Sergio Gomez, from La Prensa.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary and also Mr. Bermudez, despite the explanations, the agreement has generated some turmoil in the region. Specifically, President Chavez insists that it’s an aggressive plan and has announced that he will purchase even more weapons from Russia, and also place around seven new bases in the Colombian border. Do you think this agreement is, like, starting an arms race in the region? Are you concerned about it?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think I very clearly described what it is and what it isn’t. I certainly hope that anyone who is speaking out about the agreement will take the time to understand that this is built on years of agreements between the United States and Colombia. Plan Colombia is a commitment that the United States made going back three administrations, if I’m not mistaken, to assist Colombia in its courageous struggle against the narco-traffickers.
And I think what the foreign minister said is really important. We all should be cooperating with one another. We should all be supporting each other in the fight against terrorists and the fight against criminal carters and drug traffickers, because they are so disruptive and damaging to the fabric of society. The assassinations, the intimidation that goes on is not just a threat to the country in which it occurs, but it’s a threat to everyone.
So I believe that any fair reading of what it is we are discussing is about our continued commitment to assist Colombia. It has nothing to do with other countries, and I only hope that people will actually take the time to understand that.
FOREIGN MINISTER BERMUDEZ: (Via interpreter) I just wanted to point out that I want to reiterate that what Colombia needs is more effective mechanisms of cooperation. And this mechanism in particular with the United States is one that we have had for a very long time already. It is building on a number of mechanisms that we have been working on, and so the principles contained therein are very clear: the principle of sovereign equality of states, the principle of non-intervention, and the principle of the territorial integrity of states. These are very important tenets, and I think it would be extremely good to have more agreements not just with the United States, but with other states in the same vein.
MODERATOR: The next question, Kim Ghattas from BBC.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, thank you very much. I have two questions, if I may briefly. The first one is about Lockerbie. I was wondering how concerned you were about the fact that the man who was convicted for killing more than 180 Americans over Lockerbie may be released, and how much pressure are you putting on the Scottish authorities to convince them to not release him?
And also briefly on Afghanistan, there’s an upsurge in violence ahead of the elections, and lots of reports of fraud and ballot-buying. And I was wondering where does that leave the legitimacy of the results of those elections? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well as to the first question, the United States has made its views known over a number of months and we continue to make the same point that we think it is inappropriate and very much against the wishes of the family members of the victims who suffered such grievous losses with the actions that led to the bombing of the airline. And we have made our views known to the Libyan Government as well.
I take this very personally because I knew a lot of the family members of those who were lost, because there was a large contingent from Syracuse University. So during the time that I had the great honor of representing New York, I knew a lot of these families. I talked with them about what a horror they experienced. And I just think it is absolutely wrong to release someone who has been imprisoned based on the evidence about his involvement in such a horrendous crime. We are still encouraging the Scottish authorities not to do so, and hope that they will not.
With respect to Afghanistan, we have made a number of statements over the last several days supporting the electoral process, speaking out against the uptick in violence. I think one way you can view the violence is an effort by the Taliban to intimidate people from actually voting, to try to create an atmosphere of violence and fear that will keep people away from the polls. And there are problems with this election, as there are with any election, but we still believe that it is the right of the people of Afghanistan to pick their own leaders. And we are encouraging them to come out and vote. And we’ve worked very hard over the last months to provide the security with the help of a lot of our ISAF partners and others who are present in Afghanistan. And we’re going to hope that the election goes well.
MODERATOR: Last question to Maria Luisa Rossel.
QUESTION: Thank you. Good afternoon, Madame Secretary, (inaudible) Bermudez.
Madame Secretary, the State Department has said in different occasions that Venezuela has not done enough to cooperate in the fight against drugs in the region. Some experts believe that that’s the reason why President Chavez has criticized so much and strongly the agreement that your countries are going to sign sooner. So I wonder if you agree with that opinion, and why other governments, like the Brazilian Government for example, has – also have some concerns about the agreement? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t want to speak for any other government. They can certainly express their own views. But I do want each person who speaks out about this agreement to understand what it is and to recognize what it is not. It is certainly a bilateral agreement with very clear recognition of territorial integrity and sovereignty and all of the other key principles that the foreign minister mentioned. So I hope that as more is learned, there is not just an awareness of the relationship that the United States and Colombia have had for many, many years and our continuing cooperation on what we view as not just a threat to the two of us, but a threat to the whole region.
But I would also ask that more countries actually help us, help us in this fight. Don’t just stand on the sidelines, and certainly don’t contribute to the problems by doing and saying things that undermine the efforts that our governments are taking to try to protect the entire region from the scourge of narco-traffickers.
So I think that people are free to say what they will, but the facts are very clear here. This is a continuation of a partnership that we believe and the Colombians believe have helped to make life better for the people of Colombia. That has nothing – there’s nothing more than that; that we want to make it possible, as it now is, for people to be free from intimidation and violence in Colombia, when not so long ago that was – you couldn’t say that. And I really applaud the Colombian Government, President Uribe’s leadership for what they have done against a really ruthless enemy.
Thank you all.
MODERATOR: Thank you.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hillary Clinton's Comments Upon Departure From Cape Verde

Comments Upon Departure From Cape Verde


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Plane Upon Departure from Cape Verde
August 14, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: (In progress) trip and I’m very grateful to everyone (inaudible) and the hats are –
QUESTION: A big hit.
QUESTION: (Inaudible.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: A little souvenir.
QUESTION: (Inaudible.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, it was cute. I liked it.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) those hats sitting there, it’s like –
SECRETARY CLINTON: They were so happy (inaudible).
QUESTION: (Inaudible.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, my gosh. We said, well, we’re going to go to talk to (inaudible).
QUESTION: (Inaudible.)
QUESTION: (Inaudible.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: (Inaudible.) I mean, he was thrilled.
QUESTION: (Inaudible.)
QUESTION: (Inaudible.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: But you know, they deserve it. They really deserved it. We gave the first three Millennium Challenge grants (inaudible) Madagascar (inaudible).
QUESTION: (Inaudible) yeah, yeah.
SECRETARY CLINTON: And it really worked the way it was supposed to work. It enhanced their capacity. But I mean, they were ready for it and they understood it and they took advantage of it. But it was a good example to use. And on every other indicator, they’re just doing it right.
QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

Hillary Clinton With Prime Minister Maria Pereira Neves of Cape Verde

Remarks With Prime Minister Maria Pereira Neves of Cape Verde


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Sal, Cape Verde
August 14, 2009



SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Mr. Prime Minister, I am absolutely delighted to be here today with you in this beautiful heart of your country. I bring greetings from President Obama, who joins me in commending you, Prime Minister, your government, and the people of Cape Verde, for making your nation a model of democracy and economic progress in Africa.

We are proud to be your partner. We have a relationship, as you said, that dates back to 1818. That's when the first U.S. consulate was established here. But we also have had a very rich relationship since your independence. And today the Prime Minister and I discussed ways in which we can strengthen that partnership, to further enhance economic growth, security, counter-narcotics operations, the promotion of democracy, human rights, and good governance in Africa.

I commended the Prime Minister on Cape Verde's economic advances, and of course, its successful implementation of the Millennium Challenge Corporation compact. Cape Verde was the first of three countries to receive an MCC compact. It has been very successful. The 5-year, $110 million compact, which began in 2005, is improving access to credit, markets, and social services, increasing agricultural productivity, expanding roads and the country's infrastructure, and helping to carry out key policy reforms for sustainable development.

I appreciated the Prime Minister describing to me how the Millennium Challenge process has helped to transform the government of Cape Verde: more accountability, more transparency, more results. And that, as I told the Prime Minister, was music to my ears.

I am also pleased that, as a result of the African Growth and Opportunity Act conference in Nairobi last week, we will work more closely with Cape Verde to fully capitalize on the possibilities of duty free exports to the United States under AGOA. We are confident that continued economic reforms will stimulate growth in tourism, commerce, transport industries, and more.

I thank the Prime Minister for the important role that Cape Verde has played on behalf of regional security in West Africa. This country hosted an ECOWAS meeting on counter-narcotics strategy last October. And we will explore more specifically how we can work together to combat narcotics and human trafficking in the Atlantic corridor.

We also support the government's efforts to transition more to a sustainable, clean energy economy. Cape Verde's current energy generation will be insufficient to meet the current needs and projected needs of the growth in the tourism industry. The government recently announced its goal to produce 25 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2011, raising that to 50 percent by 2020. This will not only be good for the environment and the economy of Cape Verde, but will be a contribution to our global efforts against climate change.

Cape Verde is also the only country in all of Africa where women make up more than half of the government's cabinet ministers. And I congratulated, as you might expect, the Prime Minister on achieving that milestone of gender equity and opportunity. I think the United States could actually learn a lot from your example, Mr. Prime Minister.

And we are pleased that our embassy is working in partnership with the government to address the challenge of domestic violence. I told the Prime Minister that, in preparation for my visit to Africa, I have a sheet of paper for each country. And for each country there were many more problems than positives. And Cape Verde, there are so many more positives, and just very few problems.

Throughout this trip I have conveyed the message that President Obama and I feel so strongly about. As he said in his historic speech in Ghana, and as I have amplified on this trip across the African continent, "America believes in Africa's promise." But we know that America does not control the future for any country. We know that, just as the President said, the future of Africa is up to Africans. So the future of this country is up to your countrymen and women.

Few places, however, demonstrate the promise of Africa better than Cape Verde. Some places have certain aspects that can be comparable. But no place has put it all together, with good governance, transparency, accountability, the rule of law, a democracy that is delivering for its people, lifting them out of poverty, putting them now in a category of middle-income countries in the world.

We are proud, Mr. Prime Minister, to be your friend and your partner. And we look forward to an even stronger and closer relationship in the years to come. Thank you for welcoming us so warmly to Cape Verde.


SPEAKER: (Speaks in Portuguese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. And I have already told your foreign minister and your prime minister that I intend to come back to Cape Verde, to see more of the country. I understand that the landscape is different on different islands, and I can't wait to tell my husband about a place that I don't think he has ever been, which is kind of a first, and to try to have the opportunity to come back in a more leisurely way. So, thank you for that kind invitation.

You know, the United States is already cooperating with the government of Cape Verde on police training, offering assistance from the FBI on specific aspects of crime-fighting technology. We are ready to expand and extend our assistance on maritime security, because we share the concern that you have stated. Cape Verde is strategically located: 300 miles from the west African coast, and the Atlantic corridor from the Americas to Africa to Europe. And the good governance and the accomplishments of this country are so remarkable and commendable, that we want to work with you to make sure that you have the security and the safety of your country that you deserve to have.

And that, of course, means a strategy against trafficking of all kinds, of drugs, of people, of guns, illegal immigration, the problems that we are worried about in the world today. So we are going to be discussing further and in more detail with your government what the needs are of your country. And we and others, obviously, stand ready to help you meet those needs.

MODERATOR: Scott Stearns, from Voice of America, please.

MR. STEARNS: Thank you. Question Niger and Bissau, please. Mamadou Tandja has won the referendum to extend his time in office. Madame Secretary, will the Obama administration consider sanctions against the Tandja government?

And, Mr. Prime Minister, as a member of ECOWAS, do you support ECOWAS following through on its threats to sanction, if the Tandja government (inaudible)?

On Bissau, Malam Bachai Sahna has now been elected president. To both of you, what can the international community and Cape Verde, ECOWAS, do to make sure that there is security sector reform in Bissau, before the military moves against President Sahna?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I will let the Prime Minister respond first, because he is intimately involved in working on those difficult problems.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Obviously, the United States is deeply concerned about developments in both Niger and Guinea-Bissau. The internal conflicts that have been going on pose a great threat to stability within those countries, and beyond their borders. The very real challenge that drug traffickers now pose, particularly in Guinea-Bissau, is one that endangers a much broader region of West Africa and beyond.

So, we are looking closely and engaging in dialogue within our own government, and with our partners, both on the African continent and beyond, as to the best steps that can be taken to try to change the behavior within the regimes and within the countries, with respect to their internal conflict, but also to provide greater support and protection against the scourge of the criminal cartels of drug traffickers.

We haven't yet decided on the exact and precise steps we're going to take, because our goals are to make changes in both countries. And that is always a challenge, as to whether you try to sanction and isolate them, and lose influence with them -- it's an issue for the countries in ECOWAS, it's obviously an issue for us -- or whether you take a very hard line against them to try to force changes, coming in from below within the government. So, we are looking at that closely. We haven't yet made a determination as to the best way forward.

MODERATOR: (Speaks in Portuguese.)

QUESTION: (Speaks in Portuguese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it is important to underscore the commitment that both President Obama and I have to elevate our relationship with Africa. As you know, very early in his term he came to Africa. He considers himself a son of Africa. He spoke out about what he hoped to see happening in African countries.

Shortly after the President's historic speech, I have made this 7-nation, 11-day trip through Africa to amplify and emphasize our commitment to a partnership with Africa, working to help individual African countries and governments and democracy on the rule of law, on development, on security. And I intend to work very hard, along with our team in the State Department and USAID, to follow through on the dialogues that we have had across the continent.

Hillary in Africa: Video Re-cap

From Dipnote a brief video review of some of Hillary's activities in Africa.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hillary Clinton's Address to Joint Session of Liberian National Legislature

Address to Joint Session of Liberian National Legislature

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Capitol Building, Monrovia, Liberia
August 13, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you for this great honor of having the chance to address the democratically elected legislature of Liberia. (Applause.) Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, President pro-tem, all of the members of this legislature in joint session, other dignitaries who are with us today, and especially the people of this country, a country that was engulfed in war just a few years ago.
I know that some of you in this chamber bore arms against each other, but the people of Liberia demanded peace, stability, and a better future. (Applause.) And (inaudible) your being here, committed to the peaceful resolution of dispute, is a great message that the people of Liberia have representatives of a unified government in a parliament and in a presidency entrusted to serve the Liberian people, to help rebuild the nation, and to realize the goals of development that will once again give every boy and girl in this country a chance to fulfill his or her God-given potential. (Applause) That 14 years of bloodshed and lawlessness could produce peace, free elections, and a democratic government is not so much a triumph of might, but a triumph of the human spirit.
And that is what I would like to talk with you about today – how to keep that spirit alive, how to build strong, democratic institutions, honest and competent leaders, engage citizens on a foundation of human dignity.
I bring greetings from President Obama. (Applause.) The President considers himself a son of Africa, and in his historic speech in Ghana, he said much about what he hoped for (inaudible) on his heart. Remember that he said that the future of Africa is up to the Africans. The future of Liberia is up to the Liberians. (Applause.)
But it is also true that there are paths toward that future which will lead in a positive direction, and there are others that will lead in a negative direction. The choices that are made every day will determine which path Liberia chooses.
When President Johnson-Sirleaf gave her inaugural address to this assembly just three-and-a-half years ago, she identified the core ideals that have guided Liberia’s democracy movement through this nation’s darkest days – peace, liberty, equality, opportunity, and justice for all. The challenge for every democratic government, whether it is three years old or 233 years old like ours, is how to translate those ideals into results in the lives of people.
Democracy has to deliver, and both President Obama and I believe that dignity is central to what is at the core of successful democracies: a voice for every citizen in the decisions that affect your life, your community, and your country; the opportunity to earn a decent wage and provide for your family and live without fear; an equal chance, no matter what your background, your gender, your faith, ethnicity, or station in life; to combine your motivation and ambition with the opportunity that every society should present to its people; and a government elected freely and fairly, accountable to the people it serves.
This vision of a democratic society is at the root of the democracy that began to flourish just those three-and-a-half years ago. It is still the vision that should guide not only presidential leadership, but parliamentary leadership as well.
Now, I have been on both sides of the street, so to speak. I have been in the White House when my husband was president. I have been in the Senate for eight years in both the majority and the minority for most of the time. (Applause.) And now I am back in the executive branch, working for President Obama. So let me tell you that sometimes it appears to be from both sides of the street. When I have been in the executive branch, I have wondered what the Congress was up to and worried about the Congress. When I was in the Congress, I wondered what the President was up to and worried about the President. (Applause.) Where you stand is often determined by where you sit.
But what I know is how important it is, especially in the beginning, to have a level of cooperation toward meeting the common goals to serve the people, and that no matter where that service finds you, to be resolved, to try to constantly ask yourself what I think is the most important question for any of us in public service: Is what I am doing today – the decision I’m making, the bill I’m writing, the vote I’m casting – likely to make life better for the last and the least among us? (Applause.)
In just three years, there are encouraging signs of progress. Your nation has adopted sound fiscal policies with the support of this legislature. That was not easy, and it is noted around the world. We encourage your legislature to continue developing your budgetary oversight role. You have begun to attack corruption and promote transparency. Liberia has made progress on debt relief, and the economy continues to grow despite the global economic crisis. (Applause.) Land tenure issues that remained persistent impediments to economic progress have resulted in the legislature taking the important step in passing the Land Commission Act. Your president is working hard to build a competent and professional security sector, and all of Liberia can take pride in the fact that this nation now has free and compulsory education for primary school children, including your girls. (Applause.)
So you have been climbing up that mountain that sometimes looks like there is no end in sight. But you still face huge challenges, and we stand ready to help you in partnership and friendship. There are forces at work trying to undermine the progress and fuel old tensions and feuds. Many Liberian people still need jobs, electricity, housing, and education. Law enforcement is still inadequate, and after years of war and lawlessness, institutions have been left crippled, unable to function properly or serve the public efficiently or effectively.
So it is, I think, important to note that given the progress you’ve made, you must hold on to that and continue up that mountain together – (applause) – because there is no guarantee that the progress remains. Change is inevitable; progress is not. We live with change every day. What each of us has to do is to master the forces and winds of change to make sure that it results in real, tangible progress for this country.
Now, there are no magic wands or I would have brought one for every one of you. There are no quick-fixes for countries making the transition from violent conflict to lasting peace and stability. But one thing I know for sure – Liberia has the talent, the resources, and the resilience to succeed if everyone works together on behalf of the common good. (Applause.) And Liberia also has the opportunity to be a model not just for Africa, but for the rest of the world.
There is an agenda ahead of us that I stand ready on behalf of our government to continue to offer our assistance to achieve. First, (inaudible) build strong, democratic institutions that work and are accountable and deliver results. If you remember President Obama’s speech, he said something which I’ve heard throughout my travels in Africa, that what Africa needs is not more strong men, but strong institutions, institutions that will stand the test of time, that will, frankly, survive good leaders and not-so-good leaders, but which are strong enough to engender the faith and confidence of the people of Liberia.
Ending corruption is necessary to growing and sustaining such institutions and restoring the public’s trust. I have been to countries that are far richer than Liberia. These democracies have been in existence far longer, but because they never tackled corruption, their future is repeating before their eyes.
I will say to you what I said in two days in Nigeria, a country that has the fifth-largest supply of petroleum and gas, so many riches, and yet the number of people living in poverty is growing. Nigeria is now further away from achieving the Millennium Development Goals than they were ten years ago. That is a travesty. That does not have to be either Nigeria’s future, and it should not be Liberia’s future.
So how do we recognize the importance of ending corruption? I think steps are being taken with the Anti-Corruption Commission. But this legislature should also decide to pass a code of conduct. It is something that – (applause) – allows you to hold not just yourselves but each other accountable. We have over the years in our Congress realized that human nature being what it is – and I’m a Methodist so I know human nature gets us into most of the trouble we get into – we have to have codes of conduct, regulatory frameworks, ethical standards that guide the pursuit of the common good.
It is also critical to have an electoral system that is credible, that will produce free and fair elections in 2011. (Applause.) The world is watching, and we take a personal interest in the elections to come in Liberia because we know that this election, where there will be a peaceful transition of power from one civilian authority to another, will set in motion the future legitimacy of elections for years to come.
The legislature can and must do its part by acting on the threshold bill so that the process can move forward. (Applause.) You’ve already taken steps in rebuilding effective institutions, and I congratulate you. Conducting a census in the last three years was a very important accomplishment, registering voters, ensuring that the three branches of government are both competent and independent, demonstrating a unity of purpose.
And I think too that as a famous former governor of the state I represented for so many years (inaudible) and I know a place that many of you know well and even lived in from time-to-time, Mario Cuomo once said, “Politics is poetry, but governing is prose.” (Laughter.) You go out and campaign as I have. It’s easy to say all kinds of things. You get into this chamber, the job becomes harder. (Applause.)
That’s why it’s important not to let politics, which is a noble and critically essential profession, overwhelm governing. As you prepare and gear up for the upcoming election, keeping in mind that hard, contested elections are part of a democracy, but then to (inaudible).
Now, I’ve been, again, on both sides. I’ve won elections, and I’ve lost elections. (Laughter.) In a democracy, there is no guarantee you’re going to win. I spent two years and a lot of money running against president Obama, and he won. And then I went to work to elect him. And then, much to my amazement, he asked me to be his Secretary of State. (Applause.) And I must say that one of the most common questions I’m asked around the world, from Indonesia to Angola, is: How could you go to work for someone you were running against? I said, because we both love our country. (Applause.) And I would argue that it is that love that every successful country has to inculcate in its people and its leaders so that the political process of a democracy doesn’t break apart the country, doesn’t create so much bad blood and ill feelings that people won’t accept the outcome of an election, or not believe that they could have lost or refuse to move forward under those circumstances. And that is what we know Liberia can do.
We also know that there must be more done to enhance security for the people of Liberia. Later, I will visit the National Police Academy, where I will announce additional and accelerated U.S. support for the police. (Applause.) As you know, our government is also training the Liberian Armed Forces, and in my meetings with the president and ministers of your government today, we talked about additional ways we could provide security, particularly maritime security, so that the coastline of Liberia, one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, one of the – (applause) – treasures of this country, will be protected.
We are committed to supporting you as you move forward on this positive, progressive agenda. W e supported you for many years, but now our support is really grounded in our confidence in your capacity, your competence to deliver. (Applause.) Since the peace accords in 2003, we have provided over $2 billion in assistance. We have supported the United Nations security effort. We are committed to helping lift Liberia by building a stronger economy that can spread opportunity and prosperity to more people.
Right now, only 15 percent of the Liberian people work in the formal sector. So job creation and raising incomes is a critical task before you. So we will work with you to strengthen the private sector, enhance trade opportunities, and rebuild infrastructure, including roads, electrification, and information technology. (Applause.) We are assisting your government with natural resources management, food security, education for children, and adults who missed the opportunity to go to school because of the war. And this country is a focus for our Malaria Initiative.
I want to congratulate Liberia for recently gaining eligibility for the African Growth and Opportunity Act. I started my trip in Africa in Nairobi at the AGOA conference, and I and the U.S. Trade Representative and our Secretary of Agriculture emphasized that we want to do more to help countries access and utilize AGOA, and we want to help Liberia to work to achieve more products that can be exported duty-free into the United States market. (Applause.)
I also applaud your efforts to qualify for the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative that will complement the progress that you have made in bringing greater transparency to the management of natural resources. This will improve the business climate, attract investment, and stimulate the creation of jobs. And I want to add that if done right, if you create the legal framework for the exploitation of your natural resources, you will see a revenue stream that will help to build the roads and the infrastructure and the jobs that you’re seeking.
There are examples of this around the world, but let me use one example from Africa: Botswana. When diamonds were discovered in Botswana, the Botswana Government, the then-president and the legislature, decided that they were not going to let outsiders or corrupt insiders exploit what was the natural right to the riches of their country of the people. So they created a legal framework, and they required that any company wishing to do business in the diamond industry had to provide significant revenue for the Government of Botswana. They then put that money into an airtight fund. And if you have ever been to Botswana, you can drive anywhere. The roads are in excellent shape. You can drink cool water anywhere, because every time you buy a diamond from DeBeers, some of that money you spend goes to pave roads in Botswana. That’s what I want to see for Liberia. (Applause.)
But before I leave this afternoon, at the airport I will present equipment to help make the airport fully operational again. (Applause.) In addition, our Transportation Security Administration through its ASSIST program is working with the Liberian Civil Aviation Authority, the airport, and the Bureau of Immigration to ensure that the airport can meet international safety standards. This will increase domestic and international flights, including those from the United States. And I look forward to that day. (Applause.)
It’s a particular honor for be to be addressing you, because I remember when President Johnson-Sirleaf addressed our joint session of Congress when I was sitting where you are sitting. (Applause.) (Inaudible.) Thank you. I love that. I want to take him with me wherever I go. Thank you. Excellent.
And I remember when the president described Liberia as a land rich with rubber, timber, diamonds, gold, iron ore, fertile fields, plentiful water, and warm and welcoming sunshine. That paints a really beautiful picture. But even more beautiful are the people of Liberia – (applause) – hardworking, resourceful, and resilient, but damaged by years of conflict.
We can’t mince words; you know that. In the briefing that I and my delegation received from the minister of agriculture, I was stunned when she said there are no livestock left. At the end of the conflict, anything that could be eaten was eaten. People (inaudible) rebuilding agriculture, rebuilding the tools that are needed for each individual to pursue his or her destiny is what this is all about. The talent and resources exist here (inaudible) overcome division, expand opportunities, and ensure that prosperity is more broadly shared across society.
Some of you have seen a film that tells the story of a Liberian woman’s efforts to end the war. Tired of the killing and the conflict, she organized women at her church and then other churches and in mosques until thousands of Liberian women had joined a vocal, public movement demanding peace. I remember meeting some of those women years ago. These were women who woke up one day and said, “Enough, enough. We’re better than that.”
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” He could have been talking not just about these Liberian women, but about everyone in this chamber who have determined to make Liberia’s story be one of hope and opportunity.
I know that the suffering of the people of Liberia has been broad and deep. But now, you each have a chance, both personally and publicly through your service here, to make a stand against the past and for a future that is worthy of the sacrifice and the suffering that went on too long. The United States is proud to support you. We are proud to be your partner and your friend, and we are proud to work with you to realize the full potential of Liberia and its people. God bless Liberia. (Applause.)

Hillary Clinton With Embassy Monrovia Personnel and Their Families

Secretary Clinton Meets With Embassy Monrovia Personnel and Their Families

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Embassy Monrovia, Monrovia, Liberia
August 13, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, and what a personal pleasure it is for me to be here. Ambassador, your leadership of this mission and, of course, your long, personal relationship with this country and your commitment to building a stronger partnership between Liberia and the United States is really exceptional, and I just thank you for your service. You have a great team here, and I know especially how dedicated this team has been not only in the last three and a half years of democracy, but in the years before.

I’m delighted to finally be here and to have a chance to say thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you for your courage, thank you for your dedication and professionalism, and thank you for your commitment to advancing the interests that the United States has in seeing a peaceful, unified, prosperous Liberia. And I just finished addressing the legislature and told them that the United States would stand with them. We expected to see the kind of progress that is important for the betterment of the people of Liberia, but we would be at the side of the Liberians as they move forward.

I also have to say that Embassy Monrovia has a reputation throughout the State Department and USAID. (Applause.) I have heard stories of the heroism and sacrifice that many of the employees here exhibited during the civil war. I know there were numerous evacuations. Those of you who have been here for a long time, particularly our locally engaged staff, had to endure separations from your children and your spouses for days and weeks because of the conflict in the streets. And of course, we will always remember the ultimate sacrifices by the more than a dozen courageous Liberians who lost their lives protecting this Embassy. And I want to extend my appreciation and my sympathy to their families and to their loved ones, if you would convey that for me.

During all those years of strife, the employees of this Embassy stayed behind to feed, house, and protect the remaining civilians while others were evacuated. These doors never closed in all that time. There are people in Washington who said, “We want to move them out, it’s too dangerous.” But I have to tell you that the poor staff here said, “We are needed here, and we must stay.” And this Embassy was instrumental in pushing the warring parties to achieve peace.

Now, fortunately, this country is no longer torn by violent conflict. But there is still so much work to be done. Peace is fragile. The stability is fragile. The democracy is fragile.

President Obama in his historic speech in Ghana made very clear that the future of Africa is up to Africans. The future of Liberia is up to Liberians. But we’re going to do everything we can to help that future turn out to be a bright one for the people here (inaudible). (Applause.)

Hillary Clinton at Liberian National Police Academy

Remarks at Liberian National Police AcademyHillary

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, and it is an absolute honor for me to be here this afternoon at this national police training academy, and to see the future of Liberia before my eyes. I want to thank the special representative of the secretary general, Representative Loej, for her outstanding work as head of the UN’s mission in Liberia. And I especially appreciated those very important remarks about the progress that has been made cannot be taken for granted; there is still much work ahead of us.
I also wish to thank the inspector general of the police. I thank you, Inspector General, for your leadership. And to all the ministers who are here, and especially to President Sirleaf – her outstanding work as the president of this country over the last three and a half years has focused very specifically on making sure that we’ve had security in Liberia.
Now President Sirleaf and the special representative and the inspector general and all of the ministers could have worked very hard through trying to create a Liberian national police force. But unless the men and women of Liberia stepped forward to serve their country, it would not have happened. You know that maintaining law and order is a critical element in sustaining peace and stability. Your fellow countrymen and women, and particularly the children of Liberia, need you. They need you not only to protect them and to provide security; they need you to help heal the wounds left by 14 years of conflict. They need you to help renew the promise of Liberia.
The challenges you face are even greater, because as you know, in the past, some elements of Liberia’s police force betrayed the public’s trust. When President Obama visited Ghana last month, he spoke about the Africans taking control of their destiny and striving for the peace and security necessary for progress. You are living examples of President Obama’s words. For too long in Liberia, the police instilled fear. Today, you must fight fear. For too long, the police undermined the rule of law. Today, you must oppose it.
I can imagine how difficult the training has been. In fact, training professional police officers is one of the hardest jobs to do in post-conflict situations. But you have been given some of the best training available. And it is important that you recognize the investment that has been made in you not only by your fellow Liberians, but by people who believe in the role you will play in securing a positive, prosperous, peaceful, progressive future.
President Sirleaf reported to us on your progress when she came to Washington earlier this year. And we talked about ways the United States could continue to strengthen the LNP. We have been proud to work with the United Nations and with the wonderful trainers and police officers who have come from around the world. Liberia has become a powerful example of how the international community can respond together when a nation is ready to move forward.
And I especially wish to salute the women who have joined this year’s training class and those who have come before. What we have found around the world is that women police officers are essential, along with their male counterparts, to provide the stability of peace and security.
U.S. police officers and advisors have had the opportunity to collaborate closely with the LNP. We have focused much of our effort on the LNP Emergency Response Unit. Our investment in the ERU, including the new headquarters that will be opening soon, is a down payment on Liberia’s future security. And I am pleased to announce today that in next year’s budget, the United States will increase its financial support for training the LNP. (Applause.)
So let me thank you. Thank you for your courage, for your service, for your commitment to continuing Liberia’s already remarkable progress. The United States is honored to work with you. President Obama and I are committed and dedicated to seeing that you succeed. We look forward to expanding our partnership in the future, and I congratulate this class for making this decision to be part of ensuring that Liberia’s future is a really positive one. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

MODERATOR: (In progress.) – to the president, the Secretary of State of (inaudible) and Her Excellency (inaudible). We’ve been informed that the Secretary of State of the United States will be accepting a few questions from the new recruits. So if I may have any volunteers to ask the Secretary of State a few questions? I have to recognize you. Now you are recognized. You may stand up and ask a question. Go ahead.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) of the National Police (inaudible) Academy (inaudible).
MODERATOR: Go ahead.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary of State and the distinguished president (inaudible), we acknowledge our president now yesterday. Ma’am, we are very grateful. We are also very grateful, Madame President of the Republic of Liberia, Her Excellency, Madame Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, to be present (inaudible) us today. Ma’am, we are very grateful.
Your Excellency, looking at the many important role your company has played and continue to play as it relates to the security of (inaudible) reform in Liberia, do you have plans to provide some international training for the (inaudible) police training academy (inaudible) as a means of (inaudible)? And what about (inaudible) your government expects as it relates to the security sector (inaudible) in our country? Thank you, ma’am.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you very much for your commitment to serve along with all of the other recruits. As the president said, we are committed to security sector reform and to building a strong, positive, disciplined, professional security sector. And we have worked very closely with your military and are very proud of the progress that has been made there, and we have worked very closely with the United Nations and other donors along with the Liberian Government on behalf of the police training.
As I said in my remarks, we will be putting more money into police training. We will also be working with the government to determine what other needs are necessary, because I agree with President Sirleaf that in the absence of peace, security and stability, all of the other dreams for Liberia cannot be realized. So the fact that the president and the government have made secure – the security sector a principal, primary focus of the efforts of this government means that we will be your partner to make sure we do all we can to provide the training and the equipment and the support, along with other friends led by the United Nations.

Hillary Clinton with Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

Clinton poses with a Liberian newspaper in Monrovia

Toast at Lunch Hosted by Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Monrovia, Liberia
August 13, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me express how honored I am to be here both as Secretary of State in the Obama Administration, and personally to be able finally to come to a country that has accomplished so much in such a short period of time against very long odds. (Applause.)

I am very impressed by the efforts that are being made by the government and people of Liberia. I’m looking forward to addressing the legislative branch later this afternoon. I have been in both branches, both the executive and the legislative, and I know that for the good of the people, there must be cooperation and a consistent effort to achieve the goals that are set for the people’s betterment. So for all – (applause). For all that you have already done, recognizing still the difficult path forward, I would like to raise a glass. I would like to toast someone whom I admire. I will admit it. It’s not diplomatic, but I happen to be a fan and a friend of your president. (Applause.) And I will raise this glass to the people of Liberia, who deserve the chance to have a future worthy of their hard work, their resourcefulness, their resilience; a future of the peace and opportunity, the development and prosperity, that should be the birthright of every single boy and girl. God bless Liberia. (Applause.)

Remarks With Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Monrovia, Liberia
August 13, 2009
Video Link

PRESIDENT JOHNSON-SIRLEAF: Once again, I’m very pleased to welcome Secretary Clinton and her delegation to express on behalf of the Liberian people our thanks and appreciation, for Liberia has been included on the list of the African countries that she has visited during this tour. We have expressed to her how grateful we are for the partnership Liberia enjoys with the United States, the deep friendship between the people of the United States and the people of Liberia. We look forward to continuing to carry out our part of the bargain to move Liberia forward, open society, democracy, accountability, transparency, developing our country through proper use of our natural resources. And we also look forward to her support and the United States support of our endeavors as we seek to achieve our national development goals.
Thank you for coming, Secretary Clinton.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. I am delighted to be here with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a leader whom I admire and someone who has provided great leadership for her country. I bring warm greetings from President Obama, both to the president and to the people of Liberia.
In our meeting, I conveyed a message to President Sirleaf that I’ve echoed at other points during this trip. The United States believes in America’s – in Africa’s promise and Africa’s future, and we particularly believe in the promise and future of Liberia. The relationship between our two countries goes back to the earliest days of your (inaudible).
Today, Liberia is a model of successful transition from conflict to post-conflict, from lawlessness to democracy, from despair to hope. For the last three years, the people of this country have been working to promote reform, reconstruction, and reconciliation. Liberia has adopted sound fiscal policy and seen strong economic growth. We just had a briefing about that, and it is impressive the way that Liberia has decreased its debt, which was run up, of course, during years of conflict, and has had a high rate of GDP growth over these last years. And the government is inclusive, especially for women, which I take great pleasure in noting.
President Sirleaf and I and her cabinet members and the members of government spoke about the work ahead. There is a very clear sense of direction that this government has demonstrated, and, of course, we have to continue to provide the support that Liberia so richly deserves.
Throughout my trip, I have underscored the reality that economic progress depends on good governance, adherence to the rule of law, sound economic policies. And the United States is proud to be contributing $17.5 million for programs to help Liberia ensure that the elections of 2011 are free and fair.
Later today, I will have the honor of addressing a joint session of the national legislature, and I will speak there about the crucial role of a legislature in providing responsible and responsive governance and championing national reconciliation. There is a lot to be done. And as a former senator myself, I know that effective legislating takes hard work, patience, and compromise, and (inaudible) is absolutely necessary. And Liberia today needs that kind of leadership from its elected representatives.
I will also visit the national police academy and speak to new police recruits, along with the president. Liberians need to know that they can rely on local authorities to protect them, and mothers should not be afraid to send their children to school, business owners should be assured that their shops will be safe, and investors confident that violence or corruption will not disrupt commerce. The local law enforcement needs the training and resources to do its job. And I am proud that the United States will be expanding its commitment to work with the Government of Liberia, the United Nations, and other partners to continue and complete the development of an effective, democratic (inaudible) police force here in Liberia.
We also are working to build new partnerships (inaudible) society and nongovernmental organizations and to encourage more trade and investment, and particularly the development of the agricultural sector. The people of Liberia have proven their strength, their resourcefulness, and their resilience. They hold their own future and the future of their country and their children in their hands. But the people of the United States are proud to stand with them and you, President Sirleaf, in working to deliver the kind of future that the people of this country deserve.
Thank you very much.
MODERATOR: (Inaudible) first question from the international press (inaudible) Jeffrey (inaudible).
QUESTION: Thank you. Madame Secretary, (inaudible).
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, let me say that this has been an absolutely wonderful trip. I am grateful to all of the countries who received me and my delegation. This was a very important trip that both President Obama and I wanted to make early in the Administration to send a very clear message that the Obama Administration is committed to developing an even stronger and closer relationship with not just the government, but especially the people of Africa. We are near the end of this trip, and it is only appropriate to be here in Liberia where our relationship goes back so many years. And at every stop, we have emphasized the importance of fulfilling what President Obama said in his historic speech in Ghana. The future of Africa is up to the Africans, just like the future of Liberia is up to Liberians.
But all of us know that given the conflicts and the challenges that have often prevented the African people from realizing their full potential, the United States stands ready to be a partner and a friend in helping to overcome the obstacles and create the environment for the kind of development that President Sirleaf is working on so hard here.
So I’ve had a great time on this trip. I opened this newspaper – I think she looks like she’s having a great time. And from my perspective, the most important part of this trip is the relationships that we have built, the commitments that we have discussed, the problems that we have honestly explored. We have not shied away from raising the difficult problems that exist and stand in the way of the people of Africa realizing their potential. And I think that will stand the test of time, and I’m very proud of the trip that we have made together.
MODERATOR: (Inaudible.)
QUESTION: (Inaudible.)
PRESIDENT JOHNSON-SIRLEAF: (Inaudible.) I’m pleased that corruption – long influenced, long covered – is now being exposed (inaudible) catapulted so that we can deal with it. We have already adopted anti-corruption strategies, we have tried to strengthen the institutional (inaudible) the anti-corruption commission. We have (inaudible) program. What we now need is to enforce and to implement all of those laws and institutional arrangements that we have put in place. (Inaudible) that our judiciary is (inaudible) fight and has taken steps to get (inaudible) that is committed to doing all it can to enforce the (inaudible).
It’s also (inaudible) benefit by increasing (inaudible), all of them has contributed to corruption. We now need for the public and the media to recognize the progress and to join us in this fight, which is not limited to government, but (inaudible) in all of the society. Together, we will win, we will slay this monster.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am very impressed by the steps that Liberia is taking to combat corruption. Corruption is a problem everywhere. It is a cancer that eats away at the strength of institutions and the confidence of people in their government and in each other. And the steps that the president has just outlined are very important, more advanced than many other countries.
And remember, this has been a democracy for three years. And I think that the people of Liberia should continue to speak out against corruption, to demand changes, not just from the government, but from themselves and their societies, because that is important as well. And so from the actions that have been taken, we’ve seen a commitment by President Sirleaf and her government and the legislature which passed the laws. Now they have to implement them. You’ve got good laws on the books. Now they have to implement them. So I think that the emphasis that the president places on implementation is exactly right.
I also believe that the steps that have been taken in this post-conflict democracy to bring the country together are absolutely essential. I am very supportive of actions that will lead to the peace, reconciliation, and unity of Liberia. And I believe that President Sirleaf has been a very effective leader on behalf of the (inaudible) Liberia, and the United States officially supports what this government is doing. That is why we have put in so much aid over the years. It’s why we’re going to continue to be a strong partner with the Government of Liberia, because we see, in a very broad perspective, the difficulties that are being overcome and the successes that are being achieved in both meeting the problems, but also in seizing the opportunities that Liberia now has.
QUESTION: (Inaudible.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Our official commitment is we support what this government is doing and what President Sirleaf is doing, and are supporting the steps that are being taken.
MODERATOR: (Inaudible.)
QUESTION: (Inaudible.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: We can hear you. We can hear you, Michel.
QUESTION: (Inaudible.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m going to let the president address this, but of course, it’s a sign of support. We indeed have looked at the entire record that President Sirleaf brings to office, her performance in office, the accomplishments of the government she leads. And we are (inaudible) and will continue to be so because we think that Liberia is on the right track, as difficult as the path might be. And we will not underestimate the difficulties.
We just had a briefing from the agriculture minister, who is over there. (Inaudible) post-conflict era inherited a devastating agricultural sector. All the livestock were gone. They have been killed, eaten in the course of the conflict, which drives people from their homes, which forces them to have to survive. Many of the plant life was (inaudible) regeneration of agricultural productivity was decimated.
I look at what President Sirleaf has (inaudible) in the past two years, and I see a very accomplished leader dedicated to the betterment of the Liberian people, who has been consistent in her leadership on behalf of solving the problems that Liberia faces, to let Liberians (inaudible) a peaceful future with prosperity and opportunity.
MODERATOR: (Inaudible) final question (inaudible).
QUESTION: (Inaudible.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, with respect to our aid, we have provided a great deal of aid, and a significant amount directly to the government (inaudible) government (inaudible) providing technical assistance and other kinds of support (inaudible) to increase the capacity of the government to serve the people.
We are working to train the police force, which is something that the Government of Liberia places a very high priority on. We are working to help train the military. We are working in just about every sector of society. And some of it is direct support and some of it is to experts who have experience in performing the jobs that Liberia needs performed.
So it’s a mix and it will continue to be a mix, but we work very closely with the Liberian Government. We take their lead on what their priorities are, and we will continue to do so. Later today, I’ll be announcing some help for the airport. We think it’s important to try to upgrade the airport so that you can get more flights in and out of Monrovia that can then enhance the economic growth of the country. We have a very large food security program that President Obama has announced, and Liberia will be a good partner state to work with. So we will be working with the government, with small and medium-sized farmers and food processors.
So there’s a variety of approaches that we try to do to find the best way to solve the problems or to deliver the results. We are constantly asking ourselves, as is the government here in Liberia: Is this the best way, and how can we do it better? And we will (inaudible) that, because our goal is to help you solve the problems and create the environment for further growth. That’s what we want to do, and to help you solidify democracy and good governance and the rule of law, and root out corruption and have a security force that will protect your people. All of that is what the Liberian Government and the Liberian people have requested. So we will continue to work on that.
And I have no other – nothing to add to your second question that I haven’t already said.
PRESIDENT JOHNSON-SIRLEAF: Secretary Clinton, let me not let that impression go unaddressed. It is not correct to say that U.S. aid has not had an impact. If you look at where we were two and a half years ago and you look at the development today under each of our four pillars in the poverty reduction strategy, you see roads being constructed, you see buildings that are (inaudible), you see farms starting to operate again. We do not enjoy direct budgetary support from the United States because that is the policy of the United States. But the NGOs and several other programs do (inaudible) with our development agenda and our (inaudible) priorities. Thank you.
PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) Thank you. Thank you very much.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hillary Clinton's Interviews in Nigeria


-08/12/09  Interview With Mo Abudu of "Moments with Mo";  Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Abuja, Nigeria
-08/12/09  Interview With Umar Said Tudun Wada of Radio Freedom Kano;  Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Abuja, Nigeria

Hillary Clinton's Meet and Greet With Embassy Abuja Personnel and Their Families

Meet and Greet With Embassy Personnel and Their Families

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Abuja, Nigeria
August 12, 2009

AMBASSADOR SANDERS: Good afternoon, team Nigeria.
EMBASSY PERSONNEL: Good afternoon.
AMBASSADOR SANDERS: It is my distinct pleasure to welcome the Secretary of State of the United States of America, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Applause.) Welcome, Madame Secretary, to the home of the American people here in Nigeria. Madame Secretary, we are 960 members strong, American direct-hire, locally engaged staff, with our three dynamic summer interns that are right there in front of us, Michael, Wesley, and Taylour. We represent eight U.S. Government agencies in Abuja and Lagos, all working to support your framework on democracy and development to advance the U.S.-Nigeria bilateral relationship.
We are far from home, but we are very close as a community, representing the values and the principles that define America wherever we are. We here all believe that Nigeria is one of the most important countries on the continent for the United States. And we as team Nigeria, as we call ourselves, have been actively working on programs aimed at advancing your goal. It takes a team, Madame Secretary, to run the U.S. mission in Nigeria, and you have a superb team here that works very hard every day to make you proud.
Therefore, Madame Secretary, I would like to invite you to the podium to personally meet and welcome the Embassy staff and their family members, team Nigeria. Can I get a big team Nigeria welcome for the Secretary? (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: It is so great to be here with all of you. And I thank the ambassador for that warm introduction of me to team Nigeria. I am delighted to see all of you. I know how hard you work and what an essential post this is. And I want to be sure to pass on my greetings and appreciation to our team in Lagos as well.
The ambassador is absolutely right. Nigeria is one of the most important countries to the United States. It is a leader in Africa and it is a country that we want to deepen and broaden our relationship with going forward. I had some very productive and constructive meetings earlier today with government officials, of course with the foreign minister, but with others as well.
We just finished a meeting at the ambassador’s residence with former presidents, a former chief justice, a former president of the senate, talking about the challenges facing Nigeria. I’ve given the same message everywhere I’ve gone, that we think the best days of Nigeria can be ahead of this country. It has so much potential, unlimited promise. But there has to be a recognition of the challenges that stand in the way to Nigeria realizing that potential and promise. And so we have offered our assistance, and through you who provide support and assistance to our mission here every single day.
The foreign minister and I agreed to set up a bi-national commission so that we could pursue our discussions in-depth on all of the areas that we should be cooperating on and the support we can give to Nigeria to build up government capacity to take on corruption, to be more transparent and accountable, to deal with security issues in the Gulf of Guinea and the Niger Delta. So it’s an exciting time for me to be here, and I am looking forward to following up on this trip.
But I wanted to just say a few words of thanks to all of you and to congratulate you for the work you’ve done with PEPFAR, helping Nigeria confront the HIV/AIDS epidemic, working on election monitoring. And we’ve emphasized with the Nigerian Government they must have an election reform and an electoral commission so that the next election really works and has credibility and legitimacy for the people of this country.
We know that this team represents a lot of interagency cooperation, which is a model. But I think ultimately, as I have said throughout my trip in Africa, echoing the words of President Obama in Ghana, the future of Africa is up to the Africans. The future of Nigeria is up to the Nigerians. I would not be here if I did not believe that future could be positive, if I did not believe that we could, working together, realize the goals of development, electricity generation, food security, road construction, education, and health care that the Nigerian people are seeking and deserve.
So we view this relationship as very, very important, and I view you as our extension of our U.S. Government. I thank all of our Foreign Service officers, our Civil Service, our agency representatives from across our government, and particularly our locally engaged staff, without whom we could not run this mission or any other.
I also know, because I have traveled extensively on behalf of our country now for about 17 years, that when a visitor like me comes, it imposes extra work on all of you. In addition to having to do everything you do every day, then you’ve got to worry about my schedule and my delegation and all of the challenges that go into making up such a visit. Well, I think it’s a very successful visit. It’s about halfway through. We have more to do this afternoon and tonight, but I am very grateful for everything that you did to make it so successful.
But there is a custom, I understand – I’ve seen it in practice – that when finally tomorrow morning you see me take off – (laughter) – heading to be somebody else’s responsibility – in this case, Liberia – that you have earned a wheels-up party. (Laughter.) And I think that that certainly is the case, because this has been early on in the Administration a real goal that the President and I share. So I thank you so much for everything you’re doing, and I want to tell you how proud I am to be your Secretary of State and to work with you on behalf of a stronger, deeper relationship between the United States and Nigeria.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)