Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hillary Clinton at UNGA: Dancing As Fast As She Can

If you looked at Mme. Secretary's schedule today, you saw that between major speaking events this morning on UNAIDS and Sahel and her address at the Security Council on Middle East Peace and Security, there were three bilaterals: one with her Turkish counterpart, Foreign Minister Davutoglu, and two with heads of state, Jordanian King Abdullah, and Tunisian President Marzouki, pictured below. 

I was able, this afternoon, to watch the webcasts of her address to the Security Council followed immediately by her remarks at the Somalia meeting.   There was zero extra time between these.  She had the leave the Security Council in order to make the next event.  Subsequently she had two more bilaterals with Burmese President Thein Sein and Palestine's Mahmoud Abbas respectively. 

Wearing two hats takes some juggling, and she has been doing that very gracefully and well.  She is covering her own scheduled events as SOS but also squeezing in these bilaterals with heads of state that normally would fall to the president who is so busy campaigning.   But it is understandable that some frustration might ensue, and evidently it did  this morning when her meeting with Davutoglu had to be cut short due to scheduling.  According to a senior State Department official, she and her Turkish counterpart did not manage, in the 25 minutes allotted, to address all the intended issues.  "They both left somewhat frustrated that they didn’t get through their full agendas...."   The official speculated that they may be able to catch up with each other at a few shared events on Friday. 

In a separate briefing directly following the first, some background was shared regarding tomorrow's Haiti Partners Ministerial where progress following last year's elections and earthquake recovery will be on the agenda.  Perhaps we will once again see both Clintons active as we did at this event on March 31, 2010.  (The official did not say we would, but we can hope.)