Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hillary Clinton: Wheels Up from Riyadh

She looks so teensy getting on her plane.



Secretary Clinton With Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal

Remarks With Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal


Remarks
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Gulf Cooperation Council Secretariat
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
March 31, 2012



FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: (In Arabic.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Your Highness. It’s wonderful to be back here in Riyadh. And I thank you for your warm hospitality, and I also wish to thank the secretary general and the GCC for the work that went into preparing this meeting and the hospitality you have provided us.
I was delighted yesterday to have the opportunity to visit with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty, King Abdullah. And I want to thank him again, publicly and personally, for his leadership and hospitality.
The partnership between our two countries goes back more than six decades, and today we are working together on a wide range of common concerns, both bilaterally and multilaterally. For example, both the United States and Saudi Arabia share an interest in ensuring that energy markets foster economic growth. And we recognize and appreciate the leadership shown by the kingdom. We are working together to promote prosperity in both our countries and globally.
In today’s inaugural session of the Strategic Cooperation Forum, I underscored the rock-solid commitment of the United States to the people and nations of the Gulf. And I thanked my colleagues for the GCC’s many positive contributions to regional and global security, particularly the GCC’s leadership in bringing about a peaceful transition within Yemen. We hope this forum will become a permanent addition to our ongoing bilateral discussions that exist between the United States and each nation that is a member of the GCC. We believe this forum offers opportunities to deepen and further our multilateral cooperation on shared challenges, including terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and piracy, as well as broader economic and strategic ties.
Among other things, it should help the American and GCC militaries pursue in concert a set of practical steps, such as improving interoperability, cooperating on maritime security, furthering ballistic missile defense for the region, and coordinating responses to crises. Let me turn to a few of the specific challenges facing the region that we discussed.
I will start with Iran, which continues to threaten its neighbors and undermine regional security, including through its support for the Assad regime’s murderous campaign in Syria, threats against the freedom of navigation in the region, and interference in Yemen. The entire world was outraged by reports that Iran was plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States and by allegations of Iranian involvement in recent terrorist attacks in India, Georgia, and Thailand.
Of course, the most pressing concern is over Iran’s nuclear activities. The international community’s dual-track approach has dramatically increased pressure on Iran through crippling sanctions and isolation, while at the same time leaving open the door if Iran can show it is serious about responding to these legitimate international concerns. It soon will be clear whether Iran’s leaders are prepared to have a serious, credible discussion about their nuclear program, whether they are ready to start building the basis of a resolution to this very serious problem. It is up to Iran’s leaders to make the right choice. We will see whether they will intend to do so starting with the P-5+1 negotiations in Istanbul, April 13th-14th. What is certain, however, is that Iran’s window to seek and obtain a peaceful resolution will not remain open forever.
Turning to Syria, tomorrow leaders from more than 60 nations will gather in Istanbul for the second meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People. We heard this week from Kofi Annan, the special representative of both the United Nations and the Arab League, that the Assad regime had accepted his initial six-point plan, which calls for the regime to immediately pull back its forces and silence its heavy weapons, respect daily humanitarian ceasefires, and stop interfering with peaceful demonstrations and international monitoring.
But the Syrian Government is staying true to form, unfortunately, making a deal and then refusing to implement it. As of today, regime forces continue to shell civilians, lay siege to neighborhoods, and even target places of worship. So today, my fellow ministers and I agreed on the need for the killing to stop immediately and urged the joint special envoy to set a timeline for next steps. We look forward to hearing his views on the way forward when he addresses the Security Council on Monday.
Meanwhile, in Istanbul, the international community will be discussing additional measures to increase pressure on the regime, provide humanitarian assistance, despite the obstacles by the regime, and look for ways to advance an inclusive, democratic, orderly transition that addresses the aspirations of the Syrian people and preserves the integrity and institutions of the Syrian state. I’ll have much more to say about this tomorrow, but I want to acknowledge the leadership of Saudi Arabia and the other members of the GCC during this crisis. They have been strong advocates for the Syrian people, and I applaud their efforts.
Finally, I want to emphasize a security concern that is one that is reflected in the great movements for change across this region. We have to continue working people-to-people. We have to continue finding ways to respond to the legitimate aspirations that civil society represents. And the United States will be reaching out to all of the member nations and the people of these nations to find ways that peacefully recognize those aspirations.
So again, let me thank the foreign minister for his hospitality and his partnership and our continuing close and important consultations. Thank you, sir.
QUESTION: Your Highness, Ms. Clinton, welcome to Riyadh. We’re expecting that --
PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible.)
QUESTION: What?
PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible.)
MODERATOR: We’ll start with Jill Dougherty of CNN. Jill.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. Thank you. I would like to ask a question of both of you about this issue of arming the Syrian opposition. Mr. Foreign Minister, the – Saudi Arabia has said that it does support this idea. We have not heard as much of it in recent days, so I wanted to ask you again: Does Saudi Arabia still support the idea of arming the opposition? And how do you guarantee that those weapons will not get into the hands of terrorists or al-Qaida?
Secretary Clinton, is there any type of flexibility in the U.S. approach to that issue of arming? And just one other question: In terms of this political solution, ultimately, should President Assad decide – if he decides to accept some type political transition, is there any possibility or would it be acceptable to the United States or to Saudi Arabia that he remain in control or power in some fashion or another, or must he completely leave the scene? Thank you.
FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: Well, I think the first part of the question was terrorism. If we believe the propaganda of Syria, there is no real war in Syria. It’s only terrorists making trouble there, and they’re fighting terrorists. Today, they announced that they had finished the uprising in Syria, and yet the cannons continue to fire and tanks continue to move. We are living in a world where truth and falsehood have become mixed. But (inaudible) tell you that what is happening in Syria is a tragedy of tremendous consequence.
So – and this is happening because the Syrians (inaudible). The Syrian Government in Syria have decided that they can resolve everything and control the demonstrations and keep everybody contained by military force. And unless the world, instead of taking decisions to (inaudible) help the Syrians themselves – we didn’t start the fight for them, (inaudible) telling them to fight. But they are fighting because they don’t see any way out. And the killing goes on. So do we let the killing go on, or do we help them at least to get – to defend themselves? Nobody is looking for harmings here.
I think the administration there is doing all it can to do that, and they don’t need any help. The people that need help are the Syrian people who are fighting for their livelihood and for their freedom. And that – yes, indeed, we support the arming of the nationalists.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jill, we had a good exchange on Syria, both in a pre-meeting with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar, and during the GCC Strategic Cooperation Forum in preparation for the meeting tomorrow in Istanbul. And, as you just heard from the foreign minister, King Abdullah has been an outspoken critic of the Assad rule by bloodshed and is committed to assisting the Syrian people. We want to see the Syrian regime fulfill the obligations that it has already made, most recently to Kofi Annan, to end the violence and implement the Annan plan and allow a democratic transition.
Our focus tomorrow will be on four points. First, to intensify the pressure we bring through sanctions. Several of the Gulf countries have been quite advanced in imposing sanctions. We want to see broader international enforced sanctions. Second, getting the humanitarian assistance to those in need. Third, we have to continue working to strengthen the opposition’s unity and democratic vision so that it can represent an alternative to the Assad regime and participate fully in a transition process. They, frankly, have a lot of trouble communicating with one another and communicating from outside Syria into Syria. So we’re all working very hard to assist them. And fourth, we want to discuss how to help the Syrian people prepare to hold those responsible who have been committing these terrible acts of violence.
How we help the Syrian opposition is something we are focused on. We are moving to consider all of our options, and we are talking seriously about providing non-lethal support. We think it’s important to coordinate with our partners in the GCC and beyond. So discussions will continue in Istanbul, and we’ll have more to say after the meeting tomorrow.
QUESTION: I’m sorry. Assad’s staying in power?
SECRETARY CLINTON: We’re going to have more to say tomorrow. But our position is he has to go, that there would be unlikely to be any kind of negotiations with him still in place. But at this point, we want to hear from the opposition, what they’re willing to do, what kinds of steps they would be supportive of.
FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: I doubt that we are going to really (inaudible).
QUESTION: (Inaudible) from (inaudible). My question will be for both of you. And once again, welcome to Riyadh.
You mentioned Iran so many times in your word, and we know the effect of it. They are supporting Syria; they’re supporting Houthis in Yemen. We know (inaudible) in Iraq, et cetera. Is that going to – or would that impact (inaudible) the missile defense system project for the Gulf – is it going to be (inaudible)? And also, you mentioned helping Yemen or supporting Yemen. How would that be? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we believe strongly that, in addition to our bilateral military cooperation between the United States and every member nation of the GCC, we can do even more to defend the Gulf through cooperation on ballistic missile defense. We began that conversation in this forum today. Admiral Fox, the commander of the Fifth Fleet, made a presentation outlining some of the challenges that we face when it comes to ballistic missile defense. But we are committed to defending the Gulf nations and we want it to be as effective as possible.
So just – without getting into a lot of technical discussion, sometimes to defend one nation effectively you might need a radar system in a neighboring nation, because of the – everything from the curvature of the earth to wind patterns, so that were a missile to be launched, you might get a better view more quickly from a neighboring nation, even though the missile could be headed toward a second nation. So we want to begin expert discussions with our friends about what we can do to enhance ballistic missile defense. There are some aspects of a ballistic missile defense system that are already available, some of which have already been deployed in the Gulf. But it’s the cooperation – it’s what they call interoperability that we now need to really roll up our sleeves and get to work on.
With respect to Yemen, the leadership of the GCC has been commendable. Saudi Arabia and its partners in the GCC laid the groundwork for the peaceful transition of power. And we now think that Yemen has a chance to unite around a different leadership. The road ahead is a long one, but I know that Saudi Arabia and other members, the United States, we are all committed to assisting. And it’s not just on the political front. We want to help the people of Yemen. They are in great need of development assistance and other forms of help so that they can begin to realize the benefits of a new government that wishes to try to help them.
FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: (Inaudible) for me? Well, you can see how the diplomacy has not moved as fast as American diplomacy. American diplomacy now can speak military lingo when we do not. We don’t understand. We’re going to request your experts. (Laughter.)
But for (inaudible), I think it’s a country that need help. It’s a country – and old country of long civilization. And it has the (inaudible) power and the ability if they can stop the fighting that happened between (inaudible) fighting that (inaudible), a fact of life in Yemen. And they have agreed to appoint a new president, with 75 percent, I believe. I may be mistaken in the number. (Inaudible), which means that most civilians support it.
This fact alone makes this incumbent on the leadership in Yemen to come up with a program (inaudible) for the Yemeni people to unite them, to bring them together, (inaudible) military, and have the people support the program of the government. If that happens, I think we are very free to talk about development projects and development of Yemen. I haven’t visited any country (inaudible) are not willing to assist in that field. And so in that case, I think the resources (inaudible) for development are there for the taking, if they can establish stability in Yemen.
MODERATOR: Next question, Brad Clapper, AP, please.
QUESTION: Yes. Madam Secretary, given the deep skepticism you and many other international leaders have about Iran’s intentions, what steps would you talk about today with your Arab allies in the event that the talks in two weeks time aren’t successful?
And secondly, if I may, you talked about the good cooperation the U.S. and the Gulf countries have, but only just recently one of the countries present here today essentially delivered a slap in the face to U.S. democracy-building efforts. What does that say about the limits of U.S. cooperation? And are you disappointed by that step?
SECRETARY CLINTON: With respect to Iran, we had an opportunity to discuss the P-5+1 negotiations – what we expect, what we are intending to present when the meetings begin. We’re going in with one objective: to resolve the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. And I had a chance to talk with our friends here about how we are approaching these talks. I also reiterated what the President has said, that our policy is one of prevention, not containment.
We are determined to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The President has made clear there is still time for diplomacy to work, provided Iran comes to the talks prepared for serious negotiations. And we enter into these talks with a sober perspective on Iran’s intentions and its behavior. It is incumbent upon Iran to demonstrate, by its actions, that it is a willing partner and to participate in these negotiations with an effort to obtain concrete results. We will know more when the discussions begin. But I want to underscore that there is not an open-ended opportunity for Iran. These discussions have to be viewed with great seriousness from their very beginning.
With regard to your second questions, we obviously had numerous discussions on every issue with our friends in the Gulf – sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree. But our overriding interests to cooperate, particularly in the security arena, the anti-terrorism arena, are ones that are paramount. And so when we have questions about decisions that are made, we raise them, we discuss them, and often times we can resolve them.
QUESTION: But do you have no direct comment about the NDI?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, you didn’t ask me a direct question. (Laughter.) You were beating around the bush, so I beat around the bush. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Fair enough.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Look, I think that we very much regret it. The foreign minister and I discussed it today. We are, as you know, anyone who’s visited the United States, strong believers in a vibrant civil society, and both NDI and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Office play a key role in supporting NGOs and civil society across the region, and I expect our discussions on this issue to continue.
QUESTION: (In Arabic.)
FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: (In Arabic.)
QUESTION: (In Arabic.)
FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: (In Arabic.)
QUESTION: (In Arabic.)
FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: (In Arabic.)
QUESTION: (In Arabic.)
FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: (In Arabic.)
QUESTION: (In Arabic.)
FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: (In Arabic.)
PARTICIPANT: Okay. We’ll have more question then.
QUESTION: (In Arabic.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: With respect to your last question, I want to just amplify Prince Saud’s remarks. We are all unified on our goal. Our goal is to see the end of the bloodshed and the end of the Assad regime, which has perpetrated this bloodshed. In order to achieve that goal, it is not enough just for a few countries to be involved. We need many more countries to work with us. And some will be able to do certain things, and others will do other things.
So when we talk about assistance, we are talking about a broad range of assistance. Not every country will do the same. The meeting tomorrow in Istanbul will be focused on what countries are able to do, and we will be exploring that further. But our goals are exactly the same, and we are committed to those goals, but we have to be united. And we also need a united opposition, which has been difficult to achieve. They’re making progress. Many countries, including my own, have been trying to help them. But until they are unified, it is hard to provide the kind of assistance that they need in order to be successful.
So we are all on the same path together, and it may not go as fast as we would like, because every day that goes by where innocent people are murdered is a terrible indictment of this regime. But we are committed and we will make progress together.
FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: (In Arabic.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Onto Istanbul. (Laughter.) I think you’ll get there before I go.

Secretary Clinton's Meeting with Staff and Families of Embassy Riyadh








Meeting With Embassy Staff and Their Families


Remarks
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ritz Carlton Hotel
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
March 31, 2012



AMBASSADOR SMITH: Secretary Clinton, this is our family, Mission Saudi Arabia. We’ve got 34 countries represented. And I will tell you that they’ve done things that, three years ago, none of us would have thought possible. Ladies and gentlemen, your Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning.
AUDIENCE: Good morning.
SECRETARY CLINTON: It is absolutely wonderful to see all of you here this morning and giving me the opportunity to say thank you. Thanks first to Ambassador Smith and to Mrs. Smith. Thanks both to Jim and Janet for their energy and enthusiasm and leadership of this really important mission. It’s exciting to find so many more ways of bringing about the kinds of connections between our countries and the people of our countries that are really at the core of this strong, enduring relationship. And I am so pleased to see families in the audience. I know that that hasn’t been the case for a long time. After years of the one-tour unaccompanied assignments, it’s really progress to see families here, and I’m thrilled that I get to take a look at the children as well as everyone else who is part of this Embassy family.
With your help, the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are working together to promote peace, prosperity, and stability in the region and around the world. We’re building new bridges of understanding and cooperation between Americans and Saudis at all levels. You, because of your work, have reduced visa wait times for over – from over three months to less than two weeks, even as the number of applications continues to grow. That makes it easier for businesses to do business with each other, to expand trade between our countries. It’s easier for students to travel. It’s easier in the promotion of the kind of mutual respect that we value highly between our two peoples. And I’m delighted that the number of Saudi students studying in the United States is at an all-time high. So thank you for all the work that you did to make that possible.
I also see the difference that you are making in the trade delegations that you arrange that are traveling to the United States, looking to invest in power companies, electronics, and other industries. And they’re also bringing new investments back to Saudi Arabia, expanding our bilateral investments now by nearly 30 percent since 2009. And I know that the Ambassador is particularly proud that he personally has led 15 trade delegations to the United States, helping the Obama Administration meet the ambitious goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015.
But probably most importantly are those relationships that you’re forming with activists, with women, with human rights campaigners, youth leaders, students, scholars, so much more. I had a wonderful meeting at the Ambassador’s Residence with some very active women who are involved in all aspects of the kingdom’s social and economic activity. Now I know between sandstorms and social norms, it may be difficult to get around from time to time, but when you do, you talk with students on a one-on-one basis, and it’s really important because that’s what lasts. It’s those personal connections, and I thank you for everything you’re doing. And I know it’s only possible through hard work and sacrifice. Many of you work long days. I know that the heat in the summer and the security challenges year-round often make this challenging, but thank you, because you are making a difference, and I’ve just highlighted a few of the ways that that is happening.
And now, let me say a special word of thanks to our locally employed staff. I want to thank each and every one of you for being part of this incredibly important relationship, working with our Embassy staff. I want to thank those of you who come from other countries to be part of this team. Many of you are away from your families and your homes, and what you’re doing is invaluable. So thank you again. I don’t get to come as often as I would like. There are a lot of countries in the world and I try to get around as much as I can, but I’m always pleased when I do, because I know that this is one of the relationships that is really going to determine the quality of life and the future potential for people not only in our two countries, but people everywhere.
Thank you all very, very much. (Applause.)

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Public Schedule for March 31, 2012



Public Schedule for March 31, 2012
Public Schedule
Washington, DC
March 31, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE PUBLIC SCHEDULE SATURDAY, MARCH 31, 2012
SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON
Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Istanbul, Turkey through April 1. The Secretary is accompanied by Assistant Secretary Feltman, Assistant Secretary Shapiro, Director Sullivan, VADM Harry B. Harris, Jr., CJCS, Puneet Talwar, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director, NSS. Please click here for more information.
9:20 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Embassy Riyadh staff and their families, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)
10:00 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
(POOLED CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)
12:30 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton attends the Gulf Cooperation Council-U.S. Strategic Cooperation Forum Ministerial, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE FOR REMARKS)
2:40 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton attends the Gulf Cooperation Council-U.S. Strategic Cooperation Forum Luncheon, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)
3:50 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a joint press availability with GCC Chairman and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Public Schedule for March 30, 2012


Public Schedule for March 30, 2012
Public Schedule
Washington, DC
March 30, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE PUBLIC SCHEDULE FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2012
SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON
Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Istanbul, Turkey through April 1. The Secretary is accompanied by Assistant Secretary Feltman, Assistant Secretary Shapiro, and Director Sullivan. Please click here for more information.
12:50 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
(POOLED CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)
2:20 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
(POOLED CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Video: Secretary Clinton to Madrid Service Innovation Summit



Video Remarks to the Embassy Madrid Service Innovation Summit


Press Statement
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 28, 2012




I am delighted to welcome you to this unique Summit, where you will be able to exchange ideas and discuss new ways for individuals, businesses, and governments to work together to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.
Service has always been a hugely rewarding part of my own life. As individuals and as members of communities, we all share a responsibility to help those in need, whether they live next door or around the globe.
Today’s challenges, both global and local, demand that each of us take on the responsibility to act. We all have something to teach and something to learn, and no one person or group has all the answers. Nowmore than ever, engaging citizens in addressing social issues can and does spark significant change. That’s why the discussions that you will be having over the next few days are so important. Issues like unemployment and economic development will not be solved by any one actor; it will take governments, corporations, NGOs, active citizens building on each other’s strengths and ideas to develop creative solutions to these problems.
I hope your discussions will inspire a number of new ideas about how we can all work together to serve our communities and our countries. We’re counting on you to pioneer the next generation of innovation in volunteerism. Thank you all for being here and for your commitment to service.

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Public Schedule for March 29, 2012


Public Schedule for March 29, 2012


Public Schedule
Washington, DC
March 29, 2012


SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Istanbul, Turkey through April 1. The Secretary is accompanied by Assistant Secretary Shapiro and Director Sullivan. Please click here for more information.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Public Schedule for March 29, 2012


Public Schedule for March 29, 2012


Public Schedule
Washington, DC
March 29, 2012


SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Istanbul, Turkey through April 1. The Secretary is accompanied by Assistant Secretary Shapiro and Director Sullivan. Please click here for more information.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pics: Secretary Clinton with Chen Zhili, Vice Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China


Sorry I could not post a pic with today's schedule,  but was in a super-hurry getting to a meeting.  To make up for it,  here are some pics from this event today. 
10:15 a.m. Secretary Clinton joins a meeting with Chen Zhili, Vice Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, at the Department of State.












Joint Press Statement on the 3rd U.S.-China Women's Leadership and Exchange Dialogue (Women-LEAD)


Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 29, 2012


On March 28, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer welcomed a delegation of Chinese women leaders from across sectors to the U.S. Department of State for the Third U.S.-China Women’s Leadership and Exchange Dialogue (Women-LEAD). Madame Chen Zhili, Vice Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of the People’s Republic of China and President of the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF), led the delegation to the United States.
The third U.S.-China Women-LEAD dialogue focused on the topic of “Women and Employment.” The U.S. delegation consisted of government officials, academics, and other members of civil society. The two sides discussed best practices and effective policies to promote the economic, legal, and social advancement of women in the workforce in their respective countries. Both sides agreed to further strengthen exchanges and cooperation between the two countries’ academic and research institutions, women's rights organizations, and business communities. Secretary Clinton and Madame Chen also discussed possible collaboration to promote the use of clean cookstoves in rural homes and address the health and environmental challenges posed by indoor air pollution to women and their families.
Both sides welcomed progress made by the U.S.-China Women-LEAD initiative. Since its launch in April 2011 by Secretary Clinton and Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong, Women-LEAD has increased exchanges between senior women leaders from the U.S and China and strengthened good-will between the two countries. The first dialogue took place in Washington in April 2011. The second dialogue, focused on “Work and Family,” was held in Beijing in November 2011. The next dialogue will be held in Beijing in May 2012.

Secretary Clinton's Virginia Visit: The Official Details


Secretary Clinton to visit the Virginia Military Institute, the NATO headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, and deliver remarks at the World Affairs Council on April 3


Notice to the Press
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 28, 2012


On April 3, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will visit the Virginia Military Institute, the NATO headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, and deliver remarks at the World Affairs Council at the Sheraton Waterside Hotel in Norfolk.
At approximately noon, Secretary Clinton will receive the Distinguished Diplomat Award from the Virginia Military Institute. Established in 1996 by the board of advisers for VMI’s Department of International Studies and Political Science, the Distinguished Diplomat Award is given in recognition of outstanding achievement in advancing U.S. interests abroad through diplomacy.
“Secretary Clinton’s work throughout her public life representing the United States in numerous venues and on issues of national and international importance makes this award highly appropriate,” said Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III, superintendent of the military college.
Secretary Clinton will also visit members of the only NATO command in North America and the only permanent NATO headquarters outside of Europe. Upon arriving at Allied Command Transformation (ACT) in Norfolk, Virginia, Secretary Clinton will receive a briefing on NATO activities. Following the briefing, Secretary Clinton will attend a meet and greet with ACT community members.
In the evening, Secretary Clinton will serve as a guest speaker at the World Affairs Council NATO Fest 2012 Banquet at The Norfolk Sheraton Waterside Hotel. The NATO Festival is one of the World Affairs Council’s most successful programs. The program honors the NATO nations and focuses on different aspects of issues the transatlantic alliance faces.
Tuesday, April 3
Approximately 12:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton receives the Distinguished Diplomat Award from Virginia Military Institute, at VMI’s Cameron Hall, in Lexington, Virginia.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)
6:10 p.m. Secretary Clinton delivers remarks to the World Affairs Council 2012 NATO Fest, at the Sheraton Waterside Hotel, in Norfolk, Virginia.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Public Schedule for March 28, 2012


Public Schedule for March 28, 2012


Public Schedule
Washington, DC
March 28, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
PUBLIC SCHEDULE
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28, 2012

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

10:15 a.m.
Secretary Clinton joins a meeting with Chen Zhili, Vice Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, at the Department of State.
(POOLED CAMERA SPRAY)

1:45 p.m.
Secretary Clinton participates in the promotion ceremony for Lieutenant Paul Matier, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

2:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with Jakob Kellenberger, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

2:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with Counselor Mills and Administrator Shah, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Secretary Clinton with Estonian FM Urmas Paet


Remarks With Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet After Their Meeting


Remarks
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
March 27, 2012



SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to the State Department and a very warm welcome to my friend and colleague, the foreign minister of Estonia. We have been able to work closely together during my tenure, and I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Tallinn several times. And I’m delighted to have you here so that we can continue the conversation that we started several years ago. And we have just finished a very comprehensive discussion.
Over the last 20 years, Estonia has grown from a newly independent democracy to an important and respected voice in the international community, and the friendship between our two countries has only grown stronger. We look to Estonia as an important ally, a leader in promoting stability across the Euro-Atlantic area, a partner we can count on from the battle space in Afghanistan to cyber space. We share a wide range of concerns that we stay in close touch with each other about.
First, we discussed our shared effort to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. This has been an important partnership. In addition to providing military personnel, Estonia has given critical support for civilian, humanitarian, and democratic programs, and we will continue to work closely with Estonia as we move toward the Chicago summit. We are both committed to a smooth security, economic, and development transition. So Chicago will be the next stop in this ongoing effort. Despite these challenging economic times, it’s more important than ever that NATO allies and partners come to Chicago with concrete commitments to support Afghan security forces beyond 2014.
Just as Estonia has been a strong NATO ally in Afghanistan, the United States takes our responsibilities to NATO very seriously, particularly our Article 5 obligation for collective defense. That’s why we strongly support the extension of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission on a continuing basis with periodic reviews. A mission such as this underscores the importance of what Secretary General Rasmussen calls smart defense, sharing resources to maximize each partner’s contributions.
I also expressed our support to Urmas about Estonia’s work in helping countries build effective, free market, and democratic institutions. Estonia has maintained a strong assistance and development program in Eastern partnership countries, particularly Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova. And in addition, Estonia is increasingly active in the world of e-government, electronic government. From Eastern Europe to Africa to Haiti, governments look to Estonia for guidance on how technology can make them more efficient and effective.
And on that note, I am pleased to announce that the United States and Estonia have agreed to co-chair a new initiative in the Community of Democracies that will use technology to help strengthen democratic institutions. This program that we call LEND, L-E-N-D, the Network for Leaders Engaged in New Democracies, is an online platform that will connect leaders from emerging democracies with former presidents, prime ministers, and others who have helped lead democratic transitions in their own countries. We are particularly focused on working together in Tunisia. When the network is activated later this year, it will help accelerate the exchange of ideas among leaders who have the experience to share, and we’re very excited to be co-chairing this initiative with Estonia.
So again, Foreign Minister, thank you for the great work that you do on behalf of your country, and thanks to Estonia for the great partnership we have.
Foreign minister Paet: Well, thank you very much for the very positive and nice comments. And I also would like to start with thanking – thanking you personally, Hillary, and the United States for friendship and support and cooperation we have done between U.S. and Estonia. And of course, we will continue.
Also for us, when we speak about upcoming NATO summit, it is absolutely important to get clear decisions how to move forward with Afghanistan. Estonia’s clear position here is that what concerns military commitment then, of course we, together with our allies, and also going to make next possible steps together with our allies, and what concerns development, humanitarian cooperation, then we’re also ready to continue our activities and our support after 2014 together with our partners and allies in Afghanistan.
It’s also important to get strong, positive message to countries which want to get NATO membership in foreseeable future, countries like Georgia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. And of course, once more, to stress the strong security of transatlantic relations, but also strong security of Europe, including Article 5, it is also from our point of view absolutely important as one of the outcomes of Chicago summit.
We’re also very grateful for United States for their support to air police mission in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and also thank you for practical participation with your people and aircrafts. It’s also clear that step-by-step we should and we are ready to increase the host nation support and to make also for our partners it more convenient and positive to have concrete rotation periods in air policing in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania.
Cyber defense for us also important area where we see good chances to develop cooperation with the United States, but also with other NATO countries. In Estonia we have center for cyber defense accredited by NATO, and here we also see that this center can be – or can give more added value also to NATO cyber security issues and developments already in foreseeable future.
We are glad that also bilateral cooperation, what concerns development cooperation, for example, in Belarus. It works, and we’re looking forward to continue with bilateral development cooperation work in Tunisia, for example, and also I’m glad that U.S. participates in our center for eastern partnership in Estonia, supporting and sharing our experience to civil servants from Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, but also many other countries.
And with pleasure we join U.S. in organization called Leaders Engaged in New Democracies, or LEND. We see that there are many countries, including us, which are able and ready to share our experience to countries which want to change and which also want to share the values we are sharing.
So to sum up once more, thank you for friendship and cooperation and always glad to be also here in Washington and in the States. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much.
MS. NULAND: We’ll take three questions today. We’ll start with CNN, Elise Labott.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary. On Syria, what hopes do you have that President Assad will make good on his commitments to implement the Kofi Annan plan? And looking ahead towards Istanbul on Sunday, what do you expect to come out of this conference? And in particular, what are you looking for for the opposition to strengthen their message of how they see a post-Assad Syria? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Elise. As you just referenced, the Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan and the Syrian National Council both said this morning that it is an important initial step that the Assad regime has written the United Nations to accept the Annan plan. Let me just pause here to say, however, that given Assad’s history of over-promising and under-delivering, that commitment must now be matched by immediate actions. We will judge Assad’s sincerity and seriousness by what he does, not by what he says. If he is ready to bring this dark chapter in Syria’s history to a close, he can prove it by immediately ordering regime forces to stop firing and begin withdrawing from populated areas. He can also allow international aid workers unfettered access to those in need, and he can release political prisoners, permit peaceful political activity, allow the international news media unobstructed access, and begin a legitimate political process that leads to a democratic transition.
Now, as the regime takes steps, which we have yet to see, but assuming it does so, then Kofi Annan has pledged to work with the opposition to take steps of its own so that the bloodshed ends, that there won’t be violence coming from opposition forces, that humanitarian aid will be permitted to come into areas where the opposition has been holding, that the true political dialogue will begin, and that all Syrians will be welcomed to participate in an inclusive process. Now that’s a lot to look forward to seeing implemented, but given the response that we have had, we are going to be working very urgently between now and Istanbul to translate into concrete steps what we expect to see. And I’m hoping that by the time I get to Istanbul on Sunday we will be in a position to acknowledge steps that the Assad regime and the opposition have both taken. We’re certainly urging that those occur.
Specifically with respect to the opposition, they must come forward with a unified position, a vision if you will, of the kind of Syria that they are working to build. They must be able to clearly demonstrate a commitment to including all Syrians and protecting the rights of all Syrians. And we are going to be pushing them very hard to present such a vision at Istanbul. So we have a lot of work to do between now and Sunday.
MS. NULAND: Next question, Neeme Raud, Estonian Public Broadcasting.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thank you very much. My question is about our big neighbor, Russia. Today in the news, we hear news about conversation Mr. President had with Russian President Medvedev. Russia has accused you last year, Mr. Putin personally, intruding into their internal affairs. U.S. Ambassador McFaul was not received very warmly in Russia. At UN, when the talk is about Syria, there is a talk about new Cold War even with Russia. What is the U.S.-Russian relationship at this moment of transition in Russia? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that we believe that it is a complex relationship. We’ve seen some positive, concrete accomplishments coming from the so-called reset. We are also engaged in a substantive bilateral dialogue that is quite comprehensive with many levels of the Russian Government and society. So we are committed to engagement with Russia.
Regarding the President’s comments in Seoul, he spoke to those himself and made clear that the issues we are dealing with concerning Russia are difficult and complex ones. Technical discussions have been ongoing with Russia over missile defense. That’s not a surprise to anyone. We have been consistent, both bilaterally and through NATO, in our invitation to the Russians to participate with us in missile defense. But this is going to take time. And whether or not there can be a breakthrough sometime in the future is yet to be determined, but we certainly look at this as a long-term engagement.
When we negotiated the New START Treaty, we were engaging at the same time in consultations with Congress, of course with all elements of the United States Government, including the Defense Department, with our allies in NATO and elsewhere, because you can’t do something as serious as New START or missile defense without full buy-in from our government, bipartisan support in the Congress, and understanding and acceptance by our allies, particularly in NATO. So we will continue this effort. We may be somewhat surprising in our persistence and our perseverance in our engagement with Russia. It will continue with President-elect Putin, as it has with President Medvedev.
But let me hasten to say in the meantime we continue with the deployment of the Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense that was agreed to at the Lisbon summit. We expect to announce further progress at the Chicago summit. And as the President made clear to President Medvedev in Seoul, we do not see this missile defense system as a threat to Russia; we do not see it as undermining Russia’s nuclear deterrent. The interceptors are for defensive uses only. They have no offense capability. They carry no explosive warheads, but they are part of our Article 5 collective defense obligation. That is a clear, unmistakable message that we have sent to our allies and that we continue to reiterate.
So yes, we want to cooperate with Russia on missile defense. We think it is in everyone’s interest to do so. But we will continue the work we are doing with NATO and we will be looking to complete that process in the years ahead.
MS. NULAND: Last question, Andy Quinn, Reuters.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, if I could turn to Sudan, please. You’ve seen the statement out of the White House today urging restraint, but I was hoping I could get your analysis of what’s really going on there, and specifically how dangerous you feel it is. Are we on the brink of a new civil war? And what is the United States doing now to prevent a possible humanitarian catastrophe in Southern Kordofan? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Andy, this is deeply distressing to us, because it was certainly our hope and expectation that with the independence of South Sudan, the newest nation in the world, there would be the opportunity to continue fulfilling the requirements of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that included resolving border disputes, allocations of oil revenues and other contested matters between Sudan and South Sudan.
As you know, there has been almost continuing low-level violence in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, and it is our goal to end the violence and to convince the parties to return to the negotiating table. We believed we were making progress on two contested matters. In fact, there was a summit between President Bashir and President Kiir scheduled for next week to finalize understandings on borders and national citizenship. We want to see that summit held. And we want to see both sides work together to end the violence. We think that the weight of responsibility rests with Khartoum, because the use of heavy weaponry, bombing runs by planes and the like are certainly evidence of disproportionate force on the part of the government in Khartoum.
At the same time, we want to see South Sudan and their allies or their partners across into Sudan similarly participate in ending the violence and working to resolve the outstanding issues. It is becoming a very serious humanitarian crisis. We have been reaching out to the government in Khartoum through international aid organizations. We stand ready on behalf of the United States to provide assistance to people fleeing the violence. It is compounded by the fact that the violence is making it possible for people to get into their fields, and there’s already adverse conditions because of drought that are compounded by the unfortunate violence.
So the bottom line is that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that the United States, Norway, and the United Kingdom helped to broker in 2005 ended a conflict that had cost more than 5 million lives. We have seen the ongoing violence and displacement in Darfur, and now we are looking at an upsurge in violence in two other parts of Sudan. So it is incumbent upon the leaders of both countries to resume negotiations, and the United States stands ready to assist in working out the contested issues.
The final thing I would say – because I’ve been following this closely and it’s been a painful problem to see the deterioration into conflict again – there is a win-win outcome here. South Sudan has oil. Sudan has the infrastructure and the transportation networks to get the oil to market. Because of the feeling on the part of the South Sudan Government that they were being treated unfairly by Sudan, they shut down their oil wells and the pipelines. So the economic condition in both countries is deteriorating. So I would call upon the leaders to look for a way to resolve these very hard feelings. You don’t make peace with your friends. There are decades of grievances that have to be overcome in order to work through these very challenging issues. But it is incumbent upon the leaders of both countries to attempt to do so.
Thank you.
MS. NULAND: Thank you very much.
FOREIGN MINISTER PAET: Thank you very much. Welcome to Estonia.








Video: Secretary Clinton's Remarks to Young Entrepreneurs Pakistan



Video Remarks to the Young Entrepreneurs Conference


Press Statement
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Islamabad, Pakistan
March 27, 2012




It is an honor to help bring so many talented young people together in one place to talk about how entrepreneurship can promote economic growth, peace, and prosperity in Pakistan.
The next great innovator could be sitting right next to you, or you yourself in this room where you are gathered. Because after all, today’s well-known entrepreneurs, like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Tara Dawood, all started out as you are now – a person with a dream that could change the world and then harnessed it to the drive to see it succeed.
The United States is working to promote entrepreneurship around the world through initiatives like our Global Entrepreneurship Program and by working with organizations like the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry. We are also working to help to connect Pakistani entrepreneurs with members of the Pakistani-American Diaspora who are eager to support new business ideas in Pakistan. We want to nurture a culture of creativity and promote conditions where entrepreneurs can thrive and ideas can flourish, because we believe everyone deserves a chance to create a positive future for themselves and their country.
Each of you has that chance to help shape the future of your country through your ideas and your ambition. The people of Pakistan have always had an inspired entrepreneurial spirit, and I hope this event will spark an ongoing dialogue that opens up new opportunities for all of you. Thank you. Thank you for dreaming, thank you for doing, thank you for participating in this important conference. I wish you not only a very productive day, but many days, months and years ahead. Good luck.

Secretary Clinton's Travel ... to Virginia!


As readers know, this blog tends to eschew travel information not directly released and confirmed by the State Department,  but these reports appear legitimate enough.

Hillary Clinton to speak at VMI, receive award

By: Tim Ciesco | WSLS
Published: March 27, 2012
LEXINGTON, Va. --
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will receive a special award from Virginia Military Institute when she visits the school next week.
She will be receiving VMI's Distinguished Diplomat Award, which the school says is given in "recognition of outstanding achievement in advancing U.S. interests abroad through diplomacy."
Read more >>>>
Same day.

Secretary of State to visit Norfolk

Sec. Clinton will visit April 3

Updated: Tuesday, 27 Mar 2012, 9:33 AM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 27 Mar 2012, 9:33 AM EDT
NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Norfolk on April 3 to serve as guest speaker at the World Affairs Council NATO Fest 2012 Banquet.
Lori Crouch with the City of Norfolk said the NATO Festival is one of the World Affair’s Council’s most successful programs and honors NATO nations. Additionally, the program focuses on aspects of issues the alliance faces.
Read more >>>>

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Public Schedule for March 27, 2012



Public Schedule for March 27, 2012


Public Schedule
Washington, DC
March 27, 2012


SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

7:45 a.m. Secretary Clinton meets with Vice President Biden, at the Vice President’s residence.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

9:15 a.m.
Secretary Clinton meets with the assistant secretaries, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

2:00 p.m.
Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, at the Department of State.
(JOINT PRESS AVAILABILITY FOLLOWING BILATERAL MEETING AT APPROXIMATELY 2:35 p.m.)

4:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with Luis Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)