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Archive for April 12th, 2012

Khmer New Year

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 12, 2012

 


On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of the Kingdom of Cambodia as you celebrate the Khmer New Year.

For years, the United States and Cambodia have worked together to create a brighter future for both our people by increasing trade, strengthening civil society, and improving health. Today, we are finding new ways to broaden our relationship and address challenges – from promoting regional security and democracy to expanding global health and development.

As you gather with family, friends and neighbors to honor Cambodia’s rich traditions and culture, know that the United States stands with you as a partner and friend. Congratulations and best wishes for a peaceful, prosperous, and happy New Year.

Bengali New Year – Poila Boishakh Message

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 12, 2012

 


On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to Bengali communities worldwide as you celebrate the Bengali New Year.

This is a time for Bengalis to honor their rich cultural traditions, from song and dance, food and film to internationally renowned literature and poetry. Americans have been influenced by the strong traditions of Bengal, spread through a dynamic diaspora community, that have shaped our culture for years. Bengalis of all faiths and nationalities are coming together to bridge national and religious divisions in honor of a shared history and promising future.

As you celebrate this New Year, know that the United States is a partner and friend. Best wishes for a year of peace, prosperity, health and happiness. Shubho Nobo Borsho!

Sinhala and Tamil New Year’s Greeting

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 12, 2012

 


On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to Sri Lankans around the world as you celebrate Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

This celebration brings people together to renew bonds of friendship and family. It also gives Sri Lankans of all backgrounds, living inside and outside the country, an opportunity to help build a prosperous, democratic nation defined by tolerance and respect for human rights. As a partner and friend of Sri Lanka for more than 150 years, the United States looks forward to supporting your efforts to foster national reconciliation and development, and to build even stronger ties between our people.

Congratulations and best wishes for a safe and happy holiday and a prosperous New Year.

 

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Secretary Clinton To Travel to Colombia, Brazil, and Belgium

Press Statement

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
April 11, 2012

 


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Colombia, Brazil, and Belgium from April 13 to April 19. Secretary Clinton will accompany President Obama for the Sixth Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia from April 13-15. There, the U.S. delegation will meet with democratically-elected heads of state and government from throughout the Hemisphere to strengthen ties, expand partnerships, and continue progress in economic growth, social inclusion, and citizen security.

The Secretary will then travel to Brasilia, Brazil April 16-17. On April 16, she will lead the U.S. delegation for the third U.S.-Brazil Global Partnership Dialogue. This Dialogue builds upon the agreements the United States and Brazil reached during President Obama’s visit to Brazil in 2011 and President Rousseff’s visit to the United States on April 9-10, 2012. Issues discussed in the Global Partnership Dialogue range from development and education cooperation to global political and economic issues. The Dialogue provides a forum to transform our agreements into concrete action. The Secretary will also meet with government officials and representative of the private sector.

On April 17, the Secretary will provide opening remarks with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff at the First Annual High-Level Meeting of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). Launched eight months ago by Presidents Obama and Rousseff, OGP will formally welcome 42 new countries into the Partnership as they announce concrete commitments to prevent corruption, promote transparency, and harness new technologies to empower citizens.

Secretary Clinton will visit Brussels, Belgium April 18-19 to participate in a joint meeting of NATO foreign and defense ministers and to hold a bilateral meeting with Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders. At NATO, the Secretary and her foreign and defense minister counterparts will discuss preparations for the upcoming NATO Summit, which the President will host in Chicago May 20-21, 2012. At the joint ministerial meeting, ministers will review the status of NATO’s transition strategy for Afghanistan, new capabilities for the Alliance and NATO’s global partnerships. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta will participate on April 18. On April 19, NATO foreign ministers will meet with their non-NATO partners in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The Secretary will also participate in a foreign ministers’ meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on April 19.

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Lao New Year

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 12, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Laos as you celebrate your New Year.

As we commemorate the 57th anniversary of our bilateral relationship, we reflect on our history of partnership and cooperation. Today, we are building on this foundation of mutual understanding and respect by increasing trade, strengthening law enforcement, improving health, and solving regional issues that are important to the people of Laos and the United States.

As you celebrate this special day and honor Lao culture, heritage, and the rich traditions of the Lao New Year, know that the United States stands with you. Best wishes for a safe and happy New Year.

Nepali New Year (Bikram Sambat) Message

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 12, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Nepal as you celebrate the New Year.

As Nepalis around the world reflect on the achievements of the past year and look ahead to new possibilities and opportunities, know that the United States stands with you as a steadfast friend and partner. We look forward to working with Nepal to continue to strengthen the foundations of peace and prosperity in the years to come.

Enjoy a safe and happy holiday. Naya Barshako Shubha-Kamana!

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Remarks at the White House Conference on Connecting the Americas

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
Washington, DC
April 12, 2012

Thank you all, thank you. I am delighted to have a chance to address you today. I know you’ve had a busy and active set of encounters and discussions. But it is a special treat for me to be here. I thank you, John, for that introduction, because you and many in this audience have held fast to a vision of partnership in the Americas even when some people may have had a hard time seeing it or understanding it, because it is so important that we keep our eyes on the horizon about what is possible and continue to work toward achieving it.

It was that potential which inspired 18 years ago the very first Summit of the Americas. I remember it very well when my husband announced in this building – somewhere but not in this brand new conference center – that the United States would host the first-ever gathering of democratically elected leaders from throughout the Western Hemisphere. He talked then about our “unique opportunity to build a community of free nations, diverse in culture and history, but bound together by a commitment to responsive and free government, vibrant civil societies, open economies, and rising living standards for all of our people.”

Well, that opportunity that was spoken about 18 years ago has really been born into reality. The people and the societies of the Americas have done so much to realize it. And that may be exemplified by the place where President Obama and I will head tomorrow for the sixth Summit of the Americas. I think that if we look back on the work we have done through the last years to support Colombia, it’s quite remarkable where Colombia stands today.

Now, first and foremost, of course, the credit goes to the heroic effort of Colombia’s people and government, but it’s had steadfast U.S. support. And so leaders from the entire hemisphere will gather in Cartagena with an agenda focused not on how we overcome a threat, but how we seize a unique opportunity.

As much as our hemisphere has changed, it is not alone in that experience. The world has changed so much, and we have to do a very honest assessment about where the United States stands in our efforts to realize the potential of these partnerships.

Before President Obama traveled to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador last year, I did address the issue of what I called “the power of proximity” because the Americas drive our prosperity. They buy more than 40 percent of our exports – three times as much as China. They provide more than half our imported energy. They are home to a growing number of global players with a central role in building new architectures of cooperation that defend our interests and our values. Their record of democratic development has global resonance at a time when democratic models and partners are needed more than ever. And our historic and deepening interdependence gives the Americas a singular importance to our people, our culture, and our society.

So harnessing that power of proximity is one of the most strategically significant tasks facing our foreign policy in the years ahead. I think the same can be true for our neighbors, because the power of proximity runs in both directions, and we together must harness it. We must turn the Americans, already a community of shared history, geography, culture, and values, into something greater – a shared platform for global success.

That has been the principle behind the Obama Administration’s focus on building equal partnerships, and it will be the message that the President takes to the Summit. We will look to translate our strategic vision into concrete steps. As our Colombian hosts have shown, those steps must be all about building connections among our governments, our businesses, our markets, our educational institutions, our societies and citizens.

Now, when we think about connecting the Americas, we start with our shared agenda for competitiveness and innovation. After all, this hemisphere is home not just to the United States’ biggest trading partners, but also to the dynamic emerging economies. Brazil and Mexico are projected to become top-five global economies in coming decades. Countries like Colombia, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Panama have found recipes for strong growth. That has major implications for jobs right here. U.S. exports in this hemisphere were up 24 percent last year. President Obama set a goal of doubling exports in five years and we are well on the way to doing that. But what it means for Latin America and the new middle class is that half of all households are now in the middle class. That number could grow to three-quarters within 20 years.

Our free trade agreements and economic diplomacy capitalize on this two-way market. Thanks to the FTAs we ratified last year with Colombia and Panama, as John said, our trade partnerships run uninterrupted from the Arctic to Patagonia. We have signed a slew of agreements on economic cooperation and investment with Brazil and others. The Trans-Pacific Partnership that we are negotiating includes Chile and Peru. It’s also received strong interest from Canada and Mexico.

What’s notable is not just the scale, but the makeup of hemispheric trade. It consists of value-added products that create jobs and drive innovation. Production and design span borders, like the LearJet, which a Canadian company builds in the United States with Mexican-manufactured parts. This is high-quality trade, and high-quality trade means competitiveness for all of our companies.

Now, that’s good, but it’s not good enough. For when we compare ourselves to the most dynamic global regions, we still have a ways to go. The Inter-American Development Bank estimates that hemispheric trade is only half of what it could and should be. There are still too many barriers, whether uncoordinated regulations or inadequate infrastructure, that limit our potential. And in the face of rising competition, especially from Asia, we have to up our game.

That should begin with building new, more productive ties among entrepreneurs, companies, and markets. In Cartagena, we’re joining with business leaders to create a sustained private sector effort that will coordinate with and complement the work of governments. We’re intensifying our focus on small- and medium-sized enterprises, especially those started and run by women. They account, after all, for 90 percent of Latin American businesses and two-thirds of Latin American jobs, yet they have little access to the tools, financing, and partnerships that could help them thrive. In the United States just 1 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises access global markets. So by building links among these businesses, we can turn them into engines of job growth and prosperity.

We also have to do better when it comes to the technology that makes connectivity possible. This hemisphere’s young people have embraced technology and new media in huge numbers. But their ambitions have not been matched by the infrastructure and access that can drive real progress. Broadband costs more than three times more in Latin America than the OECD average. That’s a serious drag on development. So we’re going to try to leverage technology to enhance opportunity.

And as you look at innovation, we need to consider it in the long-term, and that means the hemisphere has to do more to provide better financing, deeper ties between scientists and institutions. We require more private initiatives like the announcements from Boeing and GE that they will establish research and technology centers in Brazil. We have to empower all of our citizens to take advantage of the new economy.

That brings me to the second area where we need to connect more: education. America’s record in education is really commendable, but our record in exchanges in education throughout the hemisphere leaves a lot to be desired. We need to leverage the skills of young people. Building those connections will be key to that. When President Rousseff met with President Obama earlier this week, they advanced our joint commitment to educational exchanges under our 100,000 Strong in the Americas and Brazil’s Science Without Borders. These are initiatives that will send thousands of students to train in universities in one another’s countries throughout the hemisphere. Now businesses have to do their part because they have to help us develop the skilled workforce that we seek and we will try to build those private sector partnerships in Cartagena.

We’ll also build connections in a third area: energy. Now, massive oil finds are being developed in Brazil while countries like Colombia and Canada are expanding production. And new methods have unlocked natural gas everywhere from the United States to Argentina. Smaller countries like Trinidad and Tobago are gas refiners and providers. And the progress is as striking in green energy, whether it’s Mexican advances in energy efficiency, Chilean innovations in geothermal, or the work on bio-fuels we’re doing with Brazil.

We’ve made energy a priority of our foreign policy and in February I signed a historic trans-boundary oil agreement with Mexico. We started high-level energy dialogues with producers. And just this week, President Obama and President Rousseff agreed to collaborate on deep water oil and gas operations. Under the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, launched by President Obama at the Summit of the Americas in 2009, we have leveraged already more than $150 million in government investment to support more than 40 initiatives.

There’s no doubt the Western Hemisphere is capable of producing cleaner, cheaper, more reliable energy to support growth here and globally, but in order to do that, we have to build a truly hemispheric network of our energy sectors. Connected markets would bring economies of scale, stable supplies, efficiency, and more use of renewables. That work we will also launch in Cartagena. And we will do what we can to help create a future of sustainable, affordable energy for all in the Americas.

Now progress within the hemisphere gives the Americas a new global profile. When I talk with foreign ministers – I’ve just finished the G8 ministers meeting here in Washington – whether I’m talking climate change or global growth and trade or nonproliferation, U.S.-Latin America relationships really matter to these global issues.

Peru and Chile have become key partners in the Pacific. Colombia is leading on citizen security globally and, with Guatemala, is one of our closest current partners on the Security Council. Uruguay contributes the most per capita to peacekeeping of any nation in the world. Costa Rica aims to become the first carbon-neutral country. Canada is one of our most important allies in diplomatic and security efforts. And nearly every country in the hemisphere stepped up to support Haiti.

This global activism carries tremendous strategic benefits. And at the summit, it is time to add an outward looking dimension to our connections, because our global engagements will be crucial to our success in the hemisphere. Now being global partners, I will hasten to say, does not mean we’ll always agree; that’s not the case. But it reflects a faith that even when we disagree, convergent interests and values give us important shared objectives in the world.

Now President Obama and I have said many times that this will be America’s Pacific century, and we are focused on the broader Pacific. But remember, the Pacific runs from the Indian Ocean to the western shores of Latin America. We see this as one large area for our strategic focus. That’s why we’re working with APEC; that’s why we’re creating the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We recognize the mutual benefits of engagement between the Americas and the rest of the Pacific.

Our global partnership also extends into the G20, which includes Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and Mexico, which will host the next meeting in June. And Mexico has been a leader in the climate change negotiations from Copenhagen to Cancun to Durban. Chile has joined Mexico to become the second Latin American member of the OECD and others are lined up to follow.

When I go to Brasilia next week, my conversations there will center on the major challenges of our day from Syria and Iran to growth and development. And I will join President Rousseff to co-chair a meeting of the Open Government Partnership, a joint effort to foster transparency and accountability among 54 governments, and a quarter of them are from Latin America and the Caribbean.

So we have an affirmative agenda that is forward-thinking and outward-looking. It reflects what we can do together in this hemisphere. But at the same time, we must be clear about where we can and should do better. We cannot afford to be complacent. So we have to commit to further progress against exclusion and lack of opportunity. Yes, the region has come a long way, thanks to a lot of smart social and economic policies. I applaud the work that has been done on many of the quite pioneering programs of conditional cash transfer and so much else. But the gap – the inequality gap – is still much too large. So we have to focus on economic policies that will close that gap. And we have to pay particular attention to women and indigenous and Afro-Latin communities, so that they, too, are part of the future we envision.

We have to protect democracy. It’s no accident that this hemisphere’s successes have come along with a nearly complete embrace of democracies. The Inter-American Democratic Charter enshrines democracy as a fundamental responsibility of governments and a right of all citizens. So we have to strengthen the capacity of the Organization of American States to defend democracy and human rights.

And of course, we have to address crime and insecurity. From the start of this Administration, we’ve have made it clear that the United States accepts our share of responsibility for the criminal violence that stalks our neighbors to the south. We tripled funding for demand reduction for illegal drugs to more than $10 billion a year. We strengthened the Merida Initiative in Mexico, the Central American Citizen Security Partnership, the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, our ongoing assistance to Colombia.

And our support is focused not just on helping security forces track down criminals; we’re working to address the root causes of violence, from impunity to lack of opportunity, to build accountable institutions that respect human rights and enhance the rule of law. Courts and prisons, police and prosecutors, schools and job-training centers, and building those partnerships with political leaders, but also with businesses and with the elite, who have a special obligation to help confront these challenges. I really applaud the progress that President Perez Molina has made in Guatemala, in just the first few months of his tenure, in tax reform. The fact that so many of the wealthy in Latin America have not paid their fair share of taxes is one of the reasons why the services that are necessary to protect citizen security, to enhance educational opportunities have not been available.

I understand the frustration in the region is high; the progress is viewed as being too slow. We have launched very open and frank dialogues with our partners to find ways that we can be of more assistance in supporting the reform efforts that are necessary.

But ultimately, a lot of this comes down to the connections between people. We have to be willing to do everything we can imagine to forge those connections. We have a lot of them already: blood and family, language and culture, history and geography, but there’s a lot more we can and must do. And we should act even when governments are not willing to partner with us.

In Cuba, for example, the hundreds of thousands of Cuban Americans who have travelled to the island since we eased the way for them early in this Administration are our best agents for change. They’ve already helped bring about some promising developments, especially in the economic arena. So we have to work to unleash the potential that we see in our hemisphere. And it truly is an exciting opportunity for the United States and equally for all the nations of the hemisphere.

When President Obama and I went to that first of his summits three years ago, it was exciting because I remembered the first summit that we had in Miami. I’m old enough to remember a lot of those things these days. (Laughter.) And I remember the generational look of that summit when, frankly, my husband was about the youngest leader, as I recall, or looked like it anyway. (Laughter.) Whereas now, there are young leaders with new ideas who are working hard on behalf of their country. There are women elected president, something which you know I think is a great advance. (Laughter and applause.)

And so the whole picture is one of great promise and opportunity and excitement, so I know that both the President and I are excited about going back to the summit. We’re sure there’ll be some surprises, as there always are at such large events. But more than that, there will be a palpable sense of the connections between and among us. And to me, that is worth everything – to build on those connections, to connect us in a way that really provides what we are all seeking, to help people live up to their God-given potential, to enshrine the values and habits of democracy, to lift people who have a generation or so before been mired in illiteracy and poverty into the middle class. It doesn’t get any better than that. This is the time for the Americas. And we have to do more to reach out to convince our own fellow Americans of that opportunity, and we have to – those of us in government or in academia or business or NGOs – be partners in making these connections real.

I’m looking forward to the work ahead, and I thank you so much for your interest in the abiding partnerships here in our hemisphere. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

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Remarks With and Saudi Arabian Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
April 12, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m very pleased to welcome His Royal Highness here to the State Department. He is here on a very important visit, having already met many high officials in the White House and at the Pentagon and elsewhere in our government. We consider the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia a close and strategic partner in many of the critical issues facing our world today. And I look forward to our visit.

DEFENSE MINISTER SALMAN: (Via interpreter) I would like to thank Her Excellency, the Secretary of State, for her kind words, which are very reflective of the relationship. And I am very pleased to be visiting the United States, which is a friendly country. And I was able to convey the greetings of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, to President Obama and other senior officials, and in particular, to my colleague, the Secretary of Defense.

Our two countries are friendly countries that share common interests, and I hope that my current visit to the United States will be a continuation of the excellent relationship that exists between our two countries.

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G-8 Presser, posted with vodpod

Remarks at the Conclusion of the G8 Ministerial

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
April 12, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON:Well, good afternoon, and welcome to the State Department, some of you back again, some for the first time. It has been a great honor and pleasure for me to host the G8 foreign ministers here in Washington. We’ve just concluded a second day of productive meetings at Blair House.This group of nations has extensive shared interests and responsibilities around the globe, so we discussed a range of issues that are of pressing concern. And while there was certainly frank debate about the details, we all affirmed our common commitment to confronting these challenges together and working in close consultation with one another. Let me briefly touch on some of the highlights, from Syria to North Korea to Iran and beyond.

First, the foreign ministers discussed the evolving situation in Syria. We welcomed Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s report that the violence in Syria, at least for the moment, has abated. I also spoke separately about this at some length with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. If it holds, a ceasefire is an important step, but it represents just one element of the special envoy’s plan. As Kofi Annan reported, the Assad regime has, so far, failed to comply with key obligations. The regime’s troops and tanks have not pulled back from population centers. And it remains to be seen if the regime will keep its pledge to permit peaceful demonstrations, open access for humanitarian aid and journalists, and begin a political transition.

The Annan plan is not a menu of options. It is a set of obligations. The burden of fully and visibly meeting all of these obligations continues to rest with the regime. They cannot pick and choose. For it to be meaningful, this apparent halt in violence must lead to a credible political process and a peaceful, inclusive, democratic transition. The United States will be watching closely to see how things develop. We are particularly interested in seeing what the developments on the ground are, and we are in contact with members of the opposition. We remain firmly resolved that the regime’s war against its own people must end for good and a political transition must begin. Assad will have to go, and the Syrian people must be given the chance to chart their own future.

Given the Assad regime’s record of broken promises, we are proceeding, understandably, with caution. The ministers agreed to remain in close contact in the hours and days ahead. As we speak, our representatives in New York are consulting on a potential UN monitoring mission that would go to Syria under the right authorities, circumstances, and conditions. The United States supports sending an advance team immediately to begin this work. And both will need complete freedom of movement, unimpeded communications, and access throughout the country and to all Syrians, as well as firm security guarantees from all parties.

Now let me turn to North Korea. The G8 ministers discussed our concerns that North Korea continues to prepare to launch a ballistic missile in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and its own national commitments. We urge the North Korean leadership to honor its agreements and refrain from pursuing a cycle of provocation. We all share an interest in fostering security and stability on the Korean Peninsula, and the best way to achieve that is for North Korea to live up to its word.

We also looked ahead to the P-5+1 talks with Iran, scheduled to take place in Istanbul this weekend. We continue to underscore that we hope these talks result in an environment that is conducive to a sustained process that delivers results. This is a chance for Iran to credibly address the concerns of the international community. Iran, in coming to the table, needs to demonstrate that they are serious.

A few other points to mention: We reviewed the outcomes of yesterday’s Quartet meeting and agreed this is a moment to focus on positive efforts, to build trust, and improve the climate between the parties.

We also discussed Africa and the Sahel, in particular how we can deepen our cooperation to prevent conflicts, to deal with the food security challenges, and protect and advance democracy. And we agreed on the importance of continuing the Deauville Partnership and supporting countries in the Middle East and North Africa working to transition to democracy, to improve governance, to create jobs, to expand trade and investment.

Finally, I spoke with many of my G8 colleagues about the World Bank and our nominee, Dr. Jim Yong Kim. I have known Jim for some time. I know him to be a devoted public servant with a history of thinking big and taking bold actions. I believe he is an excellent choice, and I was delighted not only when the President nominated him but with the response that his nomination is receiving. And selfishly, of course, I was very happy that he named a World Bank president.

So as I’ve said, we’ve covered a lot of ground over the past two days. All of these discussions underscore a simple truth: Today’s complex challenges require continued leadership of the G8 countries working together. I know that we laid the groundwork for a successful meeting when the G8 leaders meet next month at Camp David. And now, I’d be happy to take your questions.

MS. NULAND: We’ll take three today. We’ll start with Scott Stearns of VOA. Thank you.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MS. NULAND: We’re going to start with Jill Dougherty of CNN. All right. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Since it’s Syria and you named Syria first, maybe we’ll start with that, Madam Secretary. You just mentioned now that you – that the United States supports this UN monitoring mission and supporting it immediately. So is that the next step? What do you think about the idea of a buffer zone or this idea of having NATO protect the border with Turkey?

And then also in kind of a broader sense, do you think that now, with the ceasefire holding, that it’s kind of taken the wind out of that move to do something stronger at the United Nations, at the Security Council? Could you also give us a little brief on what you discussed specifically with Sergey Lavrov?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jill, I had good discussions with all of my colleagues about Syria, and I was encouraged that Foreign Minister Lavrov agreed with Kofi Annan that this fragile first step is only that – a first step. Sporadic fighting continues in parts of Syria, Assad has not complied with the six points of the Kofi Annan plan, his forces have not pulled back, and he has not taken any action on any of the other points.

So our first imperative is to test the commitment. And with that in mind, our teams are working in New York on a UN Security Council resolution that calls for Assad to fully comply with all points in the Annan plan and that supports Kofi Annan’s request to send a UN advance team to Syria immediately to prepare the way for a full, robust international monitoring mission. And let me be as clear as I can: That monitoring mission will only be a force for peace and security if it enjoys the full freedom of action within Syria. That means freedom of movement, secure communications, a large enough ground presence to bear witness to the enforcement of the six-point plan in every part of Syria.

And that’s a standard that we would expect of any UN monitoring mission. Foreign Minister Lavrov joined with the other G8 ministers in welcoming the report of Kofi Annan and welcoming the beginning of the process that would lead to a monitoring mission by sending an advance team. So we are working together to try to enforce, in practical terms, the commitments that the Assad regime claims to have made.

Now, we have to maintain our pressure on the Assad regime to fully comply, so our sanctions and the sanctions of others who have imposed them must continue. Our support for the opposition has to continue because they have to be prepared to participate in a political transition process, and we’re going to continue to work in the Security Council and with like-minded nations as we move forward.

So I think we’re at a point, Jill, where we want to test what has been agreed upon but with our eyes wide open going forward.

MS. NULAND: Next question from Marco Mierke, German Press Agency, please.

QUESTION: Thank you very much, Madam Secretary. You said you talked about North Korea – discussed North Korea and your concerns regarding the possible imminent rocket launch. Since it’s only probably a couple hours away, did you already discuss any consequences that might follow such a launch?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. We discussed our concerns about the announced actions that the North Koreans may take in the next hours or days. We’ve made it abundantly clear, as have our other G8 colleagues, that any missile launch would violate North Korea’s obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874. I think our Six-Party members and all the members of the G8 are in agreement that we will have to be prepared to take additional steps if the North Koreans go ahead.

The text of UN Security Council Resolution 1874 couldn’t be clearer, and let me quote it because I think it’s important that you hear this. The Security Council, and I quote, “demands that the DPRK not conduct any further nuclear tests or any launch using ballistic missile technology.” And there is no doubt that this satellite would be launched using ballistic missile technology.

So Pyongyang has a clear choice: It can pursue peace and reap the benefits of closer ties with the international community, including the United States; or it can continue to face pressure and isolation. If Pyongyang goes forward, we will all be back in the Security Council to take further action. And it’s regrettable, because as you know, we had worked through an agreement that would have benefitted the North Korean people with the provision of food aid. But in the current atmosphere, we would not be able to go forward with that, and other actions that other countries had been considering would also be on hold.

MS. NULAND: Last question, Scott Stearns, VOA. Thanks.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, on the last bit of Jill’s question, could you tell us whether you support NATO protecting the border between Turkey and Syria?

For my question on Iran, please, Iran says it’s bringing new initiatives to these talks in Turkey. Are the P-5+1 bringing new initiatives to these talks? And from your talks with Foreign Minister Lavrov, do you believe that Russia shares your view that time is running out for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, with respect to your first question, there is nothing of that nature pending and I’m not going to comment on hypotheticals.

Secondly, with respect to Iran, as the G8 statement makes clear, we are united in our resolve and expectation that Iran will come to the talks prepared. And we are receiving signals that they are bringing ideas to the table. They assert that their program is purely peaceful. They point to a fatwa that the supreme leader has issued against the pursuit of nuclear weapons. We want them to demonstrate clearly in the actions they propose that they have truly abandoned any nuclear weapons ambition.

So I’m not going to get into the details of what we expect. We’ve worked very closely inside our own government and then with our P-5+1 colleagues. I’ve been in close touch with Cathy Ashton, who will be leading our efforts in Istanbul. But we’re looking for concrete results. And of course, in a negotiation we understand that the Iranians will be asking for assurances or actions from us, and we will certainly take those under consideration. But I do think it is clear to everyone, certainly in the P-5+1 but far beyond, that the diplomatic window for negotiations is open but will not remain open forever. And therefore time is a matter to be taken into account, so we want to get started this weekend. And we will certainly proceed in a very expeditious and diligent manner in a sustained way to determine whether there is the potential for an agreement.

Thank you all.

MS. NULAND: Thank you all very much.

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Remarks With Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Blair House
Washington, DC
April 12, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, my friend and colleague and I have a lot in common, except for who we support in the upcoming playoffs. The fact is that I hate to root against any team called the Senators; however, I was a senator because of the good people of New York, so of course I’m rooting for – ta-da – the Rangers.

FOREIGN MINISTER BAIRD: And while I like one New York senator – (laughter) – former New York senator – (laughter) – I like the Ottawa Senators, so we’re obviously with the Ottawa Senators. And we’re having a bet for the first round of the playoffs. And we’re looking forward to giving you this great Ottawa Senators jersey. It’s my favorite player, Jason Spezza. You’ll look great in it. (Laughter.) You can wear it around the house.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I want lots of pictures of you wearing this jersey – (laughter) – once the Rangers actually win. And so we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out, but I’m pretty confident that you’ll look good in blue.

FOREIGN MINISTER BAIRD: I look good in blue. (Laughter.) But I think I look better in red. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thanks, everybody.

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Public Schedule for April 12, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
April 12, 2012

 


SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

9:15 a.m. Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, at the Blair House.
(POOLED PRESS COVERAGE)

9:30 a.m. Secretary Clinton hosts the G8 Foreign Ministers Plenary Session, at the Blair House. Please click here for more information.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

11:15 a.m. Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, at the Blair House.
(POOLED PRESS COVERAGE)

12:45 p.m. Secretary Clinton holds a press availability at the conclusion of the G8 Ministerial, at the Department of State.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

2:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton delivers remarks at the White House Conference on Connecting the Americas, at the White House.
(MEDIA DETERMINED BY WHITE HOUSE)

3:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with Saudi Arabian Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, at the Department of State.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

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