Archive for March, 2009

She began the day with a surprise stop at the Basilica of the Our Lady of Guadalupe.

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Then she proceeded to her scheduled events.

Roundtable With Indigenous Students


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Mexico City, Mexico
March 26, 2009

MS. ORTEGA: (Via interpreter) Good afternoon to everyone. We want to say that we’re very sorry for the delay, but I’m sure that this has given you a little more time to get to know each other.

To the most distinguished Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, it’s an honor for me to welcome you to this room and to this very special event. I’m a former scholar – Fulbright scholar. I was able to go to the United States twice and finish my graduate studies there. I’m also a not-so-recent militant in favor of international education because I feel that it is an occasion of privilege to insist, to reiterate that the best face we can give the cooperation between our peoples and our governments is without a doubt science, education, the arts and culture, and the great enterprises of humanity.
No one in this auditorium or in the country or even in the United States ignores the value of building democracy and good citizenship. This building requires that we decisively expand the opportunities that we give to our young generations to improve their lives and to improve the lives of their families through learning from each other and through the knowledge that they generate together.
In tune with our times, we cannot imagine quality education without a strong stress on interculturalism and internationalization. This is an indispensible dimension for dialogue, for recognizing each other, for rebuilding and for learning.
Of course, we have consolidated Fulbright programs already, and they’re in the hands – in very competent hands. They’re very traditional, very relevant for scientists, for academics, and for the professionals in our countries. But more recently, we’ve been provided these flexible, close, and sensitive – and programs that are sensitive to the needs and wishes and hopes of our indigenous peoples.
Without detriment to quality and also based on solid competition, they have been developed to develop skills, to be able to increase those skills, and to share those experiences through the demonstration that it is possible to take on social problems and to overcome adversity, and that it is feasible to make progress through our efforts.
Programs that have delightful acronyms, like SEEDS, TIES and the short-term visits have been extremely effective, and here we see the demonstration of that. It is in these brilliant, strong, courageous young people, full of possibilities, where the impact of our best face in cooperation is shown. They are the ones who day-to-day are working on opening up those avenues. They’re working to open up the roads that will allow us, without a doubt, to open up a new phase of even better quality in the relationship between our countries.
Secretary Clinton, these young people are here to talk about their experiences, but also, above all, to share the effects they’re already feeling and they’re making in their communities and the difference they’re making in their perspectives.
Thank you so much. They’re all yours, Madame. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I want to thank Sylvia Ortega for not only those very kind words, but much more importantly, for her leadership in education and her strong belief in cultural exchanges, educational exchanges, and investing in young people. And I appreciate the opportunity to meet with some of the young scholars who have gone to the United States to study, to hear from them personally about their experiences. And it’s a great honor to be here in the National Palace of Fine Arts, such a magnificent structure but also a real tribute to the cultural legacy as well as a promise of continuing global contribution by Mexican arts and crafts and culture in every walk of life. So I thank you for letting us present this program here today.
As Sylvia said, we are highlighting on this trip of mine, my first to Latin America as Secretary of State, the importance of the breadth and depth of our relationship. There are so many issues that are important to the United States and Mexico that we work on together, but it is more like a family than two countries. We have so much in common, we share so many common concerns, and we share a common future. And there is no more critical aspect to that future than the young people here in Mexico and in the United States.
So I wanted to highlight today this very important program that provides a partnership between our two nations and enables students to travel to the United States. We believe strongly in the Obama Administration in the significance of education for the individual, but in the multiplier effects of education for a society. And it is important to help young people like those on the stage with me to realize their own God-given potential through hard work, through the opportunity to pursue an education. But this particular program is special because it focuses, as Sylvia said, on indigenous youth. And that is a special interest of mine, to make sure that the programs supported by the United States are aimed particularly at young people here in Mexico and elsewhere who might otherwise not have the opportunity. So I am looking forward to hearing about their experiences.
Our first student is Elia Bautista. She’s from Oaxaca. I want her to talk about her experience. She is a 1994 alumnae of the Mexico-U.S. Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange and has a Master’s in International Affairs from American University in Washington, and was the first educational outreach advisor for the Institute for International Education in the state of Oaxaca starting in 2006.
So would you please talk a little bit about this experience and the importance of it? And what made you decide to pursue a Master’s degree in the United States?
MS. BAUTISTA: (Via interpreter) Thank you, Mrs. Clinton. Before thinking about going to the United States, since I was a little girl, I was very much impressed by the English language, and then later I had the opportunity to teach Spanish to many U.S. students. And I realized that these were people with a lot of discipline, excellent students, and I was especially struck by the reasons why they were such good students.
For example, one of the things that impressed me was that in Mexico we didn’t like doing homework very much, so when we were given homework by a teacher we’d sit down and say, oh, now we have to work. But when, as a teacher, I did not provide homework to my students in the United States, they were angry. And I thought, well, something here makes them work, and I wanted to know what their motivation was.
And aside from that, of course, it’s well known that the U.S. education system is very good, especially at the higher level, and so I was really very much interested in going there and studying international relations. Washington as a wonderful location to do it. I think it was the first time and perhaps the only time that I’ve seen that the local papers on – gave – on the first page have domestic news. In Washington, everything was international instead. And it was something that struck me enormously.
And I think that motivated me very much, in turn, to motivate other students so that they could go to the United States and do this. Now, through the international education office we have in the state of Oaxaca, I have this international opportunity and I appreciate it very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, how have you found to motivate students in Oaxaca to want to pursue their educations and even to do what you did, perhaps go to the United States to study?
MS. BAUTISTA: (Via interpreter) It’s very important for us as Oaxacans, because ours is a state of a lot of migration, it’s very important for our people to know that they have the opportunity not just to travel to the United States, to live and work there, but also now the new generations, the young people like these young men and women, have the opportunity to study. It’s something which in our states, especially the southern states, did not exist. So the idea sells itself. It’s obvious that now they don’t want to go and wait tables or, say, go through hardship trying to cross the border, but now that the opportunity exists to actually be mainstreamed into a multicultural group, study there, to go an important place like the United States and learn from its educational system.
So there is a generational difference here which is already having an impact on our people. I am extremely impressed when I look at the statistics and see that parents who are not very educated at all or they’ve had no education practically and through these programs their children get a Master’s degree or a Ph.D. in the United States.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s a wonderful story. And I know many of these young people come back to Mexico, which is especially important.
I want to turn now to Miguel Arias Martinez. He’s from the Tzoztil community in the state of Chiapas. He participated in a USAID SEED program on strengthening rural primary education at California State Polytechnic University. He’s now a teacher and advisor for indigenous education for the state of Chiapas and is working on teacher training.
So, Miguel, tell us a little bit about yourself and what made you go to the United States to study.
MR. MARTINEZ: (Via interpreter) Thank you so much, Secretary Clinton. First of all, it’s a great honor and a privilege to be with you right now and to thank the Government of the United States and Georgetown University and the SEED program that I was able to participate in, as well as our ministry and Rosalina Morales Garza, who is here, our General Director of Indigenous Education who provided us with the facilities to be able to enjoy this scholarship.
First of all, when I went to the United States, I was able to perfect techniques in four major areas: strategies; to acquire learning skills in young children, say between five and seven; also, the importance of bilingual education. I am an indigenous grammar school teacher, and so we take part in bilingual education. You have bilingual education in the United States as well, and I thought that there were a lot of very important things to point out in that area. Third was the use of didactic material. In the United States, it’s managed with a different approach. We in Mexico handle it in a slightly different way, but when we put both approaches together, we can improve our techniques. And the final area I want to point out is professional leadership, the leadership of teachers. Teacher leadership is something that we have not gone into in depth. Not just in our country but in a number of countries throughout the world, it really hasn’t been dealt with too much.
However, in the management of indigenous teaching in my state, these two activities are being carried out. The first is to train and constantly update our supervisors and area directors. We have 17 area directors and even more supervisors, and we are training in pedagogic leadership techniques and also in training. And in providing training to that leadership group, we are reaching almost 4,000 school groups between grammar schools, preschools, and even middle schools at indigenous education levels.
At any given time, we are training 317 young people who are new teachers in the state of Chiapas. Those 317 attend to approximately 1,000 students, and we’re training them as well in leadership techniques, professional techniques, aside from techniques and strategies to learn how to read and write, and always stressing the importance of teaching in the indigenous language, which for us is of fundamental importance.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think you made a very good point about how we’re stronger if we learn from each other. And when you talked about integrating strategies that are used in the United States and used here in Mexico, I think that creates a better opportunity for teachers to reach every child. And I must say your enthusiasm suggests what a good teacher you would be. (Laughter.)
I want now to turn to Reyna Luz Santiago Batista from the Mixteca community in Oaxaca, who participated in also the USAID SEED Program at Mount Hood Community College in Oregon, where she studied natural resource management. And I know that she has a particular interest in the education and role of women and, in fact, is currently working for an NGO that emphasizes women’s empowerment, health, education.
So what did you learn about the role of women during your educational exchange in the United States?
MS. BATISTA: (In Mixteco.)
(In English.) This is my native language. It’s called Mixteco. And I want to, first of all, to thank all of you for this opportunity and for coming here today. And I want to give my special thanks to the United States Government, to the SEED Program of the Georgetown University, and for all of you for being here today. So now I want to answer my question.
(Via interpreter) I think it’s very important to see the role that women have in the United States, in particular what I saw in the United States is that women are very independent, they constantly fight for their dreams, for education. They worry about the welfare of themselves, of their families, of their communities. I had female colleagues who worked and studied at the same time, and they also helped out with their communities.
And that to me has been an example, an example I want to follow, because especially here in Mexico indigenous women sometimes have less opportunities. And I think it’s very important for us to begin to seek opportunities like the SEED scholarship and Start-to-Study, and then move forward. And I think that we women can also make a contribution to the welfare of our communities and our countries.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I have no doubt that you are doing that and you will do that. Because trying to make sure that opportunities are equally available to men and women, to boys and girls, is a continuing commitment of mine and of my country. And we want to work to bring educational opportunities to more indigenous women. So I thank you for the example you’re setting.
MS. BATISTA: (In Spanish) Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Now, let me turn to Telmo Jimenez, who is from the Mixes community in Oaxaca. He participated in the State Department’s study for the United States Institute Program for student leaders in Washington, D.C., last year. And he’s pursuing an undergraduate degree in anthropology at the Autonomous University of Oaxaca. In fact, he received a national youth award in social work, delivered by President Calderon, and is the coordinator of a new center in his hometown.
So you’ve already done so many things and have been recognized for your leadership and your commitment. What did your participation in the Leadership Institute contribute to your understanding of leadership and to the work you’re doing now?
(Via interpreter) Good afternoon. I want to thank everyone who made this event possible and especially the United States, which gave us the opportunity to go to the United States. I was in Amherst, Massachusetts at the leadership seminar for young indigenous students.
The work I’ve been carrying out goes back a long way. For many years, we’ve been working with children, young people, and adults in educational programs, in informal intervention outside of the schools, and through multicultural and artistic activities that also add to the training they receive at school.
That has given us not only the basic tools to be able to continue working with more young people, but it’s also given us – it’s provided a broad perspective on the problem that we’re dealing with within the communities.
The opportunity we were provided by going to the United States was very comprehensive. It wasn’t just about the theory behind all of this, but we went into community practices, we saw civil associations, NGOs that work with the communities over there, and that provided us with tools to be able to take on or better understand the problems we’re facing in our own communities with our young people and children where each of us is working in the various indigenous communities.
And that’s been a major force in being able to continue working with them and to show our leadership, not only at the level of our communities but also outside in our projects in other neighboring communities within the states or in other states. That’s been – that’s provided a strong impact to us, and you can hear it in the words of my various colleagues here. I think that the projects we’re working on are of transcendental importance in our communities because we don’t just attend to specific problems or – we also generate responses that help in global problems. And that was one of the greatest experiences provided, and also one of the greatest tools the United States gave us to be able to deal with these problems, and somehow being able to help our people in our various communities.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s an excellent description of what an education should do for a community. As we said in the beginning, of course, we want individuals to have these opportunities. But it’s very important that they then be fed back into the community itself and create even more chances for other people to take advantage of education and cultural experiences. So thank you for that excellent description.
Let me now finally turn to Adriana Roque, who is from the Ñah-ñu community in the state of Hidalgo. She also participated in the State Department’s program for student leaders last year. She’s an undergraduate student at the National Pedagogical University in Mexico City, where she is pursuing a degree in indigenous education. And she, too, assists with the equity and gender portfolio at an NGO in her home state, where she developed assistance programs to allow pregnant teenagers to continue their studies, something that is also very important that I worked on in the past as well.
And I think that with your first trip to the United States, when you went for the program – and I’m wondering whether your experience there impacted or affected your professional goals and the way that you want to work within and help your community.
MS. ROQUE: (In Ñah-ñu.)
(In English) Thank you for this opportunity.
(Via interpreter) My opportunity in the United States, yes, was the first time I went – I traveled outside of Mexico. And although it was a very short time there, you can see there’s enormous diversity in the United States, a level of equality that is often not reflected in our own communities. Being there provided me with the opportunity to be able to see that we shared two important elements, teamwork and respect. This, as an indigenous group, has allowed us to live, or to survive for much longer, but also in order to be able to provide help through these projects and to be able to understand who else other than us can have access to such opportunities, each language, each culture, is a different way of seeing the world. And we share global problems, even though we’re at a more local level. The fact that our cultures or our language could be lost lead us to being – to not being able to resolve our own problems. And so I’ve always been concerned with trying to help others, especially my own people. I take part in some youth projects that have to do with women’s equality issues, an issue of great concern to me.
But preserving our mother tongue, in this case an indigenous tongue, is very important. Unfortunately, that discrimination towards people still exists today – those people who speak an indigenous language, and it should not be so, because you lose perspective. And I think that that could help enormously to overcome the problems we have, not perhaps at the level of our communities because ours is a global society, but as you said, we’re working together, and the relationship is not so much diplomatic as it is the relationship of a family.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s an excellent statement. And I particularly appreciate you referring to teamwork and respect. That’s important between people, individuals, between families and communities and between countries. And I also liked what you said about how each language and culture helps us as humanity see the world differently and adds to the overall understanding of our human experience. So I thank you for that.
Sylvia, do you want to add anything after hearing these remarkable young people speak?
MS. ORTEGA: You know, I don’t think so. They made their statements very powerful.
(Via interpreter) I think the important thing would be to see that if there is an investment that pays the best dividends and on an extended basis, it is education. It is the acquisition of those skills that make us better people, better citizens, and better – more understanding of each other. Because deep down inside, that’s what it’s about. It’s about effectively building interpersonal relationships, family relationships, or relationships between countries. It’s going to depend on how well we understand each other. And to understand, you need to learn. And to learn, you need to generate knowledge. And that’s done much better, it’s true, with respect and as a team.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that you can see very clearly how impressed we are with these young people. And there are more like them sitting here in the audience who have pursued education and are not only furthering their own personal goals, but contributing to their communities as well. And so I am pleased to announce a new educational partnership in Mexico, the English Access Micro Scholarship Program. It will begin this month in Atlacomulco. It’ll later expand to Oaxaca and Chiapas and Mexico City.
This program will provide two years of training in English to 100 Mexican students. We’re hoping that this additional program will help even more young people expand their horizons, acquire new skills, learn what will give them a better future and then enable them to make those investments in their communities. I could not agree more with Sylvia, who has spent a lifetime working in education, that, you know, investing in an individual is the best investment we can make. And parents and families do the best they can to invest in their children, but very often there are many obstacles to being able to make those investments. Governments invest in their people, but often it’s challenging to do that to the full extent that we would like.
So we think partnerships for more educational experiences and opportunities is a very tangible way for us to deepen and further the relationship between our countries.
I told the officials with whom I have met today how personally proud I am to be the Secretary of State representing the United States and being able to come here to Mexico. When my husband and I were married, we honeymooned in Mexico. (Laughter.) We have very pleasant memories of Mexico. We have vacationed in Mexico. When he was president, we had official visits to Mexico. And we have Mexican friends who we treasure. So we are very, very happy to see this relationship growing stronger.
And so for me, working with your government and working with the people of Mexico is not only a public responsibility, but a personal privilege. And I look forward to hearing more about these remarkable young people, and knowing that they are making such good use of their education. And hoping that in my country as well as in Mexico, we can finally arrive at a point where no child’s dreams are denied, where it will be up to every single child to decide what he or she is willing to work for. And to go back to the point you made about how hard people are willing to work, but that that work will be rewarded. And we are working to achieve that in the United States. And I am very impressed and delighted to see the efforts that are represented on this stage by these young people. So please join me in showing your appreciation to these young students and to the others who are here, as well as to their teachers and the officials of the Government of Mexico who are supporting their education. (Applause.)


Remarks At The Simeprode/Benlesa Biogas Plant


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Monterrey, , Mexico
March 26, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much for the honor of participating in this occasion. And I appreciate the very informative remarks that the governor just gave us. I know very well that we are witnessing here a partnership for the future. This is a partnership of people, of institutions, of the private sector and the government all working together.
I want to acknowledge some of the people who have made this possible. Mr. Jorge Padilla, the president of Simeprode; Nora Calderon, the private partner from Benlesa; of course, the foreign secretary, Secretary Espinosa; the Ambassador from Mexico to the United States, Ambassador Sarukhan; the governor who just spoke so effectively about what it is we are trying to achieve together; and of course, the representatives of the university who have demonstrated by their signing today that they are part of building this common future. And it gives me particular pleasure to see this cooperation between three great universities here in Mexico and the University of Texas at Austin.
This partnership is an effort to find solutions to an urgent 21st century challenge. And this memorandum of understanding expands an already strong effort underway to bring together the best talent, ideas and research available on both sides of our border. Addressing climate change and clean energy is not only a building block of economic recovery; I believe and President Obama believes that this will be an engine of economic growth for the 21st century.
Yesterday in my meetings in Mexico City with President Calderon, with the foreign secretary, and with other members of the government, we talked at length about a competitiveness agenda that both of our nations can pursue. This would be a collaboration on a range of issues, and none would be more important than clean energy. That is how we will create the jobs of the 21st century, not only through biogas, which is what you do here, but across the spectrum of clean energy from solar to wind to ethanol to geothermal power.
This will advance our mutual goal of expanding renewable energy and reducing carbon-based emissions. It is also a form of security. We have spoken a lot in the last two days about security. And of course, we know we’re talking about the threat from lawlessness and violence when we say security. But energy security is also important. Being self-sufficient insofar as possible, creating energy from the earth, ensuring it is green energy is something that both of our countries are committed to achieving. Right here, we see clean energy being created from solid waste, clean energy that powers street lights and offices, that powers the metro rail and so much else.
This goes beyond anything we have in the United States, Governor. And this partnership that you have created here between the public and the private sector is a model that we and others will look towards. Mexico’s goal for emission reduction and for meeting a sizeable portion of your electricity needs through renewable energy is another model of how nations can move toward a low-carbon energy future, clean energy jobs as well.
In our own country, the Obama Administration is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and we are calling on the Congress to help create a cap-and-trade program. The United States, under President Obama’s leadership, will work with Mexico under President Calderon’s leadership to build consensus as we move toward the United Nations Conference on Climate this December in Copenhagen.
Yesterday, President Obama sent a letter to President Calderon inviting him to participate in a major economies forum to pave the way to Copenhagen so we can have the greatest possible success there. These negotiations provide a crucial opportunity to create a global framework. And when those meetings are held, Mexico will be a leader because of the steps you have already taken and the commitment that your government has made. And there’s no better example than the plant we are seeing in action here today.
We believe that Mexico and the United States not only face common challenges, but also common opportunities. And we think by working together, we can achieve a cleaner, healthier planet for successive generations, and build a green economy that will create millions of new jobs for the 21st century. So I am here to witness and pay tribute, to really celebrate what has already happened in this state. And the results are going to be noticed far and wide.
This is an advanced, state-of-the-art plant. We do not have anything like it in the United States. I know that this is not the kind of event that gets headlines, but this is what should get headlines in America and Mexico. The Mexican people and municipal government should be looking and saying, how can we do what was done in Monterrey. And the United States should be looking and saying, what can we do to try to achieve the same level of production of electricity from solid waste. That’s how we will learn from one another. We will borrow ideas, we will cooperate through our great universities, through our local governments, our national governments, our private businesses. That is the way of the future.
You know, there are many problems we have to solve and we will be stronger in solving them if we do it together. So I am delighted to be here to have the opportunity to witness this along with the governor and the foreign secretary. But also I want to pay tribute to the people who made this happen and the people who work here and keep it going and produce this clean electricity. That’s what we want to see all over Mexico and all over the United States. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)


Digital Town Hall at TecMilenio University


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Monterrey, Mexico
March 26, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: I am both delighted and honored to be here with you this afternoon. I am impressed by this campus and by the enthusiasm of the young people whom I met as I was coming into this room. And I thank them, even though they’re not here with us, for being part of this digital webcast town hall. And it’s exciting that we can use technology together on a tech campus to connect up with one another and communicate.
I want to thank Marco for his kind words and his excellent presentation. I want to also thank very much Mr. Zambrano, who eloquently described the mission of this university, and of course, Tech de Monterrey and the extraordinary role that it has, and now along with TecMilenio will be playing in the development, growth, and prosperity of Mexico.
I am delighted to be joined here by my counterpart, the Mexican foreign secretary, Secretary Espinosa, who has spent a great deal of time with me yesterday talking about a range of issues that are important to our country. Also to Ambassador Sarukhan, thank you for being here as well. We had excellent meetings, and I appreciate their both coming to Monterrey.
I also want to acknowledge Governor Gonzalez Paras. I just met with the governor and some of his staff about the border cooperation going on between a border state such as this and others along both sides of the border between the United States and Mexico.
You know, for millions of people in my country and yours, Mexico and the United States are more than good neighbors, more than trading partners. They are places of shared customs and ancestral heritage, of common history and a common future. Indeed, Mexico and the United States are, in many ways, one family.
Our people and our nations are connected by the busiest border in the world, a robust economic partnership, a firm commitment to democratic values, a common ecosystem, and a vibrant exchange of cultures that has been nurtured by generations of immigrants and their families.
Today, these ties are being put to new tests as we attempt to seize the unprecedented opportunities of a new century while also addressing its urgent threats, including a global economic crisis that has spared neither the United States nor Mexico, and amplifies the already serious challenges we share.
I’ve come to Mexico this week because the United States, the new Obama Administration, believes that the relationship between our countries must be even stronger in the future than it is today. And to make it so, we are committed to a partnership built on comprehensive engagement, greater balance, shared responsibility, and a joint attention to hemispheric and global issues.

Comprehensive engagement, because making the most of this century’s opportunities, and addressing the complex problems we both face, from security to economics to immigration to climate change, demand all the tools that we have at our disposal.

Balance because strong partnerships are based on listening, learning, and mutual respect.

Shared responsibility, because the United States and Mexico can do more, and do better, to meet our shared challenges.

And greater outreach across the hemisphere and around the world because to achieve global progress and prosperity, we must rely on global, not just local, approaches. And where they don’t exist, we must work together to invent them.

This is especially important in the 21st century world in which we live. We are now linked to peoples and nations throughout the world in ways unimaginable even a generation ago. The interdependence between Mexico and the United States is so much greater because of our historic, economic, geographic, and cultural closeness. That’s what makes our relationship unique. And it’s why it deserves our best thinking and our commitment, especially involving young people like the students here, so that together we can forge a more prosperous, peaceful, and progressive future.
You know, it is the custom in my country that when we elect a new president, the first foreign leader that new president meets is the Mexican president. And President Obama continued that tradition when he met with President Calderon before he was even inaugurated. I’m very pleased that President Obama will be coming here in just a few weeks. He will also see President Calderon at the G-20 summit next week in London, and again at the Summit of the Americas at – toward the end of April in Trinidad, Tobago.
So over the past two days, as I have had such productive meetings with the foreign minister, with President Calderon other leaders committed to this broad partnership, we’ve discussed a range of issues. I’ve also met nongovernmental organizations and citizens forming collaborations beyond government that improve people’s lives and contribute to a sense of possibility and potential, even for those who sometimes find themselves on the margins of society. I know that Mexico, like the United States, understands that the only way we will be successful in this new century is through concerted action and partnership with others. Perhaps it was possible at one time to ignore other countries, other cultures, other societies, but that no longer is possible.

And I know that one challenge that we will work with you to address is drug trafficking that has terrorized some Mexican communities, especially those along the border. And I join my voice to all those who know that this situation is intolerable for honest, law-abiding citizens of Mexico, my country, or anywhere people of conscience live. This affects not only the government, the law enforcement, the military, the judicial system of Mexico and the people of Mexico, but of the more than 60 million Americans who live in U.S. border states. That is why I have been very clear in my time here. The United States recognizes that drug trafficking is not only Mexico’s problem. It is also an American problem. And we, in the United States, have a responsibility to help you address it.
Traffickers use guns purchased in the United States to fight each other and to challenge the Mexican military and police. Their enterprise is financed in part by our country’s demand for drugs, which sends up to $25 billion a year in illicit drug profits back into the hands of the drug kingpins. Drug profits are propping up cartels financially allowing them to continue their campaign of violence and lawlessness. Earlier this week, the Obama Administration announced a comprehensive plan to increase security along our border, including more officers to stop the illegal flow of guns into Mexico.
We are closely working with Mexican leaders through the Merida Initiative. And through this partnership between our nations, the United States has pledged $1.4 billion to train and equip Mexican law enforcement, facilitate the gathering and sharing of information, and help to strengthen your judicial system and public institutions.
Before coming to Monterrey this morning, I visited a police base in Mexico City to see the technology that Mexico is already using to assist with law enforcement. It’s an effort that has been enhanced by the Merida Initiative, but it’s one undertaken by the Calderon administration, and I was very impressed by what I saw. The dedication, the high morale, the commitment of the young men and women who are prepared to risk their lives for the country they love was inspiring.
Yesterday, I also announced the creation of a bilateral office where Mexican and U.S. officials can work together in Mexico City to coordinate our efforts to fight drug trafficking. And the Obama Administration intends to provide more than $80 million in urgently needed funding for Blackhawk helicopters to enhance the capacity of Mexican law enforcement officers. I saw some of those Blackhawks at the base I visited this morning, and heard firsthand about how it is helping to right the disadvantage that law enforcement has had, given the military assault weapons and the other ways that the drug cartels have been spreading lawlessness and violence.
We are committed to supporting the Merida Initiative and other efforts initiated by the Calderon administration, by the Government of Mexico, and supported by people across the political spectrum. Everyone whom I have met has told me that this is an issue that goes beyond politics. This is an issue that goes to the heart of what Mexico will be and what kind of security can be given to the next generation of young Mexicans to build their futures, create their lives, start their businesses, raise their families right here at home.
I know that there are problems. There are problems in any country. I spend my time thinking about the problems in my own country as well. Every country, just like every family, has problems. Anyone who tells you they don’t, check to see whether they’re from outer space. (Laughter.)
So I have had very fruitful discussions with Mexican leaders who are committed to
strengthening public institutions, to rooting out corruption, to helping make sure that the
judicial and police reforms passed in recent months will come into full fruition.
But this is not just a problem for governments. This is the responsibility of citizens as well as leaders. It’s the responsibility of business people as well as generals. It’s the responsibility of academics as well as police officers. It is a mutual responsibility. And it’s particularly important for the young people of Mexico who have enormous power right now to strengthen your democracy, to call for more reforms, to shine a bright light on corruption wherever you might see it, and stand up with those who are doing right. Mexican young people can be a transformative force at this critical juncture in your country’s history. And I urge you to seize this moment and join your voices in this struggle.
When one thinks about how important it is to tackle corruption and drugs, that’s not the only solution. There is so much more work to be done. Progress can only take hold if it is built on the foundation of economic growth and material improvements in people’s daily lives. One of the biggest challenges facing democracies everywhere – and I include my own country in 2009 – is we must demonstrate unequivocally that democracy produces positive outcomes for hardworking people who get up every day and do the best they can to raise their children, who go to work, who work hard, and deserve to have that hard work rewarded.
So we will support efforts to create jobs and expand education and healthcare and bolster opportunities here in Mexico, because we think that’s not only a challenge we share as fellow democracies, but that your prosperity and security is absolutely connected to our own.
The global economic crisis has reinforced how closely our economies are linked. More than a billion dollars in goods and services pass between our countries every single day. Twenty-two states in the United States depend on Mexico as their first or second export market. So when Mexico’s economy rises, millions of people in the United States see their incomes rise as well. And the same is true in reverse: The United States is Mexico’s number one trading partner. And we, therefore, have a major impact on the strength of your economy here in Monterrey and across Mexico.
We must do more to ensure that the benefits of trade are more evenly distributed, and President Obama is committed to doing that. There is no question that our economic pact with Mexico has increased prosperity for both nations in the past. But now we are seeing the flipside; when one of us struggles, the effects are magnified and mutual. Slowing trade flows, job losses in both nations, a falling peso, the dwindling remittances that Mexican immigrants send home to their families – these are all evidence of our connection.
But it’s also true that if we don’t demonstrate that trade between our countries benefits people at the bottom, then people begin to wonder, where is the money going? We’re having a similar debate in the United States right now. Where did all the money go? We know that people are losing their jobs. Unemployment is climbing. Government and citizens together must answer the questions that people legitimately ask of their elected leadership.
So we have to begin by getting our respective houses in order. President Obama has taken unprecedented steps to address our economic crisis by correcting deficiencies in our banking and regulatory systems, and stimulating our economy to produce jobs and get America back on the track to economic recovery. Here in Mexico, President Calderon has led the push to strengthen your country’s economy by announcing three stimulus packages in the past year, including a comprehensive infrastructure development plan. Both of our presidents have voiced strong support for continuing our policy of free trade and open trade as part of a broader competitive agenda.
That is the right response, but we also have to recognize that we must demonstrate the benefits broadly so that people believe that this is in their interests. Building a strong economy does not only mean implementing smart policies from the top down. It also means advancing opportunities from the bottom up; the material conditions of people’s lives, whether they have access to education and healthcare, enough food to eat, shelter over head and a decent job with a fair wage, speaks to our capacity to raise our children prepared for global citizenship, to build a workforce that can compete in a global economy and have communities that are safe, secure, and prosperous.
That is why economic progress must be measured in more than trade flows or currency values, but in the real meaningful improvements in people’s daily lives. I believe education is the foundation for that kind of progress. Yesterday, I was pleased to meet with students and teachers from indigenous communities throughout Mexico who have been given the chance, through a scholarship program, to study in the United States. They didn’t come from families that had a history of education. They didn’t come from affluent families. But what that experience meant for them was so moving to hear.
They talked about how they had learned what they could give back in their own communities. They found the voice and the strength to take on issues like gender inequality. They were prepared to be leaders. I was privileged to announce a new English language program called Access, again focused on talented but not well-off Mexican students, to make it easier for them to learn English and to participate in foreign exchange programs. We want to dig deep into our two societies to find the talented young man or young woman who might otherwise never find his or her way to this campus; who might never, in my own country, have a chance to go to college. We are losing talent every day because of inequality, because of lost opportunities.
And I am strengthened by my experience in seeing the results of what education can bring, not just to individuals and their families, but to communities, societies, and countries. We also have the opportunity to amplify the impact of nongovernmental organizations and civil society because of new technologies. The State Department is working with several companies, including Google and YouTube, Howcast, and AT&T to develop innovative ways to use networking technologies so we can put more power in the hands of citizens, giving people online tools to track corruption or report on the activity of cartel members without risking their safety.
Young people around the world are poised to lead this kind of innovative citizen empowerment, which is why the United States is supporting a summit here in Mexico of Alliance of Youth Movements, to connect up young people working to end to end violence throughout Latin America, whether it’s domestic violence or dating violence or lawlessness in the streets of your community, we must all take a stand against violence. And this is a new tool that will help.
We are supporting efforts like this because we know we’ve got to continue to look outward, not retreat inward in the face of the economic crisis. And Mexico, too, has adopted this view. And I want to congratulate the foreign secretary and the ambassador and others in the national government for being a powerful voice on humanitarian issues, particularly the ongoing crisis in Haiti. As the chair of the Children and Armed Conflict group at the United Nations, the Mexican Government has led the call to stop the use of child soldiers worldwide. The United States is eager to work with Mexico on these efforts, and look forward to Mexico’s presidency of the United Nation’s Security Council next month.

There’s also a tremendous opportunity for partnership in developing clean energy. This is another area where Mexico is a leader. Last December – December of 2008 – Mexico became the first middle-income country in the world to pledge a 50-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This was a visionary step that Mexico took, and it is one that other nations, including the United States, can learn from. Mexico has also committed to producing more than a quarter of your electricity from renewable energy sources in the next four years.

Now is that possible? Well, we won’t know until we try. Mexico has all the ingredients for making it possible, potential wind energy, ethanol, biogas, modernizing the oil industry, cutting emissions, increasing energy efficiency. Clean energy will move both of our nations closer to a healthier and safer environment, and create green jobs. This is an issue where young people, again are leading. We need to be doing everything possible to generate new good ideas. You know, there is a college, a university in New York, Cornell University where some of the young people there are going around to restaurants and collecting used vegetable oil and filtering it and using it to power their cars. I mean, it smells like french fries going down the road. (Laughter.) That should be very attractive to a lot of people.
I will be visiting later this afternoon the Benlesa biogas plant, where universities from Mexico and the United States will sign an agreement to expand our collaboration on clean energy research.
Now, despite all the ways that I think our nations and our peoples are on the same wavelength, we will not always act as one. Like all families, we will have disagreements. We have different backgrounds. We have different cultures. But meaning that we are family gives us the opportunity to disagree without jeopardizing our fundamental bonds.

So we should remember as we pursue this broader and more equal partnership with Mexico, that whatever our differences, we will always work hard to resolve them. We will work jointly with our Mexican friends to find solutions that arise in our trade relationship, including rules on trucking and agriculture, but we won’t lose sight of our overall advantage if we continue to support free and open trade.

We will discuss how the United States should achieve comprehensive immigration reform, and we won’t waver from our shared goal of an immigration policy that is effective and humane. The United States is a nation both of immigrants and of laws. And the millions of Mexican Americans have enriched our culture, our understanding of the world, and indeed, our national identity.
Last night in Mexico City, thanks to the minister, I met with a group of remarkable Mexican women. And over a wonderful dinner, we shared stories and perspectives, we talked about our concerns and our hopes for the future. And we talked about a lot of important issues, but before long it was clear that what we really cared about is what kind of lives we led, what kind of people we were, how our families were doing, and what was happening to our children. That is the ultimate tie that connects us. And it’s what gives me so much hope and optimism.
We will always face difficult days in a life, in a family, in a community, a country. But believing that we can do better tomorrow, resolve that the most important task of any country is the preparation of the next generation. To plant trees that we may never sit under so that they can shade our children and our children’s children. And that is the kind of future I hope we will make together by harnessing our energy and our talents, innovative spirit, we will create a better world worthy of every single child in America and Mexico. And we will provide the opportunities so that each and every one of those boys and girls have a chance, if they work at it, to live up to their God-given potential.
We may have a border between us, but we have a common purpose. And if we believe in that, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish together.
Thank you all very much. (Applause.)
Thank you. Now, I think the students have prepared some questions. If I’m not mistaken, I was told there were going to be two live questions and two questions perhaps over the internet.
MODERATOR: This question is from someone in the audience. And the question is: Is there a bilateral educational program to stop narcotrafficking?
SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s a great question. Is there any bilateral educational program to stop narcotrafficking? I’m not sure there is, but I think there should be. And I think we should work together on that. But there are ways that young people can educate themselves and each other against narcotrafficking and the damage that it does. And as I said in my remarks, using the modern tools of communication, of networking, gives people anonymity to be able to talk to your friends if you choose, to alert them, to let officials know about things you hear and you see, as a way of being a virtual education and empowerment project. And we should think about how that could be accomplished. Because clearly now with the new tools at your disposal, information can be communicated instantaneously and it could very well be extremely helpful in your country’s fight against narcotrafficking, and it could be helpful in my country as well. So we should think about ways we can create that, innovate around it, and then disseminate it.
QUESTION: What role can university students play to improve bilateral relationships between the United States and Mexico?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think there are a lot of ways that university students can both participate in bilateral relations and take them to another level. I would like to see many more exchange programs and connections between young people and university students in both the United States and Mexico.
We – I had mentioned that we’re going to have a youth summit in Mexico City for young people from around Latin America this summer. Coming together, both virtually over the internet and in person, to network and find out what we can do together, I think, is a tremendous opportunity and I’d like to see more and more of that, and university campuses can – and can support that. I don’t know if you have exchange students from the United States here at TecMilenio, but I think there should be a lot of exchanges that go on. So we are going to, in the State Department, look to create even more of those kinds of bilateral exchanges.
MODERATOR: Madame Secretary, from Campus Guaymas, why did you come to Mexico?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’ve been coming to Mexico for a long time. And I said yesterday in Mexico City, I came here on my honeymoon before most of you were born, and – (laughter) – which is always a sobering thought. And I came back often with my husband to vacation and I’ve come on official business. I’ve lost track of the number of times that I’ve come to Mexico over a number of decades now.
So it’s a great pleasure for me to come to Mexico anytime. And coming as Secretary of State, representing the United States, is an honor. And I particularly wanted to come very early in my term as Secretary of State so that I could convey a message both from myself and from President Obama about the kind of relationship that we will work to achieve with our Mexican partners and friends.
As I said in my speech, we have so much in common. Yes, we have differences, but what binds us together, in my view, is much greater and more important than what separates us. And in the world we inhabit together, in the small space on this planet that we share, we have to do more to not only understand each other, but work with each other, solve problems, and seize opportunities so that we will improve the lives of the people in both of our countries, and I’m committed to doing that.
MODERATOR: This is a question from Rafael Montenegro from Campus Ferreria. Does politics have a moral responsibility regarding education? If yes, what is that responsibility?
SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s a wonderful question: Does politics have a moral responsibility for education, and if so, what is it specifically? Well, I certainly believe that, you know, politics in a democracy is a tool that we use to choose our leaders and make decisions. And it’s not easy. As Winston Churchill, I think famously said, you know, democracy is the most difficult, complex system of any invented except all of the others. And it is what we use to try to choose our leaders.
And I think part of the obligation of any leader chosen in a democracy is to have a moral commitment to the education of young people – and I would even go so far as to say continuing education – so that as our world becomes more challenging, people lose jobs, they need to be retrained. There are new frontiers to science, research and technology that we cannot cross if we’re not better educated. So I believe that you can know a lot about any society by looking to see how they value education. And it’s not just rhetorical. It has to be practical; you know, what are we doing to help young people get to the starting line without being disadvantaged.
You know, for many years, I was a very active member of a group called the Children’s Defense Fund in the United States, and we saw our job as trying to, you know, even out the odds. You know, a child like my daughter, whose parents read to her every night and who had the very best education we could obtain for her and who had so many other opportunities, you know, just had such an advantage over a child who is born without parents who have that kind of experience and capacity.
And yet, I am convinced that talent is evenly spread throughout the world, but opportunity is not. I think if you were to go into the homes of the poorest of the poor in my country or your country or any country, you would – if you could imagine the future for every child, you could look at these children who look like they have no future, and if they had an education and if they were given the opportunities that Bill and I gave to our daughter, they could be the president of this university.
But opportunity is not evenly distributed. So it is the moral obligation of a democracy to get the thumb off the scale and give people a chance to compete in a meritocracy. And it is something that I believe with all my heart. You know, both my husband and I are the products of, you know, public education, and in both of our cases, a parent – my parents didn’t – you know, my father went to college on a football scholarship, which I was not going to get. (Laughter.) And, you know, my mother never went to college. But they both believe in education, and, you know, Bill’s father died before he was born and his mother didn’t go to college, but took nursing courses by correspondence.
If it hadn’t been for our being able to get a good public education and have teachers who encouraged us and parents who believed in education, you know, we wouldn’t have had the wonderful educational experiences that we enjoy that set us up for the rest of our lives. So there’s no doubt that, you know, tending to the education of young people is at the core of any democracy. And we have to do more to translate that into a reality around the world.
Thank you all. Is there another one? Is that it?
MODERATOR: This is a question from Tomatillo Hernandez Pisano from Campus Colima, and the question is: At this moment, what is the most important issue, in your opinion, in the relationship between Mexico and the United States?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t think there is one important issue. I think it’s been unfortunate that the courageous fight that Mexico is waging against the drug cartels has gotten so much attention to the exclusion of all the other issues. Is it important? Absolutely. Do we have to do everything we can to defeat the criminals? Of course we do, and we will. I have no doubt about that. But that’s not the only issue. There are many other important issues. That’s why I’m calling for a comprehensive agenda, because while we’re working on defeating the drug cartels, we want more educational exchanges. While we’re working to solve some of our trade problems, we want more infrastructure built on our borders so we can increase the flow of trade. We just have to keep working on everything. We can’t stop and just focus on, you know, one issue. We have to be constantly asking ourselves: What does the future look like? What happens after we finally end the drug cartels’, you know, violence and lawlessness and they go back to being, you know, just criminals, or they’re captured or killed or whatever happens to them? We still have to keep working together.
So I want to, you know, make that very clear that we have a very broad and deep agenda that we’re going to be working on together, and I’m looking forward to that.
One more? Okay.
MR. TEAL: Hello, Madame Secretary. Welcome. Next we have a question from – sent via text message. For more information on how you can send text messages to the Secretary, or a question or a note, from anywhere in the world, please visit www.state.gov.
And this text comes from Ruth in Florida. Secretary Clinton, will you discuss the issue of Mexican trucking into the United States and its implications for safety and national security, especially in light of the drug cartels? And what is our position on this subject? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are working with the Mexican Government to work out a resolution of the concerns that have been raised by the United States Congress that we think we can answer. But we shouldn’t just take Mexico trucking and act as though that’s the only issue that we have to worry about going across our border. You know, millions of people go back and forth across our border in cars and trucks and buses and trains and airplanes and boats and every other – on foot, every other way of getting back and forth, maybe bicycles, roller skates, I don’t know.
And we have to have better surveillance along our border of cars and every other form of transportation going both ways, you know, coming from the north to the south, and going from the south to the north. So if there are legitimate questions that have to be answered about how we move goods and services and people across our border, then we have to answer all of them.
And the question of Mexican-registered trucks has to be resolved, but it has to be put into the broader context of what we’re going to do together to make sure that anything that crosses our border either way is not carrying drugs or weapons or laundered cash or human beings who are being sold into, you know, trafficking. We’ve got to be aware of that on every front. So I want to look at this broadly, and that’s one of the reasons why Secretary Napolitano and Attorney General Holder are coming to Mexico in a few days to talk about how to implement the announcement that the Obama Administration made about how we’re going to provide more surveillance, how we’re going to have a better system for finding out what’s in those cars. You know, I mean, we can worry about what’s coming north, but Mexican people are worried about what’s coming south. You know, assault weapons, bazookas, grenades. I mean, we’ve got to get together on this.
So that’s why I don’t want this trucking issue to act like it’s the only concern, because we’ve got this border that we have to secure and prevent from causing problems on either side for our people. And the trucking issue we’ll resolve, but the broader question is how we’re going to have better surveillance and interdiction and more officials on our borders to work with our law enforcement on both sides to prevent criminality that will affect the lives of either Mexicans or Americans.
Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

Afterwards she held a press availability and was wheels up again.

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MEXICO-US-CLINTON MEXICO-US-CLINTON US Secretary of State Clinton arrives at Mexico's City airport U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets journalists as she arrives at the international airport in Mexico City U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives at the international airport in Mexico City MEXICO-US-CLINTON

Remarks at the Women Leaders Dinner


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Mexico City, Mexico
March 25, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I want to thank all of you for gathering here this evening. I thank the Secretary for a very well-planned day that enabled us to discuss a broad range of issues and concerns. And I thank you Margarita for being here, for your kind words. And to all of you, I want to reaffirm how committed President Obama and I are to this relationship which we believe is strategic, comprehensive, broad, deep, and very personal.
We share a set of common values and experiences, we share a common space, and we share a common future. And it is our great hope that we will, over the course of the next years, demonstrate a capacity to work together, unparalleled in our past, to solve problems, but more importantly, to seize opportunities and build that better future.
I have a personal privilege in being the Secretary of State at this moment in our country’s history, and it is, for me, very special to be here in Mexico. I did want to come to Mexico as soon as I could. Some of you may have heard that my husband and I honeymooned in Mexico. We came back often to vacation in Mexico. He came back as President and I came as First Lady to Mexico. I’m a little worried that my Administration back in Washington may think that my coming to Mexico is not work, but pleasure; it always has been.
But today, I come both personally committed to our relationship, and carrying the message of a new Administration that feels so strongly about building that strong foundation on which we will stand together. And I especially appreciate the opportunity to meet with all of you. I hope we can have a real conversation, because I wanted not just to have an official dinner, but to hear what is on your minds, what we can do together, concerns that you have. This is a diverse group of very accomplished women. It has been a real commitment of mine to meet with women around the world, because I have learned a lot and I always feel that you learn more by listening than by talking.
So I want to again thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to have such an early dinner. (Laughter.) And I look forward to returning with President Obama in just a few weeks, and then to – and doing the hard work to realize the promise that we all feel about the future. So let me raise a glass to the government and people of Mexico, to the democracy and promise of Mexico, and to the friendship and partnership between the United States and Mexico. Salud.
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Remarks With Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa After Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Mexico City, Mexico
March 25, 2009

MODERATOR: (via interpreter.) Good afternoon to all of you. We have here with us today State Secretary of the United States, Mrs. Hillary Clinton, and the (inaudible) First Ministry of Mexico, Ambassador Patricia Espinosa. Both will be conveying an initial message right now, and then after that we shall go into the question-answer period.
FOREIGN MINISTER ESPINOSA: (via interpreter.) Good afternoon, friends, and the media. Before anything else, I would like to thank, in a very special fashion, State Secretary Hillary Clinton, for having accepted my invitation to visit Mexico. I welcome the fact that this is a meeting taking place a few weeks after she took office, Department of State of the United States.
Your presence in Mexico has a special importance, since this is the first trip to Latin America, a little before President Barack Obama will also be visiting Mexico. After a very intense agenda of activities in Mexico City today, Secretary Clinton will be traveling tomorrow to the city of Monterrey, where she — where I will be having the pleasure of being with her. And I would also like to say that, as you know, today Secretary Clinton has made a courtesy visit to President Calderon, where they discussed multiple topics of the bilateral agendas; for instance, migration, trade, competitiveness, border development, and security. It was truly an extremely fruitful conversation; a very interesting conversation they held, and that’s the reason for our being delayed a few minutes. And we would like to thank you for your understanding, and thank you also for being here to be with us in this press conference.
In the dialogue we held this morning with Secretary Clinton, we have coincided on the importance of the topic related to migration, and we’ve also coincided that this is a key issue that unites our two countries. We are going to be working together. We’re going to be working together in the following years so that the migration phenomenon may be a phenomenon that will be benefiting both of our nations.
In highlighting our full respect for the United States legislation and the sovereign process of that country and the legislative process of that country, I told Secretary Clinton the concern of the Mexican Government due to the situation that our co-nationals are facing in the United States. And I also highlighted the importance that we give the legal framework of migration issues so that it will respond to the migration reality and the need to change the climate that Mexicans now live in the United States.
The bilateral agenda between Mexico and the United States is a very broad agenda, and in them, the economic issues have, of course, particular importance, especially today in this context of economic crisis at the international level. We’ve coincided as well in this environment on the need of concentrating our efforts on being able to have our regional competitiveness increase as a means to promote the well being of our respective countries. Here, I also wanted to highlight the will to work together, to work together so that we can accomplish conditions that will allow for the full compliance, commitment that we have taken upon ourselves in NAFTA, as countries of NAFTA, with certainty in each one of the different provisions, including the topic related to motor transportation. The border has been a key aspect, a key issue in our conversations. We’ve also expressed our willingness to invest with determination on border infrastructure in short, medium term, so that we can integrate, and thus be able to turn the border into a pull for competitiveness, to increase competitiveness between our two countries.
We also talked about the importance of cooperation and the maturity we have been able to get in our fight against organized crime, as well as the convenience and the importance of continuing, and in a more profound manner, the implementation of the Merida Initiative. We have said that the high-ranking level group of the Initiative that met for the first time in Washington last year will be holding this year as well another working session, if possible, if the agenda so allows it, with all the participants here in our country. And the different working groups, the coordination groups that are working on security issues, the groups we’ve been able to create greatly reflect the bilateral character of our focus based on the principle of co-responsibility. And later on, in a working session with the attendants in this Foreign Ministry and some members of the cabinet in terms of security issues, we’re going to go into a greater detailed discussion on this.
We also had the opportunity of talking about the world situation and we coincided on the role that our countries are now called to play in the multilateral fora in a particular manner, in the United Nations, and, of course, especially also now during our membership in the Security Council of the United Nations as non-permanent members.
And we also spoke about the participation of Mexico in the relevant fora; for instance, the case of G-20 and the G-8, G-5 dialogue. And in this sense, we also agreed to continue increasing our collaboration and dialogue within the framework of those fora. And Secretary Clinton will continue with a very intense agenda that shows her interests for Mexico, and the very broad gambit of issues that unite our two countries, in terms of education, for instance, culture, social development issues, entrepreneurial and the environment, of course.
This visit is and has been a — it is, today, although she will still be with us in Mexico for approximately 24 more hours, a little bit over 24 more hours — but it has already been, this visit, a very successful visit. And let me also say that the Governments of President Calderon and President Obama will coincide in the following four years, and that is why both governments, both administrations are determined to consolidate our relationship as a true, true partnership at the strategic level, a strategic partnership.
I would now like to give the floor to State Secretary Hillary Clinton, who does not require really any type of introduction, because she is one of the most important women of the political life of the United States, and also a very close friend of Mexico. Mrs. Clinton, you have the floor. Muchos Gracias.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Secretary Espinosa. I appreciate that kind introduction, and I’m also grateful for your invitation to visit Mexico for my first stop in Latin America as Secretary of State.
The Secretary and I had a very productive conversation about a broad range of issues. As she has just described, we are looking forward to working together in the months ahead on many of these issues on behalf of our presidents and our countries.
President Calderon has demonstrated great courage and dedication in working to shape the future of our continent and our hemisphere. And I bring greetings from President Obama, who looks forward to coming himself to Mexico in just a few weeks time.
Our two nations know each other very well, and with good reason. This is one of the most important relationships that exists between any two countries in the world. We are part of the same family, we share this continent as our common home, and we will inhabit a common future. That is why the United States and Mexico need a strong and sustained partnership, one based on comprehensive engagement, greater balance, shared responsibility, and joint efforts to address hemispheric and global issues.
We need such a comprehensive agenda in order to make progress on the economy, on energy and climate change, on security, immigration, education, health, and other areas that are of great importance to our two countries and our two peoples. During this trip, we will be discussing many of these topics. And I am pleased to announce several measures that will help strengthen our partnership with Mexico and move us both closer to our shared goals.
First, the global financial crisis has reinforced how closely our economies are linked. If there was any doubt before, there should be none now. We rise and fall together. We know that commerce between our nations is and will be a crucial part of our economic recovery. I want to thank President Calderon, Secretary Espinosa, and the Government of Mexico for the important role that you are playing in helping to shape the G-20 agenda.
In order to facilitate legal trade and travel between our nations, the Administration has set aside $720 million dollars for modernizing border crossings. That money will help encourage commerce and travel by making the gateways between our countries more efficient.
I also want to speak to the issue of security.
Now, our relationship is much bigger than any issue, including this one. Yet the criminals and kingpins spreading violence are trying to corrode the foundations of law, order, friendship, and trust between us and that support our continent. They will fail. With bold leadership from President Calderon, we are working together to provide the people of our nations with the security they deserve. Under the Merida Initiative, a program conceived by Mexico and embraced by the United States, we have now committed hundreds of millions of dollars to training and equipping Mexican law enforcement, and strengthening Mexico’s judicial system and democratic institutions.
Part of being a good partner is being a good listener. The Mexican Government made clear to us its urgent need for additional helicopters to take on the drug traffickers, and we are responding. And I am pleased to announce that the Obama Administration, working closely with Congress, intends to provide more than $80 million in urgently needed funding for Blackhawk helicopters for Mexican law enforcement. These aircraft will help Mexican police respond aggressively and successfully to the threats coming from the cartels.
We are also announcing the creation of a new bilateral implementation office here in Mexico, where Mexican and U.S. officials will work together, side-by-side, to fight the drug traffickers and the violence which they spread. We realize that drug trafficking is a shared problem. I have discussed with the Secretary and with the President what the United States can do to reduce the demand for drugs in our own country, and to stop the flow of illegal guns across our border to Mexico. And I reported to them on the major steps that our government announced yesterday.
Coming to Mexico soon will be Secretary Napolitano and Attorney General Holder to discuss in greater detail what we will do to reduce gun smuggling from the United States to Mexico, and other measures including equipment and surveillance that will help address violence on both sides of the border.
We are confident that with the courageous efforts undertaken by President Calderon, the Government of Mexico, the military and police of Mexico, and the people of Mexico that the efforts undertaken to strengthen this country’s response, to stamp out corruption, to build strong intuitions, will succeed. And we will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you as you undertake all of these actions.
Even as we focus on these urgent challenges, let us not forget that our relationship is far greater than any threat, and that our people share an unshakable bond. Mexico has supported the United States at many critical moments in our own history. I will never forget, and I want to thank the Government of Mexico and the people of Mexico, for the help you gave us after Katrina. The Mexican army was there to help provide food and support to people who had been evacuated from that terrible natural disaster.
I thank you for the help that you give on a regular basis, with wildfires in California or tornado damage or flooding in Texas. We have an ongoing, absolutely important, unbreakable bond, and that’s what I want to reiterate today.
This is a significant moment in the history of our continent. Yes, we do face many serious challenges, and we can’t just talk about them; we must act to meet them. But this is a moment of great opportunity. Tomorrow, I will be visiting a state-of-the-art clean energy plant in Monterrey, a plant that, frankly, is more advanced than most, if not all, of the plants we have in the United States. I will be witnessing the signing of agreements between the University of Texas and Universities here in Mexico to further and deepen our energy partnership. I will be meeting with indigenous students who are part of exchange programs here in Mexico, with families and institutions in the United States. So let us build on this cooperation, on comprehensive engagement, balance, and, yes, shared responsibility for a new century of cooperation and progress together that will unleash the boundless potential of the people of Mexico and the United States.
Thank you so much, Madame Secretary.
MODERATOR: (In Spanish.)
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, I’m going to ask several questions made by the press here, so I would just ask you to bear with me. First of all would be President Obama said yesterday that if the plan to secure the border fails, the U.S. is ready to take further steps. What are these further steps? Does that include a militarization of the border, or even a U.S. military presence in Mexico? That would be the first.
The second would be will the U.S. take any steps to prohibit the sales of automatic weapons to other countries, and is the Obama Administration ready to tackle the second amendment in the U.S.?
And finally, the third question would be about the helicopters. The Mexican Government has actually bought helicopters in France because of the delays faced with the Foreign Military Sales Program. Could you elaborate on that?
And finally – (laughter). Sorry, a lot of questions. The Department of Defense announced that it’s going to help the Mexican Department of Defense with $13 U.S. million dollars to liberate areas controlled by drug trafficking corporations here in Mexico. Do you believe that parts of Mexico are under control of the drug trafficking organizations? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you very much. We have made a commitment to assist the Government of Mexico in its struggle against the drug traffickers, and we have accepted that this is a co-responsibility. We know very well that the drug traffickers are motivated by the demand for illegal drugs in the United States, that they are armed by the transport of weapons from the United States to Mexico; and therefore, we see this as a responsibility to assist the Mexican Government and the Mexican people in defeating an enemy that is committing violence and disruption that is very harmful and which is something that all people of conscience should attempt to defeat.
What the President said is a shorthand for our commitment. We have not made any decisions, as was announced yesterday on National Guard along the border. We are working to provide more support for the Mexican military, the Mexican police, as well as other governmental institutions, and we will be guided by what the Mexican Government believes is working, what is appropriate, and how best we can proceed to support Mexico.
We believe that we have announced a plan to use every tool at our current disposal through administrative actions to track illegal guns, to arrest and punish those who are trafficking in illegal guns, to share more information with the Mexican Government so that they can also track and seize these guns. Obviously, I am someone who supported the assault weapons ban which was passed in 1994, but it was passed with an expiration date and it expired ten years later. I, as a senator, supported measures to try to reinstate it. Politically, that is a very big hurdle in our Congress. But there may be some approaches that could be acceptable, and we are exploring those.
Certainly, the export of assault weapons and illegal weapons is something that has grave consequences for Mexico. And we’re going to look at whatever is possible that we can do ourselves within the Administration, and we will explore with Congress other steps to take.
With respect to the helicopters, I am well aware that our long process of approval was cumbersome and challenging for the Mexican Government. We’re going to see what we can do to cut that time. We want to provide these helicopters to the Mexican Government. We think they are a necessary and important tool in the fight against the drug cartels and criminals. It’s also suggested to us we ought to look at this more generally, that it takes too long from a decision to delivery, and we’ll see what we can do to shorten that.
I believe that the fight against these drug cartels is something that the Mexican Government is making great progress in expanding and demonstrating the strength of the response, and I don’t believe that there are any ungovernable territories in Mexico. But I remember very well when we had such a crime wave 15, 20 years ago. There were many parts of cities in our country that people didn’t feel safe going to, that they didn’t feel safe leaving their homes. People felt imprisoned because of the criminals on the streets of America. So we know what it is to be intimidated by criminals. And we fought very hard to lower our crime rate, to disarm our criminals, to improve our policing, improve our judicial responses. And we see it as a similar struggle to what Mexico is now engaged in. So are there neighborhoods in Mexico where people are afraid to walk, as there were and are still even in my own country? Of course. But that’s why it’s important that we join together to defeat the violence and the criminal gangs so that people here in Mexico can feel safe in their own homes, their own neighborhoods, their businesses. And that’s what President Calderon and the government is attempting to achieve.
MR. WOOD: Next question is from Mary Beth Sheridan from The Washington Post.
QUESTION: Thank you. Secretary Espinosa, I was wondering if you could comment on – does Mexico – how does Mexico feel about the steps that the U.S. has announced? Does this meet your expectations or not? And a second question. You have rejected the idea of Mexico as a failed state. Are there any parts of Mexico where you would not feel comfortable taking Secretary Clinton? Thank you.
FOREIGN SECRETARY ESPINOSA: Well, first of all, I would like to stress that we are engaged in this really broad cooperation and the Merida Initiative has really meant a qualitative change in our cooperation in terms of the fight against drug trafficking and in general against organized crime. So – and we are very conscious that this is a process where each of us – and this is how the Merida Initiative was conceived – involves actions that each of us has to take on its own territory and many measures that we can take through cooperation that we can – the objective is really to strengthen the capacity, the capabilities of the Mexican state to face this common threat.
So in that sense, we recognize. And I have stated yesterday also in some press conferences that I had, the actions that were announced yesterday go very much along the line of the kind of cooperation that we have been trying to build upon. We have raised the issue of trafficking in arms from the north into Mexico many times. We have raised also the issue of bulk cash coming into Mexico and going into the hands of criminals.
So we are really – we recognize very much these efforts that are now being undertaken by U.S. authorities, and we are also looking forward to receiving Secretary Napolitano and the Attorney General in the coming days, where they will meet with their counterparts and where they will continue to go deeper into the consideration of all these issues and how we can improve. Of course, there’s always room for improvement. There is room for improvement here, there is room for improvement in the U.S., and there is room for improvement everywhere.
I have rejected also the idea that Mexico is a failed state, and I have stated that it is very clear for anybody who comes to this country, for any person who lives here, that this is a democratic country with strong institutions, with very strong leadership, where the citizens can really have a normal life every day. Of course, like in many parts of the world, and Secretary Clinton was just referring to some situations that were faced in U.S. cities, in some cities some time ago. As is normal, you have to be careful. You have to take precautions. You have to be very conscious of some risk and some possible situations that may arise. But absolutely, we are – I think there is no reason why anybody could say that Mexico is a failed state and that institutions are not working properly.
I would like Secretary Clinton to come very often to Mexico, and I would like to take her to many, many very beautiful places that we can share here in our country. Of course, there are some places where I would not take her, and I believe she would not take me to some places in her country, either. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well said, Madame Secretary. (Laughter.) Although I can’t resist saying, you know, my husband and I spent our honeymoon in Mexico, and we’ve come back many times on both personal and professional, official occasions. And I have such a deep regard and affection for Mexico that I am eagerly accepting the Secretary’s invitation to come back often. So that is one of the ways we’re going to deepen and broaden our cooperation.
MODERATOR: (In Spanish.)
QUESTION: Buenos tardes, Secretary Espinosa.
Secretary Clinton, I’ll try to be very brief. And I’m hoping you could give us some more insight or be more specific on the meeting and the conversations you had with President Felipe Calderon earlier today. And then also, I would like to know if you could give us the name of the new U.S. ambassador to Mexico – (laughter) – and when he will be coming.
And finally, considering the high expectations everybody has on this new Administration in the United States, could you send a message to undocumented Mexican migrants who are still seeing their human rights violated in the U.S. and who are still suffering or are victims of mistreat in the United States? Secretary Clinton, if you may.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. We had a very broad, productive conversation with President Calderon. It covered certainly the economic situation that both of our countries are facing, our preparations for the G-20 meeting in London. President Calderon and the Mexican Government have been leaders in pushing for replenishment and reform of international financial institutions, like the IMF. We discussed energy and climate change, an area that both of our presidents have great interest in, and which we all know must be addressed. And I hope that there will be a concerted effort to pursue some of the ideas that President Calderon has presented that find a great amount of interest on the part of our Administration. And that will be on the agenda for the meetings between the two presidents.
We talked about the upcoming meeting. We’re very excited about it. I know that President Obama is looking forward to it. We talked about the Summit of the Americas that we will both be attending shortly after that meeting. And we certainly talked about the security issues, the Merida Initiative. It was a broad, open conversation, which I appreciated greatly.
Yes, we are going to be naming a new ambassador. We cannot do that on this trip, but there will certainly be an ambassador. And we’re very much looking forward to that, although I have to say, it’s been a real – a really positive experience for our chargé to be representing us leading up to this trip, and I appreciate her efforts.
And finally, with respect to immigration reform, President Obama remains committed to comprehensive immigration reform. It is and will be a high priority for him and his presidency. We are also taking some actions through administrative changes and looking at the situation that our Administration inherited. So we are certainly sensitive to and understanding of the great concern toward your co-nationals in the United States. We have long said that we are both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws, and therefore we believe strongly that there have to be changes made, and we hope we’ll be able to pursue those in the coming months.
MR. WOOD: The last question is from Warren Strobel from McClatchy Newspapers.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. First for the foreign minister, you mentioned the trucking issue and NAFTA. Congress recently voted to cut off funds for the pilot trucking program. The Obama Administration signed that law. Are you worried about a rising tide of protectionism in the United States – a rising tide of protectionism in the United States as the U.S. goes through an economic recession?
And really quickly for Secretary Clinton, if she would entertain a question on another topic. There’s news today that North Korea has put a missile on the launch pad. I’m not asking you to confirm such a report, but do you see this launch now as inevitable, and what will the consequences for North Korea be?
Thank you very much.
FOREIGN SECRETARY ESPINOSA: Well, on the first question, I would like to say that a very broad consensus has evolved even from the Washington meeting of the G-20 in the sense that it is important to avoid protectionism, to not go into the temptation of protectionism, because this was – this proved not to be a good solution to the crisis in the ‘30s. There’s many reasons, but regarding a scenario of a big crisis like the one we’re facing, this was very clearly one of the reasons why recovery was so slow and it took such a long time.
(Via interpreter.) So in this respect for us (inaudible) Mexico (inaudible) conversation President Calderon and President Obama when they met in January. The issue of keeping (inaudible) need to avoid protectionist measures, which is an issue that has the utmost relevance. This issue which concerns us now (inaudible) problem is the problem that has been a typical problem among our countries. It has been present for a long time. It is not referring only to this point in particular. But here, what I think we should highlight is the fact that both governments have expressed a clear political will to work together in order to find a solution that will benefit both countries and that will allow us to comply with the obligations that we have accepted.
SECRETARY CLINTON: We are working very hard to achieve a resolution of this issue, and I appreciate the points that the Secretary made concerning the dangers of protectionism. I believe that she is accurate historically and it is certainly true today that we have to get the global economy moving, we’ve got to get jobs being created again, we have to get incomes rising. And so we are committed to working this through, and I have told the Secretary that.
With respect to North Korea, we have been absolutely clear the intention, as stated by the North Koreans, to launch a missile, for any purpose, is a provocative act which we believe violates Security Council Resolution 1718. We have made it very clear that the North Koreans pursue this pathway at a cost and with consequences to the Six-Party Talks, which we would like to see revived and moving forward as quickly as possible, and we intend to raise this violation of the Security Council resolution – if it goes forward – in the UN. And coincidentally, Mexico will be chairing the Security Council starting in April. We have a very broad agenda that we intend to work with. Issues like Haiti and others are very important to both of our countries. But this provocative action in violation of the United Nations mandate will not go unnoticed and there will be consequences.
Thank you.
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Hillary Rodham Clinton US Secretary of State Clinton smiles during a news conference at the foreign ministry in Mexico City US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a news conference at the foreign ministry in Mexico City US Secretary of State Clinton smiles during a news conference at the foreign ministry in Mexico City MEXICO-US-CLINTON US Secretary of State Clinton speaks during a news conference at the foreign ministry in Mexico City US Secretary of State Clinton shakes hands with Mexican Foreign Secretary Espinosa after a news conference in Mexico City US Secretary of State Clinton shakes hands with Mexican Foreign Secretary Espinosa after a news conference at the foreign ministry in Mexico City MEXICO-US-CLINTON-ESPINOZA US Secretary of State Clinton talks with Mexican Foreign Minister Espinosa after a news conference in Mexico City MEXICO-US-ESPINOZA-CLINTON MEXICO-US-ESPINOZA-CLINTON MEXICO-US-ESPINOZA-CLINTON MEXICO-US-ESPINOSA-CLINTON Hillary Rodham Clinton, Patricia Espinosa US Secretary of State Clinton talks with Mexican Foreign Minister Espinosa after a news conference in Mexico City US Secretary of State Clinton shakes hands with Mexican Foreign Minister Espinosa after a news conference in Mexico City

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Remarks With Nigerian Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe Before Their Meeting

Photo Opportunity

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
March 23, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning. I’m very pleased to welcome to the State Department the foreign minister of Nigeria. He is here with a distinguished delegation, both of ministers from the government and members of the parliament, and we’re delighted that you’re here to discuss so many matters of mutual concern, Mr. Minister.
FOREIGN MINISTER MADUEKWE: Thank you, Secretary. It is indeed a great pleasure and an honor to be here with you.
FOREIGN MINISTER MADUEKWE: We look forward to a great conversation.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much.

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Remarks With Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd After Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
March 24, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am delighted that we’ve had the opportunity, first with the President and now here at the State Department, to discuss a range of important issues with the Prime Minister and with his delegation. America doesn’t have a better friend in the world than Australia, a friend through good times and hard times on so many of the historic and difficult challenges that have faced the United States and Australia, both singly and together. And we have reaffirmed out commitment to working closely on the range of difficult problems, but also exciting opportunities that lie ahead.

So, Mr. Prime Minister, again, welcome here to the Benjamin Franklin Room in the State Department.
PRIME MINISTER RUDD: Thank you very much, Secretary of State. It’s good to be back here in the State Department. I’ve been here many times before, and it’s good to be here with you as Secretary of State. We regard you as a genuine friend of Australia, and it’s good to have had this discussion with you.
The Secretary is convening soon a conference in The Hague to galvanize international support for the good people of Afghanistan. This is something which Australia strongly supports. Foreign Minister Smith will be attending. This sort of collaborative effort is important for the future of Afghanistan. It is also further evidence of the strong leadership which we see from the Obama Administration and through the Secretary of State in so many areas of foreign policy.
The only other thing I would say is the Secretary of State’s recent visit to East Asia, I believe, sent a very strong and positive signal to our part of the world about this Administration’s engagement with the Asian Pacific, which will be such a dynamic part of the 21st century.
So, Secretary of State, thank you for hosting me to the State Department today.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Prime Minister. Thank you all.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, one question if you would. The Polish foreign minister was quoted over the weekend with some unusually strong language saying that the Poles had taken considerable risk in agreeing to cooperate in American missile defense plans and that they are waiting on the current Administration’s announcement of its further plans with regard to missile defense and that he hopes that the Polish trust in the Americans was not misplaced. I’m paraphrasing, but it was close to that.
Now given the unusual nature of that language, what can you tell us about whether or not the Poles, to put it colloquially, are being left high and dry?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have a very long and deep relationship with Poland and with the Polish Government and the Polish people. We are going to continue to consult with them and work through the issues concerning security that are of, you know, great interest to not only the Poles but all Europeans and the United States. As members of NATO, we take seriously our alliance commitments and I’m very confident that we will work through whatever issues lie ahead on any front. And that’s part of what will be discussed at the upcoming NATO summit.
Thank you. Thank you all.

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Remarks with Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa


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

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. I am pleased to welcome the foreign minister of Bahrain here today. We had the opportunity to meet when I was in Sharm el-Sheikh and I am so delighted that he could accept an invitation to meet with me here at the State Department. As you know, we have a very good relationship and working partnership on a number of important issues, and we look forward to talking about our areas of mutual concern. Mr. Minister?
FOREIGN MINISTER AL KHALIFA: Thank you very much. As you said, Madame Secretary, it’s an honor for me and a pleasure to be here in the United States to renew our friendship that started long time ago, and especially in Sharm el-Sheikh. And we look forward to build on this partnership, as you say rightly, between our two countries. Our relationship goes over two centuries. We have a lot to do together. We have a lot of prospects of taking our relationship forward into new horizons. And we are very optimistic we can work together.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Good. Thank you all.

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Remarks With British Foreign Secretary David Miliband


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

SECRETARY CLINTON: Hello. Well, I am pleased that the foreign secretary has come for another visit to further our cooperative working relationship in preparation for the March 31 meeting in The Hague and in preparation for the G-20 meeting, the NATO summit, the EU-U.S. meeting. We have a lot on our agenda. Welcome, David.
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Thank you very much. It’s really good to be here. We’re looking forward to our discussions and hearing how you’re building on the very strong, positive impression that the Administration and you, in particular, have made right across Europe. So, glad to be here.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you all very much.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) do you think NATO will put forward more troops in Afghanistan if President Obama asks?
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I think that we have discussed this in the European community, European Union and in NATO as well. We’re very struck that the Obama Administration wants to have a discussion of objectives, of strategy, and better resources, and they want to do it in that order. Obviously in the UK, we have about 12 percent of (inaudible) forces in Afghanistan.
I think what I would say is that the greatest increase in troops over the next few years is going to come from Afghans, because it’s the Afghan National Army that is the focus of development. But some European countries are increasing their troop numbers, but I think there’s a real sense that the Administration is serious about consultation and collaboration about all aspects of the objectives of the strategy as well as the resources, and that’s greatly appreciated.
SECRETARY CLINTON: And I would only add, Arshad, that what we have is an integrated strategy to achieve the objectives so that the civilian capacity that is going to be important for assisting in the training of the Afghan National Army as well as the police in supporting governance, rule of law, judicial systems, economic opportunities is also on the table. So we’re going to have a thorough discussion leading up to the March 31st meeting because we believe that the objectives and the strategic review should lead in making clear what the resources will be, and we’ll get into the specifics as we move forward. Thank you all very much.

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Remarks With South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
March 19, 2009

Date: 03/19/2009 Location: Washington, DC Description: Secretary Clinton greets South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.  State Dept Photo

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. And it’s a special treat to welcome not only the foreign minister, but someone who I’ve had the privilege of meeting before, and looking forward now to work together in our new capacity. And we have so many important issues to discuss with South Africa. And the opportunities for us to have a comprehensive relationship that touches on all of these important matters is very exciting to me, Madame Minister.
FOREIGN MINISTER DLAMINI-ZUMA: Thank you. A pleasure for South Africa to be able to meet the Secretary of State in a new capacity. Because as she says, we’ve known each from other engagements. But also to have this opportunity to really look at our bilateral relations and to see how to strengthen it and how to broaden it and how to cooperate in many other areas of mutual interest. So we are delighted to be here and to have this opportunity.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you so much.

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Remarks with Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin After Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
March 16, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. Well, I am delighted to welcome the foreign minister here today. I know this comes a little early, but, Minister Martin, I wish you and the people of Ireland and all people who are connected to the wonderful Irish history and traditions a very happy St. Patrick’s Day.

I had the great honor of representing a very large Irish American citizenry in New York for eight years, and I know well the contributions that Ireland and Irish Americans have made to the United States. They’re so numerous, they’re impossible to quantify. And indeed, we now have a President and a Vice President who trace some of their family roots back to Ireland.

So I am grateful that the foreign minister could join us here today ahead of the holiday tomorrow to acknowledge both the history and friendship that we share, but also the working relationship that we have enjoyed on a number of important issues that are really significant to both the people of Ireland and to Americans.

I told the foreign minister how much we appreciate that strong partnership. And we discussed and had a very productive meeting about a range of issues. Our countries share a vital economic relationship that has created tens of thousands of jobs in Ireland and the United States. We need to coordinate closely to preserve those benefits in the face of global economic challenges.

Ireland also makes significant contributions to global security. Over 800 troops, 10 percent of the country’s armed forces, are currently deployed overseas on peacekeeping missions in Chad, Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and other countries.

And on the subject of conflict prevention, I want to address the recent events in Northern Ireland. As many of you know, this is an issue of great personal concern and commitment to both me and to my husband. It was an honor to work on behalf of peace in Northern Ireland and to do so with the leadership of Senator George Mitchell as our negotiator. I had the privilege of visiting Northern Ireland numerous times to meet with activists from both communities. I spent a lot of time in particular with women, Catholic and Protestant, who were working to build bridges in their own communities, to find common ground as mothers and wives, and to create conditions for peace from the ground up.

Thanks to the brave efforts of government leaders and community activists like the women that I was privileged to know, the people of Northern Ireland, with the strong support of the Government of Ireland and the Government of Great Britain, reached a peace agreement, the Good Friday Agreement, that has delivered more than a decade of calm and progress.

Now, in recent days, a handful of rejectionists have tried to drag the people of Northern Ireland back into a full cycle of violence and retaliation. The recent attacks which killed two British soldiers and a police officer are an affront to the values of every community, every ethnicity, every religion, and every nation that seeks peace. I want to commend the entire leadership of Northern Ireland as well as the Irish and British governments for their constructive statements and their strong resolve in the face of this attack.

I hope that the recent arrests will bring an end to these tragic events and allow the people of Northern Ireland to continue to move forward not only with the important work of reconciliation, but with prosperity and progress that will redound to the benefit of all. The success of the peace process has consequences that go far beyond Northern Ireland. It provides proof to people everywhere that negotiations, dialogue, reconciliation, diplomacy can end conflicts that have tormented generations. The United States stand with the people of Northern Ireland. We will not let criminals destroy the gains that have been achieved through great courage and sacrifice.

Now, this issue is, of course, only a small facet of our relationship with Ireland. Whether it is supporting the Middle East peace process; strengthening democratic institutions in Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Western Balkans; promoting human rights; finding solutions to the global financial crisis and climate change; working together on development, we know Ireland is and will remain a strong and steady partner and leader. We share responsibilities, a common agenda, and a proud history.

So Minister Martin, I am grateful for your friendship and for the friendship that you represent on behalf of your country, and I look forward to working with you as we address these and other challenges.

FOREIGN MINISTER MARTIN: Thank you very much indeed, Secretary of State, and may I say that it’s a particular pleasure for me and indeed a privilege to be here with you and to have the opportunity to have our first bilateral meeting here in Washington.

I think you will agree that our meeting was substantive, it was productive, and very fruitful. And indeed, I, of course, congratulated Secretary of State Clinton on her recent appointment and, of course, said all of us in Ireland look forward to working with you in the months and indeed in the years ahead.

It is especially appropriate that the meeting should take place on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, when Ireland again has been honored so warmly here in Washington. And indeed there’s a special bond of friendship between Ireland and the United States, and again this is reflected, I think, in the very generous way in which St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated here today and tomorrow in Washington and indeed across the United States itself.

Secretary Clinton has been an extraordinary friend of Ireland and continues to be. For many years you’ve played a key role in our peace process, as you’ve just articulated, and you’ve been a frequent visitor to Ireland over the years. Your engagement at a political and civic level, particularly in terms of developing political awareness among women’s groups in Northern Ireland, was particularly important and earned you the greatest respect on the island of Ireland and indeed amongst our Irish American community here in the United States. And of course, we look forward very much indeed to welcoming you to Ireland for an official visit at an early opportunity.

In addition to that, we did discuss, of course, the situation in Northern Ireland, including the tragic events of last – of the past week, when three lives were needlessly and senselessly lost as a result of unacceptable and criminal attacks by dissidents. We – what has emerged from the past week, as I spoke and discussed with Secretary Clinton, has been a very strong unity of purpose from both the Irish and the British Government and indeed from all of the political parties on the island of Ireland. It has demonstrated a very significant unity of purpose in ensuring that we will never go back to the bad old days and that we’re very anxious to build on the political momentum and develop very strong political structures and community structures to ensure the continuation and the enhancement of the extraordinary achievements of the past ten years. And of course, America has been particularly important in relation to those achievements.

In terms of the ongoing bilateral relationship that we – Secretary Clinton has expressed interest in the new strategic framework that the Taoiseach announced last evening, which will in many ways be the framework for the development of our relationship with the United States in the decades ahead. And we want to work on quite a number of those issues into the future, not least in developing bilateral frameworks whereby young Irish people can come to America and indeed young Americans can come to Ireland to work and to study and to learn more about each other’s cultures and experiences. And in that context, we look forward to working bilaterally on issues such as development and other issues where we can add value to the world by working in partnership.

I wish to pay tribute to Secretary Clinton’s intensive engagement with the international community over the past few weeks. We look forward to the United States assuming a strong and progressive global leadership role in the years ahead. And already within the European Union community, there is strong anticipation, excited anticipation about the relationship that will develop across the Atlantic between the European Union and indeed the United States.

We’ve discussed, as the Secretary of State said, issues pertaining to the Middle East, to Afghanistan, to global economic downturn, and developments within the European Union itself. We welcome your very energetic engagement in the pursuit of a comprehensive peace settlement in the Middle East. And of course, we were particularly warm in our welcome of the appointment of Senator George Mitchell as Middle East envoy, a person who did an enormous amount of work for Ireland in developing the peace process back in Ireland. And anywhere we’ve gone in the Middle East, we have made it very clear a man of integrity, a man of fairness, and a man who listens has been appointed to a very sensitive post. And that speaks volumes in terms of your commitment to the resolution of that issue. And indeed, if we can be of any assistance in that regard, given our own experiences, we’re only too willing to provide such assistance.

We look forward to tomorrow, St. Patrick’s Day. I was intrigued by the Secretary of State Clinton’s memories of the capacity of the Irish to party in a unique way – (laughter) – and she interrogated the Ambassador in terms of where the real parties were going to be tomorrow evening. (Laughter.) And I think, you know, we’re looking forward to it, and the Taoiseach – and the meeting between President Obama and the Taoiseach tomorrow as well, which of course is the highlight of the remarkable celebration of our national day in the United States.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Minister Martin.

MR. WOOD: We’ll take a couple of questions. The first one is to Elise Labott of CNN.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary. On Pakistan, I’d like to talk to you about your message to Pakistan over the weekend, which certainly seemed to help, at least, calm the situation. What sort of pressure did you apply to Pakistan? Did you warn that Congress may not be forthcoming with aid if the political turmoil continues? And given the political turmoil, can you say that the government is stable and are you concerned that it’s distracted from the very important task at hand at fighting the war on terrorism? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, of course, the Pakistanis themselves resolved the difficulties that were manifest over the last several days. The work that was done by our Ambassador Anne Patterson and the Embassy staff, along with our Special Representative Richard Holbrooke and his staff, was, I think, very helpful in both working with the Pakistani leaders themselves and in keeping our government informed. I did speak with both President Zardari and Nawaz Sharif. And I believe that the resolution that they have agreed upon is the first step of what has to be an ongoing reconciliation and compromising of political views that can stabilize civilian democracy and the rule of law, both of which are essential to the efforts that the Pakistanis themselves see as so critical; namely, preventing extremism and violence from stalking the Pakistani people and the country.

So we are going to continue our very close working relationship with the government and a number of Pakistani leaders in the days and weeks ahead. We have another trilateral meeting scheduled a few months off. So there will be an ongoing effort to make our services available and to help the Pakistanis fight against our common enemy.

QUESTION: Are you worried that (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think they understand what’s at stake.

MODERATOR: Last question is from Denis Coghlan of the Irish Times.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Denis, how are you?

QUESTION: Very well. Thank you, Madame Secretary. The Administration has asked a number of European countries, including Ireland, to help with the resettlement of detainees in Guantanamo Bay. I wanted to ask you, first, how important is our help with that issue? And secondly, what would you say to European citizens who say that Guantanamo was an American creation that most Europeans didn’t approve of, and that the United States really has the responsibility to resolve the problems it created?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the President has made it clear that we will close Guantanamo. That is a position that was widely advocated by Europeans, both European governments and the EU, as well as European citizens from, I guess, every country. We believe that that is the right step for the United States to take, and we are going through our process now to evaluate the disposition with respect to each detainee.

But it is clear that we will need help because many of the detainees cannot safely, for themselves or others, be sent back to the countries from which they came. There are some countries that have made it very clear if the detainees are returned that they will face consequences; imprisonment, for example. So we need help to avoid the human rights problems that might arise with the release and resettlement of the detainees. And we are trying to do the best we can with the problem that we inherited, and that certainly is something that Europe, from one end to the other, called upon us to do. So we would hope to have the cooperation of European governments.

FOREIGN MINISTER MARTIN: First of all, we warmly welcomed the decision to close Guantanamo, and indeed Ireland was one of the first countries out calling for its closure. And it has been welcomed warmly across the European Union. And as I have said, and I’m on the record publicly as saying, that given the fact that we called for the closure of Guantanamo, we have – there’s a compelling logic to being responsive to the situation and to see what – where we can help in – within the context of the European Union as well, because we do believe that Europe is working on this at the moment, and I understand that the European Union is engaged with the Administration in terms of information and so on. And I know it will be the subject matter of discussions perhaps tomorrow as well between the President and the Taoiseach, so I’m not going to preempt anything the Taoiseach may say.

But we’re a friend of America and we will respond to the issues as they emerge. And we’ve made it clear that we want to be positive in our engagement on this issue with the Administration.

SECRETARY CLINTON: We appreciate that.

MR. WOOD: Thank you all very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: One – you want one more on each side?

MR. WOOD: Sure.


QUESTION: Madame Secretary, how do you respond to criticism from Senators McCain and Graham and Brownback that Chris Hill is – does not have the experience necessary to become ambassador in Baghdad? He doesn’t have the experience in the Arab countries. And they also allege that he doesn’t have the negotiating skills necessary, and they point to the recent deadlock in the negotiations with North Korea as an example.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, obviously, I think both of those criticisms are unjustified and unfounded. Chris Hill is a distinguished, experienced diplomat who has served in some very difficult positions on behalf of our country. Another very distinguished, experienced diplomat, John Negroponte, was our ambassador to Iraq. He did not have Middle East or Arabic language skills when he was sent to Iraq. I believe the people you’ve just mentioned, my former colleagues, all voted for former Deputy Secretary Negroponte. So I think on the experience basis, he is not only very well-qualified in terms of running a large embassy, helping to deal with the myriad of issues that will arise as we conduct our withdrawal, but we’ll have around him, as any ambassador does, people who have particular skills and expertise.

With respect to the North Korean mission that we believe Ambassador Hill carried out with great persistence and success despite some difficult challenges, this is a hard set of challenges to meet. And it is our perspective that he made a lot of lemonade out of some pretty bad lemons, and he was able to get the North Koreans on record as agreeing to certain obligations. We now have to follow through on those obligations.

So our assessment, which we believe is rooted in the facts, may be different from those who, you know, are rightfully distressed with and extremely critical of North Korean actions on human rights, on their continuing effort to obtain nuclear weapons, on their belligerence and their provocative actions. But that is something that is not in any way reflective of the job that Chris Hill did in the Six-Party Talks, where we think he did a very good job.

MODERATOR: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: A question for the Secretary of State. You had strong words there for the dissidents in Northern Ireland. Can I just ask —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Not dissidents, not – I’m all in favor of dissidents. I’m not in favor of criminals.

QUESTION: Okay. Well, your strong words, how – I just want to ask how you felt personally last week when you saw the events unfolding. And just secondly on that, you’ve been asked to make an official visit at the earliest opportunity.


QUESTION: When do you think that will be and will President Obama be coming with you?

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) Well, I told the minister that unfortunately, my colleagues in the State Department know my great affection for Ireland and they’re somewhat skeptical that it’s a work job for me to go. So I’m working that through. I will get there at my earliest opportunity.

I think like all people who value peace and who know what it’s like to feel secure sending your, you know, son to the store or waiting for your husband to come home from work, those days were thankfully behind us. And so when these criminal elements, these rejectionists, determined to kill and try to set the communities against one another in Northern Ireland again, to relive the troubles and the bad days that everyone worked so hard to resolve, it was distressing.

But I was immediately heartened by the response across Northern Ireland, indeed, the island of Ireland with people speaking out against the murders and the violence and the provocation that these actions represented. I particularly appreciated the very strong statements of Northern Ireland’s leaders from both communities. So I believe this did, as the minister said, fortunately foil the efforts of the criminal elements to try to provoke violence again. In fact, it did show a unity of purpose, a commitment to a positive future.

Now that doesn’t mean all of the problems are over and all of the difficulties that people live with day-to-day – the minister and I talked about some of the economic issues that we wanted to help address in Northern Ireland. But it did, in a resounding way, demonstrate a commitment to peace that touched my heart and was incredibly moving to me.

Thank you all.


# # #

Ya gotta love her, trying to find out where the good parties are. Come to my house, Hillary!
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Remarks With Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams Before Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
March 17, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m delighted to welcome Gerry Adams to the State Department. I was delighted also to meet with him, I think, every year as a senator from New York. And I’m looking forward to meeting with him and other officials of Northern Ireland and the British Government today as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and we talk about how we’re going to continue to support the devolution of power and authority and the peace and prosperity of the island of Ireland.
Thank you all.
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Remarks With Northern Ireland Secretary of State Shaun Woodward Before Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
March 17, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. I am pleased to welcome the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland here for our meeting on this St. Patrick’s Day where we are deeply connected between not only Ireland and – the island of Ireland and the United States, but of course the United Kingdom and its very progressive and positive role in moving Northern Ireland along the path toward lasting peace and prosperity.
SECRETARY WOODWARD: Well, I’d like to thank the Secretary of State for being kind enough to see me and my colleagues from Northern Ireland today on St. Patrick’s Day, which of course, is a really important day for us all to celebrate.
It’s been a testing time in Northern Ireland in the last week. But the extraordinary thing is how not only the government in Britain and Ireland have come behind the political parties in such an easy way, but how the political parties in Northern Ireland have responded and united (inaudible) this.
And I’d just like to thank the American Government for everything you’ve done, the investment and the political support, because we really do have the most great opportunities in Northern Ireland, and we couldn’t have got there without the help of America. And it’s a great chance now for us to see real prosperity for the people there and lasting peace.
So thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.

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Remarks With Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State, Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 17, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. Well, I am very pleased to be here this afternoon with two men who have really proven what leadership means and demonstrated clearly courage and commitment: First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
I want to begin by saying how pleased I am personally to welcome them here. I have known Peter and Martin for a number of years and have seen them take responsibility for the future of the people of Northern Ireland in a way that has inspired confidence and created a real opportunity for people not only in the United States, but around the world to look to Northern Ireland and to see the progress there. Of course, it’s St. Patrick’s Day and they are here on this occasion, but they are no strangers to either Washington or the State Department. And I know how important our relationship is to continue to support those who work for peace.
In addition to the discussion that I just concluded with the first minister and the deputy first minister, I have had excellent conversations with others as well who you have seen starting yesterday and continuing through today.
Northern Ireland has made such remarkable progress since the signing of the Good Friday Accord. We’ve had more than a decade of peace and progress and prosperity for many. Recent acts of violence cannot be allowed to undermine that progress and the progress that is yet to come as these two leaders and those who work with them continue to move into the future. The violence that has occurred with the killing of the two young soldiers and the police officer are an affront to the values of every community, every person who believes in the power of peace and reconciliation.
The two men standing on either side of me led Northern Ireland through the last days in a commendable manner. Along with the governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom, they have confronted these acts of violence with boldness and statesmanship. And they have responded to actions intended to sow fear and division with unity and courage.
So we are here after ten years of peace, and we’re committed to looking forward to a future where we, the United States, working with them, can create a better life so that every child growing up in Northern Ireland has a chance to live up to his or her God-given potential.
The State Department and the Obama Administration will be actively engaged in assisting the leadership of Northern Ireland. And this is not a subject of passing interest, but of surpassing interest. During my time as First Lady, during my time as senator from New York, I have been privileged to see the people of Northern Ireland move in a direction that has given so much hope to so many, including those far beyond their own boundaries.
So I want to thank the first minister and the deputy first minister, and now let me turn to the first minister for any comments he wishes to make.
FIRST MINISTER ROBINSON: Thank you very much. At the very outset, I want to express my appreciation and the appreciation of all of the people of Northern Ireland to Secretary Clinton. Hillary has been a good friend of Northern Ireland, a great friend of the process in which we have been involved. We were delighted to hear in our meeting which has just concluded that that is going to be an ongoing interest. We’re looking for excuses to bring her to Northern Ireland, and we’re delighted to hear that the Obama Administration is looking to bring an envoy to continue to partner with us, and indeed to have a particular emphasis with someone looking after the issue of the economy.
The deputy first minister and I have had a difficult period of time. I think that anybody who has followed recent events will know that there was a single purpose on the part of those who carried out those dreadful acts. They intended to divide us. They intended to drag Northern Ireland back into conflict. Their hopes were that the work of the politicians in the assembly and in the executive would begin to fray and that the institutions would crumble and fall.
They have not succeeded, and they will not succeed. There is a massive determination, not just on the part of the deputy first minister and myself, but I was delighted to see it from every single political party. There was no party political bickering on the issue. Every politician stepped up to the line and made it clear their denunciation of the incidents and also their determination that they were not going back.
It is that determination not simply not to go back or to stand still, but to drive us forward, to complete the tasks that we have set our hand to, and to bring Northern Ireland to that place where it has a stable political and economic future, where prosperity is a daily diet of our people. It is that hope that drives us forward, and it is that hope that I believe we have the full support of the people of Northern Ireland in realizing.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much.
DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER MCGUINNESS: Well, if I could say that it’s an incredible good fortune for all of us on the island of Ireland and the north that Hillary Clinton has been appointed the new Secretary of State. She has for many, many years, alongside her husband, been a true friend of all of us, a true friend of the peace process, contributing tremendously to the transformation that has taken place over the course of the last number of years. And what has been really encouraging about this visit and the meeting that we’ve just come from is that it’s quite clear that she is surrounded by people who have a tremendous insight into our situation, going back many, many years. I find that tremendously encouraging, and we’re excited about our meeting with President Obama this morning and the things we heard from him and his reiteration of his commitment to help us within the process, continuing, I must say, a long line of important contributions from the United States of America.
And what we’ve heard just now in the course of our meeting with Secretary Clinton further encourages us that we will see the appointment of an envoy who will make their own particular contribution, also following in a long line of envoys who have been tremendously supportive for all of us.
And we talked about the economy because we believe that economic development is of critical importance, and our program for government identified the development of the economy as a key priority for all of us. And there has been a long tradition of American companies investing on the island of Ireland and in the north of Ireland, and our visit here and the West Coast, and we’ve been to Los Angeles, Peter’s been to Chicago, I’ve been to New York, and we’re now in Washington. Everywhere we went, it was quite clear that people were very tuned in to what had happened in our country and indeed at the time of those incidents were very shocked that it did happen.
But that shock quickly gave way to a bigger story, and the bigger story was the unity which Peter has just spoken about, not just between himself and myself, but between all of the parties recognizing that this represented a real challenge to our process by people who are dedicated to destroy the peace process, dedicated to the demolition of the political institutions, and absolutely dedicated to plunging our community. And we don’t speak about two communities. We represent – although we represent different parties, we represent one community in the north of Ireland, and we are not going to allow our community to be plunged into mayhem and destruction by people who have no support, no mandate whatsoever, and no right whatsoever to attack the peace that the people of Ireland as a whole and in the north voted for in the referendum in the aftermath of the Good Friday upheaval.
So I’m actually moving forward on all of this with tremendous confidence about the future, confidence in that we are united, that we are supported by the Irish Government and the British Government, and by a very strong Administration here in the United States of America led by President Obama and Hillary Clinton. So we will leave Washington incredibly buoyed up by the encouragement and support that we’ve received here, and I want to express my deepest thanks and appreciation to you, Hillary, and to President Obama and all those in all of the political parties on Capitol Hill who have stood by us through thick and thin.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, there are predictions of really catastrophic conditions in Darfur because of the president of Sudan’s expulsion of aid groups and apparent intention to shut them down completely. And I’m wondering what can the international community do about this. Will this in any way speed the appointment of another special envoy, a U.S. envoy to Sudan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have been deeply engaged in determining what we can do, because this is a horrendous situation that is going to cause untold misery and suffering for the people of Darfur, particularly those in the refugee camps. There will be a special envoy appointed for Sudan in the coming days. But the real question is what kind of pressure can be brought to bear on President Bashir and the government in Khartoum to understand that they will be held responsible for every single death that occurs in those camps, because by their expulsion of the aid workers, who came from all over the world to assist with the health and the sanitation and the security and the education of the refugees, they are putting those 1.4 million lives at risk.
And for those governments that support President Bashir’s decision to expel the aid workers, they have a responsibility to persuade the government in Sudan to change its decision to let the aid workers back in, or they must replace with money and personnel those who have been expelled, so that innocent lives are not lost and further undermined.
So we take this very seriously. We are looking for the most effective ways to convince and demonstrate to the Government of Sudan that they have now assumed an even greater sense of responsibility and infamy in the eyes of the world by turning their backs on these refugees whom they created in the first place. So we hope that either by the internal processes of the Sudanese Government or pressure brought to bear by the supporters of President Bashir and that government, the decision is reversed, or at the very least, the money and the personnel are replaced.
MODERATOR: Jim Dee from the Belfast Telegraph.
QUESTION: Thank you. This is a question for Madame Secretary and also the first and deputy first ministers.
Madame Secretary, as my colleague pointed out, there are many serious problems in the world. Northern Ireland has enjoyed top-level attention from the White House for many years now. When Barack Obama was running against John McCain, he indicated that he may revisit the appointing of an envoy. How long can the White House, in the highest levels of the U.S. Government, stay engaged in Northern Ireland? Will there be a time when they will not?
And to the first and deputy first ministers, you are here on an economic investment journey to try to find companies that will invest in Northern Ireland. The global economy right now is in a very serious state. How contingent on economic progress and stability is political stability in Northern Ireland?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as to your first question, we waited until we had the opportunity to consult with the leaders of Northern Ireland and of the Republic of Ireland about the best way to structure our relationship going forward. And it has been a unanimous agreement that having this high-level attention from the United States Government provides a real value to the ongoing peace process and to the economic aspects of, you know, anchoring peace in the soil where people can actually see the fruits of that effort.
So we will be appointing a special envoy. We’ll be appointing someone who will pay attention to the economic investment side of this. You know, there’s a great sense of affinity between the United States and the Irish, and it’s something that I take very personally as well as professionally as part of my responsibilities. It’s not only that we have many millions – about 44 million, which I think is an undercount – of Irish Americans, but it is the fact that we formed this deep relationship. And we are there to help; we’re not there to do anything other than support the decisions that these extraordinary leaders make.
But if we are needed, if we provide value, we will continue to support this process. It is gaining strength every day. As both Peter and Martin said, the reaction not just by the leaders, but the people in Northern Ireland to the murders last week demonstrated how firmly anchored peace is. But there are still some bumps along the road.
And before I turn to Peter to answer your second question, you know, the Northern Ireland economy is doing better than a lot of economies right now, so I think it is quite attractive for people who understand that we will work our way through this global economic crisis we’re in right now, and there will be opportunities for investments. And I think Peter and Martin are absolutely right to be out talking about the advantages of investing in Northern Ireland right now.
FIRST MINISTER ROBINSON: Secretary Clinton is right. Northern Ireland does have a deep and special relationship with the United States as part of a secret deal. The deal is that as we have supplied you with 15 presidents that we will continue to do that. (Laughter.)
And we continue to get support from the leadership of the United States. It’s working well for both of us, I think. The economy of Northern Ireland is critical and is critical to the overall process in which we’re engaged. We want to be able to show people that having local control can make a difference. And it only makes a difference to them if they feel it themselves. And therefore, it has to be able to – raise everybody hopes, it has to get into every section of our community. And the economy is the one way that you can do that, you can make people feel better, you can make people feel that this is working.
Of course, we, relatively speaking, are weathering the economic storm better than many. And we have an unemployment rate to which I think most European countries and the United States would be happy with, at just about 5 percent. But we want to go up the food chain in terms of the type of jobs that we have in Northern Ireland. And we’re looking at high-end engineering, financial and businesses services, IT, creative industries. Those are the areas that we are wanting to grow in Northern Ireland. And we can provide businesses in the United States, even in these hard times, with a good reason to come to Northern Ireland, where you get the highest skills at the lowest cost.
So yeah, we do want to improve our economy. It’s important for the overall process. And we believe that the United States has something that it can give Northern Ireland, but Northern Ireland has something that it can give back.
DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER MCGUINNESS: Well, I think it is very important that people benefit from the fruits of the peace process. And reiterating what Peter said, our relationship with the United States of America is rock solid. We have connections going back here centuries, and the bonds between us are very strong. And I believe that in the future, we will continue to see investment from the United States of America and the island of Ireland and specifically also in the North. And Peter and I have been tremendously encouraged by the messages that we’ve had over the course of the last short while.
In terms of the whole issue of the connection between the economic situation and the issue of political stability, let me say this. The institutions are, in my opinion, stronger and more stable now in the aftermath of the three killings than they were before. And that should send a very powerful message to those who people who were responsible for those killings. And the message is that we are not going to buckle under this pressure, but we are going to continue to do our jobs, knowing that we have got the overwhelming support of our people, people who too want to benefit for their own sakes, for the sakes of their children, and those yet unborn.
So this is about providing a better future and a better history and this is about recognizing the damage that was done to our Island and to ourselves as individuals by the past that some of us have experienced. So what we have to do is – the key point is to give leadership. That’s what it’s all about.
I attended two very important conferences in a forest in Helsinki, alongside Jeffery Donaldson of the Democratic Unionist Party, alongside Cyril Ramaphosa from South Africa and Roelf Meyer. And there were many white boards and there were many black boards in attendance. And many words were written on the boards and many words were spoken. I wrote one word on the board when I addressed the Kurds, the Shia and the Sunnis, and that word was “leadership.” That’s what is required in the north of Ireland, that’s what’s required in the Middle East, that’s what’s required in Iraq, that’s what’s required in Afghanistan and in many other places throughout the world.
The benefit we had was that we had leaders who understood the need to forge an agreement, who didn’t want to be part of a process that saw the misery of the past inflected on future generations. And so I think – I would like to think that we have given strong leadership and that we have given a very powerful message – not just to our own people on the island of Ireland or in the North, but to the world – that the only way forward in situations where there is conflict and dispute is to sit down like sensible, reasonable human beings, forge agreements, and we have done that.
I mean, people have said to me, for example, what is different now in relation to what these people are doing and at a time whenever the IRA were involved in a conflict, which I supported, against the British Army? The difference is we have the Good Friday Agreement. The difference is we have all of the parties coming together, forming an inclusive government supported by the Irish Government, supported by the British Government and the U.S. Administration and the full width of international opinion, but more important than all of that, supported by the people, by ordinary housewives, workers, parents, people who have invested a tremendous amount and us as politicians, to give strong leadership and build a better future for them and for their children.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. Thank you all.

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Remarks With Danish Foreign Minister Dr. Per Stig Moeller Before Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 13, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. I am delighted to welcome Minister Moeller here to the State Department. I had the opportunity of meeting him and working with him during our sessions in Brussels last week. And it is so important to highlight and underscore our relationship with Denmark. Denmark has been one of our strongest, you know, partners and allies on a range of issues. And we’re going to be discussing some of those and looking toward our future cooperation. So, welcome.
FOREIGN MINISTER MOELLER: Thank you very much. I’m very glad to be here. I’ve been working with Senator Clinton before, and now with – sorry, Secretary of State.
SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s all right. (Laughter.)
FOREIGN MINISTER MOELLER: And I am very glad to be here and continue our cooperation, and we had a very good meeting at NATO the other week. So I am sure that the transatlantic bonds, the Danish-American bonds, will continue and be strengthened. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you so much, Minister Moeller. Thank you all very much.


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Town Hall Marking Women’s History Month at the Department of State


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Dean Acheson Auditorium
Washington, DC
March 12, 2009

(11:30 a.m. EDT)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good morning. And it’s wonderful to be here today for this special occasion. I want to thank our musicians and singer, as you can see from the program, the Lavenia Nesmith Quartet. And I’m delighted – John Robinson told me that he was determined to have an all women’s musical performance. So I thanked John for that. (Applause.) I want to thank Julie Connor for those warm words, for her leadership in this event, and to thank the Office of Civil Rights, as well as the women of the Senior Executive Service for organizing today.
In addition to recognizing the women of the Senior Executive Service, I want to acknowledge all the women of the State Department – Foreign Service, Civil Service, contractors, spouses, partners who accompany Department employees on assignments overseas. I thank you for every time you have spoken out on behalf of those who don’t have a voice at the table, for every day that you have served our country after being up all night with a sick child, for every girl you have inspired to believe she really can change the world. You have my gratitude and the thanks of a grateful nation.
I was thinking as I was listening to Julie speak that I remember well the first time I was here at the State Department for an event concerning women. It was shortly after Madeleine Albright had been confirmed as the first woman Secretary of State. This is becoming a trend with Secretary Rice and now myself. (Applause.) And I had been working with Madeleine in her prior role at the UN. And following our presence at United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing, we had come back with a commitment both to improve our own government’s contributions to advancing women’s progress, but also to work in concert with the UN and with governments around the world to do the same.
And I came here with Secretary Albright to talk about the importance that we placed on the role of women and the empowerment of women in the foreign policy of the United States of America. But it was not a marginal issue, it was not a luxury to be gotten to after all of the other problems were solved, but that it was a critical component of our strategic objectives. And at the time, that seemed like a radical idea. But as Julie has said, we now know beyond any doubt, that the advancement of women is not only an important humanitarian and moral objective that furthers the cause of justice, it is a contributing factor in how well we will do to advance America’s national security interests. And it is a pleasure to be here with all of you in recognition of International Women’s History Month to discuss an issue that is critical to our foreign policy and incredibly important to me personally.
I don’t need to tell any of you that we face daunting challenges from a global financial crisis to the continuing threat of changes wrought by climate change to chronic disease, hunger, poverty that sap the energies, the dreams, and the talents of hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Solving these problems, even managing them, takes all of our efforts. But I am convinced that we cannot succeed if humanity is working at half its strength.
We need women in the State Department, women throughout our United States Government, women everywhere, to step up and take the lead in addressing the crises that confront us. We need the benefit of women’s life experiences and expertise. And women here in the United States, as well as women around the world, need a State Department that is committed to the advancement of women and to the furthering of women’s rights. And that will be – (applause) – that will be a building block of our foreign policy in the Obama Administration and certainly during my tenure.
I recognize that there is a long way to go for our country and our Department in ensuring full and equal representation for women. But we have a lot to be proud of today. It is no longer at all unusual to have women serving as Foreign Service officers, as very high-ranking Civil Service officers, ambassadors, or certainly Secretary of State.
Now, as Julie alluded to the fact, this was not always the case. I don’t think that will surprise you. When some of his cabinet suggested the idea of women diplomats to Thomas Jefferson, he said, and I quote, “The appointment of a woman to office is an innovation for which the public is not prepared, nor am I.” (Laughter.) So instead of serving as diplomats, the few women who were employed – the first, as Julie said, in 1800, I think – were relegated to part-time positions, copying correspondence and scrubbing floors.
Now there was a long period where not much changed until 1874, when the Department hired the first women to work as full-time employees. The group consisted of five clerks, several of whom had been personally recommended by President Ulysses S. Grant. Now Mary Markoe, one of the clerks, served the Department faithfully for more than 30 years. When she retired, she was receiving the same salary she had earned in 1877.
Now, one of my heroines, Eleanor Roosevelt, provided an example of American diplomacy at its best. After her husband’s death, she was asked to work for this newly created entity known as the United Nations, and she headed the drafting committee responsible for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Her appetite for hard work was such that a fellow participant once had to remind her that the committee members also had human rights, including the right to sleep and some time off. (Laughter.) You know, there’s that old saying: If you want something done, ask a busy woman to do it. And there seems to be some truth to that.
So we can pay tribute to the pioneers who began charting the path that we ourselves walk today. We are heirs to their tradition of courage and excellence. But this is not just about looking backwards. I know neither you nor the women I have just mentioned would be satisfied if that’s all we did today. Around the world, women are taking the lead to help save and change their families, their villages and neighborhoods, their communities and countries, and indeed the planet.
I am continually inspired, as I have been for 35 years, by the women I meet who are risking their lives, their reputations, their standing in their families and communities, facing difficult and dangerous circumstances to advance the cause of human rights. As Julie said, we have had the great privilege in the Department to recognize some of those women, and I would like to ask the women who received our awards yesterday to please stand so that we can once again show our appreciation. (Applause.)
You know, from Iraq and Afghanistan, from Russia and Guatemala, from Uzbekistan and Niger, they come here after surviving slavery, torture, prison, and abuse. When First Lady Michelle Obama and I presented the Department’s Courage Awards to them, I confess that I was, you know, so emotionally moved by not only their stories, but their dignity. These are women who have seen the worst that their fellow men and women can possibly do to another person, but they persevere and they never quit believing in the importance and the righteousness of their cause. As they fight for equal treatment and broader political rights, they represent not only the women of their own countries, but all of us.
Now, these women are not isolated phenomena. I think many of you, like I, have met with similar women across the world. When I was First Lady, I never went to a country without meeting with women. And one of the objectives I had was to bring together women who might not otherwise know one another, who were on the front lines of advancing the cause of women’s progress. And as a senator in my travels, I did the same. Because so many of these women look to us, not only American women but others, to provide support and encouragement, resources, protection that they need to continue the difficult work they do.
I think of Mukhtar Mai of Pakistan, who survived a horrific assault in that oxymoronic practice known as an honor crime, and then used the money she received in a court settlement to help educate the rural poor in Pakistan.
Or Aung San Suu Kyi, whom I mentioned yesterday and I mention as often as I can, because having been in prison now for most of the past two decades, she still remains a beacon of hope, strength, and liberty for people around the world.
Now, these women are not just improving the world for other women. Their courage and actions are helping to create societies where every boy and girl, every man and woman, has the opportunity to live up to his or her God-given potential.
These women understand that the struggle for women’s rights in the 21st century is no longer limited to fighting for the ballot, or equal pay for equal work, or the end of the cancer known as domestic violence, or the right to speak out, or the right to worship or associate. All of these items are critical and necessary, but they are no longer sufficient. In order to secure the full spectrum of women’s rights, we have to create economic opportunity and economic security. It is essential that we improve access to healthcare and that we protect Mother Earth from our assaults, so that we can guarantee a better future, and that we do all that we can to help improve education so that we will have more allies and partners and fewer adversaries.
We will need all of our intelligence and our courage, our grit, and our grace to address these challenges. But I have not only optimism, but confidence. Wherever there is oppression, we as women need to stand against it. Wherever there is violence, we as women must work to end it. Wherever there is poverty or sickness, we as women must work to cure it. And wherever our planet is in danger, we as women must work to protect it.
Now, there are different ways that we will fulfill these responsibilities. But we need as a nation to reaffirm a strategic commitment to doing this, because it is not only behalf of someone else, it is on behalf of ourselves, our children, our children’s children, and so many yet to come.
I don’t know each of you individually here in the Department, but I do know more and more about the work you perform. I have seen it in refugee camps and in the corridors of power. I have seen it at the front desk of this building and at the Security Council of the United Nations.
As we celebrate the achievements of women at this gathering and throughout the month, we should remember the individual stories we’ve heard. But we should also work to create not only more stories of struggle, but more stories of success. A struggle for human rights and human liberty springs from the founding of our nation. It is a struggle predicated on the simple but profound belief that all men and all women are created equal, that they are endowed by our Creator with rights that transcend any government, any family structure, any social system. The United States is grounded in these ideals, and so should our foreign policy be. So therefore, we have a lot of work to do.
I want us to think both broadly and in a more creative way about how we advance this. I don’t think talking about human rights for the sake of talking about human rights is necessarily the most effective strategy. I’m interested in outcomes and results, changed lives, increased opportunities, helping those who are on the frontlines changing their own societies in ways we never could, no matter how eloquent the speech or powerful the speaker.
So I invite you to join with us in proposing ideas and approaches that you have seen work, that you would like to see taken to scale, that you understand will truly make a difference. Because at the end of the day, that is how we should be judged. History will hold us to the same standard of courage and excellence that our awardees from yesterday represent. And I am confident that with your help and your leadership, our country will continue to make clear to all who aspire for the rights they were endowed with at birth, that they, too, can look to a better future.
Thank you all very much. (Applause.)
MR. ROBINSON: Now, when it comes to questions and answers, Secretary Clinton needs little help from me. However, it’s my responsibility to explain to you that this program is a celebration of Women’s History Month. We need to respect the occasion and do two things. First, no speeches or soliloquies. The speech has already been given. (Laughter.) So now we need your questions – I repeat, we need your questions. We have two mikes available and the Secretary will alternate from right to left.
Secondly, the question should be devoted to the occasion as opposed to general policy questions or your, or my, special agenda, unless they’re related to the occasion.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, John. Well, I’m always up for a good speech. But you know, I can understand John’s instructions. So let’s start right there.
QUESTION: Okay. Thank you so much for addressing us this morning. My name is Elise Carlson-Rainer, and as you can tell, this might be a personal question, but I am about nine months pregnant and I was wondering if you plan to engage at all on maternity leave for the State Department. You know, we’re one of four countries in the world without a national maternity leave plan, so I’m just wondering if you have any thoughts on that. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Is this your first, second?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Your first baby?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, congratulations, and — (Applause.)
QUESTION: Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: You know, when I was pregnant back a hundred years ago – (laughter) – this was a debate then, and it still is a debate, isn’t it? And I personally find it inexplicable that a country like ours doesn’t recognize the importance of supporting parents in the critical work they do in raising the next generation.
When I was pregnant, I was working as a lawyer in a law firm. They – you know, I was the first woman partner. They had never had a pregnant lawyer before – (laughter) – and nobody knew what to say. So I just kept getting more and more pregnant and – (laughter) – you know, the men in the firm would just look at – everywhere except – (laughter) – and nobody ever said a word to me about what was going to happen after I had this baby. (Laughter.)
And I was – you know, I was so uncertain about what I would do, and I remember, you know, after Chelsea was born, I was in the hospital and one of my partners called, and I think he was trying to be funny. He said, “Well, when are you coming back to work?” He said – first, he said congratulations and then he said, “When are you coming back to work?” (Laughter.) And I said, “Oh, I don’t know, maybe four months.” Silence. (Laughter.) So I set a maternity policy for us at that point. But that’s not recommended as the way to set policy. (Laughter.)
You know, this is an issue that I have worked on unsuccessfully along with many allies over the years. I will look into what the State Department and the government policy is. I honestly don’t know right now what it is. I have always tried to have a very family-friendly workplace wherever I am. And, you know, when I was First Lady, we kind of, ad hoc, created family arrangements so that people could take time off after they had a baby. The Family Medical Leave Act, of course, helped, but it is unpaid, which makes it difficult for some people to participate.
So we should look at that, and I will find out what it is. The real answer is we need a national policy that recognizes it and supports it. You know, I always was grateful for the fact that I had rather unusual circumstances; not only was I a lawyer, but at the time, my husband was the governor, and so we had a certain level of support that most people don’t have. Although it’s a little – you know, it’s a little hard to, you know, think back and imagine, you know, how all of that unfolded because it seems so long ago, but I’m struck by how little has changed in all of those years.
So I would like to do more if I can. And I think that the objections to maternity leave – and, you know, I’m very non-gender specific. Parental leave is the term of art, but it’s 90 percent maternity leave, and for obvious reasons. But when you look at the consequences of it, it has such a positive effect. It has not only a positive effect on the parent-child relationship and the bonding experience and the getting started – I don’t know about any of you, but I – you know, I was way overeducated to be a first-time mother. (Laughter.) And I read everything there was to read and I was still totally overwhelmed by the experience.
And I had a friend who, at that time, was living in England in part of the National Health Service, and she told me a story about how, you know, the first time the National Health Service nurse came by, which was, I think, her first trimester, my friend said, “Oh, I don’t need any help, thank you very much.” And the second time, which was, you know, beginning of the third trimester, “Oh, I don’t need any help.” But her mother, who she had expected to come over and help her, got sick and couldn’t come. And this friend of mine told me about how the National Health Service nurse knocked on the door after the baby was born and my friend goes, “Please come in, I don’t know what I’m doing.” (Laughter.)
And I think there’s some truth in that experience for a lot of us. So as you can tell, you have hit a button with me. (Laughter.) And I wish you well with your new baby. Good luck. (Applause.)
QUESTION: In many states around the world —
SECRETARY CLINTON: Could you identify yourself, just so —
QUESTION: Oh, I’m so sorry, Rachel Sosin, I’m an intern in ISN. In many states around the world, women still hold a peripheral role at best within the government. When placing Foreign Service workers there, how much weight do you think we should give to the preferences of those governments? And do you think in giving weight to their preference, we’re in some way betraying something intrinsic to the American character?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Great question. I think we are at the stage now where we give very little or no weight. I’m not saying we never give weight, because obviously, that may not be the case in every instance where we have to look at all the factors. But I can tell you that from my perspective, we have women ambassadors serving in some of the most difficult assignments anywhere in the world. I personally have considered in the last six or seven weeks, however long – how long have we been here? I can’t remember. (Laughter.) It seems like – I mean, you know, I feel like Eleanor Roosevelt. I mean, we’ve just been working around the clock and lost track of time.
In, certainly, the assignments that I have been recommending and reviewing, that has not entered into it. Sometimes we’ll have questions like, you know, how will this work, how will this be received, but those are not determinative in any way. And we’ve got some extraordinary women ambassadors and chargés and counselors in places that are very difficult – unaccompanied posts, I mean, all kinds of challenging circumstances. I really think we’ve got to look for the best people – you know, what’s the prior experience, what are the language skills required, what special experiences are suited to the problems we have. I mean, I don’t think it’s a surprise to any of you that, you know, Pakistan is one of our most consuming countries right now and we have an excellent ambassador, Anne Patterson, who is there working, you know, 24/7.
So I just think that we’re beyond that, but we also – you know, we have to be smart. We don’t want to be provocative or, you know, send someone who – just to make a statement. We want to send someone who can do the job. And thankfully, there are lots and lots of women who meet that criterion. (Applause.)
QUESTION: Yes, good morning, Madame Secretary. My name is Stephanie Ortoleva and I work in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
Earlier this week, I had the privilege of speaking at a panel at the World Bank on women with disabilities and development and how we can advance the rights of women in that arena. And one of the issues that I raised was how we increase the involvement of women with disabilities in conflict resolution and conflict management and peacekeeping around the world. And there was recently a report by the United States Institute for Peace on the very issue of women and peacekeeping, and like under so many other similar circumstances, that role of women with disabilities in that context wasn’t addressed.
So I’d like to hear your thoughts, and of course, I’d welcome the opportunity to be of any assistance that I can in your efforts on that.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, and thanks for your work and attention to this issue. You know, I think that people with disabilities face particular challenges in many settings around the world, particularly in regions of conflict. And I would just reiterate that people with disabilities who have the necessary experiences and expertise to play a role in helping to resolve such conflicts should be very determinedly recruited and involved. I think that there are lots of lessons that can be learned, and I know that from the aftermath of the horrors of the Rwanda genocide, there were many people, as you know, who had been brutally attacked, losing limbs and eyes and ears and other terrible injuries who played an instrumental role in the resolution of many of the immediate crises arising out of an effort to reconcile the country so it could begin working again.
And I believe that people with disabilities, whether they are from a horrific experience like that or in some other – from some other source, you know, carry a reminder of the full range of human potential. So I would hope that we would find ways to involve people who can make a contribution, and I would look forward to your suggestions. (Applause.)
QUESTION: Greeting, Madame Secretary. My name is Shirley Miles and I work at the overseas building operation. My question is what would be your plans for addressing workplace bullying of women, an issue that I know you would have zero tolerance for?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I do have zero tolerance for it. (Applause.) You know, I have zero tolerance for any kind of bullying. I find it intolerable. I hate people who use a position of either superior rank or physical dominance or any other aspect to lord it over or mistreat other people, especially those in the workplace. I mean, we have policies, we have all kinds of grievance procedures. You know, obviously, I expect those to be adhered to and followed.
And also I think, too, that, you know, I’ve – I have experienced a lot of strange behavior in my life. (Laughter.) And I think that, you know, part of it is trying to make it clear that what might have been acceptable 10, 20, 30 years ago in the workplace no longer is. That comes as a revelation still today. (Laughter.) And really, people could pass a lie detector test who engage in this behavior, that they are not because the previous work environments were either more permissive or traditional in a conventional sense of, you know, pre-1964, 1973, and 19 everything else. (Laughter.)
So I think that there still needs to be some outreach and some efforts to try to modify and change behavior. I don’t think everybody who engages in behavior that I would consider beyond the bounds is a bad person. I think some people are just stuck in bad habits. And so I would hope you would, you know, use the kind of processes we have here at the Department, including, if there needs to be, you know, intervention, sensitization, explanation as to how certain words or actions are perceived. And we would welcome that. (Applause.)
Is it time?
MR. ROBINSON: It’s time.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I hope to come back and do events like this on a regular basis. (Applause.) And I thank you all for being here. (Applause.)
MS. CONNOR: We’d like to present you a gift.
MS. CONNOR: On behalf of everyone here at the program, we have a small gift to present to the Secretary.
MS. CONNOR: And I don’t know, perhaps we could read the poem on the —
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, wow. Okay, why don’t you read it.
MS. CONNOR: “Leaders – leaders are called to stand in that lonely place between the no longer and the not yet, and intentionally make decisions that will bind, forge, move, and create history. We are not called to be popular. We are not called to be safe. We are not called to follow. We are the ones called to take risks. We are the ones called to change attitudes, to risk displeasures. We are the ones called to gamble our lives for a better world.”
Madame Secretary, you exemplify this poem.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. Thank you. (Applause.)
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2009 International Women of Courage Awards


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
March 11, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, this is such an exciting occasion, and there were so many people who wanted to come today, but unfortunately, there is a limit to how many people we can let into this magnificent room. So there are people watching on closed-circuit TV all over this building, and beyond.
And it is my pleasure to welcome you to the State Department to celebrate International Women’s Day with a very special event and a very special guest. The event is the International Women of Courage Awards, and in a minute, you will meet these remarkable women and learn more about their lives and their work. And I am especially delighted to thank one person in particular whose presence here means a great deal to all of us – our First Lady, Michelle Obama. (Applause.)
Now, I know a little bit about the role that – (laughter) – Michelle Obama is filling now. And I have to say that in a very short time, she has, through her grace and her wisdom, become an inspiration to women and girls not only in the United States, but around the world. And it is so fitting that she would join us here at the State Department to celebrate the achievements of other extraordinary women, and to show her commitment to supporting women and girls around the globe.
She understands, as we all do here at the State Department, that the status of women and girls is a key indicator of whether or not progress is possible in a society. And so I am very grateful to her and to President Obama, who earlier today announced the creation of the White House Interagency Council on Women and Girls. That will – (applause). That office will help us collaborate across every department and agency in our government.
President Obama has also designated an ambassador-at-large to consolidate our work on women’s global issues here at the State Department. Now, this is a position that has never existed before, and I am very pleased that someone you all know, if you have ever worked on women’s issues – know and appreciate a longtime colleague and friend, Melanne Verveer, who’s been nominated to fill that post. (Applause.)
And I also want to thank Ambassador Susan Rice and our excellent U.S. delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, which is in the middle of its annual meetings now, for the work that they are doing and for the engagement that they demonstrate.
Today, we’re focusing on the International Women of Courage Awards. It’s a fairly new tradition here at the State Department, but it’s already become a cherished institution. For the past three years, our embassies have sent us stories of extraordinary women who work every day, often against great odds to advance the rights of all human beings to fulfill their God-given potential. Today, we recognize eight of those women. Each is one of a kind, but together they represent countless women and men who strive daily for justice and opportunity in every country and on every continent, usually without recognition or reward.
And I want to say a special word about someone who could not join us, who we honor today – Reem Al Numery, who was forced to marry her older cousin when she was just 12 years old. She is now fighting to obtain a divorce for herself and end child marriage in Yemen. She was not able to be here, but we honor her strength and we pledge our support to end child marriage everywhere, once and for all. (Applause.)
We also express our solidarity with women whose governments have forbidden them from joining us, especially Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been kept under house arrest in Burma for most of the past two decades, but continues to be a beacon of hope and strength to people around the world. Her example has been especially important to other women in Burma who have been imprisoned for their political beliefs, driven into exile, or subjected to sexual violence by the military.
Our honorees and the hundreds of millions of women they represent not only deserve our respect, they deserve our full support. When we talk about human rights, what I think of are faces like these. What I am committed to is doing everything in my power as Secretary of State to further the work on the ground in countries like those represented here to make changes in peoples’ lives. That doesn’t happen always in the halls of government. It happens day to day in the towns and cities, the villages and countryside where the work of human rights goes on.
We simply cannot solve the global problems confronting us, from a worldwide financial crisis to the risks of climate change to chronic hunger, disease, and poverty that sap the energies and talents of hundreds of millions of people when half the world’s population is left behind. The rights of women – really, of all people – are at the core of these challenges, and human rights will always be central to our foreign policy.
Earlier today I met with Foreign Minister Yang of China and conveyed to him, as I do in my meetings with all other leaders, that it is our view in the Obama Administration that every nation seeking to lead in the international community must not only live by, but help shape the global rules that will determine whether people do enjoy the rights to live freely and participate fully. The peace, prosperity and progress that we know are best served and best serve human beings come when there is freedom to speak out, to worship, to go to school, enjoy access to health care, live and work with dignity.
The United States is grounded in these ideals, and our foreign policy must be guided by them. Indeed, our own country must continually strive to live up to these ideals ourselves. Not only does smart power require us to demand more of ourselves when it comes to human rights, but to express those views to others and to actually assist those who are on the frontlines of human rights struggles everywhere.
It is important that we focus on human rights because I know what inspiration it has given to me over many years. The people I have met, they have constantly reminded me of how much work lies ahead if we are to be the world of peace, prosperity and progress that we all seek.
I’ve met a lot of people, particularly women, who have risked their lives – from women being oppressed by the Taliban in Afghanistan, to mothers seeking to end the violence in Northern Ireland, to citizens working for freedom of religion in Uzbekistan, and NGOs struggling to build civil society in Slovakia, to grassroots advocates working to end human trafficking in Asia and Africa, and local women in India and Bangladesh, Chile, Nicaragua, Vietnam and many other places who are leading movements for economic independence and empowerment.
These personal experiences have informed my work. And I will continue to fight for human rights as Secretary of State in traditional and especially non-traditional ways and venues.
All of you gathered here represent the kind of broad coalition that we need – business leaders, NGO leaders, ambassadors, experts, people from every corner of our government, citizens who are moved and touched by the stories of courage that we will be hearing some more of today.
And it is exciting that we have now in our own country someone who is standing up for the best of America, a woman who understands the multiple roles that women play during the course of our lives, and fulfills each one with grace. An example of leadership, service, and strength. It is my great pleasure and honor to introduce the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. (Applause.)
(The First Lady makes remarks.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Mrs. Obama, and it’s exciting to have your leadership and example for not only girls and women in our country, but those around the world.
Now, we’re going to start with the extraordinary women who we honor today. The first woman, Wazhma Frogh, from Afghanistan, is being recognized for her courageous efforts to combat sexual and domestic violence and child and marital rape throughout Afghanistan, despite facing dangerous conditions. She has come a long way, and we stand in solidarity with her and the people of Afghanistan. (Applause.)
Next, from Guatemala, Norma Cruz. We are recognizing her for her unyielding efforts to end the culture of impunity surrounding the murder and other forms of violence against women in Guatemala. At great risk to her personal safety, Norma Cruz has been outspoken and extraordinarily brave, and we are honored to have her with us today. Norma Cruz. (Applause.)
Suaad Allami, from Iraq. I told Suaad when we were waiting to come out how pleased I was to see her, and how grateful we are for the progress that we’ve seen, but we know how much more needs to be done in her country. And we honor her for bravely promoting the legal rights, the health, the social well-being and the economic and political empowerment of women in Iraq, despite threats to her own safety. Thank you so much, Suaad. (Applause.)
Veronika Marchenko, from Russia. We honor her for her stalwart leadership in seeking justice for the families of bereaved service members, young men conscripted into the Russian Army. For her commitment to seeking the truth and in promoting improved human rights conditions for those who serve in the Russian army, and being a networking presence to bring together those who served and their families to find answers to so many of the questions that no one had ever, ever bothered to answer before. Thank you so much. (Applause.)
Our next honoree is from Uzbekistan, Mutabar Tadjibayeva, for her courage, her conviction, her perseverance in promoting human rights, the rule of law, and good governance in Uzbekistan, and for standing up for justice at great personal risk. Mutabar is someone who has been in prison for quite some time, and she still has a big smile on her face, and I salute her courage and her persistence. (Applause.)
From Niger, Hadizatou Mani. Hadizatou is such an inspiring person. Enslaved by being sold at a very young age, she never gave up on herself or on her deep reservoir of human dignity. When she finally escaped from slavery, she didn’t forget those who were still enslaved. For her inspiring courage in successfully challenging an entrenched system of caste-based slavery, and securing a legal precedent that will help countless others seek freedom and justice, we honor and salute her. (Applause.)
You know, before I introduce our final honoree, who will respond on behalf of all of the honorees, I just want to say that over the course of many years of doing human rights work, and particularly on behalf of girls and women, I’m sometimes asked, well, do ceremonies like this really matter; is that just not something, you know, that you do and it’s a nice feeling, and then you go back to wherever you came from?
I know that these kinds of recognitions and moments of honor by both governments and NGOs and other institutions and individuals are extremely important. They provide a recognition of an individual’s struggle and courage that stands for so much more. They provide a degree of awareness about the problems that the individual is fighting to remedy. They serve notice on governments that the first and highest duty is for every government to protect the human rights of every individual within that jurisdiction. And they provide a degree of protection.
And so I salute those in the State Department who have recognized the importance of this and kept it going, and we are proud to continue that tradition.
Our final speaker, Ambiga Sreenevasan, has a remarkable record of accomplishment in Malaysia. She has pursued judicial reform and good governance, she has stood up for religious tolerance, and she has been a resolute advocate of women’s equality and their full political participation. She is someone who is not only working in her own country, but whose influence is felt beyond the borders of Malaysia. And it is a great honor to recognize her and invite her to the podium. (Applause.)
MS. SREENEVASAN: The First Lady Mrs. Obama, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, ladies and gentlemen, I am humbled to be in the company of seven extraordinary women receiving this award for courage, and I am deeply honored to now speak on their behalf and on mine.
We accept this award in all humility, remembering that we have been fortunate in being singled out from among countless courageous women in our countries who are dedicated to the cause of equality and justice.
It is also timely for us to remember all the women in other conflict-ridden territories, like Palestine and other countries, who have to show courage every single day in their struggle to survive and to keep their families together.
Each of us fights causes that promote equality and justice, and by presenting us with this award you honor those causes and all the people who work tirelessly for them with unflinching dedication.
This award will help to bring to the international stage our voices and our advocacy on these important issues. This occasion gives us an opportunity to reflect on the importance of the rule of law in promoting the rights of women around the world. When the rule of law is upheld, equality is upheld, the cause of justice is upheld, and human rights are upheld.
Today, we are witnessing a struggle for the souls of our nations, taking place between the forces of the old and the forces of change. We see our commitment to the rule of law, fundamental liberties, and the independence of our institutions being tested. The strength of our nations will depend on how well they withstand this test.
There are those who claim that democracy is a Western concept and is unsuitable elsewhere. There are yet others who perpetrate injustices behind a veneer of democracy. We say that democracy is universal, and a true democracy and the rule of law will prevail when the collective voices of the people are raised in its support.
On my part, I have for the past two years had the privilege to lead and serve the Malaysian Bar, a professional organization consisting of approximately 13,000 lawyers. History will bear testament to the fact that the Malaysian Bar has always been true to its first article of faith, to uphold the cause of justice without regard to its own interests or that of its members uninfluenced by fear or favor. In a sense, I was merely stepping into the shoes of the many other brave leaders of the bar who came before me, whereas many of the awardees today are pioneers in their struggle for justice.
This award has given us the opportunity which we would not otherwise have had, to share our stories, our successes, our failures, to reach out across our borders and to establish a base upon which we can build a meaningful network of support. These stories must be told in all our countries. By this experience, we are both enriched and enraged; enriched by what we have shared, and enraged that so many of our sisters endure intimidation and suffering in their countries. Nevertheless, ours is a message of hope that something has been achieved, despite the odds.
Martin Luther King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This means that although we may come from different walks of life, our struggle is common. And each success is a success for all, just as each failure is a failure for all. When we unite on a human rights platform, whether domestically or internationally, above politics and political alliances, we create more enduring partnerships and relationships. When we pursue freedom and empowerment for others, we reaffirm and protect our own.
In my interaction with the other awardees present here today, it was evident that the passion we feel for our causes is driven by the love of our homelands and our people. That, in turn, drives our passion for what is right and what is just. Our people deserve nothing less. We all believe in striving for ideals that are– if I may borrow the words – self-evident; namely, the ideals of truth, justice, goodness, and universal love and understanding. Our stories are a testament to the universality of these ideals.
We are truly and deeply honored by this award, more so, when it comes from you, Madame Secretary, yourself a woman of courage, who has inspired women around the world to reach great heights. Your untiring efforts in championing women’s rights worldwide are well known. Your immortal words that, “Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights,” resonate with all of us here.
We would also like to express our deep admiration for the First Lady Mrs. Obama, and we would also like to express our appreciation for your sharing this moment with us. Madame Secretary, on behalf of all the awardees, I thank you. And we accept the honor with humility and pride. Thank you. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. These women of courage will serve to remind us every day as we do our work in this venerable building – here we are in the Benjamin Franklin Room, and I’m about to invite you to join our reception in the Thomas Jefferson Room – that our own country has a lot to live up to. But we derive inspiration from those who are struggling so hard just to realize the basic rights that we sometimes take for granted. And it is our responsibility not only to continue to do what we must here at home to realize the dream that America represents, but to use our talents and our abilities and resources to help others as well.
It is such a great privilege to be here with all of you, to be the Secretary of State at this moment of history in an administration represented by Mrs. Obama today, led by President Obama, who means so much already to so many around the world. Now, it’s our job to realize the promise that that represents. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

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Remarks With Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Before Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
March 11, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m very pleased to welcome Minister Yang here to the State Department. I had a very productive and really good visit when he hosted me, and it’s very positive that he could come so soon and we can continue our discussions. Welcome so much, Minister Yang.
FOREIGN MINISTER YANG: Thank you very much, Madame Secretary. I am very glad that the Chinese and the American foreign ministers could have an exchange of visits within just one month.
FOREIGN MINISTER YANG: And we are here to get prepared for our two heads of state meeting in London and to work together to push our relationship forward.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.

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Remarks After Her Meeting With Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi

Press Availability

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
March 11, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. I’ve just had a very productive meeting and luncheon with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang on a broad range of issues of mutual concern. As I said during my recent visit to Beijing, this is a very important relationship to both of our countries, and the United States intends to work together with China to build a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship, and to work together with China to address common challenges and seize common opportunities.
Minister Yang and I spent time laying the groundwork for the first meeting between our two presidents, which will take place at the London G-20 summit in April. We also consulted on preparations for the summit itself, and Minister Yang is heading over to see Secretary Geithner to continue that conversation.
The United States and China have a joint responsibility to help ensure that the summit yields tangible progress and concrete action steps toward a coordinated global response to stabilize the world’s economy and to begin a recovery.
We also covered a range of shared security challenges, including our efforts to achieve a denuclearized North Korea, to promote stability and progress in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to address the challenges posed by Iran. We talked about how we could work together to address the humanitarian crisis in Darfur and stem the suffering of more than 1.4 million people who have been put at risk by the actions of the Bashir government.
On climate change and clean energy, we discussed the upcoming meeting between our special envoy for climate change and his Chinese counterpart.
Now, Minister Yang and I also spoke about areas where we do not agree, including human rights and Tibet. The promotion of human rights, as I have said many times before, is an essential aspect of American global foreign policy. It is part of our use and definition of smart power. And it’s essential in an era where we are emphasizing diplomacy and development.
It has been a core belief of ours that every nation must not only live by, but help shape global rules that will determine whether people enjoy the right to live freely and participate to the fullest in their societies. Indeed, our own country must continually strive to live up to our own ideals.
Our bilateral relationships cover a broad range of issues, but we make clear to all nations, including China, that a mutual and collective commitment to human rights is important to bettering our world as our efforts on security, global economics, energy, climate change, and other pressing issues. With that in mind, Foreign Minister Yang and I discussed the resumption of the human rights dialogue between our two countries. While we may disagree on these issues, open discussions will continue to be a key part of our approach. And human rights is part of our comprehensive agenda.
I also raised our concerns about the recent incident involving the U.S. Navy ship Impeccable and the PRC vessels in the South China Sea. We both agreed that we should work to ensure that such incidents do not happen again in the future.
There is no doubt that world events have given the United States and China a full and formidable agenda. And the United States is committed to pursuing a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship with China, one that we believe is important for the future peace, progress, and prosperity not only for both of our countries, but indeed for the entire world.
And I’ll be happy to take some questions.
MR. WOOD: First one to Arshad.
SECRETARY CLINTON: How are you, Arshad?
QUESTION: Good, thanks. Secretary Clinton, on the Impeccable, do you continue to believe that the U.S. ship was in the right, was in international waters, and was harassed by the Chinese vessels? And do you think that with your agreement to try to avoid these things in the future that the case is now closed, or this is going to be a continued irritant in the relationship?
And on the G-20 preparations, do you think that China has done enough to stimulate its economy? And how do you answer the view that, given how heavily indebted the United States is, particularly to China, that you don’t have that much leverage over them on these matters?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Very comprehensive questions. (Laughter.) With respect to the Impeccable, we have each stated our positions. But the important point of agreement coming out of my discussions with Minister Yang is that we must work hard in the future to avoid such incidents, and to avoid this particular incident having consequences that are unforeseen. And I appreciate the agreement that Minister Yang and I hold on this matter.
With respect to the G-20, the important outcome of the G-20 is a recognition and agreement among the countries participating as to the steps that we must take individually and collectively to stimulate a global recovery by stimulating demand and making investments that will bear fruit as quickly as possible. I think that the significant stimulus that the Chinese have already committed to is a very positive step.
There are a number of issues related to the outcome in London that will have to be worked through between not only our two countries but all of the countries participating. And there’s a lot of hard work to do between now and the summit in London. But there is a great commitment and willingness on the part of both our government and the Chinese Government to play productive and constructive roles in helping to move the world toward this recovery that will be essential not only to get jobs growing again, but also to alleviate the suffering of the poorest people in the world who will bear the brunt of a stalled or falling economy.
You know, we each come to this with different strengths and weaknesses. We are still the largest economy in the world. We are a flexible, agile, incredibly dynamic economy. I have no doubt about our capacity to recover. It’s not going to be easy and it, you know, will take some time, but I am absolutely confident. I think the Chinese are equally committed to stimulating growth, to being able to help push the global economic agenda as well.
Obviously, we will have difficulties in dealing with the economic challenges we face. For China, they’re an export-driven country; they need consumers to buy those exports. For us, going into deficits to the extent we must in order to put in place our recovery plan is something we’re going to have to deal with; we can’t just ignore it, even though it may be necessary now. So you know, we bring different strengths to the table that we’re trying to utilize on behalf of global growth now, and then we’ll have to deal, as you always do, with the consequences of the actions we’re taking now.
MODERATOR: Next question will be Kirit Radia from ABC News.
QUESTION: Hi, Madame Secretary. I’d like to pick up on your comments on human rights. You’ve been criticized by human rights groups, and most recently The Washington Post editorial page just yesterday, for pulling your punches on human rights in China, especially leading up to this meeting today. Despite that criticism, do you still stand by your position that human rights should take – should not take a back seat to economic and environmental concerns, get in the way of your agenda there? What explicitly did you ask the foreign minister to do today with regard to human rights in China and in Tibet, and what do you plan on asking them during this upcoming dialogue? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, human rights is part of our comprehensive dialogue. It doesn’t take a front seat or a back seat or a middle seat; it is part of the broad range of issues that we are discussing. But it is important to try to create a platform for actually seeing results from our human rights engagement. It’s also important, as I said in my remarks, that, you know, that the United States live up to our own ideals, something that sets us apart as an exemplar of human rights. So the Obama Administration is absolutely committed to a robust, comprehensive human rights agenda. We’re going to look for ways where we can be effective, where we can actually produce outcomes that will matter in the lives of people who are struggling for their rights to be full participants in their societies.
So I think that there is no doubt about our commitment. We’re exploring different ways of being effective in delivering on that commitment, and whether it’s with China or any other nation, we’re going to continue to look for opportunities to not just talk about human rights, but actually to try to advance the agenda on human rights.
Later this afternoon, I’ll be giving awards to some extraordinarily courageous women who have stood up in their own countries against human rights abuses. We’re supporting them. We’re supporting their efforts, their organizations within their countries, to not only demonstrate the importance of human rights, but to actually make changes that will benefit the people that they are fighting for. So there are many ways that we’re going to pursue a human rights agenda.
MR. WOOD: I think we have a question from (inaudible). Please.
QUESTION: You mentioned the denuclearization of – in North Korea. And yesterday, Stephen Bosworth came back and you talked with him about his trip. My question is, what did you talk about with him yesterday, and did you talk about with foreign minister of China today, in case of a possible launch of a missile by North Korea? Thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Ambassador Bosworth gave me a full report about his productive meetings in Tokyo, Seoul, and Beijing. As you know, he was not invited to go to North Korea, which we regret. He was prepared to go on a moment’s notice to begin discussions with the North Koreans.
As I have been doing with all of our Six-Party partners – I did it last Friday night in Geneva, with Foreign Minister Lavrov, again today with Foreign Minister Yang – we believe in the Six-Party Talks, and we believe in the goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. We are committed to that. We would like to see the Six-Party Talks resume at the earliest possible moment. We are outspoken in our opposition to the North Korean’s missile launch, and we believe that that is a unified position, and that each of the members of the Six-Party Talks have attempted to dissuade North Korea from proceeding.
And we are also agreed that we will discuss a response if we are not successful in convincing them not to go forward with what is a very provocative act. And there are a range of options available to take action against the North Koreans in the wake of the missile launch, if they pursue that, but also to try to resume the Six-Party Talks. Let’s not confuse the two.
The goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula remains a paramount goal, and the Six-Party Talks framework should be restarted so that we can begin to work on that.
We need to have a conversation about missile – missiles, and it’s not – it wasn’t in the Six-Party Talks. We would like to see it be part of the discussion with North Korea. But most importantly, we would like to see North Korea evidence in some way their willingness to re-engage with all of us and to work together on the agenda that they agreed to in the Six-Party Talks. And that’s what we’re working for.
Thank – oh, are you waiting?
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, may I just –
MR. WOOD: We can take one last question (inaudible). One last quick question, please.
QUESTION: Mike Lavallee from TBS.
QUESTION: Hi. Madame Secretary, I just kind of wanted to follow up on your – what you said about North Korea just now. First, with the Chinese minister, they see it a little bit differently than we do, whether it’s violating UN Resolution 1718, if they – launching for a satellite launch. And I was just wondering if you were able to get any headway about agreement on that with Minister Yang.
And secondly, it seemed like you were just saying now that even if they go ahead with a missile launch, that there still may be the possibility of continuing on with the Six-Party Talks. So I was just wondering if – is that the feeling, that they are completely separate issues and that we would be able to continue with Six Party even if there is a missile launch?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, of course, we won’t know until it happens. What we are trying to do is to restart the Six-Party Talks as soon as possible. We think that’s in everyone’s interest to do so, to continue the disablement of the nuclear facilities, to work toward the goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. We believe that the missile launch, for whatever purpose it is stated to be aimed at, is in violation of the Security Council resolution.
I think that our partners in the Six-Party Talks are concerned about the missile launch. They are willing to address it if it does happen with us in a variety of ways, including the Security Council. But I don’t want to, you know, talk about hypotheticals. We are still working to try to dissuade the North Koreans. But it is important to recognize that the North Koreans entered into obligations regarding denuclearization that we intend to try to hold them to. And that is something we’re going to do regardless of what happens with their – with what they may or may not launch in the future.
These Six-Party Talks are the vehicle that we have, which have proved – which has proven to be effective, which did set forth a set of obligations which the North Koreans agreed to. And we would like to get back to those and begin discussions as soon as it would be feasible, and we’re pushing that right now.
Thank you all very much.
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Remarks With Lithuanian Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas At the Signing Ceremony After Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
March 9, 2009

Date: 03/09/2009 Description: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Lithuanian Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas sign documents at the State Department. State Dept Photo

SECRETARY CLINTON: Welcome, and it’s a great pleasure to have the foreign minister along with his delegation from Lithuania here today. Some of you may remember that the minister was a shining star in the Washington, D.C., diplomatic firmament when he served as Lithuania’s ambassador to the United States. He served for five years, and there was a great regret when he left Washington, so it’s especially nice to have him back in his new capacity. I think he’s been foreign minister since December, if I’m not mistaken.
SECRETARY CLINTON: So he’s been a foreign minister longer than I have been.
During our discussions, the minister and I affirmed our shared commitment to the common principles and common purposes that unite our countries. It is no accident that Lithuania is one of our most dependable partners and allies. Both our countries share a determination to promote democracy, uphold the rule of law, encourage broad-based economic prosperity, and we are deeply committed to NATO’s pledge of collective security.
These principles provide the foundation for our efforts to address a growing array of economic, diplomatic, and security challenges. In order to succeed in these common efforts, we have to cooperate even more closely than we already have in the past.
Date: 03/09/2009 Description: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Lithuanian Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas prepare to sign documents at the State Department. State Dept PhotoThe instruments of ratification we are exchanging today, which are called for by the 2005 protocols regarding extradition and mutual legal assistance between our two countries, are an example of that increased cooperation. This exchange is the first of the 27 similar sets of agreements that the United States will be undertaking with all EU member-countries. These protocols will enter into force shortly, when the related agreements between the United States and the European Union take effect.
Many of the law enforcement challenges our countries face today have little respect for borders. Networks of computer hackers, financial criminals, and violent extremists often hide behind international borders and use geography to gain impunity. These twin agreements between the United States and Lithuania give our police and our prosecutors the state-of-the-art tools they need to cooperate in bringing criminals to justice on both sides of the Atlantic.
In conjunction with the similar agreements we are pursuing with all of the countries of the European Union, the agreements for which we are exchanging instruments of ratification today will help provide the Euro-Atlantic community with powerful tools to apprehend and prosecute individuals who might otherwise escape justice.
These agreements are only one small facet of the vibrant partnership the United States enjoys with the people and Government of Lithuania.
Now, I have been told that this year marks the 1,000th anniversary of Lithuania’s name. Now, we in the United States cannot claim such a lengthy history, but I am convinced that our strong relationship, cooperation, and shared values can last just as long. I look forward to working with the foreign minister as we go forward from today’s meeting working together as allies to create a stronger, safer, and more prosperous world.
FOREIGN MINISTER USACKAS: Thank you very much, Madame Secretary. It’s great to be back in Washington this year, and it’s great to see you again, this time not as a senator but Secretary of State.
FOREIGN MINISTER USACKAS: Indeed, United States and Lithuania are bound by many ties, and we are members of NATO, we are – Lithuania is a member of the EU and enjoy very close transatlantic relationship. But most importantly, that we are bound by the human chain, human chain of the people who have been residing in United States for more than one hundred years. And I am coming here to Washington, D.C., straight from Chicago, where we had a celebration of millennium for Lithuania and where many people came to enjoy Lithuanian national music and dance.
I am here today to talk to Secretary Hillary Clinton about the challenges for the Euro-Atlantic community. We talked about energy security issues, which are very important both for Europe and for United States. We talked about our common neighborhood of NATO and the European Union, which stretches from Belarus to Georgia. And we also talked about, very important, a neighbor, Russia, with whom we have decided to re-launch – resume NATO-Russia Council only last week. We believe that NATO has an important agenda before the summit, and we look forward to working with United States so as to prepare NATO alliance for the challenges of the 21st century.
Lithuania is a trustworthy ally of United States. We’re present in Iraq and Afghanistan. We’re going to be increasing our military presence in Afghanistan. And we are continuously sharing our experience of democracy building and free market with such countries as Ukraine and Georgia. We strongly – we are strongly committed to the future membership of Ukraine and Georgia. Those countries have a lot to learn from the examples and lessons learned of Central European countries. And I’m looking forward to working with Secretary of State and with her staff to advance our reforms and to share the best lessons learned with the countries I mentioned.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Minister. And if you will, join me now for the signing of the protocols.
(The Instruments of Ratification are signed.)

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