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Archive for April, 2009

Annual Reception for Donors to the Diplomatic Reception Rooms

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 30, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Marcee. Well, it is a pleasure to welcome all of you here. And I want to thank Marcee, who has done a wonderful job. Her enthusiasm and dedication to this collection is palpable. And I think if you haven’t had a tour led by Marcee, you’re missing a real treat. I want to also – (applause) – thank her staff and all the tour guides and the docents who are here sharing these beautiful objects with the public – 40,000 visitors a year. And it really does just make me so proud that we’re able to share this with the public.
I want to thank the Fine Arts Committee at the Department of State and the Fund for the Endowment of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms. I also want to thank a fellow cabinet member, the Secretary of Agriculture and his wife, Tom and Christie Vilsack who are here. Thank you for coming, Tom. (Applause.)
As we were doing the receiving line, a couple of you said that you’ve been doing this since Clem Conger enlisted you. (Laughter.) Once in, never out. And he is rightly revered as a legend for what he was able to accomplish in these rooms. But the ongoing commitment by so many of you plus the dedicated staff has been equally important.
To be sure that we continue to recognize and respect what it is that these rooms symbolize, I love telling our guests from around the world about each one named for a giant in American history. Every time I set foot in these rooms, I am very proud that we can conduct our diplomacy against such a stunning backdrop of American art and architecture. And we also use these rooms to introduce visitors to the breadth of our history and the scope and variety of the American landscape, from Niagara Falls to the mountains of Yellowstone, to Plymouth Rock, and one of our most recent gifts, the Thomas Cole landscape, that captures the mood and style of our nation in the 19th century.
So as you study each of these fabulous objects, I hope you will share the great joy that I feel in being able to work in this building. It was so touching for me to be here and be able to walk through these rooms and to know that others had come before and that the work of our nation, our values, never ends. And the newest addition to the collection, I’m very happy to say, is a portrait of a woman, Caroline Leroy Webster, and the wife of the great statesman Daniel Webster. And what a fitting reminder that our nation was built not only by great men, but also by great women. (Applause.)
I’m very committed to working with the committee and, of course, Marcee and her staff to build our endowment so that it reaches a point that enables us to not worry about the constant fundraising that is part of keeping these collections and adding to them. I was privileged to do that to help finish off a – an effort actually started by Pat Nixon and continued by successive first ladies. And I recognize some of you were also donors to the White House Endowment Fund.
I know we also have representatives from Blair House, another part of our State Department outreach to visitors from around the world. I cannot thank you enough for your gifts and your ongoing support. But I also particularly appreciate the joy that so many of you expressed as we were shaking hands and greeting one another to be in this room – in these rooms, and to feel that you too are part of American history and, in fact, you are. That’s what’s so unique about this extraordinary country of ours. It’s not only about the people whose portraits are on the wall. Every country has people whose portraits from the past are on walls.
What makes the United States of America unique is how individuals throughout our country’s history have taken responsibility for preserving the past, but imagining and creating an even better future. That’s what we’re going to try to do here in the State Department. And we want to be reminded of the very high bar that we face to make a contribution to our country and to the world similar to what has stood the test of time in history by the men and women represented in these fabulous rooms. Thank you all very, very much. (Applause.)
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Opening Remarks on the President’s FY 2009 War Supplemental Request

Testimony

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee
Washington, DC
April 30, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Senator Cochran, members of the Committee, former colleagues and friends. I thank you for this opportunity to appear before you. And I also thank you for your stalwart support of the men and women of the State Department and USAID, who serve in critical and often dangerous missions in all corners of the world.
I’m honored to be here with Secretary Gates. I appreciate the partnership that we have developed in the first 100 days of this Administration, and today, on Day 101, I look forward to our further collaboration in the months ahead.Before turning to the topic of today’s hearing, let me just give you a brief update on how the State Department is supporting the federal government’s response to the H1N1 flu virus.

We have established an influenza monitoring group within our Operations Center. We are tracking how other governments are responding to the threat and what assistance we might offer. We are constantly reviewing and refining our advice to Americans traveling or living abroad.

Our pandemic influenza unit, set up in the last years, is providing valuable expertise. Its director, Ambassador Robert Loftis, is keeping us apprised of their work and their interaction with health agencies and the World Health Organization.

Earlier this week, USAID announced it is giving $5 million to the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization to help detect and contain the disease in Mexico.

We will continue to coordinate closely with the Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, the WHO, the CDC, and other agencies. And I’m very cognizant of the role that we all must play in attempting to stem and contain this influenza outbreak.

Senator Gates – Secretary Gates and I are here together because our departments’ missions are aligned and our plans are integrated. The foreign policy of the United States is built on the three Ds: defense, diplomacy, and development. The men and women in our armed forces perform their duties with courage and skill, putting their lives on the line time and time again on behalf of our nation. And in many regions, they serve alongside civilians from the State Department and USAID, as well as other government agencies, like USDA.

We work with the military in two crucial ways. First, civilians complement and build upon our military’s efforts in conflict areas like Iraq and Afghanistan. Second, they use diplomatic and development tools to build more stable and peaceful societies, hopefully to avert or end conflict that is far less costly in lives and dollars than military action.

As you know, the United States is facing serious challenges around the world: two wars; political uncertainty in the Middle East; irresponsible nations, led by Iran and North Korea, with nuclear ambitions; an economic crisis that is pushing more people into poverty; and 21st century threats such as terrorism, climate change, trafficking in drugs and human beings. These challenges require new forms of outreach and cooperation within our own government and then with others as well.

To achieve this, we have launched a new diplomacy powered by partnership, pragmatism, and principle. We are strengthening historic alliances and reaching out to create new ones. And we’re bringing governments, the private sector, and civil society together to find global solutions to global problems.

The 2009 supplemental budget request for the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development is a significant sum, yet our investment in diplomacy and development is only about 6 percent of our total national security budget. For Secretary Gates and myself, it is critically important that we give our civilian workers, as well as our military, the resources they need to do their jobs well.

In Iraq, as we prepare to withdraw our troops, our mission is changing, but it is no less urgent. We must reinforce security gains while supporting the Iraqi Government and people as they strengthen public institutions and promote job creation, and assist those Iraqis who had fled because of violence and want to return home.

Last weekend, I visited Iraq, taking with me – or meeting on the ground, actually, our new ambassador who was confirmed the night before. We visited the leadership. We visited with a cross-section of Iraqis in a town hall setting. And clearly, there are signs of progress. But there is much work that remains. In meeting with Iraqis who are working with our Provincial Reconstruction Teams and our Embassy, I was struck by their courage and determination to reconstruct their country – not just physically, but really through the re-weaving of their society.

We have requested $482 million in the supplemental for our civilian efforts to help Iraq move forward – we want to create a future of stability, sovereignty, and self-reliance – and another $108 million to assist Iraqi refugees.

In Afghanistan, as you know, the President has ordered additional troops. Our mission is very clear: to disrupt, dismantle, and destroy al-Qaida. But bringing stability to that region is not only a military mission; it requires more than a military response. So we have requested $980 million in assistance to focus on rebuilding the agricultural sector, having more political progress, helping the local and provincial leadership deliver services for their people.
As President Obama has consistently maintained, success in Afghanistan depends on success in Pakistan. And we have seen how difficult it is for the government there to make progress as the Taliban and their allies continues to make inroads.
Counterinsurgency training is critical. But of equal importance are diplomacy and development, to work with the Pakistani Government, Pakistani civil society, to try to provide more economic stability and diminish the conditions that feed extremism. That is the intent of the comprehensive strategy laid out by Senator Kerry and Senator Lugar, which President Obama and I have endorsed and which the Senate will be considering in the next days.
With this supplemental request, we are seeking funding of $497 million in assistance for our work in Pakistan, which will support the government’s efforts to stabilize the economy, strengthen law enforcement, alleviate poverty, and help displaced citizens find safe shelter. It will also enable us to begin to keep the pledge we made to Pakistan at the Tokyo Donors Conference earlier this month.
In addition to our work in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, we are committed to help achieve a comprehensive peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, and to address the humanitarian needs in Gaza and the West Bank. At Sharm el-Sheikh last month, on behalf of the President, I announced a pledge of $900 million for humanitarian, economic, and security assistance for the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people. Our supplemental request is included in that pledge; it is not in addition to it. And it will be implemented with stringent requirements to prevent aid from being diverted into the wrong hands.
Meanwhile, the current economic crisis has put millions of people in danger of falling further into poverty. And we have seen again and again that this can destabilize countries, as well as sparking humanitarian crises. So we have requested $448 million to assist developing countries hardest hit by the global financial crisis. These efforts will be complemented by investments in the supplemental budget for emergency food aid, to counter the destructive effects of the global food crises, to try to help people who are undernourished to succeed in school, participate in their societies. And I’m very pleased that the President has asked the State Department and USAID to lead a government-wide effort to address the challenge of food security.
We also must lead by example when it comes to shared responsibility. So we have included in this request $837 million for United Nations peacekeeping operations, which includes funds to cover assessments previously withheld.
As recently in Haiti, where the UN peacekeeping force, led by the Brazilians, has done an extraordinary job in bringing security and stability to Haiti. It is still fragile, but enormous progress has been made. It is a good investment for us to pay 25 percent of that kind of stability operation instead of being asked to assume it for 100 percent of the cost.
We’re asking also for small investments targeted to specific concerns: international peacekeeping operations and stabilization in Africa; humanitarian needs in Burma; the dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear programs, assuming that they come back to the Six-Party Talks; assistance for Georgia that the prior administration promised and we believe we should fulfill; support for the Lebanese Government, which is facing serious challenges; and funding for critical air mobility support in Mexico as part of the Merida Initiative.
Finally, if the State Department is to pursue an ambitious foreign policy agenda that safeguards our security and advances our interests and really exemplifies our values, we have to have a more agile, effective State Department and USAID. We have to staff those departments well. We have to provide the resources that are needed. We have to hold ourselves accountable. Our supplemental includes $747 million to support State and USAID mission operations around the world.
Secretary Gates and I are also looking at how our departments can collaborate even more effectively. That includes identifying pieces of our shared mission that are now housed at Defense that should move to State.
With the budget support we’ve outlined in this supplemental request, we can do the work that this moment demands of us in regions whose future stability will impact our own.

Secretary Gates and I are committed to working closely together, in an almost unprecedented way, to sort out what the individual responsibilities and missions of Defense and State and USAID should be, but committed to the overall goal of promoting stability and long-term progress, which we believe is in the interest of the United States and which we are prepared to address and take on the challenges and seize the opportunities that confront us at this moment in history.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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Tribute to Sojourner Truth: Unveiling of Bust in Emancipation Hall at the U.S. Capitol

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Emancipation Hall, U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC
April 28, 2009

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SECRETARY CLINTON: What a wonderful day it is to be here in Emancipation Hall for this great occasion when Sojourner Truth takes her rightful place alongside the heroes who have helped to shape our nation’s history.This is an achievement that did not come easily or quickly. It took years of hard work and faith by many people to make this day possible. And what a great honor and pleasure it is to have with us for this extraordinary moment in our nation’s history our First Lady, Michelle Obama.I want to thank the Speaker for her leadership and also Congressman Boehner and Leader Reid and Senator McConnell, because this was a bipartisan effort. But I especially want to thank my partner in this project from the very beginning when we first co-sponsored the legislation for this extraordinary memorial years ago, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee.This dream began with C. DeLores Tucker. All of us who knew and admired and loved C. DeLores remember that when she had her mind made up, you could not change it. She saw this through almost to the very end, and I know she is smiling down on us today in celebration and pride. And it is such a great delight to have with us her husband, William “Bill” Tucker. Mr. Tucker, thank you.All the members of the National Congress of Black Women deserve our thanks, because you raised the money for this memorial. You raised it one dollar and five dollars at a time. It was a true grassroots effort. And you have every reason to be so proud of what you have achieved here.I also want to take a moment of personal privilege and recognize another one of my heroines, Dr. Dorothy Height, who is here with us. You know, leaders like Dr. Height and E. Faye Williams and Michelle Battle and so many others stand in the footsteps of Sojourner’s legacy. It is all around us today. You heard the bishop. We’re here because of barriers she challenged and fought to tear down and paths she helped to forge and trod alone. So we honor her memory and we pay tribute to her life’s work, and we recommit ourselves to fighting to end injustice and inequality wherever it remains.One hundred and fifty-eight years ago, hundreds of women and men from across the country gathered in a church in Akron, Ohio to declare a simple but revolutionary idea, that the rights afforded to men, particularly the right to vote, belonged to women too.Now, in a few minutes, we’re going to hear from one of our great actresses, Cicely Tyson, who will recount those words. But inside that crowded church when this former slave stood to speak, at first, people were not paying attention. Some were kind of rude, if you read the history. But she knew firsthand the cruelties of slavery and oppression and the burden of gender inequality, and she drew vital connections between the two.On that day in Ohio, she told the crowd of suffragettes that if they cared about women’s rights, they had to fight for the rights of current and former slaves, and that slaves deserved their support, just as the larger society should support the rights of women that they were campaigning for.She lived for nearly 90 years. She never stopped fighting to extend the rights and protections of our democracy. She preached against capital punishment and advocated for prison reform. She recruited African American troops for the Union Army. She helped to desegregate the streetcars that ran through Washington, and she worked diligently to improve living conditions for freed men and women.She did not know how to read or write. Her life was from the most humble and improbable circumstances. But she ended up counting President Lincoln and President Grant among her acquaintances. She never, never, despite what she went through, stopped believing in the promise of liberty. She lived long enough to see the end of slavery, but not the establishment of voting rights for women. The 19th Amendment would not be passed until 37 years after her death. But today, she takes her place in this Capitol, and we are the better for it.Was any person ever better named? Think about it. She is a sojourner of truth, by truth, and for truth. And her words, her example, and her legacy will never perish from this earth, so long as men and women stand up and say loudly and clearly: We hear you echoing down through the years of history, we believe that your journey is not yet over, and we will make the rest of that journey with you. God bless the memory of Sojourner Truth.# # #

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Remarks With Singaporean Foreign Minister George Yeo Yong Boon Before Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
April 27, 2009

Date: 04/27/2009 Location: Washington, DC Description: Secretary Clinton speaks to Singaporean Foreign Minister George Yeo before their meeting. State Dept Photo SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are very pleased to have Minister Yeo here with us on behalf of Singapore, a nation that we have very close and constructive relationships with, a nation that is right at the core of global commerce, and I think was just named for the 21st year in a row the best port. So we know that it’s a critical part of the global economy. And I also want to thank you and your government for your efforts on behalf of the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the medical and other work that you have provided in Afghanistan.
We have a big agenda before us, and I’m looking forward to our meeting.
FOREIGN MINISTER YEO: Thank you very much, Secretary Clinton, for welcoming me to the State Department. Delighted to be back here and delighted to be calling on you in your capacity as Secretary of State. Bilateral relations between Singapore and the U.S. are excellent. We have a free trade agreement which was negotiated in ’03, a strategic framework – a security framework agreement which was concluded in ’05. Singapore armed forces work with the U.S. armed services in Iraq and in Afghanistan and the Gulf of Aden.
I am here today to discuss how to take our relations to a higher level. We appreciate it very much, Madame Secretary, your visit to East Asia, your first – on your first overseas visit. Your visit to the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta was much appreciated. We look forward to welcoming you back in July for the ASEAN Regional Forum.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, yes.
FOREIGN MINISTER YEO: And we are also looking forward to the visit of President Obama for the ASEAN – for APEC Economic Ministers Meeting in Singapore in November this year.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
FOREIGN MINISTER YEO: Thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: We are looking forward to all of that as well. Thank you so much, Minister.
FOREIGN MINISTER YEO: Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, how are you advising Americans in terms of travel to Mexico?
SECRETARY CLINTON: We have put up on our website information and urging caution with those who are planning to travel. We are coordinating very closely with the Centers for Disease Control, with the Department of Homeland Security. We are taking this very seriously and working also with the World Health Organization and other countries to try to develop a strategy to prevent the spread of this form of swine flu.
We do believe that our efforts are developed and prepared to confront this wherever it might occur inside our own country, and enhanced cooperation across boundaries will be very important. And we obviously have offered help and assistance to the Government of Mexico to make sure that they have the resources and the technical expertise that they might need if they so request.
Thank you.

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Remarks at “Operation Step-it Up” and Career Gear Event

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
George C. Marshall Conference Center
Washington, DC
April 27, 2009

Well, I am delighted to be here. I want to thank Under Secretary Pat Kennedy for helping us host all of you today, and I want to also commend Louis Henderson and Darlene Young and the wonderful team that is part of Team 20 to have really spearheaded this effort.
Operation Step-it-Up is an example of the ways in which we can tap into the leadership skills of our employees and build good, strong, interagency cooperation and contribute to helping a lot of others as well. So I’m very proud that the State Department is able to host this event.
I have a longstanding interest in adoption and foster care issues dating back many, many years. My own mother actually was sort of informally fostered after her teenage parents couldn’t take care of her and her grandparents were similarly unable. And so she went to work in a home with a family taking care of their children, but the mother of that family was especially sensitive, so she made it possible for my mother to finish her work in the morning, getting the children of the house out to school, and then go to high school. So she actually was able to graduate from high school, which was an extraordinary accomplishment. And I wonder what would have happened to her if she hadn’t had that support.
In the years that I’ve been a lawyer and a child advocate and worked in organizations like the Children’s Defense Fund, I have tried to support positive changes in the foster care system and the adoption system, trying to find permanent, loving homes for children. But very often, it’s not possible to find family support or the community support that young people really deserve, especially those aging out of foster care. And this is an issue that I paid particular attention to when I was honored to be First Lady and then during the years in the Senate. I often had young people who had been in the foster care system interning in the First Lady’s office and in the Senate office, and I know that Mr. Henderson has been deeply involved in working on behalf of programs designed to assist young people when they do age out of foster care.
Little things can make such a difference, and what you’re doing today to really help young people kind of navigate the employment world is so significant. And I don’t know about you, but I certainly worried about what to wear on my first job interviews. And so the whole idea of trying to help young people make a good first impression, providing these suits that will help young adults transitioning out of the foster care system – when I started working on the aging out of foster care issues, most states had a regulation that when you graduated from high school or turned 18, whichever came first, you were no longer in the foster care system. And so social workers would literally show up at foster homes and group homes and hand these young people a black garbage bag and tell them to put their possessions in this bag and then they were on their own.
And for some of the young people that I have gotten to know over the years, it was just a shocking experience, particularly for those halfway through their senior year in high school. And they lived with friends’ parents. One young woman who I got to know just went from home to home, and from airport to airport, to bus station to bus station, just trying to find a place to spend the night so she could graduate from high school. She had already been accepted into a college, but she had to graduate from high school. And many other real hardships that these young people have had to endure.
So I’m impressed and grateful that our federal employees are participating in the Executive Leadership Program, and it didn’t stop just with an idea; you have followed through on it. And I know it’s going to make a difference. No matter what job we’re in or what level of government our position may be, I think we’re all public servants. And as public servants, I think we have a responsibility and an opportunity to give back. Operation Step-it-Up will give a lot of real-time help to young people who so desperately deserve it.
One of the young men who served as an intern in my office when I was a senator was someone who had been in and out of many foster homes. Luckily, when he was about 15, got into a situation with an adult who really made an investment, as he would tell you, no matter how difficult he was, stayed with him, got him through high school. Then he went on to college. He was an intern for me a couple of years while he was in college. And now he’s in law school, and I’ve often talked with him about what it’s been like for him. And he said, “Well, you know, you just have to imagine that it’s like you’re dropped into an island culture where you really don’t know the cues, you don’t know what it’s like to go to somebody’s home for Thanksgiving dinner because you really haven’t had that opportunity. You don’t know what it’s like to have a parent encouraging you or a grandparent who stays in your life.”
And what you’re trying to do here through this program sends a very strong signal that we may not know, those of us fortunate enough to have families that have stood with us and supported us. But I watched my own mother struggle with what it was like to become an adult pretty much on her own and then to have her own family, and to try to apply the lessons that she saw in that space of time when she was working in someone else’s home who took the time to try to foster and mentor her.
So I couldn’t be more delighted to be here to support this, and I’m very proud of particularly our State Department employees, but really all our federal employees for taking this on. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

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Remarks at the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Loy Henderson Conference Room
Washington, DC
April 27, 2009

Date: 04/27/2009 Location: Washington, DC Description: Secretary Clinton stands at podium, addressing the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate. State Dept Photo

Thank you, Todd. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.) Well, I’m delighted to welcome all of you to the State Department for this very consequential meeting. As I look around the table, I think I have met in bilateral forums with all of the countries here, if not in multilateral forums, over the last nearly 100 days. And at each and every one of those meetings, global warming, climate change, clean energy, a low-carbon future has been part of our discussions. And I’m very pleased to welcome the personal representatives of 17 major economies, the United Nations, and observer nations to this first preparatory meeting of the major economies on energy and climate.

I think it’s significant that this discussion is taking place here at the State Department, because the crisis of climate change exists at the nexus of diplomacy, national security and development. It is an environmental issue, a health issue, an economic issue, an energy issue, and a security issue. It is a threat that is global in scope, but also local and national in impact. I’m delighted that our Special Envoy for Climate Change, Todd Stern, will be working with you, as will Mike Froman, who sits at that nexus in the White House between the National Security Council and the National Economic Council.

You know the details or you would not be here. There is much going on in the world today that challenges us, and it is remarkable that each of your nations has committed to this because we know that climate change threatens lives and livelihoods. Desertification and rising sea levels generate increased competition for food, water and resources. But we also have seen increasingly the dangers that these transpose to the stability of societies and governments. We see how this can breed conflict, unrest and forced migration. So no issue we face today has broader long-term consequences or greater potential to alter the world for future generations.

So this morning, I would like to underscore four main points. First, the science is unambiguous and the logic that flows from it is inescapable. Climate change is a clear and present danger to our world that demands immediate attention. Second, the United States is fully engaged and ready to lead and determined to make up for lost time, both at home and abroad. The President and his entire Administration are committed to addressing this issue and we will act.

Third, the economies represented here today have a special responsibility to pull together and work toward a successful outcome of the UN climate negotiations later in the year in Copenhagen, and I’m delighted that Denmark could join us because they are going to host this very important meeting. And the Major Economies Forum provides a vehicle to help us get prepared to be successful at that meeting.

And fourth, all of us participating today must cooperate in developing meaningful proposals to move the process forward. New policy and new technologies are needed to resolve this crisis, and they won’t materialize by themselves. They will happen because we will set forth an action plan in individual countries, in regions, and globally. It took a lot of work by a lot of people to create the problem of climate change over the last centuries. And it will take our very best efforts to counter it.

First, I want for the American audience principally, but also for international audiences, to underscore what I said here just a few weeks ago when we had the meeting of the Antarctic consultative group. Some of the countries were represented here. The science is conclusive. The evidence and impact is getting more dramatic every year. Facts on the ground are outstripping worst-case scenario models that were developed only a few years ago. Ice sheets are shrinking. Sea levels are rising. Oceans are becoming more acidic, threatening coral and other life forms. So the imperative is clear. We are called to act, and future generations will judge us as to whether we do or not.

Second, the United States is no longer absent without leave. President Obama and I and our Administration are making climate change a central focus of our foreign policy. We are, as Todd has often said, back in the game. We don’t doubt the urgency or the magnitude of the problem. This forum is not intended to divert attention from working towards solutions, but to assist us in creating those solutions. And we are moving quickly. On April 17th, in a decisive break with past policy, our Environmental Protection Agency announced its finding, that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions threaten public health and welfare. This move will open the door for more robust tailpipe emission regulations.

President Obama has proposed a broad, market-based cap on carbon pollution that would include a mandatory national target through the year 2050, when emissions would be cut by 80 percent. A market-based cap will encourage game-changing private investments in clean energy and improvements in efficiency, streamlining our regulatory process, stimulating new jobs and growth, and setting us on the road to a low-carbon economy. We, with our stimulus package of just a few months ago and our continuing emphasis will make significant, direct investments in clean energy technology and energy efficiency. And our EPA is paving the way for more stringent auto emission standards.

Now, we are well aware that some see the economic crisis as an excuse to delay action. We see it in an exactly opposite way, as an opportunity to move toward a low carbon future. So we work on that internally and we look forward to working with all of you.

We believe that the $80 billion in President Obama’s recovering plan, which includes funding and loans for clean energy development, targets to double our country’s supply of renewable energy over the next three years. And we also are working very hard on programs to make homes and buildings more energy efficient. We think this is something that all countries can do in this immediate economic crisis to make this a green recovery, and some of you are far ahead in doing that. We are also reengaged in the UN framework convention negotiations and looking forward to working throughout this year.

Third, as major economies, we are responsible for the majority of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. We may be at different stages of development and we certainly may have different causes of the emissions that we are responsible for, but we think coming together and working to address this crisis is comparable to the G-20 nations addressing the global economic crisis. That is why I want to assure you that the United States will work tirelessly toward a successful outcome of the UN Framework Convention negotiations.

There is no sense in negotiating an agreement if it will have no practical impact in reducing emissions to safer levels. The math of accumulating emissions is clear. So we all have to do our part, and we need to be creative and think hard about what will work in order for us to achieve the outcomes we hope for.

It is going to be both a national and local responsibility, as well as a global one. I believe that this forum can promote a creative dialogue and a sense of shared purpose. Of course, each economy represented here is different. And some, like mine, is responsible for past emissions, some responsible for quickly growing present emissions. But people everywhere have a legitimate aspiration for a higher standard of living. As I have told my counterparts from China and India, we want your economies to grow. We want people to have a higher standard of living. We just hope we can work together in a way to avoid the mistakes that we made that have created a large part of the problem that we face today.

And it will be harder, not easier, if we fail to meet the challenge of climate change for all countries, particularly developing countries, to continue the growth rates that they need to sustain the increase in standard of living that they’re looking for.

And finally, I would hope that we could develop through this mechanism concrete initiatives that leaders of the major economies can consider when they meet in Italy in July. We have to come up with specific recommendations. Breakthroughs can and should come from anywhere and everywhere. That’s why creative diplomacy and genuine collaboration is called for. And I think proposals for transformational technological changes, creating markets for such changes, subsidizing them on a declining basis so that we can get those new technologies into the market, whatever combination of incentive and mandatory requirements that will accomplish this change in the short run, should be considered.

Being good stewards as we must be of this fragile planet that we inherit together, requires us to be pragmatic, not dogmatic. We have to be willing to embrace change, not just repeat tired dogma. And I think we have to be ready to do whatever it takes and whatever the earth demands to succeed in addressing this common danger to our future.

I remember many years ago, as a young woman, seeing the first pictures that came back from space of earth, and looking at that blue and green orb as it spun on its axis, and I remember being so struck about how it was this place of light and life in what appeared to be just darkness and no life, so far as we knew. We now bear the responsibility in this generation, and the United States is ready to do our part. We are ready to listen and learn and to participate as a partner and also as a leader at this critical juncture. We want to be sure that that fragile planet we inhabit continues to provide for the greatest opportunities for our children and generations to come. But in order to do that, we have a historic responsibility to come together and actually create a new history.

So I appreciate your coming. I look forward to the reports of your deliberations. And I urge all of us to do what we know we must do to put our world on the right track to deal with this crisis. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

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Her public schedule for April 24 said she had no public appointments.  She was, in fact in the air headed for Kuwait – news that never broke for security reasons.  She arrived in the evening to the obvious delight of her Kuwaiti counterpart, Ambassador Ali Al-Sammak,  who met her at the airport with U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait Deborah K. Jones.  She met with Kuwaiti Deputy Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs Shaykh Dr. Mohammad Al Sabah, spent the night in Kuwait, and left the next morning in a military transport for Baghdad.
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Remarks After Meeting With Lebanese President Michel Sleiman

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Beirut, Lebanon
April 26, 2009

Date: 04/26/2009 Description: Secretary Clinton with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman. State Dept Photo SECRETARY CLINTON: Let me begin by saying how pleased I am to be here in Lebanon on a beautiful day. I appreciated the opportunity that I had to meet with the president, with the minister, and other members of the government. I am grateful for this chance to deliver a letter to President Sleiman from President Obama, expressing the Obama administration’s strong support for a free, sovereign, and independent Lebanon.
And it is important that I stress this special bond that exists between the United States and Lebanon. My country has been enriched by the contributions of many Lebanese Americans. And, even more than that, we have been enriched by a diversity of communities. I know how diverse Lebanon is, and I know that that diversity is a source of strength as it is in my own country.
Over the past several years, Lebanon has gone through many challenges. And I want to commend the many courageous citizens from all different groups who have worked to build an independent and democratic nation. The parliamentary elections that are coming up in June will mark another milestone.
We believe strongly that the people of Lebanon must be able to choose their own representatives in open and fair elections without the specter of violence and intimidation, and certainly free of outside interference. And we join the international community in supporting the Lebanese government’s efforts to achieve that goal. We will continue to support the voices of moderation in Lebanon and the responsible institutions of the Lebanese state that they are working to build. Our ongoing support for the Lebanese armed forces remains a pillar of our bilateral cooperation.
The United Nations Security Council resolutions make clear that the Lebanese armed forces is the only legitimate armed force in Lebanon, the only force that is accountable to all of the Lebanese people. And I want to commend the Lebanese armed forces for its efforts to defend Lebanon’s borders to fight terrorism and fully implement Security Council Resolution 1701.
I also am here to pledge our continuing support for the special tribunal for Lebanon. I will go from here to pay a call of respect at the memorial of former Prime Minister Hariri. There needs to be an absolute end to an era of impunity for political assassinations in Lebanon. It cannot, must not, be used as a bargaining chip. When I visit former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s memorial, I will honor his memory, and pay my respects to all those who have been killed while defending Lebanon’s sovereignty and independence.
The guiding principles from the Cedar Revolution that followed his death, sovereignty and freedom for the Lebanese people, is a core value that we respect and will honor and work to translate into a perpetual reality.
I believe that Lebanon has a key role to play in the long-term efforts to build lasting peace and stability in this region. And President Obama and I and the administration that I represent, as well as the government and people of the United States look forward to ongoing partnership and cooperation.
Thank you very much, and I will happy to take your questions.
QUESTION: You mentioned the forces of moderation and your visit happens two months before the elections and on the very anniversary day of the Syrian withdrawal. I was wondering, coming here today, if you intend to express your support for the current majority.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I intend to express my support and President Obama’s support for the people of Lebanon, and for a free, independent, and sovereign Lebanon, and for elections that will be free of any intimidation and outside interference, so that the people of Lebanon are able to peacefully make their decisions in these upcoming elections.
QUESTION: How can you (inaudible) is going to deal with the new Lebanese government in case the opposition or Hezbollah wins the election?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am not going to speculate on the outcome of your election. That is for the people of Lebanon to decide. The Lebanese people have a lot at stake in this election. And I know how seriously all of the candidates are campaigning throughout the country.
But we certainly hope that the election will be free of intimidation and outside interference, and that the results of the election will continue a moderate, positive direction that will benefit all the people of Lebanon. That is our hope. We want to see a strong, independent, free, and sovereign Lebanon. And we believe that this election will be, obviously, an important milestone on that path.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, welcome to Lebanon. (Inaudible) on this question. I know you don’t want to speculate about the results of the elections, but it does look likely that Syria’s allies, including Hezbollah, will make a strong come-back. How will that affect your support for the Lebanese army that you just discussed, you said it was a pillar of cooperation between the two countries? Would you re-evaluate that cooperation with the Lebanese army?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Kim, first let me say that it’s a great delight to have you with me on this trip. As some of you know, Kim is Lebanese, and has been so excited about coming back to a country that she loves, and I am pleased that I could be the reason she got to come back at this particular time.
I don’t want to speculate about the outcome of the elections. Obviously, as an outsider, which is all that I am, and representing our President and our government, we hope that the election is free and fair of intimidation, we hope that the people of Lebanon make a decision that will continue the progress that we have seen over the last several years.
It won’t surprise you to hear that I think moderation is important in the affairs of states, because that gives people from all backgrounds, and all different beliefs and convictions, an opportunity to participate. So that is up to the Lebanese people to decide, but we certainly look forward to working with and cooperating with the next Lebanese government.
QUESTION: Any settlement with Syria – that Lebanon could be paying the price for – especially regarding the international tribunal and why you don’t meeting (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, with respect to my schedule, this was a very short trip, because of the necessity that I have to turn around and get back to Washington after having been in Iraq and Kuwait. But I really was here to send a very strong signal of our support for the free, fair elections, and of the state of Lebanon, symbolized by the president. And, therefore, I met with the president. I was very honored to be received by him and other ministers in the government of Lebanon.
I hope to return. I told the president that I feel very unhappy that I could come for such a short period of time. It’s like seeing this great banquet laid out, and all I am permitted to do is eat a tiny little appetizer. Because I have heard so much about this beautiful country, I have so many Lebanese-American friends that have told me about the beauty of Lebanon and the hospitality of the people. So I do hope to come back and spend more time here.
With respect to Syria, we are heartened by the exchange of ambassadors that was agreed to between Lebanon and Syria. Obviously we think it’s important that Lebanon have good relations with their neighbors, including Syria, but that Lebanon is an independent, free, sovereign nation. And there is nothing that we will do in any way that would undermine Lebanon’s sovereignty. We don’t have a right to do that, and we don’t believe that would be the right thing to do.
So, I want to assure any Lebanese citizens, that the United States will never make any deal with Syria that sells out Lebanon and the Lebanese people. You have been through too much, and it is only right that you are given a chance to make your own decisions, however they turn out, amongst the people who call Lebanon home, who love this country, who are committed to it, who have stayed here and done what you can to navigate through these difficult years. It’s a complicated neighborhood you live in, and you have a right to have your own future. And we believe that very strongly.
Thank you very much.

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Hillary spent Sunday in Lebanon.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shakes hands with Lebanese parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri as they visit the tomb of his father, slain former premier Rafiq Hariri (picture), in Beirut on April 26, 2009. Clinton made an unannounced visit to Lebanon as the country readies for parliamentary elections that could see the militant group Hezbollah and its allies emerge victorious. Clinton’s hours-long trip is seen as a bid to bolster the current pro-US majority in parliament ahead of the June 7 vote.

A handout picture released by the Lebanese photo agency Dalati and Nohra shows US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signing the guestbook during a visit to the tomb of Lebanon’s slain former premier Rafiq Hariri (picture) in Beirut on April 26, 2009. Clinton made an unannounced visit to Lebanon as the country readies for parliamentary elections that could see the militant group Hezbollah and its allies emerge victorious. Clinton’s hours-long trip is seen as a bid to bolster the current pro-US majority in parliament ahead of the June 7 vote.

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Meet and Greet at Embassy Baghdad with Employees and U.S. Troops

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Embassy Baghdad
Baghdad, Iraq
April 25, 2009

Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you all. Well, I apologize for being so delayed, but we’ve had a great day and I know a lot of you here this evening were the reason we did. The work you’ve been doing and the specific commitment to making this visit so successful is something that really speaks for itself. I’m very, very grateful to each and every one of you, and I must say you have certainly earned a wheels-up party when we’re out of here tonight.

I want to thank Lieutenant General Helmick for representing General Odierno, and more than that, for training the Iraqi security forces, which is part of his set of responsibilities. I also want to just acknowledge Jim Steinberg, Deputy Secretary of State, who will be working with our new ambassador and all of you, to deal with the range of issues that we have to tackle. I am here for my fourth trip. I first came in 2003 and then I came back in ’05 and then I came back in ’07. And here I am once again, this time as Secretary of State.
I am both heartened by the progress that many of you have contributed to. I want to thank Pat on behalf of everyone here. She did a great job as DCM until we could finally get the Senate to agree that maybe it was important to have an ambassador in Iraq. And I want to introduce to you your new Ambassador, Chris Hill. You should know that as soon as he was confirmed – I think he was confirmed Tuesday night, late – he packed up everything and hitched a ride to Baghdad. And he was anxious to start this job, which is such a critical one for our own security and certainly for the security and future of the Iraqi people.
I also want to acknowledge former Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who did a magnificent job here. Both Ambassadors Crocker and Hill are among the very best that our Diplomatic Corps has to offer. Ambassador Hill has been in conflict situations in Kosovo. He was part of the Dayton Peace Accord negotiations in Bosnia. He served in Poland and South Korea. He was ambassador in Macedonia during the Kosovo war there. So he is no stranger to the kind of challenges that we are facing as we try to help this transition that the Iraqis are undertaking to a stable, sovereign, self-reliant nation.
Being here in my new role, I have to tell you how very proud I am of you. President Obama was here just a short while ago and gave the same message to both our military and civilian forces. We see this as a real partnership. We are now moving into a period where we will be drawing down our combat troops and we’re going to have to be ramping up our diplomatic and development efforts.
I see diplomacy, development and defense as each supporting the core components of American foreign policy: to protect our nation, to advance our interests, and to represent our best values, which is the greatest case we have to make to those who might wonder whether a future of democracy is in their best interests.
Whether you’re from State or USAID or one of the other many agencies represented here, or you’re from our military, you have taken on one of the toughest and most tasking assignments that you could have ever been given. And I want to be very clear, while our strategy has shifted with the SOFA agreement and our commitment to drawing down, we are still committed to the Iraqi people and the future of the Iraqi nation.
I have said that the cornerstone of our foreign policy is smart power with using the best of our hard assets, with what is sometimes called “soft,” but I think either is a misnomer. Many of you in the military have done a lot of diplomatic and development work over the last several years. And a lot of you in the Diplomatic Corps or USAID have done a lot of very hard work, trying to figure out how we could be successful partnering with the military. And I see lots of signs of progress and achievement.
Much has been said about the elections that Iraq has already had. But three successful elections, including this most recent one with provincial elections, is a significant achievement, and that could never have happened without you and your predecessors. So today was an opportunity for me to follow up on the President’s visit and to have in-depth conversations with a variety of Iraqi leaders, as well as a briefing from General Odierno, whom I first met on my very first visit when he was commanding the 4th ID.
And we also tried something a little different, an Iraqi town hall. And I have to tell you, it’s not much different than a town hall in Iowa or New York or somewhere in the States. Lots of hands, lots of questions, and good ones too. It was an opportunity for me to hear directly from Iraqis, and I learned a lot, and it underscored the challenges that we face. So our commitment has not waned; we’re just going to be executing it with some different emphases and priorities. We’re still committed to security because nothing can happen in the absence of it.
I believe, as General Odierno told me this morning, that the tragic attacks of the last few days have not fundamentally altered the security situation. But we have to stay alert and vigilant and we have to continue helping to prepare the Iraqi security forces to be able to prevent and deter the suicide attacks by either explosive belts or exploding vehicles. But I am very confident that we’re going to rise to the challenge. We’re going to be putting real meat on the bones of the strategic framework agreement, which as you know, was adopted at the same time as SOFA – didn’t get as much attention, but now it’s the primary focus of our efforts. Because we have to translate into reality what we mean when we talk about economic assistance and good governance and rule of law, and many of the other services and changes that we would like to be part of.
It is such a high honor for me to serve as Secretary of State. I’ve been blessed over the last years in the positions and honors that I have been able to hold on behalf of our country. And it gives me an enormous thrill to be getting off a plane representing our President, our government, and our nation. But what really touches me is to look out at all of you, away from your families, gone from home for many months, in many cases, committed to your mission, determined to succeed. That’s what is best about our country. We’re here because we see a better future for another people, but we also see the connection between our children’s future and the future of the Iraqi children.
This world has shrunk. It is so interconnected now. There isn’t any place we can walk away from without possibly seeing consequences we’d rather not. So I want you to know that in this beautiful new embassy, that took a very long time to build – (laugher) – are some of the smartest and best people that you’ll find serving America, not just anywhere today, but anywhere in our history. We just have to make sure we deliver. And we’re going to do everything we can to give you the tools and the resources to make that happen.
But it has to be a two-way street. You know, I started a website on the State Department larger web pages to solicit your ideas. If you have a good idea about something we should do differently or better, don’t keep it to yourself and don’t just complain to the people that you work with. Let us know, because we don’t have any time to waste. We need the best practices possible and we need to change direction if we’re going down the wrong way. So I encourage you to let the ambassador know and log onto the site to let us know because we’re going to be on this 24/7. And hopefully, we’ll be back here time and time again and see even more benchmarks and measures of success that we can attribute to the hard work of this team.
Thank you all very much and God bless you. (Applause.)

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