Archive for June, 2009

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Remarks at Release of the Ninth Annual Trafficking in Persons Report Alongside Leaders in Congress


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
June 16, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning. We are delighted to have with us this morning some key members of Congress who have cared about and worked on this important issue for a number of years. This is the first time we have introduced the report in this way, because we want to demonstrate that this truly is a partnership between the State Department and the Congress. If it weren’t for the Congress, we wouldn’t have the legislation, we wouldn’t have the follow-up, we wouldn’t have the kind of outreach that these members and others have been doing. And I’m very grateful that they could take time out of their very busy schedules to be here with us.
You’ll hear from two of them in a moment, but let me introduce here Carolyn Maloney from New York, Ben Cardin from Maryland. We have Eddie Bernice Johnson from Texas, Chris Smith from New Jersey, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida, and I think that’s all of our members who are here with us. There may be some others who will come later, and then I’ll be introducing some of the other speakers in a moment.
This is one of the really significant days in the calendar for our country and particularly for the State Department. We have so many people who have been affected by this significant issue over the years. And it is especially fitting that we would hold this announcement here on the 8th floor where we have a great diplomatic history of so many important events in our nation.
And I’m especially pleased that our new Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, the new director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons here at the State Department was confirmed in time for him to be part of this ceremony, Senator Cardin. (Applause.) Previously, Lou led the fight against slavery at the Department of Justice. He’s also been a valued member of the team on the House Judiciary Committee with Chairman Conyers. And thanks to him, hundreds of trafficking survivors are now living productive and healthy lives in our own country, while their abusers are behind bars.
We’re also joined by two very special guests from the frontlines of the fight against trafficking. We have Mariliana Morales Berrios, who runs a foundation that assists victims in Costa Rica, and Vera Lesko, who opened the first shelter in Albania for trafficked women and girls. These two women represent nine women and men who we are celebrating this year for their courage in the fight against trafficking. And we are so grateful that they could join us today. (Applause.)
Around the world, millions of people are living in bondage. They labor in fields and factories under brutal employers who threaten them with violence if they try to escape. They work in homes for families that keep them virtually imprisoned. They are forced to work as prostitutes or to beg in the streets, fearful of the consequences if they fail to earn their daily quota. They are women, men, and children of all ages, and they are often held far from home with no money, no connections, and no way to ask for help.
This is modern slavery, a crime that spans the globe, providing ruthless employers with an endless supply of people to abuse for financial gain. Human trafficking is a crime with many victims: not only those who are trafficked, but also the families they leave behind, some of whom never see their loved ones again.
Trafficking has a broad global impact as well. It weakens legitimate economies, fuels violence, threatens public health and safety, shatters families, and shreds the social fabric that is necessary for progress. And it is an affront to our basic values and our fundamental belief that all people everywhere deserve to live and work in safety and dignity.
The Obama Administration views the fight against human trafficking, both at home and abroad, as a critical part of our foreign policy agenda. The United States currently funds 140 anti-trafficking programs in nearly 70 countries, as well as 42 domestic task forces to address the challenge here. We are proud of the work we do, but we know we have much more ahead of us. Economic pressure, especially in this global economic crisis, makes more people susceptible to the false promises of traffickers.
Today, the State Department releases our annual report on trafficking in persons. It underscores the need to address the root causes of trafficking, including poverty, lax law enforcement, and the exploitation of women.
The Trafficking Report is not an indictment of past failures, but a guide for future progress. It includes examples of steps taken against trafficking worldwide – for example, in Congo, where an army officer was convicted in a ground-breaking case for forcing children to serve as soldiers; or in Colombia where the government has pioneered a comprehensive operations center that tasks agents to investigate trafficking allegations and ensure that victims receive rehabilitative services, or in Jordan where the Ministry of Labor has established a fund to provide trafficking victims with food, housing, and legal aid.
With this report, we hope to shine the light brightly on the scope and scale of modern slavery so all governments can see where progress has been made and where more is needed. Trafficking thrives in the shadows, and it can be easy to dismiss it as something that happens to someone else, somewhere else. But that’s not the case. Trafficking is a crime that involves every nation on earth, and that includes our own.
Trafficking and forced labor are grave problems here in the United States. And we’ve been reminded of this in recent weeks, where authorities uncovered a scheme to enslave foreign workers as laborers for hotels and construction sites in 14 Midwestern states.
To coincide with this year’s Global Trafficking in Persons Report, the Department of Justice is releasing its own report, which describes the problem of human trafficking in the United States and offers recommendations for how we can do a better job of fighting it.
We’re grateful for the DOJ work. It will help us advance our struggle against trafficking in our own country. And we are committed to working with all nations collaboratively. In recent years we’ve pursued a comprehensive approach reflected by the three Ps: prosecution, protection, and prevention. Well, it’s time to add a fourth: partnership.
The criminal network that enslaves millions of people crosses borders and spans continents. So our response must do the same. So we’re committed to building new partnerships with governments and NGOs around the world, because the repercussions of trafficking affect us all.
I know that there are many of you in this room this morning who have been stalwart advocates in the fight against trafficking. And Chris Smith, you’ve got the copy of the report here. Let me just hold it up. This is a really wonderful piece of work, beautifully presented. I especially want to thank everyone in the State Department. Certainly, the – TIPS office, but others who helped produce this report. And I hope it is read and studied for the guidance it provides so that we together, in partnership, can continue to make progress against this terrible, terrible scourge. Thanks, Chris.
Now, I’d like to welcome a former colleague from the Senate. Ben Cardin is co-chair of the Helsinki Commission, and in that capacity he has pledged to make the fight against human trafficking a top priority.
Senator Ben Cardin. (Applause.)
SENATOR CARDIN: Well, Secretary Clinton, first I want to thank you for your leadership on this issue. You have brought this issue to the national and international forums, and we thank you for that. It’s a priority of the United States – (applause) – it’s a priority because of Secretary Clinton. And thank you for giving us Ambassador CdeBaca. We are very pleased that we could get that nomination through. (Applause.) We have a person who will, again, stand up for these issues around the world.
Look, our goal is simple: We want to end trafficking. We want to end this modern slavery. That’s our goal. And the United States is going to provide the leadership. We know that trafficking is connected to organized crime. So it’s not an isolated episode. It’s part of a systemic problem that we have around the world, and we have to root it out. We know that we can do better. We know those who are trafficked are victims and need to be treated as victims.
I am proud of the leadership in the United States. I am proud of the work in the Helsinki Commission to bring this to the international attention. When Secretary Clinton was Senator Clinton, she served on the Helsinki Commission and was a strong voice on this issue, helping to promote it internationally. Chris Smith brought this issue to the attention of the commission and the international community by filing legislation in Congress and filing resolutions in the international parliamentary assembly. The U.S. took the leadership. And as a result, the OSCE, 56 states, have passed strong commitments to deal with trafficking, have established a special representative to combat trafficking. That’s the type of strategies we need.
Madame Secretary, let me just tell you, this report, this TIP report is critically important to all of us. I have already read the section on Belarus. Why? Because Chris and I are going to be in Belarus in a couple weeks, and we’re going to talk to the leaders of Belarus about being on Tier 2 and how they can improve what they’re doing on trafficking. This is the objective yardstick that we use when we meet with leaders from other countries. And the United States has provided the leadership. I am proud of the work that has been done. Now it’s time for us to follow through on the information that’s contained in this report so that we can, in fact, end this modern-day slavery. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: I am very pleased that we’ve been joined by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee from Texas. Thank you so much for being here, Sheila. (Applause.) Our next speaker is the ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. She’s been a tenacious advocate for immigrant women, refugees, and other vulnerable populations. She’s been a leader on human trafficking both in Congress and through her support of programs in her home district, including the Human Trafficking Center at the University of St. Thomas.
Representative Ros-Lehtinen. (Applause.)
MS. ROS-LEHTINEN: Thank you, Madame Secretary. Thank you. Thank you so much, Secretary Clinton and Ambassador CdeBaca. It’s an honor to stand with you today to address this important issue of the scourge of human trafficking. As we know, hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings are trafficked across international borders each and every year. And of these, an estimated 80 percent are women and half are children. The numbers, however, do not convey the human horrors that lay behind those statistics. These crimes know no borders.
In Iran, children are forced into sexual slavery, involuntary servitude, while Iranian girls are trafficked into Pakistan and numerous other countries. In Syria, women are trafficked from South and Southeast Asia and are forced to work as domestic servants, and women from Eastern Europe and Iraq are forced into prostitution. In our own hemisphere, Cuba has shamefully been promoting itself as a destination for sexual tourism that exploits large numbers of Cuban girls and boys, some as young as 12. And the list goes on and on.
And I’m proud of the leading role that our United States Congress, this Department of State, under Secretary Clinton’s leadership, has played in moving the fight against human trafficking from a non-issue to a priority for the United States Government. When the original Trafficking Victims Protection Act was introduced a decade ago, these issues did not have a lot of attention paid to them. But thanks to that legislation and thanks to the efforts of the State Department’s office to monitor and combat trafficking in persons, foreign governments know that inaction will no longer be met with silence.
This annual release of the Trafficking In Persons Report is critically important as a reckoning, as a resource, and as a challenge. As a reckoning, the report’s tier placements are an indispensible form of truth-telling that has been the catalyst for action for numerous governments around the world. As a resource, the country narratives and other information in the report provide insight into facts and trends that are necessary to any real understanding of the problems that we are confronting. And by highlighting the continuing defiance of certain regimes and the widespread victimization of so many vulnerable people, the trafficking report represents a challenge to us all. There is much work to be done.
Secretary Clinton, Ambassador CdeBaca, we stand ready to work with you in this important work of protecting and promoting the human dignity of trafficking victims around the world. Mucha gracias. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very, very much, Ileana. In 2000, Ambassador CdeBaca used his hard-won knowledge of trafficking to help write the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. And I see our first-ever Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer there because in the First Lady’s Office in those days, we were working to draft that legislation and work with the Congress to get it passed. It overhauled and updated our nation’s approach to modern slavery. It gave prosecutors new tools to bring traffickers to justice. It gave governments new guidance for how to help trafficked people start a new life.
And this legislation also established the report we are releasing today. So in a very real sense, Luis has come full circle. He helped to draft the legislation that required the report, and today, I’m very proud that he is our director who is unveiling the report. (Applause.)
AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Thank you, Madame Secretary, although I think there is a few things that I might have asked Congressman Smith and others to put in if I had known – (laughter) – that nine years later, I’d be here.
Nine years ago, the annual trafficking report started as a modest summary, 82 countries. It has grown to a detailed and accurate assessment of governments’ anti-trafficking efforts around the world, this year ranking 175 countries. But more importantly, it has become a diagnostic tool that informs and guides our efforts as we seek to build a global partnership to combat modern slavery.
The successes are clear. Some former Tier 2 Watch List countries are now Tier 1. They have become models through their efforts for their regions and for the world. In this vein, I’m particularly heartened to see, for instance, how Nigeria started a dedicated counter-trafficking police and prosecution unit. We can all learn from their growing success in working with nongovernmental organizations and victims.
Such anti-trafficking units work best when they incorporate survivors and NGOs as part of the team. I’m glad that we are joined today by a number of people from the nongovernmental community, but also by members of the Justice Department’s Trafficking Prosecutions Unit and by Deputy Sheriff Chris Burchell from San Antonio, who is helping form such units across the state of Texas.
Huge challenges remain for us all. Some governments have yet to respond to the global call for victim protections or for effective law enforcement efforts against these crimes. As the UN Office on Drugs and Crime stated in its recent report on global human trafficking, two out of every five countries have yet to achieve a single conviction of a human trafficker. Our own TIP Report data show for a second year that less than 10 percent of all convictions are for labor trafficking worldwide. Despite reliable estimates, the labor trafficking is the largest form of trafficking in the world. All countries can do a better job and must do a better job of addressing forced labor, while also remaining vigilant against the scourge of the sex traffickers.
Prosecutions can be a blunt tool, but they do matter. When labor violations are dealt with just as administrative issues, abusers factor in fines as a cost of doing business, and abused workers are easily disposed of. When a country interprets sex trafficking as just moving prostitutes, instead of incorporating the effect of abuse and coercion, there often result light sentences in incarceration of the victims – risks that the traffickers are willing to take.
One important point in this year’s report, especially in a time of crisis, foreign workers are too often held not just by brute force, but through exorbitant recruiting fees that can result in debt bondage. Last year, Congress closed loopholes in some of our Pacific possessions the traffickers who had historically used to exploit people as garment workers, waitresses, and enforced prostitution. Congress also gave us welcome criminal tools to ensure that fraudulent promises don’t expose workers to servitude and mandated that visa recipients receive information about their rights before they travel to the United States. We welcome those tools, and we will use them.
To echo Secretary Clinton’s call today, we offer partnership to meet the challenges: partnership with foreign governments, NGOs, international organizations, and international development agencies. We must build on our common interests to attack this phenomenon in partnership.
A number of such partners have been featured in the report as TIP heroes. We are joined by some of them, who the Secretary will introduce, but several of them were unable to be with us here today.
For instance, Major George Vanikiotis, a Greek police commander, has dedicated his life to breaking up the trafficking rings that so often plague Southeastern Europe.
Indonesian hero, Elly Anita, a trafficking survivor herself, advocates fiercely to liberate Indonesian contract laborers in the Middle East.
When he overheard a bar patron boasting about a high-end prostitution ring, hero Inacio Sebastiao Mussanhane, a Mozambican lawyer who was living in South Africa, didn’t just walk away. He risked his life to rescue the women. Though a civilian, he posed as a John to infiltrate the organization so he could take the evidence to the police. Those men are now standing trial in South Africa. (Applause.)
Our Canadian hero, Professor Benjamin Perrin also uncovered a trafficking ring and secured important government protections for trafficking victims as an advocate.
Hero Sunitha Krishnan of India has rescued thousands of children and women from exploitation and provides them welcome opportunities to reclaim their lives.
Hero Aida Abu Ras, a Jordanian anti-trafficking activist, is a fierce advocate for the rights of foreign domestic workers, often so vulnerable as they labor behind closed doors.
And in Malaysia, hero Alice Nah works tirelessly to urge government officials to identify and protect refugees and migrant workers who are victimized by traffickers.
This year’s report also memorialized prostitution survivor Norma Hotaling, who passed away this year from cancer. Norma was an active participant in the first NGO focus groups convened over 10 years ago as part of the effort that Secretary Clinton mentioned. From those humble beginnings, without many of the victim protections and collaborative anti-trafficking models that have become the global standard today, and Norma never stopped working towards a world free from exploitation.
We are humbled by their heroism, and we are honored to be joined with them today.
Madame Secretary. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much, Lou. And on behalf of the entire State Department, we want to extend our appreciation and admiration to all of this year’s heroes who could not join us today.
Several years ago, Vera Lesko began asking what happened to the large numbers of Albanian girls who were disappearing from their homes and neighborhoods every year. The more she learned about sex trafficking, the more determined she became to help stop it. She founded an anti-trafficking organization called The Hearth, which opened the first shelter in Albania for trafficked women and girls. She offered them not only a safe place to stay, but also comprehensive services, including legal and medical help, job training, education, and family support.
Her commitment to her work has come with costs and dangers. Vera has been attacked and beaten several times by those people who benefit from the illegal trade in women and girls. She even had to send her daughter to live abroad for her safety. But nothing has stopped Vera from continuing to advocate for the women and girls of Albania and their right to live in peace and safety. Thank you so much, Vera. (Applause.)
Just as Vera was beginning her work in Albania, another woman was starting down the same path on the other side of the world. Mariliana Morales Berrios created her anti-trafficking organization, the Rahab Foundation in Costa Rica, more than a decade ago. Her goal was to help trafficking victims and their families put their ordeal behind them and start new lives. The Rahab Foundation provides counseling, education, and job training. It works to stop trafficking before it starts by training government leaders, police, young people, tourism workers, in how to identify, investigate, and successfully intervene when trafficking occurs. Her commitment and that of her staff have helped so many women, girls, and families throughout Costa Rica. I’d like to invite her to say a few words on behalf of all of this year’s courageous leaders in the fight against traffic. Thank you. (Applause.)
MS. BERRIOS: (Via interpreter). Thank you so much, Madame Secretary, for this award. I’m deeply honored to be here with Vero Lesko of Albania, my fellow. And she’s a fellow anti-trafficking hero like myself when we are here representing seven other anti-trafficking heroes recognized. These are heroes who have been recognized in this year’s TIP report from across the globe.
Although we fight against human trafficking in different ways, we have the same goal: to defeat this crime. And we trust in God’s grace that He will help us achieve that. We want to return dignity to human beings. I am the voice of many women, children, and men who are victims of trafficking. I am also the voice of many NGOs worldwide who work without any resources. And I’m very grateful to God for this opportunity to be able to shed light on the work that these NGOs do, who are heroes also for the work that they do without any resources.
And being here, I would like to call upon all governments to designate more resources, both human resources as well as financial resources, so that we can make progress on this fight against trafficking. We can form an ideal partnership because governments have the resources, while we have the passions, the will to work, and the will to work 24 hours a day.
First of all, then, I would like to thank God for this award, to my great team in San Jose, because without them, it would not be possible for me to be here, and to my family for putting up with a mother who has to spend her evenings and nights in the streets, and my husband, who is around here somewhere, who has taken on the financial burden of allowing me to do this. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Where is your husband? (Applause.)
MS. BERRIOS: (Via interpreter). There are many lives behind these awards. But today, I want to leave you with this thought: to think about the victims, all of the victims who have died without a voice to speak for them.
Thank you very much to all of you and may God bless you. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Mariliana, and thanks to your husband as well, a good partnership. And thanks to all of you for joining us. This is a wonderful event every year, but it just reminds us of how much work we have ahead of us. This morning I sent a cable communicating to the staff of the State Department here and around the world how critical this issue is to the foreign policy priorities of the State Department and the Obama Administration. Human trafficking demands attention and commitment and passion from all of us. We are determined to build on our past success and advance progress in the weeks, months, and years ahead.
I ask you just to do one thing for us, and that is become advocates for both of these reports. (Applause.) Make sure that you read the Department of Justice report. We are including more information about the United States in our report. I believe when you shine a bright light you need to shine it on everyone, and we will rank ourselves. We believe we’re Tier 1, but we will rank ourselves next year in the report so that we have done our duty as well.
But then, please read this. And those of you working in the State Department, USAID, our missions around the world, please take this and talk with your counterparts in governments, in countries that are willing to partner with us to make the changes that are outlined in this report. There are so many good ideas. Yes, it does cost some resources, but the consequences of trafficking for any society are so much more expensive and devastating.
Thank you all very much. (Applause.) I’ve been reminded, we’ve got to give the awards out so – (applause). And please, come and greet our guests. And I know the members of Congress have to leave for important matters, but come talk to the ambassador and any members who can stay, introduce yourselves, because this is part of the team that we have to go after the scourge of trafficking.
Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

Read Full Post »

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Remarks With Canadian Foreign Minister Cannon

Press Conference

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
June 13, 2009

Date: 06/13/2009 Description: Media availability with Secretary of State Clinton and Minister of Foreign Affairs Cannon at Carillon Tower promenade.  © Photograph taken by Harry Scull, Jr.

FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: Canada and the United States have committed this morning to amending the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. This is important for both nations. These inland waters are the largest system of fresh water in the world, a foundation for billions of dollars in trade, shipping, agriculture, recreation, of course, and other sectors. The Government of Canada has taken significant efforts in the past three years to protect the Great Lakes, and today, this joint stewardship of the environment represents a cornerstone of the Canada-United States relationship. This aspect of our long history of collaboration will remain strong as we begin a second century of jointly managing our shared waters. The agreement has been a model of international cooperation and has achieved numerous successes.
However, as you know, the Great Lakes are still at risk and need more to be done. So we will be doing that together.
The Secretary of State and I also discussed the global economic downturn and the risks of protectionism, cooperation in the Americas, and Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan. Our country’s prosperity and security are inseparable from those of the United States. Americans, as you know, are our closest neighbors, allies, and trading partners.
(Via interpreter) Every day, there is trade to a value of $2 billion that cross our common border from Canada. And Canada is the first export market for 35 of 50 of the American states.
People are worried by a rising tide of protectionism developing in the United States in various circles, and our government is very concerned, in particular, about the negative impacts of Buy America legislation being felt on Canadian businesses. Now, Canada’s and the United State’s shared history demonstrated we can do great things. When we work together, we are able to, of course, serve our mutual interests. Now, this is crucial as we are engaged in emerging from this crisis, and we want to be able to emerge from this crisis stronger, better, and, of course, in a more prosperous manner.
Thank you. Merci.
Date: 06/13/2009 Description: Secretary of State Clinton responds to questions  from the media following the bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister Cannon. © Photograph taken by Harry Scull, Jr.SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Minister Cannon.
I’ve had a delightful morning here, and I want to thank my Canadian hosts, especially Foreign Minister Cannon, the members of the International Joint Commission, and the many distinguished colleagues from both sides of the border who have made this celebration so memorable.
We are celebrating, because the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Boundary Waters Treaty marks a recognition of a ground-breaking agreement, one of the first in the world to recognize the environmental consequences of managing our natural resources, ensuring clean drinking water, protecting the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River system, the Niagara Falls and Niagara River that are such magnificent treasures. So for me, it’s a particular delight both to have been back in Western New York; many friends from Niagara and Erie counties — I just am delighted to see them, but also to be here in Canada, because Canada is such a trusted ally, a friend, a valued trading partner and a democratic model for the world.
This treaty, which we have celebrated, is not a static document. It’s a living instrument of our cooperation and partnership. It has provided an effective framework for the last 100 years, but now we have to take stock of where we are and how we’re going to be proceeding with confidence and effectiveness into the future. As we look at the strong foundation that this treaty has helped to establish between our countries, it’s truly remarkable: $1.6 billion in goods that flow across the border everyday, supporting millions of jobs; the world’s largest energy-trading relationship. I want to underscore that, because I’m not sure that enough Americans know, Minister Cannon, that you are our number one supplier of energy in the world, and we are grateful for that. We collaborate closely on citizen safety and defense, and, as both the Minister and I have noted, we have soldiers serving side-by-side together in Afghanistan to try to prevent the spread of terrorism and extremism.
So our common values are deeply rooted. But we have to work together even more closely. After this morning’s ceremony, the Minister and I had a chance to review some of our other important matters. Obviously, we discussed international and global concerns that we are both deeply engaged in, and we discussed our nation’s plan to revise and update the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement to protect the Great Lakes Basin for future generations. We reviewed our joint efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the globe. We discussed the challenges in Pakistan, the Middle East, Iran, and elsewhere. We talked about our equal commitment to our own hemisphere, and I’m very grateful for the Canadian Government and the Minister’s particular emphasis on working with us in Haiti, working to strengthen our relationships with our neighbors to the south.
We also have been very focused on ensuring that nothing interferes with the trade between our countries. I deeply respect the Minister’s comments and his concerns, but as President Obama said, nothing in our legislation will interfere with our international trade obligations, including with Canada. But we want to take a hard look, and the Minister and I discussed this, as to what more we can do to ensure that the free flow of trade continues. We consider it to be in the interests of both of our countries and our people.
So as always, it’s great to be in Canada, and we deeply appreciate our close working relationship the Minister and I have forged over a relatively short period of time, and we look forward to continuing close collaboration and cooperation. Thank you very much.
QUESTION: (Off-mike).
SECRETARY CLINTON: We watched closely the enthusiasm and the very vigorous debate and dialogue that occurred in the lead-up to the Iranian elections. We are monitoring the situation as it unfolds in Iran.
But we, like the rest of the world, are waiting and watching to see what the Iranian people decide. The United States has refrained from commenting on the election in Iran. We obviously hope that the outcome reflects the genuine will and desire of the Iranian people.
FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: For Canada, on behalf of Canada, Canada is deeply concerned by reports of voting irregularities in the Iranian election. We’re troubled by reports of intimidation of opposition candidate’s offices by security forces. We’ve tasked our embassy officials to – in Tehran to closely monitor the situation, and Canada is calling on Iranian authorities to conduct fair and transparent counting of all ballots.
(Via Interpreter) According to (inaudible) irregularities in the Iranian election, we are also deeply concerned with reports according to which there might have been intimidation, intimidation against opposition candidate’s offices, for instance; amongst them would be intimidation by security officials. I therefore asked our people in Tehran and officers in the Canadian embassy to follow the development very closely. And finally, we hope – we hope with a great deal of vigor that the counting of ballots be done transparently and that all the ballots that have been used during this election be indeed counted.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, welcome to Canada.
QUESTION: Canada’s government and many Canadian businesses have said that our economy and our bilateral relationship is being hurt by the Buy American policy. Secretary Clinton, why is it in there, and if you don’t call it protectionism, what is it? And to Minister Cannon, how deeply is this hurting Canada’s economy and our relationship with the United States?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Let me just reiterate that the provision is not being enforced in any way that is inconsistent with our international trade obligations. And we take that very seriously. Obviously, Canada is our number one trading partner. It is a mutually beneficial relationship that we intend to not only nurture, but see grow.
And I am well aware of the concerns that there may be elements of the international trade obligations or absences of agreements that should be looked at so that we can promote more procurement and other kinds of trade interactions. And I have assured Minister Cannon that we will take a very close look at that.
FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: Thank you. On – I was able this morning to bring Secretary of State Clinton up-to-date, up-to-speed on the Prime Minister’s visit last week to – with Premier Charest, who, as you know, is the premier responsible for the Council of the Federation. This issue was discussed. As you know, the premiers have agreed to look at the procurement issue as being one of importance. My colleague, Minister Day, as well, did go and travel to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, so I was able to bring the Secretary of State to – up-to-speed on this issue, and at the same time, get assurances that we would look to find different options to make sure that what we already have built in terms of a solid foundation continue – can continue to flourish and to prevail.
So we still have work ahead of us, and we’re looking forward to doing that.
(Via interpreter) — I had the opportunity to indicate to Secretary of State Clinton and bring her up-to-speed on the recent meeting with Premier Charest. Well, as the premiers, members of the Council of the Federation, Premier Charest being the chair, and the commitment from all premiers to look at the whole issue of procurement and public expenditures so that such expenditures be part and parcel of perhaps even an agreement with the Americans.
My colleague, Minister Stockwell Day, took the same undertaking with the Canadian Federation of Municipalities. So this enabled me to allude to these events with the Secretary of State, and also enabled me, by the same token, to look at what options might be open to us in upcoming months. As I mentioned a moment ago, there is a very solid basis upon which we can work; indeed, there are other issues to be worked on, but – and that we’ve always been able to reach an agreement with the Americans on a number of topics. I don’t think this impediment is a major one, and we will continue our dialogue.
QUESTION: (Off-mike)
SECRETARY CLINTON: First, let me say how gratified we were that the United Nations Security Council reached and agreement on a very strong resolution that contains not only new sanctions and the authorization for inspections of ships that may be carrying contraband or weapons of mass destruction or other dangerous technology from North Korea, but that the resolution represented a unified response to the provocative actions that have been taken by the North Koreans over the last several months.
This was a tremendous statement on behalf of the world community that North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and the capacity to deliver those weapons through missiles is not going to be accepted by the neighbors, as well as the greater international community. We intend to work with our partners, including Canada and others, to enforce the provisions of this resolution in a vigorous way, to send a clear message that we intend to do all we can to prevent continued proliferation by the North Koreas.
I will add, however, that the North Korean’s continuing provocative actions are deeply regrettable. They have now been denounced by everyone. They have become further isolated, and it is not in the interests of the people of North Korea for that kind of isolation to continue. So the Six-Party Framework, which the North Koreans left, turning their back on the obligations to continue with denuclearization, is still an open opportunity for them to return. And we are going to be consulting closely with our friends and allies, not only in Northeast Asia, but more generally, to determine a way forward in response to further actions.
But I think these sanctions and the authorizations included in this resolution give the world community the tools we need to take appropriate action against the North Korean regime.
FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: Canada already, of course, abides by Resolution 1718 that was passed in 2006. And we’ve implemented that resolution and the binding sanctions, of course, that were introduced.
We as well are very – and we welcome the additional imposition of – by Resolution 1874. Canada, of course, is very, very pleased that the world community has come together in a united response at the (inaudible) to be able to signal to the international – to North Korea the international community’s determination that their recent conduct is inacceptable. So we’re very pleased by this Security Council resolution, as well.
We’re also pleased by the new resolution’s calls upon North Korea to return immediately to the Six-Party Talks and to demand, of course, that these talks that are extremely important in terms of nonproliferation and the use of nuclear weapons get going.
(Via interpreter) Canada, of course, is very much abiding by Resolution 1718 that was adopted in 2006, and we are very happy with that recent resolution, adopted by the UN Security Council. Canada will apply with determination all the provisions contained therein. For that matter, we’re delighted to see that the international community has sent a very clear signal to North Korea. And will add, by way of conclusion, that for our part, it’s important that the discussions amongst the six parties resume as quickly as possible, and we’re delighted that this resolution also calls upon the Government of North Korea to go back to the negotiating table, so that we might limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
QUESTION: (Off-mike).
SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m sorry, and what?
QUESTION: (Off-mike).
SECRETARY CLINTON: First, with respect to our shared border, there is certainly no argument that we each have to take additional security steps, given conditions in the world. I mean, I think we both regret those. We are sorry that we have to respond to them, but nevertheless, that is the reality. And we are doing everything we can in the Obama Administration to listen and work with our Canadian counterparts.
There have been several very productive discussions already between our Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, and her Canadian counterpart. Because we know that we want to maintain this extraordinary relationship that we have with the right amount of security to protect our citizens on both sides, without interfering in the free movement of goods and people that we value so greatly.
Sometimes we need to help each other really understand fully the challenges that we are each facing to make sure we achieve that common goal. I would still argue that although we do have law enforcement on our border in greater numbers than we did ten years ago, compared to a border that I know of anywhere, just about, in the world, this is a demilitarized, free, open border with appropriate law enforcement personnel and technology in the interest of protecting our two peoples.
So we will work very closely with the Canadian Government, and we will try to solve problems that have arisen between our governments in the past to make sure that we are doing what we need to do with security in a way that does not interfere with all of the other interests that we share.
We are both members of the Arctic Council. We, and Canada, with its very extensive presence on the Arctic waters, along with Russia, Norway, and — Denmark, right? – are the members of the Arctic Council. We want to work closely together. We want to foresee issues and try to resolve them so that they don’t become problems. And we feel, as one of the five nations working with the others, that we have an opportunity here, and we intend to take this very seriously. Obviously, there are questions of sovereignty and jurisdiction that have to be acknowledged and respected, but what we don’t want is for the Arctic to become a free-for-all. If there is going to be greater maritime passageways through the Arctic, if there is going to be more exploration for natural resources, if there are going to be more security issues, I think it’s in the Canadian and the United States’ interests to try to get ahead of those, and try to make sure we know what we’re going to do to resolve them before countries that are not bordering the arctic are making claims, are behaving in ways that will cause us difficulties.
FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: Let me respond by saying at the outset how very pleased I was one of the first initiatives that Secretary of State Clinton took on was to be able to host the Antarctica Joint Arctic Council Meeting in Washington a couple of months ago, which was, I think, a strong indication, once again, of our country’s commitment to not only this border here, but, of course, to our northern border. And what I can say on that is that there are no obstacles. We have been able to manage the issues as it should be between the two neighbors. We, of course, as a country, as well as the United States, Russia, and the other members of the Arctic Council, have agreed to abide by, of course, the United Nations Convention, the Law of the Seas, to go forward and do the mapping. We’ve been able to, as a Canadian Government, assume our responsibilities, assert our responsibilities in terms of sovereignty by our infrastructure programs.
So from that perspective, it’s going extraordinarily well, as well as, as Hillary Clinton just mentioned, Peter Van Loan, who, as you know, is our minister responsible for – I was going to say homeland security, but for border crossings and has worked extremely well with the Secretary of State, Secretary Napolitano, over the course of the last several weeks. They’ve established a working relationship, which I feel is something that is extraordinarily good in terms of moving forward. And so I’d say that on that front as well, things are going very, very well.
(Via interpreter) Briefly, I would say this: I congratulated Secretary of State Clinton for the initiative she took at the very outset of her mandate, and by convening in Washington a joint meeting between the Arctic Council and the Antarctica Council. At that time, we were able to examine a variety of subjects that arise in the extremities of the globe. And as I mentioned, we were – we have always been able to manage our difficulties in a very positive, healthy manner. That is what exists in the arctic part of our country.
We are members of the Arctic Council with three other countries. We are committed into various provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas. We have also noted, with a great deal of satisfaction and interest, the work that is being done by Minister Peter Van Loan, who is the minister responsible for public safety here in Canada, as well as with the American Secretary for Homeland Security, Mrs. Napolitano, to deal with issues that arise in common to both our countries. In that regard, many steps are being taken. So we’re very happy with the progress that has been made.
And I will tell you, by way of conclusion, that the relationship between Canada and the U.S. again continues to shine, and it is a real breath of fresh air and a ray of sunshine for many countries in the world when we want to see how borders should be managed and the relationship between two countries. We are great, great friends.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you all.

Read Full Post »

Good morning. What a glorious day, and it’s an absolute delight for me to be here on this occasion. I take any excuse I can to get back to come back to New York, and to celebrate this commemoration with all of you and to have an opportunity to spend time with my Canadian counterpart, Minister Cannon, is indeed a privilege.

I just want to recognize the significance of this extraordinary moment in time. The friendship between the people of the United States and Canada is the strongest in the world. There is no border that is longer and more peaceful; there is no greater trade between two nations. There are so many values that we share in common, and today we celebrate a treaty that helped to make this friendship possible 100 years ago.

The people who understood the significance of our relationship and the beauty of our natural surroundings were far-sighted and visionary. And the Boundary Water Treaty of 1909 made official something that people on both sides of the border have known for generations: that the rivers, the lakes, streams, the watersheds along our boundary do not belong to one nation or the other, but to both of us. And we are therefore called to be good stewards in the care of these precious resources. These waterways sustain some of Canada’s and America’s greatest cities. They foster travel and trade, they provide drinking water to families across the continent, and, of course, they offer some of the most beautiful vistas in all of creation.

Even as countries elsewhere in the past and today clash over natural resources, Canada and the United States have worked to remain peaceful partners in sharing these waters and caring for their long-term health. Now, when we’ve had differences, which all friends do, and even families, for that matter, we have worked that through. The International Joint Commission created by the Treaty has helped us to resolve our differences quickly and fairly.

The treaty has also established a sense of cooperation along the border. Other than comments about which side of the border has a better view – (laughter) – it’s something that we hear but don’t accept. It is so wonderfully easy to travel between our two countries, except for today, when we blocked the traffic on the bridge. I’m glad I’m no longer an elected official. (Laughter.) And I think when we look to the extraordinary relationship that we have between our two countries, I know how much traffic goes across this bridge – not just carrying goods as part of our trade relation, and not just visits by tourists, but residents on both sides who have children who play hockey on one side, who work on the other side, who have a summer home on one side. There is so much traffic that brings us together on a literally minute-by-minute basis. In fact, 300,000 people cross the border every single day to spend some time in the country next door. And they don’t have to pass through a military checkpoint to do so. Our border reflects our trust in one another.

Now, to properly celebrate the 100 successful years of this treaty, we have to do more than honor the past. We have to recommit ourselves to strengthening this partnership and find new ways to work together to solve common problems. As we look at this alliance that exists between the United States and Canada, it is stunning. $1.6 billion in goods flows across this border every single day. Many of our industries actually work hand-in-hand, supporting millions of jobs in both countries. We have the world’s largest energy trade relationship. Our power grids work together seamlessly, most of the time. We collaborate closely on citizen safety and defense. Our soldiers are serving shoulder-to-shoulder in Afghanistan. And we share a commitment to promoting democracy, good governance, and human rights worldwide. So our comprehensive alliance in the 21st century will move us even closer together as we collaborate to improve conditions not only in our own countries, but across the world.

One area where we must join forces in is protecting our environment, especially our shared waters. Article IV of the Boundary Waters Treaty prohibited pollution by either country, which made this treaty one of the world’s first environmental agreements. By 1972, our nations took another step toward protecting these waters with the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, which lays out the goals and guidelines for restoring and protecting the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Great Lakes Basin.

The Great Lakes-St. River system is a treasure. It contains one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water. It provides millions of people with safe drinking water every day. So it’s crucial that we honor the terms of the Great Lakes Agreement as it stands today, but we also have to update it to reflect new knowledge, new technology, and, unfortunately, new threats.

The Agreement was last amended in 1987 and since then, new invasive species have appeared in our lakes, new worrisome chemicals have emerged from our industrial processes, our knowledge of the ecology of the region and how to protect it has grown considerably. In its current form, the Great Lakes Agreement does not sufficiently address the needs of our shared ecosystem.

So I’m pleased to announce that Canada and the United States have agreed to update the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. (Applause.) We look forward to working closely with state, provincial, and local governments throughout Canada, as well as other stakeholders, in the coming months to produce an agreement that reflects our best knowledge and our unshakable commitment to preserving this vital natural resource.

Now, as we work together on this, we must also strengthen our response to other environmental threats, especially climate change, one of the most urgent problems facing our world which endangers our world’s water sources, the safety of coastal regions, the future of agriculture and health, and the stability of communities everywhere. It is a paramount threat, and it demands effective and bold action, which can only be achieved through partnership.

The Canadian-American border is such a precious reflection of our great relationship, and it reminds us that although we may salute different flags, hear beautifully sung different anthems, our nations grew from the same land and the same ideals. It falls to us as it falls to every generation to strengthen that partnership and friendship. We look forward to many more years of working with you to achieve our common goal, and many more days of celebrating accomplishments like we do today in a beautiful, wondrous creation that God has given us to preserve and maintain.

Thank you all very much.


CTV Video of Hillary’s speech

More (good) video

Read Full Post »

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Remarks at Swearing-in Ceremony of the Honorable Melanne Verveer as Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ben Franklin Room
Washington, DC
June 12, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Well, this is an especially happy occasion. And we actually reached the limit on the number of people that would be permitted into the Benjamin Franklin Room. But it is such a personal pleasure for me to welcome all of you and the entire Verveer clan who are with us today. It is, I think, fair to say that if every person who Melanne has touched in her work over so many years could be here, we would have had to rent out a stadium – (laughter) – because she has been an extraordinary ambassador already. And who better to fulfill the position, a new position, of Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues than, the one and only, Melanne Verveer. (Applause.)
Now, you might think that this was a really easy choice for me. (Laughter.) Now, Melanne is famous for her rolodex, which at last count had more than 6,000 names. (Laughter.) She has traveled to 80-plus countries and has conducted personal conversations with every woman leader, entrepreneur, activist, and advocate in every one of those countries, thereby adding more names to her rolodex. (Laughter.)
She speaks several difficult languages. During our White House days together, Melanne single-handedly elevated U.S. foreign policy by delivering a speech in its entirety in Ukraine in Ukrainian. (Applause.)
So why hesitate about this appointment at all? Well, I had to figure out how I was going to keep up with her. (Laughter.) Melanne has been, like all the rest of you, telling me what to do for years.
And those of us who know and love her, I think, would agree that she is famous for several things: Not just the mischievous and amused chuckle with which she greets the latest item of gossip; not just the maternal pride and protection she lavishes on those who work with and for her; not just the fierce negotiating skills – always applied with disarming charm and humor – that can make even grown men wither in the face of her reasonable demands; and not just her work habits, which, so far as I can tell, are 24/7, having traveled with her many, many miles and finally just giving up and having to find sleep, and watching Melanne plow through the bags of paper that she would carry with her everywhere; and not just her brilliant, beautiful, talented, delightful and all together perfect children and grandchildren – (laughter) – not just her devoted, good-natured, ever-patient husband Phil – (applause) – and by the way, he figured the only opportunity he would have to get to actually see Melanne was by taking a job here as well. (Laughter.)
But Melanne is most famous for the unwavering passion she brings to her causes. And for the last 15 years, that cause has been women and girls; their rights, their opportunities, their central important to the future of our world’s progress and prosperity.
The absolute commitment she has always shown to giving voice to the voiceless, and making sure that the stories of everyday heroes and heroines would be known to a broader audience. She helped to launch the Vital Voices Democracy Initiative more than a decade ago, and she nurtured it and helped it to grow into what it is today. In the past eight years, she turned a government program into a global NGO, and the results of that work are ones that I encounter everywhere I travel on behalf of the United States. And she particularly helped to lead our commitment to end the intolerable scourge, the global crime of human trafficking.
So I was pretty lucky that Melanne was willing to accept this nomination to be our first ever ambassador on behalf on the issues and the causes and the women and girls that she has worked for so many years. (Applause.) She’s exactly the kind of diplomat that we need in the 21st century to exercise what we call smart power. And I am so pleased that the President agreed with me that there wasn’t any other choice for this job. She’s already put in countless hours and will be working with and calling on every single one of you, I know that. But she will, once again, be the vital voice to make sure that the concerns of women and girls remain central to the American foreign policy agenda.
I could not be personally happier or more honored to swear her in today, and so let me ask you, Melanne, to raise your right hand, your left hand on the Bible, and repeat after me. And as you can tell, Melanne is getting a lot of good help from her two granddaughters that are with her.
(The Oath of Office was administered.)
MODERATOR: The ambassador will now sign her appointment papers. (Applause.)

Read Full Post »

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Remarks at the 2009 World Food Prize Announcement Ceremony


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

Well, thank you, and welcome all to the State Department. It is a great honor and privilege for us to host this important event. I want to tell Ambassador Quinn that you’re welcome back anytime. (Laughter.) We do have more work than we can possibly say grace over, so we would love to have your experience to assist us.
I’m delighted to have my longtime friend, Secretary Tom Vilsack, who has gotten off to such a great start at the Department of Agriculture, here with us today. Ambassador, thank you for representing your country; Acting Assistant Secretary Nelson; and of course, the sponsors: Mr. and Mrs. Ruan, thank you for your dedication to this cause. It matters greatly for everyone who cares about the rights of people to have access to sufficient food for themselves and their children.
I also want to recognize Congressman Leonard Boswell, Congressman Steve King, and Mrs. Grassley. Thank you all for being part of Iowa Day at the State Department. (Laughter.)
It is such a pleasure to be here among so many distinguished guests. The issue of chronic hunger and food security is at the top of the agenda that we’re pursuing here in the State Department and in the Obama Administration. This morning, one billion people around the world woke up hungry. Tonight, they will go to sleep hungry. Today, in a village in Niger, a woman will walk for miles in search of water to irrigate crops that are parched by drought. Today, in Haiti, a farmer’s surplus fruit will go to waste because he has no way to store it or to bring it to market. Today, in Congo, a family will flee a conflict that has left their farms and fields fallow. And today, in a schoolhouse in Bangladesh, children will struggle to learn because their bodies are struggling to survive on insufficient nutrition.
The effects of chronic hunger cannot be overstated. Hunger is not only a physical condition, it is a drain on economic development, a threat to global security, a barrier to health and education, and a trap for the millions of people worldwide who work from sunup to sundown every single day but can barely produce enough food to sustain their lives and the lives of their families.
Most of all, hunger belies our planet’s bounty. It challenges our common humanity and resolve. We do have the resources to give every person in the world the tools they need to feed themselves and their children.
So the question is not whether we can end hunger, it’s whether we will. For years, brilliant and determined people have dedicated their lives to the fight against hunger. They have worked for breakthroughs in the science of agriculture. One, of course, is Norm Borlaug. His green revolution transformed farming in many parts of the world and saved millions of lives. Dr. Borlaug earned a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts, but his work was also the work of men and women who labor unnoticed in labs and fields and factories around the world, who invent better ways to raise, sell, and ship food, so that the abundance of our world’s harvest can be enjoyed by more people.
Dr. Borlaug established the World Food Prize to keep our attention focused on the ongoing hunger crisis and on those whose work is significantly contributing to its end. This year, the World Food Prize is awarded to a man whose work is not confined to a single field, but covers several: in the science of plant genetics, to the creation of thriving local markets, to the training of famers in new agricultural techniques.
Dr. Ejeta began his journey in a hut in Ethiopia, where he was born to a mother who was passionately committed to his education. He walked 20 kilometers every Sunday to attend school. He boarded in town for the week, and then he walked home to his family every Friday. Eventually, he made it to college, where he planned to study engineering, but his mother convinced him he’d do more good for the world if he studied agriculture.
After completing his Ph.D. at Purdue, as you’ve heard from Ambassador Quinn, he has gone to work focusing on sorghum, a staple crop in parts of Africa, Central America, and South Asia. He helped develop Africa’s first commercial hybrid strain, which needed less water and actually yielded more grain. Then he developed another variety, resistant to Striga weed, which had regularly wiped out a significant portion of Africa’s cereal crops.
Even while he was making breakthroughs in the lab, he took his work to the field. He knew that for improved seeds to make a difference in people’s lives, farmers would have to know how to use them, which meant they would need access to a seed market and the credit to buy supplies. So he traveled to India and studied its flourishing seed industry and then returned to Sudan, where he helped create one there, along with a system to train farmers in crop management and help them purchase seed and fertilizers on a regular basis. Today, more than a dozen seed companies are operating in Sudan in the market he helped to build.
Now, he reminds us that a system of agriculture that nourishes all humankind requires more than a single breakthrough or advances in a single field. It requires a sustained and comprehensive approach. We need to create a global supply chain for food. Today, that chain is broken, and we need to repair it and make it stronger.
The Obama Administration is committed to providing leadership in developing a new global approach to hunger. For too long, our primary response has been to send emergency aid when the crisis is at its worst. This saves lives, but it doesn’t address hunger’s root causes. It is, at best, a short-term fix.
So we will support the creation of effective, sustainable farming systems in regions around the world where current methods are not working. We will do this by helping countries carry out strategies designed to meet their specific needs; for example, through the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Plan, which establishes a collaborative and inclusive process led by African countries themselves.
We know one-size-fits-all will not work in agriculture, as it doesn’t work in most other areas of human endeavor. Furthermore, to facilitate coordination and best practices, we will seek to convene stakeholders from every sector, including donor governments, multilateral institutions, NGOs, private companies, foundations, universities and individuals, to create a web of advocates and experts.
We have identified seven principles that support sustainable systems of agriculture in rural areas worldwide. First, we will seek to increase agricultural productivity by expanding access to quality seeds, fertilizers, irrigation tools, and the credit to purchase them and the training to use them.
Second, we will work to stimulate the private sector by improving the storage and processing of foods and improving rural roads and transportation so small farmers can sell their fruit, the fruits of their labor, at local markets.
Third, we are committed to maintaining natural resources so that land can be farmed by future generations and that it help – that includes helping countries adapt to climate change.
Fourth, we will expand knowledge and training by supporting R&D and cultivating the next generation of plant scientists.
Fifth, we will seek to increase trade so small-scale farmers can sell their crops far and wide.
Sixth, we will support policy reform and good governance. We need clear and predictable policy and regulatory environments for agriculture to flourish.
And seventh, we will support women and families. Seventy percent of the world’s farmers are women, but most programs that offer farmers credit and training target men. This is both unfair and impractical. An effective agricultural system – (applause) – an effective agricultural system must have incentives for those who do the work, and it must take into account the particular needs of children.
So these are the seven principles that will guide us in the coming weeks, as we scale up our work and help us set benchmarks to measure our efforts. We are committed to collecting data and assessing our progress, and when necessary, correcting our course.
Now for us, sustainable agriculture won’t be a side project. It is a central element of our foreign policy. Ambassador Quinn and I were speaking before we came in, and he told me something that I’ve heard from others as well: Where the road ends, it becomes a refuge for extremists and for violence. And the more we enhance agricultural productivity, because it’s the right thing to do, we will see positive results in terms of our relations with other countries and our ability to affect extremism and violence and conflict.
Attacking hunger at its roots directly impacts whether we meet our other foreign policy goals, from achieving economic recovery to stabilizing fragile societies, creating stronger partnerships, cleaning up our planet, and creating economic opportunity.
In the weeks to come, President Obama, Secretary Vilsack, and I will seek input and guidance from those who have worked for years in this arena. And we want it to be an invitation. Let us know what you think will work, best practices, advice, and also from our partner countries around the world, many of whom are represented by their ambassadors here.
Now, ever since human beings began practicing agriculture thousands of years ago, we’ve been improving on it. Through droughts and blights, and floods and frosts, we’ve honed our techniques, we’ve sharpened our skills, we’ve increased our knowledge of how to care for the land. And today, our understanding of how to plant crops, raise livestock, and cultivate fisheries is unsurpassed.
But even as we’ve improved the practice of farming, we have never been free of famine. Hunger is one of humankind’s oldest problems. Dr. Ejeta was born in Ethiopia, educated in the United States, inspired by India, a partner now to nations in sub-Saharan Africa. His whole life reminds us of the international approach we need to this problem. We don’t believe any country can do it on its own, but we believe the United States has a particular opportunity to lead and to make the changes that we have outlined in our policy.
By working together, I believe we can show the will necessary to end the hunger crisis, to usher in a new era of progress and plenty. That is our goal. That is our challenge. And it’s wonderful to look out, see many of you whom I know, others whom I don’t. But I understand every one of you is committed to this goal. Ending hunger, providing food security will bring us together across all the lines that too often divide us. And if we do what we should and are capable of doing, by next year and the years after, when we meet here to award this prize, we’ll be able to mark our progress, and most importantly, the lives of millions of women, men, and children will be the better for our efforts. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

Read Full Post »

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Remarks With Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Balázs At the Signing Ceremony After Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
June 10, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon. It’s a great pleasure to be here today with Foreign Minister Balázs. We just concluded an excellent bilateral meeting.

I wanted to just put our relationship into a bit of a historical context. It was 20 years ago this month that Hungarians began taking down the barbed wire along their country’s border with Austria. In the years since, the United States and Hungary have forged an alliance based on common principles and common purposes.

Today, we discussed some of the most important issues on our shared agenda: our mutual defense guarantees as NATO allies, our efforts to work together on everything from economic challenges to Afghanistan, and our determination to stand up for tolerance and human rights. Law enforcement is another important area where we are working together.

In a moment, the foreign minister and I will sign the Protocols of Exchange of Instruments of Ratification for the 2005 U.S.-Hungary Mutual Legal Assistance Protocols and the U.S.-Hungary Extradition Treaty. We expect these protocols will enter into force shortly after related agreements between the United States and the European Union take effect. And these twin agreements will give our police and prosecutors in both countries state-of-the-art tools to cooperate more effectively in bringing criminals to justice on both sides of the Atlantic. They form part of a network of similar agreements that the United States has reached with all the countries of the European Union.

But these agreements, as important as they are, represent one small facet of the relationship that the United States enjoys with Hungary. I look forward to working with the foreign minister as we tackle problems from European security to the Balkans, from human rights in our countries and beyond, to a real sense of working together for a more peaceful, prosperous future.

And we thank you very much for your work and for representing your new government here today.

FOREIGN MINISTER BALAZS: Thank you, Madame. We had, in fact, a very interesting, multifold exchange of views. I had the honor to reconfirm that Hungary, with its new government which is in place since two months now, is a reliable and responsible ally of the United States. We are both members of NATO, and Hungary is making real efforts to play a role in Kosovo, in Afghanistan, and in other crisis areas of the world. In Afghanistan, in the Baghlan district, we are working together with the Ohio National Guard, and this cooperation is really fruitful.

We have exchanged our views about various areas like the neighbors of the EU with a special regard to the Western Balkan area on the one hand, and Russia and other Eastern neighbors on the other. Hungary has got some historical experience in the Balkan region, and we may continue to the common efforts in stabilizing that region.

Apart from this, Hungary, deeply in the heart of the European continent, has seven continental neighbors, which is a special situation. Germany has nine. But we are making big efforts in improving our relations with all the seven neighbors and coming to an end with the historical reconciliation processes, facilitated by our EU membership. Of course, I informed Secretary Clinton about the efforts and the results of the Hungarian Government in managing the economic crisis, reestablishing confidence in our foreign partners and the ambassadors, and I have brought some good news about the positive reactions of the economy improving the exchange rate of the national currency and growing foreign investments in Hungary, including the Mercedes factory, which is going to be built in the center of Hungary.


MODERATOR: The Secretary of State and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Hungary are signing these two agreements. The first is the Hungary Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, and the second is the U.S.-Hungary Extradition Treaty.

(The instruments of ratification are signed.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.

Read Full Post »

Remarks With Mongolian Foreign Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold Before Their Meeting


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

Date: 06/09/2009 Description: Remarks by Secretary Clinton and Mongolian Foreign Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold before their meeting.  © State Dept Photo by Michael GrossSECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning. Minister Batbold is here on behalf of his country of Mongolia. There has just been a peaceful transition of power with a new president. We are very committed to supporting the government and people of Mongolia as they seek assistance to develop, as they continue their democratization, and as they reach out to the rest of the world.

As I was telling the minister, I had a memorable trip to Mongolia. I have a great deal of personal interest in the progress that your country is making, and it’s an honor to welcome you here.

FOREIGN MINISTER BATBOLD: Thank you, Madame Secretary. I am delighted to be here in D.C. and to have the opportunity to meet you and other senior officials of your new Administration. And I’m looking forward to our meeting, which I hope will be a good occasion to discuss our bilateral issues and also international issues of our common interest.

Mongolia is determined to deepen and expand our relations with the United States on the basis of comprehensive partnership, based on our shared values and common strategic interests. Indeed, our two countries have excellent relations, and the people of Mongolia, and Mongolia has been always grateful to the continued support of United States to our democratic reforms. Mongolia is – also strives to continue this process, and to promoting and maintaining peace and security in Northeast Asia and Central Asia, and we will continue to work with U.S. and other countries in the region closely.

And thank you, Madame Secretary, for your friendship and continued support to Mongolia, and welcome you to Mongolia and look forward to our fruitful discussions. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you so much, Minister.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.

QUESTION: — is there any progress on freeing the two American journalists from North Korea? Are you any closer to the possibility of sending an envoy?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We are working, as I said yesterday, in every way open to us to persuade the North Korean Government to release the two journalists on a humanitarian basis. And we’re going to continue to pursue every possible avenue. Thank you.

Read Full Post »

Receipt of 2009 Annual Alice Award at the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
June 8, 2009

Thank you so very much. Thank you for those really kind remarks, Audrey [Sheppard], and for this wonderful award. Audrey has been such a great friend throughout the years on behalf of women’s issues and particularly on behalf of Sewall-Belmont and the National Women’s Party. And really, we are grateful to you for that steadfast support. (Applause.)

Audrey is completing her final term as president of the NWP, and she will certainly be missed. And, Peggy, thank you for hosting such a terrific event. And Peggy’s work and advocacy has been essential to preserving this really crucial part of American history.

I remember the first time I came to this facility, and it was really a dream that it would be renovated and improved to the point where it is today. And I really give credit to everyone who’s been on the board. I want to thank Page Harrington for all she has done and for implementing such an exciting vision for the house. (Applause.)

I also want to thank Richard Moe and Bobbie Greene McCarthy. They were my partners all those years ago in Save America’s Treasures, and certainly the work that they have done with this unique public-private partnership which benefitted Sewall-Belmont early on has made it possible for us to see this vision realized.

I was particularly pleased when Congress awarded a Save America’s Treasure grant to restore the house and the collection in 1999. It was one of only four projects named in the original Save America’s legislation. (Applause.) So there was Sewall-Belmont right up there with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Star Spangled Banner. (Applause.)

I want to thank the members of Congress who are here. I heard Audrey recognizing them. Good friends, dear friends of mine, Mary Landrieu, Amy Klobuchar, Debbie Wasserman Schultz — I think those were the names mentioned. There may be others, but I don’t see anyone. And I want to thank our partners in Congress for supporting Sewall-Belmont, for supporting Save America’s Treasures, and for staying true to the mission of the National Women’s Party to enhance and nurture the election of women, and now not only in our own country but around the world.

Alice Paul was a visionary and a pioneer. She believed that gender equality was a moral imperative as well as a foundation for progress. And her struggle for women’s rights was built on the premise that no society or nation can reach its full potential if half of the population is left behind.

Now, we have seen that played out in our own country. As Audrey referenced, the struggle for women’s rights and for women’s suffrage did not come easily; it was a very long haul. It took enormous persistence. Some of the pioneers who first declared it in the Declaration of Sentiments at the first ever Women’s Convention in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848 did not live to see their dream realized. But it was finally enshrined in our Constitution, and in the years since many in this room and our predecessors who worked so hard to realize the full meaning of what women’s equality and suffrage meant have never faltered.

And we know that where women flourish, families flourish, communities flourish, and nations flourish. That’s why this important mission of extending women’s equality and full participation is not finished, and we each have a role to play.

What made Alice Paul so special was her fearlessness. I mean, she went where most men and women would not have gone. She took on every obstacle that came her way. She was a tireless human rights activist, an unyielding advocate for the equal rights for all women. Her Quaker upbringing instilled in her the value of simplicity, and to her, it was very simple: Gender equity was so self-evident that she often would express frustration that her motivating idea that women and men should be equal partners in society caused such a ruckus in so many places – not that I ever experienced that. (Laughter.)

But Alice Paul had learned this ideal in her family, and she made it the cause of her life. And unlike many suffragists who left public life after the 19th Amendment was passed and finally became part of our Constitution, she never stopped her pursuit of equality. She worked not only for the enactment of the Equal Rights Amendment in the United States, but for women’s rights around the world. She established the World Women’s Party, headquartered in Switzerland, which worked with the League of Nations to include gender equality in the United Nations Charter, and she helped to establish the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

If she were with us today in physical form, as well as I’m sure she is in spirit, she would be heartened by two recent U.S.-introduced resolutions, a United Nations General Assembly resolution to promote political participation among women, and a United Nations Commission on the Status of Women’s Economic Empowerment.

So we have traveled a long way, but I don’t think we have yet reached any destination that we can call our own and which gives us the opportunity to rest. There is so much work to be done to improve the status of women and girls in many parts of the world. Every single day, you can pick up the newspaper or turn on the TV or log on to a website and see the reports of terrible assaults on women’s progress. We have to fight these attacks on women’s rights, and we have to address the conditions that hold women back and continue to make them the majority of the world’s poor, hungry, and unhealthy. We have to lend our voices to those who have struggled on behalf of equality and human rights, like Aung San Suu Kyi or those who are being silenced and subjected for expressing their ideas and beliefs.

And in the State Department, we have made it clear that human rights, and in particular women’s rights, are a central component of our foreign policy. I don’t believe that we can be successful in the many challenges that we face around the world if we don’t stand up for the rights of women. (Applause.)

As part of this commitment, I was very pleased that we were able to create for the first time ever the Office of Global Women’s Issues. This will coordinate foreign policy issues and activities relating to the political, economic, and social advancement of women. It will help us mobilize concrete support for women’s rights, especially political and economic empowerment. This new office gives us a central organizing focus and place so that all of you who care so much about these issues will know that all of us, led by Melanne Verveer, the first ever ambassador on behalf of this effort – (applause) – will be ready to work with you to deal with all of these global challenges, but more than that, to seize some opportunities and create initiatives to increase women’s and girls’ access to education and healthcare, to combat violence against women in the home and on the battlefield, to make sure that women’s rights truly are viewed as human rights.

Alice Paul was once asked why she never stopped fighting for women’s equality. She answered with a saying from her mother: “When you put your hand to the plow, you can’t put it down until you get to the end of the row.” So Alice Paul never put that plow down. Her work continues today not only through this wonderful home that was hers and a headquarters for the National Women’s Party, but through all of us, I look around this room, and like Audrey, I am so impressed by the faces that I see and the stories that I know of so many of you who have carried on this work in your own way, in politics and in the private sector and academia, in advocacy, in just so many ways. And that goes for the hearty men who are with us as well who have similarly taken on this struggle. (Applause.)

So if we all hold on to the plow, it’ll go a little faster, we might get to the end of the row a little quicker. And if each of you think about ways that you can here at home and around the world make the continuance of this work part of your own lives, it will make a difference. I was thinking a few weeks ago, the first time that Melanne and I weighed in on the right of women to vote in Kuwait. This is something that I championed as First Lady and that Melanne, who as you know was my chief of staff in the White House, really carried on. And then when Melanne became the chair of Vital Voices, we began to try to use that vehicle to speak out on behalf of the rights of women in Kuwait and elsewhere to vote. And then just a few weeks ago, without quotas, without any kind of requirements, four women were elected in Kuwait.

Now, for some that might seem – well, it’s about time. But for others it was a major accomplishment on that path, down that row that we travel together.

So giving heart and support to women who are willing to take steps to have their voices heard, to really take the risks that go with speaking out, running for office, starting a business, defending the rights of others, is so important. And it means so much. I sometimes think we don’t give enough weight to what it means to just reach out person to person and say we’re with you, we care about you; to look for ways to support projects, by setting up foundations and going even on to a website like Kiva, K-i-v-a, and helping a woman who wants to start a business in El Salvador or who wants to create a better opportunity for her community somewhere in Africa. We have so many tools at our disposal that Alice Paul never had. And each of you here today has a unique ability to carry that message.

So I am deeply honored to receive this award named for one of the real giants of American history. But I know how much more we have to do, and as Secretary of State I see it every single day. But I am more encouraged than discouraged. I am more optimistic because I think history is on our side. We can see the tectonic plates shift. And I know that each of us want to see more progress on behalf of more women and girls, and together that’s exactly what we will help to bring about.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

Read Full Post »

Remarks With Indonesian Foreign Minister Noer Hassan Wirajuda After Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
June 8, 2009

Date: 06/08/2009 Location: Washington, DC Description: Secretary Clinton holds press availability with Indonesian Foreign Minister Noer Hassan Wirajuda. © State Dept Image

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon. And it is a pleasure to welcome Indonesia’s foreign minister. Mr. Wirajuda and I have already met in Jakarta, we’ve talked on the phone on important matters, and it’s a very wonderful part of my position to be able to have him here to continue the productive conversation we started in February.
Today, we renewed our commitment to build a comprehensive partnership based on mutual respect and mutual interests. We are working together on a number of common concerns for our two countries, the region, and the world. Indonesia and the United States share a vision for a peaceful and prosperous Southeast Asia. We also share a commitment to democratic values, human rights, and a vibrant civil society. The American people have the greatest respect for what the Indonesian people have accomplished in the last decade.
Indonesia is now the world’s third largest democracy, and it is taking the lead on a broad range of regional and international issues, including the promotion of democracy. Through their commitment to democracy, religious freedom, and women’s rights, Indonesians uphold the values that President Obama described in his speech last week in Cairo, values that are fundamental – fundamental to Indonesia and the United States: justice, progress, tolerance.
Earlier today, I met with activists working to support democracy and human rights across the Middle East and North Africa, as well as with leaders who are advocating for religious freedom across the world. And for all who work hard and risk a great deal to stand up for these universal values, the example of Indonesia gives hope and confidence of a brighter future.
Today, I am pleased to announce that we are deepening our cooperation and committing $10 million in higher education funding for Indonesia this fiscal year, including projects for English language teaching and encouraging U.S.-Indonesia educational linkages. Also a group of American educators will travel to Indonesia this summer to explore additional opportunities for collaboration between our universities. Just as it is in the United States, education is the key to expanding economic opportunity in Indonesia and allowing people to live up to their full potential. And these people-to-people connections will further bind our countries together.
We also discussed the importance of ASEAN for regional stability and prosperity, our countries’ mutual interests in combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and I thank the foreign minister for Indonesia’s leadership in supporting democratic values, and underscored our commitment to the Bali Democracy Forum.
We also discussed the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi. Let me again reiterate that the charges against her are baseless, and we call for her immediate release. Indonesia, like other ASEAN countries, have also spoken out about her plight and urged her immediate release, and we greatly appreciate that.
I look forward to continuing to work with the foreign minister and the Indonesian Government on all of these issues. And I am confident that our relationship will grow stronger and deeper in the future.
Thank you so much, Minister.
FOREIGN MINISTER WIRAJUDA: Thank you very much, Secretary Hillary Clinton, for your kind remarks, including on the progress that we’ve made in Indonesia during the past ten years of reformasi we call it. The purpose of my working visit to Washington is to follow up our discussions during the visit of Secretary Clinton to Jakarta last February during which we agreed to develop comprehensive partnerships between Indonesia and the United States. By the comprehensive partnerships, we mean agreement to expand and deepens the bilateral relation between Indonesia and the United States.
Indonesia strongly believes, as we do share the fundamental values of democracy, human rights, and (inaudible), we have more reasons to be able to develop stronger relations with the United States. In fact, as we are continuing our discussions on the format as well as the substantive coverage of the partnerships, we agreed to start working on the promotions in areas that we thought we could start to develop a productive cooperations (inaudible) in the promotions of people-to-people exchange on educations, and I am grateful that the United States has extended assistance of $10 million U.S. to support the program.
I would – likewise – we are very encouraged that as immediate translations of President Obama’s message and call made in Cairo that the U.S. Government is intending to develop a bilateral dialogue, an interfaith dialogue and cooperation, something that we are in Indonesia proud of our various initiative in promoting both bilateral, regional, all regional dialogues with many countries and regions. And I think this is a noble effort to have – we have better understanding among peoples around the world.
We follow attentively and I personally read the statement made by President Obama. We welcome the statement. And I thought it might – I may claim that the message is also ours. And I thought that Indonesia could be a good partner in the U.S. efforts to reach out to the Muslim world, after all the call for democracy, respect for human rights, including the rights of women and to promote democracy and Islam to go hand in hand is something that we have been doing in Indonesia. This adds to more reasons why we should develop a – partnerships with the United States.
As Secretary of State has just mentioned, that we discussed other issues of concern, including the unfortunate development in Myanmar, in particular, the decisions of the military junta to bring Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to trial. Of course, this unfortunate development, because actually we were expecting that the case of the (inaudible) detentions of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, should have been reviewed last month with the view to release her. So that’s why we strong – we issued a very strong statement on the current case of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and we remind Myanmar of its obligation under the new ASEAN charter, and likewise through the previous calls by made by our leaders to immediately release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
We thank Secretary of State’s statements on the U.S. to support our Bali Democracy Forum. I think it’s important and very strategic that Indonesia and the United States works closely together in sharing our experience and best practices in the countries and, in particular, in the regions of Asia. I thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much.
MR. KELLY: First question is for Andrea Mitchell from NBC.
QUESTION: Thank you. Madame Secretary, can you come up with any explanation for the harsh sentence that Laura Ling and Euna Lee have been given by the North Koreans? And do you think that there is anything that a special envoy such as the Former Vice President Al Gore might be able to accomplish in negotiating their release? And more broadly, is U.S. policy at cross purposes? You’re trying to get these women out, at the same time that you’re ratcheting up pressure on Pyongyang for other military reasons? So how do you coordinate and synchronize those policies? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Andrea, we continue to seek the release of the two detained journalists on humanitarian grounds. Our protecting power in the DPRK is the Swedish Embassy and Pyongyang, and they confirmed the sentencing of both Laura Ling and Euna Lee. And our thoughts are with these two young women and their families. I have spoken with family members and expressed our concern, as well as our commitment to securing the release of our citizens. Obviously, we are deeply concerned about the length of the sentences and the fact that this trial was conducted totally in secret with no observers. And we’re engaged in all possible ways through every possible channel to secure their release. And we, once again, urge North Korea to grant their immediate release on humanitarian grounds.
QUESTION: Can you – can you say whether an envoy might be helpful and whether you’ve sent a letter that has been suggested, explaining the circumstances of their being on the border, and whether you have a concern that our efforts at the UN to get sanctions right now and put more pressure on North Korea for other reasons could slow down this negotiation?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think for understandable reasons, I’m not going to go into our private diplomatic efforts. We are pursuing every possible approach that we can consider in order to persuade the North Koreans to release them and send these young women home. We view these as entirely separate matters. We think the imprisonment trial and sentencing of Laura, Euna, should be viewed as a humanitarian matter. We hope that the North Koreans will grant clemency and deport them. There are other concerns that we and the international community have with North Korea, but those are separate and apart from what’s happening to the two journalists.
MR. KELLY: Our next question from (inaudible).
QUESTION: Thank you. I was wondering whether you both discussed about military assistance to Indonesia, and whether it is included in the comprehensive partnership? And apart from that, is there any new scheme made by the U.S. to make sure that the military assistance to Indonesia is extended, especially in terms of arms supply? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: As part of our comprehensive partnership, we are going to be discussing military and defense matters. We want to have closer connections with Indonesia and a military-to-military relationship. And that will be discussed and resolved in the course of our partnership. But clearly, the Obama Administration sees the progress in Indonesia in very positive terms, and we want to cooperate across every issue – health, education, cultural exchanges, military, economic – so that will be a part of our overall framework.
MR. KELLY: Next question goes to Nick Kralev from Washington Times.
QUESTION: Thank you. Madame Secretary, can you tell us, how does the outcome of the election in Lebanon yesterday change the dynamic that you’ve got with Syria and in the broader Middle East? And if I may, how is the State Department going to be involved in the investigation of the former State Department employee accused of spying for Cuba? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Nick, first of all, I congratulate the people of Lebanon for holding a peaceful election yesterday. The turnout was high. Obviously, the very positive involvement by the Lebanese people in their elections demonstrates once again their commitment to peace and security and the strength of their democracy. So we will continue to support a sovereign and independent Lebanon, and we are hopeful that the Lebanese themselves will be able to resolve some of their internal concerns without outside interference.
With respect to the investigation that is ongoing, I have directed our security personnel to review every possible security program we have, every form of vetting and clearance that we employ in the State Department, to determine what more we can do to guard against this kind of outrageous violation of the oaths that people take to serve our country here in the State Department. We are concerned by the announcement of the arrests and the charges against these two individuals, one of whom, as you know, was a former State Department employee, along with his wife. And we will work with the Department of Justice and others within our government to make sure that any information that is needed is provided for the investigation and prosecution, but equally importantly, that we look forward to make sure that we try to prevent something like this from ever happening again.
MR. KELLY: And the last question from (inaudible).
QUESTION: Thank you, I have two questions. The first one is Indonesia will hold a presidential election next month, so what does U.S. hope (inaudible) in this election? And do you expect any changes to be brought or should be brought by the next president in terms of Indonesian foreign policy towards United States?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, of course, the elections are an internal Indonesian matter. We applaud the continuing growth and dynamism of the democracy in Indonesia. We look forward to working with the Indonesian Government. We have very much appreciated our relationship with the existing administration. It has been very positive and constructive, and we look forward to working with the government that the people of Indonesia choose.
But what is so significant about this election is the further example it sets. As the minister was saying, Indonesia represents the fact that Islam and democracy are not in contradiction. Indonesia is building a modern secular democracy that respects Islam and respects women’s rights. We are so impressed with the steps that have been taken in Indonesia, and we applaud the Bali Democracy Forum because we think that is a way for other countries that are just beginning their transition to democracy or are thinking about whether to begin to see it in action. And this election next month is a great testament to the commitment of the Indonesian people to democracy.
Thank you all very much.

Read Full Post »

Remarks With Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State, Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
June 5, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Minister, you and I just concluded a very productive meeting. We’ve obviously had the opportunity to meet before and speak on a regular basis concerning the many issues that we’re working on together, and I am very grateful to him and to his government for our close cooperation.
FOREIGN MINISTER YU: Thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you all very much.

Remarks With Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State, Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
June 5, 2009

Date: 06/05/2009 Description: Secretary Clinton shakes hands with Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado after signing the U.S.-Portugal Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties. © State Department photo by Michael Gross SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good – I guess it’s good afternoon now. Well, I am very pleased to be here with someone who has a long and very important list of contributions not only in his own country, but with respect to the very strong Euro-Atlantic partnership that we both support so vividly.
The foreign minister and I discussed a wide range of issues. Today, we are going to be signing an agreement that takes another crucial step toward putting into effect our treaties on extradition and mutual legal assistance. These treaties give police and prosecutors in both nations the tools that they need to bring criminals to justice. They form part of an important network of similar agreements that the United States has reached with countries of the European Union.
The United States values our friendship with Portugal. We see the people and Government of Portugal as strong partners on an array of vital issues. And we will continue to look for ways that we can cooperate together. We welcome Portugal’s contribution to supporting the people of Afghanistan by helping to build the Afghan Government’s capacity to provide for security and other basic needs. We share the objective of helping people everywhere in places like Afghanistan, but beyond to ensure that violent extremists do not hold sway.
And we will continue to work together to achieve peace in another region, particularly the Middle East. We are pressing forward to turn rhetoric into results and to establish a comprehensive and durable peace between Israel and its neighbors, focused on creating two states for two people.
Having said that, we know we have a lot of work ahead of us. We have to cooperate on economic matters, particularly during this global economic crisis. And there are just so many important issues that the foreign minister and I discussed that we will continue to work on. But I particularly welcome him here today and thank him for the strong partnership that he and his government have provided.
FOREIGN MINISTER AMADO: Thank you very much. I want to thank you for the opportunity you gave me to discuss with you some of the most important issues that we have in our agendas, and the opportunity also to express my strong commitment and the strong commitment of the Portuguese Government to strengthen our bilateral relations with the United States. We are old and very loyal allies on the bilateral. We will have the opportunity to get another step forward in our deep cooperation. And in the context of the European Union and NATO, we have been trying to contribute to the strengthening of our transatlantic relations.
In the new face of the world politics, so demanding with so many challenges, and I strongly believe, as you do, that if the United States and Europeans are able to reinvent this relationship in the perspective of the challenges that we face together, we will be able to give peace and stability to the world. If we are not able and if we fail, it will be the beginning of the failure of the international system; such a responsibility we have in the stability of the world today.
So we have an important discussion, and I have the possibility at the European Union level to continue some of the issues that we discussed together, trying to create conditions so that the European Union can become a much more important interlocutor of the U.S. policies. Thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Minister Amado.
FOREIGN MINISTER AMADO: Madame Secretary, thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.
(The document was signed.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. I look forward to meeting with you again soon. Thank you. Thank you all.
QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, on North Korea, can we ask you a quick question? An update, if you would, on the situation with the journalists? And also, is the U.S. open to using a special representatives? And then finally, if this all ends positively, how will this affect the overall tense relationship?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Jill, we’re going to have a press avail later, and I promise you that you will be able to ask and I will answer those three questions. Thank you.



Remarks With Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State, Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
June 5, 2009

Date: 06/05/2009 Description: Secretary Clinton meets with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. © State Dept Photo by Michael Gross SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. Minister Davutoglu and I just had a very productive, broad-ranging, comprehensive discussion. And it is a great privilege to welcome him here to the State Department within the very first weeks of his having been appointed foreign minister. Of course, I was very honored to have gone to Turkey very early in my term as Secretary of State, and President Obama had a wonderful visit to Turkey.
And all of that is to confirm the strength and importance of o ur partnership and alliance. We have a lot of work to do together. Turkey, the United States, and the entire global community certainly face a great number of challenges, but we also see opportunities. So our message coming out of the meeting today and our prior meetings is that we’re going to deepen and strengthen our cooperation on an ongoing basis, because we believe that both Turkey and the United States have unique roles to play.
Now, we obviously already collaborate. Not only are we both members of NATO, but we are working with the G-20 to respond to the global economic crisis, we’re exploring ways to enhance our trade and commerce between our two countries, we’re working to develop new energy sources, including resources from the Caucasus and Central Asia. We’re partners in the fight against global terrorism. We share the goal of a stable Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to deny al-Qaida safe haven that can threaten our countries and many others. We support Turkey in its fight against the terrorist activities of the PKK, which has been a very important cooperation.
And I underscored again today the United States’ strong support for Turkey’s bid to become a member of the European Union. Turkey has made significant progress toward membership. It’s been in a process of reform that is generated by its own internal decisions but which has certainly responded to many of the concerns regarding the strength of the bid that Turkey had. And so we applaud what Turkey has already done and pledge our efforts to continue working with Turkey.
And so we ranged across a broad number of issues, and I want to just make a special note. As President Obama said yesterday in Cairo, the United States is committed to broad engagement with Muslims everywhere across the globe based on mutual interests and mutual respect. We believe strongly in the freedom of religion and expression, in vibrant civil societies, and we know that those are values that Turkey shares.
And I want to thank the minister and his government for the role that Turkey plays as a force for peace and stability. This is important, and it’s already been demonstrated in the work that Turkey has done for a number of years and continues with respect to comprehensive peace in the Middle East. And we are strongly supportive of the Turkish efforts to normalize relations with Armenia, and we are also very strongly supportive of the efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
We discussed Cyprus, which is an issue that the President also addressed when he was in Turkey in April. The two Cypriot leaders have an opportunity through their commitment to negotiations under the United Nations Good Offices Missions, and the United States is willing to help the parties. We want to work toward a settlement that reunifies Cyprus into a bi-zonal and bi-communal federation.
We discussed many, many concerns, and I’m just grateful for the commitment by the minister and by his government to play an active role in our dynamic world. Our relationship is not just about security; it is about seizing these opportunities, and I look forward to working with you.
FOREIGN MINISTER DAVUTOGLU: Thank you very much, Secretary Clinton. It’s a great honor and pleasure for me to meet with Secretary Clinton today in a very historic time after the speech of President Obama yesterday and the new commitment of United States for regional and global peace everywhere. We know of her wisdom, her approach, and we always appreciate and admire her approach to all the issues regarding to our bilateral, regional, and global issues.
Basically, the purpose of my visit was to follow up her historic visit to Turkey immediately after the new Administration in March and President Obama’s historic visit in April. So these historic visits showed the strength of our bilateral relations. So I came here in my first month of my duty in this – as minister to follow up all the contents, all the issues regarding our relations. We had a very constructive meeting. I am grateful for that. And we went through all the issues regarding the depth and scope of our agenda. We decided to have a much more broader comprehensive approach in our bilateral relations, not only security issues but economy, energy security, cultural issues. Also on the main regional issues like Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Caucasia, (inaudible) and all the relevant issues we have as common agenda we went through. And I am very happy to see that we have very identical, similar approaches to many of these issues.
On global affairs also, we agreed together that our cooperation should not be limited only by regional efforts, but there is a big potential between Turkey and the United States to work together on global issues like relations between civilizations, Alliance of Civilizations, like G-20 and economic – the situation after economic crisis, like our cooperation in United Nations Security Council. As you know, Turkey took over the presidency a few days ago. And I was in New York yesterday for the first formal meeting of UN Security Council.
As Turkey – as minister of foreign affairs of Turkey, and as the Government of Turkey, we are ready to cooperate with the United States in all these significant issues for achieving regional and global peace. That is our contribution to the (inaudible). Thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Very well said, Minister.
MR. WOOD: The first question will be from Jill Dougherty of CNN.
QUESTION: Thank you. Madame Secretary, what is the U.S. doing to free the journalists being held in North Korea? And how open are you to using a special negotiator/envoy, perhaps former Vice President Gore?
And also, if I could, just one very quick question. Any update on the situation of the Goldman boy in Brazil?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jill, the concern that we feel for these two young women who are in prison in North Korea has been driving our efforts. We want to strike the right balance between expressing our deep concerns, our belief that these two young women should be released immediately. The trial which is going on right now we consider to be a step toward the release and the return home of these two young women.
I personally have spoken with a number of foreign officials who have influence through various channels with the North Koreans. The State Department has had direct contact with the North Koreans through the channel by which we communicate. The Swedish ambassador has been extremely helpful. He has actually met with the two young women on three occasions. He’s helped to facilitate the delivery of materials and the passing of messages. So we are incredibly concerned on both a diplomatic and, on my behalf, a personal basis. I have met with their families, and I share the grave anxiety that they feel about the safety and security of these two young women.
We call again on the North Korean Government to release them and enable them to come home as soon as possible. We have explored other approaches, including the use of special representatives strictly for this humanitarian mission. But as things stand now, we know that they’re in the middle of a trial in Pyongyang, and we hope that the trial is resolved quickly and that the young women are released.
With respect to Sean Goldman, we were very pleased when the Brazilian courts reached the conclusion they reached earlier this week. And we were very disappointed when a hold was placed on the release of this young boy and his return with his father to the United States. We will continue to support Mr. Goldman in his efforts to speak out on behalf of the family relations that is at the core of this legal case, and to urge the Brazilian Government and judiciary to release Sean and enable him to return to his father now that the legal decision has been rendered.
QUESTION: This is Umit Enginsoy with Turkish NTV television. Madame Secretary, since the release in April of Turkish, Armenian, and Swiss statements about joint intention for normalization of ties, have you observed any progress toward that end, and also toward resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem? And are you hopeful that these could be resolved in the not-too-distant future? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I have been very encouraged by the progress that has been made and by the commitment of the governments involved. Certainly, Turkey and Armenia, with the assistance of the Swiss Government, have committed themselves to a process of normalization. We’re well aware that this is difficult. It requires patience and perseverance. But we have seen no flagging of commitment.
The minister and I discussed this at length. He brought me up to date on developments. And we are continuing to encourage the parties to proceed on the path which they themselves have set. We are supportive, but it is up to the Turkish and Armenian governments and people to realize the great opportunity this poses. The normalization of relations not only continues what I have seen from the Turkish Government, which is a desire to actually solve problems, and I applaud that, but we think it will bring great benefits to the region.
Similarly, with the ongoing negotiations over Nagorno-Karabakh, the Government of Azerbaijan and of Armenia are proceeding and working together. They were just in a recent meeting in St. Petersburg. So we believe that a lot of progress has been made in a relatively short period of time to resolve issues that are of long standing.
What’s important is the commitment to get to a point of resolution of these conflicts, and I see that commitment. Now are there problems along the way? Of course. There is in any difficult undertaking. But I do not doubt the commitment, and I certainly appreciate the very strong position that the Turkish Government has taken. And perhaps, Minister, you would like to add to that?
FOREIGN MINISTER DAVUTOGLU: I would like to express also my thanks to Secretary Clinton because of her personal and American Government’s support for these two processes. We are very optimistic. We want to achieve a prosperous, peaceful Caucasia. And in that sense, we are fully committed to our normalization process with Armenia, and also, we are fully committed and we are ready to work together with United States and other co-chairs of Minsk Group for the resolution of Armenian-Azeri issues.
And I was very impressed and I want to repeat my thanks for the commitment of Madame Secretary Clinton in this sense, and we will be working together. There is a strong will politically by Turkish side to continue all the efforts to achieve our common goal of creating a prosperous, peaceful Caucasia together.
MR. WOOD: Next question will be from Arshad Mohammed of Reuters.
QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, how seriously is the United States considering imposing either multilateral or unilateral financial sanctions on North Korea and its banks? And what makes you confident that such a step wouldn’t be counterproductive? When the sanctions were imposed on BDA, it essentially froze the process for months on end until the United States effectively removed them and returned the money.
And a small – well, a separate thing, maybe not small. Dov Weissglas, the former Israeli chief of staff to former Prime Minister Sharon, argues publicly this week that Israel had understandings with the Bush Administration, under which it was permitted to continue so-called natural growth under the Roadmap, that it could continue building within the construction line. Do you believe that there were such understandings or agreements between Israel and the Bush Administration? Do you feel bound by them?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Arshad, let me start with North Korea. As you know, the United States is working very hard in the Security Council, now chaired by Turkey, to come up with a resolution that would represent the will of the international community with respect to North Korea’s actions that are viewed with considerable concern on the part of not just the United States or South Korea or Japan, but also China, Russia, and many other countries internationally.
We’ve made considerable progress in devising the kinds of actions that would represent consequences imposed upon the North Koreans by the international community. I have personally spoken with a number of the foreign ministers, our ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice and her team are involved on a hour-by-hour basis, because we want to come up with the strongest possible resolution.
And I think we’ve learned a lesson. One of the lessons we’ve learned is that with the North Koreans, it’s never over till it’s over, that if there are effective sanctions that we believe can be imposed, an arms embargo and other steps to be taken, we need to see real results. We, along with other neighbors in Northeast Asia as well as the international community, stand ready to resume negotiations with the North Koreans over their nuclear program. Our goal remains to have a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. So I am quite heartened by the progress that we’re seeing in the United Nation Security Council. And when we believe we’ve gotten the strongest possible resolution we can get, we will table it and then proceed.
With respect to the conditions regarding understandings between the United States and the former Israeli government and the former government of the United States, we have the negotiating record. That is the official record that was turned over to the Obama Administration by the outgoing Bush Administration. There is no memorialization of any informal and oral agreements. If they did occur, which, of course, people say they did, they did not become part of the official position of the United States Government. And there are contrary documents that suggest that they were not to be viewed as in any way contradicting the obligations that Israel undertook pursuant to the Roadmap. And those obligations are very clear.
QUESTION: Foreign Minister Davutoglu, how do you evaluate President Obama’s speech to the Muslim world in Cairo? And Secretary Clinton, after President Obama’s visit to Turkey, what is the state of Turkish-American relations?
FOREIGN MINISTER DAVUTOGLU: Thank you very much. President Obama’s speech yesterday in Cairo is a speech of wisdom, a speech of vision, and a speech of peace. And we share the insight with Secretary Clinton as well. We share this vision and we are ready to cooperate. I am sure you remember President Obama’s visit and his speech in Turkish parliament. And when you look at the substance of two speeches, you can see an integrated approach, the continuation and follow-up of many issues that are very important principles for regional issues as well as global order in general. And it is a good message, clear message to the Muslim world that the future relations between the United States and the Muslim world, as well as between different cultures will be bright, based on a mutual understanding of coexistence, living together, sharing all human values in all fronts. And therefore, we share that vision and we will continue to work to realize this vision as a program and project together.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I appreciate the minister’s perceptive remarks about President Obama’s speech yesterday. Clearly, the President is laying out a vision, and it is a vision that invites all people of good faith to come together, to work together, to recognize that we may have differences of experience, differences of background, of religion and race, but that we are all part of common humanity. And we have an opportunity in the 21st century to work toward realizing that vision. And I applaud the Turkish Government for taking a practical, hands-on approach to solving problems, to clear away the obstacles that prevent people from living up to their own God-given potential, of countries breaking the bounds of the past so that they can have a better future.
And I think the relationship between Turkey and the United States is extremely strong. We have a durable bond that goes back many decades, but we’re exploring new ways of expanding and deepening that strong relationship. And that was the purpose of our meeting today is to begin to look at how we can take our shared vision of what Turkey and the United States can do to further humanity’s quest for peace and prosperity and progress, recognizing and respecting our legitimate differences of culture and religion, but making it clear that we’re going to share this increasingly interdependent world. And we can either have positive or negative interdependence. And Turkey and the United States believe in a positive future.
So I could not be happier and more optimistic about the relationships and what we together can do for the future.
Thank you all very much.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: