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Archive for June, 2009

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Partnering Against Trafficking

Op-Ed

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Op-Ed
The Washington Post
June 17, 2009

Twenty-year-old Oxana Rantchev left her home in Russia in 2001 for what she believed was a job as a translator in Cyprus. A few days later, she was found dead after attempting to escape the traffickers who tried to force her into prostitution.

Oxana’s story is the story of modern slavery. Around the world, millions of people are living in bondage. They labor in fields and factories under threat of 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. Women, men and children of all ages are often held far from home with no money, no connections and no way to ask for help. They discover too late that they’ve entered a trap of forced labor, sexual exploitation and brutal violence. The United Nations estimates that at least 12 million people worldwide are victims of trafficking. Because they often live and work out of sight, that number is almost certainly too low. More than half of all victims of forced labor are women and girls, compelled into servitude as domestics or sweatshop workers or, like Oxana, forced into prostitution. They face not only the loss of their freedom but also sexual assaults and physical abuses.

To some, human trafficking may seem like a problem limited to other parts of the world. In fact, it occurs in every country, including the United States, and we have a responsibility to fight it just as others do. The destructive effects of trafficking have an impact on all of us. Trafficking weakens legitimate economies, breaks up families, fuels violence, threatens public health and safety, and shreds the social fabric that is necessary for progress. It undermines our long-term efforts to promote peace and prosperity worldwide. And it is an affront to our values and our commitment to human rights.

The Obama administration views the fight against human trafficking, at home and abroad, as an important priority on our foreign policy agenda. The United States funds 140 anti-trafficking programs in nearly 70 countries, as well as 42 domestic task forces that bring state and local authorities together with nongovernmental organizations to combat trafficking. But there is so much more to do. The problem is particularly urgent now, as local economies around the world reel from the global financial crisis. People are increasingly desperate for the chance to support their families, making them more susceptible to the tricks of ruthless criminals. Economic pressure means more incentive for unscrupulous bosses to squeeze everything they can from vulnerable workers and fewer resources for the organizations and governments trying to stop them.

The State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report, released this week, documents the scope of this challenge in every country. The report underscores the need to address the root causes of human trafficking — including poverty, lax law enforcement and the exploitation of women — and their devastating effects on its victims and their families.

Since 2000, more than half of all countries have enacted laws prohibiting all forms of human trafficking. New partnerships between law enforcement and nongovernmental organizations, including women’s shelters and immigrants’ rights groups, have led to thousands of prosecutions, as well as assistance for many victims.

The 2009 report highlights progress that several countries have made to intensify the fight against human trafficking. In Cyprus, where Oxana Rantchev was trafficked and killed, the government has taken new steps to protect victims. Another example is Costa Rica, long a hub for commercial sex trafficking. This year, it passed an anti-trafficking law; trained nearly 1,000 police, immigration agents and health workers to respond to trafficking; launched a national awareness campaign; and improved efforts to identify and care for victims. This progress is encouraging. Much of it is the result of the hard work of local activists such as Mariliana Morales Berrios, who founded the Rahab Foundation in Costa Rica in 1997 and has helped thousands of trafficking survivors rebuild their lives. Advocates such as Mariliana help spur change from the bottom up that encourages governments to make needed reforms from the top down.

We must build on this work. When I began advocating against trafficking in the 1990s, I saw firsthand what happens to its victims. In Thailand, I held 12-year-olds who had been trafficked and were dying of AIDS. In Eastern Europe, I shared the tears of women who wondered whether they’d ever see their relatives again. The challenge of trafficking demands a comprehensive approach that both brings down criminals and cares for victims. To our strategy of prosecution, protection and prevention, it’s time to add a fourth P: partnerships.

The criminal networks that enslave millions of people cross borders and span continents. Our response must do the same. The United States is committed to building partnerships with governments and organizations around the world, to finding new and more effective ways to take on the scourge of human trafficking. We want to support our partners in their efforts and find ways to improve our own.

Human trafficking flourishes in the shadows and demands attention, 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. Together, we must hold a light to every corner of the globe and help build a world in which no one is enslaved.

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Remarks With Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman

Remarks

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

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. It is my pleasure to welcome Foreign Minister Lieberman to the State Department today for his first official visit to Washington in his new role. Minister Lieberman’s visit gave me the opportunity to reaffirm the United States deep, unshakable friendship and bond with Israel. Our commitment to Israel’s security is and will remain a cornerstone of our foreign policy, and I was pleased to have this chance to express that personally to the foreign minister. The United States has no greater ally in the Middle East and no greater friend than Israel.
Because our countries are close friends, we spoke honestly and openly about a range of issues. And we are looking forward to continuing that dialogue in the U.S.-Israel strategic dialogue, which has provided a useful forum for discussion of shared concerns and challenges over recent years. We exchanged views on the Middle East, including Iran, and reiterated the need for Iran’s leaders to comply with obligations to the United Nations Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency to suspend enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. And we look forward to Iran’s response to our offers of engagement.
And of course, we also focused on efforts to bring about a comprehensive peace between Israel and her neighbors in the region. Israel’s right to exist in peace and security is undeniable and non-negotiable. Both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in peace and security in two states that will entail both parties fulfilling their obligations under the Roadmap.
Building on the Arab Peace Initiative, Arab states must do their part to support the Palestinian people as they develop the institutions that will sustain their state. And they must recognize Israel’s legitimacy and, in doing so, choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.
The United States will never do anything to undermine Israel’s security, and the United States also supports a viable Palestinian state. We do not believe that these two objectives are incompatible. In fact, we believe they are both critical elements of a comprehensive and secure peace.
Minister Lieberman, I hope that you enjoy your first visit to the United States as your country’s foreign minister, and I look forward to continuing our conversation and working with you more on these issues in the future.
FOREIGN MINISTER LIEBERMAN: Madame Secretary, at the outset, I would like to say to you how much the people and the Government of Israel appreciate your consistent support of Israel. We value your friendship greatly. We remember the many contributions you have made personally, even before you became a United States senator from New York. We thank you, Your Excellency, for your longstanding commitment to Israel and to strengthening the American-Israeli special relationship and friendship.
I think that we have had a good discussion today covering a broad spectrum of regional and global issues. We also covered a wide range of important bilateral topics. Madame Secretary, I thank you for your very kind hospitality today, and I look forward to our future friendly dialogue, both in Washington and in Jerusalem. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
MR. KELLY: Our first question goes to Lachlan Carmichael.
QUESTION: Yes, Minister —
SECRETARY CLINTON: Here comes the microphone, Lachlan.
QUESTION: Minister Lieberman, first, Ambassador Oren, the new ambassador to Washington, is talking about some interesting proposals on settlements. Could you elaborate on what they might be? And then for Secretary Clinton, does that mean there is some wiggle room to your statement that there should be no such settlement activity?
And finally, for both of you, did you discuss previous President George Bush’s letters, private letters to the Israeli Government? Is that issue over with?
FOREIGN MINISTER LIEBERMAN: Thank you. It’s a long question. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s actually three questions.
FOREIGN MINISTER LIEBERMAN: Three questions, yeah. First of all, we really don’t have any intention to change the demographic balance in Judea and Samaria. But we think that, you know, as – in every place around the world, baby are born (inaudible), people get married, some pass away. And we cannot accept – we cannot accept this vision about absolutely completely freezing call for our settlements. I think that we must keep the natural growth. Prime minister spoke about this in his speech. I think that this position, it’s – this view, this approach, it’s very clear.
And also, we had some understandings with the previous administration and we tried to keep this direction. And we are, of course, ready for immediately direct talks with the Palestinians.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as President Obama, Senator Mitchell and I have said, we want to see a stop to the settlements. We think that is an important and essential part of pursuing the efforts leading to a comprehensive peace agreement and the creation of a Palestinian state next to a Israeli-Jewish state that is secure in its borders and future. We believe that this process which Senator Mitchell is quarterbacking for us has just begun. There are a number of critical concerns, many of which overlap in their impact and significance, that will be explored in the coming weeks as Senator Mitchell engages more deeply into the specifics as to where the Israelis and the Palestinians are willing to go together.
I think that the whole issue that you’ve raised is one that we’ve expressed our opinion on. And in looking at the history of the Bush Administration, there were no informal or oral enforceable agreements. That has been verified by the official record of the Administration and by the personnel in the positions of responsibility. Our former ambassador Dan Kurtzer has written an op-ed that appeared in the last few days that lays out our position on that.
MR. KELLY: Our next question, Israeli television, Channel 2.
QUESTION: Thank you. Madame Secretary, I’m interested to know, how do you envision any progress, any chance for achievement of progress on the Israeli-Palestinian track when the Israeli prime minister and the foreign minister have put so many conditions on the existing of a Palestinian state, conditions that are all – all-out refused by their Arab neighbors, including the Palestinians? And when you hear that the Israeli – current Israeli Government refuses totally to talk about your demand of freezing the settlement activity, how do you envision a progress on that track?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think if one looks at Israeli history, there have been prime ministers going back to the beginning of Israelis’ statehood that have staked out positions which have changed over time. I personally have known such prime ministers from Labor, Likud and Kadima, who started in one place, but in the process of evaluating what was in the best interests of Israel, and that has to be the primary obligation of any leader of Israel: What is in the best interests of my people and the future of my state?
And these prime ministers have moved to positions that they never would have thought they could have advocated before they started looking hard and thinking hard about what the future should be. But that’s what negotiations are for.
QUESTION: Do you hold out that Netanyahu and Lieberman will follow through (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I leave that to them to decide. I’m just reflecting on history and on people who have been in these positions over the last 30, 40 years. And there has been an evolution in thought. And I thought Prime Minister Netanyahu, in recognizing the aspirations of the Palestinians for a state of their own in his speech on Sunday night, said something that many people were waiting to hear him say.
MR. KELLY: Next question, Charlie Wolfson from CBS News.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, on Iran, and also for the foreign minister. The Iranians have protested U.S. actions through the Swiss ambassador today. Could you bring us up to date on those protests? And there have also been criticisms or reports of criticisms about U.S. interference in Iranian affairs because of the call to Twitter, if you could comment on that.
And for the foreign minister, does the outcome of the Iranian election change Israel’s position in any way, and were your discussions today – did they touch on that, and any actions you asked the Administration to do?
SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s four questions for the foreign minister. (Laughter.) We have very creative reporters on both sides here. (Laughter.)
The United States believes passionately and strongly in the basic principle of free expression. We believe that it is a fundamental human right for people to be able to communicate, to express their opinions, to take positions. And this is a view that goes back to the founding of our country, and we stand firmly behind it.
And therefore, we promote the right of free expression. And it is the case that one of the means of expression, the use of Twitter, is a very important one not only to the Iranian people, but now increasingly to people around the world, and most particularly young people. I wouldn’t know a Twitter from a tweeter – (laughter) – but apparently, it is very important. And I think keeping that line of communications open and enabling people to share information, particularly at a time when there was not many other sources of information, is an important expression of the right to speak out and to be able to organize that we value.
FOREIGN MINISTER LIEBERMAN: Thank you. As somebody said before you, we support evolution, not a revolution, and we never interfered in any internal affairs of the different countries. And what it’s important for us, not the personal creation, but the creation of policy. And what we saw during this elections, it was only one point that every candidates were united: its achieving, quote, nuclear capability; and maybe the other point, the hatred to Israel. What it’s important for us, it’s real – not the domestic problems of Iran, but their policy. And we hope that they will change their policy.
MR. KELLY: Last question for Channel One, Israel Television.
QUESTION: Thank you. Madame Secretary, given the latest unrest in Iran and the very brutal way the regime there is moving to quash these protests, does the Administration still believe there is room to engage diplomatically with Iran? And are you concerned that such engagement might embolden actually Ahmadinejad and his regime?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say that the people of Iran deserve the right to have their voices heard and their votes counted. The outcome of any election should reflect the will of the people. And it is for the Iranians to determine how they resolve this internal protest concerning the outcome of the recent election. But it is a fundamental value that the United States holds with respect to free and fair and credible elections.
With regard to engagement, obviously we intend to pursue engagement because we think it’s in the interests of the United States and the world community to discuss with the Iranian Government important matters such as the one Minister Lieberman raised concerning their intentions for their nuclear program, their support of terrorism, their interference with the affairs of their neighbors and other states.
So yes, we think there is much to talk about. And I would think it’s a useful exercise to look back on history and to see where countries, most particularly my own, have engaged in ongoing diplomatic discussions with countries whose regimes we’ve disapproved of, that we rejected. We never stopped negotiating with the former Soviet Union. They invaded countries. They promoted unrest. But we knew we had an opportunity to learn more, to discuss fully, and perhaps to reach better understandings than we might have in the absence of such engagement, so we pursued it.
We are doing this out of what we view as our interest and the interests of friends and allies such as Israel. So now we are obviously waiting to see the outcome of the internal Iranian processes, but our intent is to pursue whatever opportunities might exist in the future with Iran to discuss these matters.
Thank you all.

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Remarks at U.S.-India Business Council’s 34th Anniversary “Synergies Summit”

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Washington, DC
June 17, 2009

Thank you. Thank you all so much. It is a great pleasure for me to be back here at the Chamber for such an important occasion. I want to thank David for that introduction, and I want to thank my friend, Indra, for those very kind words. It gives you an idea of how much we admire each other and her leadership of a great American company with obviously international reach.

To Ron Summers and to the U.S.-India Business Council Board, thank you so much for this important dialogue. This could not be better timed. It is early in our new Administration, and we are clearly committed to furthering and deepening our relationship with India in every way possible. I’m also pleased to welcome India’s new Minister of Commerce and Industry. Anand Sharma is here with us, and newly arrived ambassador Meera Shankar.

It is exciting to see the election results in India as well, as the Congress Party and the people of India made such a strong statement about the future that they hope to make together. And I look forward to working with Minister Sharma and the ambassador and others on our common agenda and goals.

I will be visiting India next month, which I’m looking forward to. It is exciting for me to have an opportunity to return again, and it is also a great privilege and honor to be doing so representing the United States.

I think also somewhere in this very large lunchtime audience are two members of our new team. And if they are, I’d love for them just to stand up, and you could get a look at our new U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke. Are Ron and Gary here with us? Well, they’re off working. That’s why they’re not. (Laughter.)

And I want also to just thank some of the other people who have been so instrumental in this Council whom I have worked with over the years: Sy Sternberg, the former chair and CEO of New York Life; William Cohen, a former Secretary of Defense and now chair and CEO of the Cohen Group; obviously Bal Das, who is a great friend of mine, an investor and very actively involved on behalf of India and Asia from New York; Ambassador Susan Esserman, another friend who has a lot of work through her legal career that involves the India-U.S. relationship. These are all members of the Council, and I am grateful for everyone who has committed to this work.

The broad range of talents in this room is an indicator of how important the relationship is. Now, when I first had the great delight of visiting India in 1995, I was just overwhelmed by not just the hospitality and the warmth of the people with whom I met, from the very highest to women in villages who were working for better lives for themselves and their families, but how easy it was, even back in ’95, for India’s many accomplishments to be overlooked in other places in the world. Here was a country defined by democracy, diversity, and dynamic growth, a country that had over 1.1 billion opportunities to enhance not only individual potential, but the nation’s. And when I was elected to the Senate, I co-founded and co-chaired the Senate’s India Caucus, the first time we had done that. And I have returned to India to talk about this partnership which I think is critical not only to both of our countries, but literally to the future of the world, the kind of world we want to shape together.

And it is great for me to be standing in front of this significant crowd and to say that the word about India has obviously spread. People know what kind of business and investment opportunities are there. India’s growing role in the global economy is accepted the way we accept the law of gravity. And the partnerships that are blooming at all levels of our societies are indeed exciting.

Now, I tell you this because I want you to place me and where I stand as Secretary of State. It is in a position of deep commitment to building stronger ties with India, a commitment based on mutual respect and mutual interests. And I know that President Obama feels the same way. We see India as one of a few key partners worldwide who will help us shape the 21st century. The forces of positive change versus those of destruction, the forces that move people forward rather than holding them back. We are both eager to build on this relationship, and of course, we’re not alone. We build on the past.

It is now three successive United States administrations from different parties that have identified the U.S.-India relationship as a foreign policy priority. For the United States, this is a project that transcends partnership and personalities, and I believe the same is true in India. When the U.S.-India nuclear deal passed the United States Congress, it had strong bipartisan support, including backing from two former senators named Barack Obama and Joe Biden, as well as a senator from New York.

But the agreement also received support from across the political spectrum in India. The formation of India’s new government is an opportunity to strengthen our ties and launch new initiatives. Now that the government is in place, we are moving quickly to strengthen our ties. Our senior career diplomat, Under Secretary of State Bill Burns, and his newly minted Assistant Secretary of State Bob Blake have returned from India this weekend to tell me of the enormous potential for progress in our relationship with New Delhi.

In a world where, let’s admit it, frankly, the headlines can get depressing, our relationship with India is a good news story. And I think it’s going to get even better. But it’s important to place this in history and to remember that the United States and India haven’t always had such a promising partnership. We need to acknowledge the road we have traveled together. We have already come through two distinct eras in U.S.-India relations on our way to this new beginning.

The first era opened with India’s founding and lasted through the end of the Cold War. It was colored by uncertainty about each other’s motives and ambivalence about whether to pursue closer cooperation. The relationship between our countries was never hostile. But the missed opportunities for closer partnership during this period were casualties of old conflicts between East and West, and North and South.

After the Cold War ended, President Clinton opened a new chapter of engagement with India. I love saying that, and it has the benefit of being true. (Laughter.) Talks between former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and his Indian counterpart helped to establish a new foundation for our relationship. And of course, my husband and daughter had an extraordinary visit toward the end of his term in office.

This second stage in our history continued through the last U.S. and Indian administrations and culminated in completion of the Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear agreement this past October under the Bush Administration. This landmark accord, which the Obama Administration is fully committed to implementing, provides a framework for economic and technical cooperation between our two countries and allows us to move beyond our concerns about the status of India’s nuclear program, an issue that dominated our relationship for much of the last decade.

The nuclear deal, which was completed through the efforts of former President Bush, removed the final barrier to broader cooperation between us. And that brings us to today. We find ourselves at the beginning of a third era. I’ll call it U.S.-India 3.0. The new governments in Washington and New Delhi will build this future together, and we will be discussing the details of that partnership when I visit India next month.

But today, I can tell you my hope and President Obama’s hope that the next stage in our country’s relationship will see a dramatic expansion in our common agenda, and a greater role for India in solving global challenges. We recognize the extraordinary progress that India has made already, and we know that many of these advances have not come easily, and we don’t take them for granted. As we pursue an enhanced bilateral partnership, we should recognize that compared to other metrics of our cooperation, our official ties are past due for an upgrade.

You see, a funny thing happened on the way to this third era of U.S.-India relations. Our scientists and business people, our universities and movie studios, and vibrant Indian-American personal familial connections accepted the truth that cooperation between our countries can be a driver of progress long before our policymakers did.

Today our trade between our nations has doubled since 2004 and now exceeds $43 billion; there are over 90,000 Indian students studying in the United States; and the new Fulbright-Nehru program strengthens educational exchanges between India and the United States with both countries acting as full partners in governance and funding.

We find ourselves in an unusual position. We need the bilateral cooperation between our governments to catch up with our people-to-people and economic ties. We need to make sure that the partnership between Washington and New Delhi, our capitals, will be as advanced and fruitful as the linkages that already exist between Manhattan and Mumbai, or Boston and Bangalore.

Now, that’s not to say that our governments have not made significant progress in our cooperation over the past several years. Top officials see each other more often, and I think we speak more candidly with each other, which is a true sign of friendship. And we have found more common ground of late. But this is a relationship that has largely grown from the ground up. And I think our governments are ready to start following the examples of partnership established by our citizens, our companies, and our colleges.

I hope that an expanded partnership between the U.S. and India will be one of the signature accomplishments of both new governments in both countries, and I do plan to make that a personal priority. To achieve the goal of stronger ties between our countries, we will have to confront and transcend the mistrust that has hampered our cooperation in the past, and address the lingering uncertainties in our relationship still today.

Each of us have our own perspectives, as you would expect, about the challenges we face as individual countries and as partners in the world. Some Americans fear that greater prosperity and partnership with India will mean lost jobs or falling wages here in the United States. Some Indians believe that closer cooperation with us runs counter to their nation’s very strong tradition of independence.

But as friendly democracies, in fact, as the oldest and largest democracies in the world, we should work through any issues in our relationship and differences in our perspective by focusing on shared objectives and concrete results. I want to put us into the solutions business.

In order to achieve that and realize the benefits of this 3.0 relationship, we need to build on several natural platforms. The first is global security. India and the United States share an overriding interest in making the world more secure. The tragic attacks of 26/11 were a global event. They played out in slow motion on television screens across India, the United States, and the world. The violence inflicted on the people of Mumbai, and the loss of six American citizens in those attacks, was a reminder that terrorism represents a common threat to our nations and our people, and we must meet it with a common strategy.

As part of that strategy, we should expand our broader security relationship and increase cooperation on counterterrorism and intelligence sharing. As you know, America faced an extraordinary challenge ourselves after 9/11 – how to organize as a government and a people to better prevent and prepare for future attacks. India faces that same terrible challenge. And the President and I are committed to working with India in whatever way is appropriate to enhance India’s ability to protect itself.

Our own post-9/11 process had its strengths and its faults. And I think we can learn from India, too, as it develops new mechanisms for cooperation between federal and state security forces.

We should also work to realize a vision articulated by generations of Indians, Americans, and recently by President Obama, of a nuclear-free world. The Civil Nuclear Agreement helped us get over our defining disagreement, and I believe it can and should also serve as the foundation of a productive partnership on nonproliferation.

We have a common interest in creating a stable, peaceful Afghanistan, where India is already providing $1.2 billion in assistance to facilitate reconstruction efforts. The United States is committed to the task ahead in Afghanistan, and I hope India will continue its efforts there as well. And of course, we believe that India and Pakistan actually face a number of common challenges, and we welcome a dialogue between them.

As we have said before, the pace, scope, and character of that dialogue is something that Indian and Pakistani leaders will decide on their own terms and in their own time. But as Pakistan now works to take on the challenge of terrorists in its own country, I am confident that India, as well as the United States, will support those efforts.

As India and other nations play an expanded role in resolving international security challenges, we should be prepared to adapt the architecture of international institutions to reflect their new responsibilities. India’s moral stature and its long tradition of leadership among developing countries means that it is particularly well-suited to take on the challenges that multinational institutions face. I have always believed states should be awarded enhanced roles in international bodies not only on the basis of their power, but whether they use that power constructively to advance the common good and address global problems. India already is a major player on the world stage, and we will look to cooperate with New Delhi as it shoulders the responsibilities that accompany its new position of global leadership.

Human development – particularly in the fields of education, women’s empowerment, and health – is another platform for cooperation. In both India and the United States, the most important national asset we possess is the energy and creativity of our citizens. In Prime Minister Singh, we have a partner who is determined to leverage India’s progress to improve the lives of his people. We need to work together to ensure that every child, girl or boy, born in our countries can live up to their God-given potential.

As part of that commitment, we should build on the goals articulated by India’s leadership to boost literacy, expand vocational training, and improve access to higher education. I hope we can partner with India to improve outcomes at all levels of education. Our countries should continue the tradition of intellectual exchange by increasing opportunities for interaction by American institutions of higher learning and their Indian counterparts as well.

India’s women have made great strides. The country has a woman president, a woman leader of the nation’s largest political party, more women in parliament than ever before. In many areas, the United States can learn from India. (Applause.) But there is more work to be done in both of our countries. (Laughter.) We should continue working together to promote initiatives like micro-lending and provide training programs for rural women as tools to help lift them and their families out of poverty.

We can also work together to address health challenges including nutrition, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, and other infectious diseases, as well as the growing problem of chronic disease in both of our nations. We need to share knowledge and best practices to improve human development at home and around the world. And I appreciate all that is being done by this group and certainly this Council to promote economic and trade cooperation. We should begin negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty soon. And I’m confident that our Trade Representative and Minister Sharma will bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to help move the Doha Round negotiations to a successful conclusion.

President Obama has been clear that the United States has learned the lessons of the past. We will not use the global financial crisis as an excuse to fall back on protectionism. We hope India will work with us to create a more open, equitable set of opportunities for trade between our nations.

Encouraging greater agricultural cooperation should be a major focus of our economic agenda. India is ripe for a second green revolution. A significant expansion of India’s agricultural sector would have dramatic benefits for Indians, but also could help to spur agricultural revolutions in Africa and other parts of the globe where food security remains a persistent problem.

All of you in this room will be critical partners as we work to expand economic cooperation. Our commitment to work with the business community means that in September we will re-launch the CEO Forum on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly. We hope that effort, along with other initiatives, will channel the power of the private sector and entrepreneurs to build and improve the lives of both Indians and Americans.

Finally, we should bring together the best of our technological and scientific brains to encourage breakthroughs in both science and technology. This is particularly important on issues related to energy and climate. We are committed to working with India to see India’s economy continue to prosper, to create more economic opportunity, rising incomes. We want Indians to have a higher standard of living. And we hope our countries can work together to achieve that overriding goal, while avoiding the mistakes that were made by everyone in creating the climate crisis we face today. We think there is great promise in a clean energy cooperation strategy focused on adopting low carbon technologies, improving energy efficiency, forestation, and water management. And these efforts should be supported by new and existing high-level dialogues between representatives of our governments.

We can also learn from Indian doctors and companies that are pioneering low-cost solutions to many of the health challenges we face today. The Serum Institute’s groundbreaking work to reduce the cost of vaccine manufacturing is one example of this phenomenon. There are many others. Applying their discoveries to global health initiatives will help us save resources and lives.

Public-private partnerships between governments, industry, civil society will be vital to everyone of these platforms. Yes, we can use all of you to help us drive economic cooperation, but also to improve human development and technological advances as well. And I think that the security cooperation is not just government-to-government, but can operate much more broadly and deeply.

So four platforms of cooperation – global security, human development, economic activity, science and technology – can support us in launching this third phase of the U.S.-India relationship. I think our successes and our futures are intertwined. Obviously, we want India to do well on its own for its own sake, but we also have a stake in that outcome, because we want India to succeed as a model of democratic development. We want India to succeed as an anchor for regional and global security. And we want India to succeed so that the world’s two largest democracies can work together as strong partners.

This is a relationship with deep roots. Both of our countries emerged from struggles against colonialism to become proud, independent democracies. And both are living proof that people espousing espoused different faiths, speaking different languages, and travelling different paths can unite and form nations that are greater than the sum of their parts.

Sixty years ago this October, then-Prime Minister Nehru told a joint session of the United States Congress that, quote, “Progress cannot go far or last long unless it has its foundations in moral principles and high ideals.” The United States and India share an allegiance to what Nehru called the “fundamental human rights to which all [those] who love liberty, equality and progress aspire.”

So let us build on those timeless principles, and let us create a new era in our relationship that will produce so much progress for our people, so much more peace for the world, and live up to those high ideals that both of our nations and our peoples represent and aspire to.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

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

Remarks

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.)

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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.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
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.
FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: Thank you. Merci.

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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.

http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2009a/06/124716.htm

CTV Video of Hillary’s speech

More (good) video

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

Remarks

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.)
(Applause.)
MODERATOR: The ambassador will now sign her appointment papers. (Applause.)

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