Archive for September, 2009

Secretary Clinton attended the Summit on Climate Change today with U.S. Ambassador to the U N, Dr. Susan Rice. Here are some pictures. If there is any press release on this later, I will post it here.

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Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State
Westin Hotel
New York City
September 22, 2009

Date: 09/22/2009 Description: Remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Launch of Inter-American Social Protection Network [IASPN] © State Dept Image by Michael GrossThank you very much and good morning. We are absolutely delighted to be part of this launch of the Inter-American Social Protection Network. And I am one of those who will have to leave shortly after our presentations, but I am delighted to see so many of our team from the State Department and USAID who will be here, because this is a primary commitment of the United States.

I’m always pleased to be with President Bachelet anywhere, and of course, Chile is a prime example of what we’re trying to achieve in social development, and of course, to Luis Alberto Moreno and the Inter-American Development Bank and to OAS – and please give my regards to the Secretary General if I’m not here when he comes to speak – and of course, to be with our mayor, Mayor Bloomberg, who has taken these ideas and begun to implement them here in New York.

This Inter-American Social Protection Network will help facilitate our efforts to share best practices, to try to determine how we help lift up the people of our hemisphere. We do not have the poorest people in the world, but we have a disproportionate number of poor people, and we have the largest gap between the rich and the poor of anywhere in the world.

So although we’ve been making progress, and I see representatives of the countries that have really focused on trying to lift people out of poverty, we have a long way to go. And the United States is committed to the alleviation and mitigation of poverty and to providing opportunities for individuals to fulfill their own God-given potentials. And this network gives us a chance to coordinate closely, to learn from each other, to implement what works elsewhere given our own particular approach. Now we can exchange ideas, we can have the opportunities that Mayor Bloomberg has seized to demonstrate whether these ideas work universally.

New York City, of course, is a crossroads for the entire world. And the first conditional cash transfer program in the United States was launched by Mayor Bloomberg after he saw for himself the results in Mexico. Millions of Mexican families have gotten a boost toward better education, health, nutrition, long-term stability. Opportunity NYC intends to do the same for the poor within our own city.

And I think it’s important to look at the overall impact of what Chile has done. President Bachelet’s leadership on social and economic development has helped to make Chile an example as to how democracy can deliver significant, sustainable benefits. Because one of the side effects of what we’re talking about today is to show that democracy can deliver.

We are in a crisis of democracy in many places in the world. And I see my friend, Congressman Sam Farr, nodding his head. Elections do not make democracies. They are a necessary condition for people to be able to select their own leaders. But then those leaders can’t just have one election and that’s it, or one election and back to the old ways. We have to figure out how democracy delivers.

And I think if you look at what has been happening in the social development arena in Latin America, we have a story to tell. And it’s a story that may not be in the headlines of the sensational activities that are going on, but it is a story that can change lives. And we’ve seen, in remote villages and big cities alike, governments experimenting with innovative approaches to fighting poverty. And conditional cash transfer programs are one example of this wave of innovation right here in our hemisphere.

They couple two critical forces – responsibility and opportunity – by giving small amounts of money to parents to visit a doctor for a checkup or to keep a child in school. And with these incentives, governments are making it possible for people to invest in their futures even when their incomes are just a few dollars a day. It isn’t charity; it’s an investment. And it’s an investment in every nation’s greatest resource, our people. These conditional cash transfers have given citizens a feeling of ownership and promise about their future. And we have seen the evidence of them taking steps to actually think differently about themselves, to behave differently, to have different expectations for themselves and their families, and the results are promising.

According to the World Bank, conditional cash transfer programs have reduced national poverty rates by 8 percent in Ecuador and Mexico, nearly 5 percent in Jamaica, and 3 percent in Brazil. In Colombia, the conditional cash transfer program has led to higher birth weights and improved child nutrition. And I’m delighted that President Uribe will be speaking to the conference later. In Mexico, anemia is down. Children whose mothers received prenatal nutrition assistance are, on average, taller than children whose mothers were not in the program. That’s a significant change within less than one generation.

Mexico has achieved several other gains as well. The number of families that start small businesses has increased significantly, and so has school attendance. Mexico has taken on the school dropout crisis among girls by paying parents more if their daughters stay in school. And as a result, the dropout gap between boys and girls has begun to close among participating families.

Furthermore, an analysis by the World Bank of several conditional cash transfer programs indicates a lead to a decrease in child labor, an increase in preventative healthcare, and they have actually helped to cushion the poorest families from the shock of the global economic crisis. So we’re seeing positive outcomes. Now we know these are not, as they say, a silver bullet. They don’t work in every country, in every community, on every count. But in many places, they are working, and it gives those extra incentives that people are needing.

So let’s work together in this network to determine what we can do to enhance the results from these programs and then let’s figure out what are the institutional supports that need to be put into place. Sending more children to school doesn’t help if we don’t have qualified teachers or adequate materials. When students graduate, if they don’t have a job in their community, they may migrate out instead of taking their talents and investing back in their own community.

So we have a lot to do on infrastructure and industry and good governance and delivery of services. But I think it has to operate on both ends simultaneously, from the grassroots up and from the top down, because governments have to be held responsible as we see us doing so with individuals in these programs. And I know that you’ll hear from President Bachelet and Mayor Bloomberg, but I’m very proud that it’s New York City which is pioneering this approach in our country. I had eight wonderful years representing this city and this state. And if it can make it here, it can make it anywhere, Mr. Mayor. (Laughter.)

So the United States is proud to be a member of the Inter-American community, and we are committed to the long-term success of this social protection network. We believe that this network will help fulfill the promise embodied in the democratic charter that our country signed eight years ago. And together, we will lift more young people and old alike out of poverty, give more children a chance at that better future, strengthen democracy, and deliver results for people who need us to do so. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

PRN: 2009/T12-11

The Secretary of State is in the middle of another enormously busy day. There are some wonderful pictures coming. Her level of energy and vitality are inspiring.

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Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
New York, NY
September 21, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it is always an honor to meet with President Arias and exchange views on a lot of the issues that not only affect our hemisphere but, indeed, the entire world, because he is a global leader (inaudible) respected across the planet.

Today, of course, we talked about Honduras and the return of President Zelaya. Certainly, the United States supports the San Jose Accords that President Arias negotiated, but it’s imperative that dialogue begin, that there be a channel of communication between President Zelaya and the de facto regime in Honduras. And it’s also imperative that the return of President Zelaya does not lead to any conflict or violence, but instead, that everyone act in a peaceful way to try to find some common ground.

Once again, the Costa Ricans will be using their good offices to try to encourage that to occur, because now that President Zelaya is back, it would be opportune to restore him to his position under appropriate circumstances, get on with the election that is currently scheduled for November, have a peaceful transition of presidential authority, and get Honduras back to constitutional and democratic order in a very – on a very clear path toward that goal.

So that’s what we are hoping to see, but let me turn now to President Arias.

PRESIDENT ARIAS: I think this is the best opportunity, the best time, now that Zelaya is back in his country (inaudible) to sign the San Jose Accord. It’s all we have on the table. There is no B plan. And when we wrote this San Jose Accords, it was after listening to everybody (inaudible).

Perhaps the main difficulty has been for Zelaya to be accepted by the de facto government (inaudible) constitutional president of Honduras. But now that he’s back, we just have to put more pressure (inaudible) the whole world, the Europeans, and (inaudible) the U.S. has been very helpful (inaudible) a lot of pressure on the de facto government, as well as lot of Latin America. But I think it is now the right time for them to sign it.

QUESTION: Was his return counterproductive? A question to both of you: Do you think that his return is setting talks back?

PRESIDENT ARIAS: No. I mean, I’m sorry, I didn’t —

QUESTION: Would you say the return is counterproductive?

PRESIDENT ARIAS: No, I don’t see it (inaudible). I mean, if he’s back – I don’t know, he got in, but I think it makes it easier to (inaudible) for us to put some more pressure on the de facto government to sign the San Jose Accord and – well, there is need for more dialogue, for sure. That dialogue can take place in Tegucigalpa or in San Jose, Costa Rica, if it was necessary. But the main difficulty has been Zelaya’s return. Now that he’s back, it’s going to be much easier.

QUESTION: Do you see a danger that the de facto government may act against President Zelaya? I mean, after all, these are the people who hustled him onto a plane in the middle of the night. Have you sought to warn the de facto government against taking actions against (inaudible) or doing anything else to interfere with his ability to speak?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have certainly communicated very directly our expectation that there will be order and no provocation on either side. This is not just a one-sided request. It goes to both sides. Both sides have supporters who need to be restrained and careful in their actions in the days ahead.

But as President Arias said, now is the moment for the two sides to try to work out an agreement to the benefit of the people of Honduras. And as President Arias said, it’s hard to think about how they will come up with something other than the San Jose Accords. They’re – they represent an enormous amount of time, effort, and participation by both sides.

But the important thing is that they begin the dialogue. And if they can come up with their own agreement, we would be fine with that. We just want to see this matter resolved peacefully, with an understanding that there will be the remainder of President Zelaya’s term to be respected, that the elections can go on, that there will be a peaceful transfer of power. I think everyone knows what the milestones need to be. It’s just a question of persuading and convincing and using our best efforts to try to get both sides to reach that point.

QUESTION: Have you warned them today that (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have. We have warned – we have spoken directly to multiple parties and very clearly said that there had to be calm and peace in the streets. I think that the government imposed a curfew, we just learned, to try to get people off the streets so that there couldn’t be unforeseen developments. But there ultimately in the next hours has to be some effort to bring the parties together to resolve this between them.

QUESTION: Would it make sense for President Arias to go himself to make sure that things do go smoothly? It seems that the risks are high. On one hand, you’ve got pressure to solve the problem, but you also have the risk that it could all backfire.

PRESIDENT ARIAS: Yes, I would be willing to go, but if both sides, both parties, ask me to go to Tegucigalpa, I would (inaudible).

PRN: 2009/T12-8

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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) meets with new Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada in New York on September 21, 2009. AFP PHOTO/TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Remarks With Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
New York, NY
September 21, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me say what a great privilege it is for me to welcome the foreign minister so soon after he has taken his new position – five days. And obviously, the alliance between the United States and Japan is a cornerstone of our foreign policy and indispensable to the security and prosperity of the Asia Pacific. We are both representing new governments, although the minister is much newer than I am now. And I look forward to working with him to develop and strengthen even stronger bonds of partnership, friendship, and alliance in pursuit of our common values, and a future that we hope will be even better for our people.

QUESTION: How much of a blow would it be, Secretary Clinton, if the Japanese seized the Indian Ocean refueling mission for Afghanistan?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Arshad, we’re going to be discussing a wide range of issues. Our relationship between Japan and the United States is so broad and so deep that there isn’t any one issue that defines it. It is comprehensive and it has stood the test of time for many years. And I’m looking forward to working with the minister, and on behalf of the Obama Administration, really rolling up our sleeves and determining how best we can broaden and deepen this already very strong relationship.

QUESTION: Are you going to talk about the bases?

STAFF: Thank you, guys. Thank you, guys.

Cross-posted at A Rose for Hillary

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Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
New York City, DC
September 21, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Inaudible) many good friends (inaudible) the United States supports both in terms of your territorial integrity and sovereignty. We are working to try to ensure that Russia abides by the 2008 ceasefire, and hopefully to eventually reintegrate your country as it should be.

We also know that working toward democracy and the changes that you’re attempting to achieve are challenging, but we want to support and encourage the steps that need to be taken. And the United States supports Georgia, and we want to make that very clear and unequivocal statement here today.

PRESIDENT SAAKASHVILI: Madame Secretary, it’s an incredible honor for all of us be here. I mean, we’ve been very grateful for all the support you’ve given us when – for the past several years, you in capacity of senator, and as serving Secretary of State, as well as this Administration. In fact, with this Administration, we had the new level of cooperation (inaudible) foreign minister was there with you (inaudible) the strategic partnership. I also saw your article this morning in FT Financial Times of London, and it was very impressive because the message was very clear-cut, very unambiguous, and it really resonates very well (inaudible) Georgia as well the whole region. And we are very grateful to you for that moral clarity, as well as strategic vision of what U.S. role in our region should be.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Mr. President. Well, as I said in the article and I will repeat, we think this approach is much more effective, and it will certainly cover Georgia and the Caucasus and it will send a clear message that the United States is committed to the defense of all of Europe in the years going forward. Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, do you have any reaction to Zelaya – (laughter) – just quickly on Zelaya’s return to Honduras?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, I have nothing to add right now.

QUESTION: I’m the one questioner today. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good. (Laughter.)

Cross-posted at A Rose For Hillary

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, right, meets with Czech Republic Foreign Minister Yan Kohout, left, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York on Monday, Sept. 21, 2009.
(AP Photo/David Karp)

Ever since last week, when the Obama Administration announced that it was abandoning the Bush Administration’s fixed missile defense plan in favor of a newer, faster, technologically advanced mobile one, many have expressed concern that we have slighted our Czech and Polish allies who expected to participate in the original plan. If feathers have been ruffled, we are sure Secretary Clinton managed to explain the wisdom of the new plan today to FM Kohout.

Here are their remarks.

Remarks With Czech Foreign Minister Kohout At Camera Spray Before Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
New York City
September 21, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Inaudible) very important delegation from the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic was very willing to work with the United States on behalf of missile defense in the past. We have, as you know, changed our approach, which we believe will actually provide greater coverage, and it will be rooted in technology that is ready to be employed. And we will be working with the Czech Republic again. We will be working within research and other approaches for the mutual and collective defense of our NATO allies. And we have a deep and long relationship with the Czech Republic, and I’m particularly pleased to have this opportunity to discuss a broad range of matters.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, on Afghanistan, General McChrystal is warning of failure if more troops are not sent next year. What is the Administration’s strategy? How are you going to respond to that? Are you left without a choice?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, but this is an important meeting with the Czech Republic, and they are our allies and friends in NATO and bilaterally. And we have a process going on with respect to our strategy in Afghanistan. As the President has said, it’s strategy before resources. And we’re soliciting and receiving advice and assessments from a broad range of those who are directly involved. And of course, we welcome General McChrystal’s thoughts, but that’s a classified pre-decisional memo, and we are looking to integrate everything that we’re doing. And then, of course, the President will make his decisions.

Thank you all.

QUESTION: Thank you.

Cross-posted at A Rose for Hillary

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Getty Images
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Yu Myung-hwan, South Korean Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade in New York on September 21, 2009.

The Secretary of State had an especially busy day, but the information and photos are seeping out slowly. This was around lunch time.

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