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Archive for March, 2010

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Leaders from all over the world – government and NGOs – have convened to assist earthquake-stricken Haiti.

International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
United Nations Headquarters
New York, New York
March 31, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Secretary General, and thank you for your leadership and your personal commitment to this international endeavor.

President Preval, to you and the members of your government, we thank you for the extraordinary work that you have done leading up to this point.

To former President Clinton, with whom I first went to Haiti many years ago about two months after we were married, thank you for taking on another assignment from the Secretary General.

And to all of the countries and international institutions represented here, thank you. Thank you for the immediate response to the overwhelming catastrophe that afflicted the Haitian people and thank you for your continuing commitment.

We have had over 140 nations working to support the Government of Haiti in delivering food, temporary shelter, and medical care to thousands of survivors. But the emergency relief is only the beginning of what will be a long road to recovery, as the Secretary General just pointed out; one that will require global support.

Some people wonder, “Why Haiti? Why this great outpouring of international humanitarian concern and commitment to Haiti’s future? Why is Haiti’s fate of such consequence to the region and the world that it deserves sustained help? Why should we hope that this time, with our collective assistance, Haiti can achieve a better future?” These are questions that deserve answers and I believe that this conference will begin to do so.

The humanitarian need, we know, is great. Therefore, as fellow human beings, we respond from a position of conscience and morality to help those who, but for the grace of God, we could be in a world where natural disasters are often unpredictable, inflicting great costs. Haiti was a country of 9 million people before the earthquake. Today, more than a quarter of a million of those people have died. More than a million are homeless. Hundreds of thousands live in temporary camps without enough food or sufficient access to sanitation. Nearly every government agency has been destroyed along with universities, hospitals, and primary schools, which we know are the foundations to a nation’s long-term progress. Close to a million young people were preparing to enter the job market within five years. Now their opportunities have crumbled while the need for jobs has multiplied.

Before the earthquake, Haiti was on a path to progress. The government, led by President Preval, had started enacting critical reforms. Haiti’s economy grew by nearly 3 percent last year. Two international chains launched new hotels, a sign of a rising tourism industry. New factories were opening and others had been contracted to begin production. But with the earthquake, the results of much of this hard work were wiped away. But the people of Haiti never gave up. As they mourn their losses, they gathered the resources they had left and began working around the clock to put their lives and their country back together. They relied on the strength and the spirit that have carried them through tough times before. But they need our help. They cannot succeed without the support of the global community, and we need Haiti to succeed. What happens there has repercussions far beyond its borders.

There are two paths that lie before us. If Haiti can build safe homes, its citizens can escape many of the dangers they now face and return to more normal lives. If Haiti can realize broad-based, sustainable economic growth, it can create opportunity across the country beyond Port-au-Prince so Haitians don’t have to move to their capital or leave their country to find work. If Haiti can build strong health and education systems, it can give its people the tools they need to contribute to their nation’s progress and fulfill their own God-given potentials. If Haiti can create strong, transparent, accountable institutions, it can establish the credibility, trust, and stability its people have long-deserved. And if Haiti can do all of those things with our help, it will become an engine for progress and prosperity generating opportunity and fostering greater stability for itself and for countries throughout the hemisphere and beyond.

But there is another path that Haiti could take, a path that demands far less of Haiti and far less of us. If the effort to rebuild is slow or insufficient, if it is marked by conflict, lack of coordination, or lack of transparency, then the challenges that have plagued Haiti for years could erupt with regional and global consequences. Before the earthquake, migration drained Haiti of many talented citizens, many of whom live in our country. If new jobs and opportunity do not emerge, even more people will leave.

Before the earthquake, quality healthcare was a challenge for Haiti. Now, it is needed even more urgently. Haiti has the highest rate of tuberculosis in the hemisphere, the highest rate of HIV, the highest rates of infant, child, and maternal mortality, one of the highest rates of child malnutrition. And with the public health system now shattered, those numbers will climb. The lack of sanitation services could cause outbreaks of lethal illnesses. And the lack of reliable medical services could give rise to new drug-resistant strains of disease that will soon cross borders.

Before the earthquake, hunger was a problem for Haiti. Years of deforestation had stripped the land of its rich topsoil and people struggled to grow or purchase enough food to feed their families. The riots over food that broke out in 2008 toppled Haiti’s government. Now, food is even more scarce, and people more desperate.

Before the earthquake, security was a challenge for Haiti, and a United Nations peacekeeping mission, MINUSTAH, helped promote the rule of law. Now the dedicated UN workers in Haiti have suffered terrible losses. So have the Haitian National Police, which were building their ranks and their capacity. With so much destruction and dislocation, security is even more tenuous. Drug trafficking is a half a billion dollar a year industry in Haiti. It thrives on political and social instability. Trafficking in human beings is also rampant. Tens of thousands of children are trafficked in Haiti every year, and now even more are vulnerable.

Now, each of these problems directly affects the people of Haiti, but they indirectly affect us all. And if they worsen, it is not only the people of Haiti who will suffer. Yet I have great confidence in the resilience of the people of Haiti. Their history has tested them and now they are being tested again. So are Haiti’s leaders, in whom I also have great confidence. So we are called to do better than we have in the past. Many countries here have helped Haiti in the past. Many NGOs have helped Haiti in the past. We cannot do what we’ve done before.

The leaders of Haiti must take responsibility for their country’s reconstruction. They must make the tough decisions that guide a strong, accountable, and transparent recovery. And that is what they are starting to do with the creation of a new mechanism that provides coordination and consultation so aid can be directed where it is most needed. And we in the global community, we must also do things differently. It will be tempting to fall back on old habits – to work around the government rather than to work with them as partners, or to fund a scattered array of well-meaning projects rather than making the deeper, long-term investments that Haiti needs now. We cannot retreat to failed strategies.

 

I know we’ve heard these imperatives before – the need to coordinate our aid, hold ourselves accountable, share our knowledge, track results. But now, we cannot just declare our intentions. We have to follow through and put them into practice. Therefore, this is not only a conference about what financially we pledge to Haiti. We also have to pledge our best efforts to do better ourselves – to offer our support in a smarter way, a more effective way that produces real results for the people of Haiti.

So let us say here, with one voice, we will pass this test for us. To that end, the United States pledges $1.15 billion for Haiti’s long-term recovery and reconstruction. This money will go toward supporting the Government of Haiti’s plan to strengthen agriculture, energy, health, security, and governance. We are committed to working with the people and organizations throughout Haiti, including civil society groups, private businesses, NGOs, and citizens. And I’m very glad to see so many of them represented here today.

We will also be looking for ways to engage our Haitian diaspora. Haitian Americans have much to contribute to this effort. And we will seek specifically to empower the women of Haiti. I’ve said this so many times that I know I sound like a broken record, but investing in women is the best investment we can make in any country. And investing in the Haitian women will fuel the long-term economic recovery and progress, not only for them, but for their families.

Over the years, all of our countries have learned many lessons, particularly from the tsunami that the United Nations was instrumental in leading the response to. Now, we must put those lessons to work in Haiti. I’m very excited and very committed on behalf of President Obama, the Government of the United States, and the people of the United States to help Haiti and to help the leaders of Haiti lead a recovery effort worthy of their highest hopes.

Thank you so much, Secretary General. (Applause.)

NEW YORK - MARCH 31: (L to R) U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Haitian President Rene Garcia Preval and former U.S. President and U.N. Special Envoy for Haiti Bill Clinton attend the opening session of the "International Donors' Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti" at United Nations headquarters March 31, 2010 in New York City. The United Nations and United States are jointly hosting the donors conference for the Haitian government which is seeking about $3.8 billion in funds to assist the country in recovery from the devastating January 12 earthquake. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

NEW YORK – MARCH 31: (L to R) U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Haitian President Rene Garcia Preval and former U.S. President and U.N. Special Envoy for Haiti Bill Clinton attend the opening session of the “International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti” at United Nations headquarters March 31, 2010 in New York City. The United Nations and United States are jointly hosting the donors conference for the Haitian government which is seeking about $3.8 billion in funds to assist the country in recovery from the devastating January 12 earthquake. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) speaks as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (C) and Hatian President Rene Preval (R) listen during the International Donors' Conference meeting towards a "New Future for Haiti" at United Nations Headquarters, in New York, March 31, 2010. Some 120 countries, international organizations and aid groups are meeting at the United Nations in New York to pledge support for a Haitian government recovery plan that includes decentralizing the economy to create jobs and wealth outside Port-au-Prince, the capital of some 4 million people. REUTERS/Chip East (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) speaks as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (C) and Hatian President Rene Preval (R) listen during the International Donors’ Conference meeting towards a “New Future for Haiti” at United Nations Headquarters, in New York, March 31, 2010. Some 120 countries, international organizations and aid groups are meeting at the United Nations in New York to pledge support for a Haitian government recovery plan that includes decentralizing the economy to create jobs and wealth outside Port-au-Prince, the capital of some 4 million people. REUTERS/Chip East (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)

NEW YORK - MARCH 31: (L to R) U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Haitian President Rene Garcia Preval and former U.S. President and U.N. Special Envoy for Haiti Bill Clinton attend the opening session of the "International Donors' Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti" at United Nations headquarters March 31, 2010 in New York City. The United Nations and United States are jointly hosting the donors conference for the Haitian government which is seeking about $3.8 billion in funds to assist the country in recovery from the devastating January 12 earthquake. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

NEW YORK – MARCH 31: (L to R) U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Haitian President Rene Garcia Preval and former U.S. President and U.N. Special Envoy for Haiti Bill Clinton attend the opening session of the “International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti” at United Nations headquarters March 31, 2010 in New York City. The United Nations and United States are jointly hosting the donors conference for the Haitian government which is seeking about $3.8 billion in funds to assist the country in recovery from the devastating January 12 earthquake. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon (L) speaks as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) listens at the International Donors' Conference meeting towards a "New Future for Haiti" at United Nations Headquarters, in New York, March 31, 2010. Some 120 countries, international organizations and aid groups are meeting at the United Nations in New York to pledge support for a Haitian government recovery plan that includes decentralizing the economy to create jobs and wealth outside Port-au-Prince, the capital of some 4 million people. REUTERS/Chip East (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)

Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon (L) speaks as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) listens at the International Donors’ Conference meeting towards a “New Future for Haiti” at United Nations Headquarters, in New York, March 31, 2010. Some 120 countries, international organizations and aid groups are meeting at the United Nations in New York to pledge support for a Haitian government recovery plan that includes decentralizing the economy to create jobs and wealth outside Port-au-Prince, the capital of some 4 million people. REUTERS/Chip East (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)

Catherine Ashton, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs, speaks as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) listens at the International Donors' Conference meeting towards a "New Future for Haiti" at United Nations Headquarters, in New York, March 31, 2010. Some 120 countries, international organizations and aid groups are meeting at the United Nations in New York to pledge support for a Haitian government recovery plan that includes decentralizing the economy to create jobs and wealth outside Port-au-Prince, the capital of some 4 million people. REUTERS/Chip East (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)

Catherine Ashton, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs, speaks as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) listens at the International Donors’ Conference meeting towards a “New Future for Haiti” at United Nations Headquarters, in New York, March 31, 2010. Some 120 countries, international organizations and aid groups are meeting at the United Nations in New York to pledge support for a Haitian government recovery plan that includes decentralizing the economy to create jobs and wealth outside Port-au-Prince, the capital of some 4 million people. REUTERS/Chip East (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)

French Minister of Foreign Affairs Bernard Kouchner speaks as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) listens at the International Donors' Conference meeting towards a "New Future for Haiti" at United Nations Headquarters, in New York, March 31, 2010. Some 120 countries, international organizations and aid groups are meeting at the United Nations in New York to pledge support for a Haitian government recovery plan that includes decentralizing the economy to create jobs and wealth outside Port-au-Prince, the capital of some 4 million people. REUTERS/Chip East (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)

French Minister of Foreign Affairs Bernard Kouchner speaks as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) listens at the International Donors’ Conference meeting towards a “New Future for Haiti” at United Nations Headquarters, in New York, March 31, 2010. Some 120 countries, international organizations and aid groups are meeting at the United Nations in New York to pledge support for a Haitian government recovery plan that includes decentralizing the economy to create jobs and wealth outside Port-au-Prince, the capital of some 4 million people. REUTERS/Chip East (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)

NEW YORK - MARCH 31: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (L) speaks as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon looks on during the opening session of the "International Donors' Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti" at United Nations headquarters March 31, 2010 in New York City. The United Nations and United States are jointly hosting the donors conference for the Haitian government which is seeking about $3.8 billion in funds to assist the country in recovery from the devastating January 12 earthquake. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

NEW YORK – MARCH 31: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (L) speaks as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon looks on during the opening session of the “International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti” at United Nations headquarters March 31, 2010 in New York City. The United Nations and United States are jointly hosting the donors conference for the Haitian government which is seeking about $3.8 billion in funds to assist the country in recovery from the devastating January 12 earthquake. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (R), a U.N. special representative for Haiti, speaks as Haitian President Rene Preval (2nd R), U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (2nd L) and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton listen during the International Donors' Conference meeting towards a "New Future for Haiti" at United Nations Headquarters, in New York, March 31, 2010. Some 120 countries, international organizations and aid groups are meeting at the United Nations in New York to pledge support for a Haitian government recovery plan that includes decentralizing the economy to create jobs and wealth outside Port-au-Prince, the capital of some 4 million people. REUTERS/Chip East (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (R), a U.N. special representative for Haiti, speaks as Haitian President Rene Preval (2nd R), U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (2nd L) and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton listen during the International Donors’ Conference meeting towards a “New Future for Haiti” at United Nations Headquarters, in New York, March 31, 2010. Some 120 countries, international organizations and aid groups are meeting at the United Nations in New York to pledge support for a Haitian government recovery plan that includes decentralizing the economy to create jobs and wealth outside Port-au-Prince, the capital of some 4 million people. REUTERS/Chip East (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)

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I have not found a video of this yet. When I do, I will post it. Meanwhile here are Ban Ki-Moon and Rene Preval in a Clinton sandwich.

Interview With Martin Smith of Frontline

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 9, 2010

“The following is the transcript of Secretary Clinton’s interview for Frontline Haiti, which aired on March 30th on PBS.”

QUESTION: You were about to – you had undertaken a strategy review vis-à-vis Haiti prior to the earthquake, and you were about to release this. How does that change now?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, when I became Secretary of State, I spoke with the President about Haiti – and I have a longstanding interest going back many years in Haiti – and I had presented to him the idea that our government would look to see what we could do to try to help Haiti’s development.

So for the year that preceded the earthquake, that’s exactly what we did. I had my chief of staff and counselor, Cheryl Mills, work in a whole-of-government approach and we sent a lot of experts from government agencies here in the U.S. And we worked closely with the Haitian Government. President Preval had his own national development plan and we wanted to support that insofar as we could.

And we were about to roll it out because we wanted to bring that attention to it, and then the earthquake came. So where we are now is to take all the work that we’ve done in the past year to focus U.S. Government efforts in a few specific areas – namely agriculture, health, energy – particularly electricity – and security, governance, rule of law – and to work with other international partners to fill in gaps and to give us the broad buy-in from the international community that is necessary if we’re going to have a long-term commitment to Haiti’s future.

QUESTION: Why is Haiti important?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think it’s important for several reasons. First, it’s a neighbor. I mean, it’s in our hemisphere. And it’s the poorest country in the hemisphere by quite a measure. It was the first black republic in the world. And the United States has played a role in Haiti’s history, oftentimes not to our credit and to their detriment. When the slaves overthrew their French colonial masters and became an independent country, shortly after our own country became independent, the United States didn’t recognize Haiti for 50 years. Other countries turned their backs on Haiti. We’ve had a long and troubled history with Haiti, and Haiti’s had its own troubles of its own making.

So I think that when you look at its strategic location, the fact that there’s a very large Haitian American diaspora community in our country, it really was both a challenge and a rebuke to us. And I thought it would be worth trying to see, with a government that has the right instincts and a president who is committed to a better future, as President Preval is, to see if we couldn’t be a better partner.

QUESTION: You said that in the past, development has basically been parachuted in and hasn’t necessarily been sustainable. You talk about being a partner, not a patron.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.

QUESTION: What do you mean?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Martin, part of it is that we have a long history of involvement with Haiti, and most of it, going back many decades, has been through nongovernmental organizations, charities, church groups, all kinds of American involvement. And we’ve had this sporadic American Government attention and then withdrawn.

QUESTION: Embargos and invasions.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah, embargos, invasions in the 1920s and then restoring a democratically elected president to office in the 1990s and then a reaction in our own government against further involvement. I mean, we’ve had a very checkered involvement. And I think it’s important to build the capacity of the Haitian Government to recognize the resilience and the capacity of the Haitian people.

And to do that, you can’t be a patron in the sense of “We’re here to help you.” But it is more along the lines of “Okay, let’s work together. What do you need? Here’s what we can offer. Here are the conditions and the accountability that we would seek and here are other partners,” both of other governments and nongovernmental organizations.

QUESTION: I think a lot of people would look at Preval and ask this question as to whether or not he’s a reliable partner. He’s been through three prime ministers in the last 2 years. He was largely absent after the quake. He failed to address his people, came in for a lot of criticism. And on the streets, he is very unpopular at this point. Is he a reliable partner?

SECRETARY CLINTON: He is a reliable partner, but he is a partner who has very serious challenges when it comes to capacity. He had them before the earthquake. He has them even more so now. But one of the ironies that —

QUESTION: Can I interrupt?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah. Sure.

QUESTION: What do you mean by capacity?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that he has a government and a political system and a social structure which is very entrenched in the way it has always done business. And he has worked hard to overcome that. And I just wanted to mention that literally, the night before the earthquake on PBS – I think it was the Jim Lehrer show or whatever it’s called now, I don’t know, the —

QUESTION: Yeah, it is the PBS NewsHour.

SECRETARY CLINTON: PBS NewsHour.

QUESTION: Right.

SECRETARY CLINTON: In the hour, there was about a 15-20 minute segment on Haiti. It was so hopeful. It talked about all the changes, how this was Haitian-driven development that the United States and others were helping at the U.N., having asked my husband to be the private sector representative, was really digging in and talked about a big investment conference that had been held and how international businessmen from around the world were signing up to build factories, to pursue tourism possibilities. Less than 24 hours, the earthquake comes.

So I want to put it in a broader context that President Preval was making some very important commitments to change and seeking actively to have the support of others in the hemisphere and beyond. And yet, he was the first to say, look, we have a lot of challenges here. We have an enormous number of very poor people. We have a development strategy that was just basically growing up by inadvertence so that people were leaving the countryside, coming into the large metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince. I mean so many things that he had recognized and highlighted as in need of change.

Well, the earthquake happens and, I have to say, his response was very human. I mean, this was an overwhelming disaster. And I met with him within days of the earthquake hitting. He was very engaged about what needed to be done, but he was also very cautious. He didn’t want to over-promise. He didn’t want to get out and talk about what was going to happen until he had a better idea of who was alive, what was left of a government that was devastated with the buildings destroyed and records destroyed, the prison destroyed and prisoners out on the street. I mean, he was trying to be very responsible.

And yes, I know that there was criticism that he didn’t do enough in the public. He’s trying to, I think, make up for that, but the fact is that he has been very focused and struggling against difficult political odds. Because remember there was supposed to be a parliamentary election in February. So his parliament is basically living on borrowed time. There was supposed to be a presidential election later this year. He’s very acutely aware of the need for political stability and political legitimacy. So we’re working very hard with him and hoping to provide him the support he needs for this last year of his term.

QUESTION: Did you say anything to him on that Sunday about his failure to stand on the rubble?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it was Saturday that I was there.

QUESTION: I’m sorry. On that Saturday, did you say anything to him?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We did. Because he and I did a press conference together and that was the first time that he had gone into public.

QUESTION: First time I saw him.

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s right. And I told him it was very important that he do that with me and he was absolutely in agreement.

QUESTION: It looked like you kind of talked him out into the cameras.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I hadn’t been traumatized by the earthquake. I hadn’t seen the destruction and damage of my country. I mean I remember how I felt after 9/11 and how difficult it was and just trying to begin to catalogue what we were going to need to do as a senator from New York. And here he is, the president of a country that has been just devastated. So I had some understanding of what he must be going through.

QUESTION: The U.N. was also on its back.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.

QUESTION: They had lost a lot of people, and their ability to respond to the quake was severely limited. So for those first few days, stuff was piling up at the airport and nobody was moving it into the city or very few people, not enough trucks. Did you talk about airdrops doing anything that could have gotten that aid into communities faster than we did?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we moved as fast as the logistics permitted. The airport had been damaged. The air control tower had been damaged. The one inadequate runway had been damaged. And I worked out with our ambassador, who has done a superb job on the ground, Ken Merten, an agreement that President Preval signed that Saturday to provide greater leeway for America to operate.

Two days before, Ambassador Merten had worked out the agreement on the airport being opened up and U.S. military personnel took over the airport. There was a lot of concern about airdrops. And because, in talking to the experts who do this in our military, they said, “First of all, we are still rescuing people. The last thing we need is to be dropping aid in areas where people might still be alive and having all kinds of commotion occur and maybe even people disrupting the rescue mission.” So it was very complicated.

But we got the airport up and going and we began to deliver the assistance and I personally followed this very closely, and I think that the devastating blow the U.N., losing their leadership, more than 300 associated personnel losing their lives – MINUSTAH, which is the U.N. peacekeeping mission under the command of a Brazilian general being also devastated, and the general wasn’t even in Port-au-Prince at the time. We had to help bring him back, so that we began to put together what were the building blocks of a safe relief operation.

And that is something I really want to emphasize. As bad as the terrible devastation was, we didn’t want military assets, ours and others coming in and making it worse. So we proceeded in a careful way. But within days, we had troops on the ground, we had vehicles delivering assistance, we worked to support the delivery of aid from other countries. So within days, we were managing the most far-ranging search-and-rescue mission in world history, as far as we know.

QUESTION: You talk about jobs and the necessity of acting as partners, not patrons —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.

QUESTION: — building a sustainable Haiti with its own economy, the apparel factories that are being talked about in this light, pay about three to four dollars a day. Can you build an economy on that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, actually, there’s been an increase in their minimum wage, but yes, you can. And you can build an economy if it is embedded in a political system that can be functioning to make sure that resources are more equitably shared, a reconstruction program that focuses not just on Port-au-Prince but on the whole country and particularly the agriculture sectors, which is what’s – provides the support for 60 percent of the people to start with, and with the duty-free importing from Haiti, which the United States —

QUESTION: The HOPE Act.

SECRETARY CLINTON: — the HOPE Act had offered. We’re going to try to extend that to other countries like Brazil and others within our hemisphere and beyond. It is a way to build a foundation and then to move on from there. I know people say, well, three to four dollars – I think it’s more than that, but —

QUESTION: It’s a little more than that perhaps —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah, it is, but —

QUESTION: — but the people that I talked to actually said they were getting four or five dollars a day.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah. It is clearly not sufficient by our standards, and it will not be sufficient by Haitian standards, but the idea of creating enough jobs, trying to get back to where we were in the garment industry in Haiti before the embargo imposed by the United States in the – I don’t know what we call it, but the first 10 years of this new century. The population of the garment factories was decimated. And we, before the earthquake, had about 28,000 people working. We want to reengage with that, get more people back into those factories. But we also want to broaden the base of the economy. And when the assessment of needs was done very quickly, shortly after the earthquake, we realized that the port was damaged and nobody would be able to fix it except for the United States military, we made it very clear we want to move more cargo through that port than was coming in before. And we are now moving more containers than were moved before the earthquake.

So these are all signs that we’re getting back to economic life. The American aid programs are employing thousands of people to move rubble, for example. But it is a – it’s a very low base. And hopefully over the next year, as we try to build a more sustainable economy for Haitians themselves, we’ll see increases in things like wages and education and health care and other indices of progress.

QUESTION: You talk about “as we go forward and build a better Haitian economy,” can we really be expected to build a better Haitian economy or is this something only the Haitians can do?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the “we” covers everyone from the Haitians through the U.S. to the international community. But I’ve been very heartened by the response of the international community. The needs assessment that the World Bank is currently undertaking, which we will have in preparation for the international donors conference on March 31st, shows —

QUESTION: Tomorrow night.

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter) – shows a commitment to Haiti that has been lacking up until now. We can’t guarantee results but we can guaranteed that we’ll be smart about how we engage with the international community and with Haitians themselves, and that we will try to have an economic plan, a reconstruction plan that makes sense, that is in keeping with the Haitian culture.

I’ll give you an example. I mean, when we met with the UN people on my visit the Saturday after the earthquake, a lot of them had had experience in other disasters, and the immediate response was, “Well, we need to create very large camps.” I mean, one of the UN experts said 100,000. I mean, he said, “No way. We’re not going into camps like that. We’re going to stay as close as we can stay to our little piece of property here. It may be damaged but it’s all we’ve got.” So you’ve got to be sensitive to the Haitian experience and the Haitian ideas about what they’re going to want. And as we put together all of these plans, the Haitians have to be in the lead, and the international community has to be supportive.

QUESTION: Why haven’t we gotten it right in Haiti before? I mean, we’ve had – it’s right on our doorstep —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: It’s a small country. We take on nation-building projects in bigger places with sectarian divisions. This is a rather simple exercise compared to Afghanistan or Iraq. Its nine million people on the doorstep of one of the greatest, biggest, most powerful markets in the world. Why have we not gotten a better relationship with Haiti and gotten off the starting line before?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think the simple answer is neither their politics nor ours has ever permitted it. Their politics has been rocky, to say the least, since the very beginning of their country. They haven’t always had the very best leadership. And they’ve had a very unequal society, where those on the top were, frankly, not interested in investing on those on the bottom. And we see that all over the world. And then Haiti often became a political football in American politics. And there are many reasons historians can point to as to why the mix just never was right.

But that’s one of the reasons why I went to President Obama when I became Secretary of State and I said, “Look, we just – this is intolerable. We cannot in our hemisphere in good faith have a country as poor as Haiti, as unequal as Haiti, when we see the results of educated and very resourceful Haitians coming to our country and being so successful.” I mean, I represented a large Haitian American community in New York City and in Rockland County, across from Westchester County, as you know, where you had doctors and lawyers and business leaders and teachers. So why can’t that be translated back in Haiti? Why do people have to leave Haiti unless they’re part of a very small elite? Why do they have to leave to realize their dreams? That shouldn’t be, in the 21st century. The President totally agreed with me, and so we were engaged before the earthquake and we’re going to try to be a better partner this time around.

QUESTION: Former Prime Minister Pierre Louis – Michele Pierre-Louis, who you know —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: She said the problem in Haiti – what worries her is the lack of transcendence – that people don’t think beyond their own self-interest.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Mm-hmm. We see that all over the world. It is not, by any means, unique to Haiti. I have seen it in every setting and on every continent that I have visited. It is a real problem in the development challenge that we are looking at. How do you get, particularly the economic and political elite, to feel invested in the development of those with whom they are not related, who they view as less educated, who they think of as somehow subservient in cultures from Haiti to Pakistan. I mean, it’s a common problem. And that’s why I am supportive of President Preval because he was very clear that he wanted to break that mindset and end that cycle. He wanted to really look at what hadn’t worked in Haiti in the past and try to come up with better answers. And we want to keep supporting him during this last year in office and the wake of this terrible earthquake.

There are no guarantees, but I think we have a better shot today, in part because this earthquake has shaken, literally, everyone. It was not a respecter of educational or economic status. It devastated the Port-au-Prince larger metropolitan area. So this is an opportunity for us to be able to say, okay, let’s really think about what kind of future you want for all of Haiti. And that’s what we’re trying to pose as the context for this.

STAFF: Last question, Mike.

QUESTION: Okay. Some Americans take a look at this and say, look, we’ve got our own problems. We have not fixed – we’ve not rebuilt New Orleans.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And shame on us.

QUESTION: And now we’re going to take on Port-au-Prince.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Right. To that I’d say, because I’ve had this conversation with many people, is number one, Haiti has been in the past a security and immigration challenge to us. We have people who risk everything to get on creaky little boats to try to make it to our shores. So it’s not a problem that is way over there – hundreds of miles off our coast. It is often a problem that we live with right here at home.

But secondly, we now have a broad base of international support. This is not the United States coming in and saying, “Oh, let us fix it.” This is the United States, along with international organizations and countries from France to Canada to Brazil to Japan, saying we all will play a role.

Half of – nearly half of all American households have contributed to Haiti relief.

QUESTION: I know. I hear that stat and I can’t believe it.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Isn’t that stunning?

QUESTION: Well, I don’t know. Is it true?

SECRETARY CLINTON: It is true. It is true. Because if you take what we started at the State Department, which was the SMS texting message for $10 cell phone contributions, first to the Red Cross and then to the Clinton Bush Fund, $32 million to Red Cross, $31 million just through that one means of contributing, over $700 million contributed from Americans to their churches or to other organizations that they had confidence in, plus the United States has spent many hundreds of millions dollars in deploying USAID and deploying the military and so much else. So we are already invested, and we don’t want that investment to go to waste. We want that investment to realize a positive outcome.

QUESTION: No shortage of good intentions.

SECRETARY CLINTON: But this time good plans, too. I mean, I might not be as confident sitting here if we hadn’t been working for a year, if we hadn’t made that decision back in January, and if I hadn’t seen the outpouring from around our hemisphere. Every country, even the poorest – little Honduras, little Guatemala – they’ve all contributed something to Haiti. The Dominican Republic, which shares the island with Haiti – and there’s always been a contentious political relationship – has gone above and beyond the call to assist Haiti, so everybody’s invested in this.

And the United States leadership under the Obama Administration has put to rest a lot of old myths. Initially, there was some concern and some of the old ideas being pulled out about imperialism and Yankees; all of that is gone. I mean, I just came back from as trip to Latin America – a lot of positive reinforcement for the way we’ve handled it, for the fact that, yes, we took the lead – only we could have opened the airport, only we could have fixed the port. But we have been sharing – we helped transport medical supplies for Cuban doctors. We are working with Venezuela on this common project. So it’s near us, we have a lot of Haitian Americans, we have a security and immigration challenge, we have a tangled history. We had a plan that we’ve worked on for more than a year, and we have an opportunity to show leadership in our hemisphere in a way that we cannot downplay in terms of its importance going forward.

QUESTION: But the moral obligation and practical reasons to help —

SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do.

QUESTION: Secretary, thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. Nice to see you.

# # #

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Daily Appointments Schedule for March 31, 2010

Washington, DC
March 31, 2010

SECRETARY OF STATE CLINTON

Secretary Clinton participates in the International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti, co-hosted by the United States and the United Nations with the Participation of Haiti. Secretary Clinton leads the U.S. Delegation, which also includes Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, USAID Administrator Raj Shah, Assistant Secretary Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary Arturo Valenzuela and Counselor Cheryl Mills. For more information, click here.

8:00 a.m. Secretary Clinton hosts a Breakfast for the Haiti Donors Conference, at the United Nations.
(POOLED CAMERA SPRAY)

9:00 a.m. Secretary Clinton participates in the Haiti Donors Conference Opening Session, at the United Nations.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE FOR CAMERAS)
Secretary Clinton’s opening remarks for the Haiti Donors Conference will be live-streamed on
www.state.gov at 9:00 a.m. and the entire Haiti Donors Conference will be live-streamed on www.un.org/webcast.

12:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton holds a Bilateral Meeting with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, at the United Nations.
(POOLED CAMERA SPRAY)

12:20 p.m. Secretary Clinton holds a Bilateral Meeting with EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, at the United Nations.
(POOLED CAMERA SPRAY)

1:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton attends U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Lunch for the Haiti Donors Conference, at the United Nations.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

5:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton participates in a Joint Press Availability for the Haiti Donors’ Conference, at the United Nations.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

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This is not a huge photo post, but there were a few pictures from today that I thought were especially charming.

Center of attention!

Mwah!

Sweets for the sweet! (That’s maple taffy – yum!)

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Remarks With G-8 Foreign Ministers After Their Ministerial Meetings

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Gatineau, Quebec, Canada
March 30, 2010

FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: We have just concluded what I would characterize as being a frank and productive discussion on the key issues affecting global security. Our dialogue has resulted in a strengthened G-8 consensus and renewed impetus for addressing critical security challenges, together with the rest of the international community in the months ahead.

We discussed three broad themes – nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, terrorism, and security vulnerabilities. Here are the highlights and tangible outcomes of the chairman’s statement, which I believe reflects the sense of the discussion and understood – as understood by myself.

We all agreed that the threat to global security from nuclear proliferation is grave, but in 2010, we have an opportunity to make progress and set the course for the future. The nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea were of very great concern to us all, as they both present serious challenges to global security. Iran’s actions raise serious doubts about the peaceful intention of its nuclear program. We agreed to remain open to dialogue, but also agree that it is time for the international community to take appropriate steps to persuade Iran to end its nuclear activities and return to the table.

North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs are destabilizing for the region and also a threat to global security. We agreed to do what we can to press North Korea to return to Six-Party Talks without preconditions and to fulfill its commitments. 2010 is an important year for nonproliferation. We agreed to work together to ensure the success of the upcoming review conference on the treaty and the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons in the month of May. In this respect, all ministers warmly welcomed the new United States-Russia Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, further reducing their nuclear arsenals. This is an important step towards a world without nuclear weapons and will help create positive momentum for the review conference.

We also expressed our concern about terrorism. While our collaboration has significantly constrained the ability of terrorists to execute attacks, terrorists continue to seek new ways to achieve their goals.

(Speaking in French.)

We also discussed the efforts by the Government of Pakistan to address its domestic challenges, including strengthening its democratic institutions and welcome its actions to root out violent extremism, particularly in the border region with Afghanistan. We agreed that all well – that well-managed borders are important for stability and security in this region, as well as for long-term economic development.

Now, in this respect, we agreed to undertake an Afghan-Pakistan border region prosperity initiative, aimed at building trade and border infrastructure to foster economic development and local employment. We will be pursuing this initiative in partnership with the Government of Afghanistan and Pakistan, which have jointly identified their top priorities for the initiative, and also in partnership with the World Bank as well as the Asian Development Bank. Increased terrorist activity in the Arabian Peninsula and parts of Africa was also discussed – in particular, Yemen, Somalia, and the Sahel.

International – internal, I should say – conflict in and areas beyond effective government control create fertile ground for terrorists and have led to other problems such as piracy, kidnapping, illicit trafficking and drugs, people, and arms across this vast region. These problems are interconnected and there is a need for a broad regional approach and engagement with local governments to reinforce their capacity to deal with their security challenges, as well as address socioeconomic challenges. In particular, we discussed how the international community could support the Government of Yemen in its efforts to combat terrorism and implement a reform agenda.

(Speaking in French.)

We also spoke about the challenges faced by some countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, from transnational organized crime and illicit trafficking and drugs, and the increasingly widespread implications not only for the Americas, but also for Africa and Europe.

Now, with respect to the Middle East, we are all committed to see progress on the Roadmap and endorse the Quartet’s March 19th statement. The proximity talks can be an important step towards the resumption of bilateral negotiations.

And finally, we also discussed the upcoming elections in Burma and Sudan, which will be important milestones in both these countries. We agreed to meet next in New York in September 2010 on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly.

Merci. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Minister Cannon. (Speaking in French.) We will now take questions from the media. I would like to request only one question per media, and you can use microphone number one or number two. We’ll start by (inaudible).

QUESTION: (Speaking in French.)

So allow me to repeat in English, as I’d like especially Ms. Clinton to answer this question. As you know, Canada wants to make maternal health a priority of the G-8, and you probably are aware of – there’s a debate in Canada as to whether or not family planning, contraception, and even abortion is part of this initiative. So you’re probably aware, coming from the United States, that this has been a debate in your country. So —

MODERATOR: We’ll keep it to one question per (inaudible). Thank you.

QUESTION: Yes, so I want – same question. So I want to know, do you think that abortion and contraception should be part of this?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m not going to speak for what Canada decides, but I will say that I’ve worked in this area for many years. And if we’re talking about maternal health, you cannot have maternal health without reproductive health. And reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion.

Obviously, the extraordinary rate of maternal deaths that still occur in our world in countries where women do not have access to family planning remains a great tragedy. I’ve also been very involved in promoting family planning and contraception as a way to prevent abortion. If you are concerned about abortion, then women should have access to family planning.

And finally, I do not think governments should be involved in making these decisions. It is perfectly legitimate for people to hold their own personal views based on conscience, religion, or any other basis. But I’ve always believed that the government should not intervene in decisions of such intimacy. And we can see through history what happens when governments do. When governments have a policy of one child, as China has had, and where that policy is implemented by forced abortions, that is abhorrent. And when governments like the communist government in Romania had policies promoting five children per women, which denied women the opportunity to plan their own families, the result was a tragic problem with children being given up and being put into orphanages.

So this is an issue of great concern to me and to my government, and we are promoting a global health initiative that will emphasize maternal and child health, and we are promoting a greater access to contraception – both male and female contraception – and we are also looking for ways to make women’s choices so that they can avoid abortion – more realistic by providing support for them.

MODERATOR: Thank you. We’ll go to the Italian media, (inaudible).

QUESTION: Good morning. I have a question for Italian Minister Mr. Frattini and for the USA Secretary of State Ms. Clinton. It’s about the drug traffic and its international demands. What do you think the G-8 can do for – to address this problem? Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER FRATTINI: Well, we’re talking about this very important issue, which is an issue that is becoming increasingly important, because for example, think about Latin America, Caribbeans, and Mexico – these region of origin of drug trafficking. And we have the institutional and, I would say, moral duty to help countries in that region to face, to prevent – to face and fight drug trafficking. Also, because it is in our own interests as Western countries, as European countries – United States, Europe, G-8 countries have an interest, for example, to block this Western road coming through Africa going north to Portugal, Spain, and Europe.

There is another region in the world which is a matter of serious concern on drug trafficking – yes, Afghanistan. Russia is cooperating as G-8 state, but we all have an interest to try to find a viable way to prevent and fight drug trafficking coming from Afghanistan, and how to replace poppy cultivation while not just destroying cultivation, but replacing in order to avoid people being desperate, people – because they lose their job as farmers, for example.

So on this point, we believe that it’s necessary that G-8 countries and regional organization – think about ECOWAS in Africa – have a stronger and closer cooperation in order to address together organized crime and drug trafficking, which is transnational crime. I also mention the importance that the 10th anniversary of the signature of the so-called Palermo Convention, which – UN convention against organized crime – we will take stock of the progress made on the fight against organized crime and drug trafficking, which is affecting all the G-8 state, but – not only G-8 state, but poorer states are increasingly affected by this crime.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I would certainly agree with everything Franco said and just add the following points. We discussed this at some length during our meeting today, because there’s also linkage between the drug traffickers and the criminal cartels that support not only trafficking in drugs, but trafficking in arms and human beings and terrorism. In fact, there is growing evidence that terrorists obtain a certain funding stream from illicit activity like drug trafficking.

So the G-8 is going to be looking into this and exploring in greater detail what we can do to try to stand against the unfortunate consequences of the criminal drug cartels, because we’re not talking about occasional recreational drug use. We’re talking about well-armed, brutal gangs that prey on innocent people, prey on lawful authority, and challenge the writ of the state in a country like Mexico and Central America and now in West Africa, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

So this has become a big security threat and we will be consulting during the course of this year in looking for ways that we can increase our cooperation and coordination in the effort against the drug cartels.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Campbell Clark, Globe and Mail.

QUESTION: Good afternoon. Mr. Cannon, I was wondering if you would answer this question in both English and French, but I’d also like to invite the other ministers here to respond as well. A number of you came to this conference speaking in very strong terms about Iran’s nuclear program, and Canada raised the prospect of the G-8 committing to collective sanctions as a group. But in your statements today, you haven’t used the word “sanctions.”

So I’m wondering if you would tell me what prevented you all agreeing on a call for sanctions here. Was it something between this group or is the elephant not in the room – the fact that China is not here – and you want to give them time to come along this road toward sanctions as well?

FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: Well, let me take the first crack at that, Campbell. It wasn’t our intention as hosts of the G-8 to put together standalone statements in terms of sanctions that could be taken against Iran. This meeting offered us the opportunity to be able to take stock of where the discussions were. We were all praised of how those discussions are going. Needless to say, we do, as a group, feel that the United Nations Security Council is the premier forum for actions and we certainly will be following this – the situation as it evolves over the course of the coming weeks, indeed the coming months.

And maybe Secretary of State Clinton can add, and then Foreign Minister Lavrov.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say that speaking for the United States, we did not expect to see any kind of statement along the lines of what you’re describing coming out of the G-8. The G-8 is not, as Lawrence said, the negotiating forum for the creation of a resolution that outlines the imposition of effective sanctions against Iran in response to their nuclear weapons program.

This was informational. We exchanged views. We discussed the importance of the international community addressing the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran. And I, for one, was very satisfied by the results of that conversation. But I think it’s important to underscore that the negotiating forum that we are all focused on is the United Nations Security Council. Some of us are members, others of us are not, but all of us share a concern on behalf of the international community about what it would mean to regional and global stability, were Iran to pursue successfully their efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon.

So I think that Lawrence’s summary is exactly on point. We have a lot of work to do in the UN. We’re making slow but steady progress in making the case and in trying to do the drafting that will embody what it is we’re attempting to achieve with respect to sanctions. So I came away very heartened by the understanding and support of the G-8 countries.

QUESTION: Minister Lavrov.

FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV: (Via interpreter) Iran oil – that’s what – naturally why we exchanged our views. And this is all written down in the resolute that was written by our chairman. These are the results of our summit and I think it was useful in a way concerning other fora that are recognized by everyone concerning the Iran nuclear program – that is, first of all, it’s IAEA, the council of governors, the Security Council of the UN that has already adopted several resolutions to its support that (inaudible) of IAEA and the Group 3+3 that is represented here, including China. It’s part of it. So it wouldn’t be ethical for us during this meeting, which is not negotiation, to make a decision on Iran ahead of them.

QUESTION: Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER MILIBAND: Well, thank you, Lawrence. I think it’s very important that you hear the message that the eight of us gave to each other during the talks yesterday and today. There was a very high degree of unity in respect of our mounting concern about the failure of Iran to respond in any kind of adequate way, both to the offer from the E3+3 that was first made in May 2008, and secondly the more recent IAEA offer in respect of the Tehran research reactor. That mounting concern is matched by a determined unity when it comes to our goal, which is to ensure that Iran does not become a nuclear weapons state in contravention of its own commitments to the nonproliferation treaty.

There’s also a very high degree of unity around the strategy to achieve that goal. It’s a twin-track strategy which refuses to say that there is an alternative between engagement on the one hand and pressure on the other. The two go together. We have all, all eight of us, strongly welcomed the engagement that President Obama and Secretary Clinton have been arguing for since January the 20th, 2009. That offer of engagement remains on the table. But the parallel track, the adjoining track, is one of pressure.

And we know that the Iranian economy is in a state which is enfeebling a country. Remember, this is a country which in 1979 had the – a GDP the same as South Korea, and now it’s half of the level of South Korea. It’s a country blessed with massive gas reserves but is having to do very large importing of oil and gas. And so I think it’s – of refined products. So I think it’s very, very important that a clear message goes out about our determination to secure the end goal and to take forward the strategic tactics that will be necessary. This is not the forum in which they will be taking place, as both Secretary Clinton and Minister Lavrov have said. But the political unity, I think, is very important and very resounding.

MODERATOR: (Inaudible) Japan, NHK.

QUESTION: Thank you, (inaudible) from NHK TV Japan. My question is still about Iranian issue. Madam Secretary, Secretary Clinton, how much are you confident that the consonance that you have among the eight parties are strong enough now to convince China to get onboard in the Security Council discussions to add more sanctions against Tehran?

And a very quick follow-up to avoid confusion among the Japanese press. Yesterday, you had a meeting with the Japanese Minister Okada about (inaudible) air base matter. And can we – is it correct for us to understand that now you have the position different from previous ones, or do you still hold the opinion that the current relocation plan is the best solution to this matter? Thank you, Madam.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first on the latter question, we still hold the opinion that the original plan is preferable. But as I have told Minister Okada, we are ready to consider proposals that the Japanese Government may make to us. We are committed to the defense of Japan, our ally, our partner, our friend over many decades. And we hold a view as to what is the most effective way to pursue and implement that, but of course, we’re going to continue to listen to and consult with the Japanese Government.

With respect to Iran, I believe we are making progress. I think that the next weeks will be ones of intense negotiations in the Security Council among not only members of the Security Council but many interested countries, some of whom are here on the dais. We see a growing awareness on the part of many countries, including China, as to the consequences of a nuclear-armed Iran to regional and global stability, to our oil supply, and we think that there will be a consensus reached as to the best way forward.

And to reiterate a point that Secretary Miliband made, sanctions are part of diplomacy. We chose a two-pronged strategy on engagement and on pressure should engagement not succeed. But sanctions are a form of the overall diplomatic approach that the United States and others have made on this issue. And we think that the work that President Obama and the Obama Administration has undertaken in the last 15 months to reach out to Iran, the people of Iran, the Government of Iran, demonstrates our sincerity and good faith efforts on engagement. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been the response forthcoming that would create the atmosphere in which we could actually discuss these matters with Iranian counterparts.

There have also been a number of developments, including the disclosure of a secret facility at Qom, the announcement of more facilities to be developed, the announcement of greater efforts at enrichment, the refusal of the joint Russian, French, and American proposal to reprocess and enrich the uranium needed for the Tehran research reactor, and on and on. So the last 15 months have demonstrated clearly the unwillingness of Iran to fulfill its international obligations, and that’s the basis on which I expressed my optimism that we’re going to have a consensus reached in the Security Council.

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Just to follow up, I think, an important point, there’s one other thing which has changed in the last 15 months which is not directly about the nuclear question but is highly relevant to the world’s relations with Iran. That concerns the very large-scale protests on the streets of Iran about the presidential election result, about the counting of the result, and then the subsequent repression of those demonstrations. Not a single country on this platform believes it’s for us to choose the government of Iran. That is something for the Iranian people.

But when it comes to expressing solidarity with the people of Iran, people who are demanding that their most basic rights are respected, then the United Kingdom stands very strongly behind Lawrence Cannon’s summary which describes the widespread concern about the repression that has taken place. The truth is there are two Irans: One is fearful, close-minded and repressive; the other Iran is an educated, cultured, deeply civilized society which wants to be open and engaged with the world while retaining the characteristics of an Islamic republic. And the tragedy is that the regime seeks to obscure that second Iran. As far as we’re concerned, that adds to the complexity of negotiating and engaging with Iran, but it doubles or triples our commitment to do so, because this is a people who should be engaged with the international community, respecting their own traditions and their own beliefs, but part of the great social and economic mainstream, not separate from it.

FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV: (Via interpreter) I would like to revisit the original issue raised by the Japanese (inaudible) concerning Iran. We don’t see many controversies inside the organization. One thing I would like to mention would be incorrect to formulate the issue in such a way that this group or any other group of organizations to convince China. China is an independent, self-contained country that pursues its own position. It’s a permanent member of the Security Council and it will retain its positions, taking into account the opinions of other countries. To portray the issue as for us to convince one individual country wouldn’t be correct.

MODERATOR: AFP (inaudible).

QUESTION: My question is on Afghanistan. The G-8 issued a very strong statement urging President Karzai to do more on many issues. What can the G-8 do to ensure it will make these improvements, and when?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think the situation in Afghanistan about which we spoke at some length during our meeting in the last two days is cause for both optimism and caution. On the optimism side, I believe that we are employing a strategy that is working. It is working on both the military and the civilian front. The recent military action in Marjah, which was immediately followed by civilian development experts, reconstruction, governance, rule of law, agriculture, education, and so much more, is exactly the kind of combined approach that we believe has the best chance for success.

We also are well aware that, as we discussed at the London conference on Afghanistan, there has to be a political element that will lead to a resolution of the conflict, at least to some extent, by taking soldiers, Taliban fighters, off the battlefield and also looking for those political leaders who are willing to renounce violence and al-Qaida, follow the constitution of Afghanistan, and re-enter society.

The caution is, of course, for sustainable progress and development that leads to stability, the most important player in this is not any of us or other members of the international community, but the government and people of Afghanistan. I think we can look back over the last several months and see that the new government headed by a reelected President Karzai has done a number of things that had been promised and delivered on for the international community, but the jury is still out on other issues. So it’s like any complex situation; there are reasons to feel positive about our progress, and then there’s still a lot of work to be done. But certainly, the countries here in the G-8 are all committed to a peaceful, stable Afghanistan that can not only create a political environment that ends the ongoing insurgency that threatens beyond its borders, but also reaches a new status of being at peace with its neighbors in the region.

So we have a lot of work ahead of us, but we have reason to feel positive about the direction we’re headed.

FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: I’d just add, if you may, that I do believe it is important to be able to ensure that we have, yes, the actions that are taking place on the ground; yes, the direct contact we do have with the Karzai government to be able to make sure that ultimately the Afghans themselves will be able to lead this country. But I am particularly proud as host of this meeting that we did buy into the Afghan-Pakistan Prosperity Initiative. We all feel around the table that it’s extremely important to be able to, if one wants to foster economic development and create those conditions that will stem global terrorism and terrorism in that region, we have to find opportunities where both these countries can indeed progress, and as well, countries in that region.

Secretary Clinton was talking to us this morning about a bumper year crop in terms of how the agricultural sector seems to be picking up. Of course, we have to look at it as a long process, not necessarily a process from one month to another, but to be able to look at what has been actually achieved and the direction that it’s taking. So we’re quite – I personally am very, very pleased with the outcome of what was discussed today, and also pleased with the progress that’s being made.

FOREIGN MINISTER OKADA: (Via interpreter) I would like to continue along the lines of what was just said. In the – at the London Afghanistan conference, really opened a new chapter, a new beginning, and this new beginning at the London conference had two complements. On the one hand, a very clear commitment by the Afghan Government for good governance, for reintegration, reconciliation, combating corruption, and reconstruction of the economy and social reconstruction. And at the same time, there was aid approved because those things are closely linked. The international community will stand by its commitments. Also, the countries that are represented here are very clear of their own commitments and obligations, and therefore it is very important that in Afghanistan we see very visible, concrete results. And this is necessary in the light of a future Afghanistan conference to be held in Kabul, and that is why the decisions reached here and the statement that was published is of utmost importance in the light of the need of having very concrete results so that the decisions taken in London are not swept away by the sand but really materialize in a very concrete manner in results. And therefore it is a matter of forging ahead and this London Afghanistan conference which we consider to be very important that also now reflect in concrete results.

MODERATOR: Thank you. We’ll go to ARD Sterling, Michael Gottienberg, and then we’ll go the last question.

QUESTION: I’d like to come back to the Iranian issue, if I may. First of all, a question to Minister Westerwelle, which you can answer in German again, please. Considering that you are one of those openly calling for sanctions, new sanctions, are you satisfied with the signal sent to Iran today from here? Even though it’s not the UN, it would have been a possibility to send a strong signal.

And then I’d like to ask Minister Lavrov, if I may —

MODERATOR: We have one question per media (inaudible).

QUESTION: Okay. Well, then.

FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: (Via interpreter) I’m very satisfied with the conclusions and the statement agreed by all of us. I’m satisfied because it sends a very clear signal as to the decisive opinion of countries represented here in terms of supporting nuclear nonproliferation. Disarmament and nonproliferation are two sides of the same coin or medal, and this is something that is highly visible in the statement issued.

Now regarding this issue of sanctions, Iran, of course, is entitled and has a right for peaceful use of atomic energy, but they’re also obliged to provide transparency and guarantee that no nuclear weapons will develop in Iran. And that would have a very destabilizing effect in the region, but also throughout the rest of the world. And that is why we are not a body that makes decisions, but rather we try to synchronize our postures. Decisions as such are made, as my colleague said, in the adequate and pertinent format at the national level and in the 3-plus format, and that is where decisions will come from.

For us, the situation is quite clear. We extend our hand in friendship. We want results through dialogue. But if Iran is not willing to cooperate and does not provide the transparency, we will be one of the states that will be in favor of sanctions.

MODERATOR: Thank you. We’ll go to the last question, ITAR-TASS, Tatiana (inaudible).

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) So my question is for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Last week, the President and – of the United States and Russia achieved on the START treaty. And I would like to hear the final U.S. position on how committed it is to the balance between strategic offensive and defensive weapons in view of the plans of the United States to deploy its weapons in Europe. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are very pleased that the treaty known as new START that has been negotiated will be signed next week in Prague by our two presidents, President Obama and President Medvedev. We think it’s a very strong signal of both of our countries’ commitment to the serious goal of decreasing our nuclear arsenals and standing against the proliferation of nuclear and other dangerous weapons. And we have also discussed over the course of this past year ways that we can better cooperate on other important matters, including exploring the potential cooperation around missile defense.

We believe that the United States and Russia, being the largest nuclear arsenal states in the world, have a special obligation. But speaking for the United States, we recognize the new threats that are coming that are aimed at both of our countries, at Europe, at the Middle East and elsewhere from rogue regimes like North Korea that already has nuclear weapons, and regimes like that in Iran that are clearly seeking nuclear weapons.

So we think there has to be a balance between offensive and defensive weapons, and that it would be in the world’s interests for the United States and Russia to cooperate on helping not only to protect ourselves, but protect other nations from the potential of attacks from either rogue states or terrorist networks. And we’re going to continue to discuss that in the future.

FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV: Of course, since this is a bilateral agreement, just – this treaty is legally binding, and in addition to very important issues related to unprecedented reduction in nuclear arsenals, and in addition to important agreements on verification which is built on increased confidence and trust, we have to find a balance between strategic defense and offensive weapons.

And this treaty has built for all the important mechanisms that ensure the rights of each side. How and in what ways do you ensure its security? Should this interrelationship be broken? And the work that Secretary Clinton has referred to on the nuclear missile defense, we have every reason to believe that this interrelationship is not going to be violated or broken. We have full confidence in our American colleagues.

And we made it clear to the Obama Administration that we wish to cooperate on nuclear nonproliferation, and the starting point would be to analyze all the existing risks, and then to take all the necessary steps to neutralize these risks. And we attach principal significance to this treaty and I’m sure that every effort will be made to ensure the integrity of this treaty.

MODERATOR: Thank you. So with this, this concludes the press conference. Thank you very much, everybody.

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The Globe and Mail has this cute little article about exchanges between PM Harper of Canada and SOS Clinton during a photo op today in Ottowa.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 2:44 PM  Harper and Clinton’s jock-talk diplomacy by Jane Taber

What the article fails to mention, probably because Secretary Clinton did not mention it herself, so I will, is that she was an ace shortstop.  Anyone who knows the work of Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciaparra, and A-Rod,  when he played that position,  knows that the shortstop has to be the quickest (and best) thinker on the field.  Even before I knew what position she played, I pegged Hillary as a shortstop.  You can just tell by the way the skills transferred to the Senate, the presidential campaign, and now to the State Department – especially when she is in Town Hall and interview situations where the questions come hard and fast.  She takes them on the infield and always knows exactly where to send the ball – and does so accurately.

Yes, she’s a girly-girl for sure, but one heckuva shortstop!

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