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Archive for January, 2011

Seriously! Nine interviews (five about Egypt), a trip to Haiti, three Haitian presidential candidates, visits to a clinic and with the embassy staff yesterday (on a Sunday). The ambassadors called in today, and tomorrow she is convening cabinet secretaries.  Mme. Secretary ROCKS! ♥

Secretary Clinton to Convene Cabinet Secretaries for the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons on February 1

Notice to the Press

Washington, DC
January 31, 2011

Secretary Clinton, Attorney General Holder, Secretaries Napolitano and Solis, and Ambassador CdeBaca to brief the press following Task Force Meeting

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will host the annual meeting of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at approximately 2:00 p.m. on February 1 at the Department of State. Cabinet-level officials will participate in the meeting, including the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, and the Secretaries of Interior, Agriculture, Labor, Health & Human Services, and Homeland Security.

An open press camera spray will take place at the beginning of the Task Force meeting in the Thomas Jefferson Room at the Department of State.

At approximately 3:00 p.m., Secretary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder, Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will deliver brief remarks to the press on the U.S. Government’s new interagency initiatives to combat trafficking in persons, in the Press Briefing Room at the Department of State. Following remarks from the Secretaries, Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Luis CdeBaca will take questions from the press. This will occur in the Press Briefing Room (2209) at the Department of State.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 authorized the President to establish the President’s Interagency Task Force (PITF), a cabinet-level task force to coordinate federal efforts to combat human trafficking. The PITF is chaired by the Secretary of State and meets at least once a year.

The Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons coordinates the United States’ fight against contemporary forms of slavery. The office was created by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000. Ambassador-at-Large CdeBaca directs the Department of State’s anti-trafficking efforts in the Office of Democracy and Global Affairs, under the leadership of Under Secretary María Otero.

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Hillary Clinton calls historic meeting of ambassadors

By JENNIFER EPSTEIN & LAURA ROZEN | 1/31/11 6:23 AM EST Updated: 1/31/11 10:30 AM EST
//

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called top envoys from all U.S. embassies to gather in Washington on Monday for a wide-ranging foreign policy meeting.

Ambassadors from almost all 260 U.S. embassies, consulates and other posts in more than 180 countries are expected to convene at the State Department for what’s being billed as the first-ever meeting of its kind.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/48471.html#ixzz1Cd9Qp49G

Wow! Working weekend to history-making work week!   Here are P.J. Crowley’s comments from today’s press briefing.

Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
January 31, 2011All this week, we are hosting the 2011 Global Chiefs of Mission Conference here at the Department. It’s an historic gathering which provides the opportunity for our ambassadors to review the outcomes of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review and discuss strategies for implementation of this and other key initiatives in the context of current and future budget realities. For those of you who have read the QDDR from cover to cover – I’m sure everybody in this room has done so – it really talks about a changing role and the changing demands of our ambassadors at post as they – as the world becomes more complicated, our operations across government become more integrated, our ambassadors in running our missions are running, in fact, a whole-of-government operation and will be working through this week the implications of that.

But at the same time, we want to hear from ambassadors – they’re, in essence, our field generals at posts around the world – on what they see in terms of the challenges that the Department faces going forward. And there will be breakout sessions where we at the Department, here at Main State, will be listening to the ambassadors as they help us understand the challenges of preventing conflict in weak and struggling states, reforming security and justice around the world, countering violent extremism, building private-public partnerships, supporting commercial and economic diplomacy, strengthening public diplomacy, enhancing regional engagement, strengthening planning and budgeting, advancing human rights and democracy, and promoting sustainable development.

During the course of the week, the Secretary will have some significant interaction with our ambassadors on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, but we have others within the interagency coming in. The ambassadors will hear from Chairman Mike Mullen later in the week, hear from National Security Advisor Tom Donilon. They’ll go through our anticipated budget for 2012 and also what we’re currently hearing from the Hill in terms of our budget for 2011, so a wide-ranging discussion with them.

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It had to be some kind of record for a day in the life of any secretary of State past or present.  Winding up a morning of interviews on five major Sunday talk shows,  Secretary Clinton boarded her plane, flew to Haiti, met to embassy staff and clinic workers, along with three presidential candidates and the sitting president of Haiti, and in the interim, did three more interviews on Haitian radio stations!  That is (in case your math is fuzzy), a total of eight interviews in one day… nine if you count her on-the-record press briefing on the plane to part-Au-Prince (posted here yesterday).

Here are her radio interviews from Haiti.

 

Interview With Wendell Theodore of Radio Metropole

Interview

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ambassador’s Residence
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
January 30, 2011

QUESTION: Mrs. Secretary of State, thank you for answering my questions. Several political parties and organizations have accused the U.S. Government of exerting unfair pressure on Haiti on government and electoral council to (inaudible) the OAS recommendations. And as a matter of fact, some visas have been revocated, and there will be also (inaudible) to cut aid to the country. What is your reaction to those accusations?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’s regrettable that for political purposes anyone would make such accusations. I’m here to show solidarity with the Haitian people, to reaffirm our commitment to Haiti’s reconstruction and development, and to speak out for the right of Haitians to have their voices and their votes heard and respected.

I think the post-election crisis that must be resolved in order for Haiti to move forward is a decision that must be left to the Haitian people. But the Haitian Government asked the OAS, an independent group, to bring technical experts to Haiti to analyze the vote. And they made their recommendations, which we and the entire international community – Canada, Brazil, France, the United Nations, the European Union – everyone who looked at it agrees with the soundness of the OAS.

So I would hope that the efforts by the international community to help Haiti’s democracy develop and to help Haiti deal with the challenges of the earthquake and poverty would be viewed as an effort genuinely to give a better life to the people of Haiti.

With respect to the visa issue, I cannot comment on any individual visa. But I can say that when credible information is presented about a person’s connection with their home country or information about violence or fraud or other matters of concern, there are legal requirements that have to be followed in our country.

QUESTION: Secretary of State, you have met (inaudible) elections. What came out of the meeting? Can people expect a quick resolution (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I wanted to meet with the three leading candidates to hear for myself what they thought was the best way forward. Again, this is a decision that must be made by Haitians, not by the international community. But I do think it’s important that whatever decision is made reflect the will of the majority of Haitian voters. And we are hoping that that will be the decision.

QUESTION: President Preval has announced that he will not leave office on February 7 as it is prescribed by the constitution but will remain in office until May 14. In light of this, what is the U.S. position in regard to this?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the United States is advised by Haitian experts that there are certain requirements in the constitution. But decisions, according to the law and constitution of Haiti, must be left up to Haitians to decide. What is important is that there be a peaceful, orderly transition from President Preval to whomever is the next president. The Haitian people deserve that. They need a new president to be chosen so that the work can continue.

QUESTION: How does the U.S. react to the return of Jean-Claude Duvalier, and your reaction to the possibility of Aristide’s return to Haiti?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we don’t know why President Duvalier came back. We know that the people of Haiti have outstanding grievances that may require action in the courts of law, but that is up to Haiti. We want to support what the Haitian Government and the people decide to do. And I don’t know what, if any, plans President Aristide has.

QUESTION: Last question?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.

QUESTION: Okay. At the highest level, three former U.S. presidents have engaged in reconstruction aid for Haiti. What has become of this commitment?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, the commitment is very strong. And I can speak for my husband; he is absolutely committed. The last time he was here, about two weeks ago, he announced projects that could employ 20,000 Haitians or more. But there needs to be a government and there needs to be stability in that government for a former president, for the international community, to really be a good partner, which is why we hope that there will be a resolution of the election soon.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. It’s good to talk to you.

 

Interview With Rothchild Francois Jr. of RFM

Interview

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ambassador’s Residence
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
January 30, 2011

QUESTION: Mrs. Clinton, I’m very glad to have you as a – to have an interview with you today it’s a very important day for Haiti. So what is the purpose of your mission in Haiti?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m here just a little over a year from the earthquake to express our continuing support for the Haitian people, for reconstruction and redevelopment, for humanitarian assistance, and to show solidarity with the Haitian people as we go forward into the future.

I’m also here to urge that the voices and the votes of the Haitian people be heard and respected. I know that Haiti is on the brink of moving forward in the electoral process, and we support the OAS recommendations. We would like to see Haiti resolve their election and install a new president so that we can begin the hard work that still lies ahead.

QUESTION: Mrs. Clinton, regarding the reconstruction, how do you see the situation in Haiti? We got, like, more than one million people still living in the tents. So how do you judge the situation one year later?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that there has been progress, but not nearly enough. We have an enormous amount of work to do together. And although everyone is working, I think we know that it’s not just rebuilding structures. We want to do better. We want to have a better education system and healthcare system. We want more economic opportunity.

My husband and I feel very personally committed to Haiti. President Obama is very committed to Haiti. So we want to take what has already been done and make it a model, not just for Haiti’s future but for the world.

For example, if I could give you just one statistic, in a year, more rubble has been removed from Haiti than was removed after the tsunami in Indonesia. It is hard when you’re living in the midst of a tent city, when your home has been destroyed and your children are still not regularly going to school, or when the job you had has not come back, to have any perspective. I understand that. So we are here to reassert our commitment. We are impatient; we are determined to work with the people of Haiti to accelerate the progress.

QUESTION: Regarding the political (inaudible) in Haiti right now, you just have a meeting with Michel Martelly, Mrs. Manigat and Jude Celestin. So what kind of message do you send to these leaders in Haiti?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Our message is very simple: We support the votes of the Haitian people and believe they should be respected. We support the OAS recommendations, which reflect the best analysis possible about the intentions of the Haitian people when they voted. But the decision is up to the government and people of Haiti. We would like to see the election go forward into a second round and a resolution so that there can be an orderly transfer of authority and a new president can get to work.

QUESTION: When?

SECRETARY CLINTON: As soon as it can be done. I know that these matters take time. And I met with a group of civil society experts, including election experts, and they’re concerned about making sure that in the next round there are enough observers, there’s enough information for voters so they know where to go to cast their vote.

We will work to help that be accomplished, but the important task now is to set out the schedule and make sure that we hold a free and fair second round.

QUESTION: For the end, Mrs. Clinton, do you have a message for the Haitian population? It’s been waiting a long time for development, democracy, and (inaudible) in Haiti. So do you have a message for Haitian population?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. I think that the people of Haiti have proven themselves over the course of your history as courageous, resilient, determined people against great odds. Do not give up. Democracy is worth investing in. It must deliver results for the people, and the United States will stand with you. We know how hard this is, and we admire your courage.

QUESTION: Once again, thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.

 

Interview With Gerin Alexandre of Caraibes FM

Interview

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ambassador’s Residence
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
January 30, 2011

QUESTION: Mrs. Clinton, what was the purpose of your visit in Haiti?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I am here to express our continuing support for the Haitian people, to show solidarity on behalf of the many challenges that still confront Haiti, and to speak out to ensure that the voices and votes of the Haitian people are heard and respected.

QUESTION: But Mrs. Clinton, this visit come in a different situation with the post-electoral crisis in Haiti and you met with three of the principal candidates. What did you discuss?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I met with the three principal candidates to hear their point of view. The United States does not support or oppose any candidate. We support the Haitian people, and we want to see this post-election crisis resolved in a way that respects the votes of the Haitian people and moves toward a new president.

QUESTION: But (inaudible) U.S. Administration support the report of the OAS?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, we do. We support the report and recommendations of the OAS along with the international community. And I’ve just met with six leaders of the private sector and civil society in Haiti, who told me that they also did reports which are the same as the recommendations of the OAS. So there is support for the OAS and there is support within Haiti for the results of the OAS study.

QUESTION: It seems – it look like – we don’t understand, why do electoral (inaudible) publish the schedule for a second (inaudible) just two days before coming here?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t have any idea. I don’t know why they – they would have published it, but it’s been two months and there does need to be a decision about moving forward. And there is a date set for the election, which hopefully will be met so that the people can express their opinions by their votes.

QUESTION: Yes, you’re talking about respect for (inaudible). Next week, there will be very (inaudible) and reasonable (inaudible) to go as some politicians, some political (inaudible) as for that, what (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that is up to the Haitian people. As I understand the situation, there is a constitutional requirement for the date of February 7th. How that is interpreted and what the president and the people of Haiti decide is up to them. But it is important that the election go forward so there can be a new president. There is so much work to be done in Haiti, and the international community stands ready to help. But we have to get through this election system in order to know who will be Haiti’s president to be able to work with that person.

QUESTION: And (inaudible) American administration think about the return of Jean-Claude Duvalier?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We don’t know why he came back, but he has no reason that he has provided. But the people of Haiti and your government have made it clear that he must answer to the problems of the time when he was president. And I think that is appropriate.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) must be made with two candidates, and you met three. Why?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we know that the top two candidates, according to the OAS report, have a great deal of support together. But we know that the third candidate is claiming that he should be the second candidate. So I did not want to in any way be accused of not meeting with all three. But we support the OAS recommendations and we would like to see them move forward, because we think that’s the best way to respect the votes of the Haitian people.

Ultimately, this is not a decision for the United States. This is a decision for Haiti. We are just, as your friend, urging that this decision be made in the most constitutional way that respects what the people of Haiti voted for.

QUESTION: My last question. Have you already met with (inaudible) Preval, Prime Minister Bellerive and (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I will be seeing them later this evening.

QUESTION: Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, sir. Nice to see you.

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Public Schedule

Washington, DC
January 31, 2011

SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

9:15 a.m. Secretary Clinton meets with the Assistant Secretaries, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

3:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton attends a meeting at the White House.
(MEDIA DETERMINED BY WHITE HOUSE)

6:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with NATO Secretary General Rasmussen and Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, in Washington DC.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)
 

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Secretary Clinton Visit to Partners in Health Cholera Treatment Center

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
January 30, 2011

MR. SMITH: I’m Steven Smith from the U.S. Embassy. I’m the health sector coordinator here in Haiti, and it’s a real pleasure to welcome you here, Madam Secretary Clinton, Your Honor. And I have very good news for you. The cholera situation here in Haiti is improving. It’s been a very rough few months, but we’re seeing a decrease in the number of cases. And really, more importantly, we’re seeing a decrease in human fatality. That’s due to an awful lot of hard work, led by the Ministry of Health, supported by the U.S. Government and (inaudible) partners, like Partners in Health. There’s been a tremendous response (inaudible). So we’re very proud of what we’ve done here.

At the same time, cholera is not gone yet. We are looking at cholera being in Haiti for a long time. We are still seeing hundreds of cases (inaudible). We’re still very much engaged (inaudible) response, and we expect to be engaged in that response for an extended period of time.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Is it true that cholera was not present before the earthquake?

MR. SMITH: Cholera has not been recognized in Haiti for at least (inaudible). It’s not something – the Haitian medical practitioners did not have experience with it, so we really had to start at the very beginning, which we did. We started building on the platform of what we already had in place. We’ve been working with PEPFAR here. We’ve been working to build capacity at the national lab and (inaudible). And we use those platforms to build a better rapid cholera response. For example, cholera showed up in here in October, and we found it quickly using the surveillance system we set up in response to the earthquake. And the national lab was able to identify cholera here in Haiti. We didn’t have to send the samples to Atlanta. And that’s because of our work with the government to build (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: And I want to hear from Partners in Health, too.

MS. DORSINVILLE: Yes. Welcome. I want to welcome you particularly on behalf of (inaudible) and all our partners here. We’ve been in two camps (inaudible) and four other camps (inaudible) continuing with healthcare, primary healthcare, women’s health, healthcare for the amputees. And so when the cholera outbreak came, we were prepared and we got the structures in place. And we’ve been working not only (inaudible) primary care, but also responding (inaudible) equipment (inaudible) and a lot of training of practitioners and community health workers.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Can you identify yourself?

MS. DORSINVILLE: Oh, I’m Nancy Dorsinville with Partners in Health.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’ve had a chance to meet Nancy before. I want to, first of all, express my great appreciation and admiration for everyone working to stem and then reverse the cholera epidemic that Haiti had to contend with since October. The United States Government is very committed to continuing our support for the work that is being done here. We have many ways of doing that, and certainly directly through our Embassy, USAID, PEPFAR, CDC, so many other American Government entities, and then also through our support for the Haitian Government and NGOs like Partners in Health.

But I am very impressed by what has been accomplished in a short period of time, and I want to reassure and reaffirm the U.S. commitment to the needs of the Haitian people, the health needs and other needs that are present and in many ways exacerbated by the continuing efforts at reconstruction and redevelopment following the earthquake.

But I wanted to come and see for myself. It’s a good news story to the extent that the numbers are diminishing, but it’s by no means over. They are still admitting patients, as they did today. They are still treating people. And thankfully, we are better equipped to be able to save lives and limit the fatalities. But we have a long way to go, just as we have a long way to go in our ongoing work with Haiti. So I thank both of you.

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Secretary Clinton Meets with Embassy Staff

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Toussaint Louverture International Airport
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
January 30, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s wonderful to see you all, and I want to start by thanking you. I know that just over one year ago many of you were here in the middle of organizing emergency relief, operations, conducting a very large evacuation. We may have passed the immediate emergency phase, but now we’re in the middle of a long-term reconstruction effort on behalf of the Haitian people. And I am so grateful to all of you for everything you have done, for the leadership you have shown. I’ve thanked you before. I’ve thanked you through the ceremonies that we’ve held at the State Department. I know that many of you had grave concerns about your own families, about friends and others, and you did not know what the outcome of this terrible natural disaster would be, and you kept on working and showed the highest level of service to the people of Haiti. And I am grateful.

And then you’ve continued to work. We know there is so much to be done. We have an enormous task still ahead of us. But you have run programs that have provided short-term employment to more than 350 Haitians. You’ve not only worked to rebuild your own homes and families, but provided safe housing to more than 200,000 displaced Haitians. And I know that your work doesn’t end when the official hours are over. Many of you keep working on so many efforts, volunteering with church groups or community groups, helping to rebuild a local school and so much more.

I want you to know that both President Obama and I are well aware of the commitment that you have shown, and I want you to know that we remain committed to you and committed to Haiti. We have a wonderful team, some of whom have been here the whole time, many of whom are new, of Americans through Foreign Service, Civil Service representatives of all of our government agencies. But the real backbone of this Embassy are the Haitians who work with us, who come to help deepen and broaden the relationship between the United States and Haiti and who are providing invaluable assistance.

I am here today with a very simple message: The United States, our government and our people, will stand with the Haitian people. We want to see the reconstruction continued. We want to see the voices and votes of the Haitian people acknowledged and recognized. We want to see you move forward into a future that really meets the promise that has so often been held out as the potential of Haiti.

So I thank you and I want to shake your hands and thank you personally, but I wanted this to be my first public stop to say thank you and to encourage you to keep working with us, because we’ve made some progress but not nearly enough. And we have a long way to go and it needs to be done right. It needs to be done in a way that keeps faith with the Haitian people and the enormous sacrifice and loss that you have suffered.

So thank you again, and God bless you and God bless Haiti. (Applause.)

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The Secretary of State had a very long busy day today.  She began by appearing on five Sunday morning talk shows then flew to Port-Au-Prince.  In these photos we see her with Cheryl Mills,  who accompanied her, the Ambassador to Haiti, Ken Merten, and Clinton Foundation CEO, Laura Graham.  She visited a cholera clinic,  and we see her sanitizing hands and feet (good since we do not want to see our Mme. Secretary getting sick).  The placards were carried by a small group of protesters who met her at the airport.  They clearly are not in agreement with the election results.  She met with three candidates, Mirlande Manigat (the woman), Michel Martelly (the bald guy), and Jude Celestin (with the mustache).  The last is the one who really has not qualified for the run-off election.  In her press briefing she mentioned convincing him to remove his name from the ballot.  It seems he was the candidate hand-picked by current President Preval whom she was also scheduled to meet.  We also see her preparing for yet another interview on this very busy day, this one at an unidentified Haitian radio station. She still looks beautiful enough to be on TV during this grueling schedule!  I was going to wait to post these until after we had some remarks about her day, but I decided to go ahead now.  Later I will post any remarks and press releases that come through.  I have not seen a picture of her with President Preval yet today, either.  Perhaps there will be a joint statement.  Check back later for additional posts.  Meanwhile, enjoy these.  The SOS looked spectacular today!

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