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Archive for February, 2011

As you have seen, the Secretary of State spent a very busy day in Geneva making two speeches, giving two interviews (that I know of), a press conference, and likely some bilaterals. I managed to post the texts and a few pictures in the course of the day, but there were many pictures I could not take the time to put up, so here they are in a slideshow.  Enjoy!

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Interview with Michele Kelemen of National Public Radio

Interview

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Geneva, Switzerland
February 28, 2011

QUESTION: (In progress) You have targeted sanctions and an arms embargo. What more did you talk about with your partners here about – specifically how to stop this bloodshed?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we spoke at some length with our European colleagues because they have a much greater connection with Libya than we do. They have many more economic relationships. They have many more of the assets of the Qadhafi family that are being located in Europe. So they’re going to be announcing their own sanctions, and I don’t want to jump the gun on them. They get to do that for themselves. But I think it will further increase the pressure.

Part of what we’re trying to do is to send a message to those around him that the cost is getting intolerable, that if you want to get out and end the bloodshed, you need to move now. And I think that would be a powerfully delivered message by the Europeans. And also, we are looking at all other options. The decision made by NATO at the North Atlantic Council a few days ago was to direct the military command, the supreme commander in Europe, to begin prudent planning. And that runs across a full range of potential options. So there’s a lot going on.

QUESTION: A no-fly zone?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s on the list of things that need to be considered. It is, in the view of some, a very cumbersome, not very effective approach. It is, in the view of others, an effort worth making. But the military planners are the ones who have to really get into the details of what assets there are, whose assets they are, what would be an appropriate mix, and the like. So it’s one of the many issues that are being examined.

QUESTION: Sanctions work on, sort of, rational people, but this is Muammar Qadhafi that we’re talking about, “the mad dog of the Middle East,” as President Reagan once put it. So I mean, what’s the end game with him?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’s uncertain, which is one of the reasons why much of what we are doing now is not focused only on delivering a message to him. He has family members, he has close regime supporters, he has business supporters; they have to know there’s a price to pay. The longer this goes on, the more bloodshed and violence there is, the more likely that they are going to be at risk – be at risk physically, be at risk financially, be at risk of not having a place to go. So this is a message not only directed at him – and who knows how receptive he is to it – but it is a clear, unmistakable message, but also to the remaining support system that he has.

QUESTION: The Libyan Government, such as it is, was really built around him. What are you worried about in a post-Qadhafi government or a post-Qadhafi scene?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’re worried that there isn’t any institutional support for what comes next. Unfortunately, he did a quite thorough job in destroying and discrediting all the institutions that one would expect to see in a state. Look at the difference between Egypt and Libya. The military in Egypt played a very constructive role in navigating through the protests. It is still managing a government. Qadhafi made sure he didn’t have a strong military that had any respect of the people.

So we are very conscious of the uncertainty that lies beyond Qadhafi. If you look at power centers within Libya, you have mostly a tribal base for that. Somebody told me who has studied Libya that if you look at the opposition, there are monarchists, there are tribal leaders, there are Islamists, there are some representatives of a very small civil society. You really don’t have anyone emerging. But there is an effort in the east around Benghazi to try to begin putting together what is called an executive council, and we’ll be certainly along with others reaching out to them to see how we can help.

QUESTION: Libya is by far the bloodiest of all these changes we’ve seen in the Middle East. What other countries are you really worried about now?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that no country is immune, and each country has unique characteristics and is responding in a particular way. As I said in my speech to the Human Rights Council, we see the efforts in Jordan and Bahrain as moving in the right direction. They’re trying to open a dialogue. They’re trying to make reforms. There still is a lot of work to be done, but we support both the King of Bahrain and the King of Jordan. In Yemen, that was already a very fractured society, and what will happen in the future is extremely hard to predict.

One thing the United States knows is that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula poses a threat to the region, to Europe, to us, and that’s where it’s headquartered, in Yemen. So we think that this is still evolving, and it’s way too soon to predict what the outcomes will be.

QUESTION: Thank you very much for your time.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thanks, Michelle.

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Interview With Kim Ghattas of British Broadcasting Corporation

Interview

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Geneva, Switzerland
February 28, 2011

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, I want to start by asking you about the steps you’ve taken towards Libya. You have imposed sanctions, both you and the EU and the UN. You’ve placed an arms embargo on the Libyan leadership. But this doesn’t really stop the violence quickly. How do you protect the Libyan people?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Kim, I think that the unanimous international decision at the Security Council is a step toward ending the violence, because what it does is to send a clear message, not just to Qadhafi, who may or may not be listening, but to the people around him, people who may want to live longer, people who may no want to be pariahs, people who have a stake in ending the violence. So I think that the message of what we are doing is part of an overall international effort to end the violence.

In addition, there will be other steps taken to freeze the assets, to prevent access to those assets, so that Qadhafi can’t use them to perpetuate and escalate the violence, which is something we’re worried about.

QUESTION: So do you think this could take weeks and months?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Unclear what we’re looking at. We know that the situation for Qadhafi is worsening, that he is in control of a smaller part of the country, really now probably only a part of Tripoli. But he still has allies who are not yet turning against him, and we are trying to send very clear messages that that needs to happen.

And I think as I said earlier, we are looking at all forms of action. Nothing is off the table. We want to be prepared in the event that some other steps is necessary.

QUESTION: At what point does military force become necessary?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’s a very difficult decision to make for many reasons. First of all, none of the countries with whom I’ve consulted today put that at the top of the list because it’s always fraught with uncertainty. And in a country like Libya, where we don’t have enough information to know exactly what is happening on the ground, it would be particularly difficult.

At the same time, we know that this violence must end. And if we can take action that would expedite its end, we have to consider that.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, the Libyan leadership says there were no aerial bombardments and the deaths that we’re seeing in Libya are a result of fierce fighting between loyalists and rebels, if this is how we want to call them, that it’s 50/50. You’ve spoken about war crimes and the possibility of aerial bombardments. Do you have the evidence?

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s a very good question, Kim, and that’s why I’m cautious in how we talk about this. We do believe that, according to pilots who chose to disobey orders they were given that certainly the Qadhafi regime tried to direct certain actions from the air against targets on the land. We also have heard of additional accountings concerning limited but unmistakable efforts using helicopters and the like.

But it is unclear at this time, and we don’t want to make any decisions based on anecdotes. What we do know is that most of the violence is on the ground. And frankly, that’s one of the drawbacks of a no-fly zone is, as we learned in Iraq when we ran a no-fly zone in northern Iraq, sometimes absolutely horrible regimes decide that that means it’s open fire on the ground. So this is a much more complicated decision matrix than it might at first appear.

QUESTION: I’m going to try to squeeze in a question and answer in 30 seconds or less from you. Madam Secretary, you’ve said again and again this isn’t about the United States, this is about Arab people rising against their leaders. But it is about the U.S. also. It is about the access you have to oil, to trade routes. It’s going to have an impact on your policy towards Iran. It is about the United States and your national security interests.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it’s about the international community and our national security and global security interests. The United States gets hardly any of its oil or gas from Libya. Europe does. And so that is a bigger —

QUESTION: I was speaking about the wider Arab world.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the entire Arab region is an area of immense importance, but it’s also one of great potential which has not been realized. And part of what we see happening now is an effort by people themselves in these countries to gain access to the opportunities that the 21st century should offer. We are wholeheartedly in favor of that.

At the same time, we know there are many ways that these revolutions of expectation can be hijacked. They can be killed at birth, so to speak. There’s a lot of things that can go wrong. So we are in favor of orderly, peaceful, irreversible transitions that can give people a truly positive democratic outcome. But we’re working to make sure that happens, as opposed to having it go off in a direction that will lead to more autocracy, to ideological extremists, and all of the things that would betray the aspirations of the young people we’ve heard.

QUESTION: Thank you very much, Madam Secretary. Thank you for your time.

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Remarks At the Conference on Disarmament

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Geneva, Switzerland
February 28, 2011

Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for your leadership and your efforts to make the Conference on Disarmament an effective tool for addressing the critical challenges we face today. I also want to thank the Secretary General for convening this important plenary session and for the opportunity to address you. And I owe a special thanks to our Ambassador Laura Kennedy and the U.S. mission here for their hard work in advancing President Obama’s disarmament agenda.

Nearly 20 years after the end of the Cold War, the world has more than 20,000 nuclear weapons. As I speak to you today, centrifuges around the world are spinning out more enriched uranium, a still significant amount of it to weapons grade. Plutonium is being churned out in reactors and separated from spent fuel in reprocessing plants. The world faces no shortage of ingredients for nuclear bombs. Yet more fissile materials are made every single day.

The question before us today is whether we will – at last – agree to end the dedicated production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons. Halting production is in the interest of every country, and I urge this conference to end the stalemate and open negotiations on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty without further delay.

The FMCT would be an important step toward creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons, a vision that President Obama laid out in Prague nearly two years ago, and it would build on the notable progress we have made together these past years.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved Resolution 1887 to strengthen the global nonproliferation regime. The United States released our Nuclear Posture Review that reduces the prominence of nuclear weapons in our national defense. We convened a Nuclear Security Summit, where 47 countries agreed to lock down vulnerable nuclear materials over four years, and we joined with other NPT members in a successful Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference.

And of course, the United States and Russia brought the New START Treaty into force. That treaty will cut our deployed strategic warheads to the lowest numbers since the 1950s. It was my great pleasure to exchange the instruments of ratification with Minister Sergey Lavrov in Munich earlier this month. Our two countries are now positioned to discuss further arms control reductions, including nonstrategic and non-deployed nuclear weapons. We must not squander this momentum. We should continue to advance nuclear security by turning now to the negotiation of a verifiable ban on fissile material production for bombs.

The United States has been committed to the Conference on Disarmament as the logical forum for this negotiation. This conference after all produced such landmark treaties as the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions, the NPT, and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. But the last treaty was completed in 1996. And this conference has been deadlocked ever since. The Program of Work agreed to in May 2009 remains stalled. And one single country – a country that is a friend and partner of the United States – continues to undermine the international consensus in favor of an FMCT.

I know this conference has always cherished the principle of consensus, which ensures that every state can defend its national interests at the negotiating table. But our patience is not infinite. There is no justification for a single nation to abuse the consensus principle and forever thwart the legitimate desire of the 64 other states to get negotiations underway on an agreement that would strengthen our common security. It is clear that there is a wide range of views inside the conference, and these views will have to be accommodated through the process of negotiation. That process will be difficult, and it will take a number of years, and it that is all the more reason to begin negotiations now. If we cannot summon the shared will even to begin negotiations in this body, then the United States is determined to pursue other options. Global nuclear security is too important to allow this matter to drift forever.

The FMCT is critical to our broader agenda. If we are serious about reducing the possibility that fissile material could fall into terrorists’ hands, then we must reduce the amount of such material that is available. For that reason, the United States also supports reducing stocks of separated plutonium and highly enriched uranium and minimizing the future use of highly enriched uranium for civilian purposes. The United States has made significant progress towards those goals – both bilaterally with Russia and multilaterally – and we will continue to make them an important focus of U.S. nuclear diplomacy.

The United States is deeply committed to reducing nuclear weapons and the risk of nuclear proliferation. Our long-term goal, our vision, is a world without nuclear weapons. Now, we understand this will be difficult and it will certainly take time. But we believe it is attainable if we tackle each piece of the problem step by step.

Therefore, I ask each of your nations for support in strengthening global security by taking the next step – beginning negotiations on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty. No nation has to agree to the treaty. But it is unacceptable for any nation to prevent other nations from pursuing what such a treaty could look like and what benefits it could produce for the world.

So I hope that we will see action now from this esteemed conference that has meant so much to the world over so many years. This is the forum; you are the leaders who should be making these decisions. It would be unfortunate if that were not to be pursued in terms of this particular treaty. And the United States stands ready to support the beginning of negotiations, to do whatever is necessary to try to accommodate legitimate national interests, and then to reach a resolution and the production of such a treaty, otherwise we believe this is too important a matter to be left in a deadlock forever.

So we thank you for your attention to this critical issue and we look forward to working with you as we continue the work of a Conference on Disarmament. Thank you very much.

 

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Remarks at the Human Rights Council

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Geneva, Switzerland
February 28, 2011

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SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. Thank you, Mr. President, and I want to thank the High Commissioner and all my colleagues for their strong words here today, as well as during the special session on Friday.

Today the world’s eyes are fixed on Libya. We have seen Colonel Qadhafi’s security forces open fire on peaceful protestors again and again. They have used heavy weapons on unarmed civilians. Mercenaries and thugs have been turned loose to attack demonstrators. There are reports of soldiers executed for refusing to turn their guns on their fellow citizens, of indiscriminate killings, arbitrary arrests, and torture.

Colonel Qadhafi and those around him must be held accountable for these acts, which violate international legal obligations and common decency. Through their actions, they have lost the legitimacy to govern. And the people of Libya have made themselves clear: It is time for Qadhafi to go – now, without further violence or delay.

The international community is speaking with one voice and our message is unmistakable. These violations of universal rights are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. This Council took an important first step toward accountability on Friday by establishing an independent commission of inquiry.

On Saturday in New York, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution imposing an arms embargo on Libya, freezing the assets of key human rights violators and other members of the Qadhafi family, and referring the Libyan case to the International Criminal Court.

Tomorrow, the UN General Assembly should vote to accept the recommendation to suspend the Qadhafi government’s participation here in the Human Rights Council. Governments that turn their guns on their own people have no place in this chamber.

The Arab League deserves our praise as the first multilateral organization to suspend Libya’s membership — despite the fact that Libya was serving as the Arab League Chair. We hope to see our friends in the African Union follow suit.

We all need to work together on further steps to hold the Qadhafi government accountable, provide humanitarian assistance to those in need, and support the Libyan people as they pursue a transition to democracy. Today, I’ve had the privilege of consulting with a wide range of colleagues here in Geneva and President Obama is meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Washington. We will continue coordinating closely with our allies and partners.

The United States has already imposed travel restrictions and financial sanctions on Qadhafi and senior Libyan officials. We have frozen assets to ensure that they are preserved for the Libyan people. And we have halted our very limited defense trade with Libya. We are working with the United Nations, partners, allies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, and other NGOs to set up a robust humanitarian response to this crisis.

As we move forward on these fronts, we will continue to explore all possible options for action. As we have said, nothing is off the table so long as the Libyan Government continues to threaten and kill Libyans.

Ultimately, the people of Libya themselves will be the ones to chart their own destiny and shape their own new government. They are now braving the dictator’s bullets and putting their lives on the line to enjoy the freedoms that are the birthright of every man, woman, and child on earth. Like their neighbors in Tunisia and Egypt, they are asserting their rights and claiming their future.

Now, while the circumstances in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya are each unique, in every case the demand for change has come from within, with people calling for greater civil liberties, economic opportunities’ and a stake in the governance of their own societies.

And the world has been inspired by their courage and their determination. We see in their struggles a universal yearning for dignity and respect. And they remind us that the power of human dignity is always underestimated until the day it finally prevails.

This moment belongs to the people, particularly the young people, of the Middle East. On behalf of President Obama and the American people, let me say that we are inspired by what you are doing and heartened by what it means for your future. The United States supports orderly, peaceful, and irreversible transitions to real democracies that deliver results for their citizens.

On this our values and interests converge. Because supporting these transitions is not simply a matter of ideals. It is also a strategic imperative. Without meaningful steps toward representative, accountable, and transparent governance and open economies, the gap between people and their leaders will only grow, and instability will deepen. What might have been possible in the 20th century, with new technologies and the power that people now have to connect, is no longer possible.

And to hang on to systems that are unaccountable and that do not respond to the legitimate needs of one’s people poses a danger, not only a danger to leaders but a danger to all of our interests. By contrast, history has shown that democracies tend to be more stable, more peaceful, and ultimately more prosperous.

Democratic change must grow from within. It cannot be implanted from the outside. And let me be among the first of many to say the West certainly does not have all of the answers. The first steps of change have come quickly and dramatically. It is, however, proving tragically difficult in Libya. In other nations, change is likely to be more deliberate and methodical. In all cases, the United States will support citizens and governments as they work for progress.

We are well aware of the challenges that come with these kinds of transitions. You cannot create jobs or economic opportunities overnight. These changes can be chaotic. And in the short term, there will be new voices and political competitions emerging for the first time. And as history has shown, these new births of democracy, of freedom, of human rights, can be derailed by autocrats who use violence, deception, and rigged elections to stay in power or to advance an undemocratic agenda. But like Colonel Qadhafi, leaders who deny their people freedom and opportunity will, in the end, fuel the very instability they fear.

So the process of transition must be protected from anti-democratic influences from wherever they come. Political participation must be open to all people across the spectrum who reject violence, uphold equality, and agree to play by the rules of democracy. Those who refuse should not be allowed to subvert the aspirations of the people. And leaders cannot claim democratic legitimacy if they abandon these principles once they are in power.

Free and fair elections are essential to building and maintaining democracy, but elections alone are not sufficient. Sustainable democracies are built on strong institutions, including an independent judiciary that promotes the rule of law and helps ensure official accountability and transparency, and stands against corruption.

Recent days have underscored the importance of the freedom of expression, whether it’s in the public square, through the press, or on the internet. Brave journalists have broadcast images of repression around the world, and the young people of Tunisia and Egypt have shown everyone what a force for democracy, the open exchange of ideas, can be.

A vibrant civil society is also an indispensable building block of democracy. And not only in the Middle East but around the world, citizen activists and civic organizations are emerging as strong voices for progress. They help develop solutions to tough problems. They hold governments accountable. They empower and protect women and minorities. The United States is committed to broadening our own engagement with civil society, and we urge leader and governments to treat civil society, as partners, not adversaries.

There also must be for transitions to thrive a commitment to make economic opportunity available to all. Human rights, democracy, and development are inextricably linked and mutually reinforcing. We have seen how inequity and lack of economic opportunities drive people into the streets. So to earn the confidence of one’s own people, governments have to deliver on the promise of improved lives.

There is no doubt that the most important goal for most people in the world today is a decent life for themselves and their families. At the very least, that must be the goal that we deliver on. It is also particularly important that women and minorities have access to opportunity and participation. Nations cannot flourish if half their population is consigned to the margins or denied their rights. We have seen how women play a vital role in driving social and economic progress when they are accorded their rights and afforded equal opportunity. And in so doing, they lift up not only themselves but their families and their societies.

These are not Western principles or American ideals. They are truly universal, lessons learned by people all over the world who have made the difficult transition to sustainable democracy. And as we look at what’s happening now in the Middle East, of course those changes will be shaped by local circumstances and led by local leaders. And people themselves will determine whether or not the change has worked. But universal principles will be important touchstones along the way.

That is why, as we watch what is happening in Egypt, we hope that there will be a broad array of opposition voices and representatives to ensure that the reform process is inclusive. We want to see concrete steps taken, including enacting constitutional reforms and releasing political detainees and lifting the state of emergency. The United States stands ready to assist, however appropriate, especially through economic assistance that helps promote reform and create greater opportunity.

In Tunisia, we welcome the interim leadership’s efforts to form an inclusive, broad-based government and its desire to hold elections as soon as possible. And we were heartened to hear this morning from Tunisia’s state secretary for foreign affairs that it will welcome the opening of a UN human rights office, and open its doors to all UN special rapporteurs. We are supporting the Tunisian people on this long and difficult road ahead. And as other important partners such as Jordan and Bahrain take steps – sometimes very difficult steps – to open their political space, we will stand behind them and support their efforts because we are convinced that they will help advance all of our shared interests.

But now, there is an alternative vision for the future of the region that only promises more frustration and discord. Extremists and rejectionists across the Middle East argue that they are the ones who champion the rights of the downtrodden. For decades, they have claimed that the only way to achieve change is through violence and conflict. But all they have accomplished is to undermine peace and progress. The success of peaceful protests has discredited the extremists and exposed their bankrupt arguments.

Iran, for example, has consistently pursued policies of violence abroad and tyranny at home. In Tehran, security forces have beaten, detained, and in several recent cases killed peaceful protesters even as Iran’s president has made a show of denouncing the violence in Libya. Iranian authorities have targeted human rights defenders and political activists, ex-government officials and their families, clerics and their children, student leaders and their professors, as well as journalists and bloggers.

Last week, the United States imposed new sanctions on Iranian officials for serious human rights abuses. Here at the Human Rights Council, we are proud to be working with Sweden and other partners to establish a special rapporteur on Iran. Its mandate would be to investigate and report on abuses in Iran, and to speak out when the government there does not meet its human rights obligations. Iranian human rights advocates have demanded this step to raise international pressure on their government.

This will be a seminal moment for this Council, and a test of our ability to work together to advance the goals that it represents. Indeed, every member of this Council should ask him or herself a simple question: Why do people have the right to live free from fear in Tripoli but not Tehran? The denial of human dignity in Iran is an outrage that deserves the condemnation of all who speak out for freedom and justice.

The Human Rights Council was founded because the international community has a responsibility to protect universal rights and to hold violators accountable, both in fast-breaking emergencies such as Libya and Cote d’Ivoire, and in slow motion tragedies of chronic abuse, such as Burma and North Korea. We saw this Council at its best on Friday, when it took decisive action on Libya. We saw it in December’s Special Session on Cote d’Ivoire, where the situation is increasingly dire and there’s been a large spike in violence. We must continue sending a strong message to Laurent Gbagbo that his actions are unacceptable, and the international community must keep up the pressure.

Last fall, this Council also took the important decision to create a Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Assembly and Association, and we have likewise seen a strengthening in the Council’s approach to freedom of expression. But too often, still, we are not seeing a serious enough response, to use this institution to advance human rights. Sometimes, the Council does not act, and its integrity is undermined because it defers to regional relations, diplomatic niceties, and cynical politics. Membership on this Council should be earned through respect for human rights. That is the standard laid out by the General Assembly. This Council’s predecessor, the Human Rights Commission, lost its credibility in part because Libya was allowed to serve as its president. It should not take bloodshed for us to agree that such regimes have no place here.

And I must add, the structural bias against Israel – including a standing agenda item for Israel, whereas all other countries are treated under a common item – is wrong. And it undermines the important work we are trying to do together. As member states, we can take this Council in a better, stronger direction.

In 2009, the United States joined the Human Rights Council because President Obama and I believed we could make a difference by working with you on the inside rather than standing on the outside merely as a critic. And over the past 18 months, we have worked together. We’ve reached across regional lines in an attempt to overcome what hobbles this country[i] more than anything else, our divisions as member states. The unity of purpose we have forged with respect to Libya offers us an opportunity to continue that progress.

As we look ahead, and as the Council completes a review of its own operations, we hope to help set a new agenda, based on three principles. First, the Council must have the capacity to respond to emergencies in real time. And it must demonstrate clearly that it possesses the will to address gross abuses, hold violators accountable, and work with governments, citizens, and civil society organizations genuinely committed to reform.

Second, the Council must apply a single standard to all countries based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It cannot continue to single out and devote disproportionate attention to any one country.

And third, the Council needs to abandon tired rhetorical debates and focus instead on making tangible improvements in people’s lives.

For example, in this session we have an opportunity to move beyond a decade-long debate over whether insults to religion should be banned or criminalized. It is time to overcome the false divide that pits religious sensitivities against freedom of expression and pursue a new approach based on concrete steps to fight intolerance wherever it occurs.

Together, we can and must help this Council live up to its mission and ensure that it plays a constructive role in the days and months ahead. We will face new problems and new challenges, but if we have a firm foundation rooted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we will chart a study course.

Make no mistake, this popular wave for reform is spreading, not receding. Each country is unique, but many of the concerns that drove people into the streets and squares of the Middle East are shared by citizens in other parts of the world. Too many governments are hobbled by corruption and fearful of change. Too many young people cannot find jobs or opportunities. Their prospects are shaped more by who they know than by what they know or what they can dream. But it is not my mother’s or even my world any more. What has happened with new technologies of the 21st century means that young people know everything that is going on everywhere, and they no longer will tolerate a status quo that blocks their aspirations.

Young people in the Middle East have inspired millions around the world, and we celebrate what some are rightly calling the Arab Spring. This is a hopeful season for all humanity because the cause of human rights and human dignity belongs to us all.

So for leaders on every continent, the choice becomes clearer day by day: Embrace your people’s aspirations, have confidence in their potential, help them seize it, or they will lose confidence in you.

Those of you who were here on Friday, and many of us watching on our television screens saw the Libyan representative renounce Qadhafi’s violent rule. He said, “Young people in my country today are with their blood writing a new chapter in the history of struggle and resistance. We in the Libyan mission have categorically decided to serve as representatives of the Libyan people and their free will.”

This is the call we should heed. This is a time for action. Now is the opportunity for us to support all who are willing to stand up on behalf of the rights we claim to cherish. So let us do that and let us do it with the sounds of the young people from the streets of Tripoli to the markets of Tunis and the squares of Cairo echoing in our ears. Thank you very much.


[i] council more than…

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Public Schedule for February 28, 2011

 

Public Schedule

Washington, DC

February 28, 2011

 


SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel in Geneva, Switzerland. Click here for more information.

8:45 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Rudd, in Geneva, Switzerland.
(POOLED CAMERA SPRAY)

9:30 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, in Geneva, Switzerland.
(POOLED CAMERA SPRAY)

10:45 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, in Geneva, Switzerland.
(POOLED CAMERA SPRAY)

11:00 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and French European Affairs Minister Laurent Wauquiez, in Geneva, Switzerland.
(POOLED CAMERA SPRAY)

1:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu, in Geneva, Switzerland.
(POOLED CAMERA SPRAY)

2:10 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Tunisian Secretary of State Radhouane Nouicer, in Geneva, Switzerland.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

2:30 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, in Geneva, Switzerland.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

3:30 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton delivers remarks to the Conference on Disarmament in the Disarmament Chamber, at Palais des Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland.
(MEDIA DETERMINED BY UN)

4:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, in Geneva, Switzerland.
(POOLED CAMERA SPRAY)

5:20 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a press availability, in Geneva, Switzerland.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

6:25 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with the staff and families from Mission Geneva, in Geneva, Switzerland.
(POOLED PRESS COVERAGE)

PM Secretary Clinton returns from foreign travel.

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