Archive for May, 2011

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U.S.-Colombia High-Level Partnership Dialogue


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin
George C. Marshall Conference Center
Washington, DC
May 31, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Please, be seated. And thank you so much for what I have heard has been a very productive day as we put some meat on the bones of the High-Level Partnership Dialogue. And I’m very pleased to be here with the foreign minister and the entire Colombian delegation. This is the second-ever U.S.-Colombian High-Level Partnership Dialogue, and we meet at a time when there is so much going on in our hemisphere and around the world, and we are inspired and greatly admiring of all that Colombia has accomplished.

For me, it is just a stark comparison. Where citizens once lived in fear to exercise their right to vote, now we have peaceful democratic elections that are really the envy of so many other countries that have not been able to make that transition. We see now not only Colombia consolidating gains internally, but reaching out to help neighbors in so many respects, and I am delighted that we are building on the strong relationship that we’ve had over the past years. Of course, we’re so committed to the passage of the Free Trade Agreement. We know – which is what President Obama has stated publicly and unequivocally – that this will bring jobs and growth to both of our countries. It will also help to support the security gains that Colombia has made, and, as our two presidents have agreed, it opens even a broader vista for greater cooperation on the spectrum of our shared challenges and opportunities.

Many of you have been involved in this conversation for a long time, and today, with the convening of five working groups, three for the first time, we hope there will be even greater contact between officials of our two governments and more creative approaches to cooperation. Human rights have been a focal point in our dialogue, and I am very honored that Vice President Garzon joined with Deputy Secretary Steinberg to continue the conversations which they started last October in Bogota. And we know that this is a high priority for the Santos administration, to improve on human rights, labor rights, and civil rights.

We also are strongly supportive of your efforts to return families who are displaced by violence to their homes and to end impunity for abuses, and I understand there was agreement to track, on a monthly basis, the progress of important human rights cases. This kind of whole-of-government effort, bringing together experts on security, development, and the rule of law – all of whom are with us today – is a way to really focus the attention of us all.

The Energy Working Group is working to expand our partnership on fossil fuels and clean energy, and the very promising ideas that Colombia has presented for linking electric grids across Latin America. For the first time, the Climate Change and Environmental Protection Working Group was convened. Colombia exercised leadership in Cancun, and we want to deepen our diplomatic cooperation at future climate talks and to find new ways to develop strategies for expanding development without increasing carbon emissions.

And an issue that is particularly close to my heart is inclusive development, and I am very impressed that the Santos administration has adopted this as a goal. The Social and Economic Working Group discussed Colombia’s national development plan, and the United States wants to support this impressive investment in the Colombian people and to look for how we can reach out to all Colombians, in particular indigenous and Afro-Caribbean populations. And I was at the OECD just a few days ago in Paris, and I want to underscore that we want to support Colombia’s bid to join the OECD.

And finally, the Culture and Education Working Group met on how each country can expand access to education, preserve ancient cultures, optimize people-to-people exchanges such as the Fulbright Scholarship that brought President Santos to the United States 31 years ago. We’ve been working closely together for a long time, but I really believe this dialogue represents a deeper engagement than we’ve ever had before. Certainly during the ’90s, an era that I am somewhat familiar with in American politics, we began a very close working relationship on behalf of security. But now, given the extraordinary gains that Colombia has made, the United States wants to support the priorities that President Santos is able to promote, to build on an environment that does provide more physical security, to move now to human security and all of the issues that go with economic growth, with social and cultural transformation.

Now, some I know say, well, when people come and talk, what happens? And I think it’s too simplistic a question, because one really never knows what can happen through this kind of engagement, through getting to know one another, through building relationships. I’m convinced in the absence of that, the answer is easy: Not much will happen. But given this level of engagement that we saw in action, I’m told, at lunch with so many different people coming from across our government and yours to discuss a way forward on the range of issues that are important, there is an extraordinary opportunity here.

And I thank you for your hard work on behalf of Colombia, and I thank my colleagues in government for your hard work on behalf of this very important relationship that we have between our two countries. I wanted to come this afternoon to underscore the importance that we place on it and to thank you not only for what you have done, which presents such an extraordinary model for so many others, but for the increasing role that you are playing in the region and the world.

Just in the last few months, the work that the president and the foreign minister have led on the reintegration of Honduras into the OAS, which we hope and trust occurs tomorrow – it could not have happened without creative diplomacy and Colombian leadership. The role that Colombia is playing on the Security Council, the strong support for standing against the abusive actions of Qadhafi in Libya, and of looking for ways to hold governments accountable for their mistreatment of their own citizens – again, Colombia is playing a global leadership role.

So on so many fronts, this is a relationship that is on a solid foundation but has the opportunity to become so much more for the benefit not only of the people of Colombia, but I would say for our own people in the United States the kind of positive, open relationship that we hope to see even stronger in the future, we think is very much in the interests of the United States as well as Colombia. We actually have a lot to learn from you, and we look forward to the opportunities that this partnership dialogue provides to do just that.

Let me now invite the foreign minister to the podium for her remarks and, as she comes forward, to thank her for her leadership also in the last months. Thank you. (Applause.)

FOREIGN MINISTER HOLGUIN: (Via interpreter) Madam Secretary Hillary Clinton, Mr. Ambassador McKinley, Mr. Ambassador Gabriel Silva, esteemed members of the U.S. and Colombian delegations, I would like to express my satisfaction with the work conducted today during the Second Session of the High-Level Partnership Dialogue that got started in Bogota on October 25th. These dialogue working groups in democracy and human rights, energy, environment and climate change, economic opportunities in society, culture and education, have allowed us to get to know the broad range of issues that we need to work on a bilateral agenda together.

Colombia has a strategic relationship with the United States based on historic and shared values, and this is perhaps one of the most successful cases of cooperation. Over the last eight years of our Democratic Security Policy, we’ve been able to move forward towards democratic prosperity and to think about issues that go beyond the internal security situation, which continues to be our national priority, to move forward and think about our country’s comprehensive development.

We’ve faced scourges like drug trafficking and terrorism for decades. We have shared a vision, and we have been consistent in our cooperation and international positions on the matter. Our joint search for solutions will be current among our priorities, and we will continue to build with the U.S., with the forum – the international forum against terrorism. Colombia has become a partner, given the priorities it has developed in the international fight against terrorism. That is why today we can develop a cooperation strategy against a lack of security in the fight against transnational crime, which we can work on together in response to Mexico’s needs as well as Central America. In the Caribbean’s needs, we are undertaking ambitious cooperation projects in this fight, cooperation that we’re also extending to countries in western Africa, countries that are no doubt your great partners as well.

And the respect for differences and the search for common destiny with equity and equality for all when giving priority to the fight against – priority against – fighting poverty make our region a peaceful region. Based on cooperation and respect, we’ve been able to recover and strengthen our relationship with our neighbors without declining in our main priority in national security. We are a bridge country in the Americas. We join north and south. We are a platform for dialogue, and in that sense we will continue to build a political and economic joint space that seeks our well being. The selection of a Colombian and appointment as the general secretary of UNASUR is a testament to the positive role that Colombia can play in the region. We have established same goals with Chile, Peru, and Ecuador, countries with whom we share an economic and political vision. And to ensure sustainable development, we are also developing an interconnection scheme with Peru, Ecuador, and Chile, as well as with Panama, towards Central America.

We are an energy-generating country, and as infrastructure projects develop, we will be providers of energy to an important swath of the continent. Our role is not limited to fossil fuel production or hydroelectric production, and the production of bio-fuels and the potential for wind energy in these areas has increased significantly, and we hope to see projects come into fruition in this area soon. Our conviction with democracy backs the unrestricted support of human rights protection. The land law for victims will drastically change the structure in our country and will set new goals for development and progress for all. It is a great challenge that lies ahead. And during the October meeting, I mentioned this as a possibility. Today, it is a reality.

I invite all U.S. sectors to understand the changes and challenges that we face and to join our country’s willingness to change and solve the problems that have marred us for decades. If you look at us differently, I know that you will find the values and the integrity of a society that has not let adversity beat it. And as a country – Colombia is a country that is a permanent ally of the United States, and we are grateful for the support we’ve received. We want to continue to move forward with this cooperation in the framework of a broader and more innovative agenda that will allow us to move forward for the development of our countries.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

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Secretary Clinton is visibly upset about the little boy in Syria who was tortured horrifcally and murdered. He was 13 years old.  His name was Hamza Ali al-Khateeb.  His blood is on the hands of Bashar Al-Assad.

Since I do not in fact work for the government,  which is supposed to work for me,  tonight I am wondering why the president bypassed the secretary of state and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and appointed an ambassador to Syria during the Christmas recess in exchange for NONE of the agreements that State Department had been negotiating for six-plus months.   I am wondering .

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Remarks With Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin After Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin
Washington, DC
May 31, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining me and the foreign minister. We’ve just had an excellent meeting that capped a day of intensive dialogue between our governments. The foreign minister and I addressed our delegations earlier, and I certainly underscored how impressed and inspired we are by Colombia’s progress and eager to expand our work together on the full range of issues that we have common concerns about.

Colombia has emerged as a regional and global partner. It sits on the UN Security Council, trains police to help 16 other nations to meet their security challenges, and through the leadership of both the president and the foreign minister, has played the leading role in bringing Honduras back into the inter-American system. At home, President Santos and his government are taking bold steps to heal Colombia’s wounds, redress grievances, consolidate democratic freedoms, and promote human rights. And of course, we are absolutely committed to passing the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement to open new markets and create jobs and opportunities for both of our peoples.

Since the first High Level Partnership Dialogue last October, Colombia has made significant progress on human, labor, and civil rights. And we are committed to working with Colombia as they continue their progress. We also discussed social and economic development, climate change, environmental protection, energy, education, and culture.

We had a very productive and wide-ranging dialogue, and Colombia’s progress is a testament to the courage and vision of the Colombian people and their leaders. And it’s also a reminder to the United States about why we sustain investments in our friends and our partners even through tight budgets and tough times.

So, Foreign Minister, thank you so much for the opportunity to work with you on these very important issues.

FOREIGN MINISTER HOLGUIN: (Via interpreter) Thank you, Secretary Clinton. To me, to us, it’s a great pleasure to be here today working at the State Department. We truly value the effort and support that the United States has shown Colombia over the course of many decades.

I believe that the success that Colombia has had in the fight against terrorism, against drug trafficking, is due to U.S. support. We have a well-trained police. We have one of the strongest military forces in the region. And today we are happy to take a second step to take drug trafficking or reduce the importance of drug trafficking and think about other issues that are important for us as well – energy, education, science and technology, environment – and to focus on these issues that are important to both of us in our relationship.

We believe that the work that both delegations have undertaken today lead us to developing a specific agenda on a number of issues that will help us further consolidate the relationship that has been strong in the past.

I want to thank Secretary Clinton for supporting Colombia’s aspirations to accede to the OECD. It’s a great opportunity for us to improve practices in our country, and we thank the United States for their support in this endeavor.

As Secretary Clinton said, we talked about the region, we talked about Honduras, and Colombia is very happy to have given its part to reestablishing Honduras within the organization and to do its part to strengthen democracy throughout the region.

And we talked about the issue of security, and Colombia here has cooperated greatly with Central America and the Caribbean on issues related to the fight against organized crime and drug trafficking. And as we talked before, we can continue to be great allies in helping the region, and we believe we can truly contribute to improving the situation throughout.

We thank Secretary Clinton for her support on the FTA, for support on the preferences. We are abiding by the commitments that we achieved during the April agreement, and we are happy to see that our dream that we’ve held for so many months is about to come into fruition.

We also talked about the Summit of the Americas. Colombia will be a host of the summit in April of 2012, and we’ve been talking with many countries about the organization of the summit and we have U.S. support to this end. We want to have discussions on a number of issues that join us, and we hope to have support in the region and throughout the continent, and we’ll see you in Cartagena next year.

I thank you for the work today. I think this is an important step towards strengthening our relationship, a relationship that is no doubt strong already, but there is always room for improvement. Thank you very much.

MR. TONER: We have time for just a few questions. The first goes to Elise Labott from CNN.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary. On Pakistan, the Pakistanis have said they’re going to take a new offensive into North Waziristan. Do you see this as a positive sign in response to some of the things that you discussed on your trip in terms of the Pakistanis needing to take action?

And then there are some very troubling signs in the Middle East today. There’s been reports in Syria of the torturing of a young boy, and in Yemen as well the violence is – the government is cracking down on the opposition even further. And it seems as in this second wave of the Arab Spring, if you will, the dictators are really digging in. And in fact, even as you call for them to make a transition, they’re cracking down even further and furthering their oppression. I was wondering if you had some thoughts on that.

Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Elise, first with regard to Pakistan, as I said on our recent visit, Pakistan is a key ally in our joint fight against terrorists that threaten both of us as well as the region and beyond. And when I was there, we discussed our cooperative efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida and to also drive the associated terrorists who are targeting both Pakistanis and, across the border in Afghanistan, Americans, coalition troops, and Afghans. So we are discussing a number of approaches that we think could assist us in this very important fight.

I would also add that there is no doubt that the progress we have made against al-Qaida and terrorists could have not have happened without Pakistani cooperation between our governments, our militaries, our intelligence agencies. And there’s still a lot of work to be done, so we are in the process of discussing what more the Pakistanis could do. We will continue to do our part working together.

With respect to Syria, I too was very concerned by the reports about the young boy. In fact, I think what that symbolizes for many Syrians is the total collapse of any effort by the Syrian Government to work with and listen to their own people. And I think that as the President said in his speech last week, President Asad has a choice, and every day that goes by the choice is made by default. He has not called an end to the violence against his own people and he has not engaged seriously in any kind of reform efforts. And I have here the name of the young boy whose body was so brutally affected by the behavior and the conduct of those who had him in detention: Hamza Ali al-Khateeb. And I can only hope that this child did not die in vain but that the Syrian Government will end the brutality and begin a transition to real democracy.

QUESTION: Have they completely lost legitimacy?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s up to the Syrian people themselves. We’ve obviously, along with others, imposed sanctions, spoken out. We’ve closely coordinated with allies and partners. We’ve imposed an arms embargo. We’ve led the call for a special session in the United Nations. But I think that every day that goes by, the position of the government becomes less tenable and the demands of the Syrian people for change only grow stronger. And therefore, we continue to urge an end to the violence and the commencement of a real process that could lead to the kinds of changes that are called for.

MR. TONER: Our next question goes to Sergio Gomez Maseri of El Tiempo.

QUESTION: Thanks, Madam Secretary and Minister Holguin. You just mentioned that the U.S. is absolutely committed to the passage of the FTA. However, the FTAs – and I mean Colombia, Panama, and Korea – are all hostage of an internal dispute between Republicans and Democrats that has caused deep frustration in Colombia and also questions that come in that you were talking about. So can you tell us if you’re still confident, as you say a couple months ago here, that the FTAs are – are these FTAs going to be passed this year?

And a question for both: Can you comment on what’s expected tomorrow on the general assembly of the OAS regarding Honduras?

FOREIGN MINISTER HOLGUIN: (Via interpreter) On the issue of Honduras, I can say that we are convinced that Honduras will be brought back into the OAS tomorrow, and there has been negotiations on the resolution that took place last week and today. And I can say that most countries, if not all, wish to see Honduras return to the OAS and wish to see the strengthening of democracy in that country, and I can say that the only surprise that we can expect tomorrow is Honduras coming back to the organization.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And yes, I am confident that we are going to pass the Free Trade Agreement. I hope that the people of Colombia do not lose heart in watching the activities of our Congress, because there always is a lot of rhetoric and skirmishing between the parties before they finally hit the deadline to get the work done. And so I am absolutely sure we’re going to get it passed.

QUESTION: Can you (inaudible) Honduras?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I agree with the foreign minister. And I commend Colombia for the leadership role that it has played in enabling us to reintegrate Honduras tomorrow at the OAS.

Thank you all very much.

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Another award for our Mme. Secretary and travel to Africa are in the offing.

Secretary Clinton to Receive 2011 Marshall Foundation Award on June 2

Notice to the Press

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 31, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will receive the 2011 George C. Marshall Foundation Award at a dinner on June 2 at approximately 6:30 p.m. at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.

The Award program will include remarks by former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright; former Chilean President and current Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Michelle Bachelet; General Raymond Odierno, Commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command; and Michael Strianese, Chairman, President and CEO of L-3 Communications. Christiane Amanpour of ABC News will serve as the master of ceremonies.

Secretary Clinton to Launch Women’s World Cup Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports


Notice to the Press

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 31, 2011



On June 6, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will launch the Women’s World Cup Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports, at the Department of State with members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and youth soccer players from around the world.

This joint initiative by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues harnesses the power of sports and international exchanges as a means to empower women and girls worldwide.

The event will take place at approximately 9:30 a.m. in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the Department of State. The event will be streamed live on www.state.gov .

The Women’s World Cup initiative includes:

– Sports Visitor Program
Through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ SportsUnited Office, 18 teenaged female soccer players and their coaches from Bolivia, Germany, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories and South Africa will travel to the United States May 31-June 9 through the Sports Visitors Program for a 10-day exchange. During this time, the young athletes will travel to New York City and Washington, D.C., where they will meet with the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and play soccer with local teams. The delegation will also meet with local community organizations that provide sports opportunities for youth with disabilities and mentorships through a soccer and literacy initiative.

– Sports Envoy Programs
Partnering with U.S. Soccer, former Women’s National Team players Briana Scurry and Amanda Cromwell traveled in May as Sports Envoys to Germany to lead soccer clinics and engage young audiences in Berlin, Dresden, Wolfsburg, Sinsheim and Frankfurt. Additional Sports Envoys will travel to Brazil this summer.

– Women’s Sports Management
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ International Visitor Leadership Program will lead a parallel 10-day international exchange program for five sports management professionals. With an emphasis on the administration of women’s and girls’ soccer programs, the program will allow the visitors to exchange ideas and best practices in the management of sports and recreational programs with their American counterparts. They will examine how athletic programs for women and girls promote leadership, teamwork, respect, self awareness and life skills, and how sports and recreation programs can make a positive impact on at-risk and underserved youth.

Visit www.exchanges.state.gov/sports for more information.

Secretary Clinton to Travel to UAE, Zambia, Tanzania, and Ethiopia

Press Statement

Mark C. Toner
Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 31, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will go to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a meeting of the Libya Contact Group on June 9. This meeting will build on the last Contact Group meeting held in Rome and will allow the United States to discuss with its international partners the range of issues with respect to addressing the situation in Libya, including the ongoing implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973.

Secretary Clinton will then travel to Lusaka, Zambia, on June 10 for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Ministerial Forum, where she will showcase this centerpiece of our trade policy with Africa and engage with government, private sector, and civil society representatives from 37 different countries. While in Zambia, she will also meet with Zambian President Rupiah Banda as well as participate in events to highlight U.S. government initiatives to improve the lives of the Zambian people.

From there, Secretary Clinton will travel to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to meet with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. In Tanzania, she will highlight our successful bilateral engagement including a host of programs including Feed the Future (FTF). In Ethiopia, Secretary Clinton will focus on regional issues, visiting the African Union (AU) headquarters and meeting with AU Chairperson Jean Ping, in addition to bilateral meetings. She will also meet with civil society to draw attention to their innovative and enterprising work.

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Public Schedule for May 31, 2011

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
May 31, 2011


9:15 a.m.  Secretary Clinton meets with the Assistant Secretaries, at the Department of State.

4:05 p.m.  Secretary Clinton delivers closing remarks to the U.S.-Colombia High Level Partnership Dialogue, in the George Marshall Conference Center at the Department of State.

4:25 p.m.  Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Colombian Foreign Minister Holgiun, at the Department of State.

6:00 p.m.  Secretary Clinton hosts a dinner for Partners for a New Beginning, at the Department of State.


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Having tried and failed to find pictures of the former POTUS and current SOS in this year’s Memorial Day Parade, I decided to offer this retrospective from last year’s Memorial Day in Chappaqua. If I do find pics from this year, I will definitely share them. For now, we can enjoy these one more time.

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Well, Amy Dugan did find a slideshow of the Clintons at the Chappaqua parade today.  I cannot down load the pics and am not familiar with how this website works.  It takes awhile to download, but is worth waiting for.  Here is the link to the Cooliris slideshow.

Oh, Ok.  I managed to grab them!

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This beautiful anniversary tribute from Boowitch simply cried out to be shared. On this sad anniversary of the Rules and Bylaws Committee’s flawed, unfair, and undemocratic ruling on 05.31.08, we celebrate P.U.M.A. Solidarity! In all of my many years of witnessing campaigns both victorious and defeated, I have never, ever seen a group of people stick together behind a candidate the way P.U.M.A.s have stuck with Hillary Rodham Clinton who still, after two-and-a-half years has a better sense of what to do for this country than the candidate the “Democratic” Party chose in her stead.

If the DNC thinks that the incumbent will simply coast into a second term, it needs a reality check. That GOP field is not as weak as they think it is. Pawlenty is not actually more boring than Obama is, and he has a few things to say. Huntsman is bright, respectable, and rather moderate. He could capture Indy votes. Romney has never really been an outlier. These are formidable adversaries who intend a strong challenge. The one individual who could give them a run for their money is not the incumbent. He will struggle. Hillary Clinton can and should glide in.

All of these past three years we have remained a tightly woven force for Hillary, and so my fellow P.U.M.A.s, happy anniversary, from Boowitch and me. You rock! Every single one of you! Love you all!

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Although some of these are not new, the more recent ones exemplify what is a growing theme in Hillary Clinton iconography, Hillary waiting in the wings. We do not know whether this growing series is initiated by one or more photographers or by the subject herself striking postures that cry out to be immortalized. While HRC is ever-conscious of cameras around her, it is quite possible that she merely likes to take a moment to compose her thoughts before speaking and enjoys peeking through curtains. Whatever the case, they communicate in a subtle way, that as the year rolls on, if declared candidates for POTUS do not meet with public satisfaction, there is an alternative in the person of the very dedicated, knowledgeable, qualified, brilliant, experienced, and awesome Hillary Rodham Clinton.

If the theme grows, so will this slideshow. It might be back, bigger and better!  I hope Hillary for President will be too… in 2012!

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Remarks With Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Islamabad, Pakistan
May 27, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Admiral Mullen and I have just completed a very extensive, open, frank, and constructive discussion with the leadership of Pakistan – with the president, the prime minister, the chief of staff of the army, General Kayani, the head of ISI, General Pasha, and with representatives from the foreign office and the interior ministry.I have to begin by expressing appreciation for the warm welcome that we both received and the open dialogue that was the hallmark of our hours together. The United States and Pakistan have been friends for a very long time. We have a relationship that is rooted in mutual respect and mutual interests, so there is always a lot to talk about. But this was an especially important visit because we have reached a turning point. Usama bin Ladin is dead, but al-Qaida and its syndicate of terror remain a serious threat to us both. There is momentum toward political reconciliation in Afghanistan, but the insurgency continues to operate from safe havens here in Pakistan. And the Pakistani people are standing courageously for their democracy and their future, but the country continues to face enormous economic, political, and security challenges.The United States has been clear and consistent about our expectations for this relationship. We have strong interests in the region and we are pursuing them vigorously. These are not uniquely American aims. We believe that Pakistanis pursue the same goals and share the same hopes. We seek to defeat violent extremism, end the conflict in Afghanistan, and ensure a secure, stable, democratic, prosperous future for Pakistan. And we expect to work closely with the government and the people of Pakistan to achieve those ends.

First, the fight against violent extremism. For the past decade, many of the world’s most vicious terrorists, including al-Qaida’s most important leaders, have been living in Pakistan. From here, they have targeted innocent people all over the world – in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and far beyond. But no nation has sacrificed more lives in this struggle against violent extremism than Pakistan has. Extremists have killed women and children, blown up mosques and markets, and shown no regard for human life or dignity.

The United States and Pakistan have worked together to kill or capture many of these terrorists here on Pakistani soil. This could not have been done without close cooperation between our governments, our militaries, and our intelligence agencies. But we both recognize there is still much more work required and it is urgent. Today, we discussed in even greater detail cooperation to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida, and to drive them from Pakistan and the region. We will do our part and we look to the Government of Pakistan to take decisive steps in the days ahead. Joint action against al-Qaida and its affiliates will make Pakistan, America, and the world safer and more secure.

But I want to underscore a point that I made in public in the last weeks and made again privately today to the president, the prime minister, and others. There is absolutely no evidence that anyone at the highest levels of the Pakistani Government knew that Usama bin Ladin was living just miles from where we are today. And we know that al-Qaida has been a source of great pain and suffering to the leadership that has been in every way attempting to eradicate the threat that is posed. But we know we have to redouble our efforts together. That is the way forward.

Second, on Afghanistan, both our nations have an interest in a safe, stable Afghanistan that is not a source of insecurity for its neighbors or others. And we need to work together to achieve that goal. As part of America’s strategy, we are supporting an Afghan-led process that seeks to split the Taliban from al-Qaida and reconcile those insurgents who will renounce violence and accept the constitution of Afghanistan. And we know that for reconciliation to succeed, Pakistan must be a part of that process. Many of the leaders of the Taliban continue to live in Pakistan, and Pakistan has very legitimate interests in the outcome of this process. And those interests need to be respected and addressed. But we also discussed that Pakistan has a responsibility to help us help Afghanistan by preventing insurgents from waging war from Pakistani territory.

Today, we discussed Pakistan’s perspective on Afghanistan and how it can support the international community’s efforts there. And we look forward to putting those words into action and seeing momentum toward a political resolution. We think that the recently held trilaterals between the United States, Afghanistan, and Pakistan – one here in Islamabad, one in Kabul – are a very important step toward the resolution in Afghanistan.

A third major area where America’s and Pakistan’s interests intersect is the future of this country itself. In recent years, the United States has tried to be a very good friend to Pakistan. We have repeatedly delivered on what we promised by providing billions of dollars in new assistance to address Pakistan’s energy and other economic challenges. We’ve expanded assistance to your security forces. And we led ongoing international relief efforts to respond to last year’s devastating floods. We’ve built the largest educational and cultural exchange program anywhere in the world as an investment in the youth of Pakistan. And we launched a Strategic Dialogue that brings our governments together to discuss the full range of common concerns. And we agreed that this work must continue. It continued today and it will continue tomorrow.

We are prepared to stand by the Pakistani people for the long haul. The United States knows that Pakistan’s future is imperatively important for us, but even more so for the people themselves, and we look toward a strong Pakistan, one that is democratic, one that is prosperous and stable, being a cornerstone for regional stability and global security. That is why the United States will continue to support Pakistan’s sovereignty, its civilian-elected government, and above all, its people.

But let me be clear, as I was today, America cannot and should not solve Pakistan’s problems. That’s up to Pakistan. But in solving its problems, Pakistan should understand that anti-Americanism and conspiracy theories will not make problems disappear. It is up to the Pakistani people to choose what kind of country they wish to live in. And it is up to the leaders of Pakistan to deliver results for the people. There is still a lot of work to be done to reduce corruption and grow the economy, to rebuild from the floods, to get electricity more readily available, to make progress in eliminating extremists and their sanctuaries.

So there are hard choices to make, and we should proceed in a spirit of openness and candor, because part of friendship is speaking honestly and telling each other our perspectives and, where necessary, even difficult truths as we see them. We have shared interests, we have common challenges, and yes, we have areas of disagreement. During Pakistan’s first winter as a young nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah said, “We are going through fire. The sunshine has yet to come.” But his confidence in the resilience and determination of the Pakistani people never wavered. And the years have vindicated his faith.

As we look ahead from this pivotal moment, that determination by the Pakistani people themselves will be more important than ever. I believe that Pakistan’s best days are ahead, and the United States wants to be there as you move into a future that realizes the promise of your beginning. And we will stand with you and support you as you make the tough decisions to have the kind of country and future that the people of Pakistan deserve.

ADMIRAL MULLEN: Thank you, Madam Secretary, and thank all of you for being here. I too wish to express my gratitude for the time afforded us by so many of Pakistan’s leaders today. Having been somewhat of a frequent flyer myself to these parts, I know and appreciate how tough it is, especially in times like this to break away from the press of events to hold these sorts of discussions.

And as the Secretary mentioned, they were very candid discussions, the kind of discussions two friends should be able to have at such a critical time. I want to associate myself with everything the Secretary said about the criticality of this relationship and about moving it forward in a positive direction. But in particular, I want to echo her comments about the shared sense of urgency. I think we all realize the challenges under which this relationship now labors, but now is not the time for retreat or for recrimination. Now is the time for action and closer coordination; for more cooperation, not less; for the friendship to get stronger, not weaker.

The killing of Usama bin Ladin has accomplished many things, many necessary things. It has removed permanently the leader of an organization that is avowed to no other end than the killing of innocent people. It has sent that organization into some disarray and most likely disrupted some of its future plans. It has called into question, indeed it has proven false, al-Qaida’s claim and confidence in itself as untouchable or omniscient, just as events throughout the Arab world prove false – prove false al-Qaida’s ideology of extremism and hate.

But bin Ladin’s death, however welcome, has not for the short term eliminated the threats we both face from terrorism. Recent attacks right here in Pakistan over the last few days serve as grim reminders of that fact, and of the sacrifices the Pakistan people – Pakistani people continue to pay at the hands of these criminals. Nor has his death meant the death of al-Qaida altogether or of the alliances that are formed between al-Qaida and elements of the Taliban. We see that collusion persist. We see the desire emerge for longevity and reorganization and perhaps even the desire for closer ties between disparate groups of extremists. To be sure, these groups are weaker, much weaker, and not just as a result of this raid, but as a result of the extraordinary efforts expended by both coalition forces and the Pakistani military over the last several years. There is a much larger struggle afoot, and I would be remiss if I did not applaud the bravery and the skill with which Pakistani troops have engaged the enemy in that struggle, losing thousands of their number in the process.

But in their weakness and in their confusion, the terrorists are lashing out, and so the fight will and must go on, and it must go on with the Pakistani military and the U.S. military acting, coordinating, and leading together. We have come too far and sacrificed too much for it to be any other way for either of us. This isn’t America’s war. This is Pakistan’s war and Afghanistan’s war. It’s a reasonable war against a common enemy, a war in which all of us share a stake and all of us must hazard certain risks.

For our part, my military took many risks going after bin Ladin, risks to the lives of our men and women in uniform, risks to civilian causalities and to collateral damage. We took the risk of being wrong about what we thought we knew of the killer’s whereabouts. And yes, in our desire to preserve secrecy, we incurred a certain risk in our relationships with other nations in the region. But this particular relationship with Pakistan is too critical, and now is too critical a time to allow whatever differences we may still have with one another impede the progress we must still make together.

I harbor no illusions about the difficulties ahead nor do I leave here misinformed about the trust which still needs to be rebuilt between our two militaries. But I do leave here with a sense that General Kayani and other Pakistani military leaders share my commitment to that task and share my desire to look for ways to advance the relationship. There’s no better time for that sort of partnership than right now. Thank you.

MODERATOR: And the first question is from Baqir (inaudible) from DAWN.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, you spoke about your – you spoke about expectations, and you said this in Paris as well before coming here. After your meeting with the Pakistani leadership, what is your assessment that – is Pakistan ready to meet those expectations? And is – and how do you assess the – is Pakistan ready to move away from your – or what your military leadership thinks, exclusion at Haqqani Network and other groups that are of concern to United States and other countries?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me speak first from my perspective. I cannot speak for the Pakistani leadership with whom we met. But certainly, my conclusion is that we are both committed to this relationship. We understand its strategic importance. We have critical interests that intersect in a number of important areas, which we both have mentioned – the issue of extremism, the future of Afghanistan, the economy, long-term stability. And we also have a shared appreciation for the sacrifice that the other has been making and continues to make. When we sit down to talk together across from the leaders of your country, we represent a country that has also been victimized by extremism, that has also lost brave young men and women in uniform, who are fighting against the violent extremists. So we understand the real sense of loss that is expressed to us by the leaders and people of Pakistan about the costs of this struggle against extremism.

But we both know there can be no quarter given, that there can be no peace, no stability, no democracy, no future for Pakistan unless the violent extremists are removed, either by coming to their senses and recognizing that they should be part of a political process if they have a point of view to present and not try to inflict their ideology or their prejudices on an entire nation, or they will have to be killed or captured.

So we came today to talk about all that we have in common, and we did so. And I, for one, came away from our meeting convinced of the importance of this relationship, the significance to my country’s national security, and therefore the need to deepen our cooperation on every level between our governments, our militaries, and our intelligence and law enforcement services, but that we must, at the same time, continue to reach out to the Pakistani people, to cut through what I have talked about on my previous visits are often deliberate misunderstandings, conspiracy theories, accusations and the like which really have nothing to do with how we chart the future that we both hope to see.

So I think that I return to Washington ever more committed to doing whatever I can to make sure that the cooperation we’re seeking is forthcoming and the cooperation that we’ve been asked for by our counterparts is also occurring from our part. But let me ask the admiral to add anything he wishes to add.

ADMIRAL MULLEN: Well, from the military perspective – again, I met with General Kayani and the military leadership and did so at a time of great stress, obviously, in the relationship, which is one of the reasons that we’re here. But we had very frank and open discussions about how to move ahead and about the importance of the relationship and the challenges that we face, the shared challenges that we face. And one of the things that I try to do always is listen to those challenges from the Pakistani perspective, and because we’ve been through the difficult challenges of late, being here now, I thought, was very important.

And from my perspective, no one should doubt for a minute the long-term commitment to this relationship, to the need to rebuild on the trust that certainly was recently shaken, and that the strength of that relationship in the long term will, I think, support a more stable, peaceful, prosperous Pakistan but also a more stable, peaceful, and prosperous region.

MODERATOR: The next question is from Kim Ghattas of BBC.

QUESTION: Hi. Good afternoon. A question for both of you: You’ve both been to Pakistan several times over the last couple of years, and every time, you ask for more cooperation from the Pakistanis on a variety of issues. Did you hear anything today in your meetings that make you think that you are actually going to get exactly what you want? I mean, I have to say that the meeting – the start of the meeting looked incredibly tense. Did it continue to be tense?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, I don’t think it can be characterized as tense. We were just waiting for the press to leave so we could actually – (laughter) – begin our meeting. That was the only tension that I think was in the room.

But to answer your very important question, Kim, look, you’re right; Mike and I have been coming here, and Mike has a long history of commitment to the joint efforts that we are engaged in in Pakistan. And ever since I became Secretary of State, I have tried to develop a strategic relationship that reflects the stakes which are so high between our two nations.

And I think it’s important to remember where we started, because I believe we’ve had significant cooperation, and there has been a tremendous amount of commitment shown by the Government of Pakistan toward this fight against extremism. And we heard today, for short-term cooperation, some very specific actions that Pakistan will take and that we will take together. And we reaffirmed our commitment to the medium and long-term relationship.

But I always wish that we would put into some historical context, even if the history is only two and a half years old, where our relationship was, and what was happening inside of Pakistan when President Obama took office. You had extremists who were controlling territory not very far from Islamabad. And it was a tremendous act of leadership, courageous leadership, for the Government of Pakistan to throw itself into the fight against the extremists who were threatening the Pakistani people and were, unfortunately, expanding their area of influence. That has been reversed.

Now, are there still horrific attacks? Yes, there are. And do the terrorists continue to use the cowardly tool of suicide bombers to blow up the police recruits and take out innocent lives throughout the country? Yes. But I think any fair reading of what Pakistan has accomplished just in the time that I’ve been deeply involved deserves more credit. Now we are at this turning point and we have to do even more together, and I came away convinced that we would be. And obviously, we’ll see how we both are able to implement over the next weeks and months.

MODERATOR: Shaukat Paracha of AHA TV.

QUESTION: Thank you, ma’am. (Inaudible.) Thank you very much. You talked about conspiracy theories and anti-Americanism in Pakistan. But as we see, the U.S. media and your think tank reports believe that the situation is good on the part of United States. I mean, in one incident, our 80-90 young men, they are killed by the terrorists. Even our bases, Mehran and PNS Mehran, is not safe.

But these sacrifices, they do not reflect in the United States media, their think tanks, and their opinion-making process. And sadly, the U.S. Administration cannot get its perspective reflected in the U.S. opinion-making process. Is that in the United States something that Pashtuns should be first called a bad name, then weakened, and then destabilized? What’s the policy in the United States both in the political parties and in the Administration?

Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you for asking that question, because I think you’ve put, as we would say, your finger on a very important concern that we both share. It is fair to say that the level of cooperation and hard work that goes on every day at the highest levels of your government and mine in pursuit of these common objectives is often either not understood or not reflected fairly in the political discourse or in the press of either of our countries.

You have a very free press in Pakistan. We have a very free press in the United States. I think it’s one of our strengths. But as a result, you don’t have either government dictating what is going to be said. And we actually talked about that this morning, because I share the concern that your question expresses. We both – both in my country and in your country, we need to do a better job. We need to do a better job of actually getting the story out. People don’t have to agree with us. Now, that’s – in a democracy, which we both are, you are free to disregard whatever position is put out.

But what is not helpful is either not knowing what we are doing on both sides or deliberating distorting what we are doing. So I think we have some work ahead to try to do a better job to just tell the truth about what we are working on together and the level of aid that the United States is providing. I mean, we provide more support than Saudi Arabia, China, and everybody else combined. But I will stand here and admit that I’m not sure many Pakistanis know that. We provided, I think, the most even after all of it came in, in the aggregate, the most aid for the floods. But I bet not many Pakistanis know that.

And on the reverse, as you rightly point out, you have suffered grievously. The loss of those young men who were training to protect their country was a tragedy, and I don’t know that enough Americans understood what that meant.

So we both have work to do. So let’s clear away the underbrush. Let’s have the kind of open, candid conversation that you and I are having now and that we had earlier today, and then let the chips fall where they may. But let’s not be misinterpreting and misrepresenting each other, because then we can never, ever find common ground.

MODERATOR: Karen DeYoung with The Washington Post.

QUESTION: Thank you. You’ve spoken, Madam Secretary, of the work that both sides need to do and you just referenced public opinion. I wonder if, in terms of specifics, you’ve talked about what you would like the Pakistanis to do in counterterrorism fight. What more does the United States need to do to strengthen this relationship beyond public images? And specifically, did you speak about the question of visas, about the presence of U.S. law enforcement, intelligence, and military officials here? Do you expect those numbers to go down?

And finally, again on specifics, Secretary Gates and others in the United States have said that, as you said, there’s no evidence that senior officials here knew of the presence of bin Ladin but that somebody knew. Was that something that you discussed today, and what’s your sense of how far the Pakistani investigations have gone on that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, we did. We discussed all of the issues that you just raised, Karen. On the last one, we discussed very frankly, and our counterparts in the government were very forthcoming in saying that somebody, somewhere was providing some kind of support. And they are carrying out an investigation. And we have certainly offered to share whatever information we come across, and we intend to be consulting closely as we go forward with them providing information they are finding and us reciprocating.

You may know that today the United States Government got access to the compound, thanks to the cooperation of the ISI and the military. And we are working to try to untangle the puzzle of bin Ladin’s presence in Abbottabad. But I want to stress again that we have absolutely no reason to believe that anyone in the highest levels of the government knew that. In fact, they were quite emotional in conveying how they would have gone after them if they had known he was there, because as the President said, there’s a lot of reason to believe al-Qaida was behind his wife’s murder. So there were common concerns about this, and we had a very forthright discussion.

With respect to visas, look, our security assistance is provided in coordination and at the request of the Pakistani Government and the Pakistani military, and we work closely with Pakistan to try to ensure that they have the training and the equipment and that we have the personnel necessary to support their counterinsurgency efforts. And the size of our presence at any time in Pakistan is a function of the amount and type of work that is needed to be done to meet the Pakistani Government’s request. And we have not noticed any official statement from the Government of Pakistan that in any way would demonstrate that they’re not going to be continuing to request the kind of assistance we provide, and we’re going to continue to offer what we believe is in our mutual best interests.

Mike, do you want to add anything?

ADMIRAL MULLEN: The only thing I’d add, Karen, is certainly I’ve talked with General Kayani and in recent really weeks and months about the level of military support. We’ve been here for some time at the invitation of the Pakistani Government and Pakistani military working a training mission, and those numbers go up and down over time. And there have been requests to reduce those numbers, and those are in considered – and going through the details of what that means and how that looks in the future is something we’re working our way through with them, literally, as we speak.

MODERATOR: Thank you all.


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Well this solves the “Mystery of  Disappeared  White House  Appointee Michael Hammer” (Nancy Drew veterans never give up until there is a solution),  along with a few other questions/speculations.   No, the SOS did not make the announcement herself (I thought that prediction a bit heavy at the time I read it), and no, the announcement was not released on Monday.  So here is the scoop!

Bureau of Public Affairs Front Office Changes

Media Note

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 26, 2011

The State Department announces that Ambassador Victoria Nuland will serve as State Department Spokesperson and Mark Toner will serve as Deputy Spokesperson. Mike Hammer is the Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, Dana Shell Smith will serve as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, and Michael Ratney will serve as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Media. Cheryl Benton remains as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Outreach and Philippe Reines as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Strategic Communications.

Following Ambassador Nuland’s departure from the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, Assistant Secretary Rose Gottemoeller will resume lead responsibility for issues related to the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty.

So, on this note, we congratulate Ambassador Nuland on her new appointment, thank Mark Toner for his wise and intrepid service in an acting position (knowing we will continue to see him when Ambassador Nuland is otherwise occupied), and wish International Man of Mystery, Mike Hammer luck in his “acting” job.

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Meeting With Staff of Embassy Islamabad


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Islamabad, Pakistan
May 27, 2011

Thank you. Thank you, all. Well, thank you so much, Cameron, and thank you, Marilyn, wherever you are. And I did want to just take a brief moment to express my appreciation to all of you. Admiral Mullen and I have just come from a very long but, we believe, productive meeting with the leadership of Pakistan, and we spoke very honestly and openly and made it clear that we recognize we have shared interests, we have common challenges, and yes, we have areas of disagreement, which is true for any relationship.

But we recommitted ourselves to the strategic importance of this relationship, and we want to make our partnership a success. It’s a crucial one. It matters greatly for the security, stability, democracy, and prosperity of the Pakistani people, but also for the region and ultimately, as you know so well, for our own security back home.

This post is the heart of that partnership. All of you here, Americans and Pakistanis alike, you are working so hard. I know it, I’ve been here before, I’ve had a chance to meet with either you or your predecessors, and I’ve heard great things about the work that you are doing. And despite what you may have read in the newspaper, I’m also here to tell you that this is not an airstrip being built behind us. (Laughter.) It is, however, the loss of a nice little wooded area. But because of the growth in our post here, it’s one of those necessary but somewhat regrettable changes.

I know you work long hours, you’re away from your families, and I want to thank you for your sacrifice and determination. And I hope the next time you Skype with your families or email or communicate in any way, you’ll let them know how much Mike and I appreciate their sacrifice as well.

I especially want to extend my word of gratitude to our Pakistani colleagues, because secretaries of state come and go, ambassadors come and go, and so do officers and representatives from all of our combined USG agencies, but our Pakistani compatriots are the ones who often continue to providence the guidance, the historical record, and demonstrate real courage. I know that sometimes being part of this Embassy team may not make you the most popular person, but I want to let you know we know the sacrifice especially that you and your families make because you are committed to building a cooperative, respectful relationship between the governments and peoples of our country.

So thank you, and you can see that my team is leaving because I couldn’t convince Chairman Mullen to waive the crew rest requirements. (Laughter.) But I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. I will be back, so then I will hopefully have a chance to shake your hands and maybe take a picture or two, but I just wanted you to know that we’re always aware of what you do every day, but especially in these last weeks. We’re not only aware, we’re very proud. We’re proud of this team and we’re proud of what you’re doing on behalf of our country, and I just can only say God bless you and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

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