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Archive for February, 2012

Mme. Secretary testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee today to explain the rationale for her 2013 budget proposals.  When she is before this committee, it always seems that time it at a premium,  and so she ends up submitting much of what she would like to say and explain as text.  Apparently that was the case today regarding her opening remarks.

Assessing U.S. Foreign Policy Priorities Amidst Economic Challenges: The Foreign Relations Budget for Fiscal Year 2013

Testimony

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Opening Remarks Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee
Washington, DC
February 29, 2012

 


Thank you very much, Madam Chairman and Ranking Member, and it is very good to be back here. I am grateful to your committee and the members for the support and consultation that we’ve enjoyed over these past three years. I look forward to your questions. I will submit my entire statement to the record and look forward to having a chance to exchange views with you today. Thank you.

 

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Budget Hearing for the Department of State and USAID

Testimony

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Washington, DC

February 29, 2012


May I change out my chair for that chair right there? Thank you. I very much appreciate that. That’s much better.

Well, let me begin by thanking the chairwoman for her leadership along with Ranking Member Lowey. I have found this to be a committee that is so concerned about what’s right for our country, especially in a time of constrained resources. I always feel like I have an open door, and I hope you do as well – all of you on this committee – because we’re living in a very volatile and difficult time.

Before I begin, I want to say a few words about North Korea. And with your permission, I want to just share with you the statement that we just put out. We are looking to a continuing effort and we have completed a third exploratory round of U.S.-North Korean bilateral talks to improve the atmosphere for dialogue and demonstrate its commitment to denuclearization. North Korea has agreed to implement a moratorium on long-range missile launches, nuclear tests, and nuclear activities at Yongbyon, including uranium enrichment activities.

The DPRK has also agreed to the return of IAEA inspectors to verify and monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment activities and confirm the disablement of the five-megawatt reactor and associated facilities.

Now, the United States, I will be quick to add, still has profound concerns, but on the occasion of Kim Jong-il’s death, I said that it is our hope that the new leadership will choose to guide their nation onto the path of peace by living up to its obligations. Today’s announcement represents a modest first step in the right direction. We, of course, will be watching closely and judging North Korea’s new leaders by their actions.

We also have agreed to meet with the North to finalize administrative details necessary to move forward with a proposed package of 240,000 metric tons of nutritional assistance along with the intensive monitoring required for the delivery of such assistance.

Now, this is just one more reminder that the world is transforming around us, from Arab revolutions to the rise of new economic powers to a more dispersed by still dangerous al-Qaida terrorist network to nuclear diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula. In this time, only the United States of America has the reach, the resources, and the relationships to anchor a more peaceful and prosperous world.

The State Department and USAID budget we discuss today is a proven investment in our national and economic security, but it is something more. It is a down payment on American leadership.

When I took this job, I saw a world that needed America but also one that questioned our focus and our staying power. So we have worked together in a bipartisan fashion to put American leadership on a firm foundation for the decades ahead. We have ended one war, we are winding down another. We have cemented our place as a Pacific power while maintaining our alliances across the Atlantic. We have elevated the role of economics within our diplomacy, and so much else. We are necessarily updating our diplomacy and development for the 21st century. And after the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, we created two new bureaus focused on counterterrorism and on energy, Chairman Rogers – and I’d be happy to go into that because it is critically important – and we reorganized a third one focused on fragile states.

Now, like most Americans in these tough economic times, we did make difficult tradeoffs and painful cuts. We have requested 18 percent less for Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia. We are scaling back construction, and I will certainly tell everyone to keep an eye on the Embassy in London. We are improving procurement and we are taking other steps for greater efficiencies.

Of the Foreign Ops request, $51.6 billion represents USAID and State Department requests, and that is an increase of less than the rate of inflation, just over 1 percent of the federal budget.

I just want to quickly highlight five priorities.

First, our request allows us to sustain our vital national security missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and reflects temporary extraordinary costs of operating on the front lines. As President Obama has said, “The tide of war is receding.” But we still have to establish firm relationships in Iraq and Afghanistan to go forward in developing a positive partnership.

In Iraq, civilians are now in the lead as we try to work to help Iraq develop a stable, sovereign, democratic country. And we have increased our civilian budget, but State and USAID together are asking for only one-tenth of the $48 billion the U.S. Government spent on Iraq as recently as 2011. Defense spending, as all of you know so well, is now $40 billion less than just two years ago. So we are certainly seeing increases in civilian presence but dramatic decreases in federal outlays.

Despite this past week’s violence, we expect similar government-wide savings in Afghanistan. This year’s request supports the ongoing transition. Next door in Pakistan, we have a challenging but critical relationship. We continue to work together on counterterrorism, economic stability, regional cooperation.

Second, in the Asia Pacific we are making an unprecedented effort to build a strong network of relationships and institutions, because we believe in the century ahead no region will be more consequential to America’s economic and security interests.

As we tighten our belts around the world, we are investing the diplomatic attention necessary to do more. In Asia, I call it forward-deployed diplomacy. It includes even pursuing a possible opening in Burma.

Third, we are intently focused on the wave of change sweeping the Arab world. Alongside our bilateral and security support, we are proposing a $770 million Middle East and North Africa incentive fund. There are two reasons for that, Madam Chairwoman. First, we know from past experience we need a fund of money that is flexible and easily deployed after consultation with Congress, as we did after the fall of the Soviet Union. In 1989, such a fund was established just for Poland and Hungary in the cost of $1 billion for two countries. After the war between Georgia and Russia, we had a fund of a billion dollars just for Georgia. So we think there’s precedent, and it certainly does pay off in terms of American presence and responsiveness.

Secondly, what we found this past year is that there were a lot of circumstances that were coming up all the time that we had, in no way, predicted prior to the budget. So we need to have credible proposals that are evaluated by rigorous analysis and by the Congress to commit to democratic change, building effective institutions, and broad-based growth. And this budget request also will allow us, Chairman Dicks, to help the Syrian people survive a brutal assault and plan for a future without Assad.

It continues our assistance for civil society and Arab partners in Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, and elsewhere. It does provide, Mrs. Lowey, a record level of support for our ally, Israel. It makes possible our diplomacy around the world and, through the great work of the Congress and our diplomacy at the UN and elsewhere, the toughest sanctions that Iran has ever faced.

The fourth priority is what I call economic statecraft – how do we use diplomacy and development to create American jobs? We have more than 1,000 State Department economic officers working to help American businesses connect to new markets and consumers. Every single day, we are working with our largest corporations to our smallest businesses, pushing back against corruption, red tape, favoritism, distorted currencies, intellectual property theft. And we have worked closely together to pass three free trade agreements that will create tens of thousands of American jobs, and we hope to work with Congress to ensure that as Russia enters the WTO, foreign competitors don’t have an advantage over American businesses.

And finally, we are elevating development alongside diplomacy and defense. Poverty, disease, hunger, climate change destabilize societies, sow the seeds for future conflicts. Through the Global Health Initiative, we are consolidating programs, increasing our partners’ capacity, shifting responsibilities to host countries that helps us target our resources where they are most needed. Along with our Feed the Future Initiative to drive agricultural growth and improve nutrition, we think we’re making cost-effective, results-oriented investments. We want to see measureable outcomes.

Now these five priorities are each crucial to American leadership and they rely on the work of some of the most capable, hardest working, bravest people I have ever met – the men and women of State and USAID. Working with them is one of the great honors I’ve had in public life.

Let me end by just saying that American leadership is very personal to me. It is my job everywhere I go. And after three years, 95 countries, over 700,000 miles, I know very well what it means to land in a plane that says United States of America on the side. People look to us to protect our allies, stand by our principles, serve as an honest broker in making peace, to fight hunger, disease, poverty, to stand up to bullies and tyrants. And American leadership is not just respected; it is required. It takes more than just resolve; it does take resources. This country is an unparalleled force for good in the world, and we all want to make sure it stays that way, so I would urge respectfully that you work with us to continue making this investment in both strong American leadership and a more peaceful and prosperous future for us all.

Thank you, Madam Chairwoman.

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Public Schedule for February 29, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
February 29, 2012

 


SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

10:00 a.m. Secretary Clinton testifies before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, on Capitol Hill.
(MEDIA DETERMINED BY HOST)

1:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on Capitol Hill.
(MEDIA DETERMINED BY HOST)

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National Security & Foreign Policy Priorities in the FY 2013 International Affairs Budget

Testimony

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Testimony Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Washington, DC
February 28, 2012

Thank you very much, and I greatly appreciate Chairman Kerry, Ranking Member Lugar, members of the committee to be here once again to have this opportunity. And I want thank you for the support that this committee has given to the State Department and USAID over the last three quite consequential and unpredictable years. And I especially am grateful for the very kind words about our diplomats and development experts who are serving around the world, some in very difficult circumstances.You have seen the world transforming right before your eyes, from Arab revolutions to the rise of new economic powers to a more dispersed but still dangerous al-Qaida and terrorist network. And in this time, only the United States of America has the reach, resources, and relationships to anchor a more peaceful and prosperous world. The State Department and USAID budget we discuss today is a proven investment in our national and economic security, but it is also something more. It is a down payment on America’s leadership.

When I took this job, I saw a world that needed America, but also one that questioned our focus and our staying power. So we have worked together to put American leadership on a firm foundation for the decades ahead. We have ended one war and are winding down another. We have cemented our place as a Pacific power. We have also maintained our alliance across the Atlantic. We have elevated the role of economics within our diplomacy, and we have reached beyond governments to engage directly with people with a special focus on women and girls.

We are updating diplomacy and development for the 21st century and finding ways to work smarter and more efficiently. And after the first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, we created two new bureaus, taking the work we were already doing on counterterrorism and combining it with other assets within the State Department to create a much more focused effort on counterterrorism and on energy. And I really commend Senator Lugar, because it was his idea. It was his talking with me when I was visiting with him prior to my confirmation that made me determined that we would actually accomplish this. And we have reorganized our assets into a bureau focused on fragile states.

Now, like many Americans in these tough economic times, we have certainly made difficult tradeoffs and painful cuts. We have requested 18 percent less for Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia, preserving our most essential programs and using the savings for more urgent needs elsewhere. We are scaling back construction of our embassies and consulates, improving procurement to save money, and taking steps across the board to lower costs.

Our request of 51.6 billion represents an increase of less than the rate of inflation and just over 1 percent of the federal budget, and this is coming at the very same time that our responsibilities are multiplying around the world.

Today, I want briefly to highlight five priorities.

First, our request allows us to sustain our vital national security missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and reflects the temporary extraordinary costs of operating on the front lines. As President Obama has said, the tide of war is receding, but as troops come home, thankfully, civilians remain to carry out the critical missions of diplomacy and development.

In Iraq, civilians are now in the lead, helping that country emerge as a stable, sovereign, democratic power. This increases our civilian budget, but State and USAID are asking for only one-tenth of the $48 billion the U.S. Government spent on Iraq as recently as 2011. The 2013 U.S. Government-wide request for Iraq, including defense spending, is now $40 billion less than it was just two years ago. So we are doing what must be done to try to normalize our relationship at a far lower cost than what we have been expending.

Over time, despite the tragic violence of this past week, we expect to see similar government-wide savings in Afghanistan. This year’s request will support the ongoing transition, helping Afghans take responsibility for their own security and their own future, and ensuring that this country is never again a safe haven for terrorists.

We remain committed to working on issues of joint interest with Pakistan, including counterterrorism, economic stability, and regional cooperation.

Second, in the Asia Pacific, the Administration is making an unprecedented effort to build a strong network of relationships and institutions, because we believe, in the century ahead, no region will be more consequential to our economic and security future. As we tighten our belts around the world, we are investing the diplomatic attention necessary to do more with less. In Asia, we are pursuing what I call forward-deployed diplomacy – strengthening our alliances, launching new strategic dialogues and economic initiatives, creating and joining important multilateral institutions, even pursuing a possible opening with Burma – all of which underscores America will remain a Pacific power.

Third, we are focused on the wave of change sweeping the Arab world. As the nation transforms, so must our engagement. Alongside our bilateral and security support, we are proposing a $770 million Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund. This fund will support credible proposals validated by rigorous analysis and by Congress from countries that make a meaningful commitment to democratic change, effective institutions, and broad-based economic growth. In an unpredictable time, it lets us respond to unanticipated needs in a way that reflects both our agility and our leadership in the region.

This budget request would also allow us to help the Syrian people survive a brutal assault and plan for a future without Assad. It continues our assistance for civil society and Arab partners in Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, and elsewhere. It provides a record level of support for our ally Israel and it makes possible our diplomacy at the UN and around the world, which has now put in place, with your help, the toughest sanctions that I think any country has ever faced against Iran.

The fourth priority is what I call economic statecraft; in particular, how we use diplomacy and development to create American jobs. We’ve more than 1,000 State Department economic officers working to help American businesses connect to new markets and consumers. We are pushing back every day against corruption, red tape, favoritism, distorted currencies, and intellectual property theft.

Our investment in development also helps us create the trading partners of the future. We have worked closely on three trade agreements that we believe will create tens of thousands of jobs in America, and we hope to work with Congress to ensure that as Russia enters the WTO, foreign competitors do not have an advantage over American businesses.

And finally, we are elevating development alongside diplomacy and defense. Poverty, disease, hunger, climate change can destabilize societies and sow the seeds for future conflicts. We think we need to make strategic investments today in order that we can meet our traditional foreign policy goals in the future. Through the Global Health Initiative, through our Feed the Future Initiative, we are consolidating programs, increasing our partners’ capacity, shifting responsibilities to host countries, and making an impact in areas of health and hunger that will be a real credit to our country going forward.

And as we transform development, we really have to deliver measurable results. Our long-term objective must be to empower people to create and seize their own futures.

These five priorities are each crucial to American leadership, and they rely on the work of some of the most capable, hardest working, and bravest people I’ve ever met: the men and women of State and USAID. Working with them is one of the greatest honors I’ve had in public life.

With so much on the line, from the Arab world to the Asia Pacific, we simply cannot pull back. Investments in American leadership did not cause our fiscal challenges, and retreating from the world will not solve them.

Let me end on a personal note. American leadership means a great deal to me personally. It is my job everywhere I go. And after three years, 95 countries, and over 700,000 miles, I know very well what it means to land in a plane that says the United States of America on the side. People look to us to protect our allies; stand by our principles; serve as an honest broker in making peace; to fight hunger, poverty, and disease; to stand up to bullies and tyrants everywhere. American leadership is not just respected. It is required. And it takes more than just resolve. It takes resources.

This country is an unparalleled force for good in the world, and we all want to make sure it stays that way. So I would urge you to work with us to make this investment in strong American leadership and the more peaceful and prosperous future that I believe will result. Thank you.

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Opening Remarks Before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

Testimony

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Opening Remarks Before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

Washington, DC

February 28, 2012


Thank you very much, Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Graham and members of the committee; it is good to be back here in the Senate again, and I greatly appreciate the excellent working relationship that we have had over the last three-plus years. I wish also to register my concern and my best wishes for Senator Kirk. Of course, I wrote him as soon as I heard about his health challenges, and we all wish him a speedy return.

I also greatly appreciate the travel that both of you have just described having taken. I think it’s absolutely essential to see what is going on in the world with your own eyes and to hear from leaders and citizens with your own ears. So let me express to you and to all members our appreciation.

We know how quickly the world is transforming, from Arab revolutions to the rise of new economic powers, to a more dispersed but still dangerous al-Qaida terrorist threat. In this time, only the United States of America has the reach, resources, and relationships to anchor a more peaceful and prosperous world. The State Department and USAID budget we discuss today is a proven investment in our national and economic security, but it’s also something more. It is a down payment on continuing American leadership.

When I took this job, I saw a world that needed America, but also one that questioned our focus and our staying power. So we have worked together to put American leadership on a firm foundation for the decades ahead. We have ended one war, we are winding down another. We’ve cemented our place as a Pacific power while maintaining our alliance across the Atlantic. We have elevated the role of economics within our diplomacy, and we have reached beyond governments to engage directly with people with a special focus on women and girls.

We are updating our diplomacy and development for the 21st century and finding ways to work smarter and more efficiently. After the first ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, we created two new bureaus focused on counterterrorism and energy, and reorganized a third focused on fragile states.

Now, like many Americans in our tough economic times, we’ve made difficult tradeoffs and painful cuts. We have requested 18 percent less for Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia, preserving our most essential programs and using the savings for more urgent needs elsewhere. We are scaling back on construction, improving procurement, and taking steps across the board to lower costs.

Now, within the Foreign Ops budget, the State Department and USAID are requesting $51.6 billion. That represents an increase of less than the rate of inflation and just over 1 percent of the federal budget, even as our responsibilities multiply around the world.

Today, I want to highlight five priorities.

First, our request allows us to sustain our vital national security missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and reflects the temporary extraordinary costs of operating on the front lines. As President Obama has said, the tide of war is receding, but as troops come home, civilians remain to carry out the critical missions of diplomacy and development.

In Iraq, civilians are now in the lead, helping that country emerge as a stable, sovereign, democratic partner. This does increase our civilian budget, but State and USAID are asking for only one-tenth of the $48 billion the United States Government spent on Iraq as recently as 2011. The 2013 U.S. Government-wide request for Iraq, including defense spending, is now $40 billion less than it was just two years ago. So we think that this is a continuing good investment to stabilize the sacrifice that our men and women in uniform, our civilians, our taxpayers, have made.

Over time, despite the past weeks’ violence, we expect to see similar government-wide savings in Afghanistan. This year’s request will support the ongoing transition, helping Afghans take responsibility for their own future and ensure their country is never again a safe haven for terrorists who can target us.

Next door, we have a challenging but critical relationship with Pakistan, and we remain committed to working on issues of joint interest, including counterterrorism, economic stability, and regional cooperation.

Second, in the Asia Pacific, this Administration is making an unprecedented effort to build a strong network of relationships and institutions in which the United States is anchored. In the century ahead, no region will be more consequential. As we tighten our belts around the world, we are investing the diplomatic attention necessary to do more with less. In Asia, we pursue what we call forward-deployed diplomacy – strengthening our alliances, launching new strategic dialogues and economic initiatives, creating and joining important multilateral institutions, pursuing a possible opening with Burma – all of which underscores that America will remain a Pacific power.

Third, we are focused on the wave of change sweeping the Arab world. As the region transforms, so must our engagement. Alongside our bilateral and security support, we are proposing a $770 million Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund. This fund will support credible proposals validated by rigorous analysis and by Congress from countries that make a meaningful commitment to democratic change, effective institution building, and broad-based economic growth. In an unpredictable time, it lets us respond to all of the unanticipated needs in a way that reflects our leadership and agility in the region.

This budget request would also allow us to help the Syrian people survive a brutal assault and plan for a future without Assad. It continues our assistance for civil society and Arab partners in Jordan, Morocco, and elsewhere. And I want to echo Senator Graham’s emphasis on Tunisia, a country that I think deserves a lot of attention and support from the United States.

The budget also provides a record level of support for Israel and it makes possible our diplomacy at the UN and around the world, which has now put in place, with your help, the toughest sanctions Iran or any nation has ever faced.

The fourth priority is what I call economic statecraft; in particular, how we use diplomacy and development to create American jobs – jobs in Ohio and New Jersey and Maryland and Vermont and South Carolina and Indiana. We have more than 1,000 State Department economic officers working to help American businesses connect to new markets and consumers. We are pushing back against corruption, red tape, favoritism, distorted currencies, and intellectual property theft.

Our investment in development helps create the trading partners of the future, and we have worked closely on the three trade agreements that we believe will create tens of thousands of new American jobs. We hope to work with Congress to ensure that as Russia enters the WTO, foreign competitors do not have an advantage over American businesses.

And finally, we are elevating development alongside diplomacy and defense within foreign policy. Poverty, disease, hunger, climate change can destabilize entire societies and sow the seeds for future conflict. We have to make strategic investments today to meet even our traditional foreign policy goals tomorrow. Through the Global Health Initiative, we are consolidating programs, increasing partners’ capacities, and shifting responsibilities to help target our resources where they are most needed and highest impact, including in areas like maternal and child health. Our Feed the Future Initiative is helping millions of men, women, and children by driving agricultural growth and improving nutrition to hasten the day when countries no longer need food aid at all.

As we pursue these initiatives, we are transforming the way we do development, making it a priority to partner with governments, local groups, and the private sector to deliver measurable results. Ultimately, our goal is to empower people to create and seize their own opportunities.

These five priorities, Mr. Chairman, are each crucial for American leadership, and they rely on the work of some of the most capable, hardest working, and bravest people I have ever met: the men and women of State and USAID. Working with them is one of the greatest honors I have had in public life. So with so much on the line, we simply cannot pull back. And I know this subcommittee understands this.

But for me, American leadership is personal. After three years, 95 countries, over 700,000 miles, I know very well what it means to land in a plane that says United States of America on the side, to have that flag right there as I walk down the stairs. People look to us to protect our allies and stand by our principles and serve as an honest broker in making peace; in fighting hunger, poverty, and disease; to standing up to bullies and tyrants. American leadership is not just respected, it is required, and it takes more than just resolve and a lot of hours in the plane. It takes resources.

This country is an unparalleled force for good in the world, and we all want to make sure it stays that way. So I urge you to work with us to make this investment in strong American leadership and a more peaceful and prosperous future. Thank you very much.

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Public Schedule for February 28, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
February 28, 2012

 


SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

10:00 a.m. Secretary Clinton testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee Foreign Operations Hearing, on Capitol Hill.
(MEDIA DETERMINED BY HOST)

2:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing, on Capitol Hill.
(MEDIA DETERMINED BY HOST)

7:15 p.m. Secretary Clinton attends Secretary Panetta’s dinner for NATO, at the Department of Defense.
(MEDIA DETERMINED BY HOST)

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According to information given to a poll worker directly from the Michigan Democratic Party, there will be a write-in option on the ballot tomorrow, however, write-in votes will not be counted.  The other two possibilities on the ballot are Barack Obama, of course, and “uncommitted.”   Those will be counted.  So, as difficult as it may be, you should probably resist the temptation to write Hillary in and vote “uncommitted” if you oppose Obama as the nominee.  That way you can send uncommitted delegates to Charlotte.

On another note, we need to get 1000 Hillary delegates ( or more!)  from each state at Americans Elect for the online convention in June.  You cannot be validated as a registered voter if you register using fake information.  The site is very secure and trustworthy.  I know the questions are very specific, but they are trying to assure that all delegates are eligible to vote.

Here is the link where you can register.  After you do that, you must go through a few more steps to be a validated voter.

Here is Hillary’s page, but to track and support her, you need to start with the link above.

 

Let’s get those numbers up!

 

 

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This information comes from Victoria Nuland’s  daily press briefing today.   If you are lucky enough to be home, you should be able to catch these on C-SPAN.

Victoria Nuland
Spokesperson
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
February 27, 2012
… Coming off the Secretary’s trip to London for the Somalia conference, to Tunis for the Friends of the Syrian People, and then on along the Maghreb we had a bilateral visit in Tunisia and one in Algeria and one in Morocco. Just to advise that we will not have a daily press briefing tomorrow or Wednesday because the Secretary is testifying all day tomorrow in the Senate and all day on Wednesday in the House. So she will surely be covering the world in those testimonies.

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Here are two more interviews Mme. Secretary did in Morocco.

Interview With Samira Sitail of 2M

Interview

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Sofitel Hotel
Rabat, Morocco
February 26, 2012

 


QUESTION: Madam Secretary, good evening.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good evening to you.

QUESTION: And thank you for accepting our invitation.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.

QUESTION: You’ve been in Morocco several times.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.

QUESTION: It’s a country you are familiar with.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And a country I love. Yes. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: You came the first time, I think, as a first lady.

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s right.

QUESTION: And then as a U.S. chief diplomat.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.

QUESTION: Geostrategically speaking, where does Morocco stand in the U.S. foreign policy today?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We have a strategic partnership with Morocco that we highly value. As I think you may remember, Morocco was the very first country to recognize our young republic, back in 1777. So ever since then, all these years, we’ve had a close relationship, and we cooperate on a full range of issues – economic issues, security issues, a lot of people to people and cultural exchanges. We have a very high regard for Morocco.

QUESTION: Your last visit dates back, I think, two years ago, in 2009. In the meantime, many changes have taken place. Maybe we can say that the most of which the constitutional reform.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.

QUESTION: That was initiated by His Majesty King Mohammed VI. As soon as it was introduced, you held the reform, referring to it as a model. What definition would you give that Moroccan model?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think the way that His Majesty the King and the people of Morocco responded showed great political maturity, and it was a successful transition to a new constitution, to elections that were held and hailed as successful, and now to a new government that is very much in keeping with the democratic trends but within a stable, functioning society and country. So we look at that and we compare it to what is happening elsewhere in the region and around the world, and it is quite admired in the United States.

QUESTION: Speaking of which, there is, of course, a very strong relationship between the two countries, but over and beyond that, do you think we can really boost further especially economic relationship between the two countries? There is, of course, the free trade agreement, the Millennium Challenge Account, but what else?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we are building some additional relationships. We started a program called Partnerships for a New Beginning, where we reached out to countries in the Maghreb, and beyond all the way to Indonesia, Muslim majority countries, and we said, “What more can we do to help create a culture of entrepreneurship and small businesses?”

QUESTION: That’s it.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And the group that was formed here in Morocco of leading businessmen and women has been among our most successful in the world. They just hosted a big conference in Marrakech last month. More than 400 businesspeople and young entrepreneurs came from elsewhere in the region. And Morocco is showing the way, looking at how we incentivize, particularly, young people because there’s what’s called this youth bulge of so many people under 30. And we want to make sure they’re educated and that they have employment opportunities. And I know that’s a particular emphasis of His Majesty the King, of the new elected government, and of the business community here. And we want to be partners.

QUESTION: I remember the – President Obama memorably formulated a new agenda, let’s talk about Africa. He formulated a new agenda for Africa, in light of which do you think the U.S. policy in Africa is about to bring once again economic and human development, or is your concern – your primary concern – to achieve security for the region?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it has to be both because it’s very hard to develop an economy, to attract investors, to start businesses, if you don’t have security. You have to have security that is going to create an environment where people are free to send their children to school, start businesses, do what we would like to see them do. The Millennium Challenge Account, which you mentioned, is a very competitive effort. Morocco competed and won, and I have to tell you many of your neighbors are constantly saying, “We want one.” I said, “Well, we didn’t give it to Morocco. Morocco earned it.” And so what we’ve been doing in the entire continent is setting forth that agenda that President Obama set forth to help stimulate economic growth and more trade and investment. Everybody wants a free trade agreement, and they say, well, Morocco has one. I say they earned it.

QUESTION: Who’s the next?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah. That’s right. So I think we look to Morocco quite often as an example of how you create a climate in which businesses are welcomed, investors are attracted, people have jobs because of that. And that’s what we’re trying to do in other countries throughout the continent.

QUESTION: Still on the same theme of security, the American Administration aims to very well that no security is possible or achievable in the region unless there is a final settlement to the Sahara countries. In this regard, Morocco put forward a proposal for autonomy which was very soon – which the international community very soon (inaudible) by U.S. Administration. So where does the U.S. State Department stand today on this issue?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, where we’ve always stood.

QUESTION: In that particular moment?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. And where we have always stood. We continue to support the UN process. We believe that is the appropriate vehicle. We continue to believe the autonomy proposal is credible. So we encourage the parties to make progress together, and that’s been my consistent position for many years.

QUESTION: But you know, Madam Secretary, Algeria was – through its dealings, is standing in the way of building an economically and politically strong Maghreb in the region. You were yesterday in Algeria. You think we can today believe in the sincerity of Algerian Government in that moment?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I was impressed by the conviction expressed to me that Algeria wants to find a way to move beyond the present situation. There will still be negotiations in the UN over the Western Sahara. But Algeria and Morocco, I hope will open their border, I hope will encourage trade, commerce, exchanges, cooperate on security, because both countries face some common threats coming from the south. So I was strongly urging that. I will be reporting that to the Moroccan Government as well because I would like to see – where there are areas of disagreement – the United States has areas of disagreement with many of our friends, partners, allies around the world. So we work on that area of disagreement, but then we try to expand the area of agreement so that it doesn’t become the only issue, the disagreement, that we’re worried about.

QUESTION: You were just talking about the security and terrorism in this part of the world. Coming back – so coming back to security, and the Sahara region particularly, it turns out today that al-Qaida in the region is posing serious threats to stability. To what extent does U.S. Administration take seriously those threats on the stability of this region?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We take them very seriously because we think that terrorists and extremists are spoilers. They disrupt economies, they destroy lives, they destabilize communities, countries, and regions, if they are permitted to do so. So we have worked very closely with the countries of the Maghreb to establish a security relationship, to share information, to cooperate wherever possible, because we are well aware that our friends such as our Moroccan friends are successful. And that, unfortunately, is often a target for the terrorists because they don’t want people to live lives that are of their own making, having a successful woman like you sitting in this chair —

QUESTION: Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: — in front of the camera. And so we want to help you preserve your way of life, your economic progress, your constitutional changes. And therefore, we have to work against the terrorist threat.

QUESTION: But in concrete terms, how can you encourage, how can you help build this Maghreb which is now necessary for this region?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, one is encourage Morocco and Algeria —

QUESTION: Yes.

SECRETARY CLINTON: — to cooperate more, because you two have so much that you have to do together against the terrorist threat. And the other is what we continue to do. We have joint programs, we have all kinds of cooperation that we offer, and we’re going to do whatever we can to help protect you and the Maghreb.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, let’s talk about the Palestinian issue. Two questions: Is a cause for grave concern to arrive public opinions, and perception around your support, the support of the United States to Israel, is, I would say, (inaudible) bad. If you were to be persuasive, what would you say on that issue?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we should be judged by the very consistent, strong actions we have taken to try to create a two-state solution. It’s something that started with my husband, and I was deeply involved. I was the first high-level American who called for a Palestinian state back in the 1990s. It certainly has continued on both the Republican and the Democratic side in our country. It’s frustrating. I have every reason to understand how frustrating it is because I am often sitting across from a Palestinian leader or an Israeli leader or an Arab leader or a European leader, all of us trying to figure out how we’re going to accomplish it. But I want people here in Morocco to know we are absolutely committed. We believe in the aspirations of the Palestinian people and their right to have a state of their own.

QUESTION: I said earlier that you were in Nigeria, but before that, you were in Tunisia for – you took part in the meeting of the Friends of Syria. You stated that the Syrian regime will pay the price, the higher price, if it continues to ignore the voice of international community. In concrete terms, what do you mean by pay the higher price?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think the regime will fall. I think that – I am not a fortuneteller. I cannot tell you when that will happen. But the Syrian army, which is largely a conscript army, is not going to continue to carry out these brutal assaults on the Syrian people. At some point, the defections will build, there will finally be created enough momentum against the regime from not only the security forces but business leaders, minorities who are worried about what’s happening. So it will happen. It’s just a question of when, and I wish it would happen sooner instead of later so that the killing could stop.

QUESTION: But how do you think you can lead (inaudible) to give up while Moscow and Beijing continue to (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s a very unfortunate situation because Moscow in particular, with its long history with Assad, the family, and the regime, it’s got an opportunity to try to help resolve the crisis. And instead, they stood in the way of the international consensus to do so. But I think even they are starting to get worried. I mean, these terrible pictures coming out of Homs are just heartbreaking, and people all over the world, including inside Russia and elsewhere, are seeing them.

So I do think that the pressure is building, the sanctions are beginning to really affect the economy within Syria, whether people can get what they need in the market. So I wish that this would end as soon as possible to stop the suffering, but the international community is resolved to keep the pressure on, to try to get humanitarian assistance in, and to keep helping the Syrian opposition build itself up so that it has credibility to be able to stand against Assad.

QUESTION: Mrs. Clinton, my last question, maybe you will answer – this is the issue that you are most sensitive, but I’m going to ask you – my last question is not intended for the Secretary of State, of course, but for the American citizen, for the woman you are, for the – Chelsea’s mother. You are – such qualities you enjoy once you go back home, relieved from – of your official obligations, responsibilities. Out of the crises and conflicts going on all around the world, which is the most sensitive to you at that precise moment? Which one?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, right now, Syria. That just is heartbreaking to see the deaths and the brutality. But that’s happening in many other places in the world; it’s just not on a television set.

QUESTION: Yes.

SECRETARY CLINTON: If you go to the Eastern Congo and you meet, as I have, women and children who have been brutalized by militias, or you visit with the survivors of terrible terrorist attacks in Spain or Indonesia, I mean, as a mother – you’re a mother – you ask yourself – all you want is for the world to be more peaceful and your children to grow up and become what God meant them to be, to use their talents to make the world a better place. And it’s distressing and somewhat troubling that here we are in the 21st century, and instead of sitting down and resolving disputes peacefully, people are still using guns or machetes or bombs, and so it’s the level of violence, it’s the unfortunate consequences of that, that really undermine the human community that I remain focused on and will continue to work to try to prevent.

QUESTION: What is, for you, the biggest change in United States before and after September 11? You lived the two periods, as a first lady —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.

QUESTION: — and then as Secretary of State. What is the biggest change in United States?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think the understanding that the United States was attacked. We’ve never been attacked like that, at least since the War of 1812 when the British attacked us. That was a long time ago. But this was such a terrible event in the consciousness of Americans. And I think it’s made Americans more vigilant, more careful about the dangers that exist in the world.

QUESTION: To finish on a cheerful note, Madam Secretary, you are best remembered in Morocco’s mind as a first lady dressed in Moroccan gown, kaftan, while greeting His Majesty King Mohammed VI in the White House. In my memory, the kaftan was red. I don’t know if I’m right, but I think it was red. My question is: Have you bought any more Moroccan gown or kaftans since then?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I certainly do. White and gold —

QUESTION: How many do you have (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I have probably three fancy ones —

QUESTION: Yes.

SECRETARY CLINTON: — and I have about five plain everyday ones. I find them so comfortable to wear, and the fancy ones are so beautiful that I really delight in wearing them.

QUESTION: Well, thank you, Madam Secretary, to have taken the time to enlighten us on those issues, all important. Thank you and good evening.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good evening. Thank you.

# # #

Interview With Michele Kelemen of NPR

Interview

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Sofitel Hotel
Rabat, Morocco
February 26, 2012


QUESTION: You got a busy day here and there’s a lot to talk about. (Laughter.) I’d like, first of all, to ask you what did you tell the Egyptian foreign minister about these cases against democracy promoters? Would you ever let these Americans appear in a courtroom in Cairo?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Michele, obviously we’ve been working on this ever since December, when we learned of the actions against not only American NGOs but NGOs from other countries as well. And we have been engaging at the highest levels of the Egyptian Government.

Our two concerns were, number one, to try to understand what the issues were, since both we and the Egyptian Government believed that our NGOs had been invited to help assist in ensuring that the elections were done in a credible way, which they were. But then also, we know that, ever since the Mubarak regime, there are a wealth of laws that are difficult to follow, even if you are intending to do so, which, of course, we were. And our NGOs kept trying to register so they could be viewed as legally entitled to operate within Egypt. So there was a lot of confusion, and the confusion was at all levels of the Egyptian Government as to what this all meant. So we have been engaging persistently and we hope that this matter will be resolved.

QUESTION: And how many Americans are now sheltering at the Embassy?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I – the exact account, maybe, I think, 16, 17.

QUESTION: Turning to Syria, Syrian tanks have been battering Homs. There’s no sign of aid getting in. What do you and the Friends of Syria do now?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think, as I’ve said, we have to continue to consult with those who truly are Friends of the Syrian People, which of course, includes the United States and the many governments and organizations that gathered in Tunis on Friday. We are doing everything we can to facilitate humanitarian aid. It was distressing to hear that the Syrian Red Crescent and the ICRC, after many hours of negotiation just yesterday, were not permitted to go back into Homs. We are looking to set up and stage areas for getting humanitarian aid in. Secondly, we continue to ratchet up the pressure. It is an increasingly isolated regime. And third, we push for a democratic transition by working with and trying to build up the opposition so they can be an alternative.

QUESTION: But activists say you need, really, humanitarian corridors. You need to get aid in and people out. How do you do that without some sort of outside intervention?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as you know, Michele, many of the people in the Syrian opposition have been quite vocal in their objection to any outside interference. And many of the countries that gathered on Friday are also quite vocal. What we tried to do in the Security Council was to get international support and legitimacy for the Arab League peace plan in order to have some leverage with the Assad regime. And unfortunately, Russia and China vetoed it.

So it’s a distressing and difficult situation. It’s not the first that the world has seen, unfortunately, but we remain engaged at every possible opening to accomplish our three objectives.

QUESTION: But there’s – there was a lot of talk about – and controversy about whether you arm the opposition, help them get arms. Is there anything the U.S. can do short of that, I mean, logistical support for the Free Syrian Army, satellite images to help them set up these humanitarian corridors?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, they don’t have tanks and they don’t have artillery. So I know there’s a lot of frustration, and I share it. This is a deeply, deeply distressing set of events. But you have one of the most highly militarized, best-defended countries on earth, because, of course, they spent an enormous amount of money with their Iranian and Russian friends so equipping themselves. And even if you were to somehow smuggle in automatic weapons of some kind, you’re not going to be very successful against tanks. And so the dilemma is how do we try to help people defend themselves? How do we push the Russians, Chinese, and others, who are, in effect, defending and deflecting for the Assad regime, to realize that this is undermining not only Assad’s legitimacy but theirs as well?

QUESTION: You, in fact, called the Russians despicable on this trip.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, not personally, but in terms of actions, I think continuing to arm a government that is turning its heavy weapons against their own citizens – I mean, there are a lot of words to describe that.

QUESTION: I want you to take a step back a bit and just to look at this political earthquake in the Arab world, as your Turkish counterpart likes to call it. How have you been adjusting to this new environment, and particularly the rise of political Islam, Islamist groups?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, look, I believe in freedom, and I believe in democracy, and I believe in self-determination, and I also believe in human rights and freedom and speech and freedom of religion. And so what we are supporting are – in countries that have every right to have self-determination and to set up their own democracies – the path that they’re on, and at the same time reminding Egyptians and Libyans and Tunisians and others that democracy is not one election one time. It is building institutions. It is carefully nurturing and tending the attitudes, what we call the habits of the heart, from our own early experience, a phrase of de Tocqueville.

And that’s difficult. It’s difficult for any political party or leadership. Everybody wants to believe that they’re best for their country and their people. But it’s important that the United States, which supports the aspirations of all people everywhere, also stand up for the values and principles that make democracy workable over the long term.

QUESTION: You spoke in Tunisia and Algeria about the need for moderate voices. And I wonder if you worry – if you’re worried that they’re being drowned out, that this – these changes across the region are becoming particularly violent. And what does that mean for U.S. interests?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Actually, I am not worried about where we are speaking today, here in the Maghreb. I mean, we’re in Morocco, which has had a very good election that led to new leadership taking place. I’m looking forward to working with them. I was just in Algeria, where they are planning for elections in May. And of course, you were with me in Tunis, where an Islamic-based party was elected but is in government in a coalition with parties representing other parts of view. That’s the way it should be in a democracy, because no matter who you are or where you live, there’s not unanimity of thought or feeling or political philosophy.

So I’m not expressing concern so much as speaking out about what we hope to see, because we’re judging these new governments no only what they say but what they do. And certainly in Tunisia, they are saying all the rights things. They are saying that they will protect women’s rights, that – they are saying that they will protect human rights. And now we want to see that actually take place.

But there is one element, which I am concerned about, and that is how people who were oppressed for so long – and particularly those who are of Islamic persuasion – are so well organized, because they had to be, it was a matter of survival, whereas many other voices in the society, the voices of business leaders, the voices of academia, the voices of young people are not politically organized. So wherever I go, I encourage those who are also hoping to reap the benefits of freedom and democracy to get involved in politics. I mean, politics is no easy game, as I know as well as anyone. But if you’re not at the table, then how can you blame people for pursuing certain programs that you may not agree with?

QUESTION: And you said you’re getting off the high wire of American politics after this job – (laughter) – so is there one thing that you really want to get done in this region before you leave office? You have a few months left. (Laughter.) Or is it just going to be putting out fires?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’ve always said from the very beginning that we do the emergencies, which are the responding to the fires right now; we do the important, which are trying to make sure that the fires don’t get out of control; and then we are looking at the long term. So it’s a constant panoply of all of these challenges.
But in particular, with respect to the Arab Spring, the coming of democracy of the Arab world, I want to see it take root. And, of course, I want to see it understand that elections are not the end, they’re the beginning, that you have to build institutions, you have to have an independent judiciary, you have to have a free press, you have to protect the rights of all minorities, religious, ethnic, you have to certainly empower and protect the rights of women. And this is at the beginning. We’re watching something unfold that is probably a generational enterprise.

So I’m encouraged in many regards by what I’ve seen in Tunisia, what I see in Morocco. The jury is out on Egypt. We’re waiting to see how that will actually be implemented. But the United States will help those who are truly invested in democracy that is not based on elevating some voices over others, imposing philosophical or religious beliefs on others, but truly having the free flow of ideas within a political culture that takes hold in these countries.

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

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Michele.

 

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Video Remarks at Conference for Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Washington, DC

February 27, 2012


I am delighted to be able to send greetings to all of you – our future leaders, and I hope our future diplomats – and welcome you to the State Department during Black History Month. I know many of you have traveled a long way to be here today. Thank you for enlivening and enriching our celebration.

I’m sure the events of the past year across the Middle East have caught your attention—they certainly have caught ours. We see people – especially young people – across the region calling on their governments to be more open, more accountable, and more responsive. We’re busy supporting them as they work to achieve their aspirations.

Beyond the Middle East and North Africa, we’re working to make the American people safer and promote our interests – reducing the threat of nuclear weapons, fighting climate change, promoting Internet freedom, and solving so many other pressing problems.

We’re not only reaching out to governments, but we’re extending our diplomacy to individuals and communities by using new technology like Facebook and Twitter. But there’s much more to do, and that’s where you come in. If we’re going to solve the most pressing problems of our day, we have to tap into your experiences and energy. So keep being ambassadors for your ideals; keep asking questions about our country and our world; and most importantly, consider lending your skills and abilities to the State Department when you graduate. Log on to our websites, follow what we’re doing, and when you graduate, give us a try, because we sure can use you. Thank you.

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