Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for March, 2012

She looks so teensy getting on her plane.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read Full Post »

Remarks With Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Gulf Cooperation Council Secretariat
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
March 31, 2012

 


FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: (In Arabic.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Your Highness. It’s wonderful to be back here in Riyadh. And I thank you for your warm hospitality, and I also wish to thank the secretary general and the GCC for the work that went into preparing this meeting and the hospitality you have provided us.

I was delighted yesterday to have the opportunity to visit with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty, King Abdullah. And I want to thank him again, publicly and personally, for his leadership and hospitality.

The partnership between our two countries goes back more than six decades, and today we are working together on a wide range of common concerns, both bilaterally and multilaterally. For example, both the United States and Saudi Arabia share an interest in ensuring that energy markets foster economic growth. And we recognize and appreciate the leadership shown by the kingdom. We are working together to promote prosperity in both our countries and globally.

In today’s inaugural session of the Strategic Cooperation Forum, I underscored the rock-solid commitment of the United States to the people and nations of the Gulf. And I thanked my colleagues for the GCC’s many positive contributions to regional and global security, particularly the GCC’s leadership in bringing about a peaceful transition within Yemen. We hope this forum will become a permanent addition to our ongoing bilateral discussions that exist between the United States and each nation that is a member of the GCC. We believe this forum offers opportunities to deepen and further our multilateral cooperation on shared challenges, including terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and piracy, as well as broader economic and strategic ties.

Among other things, it should help the American and GCC militaries pursue in concert a set of practical steps, such as improving interoperability, cooperating on maritime security, furthering ballistic missile defense for the region, and coordinating responses to crises. Let me turn to a few of the specific challenges facing the region that we discussed.

I will start with Iran, which continues to threaten its neighbors and undermine regional security, including through its support for the Assad regime’s murderous campaign in Syria, threats against the freedom of navigation in the region, and interference in Yemen. The entire world was outraged by reports that Iran was plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States and by allegations of Iranian involvement in recent terrorist attacks in India, Georgia, and Thailand.

Of course, the most pressing concern is over Iran’s nuclear activities. The international community’s dual-track approach has dramatically increased pressure on Iran through crippling sanctions and isolation, while at the same time leaving open the door if Iran can show it is serious about responding to these legitimate international concerns. It soon will be clear whether Iran’s leaders are prepared to have a serious, credible discussion about their nuclear program, whether they are ready to start building the basis of a resolution to this very serious problem. It is up to Iran’s leaders to make the right choice. We will see whether they will intend to do so starting with the P-5+1 negotiations in Istanbul, April 13th-14th. What is certain, however, is that Iran’s window to seek and obtain a peaceful resolution will not remain open forever.

Turning to Syria, tomorrow leaders from more than 60 nations will gather in Istanbul for the second meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People. We heard this week from Kofi Annan, the special representative of both the United Nations and the Arab League, that the Assad regime had accepted his initial six-point plan, which calls for the regime to immediately pull back its forces and silence its heavy weapons, respect daily humanitarian ceasefires, and stop interfering with peaceful demonstrations and international monitoring.

But the Syrian Government is staying true to form, unfortunately, making a deal and then refusing to implement it. As of today, regime forces continue to shell civilians, lay siege to neighborhoods, and even target places of worship. So today, my fellow ministers and I agreed on the need for the killing to stop immediately and urged the joint special envoy to set a timeline for next steps. We look forward to hearing his views on the way forward when he addresses the Security Council on Monday.

Meanwhile, in Istanbul, the international community will be discussing additional measures to increase pressure on the regime, provide humanitarian assistance, despite the obstacles by the regime, and look for ways to advance an inclusive, democratic, orderly transition that addresses the aspirations of the Syrian people and preserves the integrity and institutions of the Syrian state. I’ll have much more to say about this tomorrow, but I want to acknowledge the leadership of Saudi Arabia and the other members of the GCC during this crisis. They have been strong advocates for the Syrian people, and I applaud their efforts.

Finally, I want to emphasize a security concern that is one that is reflected in the great movements for change across this region. We have to continue working people-to-people. We have to continue finding ways to respond to the legitimate aspirations that civil society represents. And the United States will be reaching out to all of the member nations and the people of these nations to find ways that peacefully recognize those aspirations.

So again, let me thank the foreign minister for his hospitality and his partnership and our continuing close and important consultations. Thank you, sir.

QUESTION: Your Highness, Ms. Clinton, welcome to Riyadh. We’re expecting that —

PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: What?

PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible.)

MODERATOR: We’ll start with Jill Dougherty of CNN. Jill.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. Thank you. I would like to ask a question of both of you about this issue of arming the Syrian opposition. Mr. Foreign Minister, the – Saudi Arabia has said that it does support this idea. We have not heard as much of it in recent days, so I wanted to ask you again: Does Saudi Arabia still support the idea of arming the opposition? And how do you guarantee that those weapons will not get into the hands of terrorists or al-Qaida?

Secretary Clinton, is there any type of flexibility in the U.S. approach to that issue of arming? And just one other question: In terms of this political solution, ultimately, should President Assad decide – if he decides to accept some type political transition, is there any possibility or would it be acceptable to the United States or to Saudi Arabia that he remain in control or power in some fashion or another, or must he completely leave the scene? Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: Well, I think the first part of the question was terrorism. If we believe the propaganda of Syria, there is no real war in Syria. It’s only terrorists making trouble there, and they’re fighting terrorists. Today, they announced that they had finished the uprising in Syria, and yet the cannons continue to fire and tanks continue to move. We are living in a world where truth and falsehood have become mixed. But (inaudible) tell you that what is happening in Syria is a tragedy of tremendous consequence.

So – and this is happening because the Syrians (inaudible). The Syrian Government in Syria have decided that they can resolve everything and control the demonstrations and keep everybody contained by military force. And unless the world, instead of taking decisions to (inaudible) help the Syrians themselves – we didn’t start the fight for them, (inaudible) telling them to fight. But they are fighting because they don’t see any way out. And the killing goes on. So do we let the killing go on, or do we help them at least to get – to defend themselves? Nobody is looking for harmings here.

I think the administration there is doing all it can to do that, and they don’t need any help. The people that need help are the Syrian people who are fighting for their livelihood and for their freedom. And that – yes, indeed, we support the arming of the nationalists.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jill, we had a good exchange on Syria, both in a pre-meeting with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar, and during the GCC Strategic Cooperation Forum in preparation for the meeting tomorrow in Istanbul. And, as you just heard from the foreign minister, King Abdullah has been an outspoken critic of the Assad rule by bloodshed and is committed to assisting the Syrian people. We want to see the Syrian regime fulfill the obligations that it has already made, most recently to Kofi Annan, to end the violence and implement the Annan plan and allow a democratic transition.

Our focus tomorrow will be on four points. First, to intensify the pressure we bring through sanctions. Several of the Gulf countries have been quite advanced in imposing sanctions. We want to see broader international enforced sanctions. Second, getting the humanitarian assistance to those in need. Third, we have to continue working to strengthen the opposition’s unity and democratic vision so that it can represent an alternative to the Assad regime and participate fully in a transition process. They, frankly, have a lot of trouble communicating with one another and communicating from outside Syria into Syria. So we’re all working very hard to assist them. And fourth, we want to discuss how to help the Syrian people prepare to hold those responsible who have been committing these terrible acts of violence.

How we help the Syrian opposition is something we are focused on. We are moving to consider all of our options, and we are talking seriously about providing non-lethal support. We think it’s important to coordinate with our partners in the GCC and beyond. So discussions will continue in Istanbul, and we’ll have more to say after the meeting tomorrow.

QUESTION: I’m sorry. Assad’s staying in power?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We’re going to have more to say tomorrow. But our position is he has to go, that there would be unlikely to be any kind of negotiations with him still in place. But at this point, we want to hear from the opposition, what they’re willing to do, what kinds of steps they would be supportive of.

FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: I doubt that we are going to really (inaudible).

QUESTION: (Inaudible) from (inaudible). My question will be for both of you. And once again, welcome to Riyadh.

You mentioned Iran so many times in your word, and we know the effect of it. They are supporting Syria; they’re supporting Houthis in Yemen. We know (inaudible) in Iraq, et cetera. Is that going to – or would that impact (inaudible) the missile defense system project for the Gulf – is it going to be (inaudible)? And also, you mentioned helping Yemen or supporting Yemen. How would that be? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we believe strongly that, in addition to our bilateral military cooperation between the United States and every member nation of the GCC, we can do even more to defend the Gulf through cooperation on ballistic missile defense. We began that conversation in this forum today. Admiral Fox, the commander of the Fifth Fleet, made a presentation outlining some of the challenges that we face when it comes to ballistic missile defense. But we are committed to defending the Gulf nations and we want it to be as effective as possible.

So just – without getting into a lot of technical discussion, sometimes to defend one nation effectively you might need a radar system in a neighboring nation, because of the – everything from the curvature of the earth to wind patterns, so that were a missile to be launched, you might get a better view more quickly from a neighboring nation, even though the missile could be headed toward a second nation. So we want to begin expert discussions with our friends about what we can do to enhance ballistic missile defense. There are some aspects of a ballistic missile defense system that are already available, some of which have already been deployed in the Gulf. But it’s the cooperation – it’s what they call interoperability that we now need to really roll up our sleeves and get to work on.

With respect to Yemen, the leadership of the GCC has been commendable. Saudi Arabia and its partners in the GCC laid the groundwork for the peaceful transition of power. And we now think that Yemen has a chance to unite around a different leadership. The road ahead is a long one, but I know that Saudi Arabia and other members, the United States, we are all committed to assisting. And it’s not just on the political front. We want to help the people of Yemen. They are in great need of development assistance and other forms of help so that they can begin to realize the benefits of a new government that wishes to try to help them.

FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: (Inaudible) for me? Well, you can see how the diplomacy has not moved as fast as American diplomacy. American diplomacy now can speak military lingo when we do not. We don’t understand. We’re going to request your experts. (Laughter.)

But for (inaudible), I think it’s a country that need help. It’s a country – and old country of long civilization. And it has the (inaudible) power and the ability if they can stop the fighting that happened between (inaudible) fighting that (inaudible), a fact of life in Yemen. And they have agreed to appoint a new president, with 75 percent, I believe. I may be mistaken in the number. (Inaudible), which means that most civilians support it.

This fact alone makes this incumbent on the leadership in Yemen to come up with a program (inaudible) for the Yemeni people to unite them, to bring them together, (inaudible) military, and have the people support the program of the government. If that happens, I think we are very free to talk about development projects and development of Yemen. I haven’t visited any country (inaudible) are not willing to assist in that field. And so in that case, I think the resources (inaudible) for development are there for the taking, if they can establish stability in Yemen.

MODERATOR: Next question, Brad Clapper, AP, please.

QUESTION: Yes. Madam Secretary, given the deep skepticism you and many other international leaders have about Iran’s intentions, what steps would you talk about today with your Arab allies in the event that the talks in two weeks time aren’t successful?

And secondly, if I may, you talked about the good cooperation the U.S. and the Gulf countries have, but only just recently one of the countries present here today essentially delivered a slap in the face to U.S. democracy-building efforts. What does that say about the limits of U.S. cooperation? And are you disappointed by that step?

SECRETARY CLINTON: With respect to Iran, we had an opportunity to discuss the P-5+1 negotiations – what we expect, what we are intending to present when the meetings begin. We’re going in with one objective: to resolve the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. And I had a chance to talk with our friends here about how we are approaching these talks. I also reiterated what the President has said, that our policy is one of prevention, not containment.

We are determined to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The President has made clear there is still time for diplomacy to work, provided Iran comes to the talks prepared for serious negotiations. And we enter into these talks with a sober perspective on Iran’s intentions and its behavior. It is incumbent upon Iran to demonstrate, by its actions, that it is a willing partner and to participate in these negotiations with an effort to obtain concrete results. We will know more when the discussions begin. But I want to underscore that there is not an open-ended opportunity for Iran. These discussions have to be viewed with great seriousness from their very beginning.

With regard to your second questions, we obviously had numerous discussions on every issue with our friends in the Gulf – sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree. But our overriding interests to cooperate, particularly in the security arena, the anti-terrorism arena, are ones that are paramount. And so when we have questions about decisions that are made, we raise them, we discuss them, and often times we can resolve them.

QUESTION: But do you have no direct comment about the NDI?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, you didn’t ask me a direct question. (Laughter.) You were beating around the bush, so I beat around the bush. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Fair enough.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Look, I think that we very much regret it. The foreign minister and I discussed it today. We are, as you know, anyone who’s visited the United States, strong believers in a vibrant civil society, and both NDI and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Office play a key role in supporting NGOs and civil society across the region, and I expect our discussions on this issue to continue.

QUESTION: (In Arabic.)

FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: (In Arabic.)

QUESTION: (In Arabic.)

FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: (In Arabic.)

QUESTION: (In Arabic.)

FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: (In Arabic.)

QUESTION: (In Arabic.)

FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: (In Arabic.)

QUESTION: (In Arabic.)

FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: (In Arabic.)

PARTICIPANT: Okay. We’ll have more question then.

QUESTION: (In Arabic.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: With respect to your last question, I want to just amplify Prince Saud’s remarks. We are all unified on our goal. Our goal is to see the end of the bloodshed and the end of the Assad regime, which has perpetrated this bloodshed. In order to achieve that goal, it is not enough just for a few countries to be involved. We need many more countries to work with us. And some will be able to do certain things, and others will do other things.

So when we talk about assistance, we are talking about a broad range of assistance. Not every country will do the same. The meeting tomorrow in Istanbul will be focused on what countries are able to do, and we will be exploring that further. But our goals are exactly the same, and we are committed to those goals, but we have to be united. And we also need a united opposition, which has been difficult to achieve. They’re making progress. Many countries, including my own, have been trying to help them. But until they are unified, it is hard to provide the kind of assistance that they need in order to be successful.

So we are all on the same path together, and it may not go as fast as we would like, because every day that goes by where innocent people are murdered is a terrible indictment of this regime. But we are committed and we will make progress together.

FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: (In Arabic.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Onto Istanbul. (Laughter.) I think you’ll get there before I go.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read Full Post »

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Meeting With Embassy Staff and Their Families

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ritz Carlton Hotel
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
March 31, 2012

 


AMBASSADOR SMITH: Secretary Clinton, this is our family, Mission Saudi Arabia. We’ve got 34 countries represented. And I will tell you that they’ve done things that, three years ago, none of us would have thought possible. Ladies and gentlemen, your Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning.

AUDIENCE: Good morning.

SECRETARY CLINTON: It is absolutely wonderful to see all of you here this morning and giving me the opportunity to say thank you. Thanks first to Ambassador Smith and to Mrs. Smith. Thanks both to Jim and Janet for their energy and enthusiasm and leadership of this really important mission. It’s exciting to find so many more ways of bringing about the kinds of connections between our countries and the people of our countries that are really at the core of this strong, enduring relationship. And I am so pleased to see families in the audience. I know that that hasn’t been the case for a long time. After years of the one-tour unaccompanied assignments, it’s really progress to see families here, and I’m thrilled that I get to take a look at the children as well as everyone else who is part of this Embassy family.

With your help, the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are working together to promote peace, prosperity, and stability in the region and around the world. We’re building new bridges of understanding and cooperation between Americans and Saudis at all levels. You, because of your work, have reduced visa wait times for over – from over three months to less than two weeks, even as the number of applications continues to grow. That makes it easier for businesses to do business with each other, to expand trade between our countries. It’s easier for students to travel. It’s easier in the promotion of the kind of mutual respect that we value highly between our two peoples. And I’m delighted that the number of Saudi students studying in the United States is at an all-time high. So thank you for all the work that you did to make that possible.

I also see the difference that you are making in the trade delegations that you arrange that are traveling to the United States, looking to invest in power companies, electronics, and other industries. And they’re also bringing new investments back to Saudi Arabia, expanding our bilateral investments now by nearly 30 percent since 2009. And I know that the Ambassador is particularly proud that he personally has led 15 trade delegations to the United States, helping the Obama Administration meet the ambitious goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015.

But probably most importantly are those relationships that you’re forming with activists, with women, with human rights campaigners, youth leaders, students, scholars, so much more. I had a wonderful meeting at the Ambassador’s Residence with some very active women who are involved in all aspects of the kingdom’s social and economic activity. Now I know between sandstorms and social norms, it may be difficult to get around from time to time, but when you do, you talk with students on a one-on-one basis, and it’s really important because that’s what lasts. It’s those personal connections, and I thank you for everything you’re doing. And I know it’s only possible through hard work and sacrifice. Many of you work long days. I know that the heat in the summer and the security challenges year-round often make this challenging, but thank you, because you are making a difference, and I’ve just highlighted a few of the ways that that is happening.

And now, let me say a special word of thanks to our locally employed staff. I want to thank each and every one of you for being part of this incredibly important relationship, working with our Embassy staff. I want to thank those of you who come from other countries to be part of this team. Many of you are away from your families and your homes, and what you’re doing is invaluable. So thank you again. I don’t get to come as often as I would like. There are a lot of countries in the world and I try to get around as much as I can, but I’m always pleased when I do, because I know that this is one of the relationships that is really going to determine the quality of life and the future potential for people not only in our two countries, but people everywhere.

Thank you all very, very much. (Applause.)

Read Full Post »

 

Public Schedule for March 31, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
March 31, 2012

 


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
PUBLIC SCHEDULE
SATURDAY, MARCH 31, 2012

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Istanbul, Turkey through April 1. The Secretary is accompanied by Assistant Secretary Feltman, Assistant Secretary Shapiro, Director Sullivan, VADM Harry B. Harris, Jr., CJCS, Puneet Talwar, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director, NSS. Please click here for more information.

9:20 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Embassy Riyadh staff and their families, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

10:00 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
(POOLED CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

12:30 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton attends the Gulf Cooperation Council-U.S. Strategic Cooperation Forum Ministerial, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE FOR REMARKS)

2:40 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton attends the Gulf Cooperation Council-U.S. Strategic Cooperation Forum Luncheon, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

3:50 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a joint press availability with GCC Chairman and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

Read Full Post »

Public Schedule for March 30, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
March 30, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
PUBLIC SCHEDULE
FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2012

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Istanbul, Turkey through April 1. The Secretary is accompanied by Assistant Secretary Feltman, Assistant Secretary Shapiro, and Director Sullivan. Please click here for more information.

12:50 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
(POOLED CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

2:20 p.m. LOCALSecretary Clinton meets with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
(POOLED CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

Read Full Post »

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Video Remarks to the Embassy Madrid Service Innovation Summit

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 28, 2012

I am delighted to welcome you to this unique Summit, where you will be able to exchange ideas and discuss new ways for individuals, businesses, and governments to work together to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.Service has always been a hugely rewarding part of my own life. As individuals and as members of communities, we all share a responsibility to help those in need, whether they live next door or around the globe.

Today’s challenges, both global and local, demand that each of us take on the responsibility to act. We all have something to teach and something to learn, and no one person or group has all the answers. Nowmore than ever, engaging citizens in addressing social issues can and does spark significant change. That’s why the discussions that you will be having over the next few days are so important. Issues like unemployment and economic development will not be solved by any one actor; it will take governments, corporations, NGOs, active citizens building on each other’s strengths and ideas to develop creative solutions to these problems.

I hope your discussions will inspire a number of new ideas about how we can all work together to serve our communities and our countries. We’re counting on you to pioneer the next generation of innovation in volunteerism. Thank you all for being here and for your commitment to service.

Read Full Post »

 

Public Schedule for March 29, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
March 29, 2012

 


SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Istanbul, Turkey through April 1. The Secretary is accompanied by Assistant Secretary Shapiro and Director Sullivan. Please click here for more information.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: