Archive for April 17th, 2012

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Remarks at the Open Government Partnership Opening Session


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Brasilia, Brazil

April 17, 2012

Thank you very much, and it’s a great pleasure to be here at this first high-level conference of the Open Government Partnership. And I want to commend and thank Brazil, in particular President Rousseff, for the leadership that they have given to this initiative.

As co-chair of the Open Government Partnership for the past year, Brazil and the United States have had a front-row seat to see how swiftly and enthusiastically the community of nations has come together. Fifty-five countries now belong, 47 of which joined in the past eight months alone. A quarter of the world’s people now live in OGP countries, each of which has outlined concrete, credible steps that it will take to open the work of government so citizens are empowered, problems are solved, democracy is strengthened.

I particularly want to thank the Brazilian team. Minister Hage, thank you for your leadership, along with Under Secretary Maria Otero of the State Department. The two of you have worked very hard leading this process, and we are grateful. I want to thank my colleague and friend, the foreign minister of Brazil, and also welcome the other foreign ministers who are representing their country. And we are particularly pleased that the president of Tanzania and the prime minister of Georgia are here, and you will hear from them shortly.

I also want to recognize Minister Maude from the United Kingdom, which will serve as the next co-chair along with Brazil. And I’m confident that this partnership will continue to glow – grow and flourish.

Let me also offer a special welcome to the hundreds of civil society organizations represented here. This is called the Open Government Partnership, but it is equally a partnership with civil society. The mission of OGP is one that civil society has long fought for, and therefore, we need civil society to have an equal stake and an equal voice, because without your advocacy and expertise, this enterprise simply cannot succeed.

When President Rousseff and President Obama launched the Open Government Partnership last fall on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, six other founding governments and eight civil society organizations were present. At that time, President Obama made clear that the purpose of the Open Government Partnership was to advance specific initiatives to promote transparency, fight corruption, and energize civic engagement and to leverage new technologies so that we strengthen the foundation of freedom in our own countries while living up to ideals that can light the world.

In the 21st century, the United States is convinced that one of the most significant divisions among nations will not be north/south, east/west, religious, or any other category so much as whether they are open or closed societies. We believe that countries with open governments, open economies, and open societies will increasingly flourish. They will become more prosperous, healthier, more secure, and more peaceful.

By contrast, those governments that hide from public view and dismiss the idea of openness and the aspirations of their people for greater freedom will find it increasingly difficult to maintain peace and security. Those countries that attempt to monopolize economic activity or make it so difficult for individuals to open their own businesses, they will find it increasingly hard to prosper. And those societies that believe they can be closed to change, to ideas, cultures, and beliefs that are different from theirs, will find quickly that in our internet world they will be left behind.

I know we don’t need to make the case for openness to you. You’re here. But what we have to do is make a convincing case that those of us who have joined up to the Open Government Partnership really mean what we say. It’s not enough to assert that we are committed to openness. We have to deliver on the commitments that we have made.

Let me mention a few examples of how that is already occurring. Chile, Estonia, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Peru, Romania, Spain, and Tanzania are all creating websites to make public data available to citizens on everything from crime statistics to political party financing to local budgets and procurement.

Bulgaria, Croatia, and Tanzania are creating “citizens’ budgets,” to explain in plain, accessible language how public resources are spent.

Ukraine, the Slovak Republic, Montenegro are introducing “e-petitions” on websites to make it easier for citizens to send their ideas and opinions directly to policymakers, and I want to commend the Slovak Republic and Montenegro for also introducing whistle-blowing protection laws to ensure that those who expose corruption are not punished or harmed.

Now other countries have also pledged to make the location and status of natural resources transparent, map the location of water access points, pass national anticorruption legislation, create innovation funds for development of technologies that support openness, strengthen protections for the media, create social networking websites on drug trafficking so citizens can anonymously and safely report suspicious activity.

These initiatives are designed to reduce corruption because we know corruption kills a country’s potential. It drains resources. It protects dishonest leaders. It takes away people’s drive to improve themselves or their communities. So the cure for corruption is openness, and by belonging to the Open Government Partnership, every country here is sending a message to their own people that we will stand for openness. And we’re going to hold ourselves accountable. As this process moves forward, we’re going to have to have report cards about whether we are living up to our own pledges of openness or not.

Now for our part, the United States is committed to 26 initiatives designed to increase public integrity, promote public participation, improve public services, and do a better job of managing public resources. We are joining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative to bring more transparency to our oil, gas, and mining industries, and you’ll hear more about this from my colleague, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, later today.

Additionally, I announced in Busan, South Korea that we will join the International Aid Transparency Initiative. We’ve created websites where people can get clear information about government regulations and consumer information on products and services, and we’ve launched a website where citizens can send a petition directly to the White House. This adds up to a collection of far-reaching, practical, and, we believe, achievable ideas, and that’s important. Because if ideas just remain theoretical, they are not much use to anyone, so we need to match our aspirations with our actions.

Now one theme running through these national action plans is technology, because in the digital age, we now have tools that previous generations of open government advocates couldn’t even dream of. New technologies make it both possible and useful to do things that were once impractical or prohibitively expensive, like releasing enormous quantities of public data, or making national budgets easily available online. And of course, new connection technologies empower citizens to connect with one another and their leaders, as we have seen in this past year of the era of awakening.

I’ve seen how technology is transforming the way that we and other nations do diplomacy and development, and later today, I will be sending policy guidance to every U.S. Embassy worldwide on modernizing technology through diplomacy. We want to open up the State Department not only to U.S. citizens, but to people everywhere, because in keeping with the principles of open government and this partnership, we believe that when people are empowered to speak their minds and leaders are held to account for their actions, we all do better.

But of course, technology isn’t some kind of magic wand. Ultimately, it is political will that determines whether or not we hold ourselves accountable. Corruption, closed doors, the consolidation of power, these are as old as human nature itself. The new tools of the digital age will not change human nature. Only we can do that. But through this partnership, we can advance progress together.

My country, like those represented here, were founded on noble ideals. President Lincoln memorably described our government as of the people, by the people, and for the people. And these words ring true as to what all of us believe government should be and should do. As we’ve seen in this past year, the remarkable events in North Africa and elsewhere have really opened that potential wider than ever, and I am personally so pleased that we have, as a member of the Open Government Partnership and represented here at this conference, representatives from the Government of Libya, a government that before this year could never have participated in an Open Government Partnership.

So we now have a chance to set a new global standard for good governance and to strengthen a global ethos of transparency and accountability. And there is no better partner to have started this effort and to be leading it than Brazil, and in particular, President Rousseff. Her commitment to openness, transparency, her fight against corruption is setting a global standard. So the United States is proud to be co-chairing with Brazil, and we intend to do all we can to help make the Open Government Partnership a leader in ensuring that the 21st century is an era of openness, transparency, accountability, freedom, democracy, and results for people everywhere. Thank you. (Applause.)

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Remarks With Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Itamaraty Palace

Brasilia, Brazil

April 16, 2012


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Antonio. And it is a great pleasure, as always, to be back in Brazil, especially just one week after the very constructive meeting that was held between our two presidents. We have deepened and broadened our cooperation on so many issues, and our Global Partnership Dialogue is now bringing together our experts on both sides to discuss in depth what we can do advance our cooperation on the economy, on education, on some of the key challenges such as cyber security that we are both dealing with.

And it is exciting for us to be in this partnership because we have a long history together. In the 19th century when Brazil won its independence, the U.S. was the first country to recognize Brazil. And in the 20th century, when a U.S. Secretary of State made the first ever official visit to a foreign country, it was to Brazil – Secretary Elihu Root, who came here in 1906. So we now – Antonio and I decided that we have to have a 21st century partnership, the time for us to be really looking at the opportunities and challenges we face and how we can do better together.

A week ago, Antonio and I were together in Washington at a standing-room-only business meeting at the United States Chamber of Commerce. And earlier today, I was privileged to speak to a business group of Brazilian business leaders. We know that we’re making progress in bilateral trade and investment, creating jobs for both of our peoples, but there’s more to do. I will be sending an innovation delegation to Brazil later this year with some of our top entrepreneurs, educators, and tech leaders to meet with their Brazilian counterparts.

And this is – in addition to the very exciting partnerships which President Rousseff highlighted when she was in the United States, particularly with her visits to Harvard and MIT, through the Science without Borders initiative, Brazil will send 100,000 students to study science and technology at foreign universities. Many of them will be welcomed in the United States. And we, in turn, under President Obama’s initiative, 100,000 Strong, want to send a hundred thousand U.S. students to Latin American universities. And of course, we expect many to come here to Brazil.

In the meeting this afternoon, we received an update on the U.S.-Brazil global partnership. We discussed Latin America, of course. We discussed Africa. We discussed some of the hotspot issues at the time, now of Iran, Syria, and so much else. But I think it’s important to emphasize that at the heart of this partnership are values. We are two of the largest democracies in the world, two of the most diverse countries in the world. We share a commitment to opportunity for all people. And tomorrow, President Rousseff and I will kick off the high-level meeting of the Open Government Partnership here in Brasilia, which she and President Obama launched eight months ago. This Open Government Partnership is intended to fight corruption, promote transparency, empower citizens to make the case that both Brazil and the United States believe so strongly that democracy delivers results for people.

So it’s exciting that we’re building these habits of cooperation between our governments, our private sectors, our universities, our civil societies, and our citizens. And I’m looking forward to the work ahead. We’ve set up a very busy agenda for ourselves, but we are committed to doing everything we can to help lay the foundation for this 21st century partnership.

Thank you, Antonio.

MODERATOR: (In Portuguese.)

QUESTION: (In Portuguese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say that the United States absolutely admires Brazil’s growing leadership and its aspiration to join the United Nations Security Council as a permanent member. We believe that the long-term viability of the United Nations Security Council depends upon updating it to the 21st century to recognizing that it has to reflect the world that exists today, not the world that existed when it was formed. So for that reason, we are committed to serious, deliberate reform efforts in the UN, not only on the Security Council, but frankly, in a number of areas of UN process and functioning.

And in fact, I think we believe that the United States has shown a greater commitment to real UN reform than many of our counterparts on the Security Council. But we also have learned that until other countries are committed to UN reform, we’re not going to make the progress that we need, and I think it would be very hard to imagine a future UN Security Council that wouldn’t include a country like Brazil with all of its progress and the great model it represents of a democracy that is progressing and providing opportunity for its people.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary?


QUESTION: On Afghanistan, a number of U.S. officials have said that the Haqqani Network is behind the attack in Kabul and elsewhere over the weekend. In your conversation with Foreign Minister Khar, what sense did she give you that the Pakistanis would be willing to go after the Haqqani Network? (Inaudible) deepen counterterrorism involvement, but it’s fallen by the wayside.

And if I may on North Korea – (laughter) – double (inaudible) questions. You spoke to Foreign Minister Yang on Friday, and I was wondering what sense you got from him (inaudible) pressure on North Korea, who was about to go ahead with the nuclear test.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first with regard to Afghanistan, the United States strongly condemns yesterday’s cowardly attacks. Once again, we extend our condolences to the victims and their families. I spoke to Ambassador Ryan Crocker in Kabul yesterday, first to check to see how everyone was doing. Thankfully, despite the attacks, the Embassy and our personnel associated with it were safe. We also were impressed by and I conveyed my appreciation to the Afghan National Security Forces for the effective response which they provided. Remember, they were in the lead on this. They were the ones who ended the sieges, captured the insurgents, and are in the process of compiling evidence about the nature and origin of this attack.

Now, I think it’s fair to say that despite how contemptible these attacks were, they were not successful. They were another failed effort by extremists to try to undermine the slow but steady progress that Afghanistan is making to stability. And as the transition to security leadership by the Afghans themselves continues, we know there will be more challenges, because it’s not in the interests of all of these adversaries to see Afghanistan be able to provide security for itself. So they will continue to test, they will continue to assassinate, they will continue to attack, and we are going to stand with the people and the Government of Afghanistan. We are going to continue to work with the Afghan National Security Forces along with our NATO-ISAF partners, and we believe and we have evidence of this that the insurgency is failing despite their ability to launch spectacular attacks from time to time.

The investigation over the origin of these attacks is ongoing, but there are already indications of Haqqani involvement. The Haqqani Network is a very determined foe of the stability, security, and peace of the Afghan people. So we’ll see what the full investigation shows, but it’s not premature to refer to the evidence that is being compiled.

When I spoke with the Pakistan foreign minister, Foreign Minister Khar today, I certainly expressed my strong conviction that there has to be a concerted effort by the Pakistanis with the Afghans, with the others of us, against extremists of all kinds whether they threaten the Pakistani people, the Afghan people, or the American Embassy. And when I was in Pakistan last October, I made it very clear both publicly and privately that Pakistan had to work with us to squeeze the Haqqani Network. And I’m going to continue to make that point, to press it hard, and our consultations with the Pakistanis are proceeding, but the Haqqani Network is a threat to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the people of the region. So we’re going to take it very seriously.

With respect to North Korea, look, we are working to ensure that the new North Korean leadership hears unequivocally from the international community that their provocative behavior will not be rewarded, and the fact that the UN Security Council unanimously approved a presidential statement deploring the North Korea failed satellite launch underscores that it violated UN resolutions and that these actions constitute a threat to regional peace and security and that there will be consequences to this behavior. There unfortunately have to be consequences.

We very much, very much hope to see a different attitude from the Government of North Korea – not with the United States or Japan or South Korea first and foremost, but for their own people. And so as you may know, we were negotiating the potential of trying to assist them and had reached agreement with them to try to provide nutritional assistance since they cannot feed their own people. Unfortunately, they decided to launch this – or to attempt to launch this missile, which was clearly in violation of the UN Security Council. So the Security Council has directed the North Korean Sanctions Committee to designate more North Korean companies for asset freezes to identify further sensitive nuclear and missile technologies that will be banned from sale to Pyongyang, among other measures. And we have all agreed – that includes China – that there will be further consequences if they pursue another provocative action.

So let me say this again: Here in Brasilia, a country that has demonstrated what good leadership, what a partnership between the people and the government can produce, the new, young leadership of North Korea has a very stark choice. They need to take a hard look at their policies, stop the provocative action, open to the rest of the world, work to educate their people, feed their people, put their people first ahead of their ambitions to be a nuclear power, and rejoin the international community. We would welcome that.

QUESTION: (In Portuguese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me begin, and then perhaps the minister would also add some comments.

I did meet with Graca Foster this morning and came away very impressed with her personally and also with the commitment Petrobras has to maximizing the benefits for the Brazilian people of the extraordinary potential of the pre-salt deepwater reserves. And we discussed a long list of issues, because what Brazil is doing is complicated and demanding, expensive, and there are ways in which our government and our international oil companies, along with others from elsewhere in the world who have expertise and experience, technologies, innovative approaches, can partner with Petrobras under the conditions that are set by the Brazilian Government. She is a very knowledgeable person and extremely practical. She knows that a lot of what is going to be happening in deepwater drilling off the coast of Brazil will take a very high level of investment. And insofar as it is possible, the United States and our companies stand ready to participate.

We discussed Chevron. Obviously, we want to be a good partner to Petrobras and Brazil. There are problems in deepwater drilling. We suffered through them in our own Gulf of Mexico. So we know how challenging this path is, but we also know how important it is for Brazil to do this. And it was an excellent discussion. We had some of our experts with us. We’re setting up an ongoing dialogue to get very practical. I am not the person to talk to about wellheads, but there are a lot of people in our government and in our private sector who you could talk to about wellheads and different pressures and the like.

So I think she put it well. She said she wanted a very material agenda, that we would talk about what Petrobras’s needs were; and insofar as we had anything to offer, we would make that available. And it’s of course up to Petrobras and the Brazilian Government to decide the way forward.


QUESTION: (Inaudible) Argentina, Madam Secretary. (Inaudible) Argentina (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh. Well, I think that’s going to be a decision that will be rightly debated, and I’m not going to offer an opinion. I don’t know all the details. But I think competition and having an open market for energy and other commodities is a much preferable model. And the decisions that are taken by nations are ones that they have to justify and live with. But clearly, I think the model of openness, outreach, competition, market access are ones that have proven successful the world over.

MODERATOR: Reuters, last question.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, in Syria violence is clearly still continuing. There are reports of four people killed in Homs, (inaudible) the two in Hama, all today. Given that the ceasefire seems to be unraveling before it’s even managed to take hold, you must be thinking about what to do if it does indeed fail to take hold. How do you plan to respond (inaudible)?

And on Iran, the Iranian foreign minister said that if the P-5+1 were to start – start easing sanctions, it would be much easier to resolve the nuclear issue. (Inaudible) sanctions before Iran ceases uranium enrichment, as is called for in so many UN Security Council resolutions?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Arshad, I’m not going to prejudge the outcome of the process in Syria, because the first tranche of UN monitors is beginning to deploy today. Clearly the burden is on the Assad regime to demonstrate their commitment to all aspects of Kofi Annan’s six-point plan. And we’re not interested in your promises; we’re not interested in new conditions or new excuses. We want action. I think the world wants action. That’s why the Security Council acted in a unified way to support Kofi Annan’s initiative.

Much of Syria is quieter, but I agree with you that the people of Homs continue to endure renewed shelling by the regime. So we know the ceasefire is not complete, but it appears as though the violence is down significantly. So rather than setting conditions on the monitors, what the Assad regime needs to do is to make clear that they’re going to silence their guns, withdraw their troops, and work toward fulfilling the six-point plan. That means, as it has always meant, pulling out of the towns and cities; allowing peaceful demonstrations like what we saw over the weekend, where thousands of Syrians came out to demonstrate peacefully; releasing political prisoners; and allowing a peaceful transition to begin.

So this week will be critical in evaluating the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2024. And we’re hoping for the best. We want to see a peaceful period for the people of Syria and we want to see a political process begin. But if violence is renewed, if the regime reverts to shelling its own people and causing a great deal of death and injury, then we’re going to have to get back to planning what our next step is. So we’re planning for a good outcome, positive results, and we’re talking with others on the Security Council and beyond about what would be next steps if that does not prove successful.

Switching to Iran, look; the initial discussions between the P-5+1 and Iran were serious and focused on the nuclear issue. The P-5+1 was unified in calling for Iran to demonstrate the peaceful intent of its nuclear program and to fully comply with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Iran agrees that the terms of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty should serve as the framework for the discussions going forward, and we set the next round for Baghdad for the end of May.

We want this to be a sustained effort. Between now and the next round, there will be experts meetings, there will planning, and we have to address the concerns of the international community. We’re going to take this one step at a time; but clearly, any process would have to have reciprocal expectations and actions, and there has to be evidence by Iran that they would be seriously moving toward removing a lot of their nuclear ambiguities that exists now, that they would be much more open and transparent, and they would take steps to respond to the UN Security Council resolutions and the international community’s concerns.

So we are watching. You’ve heard me say before I believe in action for action. But I think in this case, the burden of action falls on the Iranians to demonstrate their seriousness. And we’re going to keep the sanctions in place and the pressure on Iran as they consider what they’ll bring to the table in Baghdad, and we’ll respond accordingly.


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Public Schedule for April 17, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
April 17, 2012




Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel in Brasilia, Brazil. Secretary Clinton is accompanied by Under Secretary Otero, Assistant Secretary Jacobson, Assistant Secretary Fernandez, Spokesperson Nuland, Director Sullivan, and VADM Harry B. Harris, Jr., JCS. Please click here for more information.

10:00 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton participates in the Open Government Partnership Opening Session, in Brasilia, Brazil.

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