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Archive for October, 2012

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Remarks to the Inauguration of the 2012 National Work-Life and Family Month Event

 

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

George C. Marshall Conference Center

Washington, DC

October 25, 2012

 


Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you. I’m actually trying to overlook that, but – (laughter). But thank you for that warm welcome.

I’m very pleased to be here today and see so many of you from across the State Department who are committed to helping to make this a better workplace for all of us. In particular, I want to thank the Work-Life Division in Employee Relations and the members of Balancing Act and Executive Women at State for their important leadership.

I think that this is an issue that is not a woman’s issue. It is a human issue, and a family issue. After all, there is little doubt that balancing work and family responsibilities is done in one way or another by people everywhere, every day. And I believe strongly that we need to open this issue up for discussion, to assist in solving problems, to help build a strong workforce and strong families. And as Melanne has said, I’ve been fighting for such policies for a very long time.

Before I had my daughter, it was theoretical, you know? (Laughter.) After I had my daughter, it was urgent. (Laughter.) And it’s also similarly gone from an afterthought in policy discussions to the centerpiece of debates. And we are committed to elevating discussion about this issue and making sure it is taken seriously at the highest levels of both the public and the private sector.

Now, there is no question we have certainly made progress during the course of my lifetime because I do remember how things used to be. Many years ago when I was pregnant, I was in a law firm. I was the only female partner. And they’d never had a female partner, and certainly not a pregnant female partner. And they literally just were not sure what to do with me. I would walk down the corridor, getting more and more pregnant. (Laughter.) And the men in the firm would, like, look away – (laughter) – never say a word, and I just kind of thought I’m just going to wait to see if anybody says anything to me – (laughter) – about the fact that I’m going to have a baby.

So, nobody ever did. And eventually, February 27th, 1980, I gave birth to my daughter. And I was in the hospital when one of my partners called to say congratulations, and then in the course of it asked, “Well, when are you coming back to work?” (Laughter.) And I said, “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe in four months.” And that’s how I created the firm’s first-ever maternity leave policy. (Laughter and applause.)

And a lot has changed since then, but we still have work to do. And sometimes conversations about balancing family and work lead to arguments instead of a search for agreement. And it is absolutely clear there is no right or wrong way to have a family, or even whether you do have a family. There is no right or wrong way to build a career, or even if you do have a career. Women and men need to find approaches that work for them, and that approach may change over the course of your life. What seems possible and doable in your 20s may not be so clear as you get older, and vice versa.

I have friends who had their first child at 17, and friends who had their first child at 45. Those are very different life experiences. But what is so great about especially being a woman in the United States of America in the 21st century is you have so many more choices and decisions that you can make that are right for you, whether anybody else would make the same choice. And you have to construct that life. Now, some people get nervous by all that choice because it seems somewhat daunting. But I think it’s a great advantage.

It’s also true, as Melanne said, that it’s no longer enough to talk about balancing family and work and only look at the challenges of parenting because so many of us will have the privilege and responsibility of caring for aging relatives. It might be a grandparent or a parent or an aunt or uncle, someone who is aging. My mother lived with me until her death a year ago. And it was wonderful that she was in good health, but it was also something I had to consciously think about to ensure that we were getting a step ahead of what her health needs were and her physical challenges. And it took time, which I was happy to give, but it’s something that more and more of us are going to be having to do.

We all have complicated lives, men and women, parents and non-parents. And in addition to thinking through the choices that are right for you, we should all be able to count on our workplaces and our country to give us more support as we balance these important responsibilities. So there is no question that this is a subject of interest for every manager here at the State Department. When the Department provides options that help our employees lead more balanced lives, I don’t think it takes a leap of logic to conclude that people are less stressed and therefore healthier and happier.

Probably the most stressed people outside of the military field or occupations that are physically dangerous are people who are caregivers. It is an enormously stressful life experience, and I’ve known many people who have taken it on gladly, but whose health has suffered, whose life has become more circumscribed, and whose work often makes absolutely no accommodation for the responsibilities that have to be met.

We want people who are productive and dedicated here at the State Department. And research indicates that people who work in more flexible offices are over 20 percent more likely to stay with that employer over time, and that’s an important thing for us to remember as we work to keep talented people here at the State Department.

In the QDDR, we call for the establishment of a real 21st century workforce, because if we want to succeed in recruiting, retaining, and motivating our work force, we have to address the issues that are being discussed today. So over the last few years, we’ve identified new ways to help you maintain and achieve a better balance. We’ve expanded options for childcare through Diplotots and the FSI daycare center. We’ve installed lactation rooms for new mothers throughout the Department. We’re starting to think differently about how we manage our staff recognizing that what you do may be important than where and when you do it, so we are becoming more open to options like telework.

Additionally, HR, the Office of Medical Services, and the A Bureau are building a holistic Wellness Program for employees that will examine the effects of stress and of work-life conflict on our health. And we’re looking into additional resources for emergency childcare so parents will have a safe place to leave their kids during a crisis.

I remember so well when we had what I think is still called “Snowmageddon” a few years ago, and there was some very important work that needed to get done, because the rest of the world was not under two feet of snow, and one of our dedicated employees in the operations center was a single mom, had nowhere to leave her son, and called and asked her supervisor, and the supervisor asked somebody on my staff, and somebody on my staff asked me if I would have any problem with her bringing her son to work if we sent the four-wheel vehicles out to pick them up. I said, “Of course not.” I mean, how could we expect this person to do this work under a time pressure that is very intense when she has to leave her son at home alone? I don’t think so.

So I think we’ve got to be smart about how we keep people productive and engaged. And speaking personally, there is nothing you can say to me that makes me happier than say something nice about my daughter. And there was nothing when I was a practicing lawyer and trying to balance everything together that made me less stressed than knowing that if I couldn’t be there, somebody trustworthy was or we could work out some like-minded arrangement.

Now, much of the responsibility for building a workplace that is supportive of work-life balance does fall on senior leadership. And my team and I have committed to doing our part. But we all play a critical role in supporting a more flexible workplace. So it is truly heartening to see groups like this come together to put on events like this.

Now, I also know that sometimes there are concerns surfaced that people who don’t have children, or people who don’t have aging parents, become a little put out because people who have either and have to fulfill those responsibilities may be getting to leave work early or doing something from home or whatever it might be. And obviously no one should ever take advantage of the flexibility that is provided to help support all of us in getting the right balance going.

But at the same time, I think it is important always to put yourself in the other person’s shoes because there are a lot of things that I’ve never experienced but that I have to think about when I meet people who have. And if I have over the course of my long career had employees who were having mental health challenges and needed time off, or who had physical illnesses – serious physical illnesses – and even after they were released by their doctors were not quite up to full speed yet, I haven’t thankfully had those problems, but I thought what it would be like, having gone through that, if all of a sudden coworkers and bosses began to write you off because you were no longer able to perhaps stay as late as you once did.

So I think there is an importance to focusing on work, to being as productive as possible, to doing what is expected and, whenever possible, going beyond what is expected, but also to be very clear that you have other responsibilities and you want to be able to fulfill them as well.

So this is a conversation that has gone on for years. I expect it will continue to go on for years more, and everyone has to set their own goals and their own boundaries, but the workplace and government can help make it easier. Melanne referenced the Family and Medical Leave Act, which was the first bill that my husband signed. And before he was President, I worked on that back in the 1980s with a coalition of women’s groups and other groups that were committed to trying to avoid the loss of a job when something serious, particularly an accident or an illness, happened to you.

We didn’t cover everybody, but we laid down an important marker for our country that people work to live, even though we love our work, and that we as a nation, as a society, have to try to be more supportive of that. And someone who has been on the forefront of talking about and advocating for these kinds of changes for many years now is Ellen Galinsky.

I first worked with Ellen on the White House Conference on Child Care that Melanne mentioned. She truly is a pioneer in this area, having spent her entire career advocating for more flexible workplaces. She is the president and co-founder of the Families and Work Institute, which is one of the foremost organizations in the world in this field. And she’s an expert at the balancing act herself, having led this illustrious career while raising two children of her own. So I know you are in for a real treat to hear from not only an expert but a practitioner. So please join me in welcoming Ellen to the podium. (Applause.)

 

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Public Schedule for October 25, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
October 25, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
PUBLIC SCHEDULE
THURSDAY OCTOBER 25, 2012

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

9:15 a.m. Secretary Clinton meets with the regional bureau secretaries, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

11:00 a.m. Secretary Clinton delivers remarks at the Inauguration of the 2012 National Work-Life and Family Month event, at the Department of State.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

4:10 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with Special Representative Grossman, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

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In the dust up around the leaked emails and among the events of her busy day, Hillary Clinton made the following remarks regarding the emails and the attack on the Benghazi consulate in a press availability today.

Now finally, on Benghazi, look, I’ve said it and I’ll say it one more time. No one wants to find out what happened more than I do. We are holding ourselves accountable to the American people, because not only they, but our brave diplomats and development experts serving in dangerous places around the world, deserve no less. The independent Accountability Review Board is already hard at work looking at everything – not cherry-picking one story here or one document there – but looking at everything, which I highly recommend as the appropriate approach to something as complex as an attack like this.

Posting something on Facebook is not in and of itself evidence, and I think it just underscores how fluid the reporting was at the time and continued for some time to be. What I keep in mind is that four brave Americans were killed, and we will find out what happened, we will take whatever measures are necessary to fix anything that needs to be fixed, and we will bring those to justice who committed these murders. And I think that that is what we have said, that is what we are doing, and I’m very confident that we will achieve those goals.

This was in partial response to a complex series of questions from CNN’s Elise Labott.

Later in the day, at the daily press briefing,  AP’s Matthew Lee further pursued the story of the emails.  In response, Victoria Nuland shed a great deal of light on the nature of those emails.  What kind of emails they were and from where provides perspective on their significance and much needed context. Here is the exchange.

TRANSCRIPT:

MS. NULAND:All right. Happy Wednesday, everyone. The Secretary did all they work this morning, so we can handle this with dispatch, I hope. I have nothing at the top.

QUESTION: She did all of the work this morning?

MS. NULAND: She did a lot of the work, yeah.

QUESTION: Well, let’s just start with something that she did say, which was about these emails that have been – that are being reported on now. Do you have anything to add to what she said about them? And can you explain – these were emails sent by this building to various other agencies, including the White House. Do you know, was it people in this building who noticed the claim of responsibility on Facebook and Twitter, or was it people in Tripoli or somewhere else?

MS. NULAND: Well, first of all, in terms of where this piece fits into the general effort to gather information before, during, and after the events in Benghazi, I think the Secretary’s spoken to that, Jay Carney’s spoken to that. The reason you have an ARB is so that you can look at all of the information that we had, not only unclassified information and information —

QUESTION: Fair enough, but I —

MS. NULAND: — that appeared on Facebook.

QUESTION: But considering these things are now out there, can you —

MS. NULAND: So just to give some context, as you know, our Operations Center is responsible for providing fast-breaking news to principals in this Department. We obviously share with other national security agencies. So on the unclassified side, they will collect information that they are seeing in real time, whether it’s from Facebook, Twitter, press reporting, all of your fine work, that kind of thing, and make sure that people see it if it’s a breaking story. So what —

QUESTION: Sorry. So it was the Ops Center specifically that noticed this claim of responsibility?

MS. NULAND: I think the —

QUESTION: Or was it the Crisis – the Rapid Response Team or – I’m just looking for – or was it someone out in the field?

MS. NULAND: That particular piece was disseminated —

QUESTION: I know where it was disseminated from.

MS. NULAND: by our Operations Center. Whether it was —

QUESTION: Where did they get it from?

MS. NULAND: Whether they saw it themselves or whether it was highlighted by our people in the field, I can’t speak to that. I, frankly, don’t know. It can happen any of a number of ways.

QUESTION: In instances such as this, is it standard practice to relay all claims of responsibility sort of no matter —

MS. NULAND: Yes.

QUESTION: — where they come from, who they might be?

MS. NULAND: Yes.

QUESTION: So I mean, it could be somebody waving a flag in the air and saying, “I’m responsible,” and that would also be reported?

MS. NULAND: Yes.

QUESTION: So there’s no sort of value judgment on the reliability of the claim implied by having it relayed through this system that you have?

MS. NULAND: And in fact, there are instances where the Ops Center might send out messages that three different groups are claiming responsibility for the same event. But it’s standard practice for them, when we have breaking news, for them to inform all of the principals in this building so that everybody knows what’s moving.

QUESTION: Well, fair enough. But I mean, if a claim is ludicrously unbelievable – I don’t know, I mean, like if someone forged the Quaker Church or something and said that they were – that would be passed on as well?

MS. NULAND: Well, they obviously use their judgment as to whether they think it’s important for principals in this building to be aware of what’s out there, particularly what’s out there in the public domain.

QUESTION: Okay. So it was deemed important enough – and I’m going to assume that important enough means that it was presumably credible to pass on to other – to pass on to the principals in other agencies, correct?

MS. NULAND: Again —

QUESTION: I’m just – I mean, if I had said that I take responsibility for this, would that have gone up the chain?

MS. NULAND: They definitely would not have passed on your personal claim of responsibility, Matt.

QUESTION: Okay. All right. Fine. So – because it wouldn’t have been credible. Now maybe – I mean, it wouldn’t – what I’m getting at is that if it wasn’t a claim that had the possibility of credibility, it wouldn’t have been passed on, correct?

MS. NULAND: What I’d like to say here is that in keeping folks informed, the Ops Center obviously is looking at the totality of what’s out there in the public domain. When things begin to become picked up, when they become something that people are talking about, they obviously have a responsibility to inform principals. But it is not the job of the Operations Center in passing these things on to analyze them, to weight them in any way, shape, or form. They’re just —

QUESTION: Well, but in fact, they are weighting – had there been a hundred claims of responsibility that night and 99 of them had been from a group or a person that couldn’t possibly have done it, they wouldn’t have passed those on, correct?

MS. NULAND: In all likelihood, if there had been a hundred claims of responsibility that night, they would have done a summary which said more than a hundred groups, including Matt Lee, have claimed responsibility for this attack, is what they would have reported.

QUESTION: And then said that —

MS. NULAND: And not evaluated them one way or the other.

QUESTION: Really? So they would have given my alleged claim of responsibility equal weight with that of a known terrorist group in Libya?

MS. NULAND: Again, Matt, you’re – we’re getting into crazy land here. My point is simply that if the environment is saturated with claims of responsibility, they’re going to make sure that principals know that we’ve got competing claims. That’s my only point here.

QUESTION: And again, just while we’re on this sort of procedure, while we’re in crazy land – (laughter) – what’s the —

QUESTION: Who’s the ambassador here?

QUESTION: Exactly. That’s what I was wondering. (Laughter.)

The objective – I realize that they go to all the principals, but is it then that the analysis comes from the intel community?

MS. NULAND: Correct.

QUESTION: And so they’re really the ones who are charged with assessing the reliability or the plausibility of any of these claims in that case? But the principals are kept informed just so that they know what’s out there, or what —

MS. NULAND: For example – let me just give you an example. My BlackBerry, on any given day, will have between 6 and 60 alerts from the Ops Center about what you all are writing, about what other things are moving in the press from around the world, about unclassified information that we’re receiving from our embassies, about things of interest that might be moving in the public domain around the world. These are to keep people informed of what’s out there in public. They are not designed to be intelligence products. They’re not designed to be finished analysis. They are simply to keep folks informed, particularly on the unclassified side.

Please.

QUESTION: One more on this. And I don’t know if this is in crazy land or not, but do you – it’s on they specifics of this email in question. Do you have any reason to believe that it could actually have just been wrong, that there was not a Facebook posting at all, or —

MS. NULAND: Again —

QUESTION: Does that happen? I mean —

MS. NULAND: Does it – I mean, it —

QUESTION: That occasionally these emails come around when there’s a developing situation and they’re not accurate?

MS. NULAND: Again, these are designed to keep people informed of what’s moving. I didn’t actually look at it to see whether it was a press report about a Facebook posting or whether it was the Operations Center itself saying that there was a Facebook posting, so I can’t evaluate one way or the other. But —

QUESTION: It was the Embassy in Tripoli.

MS. NULAND: Is that – was that what it says? Anyway, I’d have to look at it. But again, they report what they get. So if they reported Embassy in Tripoli says, then it is based on something that Embassy in Tripoli said. Whether that can be right or that can be wrong is something to be evaluated later.

QUESTION: Why didn’t you have the tape?

MS. NULAND: Again, back to the sort of overall question of what was happening that night, who is responsible, what do we learn from it, all of these things are being looked at by the Accountability Review Board. They are not simply looking at classified, they are looking at unclassified as well. So as the Secretary said today, this piece has to be put into the larger mosaic.

QUESTION: That’s actually my second question. Are you concerned at this point that the integrity of this ARB investigation is being slaughtered by a climate of all these leaks of emails and – it seems like every couple of days, there’s potentially classified or unclassified, recently unclassified information that’s getting leaked to the media. Is that jeopardizing the integrity of this ARB?

MS. NULAND: Well with due respect to the Fourth Estate and all of you, the ARB’s job is to sit back away from the press swirl, the public swirl, the political swirl, and try to look at what actually happened before, during, and after; what we knew, when we knew it, and what lessons we can draw from it. So they are responsible for standing back from all of this news environment, et cetera.

QUESTION: So you don’t think that people are pushing these things out to smear the – for political reasons? That’s what I’m asking.

MS. NULAND: Well, obviously I’m not —

QUESTION: I’m trying to ask it in a way that doesn’t immediately get into politics, because I know you don’t like to talk about politics.

MS. NULAND: I sure don’t like to talk about politics, and I’m not going to get into the motivations of various folks here. But you can think about the way the ARB operates much as you think about a sequestered jury, if you will. They are separated from the larger process and they look at everything that we knew at the time and during and after, and they are – their process is designed to have integrity in and of itself without reference to the current climate now.

So! While everyone is bouncing off the walls, pointing fingers, and playing the blame game, the truth about the emails is that they were a product of a quotidian process to alert officials of stories that are circulating with no evaluation made at that point regarding the validity of the story.  The story itself goes out as is unvalidated.

Now if everyone would just settle down and let the ARB do its work we might actually get to the truth of the matter.

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Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for the New Department of State Modernized Nuclear Risk Reduction Center

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
October 24, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, let me say how proud I am to be here, and to thank all of you for what you do every day on behalf of our important mission and how essential this work is, and being part of the inauguration of our newly modernized NRRC.

It is also a great honor to have the DCM from the Russian Embassy. This has been a partnership for many years now, and it’s very fitting that you would be here with us. And I appreciate it greatly.

This is a little bit like cutting the ribbon on a piece of diplomatic history. There is a lot behind where we are today that has stood the test of time. Despite all the tensions during the Cold War, our two governments – then the Soviet Union and the United States – were able to agree to come together to set up these centers. And we knew that we had to do that to keep faith with the future of our own people and the world. And so indeed, we determined that we had to have better systems in place when it came to our nuclear arsenals because the consequences of getting something wrong, of misreading some kind of signal, would have potentially catastrophic consequences.

So on April 1st 1988, we opened NRRCs in both Moscow and Washington. And from that day until today, they have been manned 24/7. And that has kept open the lines of communication. It’s also built trust between our two governments.

Over the past now nearly 25 years, the habits of communication between our teams formed around nuclear threats have expanded to promote transparency across the broad spectrum of arms control. And today, the NRRCs report on 13 different agreements and confidence-building measures. This new center will enhance our notification and communication structures with the benefit of modern technology, so we can keep evolving to meet the arms control needs of the future.

So I’d like to thank everyone, past and present, and I suppose even future, on the NRRC staff here in the United States and their counterparts in Moscow, to really express our deep gratitude for your commitment to peace and diplomacy in the 20th and now the 21st century.

So I’m excited to take these gigantic scissors – (laughter) —

PARTICIPANT: I’ve been assured that they are sharp. They’ve been using them for haircuts. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think I see (inaudible). (Laughter.)

PARTICIPANT: During the night shift.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Okay. So, are we ready?

PARTICIPANT: Yes.

SECRETARY CLINTON: All right. Shall we do a countdown? Oh, no. Wrong – (laughter).

All right, well. All right, here we go – official. (Applause.)

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Remarks at Swearing-in Ceremony for U.S. Ambassador to Poland Steve Mull

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
October 24, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have put this off about as long as we could. We’ve dragged our feet, we did some private diplomacy with the Senate saying, “You know, you really don’t want to confirm him.” (Laughter.) But unfortunately, here we are. And it could not be for a more deserving professional – someone who has in every way represented the United States so well for so many years. And I’m delighted that Steve’s wife, Cheri, and his son Ryan, and his extended family can be here because we know that behind all that hard work, Steve, were a lot of people cheering you on and supporting you as you undertook your various assignments. And to Poland’s new ambassador, we welcome you, and I can say I welcome you to the neighborhood. And we look forward to working with you.

I am a little concerned about one thing that has been making the rounds of the State Department. Ryan is by all accounts pretty tech-savvy – (laughter) – and when we saw a recently Photoshopped depiction of Steve’s head on Captain America’s body, we at first were hardly affected because that is how we think about Steve. The superhero Executive Secretary – and Captain America has nothing on you, Steve.

But think about it: Forty-nine trips. One hundred and one countries. Five thousand memos and documents last year alone, which he made me read. Spur-of-the-moment missions to far-flung places around the world. And yet Steve, at least in my experience with him, never broke a sweat. Okay, we need to leave tomorrow. We have to clear the following a hundred obstacles, we have to get then to a next place that is about 20,000 miles away. No worry. No worry.  It just always got done. And it was just another day’s work for Captain America. (Laughter.) And I know that because Steve was running a tremendous operation, it was easier for everyone in the building to do the jobs we were expected to do.

But that was just the day-to-day. Then crises would erupt. And they have occurred, unfortunately, all too frequently. Steve was always the first to spring into action, standing up task forces, managing rapid response personnel. Whether it was after the earthquake in Haiti, the terrible natural and nuclear crisis in Japan, or, most recently, the awful assault on our post in Benghazi and other diplomatic posts that were threatened, we never doubted we’d get the best response, the most professional response because of Steve’s leadership and hard work.

Now he learned that, I’m told, from his parents, who themselves have worked hard all of your lives. And no one comes here on his or her own. You are here because you were someone who wanted to make a difference in the world and instilled with values that have stayed with you to this day. And I’m sure that when you were a young Foreign Service Officer stationed in Warsaw, and you were literally carrying messages from President Reagan to Lech Walesa, you were someone who remembered where you came from and where you hoped the Polish people would be going, the opportunities that they would have, ending oppression and tyranny, and making clear the United States would be their partner and friend.

Now, full disclosure: a long time ago when Steve was much younger and I had a different hairstyle – (laughter) – I visited Poland as First Lady. Steve Mull was my Control Officer –  (laughter)  –  showing me around the country with a deep understanding of how far things had come, but also what challenges lay ahead. And during his prior service and in the years since, he has built a deep connection with Poland and with the Polish people. He has been a champion and advocate of their freedom and the future that they are so successfully charting for themselves.

And as sorry as we are – and you heard Cheryl really speak on behalf of all of us — to see Steve go, we cannot think of a better person to represent the United States at this point in our relationship with Poland. We have a lot of work to do on everything from energy diversification to missile defense to democracy promotion to security in Afghanistan. So Steve was there seeing firsthand Poland emerge from Soviet domination and grow into a model of a young democracy, a vital free market economy, a leader on the global stage. And I’m thrilled that he’ll be going back to continue building that essential relationship. So if you are ready, Steve, I am now ready to swear you in. (Laughter and applause.)

(Whereupon, Steve Mull was sworn in as Ambassador to Poland.)

Congratulations. (Applause.)

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, thank you all for coming. My voice is, unfortunately, broken, so my son Ryan has agreed to read my comments for you. So Ryan, over to you. (Laughter and applause.)

MR. MULL: Secretary Clinton, Ambassador Schnepf, and beloved family, friends, and colleagues. Today is a dream come true. And I am so happy to be able to celebrate it with the people who mean so much to me. I especially want to thank you, Secretary Clinton – laughter – for your support for this job, for the extraordinary honor of swearing me in today with such kind words, and for the amazing opportunity to serve on your team these last few years.

Your leadership of and loyalty to this institution and its people have enriched us beyond measure. And I know I speak for all of us with these three heartfelt words: Please don’t go. (Laughter and applause.)

Poland has been such an important part of Cheri’s and my life over the years. That’s where we spent the first years of our marriage in the 1980s and that’s where, in 1995, we became parents of our son, Ryan – (laughter) – of whom we are so proud. (Applause.)

We have only the happiest memories of this amazing land and its people. A people who know and live every day the true values of freedom, loyalty, and friendship. When Cheri and I left Poland the first time in 1986, no one – least of all me – would have predicted that someday I would return as ambassador. Just before our departure, Poland’s communist government accused me of running a NATO spy ring, probably as a means of embarrassing my contacts in Poland’s democratic community.

It was a difficult time for my family. My hometown newspaper that day led with a banner headline reading: Local Man Accused of Spying. (Laughter.) When my mother was in line at the local supermarket, the shopper in front of her gestured angrily at the newspaper and said, “Look at that. That boy should be shot.” (Laughter.)  “Hey,” my mother yelled out. “That boy’s my son, and I’ll shoot you if you don’t watch out.” (Laughter and applause.)

In the 23 years since it regained independence, Poland has proven itself as an unshakable ally of the United States standing shoulder to shoulder with us on the front lines from Iraq to Afghanistan, shining the light of democracy on those dark corners of the world that have not yet won their freedom, and volunteering to be among the first in helping the NATO alliance defend against the threat of ballistic missiles.

While our ties of blood and common values have endured for centuries, I am convinced the greatest rewards of America’s friendship with Poland are yet to come. As Ambassador in Warsaw, I will work hard to build new friendships between Americans and Poles in academia, business, culture, and diplomacy. Together, we will tighten our cooperation to expand opportunities for energy independence, drawing on the vast reservoirs of talent and innovation that our people possess. We will expand and intensify our two-way trade and investment bringing economic benefits to us both. And we will work even harder to promote democratic values and respect for basic human rights in parts of the world that are still shaking off the bonds of oppression, even as we rededicate ourselves to the principles of justice and fair play in our own societies.

Madam Secretary, I pledge to pursue this agenda with all the tools that you’ve given us through the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. I’ve got a head start on engaging with the Polish people on a more personal level, by opening a Twitter account just a few weeks ago. (Laughter.) One of my first tweets asks about what bike paths are like in Warsaw these days. A few days later, I asked what beers are now the most popular. One of my newfound followers was skeptical. “Wait a minute,” he said. “This ambassador is going to be riding around our country on a bicycle drinking beer?” (Laughter.) “He must be a fake.”

Before we finish, I want to say a special thanks to those who made today possible, including the extraordinary Sharon Hardy and Heather Samuelson and our terrific colleagues in the Bureau for Legislative Affairs, Josh Blumenfeld and Rob Fallon, all of whom worked together to pilot through this nomination in almost record time. I want to thank my outstanding team of colleagues in the Executive Secretariat, including Pam Quanrud, Julieta Noyes, Ted Allegra, Tuli Mushingi, Paco Palmieri, and Marcella Hembry, Darlene Namahoe, Diane McBride, Nancy Walker, Robin Hartle, and Ned Filipovic for being such rocks of support.

Thanks also to my new colleagues in the European Bureau, including Mike Morrow, Kate McGeary, Mara Vento, and Eleanor Chamberlin, all of whom have been enormously helpful in preparing for this assignment. A special thanks to John Dowd for his selfless and decisive friendship over the years. And to my Friday lunch crew, Ruth, Rich, Liz, and Dick, your laughs and support were enough to power me through every crisis. You don’t know the half of how much I will miss you.

I also want to take a moment to recognize two very special colleagues who have had such an enormous impact on me over the past years: Deputy Secretary Bill Burns is already so well-known as the most gifted, professional American diplomat of our generation. And working with him closely over the past four years has benefited me in ways I realize every day on the job. And then there’s Counselor Cheryl Mills, who inspired me every day with her razor sharp mind, unshakable commitment to justice, and amazing fighting spirit. If you’re ever in a fight, you need to make sure Cheryl is on your side . (Laughter.) Cheryl, thank you for making today possible.

I also want to mention the people who mean so much who are not here with us – my high school teacher Mrs. Jess Cwiklinski, the daughter of Polish immigrants herself, whose health did not allow her to travel today; my friend Peter Gazda, who fled Poland with his wife Kasia in the 1980s when their friendship with Cheri and me brought the communist secret police to their door. Peter tragically passed away much too early three years ago, but I am so glad that his wife Kasia and son Michael can be here with us today from Toronto. Ambassador Nick Rey, who also was taken from us too early three years ago, was such an influential mentor and friend for me when we worked together in Poland in the ’90s, and I am so glad his beloved wife Lisa can be here with us today. And finally, my stepfather Frank Spracklin, whom we lost just over a year ago. He would be so proud to be here today to hold your hand, mom, and to give us all hugs.

And finally, a word of thanks to the two people who bring all meaning to my life, Ryan – (laughter) – you grew up too fast – (laughter) – and I’ll miss you so much – (laughter) – as you get ready to move away to college. But don’t forget, it will be just as easy to harass you about finishing your homework from Poland – (laughter) – as it is in the dining room. And to my beautiful bride Cheri, who vowed to her parents after growing up in the Foreign Service that when she was an adult, she would never move again – (laughter) – forgive me for making you break that vow once again. I will be waiting for you in Poland with a heart full of love and open arms, so grateful that you said yes.

Thank you all for coming to share this day with us. As the Poles say, “May you all live 100 years.” Thank you.  (Applause.)

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Video Remarks for Empowering Women

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Pristina, Kosovo
October 5, 2012

I’m sorry I can’t be with you in person, but I am delighted to be able to send greetings to so many of you who are working to open up opportunities for women in the Balkans and around the world.Madam President, you have made a career out of building bridges to promote peace, progress, and prosperity. As the first female head of state in the region, you are a natural leader for women’s empowerment issues. Any young girl who’s wondering just how far her talents can take her, need only look to you for the answer. I look forward to continuing our work together in Kosovo and beyond.

I also want to congratulate the people of Kosovo on the end of supervised independence, which marks another tangible step forward in the history of your country. Since independence, you have worked hard to build a modern, multi-ethnic, inclusive, and democratic state. The United States will remain a strong partner and friend as you navigate the many challenges ahead. Around the world, women are blazing new trails. They are removing long-entrenched obstacles and standing up for their rights and opportunities. This conference represents a growing understanding that to create economic opportunity, political progress, and social equality, we need women’s ideas, their energy and their perspective.

More women than ever are taking a leading role in politics and government—and that’s great news. But we still have a long way to go. We know that when women thrive, societies thrive. There is a mountain of research that shows that investing in women and gender equality is smart economics.  And it’s not just the bottom line that we should be concerned about. Women are also agents of change and peace; they act as mediators and foster compromise. Time and again, especially in this region, we have seen women build partnerships and networks across ethnic and sectarian lines where men often could not. When women organize in large numbers, they can galvanize opinion and change the course of history.

I have seen firsthand—in places from Kosovo to Northern Ireland–that women can help develop sound ideas and policies. We just need to remove the barriers that prevent them from fully participating in their communities.  So we must harness opportunities like this event to build partnerships that will unleash their potential.  I can’t wait to hear from Ambassador Verveer and Secretary Albright about the new commitments, ideas, and initiatives you come up with. Your unwavering dedication is helping all people – women and men – realize a brighter future. Thank you all.

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Remarks With Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota After Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Treaty Room

Washington, DC

October 24, 2012


SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, hello, everyone. And once again, it is a great delight for me to welcome a colleague and friend here to the State Department. The Foreign Minister and I have had an excellent working relationship. Earlier this year, I traveled to Brazil for the third meeting of the U.S.-Brazil Global Partnership Dialogue as well as the Rio+20 Conference, and I commend the Brazilian Government for its excellent stewardship of the Rio+20 Conference. And today, the Foreign Minister is here for the fourth meeting of the Global Partnership Dialogue.

It is our assessment that this dialogue has strengthened and broadened our relationship and helped us make progress in many areas of shared concern by bringing both our governments and our people closer together. We have not only worked bilaterally but regionally and globally. For example, we have signed Memoranda of Understanding on cooperation in third countries, including in development and food security. We’re working to support greater agricultural development in Honduras.

We are strong supporters of the Brazilian plan, the Scientific Mobility Program, one of President Rousseff’s signature initiatives to send top Brazilian students in science and math to universities abroad. We are similarly focused on implementing President Obama’s initiative, the 100,000 Strong in the Americas, and have welcomed thousands of Brazilian students to the United States and are eager to welcome more. And because social inclusion is critical to both of our societies, we are working together to ensure that we promote social inclusion as part of the missions of our foreign relations as well as, of course, domestically.

We are also working very – in great cooperation in Haiti, and I thank the Minister for the excellent leadership that Brazil has provided for MINUSTAH and so much else that Brazil has done for Haiti.

So there’s a lot that we have covered, and our teams have gone in-depth into. And Antonio, it’s a great pleasure for me to have you here.

FOREIGN MINISTER PATRIOTA: Thank you so much. Let me say how pleased I am to be in Washington for this fourth edition of our Global Partnership Dialogue. We’ve had frequent high-level contacts between Brazil and the United States over the past two years. We were very happy to welcome President Obama last year to Brasilia, and President Dilma was delighted to come to the White House this year. We had two visits by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Brazil: one in the context of the Global Partnership Dialogue and also the Open Government Partnership that we have been working on together; then for Rio+20. And of course, we appreciated greatly the U.S. participation and Secretary Clinton’s statement at the Conference on Sustainable Development.

This is my second time in Washington. We are not only having frequent high-level contacts, but I think the quality of the dialogue has also been improving and more in-depth discussions on issues such as possibilities for cooperation in Africa. This time around, we concentrated on the Middle East and the Far East, and I know that the two Under Secretaries who came with me, they found this extremely useful. So we would like to pursue and institutionalize, as you said, Hillary, this mechanism so that we continue deriving the greatest possible benefit from these discussions.

On the bilateral front, President Dilma, of course, is extremely interested in enhancing our relationship with the United States on science, technology, and innovation. We’re looking forward to two events on innovation in 2013 that come out of this agenda and that will bring in the private sector as well as government officials. We’re very pleased with the advances that we’ve identified in our aviation partnership. There are new initiatives on energy, on sports. If you look at the joint communiqué that we are putting out, it actually is very eloquent on a number of fronts and shows that from April to October there have been many advances. So this is the spirit in which we would like to continue moving forward.

Of course, we’re extremely grateful for the U.S. in their readiness to receive an increasing number of Brazilian students in the sciences. Already 2,400 are studying under the Science Without Borders program. We’d like to take that number to 48,000, and I think we can get there. We can reach this goal.

Let me just mention that on another front, there have been discussions on visas and how to facilitate travel between the two countries. This is a discussion that has started in a new spirit, also under instructions from our leaders, President Obama and President Rousseff, and we are confident that they will continue advancing over the coming years.

Thank you for mentioning Haiti. I think it’s a good example of how Brazil and the United States can work today. And today, we discussed some new ideas for looking at energy in Haiti, food security, trade, business. I am confident that we will also continue cooperating very effectively.

And finally, I think it was very useful for me to have a discussion on the Middle East. We’re, of course, concerned with lack of progress on the peace process between Israel and Palestine. I’ve just come back from the region extremely concerned with the situation in Syria. But I think it’s extremely important that with these discussions we’re having with the United States and a number of – a growing number of countries, among which the Permanent Members of the Security Council, our partners in IBSA, India and South Africa, that we can mobilize international diplomatic strength to resume the peace process and to find a negotiated solution for Syria.

Thank you.

MS. NULAND: We’ll take two today. We’ll start with CNN. Elise Labott, please.

QUESTION: Two per each two people. (Laughter.) Mr. Foreign Minister, it’s nice to see you again. I’m sure you’re following our political campaign with great fanfare, I just want to ask you: We had a debate the other night on foreign policy, and the hemisphere and the continent wasn’t even brought up once. And I’m just wondering, given the robust partnership with Brazil – Brazil’s a rising power – and the cooperation with the region and a lot of other dynamic, growing countries, whether that’s symptomatic of some – of a problem in America that you think this – the American people don’t – aren’t interested in or don’t understand how important this cooperation is.

Secretary Clinton, on Syria, I was wondering if you have any thoughts on the ceasefire, whether you think the government or the rebels will adhere to this. What are you advising the rebels? And whether you think the current Lebanese Government is able to protect the Lebanese sovereignty from getting involved in this Syrian crisis.

And just beg my indulgence, one more – (laughter) – just beg my indulgence. I just want to ask you very quickly about these emails that have surfaced from the State Department on the night of the Benghazi attack. Given the fact that there was some information that an extremist group with links to al-Qaida affiliates was – could have been involved, why wasn’t this more heavily weighed in your assessment in the days after. Thank you. (Laughter.) Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I may forget one or two of the questions.

FOREIGN MINISTER PATRIOTA: Well, briefly on the debate, of course, well, as the two largest democracies in the Americas, we are firm believers in pluralism, and elections are always an interesting moment for us to identify that. (Laughter.) But yes, it’s true that Latin America was not present, to my knowledge, and Brazil was not mentioned, but I think that the debate concentrated really on problem issues and concerns. And today, Brazil, South America in particular, is more of a region of the world that offers solutions than problems. So we interpret that in this positive light.

At the same time, I think it’s very important to note that the contacts have been frequent, at high-level, the quality of the dialogue between Brazil and the United States is improving continuously, the agenda’s broadening, as Secretary Clinton was saying. So we are confident that whoever wins, and it’s up to the American people to choose, the relationship will continue to thrive, and we will have at our disposal a number of dialogues and mechanisms to continue to enhance this relationship.

SECRETARY CLINTON: That was such a good answer. We don’t need any more. (Laughter.) That was brilliant. That’s right, it is about problems, and I can’t say enough to support the Minister’s positive description of our relationship and really what’s happened in our hemisphere, which has been remarkable.

Regarding Syria, let me begin by expressing thanks to Brazil for their support of the Syrian people. This is an important call by Brazil, which has consistently said the government must stop the ongoing violence and has provided much needed humanitarian support. And, in fact, I think it’s right to say that Brazil is home to one of the largest Syrian diasporas anywhere in the world. So they know better than many what is at stake.

Now we’re looking forward to hearing the details of Special Envoy Brahimi’s report to the UN Security Council today. We have been in close touch with him and his team. We support his call for a ceasefire for the Eid al-Adha holiday so that Syrians could celebrate in peace. We’d like to see the violence come to an end, there’s no doubt about this, and we’d like to see a political transition take hold and begin. We’ve been calling for that for more than a year. We worked very hard in Geneva, as you know, some months ago to come up with a framework for ending the violence and beginning a political transition. And we would like to see the Security Council adopt such a framework, but to include some consequences for all parties in the event that there is not a ceasefire respected or a political transition begun.

Now we are supporting and increasingly, actually, that support for the Syrian opposition through nonlethal assistance and training, including working directly with local councils inside Syria so that they can learn what they need to do to serve their people in areas that they have taken over from the regime. And we are also working extremely hard and closely with a number of likeminded countries to help support a leadership council to come out of meetings beginning in Doha in a few weeks so that we can have a leadership structure that endorses inclusion, democratic process, peaceful political transition, and reassure all Syrians, particularly those who are in minority groups, that there is a path forward if everyone supports it. And that’s of particular concern to us, and I discussed it with Antonio. And we want to make it possible for there to be a credible interlocutor representing the opposition and prevent extremists from hijacking a brave revolution that is meant to fulfill the aspirations of the Syrian people.

Now, you’re right to raise Lebanon because it was a terrible blow to the Lebanese people one more time to see a high-level assassination carried out by a brutal bombing that devastated a neighborhood in Beirut and killed others and injured many more. I spoke with the Prime Minister over the weekend to express our condolences. We were asked for support to provide FBI investigative services, and we will – and are doing so. The Lebanese armed forces has actually performed admirably in restoring order, in going after anyone who is attempting to commit violence or disrupt that order, and urging all parties to remain calm. We don’t want to see a vacuum of legitimate political authority that could then be taken advantage of by the Syrians or by others that could create even greater instability and violence. So we call on all parties in Lebanon to support the process that President Suleiman is leading to choose a responsible, effective government that can address the threats that Syria faces and hold accountable those responsible for last week’s bombing.

So we’re not going to prejudge the outcome of what the Syrians themselves are attempting to do. This must be a Lebanese process. But the Lebanese people deserve so much better. They deserve to live in peace and they deserve to have a government that reflects their aspirations, not acts as proxies and agents for outside forces.

Now finally, on Benghazi, look, I’ve said it and I’ll say it one more time. No one wants to find out what happened more than I do. We are holding ourselves accountable to the American people, because not only they, but our brave diplomats and development experts serving in dangerous places around the world, deserve no less. The independent Accountability Review Board is already hard at work looking at everything – not cherry-picking one story here or one document there – but looking at everything, which I highly recommend as the appropriate approach to something as complex as an attack like this.

Posting something on Facebook is not in and of itself evidence, and I think it just underscores how fluid the reporting was at the time and continued for some time to be. What I keep in mind is that four brave Americans were killed, and we will find out what happened, we will take whatever measures are necessary to fix anything that needs to be fixed, and we will bring those to justice who committed these murders. And I think that that is what we have said, that is what we are doing, and I’m very confident that we will achieve those goals.

MS. NULAND: Last one today, Luis Fernandez (inaudible) from Globo TV, please.

QUESTION: Minister Patriota, Madam Secretary, I would follow the example of my colleague.

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) Don’t pick up bad habits, please.

QUESTION: Minister, if I – if you don’t mind, I would ask the question in English and be so – if you could give the answer in Portuguese. This is, as one would assume, the very last time that the two of you meet at these particular posts that you are holding. Are you – is – are you less than happy with the fact that Brazil and the United States do not have a trade agreement? I would like to know as well, when will Americans be able to get into Brazil without a visa and Brazilians get in to the United States without a visa?

Madam Secretary, once Brazil and Turkey brokered a solution to the problem of Iran, and that was an initiative that was met with less than enthusiasm. If Brazil were to broker a solution for the problem in Syria, since there is this partnership established with Turkey and, as you pointed out, Brazil has many Lebanese and Syrians in Brazil, how would the United States Government react to that?

FOREIGN MINISTER PATRIOTA: (In Portuguese.)

I essentially said that the absence of a free trade agreement does not prevent trade between Brazil and the United States from thriving. In fact, the figures have been better than those for countries with which the U.S. does have free trade agreements. The visa situation is being discussed in a constructive way, and even in the absence of an agreement on foregoing visas, the days that are taken for the processing have diminished considerably at U.S. consulates and Brazilian consulates. There are new consulates that the United States has opened in Brazil to help processing, and Brazil has 10 consulates in the United States.

And on Syria, I just mentioned our support for the communiqué of the Geneva Action Group, which we believes continues to provide a good platform for progress through peaceful, non-militarized means.

SECRETARY CLINTON: He’s an all-purpose Foreign Minister. (Laughter.) I’m very grateful to you.

And on your question, we would, of course, welcome Brazilian participation in any effort to bring about the ceasefire, to implement it, to help with the political transition. The Minister and I discussed the ways in which both the United States and Brazil, as large pluralistic democracies, stand as examples for what we hope could come someday in Syria.

So the Minister mentioned the communiqué that came out of Geneva as a result of our meeting there several months ago. I’m in close touch with Special Envoy Brahimi. And we are looking for a way to support his work, and this kind of framework will need the strong support of Brazil, which has a very important voice in trying to resolve this ongoing tragic situation.

Thank you all very much.


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