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More high compliments for our Hillary. She is so loved and respected.

12-05-12-Y-07

Remarks With EU High Representative Lady Catherine Ashton at the U.S.-EU Energy Council Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
European External Affairs Section Headquarters
Brussels, Belgium
December 5, 2012

HIGH REPRESENTATIVE ASHTON: I can safely say that you, Hillary, have been a special friend to the European Union in your four years as Secretary of State. Not only do you represent the best of diplomacy, but for me it’s been a great honor and privilege to get to know you and have the chance to cooperate closely with you. I wish you every possible success in whatever amazing thing you do next.

We’re here today for the fourth meeting of the EU-US Energy Council. Mr. Oettinger and I are very much looking forward to taking stock of what has been a very productive year in the work of the Council and to look ahead to setting priorities for the future. We see this council as an extremely valuable forum that operates at the highest level. It helps both the EU and I would say the U.S., to shape the policy and to respond to the challenges we face in energy and in climate change. We know that we need stable and transparent global energy markets if we are to ensure energy security. But we also have to work together on the long-term challenge of laying a foundation for efficient and sustainable use of energy. In particular, we’ll start looking at clean energy so that we can create economic growth and jobs and address the challenge of climate change.

So for me, I’m looking forward to a very productive afternoon. And as I began, it is a special pleasure to welcome you to the EEAS.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. Well, it’s a great pleasure for me to be here with you, Cathy, and to have a chance to see this building for the first time. I congratulate you on this beautiful building, and I enjoyed seeing a lot of the people who work here on behalf of the EU as we walked through the first floor.

And I am especially pleased that we could schedule this fourth meeting of the US-EU Energy Council, which is an example of the closer cooperation and new partnerships that have flourished between the United States and the EU over the past recent years. And that is a real reflection of your leadership, and I am grateful for the close collaboration that we’ve had on so many issues. Whether it’s this Energy Council or our recent trip together to the Balkans, we have been working so closely together, and I am grateful to you for everything that you have been doing that we’ve been able to participate in and support.

So I’m looking forward to our Energy Council meeting. As you said, this is an initiative we began in November of 2009, and I think it’s already demonstrated its worthiness. Our working groups have identified a lot of areas for mutual cooperation, and today we’ll be able to review the significant accomplishments and identify goals for our cooperation going forward. So thank you again for all of your leadership and in particular for hosting this meeting.

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U.S. and Europe: A Revitalized Global Partnership

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Brookings Institute
Washington, DC
November 29, 2012

Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. It’s wonderful to be back at Brookings. It’s always a joy to be introduced by such a longtime friend and colleague as Strobe Talbott and to have this opportunity to discuss with you how we have, over the last four years, revitalized our transatlantic alliance. I also want to recognize and thank members of the diplomatic corps who are here.

There is no better venue for my remarks than here at Brookings. Through the Center on the United States and Europe and initiatives like the Daimler Forum on Global Issues, Brookings provides an essential forum for examining how the United States and Europe can work together to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world. After all, in the democracies of Europe, we find countries with shared strategic and economic interests and with whom we share a long history, deep cultural ties, and cherished values. That makes us natural partners in advancing our interests, both within Europe and throughout the world.

But I must begin by being very frank. When President Obama and I came into office, this relationship was frayed. There were skeptics and doubters on both sides of the Atlantic. Europeans were asking hard questions about what the transatlantic partnership could deliver for them and whether it was even still relevant in the 21st century. And many Americans were asking the same questions.

At the same time, at the start of the Administration, we faced some rather daunting global challenges, among the most difficult in decades: a global economic downturn, an aggressive regime with nuclear ambitions in Iran, two unfinished wars, uncertainty about America’s global leadership and staying power. From day one, President Obama and I made clear that if we were going to make progress, we had to do the hard work of renewing and reinvigorating our partnerships around the world, and that began with Europe.

We knew it couldn’t happen overnight. As then-Senator Obama said in Berlin in 2008, “True partnership and true progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice. They require the burdens of development and diplomacy, of progress and peace. They require allies who will listen to each other, learn from each other, and, most of all, trust each other.” Four years later, we are showing that this partnership can deliver results for all our people.

Next week, I will make my 38th visit to Europe as Secretary. Visits to other parts of the world often get more attention, because I think it’s kind of taken for granted in a way that we’re going to be going back and forth across the Atlantic. But indeed, 38 visits to Europe is something that I have been delighted to do because of the importance we place on these relationships.

In Prague, I will see senior officials to discuss our efforts to promote Czech energy independence and to advance human rights and democracy. In Brussels, I’ll meet with NATO allies to talk about the broad range of security challenges we face. I’ll meet with EU counterparts to discuss the future of energy security. In Dublin, I’ll join my colleagues from the OSCE to renew and review our progress in advancing security, democracy, and human rights across Europe and Eurasia. And in Belfast, I’ll meet leaders and citizens to reiterate America’s commitment to a peaceful, prosperous Northern Ireland. It is a full schedule, but it demonstrates the commitment we’ve brought to our transatlantic partnership.

Today, I’d like to discuss briefly how these efforts have helped the United States and Europe meet a number of key security challenges: the war in Afghanistan, the crisis in Libya, Iran’s nuclear program, and strengthening our strategic defenses. At the same time, our transatlantic partnership has arrived at a critical moment. Decisions we’ll soon face about our shared economic interests will determine how well we can thrive together in the years to come. So I want to describe the work that lies ahead of us as well.

But first, let me review what I think we’ve accomplished in the past few years because I think it speaks volumes of the value and importance we’ve placed on the relationship. We began by working to improve the lines of communication that had become strained. See how diplomatic I’ve become? (Laughter.) American and European diplomats have come together thousands of times in the past four years to discuss issues both familiar and new, from security to trade to clean energy. It may not be glamorous work, but it is the hard daily work, the necessary work, of rebuilding the mutual trust and confidence on which our partnership depends.

Ultimately, our goal was to face, head on, the issues that had driven a wedge between us and get back on the path of cooperation. Consider Afghanistan. For close to a decade, tens of thousands of European troops have served alongside American service members in the largest and longest overseas deployment NATO has ever undertaken. At the same time, many thousands of European diplomats and development experts served with ours as well. But four years ago, support for this effort was fading. Strained budgets were making some governments look twice at the cost of the commitment. Many in America worried that the United States would be left to bear the burden on its own and doubted that our alliance would stay the course.

Instead, we came together with our allies and charted a common path forward. It started in Brussels in 2009, when we agreed that getting the job done would take a stronger military presence on the ground. The next year, in the summit in Lisbon, we agreed on a timetable for transitioning security responsibilities to the Afghans by the end of 2014. Earlier this year at the summit in Chicago, we reaffirmed the core principle of “in together, out together,” and made commitments on financing, supporting, and training Afghan security forces beyond 2014. In Tokyo last summer, we pledged ongoing economic and civilian support for the Afghan people following the transition.

And together, we are helping the Afghans take back their country and secure their future. Al-Qaida’s core leadership has been decimated there. Three-quarters of the population now live in areas where Afghan forces have taken over lead responsibility for security, and conflict has moved farther away from population centers.

Now, believe me, we know there is an enormous amount of hard work ahead, and success, however one defines it, is far from guaranteed. But we worked past our differences; we kept our eyes on the most important goal, helping the Afghan people lay the foundation for their own progress and better futures for themselves.

Even as we shored up support for a decade-long conflict in Afghanistan, we also showed that the Alliance can answer the challenges of today. When the Libyan people demanded their freedom and Qadhafi threatened to hunt down the people of Benghazi like rats, we responded. And we all shared the burden. Early on, the United States knocked out Libya’s integrated air defenses, and later we provided other crucial assets. Our European and Canadian allies policed the skies, carried out the bulk of air strikes, provided logistical support, and enforced the arms embargo at sea.

Think for a moment about the NATO action in Kosovo in the 1990s. In that mission, the United States dropped nearly 90 percent of the precision guided munitions, compared to our allies’ 10 percent; in Libya, it was the other way around.

Now, Libya was not a flawless operation. European air forces were severely stressed, and we are concerned about further defense cuts by our allies that could impede our ability to undertake necessary defense and such operations in the future. But Operation Unified Protector showed that NATO still has a critical role to play in advancing our common security interests. And we’re taking advantage of the lessons we learned to make the Alliance more effective.

Beyond NATO, there may be no better example of our cooperation than the way we are holding the Iranian Government accountable for its illicit nuclear program. Few would argue that Iran’s nuclear ambitions are anything less than a grave threat to its neighbors and the world. But four years ago, during a serious economic slowdown, the conventional wisdom said that the EU had no appetite for deploying the most powerful diplomatic tool we had to put pressure on the regime, a total embargo of Iranian oil.

Well, we set out to prove the conventional wisdom wrong. We built a strong coalition of nations, persuaded other oil suppliers to step up production, and created the space that the EU needed to put a boycott in place. We coupled that action with unprecedented global sanctions and some creative solutions that are making it harder for companies to do business with Iran: going after Iran’s central bank; working with insurers, shippers and oil companies to keep Iran’s oil resources bottled up inside their own borders. As a result, Iran’s oil production is down a million barrels a day. That costs the Iranian government $3 billion every month.

The United States, as President Obama has said repeatedly, is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. I think we have also shown that diplomacy is our preferred approach. But the window for Iran to negotiate seriously is not open indefinitely. Through the E3+3 process and multilateral fora like the IAEA, the United States and European leaders are pushing Tehran to live up to its international obligations and abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

We’re also modernizing our defensive capabilities across Europe to guard against 21st century threats. We’re maintaining our largest permanent military presence outside the United States there, while at the same time updating our ballistic missile defense to protect against threats from outside the continent. These new technologies are helping protect potential targets in both Europe and America. We’ve already deployed a critical radar in Turkey, and agreed to home-port Aegis missile defense cruisers in Spain. And in the coming years, new interceptor systems and their American operators will be deployed in Romania and Poland, enhancing our defensive capabilities for years to come.

So on a wide range of global security issues we are more closely aligned with our European partners than we’ve ever been.

Now, of course, Europe and the United States are never going to agree on every issue, just as Europeans will not always agree among themselves. Just today, in fact, a number of EU member states are likely to take a different position from us on a measure at the UN General Assembly granting observer-state status to the Palestinian Authority. The United States opposes the resolution, which we believe will do nothing to advance the peace and the two-state solution we all want to see. At the same time, however, we and our European partners agree on the most fundamental issues and share a common objective: two states living side by side in peace and security.

We can all also agree that we are better off working together on this issue, just as on the others that I have mentioned. Imagine what the world would look like if we did not. A Libyan dictator, left to his own devices, slaughtering his own people. A safe haven for terrorists in Afghanistan. Iran leveraging its oil supply to underwrite a nuclear weapons program. That is not a world in which Americans or Europeans or anyone else would be better off.

So what we have achieved in the last four years is a record we must keep building on, because there are even more consequential and in many ways more difficult challenges that lie ahead.

For example, we look to our longtime European allies to help improve security and build new economic relationships in Asia. And let me be clear: Our pivot to Asia is not a pivot away from Europe. On the contrary, we want Europe to engage more in Asia, along with us to see the region not only as a market, but as a focus of common strategic engagement.

Another ongoing challenge we need to deal with together is Russia. We’ve made progress with Moscow on areas such as nuclear arms reduction, sanctions on Iran, and trade, and we seek to expand our areas of cooperation. But the reality is that we have serious and continuing differences on Syria, missile defense, NATO enlargement, human rights, and other issues. It will be up to us and our European partners to continue looking for opportunities to engage with Russia and to make progress on the issues that matter to us.

There are so many other areas that are ripe for cooperation, from supporting the transitions in North Africa and the Middle East, to responding to climate change, to relieving famine in the Horn of Africa, to managing relationships with emerging powers. But if the United States and Europe are not strong, stable, and prosperous in the long-term, our ability to tackle these and other issues will be put at risk. If we can’t make the necessary investments in defense, diplomacy, and development, our partnership might not bear the weight of these 21st century challenges.

So while we build on our recent successes, we also need to remain focused on areas where our partnership still has work to do. Perhaps the most important question in the years ahead will be whether we invest as much energy into our economic relationship as we have put into our security relationship. At a time when countries are measuring their influence as much by the size of their economies as by the might of their militaries, we have to realize the untapped potential of the transatlantic market. This is as much a strategic imperative as an economic one.

After all, so many of the things we do around the world depend on our economic strength – from providing defense, to investing in emerging markets, to aiding development, to responding to crises. And there may be no greater threat to our security and our transatlantic partnership than a weak economic future on one or both sides of the Atlantic. If we’re serious about strengthening our economic ties, we each need to build stronger foundations at home. For the United States, this means making tough political choices. It means investing in our own competitiveness to set the platform for stronger economic growth. And it means addressing our domestic fiscal challenges.

As you know, Washington is gearing up for another round of budget negotiations. And I am again hearing concerns about the global implications of America’s economic choices. And although I am now out of politics, let me assure you that for all the differences between our political parties here, we are united in our commitment to protect American leadership and bolster our national security. Reaching a meaningful budget deal is critical to both. This is a moment, once again, to prove the resilience of our economic system and reaffirm American leadership in the world.

And we are counting on Europe to do the same. First and foremost, that means resolving the Eurozone crisis. And we’ve seen some good progress recently. Over the summer, the European Central Bank announced that it would stand behind governments that are implementing critical reforms, which has effectively reduced borrowing costs for these countries. And a few weeks ago, Greece took an important step by passing a budget and reform package that makes tough trade-offs. And just this week, European governments and the IMF agreed on measures to reduce Greece’s debt burden.

Ireland and Portugal have implemented sweeping reforms that should improve their competitiveness. Spain and Italy are also on the path to reform and eventual recovery. This has not, of course, been easy, but after two years of vigorous debate and a dozen elections, the 17 governments of the Euro area remain united in their will to maintain Europe’s monetary union. Time and again, skeptical governments and crisis-weary voters have chosen to keep the Eurozone intact and to keep trying to resolve the crisis.

Now, we recognize that this is fundamentally a European problem that requires European solutions. America can’t and shouldn’t try to dictate any answer or approach. But even as the risks of financial crisis recede, I want to urge European leaders to keep working to address the challenge of economic growth and jobs. The Eurozone economy is slipping back into recession as austerity policies take effect. France and Germany, which have largely weathered the economic storm so far, are also beginning to show some signs of slowdown.

So it’s vital to the entire global economy that European leaders move toward policies that promote credible and sustainable growth and create jobs. But even as we’re making these tough choices on our own, there’s a great deal more on the economic front we can and must be doing together. Like tackling global imbalances, which are creating a drag on the recoveries in both America and Europe, and perhaps more importantly, working to strengthen our transatlantic trade relationship.

Now of course, Europe is already America’s largest trade and investment partner. And we have made some progress building on that. We have revitalized the Transatlantic Economic Council and set up the U.S.-EU Energy Council. We’ve broken down regulatory barriers and are working to establish standards, common standards, for manufacturing, and our collaboration with the private sector is starting to show results in developing smart grids and other new energy technologies.

But despite that progress, the United States remains one of only a handful of WTO members not to move beyond Most-Favored-Nation status with the EU. We need to do better. In the face of rising challenges to our shared economic model, and the growth of barriers to trade that have emerged not at borders but behind them, we need to continue to promote a rules-based order of open, free, transparent, and fair competition in the global marketplace.

That’s why we are discussing possible negotiations with the European Union for a comprehensive agreement that would increase trade and spur growth on both sides of the Atlantic. We have more work to do, including addressing longstanding barriers to trade and market access. But if we work at it and if we get this right, an agreement that opens markets and liberalizes trade would shore up our global competitiveness for the next century, creating jobs and generating hundreds of billions of dollars for our economies. So I hope we will continue working to find a way forward, and make stronger trade and investment ties a major strategic goal of our transatlantic alliance.

Now, the path ahead for Europe and for our partnership will not be an easy one, but I’m confident that we will, once again, do what is necessary because we have done it so many times before. We united to rebuild a continent devastated by war. We built NATO to protect a continent threatened by Soviet domination. And we’re continuing to work together on the unfinished work inside Europe, like European enlargement and integration, which the United States has championed for decades.

We are looking forward to Croatia’s accession to the EU next year. Last month, as Strobe said, I traveled to the Western Balkans with High Representative Ashton, where we expressed our support for the aspirations of the people there to be integrated into Europe and the Euro-Atlantic Alliance. We support the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia that is taking place under the good offices of the EU. And we hope to see movement toward normalizing relations.

And let me add what a pleasure it has been working with Cathy Ashton. Not only is she a great diplomat and a personal friend, but it is exciting to see the EU becoming a more cohesive voice in world affairs.

We also must continue advancing the work of democracy and human rights in those parts of Europe and Eurasia that are not yet where they need to be. Ukraine’s October elections were a step backwards for democracy, and we remain deeply concerned about the selective prosecution of opposition leaders. In Belarus, the government continues to systematically repress human rights, so we must continue to push for the release of political prisoners and support those brave activists standing up for the rights of the people of Belarus. We welcomed Georgia’s elections and the first peaceful transition in that country’s history, and we continue to call on Georgia’s new government to demonstrate its commitment to democracy, transparency, due process, and the rule of law. From Eastern Europe to the Balkans to the Caucasus, the United States and the EU must continue to assist civil society, support democratic reforms, and promote tolerance throughout and within societies.

In short, we are advancing the values and principles that have underpinned our partnership for so long. And even in the moments when the United States and Europe could agree on little else, that foundation remained steadfast. In this sense, the last four years represent not a new direction, but a return to form, and a reminder of what the United States and Europe stand for: That commitment to freedom and democracy, that dedication to human rights and opportunity for all, the conviction that progress depends on our willingness to see past our differences.

There’s an old saying: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” And over the past four years – and for decades before that – the United States and Europe have come far, together. Now we’re called to take on two tasks at once: to continue the work of advancing our shared interests and values around the world, even as we shore up the sources of our strengths at home.

If we work together, I’m confident that the United States and Europe are up to the challenge, that our partnership will not only endure but it will thrive and grow stronger, and that we will carry forward the work of every generation of Europeans and Americans alike – to build a more just, more prosperous, more peaceful, free world. That is an extraordinary mission, and it’s a privilege to be part of trying to move it forward.

Thank you all very much.

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Serbia Granted European Union Candidate Status

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 2, 2012

 


The March 1 announcement by the European Council that Serbia has been granted European Union candidate country status is an important step forward for Serbia’s future. I want to congratulate the leadership and the people of Serbia for their hard work, commitment and determination toward this goal.

I also welcome the announcement by the European Union that it will launch a Feasibility Study for Kosovo’s Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), which builds on the European Council’s conclusions on Kosovo from December. This is important for Kosovo’s European orientation and a key sign of Europe’s commitment to Kosovo.

Greater European integration is beneficial for Serbia, Kosovo and the entire region. I commend the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia for their courage and commitment in making the tough political decisions necessary to reach these milestones. I encourage the leaders of both countries to continue making progress in the EU-led dialogue, and to fully implement the decisions already agreed upon. The United States shares strong and enduring friendships with Kosovo and Serbia, and we will continue to work closely with both countries in support of a peaceful and prosperous European future.

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Cathy Ashton, posted with vodpod

Remarks With European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton After Their Meeting

 

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Treaty Room

Washington, DC

February 17, 2012

 


SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good morning everyone. It’s always a pleasure to welcome my friend and colleague, the high representative of the European Union, here to Washington. We always have a lot to discuss and we are always relying on each other, because, as I said in Munich a few weeks ago, Europe remains America’s partner of first resort on all of the global challenges we are confronting together.

I know that Cathy understands the significance of our cooperation, because she and I have had the opportunity to meet on many occasions in the last several years, and we, again today, had a very comprehensive discussion. Let me just quickly run over a few of the issues.

I will turn first to Iran. We’re very grateful to Lady Ashton for her leadership on the P-5+1. The international community has been looking to Iran to demonstrate it is prepared to come to the table in a serious and constructive way. We have been reviewing Iran’s proposal to resume talks on its nuclear activities and consulting closely between us and with our other P-5+1 partners. This response from the Iranian Government is one we’ve been waiting for, and if we do proceed, it will have to be a sustained effort that can produce results.

Turning to Syria, I know that the high representative joins me in, once again, condemning in the strongest possible terms the ongoing violence against the Syrian people perpetrated by the Assad regime. I also want to extend on behalf of myself and our government our sympathies to the family of Anthony Shadid and to the New York Times for his untimely death. He was somebody I always turned to and read very carefully, and if I didn’t have the time when I got to the press reporting, I would put it aside and read it because he had his pulse on what was happening.

Yesterday’s UN General Assembly vote demonstrated an overwhelming international consensus that the bloody assaults must end. In the face of this global condemnation, the regime in Damascus, however, appears to be escalating its assaults on civilians, and those who are suffering cannot get access to the humanitarian assistance they need and deserve. So we will keep working to pressure and isolate the regime, to support the opposition, and to provide relief to the people of Syria. I will be attending the Friends of Syria conference in Tunisia next week, where a number of nations will work to intensify pressure on the regime and to mobilize the humanitarian relief that is needed. We also hope to coordinate efforts to enable a Syrian-led transition before the regime’s actions tear the country apart. We’re looking for an inclusive democratic process.

Ultimately, our shared values between the U.S. and the EU are the bedrock of our cooperation, and we are promoting those values together. We also discussed the situation in the Balkans. We share the view that the future of both Serbia and Kosovo lies with the European Union, and the United States strongly supports the dialogue that the EU is leading to try to advance Euro-integration for both Serbia and Kosovo. Deputy Secretary Burns is encouraging both sides to remain flexible and open to compromise.

We have a – we have a very long list of what we discussed, but I’ll just end it there and turn it over to Lady Ashton with my appreciation for her leadership and the great partnership we have.

MS. ASHTON: Well first of all, can I say what a pleasure it is to be back here and to be meeting and working as closely as I do with you. It is extremely significant that we’re meeting today, because we meet on the back of having received a letter from Dr. Jalili from Iran in response to my letter from October. As you said, we are consulting colleagues and analyzing closely what this letter would mean. Let me say that I think it’s good to see that the letter has arrived and that there is a potential possibility that Iran may be ready to start talks. We’ll continue to discuss and make sure that what we’re looking at is substantive, but I’m cautious and I’m optimistic at the same time for this. It also demonstrates the importance of the twin-track approach, that the pressure that we have put on together, the sanctions that have been put there because that’s the responsibility of the international community, I believe, they’re having an effect. But we, of course, want to resolve this through talks.

And as you’ve said, Hillary, the situation in Syria is a cause for enormous concern, and we feel extremely worried about the level of violence and terror that is happening within that country. We’ve been very clear that President Assad should stand aside and should enable a process that would bring the people of Syria together, all of them. An inclusive process that can take the country forward. I want to commend the work of Nabil Elaraby, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, who has shown great leadership in bringing together the Arab community, but in coordination, working closely with the international community, to demonstrate that inclusivity and to demonstrate the leadership on the ground. I hope that the meeting next week will give us a chance to consider how we can support humanitarian efforts especially. And I will be working with the UN, the OIC, and the Arab League, as we did through the situation in Libya, on the humanitarian side of the challenges that we face. I hope it will also show, too, the international consensus to try and see the situation in Syria end.

As you said, there are hundreds of things on our agendas at all times, and we keep in constant touch, so we can deal with only some of them at every meeting. The situation in Serbia-Kosovo, of course, is very important to the European Union because we do believe, as you rightly say, the future for both lies within the European Union. The team that we’ve got there at the moment are working closely together to try and support both into their future. I hope that both will be able to work on the plan that we’ve put to them that will enable Serbia to become a candidate, will enable Kosovo to move forward with visas, with trade, with economic support, and eventually to see its future as well with the European Union. Thank you.

MS. NULAND: We have time for two today. We’ll start with The New York Times, Steve Myers.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, Lady Ashton, thank you. The Iranian letter refers to a readiness for dialogue, talks at the earliest possibility, and also, significantly, no preconditions in it for those talks. And yet you seem somewhat hesitant to embrace this. Is that that you think the letter is not sincere? And what more do you need to see before you could begin, or what next steps could you see for those talks to begin? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, as I think we both have said, we are evaluating the response. And our unity within the P-5+1 has been absolutely critical in dealing with Iran in the past. It remains so going forward. It takes time to consult and to do so in a thorough manner. So we need to give time to our partners in the P-5+1 process to do their own evaluation.

But we’ve been clear about two things that I want to stress. First, as outlined in Cathy’s October letter to Iran, any conversation with Iran has to begin with a discussion of its nuclear program. And Iran’s response to Cathy’s letter does appear to acknowledge and accept that. And second, we must be assured that if we make a decision to go forward, we see a sustained effort by Iran to come to the table, to work until we have reached an outcome that has Iran coming back into compliance with their international obligations.

So we’re evaluating all of these factors. But I think it’s fair to say – and of course, I’ll let Cathy speak for herself – that we think this is an important step, and we welcome the letter.

MS. ASHTON: Yeah. I mean, exactly. We see the things that you’ve seen in the letter – no preconditions and a recognition of what we’ll be talking about. The next question, really, is to look at then where we left off in Istanbul. And you’ll recall that we put out in Istanbul a series of options for confidence-building measures, things that Iran could do that would help us move forward with the talks, things that the inspectors would be allowed to do, for example. We also said at that time they could come forward with their own ideas about what they wanted to do, so that this was a genuine open process.

So for us, the evaluation now is also about thinking through okay, where did we leave off, where do we need to go next? If we start the talks, we want to sustain them. Therefore, we need to set in train the process whereby we can be clear what it is we mean to achieve and what we’re expecting from the Iranians. And that’s what we’re in the process of doing right now.

QUESTION: Is the TRR still on the table?

MS. ASHTON: Well, when we were talking in Istanbul, there were two sets of issues: one, the confidence-building measures I’ve described; the other was support for the TRR and for, of course, a civil nuclear program. And that’s been – as I’ve acknowledged to the Iranians recently, that’s always been part of what we were offering, was to support them on civil nuclear power.

MS. NULAND: And last question, ITN (inaudible).

QUESTION: Yeah. Robert Moore with the British network ITN. Good morning. A question to you both, if I may. I wonder what your message is today to the embattled residents of Homs and other Syrian cities. Would it not be more honest and therefore more honorable to say you’re on your own, the UN Security Council is paralyzed, there are no good Western diplomatic options, don’t expect our help?

MS. ASHTON: I’m not sure that would be an honest response. I think the honest response is to say this: We are absolutely clear that President Assad should stand aside; you cannot kill your own people, you cannot be a leader, and call this leadership. Secondly, that we want to try and work as close as we can with everyone who’s willing to engage in support of the humanitarian needs of people. And we’ve supported the Arab League in its quest to try and put people on the ground to try and monitor the situation. And as you know, there are discussions going on between the UN and the Arab League about how to take that forward in the future. The honest response is we need to do everything that we possibly can to help.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that’s absolutely right. We have marshaled the great weight of international opinion against the Assad regime. The vote yesterday in the General Assembly was overwhelming. So I do want the people of Syria to understand and believe that there are tens of millions of people around the world who are seized with the terrible situation they find themselves in.

And we have not been deterred by the vetoes in the Security Council. We are moving forward with the Friends of Syria. They are not being abandoned. We are doing all we can to determine ways forward to strengthen the opposition, to help them convey to the entire Syrian population that they are seeking an inclusive, peaceful, democratic transition, and that those who are fearful of the future, which is understandable, whether they be Alawites, Sunni, Christian, Druze, Kurd or any Syrian, have to come together to establish a credible opposition that can then serve as their voice in dealing with the regime and dealing with the outside.

So, I think we have to be humble. I mean, this takes a large dose of humility to say we don’t have all the answers and we cannot even imagine the terrible experiences that people are going through with their children and their grandparents under such assault, but we’re doing whatever we can to try to help pave the way toward a better future for Syria.

Thank you all very much. Have a good weekend.

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Today,  at the State Department, Secretary Clinton hosted  a U.S. and European Union meeting on energy with Secretary of Energy Steven Chu,   E.U,  High Rep Catherine Ashton and Gunther Oettinger, E. U.  Commissioner of Energy.  She then participated in a high level U.S. – E.U. Summit at the White House.   Later in the day, she was wheels up for Asia again.  This time the destinations are South Korea and Burma.  What a ball of energy she is!

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Remarks With European Union High Representative for Foreign Policy Catherine Ashton After Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

Treaty Room

Washington, DC

May 17, 2011

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SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it is such a pleasure for me to welcome back to the State Department High Representative Cathy Ashton.

The United States and the European Union are partners working together on, I think, every global issue and regional challenge that you can imagine. We’re doing the urgent, the important, and the long-term all at once, and we are united in a transatlantic community that is based on shared democratic values and limitless faith in human potential.

As always, Cathy and I had a lot to talk about because there is so much happening around the world at a time when people are standing up for their rights and demanding a say in their own futures. And both the European Union and the United States are very committed to advancing democratic values and universal rights, and we know how important that is over the long term. But we also know that right now those rights are under threats from repression and reprisals.

We expressed our serious concern about the continued violence in Syria. The Asad regime has responded to peaceful protests by launching a brutal crackdown that has killed, by our best estimate, nearly a thousand people already. They have embraced the worst tactics of their Iranian ally and they have refused to honor the legitimate aspirations of their own people in Syria.

President Asad talks about reform, but his heavy-handed brutal crackdown shows his true intentions. In response to the continued violence, both the United States and the EU have imposed sanctions against senior Syrian officials. And today, we discussed additional steps that we can take to increase pressure and further isolate the Asad regime.

Our message has been clear and consistent from the beginning: Stop the violence and the arrests, release all political prisoners and detainees, and begin to respond to the demands of the people by a process of credible and inclusive democratic change.

The High Representative and I also discussed efforts to protect civilians in Libya. The United States continues to support our efforts to implement the United Nations Security Council resolution. We’re working with the EU to support the Transitional National Council, and we welcome the EU’s decision to open an office in Benghazi and the ongoing EU support for humanitarian assistance. And for our part, we are working with our Congress to redirect some of Qadhafi’s seized assets toward immediate humanitarian needs.

Across the region, we are looking at many of the same issues from the very same perspective, and we have discussed a number of ways that we can promote investment and trade that would bring benefits to the people of the Middle East and North Africa. We also discussed Iran and, in particular, the efforts of the E-3+3 to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. We have been clear and united under Cathy Ashton’s leadership since the Geneva and Istanbul meetings that Iran has to meet its international obligations and negotiate seriously on the nuclear issue.

Lady Ashton is preparing a response to Iran’s recent letter, but let me make clear that the burden remains on Iran to demonstrate it is prepared to end its stalling tactics, drop its unacceptable preconditions, and start addressing the international community’s concerns.

Now, we’ve also discussed matters in Europe, and both Cathy and I are concerned about the crackdown in Belarus, and I commend her for the strong statement she made over the weekend. The United States considers the post-December 19th trials to be politically motivated, and we call for an immediate, unconditional release of all political prisoners.

I also raised concerns regarding the political deadlock in Bosnia and Herzegovina and any efforts that could undermine the Dayton Peace Accords and the stability of the country. We fully support the authority of the Office of the High Representative Inzko in Bosnia and Herzegovina and want to see the people there realize their hopes for necessary reforms, effective government, and a European future.

Indeed, on all of these fronts, we have an indispensible relationship. And it’s wonderful to have Cathy as a partner in dealing with all of these pressing matters. To further strengthen our partnership, we just signed a framework agreement to expand U.S. civilian participation in EU crisis management missions. American civilian experts already participate in EU missions in Kosovo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and we look forward to working side by side to help more people in more places.

So again, on a personal note, let me thank Cathy for her friendship, and on a professional note, let me thank Lady Ashton – (laughter) – for her leadership and all of the work that she doing around the world.

MS. ASHTON: Secretary Clinton, Hillary, first of all, it’s always a pleasure to meet you anywhere in the world, and indeed we spend our lives finding ourselves in different parts of the globe. But it’s always been a special pleasure to meet with you here in Washington. And the reason for that more than anything is it’s our opportunity to have a little chance to reflect more on some of the big challenges that we are facing at the present time, and as you rightly said, looking at the important and the immediate, but also that opportunity to discuss a longer term.

And one of the areas that I’m most engaged in now is trying to develop, for what we describe in the European Union as our own neighborhood, a much longer-term strategy and policy around the concept of what I’d call deep democracy – helping people to realize that democracy is not just about what you do when you cast your ballot, but about the building of institutions and political parties, and the capacity to go on casting your ballot in years to come. And how we ensure that we’re able to support the people in Egypt and Tunisia I think of especially, but in other countries too as they go forward with this democratic process it’s going to be of enormous importance. And our commitment in the European Union, along with your commitment, is to be there for that long-term challenge.

But combined with that too, we also have the longer-term challenge of ensuring the economic stability and development of these countries as well. And that’s why for Europe, we’ve been developing a new program. I’ve called it the Three Ms. It’s about money – resources available for countries in the short term to deal with the economic difficulties and problems they’ve faced. Simply looking at Tunisia and Egypt, you have to just think of tourism alone, but also to think more creatively about using real investment from some of the institutions that we have, European Investment Bank being one of them. So those resources are there on the ground in the short term, but also for the long term.

Market access – the ability to use our trade to be able to support them in helping their economy develop. And that means not only opening markets but ensuring that people can take advantage of those markets, help them meet the standards that we all have for our citizens, helping them to produce the goods that we want to buy.

And then mobility, the third M. The capacity, particularly for young people – these are young societies – to be able to move around, to have education and support across countries in the European Union, many of whom have long histories of links with young people in those countries, and as well alongside young people, the business people that will need to be able to travel to support the trade that I’ve already described.

So those three Ms are the backbone of the kind of strategy that we’re trying to put together now to support the neighborhood. It’s new, it’s bigger, it’s bolder. It will, I hope, be a recognition that the European Union takes its responsibilities in its neighborhood seriously. And as I said I think in my second week in this job, Europe should be judged by its effectiveness in its own neighborhood, and I firmly believe that.

And as you’ve also pointed to, there are really serious issues for Syria. I spoke to the foreign minister of Syria last week and explained to him very – in a very detailed way how important it was to take this closing window of opportunity and change course. And we will see whether any recognition of what I said comes forward, but I have to say that we will look again at the sanctions that we’ve taken to ensure that they are as strong as they possibly can be.

And we worry too about Yemen and call upon the president there to fulfill his obligations and to sign the agreement.

We talked as well about other areas, and I think particularly about Bosnia-Herzegovina, as you’ve said, where I went last week to make it perfectly plain to President Dodik that the Dayton Agreement is here to stay and that there is an expectation that he will play his full part as a politician in that country in helping to try and move forward for the country as a whole. And it will be very important, as I said in Bosnia, that for the people of that country that the government is formed as quickly as possible and takes its responsibilities. Rising unemployment – real challenges that are being faced there – need a government to lead for the future.

And finally, as you indicated with Iran, where I had a recent letter from Dr. Jalili, it’s taken three months for the reply to come. I had wished for a stronger and better letter from them to recognize that the offer on the table is an offer they should look at very carefully. I will be sending a reply. We’ll be consulting with our partners, not least with the United States, before we do so. But I do urge Iran to think again and to consider coming back to the table.

So a whole range of subjects, but always a great pleasure. And it’s great to sign an agreement as well, so thank you very much for your hospitality.

MR. TONER: We have time for two questions. The first is Elise Labott of CNN.

QUESTION: Thank you, Lady Ashton, just a quick follow on your Iran – you said you would be sending a reply. Do you anticipate a new round of E3+3 talks?

And then on Syria, you say you spoke to the Syrian foreign minister last week. But for both of you, since then there have been reports of mass graves, rounding up of individuals, not just shelling or opening up tanks, but rounding up of individuals, a real systematic going after the people in Syria. Do you think that this raises the bar for referral to the ICC, for referral to the UN Security Council? And it’s pretty clear if this was a conversation last week, that the Syrian regime has shown that it has made the choice not to follow the path of reform, so how much longer do you think this can go on? And is the government effectively crushing the opposition?

Madam Secretary, there have been some more talks about stepped-up talks with the Taliban, if you could bring us up to date. And do you think that the death of Usama bin Ladin gives a new impetus for political negotiations between the Afghan and Taliban? Thank you.

MS. ASHTON: I mean, on Syria, I’ve very worried about what’s happened in the last few days, as I was worried about what was happening the last week. The number of people that we know have died, the number of people that we believe are in detention, is extremely alarming. And what’s happening as – while I’m here is that the 27 ambassadors in Brussels are meeting to discuss on a daily basis what more we should and could do.

The point I wanted to make really was that we also make contact directly and make these points, very clearly and very openly, that this is extremely urgent and that if the government really does – as it keeps telling us it does – want to see some kind of change, it’s got to be now. I think we’re all very aware that the situation is so grave that it’s now in a situation where we need to consider all of the options, and I think there will be a number of moves in the coming hours and days that you will see.

In terms of Iran, I would like to say there will be a new round of talks. From the letters that I’ve received, I don’t see that at the present time.

SECRETARY CLINTON: With respect to the Taliban, we have consistently supported an Afghan-led process of reconciliation. And currently we have a broad range of contacts that are ongoing across Afghanistan and the region at many different levels in order to support the Afghan initiative. President Karzai has taken a number of steps. He held a broad-based peace jirga. He formed a high peace council that includes representatives from across Afghanistan. Their leadership has actually traveled around Afghanistan as well as to a number of other countries. President Karzai himself has held meetings across his own country, and we support this. We think this is a very important development.

And we have outlined our red lines for the Taliban: They must renounce violence. They must abandon their alliance with al-Qaida, which it would certainly seem as would be an easier step for them to take now, post the death of bin Ladin. And they must abide by the constitution of Afghanistan. That’s the price for reaching political reconciliation and bringing an end to the military action. And I’m not going to get into any detail about any contacts, other than to say we have repeatedly supported, in word and deed, an Afghan-led process.

QUESTION: On Syria, Madam Secretary?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I agree with what Cathy said, that we will be taking additional steps in the days ahead.

MR. TONER: Next question by Brian Beary of Europolitics.

QUESTION: Representative Ashton, you said during your comment that Europe should be judged by the effectiveness of its – its effectiveness in its own neighborhood. In the Libya crisis, yourself and Mr. Van Rompaey were criticized for not being at the center of activities and being accused of being marginal figures in the whole NATO operation. I’d just like to give you a chance to respond to that.

And looking to the future on Syria, do you think you’re – in what way are you trying to get ahead of the curve in this situation, from the EU’s point of view, that the EU is not a marginal figure in this – in Syria?

MS. ASHTON: Well, I think, first of all, in terms of what was happening in Libya, we were very much engaged through the European Council and through the 27 member states in determining what the European Union could and should do. It’s always worth remembering what the European Union is and what it is not, and it’s bringing together the 27 member states to support action and activities in a recognition of the principles that we hold dear. It doesn’t mean that on every issue all 27 countries start or end in the same place. What it does mean is we try and build a common view of where we can make a difference.

And that’s why in Libya we’ve been engaged now in trying to support Security Council resolution, why we’ve been engaged, as we’ll see shortly, in the opening of an office in Benghazi, why we’ve been working close with international partners to develop ideas for how to support humanitarian aid, and why we’ve been the biggest funder of humanitarian aid – 100 million euros gone in, 55,000 people, third-country nationals, have been removed out of Libya safely with the help of the European Union. Those are things that we do and we’ve been at the center of doing that. And I don’t think for one moment that that’s a marginal activity.

We also work very closely with NATO in support of what they’ve been doing, and you’ll have seen last week there was a NATO-EU meeting to discuss what we’re doing in Libya. But what we do is different, and that’s also important to recognize.

And in terms of Syria, as I’ve indicated, what we’ve been doing is looking at what sanctions we can take, what political pressure we can put on, in what is an increasingly alarming situation and to try and offer support to the people in whatever way we can. But doing that too, again, with our international partners, because that makes a big difference if we’re able to put that pressure on together.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all.

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Joint US-EU Statement on Post-Presidential Elections’ Situation in Belarus

Media Note

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 23, 2010

The following is a joint statement by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton on the post-presidential elections situation in Belarus.

Begin text:

The United States and the European Union reiterate their call for the immediate release of the presidential candidates and the over 600 demonstrators who have been taken into custody in the wake of the presidential elections in Belarus. We strongly condemn all violence, especially the disproportionate use of force against presidential candidates, political activists, representatives of civil society and journalists. Taken together, the elections and their aftermath represent an unfortunate step backwards in the development of democratic governance and respect for human rights in Belarus. The people of Belarus deserve better.

The European Union and the United States recognize the serious problems with the electoral process and the vote count as reported by the OSCE election observation mission and urge the Government of Belarus to meet its commitments to the OSCE to substantially reform the electoral process. The Government of Belarus should take the steps necessary to create political space for political activists, civil society representatives, and independent journalists.

Respect for democracy and human rights remain central to improving Belarus’s relations with the United States and the European Union. Without substantial progress in these areas, relations will not improve. It is against this background that we will be assessing the Government of Belarus‘s actions to address the current situation and to take developments into account as we review our relations with Belarus. The European Union and the United States intend to continue their support for and engagement with the people of Belarus and civil society representatives.

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Remarks at the Transatlantic Dinner

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
New York, NY
September 22, 2009

Date: 09/22/2009 Description: Secretary Clinton with UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband at Transatlantic Dinner with EU and NATO Foreign Ministers at the Waldorf-Astoria in the Empire Room. © State Dept Image by Michael Gross SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me welcome all of you to this Transatlantic Dinner. It is a real pleasure to see so many friends and colleagues both from the EU and NATO. We have the opportunity several times a year to come together to talk about the important matters that we are all concerned with, and tonight, I hope we can cover a number of issues that are of significance to each of our countries and, of course, to the EU and to NATO.
But I mostly just want to thank you for taking time out of what is an overwhelmingly busy schedule to share this time. And we’ll be efficient, because there are some, like David and Lawrence, who have other dinners, and I’m sure there are many of you who have consecutive obligations. So I think with that, we’ll ask the press to go have dinner, and we’ll be able to both start dinner and start our conversation. Thank you all very much.

 

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