Archive for the ‘NATO’ Category

Secretary Clinton to visit the Virginia Military Institute, the NATO headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, and deliver remarks at the World Affairs Council on April 3

Notice to the Press

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 28, 2012


On April 3, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will visit the Virginia Military Institute, the NATO headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, and deliver remarks at the World Affairs Council at the Sheraton Waterside Hotel in Norfolk.

At approximately noon, Secretary Clinton will receive the Distinguished Diplomat Award from the Virginia Military Institute. Established in 1996 by the board of advisers for VMI’s Department of International Studies and Political Science, the Distinguished Diplomat Award is given in recognition of outstanding achievement in advancing U.S. interests abroad through diplomacy.

“Secretary Clinton’s work throughout her public life representing the United States in numerous venues and on issues of national and international importance makes this award highly appropriate,” said Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III, superintendent of the military college.

Secretary Clinton will also visit members of the only NATO command in North America and the only permanent NATO headquarters outside of Europe. Upon arriving at Allied Command Transformation (ACT) in Norfolk, Virginia, Secretary Clinton will receive a briefing on NATO activities. Following the briefing, Secretary Clinton will attend a meet and greet with ACT community members.

In the evening, Secretary Clinton will serve as a guest speaker at the World Affairs Council NATO Fest 2012 Banquet at The Norfolk Sheraton Waterside Hotel. The NATO Festival is one of the World Affairs Council’s most successful programs. The program honors the NATO nations and focuses on different aspects of issues the transatlantic alliance faces.

Tuesday, April 3

Approximately 12:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton receives the Distinguished Diplomat Award from Virginia Military Institute, at VMI’s Cameron Hall, in Lexington, Virginia.

6:10 p.m. Secretary Clinton delivers remarks to the World Affairs Council 2012 NATO Fest, at the Sheraton Waterside Hotel, in Norfolk, Virginia.

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Press Availability in Brussels, Belgium

Press Availability

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Brussels, Belgium
December 8, 2011


SECRETARY CLINTON: Very much like the logo, a great image of the skyline, which I know very well. I want to thank the Secretary General as he leaves, for his outstanding leadership and the opportunity that we’ve had to work together. And we’ll continue to be working closely together in the run-up to our summit in Chicago next May.

This year has been one of great change, and we see democratic transitions under way. We see – for the United States, troops and diplomats deploying. But some things never change, including our commitment to this alliance, which has been the bedrock of our security for more than half a century. And the wide range of issues that we discussed jointly yesterday and today proves just how essential this relationship is.

Let me give you a brief readout. We obviously discussed our plans for the Chicago summit. At the previous NATO summit in Lisbon, leaders adopted a new strategic concept to define NATO’s approach to countering 21st century threats from ballistic missiles to cyber attacks. And in Chicago, appropriately enough, we will put meat on the bones of this strategic concept, including ways to pool our resources and spend smartly in an era of tight budgets. We will also continue to strengthen our ties with NATO’s partners. Our partnership in Libya proved once again what we can accomplish together, and we want to build on that progress.

We also discussed Afghanistan. Coming off of the Bonn conference Monday and then the ISAF meeting today, we set a clear message that transitioning security to Afghan lead marks the beginning of a new phase of support – not the end of our commitment, nor the end of our efforts. And today, I encouraged our allies to better define NATO’s enduring partnership with Afghanistan, including its post-2014 mission to support the Afghan national security forces and to provide a strong base on which Afghanistan can build a stable, peaceful future. We are hoping that allies will come to Chicago prepared to pledge long-term funding to sustain the Afghan national security forces.

We also discussed the situation in the north of Kosovo. NATO’s troops there, known as KFOR, have made notable progress in restoring peace. But in recent months, violence has returned and Serb hardliners have barricaded roads, pushing the region into a very dangerous position. We deplore violence against our KFOR troops and reiterated our insistence that freedom of movement must be restored for KFOR, for the European Union mission known as EULEX, E-U-L-E-X, and all other parties in the north.

We met with Foreign Minister Lavrov at the NATO-Russia Council and reviewed the work we are doing together in Afghanistan on counter-piracy, on counter-narcotics, just to name a few of the areas. I announced that the United States will increase our support for the joint NATO-Russia Counter Narcotics Program, which will allow us to double the training resources we provide for law enforcement officers in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia. The fight against the drug trade is of crucial importance, first and foremost to the people of the region, but then to NATO allies and Russia as well.

Now, of course, it’s obvious to State that areas of disagreement remain between NATO and Russia and we maintain a candid dialogue on these tough issues in our Council. Today we discussed two in particular: First, missile defense. I made clear that we will proceed with deploying missile defenses to defend NATO territory, as the alliance agreed to in Lisbon. I also made clear our hope to find a common approach on missile defense and to build on practical steps that we have already agreed to, like the missile defense joint exercise planned for next spring.

And second, we discussed the need to renew cooperation on conventional arms control. We have had a profound gap in knowledge and mutual confidence since the Russian Government unilaterally suspended implementation of its CFE Treaty obligations in 2007, and we need to close that gap.

So it’s been another productive ministerial, and I look forward to taking your questions.

MS. NULAND: We’ll take four today. First one, Reuters, Arshad Mohammed. And we need a microphone. Right here. Thanks.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, earlier today, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin essentially accused you of fomenting the protests in Russia with your comments earlier this week. How do you respond to that, and what does it say about US-Russian relations when the Prime Minister would effectively accuse you of interfering in their domestic politics?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it’s important to recognize that we value our relationship with Russia. We have invested a great deal of effort into working together, not only bilaterally, but through NATO. And we think we’ve made real progress in a number of areas of cooperation.

At the same time, the United States and many others around the world have a strong commitment to democracy and human rights. It’s part of who we are. It’s our values. And we expressed concerns that we thought were well-founded about the conduct of the elections. And we are supportive of the rights and aspirations of the Russian people to be able to make progress and to realize a better future for themselves, and we hope to see that unfold in the years ahead.

MS. NULAND: Next question, Alexandra Mayer-Hohdahl from DPA.

QUESTION: Hello. The Russian ambassador today again made the link between the negotiations on missile defense and the Afghanistan supply routes. The Secretary General yesterday dismissed this kind of rhetoric as an empty threat. What are your thoughts and how would the U.S. react if the supply routes were shutdown in the worst-case scenario?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, we’ve had very good cooperation on the supply routes. The northern distribution network that has been established and broadened over the last three years is a very good example of Russian – U.S. and Russian-NATO cooperation and we think it is mutually beneficial to all of us.

And with missile defense, we recognize that we are not in agreement and therefore we have to keep working to try to forge agreement, and we had a healthy airing of views today in the NATO-Russia council, and I think that’s in keeping with our decision two years ago to reinstate the council. It was one of the first debates that I was part of here at NATO. We’ve always said that we wanted it to be an all-weather forum, so when times are good, we have a chance to share our views, and when there are issues to be resolved, we will not shy away from doing so. And I think it was evident today that that’s exactly how it is functioning.

So, we will continue to press forward on missile defense. We’ve been open and transparent about our system with the Russians. We’ve explained through multiple channels that our planned system will not and cannot threaten Russia’s strategic deterrent. It does not affect our strategic balance with Russia, and it is certainly not a cause for military countermeasures.

And that said, no ally within NATO is going to give any other country outside the alliance, a veto over whether NATO protects itself by building a missile defense system, against the threats that we perceive are the most salient. Ballistic missiles against the territory we are all pledged to protect are not coming in the future from Russia, in our assessment, but from other locations. And therefore this is not directed at Russia, it is not about Russia, it is frankly about Iran, and other state or non-state actors who are seeking to develop threatening missile technology. So we will continue to be open, transparent, but also very strongly in support of both our views and our values.

MS. NULAND: Next question, Lachlan Carmichael, AFP.

QUESTION: Hello, Madam Secretary. On Afghanistan, President Karzai has blamed Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, yet another group, for being responsible for an attack, this time against Shiites – an unprecedented one. What does this say about U.S. efforts to have Pakistan curb such militant groups? And lastly if I may add, President Zardari is apparently in the hospital in Dubai – there is some concerns that it’s not just health, that he may be pushed out for political reasons. But at any rate, what does this say about your efforts to shore up civilian rule, if indeed Zardari does not return to his leadership role?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, on the second question first, Lachlan, we have no reason to speculate about that. The information that we have is that he has sought medical treatment for a number of medical challenges and we wish him a speedy recovery and certainly we expect that he will receive the treatment he is seeking and then be able to return in full health to his duties.

We are deeply concerned, as we have been, about the continuing terrorist threat from Pakistan. And we have expressed to the leaders of Pakistan, time and again, the importance of our working together to tackle these terrorist groups, because they threaten, first and foremost, Pakistan, as well as Afghanistan. And then beyond, if left unchecked. And we firmly believe that the best way to combat them is for Pakistan, Afghanistan, NATO, ISAF to all be working together, which is what we have been doing. And I think by the most objective measures, we’ve made tremendous progress in bringing security to many parts of Afghanistan. The Afghan National Security Force has made steady improvement in being able to take responsibility for security. Now it’s up to nearly 50 percent of the people in the country who will be protected by primarily by their own forces. We’ve reversed the momentum and advance of the Taliban and more Afghans live in security.

But having said that, we know that these terrorist groups pose a threat to every country. We spent an enormous amount of time, effort, and resources, as do our friends in Europe, protecting ourselves against these plots. So it’s unfortunate that they can get through anywhere and cause such mayhem, as they have recently in several cities in Afghanistan, but that is just a continuing challenge that we have to help the Afghans address. They do not have anything like the resources, anything like the technology, anything like the networks that we have to protect ourselves and our other friends and allies in advanced economies. So of course it’s going to be a greater challenge. But it needs to be seen in context of the overall security situation in the country.

MS. NULAND: And last question today: Anna Hernandez, Europa Press.

QUESTION: Thank you, Secretary Clinton. I’m over here.


QUESTION: I’m over –

SECRETARY: Where are you? Oh, there you are.

QUESTION: I’m over here. Thank you so much. Do you agree with the statement that ex-Russian president Gorbachev, asking for a rerun of the elections, given the important flaws?

And my second question, if I may, it’s on the very important summit of the European leaders today and tomorrow to try and resolve the crisis. U.S. has publicly gone out with statements really, really stating that Europe needs to solve the crisis and it needs to do it right now. Are you confidence that this will happen? Particularly since the rest of the international community – and I’m thinking particularly of strong International Monetary Fund members – have not been too willing to help financially Europe, seeing, as they say, that Europe is rich anyway.

Thank you so much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, with respect to your first question, I think those kinds of decisions will have to be left up to the government and people of Russia. Obviously that’s an area that deserves attention. The OSCE monitors, who were there for the elections, either already have or are about to submit a report with a number of recommendations, which I think should also merit attention. So we hope that there will be decisions made that reflect the significance, having free, fair, credible elections.

On the issue of the Euro Zone, as you know, Secretary Geithner has been in Europe this week. He is continuing the close consultation that our government has had with both individual governments and with the European leadership, on the Euro Zone crisis. And we are very committed to and hopeful for decisions coming from Europe’s leaders that will put forth a way forward that everyone can rally behind. And that includes the entire world, not just Europe and the United States.

And as President Obama said during last week’s EU-U.S. summit in Washington, the United States stands ready to do our part. We want to help you resolve this crisis because it’s the right thing to do. As we meet here in NATO headquarters, Europe is at the heart of NATO and the Transatlantic Alliance, which is critical to our security. Resolution of Europe’s economic challenges is beneficial to our own economic fortune.

So, we see ourselves as your partner, your supporter, your friend, going forward. We have a great stake in Europe’s success. We will continue to work constructively with our European partners. And we are confident you will succeed. We have great confidence in Europe. There is absolutely no doubt about that. But we do need a plan to rally behind, in order to know the way forward. And so we look forward to hearing the results of the deliberations that will be coming forth in the next day or two.

Thank you all very much.

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Remarks at the Unveiling of NATO Summit Logo


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen
Brussels, Belgium
December 8, 2011


SECRETARY GENERAL RASMUSSEN: Chicago is city which inspires, and I have seen that with my own eyes when I visit Chicago, meeting its dynamic people, enjoying its magnificent skyline. Chicago is a city where great ideas are born, as well as great diplomats, like you, Madam Secretary. (Laughter.) And Chicago is a city where many cultures come together, including many cultures of European allies. Chicago is a city built upon diversity and determination. And those values underpin NATO, too. So Chicago is a fitting host for the NATO summit as we endeavor to implement our vision of an alliance ready to tackle the security challenges of the 21st century.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that was so magnificently said, Secretary General. And you’re right, I was born in Chicago. I love the city. I think everyone will not only enjoy being there because of the NATO summit but also the attractions of Chicago. And we are all looking forward to welcoming you. President Obama is very excited about being able to host the NATO summit in Chicago, and I am going to call the mayor, Rahm Emanuel, and tell him he has a new slogan for the city: the city of diversity and determination. I’m sure that he will be pleased to hear that you coined that, Secretary General.

So I join you in warmly inviting everyone to come to Chicago in May, when it is absolutely beautiful, for what will be another very significant NATO summit. Thank you. (Applause.)

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Public Schedule for November 7, 2011

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
November 7, 2011


9:15 a.m.  Secretary Clinton meets with the assistant secretaries, at the Department of State.

3:15 p.m.  Secretary Clinton joins President Obama’s bilateral meeting with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, at the White House.

4:00 p.m.  Secretary Clinton meets with President Obama, at the White House.

6:30 p.m.  Secretary Clinton meets with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and Assistant Secretary Gordon, at the Department of State.

8:15 p.m.  Secretary Clinton delivers the keynote address at the National Democratic Institute’s (NDI) 2011 Democracy Awards Dinner, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium.

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This just came in from the State Department, and given the high level of interest in our participation in the No-Fly Zone and protection of Libyan civilians, I thought I would make it available to those who have concerns.  NATO has taken command.  We are no longer in command.  (That was fast, wasn’t it?)  Just for good measure, here is a picture of  the incomparable Hillary Rodham Clinton who probably is the one person in the administration who understands every side of this operation and is best suited to answer any question about it.

(Mark Toner is still carrying the press responsibilities.  Still no sign of Michael Hammer.  I wonder if he is real?)


Background Briefing on the North Atlantic Council’s Meeting on Libya

Special Briefing

Senior Administration Official
Via Teleconference
March 27, 2011

OPERATOR: Thank you all for standing by. Welcome to our conference. At this time, your lines have been placed on listen-only for today’s conference. During the question-and-answer portion of our call, you will be prompted to press *1 on your touchtone phone. Please be sure to record your name plus affiliation to ask your question. The conference is also being recorded and if you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time.

I will now turn the conference over to Mr. Mark Toner. Sir, you may proceed.

MR. TONER: Thank you and thanks to everyone for joining us on a Sunday afternoon. As many of you already know, NATO allies decided to take on the civilian protection piece of UN Security Council Resolution 1973, in addition to providing command and control to the no-fly zone, and enforcing the arms embargo.

And here to walk us through today’s decision and some of the aspects moving forward to give us perspective is [Senior Administration Official]. And just going forward, this call is on background and he will, from here on out, be known as Senior Administration Official.

So without further ado, [Senior Administration Official], do you want to go ahead and —

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Absolutely. Thanks, Mark and thanks all for joining us. As those of you who were on the call on Thursday may remember, at that point I mentioned that we had a political agreement to put the entire military aspects of UNSCR 1973 under NATO command and control to make it a NATO mission. That’s what we now did formally this evening here in Brussels.

From this moment on forward, NATO will be in command not only of the no-fly zone, not only of enforcing the arms embargo, but now also of the civilian protection mission. When you think about it, for an organization of 28 states, getting to consensus given where we were just a few days and weeks ago, we moved with extraordinary speed. Ten days ago is when the UN enacted its Security Council resolution that provided for the no-fly zone and the enforcement of the arms embargo and the civilian protection. And it’s just eight days ago that military operations started.

But today, we did – the President said we wanted – he wanted to do when we were going to do it. We were going to take the lead in the initial period, providing our unique capabilities to shape the battlefield, but then within days, we would hand over control of that operation to others. And that’s what we accomplished today in NATO with all 28 allies now agreeing that not only the no-fly zone, not only the arms embargo, but also the civilian protection mission would come under NATO – under NATO command, under NATO control, and on NATO political guidance.

So that’s the important message of what we did today, and I think at this point, I’d be happy to take some questions.

MR. TONER: Great. Operator, we’re ready to take questions.

OPERATOR: Thank you. At this time, if you would like to ask a question, please press *1 on your touchtone phone. Please be sure to record your name and affiliation to ask your question. Once again, it is *1 and please record your name and affiliation at this time.

Our first question comes from Elise Labott with CNN. Your line is open.

QUESTION: Thank you for doing this, [Senior Administration Official]. Can you talk about the rules of engagement in terms of when it goes beyond the no-fly zone and protecting the civilians? Is that done by the commander of NATO who – and will there be separate commanders for the no-fly zone and the kind of no-fly plus aspects of this?

And we’ve been hearing a little bit about caveats that some nations will have to participate in some operations or all operations. Can you talk a little bit about that? Thanks.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Absolutely. Thanks, Elise. The rules of engagement were agreed today first by the military committee and then by the North Atlantic Council. So we have a set of rules of engagements. They have been agreed. And now it’s over to the commanders to implement the mission within those rules of engagement as best as they can agree.

The fact is that every country agreed to these rules of engagement, as you have in every military operation. We’re not going to come back to the NAC or to any political decisions about how and when we’re going to implement the mission. This is now over to the commanders within the rules. Those rules allow for the continuation of the mission as it has been conducted, which is the implementation of UNSCR 1973 – no more, no less. And I must say we had no debates, frankly, about the rules of engagement.

In terms of the commanders, the – this mission will come under the same command structure and the same command arrangements as the no-fly zone. Indeed, what we did is we changed and amended the existing no-fly zone plan to include the mission for civilian protection. So we’re still operating under the same plan with the same commander (inaudible). The Supreme Allied Commander Europe General – Admiral Jim Stavridis is in charge and the – as he is of all NATO operations. And the joint task force commander is a three-star from – general from Canada, General Charles Bouchard. He is in charge of all aspects of the NATO operation, including the arms embargo.

With respect to caveats, I think the way to look at it is that not every country within NATO will contribute to every part of the mission. Some countries don’t have air forces. In fact, some countries don’t have militaries, like Iceland, so it is impossible for them to participate in the civilian protection mission. And a variety of countries have decided that they will contribute in different ways. Some will contribute in the arms embargo, some with the no-fly zone, some in the civilian protection mission. And that’s the way alliances operate. It’s why you want to do this in an alliance so you can bring together the collective capacity of the alliance in order to fulfill the entire mission across the spectrum of operations.

QUESTION: But just – a quick follow-up, just to put the finest point on it possible, there’s no nation that can object to these kind of additional measures in terms of air strikes on troops? And basically, just not every country has to participate in that; is that —


QUESTION: — a good way of looking at it?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah. I mean, the way to put it is that we have made a decision that this is a mission that NATO is taking on. It is now over to the commanders and the individual troops to fulfill that mission in – within the agreement that we reached at 28. And some countries have decided that they may not participate in all aspects of the mission, but NATO as a whole, working with partners from around the world, including from the region, will fulfill the entire mission and will do so in a coordinated and single command-and-control manner.

QUESTION: Okay. Thanks.

MR. TONER: Next question.

OPERATOR: Our next question comes from Ilhan Tanir with Turkish Press. Your line is open.

QUESTION: [Senior Administration Official], I had a quick follow-up on the same question, actually. We know that there were strong Turkish objections to the aerial bombing under Qadhafi’s forces. How did you overcome these objections at this moment?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We frankly didn’t hear of any objections; what we – from Turkey or anybody – any other ally. What we heard was a strong preference, one that was shared by Turkey, to have the entire operation – the no-fly zone and the civilian protection, as well as the arms embargo and support for humanitarian assistance – to have all of that conducted by NATO. That was Turkey’s position, it was the position of a lot of countries, and that is, in fact, the position that the North Atlantic Council took today.

From this one moment on forward, the entire operation with respect to military – the use of military force will be under NATO command. That is Turkey’s position. It is now the position of all 28 nations in NATO.

QUESTION: I’m going to do one more quick follow-up and please forgive me for my ignorance. Does it mean that in an event that NATO commanders decide to take a target on Qadhafi forces, all the members, the NATO members, have to agree on every single attack?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, it doesn’t mean that. It – what it means is that NATO has agreed to take on the mission of protecting civilians, and that mission will be executed in the – by the commanders in the best way they judge possible. It means, in practice, that NATO will conduct the military operation in a way that is very similar to the way the coalition has conducted it up to this point, and no more but also no less.

And we – all 28 allies, every single one, agreed that that should be the case. And if it is judged by the commanders that there’s a need to bomb forces of the Libyan regime, then the forces of the Libyan regime will be bombed, and no one is going to be able or in a position to challenge that. That is a military judgment to be made by the military authorities, and we, as an alliance, agreed today to give the supreme allied commander of Europe that authority.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. TONER: The next question.

OPERATOR: Our next question comes from Mary Beth Sheridan with The Washington Post. Your line is open.

QUESTION: Thanks. Thanks a lot, [Senior Administration Official]. I just wanted to make sure I understood when you talk about the civilian protection mission – we’ve obviously seen this in action in terms of troops – regime troops and tanks and so on being targeted outside of, I think, Misrata, Ajdabiyah and so on. But how far does it go? In other words, were the rebels – if the rebels arrive at (inaudible), if they arrive at the outskirts of Tripoli, would all those places also be covered in this civilian protection mandate?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, the mandate is very simple. It is to protect civilian and civilian-populated areas from attack. And any forces that are attacking or threatening to attack civilians will be subject to targeting by NATO in exactly the same way they’re subject to targeting by the coalition today, or up to this point.

So the mission is clear. It’s about protecting civilians and civilian-populated areas against the threat of actual attack. And that mission, which was the same mission that existed from last Saturday until this point, is the mission that NATO now takes on. It will do so with the same means – no more, no less. The specific question of where, how, when military forces may be engaged are operational questions that the military commanders will have to decide on a case-by-case basis, and certainly not something that some – a political person or a diplomat like me is going to get involved in.

MR. TONER: Great, next question.

OPERATOR: It comes from Courtney Kube with NBC News. Your line is open.

QUESTION: Hi, thank you for doing this. I’m sorry, I’m still unclear on two things – the command structure and also the – protecting the civilian population. So in the command structure, is it fair to say that Admiral Stavridis is now taking essentially the role that General Ham has been playing?

And then also, specifically on the protecting civilian population, you’ve said several times now that there will be no more and no less as far as who is involved. As far as assets, I’m assuming you mean enforcing these – the no-fly zone and whatnot. But does that mean the U.S. is still going to be participating, actively participating, in both air strikes and enforcement of the no-fly zone flying missions over Libya?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thanks, Courtney, for your question because that allows me to clarify something that’s important.

First on command and control, you’re exactly right. We’re moving from Admiral – from General Ham to Admiral Stavridis. General Ham was the coordinator of the coalition. As the President said, we want to hand off that responsibility to others. Today, we agreed to hand it off to NATO, and the NATO – commander of NATO is the supreme allied commander, and he is now tasking his Joint Task Force Commander, General Bouchard, to take control of this mission. And it’s General Bouchard who’s going to run this operation from here on forward.

On the protection of civilians and when I say “No more, no less,” what I mean is not – has no relationship to who will do it, but what we will do. So it was not meant to be in any way a comment on who would do it. When I say under NATO we’re going to do no more and no less than we did under the coalition, it’s with respect to which targets to hit, how to hit them, and what the mission is.

In terms of the assets, one of the reasons you want to put this into NATO is that you will be able to rely on a great deal, a great number of allies who, up to this point, while wanting to participate in the operation, were unwilling to do so until it came under NATO. And there are a number of allies who have made very clear that they will participate, but they wouldn’t participate as part of the coalition. And indeed, there were a number of coalition partners who said this has to come under NATO and it has to come under NATO quickly.

So what we will see now is more countries participating, and that will allow the United States to be part of a much larger effort rather than having to take the lead. That’s why we wanted to hand it off in a matter of days, and we have now done that.

QUESTION: Will those more countries participating include more Arab participation?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We will seek as many Arab and regional partners to participate, and we’re continuing the process of engaging with Arab countries to bring them into this operation. One of the advantages of using NATO is that NATO has established procedures, established practices of working with non-NATO countries, including many in the Arab world, in order to bring them into established operations. So they have a political visibility on what’s happening as well as military participation. And I would expect that in the coming days and weeks, we will see more and more non-NATO members joining this effort.

QUESTION: Thank you.


MR. TONER: Our next question, and I think we’ve got time for just a couple more.

OPERATOR: It comes from Margaret Warner with PBS NewsHour. Your line is open.

QUESTION: Hi, [Senior Administration Official]. Thank you for doing this. I want to go back to Mary Beth’s question because it seems to me there is a difference between whether the rebels are on defense, which is where they have been, say, in Ajdabiyah, and if they go on offense. Say if they go to Sirte, we’re there, the government forces are the ones who hold the civilian-populated area and the attackers, if you will, will be the rebels, or if they were to get to Tripoli. In that situation where rebels are on offense against civilian-populated areas held by the government, will they get an assist from NATO bombing?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I’ll answer, Margaret, the same way as I did for Mary Beth, which is our mission is to protect civilians against the threat or actual use of military force. So when civilians are being attacked or threatened to be attacked, those who are doing the attacking or threatening are the ones who are going to be subject to military action.

It’s been very clear up to this point that it is the regime of Colonel Qadhafi that is engaged in horrendous acts against civilians, and therefore, it is those forces that are being targeted. But the mission is clear. It’s about the protection of civilians and civilian-populated areas. It is not anything more or anything less than that. And as long as civilians are being threatened, as long as civilians are being attacked, there is a very legitimate military mission, which is to make sure that those who are doing the attacking or those who are doing the threatening are being – are unable to continue their actions.

QUESTION: But if I can follow up, I mean, that still doesn’t really answer my question. If you’re in a situation in which it is really the rebel army against Qadhafi forces and civilians are not directly involved or targeted at that moment, are you assisting the rebels?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, I’ll answer the same way, and I think that will explain it. When civilians are attacked, those doing the – those attacking the civilians are a legitimate target and will be targeted by NATO. If there is a threat to attack civilians and civilian-populated areas, that is what we will go after. So civilians need to be threatened or attacked for NATO to take military action, as indeed the coalition has done so up to this point. That’s the mission we have had up to this point, and that’s the mission that NATO is now taking on. It’s the same mission in the same way.

QUESTION: All right.

MR. TONER: Thank you. This is —

QUESTION: Would you say civilians in Sirte are being threatened or attacked?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Sorry, Margaret, I didn’t hear it.

QUESTION: Would you say civilians in Sirte currently are being threatened or attacked?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I don’t follow the operational details, so I don’t know exactly where we are on this, and I’d leave that open to the commanders. They’ve got a clear mission and they need – now need to execute it.

MR. TONER: Thank you. This will be our last question.

OPERATOR: It comes from Adam Levine with CNN. Your line is open.

QUESTION: Hi, thank you for doing this. If I could follow up, so are you saying that if rebels are advancing and they (inaudible) an activity that threatens or endangers civilians by starting fighting, rebels are fair targets for the alliance?

And my – just another question also: How will NATO coordinate or interact with the rebel groups?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Right now, all the threatening and striking of civilians is being done by Qadhafi forces, and that’s the focus. But our mission is clear. It’s about protecting civilians first and civilian areas. That – first and foremost, and that’s what it’s about. And NATO has just taken on that mission.

In terms of coordinating with rebel forces, no, our mission is to protect civilians. It’s not about the rebels. It’s about the protection of civilians and civilian populations. That’s what UNSCR 1973 mandated and that’s the mandate that NATO is now taking on.

MR. TONER: Great. Well, thank you all so much and especially to our Senior Administration Official for walking us through this decision today. Everybody have a good remainder of their Sunday and thank you again.

OPERATOR: That does conclude today’s conference call. We thank you all for participating. You may now disconnect and have a great rest of your day.

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Update on Implementing UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 on Libya


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 24, 2011

Good evening. I’m just returning from the White House, where I met with the President and the national security team, and I want to give you an update on the international community’s efforts to implement UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 and protect the civilians of Libya.

Events have moved very quickly, so let’s be clear about where we stand and how we got here. When the Libyan people sought to realize their democratic aspirations, they were met by extreme violence from their own government. The Libyan people appealed to the world to help stop the brutal attacks on them, and the world listened. The Arab League called for urgent action.

In response, the UN Security Council mandated all necessary measures to protect civilians, including a no-fly zone. But the regime’s forces continued their assaults, and last weekend they reached Benghazi itself. We faced the prospect of an imminent humanitarian disaster. Hundreds of thousands of civilians were in danger. So an international coalition was compelled to act. French planes were the first to reach the skies over Benghazi. Cruise missiles from the United States and the United Kingdom followed, striking the region – the regime’s air defenses and clearing the way for allied aircraft to implement the no-fly zone.

Many other nations have now joined this effort. After only five days, we have made significant progress. A massacre in Benghazi was prevented, Qadhafi’s air force and air defenses have been rendered largely ineffective, and the coalition is in control of the skies above Libya. Humanitarian relief is beginning to reach the people who need it. For example, just today, we learned that at least 18 doctors and nurses from an organization funded by the United States Agency for International Development had arrived in Benghazi and were beginning to provide support to the city’s main hospital.

Qadhafi’s troops have been pushed back, but they remain a serious threat to the safety of the people. From the start, President Obama has stressed that the role of the U.S. military would be limited in time and scope. Our mission has been to use America’s unique capabilities to create the conditions for the no-fly zone and to assist in meeting urgent humanitarian needs. And as expected, we’re already seeing a significant reduction in the number of U.S. planes involved in operations as the number of planes from other countries increase in numbers.

Today we are taking the next step. We have agreed, along with our NATO allies, to transition command and control for the no-fly zone over Libya to NATO. All 28 allies have also now authorized military authorities to develop an operations plan for NATO to take on the broader civilian protection mission under Resolution 1973.

NATO is well-suited to coordinating this international effort and ensuring that all participating nations are working effectively together toward our shared goals. This coalition includes countries beyond NATO, including Arab partners, and we expect all of them to be providing important political guidance going forward.

We have always said that Arab leadership and participation is crucial. The Arab League showed that leadership with its pivotal statement on Libya. They joined the discussions in Paris last weekend on implementation, and we are deeply appreciative of their continuing contributions, including aircrafts and pilots from Qatar.

This evening, the United Arab Emirates announced they are joining the coalition and sending planes to help protect Libyan civilians and enforce the no-fly zone. We welcome this important step. It underscores both the breadth of this international coalition and the depth of concern in the region for the plight of the Libyan people.

In the days ahead, as NATO assumes command and control responsibilities, the welfare of those civilians will be of paramount concern. This operation has already saved many lives, but the danger is far from over. As long as the Qadhafi regime threatens its people and defies the United Nations, we must remain vigilant and focused.

To continue coordinating with our partners and charting the way forward, I will travel to London to attend an international conference on Tuesday, convened by the United Kingdom. Our military will continue to provide support to our efforts to make sure that Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 will be enforced.
This is an important effort that has garnered the support and the active participation of nations who recognize the significance of coming together in the international community, through the United Nations, to set forth a clear statement of action to be taken in order to protect innocent civilians from their own government. It is an effort that we believe is very important, and we’ll look forward to coordinating closely with all those nations that are participating.

Thank you very much.



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I had hoped that in the course of the day I could embed some of these images in remarks from her bilaterals.   Since remarks have not been posted, I will go ahead and share the pictures at least.  We see her with Spain’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs Trinidad Jimenez (replacing Angel Moratinos)  as well as with the new French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie (replacing Bernard Kouchner).    Compared to last December’s NATO Summit in Brussels, we see differences.

Last year, resplendent in red, she was the center of attention and flirty in the male milieu.  This year, donning a flattering navy outfit, she appears as a more experienced senior member of the club.  Her photos with Jimenez and Alliot-Marie reveal the face of a sort of “big sister” welcoming them and ready to share and support.  As the face of European diplomacy changes, so changes “smart power” … now the power of sisterhood!

She is not the only girl in the class anymore, and her flirting-foil, David, has been replaced by the Bill who shares not only two names with her Bill, but also, evidently, a rather grown-up friendship with both Clintons.  No, NATO is not the same as last year, and neither is Mme. Secretary.  As always, she changes, develops, gains experience, transforms, and fascinates!

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There are many images available from today’s NATO Summit in Lisbon. I have used several in previous posts. This is a series that I find interesting and decided to share. The principals, as if they needed to be identified, are British PM David Cameron, U.S. President Barack Obama, and, of course, the star of the show, Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State upon whom AP has today bestowed a cabinet! (But that is another story – see caption).

It looks, at first blush, like Mme. Secretary has gotten herself into yet another diplomatic entanglement here!

From another camera angle, however, we see that this is not the case.

Things begin in a jovial fashion.

And then the business of nations commences. It looks a lot like mid-term exams.

I particularly like this one in the exam context. Cameron looks like he is wondering what the question means. Hillary is writing enough to fill two blue books at least, and Obama is trying to see her answer! “What’s she writing? Does she actually know all that?”

Well, to quote Chris Matthews at the end of her confirmation hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “I’ve never seen somebody know so much!” Yes, she does know!

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Philip H. Gordon
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
Via Teleconference
Washington, DC
October 8, 2010

OPERATOR: Welcome and thank you for standing by. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. During the question-and-answer session, please press *1 on your touchtone phone. Today’s conference is being recorded. If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time. And now, I’ll turn today’s meeting over to Mr. Mark Toner. You may now begin, sir.
MR. TONER: Good morning. Thanks, everyone for joining us, and thanks, especially, to Assistant Secretary Gordon for taking time out of his very busy morning just to walk us through the Secretary’s trip to the Balkans as well as Brussels, next week. Just a reminder, this is on the record and you can use the audio for broadcast as well. And just, if you ask questions, please give your name and media affiliation.
And without further ado I’ll hand it over. Phil.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: Thanks, Mark. Good morning, everybody, and thanks for coming on the call. I’ll be very brief so we can spend our time on your questions.
As you know, from October 11 to 14th, Secretary Clinton will travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, and Brussels. She’s going to the Balkans to underscore the continued commitment of the United States to supporting all the Balkan states as they build prosperous, peaceful, and democratic societies and move to take their rightful places as full members of the European and Euro-Atlantic community.
Secretary Clinton’s visit follows the important trip that Vice President Biden took in May 2009, as well as several others by Deputy Secretary Steinberg, myself, and others in the Administration over the past year. In the Balkans, the Secretary will meet with a range of government officials, civil society representatives, and she will attend events with citizens of these countries. She will take stock of progress in the region, exchange ideas, and engage with these groups on a range of issues. In Brussels, the Secretary will participate in meetings with EU officials and NATO counterparts to strengthen and cement U.S. partnership with the EU and work with allies on the revitalized NATO.
Let me just walk you through what she’s actually going to do. On Tuesday the 12th, in Sarajevo, the Secretary will meet with the Bosnian tri-presidency as well as High Representative Valentin Inzko. She will also dedicate the new embassy compound in Sarajevo which is scheduled to open shortly. On the 12th, in Belgrade, the Secretary will meet with President Tadic, Foreign Minister Jeremic, and Defense Minister Sutanovac. That evening, she will also meet with members of civil society. On Wednesday, October 13th, in Kosovo, the Secretary will meet privately with acting President Krasniqi, Prime Minister Thaci, and Foreign Minister Hyseni. She will then travel to Gracanica, a Serb-majority municipality near Pristina where she will meet with municipal leaders in the Kosovo-Serb community.
After she gets back to Pristina, she will hold a meeting with women’s leaders, other civil society leaders, and youth from all ethnic groups. In all of these stops – Sarajevo, Belgrade, and Pristina – the Secretary will participate in various media events as well as embassy meet-and-greet.
Continuing on to Brussels, on October 14th, the Secretary will meet with EU Council President Van Rompuy and EU High Representative Baroness Ashton, followed by a meeting with European Parliament President Buzek and other EU Parliamentary leaders. Secretary will then join Secretary Gates for a joint NATO ministerial, bringing together foreign and defense ministers from NATO countries. The ministerial will be an opportunity to review progress on the new strategic concept and in the war in Afghanistan.
She will then depart Brussels on the evening of the 14th for Washington. That’s my summary and I’m happy to take your questions.
Read more >>>>

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Well I do not know how on earth I missed these three outtakes from Secretary Clinton’s press availability on Thursday in Estonia, but there they were at the State Department website which I had been checking all weekend!

Since it is impossible to have too much Hillary over a Hillary-free weekend, I am posting them even though they are a few days old and the text of this P.A. went up days ago.

Here is Hillary, for your viewing pleasure!

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