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Remarks on the situation in Algeria are included in the lead-off.

Remarks With Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida After Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
January 18, 2013

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to the Ben Franklin Room here in the State Department. And of course, let me warmly welcome the Foreign Minister here for the first time in this new capacity on behalf of the new Government of Japan.Before we start, I’d like to say a few words about the situation in Algeria. The United States extends our condolences to all the families who have lost loved ones in this brutal assault, and we remain deeply concerned about those who remain in danger. I spoke with the Algerian Prime Minister again this morning to get an update on this very difficult situation and to underscore, again, that the utmost care must be taken to preserve innocent life. We are staying in close touch with our Algerian partners and working with affected nations around the world to end this crisis.

More broadly, however, it is absolutely essential that we broaden and deepen our counterterrorism cooperation going forward with Algeria and all countries of the region. I made clear to the Prime Minister that we stand ready to further enhance the counterterrorism support that we already provide. We have been discussing this with the Algerian leadership both when I traveled to Algeria this past year in October specifically to discuss counterterrorism issues, and again when Deputy Secretary Burns visited as the head of an interagency delegation in November. As the Foreign Minister and I discussed, we must all remain vigilant in our efforts to combat violent extremism and terrorism around the world.

Now, when I became Secretary of State nearly four years ago, I broke with tradition and took my first overseas trip not to Europe but to Asia, because I recognized that America needed to reengage in the region where much of the history of the 21st century is being and will be written. And there was no question as to which country I would visit first on that trip. It was Japan. As I said when I arrived in Tokyo, our alliance with Japan remains the cornerstone of American engagement in the region.

After four years and many more trips across the Pacific, our countries enjoy unprecedented collaboration. We address regional issues from North Korea to those in ASEAN, we meet global challenges together from Afghanistan to Iran, and we worked to respond to the earthquake and tsunami. Our people have stood side by side, and we have strengthened this alliance which has endured for more than six decades.

So as my time as Secretary of State comes to an end, I want to thank the people and leaders of Japan for their partnership and commitment to this alliance. And I want to thank you, Foreign Minister, for a final opportunity to discuss our many shared concerns. And we had a broad-based, comprehensive discussion. We started down the list and kept going.

On North Korea we shared our joint commitment to strong action in the UN Security Council. I also assured the Foreign Minister that we would continue to support Japan’s efforts to return Japanese citizens who have been abducted by the DPRK. With regard to regional security, I reiterated longstanding American policy on the Senkaku Islands and our treaty obligations. As I’ve said many times before, although the United States does not take a position on the ultimate sovereignty of the islands, we acknowledge they are under the administration of Japan and we oppose any unilateral actions that would seek to undermine Japanese administration and we urge all parties to take steps to prevent incidents and manage disagreements through peaceful means.

We also discussed how we can do more to strengthen our already strong alliance. We discussed base realignment issues. We both want to reduce the impact of our bases on host communities while maintaining the ability to defend Japan’s territory and people and preserve stability and security. We are confident that we can make progress on force realignment in Okinawa, including moving ahead with construction of the Futenma replacement facility.

We also discussed the Trans-Pacific Partnership and we shared perspectives on Japan’s possible participation, because we think this holds out great economic opportunities to all participating nations.

We also covered an issue important to both of our nations’ people, the Hague Abduction Convention that allows parents to seek a lawful, timely, and just resolution when a child is abducted by the other parent. And we hope that there will be action in the upcoming session of the Diet to pass the necessary legislation.

Now, I am very pleased to announce that we have extended an invitation to Prime Minister Abe to come to Washington to meet with President Obama in the third week of February. And there will be a lot of work to do between now and then to ensure that this high-level summit is extremely successful for both of our governments and our nations. But again, Foreign Minister, thank you for making this very early trip here and for your continuing commitment to our alliance.

FOREIGN MINISTER KISHIDA: (Via interpreter.) Secretary Clinton, thank you for those words. If I may, allow me to make a few comments. Upon the kind invitation from Secretary Clinton, I have come here on my first visit to the United States after the change of government had taken place in Japan. At the outset, I would like to touch upon the abduction incident that occurred in Algeria, the hostage-taking of foreign nationals in Algeria.

First of all, prior to my meeting with Secretary Clinton, because of the arrangements kindly made by the security, intelligence brief was given to me on this incident. Upon receiving that briefing, I embarked upon the bilateral meeting, and on that occasion I told Secretary Clinton that first of all, Japan takes the position that terrorism is definitely intolerable and impermissible and explained the position of the Japanese Government that the Government of Japan has been requesting the Government of Algeria to place utmost priority on ensuring the safety of the lives of the hostages.

We have been conducting collection of information and the Secretary and I agreed that the Japan and the United States will continue to collaborate in all areas, including information collection. We expect that we will continue to seek the cooperation of the United States in various areas pertaining to this incident. Having been able to directly discuss the issue with the Secretary to confirm that our positions are aligned was extremely valuable.

And in the meeting, we mainly discussed the foreign policy of the Abe Administration. I explained the foreign policy and security policies to Secretary Clinton and conducted candid exchange of views on the direction of strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance.

While the security environment is becoming ever more challenging in the Asia Pacific, in order to ensure regional peace and stability, the Government of Japan recognizes that close Japan-U.S. cooperation in all areas is indispensible. The new government positions the strengthening of the bond of the Japan-U.S. alliance as the cornerstone of our foreign policy. In light of such view, we welcome the strategy of the United States of placing focus on the Asia Pacific. Secretary Clinton and I confirmed the necessity for Japan and the United States to cooperate closely to ensure peace and stability in the region.

Further, as was already mentioned by Secretary Clinton, we received the invitation for Prime Minister Abe to visit the United States during the third week of February. We truly hope that at the Japan-U.S. summit will clearly manifest the importance of an even stronger Japan-U.S. relations and we confirmed the necessity to accelerate preparations on both sides of the Pacific.

On the security front, Japan is prepared to fulfill our responsibility along with the United States for the peace and stability of the Asia Pacific. While reinforcing Japan’s own defense capabilities, in order to further upgrade deterrents presented by the Japan-U.S. security regime, we shall promote the Japan-U.S. security and defense cooperation in wide-ranging areas, and I have conveyed this strong determination of Japan to Secretary Clinton.

On the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, the new Japanese administration intends to follow the currently existing Japan-U.S. agreement and maintain deterrents while at the same time reducing the impact on Okinawa. Both Japan and the United States will expedite the work to come up with a plan for consolidation of facilities and areas in Okinawa. Such fundamental concept was also explained by our side to Secretary Clinton.

And on the economic front, Secretary Clinton and I confirmed the importance of promotion of free trade and investment and cooperation in such areas as energy. On TPP, I explained the view of the new government and the debate ongoing currently in Japan and confirmed with the Secretary that we will maintain close contact on this matter.

Further, on the situation in the Asia-Pacific region, first of all, with regards to China, the Japan-Sino relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships for our nation. The Abe Administration intends to respond from a broad perspective towards promotion of mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interest to China, and I conveyed that policy of Japan to the Secretary.

Further, while Japan will not concede and will uphold our fundamental position that the Senkaku Islands are an inherent territory of Japan, we intend to respond calmly so as not to provoke China. I conveyed to Secretary Clinton that Japan very much values the commitment shown by the United States over the Senkaku Islands based on the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and the commitment that the United States will go against any unilateral action that will infringe upon the administration rights of Japan.

As for Japan’s ties with the ROK are concerned, I indicated our determination to further deepen our relationship with South Korea, taking the opportunity of birth of new governments in both Japan and South Korea.

On North Korea, we confirmed that close collaboration be continued between Japan and the United States, as well as between Japan, United States, and South Korea. Specifically referring to the missile launch last December, we agreed to continue with our close cooperation so that the United Nations Security Council takes effective measures as expeditiously as possible.

Further, I explained to the Secretary how seriously the new administration is taking with the abduction issue, and sought continued understanding and cooperation by the United States. Secretary Clinton responded by saying that the United States supports the resolution of the abduction problem.

Syria, Iran and other global challenges were raised at the table, and we confirmed the necessity to continue close collaboration on these issues as well.

Thank you for your kind attention.

MS. NULAND: We’ll take two questions today. We’ll start with CNN. Jill Dougherty, please.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thank you. We know that there are U.S. citizens being held hostage in Algeria. Is there anything that you can please tell us more specifically about their condition, their status? How confident are you that you can get them out?

And there’s significant criticism coming from this Administration and from others, the Europeans, about what some are referring to as a pretty brutal operation. You had no advance notice of that operation either before it started, as far as we understand. Should Algeria have accepted military help from the United States to carry out this mission?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jill, when I spoke with the Prime Minister again this morning, I urged the utmost care be taken in the protection of the hostages, Algerian and expatriate foreign hostages. He made clear that their operation was still ongoing, that the situation remained fluid, that the hostages remain in danger in a number of instances. But in interest of their security, I am not going to provide any further details at this time.

As I said yesterday and at the beginning here today, this is an extremely difficult and dangerous situation. No one knows better than Algeria how ruthless these groups are. After all, they fought a very terrible war against them for a number of years, with great loss of life. So we are staying in close touch with our Algerian partners and working with affected nations like our Japanese friends around the world to help end this crisis.

But let’s not forget this is an act of terror. The perpetrators are the terrorists. They are the ones who have assaulted this facility, have taken hostage Algerians and others from around the world who were going about their daily business. And it is absolutely essential that while we work to resolve this particular terrible situation, we continue to broaden and deepen our counterterrorism cooperation, something that the Foreign Minister and I discussed at some length. It is not only cooperation with Algeria, it is international cooperation against a common threat.

And that’s one of the reasons why I went to Algeria in October, why we have been working with a number of the countries in that region to help them improve their counterterrorism capabilities. It’s why I launched the Global Counterterrorism Forum. We will not rest until we do as much as we can, alone and in concert with our partners, to restore security to this vital region and to bring those who would terrorize and kill innocent people to justice.

So we are going to follow this very closely and we are going to do everything we can, working with our partners, to help resolve it. And then when finally we have brought that to a conclusion, working with others, we have to look to see what more needs to be done in order to protect everyone from these ongoing threats from these very dangerous extremists.

MS. NULAND: Last one today, from (inaudible) Matsumura from Yomiuri Shimbun, please.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter.) I have a question to Secretary and Ministry. China is becoming ever more active in Senkaku Islands and the surrounding area. The missile launch by DPRK also manifests the ever more challenging situation and security environment in the region. In order to enhance the alliance between Japan and the United States, how do you intend to overcome the pending issues between the two countries, such as Futenma relocation, The Hague treaty, and TPP? And how do you intend to utilize the gains from this foreign ministerial meeting to the future of these two – the relationship between the two countries?

FOREIGN MINISTER KISHIDA: (Via interpreter) Then if I may take the floor, first of all, first and foremost, the security environment in the Asia Pacific region is becoming ever more challenging and difficult, and in order to ensure the peace and stability of the region, we not only need to closen ties in the areas of economy and security, but in all areas such as culture and people-to-people exchange to reinforce Japan-U.S. alliance.

On the security front, it is necessary that we further uplift the level of deterrence under the Japan-U.S. security regime. We will coordinate with the strategy of the United States, placing focus on the Asia Pacific to further enhance cooperation in this area.

On the economic front, both Japan and the United States place importance on promotion of free trade as well as cooperation in the area of energy. And today, I was able to confirm the importance of these points with Madam Secretary. On TPP, I have utilized this opportunity to communicate to Secretary Clinton the views be held by the new administration. We confirmed that Japan and the United States will continue to keeping close contact as we tackle this issue.

Further, on the security front, if I may add one other point related to security, on Futenma, Futenma should never become a permanent base. So under the policy of maintaining deterrence while at the same time reducing the impact on Okinawa, we will work together towards the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, based upon such policy.

Further, the following point was confirmed with Madam Clinton, and the signing of the Hague Convention is of great importance. The Government of Japan is intending to go through the necessary procedures for early signing of the treaty. By taking steady steps towards the implementation of these measures shall lead to further reinforcement of the Japan-U.S. relationship, and that, in turn, I believe, will lead to the stability and prosperity of the totality of the Asia-Pacific region.

On the occasion of the Prime Minister’s visit to the United States, we truly hope that his visits will be extremely productive in covering all of these areas, and Japan and the United States will continue to closely collaborate.

Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I will echo what the Minister said about the very extensive agenda that we will be working on to prepare for the summit meeting between the two leaders. There are so many issues of bilateral, regional, and global importance where the United States and Japan work together, cooperate, and we will have a full review of all of those important matters.

As I said at the outset, we certainly discussed the Senkaku Islands today. And I reiterated, as I have to our Chinese friends, that we want to see China and Japan resolve this matter peacefully through dialogue, and we applaud the early steps taken by Prime Minister Abe’s government to reach out and begin discussions. We want to see the new leaders, both in Japan and in China, get off to a good start with each other in the interest of the security of the entire region.

And we have also, as I said earlier, made clear that we do not want to see any action taken by anyone that could raise tensions or result in miscalculations that would undermine the peace, security, and economic growth in this region. So certainly, we are hopeful that there can be an ongoing consultation that will lower tensions, prevent escalation, and permit China and Japan to discuss the range of other issues on which they have important concerns.

Thank you all very much.

MS. NULAND: Thank you all.

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Note: Remarks about the situation in Algeria included here.

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Remarks With President of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud After Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
January 17, 2013

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, everyone. It is a great privilege for us to be welcoming President Hassan Sheikh and his delegation here to the State Department. Today’s meeting has been a long time in the making. Four years ago, at the start of the Obama Administration, Somalia was, in many ways, a different country than it is today. The people and leaders of Somalia have fought and sacrificed to bring greater stability, security, and peace to their nation.

There is still a long way to go and many challenges to confront, but we have seen a new foundation for that better future being laid. And today, we are taking an important step toward that future. I am delighted to announce that for the first time since 1991, the United States is recognizing the Government of Somalia.

Now before I talk about what comes next for this partnership, it is worth taking a moment to remember how we got here and how far we have come together. When I entered the State Department in January 2009, al-Shabaab controlled most of Mogadishu and south and central Somalia. It looked at the time like it would even gain more territory. The people of Somalia had already endured many years of violence and isolation, and we wanted to change that. We wanted to work together, not only with the people of Somalia but with governments across the region, the international community, and other likeminded friends.

In early 2009, the final Transitional Federal Government began its work. Somali security forces, supported by the African Union Mission in Somalia, and troops from Uganda and Burundi and now Kenya and Djibouti began to drive al-Shabaab out of cities and towns. Humanitarian aid finally began getting to the people in need. Local governments resumed their work. Commerce and travel began to pick up. Now progress was halting at times, but it was unmistakable. And today, thanks to the extraordinary partnership between the leaders and people of Somalia, with international supporters, al-Shabaab has been driven from Mogadishu and every other major city in Somalia.

While this fight was going on, at the same time, Somalia’s leaders worked to create a functioning democratic government. Now that process, too, was quite challenging. But today, for the first time in two decades, this country has a representative government with a new president, a new parliament, a new prime minister, and a new constitution. Somalia’s leaders are well aware of the work that lies ahead of them, and that it will be hard work. But they have entered into this important mission with a level of commitment that we find admirable.

So Somalia has the chance to write a new chapter. When Assistant Secretary Carson visited Mogadishu in June, the first U.S. Assistant Secretary to do so in more than 20 years, and when Under Secretary Sherman visited a few months ago, they discovered a new sense of optimism and opportunity. Now we want to translate that into lasting progress.

Somalia’s transformation was achieved first and foremost by the people and leaders of Somalia, backed by strong, African-led support. We also want to thank the African Union, which deserves a great deal of credit for Somalia’s success. The United States was proud to support this effort. We provided more than $650 million in assistance to the African Union Mission in Somalia, more than 130 million to Somalia’s security forces. In the past two years, we’ve given nearly $360 million in emergency humanitarian assistance and more than $45 million in development-related assistance to help rebuild Somalia’s economy. And we have provided more than $200 million throughout the Horn of Africa for Somali refugee assistance.

We’ve also concentrated a lot of our diplomacy on supporting democratic progress. And this has been a personal priority for me during my time as Secretary, so I’m very pleased that in my last weeks here, Mr. President, we’re taking this historic step of recognizing the government.

Now, we will continue to work closely, and the President and I had a chance to discuss in detail some of the work that lies ahead and what the government and people of Somalia are asking of the United States now. Our diplomats, our development experts are traveling more frequently there, and I do look forward to the day when we can reestablish a permanent U.S. diplomatic presence in Mogadishu.

We will also continue, as we well know, to face the threat of terrorism and violent extremism. It is not just a problem in Somalia; it is a problem across the region. The terrorists, as we have learned once again in the last days, are not resting, and neither will we. We will be very clear-eyed and realistic about the threat they continue to pose. We have particular concerns about the dangers facing displaced people, especially women, who continue to be vulnerable to violence, rape, and exploitation.

So today is a milestone. It’s not the end of the journey but it’s an important milestone to that end. We respect the sovereignty of Somalia, and as two sovereign nations we will continue to have an open, transparent dialogue about what more we can do to help the people of Somalia realize their own dreams.

The President had a chance to meet President Obama earlier today at the White House, and that was a very strong signal to the people of Somalia of our continuing support and commitment. So as you, Mr. President, and your leaders work to build democratic institutions, protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, respond to humanitarian needs, build the economy, please know that the United States will be a steadfast partner with you every step of the way. Thank you.

PRESIDENT HASSAN SHEIKH: Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, sir.

PRESIDENT HASSAN SHEIKH: Thank you, Madam Secretary, for the great words that you expressed on the realities on the ground in Somalia and the future of Somalia and the future of the relationship between Somalia and the United States.

First of all, I would like to thank the Government and the people of the United States of America for the warm welcome accorded to me and to my delegation for the last two days. I am very pleased and honored to come to Washington and to meet Madam Secretary to discuss on bilateral issues and the mutual interests of our two countries. And Somalia is very grateful for the unwavering support from the United States to the people of Somalia. U.S. is a major donor to Somalia, which include humanitarian assistance and help toward security. We both have common interests and common enemy, which we must redouble our efforts to bring peace and stability in Somalia.

Somalia is emerging from a very long, difficult period, and we are now moving away from the chaos, instability, extremism, piracy, an era, to an era of peaceful and development. We are aiming to make a valuable contribution to the region and the world at large.

Today I provided an update of the huge progress made in the areas of security, political development, social services, and establishing reliable and credible governance institutions to Madam Secretary. This is an excellent time to me to visit the U.S.A. and to meet with U.S. leaders here in Washington, as Somalia is entering a new phase which requires from all of us to work hard with a very few to bring peace with a heart and view to bring peace and stability in Somalia.

Today, we had fruitful and frank discussions on many subjects that are of mutual interest to all of us and to the world at large. I am encouraged by the (inaudible) the energy, the willingness of interest shown to me and my country, and I am hopeful that Somalia will reclaim its role in the international landscape and play a more active and useful member of the nations of the world.

We are working for a Somalia that is at peace with itself and with its neighbors, where its citizens can go about their daily lives in safety, provided their families with confidence and gratefulness. Instability, violent extremism, and crime in Somalia are a threat not only to Somalia, but to the region and the world at large. We look to the future with hope, pride, and optimism.

And finally, I wish Madam Secretary all of the best for her future, and we all miss her greatly, and a warm welcome to the new Secretary of State and the new administration that will take over. Somalia will remain grateful to the unwavering support from the United States Government in the last 22 years that Somalia was in a difficult era. We remain and we will remain grateful to that (inaudible). And I say in front of you today thank you, America.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Mr. President. (Applause.)

MS. NULAND: We’ll take two questions today. We’ll start with CBS News, Margaret Brennan, please.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, it’s good to have you back at the podium.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Margaret. I’m glad to be back.

QUESTION: A question for you. Is there anything you’d like to see the Algerians do differently in response to the hostage situation that’s underway? And more broadly, are there security or policy implications for Westerners, Americans in the region because of what’s happening in Mali?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Margaret, thanks for asking that very timely question, and let me start off by saying that I spoke with the Algerian Prime Minister Sellal yesterday. I expect to speak with him again this afternoon. Our counterterrorism experts have been in close contact with their Algerian counterparts throughout the last days. And we’ve also been in close consultation with partners around the world, sharing information, working to contribute to the resolution of this hostage situation as quickly as possible.

Now let me say the situation is very fluid. It’s in a remote area of Algeria near the Libyan border. The security of our Americans who are held hostage is our highest priority, but of course we care deeply about the other Algerian and foreign hostages as well. And because of the fluidity and the fact that there is a lot of planning going on, I cannot give you any further details at this time about the current situation on the ground. But I can say that more broadly, what we are seeing in Mali, in Algeria, reflects the broader strategic challenge, first and foremost for the countries in North Africa and for the United States and the broader international community.

Instability in Mali has created the opportunity for a staging base and safe haven for terrorists. And we’ve had success, as you know, in degrading al-Qaida and its affiliates, leadership, and actions in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We’ve seen the great cooperation led by African troops through the UN mission that we were just discussing in Somalia. But let’s make no mistake: There is a continuing effort by the terrorists, whether they call themselves one name or al-Qaida, to try to destroy the stability, the peace and security, of the people of this region.

These are not new concerns. In fact, this has been a top priority for our entire national security team for years. We’ve worked with the Government of Yemen, for example, in their efforts against al-Qaida in the Arabic Peninsula. We’ve worked in something called the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership, which works with 10 countries across the region. So we have been working on these problems, trying to help build capacity, trying to create regional networks to deal with problems in one country that can spill over the border of another, and working to provide American support for the disruption of these terrorist networks.

At the UN General Assembly in September, we made the situation in Mali an international priority with a central focus on working to have an international response. I certainly am among a number of officials in our government who’ve met and worked on this issue over the last weeks. In fact, in October, I flew to Algeria for high-level talks with the President and others in responsible positions in this security area trying to determine what more we could do to strengthen our security ties. In November, I sent Deputy Secretary Burns and a team to Algeria to really get into depth about what more we could be doing. And then in December, we began to reach out more broadly in the ongoing counterterrorism discussions that we have.

Now, I say all of this because I think it’s important that we put this latest incident into the broader context. This incident will be resolved, we hope, with a minimum loss of life. But when you deal with these relentless terrorists, life is not in any way precious to them. But when this incident is finally over, we know we face a continuing, ongoing problem, and we’re going to do everything we can to work together to confront and disrupt al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

We’re going to be working with our friends and partners in North Africa. We are supporting the French operation in Mali with intelligence and airlift. We’re working with a half a dozen African countries, as we did with respect to Somalia over so many years, to help them be prepared to send in African troops. In fact, by this weekend, U.S. trainers will be on the continent to offer pre-deployment training and sustainment packages for ECOWAS troops. And we are prepared to fund airlift for those troops into Mali.

This is difficult but essential work. These are some of the most remote places on the planet, very hard to get to, difficult to have much intelligence from. So there is going to be lot of work that has to go into our efforts. But I want to assure the American people that we are committed to this work, just as we were committed to Somalia. There were so many times, Mr. President, over the last four years when some people were ready to throw up their hands and say al-Shabaab made an advance here and this terrible attack in Mogadishu. And we kept persisting, because we believed that with the kind of approach we had taken we would be standing here today with a democratically elected president of Somalia.

So let me just say that this is about our security, but it is also about our interests and our values and the ongoing work of how to counter violent extremism, to provide likeminded people who want to raise their families, have a better future, educate their children, away from extremism and to empower them to stand up against the extremists. And I think it’s something that we will be working on for some time, but I am confident that we will be successful over that time to give the people of these countries, as we have worked to give the people of Somalia, a chance to chart their own future, which is very much reflective of the values and interests of the United States.

MS. NULAND: Last question today, Somalia Service of VOA, Falastine Iman, please.

QUESTION: Thank you. And I have question, one for the Somali President and one for Madam Secretary. For Somali President, how would you describe the U.S.-Somali relationship at this moment?

My other question is: Madam Secretary, sometime ago you announced a dual-track policy, which means dealing Somali Government and regional administrations. Are you still going to pursue these two approaches?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Could you just repeat the end of that? I think I lost a little bit.

QUESTION: You announced dual-track policy, which means dealing with the government and the regional administrations. So are you still going to pursue these two approaches?

PRESIDENT HASSAN SHEIKH: Yeah. Thanks, Falastine. Regarding for Somalia, I think this is a new era, and the United States Government and Somalia serving our relationships in this – the independence of Somalia in 1960s, and the signs and the symbols and the remains of this long-term relationship is still visible in Somalia. The schools built by the Peace Corps in the early 1960s is still functional in Somalia. These schools are still used by different people and different parts of Somalia. And from then onward, the support that the United States Government give to Somalia is still visible in Somalia.

And the last one I was telling is the last 22 years that Somalia was in a difficult times, the United States has always been the country that never left Somalia and have been engaging Somalia with difficult times at different levels, including when the existence of Somali nation was threatened in early ’90s. It was the United States forces that saved more than 300,000 lives of Somalis. Had that intervention not been there, it would have been difficult and different today, the situation in Somalia. So that relationship is there and the commitment and the unwavering support of the United States has always been.

And Somalia is part of the international community and part of the world. Somalia – United States is a role model country for the democracy, for the freedom of people, for the development of human capital. And this model we are going to pursue, of course, as the rest of the world. So the relationship was there in the past. It’s now there. And today, I am here standing in front of you to further improve that relationship in the context of the current realities in Somalia, in the region, and the continent of Africa. So it’s there and it will be there in the future.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much for those very strong words, Mr. President. Today, we are taking a new step in our engagement with the recognition of the government. We believe strongly that the successful conclusion of Somalia’s political transition – with a new president, a prime minister, a parliament, a constitution – marks the beginning of a new era of Somali governance. And therefore one of the reasons we wanted the President to come was to discuss the way forward.

Now, we still have the excellent work by U.S. Special Representative for Somalia Ambassador Swan, who leads a team, as you know, committed to working with the Government and people of Somalia. But our position now is the work that we did to help establish a transitional government, to support the fight against al-Shabaab, to provide humanitarian assistance, is now moving into a new era, as the President said. I believe that our job now is to listen to the Government and people of Somalia, who are now in a position to tell us, as well as other partners around the world, what their plans are, how they hope to achieve them.

So we have moved into a normal sovereign nation-to-sovereign nation position, and we have moved into an era where we’re going to be a good partner, a steadfast partner, to Somalia as Somalia makes the decisions for its own future.

Thank you all very much.

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The photos are not from the embassy meet-and-greet but rather from an event with FM Medelci when they inspected an honor guard.

Remarks at the Meeting With Staff and Families of Embassy Algiers

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Embassy Algiers
Algiers, Algeria
October 29, 2012

 AMBASSADOR ENSHER: Good afternoon. Thanks very much, and we are just so honored again to have the Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton with us again, the second time in a year. It’s only a very small number of countries who have the privilege of hosting the Secretary twice in a year, and it’s a reflection on all of you that she chose to come back here again, and because you’ve done such a splendid job and we’ve made a lot of progress.

I’m going to take one more second to say something that I hope will not embarrass you unduly, ma’am, but I’ve been in this business for 30 years. It’s more than half my life. And I can tell you that this is the best Secretary of State I’ve ever worked for or hope to work for – thought about that a lot – stands as a peer with the great predecessors of the past, including at least one who has gone on to higher office; I can say that. But it’s a privilege and a historical moment to have the Secretary of State with us here today. Thank you, ma’am. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Well, I have to say it is wonderful to be back here, and it is because of this relationship and how critically important it is, and because of you, starting with the Ambassador who has worked so hard, and all of you, every single one of you, because it’s clear to me that we are building a stronger and deeper relationship.

I seem to have a habit of visiting at busy times, and the last time I was here you had just weathered a blizzard. I had to rush out of Washington before the hurricane came, so we were both struggling with weather. And later this week, you will have the privilege to help celebrate the 58th anniversary of Algeria’s independence movement, an anniversary that reminds us of how important freedom is and how significant the progress that Algeria has made as a nation, and the extraordinary aspirations and hard work of the Algerian people to achieve that.

I understand from the Ambassador that, next week, you’ll be hosting an election-watching party for people as we have our presidential elections. And I know, too, that it’s not just what you do here in Algiers; it’s what you do across the country. In fact, I think that you’ve been personally to all 48 provinces.

AMBASSADOR ENSHER: Working on it.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Working on it, good. And I think that none of us goes alone. We all go because of the support that we receive from such a great team.

I’d like to also thank you for the work that went into the first-ever U.S.-Algeria Strategic Dialogue in Washington last week. The Algerians were extremely happy, all of the officials that we met with, and we were extremely happy. We thought it was an important exchange of views on a range of issues, and it’s impressive how much you’ve done to help advance our bilateral relationship in such a short period of time.

I think that there is no limit to what this relationship can become, and it’s one that we particularly value. Just over lunch now with the President and others, we were talking about how our relationship actually goes back to 1795. There have been some differences along the road, but that is a long time back, at the very beginning of our nation, when the then-leadership and people of Algeria recognized us and we reciprocated.

I also want to recognize our Algerian staff. Will all of our Algerian staff please raise your hands so we can give you a round of applause that is very, very (inaudible) deserved? (Applause.) Because I have to confess, that despite the very nice comments by the Ambassador, secretaries of State come and go, and ambassadors come and go, and DCMs and political officers and economic officers and consular affairs – really, it’s our locally employed staff, our Foreign Service Nationals, who form the heart of any mission anywhere, and that is particularly true here. You are the memory banks, the nerve center, of what we do year after year.

You also know that diplomacy is inherently risky in today’s world. There are so many – unfortunately, so many people and organizations and forces that don’t want people to learn to understand each other better, who don’t want people to live peacefully together, who just don’t understand that we’re all here doing the best we can, and we need to help each other. And I think that what you do in diplomacy and outreach sends that message every single day.

So I thank you all. And to the Americans who are here, I thank you and I thank your families. Being posted far from home, whether you are civilian or military, whether you are Foreign Service or Civil Service, whatever agency or department you represent, I am extremely proud of you and very grateful. And what I’d like to do now is, starting down there, shake as many of your hands as I possibly can to express my appreciation personally.

And you also have an RSO who I know very well. (Laughter.) Nicole was one of my (inaudible) Diplomatic Security people. (Applause.) I was very sorry to lose her to Algeria. She was very happy to go. (Laughter.) She had been looking forward to it, and I’m delighted to see her here. Thank you.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

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Remarks Following the Meeting With President Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
El Mouradia Palace
Algiers, Algeria
October 29, 2012

   

SECRETARY CLINTON: First, let me say how pleased I am to be back in Algeria and to have this chance to consult in depth with the President and (inaudible). I want to thank the President for his hospitality in the time that he has spent talking with me and that we will continue over lunch. We reviewed our strong bilateral relationship, including the fact we had an excellent Strategic Dialogue on a number of issues just last week in Washington.

And we had an in-depth discussion of the region, particularly the situation in Mali. I very much appreciated the President’s analysis, based on his long experience, as to the many complicated factors that have to be addressed to deal with the internal insecurity in Mali and the terrorist and drug trafficking threat that is posed to the region and beyond. And we have agreed to continue with in-depth expert discussions, to work together bilaterally and with the region – along with the United Nations, and the African Union, and ECOWAS – to determine the most effective approaches that we should be taking.

So again, I thank the President for his time and very helpful observations, and I look forward to continuing our discussion on a matter that is of particular interest to us both.

Thank you very much.

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Algerian FM Medelci greets US Secretary of State Clinton in Algiers
Reuters via Yahoo! News – Oct 29 03:16am

Public Schedule for October 29, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
October 29, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
PUBLIC SCHEDULE
MONDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2012

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Algiers, Algeria. Secretary Clinton is accompanied by Assistant Secretary Gordon, Assistant Secretary Jones, Ambassador Benjamin, Ambassador Marshall, Spokesperson Nuland, Director Sullivan, and Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for European Affairs Liz Sherwood Randall. Please click here for more information.

1:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in Algiers, Algeria.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

2:30 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton participates in a working lunch with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in Algiers, Algeria.
(CAMERA SPRAY AT THE TOP)

4:20 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with the staff and families of Embassy Algiers, in Algiers, Algeria.
(POOLED PRESS COVERAGE)

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Algerian Elections

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 12, 2012

I would like to congratulate the people of Algeria on this week’s elections. The Government of Algeria invited international and non-governmental organizations to send observation missions and conducted elections that provided the Algerian people with the opportunity to express their will. These elections — and the high number of women elected — are a welcome step in Algeria’s progress toward democratic reform. The United States looks forward to working together with the newly elected National Popular Assembly and to continuing to strengthen our ties with the government and the people of Algeria.

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As we know, Mme. Secretary always makes a point of thanking embassy staff and families for their hard work before she departs a country.  Here are her words at her meet-and-greet at Embassy Algiers today.  The photo was taken in Tunisia, but I think it captures her sentiments here.

Meeting With Embassy Staff and Their Families

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Embassy
Algiers, Algeria
February 25, 2012

 


Well, thank you, and it gives me great pleasure to be here with this Embassy community on my very first trip to Algeria to thank each and every one of you for the work you do, not only to support a trip like this, but what you do every single day to support and promote the important relationship between the United States and Algeria.

I want to thank Ambassador Ensher and DCM Elizabeth Aubin. I think that the Ambassador was here 12 years ago as the first U.S. official to travel outside the Embassy after we restored full diplomatic relations. And after working 10 years in Afghanistan and Iraq, he was very excited to come back to Algeria and to see what has been happening and to make very clear the commitment of the United States.

I want to thank every one of our U.S. Government employees, not only from the State Department or USAID, but from the entire United States Government. I want to thank your families and those who support you in doing this work. I also want to thank our locally employed staff, the Algerians who come to work on behalf of the United States Embassy. You’re really the backbone and the heart of this mission. We could not do it without you. And I know that some of you have worked for the United States Government for a long time, and we are especially grateful because you provide continuity to ambassadors and others who are serving.

I want to thank you also for the work you are doing to reach out to the Algerian people, particularly young people. I appreciate your efforts to work with hundreds of Algerian Ph.D. students to improve skills in doing research and teaching English, helping entrepreneurs get the skills and the connections they need. We just had a visit with the Algerian NAPEO group. We’re very strongly supporting entrepreneurship, the private sector, because we think that’s the kind of partnership that really represents the full range of American values and interests. I think the – from what I hear, the newly opened Information Resource Center has been a big hit, introducing a great many Algerians to job opportunities here in Algeria, study opportunities in the United States. This is not just a U.S. Embassy in Algeria; it is also a U.S. Embassy for Algeria.

I heard that you had a blizzard here two weeks ago. (Laughter.) I have to say – I mean, I grew up in Chicago, I live in New York – I never knew you had blizzards in Algeria. But it sounds very familiar to what happens in Washington with the shutdown of stores and banks and even the government, but you stayed open throughout the week, and I’m very grateful that you not only dug yourself out but worked to help Algeria dig out as well.

So for me, this is a great opportunity to meet officials in the government, representatives of the private sector, civil society. But I have to say I came here first to thank all of you, because without you, everything we hope to do to deepen and strengthen this very critical relationship would obviously not be possible. So thank you for the extra work you put in to support my trip, and I hope that you will continue to do whatever you can to make sure that the American people and the Algerian people have stronger connections and understanding for years to come.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

 

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