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Posts Tagged ‘Ban-Ki Moon’

Hillary, back home from her west coast and Canada trek,  helped kick off the celebration of International  Women’s Day today at U.N. Headquarters in New York.  The event,  “Equality for Women is Progress for All”  was part of the United Nations International Women’s Day, which is celebrated tomorrow, March 8,  dates back to the beginning of the 20th Century, and has been marked at the United Nations since 1975.

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National & International News

Hillary Clinton Urges Equality for Women and Girls

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at the U.N. commemoration of International Women’s Day fighting for women’s rights.

Saturday, Mar 8, 2014

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared Friday that achieving equality for women and girls is “the great unfinished business of the 21st century.”

The potential 2016 presidential candidate galvanized the U.N. commemoration of International Women’s Day, repeating her resounding declaration as first lady at the 1995 U.N. women’s conference in Beijing that “human rights are women’s rights — and women’s rights are human rights.”

Clinton said that important progress has been made, citing the increasing number of girls in school and women in elected office, and the repeal of many discriminatory laws.

“Yet for all we have achieved together, this remains the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” she said.

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Update: Link to video below tweeted by Hillary. Thank you, Hillary!

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. SecGen Ban Ki-moon great to see you for yesterday. Watch here:

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Ban pledges UN commitment to advancing gender equality, women’s empowerment

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (second right) with from left: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of UN Women, former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea Clinton. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

4 February 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today pledged to root for women everywhere ahead of his departure for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, while stressing the need for the United Nations and its partners to lay the groundwork to enable all women to enjoy their rights and be empowered.

“We are at a key moment,” Mr. Ban said at a photo-op with former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), ahead of their meeting at UN Headquarters.

He noted that 2015 will be crucial for the future of development and the future of women’s rights. Next year marks the target date for the achievement of the global anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals, which contain specific benchmarks for gender equality.

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pledges commitment to advancing gender equality, women’s empowerment

02-04-14-UN-01

 

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Today, after shuttling from Israel to Ramallah to Egypt conversing with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas,  Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon,  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton brokered a Middle East cease fire that officially went into effect at 2 p.m. EST today.  In a courageous ascent to a  leadership position,  Egypt is sponsoring the cease-fire.  The encouraging news is being reported by all major news sources.

Here are some photos from her busy day of shuttle-diplomacy.

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God bless you, Mme. Secretary.  Now come home for Thanksgiving.   We are all thankful for your dedicated service.

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Remarks at the Heads of State Luncheon

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
United Nations
New York City
September 25, 2012

Secretary General, heads of state, excellencies: on behalf of President Obama and our government, let me again warmly welcome you here on behalf of the host country. And let me also express our very great appreciation to the Secretary General for your leadership, sir.

You have, over the course of your time at the helm of the United Nations, continued a reform effort as well as advanced and advocated for a number of important initiatives, and we salute you and express our deep gratitude.

As the Secretary General just said, we meet in the wake of a great loss, not only for the United States, with the killing of our Ambassador and three of his colleagues, but also a reminder of the important work that these men and women do every single day. The blue-helmeted peace keepers, the dedicated aid workers – they are out there at our behest. Our governments ask them to serve; the United Nations and other multilateral organizations do as well.

And in the last weeks, we have seen the price that too many of them pay. As the Secretary General said, in addition to our loss, very recently an Algerian diplomat also lost. Last year, Nepalese, Norwegian, Romanian, Swedish, UN officials and guards killed in Afghanistan; all those lost in the bombing of the UN facility in Nigeria last summer. As President Obama said this morning in his address to the General Assembly, attacks such as these, against embassies, consulates, diplomats anywhere in the world, strike at the heart of the mission of the United Nations.

So let us stand together against violence and extremism on behalf of those values and principles that we ascribe to and that we aspire to see fulfilled. And let me ask you to raise our glasses in a toast to all of our diplomats and development experts from every nation serving and sacrificing far from home. They represent the best traditions of our international community. They are committed to the peace and progress that brought about the establishment of this extraordinarily important institution, and we owe them our full support and gratitude.

Thank you.

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Replacing Kofi Annan is this experienced gentleman.  We wish him success in this very challenging post.

Appointment of Lakhdar Brahimi as Joint Special Envoy for Syria

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 17, 2012

The United States welcomes the decision by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and League of Arab States Secretary General Nabil El Araby to appoint a new Joint Special Representative for Syria. Lakhdar Brahimi will continue the pursuit of an end to the conflict and a peaceful transition in Syria. Five months ago, Kofi Annan agreed to take on the serious task of trying to bring an end to the brutal violence and forge a path toward a peaceful transition and a post-Assad Syria that is inclusive and representative of all Syrians. We are grateful for Mr. Annan’s service.

My message to Special Envoy Brahimi is simple: The United States stands ready to support you and secure a lasting peace that upholds the legitimate aspirations for a representative government of the people of Syria. And to the Syrian people: you are not alone. The international community remains fully committed to a Syrian-led political transition leading to a pluralistic political system representing the will of the people. The international community is also committed to ensuring that those who commit atrocities will be identified and held accountable.

Here is his Wikipedia entry  – already updated!

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Mme. Secretary began her day in Bonn at the Afghanistan conference. We see her being greeted by German FM Westerwelle and Afghanistan’s FM Rassoul. She was met by a host of familiar dignitaries including German Chancellor Merkel, Spanish FM Jimenez, Ban Ki-Moon, and, of course, Hamid Karzai. In the course of the day she held bilaterals with Merkel and Karzai and met with women civil society leaders from Afghanistan. Then it was wheels up for Vilnius where she was greeted by Lithuanian FM Azubalis.

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Remarks at the High Level Meeting on Nutrition

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
United Nations Headquarters
New York City
September 20, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Special Representative Nabarro, and it is a pleasure to be here with all of you one year after the Scaling Up Nutrition movement began to review the progress we’ve made and to recommit ourselves to the work that lies ahead. I want especially to thank Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for not only hosting us today but being here to show the highest-level commitment from the United Nations and all of our colleagues. Certainly for me it’s a great pleasure, once again, to be working with Canada and Ireland, the World Bank, the United Kingdom, and the European Commission.

This program has become, in a very short time, a model of how to implement successfully the principles that the international community affirmed at the High-Level Forums for Aid Effectiveness in Paris and Accra. Together, this community of countries, international organizations, NGOs, civil society groups, and private sector companies has already achieved meaningful benchmarks in the fight to strengthen global nutrition. From Tanzania, which has created a nutrition-specific line in its national budget and posted nutritionists in every district nationwide, countries such as Guatemala, Uganda, Peru, Mozambique, and Burkina Faso, which have introduced new measures to improve financial accountability and strengthen their country’s commitment to nutrition, we are seeing the kinds of high-level reforms and political leadership needed to reach people on a broad scale.

Now, this is an accomplishment not only for those whose lives are being saved and improved, but also for the people like us in this room who believe passionately in the critical role that nutrition must play in order to produce thriving children, families, and communities. And I think it’s also an indicator of our better understanding of what works in development and what it takes to make progress together, because through the SUN movement, we are seeing better results with country-owned leadership. When programs are coordinated and evidence-based, we get better outcomes. When results are measured transparently and are used to improve strategies, and when all parties are held accountable for delivering on their promises, we actually can see the progress being made.

Now, I know that you’ve covered a lot of this ground already and will continue to do so in the consultations tomorrow and afterwards, so let me simply say this: The United States is firmly committed to our investments in global nutrition, and we believe fervently that improving nutrition for pregnant women and children under two is one of the smartest investments we or anyone can make. The science for this is unassailably clear: When we ensure that women and children receive essential nutrients within the 1,000-day window, we can set youngsters on a better path toward lifelong health. When we miss that window, children can suffer both physical and cognitive damage that cannot be reversed.

That urgency and the potential we all have to make a real difference is why our funding toward global nutrition has increased significantly in the past five years, from $35 million in 2007 to $90 million this year. Even last year, during a very difficult budgetary and financial environment, we increased our spending on nutrition by 20 percent, because we see these investments as both vital and as having a very high impact.

We also have fundamentally changed the way we are doing business by making nutrition a central element of two of our major initiatives, the Global Health Initiative and the Feed the Future Food Security Initiative. That means building clinics that help expectant mothers enrich their diets and those of their babies during life’s most critical stages of development, and creating extension programs that help farmers grow heartier crops that will nourish their families, adding micronutrients at various stages along the process, not just filling stomachs but really helping to create healthier people. And by focusing on nutrition, we think we accomplish a lot of our goals.

We are also rethinking how we deliver food aid in times of crisis. Now, the importance of this issue is obviously on our minds because of the emergency taking place in the Horn of Africa. This is not just a food emergency; it is also a nutrition emergency, especially for the large numbers of young children and pregnant women who are most vulnerable. Those who manage to survive the famines and the food shortages may still suffer lifelong damage from the under-nutrition they are living with today.

And we are reminded not only of the importance of delivering food, but delivering nutrient-rich food while also making the long-term investments in food security to try to avoid such crises in the future. (Inaudible) the United States is providing over $600 million in humanitarian assistance to the Horn of Africa, and we are continuing to invest in long-term agricultural development with a focus on nutrition, particularly with our Feed the Future partnerships in Ethiopia and Kenya. Thanks to the progress these governments and their development partners have made in strengthening their peoples’ food security, many more are now resilient in the face of this current drought.

I also must, as I do on every occasion like this, issue yet another appeal to al-Shabaab to permit aid workers access into the most famine-ravaged areas under their control. It does us little good to gather up the money to put our aid groups on notice to get everything organized to save lives if we cannot get access. And just on a personal basis, I don’t understand what possible political or ideological benefit comes from allowing women and children to starve in areas you’re responsible for.

When we put nutrition at the heart of our investments, we can help communities and countries become not only healthier, but more prosperous. And that’s a priority for the United States as well as a personal one for me, so while I enjoyed the partnership that I have with my Irish counterpart, Minister Gilmore, when we launched the 1,000 Day partnership in New York almost a year ago to this day, and why we are so enthusiastic about what has happened since.

We have 636 days left to meet our goal of building a sustainable global movement for nutrition that will last long after this 1,000 day period has passed. And I thank the UN for providing us the leadership, the impetus that this convening represents. We need, though, to get more leadership commitments from partner countries, we need to improve still more coordination among donors, we all need to reach deep to increase our financial commitments, and deliver more effectively the kind of assistance that we know is life-saving and enhancing.

At the end of November, people from around the world will gather in Busan, Korea for the Fourth High-Level Forum for Aid Effectiveness. I’m pleased that I will be attending that forum and representing the United States. And I will join with colleagues there to elevate development on the global agenda and to share our progress and to embrace a model of sustainability, partnership, and investment.

We’ve made strong progress, but we cannot be complacent. Let’s use these remaining days to demonstrate unequivocally to the world why development works. Speaking for my own country, we’re having one of our periodic debates about development – I was talking to Secretary Mitchell about that – and those of us who are convinced have to hold ourselves to a higher standard to make the case to our own people, our own governments in a time of budgetary squeezing. But I think we’re here today with all else going on during this very busy week because we know it makes a difference.

So let’s recommit ourselves to doing all we can to make the case and deliver the results that are needed. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

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The long thirst is over.  Well it really was not that  long, but there were not many good pictures toward the end of last week, and pictures from this week were enthusiastically anticipated by readers here.  So now you have it!  Here is Mme. Secretary wearing a charming Asian silk in a color that is simply divine on her.  We see her speaking with Lady Catherine Ashton, and at this evening’s working dinner with EU HIgh Rep Ashton, Tony Blair, Ban Ki-Moon, and Sergei Lavrov, all representing members of the Middle East Peace Quartet.

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Readout of Quartet Working Dinner

Special Briefing

Senior Administration Official
Administration Official
Via Teleconference
July 11, 2011

 


OPERATOR: Welcome, everyone, and thank you so much for standing by. At this time, all parties are on a listen-only line until the question-and-answer portion of today’s call. At that time, you may press * and 1 and record your name to ask the question. This call is being recorded, so if you do have any objection, please disconnect at this time.

And now I’d like to turn the meeting over to Mr. Mark Toner. You may begin, sir.

MR. TONER: Thank you, and thanks to all of you for joining us. And I apologize given the late hour – the bit of delay in starting this, but the dinner did run long.

As you know, members of the Quartet did hold a working dinner tonight at the ministerial level, and that was at the Department of State, in order to discuss the way forward and efforts to advance Middle East peace. And joining us tonight to give a readout of that dinner and to answer a few of your questions – and I emphasize a few given the hour – is [title and name withheld]. And just before handing it over to [Senior Administration Official], I just wanted to emphasize that this is on background as a Senior Administration Official, so henceforth he’ll be known as Senior Administration Official.

[Senior Administration Official.]

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, thank you very much, Mark, and let me just reiterate the apologies to everyone for the brief delay. But as Mark said, the dinner did go a little bit longer than planned. Let me just make a few comments at the beginning and then get into your questions, but I’d like to start by emphasizing that the Quartet principals felt that they conducted a good meeting over the dinner tonight, characterized the discussion as excellent and substantive with a full and complete exchange of views. This was an opportunity for them that they’ve not had in a little while to compare notes on recent developments and have a serious discussion on what next steps are necessary.

The Quartet principals once again expressed their support for the President’s remarks that President Obama delivered in May, and in light of that vision the Quartet principals are reiterating the feeling that they see that there’s an urgent need to appeal to the parties to overcome current obstacles and find a way to resume direct negotiations without delay or preconditions and to begin with a preparatory phase of talks to maximize the chances of success.

The principals concluded this evening, based on their recent conversations with the parties, however, that there are still gaps that are impeding progress. And they concluded that realistically, for the Quartet, more work needs to be done to close those gaps before the Quartet can go forth publicly with the kinds of statements that might allow the parties to actually break through the impasse.

But the members of the Quartet reiterated also that they remain committed as a group, collectively and individually, to continue this effort and continue their intense engagement with the parties. Clearly, as I said, more work needs to be done, and the members of the Quartet will remain in close coordination as they tackle this difficult challenge. And in fact, the envoys have agreed to meet again tomorrow morning to continue this discussion under the guidance of our principals.

We’re realistic about the gaps. We know that more work needs to be done. But ultimately, we have to say, of course, it’s up to the parties to make the tough decisions required for peace, and we’re going to stand ready to help and facilitate in any and every way possible and continue our close engagement. The Quartet will continue its meetings at various levels, and we look forward to doing all we can to advance this effort.

So I might stop there, Mark, and entertain any questions.

MR. TONER: Great. Thank you so much. We’ll open it up to questions, Operator.

OPERATOR: Thank you. Again, if anyone does have a question, please press *1, record your name clearly. And if you’d like to withdraw your question, you may press *2. Again, that’s *1 to ask a question.

And Elise Labott, your line is open.

QUESTION: Thanks for doing this at this late hour. I’m just – can you hear me okay?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah.

QUESTION: I was kind of a little bit confused by your comment. I mean, I think I know what you’re saying when you say that the gaps are such that you, as the Quartet, can’t make the statements that might move the parties to go forward. It sounds like there are enough gaps on the ’67 borders that you can’t endorse it as a kind of pre – as a starting jumping-off point for negotiations. Correct me if I’m wrong. But I’m confused by that because it would mean that, I mean, you’re just endorsing it because you know the parties will go for it. I mean, if this is an active group that’s trying to make forward diplomacy, aren’t you supposed to be making the kinds of statements that would push the parties in that direction? I mean, I don’t – and respectfully, because I’m not trying to make light of what you personally or what the U.S. is doing, but I fail to see whether – why you think that a statement from the Quartet would honestly, in all honesty, be the thing that’s going to bring the parties to the table.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah. No, thanks for the question. While I don’t want to, either by omission or commission, get into a discussion in detail of what we perceive the gaps to be, but to answer your question, there’s a time and a place for public statements and there’s a time and a place for private diplomacy. And each has its limitations, each has its appropriateness for the occasion and the challenge that we’re facing.

We discussed this tonight, and I think the upshot of it was that we need to do more work privately, quietly with the parties, in order to see if we can’t close these gaps. And then if we’re successful in doing that, there’ll be a time in which incorporating our progress and commenting on it publicly can help capture that. But we still need to do more work.

QUESTION: I mean, are you saying that you’re not ready – without getting into where the gaps are, are you saying that you’re not – and I think my understanding is that it’s the United States more so than maybe some of the other members – that’s not ready to make the President’s speech, the ’67 lines, as a kind of jumping-off point for negotiations a kind of international declaration?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, the Quartet has already —

QUESTION: You endorsed them personally, but you didn’t say that they should be – you didn’t kind of make it your own. And there’s talk about maybe that this would be the kind of resolution that they discuss at the United Nations. It sounds like you’re not ready for that.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, just to answer the question about what we believe is necessary to get negotiations going, the President laid out a comprehensive vision on that. And as I mentioned earlier, the Quartet has expressed its support for that vision. So that’s not in dispute. There’s just a realization that there are gaps between the parties and we need to do more work on that before we can take a step forward with a new – into a new threshold. That’s the basic point where we are right now.

MR. TONER: Thank you. Next question.

OPERATOR: And Matthew Lee with Associated Press, your line is open.

QUESTION: Hi, thanks. I want to ask a question, but first I want to wait – ask everyone to wait half an hour before I do it. Can you explain, [Senior Administration Official], why the – how long the meeting went? It went over time obviously, which is why this took so long to happen. But also you talk about gaps, but the gaps aren’t just between the parties, are there? There seem to be gaps within the Quartet itself. So I know you don’t want to talk about the gaps between the parties, but what are the gaps between the Quartet that made this meeting unable to come up with a statement? I mean, it is not tough for a Quartet statement to be done. One was done on the Gaza– the flotilla; one was done after the President’s May speech, in support of it, and the principals hadn’t met then. So looking at it from the outside, if you guys are unable to come up with a statement now after basically having agreed on some main principles here, it doesn’t look good at all. So can you explain what the gaps are between the Quartet members, and also just – how long did the meeting actually go?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah. Well, again, my apologies for keeping people waiting. I’m quite sensitive to that personally, and I do sincerely apologize.

The dinner started with a conversation that began in an outer room at 7:00, and we then moved to the dining room table around 7:20. And I wasn’t watching my watch, but I think we broke up from the table at about 9:15, and then there was a good discussion amongst some of the envoys that continued for a little while after that, and I came downstairs and immediately joined this phone call. So you can add that up; I think it’s just a little over two hours, close to two and a half hours, maybe two hours and 15 minutes that the principals were together.

In response to your question about the gaps and the way in which the Quartet relates to statements, the truth is that you’re right; we’ve had statements when the ministers have not met because we felt that it was important and that we had something significant to say at the time that we felt was helpful for our diplomatic effort. And there have been times when the ministers have met and we’ve not issued statements because we had a different objective in mind. The Quartet doesn’t meet in order to issue statements. The Quartet – only, anyway. The Quartet meets in order to allow these principals to consult on some very complex and challenging issues and discuss how best to work and push them forward.

And this evening, the decision was that we needed to realistically acknowledge the fact that more work needs to be done with the parties on their gaps in order to allow us to get to the point where we might be able to have a productive public product by the Quartet.

MR. TONER: All right. Next question.

OPERATOR: Dmitri Zlodorev, your line is open.

QUESTION: My name is Dmitri Zlodorev. I am from ITAR-TASS news agency, Russia. How you would characterize the position of Russia in Quartet now? And what do you expect from Russia in the near future? Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thank you, Dmitri. Well, we value greatly the Quartet as an instrument. It is the embodiment of the international community’s commitment to these issues and its strong desire to contribute what it can to making progress toward peace. And clearly, having such a strong international partner as Russia as part of that is something of great satisfaction.

So I don’t want to characterize exactly where we were in terms of each member of the Quartet this evening. You’d have to ask that of your– of the Russian participants. But I hope that answers your question in terms of how we regard Russian participation.

MR. TONER: All right. Next question.

OPERATOR: James Kitfield, your line is open.

QUESTION: Yeah, I appreciate you doing this. Could you talk a little bit about this September deadline where it’s supposed to be a UN vote with the Palestinians on statehood? And what sort of urgency that is lending to your efforts – does the Quartet think that that would be a really negative step? And if so, I mean, again, address me how that is contributing to a sense of urgency of these talks, please.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, it’s not entirely clear at this stage what it is that the Palestinians will be seeking in September. We’ve heard a lot of different statements publicly. I think that they’re actually still evaluating what it is they want to do. But we’ve heard a consistent message from the Palestinian leadership that they prefer negotiations, that they see the ultimate goal of a two-state solution coming through a negotiating path.

So that’s where I think the Quartet and the international community and certainly the United States is putting its emphasis – on exploring whether, by closing gaps between the parties, we can give the alternative of a negotiation real traction and be the right path forward. You know what the President said about this.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Excuse me? You know what the President has said about our view on New York – I don’t need to repeat that now here today – but that’s unchanged. But I think all of us would like to find a constructive way in order to accomplish our common goals.

MR. TONER: Okay. Thank you. Time for just, I think, one or two more questions.

OPERATOR: Okay. Arshad Mohammed, your line is open.

QUESTION: Hi, three quick things: One —

OPERATOR: Mr. Mohammed, if you’re on speakerphone, could you please get off the speakerphone? Because we’re not able to hear you.

QUESTION: Yes, sorry for tormenting all of you.

OPERATOR: (Laughter.) Thank you.

QUESTION: Just to be quick, you said that you need to do more quiet diplomacy. Are there any plans for Dennis Ross or Acting Special Envoy Hale to travel to the region to try to do that kind of quiet diplomacy anytime soon?

Second, are you now willing to say that the President’s hope of getting a framework agreement or the outlines of an agreement within a year of his September announcement last year have evaporated, that there isn’t really the time or perhaps the will in the seven and a half weeks that remain to get that done?

Those were my two questions. Thank you.

OPERATOR: And Said Arikat, your line is open.

QUESTION: Yes, sir. Hello?

MR. TONDER: I don’t think [Senior Administration Official] had a chance to answer the —

OPERATOR: Sorry.

MR. TONER: That’s okay.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, the first question was regarding what our specific travel plans might be by U.S. officials in connection with the – excuse me, my phone’s ringing – in connection with following up on this. I guess the answer is: We’ll have to get back to you. This evening, I can’t say with any certainty what our specific officials’ travel plans may be. They travel frequently, almost constantly, and we’ll make sure that you’re well informed of those plans as they develop.

Look, the President outlined in May a very detailed vision of what it would take in order to be able to break through the impasse that we’re facing. He did not, in those remarks, establish deadlines for this effort. He said that when the parties are ready, we are ready to be of assistance. I don’t have the speech in front of me, so forgive me if those aren’t word-for-word quotes. But basically, he said that we stand ready – when the parties are of like mind, we stand ready to assist them, and we would do so as soon as we had clear indications.

I think as we proceed, as the Quartet proceeds individually and collectively to try to close these gaps, we’ll have a clearer sense of what’s possible in terms of timelines.

MR. TONER: Okay. Thanks. And it looks like our last questioner is maybe Said Arikat.

QUESTION: Yes, sir. Thanks.

MR. TONER: Sorry to cut you off there.

QUESTION: Thank you, [Senior Administration Official], for taking my question. Sir, you have had back-to-back meetings, first with Mr. Ross in Palestine and in Israel, then Mr. Molho came to town, then Saeb Erekat. So how far have you come in terms of closing these gaps, say, between three, four weeks ago and today? Where do you stand? How far are we to the breakthrough, so to speak?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, as I think we’re admitting this evening, we have a lot of work to do. More work needs to be done. I think that what’s been established in our discussions with the parties in recent weeks is that they too want us to continue this effort, that they too favor the alternative course of negotiations, and they too continue to look to the United States and the Quartet for assistance in moving forward. Though we’re not – we have – still have a lot of work to do. I can’t measure it for you. You’re asking for sort of a specific measurement which I don’t think is possible given this work.

But I have to say, ultimately, it’s up to them. They’ve got to make the tough decisions. All we can do – and it’s important, but what we do is offer a way to help, and we’ll keep – and be persistent and keep that effort alive.

MR. TONER: Great. Well, thanks. Thank you, [Senior Administration Official] for doing this tonight at the – given the late hour, and thanks to all the journalists who joined us. And again, our apologies for keeping people on hold for such a long time.

And thank you again to everyone. Just – again, just a reminder, the – this is on background with a Senior State – or a Senior Administration Official, rather, and thanks again to everyone, and have a good evening.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thank you.

OPERATOR: That concludes today’s conference. Thank you for participating. You may disconnect your lines at any time.

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I have nothing official from the State Department, but a few news stories popped up to give us an idea of what early February is going to look like with regard to travel plans for the Secretary of State.

Mideast Quartet to meet in Munich next month

BRUSSELS (EJP)—The Quartet of Mideast Peace Process mediators are to meet in Munich, Germany, on February 5, on the sidelines of the annual Munich Security Conference, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said this week.

The Quartet is made up of Russia, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US State Secretary Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will attend the meeting with Ashton, who is also European Commission Vice President, and Quartet Mideast envoy Tony Blair.

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And Cafebabel used one of my all-time favorite pictures of the lovely HRC for this story.

Hillary Clinton to visit Greece and Turkey on February

Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State is about to visit Athens in early February. Although still no official announcements have been made, the U.S. Secretary probably will be in Athens on Sunday the 6th.

Clinton is going to visit Greece and Turkey, according to the Turkish newspaper «Zaman», where she programs meetings with President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu.

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Remarks with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Before Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 12, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: I am so pleased to welcome the Secretary General back to the State Department where he’s been many times in the past. It’s especially significant that he is here during this Nuclear Security Summit. We have so many matters to discuss because we’re working together to face a myriad of challenges in the world today, but I’m very grateful for his partnership and his friendship. And I welcome you again.

SECRETARY GENERAL BAN: Thank you. Thank you very much, Secretary Clinton. It’s a great pleasure to have a meeting with you discussing on all the matters, challenges of global and regional issues. It’s been a great honor to work with you and with President Obama. I’d like to highly commend the initiative of President Obama and you have taken to realizing the world free of nuclear weapons at this time.

But we have so many important issues, and I particularly appreciate your leadership in helping Haitian people. And this International Donors Conference which we both co-chaired on March 31st was a great success. I hope with this international support we will see Haitian people overcoming this so that they can enjoy genuine peace and stability and prosperity.

Again, thank you very much for this opportunity.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, sir. Thank you all. Thank you very much. Thank you

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