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Remarks Following Her Meeting with Beninese President Boni Yayi

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Presidential Palace
Cotonou, Benin
August 10, 2012

MODERATOR: Madam Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States of America, on behalf of the President of the Republic Grand Master of the Order, and pursuant to the powers vested in us, we appoint you to the rank of Grand Officer of the National Order of Benin. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. I am so honored. Thank you. On behalf of the Obama Administration and the Government of the United States, we are proud to be a partner and friend of your country. And I will take this very wonderful honor on behalf of the American people.

And thank you again for the extraordinary work we are doing together, and thank you, Mr. President, for your role in the African Union bringing peace and stability and development and opportunity to this great continent. And the United States looks forward to being your partner and friend for many years as you consolidate democracy and demonstrate for the entire world to see what a true democratic society that provides opportunity for its people looks like.

On behalf of my delegation, Mr. President, we are very grateful and proud. (Applause.)

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This afternoon Mme. Secretary arrived  in Cotonou Benin, her last stop on this whirlwind African tour.  It is now past two a.m. there.  We see her with President Boni Yayi.  She was met at the airport by Benin’s Special Advisor for Diplomatic Affairs Miriam Aladji Boni Diallo.

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Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton prepares to leave Accra, Ghana, en route to Benin, Friday, Aug. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton prepares to leave Accra, Ghana, en route to Benin, the last stop in Africa, Friday, Aug. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

From a background briefing by a senior State Department official.

The last stop on the trip will be Benin. Benin has been a model democracy since 1991. Like Ghana, they have had a number of presidents, a number of free, fair, and transparent elections where both presidents have changed and where also parties, political parties, have also changed. They have also been a very strong development partner. They’ve had and just completed a $350 million MCC program. They are eagerly trying to pull together an application for another program.

We’re also going for political reasons. President Yayi is the current president of the African Union. It’s a rotating position. It’s not the chair position, that is a five-year job that Dr. Zuma is taking over; but every year there is a new president of the African Union, and the current president is President Yayi. He is an important intermediary when it comes to working with the African Union on the resolution of issues related to Somalia, Sudan, Mali, and Guinea-Bissau. The relationship there is very good, and they have been very good partners and interlocutors and very good utilizers of our development assistance.

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AP Photo
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, introduces Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama, and his wife Lordina Mahama, to her staff during a meeting at their residence in Accra, Ghana, on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. On Friday Clinton will attend the funeral of Ghana’s late President John Atta Mills, as part of a Presidential Delegation from the United States.

 

Public Schedule for August 10, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
August 10, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
PUBLIC SCHEDULE
FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Accra, Ghana and Cotonou, Benin. Secretary Clinton is accompanied by Counselor Mills, Assistant Secretary Carson, Spokesperson Nuland, Director Sullivan, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs Grant Harris, and VADM Harry B. Harris, Jr., JCS. Please click here for more information.

9:45 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton attends the funeral service for the late President of Ghana John Atta Mills, in Accra, Ghana.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

12:30 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with the staff and families of Embassy Accra, in Accra, Ghana.
(POOLED PRESS COVERAGE)

3:30 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with President of Benin Boni Yayi, in Cotonou, Benin.
(CAMERA SPRAY)

4:35 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with the staff and families of Embassy Cotonou, in Cotonou, Benin.
(POOLED PRESS COVERAGE)

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U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) reacts during here visit to Malawi August 5, 2012. Clinton paid a lightning visit to Malawi on Sunday to congratulate its new president, Joyce Banda, one of only two female heads of state in Africa, for pulling her impoverished country back from the economic brink after a political crisis. REUTERS/Eldson Chagara (MALAWI – Tags: SOCIETY POLITICS)

The rumor mill has been whizzing out of control all weekend with stories of additional countries to be added to the already packed schedule for this trip.  Originally arranged as an 11-day trip,  the addition of  Turkey next Saturday for talks on Syria extends that by at least one day.  Within the African leg of the trip, Voice of America reports the inclusion of Ghana, Nigeria, and Benin.  The first was expected since the purpose is to attend the funeral of  Ghana’s late President John Atta Mills who passed away unexpectedly on July 24.  Sources for that early story appeared credible.  The Nigerian leg was announced by local sources last night.  Benin comes as a complete surprise since neither very early reports nor the buzzing rumor mill had ever mentioned a stop there.  VOA reports:

Clinton is due to fly to South Africa Sunday, and later on to Nigeria, Ghana and Benin.

In Ghana, she is expected to attend the state funeral of the country’s late president John Atta Mills.

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