Posts Tagged ‘Czech Republic’

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Video Remarks on Westinghouse


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Reuters Soundbite
Prague, Czech Republic
December 3, 2012


Energy security and energy diversification are top issues for our foreign policies around the world.  This is not just about Europe and it is certainly not just about the Czech Republic.When it comes to civil-nuclear energy, the Czech Republic leads Central Europe both in terms of your commitment to nuclear safety and security here at home and your support for nonproliferation in the international nuclear framework.  It was certainly no accident that President Obama came to Prague early in his first term to speak about the global nonproliferation agenda.

We are not shy about pressing the case for Westinghouse to expand the Temelin Nuclear Power Plant because we believe that company offers the best option for the project in terms of technology and safety.  It would clearly enhance Czech energy security and further the nuclear cooperation between our two countries and it would create jobs and economic opportunity for Czechs and Americans.

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Remarks With Czech Republic Prime Minister Karel Schwarzenberg



Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Czernin Palace

Prague, Czech Republic

December 3, 2012


MODERATOR: (In Czech.)


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, my friend. It is such a pleasure to be back in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and to meet with one of our strongest allies, partners, and friends on the continent.

As the minister said, our friendship dates back to the earliest days of the Czech Republic. It is based on a mutual respect and shared interests founded on three pillars – security cooperation; economic, civil-nuclear, science, and technology cooperation; and cooperation based on our shared values, particularly in the promotion of democracy and human rights around the world.

For many years, we thought primarily in a bilateral way about what we could do together with the Czech Republic. But our partnership has grown far beyond that, and today, we collaborate on global security issues, democratic transitions in the Middle East and North Africa, and so much else. So as the minister said, we covered a lot of issues today, and let me just touch on a few of the highlights.

First, our collaboration on security: In Afghanistan, hundreds of Czech troops stand with Americans and other allied nations to helped the Afghan people build a stable future for their country. We will work together to manage the drawdown on the end of combat operations in 2014 and then to support the Afghan National Security Forces beyond that, and we appreciate greatly the Czech Republic’s commitment to those.

We also are highly impressed by the new multinational training center for helicopter pilots that the Czech Republic is developing, one of the first projects in the smart defense program that NATO adopted earlier this year. And in NATO and beyond, the Czech Republic plays a key role in chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear response. And it is expanding that leadership, for example, with a conference on the challenges posed by Syria’s weapons stockpile that was recently hosted here in Prague.

In Syria, the Czech Republic serves as the United States protecting power, which is essential for our shared effort to help the Syrian people bring an end to their suffering and the beginning of a new democratic transition. More broadly, the Czech Republic has reached out to help countries that can benefit from the very valuable experiences of this country’s transition.

We also want to emphasize greater cooperation on energy. The United States has made energy a priority in our diplomacy. We began the U.S.-EU energy dialogue because this has a major impact on everything from security to climate change. Czech and American scientists are already collaborating extensively in this field, including our effort to develop the first joint civil-nuclear center that the United States will have with a NATO ally.

And as I conveyed to the minister, the Obama Administration strongly supports Westinghouse’s bid to help expand the Temelin Nuclear Power Plant. Given how long term and strategic this investment is, the Czech people deserve the best value, the most tested and trustworthy technology, an outstanding safety record, responsible and accountable management, and job opportunities for Czech companies and workers. Westinghouse offers all of these things.

The United States wants to continue to support investments that produce tangible benefits for Americans and Czechs alike. Temelin is a perfect example, but in fact, the United States is the largest non-European foreign direct investor in the republic, and we hope to make that even bigger. Also, our work together on civil-nuclear power will spur greater cooperation between our scientists and academics and businesses on basic research and innovation.

So again, let me express my appreciation to the minister for hosting us today and to the Czech Republic for being a steadfast ally and partner. The American people have a great deal of affection and respect for how far the Czech Republic has come in the past two decades. And we will continue to support continuing progress and prosperity and our shared values that are rooted in our common experience and history. Thank you very much, Minister.


MODERATOR: (In Czech.)

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, a question on civil-nuclear cooperation. What importance do you attach to the Westinghouse bid in the Czech Republic with regards to the energy independence and security of this country?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me begin by saying that energy security and energy diversification are top issues for our foreign policies around the world. This is not just about Europe and it is certainly not just about the Czech Republic.

When it comes to civil-nuclear energy, the Czech Republic leads Central Europe both in terms of your commitment to nuclear safety and security here at home and your support for nonproliferation in the international nuclear framework. It was certainly no accident that President Obama came to Prague early in his first term to speak about the global nonproliferation agenda. And through our joint declaration on cooperation in research and development and a series of cooperative ventures that were announced last fall, we already have Americans working with their Czech counterparts to improve the efficiency of reactors and reprocessing of spent fuel, to share best practices among nuclear security experts, and we’re working to stand up a joint center for civil-nuclear cooperation in Prague.

So as I said in my opening remarks, we certainly discussed these issues. We are encouraging the Czech Republic to diversify its energy sources and suppliers in ways that are economically sustainable and environmentally sound, which is an important message for all of our European partners. And we are not shy about pressing the case for Westinghouse to expand the Temelin Nuclear Power Plant because we believe that company offers the best option for the project in terms of technology and safety. It would clearly enhance Czech energy security and further the nuclear cooperation between our two countries and it would create jobs and economic opportunity for Czechs and Americans. It will ensure that the new facility would be built to the highest international standards, using a model that has already been approved by the EU and the International Energy Agency regulators. So we clearly hope that Westinghouse will receive the utmost consideration as this process moves forward.

MODERATOR: (In Czech), New York Times.

QUESTION: Michael Gordon, New York Times. Madam Secretary, there have been reports in recent days of increased activity at Syria’s chemical weapon sites. What is the nature of this activity? Is there a basis for concern? And what would – President Obama has said that the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime would cross a redline, but he hasn’t made entirely explicit what he would do about it. If the United States saw that Syria was preparing to use chemical weapons, would it intervene militarily to stop it? If it had begun to use chemical weapons, would it again use force to prevent it from continuing to attack its civilians?

And a question for the Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic: Your country has expertise in this area. In a post-Assad environment, if the Syrian leader was to be deposed, would your nation send its expertise and its units to Syria to help dismantle the chemical arsenal?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Michael, those are a lot of questions, but they’re important questions and ones that are very much in on the minds of our Administration and likeminded countries around the world, including the Czech Republic. Because as I alluded to earlier, the Czech Republic is widely viewed as having some of the most extensive expertise and experience with chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear matters. And they have already been consulting about what can be and should be done, both at this time and post the inevitable fall of the Assad regime.

We have made our views very clear. This is a redline for the United States. I’m not going to telegraph in any specifics what we would do in the event of credible evidence that the Assad regime has resorted to using chemical weapons against their own people. But suffice it to say, we are certainly planning to take action if that eventuality were to occur.

So we once again issue a very strong warning to the Assad regime that their behavior is reprehensible. Their actions against their own people have been tragic. But there is no doubt that there is a line between even the horrors that they have already inflicted on the Syrian people and moving to what would be an internationally condemned step of utilizing their chemical weapons.

So in talking to the Foreign Minister about this matter, we are certainly united in our warning and condemnation, and will stand with the international community in a united way should there be any evidence that the Assad regime has ignored international opinion on this important matter.

FOREIGN MINISTER SCHWARZENBERG: Just to answer your question, there are some of our people for the moment in Jordan cooperating with the neighboring Jordan forces, and evidently some American friends came here too training for event, we hope, won’t – never happen. Of course, the situation in Syria itself is rather chaotic and we can’t even exclude the case as it, by chance, one of the rebel groups would get hold of these arms. And that, of course, would be a danger as well. So this chaotic situation of a civil war is, with the existence of these kind of arms in the country, highly dangerous.


MODERATOR: (In Czech.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, my friend


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Secretary Clinton to Travel to the Czech Republic, Belgium, Ireland, and Northern Ireland

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
November 29, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Prague, the Czech Republic; Brussels, Belgium; Dublin, Ireland; and Belfast, Northern Ireland December 3-7.

Secretary Clinton will travel to Prague, the Czech Republic, December 3 to meet with Czech officials on strengthening Czech energy independence, as well as advancing human rights and supporting democratic transitions around the world.

Secretary Clinton will visit Brussels, Belgium, December 4-5 to participate in a meeting of NATO foreign ministers. The Secretary and her counterparts will discuss current security challenges in the Western Balkans and NATO’s global partnerships. The Secretary will participate in a foreign ministers’ meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on December 4 and of the NATO-Georgia Commission on December 5. NATO foreign ministers will also meet with their non-NATO partners in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and representatives of the Government of Afghanistan to review the status of the joint Afghan/ISAF transition plan, as well as discuss NATO’s post-2014 mission in Afghanistan. While in Brussels, the Secretary will also co-chair the fourth meeting of the U.S.-European Union (EU) Energy Council to deepen cooperation on energy security and conservation.

The Secretary will travel December 6-7 to Dublin, Ireland, where she will participate in the ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). During the ministerial, she and her counterparts will discuss proposals to strengthen the OSCE’s capacity to promote comprehensive security in Eurasia, as well as meet with civil society representatives from across the OSCE region The Secretary will also meet with Irish officials to discuss areas of cooperation in promoting peace, human rights, and economic growth and will deliver a major speech on U.S. achievements in support of human rights globally.

Secretary Clinton will travel to Belfast, Northern Ireland, December 7, where she will meet with Northern Ireland officials and discuss the peace process, the trilateral US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership and economic opportunities for Northern Ireland. She will attend an event hosted by The Ireland Funds – – a global fundraising network supporting programs of peace and reconciliation, arts and culture, education, and community development in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, Mme. Secretary will be meeting with more than Northern Irish officials in Belfast.

Bill and Hillary Clinton to visit Northern Ireland

By Liam Clarke
Thursday, 29 November 2012

Bill and Hillary Clinton are to visit Northern Ireland on Friday, December 7, according to senior political sources in Dublin.


The plan is that she will attend the session on the 6th and travel North on the 7th, where she will meet her husband Bill, the former US President.
The trip may be one of Mrs Clinton’s last foreign engagements as Secretary of State, the equivalent of America’s Foreign Minister.
If the trip runs to plan, it will be a nostalgic occasion for Mrs Clinton and her husband. The couple visited the province three times

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This is so cute!

Remarks With Czech Republic Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg Before Their Meeting 

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
September 21, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: I am so delighted to welcome my colleague and friend, the Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic. Minister Schwarzenberg is a great proponent of human rights and has been for his entire life. He is also a very strong advocate of the transatlantic relationship, something that we highly value. And I’ve had the privilege of working with him both at the beginning of my time as Secretary of State, and now toward the end.

But we will have the opportunity today to discuss a broad range of issues that are of not only bilateral importance but regional and global importance as well.

Karel, welcome.

FOREIGN MINISTER SCHWARZENBERG: Thank you. I’m very, very glad to be again in Washington. And indeed, the transatlantic relation is still going strong but something one has to work on daily. It’s like in a marriage; if you don’t care for your wife or for your husband every day, it slowly (inaudible) disappears. The same thing for the transatlantic relationship. We have to care for it every day. (inaudible)

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) Thank you. Thank you, so much. My partner in that. (Laughter.)

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A U.S. delegation headed by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attended the funeral of former Czech President Vaclav Havel at Prague’s St. Vitus Cathedral today.  The delegation included former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who served in Clinton’s cabinet at the time Havel, the leader of the “Velvet Revolution” that brought down communist rule in Czechoslovakia,  was president.  It appears, although I cannot be certain, that Secretary Clinton was wearing a velvet coat.  It has been noted in these pages over the years that Mme. Secretary uses her wardrobe as part of her diplomacy much the way her predecessor, Secretary Albright used brooches.

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From today’s press briefing:

Mark C. Toner
Acting Spokesperson
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
December 23, 2011

QUESTION: Can you let us know, Mark, when the Secretary’s back in the United States?

MR. TONER: I will. She is wheels-up from Prague, so she’s (inaudible).

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. TONER: Again, merry Christmas and happy New Year and all that stuff.

(The briefing was concluded at 12:23 p.m.)

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Passing of Vaclav Havel

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 18, 2011


I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Vaclav Havel, the Czech Republic’s first democratically elected president and leader of the Velvet Revolution. His death is a loss for the Czech Republic and for human rights defenders around the world. He was an inspiration to me and I was proud to call him a friend.

He once said that his hope was for history to remember him as having done something useful. President Havel spent his life removing chains of oppression, standing up for the downtrodden, and advancing the tenets of democracy and freedom. When communism threatened the peace and prosperity of our world and covered Eastern Europe in a cloud of hopelessness, he wrote plays so powerful they changed the course of history and created new democratic opportunities for millions. And when the people of the Czech Republic were finally allowed to express themselves freely, they overwhelmingly chose a man who never wanted to be in politics.

He did something more than useful – he did something extraordinary, and history will remember it. Today, a black flag hangs over the Prague castle in honor of his life and commitment to a better world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, the people of the Czech Republic, and all those who are committed to advancing human rights.

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Remarks With Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg After Their Meeting



Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Treaty Room

Washington, DC

June 2, 2011


SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning, everyone, and it’s a particular pleasure for me to welcome the foreign minister back to Washington. I’ve had the opportunity of working with Minister Schwarzenberg in the beginning of my term as Secretary of State and now have that pleasure once again. And the close partnership between our countries dates back to the beginnings of the Czech Republic, and we are very proud of the long ties of kinship and friendship, of the shared values and mutual respect, and our joint pursuit of individual freedoms, democracy, economic opportunity, and human rights. And the minister is well known as a champion of those values.

We had a broad-ranging discussion. I expressed the gratitude of the United States to the Czech people for their ongoing contributions to the ISAF mission in Afghanistan and our sympathy for the loss of a Czech soldier just a few days ago. By leading the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Logar Province, Czech troops are providing invaluable support for the Afghan people as they rebuild their country and take responsibility for their own security. And we greatly appreciate the Czech Republic’s decision to increase its troop contributions this year. We are going to be working closely together as we begin a transition to Afghan-led security.

We also discussed our joint efforts to promote democracy and human rights around the world. After the crackdown on democracy activists and opposition leaders in Belarus last December, the Czech Republic led 14 countries, including the United States, in working with the OSCE to conduct a fact-finding mission. That report was issued earlier this week and it marks an important step forward in our efforts to stand up for democracy in Eastern Europe and beyond. And we look forward, Minister, to working together in many different venues to promote democratic transitions and institution building.

Finally, the minister and I exchanged ideas for continuing to strengthen our economic and security relationships. We have a strong foundation on which to build. Over the past year, we have launched an Economic and Commercial Dialogue, signed a Joint Declaration on Civil Nuclear Cooperation, and began technical research and development discussions with the Department of Energy. We have an opportunity to expand our commercial relationship through ventures such as the Temelin Nuclear Power Station. It’s a project that could create thousands of high-paying jobs in both countries over the next several years while improving both Czech and European energy security. And the minister and I agreed today that our countries would begin talks in September on a new, enhanced bilateral investment treaty. We know it’s been a long-time goal that has not yet been realized, but the minister and I are determined that we’re going to bring it to completion.

And I am grateful for the many ways that we cooperate, and I thank the minister again for his lifetime of service and express our great appreciation for your being here today.

FOREIGN MINISTER SCHWARZENBERG: Thank you so much. I mean, you (inaudible) everything we have talked about. I think it was a profound and very good conversation, discussion about (inaudible). And as Secretary Clinton said, we have in many, many aspects of international projects the same view. And of course, it’s a difference of a world power and a small country like the Czech Republic; nevertheless, the aspect we can cooperate very usefully, we’re doing it and we intend to do it even more in the future, not only Afghanistan, there are other areas in the world we are discussing greater involvement of the United States in projects of the eastern (inaudible) of project of the (inaudible) and so on and so on. And we are discussing (inaudible) scientific and commercial cooperation. I do think our alliance is in a good way into the future.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Minister.

MR. TONER: The first question this morning goes to Elise Labott of CNN.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary. Google is reporting about Chinese hacking into the email accounts of U.S. officials. Have you talked to the Chinese about this? Do you have any evidence that sensitive information was compromised, and what are you doing to mitigate any damages?

And on Syria, a Human Rights Watch report on Syria concluded the regime’s abuses against its people and mass killing constitute crimes against humanity. You’ve been saying you hope the regime will end the brutality, but today a Washington Post editorial says that anyone that reads this report could not say this with such a straight face.

Secretary Clinton, is President Asad beyond redemption? I mean, is there any way he can turn this around now and – or is he along the lines of President Mubarak, President Muammar Qadhafi, and President Saleh that it’s time for him to go now? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Elise, first with respect to the recent announcement by Google, we are obviously very concerned about Google’s announcement regarding a campaign that the company believes originated in China to collect the passwords of Google email account holders. Google informed the State Department of this situation yesterday in advance of its public announcement. These allegations are very serious. We take them seriously, we’re looking into them, and because this will be an ongoing investigation, I would refer you to first Google for any details that they are able to share at this time and to the FBI, which will be conducting the investigation.

One of the reasons why we’ve created the first-ever cyber security coordinator position in the State Department, filled by Chris Painter, a very experienced official in this area who was one of the leaders in helping to draft our governmental framework for cyber policy, is because we know this is going to be a continuing problem. And therefore we want to be as prepared as possible to deal with these matters when they do come to our attention.

With respect to Syria, I certainly am well aware of the human rights report. I think that the report puts into one place much of what we know has been going on. As I have said, the tragedy of the young boy, Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, symbolizes for many people around the world the total collapse of any effort by the Asad government to work with their own people. And I think – President Obama said it very clearly: If he cannot end the violence against his own people, take meaningful steps to start a process of reform, then he needs to get out of the way. And every day that he stays in office and the violence continues, he’s basically making that choice by default. He’s not called for an end to the violence against his own people, he’s not engaged seriously in any kind of reform efforts, and the United States has taken a number of steps to try to put pressure on President Asad’s regime.

When we find ourselves in these situations, we have to do a very clear-eyed, calculated assessment of what influence we have and who are our partners in trying to bring about that influence. Although there are general trends in the Middle East and North Africa, each country is a specific case unto itself. And with respect to Syria, as you know, we have signed executive orders, the President has signed executive orders imposing sanctions, we have called out the human rights violations, we have sanctioned even Iranian groups that we think are playing a role in the repression occurring, we’ve closely coordinated with our allies in the European Union, they’ve enhanced their sanctions on Syria, we’ve called for a special session at the Human Rights Council, and, as you know, the European members of the Security Council are circulating a resolution there.

Right now, the attitude of the international community is not as united as we are seeking to make it. We do not yet have the agreement by some of the other members of the Security Council. We certainly have nothing resembling the kind of strong action the Arab League took with respect to Libya. So every day that goes by, not only do we see the outside pressure growing in a public effort to try to end the violence and bring this terrible chapter to an end, but privately we continue to do everything we can with like-minded countries. And I think that the legitimacy that is necessary for anyone to expect change to occur under this current government is, if not gone, nearly run out. The international community has to continue to make its strongest possible case and call for specific actions, like, not just an announcement of an amnesty but a release of political prisoners, the end to unjust detentions, allow human rights monitors into the country.

So I think we’re doing everything we can, and those who we’re seeking to bring to our view of the situation, I think, will have to make their own judgment, but we think they will be better off on the right side of history.

QUESTION: You’re saying that it’s time for him to go?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that we – as President Obama said, if he’s not going to lead the reform, he needs to get out of the way. And where he goes, that’s up to him.

MR. TONER: The next question is Zdenek Fucik of Czech News Agency.

QUESTION: Good morning. As for the bilateral investment treaty, could you give us some timeframe when you expect these negotiations to be closed? And also, do you think you will be able to pass this enhanced agreement through Congress?

And also another pressing topic: It seems that the early warning system center, which would be in Prague as part of the new missile defense system project, has stalled a bit in the last year. What is the reason for this? Are there any problems on the Czech sides or – I don’t know, are there any new options in the Strategic Dialogue? This is to both of you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Great. You want to start, Karel?


SECRETARY CLINTON: First with respect to the bilateral investment treaty, it is the intention of Minister Schwarzenberg and myself that negotiations begin in September and move as quickly as possible. I regret that we’ve not been able to reach an agreement for 10 years with one of our closest friends, partners, and allies. But we are going to drive this process forward, and I’m putting everybody on notice, both in the State Department and in the rest of the United States Government, this is a very high priority. And I believe that if we can finalize negotiations, we will be able to get a favorable response in both of our – his – your parliament and our Congress.

With respect to the shared early warning system, we greatly appreciated the Czech Republic’s strong support of a European missile defense and NATO missile defense system. We are proceeding on that. We have discussed in detail at the highest levels of our defense cooperation what role the Czech Republic might play if it so chooses. But that is something that we are in constant consultations about, and we will continue to work toward a mutually satisfactory outcome.

QUESTION: Is there something concrete on the table right now?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’ll let the minister respond.

FOREIGN MINISTER SCHWARZENBERG: For the moment, we don’t have any concrete (inaudible). We had to expect, of course, to (inaudible) the talks between the United States and Russia and about the missile defense, and (inaudible) its consequence of the missile defense resolution we had in Lisbon in the NATO. We can now get concrete (inaudible) and we are in discussion in Brussels with (inaudible), we are in discussion with the United States. But I can’t tell you for the moment what the concrete result will be.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.

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Remarks With Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg Before Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
October 6, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me warmly, warmly welcome back someone with whom I’ve had the opportunity to work for in my tenure as Secretary of State. It is a great pleasure to once again be working – now, I think you’re a first deputy prime minister –


SECRETARY CLINTON: — Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg. So I’m looking forward to our conversation. Obviously, the Czech Republic is a valued partner and ally through NATO on so many important issues. And we have a lot of work ahead of us, but welcome back.

FOREIGN MINISTER SCHWARZENBERG: Thank you so much. And thank you for the warm welcome. Actually, I’m very happy indeed to be here again. And I believe what has happened (inaudible) is good news, because my government today in the morning decided to send more troops to Afghanistan to help the common effort which we consider important not only for Afghanistan, not only for the United States, but for the whole of Europe, too. And therefore we share a joint process and work together here. So we deploy some soldiers more and that I’m happy to announce it.

Besides of that, of course, with a change of administration, the whole situation has changed in Washington and it’s interesting for me to hear the new views of the Administration, the vision they have for Europe and for the world. And I’m very glad to see again Secretary of State Clinton and looking very much forward to our conversation.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you, my friend. Thank you. Thank you all very much.

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Well there was not much coming in today, so I have a few more pictures of that bilateral from the morning which I am sure you will find cute and fun for the always fascinating facial expressions the SOS makes. There are also a few photos from the state dinner reception at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. I would LOVE to know what was going on in this first picture!

In addition, and on a completely different note, Secretary Clinton issued some remarks on the 20th Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. As I mentioned in relation to the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, that event touched off a series of collapses of Soviet Bloc governments. It seemed that every week another Eastern Bloc government fell, the people took over, and the Iron Curtain ripped and disintegrated. More remarks like these will be issued, as we progress through anniversaries of that fall of the Soviet Empire.

For many of us,  this one in Czechoslovakia was especially sweet since we had seen an earlier effort in 1968 that was mirrored by a tipping point in our own anti-war movement here and protests in the streets of Chicago during the Democratic National Convention. It was wonderful to see these brave people finally free.

Here are the Secretary’s remarks.

Statement on 20th Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
November 17, 2009

Twenty years ago, the people of Czechoslovakia carried forward the wave of freedom that began in the Polish shipyards, surged over the Wall in Berlin, and ultimately liberated millions of people across Europe. Americans prayed for the students in Prague who faced down an oppressive regime and propelled a dissident playwright from prison to the presidency. We cheered for a nation that had grasped for liberty in the spring of 1968 and seen its dreams deferred for decades. And when democracy finally came, we welcomed new partners committed to building a free and unified Europe and a more peaceful and prosperous world.

Today we celebrate the vibrant democracies of the Czech Republic and Slovakia and salute those who worked to bring freedom to their land — the dissidents and activists who risked all they had to demand a free and better life, the mothers and fathers, workers and students who never lost faith that a system built on tyranny and oppression could and would be overcome. Thanks to their sacrifice, Tomas Masaryk’s vision of a democratic society thrives today in Middle Europe.

On this historic occasion, I congratulate the Czech Republic and Slovakia on twenty years of democracy and reaffirm the commitment of the United States to our strong alliance as we work together to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of the 21st century.

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, right, meets with Czech Republic Foreign Minister Yan Kohout, left, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York on Monday, Sept. 21, 2009.
(AP Photo/David Karp)

Ever since last week, when the Obama Administration announced that it was abandoning the Bush Administration’s fixed missile defense plan in favor of a newer, faster, technologically advanced mobile one, many have expressed concern that we have slighted our Czech and Polish allies who expected to participate in the original plan. If feathers have been ruffled, we are sure Secretary Clinton managed to explain the wisdom of the new plan today to FM Kohout.

Here are their remarks.

Remarks With Czech Foreign Minister Kohout At Camera Spray Before Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
New York City
September 21, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Inaudible) very important delegation from the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic was very willing to work with the United States on behalf of missile defense in the past. We have, as you know, changed our approach, which we believe will actually provide greater coverage, and it will be rooted in technology that is ready to be employed. And we will be working with the Czech Republic again. We will be working within research and other approaches for the mutual and collective defense of our NATO allies. And we have a deep and long relationship with the Czech Republic, and I’m particularly pleased to have this opportunity to discuss a broad range of matters.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, on Afghanistan, General McChrystal is warning of failure if more troops are not sent next year. What is the Administration’s strategy? How are you going to respond to that? Are you left without a choice?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, but this is an important meeting with the Czech Republic, and they are our allies and friends in NATO and bilaterally. And we have a process going on with respect to our strategy in Afghanistan. As the President has said, it’s strategy before resources. And we’re soliciting and receiving advice and assessments from a broad range of those who are directly involved. And of course, we welcome General McChrystal’s thoughts, but that’s a classified pre-decisional memo, and we are looking to integrate everything that we’re doing. And then, of course, the President will make his decisions.

Thank you all.

QUESTION: Thank you.

Cross-posted at A Rose for Hillary

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