Posts Tagged ‘Denmark’

Remarks at the Green Partnership for Growth Launch


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Copenhagen, Denmark
May 31, 2012

Thank you so much, Prime Minister. Thank you for those very strong words, and more than that, thank you for the commitment that Denmark has made and the leadership that Denmark continues to show in this important area. Mr. Speaker, thank you for welcoming us to the Parliament. I served in our United States Senate for eight years and it’s a great pleasure to be on this side of the government, and thank you for having us. I also wish to thank the premier of Greenland for being here. Thank you for adding this event to your very busy itinerary while you’re here in Denmark.

I’m also very grateful to the leaders of both the American chamber as well as the Confederation of Danish Industries and to all of you who are here for this 2012 meeting of the Green Partnership for Growth. It’s a great honor to join you because we think this is one of the highest priorities of any nation, and certainly of all nations working together. And I appreciate the attention that our American Ambassador, Laurie Fulton, and the staff from the U.S. Embassy here in Copenhagen has been placing on this.

We have tried to make green growth a center of our diplomacy here because we think we have a lot to learn from Denmark. It is certainly not a surprise that Denmark leads the world when it comes to clean energy and energy efficiency. Because, as the prime minister said, for the past few decades, Denmark has grown economically. As you have also made it clear, that can be done without significantly increasing your electricity use. Your national plan to be completely independent of fossil fuels by 2050 is a global first. And in true Danish fashion, the plan is comprehensive and rigorous. (Laughter.)

But I believe if any country can do this, it’s yours. So we are here to learn and listen and support. But the ambitious plan that you have set for 2050 is just the latest in your efforts on climate change – your commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent in 2020. And it is for me, personally, inspirational to see government and business working so closely together, because I do think this is a win-win. The green economy has so many opportunities not only for national purposes, but for exports and other ways of building the green market globally.

In fact, I know in 2009, when I was last here at the UN Climate Conference with President Obama, we brought a number of American companies with us, and many of them came home and told us we had no idea how many opportunities there are in Denmark for business partnerships in green tech, and some of those businesses are represented here today. So the word spread, and our team at the Embassy began bringing Danish and American businesses together. In 2010, we had a delegation of American companies come, and in 2011, a delegation of Danish companies traveled to the United States.

Now with the Green Partnership for Growth, we are carrying these exchanges forward by joining with the Danish Government to promote more public-private partnerships between our countries. Now the United States has three goals with this initiative. First, we want to help create more opportunities for U.S. companies to export their products and services to Denmark. Second, we want to open the door to more investments by Danish companies in America, which would have mutually beneficial, positive effects, including creating jobs in both. And third, we want to find opportunities for Denmark and the United States to work together to export green tech products and services throughout the world.

Now we know that energy efficiency and the development of clean energy are going to continue to rise in importance as the world grapples with meeting the energy needs of a growing population. So we have every confidence that this industry will thrive well into the future, and we certainly cannot afford to overlook its potential, not if we’re serious about creating jobs and achieving sustainable economic growth.

So we’ve got the growth part of it figured out – if we can get the green part of it actually figured out as well. (Laughter.) We know that we have to decrease our greenhouse gas emissions. If we’re going to fulfill our responsibilities as fellow inhabitants on this planet, we have to work to try to help solve the climate crisis. And the only way to do that that is known to us is to change the way we use energy. We need to be, we should be, more efficient and develop cleaner energy sources. And this partnership should help us.

Now, it’s not that Denmark has the only examples. California, years ago, way back in the 1970s, made decisions about more efficient use of electricity. California’s population has grown in the last 30-plus years. Their output, their gross domestic product, if you will, has certainly grown. They’ve continued to innovate. They’ve seen new industries develop, like those in Silicon Valley, that consume huge amounts of electricity. But their use of electricity statewide has stayed flat, because they’ve had a good framework that was put into place that rewarded energy efficiency and innovation.

Now, at the national level, the United States has implemented a range of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It’s often not well-known, because our legislative approach in the Obama Administration was not able to pass completely through the Congress, but the Administration has gone forward in taking actions. And our new fuel efficiency standards are slated to be among the most aggressive standards in the world. In March, our Environmental Protection Agency put forth the first ever national standards for CO2 emissions from new power plants, the largest stationary source of carbon pollution in the United States, accounting for 40 percent of our emissions.

As the prime minister said, we’ve invested more than $90 billion in clean energy and energy efficiency. We’re more than doubled our installed capacity of wind and solar since 2008. And this year we launched the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which brings together governments, the private sector and key organizations around the world to work toward reducing short-lived climate pollutants, which cause more than 30 percent of near-term warming. Reducing short­-lived pollutants is an important complement to the work we must do to reduce carbon emissions. And I’m delighted, Prime Minister, that Denmark has agreed to join the Climate and Clean Air Coalition.

So this Green Partnership for Growth exemplifies what we call a win-win. As part of our commitment, our countries are going to look for opportunities to make our governments greener. The Danish minister for defense recently returned from a trip to the United States, after having met with officials at the U.S. Department of Defense to discuss ways to make our militaries more energy efficient. We think this is a quite promising area of collaboration.

So we’re looking forward to continuing these conversations, to keep identifying new ways of working together to share our knowledge, increasing bilateral trade and investment. And I want to thank Denmark for agreeing to host the next meeting of this partnership this fall in Copenhagen. And I really admire Denmark’s leadership in creating the Global Green Growth Forum, which is an innovative platform to encourage leaders to do exactly what we’re doing here today to work across sometimes the gaps that divide us between government and the private sector, academia, the not-for-profit civil society, to work toward the same goal.

Thanks to everyone here for being part of what is among the most consequential work we can do together. We have to do this work; there is no doubt about it. As I am sure you are aware, we still have something of a political debate going on in my country, and it is quite remarkable that we still have a hard core of people who refuse to accept either the science or the responsibility that goes along with the science. But I can assure you that despite that, we have continued to move forward, and not only at the governmental level but equally, if not more importantly, at the private sector, business-driven level as well.

We have quite the argument going on back home between natural gas and coal, and many of the utilities that a few years ago used coal, which made up 50 percent of our energy, are now moving toward natural gas. And the United States is becoming a net energy exporter because of natural gas. And we are continuing to make progress. It often is not in the headlines, but it is part of the trend lines that I think in many ways are more important and actually stand the test of time.

Every day when I look at the news, of course I look at the headlines. But I try to find those stories that are sometimes buried that are going to really affect our lives today, tomorrow, far into the future, even going on to generations. And this commitment that Denmark has made and exemplified to clean energy and energy efficiency is certainly one of those, and we are very proud to be your partner.

Thank you very much, friends.

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Danish Townterview, posted with vodpod

Townterview with Danish Youth Hosted by TV2 With Johannes Langkilde


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Copenhagen, Denmark
May 31, 2012

MR. LANGKILDE: Good morning, everyone, and welcome to this very, very exciting event here in Copenhagen, where we’re going to talk to one of the most active and impressive and inspiring, powerful, tough politicians of the world, a person who, around the clock, works to promote her ideas of how to make this world a better place.

I know that you’re all extremely excited and eager to ask all your questions, and I can tell you I am too, so please give a very warm welcome to the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am delighted to have this opportunity for this conversation with all of you, and I want to begin by thanking Johannes for being willing to moderate this event for us, and also to the Black Diamond, which I saw as I was taking a short boat trip and went by and marveled at it. And I’m looking forward to this opportunity.

Now someone asked me, why, if you’re here in Denmark and then you’re going on to Norway and Sweden and then later in the month you’ll be in Finland – why would you take time to have this discussion with young Danes? And I think the answer is very obvious to me, and that is because, as Johannes just said, I spend all of my time trying to figure out how we’re going to give to you, to my daughter, to the young people that I work with every day, the opportunity for the best kind of future possible.

And it’s always different wherever I am in the world. I can speak with young people in Indonesia, or in February, I was in Tunisia, today here in Copenhagen. But there’s a common theme, and it perhaps is more pronounced because of the connectivity of the world that we are all living in that didn’t exist, certainly, when I was your age, or even a decade ago to the extent it does today. So there are commonalities that young people themselves are feeling and seeing that might never have been apparent in the past.

But it’s especially important for me, as I start here in Denmark and then go on to the north, to say thank you, because the governments and people of your country and the other three that I would be visiting have been such extraordinary stalwart advocates for democracy, for economic opportunity, for inclusive growth. You are among the world’s most generous people, and I have seen the results of that generosity firsthand. I’ve also seen the extraordinary skill of the Danish military over the skies in Libya, on the ground in Afghanistan. I watched with great admiration your leadership on climate change and clean energy, and later today, I’ll have a chance with your prime minister to announce a new partnership where the United States and Denmark will try to do even more to promote green technology.

But I also have a personal relationship because in Washington, I live across the street from the Danish Embassy and ambassador’s residence. And I can attest from my daily experience that Danes are terrific neighbors – (laughter) – and that no matter what the season might be, I see the young Danes who work at the embassy riding their bicycles uphill. (Laughter.) I’ve seen it in snowstorms. I’ve seen it in driving rainstorms. It always makes me embarrassed that I’m not out there with you. (Laughter.) So it’s truly a sight to behold, but it also is a reminder of the energy that emanates from this important, albeit small, country.

So what could we think of, and as we move into this conversation, how can we better use technology today to make sure that you and people like you, whether they’re in advanced economies in the west, whether they’re in rising economies or in emerging ones, have an opportunity to fulfill your own potential? Expectations seem to be rising at a time when opportunities are dwindling. When I met in Tunisia with a group of young people, I was struck by how much they expected now that they were free. And I knew how difficult it would be. And can we get opportunity moving at the same pace as rising expectations?

There is, as you probably know, a youth bulge, as it’s called by demographers, in the world today. In many developing countries, 60 percent of the people are under the age of 30. And the obvious question is: Where will jobs come from? In Europe, of course, populations are getting older, not younger. But this dynamic creates its own challenges, particularly for young people, because will you have the kind of safety net that has been available to your parents or not?

So whether you lived in the developing or the developed world, the question I hear over and over again from young people is: What’s my future going to look like, and what role can you, who are in government today, or we, who are on our way into our lives, do to ensure the right answers? I think there are a couple of things.

First, we need to recognize that youth empowerment is a concept that has arrived, if there were ever any doubt about it. Years ago in the 1960s, which I know sounds like ancient history, I can well remember our own efforts to try to change the direction of a war, to change the direction of a society. And today, what I see is that young people need a chance to be more involved in and more empowered to be involved in the decisions that affect them.

Secondly, I think we have distinct challenges that have to be addressed as to how we come up with the economic and political pathways that will translate this concept of empowerment into a reality. That does require a level of participation.

One of the most distressing meetings that I’ve had over the last year was with a group of the young revolutionaries who led the revolution in Egypt, who started in Tahrir Square what became an extraordinary historic change. And I sat at a table with about 20 of the leaders, and I asked them, “Now that you have a chance to make the decisions about what your political system will look like, what do you intend to do to become organized politically?” And their answers were “We don’t do politics. We do revolutions.” And I said, “Excuse me?” Maybe I’m showing my age or maybe I’m of a different era, but I know that if you don’t become involved in the political life of your country, all that energy, all those hopes can dissipate.

And now, as we look at the outcome of a free and fair election by all accounts in Egypt, I’m hearing the voices of some of the same people I met with who are saying, “How did this happen? What happened to our candidates? What happened to the people who were at the forefront of the revolution?” One of our famous American politicians, Mario Cuomo, once said you campaign in poetry but you govern in prose. Well, that means to me that if you expect to see the changes that can come to provide that sense of empowerment and participation, there has to be participation politically.

And third, we have to look at what works. And here in Denmark, historically, you have made it a priority to expand economic opportunity to people on the sidelines. And you have, according to all of the analysis, the least income inequality in the world. That is quite astonishing as I watch my own country grow in income inequality, and it is an important goal that all of us should be moving toward to prevent inequality from distorting society, from distorting politics. And Denmark is not immune from the changes in the world economy, but you have certainly navigated them more successfully than many.

And let me just close by saying a few words about the current crisis in Europe. Obviously, it is for Europeans to determine the way forward. Whether you are in the EU and/or in the Eurozone, the European project deserves support, in our view. And I know that in hard times, people can be led to hunker down or even build walls to go back to the old divisions that so – for so long, bedeviled Europe.

But the values underlying the European project are still true today. The belief that a country’s and a people’s strength depends in part on whether your neighbors are strong and prosperous, that the best way for people to get ahead is through partnership with one another, rather than at each other’s expense. Whether you are Danish or Italian, Latvian or Spanish, there should be a place for you in the European community. And the dream of a Europe in which all people from all backgrounds live and work in dignity and peace is what inspired generations that came before you to persist in the European project.

So I know that there are some challenges that we all face. I’m certainly aware of the ones that my country is facing. But I am confident that the values that we have in common and the aspirations that are shared not only by Danes and Americans, but increasingly by people everywhere can be given the reality that we all deserve, but only if there is a level of political participation by young people.

So I say the same thing whether I’m in Cairo or Copenhagen; get in the game, dare to compete, be part of charting the new future that is waiting to be born, and the United States will be very proud and happy to make that journey with you. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

MR. LANGKILDE: Thank you so much, Madam Secretary. Once again, welcome to Denmark. I hope really that you’re enjoying your stay here so far.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I am, and this is my fourth time to Denmark, and I always feel, as I was saying to you in the hallway, that I want to stay longer and see more. So I’m looking forward to coming back as a private citizen because I’ve always been here on an official visit and that is not quite as free. Now, my husband, who was here about a week ago, who is now, as he likes to say, retired – (laughter) – had the most marvelous time walking the city, going to Tivoli Gardens, going out to dinner, and I must say I’m a little jealous. (Laughter.) So we promised each other we’ll come back when we’re both retired.

MR. LANGKILDE: I hope that you’re comfortable in this chair. Actually, I just want to tell you a short story about it. You might recognize it. It’s the same chair that John F. Kennedy sat in in the memorable TV debate in 1960 when he was debating with Vice President Nixon.


MR. LANGKILDE: So it’s kind of iconic for Danish design, and – (laughter) – I would (inaudible) – (laughter).

SECRETARY CLINTON: Danish design is one of my favorites. So now that I’m sitting in the same chair John F. Kennedy sat in, it’s great. (Laughter.)

MR. LANGKILDE: A great chair for a great person. I would like to start out by asking you a question about Denmark actually. When you travel around the globe as a Dane, you’re often met with, “Oh, Denmark. Isn’t that the capital of Norway?” Or – (laughter) – we have polar bears walking around. It’s just I know that you know our country. You’ve been here. But honestly, Madam Secretary, what do you think when you see Denmark?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think progress, strength, accomplishment because I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it over several decades now. And the leadership that Denmark has shown in humanitarian and security and technology and design and social organization and political stability and democratic sustainability, it’s very admirable, and it’s something that I really look to, because of course you’re a small country, but if you add up all that Denmark has contributed, it’s quite a remarkable history.

MR. LANGKILDE: I would like to ask you: As the U.S. Secretary of State, what’s your greatest concern right now?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, they are interlocking. Always the greatest concern when you’re in a position like this is the fear that there can be nuclear proliferation and – either by a rogue state or by a non-state actor. We know that a lot of the extremist terrorism groups keep seeking weapons of mass destruction; not only nuclear and radiological material, but chemical and biological, and that is deeply distressing. At the same time, we see old fashioned, conventional military means being used against innocent people as we just saw horrifically again in Syria.

So it’s both the new threat that are part of our modern age and the age-old problems of dictatorships and brutality and human rights abuses. And in the world we find ourselves in because of technology, we now know what’s happening everywhere. I don’t think we have the capacity to act everywhere, which makes it very challenging. Because when you know that people are being murdered in the Eastern Congo or Syria or being – having their human rights abused anywhere in the world, there is the natural tendency of wanting to do something. So we have to be as effective as we can against the threats that we see.

MR. LANGKILDE: Before opening up for questions from the – you guys – I just want to ask you one more question. You mentioned Syria.


MR. LANGKILDE: And recently, we saw some horrific pictures coming out of the city of Houla, more than 100 persons brutally slaughtered, and when is the U.S. going to say enough is enough; now we really have to use some military force to stop these killings?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, one of our great dilemmas is that the action that we took part in in Libya, that Denmark was a key partner in, had United Nations support. So thereby, you had the international support. And we do not yet have that. We have very strong opposition from Russia and China, but it’s primarily Russia. And that makes it harder to put together an international coalition. I’ve not, by any means, given up on it, because I think every day that goes by makes the case stronger, and I talked with Special Envoy Kofi Annan yesterday actually on the flight over, because he is working hard to expand his mandate to be able to do more to push the Assad regime. In order to accomplish that, we have to bring the Russians on board, because the dangers we face are terrible.

The continuing slaughter of innocent people both by the military and by militias supported by the government, and then increasingly by the opposition, which is understandably trying to defend itself and kill those who are trying to kill them, which could morph into a civil war in a country that would be riven by sectarian divides which could then morph into a proxy war in the region, because remember you have Iran deeply embedded in Syria. Their military are coaching the Syrian military. Their so-called Qods Force, which is a branch of the military, is helping them set up these militias, these sectarian militias. And you have Russia continuing to supply them arms, and you have Turkey very worried on the border, and you have Jordanian – or Jordan and Jordanian Government worried.

So we know it could actually get must worse than it is, and we’re trying to prevent that. And my argument to the Russians is – they keep telling me they don’t want to see a civil war, and I have been telling them their policy is going to help contribute to a civil war. So it’s not a satisfactory answer yet, but we’re trying to keep pushing all the pieces together to support Kofi Annan as an independent voice, because the Syrians are not going to listen to us. They will listen maybe to the Russians. So we have to keep pushing them.

MR. LANGKILDE: Okay, guys. Now, it’s your turn. Maybe you want to ask some additional questions about Syria, something else – they can ask about anything, right, Madam Secretary?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, they can. (Laughter.)

MR. LANGKILDE: So we have four mikes. (Inaudible) we have a question over there (inaudible).

QUESTION: Hi. Thank you, Madam Secretary. My name is Cheyenne Ellis, and I’m an American here living in Copenhagen. Prior to moving to Denmark, I worked in Washington, D.C. at the Department of State along with Ambassador Susan Jacobs on parental child abduction cases. However, today my question is on gender balance in the workplace. Recently, the EU has proposed to initiate mandatory quotas to ensure more women are represented in top management positions in European businesses. Do you feel a quota system is necessary to increase more female CEOs? Or do you feel like this is a self-regulating issue which needs no policy managing?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Cheyenne, that’s a question I’ve wrestled with for a long time. I don’t think that there is a right answer to that question, because there does seem to be a glass ceiling in nearly every society, not all of them. I think that you now have a woman prime minister; you have a woman head of state. I’ll be going to Norway and Sweden and Finland, all of whom have had women in the very top positions in government. But even in those four countries, there’s not that level of representation on a sustained basis in the corporate world. So is there some intervention that could encourage businesses to look more broadly to recruit women? I’m sure that there could be. Whether it’s quotas or whether quotas are the right answer, I will leave that debate to the Europeans to decide whether it’s right for them. But certainly, it’s been our experience that it still is more difficult for women to make it to the top in either politics or business in our country. The United States would never go for quotas, but I think there has to be a recognition that, in the absence of a much more self-conscious outreach, for women to be on corporate boards, in the pipeline for corporate leadership positions, it’s not likely to change.

So I’m hoping that as we experiment with this in different parts of the world, we will learn more. And if the EU adopts quotas, I will be very interested in seeing how that works or whether it is unsuccessful because people just flat out resisted. I hope though that we can finally get over what has been a historic gender imbalance in both politics and business because I think in the 21st century, women’s empowerment is one of the most important goals for the world to aim toward. (Applause.)

MR. LANGKILDE: (Inaudible) front left of Ingrid, please.

QUESTION: Hi, my name is (inaudible). I wanted to ask, for a student of international affairs and global politics, whether you believe a future in these areas lie for us whether in the UN or (inaudible) NGOs – that question’s also, which institutions do you think the future of political – global politics will shape?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m glad you’re interested in these areas and I think there are futures in all three of what you said. I think the multilateral organizations are in great need of reform, and young people need to be committed not only to a career but to a reform agenda within the institutions, because I think that they haven’t kept up with the times. I don’t think that they operate as efficiently as they could; they get too bureaucratic, too weighted down by internal process instead of external results.

I think NGOs are a lean, mean way of often intervening, of making your voices heard. One of my goals is to work on civil society in places that have never known civil society and to make it legitimate, to convince governments that having people who advocate for the environment or for children with disabilities or for the arts or for electorate reform is an essential part of the democratic process.

And then government, obviously, I believe strongly that if we’re lucky enough to live in a vibrant democratic society, you can either be totally apathetic, which then leaves the decision-making to people who may disagree with you completely, or you can be an active citizen participating – participant in politics, or you could even go so far as being active in a political party and running for office. It’s hard; I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It’s not easy being in politics anywhere in the world today in any democracies, but I certainly hope that a lot of young people like yourself look at that third alternative as much as the first two.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, if you were 18 again – (laughter) – living in the world as of today with (inaudible) what would you choose to do over?

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s a great question. (Laughter.) Well, I became a lawyer and I practiced law and I did a lot of work on behalf of family and parental rights lawyers UT organizations, defending children, abused and neglected children, and working for legislative change on behalf of children, and I always find myself attracted to trying to work on behalf of those who are marginalized or left out. So I would probably do the same thing whether – I mean, I’ve started NGOs, I’ve served on the boards of large NGOs and helped to direct them.

I think there will always be a voice, even in privileged societies like ours, for those who are voiceless. And so I like feeling that maybe I can help make a difference in someone’s life. And then the work around the world is a full agenda, particularly on behalf of women and children. So I think I’d probably be doing something in that area, which is what I was doing before I got into politics.

MR. LANGKILDE: Let’s go to row three here, please.

QUESTION: First of all, it’s a huge honor, Madam Secretary. My name is Anna and I’m a PhD fellow in American studies, and I have a question about Syria. Of course, one of the reasons why the operation in Libya was (inaudible) was because you had the support of other Arab countries. Which role (inaudible) Arab countries will play in the solution of the Syrian problem? And also, you say that the Russians are the main problem why there’s not a sort of solution at international community at this point. Are there other sort of regional and national differences between Syria and Libya that makes it difficult to repeat?

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s a great, great question. There are certainly significant differences. Syria’s much larger, it’s a much more diverse society, so that different groups within Syria are worried about what comes after Assad and are not unified in the way that Libya became. There is a professional military; there was not in Libya. Qadhafi relied on a very small group of military personnel augmented by mercenaries. There was an opposition in Libya that did represent the country. That’s not yet been possible in Syria. We’ve all been working to try to promote that. There was a safe haven that could be operated out of – that Benghazi became – and then you could move west. The air defenses in Syria are significantly tougher than Libya. The Arab League called for action by the Security Council. The Arab League has supported the Kofi Annan mission; they haven’t been united to call for military action yet. And most importantly, the Security Council, in the case of the Libya, was willing to act and then NATO could put together a coalition that was augmented by Arab countries willing to fly the no-fly zone, even carry out strikes. So really, those conditions do not exist with respect to Syria as of yet.

There’s also a lot of regional difficulty or complexity that has to be dealt with. I mean, Jordan is right on the border of Syria; they have to worry about their own territorial integrity and safety. Turkey has that long border. They worry about whether they make themselves more vulnerable to the Kurdish terrorist threat that they are so focused on. You go down the line; it’s quite a difficult set of factors to balance. It’s next door to Lebanon, which as you know, fought a brutal civil war all those years. And the demographics of the population are not so dissimilar except in terms of numbers, but the basic demographics are quite similar between the two countries. We’ve already seen the conflict wash over into Lebanon.

And a lot of people are trying to figure out what could be an effective intervention that wouldn’t cause more death and suffering. And in Libya, partly because it was a small population in a vast expanse, much of it not particularly populated, there was a theater for intervention that was quite successful in avoiding civilian casualties. That seems much more difficult, if not impossible.

Now we’re thinking about all of this. There’s all kinds of civilian and humanitarian and military planning going on. But the factors are just not there.

MR. LANGKILDE: You ask very good questions guys. So thanks for doing my job so well. (Laughter.) Let’s go to the far back left.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) studying financial management and I have recently applied for an internship at New York and that made me research a bit about the American education system. We have a really good one here, but don’t you find that if you (inaudible) caught up in the American youth on the ground that they can’t afford or their parents can’t afford to give them an education?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think it’s one of our biggest domestic challenges. Historically, our public education system worked well enough for the vast majority of Americans. And a relatively small percentage of Americans went to college. But by the end of the 20th century, and certainly now in the 21st century, the disparities in education between our most privileged young people and our poorest has gotten much broader. And the cost of going to college has skyrocketed. So we have increasing numbers of young people who are coming out of college with huge debt.

And it’s really regrettable and there has to be a reckoning about this because we’re not, in my view, providing the best education we should for children who are not in the best of circumstances, and we make post-high school education very expensive, and we don’t have enough of the right sort of skills training, because one of the great ironies in our current economic situation is you can see job postings for thousands of jobs, but we don’t have the people in the places with the skills to take the jobs. So we have to close that gap, and it’s something that I care deeply about. I know President Obama does as well, and we’re going to see what more we can do from the federal government.

Although the final thing I would say on this is much of education starts with the family and requires a combination of encouragement and discipline that families have to provide. And then our education system in public schools is run by local and state government. So our complicated federal system makes change more challenging, but we have to figure out how we’re going to do it.

MR. LANGKILDE: Okay. Let’s go to the front row (inaudible) please. Be careful. We don’t want you to break a leg. (Laughter.)


QUESTION: Hi. My name is Senu , and I study law at Copenhagen University. My question is about the International Criminal Court. Your husband, Bill Clinton, he signed the Rome Statute in 2000 and – but the Bush Administration later unsigned it. You seem to have a very positive approach to the ICC. So my question is whether you plan to sign it – re-sign it and ratify the Rome Statute during your time as Secretary of State.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I do think that the ICC is an important tribunal. And I thank you for noticing that we have, in the last three and a half years, increased our involvement with the ICC. The head of our legal department at the State Department is a renowned international lawyer, the former dean of Yale Law School. And we have promoted more exchanges, more discussions, but at this point we know that there would be no appetite in our Congress under current circumstances to ratify America’s membership. So short of that, we’re going to continue to do what we can to support the important work that the ICC does.

MR. LANGKILDE: Madam Secretary, I would like to squeeze in a little question that we also got from a lot of our viewers. We asked on Facebook that they could ask you questions. And thousands of people around the globe, especially women, see you as a role model because you have had a remarkable career from the First Lady, then Senator from New York, and now you’re the Secretary of State. And can you tell us a little bit about how has this journey been for you personally?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, personally, it’s been a surprise because when I was sitting where you would be sitting, I never imagined that I would marry someone who would become a president or that I would be a senator from New York or that I would be a secretary of state. So my journey has been not only surprising, but very gratifying to me. And people ask me all the time if I can give advice. And it’s hard to put yourself in anyone else’s shoes, but I think for both young men and young women, to go back to the previous question, education remains such a passport to any option that you might decide to choose. And it doesn’t always have to be conventional education. I know very successful people – Bill Gates, obviously, dropped out of Harvard, but he was always learning, and he was always alert, and he was always taking in what he was interested in and was able to channel his passion into creative innovation.

So staying involved and aware of what’s going on around you. I also always hope that people develop some sense of social responsibility, that if you’re fortunate enough to be educated, healthy, living in a democracy, having more control over your own life – although it probably doesn’t seem like it from time to time – than the vast majority of people who ever lived in the history of the world have had, then what can you do to give back as well as get ahead?

And for young women, I think that the historic questions remain. How can you have a life and make a living? How can you have relationships? How can you have children and be active in whatever you choose? And it just takes a lot of focus and a decision that you’re going to live your life in a way that meets your aspirations to the best of your ability. And then life happens.

I mean, in my case, I walk across the lounge of Yale Law School and here’s some guy saying, “Not only that, but we grow the biggest watermelons in the world.” And I said, “Who is that?” (Laughter.) And a friend I was with said, “Well, that’s Bill Clinton. He’s from Arkansas, that’s all he ever talks about.” (Laughter.) And I’d never been to Arkansas. Obviously, this was all new to me. And so I took a leap of faith. And I think it worked out pretty well, but it’s – (laughter) – it has been because of choices I made. I tried to be the lead actor, if you will, in my own life and not to be a bit player and not to let things happen to me, but to try to decide how I was going to respond to whatever happened. And you just keep moving forward every single day.

MR. LANGKILDE: Later, I’m going to ask (inaudible) too. (Laughter.) And row four, please (inaudible).

QUESTION: Hello, (inaudible). It’s been really motivating for me to listen (inaudible), and you look so passionate about what you do about your work. My question to you is: Like all in your daily work, what motivates you the most in your daily work?


QUESTION: What motivates you?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Motivates me? The hope that I can help somebody solve a problem or alleviate suffering or find a way to a better life. I mean, I get just as motivated by trying to connect up somebody after the earthquake in Haiti with their relatives who were looking for them, and we put together a cell phone network to be able to reconnect people as I do trying to push forward on solving issues arising out of the Arab Awakening or the violence in Central America or all the other issues that I work on every day.

So it’s both the big picture issues that we work on and try to make progress on, but what you need when you’re working on what often are intractable problems are some of the day-to-day successes that will never make headlines, but which are gratifying. And you know because of the position you’re in, you can make things happen. So that’s very motivating to me.

MR. LANGKILDE: Let’s go over here, please.

QUESTION: My name is Zena. I have a question about being a woman in the highest level of foreign policy. Did you believe that it changes foreign policy outcomes when there are more women around the negotiating tables? And if so, how?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’ve thought a lot about that. And I don’t know that there’s any empirical evidence that would prove that, but I certainly feel it. Most of the time, I’m the only woman at the negotiating table. And I do try to raise issues and I always talk about women’s rights and I always tell every audience and every male leader I’m with, “Well, you knew I was going to say this, but what is this going to mean for women and for children?”

And when I work with other high-level women in the international affairs, like the High Representative of the European Union Cathy Ashton, there’s a shorthand, in a way, as to what we’re trying to achieve and how we can perhaps work together to do that.

I also am a very strong believer that the women I know who have achieved the head of state or head of government generally, not always, but generally will be more responsive to a lot of the human needs. When my friend Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became president of Liberia and inherited a country ruined by horrific civil war and warlordism, she was elected because the market women in the country, Christian and Muslim alike, said enough of war and literally forced the men to the negotiating table. And there’s a wonderful documentary about this called Pray the Devil Back to Hell, if you can pull it up on the internet, because it was perfect example of women saying enough.

Or when there was a recent negotiation over how to end the long conflict in Darfur, the men in the room spent days arguing over who would get territory around a certain river. And a woman outside the door said, “That river’s been dry for years,” because it wasn’t men that went looking for water, it was women. And so there are so many insights that I view as coming from practical, everyday experience, that men bring their own, but women bring ours. And I don’t see how we can make the best decisions unless there is literally a meeting of the minds, which is why I really welcome more women involved in these discussions. And I think the substance is more likely to reflect the everyday needs of the people who are most at risk in the resolution of any kind of dispute.

MR. LANGKILDE: Yeah. Let’s go to the left back, please.

QUESTION: Hello, Madam. I am Judy, student from (inaudible) University. My question is right in this conversation right now. You started by acknowledging and complimenting a lot of the strengths here in Denmark and our society here. When you recently – it was a few years ago, the last time you were here, there was a Danish female minister of foreign affairs, and I guess representatives from Canada, Russia, and Denmark states, and had a discussion about the Arctic area. This lady in this situation made a decision to prioritize family versus that meeting. I’m sure people in your positions are always having to make difficult choices, and I wanted to ask you does the work life balance exist on your level of leadership or, I mean, as a role model for future generations, is it something you should just say that okay, throw out the baby with the bathwater, if you want to be at that level, your husband has to be your wife or – (laughter) – can you say anything about them making those kind of difficult situations and – yes.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. Well, I – look, there’s a double standard for women in the public eye. That’s just a fact. And it’s something that’s getting somewhat better because people are more conscious of it. But it is certainly a challenge for young women with small children or with teenagers, which sometimes feel like the same. (Laughter.) So when you are trying to really balance your family obligations with any work, but particularly work in the public eye, particularly at a very high level of stress and involvement, it takes enormous amounts of organization; it takes very supportive family members, in particular your spouse, to work out what the scheduling and all of that will be.

But I would hate to see any young woman who wants to have a family decide she could not do that because she also wants to have a career. I think that would be a terrible mistake. That’s just me, personally. If you don’t want to, that’s your choice, and I fully support it. But if you want to and you think you can’t do it or you can’t manage it because you also want a career, you have to accept the fact you’re going to have to make some kind of accommodation if you wish to be the best mother you can be as well as fulfill the obligations of your profession.

And I will be very honest with you. I mean, when my daughter was young, my husband was the governor of Arkansas, and I practiced law, but nothing at the level or intensity of what I did after she was older. And that was my choice. I have a lot of women whom I know who are the most superb balancers in the world and they manage everything. But I knew that for me focusing on my daughter during those early years was something I wanted to do and that I believed was my first priority. So as she got older, unfortunately, I’m not as needed. (Laughter.) I used to sit around the White House waiting for a sighting. (Laughter.) I did have a lot more time and a lot more freedom and could run for the Senate, could run for the presidency, could be a Secretary of State.

That is one of the advantages of being a woman in the 21st century is if you take care of yourself you have a lot of options that our mothers and grandmothers could never have dreamed of. So I think you’ve got to figure out your own balance, but don’t make a decision that you can’t do one or the other until you try to see if you can find that balance.

MR. LANGKILDE: Now that you mention it, Madam Secretary, that you ran for President.


MR. LANGKILDE: Yeah. (Laughter.) And that leads me to my – (applause.) I think if we ran a quick vote in here you would be elected. (Laughter.) But my question is you said in January that you’re not going to continue as a Secretary of State, even though President Obama would get a second term. And that leads to two (inaudible). What are you going to do then? And can you rule out the possibility that you could run for President in 2016?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. I said that many times. I’m really looking forward to pursuing other interests that I have. I’ve been so honored to serve with President Obama and feel incredibly privileged that I served at a time with so much change. The chapter has yet to be written about what the conclusions of all this change will turn out to be. But I also think that, for me, I’ve been at the highest levels of American political life for 20 years, and I would like to be able to just take a long walk. (Laughter.) I’d like to be able to just travel without having a lot of official meetings associated with it. I’m just looking forward to exhaling and seeing what else lies ahead.

And I’ve always been actively involved in philanthropic work, not-for-profit work. I want to continue doing that with an emphasis on obviously women and children. For me, do some writing, do some speaking. I’m looking forward to it. And who knows what I’ll end up doing, but I’m excited for the possibilities.

MR. LANGKILDE: And when you come back to Denmark as a private citizen we will all be happy to give you a holiday that —

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s nice. Would you please (inaudible?) (Laughter.)


SECRETARY CLINTON: Because I look at the map, and there’s so many interesting places that you all are from. I was talking to the foreign minister about that earlier. And I have the great honor of being received by Her Majesty, the Queen. And this is just, to me, a fascinating country, so I am going to come back at some point, incognito. (Laughter.) If you see me on the street don’t – I won’t look at you. (Laughter.)

MR. LANGKILDE: We’re running a little close to the end, Madam Secretary, but if you’re up for it, one more question.


MR. LANGKILDE: Let’s go – let’s try, if it’s physically possible, to go to row two then.

QUESTION: Hello, Madam Secretary. Thanks so much for doing this. My name’s (inaudible). My question is regarding female reproductive health in the American healthcare system. I know you’re very passionate about healthcare, but this is a more personal question. Recently there has been a lot of debate about female reproductive healthcare, not just on the presidential election level but also inside of congressional hearings. It’s been pretty shocking, especially seeing as Roe v. Wade was so long ago, and it’s seen as a war we’ve already fought and then it feels like we’re fighting it again. Do you think that these debates being held diminishes America’s right to position itself as a leader of civil rights and to be seen as such?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, you’re right. There has been, and continues to be, a debate over abortion coming out of the Roe v. Wade decision – of course preceding that, but most intensely since then. And there has been a very concerted effort to undermine what we call a woman’s right to choose, which I have always supported.

But it – the debate has now taken another turn, which is to make contraception debatable. And that, to me, is really a regrettable development. The debate is over whether the comprehensive healthcare reform that President Obama championed and that was passed by Congress will include insurance for women’s reproductive health, including contraception. And the evidence on the benefits for contraception is overwhelmingly clear in the way that it does protect women’s health, it does prevent unwanted pregnancies, and also enables women who shouldn’t – for physical or mental reasons – become pregnant avoid doing so. It shouldn’t be debatable, but the debate is over whether taxpayer dollars should go to subsidized health plans that provide contraception. And it is a political debate.
I don’t think it should or does affect our strong reputation and support for civil rights, but it is something that we’re going to have to continue to contest within our political system. And it is troubling to me because it seems so focused on poor women, because middle class and upper income women will provide for their own healthcare. But if you’re a young student, if you’re a working mother, if you are someone who doesn’t have the financial means to afford contraception, the first thing is to be covered by healthcare insurance – which is the Democratic party position – that covers everyone and then to have what you need at every state in your life included. So it’s reflective of an ongoing debate within our political system, and we’re going to have to, as you have debates within your political system, keep working it out. And in a democracy hopefully people will make the right decision.

MR. LANGKILDE: That’s it, guys. Thanks for all of your – (applause). I actually – I forgot. We have two more minutes left, only two. Make it one minute and 58 seconds. (Laughter.) And I want to thank you for all your great questions. And I want to thank The Black Diamond for hosting us. And I want to say thank you to all our viewers on TV2 News and also our international viewers. And I then I want use the honor and the privilege of asking the last question. And I want to thank you so much for making this possible, for making this visit possible, and for being here.

And as mentioned, the chairs – an iconic man once sat in this chair – well, not this chair, but a similar chair – (laughter) – and a man with a great legacy. What would you, Madam Secretary, want your legacy to be?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I would hope I’d have a few more years to keep working on it. But —

MR. LANGKILDE: Professional legacy.

SECRETARY CLINTON: My professional legacy that I tried in every way I could and every role that I had to serve my country and humanity. I mean, that is what I believe in. And I’m absolutely convinced that one person can make a difference inside or outside of government and that I certainly have had the honor of trying and hope I’ve succeed to some extent.

MR. LANGKILDE: I think many people think you have. Thank you so much, Madam Secretary, for being here, and I wish you the best of luck and a very successful stay in Denmark, and I would love to see you back.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. (Applause.)

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Remarks With Danish Foreign Minister Villy Sovndal


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Eigtveds Pakhus
Copenhagen, Denmark
May 31, 2012

FOREIGN MINISTER SOVNDAL: Yes. Hello and welcome. First of all, I would like to welcome you to Copenhagen. It’s been a pleasure. I’m very happy to be able to return hospitality and generosity you showed when I was in Washington just before Christmas. Thank you very much for that.

And it’s a great pleasure to receive Secretary of State Hillary Clinton here in Copenhagen. One important thing for Secretary Clinton’s visit here will be green growth and the potential for a green transition of our economies. I believe that Denmark has a lot to offer in that regard, and the importance of the United States is hard to overrate. This theme means a lot to both of us.

We had a very fruitful meeting where we discussed a wide range of shared policy priorities. I would like to briefly mention a few of the main items we discussed.

First of all, we had a very frank discussion about Afghanistan. Following up on the NATO Summit, which the United States successfully hosted in Chicago just a few weeks ago, I believe I speak on behalf of both of us when I say that there is a need of realism regarding the prospects for Afghanistan. Transition in Afghanistan is a bumpy road; that’s no secret. But the transition is moving forward, and it will complete by the end of 2014. It is vital that we enable the Afghans to take over full responsibility for their security. I’m therefore very encouraged to note that we have already secured substantial long-term contribution for the Afghan National Security Force, and that was not least a result of the very close cooperation we had between our two countries leading up to Chicago.

We also had an excellent discussion regarding our mutual efforts to help stabilize the Horn of Africa, Libya, and the Sahel region. We agreed on strengthening the U.S.-Danish partnership to prevent and counter terrorism in East Africa. A key focus area will be to prevent the financing of terrorism. We also agreed on the need to strengthen respect for human rights and the rule of law in our effort to counter terrorism. We will launch a joint project focusing on states moving towards democratic governance, including the countries in North Africa. Moreover, we will also jointly provide support for an observation mission to monitor the upcoming elections in Libya. We stand committed to assisting the Libyans in their efforts towards securing a peaceful and democratic future for their elections.

Finally, we discussed the potential for stronger cooperation on promoting green growth. The backdrop of our discussion was the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development, which is just a few weeks ahead. Later today, a strong bilateral green partnership will be kicked off here in Copenhagen. I hope this can also be a driver for an increased investment in trade.

Secretary of State, we must – we meet frequently in different locations around the world. I’m therefore very pleased to be able to receive you here in Copenhagen, so to say, on home ground. I very much appreciate our sincere, frank cooperation, and I hope you’ll enjoy not only this visit, but don’t be shy to come back here once again if you want.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Minister Sovndal, thank you so much for your warm welcome. It is indeed a pleasure to be back here in Copenhagen. This is my first stop on a trip that will take me to several European countries over the next week to underscore America’s commitment to our transatlantic allies and our shared values. You are, after all, our partners of first resort. And together, we are facing the challenges of a complex, dangerous, and fast-moving world. And I’m particularly grateful for Denmark’s leadership in the area of humanitarian and development assistance as well as the staunch contributions to our shared security.

The friendship between our two countries dates back more than two centuries and the bonds between our people have endured over that time. Our commitment to democracy, to human rights, to human dignity is core to all of us. And this morning I had the great privilege of speaking with a group of Danish young people about the kind of future that we hope awaits them.

We had a very productive lunch, talked through a range of issues as the minister has said, because after all we are working together on matters ranging from nuclear proliferation in Iran to global food security.

Regarding Afghanistan I thanked the foreign minister for the leadership of the Danish Government and the sacrifices made by the Danish people, in particular your extraordinary soldiers. Danish soldiers have fought valiantly alongside American and allied forces. And as we prepare for the transition in 2014, when the Afghans themselves will take full responsibility for their own security, Denmark has responded by generously committing to supporting the Afghan National Security Forces after the transition and calling on other nations to do the same through its Coalition of Committed Contributors initiative.

As we look toward the donors’ summit in Tokyo in July, Denmark will continue to play a leading role in helping the Afghan people make progress in governance, on education, healthcare, and other indices of development. Denmark’s commitment to new democracies extends far beyond Afghanistan and into the Middle East and North Africa, where it has pledged money in assistance and working to spark economic growth, especially in the private sector. And I expressed our gratitude for the leadership once again that Denmark is showing, because it is essential that democracies, especially these very young democracies, deliver tangible results for people.

We of course discussed Denmark’s leadership on climate change and the environment. As an Arctic nation, Denmark knows very well how pressing these issues are. And as climate change progresses, its impact will affect the livelihoods of millions of people who are dependent on this region’s natural resources. Denmark is a strong voice for taking aggressive action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and by leading the charge with your own domestic goal of cutting emissions by 40 percent by 2020. And I want to applaud Denmark’s decision to join the Climate and Clean Air Coalition that will help us reduce the short-lived climate pollutants as well as CO2. That’s an important complement to what is being done with respect to carbon emissions.

For our part, the United States has continued to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We’ve established new fuel efficiency standards that will be among the most aggressive in the world. We have invested more than $90 billion in clean energy and energy efficiency. We’ve more than doubled our installed capacity of wind and solar in four years. So I’m looking forward to this afternoon’s Green Partnership for Growth event with the prime minister, and I applaud Denmark’s leadership in creating the Global Green Growth Forum, an innovative platform that encourages leaders across governments, the private sector, and civil society to work together.

And finally, let me say a word about Syria. The world looked on last week at the massacre in Houla with horror, and those responsible must be held to account. We and the world have joined in condemning the brutality of the Assad regime. I spoke with Special Envoy Kofi Annan yesterday about his recent visit to Damascus. We are working with Denmark and others to make sure the international community speaks with a unified voice to increase pressure on Assad from both inside and outside. We have to peel away the regime’s continued support within Syria while bolstering our assistance to the opposition and by isolating the regime diplomatically and economically.

So we have a lot of work ahead of us, Minister, and I want to conclude by thanking you again as well as the people of Denmark for your invaluable partnership and leadership. I look forward to our continuing coordination and collaboration, and it is a great pleasure for me to have this opportunity to be here once again. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you. We will now take a few questions. (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Thank you. Madam Secretary, as you have stated, Denmark has played an important role in different missions around the world – in Iraq, Afghanistan, and recently in Libya. Right now, the situation in Syria is on top of the agenda. If – and that’s my question – if an international coalition could – can be formed, could you then see Denmark take play in such a coalition?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we have to take stock of where we are and what is possible. I see Denmark as a contributor to any mission anywhere be it security, be it development, be it humanitarian, because the track record of Danish participation is exemplary. So of course, if there were such an international coalition to do anything to try to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people, we would certainly reach out as broadly as possible and be consulting closely with the Danish Government.

Right now, we continue to support Kofi Annan and his efforts. And we do so fully aware that thus far Assad has not implemented any of the six points that are part of the Kofi Annan plan. But we also know that the UN observers have performed two important functions. In many of the areas where they are present, violence has gone down. And they serve as independent observers – the eyes of the world, if you will – in reporting back when terrible events like the recent massacres occur to try to cut through the clutter and disinformation coming from the Syrian Government.

We’re also aware that there is still a fear among many elements of the Syrian society and the Syrian Government that as bad as the Assad regime is, it could get worse. And we therefore continue to call upon the business leadership, the religious leadership, the military leadership, those voices within the government that know what is going on is leading to the very outcome they fear most, which is a sectarian civil war, to stand up now and call a halt to further support for this regime.

So we’re nowhere near putting together any kind of coalition other than to alleviate the suffering, which we are all contributing to, but we are working very hard to focus the efforts of those, who like Denmark and the United States, are appalled by what we see going on, to perhaps win over those who still support the regime inside and outside of Syria to see what options are available to us.

QUESTION: Jim Mannion from Agence France Presse. Madam Secretary, again on Syria, at this point with the Russians refusing a budge on Syria and with the country appearing to tip towards civil war, is it now a live option to move beyond the requirement of an explicit UN mandate to some sort of action outside of the UN? Is that something the U.S. is considering? Is that a possibility at this point?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Jim, we consider all contingencies at all time. I mean, we plan against everything in order to be prepared in the event that action is called for. But I can tell you that right now, we are focused on supporting Kofi Annan, reaching out both inside and outside of Syria, bringing together those who are most directly affected, particularly in the region. In the last several days, I’ve had numerous conversations – I will have many more over the next few days – with particular attention paid on – to the Russians. Because the Russians keep telling us they want to do everything they can to avoid a civil war because they believe that the violence would be catastrophic. They often, in their conversations with me, liken it to the equivalent of a very large Lebanese civil war, and they are just vociferous in their claim that they are providing a stabilizing influence.

I reject that. I think they are, in effect, propping up the regime at a time when we should be working on a political transition. So I look forward to working with Kofi Annan, with likeminded nations like Denmark and many others, and with the Russians to see if we can’t get a way forward.


QUESTION: Oliver Skov with the Danish Broadcasting Corporation. The Danes are very curious and interested in the – in U.S. politics and the upcoming elections. (Laughter.) I was hoping you would comment on the upcoming elections and, on a more personal level, your own role after the elections in November.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am, as Secretary of State, out of politics. And that’s a rule that we have in our system, that because I have international responsibilities, I cannot participate in the political process. So for the first time in my adult life, I will not be actively engaged in this election.

Clearly, I anticipate and expect the President to be reelected, and the policies that have been pursued in this Administration to continue. But the voters, as in any democracy, will have the final word on the outcome. But I’m looking forward to working as hard as I can until the end of my tenure as Secretary of State, and then will look forward to some time to collect myself and spend it doing just ordinary things that I very much am looking forward to again, like taking a walk without a lot of company – not that I don’t love seeing you all – but just having the time to set my own schedule and pursue a lot of the interests that I have pursued my entire life, particularly on behalf of women and children.

QUESTION: No politics?


MODERATOR: One final question. Brad.

QUESTION: Yes, Brad Klapper from Associated Press. Madam Secretary, there’s been increasing talk in Israel, including yesterday from the defense minister, about unilateral action or interim solution in the West Bank in lieu of progress in the peace process. Would you encourage or discourage unilateral withdrawal by Israel from some land, even if it’s not all the Palestinians seek? And what would the unilateral aspect of such a move mean for the chances of establishing a long-lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Brad, the United States believes there is no substitute for direct talks between the parties. It is the only route to achieving what has long been not only a Palestinian goal and an American goal, but an Israeli goal, which are two states living side by side in peace and security. We have discouraged unilateral action from both sides, and in fact, we think that this new coalition government in Israel provides the best opportunity in several years to reach such a negotiated agreement. In fact, when the coalition was formed, there were four pillars of agreement, and one of them was pursuing the two-state solution.

So we very much want to encourage the Israelis and the Palestinians to do that, and in fact, they have recently exchanged letters, from President Abbas to President – to Prime Minister Netanyahu, and Prime Minister Netanyahu to President Abbas that have outlined the conditions for dialogue. And in recent weeks, I’ve called both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas urging them to take this opportunity, to use this new opening that has come about because of the broad coalition that now exists that has pledged itself to pursuing a negotiated resolution. And we’re going to continue to urge them to do so.

We greatly appreciate the role that Jordan has played. King Abdullah of Jordan has been extraordinarily forceful in urging the parties to come to the negotiating table. I spoke with Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh over the weekend about the status of the discussions. So we believe that there is an opportunity for direct negotiations, and we hope it was enhanced by the release of bodies today by the Israelis of Palestinians whom they had either killed or who had been suicide bombers going back many years as a sign of confidence building. But they need to get to the table and start dealing with all the very hard issues we know have to be resolved.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much. We’re out of time.



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Public Schedule for May 31, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
May 31, 2012


Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Copenhagen, Denmark. The Secretary is accompanied by Assistant Secretary Gordon, Counselor and Chief of Staff Mills, Director Sullivan, VADM Harry B. Harris, Jr., JCS, 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.

10:30 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton has an audience with Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

11:05 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a townterview hosted by TV2 with Danish youth, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

12:20 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton attends a working lunch with Danish Foreign Minister Villy Sovndal, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

1:35 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a joint press availability with Danish Foreign Minister Villy Sovndal, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

4:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

5:05 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton attends a green partnership for growth event with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

5:45 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with the staff and families of Embassy Copenhagen, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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Our girl has safely arrived.  There are no pictures to go with this, but it is from VOA, and that is enough authority for me.

Clinton in Scandinavia for Talks on Syria, Afghanistan, Iran

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (file photo)

May 30, 2012

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Denmark at the start of a week-long trip to Europe that is expected to focus on Syria, Afghanistan and Iran.

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Secretary Clinton To Travel to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey

Press Statement

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
May 25, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey from May 31-June 7. In Copenhagen, Denmark, Secretary Clinton will hold bilateral meetings with senior Danish officials. She will also participate in the kick-off event for Green Partnerships for Growth, a bilateral initiative to promote green technology through public and private sector partnerships.

On June 1, Secretary Clinton will travel to Oslo, Norway, where she will meet with senior Norwegian officials and give keynote remarks at a global health conference hosted by the Norwegian government titled, “A World in Transition – Charting a New Path in Global Health.” On June 2, the Secretary will be in Tromso, north of the Arctic Circle and home of the Arctic Council Permanent Secretariat, for discussions of U.S.-Norwegian cooperation in the Arctic, including on climate change and the sustainable development of untapped resources.

On June 3, Secretary Clinton will travel to Stockholm, Sweden, for meetings with senior Swedish officials to discuss a range of issues, including green energy, Internet freedom, Afghanistan and the Middle East. In Stockholm she will also participate in a Climate and Clean Air Coalition event on short-lived climate pollutants.

The Secretary will travel to the Caucasus from June 4 to 7. In all these countries, she will discuss important issues of regional security, democracy, economic development and counterterrorism.

In Armenia on June 4, the Secretary will meet with President Sargsian and other senior Armenian officials. She will also meet with Armenian civil society leaders.

On June 5, the Secretary will open the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission plenary session in Batumi, Georgia. She will meet also with President Saakashvili and hold discussions with a broad range of political actors and civil society representatives.

The Secretary will travel on June 6 to Azerbaijan to meet with President Aliyev as well as Azerbaijani civil society leaders.

On June 7, the Secretary will co-chair the Global Counterterrorism Forum Ministerial in Istanbul, Turkey and consult with senior Turkish officials on a range of foreign policy challenges, including Syria and Iran.

On Wednesday of the past week, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary Clinton emphasized the urgency and importance of U.S. accession to the Law of the Sea Convention. The nature of her first stop in this itinerary underscores remarks she made at the time.  Yes, we do meet and negotiate with members on various oceanic councils, such as the Arctic Council, but our heft in these meetings is negatively affected by our absence at the convention table.  We would come from a position of additional strength were we to ratify the treaty and take our place among member states.

In anticipation to her visits to Georgia and Azerbaijan, the secretary released the following greetings to the people of those countries in celebration of their imminent national days.

Georgia Independence Day

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 25, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Georgia as you celebrate your independence this May 26.

In a few days I will have the chance to visit Batumi to experience the warmth of the Georgian people and reaffirm our commitment to Georgia’s future. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of U.S.-Georgian bilateral relations. Since regaining its independence, Georgia has made impressive progress fighting corruption, developing modern state institutions, and enhancing global security.

The United States is committed to helping Georgia deepen Euro-Atlantic ties and strengthen the institutions of your democracy, and we remain steadfast in support of Georgia’s territorial integrity. We stood with the Georgian people 20 years ago at the dawn of your renewed independence, and we stand with you today.

As you celebrate this special day, we look forward to working with the Georgian government and people to build a more peaceful and prosperous world.

Republic of Azerbaijan’s National Day

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 25, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Azerbaijan as you celebrate Republic Day this May 28th.

I am looking forward to my trip to Baku in a few days where I will have the chance to talk to civil society and government leaders about Azerbaijan’s challenges and opportunities, and how the United States can support a brighter future for both our people. We will discuss new ways to partner together to promote regional security and stability, enhance energy security, and strengthen economic and political reforms.

As you celebrate your national day, know that the United States stands with you. Congratulations and best wishes for a peaceful and prosperous year to come.

So as to exclude no one, I include the secretary’s greetings to the people of Ethiopia on their upcoming national day as well.  We have no information regarding upcoming plans for a visit there, however.

Ethiopia’s National Day

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 25, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Ethiopia as you celebrate your national day this May 28th.

The United States and the people of Ethiopia share a strong history as friends and partners. Together, we are working to enhance food security, improve health services, strengthen education, promote trade, and expand development. The United States applauds Ethiopia’s dedication to maintaining security in the region, including through important and effective peacekeeping missions in Sudan and South Sudan. I hope the coming year will yield a more vibrant civil society and private sector to help shape a brighter future for Ethiopia.

The United States is committed to helping Ethiopia achieve a more peaceful and prosperous future for all its people, and we look forward to continuing to work together toward common goals in Africa and around the world. As you gather with family and friends to celebrate your national day, know that the United States stands with you.

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Remarks With Danish Foreign Minister Villy Sovndal After Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 15, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON:Good afternoon, everyone. It’s a great pleasure to welcome Foreign Minister Sovndal for our first meeting here in Washington in his new role. And it is also clear that for me, even in this age of video conferencing and, obviously, telephone calls, and email, that there’s nothing to replace face-to-face meetings and diplomacy. And so I thank you very much for coming, Minister.Our friendship between our two countries dates back more than two centuries and we share a common bond that is our fundamental commitment to democracy and human rights. We are working in a number of areas throughout the world to advance our common interests and we will continue to do so. And in fact, we are going to be discussing ways we can even build on our already deep and important work. Let me just mention a few of the issues we discussed.

First, the transition in Afghanistan: I expressed my admiration and appreciation for all that the Danish people have done to support the people of Afghanistan. Danish troops are deployed throughout the country serving shoulder-to-shoulder with American and other allied forces. I know that Danish forces have suffered terrible losses, but I want to express our gratitude for their sacrifice, which is helping to create conditions for a safe and orderly transition to Afghan security lead in Helmand province.

We discussed a number of the issues that are necessary to fulfill the potential of a transition that will help Afghanistan as well as the transformation that needs to continue well beyond 2014. We will be discussing these issues in the lead up to the NATO summit in Chicago next May, and I look forward to working with our Danish partners to shape the agenda for that meeting, as well as other NATO efforts.

I know we can count on Denmark’s continued leadership, especially when it comes to committing long term funding beyond 2014 for Afghanistan. International cooperation has been key to the successes we’ve seen so far, and as we all agreed in Bonn, we need to continue that up through 2014 and beyond.

Now more broadly, stabilizing fragile states is an area where we have an opportunity to expand our work together. Denmark has made its commitment clear by strengthening its stabilization and security departments, and by increasing its support in 2012 for peace and stabilization efforts not only in Afghanistan, but also the Middle East and throughout Africa. At a time when every budget is stretched thin, Minister, that sends an important message. And the State Department recently created a Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, and we look forward to working with you and pursuing an agenda to enhance global security and development.

Foreign Minister and I also discussed Denmark’s role as president of the European Union in 2012. We both recognize the need to maintain and intensify our close cooperation on the full range of U.S.-EU issues, including security and development. Naturally, we discussed decisions regarding Europe’s debt crisis. We all have a stake in a speedy resolution. The United States supports efforts to enact pro-growth reforms, and we will continue to support the work being done by our European partners.

And finally, I thanked the foreign minister for Denmark’s effective leadership on Arctic issues. As climate change progresses, the matter of preserving freedom of navigation and other issues in the Arctic will only grow more pressing. Earlier this year, Denmark’s leadership on the Arctic Council resulted in the conclusion of an Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement, the first legally binding agreement among the eight Arctic states and observers. This was an important early step and I look forward to collaborating with our Danish colleagues on more issues related to this vital region.

So, Foreign Minister, let me conclude by thanking you and the people of Denmark once more for your invaluable partnership and your leadership on so many issues from counterterrorism to Green Growth. I look forward to many other fruitful discussions and I appreciate your coming at such a busy time to begin that conversation.

FOREIGN MINISTER SOVNDAL: Thank you very much. Thank you very much for your warm welcome, thank you very much for your hospitality. Denmark’s relationship with the EU is of great importance, I think, for both of us. We – it’s very important also for us, first, to have a friendly and also an honest dialogue about two close allies as our countries. We appreciate very much the multilateral approach you have to the global questions. We cooperate in a lot of different areas, as you mentioned. I think it’s very important these years to build up international relation on promoting human rights. There is a fight in a lot of places in the world about that, about democratic values, and rule of law.

As you mentioned, we are going to take the EU presidency. It’s not in the most easy time we have to do that. We’ll do what we can to make a successful presidency. We know that the economic question, the debt crisis of Europe, is playing a big role. Europe is taking steps to try to make answers to the economic challenges we face. One of the important things for the new Danish Government is to increase what we call Green Growth. We think that’s one of the common ways out of this crisis, to be better at green technology.

As mentioned, we also discussed the Arab Spring, its situation with a lot of hope and some concern about the changes taking place. We are very much encouraged by what’s happened in Libya. We’re very much encouraged about the elections taking place in Tunisia. We looked at some concern about Egypt, but we’ll stay there. And I think the important thing is if we are most to hope or most to concern that we stay there not to take over the developments they’re going to make, but to be at their side and help.

We also confirmed today our common work to be done in Afghanistan. We’re going to stay there also after 2014, not in the hard combat mission, but with assistant aid, and we’re also helping financing the Afghan national forces. As you mentioned also, I think we can also help each other trying to stabilize some of the fragile countries. We have a very big interest in doing that when – if we can secure these states.

And just to finish off, we have a common agenda about disarmament. We have a dream of a world free of nuclear weapons. We’d like to work also on that agenda together.

And finally about Arctic, it’s a very – it’s a region which is getting more and more important. And we think it’s a good example also how states with difficult – different interests are able to work together in a way where its international law, its international rules, deciding the way we’re going to handle also difficult questions in the region. So you could say from Arctic to the Arab Spring, it’s a very broad agenda. It’s because we are in a world with a lot of big agendas just now. Thank you.


MS. NULAND: We have time for four today. We will start with ABC, Kirit Radia.

QUESTION: Thank you very much, Madam Secretary and Mr. Minister. Two questions, Madam Secretary. The first today being a milestone day in Iraq with the casing of the colors, do you have anything to say about that and some of the concerns that have been raised about the ability of diplomats to get out of the Embassy given these – lack of immunity for contractors?

And the second question I have, Russia has tabled a resolution at the UN today on Syria. I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to see it yet, but there – it does contain some language about how the government has not enacted enough reforms, but it also says that it blames extremist groups in the country for some of the violence. Do you have any comment on that? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, with regard to Iraq, as you all know very well, the end of our military mission was recognized yesterday with Secretary Panetta’s visit. Prime Minister Maliki was here in Washington meeting with the President and many others to discuss the way forward. We have renewed our commitment under the Strategic Framework Agreement to work closely with the Iraqis to help them realize their own ambitions for a free and sovereign Iraq. We will continue to support them, and obviously the lead role in that now falls, as it does in our relations with countries all over the world, to the State Department.

We think we are well positioned for the 2012 transition to a civilian-led presence. We have a very robust presence that will demonstrate our commitment across the board in every area under the Strategic Framework Agreement with diplomats, business and development experts, security assistance staff, police trainers, law enforcement officers, and many others from across many civilian agencies within our own government. And we’ve made clear that we will have to be working closely with the Iraqis to ensure the security of our civilians. And we have had very strong commitments from the Iraqis that whatever assistance we need will be forthcoming. I think it’s understood that this is one of the most challenging missions that the State Department has ever led. But we’ve had a great deal of thought given to what needs to be accomplished, and the team, both here in Washington and, even more importantly in Baghdad, Erbil, Kirkuk, and Basra, is very well prepared. So we’re moving forward.

With respect to the point you just made about a Russian draft, I have not seen the draft. I’ve had it just briefly described to me, and there are some issues in it that we would not be able to support. There is, unfortunately, a seeming parity between the government and peaceful protestors and then other Syrians who are trying to defend themselves, but we’re going to study the draft carefully. It will have to be shared with the Arab League, which has taken the lead on the response to what’s going on in Syria. And hopefully, we can work with the Russians, who – for the first time, at least – are recognizing that this is a matter that needs to go to the Security Council. It’s just that we have differences in how they are approaching it. But we hope to be able to work with them.

MS. NULAND: Next question, Stefan Graham, Danish Broadcasting.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, your NATO ambassador recently said that with under investment in NATO over the coming years NATO would be unable to launch any new actions similar to the one we’ve just experienced in Libya. To what extent does under investment in NATO threaten NATO?

And Mr. Foreign Minister, Denmark is planning substantial cuts in defense. How are you able to convince critical allies that we are going to pay our fair share for the future of NATO and to sustain NATO capabilities?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Do you want to start, Minister?

FOREIGN MINISTER SOVNDAL: Shall I start? I think we are in the position like all the European countries are, like U.S. also are, that we don’t have the money we had once, also not the military spending. The former government and the present government is (inaudible) the same goal as how much could be taken out of the military spending and still remain a strong military. We have some structural reforms we can make on Danish military. They have not been published yet.

But I’m sure – to answer your question – that Denmark will be able to do the kind of missions we did like the one in Libya. And if there might be someplace else in the future we have to participate, we are going to participate also on the (inaudible) side of the military mission. That’s one side. The other side of Danish defense policy is to build up fragile states, to be able also to prevent conflicts which might – if not intervening be developing into something where we have to react, military may be too late. So you could say we are trying to walk both on the one leg and also on the other leg. And I think that’s a good way of walking actually. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: We agree. I think you’ve heard not only from our NATO ambassador but also from defense secretaries and others that we do have a concern about the sustainability of our NATO forces and deterrent. It’s something that we have discussed very openly in NATO. We will continue to do so.

We believe that the alliance that has stood the test of time since the end of the Second World War is the premier military alliance in all of history. And there is no indication that it will be less needed in the future. There will be new challenges and threats, but the environment is certainly not one yet that we would like to see, where the collective defense that we’ve all pledged to under NATO will never be needed again.

In addition, the role that NATO has played in Libya most recently, in Afghanistan, has been instrumental to a lot of the values that we share. Denmark alone flew nearly 600 missions and was highly regarded in the professionalism of your military in doing so.

So we will follow closely developments in Europe. The minister is right, that we also have our own budgetary challenges. So we have to get smarter. I mean, let’s be – let’s pursue smart defense. And smart defense, which is a part of smart power, requires us to be looking for ways that we can cooperate more, where we can come up with new approaches to meeting our strategic and tactical requirements. So this will be a subject of a lot of conversation in the upcoming year.

MS. NULAND: Next question, Matt Lee, AP.

QUESTION: Hello. Hi, Madam Secretary.


QUESTION: I hope I don’t shock you too much, but I actually only have one question.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I can’t believe it.

QUESTION: It’s got two parts, but it’s only – (laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: No. Then I’m not at all shocked. I’m actually reassured.

QUESTION: As you are no doubt aware, Bradley Manning’s trial begins tomorrow. I’m wondering if you have any thoughts about that, but more broadly what your thoughts are about the impact the WikiLeaks incident, if we can call it that, had and is having, if it is still having any effect or deleterious effect on U.S. diplomacy in a way that foreign policy is conducted.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Matt, I cannot comment on an ongoing legal proceeding, and as you rightly point out, the trial is beginning, and we will, obviously, save any comment while that proceeding is ongoing.

I’ve said numerous times from this podium and in other locations that it was a very unfortunate and damaging actions – action – that were taken that put at risk individuals and relationships to an extent that we took it very seriously and launched a vigorous diplomatic effort to try to counter.

I think that in an age when so much information is flying through cyberspace, we all have to be aware of the fact that some information – which is sensitive, which does affect the security of individuals and relationships – deserves to be protected. And we will continue to take necessary steps to do so.

MS. NULAND: Last question, Jorgen Ullerup, Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, with Denmark’s new socialist government, you found a colleague who has traditionally been very critical of American policies. How do you look at that? And are you the least bit worried that you – America might lose a close ally in the long term?

And to the Danish foreign minister, the United States have stepped up its killing of insurgents with armed drones. Do you think that’s a breach of international law? And if yes, have you brought that up in the conversation today?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say that we believe that our relationship with Denmark is strong and enduring, and we respect the right of the people of Denmark to choose their leaders. But we do not believe that that in any way interrupts or undermines the strength of our partnership, both bilaterally and multilaterally.

And I really don’t recognize the gentleman that you’ve just described, because my interactions with the minister have been not only cordial but very constructive. And we each bring to these official positions that we hold our own views. That kind of goes with the territory, having come up through politics in a democracy and having many occasions in the past to express those various opinions. But I think that our meeting today set a very strong base on which we will build, and we’ll look to find ways to work together even beyond what we are already doing.

So it is always, I think, important to, first, recognize that nations’ interests and relationships are of much more historic depth than individuals, perhaps. But I am very much looking forward to working closely with the minister on a range of matters that concern us both.

FOREIGN MINISTER SOVNDAL: And the same from my side. I look very much forward to working with the U.S. Administration. I think you mentioned an American I cannot recognize. That – I mean, I’m not un-Danish when I criticize a government that was before me. It’s, you could say, politics. I am a great (inaudible) of American culture. I think some of us listened in our young days to the same music, all the same films, have been reading the same books, have been a lot of interaction. Some of us have family here. So there’s a lot of relationships. They will continue. They will continue.

And of course, among good friends, you’re always in a situation where there are questions you judge differently. That’s also the case between our governments. But on the very important heavy agendas – Libya, Afghanistan – we work together and we act together. We work very well together, and I assure you that will continue.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. And thank you, Minister. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year.

FOREIGN MINISTER SOVNDAL: Thank you very much. And the same to you.


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Well, there is a dearth of pictures coming in from Greenland, but this one, again with the cute red coat does show Mme. Secretary standing with Danish FM Lene Espersen with whom she issued the remarks below.

Remarks With Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen After their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Hotel Hans Egede
Nuuk, Greenland
May 12, 2011

FOREIGN MINISTER ESPERSEN: Welcome to all of you. Before we take on the Arctic agenda this afternoon, we’ve just had the opportunity to briefly touch base on some of the other international issues that preoccupy us both and where we believe that we have a very valuable cooperation.

On Libya, we agreed that now is not the time to waver, that we have to sustain. The international community must maintain and increase the pressure on Qadhafi and his regime. And we are strongly committed to and actively engaged in the work of the Libya Contact Group, and of course, the efforts to assure a political solution for Libya.

We also agreed that the operation against Usama bin Ladin has created a new boost to international counterterrorism efforts, and we must build on this to further galvanize the broad international cooperation. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me begin by saying how delighted I am to be here in Nuuk at this Arctic Council meeting, the first time that the United States has been represented by the Secretary of State. And I am very grateful to Minister Espersen for her leadership and for the strong partnership that exists between the United States and Denmark.

Before I talk about the meeting we just had and today’s working session of the Arctic Council, I want to say a few words about the situation in Syria. Despite overwhelming international condemnation, the Syrian Government continues to exact brutal reprisals against its own citizens, including, tragically, the deaths of hundreds of Syrians since March. They engage in unlawful detention and torture and the denial of medical care to wounded persons. Now, there may be some who think that this is a sign of strength, but treating one’s own people in this way is, in fact, a sign of remarkable weakness.

President Obama and I have condemned these actions in no uncertain terms, and I do so again today. The recent events in Syria make clear that the country cannot return to the way it was before. Tanks and bullets and clubs will not solve Syria’s political and economic challenges. And relying on Iran as your best friend and your only strategic ally is not a viable way forward. Syria’s future will only be secured by a government that reflects the popular will of all of the people and protects their welfare. President Asad faces increasing isolation, and we will continue to work with our international partners in the EU and elsewhere on additional steps to hold Syria responsible for its gross human rights abuses.

It is such a pleasure for me, in contrast to what we see happening in a place like Syria, to be celebrating the alliance, partnership, and friendship between the United States and Denmark, rooted in our shared democratic values and aspirations. And that is the underpinning of the partnership we have here in the Arctic Council, and our determination to work together on a range of global challenges.

Today, Lene and I had the opportunity on the boat to discuss at length many of the issues that we are working on in this fast-moving world, including in North Africa and Afghanistan. And I thanked the minister for Denmark’s strong support throughout the Maghreb region. In Libya, Denmark was one of the first countries to fly air-to-ground missions, and may I say it is absolutely exemplary in every way, in all of the actions it has undertaken. It is also making substantial contributions in Egypt and Tunisia through its support for vulnerable groups such as young people and women, and its support for political reform, fair elections, rule of law, social dialogue, and civil society.

In Afghanistan, we continue to stand shoulder to shoulder as we work to ensure the smooth transition of security responsibility that was agreed upon at the Lisbon summit. Denmark’s general – generous development assistance is crucial to this effort, and I commended Foreign Minister Espersen for her initiative to improve women’s access to justice in Helmand province.

Now of course, we are here because of our shared concern and commitment to the Arctic. This region faces so many challenges, especially with the harmful effects of climate change on its ecology, natural resources, and the livelihoods of millions of people who are used to living off the land and the seas. And we will be discussing many important matters in our meeting to start just shortly, from mitigating the effects of black carbon, to cooperating on possible oil spills, to search-and-rescue operations. And in all of these discussions, we have benefitted enormously from the wisdom and engagement of the Council’s permanent participants.

Now the challenges in the region are not just environmental. There are other issues at stake. The melting of sea ice, for example, will result in more shipping, fishing, and tourism, and the possibility to develop newly accessible oil and gas reserves. We seek to pursue these opportunities in a smart, sustainable way that preserves the Arctic environment and ecosystem.

So for more than 15 years, the Arctic Council has established itself as the region’s preeminent intergovernmental body, and the United States is committed to this forum. The search-and-rescue agreement, which we co-chaired with Russia and which we will be signing today, is an example of how the Council can work collectively to effect positive change. The United States is an Arctic nation. This region matters greatly to us. That’s why I was delighted to be joined by Senator Lisa Murkowski, who represents Alaska. We know that the decisions we make now are going to have long-lasting ramifications, and we want to make the right decisions.

So again, I thank the minister and I thank Denmark for hosting this very important meeting.

MODERATOR: Thank you. (Inaudible) from (inaudible) TV.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, a question about Syria: Do you think al-Asad has lost his legitimacy as the leader of Syria?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me say that we have watched with great consternation and concern as events have unfolded under his leadership in Syria, and we are working with our international partners to make as strong a case as possible to sanction those who are leading and implementing the policies that are coming from the government.

I think it is – I think it’s fair to say that we’re going to hold the Syrian Government accountable. Now how that happens and what the timeline in – is, is something that we are working on as we speak. But I wanted to make very clear at the outset of this press conference that the United States, along with Denmark and our other colleagues, are going to be looking for ways to increase the pressure.

FOREIGN MINISTER ESPERSEN: Yeah, and I think that we completely agree. We’ve been amongst the countries in the European Union calling for sanctions, and now we’re calling for the Syrian leadership to actually deliver on the promises that they’ve made also on TV about political reforms and national dialogue. And I will say if the Syrian leadership does not deliver on reform, we are prepared to tighten the sanctions against the Syrian regime.

MODERATOR: Washington Post.

QUESTION: Thank you both for speaking with us. Madam Secretary, just a question: One of your goals in coming here is to call attention to important environmental issues, including climate change, but it’s been difficult for U.S. administrations to follow through on some of these ambitions and commitments on things from Law of the Sea to climate. I’m just wondering what assurances you can give the international community now that the U.S. is prepared to go forward and take some concrete action.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Joby, you’re right that it’s been challenging in our political system to take the kinds of actions that we know are dictated by the science and by what we see in front of our eyes. Many of the indigenous people who are here at the Arctic Council meeting can give you very dramatic descriptions of how their land and the sea has changed in their lifetimes. So there is no doubt, except among those who are into denying the facts before their eyes, that climate change is occurring, and it is contributed to by human actions at every level.

I don’t think the Obama Administration, certainly not the President, has given up on continuing to make the case for what the United States can and should do. We were not successful in getting the Senate to pass a comprehensive bill, but as you know, the Administration has increased its attention to regulatory actions that can be taken to improve everything from the gas mileage of cars to the regulation of utility emissions. And we’re going to continue to do that. We’re going to use every single available option that can demonstrate clearly to our own people, first and foremost, and then to the international community that the United States is taking action and will be doing everything we can to make our contribution.


QUESTION: Yes. To both of you, since you’re both cooperating on Libya, we’ve seen an intensification of the bombing raids, particularly against Tripoli. Is there a parallel effort, diplomatic effort, to push Qadhafi out, and how long would that take? Do you have an assessment of how long he might remain in power?

FOREIGN MINISTER ESPERSEN: Well, I think what is the most important thing is actually that when both Secretary Clinton and I were in Rome last week, we decided to have a much better international coordination and actually putting pressure on finding a political solution. One of the things that Colonel Qadhafi has been quite smart at doing has actually been sending all kinds of messengers out, negotiating ceasefires and things like that, only with one purpose, I think, and that is just to prolong everything and to try to make the international society start a quarrel whether we’re doing the right thing or not.

And what’s very important is that the Libya Contact Group and the international society remains committed to stay in until the job has been done, protecting the civilians and, of course, making sure that the UN special envoy Al-Khatib is supported a hundred percent in his very important job, trying to negotiate a political solution and a ceasefire. And I think that’s actually the best we can do, not having different countries negotiating with Qadhafi but having one person coordinating and negotiating, so that he knows that now the pressure is on him.

And I think that’s the most important thing, and I’ve spent any opportunity I have to say, because the Danish airplanes are doing a lot at the moment, to say that we are living up a hundred percent to the UN Security Council Resolution 1973. We are there to protect the civilians. And if it takes us to bomb military buildings and other things, we will continue to do that in order to protect the civilians. So we’re very committed on that.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I can only echo what the minister said, because she was very eloquent in describing what is the international consensus. And I think out of our meeting in Rome, we were even more determined to keep the military pressure on and to intensify our diplomatic and political efforts. They are proceeding as we can with a lot of consultation. The UN has a major role to play, but there are also other contacts that will be undertaken to make clear to Qadhafi and those around him that we’re persistent and we’re patient and we’re determined.

And I would just end by once again thanking and applauding the efforts of Denmark. Denmark is just an extraordinary country in every way, and its commitment to its international obligations, as evidenced not only in this operation under the UN Security Council but in its generosity of foreign assistance and in so many other areas it sets a very high standard.

MODERATOR: We have time to do one final question from T2.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. Madam Secretary, would you please give advice to your Danish colleague, being a woman in a man’s world as a foreign minister? (Laughter) Is it an advantage sometimes, actually?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think she doesn’t need any advice from me. She’s been a minister twice before in interior and justice where she, by every measure, was a great success. And now she is handling the foreign ministry obligations at a time when Denmark, like the United States, is facing a very fast-changing world. And I am a great fan of Lene’s. I think that she represents Denmark exceptionally well, and I also know that, like many young women – and I can say this because I’m not and she is – (laughter) – she has family responsibilities, she has two young children, and like so many women in Denmark and the United States and elsewhere, she is a highly responsible person in balancing both her family responsibilities and her obligations to her country. So I don’t think she needs any advice from me. I think she’s doing very well.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Let’s end here.

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**UPDATE** This is another video I posted without having had time to watch. I love these two together! Cool logic, mutual respect, and calm voices. The Tea Partiers will jump all over me if they Google Lene because there, they say she attended the Trilateral Commission twice, but she is a Conservative! Anyway, I found a better bio of her at The Arctic Council.

Remarks with Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen After their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
June 18, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good morning. And I am very pleased to welcome the foreign minister to the State Department. We have a strong alliance, partnership, and friendship between our two countries. And I happen to live near the Danish Embassy in Washington. They’re wonderful neighbors as well. And it is a relationship that is rooted in shared democratic values and aspirations. I think it’s fair to say that we are both problem-solving people focused on meeting the challenges and seizing the opportunities of the 21st century. And today once again, I had the opportunity to discuss with the foreign minister the challenges that we’re confronting and how we can continue to make progress on common goals.

I also want to thank the foreign minister for the steps that Denmark and the other members of the European Union announced yesterday regarding Iran’s illicit nuclear activities. These strong measures to implement and accompany UN Security Council Resolution 1929 send a clear message to Iran’s leaders: Uphold your international responsibilities or face growing international isolation and consequences. We also look forward to the announcement of specifics by the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council. And we once again reaffirmed our mutual commitment to pursue a diplomatic resolution, but we have to have the Iranians adopt a more constructive course.

Denmark provides outsized leadership on many of the world’s most pressing challenges. We greatly appreciate the contributions of the Danish people to global peace and prosperity, and deeply value our bond as NATO allies.

The Danish Government also deserves to be recognized for the enormous time, effort, and energy it devoted to last December’s climate change summit in Copenhagen. More than just hosts of the conference, Denmark was actively engaged throughout the year in working to move the negotiations forward and to achieve for the very first time in the Copenhagen Accord that all major economies make national commitments to curb carbon emissions and transparently report on their mitigation efforts. We will continue to work together on that as well.

And I particularly want to thank the people of Denmark for their commitment and sacrifices in support of the international missions in Kosovo, Iraq, off the coast of Somalia against pirates, and, of course, in Afghanistan. We have stood shoulder-to-shoulder to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. Denmark has suffered grievous losses among their troops in a probably disproportionate manner compared to the size of their country. The courage, heroism, and skill of the Danish forces is well recognized by everyone. And in addition, Denmark’s generous development assistance has been crucial in building institutions, good government, spurring economic development, and providing educational opportunities.

Today, the foreign minister and I also discussed how crucial Afghan women are to long-term stability. We both believe that with – (laughter) – a great deal of personal conviction. And we are targeting assistance to women in areas ranging from girls’ education to health services, particularly maternal health, to protecting women from violence and enhancing their roles in education, the economy, and governance. We are committed to advancing the rights and opportunities of women, and our governments will actually co-host a conference in Copenhagen later this year on this important issue.

We discussed NATO, where, of course, a former Danish prime minister is now serving as secretary general. And we also reviewed, between the two of us, the important work needing to be done in the Arctic. And I want to express the U.S.’s appreciation of Denmark’s leadership as the Arctic Council chair, and I look forward to continued Danish leadership and to attending the meeting that Denmark and Greenland will co-host next year.

There’s so much to say thank you for, Madam Foreign Minister. And please also express our appreciation to your government, to your embassy, and to the Danish people because we are together building a future of greater peace and prosperity, not only for the Danish and American people but for those who deserve it as well around the world.

FOREIGN MINISTER ESPERSEN: Thank you very much. And thank you very much, Madam Secretary, for the hospitality that you’ve shown me. I think we’ve had a very fruitful meeting. And what is, of course, very important for a small-sized country like Denmark is that the country that we’ve been friends with for decades continue to be a longstanding friendship. And I think that is the case with U.S. I think the United States can always count on Denmark being a friend and working together in trying to solve many of the problems that we face today in a globalized world. I also think that we share many values that are the same. And we both have a very pragmatic approach to things. We want to get things done. And that’s one of the reasons why American and Danes work so well together.

Especially when we look at Afghanistan, I think that the U.S. is, of course, playing the major role, and that you are also suffering many losses. Therefore, of course, I think it’s very important that we stick to the plan and try to get progress ahead in Afghanistan. General McChrystal and ISAF is doing an excellent job but, of course, apart from the military, which is very important, I think that the civilian side as well is extremely important. And I think that our initiative to try and strengthen the role of the women of Afghanistan is very important in creating a future where Afghanistan can stand on its own. So, I’m looking forward to the Kabul conference. And hopefully, we will have a focus on making sure that the rights of the women and the way of enhancing the women will be in focus at that point.

I also appreciate very much the work being done by the U.S. in getting the UN Security Council to actually make a resolution with sanctions against Iran. Denmark is a strong supporter of strong sanctions against Iran, and we’re very happy that yesterday at the EU summit, the heads of state decided to move on and to put these sanctions on Iran. Hopefully, that will put the pressure on Iran to start a dialogue with the rest of us again because both you, Madam Secretary, and President Obama have tried for more than one and a half year to be in dialogue with Iran, have been trying to see if we could move ahead the dialogue. But I think that moved in the wrong direction, and therefore, hence, the sanctions are necessary.

And to trend of – I think that we have a lot in common, even though you are a very big state, a big country – (laughter) – and we are a very small country, there are many ways where we can actually, with our values, create a better world. And especially, I think the work that we are doing in terms of finding legal ways of handling the piracy of Somalia, and especially with regard to the fight against terrorism, also the work that’s being done in looking into new ways legally of handling of people being captured, I think these are all very, very important issues in making sure that the rule of law is being taken care of on a global scene.

So thank you very much for a very good meeting.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.

MR. CROWLEY: We have time for two questions, one on each side. We’ll begin with Jill Dougherty with CNN.


QUESTION: Hi, Secretary Clinton. Thank you. A question on Kyrgyzstan. You know there are allegations now that, in essence, what’s going on is ethnic cleansing by Kyrgyz military against Uzbek citizens, and I’d like to hear your opinion on that. And in connection with that, there are some who would say that the United States is softening its criticism of the Kyrgyz Government in order to make sure that the U.S. does not jeopardize its lease to the Manas Air Base. How would you answer that?

And then just one last quick question. An article about you recently, this week in a local newspaper, which said, “Would you like to trade places with Joe Biden?” (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Let’s stick to Kyrgyzstan. (Laughter.)

Jill, I think that the situation is much more complex than any short description could possibly capture. I spoke at length to Roza Otunbayeva yesterday, to President Karimov in Uzbekistan. As you know, Assistant Secretary Bob Blake is in Bishkek now. We are trying to do everything we can to deal with the very serious humanitarian crisis that has come about because of the violence and the displacement of people from their homes. I think it would be premature to conclude what the source of this outbreak of violence is, but there are a number of factors contributing. Certainly, the ouster of President Bakiyev some months ago left behind those who were still his loyalists and very much against the provisional government. There certainly have been allegations of instigation that have to be taken seriously. There were a number of problems in keeping control over the violence that was sparked by the crackdown and then the overthrow of Bakiyev, which now have, unfortunately, rippled through the police and the military establishment. So it’s difficult to tell how much arises from preexisting ethnic or political differences, how much was instigated and by whom and for what purpose.

What we are trying to do with many partners in the international community, including, of course, the United Nations, is to help support the provisional government, which had scheduled a vote on a new constitution for, I think, next week. And they are, unfortunately, under very difficult conditions trying to determine whether they can go forward with that vote. And some have argued that one of the potential reasons for the violence was to prevent the constitutional referendum from going forward. So there are many moving actors and circumstances.

So our bottom line is work with the international community to try to support the provisional government in bringing about a resumption of order; work with Uzbekistan, which has opened its borders to tens of thousands of fleeing Uzbeks; work to get humanitarian aid in as quickly and comprehensively as possible, and then see if you can stabilize the situation, how to put Kyrgyzstan back on a much more solid footing. But we’re all searching for answers, so we don’t want to prejudge. We don’t want to say, well, that’s what caused it, because there are many different factors at work.

FOREIGN MINISTER ESPERSEN: If I can add, it’s exactly the same position of the European Union. We also had the opportunity to discuss Kyrgyzstan during our council meeting on Luxembourg. Exactly as the Secretary is saying, you know that the first victim in any conflict, that’s the truth – there are all these stories about who’s saying what. So what we decided to do was to have our Special EU Envoy Morel being sent to try and look into as a fact-finding mission what is actually going on. There are all these different numbers. But we completely agree with the way that the Administration is looking into that and, hopefully, the international pressure and focus will bring some progress in the future.

MR. CROWLEY: (Off-mike.)

QUESTION: (Inaudible) Broadcasting. Madam Secretary, it is no secret there is a growing war fatigue among allied in Europe when we talk the war in Afghanistan. The Dutch are withdrawing, the Canadians are withdrawing, the Poles are talking about withdrawing, and there are still the caveats among some of the NATO allies on how they can fight in Afghanistan.

What changes in the attitude among NATO allies would you like to see, and would you like to see a further involvement by EU when we talk Afghanistan?

And this is for foreign affairs minister. You said yesterday that a withdrawal from Afghanistan is out of the question before it is safe and peaceful. What did you exactly mean by safe and peaceful when we talk Afghanistan?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first I want to start by expressing our very strong appreciation for Denmark’s contributions. We appreciate all of the commitments and sacrifices that our ISAF partners have made and are making in Afghanistan, and Denmark has been a model partner in every way. Danish troops have been on the front lines in Helmand Province. Denmark has been a leader in the support for sub-national capacity building and a real model for better integration of civilian and military activity.

Now, certainly, we know how hard this is and we believe that this is in our national security interest and the national security interest of our NATO allies and other partners who have voluntarily joined ISAF for this effort. No one likes war. If people were not worried about or concerned about war, there would be something wrong with them. And we come from nations that are democracies with strong values and ideals, so certainly, you’re not going to find either the foreign minister or I doing anything other than recognizing that war is sometimes necessary. And in this case, we believe it is necessary.

We cannot speak for other countries and their decisions, but I think both the United States and Denmark see the geostrategic political significance of what we are trying to achieve in Afghanistan. Both Denmark and the United States understand that an Afghanistan that once again became a failed state and provided a refuge for terrorists to organize attacks against our countries, our people, our allies, would require response as we had to after 9/11.

So we think that we’re making progress. We know how hard it is. The Afghan military and police are improving, and we are working hard to provide the trainers and mentoring that they need. We are looking to see more results from some of the governmental reforms that we’re expecting. But it is just not true that we haven’t seen positive accomplishments. If you look at a lot of the indicators on education, on health, on government capacity, on agricultural output, on economic growth, on a revenue base for the country to function, there’s a lot of positive indicators.

But the story is not written yet. And we have made very clear that we are going to be committed to this effort, but we want to put the people and the Government of Afghanistan on notice that they have to take more responsibility, which they understand. The foreign minister and I will be in Kabul in July for the follow-up conference that was held in London setting forth very clear expectations from both the Afghans, neighbors, us, and others. So we are committed and we think that it’s a commitment that is in our interests.

FOREIGN MINISTER ESPERSEN: I think that sometimes when we see the casualties, the Danish and American soldiers on Helmand, which is one of the places where the insurgents are in the largest amounts and really fighting back, sometimes we forget why we’re there. We’re there for the safety of ourselves. We’re there for the safety of the Danish citizens and American citizens, because if we weren’t there, we would get attacked by terrorists. So it’s our own safety that’s at stake.

And of course, this means that I think that nobody wants to stay in Afghanistan a second longer than necessary, because they should take care of their own business when they’re able to do that. But it all depends on the ground security. It depends on the progress being made. We’re very fortunate that we now have an Afghan Kandak with a Danish group, so we have a whole battalion of Afghan soldiers being trained into being able to take over responsibility at some point. But I think that the message is that we want them to be able to take over responsibility so that they could secure their own population, and we will do our utmost to train them to do that.

Thank you.

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