Posts Tagged ‘European Union’

Remarks With European Union High Representative for Foreign Policy Catherine Ashton After Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

Treaty Room

Washington, DC

May 17, 2011

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SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it is such a pleasure for me to welcome back to the State Department High Representative Cathy Ashton.

The United States and the European Union are partners working together on, I think, every global issue and regional challenge that you can imagine. We’re doing the urgent, the important, and the long-term all at once, and we are united in a transatlantic community that is based on shared democratic values and limitless faith in human potential.

As always, Cathy and I had a lot to talk about because there is so much happening around the world at a time when people are standing up for their rights and demanding a say in their own futures. And both the European Union and the United States are very committed to advancing democratic values and universal rights, and we know how important that is over the long term. But we also know that right now those rights are under threats from repression and reprisals.

We expressed our serious concern about the continued violence in Syria. The Asad regime has responded to peaceful protests by launching a brutal crackdown that has killed, by our best estimate, nearly a thousand people already. They have embraced the worst tactics of their Iranian ally and they have refused to honor the legitimate aspirations of their own people in Syria.

President Asad talks about reform, but his heavy-handed brutal crackdown shows his true intentions. In response to the continued violence, both the United States and the EU have imposed sanctions against senior Syrian officials. And today, we discussed additional steps that we can take to increase pressure and further isolate the Asad regime.

Our message has been clear and consistent from the beginning: Stop the violence and the arrests, release all political prisoners and detainees, and begin to respond to the demands of the people by a process of credible and inclusive democratic change.

The High Representative and I also discussed efforts to protect civilians in Libya. The United States continues to support our efforts to implement the United Nations Security Council resolution. We’re working with the EU to support the Transitional National Council, and we welcome the EU’s decision to open an office in Benghazi and the ongoing EU support for humanitarian assistance. And for our part, we are working with our Congress to redirect some of Qadhafi’s seized assets toward immediate humanitarian needs.

Across the region, we are looking at many of the same issues from the very same perspective, and we have discussed a number of ways that we can promote investment and trade that would bring benefits to the people of the Middle East and North Africa. We also discussed Iran and, in particular, the efforts of the E-3+3 to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. We have been clear and united under Cathy Ashton’s leadership since the Geneva and Istanbul meetings that Iran has to meet its international obligations and negotiate seriously on the nuclear issue.

Lady Ashton is preparing a response to Iran’s recent letter, but let me make clear that the burden remains on Iran to demonstrate it is prepared to end its stalling tactics, drop its unacceptable preconditions, and start addressing the international community’s concerns.

Now, we’ve also discussed matters in Europe, and both Cathy and I are concerned about the crackdown in Belarus, and I commend her for the strong statement she made over the weekend. The United States considers the post-December 19th trials to be politically motivated, and we call for an immediate, unconditional release of all political prisoners.

I also raised concerns regarding the political deadlock in Bosnia and Herzegovina and any efforts that could undermine the Dayton Peace Accords and the stability of the country. We fully support the authority of the Office of the High Representative Inzko in Bosnia and Herzegovina and want to see the people there realize their hopes for necessary reforms, effective government, and a European future.

Indeed, on all of these fronts, we have an indispensible relationship. And it’s wonderful to have Cathy as a partner in dealing with all of these pressing matters. To further strengthen our partnership, we just signed a framework agreement to expand U.S. civilian participation in EU crisis management missions. American civilian experts already participate in EU missions in Kosovo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and we look forward to working side by side to help more people in more places.

So again, on a personal note, let me thank Cathy for her friendship, and on a professional note, let me thank Lady Ashton – (laughter) – for her leadership and all of the work that she doing around the world.

MS. ASHTON: Secretary Clinton, Hillary, first of all, it’s always a pleasure to meet you anywhere in the world, and indeed we spend our lives finding ourselves in different parts of the globe. But it’s always been a special pleasure to meet with you here in Washington. And the reason for that more than anything is it’s our opportunity to have a little chance to reflect more on some of the big challenges that we are facing at the present time, and as you rightly said, looking at the important and the immediate, but also that opportunity to discuss a longer term.

And one of the areas that I’m most engaged in now is trying to develop, for what we describe in the European Union as our own neighborhood, a much longer-term strategy and policy around the concept of what I’d call deep democracy – helping people to realize that democracy is not just about what you do when you cast your ballot, but about the building of institutions and political parties, and the capacity to go on casting your ballot in years to come. And how we ensure that we’re able to support the people in Egypt and Tunisia I think of especially, but in other countries too as they go forward with this democratic process it’s going to be of enormous importance. And our commitment in the European Union, along with your commitment, is to be there for that long-term challenge.

But combined with that too, we also have the longer-term challenge of ensuring the economic stability and development of these countries as well. And that’s why for Europe, we’ve been developing a new program. I’ve called it the Three Ms. It’s about money – resources available for countries in the short term to deal with the economic difficulties and problems they’ve faced. Simply looking at Tunisia and Egypt, you have to just think of tourism alone, but also to think more creatively about using real investment from some of the institutions that we have, European Investment Bank being one of them. So those resources are there on the ground in the short term, but also for the long term.

Market access – the ability to use our trade to be able to support them in helping their economy develop. And that means not only opening markets but ensuring that people can take advantage of those markets, help them meet the standards that we all have for our citizens, helping them to produce the goods that we want to buy.

And then mobility, the third M. The capacity, particularly for young people – these are young societies – to be able to move around, to have education and support across countries in the European Union, many of whom have long histories of links with young people in those countries, and as well alongside young people, the business people that will need to be able to travel to support the trade that I’ve already described.

So those three Ms are the backbone of the kind of strategy that we’re trying to put together now to support the neighborhood. It’s new, it’s bigger, it’s bolder. It will, I hope, be a recognition that the European Union takes its responsibilities in its neighborhood seriously. And as I said I think in my second week in this job, Europe should be judged by its effectiveness in its own neighborhood, and I firmly believe that.

And as you’ve also pointed to, there are really serious issues for Syria. I spoke to the foreign minister of Syria last week and explained to him very – in a very detailed way how important it was to take this closing window of opportunity and change course. And we will see whether any recognition of what I said comes forward, but I have to say that we will look again at the sanctions that we’ve taken to ensure that they are as strong as they possibly can be.

And we worry too about Yemen and call upon the president there to fulfill his obligations and to sign the agreement.

We talked as well about other areas, and I think particularly about Bosnia-Herzegovina, as you’ve said, where I went last week to make it perfectly plain to President Dodik that the Dayton Agreement is here to stay and that there is an expectation that he will play his full part as a politician in that country in helping to try and move forward for the country as a whole. And it will be very important, as I said in Bosnia, that for the people of that country that the government is formed as quickly as possible and takes its responsibilities. Rising unemployment – real challenges that are being faced there – need a government to lead for the future.

And finally, as you indicated with Iran, where I had a recent letter from Dr. Jalili, it’s taken three months for the reply to come. I had wished for a stronger and better letter from them to recognize that the offer on the table is an offer they should look at very carefully. I will be sending a reply. We’ll be consulting with our partners, not least with the United States, before we do so. But I do urge Iran to think again and to consider coming back to the table.

So a whole range of subjects, but always a great pleasure. And it’s great to sign an agreement as well, so thank you very much for your hospitality.

MR. TONER: We have time for two questions. The first is Elise Labott of CNN.

QUESTION: Thank you, Lady Ashton, just a quick follow on your Iran – you said you would be sending a reply. Do you anticipate a new round of E3+3 talks?

And then on Syria, you say you spoke to the Syrian foreign minister last week. But for both of you, since then there have been reports of mass graves, rounding up of individuals, not just shelling or opening up tanks, but rounding up of individuals, a real systematic going after the people in Syria. Do you think that this raises the bar for referral to the ICC, for referral to the UN Security Council? And it’s pretty clear if this was a conversation last week, that the Syrian regime has shown that it has made the choice not to follow the path of reform, so how much longer do you think this can go on? And is the government effectively crushing the opposition?

Madam Secretary, there have been some more talks about stepped-up talks with the Taliban, if you could bring us up to date. And do you think that the death of Usama bin Ladin gives a new impetus for political negotiations between the Afghan and Taliban? Thank you.

MS. ASHTON: I mean, on Syria, I’ve very worried about what’s happened in the last few days, as I was worried about what was happening the last week. The number of people that we know have died, the number of people that we believe are in detention, is extremely alarming. And what’s happening as – while I’m here is that the 27 ambassadors in Brussels are meeting to discuss on a daily basis what more we should and could do.

The point I wanted to make really was that we also make contact directly and make these points, very clearly and very openly, that this is extremely urgent and that if the government really does – as it keeps telling us it does – want to see some kind of change, it’s got to be now. I think we’re all very aware that the situation is so grave that it’s now in a situation where we need to consider all of the options, and I think there will be a number of moves in the coming hours and days that you will see.

In terms of Iran, I would like to say there will be a new round of talks. From the letters that I’ve received, I don’t see that at the present time.

SECRETARY CLINTON: With respect to the Taliban, we have consistently supported an Afghan-led process of reconciliation. And currently we have a broad range of contacts that are ongoing across Afghanistan and the region at many different levels in order to support the Afghan initiative. President Karzai has taken a number of steps. He held a broad-based peace jirga. He formed a high peace council that includes representatives from across Afghanistan. Their leadership has actually traveled around Afghanistan as well as to a number of other countries. President Karzai himself has held meetings across his own country, and we support this. We think this is a very important development.

And we have outlined our red lines for the Taliban: They must renounce violence. They must abandon their alliance with al-Qaida, which it would certainly seem as would be an easier step for them to take now, post the death of bin Ladin. And they must abide by the constitution of Afghanistan. That’s the price for reaching political reconciliation and bringing an end to the military action. And I’m not going to get into any detail about any contacts, other than to say we have repeatedly supported, in word and deed, an Afghan-led process.

QUESTION: On Syria, Madam Secretary?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I agree with what Cathy said, that we will be taking additional steps in the days ahead.

MR. TONER: Next question by Brian Beary of Europolitics.

QUESTION: Representative Ashton, you said during your comment that Europe should be judged by the effectiveness of its – its effectiveness in its own neighborhood. In the Libya crisis, yourself and Mr. Van Rompaey were criticized for not being at the center of activities and being accused of being marginal figures in the whole NATO operation. I’d just like to give you a chance to respond to that.

And looking to the future on Syria, do you think you’re – in what way are you trying to get ahead of the curve in this situation, from the EU’s point of view, that the EU is not a marginal figure in this – in Syria?

MS. ASHTON: Well, I think, first of all, in terms of what was happening in Libya, we were very much engaged through the European Council and through the 27 member states in determining what the European Union could and should do. It’s always worth remembering what the European Union is and what it is not, and it’s bringing together the 27 member states to support action and activities in a recognition of the principles that we hold dear. It doesn’t mean that on every issue all 27 countries start or end in the same place. What it does mean is we try and build a common view of where we can make a difference.

And that’s why in Libya we’ve been engaged now in trying to support Security Council resolution, why we’ve been engaged, as we’ll see shortly, in the opening of an office in Benghazi, why we’ve been working close with international partners to develop ideas for how to support humanitarian aid, and why we’ve been the biggest funder of humanitarian aid – 100 million euros gone in, 55,000 people, third-country nationals, have been removed out of Libya safely with the help of the European Union. Those are things that we do and we’ve been at the center of doing that. And I don’t think for one moment that that’s a marginal activity.

We also work very closely with NATO in support of what they’ve been doing, and you’ll have seen last week there was a NATO-EU meeting to discuss what we’re doing in Libya. But what we do is different, and that’s also important to recognize.

And in terms of Syria, as I’ve indicated, what we’ve been doing is looking at what sanctions we can take, what political pressure we can put on, in what is an increasingly alarming situation and to try and offer support to the people in whatever way we can. But doing that too, again, with our international partners, because that makes a big difference if we’re able to put that pressure on together.


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On the Occasion of Europe Day

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 8, 2011

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of the European Union as you celebrate Europe Day this May 9.

Sixty-one years ago today, Robert Schuman issued a historic declaration proposing a European continent united in solidarity – one that was free, prosperous and at peace. His proposal represented the first step toward what is now the European Union. Since that moment, the United States and the European Union have worked together on behalf of so many issues, and we are grateful for the role the EU is playing around the world.

Together with our European friends and allies we share a commitment to the fundamental values of freedom, democracy, respect for the rule of law and human rights. Today, these values are under siege around the world. We must continue to stand up for universal human rights so that someday every man, woman and child will have the opportunity to live up to his or her potential.

As the European Union and the United States face new challenges and opportunities, we must also renew our commitment to this special partnership. Together we can help bring greater prosperity and security to everyone on both sides of the Atlantic.

As you celebrate this Europe Day, know that the United States stands with you as a partner and friend, and we are committed to a future filled with peace and prosperity for all our people.

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Joint US-EU Statement on Post-Presidential Elections’ Situation in Belarus

Media Note

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 23, 2010

The following is a joint statement by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton on the post-presidential elections situation in Belarus.

Begin text:

The United States and the European Union reiterate their call for the immediate release of the presidential candidates and the over 600 demonstrators who have been taken into custody in the wake of the presidential elections in Belarus. We strongly condemn all violence, especially the disproportionate use of force against presidential candidates, political activists, representatives of civil society and journalists. Taken together, the elections and their aftermath represent an unfortunate step backwards in the development of democratic governance and respect for human rights in Belarus. The people of Belarus deserve better.

The European Union and the United States recognize the serious problems with the electoral process and the vote count as reported by the OSCE election observation mission and urge the Government of Belarus to meet its commitments to the OSCE to substantially reform the electoral process. The Government of Belarus should take the steps necessary to create political space for political activists, civil society representatives, and independent journalists.

Respect for democracy and human rights remain central to improving Belarus’s relations with the United States and the European Union. Without substantial progress in these areas, relations will not improve. It is against this background that we will be assessing the Government of Belarus‘s actions to address the current situation and to take developments into account as we review our relations with Belarus. The European Union and the United States intend to continue their support for and engagement with the people of Belarus and civil society representatives.

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Remarks At The U.S.-EU Energy Council

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Portuguese Pavilion
Lisbon, Portugal
November 19, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am delighted that we have this opportunity to discuss these issues, and I believe you know the people with me – Assistant Secretary Gordon and Ambassador Morningstar, and of course, you know Ambassador Kennard and Dan Poneman, the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Energy, who is here representing the department and Secretary Chu.

You know how vitally important I think energy issues are to our security and prosperity, so for us to have this opportunity to look broadly at what we need to be mindful of as we plan for the future is especially useful. We have a great agenda ready to tackle. And I think this council is a very promising forum in which to do so, because it does provide the opportunity for coordinating policies and actions. It also gives us a chance to determine how to respond to what is shaping our energy markets, from shifts in demand linked to the pace of economic recovery to new sources of supply from liquefied natural gas and shale, to the advances in clean technologies and renewables.

I’m hoping that out of this, we can come up with an agenda and the practical steps that we can take together. We’ve already accomplished some significant steps since we began this just a year ago. We are working to secure new sources of natural gas for Europe by expanding cooperation with partners in the Middle East and the Caspian region, including Azerbaijan; a new supply route through Georgia, Turkey, and into Europe. The Southern Gas Corridor will help open the European market to more diverse energy sources and bolster European energy security. And we’re working with Ukraine as it tries to chart a path toward being a more reliable energy partner for Europe.

I also believe that we have an extraordinary opportunity for the United States and European Union to lead the world in developing and implementing new and more efficient technologies – smart electrical grids and electrical vehicles. The third energy directive passed in 2009 will increase competition and access to energy resources in Europe, and then I think the new energy 2020 strategy aimed at creating a more integrated internal market can help adapt to supply shocks and shifts.

And as Europe prepares for the first EU energy summit in February, I think we can play a part in helping to fulfill the goals that you are setting to quicken the tempo of our engagement. We have Ambassador Morningstar as our Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy, and we also want to work together not only bilaterally, but in multilateral fora as well. So I am excited by this. I thank you for diving into it and making it a priority on your extraordinarily packed agenda, and we look forward to the exchange today.

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Joint Statement Following the U.S.- EU Energy Council Ministerial, Lisbon

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
November 19, 2010

Energy is an important component of the U.S.-EU dialogue in the 21st century, because it has effects across our foreign, economic and development policies. By working together on energy, the United States and the European Union are increasing our mutual security and prosperity; underpinning stable, reliable and transparent global energy markets; and coordinating our regulatory regimes and research programs to speed the deployment of tomorrow’s clean and efficient energy technologies.

Our cooperation supports economic growth and job creation, and advances our climate change goals. The United States and the European Union established the U.S.-EU Energy Council at the ministerial level in November 2009 to deepen our dialogue in these areas. The Energy Council met again today to review progress and delegate new projects to the working groups on security, technology and policy. Ministerial-level Participants on the U.S. side were U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy Daniel Poneman, and on the EU side EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, Energy Minister Freya Van den Bossche for the EU Presidency and Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger.

We, the Principals, reviewed the work of the Energy Security Working Group and were encouraged by progress since the last meeting in the development of a Southern Corridor to diversify sources and routes to help meet Europe’s long-term natural gas requirements.

We noted the June 7, 2010, signing of a gas transit and pricing agreement between Turkey and Azerbaijan, which opened the way for producers and shippers to negotiate contracts to bring Caspian gas to European markets.

We look forward to the conclusion of commercial agreements with the Shah Deniz II consortium in early 2011, which will trigger actual construction of the necessary infrastructure.

We considered additional, non-Caspian sources of gas for the Southern Corridor, agreeing that Iraq has the potential to export while meeting its own domestic requirements. In this context, we call on the Iraqi authorities to implement new hydrocarbon and revenue sharing legislative arrangements.

We recognized that the principles set out in the EU-Iraq MOU of January 18, 2010, on a Strategic Energy Partnership will be a basis for discussion of energy cooperation with Iraq. We also discussed the potential implications of the changes in global gas markets, including the rapid development of unconventional gas resources and the shift in trade patterns for liquefied natural gas (LNG).

We reviewed progress on our shared goal to foster a more stable, transparent and efficient energy market in Ukraine. We were encouraged by the initial steps Ukraine has made to reform its energy market, notably, the passage of the natural gas market law (July 2010), aligning domestic gas tariffs to market conditions (August 2010), and signing the Protocol of Accession to the Energy Community (September 2010). We also expressed our intention to seek further progress in the implementation of the March 2009 Joint Declaration on the modernization of the Ukrainian gas transit system that was signed by the European Commission, Ukraine and the International Financial Institutions.

Looking forward, we charged the Energy Security Working Group to continue close contacts to support the Government of Ukraine on the following priorities: (1) improving the investment climate to facilitate the development of indigenous oil and gas resources; (2) modernizing the gas transit system; (3) financially restructuring and increasing the transparency of the national oil and gas company, and (4) implementing energy efficiency measures and promoting renewable energies.

We directed the Energy Security Working Group to consider issues related to Nigeria and to encourage the Nigerian government to use its oil and gas resources to promote economic development to the long-term benefit of the nation, while sustaining a positive investment climate and protecting the environment. Toward those ends, we urged the use of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and of other mechanisms to improve transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector. We noted the importance of power sector reform to enhance access to electricity for Nigeria’s citizens.

We reviewed the substantial progress made in the Working Group on Technology and Research on technologies important for a low carbon, sustainable global economy, including hydrogen and fuel cells, solar power, carbon capture and storage, bio-energy, energy efficient buildings, technologies critical to the deployment of renewable energy, including smart grids and advanced materials, and technologies of long-term strategic importance such as nuclear fusion.

We commended the high levels of information exchange, joint research projects, researcher exchanges, and mutual peer reviews. We congratulated the Working Group for an ambitious agenda of joint expert workshops, notably the Workshop on Storage Technologies for Power Grids in Washington D.C. October 19-20, 2010, and a Workshop on Rare Earth Elements for a Clean Energy Future on December 3, 2010 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Looking to the future, we tasked the Working Group to maintain the momentum of co-operation, highlighting areas for future work including an action plan to lower the cost of energy storage on power grids; exploiting lessons learned from projects for bio-refineries using lignocellulosic and algal feedstocks; deepening collaboration on demonstration of carbon capture and storage (CCS); and accelerating work on advanced energy materials, including rare earths.

We asked that work be accelerated on expanding researcher exchanges on low carbon energy solutions, facilitating participation by qualified researchers in each other’s energy research, and in forming alliances among our premier energy technology research bodies.

We also welcomed the focus of the Energy Policy Working Group on energy efficiency, carbon capture and storage, smart grids, electric vehicles and nuclear safety. We highlighted the importance of enhancing co-operation on energy efficiency in the buildings sector and products, and of convergence between U.S. and EU standards in those areas. We recognized the mutual benefit of working towards common standards, convergent regulatory frameworks and effective incentives for the deployment of emerging clean energy technologies. In this context, we welcomed the expert level, November 17, Transatlantic Workshop in Brussels on electric vehicles and grid connectivity, which permitted an exchange of views on policies to support electro-mobility, including vehicle demonstration and deployment, charging and vehicle-grid connectivity.

We welcomed plans to hold a workshop early next year on carbon capture and storage, bringing together developers of European integrated demonstration projects with their counterparts from large scale U.S. projects. We recognized the importance of developing energy resources in a safe, reliable and environmentally sustainable way.

We agreed to exchange expertise on environmental issues related to the utilization of unconventional gas resources, including shale gas, especially with a view to addressing the issue of public acceptability.

We recognized the potential benefits from sharing information on our regulatory initiatives and best practices related to offshore drilling, and agreed to consider practical ways to support the process currently underway in the G-20. We expressed appreciation of the contributions by commercial stakeholders, the scientific community as well as energy experts that were instrumental in helping achieve progress in each of the three Working Groups. We encouraged stakeholders to build on these results and to continue contributing to the work of the Energy Council.

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Remarks With EU High Representative Lady Catherine Ashton After Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
September 29, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’s a very great pleasure for me to welcome Lady Ashton back to the State Department. Over the last year, we have had the opportunity to spend a lot of quality time together as we’ve traveled around the world. And I very much appreciate her leadership and the ability to discuss and work on a number of common concerns.
The post-Lisbon EU is expanding its role in world affairs, and the United States values our growing partnership with the EU and we see it as a cornerstone of global peace and security. It goes to the point of being self-evident that our ties with Europe are broad and deep, rooted in our common values and our shared history. And we have to look for opportunities to make the past not just a glorious time of close transatlantic cooperation, but as the prelude to a very smart, sustained involvement globally on the new threats and opportunities that confront us.
The United States and the EU are working together already in many important arenas. We are partners in the Quartet and we share a strong interest in direct negotiations continuing between the Israelis and Palestinians. And I want to thank Lady Ashton and the EU for the strong support that has been given to the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to build institutions and lay the foundation for a future state. We are working to continue these talks. Senator Mitchell is in the region today and will be meeting with Lady Ashton upon her arrival tomorrow.
We also discussed our continuing concerns about Iran’s nuclear programs and reaffirmed our commitment to seek a diplomatic solution. Of course, it requires Iran responding to the standing invitation that the High Representative has extended for the resumption of the P-5+1 discussions. And I want to also thank you for the many contributions to Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is very impressive that the EU has recently committed to increase Pakistan’s access to EU markets.
We discussed at some length the Balkans, where we both remain fully engaged and committed to helping all the countries of the region realize their aspirations for full integration into the Euro-Atlantic community. The United States welcomes the European Union’s efforts to help Serbia and Kosovo resolve the practical issues between them, and I will be going to the region in about ten days. And we discussed at some length how we will enhance our cooperation not only at this level but on the ground.
We are very much looking forward to the U.S.-EU summit – that’s what we call it, she calls it the EU-U.S. summit – (laughter) – in November in Lisbon, because we are stronger when we work together. And so, again, let me thank you for your leadership and partnership.
HIGH REPRESENTATIVE ASHTON: Thank you very much. It’s a great privilege to be back. And as you describe, we’ve spent a lot of time over these last months talking with each other and our teams talking, sometimes on an hourly basis, about all of the different issues that we face. For me, my focus for the rest of today and tomorrow is going to turn to the Middle East, Having been in discussion with the Secretary and with Senator Mitchell, I will travel overnight through Europe to the Middle East to have meetings with Senator Mitchell, President Abbas, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and Prime Minister Fayyad to see what we can do to support the efforts to keep the talks moving.
More than anything, we would like to see, of course, the moratorium on settlement building continue, but we are very keen to see the opportunity for President Abbas to stay in the talks and for them to move forward to a successful conclusion. So we’ll be doing what we can to do our part in that, and also talking about the work we’ve been doing to support the building of the Palestinian state, which is an imperative if we’re going to see success as the outcome of the talks.
As the Secretary says, we’ve talked about a number of different issues – Iran, very important to the moment, we have sent our messages very clearly that we are ready for dialogue with the aim of seeking a resolution to this. We await Iran formally coming back to us to say they would wish to start that dialogue, and we’re ready when they say so to do that. Everyone here knows how important it is to find a resolution to that problem, and I hope that we will see some movement as quickly as possible.
And too, of course, in the Balkans, a number of issues that concern us. We want to see the movement forward with Serbia and Kosovo, the importance of what President Tadic did with the resolution and what Prime Minister Thaci did to support that is well recognized by the USA and by the EU, and that’s very significant as a way through for the future. But more than anything, an opportunity for us to carry on collaborating to think about the big challenges of the future, of which Pakistan and a comprehensive approach to its problems will be perhaps one of the big focal points for both of us in the coming weeks and months.
MR. TONER: We have time for just a couple questions. Jill.
QUESTION: Thank you. Secretary Clinton, on the Mideast, a couple of things. There is – there are some reports coming out of Israel right now that President Obama is offering new assurances on upgraded weapons systems should there be a final solution. Could you just enlighten us; is that correct?
But in a broader sense, when the President was at the United Nations, he really put a lot of political capital on the line, making a major speech and urging Benjamin Netanyahu to extend that moratorium. It didn’t happen. In fact, you could say that Mr. Netanyahu blatantly disregarded what the President wanted. Will there be consequences for that?
And then in another sense, was it the wrong strategy to try to push him into the corner? It doesn’t seem to be working at this point. And with George Mitchell, now you have Mr. Netanyahu saying that there will be restraint in the settlements. What does that mean? Was that enough to keep people at the table?
And if I could, because you know we always like to add one other thing —
SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m up to four or five now. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: I know, I know. But this is the fifth, only the fifth.
QUESTION: Intelligence services reportedly disrupted plans for a Pakistan militants’ attack on London, France, and Germany. Are those reports credible? Are those threats credible?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first as to the multiple questions about the Middle East and the peace process, we are committed to working with the parties so that they will remain in negotiations. We think that is in the best interests not only of the Israelis and the Palestinians, but indeed of the region and beyond, including the national security interests of the United States. There is a great deal of intense discussions occurring between here and Israel and in Israel, as well as with our Palestinian and Arab partners.
I’m not going to comment on any specifics. I think that as the President eloquently said at the United Nations, the United States believes in a two-state solution, and the only way that that can be achieved is through negotiations. Therefore, we are committed to negotiations. We understand the difficulty and the obstacles that this path holds for us, but for the same reason that Lady Ashton will get on a plane and make a long journey to meet with the leadership of the Israelis and the Palestinians, the United States will continue to push forward on a return to the negotiations and, more importantly, within those negotiations, the substantive discussion and resolution of the core issues.
Now with regard to the intelligence reports of threats, we are not going to comment on specific intelligence, as doing so threatens to undermine intelligence operations that are critical in protecting the United States and our allies. As we have repeatedly said, we know that al-Qaida and its network of terrorists wishes to attack both European and U.S. targets. We continue to work very closely with our European allies on the threat from international terrorism, including the role that al-Qaida continues to play. And information is routinely shared between the U.S. and our key partners in order to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, strengthen our defenses against potential threats.
This is, as you might very well conclude, one of the principal objectives and certainly one of the most time-consuming efforts that any of us in this Administration are engaged in on an hourly basis. And I want Americans to know how focused we all are in the government and how committed we are not only in protecting our own country, but in protecting our friends and allies.
MR. TONER: (Off-mike.)
QUESTION: Yes, (inaudible). My question is for both of you. Have you agreed on the EU and the U.S. role in the forthcoming talks between Belgrade and Pristina? And Secretary Clinton, what’s the main agenda for your just-announced visit to the region to Belgrade and Sarajevo?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m going to let Lady Ashton start and then I will finish.
HIGH REPRESENTATIVE ASHTON: It’s incredibly important in moving forward with Belgrade and Pristina that we are working together, and that is a message that we have said to President Tadic, Prime Minister Thaci, when I met with them last week, that we need to all engage in this process and to be, as we are, constructive in our dialogue to try and find the way forward, which, as you know, I believe for both, is a European future.
SECRETARY CLINTON: We support that completely. The U.S. and the EU have worked together and we will continue to do so. I am very much looking forward to my visit to both Belgrade and Pristina and the opportunity not only to speak with leaders, but also with citizens, because it’s important that we keep the goal of that future in the minds of both Serbs and Kosovars, because there are difficult issues that they will have to resolve. The European Union and the United States stand ready to assist and facilitate, to support and cajole that the parties do reach these agreements with each other. But ultimately, it is up to the leaders and the people that will have to come to a decision about their future.
I personally am very hopeful and even excited about the possibilities that would come to the people that are out there just waiting to be realized if these obstacles can be overcome.
Thank you all.

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Remarks With EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Catherine Ashton After Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
January 21, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon. It is such a pleasure to welcome Baroness Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union – the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy here to Washington for her first visit in this new position. She is, by no means, a first-time visitor to the United States, having served in a number of capacities both within the United Kingdom and in the EU prior to this. But I want to take the opportunity to congratulate her again on the appointment as the EU’s first High Representative, and I look forward to working closely together with her on behalf of the United States and the European Union.

These are historic times for the EU. I expect that in decades to come, we will look back on the Lisbon Treaty and the maturation of the EU that it represents as a major milestone in our world’s history, and not just in Europe and not just in the Euro-Atlantic community. EU enlargement over the past 20 years has contributed enormously to our collective security and prosperity and to democracy worldwide. It has helped to stabilize and strengthen Central and Eastern Europe, and it continues to serve as a vital global leader on so many important matters. As the EU develops a more powerful and unified foreign policy voice in the wake of the Lisbon Treaty, our transatlantic partnership will continue to grow.

Together, we have a population of 800 million, a $27 trillion economy, a zone of peace, democracy, development, and respect for human rights and the rule of law which stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea. Our partnership is the foundation for our mutual efforts to advance peace and prosperity worldwide.

So today, as you might guess, we discussed a broad range of common interests and concerns. We, of course, first focused on the situation in Haiti where one of the greatest rescue-and-relief efforts in the history of the world is underway. This is a broad international relief-and-rescue undertaking, and teams from the United States and the countries of the European Union are working side by side.

But as the High Representative and I agree, we will have to have a coordinated, integrated, international response to the reconstruction and the return of prosperity and opportunity to Haiti. And I want to thank Lady Ashton for the generosity to the people of Haiti, demonstrated by the EU and its member states and citizens. We also discussed Iran. I thanked the High Representative and her team for their support of the E-3+3 engagement with Iran concerning its nuclear program. Regrettably, Iran has not responded to that engagement, even as the international community’s concern about the intent of Iran’s nuclear program has increased. We will continue our close consultation on next steps in keeping with our dual-track approach. But let me be clear: We will not be waited out and we will not back down. Iran has a very clear choice between continued isolation and living up to its international obligations.

We also discussed Afghanistan and Yemen and the upcoming conferences that we will be attending in London next week, the need for economic and development assistance in Pakistan, reviewed the situation in the Western Balkans, and in Bosnia in particular, talked about the range of other challenges and opportunities that we both face.

I am grateful to have such a strong, thoughtful, accomplished partner in the efforts that confront us as we attempt to navigate an increasingly complex world. But I am very confident that with the EU and the U.S. growing even more closely together, we are up to those challenges.

MS. ASHTON: Thank you very much. It’s a great privilege to be back in Washington, and the Secretary of State has said to be in the first of what I believe will be many meetings together as we navigate the course of the European Union and the United States of America together through the challenges that we face.

As the Secretary of State has said, the most critical issue on our agenda today was the people of Haiti. As I speak, the commissioner responsible for development is in Port-au-Prince. He’s there to look at what has happened in order to begin the next stage of our support, which is support for the short-, medium-, and long-term.

So far the European Union has given half a billion U.S. dollars in support, already pledged. Twenty-one member states have sent support in the shape of medical teams or other ways in which they can provide support on the ground. And there is a great willingness in the European Union to work closely with the United States and, of course, under the auspices of the United Nations, to provide that support for the future. Much to do now, but much, much more to do for the future. And we are very keen to work collaboratively in a strategic approach to support that nation into economic growth and into a new world.

As the Secretary of State said as well, of course we have a range of issues to discuss. Iran is of great importance to us. We stand together with the United States, the E-3+3. As I have said already very publicly, we want to have dialogue, but six years of dialogue by my predecessor Javier Solana has not brought us to the outcome that we would wish. And so we do have to consider what else needs to be done, and we stand ready to do that.

We also, of course, looked at issues around the neighborhood of the European Union. Bosnia is, of course, a case in point, Kosovo, where we’re working together to begin to plan for the future and to consider what other options we have available and what else we should be doing. And those are discussions that we will continue with.

The Lisbon Treaty gives me an opportunity too because I can speak on behalf of the council and the commission; two people become one in a job that grows bigger by the day. But one of the great advantages is that we’re able also to look across the range of mutual interests and to find solutions to the mutual benefit of the people of the European Union and of the United States of America.

And I’ve enjoyed today very much. I am absolutely thrilled to be working with Secretary of State Clinton. And I look very much forward to us joining together to face the challenges of the future.

MR. CROWLEY: On the U.S. side, we’ll call on Lachlan from AFP.

QUESTION: Good morning to both of you. With the risk perhaps not too far away that many, many Haitians would risk their lives and travel to U.S. shores, do you think it would make sense that President Rene Preval gets out there and communicates to his own people to reassure them, to inspire them that the Haitian international relief effort can ensure them a good recovery so that they won’t have to flee the country?

And if I just may follow up on your Iran remarks, you are signaling growing impatience with Iran on the nuclear issue. But since the P-5+1 meeting over the weekend, it seems to have fizzled. You had a low-level Chinese official there. Talk of sanctions has now muted. What practically do you plan to do? You’re looking forward to London; there are a lot of P-5+1 players there. What do you expect over the next few days?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Lachlan, first, with respect to Haiti and President Preval, as you know, he and I held a joint news conference on Saturday. He spoke directly to the people of Haiti through the Haitian media. In the days since, other members of the Haitian Government with specific responsibilities have done likewise. The radio stations are operating at increasing capacity and more are able to come on line, which is the principal means by which people in Haiti acquire information. There is a great effort to have as many voices answering people’s questions as possible. I know the prime minister has been very active. Mrs. Preval has been very active as well. President Preval has worked extremely hard, meeting all day, every day, with not only the members of his own government who are able to come together with him, but also leaders from other countries, NGOs, the UN, and so much else.

We have made it clear by our own means of communication, through the radios, that the United States has granted Temporary Protected Status to Haitians living in the United States without documentation as of January 12th, but that our ordinary and regular immigration laws will apply going forward, which means that we are not going to be accepting into the United States Haitians who are attempting to make it to our shores. They will be interdicted. They will be repatriated. But we also know that so many people are leaving Port-au-Prince into the surrounding countryside. We’re trying to get more aid out there. We’re trying to get more shelter, food, medicine, certainly water. People feel safer in the countryside and we want to support them there.

Just as an aside, as one of the issues that the high rep and I will discuss about how to do more development out in the countryside, because that is a place that needs more attention from the international community, especially as we cope with the devastation in Port-au-Prince.

Secondly, with respect to the P-5+1 or the E-3+3, it’s the same. But we are focused. We’re unified in our resolve to work toward pressure on Iran in the face of their continuing rejection of the overtures by the international community. The last meeting that Bill – Under Secretary Bill Burns attended was another productive step along the way toward accomplishing unified international action. And we are going at this in a very concerted and unified manner because we think it’s important to send that message to the Iranian leadership that the world will act and the world will act together.

QUESTION: Do you care to – Ms. Ashton?

MS. ASHTON: I want to support what the Secretary of State has said. I think in terms of Haiti, that’s an issue for the United States of America. But I’d just say that the issues of development in the countryside, I would agree, are going to be part of our thinking for what we do to help rebuild or build this country for the future. And in terms of P-5+1, E-3+3, it is very important that we do this in a measured and collective way. And there are very clear steps that we now need to take together to move forward, and that, we have to do. This is not about rushing into, but is about determined and concerted steps. And that’s what you’ll see happen.

MODERATOR: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Good afternoon. You have spoken on Afghanistan and the situation there. Very soon, the conference will start in London. What results do you expect in (inaudible) world from this conference? You know, I’m asking that because, as you know, the impatience in Germany but in many other countries in Europe also is growing. How long do we have to – how long our troops have to stay there? Thank you.

MS. ASHTON: Well, the first thing is, of course, we need to remind ourself why we’re there, and the importance of making sure that we are tackling the issues that brought us to Afghanistan in the first place and the role that we have to play in doing that.

For my part, the new role that I have enables me to bring together from the European Union side the work that we’re doing in Afghanistan more effectively. And hopefully, that will be part of what comes out of the London conference, is an opportunity for me to be talking with partners about what more we can do to make a difference. And that’s about improving the opportunity for the Afghani people, the Afghani Government to be able to take over issues of security, economic growth, and so on.

I think the second thing that I’d say is that it’s very important that as we look to the future of Afghanistan, that we are building together. And again, the clear way in which the President of the United States has set out the strategy, militarily and in other ways, is going to form a backdrop to the London conference, where what we’re looking for very much is from the Afghanistan Government what they wish to see happen in Afghanistan – in a sense, them clearly being in the driving seat of making sure this country can develop in the way that we want it to.

It’s changed enormously in the last few years. It continues to change. A figure that I find very encouraging is that in 2002, 5 percent of people had primary healthcare. The figure is over 85 percent now. There are definite ways in which we have made inroads and significant changes in that country, and there’s more to do.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I would just echo what the High Representative said. We are heartened by the continuing international support for the security efforts in Afghanistan, and the increasing commitment of assistance that will build up a stronger capacity within Afghanistan itself to deal with its ongoing challenges.

We know that this is an issue of some concern in certain countries and among the leaders of those countries, and we are very grateful for the help that the countries in the EU and elsewhere around the world continue to provide because they stop and they look at the threat that an Afghanistan that reverts to a failed state status would pose in a very direct way. We cannot forget why we are there, and we cannot forget the progress we have made.

One more statistic, because Cathy and I are statistics kinds of people because we think it gives us a little more of a snapshot – in 2001, there were only slightly less than 1 million children in school in Afghanistan, and they were all boys. Today, there are slightly over 7 million. There are still 5 million who are not yet in schools, but the increase in capacity and commitment – 40 percent of the 7 million in school now are girls.

So we can stop and say to ourselves, well, what do we have to show for all of our work? But when it comes to helping the people in Afghanistan, they do feel it. And in every survey that is done which I have seen, that has come to my attention, the people do not want the Taliban back. There is no support for that kind of repressive, regressive regime. What they want is a government that can and will function, and we are expecting a lot from President Karzai and his new government. What they want is to be empowered to do for themselves what they know they need to do.

And I’m encouraged by the change in approach that we’ve adopted and the support that that changed approach to be discussed at the conference in London has engendered.

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Having been negligent about posting here, I now find myself having to catch-up with a whole long trip the intrepid, indomitable and inexhaustible Secretary of State has been on Since March 31. Barely had her feet hit the ground in D.C. after her Mexican excursion, when she once again mounted the “Big Blue Plane” and took off for Europe. Here’s her journey.

She touched down in Amsterdam for a Conference on Afghanistan at The Hague. Here we see her with Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen.


Of course she spoke.

Remarks at The International Conference on Afghanistan


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
The Hague, Netherlands
March 31, 2009

Thank you very much, Minister Verhagen, and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Special Representative Kai Eide, President Karzai, Minister Spanta, friends and colleagues, I want to thank all of you, and especially the United Nations and the Government of the Netherlands for hosting us. I also want to acknowledge the extraordinary contribution of the government and people of the Netherlands to the mission in Afghanistan.
And I want to also acknowledge President Karzai, who fills a critical leadership role in his nation, and whose government helped to shape the shared comprehensive and workable strategy that we are discussing today.
We are here to help the people of Afghanistan prevail against a ruthless enemy who poses a common threat to us all. Afghanistan has always been a crossroads of civilization, and today we find our fate converging in those plains and mountains that are so far and yet so near in this interconnected world to all of us.

Thanks to the efforts of the international community, the perpetrators of the horrific terrorist attacks of 9/11 – attacks which killed citizens from more than 90 countries – were driven from Afghanistan, and the Afghan people made a promising start toward a more secure future. But since those first hopeful moments, our collective inability to implement a clear and sustained strategy has allowed violent extremists to regain a foothold in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, and to make the area a nerve center for efforts to spread violence from London to Mumbai.

The range of countries and institutions represented here is a universal recognition that what happens in Afghanistan matters to us all. Our failure to bring peace and progress would be a setback not only to the people of Afghanistan, but to the entire enterprise of collective action in the interest of collective security. Our success, on the other hand, will not only benefit Afghanistan, Pakistan and the region, but also the blueprint for a new diplomacy powered by partnership and premised on shared interests.

So as we recommit ourselves to meet our common challenge with a new strategy, new energy, and new resources, let us be guided by an ancient Afghan proverb, “patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”

The plan I outline today is the product of intensive consultations with nations that have donated troops and support; Afghanistan’s neighbors and international institutions that play a vital role in Afghanistan’s future. The results of these consultations are clear: Our strategy must address the challenge in Afghanistan and Pakistan; it must integrate military and civilian activities and support them with vigorous international diplomacy; and it must rest on the simple premise that while we can and will help, Afghanistan’s future ultimately rests with the Afghan people and their elected government. Security is the essential first step; without it, all else fails. Afghanistan’s army and police will have to take the lead, supported by the International Security Assistance Force.

President Obama has announced that the United States will deploy 17,000 more soldiers and 4,000 additional military trainers to help build up Afghan security forces. The international community will also have to help. We should provide every army and police unit in Afghanistan with an international partner that can provide training and help build capacity. Our collective goal should be standing up an army of at least 134,000 soldiers and a police force of at least 82,000 officers by 2011. These steps will provide the people of Afghanistan with an opportunity to fight and win their own battle for their nation’s future.

We must also help Afghans strengthen their economy and institutions. They know how to rebuild their country, but they need the raw material of progress – roads, public institutions, schools, hospitals, irrigation, and agriculture. The United States is supporting the Government of Afghanistan’s National Development Strategy, the National Solidarity Program, and other initiatives that help Afghans improve their lives and strengthen their own communities.

In consultation with the Afghan Government, we have also identified agriculture – which comprises 70 percent of Afghanistan’s economy – as the key for development. In the 1970s, Afghans exported food to their neighbors. They were often called the garden of Central Asia. Today, this sector lags far behind, and its problems feed the deadly malignancy of the narcotics trade. The United States is focusing its efforts on rural development in provinces near the Afghan-Pakistan border, and we hope that others gathered here will heed the United Nations’ and Afghan Government’s call for help throughout the country with job creation, technical expertise, vocational training, and investments in roads, electrical transmission lines, education, healthcare, and so much else.

As we work with the Afghan people to supply these building blocks of development, we must demand accountability from ourselves and from the Afghan Government. Corruption is a cancer as dangerous to long-term success as the Taliban or al-Qaida. A government that cannot deliver accountable services for its people is a terrorist’s best recruiting tool.

So we must work with bodies such as Afghanistan’s Independent Directorate of Local Governance to ensure that the government at all levels is responsible and transparent. The international community, gathered here, can help by providing auditors and governance experts and training a new generation of civil servants and administrators.

To earn the trust of the Afghan people, the Afghan Government must be legitimate and respected. This requires a successful election in August – one that is open, free, and fair. That can only happen with strong support from the international community. I am, therefore, pleased to announce today that to advance that goal, the United States is committing $40 million to help fund Afghanistan’s upcoming elections.

We must also support efforts by the Government of Afghanistan to separate the extremists of al-Qaida and the Taliban from those who joined their ranks not out of conviction, but out of desperation. This is, in fact, the case for a majority of those fighting with the Taliban. They should be offered an honorable form of reconciliation and reintegration into a peaceful society if they are willing to abandon violence, break with al-Qaida, and support the constitution.

Just as these problems cannot be solved without the Afghan people, they cannot be solved without the help of Afghanistan’s neighbors. Trafficking in narcotics, the spread of violent extremism, economic stagnation, water management, electrification, and irrigation are regional challenges that require regional solutions.

The United Nations has a central role in this effort to coordinate with the Government of Afghanistan and neighbors in the region to make sure that programs are properly prioritized and well focused. We are committed to working with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Special Representative Kai Eide to achieve that goal. The United States Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, will lead American efforts as we move forward, and we welcome the appointment of special representatives by other countries.

If we are to succeed, we will need the help of all the nations present here. As President Obama has pointed out, “the world cannot afford the price that will come due if Afghanistan slides back into chaos.” While there is great temptation to retreat inward in these difficult economic times, it is precisely at such moments that we must redouble our effort. And as we make commitments and contributions, we must ensure they are flexible enough to respond to immediate needs and evolving opportunities. And we all must be willing to coordinate those efforts together.
The challenge we face is difficult, but the opportunity is clear if we move away from the past. All too often in the past seven years, our efforts have been undermanned, under-resourced and underfunded. This goal is achievable. We know we have made progress where we have made adequate investment and worked together.

The status of Afghanistan’s army, the lives of women and girls, the country’s education and health systems are far better today than they were in 2001. So if all of us represented here work with the government and people of Afghanistan, we will help not only to secure their future, but ours as well.
Now the principal focus of our discussions today is on Afghanistan, but we cannot hope to succeed if those who seek to reestablish a haven for violence and extremism operate from sanctuaries just across the border. For this reason, our partnership with Pakistan is critical. Together, we all must give Pakistan the tools it needs to fight extremists within its borders.
The Obama Administration has made a strong commitment through our support for legislation called the Kerry-Lugar assistance program. And in a few weeks, we will have a chance to join together in Tokyo for a meeting of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan to provide the support that the Pakistani Government and people need. I urge the nations here today in support of Afghanistan to join us in Tokyo on April 17th to help the people of Pakistan.

This effort has already required great sacrifice and it will require more. But in Afghanistan and Pakistan, we face a common threat, a common enemy, and a common task. So let us use today, this conference, to renew and reinvigorate our commitment and our involvement, and to lay a firm foundation for a safer region and a safer world. It is in the interests of all of the people who we represent as we sit around this conference table here in The Hague, and for the kind of world that we wish to help create.
Thank you very much.

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Remarks With Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
The Hague, Netherlands
March 31, 2009

FOREIGN MINISTER VERHAGEN: Madame Secretary, ladies and gentlemen, I want to extend a warm welcome to Secretary Clinton for her visit to the Netherlands, especially because we want to celebrate this year, 400 years of friendship between our two countries. Maybe not in a big tent we are today, but in a place big enough to host all the delegations, all the people who are involved in the future of Afghanistan, and who know that we have a stake in the future of Afghanistan.
The United States and the Netherlands and over 80 other countries and organizations are today meeting in The Hague. We have serious choices to make today. In recent years, NATO and its partners have reduced the threat of terrorists who once found a free haven in Afghanistan and planned attacks on peaceful citizens all over the world. But our work in Afghanistan is still far from done. And Secretary Clinton and I discussed our analyses of the situation and the possible ways forward. And the Netherlands welcomes the outcome of the policy review conducted by the United States.
As the review makes clear, Afghanistan and the region cannot be made safe by military force alone. Diplomacy and development are equally important. Afghan citizens as well as our own citizens need to know what our strategy will be. And I hope today in The Hague, we will start working on a new deal for Afghanistan, a common contract, a new Afghan bond. Achieving respect for human rights, good governance, and social and economic progress are equally important. And I’m sure that the United States and the Netherlands agree that such an Afghan bond must reflect a comprehensive and integrated approach.
In the province of Uruzgan in the south of the country, Dutch diplomats, development workers and military, together with our allies, are learning to do just that. And although the situation is far from irreversible, the number of security incidents is stable and development is picking up. So the Netherlands very much welcomes the American commitment to the training of the Afghan army and police, because this will enable the international community to proceed from implementing to assisting.
In the end, the Afghan people themselves have to be able to provide security and to lead the development of their country. And this conference proves the international community as a whole stays and is wanting to stay committed to the Afghan people.
Madame Secretary, thank you very much and I hope that we will have a very fruitful conference today.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you so much, Minister, and I am confident that this conference will make a great difference. And I am very grateful to you personally and to the Dutch Government for making this conference possible in such a short period of time. It was less than a month ago that we first discussed this together in Brussels. And once again, the Dutch Government is at the forefront of the work done on behalf of the global community, and I appreciate that.
You know, as the minister said, Dutch troops are leading the effort in Afghanistan. In Uruzgan Province, as the minister referenced, the success of the policies implemented by the Dutch forces is remarkable. At the center of our efforts is a courageous military commitment by the Dutch people and their government, and it has proven results. It is not a surprise that the three Ds that the Dutch have pursued in their mission in Afghanistan – defense, diplomacy and development – are ones that I personally believe is exactly the right framework.
More than 80 nations and organizations have been brought together here in The Hague. And this conference is critical to our way forward. The Dutch people have played a vital role in advancing security and spreading opportunity far beyond your borders. And this time in particular, our commitment going forward in Afghanistan has great consequences for all of our people, all free people, all people who share the values that the Dutch and the Americans share. I will be speaking later at the conference about the Obama Administration’s strategy for Afghanistan. It is based on collaboration and consultation with our friends and partners.
I looked to the Netherlands not only because of the work that has been done in Afghanistan, but the unsurpassed commitment to fighting poverty and promoting development worldwide. The Netherlands has been a key ally for many decades. The fact that this country is the sixth most generous contributor to international development assistance says volumes about the values of the Dutch people. We will continue to seek your advice and your ideas, your guidance as we work together.
Now the ties between our two countries have a long history. This year, we celebrate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s legendary voyage which took him from Amsterdam to New Amsterdam. And it marked the beginning of a great chapter in American history and American and Dutch cooperation. I know that the people of New Amsterdam, Minister, a city that is very dear to my heart, have already begun to celebrate this anniversary. I look forward to welcoming you to the United States in a few weeks, where I hope that we can bring even greater attention to the ties that join us and to the values that extend beyond time. And I look forward to many centuries of friendship and partnership between the American and Dutch people.
Thank you very much.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary (inaudible) after 2010, what do you think can be the role for the Netherlands after that period?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that is, of course, up to the Dutch Government and the Dutch people. But I think the people of the Netherlands should know, certainly from my perspective, the extraordinary contribution and leadership that your mission in Afghanistan has provided. We understand very well the sacrifices, the individual sacrifices as well as the collective ones that such a mission demonstrates. But it has been extraordinarily successful. And in fact, our strategic review is building on many of the ideas and the principles that were brought to bear by the Dutch in Afghanistan. But of course, any decision in the future is up to the people of the Netherlands and their government.
Thank you.

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