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Remarks at the Climate Clean Air Coalition and Green Embassy Event

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Helsinki, Finland
June 27, 2012

Thank you so much. I am absolutely delighted to be back in Helsinki and to have some time to visit about the issues that we are working on together, the challenges we are facing together, and I’m grateful to the Ambassador for his leadership. I personally want to thank Bruce and Cody for their enthusiastic expression of American interests and American values and their outreach to Fins everywhere. Because it’s not just about government-to-government, it is about people-to-people, and I’m extremely impressed by what they have done. And Bruce, this innovation building behind us is a perfect example of economic statecraft, of partnership, of innovation, and I’m excited about what you’re going to be able to accomplish there.

I want to thank the ministers for being here. Of course, I have had the chance to work with Alex before when he served in a different capacity. And I’ve heard that really terrible southern accent before, but the good spirit with which it is delivered has never failed to bring a smile to my face. And it has been very important to follow through on a lot of the good work that sustains itself between our two countries regardless of what government, what party, what individuals hold positions.

And I am so pleased to meet you, Minister. I have not had the chance to work with you before now, but I’m very grateful, because I know that you have been a good friend to the Embassy community here as we look for more ways to work together on the environment. And I greatly appreciated everything that you said, and I look forward to continuing this partnership with you. And since we’re on a first-named basis, Ville, I will look forward to hearing your southern British accent – (laughter) – on a future occasion.

This is an important announcement because, I think, as you heard, we have to continue to be creative as to how we move toward a sustainable environment and a sustainable economy. And I could not agree more with the ministers that they go hand in hand, and that’s really the message that the Ambassador has also been delivering. We’re looking for real solutions to real problems. And it’s absolutely true that we have to continue to work within the international community, the UN framework, because we have to bring the entire world with us. But it’s also true that on a national basis, and increasingly, on a regional and multilateral basis, we have to help lead the way for the world as well.

And that’s why it gives me great pleasure to officially welcome Finland as the newest partner of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition. This partnership was launched in February to reduce those short-lived climate pollutants, including the methane, black carbon, hydrofluorocarbons that are responsible for more than 30 percent of current global warming and have a disproportionate impact on the Arctic for a variety of reasons, but in particular because of the hastening of the melting of the ice.

Now because these pollutants are harmful to health and to agriculture, we can actually save and improve millions of lives and avoid the loss of millions of tons of crops by acting now. When I started this coalition back in February, it was both developed countries and developing, along with the United Nations’ UNEP, which has done some of the groundbreaking research about why these short-lived pollutants are so important in our fight against global warming. In just the last four months, it has tripled in size. We’ve increased our funding. We’re creating an advisory panel to ensure that coalition efforts are guided by cutting-edge science. And last week, at the sustainability conference, Rio+20, the coalition launched a new initiative to reduce methane and other pollutants from landfills. We have encouraged and enlisted mayors from several major world cities. We also have the World Bank on board, and other countries are joining. In fact, all of the G-8 countries recently signed up to the coalition at the last meeting.

But we’re not stopping there, because we formed this coalition for the purpose of taking action, and demonstrating globally that we can actually do things, that we can translate our concerns and our words into actions and results. In partnership with the UN Environment and Development Programmes, the European Commission, and key private sector companies, we are co-hosting a conference in Bangkok this July to showcase new technologies that can drastically reduce the need for HFCs in refrigeration and air conditioning.

Here is a perfect example of the problem: As you have a growing middle class in countries like India and China, where the climate can often get very, very hot, you have an increasing demand for air conditioning. The increasing demand for air conditioning in turn puts more HFCs into the air, thereby creating more of a problem from the short-lived pollutants. So what we want to do is try to get ahead of this, not to tell people – certainly, we in the United States are in no position to tell people, “Look, you’ve lived without air conditioning for thousands of years; you can keep doing it for the sake of the climate.”

No, instead we want to say, “Look, as you have developed, as your incomes have risen, we know that you want to take advantage of air conditioning, but let’s see if we can find a way to do that that is more climate-friendly.” And that is part of the mission that we have in this new coalition.

We’re also working with countries and companies to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas production and black carbon from diesel emissions. I was recently in Norway, which also has just joined the coalition, and their state oil company, Statoil, has done research which shows that the leaking of gas from Russian pipelines is equivalent – the lost gas is equivalent to Norway’s entire production.

Now, you would think there would be both an economic reason, an energy reason, and a climate reason to try to become more efficient in the production of oil and gas, and we’re going to look for ways to do that.

Finland is such a leader in clean technology, including clean diesel, that we think Finland, in particular, has a great economic opportunity coming out of this coalition. Now let me be clear, the coalition on short-lived pollutants does not replace the crucial work we have to do on the broader range of climate change. We have to continue to look for ways to take on carbon dioxide emissions – and I guess I’ll keep talking until the rain goes. (Laughter.) Can we get everybody in back there who looks like they are trying to stay out of the weather, please? I mean, I think there’s room on the sides here. This is like coming late to church; you have to find room for everybody. (Laughter.)

So we do –Ville, we do have to stay focused on the next UN conference in Doha, and keep working toward and international agreement on carbon dioxide. Now for our part, the United States has not waited on either our own legislation or international agreements. We’ve already adopted fuel efficiency standards that will be among the most aggressive in the world, effectively doubling the miles per gallon of gas for cars in the U.S. by 2025. We’re reducing the government’s carbon footprint, and this innovation center is a perfect example of what our government is trying to do – I think this is a blessing. This is such a model of energy efficiency that we are working to achieve LEED platinum status. And we’ve even installed micro-wind turbines to provide electricity, and we’re using the highly efficient Finnish-designed heating and cooling system. And we’ve got Embassy vehicles that operate using diesel that are being upgraded to run on locally produced bio-diesel which will further reduce emissions by up to 50 percent. We’re switching the Embassy generators to bio-diesel as well, and all of our lighting will be converted to LEDs, which produce better light and use 80 percent less energy. So we’re reducing emissions and we’re also reducing costs.

We’re trying to do this around the world, and under Bruce’s leadership, the League of Green Embassies based right here in Helsinki is sort of spreading the word and spreading the best practices. So we’re doing a lot, and we have a lot to do, and I think it’s fair to say that having Finland as a partner really enhances the effectiveness of the coalition. And Finland’s leadership in sustainable development is a real model and I think, as Alex said, a great economic opportunity, because part of what we have to do is to continue to innovate, to create value-added products in order to retain a competitive edge in the global marketplace. And so Finland is demonstrating how we can make progress, improve lives, and fulfill our obligations to the planet.

So I’m excited to welcome you into this coalition, looking forward to working closely with you, and I think it’s fair to say that we see clean energy, clean tech as the future not only for Finland and for the United States, but really the future for the kind of world we’re trying to create.

So with that, I’m going to turn it back to you, Bruce, and maybe you could tell us about some of these light bulbs – (laughter) – while we stay out of the rain. (Applause.)

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Remarks With Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Government Banquet Hall
Helsinki, Finland
June 27, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Minister, thank you so much for your very warm hospitality. It is wonderful to be back here in Helsinki as the Secretary of State for our country and having this opportunity to discuss in depth a range of issues. The United States and Finland share such a strong partnership on so many important areas from security to energy to human rights and, in particular, women’s rights.

I remarked to the Minister that I keep a little running tally as I sit across the table from foreign ministers or prime ministers or presidents of countries around the world as to how many women are on the other side of the table. Finland wins, hands down. (Laughter.) And you don’t just, as we say, talk the talk, but you walk the walk, and I am very admiring of that commitment.

We deepened our partnership today with the agreement on information security that the Minister and I just signed. This is another demonstration of the close relationship that exists between the United States and Finland on defense and security matters that is very much in, not only both of our countries’ interest, but in the interests of regional and global security as well.

Let me just touch on a few highlights; I’ll start with Syria. Finland and the United States continue to work together closely to pressure the Assad regime to provide humanitarian assistance to Syrian civilians bearing the brunt of the regime’s brutal assault and to support the efforts of Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan to prepare for a democratic transition that leads to a post-Assad Syria. And it is very much along those lines that I thanked the Minister for Finland’s cooperation in the Friends of Syria working group on sanctions as well as in support of EU sanctions.

With respect to our shared mission in Afghanistan, I want to express my gratitude to the Foreign Minister for hosting the International Contact Group on Afghanistan earlier this month that allowed us to coordinate our preparations for the upcoming Tokyo conference in early July, and for Finland’s efforts to help the Afghan people build a more stable and prosperous future. Finland’s pledge of more than $150 million in development assistance through 2016 is a model of the international community’s enduring commitment that extends beyond the security transition.

In particular, I want to again express my gratitude to Finland for the work you are doing to promote the rights and opportunities of Afghan women and to be sure that they are engaged as partners in all of our efforts. I also thanked the Foreign Minister for Finland’s commitment to promoting clean energy development and curbing climate change. Finland is a pioneer in this field; we have a lot to learn from you. We already work together as part of the global clean cookstoves alliance, which is helping replace dirty cooking stoves and open fires all over the world. And later today, we will take another significant step in our partnership when Finland joins the international coalition to reduce short-term pollutants like black carbon and methane, which account for more than 30 percent of global warming.

And everyone knows of Finland’s outstanding work to promote and protect human rights, not only first and foremost at home but around the world. So on behalf of that work, on behalf of women, the LGBT community, other marginalized groups, we are very grateful for Finland’s leadership.

And indeed, what Finland has done, and in particular, what the foreign ministry has done, to fight discrimination and promote equality among government workers, to create an office to investigate human trafficking in your own country, and to elevate the role of women and girls, really advances the rights and dignity of all people. And I want to welcome Finland as a core member of a new equal futures partnership, which aims to expand opportunities for women and girls and to drive inclusive economic growth.

So again, I thank you, Foreign Minister, for welcoming me to Finland. I’m looking forward to the rest of our program, also making a pilgrimage to the Marimekko factory – having discovered Marimekko many, many years ago as a young student and being an admirer of this as a symbol of Finland’s commitment to gender equality, economic empowerment, and of course world-class design.

And I thank the Foreign Minister for giving me a Marimekko work bag, which I will fill and carry all those papers back and forth between my office and my home. So Minister, thank you very much for —

MODERATOR: Thank you Secretary. Thank you Minister. Now we have some time for a couple of questions – (inaudible). Secretary, Madam (inaudible) —

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, in anticipation of a meeting in Geneva on Saturday about Syria and anticipating that one could be announced in the next hour or so, could you tell us what you would expect to be the result of such a meeting? And by that I mean how detailed should the action group get in the plan, in the transition plan? Does it – should it specifically say that Assad should go? Should it specifically say what members of his government now should remain in an interim power-sharing or unity administration? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Matt, as you know, I’ve been in close consultation with Special Envoy Kofi Annan about the prospects for a meeting that would focus on a roadmap for political transition in Syria. I’ve spoken with him three times in the last 24 hours. And I understand he will be speaking publicly on this subject shortly, so I don’t want to get ahead of him. He is the person who is managing this process.

But I will say that he has developed his own very concrete roadmap for political transition. He’s been circulating it for comments. And when I spoke to him yesterday, I conveyed our support for the plan that he has put forward. We believe it embodies the principles needed for any political transition in Syria that could lead to a peaceful, democratic, and representative outcome reflecting the will of the Syrian people. If we can meet on the basis of that roadmap, with everyone agreeing before we arrive in Geneva that this will be the document we are endorsing by our presence, then I think a meeting makes a lot of sense. And we support it, but we want to ensure that any country that participates firmly supports the Envoy’s transition plan and his original six-point plan.

So we are looking forward to hearing a report about his consultations with those whom he intends to invite. I’m keeping my calendar open for a meeting with a great hope that this perhaps can be a turning point in the very tragic circumstances affecting the Syrian people at this time, and that the international community can get behind a plan that will lead to a better future for them.

MODERATOR: Thank you. The next question, Helsingin Sanomat (inaudible).

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, welcome to Helsinki. We’ll get you a Russia question. U.S.-Russian relations (inaudible) as of late have disagreement on Syria, they have missile defense disagreements. As a maybe smaller scale, in Moscow your ambassador is having a rough ride. I know this is like a larger-than-life question, but could you please give a brief analysis as how you see developments in Russia and with Russia?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that’s an absolutely fair question, because obviously we highly value a positive relationship with Russia. Just last week in Mexico during the G-20, President Obama had a chance to sit down with President Putin to discuss our partnership over a wide array of issues. Both presidents reaffirmed the trajectory of our relationship and the importance of cooperating on as many issues as possible, and where we have differences, which we obviously do, being forthright about those differences and looking for ways that we can work through them.

So I think from my perspective, the so-called reset has proven to be a benefit to both countries. It has not only led to a new START Treaty, which is good for Russia, good for the United States, good for the world, in reducing nuclear arms and improving nuclear security, but it’s also led to enhanced cooperation over Afghanistan with the Northern Distribution Network being the now only route for shipments into and out of Afghanistan.

We have worked on a bi-national commission that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and I chair on behalf of both of our governments. So that there are innumerable areas of cooperation that don’t make headlines that have to do with visas or arrangements over exchanging information, the kinds of day-to-day work of both of our governments that we are trying to smooth out and enhance a broader level of cooperation.

We are cooperating well in the Arctic Council, something of great importance to Finland, as well as the original 5+3 members of the Arctic Council. In fact, if you look at our Arctic Council cooperation, it’s quite commendable. The United States joined with the other Arctic Council members, including Russia, to sign the very first Arctic Council Agreement on search and rescue. We are now working closely together on oil spills and recovery work.

So this is not a one-sided story. Do we have disagreements? Yes. We obviously disagree over the path forward on Syria. We have made it clear to the Russians that the outcome they are most concerned about, which would be a sectarian civil war, is made more likely, not less likely, by the international community’s failure to take a strong position vis-à-vis the Assad regime. We disagree on missile defense, but we continue to have expert consultations and look for a way forward that would be mutually acceptable. Russia just hosted the P-5+1 talks, where Russia is absolutely united with the other members of the P-5+1 in trying to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon. And President Putin reaffirmed Russia’s very strong position on that. The United States worked very hard to get Russia into the WTO. We helped to negotiate some last-minute solutions to problems that persisted.

So I think that it’s a broad-based relationship that we are determined to keep moving forward with. But it’s not just about government-to-government. We need more business-to-business relationships, something that both of our countries wish to work on. We need more people-to-people relationships. And I welcomed the Foreign Minister’s very good suggestion that we look for more student exchanges between countries like Finland and the United States and Russian students. The Foreign Minister told me there are more Chinese students than Russian students in Finnish colleges and universities. And of course, we’re going to continue to raise issues of human rights, democratization, transparency, openness, that we actually think are very much in the best interests of Russia as well as the relationship that Russia has with us and others.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, hi. Just a quick follow-up on that question, and then I’ve got my own. I’m wondering if you can tell us what your message would be to Foreign Minister Lavrov about the Magnitsky bill which moved out of a committee yesterday, I believe.

And then my question is a quick return to Egypt. Now that President-elect Morsi has been – is due to be sworn in on Saturday, do you still have concerns about the military’s willingness to transfer power? Have you received any fresh assurances from the new civilian leadership that they plan to uphold the Israel peace treaty? And can we expect a personal visit to Cairo anytime soon? Thanks.

SECRETARY CLINTON: These are the kind of multi-part questions that my friends ask me, and then I have to test my memory.

With respect to Magnitsky – and for our Finnish friends – in order for the United States to benefit from the accession to the WTO by Russia, we have to make some legislative changes because we have some preexisting legislation derived from the past that imposed certain burdens on Russia unless they released Jews who could then leave the former Soviet Union and migrate to Israel, Europe, the U.S., and other places. It’s called the Jackson-Vanik bill. And so we are very keen in the Administration of repealing the Jackson-Vanik bill, because we want to open the doors to greater trade and investment between our two countries.

However, there is great concern in our country, and in particular in our Congress, over human rights in Russia, and in particular the case of the lawyer, Mr. Magnitsky, who died in prison. There’s a lot of interest in our Congress over a full, transparent investigation of the circumstances of his death in prison.

And so our Congress, while they are being asked by the Administration to repeal Jackson-Vanik, want to pass legislation that will require the United States Government to take action against any persons who are connected with the death of Mr. Magnitsky. That’s probably more than you want to know, but that’s the background to the question.

And so we expect something to move on the repeal of Jackson-Vanik and something to move to reflect the Congress’s concerns. Now, we discussed this directly with President Putin when I was with President Obama in Mexico. We made it very clear that we do have concerns about human rights in Russia and we have concerns in particular about this case. But again, to go back to the original question, we think there is a way expressing those concerns without derailing the relationship. And that is what we are working with our Congress to do, and we have every reason to believe we can accomplish that.

Regarding Egypt, we have congratulated President-elect Morsi and the Egyptian people for continuing the path of their democratic transition, and the SCAF deserves praise for its role in facilitating a free, fair, credible election. We expect the transition to continue, as has been promised by the SCAF, and we expect President-elect Morsi, as he forms a government, to demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity that is manifest by representatives of the women of Egypt, of the Coptic Christian community, of the secular, non-religious community, and of course, of young people.

And we hope that full democracy is understood to be more than an election. One election does not a democracy make. That’s just the beginning of the hard work. And the hard work requires pluralism, respecting the rights of minorities, independent judiciary, independent media, all the things that Finland and the United States have worked so hard to achieve in our own democratic histories. We know a lot of work lies ahead. They have to write a constitution. They have to look at how they’re going to deal with the judicial decision about the parliament and seat a new parliament. And we’re going to work with the leaders in support of that transition.

And I think that what will counter actions – we’ve heard some very positive statements thus far, including about respecting international obligations, which would, in our view, cover the peace treaty with Israel. But we have to wait and judge by what is actually done.

MODERATOR: Thank you. We have time for one more question, (inaudible).

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, back to Syria. You said that you hope for a turning point for the better to take place, but it seems to me that the turning point has already taken place this morning when President Assad declared that he’s at war and gave orders to destroy his opponents. How does this change the configuration of the international community?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, he has been making statements similar to that for quite some time, and he certainly has been taking actions aimed at terrorizing the people of Syria, and in particular, any areas that evidence opposition to his reign. So it may be a more dramatic statement, but it is in line with what we have heard from him now, unfortunately, for some time.

However, he has relied on the support of Russia and China in the Security Council to prevent the international community from taking unified action. If Kofi Annan is able to lay down a political transition roadmap, which is what he intends to do, that is endorsed by countries including Russia and China, for example, that sends a very different message. That’s the first time that the international community will really evidence a direction that I think Assad will have to respond to.

Now, we’ll wait. We’ll see. As I said, I don’t want to get ahead of him – Kofi Annan – but I think if he’s able to pull off such a meeting, and if he’s able to get people there who, up until now, have either been on the sidelines or actively supporting and protecting the Assad regime, then that gives heart to the opposition. It also disheartens a lot of the regime insiders. Just look; in the last week, we’ve had the defection, along with his plane, of an officer in their air force to Jordan, and a very large defection of military officers, high-ranking generals, and others with their families into Turkey.

So this is a constant effort to put enough pressure on the regime and those around them that you’ll begin to see cracks in that regime’s unity, which then is the step necessary to get them into a discussion about political transition. So painful, tragic, dangerous, difficult – we know that. But we are moving with as much deliberation and speed as we can, given the circumstances.

Thank you.

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US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (L) and Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja

Public Schedule for June 27, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
June 27, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
PUBLIC SCHEDULE
WEDNESDAY JUNE 27, 2012

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Helsinki, Finland. The Secretary is accompanied by Assistant Secretary Gordon, VADM Harry B. Harris, Jr., JCS, and Director Sullivan. Please click here for more information

11:00 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with President of Finland Sauli Niinisto, in Helsinki, Finland.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

12:15 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Prime Minister of Finland Jyrki Katainen, in Helsinki, Finland.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

1:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton participates in a working lunch with Foreign Minister of Finland Erkki Tuomioja, in Helsinki, Finland.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

2:10 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton participates in a signing ceremony for the General Security of Information Agreement and a joint press availability with Foreign Minister of Finland Erkki Tuomioja, in Helsinki, Finland.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

2:55 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton tours Marimekko Factory and Design Space, in Helsinki, Finland.
(POOLED PRESS COVERAGE)

3:55 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton participates in a Climate Clean Air Coalition and Green Embassy Event, in Helsinki, Finland.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

4:45 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with the embassy staff and families of Embassy Helsinki, in Helsinki, Finland.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

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According to the en route briefing, portions of which I posted earlier, they landed around 3 a.m. Helsinki time.  God bless you, Mme. Secretary, for all you do!

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Below are some lightly edited out takes from a background briefing about Mme. Secretay’s trip  by a senior State Department official en route to Helsinki.

… I’ll walk you through Finland, Latvia, and St. Petersburg. In some ways, the first two stops on this trip are a continuation of the Nordic stops we did a couple of weeks ago with some of the same themes and issues and purposes, one of which is just to express our great appreciation for the cooperation of a great ally and partner in Finland and Latvia. But some of the other issues like climate, the environment, the Arctic, women’s empowerment, Afghanistan will be issues that the Secretary will be addressing with her counterparts in Finland and Latvia.

In Finland, she will see President Niinisto, Prime Minister Katainen, and Foreign Minister Tuomioja. And again, I expect they will talk a lot about Russia, the environment, energy, U.S. business opportunities, and once again, women’s empowerment, especially in Finland, where they’ve really taken the lead on the issue of women in government, women in business, and particularly women in Afghanistan consistent with Security Council Resolution 1325 on women and security.

Beyond the official meetings, she’ll visit the Marimekko factory, textile and clothing factory, a company that has a real social responsibility, and do an event on the environment, on the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, again a follow-up to what she did. This is an organization the U.S. and Sweden launched – and Finland will be joining it – on reducing short-lived pollutants. So she’ll do this environment event on the Climate and Clean Air Coalition with some members of the Finnish Government.

… that will be paired with an event on the League of Green Embassies. Our Ambassador to Finland Bruce Oreck has been a leader of an initiative to make our embassies and our residences more environmentally friendly and efficient. He’s made some great progress, a lot of innovative ideas

Latvia, the next day, where again she’ll see the President Berzins, Prime Minister Dombrovskis, and Foreign Minister Rinkevics. Again, I suspect Afghanistan will be high on the list, Russia energy, and again, U.S. business promotion. After the initial meetings there, she’ll lay a wreath at the Freedom Monument, which is the place that President Clinton spoke, I think in 1994, and she accompanied him then. This trip, by the way, is the first by a Secretary of State to Latvia since 1993.

… it will be Secretary Clinton’s 100th country visited [as Secretary of State], a testament, I think, to the enormous activity that she has put into her job.

… then there’ll also be a dedication – we can come back to the issue of countries visited. There also will be a dedication of Sumner Welles Street, which the Latvians named after acting Secretary of State Sumner Welles, who of course launched the Welles Doctrine on non-recognition of the incorporation of the Baltic states into the Soviet Union, a proud moment for the United States that the Latvians also very much appreciate. So that will be wrapping up Latvia.

… onto [sic] St. Petersburg, where the Secretary will attend the APEC Women’s and Economy Forum. She’ll speak on at the Forum on Women and Economy, following up on the work she’s done in this context of empowering women, especially their role in economies throughout the APEC region. Remember, she gave a speech in San Francisco with a number of milestones of how to promote women’s role in the economy, and this will be her opportunity to address the progress made since then and other things that need to be done throughout these countries to advance women’s role in economy and society.

She will also, in St. Petersburg, meet with Ms. Matviyenko, who is the former mayor of St. Petersburg and now the head of the Federation Council in Russia, the highest-ranking woman in the Russian Government. So she’ll do a bilat with her. And then she’ll have a bilateral dinner Foreign Minister Lavrov, which I imagine will, as always, cover a very wide range of issues and of course will cover Syria, given the prominence of that issue in our foreign policy and relationship with Russia.

So there you have it –   a little added depth to what this trip is about.

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Secretary Clinton To Travel to Finland, Latvia, and Russia

Press Statement

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 20, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Finland, Latvia, and Russia from June 27-June 30. In Helsinki, Finland, Secretary Clinton will hold bilateral meetings with senior Finnish officials to discuss a number of shared foreign policy priorities, including the European economy, Syria, Iran and climate change. She will highlight Finland’s commitment and leadership in Afghanistan, specifically on development and women’s issues. She will also meet with leaders in innovation, entrepreneurship and civil society.

On June 28, the Secretary will travel to Riga, Latvia, where she will meet with senior Latvian officials to discuss a range of issues including our joint commitment to NATO missions and priorities and Latvia’s recovery from economic crisis. She will also participate in a street renaming ceremony in honor of former Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles, whose Welles Declaration formalized the U.S. refusal to recognize the forced incorporation of the Baltic Republics into the Soviet Union.

The Secretary will travel to St. Petersburg, Russia, on June 28 where she will lead the U.S. Delegation to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s Women and the Economy Forum (WEF). During this event, participants will focus on leadership and skills and capacity building, two main areas of the San Francisco Declaration on decreasing barriers to women’s economic participation, as they relate to innovation, STEM, entrepreneurship, and healthy lifestyles. The Secretary will also meet with Foreign Minister Lavrov as well as civil society leaders.

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Remarks With Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja Before Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
February 16, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, everyone. I am so pleased to welcome the Finnish Foreign Minister here to the State Department. I have had the opportunity to be with him on a few multilateral occasions, but it’s a special pleasure to have him here so that we can have a bilateral discussion as well, of course, talking about many regional and global issues that are of concern to us.On a personal note, I want to thank the foreign minister and the ambassador of Finland for an excellent program they held earlier today at the Finnish Embassy about women and security and other matters related to our mutual commitment to enhancing the roles and rights of women and girls around the world.

Thank you, Minister.

FOREIGN MINISTER TUOMIOJA: Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much for being here.

FOREIGN MINISTER TUOMIOJA: I’m very pleased to be here.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.

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