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This picture is from the May 1, 2009 ceremony when the name of Brian Adkins was added to the memorial wall in the lobby of the Harry S. Truman Building. Brian was a 25-year-old Foreign Service officer killed in his first tour of duty in the consular section of the American Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Also added to the wall that day were the names of Felix Russel Engdahl, U.S. Consul in Shanghai, who died in 1942 in a Japanese internment camp; Thomas Waldron, first U.S. Consul in Hong Kong, who died of cholera; Edmund Roberts, a special envoy sent by President Andrew Jackson to negotiate a treaty with Japan, who died of dysentery.

It was the first time we saw Secretary Clinton cry.

Date: 05/01/2009 Description: Secretary Clinton at the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) Plaque Ceremony in C Street Lobby.   © State Department photo by Michael Gross

 

Hillary Clinton on the Tragedy in Benghazi

Hillary Clinton’s Video Remarks on the Deaths of American Personnel in Benghazi, Libya

Yesterday, our U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya was attacked. Heavily armed militants assaulted the compound and set fire to our buildings. American and Libyan security personnel battled the attackers together. Four Americans were killed. They included Sean Smith, a Foreign Service information management officer, and our Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. We are still making next of kin notifications for the other two individuals.This is an attack that should shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world. We condemn in the strongest terms this senseless act of violence, and we send our prayers to the families, friends, and colleagues of those we’ve lost….

In the lobby of this building, the State Department, the names of those who have fallen in the line of duty are inscribed in marble. Our hearts break over each one. And now, because of this tragedy, we have new heroes to honor and more friends to mourn….

… we must be clear-eyed, even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group – not the people or Government of Libya. Everywhere Chris and his team went in Libya, in a country scarred by war and tyranny, they were hailed as friends and partners. And when the attack came yesterday, Libyans stood and fought to defend our post.

May God bless them, and may God bless the thousands of Americans working in every corner of the world who make this country the greatest force for peace, prosperity, and progress, and a force that has always stood for human dignity – the greatest force the world has ever known. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.

 

President Obama and Secretary Clinton at the White House and State Department

Hillary Clinton on the Deaths of Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty in Benghazi, Libya

Hillary Clinton at State Department Eid ul-Fitr Dinner

Religious freedom and religious tolerance are essential to the stability of any nation, any people. Hatred and violence in the name of religion only poison the well. All people of faith and good will know that the actions of a small and savage group in Benghazi do not honor religion or God in any way. Nor do they speak for the more than one billion Muslims around the world, many of whom have shown an outpouring of support during this time.

Unfortunately, however, over the last 24 hours, we have also seen violence spread elsewhere. Some seek to justify this behavior as a response to inflammatory, despicable material posted on the internet. As I said earlier today, the United States rejects both the content and the message of that video. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. At our meeting earlier today, my colleague, the foreign minister of Morocco, said that all prophets should be respected because they are all symbols of our humanity, for all humanity.

Benghazi-Spin: Myth-Busting and Reality Check

Myth:  Hillary Clinton said the attack on the Benghazi installation was an outgrowth of a demonstration against an anti-Islamist video on the internet.

Not exactly.  Here are her words on September 12, 2012.

We are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault. Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet.

There were demonstrations against such a video at many U.S. embassies world-wide and in the region,  however.

Sep 11, 2012

Cairo protesters scale U.S. Embassy wall, remove flag

Egyptian demonstrators climbed the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo today and pulled down the American flag to protest a film they say is insulting to the prophet Mohammad.

This Wikipedia entry gives a pretty complete treatment.  All of these embassies were under the oversight of the State Department.  The American School in Tunisia was destroyed.  Secretary Clinton, just back from a tour that ended in Vladivostok,  did have her hands full, but she did not blame this attack on the video.

Hillary mentions a precedent: Terry Jones burning the Quran the previous year and the resultant deadly protest in Afghanistan.    Jones was also promoting the offensive video.

Much early discussion centered on embassy security.  Many wrongly assumed that Marine Embassy Guard were stationed at every embassy (untrue) and that their mission was to guard personnel.  Hillary points out the error as did Victoria Nuland shortly after the attacks.

Clearing The Air On How Embassy Security Works

Hillary went to Capitol Hill to testify as soon as she had gathered the necessary information and her schedule permitted.  She answered every question posed to her and also announced the appointment of the required Accountability Review Board (ARB).

Hillary Clinton with Indonesian FM Marty Natalegawa

I’m looking forward to the opportunity to go up to the Congress today. I will be briefing in two separate sessions, the House and the Senate, in a classified setting, along with my interagency colleagues, as we continue to work together, and with governments around the world, to ensure that our people and our facilities are safe. I will be joined today by the Director of National Intelligence, General Clapper, by the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, by the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Sandy Winnefeld, along with experts from the FBI, the State Department, and elsewhere in the government.

Now, I anticipate that this briefing will cover our security posture before and during the events, and the steps we have taken since to do everything we can with host governments to protect our people and our embassies and consulates. The Director of National Intelligence will speak to the intelligence issues surrounding these events in Libya. Deputy Secretary Carter will brief on the superb support we have had from the U.S. military in the wake of these events, and we are at the very early stages of an FBI investigation. The team from the FBI reached Libya earlier this week. And I will advise Congress also that I am launching an accountability review board that will be chaired by Ambassador Thomas Pickering.

Partisan attacks began early.  We went on the defensive here.

House Tea Party Members In Pursuit Of Hillary Clinton: Examine Your Own Role In Cutting Diplo Post Security

Issa Flips The Coin And The Game Is On

In the course of the four-hour testimony there were some obvious gaps in congressional knowledge of how embassy security operates.  As Victoria Nuland pointed out on September 17,  internal security (walls inward) is the task of the guest country, and external security (walls outward) is up to the host country,  Marine Embassy Security Guard (MESG) is posted at embassies (not usually at consulates) primarily to secure documents not personnel.   That task  falls under the purview of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security headed by Eric Boswell who testified in camera along with Secretary Kennedy yesterday to the same committee.

Hillary Clinton at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony to Honor Those Lost in Attacks in Benghazi, Libya

In the days since the attack, so many Libyans – including the Ambassador from Libya to the United States, who is with us today – have expressed their sorrow and solidarity. One young woman, her head covered and her eyes haunted with sadness, held up a handwritten sign that said “Thugs and killers don’t represent Benghazi nor Islam.” The President of the Palestinian Authority, who worked closely with Chris when he served in Jerusalem, sent me a letter remembering his energy and integrity, and deploring – and I quote – “an act of ugly terror.” Many others from across the Middle East and North Africa have offered similar sentiments…

This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with. It is hard for the American people to make sense of that because it is senseless, and it is totally unacceptable…

The people of Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Tunisia did not trade the tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of a mob. Reasonable people and responsible leaders in these countries need to do everything they can to restore security and hold accountable those behind these violent acts.

 

Hillary Clinton’s Media Interviews on Benghazi

For more than a month Hillary had been taking responsibility, talking to Congress and the press, providing explanations and information such as she could (some information was classified and later declassified, e.g. the fact that “the annex,” as the second building was called, was actually a CIA operation and the related fact that two of the four Americans killed were actually CIA officers and not State Department personnel).

Look, I take responsibility. I’m in charge of the State Department, 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts.

Nevertheless, when Hillary, traveling abroad in Peru, used those words to CNN’s Elise Labott it was breaking news across prime time cable.  Remarkable. Proving that when it comes to Hillary Clinton even saying the same thing differently somehow generates headlines.

(Recently she mentioned that she would decide whether or not to run in 2016 “after the first of the year.”  The story went viral despite that fact that for three months she had been saying that she would not make that decision “before the end of the year.”)

Aftermath … Benghazi, The Great Debate, and Hurricane Hillary

Hillary does not mention that, ill and injured,  she was handling her duties from home and at one point from her hospital room during the weeks in December when the ARB Report came to her.  We owe her dedication a great debt.

She has told us many times that we should take criticism seriously but not personally.  Her summary of the ARB findings stand as an excellent example.  In fact the ARB did not find fault with her or with any particular personnel.  The faults they did spotlight were functional and procedural.   Hillary addressed these with alacrity.  She accepted all 29 recommendations and ordered them implemented.  She pledged not to leave office until all were in the process of implementation and met that goal.

Here is a link to the ARB Report and the cover letter she sent with it to Congress.

Hillary Clinton’s Cover Letter to Congress and the Unclassified ARB Report

She testified on Capitol Hill as soon as her doctors permitted (which may have been earlier than they recommended).

Video: Hillary Clinton’s Testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Benghazi

As I have said many times, I take responsibility, and nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger, and more secure…

… let me underscore the importance of the United States continuing to lead in the Middle East, in North Africa, and around the world. We’ve come a long way in the past four years, and we cannot afford to retreat now. When America is absent, especially from unstable environments, there are consequences. Extremism takes root; our interests suffer; our security at home is threatened.

That’s why I sent Chris Stevens to Benghazi in the first place. Nobody knew the dangers better than Chris, first during the revolution, then during the transition. A weak Libyan Government, marauding militias, terrorist groups; a bomb exploded in the parking lot of his hotel, but he did not waver. Because he understood it was critical for America to be represented there at that time.

Our men and women who serve overseas understand that we accept a level of risk to protect the country we love. And they represent the best traditions of a bold and generous nation. They cannot work in bunkers and do their jobs. So it is our responsibility to make sure they have the resources they need, and to do everything we can to reduce the risks.

Video: Hillary Clinton Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Benghazi

With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime.

Hillary speaks eloquently in this chapter in her own defense.  She really should not have to, but Benghazi became a political football the very day after it happened and the fact that she was out of politics when it happened and that those who testified before Congress were career diplomats and not politically aligned mattered nothing to the people who intended a witch hunt.

None of us can really know what we might have done as colonial residents of Salem if our neighbors were accused of witchcraft.  A rapidly dwindling number of Americans knows how they reacted when asked by Congressmen or an ambitious and wrong-headed Senator to name names of “enemies” in the entertainment industry, the military, and even in the very department Hillary headed. I, however, did know what I could do to defend Hillary, so I have included in this post not only her words, but my own defenses of her – some of them.

I know Hillary does not agree with some of what I have said, and I did go ahead and name names as she has not.  None of it is secret.

The Tea Party v. Hillary Clinton: It Never Ends

Part of the partisan offensive was a review of the Accountability Review Board reporting system initiated by some in Congress who, as Hillary points out, refused to be satisfied or simply refused to listen.  It was a silly, frivolous waste of taxpayer dollars.

Hillary Clinton and the ARB Reporting System Reviewed: Things You Should Know

Hillary Clinton and the ARB Reporting System Reviewed: More Things You Should Know

 

Benghazi was the event that drew a dividing  line through the Hillary team.  People I had known since her 2008 campaign peeled off.  It was fast and furious in dramatic, stunning contrast to the pro-Hillary passion they had professed up until that point.

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Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>

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Happy 90th Birthday to my former colleagues in the Foreign Service! It was an honor to spend 4 years working with you.

Meriam Yahya Ibrahim’s death sentence is abhorrent. Sudan should stop threatening religious freedom and fundamental human rights.

Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, Sudanese Woman, Sentenced To Death For Choosing Christianity Over Islam

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As Mme. Secretary prepares to turn over the reins of State to Senator Kerry, this fact sheet, a handy list of what the State Department does, arrives as a concise reminder of the bang the citizens of the U.S. get for their buck.  I am sure I saw something similar when our girl was preparing to step onto this world stage.  Regrettably (and no I have never been a “no regrets” person – I have my regrets), during the first six months of her tenure at State, I was somewhat negligent about posting here on this blog, wasting some of my time and some information at the now defunct Hillary’s Village Forum.  I did follow her travels pretty regularly then, but could have been more responsible posting her D.C. activities here rather than at the forum.

It is water under the bridge now.  Fortunately for me and for the blog, those first six months at Foggy Bottom were the days when, in true HRC fashion, she was keeping a low profile with her nose to the grindstone learning as much as she could about the department, so there was not a lot to share anyway.  Her presence was so rare that you might remember voices clamoring to know where she was, why Obama was keeping her “in the shadows,” and suggesting she was being hidden. In those days I argued that she was studying briefs, treaties, MOUs, and essentially “eating the paper off the walls.”  Turned out I was right about that and by the time she emerged the forum had gone down for good and this blog is where I shared all that came to my inbox.

So, as she pulls up stakes and moves on (as will we from State to wherever she goes next) here is one of my favorite pictures from that first year along with a reminder for all who think we spend too much on foreign aid, of all that the State Department does for a little more than one percent of our budget.  Annie Liebowitz posed her perfectly in this ruffly pantsuit that I have always loved on her,

annie_liebowitz2009

Ten Things You Should Know About the State Department

 

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Public Affairs
January 10, 2013

What do the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) do for the American people? With just over one percent of the entire federal budget, we have a huge impact on how Americans live and how the rest of the world engages America. For example:

1. We create American jobs. We directly support 20 million U.S. jobs by promoting new and open markets for U.S. firms, protecting intellectual property, negotiating new U.S. airline routes worldwide, and competing for foreign government and private contracts.

2. We support American citizens abroad. In 2011, we provided emergency assistance to U.S. citizens in countries experiencing natural disasters or civil unrest. We assisted in 9,393 international adoptions and worked on more than 1,700 child abduction cases — resulting in the return of over 660 American children.

3. We promote democracy and foster stability around the world. Stable democracies are less likely to pose a threat to their neighbors or to the United States. In South Sudan, Libya and many other countries we worked through various means to foster democracy and peace.

4. We help to make the world a safer place. Together with Russia, under the New START Treaty, we are reducing the number of deployed nuclear weapons to levels not seen since the 1950s. Our nonproliferation programs have destroyed stockpiles of missiles, munitions and material that can be used to make a nuclear weapon. The State Department has helped more than 40 countries clear millions of square meters of landmines.

5. We save lives. Strong bipartisan support for U.S. global health investments has led to worldwide progress against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, smallpox and polio. Better health abroad reduces the risk of instability and enhances our national security.

6. We help countries feed themselves. We help other countries plant the right seeds in the right way and get crops to markets to feed more people. Strong agricultural sectors lead to more stable countries.

7. We help in times of crisis. From earthquakes in Haiti, Japan and Chile to famine in the Horn of Africa, our dedicated emergency professionals deliver assistance to those who need it most.

8. We promote the rule of law and protect human dignity. We help people in other countries find freedom and shape their own destinies. Reflecting U.S. values, we advocate for the release of prisoners of conscience, prevent political activists from suffering abuse, train police officers to combat sex trafficking and equip journalists to hold their governments accountable.

9. We help Americans see the world. In 2011, we issued 12.6 million passports and passport cards for Americans to travel abroad. We facilitate the lawful travel of international students, tourists and business people to the U.S., adding greatly to our economy. We keep Americans apprised of dangers or difficulties abroad through our travel warnings.

10. We are the face of America overseas. Our diplomats, development experts, and the programs they implement are the source of American leadership around the world. They are the embodiments of our American values abroad. They are a force for good in the world.

For a very small investment the State Department and USAID yield a large return by advancing U.S. national security, promoting our economic interests, and reaffirming our country’s exceptional role in the world.

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Press Statement

Patrick Ventrell
Acting Deputy Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 27, 2012

 


 

The U.S. Embassy in Bangui temporarily suspended its operations on December 28 as a result of the present security situation in the Central African Republic (CAR). We have not suspended diplomatic relations with the Central African Republic.

Ambassador Wohlers and his diplomatic team left Bangui today along with several private U.S. citizens. As a result of this suspension of operations, the embassy will not be able to provide routine consular services to American citizens in the Central African Republic until further notice.

This decision is solely due to concerns about the security of our personnel and has no relation to our continuing and long-standing diplomatic relations with the CAR.

The United States encourages all parties in the Central African Republic to participate in the dialogue to be held under the auspices of the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC) to develop a comprehensive agreement that will offer a new vision of peace and security for the country.

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Meeting with Staff and Families of Consulate General Belfast

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Aldergrove Military Airport
Belfast, Northern Ireland
December 7, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s a great pleasure to be here again, and I want to personally thank each and every one of you for the work that you are doing here. Let me start by thanking the Ambassador. Lou, thank you so much for your leadership and your indefatigable approach toward representing our country throughout the United Kingdom. And let me thank you, Consul General, for your leadership. I know it’s been a tough but exciting year in 2012. And we are grateful. I know you’ve only been here at the helm just a few months, but you’ve done an outstanding job. And Natalie, I want to thank you as well. You’ve become an integral member of the community, and your – what I’m told is your late-night dinners and your dog therapy – (laughter) – your border collie, Sam.

Well, I was here the first time 17 years ago this month, when we took a significant step toward trying to assist in the peace process, and it’s a real joy to be back here 17 years later. And the work we’ve done over those 17 years would not have been possible without all of you. This is a group that I’m told makes it a habit of punching above your weight. You may be small, but you are mighty. There’s only 24 of you, but you seem to be everywhere simultaneously and continuing our work to support peace and reconciliation. This requires vigilance, and that vigilance is something that we count on you to provide.

Then you’ve got the G-8 summit with President Obama coming to Northern Ireland for the very first time. There also is a large sporting event in the work, VIP visits, and so much more. And thanks to you for going to London to lend a hand every so often, like during the Olympics, which I know you did.

I am grateful to you, American and Irish alike, because this is a place that is very important to the American people. There’s a lot of – as I said yesterday in Dublin – a lot of connections with the whole island of Ireland. And as Peter Robinson never ceases to remind me, a lot of presidents came from here. (Laughter.) I’m not quite sure all the ones he’s counting, but I think that’s true. (Laughter.)

So can I have the Irish staff raise your hand for just a minute, all the Irish staff? Excellent. And who is Lorna? (Laughter.) Lorna, I’m told you’ve been here over 20 years.

PARTICIPANT: Yes.

SECRETARY CLINTON: So what did we do, take you out of grammar school? (Laughter.)

PARTICIPANT: Fifty next year. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, that’s excellent. Well, both to our locally employed staff here and our great American staff, thank you. And it’s a small enough group that I want to shake everybody’s hand. (Laughter.) I usually can’t say that. But I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Merry Christmas, and have a great Happy New Year. And it’s been a real honor serving with you. Thank you. (Applause.)

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12-06-12-Y-12

Meeting with Staff and Families of Embassy Dublin

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Embassy Dublin
Dublin, Ireland
December 6, 2012

Thank you so much, John. Thank you for the introduction and thank you for picking up the reins in Dan’s absence. This is a difficult time for him and the Rooneys, and all of you have done a wonderful job of putting together this trip for me. And I am delighted to be back in Ireland and here at (inaudible) embassy – (laughter) – in the world to thank you for everything you have done to make even stronger the bonds between our countries and peoples.

But first, I do want to send my deepest condolences to Ambassador Rooney, to his wife Patricia, and to their entire family. Dan Rooney has done so much for (inaudible) the Republic of Ireland and the United States, and he’s built an embassy family nearly as big as the Rooney family – (laughter) – but not quite. And this is a man who could go anywhere in the world for time off, but instead he and his extended family embraced Lewis and Clark’s expedition. He draws inspiration from the extraordinary people that he knows and he works with. Somebody once said Dan Rooney would get the Nobel Prize for Humility, if there were such a prize. And so our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

And I really do wish he could be here, or be piped in, because he has bragged about you to me and our team in Washington on a non-stop basis. You’d think the mission had won the Super Bowl. (Laughter.) He tells me every time I see him that you are a shining example of his ideals. Not only do you work hard every day on this relationship, with so many different aspects of our engagement, but you raised thousands of dollars for Special Olympics and children with brain damage, you delivered cookies to our troops, you built a house for a poverty-stricken family. You’ve given back to the Irish community in ways large and small.

And in your official capacity, because that’s what you do in your time off, you’re working with our Irish friends to promote food security in Africa, advance research and development in clean energy, and expand our trade and investment to record levels. And I know you will be supporting Ireland as it becomes the president of the EU next year. These recent years, we know, have been tough for the Irish people. And we stand with them in solidarity and support.

And for our wonderful locally employed Irish team, we want to thank you. Would all our Irish employees raise your hands, family members? Let’s give you a round of applause. (Applause.) I learned long ago that ambassadors come and go, secretaries of State come and go, but our locally employed staff remain as the backbone, the memory bank of our missions. And we are so grateful to you.

And to all of our American team representing several different agencies in our government, thank you for what you’ve done every single day, particularly the added responsibilities of preparing for my trip.

And I am so proud to be here in Ireland, representing our country and following the footsteps of President Obama’s incredibly successful trip when he came to Ireland earlier in the year. Because we appreciate what you’re doing and we stand with the Irish people as they make such tough decisions for their own futures and show the remarkable resilience for which they are known worldwide and have made so many contributions to humanity.

I’ll have more to say about Ireland in my upcoming speech at Dublin City University, but suffice it to say that we back in Washington appreciate everything you’re doing to build an even stronger and more prosperous Ireland and a deeper partnership between us.

Thank you all, and let me come down and shake your hands so I can thank you in person. (Applause.)

12-06-12-Y-11

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12-02-12-Y-11

 

Meeting With Staff and Families of the U.S. Embassy in Prague

 

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

U.S. Embassy

Prague, Czech Republic

December 3, 2012

 


Oh, thank you all. It is wonderful to be back in Prague, one of my favorite cities, and to have a chance to not only say thank you to each and every one of you for the work you do every single day, but also Happy Holidays, so it’s an especially appropriate time. As you may recall, I was here with my husband about a year ago this time of year for President Havel’s memorial service, and it’s wonderful to be back.

I want to thank Ambassador Eisen for his leadership. And under it, you have really carried the torch forward, especially on our three pillars of security, economics, and shared values, which I know are kind of a mantra, a famous mantra here. I also want to thank your DCM Joe Pennington. You’ve kind of pioneered a new brand of diplomacy, rock star diplomacy, not just because of that Bruce Springsteen photo hanging in your office, but because of the rock stars you have here at this Embassy.

Many of you have been working very hard on the new civil-nuclear center. This will unlock new opportunities for research and trade and bring us even more closely allied with our Czech partners. We’re working together in Afghanistan. The Czech Republic is protecting our interests in Syria. We’re working to support the fight against corruption, promoting human rights both here and around the globe. And thank you for providing the first-rate services to all the Americans visiting the Czech Republic. This is not easy at any time, but particularly, I know managing an embassy that is made up of interconnected wings of a castle that is centuries old is even more challenging. But it is very much appreciated in Washington.

I also want to thank you for bringing your children here because they are beautiful and I love seeing them, but it’s also a reminder of why we do this work. And let me ask all of our Czech employees, our local staff, to raise your hands so that we can show you our appreciation. (Applause.) I often say ambassadors come and go, and certainly secretaries do as well, but our locally-employed staff provide the memory bank and the nerve center for every one of us, and we are very grateful.

And to all the Americans, thank you for your service, thank you for your commitment to this absolutely critical bilateral relationship. It was no accident that President Obama came here so soon in his first term to speak about our nonproliferation agenda, and that our partnership is one that we are deeply committed to and we hope will only continue to grow in strength and breadth.

What I want to do now is come down and thank you personally for your dedication and for all that you have accomplished, and to really express, on my behalf and behalf of the State Department and the Administration, our gratitude. Thank you all. (Applause.)

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As always, before departing, Mme. Secretary met with the staff and families of Embassy Singapore, and this time we have a few pictures!

Meeting With Embassy Singapore Staff and Their Families

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
St. Regis Hotel
Singapore
November 17, 2012

AMBASSADOR ADELMAN: Well, Madam Secretary, you are in the presence of an all-star team. And that is really what we’re about here in the U.S. Embassy Singapore, and that is teamwork. We’ve got 19 U.S. Government agencies working hard every day. And you saw some of their good work over the last couple of days. U.S.-Singapore relations, as you know, have never been better, and that’s a result of the work of these extraordinarily talented people and their families, who have all served the public. And, if you don’t mind, I will add following in your good example.

I know they want to hear from you, and we sincerely hope you will have some time to greet some of the families individually.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Absolutely. Absolutely.

AMBASSADOR ADELMAN: So, once again, please join me in thanking our United States Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. Thank you, David. Thank you. Thank you all. Well, it is wonderful, being back here in Singapore, and having this chance to thank each and every one of you for the great contributions you are making to this important relationship. I want to thank the ambassador and Caroline and their entire family for representing our country so well, so enthusiastically, and so positively. And it is a special pleasure for me to thank you for what you’ve done to help make this trip of mine successful, and what you do every day to bring the people of our two countries closer together.

I have had excellent meetings here in Singapore. I just gave a speech about an hour-and-a-half ago at Singapore Management University about the nexus of economic power and global influence, and explaining what I call our economic statecraft agenda. I raised these issues in the meetings with the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister. And we couldn’t do what we are doing without all of you supporting American businesses, including the more than 2,000 who have their regional headquarters here. I was just out at the GE facility that does aircraft parts repair, and it was great to see what they are doing here in this region. And I also want to thank you for coordinating the efforts, as David was saying, of 19 agencies represented here. That’s a lot of coordination. From State and Defense to Commerce, Treasury, USDA, and so much more.

But that represents the depth and breadth of our relationship. And this embassy has led the way with regional trade missions to Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Malaysia, most recently Burma, that ended with at least five American companies either opening an office or landing a sale there. And I am proud to say that today U.S. exports to Singapore are at an all-time high, as are American investments. That’s a testament to the ambassador’s leadership and the talent and energy of so many of you in this room.

I know you’re also reaching out to the community, helping to clean up one of Singapore’s beautiful beaches, volunteering at the Special Olympics or the Ronald McDonald House, serving meals at a retirement home, building connections which, after all, are the base of any strong relationship. That is every bit as important as security and economics for the long run.

I also want to thank all the family members who are here today. I know that there is a lot of you who are far from home. But I am glad that you are part of this team. Some of you have served unaccompanied time in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, which I greatly appreciate. The President and I are very grateful for what you do.

I also want to take a moment to recognize our locally-engaged staff. Could all of our Singaporean staff raise your hands so we can thank you for what you do every single day? (Applause.) I want to congratulate your FSN of the Year, Susan Mok. (Applause.) And there are 3 staff members — I did a double-take when I saw this number — there are 3 staff members who, between them, have put in a combined 120 years of service at this post. (Applause.) Now, they all started when they were in kindergarten. (Laughter.) But let me thank Yahya Rahmat, Amy Ho, and Helen Jen. (Applause.) Because I know very well that ambassadors come and go, and secretaries come and go, but our locally-employed staff provide the continuity, the memory bank that keeps our mission going year after year.

So, it is wonderful for me to be able to come and take this chance to celebrate and thank you for all you’re accomplishing on behalf of the American people and this critical relationship. And now I’m going to shake as many hands as I can, and thank you personally for the great job you are doing. Thank you all. (Applause.)

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There are no pics from this, but these meet-and-greets are great.

Meets with Staff and Families of Mission Perth

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Hyatt Regency Hotel
Perth, Australia
November 14, 2012

 


Well, I’ve been introduced in lots of ways, but the Pope has never been (inaudible). (Laughter.) I am so grateful to be here with all of you and to have this chance to thank you in person for what you do every single day.

And Jeff, I want to really, in front of part of your team, thank you for the extraordinary energy, creativity, intelligence, determination that you’ve brought to your work as our Ambassador. It’s really made a difference. We’ve seen the results, and we have, thanks to you and this amazing team, built such a strong foundation for this critical relationship. Aleisha, thank you for your service. The Ambassador was bragging about you when we were driving in because of the way that you have demonstrated leadership and extraordinary commitment here in Perth. Jeff and Becky have been great ambassadors for our entire country, and it’s a big country that you came to, so you’re representing one big country to another big country. And you have been everywhere and, from my observation, so well appreciated by the people of this country as well as the leaders.

It’s great to be in Perth. I was kidding Stephen Smith, who of course reminded me every 10 seconds that he represented the constituency we were in. (Laughter.) I said, “My goodness, Minister, you have a lot of Perth-sistance. You do. ” (Laughter.) But then, of course, I was in the Premier’s district just now. So all politics is local. (Laughter.)

But it’s great being in a country with so much dynamism and vitality. We have a deep relationship. It’s about our great military alliance; it’s about our wonderful and growing commercial relationship; but most of all it’s about the people, the personal connections that really are the core of everything that we do and can do.

We had an excellent AUSMIN today and last night, covered all the bilateral, regional, and global issues. It’s wonderful now that Australia will be on the Security Council, where its voice will be even more prominent in the debates of today.

It’s also exciting, as Jeff reminded all of us, that this mission has done so much to take advantage of the growing market for U.S. exports. I have these factoids here that exports to Australia have jumped more than 40 percent between 2009 and 2011. And in just the first nine months of this year, it’s up another 20 percent. As you know, President Obama has set the goal of doubling U.S. exports within five years, and I think Australia is going to get most of it done for us. (Laughter.)
But it’s not just about trade statistics. What you’re doing by helping to promote exports is really important on a personal level – the farmer in Washington state who starts sending part of his cherry harvest to a merchant in western Australia; inviting members of this community to the cherry pie bakeoff – (laughter) – showing that the United States is a good friend and the consulate a good neighbor; finding ways to illustrate, dramatize even, what more we can do together. Your one team, one mission approach has really worked, and it’s something that I hope more missions worldwide will consider adopting.

And I know you face some challenges. Five weeks of renovation by the help of Jlsinc.net here in Perth, 19 months of construction in Canberra, haven’t stopped you from getting the job done.

I want to thank all of our Foreign Service families who are here, working on behalf of the importance of this mission. And I particularly want to thank our local staff. Will all of our Australian employees raise your hands so that we can give you all a round of applause? (Applause.) Consuls general and ambassadors and certainly secretaries come and go, but you’re here year after year, providing continuity and kind of that nerve center and memory bank that makes such a difference.

And I know that whenever somebody like me shows up, when two of us show up, two Cabinet secretaries at the same time, that’s double the work at least, so I especially appreciate everything you’ve done for the success of this visit. And I just hope that I’ll be able to come back as a private citizen and see more of this beautiful country sometime in the future. But I’ll be coming back as a very proud American and someone who highly values the relationship that we have built with Australia and hoping that it goes from strength to strength.

So again, planet maids, thanks to you. Thanks to this great team that has done such a bang-up job, the envy of others, who I shall not name. (Laughter.) But people are watching, and they know what you’ve done. And let me now take a moment to thank as many of you in person as I can.

Thank you. (Applause.)

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As always, on her final swing through the Balkans as Secretary of State, Mme. Secretary held meet-and-greets at the American embassies before departing each country. Here are her remarks to staffs and families.

Meeting with Embassy Zagreb Staff and Their Families

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Merten
Esplanade Hotel
Zagreb, Croatia
November 1, 2012

AMBASSADOR MERTEN: Good morning, everybody. I have the great pleasure to introduce someone who needs no introduction, as you all know.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. (Laughter.)

AMBASSADOR MERTEN: We are, Madam, Secretary, on behalf of my colleagues here at the Embassy and also for our operation host, we’re delighted to welcome you to Zagreb. We and the Embassy team had a great time preparing for your visit, and I think – I know our Croatian hosts were very delighted to welcome you here. It means a lot to all of us.

Without any further ado, our Secretary of State, Ms. Hillary Clinton.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Ken. (Applause.) Well, it is wonderful to be here in Zagreb and to have a chance to visit with all of you. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to for actually four years, so I’m glad I’m finally here. And it’s also a great pleasure to be here with Ambassador Merten. Before joining you in Croatia, Ken was our Ambassador in Haiti. Before that, he helped fly me around the world by providing all kinds of logistical and other support. He has been a great leader because he was our Ambassador during the earthquake in Haiti and all of the work we did afterwards to try to rebuild Haiti. And I also know he’s had a smooth transition thanks to Hoyt Yee. Is Hoyt here? Hoyt, thank you. Thank you for your leadership as chargé. We really appreciated it.

Yesterday when I met with the President and the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister, we spoke about how much progress Croatia has made on the path to European integration. We look forward to final EU membership next year. And we are delighted at our relationship, which has never been closer. You’re doing so much to promote educational opportunities for bright young Croatians to study overseas. You’re working with Croatian leaders to help strengthen rule of law to fight corruption. You’re working with Croatia on behalf of change in the rest of the region so that other nations can follow the Croatian model.

I also very much appreciate the annual Ron Brown Forum that the Embassy hosts. Ron was a dear friend of my husband’s and mine, and as you know, he was on a mission to bring economic empowerment and opportunity to the Balkans, and he died along with 34 others, Americans and Croatians, in that 1996 plane crash. But his memory and legacy live on with the forum and we greatly appreciate the work that you are doing.

I also brought with me wandering around back there the highest-ranking Croatian American in the Obama Administration, Ambassador Croatia Marshall – I feel that’s her name – (laughter) – Ambassador Capricia Penavic Marshall, right there in the blue, who has been a great friend and associate. But I’d like all the Croatian staff to raise their hand now. Will everyone, all of our Croatian staff – well, no, no, Capricia, you’re actually – (applause) – you’re on the American staff side. But let’s give a big round of applause to our Croatian staff. (Applause.) We’ve had strong relations for 20 years. Have any of you been with us for 20 years? Any of our Croatian team been with – ah, these two young women who – I think we started them and there’s another one; we started when you were 10. (Laughter.)

But I have to say, as you have learned, ambassadors come and go, certainly secretaries come and go, but what remains are our locally employed staff who truly are the brain trust, the memory bank, of every single post. So this is a full team effort. I want to thank all of our American team, civilian and military, Foreign Service and Civil, State and USAID and every other agency. I also want to thank the families. I know that these young people are getting a little anxious to get a picture and I’m going to hurry up because I want to do that for them. But then I want to shake as many hands as possible in order to express personally my gratitude to you. We’re very, very grateful. We see this as a consequential, important relationship going forward. And we want to see Croatia really anchor further progress in the region.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

Meeting with Staff and Families of Embassy Tirana

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Sheraton Hotel
Tirana, Albania
November 1, 2012

Thank you. Thank you very, very much. It is absolutely wonderful to be here and have a chance to see each and every one of you in person to thank you for everything you are doing on behalf of this incredibly important and valuable relationship between the United States and Albania. And thank you, Ambassador, for your leadership here in Tirana and thanks also to your wife and your daughter, and let me also express appreciation to DCM Henry Jardine.

Thank you all for the work you put into my visit here, because I’ve been wanting to come – I told the President and the Prime Minister that I usually go to places we have some kind of problem with. We don’t have any problems with Albania, and so I – (applause) – really had to advocate hard and say, “We must go to Albania.” And the Ambassador is right – it’s a very busy and active time back home in the United States, but I am thrilled to have this chance to be here. It’s much too short a visit. It’s kind of like the appetizer, so I have to come back for the full banquet sometime in the future.

But I think you know how much the United States values our partnership and our friendship, not only with the Government of Albania but with the people of Albania, and it is something that I hold particularly dear. We share important military ties, we strongly supported Albania’s membership in NATO, we are now strongly supporting Albania’s membership in the European Union. What you’re doing, every one of you, is to help us deepen and broaden that, to strengthen democracy, to promote and protect human rights, and to create more economic opportunity.

As I just said in the parliament, the elections next year will be very important for the advancement of democracy in Albania. And I know that elections have posed some challenges in the past, but the role that this Embassy and each of you, American and Albanian alike, can play in monitoring polling places, helping to tally votes, making it clear to our friends here that having a good, free, fair, credible election that meets international standards will skyrocket Albania forward on the path to EU accession.

And just as important as the friendship and partnership we have is what you’re doing to promote social issues and civic engagement. I love the program called Albanians Coming Together Now, because this is a program the Embassy launched to bring together business, civil society, and concerned citizens to help strengthen the ties between the people and their government. And I also want to thank those of you who helped to make Tirana’s recent LGBT conference such a success. We stand for human rights. We stand for relationships between people. And we believe that that serves as the core and foundation of a strong, lasting relationship.

I’m also pleased to be here on the first day of the month that marks the centennial of Albania’s independence. I hear you are preparing a special surprise for the gala concert. I wish I could be here to see what it is, but Ambassador, let me know as soon as you can. And I also want to thank especially our Albanian colleagues. Will all of our Albanian colleagues who work here at the Embassy raise your hand, please, so we can give you a round of applause? (Applause.) I am so grateful to you. Many of you have been with us for years, decades, and as I say everywhere around the world, ambassadors come and go and secretaries come and go, but our locally employed staff provide the continuity, the memory bank, for every single post. And that’s especially true here.

Will those of you have been with the Embassy since we opened our doors in 1991, will you raise your hands? Who’s been here since 1991? We hired you right out of grade school. You have a – (laughter) – so 1991. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

I know that we have our State Department and USAID and our military and civilian agencies represented here. We also have some Peace Corps volunteers, I’m told. Do we have some Peace Corps volunteers here today? Thank you back there. Thank you for what you’re doing. (Applause.)

And I was delighted to walk into a group of beautiful children who are part of our Foreign Service families and our Embassy family here. I bet a few of them might have gone trick or treating on the ridge last night and are probably still suffering from sugar overload. (Laughter.) But when I see that, when I walk into a room like this, it reminds me of why we do the work we do. And that was really my message in the parliament. We all have in a democracy an obligation to try to leave the country that we serve better off for the next generation. And really looking at the faces of those children reminded me of why I do the work I do, and why all of you do what you do, and make such a contribution to a better future for Albania, a better future for our relationship.

I know that my coming, even for a short visit, adds a lot of work to what you do every single day, and I understand the Marine Corps Ball is tomorrow, so I hope you get to relax a little bit. But I want you to know that even though we are far away, we follow closely what you’re doing at this post. We care deeply about this relationship. We want to see Albania become a model not just for the region, but the world. We think it can. We think that the role that Albania can play, is playing, can really shape the history of Europe. The religious tolerance, the role women are playing, the vibrant democracy and economic activity since your freedom from Soviet oppression – all of that is such a strong foundation to build on.

But now the next steps have to be taken, starting with good elections that reflect the will of the people. But then that’s not enough. Whoever gets elected – and we don’t take sides in anybody’s election – we are just on the side of free and fair elections that reflect the will of the people – and once people are elected, holding them to a high standard to produce results for the Albanian people, that’s especially important for young people.

Young people the world over are wondering what kind of future they’re going to have. There is no reason , after everything Albania has gone through – with your independence a hundred years ago, all of the challenges and suffering the parents, grandparents, great grandparents, endured – there is no reason that the future for young people in Albania should not be as bright as it could be anywhere in the world.

And so I am here to express full confidence and optimism in what is possible and to pledge that the United States, through a very active Embassy, will continue to provide support as you grow your democracy and make a real difference first for you, and now next for the rest of the world. Thank you all. (Applause.)

Meeting with Embassy Pristina Staff and their Families

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Swiss Diamond Hotel
Pristina, Kosovo
October 31, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Ambassador. Thank you all so much. Well, I have to say it is wonderful being back here in Pristina and having a chance to see all of you and thank each and every one of you for the work that you are doing. I was here in 2010, and I already have had good reports from the Ambassador about all of the progress that we’re seeing here and that we’re helping to facilitate.

I want to thank you, Ambassador, for your leadership. This is the third time Ambassasdor Jacobson has been an ambassador, and your ears should have been burning in the car ride from the airport as she spoke glowingly about the team here and the work you’re doing, and how significant it is. So her introduction just now was by no means only for public consumption. She is extremely proud, and we are proud of her. And we’re delighted to have her husband David, a British diplomat, lending a hand in this very exciting post.

I also want to thank DCM. Kelly, where – there you are Kelly. Thank you for your hard work. And I think that the exciting aspect of being here at this time is because we can see the progress that is taking place, and we can also work to facilitate the dialogue taking place between Kosovo and Serbia. I will be speaking about that with the leaders that I will be seeing later today.

I also want to recognize someone else. And that is Tristan DeWitt. Where’s Tristan? There you are, Tristan. Tristan and I both have the same birthday. (Laughter.) And Tristan was the first young person to arrive at post since Embassy Pristina opened to family members, so he represents all of the children and the family members who are here now as part of this important community.

I want to also recognize how significant the economic growth has been, and I know that you’re working to promote that, just like you are working to help empower women to be part of the economic and political future of this very young country. I know that many of you had the opportunity to work with Ambassador Larry Rossin, who was our first representative in Kosovo, and he will be certainly missed.

Now today is Halloween, I’m told, so I don’t know what it is planned, but I hope that all of the children here have a happy Halloween. And I especially want to thank our locally employed staff. Will all of our locally employed staff raise your hands, all of our Kosovo colleagues? Thank you so very much. (Applause.) Ambassadors come and go, as do Secretaries, but locally employed staff are the nerve center and the memory bank for every mission, and that’s especially true here as well.

Now as we move forward, I want to emphasize how important it is to have the interagency, whole of government approach, because that’s what we’re standing for in the State Department, that is, as the Ambassador said, the QDDR’s call that diplomacy development work together, our colleagues, military and civilian alike, are part of this great effort to help support this new young country, and to a better future. I’m very proud of what you’re doing. I know the significance of it. And I thank each and every one of you for your contributions.

Now I want to shake some hands and thank you personally. And I’ll start down there and have a chance to do that, but Ambassador, again thank you for your kind words, and thank you for your leadership. (Applause.)

Meeting With Staff and Families of Embassy Belgrade

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Hyatt Regency Hotel
Belgrade, Serbia
October 30, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s a great pleasure to be back here in Belgrade. Some of you I know were here when I was able to visit two years ago for a longer visit, but I’m delighted that I was able to come this time to thank each and every one of you for the work that you are doing on behalf of this vital relationship.

And this was a special unified visit, because Cathy Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union, and I started in Bosnia-Herzegovina, came here, will end the night in Pristina, where we’ll meet tomorrow with the leadership of Kosovo to emphasize a single message – that the future of these three countries is in Europe and in the Euro-Atlantic alliance, and that the United States strongly supports their aspirations.

I want to thank Ambassador Kirby and his wife Sara; I want to thank DCM Lee Litzenberger, and the entire Belgrade team for everything you did to prepare for this short visit, but I know that the work goes on day in and day out on so many fronts.

We’ve been clear that before setting a date for accession talks with the EU, Serbia does need to make progress on normalizing its relations with Kosovo. We recognize that Serbia cannot and will not formally recognize Kosovo, but there are lots of steps that the two countries must take together. And I thank you for sending that message on a regular basis.

We’ve also seen the bilateral relationship deepen and broaden. For example, two years ago when I was here, I committed to encouraging American businesses to invest in Serbia, and many of you in this room are making that happen. In fact, we have an economic team winner here today. American auto parts suppliers are key partners in the Fiat factory. Two American companies have opened call centers in Serbia, creating more than 400 jobs. There are a lot of win-win investments.

And I want especially to congratulate the chief of your economic section, Doug Apostol. When I was here two years ago and I spoke with the Prime Minister about a disagreement over risk insurance that was holding up a multimillion-dollar hotel project, Doug and his team got to work, and he was instrumental in helping to get that dispute resolved. That project is now going forward, bringing a number of new good jobs to Serbia. So for these and other efforts, later this year, Doug will receive the Department’s highest award for international economic work. It’s a rare honor and richly deserved. Congratulations, Doug. (Applause.)

Let me also commend each of you who worked so hard in the passage of Serbia’s new property restitution law, making sure it would cover victims of the Holocaust, many of whom are now American citizens. I thank all of you who stood up for the rights of Serbian Americans and helped the government bring this difficult issue to a successful conclusion.

In fact, I cannot imagine that we could be making the progress we are without our dedicated local staff. And I would like all of our Serbian staff members to please raise your hands so that we can recognize and thank each and every one of you. (Applause.) Because one thing I know for sure is that ambassadors, DCMs, secretaries come and go, but our local staff remain. You serve as our institutional memory bank, and we know how important you are.

I also want to thank all the family members who are here. I had a great opportunity to take a picture with some of the children, and they really did show great patience, because our meeting and press conference went a little long, but I was so happy to see them and have a chance to thank them and all of you who support those who serve.

I understand our local staff and FSOs have put together a basketball team, and soon you’re headed to Sarajevo for a tournament with other posts from around the Balkans. Now as Secretary, obviously I can’t take sides in such a competition – (laughter) – but I do want to just note that this is a great way of creating more public diplomacy and outreach as well as some healthy competition.

Now I know that there have been some difficult and risky moments in your service here in Serbia. We saw this when the Embassy was attacked four years ago. But this mission never skipped a beat. You kept doing what needed to be done. And I am very committed to your safety, and when you finally move in to your new Embassy compound, I’m confident it will give you a very safe place to work, as well as a more comfortable one. You will actually even, many of you, have offices with real windows once again. (Laughter.)

I want to thank all of you who serve the United States here in Serbia – civilian and military, U.S. Government across the board, every department and agency, in particular the State Department and USAID. And I’m very grateful to you, because I think this is a consequential relationship. We want to see the people of Serbia have an opportunity to participate fully in Europe and eventually in the Euro-Atlantic alliance. We want to see the people, particularly the young people of Serbia, have a chance to fulfill their own potential and aspirations. And the United States is very firm in our support of that kind of future for Serbia. We can’t do it from Washington; it has to be, done day in and day out, right here in Belgrade and across the country. And in order to do that, we look to each and every one of you.

So thank you for your service. I’ll start down there and shake a few hands and have a chance to thank you personally. Thank you all. (Applause.)


Secretary Clinton Addresses the Staff and Families of Embassy Sarajevo
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, with U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Patrick Moon, meets with the staff and families of Embassy Sarajevo, in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, October 30, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

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