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“Every American stands in strong solidarity with the people of France” —Hillary on the attack in Nice

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Hillary personally delivered a copy of her memoir, Hard Choices, to French President François Hollande at the Élysée Palace in Paris today.

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OK.  It’s one thing that the Olympic uniforms were assembled in China, but let’s lay off the berets.  As someone pointed out today, if it weren’t for the French, we might all be speaking with British accents today.  Thank you Lafayette (who camped near my house with George Washington),  Rochambeau (whom an ancestor of mine hosted  along with George Washington on the retreat from Verplanck)   and the unfortunate Louis XVI (who … well, you know).  Merci pour tout!  Bon Jour de la Bastille!!!

Happy Bastille Day! 

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is greeted by French President Francois Hollande prior to their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday, July 6, 2012. (APPhoto/Remy de la Mauviniere)

On the Occasion of France’s National Day

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 13, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of France as you celebrate Bastille Day this July 14. This is an opportunity for the American and French people to reflect on the lasting ties of family and friends that have guided our two countries for hundreds of years.

From the French war hero Marshal Rochambeau who fought alongside George Washington’s Continental Army, to the partnership between Eleanor Roosevelt and René Cassin who worked tirelessly to draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Franco-American collaborations are as numerous as they are deep. Our cooperation on global challenges – supporting democratic aspirations, fighting poverty and disease, halting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and much more – stems from our history of shared democratic values.

On this 223rd anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, I send my deepest congratulations to the people of France and best wishes for peace and prosperity in the year ahead.

P.S. Thanks for introducing Thomas Jefferson to macaroni and cheese. Really!

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Many here will remember that when Libya was boiling over in March, 2011, Mme. Secretary visited Paris twice in a week (with trips in between to Cairo and Tunis). On March 19, her second visit,  she greeted then-President Sarkozy triumphal in having convinced President Obama to cooperate in establishing a no-fly zone over Libya:  Hillary Clinton à Paris : Chapitre Deux.

Reminiscent of those scenes in the courtyard of the Elysée Palace, was her greeting there today from new French President François Hollande and  Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius while yet another Arab nation faces crisis.   She is in Paris participating in a meeting of Foreign Ministers at the Friends of the Syrian People initiative.

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Well finally the State Department has released details about Mme. Secretary’s current travel itinerary.  Here goes – it is extensive – just under two weeks.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Travel to France, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Egypt and Israel

Press Statement

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 5, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to France, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Egypt and Israel departing Washington, D.C. on July 5.

In Paris on July 6, Secretary Clinton will attend the third meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People. At that meeting, the Secretary will consult with her colleagues on steps to increase pressure on the Assad regime and to support UN-Arab League Special Envoy Annan’s efforts to end the violence and facilitate a political transition to a post-Assad Syria. Secretary Clinton will consult with French leaders regarding next steps on Syria as well as on a number of other key areas of global concern. As part of her ongoing consultations with senior Palestinian and Israeli leaders, the Secretary will also meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss both parties’ efforts to pursue a dialogue and build on President Abbas’ exchange of letters with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Secretary will then travel to Tokyo to attend the July 8 Conference on Afghanistan, where she will reaffirm our enduring commitment to the Afghan people and join the international community in supporting Afghanistan’s development needs for the “transformation decade” to begin in 2015. As part of the mutual commitments made by the international community and Afghanistan at the Bonn conference last December, the Afghan Government in turn will lay out its plan for economic reform and continued steps toward good governance. She will also have discussions with Japanese Government counterparts on bilateral, regional, and global issues of mutual concern.

In Ulaanbaatar on July 9, Secretary Clinton will meet with President Elbegdorj and Prime Minister Batbold and address the meeting of the Governing Board of the Community of Democracies, as well as an international women’s conference.

In Hanoi on July 10, the Secretary will meet with senior Vietnamese leaders. She will witness the signing of several agreements covering education exchanges and commercial contracts and meet with representatives of U.S. and Vietnamese business communities.

Secretary Clinton will arrive in Vientiane on July 11. This groundbreaking visit to Laos marks the first by a Secretary of State in 57 years. The Secretary will meet with Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong and other senior government officials to discuss a variety of bilateral and regional issues, including the Lower Mekong Initiative and ASEAN integration efforts.

Secretary Clinton will arrive in Phnom Penh on July 11 to participate in regional conferences, to both chair and attend ministerial events and to participate in bilateral meetings with Cambodian officials. Regional conferences include the ASEAN Regional Forum, the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers Meeting, and the U.S.-ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference. Secretary Clinton will co-chair the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) Ministerial as well as chair the Friends of the Lower Mekong Ministerial Meeting. Secretary Clinton will also participate in bilateral meetings with senior Cambodian leadership. After Phnom Penh, Secretary Clinton will travel to Siem Reap to lead the largest delegation of U.S. business representatives to Cambodia for an ASEAN event at the ‘Commitment to Connectivity – U.S.-ASEAN Business Forum.’ While in Siem Reap, Secretary Clinton will deliver the keynote address at the Lower Mekong Initiative Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Dialogue on July 13.

On July 14, Secretary Clinton will travel to Egypt to express the United States’ support for Egypt’s democratic transition and economic development. From July 15-16, she will meet with senior government officials, civil society, and business leaders, and inaugurate the U.S. Consulate General in Alexandria.

This will be followed by a stop in Israel on July 16-17, where she will be meeting with the Israeli leadership to discuss peace efforts and a range of regional and bilateral issues of mutual concern.

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There is no text to accompany these photos, but we all have been eager to see the new French officials with whom our girl will be interacting in the months to come.  We see her here at Blair House with French President Francois Hollande, her new counterpart, French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius,  and French Economy, Finance and Foreign Trade Minister Pierre Moscovici.

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We loved Nicholas Sarkozy in the role of Prince Charming when our gorgeous Cinderella lost her slipper on the steps of the Elysee Palace once-upon-a-time.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, left, loses her shoe as she is greeted upon her arrival by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, right, on the steps of the Elysee palace, Paris, Friday, Jan. 29, 2010. Clinton flew to Paris on Friday for talks with French officials and to give a speech on European security in which she will underscore the Obama administration’s commitment to the continent’s security. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Last month she clearly charmed French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe on a visit to Paris.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe (R) turns to speak to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the family photo during the meeting of “The Friends of Syria” in Paris April 19, 2012. Major international powers meeting in Paris on Thursday called a U.N.-backed peace plan the “last hope” to resolve the Syrian crisis and said they would do all they could to help it succeed, according to draft conclusions obtained by Reuters. The agenda of the “Friends of Syria” meeting, which includes France, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, is to ensure the Arab League-U.N. plan succeeds. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier (FRANCE – Tags: POLITICS)

It is all history now as a new French government prepares to step to the fore under Socialist François Hollande.  We will watch with interest as our intrepid SOS greets the new leadership.  We expect to see smart power on steroids in the coming weeks.

Hollande defeats Sarkozy in French presidential election


Top story: Francois Hollande beat French President Nicolas Sarkozy with just over 51 percent of the vote in a runoff election on Sunday, becoming the first Socialist to win the presidency since Francois Mitterrand left office in 1995. Sarkozy, the first French president since 1981 to not win a second term, will officially transfer power to Hollande on May 15.

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Meanwhile, on the Russian front. he-man superstar Vladimir Putin has reclaimed his former post as president.

Vladimir Putin Sworn In For Third Term As Russia’s President

By LYNN BERRY 05/07/12 07:48 AM ET AP

MOSCOW — Vladimir Putin took the oath of office in a brief but regal Kremlin ceremony on Monday, while on the streets outside thousands of helmeted riot police prevented hundreds of demonstrators from protesting his return to the presidency.

Putin, 59, has ruled Russia since 2000, first as president and then during the past four years as prime minister. The new, now six-year term will keep him in power until 2018, with the option of running for a fourth term.

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Four years ago, when Dmitri Medvedev stepped into the presidency, there was speculation that he was a placeholder for Putin.  Those whispers   have never died down. We see her here with Putin at a meeting at his residence in Russia which had not been scheduled but which she requested.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, left, greets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during a meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo just outside Moscow, Friday, March 19, 2010. Clinton said Friday that American and Russian negotiators are “on the brink” of agreement on a nuclear arms reduction treaty. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Pool)

We can reasonably expect that aside from dealing anew with Putin, Mme. Secretary will continue her successful working relationship with Sergei Lavrov whom we do not expect to see replaced and with whom she successfully hammered out the New START Treaty.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov smile as they exchange documents after finalizing the New START treaty during the Conference on Security Policy in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

So, at least as far as Russia is concerned, plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose.

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