Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

President Bill Clinton delivered a eulogy at the memorial for Helmut Kohl on Saturday. Bill and Hillary Clinton both held a deep affection for Kohl. There is no indication that Clinton was serving in any official capacity or who, if anybody, was leading a U.S. delegation, if any. My, my….

World leaders bid farewell to ‘patriot’ Helmut Kohl

The former German chancellor was remembered as both a German and European patriot, who paved the way to a united Europe.

UK, Saturday 01 July 2017

Helmut Kohl is considered one of the great architects of the European Union

Past and present world leaders have bid farewell to Helmut Kohl, the German chancellor who helped unite Europe.

Mr Kohl, who died aged 87 on 16 June, was remembered as both a German and European patriot, who deserved “a place of honour in the European pantheon”.

The former chancellor becomes the first person to be honoured with an official memorial event by the European Union in the French city of Strasbourg.


Among the many dignitaries present at the memorial was former US president Bill Clinton, who thanked Kohl for giving “us the chance to be involved in something bigger than ourselves”.

“Bigger than our terms of office, bigger than our fleeting careers,” he said.

“Because all of us, sooner or later, will be in a coffin like that,” he added.

“And the only gift we can leave behind, is a better future for our children, and the freedom to do their own choices. Including their own mistakes.”

The 70-year-old politician said his wife, Hillary Clinton, said he loved Mr Kohl “because he was the only person with a bigger appetite for food than I have”.

“The 20th century in Europe really began on his watch,” Mr Clinton added.

Read more and see video >>>>

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Hillary introduced the German translation of her memoir Hard Choices  (‘Entscheidungen’ in German) at a public event at the Staatsoper in the Schiller Theater in Berlin this morning.   The presentation was moderated by Christoph Amend, editor-in-chief of Zeit Magazine.


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Public Schedule for June 29, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
June 29, 2012

FRIDAY JUNE 29, 2012


Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to St. Petersburg, Russia and Geneva, Switzerland. The Secretary is accompanied by Assistant Secretary Gordon, Ambassador Verveer, VADM Harry B. Harris, Jr., JCS, and Director Sullivan. Please click here for more information.

4:30 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with civil society representatives, in St. Petersburg, Russia

6:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Russian Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matvienko, in St. Petersburg, Russia

6:20 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton tours the Catherine Palace with Russian Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matvienko, in St. Petersburg, Russia

7:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton delivers remarks at the APEC Women and the Economy Forum Reception, in St. Petersburg, Russia

8:05 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in St. Petersburg, Russia

8:25 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton participates in a working dinner with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in St. Petersburg, Russia

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When she attended the inauguration of Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff a year ago New Year’s Day, the Prime Minister of Bulgaria invited both Rouseff and HRC to visit in October of last year.  Perhaps Rouseff went, but HRC did not.  I believe this will be her first trip there as SOS.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle arrive for a news conference at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Secretary Clinton to Travel to Germany and Bulgaria

Press Statement

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
January 27, 2012


On February 3-5, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Germany and Bulgaria. In Munich, Germany, Secretary Clinton will participate in the 48th Munich Security Conference. This annual event brings together global leaders to discuss common security challenges. In her address to the Conference, the Secretary will reaffirm the fundamental importance of the transatlantic relationship and Europe’s role as an essential partner in addressing global security challenges.

While in Munich the Secretary will also hold bilateral meetings with her European and other counterparts.

The Secretary will travel to Sofia, Bulgaria, February 5, to meet with senior Bulgarian officials and discuss a range of issues, including democratic transitions in the Middle East, our ongoing support for Afghanistan, energy security and our bilateral cooperation in international law enforcement.

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A few of these are real keepers.

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Westerwelle, posted with vodpod

Remarks With German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
January 20, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON:Good afternoon, everyone. It is a great pleasure for me to welcome the foreign minister back once again to the State Department. Germany and the United States are steadfast allies and close partners on a range of issues. We’re also good friends, and I was happy to see the minister shortly after he hit the 50-year mark, which is a very important milestone.FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: Thank you so much, and thank you for the birthday cake. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think – are we going to do consecutive translation on both sides or just on the German side?


SECRETARY CLINTON: Okay. You’ll speak English. Okay. Then we’ll not do it unless we have a question that calls for it.

Guido and I discussed Afghanistan. We obviously are very committed to the path forward for a stable, peaceful Afghanistan. We are deeply regretting the bad news about the four French soldiers killed earlier today in the second attack on French soldiers this month. That follows the deaths yesterday of six U.S. Marines in a helicopter crash. So let me express, on behalf of all Americans, are deepest condolences to the families of both those French and American soldiers. We know what a personal loss that is and how important it is we work toward our goal of security and long-term stability.

I want to thank Guido once again for hosting the Bonn conference on Afghanistan last month and the continuing bravery of German soldiers who serve with such distinction as the third largest national contingent in our NATO-ISAF forces.

We’re looking forward to our work in May in Chicago at the NATO summit, where we will advance several NATO priorities. Let me say clearly the United States is fully committed to maintaining a force posture in Europe that meets our enduring commitment to European security and our collective defense obligations to our NATO allies. We are grateful to Germany for hosting the U.S. military for many years, and we will be maintaining a close relationship going forward. We recognize that the transatlantic partnership is absolutely indispensable to our own security and well-being.

We are also focused on economic security, and we both recognize and appreciate greatly Germany’s leadership role in resolving the debt crisis facing Europe. I can only imagine how challenging this is. And as I conveyed to the minister, the United States stands in support of Germany as it leads the way for all of the Eurozone countries to regain their economic footing and to implement measures that will restore sustainable and balanced growth.

We discussed at some length our nation’s shared concerns regarding Iran and the steps it has taken toward furthering its nuclear weapons ambitions. We are both firmly committed to the dual-track approach, pressure to bring about meaningful engagement by Iran on its program, and we are closely coordinating as we implement sanctions.

We talked about so many things. We talked about North Africa, Egypt, Syria, the Middle East, and so much more. So as always, we have a very comprehensive agenda to cover, and I appreciate your being here for us to continue the conversation.

FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: Thank you so much, Madam Secretary Hillary. Ladies and gentlemen, first of all, I would like to express my gratitude for the hospitality for the warm welcome here, and in this specific and special case also for the wonderful and delicious birthday cake we just had a few minutes before. Don’t be jealous, it was really delicious. (Laughter.)

And I would like to say that this is, of course, not only an expression of our close collaboration, it is also an expression of our wonderful and very personal relationship. The United States is our most important partner and ally behind Europe. Close cooperation across the Atlantic is essential in times of global changes and enormous political challenges, so we discussed, of course, the deeply worrying situation in Syria. The regime of President Assad must be stopped urgently. We support the efforts by the Arab League to solve the crisis, and we agree that the United Nations Security Council must take a clear position to condemn the violence by the Syrian regime.

On Iran, I have informed my colleague, Madam Secretary, about the discussions in the European Union on new sanctions. The government in Tehran keeps violating its international obligations on the transparency of its nuclear program. We have no choice but to pass tough new sanctions that address the financial sources of the nuclear program. One this is clear, the door for serious dialogue remains open, but the option of nuclear weapons in Iran is not acceptable to both of us.

And I want to repeat what I said to my colleague and friend in the last hour before. I think it is important for all of us to see that a nuclear option is not acceptable of Iran. And this is not only our raison d’etre, to protect Israel. It is also a question of the balance in the region, and it’s also unacceptable if we look to the situation and the nonproliferation necessity worldwide. So I think this is a serious situation, but we will stand united to give a common and clear and, unfortunately, tough answer, because a nuclear option for Iran is not acceptable – not for the region, not for the world.

We also discussed the situation in the transformation countries of the Arab Spring. There are enormous political and economic challenges, and we have to support a successful transformation. I explained our transformation partnership program, which we designed in Germany and what was introduced in our European policy, and I think it is successful. But we all know we have to see and we have to differentiate from country to country, and I think this is necessary that we do not think one answer fits all, one size fits all. I think it is necessary to give specified answers and differentiated answers.

We also discussed the preparation of the NATO summit in Chicago in May. Of course, this is important for us. We both want a successful NATO meeting in Chicago, and we’re looking forward to this. Once again, we are looking forward for all the hospitality of the Government of the United States of America. And of course we want this summit to become a success and we will work hard for this.

We also discussed – and this is what I wanted to underline because it is important not only for your discussions, but it’s a crucial time for us in Europe, of course, like you all know – we also discussed the debt crisis in Europe. I know that some in the United States paint a dark picture of an old continent unable to solve its problems. First of all, allow me in an ironical remark. We finished socialism with the support of the United States of America 20 years ago, and we know that we have to show solidarity. This is our desire and our destiny. As Germans, we know that Europe is not only the answer to the darkest chapter of our own history; it is also our life insurance in times of globalization. And I think it is crystal clear that Germany is committed to Europe and to the Eurozone, and we will show solidarity on the one hand, but on the other hand we also will ask for structural reforms because both is the answer to this present crisis.

Well, thank you so much for the hospitality and I, unfortunately, also want to say a few words to this latest attacks and the killings of our soldiers and our friends in Afghanistan. I am shocked by the tragic death of the French and the American soldiers in Afghanistan. I would like to express my sympathy and my deepest condolences in the name of the Federal Republic of Germany to all the families and to the relatives. But also it’s clear tragic setbacks such as this must not stop our engagement for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

Thank you, Hillary. Thank you so much

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you for your —

FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: — for the time and the hospitality.

MS. NULAND: We’ll take two today, one from each side. First one is from Kirit Ridia, ABC.

QUESTION: Hi, Madam Secretary, Mr. Minister. A question on Iran, if I may. Iran in recent days has expressed some willingness to return to talks on its nuclear program. Just today, Lady Ashton released a letter she sent to the Iranians in October in which she calls on them to take some concrete steps for confidence building. First question would be: What exactly are those steps that you’re looking for the Iranians to take? And second, do you take them at their word this time that they’re willing to fully engage?

And if I may Madam Secretary, in our way of asking two questions – (laughter) – you’ve made a decision not to testify on the Keystone XL pipeline next week. Can you explain why you don’t want to do that? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well Kirit, first let me say that we’re going to miss you. I understand this may be the last time I get two, three, or four questions from you. (Laughter.) But we wish you well as I think you head off to Moscow, which will be an exciting assignment, from all indications.

With respect to Iran, first let me say that we have a very strong partnership with the EU, and we expect to see the EU taking some additional steps to keep the pressure on Iran in the coming days. And I believe that we’re making it clear to Iran, as the minister said, that its pursuit of nuclear weapons and its needless provocations such as the threats regarding the Straits of Hormuz, place it on a dangerous path. Iran does have a choice to make. It can come back to the table, as we have consistently made clear to them, and address the nuclear program concerns that the international community rightly has or face increasing pressure and isolation.

I want to underscore we do not seek conflict. We strongly believe the people of Iran deserve a better future. They can have that future. The country can be reintegrated into the global community, able to share in the benefits when their government definitively turns away from pursuing nuclear weapons.

Last October, on behalf of the E-3+3 member nations, of which both Germany and the United States are two, High Representative Ashton did send the Iranians a letter saying that we are open to negotiations if Iran is serious about addressing the nuclear program without preconditions. We stand by that letter. The EU did make it public earlier today, and we await Iran’s response. And I think it’s been very important that the EU has kept this open channel. And we all are seeking clarity about the meaning behind Iran’s public statements that they are willing to engage, but we have to see a seriousness and sincerity of purpose coming from them.

And with respect to what we expect of them, I think we’ve made the letter public. They know we want to see them coming to the table to seriously engage about the future of a program that is prohibited under their obligations pursuant to the NPT and in light of Security Council resolutions. So we will await their response.

With respect to the Keystone XL Pipeline, as you know, on Wednesday, the Department of State recommended and President Obama agreed that the presidential permit for the proposed pipeline should be denied. That decision was based on the fact that the State Department did not have sufficient time to assess whether the project was in the national interest as a result of the limited timeframe set forth by Congress. And as the President said yesterday, this announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project or to make other decisions with respect to it and protect the American people.

The Department’s denial of the permit application does not preclude any subsequent permit application or applications for similar projects, and we are following our normal procedures and actually sending the official that actually knows something about this issue in great depth and has been leading our efforts, Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Kerri-Ann Jones, to the Congress to testify.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) on Iran again. You didn’t say what those specific steps you wanted to see were from Iran. Can you tell us what those are?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we won’t know until we know whether they’re serious about engaging with us.

QUESTION: You don’t have anything in mind already?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, yeah. We do. They have to give up their nuclear weapons program. (Laughter.) They have to be – they have to be willing to come to the table with a plan to do that.

QUESTION: The confidence-building measures were specifically referenced in the letter —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, confidence-building measures would – I’m not going to go into any more detail. I appreciate your efforts to get me to do so. But I think what’s important is that confidence will start with their conveying a seriousness of purpose to engage with us and our partners in the E-3+3 process. That would build confidence, and then the additional steps will await the actual resumption of negotiations.

FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: If I may add just a few words to this, because I agree to this answer a hundred percent. But I just want to explain with my words for the German Government and, of course, as a representative of the European Union here. This letter is important because it underscored and underlines our dual-track strategy. On the one hand, it is necessary to show the Iranian Government that we are united and that we do not accept any option for nuclear weapons in the hands of the Iranian Government. That’s the one point. But on the other hand, second, it is also necessary to show that we are ready for dialogue, but we are ready for serious dialogue and substantial talks. Just to meet for show, that this meeting would be misused for propaganda, is not what we want to do. And therefore, I think this letter of Cathy Ashton is exactly expressing what our strategy is not only in Europe, together.

MS. NULAND: Last question. Hanni Husch of ARD.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary, Herr Minister. Secretary, what exactly does the American Government expect from the German Government in solving the European debt crisis? Mr. Westerwelle made it perfect clear today that printing more money is not the answer.

And allow me, out of fairness, a second question. (Laughter.) A follow-up on –

FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: This is the same (inaudible). (Laughter.)

QUESTION: A follow-up on Afghanistan. Mr. Sarkozy is considering the withdrawal of his troops. Is that the right answer?

SECRETARY CLINTON: With respect to the second question, I am in great sympathy with what happened to the French soldiers. It was terrible, and I can certainly appreciate the strong feelings that are being expressed.

We are in close contact with our French colleagues, and we have no reason to believe that France will do anything other than continue to be part of the very carefully considered transition process as we look at our exit, as previously agreed upon in Lisbon.

I think with respect to the Eurozone debt crisis, look, it’s not going to surprise you to hear me say that the United States cares deeply about what happens with this crisis. We have a great stake in the health and vitality of the European economic markets. European growth is essential for our growth. It’s essential for global growth. And we are – we know from our own experience that moving from crisis to recovery depends on rebuilding confidence and getting the economy to start moving again, producing jobs, producing growth. And Germany has been at the forefront of shaping the strategies to move Europe forward.

And as the minister said, there’s a lot of hard work ahead. We’re not going to stand over here on the other side of the Atlantic and second-guess the tough questions that you have to answer in Europe. But we think that our European partners, led by Germany, have laid a solid foundation on which to build a recovery. I know President Obama and Chancellor Merkel speak often about this. I know that the minister met with Secretary Geithner earlier today. So we are encouraging German decision making, German confidence building, German leadership, because it’s in the interests not only of Europe but of the United States as well.

FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: Please allow me some words especially, of course, to the American journalists here, because I think for me it is very crucial and it’s very important that you understand our point of view. We think a debt crisis cannot be solved and cannot be answered by making it easier to take up new debts. So we think it’s necessary that we have structural reforms. So for us, it’s always a combination, solidarity, and Germany showed a lot of solidarity. We put on the table for solidarity in the European Union 200 billion Euro. If I would compare this to the economy and to the size of the economy in the United States of America, this would be $1 trillion. So we have to compare the sizes of our economy and we have to compare, of course, the size of our countries.

So I think this underlines it and make it crystal clear that Germany knows their own responsibility, and all these programs are supported by a majority in the German Bundestag of all party lines around about 70 or 80 percent. So I think this is a clear signal.

But on the other hand, please understand us. If we just put money into the window, if we just put money on the table and we wouldn’t ask for structural reforms, we wouldn’t solve the cause of crisis. So structural reforms which increases the competitiveness in the countries in the European Union are essential. And I mean, we do not ask for anything more as Germany, as Germans, than what we delivered in the last 10 years by our own structural reforms. And this is the reason, together with the programs of the last two years, why Germany is so, with all modesty, successful in the European Union. So it’s a combination of both. We think it’s a debt crisis; it morphed into a confidence crisis; we have to answer both with solidarity but also with structural reforms. This is our combination.

And about Afghanistan, I just want to express one thing. Of course, we all feel sympathy with the families, with the victims, and we understand these discussions very well. You do, we do. But we should never forget why we are in Afghanistan. And Afghanistan may never become a safe haven for terrorists worldwide again, and this is the reason why we are there. We really are full of sympathy and we want to express our deepest condolences, but we think we have to continue because we have to protect our own security and our own freedom and way of life in the Western community.

Thank you so much.


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Secretary Clinton to Travel to Germany, Lithuania, Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 5, 2011


On December 4-8, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Germany, Lithuania, Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands. In Bonn, Germany, Secretary Clinton will lead the United States’ high-level, interagency delegation to the International Conference for Afghanistan on December 5. The Bonn Conference, the first of its kind to be chaired solely by the Afghan government, will be an opportunity to review progress achieved since 2001 and highlight the strong international support for Afghanistan through transition and beyond. In Bonn, the government of Afghanistan and the international community will engage in mutual commitments to secure the gains already achieved and pave the way for an increasingly self-sustainable Afghanistan.

The Secretary will then travel December 6 to Vilnius, Lithuania, where she will participate in the OSCE ministerial, as well as meet with Lithuanian officials and with Belarusian and a wide range of other civil society representatives from across the OSCE region.

On December 6, the Secretary will visit Geneva, Switzerland to deliver remarks commemorating International Human Rights Day, which falls later that week. On December 7 in Geneva, she will speak at the ministerial event commemorating the 60th and 50th anniversaries of the Refugee and Statelessness conventions. The Secretary will also deliver the U.S. national statement at the Biological and Toxin Weapons (BWC) Review Conference, where we hope to revitalize international efforts against biological threats.

Later that day, the Secretary will travel to Brussels, Belgium, for ministerial-level meetings of the North Atlantic Council, the NATO-Russia Council, and with ISAF partners to discuss Afghanistan on December 7-8.

The Secretary will conclude her trip with a December 8 visit to The Hague, the Netherlands, where she will deliver the keynote address at the opening of a ministerial conference on Internet freedom that will launch a cross-regional, multi-stakeholder coalition committed to promoting the freedoms of expression, association, and assembly online.

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Interview With Khun Nina of Puying Teung Puying


Sports Science Center
Bangkok, Thailand
November 17, 2011

QUESTION: First of all, Madam Secretary, we would like to thank you very much for showing your support to the Thai people. It’s very kind of you. And, well, how did you feel when you were in the shelter next door, visiting flood victims?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say that I love Thailand and I love the Thai people, and I’ve been very distressed about these terrible floods, which are a historic, horrible event for your country. And I wanted to come to show solidarity and friendship with the Thai people.

QUESTION: Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And I was so pleased to come to this very bright, cheerful complex where people are being well taken care of. I got to visit with some of those who have been displaced and hear a little of their stories. But I am very confident that Thailand is going to come back in even stronger ways. So I’m here to show not only solidarity and sympathy, but confidence and optimism.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. And do you think the U.S. will be able to help Thailand in any way after – especially after the floods have gone?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. And last night I announced some additional ways we intend to help. We’re just at the beginning of our help, because Thailand’s one of our oldest allies in the world, and we care deeply about what happens to your country. So what we have done is to put together both our civilian experts, our military experts. We have a ship in the harbor that has helicopters to work with your military to survey what’s going on. We’re going to try to reopen one of the airports, the Don Mueang Airport, so that can be useful again. We obviously have been providing survival kits, boats, generators, those kinds of immediate emergency responses.

And we are also looking at helping you recover some of your cultural and religious sites that have been inundated. I saw pictures of beautiful temples and statues surrounded by water. So we have a whole plan, but I feel strongly that we will only do what the government and the people of Thailand wish us to do, so we’re good partners.

QUESTION: Thank you very much for your kindness.


QUESTION: And earlier this year, we understand that you were also badly hit by the Mississippi River floods, right?


QUESTION: How did you go through it, and any advice to Thailand?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’ve had a lot of floods in the last 10 years. The most famous, perhaps, is the Katrina flood in New Orleans. And that’s why I believe floods – I mean, you have typhoons and cyclones and hurricanes and earthquakes and tornados and fires. There’s many different kinds of terrible natural disasters, as we just saw in Japan. There’s something about a flood, though, that is so hard because it takes so long.


SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s there for weeks, even months, before it drains. And that can take a toll on people’s spirits. The few people I had a chance to talk to – they don’t know when they’re going to get to go home. One said maybe two weeks; one said maybe a month. That’s hard. And children are out of school. I saw some beautiful little children. I asked a nine-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy if they liked school, and they do and they want to get back to school. So it’s very draining, so to speak, debilitating.

And it’s particularly hard on everyone, but women and children, who have to keep all the family together and have to repair what has been damaged while their husbands are trying to get back to work and try to rebuild – it takes a toll on everyone. So I urge that people get prepared, be patient, but be very determined. And even some of our private companies are contributing money to try to help rebuild houses. So there’ll be a lot of work to do.

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And how have you found it? Have any of you been personally affected by the floods, or have you been —

QUESTION: Filamae — her house is flooded.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, still right now?


SECRETARY CLINTON: And how much water?

PARTICIPANT*: Higher – far from knees. And black water.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, the black water. It’s terrible, isn’t it?


SECRETARY CLINTON: And you have to keep your children away from the water because there’s so much disease and pollution in the water. And you have to be prepared to, unfortunately, throw a lot of things away because they can’t be salvaged.

I’m so sorry. When do you think you’ll get to go home? When will you get to go home to your home?

PARTICIPANT: I stay in the condo near my office.


QUESTION: She’s got another place to stay.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good, good. Well —

QUESTION: Maybe in a month or so?

SECRETARY CLINTON: In a month maybe. I looked at a map as to where the water has to drain out, and I think there’s the immediate problems we have to deal with. But what we found in our big floods of the last 10 years is that we did some things in our country that made it worse.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, because, like for example, around New Orleans we put up a lot of levies, which are barriers to the water and trying to keep the Mississippi River and flood waters in a channel. Well, Mother Nature is more powerful than that, and it used to be that the water could go into the farmland and then it would dissipate. But it was kept channeled, and so it would just rush down and then it would flood. And so we’ve had to look at flood control; we’ve had to look at how we manage our rivers.

And there are so many great rivers in Southeast Asia – Mekong, for example – that as you develop and you have more businesses and more factories and more homes you take away land that used to be drainage land, wetlands. So we’re having to do this around the world, and it’s a big wake up call for all of us.



QUESTION: Well, Madam Secretary, a lot of people in Thailand are suffering at the moment.


QUESTION: Anything you’d like to say to them?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I first want to tell our Thai friends that our hearts go out to you and to all of you who are suffering and to everyone who has been affected by this flood. But we are not just offering sympathy. We’re offering friendship; we’re offering support. I want to thank the many, many Thai citizens who have come to help. As I was coming in, I saw people volunteering as medical workers, as haircutters, as babysitters for babies. There’s so many things that the Thai people are doing to help each other.

And I want to tell you that we will be with you, not just now, but in years to come, because we believe in Thailand. We value greatly the Thai culture and the alliance and partnership we’ve had over so many years.

QUESTION: Well, actually, for now can we please get into women issues, for a big year?


QUESTION: Well, these days we see more and more female world leaders.


QUESTION: How do you feel about that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I am thrilled. And more female broadcast leaders as well. (Laughter.) I have worked on behalf of women’s opportunities my entire life. And in my life, I’ve seen so many positive changes. And I think young women today have such opportunities, if they’re educated, if they’re willing to work hard, if they’re willing to make the commitment. And it’s complicated, because many of us want to have families and work, and trying to get the right balance in your life is still not easy. But so many more young women are doing it, and more determined.

I met with your prime minister last night, and I’m very proud of her, because, boy, she came into office and – wham – I mean, just really faced a big set of challenges. And it’s hard. I’ve been in politics. I’ve been in leadership positions. It’s hard for men or women, but – let’s face it – women are held to a different double standard. And therefore, we feel like we have to work even harder, do even more, to prove ourselves. So we’re making progress, but there’s still a long way to go.

And Thailand is a place where women have played roles outside the home for many years. There are still places in Asia where that’s not true, and there are certainly places in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa where women are still denied basic rights. They don’t have the right to an education; they don’t have the right to vote; they don’t have the right to drive a car; they don’t have the right to get credit. They just – they’re not yet even legally viewed as equal to men. So we have our work still ahead of us.

QUESTION: One very, very last question, Madam Secretary. What are your future plans in the world of politics?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’ve announced that I am not going to serve another term as Secretary of State and I am not going to return to political life. I think I’ve been doing this for 20 years. It’s been incredibly exciting, a great honor for me. But I want to focus on women and girls and do everything I can to make sure that I do what is possible to give more women and girls opportunities, and there are other issues that I’m interested in. But I think it’s time to take a bit of a break.

It’s very maddening to come to Thailand – not during this emergency, which was a very specific visit – but when I come as Secretary of State, I go to meetings. I go do official things. I don’t get to walk around. I don’t get to travel around the country. I did that when I was first lady. I went to the north. I had a wonderful experience. So I’m looking forward to spending some time in different places that I’m interested in, like Thailand.

QUESTION: Thank you very much for your time, Madam Secretary.


This short video is not from the interview but was made at the evacuation center.

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Evacuation center, posted with vodpod

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Women and the Economy, posted with vodpod

Remarks With Nina Easton of Fortune Magazine at the CEO Summit on Women and the Economy


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Sheraton Waikiki
Honolulu, Hawaii
November 11, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon, everyone. First, let me apologize for being late. It has been quite a packed day, and there’s a great deal of excitement and energy and hard work going on. I want to thank Nina and tell her how much I appreciate what she does and what she’s doing today to help highlight a part of the work of the APEC Summit, and something we hope and trust is also of importance to the CEO Summit.

I want to thank Monica Whaley and the National Center for APEC, Craig Mundie from Microsoft, Mike Ducker from FedEx, who couldn’t be here today, and everyone who helped make this event possible.

I’m delighted to be with you because I think that we really are making what I call a pivot. As the war in Iraq ends and we transition in Afghanistan, U.S. foreign policy is moving toward the Asia Pacific. We need to be smart and systematic about where we invest time and energy to put ourselves in the best position to sustain our leadership, secure our interests, and advance our values. And one of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will be to lock in a substantially increased investment – diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise – in the Asia Pacific region.

This meeting reflects the Obama Administration commitment to extending our diplomacy beyond traditional channels and engaging directly with non-state actors – the private sector, the civil society, the real confusion of interests that are out there that make a real difference in how a society thinks and acts. And we have a lot of partnerships that we have been working on.

And finally, I want to address an issue that we really made a highlight of our year of chairing the APEC Summit, and that is women and girls. In September, we had an APEC Summit on Women and the Economy in San Francisco. And the member economies of the region signed a declaration affirming our commitment to improving women’s access to capital and markets, to building women’s capacities and skills, and supporting the rise of women leaders in both the public and private sector. We agreed to pursue a fundamental transformation, a paradigm shift in how governments make and enforce laws and policies, how businesses invest and operate, how people make choices in the marketplace.

As business leaders from across the Asia Pacific region, you know firsthand that when women enjoy greater access to jobs and opportunities, there is a ripple effect across entire economies. Businesses have more consumers, families spend and save more, farmers produce more food, education improves, and so does political stability. A new report from the World Bank confirms that this is simply smart economics. If women participate more fully in the economy, the bank found, productivity is likely to rise, development outcomes for the next generation will improve, and institutions will be more representative.

So at a time when the global economy is still struggling, we cannot afford to ignore this potential. In short, when we liberate the economic potential of women, we elevate the economic performance of communities, nations, and indeed the world.

As you look across the economic landscape, you can see the impact that women are already having and the obstacles that still stand in our way. Economists estimate that women consumers will control $15 trillion in spending by the year 2014. And by 2028, women will be responsible for about two-thirds of consumer spending worldwide. That is the market of the future.

But participation has to go beyond buying products to making and selling them. Today, more than half a million enterprises in Indonesia and nearly 400,000 in South Korea are headed by women. Women run fully 20 percent of all of China’s small businesses. All across Asia, women continue to dominate light manufacturing sectors which have proved so crucial to the region’s development. And women-owned businesses, which now provide for 16 percent of all U.S. jobs, are projected to create nearly one-third of the new jobs anticipated over the next seven years.

Yet a new report released at the recent G-20 Summit found that small businesses owned by women are less likely than those run by men to find the resources and support they need to grow into larger enterprises. And we still see significantly less participation by women in the biggest firms, especially at the highest levels. Today, only about 3 percent of the CEOs of Fortune Global 500 companies are women.

So you might ask yourself, why, in 2011, are women still seemingly so shut out of the economy? Laws, customs, and values all contribute to the economic glass ceiling that continues to hold back progress across the Pacific. Too many women in APEC countries don’t have the same inheritance rights as men, so they can’t inherit property or businesses owned by fathers and spouses. Some don’t have the right to confer citizenship on their children, so their families have less access to housing and education. And they must constantly renew residency permits, making it harder for them to work. Some are even subject to different taxes than men. And too often, they are denied access to credit, and may even be prohibited from opening bank accounts, signing contracts, purchasing property, incorporating a business, or filing a lawsuit without a male guardian. And women entrepreneurs are still more likely to face higher interest rates, be required to collateralize a higher share of any loan, and have shorter-term loans.

Now these aren’t just obstacles to prosperity for individual women; they are obstacles to prosperity for every business and every economy. So what can we do about it? How can we work together to reduce the obstacles and open the way for more women to participate more fully? Well, the San Francisco Declaration we agreed to outlines a path forward. We must commit to giving women entrepreneurs more access to capital so they can start and grow their own businesses. We must examine and reform our legal and regulatory systems so women can avail themselves of the full range of financial services. We must improve women’s access to markets, so those who start businesses can keep them open. For example, we need to correct the problem of information asymmetry, making sure women are informed about opportunities for trade, and orienting technical assistance so they serve women as well as men. And of course, I believe, as you would guess, we must support the rise of women leaders in the public and private sector so they can use their own unique experiences and perspectives.

Now, Goldman Sachs has estimated that reducing barriers to women’s participation in the economy would increase GDP in the United States by 9 percent, in the Eurozone by 13 percent, and in Japan by 16 percent. By the year 2020, it could lead to a 14 percent rise in per capita incomes in APEC economies such as China, Russia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Korea. And that is why the United States is putting these issues at the top of our diplomatic and economic agenda. It’s not only, in our view, the right thing to do; it is clearly the smart thing as well.

Now, many businesses are already getting this, and I want to applaud all of you who are. For example, Walmart has committed to doubling the amount of goods it buys from women-owned businesses around the world by 2016, and to invest $100 million to help women develop their job skills, including women who work on the farms and in the factories overseas that are Walmart suppliers.

Coca-Cola’s 5 BY 20 campaign aims to support 5 million women entrepreneurs worldwide by 2020. And NGOs such as WEConnect, Vital Voices Global Partnership, the Kauffman Foundation, and Count Me In have launched new partnerships with companies from American Express to ExxonMobil to help women entrepreneurs network, learn new skills, and seize new opportunities.

So let’s work together to unlock the vast untapped promise of women’s economic participation. In San Francisco, I said we have entered an age of participation, a time when, because of technological transformation and economic and political transitions, every person, regardless of gender or other characteristics, is poised to contribute to society and to the global marketplace. Economies and political systems that are making the shift more effectively and rapidly are dramatically outperforming those that are not.

In fact, we had been following this because we have seen what a difference it could make at this particular time in the global economy, and we can’t leave anybody behind, and we can’t leave any opportunity untapped. So I look forward to hearing what some of you may do, working with you to translate the good intentions of the San Francisco Declaration and summits like this one and the ongoing agenda of APEC into concrete change on behalf of men and women.

So thank you for being part of this exciting CEO summit, and I look forward to hearing the results of the program that you’re part of. Thank you. (Applause.)

MS. EASTON: They make things complicated. (Laughter.) Interesting (inaudible) there.

Well, thank you for joining us, first of all, Secretary Clinton. (Inaudible) important subject but it was interesting listening to you. I had a flashback to 1995, when you gave a speech that had quite – got quite a lot of international attention on women’s rights. But at the time, you couched that as a human rights issue. Now you’re talking about this as an economic issue. Why is that? Do you think it’s gotten siloed in its own space and you need to integrate it more? And secondly, do you also see it as a national security issue?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Nina, first, I think it’s been an evolution. It was important, and in fact necessary, to state the obvious, back in 1995, that women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights, once and for all, and in large measure, because in so many places in the world, there were active forms of discrimination – in law, in culture, in custom. And there had to be a very clear statement that women have the same rights to participate in their societies as men do.

Now, once you establish what should be a very obvious statement like that as the ground truth, then you can begin to say, “And what does that mean? How do you translate that?” And certainly, women have a right to go to school, women have a right to healthcare. But also, women have a right to credit, women have a right to fulfill their own economic potential. And one of the points that I wanted to make is that you can’t – you think of men as political beings, as economic beings, as members of family, and all the roles that men play. Well, women, too. And I think the speech that I gave in San Francisco – which was really rooted in the facts, because it wasn’t just an appeal to recognize women’s economic rights because they were women – it was a recognition that our failure to do so is holding back economies. And that seems to me to be a sufficient impetus for people to do more.

I also see it as a national security issue. The more women are empowered, the more women can participate, you see a growth in democratic forms, you see greater participation in all elements of society. And that, over the long run, is in our security interests but also in other countries’ as well.

MS. EASTON: Do you get any – as an American official pushing this issue, is there any – do you have any concern – because not everybody approaches this like an American woman, for example; there are different cultures. How do you avoid that sort of stepping into what might be perceived as cultural imperialism and imposing our values on other societies?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the thing about the Asia Pacific region, unlike some other regions of the world, is that women are very active in the economy, oftentimes in the informal economy. Women are the vast majority of small-hold farmers around the world; 60 to 70 percent of the hard work of farming is done by women, whether it’s in rice fields or tending to livestock. So women have historically been seen as supporting the family, as contributing to the family in the informal economy. And certainly, there’s a great tradition of economic activities in markets, local markets, by women in the economies of the Asia Pacific.

So it’s the next step. I mean, some of the richest women in the world are women who started businesses in Asia Pacific economies. So we see that happening. We know it is part of the fabric of societies in the Asia Pacific. And the challenge now is to make sure that it is an expansive economic platform for women. And if we don’t do anything that prevents women who have good ideas, who have a good work ethic, who are willing to put their back to it or their head to it to be able to make a contribution – in other parts of the world, the stigma and the obstacles are much greater. But in the Asia Pacific, we have a very strong base on which to build.

MS. EASTON: Speaking of other parts of the world, I do have to ask you about the Arab Spring and what’s going on there. There’s a lot of concern by women who were involved in revolutionary efforts over there, I think of particular women that I know in Egypt who are concerned about where things are heading. And even today, a minister – excuse me, a leader of the ruling party in Tunisia declared that single mothers are an insult to our society. Where do you see things heading in that part of the world for women?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that it is not clear yet where things are heading for anybody, but I am particularly focused on where they’re heading for women. And I spoke about this a few days ago in Washington. We support the aspirations of people, men and women, in the Middle East and North Africa for fundamental human freedoms, human rights, including economic rights. And so we think that is the right side of history. But the particulars, how this is going to play out, is not yet known. And it could be that there’ll be some very rocky times over the next years. But speaking as the Secretary of State of the United States, certainly we’re going to continue to strongly advocate that you cannot be a democracy if you don’t fully enfranchise all of your people, and that means half the population of women. And we’re going to hold up, both publicly and privately, any actions that we think are undermining the rights of women.

So we’ve had quite a few discussions and expressions of concern on a number of fronts, but it’s too soon to tell. And all of what’s happening in the Middle East and North Africa is still so new. A lot of the people who helped to spark and lead the revolutions – and it did include women in Tahrir Square or in Tuinis or in Libya or wherever else – they’ve never participated in a political process. They’ve never been really acquainted with political parties or a lot of the freedoms that we think are necessary to support a democracy. So I think this is going to, again, take some time, and we are going to watch it closely.

MS. EASTON: Again, how worried are you, in terms of women in particular?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m suspending judgment right now because I think we don’t have enough evidence to really draw a conclusion, because for every statement that’s made, there’s a woman elected, which happened in Tunisia – a number of women. So I don’t think we ought to be jumping to conclusions. I think we ought to understand that sorting this out after years of repression, after autocratic rule that really undermined and destroyed institutions, is a very challenging task. And we want to be supportive of those who are pursuing democratic reform, who have eschewed violence, that they are going to, in a sense, play by the rules of what it means to run for office. And if you win, you win; if you don’t win, you go into the opposition or back to being a citizen. That takes time for people to really understand and adjust to.

MS. EASTON: Let me go back on the Asia Pacific. Obviously, a big portion of women’s role – increased role in society has to do with education. How do you think those countries do on that score?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think education remains a challenge for tens of millions of young people, over a hundred million that are not even in school, the majority of whom are women, young girls. So yes, education is a problem. And even where educational systems exist, it’s woefully inadequate. I admire the efforts by a number of countries to try to expand education, but having 80 or 90 or a hundred children in one classroom with one new or poorly trained teacher is not exactly what we hope for. So we have to continue to support universal education. And we have problems with that across the world. There is nothing unique about it.

But some places are particularly at risk, and we have to try to work with governments, work with private entities, NGOs and others because it is of particular concern where the absence of education is filled by radicalism. I mean, you look at countries where there isn’t universal education and you see children who are being indoctrinated by very determined zealots, and that can’t possibly be good for them, their families, or their countries. But in the absence of a commitment to education, you can see what the alternative is.

MS. EASTON: I’m going to pause in a second and take a couple questions, but I just wanted to ask you – it’s curious if you’ve had any pushback or disinterest in trying to go forward on this issue.


MS. EASTON: And given – and I think given the fact that there’s plenty of economic self interest there, I should also cite the McKinsey study that says one out of three companies that invest in empowering women in developing countries actually say they end up having (inaudible) profits.


MS. EASTON: Given all that – but still, it doesn’t seem like it’s something at the top of anybody’s plate.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that a number of countries – I mentioned a few in my remarks – have really gotten it in the last few years, but – I mean, I wouldn’t be here talking about it if everybody had signed on to it. It is still an issue that needs to be elevated.

And that’s why I’m trying to make the argument on the basis of dollars and cents, not human rights, because although I think it is a fundamental human right to be able to make a living and support your family, it is also an economic good, and we’re just going to keep talking about it till more and more people are receptive to it. Today at the ministerial, the foreign ministers from the APEC economies, we were talking about it, and a lot of them have been looking at the same data – the World Bank data, the Goldman Sachs data, the McKinsey data. There’s a lot of data now that makes the case. So we just have to hope that people will act in their own self-interest. Don’t do it because you think it’s a charitable action to take, do it because it’ll strengthen the economic base of a community and a country.

MS. EASTON: We can take one question. Are mikes out there?

QUESTION: Hi, Secretary Clinton.

MS. EASTON: Go ahead and introduce yourself too. Thank you.

QUESTION: My name is (inaudible). I am (inaudible) of World Bank, which is something you mentioned earlier, and I come from Indonesia. And the question is actually: Despite the very obvious, that gender equality is a smart (inaudible). And so (inaudible) should be (inaudible) work, (inaudible) especially private sector. What is actually the (inaudible) partnership of public-private partnership that really can realize this potential? Are you any more on a (inaudible) or approach to this (inaudible)? Or (inaudible) creating the right incentive for the private sector to eliminate the discrimination?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s a great question. I think there are a lot of different tactics that can be employed by the private sector. I mean, obviously, a private sector company can do more on its own for its own employees. That’s always an important part of the solution. But also, private sector companies can be advocates for changes within society, change those laws that discriminate against women because they are economically inefficient, be willing to talk to decision-makers about how, in the 21st century global economy, we really don’t have a person to waste, and we need to unleash the economic potential of the entire population of any country.

Many years ago, I served on the Walmart board at Sam Walton’s request. And he was someone who had grown up where women did not play economic roles except the hard work that women did in the home or to support the family. But he began to realize how important it was to pay more attention to the roles of women. And there are many examples of that. Nina mentioned how a lot of companies are surprised at the impact on their bottom lines.

So I think both on an individual basis, companies can do more for their own employees, and on a collective basis to try to eliminate these vestiges of discrimination. Why should it cost a hardworking woman more to access credit when we know from all the experience of microcredit loans, now going back 30 years all over the world, that women are a much better credit risk than most men on average. So why is it so difficult to look at the facts about what really fuels the economy and begin to work with your governments to change some of these outmoded laws and regulations to unleash the economic potential of women? And we know also from microcredit practice and research that women will invest that money in their children’s schooling, in better housing, in building up the family savings to a greater degree on average than the father in the home.

So there’s so much evidence now that if people would just really look at it and then begin to think about what could be done – and the World Bank has done the pioneering work with your recent study that came out last month – pay attention and see what can be done to try to unleash this economic potential.

There was one fact, and I may have it slightly wrong, but something along the lines that in the last 10 years, the combined growth in women’s economic activity was actually higher that China’s, if you look globally. So there’s so much evidence. And don’t do it because somebody like me is saying, “Go do it.” Do it because the evidence supports it being done. And I think, then, you’ll see the results.

MS. EASTON: Why do you think such a tiny portion of Fortune Global CEOs are women?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t know. I think it’s in part because there’s a lot of sacrifices you make in those kinds of really high-pressure jobs, especially going up the ladder. And it’s difficult for women, more so than men, to balance family and work. That’s just a reality. And so it’s – each case is individual, but certainly, with some of the high-profile appointments – women leading Xerox, a woman in line to lead IBM – there are women who have certainly demonstrated their own capacity. And I think sometimes, it does take paying some extra attention to women who are coming up the ranks and making sure that they’re given the support and the mentoring that may be required.

MS. EASTON: Another question?

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, my name is Scott Price. I’m the president and CEO of Walmart Asia. Back when you sat on our board we in fact, didn’t have an Asian business.


QUESTION: So the world has changed dramatically. As a company, we made a number of commitments – to leverage our supply chain, to drive a much higher participation with (inaudible) global economy. Part of my job is to make sure that happens. What would be your advice for women entrepreneurs and women business leaders to prepare for that so that businesses who are going to create the demand can actually find the supply?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that’s a really important question, and I’ll tell you a story. When I was a senator from New York, it became clear to me that a lot of small businesses, both male and female owned and operated, just didn’t know how to get into the supply chains of either the government or of big businesses. They didn’t have contacts, nobody had taught them, and so there was a lot of confusion and belief that they just couldn’t do it.

So in conjunction with some of the businesses in New York, we ran procurement seminars where hundreds of businesses would get information. And now with it being online, you could do a whole lot more to help people. And there’s some great NGOs – I mentioned a few of them in my remarks – who could be great partners with you who know how to reach out. A lot of people who have never done it – and that includes a lot of women – won’t think they’re qualified, won’t think they could do it, aren’t sure that they would be wanted or feel comfortable.

So there is a period of having to reach out and try to create the conditions that are conducive to people feeling that they could compete to be part of a Walmart supply chain, for example. So I know that there are people in this audience and elsewhere who could be great advisors to you about how to envision that and then implement it.

MS. EASTON: I understand you’re going to release a national action plan for women in peace and security next month?


MS. EASTON: Can you give us a quick preview?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, one of – you asked in the beginning about security. And one of the things that we have also learned over the last 30-plus years is that women in today’s conflicts are usually the primary victims – women and children. And so we need to get women more involved in the security and peacemaking tasks that have to be done to end conflicts and to try to prevent them.

And there have been some great examples. I worked for many years back in the ‘90s with women in Northern Ireland who, for the first time, were asked to come together and support a peace process. And we think that there are other examples around the world out of Central America, out of some African countries – if you’ve ever seen the documentary Pray The Devil Back To Hell, you saw what women in Liberia did to try to end that conflict.

So we are trying to put together a lot of lessons learned about what role women can play and should be encouraged to play in order to contribute to peace and security. And we have a lot of continuing conflicts in many places around the world, and we need all the help we can get to try to resolve them.

MS. EASTON: A personal question: You said you want to serve your term and that’s it. You said you aren’t really that interested in Mr. Biden’s job.


MS. EASTON: What’s your dream job next?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I don’t have a dream job. I have a dream vacation. (Laughter.) The idea of —

MS. EASTON: What’s your dream vacation place?


MS. EASTON: I heard you like (inaudible). (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Nearly anywhere. (Laughter.) You come to a beautiful place like Hawaii and I spent – I don’t know – from about eight o’clock until about three o’clock inside windowless rooms. And after a while, you just think, “There’s got to be another way to spend time in Hawaii.” (Laughter.)

So when I tell people that I am really looking forward to whatever my next chapter is, they always ask me, “So what are you going to do,” and I’m really thinking about what I won’t do and how little I can get away with doing for some period of time. Because those of you who are in business and who have worked around the clock for many years, you probably don’t even know how tired you are. And so I’m very much anticipating ending one phase of my life and doing something different in the future.

MS. EASTON: You didn’t answer your favorite vacation spot for us.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I mean, Nina, there’s so many, I’d have to do a survey, a personal survey, to try to figure that out. That, I think, will take at least a decade.

MS. EASTON: Okay. We have time for one more question.

QUESTION: My comment is a little less of a question and more of a thank you. I just wanted to thank you for all you’re doing to advance (inaudible). (Applause.) I wanted to thank you for coming here today and for sharing your very candid thoughts with us, but most importantly, I wanted to thank you for your initiative and your support in establishing the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy in San Francisco about a couple months ago.

I think this is going to be important and have a really lasting impact on helping to unleash the potential of women around the world, so thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you, and – (applause) – the final thing I would say, and it may be an additional answer to a few of the questions, is maybe download the proceedings from that San Francisco summit, the APEC women’s summit, and not just my speech, but a lot of the things that were said there and the presentations that were made. And I think you’ll get a lot of good ideas about what others are doing and what’s practical and what’s working and the challenges that we face. So I very much appreciate your saying that and your commitment to this effort as well.

MS. EASTON: Secretary, I guess we have to send you back to another windowless room.


MS. EASTON: I apologize, but thank you so much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Nina. (Applause.)

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Remarks at the New Silk Road Ministerial Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
New York City, New York
September 22, 2011

Thank you very much Guido and thank you very much for hosting us here in the German House. I am pleased to serve as co-chair alongside you and Minister Rassoul. I am joined by a delegation of senior officials from across the United States government, including the Under Secretary of Commerce, USAID, and the White House.

I want to echo Guido’s condemnation of Professor Rabbani’s assassination.

We have always known there are those who will do all they can to undermine the cause of peace and reconciliation and we will surely see more violence before this is over. But I am confident that the Afghan people will not be deterred from seeking a more peaceful, stable, prosperous Afghanistan. And the international community must continue to stand with them and support their efforts – including the work of the High Peace Council.

In previous meetings, our discussions have focused largely on the on-going coalition military campaign against al-Qaida and the Taliban, and on the political strategy we hope will end the conflict and chart a more peaceful future for the entire region. This does include a reconciliation process based on clear red lines, which Professor Rabbani was leading; regional buy-in, with firm pledges from all of Afghanistan’s neighbors to respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity; and enduring commitment from the United States, United Nations and other multilateral organizations on behalf of the entire international community that we will not abandon Afghanistan or let it once again become a safe haven for terrorists.

Having said that, I am pleased that today we are turning to the economic side of the strategy. Because we all recognize that Afghanistan’s political future is linked to its economic future – and in fact to the future of the entire region. That is a lesson we have learned over and over again, all over the world – lasting stability and security go hand in hand with economic opportunity. People need a realistic hope for a better life, a job and a chance to provide for their family. And that is especially true in Afghanistan.

For political reconciliation to succeed, Afghans must be able to envision a more prosperous, peaceful future. That will take a lot of hard work, but I firmly believe it is possible.

Afghanistan needs a sustainable economy at home that is not dependent on international assistance, and that will require leadership from the government and investment from the private sector. But it is also clear, as it has been throughout Afghanistan’s past that it’s economic future, like it’s political future is bound up with the fortunes of the wider region.

For Afghans to enjoy sustainable prosperity, they will have to work alongside all of their neighbors to shape a more integrated economic future for the region that will create jobs and will undercut the appeal of extremism.

As I outlined in a speech that I gave this summer in Chennai, an Afghanistan firmly embedded in the economic life of a thriving South and Central Asia would be better able to attract new sources of foreign investment, connect to markets abroad and provide people with credible alternatives to insurgency. Increasing regional trade could open up new sources of raw material, energy, and agricultural products for every nation in the region.

For centuries, the nations of South and Central Asia were connected to each other and the rest of the continent by a sprawling trading network called the Silk Road. Afghanistan’s bustling markets sat at the heart of this network. Afghan merchants traded their goods from the court of the Pharaohs to the Great Wall of China.

As we look to the future of this region, let’s take this precedent as inspiration for a long-term vision for Afghanistan and its neighbors. Let’s set our sights on a new Silk Road – a web of economic and transit connections that will bind together a region too long torn apart by conflict and division.

Now, let me hasten to add that I am clear-eyed about the entrenched obstacles standing in the way. But I don’t know what the alternative is. If we do not pledge ourselves to a new economic vision for the region, I do not think that a more prosperous future is as likely. Now I also realize that this long-term vision may seem detached from everyday concerns of Afghans. But I also believe it has the potential to drive tangible progress on the ground and make a difference in people’s lives.

Turkmen gas fields could help meet both Pakistan’s and India’s growing energy needs and provide significant transit revenues for both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Tajik cotton could be turned into Indian linens. Furniture and fruit from Afghanistan could find its way to the markets of Astana or Mumbai and beyond.

So how do we turn this vision into a reality? Well, starting today, and in the coming months at international meetings in Istanbul, Bonn, and Chicago, we will have the opportunity to think through the specifics.

First, in the short-term, we need to work together to support the Afghan people as they meet the economic and security challenges that come with transition from the military mission. As coalition combat forces leave Afghanistan, the support structure that has grown up to supply them will shrink dramatically. That will mean fewer jobs for Afghans and a loss of economic activity. So the Afghan economy will need new sources of growth independent of foreign assistance connected to the military mission. Today at the World Bank, many of our colleagues are discussing this challenge. We need to work together to support an achievable, Afghan-led economic strategy to improve agricultural productivity, develop Afghanistan’s natural resources in a way that benefits the Afghan people, increase exports and strengthen the financial sector, among other steps.

And as we head toward Bonn, I hope our partners will commit to reinvest a share of the so-called “transition dividend” achieved by drawing down combat forces back into Afghan-led economic and security efforts. We will work closely together with all of you in the coming months to develop a transparent and sustainable mechanism to identify and deliver assistance in a way that builds Afghanistan’s capacity.

The United States will continue shifting our development efforts from short-term stabilization projects, largely as part of the military strategy, to longer-term sustainable development that focuses on spurring growth, creating jobs, invigorating the private sector, and integrating Afghanistan into the South and Central Asia economy.

We also know that governments alone cannot possibly solve Afghanistan’s economic problems, so we have to work to create an environment that attracts private sector investment.

Just today we launched a new partnership to promote private investment in Afghanistan’s energy sector that will drive significant economic growth during the transition process and beyond.

As transition proceeds, Afghanistan and its neighbors can begin taking concrete steps toward developing a more sustainable Afghan economy and better connecting it to the rest of the region.

For example, upgrading the facilities at border crossings, such as what India and Pakistan are now doing at the Wagah Crossing. Fostering private sector investment in rail lines, highways, and energy infrastructure, like the proposed pipeline, the so-call (inaudible) pipeline to run from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan, Pakistan and into India. This isn’t about grand infrastructure projects – it’s about promoting sustainable cross-border economic activity.

And it will require removing bureaucratic barriers and other impediments to the free flow of goods and people that currently stifle trade and cooperation.

We are very pleased to see Afghanistan and Pakistan implementing fully their historic transit trade agreement. I think this could be seen as a benchmark to extend to the countries of Central Asia. Indeed, several of Afghanistan’s Central Asian neighbors have already moved to implement similar transit trade agreements to the north. And we are very much looking forward to the meetings of India and Pakistan’s commerce ministers next week, along with their large private sector delegations.

All of these steps would have an immediate impact on economic activity and could help lay the foundation for true regional integration.

But let’s be honest, any of this to be successful will require changes in attitude and a sustained commitment of political will. To attract more private investment, which is critical, the nations of the region need to offer lasting stability and security. That means as hard as it is, putting aside old enmities and rivalries, focusing on opportunities, not just threats. And, I would of course add, welcoming the full participation of women in the economic and political life of the region, which will add to unlocking the enormous untapped economic potential we see in the countries there.

At each step of the way down this road, in the short-, medium- and long-term, economic and political progress will be mutually reinforcing. Nations will not only enjoy the benefits of greater trade but they will also enjoy the benefits that come from working together. And we know that there has to be tangible improvements in people’s lives.

But I think it’s about time we have something we can say yes to, not just no to. No to terrorism, no to extremism, no to insurgency. Yes, that is our message and has been for more than a decade.

But yes to economic integration, yes to closer ties between the nations of this region, yes to a better future for the people who live there.

When we meet again in Germany, I hope we are ready to formalize our specific support for this vision, and to welcome regional commitments that will have been made in Istanbul and to commit to the transition dividends that I think are so important. I look forward to working with all of you to realize the vision of the New Silk Road.

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