Posts Tagged ‘Gordon Brown’


Joint Press Availability With U.K. Foreign Secretary Miliband

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Carlton Gardens, London, United Kingdom
October 11, 2009

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thanks for coming to Carlton Gardens. Above all, a very warm welcome to Secretary Clinton, to — her visit to — London stay, as part of her European tour, where we are absolutely delighted to have you. We have had talks which I would describe as warm, detailed, intensive, and productive. I think all those qualities would fit the sort of relationship that exists between our countries, and has existed between our countries for many years.

I think it’s fair to say that there is going to be a hot (inaudible) on the policy front. We are not short of big policy questions to address. And the transatlantic cooperation is going to be at a premium as we confront the shared challenges and the shared opportunities.

I think it’s fair to say that we spent the most time today talking about the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The shared strategy that has been set out by our Prime Minister and by the President is founded on some very clear principles — above all, the principle that we have a very strong stake in a strong, sovereign, independent Afghanistan that is able to defend its own people from the ravages of the Taliban.

Our resolve, joint resolve, shared with 40 other nations, is strong and clear. And the people of Afghanistan do not want the return to Taliban rule in Kabul, and we have determined to work with a new Afghan government to prevent that. We are especially conscious, I think, of the responsibility of — as leaders of our countries — diplomatic services to make sure that the civilian and political side of the strategy is as strong as the military side.

We have also discussed the situation in the Middle East. We are very strong supporters of the commitment from this administration to establish a Palestinian state that’s able to live alongside Israel. And we have also discussed the need for care and restraint from all sides on the particular flashpoint issues, including Jerusalem.

Obviously, we have also reviewed our position on Iran, where our countries work so closely together, including on the most recent revelation of the covert Iranian uranium enrichment site. My point on this is very, very simple, that Iran will never have a better opportunity to establish normal relations with the international community. And it will never have a better opportunity than to show that the peaceful intent that marks its words about its nuclear program is matched by its deeds.

I think it’s also worth saying that we have had an important exchange on climate change, where we are now less than 60 days away from the Copenhagen summit, which is a unique opportunity for the world to come together and address what is going to become our most press national question, if it is not dealt with in a serious way.

So I just finally say that Secretary Clinton’s determination to be her own envoy when it comes to the question of further progress in Northern Ireland is something that is deeply meaningful to the British government, and I think to the British people, as well. Your visit to Dublin, your visit to Northern Ireland today is a token, not just of America’s commitment to see through the remarkable progress that is being made there, but of also your personal commitment that has existed now for 15 or 20 years. And I am sure the reception that you receive from the business and community and (inaudible) leaders that you meet will be reflective of the esteem and the thanks that we want to give for the outstanding commitment to work for peace there.

So, thank you very much for being here. We look forward to (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, David. And it is a pleasure to be back once again in London, and to have this opportunity to enjoy both a wonderful breakfast and a very productive and detailed conversation over that breakfast. I am also looking forward to seeing the prime minister later this morning.

And first, let me just underscore how grateful I am for this opportunity to reaffirm the historic importance of the special relationship between our two countries. I have many fond memories of this beautiful city from visits over the years. And I remember well something that one of my personal heroines, Eleanor Roosevelt, said back in 1942, when she had come to visit both American and British troops, including her own son. And she spoke of that special bond that is formed between nations when their ideals and objectives coincide. That is still the case today. And both our ideals and our objectives on a broad range of challenges and opportunities that we see in the world give us the chance to continue to forge a better future for the people of our two countries.

The international agenda is broad and deep. And the United States and the United Kingdom are partners, working to advance our shared values on every front, from rebuilding the world economy, to combating climate change and fighting hunger, to facing down the threats of nuclear proliferation and violent extremism, to helping advance a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. We stand shoulder to shoulder in the effort to build a global architecture of cooperation, and to develop the partnerships that are needed to meet these global challenges.

So, as the foreign secretary said, we have had a wide ranging discussion today, but we have had many such discussions over the last nine months, my tenure as Secretary of State.

British leadership was pivotal in the run up to the historic Security Council session chaired by President Obama that unanimously adopted Resolution 1887, and committed us to work toward a world without nuclear weapons. British leadership is important to the P5 Plus 1 process, as we work together to press the world’s great concerns about Iran’s nuclear programs.

We agree that the P5 Plus 1 meeting in Geneva was a constructive beginning. But it must be followed by action. Words are not enough. And we are speaking with a single voice, and delivering a clear message to Iran: The international community will not wait indefinitely for evidence that Iran is prepared to live up to its international obligations.

We also had an opportunity to discuss the ongoing review of our overall efforts, both civilian and military, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I again expressed my admiration for the incredible courage and commitment of the British troops who are serving in Afghanistan. We are deeply grateful for their service, and we honor their sacrifice. And both of our nations are committed to the cause in Afghanistan.

We understand how difficult this is, but we have no doubt that we must be both committed, and demonstrate leadership necessary to achieve our goals. At the same time, we are working to support the democratically elected government of Pakistan in its efforts to confront violent extremism, and to assist the people whose lives have been disrupted by that conflict. We want to help the Pakistani people and their government improve in the delivery of services. We share the same goals for the region that is affected by so much violent extremism, mainly, a peaceful and prosperous future for the people who live there.

And finally, as the foreign secretary said, we discussed the peace process in Northern Ireland, where I will be traveling later today. This remains an issue of great importance for both of our countries, and we are committed to seeing the full implementation of the Good Friday agreement, and a lasting peace in Northern Ireland that brings the benefits of peace to the people.

We always have a full agenda. We never have enough time to discuss everything that is on our minds. But it is a personal pleasure for me to be working with Secretary Miliband. So I thank you again for hosting me today, and I look forward to the work ahead.

MODERATOR: We will now take questions. Tim Marshall. (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Good morning. Foreign Secretary first. You talked about a shared strategy in Afghanistan. But, as you know, D.C. has spent the whole week talking about what they’re going to be doing in Afghanistan, drawing down troops, reinforcing troops, status quo. Have you been given a full briefing on the Americans’ intentions, and what are they?

Madame Secretary, welcome back in London. Remarks from you on that would be useful. But also, I did want to ask you about Northern Ireland. There has been a couple of terrorist instances recently. There have been bombs found, and it’s thought to be the real IRA. I wanted your message to the terrorists in Northern Ireland, and also to the people back home, any remnants of support they may still have in the United States.

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Well, thank you for that, Tim. We certainly have had a full discussion of the discussions that are taking place in Washington.

I think people are in danger — people around the world are in danger — of misunderstanding the discussion that is taking place. I am sure Hillary will want to comment on this. But when President Obama set out his strategy in March, he made it absolutely clear that, at the time of the election, the formation of a new Afghan government, it would be appropriate to review the civil and military components of the strategy, and, above all, to review the implementation mechanisms that exist for putting into practice the strategy that he announced, a strategy which is at one with the strategy that the Prime Minister has announced.

There are big decisions ahead, above all, for the new Afghan government which will be formed in the next few weeks. But there are also decisions for the whole of the coalition, led by the United States. And we are working very, very closely together in Afghanistan and in our capitals to make sure that the coalition effort is as clear and effective and as decisive as possible.

To repeat, that means a civilian and political strategy with means of implementation, as well as a military strategy. And certainly the candor and transparency that is at the heart of the special relationship that the Secretary spoke about has been evident in all of our discussions, both down to the detailed work that we do together in Lashkar Gah, in the heart of Helmand, and the discussions that we have had today.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I would only underscore the foreign secretary’s points. Our strategy remains the same. We are committed to Afghanistan. We are very clear that the conjunction of al-Qaeda and elements of the Taliban and other extremists pose a direct threat to our two countries, and really, to the world.

But we are also committed to ensuring that the implementation of our strategy on both the civilian and the military side is as effective as possible. And I think that is to be recognized and appreciated, as opposed to some of the discussion as to, “Well, why would you be rethinking,” or, “Why would you be looking hard,” or, “Why would you be asking tough questions?” Well, because we want to do it right, and we want to keep doing it right.

We have been in office about nine months. We obviously believe that the prior eight years were not as effective or focused as they might have been. I remember the first time I went to Afghanistan as a senator in 2003, I believe. And I was met by an American soldier at one of the bases I visited who said, “Welcome to the forgotten front lines of the war against terrorism.”

So, our challenge has been to take what we inherited, including an immediate request for troops that the President had to act on shortly after taking office, understanding that we wanted to integrate our civilian and our military approaches, that we wanted to see Afghanistan in the larger regional context, and to recognize the imperative of working with Pakistan in order to be successful in Afghanistan, as well as stabilizing and supporting the people of Pakistan.

So, I believe that we are engaged in not only a very important and, as David said, transparent process, but one that shows real leadership and commitment by the United States.

As regards Northern Ireland, and the continuing evidence of extremism in Northern Ireland — because, to me, terrorism is terrorism — and those who would try to disrupt the peace of people going about their daily lives, are out of step and out of time. But it is imperative that the process that was established by the Good Friday agreement be seen all the way to conclusion. And I know that Prime Minister Brown is very focused on that. I have met with the leaders in Northern Ireland. I will, obviously, be seeing them again tomorrow.

But there is no support coming at all from the United States. The best we can tell is that those who try to inflict harm on others and cause damage are funding their evil enterprise through criminal gains. So we hope to see an end to all of that.

MODERATOR: Next question, Jeff Mason, Reuters.

QUESTION: Thank you. Madame Secretary and Mr. Foreign Secretary, my question is about Pakistan. The West has always been confident that nuclear arms in Pakistan are secure. In light of yesterday’s attacks, how can you continue to be confident about that?

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I am happy to — sorry?

QUESTION: I would be grateful for responses from both of you.

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I think it’s very important to underline, first of all, the concern everyone faces about the internal threat — (inaudible), if you like — that exists in Pakistan. That is the greatest threat to Pakistan’s security.

We both used the phrase that the insurgencies — plural — that Pakistan faces are a mortal threat to that country. But it’s a threat that, over the last three or four months, the Pakistani military and the Pakistani people have shown enormous resolve and determination and sacrifice in beating back. And it is a mortal threat that can and will be defeated by united action by the civilian and military leadership in Pakistan, with the support of their people, and the support of the international community.

In respect of the nuclear issue, there is no evidence that has been shown publicly or privately of any threat to the Pakistani nuclear facilities. I think it’s very important that alarmist talk is not allowed to gather pace, but that is — at no stage underestimate the nature of the insurgency that threatens the Pakistani people. And the loss of life in Peshawar on Friday is a stark reminder of what the Pakistani people face, and the sacrifice that is being demanded of them. And I think it’s important that those two issues are not confused.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I would agree with David, that we have confidence in the Pakistani government and the military’s control over nuclear weapons. The recent attack at Rawalpindi, that was right at a military installation, is another reminder that the extremists in Pakistan, whatever their titles, or whatever their affiliation, are increasingly threatening the authority of the state.

But we see no evidence that they are going to take over the state, it’s just that they will continue to cause a great deal of harm to the people of Pakistan, which is why the Pakistani military and the government is going after them so aggressively.

MODERATOR: Next question. Katherine Fillpot with the Times.

QUESTION: Foreign Secretary, Madame Secretary, can I ask you both if you are prepared to endorse a Karzai victory in the Afghan election, despite the extraordinary allegations of fraud?

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I think we have both said very clearly that our countries will never be party to a whitewash. That is not the way in which we work. That is why both of our countries have supported so strongly the Electoral Complaints Commission, and the work that they are doing. It is very important that that is followed through.

There are Afghan processes that need to be followed that require real engagement from all sides of the Afghan political system. We wait for the conclusions of the Electoral Complaint Commission’s work. As I said at our party conference 10 days ago, it is right that we wait, because the new Afghan government has big responsibilities that will require the engagement of the whole Afghan population.

And to repeat something I have said elsewhere, I think it’s striking that all of the leading candidates have made clear their view that they need to reach out to each other, as well as reach out to the Afghan population. And Afghanistan needs a concerted and consensus approach, and I very much hope that’s what they will get. But we are waiting for the results (inaudible) wait for the processes to be followed through carefully.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that’s correct.

MODERATOR: One final question to Jill Dougherty, from CNN.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. This question would be to both secretaries, if you would.

Secretary Miliband, you have mentioned the covert facility at Qom. And in light of this annex to the IAEA report, do you — what is the possibility that that enrichment facility at Qom might be just one of a series of secret uranium enrichment facilities in Iran?

And then, just another quick question about these democracy protesters whom Iran says they are going to execute. How do you keep faith with the democracy supporters, while at the same time engaging with Iran to get what you want, which is the end to their nuclear program?

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Well, I think that Iran’s history of covert secret programs before 2003, whether it’s their dispute with the IAEA, and more recently in respect of the Qom facility, explains why the international community does not have confidence in the Iranian regime’s protestations about the purely peaceful aspects, or purely peaceful purposes, of their nuclear program.

I think the IAEA’s role is particularly important, and I think it’s very important that we support them. I think both of our countries are pledged not just to support the IAEA, but to build up the IAEA as an organization that can do that. By definition, we don’t provide a running commentary on covert sites in Iran or in — anywhere else. But I think that the revelations, in respect to the Qom facility, are very significant, indeed.

Secretary Clinton referred to the unity of the international coalition, and I think it is very important to use platforms like this to say that the P5 Plus 1 — the United States, Russia, China, plus the three European countries — are joined as one in our determination to engage with Iran, but also to engage on very clear principles. Iran can be treated as a normal country, in respect to nuclear matters, when it starts behaving as a normal country.

And that really leads to the second question, which is that we just have to stick to our principles. And our principles, in respect of human rights, are very clear. Our insistence that it is not for us to choose the government of Iran is clear. But also our insistence that it is right to stand up for human rights around the world, for universal values, is also very clear. And I think that that message to the Iranian government, as well as to the Iranian people, that it’s their rights that need to be sacrosanct, is absolutely right, and is the right way to show our commitment and our engagement.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the whole premise of our approach to Iran is to pursue, wherever possible, the kind of engagement that will produce results, as we saw at the P5 Plus 1, on agreement for inspection of the site at Qom, the (inaudible), the agreement to have the enriched uranium shipped out of the country, and then returned for the Tehran research reactor, and an agreement for follow-on meetings that would be held soon.

So, it was a constructive beginning. But it has a long way to go before any of us are convinced that Iran is willing to abide by its international obligation, and to cease and desist any efforts toward a nuclear weapons program.

But, you know, we have negotiated with many, many countries over the years — the former Soviet Union, for example — whose human rights record and behavior toward their own people was of great concern to us, and that we spoke out about it at the same time that we negotiated arms control agreements.

With Iran, it is tragic that a country with such a great history, with, you know, so much to give to the rest of the world, is so afraid of their own people. And the way that they are utilizing secret prisons and detentions, show trials, is a reflection of the discontent that they know people feel toward the current leadership.

So, as David said, you know, we know that decisions about the future of Iran are up to the Iranian people. But we will continue to speak out on behalf of human rights, on behalf of democracy, on behalf of freedom of expression, that are really at the core of human freedom. And it’s important that the people in Iran know that the United States, the United Kingdom, and others in the international community, are watching very closely as to what is happening, and standing on their side when it comes to their willingness to take great risks on behalf of the kind of future that they would like to see for their country. Thank you.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, David.

PRN: 2009/T13-2

Following a spectacularly successful performance in Zurich yesterday, where she helped negotiate a last minute hitch that threatened the signing of the Armenia Turkey Protocols, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flew to London last night for a series of meetings with Foreign Minister David Miliband and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.  Among the topics they discussed was the terrorist attack on the Pakistani Army HQ yesterday.  Both Clinton and Miliband stated that there was no danger of the government failing or nuclear weapons falling into terrorist hands.

Clinton: terrorists increasing threat to Pakistan

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With Hillary on a brief vacation beginning last Wednesday in Bermuda, there has not been much to post here. These dry news times routinely generate memory photo albums on Hillary blogs, so here are a few cute ones. Here’s Hillary with her good friend British Foreign Minister David Miliband back in March at the NATO conference.

With HBO famously making a movie called “A Special Relationship” about the bilateral friendship between President Bill Clinton and then British PM, Tony Blair, the relationship between Hillary and Miliband appeared from the outset to reaffirm the special alliance between the U.S. and the U.K. despite a rather bumpy start when the Obama team decided to redecorate the White House by returning a bust of Winston Churchill to the Brits. Things got bumpier still when current PM, Gordon Brown, et famille visited the new First Family. But Hillary came through to save the day forming a firm and, by all indications cordial friendship with Miliband…cordial, that is until this happened:

David Miliband calls Hillary Clinton to voice anger over Guantánamo inmates’ transfer to Bermuda By Toby Harnden in Washington Published: 6:34PM BST 12 Jun 2009.

Ooohhhh, noes! Hillary! How could you! Actually, Hillary and David have met since then, and we have not seen frost on the friendship. We have to remember that this was not a decision made within the State Department and although Hillary was certainly consulted, the decision was not hers to make.

Now the choice of Bermuda as a vacation spot is interesting! The Clintons only had a few days there making a quick getaway in advance of Hurricane Bill (I know! You can’t make this stuff up!) closing the airport (and we haven’t heard a whisper since of where they might be). But Bill did play some golf on the course where the Uighurs are groundskeepers, and Hillary has a penchant for making statements just by her presence. Maybe they DIDN’T go there to celebrate the 30th anniversary of …um… the beginning of Chelsea (or maybe they DID!), but if there was a second good reason for Bermuda, I can see a reflection of Hillary’s decision to stay at the Taj Mahal in Mumbai in this choice. “It’s fine! You can still vacation here. See?” She probably promised David she would gladly make this gesture despite:

Release of Abdel Basset Mohamed al-Megrahi, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, Washington, DC, August 20, 2009

When that statement was released, she was already in Bermuda.

Over the weekend, and in total Hillary-blackout, the rage over Al-Megrahi grew legs:

FBI boss Robert Mueller rips Scots who released Lockerbie bomber: “Comfort to terrorists” by Christina Boyle, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER, Sunday, August 23rd 2009, 2:18 AM

So what is the take-away from all this? I think it’s like when Scott Beckett hits Derek Jeter so next inning Andy Pettitte hits Big Papi – no harm meant just a little payback…and a compulsory warning.

One thing, though: You appoint and confirm Secretaries of State and Foreign Ministers to maintain diplomatic relations. Before any further moves of this kind are considered, the administrations would do well to consult and heed the advice of their top diplomats who seem to have a special enough relationship to get us past this bumpy patch.

Meanwhile, Quadaffi, the guy who gave Al-Megrahi the hero’s welcome in Libya, is planning to pitch a tent here in New Jersey – not far from me! I told you, you can’t make this stuff up! Stay tuned.

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

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


Of course she spoke.

Remarks at The International Conference on Afghanistan


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Remarks With Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen


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

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

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