Posts Tagged ‘Greece’

Yes, there were more bilaterals last night after which she hosted the Transatlantic dinner. The snip below is from a briefing last night by a senior official providing  background.

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Readout of the Secretary’s Meetings With Belgian Foreign Minister Reynders, Greek Foreign Minister Avramopoulos, United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Hague, and the Transatlantic Dinner

Special Briefing

Senior Administration Official
Waldorf Astoria Hotel
New York City
September 25, 2012
MODERATOR: Thank you very much, and again, sorry that this evening has gone on so long, but we thought it would be worthwhile to provide you a readout on background from our Senior Administration Official. For your records, that is actually [Senior Administration Official]. We will do a brief readout of the dinner that just took place, the Transatlantic Dinner with our NATO and European partners, and then have time to take some of your questions.

So with that, let me just turn it over to our Senior Administration Official.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thanks, and thanks to everyone for waiting up so late. Apologies it’s so late, but the dinner went on for some time. I’ll get to the Transatlantic Dinner. Maybe I can just start with the other Transatlantic engagements, European engagements the Secretary’s had since she arrived on Sunday.

This actually began with her bilat with European Union High Representative for Foreign Policy Cathy Ashton on Sunday evening. And just briefly on that, she – the Secretary spent a good hour with High Representative Ashton covering a wide range of issues starting with Iran. The High Representative is leading the negotiations, recently had some talks in Istanbul with the Iranians, was able to report on those talks, and I think both of them concluded that there’s still time and space for diplomacy, and that effort needs to go on as we pursue both tracks – the pressure track – and I think we’ve heard from a number of Europeans in the course of the week that they’re looking for ways to increase the pressure track even as High Representative Ashton leads the way on negotiations on the diplomatic track. And we’re very serious about both tracks at the same time.

They talked about Burma, obviously, with Aung San Suu Kyi recently being in Washington and the EU having its own engagements with her, and talked about how the U.S. and the EU can coordinate on supporting democratic reforms in Burma. And then they actually spent a considerable time – amount of time on democratic reforms closer to home, which is to say across Eastern Europe. As the Secretary and High Representative were meeting, we were getting election results from Belarus – not that there was much question about how those elections would come out – and unfortunately they came out as expected, which is to say reflecting an unlevel playing field. And Secretary Clinton and High Representative Ashton talked about how we together in the U.S. and Europe can keep the pressure on Belarus and make clear that so long as there are political prisoners and so long as elections are repeatedly falling well short of international standards, then Belarus is not going to be able to have the relationship with Europe and the United States that it needs.

They also talked about upcoming elections in Ukraine, and I think it’s fair to say that we – the United States and Europe are working extraordinarily closely together when it comes to pressing for and supporting free and fair elections that are going to take place on October 28th. Ukraine is hugely important to European security and stability. We have been very clear how much we regret what we see as selective prosecutions, including the imprisonment of former Prime Minister Tymoshenko. And Secretary Clinton, High Rep Ashton agreed the U.S. and the European Union really have the same policy, which is to say that our relations with Ukraine can only really move forward when we see an end of those selective prosecutions and free and fair elections. And they talked about how we can use the time between now and October 28th to support those goals.

There are also upcoming elections in Georgia on October 1st, and once again, I think the two of them agreed how important it was for us collectively to make clear to Georgia how important it is to have a fair and transparent and competitive campaign environment. The most important thing Georgia can do for its future is to consolidate its democracy. We have respectively raised concerns about different issues on the road to those elections, and we’ve been appreciative that the Georgian Government has heard those concerns, and in most cases, taken measures to make sure that the elections that we are going to be very active in monitoring will indeed be free and fair.

And then finally, Secretary Clinton and High Rep Ashton talked about the Balkans. Catherine Ashton is leading an effort to promote the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo. Together, we support the path to the European Union of both of those countries. We think Serbia needs to come to term with an independent Kosovo in order to move forward along that path. And it’s something the United States and European Union are working very much hand in hand on to consolidate the Balkans as part of a unified Europe.

And then this evening, the Secretary, prior to the Transatlantic Dinner, had the opportunity to meet with a number of foreign ministers, including, in particular, several whom she hadn’t had formal bilats with who are new since certainly the last General Assembly, which includes the Greek Foreign Minister, Mr. Avramopoulos; the Belgian Foreign Minister, Didier Reynders; and the very new Norwegian Foreign Minister, Espen Barth Eide. And the Secretary also met with UK Foreign Secretary William Hague.

Just very briefly with Greek Foreign Minister Avramopoulos, of course, they focused considerably on the Greek economy, and the Secretary expressed our understanding and appreciation for the great sacrifices that the Greek people are making in the reforms that have been deemed necessary to keep Greece in the Eurozone and to turn around its economy. We know how difficult those reforms are, but it’s a core American interest to see the Eurozone not just survive but thrive, and that entails also supporting Greece. And she was able to hear from the Foreign Minister the difficult budgetary cuts and tax increases and structural changes they’re making, but we were impressed with the seriousness of the effort, and I think it was useful for the Secretary to hear about the important reforms that Greece has undertaken, and for Foreign Minister Avramopoulos to hear how strongly the United States supports what Greece is doing.

With Foreign Minister Reynders of Belgium, she – Secretary Clinton thanked him for Belgium’s strong cooperation with the United States on a number of areas, including Afghanistan, where they’ve been very much involved and are – have agreed to help support Afghan National Security Forces after 2014; our cooperation on Syria and Iran, where again Belgium is a core member of the Transatlantic community, is cooperating closely with us. And they also talked about a couple of areas of particular interest not just to us, but to Belgium, which is to say Central Africa, the Congo, and the Sahel where the Belgium Foreign Minister explained what Belgium is doing to try to promote stability in those regions.

Seeing the new Norwegian Foreign Minister Barth Eide was a good opportunity for the Secretary, who had worked very closely with his predecessor, Jonas Store. She congratulated the new Foreign Minister and noted that the United States and Norway are extraordinarily close partners who work very well together. The Secretary, of course, traveled to Norway last summer, and it was a good chance for her to touch base with the brand new Foreign Minister and talk about a number of areas of common interest.

Finally, she did a bilat with Foreign Secretary Hague, mostly focused on Syria, where it was a good chance for the two of them, who have both recently seen Special Representative Brahimi, to coordinate policy on Syria. They also touched on Afghanistan and the challenge of dealing with some of these so-called green-on-blue attacks.

A lot of these themes that I’ve already mentioned, these bilats were also the subject of the Transatlantic Dinner, and I’ll end with a readout of that, which I guess went on for almost two hours. The Transatlantic Dinner, as you all know, is something we do every year at the General Assembly, meeting of European Union foreign ministers, NATO foreign ministers, as well as Macedonia and Switzerland, plus the NATO Secretary General and the High Representative of the EU. And it’s an opportunity to talk about a number of issues on the agenda of European and North Atlantic countries. They can obviously not cover everything; they cover a number of things, but I think particularly worth highlighting would be three topics – Syria, Afghanistan, and Europe and this question of democracy in Europe that I already flagged as being one of the subjects of the bilats.

And I think what is really worth stressing when I mention these topics of Syria, Afghanistan, and democracy in Europe is how much on the same page these members of the transatlantic community are. Members of the EU and NATO are really working in an unprecedented way on each of the topics I mentioned.

Again, just briefly on Syria, there was really a consensus around the table behind the approach that I know you’ve heard about that we’ve been taking in terms of supporting the opposition and trying to coordinate the opposition so that when the Assad regime does fall, as we believe it will, there will be something in place that can provide stability, efforts to respond to the huge humanitarian crisis; of course, Turkey is present at this meeting, was able to speak about the challenges they’re facing with refugees and preparing for a post-Assad Syria and keeping the pressure on the regime.

On Afghanistan, as in previous years, the Secretary was able to thank our European allies and partners for all the contributions they have made to our efforts in Afghanistan. This was the first meeting of this group since the Chicago Summit where important decisions were made on the milestone towards Afghan lead in 2013, and then the full transition by the end of 2014. And to follow up on some of the pledges made, our belief, as you know, is that the key to transition and successful transition in Afghanistan is training, and that requires trainers and it requires funding. And we were very pleased at all of the contributions made by European and other allies in Chicago towards ANSF funding after 2014. And the Secretary reiterated the importance of continuing to finance that project and to contribute the security force assistance teams that are needed to make this a success.

I think it’s worth stressing the Secretary made clear, and I think others around the table also made very clear, that notwithstanding some adjustments to the approach in Afghanistan to deal with these so-called insider attacks, the goal and the strategy and the timeline in Afghanistan remain absolutely unchanged. And Secretary General Rasmussen made that perfectly clear as well. What leaders agreed first in Lisbon and then complemented in Chicago is very clear and has not changed, and again, I can – I think I can say that every single minister on the table who spoke about it reiterated their commitment to the same goal, strategy, and timeline, and their commitment to doing what they can to support those goals.

Finally, and I think it’s really worth stressing, the discussion on democracy in Europe was important. This group gets together, and the world in which we live so often finds itself talking about Libya or Syria or Iran or Afghanistan, but there’s still some concerns in Europe to this group. And the Secretary herself highlighted her personal concerns about some of the upcoming elections that I already mentioned – Ukraine and Georgia, the highly imperfect election that took place in Belarus, and also the climate for democracy and human rights in Russia. And the Secretary noted a number of steps taken recently in Russia that aren’t pointing in the right direction where transparency and democracy are concerned.

And we’ve already raised in other fora our concerns about the new NGO law that requires registration of foreign agents, the increased fines for protests, some selective cases of prosecution, and now most recently, a new draft law on treason which would widen the definition of treason, and then of course the Russian decision to ask our USAID Office to cease its activities in Russia. And the Secretary reiterated our regret of that decision and our belief that USAID has accomplished a lot in Russia, and our commitment to carry on as we can in supporting those in Russia who want to see a free and fair and democratic Russia.

So that’s really the highlights, I think, of the Transatlantic Dinner and the bilat….

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Remarks With Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis Before Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
October 27, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON:Good afternoon, everyone. It is a great pleasure to welcome the foreign minister of Greece here today. I have appreciated the opportunity to work with him and had now several occasions, including in Athens, to meet and discuss not only our bilateral relationship, which continues strong and very consequential to us both, but also regional and international matters, and of course, the international economic challenges that Greece, along with the rest of the world, is facing.Tomorrow marks the 71st anniversary of Oxi Day, when Greeks celebrate the freedom and courage of the Greek people. And today, Greece is being asked to summon its courage again. This time, the challenge is economic. The Greek people are making major changes and big sacrifices to return their country to financial health and economic competitiveness. And while those changes and sacrifices are certainly painful, they are necessary. And in the long run, they will benefit Greece and its partners, but most particularly the children and future generations of Greek citizens.

The United States applauds Greece’s commitment to fiscal and structural reform. Decisive and bold actions in the EU are also critical to resolving the European economic crisis, and Greece’s debt crisis in particular. Early this morning in Brussels, European leaders made vital decisions to address the significant and pressing economic challenges they face.

Greece is a longstanding and important ally of the United States. In ways large and small, life in our country is enriched by the energy and contributions of our many Greek Americans. And abroad, Greece and the United States share common goals for stability and prosperity in Southeastern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. The United States looks forward to broadening, deepening, and strengthening this already very vital relationship.

Stavros, thank you so much for being here.

FOREIGN MINISTER LAMBRINIDIS: Thank you. Thank you, Madam Secretary. Thank you, Hillary. It’s a great pleasure to be here. Let me begin by wishing you a happy birthday, which now, since I know how many years before me you were at Yale Law School, I can also guess your age, I guess, but I will not tell anyone.

SECRETARY CLINTON: That is really unkind. (Laughter.)

FOREIGN MINISTER LAMBRINIDIS: That’s really – I’m sorry. No, it’s a good age. It’s a good age.

Now, this is a wonderful occasion for me to be here and for me to have a chance to talk to the Secretary of State of the U.S. on a number of very important issues in – for our bilateral relations, but also for Europe. Yesterday, a new leaf was turned in Europe, and I think a number of very hopeful days are ahead of us, both for Greece and for Europe and for the United States, as indeed our economies and our fates, in many ways in this world, are tied together. And I think it is imperative of me to underline the extremely important and helpful role that the U.S. has played, and Hillary Clinton in particular, throughout these difficult months.

It is often said that friendships get tried during difficult times. And since these are indeed the Oxi Days, as you mentioned, Greece and the United States do know of difficulties. We have been together and stood by each other during difficult wars, and we are standing by each other today as well. I think that we will have a wonderful opportunity to discuss issues in our neighborhood and in our region that concern us both deeply, in which Greece has a very active involvement and a great desire to be able itself, through the EU, and with the U.S. to bring peace and stability that we all need.

So thank you very much for this opportunity to see you again after only a few months. When you came to Greece the first time that you came, I told you you were the first foreign visitor who came. And I wished that you would bring me luck. I can say that up to now, things have gone well for my country. The difficulties are there. As you mentioned, the Greek people are making a tremendous amount of sacrifices. I am grateful that (inaudible) will have the opportunity to recognize them. We know we have tough days ahead of us. We are changing our country, and Europe is indicating that it doesn’t only have the ability but also the will to stand by us and to stand by the European Union project.

Thank you.

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This is a few days old, but it was just released.

Interview With Alexis Papahelas of SKAI TV


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ambassador’s Residence
Athens, Greece
July 17, 2011

QUESTION: Well, Madam Secretary, it is a pleasure to see you in Athens.


QUESTION: Thank you very much for agreeing to do this interview. Let me ask you, first of all, what is the main message that you carry with you?

SECRETARY CLINTON: It is a message of support and solidarity with the Greek Government, and most importantly, the Greek people, as you go through this very difficult period. We think what has already been done is important. But we know more also has to occur, with privatization and tax reform. But I want people in Greece to understand that we recognize the difficulty of these decisions, we know that there will be painful sacrifices, but we are absolutely confident that Greece will emerge from them even stronger.

And the future for Greece is so filled with potential, because of your strategic location in a part of the world that is changing so rapidly, that I came with a message of real hope that this can be done, and done in a way that will strengthen Greece, and for years to come.

QUESTION: Now, I know that you like talking to the average person on the street. The last time, before your visit with consulate, I was (inaudible), so you could talk about (inaudible). There are a lot of angry people here in Greece. They are angry at the market, they are angry at the rating agencies, they are angry at their politicians. If you had the chance to meet with one of them, what would you say to them?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well that I understand the anger and the deep concern that the global economy has presented to all of us. We have angry people in my own country right now. And I am a very sympathetic person to what people are going through.

But you cannot deny the reality of what must be done. I used the analogy this morning with the foreign minister. If you are given a diagnosis of cancer, you could be angry or you could seek treatment. And sometimes the treatment makes you sick before it makes you well. And radiation, chemo, those are terrible things for the body to go through. But what we have learned is that, if you are willing to do that, very often in today’s modern world with modern medicine, you can be cured.

Well, what we know now about the global economy is that we cannot escape from it, and it is a hard task master. So the kinds of physical disciplinary policies that the current government is pushing are a necessary medicine. Does anybody like it? Of course not. But there is no alternative. Because Greece is an essential part of Europe. It has benefitted from its membership in the European Union and the euro. And now there are steps that must be taken.

But it is not only for the government to take them. I have been talking with government officials, but I also have, as you know, many Greek-American friends. And it is clear that there are steps that individuals have to take, as well. But it will be in the best interest not only of the nation, but of the people, if this pathway that has been laid out can be followed now.

QUESTION: Well, as you know, there has been a lot of (inaudible) depends on what kind of measures to be taken, and so on. Of course you have the same problem with (inaudible). Do you think that (inaudible), and do you think it’s actually compatible, to have a working (inaudible) and also to be able to (inaudible) compete with China, and India, and everybody else?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Absolutely. I mean here we are, in the birthplace of democracy, and there is, in my opinion, no doubt that functioning democracies with transparent governments, with the consent of the governed, with the kind of responsible decision-making that Greece is exhibiting now, are, for the long run, in much stronger positions, not only economically, but also where we all live and feel, and our individuals rights and freedoms. There are other systems in the world. But no one that I know of would want to change places to take up where others are, because you would sacrifice so much.

So, yes. Are we testing democracies today? Are we testing political leadership, and whether or not people actually want to solve the problems or just exacerbate it for their own personal and party-political gains? That is, unfortunately, all too common across the world in our democracies. But it is, by far, the best system. Winston Churchill’s famous old saying is, “The worst system that has ever been devised, except for all the others.”

Well, as hard as it is to get people in a room, to make the compromise, to decide on a consensus, it is the best approach. And what the government here did in getting the votes necessary to move forward was a great tribute to the Greek political system. And I am very admiring of how hard that was, because I am, as you know, a recovering politician. I spent a lot of my time in the political trenches. So I know how difficult it is.

But this is what leaders are for. These are the historic moments that test whether one is a leader or just a politician. And we see leadership from the prime minister here, leadership from our President back home, leadership in those who are stepping up and accepting responsibility. It is not of the current generation’s making; they inherited a lot of this. But it is up to them to resolve it. And I don’t think there is any better alternative.

QUESTION: I know you (inaudible). And I wonder, can the Greek people expect anything (inaudible) assistance from the U.S. Or perhaps investments, once the systemic risk is over and the country is stabilized? Do you see any of that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, of course. And because the United States is the single largest contributor to the IMF, the IMF assistance that is coming to Greece is very much a part of America’s commitment.

But we also — and I have been trying to send this message — want to see more American businesses invest in Greece. We think there are great opportunities. It is not only the beauty and the tourism, the hospitality industries that can benefit. But I think Greece is well poised in clean, renewable energy. Some countries are going to capture this market. They are going to be market centered, as leaders. Greece can do that. And I think there are investments that Americans would be interested in.

I also think that as you have reformed your business sector with more transparency, more contract enforcement, making it possible for businesses to feel as though they are on a level playing field with Greek and other businesses, I think that will be very attractive to American business.

So, both from the public side, with our commitment to the IMF, and on the private sector side, we think there is opportunity here, and we want to be part of making that happen.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.) There are various reports about the large reserves of natural gas or even oil (inaudible). Do you give any credence to those? (Inaudible) business community?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Absolutely. And they aren’t yet well documented, but I think that exploration is beginning, and we encourage that. There are also ways that Greece can become a hub for conventional energy with oil and gas and pipelines that would be transacting or transecting Greece.

So, yes, and we have encouraged American companies to look at this. We know about the big gas finds off of Israel and Lebanon. And it seems that Mother Nature has her way, and it may take a long time, but all of the development of gas and oil fields that we are discovering around the world, it seems like there are very geographic limits to them.

QUESTION: Well, our whole area is changing (inaudible) what is happening in Syria, and what is happening in Libya, and so on. Has this changed your political view of Greece, or Greek relations with Turkey, or Greek relations with Israel? How do you see this whole (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, you are right, that this has been a time of very rapid change in the Middle East and north Africa. And if you just look at the map, and where Greece is situated, its strategic advantage is apparent. There is work to be done, work to ensure that you continue the efforts to try to resolve Greek-Turkish problems, that there be the continuing efforts on the unfinished business of the western Balkans, that we all work to try to support the transitions going on in Egypt, in Libya, Tunisia.

But I don’t think there is any doubt that with Greece’s strong strategic location, coupled with your historic relations with these countries in the Mediterranean, that there is a great opportunity here for Greece, which is why, as we were discussing with the ministers with whom I met, if you think about the industries of the future — and energy will certainly continue to be one — how Greece positions itself on renewables, on clean energy, and on traditional sources of energy, will be a major impact on what will happen in the region.

So, yes. I think that Greece is very well positioned, and that is why I hope that, as the Greek people go through this economic crisis, you don’t lose sight of what is over the horizon. Because getting through this crisis, making the reforms that are necessary, will really strengthen you.

Other countries have gone through these kinds of changes. I think of South Korea, which is now, I think, the 12th largest economy, it is a member of the G-20, it is absolutely on very strong economic footing and exercising influence around the world. Brazil went through IMF restructuring. If you could look around the world, you could see there is a direct line from taking the medicine, making a hard decision, and the kind of pay-off, economically, that other countries are enjoying.

QUESTION: Coming from Turkey — you were there for two days —


QUESTION: Do you see any potential for sort of real progress in Greek-Turkish relations, or do you think these are not compatible (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, I do. I don’t think that the diplomatic efforts should be shelved during the economic crisis. I think you need to be proceeding on both tracks. And I really believe that there is an opening here.

I know that Prime Minister Papandreou has already met with and visited with Prime Minister Erdogan and the Turkish leaders. And I encouraged him to continue that, even though I know that he has to put the economic challenge first and foremost, because I think that helps Greece. I think in the medium-term, not just the long-term, working to resolve Greek-Turkish tensions and a lot of the leftover issues from the past, clears the path for Greece to play that strategic leadership role in the region that I think you can.

QUESTION: Well, finally, let me ask you — as you know, there is another issue, the famous issue (inaudible). And now, you have been talk to the (inaudible) Skopje. Do you see any sense of having progress there, or —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have made it very clear that we support the negotiations that have gone on between Skopje and Athens. We think that there is an opportunity here. And the government in Skopje needs to know that it will not be able to move forward on its European integration until it does resolve this. And, obviously, Greece has to be willing to accept how the name is resolved.

So, we have encouraged as strongly as we can that this matter be finally taken care of. Whether that will happen or not, we will have to wait and see.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) a lot of (inaudible). Are you really concerned about (inaudible) in the next few months?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think it matters, what Greece does now. I think half of the package that was required has been passed. It is beginning to be implemented. But the other half has not yet been carried through. And if you look at it, the need for tax reform, a broader tax base, ending special favors, trying to make sure that Greece has the resources that it needs, that is a very important piece of it. And I know it is hard, but it has to be done.

So, I think that a fair assessment would be Greece has come a long way, but is not yet where it needs to be, in order to reassure the markets, to avoid the kind of economic disaster that could occur, and to reassure your own citizens that you are on a path that will pay off for them. Because, ultimately, that is what people have to believe.

And there will always be opposition, there will always be naysayers. You cannot please everybody in a democracy; everyone knows that. But you have to make the case that what you are doing is not to satisfy some bond holder or satisfy some European government, or the IMF. You are doing what you must do in order to secure the future of Greece, and the next generation of young Greeks. And I don’t think there is any doubt that you can do that. I have absolute confidence that you can. But it is not going to be easy, and everybody just needs to take a deep breath here and begin to do everything you can — not just in the government, but in the citizenry — to move this along, and try to make the tough decisions that are necessary.

QUESTION: And so that will be your message to (inaudible) when you see him.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, it will be. It is my message to everyone, my public and my private message.

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Appreciate it. (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. My pleasure.

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Public Schedule for July 18, 2011

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
July 18, 2011


Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel in Athens, Greece. She is accompanied by Under Secretary Hormats, Assistant Secretary Gordon, Ambassador Morningstar and Director Sullivan. Click here for more information (ET + 7 hours).

10:00 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with opposition leader Antonis Samaras, in Athens, Greece.

10:40 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with the staff and families of Embassy Athens, in Athens, Greece.

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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to US Embassy employees in Athens, on July 18, 2011. Clinton also met Papandreou, Greek President Carolos Papoulias and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos on July 17. AFP PHOTO / POOL / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Meeting With Staff and Families of Embassy Athens


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Westin Athens
Athens, Greece
July 18, 2011


Good morning, everyone. I am so pleased to see you, and what a setting for our time together. I apologize for keeping you waiting. Dan was making me work till the very last second. (Laughter.)

But it is for me a great personal pleasure to be back in Greece and to have this opportunity to thank each and every one of you, American and Greek alike, for everything you’re doing on behalf of this critical relationship, and especially now as we try to support the Greek Government and the Greek people through this very difficult economic period.

I’ve tried to get to Greece as Secretary of State four times. The first time, I was really excited about coming and I broke my elbow. (Laughter.) And the next two times, we rearranged schedules because of other crises in the world. Then I finally said, “I am going to Greece no matter what.” And this has been an extremely important trip as well as a delight to go to the Acropolis Museum, to sign the important memorandum between our governments to protect the heritage and treasures of Greece’s storied past, and to have serious conversations with many decision-makers of Greece about the difficult economic way forward.

It is a great pleasure too for me to be here with Ambassador Smith and Diane. Dan and Diane are exemplary examples of the Foreign Service in action and the work that they do. As Dan said, I worked very closely with them from the transition to my position as Secretary of State, and then for the first year and a half, I saw him every morning at 8:45 and he always looked good, which I found to be – (laughter) – especially unfortunate. (Laughter.) He clearly has made a commitment to serving our country, and I know what capable hands you are in here in our Embassy.

I think that coming at this time actually turned out to be very good timing because of the need to demonstrate our solidarity and support for the difficult, painful times that Greece is experiencing. And I know that you are the daily face of that relationship. All of the interactions that you have are a manifestation of our long, enduring friendship, partnership, and alliance. And I also know you care for American citizens, whom I saw in great numbers on the streets in Athens and in the museum. It was wonderful for me to see Americans from all over our country of all ages just taking in the beauty of this extraordinary country and respecting and understanding more about what it means, and all the many contributions that Greece has made to our own democracy and values.

I also am very much aware of everything you’ve done in addition to your daily jobs. You helped with the evacuation of Americans from Egypt during the upheaval in that country, and you staffed the airport, you handed out water, diapers, clothing, whatever people needed. You cared for stranded Peace Corps volunteers who hadn’t slept or eaten in days, and a group of tourists with the wonderful nickname “Grannies On Safari.” (Laughter.) So just a few of the ways that you have helped in making sure that Americans anywhere in the world are going to have a friendly face and a helping hand.

I know Dr. Jill Biden was just here a few weeks ago to celebrate the Special Olympics. And we are very grateful to everyone on Team Athens, particularly thanks to John Cockrell, for making this trip such a success. I also want to thank your family members because everyone is part of this team, and your service to this mission could not be possible without the strong support of those who are behind you here in Greece and back home.

And I especially want to thank our terrific Greek employees. I often say that secretaries come and go, even ambassadors come and go, and DCMs and political officers and economic officers and PAOs and everybody else comes and goes except our Greek employees. Some of you have been with this Embassy for a very long time. You are absolutely essential to our operation, you bring valuable knowledge and expertise, and this Embassy, like all of our embassies, simply could not work without you.

So thanks so much for what you’re doing. I know that these are hard times, but I have a lot of confidence in the resilience of the Greek people, and I believe that you will be able to go through this period of challenge and sacrifice and come out even stronger. It will require unity and solidarity, but it’s something that I fully believe will happen. So just know that the United States, and particularly this Administration and myself personally, are going to stand with you the whole way. We’ll do everything we can to be supportive as you make these tough decisions.

Let me now just shake a few hands and thank you personally, but I so appreciate everything you’ve done and everything you do every single day on behalf of the Greek-American relationship. Thank you all. (Applause.)


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Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Lambrinidis At Signing Ceremony for Cultural Memorandum of Understanding


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Acropolis Museum
Athens, Greece
July 17, 2011

FOREIGN MINISTER LAMBRINIDIS: (Via interpreter.) So ladies and gentlemen, right behind us you can see one of the most important monuments, treasures, of civilization, the Parthenon of the – belonging to the Acropolis. And here we are standing at the Parthenon Museum, which is a modern work of architecture where we can admire the treasure.

We have built this museum not only to protect these monuments from time but also to emphasize the unity of the archeological site, so that there is a direct vision between the museum – from the museum to the Acropolis.

So this is part of the heritage which belongs to the Greek people, but it is a great part of the world heritage as well, the most important part of world heritage. And it is with this – these treasures and many other treasures, Byzantine and others, that Greece is covered all over. They need to be protected in the best possible manner.

So this I can tell you, dear Hillary, that today we are trying to protect our treasures from illegal diggings and excavations. This – and that is why this MOU that we’re about to sign is so important. It will stop the marketing and – illegal marketing and sale, and in this manner we are collaborating to protect the treasures of civilization to the benefit of our people.

And before I conclude, I would like to thank Minister of Culture Pavlos Geroulanos and his collaborators at the Ministry of Culture, who have worked very hard in a very committed manner in order to make this MOU a reality.

(In English.) Dear Hillary, it is my strong wish, my strong hope, that millions of citizens of the Greek country have the opportunity that we are having today to visit Greece and to enjoy this. And as you mentioned in your speech during our foreign ministry meeting, that we don’t simply policies but also values, values born here, let me be so bold as to say, Hillary Clinton, welcome home to Greece.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you very much, Minister Lambrinidis and Minister Geroulanos. And Professor, thank you so much, and all of your colleagues for making this moment possible during our visit to this beautiful city.

It is a great honor for me to be representing the United States, a friend, ally, and partner to Greece, and also to be exemplifying the very warm relations between the American and Greek people.

Millions of visitors have already had the experience of walking through this magnificent museum here in the shadow of the Acropolis and experiencing firsthand the extraordinary gifts that Greece has given over its long history to Western civilization in which my country as well is in your debt.

This agreement that we are signing today will protect Greece’s culturally significant objects even further from looting and sale on the international market. It will be illegal to import protected items from Greece into the United States unless they have been certified by the Greek authorities. And that will help reduce the incentive to illegally remove such objects in the first place.

We know from experience that measures like this work. This will be our 15th cultural property agreement. And in countries from Cambodia to Cyprus, we have seen real results. These agreements build on America’s long-term commitment to cultural preservation. Forty years ago, the United States was the first nation in the world to ratify the World Heritage Convention, and it remains a priority for our government and for me personally.

Let me just conclude by saying that America is just as committed to Greece’s future as we are to preserving your past. During these difficult economic times, we will stand with you. We are confident that the nation that built the Parthenon, invented democracy, and inspired the world can rise to the current challenge.

So thank you all, ministers and others who worked with you to achieve this important agreement. And I now look forward to signing on behalf of the United States. (Applause.)

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Remarks At Meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Presidential Mansion
Athens, Greece
July 17, 2011



SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you for the warm welcome, and I am here to reaffirm our strong bonds of friendship, partnership. And as our fellow allies in NATO we have long roots, but what is most important is the relationship between the American and Greek people, and of course, our very strong, dynamic, Greek-American community in the United States which has so greatly enriched both of our nations. And I share your optimism that despite the difficult times and the very hard decisions that have had to be made, Greece is now on a path that will be very positive in terms of future growth and prosperity. There will be some painful sacrifices necessary, but I have full optimism in the resilience and the intelligence of the Greek people, and so I am here to sound a very strong note for all of the difficult work that lies ahead.

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Greek FM Lambridinis, posted with vodpod

Joint Press Availability With Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Athens, Greece
July 17, 2011

FOREIGN MINISTER LAMBRINIDIS: (Via interpreter) Madam Secretary, welcome (inaudible) so it is my great pleasure to welcome Hillary Clinton here in Athens. I am very happy. I am especially happy because she is the first foreign minister to come to us after I have taken over, therefore you are lucky for us, Hillary.

Madam Secretary, I think that we have had very good talks, so we have touched upon many issues. Let me highlight the most important one. Greece and the U.S. are natural friends and allies, and I am not only talking about mutual economic interests, which are, of course, important, but I’m talking about our joint passion for freedom and liberty. And this is something which comes – overcomes national borders. Friends prove themselves in difficult times, and as we know, Greece is doing through difficult times right now. The United States (inaudible) firm and steadfast manner, in a decisive manner. We have – we believe that we shall come out of this difficulty victorious. Many on both sides of the Atlantic have bet on the collapse of Greece, and they have been proven wrong. We will continue to prove them wrong, and this – and to this, our collaboration will be very important.

We have also discussed the opportunities which appear in this country for investment, for tourism, which we expect and we hope will interest – is of interest to everybody in this hall. We have also discussed issues relating to our normal job, the foreign affairs issues. We have reviewed the discussions, political discussions and the Contact Group for Libya. We will be in touch and we will be in touch in September in our efforts to revise the peace process.

We have also talked about the Balkans, which is a top priority for Greece, but this is a vision which we share with the U.S.. We want peace, stability, and security in our region. We want to do away with the nationalist feelings of the past and for all the countries in the region to build a relationship of cooperation under our joint European home. I have told the Secretary of State that instead of trying to rewrite history, this is a good opportunity for us to write history, to make history, and this is something we should all try to achieve.

Also, we have the 2014 agenda which we have also discussed. I also had the opportunity of informing the Secretary about the negotiations on the Cyprus issue. I believe that it is possible to make progress, but this, of course, mainly requires political will on the – on behalf of Ankara. We have also discussed the efforts to normalize Greek-Turkish relations, the progress achieved, the remaining difficulties. And I am especially happy in conclusion, my dear Hillary – I’m especially happy to say that later on today we will be signing an MOU to do away with the smuggling of antiquities. And with this opportunity, we will have – we will visit the Acropolis museum together with my friend, minister of culture of Greece.

Ladies and gentlemen, here beside me stands a lady who is a friend of Greece, a friend of Hellenism, a person who has forged strong bonds of trust with the Greek-American community, which is a permanent bond linking Greece to the United States. Welcome to Greece, Madam Secretary.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Stavros, and it is a great pleasure for me to be here for this meeting, and I am greatly honored that I am your first foreign minister visitor. But you are becoming quickly a veteran in just one month in office. And I am also pleased to be here during these challenging times to demonstrate unequivocally the strong support that the United States has for Greece. We know that we are your friend and we are your ally and we are proud to be both. We stand by the people and Government of Greece as you put your country back on a path to economic stability and prosperity.

It is, for us, essential because we have a lot riding on our relationship together. As a NATO ally, we appreciate Greece’s partnership on a shared agenda that spans the globe. The foreign minister and I have just completed a very productive conversation, not just about Greece’s immediate challenges but about the full range of issues that form the core of our enduring alliance. We discussed our ongoing efforts in the NATO coalition operations to protect civilians and help the Libyan people claim a better future. Our diplomatic and military efforts are gaining momentum, and we are grateful for Greece’s engagement and support, especially your willingness to host coalition military assets at Souda Bay and other sites close to Libya.

We also are concerned about what’s going on in Syria, and we have condemned the violence. And I appreciate Greece’s support in speaking strongly against the attack on our Embassy and the French Embassy in Damascus. We will work together as part of the international community to support a vision for a Syria with representative government, respect for civil liberties, equal protection for all citizens under the law.

We will also continue to work with Greece to support democratic transitions across the Middle East and North Africa. We commend the Greek Government for seeking a constructive approach in consultation with the United Nations to addressing the humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza and working to avoid the risks that come with attempts to sail directly to Gaza.

At a moment when domestic issues are rightly taking center stage here in Greece, we remain grateful for Greece’s continued engagement in meeting the shared challenges we confront. I appreciate the work that Prime Minister Papandreou and the government are doing to resolve many longstanding issues and integrate the Western Balkans into European and transatlantic institutions.

Now, of course, Greece and the United States are bound together by far more than our shared challenges. We are bound together by our shared values. In fact, we are grateful for Greece’s contribution to those values and their enduring legacy. Millions of Americans claim Greek ancestry, and last year President Obama was pleased to welcome Prime Minister Papandreou to the White House to celebrate Greece’s entry into our Visa Waiver Program. That makes it easier for Greeks to visit family and friends in the United States. And later today, as the minister said, we will be signing a cultural preservation agreement to make it more difficult for looters and smugglers to make that same trip carrying Greece’s historic treasures. That will protect tourism and ensure that the remarkable cultural heritage of this country remains in the hands of the Greek people.

And finally let me say just a few words about the economic situation in Greece. Americans know these are difficult days, and again, we stand with you as friends and allies. The United States strongly supports the Papandreou’s government’s determination to make the necessary reforms, to put Greece back on sound financial footing, and to make Greece more competitive economically. Committing to bring down the deficit and passing the medium-term fiscal strategy were vital first steps. We know these were not easy decisions. They were acts of leadership. And those acts of leadership will help to build a better economic future.

Now the challenge will be to keep moving forward with the same determination and commitment to make good on the fiscal targets and continue to deliver reform that drives future growth. Now, in many cases, these changes will require immediate and sustained implementation. And while the payoff for these sacrifices may not come quickly, it will come. We know that. We can look around the world and point to successful examples. And we also know that the price of inaction would have been far higher now and far into the future. The steps ahead will not, they cannot, be pain-free, but there is a path forward to resolve Greece’s economic stability and to restore Greece’s economic strength. I have faith in the resilience of the Greek people and I applaud the Greek Government on its willingness to take these difficult steps. Greece has inspired the world before, and I have every confidence that you are doing so again. And as you do what you must to bring your economy back to health, you will have the full support of the United States.

And so again, Minister, thank you for this opportunity to visit with you and thank you also for this chance to express from my heart our strong support for what Greece and particularly the Greek people are facing, but also to reiterate our confidence that this will be the path forward that will pay off, not only now but for generations to come.

QUESTION: Good morning, Madam Secretary. You have said that rising deficits are a national security issue for the United States, so it’s presumably also the case for Greece and parts of the EU. Are you concerned that the Europe crisis, the debt crisis, might undercut NATO’s ability to finance its missions? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Christophe, I am not. I think the NATO alliance is undergoing some very important analysis about how we will continue to be the strongest military and operational alliance in the history of the world. The NATO allies know how important this alliance is to our own security and to those problems that are over the horizon but which affect the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic community. So yes, will there be some changes that we will foresee in the future? Of course. What has made NATO such a strong, vibrant, enduring alliance is that we have had to evolve and reform our own internal processes from time to time. But the United States not only has great confidence in NATO, we are committed to the fulfillment of the strategic vision that was adopted unanimously at the Lisbon summit and which we think provides the foundation for what needs to be done in the future.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) I have a question to both of you. You referred to the economic crisis. Both the U.S. and Europe are suffering because of an economic crisis. This – last year we were talking about Greek crisis. This year we’re talking about European crisis. You did mention some things, nevertheless society is feeling gloomy, and I would like to ask you politicians can you offer an optimistic message to society, tell people that what they are sacrificing will pay off?

FOREIGN MINISTER LAMBRINIDIS: (Via interpreter) There is no question that today’s Greece has nothing to do whatsoever with Greece of two years ago. There is no question that despite the doomsayers, we are proceeding and that we shall come out of this victorious. Of course, we have no magic solutions, but there is no question the sacrifices that the Greek people have made have not only done away with the very real past risk of default but will create a sound basis for recovery.

And of course, we need the Greek measures, but we also need European solidarity. The European solidarity, which we believe and hope will express itself in a key manner in the near future, is very important because in a united Europe, hope or the light at the end of the tunnel is not about each individual country, but it is about our immense economic power when we all stand together more than 500 million people in 27 countries. This message was a bit lost on – was almost lost in some member-states recently, but the fact that Greece has regained in credibility with the sacrifices and the important measures that we are taking has brought us back to the forefront of – to the center of discussion and has brought us, I believe, at the forefront of a Europe of growth which will offer jobs to our citizens, to their citizens.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, of course, I agree with what the minister said, and let me just put it into context from what we see looking from the United States toward Greece. We believe that the recent legislation that was passed will make Greece more competitive, will make Greece more business-friendly. We think that is essential for the kind of growth and recovery that is expected in the 21st century when businesses can go anywhere in the world and capital can follow. We think that will provide a firm financial footing on which Greece will be able increasingly to attract businesses and create the jobs that Stavros said are absolutely important for the Greek people. Because businesses seek consistent, predictable regulatory and taxation regimes. Investors seek a level playing field. They expect transparency, streamlined procedures, protection of commercial and intellectual property rights, effective contract enforcement, all of which was part of your reform package.

Therefore, I am not here to in any way downplay the immediate challenges, because they are real, but I am here to say that we believe strongly that this will give Greece a very strong economy going forward. There are lots of analogies – having to take the strong medicine that tastes terrible when it goes down and you wish you didn’t have to, or the chemotherapy to get rid of the cancer. There are all kinds of analogies. But the bottom line is this is the best approach and we strongly support it.

FOREIGN MINISTER LAMBRINIDIS: Thank you very much. Hillary, thank you so much.

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Wow! After a full day of heavy events, could she possibly look more gorgeous? Godspeed, pretty lady! You do us proud!

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton disembarks from her airplane upon arrival in Athens, as she continues her regional diplomatic tour, on July 16, 2011. AFP PHOTO / POOL / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

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There had been some question even through late last week as to whether this Quartet meeting would occur. The State Department originally held the position that the talks would not be worthwhile unless the parties were prepared to return to the table.

Mideast Quartet meets to avoid looming crisis


10 July 2011

WASHINGTON — Envoys from the Middle East diplomatic Quartet meet on Monday in Washington in one of the final attempts to avoid a major confrontation at the United Nations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.The senior diplomats — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov — will “compare notes about where we are and plot a course forward” on the peace process, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Friday.

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Hillary Clinton Signs Plutonium Disposition Protocol With Russian FM

RIA Novosti

Lavrov to meet Obama, Clinton in Washington

12:39 07/07/2011

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington next week, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington next week, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

“Sergei Lavrov will visit the United States on July 11-13. He is scheduled to meet with Barack Obama and hold talks with Hillary Clinton,” the ministry said in a Twitter feed, adding that the sides will discuss the schedule of bilateral top-level contacts for 2011.

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Secretary Clinton to Address the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition on July 12

Notice to the Press

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 8, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will deliver remarks on “The Impact of Development and Diplomacy on Economic Prosperity” to the 2011 U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) Conference on July 12, 2011 at approximately 11:30 a.m. in Washington, DC. Secretary Clinton’s remarks will be webcast live on state.gov.

The U.S. business leaders are meeting in Washington to highlight the essential link between America’s international affairs programs and U.S. job creation and economic growth. During the conference, the USGLC will also release a new policy paper on the benefits of and returns on America’s investments abroad.

For additional conference details, visit: http://www.usglc.org/2011-usglc-washington-conference/.

Secretary Clinton and Brazilian Foreign Minister to Launch Open Government Partnership on July 12

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 7, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota will announce the Open Government Partnership (OGP) at a high-level meeting of governments and civil society at the Department of State on July 12, 2011. The Open Government Partnership is a new, multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.

In the spirit of multi-stakeholder collaboration, OGP will be overseen by a steering committee that includes a diverse coalition of governments and civil society organizations and will be co-chaired by Brazil and the United States in its inaugural year.

Last September at the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama challenged countries to embrace open government saying, “When we gather back here next year, we should bring specific commitments to promote transparency; to fight corruption; to energize civic engagement; and to leverage new technologies so that we strengthen the foundation of freedom in our own countries, while living up to ideals that can light the world.” OGP aims to do that by engaging a large and diverse group of countries in a fresh conversation about governance challenges.

The July 12 event will convene government and civil society representatives to discuss best practices through interactive panels, issue framing sessions, and idea sprints. Another feature, “Innovation Alley,” will demonstrate technologies and other tools and methodologies available from private and non-profit companies and organizations that enhance open government. Representatives from over 50 countries and more than 40 civil society organizations are expected at the day-long event.

This event will set the stage for the formal launch of the Open Government Partnership in September 2011, when the governments on the steering committee will embrace an Open Government Declaration, announce their country action plans to promote OGP principles, and welcome the commitment of additional countries to join the Partnership



8:30 a.m. Secretary Clinton and Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota deliver remarks at the Opening Session, in the Loy Henderson Auditorium at the Department of State.
Watch live on www.state.gov.


9:00 a.m. A plenary panel discussion highlights key innovations in open government from around the world, in the Loy Henderson Auditorium at the Department of State.

Watch live on www.state.gov.

The panel will include the following speakers:

  • Tim Kelsey, Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister (United Kingdom)
  • Helena Hofbauer, International Budget Project (Mexico)
  • Nikhil Dey, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) (India)
  • Andrew McLaughlin, Civic Commons (United States)


10:15 a.m. Senior Advisor for Innovation Alec Ross leads a media tour of “Innovation Alley,” in the Exhibit Hall at the Department of State. The “Innovation Alley” exhibit includes a set of interactive displays demonstrating technology and other tools and methodologies available from private and non-profit companies and organizations to enhance open government.


7:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton hosts a closing reception for the inaugural Open Government Partnership meetings, at the Department of State.

The official State Department announcement does not mention the ASEAN Bali leg referred to in the subsequent article.

Secretary Clinton to Travel to Turkey, Greece, and India

Press Statement

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 8, 2011

Secretary Clinton will travel to Turkey July 15-16, 2011, to participate in meetings of the Contact Group on Libya and conduct bilateral meetings with Turkish officials. The Contact Group meetings allow the international community to come together and coordinate views on our next steps with respect to Libya. They also allow us to further assess international progress in implementing UNSCRs 1970 and 1973 as part of our efforts to protect civilians and to facilitate the start of an inclusive Libyan national dialogue that will lead to the country’s reconciliation and reconstruction. While in Turkey the Secretary will also meet with President Gul, Prime Minister Erdogan, Foreign Minister Davutoglu and other political leaders to discuss Libya, Syria, and a full range of shared bilateral and multilateral issues.

Secretary Clinton will travel to Greece July 17-18, 2011. She will meet with President Papoulias, Prime Minister Papandreou, Foreign Minister Lambrinidis, and other political leaders to discuss issues of mutual interest.

Secretary Clinton will then travel to India for the second round of the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, which will take place in New Delhi on July 19, 2011. The Secretary will lead the U.S. delegation, accompanied by a high-level group of senior administration officials. This will be Secretary Clinton’s second visit to India as Secretary of State.

The depth of the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue demonstrates the United States’ strong support for India as an important actor on the world stage and is representative of the broad and multifaceted U.S.-India relationship. The partnership between the world’s two largest democracies covers issues ranging from counterterrorism and defense cooperation to climate change, high-tech trade, and scientific innovation. Together, the United States and India are working to face the most important and pressing challenges of our time.

During her trip to India, Secretary Clinton will also visit Chennai, marking the first visit by a serving U.S. Secretary of State to the city, which has emerged as a hub for the trade, investment, and people-to-people engagement that is driving the U.S.-India relationship.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) shakes hands with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before their meeting on the sidelines of the 17th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi October 30, 2010. REUTERS/Kham (VIETNAM - Tags: POLITICS)

Hillary to visit India on July 19; AfPak, NSG talks on platter
July 07, 2011   1:11:29 AM

Sandhya Sharma | New Delhi

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be in New Delhi on July 19 to attend the second round of US-India strategic dialogue. Sources told The Pioneer that Clinton will be in New Delhi for two days and then head for the ASEAN Regional Forum in Bali. The dialogue will be co-chaired by External Affairs Minister SM Krishna.

Sources said a host of bilateral and international issues will come up for discussion but focus will be on the evolving situation in India’s neighbourhood —Afghanistan and Pakistan — alongside the recent NSG decision on ban on supplying ENR technology to non-NPT countries.

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