Posts Tagged ‘Guido Westerwelle’

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

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

Secretary Clinton to Travel to Germany and Bulgaria

Press Statement

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


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

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

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

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A few of these are real keepers.

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Remarks With German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Hillary. Thank you so much

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you for your —

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you so much.


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Remarks at the New Silk Road Ministerial Meeting


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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These pictures only capture part of this long day, believe it or not, and there are 70 of them.  They are in no particular order or grouping.  We see Mme. Secretary once again celebrating Twin Day with Chancellor Merkel (I believe that every time they have met, they have matched).  We also see her with a series of Foreign Ministers, including Guido Westerwelle (Germany), William Jefferson Hague, (UK), Trinidad Jimenez (Spain), Kevin Rudd (Australia), as well as with NATO Secretary General Rasmussen, and many others. I am always impressed by the way she puts out such a friendly, smiling, happy face for us.  She wins friends for us everywhere she goes.

Thank you, Mme. Secretary for working so tirelessly for us.

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We see one photo from last night as she departed Andrews AFB, and then we see her landing in Paris. She was greeted by French President Nicholas Sarkozy, met with the recently appointed FMs of France, Alain Juppe,and Japan’s Takeaki Matsumoto, as well as with UK FM Hague, German FM Westerwelle, Russian FM Lavrov.

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Remarks With German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle After Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
September 29, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to the Treaty Room of the State Department. I am delighted to welcome the foreign minister back to Washington. He and I have gotten to know each other over the course of the last year since his appointment, and I very much appreciate the chance to work with him. We talked a lot over lunch about the many issues that Germany and the United States are concerned about and how we can together strengthen security and foster prosperity, not only in our own countries but throughout Europe and the world.

The partnership between Germany and the United States is very strong. It’s vital and it is essential to our respective citizens. We see that in Europe where Germany has led the effort to sustain and strengthen European integration, including the expansion of NATO and the European Union. And I congratulate the foreign minister and Chancellor Merkel and the people of Germany on the upcoming commemoration of unification.

In Afghanistan, Germany has shown a continued commitment to the international mission and the future of the Afghan people. Whether it is in the wake of an earthquake in Haiti or a devastating flood in Pakistan, Germany is there with support to assist the people who are so devastated by these natural disasters. We see so much evidence every day of Germany’s leadership and the critical role that the German-American partnership plays in the world to promote peace, defeat common threats, further economic growth, reduce poverty, and defend democracy and human rights.

Today, the foreign minister and I discussed several priorities, including the Middle East peace process, ensuring that Iran meets its international obligations, the upcoming NATO and U.S.-EU summits in Lisbon. It is always a great pleasure to work with the foreign minister.

And on Sunday, October 3rd, the world will be reminded of all that Germany has accomplished in the last two decades to heal its wounds and to reconcile its people. German unification is a remarkable story. It is testament to the vision of Germany’s leaders and the strength of the German people. I often talk about it, Minister, with others who are not yet able to overcome past differences in order to build a better shared future. But Germany has shown the world that walls can be torn down, that communities can be stitched back together, that lasting peace is possible even after long periods of division and discord, and that cooperation is the best way to achieve peace, progress, and prosperity.

So on behalf of the American people, let me extend congratulations to the people of Germany on this upcoming anniversary, thank you for your many years of friendship and partnership, and pledge that the United States will continue to look for ways to deepen and broaden the work we do together. Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: Thank you very much. Madam Secretary, Hillary, it is a great pleasure to be back in Washington. Thank you very much for your warm hospitality. We had a very good conversation, intensive dialogue, and it was very good to exchange our ideas and our perspectives, of course.

Please allow me, first of all, a few words to a very special occasion. On Sunday we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of German unity, and it is something what you mentioned, and you expressed your appreciation what the German people did in those days. But I, by myself, I would like to thank you. I would like to express our gratitude to the Government of the United States of America, but also to the people of the United States of America for their great support over so long years. You stand with us in the painful time when we have been divided as a country. You worked with us for our unification, and the German unification was also the European reunification.

And I really want to express our gratitude to the people of America. We really are very grateful about your support and we are now in a very, very close friendship like we saw in our meeting here. Once again, without your unconditional support, our freedom and our unity would not have been possible, and this is something the German people will never forget to the American people.

Thank you very much, first of all, to this. And now I would like to change for some short remarks into my native language.

(Via interpreter) I would like to repeat in my very own language too that I want to express my heartfelt and strong gratitude towards the American people for having cooperated with their government to contribute to German reunification. That is something that Germany, that the German people, and the German Government will never forget, especially as we are looking ahead to the 20th anniversary of that very date of reunification.

We are facing important foreign policy decisions this autumn. Our intention is to use the NATO summit on 19th and 20th November this year to pass a new Strategic Concept of NATO. Secretary General Rasmussen has circulated a draft that we believe provides a good basis for further discussions and that takes up many of the suggestions that we have made in the process of preparing this new Strategic Concept.

The very important topic of Afghanistan too will be a point where the Lisbon summit will provide an important milestone. Our intention is to prepare the ground to throw the switches, so to speak, to prepare the ground for a step-by-step handover of the security responsibility, the responsibility for the security into Afghan hands. We want that to begin next year.

We also talked about the Mideast, and I assured my colleague once again of the very strong support that we intend to show and that we have shown for the American effort in the peace process.

(In English) I told Secretary Clinton that we wholeheartedly support the American efforts to take the Middle East peace process forward. The renewed direct talks are a historic change that must not be missed, and therefore we welcome the engagement of the American Government, of Secretary Clinton, of the President Obama. We think this is very important. The strong leadership in this process is so important and it is in our common interest that we bring this peace process to a successful and peaceful end, and therefore I also welcome the engagement of our High Representative of the European Union, of Cathy Ashton, and I think it is very, very supportable and very – we appreciate really her visit now to the region in the Middle East which she will start tomorrow.

(In German.) (Laughter.)

INTERPRETER: He was saying I don’t have – there’s no need for interpretation.

FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: Yeah, I really waited for the translation. I’m sorry. (Laughter.)

Finally, we discussed also the relations with Turkey. The relationship clearly has a strategic dimension for both of us. Turkey is not only a NATO ally; it is also an important player in the region. We want to cooperate closely and it is in our own interest that the perspective of Turkey remains European and Western.

Thank you very much for your (inaudible) and thank you very much once again for your hospitality.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Guido. Thank you very much.

MR. TONER: We have time for just two questions. Kim.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary, I have two questions for you, if I may. The first one is on Iran. You met Mrs. Ashton this morning. She has offered to meet with the Iranians. I was wondering whether you have any sense yet – whether she has any sense yet of what the Iranian response is going to be, and how are you going to take this forward?

My second question is about one of your former counterparts. The former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has announced that he’s leaving frontline politics. You worked very closely with him when he was still in office. I was wondering if you had any reactions. And he’s going to be looking for a job. I wonder if you have any advice for him. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, Cathy Ashton has consistently conveyed to Iran the readiness of the P-5+1 to meet with Iran over its nuclear program. And that is a standing invitation. Guido and I were in New York together last week. Lady Ashton held a meeting for the P-5+1 foreign ministers, and we all agreed that we wanted to see the diplomatic process begin again but the ball was in the Iranian court, that they had thus far not officially confirmed to Lady Ashton their willingness to meet in the P-5+1 or offered any dates for such a meeting. So we continue to hope that we will be able to see that meeting occur.

And I have no advice for anyone in politics. (Laughter.) I’m out of politics. I obviously wish him well and I am very intrigued by the interesting political dynamics that are occurring inside the United Kingdom. But we are very, very pleased that our relationship with the current government of Prime Minister Cameron is very strong and focused on all of the important issues that we are working on together.

QUESTION: And a few words about (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I enjoyed working with him and I wish him well.

FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: I agree. (Laughter.) So once again, an excellent (inaudible) for American-German friendship.


FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: No, we will miss him, of course. He was an excellent colleague and the last year I could work with him together, and we really appreciated his work, but one door was closed and other doors will get opened.

QUESTION: My name is Christian Wilp. I’m with N-TV, RTL German Television. I have a question for both Madam Secretary and (inaudible) minister. How would you describe the current terror threats in the United States and in Europe, and are you especially concerned about terrorists with a German passport?

FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: (Via interpreter) Relations between the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Germany are excellent, and I think that is also important to mention because we are standing together in combating terrorism. We exchanged views and we also exchange intelligence where available. And we do so in order to better coordinate our actions in fighting terrorism. We’ve done so in the past and our intention is to continue that practice into the future, which is to say, in other words, that the cooperation between both our countries is to the benefit of the citizens of both our countries, which is to say that we’re providing for their very own security, that we’re protecting them against terrorist threats, against the use of violence. And our intention is to continue that excellent cooperation.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I can only say I agree. (Laughter.) It’s a very important part of our cooperation. We don’t comment on any specific threats or specific intelligence, but there is a very positive level of exchange of information that goes on constantly. And we are very grateful for that strong partnership.

Thank you.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We don’t comment on any specific threats or any specific question about intelligence.

FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: And once again, we agree. (Laughter.)

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