Posts Tagged ‘Honduras’

The Secretary may be wheels up for Sharm el Sheikh, but she made certain to wish a Happy Independence Day to our Central American neighbors today. We all join her in wishing them well.

Nicaragua’s Independence Day

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
September 13, 2010

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Nicaragua on the 189th anniversary of your independence this September 15.
As schoolchildren throughout the country read the Act of Independence of Central America and honor Nicaragua’s long history, we offer our best hopes for a future of opportunity and prosperity for the Nicaraguan people and all the people of the Americas. The United States is committed to working with Nicaragua to deepen the relationship between our countries based on mutual respect and cooperation.
I wish all Nicaraguans a happy independence day and a prosperous, democratic, and peaceful future.

Guatemala’s Independence Day

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
September 13, 2010

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Guatemala on the 189th anniversary of your independence this September 15.
As Guatemalans all over the world commemorate this festive occasion, we join in celebrating your rich culture and honoring the growing ties that unite our countries. I have enjoyed the warmth and generosity of the Guatemalan people on each of my visits, and the Guatemalan community in the United States has made great contributions to our nation. These deep connections between our people reinforce our close partnership.
On my trip to your country last March, President Colom and I affirmed our commitment to work together on expanding economic growth, improving transparency and accountability, and increasing access to health care and education. Through our Pathways to Prosperity initiative and the Central American Regional Security Initiative, we are working together to widen the circle of opportunity for our citizens and promote stability throughout our hemisphere.

I wish all Guatemalans a happy independence day and a prosperous year. I look forward to continuing the partnership between our countries as we work to build a better world for our children.

El Salvador’s Independence Day

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
September 13, 2010

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of El Salvador as you celebrate the 189th anniversary of your independence this September 15.
As Salvadorans around the world enjoy patriotic festivities and honor the heroes of your struggle for independence, we join in celebrating your rich culture and our shared traditions. I was honored to be present for the inauguration of President Funes last year and reinforce our common commitment to building strong democratic institutions, promoting the rule of law, and expanding economic growth and opportunity to more people. We have also made great strides working together to combat terrorism, crime, and drug trafficking. These ties of friendship extend beyond our governments with our strong business and deep people-to-people connections. We are committed to working closely with El Salvador to further strengthen the close relationship between our nations.
I wish all Salvadorans a happy independence day — ¡Felicitaciones! I look forward to continuing our work together building a future of lasting security and prosperity for all our people.

Costa Rica’s Independence Day

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
September 13, 2010

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Costa Rica on the 189th anniversary of your independence this September 15.

Costa Rica has long been a champion of the values and interests we share throughout our hemisphere – democracy, human rights, open markets, and regional unity and stability. Your strong democratic traditions have set a shining example for over 100 years. During my visit last March, I was honored to meet with Costa Rica’s first female president-elect and discuss avenues for further cooperation and partnership between our nations. As the host of this year’s Pathways to Prosperity Ministerial, Costa Rica provided valuable leadership in our common mission to expand economic opportunities to more people throughout the Americas.

Today, we honor your country’s many accomplishments, and we reaffirm our commitment to further deepening the ties of friendship and cooperation between Costa Rica and the United States. We look forward to continuing our work together on public safety, economic inclusion, environmental protection, clean energy development, and many other initiatives as we strive to build a more secure and prosperous future for us all.

I wish all Costa Ricans a joyous Independence Day. In the words of Jose Maria Zeledon Brenes: “Vivan siempre el trabajo y la paz.”

Honduras’s Independence Day

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
September 13, 2010

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Honduras as you celebrate 189 years of independence this September 15. Our countries share a history of cooperation based on mutual interests, values, and friendship. Americans have long enjoyed the beauty of Honduras and the hospitality of its people, and we look forward to further strengthening our connections.
Honduras is emerging from a very difficult period. Your resumption of democratic and constitutional government this year has been a testament to the resilience of the Honduran people, and we will work with you to strengthen safeguards for human rights and the rule of law.
The United States supports Honduran efforts to win international recognition for the progress you have made and to fully reclaim your rightful place in the inter-American community. I look forward to our continued work — as partners and friends — to promote freedom, prosperity, and citizen security throughout our hemisphere.
I wish all Hondurans a safe and happy independence day.

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Every time I had a free few minutes, today, I posted what was popping up in the press releases, and the Secretary had had a very busy day already by the time I went to class. Well, I came home a little while ago to find these few items that she was doing while I was teaching, but these are not yet the end of her day since, while I was driving home, she was at her final event of the long day (and evening): The Dorothy Height Memorial. I have just this one photo from that and must share it immediately.

Here are a few events  and an update on tomorrow.

Remarks With Honduran Foreign Minister Mario Canahuati Before Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
April 28, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: I want to welcome the foreign minister of Honduras here today. He’s been in Washington holding a series of meetings with a number of officials both from our government and others as well. And I’m looking forward to my conversation with him.

As I have said on numerous occasions, I think that the steps that President Lobo and his government have taken deserve our support, and we want to work with the government and the people of Honduras to get them back fully on the path of democracy, the rule of law, good governance. I had a long conversation a few weeks ago with President Lobo about his plans to try to improve the standard of living and the quality of life of the Honduran people, to deal with the drug trafficking and the crime that stalks all of Central America.

So, Minister, I appreciate your coming so that we can have an in-depth conversation about these and other issues.


SECRETARY CLINTON: If you would like to say anything, you’re welcome to.

FOREIGN MINISTER CANAHUATI: Well, it’s a great honor to be here with you. Our relationship with the U.S. have been (inaudible) on values and respond to the needs of the people. I think this is not just an approach where we want to review our relationship as governments, but really evaluate what we’re doing for our people.

Democracy has to do with opportunities, with strong institutions, with respect of human rights. And in this moment, our president has shown his commitment on the political side to move forward with initiatives like the Truth Commission, appointing a minister of human rights, which will be his advisor in terms of making sure that this issue, which is a state issue, is being managed the right way.

And the main, important thing for him is how to respond to the needs of the people. He believes that we have to change our economy in terms of making it more inclusive. We cannot have strong democracies when people are not being – that don’t have the increase of – the spaces to have increase of opportunity and increase of income.

So those are the challenges that we have as a country, and no doubt, we’re here to combine or to share these principles with Madam Secretary and see how we can work together. We cannot improvise anymore. This is not a matter of what’s happening with the government, with the people who are governing the countries, but with the people that are suffering because of the lack of decisions and because of the lack of consciousness, that there is people suffering because we’re more in control or we’re more aware about the decision we have to make in the political level, but in terms of the decision we have to make to respond to the needs of the people.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, sir.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you all very much.

This has no video component.

Remarks to Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Staff Involved in Iran

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 28, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, this is really just a way of saying thank you. Thank you for the work you’re doing. It is such important work. We are incredibly grateful to you. And I am very convinced that it is vital to our national security and our foreign policy.

When we don’t have an embassy, we don’t have an ambassador, where normal diplomatic channels don’t exist for us, we do really rely on Washington and field staff to inform our policies, to try to dispel myths, but also to confirm concerns and information that can be of importance to us as we go forward.

As you well know, the Obama Administration and our country remain committed to broader engagement in the region. We made very specific offers to the Iranians, including outreach by the President himself directly to the Iranians. And unfortunately, we didn’t get much of a positive response, and that was a disappointment and it was discouraging because we wanted to try to give the leaders in Tehran a clear choice to uphold their international obligations, enjoy the benefits, therefore, of normal relations with the United States, or face increasing isolation and the consequences.

But at every turn, unfortunately, the Iranians have rejected our overtures and remain to this day in a rejectionist mindset. But the fact that we have reached out, often based on information and insights that you have brought our way, has given us much more credibility in our dealings internationally, and therefore, the ability to build an international consensus on the need to apply pressure to Iran’s leaders to change course.

As you know, we’re working very hard in the United Nations right now with the members of the Security Council and particularly the P-5+1 to develop a resolution that would help really put that international pressure into action. We’re not targeting the people of Iran, but we are trying to focus on changing the calculation on the part of the leaders as to what is in their interests.

Now, our concern with Iran extends beyond our focus on their nuclear program. As you know, it also encompasses their grave human rights violations. And over the last year, as you have reported to us, so many Iranians have been subjected to arbitrary punishments, detention, brutalization by their own government. And we will continue speaking out about those abuses. When I leave here, I will be going to meet with the mothers of the three hikers who remain in prison. They’ve been given no notice of charges against them. They are, by every shred of evidence we have, three young people who were hiking in the Kurdish north of Iraq on a break from their studies and their work, and allegedly, crossed the border and were arrested.

So we are going to do all we can to try to get them released on humanitarian grounds. I know that when the international media turns to other stories, you remain focused on getting us the information we need to try to chart the best course forward with respect to Iran.

And we really need your continuing advice and your guidance. All of us understand the challenges of your jobs, and we really, really appreciate it.

Finally, (well not really, there will be more) there is this update about tomorrow.

Secretary Clinton to Deliver Remarks to the American Jewish Committee on April 29

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 28, 2010

Secretary Clinton will deliver remarks on the need to reach a comprehensive regional peace in the Middle East at the American Jewish Committee’s annual gala on April 29 at 7:20 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The Secretary’s speech will be her third in a series reaffirming the commitment of the United States to Israel’s security and making the case for peace. At AIPAC’s national conference on March 22, she spoke about the challenge that continuing conflict poses to Israel’s future, and how dynamics of ideology, technology and demography make the status quo unsustainable and the pursuit of peace a necessity. At the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace on April 15, she highlighted the urgency of the struggle between those in the region, especially in the Palestinian territories, who seek peace and progress and those who seek to perpetuate conflict.

Secretary Clinton will be introduced by American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos and Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Verhagen will also participate in the event.

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This from the Washington Post on the status of the Security Council vote on sanctions:

Key U.N. Security Council nations hedging on calls to sanction Iran
The United States and its European allies are confident that they can secure at least 10 votes, including from nonpermanent members Austria, Bosnia, Gabon, Mexico, Nigeria and Uganda — one more than the nine required for passage in the council. But the failure to secure a united front, particularly from the five veto-wielding members of the council, would send a weak signal to the Iranians, diplomats said.

Read the whole article>>>

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With the news orgs devoting the day to To the Michael Jackson Funeral, it was bloody difficult to find ANY other news. So for those concerned with the hemispheric crisis in Honduras, the meeting today between the Awesome Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State Spectacular, and Jose Manuel Zelaya, here is the text of her comments.


Remarks at the Top of the Daily Press Briefing

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 7, 2009

QUESTION: That’s a very stylish sling.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you for noticing, Matt. That’s right. See, I’ve got my Secretary of State – (laughter). Oh, goodness.
Well, hello, everyone. I just finished a productive meeting with President Zelaya. We discussed the events of the past nine days and the road ahead. I reiterated to him that the United States supports the restoration of the democratic constitutional order in Honduras. We continue to support regional efforts through the OAS to bring about a peaceful resolution that is consistent with the terms of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
As President Obama said today, we have taken this position because we respect the universal principle that people should choose their own leaders, whether they are leaders we agree with or not. And I told President Zelaya that we will do everything we can to avoid any further bloodshed, and I conveyed our deep regret over the tragic events that unfolded in the last days.
We call upon all parties to refrain from acts of violence and to seek a peaceful, constitutional, and lasting solution to the serious divisions in Honduras through dialogue. To that end, we have been working with a number of our partners in the hemisphere to create a negotiation, a dialogue that could lead to a peaceful resolution of this situation.
We are supporting the efforts that the OAS has made, but we think there needs to be a specific mediator, and to that end we are supporting President Arias of Costa Rica to serve in this important role. I raised this with President Zelaya, discussed it with him at length. He agreed that President Arias, who not only has a lot of experience going back many years as a mediator – in fact, won the Nobel Peace Prize for the work he did to resolve the conflict in El Salvador – but is the current president of the Central American Association. So he is the natural person to assume this role.
I spoke with President Arias earlier today, discussed it with him. He is willing to serve as a mediator. And we have received word that the de facto caretaker president, Micheletti, will also agree to President Arias serving in this role.
We hope that this process can begin as soon as possible. It was one of the questions that President Zelaya raised with me, what the timing would be. Based on my conversation with President Arias, I think he is willing to begin immediately.
And it is our hope that through this dialogue mechanism, overseen by President Arias, that there can be a restoration of democratic constitutional order, a peaceful resolution of this matter that will enable the Honduran people to see the restoration of democracy and a more peaceful future going forward.
So I’d be happy to take your questions.
QUESTION: Do you believe that – you use this phrase that is so often used here, “the restoration of the constitutional and democratic order.” One, does that mean that President Zelaya should be restored to his position?
Secondly, do you think it makes any sense for him to try to force his way back into the country, as he did over the weekend when the violence occurred?
And then lastly, does he need to compromise a little on this? Does he need to perhaps give up his plans for a referendum on extending the presidential terms?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Now that we have a mediation process that we hope can begin shortly, I don’t want to prejudge what the parties themselves will agree to. There are many different issues that will have to be discussed and resolved. But I think it’s fair to let the parties themselves, with President Arias’ assistance, sort out all of these issues.
We hope at the end of this mediation there will be a return of democratic constitutional order that is agreed to by all concerned. The exact nature of that, the specifics of it, we will leave to the parties themselves, as I think now is appropriate.
I was heartened that President Zelaya agreed with this. I believe it is a better route for him to follow at this time than to attempt to return in the face of the implacable opposition of the de facto regime. And so instead of another confrontation that might result in the loss of life, let’s try the dialogue process and see where that leads, and let’s let the parties determine all the various issues as they should. It’s their responsibility to do that.
QUESTION: Does the mediation effort now mean that you’re going to hold off on making a determination about whether this was, in fact, a coup that statutorily requires you to suspend non-humanitarian aid?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Matt, we have paused in the aid that we think would be affected by the letter of the statute. There is humanitarian aid, and that is a concern for us – the well-being of the people of Honduras. But we’ve made the decision to basically pause on any further aid. We hope that this mediation process will lead to a rapid resolution, and that would be our preference.
QUESTION: And do you expect President Arias to actually go to Honduras?
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, he’s going to conduct it in Costa Rica, and the parties from Honduras, including President Zelaya, will be in Costa Rica for the mediation.
MR. KELLY: Okay, Nick Kralev, Washington Times.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, what status – what official status does President Zelaya currently have in the United States? What has he been afforded? And what is the status of the ambassador of Honduras to the – to Washington? Does he represent the de facto government or President Zelaya?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Those are some of the specific questions that President Zelaya is discussing as we speak with Assistant Secretary Tom Shannon, with Dan Restrepo from the National Security Council, and others, because we do want to work this out in the most appropriate manner. The question of their ambassador to us and our ambassador to them is one we need to resolve. I was very pleased that President Zelaya and the foreign minister who was with him both commended us for the role that our ambassador is playing in Honduras, not only in providing security for members of President Zelaya’s family, but in being one of the few people who can talk to all sides at this time.
We are obviously going to be guided by the appropriateness of whether to leave our ambassador there going forward. If – President Zelaya believes that he’s playing a useful role, so we do not want to abridge that if it could be value-added to this mediation process.
MR. KELLY: Last question to Ginger Thompson, New York Times.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, thank you for taking questions. Can you confirm reports that Assistant Secretary Shannon met yesterday, I believe, with Ricardo Maduro, who is representing the delegation that’s backing the de facto government, and can you tell us about the nature of those conversations and whether you all continue to have meetings with that delegation?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m not going to comment on that because our goal has been to reach the point where I believe we are now, which is to get the parties talking to each other and not through us or through other third parties. There’s been, as you know, an enormous amount of contact going on across the hemisphere and, literally, around the world. But it has been my view for several days that the most useful role we could play is to convince all that are directly concerned, not only President Zelaya, but also the de facto regime, the OAS, the UN, everyone, that we needed to have a process where the Hondurans themselves sat down and talked to each other. And that is – that’s been my goal, and I believe that we are on the brink of that happening. I’m hoping that it actually occurs soon.
So we have tried through our good offices to get people to this point. And we’re very grateful for the willingness of President Arias to serve in this position, and we’re also appreciative of the efforts of the OAS as well.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary —
QUESTION: One more?
SECRETARY CLINTON: All right, one more. One more.
QUESTION: Would you like to say something about the riots in China and also your trip to India, Madame Secretary?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are deeply concerned over the reports of deaths and injuries from violence in Western China. We are trying to sort out, as best we can, the facts and circumstances from the region, and we’re calling on all sides to exercise restraint. We know there’s a long history of tension and discontent, but the most immediate matter is to bring the violence to a conclusion.
With respect to India, I’m very much looking forward to my trip next week. We are working hard with our Indian counterparts to create a very deep and broad strategic engagement. And it is my hope that we’ll be able to announce our intentions when I’m in India, and that we will be cooperating and working together across the broadest range of concerns that our two governments have ever engaged on.
I am very hopeful that the relationship between the United States and India, which has improved considerably over the last 15 years, continues on the path that we’re on. India is an emerging global power. The recent election has provided political stability, and the new government is very committed to pursuing a very activist domestic agenda, particularly around poverty and the conditions of people in rural India, as well as its emphasis on development and job creation, but also to look for ways that India can play a role regionally and globally on the economic issues and other matters that confront us.
So I’m very excited. I was thrilled to go to India for the first time as First Lady and to begin a process that has led us to this point with the contributions of many along the way that really demonstrates that the world’s largest democracy and oldest democracy have so much more in common than perhaps was first recognized.
So thank you. Thank you all very much.

PRN: 2009/688

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Situation in Honduras

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
June 28, 2009

The action taken against Honduran President Mel Zelaya violates the precepts of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and thus should be condemned by all. We call on all parties in Honduras to respect the constitutional order and the rule of law, to reaffirm their democratic vocation, and to commit themselves to resolve political disputes peacefully and through dialogue. Honduras must embrace the very principles of democracy we reaffirmed at the OAS meeting it hosted less than one month ago.

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Remarks With Jamaican Foreign Minister Kenneth Baugh at CARICOM Breakfast Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
San Pedro Sula, Honduras
June 2, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning. Good morning, everyone, and let me thank you so much for getting up so early. And we were talking as we came in about – anyone feel the earthquake? Very slight. Very slight, indeed. And as you can tell, this is a real pleasure for us, and I appreciate all of you making the effort to come together.
One of the goals that President Obama and I have is to deepen our relationship with the Caribbean. We know how important each of your countries are in our effort to forge not only closer relations, but more prosperity and more security and greater social inclusion. And I look forward to working with all of you. This morning, I hope that we’ll be able to discuss the U.S.-Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, trade and economic recovery, climate change and energy, and of course, our new policy toward Cuba.
We have with us today three distinguished members of Congress. I saw they were coming in. Some of you know them. We have Congressman Eliot Engel and – (applause) – yeah, good, cheering, you want that noted in the record. (Laughter.) That doesn’t happen very often. (Laughter.) Eliot and I served together very happily for eight years, and as I was also privileged to do with my friend, Gregory Meeks, who has traveled broadly in the region and has just a wealth of good ideas. Also, Bill Delahunt from Massachusetts. We have – (applause) – Bill, Bill, yes indeed, he brought his own cheering section. This is very – well, good planning for a Red Sox fan. (Laughter.)
And I know that some of you are acquainted with the others with whom I’m traveling, Assistant Secretary Tom Shannon, who has been working very hard on all these issues, particularly the security one. This may be a new face to you, Dan Restrepo. Some of you may know Dan. Raise your hand, Dan, for people to get a look at you. Dan is in the White House in the National Security Council, working on Western Hemisphere matters. And let’s see, who else – ah, Hector Morales, our Ambassador to the OAS, who has been working very hard with many of you over a number of years, and particularly in preparation for this meeting.
Before moving on to the issues, I want to introduce someone very special, Professor Dinah Shelton, who is sitting here with me. She is the United States candidate for election to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. She brings outstanding credentials. I hope that you will get a chance to talk with her. I’m enthusiastic about her candidacy. I hope you will be able to support her in Thursday’s election. She will bring experience in a common law legal system to the commission, which we think will be very value-added. And of course, I think it’s very important that she happens to be a highly qualified woman. There have not been enough women on the commission, in my humble opinion, so I’m looking forward to talking with you about her and having you meet her.
Let me just briefly run through some of these issues before we turn it over to my colleague here and then have a chance to just visit informally. With the U.S.-Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, President Obama has made a $45 million commitment. We hope it will really help our Caribbean friends and neighbors. We want to help with the common challenges that we face using tools of law enforcement, the military, and development. There was a technical meeting in Suriname on May 20th, and we’re having the working groups that came out of that meeting currently laying the foundation for a follow-up meeting in the United States later this year.
This was a topic of many conversations in Trinidad and Tobago at the wonderful summit that you hosted. And I am very anxious to get your ideas about how we can help you. I mean, it was the single biggest issue that we heard from the Caribbean countries, that you are being subjected to relentless pressure from the narcotraffickers and the criminal gangs. And we want you to know that President Obama is ready to do whatever we think will work to assist you.
Second, I want to encourage greater economic cooperation. Our economies are clearly highly interconnected. We know that commerce between our countries can be a great part of our economic recovery. And I hope that each of your governments will be willing to work with the United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk, an excellent choice for that position, whom I hope you will get to meet, to convene in trade and investment council meetings. We’re going to place special emphasis (inaudible) promoting balanced trade policies that will affect and enhance the prospects for all of our people. And that’s one of our problems with trade is that not enough of it has reached the people most marginalized and vulnerable, and we have to try to do better on that.
Third, as you know, your countries and the southern part of our country are particularly vulnerable to both climate change and energy price fluctuation. I hope we can work together with the Energy and Climate Change Partnership of the Americas that President Obama announced at the summit and find concrete solutions. We stand ready to help with investment ideas, technology ideas, clean energy approaches, as do other countries in the hemisphere, like Brazil most notably. We want to work together to tackle this problem.
And finally, I want to emphasize the United States under President Obama is taking a completely new approach to our policy toward Cuba. We have eased restrictions on family travel and remittances. As I was getting ready in my hotel room this morning, I had CNN on and I saw just a cheerful reunion between a man and his little baby boy, who he hadn’t seen for a year and a half because of the prior travel restrictions. We have authorized greater telecommunications links. We’ve announced the resumption of bilateral immigration and direct mail talks.
And we do look forward to the day when Cuba can join the OAS. But we believe that membership in the OAS must come with responsibility. And we owe it to each other to uphold our standards of democracy and governance that have brought so much progress to our hemisphere. It’s not about reliving the past; it’s about the future and being true to the founding principles of this organization. I know we’ve had some discussions about this. I hope we will have more. The Caribbean nations have played a key, constructive role in those discussions, and I’m confident we can come up with a common way forward.
I’m exciting about building this relationship. And at this point, I’d like to turn to Foreign Minister Kenneth Baugh of Jamaica, who will deliver welcoming remarks. (Applause.)
FOREIGN MINISTER BAUGH: Thank you very much. I feel so very honored this morning sitting beside Her Excellency Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Let me take the opportunity, first of all, Excellency, of introducing the ministers who are here and some of the ambassadors. We’ll start with Antigua and Barbuda – I’m not sure exactly where you are sitting – right, good – Ambassador Deborah Lovell; Barbados Honorable Maxine McClean is sitting there and she’s sitting besides the Bahamas Minister – Honorable Minister Brent Symonette – right; Belize Minister Elrington – right there with the beard – (laughter) – Dominica Honorable Vince Henderson Dominica; Grenada Honorable Peter David – he’s on that side, right; Guyana Ambassador Bayney Karran; and Haiti Honorable Minister Alrich Nicolas, is in (inaudible) there; Saint Kitts and Nevis, Izben Williams Ambassador, right; Saint Lucia Ambassador Michael Louis; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Honorable Louis Straker (inaudible) – (laughter); and soon I’ll hear from the most difficult (inaudible), the Honorable (inaudible) – have I got it right? – not quite right (inaudible), a very difficult name; and Trinidad and Tobago Honorable Senator Lenny Saith – Lenny Saith is there.
Excellency, I would just like to take the opportunity of responding to what you have said and to commend yourself, the President, and the United States of America for the initiative that has been taken in regard to Cuba. We definitely feel that there is a very positive movement based on the signals that have been sent, and as you just mentioned, the activities that are now taking place that all goes well for its very near future.
I am proud to sit beside you, not only because you are the Secretary of State for the United States of America, but in your own right, as a woman of history and somebody who has demonstrated great courage and great determination over the years that you have been in politics.
We have the audacity to hope.
SECRETARY CLNITON: (Laughter.) Nicely done, (inaudible).
FOREIGN MINISTER BAUGH: That we do it in the context of our renewed spirit of engagement with the United States and CARICOM, which is really characterizing new Administration of the United States of America. I wish to take the opportunity to emphasize the commitment of CARICOM to strengthen the ties of friendship, cooperation, trade, tourism and investment with the United States of America.
Out of the Summit of the Americas, so ably sponsored and hosted by (inaudible) Trinidad and Tobago, we dare to hope that hemispheric unity and solidarity is not a vain and elusive dream, but that an historic economic cooperation and trade, and a large, unified, secure market may not be a distant reality.
We recall the very positive and constructive engagement between CARICOM heads of state and of government and President Barack Obama in the margins of the Summit of the Americas. We recall also the very constructive engagement between CARICOM foreign ministers and Assistant Secretary of State Tom Shannon in the margins of COFCOR. COFCOR is the Council for Foreign and Community Relations, I’m presently the chairman of COFCOR. And that meeting was held recently in Jamaica. I really enjoyed that meeting and enjoyed the presentation of Mr. Tom Shannon.
We express satisfaction at the CARICOM-U.S. meeting on May 20 in Suriname on security cooperation, and I’m very pleased, Excellency, that you have made special mention of the concerns of security in the Caribbean.
We will work on the process of high-level dialogue between CARICOM and the United States of America, in addition to meetings at the level of heads and foreign ministers, also includes encounters with United States congressional representatives and regular contact between senior officials. I remember Congressman Engle coming to Jamaica (inaudible) tremendous set of meetings between himself and Prime Minister Golding and (inaudible).
We look forward to CARICOM and the United States Summit. We are looking forward to a date for that, because I know the President is committed to that, and the opportunity that such a meeting would provide to advance our cooperation and understanding in relation to the CARICOM-U.S. agenda, including a will to consolidate and build institutional mechanisms for our continued dialogue and cooperation. That is between CARICOM and the United States of America. This is something that was started last year at the United Nations in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly.
We have selected certain issues, and Madame Secretary, you have touched on almost all of them. There are certain members of our team here, if they would make a brief presentation, and I’m going to have to emphasize for them this morning that they have to be very brief – three minutes, maximum. We’re going to have three persons. They are Minister of – Minister Saith from Trinidad and Tobago will speak on security within the context of a U.S.-CARICOM partnership, and will basically address the issues already and addressed some of the solutions.
We are going to ask Minister McLean from Barbados to address the issue of development, especially to do with international financial institutions and (inaudible) financial services, and what is coming with the G-20 and how all the economic crisis is affecting the Caribbean, in particular.
And finally, we are going to ask the representative Minister of Belize to speak on the issue of Cuba. (Inaudible) the issues and he’s going to help us to address them (inaudible).
We look forward to an exchange of views on these. We have selected these three topics, not because we don’t have any more — we have a long list – but in the interests of time so that we can focus all attention on what we consider the critical ones for (inaudible).
Once again, let me extend a warm welcome to everybody, and say how pleased I am to be here with the delegation from the United States of America, particularly in the company of the Secretary of State, who is somebody that we hold in very high regard and very high esteem, and we are pleased to have you here this morning. And thanks for the opportunity for dialogue.


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Press Statement

Ian Kelly
Department Spokesman, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 21, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to El Salvador and Honduras from May 31 to June 2.

Secretary Clinton will travel to El Salvador to attend the presidential inauguration of Mauricio Funes on June 1. While in El Salvador, the Secretary also will attend a ministerial meeting of Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas. The Secretary will then travel to Honduras to lead the U.S. delegation to the Organization of American States General Assembly in San Pedro Sula on June 2.

At the General Assembly, Secretary Clinton will meet with her counterparts from the other member nations of the Organization of American States to discuss the theme “Toward a Culture of Non-Violence,” as well as continue the dialogue on issues identified at the 2009 Summit of the Americas, including promoting human prosperity, energy security, and environmental sustainability.

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