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Remarks With Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon and Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa After their Meeting


Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon and Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa
Wakefield Mill Inn
Ottawa, Canada
December 13, 2010

FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: Good afternoon. I’ll read a brief statement and respond to your questions. (In French.)

Briefly in English, the North American Foreign Ministers Meeting is an important opportunity for Canada, the United States, and Mexico to consult, coordinate, and work better to address key bilateral, trilateral, North American, and global issues. It also provides us with the opportunity to help prepare the next North American Leaders Summit, which is expected in 2011. The chair’s statement I have issued will provide you with a more detailed view of discussions that were held today, but I would like to provide a few highlights.

My colleagues and I had a substantive discussion this morning regarding continental and regional security and ways in which we can jointly address the challenges in our region. We reaffirmed our governments’ commitment, commitments I should say, to trilateral cooperation and coordination in this area, such as our commitment to combating transnational criminal organizations. Trilateral cooperation will reinforce Canada’s efforts to assist partners in the hemispheric – in the hemisphere in the areas of law enforcement, policing, corrections, and judicial systems, as well as disaster preparedness and relief.

We also support efforts to strengthen democracies and build capacity in a number of areas. Haiti, of course, being — and remains of grave concern, and we stand with its citizens as they rebuild their country. It’s essential that Haitian political actors fulfill their responsibilities and demonstrate a firm commitment to democratic principles, including the respect for the integrity of the electoral process. As well, it is critical for the recounting of ballots that be addressed in a timely and transparent manner, and that calm be restored to the streets. We will continue to consult and work with our partners on the ground in Haiti, including the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti and the Organization of American States and CARICOM to help the country address these important challenges.

My colleagues and I also took a few moments to review the work undertaken since 2009, since the 2009 North American Leaders Summit, which, as you know, was held in Guadalajara, Mexico, including the important steps taken to support our economy and advance our competiveness and address environment, climate change, and clean energy issues.

In closing, I want to thank my colleagues, Secretary of State Clinton as well as Minister Espinosa for their major contribution to the success of this meeting in beautiful Wakefield, Quebec.

Madam Secretary.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much Lawrence. It’s a real pleasure for me to join Foreign Minister Cannon and Foreign Secretary Espinosa for the 2010 North American Foreign Ministers Meeting. I want to thank Foreign Minister Cannon and his staff for hosting us here in Quebec and also for the excellent collaboration that we have had over the course of our respective positions working together.

I also want to commend Foreign Secretary Espinosa for the excellent leadership that she and Mexico provided for the recently concluded Cancun Climate Conference. This was a very significant outcome, and it will be important going forward to build on the work and agreement that was reached in Cancun, and it validates the international approach towards solving these very significant global problems. So I really want to express my admiration and gratitude to her.

As Minister Cannon just summarized, the three of us had a very productive discussion today across a wide range of issues, and I want to say first and foremost that the partnership between Canada, Mexico, and the United States is of critical importance. To each of our countries, it goes without saying: We’re not only neighbors, but we bear leadership responsibilities and we care deeply about our neighbors and the global community as a whole.

The work we do together every day – whether it is to drive economic progress, or strengthen our security, or address urgent problems such as climate change or violent extremism in places like Afghanistan, or narco-traffickers or pandemic disease – has a profound impact on every level: locally, regionally, and globally. No partnership means more to the United States or to the hundreds of millions of North American citizens whose lives and futures are increasingly intertwined.

So I appreciate once again this opportunity to affirm and deepen our ties. We have a very robust, comprehensive agenda that we’re working on together that we will be following up on, and I look forward to continue working closely with my North American counterparts to achieve a safer, more secure, and more prosperous North America region and world.

Thank you very much, Lawrence.

FOREIGN SECRETARY ESPINOSA: Thank you. (Via interpreter) I would like to start by expressing my gratitude to the Government of Canada and to Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon for his hospitality here in Wakefield. Along with my colleagues Hillary Clinton and Lawrence Cannon, we have had a very forthcoming discussion on the main issues of common interest for the three countries in North America. We are working to ensure that the North American Leaders Summit which will take place at the beginning of next year here in Canada will be very successful and generate greater cooperation and concrete benefits for the inhabitants of our three countries.

Today, we agreed in recognizing the very strong ties that bind Canada, the United States, and Mexico. We talked about the complementary nature of our economies and the need to increase cooperation from a trilateral perspective in order to ensure both competitiveness and security in our region.

As the other two have noted, we looked over a number of global and hemispheric issues and we also spoke of the results of COP-16 which recently took place in Cancun, Mexico. And I would like to thank them for their generous words of recognition toward Mexico and the Mexican president.

I would also like to particularly recognize the active participation, which is also very constructive, on the part of the Canadian and the United States delegation in the work of COP-16 that led to the achievements of that meeting in Cancun. It was important to reach the agreements that make it possible to move forward in implementing many aspects of the convention that had not been previously implemented. It will particularly benefit developing countries, the most vulnerable countries, small island countries, and the least fortunate countries.

It was important to create the proper environment to ensure that negotiations could be held in the best possible climate. It’s also important to highlight the inclusive nature of these conferences and the presence of many representatives of civil society that were able to express themselves freely. Their presence and their words were at no moment violent or at all a source of preoccupation.
I would also like to thank the Canadian and American participants who were not part of the delegations, but there were many Canadians and Americans who attended as part of the NGO group and representatives of civil society. There were representatives of local governments. They participated constructively in that very important event for Mexico and for multilateralism.

And now we have the opportunity to develop a relevant agenda with regard to the environment, energy, and in creating a common basis to fight climate change among all of our countries. I would like to highlight the importance of strengthening North America’s competitiveness to consolidate our economic recovery. I would also like to highlight our interest in working with the economic cabinets of our respective countries and support for small and medium enterprises, as well as greater cooperation with regard to regulatory issues. We discussed issues – related issues such as security from a perspective of regional integration, and we touched on ways of building cooperation with Central American and Caribbean countries, recognizing that they face huge challenges.

The transnational nature of organized crime also makes it necessary for us to cooperate based on the principle of joint responsibility involving agents that are beyond our borders. We also spoke of the importance of continuing to strengthen our mechanisms for cooperation in regard to health, and the great example of cooperation between Mexico, the United States, and Canada that took place during the H1N1 flu crisis.

I am convinced that we are on the right path to consolidate a leaders summit that will lead to tangible results that will have a great impact for Mexicans, Americans, and Canadians, and that our region will become more and more competitive on the international scene.

I would like to once again thank Foreign Minister Cannon for his hospitality and for having taken this initiative to bring us together. And I would also like to repeat that we are willing to continue working to consolidate the agreements that will no doubt be presented at the leaders summit.

Thank you very much.

(In English) Thank you very much, Mr. Cannon. Thank you, Madam Clinton.

MODERATOR: Well, I’ll just ask you to be seated. Right after the Q&A, we’ll take one – keep it to one question. (In French.) We’ll start with Emmanuelle, Radio Canada.

QUESTION: Emmanuelle Latraverse from Radio Canada. (Via interpreter) Minister Cannon, I’d like to ask you with regards to the situation in Haiti, the dramatic lack of confidence that we see between the population and the institutions in that country, you have called out to the people on the ground there and you’ve said that they have to be able to stand tall and support their responsibility towards the country. You talked about a joint electoral commission.

Given that things might degenerate, isn’t the time come to put more further pressure and do what has been suggested by the senators in the U.S., that is to say to threaten to suspend direct aid to the Haitian Government? Have we come to that point?

(In English) Mrs. Clinton, do you need me to translate or did you get this, because I’d like to hear from you also on this, whether it’s not time in Haiti to ask – to threaten, essentially, to cut direct aid funding to the government, as Senator Leahy has suggested.

FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: (Via interpreter) Well, if that’s all right, I will answer first. I think the international community cannot do everything in Haiti. It’s extremely important that the Government of Haiti and the people of Haiti assume their responsibilities and ensure that democracy in Haiti continue. And in particular, the electoral process – it has to continue with respect and calm.

We talked about this matter this morning and we concluded that this was the most important thing to do for the people of Haiti, but also through the OAS, CARICOM, and the United States – or the United Nations, we are willing to consider what’s going on. But at the same time, it’s important for the people of Haiti to assume their responsibility, because I repeat this: There will not be any economic progress if there is no government stability. And what is essential is to get the stability of the government.

SECRETARY CLINTON: What we’re facing in Haiti is a set of challenges that individually are quite serious and, taken together, almost overwhelming in their importance of addressing. We have a continuing humanitarian challenge that is being met, but still there is much to be done. We have a public health challenge with the epidemic of cholera, and the international community is responding. But again, there’s much to be done. We have an economic challenge because we have to figure out ways to put Haitians back to work to begin rebuilding economic growth and giving people a decent standard of living. We have a governmental capacity challenge, which we’ve been dealing with even before the earthquake, but most acutely since, to try to create conditions in which the Government of Haiti has the capacity to work toward meeting the needs of the Haitian people, and that we are in respect of their sovereignty. And we now have an electoral challenge that is acute.

We discussed this at length in our trilateral, and I think we all agree that we have got to address all of these. But certainly the electoral challenge, the instability in the government, the lack of clear way forward as to who will be assuming leadership responsibilities, requires the international community to act and provide technical assistance, provide support for unraveling the complexities and questions surrounding the election.

So all of these are important. It’s hard to pick one out and say, okay, let’s concentrate on this, which is why this is such an intensely complex situation. But I want to commend my colleagues because both Canada and Mexico have been deeply involved and committed. Canada, as you know, took the lead after the earthquake. I remember being here within days to try to chart a way forward. So it’s important that we respond to the needs that exist and try to begin to address each and every one of these challenges to try to create better conditions for the Haitian people.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Lachlan Carmichael, AFP.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, hello.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Hi.

QUESTION: You don’t seem ready to take up Senator Leahy on his recommendation that you suspend aid to the government and also impose visas on the leadership. Why not at this point? And then, two, would the United States like Canada being willing to be represented on the international committee to supervise the election review? And then final question: We want to know, of course, how Ambassador Holbrooke is doing.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Lachlan. I think Senator Leahy, who is a strong supporter of American foreign aid and humanitarian relief assistance, is expressing a growing frustration that you will find not only in Congress, but in our government and the American people, that as we’re approaching the one-year anniversary of the Haitian earthquake there hasn’t been the kind of coordinated, coherent response from the Government of Haiti that is called for. We understand that the government itself was badly damaged, individuals were traumatized. But there has to be a greater effort and there has to be a more focused approach toward problem solving.

So I think that Senator Leahy, who is a very significant member of the Senate and heads the subcommittee that determines where our foreign aid goes in the United States Government, should be heeded by the leaders of Haiti, that this is a very strong signal that we expect more and we’re looking for more.

From the Administration’s perspective, we are still working to try to resolve many of the questions raised by the election and will continue to do so. But at the same time, we don’t want to punish the people of Haiti because of the flaws that were alleged to have occurred in the election. People still need to have their shelter, their education, their clean water, their health, their economic opportunities addressed.

So we are trying to push forward in a difficult environment, and we want to see progress on the ground. And we have supported the international approach toward sending technical experts. We think that’s more important than political leaders. We need to find technical experts who can delve into what happened in the election and try to create a transparent understanding that can not only win the support of the international community, but most importantly the Haitian people.

The United States stands ready to provide whatever support is appropriate, but other countries also have a lot to contribute. And so we are working across the international community to devise the best possible answer to the issues that have been raised.

And finally with respect to Ambassador Holbrooke, as many of you know who have followed American foreign policy, he has given nearly 50 years of his life to serving the United States, starting as a very young Foreign Service officer in Vietnam, now serving as the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He had a very serious medical emergency on Friday. He’s had excellent care, including many hours of surgery in the last three days. He is stable but still in very critical condition. And we appreciate the outpouring of support and concern that has been evidenced from around the world. Presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers, very experienced diplomats have been calling and expressing their best wishes. And I know how much the family appreciate that, but so do all of his colleagues.

MODERATOR: Let’s keep it to one question. Terry Milewski, CBC.

QUESTION: Thank you. My question is to Secretary Clinton and Minister Cannon and it concerns something which received scant mention in your prepared statement: the ongoing discussion of perimeter security. It’s nine years now since the SMART Border Agreement was signed, producing in the intervening period a border that seems to get ever thicker. It’s very frustrating for Canadian travelers and for business, time-consuming, and expensive. Is the relative silence on this topic in your statement, does it suggest that this is on the back burner, just not ready, too complex, what? And second of all, more specifically, can you give us any assurances that this – that if there is ever an agreement on this topic that it will produce not a thicker border but a thinner one?

FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: Let me, Terry, first address that. The challenge, of course, that exists is the following: On the one hand, to be able to maintain the level of trade and our commercial relationship with our largest trading partner in the world, to maintain that and to see it progress over the course of the next several months, indeed, over the course of the next several years, both in Canada and in the United States. Just so that we get a general idea of what this means, it’s $1.6 billion of trade on a daily basis. It’s roughly both in Canada and in the United States a number of direct and indirect jobs. So that on the one hand constitutes a challenge.

The other challenge, of course, is to make sure that our countries stay safe from the threat of terrorism. And so indeed, what is at task here is to be able to continually look at ways that we can put in motion so that those two issues be addressed and that we are able to continue to sustain the economic recovery, albeit extremely fragile, but the economic recovery that’s underway. And so that is the perspective that Canada brings to this issue.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I would only add that this is a bilateral issue on which we meet and discuss regularly with our Canadian colleagues, so it’s not surprising that it wouldn’t be on the agenda of a trilateral meeting such as this. We are very conscious of the stakes because, as Lawrence said, we want this to enhance not just security, but trade and commercial activity, business connections, people-to-people travel, recreation, tourism.

For eight years I represented New York, which has a long and very friendly border with Canada, and I am very acutely aware of the importance of this most significant relationship along our long and peaceful border. So we are, I think, committed to discussing and arriving at conclusions about how best to deal with the environment in which we find ourselves today to try to create a border that, yes, protects Canadians and Americans but also enables the kind of ongoing interactions that are critical to both nations.

MODERATOR: Last question from Indira Lakshmanan, Bloomberg.

QUESTION: Thank you, Secretary Clinton. The American press has one question that’s off the trilateral, outside of the trilateral agenda. We would love to get your interpretation of Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s firing of your counterpart Mr. Mottaki today and what you think that says about the political situation in Iran and whether – how you think it’s going to affect U.S.-Iranian relations. And is it because he snubbed you the other day? (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: I have no idea, Indira. Really, I think our relationship toward Iran is not toward any individual. It is toward the country, the government, which is complex and challenging to deal with because it is not just one channel; there are several different channels because of the way their government is established. So I don’t really have any insight or comment on the report that I also learned of today.

But I would add that the recent meeting in Geneva of the P-5+1 was a good start. It was just that. It wasn’t more than that, but it was a good start to a return to a serious negotiations between Iran and the international community. And they agreed on a second meeting in January. We remain committed to pursuing every diplomatic avenue available to us and our international partners to persuade Iran to forgo a nuclear weapons program, and we remain convinced that that is not only in the interest of peace and stability in the Gulf and indeed in the wider region and world, but it’s also in the best interest of Iran.

So whether one person or another is foreign minister is not as important as to what the policy of the Iranian Government is in dealing with the international community on this very important matter.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much. If you could stay seated for a few minutes while the ministers make their way out.

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Mme. Secretary began her long day today in Canada. She attended the North American Foreign Ministers Meeting hosted by Lawrence Cannon. FM Patricia Espinosa represented Mexico. Here are pics of the day.

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Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton to Attend North American Foreign Ministers Meeting

Press Statement

Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
December 9, 2010

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Canada to participate in the North American Foreign Ministers Meeting on December 13, 2010, in Wakefield, Quebec.

The North American Foreign Ministers Meeting is an important forum for identifying trilateral priorities and ways the United States, Canada, and Mexico can collaborate as partners in North America, the western hemisphere and internationally.

In the trilateral sessions, Secretary Clinton, Minister Cannon, and Secretary Espinosa will discuss key issues that Canada, the United States, and Mexico face individually and as a region, including the state of the economy and North American prosperity, regional security, energy and climate change, the health and safety of citizens, and matters concerning the broader western hemisphere.

The United States, Mexico, and Canada share many opportunities and challenges and work collaboratively on a wide range of issues. The North American Foreign Ministers Meeting is an opportunity to reinforce the close relations among the three nations and to identify common objectives and strategies to ensure greater security and well-being, as well as economic prosperity, for the citizens of North America and the people of the western hemisphere.

Stay warm, Mme. Secretary!  It’s cold up there!

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MONDAY, JANUARY 25, 2010

8:15 a.m.  Secretary Clinton meets with His Excellency Franco Frattini, Foreign Minister of Italy, at the Department of State.

ON FOREIGN TRAVEL  Secretary Clinton attends Meetings Regarding the Haiti Earthquake hosted by the Government of Canada, in Montreal, Canada

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Hillary Clinton will be attending a conference tomorrow in Montreal to begin planning for the long-term recovery of Haiti.  It will be her second appearance in Canada as Secretary of State. She crossed the Rainbow Bridge on June 13, 2009 for the climax of a year celebrating the 100th anniversary of our Boundary Waters Treaty with Canada.


Here she is wearing red for Canada that day.  Canadians tweeted about the color of her pantsuit as she crossed the bridge.


This was taken upon Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon’s first visit to the new Secretary of State last year.  He will be hosting this very important conference.

The link below goes to CTV.  There is video on the page, so it might be worth a peek tomorrow to see if they have video from the conference. According to the article,  Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive has arrived in Ottowa and will be an important member of tomorrow’s conference.

Montreal hosts Hillary Clinton, ministers, for Haiti
CTV.ca News Staff

Date: Sun. Jan. 24 2010 6:33 PM ET

Foreign ministers from around the world, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will meet in Montreal Monday to lay the groundwork for a long-term plan to rebuild Haiti.

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon will serve as host of the six-hour meeting, officially known as the Ministerial Preparatory Conference of the Group of Friends of Haiti.

Read more>>>

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Daily Appointments Schedule for January 22, 2010

Washington, DC
January 22, 2010

SECRETARY OF STATE CLINTON

12:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton hosts a Bilateral Meeting with His Excellency Vladimir Filat, the Prime Minister of Moldova, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

12:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton hosts a Millennium Challenge Corporation Signing Ceremony with the Government of Moldova, at the Department of State.

1:00 p.m.
Secretary Clinton meets with the Haiti Task Force Team, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

2:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton delivers Remarks to the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs Chiefs of Mission Conference, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

2:30 p.m.
Secretary Clinton hosts a Bilateral Meeting with His Excellency Lawrence Cannon, Foreign Secretary of Canada, at the Department of State.*


4:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with UNESCO Secretary General Irina Bokova, at the Department of State.

*Cancelled flight scrubs Cannon, Clinton meeting

Last Updated: Friday, January 22, 2010 | 2:26 PM ET

The Canadian Press

Plane trouble has forced Canada’s foreign affairs minister to cancel a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Washington, D.C.

Lawrence Cannon was scheduled to sit down with Clinton Friday to discuss the international relief effort in Haiti, among other things. Yemen, Afghanistan and Arctic co-operation were also on the agenda.

Instead, officials with the Department of Foreign Affairs said Cannon will speak with Clinton by phone and hold a news conference in Ottawa.

They said “technical problems” forced the cancellation of Cannon’s scheduled commercial flight.

Clinton is scheduled to attend a foreign ministers meeting that Cannon will host in Montreal Monday to discuss reconstruction efforts in Haiti.

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Remarks With Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations Patricia Espinosa Cantellano and Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon Before Their Trilateral Ministerial Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
July 16, 2009

Date: 07/16/2009 Location: Washington, DC Description: Secretary Clinton hosted a North American Trilateral Ministerial Meeting in the Benjamin Franklin Room of the Department of State.  She is joined by Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Patricia Espinosa Cantellano and Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon. State Dept photo by Michael Gross © State Dept Image by Michael GrossSECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it is a particular delight for me to welcome Foreign Minister Cannon and Foreign Secretary Espinosa here to the State Department. Canada and Mexico are our closest friends and allies, and I’ve been pleased to have visited both countries in the six months of my tenure as Secretary of State. We are so fortunate to have neighbors with whom we share so many values and common interests and very human and family ties.

Today, we will be discussing how we intend to work even more effectively together, to speed economic recovery, to make North America more competitive, and our citizens safer. And I look forward to discussing with my colleagues and with their distinguished delegations who have traveled here the wide range of issues that we are all concerned about.

Let me ask if either of my colleagues would like to say a word. Patricia.

FOREIGN MINISTER ESPINOSA: Thank you, Secretary, just to say how honored Mexico feels to be able to host this leaders’ summit in the city of Guadalajara on the 9th and 10th of August. We are looking forward to this meeting. We feel this is really one of – one that gives us great opportunity to put our agenda in place in order to face the enormous challenges that our societies in the three countries are currently facing.

FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: Well, thank you very much, Madame Secretary, for this kind invitation to be here today with Secretary Espinosa, to lay the table literally, put – make – set up the agenda for our North American Leaders’ Summit. Our leaders will be meeting shortly. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity not only to be able to once again, all three of us, work together for the good of our countries, but also for North America. (Speaking in French.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Well, we’re going to now go immediately into our working groups, and I appreciate so much the concerns that bring us together. And in preparation for the leaders’ summit, we want to have a very specific agenda filled with the concrete actions that we intend to take together. So, thank you.

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Remarks With Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations Patricia Espinosa Cantellano and Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon After the North American Trilateral Ministerial Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
July 16, 2009

Date: 07/16/2009 Location: Washington, DC Description: Secretary Clinton hosted a North American Trilateral Ministerial Meeting in the Benjamin Franklin of the Department of State.  She is joined by Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Patricia Espinosa Cantellano and Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon. © State Dept Image by Michael Gross SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon, and I’m delighted to be here alongside my counterparts and colleagues from our neighbors to the north and the south, Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon, Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa. Each of them have hosted me in their countries, and I am so pleased that they could be here today for this important trilateral consultation.
This is an example of what I was speaking about yesterday in my speech, the kind of partnership that the United States is very committed to not only building, but in this case, really deepening and broadening. The partnership between our nations and our entire North American region has such enormous potential to enhance safety and opportunity for our citizens as well as health and prosperity. And we are focused upon our shared assets and values, particularly our dynamic economies and our creative hardworking citizens, to make North America the most prosperous, safest, and competitive region in the world.
We had an excellent series of discussions that each of us, in turn, led. And we really focused on concrete ways we can work together to capitalize on our strengths and address our common concerns. We discussed the upcoming North American Leaders’ Summit that will be hosted in Mexico by President Calderon. President Obama plans to attend. And Foreign Minister Espinosa can share with you some very specific details in a moment.
We discussed a range of global issues that affect us as well as closer to home; particularly the political crisis in Honduras. We reaffirmed our commitment to restore constitutional and democratic order, and underscored our support for the dialogue process that was started by President Arias. We support a peaceful, negotiated resolution and urge other countries to play a positive role in achieving that outcome, and to refrain from any actions that could lead to violence.
We reviewed our joint response to this spring’s H1N1 outbreak, and I want to commend publicly the Government of Mexico, as I said in our private meetings. Mexico’s leadership in the face of the H1N1 crisis, its openness and transparency, its sharing of information set a real model. It also was part of a prior agreement that had been entered into by our three countries where we did agree to work together in the face of such a challenge. We believe that our cross-government, cross-border communication were instrumental in minimizing the spread of the illness. Now we understand that the flu is seasonal. It’s likely to come back this fall in North America. And we want to enhance our vigilance and collaboration and build on the strong relationships already established.
This meeting was extremely successful from my perspective because the more we can coordinate, the more we can present a united front in world venues like the G-20 or APEC, other places where we have membership, the more we can do for our individual countries and for our mutual future.
So with that, let me turn to Secretary Espinosa and invite her to make some remarks.
FOREIGN MINISTER ESPINOSA: Thank you, Secretary.
(Via interpreter) Friends from the media, ladies and gentlemen, it is a pleasure to be here with you today for this very fruitful meeting that was held today between the foreign ministries of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. First of all, I would like to thank Secretary Clinton for her hospitality and her willingness to hold this meeting, which is a very important event for our three countries.
This event, as Secretary Clinton has pointed out, focused on addressing the issues that affect the three countries in our region, North America. This is very important in order to make progress in terms of preparing for the upcoming leaders’ summit that, as I was saying this morning, will take place in Guadalajara in Mexico on the 9th and 10th of August. We, the Mexican people, are very honored and very fortunate to be hosts for that important meeting.
During our conversations, I expressed my agreement with Secretary Clinton as well as Minister Lawrence Cannon from Canada. We agreed on the importance of continuing to push forward in our region with mechanisms for cooperation that respond to a very clear mandate from our leaders. We should make use of our positive experience in trilateral cooperation. We should have a more strategic approach, a deeper approach, and also an approach that allows us to truly have results for families in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico so that they may benefit from our relationship.
I feel that it is very important that this meeting between the foreign ministers has allowed us to expand on the regional and global agenda. This is a definitive moment internationally. So consultations between the three countries of North America are extremely important so that we can be more influential and so that we can promote the values that we share, as Secretary Clinton has stated. We have agreed to push forward with this engagement, to have a systematic approach to this engagement, so that we can contribute in a more significant fashion toward building a world that is more fair, that is cleaner, and that is more balanced.
As far as world and hemispheric issues, I would like to comment on the issue of Honduras. We all agree on the importance of the fact that the constitutional order was broken. We have all condemned and completely rejected that fracture of constitutional order. It is important to reach a negotiated solution that is based on dialogue. And in that sense, we firmly support the efforts to mediate by President Arias of Costa Rica, and we have expressed our interest and our desire in having a process that allows for a return to democracy in Honduras without any blood being spilled, without any type of violence.
The three countries of this region, we all face common problems, and we have common solutions. Moreover, the challenges of our time demand coordinated action with our neighbors, our partners and our friends. As a proof of our need to work together, to work jointly, we have the health emergency that took place in North America caused by the H1N1 epidemic. And I would like to thank the words of Secretary Clinton for her recognition of President Calderon’s decisions.
And at the same time, I would like to say that we saw this as a shared problem, and our agencies acted in a coordinated fashion and we were able to confirm that in order to address a crisis like that, we need to work together, as is the case with the international economic crisis, where Mexico, the United States, and Canada have achieved an important consultation process on that topic.
As a region, we have been able to promote our position and we have been able to show that the way out of this crisis that affects everyone is by acting together. We have worked in this joint fashion in order to consolidate the region as a space for trade and economic exchange that is of benefit to all.
We reviewed some general topics within the agenda that will be addressed in Guadalajara by President Barack Obama and President Calderon, as well as Prime Minister Stephen Harper. We looked at the issue of regional competitiveness. We also need to – looked at the way we need to improve the way in which we produce certified transport and market our products, looking toward being more efficient, and with greater security. That is key so that the products of our region can be the most affordable and the ones that are most beneficial to the families of this part of the world, and so that we can compete with other regions of the world.
We have also discussed clean energy, the environment. We discussed actions to take given climate change. These will be the trademarks of the dialogue between the leaders of North America. And we have also expressed that we want this region to become a model for other regions of the world, a model of cooperation on these topics. We should recognize that – we should realize that the threats that our hemisphere faces are threats that go beyond our borders, and that is why our conversation had a significant focus on issues of security.
We have put together a broader concept of security, a concept that goes beyond our already growing cooperation to combat organized crime and other threats that can affect our region. We have looked at a security focus. That means we need to be better prepared for epidemics, for natural disasters. We need to work jointly in a cooperative manner in order to offer all of our communities a place where their peace of mind is ensured.
As you know, Guadalajara will be the first trilateral meeting for president – between President Obama, Prime Minister Harper and President Calderon. We are very pleased with the dynamics of this engagement. Clearly, its objective is to have a greater impetus for our region. That is why the summit at Guadalajara, I am sure, will offer a valuable opportunity for a political dialogue at the highest level under conditions that are propitious to give North America greater influence on world topics.
Once again then, I would like to thank you for your hospitality. I would like to reiterate also the great satisfaction from the Mexican people and government for being host of this important meeting in August.
FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: It – I certainly, at the outset, want to thank Secretary Clinton for hosting this event. It certainly was a pleasure to participate alongside Secretary – with Secretary Espinosa in this meeting, which, of course, provides a timely opportunity to discuss mutual interests and concerns to us as neighbors and advance, of course, the cause of the North American issues that our leaders will take up. (Speaking in French.)
(Via interpreter) Mexico, the United States, and Canada share the same continent, our population, our economies, our environment, and the same challenges. All this is intimately linked.
(In English) Today, Secretary Espinosa and I discussed some of these challenges, as well as the opportunities available to us in an effort to ensure that North America’s economy remains prosperous and that our citizens be safe and reach, of course, their full potential. The many areas that were discussed are grounded in the common interests of all North Americans, with distinct voices and a diversity of ideas. We spoke of the future of our continent and its role in the world.
(Via interpreter) The recent arrival of H1N1 confirms the importance to work together, to take the necessary measures in order to be prepared for such challenges.
(In English) We focused on four priority areas for strengthening cooperation: The economy, since the global financial crisis and the recession have significantly affected the economies of our three countries; clean energy, climate change, given our highly integrated continental energy market and shared environment, and the latest commitments made at L’Aquila during the last G-8 meeting; security and citizen safety, given not only the successful trilateral cooperation on H1N1, as I mentioned before, and the lessons learned from it, but as well the growing challenges of transnational organizations and – I’m sorry, transnational organized crime on our continent.
(Via interpreter) We have also discussed regional challenges and what is at stake in all three countries, and we are working together to find solutions. Our discussion was very productive and pragmatic.
(In English) Many of the challenges – of these challenges require a North American solution. So we laid the ground for our three leaders to have a fruitful discussion in the month of August. We are looking forward to President Obama and President Calderon’s crucial contributions at the North American Leaders’ Summit that Prime Minister Harper will attend.
Merci. Thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. We’d be glad to take your questions.
MODERATOR: Our first question goes to Jill Dougherty of CNN.
QUESTION: Thank you very much, Madame Secretary. Over the past few days, Madame Secretary, we’ve been hearing some very strong frustration coming from you about the vetting process. And then also, at the same time, there has been a spate, which I’m sure you’ve seen, of reports about your allegedly being sidelined by the White House.
And I would ask you, if you could, to set us straight on this. Is the White House actually making it more difficult for you to put the team that you want in place? And then also, how would you describe the impact that you, as the Secretary of State, are having directly on the formation of U.S. foreign policy?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say that I don’t think there’s anyone who’s ever served in government who is not frustrated by the system that our country has. Most governments after they’re elected are up and going in a relatively short period of time. We are now six months into our new Administration, and it’s not only here, but across the government, we don’t have critical positions filled. I think it’s pretty obvious that the process has gotten much more complicated, cumbersome, and lengthy, and that is something that I hear from everyone. And it is a matter that I think we’re going to have to address. And it’s not just this Administration; it’s gotten increasingly more difficult.
But it’s hard to explain in my position to our foreign counterparts that we don’t yet have positions filled that would be the natural interlocutors for their counterparts in other countries. But that’s something that we’re all frustrated by; it’s not in any way limited to myself or even to the State Department or USAID.
I don’t really pay a lot of attention to what is said. I really stay focused on the work that I do. I broke my elbow, not my larynx. (Laughter.) I have been consistently involved in the shaping and implementation of our foreign policy. And I’m off to India and Thailand tonight. I will be back to co-lead the Strategic and Economic Dialogue with China. I will be meeting with Prime Minister Maliki as we continue to support the transition of Iraq to a better future, and then I will be off to Africa. So I think that I’m just going to do the work and make the contribution. I feel very honored and positive about my working relationship with the White House and in my personal relationship with President Obama.
MR. KELLY: The next question to Hugues Poulin, Radio Canada.
QUESTION: I would like to ask you about Guantanamo. Canada has one citizen in Guantanamo. He was arrested in Afghanistan many years ago. He’s been six years or more now in Guantanamo. He’s facing serious charges. But many organizations consider him as a child soldier. They want him back to Canada. Even the judge asked government – Canadian Government to bring him back to Canada. But until now, the Government of Canada refused to do that, even challenged the judge decision, and appeal.
So are you going to ask Canadian Government to bring back Omar Khadr, or are you going to judge him in Guantanamo? I would like to know what’s the story now.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as you know, President Obama, immediately upon taking office, recommitted our country to our basic values – prohibiting torture and setting in motion the closure of Guantanamo. There is an extremely rigorous process that is underway that is evaluating each and every one of the detainees. Some have already been released and transferred to either their home countries or other receiving countries. We’re going through this in a very thoughtful and diligent manner, so I don’t want to comment on any particular case.
But the President and certainly I and our entire Administration are 100 percent committed to the closure of Guantanamo, and to proceeding with the transfer of those who can be transferred, the trial of those who should be tried, and the continuing detention of those who pose a grave threat to not only our country, but people everywhere.
QUESTION: Omar Khadr will be trialed in Guantanamo?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m not – no, I’m not commenting on any individual case.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MR. KELLY: The next question is Jose Diaz, Reforma.
QUESTION: Hi, good afternoon. This is a question for Foreign Minister Cannon. As you know, the decision by Canadian authorities to require a visa for Mexican citizens willing to travel to Canada is causing an uproar in Mexico that even many people say goes against the spirit of these kind of meetings. There are thousands of businessmen and students in Mexico currently that one week ago didn’t need a visa, and now, they are required to produce a medical exam and a proof of not having a criminal record.
How are you going to solve this crisis? And when was exact date that you notified the Mexican foreign ministry about this decision?
FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: Well, thank you for that question. First, let me be very clear in terms of our relations with Mexico. Canada enjoys a very strong and productive relationship with the Mexican Government. I have been to see Secretary Espinosa on a couple of occasions. We’ve discussed numerous issues. We’ve strengthened our trade relations over the course of numerous years, the tourism industry. We’ve been able to look at ways of expanding education and increasing, of course, our trade numbers with Mexico.
This issue, in terms of the visas – as you know, Canada had looked at the visa issue. We’ve looked at it for some time. Those people who are seeking refugee status are unduly high. We are in a position where we need to look at and find solutions. We will be working with the – with my Mexican counterpart, and my counterpart will also engage her colleague in immigration as well as Minister Kenney back in Canada to work this, work the solutions, and find the ways to be able to eventually lift the visa requirement.
But from now until such time as that occurs, we have to be able to straighten the situation out. And once again, I want to make this perfectly clear, the relations between Canada and Mexico far supersede the elements of visa requirements. It’s a very important relation that we want to continue to nourish and develop.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) by the notification to the foreign minister of Mexico, please?
FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: Well, maybe my colleague can answer that.
FOREIGN MINISTER ESPINOSA: (Via interpreter) I wanted to say – is that first of all, I wanted to talk about the importance and the complexity and the size of the relationship that exists between Mexico and Canada, and how much we appreciate that relationship which has been so beneficial for our two countries and both of our societies.
Now having said that, I would also like to say that from the very first moment that we were notified that the intent was there of the Government of Canada to require visas for Mexican nationals traveling to that country, we stated, with a great deal of respect but also very firmly, that we were in disagreement with this measure, that it was our opinion that this is not something that is going to help to resolve the problem that Canada’s trying to solve, and also our willingness to work on an urgent basis and very intensely to achieve, as Minister Cannon said, in understanding ways that would allow us to correct this decision which has already been taken and that has been implemented by Canadian officials.
You asked me when? Monday. Monday was the day that we were formally notified. We had talked. We had been talking, of course, about this intent that this decision was coming, but when exactly we were – the decision was taken, when we were told, okay, we’re going to do this from now on, it was Monday. Later on – and I thank Minister Cannon for letting me have a bilateral space with him so that we can talk more broadly about the practical issues that have been coming up with respect to the implementation of this decision. Minister Cannon, thank you very much for that willingness, and we will continue to work in this constructive spirit, in the certainty that we will be able to solve these issues and go back to the way the situation was before.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, I have (inaudible) Iran. Iran has announced today that the head of the Atomic agency, Mr. Aqazadeh, has resigned. He was vice president of the Islamic Republic and also a close ally of Mousavi. And tomorrow, Mousavi and Rafsanjani are going to participate in a big demonstration against the regime in Tehran. So I wanted to know what you make of the situation in Iran right now.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as you may know, I talked about that yesterday in my speech. I don’t have anything to add to what I said before. Clearly, the decisions about what happens inside Iran regarding its future government makeup and other matters that are within the control of the Iranian people are ones that we watch with great interest, but know that it is up to Iran to determine the kind of future that it wants.
I would just underscore what I said yesterday, that we continue to believe that it would be in the long-term interests of Iran to begin to make different choices. It has a very stark choice as to whether or not it will make some changes that apparently many people in Iran want from the inside, and certainly, the international community is hoping to see in its external relations. But that is going to be up to the Iranians.
MR. KELLY: The next question, Sheldon Alberts, Canwest.
QUESTION: Hi, this is to Foreign Secretary Espinosa and to Minister Cannon. I’m wondering if you – if the Mexican Government is considering any sort of reciprocal action on Canadian citizens or if it would consider if there’s no satisfactory result in terms of Canadian – the Canadian Government lifting the visa requirement at some point. So I’m wondering, first of all, if there’s any retaliation planned.
Minister Cannon, I’m also wondering whether the Canadian Government may have underestimated the reaction to this. The European Union is saying that they may be requiring visas on Canadian travelers if it’s not satisfied that the action taken against the Czech Republic was appropriate.
FOREIGN MINISTER ESPINOSA: (Via interpreter) With respect to this issue, first of all, I’d like to repeat what we just said, how much we value our relationship with Canada; and, in that respect, to underline that in Mexico, every year, we get about 1,300,000 travelers from Canada. It’s one of the countries that brings an important number of tourists to Mexico. In fact, there are many Canadian citizens who have made second homes in Mexico, that have retired in Mexico, that spend some months in Mexico and some months in Canada.
We would not like to in any way damage this flow of people that so much benefits our country as well as Canadians, and it is for that reason that we do not expect to impose a visa requirement on Canadian tourists. However, because of the Canadian Government’s decision in the sense that visas are applied to every Mexican citizen, we have decided – and this was today communicated to the Canadian Government – that we are going to suspend the agreement to not use visas in official and diplomatic passports.
FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: (Inaudible) that what needs to be said here clearly is that we’re not looking for – we’re not looking for difficulties with our allies. What we have noted, though, is that there has been an increase in the number of immigrants coming to Canada seeking refugee status, which was, as Minister Kenney pointed out, way beyond the levels that are acceptable. And so we need to be able to address this issue, engage this issue. We have done so through our domestic policy, and we will be doing so as well, seeking solutions and working cooperatively with our colleagues, both in Mexico as well as in the Czech Republic, to be able to find the ways to move forward.
Nothing in this situation would lead to believe that there is a permanency in all of this. We have to be able to find ways to move forward and to find solutions to it. But this having been said, we were, and we reached an unacceptable level. And therefore, we had to intervene and we had to act. And this is precisely what we did. Advance notice had been forwarded and given to the parties involved, and Canada acted according to what it needs to do.
QUESTION: (Inaudible.)
FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: (Via interpreter) What I just said is that in both cases, we realized that it was an unacceptable level of people who were seeking asylum and seeking the status of refugee in Canada. This number was totally abnormal, and therefore, my colleague, the immigration minister, decided to take the measures that needed to be taken. Well, this being said, this doesn’t prevent us from going on and keep on working and finding with our colleagues from Mexico and with our colleagues from the Czech Republic the elements that will allow us to face this problem.
And I conclude in saying that my colleague, Minister Kenney, said that in Canada, we needed to reform our system. And therefore, it is a task that he’s going to work on in the next few weeks and few months.
But in conclusion, I want to repeat and underline the importance of our relations both with the European Union, with whom we are negotiating a wider economic space, but also with Mexico, which is a privileged partner in North America. And in many multilateral fora, we are working hand-in-hand to realize different things. They are our fifth commercial partner in importance.
MR. KELLY: Jesus Esquivel, Proceso.
QUESTION: Good afternoon. It’s for Madame Secretary Clinton, my question. In a few days, you’re going to present a report to the U.S. Congress in reference to the human rights situations in Mexico in the fight against drugs. We understand that you already take the decision, and it’s going to be not to withhold the money in the Merida Initiative for the Mexican case.
Lately, it has been a lot of reports in terms of the Mexican military are committing torture and horrible human rights violations in the fight against drugs. My question to you is: Do you believe, with this reported favor of Mexico, don’t you think the U.S. would lose moral authority in the human rights situation in terms of violations committed by the U.S. forces, like in Iraq, Afghanistan? And you are – in other words, in – you know, there are few human rights violations in Mexico. But anyway, we have to support the government of Felipe Calderon.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me say that I know that President Calderon is concerned about these matters. He has made very clear that one of his goals is to make sure that the police forces and the military forces in Mexico are well trained and certainly conduct themselves in a manner that meets all expectations and standards.
So what we see here is an administration under President Calderon locked in a very difficult battle with the most ruthless drug traffickers and criminal cartels anywhere on the planet. And we have worked very closely with his administration to provide additional support for police training, and it is our assessment that the steps taken and the commitment demonstrated by the Calderon administration is deserving of confidence.
Now does that mean that there are not violations or actions that we would find unacceptable? Of course not; that happens in any society. And certainly, we see it in big city police departments, we see it in military actions, and it’s not confined to any one country. But what we are evaluating is the level of commitment by the Calderon administration to deal with the challenges that it faces in putting together a police force that is under tremendous pressure – 16 police officers killed in the last several days. So of course, there has to be constant reminding of people on the front lines whose families are at risk, whose children are kidnapped, whose lives are endangered, that they must comply with certain standards, and we’re absolutely confident that that is the message being delivered by the Calderon administration.
Thank you very much.
MR. KELLY: Thank you very much.

 

 

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