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Remarks With Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Presidential Palace
Cairo, Egypt
November 21, 2012

MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) We welcome our guests. Yes. We’ll begin with a talk from Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, then Her Excellency Minister Clinton will address the press.

FOREIGN MINISTER AMR: (Via interpreter) Thank you. A press release, under the auspices of His Excellency President Mohamed Morsi and stemming from Egypt’s historic responsibility towards the Palestinian cause and Egypt’s keenness to stop the bloodshed and preserving the stability of the conditions and security in the region, Egypt has exerted efforts and conducted intensive discussions since the renewed outbreak of hostilities in the Gaza Strip with all parties: the Palestinian leadership, the various resistance factions, the Israeli side, and the international community, most notably the United States of America.

These efforts and communications managed to reach an agreement to a ceasefire and the return of calm and halt of the violence and the bloodshed that was witnessed recently.

The ceasefire is set to start at 9 p.m. Cairo time today, Wednesday, 21st of November 2012. Egypt affirms its commitment to the Palestinian cause and the need to achieve a comprehensive and just resolution. The Government of Egypt will continue its efforts to achieve this noble objective through ongoing attempts to end the divisions between the various Palestinian factions and to assist them in achieving Palestinian national unity on the basis of genuine Palestinian values and interests.

Egypt appreciates the role of the Arab League, the valuable contributions of Turkey and Qatar, and those of the Secretary General of the United Nations to support the efforts of the Government of Egypt to end the violence. At the same time, Egypt calls upon the international community to be engaged in monitoring the implementation of the Egyptian-brokered agreement and to ensure all parties adhere to these agreements. The agreement will be distributed to you after this conference.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Foreign Minister Amr. I want to thank President Morsi for his personal leadership to de-escalate the situation in Gaza and end the violence. This is a critical moment for the region. Egypt’s new government is assuming the responsibility and leadership that has long made this country a cornerstone of regional stability and peace. The United States welcomes the agreement today for a ceasefire in Gaza. For it to hold, the rocket attacks must end, a broader calm return.

The people of this region deserve the chance to live free from fear and violence, and today’s agreement is a step in the right direction that we should build on. Now we have to focus on reaching a durable outcome that promotes regional stability and advances the security, dignity, and legitimate aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis alike. President Morsi and I discussed how the United States and Egypt can work together to support the next steps in that process. In the days ahead, the United States will work with partners across the region to consolidate this progress, improve conditions for the people of Gaza, and provide security for the people of Israel. Ultimately, every step must move us toward a comprehensive peace for all the people of the region.

As I discussed today with President Morsi, as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas, there is no substitute for a just and lasting peace. Now that there is a ceasefire, I am looking forward to working with the Foreign Minister and others to move this process. Thank you very much, Foreign Minister.

 

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Remarks With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Before Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Prime Minister’s Office
Jerusalem
November 20, 2012

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:I want to welcome Secretary Clinton once again to Jerusalem. I want to thank President Obama, you, and the American Government and people for their strong support for Israel in this hour of need. I want to also thank you especially for your support of Iron Dome that’s been saving lives, and we are in a battle to save lives.One of the things that we’re doing is trying to resist and counter a terrorist barrage which is aimed directly at our civilians, and doing so by minimizing civilian casualties, whereas the terrorist enemies of Israel are doing everything in their power to maximize the number of civilian casualties. Obviously, no country can tolerate a wanton attack on its civilians.

Now, if there is a possibility of achieving a long-term solution to this problem through diplomatic means, we prefer that. But if not, I am sure you understand that Israel will have to take whatever action is necessary to defend its people. This is something that I don’t have to explain to Americans. I know that President Obama, you, and the American people understand that perfectly well.

And I thank you once again for your support. Welcome to Jerusalem.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Prime Minister. I look forward to a productive discussion this evening at such a critical moment for Israel and the region. President Obama asked me to come to Israel with a very clear message: America’s commitment to Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering. That is why we believe it is essential to de-escalate the situation in Gaza.

The rocket attacks from terrorist organizations inside Gaza on Israeli cities and towns must end and a broader calm restored. The goal must be a durable outcome that promotes regional stability and advances the security and legitimate aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians alike.

President Obama has emphasized these same points in his multiple conversations with President Morsi of Egypt, and we appreciate President Morsi’s personal leadership and Egypt’s efforts thus far. As a regional leader and neighbor, Egypt has the opportunity and responsibility to continue playing a crucial and constructive role in this process. I will carry this message to Cairo tomorrow. I will also be consulting with President Abbas in Ramallah.

Let me also say, to echo the Prime Minister, I am very pleased that the Iron Dome defense system is performing so well. Our partnership in support of this system represents America’s enduring commitment to the safety and security of the Israeli people and to Israel’s right to defend itself.

But no defense is perfect and our hearts break for the loss of every civilian – Israeli and Palestinian – and for all those who have been wounded or who are living in fear and danger. I know today was a difficult day, and I offer my deepest condolences to the loved ones of those who were lost and injured. In the end, there is no substitute for security and for a just and lasting peace, and the current crisis certainly focuses us on the urgency of this broader goal.

So in the days ahead, the United States will work with our partners here in Israel and across the region toward an outcome that bolsters security for the people of Israel, improves conditions for the people of Gaza, and moves toward a comprehensive peace for all people of the region. And I thank you, Prime Minister, for your hospitality and look forward to our discussion.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Thank you.

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Having begun her long day by arriving a tad late for a bilateral between President Barack Obama and Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in Phnom Penh, Cambodia,  Mme. Secretary hopped on her “Big Blue Bird” and took off for the troubled Middle East.  Her first stop was Israel where we see her with PM Benjamin Netanyahu.  From there, she will travel to Ramallah to meet with Mahmoud Abbas, and then to Cairo and a meeting with President Morsi.

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Adding in, here, an interesting and informative portion of today’s press briefing from Victoria Nuland.

TRANSCRIPT:

12:44 p.m. EST

MS. NULAND:All right. Happy Tuesday, everybody. I hope you all got the notice that the Secretary has split off from the presidential party now. She’s on her way to Jerusalem. She’ll have her first meeting there with Prime Minister Netanyahu shortly after landing. It’ll be quite late this evening in Jerusalem time. To the extent that we have information to read out from her various meetings, we will do that, but as you know, her formal press posture is that she’ll have sprays at each of those – of the meetings on this trip. So we’ll try to stay in touch with you over the next couple of days as this proceeds.

Why don’t we go to what’s on your minds.

QUESTION:Do you have any news about Hamas claims that the calming down will take place tonight at 9 o’clock their time?

MS. NULAND: I don’t have any specifics to report to you either with regard to the ground situation or with regard to the state of the diplomacy. As I said yesterday, the President, the Secretary, all of us are intensely involved here, but we’re not going to be sharing details in public until there’s something to report.

QUESTION: So is it fair to assume that Mrs. Clinton will oversee the signing of calming down between Israel and Hamas under the auspices of Egypt?

MS. NULAND: Again, as you know, intensive diplomacy is ongoing. The President and the Secretary have both been on the phone nonstop with regional leaders for a number of days. The purpose of her trip is to continue and intensify that engagement now, face to face, in service to the goal of trying to de-escalate this violence and restoring calm.

QUESTION: And lastly, should we interpret her trip as a good sign that there’s something in the offing, a calming down in the offing?

MS. NULAND: Again, Said, I think we are all hoping for a de-escalation, we are all hoping for a restoration of calm, we’re all hoping to open space for deeper, broader conversations. That is obviously the goal we all share.

QUESTION: Ma’am —

MS. NULAND: Jill.

QUESTION: What about – Toria, realistically, what can the Secretary do? I mean, even if you look at a ceasefire or a calming down, a lot of that seems linked to larger issues, medium range or long range. It doesn’t appear that they are simply going to stop fighting, or at least Hamas, unless there is some resolution of other issues – issues that affect Gaza, for example. So what, realistically, do you think, even broadly, can she accomplish?

MS. NULAND: Well, as we’ve been saying for some time, we have to obviously start with a de-escalation of this conflict. We have to see an end to the rocket fire on Israel. We have to see a restoration of calm in Gaza. And the hope is that if we can get through those stages, that will create space for the addressing of broader issues, but I don’t want to prejudge. This is obviously ongoing and live diplomacy.

QUESTION: And just one other thing: Some have said that obviously she would not go if there were going to be a ground invasion at the time that she hits the runway. Is that a fair assumption, that she – that there was some sort of knowledge that the U.S. had that there would not be a ground invasion, ergo she wouldn’t go?

MS. NULAND: As I said yesterday, I’m not in a position to speak to the ground situation at all, other than to say that I think all of the parties involved have expressed a preference to solve this peacefully, to solve this diplomatically. That is what we are all trying to support and assist, and that is what we are all hoping for.

QUESTION: On this point —

QUESTION: The United States —

MS. NULAND: Said. Said.

QUESTION: On this point, just a quick follow-up on this point, Israeli sources say that they want a period of 24 hour of calm before they sign any truce. Do you support or do you advocate such a – like a period of calm before signing anything?

MS. NULAND: Again, I’m not in a position here to get into the substance of any of the discussions that are ongoing. There are a lot of discussions going on involving a lot of different parties. When there’s something to announce, I’m sure it will be announced, Said.

Sir, can you tell me who you are?

QUESTION: Yeah, Oren Dorell from USA Today. The Hamas leaders have said that they would like the blockade to be lifted as – if they’re to stop their rocket fire. What is the United States position on that?

MS. NULAND: Again, you’re trying to take me into the tactics of diplomacy, the conversations that are ongoing among lots of different parties who are trying to support a de-escalation here. Don’t think that’s productive to the process for us to be getting into the back-and-forth here.

Samir.

QUESTION: What’s the Quartet doing in this crisis? Doing anything?

MS. NULAND: As a formal matter, the Quartet has not met, but as you know, the Secretary’s been in touch with Lady Ashton. In fact, she was in touch with some of her European counterparts today. She had phone calls with German Foreign Minister Westerwelle, French Foreign Minister Fabius again, with Quartet Representative Blair. The Quartet itself hasn’t met, but the Quartet envoys and representatives have all been active. As you know, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was just there. I think he may still be in the region, in fact.

Jill.

QUESTION: Toria, one more. Why was it so important for the Secretary to go? I mean, it involves the United States in a very obvious and maybe dangerous way because she will be on the ground in a – not physically, I mean, but diplomatically, it could all backfire. Why is it so important for her to go?

MS. NULAND: Well, again, I think, as we said in the statement that we released announcing her travel, and as Ben Rhodes said when he briefed the White House Press Corps earlier today from Phnom Penh, we have been, the President has been, she has been, actively engaged on the phone. But sometimes, there’s no substitution for showing up, as the Secretary herself likes to say, for talking face to face, for doing what you can in person. And the President and she obviously thought that her going and actually sitting down with leaders – with Prime Minister Netanyahu, with President Abbas, and with President Morsi – could help de-escalate the situation. So it was obviously important to leave no stone unturned.

QUESTION: Toria, I realize you don’t want to get into any of the details that we might find useful or helpful, but despite that, it is correct that the Administration would like to see this – any kind of de-escalation, whether that would be a formal ceasefire or an informal one side stops so the other side then stops; is that correct? You would just like to see – even if it’s temporary, fleeting, you would like to see a de-escalation of any kind; is that correct?

MS. NULAND: We have spoken about this in terms of a de-escalation, because that’s obviously a first step to help prepare the way for anything else. We obviously need to see this violence come down.

QUESTION: Right, right, but you would be happy with even an informal cessation of hostilities?

MS. NULAND: Again, beyond what we’ve said, I’m not going to characterize X as acceptable, Y as not acceptable. That’s a subject for negotiations.

QUESTION: Well, but I —

MS. NULAND: Matt, I’m not going to.

Nadia, please.

QUESTION: Wait, I’m not done.

MS. NULAND: Go ahead.

QUESTION: I’m not done. I don’t understand why you can’t say that any halt in violence would be a good thing in the Administration’s eyes.

MS. NULAND: Any de-escalation is a step forward. We want to see this de-escalated.

QUESTION: Okay. So it doesn’t necessarily have to be a durable – meaning long-lasting, a fixed period, six months, as long – at least at the beginning – as long as the fighting and the dying of people stops, that’s okay, at least in the short term; is that correct?

MS. NULAND: Matt, I am not going to limit, characterize the steps necessary here —

QUESTION: Okay. Well, surely you’re not —

MS. NULAND: — because the parties are talking, we’re going to be part of that, and we’re not going to negotiate it here from the podium. We’re not going to characterize it here from the podium.

QUESTION: Well, okay, fine, but surely you’re not saying that you’re okay with the violence continuing, are you?

MS. NULAND: Matt, what have I said seven times now?

QUESTION: All right. Then – frankly, you’ve said a lot, but it hasn’t really amounted to an answer. So in his briefing —

MS. NULAND: We’re going to move on now. We’re going to move on to Nadia, please.

QUESTION: In his briefing —

MS. NULAND: Go ahead, Nadia. Go ahead, Nadia, please.

QUESTION: Toria —

QUESTION: In his briefing – in – I’m sorry, Toria. I’m not done, and this is an important question. In his briefing to the White House Press Corps, Ben Rhodes was asked why he would not use the word “ceasefire,” and he said that’s essentially – I’m paraphrasing – he said no, and then he proceeded not to use it again and instead talked about de-escalation.

Does the Administration have some aversion to calling this a ceasefire or – and if it doesn’t, why not just use it? And if it does, what’s the aversion?

MS. NULAND: You know very well from having watched these kinds of situations unfold that there are many ways that this can de-escalate. I’m not going to prejudge here, and I think Ben didn’t want to prejudge how it happens. So your six efforts to get us to do that are not going to be successful.

Nadia, go ahead.

QUESTION: Victoria –

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: — you know that the U.S. has been criticized for not taking a leading role earlier to end the conflict. Just to follow up on Jill’s questions, if you felt that the Secretary needed to be there physically to meet with the leaders, why didn’t she go there in the beginning of the conflict? Was it because she was in Asia or because of the calculated decision on your part that you needed to wait a few more days?

MS. NULAND: Well, first of all, both the President and the Secretary have been extremely active. As you can see, the President, I think, in the past 24 hours has spoken with Egyptian President Morsi, for example, some three times. The Secretary’s made more than a dozen phone calls. So we have been very active in supporting all of the various efforts to try to de-escalate this. The judgment was that it had gotten to a stage where actually sitting face to face was – would be of value, so that was the decision that the Secretary and the President made.

QUESTION: I just wondered, if it’s possible, to walk us through when that decision was taken. Is it because the Egyptians have said that now we are in the process of getting a ceasefire and it’s important for the Secretary to be there? Is this the precise timing for her to be in the region?

MS. NULAND: Again, I think the President and Secretary were obviously together; they had a chance to – they have been comparing notes over the last couple of days about how this situation has been evolving. And the conclusion was that her going personally and sitting with leaders who she knows well had the potential to be helpful to the various parties in trying to seek a de-escalation. So beyond that, I don’t want to parse it too finely, Nadia.

Anything else on this subject? Please, can you —

QUESTION: I have some more on the logistical —

QUESTION: Kimberly Halkett, Al Jazeera English.

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: I’m just wondering how helpful it will be, though, given the fact that the Secretary is only meeting with the Palestinian Authority leader, and, who is at odds with Hamas – given the fact that the U.S. is only speaking to one of the two sides in this conflict, how productive can these discussions really be?

MS. NULAND: Well, as we’ve been saying for some time, there are different leaders in the region, around the world, who have influence with different actors in this situation. So we have Egyptians and Turks and Qataris and others making very strong representations to Hamas. The Secretary obviously thought that it was important to see President Abbas in this – on this trip because he is the interlocutor and the representative legitimately elected of the Palestinian people with whom we interface. So that is the role that we will play. We will work with the Israelis, we will work with President Abbas, and we will work with President Morsi, and others have more direct influence than we do with Hamas.

QUESTION: But do you think by shutting out Khaled Meshaal that you are going to be able to help bring about something beyond a ceasefire, a lasting solution, as I think you called it?

MS. NULAND: Again, the first step is a de-escalation, which the hope is then that can create space for something deeper. But again, we have to take this one step at a time.

Said, yes.

QUESTION: Sorry, Toria, just a quick follow-up on the humanitarian situation.

MS. NULAND: Yes.

QUESTION: There has been reports by the Palestinian Red Crescent, by UNRWA, by ANERA, by almost everybody speaking of a difficult humanitarian situation – shortages in water, food, medicines and so on. Suppose there is a calming-down period; would the United States send in direct aid to Gaza?

MS. NULAND: Again, you’re asking me to get ahead of where we are. But as you know, we have always supported the UN agencies and others providing humanitarian assistance through appropriate and agreed channels. Those channels do exist, and obviously the goal of all of this diplomacy is to relieve the suffering of civilians, whether they are Israelis or whether they are Palestinians.

QUESTION: So is it plausible just to break the blockade for a couple of days, or three days, or four days?

MS. NULAND: Again, there are established channels for getting humanitarian aid in, and those are the channels that should be used.

QUESTION: According to the U.S. officials, there are three —

MS. NULAND: Can you tell me who you are, please?

QUESTION: Wi Xu Diao from CCTV. So according to two U.S. officials, there are – three U.S. Navy warships are sending to – near Israel to – just in case evacuation needed. So these are supposed to be – come back after Thanksgiving. Can you confirm that and when the – how long they will be delayed, for their homecoming?

MS. NULAND: The Pentagon has spoken to that issue today or yesterday in terms of contingency planning, so I’ll send you to them for any more detail.

Goyal, still on this subject?

QUESTION: Toria – no.

QUESTION: No. I have two more, one of which – I suspect one of which is easy, and one of which is logistical and it may have been asked already.

So just the first one, which I think is the easy one: Would you – you keep the phrase de-escalate – don’t worry, I’m not going to try and get you to change that, but when you – when the Secretary is in her talks, is it fair to say that she is less about an – less talking about an imminent de-escalation than in how to hold or make durable a longer-term solution? I mean, obviously she’s not involved in mediating a truce, or whatever you want to call it, between Hamas and Israel, because you guys don’t talk to Hamas. Is it her goal to try and make whatever might come out of negotiations – those negotiations that are going on, to make that hold and be longer than just some quick, temporary fix? Is that fair?

MS. NULAND: I think everybody involved in trying to support a de-escalation here wants to see not just a tactical end to the violence, but wants to see the conditions improve for being able to address some of the underlying issues. But the way that unfolds and how much is going to be possible in the next 36 hours I think very much depends on the meetings that she has and what she finds.

QUESTION: You don’t – are you saying that you don’t want to rule out the fact that she might get involved – and obviously not with Hamas directly, but that she might get involved in trying to mediate an initial de-escalation? You don’t want to rule that out, or is that something that is —

MS. NULAND: I think it completely depends on where the situation is in the – in four hours from now or six hours from now when she lands.

QUESTION: All right. And then the second one, which is logistical and may have been asked before, is that when she is in Egypt, when she goes to Cairo tomorrow, is she going to see anyone other than Morsi? Are there other people coming in to town, like the Turks? I mean, I know Ban Ki-moon is out there. Is she going to be seeing anyone other than the Egyptians in her short time in Cairo?

MS. NULAND: The current schedule that we have is the schedule that we announced, that she will, this evening, very late Jerusalem time, see Prime Minister Netanyahu; that she will early in the morning tomorrow see President Abbas in Ramallah; and then she’ll go to Cairo to see President Morsi. That’s all I have in terms of schedule. I don’t have anything else at the moment in terms of other meetings or other third-country representatives on this trip. But you know how these go. That could change, so stand by. If we have something to announce, we will.

Please.

QUESTION: How do you view the legal status of Gaza? Is it occupied? The Israelis are not there? Is it autonomous?

MS. NULAND: I don’t think our position on Gaza has changed. There’s nothing new there.

Please.

QUESTION: When you talk about improving conditions for addressing underlying issues, can you be any more clear about what issues you’re talking about?

MS. NULAND: Well, it’s the full range of issues, but obviously this goes to the underlying security of Israel and that the end of attacks from Gaza into Israel should be halted not simply temporarily, but in a sustained way. It goes to the condition of civilians in Gaza. And it goes to the ability of Israelis and Palestinians to get back to the table about a lasting settlement, which is obviously the long-term solution for this.

QUESTION: Victoria.

MS. NULAND: Please on this, Samir – Said.

QUESTION: There were reports that there are a couple dozen servicemen, American servicemen, in – actually in southern Israel that were hurriedly removed for safety. Do you know anything about that? Do you know anything about (inaudible)?

MS. NULAND: I don’t. It sounds like something to ask the Pentagon. I don’t have anything on that.

Anything else on this subject?
QUESTION: Got one more logistical one that I forgot. Is she definitely coming directly back to Washington after Cairo or are you leaving open the possibility that she could make another stop, either in the region or in Europe, or, I don’t know, in Africa?
MS. NULAND: At the current moment, we have nothing after Cairo. If that changes, we’ll let you know.

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From CNN

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is now in Israel for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the crisis between Israel and Gaza.

People in Gaza and Israel came under attack for a seventh straight day Tuesday, and officials from Israel and Hamas gave conflicting views as to whether any kind of truce was near.

Clinton is scheduled to meet later with Palestinian leaders in the West Bank, and then head to Cairo, where Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy has a key role to play in the mediation.

Officials in Morsy’s office told CNN they would have no announcement tonight that would take Gaza and Israel closer to peace.

CNN has multiple crews in Gaza, Israel and neighboring countries to bring you the latest information on the conflict, the impact on people and talks to stop the violence. Turn to CNN TV and http://CNN.com for what you need to know now.

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Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Travel to the Middle East

 

Press Statement

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

November 20, 2012

 


Secretary Clinton will depart today on travel to Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Cairo, leaving from the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She will meet with regional leaders, starting with our Israeli partners, to consult on the situation in Gaza.

Her visits will build on American engagement with regional leaders over the past days – including intensive engagement by President Obama with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Morsi – to support de-escalation of violence and a durable outcome that ends the rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns and restores a broader calm. As President Obama noted in his conversations with President Morsi, we commend Egypt’s efforts to de-escalate the situation and are hopeful that these efforts will be successful.

She will emphasize the United States’ interest in a peaceful outcome that protects and enhances Israel’s security and regional stability; that can lead to improved conditions for the civilian residents of Gaza; and that can reopen the path to fulfill the aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis for two states living in peace and security. She will continue to express U.S. concern for the loss of civilian life on both sides.

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Public Schedule for November 20, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
November 20, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
PUBLIC SCHEDULE
MONDAY NOVEMBER 20, 2012

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Cairo. Please click here for more information.

10:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Jerusalem.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

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As acting head-of-state at UNGA today, Hillary Clinton delivered remarks to the Security Council at a session on the Middle East peace and security.

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Remarks at the United Nations Security Council Session On Peace And Security in the Middle East

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

United Nations

New York City

September 26, 2012


Thank you very much, Minister Westerwelle, for calling us together at this critical moment to discuss peace and security in the Middle East on the heels of two tumultuous weeks during which violent protests rocked countries across the region. And although anger was directed against my country, the protests exposed deep rifts within new democracies and volatility that extremists were quick to instigate and exploit.

As President Obama made clear yesterday in his address to the General Assembly, the United States rejects the false choice between democracy and stability. Democracies make the strongest, most capable partners. And we know that it takes a lot of hard work and oftentimes struggle.

But the fact of new, emerging democracies here in the 21st century should be a cause for great satisfaction and hope. But these emerging democracies need champions, not fair-weather friends. And during this past week, as I met with leaders from Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Yemen, I expressed to each of them America’s unwavering support for their country’s continued journey along the democratic path.

But making good on the promise of these transitions will take many hands working on many fronts. And of course, there are political and economic dimensions to the work that must be done, but today I’d like to focus on the security concerns, because that has to be the starting line on the road to true democracy.

Of course, the Arab revolutions come from within, and the greatest responsibility for their success or failure lies with the people living them each day. But the nations gathered in this room also have a powerful stake in seeing that these democracies succeed, and it is our shared responsibility to help countries in transition find the right path forward.

International support is critical. Consider what happened when the Arab League and the Security Council came together to protect civilians in Libya. That show of solidarity helped produce a strong Security Council resolution that saved Benghazi from destruction at the hands of a tyrant. And thanks to the support of this broad coalition, the people of Libya now have the chance to write their own future.

We saw earlier this year, Libyans turning out in droves to cast their ballots – most for the first time in their lives. Then last Friday, we saw thousands of Libyans pour into the streets to condemn the attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. They made it clear that those who would promote violence and division do not speak for the new Libya, and that armed bands who would sever Libya’s ties with the world are not welcome. And the new Government of Libya is working closely with us to find the murderers and bring them to justice.

Now each country in transition has its own security challenges, and therefore each need our support in different ways. In Tunisia, where the Arab Awakening began, extremists seek to hijack its progress. But Tunisians are working steadily to dismantle a long legacy of dictatorship and lay the foundation for sustainable democracy.

The riots underscored the challenges of building security forces focused on protecting people, not regimes. These nations are not the first to struggle with the challenge of policing a new democracy. And the international community has stumbled in the past, failing to offer needed support or offering the wrong kind of support.

So we should heed the lessons we have learned from our success and our failure, including this most basic understanding: Training, funding, and equipment will only go so far. It takes the political will to make hard choices and tough changes that will build strong institutions and lasting security. So I’m pleased Tunisia has agreed to host a new international training center that will help security and criminal justice officials pursue policies grounded in the rule of law and human rights.

Now Egyptians chose their leadership for the first time in history, and we are committed to helping that transition succeed. The Egyptian people, proud of the freedoms they have claimed, must decide what kind of a country they want to build. And the choices of the largest Arab nation will echo far beyond its borders. And like all nations, Egypt knows it too has responsibilities not only to its own citizens but to its neighbors and the international community, responsibilities to honor international commitments, to share power broadly, to keep faith with all the Egyptian people, men and women, Muslim and Christian. And we want to help Egypt and all new democracies live up to these vital responsibilities.

In Yemen, we are working through the GCC-led transition process, but providing basic security for the Yemeni people is a great challenge that is heightened by Yemen’s unique needs. Yemen has a fast-growing population of young people and not enough jobs – a familiar story not only through the region but the world. But in addition, Yemen is facing the depletion of their oil and water supplies. And al-Qaida in the Arab Peninsula remains a serious threat. The urgency of these threats must be matched by the urgency of our response. In the Friends of Yemen meeting later this week, countries are coming together to address Yemen’s challenges, both in the immediate and the long term.

Unfortunately, in Syria, Bashar al-Assad clings to power, and his campaign of brutality has sparked a humanitarian crisis. The United States has committed more than $100 million to help the Syrian people. And we continue to insist that the violence must end and a political transition without Assad must move forward.

The Arab League suspended Syria from its activities and has strongly condemned the Assad regime’s brutal violence against its own people. And the Arab League created a plan for peaceful political transition that was endorsed by an overwhelming majority in the General Assembly resolution that launched Arab League-UN mediation efforts, led first by Kofi Annan and now by Lakhdar Brahimi.

Yet the atrocities mount while the Security Council remains paralyzed. And I would urge that we try, once again, to find a path forward that can bring the Security Council together on the urgent business of both ending the violence in Syria and preventing the consequences that all of us around this table fear.

And although this forum was not primarily intended to discuss the peace process, I certainly would like to reiterate the President’s message from yesterday. The future of Israel and Palestine must belong to those who embrace the hard work of peace – not those who thrive on conflict or reject the right of Israel to exist. And the United States stands ready and prepared to work toward a just agreement to finally accomplish our clear goal – a secure, Jewish state of Israel, an independent, secure, prosperous Palestine, fulfilling the aspirations of the Palestinian people.

No discussion of the Middle East would be complete without a mention of Iran and the profound threat its activities pose to the region and beyond. Despite numerous demands by this Council, Iran still has not taken the necessary steps to cooperate fully with the IAEA and to resolve doubts about its nuclear program. In addition, Iran continues to sponsor terrorist groups and smuggle weapons for the Assad regime’s use against the Syrian people. Meanwhile, the Iranian people themselves suffer gross violation of their rights at the hand of their own government.

Serious challenges like these call for leadership and partnership. Yesterday, I was privileged to sign an agreement with the Arab League through its Secretary General and I was delighted that Secretary General Elaraby and I could build on the unprecedented cooperation of the last two years. We support Germany’s call to make Security Council-Arab League cooperation more systematic and sustainable. The United States is also one of 28 countries and international organizations working through the Deauville Partnership to support democratic transitions in the Middle East and North Africa.

When violence came to our doorstep at embassies around the globe, this body joined the Arab League, the OIC, the AU, and the EU to give voice to the world’s condemnation of the attacks and call for restraint. You stood with us, and now we must stand together in support of the common aspirations of the people, of all people, for security and safety for our families, the freedom to live lives according to our own conscience, the dignity that comes only through self-determination. And as President Obama said yesterday, the United States will never shrink from defending these values. And we will not walk away from these new democracies.

We are not alone in this commitment. This is the work of all responsible nations. And we look forward to working closely with anyone who speaks out on behalf of our shared values. Thank you.

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