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Posts Tagged ‘Mohamed Morsi’

Hillary begins this chapter by verifying an incident we had all seen reported that was never confirmed.  It took place on the road between Ramallah and Jerusalem in 2012 and concerned many of us.

She was traveling in the Holy Land just before Thanksgiving.

Video: Hillary Clinton With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

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.

The incident on the Ramallah road involved a rocket that might have been launched, according to Hillary, and not the attempted ground attack we had read of here.

As she mentioned in chapter 14, the Obama administration came into office on the heels of a cease-fire in the region that more-or-less held through the next two years and began a creeping deterioration through 2011 into 2012.  Events of the Arab Spring influenced Hamas activity in Gaza as related by Hillary and Sinai began to descend into lawlessness as Bedouin tribes, excluded by the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo,  became restless.

On this first trip to post-revolutionary Egypt,  she raised the issue of Sinai to then President Morsi to no avail.  He perceived no problem.  After all, there was an Islamist government now.  She found his perception naive at best.

Hillary Clinton with Egyptian FM Mohamed Kamel Amr

Hillary Clinton in Egypt: Day Two

Came August –  Henry Kissinger had once warned her as secretary of state never to plan a vacation in August  – this.

Hillary Clinton on Vacation (Sort Of)

With regard to the Secretary’s call with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr, they obviously talked about the situation in Sinai and the ongoing Egyptian security operations. They talked about the visit of the IMF to Cairo and under the – with Christine Lagarde there as well, and the United States’ ongoing interest in support Egypt’s recovery as well.

In October the Emir of Qatar made an official visit to Gaza.  It was a big deal for Hamas and precipitated a thorny regional situation for all involved at a volatile time.  The Emir, Sheikh Hammad bin Khalifa al-Thani,  assisted by his cousin,  Sheikh Hammad bin Jassim al-Thani,  sought to seize the moment to  peddle Qatari influence and consolidate power in the region.

The power-play was short-lived.  With the overthrow of Morsi and Islamist influence diluted, the two Sheikhs stepped aside in 2013.   In 2014 Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE recalled their ambassadors to Qatar.

Hillary was in Australia with Leon Panetta and Martin Dempsey when a call came through from Ehud Barak that in response to rocket attacks from Gaza, Israel was about to begin an air campaign.

Hillary Clinton With Australian Foreign Minister Robert Carr, Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith, and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta

 

Hillary was bound for Singapore and then Thailand to meet up with President Obama.  They were to make an historic joint visit to Burma and Cambodia where she  had originally been scheduled to attend ASEAN with President Obama.   It was a critical summit addressing issues about the South China Sea.

But in the Middle East there was a chance of a ground invasion of Gaza.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton Tour Wat Pho Royal Monastery in Bangkok

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Public Schedule for November 20, 2012

The decision had been made that it was most important that she travel to the Middle East to seek a cease-fire. Hillary and her traveling party headed for Israel.

Breaking: Hillary Clinton Wheels Down Israel

She met with Netanyahu immediately upon landing, but was told she would not be given much time.  If she did not effect an agreement quickly, the plans for a ground invasion would be implemented.

Hillary Clinton’s Day in Pics

Hillary Clinton Strongly Condemns Bus Bombing in Tel Aviv

Hillary Clinton Brokers Egyptian-Sponsored Middle East Cease-Fire

The visit to Abbas was largely a formality to keep him relevant in a situation where he had no real control or muscle to exert since the threat was coming from Hamas.  Hillary wanted to be sure he was kept in the loop.  He appreciated that.

Missing element: trust.  Mubarak was gone and the Israeli’s did not trust the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt that was negotiating for Hamas.  An Iraeli official told Hillary that this was the hardest choice Bibi had faced as Prime Minister.

She left for Cairo with an Israeli-approved  strategy.  This is what her day looked like.

 

Public Schedule for November 21, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
November 21, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
PUBLIC SCHEDULE
WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 21, 2012

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

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

8:15 a.m. LOCAL  Secretary Clinton meets with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, in Jerusalem.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

9:30 a.m.  LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

11:00 a.m. LOCAL  Secretary Clinton meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Jerusalem.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

2:40 p.m. LOCAL  Secretary Clinton meets with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, in Cairo.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

4:10 p.m. LOCAL  Secretary Clinton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr deliver joint press statements, in Cairo. Please click here for a transcript of the remarks.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

Note: Secretary Clinton has no public schedule through Sunday, November 25th.

Morsi was educated in the U.S. and read carefully.  He questioned the translation, and objected to a portion until Hillary pointed out that his it was folks who had proposed that element at which point he let it slide.  He and the Muslim Brotherhood were new to leadership despite having something of a history,  and Hillary had to remind them of their position of leadership in the region.  The moment of the announcement would represent the apex of their authority.

Video: Hillary Clinton Announces Mid-East Cease-Fire

November 21, 2012 by still4hill

Hillary Clinton and the Gaza Cease-Fire

In the end a senior Israeli official told Hillary that they had been forty-eight hours from launching a ground offensive and that her intervention was the only thing standing in the way.

__________________________________________________________

Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>

__________________________________________________________

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Today, after shuttling from Israel to Ramallah to Egypt conversing with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas,  Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon,  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton brokered a Middle East cease fire that officially went into effect at 2 p.m. EST today.  In a courageous ascent to a  leadership position,  Egypt is sponsoring the cease-fire.  The encouraging news is being reported by all major news sources.

Here are some photos from her busy day of shuttle-diplomacy.

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God bless you, Mme. Secretary.  Now come home for Thanksgiving.   We are all thankful for your dedicated service.

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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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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton peaks with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr at the Foreign Ministry in Cairo

Public Schedule for July 14, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
July 14, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
PUBLIC SCHEDULE
SATURDAY JULY 14, 2012

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel in Cairo, Egypt. The Secretary is accompanied by Acting Assistant Secretary Jones, Assistant Secretary Posner, National Security Council Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa Steve Simon, Spokesperson Nuland, Director Sullivan, and VADM Harry B. Harris, Jr., JCS. Please click here for more information.

5:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, in Cairo, Egypt.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

6:10 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a joint press availability with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, in Cairo, Egypt.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

7:25 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton participates in a working dinner with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, in Cairo, Egypt.
(CAMERA SPRAY AT THE TOP)

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There is no public schedule available at the moment, but this background briefing, held on the plane en route to Cairo provides a pretty thorough picture of what Mme. Secretary’s visit to Egypt will involve.  She has already had a meeting with President Morsi.

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Background Briefing En Route to Cairo

Remarks

Senior Official, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 14, 2012

So we are headed into Cairo a couple of weeks after President Morsi took the oath of office because Secretary Clinton thought it was very important to have early engagement with him and with all the stakeholders in Egypt. She wants to underscore how important this relationship – U.S.-Egypt relationship – is to us and how the United States would like to support Egypt as it moves forward with its transition to democratic, civilian rule. And she intends to engage with President Morsi, with civil society, with Field Marshal Tantawi on this question of what the United States can do to support a complete transition.
She also intends to speak with the President and the other stakeholders about how the United States and Egypt can work together on a range of shared interests that are important to both Egypt and to the United States. And she believes that taking this opportunity early on provides the chance to begin a serious engagement and dialogue with a new president and to carry on a dialogue with all of the other stakeholders there at a very important time of change and transition in Egypt.

She’s going to be focused on three areas. The first is economic and how the United States can bring a variety of economic tools to bear to help Egypt deal with two sets of problems – short-term problems related to the need for economic stabilization, to help them deal with their finance gap, to help them contend with some of the economic challenges that have been created over the past year or so as a result of the transition, including a loss of growth, a loss of tourism, and other economic dislocations, and then long-term challenges chiefly related to unemployment and underemployment as a very large cadre of young Egyptians come of age and come into the workforce with education but not necessarily with skills that are matched to the jobs that are actually available. That and other structural questions about the modernization of Egypt’s economy will be very much on the agenda.

And so many of you will recall that a year ago the President said that we would provide a billion dollars to support the new Egyptian Government as it began its work. And now that we have a new President, she will be speaking with him and with other stakeholders in Egypt about the component elements of that billion dollar package, which will include budget support to help with Egypt’s financing gap and help them deal with the support (inaudible) and then a debt swap, which essentially translates into relieving some of Egypt’s debt over the coming period and taking that money to put it into job-creating programs in innovation, in technology, in technical and relational training, especially focused on Egypt’s young people.

She’ll be announcing that we have named a chair of the board of the U.S-Egypt Enterprise Fund that the President also announced. His name is Jim Harman. We’ll get you more information on him. He’s a well-known quantity in the region, and he’s somebody who is familiar with how effective these enterprise funds can be in emerging democracies. We have had very positive experiences with him elsewhere in the world. We are doing an initial capitalization of $60 million with the expectation that, over the course of the next few years, we will be adding to that endowment to grow the size of the fund. And Jim Harman will be out in the region soon to begin the process of actually making investments and doing deals.

She will speak with the Egyptian leadership about an OPIC fund of $250 million focused on small-and-medium-sized enterprises and about the steps that the Egyptian Government needs to just complete in order to begin to have access to that fund. And then she will tell President Morsi that she’s being responsive to the requests of the Egyptian Government by sending out Tom Nides, her deputy, with a large delegation of American businesses in September to try to deepen and extend ties and to generate American investment in Egypt.

In the course of those conversations, she will also talk about how the United States can support Egypt as it works with international and financial institutions and with other donors and how we can support Egypt with technical assistance as it makes the reforms and takes the modernization steps to bring its economy kind of fully up to sort of 21st century standards, something that President Morsi himself has talked a lot about. So that’s on the economy.

On the political transition, the Secretary will be eager to hear from President Morsi, from civil society, from Field Marshal Tantawi, from across this spectrum about the steps that the Egyptians are planning to take and how they are intending to answer the questions that are confronting them right now on the constitution, on the parliament, and on the other aspects of institutions that will ultimately result in a full transition to democratic, civilian rule. These are questions that only the Egyptians can answer. She’s not coming with prescriptions or with a specific set of proposals, but rather is going to seek to understand better from them how they intend to proceed and is going to underscore her view that dialogue among the stakeholders to develop consensus on a way forward is crucial to avoid the kind of confrontation and instability that could derail the transition.

So that will be her message both in private and in public, and she will be focused not so much on what these specific elements are, which are things the Egyptians need to work out, as on the principles that have guided the U.S. approach to the transition all along – a fully representative parliament, a constitutional process that is inclusive and produces a document that protects the rights of all Egyptians, and all of the other attributes, from an independent judiciary to a thriving civil society, that make up a sustainable democracy over time.

She, in the context of this, will also stress her deep belief that Egypt’s democracy can only be successful and that the aspirations of the revolution can only be redeemed if the rights of all Egyptians are protected, including the rights of minorities, including religious minorities, and the rights of women. And that’s also a message that she will carry both publicly and privately. And in that regard, she will welcome President Morsi’s commitments and his public statements and be eager to hear from him on how – what he plans to do to carry out those commitments and to follow through on them.

The third area —

MODERATOR: What about the meetings?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Oh, right. Yeah. So just to give you a quick run of play, today she’s going to see President Morsi in a small meeting, and then she will see Foreign Minister Amr, where she’ll have an opportunity to talk about the next areas here, regional security, regional issues.

And then tomorrow, in addition to having a meeting with Field Marshall Tantawi, she will be meeting with women civil society activists from a range of walks of life, some who work on democracy and education and health, some who work in the business sector, so a cross-section of women who also reflect the kind of deep diversity of Egypt’s civil society. And then she’ll be meeting with more than a dozen Christian leaders from across Egypt, who represent a variety of denominations – Coptic Christians, but other Christians as well – to hear from them about their concerns and to talk to them about what they plan to do to contribute to the democratic transition and to a new Egypt over time.

And then she will visit a sort of business incubator, a technology incubator, where young entrepreneurs are looking to grow new businesses and are getting seed money and technical assistance to do so. And this is, in part, financed and supported by a U.S.-Egypt partnership. So this is a way in which we’re trying to help contribute to opportunities for young people to become entrepreneurs and the engine of economic growth in the new Egypt.

So from entrepreneurs to civil society to women to religious minorities, her business kind of reflects the breadth of engagement across all of the main constituent groups and stakeholders in Egypt.

Then we’ll go up to Alexandria, which is the economic hub of Egypt. Eighty percent of Egypt’s trade comes in through Alexandria’s port. It is the economic engine of the country. And while she’s there, she’ll have an opportunity both to open – reopen the American consulate, which was closed in 1993, and to give remarks on that occasion, where she continues to talk about how the United States can play a positive role in supporting Egypt’s transition and in supporting the future of Egypt’s economy. It’s appropriate to be in Alexandria because of its role as a business and economic hub, and it’s a place where she can get out of Cairo and speak to another kind of different audience of Egyptians than the one that you find in the capital city.

So taking us to the third major area, which is regional security, again here she has heard very positive statements from President Morsi in terms of his commitment to upholding the peace treaty and his desire for Egypt to remain an important source – a cornerstone of regional peace and security. And she will stress her view that Egypt’s leadership is crucial to the future of the region, to its peace and security, and to the future of Egypt itself, that over the course of the last 30 years you had a generation of Egyptians grow up without war or conflict and that that has been a boon to Egypt and to the Egyptian people, and the new Egyptian President should have the vision and the leadership to be able to carry that forward.

She’ll talk about some of our shared security interests, including counterterrorism and counter-piracy and also concerns about developments in the Sinai, which she recognizes ultimately a matter that the Egyptian Government itself has to work out as it’s obviously Egyptian territory. But the United States is prepared to support Egypt in this with resources, equipment, technical capacity, training, and other things. So she’ll want to speak with the President and other stakeholders in Egypt about that subject.

But above all, her message is really going to be about Egypt’s historic role and about the ways in which the U.S.-Egypt partnership has provided great benefits to both our countries and that during the period of transition and after the period of transition we should maintain that partnership and continue a lot of the good work that has been done to secure better futures for the Egyptian people, for the American people, and for all of the people of the region.

I think it would be fair to say that she will be very much eager to listen and to hear from President Morsi. This is the first opportunity she’ll have to meet him, and so part of it will be an opportunity for the two of them to understand each other better at a personal level and for each of them to understand the perspective that they bring – she on behalf of the United States, he on behalf of a changing Egypt – to what the future of this partnership will look like. And I think you will also find that in her public comments, both later tonight and tomorrow, she will sound a lot of the themes that I just talked about, but ultimately will sound a note of optimism about her view both of what Egypt can achieve and what the U.S.-Egyptian partnership can achieve as we move forward, and that note of optimism comes even in the context of challenges that exist today and will continue to exist and that we are very much mindful of.

So that’s all I’ve got….

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… and looking SMASHING!

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives at Cairo international airport on July 14, 2012. Clinton arrives in Cairo for talks with new Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, amid a power struggle between the Islamist leader and the generals who ruled Egypt after Hosni Mubarak was ousted. AFP PHOTO/POOL/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives at Cairo international airport on July 14, 2012. Clinton arrived in Cairo for talks with new Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, amid a power struggle between the Islamist leader and the generals who ruled Egypt after Hosni Mubarak was ousted. AFP PHOTO/POOL/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages)

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This morning, dear friend, Hillary Clinton loyalist, and fervent reader PCFS sent me the NYT Magazine article, Hillary Clinton’s Last Tour as a Rock-Star Diplomat,  released today,  along with a comment about how sad she feels that Hillary Clinton’s tenure at the State Department is winding down.  Certainly this prospect saddens her followers here who like to keep up with her work, but I believe I am not alone in my ambivalence.  While I love following her, I also sometimes notice the toll it takes (pictures I refuse to post – sometimes refuse even to collect) and wish for her the R and R she so richly deserves  and has more than earned in these years of service from the White House through the Senate to the State Department.   Other times I feel a certain frustration with some foreign policies that I wish she did not have to implement (or lack of real policy when I know she would have a clear one).  At those times I feel she cannot get away from Foggy Bottom fast enough.

The infernal fact of life is that no human can sustain indefinitely the pace at which Hillary Clinton has carried out her tasks, and next to nothing will jar her from her post earlier than she has  said she would leave. No one knows who will replace her.  (The truth is that HRC is irreplaceable.)

I rarely – very rarely – use secondary sources in announcing her planned travel.  Perhaps I have done that three times over the lifetime of this blog, but when I saw this headline  I was stricken with a moment of gratefulness.  Dr. Morsi is going to be a very tough nut for American diplomacy to crack, the fact that his children are American notwithstanding.  Thank God, I thought, that Hillary Clinton is still Secretary of State.  Thank God it’s Hillary.  I cannot think of anyone else who has a chance of winning him over to our way of seeing things.

Clinton will be first foreign official to visit President-elect Morsi

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to visit Egypt’s President-elect Mohamed Morsi to discuss Camp David and rights of Christian minority among other matters, say sources

Ahram Online , Wednesday 27 Jun 2012
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be the first foreign official to visit Egypt’s President-elect Mohamed Morsi, sources at Cairo International Airport told the Al-Ahram Arabic language news website Wednesday.

She has managed to befriend Lavrov.   In the beginning, many thought that would be impossible, but they teamed up and got the New START treaty done.  Dr. Morsi reminds me, in some ways, of Israel’s Avigdor Lieberman – her counterpart – with whom she has met,  as SOS, many fewer times than with Peres, Netanyahu, and Barak and who appears impermeable to her personal qualities.  I wonder how she will succeed with Morsi.  Better than Obama did with Putin, I hope.  I am having second thoughts, as a result, on my long-held disdain for the Hillary Nutcracker.   Sometimes she has had to be just that with certain tough nuts.

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