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Posts Tagged ‘North Africa’

Mme. Secretary knocked this one out of the park.  She refers here to her January 13, 2011 Forum for the Future address in Doha.  I have hearkened back to that one many times on these pages.  In case you missed it or want to see it again, I have provided the link above.

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Democratic Transitions in the Maghreb

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
Washington, DC
October 12, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON:Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you all. Thank you very much. And a special word of thanks to a friend and someone whom I admire greatly, General Scowcroft. His many years of distinguished service to our country is a great tribute in every respect.Thanks also to Jon Alterman and CSIS for hosting this conference on “The Maghreb in Transition: Seeking Stability in an Era of Uncertainty.” I also wish to acknowledge Dr. Terrab for his strong support of this important conference and members of the diplomatic corps as well.

Now, why are we here? And why is this conference so timely? Well, to start with, what happens in this dynamic region has far-reaching consequences for our own security and prosperity. And we know very well that it is most important to the people of this region, whose aspirations and ambitions deserve to be met. But recent events have raised questions about what lies ahead – what lies ahead for the region, what lies ahead for the rest of us who have watched with great hope, as General Scowcroft said, the events that have unfolded in the Maghreb. A terrorist attack in Benghazi, the burning of an American school in Tunis – these and other scenes of anger and violence have understandably led Americans to ask what is happening. What is happening to the promise of the Arab Spring? And what does this mean for the United States?

Well, I certainly think it’s important to ask these questions and to seek answers, as you are doing today. And let me, on a personal note, start with what happened in Benghazi. No one wants to find out exactly what happened more than I do. I’ve appointed an Accountability Review Board that has already started examining whether our security procedures were appropriate, whether they were properly implemented, and what lessons we can and must learn for the future. And we are working as thoroughly and expeditiously as possible, knowing that we cannot afford to sacrifice accuracy to speed. And of course, our government is sparing no effort in tracking down the terrorists who perpetrated this attack.

And we are focused, as we must, on what more needs to be done right now to protect our people and our facilities. We had another terrible attack yesterday. I strongly condemn the killing of a longtime Yemeni employee at our Embassy in Sana’a. And we are working with Yemeni authorities to investigate this attack and to bring those responsible to justice as well.

But throughout all of this, we must not only focus on the headlines. We have to keep in mind the trend lines. We have to remain focused on the broader strategic questions posed by these democratic transitions and their impact on American interests and values.

Let me start by stating the obvious: Nobody should have ever thought this would be an easy road. I certainly didn’t. However, it is important to look at the full picture – to weigh the violent acts of a small number of extremists against the aspirations and actions of the region’s people and governments. That broader view supports rather than discredits the promise of the Arab revolutions. It reaffirms that, instead of letting mobs and extremists speak for entire countries, we should listen to what the elected governments and free citizens are saying. They want more freedom, more justice, more opportunity – not more violence. And they want better relations not only with the United States, but with the world – not worse.

I have no illusions about how complicated this is. After all, American foreign policy has long been shaped by debates over how to balance our interests in security and stability with our values in supporting freedom and democracy. Recent revolutions have intensified these debates by creating a new birth of freedom, but also by unseating old partners and unleashing unpredictable new forces.

As I said last fall at the National Democratic Institute, we have to be honest that America’s policies in the region will always reflect the full range of our interests and values – promoting democracy and human rights, and defeating al-Qaida; defending our allies and partners, and also ensuring a secure supply of energy.

And there will be times when not all of our interests and values align. We work to align them, but we do so acknowledging reality. And it’s true that we tailor our tactics for promoting democratic change to the conditions on the ground in each country. After all, it would be foolish to take a one-size-fits-all approach regardless of circumstances or historical trends.

But in the long run, the enduring cooperation we seek – and that our interests and our values demand – is difficult to sustain without democratic legitimacy and public consent.

Weeks before the revolution in Egypt began, I told Arab leaders gathered in Doha that the region’s foundations were sinking into the sand. It was clear even then that the status quo was unsustainable, that refusal to change was itself becoming a threat to stability.

So for the United States, supporting democratic transitions is not a matter of idealism. It is a strategic necessity.

And we will not return to the false choice between freedom and stability. And we will not pull back our support for emerging democracies when the going gets rough. That would be a costly strategic mistake that would, I believe, undermine both our interests and our values.

Now, we recognize that these transitions are not America’s to manage, and certainly not ours to win or lose. But we have to stand with those who are working every day to strengthen democratic institutions, defend universal rights, and drive inclusive economic growth. That will produce more capable partners and more durable security over the long term.

Today, these transitions are entering a phase that must be marked more by compromise than by confrontation, by politics more than protests. Politics that deliver economic reforms and jobs so that people can pursue their livelihoods and provide for their families. Politics that will be competitive and even heated, but rooted in democratic rules and norms that apply to everyone – Islamists and secularists, Muslims and Christians, conservatives and liberals, parties and candidates of every stripe. Everyone must reject violence, terrorism, and extremism; abide by the rule of law; support independent judiciaries; and uphold fundamental freedoms. Upholding the rights and dignity of all citizens, regardless of faith, ethnicity, or gender, should be expected.

And then, of course, we look to governments to let go of power when their time comes – just as the revolutionary Libyan Transitional National Council did this past August, transferring authority to the newly elected legislature in a ceremony that Ambassador Chris Stevens cited as the highlight of his time in the country.

Achieving genuine democracy and broad-based growth will be a long and difficult process. We know that from our own history. More than 235 years after our own revolution, we are still working toward that more perfect union. So one should expect setbacks along the way, times when some will surely ask if it was all worth it. But going back to the way things were in December 2010 isn’t just undesirable; it is impossible.

So this is the context in which we have to view recent events and shape our approach going forward. And let me explain where that leads us.

Now, since this is a conference on the Maghreb, that’s where I’ll focus. Because after all, that’s where the Arab revolutions started, and where an international coalition helped stop a dictator from slaughtering his people, and where, just last month, we saw such disturbing violence.

But let’s look at what’s actually happening on the ground, especially in light of recent events. We have to, as always, be clear-eyed about the threat of violent extremism. A year of democratic transition was never going to drain away reservoirs of radicalism built up through decades of dictatorship, nor was that enough time to stand up fully effective and responsible security forces to replace the repressive ones of the past.

As we’ve warned from the beginning, there are extremists who seek to exploit periods of instability and hijack these democratic transitions. All the while, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and other terrorist groups are trying to expand their reach from a new stronghold in northern Mali.

But that is not the full story. Far from it.

The terrorists who attacked our mission in Benghazi did not represent the millions of Libyan people who want peace and deplore violence. And in the days that followed, tens of thousands of Libyans poured into the streets to mourn Ambassador Stevens, who had been a steadfast champion of their revolution. You saw the signs. One read, “Thugs and killers don’t represent Benghazi or Islam.” And on their own initiative, the people of Benghazi overran extremist bases and insisted that militias disarm and accept the rule of law. That was as inspiring a sight as any we saw in the revolutions. And it points to the undimmed promise of the Arab Spring – by starting down the path of democratic politics, Libyans and Arabs across the region have firmly rejected the extremists’ argument that violence and death are the only way to reclaim dignity and achieve justice.

In Tripoli, the country’s transitional leaders condemned the attack. They fired the top security officials responsible for Benghazi. Then, the government issued an ultimatum to militias across the country: Disarm and disband in 48 hours or face the consequences. As many as 10 major armed groups complied. Now, militias and extremists remain a significant problem in Libya, but there is an effort to address it that has now taken hold throughout the country. As Libya grapples with the challenges of forming a government, the international community needs to support its efforts to bring these militias to heel and provide security for all of its citizens.

Consider Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab revolutions. Last year, an Islamist party won a plurality of the votes in an open, competitive election. I know some in Washington took this as an omen of doom. But these new leaders formed a coalition with secular parties and promised to uphold universal rights and freedoms, including for women. And the United States made it clear that we would be watching closely and would assess the new government by its actions, not its words.

This past February in Tunis, students and civil society activists shared with me their fears about extremists seeking to derail their transition to lasting democracy, but also their hopes that responsible leaders and accountable institutions would be strong enough and willing enough to turn back that challenge.

And, indeed, we have seen an intense debate play out in Tunisian society. For example, early drafts of the new constitution labeled women as “complementary to men,” but Tunisia’s active civil society raised strong objections, and eventually the National Constituent Assembly amended the text to recognize women’s equality.

Civil society is wise to remain vigilant, and to exercise their hard-earned rights to safeguard their new democracy. Like the hundreds of Tunisian women who recently took to the streets to protest on behalf of a woman charged with indecency after she was raped by police officers. These competing visions of Tunisia’s future were put to the test when violent extremists attacked the U.S. Embassy in Tunis and burned the American school nearby. How did the Tunisian people and government respond?

First, the government increased security around our Embassy and promised to assist with repairs to the school, which they have done. Then they publicly committed to confront violent groups and prevent Tunisia from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism. Following through on these pledges is essential. Those responsible for the attacks must be brought to justice. The government must provide security for diplomatic missions and create a secure environment for foreign residents and visitors. And the rule of law must extend to everyone throughout the country.

The country’s leaders also took to the airwaves, to newspaper pages, even Facebook and Twitter, to denounce both the attacks and the extremist ideology behind them, putting their own political capital on the line. The Foreign Minister flew to Washington to stand with me and publicly condemn the violence. And so we continue to support those changes that are occurring in Libya and in Tunisia and those leaders and citizens who understand what is expected of them if they are to fulfill their own hopes.

Now, the situation in the rest of the Maghreb is different. Morocco and Algeria have not experienced revolutions, but recent events have also tested their values and resolve. Last year, when citizens of Morocco called for change, Moroccan society under King Mohammed VI answered with major constitutional reforms followed by early elections and expanded authorities for parliament. An Islamist party leads the new ruling coalition along with a variety of other parties after thirteen years in the opposition. And we’ve been encouraged that its leaders have sought to engage all Moroccans and have focused on creating jobs and fighting corruption. And we continue to urge them to follow through on all of their commitments for political and economic reform.

Last month, with anti-American protestors in the streets across the cities of Morocco, the Foreign Minister traveled to Washington for our first-ever Strategic Dialogue. He could have avoided the cameras, but instead, he strongly condemned the attack in Benghazi, embraced a broader partnership with the United States, and pledged that his country would continue working toward democracy and the rule of law.

Algeria also has much to gain by embracing the changes that are taking place around it, and we have seen some progress. The government held parliamentary elections in May and invited international observers to monitor them for the first time. And it moved quickly last month to protect diplomatic missions, including the U.S. Embassy, and to defuse tensions in the streets. But still, Algeria has a lot of work to do to uphold universal rights and create space for civil society, a message I delivered at the highest levels in person in February.

Now, what do these snapshots and stories from across the region tell us? On the one hand, last month’s violence revealed strains of extremism that threaten those nations, as well as the broader region and even the United States. On the other hand, we’ve seen actions that would have been hard to imagine a few years ago, democratically-elected leaders and free people in Arab countries standing up for a peaceful, pluralist future.

It is way too soon to say how these transitions will play out. But what’s not in doubt is that America has a big stake in the outcome.

Last month at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, I met with leaders from across the region, and I told each of them that the United States will continue to pursue a strategy to support emerging democracies as they work to provide effective security grounded in the rule of law to spur economic growth and bolster democratic institutions. We’ve made those three priorities the hallmark of America’s involvement in the region. We’ve convened donor conferences to coordinate assistance, leverage new partnerships through the G-8, the Community of Democracies, the OECD; and we have stepped up our engagement with the Arab League, signing the first ever memorandum of understanding for a strategic dialogue between us.

But we recognize that words, whether they come from us or others, are cheap. When we talk about investing in responsible leaders and accountable democratic institutions, it has to be followed by actual investments.

So we have mobilized more than $1 billion in targeted assistance since the start of the revolutions. And the Obama Administration has requested from Congress a new $770 million fund that would be tied to concrete benchmarks for political and economic reforms. And I again urge Congress to move forward on this priority.

But let me briefly just address the three parts of our strategy, starting with security. The recent riots and lawlessness underscore the challenges of safeguarding public safety in free societies and reforming security forces. For decades, those forces protected regimes. Now their job is to protect citizens, especially against the threat from violent extremists. For some time, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and other terrorist groups have launched attacks and kidnappings from northern Mali into neighboring countries. Now, with the chaos and ethnic conflict there allowing these groups to carve out a larger safe haven, they are seeking to extend their reach and their networks in multiple directions.

So we are using every tool we can to help our partners fight terrorism and meet their security challenges. We recently embedded additional Foreign Service Officers with regional expertise into the U.S. Africa Command to better integrate our approach. Across the region, diplomats, development experts, and military personnel are working hand in hand.

Across the region also, we’re partnering with security officials of these new governments who are moving away from the repressive approaches that helped fuel radicalization in the past and we’re trying to help them develop strategies grounded in the rule of law and human rights.

We’re helping border guards upgrade their equipment and tighten their patrols so that weapons don’t flood the region even more than they already have. We’re helping train prosecutors and build forensic labs that can produce evidence that stands up in courts. And last month, just days after the riots in Tunis, we launched a new partnership with Tunisia to train police and other justice officials. And we were very pleased that Tunisia also agreed to host a new international training center that will help officials from across the region develop means to protect their citizens’ security and their liberty.

Now the nations of the Maghreb are not the first to struggle with the challenge of protecting a new democracy. And one of the lessons we’ve learned around the world is that training, funding, and equipment will only go so far. It takes political will to make the hard choices and demand the accountability that is necessary for strong institutions and lasting security. And it takes changes in mindsets to make those reforms stick.

In all my conversations with high-ranking officials in these countries, I recognize that particularly in Tunisia and Libya, the people I’m talking to were often victims of security forces, imprisoned, seeking exile, beaten, in some cases, tortured. And for them all of the sudden to find themselves on the side of security forces, even ones that are of the new regime, takes a mental change, and they have admitted that it is a responsibility that they now understand they must assume.

The United States is also stepping up our counterterrorism efforts, helping the countries of North Africa target the support structure of the extremist groups, particularly al-Qaida and its affiliates – closing safe havens, cutting off financing, countering their ideology, denying them recruits.

Our Trans Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership is building the capacity of ten countries, providing training and support so that they can better work together to disrupt terrorist networks, and prevent attacks.

And we are expanding our work with civil society organizations in specific terrorist hotspots, particular villages, prisons, and schools. Now, the Maghreb’s economic and social challenges fueled the revolutions and the calls for reform. And in order to succeed, these emerging democratic governments need to show they can deliver concrete results.

So that is the second area we’re focused on: Working with small- and medium-sized enterprises, which create jobs and alternatives to radicalism, bringing women and young people into the formal economy, providing capital and training for entrepreneurs, helping emerging democracies update their economic regulations, their investment laws, their trade policies so their private sectors can actually flourish.

We’re establishing a Tunisian-American Enterprise Fund with an initial capitalization of $20 million to stimulate investment in the private sector and provide businesses with needed capital. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation, OPIC, is offering $50 million in loans and guarantees, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation is helping address long-term constraints to economic growth. We’ve provided export training for small business owners and job training to hundreds of young Tunisians. And I’m particularly proud of the new $10 million scholarship fund, which we launched in August to help Tunisian students study at American universities and colleges.

We also look forward to working on economic issues with the new Libyan Government once it’s formed. One of our top priorities is helping nations trade more with each other. That, after all, will create new jobs for their citizens and markets for their products. But today, North Africa is one of the least integrated regions in the world. It doesn’t have to be that way. And opening the border between Algeria and Morocco would be an important step in moving toward that integration.

The third key area in our strategy is strengthening democratic institutions and advancing political reforms – not an easy process, as we can see from the difficulty in forming a government in Libya. And political progress has to grow from the inside, not imposed from the outside or abroad. But there are ways we can and are helping. In Libya, for example, the United States has trained hundreds of lawyers and civil society activists on election laws and offered tutorials to campaign managers and candidates in the run-up to the recent elections. Now we’re encouraging civil society to be fully engaged in drafting a new constitution that will protect the equal rights of all Libyan citizens.

Similar efforts are underway across the Maghreb, tailored to local needs and conditions. And none of this is happening in a vacuum. The transitions occurring in the Maghreb are linked, as you well know, with developments across the wider Middle East.

Egypt, of course, the largest Arab nation, cornerstone of the region, we’ve seen its new elected leadership say that the success of Egypt’s democratic transition depends on building consensus and speaking to the needs and concerns of all Egyptians, men and women, of all faiths and communities. Now, we stand with the Egyptian people in their quest for universal freedoms and protections. And we’ve made the point that Egypt’s international standing depends both on peaceful relations with its neighbors and also on the choices it makes at home and whether or not it fulfills its own promises to its own people.

In Syria, the Assad regime continues to wage brutal war against its own people, even as territory slips from its grasp. I recently announced major new contributions of humanitarian aid and assistance for the civilian opposition, and we remain committed with our like-minded partners to increase pressure on the regime.

And in Yemen, where we supported negotiations that eventually achieved a peaceful transition, we are working to prevent al-Qaida and other extremists from threatening these emerging, fragile democratic institutions and prevent them also from finding a safe haven from which to stage new attacks.

And when I met with King Abdullah of Jordan last month, we discussed the importance of continuing reforms to move his country toward more democracy and prosperity.

So in all of these places and many others, the United States is helping the people of those nations chart their own destinies and realize the full measure of their own human dignity.

Dignity is a word that means many things to different people and cultures, but it does speak to something universal in all of us. As one Egyptian observed in the wake of that country’s revolution, freedom and dignity are “more important than food and water. When you eat in humiliation, you can’t taste the food.”

But dignity does not come from avenging perceived insults, especially with violence that can never be justified. It comes from taking responsibility for one’s self and one’s community. And if you look around the world today, those countries focused on fostering growth rather than fomenting grievance are pulling ahead – building schools instead of burning them; investing in their people’s creativity, not encouraging their rage; empowering women, not excluding them; opening their economies and societies to more connections with the wider world, not shutting off the internet or attacking embassies.

I remain convinced that the people of the Arab world do not want to trade the tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of a mob. There is no dignity in that. The people of Benghazi told this world loudly and clearly when they rejected the extremists in their midst what they hoped for. And so did the leaders of Libya when they challenged the militias. And so did the Tunisians who spoke out against violence and hatred. That is the message we should take from the events of the last month.

Now, I want to add and close with one more thought about what happened in Benghazi. Because, as you might expect, that is for me and for all the men and women at the State Department very personal.

Diplomacy, by its nature has to be often practiced in dangerous places. We send people to diplomatic posts in 170 countries around the world. And yes, some of those are in war and conflict zones. Others are in unstable countries with complex threats and no U.S. military presence. That is the reality of the world we live in.

And we will never prevent every act of violence or terrorism or achieve perfect security. Our people cannot live in bunkers and do their jobs. But it is our solemn responsibility to constantly improve, to reduce the risks our people face, and make sure they have the resources they need to do those jobs we expect from them. And of course, nobody takes that more seriously than I and the security professionals at the State Department do.

Chris Stevens understood that diplomats must operate in many places where soldiers do not or cannot, where there are no other boots on the ground, and security is far from guaranteed. And like so many of our brave colleagues and those who served in our armed forces as well, he volunteered for his assignments.

Last year, our Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, was assaulted in Damascus by pro-regime thugs. But he insisted on continuing to meet with peaceful protesters and serving as a living manifestation of America’s support. And when he drove to the battered city of Hama, the people there covered his car with flowers.

People like Chris and Robert represent diplomacy and America at its and our best. They know that when America is absent, especially from the dangerous places, there are consequences. Extremism takes root, our interests suffer, and our security at home is threatened. So we will continue sending our diplomats and development experts to dangerous places. The United States will not retreat. We will keep leading and we will stay engaged in the Maghreb and everywhere in the world, including in those hard places where America’s interests and values are at stake. That’s who we are. And that’s the best way to honor those whom we have lost. And that’s also how we ensure our country’s global leadership for decades to come.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

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Remarks With Indonesian Foreign Minister Raden Mohammad Marty Muliana Natalegawa After Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
September 20, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON:Good afternoon, everyone. And it’s such a pleasure, as always, to welcome the Indonesian Foreign Minister, and I believe the largest delegation that has ever come from Indonesia, for the purpose of our third meeting of the U.S.-Indonesia Joint Commission.This commission is the result of a vision by our two presidents for a comprehensive partnership, and the agreement to that effect was signed in 2010. Thanks to this partnership, the United States and Indonesia are working more closely than ever on a range of issues from global security to clean energy and climate to regional trade and commerce.

And today, Marty and I had the chance to take stock of where our teams have come in the time of the last year, because we had our meeting in Bali a year ago. And I must say, I was very impressed. We covered a great deal today.
But before I start, I’d like to say a few words about the protests in several countries around the world. We have condemned in the strongest possible terms the violence that has erupted from these protests. And as I have said, the video that sparked these protests is disgusting and reprehensible, and the United States Government, of course, had absolutely nothing to do with it.

But there is no justification for violence, and I want to thank the Foreign Minister and his government for speaking out against violence. We have to look to reasonable people and responsible leaders everywhere to stand up to extremists who would seek to take advantage of this moment to commit violent acts against embassies and their fellow countrymen.

Today’s meetings have highlighted the strong foundation that we have built together. And one of our most important concerns is promoting peace and stability in the Asia Pacific. Today, I’m announcing that the Obama Administration has informed Congress of the potential sale of eight AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters to the Indonesian Government. This agreement will strengthen our comprehensive partnership and help enhance security across the region.
On growth and prosperity, we are increasing our trade relationship that topped $26 billion last year. Investments in transportation, energy, and infrastructure are creating jobs and supporting economic growth in both countries. For example, the deal between Lion Air and Boeing alone represents $21 billion in trade over the next decade. Indonesia’s Government has announced half a trillion dollars in infrastructure improvements, and we recently signed a memorandum of understanding to make it easier for American companies to bid on these projects.

And yesterday, we signed an agreement for implementing our Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact with Indonesia. Over the next five years, the United States will invest $600 million in clean energy development, child health and nutrition programs, and efforts to help make Indonesia’s Government more transparent and open.

The United States is also looking forward to Indonesia hosting APEC in 2013, and we are confident that Indonesia will come to this role with a commitment to promote greater economic integration across the Asia Pacific.

Both the Foreign Minister and I believe that strong education is essential to compete in a modern global economy. That’s why the United States has expanded the Fulbright Program and supported partnerships between dozens of American and Indonesian universities. Academic exchanges between our countries are up and applications from Indonesian students to visit the United States have increased by one third. USAID has recently expanded its basic education program to provide $83 million for teacher training and literacy programs for young children. And we’re providing $20 in scholarship funding for Indonesian graduate students.

I also thanked the Minister for Indonesia’s leadership in ASEAN. The Foreign Minister’s personal leadership has helped lay the groundwork for diplomacy between ASEAN and China as it relates to the South China Sea. And we continue to support ASEAN’s six-point principles, which we believe will help reduce tensions and pave the way for a comprehensive code of conduct for addressing disputes without threats, coercion, or use of force.
Finally, Indonesia and the United States have stood together on a range of global challenges, from democratic reform in Burma to combating climate change, to working to end the violence in Syria. We are also coordinating efforts to further develop south-south and triangular cooperation, such as enhancing disaster preparedness in Burma and convening a conference on women’s empowerment.

We believe that as the second and third-largest democracies in the world, the United States and Indonesia have a special responsibility to promote democracy and human rights. And for the last four years, Indonesia has hosted the Bali Democracy Forum to promote peaceful, democratic transitions through example and open dialogue. Last year, more than 80 countries attended. And once again, the United States will be sending a high-level delegation.
So, Minister, thank you for everything. Thank you for the great partnership we’ve had between us and between our countries.

FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: Thank you very much, Madam Secretary. I’d like to begin by, once again, before members of the media, this afternoon to acknowledge and to thank you personally and as well, of course, through you, the government and the – of United States, and the delegations of the United States, for welcoming us in such a fine manner here in Washington.

I concur with you fully in your description of the state of Indonesia-U.S. relations. It is, as it is often described, a comprehensive partnership, comprehensive – underscore the fact that our relations is a very broad ranged one covering many areas and sectors and fields of endeavor and cooperation. And throughout this morning, and of course throughout the year, as a matter of fact, the working groups established for the purpose of promoting our comprehensive partnership have precisely done that. They have worked very hard and we have heard just now, throughout our meeting this morning, the kind of progress – concrete, real, progress has been made in the areas of common concern, whether it be on trade, on education, on promotion of democracy and human rights, and many other fields – including, especially, and not least, in the defense and security area as well.

What remains for us now is, based on the discussion that we’ve had today, to ensure the working groups and the Joint Ministerial Commission continue to be enhanced, continue to sustain the pace of its work so that once we meet again next year in Indonesia, we can similarly enjoy and raise witness important progress in the promotion of our bilateral relations.

The point that I wanted to make at this occasion, Madam Secretary, is to reinforce and recall and reaffirm the fact that the importance of Indonesia-U.S. relations extends beyond the bilateral. Our two countries now have worked very closely in a very productive and very mutually beneficial way, not only bilaterally, but increasingly within the regional setting as well.

Just now, Secretary Clinton was so kind enough to acknowledge the kind of efforts Indonesia is trying to make in trying to create an environment in our region that is peaceful and stable and thus, therefore prosperous, as well. But is a process, it is a common endeavor by all of us, and I have to say that over the recent years, the United States engagement in the Asian Pacific have truly been part of that creation of such a benign, peaceful and stable environment.

But much work remains ahead of us. We have, of course, the New York United Nations meeting coming up this coming week. No doubt Indonesia and the United States will continue to work very closely. During the course of our discussion today, both in the plenary and especially in the more tete-a-tete setting, we discussed many a global issues, regional issues as well, whether it be in Southeast Asia, in East Asia, Asia Pacific, as well as, for example, in the Middle East, including the developments in Syria. What I wanted to say, basically and essentially, is that the strength of our bilateral relations is one that is becoming even more evident and it is a relations that is not only beneficial to the United States, beneficial to Indonesia, but no doubt I am sure beneficial to the region as well.

Thank you very much, Secretary Clinton, for welcoming us to Washington, and I look forward to continuing our strong partnership. Thank you. Thanks very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Marty. Thank you very much.

MS. NULAND: We’ll take two questions today, we’ll start with Ros Jordan of Al Jazeera English.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary, Mr. Foreign Minister. Madam Secretary, my question is about the ongoing investigation into last week’s attack at the consulate in Benghazi. You are meeting this afternoon with members of Congress to discuss the progress and the concerns that they understandably have. First, there is the federal mandate to establish an accountability review board. Have you done so? Who would you like to see chair it? Are there certain questions that you desperately want to have answered in order to safeguard the safety of Foreign Service Officers around the world?

And related to this, given the political instability and the successes of the past year and a half, are you satisfied that in light of those political changes, enough was done to protect those working in the Middle East and North Africa? And then finally – and this is perhaps going into the area of rumor and speculation – but there is at least one report suggesting that Ambassador Stevens felt that he was on a, quote, “al-Qaida hit list.” Is this a scurrilous rumor? Is this gallows humor when one is working in a period of difficulty and great challenge, or is there something more to what he allegedly – and I stress that word – said?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say I’m looking forward to the opportunity to go up to the Congress today. I will be briefing in two separate sessions, the House and the Senate, in a classified setting, along with my interagency colleagues, as we continue to work together, and with governments around the world, to ensure that our people and our facilities are safe. I will be joined today by the Director of National Intelligence, General Clapper, by the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, by the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Sandy Winnefeld, along with experts from the FBI, the State Department, and elsewhere in the government.

Now, I anticipate that this briefing will cover our security posture before and during the events, and the steps we have taken since to do everything we can with host governments to protect our people and our embassies and consulates. The Director of National Intelligence will speak to the intelligence issues surrounding these events in Libya. Deputy Secretary Carter will brief on the superb support we have had from the U.S. military in the wake of these events, and we are at the very early stages of an FBI investigation. The team from the FBI reached Libya earlier this week. And I will advise Congress also that I am launching an accountability review board that will be chaired by Ambassador Thomas Pickering.

I will also talk about the importance of the broader relationships with these countries in light of the events of the past days. There are obviously very real challenges in these new democracies, these fragile societies, but as I said last week, the vast majority of the people in these countries did not throw off the tyranny of a dictator to trade it for the tyranny of a mob. And we are concerned first and foremost with our own people and facilities, but we are concerned about the internal security in these countries because ultimately, that puts at risk the men, women, and children of these societies on a daily ongoing basis if actions are not taken to try to restore security and civil order.

And let me just conclude by saying that there can be no doubt where the United States stands. We continue to support those who are fighting for universal values – values that we see at work in Indonesia – the third largest democracy in the world. We believe that these values of universal rights, of justice and accountability, of democracy, are there for every person regardless of where that person might live. So I will look forward to having a chance to talk with members of Congress.

As to your final question, I have absolutely no information or reason to believe that there’s any basis for that.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. NULAND: Last question. Victoria Sidjabat from Tempo Magazine, please.

QUESTION: Yes. Madam, thank you. My question is: Starting today, U.S. Embassy and Consulate are closed in Indonesia as the Muslim movie become wild fireball, which could be designed as a weapon to attack U.S. by raising sentiment anti-U.S. from the countries which has Muslim majority population like Indonesia.

Madam Clinton, how do you see this threat as on the long run? If it’s continuing happen, it’s – obviously could give impact to the implementation of (inaudible) program in Indonesia. What is the reason U.S. Government closed the Embassy and Consulate in Indonesia? What is your expectation from Indonesia Government, for my Minister Marty Natalegawa? How Indonesia Government respond to the closing of this Embassy and Consulate, it’s starting today? Is U.S. – Indonesia Government has capability to protect U.S. Embassy and Consulate. So the (inaudible) program implemented – could be implemented successfully in Indonesia. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me begin by saying how grateful we are for the excellent cooperation we have received from the Government of Indonesia, and in particular, from the law enforcement and security institutions in Indonesia. We are very grateful for not only the cooperation and protection that has been provided to our facilities, but also to the strong statements condemning violence from the President, the Foreign Minister, and others.

In consultation with the Government of Indonesia, we have temporarily, for tomorrow, closed our facilities. We want to be sure that law enforcement in Indonesia has the ability to do what it needs to do to make sure that there is no disruption of civil order and security. So we are cooperating completely, and we’re very grateful for the strong leadership provided by Indonesia.

FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: Hello, (inaudible), if I may just also respond. Precisely as the Secretary had said, the decision by the United States Government to close temporarily its embassies and consulates tomorrow in Indonesia is a decision that’s been made based on communication and conversation between the authorities in Indonesia and the United States as well. So in other words, it is an informed decision, a decision that is not intended to show any unfriendly intent on the part of anyone, but it is what it is, and it’s quite some – it’s the kind of step that governments actually carry out when situations requires it, even in our case. Some of our embassies abroad, when the situation requires us to have a temporary closing of the embassy, we do that as well. So it is something that is quite regular and something that is actually coordinated as well.

But if I may just broaden the subject matter, I think as our President had said in the past, Indonesian Government – the Indonesian people, even, obviously cannot and would not condone the – any acts of violence against diplomatic premises, against diplomatic personnel, because that is, truly – would be a challenge to the efficient and a proper conduct of relations among states. So that’s our point of departure.
At the same time, of course, beyond the immediate issue of protection of the embassies, we have still ahead of us the challenge of how to prevent the kind of situations where we are now at in terms of the kind of incendiary and the kind of statements or, in this instance, films that cause – that is now we have all deplored and condemned for these kind of activities not to be repeated. So we have a lot of homework to work towards in the future as well.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.

FOREIGN MINISTER NATALEGAWA: Thank you.

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Secretary Clinton Supports Syrian People in Op-Ed

 

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 17, 2011

 


 

In an op-ed in the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton condemns the violent crackdown in Syria and calls for a transition to democracy. The full text of the Secretary’s op-ed follows.

“There Is No Going Back in Syria”

By Hillary Clinton

As the violent crackdown in Syria continues, President Assad has shown that he is more interested in his own power than his people.

The world has joined Syrians in mourning the deaths of many innocent people, including a 13-year old boy who was brutally tortured and mutilated. Approximately thirteen hundred Syrians have been killed since protests began. Many thousands more have been jailed and abused. Syrian security forces have surrounded communities and cut off electricity, communications and the Internet. Economic activity has slowed, the country is increasingly isolated and its citizens are growing more frustrated every day.

In his May 19 speech, President Obama echoed demonstrators’ basic and legitimate demands: the Assad government must stop shooting demonstrators, allow peaceful protest, release political prisoners, stop unjust arrests, give access to human rights monitors, and start an inclusive dialogue to advance a democratic transition. President Assad, he said, could either lead that transition or get out of the way.

It is increasingly clear that President Assad has made his choice. But while continued brutality may allow him to delay the change that is underway in Syria, it will not reverse it.

As Syria’s neighbors and the international community respond to this crisis, we should be guided by the answers to several key questions: Why has it erupted? What does the crackdown reveal about President Assad and his regime? And where does Syria go from here?

First, there should be no doubt about the nature of the protests in Syria.

Like Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans and others across the Middle East and North Africa, the Syrian people are demanding their long-denied universal rights and rejecting a government that rules through fear, squanders their talents through corruption, and denies them the dignity of having a voice in their own future. They are organizing themselves, including the local coordinating committees, and they are refusing to back down even in the face of revolting violence.

If President Assad believes that the protests are the work of foreign instigators – as his government has claimed – he is wrong. It is true that some Syrian soldiers have been killed, and we regret the loss of those lives too. But the vast majority of casualties have been unarmed civilians. By continuing to ban foreign journalists and observers, the regime seeks to hide these facts.

Second, President Assad is showing his true colors by embracing the repressive tactics of his ally Iran and putting Syria onto the path of a pariah state.

By following Iran’s lead, President Assad is placing himself and his regime on the wrong side of history. He will learn that legitimacy flows from the consent of the people and cannot be forged through bullets and billyclubs.

President Assad’s violent crackdown has shattered his claims to be a reformer. For years, he has offered pledges and promises, but all that matters are his actions. A speech, no matter how dutifully applauded by regime apologists, will not change the reality that the Syrian people, despite being told they live in a republic, have never had the opportunity to freely elect their leaders. These citizens want to see a real transition to democracy and a government that honors their universal rights and aspirations.

If President Assad believes he can act with impunity because the international community hopes for his cooperation on other issues, he is wrong about this as well. He and his regime are certainly not indispensable.

A Syria that is unified, pluralistic, and democratic could play a positive and leading role in the region, but under President Assad the country is increasingly becoming a source of instability. The refugees streaming into Turkey and Lebanon, and the tensions being stoked on the Golan, should dispel the notion that the regime is a bulwark of regional stability that must be protected.

Finally, the answer to the most important question of all – what does this mean for Syria’s future? – is increasingly clear: There is no going back.

Syrians have recognized the violence as a sign of weakness from a regime that rules by coercion, not consent. They have overcome their fears and have shaken the foundations of this authoritarian system.

Syria is headed toward a new political order — and the Syrian people should be the ones to shape it. They should insist on accountability, but resist any temptation to exact revenge or reprisals that might split the country, and instead join together to build a democratic, peaceful and tolerant Syria.

Considering the answers to all these questions, the United States chooses to stand with the Syrian people and their universal rights. We condemn the Assad regime’s disregard for the will of its citizens and Iran’s insidious interference.

The United States has already imposed sanctions on senior Syrian officials, including President Assad. We are carefully targeting leaders of the crackdown, not the Syrian people. We welcomed the decisions by the European Union to impose its own sanctions and by the UN Human Rights Council to launch an investigation into abuses. The United States will continue coordinating closely with our partners in the region and around world to increase pressure on and further isolate the Assad regime.

The Syrian people will not cease their demands for dignity and a future free from intimidation and fear. They deserve a government that respects its people, works to build a more stable and prosperous country, and doesn’t have to rely on repression at home and antagonism abroad to maintain its grip on power. They deserve a nation that is unified, democratic and a force for stability and progress. That would be good for Syria, good for the region and good for the world.

http://aawsat.com/leader.asp?section=3&article=627159&issueno=11890

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Sexual Violence in Libya, the Middle East and North Africa

 

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
June 16, 2011

 


 

The United States is deeply concerned by reports of wide-scale rape in Libya. Since Eman al Obeidi bravely burst into a hotel in Tripoli on March 26 to reveal that Qadhafi’s security forces raped her, other brave women have come forward to tell of the horrible brutality they have experienced. Recently, the International Criminal Court has taken note of the appalling evidence that rape in Libya is widespread and systematically employed. A thorough investigation of this matter is needed to bring perpetrators to justice.

We are also troubled by reports of sexual violence used by governments to intimidate and punish protestors seeking democratic reforms across the Middle East and North Africa. Rape, physical intimidation, sexual harassment, and even so-called “virginity tests” have taken place in countries throughout the region. These egregious acts are violations of basic human dignity and run contrary to the democratic aspirations so courageously expressed throughout the region.

Qadhafi’s security forces and other groups in the region are trying to divide the people by using violence against women and rape as tools of war, and the United States condemns this in the strongest possible terms. It is an affront to all people who are yearning to live in a society free from violence with respect for basic human rights. We urge all governments to conduct immediate, transparent investigations into these allegations, and to hold accountable those found responsible.

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Media Note

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 25, 2011

Below is the text of a letter from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner to their G8 Minister counterparts:

Begin text:

Dear G8 Colleagues,

As President Obama said on May 19, the courage of the people of the Middle East and North Africa has created a historic opportunity. This is a time for the region and the world to work together to support successful transitions toward democratic societies and more inclusive economies.

As our nations gather at Deauville, we should consider several steps to support these goals. We share a compelling interest in seeing the transitions in Egypt and Tunisia succeed and become models for the region. Otherwise, we risk losing this moment of opportunity.

Experience from other democratic transitions has taught us that we should focus on trade, not just aid, and on investment, not just assistance. Moreover, our efforts should be aligned with the needs and aspirations of the people of the region. In Egypt and Tunisia, citizens have outlined several key priorities: improving financial stability, strengthening the private sector, curbing corruption, creating jobs, and further integrating their markets with the region and the global economy.

With these priorities in mind, we should first offer our strong support for the Joint Action Plan of the Multilateral Development Banks. The World Bank and the African Development Bank will bring their resources to bear by supporting home-grown policies and reform agendas. We call on governments around the world—including in the Middle East and the Gulf—to join us in forming a broad and long-term partnership to support Egypt and Tunisia. It will be important to ensure that public dollars help leverage private dollars and grow private enterprise, and that the reforms are driven by the people and leaders of the region themselves.

Second, we should help Egypt convert the debts of the past into investments for the future. The United States is committed to a debt swap for Egypt and we are asking our partners to join us in this initiative. A debt swap will enable Egypt to channel its debt payments toward underwriting swift, sustainable job creation. A shared response in the form of a multi-creditor debt swap for job creation would provide Egypt with financial relief while also ensuring that critical investments are made to improve the lives of Egyptian people. We also should stand ready in the Paris Club to reinforce the forthcoming IMF package for Egypt. At the same time, we should collectively commit to helping newly democratic governments recover assets that were stolen.

Third, the G-8 should lead efforts to reorient the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) so that it can play the same role today in supporting democratic transitions in the Middle East and North Africa that it has played over the past two decades in Central and Eastern Europe. Our countries should use the Deauville Summit to support a mechanism that enables the EBRD to engage in the near-term to support private sector development in the region, as well as reforms that create conditions for successful entrepreneurship.

These immediate steps will provide important support to the democratic transitions already underway. But to be most effective, they must be part of a larger vision that connects the region to the global economy.

Non-oil exports within the Middle East and North Africa currently account for less than 10 percent of the region’s total trade— lower than that of any other region in the world. This lack of regional integration has contributed to chronic unemployment and hindered diversification.

To begin reversing this trend, President Obama announced a comprehensive Trade and Investment Partnership Initiative in the Middle East and North Africa. We ask members of the G-8 and the EU to join the United States and other willing partners across the region to facilitate more trade within the region, as well as between the region and global markets. This plan will increase market access and create new economic opportunities in new sectors, driven by new technologies. Just as membership in the European Union served as a powerful incentive for economic transformation in Central and Eastern Europe after the Cold War, so should the prospect of participating in an integrated and dynamic regional economy create a powerful force for reform in the Middle East and North Africa.

As President Obama said, the greatest untapped resource in the Middle East and North Africa is the talent of its people. Ultimately, they are the ones who will determine the future of their region. The nations of the G-8 share an interest and a responsibility in supporting these people and their countries as they move toward genuine democracy and more vibrant and open economies. The proposals we have outlined are important steps toward that future and we should waste no time in seizing this moment of opportunity. We look forward to working with you in translating these proposals into results.

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I apologize.  No matter what I do, I cannot make this video embed properly.   Since I cannot,  here is the link to the CBS News video.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Hillary with Katie Couric 2, posted with vodpod

Here is another one just made available by DOS.

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Interview with Katie Couric, posted with vodpod

Interview With Katie Couric of CBS News

Interview

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 19, 2011

QUESTION: In Syria, Secretary Clinton, the government crackdown has killed an estimated 700 people in the last two months. What took so long for the Administration to put these new sanctions into place?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Katie, I don’t think it took long at all. I think we wanted to coordinate with our allies in the European Union, to talk to our friends and partners in the region, especially those that border Syria, Israel, Iraq, and others. And we also wanted to make it clear that, as the President just said in his speech, President Asad of Syria can either lead this transition or get out of the way. And unfortunately, the evidence thus far is that he’s not providing the kind of leadership that is needed.

QUESTION: So are you willing to say he should get out of the way; President Asad must go?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think President Obama was very clear. And what we want is to continue to support the voices of democracy, those who are standing against the brutality. But we’re also well aware every situation is different, and in this one, Asad has said a lot of things that you didn’t hear from other leaders in the region about the kind of changes he would like to see. That may all be out the window, or he may have one last chance.

QUESTION: At the same time, this Syrian regime is close to Iran. They’re getting support from Iran to – for their tactics of suppression, if you will. They’re – they support terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. So why not just say he needs to be removed?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, you’re right that Iran is supporting them, and the President mentioned that in his speech today. It hasn’t been publicly talked about as much as the facts warrant, and we’re calling them out on it. But I think we also know that there are many different forces at work in Syria, like in so many of the countries in the region. And we think it would be better if the people of Syria themselves made it clear to Asad that there have to be changes. And part of what the President – our President – Obama was doing today, was to say, “Do you want to end up like Iran, Syria? And President Asad, do you want to end up like a leader of a country that is further and further isolated?” So each of these situations has to be carefully calibrated, and I think the President got it just right.

QUESTION: So is the U.S. pursuing regime change in Syria?

SECRETARY CLINTON: What we are doing is exactly what President Obama said: Either you lead the transition or get out of the way. How that happens is up to the people of that country.

QUESTION: The whole notion of regime change isn’t working very well in Libya, is it?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I disagree with that. I think we are seeing slow but steady progress. The pressure on the Qadhafi regime has increased to the point that Qadhafi’s wife and daughter fled across the border into Tunisia in the last two days. The oil minister has defected. There is an enormous amount of increased messaging going to Qadhafi, not just because of the military strikes but from those who he thought were in his camp or at least wouldn’t try to push him to leave.

At the same time, the Transitional National Council and their military forces are getting better. They started off as being totally unprepared for what they were confronting. So we’re making progress. I wish it would go faster, they certainly wish it would go faster, but we’re on the right path.

QUESTION: How long are we willing to wait?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’re feeling very encouraged by the trend. And what we want to see is a change in regime in Libya and a move toward a democratic government. And I think we’re prepared to keep the pressure on till that happens.

QUESTION: Why does the killing of civilians in Libya justify U.S. military involvement, but the killing of civilians in Syria does not?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, part of the reason is look at the difference in the reaction of the world. It was very clear that not only Europeans, but most importantly, neighbors and the Arab League itself all reached the same conclusion at the same time about Libya and Qadhafi. Now, I think it’s very important that, as President Obama has said and repeated again today, we have real interests as the United States. We have security interests, we have economic interests, and we have interests that affect our values, because we do believe in democracy and what it can bring to people.

But we also know that there’s no one size fits all and there’s no magic wand. If there were, we’d be waving it like crazy. And in Libya, what we had was a unique international coalition. What we’re seeing now is increasing pressure on Syria. We’re seeing the European Union taking actions, us upping the actions, and I think you’ll see more in the days to come.

QUESTION: Why not exercise U.S. leadership, though, Secretary Clinton, and galvanize the international community to take more aggressive steps in Syria?

SECRETARY CLINTON: There’s no appetite for that, Katie. There’s no willingness. We haven’t had any of the kind of pressure that we saw building from our European NATO allies, from the Arab League and others, to do what has been done in Libya. Now, there are many reasons for that, historical reasons, strategic reasons. But the fact is that we are trying to be smart about how we evaluate each individual situation. We reached the conclusion in Libya that the United States could be part of an international effort. We were not the ones going to dictate it. We’ve got our hands full. We’re fighting hard, and we’ve made great progress with the ending of bin Ladin as a voice of extremism and death, and we want to continue to move on all fronts at the same time. And that means we want others to be part of what we’re doing.

QUESTION: The peace talks have stalled. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has become more insulated. George Mitchell is resigning. The Obama Administration has been criticized for not working hard enough to move the ball forward in the peace process. Fair criticism?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Not at all fair. I think President Obama was absolutely right today in saying that we’ve been working on this, literally, from the first day in office. And Senator Mitchell had always said he could give it two years, he couldn’t give it more. His very able deputy, Ambassador David Hale, has stepped in. Senator Mitchell was at the speech today because obviously, he remains interested, but could not continue his commitments. And what the President said today was we want to see negotiations, but we’re not able to make those negotiations happen. But we know that without negotiations, there will be no end to the conflict, no end to the claims, and no two-state solution.

QUESTION: The President said that the Palestinian state should be a non-militarized state. Why don’t the Palestinians have the right of self-defense like Israel, and do you think they’ll accept that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, there are non-militarized states around the world. And we believe – and I think for many years Palestinians have publicly and privately suggested that they believe as well – that that would be an important step for them to take.

Why? Number one, because they don’t want to look like they’re a threat to any of their neighbors; not just Israel, but others. And number two, because they know that Israel has legitimate security concerns.

QUESTION: Let’s talk about the killing of Usama bin Ladin. Would you recommend additional unilateral raids if you knew the whereabouts of other key al-Qaida figures in Pakistan?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Katie, I’m not going to comment on any hypotheticals and I certainly wouldn’t go into any operational details. But I think it should be sufficient to say that the United States has made it clear from the very moment we were attacked – and I remember it excruciatingly well because of my service as a senator in New York – that we would go after those who had attacked us. Bin Ladin was our primary target. The President made a gutsy decision. We were very pleased that the operation succeeded. And we’ve made it clear to people around the world that if we locate someone who has been part of the al-Qaida leadership, then you get him or we will get him.

QUESTION: When it comes to harboring Usama bin Ladin, I know you’re trying to find out what did they know, when did they know it, and who knew. Clearly, someone did. What is the U.S. going to do about Pakistan?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I would answer the same way that Secretary Gates said, because he and I see this eye to eye. We believe that it was not proven that anybody at the top of the government in Pakistan knew where bin Ladin was, but it seems likely that somebody did know. I said that the first time I went to Pakistan. I said, “It’s hard to believe that somebody in your government somewhere – and it could be some very low-level person – doesn’t know where he is.” And we’re having very candid conversations with our Pakistani partners.

I want to make it clear to your audience that we’ve had good cooperation on many important strategic interests of the United States with Pakistan, and we have supported them in their own fight against the extremists who are killing and threatening their people. But we expect more. We’re having conversations about what more we can do together.

QUESTION: When are you planning to go to Pakistan?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’ll see how the conversations go. Marc Grossman, my special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, is there now, following up on some of the areas of concern.

QUESTION: You have said you are going to leave your post at the end of this term.

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.)

QUESTION: What are you going to do?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t know. I was thinking maybe take your job, but I don’t know what your next job’s going to be either, so – I love what I’m doing. And of course, serving the President, serving my country, is a very high honor. But I also want to do some other things too.

QUESTION: What will your legacy as Secretary of State be?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’s too —

QUESTION: What would you like it to be?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’s too soon to tell. I don’t want to try to write it only about halfway through. But I think it is clear that what we’ve attempted to do, as I said in my introduction to the President this morning, is to marshal the resources of our diplomatic and development experts, because we were getting awfully militarized in our foreign policy. And I have the highest regard for my DOD colleagues. And we are now working side by side, not just here in Washington, but out in the field, in places like Afghanistan. And it’s that kind of full government approach, using smart power to advance America’s interests, that I think has to be the hallmark of our foreign policy.

QUESTION: The President said after decades of accepting the world as it is in the region, we have a chance to pursue the world as it should be. Not exactly the realist philosophy favored by the military. Is that too idealistic? Is it overreaching? Is it another way of looking at nation-building?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think it’s always a mistake to characterize our foreign policy as either idealistic or realistic because America is both. If we were not idealistic, whoever would have believed that we could fulfill this crazy idea of our founders of equality under the law and a nation that was really built on fundamental freedoms? If we weren’t realistic, how could we not only have survived but basically flourished and even triumphed through our more than 225 years of history?

We are both. And we idealistically, passionately, believe in human dignity and freedom and opportunity. That’s what we stand for. But we are clear-eyed and very cold, calculating when it comes to figuring out how we’re going to protect America and how we’re going to further our interests and values. So it’s not either/or. It never has been. And I think trying to put us as a nation or our foreign policy or any president or secretary of state into the either/or box really misses the complexity of what we are contending with.

QUESTION: Secretary of State Clinton, thank you so much for your time.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Katie. Great to talk to you and good luck.

QUESTION: Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’ve really enjoyed my – our many times together over the years.

QUESTION: Thank you.

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Introductory Remarks for President Obama’s Speech on Events in the Middle East and North Africa, and U.S. Policy in the Region

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ben Franklin Room
Washington, DC
May 19, 2011

Thank you all, and welcome to the State Department. I am delighted to be here to welcome the President as well as our colleagues from the Diplomatic Corps, Senator Kerry, and senior officials from across our government, and especially the many young Foreign Service and Civil Servants who are here today.

Mr. President, from your first days in office you have charged us with implementing a bold new approach for America’s foreign policy – a new blueprint for how we advance our values, project our leadership, and strengthen our partnerships. We have seen that in a changing world, America’s leadership is more essential than ever, but that we often must lead in new and innovative ways.

And so, Mr. President, these Foreign Service Officers and these Civil Servants, the men and women of the State Department and USAID, work every day to translate your vision into real results – results on the ground in nearly every country in the world. That is why the work we have done to provide them with the tools and resources they need to perform their mission is so important. And it’s why we need to keep making the case for those resources.

Because alongside our colleagues in the Defense Department, America’s diplomats and development experts of the State Department and USAID are on the front lines of protecting America’s security, advancing America’s interests, and projecting America’s values. As a wave of change continues to sweep across the Middle East and North Africa, they are carrying our diplomacy and development far beyond the embassy walls – engaging with citizens in the streets and through social networks as they seek to move from protests to politics; with NGOs and businesses working to create new economic opportunities; and with transitional leaders trying to build the institutions of genuine democracy. They represent the best of America, and I am so proud to have them as our face to the world.

Mr. President, it is fitting that you have chosen to come here to the State Department to speak about the dramatic changes we have witnessed around the world this year.

Now, on the back wall of this historic Benjamin Franklin Room is a portrait of the leader of Tunis, given as a gift in 1865 by the people of Tunisia in honor of the enduring friendship between our nations at the end of our Civil War. A century and a half later, Tunisians – and courageous citizens from across the region – have given the world another gift: a new opening to work together for democracy and dignity, for peace and opportunity. These are the values that made America a great nation, but they do not belong to us alone. They are truly universal. And it is profoundly in our interest that more people in more places claim them as their own.

This moment belongs to the people of the Middle East and North Africa. They have seized control of their destiny and will make the choices that determine how the future of the region unfolds.

But, for America, this is a moment that calls out for clear vision, firm principles, and a sophisticated understanding of the indispensable role our country can and must play in the world. Those have been the hallmarks of President Obama’s leadership from his first day in office. So, it is with great confidence and faith in our future that I welcome the President of the United States, Barack Obama. (Applause.)

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