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Hillary Clinton was in Oslo, Norway today, International Women’s Day, to receive an honorary doctorate at the BI Business School.

Our best compliments, Mme. Secretary!

Look for Hillary around the 38:33 minute mark.

OSLO, NORWAY – MARCH 08: Hillary Clinton attends the Gender Equality Conference at BI Business School on March 8, 2019 in Oslo, Norway. (Photo by Rune Hellestad/Getty Images)

OSLO, NORWAY – MARCH 08: Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends the BI Business School on The International Women’s Day on March 8, 2019 in Oslo, Norway. (Photo by Rune Hellestad – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

OSLO, NORWAY – MARCH 08: Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends the BI Business School on The International Women’s Day on March 8, 2019 in Oslo, Norway. (Photo by Rune Hellestad – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

Just a personal note from me:  She always shines in these interviews and did so again today. I particularly liked this interviewer. There was something very simpatico about him. I liked his organization of the questions. Very pleasant. She was at ease. It was all around a nice atmosphere.

 

 

 

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The United States has four coasts subject to the perils presented by climate change: the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Arctic. As a nation with land above the Arctic Circle, we belong to the Arctic Council.

When she was secretary of state, Hillary Clinton participated regularly in Arctic Council summits hosted by a variety of the eight member nations. This was one. I have bolded the list of member states.

Lisa Murkowski  was nice enough to post this picture on her Facebook page along with this comment about an hour ago.

Lisa Murkowski

Heading home from the Arctic Council in Nuuk, Greenland. But wanted to share a picture: with the Ministers of the eight Arctic nations in attendance, as well as Secretary Clinton and Secretary Salazar.

Here is a fact sheet released by the State Department about the Arctic Council meeting results.

Secretary Clinton Signs the Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement with Other Arctic Nations

Fact Sheet

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 12, 2011

On May 12, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton joined representatives of the other seven Member States of the Arctic Council (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, and Sweden) in signing an Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) in the Arctic (Agreement). The Agreement is the first legally-binding instrument negotiated under the auspices of the Arctic Council. It coordinates life-saving international maritime and aeronautical SAR coverage and response among the Arctic States across an area of about 13 million square miles in the Arctic.

As Arctic sea ice coverage decreases, ship-borne activities are increasing significantly in the Arctic. Flight traffic is also on the rise as new polar aviation routes cross the Arctic air space in several directions. As human presence and activities in the Arctic expand, the potential for accidents increases as well. Limited rescue resources, challenging weather conditions, and the remoteness of the area render SAR operations difficult in the Arctic, making coordination among the Arctic nations imperative. The SAR Agreement will improve search and rescue response in the Arctic by committing all Parties to coordinate appropriate assistance to those in distress and to cooperate with each other in undertaking SAR operations. For each Party, the Agreement defines an area of the Arctic in which it will have lead responsibility in organizing responses to SAR incidents, both large and small. Parties to the Agreement commit to provide SAR assistance regardless of the nationality or status of persons who may need it.

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(See more like this here>>>>)

It is immediately apparent why there is a need for this council. Russia is a player.

After Hillary left the State Department, she launched a series of  speaking engagements. One of these was in Canada.

Speaking to the Montreal Board of Trade last night, Hillary Clinton warned the audience of increased Russian activity in the Arctic and hung responsibility for another Cold War on Vladimir Putin’s doorknob.

As Secretary of State,  Hillary was an active participant in the Arctic Council and repeatedly echoed the message that we are an Arctic nation.  The concerns she voiced in Canada are as much an issue for the U.S. as they are for Canada.

Along with the disquiet she expressed regarding Russia’s activities in the north came further comments about recent activities in Europe.

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In light of the above, this is of some concern or should be to all the member nations including ours.

Russian servicemen of the Northern Fleet’s Arctic mechanised infantry brigade participate in a military drill on riding reindeer and dog sleds near the settlement of Lovozero outside Murmansk, Russia January 23, 2017. Picture taken January 23, 2017. Lev Fedoseyev/Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation/Handout via REUTERS
By Andrew Osborn | MURMANSK, Russia

The nuclear icebreaker Lenin, the pride and joy of the Soviet Union’s Arctic great game, lies at perpetual anchor in the frigid water here. A relic of the Cold War, it is now a museum.

But nearly three decades after the Lenin was taken out of service to be turned into a visitor attraction, Russia is again on the march in the Arctic and building new nuclear icebreakers.

It is part of a push to firm Moscow’s hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States, and Norway as well as newcomer China.

SNIP

Grigory Stratiy, deputy governor of the Murmansk Region, told Reuters there was strong interest in sea route from Asian nations however and that new icebreakers would allow for year-round navigation in the 2020s.

“Whatever the weather, the Northern Sea Route will be needed. Its use will definitely grow,” said Stratiy, who said Russia was keen to attract foreign investment to the Arctic.

When asked about his country’s military build-up, he smiled.

“There’s no reason to be afraid I can reassure you,” he said, saying it was driven only by a need to modernize.

“Russia has never had any aggressive aims and won’t have them. We are very friendly people.”

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Anyone thinking that Putin is playing nice friendly reindeer games up there is, of course, deluded despite the “peaceful and cooperative nature of the Arctic Region” as stated on the State Department page.  We should never trust Putin, as Hillary warned, especially when his military is involved. So this military build up is one thing to watch.

It’s nice to have ice breakers available when you need them, and the Russians were very helpful the time the whales were trapped under the ice as portrayed in that Drew Barrymore movie. Those missile installations, though. No wonder we sent troops to Norway.

The North Sea Route concept, characterized in the article as a mini Suez Canal, is an obvious business venture, but of course the real target is oil. Drilling in the Arctic is an enterprise popular with Republicans.

Lastly, how the hell did “newcomer China” get into this competition? It has no land above the Arctic Circle. Or does it?  Is it building synthetic islands up there, too?

The new administration has a dangerously narrow view of China’s adversarial scope. It goes beyond trans-Pacific trade and artificial islands to expand its continental limit in the South China Sea and East China Sea. China has invested in significant “development” enterprises in Africa centered largely on resource extraction with tandem infrastructure upgrades benefiting their ability to move products for shipment and not benefiting local residents or their farms or businesses in any way. I don’t think I have ever heard Donald Trump say the word “Africa.”  At the very least, China’s presence in the Arctic deserves a question.

As for Russia, and its military push, we always do well to heed the warnings of Hillary Clinton.

 

 

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Yes, there were more bilaterals last night after which she hosted the Transatlantic dinner. The snip below is from a briefing last night by a senior official providing  background.

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Readout of the Secretary’s Meetings With Belgian Foreign Minister Reynders, Greek Foreign Minister Avramopoulos, United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Hague, and the Transatlantic Dinner

Special Briefing

Senior Administration Official
Waldorf Astoria Hotel
New York City
September 25, 2012
MODERATOR: Thank you very much, and again, sorry that this evening has gone on so long, but we thought it would be worthwhile to provide you a readout on background from our Senior Administration Official. For your records, that is actually [Senior Administration Official]. We will do a brief readout of the dinner that just took place, the Transatlantic Dinner with our NATO and European partners, and then have time to take some of your questions.

So with that, let me just turn it over to our Senior Administration Official.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thanks, and thanks to everyone for waiting up so late. Apologies it’s so late, but the dinner went on for some time. I’ll get to the Transatlantic Dinner. Maybe I can just start with the other Transatlantic engagements, European engagements the Secretary’s had since she arrived on Sunday.

This actually began with her bilat with European Union High Representative for Foreign Policy Cathy Ashton on Sunday evening. And just briefly on that, she – the Secretary spent a good hour with High Representative Ashton covering a wide range of issues starting with Iran. The High Representative is leading the negotiations, recently had some talks in Istanbul with the Iranians, was able to report on those talks, and I think both of them concluded that there’s still time and space for diplomacy, and that effort needs to go on as we pursue both tracks – the pressure track – and I think we’ve heard from a number of Europeans in the course of the week that they’re looking for ways to increase the pressure track even as High Representative Ashton leads the way on negotiations on the diplomatic track. And we’re very serious about both tracks at the same time.

They talked about Burma, obviously, with Aung San Suu Kyi recently being in Washington and the EU having its own engagements with her, and talked about how the U.S. and the EU can coordinate on supporting democratic reforms in Burma. And then they actually spent a considerable time – amount of time on democratic reforms closer to home, which is to say across Eastern Europe. As the Secretary and High Representative were meeting, we were getting election results from Belarus – not that there was much question about how those elections would come out – and unfortunately they came out as expected, which is to say reflecting an unlevel playing field. And Secretary Clinton and High Representative Ashton talked about how we together in the U.S. and Europe can keep the pressure on Belarus and make clear that so long as there are political prisoners and so long as elections are repeatedly falling well short of international standards, then Belarus is not going to be able to have the relationship with Europe and the United States that it needs.

They also talked about upcoming elections in Ukraine, and I think it’s fair to say that we – the United States and Europe are working extraordinarily closely together when it comes to pressing for and supporting free and fair elections that are going to take place on October 28th. Ukraine is hugely important to European security and stability. We have been very clear how much we regret what we see as selective prosecutions, including the imprisonment of former Prime Minister Tymoshenko. And Secretary Clinton, High Rep Ashton agreed the U.S. and the European Union really have the same policy, which is to say that our relations with Ukraine can only really move forward when we see an end of those selective prosecutions and free and fair elections. And they talked about how we can use the time between now and October 28th to support those goals.

There are also upcoming elections in Georgia on October 1st, and once again, I think the two of them agreed how important it was for us collectively to make clear to Georgia how important it is to have a fair and transparent and competitive campaign environment. The most important thing Georgia can do for its future is to consolidate its democracy. We have respectively raised concerns about different issues on the road to those elections, and we’ve been appreciative that the Georgian Government has heard those concerns, and in most cases, taken measures to make sure that the elections that we are going to be very active in monitoring will indeed be free and fair.

And then finally, Secretary Clinton and High Rep Ashton talked about the Balkans. Catherine Ashton is leading an effort to promote the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo. Together, we support the path to the European Union of both of those countries. We think Serbia needs to come to term with an independent Kosovo in order to move forward along that path. And it’s something the United States and European Union are working very much hand in hand on to consolidate the Balkans as part of a unified Europe.

And then this evening, the Secretary, prior to the Transatlantic Dinner, had the opportunity to meet with a number of foreign ministers, including, in particular, several whom she hadn’t had formal bilats with who are new since certainly the last General Assembly, which includes the Greek Foreign Minister, Mr. Avramopoulos; the Belgian Foreign Minister, Didier Reynders; and the very new Norwegian Foreign Minister, Espen Barth Eide. And the Secretary also met with UK Foreign Secretary William Hague.

Just very briefly with Greek Foreign Minister Avramopoulos, of course, they focused considerably on the Greek economy, and the Secretary expressed our understanding and appreciation for the great sacrifices that the Greek people are making in the reforms that have been deemed necessary to keep Greece in the Eurozone and to turn around its economy. We know how difficult those reforms are, but it’s a core American interest to see the Eurozone not just survive but thrive, and that entails also supporting Greece. And she was able to hear from the Foreign Minister the difficult budgetary cuts and tax increases and structural changes they’re making, but we were impressed with the seriousness of the effort, and I think it was useful for the Secretary to hear about the important reforms that Greece has undertaken, and for Foreign Minister Avramopoulos to hear how strongly the United States supports what Greece is doing.

With Foreign Minister Reynders of Belgium, she – Secretary Clinton thanked him for Belgium’s strong cooperation with the United States on a number of areas, including Afghanistan, where they’ve been very much involved and are – have agreed to help support Afghan National Security Forces after 2014; our cooperation on Syria and Iran, where again Belgium is a core member of the Transatlantic community, is cooperating closely with us. And they also talked about a couple of areas of particular interest not just to us, but to Belgium, which is to say Central Africa, the Congo, and the Sahel where the Belgium Foreign Minister explained what Belgium is doing to try to promote stability in those regions.

Seeing the new Norwegian Foreign Minister Barth Eide was a good opportunity for the Secretary, who had worked very closely with his predecessor, Jonas Store. She congratulated the new Foreign Minister and noted that the United States and Norway are extraordinarily close partners who work very well together. The Secretary, of course, traveled to Norway last summer, and it was a good chance for her to touch base with the brand new Foreign Minister and talk about a number of areas of common interest.

Finally, she did a bilat with Foreign Secretary Hague, mostly focused on Syria, where it was a good chance for the two of them, who have both recently seen Special Representative Brahimi, to coordinate policy on Syria. They also touched on Afghanistan and the challenge of dealing with some of these so-called green-on-blue attacks.

A lot of these themes that I’ve already mentioned, these bilats were also the subject of the Transatlantic Dinner, and I’ll end with a readout of that, which I guess went on for almost two hours. The Transatlantic Dinner, as you all know, is something we do every year at the General Assembly, meeting of European Union foreign ministers, NATO foreign ministers, as well as Macedonia and Switzerland, plus the NATO Secretary General and the High Representative of the EU. And it’s an opportunity to talk about a number of issues on the agenda of European and North Atlantic countries. They can obviously not cover everything; they cover a number of things, but I think particularly worth highlighting would be three topics – Syria, Afghanistan, and Europe and this question of democracy in Europe that I already flagged as being one of the subjects of the bilats.

And I think what is really worth stressing when I mention these topics of Syria, Afghanistan, and democracy in Europe is how much on the same page these members of the transatlantic community are. Members of the EU and NATO are really working in an unprecedented way on each of the topics I mentioned.

Again, just briefly on Syria, there was really a consensus around the table behind the approach that I know you’ve heard about that we’ve been taking in terms of supporting the opposition and trying to coordinate the opposition so that when the Assad regime does fall, as we believe it will, there will be something in place that can provide stability, efforts to respond to the huge humanitarian crisis; of course, Turkey is present at this meeting, was able to speak about the challenges they’re facing with refugees and preparing for a post-Assad Syria and keeping the pressure on the regime.

On Afghanistan, as in previous years, the Secretary was able to thank our European allies and partners for all the contributions they have made to our efforts in Afghanistan. This was the first meeting of this group since the Chicago Summit where important decisions were made on the milestone towards Afghan lead in 2013, and then the full transition by the end of 2014. And to follow up on some of the pledges made, our belief, as you know, is that the key to transition and successful transition in Afghanistan is training, and that requires trainers and it requires funding. And we were very pleased at all of the contributions made by European and other allies in Chicago towards ANSF funding after 2014. And the Secretary reiterated the importance of continuing to finance that project and to contribute the security force assistance teams that are needed to make this a success.

I think it’s worth stressing the Secretary made clear, and I think others around the table also made very clear, that notwithstanding some adjustments to the approach in Afghanistan to deal with these so-called insider attacks, the goal and the strategy and the timeline in Afghanistan remain absolutely unchanged. And Secretary General Rasmussen made that perfectly clear as well. What leaders agreed first in Lisbon and then complemented in Chicago is very clear and has not changed, and again, I can – I think I can say that every single minister on the table who spoke about it reiterated their commitment to the same goal, strategy, and timeline, and their commitment to doing what they can to support those goals.

Finally, and I think it’s really worth stressing, the discussion on democracy in Europe was important. This group gets together, and the world in which we live so often finds itself talking about Libya or Syria or Iran or Afghanistan, but there’s still some concerns in Europe to this group. And the Secretary herself highlighted her personal concerns about some of the upcoming elections that I already mentioned – Ukraine and Georgia, the highly imperfect election that took place in Belarus, and also the climate for democracy and human rights in Russia. And the Secretary noted a number of steps taken recently in Russia that aren’t pointing in the right direction where transparency and democracy are concerned.

And we’ve already raised in other fora our concerns about the new NGO law that requires registration of foreign agents, the increased fines for protests, some selective cases of prosecution, and now most recently, a new draft law on treason which would widen the definition of treason, and then of course the Russian decision to ask our USAID Office to cease its activities in Russia. And the Secretary reiterated our regret of that decision and our belief that USAID has accomplished a lot in Russia, and our commitment to carry on as we can in supporting those in Russia who want to see a free and fair and democratic Russia.

So that’s really the highlights, I think, of the Transatlantic Dinner and the bilat….

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Well!  I have been hanging onto this picture (much to rachel’s anticipation) since Mme. Secretary left Oslo.  It is not from the Embassy Stockholm meet-and-greet today.  It is from the Embassy Oslo event, but it is too adorable not to share, and there are no photos available from Stockholm.  SO!  Here is Hillary with a sweet little baby along with her remarks to the families and staff at Embassy Stockholm.

Meeting with Embassy Staff and Their Families

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Stockholm, Sweden
June 3, 2012

AMBASSADOR BRZEZINSKI: Madam Secretary, our colleagues at the U.S. Embassy and your families, Natalia and I and the entire U.S. Embassy staff welcome you to our home, which is also your home. Madam Secretary, thank you for making this historic visit. This is the first visit to Sweden in more than 30 years by a U.S. Secretary of State, purely for the purpose of enhancing, deepening, and honoring the relationship between our two countries. And that’s what makes it historic.

I am proud to tell you, Madam Secretary, that Swedish-American relations have never been stronger or warmer. Sweden is in the very front ranks with us in direct engagement with the immediate global problems we all confront. As you already know, our Swedish hosts are both honored and very pleased you are here. They welcome you with the same enthusiasm that we do. We are proud of you, Madam Secretary. We are proud of America. You are most welcome. It is really great to have you here.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Secretary of State. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, Mark, thank you. Thank you. Well, this is great to see all of you here this evening, and to have a chance to say thank you to all of you, beginning with the ambassador and Natalia and Aurora, who I just got to meet, for their energetic and passionate work on behalf of this important relationship between our two countries. And they do so much together, co-authoring a blog, recording a welcome video to Swedes, raising their daughter. It’s a great team. And I want to express my appreciation to all the great teams. To those of you who are part of this important mission, I thank you for being part of the family of Embassy Stockholm. And your family members who serve with you, I am grateful to you. And I was delighted to see so many young people here when I walked in. And I want to acknowledge and thank the locally employed staff. We truly could not do our work without all of you.

Sweden is one of America’s top partners, one of our oldest friends. When it comes to priorities, whether it is Afghanistan, Iran, counter-terrorism, global economic reform, humanitarian assistance, the Swedes are right by our side. And it is a relationship based on not only shared values, but more than 200 years of friendship and a big migration of Swedes to America. Because today the Foreign Minister was telling me something like one out of every five Swedes at the beginning of the last century actually lived in the United States. Having grown up in Chicago, like Natalia, I knew a lot of Swedish-Americans. So I am well aware that government-to-government relations are important, but it is truly the people-to-people relations that keep the connections.

I also want to thank you, because you were among the first embassies to actively reach out to bloggers. Now, Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and I are great champions of Internet freedom. And he is, as you may know, a prolific blogger himself. And he has called this embassy’s social media platform a model for his own government to follow.

I think that the work that you are doing on economic statecraft — and I thank the ambassador for that — the work you are doing to increase American and Swedish clean tech cooperation that reached agreement on $350 million in U.S. exports to Sweden and $8 billion of Swedish investment in the United States supports President Obama’s export initiative, and helps us take on global warming.

The deal you closed with the Swedish Armed Forces for 15 new Black Hawk helicopters is another example. The training and logistical support — we will provide those Black Hawks through our foreign military sales — will help bring our militaries even closer together. I had the chance to meet with the new defense minister today, and I think there is a lot of work that she is interested in pursuing, as well.

Now, your embassy-in-a-box program, I love that idea. (Laughter.) It gives Swedes living outside of Stockholm a chance to learn about study abroad opportunities and so much more. And I want to thank everybody who helped prepare for this visit. It is true, as Mark said, that it has been, I think, 36 years since a U.S. Secretary of State has come just on a bilateral visit. So I want to thank you all, particularly my control officer, Anna Stenholm* — I don’t know where Anna is. (Applause.)

Now, I hope the weather is better and you celebrate Sweden’s national day on Wednesday. The Prime Minister told me that yesterday was the coldest day in Sweden in 84 years. (Laughter.) It wasn’t what I was expecting. But, nevertheless, we are always prepared to make ourselves flexible as we move forward. So, I am very pleased I had a chance to be here.

And now I just want to shake some hands. And if I can ask somebody where I should start, where should I start?

PARTICIPANT: This is from the children, State of Illinois.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, how cute is that? There is an Illinois map with a heart where Chicago is. That is so sweet, I will take that home. (Applause.)

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

With Stoere in Tromso, posted with vodpod

Remarks With Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Fram Center
Tromso, Norway
June 2, 2012

FOREIGN MINISTER STOERE: (In progress.) – share with you just a few impressions from this day. Secretary Clinton, you are a fabulous guest because you showed a really keen interest in what you are presented, and that makes us Norwegians proud and very inspired. It’s important for us that our key and leading ally has an updated picture of modern Norway, and that is why we highly appreciate Madam Secretary has included Tromso, which I nominated the Arctic capital, and (inaudible) capital also.

Today, we have had, I think, a first-class presentation of modern knowledge about Arctic and polar affairs from the medical research from the Polar Institute from the University of Tromso. We’ve had a generous presentation from the city leadership, political leadership of the city of Tromso, and above all, we’ve had a good time. And we had a good time because the atmosphere has been great.

And right now, we will be able to present the Tromso (inaudible), which is a milestone in the high north strategy of the government to build a meeting center of excellence and (inaudible) in Tromso. This center will be complete by 2030, and there will be some 2030 institutions. We are going to have researchers operating out of this place. And here goes – will be located in the new building – the permanent secretariat of the Arctic Council, which we both helped vote and decide last year.

So we believe that not only to understand modern Norway and the narrative of what is Norway in the 21st century, but the Arctic is really that initial interconnection. The U.S. is a leading Arctic state, as are the other council states as well, and I think we are discovering that for secretaries and foreign ministers in the decades to come, the Arctic will be key on that agenda. So I’m very pleased that we’ve had the opportunity to go deep in that and really have unprecedented time to go into very fascinating (inaudible). Norway was always a seafaring polar strategic nation for centuries. Now we can do it on the bigger screen, but it will always depend on the very brave and courageous researchers who go out in the ice. That’s the only way to provide everyone (inaudible).

Thank you, Secretary, for coming to spend time with us.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you very much, Foreign Minister, for inviting me here. As Jonas just said, I thought that the permanent secretariat for the Arctic Council should actually be in the Arctic, and I was, therefore, very proud and committed to supporting Tromso as the new home of the Arctic Council. And it only adds to the importance of the role that this city is playing as the world increasingly looks to the north. And I also want to acknowledge the other academics and researchers who have made this facility, and the Polar Institute, the university, so many of the other affiliated groups and individuals who are committed to enhancing our understanding of the Arctic and helping to educate all of us as we increasingly make decisions that will impact the Arctic.

The United States and Norway are closely coordinating to ensure that the Arctic Council is a important and is the key place where nations gather to chart the future of the Arctic. We were very pleased to sign the first agreement that came out of the Arctic Council last year on the search-and-rescue responsibilities in the Arctic. We’re working on a new agreement to deal with oil spills and other emergencies. But there’s a big agenda that has to be addressed in a very deliberative but intensive way.

Now back in the United States, the Obama Administration is pushing hard to ratify the Law of the Sea Convention, which has provided the international framework for exploring these new opportunities in the Arctic. We abide by the international law that undergirds the convention, but we think the United States should be a member, because the convention sets down the rules of the road that protect freedom of navigation, provide maritime security, serve the interests of every nation that relies on sea lanes for commerce and trade, and also sets the framework for exploration for the natural resources that may be present in the Arctic.

And the United States and Norway are committed to promoting responsible management of those resources, and to do all we can to prevent and mitigate the effects of climate change. I’m highlighting a new partnership that I started called the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, and we’re very pleased that Norway is a member. And it is to focus on what are called short-lived climate pollutants – methane, black carbon, hydrofluorocarbons – which make up at least 30 – somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions. And they are actually released into the atmosphere during the extraction and production of oil and natural gas, among other activities. In fact, in addition to the impact on global warming, they cause millions of premature deaths and 30 million tons of lost crops each year. And we just heard the impact of burning (inaudible) fuels and putting all that black carbon and soot into the air. It then lands on the ice and you know rest.

So I want to thank Norway for joining the Climate and Clean Air Coalition and making an initial commitment of one and a half million dollars, and also a pledge by Norway of one million dollars specifically to target black carbon across the Arctic. I’m very grateful that we had a chance to meet with the head of Statoil and representative of new Norwegianers and ExxonMobil to talk about ways that oil and gas companies are already reducing methane and black carbon emissions from their own production, what more they believe can be done, and how we can bring other companies into this effort to capture your vented, leaked, and flared natural gas, and to cut emissions by up to one-third with no net cost at all. That would make a significant impact on climate change without hurting any oil or gas company’s bottom line, and it’s exactly the kind of private and public cooperation we need to pursue and that this new coalition is determined to try to bring about.

So again, I want to thank my friend and colleague for a wonderful visit here in Tromso. I want to thank the many people, the citizens that I have been meeting and talking to from the moment I arrived yesterday evening. And the great warm welcome and gracious hospitality is very much appreciated, not only by me personally but all of my delegation accompanying me.

MODERATOR: Thank you. We can take more of your questions for —

QUESTION: Well, Madam Secretary, what you would you say is the most valuable piece of insight you gained during your stay?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it is always important to have firsthand experience, if possible. I’ve had the opportunity to visit Svalbard when I was a United States senator. Last year, the Arctic Council met in Nuuk, Greenland. And then of course, today, we were able to go out on a research vessel and hear from experts about what is happening in the Arctic, and in fact, that many of the predications about warming in the Arctic are being surpassed by the actual data. That was a – not necessarily a surprising but sobering fact to be told.

But I think in general, it’s to have a chance to further and exemplify the cooperation between the United States and Norway, between Jonas and myself, and to send a very clear message that although it seems like such an overwhelming task for humanity to take the steps necessary to reduce and mitigate the impact of global warming and climate change, there are things every one of us can do, and we should get about the business of doing it.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton —

QUESTION: Wait a moment, please. Thank you. Madam Secretary, your colleague likes to talk about high north, low tension. There are lots of new countries that now have an interest in coming to the Arctic area. How do you see the potential for conflict in this area and the Arctic Council’s role in avoiding those conflicts?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, our goal is certainly to promote the peaceful cooperation that we think is called for in the Arctic. And the Arctic Council, which consists – at the core are the five Arctic nations, of which Norway and the United States are two, and then others with very direct interests, such as Iceland and Sweden, have been working without a lot of attention until relatively recently. And I think it’s a tribute to our foresight and our predecessors, and then certainly Jonas has been a global leader – not just a Norwegian leader – on bringing attention to the Arctic and, as he says, the high north, that we are operationalizing the cooperation that we have established through the Arctic Council.

And you’re right that a lot of countries are looking at what will be the potential for exploration and extraction of natural resources, as well as new sea lanes, and are increasingly expressing an interest in the Arctic. And we want the Arctic Council to remain the premier institution that deals with Arctic questions. So one of the issues on our agenda is how we provide an opportunity for other nations very far on the Arctic to learn more about the Arctic, to be integrated into the cooperative framework that we are establishing, and in effect, to set some standards that we would like to see everyone follow.

MODERATOR: Last one.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, what do you think of the sentencing of former Egyptian President Mubarak to life in prison on the conviction that he’s had just announced today of complicity or involvement in the deaths of some of the protestors in Egypt? Is that a just sentence, in your view?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m not going to comment on a sentence imposed by a court after hearing whatever evidence was presented. That is up to the Egyptian people, their judicial system, and their government.

But I would take the opportunity to express our very strong encouragement that the election process – which has been carried out freely, fairly, and legitimately – produced a result that will be accepted as reflecting the will of the Egyptian people, and that this transition that was started in Tahrir Square will result in a government that is committed to improving the lives of the people of Egypt and the economy and dealing with many of the challenges that confront any nation in the world today. And the United States stands ready to assist in any way that we can.

MODERATOR: Thank you.

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Public Schedule for June 2, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
June 2, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
PUBLIC SCHEDULE
SATURDAY JUNE 2, 2012

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Tromso, Norway. The Secretary is accompanied by Assistant Secretary Gordon, Director Sullivan, VADM Harry B. Harris, Jr., JCS, and Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for European Affairs Liz Sherwood Randall. Please click here for more information.

9:30 a.m. LOCAL  Secretary Clinton participates in an Arctic research vessel tour with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, in Tromso, Norway.
(POOLED PRESS COVERAGE)

11:45 a.m.  LOCAL  Secretary Clinton participates in a discussion on High North, Environment, Energy, Business, and Climate with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, in Tromso, Norway.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

12:35 p.m. LOCAL  Secretary Clinton and Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere deliver joint press statements, in Tromso Norway.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

1:00 p.m. LOCAL  Secretary Clinton attends a lunch hosted by Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, in Tromso, Norway.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

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Remarks With Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere After their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Oslo, Norway
June 1, 2012

FOREIGN MINISTER STOERE: Good afternoon on this sunny Friday afternoon in Oslo. It is a great pleasure for me to welcome my friend and colleague, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to Oslo. A few days ago, I had the privilege of visiting her city of birth, Chicago, and now I’m pleased to welcome her here in her capacity as the Secretary of State to my city of birth, Oslo. And I am also very happy that we are able to continue this visit on the flight north to Tromso, so we will get insights in this long stretch country of Norway.

I’ll just make a few remarks on our talks this morning and with the prime minister before lunch. We have a broad agenda which is, if I may say, free of issues between Norway and the United States, but they are filled with issues that concern Norway and the United States, and the issues where I would like to compliment the Secretary for having been a Secretary who’s looking for complementarity with allies and partners. And in area after area – and you just witnessed one downstairs on global health – we bring together our comparative advantage and experiences to try to maximize political efforts for change.

This morning we spent time on issues in the Arctic, which we certainly will follow up when we get to the Arctic. We touched upon climate change mitigation through supporting initiatives that actually bring difference. The world failed to get to one all-encompassing global deal on climate change a couple of years ago, but we are making progress on some individual projects such as fighting short-lived pollutants that have a dramatic effect in particular in the Arctic. We discussed that with the minister of the environment present, preparation for Rio+20, and other similar issues.

We followed up on our NATO meeting in Chicago discussing Afghanistan and our preparation for 2014 and the transition of security responsibility to the Afghan authorities, and not least, how we will stand by Afghanistan beyond 2014, supporting that country hopefully on the road of stability.

We touched upon Myanmar, where both the Secretary and I have visited, and where we are committed to support the forces for change, for democracy, and reform. We also discussed the drama unfolding in Syria, which is a preoccupation for the international community. And with the prime minister over lunch, we had a debate about the international financial situation, especially the economic situation in Europe, which is a concern for all of us. And we have a continuous agenda that we will continue to address tonight and tomorrow in Tromso. And I think they show us that our agenda is long, Secretary, and meeting with you and sharing your insight is always a great inspiration.

So, hearty welcome to Oslo.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you again, Foreign Minister, and it’s been a very productive and, may I say, enjoyable day. Our long meeting, the very constructive and pleasant lunch hosted by the prime minister, along with our prior meeting there, and then I had the great privilege of meeting with His Majesty and Her Majesty, as well as the crown prince and Her Royal Highness.

Let me just hit a few of the high points, because whenever Jonas and I get together, we cover so much ground, and I’m looking forward to continuing the discussion tonight and tomorrow. One of the primary purposes of my being here today is to say thank you – not only thank you to the Norwegian Government, but to the Norwegian people. The United States is very grateful for the leadership and partnership that we enjoy with Norway. On every issue, whether it be peace or security, human rights or development, we know that we can work with, count on, and make progress if we are teaming up with the Norwegians.

And we just saw another example of that with our commitments to the Saving Mothers, Giving Life partnership, and we are looking forward to adding this collaboration to our ongoing work. We also appreciate all the ways that Norway leads on global health, including through the co-chairing with Nigeria of the United Nations Commission on Lifesaving Commodities for Women and Children. And we will be working hand-in-hand on the Child Survival Summit that we will host in Washington later this month along with India and Ethiopia.

On Afghanistan, I thank the foreign minister for the exemplary performance of Norwegian soldiers over the last years, and also for the commitment of $25 million annually to support the Afghan National Security Forces after 2014. We both recognize these continuing efforts are necessary for the long-term stability of Afghanistan.

I also discussed the upcoming visit by Aung San Suu Kyi here to Norway, where she will finally be able to deliver her Nobel Peace Prize address, more than 20 years overdue. We are both working to support the pro-democracy movement and to help support the government as it continues to take steps for reform, particularly in the area of ending ethnic conflicts.

Let me briefly mention Egypt, because yesterday the new Egyptian parliament allowed the country’s emergency law to expire after more than 30 years in force. This law, of course, had given police sweeping powers to detain people without charging them, and yesterday’s action is another positive step in Egypt’s domestic transition.

And as the foreign minister said, we discussed our countries’ work together on climate change and the environment. I certainly expressed our appreciation for Norway’s $1.5 million contribution to the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, an effort to reduce the short-lived pollutants that cause over one-third of current warming while we continue to work together to reduce CO2 emissions.

I am also grateful for the leadership Norway has given to the REDD-plus initiative to fight deforestation. And we know how important this is because of our common interest and concern about climate change, but also, in particular, when we think about the environment in the Arctic.

The United States, like Norway, is an Arctic nation, and we are committed to working through the Arctic Council, which will be establishing its secretariat in Tromso, to make sure we protect this incredibly precious and valuable resource. We have to be conscious of the environmental impacts of everything that may occur because of the already existing effects of global warming that now make the Arctic much more accessible.

From a strategic standpoint, the Arctic has an increasing geopolitical importance as countries vie to protect their rights and extend their influence. And we want to work with Norway and the Arctic Council to help manage these changes and to agree on what would be, in effect, the rules of the road in the Arctic, so new developments are economically sustainable and environmentally responsible toward future generations.

So all in all, this has been yet another very useful exchange of views, and I look forward to continuing it as we travel together to the north.

MODERATOR: The secretary of state and foreign minister will now take a few questions. (Inaudible) Norwegian Broadcasting.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, just said in Berlin that Russia does not support any side in the Syrian conflict. And he added that they do not supply weapons to parts in the civil war. What are your comments to that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I heard that President Putin had made those comments. And of course, we are looking forward to finding a way to work with Russia to end the violence and support Kofi Annan’s six-point plan. Up until now, as you know, there has not been support for the kind of political transition that is necessary under the Annan plan. We, of course, discussed that between the foreign minister and myself, and we commend Norwegian General Robert Mood, who has brought strong leadership to the UN monitoring mission. But we recognize what a dangerous and difficult mission he and the observers have been given.

So I repeat the appeal that I have made to Russia because their position of claiming not to take a position is certainly viewed in the Security Council, in Damascus, and elsewhere as a position supporting the continuity of the Assad regime. And if Russia is prepared, as President Putin’s remarks seems to suggest, to work with the international community to come together to plan a political transition, we will certainly be ready to cooperate.

With respect to arms, we know that there has been a very consistent arms trade, even during this last year of violence in Syria, coming from Russia to Syria. We also believe that the continuing supply of arms from Russia has strengthened the Assad regime. What those arms are being used for, we cannot speak with any accuracy, but the fact that Russia has continued to sustain this trade in the face of efforts by the international community to impose sanctions and to prevent further arms flowing to the Assad regime and in particular the Syrian military has raised serious concerns on our part.

And we will be discussing this further between us. I will be – I talked with Kofi Annan two days ago. I will be speaking with my Russian counterpart. I will be meeting in Istanbul toward the end of next week with representatives of a lot of the regional countries that are deeply concerned about what’s happening. So if Russia is prepared to help us implement all of the six parts of Kofi Annan’s plan, we are prepared to work with them to do so.

MODERATOR: Scott Snyder, Voice of America.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, commercial satellite imagery suggests that Iran is sanitizing the sites at Parchin military facility ahead of any potential IAEA inspection. What does that say to you about Iran’s sincerity in its involvement in the P-5+1 talks?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, our negotiation with Iran has never been about intentions or sincerity but about actions and results. And we appreciate greatly Norway’s commitment of support to the P-5+1 negotiations, encouraging a diplomatic solution with Iran that will meet Iran’s obligations under international responsibilities. And we will continue to push forward on the P-5+1, but we are looking for concrete actions. And we will know by the next meeting in Moscow in just a few weeks whether Iran is prepared to take such actions.

So there are lots of concerns that we continue to have about their intentions, but we will judge them by their actions and we will determine whether those actions are sufficient to meet their obligations that have been imposed under the IAEA and the Security Council.

MODERATOR: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, what is the U.S. position to Norway’s claim that the Svalbard Treaty does not regulate the Svalbard continental shelf? And what is the main interest for the U.S. in the Arctic, with its possible huge oil and gas fields?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I will not comment on the Svalbard Treaty. I will leave that to my colleague.

But let me just make very clear that the United States has the same interest in the Arctic and the work of the Arctic Council as Norway does. We believe strongly that it’s important for the five principal Arctic nations, of which we are, too, to begin working together to make plans for what will most certainly become greater ocean travel, greater exploration, therefore greater pollution, greater impact of human beings. We made a start on that at the last Arctic Council meeting in agreeing on a search and rescue protocol, which was the first ever for the Arctic, so that Russia and the rest of the Arctic nations all agreed to have a plan in place for search and rescue. We’re working on an oil spill protocol and others to come.

Because we will, of course, claim what is ours under international law, just as Norway claims what is yours, but we know that that leaves a great vast amount of the Arctic that will be a common responsibility. And I think we both feel we have a very important obligation to get ahead of that and to prepare for what is likely to come. And it’s one of the reasons why I’m going up to the north tonight and tomorrow, because I want to highlight to my own country the importance of us working together on the Arctic.

But perhaps you want to add to that.

FOREIGN MINISTER STOERE: Well, I think that on the Svalbard issue, the Secretary has been there. That’s the northern most part of Norway where you can go, so we will go one step south this time – (laughter) – on the mainland. The Svalbard Treaty is quite a unique treaty, one of the survivors of the First World War Versailles Treaty system. It is – has secured a very stable and predictable and sustainable way of managing the very high north.

On some of these issues, the United States has reserved its views, which is a diplomatic expression for stating its views, taking care of its interests. There is no dispute on this, and I believe that it’s Norway’s responsibility to safeguard its interests.

And as the Secretary said, we both have rights and obligations. And one of Norway’s obligation is to secure law and order in these waters so there can be fishing and other kind of activities which correspond with the fragile environment of the archipelago. We have managed that so far. There are about 40 signatories to the Svalbard Treaty, which grants equal rights to economic operators operating inside the territorial waters and on the islands. And by doing that in a predictable way, we contribute to that stability. That’s why we talk about high north, low tension. And that we secure through predictable and long-term policies.

MODERATOR: And last question is to Arshad Mohammed, Reuters.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, there is a report that in China a Chinese state security official has been arrested on suspicion of having sold information to the U.S. CIA. In particular, the allegations are that he gave information about China’s foreign espionage to the United States. Can you comment on the veracity of that?

And regardless of what you can say about that issue, are you aware of anything in the last six months or so in U.S.-China relations, a period that has included the crisis over Cheng Guangcheng, the disagreements over how to handle Syria, the perennial other issues like currency and so on – are you aware of any issues that have come up that have made it not possible for the United States and China to work together where they have shared interests?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, Arshad, I’m not going to comment on the report that you just cited.

But as to the second question, the answer is no. We have a very important, comprehensive relationship with China that is inclusive of a very broad range of important concerns. We cooperate on – in many areas. As you know, the Strategic and Economic Dialogue was established to bring together the strategic and economic parts of our relationship because there’s a lot of overlap. When I was just in China for the fourth S&ED earlier last month, we had a very robust and productive set of meetings.

Now, as you well know, that doesn’t mean we agree on every issue, because we certainly do not, but I don’t know any country we agree with on every issue. It doesn’t mean that we won’t have problems from time to time in our relationship. We do, and we do with most countries. But we each recognize that it is in our mutual interest to sustain this positive, cooperative, comprehensive relationship that was committed to by the presidents of both countries.

So we will continue working on the broad range of issues that are of mutual interest, and we will deal with problems as we have in the last month as they arise. But the goal for our relationship with China is to ensure that we defy history, as I’ve said both in speeches at home and repeated and had actually repeated back to me by all of my Chinese interlocutors. It has never happened that an established preeminent power and a rising power have been able to find a way to not only coexist, but cooperate. We intend to make history with our relationship with China.

The United States intends to remain a preeminent power. We have made it absolutely clear that we are a Pacific power, and we will continue to have a strong presence in the Asia Pacific. But we are also looking for as many ways to cooperate as we can, because we think it’s in our interests, and we happen to think it’s in the interests of the world to see the United States and China have a peaceful, positive relationship. And that’s our plan, and that’s what we are doing every single day. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you, everyone. Our time is up. See you in Tromso.

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) Onward.

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A World in Transition: Charting a New Path in Global Health

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Oslo, Norway
June 1, 2012

Well, that is quite a compliment. And whatever it takes to accept, I do. Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, Mayor, my dear friend and colleague, your excellent foreign minister, also let me recognize Ingrid Schulerud, wife of the prime minister who, along with her husband, just hosted me and my delegation for a wonderful luncheon, and to everyone who has organized this extraordinary conference, which I think does come at a historical turning point.

It’s no surprise that we would be meeting here in Norway, one of the most generous nations on earth when it comes not only to global health but so much more, and that we would have gathered here the panel and others who bring such broad and deep experience, and also have the opportunity to elevate an issue that is connected to so much else.

I often think about issues like maternal health from a personal perspective because I am privileged to have known what it meant to me to have had the great good fortune and gift of my daughter. And I think about what it would have been like that cold February day in 1980 if I didn’t know that the facility was available. Or were it available, I didn’t really know for sure if it would be open. And I couldn’t count on a doctor or a midwife or a nurse being present. Or if they were, if something went wrong, that they would have the equipment and the expertise to handle whatever the emergency might be. But indeed, as we have just heard described by the minister from Sierra Leone, that is the experience of many millions of women every single day throughout the world.

So I greatly appreciated the invitation by the foreign minister to increase and accelerate our mutual efforts as to how together we, and hopefully bringing others with us, can do more to save the lives of mothers during labor and delivery. Now, maternal health has a value in and of itself, I think we would all agree with that, but it is deeply connected to a broader purpose. And our panelists have all very persuasively discussed that.

How do we achieve health systems that will help every country improve life for more of their people? And the key question comes down to, if you really want to know how strongly a country’s health system is, look at the well-being of its mothers. Because when a woman in labor experiences complications, it takes a strong system to keep her alive. It not only takes skilled doctors, midwives, and nurses, it takes reliable transportation, well-equipped clinics and hospitals that are open 24 hours a day. Where these elements are in place, more often than not women will survive childbirth. When they aren’t, more often than not they die or suffer life-changing, traumatic injuries.

When China, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia upgraded and expanded their health systems, their maternal mortality rates dropped dramatically. When Zimbabwe’s system began to crumble, its maternal mortality rates shot up dramatically. That is a powerful, inescapable correlation. And it is why improving maternal health is a priority for the United States.

Through our development agency USAID, we are supporting more skilled midwives and cell phone technology to spread health information. We’re involved in the International Alliance for Reproductive, Maternal, and Newborn Health, a five-year effort to improve donor coordination. We are partnering with Norway and others to support innovative interventions that improve outcomes for pregnant women and newborns. And we are working to ensure access to family planning so that women can choose the spacing and size of their families. Reproductive health services can and do save women’s lives, strengthen their overall health, and improve families’ and communities’ well-being.

And of course, women’s health means more than just maternal health and therefore we must look to improve women’s health more generally, because it is an unfortunate reality that women often face great health disparities. And improving women’s health has dividends for entire societies, from driving down child mortality rates to sparking economic growth. And Norway, as Jonas just pointed out, has been a leader in not only doing that, but recognizing it.

And the comment he made at the end about the difference between Norway’s GDP with oil and gas and with women’s empowerment and involvement is very striking because a recent study that Norway has just completed demonstrated that Norway’s GDP actually do more to the empowerment of women than the discovery of natural resources and their exploitation.

Norway has been a leader in also pointing out the direct links between gender-based violence and health. So for our part, the United States is integrating services throughout our health programs so women and their families have access to the range of care they need. And we are linking our health programs to others that address the legal, social and cultural barriers that inhibit women’s access to care, such as gender-based violence, lack of education, and the low social status of women and girls.

But you can’t impose a health system, and you can’t change some of these attitudes from the outside. We understand that. There has to be encouragement for it to grow from within, the kind of leadership that the minister is discussing about what is happening in Sierra Leone.

That is the principle of what we call country ownership. And I think it’s important to stress the connection between maternal mortality, strong health systems, and country ownership. Because while the global health community has recognized that we have to rigorously think about what works and what doesn’t work, and that we endorsed country ownership at the high-level forum in Paris in 2005 and reaffirmed it in Accra and Busan, it is enshrined in numerous global health agreements.

But few of us have honestly forced ourselves to examine what country ownership means for the day-to-day work of saving lives. Now, for many people, that phrase is freighted with unstated meaning. Some worry that it means donors are supposed to keep money flowing indefinitely while recipients decide how to spend it. Others, particularly in partner countries, are concerned that country ownership means countries are on their own. (Laughter.) Still others fear that country-owned really means government-run, freezing out civil society groups or faith-based organizations that in some places operate as many as 70 percent of all health facilities.

And this is not just a matter of semantics, because if we are not clear about what country ownership means, we cannot know whether we are making progress toward achieving it. And we certainly can’t identify what works and what doesn’t. And what’s more, we will achieve real gains in maternal health and global health more generally only with effective country ownership. Now, one or two programs in isolation are not enough. It takes an integrated, country-owned approach. So let me share with you what our latest thinking about what that means is.

To us, country ownership in health is the end state where a nation’s efforts are led, implemented, and eventually paid for by its government, communities, civil society and private sector. To get there, a country’s political leaders must set priorities and develop national plans to accomplish them in concert with their citizens, which means including women as well as men in the planning process. And these plans must be effectively carried out primarily by the country’s own institutions, and then these groups must be able to hold each other accountable as the women did in front of the parliament in Sierra Leone.

So while nations must ultimately be able to fund more of their own needs, country ownership is about far more than funding. It is principally about building capacity to set priorities, manage resources, develop plans, and carry them out. We are well aware that moving to full country ownership will take considerable time, patience, investment, and persistence. But I think there are grounds for optimism.

Economic growth is making it possible for many developing nations to meet more of their people’s own needs. In 2010, the GDPs of Mozambique, Botswana, and Ethiopia grew more than 8 percent. Nations across sub-Saharan Africa are seeing similar growth. And what we want to be sure of is that countries don’t substitute donor funding for their own, because unfortunately, there are examples – Zimbabwe being one – where an existing health system that was providing basic services to many was allowed to deteriorate while the government chose to put funding elsewhere. We have seen ministries of health lose funding to ministries of defense or ministries of transportation. And so what had been possible only a decade before becomes very difficult going forward.

So what we are trying to do is to help put in place the essential pieces of strong health systems. That means we are helping to build clinics and labs, to train staff, improve supply chains, make blood supplies safer, set up record-keeping systems; in short, creating platforms upon which partners can eventually launch their own efforts. Now, with this momentum, the question before us is not: Can we achieve country ownership? We think we are in a very good position to begin that process. Instead, we have to ask ourselves: “Are we achieving it? And if we are not, what must each of us do better?”

Well, some countries are. And earlier we heard about Sierra Leone. And I am very excited by what the minister has done to enlist 1,700-plus women as health monitors, responsible for checking up on their local clinics, reporting problems to the health ministry. That’s a wonderful way for ownership to migrate down from the national level to the local level and then come back up as a reporting mechanism.

Or consider Botswana, where the government manages, operates, and pays for HIV treatment programs. With PEPFAR’s support, it is also working with American universities to build a national medical school that will train the nation’s next generation of healthcare workers. And perhaps we can then stop the brain drain, because so many countries train excellent doctors, midwives, and nurses who then leave that country. My birth was assisted by a nurse midwife from Ghana – the birth of my daughter, and I know how wonderful and skilled she was. Now she’s back in Ghana, because she thinks she has opportunities to do her best work in her home country.

If you look at what India has achieved – and I appreciate the minister being here – six years ago, when the government launched its National AIDS Control Program, half the budget came from outside donors. Today, less than one fifth does, and the Indian Government covers the rest. But these are the exceptions, not yet the rule.

In too many countries, if you take a snapshot of all the health efforts, you see donors – that’s all of us – failing to coordinate our work, leaving some diseases underfunded, burying our partners in paperwork that I am convinced hardly anyone ever reads once it’s filled out, paying too little attention to improving systems. You see partner countries committing too few of their own resources and avoiding accountability for delivering results. And you see patients encountering a maze of obstacles that block them from the services they need. So therefore it is up to us – donor and country alike.

There is an old proverb that says: “When a man repeats a promise again and again, he means to fail you.” At the turn of this century, we made a collective promise to cut the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters and achieve universal access to reproductive health services. And yes, we have repeated that promise again and again. And although we do not mean to fail, we risk failing all the same, if we don’t change course.

So what do we need to do? Let me offer a few suggestions. Beginning with donors, governments, foundations, multilateral organizations – and I see a number of familiar faces. First, we do need to move from rhetoric to the reality of making it a priority to strengthen country-led health systems. That means meeting our commitments even in tough economic times. Part of this assistance should include an assessment of country systems, led by the countries themselves, with common international benchmarks so we can compare results across borders. And those are not only national borders but donor borders.

We need, for example, to follow closely the National Heath Accounts supported by USAID that give us an excellent view of the state of a health system’s financing – not to point fingers or cast blame, but to identify gaps and then develop plans to fill them.

Second, we donors have to recognize that supporting country ownership in health requires hard choices. It is often easier to start a new program than to phase out an existing one, even when the existing one is not producing results. But if we are serious about helping our partners plan, implement, and ultimately pay for their own efforts, we have to be willing to make the tough calls.

Third, donors must embrace transparency, even when it brings bad news. For example, when Zambia uncovered corruption in its Global Fund program, some donors responded by punishing them for the corruption, rather than applauding them for uncovering it. Now, we should never turn a blind eye to corruption or throw good money after bad, but it is counterproductive to punish our partners when they root out problems like that. It sends exactly the wrong message: We want you to fight corruption, but if you find any, we might freeze your funding. Instead, we should say find the corruption so that we can help you fix the problems.

And fourth, donors need to solve the coordination curse. Donor coordination has been a theme at health and development conferences for so long, it is a cliché. But there’s a reason it keeps coming up, and that’s because it is critically important and notoriously hard to get right.

When President Obama took office, we recognized that the United States Government needed to do a much better job of coordinating with ourselves to start with, as well as our partners and other donors.

For years, health teams within the U.S. Government operated independently. HIV/AIDS teams under PEPFAR would work with a country to develop one plan; USAID, which was the implementing partner for HIV/AIDS, might very well develop another plan; in would come our malaria team, they would develop a third plan, so on and so on. It was enough to make anybody just dizzy.

So we are trying to integrate our programs. And under our Global Health Initiative, each of our country teams now assess how they fit within a comprehensive vision and program, based upon a health plan established by the country where we are operating. And we have worked with partners to develop these health plans in more than 40 countries.

For donors, tackling all these problems will be essential if we want to get more partners back on the path to helping build sustainable, country-owned systems. And this goes for the emerging economies that recently were recipients of assistance but now are net donors. These countries are playing an increasingly important role, and some have shared technical advice and lessons with their developing nation partners. We want to see that expand.

But at the same time, we look to all emerging powers to recognize that with this growing power comes growing responsibility, and they should consider working whenever possible through existing multilateral channels and ensure that the ultimate aim of their efforts is to put more countries on the path to meeting their own needs, not to – figuratively and literally – pave the way for extracting countries’ natural resources.

Now, partner countries have challenges to meet as well. First, I challenge our partner countries to invest more in the health of their own people. If you went to Abuja and agreed to put 15 percent of your national budget into health, we need you to deliver on that commitment. That should be a priority – not just for health ministers, but for all political leaders, starting with presidents and prime ministers to finance and defense ministers. Meeting this commitment will pay off many times over, making it possible to expand services to underserved areas and people, develop your workforce, and even expand economic growth.

And there’s a special opportunity here for those nations that have recently discovered new sources of wealth in oil, gas, and other extractive industries. I urge you to follow the examples of two countries that are not often mentioned together in the same sentence: Norway and Botswana. Both discovered large stores of natural resources. Both dedicated a portion of the income to health and education. And in both cases, their investments coming from their own ground, their own natural resources, are saving lives and lifting up communities. And both Norway and Botswana are very generous in being willing to offer advice and technical assistance about how to do this.

Second, partner countries must take on the flip side of donor coordination. While it’s absolutely true we donors need to do a better job of working together, only one player has the authority to speak about a nation’s needs and orchestrate all the different groups working in a county, namely the national government of that country. So we need you to help identify the needs that aren’t being met and to convene the partners to determine who will fill which gaps. I applaud Rwanda and Ethiopia for their exemplary progress along these lines. Now, I know it is very difficult for many countries, but in the end only you have the power. No one else can do it for you.

Third, partner countries must begin bringing down the political barriers to improving health. That means making regulatory changes that allow faster approval of new drugs, procurement reform to ensure that drugs get to clinics on time, setting and delivering a living wage for health workers.

And it also does mean taking on corruption at every level. We’ve had the very sad experience of negotiating to provide antiretroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS in some countries, and it’s very clear that the leadership of the country wants to make sure that they get their hand in the money for those drugs before it is delivered to the people who need it. And we have been very clear you have to take on corruption – local, regional, national – ensuring that drugs don’t get diverted to the black market.

It means repealing laws that stop progress, like the unfortunate treatment of women in so many places, ending gender-based violence and discrimination, creating true health equality for women and men. In some countries, women and girls are considered inherently less valuable than men and boys and are treated that way by custom and law. In many countries, members of the LGBT community are considered very much outside the mainstream and are treated that way, often therefore not being able to access health services that will benefit them and benefit the larger community. A system with built-in bias against any part of the population is not only unjust, but is unstable and unsustainable.

Now, my own country’s views about this global health work is shaped by what we have learned. As I said earlier, we are very proud that PEPFAR helped create platforms that countries can use to tackle a wide range of health problems. But as many observers have pointed out, PEPFAR did not initially set out to strengthen country systems. Instead, it began by creating a parallel network of clinics that were separately managed and paid for.

That’s a fair point. But let’s remember that in 2003, when the world faced an epidemic unlike any we had seen, HIV/AIDS demanded an emergency response, and the United States had the resources to answer the call. And today, we’ve made phenomenal progress with more than 4 million people receiving lifesaving treatment, 600,000 babies having been born HIV-free, and just last year 40 million receiving HIV counseling and testing.

But we know now it is time to shift from that emergency response to a country-owned model built to last. Last year, when I spoke about the goal of an AIDS-free generation, I made it clear that it could only happen by embracing country ownership. And PEPFAR provides us the framework, because there are five-year plans we have made with nearly two dozen countries to identify their most critical needs, to make joint commitments to meet those needs, and outline steps for transitioning responsibility for their HIV/AIDS programs. Our partners are no longer just recipients. They are now managers of their own response to the epidemic. And what we’re doing extends beyond HIV/AIDS. In Nepal, we have a USAID partnership to drive the expansion of family planning, maternal health, and children’s health. Nepal is now on track to achieve Millennium Development Goal five, as are Bangladesh, Egypt, and other countries.

So I am very pleased that the United States will be a part of the Saving Mothers, Giving Life partnership, along with Merck for Mothers, Every Mother Counts, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. We’re not focusing on a single intervention, but on strengthening health systems. We are beginning with projects in parts of Uganda and Zambia, learning what works and how we then can spread it. And I want to thank Norway for your extraordinary commitment, and I am pleased to announce the United States is committing $75 million to this partnership.

There are so many forums where matters of global health are discussed. I think every one of us have been to dozens, probably. But we have to do things differently. We have to be open about the obstacles that we confront. We have to be willing to admit what doesn’t work. We have to be ready to applaud those who point out mistakes or corruption. That kind of dialogue can be difficult. There will be times when we don’t see eye to eye. But it is fitting that we meet here in Oslo City Hall, where the world comes together each year to honor historic accomplishments that further the cause of peace, and think about the men and women who have stood here in this city hall being honored – the organizations like the International Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders.

Norway has long understood that the stability of any nation is tied up in the well-being of its people. And every life we save is a step toward that more peaceful, prosperous planet we seek. I think back to that day when I had my daughter and how fortunate I was. But surviving childbirth and growing up healthy should not be a matter of luck or where you live or how much money you have. It should be a fact for every woman everywhere. And I think we can make this happen, and by doing so, bring the world closer to recognizing that working together we not only can save lives, we can help improve them, bring greater peace, prosperity to all.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

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Public Schedule for June 1, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
June 1, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
PUBLIC SCHEDULE
FRIDAY JUNE 1, 2012

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Oslo and Tromso, Norway. The Secretary is accompanied by Assistant Secretary Gordon, Assistant Secretary Jones, Counselor and Chief of Staff Mills, Director Sullivan, VADM Harry B. Harris, Jr., JCS, and Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for European Affairs Liz Sherwood Randall. Please click here for more information.

10:45 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, in Oslo, Norway.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

12:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, in Oslo, Norway.
(CAMERA SPRAY PRECEDING MEETING)

12:45 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton attends a lunch hosted by Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, in Oslo, Norway.
(CAMERA SPRAY)

2:30 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton has an audience with King Harald V of Norway, in Oslo, Norway.
(POOLED PRESS COVERAGE)

3:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton delivers remarks at the international conference “A World in Transition: Charting a New Path in Global Health,” organized by the Norwegian government, in Oslo, Norway.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)
Secretary Clinton’s remarks will be streamed live on www.state.gov.

4:30 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a joint press availability with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, in Oslo, Norway.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

5:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with survivors of the Utoya Island attack, in Oslo, Norway.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

5:30 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with the staff and families of Embassy Oslo, in Oslo, Norway.
(POOLED PRESS COVERAGE)

9:30 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton attends a dinner hosted by Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, in Tromso Norway.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

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Secretary Clinton To Travel to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey

Press Statement

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
May 25, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey from May 31-June 7. In Copenhagen, Denmark, Secretary Clinton will hold bilateral meetings with senior Danish officials. She will also participate in the kick-off event for Green Partnerships for Growth, a bilateral initiative to promote green technology through public and private sector partnerships.

On June 1, Secretary Clinton will travel to Oslo, Norway, where she will meet with senior Norwegian officials and give keynote remarks at a global health conference hosted by the Norwegian government titled, “A World in Transition – Charting a New Path in Global Health.” On June 2, the Secretary will be in Tromso, north of the Arctic Circle and home of the Arctic Council Permanent Secretariat, for discussions of U.S.-Norwegian cooperation in the Arctic, including on climate change and the sustainable development of untapped resources.

On June 3, Secretary Clinton will travel to Stockholm, Sweden, for meetings with senior Swedish officials to discuss a range of issues, including green energy, Internet freedom, Afghanistan and the Middle East. In Stockholm she will also participate in a Climate and Clean Air Coalition event on short-lived climate pollutants.

The Secretary will travel to the Caucasus from June 4 to 7. In all these countries, she will discuss important issues of regional security, democracy, economic development and counterterrorism.

In Armenia on June 4, the Secretary will meet with President Sargsian and other senior Armenian officials. She will also meet with Armenian civil society leaders.

On June 5, the Secretary will open the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission plenary session in Batumi, Georgia. She will meet also with President Saakashvili and hold discussions with a broad range of political actors and civil society representatives.

The Secretary will travel on June 6 to Azerbaijan to meet with President Aliyev as well as Azerbaijani civil society leaders.

On June 7, the Secretary will co-chair the Global Counterterrorism Forum Ministerial in Istanbul, Turkey and consult with senior Turkish officials on a range of foreign policy challenges, including Syria and Iran.

On Wednesday of the past week, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary Clinton emphasized the urgency and importance of U.S. accession to the Law of the Sea Convention. The nature of her first stop in this itinerary underscores remarks she made at the time.  Yes, we do meet and negotiate with members on various oceanic councils, such as the Arctic Council, but our heft in these meetings is negatively affected by our absence at the convention table.  We would come from a position of additional strength were we to ratify the treaty and take our place among member states.

In anticipation to her visits to Georgia and Azerbaijan, the secretary released the following greetings to the people of those countries in celebration of their imminent national days.

Georgia Independence Day

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 25, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Georgia as you celebrate your independence this May 26.

In a few days I will have the chance to visit Batumi to experience the warmth of the Georgian people and reaffirm our commitment to Georgia’s future. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of U.S.-Georgian bilateral relations. Since regaining its independence, Georgia has made impressive progress fighting corruption, developing modern state institutions, and enhancing global security.

The United States is committed to helping Georgia deepen Euro-Atlantic ties and strengthen the institutions of your democracy, and we remain steadfast in support of Georgia’s territorial integrity. We stood with the Georgian people 20 years ago at the dawn of your renewed independence, and we stand with you today.

As you celebrate this special day, we look forward to working with the Georgian government and people to build a more peaceful and prosperous world.

Republic of Azerbaijan’s National Day

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 25, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Azerbaijan as you celebrate Republic Day this May 28th.

I am looking forward to my trip to Baku in a few days where I will have the chance to talk to civil society and government leaders about Azerbaijan’s challenges and opportunities, and how the United States can support a brighter future for both our people. We will discuss new ways to partner together to promote regional security and stability, enhance energy security, and strengthen economic and political reforms.

As you celebrate your national day, know that the United States stands with you. Congratulations and best wishes for a peaceful and prosperous year to come.

So as to exclude no one, I include the secretary’s greetings to the people of Ethiopia on their upcoming national day as well.  We have no information regarding upcoming plans for a visit there, however.

Ethiopia’s National Day

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 25, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Ethiopia as you celebrate your national day this May 28th.

The United States and the people of Ethiopia share a strong history as friends and partners. Together, we are working to enhance food security, improve health services, strengthen education, promote trade, and expand development. The United States applauds Ethiopia’s dedication to maintaining security in the region, including through important and effective peacekeeping missions in Sudan and South Sudan. I hope the coming year will yield a more vibrant civil society and private sector to help shape a brighter future for Ethiopia.

The United States is committed to helping Ethiopia achieve a more peaceful and prosperous future for all its people, and we look forward to continuing to work together toward common goals in Africa and around the world. As you gather with family and friends to celebrate your national day, know that the United States stands with you.

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