Posts Tagged ‘NPR’

It’s always good to have a print record of Hillary’s words. Let’s not twist and spin her words out of context. Save that muscle power for the laundry.

Hillary Clinton outside the Fresh Air studio in Philadelphia on Sept. 14. Courtesy of Jessica Kourkounis

Hillary Clinton says she would not rule out questioning the legitimacy of the 2016 election if new information surfaces that the Russians interfered even more deeply than currently known. In an interview with Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross about her new memoir, What Happened, Clinton acknowledges that such a challenge would be unprecedented and that “I just don’t think we have a mechanism” for it.

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I want to add this, on the subject of Fake Americans for Hillary (AKA Hillary Supporter Trolls) that I have been pursuing here

On the night of July 4, 2017, HBO aired a documentary entitled The Words That Built America. Both Hillary and Bill Clinton appeared in it. It was a bipartisan effort. Many Democrats and Republicans participated. It focused on the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution.

The previous July, at the Democratic National Convention, Khizr Khan had offered his pocket Constitution to Donald Trump. Pocket Constitutions went like hotcakes after that. All of which is to say that Americans, particularly Hillary supporters, had both the means and the reasons to review the U.S. Constitution over the course of that year.

Since the election last November, and increasingly after the inauguration as the ill-begotten Trump presidency rolled on, many voices called for the nullification of what evermore apparently was a flawed election. Early on, I joined that chorus – one time. A lawyer friend quickly pointed out that there was no Constitutional mechanism. I went back to the Constitution. Indeed, there is none.

Thereafter, for awhile, whenever I saw these cries to invalidate the election, I reminded my friends of this glaring absence. Some simply responded with, “True.” Others suggested that we can change the Constitution, which is also true, but we cannot make such a change retroactive.

When one Facebook “friend” mounted this proposal, and I posted my stock response, “We don’t have a Constitutional mechanism to do this,” I was, as usual, met with hostile argumentation. It ran a course like this. (Not verbatim. I no longer have access to that. This was the gist.)

Troll: We can change the Constitution.

Me: Yes, but we can’t make that change retroactive.

Troll: Yes, we can write it in.

Me: It would never be ratified in that form. The electoral states she lost will never ratify an amendment like that.

Troll: She can sue.

Me: Hillary had a whole contingent of lawyers, both paid and volunteer. If a lawsuit had a basis, don’t you think they would have done this already?

Troll: You just don’t want Hillary to be president! Why do you say you support her? You are a Bernie or Trump supporter.

Me. I give up.

This troll is one of the ones I later tracked to an Eastern European location and is not a U.S. citizen. As such, is not in a position to “change the Constitution.” Unless there is a plan for these folks to somehow influence our government, why use “we?”

As I have mentioned, I have not figured out what their agenda is other than to ramp up emotions among Hillary supporters. When a cool head intervenes, that individual is accused of disloyalty to Hillary. I do think that the mission is driven by emotion- particularly anger. They want Hillary voters riled up.

So! I am glad to see a very cool head, the candidate herself, who also is a lawyer, making my point. I am not gloating.  I just dislike seeing my fellow Americans baited and barking up the wrong tree.

(FTR: I am not going to stop talking about these trolls. We used to call it “consciousness raising” in the old days.)

Related posts – please read:

“Keep Going!” – Harriet Tubman

Your Facebook Friend Might Be a Troll If …

Edited 09/19/17 to add this.

Exclusive: Hillary Clinton says, “No one, including me, is saying we will contest the election”

A friend posted this, and the first comment was “Make the precedent!” I wish people would spend as much time and energy contacting their Reps –  (202) 224-3121 –  as they do telling Hillary Clinton what to do.

Once again – there is no mechanism! Now get on the phone and get to work defeating the Graham-Cassidy Bill.


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The Baltimore NPR station, WYPR, has made the transcript of this interview available.


Hillary Clinton: The Fresh Air Interview

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014

FULL audio here>>>>>

Hillary Clinton is on a national book tour for her new memoir Hard Choices. The book outlines her four years as secretary of state during President Obama’s first term as president when she met with leaders all over the world.

One of her priorities was to campaign for gay rights and women’s rights. She says she saw the “full gamut” on how women were treated and in some cases it was “painful to observe.”

“It has become — and I think will continue to be — a very important issue for the United States to combat around the world and to stand up for the rights of all people,” she tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross.

[This part of the interview — about Clinton’s views on marriage equality — has been getting a lot of attention. You can listen to their conversation by clicking the “Listen” link at the top of this page.]

Read more and hear audio >>>>

FULL audio >>>>


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Interview With Michele Kelemen of NPR


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
January 29, 2013



QUESTION: Very good. Well, I do want to talk. We have so much to talk about and not much time, I know. But I want to begin with Benghazi. You’ve talked about Benghazi as one of your lasting regrets. Your review board outlined systemic failures of the State Department, but I wonder whether you also see it as an intelligence failure. I mean, the U.S. was really taken by surprise by this attack, even though, as we now know, there was a large CIA presence in Benghazi at this annex that was – that took mortar fire.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think the Accountability Review Board addressed that. Certainly, there was no specific intelligence-based threat that was conveyed to us, but there was an evaluation of the threat environment that we were trying to deal with by helping the Libyans build up their own security. But ultimately, I think we all have to do a better job. The threats have evolved. We’ve seen different kinds of threats affect our military, affect our intelligence community and affect our diplomats. So I think we’ll do our part here in the State Department to try to implement all of the recommendations, and we’ll work with our partners in the government to just make sure that we’re not missing anything going forward.

QUESTION: And in addition to Benghazi, we’ve seen this extremist takeover in northern Mali, this deadly hostage raid in Algeria. There seem to be connections among all of these groups that were involved. So what more does the U.S. have to do to get a handle on this really regional threat?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Right. Well, Michele, I think that it’s going to take some time to sort out what these governments are able to do to secure their own borders and protect their own people. The Arab revolutions and the new efforts to build democracies are not well established yet. So we have a multitude of challenges that we’re meeting simultaneously. We’re trying to work with the governments, and some are willing but not capable; some are capable but sometimes less than willing. We have extremist groups that have been driven out of the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan and in the safe havens in Pakistan in large measure because of our relentless efforts against them. They have taken up arms again in North Africa and they pose a new threat. And the takeover of the gas facility in Algeria is an example of that.

We have faced all kinds of threats over many years, obviously. It takes a while to calibrate exactly how we’re going to put together the package that we need to respond, but we’re in the midst of doing that with likeminded nations in the region and beyond.

QUESTION: I’d like to turn to Syria because your critics describe Syria as this Administration’s Rwanda. And I wonder how it weighs on you and what more the U.S. could have done to prevent the deaths of now 60,000 people.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’s not a historically accurate analogy. Rwanda was particularly dreadful because it was largely unarmed people being slaughtered in huge numbers in a very short period of time, despite the presence of a UN mission in Rwanda. Syria is much more complex, much more riven by geographic and other differences among the population. You have a well-equipped military going after what started out to be largely unarmed, peaceful protestors, now pockets of armed resistance all over the country.

I think the United States has done a great deal. We are responsible for driving through sanctions against Assad that have really limited his capacity to replenish his coffers and to provide funding needed to keep his military machine going. We have helped to stand up an opposition that was notably absent in the beginning of this conflict. It wasn’t like other places where there were preexisting, well-organized entities that stepped into the breach. We’ve had to work on that. We’ve become the biggest provider of humanitarian assistance.

And I think there is a lot of concern, not just by the United States but by other countries as well. I mean, we are certainly not alone in being cautious about what more we can do without causing more death and more destruction, and the unintended consequences of helping to foment an even more deadly civil war. No one is in any way satisfied with what the United States or the entire world community has done, which is why we keep pressing for UN action and keep being disappointed and blocked by the Russians.

QUESTION: The Russians do continue to block meaningful action. Lakhdar Brahimi, the international envoy, talked about how Syria is breaking up before everyone’s eyes. Is there a diplomatic solution, or is this going to be resolved by guys with guns and more radicalized?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I had hope there was. I hammered out an agreement in Geneva last summer, largely negotiating with Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia. I thought it was pretty clear what our next steps would be. And certainly from my perspective, the Russians were unwilling to go forward. We had made it our position that we would not open the door to military action, but we wanted to take political action, economic action through the Security Council. I had reason to believe that we would be going to the Security Council to do that; and unfortunately, once again, the Russians sided with Assad, who knew that if we were able to implement the Geneva agreement that we had negotiated, that that would send a very clear signal that Assad was being isolated even further – a signal to those around him, a signal to his troops, a signal to the region. And I think the Russians decided that they would still support him much to the great loss of the Syrian people.

QUESTION: You spent a lot of your time trying to reset that relationship with Russia. There were some early successes, but now we’re at the point where the Russians won’t even let American families adopt Russian children. How do you – what do you say to John Kerry, your successor, about how to deal with this Russian Government and how to deal with this anti-American mood in Moscow?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we did have some very positive achievements in the first term. The New START Treaty was something that we worked very hard on; working with the Russians to get a Northern Distribution Network route to assist us in Afghanistan; finding common cause on the Iranian sanctions and the North Korean sanctions. That was quite an accomplishment, particularly with respect to Iran, because it wasn’t at all clear when I took office that the Russians would ever join in tough sanctions against Iran.

And on a number of other hotspot and long-term issues, we had made progress. I think we just have to wait and see what the real objectives of the new Russian leadership are. We thought it was self-defeating for them to take the actions they did throwing out USAID, which had been working on everything from preventing tuberculosis to setting up the first mortgage companies in Russia. That really hurts the Russian people. We can take our aid money and go elsewhere and help people who welcome us. I thought it was tragic that they stopped adoptions, especially those that were already in train, particularly for children that will never have the opportunity for a family. They will live in orphanages until they’re adults. We know how challenging and tragic that has been.

So I think we have to make it clear that there are certain actions and policies that the United States will pursue because they are in our interest. And we don’t expect Russia to agree with us on everything, but we need to once again be making common cause. For example, we worked well together in the Arctic Council. We helped to come up with the first policy on search-and-rescue. We worked on an oil spill policy. The Arctic is going to be an area of intense interest. Russia has the longest coastline in the world with the Arctic. We can work together there. President Putin is very interested in wildlife conservation, something that I have elevated because we’re seeing organized crime get into wildlife trafficking. So there are issues we will keep working on, but we’ll also draw lines where we disagree and speak out when we must.

QUESTION: I have a couple more questions and I’m getting a one-minute warning, so let me get through a couple more. We’re sitting in this room surrounded by history. There’s Thomas Jefferson’s desk, the Treaty of Paris. And I wonder how, as you sit here, do you think about your place in history and what you hope will be your lasting legacy in this building?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t think like that. I really get up every day and try to deal with the problems that are in front of me and I don’t really worry about history. That will work itself out over time. I think the last four years have been ultimately quite important for the United States to demonstrate that we were going to once again assume a leadership position that was in concert with our values. That was not how America was viewed when I took this office. I think we have set the table for a lot of the difficult issues to be dealt with. There is nothing fast or easy about diplomacy. I have no illusions about that.

And we have brought to the forefront longer-term issues, whether it’s the implications of technology and the role of the internet, cybersecurity, women’s rights, climate change. I’ve worked on all of these because I wanted to be sure that the United States was at the table looking for a way of structuring the legal international frameworks that are going to have to be put into place.

QUESTION: Now, you say you’re not retiring. You say you need to catch up on 20 years of sleep deprivation —

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s true. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: — before you make any decisions on your future. But I wonder, what questions do you need to answer for yourself as you decide whether or not to run again for president?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m not even posing those questions. I am really looking forward to stepping off the fast track that I’ve been on. I’ve been out of politics as Secretary of State. I don’t see myself getting back into politics. I want to be involved in philanthropy, advocacy, working on issues like women and girls that I care deeply about. I want to write and speak. I want to work with my husband and my daughter on our mutual foundation interests. So I’m going to have my hands full. I don’t quite know how I’m going to adjust to not having a schedule and a lot of work that is in front of me that is expecting me to respond to minute by minute. But I’m looking forward to that and I have no other plans besides that.

QUESTION: And you look great. How’s your health?

SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s terrific. I mean, I’m getting very good treatment and getting better, and I’m recovering. It was quite a surprise to me. I’ve been so healthy my entire life. But falling on your head is not something that I hope ever happens to any of your listeners. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Great. Well, thank you so much for your time.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Good to talk with yo

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Typically, these interviews come in multiples, but they arrive sporadically. These are the first to appear. If more come in I will add them to this post.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attends a dinner hosted by Swiss authorities after a meeting of the Action Group for Syria at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, Saturday, June 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Laurent Gillieron, Pool)

Interview With Michele Kelemen of NPR


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Geneva, Switzerland
July 1, 2012

QUESTION: Thank you for joining us here. Kofi Annan called it a serious agreement, this push for a new transitional government, but it seems quite vague. He said that it can include current government officials and opposition figures, as long as there’s mutual consent. But aren’t you worried that this just is a new recipe for more conflict? I mean, how do warring parties come to an agreement on who’s in the government?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the transition plan that we have adopted in this document makes very clear that the Special Envoy will be working to determine who can be in a transitional governing body based on mutual consent, which means people with blood on their hands or jihadi extremists are not going to be at the table.

And I think it’s important to just pause and say – I am familiar, intimately, with a few peace processes, and you do not sit down in the beginning with people that you even want to talk to or see. It was so remarkable this week that Martin McGuinness shook Queen Elizabeth’s hand. He was a commander in the IRA. And so you don’t know how this is going to all play out unless you get started. And my point is: Let’s get started. And we couldn’t get started until we had an agreement of the most interested parties, which of course included Russia and China. We now have such an agreement, and we’re fully behind Kofi Annan’s effort.

QUESTION: You spent a lot of time talking to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov when we were in St. Petersburg. Do you get the sense that the Russians are really ready to lean on Bashar al-Assad? And do you think the Russians have influence with him?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think the answer to the first question is yes, I believe they are ready to lean. They have told me that. They have made clear they have no continuing strategic interest in Assad remaining in power. So I have every reason to believe – both on what I was told by Minister Lavrov yesterday and what he said in our meeting all day today – that they will make the case that there needs to be this transition.

Whether he has influence and leverage to the extent that we would want to see won’t be known until it is tested. But at least now we’re in a position where we can together be pushing the Assad regime and the opposition.

Michele, there are so many terrible things about this violence that has gone on for so long: the fact of the violence, the loss of life, the destruction, the government abusing and killing its own people. But I think today it became very clear that everyone, including Russia and China, is worried about it spreading. So the motivation and the focus today was very clear to me. Now we just have to work to see what we can do with it.

QUESTION: And the fact that Turkey was there, and just had this incident with the Turkish plane being downed, did that influence that aspect of the conversation?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think it did. Because in my remarks, for example, at the plenary this morning, I was able to point at Iraq sitting there, I was able to point at Turkey sitting there, mentioned Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, the countries in the region that are already dealing with the repercussions of the violence and instability in Syria. And everyone around that table knew that we could – if we didn’t act today and get behind this transition plan – be sitting in six months with a literal war in the region on our hands that was destabilizing country after country. And Turkey was very clear about its worries that that was one of the outcomes if we failed.

QUESTION: But Kofi Annan had very strong words – that history is a somber judge; it will judge us harshly if we prove incapable of taking the right path. How is this crisis weighing on you?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I not only think about it and worry about it, I work on it a lot. I mean, in the last 24 hours, between St. Petersburg and Geneva, it has been the principle focus of all of my efforts. And it’s because I care deeply about the kind of abuses that no people should suffer in the 21st century. That is absolutely one of my highest priorities, is to work as hard as I can to end these kinds of terrible conflicts.

But it’s also because I am very worried that, in the absence of the leading nations that were gathered here today and the others we can bring on board doing everything we can to send a message to both the government and the opposition that they’ve got to begin negotiating about a transition, we will see some really serious and dangerous consequences for the region, for U.S. interests, and in fact, as one of my colleagues said, for the whole world.

QUESTION: Just one quick thing. I mean none of his plan has worked so far, so what makes you think —

SECRETARY CLINTON: I want to be caught trying. I can’t, sitting here today, tell you whether Assad is ready to stop killing his own people. Usually you don’t get to a peace table, negotiate transition, until something happens and those with the guns, on whatever side they are, finally decide that there’s got to be a better way. I mean, we negotiated for more than a year in Yemen. We had former President Ali Abdullah Saleh up to the signing desk three or four times, and he would back off every time. So there’s nobody anywhere that is more aware of all of the problems we have going forward.

But I am 100 percent convinced that we have to begin changing the reality in the minds and on the ground. And having Russia and China sign up to this lengthy list of guidelines and principles will, I believe, give us the opening to do just that.

QUESTION: Thank you so much for your time today.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Michele.


Interview With Indira Lakshmanan of Bloomberg


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Geneva, Switzerland
July 1, 2012

QUESTION: Thank you, Secretary Clinton, so much for making the time. I know it’s been a very long day. (Laughter.) All right. Can we get started? Great.

So today in Geneva this political transition plan that has been endorsed didn’t have the strongest language that the U.S. had hoped for. What makes you think that Russia and China are committed to pulling their support for Assad? What makes you think this is going to work?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I believe it did have strong language. We can always, in any document, worry over and argue over words, but the bottom line is that it pledged to support a transitional governing body whose members can only be put on that body by mutual consent. So as I said in the meeting when we were working together, I don’t think you have to be up on current events to know that no member of the opposition is going to have Assad or anyone else with blood on their hands on the transition body.

So I think the important achievement was to get a unified P-5, plus the permanent members of the Security Council, plus other key actors to really endorse Kofi Annan’s guidelines and principles so that he was empowered. He can now go to the Assad regime and say we have to start talking about a transition and not be met with well, we don’t have to do that, because Russia and China don’t agree with us. And I believe that it was a significant step forward in giving him the tools that he needs to test whether it is possible to mediate this very bloody, violent conflict.

QUESTION: So not everything you had hoped for, but better than it could have been?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I didn’t know that we were going to be able to get anything when we started. There was every reason to believe that we would never get the Russians and the Chinese on board or that we would ever satisfy the legitimate anxieties of the region about what is happening on their doorstep. Turkey, of course, was here today. And I think the fact we did demonstrated a recognition by the Action Group of the high stakes.

I mean, it’s not enough just to wring our hands and make impassioned speeches about how terrible the Assad regime is and how they are deteriorating into a civil war that will have regional consequences. We needed to put some flesh on the bones. And the only way to do that within the existing framework was to empower Kofi Annan. That’s what he was asking for; that’s what he wanted. And I really judge the success by the fact that he believes – and I agree with him – that he now has a stronger hand to play then he did yesterday.

QUESTION: So the challenge, as you said, is in the implementation. Now, you’ve publicly criticized Russia for selling arms to the Syrian regime. So if an arms embargo were agreed to, would Russia abide by it? And could the U.S. force its allies – Saudi Arabia and Qatar – to stop arming the opposition?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that’s one of the issues that we’re going to have to be discussing further as we go forward. Clearly, the United States believes that ending the arming of the Assad government is the first order of business. The Russians continue to claim that they are not providing anything that can be used to suppress internal dissent. We beg to differ.

But nevertheless, I think where we are today gives us the basis for going to the UN Security Council to discuss what consequences have to be considered and imposed if after empowering Kofi Annan he comes to the Security Council and reports to us – as he said he will do – that the government’s not cooperating, that other parties are not cooperating, that he’s not making progress. Then I think we will have to act. And I believe we will be building the case as to why the Security Council should take such action.

QUESTION: Well, that’s actually what I wanted to move to. Is the next step proposing a Chapter 7 mandate at the UN Security Council that could mandate sanctions or authorize military force to stop the slaughter? And would China and Russia agree to that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we are going to test first whether we can get the agreement we reached today implemented. And we are certainly going to consider any and all appropriate action through the Security Council as circumstances require. So I don’t want to answer a hypothetical, because we’ve just finished a very long day of very hard negotiations, and the fact that we came out united and determined to empower Kofi Annan has to be given some time to be tested.

But I said – and I said it again in my press avail after the session today – that we, the United States, are perfectly free to propose whatever we believe is necessary in the Security Council, and we will listen closely to Kofi Annan’s reports to us.

QUESTION: Let me just turn for a moment to Iran’s nuclear program. You recently sat for an interview with former Secretary of State James Baker in which he said that at the end of the day, if pressure and talks don’t work, we ought to take them out. You said that the end of the day might be next year. How much time are you giving for diplomacy and sanctions?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, what I meant was that we’ve always had a two-track policy. The President’s been very clear on that. The pressure track is our primary focus now, and we believe that the economic sanctions are bringing Iran to the table. They are going to continue to increase and cause economic difficulties for them. But the President has said no option is off the table. We obviously, clearly, prefer that we resolve the international community’s dispute with Iran over their nuclear program through the diplomatic channels that we are pursuing. That is what we’re focused on and that’s what we’re going to do everything we can to make successful.

QUESTION: Last question on Pakistan. It’s been seven months since the accidental attack that killed some Pakistani soldiers and the Pakistanis shut their supply lines. Relations have been frozen since. Why not just apologize and try to move on?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have a number of issues with the Pakistanis that we are continuing to consult with them over. It goes on constantly. It may not be in the headlines, but there is a constant exchange of military and civilian experts. And I want to look at this comprehensively. And there are a number of issues that are important to the United States, and there are issues that are important to Pakistan, but it has to be negotiated in order to resolve any of them. And we’re still in the process of trying to do that.

QUESTION: Is an apology still possible?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m not going to get into the specifics, because there are a lot of things we want from them, and they want things from us, and we’re just going to have to see what is possible to get the relationship moving. As I’ve said many times, I think this is a consequential relationship. I think it has great impact on America’s national security interests, on the regional interests. And so we are continuing to work as hard as we can to try to resolve the ongoing differences between us.

QUESTION: Thank you so much, Madam Secretary.


Interview With Jill Dougherty of CNN


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Geneva, Switzerland
July 1, 2012

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, thank you very much. I know it’s been a very long and intense day.

Let’s begin with that critical point that you’ve talked about so many times, that Assad has to step down, leave. Now, it appears that the Russians won that point. There is no direct demand that Assad go.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jill, I couldn’t disagree with you more. I think that what the agreement clearly states is that there has to be a transitional governing body that will be constituted of people who are there by the mutual consent of the government and the opposition. Now, unless I am wildly off base, there is no way anyone in the opposition would ever consent to Assad or his inside regime cronies with blood on their hands being on any transitional governing body.
But I said weeks ago that Assad going could be an outcome as well as a precondition, and what was important is that we were on a path with an empowered Special Envoy with the full support of all the P-5 members, including Russia and China, with an approach that absolutely guarantees, if there is a transition that is still the hard work ahead, Assad will not be part of it.

And we’ve had lots of experience in this. I mean, we just went through more than a year with Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen, and he kept saying he would go, then he wouldn’t go. And people just kept bearing down and pushing forward and eventually were successful.

But until today, we did not have the kind of roadmap in specifics, with concrete actions, that you could telegraph to Damascus, where I believe they are shocked that Russia and China have signed onto this agreement, which so clearly says goodbye to them in this transition.

QUESTION: But the timing. In other words, this could be down the road; this could be a year from now. What?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, of course, making peace is really hard. And when it happens and how it happens is dependent on so many factors. And what we did today was to make clear that, for the first time, we had agreed-upon approach that satisfied the Russians and the Chinese and the neighbors, who are very anxious, for understandable reasons, about what’s going on in Syria.

Jill, there’s no guarantee that we’re going to be successful. I just hate to say that, because it’s the fact. But I am very grateful that we now have a roadmap that has everybody on board with a clear path towards transition, with a clear set of expectations that have to be fulfilled. And now I believe the internal reality within both the regime and elements of the opposition will begin to move in a direction that, I hope, puts us on an inevitable path.

QUESTION: But how do you get to that transitional body? Because people are fighting.


QUESTION: I mean, isn’t it unrealistic to think that you’re going to get the body that you say will strip him of his power?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, because I just look at history. I look at the conflicts that I’m familiar with. I have to smile thinking about Queen Elizabeth shaking the hand of Martin McGuinness, an IRA commander, just this past week. Whenever you start with a process like this, number one, there’s neither a guarantee as to the outcome nor as to the timing, but you are beginning to change the international calculations of everybody who is a party to the conflict.

And that’s what I think will really give Kofi Annan the support he needs. Because now when he goes to Damascus and he says, “I have been instructed by all Security Council members, including the Russians and the Chinese, to begin talking to you about appointing an empowered interlocutor to meet with me and meet with representatives of the opposition. Who are you going to appoint?” and they’re not going to be able to say, “Well, there’s division in the international community, and there are a lot of people who are on our side.” They are pretty much left with Iran.

QUESTION: Do you really believe that the Russians can convince Assad?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Jill, I think that’s a great question, because one of the points that became clear, both in my long conversations with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last night in St. Petersburg and then in our larger group today – they have committed to trying, but they’ve also admitted that they may or may not have enough leverage to convince not just one man but a family and a regime that their time is over. But what was important was to get them on board to make this effort on their own, using their leverage, and in support of Kofi Annan. And I think it’s a significant step forward in our efforts to try to figure out the least violent, disruptive, destabilizing way to end this conflict and give the Syrian people a chance at a different future.

QUESTION: So if the Russians are supposed to influence Assad, you are supposed to influence the opposition. How do you do that? What do you say to them?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, not just me, but others as well. I mean, we will have an American presence at the meeting of the opposition in Cairo next week. But the Turks, the Qataris, the Arab League, all who were part of our negotiations to reach this agreement today, will all be there. Because what’s the alternative? I mean, what are they going to do? Just continue to have meeting after meeting, or are they going to buckle down to the hard work of choosing someone to – or several people – to represent them in a transitional governing body to engage in the negotiation. And they’re going to have to finally make a decision about what it means to take responsibility for trying to end a conflict and lead a nation.
We went through this in Libya. The Transitional National Council had both members of the Qadhafi regime, who had fairly recently left, along with longtime oppositionists. So we have seen how important it is to have an organizing focus. We now have that. So at the meeting of the opposition in Cairo, they will hear from a number of different voices that you have to make some decisions about how to be part of this process.

QUESTION: There are some people who say that the Russians want to play this out, that they look at the election schedule in the United States, November there’s an election, they realize that there’s little appetite either in Washington or practically any other capital for military action, and so they’re just playing it out, banking on the fact that nobody is going to really take any type of strong military step. What do you say to that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’d say that if we were talking a week ago, based on what we were hearing from the Russians, from the very highest levels, from President Putin on down, we would never have even had the meeting in Geneva, they would not have come under any circumstances, and they would not have participated in reaching the agreement that we reached today. So what happened?

I think they have begun to realize that they are trying to ride two horses at the same time, so to speak. They are constantly saying we have no love lost for Assad, we don’t have any stake in him staying, but we are afraid of the violence and what will come after. So the argument I have made to them consistently is that their failure to be part of the solution is the surest way to ensure we have a civil war with sectarian conflict that spills over the borders.

And I can’t speak for them. I can’t put myself into their internal discussions. But I believe, based on my lengthy conversation last night and our discussions today, they’ve decided to get on one horse, and it’s the horse that would back a transition plan that Kofi Annan would be empowered to implement.

QUESTION: Okay. Could I ask you a quick question on Egypt? President – incoming President Morsi wants to ask the United States to extradite Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman from the World Trade Center attack in 1993 on the basis of – humanitarian basis. What would the U.S. do in that case?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it’s very clear that he was given due process. He was tried and convicted for his participation in terrorist activities, most particularly the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. The evidence is very clear and convincing, and he was sentenced to life in prison, and we have every reason to back the process and the sentence that he received and will do so.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thank you very much.


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Interview With Michele Kelemen of NPR


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
New Delhi, India
May 8, 2012

QUESTION: It’s been quite a trip.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, yes it has.

QUESTION: And if you don’t mind, I want to kind of go back to the beginning and talk about the situation with the Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng. How soon do you expect him to be able to be in the United States?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Michele, he is still in the hospital receiving medical treatment, some of which was discovered to being necessary by our Embassy doctors. We remain in close contact with him. He has been meeting with the Chinese Government to prepare the necessary arrangements to be able to come to the United States to pursue his studies. And on our end, we’ve gone to the point of getting all of our arrangements finished. So I think we’re certainly making progress, but I’m not going to put any timeline on it.

QUESTION: You and your staff took a lot of heat back in Washington for how you handled it, but you also seem to have taken a lot of risks for him. And I wonder if you can tell us a little bit about what it was like talking to the Chinese, first, about when he wanted to stay in the country and live a normal life, and then going back to them and asking them when he changed his mind and said he wanted to come to the U.S.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Michele, I know you’ll understand my reticence to go into any retrospectives until we finally welcome Mr. Chen to the United States. I want to see him safely arrive and begin his studies, and I think there’ll be plenty of time to talk about the details. But I’m very proud of the extraordinary professionalism and commitment of our diplomats, both in Washington and Beijing.

QUESTION: And do you see a shift in how the Chinese are approaching this issue?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m not going to comment on what the Chinese are doing. I think it’s clear from our following this closely and from Mr. Chen himself that they are pursuing the necessary actions in order to give him the documents that he requires.

QUESTION: And how worried are you about a run on U.S. – the U.S. Embassy?

SECRETARY CLINTON: This was an extraordinary case under exceptional circumstances, and I do not anticipate anything like this in the future.

QUESTION: I noticed in public, in China, when you talked about human rights issues, it was – you talked about it, but in a very measured sort of way, whereas when we were in Bangladesh, you were much more forceful and specific about disappearances of opposition figures, murder of a labor activist. Why the difference in tone? Is there a different way of dealing with these issues?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the issues are the same no matter where they are in the world and we raise them no matter where they are happening. But I’ve been engaged in an intensive, ongoing dialogue with the Chinese on human rights and every other issue that is of significance to us both for the entire time of my tenure as Secretary of State, but actually going back to 1995. I’ve been to China numerous times. This is only the second time I’ve been to Bangladesh; I don’t have the opportunity to engage on a regular basis with either their government or their people. And so certainly, the need to cover a lot of ground very quickly during the visit there, I think is an apparent and necessary reaction.

Also, we raise all of these issues through our embassies, through other high officials of the United States, going to countries on a regular basis, through our annual human rights report. So I don’t think it’s anything other than this is a constant part of our dialogue. In some cases, it’s perhaps viewed as more intense than others, but the commitment remains the same.

QUESTION: And what are you telling the Chinese now about the future for Chen’s family, the network of people that have supported him?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m not going to go into those conversations. I – let’s take this one day at a time, and we hope to be welcoming Mr. Chen to the United States to pursue the studies that he wishes to do.

QUESTION: When you were in China, you talked about how an established power like the U.S. is working with this rising power of China; the same is true here in India. But here, you have a democracy, more of a natural partner for the U.S., yet India still doesn’t see eye to eye with the U.S. on some of its policies, like Syria or Iran. How are you working through that with them on this trip?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t know any two nations that see eye to eye on everything, whether they’re democracies or authoritarian. And part of diplomacy – part of what I do all day, every day – is working with counterparts to try to make progress in areas where we agree, try to narrow the areas of disagreement, and bridge them in some way. And India is the largest democracy in the world. It is, by its own self description, contentious, argumentative, dynamic, and they have to balance out 1.3 billion opinions, because people actually get to vote and they get their voices heard and they have a very strong tradition of engagement domestically. So I’m not surprised that there would be debates within their society and political system just like there are within ours.

QUESTION: But do you feel like you made some progress with them on, for instance, the issue of Iran?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as I just said in a press conference, they have certainly made progress in reducing their imports of crude oil from Iran. Their refineries are cutting back. And they share our goal. Their goal is our goal, which is to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. And I’m convinced that Iran never would have come to the table for the serious negotiations that we are pursuing within the P-5+1 context had it not been for the tough sanctions.

On the other hand, if you’re an Indian politician or an Indian business owner or an Indian citizen, who is desperate to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and get them electricity and keep the lights on, this is a hard decision for them because they have been historically looking to Iran for a significant percentage of their oil.

So I always try to put myself in the other person’s shoes and say okay, if – we don’t get oil from Iran, so it’s no skin off our nose as Americans. We want everybody to come together and try to convince Iran to make the right decision. Some countries in Europe that were very dependent upon Iranian oil have found substitutes. Japan has made significant progress, and India is working toward that too, looking for affordable, reliable supplies. But you have to understand where other countries are coming from, and the point that I have made, not just to the Indians but to many other countries, is the United States is leading an international effort to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon or prevent its potential nuclear weaponization from being the cause of conflict, which would be really bad for anybody who gets any oil from the Middle East. So you have to balance all of that. And it’s a calculus that countries make, kind of like people.

QUESTION: Does India have any sort of role to play in passing messages to Iran —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Absolutely. And we know they have. I mean, we’ve asked them to; they have been conveying their concern about Iran’s behavior. They just had Iranian agents try to kill an Israeli diplomat – kind of reminiscent of what we’ve discovered when Iranians were trying to kill the ambassador from Saudi Arabia to Washington. So they – they’re investigating that crime. They have put themselves on the line to get Iran back into the P-5+1. They have made it very clear, publicly and privately, that Iran is not in any way entitled to a nuclear weapon. So they’re very much on the same page we are and they are working through this very difficult issue regarding oil. They’re making progress.

QUESTION: This trip seemed pretty hard on your staff. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, I’ve noticed.

QUESTION: Was it tough on you or is this – are these trips just routine for you at this point?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I have the most amazing, dedicated staff. I hope they’re not listening because I don’t want it to go to their heads, but they literally work around the clock. And while I’m out there at a press conference or making a speech, they’re busily trying to figure out what’s happening, what’s about to happen, and what we could do about it. They work hard on every trip. This was probably a little higher visibility than some of the trips, but – maybe right up there with others. But we’re out there doing the best we can every day to further American values and protect our security and make it clear that American leadership is alive and well.

QUESTION: Are you going to miss this?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Sure. I’m going to miss a lot of it because it’s an incredible rush to represent the United States of America – walk down that stair from the plane, get into those meetings, do the hard negotiatings that we have to do on a lot of important issues. It’s been the most extraordinary experience and privilege that I could ever imagine. But it’s, in my view, time to move on.

QUESTION: Thank you very much for your time.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Good to talk to you.

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Here are two more interviews Mme. Secretary did in Morocco.

Interview With Samira Sitail of 2M


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Sofitel Hotel
Rabat, Morocco
February 26, 2012


QUESTION: Madam Secretary, good evening.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good evening to you.

QUESTION: And thank you for accepting our invitation.


QUESTION: You’ve been in Morocco several times.


QUESTION: It’s a country you are familiar with.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And a country I love. Yes. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: You came the first time, I think, as a first lady.


QUESTION: And then as a U.S. chief diplomat.


QUESTION: Geostrategically speaking, where does Morocco stand in the U.S. foreign policy today?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We have a strategic partnership with Morocco that we highly value. As I think you may remember, Morocco was the very first country to recognize our young republic, back in 1777. So ever since then, all these years, we’ve had a close relationship, and we cooperate on a full range of issues – economic issues, security issues, a lot of people to people and cultural exchanges. We have a very high regard for Morocco.

QUESTION: Your last visit dates back, I think, two years ago, in 2009. In the meantime, many changes have taken place. Maybe we can say that the most of which the constitutional reform.


QUESTION: That was initiated by His Majesty King Mohammed VI. As soon as it was introduced, you held the reform, referring to it as a model. What definition would you give that Moroccan model?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think the way that His Majesty the King and the people of Morocco responded showed great political maturity, and it was a successful transition to a new constitution, to elections that were held and hailed as successful, and now to a new government that is very much in keeping with the democratic trends but within a stable, functioning society and country. So we look at that and we compare it to what is happening elsewhere in the region and around the world, and it is quite admired in the United States.

QUESTION: Speaking of which, there is, of course, a very strong relationship between the two countries, but over and beyond that, do you think we can really boost further especially economic relationship between the two countries? There is, of course, the free trade agreement, the Millennium Challenge Account, but what else?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we are building some additional relationships. We started a program called Partnerships for a New Beginning, where we reached out to countries in the Maghreb, and beyond all the way to Indonesia, Muslim majority countries, and we said, “What more can we do to help create a culture of entrepreneurship and small businesses?”

QUESTION: That’s it.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And the group that was formed here in Morocco of leading businessmen and women has been among our most successful in the world. They just hosted a big conference in Marrakech last month. More than 400 businesspeople and young entrepreneurs came from elsewhere in the region. And Morocco is showing the way, looking at how we incentivize, particularly, young people because there’s what’s called this youth bulge of so many people under 30. And we want to make sure they’re educated and that they have employment opportunities. And I know that’s a particular emphasis of His Majesty the King, of the new elected government, and of the business community here. And we want to be partners.

QUESTION: I remember the – President Obama memorably formulated a new agenda, let’s talk about Africa. He formulated a new agenda for Africa, in light of which do you think the U.S. policy in Africa is about to bring once again economic and human development, or is your concern – your primary concern – to achieve security for the region?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it has to be both because it’s very hard to develop an economy, to attract investors, to start businesses, if you don’t have security. You have to have security that is going to create an environment where people are free to send their children to school, start businesses, do what we would like to see them do. The Millennium Challenge Account, which you mentioned, is a very competitive effort. Morocco competed and won, and I have to tell you many of your neighbors are constantly saying, “We want one.” I said, “Well, we didn’t give it to Morocco. Morocco earned it.” And so what we’ve been doing in the entire continent is setting forth that agenda that President Obama set forth to help stimulate economic growth and more trade and investment. Everybody wants a free trade agreement, and they say, well, Morocco has one. I say they earned it.

QUESTION: Who’s the next?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah. That’s right. So I think we look to Morocco quite often as an example of how you create a climate in which businesses are welcomed, investors are attracted, people have jobs because of that. And that’s what we’re trying to do in other countries throughout the continent.

QUESTION: Still on the same theme of security, the American Administration aims to very well that no security is possible or achievable in the region unless there is a final settlement to the Sahara countries. In this regard, Morocco put forward a proposal for autonomy which was very soon – which the international community very soon (inaudible) by U.S. Administration. So where does the U.S. State Department stand today on this issue?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, where we’ve always stood.

QUESTION: In that particular moment?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. And where we have always stood. We continue to support the UN process. We believe that is the appropriate vehicle. We continue to believe the autonomy proposal is credible. So we encourage the parties to make progress together, and that’s been my consistent position for many years.

QUESTION: But you know, Madam Secretary, Algeria was – through its dealings, is standing in the way of building an economically and politically strong Maghreb in the region. You were yesterday in Algeria. You think we can today believe in the sincerity of Algerian Government in that moment?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I was impressed by the conviction expressed to me that Algeria wants to find a way to move beyond the present situation. There will still be negotiations in the UN over the Western Sahara. But Algeria and Morocco, I hope will open their border, I hope will encourage trade, commerce, exchanges, cooperate on security, because both countries face some common threats coming from the south. So I was strongly urging that. I will be reporting that to the Moroccan Government as well because I would like to see – where there are areas of disagreement – the United States has areas of disagreement with many of our friends, partners, allies around the world. So we work on that area of disagreement, but then we try to expand the area of agreement so that it doesn’t become the only issue, the disagreement, that we’re worried about.

QUESTION: You were just talking about the security and terrorism in this part of the world. Coming back – so coming back to security, and the Sahara region particularly, it turns out today that al-Qaida in the region is posing serious threats to stability. To what extent does U.S. Administration take seriously those threats on the stability of this region?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We take them very seriously because we think that terrorists and extremists are spoilers. They disrupt economies, they destroy lives, they destabilize communities, countries, and regions, if they are permitted to do so. So we have worked very closely with the countries of the Maghreb to establish a security relationship, to share information, to cooperate wherever possible, because we are well aware that our friends such as our Moroccan friends are successful. And that, unfortunately, is often a target for the terrorists because they don’t want people to live lives that are of their own making, having a successful woman like you sitting in this chair —

QUESTION: Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: — in front of the camera. And so we want to help you preserve your way of life, your economic progress, your constitutional changes. And therefore, we have to work against the terrorist threat.

QUESTION: But in concrete terms, how can you encourage, how can you help build this Maghreb which is now necessary for this region?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, one is encourage Morocco and Algeria —


SECRETARY CLINTON: — to cooperate more, because you two have so much that you have to do together against the terrorist threat. And the other is what we continue to do. We have joint programs, we have all kinds of cooperation that we offer, and we’re going to do whatever we can to help protect you and the Maghreb.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, let’s talk about the Palestinian issue. Two questions: Is a cause for grave concern to arrive public opinions, and perception around your support, the support of the United States to Israel, is, I would say, (inaudible) bad. If you were to be persuasive, what would you say on that issue?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we should be judged by the very consistent, strong actions we have taken to try to create a two-state solution. It’s something that started with my husband, and I was deeply involved. I was the first high-level American who called for a Palestinian state back in the 1990s. It certainly has continued on both the Republican and the Democratic side in our country. It’s frustrating. I have every reason to understand how frustrating it is because I am often sitting across from a Palestinian leader or an Israeli leader or an Arab leader or a European leader, all of us trying to figure out how we’re going to accomplish it. But I want people here in Morocco to know we are absolutely committed. We believe in the aspirations of the Palestinian people and their right to have a state of their own.

QUESTION: I said earlier that you were in Nigeria, but before that, you were in Tunisia for – you took part in the meeting of the Friends of Syria. You stated that the Syrian regime will pay the price, the higher price, if it continues to ignore the voice of international community. In concrete terms, what do you mean by pay the higher price?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think the regime will fall. I think that – I am not a fortuneteller. I cannot tell you when that will happen. But the Syrian army, which is largely a conscript army, is not going to continue to carry out these brutal assaults on the Syrian people. At some point, the defections will build, there will finally be created enough momentum against the regime from not only the security forces but business leaders, minorities who are worried about what’s happening. So it will happen. It’s just a question of when, and I wish it would happen sooner instead of later so that the killing could stop.

QUESTION: But how do you think you can lead (inaudible) to give up while Moscow and Beijing continue to (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s a very unfortunate situation because Moscow in particular, with its long history with Assad, the family, and the regime, it’s got an opportunity to try to help resolve the crisis. And instead, they stood in the way of the international consensus to do so. But I think even they are starting to get worried. I mean, these terrible pictures coming out of Homs are just heartbreaking, and people all over the world, including inside Russia and elsewhere, are seeing them.

So I do think that the pressure is building, the sanctions are beginning to really affect the economy within Syria, whether people can get what they need in the market. So I wish that this would end as soon as possible to stop the suffering, but the international community is resolved to keep the pressure on, to try to get humanitarian assistance in, and to keep helping the Syrian opposition build itself up so that it has credibility to be able to stand against Assad.

QUESTION: Mrs. Clinton, my last question, maybe you will answer – this is the issue that you are most sensitive, but I’m going to ask you – my last question is not intended for the Secretary of State, of course, but for the American citizen, for the woman you are, for the – Chelsea’s mother. You are – such qualities you enjoy once you go back home, relieved from – of your official obligations, responsibilities. Out of the crises and conflicts going on all around the world, which is the most sensitive to you at that precise moment? Which one?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, right now, Syria. That just is heartbreaking to see the deaths and the brutality. But that’s happening in many other places in the world; it’s just not on a television set.


SECRETARY CLINTON: If you go to the Eastern Congo and you meet, as I have, women and children who have been brutalized by militias, or you visit with the survivors of terrible terrorist attacks in Spain or Indonesia, I mean, as a mother – you’re a mother – you ask yourself – all you want is for the world to be more peaceful and your children to grow up and become what God meant them to be, to use their talents to make the world a better place. And it’s distressing and somewhat troubling that here we are in the 21st century, and instead of sitting down and resolving disputes peacefully, people are still using guns or machetes or bombs, and so it’s the level of violence, it’s the unfortunate consequences of that, that really undermine the human community that I remain focused on and will continue to work to try to prevent.

QUESTION: What is, for you, the biggest change in United States before and after September 11? You lived the two periods, as a first lady —


QUESTION: — and then as Secretary of State. What is the biggest change in United States?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think the understanding that the United States was attacked. We’ve never been attacked like that, at least since the War of 1812 when the British attacked us. That was a long time ago. But this was such a terrible event in the consciousness of Americans. And I think it’s made Americans more vigilant, more careful about the dangers that exist in the world.

QUESTION: To finish on a cheerful note, Madam Secretary, you are best remembered in Morocco’s mind as a first lady dressed in Moroccan gown, kaftan, while greeting His Majesty King Mohammed VI in the White House. In my memory, the kaftan was red. I don’t know if I’m right, but I think it was red. My question is: Have you bought any more Moroccan gown or kaftans since then?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I certainly do. White and gold —

QUESTION: How many do you have (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I have probably three fancy ones —


SECRETARY CLINTON: — and I have about five plain everyday ones. I find them so comfortable to wear, and the fancy ones are so beautiful that I really delight in wearing them.

QUESTION: Well, thank you, Madam Secretary, to have taken the time to enlighten us on those issues, all important. Thank you and good evening.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good evening. Thank you.

# # #

Interview With Michele Kelemen of NPR


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Sofitel Hotel
Rabat, Morocco
February 26, 2012

QUESTION: You got a busy day here and there’s a lot to talk about. (Laughter.) I’d like, first of all, to ask you what did you tell the Egyptian foreign minister about these cases against democracy promoters? Would you ever let these Americans appear in a courtroom in Cairo?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Michele, obviously we’ve been working on this ever since December, when we learned of the actions against not only American NGOs but NGOs from other countries as well. And we have been engaging at the highest levels of the Egyptian Government.

Our two concerns were, number one, to try to understand what the issues were, since both we and the Egyptian Government believed that our NGOs had been invited to help assist in ensuring that the elections were done in a credible way, which they were. But then also, we know that, ever since the Mubarak regime, there are a wealth of laws that are difficult to follow, even if you are intending to do so, which, of course, we were. And our NGOs kept trying to register so they could be viewed as legally entitled to operate within Egypt. So there was a lot of confusion, and the confusion was at all levels of the Egyptian Government as to what this all meant. So we have been engaging persistently and we hope that this matter will be resolved.

QUESTION: And how many Americans are now sheltering at the Embassy?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I – the exact account, maybe, I think, 16, 17.

QUESTION: Turning to Syria, Syrian tanks have been battering Homs. There’s no sign of aid getting in. What do you and the Friends of Syria do now?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think, as I’ve said, we have to continue to consult with those who truly are Friends of the Syrian People, which of course, includes the United States and the many governments and organizations that gathered in Tunis on Friday. We are doing everything we can to facilitate humanitarian aid. It was distressing to hear that the Syrian Red Crescent and the ICRC, after many hours of negotiation just yesterday, were not permitted to go back into Homs. We are looking to set up and stage areas for getting humanitarian aid in. Secondly, we continue to ratchet up the pressure. It is an increasingly isolated regime. And third, we push for a democratic transition by working with and trying to build up the opposition so they can be an alternative.

QUESTION: But activists say you need, really, humanitarian corridors. You need to get aid in and people out. How do you do that without some sort of outside intervention?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as you know, Michele, many of the people in the Syrian opposition have been quite vocal in their objection to any outside interference. And many of the countries that gathered on Friday are also quite vocal. What we tried to do in the Security Council was to get international support and legitimacy for the Arab League peace plan in order to have some leverage with the Assad regime. And unfortunately, Russia and China vetoed it.

So it’s a distressing and difficult situation. It’s not the first that the world has seen, unfortunately, but we remain engaged at every possible opening to accomplish our three objectives.

QUESTION: But there’s – there was a lot of talk about – and controversy about whether you arm the opposition, help them get arms. Is there anything the U.S. can do short of that, I mean, logistical support for the Free Syrian Army, satellite images to help them set up these humanitarian corridors?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, they don’t have tanks and they don’t have artillery. So I know there’s a lot of frustration, and I share it. This is a deeply, deeply distressing set of events. But you have one of the most highly militarized, best-defended countries on earth, because, of course, they spent an enormous amount of money with their Iranian and Russian friends so equipping themselves. And even if you were to somehow smuggle in automatic weapons of some kind, you’re not going to be very successful against tanks. And so the dilemma is how do we try to help people defend themselves? How do we push the Russians, Chinese, and others, who are, in effect, defending and deflecting for the Assad regime, to realize that this is undermining not only Assad’s legitimacy but theirs as well?

QUESTION: You, in fact, called the Russians despicable on this trip.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, not personally, but in terms of actions, I think continuing to arm a government that is turning its heavy weapons against their own citizens – I mean, there are a lot of words to describe that.

QUESTION: I want you to take a step back a bit and just to look at this political earthquake in the Arab world, as your Turkish counterpart likes to call it. How have you been adjusting to this new environment, and particularly the rise of political Islam, Islamist groups?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, look, I believe in freedom, and I believe in democracy, and I believe in self-determination, and I also believe in human rights and freedom and speech and freedom of religion. And so what we are supporting are – in countries that have every right to have self-determination and to set up their own democracies – the path that they’re on, and at the same time reminding Egyptians and Libyans and Tunisians and others that democracy is not one election one time. It is building institutions. It is carefully nurturing and tending the attitudes, what we call the habits of the heart, from our own early experience, a phrase of de Tocqueville.

And that’s difficult. It’s difficult for any political party or leadership. Everybody wants to believe that they’re best for their country and their people. But it’s important that the United States, which supports the aspirations of all people everywhere, also stand up for the values and principles that make democracy workable over the long term.

QUESTION: You spoke in Tunisia and Algeria about the need for moderate voices. And I wonder if you worry – if you’re worried that they’re being drowned out, that this – these changes across the region are becoming particularly violent. And what does that mean for U.S. interests?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Actually, I am not worried about where we are speaking today, here in the Maghreb. I mean, we’re in Morocco, which has had a very good election that led to new leadership taking place. I’m looking forward to working with them. I was just in Algeria, where they are planning for elections in May. And of course, you were with me in Tunis, where an Islamic-based party was elected but is in government in a coalition with parties representing other parts of view. That’s the way it should be in a democracy, because no matter who you are or where you live, there’s not unanimity of thought or feeling or political philosophy.

So I’m not expressing concern so much as speaking out about what we hope to see, because we’re judging these new governments no only what they say but what they do. And certainly in Tunisia, they are saying all the rights things. They are saying that they will protect women’s rights, that – they are saying that they will protect human rights. And now we want to see that actually take place.

But there is one element, which I am concerned about, and that is how people who were oppressed for so long – and particularly those who are of Islamic persuasion – are so well organized, because they had to be, it was a matter of survival, whereas many other voices in the society, the voices of business leaders, the voices of academia, the voices of young people are not politically organized. So wherever I go, I encourage those who are also hoping to reap the benefits of freedom and democracy to get involved in politics. I mean, politics is no easy game, as I know as well as anyone. But if you’re not at the table, then how can you blame people for pursuing certain programs that you may not agree with?

QUESTION: And you said you’re getting off the high wire of American politics after this job – (laughter) – so is there one thing that you really want to get done in this region before you leave office? You have a few months left. (Laughter.) Or is it just going to be putting out fires?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’ve always said from the very beginning that we do the emergencies, which are the responding to the fires right now; we do the important, which are trying to make sure that the fires don’t get out of control; and then we are looking at the long term. So it’s a constant panoply of all of these challenges.
But in particular, with respect to the Arab Spring, the coming of democracy of the Arab world, I want to see it take root. And, of course, I want to see it understand that elections are not the end, they’re the beginning, that you have to build institutions, you have to have an independent judiciary, you have to have a free press, you have to protect the rights of all minorities, religious, ethnic, you have to certainly empower and protect the rights of women. And this is at the beginning. We’re watching something unfold that is probably a generational enterprise.

So I’m encouraged in many regards by what I’ve seen in Tunisia, what I see in Morocco. The jury is out on Egypt. We’re waiting to see how that will actually be implemented. But the United States will help those who are truly invested in democracy that is not based on elevating some voices over others, imposing philosophical or religious beliefs on others, but truly having the free flow of ideas within a political culture that takes hold in these countries.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thank you very much for your time.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Michele.


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Interview With Kim Ghattas of BBC


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Rangoon, Burma
December 2, 2011

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thank you very much for talking to the BBC.


QUESTION: As usual, we’re very delighted to be here with you in Burma. It’s very special for the BBC to be in the country.

I wanted to start by asking you about your meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi. You’ve said that she is an inspiration to you. She has talked about the fact that she’s read your book. What was it like? What did it feel like when you finally came face to face?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Kim, it felt very familiar, and perhaps because I certainly have followed her over the years and have communicated with her directly and indirectly. So it was like seeing a friend you hadn’t seen for a very long time even though it was our first meeting. And it was also incredibly emotional and gratifying to see her free from the many years of house arrest and to see her once again leading her party and standing for elections in this new democratic process they are trying to put into place. So it was, for me, a great honor and a delight to spend time with her.

QUESTION: She sounded quite positive, cautiously so perhaps, but positive about the path towards reform that this country seems to be embarking on. Are you on the same page?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it’s important for those of us on the outside, whether we’re in government or in an NGO or a human rights activist, to appreciate how it looks from the inside. And certainly, her perspective is there are signs of change, that there is a rhetorical commitment to reform. I think it’s very wise of her to take advantage of that, to do everything she can to support it because, as in any transition, as this one could very well be, there are those who are pushing reform, and there are those who are dead set against it, and then there are probably the most people in the middle trying to gauge which way they should jump. So anything that can be done which legitimates the reformist tendencies should be, in her view, and I agree with this, validated and encouraged. But at the same time, you have to see continuing actions. It’s not enough just to give a speech or to do a few things. There has to be a momentum behind reform, and we’re waiting and watching for that.

QUESTION: You’re obviously coordinating quite closely with Aung San Suu Kyi in terms of America’s own engagement, reengagement with Burma. Do you run the risk that you’re basing your whole policy just on one person?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, of course we’re not. We are closely coordinating with her, but with many others. We’ve had high-level visits to Burma for nearly two and a half years, because when I became Secretary of State, I said we needed a Burma review, that I wasn’t satisfied with what our policy had produced, which was, frankly, not very much.

And in the course of the last two and a half years, we’ve had more than 20 high-level visits. And whether it’s our Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell or our Special Representative Derek Mitchell, they’ve met people across society – a lot of the representatives of the ethnic nationalities, a lot of civil society members, a lot of government members. So we’ve had a good sense of where people were.

So, yes, of course, it was critical that we closely coordinated with Aung San Suu Kyi, but she was not the only person we were working with. And uniformly led by her, we were encouraged to engage. And as she said publicly, she appreciated what the United States was doing, and we all hope that it can continue.

QUESTION: She said that she will run in the parliamentary by-elections that are coming in the next few months. Do you think that she runs the risks of being absorbed by the system? Is it perhaps better for her to continue leading the call for reform from the outside?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, of course, that’s her decision, and I totally respect what she has decided. And I think from her perspective, it’s important to validate the political process. And the only way to do that is to ensure there is as much participation as possible. Her deciding to run sends a very important signal to others as well that this is worth doing. Because if all the people who have a deep, abiding commitment to democracy decided it was better to stay on the sidelines – because after all, getting involved in politics anywhere is a messy business, as I know from my own experience – then you would leave that to perhaps those whose commitment to reform and democracy are not as deep as they should be.

I think as a member – an elected member of parliament, she would have an important role to play, because she’s the one who has read deeply and thought deeply about how do you actually do this. And when I was meeting with members and leaders of the parliament, it was very clear they’re seeking advice. They wanted all kinds of ideas about how do you run an elected body. And so I think she is following through on what she believes to be her responsibility to the future.

QUESTION: Did you give her political advice about how to run?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, she, I think, is more than capable of doing that on her own, but we did discuss how challenging the political process can be.

QUESTION: Now, you had other meetings here in the country up in the capital in Nay Pyi Taw. You met with the country’s civilian president, Thein Sein. He’s a former junta leader. What were your impressions of him? Because you did come here to try to gauge his intentions. Is he really serious about reforming? What were your impressions?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that certainly what I heard from him and what I heard from all of the leaders that I met with in Nay Pyi Taw was a stated commitment to continue the reform process. That’s obviously a first and important step, but it can’t end there; there has to be a series of actions that create a momentum toward democracy that cannot be reversed or undermined.

And I had the impression in speaking with all of the leaders that they’re well aware of the tensions within their own government about how far to go, how fast to go. That’s not unusual. But what I was reminded of is that we have experience in Latin America and in Asia, even in Africa, where military leaders transition into civilian leaders, and then create a democratic process which is left for those who come after them. That’s the hope that I think we all share.

QUESTION: Well, when you, let’s say, looked into his eyes, did you see a real intention for reform?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t speculate on matters like that. I judge people by their actions, and there have been some promising actions, but there needs to be a lot more.

QUESTION: Because indeed, as you said, there are those who are perhaps sitting on the fence, and you’re hoping that your visit will encourage the reformers, reinforce their hands, but also encourage others to join the camp of the reformers. That is the hope. The risk, of course, is that your visit might give legitimacy to a government that is desperately seeking it, and then when you leave, who knows what might happen on the ground. Are you worried about that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I can’t predict what’s going to happen, but I think it certainly is important for the United States to be on the side of democratic reform, and when there is such an opening, as we see here, to demonstrate what the engagement might lead to on behalf of investment in the country and the like.

I was struck by how everyone I met with from civil society representing the ethnic nationalities were all so welcoming of engagement. I mean, people who – and it’s not just whom I met, but the stories and reports I’ve received from all of my team, people who had just gotten out of prison who said, “Thank you so much for engaging.” Well, how can we have less of a willingness to try to move this forward than the people inside the country who have suffered because of the repression? So I think it certainly is the right thing to do, but we’re not making any long-term commitment. This is a first date, not a marriage, and we’ll see where it leads.

QUESTION: So where are we going next? North Korea? Cuba?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No. I think that if they ever had a leader who did things like begin releasing political prisoners and – on a wide scale and set up a system for elections and the like, then we’d think about it. But right now, we’re focused on what we could see happening here.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thank you very much for talking to the BBC.


QUESTION: Thank you.

Interview With Michele Kelemen of NPR


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Rangoon, Burma
December 2, 2011

QUESTION: I want to ask you first about just being at the house, Aung San Suu Kyi’s house, where she spent so much time under house arrest. How did it feel for you?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, in one way, it was familiar to me because I had seen pictures of it over so many years, and friends of mine who have had a chance to visit with her have, of course, described the house. On the other hand, it was an overwhelming personal experience for me, because I’ve admired her for so long, and to see where she was unjustly imprisoned, where she had her unfortunate experience of really spending a lot of time alone, which was difficult, but also gave her the chance to think deeply about what she hoped to see for her country.

Last night at dinner, I was talking to her about my long conversation with Nelson Mandela and how he, looking back, had realized that all those very lonely days and nights in prison for him helped him really summon the strength that he – and of course, I feel the same way about her, that she sacrificed so much. And now, she has perhaps another chance to try to see the democracy that she’s believed in and struggled for and sacrificed for come to reality.

QUESTION: She’s now making this transition from democracy activist to politician, running for elections. Have you given her some advice on what politics is all about?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I think she certainly understands that it’s a rough-and-tumble experience, no matter where one is. But we did talk about the difficulties of not only standing for election, but being elected and having to make compromises. And that would be true in any political process. Democracy really has to be constantly oiled by compromise, and a lot of people think that somehow is less than principled. But if you look at it from a historic perspective, people come into elective offices with many different experiences and ideologies, and you have to work together. She’s fully aware of all of that, but I think it will still be something quite new and challenging for her.

QUESTION: She’s really been guiding, in a way, this step-by-step U.S. rapprochement with Myanmar, and I wonder if you think – did she give you a sense that you guys have gone far enough or did she want you to do more, for instance, exchange ambassadors?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think she has been very helpful to us as we have designed our engagement, but continues to support the approach we’re taking, as she said publicly in her house today. And we’ve been very clear that we have to see further steps by the government in order to move again. And she has expressed her confidence in how we are proceeding. Obviously, we both want to see significant steps taken by the government, starting with the release of all political prisoners, before we are able to do any more.

But it’s also the testing of the sincerity and seriousness of the new leadership, which is important for her to know, because they are not releasing prisoners for us. They’re releasing it for their own internal decision-making, because they want to be on this path. So that’s helped her a lot about how they intend to proceed, which is on an important piece of information.

QUESTION: Now you’ve met Thein Sein, the president. She seemed to have confidence enough in him, but do you think he can deliver? I mean, he has a government that has a lot of people in that don’t like what he’s doing.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I can’t speak for her. She is the one who has to make her own assessments. But we’re going to be watching. That’s – our measurement is what actually happens – not what is promised or not what is intended, but whether it’s delivered. And we discussed at some length, when I met with him at Nay Pyi Taw, what the next steps needed to be. And there are a lot of small steps that have to be taken that are of significance, but – releasing all of the prisoners, setting a date for the elections, and ensuring that they are free, fair, and credible, having a really comprehensive, well-designed effort to resolve the ethnic conflicts – those are three very big steps that we think have to be taken before we can further engage on a range of issues that we’d be willing to discuss.

QUESTION: I just have to ask you one question about Nay Pyi Taw. What were your impressions about this place? I mean, here in Rangoon, it’s a lively city, but up there, it’s just nobody there. Are you worried that they’re just too isolated from reality?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t know about that. But it’s like a lot of these capital cities that get built in green space areas far from where they used to be. I’ve seen it in several countries around the world, and it always gives you a surreal impression, like is this a set; is it going to be here when I come back tomorrow? But they obviously invested a lot of money and effort in designing their government buildings. They’re looking to host a series of events of regional significance there over the next few years. So as for the business of the government, apparently it’s going to be done, but it’s not a bustling, lively city like Rangoon is, for sure.

QUESTION: So you think Aung San Suu Kyi will manage to live there or work there?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I think she is disciplined, determined, and they say that – nice meeting with me, (inaudible) when we get there.

QUESTION: Thank you very much for your time.


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Interview With Jackie Northam of National Public Radio


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ismaili Center
Dushanbe, Tajikistan
October 22, 2011

Please attribute the following content to an interview with National Public Radio

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, first of all, thank you very much for sitting down with us for this interview. I’d like to ask you first about your visit to Pakistan. You had a full court press of senior American officials there, and you yourself delivered some very strong statements, even warnings, to Pakistan’s leaders about what the U.S. is looking for as far as counterterrorism efforts go and reconciliation in Afghanistan and that. I want to find out that after your meetings with the Pakistan leadership, are you any more confident that they fully understand what the U.S. is looking for, whether they’re on board with that, and that the U.S. will receive Pakistan’s cooperation in these efforts?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jackie, first the meetings we held were very comprehensive and represented a coordinated approach by our government, because I led a high-level delegation which met with our counterparts. We discussed our assessments of where things are right now, and shared information about what we’re seeing happening on the other side of the border in Afghanistan, because we admitted there are safe havens there from which Pakistan is attacked, which I believe it’s important to acknowledge. And I think they’re taking onboard everything we had to say. There was a positive tone to the conversations. And now we’re getting back with the details of how we can proceed together.

QUESTION: So at this point, is it a – do you just wait to see – you’re giving them a waiting a period to think about this, or where does it stand?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, no, I think what we did which was so important was to reach an understanding that we are 90 to 95 percent in agreement, which sometimes gets lost in all of the back-and-forth and the rhetoric from politicians, press, and others. So let’s establish that base of agreement. Let’s then look at where we have disagreements, which are more disagreements in approach than in substance or outcome. For example, we had quite a good give-and-take about how you fight and talk, and how you do that. And General Petraeus was quite helpful in pointing out what had happened in Iraq. Although it’s not completely transferable, it’s instructive. So that’s the kind of level of conversations we were having, and I came away believing that we’ve cleared the air, we had set some clear parameters, and now we have to get about the hard work of actually operationalizing what our agreement is.

QUESTION: But again, do you wait to see if they – if – that you will receive their full cooperation? What is it – how will you know that you’ve gotten that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I want to clarify that we have been receiving their cooperation. I mean, if you look at the last several months since Usama bin Ladin’s death, and there was a lot of concern raised by the Pakistanis about their sovereignty, which we understand and we respect, but we also worked closely together to eliminate three of the top officials in al-Qaida who would’ve stepped into bin Ladin’s operational roles. So I think that it’s important to underscore that on al-Qaida, which remember has been our primary focus for 10 years, the Pakistanis have been very cooperative. Now we’re looking to expand our cooperation vis-à-vis the terrorist networks – the Taliban, Haqqani, and from their side the Pakistani Taliban – and also looking to figure out how to sequence a peace process that makes sense. And we’ve asked for their advice and their help in doing both of those.

QUESTION: I mean, you sound very confident. You sound pleased with every – how everything went. But when you walked into those meetings, you had a completely different tone, and I’m just wondering what happened in the meantime.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m not sure that I did. I mean, I say – I said the same things in Afghanistan and Pakistan, that we expect action, we think action is in both of our interests, that we do have some time constraints because of our commitment to transition to Afghan security. So we need to accelerate the planning and working together on what are common objectives. I think what had been lost in the uproar over several of the controversies during the past year is that we do have common objectives, but we see it differently.

And I think it’s important for us to carefully listen to each other. So when I met, for example, with a group of parliamentarians, two of who are from the FATA and live every day with the threat posed by the extremists and have personally suffered, and their families, because of that. What they were saying is some of the way you talk about things isn’t helpful. As one of them said to me, when we hear from a Western official that you want the Pashtuns to give up their weapons, they will never give up their weapons. I said, well, yes, I come from a country where people won’t give up their weapons. He said what you need to be talking about is stopping the violence. And it – so, I mean, these are subtle things, but it gets people’s backs up. And then you run into problems that really are not of substance but of perception.

QUESTION: Mm-hmm. I understand that you do – you all have an abhorrence to terrorism and you want a stable Afghanistan and that type of thing, and that it’s the perspective from how you approach the situation and that. But we’ve watched over the years how even if you do have a different perspective, you do have a different approach, it doesn’t seem to be getting what the U.S. wants out of the Pakistanis.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I know that there is a lot of expectations, but I would ask all of us to take a bit of a step back. And I can speak directly about the last two and a half years. When I became Secretary of State, the Pakistani Government was not even taking on the Pakistani Taliban. They were quite uncertain about what to do. Do you have military action against them? Do you try to ignore them? They were going through a very difficult process of trying to understand what their best approach was. And then they took military action, and they began to clear territory, reclaim it.

And I think it’s important for Americans to recognize that there are different timetables that operate in different countries about how to move effectively. For the Pakistanis, it was moving troops off their border with India, which took a huge decision by their government, their military, but they began to do it. And they lost, as they always say, 30,000 people. And they look at us and they say don’t you understand how hard this is for us? And we say yes, we do, but let’s try to increase our cooperation because it’s also important for us that we move together. So I would only caution that despite the frustration and sometimes the disappointment, we have to be clear that Pakistan must be part of the solution. There is no alternative.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, we’ve got one quick question. (Inaudible.) I just want to ask you about Uzbekistan.


QUESTION: You’re heading out there —


QUESTION: — next and that. And obviously, I wonder if it’s – we’ve just heard from a State Department official that you want to broaden and deepen U.S. cooperation with Uzbekistan.


QUESTION: And I just – how critical is America’s relationship with that country now, given the situation with Pakistan? In other words, I’m thinking specifically of the supply routes, the Northern Distribution Network. Are you – what are you looking for when you go there from them?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’re looking for a comprehensive engagement on all of the issues of concern to us, which we do with so many countries with whom we have agreements and very strong disagreements. There’s no doubt that our disagreements with the human rights record in Uzbekistan is profound, and we have personally, continually, including my visit last year, delivered that message. But we also think to achieve our goals in Afghanistan, the neighbors are important, and Uzbekistan is an important neighbor. And Uzbekistan worries about extremist Uzbek fighters who are based in Afghanistan and Pakistan, causing them a lot of internal problems. And therefore, they want to be part of working with us as we do our transition out, and I think that’s appropriate. So we balance this all the time.

And the Northern Distribution Network, which we have accelerated in developing because we did not want to be totally dependent upon a supply route through Pakistan into Afghanistan, is critical to our getting our troops withdrawing from Afghanistan on the timetable that the President has set forth.

QUESTION: Okay. I think your handlers are going to – (laughter). Okay. We’ve got that. Thank you so much.

# # #

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The Secretary gave several interviews today. I am consolidating all of them here.  There is an interview with Wolf Blitzer of CNN as well.  It is being aired as I write.  I will post it separately when it is available.

Interview With of Andrea Mitchell of NBC


Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

Cairo, Egypt
March 16, 2011

QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary. I wanted to talk first about Japan. The scale of this catastrophe is so enormous, and it’s inevitably going to affect nuclear policy. It already is. Germany is shutting down plants. What does this mean for the future of the world in terms of nuclear energy, nuclear power, and increasing reliance on oil?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Andrea, that’s one of the questions that is obviously going to have to be examined. And right now we are focused on trying to deal with the immediate disaster – earthquake, tsunami, nuclear reactor problems. We’re doing everything we can to support Japan, and we’re doing everything we can to assist American citizens because their health and safety is obviously our highest concern. And we’re following this very fast-moving dynamic situation literally minute by minute.

So in the immediate short term, we have a lot that we have to handle. And in the longer term, you’re right. This raises questions that everybody in the world will have to answer. But for us right now, just trying to stay very connected with our Japanese friends. We have Nuclear Regulatory Commission experts, Department of Energy experts, others who are on the ground in Japan working with their counterparts to try to mitigate the effects of this particular disaster.

QUESTION: Some people have suggested that the Japanese were reluctant to take advice, nuclear advice, initially, and waited too long.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I can’t comment on that because I’m not a nuclear expert. I know that our experts were immediately in communication with their Japanese counterparts. But the scale of this crisis was so immense and so unprecedented to have the earthquake followed by the tsunami, followed by the problems in the nuclear reactors, that our goal now is just to do everything we can to assist the Japanese to do the humanitarian work.

We have search and rescue teams on the ground from Los Angeles, from Fairfax, Virginia. Our naval assets, our brave Navy men and women, are doing a lot in the humanitarian relief delivery. So we’re just so busy trying to assist in every way possible, and so is the rest of the world. Because Japan is historically such a generous country, everyone is rushing to try to reciprocate.

And I know how hard it is to make decisions in the midst of fast-moving disastrous events. But we’re doing everything we can to help the Japanese as they struggle with these tough calls they’re making.

QUESTION: Do you have concerns about nuclear power in the United States?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I have concerns about a lot of our energy issues because clearly we’re talking here in Cairo, in the Middle East, in a region that supplies a lot of oil. We have oil dependence problems. We have nuclear power safety issues and waste disposal problems. We have the difficulties of getting a lot of the renewables like wind and solar and others up to scale. And we have a really hard challenge convincing people that energy efficiency is actually the most effective way to try to lower our energy costs and usage.

We need an energy policy. That’s something that President Obama has said repeatedly. And we need it to be yesterday, and it’s got to be comprehensive. I think what’s happening in Japan raises questions about the costs and the risks associated with nuclear power, but we have to answer those. We get 20 percent of our energy right now in the United States from nuclear power. So we’ve got to really get serious about an energy policy that is going to meet our needs in the future.

QUESTION: Let’s talk about Libya, because Qadhafi’s son says that within 48 hours it’s going to be over. The Libyan opposition asked for help, they asked for military help. You’re resisting that. You want Arab League leadership, you want a UN vote. It might be too late to save them. Do you have concerns about that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as you know, I’ve consulted with our European and Arab partners in the last two days. I’ve also met with the leader of the Libyan opposition. We are working very hard in New York with members of the Security Council and others because we believe that we have to take steps to try to protect innocent civilians, and we cannot do it without international authority.

The Arab countries, with their statement through the Arab League last Saturday, made it very clear that they wanted to see action, so we need Arab leadership and Arab participation in whatever the UN decides to do. So we’re working as we speak to try to get international support, which is very important, because unilateral action would not be the best approach. It would have all kinds of unintended consequences. International action with Arab leadership and participation, we think, is the way to go.

QUESTION: Your husband, the former president, last week said, “We’ve got the planes. We should do it.”

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we do think that among the actions that have to be considered by the United Nations, the no-fly zone is one of them, but it’s not the only one. There are other actions that need to be also evaluated. And we are putting everything on the table. Our UN team is working very closely with other members of the Security Council, and we hope to be able to move forward in a way that does respond to some of the requests by the Libyan opposition.

QUESTION: What if it’s too late?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Andrea, we’re very aware of the actions of the Qadhafi regime. We deeply regret his callous disregard of human life, his absolute willingness to slaughter his own people. But we think that there is a lot that can be done if we can reach international agreement on what should be done.

QUESTION: There are more casualties in Bahrain. The Saudis intervened. The other – the UAE and others moved in, even after you had appealed for calm and expressed your deep concern. What does this say about the U.S.-Saudi relationship? Defense Secretary Gates was in Bahrain only last Friday and had no heads-up that this was going to happen.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I know. I think it’s fair to say from everything we are seeing that the situation in Bahrain is alarming. We are in touch with the highest levels of the Bahraini Government today, as we have been for the last – a period of time. And our message is consistent and strong: There is no way to resolve the concerns of the Bahraini people through the use of excessive force or security crackdowns. There have to be political negotiations that lead to a political resolution. We have urged all the parties, including the Gulf countries, to pursue a political resolution. That is what we are pushing, along with others who are concerned by what they see happening. We would remind the Bahraini Government of their obligation to protect medical facilities and to facilitate the treatment of those who might be injured in any of the demonstrations and to exercise the greatest restraint. Get to the negotiating table and resolve the differences in Bahrain peacefully, politically.

QUESTION: They’re ignoring us so far. Is there anything more that you can do?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are very concerned and have reached out to a lot of different partners. There’s a lot of the same messages coming in from across Europe and the region to the Bahraini Government. And in fact, one of our assistant secretaries for the region is actually there working on a – literally hour-by-hour basis. We do not think this is in the best interest of Bahrain. We consider Bahrain a partner. We have worked with them. We think they’re on the wrong track, and we think that the wrong track is going to really affect adversely the ability of the Bahraini Government to bring about the political reform that everyone says is needed.

QUESTION: And you went to Tahrir Square.


QUESTION: An emotional experience to walk in that square. At the same time, women have been kept out of the new government, and there are some concerns that they are moving too quickly here in Egypt to create a new constitution without developing political parties and being more thoughtful about what it requires to create a democracy.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, going to Tahrir Square was exhilarating. It was a tremendous personal experience to be there and to see Egyptians with smiles on their faces saying hello, welcoming me to the new Egypt. That was an extraordinary uplifting experience.

I know and the Egyptian people know – because I’ve been talking with a broad cross-section of Egyptians – that translating the enthusiasm and the energy of Tahrir Square into the political and economic reforms necessary to establish a strong, functioning democracy, more jobs for people, a real sense of a positive future, is going to be challenging. But they’re up for that challenge. I feel very good about what the Egyptians are doing. It is an Egyptian project, an Egyptian story. They are making their own history. The United States stands ready to assist in any way that is appropriate. But this is being molded by Egyptians themselves, as is only proper. I told them that they have a 7,000 year old civilization; we’re a young country, but we’re the oldest democracy, so we stand ready to help them as they navigate into this very exciting period of their long and storied history.

QUESTION: Thank you so much.


Interview With Steve Inskeep of NPR


Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

Cairo, Egypt
March 16, 2011

QUESTION: Okay, we’ll jump right into it. Again, I’ll try not to take up too much of your time. Before I ask about Egypt, I’m obliged to ask you about one other thing – Raymond Davis. Can you explain why, in your view, it was a wise idea in the long term to pay blood money for Davis’s release?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, the United States did not pay any compensation. The families of the victims of the incident on January 27th decided to pardon Mr. Davis. And we are very grateful for their decision. And we are very grateful to the people and Government of Pakistan, who have a very strong relationship with us that we are committed to strengthening.

QUESTION: According to wire reports out of Pakistan, the law minister of the Punjab Province, which is where this took place, says the blood money was paid. Is he mistaken?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, you’ll have to ask him what he means by that.

QUESTION: And a lawyer involved in the case said it was 2.34 million. There is no money that came from anywhere?

SECRETARY CLINTON: The United States did not pay any compensation.

QUESTION: Did someone else, to your knowledge?

SECRETARY CLINTON: You will have to ask whoever you are interested in asking about that.

QUESTION: You’re not going to talk about it?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I have nothing to answer to that.

QUESTION: Okay, let me move on to Egypt here and other countries as well. Having had some meetings here, has the United States, because of the events in the last couple of months, lost influence in Egypt?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that the United States has a different form of influence. We are now dealing with a developing democracy. We have a lot of practice doing that around the world. It was clear from my meetings yesterday and today that both government officials, as well as private citizens – civil activists, youth activists – want the United States to be helpful, and we are going to look for every way we possibly can.

QUESTION: Although you have a country where Hosni Mubarak was an ally, and willing, in some cases, such as policy towards Israel, to do things that were clearly against Egyptian public opinion. If a democracy is formed here, whoever runs this country will have to be responsive to public opinion.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Steve, first of all, the Camp David Accords set out certain obligations on the part of Egypt. And those obligations were immediately accepted by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces after the changeover in government here. So I think those were obligations that the state of Egypt assumed. And we were very pleased to see those reaffirmed by the Supreme Council.

QUESTION: What if we get more specific? If you think about Egypt helping Israel to blockade Gaza, which Egypt has been doing, that’s something that’s very unpopular here by all accounts and not necessarily something that would be envisioned in the Camp David Accords. Could not Egypt in some ways move away from – make some distance between the U.S. and Egypt in its policy toward Israel?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that will be up to the new Egyptian Government. But I think there’s also an argument that Egypt’s got security interests in not permitting the import and export of arms and possible ingress and egress of terrorists. So it’s not only what Egypt will or won’t do with respect to Israel, it’s what Egypt will decide is in its interest to do. And that will be up to the Egyptian Government to determine.

QUESTION: Do you expect that Egypt’s interests will lead it to the same decisions that it made under Hosni Mubarak, as far as foreign policy is concerned?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, I think there will be different decisions. But I think that there is such an interest in keeping the peace in the region. Egypt has got a lot on its plate. It’s going to have to politically reform, economically reform. It’s got a big agenda ahead of it. I think the last thing it wants is to see any kind of problem between itself and its neighbors.

So I think that there’s always a likelihood that no two countries will agree on everything. That we don’t expect. And we certainly look to Egypt exerting leadership in the region and beyond, and doing so as a democratic nation, which we think will be a very good example.

QUESTION: But, Madam Secretary, as some people will know, you toured Tahrir Square while here in Cairo, the scene of the protests. One week ago, in Tahrir Square, the army moved in against protestors who were occupying that square, arrested well over 100 people. A number of those people say they were tortured. I visited a man who said he was tortured and who had clearly been beaten severely. He had injuries all over his back. Did you speak, in your meetings with Egyptian officials, about the way that the new government is treating its citizens now?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I certainly raised the concerns that you just mentioned, because they were raised with me. And I was assured that they would be looked into, which I expect will be done.

One of the challenges for this new Egyptian Government is to create a police force and to have a well-trained police force that respects the human rights of its citizens. And they are very committed to that. As you know, they’ve dissolved the state security apparatus yesterday, and I had a lengthy discussion about what it will take to try to create a new security system that will be respectful. If you need an upgrade in security or if you lost your keys, contact the experts from locksmith suffolk county!

QUESTION: How are they going to do that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: They are going to start. They are very determined to do it, but it’s a big task. I mean, I think that is important that certainly the army has tried to assert a very careful control. They do have problems. As you know, there were a lot of criminals who broke out of prisons that, unfortunately, have not yet been apprehended, and there are signs of lawlessness. They’re trying to move as quickly as possible to turn over law and order to a police force. That is not something that the army has told me that they have any intention of continuing. So there are some questions and some allegations that deserve and should be investigated, and I was told they would be.

QUESTION: We have also been talking here in Cairo with correspondents coming out of Libya, where the rebel position at the moment appears to be collapsing. The view seems to be that it is likely too late for a no-fly zone (inaudible) outside can make very much difference. Is it too late?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t think so. I don’t want to put a timeframe on what is likely to happen in Libya. I’m well aware that Qadhafi is moving against the rebel stronghold in Benghazi. I have received different estimates as to how long it will take him to do what he intends to do, to try to crush the rebellion.

But I think it’s important to note that there is intensive negotiation going on in New York as we speak to try to obtain authorization from the Security Council that will provide a series of potential actions, including a no-fly zone that could be taken. And I think that is the appropriate venue. There should not have been unilateral action by any country. When the Arab League made its decision on Saturday, that changed a lot of people’s assessment about what could and should be done. And part of what is being discussed in New York is how much leadership and participation can be expected from the Arab states.

QUESTION: I invited questions from our listeners before this interview. And one question came in from a man named Jim Voorhies (ph) from Nashville, Tennessee, who asked about uprisings through the Arab world such as Libya, where there is a great resistance or oppression by the government. And he asks: How long will we fail to help?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Steve, that is not a question that should be only directed to the United States, with all due respect to your listener. I think that President Obama has been absolutely right in being clear in saying that Qadhafi has lost the legitimacy to govern. But as you know very well, there is a vigorous debate by people of good faith as to whether any particular action is called for or would be effective.

But there is very little debate that the Security Council, in its Resolution 1970, did not authorize any no-fly zone, any delivery of arms, or any other kind of assistance, other than humanitarian assistance. Now, we are in a different environment where enough countries have watched what was happening. The Arab League has taken its stand. And now, countries that said flat out they were opposed, they would veto, they would never support, are reconsidering.

QUESTION: Meaning that you don’t have that option? You cannot act with an international consensus, because it doesn’t exist? That’s what you’re saying?

SECRETARY CLINTON: But we are working to achieve that international consensus. But I think –

QUESTION: By the time you do, it’s going to be too late, isn’t it?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, sometimes – we have – I wake up every day and I look at violence around the world. I look at women being murdered who marched on International Women’s Day in Cote d’Ivoire. I look at women and men being murdered in eastern Congo. I see a lot of violence by bad guys all over the world.

And the United States has, for decades, tried to enforce the peace, tried to stand against people who were abusing their own people to a terrible degree. But we haven’t been able to do everything that everyone would want us to do.

But one thing that we are clear about is unilateral action would have unintended consequences that we cannot undertake. If there is international decision in the Security Council, then the United States will join with the international community.

QUESTION: As a realist, watching the news from Libya, watching the news from Bahrain, where the government has fired on protestors, are you in a position of accepting that some of the Arab uprisings are simply going to fail?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No. But we are in a position of supporting the popular uprisings by people themselves and doing everything we can to help nurture that democracy. We’re alarmed by the situation in Bahrain, and we have spoken very forcefully against the security crackdown, in fact, at the highest levels of the government. And with the Gulf countries, we’ve made it very clear that there cannot be a security answer to what are legitimate political questions. And the sooner that the government of Bahrain and the opposition, which has resisted negotiations as well, get back to the negotiating table, the more likely that this matter can be resolved. And there has been absolutely no doubt about where the United States has stood on this. And we have communicated that in every way possible.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Steve.

Interview With Kim Ghattas of BBC


Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

Cairo, Egypt
March 16, 2011

QUESTION: Thank you for speaking to the BBC, Madam Secretary. I want to ask you first about the UN resolution that is being tabled at the UN in New York by France and Britain and Lebanon. Among other things, it would try to establish a no-fly over Libya. Does the United States support the resolution as it stands now?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Kim, as we speak, the United States and other Security Council members are in intensive discussions about what should be in the resolution. We greatly appreciate the leadership shown by Lebanon, the UK, and France. And we think it’s significant that the Arab League made its statement on Saturday, so we want to be sure that there will be Arab leadership and participation in whatever comes out of the Security Council. So there’s a great deal of discussion, and I think there is a sense of urgency that was precipitated by the Arab League’s courageous stand on Saturday. And we hope that there will be a resolution of the discussions and a decision made very soon in order to enable us to protect innocent lives in Libya. We are well aware that the clock is ticking.

QUESTION: Do you want Arab participation, Arab military participation?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are in the midst of discussing the details about what Arab participation and leadership would mean. But I think it’s important that, number one, we get international authorization through the Security Council. This cannot be a unilateral action by anyone in Europe or the U.S. or, frankly, anyone in the Arab League. It has to be international and authorized. And then we have to be very clear about what Arab leadership and participation will be.

QUESTION: But is there still time for a no-fly zone, or is it too late for that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, there will be other things considered in addition to a no-fly zone. That will certainly be one of the actions considered, but there are other ways to assist the opposition. As you know, I met with one of the key leaders in Paris. There are other ways that we can assist, and all of those are on the table and being examined.

QUESTION: Could you tell us anything more about what those other ways are?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m going to let the resolution speak for itself when it is introduced because I do not want to intervene into these delicate negotiations. As you know, prior to the Arab League statement on Saturday, there was a great deal of opposition. There were countries which said they would veto anything. There were other countries that were adamantly opposed. That has changed. So now the discussion is of a different tenor with a level of detail that we were just not able to have before.

QUESTION: But at the same time, the British and the French seem frustrated and, frankly, a little bit upset almost with the United States. They feel that you are dragging your feet, that you’re not really warm to the idea of a no-fly zone, or perhaps that you can’t make up your mind about what it is you want to do about Libya. Is that fair? Is that what the situation —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t think that is fair. I think, based on my conversations in Paris with the G-8 ministers, which, of course, included those two countries, I think we all agree that given the Arab League statement, it was time to move to the Security Council to see what was possible. I don’t want to prejudge it because countries are still very concerned about it. And I know how anxious the British and the French and the Lebanese are, and they have taken a big step in presenting something. But we want to get something that will do what needs to be done and can be passed.

It won’t do us any good to consult, negotiate, and then have something vetoed or not have enough votes to pass it. So I think that we are where we need to be right now. And yes, I understand the frustration before the Arab League because there was a lot of ambivalence and opposition and concern about whether this would be accepted or not. But now that the Arab League has spoken and that there is active consultation with our Arab friends and partners, I think you will see a resolution coming forth.

QUESTION: You say you want a resolution that will pass and that will not be vetoed. Would a resolution that isn’t vetoed be tough enough to do the job, which is to get rid of Colonel Qadhafi?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the job is really to protect innocent Libyans. The job is to prevent the kind of massacres and slaughters that, unfortunately, everyone expects from Colonel Qadhafi and his regime. And so there are a lot of steps that can and should be taken. But I don’t want to prejudge the discussions because they are intensely going on right now.

QUESTION: But Madam Secretary, sanctions, arm embargo, no-fly zone – these are all long-term solutions, perhaps they’re not even solutions. We don’t know what the outcome is of those steps. But 13 days ago, President Obama said he wanted to see Colonel Qadhafi go. What is the United States prepared to do to make sure this actually happens quickly?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are prepared to join an international consensus that comes out of the Security Council. And we would want to see that consensus include actions that would protect the Libyan people and would assist the opposition in their legitimate aspirations.

QUESTION: Targeted strikes?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think everything is on the table. Everything is on the table. But it’s important to underscore that unilateral action is not an option; that is not anything that either can or should be supported. International action must be the route we take. And so therefore, we are hoping to see a consensus reached in the Security Council.

QUESTION: At the same time, while the talks continue in Benghazi – sorry, in – while the talks continue in New York about the resolution, in various European capitals and in Washington, Qadhafi’s forces are advancing on Benghazi. The rebels seem to be losing ground day by day, perhaps hour by hour. If Benghazi falls to Colonel Qadhafi because the U.S. was seen to take its time deliberating, history won’t judge the Obama Administration very kindly, will it?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Kim, first of all, I don’t want to engage in hypotheticals. We don’t know what will happen. And secondly, the United States under President Obama is engaged in numerous efforts around the world to ensure peace and stability. And it is important that no one sees the United States acting unilaterally. This is what we were criticized for in the not-so-distant past.

I think President Obama has been very clear. He has said there needs to be action. This man must go. He has lost legitimacy to govern. Let’s get an international consensus as to how we’re going to do that.

There’s a lot in making a decision like that. I give the Arab League an enormous amount of credit to take an action that is aimed at a member of the Arab League; that’s unprecedented. And of course, it takes time to consult and think this through. Now I hope that everybody understands that we don’t want to see countries going off and doing things unilaterally. What we want to see is exactly what is happening – a very thoughtful process. Yes, the timeframe is very short because of what’s at stake. But I believe that we are moving in the right direction and that hopefully there will be a consensus and the United States will be part of that consensus.

QUESTION: When you look at what’s going on in Libya and in Bahrain, it seems to me that – or it seems to a lot of people that the lesson from the Egyptian revolution is quite clear, a lesson that Arab leaders can draw: Don’t give an inch to the protestors, unleash your fire power, or you’re out the door like President Mubarak.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that’s a wrong reading of history. I think the —

QUESTION: But isn’t that what these leaders are doing in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, they may be taking short-term measures that will not have the long-term effects they are seeking. I think the situation in Bahrain is alarming. We have made it very clear at the highest levels of the government there that we think they’re on the wrong track, that they need to resume immediately a political dialogue. We deplore the use of force against demonstrators, and we deplore the use of force by demonstrators. We want a peaceful resolution. We also would remind the Bahraini Government to protect medical facilities and to facilitate treatment of the injured, and we have called on our friends in the Gulf – four of whom are assisting the Bahrain security efforts – to force through a political solution, not a security standoff.

QUESTION: But they’re your allies, and they’re not listening to you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I wish we could get everybody in the world to do what we ask them to do. I think that would make for a more peaceful world, but countries make their own decisions. But the United States stands very clearly on the side of peaceful protest, nonviolent resolution, political reform. And I think that what happened in Egypt and Tunisia are really the models of what will happen. It may take a little longer, but there is no turning back the tide of democracy and the universal human rights of every person to have freedom and an opportunity to fulfill his or her own dreams.

QUESTION: So what leverage do you still have on countries like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia? They’re your allies. You – they – you train their armies. You supply them with weapons. And yet when the Saudis decided to send troops into Bahrain – and I believe Washington made clear it wasn’t pleased about that – they said, “Don’t interfere. This is an internal GCC matter.”

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, they are on notice as to what we think. And we will intend to make that very clear publicly and privately, and we will do everything we can to try to move this off the wrong track, which we believe is going to undermine long-term progress in Bahrain, to the right track, which is the political and economic track.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thank you very much for your time.


QUESTION: Thank you.




Interview With Shahira Amin of Nile TV


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Cairo, Egypt
March 16, 2011

QUESTION: American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, it’s such an honor to meet you, and thank you for giving me this opportunity to host you on Egyptian television.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, and it’s an honor for me to be here with you and to have this opportunity.

QUESTION: Thank you. Let me start by asking you – you are the first and most senior official to visit Egypt since the popular revolt that led to the fall of President Mubarak. Why did you choose to be here at this time?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, for three reasons. First, because I wanted to demonstrate the very high-level support that comes from President Obama, our Administration, and our country on behalf of the Egyptian people as you make this transition toward democracy. Secondly, I wanted to discuss with government officials what their needs were and how the United States could be helpful. And thirdly, I wanted to meet with representatives of civil society, the youth revolution, other Egyptians who brought their own perspective to the table, so that I could listen carefully, so that I would know what we could do that would be most helpful to you.

QUESTION: Egyptians are looking forward to a secular civil state, but most important, they dream of a free and democratic Egypt. How exactly does the United States intend to support the democratic transition? Is there a roadmap?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that it will have to be an Egyptian roadmap because this is an Egyptian commitment to move toward a free and democratic future. We have the greatest respect for Egypt’s 7,000 years of civilization. We are a young country by comparison. But we are the oldest democracy in the world. So we have some idea, having gone through these stages our self and having worked with other countries, what it will take to ensure that the road to democracy is not detoured, that the dreams of the Egyptian people are not derailed. And so we think that there are steps that have to be taken, which you are already planning for.

Obviously, elections are a big part of a democracy, but not the only part. Political parties, the idea of protecting the rights of all Egyptians, the – as you say, the secular state that will respect each individual Egyptian – all of that is important along with a free press, an independent judiciary, and other democratic institutions.

We also think there are economic reforms that are necessary to help the Egyptian people have good jobs, to find employment, to realize their own dreams. And so on both of those tracks – the political reform and the economic reform – we want to be helpful.

QUESTION: Let me be honest with you. Many Egyptians are disappointed. They say the Obama Administration didn’t throw its full weight behind the popular movement right from the start. The U.S. was a bit hesitant before finally extending its support to the opposition activists in Tahrir. And some are calling it “double standards.” They say the U.S. preaches democracy and freedom on the one hand, and supports autocratic regimes when it suits their own interests.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say that I don’t think there’s any doubt that the United States, President Obama, all of us stand for democracy and for the values that undergird democracy. And we spent a lot of time trying to make sure that the demonstrations in Tahrir Square, which I was very excited to visit myself this morning, were peaceful. That was our message from the very beginning. There is no doubt about that – that the people had a right to demonstrate, that their rights needed to be respected, and that the government had a duty to do so.

To the credit of your army and other officials, we saw a largely positive response from the army, and even standing against the security forces that were trying to disrupt the demonstrations. That stands in stark contrast to what we’re seeing in Libya, for example. So the United States was very clear about its messages, that from the beginning, this needed to be peaceful, nonviolent, respecting the rights of the individual demonstrators and having a reform agenda that would meet those needs.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, in the last 30 years, much of the aid from the United States went to creating a strong security apparatus to ensure that Mubarak continues to have a tight grip on power. Very little of that aid went to improving the lives of average Egyptians. Is it likely that aid to Egypt will now become conditional?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, we had a lot of aid that went to the military, not the security forces. And I thank you for asking that question because our aid was to assist the Egyptian military. And I think that really paid off because during the height of the demonstrations in Tahrir Square, our military leaders were talking to your military leaders and exchanging ideas because they knew each other over 30 years of training together, working together. So in a way, I think that that investment was a good investment because the Egyptian military performed so admirably in everyone’s eyes. And we were very proud we had some contribution to them.

With respect to other aid, we have given, over the course of many years, money to support the American University in Cairo, money to support education, money to support healthcare, money to support civil society, human rights activists. But you’re right; it was always a difficult negotiation with the former government because that was something that we wanted to do to help the Egyptian people. Some of it went through, and some of it did not go through. Now we look forward to be able to work on the economic agenda to try to assist the government and private investors to create more jobs, and we look forward to assisting what the Egyptian people want in terms of education or healthcare or anything that you are going to ask us for.

QUESTION: It was globalization and social media that led to the changes that we’re witnessing in the Middle East today. And recently, you engaged in a discussion on the internet with young Egyptians. And you had a very important message for them, that there can be no prosperity without the empowerment of women and girls. What are your hopes for the girls – the millions of girls, the Nujoods in this region?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I believe that what happened in Tahrir Square was not only an Egyptian revolution, but a human revolution. As I was, like millions of Americans, transfixed to the television screen, I saw Egyptians of all ages, primarily young, but other generations as well, and I saw women and men. And what it said was that every Egyptian, regardless of who he or she were, were standing together for the future you were demanding. And I think it would be a great tragedy if anything were to happen that would start marginalizing any Egyptian on the basis of being a man or a woman or a Copt or a Muslim or from upper or lower Egypt.

I mean, it would be a great tragedy because Egypt not only has the opportunity to lead the way in the Middle East, but to be a democratic, successful country for the 21st century and to be a leader that everyone will look to with admiration. And in my conversations with civil society activists, with young people, with government officials, we’ve talked about other models because other countries have made that transition. Indonesia, for example – they often say if you want to see a democratic state where women are empowered, come to Indonesia. Well, I want to see a democratic state where women are empowered right here in Egypt, because to leave out half the population is to leave out half the potential of what Egypt can become.

QUESTION: I echo that.


QUESTION: First, it was Tunisia, then Egypt —


QUESTION: — and now the desire for change is spreading like a wildfire across the region – Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria, Jordan, even Saudi Arabia. Does it concern the Obama Administration that America is losing some of its staunchest allies in the region and that these mass protests may result in Islamists taking over power?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it would concern us because it would, in our view, only have one point of view represented in societies that are very diverse, and that’s not a true democracy. One election is not a true democracy. It takes time and effort to build a democracy. But we have always stood for democracy, for human rights, for freedom, and we have friends and we do business with countries all over the world that don’t always reflect those values. But our message publicly and privately has always been the same.

Even here in Egypt, you know that we were privately urging changes, publicly urging changes; we were not successful. And it is only fair and proper that the Egyptian people themselves seized this moment in history and determined that you were going to move beyond the government that existed. And that’s what we’re seeing in Tunisia, and the efforts that are going on in other parts of the region are by no means completed. And we happen to believe that governments and societies will be more stable if they institute democratic reforms. And so we are urging all of our friends to do that.

QUESTION: You’ve just come from Paris where you attended the G-8 meetings and where the UK and France were leading the push for a no-fly zone over Libya. The U.S. has also been consulting with the United Nations on possible stronger measures against Qadhafi. What measures? More sanctions or is the military option on the table now?

SECRETARY CLINTON: It is on the table, and I think the Arab League statement on Saturday was an extraordinary commitment. For the Arab League to call for action against one of its own members because Colonel Qadhafi has lost his legitimacy to govern, and he is murdering his own people, and of course, he’s putting a million Egyptian lives at risk as well who are still in Libya, was a real strong message to everyone. And so when I was in Paris meeting with the G-8, the talk was all about the Arab League statement. So as you know, the Lebanese, the British, and the French have introduced a resolution.

There is intensive negotiations going on in New York as we speak to determine whether we can reach international consensus on a resolution that will authorize strong action and that will include Arab leadership and participation. So the United States is deeply involved in those negotiations. Some nations were very much opposed before the Arab League statement; they are much more open now. And there is a sense of urgency because Colonel Qadhafi and his forces are moving east, and so we want to see the Security Council act as soon as possible.

QUESTION: Years on, Iraq is still not quite the stable democratic model that the U.S. hoped it would be, and many are concerned that this may be the fate of other countries in the region if the United States intervenes militarily.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that is why the United States does not want to take any unilateral action and why it is very important that no country take action unless it is authorized by the United Nations Security Council. And we will see whether the Security Council will do that now.

QUESTION: Iran seems to have been put on the backburner for now because the focus is on other countries in the region, and yet the Iranian threat is still very much alive. They’re calling what’s happening in the region an Islamic awakening, and they’ve threatened to intervene in Bahrain. What is the United States reaction when you hear such defiant statements from Ahmadinejad?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that it is the height of hypocrisy for Iran, which allowed its own revolution to be hijacked and is turning into a military state with the revolutionary guard largely in control at this moment in time – it’s a very sad commentary on what the people of Iran expected back in 1979. And it’s an (inaudible) lesson to Egyptians, Tunisians, and everyone that democracy must be carefully nurtured, and no one should be allowed to claim that they have all the answers and that only they can govern. I have a lot of confidence in the Egyptian people. I think that Egypt has shown that Egyptians are ready to stand up for your rights and to claim those rights and also to be part of making the decisions necessary for a democracy.

So I think Egypt is the best rebuke to Iran. You are basically demonstrating to the Iranians that they can talk all they want and try to somehow take credit, but they don’t deserve any credit because they have allowed their own revolution to unfortunately deny their own people their voices, their votes, their freedoms, and their rights, which is not at all what Egypt is looking for.

QUESTION: How do you see the fate of the stalled Middle East peace process after Mubarak? After all, he had been trying to reconcile Fatah and Hamas, he had promised to block the tunnels into Gaza, and he was trying to negotiate the release of Gilad Shalit. So what now after Mubarak and after Omar Suleiman?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that now, there is even more of a reason for the Israelis and the Palestinians to resolve their conflict and to create a two-state solution. I think what is happening in the region which gives so much energy to democracy should be a strong encouragement to both the Israelis and the Palestinians. And we are determined to pursue the peace between the two of them.

We have never given up. We are not discouraged no matter what they say. We are moving straight ahead. President Obama and I have made that clear time and time again because we think actually it is even more important to do now to make sure that the Palestinians can realize their own dreams for a state and to have their own democracy, and that Israel can have security so that they can contribute to the economic prosperity of the region. And so I’m hoping that the circumstances of these events will actually push the parties closer together.

QUESTION: American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, I can’t thank you enough for joining me on the program. For me, this is a comeback, and I am hoping that it will be a contract for Egyptian television for a freer, more open state media. Thank you for giving me this time.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you for your leadership on that, too.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Thank you so much.

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Interview With Michele Kelemen of NPR


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Melanne Verveer
Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues
International Women of Courage Awardees Eva Abu Haalaweh and Ghulam Sughra
Washington, DC
March 8, 2011

QUESTION: So before we talk about the individual stories, I wanted to ask sort of more broadly about what’s happening, because you alluded to this today, in Egypt that there are so many women out in the streets but nobody rewriting the constitution. So what is the U.S. doing to encourage the Egyptian Government to include women, to listen to women?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it’s our role to support Egyptian women who are speaking up for themselves. And we certainly try to ensure that their concerns are heard by the new Egyptian Government, because it would be a shame with all of the extraordinary change that’s going on in Egypt if women were somehow not given their opportunity to be part of bringing about the new Egypt.

Women, like men, have the full range of political opinions. I mean, women go from one end of the political spectrum to another, just like men. So we don’t argue for any particular group of Egyptian women; we just want to see that Egyptian women’s voices, especially of their lawyers, their professors, their judges, their business leaders, just so many accomplished women, are part of the decision making.

QUESTION: And do you talk about that, though, when you pick up the phone and talk with the foreign minister or whoever the latest foreign minister is? (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: I do, because I – and I think it’s important that we always raise it because we think it will make a better outcome. We don’t want to see Egypt or Tunisia or anyplace eliminate half the population when they think about the future. That would make no sense at all.

QUESTION: One of the things that’s happening, I mean, as you have to sort of rethink strategy in the Middle East is you have groups – political Islam sort of becomes a reality. In Tunisia, they’re worried that women’s rights were very strong under Ben Ali. So how do you recalibrate U.S. foreign policy keeping in mind women’s issues?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t see a contradiction. I think that women are playing a major role in so many countries across the world today that didn’t have a chance to in the past. Pakistan had a woman prime minister, who very tragically was killed, but she was very brave in standing up for women and women’s role in the world. India has had a woman prime minister. Bangladesh currently has a woman prime minister. You go from country to country to country and each country is different, but in the 21st century there’s no doubt in my mind that there should be no excuses about using women’s talents and educating girls and making sure that they have access to the same opportunities as their brothers.

QUESTION: I want to ask about Jordan specifically because that’s a country that you’re coming from. What role are women playing in the transitions there, and do you feel the support from the U.S.?

MS. HALAWEH: In fact, in Jordan, the King is leading the reform. He is the person who started talking about (inaudible) ago. And also (inaudible) also they are working with us to do difference on women’s rights, especially work against discrimination and to protect victims of domestic violence. Now, we did add on, of course, and they (inaudible) in the Jordanian community. And part of this, part of the (inaudible) is talking about (inaudible). It’s also part of the response we want, more women’s participation, more – also a compact (inaudible) all kinds of (inaudible), all kinds of discrimination against women (inaudible).

QUESTION: What was your message to the Secretary about U.S. policy? Because she has to think about the new realities in the Middle East. I mean, you’re – as a woman, as a Jordanian, as a Palestinian.

MS. HALAWEH: In fact, I (inaudible) – I mean, the courage woman in Palestine, they really need her support. We are looking for a change and toward more courage towards the Palestinian issue. We (inaudible) two weeks ago for the – using the veto and for conducting (inaudible) the settlements. But (inaudible) humanitarian sense that (inaudible) watch what’s happening now in Palestine and that (inaudible) will be a change I believe on (inaudible) humanitarian sense.

QUESTION: Okay. Well, I also want to ask you about – because I know we don’t have that much time – about Afghanistan and Pakistan because there was just this report out about the U.S. aid clause that’s been dropped for requirements for gender equality. Why was that dropped, and are you worried about – are you backing off from these demands in Afghanistan?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, we’re not backing off at all. And Melanne may want to answer that specifically, but what we’re trying to do is be effective. We want to get the results so that it’s not just a rhetorical claim that we can point to, but actual results on the ground. Melanne, you might want to add to that.

AMBASSADOR VERVEER: Well, the specific issue that was raised was in a USAID program that was directed at land rights, and there were some changes made as that program was being implemented. But I think the real misunderstanding that came out of that was a sense that the United States was reevaluating its (inaudible) policy in Afghanistan vis-à-vis Afghan women. And that couldn’t be farther from the truth. It is very much central to our stabilization program there. We’ve got extraordinary investments in education, in health, particularly ameliorating and decreasing maternal mortality, which is the second worst problem in the world in Afghanistan; strong investments in women’s economic participation; and the Secretary has been an extraordinary leader on women’s political participation. Obviously, there are many more women in the parliament, but the big issue today is so-called reintegration and reconciliation and whither goest the women in the peace process.

And in that situation, from their participation in the peace jirga to very strong statements and leadership that she has underscored repeatedly about the red line in all of this, which is that any reintegration take place by renouncing violence, renouncing al-Qaida, and strongly supporting the Afghan constitution, which has women’s rights chiseled into it. And that means the right to go to school. It means the right to work.

So women’s participation, as has so often been articulated by the Secretary in particular and others as we engage in Afghanistan, is that any potential for peace – and women want an end to the conflict more than anybody, but any potential for peace will be subverted if women’s voices are marginalized or silenced. And (inaudible) our effort is very central to what we’re doing there because the prospect for peace won’t succeed without it.

QUESTION: And you’ve talked recently about a diplomatic surge. So there’s that —


QUESTION: I mean, is that something that —

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s exactly what we are doing. We’ve had certainly a surge in military activity and forces. We’ve had a surge in civilian personnel. But what I’m focused on now is what I call the third surge, which is the diplomatic and political, searching for ways that we can end the conflict in Afghanistan, work with Pakistan to help stabilize Pakistan against the threat it faces from extremists.

So there’s a lot that we have to work on, but I want to reinforce the message from Melanne, and that is I personally – this Administration is absolutely committed to doing everything we can to support the women of Afghanistan and Pakistan, because we believe that you will have greater stability and greater security if women are included. If women are educated, if women have a chance to have their voices heard, if they are respected, that will eventually result in a much more stable society.

QUESTION: The U.S. pours a lot of aid into Pakistan, so are there those sorts of requirements in U.S. aid?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We do everything we can to try to work to focus on women and girls. It’s not the only thing that we do. We do a lot of security aid which goes primarily to the military or to the police force or to other elements of the security structure in both countries. But when it comes to our civilian aid, we believe that improving education, improving healthcare, improving agriculture, improving governance and the rule of law, is all about improving the lives of girls and women.

QUESTION: So I wanted to ask you then if you feel that support, because the relationship with Pakistan is so complex, there’s so many different issues, whether you feel that support from the United States.

MS. SUGHRA: I told already I can’t do anything in Pakistan without support and help, so we are working for women issues (inaudible) little bit, not much more. And Pakistan many issues by the women, they don’t get education, there is no facility for help, there is no facility in the village and the desert areas. The women is like (inaudible). So there is male-dominated society in Pakistan. Males dominate and their violence on the woman and different violence in the home.

So I want the support from the State Department and the popular ladies, so I want that support. And I am very happy I work in Pakistan but give me respect (inaudible) in USA. So there is many problem for me, why you go to the village, why you empower the women, why you work in – for the women? So here is very support and very kind people, and I am very happy. I want the support in Pakistan from USA.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that’s a really important point, because the work that she does or the other women do is often very lonely work, very isolating work. Sometimes your family doesn’t understand, the people that you grew up with, live with, don’t understand. They keep asking why aren’t you happy the way things are? Why do you want to try to change things?

And it can be a very unhappy experience trying to change things to help people. And I think part of what we’ve tried to do over the last two years, and then for many years before that, is to make it very clear that the United States, either through our government or through individuals or through our charities, we will try to help those who are standing up for human rights and women’s rights against great odds.

To start a school in her village in Pakistan was an act of such enormous bravery, because most of the people didn’t see any reason why girls should go to school. And it seems like in some respects an obvious sort of thing – of course girls should go to school – but she has to fight for that every single day. And so we want to help her.

But what we would really like is to see changes in attitude in Pakistan so that the people in Pakistan would help her do what she’s trying to do to make Pakistan better.

QUESTION: Okay, I’ve been told I’m out of time, but if you could just real briefly – she brought up the question of doing something on Palestine. I mean, should we be expecting any big new surge on this front?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we hope so because we believe strongly that the Palestinian people deserve their own state and they deserve a state that can provide economic opportunity and security and democracy. And I am very supportive of what is going on in the Palestinian authority because they’re proving that they can build a state. And now I want to see the political changes that are necessary so that there can be two states living side by side. And I’m not saying anything that I haven’t said to the Israelis and the Palestinians many times. It is now more than ever the opportunity to resolve this conflict, because people deserve, if you’re in Israel, to live in security, and if you’re a Palestinian, to live in your own state. And the only way that will happen is if there is an agreement between the two. And we are pushing every single day for that.

QUESTION: Is Netanyahu coming here with a plan?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We are looking for a lot of action on the part of the leadership in both – on both sides.

QUESTION: Thank you very much for your time.


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