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Posts Tagged ‘OAS’

Beginning with a brief history of U.S. Latin American policy from the Cold War to the current administration, Hillary

A.  Cites Clinton administration initiatives:

  1. The first Summit of the Americas in 1994,
  2. The successful anti-narcotrafficking and anti-guerrilla Plan Colombia,
  3. The restoration of the democratically elected Bertrand Aristede to his post in Haiti;

B. Credits the George W. Bush administration for the Merida (anti-drug) initiative and continued support of Plan Colombia, but cites left v. right wing point of view of that  prevented that administration from broadening cooperation with our neighbors to the south;

C. Cites President Obama’s promise, in his April 2009 Summit of the Americas speech, of a new “equal partnership” relationship with the region and a fairer Cuba policy.

She does not mention this encounter with Hugo Chavez at that summit, but the picture is priceless.

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She choose Mexico as her starting point to implement the new policy.  She was familiar with the border area from her 1972 campaign experiences there. She and her then campaign colleague Bill Clinton had gone south of the border to a beach on a recovery vacation  after the election.

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She had fond memories of Mexico, but attacks on consulates in 2008 and 2010, the last with murders involved, indicated the dangers civil servants faced. Her first trip to Mexico as secretary of state was in March 2009.  Patricia Espinosa is one of several strong Latin American women leaders with whom she formed a strong bond.

Hillary Clinton in Mexico with Women Leaders and Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa

She doesn’t mention this but I shall.  She surprised the rector at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe with an unscheduled visit the morning of her second day there.  He was delighted.  That day she also held a round table with indigenous students from community colleges, visited an industrial plant, and then gave the speech in Monterrey at TecMilenio University that she does refer to in her book.  It was a spectacular two days that we celebrated here.

Hillary Clinton in Mexico Day 2

This was the Mexico visit she refers to when President Calderon was furious over the wikileaks and demanded that Ambassador Pascual be replaced – said he could no longer work with him.  She states that Pascual resigned in March 2011.  If anyone tries to tell you that wikileaks caused no damage, be skeptical.  This was only the tip of a very large and damaging iceberg.  Thank heaven Hillary had a great relationship with Patricia Espinosa and with the Mexican people.

Hillary Clinton in Mexico

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks With Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa

Secretary Clinton’s Interview With Denise Maerker of Televisa

Secretary Clinton’s Interview With Rossana Fuentes of CNN en Espanol

 

As a model for Mexico, she suggests Colombia and reviews the Clinton administration effort called Plan Colombia, a joint effort of her husband’s administration with then President Pastrana.  The initiative continued and expanded under the Bush administration, but human rights issues arose.  The Obama administration continued the plan but with additional work on governance, education, and development.

Her first visit to Colombia as secretary of state happened to coincide with a visit Bill Clinton was making there.  It was the first time they were together on foreign soil since she had assumed her post.  They actually managed a dinner date and a peaceful evening walk through Bogota.  She remarks on the contrast with the violence of the past.

Bill and Hillary Clinton: The Tryst

In her meeting with President Uribe the following day he also comments upon the dramatic security progress in the capital.

Secretary Clinton’s Joint Press Availability with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe

This morning, I was saying to some members of the media that were here (inaudible) that the best PR for confidence in Colombia is that last night, the Madam Secretary of State of the United States and the president, Bill Clinton, were in a restaurant in Bogota with complete peace of mind enjoying this beautiful city and its good restaurants. Some years ago, because of terrorism, this would have been unthinkable. Your visit, the fact that you spent the night in Bogota, the frequent visits by President Clinton, those are a great show of confidence in Colombia and the fact that one can have confidence in Colombia.

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Uribe was near the end of his term at this point.  His successor, Juan Manuel Santos continued the progress and improvement continues, she states.

Hillary attended the presidential inauguration in El Salvador in June 2009 that dovetailed with the Pathways to Prosperity Ministerial Summit.

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Hillary Clinton at the Pathways to Prosperity Ministerial in El Salvador

Hillary Clinton Op-Ed: New Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas

A model  she suggests for conquering poverty in Latin America is Brazil’s conditional cash tranfer programs.  Dating back to the 1990s under President Cardoso and expanded by President Lula da Silva, it transfers cash to parents as a reward for keeping children in school and under proper pediatric supervision.  Lula’s successor, Dilma Rousseff was inaugurated on January 1, 2011, and Hillary was happy to be there there.

Secretary Clinton at the Inauguration of Dilma Rousseff

She encountered Chavez there again.

She departed El Salvador for Honduras where she attended CARICOM and the OAS Summit.

Hillary Clinton at CARICOM Breakfast

There was suspense and high drama at the June 2009 OAS summit.  Several members intended to put forth a resolution to readmit Cuba.  The proponents were the predictable suspects, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, and Mel Zelaya of Honduras was also leaning that way.  More moderate countries like Chile and Brazil were considering approval.  Cuba was not represented at the summit and had expressed no interest.  The concern was that if a vote was called a simple 2/3 majority could and might approve since Cuba was originally excluded based on outdated Cold War standards.

The U.S. strategy involved updating the standards to focus on democracy and human rights and to require that the petition be presented by the Cuban government rather than by proxy.  There was also a timing issue since Hillary was scheduled to fly to Cairo to attend the much-anticipated speech Obama was to deliver there.

The vote was not called before Hillary had to leave, but the U.S. compromise plan did prevail.  Castro reacted by refusing to petition for readmission.

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Press Statement: OAS Resolution

 In December 2009 the Castro regime arrested USAID worker Alan Grossman.  Hillary says one of her biggest regrets is that she was not able to bring him home.  Before leaving office she recommended reassessing the Cuba embargo and shifting the onus to the Cuban government.

In mid-June, (she does not mention this, but I will)  Hillary slipped in the State Department parking garage and fractured her elbow.   I add this because a subsequent  press briefing refers to it.

Hillary’s Fractured Elbow

In late June 2009, just weeks after Hillary had been at OAS in San Pedro Sula, the democratically-elected president of Honduras, Mel Zelaya,  was arrested and put, in his pajamas, on a plane to Costa Rica.  His wife and daughters requested refuge at our embassy residence and Hillary ordered that they be kept safe.  The President of the National Congress Roberto Micheletti, assumed power.  U.S. aid was suspended (by law) as was OAS membership.

Hillary Clinton: Situation in Honduras

Here she spoke at length about the coup in Honduras.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is seen in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington

Hillary Clinton’s Press Briefing After Breaking Her Elbow

On July 7, Zelaya made his way to D.C. and visited Hillary at the State Department.  She had recruited Costa Rica’s President Óscar Arias to mediate.  Zeleya accepted mediation and from that point all that came before was wiped clean.  It was a new playing field.  Hillary stipulates that she made the announcement alone so as not to appear to Micheletti as if Zelaya was being favored.

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Hillary Clinton: Remarks at the Top of the Daily Press Briefing

Zelaya remained in exile.  Arias was encountering a hard line on both sides and was in favor of restoring Zelaya to power based on principles.   Allowing the de facto government to stay would, he said,  have a domino effect across the region.

In September, Zelaya returned to the State Department.  There were no remarks or press briefings, only this photo.  Immediately afterwards he turned up at the Brazilian Embassy in San Pedro Sula.
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At the end of October a unity agreement was in place.  The Honduran Congress voted not to restore Zelaya.  He went to the Dominican Republic.  November elections were held and Porfirio Lobo was elected.  Many OAS countries disagreed with this solution, but in May 2011 Honduras was readmitted.

Hillary Clinton Hails Return of Honduras to OAS

 

It was, Hillary notes, the first time in Central American history that a coup was resolved democratically.  She concludes that the trend in Latin American is toward democracy, shared opportunities, positive partnerships, and innovation.

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Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>

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There are almost no pictures available from the past two days. I would love to see pics from yesterday’s Town Hall, but no luck. Anyway This was an important event, pics or no pics.

Secretary Clinton Meets with Members of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
January 27, 2012

 


Today, Secretary of State Clinton met with Professor Dinah Shelton, President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), and the members of the Commission.

This is an historic moment for the Commission, which welcomes three newly elected women Commissioners to serve on the hemispheric human rights body. A principal and autonomous organ of the Organization of American States (OAS), the Commission advances the promotion and protection of human rights throughout the Americas. It impacts thousands of lives in the hemisphere through the issuance of decisions and recommendations to OAS member states to improve the human rights conditions in their countries.

Secretary Clinton stressed the United States’ support for the work of the Commission and its Rapporteurs. The visit also provided occasion for the announcement of an increase in the United States’ financial support for the Commission.

The Commission plays a unique role and is a model for other regions. It investigates individual petitions that allege violations of human rights and publishes special reports on individual countries. It also promotes human rights through the work of its Rapporteurs such as the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. The Commission’s work has helped to protect and in many cases saved the lives of those who work to advance human rights and advocate for the needs of vulnerable populations.

The defense and promotion of human rights is a foundation of the OAS, and the United States is committed to continuing support of the Commission’s work and its independence. Preserving the IACHR’s autonomy from political interference is a pillar of our human rights policy in the region.

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Agreement Facilitating Honduras’ Return to the OAS

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 23, 2011

The United States welcomes the agreement reached yesterday in Colombia by Honduran President Porfirio Lobo and former Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya. Thanks to the help of the Colombian and Venezuelan governments, this agreement paves the way for the reintegration of Honduras to the Organization of American States (OAS) and gives Honduras the opportunity to pursue national reconciliation and end its isolation from the international community.

The United States commends the Governments of Colombia and Venezuela for the initiatives and efforts they undertook that led to this agreement. The tireless commitment by other Central American countries and the Dominican Republic helped this initiative reach a successful end that will now give Honduras the opportunity to return to the OAS. We now look forward to prompt action by member countries of the OAS to allow Honduras to resume its participation.

Today is a great day for the people of Honduras and for all Hondurans around the world.

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We have seen that she met with President Garcia and participated in the OAS General Assembly today. Here is a short snip from today’s press briefing. Quick update, and information about tomorrow.

Alert! Turbo-Secretary on the move!

Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
June 7, 2010

“… she’s also completed bilaterals with the foreign ministers of Mexico, Panama, and Bolivia, as well as the deputy foreign minister of Brazil.

Tomorrow, she will fly to Quito, Ecuador, where she will meet with President Correa and deliver remarks at the Metropolitan Cultural Center to a group of roughly 300 people, including alumni of embassy exchange programs, NGOs, youth, business leaders, members of the media, academics, and diplomats.”

Hmmmm … The Deputy Foreign Minister of Brazil. Not Amorin?

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Address to the Organization of American States General Assembly

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
National Museum
Lima, Peru
June 7, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: (In progress) and let me express my thanks along with all others to our hosts, President Garcia, Foreign Minister Garcia Belaunde and also to Secretary General Insulza. I think it is fitting that we meet here in Peru, which has provided a strong example in our hemisphere of delivering on the promise of democracy, reducing poverty, creating more chances for more people to live up to their own God-given potential. And so once again, we reaffirm our common values and aspirations that bind us together as a community of nations and peoples.

We are here to discuss peace, security, and cooperation, and I commend our hosts for setting an agenda that does speak to our shared vision. We do share the goals of expanding social inclusion and economic opportunity; of ensuring the safety of our citizens; of securing clean sources of energy and protecting our environment; of building effective institutions of democratic governance and accountability, while preserving and strengthening our heritage of pluralism, tolerance, and diversity. These are tremendous advantages and will become more so as this century progresses.

We are committed to strengthening our hemisphere’s mechanisms for collectively resolving disputes and for further fostering the conditions of sustained peace. And thanks to the reduction of interstate tensions in the Americas, we can look for ways to reduce excessive weapons expenditures, free up resources to enhance our economic competitiveness, and expand opportunities.

Each of us has an obligation and responsibility to meet the needs of our citizens, but we also all face transnational challenges that demand international collaboration and partnership.

We believe it is in the national interest of the United States and of every nation represented here to promote pragmatic and productive collaboration among members of the community of the Americas. That is why we welcome multilateral partnerships like UNASUR and CARICOM and SICA and the South American Defense Council’s goal of promoting greater confidence among its members and more effective cooperation to ensure security from organized crime and terrorism.

Multilateral organizations, and indeed partnerships of any kind, are useful when they make a real difference in the lives of our peoples. So our partnerships must be measured by results, the results they produce, not by the roster of members or the ideological alignment or the heated rhetoric. The United States is committed to doing our part as a full and active partner in the Americas and working with any organization committed to advancing the true welfare of people in the 21st century.

And under President Obama’s leadership, we have reengaged with robust multilateral diplomacy, and we support the Organization of American States as the foremost multilateral organization of the hemisphere. Why is that? Well, look, we all know that the OAS has not always lived up to its founding ideals. We all know there is serious work to be done to bolster the institution. But the OAS’s goals of strengthening democratic institutions, safeguarding human rights, promoting inclusive development, and enhancing multidimensional security are more important than ever. And mechanisms established by the OAS, such as the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption and the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, provide critical tools to help improve governance and respect for human rights.

We believe it is possible to build a stronger, more vibrant, more effective OAS that both serves the interests of member states and has the capacity and will to tackle regional challenges and prevent crises before they arise.

Today I would like to propose three steps to realize this OAS vision. First, we need to refocus the institution on its core mission of advancing strong democratic institutions that foster peace, citizen security, and opportunity for all.

Last year alone, the OAS conducted election observation missions in Bolivia, Mexico, Panama, El Salvador, and Ecuador. This is among the organization’s most important contributions. But the OAS suffers from a proliferation of priorities and mandates that

dilute its efforts, drain its budget, and diminish its capacity. We should align the OAS budget and staffing in accordance with its core activities, and it is critical that this happen in time for the September budget discussions.

Second, along that same line, we must work together to reform the OAS budget and take responsibility. The current path is fiscally unsustainable and threatens the viability of the organization itself. President Obama has asked the United States Congress for a three percent increase in support for the OAS, but the United States cannot do this alone. And we look to other countries to do what they can do to increase their own support.

Third, in keeping with refocusing on the core mission of the OAS, it is time to move ahead with implementing the Inter-American Democratic Charter. The United States will work with member states to jointly develop a collaborative Plan of Action to guide implementation, and we hope to see this plan adopted in time for the 10th anniversary of the Charter in September 2011. In particular, we should consider more precise guidelines for what constitutes an unconstitutional alteration and incorporate the Charter’s “essential elements” of democracy in the OAS peer review process. The creation of a Special Rapporteur for Democracy would enhance these efforts.

Our ongoing discussions about Honduras makes clear the urgency of this agenda. As we emphasized when the United States, along with the rest of the hemisphere, condemned the coup in Honduras, these interruptions of democracy should be completely relegated to the past – and it is a credit to this organization that they have become all but nonexistent in the Americas.

Now it is time for the hemisphere as a whole to move forward and welcome Honduras back into the Inter-American community. We’ve worked with many of you to help Honduras find a path back to democratic order. We saw the free and fair election of President Lobo, and we have watched President Lobo fulfill his obligations under the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord – including forming a government of national reconciliation and a truth commission. This has demonstrated a strong and consistent commitment to democratic governance and constitutional order.

At the same time, we must find ways to address conditions like those that led to the coup in Honduras before they turn into crises. There can be no higher priority for all of us than strengthening our institutions and mechanisms of cooperation so they effectively preserve the rule of law, basic rights, and the democratic order.

Our hemisphere stands at a crossroads today. A rising generation of young people – born in the Americas, versed in the technologies of the 21st century, and enriched by the diversity of our multicultural societies – stands poised to lead the globe in the years to come, to thrive in vibrant democratic societies and open and interconnected markets.

They will build the businesses, discover the innovations, and develop the future that we all deserve. Or we can see a different outcome. We could see another generation frustrated by democratic dreams deferred and economic potential denied. Those young people are waiting because they know that their future depends on the decisions that we all will make.

Democratic, accountable governance and human rights are the birthright of every man, woman, and child in the Americas. And responsible, democratic governance is essential to meeting all of our other challenges – widening the circle of prosperity, promoting greater economic and social inclusion, equality among all, protecting our citizens, securing clean sources of energy, and addressing the impacts of climate change.

The United States believe that the OAS has a vital role to play as a champion of democratic institutions, human rights, and the rule of law. But ultimately, the OAS reflects us. It is a product of the member states, and I believe we must come together this year to ensure that the OAS is prepared and ready to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of this century. The United States stands ready to work with all of you to achieve this goal.

Thank you, Secretary General.

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Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) Ministerial

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Inter-American Development Bank
Washington, DC
April 15, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you very much, Luis Alberto, and to everyone here at IDB. Thank you for hosting this important gathering. And I am delighted to see so many friends in the audience representing not only the important work that we talk about today, but the partnership across our hemisphere. And I know that Secretary Chu spoke with you this morning and someone’s already told me that he was the funniest physicist you’ve ever heard from. (Laughter.) And I have to agree, probably the funniest Nobel Prize Laureate as well.

But I think that his presence this morning, mine here today, really gives you, I hope, the strong message as to how committed the Obama Administration and I personally am, as well as Secretary Chu, to this initiative. And I want to thank Secretary General Insulza and OAS for their cooperation and participation on so many fronts, because we feel that we are at a point of such great promise here in the hemisphere. Energy innovation is happening all over. We see it. But it is not yet at the scale that it needs to be.

Millions of people in Brazil traveled to work and school today in vehicles fueled by ethanol. In Costa Rica, a country working to become the world’s first carbon-neutral country, shops, households, hospitals are running on electricity generated from renewable sources. In Mexico, a cement corporation is powered by Latin America’s largest wind farm. In Chile, the construction of a solar farm is underway in the desert. And a clean energy technology network is being developed across the region, linking centers in Peru, El Salvador, Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Brazil. And Trinidad and Tobago have announced that they will also build a center.

So this is happening in our hemisphere. Governments and businesses are investing in new technologies and new sources of energy. And these efforts do have global significance. But we have to use our own creativity and our commitment to bring these efforts to scale. We need sustainable and, yes, profitable solutions that bring more and more dollars into the marketplace. And we have a chance to do that – to create not only progress on energy innovation that will save people money, that will use indigenous sources of energy, but which will also help us fight climate change.

I believe that this is part of the overall strategy to combat poverty, and to do so in a way that is inclusive. We know that in our hemisphere, there is an income gap that has held back millions of people who have the talent, the desire, and yes, the work ethic to lift themselves up, to improve their lot, and to give their families, particularly their children, a different future. But they have lacked the opportunity. I believe that talent is universal, but opportunity is not. And it is our job to try to equal that equation.

We can open doors to those who live in remote regions off the grid or in cities growing too quickly for power companies to meet rising demand. And we have too many people in our hemisphere who spend too many hours in time-consuming tasks because they lack the technologies, including the most basic, namely electricity. We can create jobs for a growing population of young people throughout our hemisphere determined to seize their chance to make a better life. And by decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels, governments, particularly in the Caribbean, that now depend on imported oil can spend that money on social and economic development while decreasing their carbon emissions and protecting the natural environment that is one of the real treasures of our hemisphere.

This is not only an opportunity; this is a responsibility, and not just to ourselves and to each other, but to future generations. A year ago, President Obama proposed this partnership as a forum for sharing ideas and devising solutions. And through consultation with many of the countries here today, we identified five critical areas of engagement: energy efficiency, renewable energy, cleaner fossil fuels, energy poverty, and infrastructure. And today, I propose we add two new areas to help advance the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and to be prepared for the next conference in Cancun. Those are: sustainable forestry and land use, and adaptation to assist developing countries that have been and are being hardest hit by climate change.

Now, many countries represented here already collaborate on energy and climate policy. The Major Economies Forum includes Mexico, Brazil, Canada, and the United States. The Latin American Energy Organization, OLADE, brings together 26 nations to help meet its member nations’ energy needs. The countries of Central America have already made progress toward integrating their national electricity grids and creating a regional power market through SICA. And we have bilateral energy agreements already that crisscross our region.

But the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas is different and fills a critical niche. As one of my staff put it, it’s a little like Facebook; anyone can start an initiative and invite others to join, and countries can be part of as many initiatives as they choose. Or as one diplomat from the region said each of us is like a ship at sea, and though we may follow slightly different courses, we’re all making similar voyages and we can help each other on our journeys.

So the goal of this partnership is not to impose requirements or regulations but to create a forum and framework to share best practices, cultivate new collaborations, promote indigenous solutions, deepen regional ties, and foster local and national leadership. This is a mission not only for governments but for the private sector and civil society as well. And I’m so pleased that this gathering includes representatives from each.

Now, several nations have already taken the lead on key issues. I heard you had a very lively discussion earlier today that I am happy to hear about, because if it’s not lively, it means we’re not paying attention.

Canada is a leading heavy oil and unconventional fuels initiative designer, and what it’s trying to do is to improve extraction practices and promote responsible land management. As it learns, particularly from gas produced from shale, it will share those practices with the rest of us.

Colombia, the host of the next Summit of the Americas in 2012, is spearheading an initiative to help build and eventually link the infrastructure for long distance electrical transmission from Panama through the Andean states to Chile. Integrating these electrical grids will decrease energy losses, improve efficiency, and provide a powerful example of regional cooperation.

Mexico is taking steps to turn its wind energy center in Oaxaca into a regional center so governments interested in wind technology can study its model. And I appreciate Mexico’s continuing efforts to help Central American and Caribbean countries practice greater energy efficiency.

Brazil, which is building two million energy-efficient homes over the next four years, has launched a project called Building with Energy Efficiency and Sustainability. It focuses on green construction, especially in urban areas. Latin America is one of the world’s most urbanized regions. Eighty percent of the people live in cities, so Brazil’s initiative is a terrific example of how good ideas can and should spread across borders. And Brazil is building upon urban development projects in Chile, Colombia, and New Orleans. Several countries have joined the Brazilian initiative: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, and yes, the United States. And as a partner to this Brazilian initiative, the United States announced at the World Urban Forum in Rio last month that we will convene planners, developers, and architects to create a network of experts to spread learning, especially through university exchanges.

Now, these first-wave initiatives are exactly the kind of cross-cutting collaborations we hoped this partnership would produce. They’re pragmatic and they reflect the diversity of the hemisphere. And we urge other nations to join and to create your own initiatives. For our part, we believe the United States has a lot to learn, so we come to this partnership with deep respect for the leadership already being shown in the development of clean fuels and the adoption of sustainable technologies. We know we have some catching up to do, and we’re committed to doing just that. So today, I’m delighted to announce six energy and climate initiatives that the United States will launch through this partnership.

First, we will work to advance sustainable energy in the Caribbean. As I said, this is the area of the world most dependent on imported fossil fuels and suffering from the world’s highest electricity rates. That’s shameful in our hemisphere, and it shouldn’t be. The people of the Caribbean are creative, resilient; they’re able to lead the way in new forms of energy, and we want to be a partner. The United States will provide a grant to the Organization of American States to lend technical and legal expertise to any Caribbean country seeking to help get clean energy projects off the ground. We are committed to helping you with energy security. We think clean energy and energy security go hand in hand.

Yesterday, the OAS, the Caribbean energy ministers, CARICOM, the World Bank, the IDB, and officials from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands launched a dialogue to explore the possibility of installing undersea electric cables in the region to give the Caribbean access to new power supplies. Another exciting possibility would link Puerto Rico with the U.S. Virgin Islands and a third would link the islands of Nevis and St. Kitts.

So we have a lot we can do and we have to get started. Imagine a future in which instead of waiting for those oil tankers to come and dock, Caribbean nations are supplying each other with energy, whether it’s geothermal power from Dominica or gas from Trinidad.

Second, we will support energy and environmental security in Central America. Now, like the Caribbean, Central America has the potential to develop your own renewable energy, but it, too, remains dependent on imported fossil fuels. Countries like Honduras are already working to increase their power supply through renewable sources of energy. And the United States is ready to help the governments of Central America fulfill their goal of integrating their power infrastructures. Mexico and Colombia already support this effort.

Now, integration is a considerable undertaking, one that demands technical, legal, and policy reforms. But the countries of Central America have nearly 20 years of experience to build on and share with other nations. And I know that representatives from SICA met with Caribbean ministers at the OAS yesterday.

There will need to be some legal changes in the Caribbean and Central America, and there will need to be real leadership and political will to stand up against those who profit from imported oil. I’ve had discussions with some of the countries in the Caribbean and Central America. I know there are powerful political interests that dominate your imported oil markets that are very hard to take on. But you are beggaring your countries if you do not take them on and pass new laws that will create a new energy future and free up money that can be invested in health and education and raising the incomes of your people.

Third, we will work to advance sustainable biomass energy. In countries like Brazil, biomass in the form of crushed sugar cane stalks is used to power ethanol distilleries. We’re looking to promote the sustainable production and use of biomass. This effort will be led jointly by the State Department and the Department of Agriculture, and we invite other countries to participate with us.

Fourth, the United States will work through the Peace Corps to advance renewable energy efforts. More than 2,000 Peace Corps volunteers serve in this hemisphere. From now on, many of them will be trained in renewable energy and energy efficiency and will share their training with communities and help implement those practices. They’ll work with microfinance institutions and small businesses to provide financing for renewable energy projects so people can power their homes and towns without relying exclusively on generators fueled by oil or open cooking fires.

Cooking fires are one of the biggest sources of carbon across the world. They also produce the problems of all kinds of bad health, especially for children. The issue that we have to confront is how cooking fires are bad for the environment and they’re bad for your health. And there are low-cost solutions – some very advanced cooking stoves that are cost-effective and can eliminate many of those issues. The U.S. Government is working with private sector companies and NGOs to encourage the development of low-cost, more efficient, affordable cook stoves.

Fifth, the United States has named three of our top scientists to serve as ECPA fellows, and they will be available to any of you as consultants and advisors or educators. Our first is Dr. Daniel Kammen, a professor of energy at the University of California at Berkeley, who also serves as the founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, the co-director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment, and the director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center. He’s a very busy person. (Laughter.) And he was the coordinating lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

Now, Dr. Kammen is here and I was going to ask him to stand but the lights went back on. Dr. Kammen, there you are. Thank you so much, Dr. Kammen. (Applause.)

Our second fellow is Dr. Ruth DeFries, a professor of sustainable development at Columbia University, whose research explores the consequences of human behavior on climate, biodiversity, habitats, and ecosystems. She’s also an expert on tropical deforestation and its impact on carbon emissions. So please take advantage of Dr. DeFries.

And third is Dr. Gerry Galloway, an engineering professor at the University of Maryland, whose focus is on the management of water resources and the impact of climate change on water systems. Each of these scientists are leaders in energy and climate, and their research and advocacy will give you an extra added benefit if you take advantage of them. And I urge every country to nominate your own science fellows to facilitate greater learning and discovery.

Sixth, the United States will promote the use of shale gas. Now, I know that in some places is controversial. But natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel available for power generation today, and a number of countries in the Americas may have shale gas resources. If developed, shale gas could make an important contribution to our region’s energy supply, just as it does now for the United States. And the geologists at the U.S. Geological Survey are ready to work with partners to explore this potential. And we want to do it in a way that is as environmentally respectful as possible. So there are some best practices that we would be more than willing to share, and as countries develop the legislation or regulation necessary for this industry, to make sure it gets off on the best foot.

Now, we hope that we’ll have a lot of positive results from these initiatives and all the others that are taking place, and I look forward to future meetings where we share the progress that we each have been making. But as Luis Alberto said, I was last on this stage to talk about Haiti, and that was before the earthquake, so let me just mention a word about our friend and neighbor, Haiti. Today, fewer than 30 percent of Haitians have access to electricity. There is no greater energy crisis in our hemisphere than the one happening right now in Haiti. So as we work with the Haitian people to help rebuild their nation, we must focus on increasing their energy supply. And I want to thank Venezuela, who is represented here, for the support that you have given to Haiti in supplying energy to the people of Haiti.

The conversation we’re taking – that we’re having right here today echoes conversations that are happening all over the world. We know we’re spending too much money on energy. We know we’re not using the best forms of energy. We know we can create jobs with clean energy and energy efficiency. We just haven’t made the commitment and marshaled our resources to put us on that path.

Now, I’ve made six trips to Latin America during the past 15 months and I was fortunate to make many visits before that, so I know that our hemisphere can be the leader. I know that we can do things that no one else is doing and we can do better what others have already begun. The creativity, the talent, the persistence, the hard work of the people of the Americas is unmatched. I remember being at a state-of-the-art biogas plant in Mexico, and the municipal officials and the utility and the private investors and the Government of Mexico were so proud of that. Now, it’s not going to get headlines. Maybe they got a little bit of press coverage because I showed up. But it is the future and it is that kind of day-by-day commitment that is going to make the difference.

I’ve been to Chile and Haiti and talked with the people who were putting their lives back together after the earthquake. Well, as terrible as those tragedies were, they were also opportunities, and shame on us if we don’t move to take advantage of them.

I’ve met with families in El Salvador who are finally getting electricity because of solar panels as part of a Millennium Challenge Corporation program that is making all the difference to them and how they live. And I’ve met with women entrepreneurs in Costa Rica who are driving economic growth and understanding the importance at the same time of doing their part to combat climate change.

I was recently at Brazil’s only Afro-Brazilian university, and I was amazed at how many questions I got about energy and about renewable energy. You talk to young people, like those who actually use Facebook instead of just talking about it like I do – (laughter); they get it. They’re just waiting for us to get out of the way and to create the opportunities for them to have this clean energy, because they know they’re going to live with the consequences of the decisions that we make today.

So the fundamental purpose of this partnership is to promote sustainable growth that benefits all of our citizens. I started at the beginning by mentioning the large income gap that for too long has stalked our hemisphere. It is the most important challenge we face as fellow Americans. What do we do to make sure that we create rising incomes, improving standards of living for the people from the Arctic to the very tip of South America? Energy is one of the keys that will unlock what has been a consistent challenge over so many decades. We cannot lose this opportunity.

So I thank you for everything you are doing, and even more I thank you and challenge you for what you will do in the future. And I want you to know that the United States, under President Obama, stands ready to help in any way we can. We want to see growth that is sustainable. We want to see rising incomes. We want to see better lives. And we want to see the gap between talent and opportunity begin to narrow for the sake of us all. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

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Secretary Clinton gave an exclusive interview to Jackie Northam of NPR at the Fairmont Hotel before leaving Cairo. On the plane, she answered some questions from her press corps traveling with her. Both transcripts are below.

Interview With Jackie Northam of NPR

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Fairmont Hotel
Cairo, Egypt
November 4, 2009

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton’s trip was initially intended to shore up American credentials in Pakistan, but a Middle Eastern leg was added to her tour and ended up becoming the focus of her week overseas. I spoke with her shortly before she was to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Madame Secretary, thank you very much for taking the time.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.

QUESTION: You’re here in Cairo and about to meet with President Mubarak. Even though you started in Pakistan, most of your nine-day trip has been spent focusing on the Middle East. Now, as you’re about to head back home, do you feel that you have made any progress in that area? Do you feel that you’ve been able to nudge the Israelis and the Palestinians a little bit closer to the negotiating table?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jackie, I think that I had always intended to end in Morocco for the Forum for the Future and meet with my Middle Eastern and Arab counterparts. And it was, I think, a good opportunity, since I was in the region, to visit in depth with both Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian President Abbas, as well as others who have been involved in this effort from around the region.

I think it’s important to just put this in a broader perspective. The President always knew that this would be hard, and is committed and is absolutely determined that the United States will stay very involved and working to bring the parties together. Our goal is to re-launch negotiations as soon as practical. And on the way to that, we’re going to keep talking and listening and encouraging and prodding, because I’ve been around this issue in a very close and personal way for, gosh, 16 years now. And I know that when the United States leaves the field and basically says, “Well, the parties have to work this out themselves,” we don’t get the kind of forward movement that we think is necessary.

QUESTION: Great, thank you. If you were able to convince both sides to at least take a couple steps forward and sit at that table and restart the peace negotiations, wouldn’t Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas look weaker than ever?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t think so, but of course, what matters is not what I think, but what he thinks. And there’s been a sequence of actions which have complicated the effort for him. I, however, believe that getting into negotiations, having his negotiators discuss with the Israeli negotiators what are called the final status issues, which President Obama listed in his United Nations speech in September in New York – everything from borders to Jerusalem to refugees – has to be resolved between the parties.

So I think his getting into negotiations would actually change the dynamic and give him a very strong platform. But for all kinds of reasons, most particularly his willingness to work with the Israeli Government to postpone the so-called Goldstone report, has made it very difficult for him to go forward at this time.

QUESTION: Okay. Just to switch gears a bit, you spent a lot of time explaining to Arab states and others over the past few days what you meant in Jerusalem when you were talking about the Israeli West Bank settlements. And your comments were viewed by quite a number of people as praising Israel’s proposal to slow rather than halt the construction. And yesterday, you acknowledged that perhaps you should have been a bit more clear when you were explaining President Obama’s policies on that.

How much of a problem did your comments in Jerusalem create?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t think it created a long-term problem, but it certainly created a lot of questions. And the reason is because President Obama has tried to do something which no previous American president, including my husband, tried to do, which was to make absolutely clear what has been American policy for 40 years – namely that we view Israeli settlement activity as not legitimate. We think that their changing the facts on the ground, so to speak, is something that should be ended.

So when President Obama said look, we want to see an end to settlement activity, that was unprecedented. And then when the Israeli Government, under this prime minister, said we will agree to end all new settlement activity, that was really unprecedented as well.

I have taken the position that when the Israelis or when the Palestinians make a positive step, they should be encouraged, so that – I have said to the Israelis, I’ve said publicly and privately that the Palestinians have made real progress on security, something which people did not expect, and to this day, a lot of people don’t give enough credit to. So I think my job is to try to keep people focused on what is actually both possible and positive. And the Israeli offer was not at all what we would prefer. It did not go far enough, but it went further than anybody has before.

QUESTION: Were you surprised at the – how big a stir that created, though?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, no, I’m not surprised by anything – (laughter) – because this is the tightrope of all tightropes, and I’m well aware of that. But I also think it’s important to make the case. Settlements have never been a precondition by anyone – Palestinian or Arab or the United States – to getting into negotiations, because what is so clear is that once borders are decided, the settlement issue goes away. The Israelis build whatever they want in their territory, the Palestinians build whatever they want in theirs.

But what President Obama tried to do was to say look, this is such an irritant, it is such a terribly – it’s a terrible flashpoint for people in the region. And I was surprised that the Israelis went as far as they did. The Arabs and the Palestinians said it wasn’t far enough. I understand both sides.

QUESTION: Just a couple more questions if you don’t mind, if we could just switch over to Pakistan. And again, you spent time earlier on this trip explaining comments that you made in Pakistan as well, that al-Qaida had been in there since 2002, and that you found it hard to believe that no one in the government there knew where al-Qaida leaders were, and also – al-Qaida leaders were and couldn’t get them if they really wanted to.

Can I ask you, was that just – were those just spontaneous remarks or was that —

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, not at all, no. I mean, as you saw, the whole purpose of my trip was to try to clear the air with the Pakistani people and government, to reassert our support for Pakistan, particularly in this very difficult conflict they’re engaged in with the Taliban, and to listen and absorb all the criticisms they have. They had this sort of pent-up frustration with the United States. And as you know and as you saw, I listened and under – and tried to convey understanding of all of their questions about our policy, going back years.

But at the same time, I wanted to stress that we’re looking for a partnership, and they have to listen to our concerns as well as we listen to their concerns. I feel strongly that as we move forward in these very complex areas that pose real concerns to our national security, concerns to partners like Pakistan’s security, that it is important to make clear to the people – not just the leaders – that we have to speak openly with each other.

And the reaction that I got in Pakistan was overwhelmingly positive – and I’ve been reading a lot of the blogging and the reaction on the press – in part because they’re not used to anyone from the United States Government coming and opening herself to their concerns. They’re just used to saying – to having somebody say, take it or leave it, with us or against us, go forward or not. And so I think we’re building a stronger base for our relationship.

QUESTION: I have just one last question. We’ve seen Hamid Karzai be declared the winner of Afghanistan’s presidential elections while you were on this trip. There have long been concerns about his credibility and whether he can be counted upon as an ally of the U.S. And now that he has been reelected, is the Obama Administration more confident now that it can depend on him as a reliable ally, or is this sort of a wait-and-see situation?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I spoke with President Karzai after the election results were announced. And I told him that we now had a lot of work to do, and there were expectations on both sides. But certainly, from the American perspective, we believed it was important for him to establish a compact with the people of Afghanistan that would commit him and his new government to an anti-corruption campaign, to more accountability and transparency, to a recognition that there has to be more cooperation with local officials, that they have to work with us to build an adequate Afghan security force to protect and defend their country.

So we are laying out very clear expectations. We’re willing to offer our assistance, but we’re going to hold the Government of Afghanistan accountable for what they claim they want, which is the United States and the international community’s assistance in providing security for their people and in producing results for them as well.

QUESTION: Does he appear to be on board with all these initiatives that the —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, he certainly – he and I have a long relationship, and I have met with him many times over the last eight years, both in Afghanistan, in Washington, even in New York when he came to visit Fort Drum in upstate New York, where a lot of the soldiers who were part of the first wave of the invasion against the Taliban and al-Qaida in 2001 were based.

So he and I know each other. I have been waiting for the election, frankly, to finally be over. It has caused a delay in our policy, because how do you decide on important matters that are going to depend upon whatever agreements you make with the government until you finally get a result? So that is, thankfully, over. And our people, both Ambassador Holbrooke and Ambassador Eikenberry and the people working with them, are working to implement what we see as the necessary assurances we require from him.

QUESTION: Secretary of State Clinton, thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Jackie. Good to talk with you.

Remarks on The Plane in Cairo, Egypt

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Cairo, Egypt, DC
November 4, 2009

QUESTION: There seems to be a little confusion over whether the Egyptian position, which, as expressed by the foreign minister earlier in the week, seemed quite harsh, was very much (inaudible) Palestinians (inaudible), that the (inaudible) take up an opportunity to (inaudible), said fine, (inaudible), yeah, we’re not going to come out and scream and yell anymore, and maybe we’re going to tell them they shouldn’t do it, or he was just being polite? How did you interpret it?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I thought it was a very productive meeting. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Candid, cooperative?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Candid, cooperative, productive, constructive – and shows the value of consultation and listening and sharing ideas and hearing the other side and putting forth your views and explaining. I thought it was a very, very (inaudible).

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, in order to get the Palestinians to the negotiating table for – to start talking about full – about final status issues, would you – are you able to give them a guarantee that the negotiations would be about a state within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We are working – and I don’t want to get into negotiating details, but we are working to really fulfill what were, in essence, the terms of reference for any negotiations set forth in President Obama’s speech to the United Nations. I don’t think enough attention may have been paid to exactly what the President said and the importance of what he reaffirmed as the American position. And it obviously is about the territory occupied since 1967, it is about Jerusalem, it is about refugees, it’s about all of those final status issues.

So we want to be facilitating the return to negotiations. We don’t think that there’s any question in anybody’s mind about what’s going to be talked about.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, I just want to clarify something the Egyptian foreign minister said. On the one hand in the briefing, he said that any more settlement activity is completely unacceptable, but then in another breath, he said we’re focused on the endgame; we don’t want this issue or that issue to impede getting there. So in your private conversation with him, how did you understand the resolution of those seemingly conflicting comments?

SECRETARY CLINTON: The —

QUESTION: (Inaudible) one issue means don’t let settlements get in the way –

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, but that’s our position. We don’t think there should be continued settlement activity either. We would like to make it as clear as possible, which, as you heard, I repeated for the question from the Egyptian media. Our position has not changed. We have the same position. There is a desire to get into these final status negotiations, and we think taking advantage of a stop to all new settlement construction happens to be in the best interests of the negotiations.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton —

QUESTION: So then it wouldn’t be a precondition anymore? The Egyptians might go along with saying, okay, then don’t have a precondition, get it back to the table?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t want to speak for the Egyptians.

QUESTION: Okay.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And I think that you should let the foreign minister’s words stand for themselves. And Jeff speaks Arabic, so he can go into more detail about that. But I think it was very clear that the – and this is not very different from what I heard from my counterparts in Morocco. We have to figure out a way to get into the re-launch of negotiations.

And things have happened along the way, the Goldstone report being the most recent and the most difficult for everybody. And that was not – and you saw what happened is the Palestinians tried to postpone so that it wouldn’t be an issue and then they got criticized for that. And I mean, so – but that doesn’t take away from what the ultimate objective is, and that’s what I think you heard from Aboul Gheit and what you heard from me.

QUESTION: Have you talked with —

QUESTION: But how – where does Abbas get the cover to take that heat? Where does Abbas get the cover to drop the precondition?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Go ahead, (inaudible).

U.S. OFFICIAL: But he does not have to sign up for this deal. This is something that the Israelis are putting on – are talking about putting on the table. He doesn’t have to sign up for it at all. No one’s asking him to bless it.

QUESTION: No, you’re asking him to sign up for talks though, right?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, but that’s slightly different. The Israelis are offering this. It can be rejected by everyone. There’s no imposition of it, no requirement for it. The Israelis will decide whether or not they want to go forward with it. That’s up to the Israelis, obviously. But at the end of the day, this discussion about settlements will be mooted by getting into negotiations about borders. Because then, you can build what you want in your state and the other can build what they want in their state.

QUESTION: So just to follow up on my question very quickly, some Palestinians – some Palestinian officials have said that if you were – if the Americans were to give guarantees that negotiations would be about a state within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, they would consider this as an encouragement to sit down at the table of negotiations.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, and I think that’s —

QUESTION: Is that one way of getting around the settlement issue?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that’s a very welcome suggestion, and it is something that —

QUESTION: Is that something you’ve talked – discussed with them?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We have. We have discussed it with nearly everyone.

STAFF: I think it’s time to buckle up, guys.

QUESTION: Thank you.

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