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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Robinson’

Hillary harks back to her Girl Scout days and a song many of us can remember having sung in rounds: “Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver and the other gold.”

Reminding us that in the days following 9/11 NATO invoked Article V of the Washington Treaty, an attack on one is an attack on all, she launches a review of U.S.-European relations since the end of World War II, through the Cold War, and including deteriorating relations during the George W. Bush administration.

Upon assuming the post of secretary of state, she recalls, she made phone calls to European leaders letting them know we remain tight friends.  Her first opportunity to reinforce that message face-to-face came with her attendance at the April 2009 G-20 summit in London.

Playing Catch-up With Mme. Secretary 2: London

 

She formed an especially good working relationship with then UK Foreign Minister David Miliband, but allows that she also had a good rapport with then Shadow Foreign Minister, William Hague who now holds the post.  She dubs Hague “the David Beckham of toasting.”

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Prime Minister Cameron Meets With U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Playing Catch-up With Mme. Secretary 3: Germany, France, Czech Republic

She also singles out former French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, as one with whom she had an especially good rapport.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R

If your eyes welled up at times when reading the previous chapter about Pakistan, Hillary evokes smiles and laughter with her description of Former French president, Nicholas Sarkozy.  Revealing that often his interpreters had trouble keeping pace with him and that he asked her why all the other diplomats were unforgivably old, gray, and male,  she revisits that simply charming “Cinderella” moment when she lost her shoe on the steps of the Élyseé Palace.  (Posts here are not necessarily deep and analytical – as you may know.)

Hillary Clinton Loses Her Shoe And Looks Adorable Doing It!

 

She speaks of her strong admiration for German Chancellor Angela Merkel with whom she apparently shares a “color memo” phenomenon so uncanny that on a state visit in June 2011 Angela brought her a framed German front page where readers were challenged to guess which was which sans benefit of visible heads.

Slideshow: Hillary Clinton at Chancellor Angela Merkel’s State Visit Today

Video: Secretary Clinton at the State Luncheon in honor of German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Merkel Meets With Barack Obama

Hillary provides a pretty extensive retrospective on NATO, its post Cold War expansion in eastern Europe, and its contributions to operations in Afghanistan and in Libya.  She is very passionate on the subject of NATO calling it one the most successful military alliances in history (and the European Union one of the most successful political ones).  She contrasts 75% of the sorties over Libya striking 90% of the targets with the situation a decade before when the U.S. was responsible for hitting 90% of targets in Kosovo.   Her attestations on pages 231 and 232 are presidential (to the surprise of no one here).   A thing to behold.

Madeleine Albright was known for her brooch-diplomacy. Some of her foreign counterparts came to see her brooches as a mood-coding system.  Hillary, who is, after all, a self-described hair icon,  relates an amusing exchange when she was in Bulgaria (NATO member since 2004) in February 2012.  Prime Minister Boyko Borissov seemed edgy.  He finally confessed that he had heard that when her hair was pulled back it indicated a bad mood.  She reassured him that she was not engaging in hair diplomacy but that it “takes her a little longer” to get her look together.

Secretary Clinton with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov

Turkey has been in NATO since 1952, is strategically very important, but following the G.W. Bush administration the Turkish people took a dim view of the U.S.  Hillary’s first visit there as secretary of state was in March 2009.  She made it a point on that trip to take advantage of mass media.

Hillary Clinton’s Interviews in Turkey

On pages 234-235 she explains the term Islamist Party.  It is an important read.  She discusses [now outgoing] Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan at length and states her concerns regarding his “Zero Problems with Neighbors” policy, which, on first take, can appear very positive.  Hillary cites the real and potential pitfalls of such a policy, especially when Iran is one of your neighbors. [Reports are that Erdogan will continue calling the shots, so it is unlikely that this policy will be abandoned.]

Ahmet Davutoglu came into the picture early as a close advisor to Erdogan but soon became the Turkish foreign minister with whom she collaborated over nearly her entire term.  (Ali Babacan was the foreign minister she encountered on her first trip there.)  Only three months after that trip, Davutoglu arrived at the State Department as foreign minister and a long working relationship commenced.

(As I returned to the first draft of this post to edit it, Davutoglu was named the new prime minister of Turkey.  Congratulations, Mr. Prime Minister and the best of luck to you in your new post!)

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu shakes hands with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before taking part in meetings in Istanbul on June 7, 2012.  AFP PHOTO / POOL / Saul LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu shakes hands with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before taking part in meetings in Istanbul on June 7, 2012. AFP PHOTO / POOL / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sh Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ahmet Davutoglu

 

Hillary Clinton’s Bilaterals Today

Concerns remain.  Dissent is not easily tolerated.  Religious freedom is an issue.  Hillary  hosted Patriarch Bartholomew at a dinner in his honor early in her tenure at State.

Hillary Hosts The Patriarch

He, in turn, received her at the Patriarchy in 2011.  She has known him for a long time and has enormous respect for his opinion.   There is a beautiful slideshow at the link below.  Hillary mentions seized church property that has not been returned.  The photos provide an idea of the nature of what the government is holding.

Hillary Clinton Visits the Patriarchy in Istanbul

In chapter 9, we saw Hillary negotiate the re-opening of the supply lines from Pakistan into Afghanistan.  She never makes a big deal of that, but it was a testament to her diplomatic skills.  Without those lines open, important supplies could not get to the troops,  and they were closed for many months.

Another of her major accomplishments was one which she was never intended to handle and which she describes blow-by-blow.   She had traveled to Zurich simply to witness the signing of the Turkey-Armenia Accord.  It was to be a quick stop on the way to London.  A formality.  At the last minute  Armenian Foreign Minister Nalbandian balked about a speech Davutoglu was planning to make.   Hillary took it upon herself to fetch him and, using two cell phones,  negotiate an agreement for the parties to go ahead with the signing.  She operated mostly  in her SUV.  It was a very dramatic day.  She saved it, and at the event stepped aside for her Swiss counterpart,  Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, who was the host, to orchestrate the formalities.  I remember her giving Micheline a little wink of encouragement.  In typical Hillary fashion, she did not care to boast or take credit for this.  She only cared that the work got done.

OK! Now it is a done deal! Hillary helped negotiate the agreement

Turkey-Armenia Accord Salvaged and Signed – Hillary Helps Make History!

Video: Signing of the Armenia Turkey Protocols

How Hillary Saved The Day

 

She departed for the trip to the Balkans that she speaks of on the day of her wedding anniversary 2010.

The Balkans: A Family Affair

There were several notable stops and events on this trip, but she refers specifically to this town hall.

Hillary Clinton’s Town Hall at National Theater Sarajevo

And then there was Kosovo where there was a huge reception in Pristina.  She stood beneath the enormous statue of Bill Clinton, and then discovered a store named for her (so Bill wouldn’t be lonely).

Hillary in Clinton Country (Kosovo, That Is!)

No matter where she traveled as secretary of state, Hillary always made sure to hold a meet-and-greet at the embassy or consulate that had hosted her to thank them for all of the work they had done to make her visit go smoothly.  As it happened, her final stop as secretary of state was especially significant because it was at the Consulate General of Belfast.  Peace in Northern Ireland had been a high priority of the Clinton administration and hard work on both sides of the Atlantic and both sides of the Irish Sea had brought that troubled land closer to that goal than it ever had been before.

Video: Hillary Clinton with Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness

Hillary Clinton at The Ireland Funds Luncheon

Hillary Clinton with Staff and Families of Consulate General Belfast

Her remarks in the bilaterals at the link below contain references to the March 2009 attacks in Antrim and Armagh that she speaks about in this chapter.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Hillary Clinton’s Statement of Northern Ireland Decommissioning

She mentions, as well, her address to the Northern Ireland Assembly in October 2009.

Address of Secretary Clinton to Full Session of the Northern Ireland Assembly

The passages I bolded in the background briefing [in the link below] reflect,  I think,  what is so typical of the Hillary Clinton so many of us know and love,  the Hillary who works tirelessly in the background and declines credit for the good she does.   I am very certain that her intervention was integral in attaining this latest ascension up the tall ladder of unity in Northern Ireland.  But Hillary Clinton will always deflect the praise and aim the limelight on others with whom she has labored to reach an accord.  That is simply who she is and how she operates.  It is also very much a quality of character so many of us accept and admire about her.  I,  for one, am very mindful of the role she has long been playing in this peace process.   I know the devolution will succeed,  and there will be a final and lasting peace.  When it does, I and many, will forever remember the key role she played in the process, even as she disclaims it.

Secretary Clinton on Northern Ireland

This European chapter has been somewhat active re: updates prior to publication.  In the latest news, may this peacemaker rest in peace.

Former Ireland prime minister Reynolds dies aged 81

 

Statement by President Clinton on the Passing of Albert Reynolds

Statement August 21, 2014

I am saddened by the passing of former Prime Minister of Ireland Albert Reynolds, who worked hard and risked much as Taoiseach to advance the Northern Ireland peace process.  His leadership alongside British Prime Minister John Major was instrumental in laying the foundation for the Good Friday Agreement, and our world owes him a profound debt of gratitude.  I will always be grateful for his encouragement, advice, and support in the peace process.  I join with his wife, Kathleen, his children, his many friends, and the people of Ireland in mourning his loss.

 

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Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

 

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>

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In June 2009, Hillary Clinton, rushing to a meeting at the White House with Richard Holbrooke, slipped on the wet, oily floor of the State Department garage and fractured her elbow.  Concerned, Holbrooke wanted to stay with her, but she told him to proceed to the White House meeting without her.  “That’s an order,”  she said.

She was brought to the hospital where surgery was performed.  Pins and a rod were inserted,  and she worked from home for a few days.  When she returned to the office we saw glimpses of her wearing what we called the “Sling of State.”  On June 29 she returned to the press room for the first time since the accident.

Her first official appearance and first official act upon her return was, on July 1, 2009, the swearing in of Daniel Rooney as Ambassador to Ireland.

Three-and-a-half years down the road, at the conclusion of her final trip as Secretary of State,  Hillary fell ill  – her last stops were Ireland and Northern Ireland.  Here she is with Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny who was in New York for the parade today.

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Here she is  with First Minister of Northern Ireland, Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness.

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Following  this trip, she was scheduled to visit Morocco and the Middle East, but her illness and resultant fall and concussion cancelled those plans.  She spent the rest of December 2012 recovering.   She returned to D.C. on January 7, 2013 to a huge welcome and was presented with the “Helment of State” to protect her delicate head.

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Her first official public event upon her return this time was to thank retiring Ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney and his wife Patricia for their service.  She awarded them the flag that had flown over Embassy Dublin during his tenure and the Chief of Mission flag.  Here is  an excerpt of what she said.

So you and Patricia have done a fabulous job and I am so pleased to have this chance formally to present you two flags – the Chief of Mission flag, and the flag of the United States, as a small token of your very successful tenure in Ireland.

There you go. (Applause.) And Patricia, this one’s for you. You also served.

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The love affair between Bill and Hillary Clinton and Ireland did not begin with her service at the State Department and is certain not to end there.  They are both loved on the Emerald Isle.  Both of them are sure to return many times over.

We wish them and all of our readers a Happy and Blessed St. Patrick’s Day.  Our Irish eyes are smiling for all the good they have done.  We wish Ambassador and Mrs. Rooney and their considerable family the same.

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In addition to the award presented to her by Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness today, Hillary Clinton received the inaugural Fr. Aengus Finucane Award for Services to Humanity,  International Business Times reports.   High time we got that library/museum in Seneca Falls off the drawing board!  Where is she going to put all of these awards?

Concern Worldwide Honors U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for Humanitarian Leadership with Inaugural Award in Dublin

NEW YORK, Dec. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — International humanitarian organization Concern Worldwide presented U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today with its inaugural Fr. Aengus Finucane Award for Services to Humanity.

CONCERN WORLDWIDE US HILLARY CLINTON

Secretary Clinton was in Dublin December 6 and 7 as part of her last official visit to Ireland to participate in the ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The Secretary also met with Irish officials to discuss areas of cooperation in promoting peace, human rights, and economic growth, and delivered a major speech on U.S. achievements in support of human rights globally. After that speech at Dublin City University, Concern Worldwide CEO Tom Arnold presented the Secretary with the award.

Read more >>>>

Edited to add this.

Hillary Clinton presented with Lifetime Achievement Award by The Worldwide Ireland Funds

By

JANE WALSH,
IrishCentral Staff Writer

The Worldwide Ireland Funds presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to salute her commitment to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland over her two decades as First Lady, US Senator and Secretary of State.

The specially commissioned Belleek China piece was presented at a luncheon hosted by The Worldwide Ireland Funds in front of 500 guests from all sides of the community in Northern Ireland as well as business, civic, community and cultural leaders.  Special guests who attended the event included The First Minister and Deputy First minister of Northern Ireland, along with members of the diplomatic, sporting and entertainment worlds.

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Remarks With First Minister of Northern Ireland, Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Stormont Castle
Belfast, Northern Ireland
December 7, 2012

FIRST MINISTER ROBINSON: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We have, again, had the great pleasure of giving a warm Northern Ireland welcome to the Secretary of State. She, of course, has been a longtime friend of Northern Ireland. I can’t help but recall that the descendants of people from Northern Ireland provided so many presidents for the United States. And over recent times, America has given so much back to Northern Ireland.And of course, Secretary of State Clinton, you did it not just in terms of words but in deeds as well. You did it when you were First Lady. You did it when you were a U.S. Senator, and once more you have been our friend while Secretary of State. There has been barely an occasion when we have landed in the United States without going to meet you. You have always shown a tremendous interest in what is happening in Northern Ireland.

Martin and I – very often we sit down, somebody will mention some person who has claimed to have been instrumental in the peace process in Northern Ireland, and Martin and I will look at each other and ask, “Do you know that person?” (Laughter.) And we shake our heads. But you are one person who has consistently been there to help us, and not just in terms of helping us until we got an agreement. You recognized, as few others did, that the process of peace goes beyond getting the agreement itself, and you gave us the support on an ongoing basis, and that support came in the most tangible ways, that you provided us with Declan Kelly, who did a fantastic job in opening up doors for us in the United States for investment. And you, yourself, and the State Department, invited us to come along to speak to leading business people, world-leading figures in terms of the investment potential of Northern Ireland. And we really do appreciate everything that you have done.

And we recognize that you have done that in spite of the very heavy schedule that you have, that international schedule. And we were going dizzy as you told us where you’d been and where you were going in the next few days. It is a very demanding itinerary to have. And we just want to assure you that, from the point of view of the people of Northern Ireland, we appreciate all that you have done for us. America has been a very good friend. President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama all have been helpful to us and given us a lift when we need it. But you have been there all of that time. You have been a very good friend to Northern Ireland indeed.

Our journey as a society has not been completed. We have told you of some of the difficulties that we’re facing at the present time, the despicable attacks are going on on elected representatives, the threats that are out there, attacks on offices. But our journey is irreversible. We are determined to go on, and while from time to time we will have setbacks, there’s no such thing as a linear progression to a stable and peaceful society. There will be bumps along the ride. And we always know that we’ve had a friend that we could rely on in Hillary Rodham Clinton. So thank you, Hillary, for all that you have done. We really do appreciate it.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Peter.

DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER MCGUINNESS: Well, I, too, am absolutely delighted to join with Peter in welcoming Secretary Clinton to Belfast. Secretary Clinton has been a true and wonderful friend to all of the people of Ireland, North and South, over many, many years. And this is an opportunity for us to express our deepest thanks and admiration for the work that she has done in supporting us through what has been described variously as one of the most successful peace processes in the world today.

Secretary Clinton was one of the founders of the Vital Voices Global Partnership organization. And that’s an organization that has encouraged people in conflicts all over the world to come together, and women have been at the coalface of those discussions, women from here, women from the Middle East, from Palestine and from Israel. But I think it has to be said very, very clearly that both Hillary and Bill Clinton have been absolutely vital voices for us in our process. And that’s something that has to be recognized over many, many years.

I have very fond memories of the economic investment conference sponsored by Hillary at the State Department a number of years ago, and supported by President Obama, which enabled Peter and I to say without fear of contradiction, at a time when people said there’s a world recession, you’ll get no jobs from America, but we can say that we brought more jobs in to the North of Ireland than at any other time in the history of the state. And that’s due to Hillary and the tremendous support that she gave us with the business community and the United States. And that will never be forgotten.

I want to join with Peter in expressing my total and absolute disgust and revulsion at the threats against Naomi Long, and also against other elected representatives in Belfast. We have – and it’s been the great strength of our association over the course of the last five years – time and time again stood against those who would try to plunge us back to the past. And we will have a further opportunity on Monday morning, when the assembly meets, to express collectively, all of the parties in the assembly, our total opposition to threats, intimidation, and violence. And it’s very important that we do so in a very forthright fashion, because we do know that there are people on the extremes of loyalism, and there are people on the extremes of republicanism who wish to plunge us back to the past. We are going to resist that with every fiber of our being.

The last thing I want to say is the media are treating this visit by Secretary Clinton as a farewell tour. Well, when we say goodbye to the Clintons, we also say, “We’ll see you again soon.” (Laughter.) And we will see them again soon, because there are no truer friends to this island, or our peace process, or the economic prosperity that many people enjoy as a result of the new jobs that have been provided, provided by the support given by both Bill and Hillary Clinton. So we wish you all the very best in the future. And again, our deepest thanks and appreciation for your support.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, well, I’m very pleased to be back. And I want to thank both Peter and Martin for those very kind words, but more than that, for your leadership and the great work that you are doing together on behalf of Northern Ireland. It is fair to say this is a place that keeps drawing me back, and I’m sure will for as far as I can see into the future. I’m especially reminded of the first time I came to Belfast 17 years ago this month, when Bill and I came because of the glimmerings that there might be some path forward toward peace. And it was the first time an American president ever set foot in Northern Ireland. Peter is absolutely right that we had people who left, depart, and went to the United States and actually became president or were the descendants of those who had left, but this was the first time an American president came.

It was a little over a year after the first ceasefire, Martin, and we were invited to turn on Belfast’s Christmas lights. And I remember that as though it were yesterday instead of 17 years ago, and all that it meant to us to be standing there looking out at the vast throngs of people who had come with great expectations. So many fathers with their children on their shoulders as I looked out on that scene, and there was a little girl named Catherine who had lost her father in the Troubles, and she said her Christmas wish was that peace and love would last forever. That’s a particularly good Christmas wish, but it’s always a good wish here, not just in this season but all through the year, because the people of Northern Ireland know all too well that the alternative is not one that anyone can even imagine going back to.

But peace does take sacrifice and compromise and vigilance day after day. And we’ve seen that again this week that the work is not complete, because we have seen violence break out again. And I join with both Peter and Martin and all the leaders and citizens who have condemned the recent attacks here in Belfast and around the whole area. Because look, there will always be disagreements in democratic societies. We’re experts at that in the United States. We have a lot of very serious, difficult disagreements that divide us. But violence is never an acceptable response to those disagreements, and I strongly endorse what Peter and Martin have said, that all parties need to confront the remaining challenges of sectarian division peacefully and together. I’ll have more to say about that when I speak at a lunch hosted by the Ireland Funds.

The United States has been proud to be your partner for more than two decades now. We’ve worked to try to help build not only a future of peace but one of prosperity. In fact, the United States has supported the political process, providing more than $530 million in assistance through the International Fund for Ireland. And we have also tried to make it clear that we think what is important here is that people have a chance to see the benefits of peace, that they get an opportunity to have a better life for themselves and certainly for their children.

I think that there will be a lot of ways that we can work together to spur economic growth. Northern Ireland has a skilled workforce, world-class research institutions, an advanced telecommunications infrastructure that is essential for competing in today’s knowledge economy, and I am very keen on continuing not only in this position but in the future to be of whatever assistance I can to maintain our connection but also to work to produce results.

The U.S.-Ireland Research and Development Partnership is working to reinvigorate science and technology cooperation among Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and the United States, and we just recently had a visit of our experts to help facilitate partnerships between our science and technology agencies, foster research networks, and try to build more economic connections between the North and the South.

So it’s always a pleasure to be with Peter and Martin and to really applaud their leadership, which has been extraordinary and absolutely essential, no more so than right now. And I think you’ve got so much to work toward that is positive and moving toward creating the kind of future that people have been working toward, and I’m very confident that you will continue to make progress together. Thank you.

FIRST MINISTER ROBINSON: Thank you very much, indeed. Secretary, just before we allow some questions, Martin and I, when we had it confirmed that you would be visiting with us, we never know quite which element of the press we should believe, whether it’s a valedictory tour or whether it’s not, but we are not going to miss the opportunity because we felt that you have played such an important role in the process that we have been a part of in Northern Ireland that we would make an award to you. And if you’ll join Martin and I, we’ll make the presentation.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.

(The award was presented.)

FIRST MINISTER ROBINSON: (Off-mike.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, it’s beautiful.

FIRST MINISTER ROBINSON: (Inaudible) it’s a likeness of you. (Laughter.)

DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER MCGUINNESS: We’ve got the hair right.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Love the hair. Yes, the current hair. (Laughter.)

DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER MCGUINNESS: Just for the press’s information, this was the work of Maurice Harron, who is from my old city and he’s one of the most renowned sculptors on the island of Ireland, and his work can be seen all over the island and indeed many other places including in the United States of America. When we asked him to do this, he came up with the idea within 24 hours, which was absolutely amazing. And I think it’s a fitting tribute to present this to you, Hillary, on the basis that he has called it just one word, “Agreement.” (Inaudible.)

FIRST MINISTER ROBINSON: Can you bring your hand to the top of it there, please, sir? (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. Thank you, Martin. Give me his name, and I will write him a note.

DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER MCGUINNESS: We will.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Great.

DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER MCGUINNESS: (Inaudible.) (Laughter.)

FIRST MINISTER ROBINSON: Okay, we just have time for two questions. The first question from Mark Devenport from BBC Northern Ireland.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, welcome to Stormont. Given the well-documented (inaudible) process and in particular the role of women in conflict resolution, how depressing do you find it that on the day you arrive there, a leading woman politician resident is there, in Parliament (inaudible) Naomi Long, is facing a death threat as part of the latest escalation of this dispute over the flying of the Union flag? Is there a danger that some people here, some politicians even, are taking the progress that you and your husband worked so hard to achieve for granted?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say that I know Naomi Long, and obviously, I am very distressed by the news that she’s been subjected to threats, that members of the Alliance Party have had their homes and offices attacked. That’s absolutely unacceptable, and both Peter and Martin have spoken out in unmistakable terms condemning this kind of intimidation, threatening behavior.

However, I think, as I have also said, the violence is a reminder that although much progress has been made, the hard work of reconciliation and fostering mutual understanding must continue. We had a chance to speak about that when we were meeting before coming out here. And as I said, there will always be disagreements in any democratic society. People have strong feelings. But you must not use violence as a means of expressing those strong feelings. The only path forward is a peaceful, democratic one that recognizes the right of others to express their opinions, but not to resort to violence. And there can be no place in the new Northern Ireland for any violence. Any of the remnants of the past need to be quickly, unequivocally condemned.

Democracy requires dialogue, compromise, and constant commitment by everyone to protecting the rights of everyone. And so the United States will continue to strongly support all those who stand on the side of peace and reconciliation and democracy and dialogue, and we will strongly support the work that Peter and Martin and their colleagues are doing. As you heard, there will be a chance to express their commitment at a session of the assembly next Monday.

And we also want to emphasize that the economic work that has to continue to give everyone a better economic future will be impeded if violence returns. I mean, 17 years ago, the Europa Hotel was boarded because of bombs and threats. I mean, it was – this is something that I have seen for myself, what a difference it can make. And so I really know that this is a small minority of people – it always is in every society – who try to stir up passions and emotions, or resort to taking actions like those uncovered, as Martin was telling me earlier today. Unacceptable and must be repudiated by everyone, no matter how strongly someone feels about their political or social beliefs.

MODERATOR: Indira Lakshmanan from Bloomberg.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Hi, Indira.

QUESTION: Hi. Thank you, Madam Secretary. We wanted to ask about your meeting last night with UN Envoy Brahimi and Russian Minister Lavrov and find out from you if you got a sense from the meeting that Mr. Lavrov and the Russians have actually changed and compromised on anything on their stand on Syria. And were there any concrete coming together of your position or anything where there’s still a difference that you could describe to us?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, it was a very constructive session, and I greatly appreciated Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi reaching out to me, and Sergey Lavrov asking if he could meet with us while we were both in Dublin for the OSCE meetings. We reviewed the very dangerous developments inside Syria. Mr. Brahimi had his own additional information to contribute about what he’s hearing from sources inside Syria. And both Minister Lavrov and I committed to support a renewed push by Brahimi and his team to work with all the stakeholders in Syria to begin a political transition based on the outline that we agreed to in Geneva last year. And it was an important meeting, but just the beginning. The next step will be a meeting in the next few days where I will be sending senior officials, as will the Russians, to talk about how we can operationalize the path forward.

I don’t think anyone believes that there was some great breakthrough. No one should have any illusions about how hard this remains. But all of us with any influence on the process, with any influence on the regime or the opposition, needs to be engaged with Brahimi for a concerted, sincere push to see what is possible in the face of the advancing developments on the ground which are increasingly dangerous not only to Syrians, but to their neighbors.

I would also just underscore that one of the chief strengths of the Geneva document is it includes clear steps – I would refer you to it – toward a transition. And it has a section entitled Perspective For The Future which outlines the democratic principles and international human rights standards that the Syrian people have been demanding and that we in the international community expect.

So as this moves forward, I want everyone to understand that we’re going to be holding every party to the same standard. This is not just a one-sided dialogue. It has to be one that is inclusive, but everyone must understand what is expected of them. And let me also be absolutely clear the United States stands with the Syrian people in insisting that any transition process result in a unified, democratic Syria in which all citizens are represented – Sunni, Alawi, Christians, Kurds, Druze, men, women. Every Syrian must be included in this process for a new and better future. And a future of this kind cannot possibly include Assad.

So we go into these discussions with a clear sense of what we want to see accomplished, but a realistic understanding of how difficult it still is.

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Remarks With First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuiness Before Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
March 19, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON:Well, it’s a great pleasure to welcome back to Washington and here to the State Department the first minister and the deputy first minister from Northern Ireland. I have had the great honor of working with these gentlemen for a number of years and have been so impressed at the progress that they are making together. And we look forward to a very close and continuing relationship, and I just can’t thank you both enough for the leadership and the great example that you are setting for the people who you represent but also far beyond.Peter.

FIRST MINISTER ROBINSON: Well, again, we’re delighted to accept Secretary Clinton’s hospitality. She’s been a very good friend of Northern Ireland. Martin and I are particularly glad to be here because there was an election between when we last met, her and I, and we’ve come back with a reinforced mandate. We’re looking forward to giving details to the Secretary of State of the progress that we’re making in Northern Ireland. We’ve agreed our Programme for Government, our budget, our investment strategy, our economic strategy. We’ve got major reforms on the way and help for local government and in education.

So, it’s normal foreign politics and boring is good for Northern Ireland.

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s good.

FIRST MINISTER ROBINSON: So we’re making real progress and we look forward to continuing our discussions with the Administration.

SECRETARY CLINTON: As well, that’s exactly right.

Martin.

DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER MCGUINESS: This is also a great opportunity for Peter and myself to express our deepest thanks and appreciation for the incredible support that we’ve received from Secretary of State Clinton and also from President Obama. They have been very staunch supporters of the peace process. And it’s great for us, in the aftermath of the election that Peter has just spoken about, to be able to come and record the fact that both the peace process and the political process has been considerably strengthened as a result of that election last year.

And as Peter has also said, we are very involved in the very important work of the economy, the great challenges that exist obviously worldwide but how that impacts on us, a very small part of the world, and the need for us to ensure that we are continuing to engage with our friends here in North America who have been incredibly supportive. The number of (inaudible) jobs that we have brought into the north from companies like the New York Stock Exchange, the Chicago Mercantile, HBO, Citigroup, Allstate – all of these have been providing much needed employment for our people, and that is something for which we are deeply grateful.

Of course, you can’t (inaudible) any of that from the very important economic investment conference that Secretary Clinton hosted here for us not too long ago. So, very important to come here and say how much we admire this woman as a leader and admire her as a true friend of peace and political progress in our part of the world.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thanks to you both. Thank you all.

 

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Remarks With The Right Honorable Mr. Peter Robinson, M.L.A., First Minister of Northern Ireland and Mr. Martin McGuinness, M.P., M.L.A., Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Before Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 18, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m delighted to welcome two friends, two colleagues for many years. Both the first minister and the deputy first minister are extraordinarily welcome here. And we’re delighted to have this chance to catch up on everything that is happening in Northern Ireland. And I want to warmly welcome you here and, Martin, back to the State Department.

MINISTER ROBINSON: Well, we really appreciate the Secretary of State taking time. I think we all know just how busy her days have been with everything that’s happening around the globe. But we want to bring her some good news – Northern Ireland was completing the first four-year term of an assembly ever for our power-sharing administration. So in the past, assemblies have collapsed and been suspended, but we have managed to complete a whole term of the assembly. And we have made a number of very significant successes. We have created, even against the global economic downturn, more jobs over the last four years than at any time in the history of Northern Ireland. We have spent more money on infrastructure in the last four years of that assembly term than at any time since records began.

So there’s a good news story from Northern Ireland. We really do appreciate all of the assistance that the Secretary of State (inaudible) presidents past and present have been to Northern Ireland and it’s our opportunity to say thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Peter.

MINISTER MCGUINNESS: The Secretary of State was one of the best friends that the island of Ireland has ever seen. And all that has been achieved, outlined just now by Peter, would not have happened without the support of President Clinton and without the present Secretary of State. So we will always be indebted to her for the fact that we now have completed the (inaudible) four unbroken years of an executive which takes decisions on behalf of the entire community that represents real progress and has been an honor for me, both Peter and before him was Ian Paisley to bring about what has been an historic change. We absolutely believe that in the aftermath of the upcoming elections, due to happen on the 1st of May, that the institutions that we’re part of, which are power-sharing in nature and north-south, will go from strength to strength.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.

 

 

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Remarks with Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson, and Northern Ireland deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
October 19, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. We are so delighted to host this important investment and business conference for Northern Ireland. And I’m delighted to be, once again, able to meet with and catch up with both Peter and Martin. I call them that because we’ve known each other for a very long time. And it’s encouraging to see the progress that has occurred in the last several years under their leadership and stewardship, and I’m looking forward to continuing to support your efforts.

Do you want to say something, Peter?

FIRST MINISTER ROBINSON: Well, first, again, to welcome the fact that the U.S. Administration has been so helpful to Northern Ireland and providing us with the facility here, and through Declan to be able to get the key decision-takers a number of very substantial U.S., indeed international, companies.

I don’t always say this, but I really do wish the press had been in there this morning. Obviously, this (inaudible), but I think you would have been very encouraged to hear the statements, the testimony given by the companies that are already in Northern Ireland. I think unanimously, one after the other, indicating that the key element of their decision to come to Northern Ireland and the key reason why they’ve expanded their businesses is the people of Northern Ireland themselves, the young, well-educated workforce, the loyalty that they give to the company that employs them, the low (inaudible) rate that results in keeping down the costs, trading costs down because they pick it up quickly.

And not because we have a low-cost environment; we have a cost-competitive environment in Northern Ireland. So we have a package that I think is very clearly what is attractive, and as we move out of a recession, people start to look to expand and extend their businesses, I believe we have the proper (inaudible) that could attract anyone from anywhere around the world to Northern Ireland.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Martin.

DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER MCGUINNESS: Well, I too want to express my deepest thanks and gratitude to Secretary of State Clinton and to her husband for a very long engagement with us on what is undoubtedly one of the most successful peace processes in the world today, a peace process that would not have succeeded were it not for the efforts of the Clintons. And we, the people of Ireland, will always be in their debt.

(Inaudible) we now have a situation where as we move forward with very stable institutions, we have a situation where the next big challenge for us is the economic challenge (inaudible), and to see the Clintons still involved in that. The visit to Derry just a couple of weeks ago by President Clinton, the organization of this wonderful event here at the State Department, the very magnificent turnout there are to see you, many multinational companies, all of them very engaged and all of them extolling the virtues, as Peter has rightly said, of our people – a dedicated people, a loyal people, people that do want to work. And people here are anxious to build stable and better futures for themselves and for their communities.

I remember over two years ago people said – they all said at the time of what was the beginning of the world recession, “There’s no point in going to the United States of America. How can you expect to get jobs into North America?” Yet Peter and I did come here with the support of Secretary of State Clinton, the support of her husband. We went to the west coast. Universal came to Belfast, HBO came to Belfast, employing hundreds of people. They’re still there at this moment in time. New York Stock Exchange have come to the north. And we’ve now seen two more important announcements today and we believe, absolutely confident to say, further, even bigger announcements in the time ahead.

So, as I say, we will always be indebted to the Clintons, and in particular today to Secretary of State Clinton for this massive lift-up that we’ve got in terms of putting before the U.S. business administration all of the propositions that we have to offer and the great hope that we will see further investment which will continue to see us move forward in a very stable way, (inaudible) in peace but also building on economic prosperity.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Great. Thank you. Thank you all very much.

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