Posts Tagged ‘Quartet’

Public Schedule for March 12, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
March 12, 2012



8:30 a.m. Secretary Clinton participates in Quartet Consultations, at the United Nations in New York City.

9:40 a.m. Secretary Clinton participates in a United Nations Security Council session chaired by the UK, at the United Nations in New York City

12:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with the P+3 representatives, at the United Nations in New York City.

12:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton holds a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, at the United Nations in New York City.

TBD PM Secretary Clinton appears before the press at the United Nations in New York City.

1:15 p.m. Secretary Clinton attends a lunch hosted by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, in New York City.

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It was at the Wednesday press briefing last week that Victoria Nuland announced Secretary Clinton’s participation in a special U.N. Security Council session.

“… on March 12, on Monday. I just wanted to advise you she is going to attend a session of the UN Security Council at the ministerial level that has been called by British Foreign Minister Hague to talk about the broader impact and ramifications of the Arab Spring. Foreign Secretary Hague will host the meeting. The Brits are in the chair of the president of the Security Council this month. And the Security Council foreign ministers will also be joined by the foreign minister of Tunisia, of Libya, and of Egypt. The Secretary will also take the opportunity to have a bilateral meeting, as she said, with Foreign Minister Lavrov of Russia when she’s up in New York.”

The Jerusalem Post, notes that also on Monday, there will be a Quartet meeting while some principals are in New York.  Others will participate via conference call.

Mideast Quartet to meet amid stalled peace talks

03/10/2012 02:40

UN secretary-general, Clinton, Russian FM to meet at UN headquarters; Ashton, Blair to participate via video link.

Quartet members gather for a meeting in Washington

By Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

UNITED NATIONS – The Quartet of Middle East negotiators – the United States, Russia, the United Nations and European Union – will meet on Monday to discuss the long-stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, the United Nations said Friday.

The UN press office said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would meet at UN headquarters ahead of a special UN Security Council session on the Arab Spring uprisings.

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Then, as if that is not enough history for one woman to deal with in a single day, she zooms back to Washington to host a reception for her second annual conference of heads of missions. Last year at this time, she called all heads of missions home for the inaugural conference, the first secretary of state ever to do so. Here is the schedule for the conference.

Secretary Clinton Convenes the 2nd Global Chiefs of Mission Conference in Washington D.C.

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 9, 2012

On March 12, Secretary Clinton will convene the 2nd Global Chiefs of Mission Conference. The Conference, which runs through March 13, presents an opportunity to mobilize and coordinate the work of America’s Ambassadors around the world.

Monday, March 12

5:00 p.m. Welcome reception for the Global Chiefs of Mission Conference, at the Department of State.
Tuesday, March 13

8:30 a.m. Secretary Clinton delivers remarks at the opening session of the Global Chiefs of Mission Conference. Deputy Secretaries Bill Burns and Tom Nides, and Counselor and Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, will also deliver remarks. In the Dean Acheson Auditorium at the Department of State.
12:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton hosts the Global Chiefs of Mission Conference luncheon with guest speaker Senator John Kerry, in the Ben Franklin Room at the Department of State.

4:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton hosts a town hall for participants in the Global Chiefs of Mission Conference, in the Dean Acheson Auditorium at the Department of State.

What a busy lady! Through it all she still manages to look like this, and yes, as Meryl Streep pointed out yesterday, we do watch and notice.   Women know what it takes, and she pulls herself together so beautifully, makes us so proud, and, as my subheader says, makes femininity presidential.

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Jordan Hosts Israeli, Palestinian, and Quartet Envoys Meetings

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
January 1, 2012


The Jordanian government announced today that Foreign Minister Judeh will host two meetings on January 3, one with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators and the Quartet envoys, and a second meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian representatives. We welcome and support this positive development. I applaud the efforts of the King and Foreign Minister Judeh to bring the parties together and encourage them to approach these meetings constructively. I have been in close contact with Foreign Minister Judeh and with Special Envoy David Hale.

When I met with the other Quartet principals on September 23rd we put forward a framework for resuming direct negotiations between the parties. We knew that progress toward this goal would not be easy so it is essential that both sides take advantage of this opportunity.

We are hopeful that this direct exchange can help move us forward on the pathway proposed by the Quartet. As the President and I have said before, the need for a lasting peace is more urgent than ever. The status quo is not sustainable and the parties must act boldly to advance the cause of peace.

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

Remarks on Middle East Peace


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
New York City, New York
September 23, 2011

Hello, everyone. The United States is very pleased that the Quartet was able to issue a statement today with a concrete and detailed proposal to begin negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians without delay or preconditions.

The Quartet proposal represents the firm conviction of the international community that a just and lasting peace can only come through negotiations between the parties. Therefore, we urge both parties to take advantage of this opportunity to get back to talks, and the United States pledges our support as the parties themselves take the important next steps for a two-state solution, which is what all of us are hoping to achieve.

Thank you very much.

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Statement of the Middle East Quartet

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 23, 2011

Following is the text of a statement issued after the meeting of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union Catherine Ashton in New York on September 23, 2011.

Begin text:

The Quartet takes note of the application submitted by President Abbas on 23rd September 2011 which is now before the Security Council.

The Quartet reaffirmed its statement of 20th May 2011, including its strong support for the vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace outlined by United States President Barack Obama.

The Quartet recalled its previous statements, and affirmed its determination to actively and vigorously seek a comprehensive resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338, 1397, 1515, 1850, the Madrid principles including land for peace, the Roadmap, and the agreements previously reached between the parties.

The Quartet reiterated its commitment to a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East and to seek a comprehensive resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and reaffirms the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative.

The Quartet reiterated its urgent appeal to the parties to overcome the current obstacles and resume direct bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations without delay or preconditions. But it accepts that meeting, in itself, will not reestablish the trust necessary for such a negotiation to succeed. It therefore proposes the following steps:

1. Within a month there will be a preparatory meeting between the parties to agree an agenda and method of proceeding in the negotiation.

2. At that meeting there will be a commitment by both sides that the objective of any negotiation is to reach an agreement within a timeframe agreed to by the parties but not longer than the end of 2012. The Quartet expects the parties to come forward with comprehensive proposals within three months on territory and security, and to have made substantial progress within six months. To that end, the Quartet will convene an international conference in Moscow, in consultation with the parties, at the appropriate time.

3. There will be a Donors Conference at which the international community will give full and sustained support to the Palestinian Authority state-building actions developed by Prime Minister Fayyad under the leadership of President Abbas.

4. The Quartet recognizes the achievements of the Palestinian Authority in preparing institutions for statehood as evidenced in reports to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, and stresses the need to preserve and build on them. In this regard, the members of the Quartet will consult to identify additional steps they can actively support towards Palestinian statehood individually and together, to secure in accordance with existing procedures significantly greater independence and sovereignty for the Palestinian Authority over its affairs.

5. The Quartet calls upon the parties to refrain from provocative actions if negotiations are to be effective. The Quartet reiterated the obligations of both parties under the Roadmap.

6. The Quartet committed to remain actively involved and to encourage and review progress. The Quartet agreed to meet regularly and to task the envoys and the Quartet Representative to intensify their cooperation, including by meeting prior to the parties’ preparatory meeting, and to formulate recommendations for Quartet action.

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The long thirst is over.  Well it really was not that  long, but there were not many good pictures toward the end of last week, and pictures from this week were enthusiastically anticipated by readers here.  So now you have it!  Here is Mme. Secretary wearing a charming Asian silk in a color that is simply divine on her.  We see her speaking with Lady Catherine Ashton, and at this evening’s working dinner with EU HIgh Rep Ashton, Tony Blair, Ban Ki-Moon, and Sergei Lavrov, all representing members of the Middle East Peace Quartet.

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Readout of Quartet Working Dinner

Special Briefing

Senior Administration Official
Administration Official
Via Teleconference
July 11, 2011


OPERATOR: Welcome, everyone, and thank you so much for standing by. At this time, all parties are on a listen-only line until the question-and-answer portion of today’s call. At that time, you may press * and 1 and record your name to ask the question. This call is being recorded, so if you do have any objection, please disconnect at this time.

And now I’d like to turn the meeting over to Mr. Mark Toner. You may begin, sir.

MR. TONER: Thank you, and thanks to all of you for joining us. And I apologize given the late hour – the bit of delay in starting this, but the dinner did run long.

As you know, members of the Quartet did hold a working dinner tonight at the ministerial level, and that was at the Department of State, in order to discuss the way forward and efforts to advance Middle East peace. And joining us tonight to give a readout of that dinner and to answer a few of your questions – and I emphasize a few given the hour – is [title and name withheld]. And just before handing it over to [Senior Administration Official], I just wanted to emphasize that this is on background as a Senior Administration Official, so henceforth he’ll be known as Senior Administration Official.

[Senior Administration Official.]

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, thank you very much, Mark, and let me just reiterate the apologies to everyone for the brief delay. But as Mark said, the dinner did go a little bit longer than planned. Let me just make a few comments at the beginning and then get into your questions, but I’d like to start by emphasizing that the Quartet principals felt that they conducted a good meeting over the dinner tonight, characterized the discussion as excellent and substantive with a full and complete exchange of views. This was an opportunity for them that they’ve not had in a little while to compare notes on recent developments and have a serious discussion on what next steps are necessary.

The Quartet principals once again expressed their support for the President’s remarks that President Obama delivered in May, and in light of that vision the Quartet principals are reiterating the feeling that they see that there’s an urgent need to appeal to the parties to overcome current obstacles and find a way to resume direct negotiations without delay or preconditions and to begin with a preparatory phase of talks to maximize the chances of success.

The principals concluded this evening, based on their recent conversations with the parties, however, that there are still gaps that are impeding progress. And they concluded that realistically, for the Quartet, more work needs to be done to close those gaps before the Quartet can go forth publicly with the kinds of statements that might allow the parties to actually break through the impasse.

But the members of the Quartet reiterated also that they remain committed as a group, collectively and individually, to continue this effort and continue their intense engagement with the parties. Clearly, as I said, more work needs to be done, and the members of the Quartet will remain in close coordination as they tackle this difficult challenge. And in fact, the envoys have agreed to meet again tomorrow morning to continue this discussion under the guidance of our principals.

We’re realistic about the gaps. We know that more work needs to be done. But ultimately, we have to say, of course, it’s up to the parties to make the tough decisions required for peace, and we’re going to stand ready to help and facilitate in any and every way possible and continue our close engagement. The Quartet will continue its meetings at various levels, and we look forward to doing all we can to advance this effort.

So I might stop there, Mark, and entertain any questions.

MR. TONER: Great. Thank you so much. We’ll open it up to questions, Operator.

OPERATOR: Thank you. Again, if anyone does have a question, please press *1, record your name clearly. And if you’d like to withdraw your question, you may press *2. Again, that’s *1 to ask a question.

And Elise Labott, your line is open.

QUESTION: Thanks for doing this at this late hour. I’m just – can you hear me okay?


QUESTION: I was kind of a little bit confused by your comment. I mean, I think I know what you’re saying when you say that the gaps are such that you, as the Quartet, can’t make the statements that might move the parties to go forward. It sounds like there are enough gaps on the ’67 borders that you can’t endorse it as a kind of pre – as a starting jumping-off point for negotiations. Correct me if I’m wrong. But I’m confused by that because it would mean that, I mean, you’re just endorsing it because you know the parties will go for it. I mean, if this is an active group that’s trying to make forward diplomacy, aren’t you supposed to be making the kinds of statements that would push the parties in that direction? I mean, I don’t – and respectfully, because I’m not trying to make light of what you personally or what the U.S. is doing, but I fail to see whether – why you think that a statement from the Quartet would honestly, in all honesty, be the thing that’s going to bring the parties to the table.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah. No, thanks for the question. While I don’t want to, either by omission or commission, get into a discussion in detail of what we perceive the gaps to be, but to answer your question, there’s a time and a place for public statements and there’s a time and a place for private diplomacy. And each has its limitations, each has its appropriateness for the occasion and the challenge that we’re facing.

We discussed this tonight, and I think the upshot of it was that we need to do more work privately, quietly with the parties, in order to see if we can’t close these gaps. And then if we’re successful in doing that, there’ll be a time in which incorporating our progress and commenting on it publicly can help capture that. But we still need to do more work.

QUESTION: I mean, are you saying that you’re not ready – without getting into where the gaps are, are you saying that you’re not – and I think my understanding is that it’s the United States more so than maybe some of the other members – that’s not ready to make the President’s speech, the ’67 lines, as a kind of jumping-off point for negotiations a kind of international declaration?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, the Quartet has already —

QUESTION: You endorsed them personally, but you didn’t say that they should be – you didn’t kind of make it your own. And there’s talk about maybe that this would be the kind of resolution that they discuss at the United Nations. It sounds like you’re not ready for that.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, just to answer the question about what we believe is necessary to get negotiations going, the President laid out a comprehensive vision on that. And as I mentioned earlier, the Quartet has expressed its support for that vision. So that’s not in dispute. There’s just a realization that there are gaps between the parties and we need to do more work on that before we can take a step forward with a new – into a new threshold. That’s the basic point where we are right now.

MR. TONER: Thank you. Next question.

OPERATOR: And Matthew Lee with Associated Press, your line is open.

QUESTION: Hi, thanks. I want to ask a question, but first I want to wait – ask everyone to wait half an hour before I do it. Can you explain, [Senior Administration Official], why the – how long the meeting went? It went over time obviously, which is why this took so long to happen. But also you talk about gaps, but the gaps aren’t just between the parties, are there? There seem to be gaps within the Quartet itself. So I know you don’t want to talk about the gaps between the parties, but what are the gaps between the Quartet that made this meeting unable to come up with a statement? I mean, it is not tough for a Quartet statement to be done. One was done on the Gaza– the flotilla; one was done after the President’s May speech, in support of it, and the principals hadn’t met then. So looking at it from the outside, if you guys are unable to come up with a statement now after basically having agreed on some main principles here, it doesn’t look good at all. So can you explain what the gaps are between the Quartet members, and also just – how long did the meeting actually go?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah. Well, again, my apologies for keeping people waiting. I’m quite sensitive to that personally, and I do sincerely apologize.

The dinner started with a conversation that began in an outer room at 7:00, and we then moved to the dining room table around 7:20. And I wasn’t watching my watch, but I think we broke up from the table at about 9:15, and then there was a good discussion amongst some of the envoys that continued for a little while after that, and I came downstairs and immediately joined this phone call. So you can add that up; I think it’s just a little over two hours, close to two and a half hours, maybe two hours and 15 minutes that the principals were together.

In response to your question about the gaps and the way in which the Quartet relates to statements, the truth is that you’re right; we’ve had statements when the ministers have not met because we felt that it was important and that we had something significant to say at the time that we felt was helpful for our diplomatic effort. And there have been times when the ministers have met and we’ve not issued statements because we had a different objective in mind. The Quartet doesn’t meet in order to issue statements. The Quartet – only, anyway. The Quartet meets in order to allow these principals to consult on some very complex and challenging issues and discuss how best to work and push them forward.

And this evening, the decision was that we needed to realistically acknowledge the fact that more work needs to be done with the parties on their gaps in order to allow us to get to the point where we might be able to have a productive public product by the Quartet.

MR. TONER: All right. Next question.

OPERATOR: Dmitri Zlodorev, your line is open.

QUESTION: My name is Dmitri Zlodorev. I am from ITAR-TASS news agency, Russia. How you would characterize the position of Russia in Quartet now? And what do you expect from Russia in the near future? Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thank you, Dmitri. Well, we value greatly the Quartet as an instrument. It is the embodiment of the international community’s commitment to these issues and its strong desire to contribute what it can to making progress toward peace. And clearly, having such a strong international partner as Russia as part of that is something of great satisfaction.

So I don’t want to characterize exactly where we were in terms of each member of the Quartet this evening. You’d have to ask that of your– of the Russian participants. But I hope that answers your question in terms of how we regard Russian participation.

MR. TONER: All right. Next question.

OPERATOR: James Kitfield, your line is open.

QUESTION: Yeah, I appreciate you doing this. Could you talk a little bit about this September deadline where it’s supposed to be a UN vote with the Palestinians on statehood? And what sort of urgency that is lending to your efforts – does the Quartet think that that would be a really negative step? And if so, I mean, again, address me how that is contributing to a sense of urgency of these talks, please.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, it’s not entirely clear at this stage what it is that the Palestinians will be seeking in September. We’ve heard a lot of different statements publicly. I think that they’re actually still evaluating what it is they want to do. But we’ve heard a consistent message from the Palestinian leadership that they prefer negotiations, that they see the ultimate goal of a two-state solution coming through a negotiating path.

So that’s where I think the Quartet and the international community and certainly the United States is putting its emphasis – on exploring whether, by closing gaps between the parties, we can give the alternative of a negotiation real traction and be the right path forward. You know what the President said about this.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Excuse me? You know what the President has said about our view on New York – I don’t need to repeat that now here today – but that’s unchanged. But I think all of us would like to find a constructive way in order to accomplish our common goals.

MR. TONER: Okay. Thank you. Time for just, I think, one or two more questions.

OPERATOR: Okay. Arshad Mohammed, your line is open.

QUESTION: Hi, three quick things: One —

OPERATOR: Mr. Mohammed, if you’re on speakerphone, could you please get off the speakerphone? Because we’re not able to hear you.

QUESTION: Yes, sorry for tormenting all of you.

OPERATOR: (Laughter.) Thank you.

QUESTION: Just to be quick, you said that you need to do more quiet diplomacy. Are there any plans for Dennis Ross or Acting Special Envoy Hale to travel to the region to try to do that kind of quiet diplomacy anytime soon?

Second, are you now willing to say that the President’s hope of getting a framework agreement or the outlines of an agreement within a year of his September announcement last year have evaporated, that there isn’t really the time or perhaps the will in the seven and a half weeks that remain to get that done?

Those were my two questions. Thank you.

OPERATOR: And Said Arikat, your line is open.

QUESTION: Yes, sir. Hello?

MR. TONDER: I don’t think [Senior Administration Official] had a chance to answer the —


MR. TONER: That’s okay.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, the first question was regarding what our specific travel plans might be by U.S. officials in connection with the – excuse me, my phone’s ringing – in connection with following up on this. I guess the answer is: We’ll have to get back to you. This evening, I can’t say with any certainty what our specific officials’ travel plans may be. They travel frequently, almost constantly, and we’ll make sure that you’re well informed of those plans as they develop.

Look, the President outlined in May a very detailed vision of what it would take in order to be able to break through the impasse that we’re facing. He did not, in those remarks, establish deadlines for this effort. He said that when the parties are ready, we are ready to be of assistance. I don’t have the speech in front of me, so forgive me if those aren’t word-for-word quotes. But basically, he said that we stand ready – when the parties are of like mind, we stand ready to assist them, and we would do so as soon as we had clear indications.

I think as we proceed, as the Quartet proceeds individually and collectively to try to close these gaps, we’ll have a clearer sense of what’s possible in terms of timelines.

MR. TONER: Okay. Thanks. And it looks like our last questioner is maybe Said Arikat.

QUESTION: Yes, sir. Thanks.

MR. TONER: Sorry to cut you off there.

QUESTION: Thank you, [Senior Administration Official], for taking my question. Sir, you have had back-to-back meetings, first with Mr. Ross in Palestine and in Israel, then Mr. Molho came to town, then Saeb Erekat. So how far have you come in terms of closing these gaps, say, between three, four weeks ago and today? Where do you stand? How far are we to the breakthrough, so to speak?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, as I think we’re admitting this evening, we have a lot of work to do. More work needs to be done. I think that what’s been established in our discussions with the parties in recent weeks is that they too want us to continue this effort, that they too favor the alternative course of negotiations, and they too continue to look to the United States and the Quartet for assistance in moving forward. Though we’re not – we have – still have a lot of work to do. I can’t measure it for you. You’re asking for sort of a specific measurement which I don’t think is possible given this work.

But I have to say, ultimately, it’s up to them. They’ve got to make the tough decisions. All we can do – and it’s important, but what we do is offer a way to help, and we’ll keep – and be persistent and keep that effort alive.

MR. TONER: Great. Well, thanks. Thank you, [Senior Administration Official] for doing this tonight at the – given the late hour, and thanks to all the journalists who joined us. And again, our apologies for keeping people on hold for such a long time.

And thank you again to everyone. Just – again, just a reminder, the – this is on background with a Senior State – or a Senior Administration Official, rather, and thanks again to everyone, and have a good evening.


OPERATOR: That concludes today’s conference. Thank you for participating. You may disconnect your lines at any time.

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Here is a quartet of photos of Mme. Secretary at the Quartet meeting in Munich today.

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In the post dated March 28, 2010, The Letter: Two Takes, I linked portions of two articles with very different points of view on the situation in the Middle East and our posture toward it in particular. One of the articles mentioned a letter circulating in the House and a similar one in the Senate imploring the recipient to, as I put it at the time and put it still, revise our position vis á vis the intransigent stance of the Israeli government on continuing construction in East Jerusalem.

What was not clear at the time I posted was the person to whom the letter (which, since they are reportedly similar, I prefer to treat as a collective noun) was to be addressed. One article had it addressed to the President, the other to the Secretary of State. In either event, my argument was that we have a policy embodied in our signing just days before of the Quartet Statement. It is a serious and strong statement signed by the Secretary of State, and, as such represents our policy.

For those of you who, like a friend of mine, cannot bear any kind of suspense even in a movie she has seen many times, you may remove the security blanket from over your head. We now know the recipient. Catch!


WASHINGTON — An overwhelming majority of US senators urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday “to do everything possible” to shore up ties with Israel and thaw the frozen Middle East peace process.

Seventy-six of the 100 US senators signed a letter urging Clinton to ease tensions over Israel’s decision to build more settlements in east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians seek as the capital of their future state.

“We write to urge you to do everything possible to ensure that the recent tensions” over the way Israel announced its plans “do not derail Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations or harm US-Israel relations,” they said.


Okay. This does not solve the mystery (as if there IS one) of to whom the House letter is addressed.  At least we know this much. Having approved her for SOS, and purportedly “liking her” (even Republicans like Orrin Hatch), her old colleagues at the Senate give the appearance of expecting some kind of payback from the SOS.  Not a good thing!

Here’s how it works, dudes and dudesses: You approved her to carry forth the President’s foreign policy and that is exactly what she is doing. To imply that she is NOT doing all she can “… to ensure that the recent tensions” over the way Israel announced its plans “do not derail Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations or harm US-Israel relations….” is just this side of a no-confidence vote for someone who is doing EVERYTHING she can to bring the sides to the table, and to whom this very body accorded confidence to carry out the administration’s foreign policy.

Hillary Clinton is dedicated to peace – for both sides. She is, as is the administration, invested in a two-state solution along with our Quartet colleagues. Although I have not seen the letter in question, I dislike and distrust the fact of the letter. The administration sets the policy, and the secretary of state carries it out. That is how it works. That the legislative branch dips its toe into the executive waters is exactly as troubling to many of us as when the judicial branch, purporting  to be in decision, in fact legislates.

(Note to Senator Orrin Hatch: By the same token, when it comes to SCOTUS, the Chief Executive nominates, not the Senate Judiciary Committee.)

(Note to Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State: I’ll file the letter for you. They were out of line. You have a busy schedule and agenda. I will also draft a response. OH! I already HAVE! It is THIS POST!)

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Though Dipnote tweets are silent on the subject, ABC News reported a few hours ago that our very energetic Secretary of State is now on her way home. These photos from today show what a busy day she had. She attended the Quartet Meeting where the members, The U.N., E.U., U.S.A., and Russia hammered out and released the statement posted here earlier as text and also read in in a posted video at a press briefing by Ban Ki-Moon. She laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier, held a bilateral and a press conference with Russian FM Lavrov, taped an interview, and met with both President Dimitri Medvedev and PM Vladimir Putin. So here you go! For your viewing pleasure, here is Hillary today in Russia! *Come home safely, Madame Secretary. Great work!*

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Full Remarks



EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, and Quartet Special Representative Tony Blair After Their Meeting
Remarks With United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, and Quartet Special Representative Tony Blair After Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Moscow, Russia
March 19, 2010

FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV: (Via interpreter) Dear colleagues, we finished the meeting of the Quartet, and I’d like to thank all my colleagues for the work done yesterday and today. We’ve coordinated an important statement, a statement where there’s a frank attitude towards the region, and it contains concrete, specific, future-oriented suggestions to overcome this problem using the possibility of the (inaudible) supported league of our states and other countries that can help. I give the floor to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to pronounce this statement. Thank you.

SECRETARY GENERAL BAN: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister, (inaudible). I am going to read out the statement for the Quartet principals.

The Quartet principals met in Moscow on March 19th, 2010. They were joined by Quartet representative Tony Blair. We are honing the fundamental principles laid out initial statement in Trieste, Italy, on June 26, 2009. The Quartet welcomes the readiness to launch proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The Quartet emphasizes that the circumstances which made it possible to agree to launch the proximity talks be respected.

The proximity talks are an important step toward the resumption without preconditions of direct bilateral negotiations that resolve all financial status issues, as previously agreed by the parties. The Quartet believes these negotiations should lead to a settlement negotiated between the parties within 24 months that ends the occupation which began in 1967 and results in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors.

The Quartet reiterates that Arab-Israel peace and the establishment of a peaceful state of Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza is in the fundamental interest of the parties of all states in the region and of the international community. In this regard, the Quartet calls on all states to support dialogue between the parties.

The Quartet reiterates this call on Israel and the Palestinians to act on the basis of international law, and on their previous agreements and obligations – in particular, adherence to the roadmap irrespective of reciprocity to promote an environment conducive to successful negotiations and reaffirms that unilateral actions taken by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations, and will not be recognized by the international community.

The Quartet urges the Government of Israel to freeze all settlement activity, including natural growth to dismantle outposts erected since March 2001, and to refrain from demolitions and evictions in East Jerusalem. The Quartet also calls on both sides to observe calm and restraint, and refrain from provocative actions and inflammatory rhetoric, especially in areas of cultural and religious sensitivity.

Noting the significant progress on security achieved by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, the Quartet calls on the Palestinian Authority to continue to make every effort to improve law and order, to fight violent extremism, and to end incitement. The Quartet emphasizes the need to assist the Palestinian Authority in building its law enforcement capacity.

Recalling that the annexation of East Jerusalem is not recognized by the international community, the Quartet underscores that the status of Jerusalem is a permanent status issue that must be resolved through negotiations between the parties and condemns the decision by the Government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem. The Quartet reaffirms its intention to closely monitor developments in Jerusalem, and to keep under consideration additional steps that may be required to address the situation on the ground.

The Quartet recognizes that Jerusalem is a deeply important issue for Israelis and Palestinians, and for Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and believes that through good faith and negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem, and safeguards this status for people around the world.

Recalling that transformative change on the ground is integral to peace, the Quartet continues to support the Palestinian Authority’s plan of August 2009 for building the Palestinian state within 24 months as a demonstration of Palestinians’ serious commitment to an independent state that provides good governance, opportunity, justice, and security for the Palestinian people from the first day that it is established, and is a responsible neighbor to all states in the region.

The Quartet takes positive note of Israel’s steps to ease restrictions of movement in the West Bank, and calls for further and sustained steps to facilitate the state-building efforts of the Palestinian Authority. The Quartet endorses fully the efforts of the Quartet representative in support of Prime Minister Fayyad state building and economic development program which has seen significant improvement in the Palestinian Authority’s performance with respect to security and law and order, and improved economic growth.

The Quartet supports the Quartet representative in his vital efforts to promote change on the ground in aid of the political negotiations. The Quartet further calls on all states in the region and in the wide international community to match the Palestinian community – commitment to state-building by contributing immediate, concrete, and sustained support for the Palestinian Authority, and in this regard, looks forward to the upcoming meeting of the ad hoc liaison committee to coordinate international support for the Palestinian state-building efforts.

The Quartet is deeply concerned by the continuing deterioration in Gaza, including the humanitarian and human rights situation of the civilian population and stresses the urgency of a durable resolution to the Gaza crisis. The Quartet calls for a solution that addresses Israel’s legitimate security concerns including an end to weapons smuggling into Gaza. It promotes Palestinian unity based on the PLO commitments and the reunification of Gaza and the West Bank on the legitimate Palestinian Authority, and ensures the opening of the crossings to allow for the unimpeded flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods, and persons to and from Gaza consistent with the UN Security Council Resolution 1860.

The Quartet takes positive notes that the Israeli Government has just communicated its approval of a number of the UN Secretary General’s civilian recovery projects, including a stalled housing project in communities and looks forward to the early implementation. The Quartet condemns yesterday’s rocket fire from Gaza and calls for an immediate end to violence and terror and for calm to be respected. The Quartet reiterates its call for the immediate release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Recognizing the significance of the Arab Peace Initiative, the Quartet looks forward to closer cooperations with the parties and Arab League and urges regional governments to support publicly the resumption of bilateral negotiations, enter into a structural regional dialogue on issues of common concern, and takes steps to foster positive relations throughout the region in the context of progress towards comprehensive peace on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338, 1397, 1515, and 1850, and the Madrid principles, including through the conclusion of peace agreements between Israel and Syria and Israel and Lebanon.

The Quartet commits to remain actively involved on all tracks and to encourage and review progress. The Quartet commits to meet regularly and tasks the envoys to intensify their cooperation to maintain contacts with the Arab League committee on the Arab Peace Initiative and to formulate recommendations for Quartet action. The Quartet reaffirms its previous statements and supports in consultation with the parties on international conference in Moscow at the appropriate time, concurrent with direct negotiations.

Thank you very much.

MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Thank you very, very much. Now, the questions. First, Russia Today.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) How are you planning to influence Israel to make them take heed of your resolution – of your decisions? Who is this question addressed to?

FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV: (Via interpreter) Well, if this question is addressed to all of us, I can tell you as follows. The statement has been approved by all the members of the Quartet. We have agreed that we are going to use all the possibilities available to each and every one of us to achieve that Israel and Palestine start indirect talks. We believe that the statement made today outlines very clear appraisals of the situation and identifies the way ahead, first towards indirect talks and after they start towards direct talks between the parties.

As I have said before, we are going to use all the opportunities available to us in order to encourage the parties to start talks on this basis, the basis enshrined in today’s statement.

If anyone has anything to add, please, you’re welcome.

SECERTARY GENERAL BAN: I’m going to visit – after my visit to Israel and Palestinian Authorities and participate in League of Arab Summit meeting which will be held in Sirte, Libya. On that occasion, I’ll engage myself with Arab leaders and brief them about the Quartet meetings as well as my visit to the region. And I would strongly encourage Arab countries to fully support the proximity talks. It is absolutely necessary at this time. These proximity talks which has been facilitated with a lot of challenges to immediately start and continue and eventually lead into the direct negotiations between the parties. That is what I’m going to very closely work together with Quartet principals.

MODERATOR: Next question. CBS News, please.

QUESTION: Sorry. This is Charlie Wolfson of CBS for the American Network pool. Secretary Clinton, in the wake of Vice President Biden’s visit to Jerusalem, you used the word “insulting” for events that took place there. Is the Obama Administration past that phase and – in this relationship with Israel? Do you plan to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he’s in Washington? And have you spoken with any of the Palestinian leaders in addition to the fact that you’ve now spoken with Prime Minister Netanyahu last night?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Charlie, as the Quartet statement makes very clear, we are all committed to the launching of proximity talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Senator Mitchell, who was here for the meeting, will be going to brief more of our European allies and then will be in the region to speak with both the Israelis and the Palestinians. He expects to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu before the prime minister leaves for the United States.

I expect to see the prime minister when he and I both address the AIPAC conference in Washington. Our relationship is ongoing. It is deep and broad. It is strong and enduring, and we believe that the launch of the proximity talks is very much in Israel’s interests as it is in the interests of the Palestinians. And to that end, we hope to see those talks commence as soon as possible.

MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Any other questions, please? The Iranian Information Agency.

QUESTION: I have a question to the Secretary General. The UN-distributed Goldstone Report about the crimes committed by Israel in the Gaza – it’s been two years since the events took place. What has been done and what will be done by the UN in order to lift the blockade and improve the life in Gaza?

SECRETARY GENERAL BAN: I have submitted this Goldstone Report to the General Assembly and Security Council. General Assembly has debated on this issue and took a resolution giving us another five months to continue to investigate. It is necessary, again, that the parties concerned to conduct a credible investigation during this period. And we will have another opportunity of discussing this matter.

As you know, I’m going to visit the Gaza on Sunday. That will be the second time for me to visit. I would like to see for myself how the humanitarian situation would be. As this Quartet statement said, we are deeply concerned about this worsening humanitarian situation. In that regard, I would like to ask you to note specifically the points which I have made the Quartet – in the Quartet statement.

The Israeli Government has just approved the very longstanding United Nations humanitarian project. This package includes water and sanitation projects (inaudible), containers to temporarily accommodate (inaudible) schools, and the completion of UN housing projects for 150 units. The Government of Israel has agreed to expand the list of imports to include aluminum for window frames. It’s vital now that these steps are speedily implemented. The needs in Gaza remains huge. Arab country – these measures will not meet them all, but I’ll welcome a first step.

I will continue to work with the Government of Israel to broaden the scope of our cooperation and to allow civilian reconstruction. The approval of this initial intervention could represent a meaningful beginning on which to build. As the Quartet statement principles stress today, a durable solution requires an opening of the crossings for both humanitarian and commercial goods to and from Gaza. And taking this opportunity, I’d like to sincerely thank the Quartet principals, particularly the United States Government, for their efforts to open up these humanitarian reconstruction materials be allowed. And I will continue to work very closely. Thank you very much.

MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Next question, Reuters, please.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, at first blush, did what Prime Minister Netanyahu tell you yesterday suggest that Israel will begin to address U.S. concerns?

And Foreign Minister Lavrov, the Quartet statement today condemns, now the second time in a week, the 1,600 housing units that Israel announced for advanced plans for building in East Jerusalem. Have you heard anything today or at dinner last night that suggests that Israel is going to address that particular issue, or moreover, is going to take steps to try to prevent such announcements from disrupting or making more difficult the process to begin talks?

SECRETARY CLINTON: What I heard from the prime minister in response to the requests we made was useful and productive, and we are continuing our discussions with him and his government. It’s one of the reasons that Senator Mitchell will be going back to the region and meeting with him in just a few days.

The goal of the Quartet, like the goal of the United States Government, is to get the proximity talks re-launched. We do not think unilateral actions by either party are helpful and we have made that very clear. And we’re hoping to be able to get those talks started because we think it’s only through that effort that we can move on to direct negotiations, as the Secretary General made reference to as part of our Quartet statement.

So I think all of us sitting here share the same goal. We all condemned the announcement and we all are expecting both parties to move toward the proximity talks and to help create an atmosphere in which those talks can be constructive.

FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV: (Via interpreter) The announcement that we adopted today that has just been read out by the Secretary General contains very clear wordings and language. We underscore that the circumstances conducive to an agreement about proximity talks should be respected. This is a clear language just as clear as other provisions of the statement such as an acceptability of any unilateral action that could prejudge the agreement between the parties themselves regarding the final status issues.

We are convinced that Israel will hear this statement, will understand it correctly, and, as has been said already by the Secretary General and Senator Mitchell, are going to the region, and in their contacts with the parties, they will convey the position of the Quartet in a most clear way. We assume that the parties should take heed of this statement.

MODERATOR: No questions? Good.

MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much.

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