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Remarks at the U.S.-Spain Council

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Goldman Sachs Tower
Jersey City, NJ
June 24, 2012

Well it is truly my pleasure to join you. I regret very much that I was unable to be with you at dinner last night, but I thank the hosts for being willing to let me come this afternoon to congratulate you on this, the 17th U.S.-Spain Council Forum. I’ve been given an excellent report about all the activities by His Royal Highness. And I welcome him and Her Royal Highness here back to the United States. Also, all of our guests from the Spanish Government, including the Spanish Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Development, Ana Pastor, and all of our colleagues. Let me certainly thank my colleague in the Cabinet, Secretary Ray LaHood, who has brought his experience and his passion to the work of transportation and infrastructure to our country’s leadership, and I’m very grateful to serve with him.

I also want to thank my long-time friend and former colleague – I think it’s fair to say that Senator Bob Menendez is truly one of the most effective, determined, dedicated public servants in our country. He grew up not far from here, the son of immigrants, and now serves representing this great state of New Jersey. And he certainly deserves a lot of credit for the rise of Jersey City as a financial center. I can’t say I was always pleased about him being successful in convincing my constituents to set up shop across the river, but I certainly admired his results. And he has led on so many of the important economic issues on finance and foreign relations. And he truly has his heart in strengthening the relationship between the United States and Spain. So thank you, Bob.

Thanks also to Juan and Pedro for their co-chairing and presidency of the U.S.-Spain Council. And I understand that during the course of the meetings, you had my other friend and another one of our former colleagues, Secretary Ken Salazar, along with Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez, Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs Lael Brainard, and Assistant Secretary Jose Fernandez, who works with me at the State Department in this area of economic and business that we call economic statecraft.

This, for me, is a great personal honor. I believe so strongly, as does the Obama Administration, that the relationship between Spain and the United States is a vital one – vital to our economies, vital to our security, vital to our joint efforts to advance stability and prosperity around the world. And I am also personally very grateful for the excellent working relationship that we have from Afghanistan to Latin America. There has been an increase, a deepening, and broadening of our engagements in areas of concern to us both, and we see the results of that.

Now we know that our ties date back centuries. His Royal Highness and I were just discussing that next year will be the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s historic voyage to Florida. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to take stock of this 500–year-old relationship and all that Spain and Hispanics have contributed to the growth and success of our own country here in the United States. We have the benefit of millions of people traveling back and forth as tourists, as business leaders, as part of student exchanges, or simply to visit family and friends. And for the many millions of Americans who seek Spanish, Spain stands out as a favored destination to do business, to learn, to really revel in the culture that is so highly regarded.

So the bonds are strong, and I think it’s in our interest to do all we can to make them even stronger. And I don’t say that lightly. I say it with great conviction that the central focus of the U.S.-Spain Council on expanding our economic relationship is critical to us both. And it is also true that the deeper we go into cooperation on security and in other areas, we will draw even closer together.

Now I don’t have to tell any of you – and having been at the G-20 earlier in the week in Mexico – that we meet at a time that is critical for Spain, Europe, the United States, and the global economy. The United States is following events in Europe very closely, first and foremost because you are our allies and our partners. And we care deeply about your prosperity and your security, your social fabrics. We want you to thrive, but also because what happens in Europe has major consequences for what happens here in the United States. After all, Europe is our largest trade and investment partner. And Americans know that when demand for our products drop in Madrid or Barcelona, that has effects in places like Milwaukee or Baltimore.

So we stand firmly with the people of Spain and Europe during this financial crisis. We fully recognize that the decisions have to be made in Europe, but we have tried to be not only concerned friends, but active partners in helping all of us navigate through these challenging times. Let me also say that the United States supports the Spanish Government’s approach to restoring confidence in your economy through the recapitalization of the banking sector, fiscal consolidation, and labor market reforms. We think these are all key to achieving a more dynamic economy now and into the future. And we highly commend Spain for beginning down this difficult path.

We know that this crisis forces Europe’s leaders to make difficult choices, and to balance short-term and long-term priorities, which are not always perfectly aligned. And we have no doubt that Europe’s leaders understand full well the seriousness of the choices they face and the urgent need to act. We are looking forward to the European Council meeting in a few days. And as Europe acts, the United States will have your back. We will do all we can to evidence our strong support for these difficult decisions.

Now this forum, obviously, is not the place where a lot of these difficult decisions will be made. You cannot solve the challenges that we face. But I do think that this council meeting, coming at the moment that it does, can have a positive effect on the economies of both our countries by, number one, raising the profile of Spain and all that is right about and working well in and from Spain; by demonstrating conclusively that a strong relationship between our two countries; and by bringing together business leaders and top investors and government officials who help shape the day-to-day economic relationship between our two countries. We need to make a very clear message through the media, through the meetings you’ve been having, that we already are connecting by a rich flow of trade and investment. And we’re looking to make it even more so.

I mean, just looking at the numbers tells the stories. Since 2000, Spain has been one of the fastest-growing sources of foreign direct investment in the United States. In 2010, that investment stood at nearly 45 billion, making Spain our 11th largest investor. Now much of that investment has been in the green energy sector. Spanish companies are involved in a number of significant green energy and infrastructure projects in the United States, including a power company in Maine and a rail project in New York. These projects will provide valuable services to Americans and they also create jobs for Americans. As of 2008, which is the year for which I could find the most recent employment data, more than 66,000 Americans were working for U.S. subsidies of Spanish-owned firms. So as the Obama Administration works around the clock to create jobs for American workers, Spain is a valuable contributor to that. And we are glad that so many Spanish companies have already invested in the United States, and we want more companies to do the same.

Now of course, we want direct investment to grow in both directions. In 2010, U.S. foreign direct investment in Spain reached nearly $60 billion. And now, because of the reforms the Spanish Government is adopting, including labor and financial sector reforms, a recent law cracking down on internet piracy, progress on a new bilateral agreement on double taxation, we think this will attract even more American businesses and even more American direct investment.

Meanwhile, trade between our countries is strong. The United States imported $11 billion in goods from Spain last year. We exported nearly the exact same amount, 10.8 billion, which is up nearly 25 percent since President Obama launched the National Export Initiative in 2010. We did that with the goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014. If we were doing as well everywhere else as we are doing with Spain, we would be even further along toward achieving that goal.

But it is important to recognize, as His Royal Highness and I were just discussing, there is tremendous opportunity for Spanish firms, particularly in consumer goods, in the U.S. market that is not being exploited. So I am strongly urging all of you, especially with our large Hispanic population, to take advantage of what we think could be a win-win for us both. And with the 500th anniversary coming up, it would be, it seems to me, a perfect opportunity for Spanish businesses to join together to do some joint advertising about what Spain already is doing in the United States, introduce some products, and make a case that this 500 years of history has an equally bright future.

We want to make sure everyone hears the message that we both are open for business. And we know that the headlines out of Europe tend to inspire more questions than confidence, but we think that confidence is well-merited. And yet, we can’t just expect that to happen on its own. There had to be a concerted effort to make the case. And the Spanish and American Governments are committed to deepening our economic cooperation, making it even easier to invest and trade. This is a top priority for me as Secretary of State, and now one of our highest priorities in U.S. foreign policy. More broadly, we’re focused on advancing what we call economic statecraft, an effort to place economics at the heart of our foreign policy, our priorities, our tools, and our strategies.

Now, the reason for me is very simple. Our diplomacy must succeed in a world where states increasingly exercise power in economic terms, and diplomacy must do more to tend domestic economic sources of our leadership abroad. Spain has great influence in Latin America. The United States obviously has great influence in many places in the world. But if we’re not strong at home economically, and if we don’t pursue smart global economic policies, both of us will not have the same level of influence in 10 years that we have today. And speaking from my perspective, when I look at the need for democracy to spread, of our values to be adopted and embraced around the world, what we can bring to security and stability and prosperity, that would be a loss not only for Spain and the United States, it would be a loss for the entire world.

So our economic statecraft agenda includes working with all of you, because we think that it’s not just between governments; it is with our private sectors, our civil societies, academia, and other strong pillars of both of our countries. We are elevating commercial diplomacy, directing our embassies worldwide to focus more on developing trade and investment. Through the new Select USA Initiative, we are attracting more inbound foreign investment, and I know that our ambassador, Ambassador Solomont, just recently held an excellent program in Madrid to try to highlight this.

We’re also working closely with the European Union. I think there is much more that the EU and the U.S. can do together to unlock economic activity. The U.S.-EU High-Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth just issued its interim report a few days ago. It included an analysis of the benefits of opening our markets to more goods, services, and investments; and crucially, it spoke to the importance of promoting compatible regulations, tackling behind-the-border barriers, and consulting on possible approaches to intellectual property rights. A strong outcome to these discussions, if achievable, can enhance not only transatlantic economic ties, but also address shared market access challenges in third countries and strengthen global rules and norms around non-tariff barriers and other competitive issues, which are the most pressing challenges to maintaining level playing fields worldwide.

In the meantime, we are continuing to work through the Transatlantic Economic Council to expand economic opportunities between the U.S. and the EU. When you look at the money and effort both the U.S. and EU spend on regulation, harmonizing regulatory regimes would save us both time, money, and effort. Figuring out how we could agree on certain phytosanitary standards; for example, the U.S. has a different way of testing shrimp from Asia than the EU has. I would think there’s got to be a way we could collaborate so that we both wouldn’t have to send out inspectors, and we could have a standard that we were holding the world to anybody who wanted to get into either of our markets would have to meet. So these are the kinds of nitty-gritty practical issues that we are now finally discussing with the EU that we think hold great promise for us both economically.

And I want to also highlight another program of Ambassador Solomont. Two months ago, he sent a letter to every U.S. governor encouraging them to bring trade delegations to Spain. And already Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico have taken him up on the suggestion, and Illinois will be sending a trade delegation to Spain next week. And Spain has shown a similar reciprocal commitment. Just this week in Boston, at BIO 2012, the world’s biggest biotech trade show, Spain had the largest delegation of any foreign country. And I have to tell you that that was really an exciting change for our biotech companies to see what was happening in Spain and to have His Royal Highness there along with the Royal Highness really highlighting the advances Spain is making in its own biotech industry.

So the interest is there, the ingenuity is there, the strong businesses, the fundamental cooperation. Now we have to do our part by advocating for smart policies, finding and forging more business partnerships, working together more closely on relevant issues like harmonizing regulations and protecting intellectual property, and telling everyone that will listen that Spain and the United States are working together and open for business.

This is a long-term effort. We think it bears fruit immediately, but the real harvest will take some years to see. And we’re working not only for this generation of leaders in both the public and the private sector, but for those who will follow after. And it is exciting to me to be here to thank all of you who understand the importance of this relationship, are committed to furthering it, see over the horizon what is possible, and will work together to realize the very best possible outcome from this level of very high, important cooperation. Thank you all very much.

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Earlier today, I posted Mme. Secretary’s press remarks with her Spanish counterpart Trinidad Jimenez. Her day in Spain included a meeting with Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero as well as with King Juan Carlos, who was sporting crutches due to recent knee surgery. We see a photo of her meeting at the embassy with Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy, and below are her remarks at her meet-and-greet with embassy staff and families.

These embassy events tend to be among her last events on a visit, so we hope she is on her way safely home. Last year she intentionally spent the Independence Day weekend abroad. She visited Ukraine, Poland, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. This year we will be happy to have her home to celebrate the holiday with all of us!

Happy Fourth of July in advance, Mme. Secretary! Thank you for your dedicated service! 

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Remarks at a Meet and Greet With [Embassy] Staff and Families

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Madrid, Spain
July 2, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you very, very much for this warm welcome. I am delighted to be back in Spain. I want to thank the ambassador and Susan and Stephanie for their warm welcome. I want to welcome the new DCM, Luis Moreno, who arrived just a few days ago, straight from serving in Baghdad. And I understand that Stella Blue is the embassy mascot. (Laughter.) She’s around here, somewhere.

But I wanted this chance to personally thank you for the work you do every single day on behalf of this very important relationship. Spain is our ally and Spain is our friend. And we collaborate closely on every aspect of our foreign policy, from countering terrorism to supporting new democracies, to driving economic growth through bilateral trade and investment. And on most difficult and complex issues of our time, Spain and the United States are working side by side, such as in Afghanistan, where Spanish troops have made great sacrifice, most recently with the loss of life and injury. And we are just incredibly grateful.

And I know, too, that there is a lot of American visitors who come to Spain. And I don’t know how many of them call you for help, but as I was walking around, just taking a little walk yesterday evening, I saw so many Americans. (Laughter.) So I assume that if I saw them on the streets, you see them at the embassy.

And I want to thank all of our U.S. Government team from the State Department and USAID, but from all the government agencies, from Defense and Commerce, and every other part of the U.S. Government. And I particularly want to thank our wonderful Spanish employees, because without you there would be no historical memory, and you do so much of what makes this embassy successful.

Now, I have to say that this mission is setting a high standard for embassies worldwide, because I heard about the Fourth of July celebration we had on Thursday, which was June 30th, but that’s all right. (Laughter.) And you have a salute to American business, co-hosted by the mayor of Madrid. And I know that there was a little Bruce Springsteen thrown in, and some other wonderful surprises. So thank you for the great outreach that you are doing, and for making economic, commercial, and cultural ties even stronger.

I also want to thank you for the volunteer work that you do, from pitching in at English language classes to stocking food banks to supplying entertainment and fun for the children of inmates at a women’s prison. It’s a quite broad spectrum of volunteerism. And by doing so, you really tell a big part of America’s story. It’s about our values, about who we are, as a people.

And thank you for protecting American citizens here in Spain, because you have so many students and so many tourists. And, of course, I learned from the ambassador today that we actually have more Spanish-speaking Americans than there are Spanish-speaking Spaniards. So you are going to keep drawing tens of thousands of Americans to this beautiful country.

And I want to say a special word of thanks to someone who has been here for decades: Angelina Sebastian, who has worked here for more than 40 years. It is quite a remarkable history of service. And she is just one of the many of you who have worked in this embassy for the American Government for a very long time.

Now, I know we ask a lot of you, because the work you do every day is important. But then along come CODELs, cabinet members, vice presidents, and I know that’s a lot of extra work. So I want you to know I am aware of that, and especially appreciative. I know you’ve already had the big Fourth of July party, but the ambassador owes you a wheels up party at some point. (Laughter.)

So let me, on behalf of everyone in Washington, and on behalf of President Obama and the Obama Administration, thank you for what you do week in and week out. Sometimes, because we have such a great relationship that is so connected by history and culture, family, and so much else, I worry that we might be maybe taking it for granted from time to time, because we don’t have problems. I didn’t need to come to Spain; we don’t have problems. I wanted to come to Spain. (Laughter.) I have been trying to get to Spain, because I want to make sure that we never take this important relationship for granted, that our Spanish friends know how deeply we admire and respect their own work over so many years, and now, with the tough decisions that had to be made, politically, in the economy. We have had to make hard decisions back home, so we fully understand that.

And I look forward to this relationship, thanks to all of you, just getting better and stronger in the years ahead. Thank you all very much.

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Remarks With Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez After Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Viana Palace
Madrid, Spain
July 2, 2011

FOREIGN MINISTER JIMENEZ: Hola. Buenos dias. Dear Secretary of State, dear Hillary, let me start by expressing my personal satisfaction for receiving you here in Madrid. We are extremely pleased to have this opportunity for receiving you, and to see how is our collaboration and our friendship. So I want to thank you for being here, and to have this opportunity to strengthen our relationship and our friendship.

(Via translator) (Inaudible) agenda. The relations between Spain and the U.S. are very sound, and also very broad-ranging. We work together on subjects such as counterterrorism, but also in the areas such as justice, without forgetting all of the economic and international exchange, all our cultural cooperation, as well. In addition, in the multilateral framework, we have worked together on climate change, and developing alternative energies.

Trade (inaudible) and direct investment have grown very strongly. Traditionally, the United States has always been one of the first direct foreign investors in Spain. But one thing that you may perhaps not know is that Spain has become a major investor in the United States and in companies, in sectors that are tremendously important: teaching sectors, for example; infrastructure; financial services; or renewable energy.

In the economic sphere, the Secretary of State and myself have reaffirmed our intention to continue strengthening our relations and our efforts in order to overcome the global economic crisis, in order to consolidate recovery and achieve sustainable development.

We have looked at all our different agenda items, among which, of course, Afghanistan, where we have reaffirmed our commitment to make progress in the transitional process, according to the established calendar in order to make Afghanistan a safe, secure, and stable place. And I am sure that — in this regard I can assure you that the Secretary of State has expressed her condolences because of the recent loss of the lives of Spanish soldiers in Afghanistan.

We have also talked about North Africa in depth, especially the situation in two countries that — about which we are optimistic, each — and Tunisia. And the work we are doing in the European Union, but also bilaterally from Spain in order to help these countries strengthen their democracies.

We also talked about Libya, where we have been working very closely in a coordinated way in these recent months. We will continue exerting pressure, both militarily and politically, in order to help the Libyan people to achieve their legitimate aspiration for democracy, security, and safety — peace, (inaudible).

We have also spent time on the Mideast peace process, where the United States has traditionally played an essential role, as it continues to play, with both sides, Palestine and Israel, in order to get them to return to the negotiating table, and in order to lay solid foundations for an agreement that enables both people to live in peace. In July, the (inaudible) will be meeting in Washington, and we are working most intently in order to be able to make progress in such an important matter to the entire international community.

We have also had the opportunity to talk about Latin America. The Secretary of State knows that Spain has very strong ties, traditional ties, with Latin America. We enjoy a privileged relationship that enables us to talk to them very directly, because we are very close. And we have once again stated that we are ready — we are both ready — to work together in cooperation, as we have done recently in South America in the security conference that was held in Guatemala two weeks ago. That was a (inaudible) conference that was a tremendous political success, because what it required in terms of coordination and (inaudible) efforts in — coordinated efforts in security.

We have also talked about the possibility of stretching our cooperation in other matters, such as Haiti, where we have also worked together, and we would like to continue doing so. In this regard, two cooperation agencies, USAID and (inaudible), have to work on how we can coordinate our actions together.

We talked about Palomares and the progress made. Ever since I met with the Secretary of State in Washington I saw the goodwill of the Department of State and the United States to work on this, and all the technical teams that have been — since then come over. We have — and the technical assistance, and we are very appreciative of all those efforts.

So, dear Secretary of State, dear Hillary, I know we will now have the opportunity to meet with the President of the Government, with His Majesty, the King, and this is — comes to prove how important this visit of U.S. to Spain is, and it is a token of our friendship, of the excellent cooperation between our two countries, and of course, looking forward to the future, hoping to strengthen this excellent relationship even further, if possible.

So, on behalf of the Spanish Government, this is my — I would like to extend my warmest and heartfelt welcome in this very important visit of yours to Spain. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so very much, Trini, for those warm words, and also for the excellent working relationship that we have. And the meeting we just completed demonstrated that once again. It was a wide-ranging, comprehensive discussion of so many of the important issues, not only the bilateral issues, but regional and global issues, as well. And it underscores the enduring relationship between the United States and Spain.

We are very grateful that the ties between our two nations run deep. Our alliance is rooted in enduring bonds of history and heritage, and they spring from our shared values. Spain is a trusted partner and a valued friend. And together we are leading members of a Transatlantic community that remains an unrivaled force for peace, progress, and prosperity in the world.

As the foreign minister said, we not only discussed a wide range of issues, but we enhanced our cooperative relationship in a number of areas. Let me just mention a few.

I thanked the foreign minister for Spain’s contributions to the NATO/ISAF mission in Afghanistan, and expressed my condolences to the government and to the families of those Spanish soldiers killed and injured in the last week.

This month we are beginning the transition to Afghan responsibility, and it will be completed in 2014. I want to applaud the Spanish forces for their bravery and skill, and especially for the excellent work that is being done training the Afghan police force. I am also grateful for the Spanish investment in health care services in Badghis Province, including the construction of a maternity and pediatric center. We agreed on the importance of moving forward with unity and urgency on all three tracks in Afghanistan: military, civilian, and diplomatic.

We also discussed our shared conviction that Qadhafi needs to stop the assault on the Libyan people, and leave power. We appreciate Spain’s contributions to enforcing the no-fly zone and the arms embargo. The NATO-led mission is on track. The pressure on Qadhafi is mounting. And the rebels have been gaining strength and momentum. We need to see this through, and we are in complete agreement that we will.

There is hardly a major global challenge that we are not working on together. Spain is a strong presence at the G20 as a permanent participant. And we are partners at the nuclear security summit and in food security, climate change, and shared endeavors in Haiti and elsewhere. We work especially closely throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, where Spain’s continued investment in strong democracies and economies is having a real impact.

Earlier this month, both the foreign minister and I were together in Guatemala, where we joined with other donors to announce a major package of support for Central America’s fight against drug traffickers and criminal organizations. And today we continued our conversation about how together we can enhance citizen safety across Latin America.

Our close connections extend to our economic relationship. Under President Zapatero’s leadership, the Spanish Government has taken important steps to strengthen its finances, restructure its banking sector, and improve its competitiveness. We understand how difficult those steps are, and we know that Spain still faces significant challenges as it works to consolidate its finances, bring down unemployment, and overcome the legacy of the global economic crisis.

So, I know that the Spanish Government will continue the process of reform, and I want publicly to say how much we understand that this takes time and patience to make these changes, and to see them through. It is our hope that European leaders continue to make sure that Europe’s response to the crisis is strong, flexible, and effective.

As I told the foreign minister, Spain can count on the unwavering friendship, not only of the United States Government, but of the American people. Spain is the second-fastest growing investor in the United States, and the United States is one of Spain’s largest trading partners. As we each seek to create jobs for our people and grow our economies, we will work together to expand investment and trade between our countries. I had the chance yesterday evening to take a walk in beautiful Madrid, and I saw so many Americans. (Laughter.) So I know that American support for the Spanish economy is strong.

So, my friend, my colleague, this is a full agenda. And I am delighted to be working so closely with you. Our interests and our values converge, and I thank you again for your hospitality and friendship. And I thank also the Spanish people for their commitment to our very strong alliance.

FOREIGN MINISTER JIMENEZ: (Via translator) Thank you very much, Secretary of State, my friends. Now both the Secretary of State and myself are happy to answer some questions.

MODERATOR: (Via translator) A question for the Secretary of State.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary, Madam Foreign Minister. I have a question for both of you. Yesterday Colonel Qadhafi made some threats that he would launch attacks on Europe, on homes and offices, if the NATO mission continued. How do both of you respond to these types of threats?

And, just in a related question, the African Union recently — a number of African leaders made very negative statements about the ICC referrals. And what type of a message does this send? Does this run the risk of offering Colonel Qadhafi and some of the other members of his government a safe haven across the whole continent? Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER JIMENEZ: (Via translator) To your question about yesterday’s threat by Colonel Qadhafi, I need to say that Spain’s response, and that of the international community, is to continue with the same resolve we have been working with during these past months. We will continue working together. We will continue exerting the same military and political pressure we have until now, because this is how we are going to achieve the UNSCR 1973. We are working together in order to protect the Libyan population, to protect Libyan citizens from the threat and the use of military violence against — by Qadhafi. So, we will stay until our objectives are met. And the theme of resolution 1973 is, on the one hand, to protect the civilian population, and on the other to enable the Libyan people to fulfill their aspirations of living in peace.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I agree with the foreign minister, and I would only add that instead of issuing threats, Qadhafi should put the well-being and the interests of his own people first, and he should step down from power and help facilitate a democratic transition that will meet the aspirations of the Libyan people.
With respect to the ICC action, the referral to the ICC was embedded in UN Security Council resolution 1973, which garnered positive votes from the 3 African members of the Security Council: Nigeria, Gabon, and South Africa. There may be some disagreement by a few. But I think that the overall support of what we are attempting to do within Africa is strong and growing.

QUESTION: (Via translator) Good morning. A question for both of you. After the most recent terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, a recent wave of attacks, do you think it has been advisable to announce the time frame for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan with such a long notice?

And I do have a question for the Secretary of State, for Ms. Clinton. Do you think that Spain should become more involved — and I mean militarily — in the action that is being carried out in Libya? That is all. Thank you very much.

FOREIGN MINISTER JIMENEZ: (Via translator) With regard to Afghanistan, as you know, the international community is acting under the mandate of a resolution of the Security Council of the United Nations. In this regard, what I mean is that the international community has been working together in Afghanistan for almost 10 years now. We have been working in order to make it a secure place, and now we are working in order to help the Afghan people (inaudible) their government, (inaudible) masters of their own destiny. So we are working together on a transitional process, and we think that (inaudible) the transition process contributes to organizing the process.

We know these are complicated times. Coalition forces have suffered attacks. But we hope to continue working with the same determination we have been working from day one and, at this point, to redouble our efforts (inaudible) transfer authority to the Afghans themselves, in terms both of visibility and governance, because our belief is for Afghanistan to be able to (inaudible) into peaceful (inaudible) its own destiny. That is what we are working on. And we set the deadline at 2014 in order to bring this transition process (inaudible). Of course, these are always just a reference.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I agree with the foreign minister. I would also add that the Afghan Government has welcomed the commitment we have made to transition because they too know they must assume responsibility, and they are undertaking to do so with our assistance.

With respect to Libya, we are very grateful for the contributions that Spain is making to the mission in Libya, both in the no-fly zone and in enforcing the arms embargo. As NATO allies, we are constantly evaluating what our resources are, how best to utilize them, and how to make sure that the mission is successful.

QUESTION: Hi, Madam Secretary. The United Nations top human rights official recently criticized China for not arresting Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, during his visit to their country. I would just like to know where you stand on that and whether you agree with the UN on this position.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we have made our views clear, that countries should not be welcoming the Sudanese president because of the outstanding charges against him from the international criminal court. We believe that there are important principles to uphold, when it comes to international justice. And, of course, we are also urging all countries to convince the Sudanese Government to fulfill its responsibilities under the comprehensive peace agreement, to make sure that, as South Sudan becomes an independent nation next week, that the ground for a positive relationship between north and south will be established.

So, I hope that other countries will not offer the opportunity for a visit, but I hope all countries will give a clear, unmistakable message about what needs to be done to finish the comprehensive peace agreement between north and south.

QUESTION: (Via translator) Good morning, Secretary of State, ministers. (Inaudible) said that you talked about Palomares during your meeting. Beyond the goodwill of the United States Government, will it contribute economically to this contamination of that beach because of an American accident in 1966? (Inaudible) Secretary of State applauded President Zapatero’s efforts, and (inaudible) in his forming work. You will be meeting the (inaudible) leader of the opposition, Mr. (Inaudible). What do you expect in that meeting?

And Mr. (Inaudible) in recent months has called for early elections. Do you think that would be good for Spain, or do we have to wait and see what the fruits are of President Zapatero’s reform process?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, with respect to Palomares, we understand the sensitivity within Spain toward this issue, and we have, in recent months, brought together a team from the Department of Energy to come to Spain to work with your experts on a collaborative solution to what has been a long-standing legacy issue. Our work is continuing. But I think, as the foreign minister said, the Obama Administration is taking the Spanish concerns very seriously.

Second, I do not comment on internal Spanish politics; that is for the people of Spain to decide. I — as I travel around the world, I meet with governmental officials and opposition representatives. That is part of our ongoing outreach to the entire country and the political system in various nations. So I have no basis for making any comment about the internal decisions.

As I said in my opening remarks, I know how politically difficult many of the actions that the current government has taken are. As you probably know from following the news in the United States, President Obama has taken some very difficult political issues, and has been roundly criticized because these are controversial. But I think each country, in terms of its own economic recovery from the global crisis of 2008, has to make responsible decisions, regardless of the political controversy or consequences. And, of course, we hope, as we do in our own country, that these decisions will be continued, and that they will bear fruit, in terms of the positive economic outcomes that we are all seeking for our people.

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Mme. Secretary was wearing my fav chiffon ruffles under her blue jacket as she descended from her Big Blue Bird at Torrejon’s air base in Spain today.

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Briefing En Route Budapest, Hungary

Special Briefing

Senior Department Official
Senior Official
Budapest, Hungary
June 29, 2011

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL THREE: So the Secretary is on her way to Budapest for the opening of the Tom Lantos Institute and her bilateral visit in Hungary. She will then go on to Vilnius, Lithuania for the Community of Democracies event and a bilateral visit there, and then onto Spain for a bilateral visit. To give you the flavor of this trip, we have two senior administration officials, and I will now turn it over to official number one.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: The Secretary is going to be able to visit three countries on this trip that she has not previously visited in her capacity as Secretary of State. And so that makes it a special trip for her and the countries involved. And she will on this trip do what we always do when we travel to Europe, which is advance our broad based and comprehensive partnership with Europe and with Europe abroad.

She’ll be talking across the board about the things that we are doing with and in support for these countries. She will look at internal developments, especially in the countries of Hungary and Lithuania as they mark 20-plus years of transition. She will also be looking at issues of economic adjustment, particularly in the country of Spain. And with all three of the countries she will be looking at the EU agenda as we collaborate with our EU partners, as all three of these countries are EU members. She will be working with them on our global agenda, as Europe is really the cornerstone of our global engagement, and she will be talking about the details of what we are doing to advance stability and democracy in every place from the Balkans to Afghanistan to Libya.

As part of our global engagement, one of the special themes of this entire trip and for each of her stops will be democracy and what we are doing together as democracies to advance the issues of human rights, fundamental freedoms, to perfect our own democracies, and to advance this agenda elsewhere. As you know, one of the issues that she has emphasized and that we are seeing on the ground is how difficult democratic transition can be and how important it is for us to seize moments of opportunity to make sure that we translate promise into reality, and as we do so, to make sure that we carry out a very special responsibility that we as established democracies, but also newer democracies, even like second generation democracies that have come through transition, to pay it forward and to help to use the assistance and the support, the lessons, and the experiences that we’ve gained to help others who are in the midst of their own struggle.

In Hungary, as you have heard already, the Secretary will start with the opening of the Lantos Institute, and there really will be two themes as part of that event. First is the extraordinary individual that Tom Lantos was as the only Holocaust survivor to be a member of Congress, a lifelong fighter for human rights and freedom, but also somebody who in the midst – in the course of his congressional tenure worked across partisan lines. And all of those themes will also carry over in terms of what the Lantos Institute is about, what it is set up to achieve, which is to advance democracy, inclusion, tolerance, bipartisan cooperation.

She will also meet with civil society leaders in Hungary that will allow her to carry on that message and that dialogue from the Lantos Institute, and she will be able to hear from political voices across the spectrum of Hungarian political life and to continue that dialogue. And then, of course, she will have a session with Prime Minister Orban, and in that session she will talk about all aspects of our wide-ranging partnership, the many areas on which we cooperate, everything from Libya, where Hungary is the protecting power for the United States, to Afghanistan, where they have 500 troops on the ground and lead a PRT or provincial reconstruction team, and to the EU agenda, where they are working on energy cooperation, issues relating to Roma, issues relating to Croatia’s accession into the European Union. And of course, as a friend and partner, we will also talk about advancing democracy, strengthening democracy within Hungary.

We will talk in greater detail later about the agendas in Lithuania and Spain, but just to touch very briefly for them now, when we arrive later in the day in Lithuania after the Hungary stop, the Secretary will take part in an event on women enhancing democracy. This will include over 20 women leaders from the Middle East, Europe, elsewhere around the world. It is an event that is co-chaired by the Lithuanian and Finnish presidents, but it will also include leaders from Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, and Slovakia. It is women’s rights and advancement of women is a key part of our human rights agenda. It’s the work that Ambassador Melanne Verveer has been engaged in. The U.S. and Lithuania are co-chair of the Community of Democracies Working Group on Gender Issues, and this will be an opportunity for the Secretary and all these women leaders to address the issues that are associated there.

The Secretary will then have a Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society that is a continuation of the Strategic Dialogue she launched in Washington. She is committed to hearing directly from the people who are on the ground working to advance democracy. She wants to know about the problems and the challenges they face, but also about where they see progress and potential, and to share ideas about the way forward. There are about 150 civil society leaders who will be present in Lithuania for an event associated with the Community of Democracies, and this will involve individuals from that group.

On Friday morning, the Secretary will attend the Community of Democracies ministerial, which will include representatives from about 130 countries around the world. And (inaudible) —

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: About 130.

QUESTION: Do you know some of the prominent participants from other countries?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: We can get you the list. We can get you the list and go over that. And here again, it is about the need to help each other. It is about a need to share lessons learned, talk openly, and see what we can do at this crucial time for action, when we’ve watched the events in Egypt and Tunisia, we’ve watched Arab Spring across the Middle East and Africa, and again, as I said before, to recognize the reality of how difficult transitions can be, the need for those in transition to get help, and the responsibility of those who have been through that transition, long ago or recently, to reach out and help.

The Secretary will also do a number of bilateral meetings in Lithuania. She will meet with the prime minister, the president, and the foreign minister to talk about everything from energy and economy to democracy in the neighborhood and particularly neighboring Belarus. She will touch on issues and the positive developments with the Lithuanian parliament’s recent passage of a Holocaust compensation bill. And she will join the Baltic foreign ministers in an event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Baltic independence.

And then, just lastly, on Saturday morning in Spain, the Secretary will meet with both the prime minister and the foreign minister. As you know, Spain is a longstanding and greatly valued ally in Afghanistan. They’re working together with us in Libya across the board, and it’s an opportunity for us to look again at the cooperation that we have underway, also, so many contemporary issues, especially as they relate to the economy and what we can do together across the broad range.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL THREE: Senior Official Two, anything to add?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: I think it’s useful to see this trip within the context of the one the President just completed, to – it’s useful to look at this trip by the Secretary of State in the context of the trip the President just completed to Europe in May because these themes are continuous across our Administration. As you know, when the President traveled, one of the principal themes of that trip was the importance of our alliance relationships in Europe. During that trip he visited four countries. On this trip, we will visit three very close allies, important allies, both within Europe and in meeting the global challenges that we face. And so one significant element the President (inaudible) is that we strengthen those alliance relationships because they’re so important to us as we work together to catalyze global action.

Second, as [Senior Administration Official One] said – as Senior Official Number One said – this trip is an important trip with respect to the themes of democracy, development, both within Europe and beyond. That was a very significant element of the President’s engagement in Poland on the last trip, the final stop on his trip. And there, we are working to consolidate democracy in Central and Eastern Europe, especially with regard to those countries that haven’t yet made a full and successful transition to democracy. Senior Official Number One mentioned Belarus, which we are very concerned about. There could well be significant protests and further violence today. We’re watching that very closely. And so we will be putting a spotlight on Belarus. We also have concerns about (inaudible) in Ukraine, and we have continued engagement with the Government of Ukraine to express our concerns there.

I’d also say, with regard to democracy in Europe, that there’s an important element of the continuing efforts to achieve an integrated Europe, and there we have encouraged the EU to keep its door open and to continue to welcome those countries that meet its standards for membership. And that’s a very important incentive to countries that have not made their full transition to democracy, to achieve that transition in order to join the EU.

Third, a major theme of the trip is, as Senior Official One mentioned and which, again, reflects an important element of what the President did during his trip to Europe in May, is to speak with our close allies about our global agenda. There we work with our allies – the ones we will be visiting during this trip – on the full range of issues that we face together in the world. These are significant contributors to Afghanistan; they’re involved in the Libya operation, both in the NATO command and control and also in terms of providing support for the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution. We work with them, on the advance of the Arab Spring, more broadly on democracy promotion outside of Europe, and we work with them on climate change, we work with them on a huge range of issues, all of which will be discussed in the bilateral meetings that the Secretary will conduct.

So I think that it’s important (inaudible) to see this as a trip that reflects the continuing of our engagement with Europe from the outset of this Administration and which was highlighted during the President’s (inaudible).

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL THREE: Thank you. We can take three of your questions.

QUESTION: You said that the United States is particularly concerned – very concerned about events in Belarus, where there could be more violence, and about backsliding in Ukraine. To what extent is the U.S. Government concerned about the treatment of the Roma in Hungary and also what some might describe as backsliding in Hungary with regard to the press law, the constitution, et cetera? And to what extent will the Secretary raise those issues, in public or in private, while she’s in Hungary?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: I’ll speak up. You don’t have to —

QUESTION: Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: We are concerned. Roma is an issue of particular interest for Secretary Clinton and for this Administration. We’ve worked together with Hungary during the course of their EU presidency on their efforts to develop an EU policy toward the Roma, and that is an issue that we look forward to discussing. As I said at the outset, we are also very interested to see the strengthening of democracy in Hungary. We want very much to support advancements on democracy in Hungary, and that will be a key part of our dialogue, both with civil society and with the Hungarian Government.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL THREE: I think you can expect the Secretary to speak to both of these issues tomorrow quite clearly.

QUESTION: Can I ask a question about – you were talking about alliances as a foundation for stability. I’m wondering if the Secretary is going to bring up at all Greece in the context of meetings with other EU members because of the potential instability that could spread from there. And more broadly – she references this in her speech as well, NATO and the EU being a great foundation for stability and so on, but recently we’ve seen Secretary Gates criticize NATO as being almost outmoded or at least in need of a new mission, and Greece does threaten the EU. So I’m just wondering if you have any concerns about that? I mean, it’s – it doesn’t look – (inaudible) as a way to encourage (inaudible).

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Yeah. Both NATO and the EU have, for many decades, been a force for stability and a force for integration. And as my colleague mentioned, those are the trends and trajectories that we want to see continue and that we are working to support, both as it concerns aspiring members to those organizations but also the issues that arise in the context of membership for both of those institutions. The issue of the economic situation in Europe across the board is one that is current and that the Secretary will raise in the course of this trip. As you know, she’s not stopping in Greece, but we have said just about every day over the course of the past 10 days how pleased we are to see the courageous decisions being taken by the government in Greece and their determination to do those things that are necessary in order to bring their economy into the right circumstance.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL THREE: On NATO, the Secretary has said very clearly that it is important, even as we work together strongly in Afghanistan and Libya and Kosovo, around the world, not to be complacent, that we have to continue to invest in these institutions. And whether it’s NATO members investing in NATO, whether it’s EU members using the strength of the EU to try to address their economic issues collectively, the institutions add value to the national efforts.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: I would just also make a point, which is that that’s actually not what Gates said in his speech. It wasn’t about NATO needing a mission. What he – as the Defense Secretary, was asking that NATO do is ensure that it has the capabilities required to fulfill its commitments, and that’s a distinct difference.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL THREE: Time for one more.

QUESTION: Firstly, you mentioned Belarus, both of you. What do you hope to achieve beyond the expressions of support or condemnation that we’ve heard for the last 20 years? What does the Arab Spring bring to the table that wasn’t there before, and what would you hope to get from Communities of Democracies or the Western democratic liberal community?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: Do you want to start with that, and I’ll –

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Sure. I’m happy to start on Belarus. And as you know, Belarus has been a longstanding problem. Things have recently gotten worse, and it is an issue of great concern for the countries of the region, but for all of the friends of democracy across Europe and Eurasia. There have been a number of statements that have been issued by political leaders about the situation in Belarus, but those statements have also been backed up by actions. Everything by sanctions from the European Union to travel restrictions, other measures, asset freezes, things – steps that have been undertaken by the United States Government as well as by many European governments individually and the EU together.

There have been – also been efforts to set up funds to take concrete action to promote democratic development inside Belarus to liberalize travel for those not associated with the regime so that we can work at the problem, if you will, from both directions.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: One of the things you’ll see tomorrow in Lithuania is some of the work that we’re doing to strengthen civil society through a variety of means. I don’t want to —

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL THREE: I think we’ll talk a little bit more about that precise vehicle tomorrow when we pre-brief on Lithuania. But –

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: Yeah. But there’s some exciting work we’re doing to support civil society in repressive places and to get tools to enable those who are seeking to break out of the oppression that they’re experiencing, and that work we’re doing closely with our European allies. You heard this when we were in Poland with the President, that the Poles have played a leadership role in this regard in working with us on Belarus, but we also have close cooperation with the EU broadly and with a number of these countries bilaterally, including with the Lithuanians.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL THREE: Okay, guys.

QUESTION: Can I ask one more? A quick one? On her speech, (inaudible) reference to countries that crow about their economic growth but don’t respect the freedoms, as if they’re mutually exclusive. I’m assuming that’s a reference to China, and I’m wondering if there’s any sort of – if the U.S. is having or seeing any sort of encroachment by China or China’s attempts to (inaudible) people in Central and Eastern Europe, the way you see China sort of pushing its agenda in South America or Africa.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL THREE: The Secretary, as you know, throughout her tenure, has stressed the importance of democracy, economic liberalization, development going hand in hand, and that there is a limit to how much you can do on one track if you aren’t also making progress on the other track. So I think you just see that theme repeated here.

Thanks, you guys.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.) She’s not going to go beyond what the U.S. Government has previously said about Greece, correct? The economic stuff gets left to the Treasury as it always does? There’s nothing new or –

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL THREE: The Greeks are in the middle of trying to work through their issues, so we are supportive of the efforts that the government is undertaking and watching closely as they make very important decisions in the next couple of days.

QUESTION: I think the Treasury – its purview for the most part

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Subsequent to her visits to Hungary and Lithuania (as originally posted below), Secretary Clinton will make a stop in Madrid at the end of this week. Here is the update.

Secretary Clinton To Travel to Madrid, Spain

Press Statement

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 28, 2011

Following her travel to Hungary and Lithuania, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Madrid, Spain, July 1-2, 2011. In Madrid, Secretary Clinton will underscore the close partnership and friendship the United States and Spain enjoy, based on shared values and common interests. The Secretary will meet with Spanish President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Foreign Minister Trinidad Jiménez to discuss a range of issues including Afghanistan, North Africa, and the Middle East and trade, investment, and the economy.

Here is the original post.

Secretary Clinton to Travel to Budapest and Vilnius

Press Statement

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 24, 2011

Secretary of State Clinton will travel to Budapest, Hungary, June 29, to participate in the dedication of the Lantos Institute. The establishment of the Lantos Institute has been supported by the Government of Hungary to promote Hungarian-born Congressman Tom Lantos’ long commitment to democratic principles and the protection of individual and human rights. Secretary Clinton will also meet with Prime Minister Orban, Foreign Minister Martonyi, and representatives of civil society while in Budapest.

Secretary Clinton will visit Vilnius, Lithuania, from June 30 to July 1, to participate in the Community of Democracies 6th Ministerial. The Ministerial will bring together senior government officials, parliamentarians, NGOs, women and youth leaders, and the private sector to advance the shared goals of strengthening civil society and supporting emerging democracies. During her visit, the Secretary will participate in the “Women Enhancing Democracy” gathering of world leaders, held under the auspices of the Community of Democracies’ working group on women’s empowerment. She will also host a session of the Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society focused on challenges to the freedoms of speech and association. While in Vilnius, the Secretary will hold bilateral meetings with President Grybauskaite, Prime Minister Kubilius, and other Lithuanian officials.

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Remarks With Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez After Their Meeting

 

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Treaty Room

Washington, DC

January 25, 2011

 


 

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning, everyone, and it is such a pleasure to welcome the minister here for her first official visit in this new capacity. I met with her in Lisbon and asked if she could come early in the year, and I’m delighted this worked out. We just had a wide-ranging and productive discussion about mutual security, economic and development goals around the world. I look forward to many more such conversations.

The enduring partnership between the United States and Spain is rooted in friendship and common values. We are not only bilateral partners, but regional and global as well, and united in a shared vision for a world that is peaceful, secure, and prosperous.

Are we going to translate as we go or are we going to do it in English?

FOREIGN MINISTER JIMENEZ: No, I can do in English.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Okay. I wish I could do it in Spanish. (Laughter.)

We discussed the evolving situation in Lebanon where Spanish soldiers have served in the peacekeeping operations of UNIFIL, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, under a Spanish commander. We both share deep concerns about the influence of outside forces, and we hope to see a government emerge that will serve the interests of the people of Lebanon and sustain the independence and sovereignty of Lebanon.

As NATO allies, we have worked closely and comprehensively to support the people of Afghanistan as they rebuild their country. Spanish troops are fighting the insurgency in Badghis Province and helping Afghan forces take lead responsibility for their own security. At the same time, civilian experts from Spain are helping Afghans grow food crops, train police forces, build roads that connect the country’s far-flung rural communities.

As global partners, we are working side by side to solve some of the most pressing problems. Both our countries are committed to fighting chronic hunger. Spain was one of the founding contributors to the World Bank’s Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, which has already helped farmers boost productivity, encouraged investments in high-yield technologies, and helped improve nutrition for women and children.

With its historical and lasting ties with Spanish-speaking countries, Spain is an especially important partner in this hemisphere. We are working together to help the people and governments of Central America ensure safety and build prosperity. After the United States, Spain is the second largest donor of development assistance in the region, including its work with the Group of Friends, a consortium of governments and organizations that fosters aid donations. It is actively working in Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, Colombia, so many other places. And I want to thank the government and the people of Spain, especially during what I know are challenging economic conditions for all you are doing to help people get a better education, to help farmers, to help bring clean water and so much more to advance development. But I would expect no less, because Spain is a great champion for human rights not only in the Western Hemisphere but around the world.

I expressed our thanks for its work with the Catholic Church to secure the release of political prisoners and for Spain’s ongoing efforts to encourage Cuba to release Alan Gross, who has been harshly and unfairly jailed for too long. I also appreciate all the work that Spain is doing in Haiti. They have worked with a wide range of international partners donating food and medical supplies, providing doctors and nurses, and now working with us to ensure a legitimate, democratically elected government.

Now, we have both been challenged by economic circumstances over the last two years. And Spain and the Spanish Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Zapatero, has taken decisive measures to reduce its debt, calm the markets, reassure other Eurozone partners that it’s working toward financial stability. We know how important a healthy Spanish economy is.

As we look toward the future, we see many, many challenges, but I feel much better and take great comfort in the fact that Spain and the United States will be working together.

FOREIGN MINISTER JIMENEZ: Thank you. Thank you very much Secretary of State Hillary.

Hello, good morning. Let me start by expressing my deep satisfaction of being here in the State Department and in this great country and this great capital. I’m very grateful to be here and to have the opportunity to exchange views of many things that we have in common.

We had a very fruitful exchange of ideas. Spain and the United States are close friends and close allies, and we are close partners, bilaterally speaking, but also inside the European Union and also within the G-20. We have to speak about so many issue, as the Secretary of State has explained. More specific, our talks today have (inaudible) the quality and intensity of our relation. We have covered a broad range of topic in a very short time, almost an hour. But we have found a high degree of proximity and mutual understanding and empathy.

In the field of bilateral relation, we have touched upon the issue of common interest and concern. It included a string of visits. I expressed my desire to receive her in Spain as soon as possible.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I expressed my desire to do so. (Laughter.)

FOREIGN MINISTER JIMENEZ: We are waiting for her. (Laughter.) Trade and investment relation, (inaudible). So we have so many things now in which we are working. (Inaudible) issue that has been mentioned here in the – of our meeting. But also security and cooperation, the field of defense, has been part of our work talks. In that same, we have opted for ascending the Defense Cooperation Agreement, which is – which expires next February introducing (inaudible). We also exchanged views of Afghanistan (inaudible) of our (inaudible) determination to assist success in the process of transition endorsed by the political leader for (inaudible).

We have been speaking about also the current situation in the Maghreb. This is also very important. It’s (inaudible) strategic important for Spain but also for the United States. We have exchanged views on the Western Sahara, but Tunisia also has been part of our talks today, very important also for us. Also we have spoke about Middle East, Lebanon, the new Government of Lebanon and how we can coordinate our position, our initiative in order to get stabilization of the region.

Spain and the United States also share a profound attachment to Latin America. We have strong historical ties, have become the two main investors in the continent. Well, we share also view about Central America, and we are planning to collaborate and coordinate our position because, well, there is a problem of security in the region in which we can coordinate some initiative with our different (inaudible), cooperation (inaudible). And so I think we will develop that opportunity to work intensively together.

Also we have spoke about Haiti. We are also worried about the situation of Haiti, and we want – I mean, to be together also in that process in order to recognize the result of the election, the recent election. So we are working together with some other countries in the region – Canada, and Brazil – but also with the United Nations mission and the European Union.

I don’t want to finish without mention also the – our decide for the candidacy of Mr. Moratinos to the FAO so – well, in the end we – what I want to say is that we want to thank, once again, Secretary of State for your kindness and your commitment with Spain and with our country, I mean, for the future of our relationship. So I feel very happy to be here. I thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much.

FOREIGN MINISTER JIMENEZ: Thank you.

MR. TONER: We have time for just two questions. The first is Dave Gollust from Voice of America.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, on Lebanon, do you anticipate being able to continue a normal, political, or aid relationship with a Lebanese Government that’s – in which Hezbollah is believed to be calling the shots. I know outgoing Prime Minister Hariri described it as tantamount to a coup. What’s your expectation for the future of our relations?

And in our tradition of two-parters, there are some major demonstrations in Egypt today, and I’m wondering if there is concern in Washington about the stability of the Egyptian Government, of course, a very valuable ally of the United States?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, David, we are watching the situation closely and carefully in Lebanon. We are monitoring new developments. As you know, the government formation is just beginning. A Hezbollah-controlled government would clearly have an impact on our bilateral relationship with Lebanon. Our bottom lines remain as they always have been. First, we believe that justice must be pursued and impunity for murder ended. We believe in Lebanon’s sovereignty and an end to outside interference. So as we see what this new government does, we will judge it accordingly.

With respect to Egypt, which, as your question implied, like many countries in the region, has been experiencing demonstrations. We know that they’ve occurred not only in Cairo but around the country, and we’re monitoring that very closely. We support the fundamental right of expression and assembly for all people, and we urge that all parties exercise restraint and refrain from violence. But our assessment is that the Egyptian Government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people.

MR. TONER: (Off mike.)

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, regarding Tunisia, I wonder if you could elaborate a little bit more on the discussions you had today with Minister Jimenez. And also, how likely do you see the possibility of the violence in Tunisia spreading to the rest of the region, and if you’re planning to collaborate?

And for Minister Jimenez, I’d like to know if you have expressed some disappointment to Secretary Clinton with the fact that Guantanamo is not being closed. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, with respect to Tunisia, both the United States and Spain have a great interest in and commitment to Tunisia and the people of Tunisia. We each have our respective involvements that have been focused on our bilateral relations. But at this point in time, we are very much concerned about how we help the people of Tunisia make this transition. I have spoken to the foreign minister and to the interim prime minister, the prime minister as recently as this weekend. I’m encouraged by the direction that they are setting toward inclusive elections that will be held as soon as practicable. But there’s a long way to go. As the minister and I were discussing, there’s no experience. There’s no institutional muscle memory about how you do this. And, therefore, Spain, United States, European Union, United Nations, other organizations around the world that want to see this transition successful and leading to a democratic vibrant outcome are offering whatever help we can. In fact, Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman is in Tunisia right now meeting with a full cross section of Tunisians to hear from them firsthand how they want to see this process unfold. So we’re going to stay in very close touch, and I know that this will be on the agenda of the European Union on Monday –

FOREIGN MINISTER JIMENEZ: Monday, yeah.

SECRETARY CLINTON: — when there’s a full meeting. And before I turn to the minister, on Guantanamo, let me say how much President Obama and I appreciate what Spain has already done. We are absolutely committed to closing Guantanamo. It’s turned out to be a little more challenging than we had hoped when we set that goal, but there is no doubt about our commitment, and the continuing support from friends like Spain will enable us to keep moving in that direction.

FOREIGN MINISTER JIMENEZ: Thank you. If you don’t mind, Secretary, I prefer speaking in Spanish in order to give –

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.

FOREIGN MINISTER JIMENEZ: — a Spanish voice to the media about Guantanamo. (Via interpreter.) As the Secretary has said, this is something that we discussed, and Spain is supporting the U.S. Government in its decision to close Guantanamo. Spain and Europe support the United States in its firm decision in this regard, and for that reason, Spain has already received three detainees from Guantanamo. We hope that the U.S. will continue its good efforts with the U.S. Congress in this regard and there will be continued and greater efforts from European countries to help to this end. We’re doing this because we are friends, we are allies, and we believe that this is a good decision.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.

 

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