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Posts Tagged ‘Trinidad Jimenez’

Today, Secretary Clinton met with too many dignitaries to name. We see her here with several of her counterparts including Ahmet Davotoglu of the host country, Turkey,  as well as the UK’s William Hague, the UAE’s Sheik Abdullah bin Zayad al Nahyan,  and Spain’s Trinidad Jimenez.

She gave a press conference as well as a major address to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. We also see her meeting with representatives of Libya’s TNC (Transitional National Cuncil), recognized today by more than 30 countries, our own among them, as the governing body of Libya.   Enjoy!  She’s winking at you!

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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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These pictures only capture part of this long day, believe it or not, and there are 70 of them.  They are in no particular order or grouping.  We see Mme. Secretary once again celebrating Twin Day with Chancellor Merkel (I believe that every time they have met, they have matched).  We also see her with a series of Foreign Ministers, including Guido Westerwelle (Germany), William Jefferson Hague, (UK), Trinidad Jimenez (Spain), Kevin Rudd (Australia), as well as with NATO Secretary General Rasmussen, and many others. I am always impressed by the way she puts out such a friendly, smiling, happy face for us.  She wins friends for us everywhere she goes.

Thank you, Mme. Secretary for working so tirelessly for us.

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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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