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Posts Tagged ‘Tripoli’

This picture is from the May 1, 2009 ceremony when the name of Brian Adkins was added to the memorial wall in the lobby of the Harry S. Truman Building. Brian was a 25-year-old Foreign Service officer killed in his first tour of duty in the consular section of the American Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Also added to the wall that day were the names of Felix Russel Engdahl, U.S. Consul in Shanghai, who died in 1942 in a Japanese internment camp; Thomas Waldron, first U.S. Consul in Hong Kong, who died of cholera; Edmund Roberts, a special envoy sent by President Andrew Jackson to negotiate a treaty with Japan, who died of dysentery.

It was the first time we saw Secretary Clinton cry.

Date: 05/01/2009 Description: Secretary Clinton at the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) Plaque Ceremony in C Street Lobby.   © State Department photo by Michael Gross

 

Hillary Clinton on the Tragedy in Benghazi

Hillary Clinton’s Video Remarks on the Deaths of American Personnel in Benghazi, Libya

Yesterday, our U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya was attacked. Heavily armed militants assaulted the compound and set fire to our buildings. American and Libyan security personnel battled the attackers together. Four Americans were killed. They included Sean Smith, a Foreign Service information management officer, and our Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. We are still making next of kin notifications for the other two individuals.This is an attack that should shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world. We condemn in the strongest terms this senseless act of violence, and we send our prayers to the families, friends, and colleagues of those we’ve lost….

In the lobby of this building, the State Department, the names of those who have fallen in the line of duty are inscribed in marble. Our hearts break over each one. And now, because of this tragedy, we have new heroes to honor and more friends to mourn….

… we must be clear-eyed, even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group – not the people or Government of Libya. Everywhere Chris and his team went in Libya, in a country scarred by war and tyranny, they were hailed as friends and partners. And when the attack came yesterday, Libyans stood and fought to defend our post.

May God bless them, and may God bless the thousands of Americans working in every corner of the world who make this country the greatest force for peace, prosperity, and progress, and a force that has always stood for human dignity – the greatest force the world has ever known. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.

 

President Obama and Secretary Clinton at the White House and State Department

Hillary Clinton on the Deaths of Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty in Benghazi, Libya

Hillary Clinton at State Department Eid ul-Fitr Dinner

Religious freedom and religious tolerance are essential to the stability of any nation, any people. Hatred and violence in the name of religion only poison the well. All people of faith and good will know that the actions of a small and savage group in Benghazi do not honor religion or God in any way. Nor do they speak for the more than one billion Muslims around the world, many of whom have shown an outpouring of support during this time.

Unfortunately, however, over the last 24 hours, we have also seen violence spread elsewhere. Some seek to justify this behavior as a response to inflammatory, despicable material posted on the internet. As I said earlier today, the United States rejects both the content and the message of that video. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. At our meeting earlier today, my colleague, the foreign minister of Morocco, said that all prophets should be respected because they are all symbols of our humanity, for all humanity.

Benghazi-Spin: Myth-Busting and Reality Check

Myth:  Hillary Clinton said the attack on the Benghazi installation was an outgrowth of a demonstration against an anti-Islamist video on the internet.

Not exactly.  Here are her words on September 12, 2012.

We are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault. Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet.

There were demonstrations against such a video at many U.S. embassies world-wide and in the region,  however.

Sep 11, 2012

Cairo protesters scale U.S. Embassy wall, remove flag

Egyptian demonstrators climbed the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo today and pulled down the American flag to protest a film they say is insulting to the prophet Mohammad.

This Wikipedia entry gives a pretty complete treatment.  All of these embassies were under the oversight of the State Department.  The American School in Tunisia was destroyed.  Secretary Clinton, just back from a tour that ended in Vladivostok,  did have her hands full, but she did not blame this attack on the video.

Hillary mentions a precedent: Terry Jones burning the Quran the previous year and the resultant deadly protest in Afghanistan.    Jones was also promoting the offensive video.

Much early discussion centered on embassy security.  Many wrongly assumed that Marine Embassy Guard were stationed at every embassy (untrue) and that their mission was to guard personnel.  Hillary points out the error as did Victoria Nuland shortly after the attacks.

Clearing The Air On How Embassy Security Works

Hillary went to Capitol Hill to testify as soon as she had gathered the necessary information and her schedule permitted.  She answered every question posed to her and also announced the appointment of the required Accountability Review Board (ARB).

Hillary Clinton with Indonesian FM Marty Natalegawa

I’m looking forward to the opportunity to go up to the Congress today. I will be briefing in two separate sessions, the House and the Senate, in a classified setting, along with my interagency colleagues, as we continue to work together, and with governments around the world, to ensure that our people and our facilities are safe. I will be joined today by the Director of National Intelligence, General Clapper, by the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, by the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Sandy Winnefeld, along with experts from the FBI, the State Department, and elsewhere in the government.

Now, I anticipate that this briefing will cover our security posture before and during the events, and the steps we have taken since to do everything we can with host governments to protect our people and our embassies and consulates. The Director of National Intelligence will speak to the intelligence issues surrounding these events in Libya. Deputy Secretary Carter will brief on the superb support we have had from the U.S. military in the wake of these events, and we are at the very early stages of an FBI investigation. The team from the FBI reached Libya earlier this week. And I will advise Congress also that I am launching an accountability review board that will be chaired by Ambassador Thomas Pickering.

Partisan attacks began early.  We went on the defensive here.

House Tea Party Members In Pursuit Of Hillary Clinton: Examine Your Own Role In Cutting Diplo Post Security

Issa Flips The Coin And The Game Is On

In the course of the four-hour testimony there were some obvious gaps in congressional knowledge of how embassy security operates.  As Victoria Nuland pointed out on September 17,  internal security (walls inward) is the task of the guest country, and external security (walls outward) is up to the host country,  Marine Embassy Security Guard (MESG) is posted at embassies (not usually at consulates) primarily to secure documents not personnel.   That task  falls under the purview of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security headed by Eric Boswell who testified in camera along with Secretary Kennedy yesterday to the same committee.

Hillary Clinton at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony to Honor Those Lost in Attacks in Benghazi, Libya

In the days since the attack, so many Libyans – including the Ambassador from Libya to the United States, who is with us today – have expressed their sorrow and solidarity. One young woman, her head covered and her eyes haunted with sadness, held up a handwritten sign that said “Thugs and killers don’t represent Benghazi nor Islam.” The President of the Palestinian Authority, who worked closely with Chris when he served in Jerusalem, sent me a letter remembering his energy and integrity, and deploring – and I quote – “an act of ugly terror.” Many others from across the Middle East and North Africa have offered similar sentiments…

This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with. It is hard for the American people to make sense of that because it is senseless, and it is totally unacceptable…

The people of Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Tunisia did not trade the tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of a mob. Reasonable people and responsible leaders in these countries need to do everything they can to restore security and hold accountable those behind these violent acts.

 

Hillary Clinton’s Media Interviews on Benghazi

For more than a month Hillary had been taking responsibility, talking to Congress and the press, providing explanations and information such as she could (some information was classified and later declassified, e.g. the fact that “the annex,” as the second building was called, was actually a CIA operation and the related fact that two of the four Americans killed were actually CIA officers and not State Department personnel).

Look, I take responsibility. I’m in charge of the State Department, 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts.

Nevertheless, when Hillary, traveling abroad in Peru, used those words to CNN’s Elise Labott it was breaking news across prime time cable.  Remarkable. Proving that when it comes to Hillary Clinton even saying the same thing differently somehow generates headlines.

(Recently she mentioned that she would decide whether or not to run in 2016 “after the first of the year.”  The story went viral despite that fact that for three months she had been saying that she would not make that decision “before the end of the year.”)

Aftermath … Benghazi, The Great Debate, and Hurricane Hillary

Hillary does not mention that, ill and injured,  she was handling her duties from home and at one point from her hospital room during the weeks in December when the ARB Report came to her.  We owe her dedication a great debt.

She has told us many times that we should take criticism seriously but not personally.  Her summary of the ARB findings stand as an excellent example.  In fact the ARB did not find fault with her or with any particular personnel.  The faults they did spotlight were functional and procedural.   Hillary addressed these with alacrity.  She accepted all 29 recommendations and ordered them implemented.  She pledged not to leave office until all were in the process of implementation and met that goal.

Here is a link to the ARB Report and the cover letter she sent with it to Congress.

Hillary Clinton’s Cover Letter to Congress and the Unclassified ARB Report

She testified on Capitol Hill as soon as her doctors permitted (which may have been earlier than they recommended).

Video: Hillary Clinton’s Testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Benghazi

As I have said many times, I take responsibility, and nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger, and more secure…

… let me underscore the importance of the United States continuing to lead in the Middle East, in North Africa, and around the world. We’ve come a long way in the past four years, and we cannot afford to retreat now. When America is absent, especially from unstable environments, there are consequences. Extremism takes root; our interests suffer; our security at home is threatened.

That’s why I sent Chris Stevens to Benghazi in the first place. Nobody knew the dangers better than Chris, first during the revolution, then during the transition. A weak Libyan Government, marauding militias, terrorist groups; a bomb exploded in the parking lot of his hotel, but he did not waver. Because he understood it was critical for America to be represented there at that time.

Our men and women who serve overseas understand that we accept a level of risk to protect the country we love. And they represent the best traditions of a bold and generous nation. They cannot work in bunkers and do their jobs. So it is our responsibility to make sure they have the resources they need, and to do everything we can to reduce the risks.

Video: Hillary Clinton Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Benghazi

With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime.

Hillary speaks eloquently in this chapter in her own defense.  She really should not have to, but Benghazi became a political football the very day after it happened and the fact that she was out of politics when it happened and that those who testified before Congress were career diplomats and not politically aligned mattered nothing to the people who intended a witch hunt.

None of us can really know what we might have done as colonial residents of Salem if our neighbors were accused of witchcraft.  A rapidly dwindling number of Americans knows how they reacted when asked by Congressmen or an ambitious and wrong-headed Senator to name names of “enemies” in the entertainment industry, the military, and even in the very department Hillary headed. I, however, did know what I could do to defend Hillary, so I have included in this post not only her words, but my own defenses of her – some of them.

I know Hillary does not agree with some of what I have said, and I did go ahead and name names as she has not.  None of it is secret.

The Tea Party v. Hillary Clinton: It Never Ends

Part of the partisan offensive was a review of the Accountability Review Board reporting system initiated by some in Congress who, as Hillary points out, refused to be satisfied or simply refused to listen.  It was a silly, frivolous waste of taxpayer dollars.

Hillary Clinton and the ARB Reporting System Reviewed: Things You Should Know

Hillary Clinton and the ARB Reporting System Reviewed: More Things You Should Know

 

Benghazi was the event that drew a dividing  line through the Hillary team.  People I had known since her 2008 campaign peeled off.  It was fast and furious in dramatic, stunning contrast to the pro-Hillary passion they had professed up until that point.

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Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>

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According to the Special Review of the Accountability Review Board Process (ISP-I-13-44A), the Permanent Coordinating Committee (PCC)  is the body within the State Department that must convene ASAP after a serious security incident at a U.S. mission abroad and determine whether or not to recommend that the secretary of state convene an Accountability Board Review (ARB).

P 7  ¶ 1 Permanent Coordinating Committee
“The Committee will, as quickly as possible after an incident occurs, review the available facts and recommend to the Secretary to convene or not convene a Board. (Due to the 1999 revision of the law requiring the Secretary to convene a Board not later than 60 days after the occurrence of an incident, except that such period may be extended for one additional 60-day the Committee will meet within 30 days of the incident, if enough information is available.) In addition, the Committee will meet yearly to review the ARB process, existing policies and procedures, and ensure that any necessary changes are effected.” – 12 Foreign
Affairs Manual 032.1

On October 7, 2012 Hillary Clinton announced that not only had the recommendation been made but also that the ARB had been formed and would commence meeting that very week – well within the timeline stated in the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM). Many of you will remember that the Tea Party was already stridently calling for this review, however it is clear from the FAM directive that this process went a good deal more quickly than was required.

P 16  ¶ 8  Secretary’s Report to Congress
“Report to Congress: the Secretary will, no later than 90 days after the receipt of a
Board’s program recommendations, submit a report to the Congress on each such
recommendation and the action taken or intended to be taken with respect to that
recommendation.” – 12 Foreign Affairs Manual 036.3a.

The delivery of the completed report along with a cover letter dated December 18, 2012 delineating in detail many steps Hillary had already taken to address weaknesses in security at U.S. missions worldwide also came in well before the deadlines outlined in the FAM.  The cover letter is a brilliant analysis and well worth the read.  If you happen to find yourself in a discussion on the  subject of Benghazi, the events surrounding this attack, and State Department responses to it, you will find valuable points therein.  The letter and reports were addressed and delivered to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

P 19 ¶ 1  “All of us—from senior Department leadership setting strategic priorities to supervisors evaluating the needs of individual posts to congressional committees appropriating funds and providing oversight—have a responsibility to provide the men and women who serve this country with the best possible security and support. Most of all, it is my responsibility as Secretary of State.” – Secretary Hillary Clinton

One wonders how many times Hillary Clinton needs, orally and in writing, to take responsibility for Benghazi for the Tea Party to stop accusing her of dodging that responsibility.  Breaking news the night before a presidential debate,  on October 17, 2012 was that while traveling in Peru Hillary had stated in an interview that the responsibility was hers.  Her signature is, in perpetuity,  on that letter where she assumed responsibility.    Must she wander the streets with a bell like a town crier declaring, “The buck stops with me?”

P 25 ¶ 1 Regional Bureau Shared Responsibility
ARB Recommendation 3: “As the President’s personal representative, the Chief of Mission bears ‘direct and full responsibility for the security of [his or her] mission and all the personnel for whom [he or she is] responsible,’ and thus for risk management in the country to which he or she is accredited. In Washington, each regional Assistant Secretary has a corresponding responsibility to support the Chief of Mission in executing this duty. Regional bureaus should have augmented support within the bureau on security matters, to include a senior DS officer to
report to the regional Assistant Secretary.”

Not to blame the victim,  but security at Tripoli and Benghazi was a shared responsibility and some of that responsibility fell on Ambassador Stevens.  Of all the players in this tragedy, he, from all indications, was most familiar with the culture of the country and the population in Benghazi in particular.   In his absence, Gregory Hicks shared that responsibility at Embassy Tripoli of which he had been left in charge.

Fortunately, Embassy Tripoli was not subject to an attack, however, the reckless irresponsibility of Hicks’s decision to send the remaining two security officers from Tripoli to Benghazi is undeniable.

By Jeremy Herb 07/31/13 12:59 PM ET

Col. George Bristol, who commanded an Africa-based task force at the time of the terrorist attack, told the House Armed Services Committee that he gave Lt. Col. S.E. Gibson, who led the site security team in Tripoli, initial freedom of action to respond to the attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi.

Bristol corroborated testimony Gibson provided the committee last month that no “stand down” order was given — contradicting accusations made by critics of the Obama administration’s response to the attack — according to a description of Wednesday’s classified, members-only briefing of the Armed Services Oversight and Investigations subcommittee.

Gibson had testified last month that he was told not to send his team to Benghazi because they needed to remain in Tripoli to defend the U.S. Embassy there in case of additional attacks.

Among the Benghazi recommendations is this one regarding funding.

P ¶ 5 29 Funding
ARB Recommendation 10: “Recalling the recommendations of the Nairobi/Dar es Salaam Accountability Review Boards, the State Department must work with Congress to restore the Capital Security Cost Sharing Program at its full capacity as originally envisioned, adjusted for inflation, of approximately $2.2 billion in fiscal year 2015, including an up to 10-year program addressing that need, prioritized for construction of new facilities in high-risk and high-threat areas. It should also work with Congress to expand utilization of Overseas Contingency Operations funding to respond to emerging security threats and vulnerabilities and operational requirements in high-risk and high-threat posts like Benghazi and Tripoli.”

We do well to remember who stripped the DS funds two years in a row.  There is plenty of responsibility to go around including upon those who clog Hillary Clinton’s Twitterfeed with cries of “Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi!”  ignoring the role played by tight-fisted Tea Party House members who swear they will recall Hillary Clinton.    If they do, we are certain that she will cooperate and be, as always, eminently well-prepared.

P 31 ¶ 2  Personnel Recommendations
No ARB has ever found “reasonable cause to believe” that a Federal employee or contractor has “breached a duty of that individual” as defined by the Act.

We have yet to hear any mea culpas emanating from Capitol Hill.

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As the House Committee Oversight and Government Reform hearing  (there is a link to the C-SPAN video of the proceedings at that post) was getting underway on Wednesday October 10, references were made to a background briefing the evening before.  The transcript of that briefing is now available at the State Department website and provides the most complete account to date of events on the ground in Benghazi on the night of September 11 and the morning of September 12.

All over the internet, MSM and bloggers are referring to this text as well as statements by Secretary Clinton and other State Department officials as evidence that the Department of State never laid blame for the attack in Benghazi on the notorious Youtube defaming Islam which was the message put forth in Vice President Biden’s remarks during Thurday’s debate with Paul Ryan (a segment during which neither candidate appeared appropriately informed much less “presidential” in a heartbeat-away kind of way) as well as in U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s remarks on the Sunday morning talk circuit the weekend following the attack.  At Friday’s press availability with Italy’s foreign minister,  Secretary Clinton chose her words very carefully in response to a question from CNN’s Jill Dougherty.

To this day – to this day, we do not have a complete picture. We do not have all the answers. No one in this Administration has ever claimed otherwise. Every one of us has made clear that we are providing the best information we have at that time. And that information continues to be updated. It also continues to be put into context and more deeply understood through the process we are engaged in. Ambassador Rice had the same information from the intelligence community as every other senior official did.

She did not say that the information Ambassador Rice had was that the attack stemmed from a demonstration of any kind in Benghazi.  In the background briefing we see:

OPERATOR: The next question is from the line of Brad Klapper with AP. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi, yes. You described several incidents you had with groups of men, armed men. What in all of these events that you’ve described led officials to believe for the first several days that this was prompted by protests against the video?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: That is a question that you would have to ask others. That was not our conclusion. I’m not saying that we had a conclusion, but we outlined what happened. The Ambassador walked guests out around 8:30 or so, there was no one on the street at approximately 9:40, then there was the noise and then we saw on the cameras the – a large number of armed men assaulting the compound.

The hearing itself was purportedly held to determine the nature and extent of  security in Benghazi the night of the attack. What we learned was that there was an interagency detail in Tripoli into August and that although the tour had been extended previously, it was withdrawn and replaced with a State Department detail in Tripoli.  Part of that detail accompanied Ambassador Stevens to Benghazi.

OPERATOR: The next question comes from the line of David Lerman with Bloomberg News. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. Did the Ambassador – before the attack, did the Ambassador request that security be increased in Benghazi? And if so, did anything ever come of it?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL NUMBER TWO: The – when the Ambassador traveled to Benghazi, he traveled with two additional security agents over and above the complement of three who were assigned to post. So there were five agents with him there rather than the two who are normally assigned there – the three who are normally assigned. So they were up two.

There remain voices demanding to know, as Paul Ryan asked during Thursday’s debate, why Ambassador Stevens was not given a Marine Guard.  At Friday’s press briefing, Victoria Nuland remained remarkably composed and patient as she addressed that issue for the Nth time to a question from the aforementioned Jill Dougherty of CNN.

QUESTION: There is something on the – that came up in the debate last night. It’s more a kind of how do things work question. Congressman Ryan said that Marines should have been sent – Marines exist, guard the Embassy in Paris, and they should have been guarding the Ambassador when he went to Benghazi. Is that correct? I mean, could they have sent Marines? Is that the normal course?

MS. NULAND: Let me just stop everybody here and remind you that we don’t do politics at this podium. We don’t litigate the campaign on one side or the other.

QUESTION: No, I’m not saying it’s politics. I’m saying: How does it work?

MS. NULAND: If you’re asking me a factual question —

QUESTION: Exactly. How does it work? Where– what do Marines protect? Would they in any case have protected that mission in Benghazi?

MS. NULAND: We’ve talked about the role of Marines from this podium several times. We talked about it in the days following the attack. I would refer you back to what we said at the time, which is that – and I can get you the precise numbers – but we have Marine security guards in about 60, 65 percent of our missions around the world. They are primarily assigned to protect classified information, classified equipment, in those posts that are classified. So – and I would also remind you of what Eric Nordstrom said when he testified on the Hill, which was that in his professional opinion, another foot of wall or another four, five, six – I can’t remember the number that he used – of American security personnel wouldn’t have been able to turn back or handle the assaults at the level of ferocity and lethality that we saw that night.

In the background briefing linked here, the reason why Marine Embassy Security would never have been in Benghazi for any reason was made eminently clear.

OPERATOR: The next question is from the line of Margaret Brennan, CBS News. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi, thanks for doing this. The timeline here begins around 8:30 p.m., but we had heard in response to some reports where reporters had found paperwork documents on the grounds of the compound that secure materials, that confidential paperwork had actually been secured earlier in the day, therefore there wasn’t any compromised material found at the compound. When did that occur? At 8:30 at night? When were those documents secured or shredded or burned or whatever?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: Because of the – this was a post and not a – and we – this post held no classified documents. They had computer communications with Washington, but the material would arrive on the screen and you would read it on the screen, and then that was it. There was no classified paper, so there was no paper to burn.

Assuredly the debate will continue to rage.  A few  things are clear:

1. There is never-before-seen daylight making its appearance between the Obama White House and the Clinton State Department.  Under-the-bus stories abound.  (I am putting my money on Hillary Clinton.)

2.  Hillary Clinton intends to get to the bottom of this and will probably make no definitive statements until all investigations are complete  nor should she absent all possible information.  (I hope this extends to appearing before the Oversight Committee as well.)

3. When faced with overwhelming evidence to the contrary some people will never cease to believe that a Marine guard, which, had one been assigned,  would have remained in Tripoli,  would have made a difference.

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Deputy Secretary William Burns was in Tripoli today to participate in a memorial service for our fallen heroes.  Here are his words

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Remarks at a Ceremony Honoring Fallen Americans

Remarks

William J. Burns
Deputy Secretary
Tripoli, Libya
September 20, 2012

DEPUTY SECRETARY BURNS:Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister, distinguished guests: We gather with heavy hearts today to remember four remarkable men – Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty – who gave their lives serving their country and trying to build a better future for the people of Libya.Last Friday, I accompanied my fallen colleagues on the long, sad plane flight home, where their families and friends, joined by President Obama and Secretary Clinton, gathered to honor their sacrifice – the ultimate sacrifice. I am proud and grateful to be able to join all of you this evening, here in Libya, to mourn their passing.

This is a hard moment, for all of us. It is a moment of shared loss. And it is a moment of shared hope, and shared responsibility.

We have lost four wonderful colleagues. We have lost a brilliant ambassador, full of courage and skill and passionate determination to help Libyans, to help all of you, realize the promise of your revolution, to make a reality of a free Libya, of “Libya al-Hurra.” I last saw Chris Stevens during a visit to Libya in July, just after the elections. His sense of commitment and possibility was contagious, drawing him to Libyans from all walks of life, from senior officials to students to street vendors. He was a very fine diplomat, and an extraordinary human being. He really was America at its best.

This is truly a shared loss. I can see that sense of loss on the faces of all those gathered here this evening . . . the loss of a tireless friend and advocate, a man who dreamed your dreams and wanted deeply to help you achieve the dignity you deserve, after so many decades of tyranny. I could see that sense of loss, as well as a profound sense of honor and decency, in the bravery of the Libyans who risked their lives to try to fight off attackers and rescue Chris . . . in the grief-stricken faces of the doctors and nurses who did all they could to try to save his life . . . in the outpouring of condolences and support from your leaders . . . in the simple, heartfelt, hand-printed signs of ordinary Libyan citizens, urging the world to understand that the extremists who did this do not speak for them and do not speak for Libya.

Tonight it’s difficult to see beyond that sense of loss. But the truth is that what Chris Stevens embodied most of all was a sense of shared hope. He was an optimist, about Libya and about the potential for friendship between Libyans and Americans. He saw the promise of a free Libya, of a better future for Libyans and their children and their children’s children.

Chris saw the promise of a free Libya even in the hardest days of the revolution in Benghazi, when so many others couldn’t see it, when so many others began to waver, when so many others began to doubt. Chris never wavered. He believed in Libya. He believed in all of you. He believed in what you could build, in what you could overcome, in what you could become as a nation.

Neither Chris Stevens nor our three other fallen colleagues were naïve. They were not blind in their optimism. They knew the troubles Libyans faced, and the risks they had to endure. Chris understood better than most that it was only through a shared sense of responsibility that those hopes could be realized. If Chris were here this evening, I know he would be the first to say that – for all the pride and jubilation of the revolution, for all the pain we feel tonight – it is the days ahead which matter most.

Chris would be the first to remind us that dignity, respect, hope, and freedom are powerful words and noble aspirations – but translating them into reality takes hard work and great sacrifice. That is the responsibility before all Libyans, and before all of us in America and around the world who remain committed to supporting you in this crucial effort. There are formidable tasks ahead: to build democratic institutions to safeguard human rights for every Libyan; to build security institutions to protect your own citizens and the diplomats who serve here; to build an economy which realizes the full potential of all Libyans.

None of this will be easy. It will take time. There will be more difficult moments along the way. But you have already achieved so much, and so much more is possible. Libyans will have to continue to make hard choices, to live up to your responsibilities, and to ensure that violent extremists don’t hijack the promise of your revolution.

Chris Stevens would have had no doubts about your ability to do that. He would not have wavered. And he would have drawn strength from your resolve, which is so evident this evening.

Chris would not have let the profound sense of loss we feel tonight obscure the hopes we share, or the responsibilities we must accept. The best way to honor his memory, and the memory of Sean and Tyrone and Glen, and the memory of all the Libyans who have sacrificed so much for the revolution, is to renew our shared determination to build a free Libya, “Libya al-Hurra.” We owe them – we owe ourselves – no less.

Thank you.

 

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Mme. Secretary had meet-and-greets with two embassy staffs and their families today.  These are always important to the people who work so hard and put in so much time and effort to keep her visits flowing smoothly and safely.  We all appreciate their service.

by Secretary Clinton: October 2011 » Meeting With Staff and Families of Embassy Valletta

Meeting With Staff and Families of Embassy Valletta

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Malta International Airport
Valletta, Malta
October 18, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all. Well, I am absolutely delighted to be here and to have this opportunity to thank you in person for such an extraordinarily well-done job, because for me, watching from afar the way you supported all of our Embassy family across this region was absolutely remarkable. And Rick, thank you for those kind words, but it was long overdue that the Secretary of State come back to Malta, and I’m happy that it could be me. I’m only sorry that it’s for such a short visit. So as I told the prime minister earlier today, that just means I have to come back for a longer one.

I know that oftentimes, many, many of the posts across the world just do their jobs every single day. They get up and they do the work that is required to deepen and strengthen and manage the full panoply of work that is required. And I know this is, by a lot of standards, a small team, and yet you have performed far above your size and far beyond any expectations. It took a crisis, perhaps, for the entire world’s eyes to be focused on Malta, and for Washington’s eyes to be focused on you. But you have performed brilliantly.

There are so many stories that came out of the last year – the six members of this Embassy team led by Tracy Brown, who joined other TDYs and colleagues in Tripoli on that ferry to get the Americans evacuating and others we were taking along with us home. I’m sure you won’t forget the 18-foot swells and some of the other challenges, but it was an extraordinary act of professionalism and kindness. And then when everyone got to Malta, the rest of you were there to process visas, replace lost passports, and to book flights that took people home.

But throughout the crisis, there was a constant stream of American expatriates from Libya. You were there for them again; you provided medical assistance; you advanced loans, I heard; you reissued passports; and you persuaded the Maltese Government to waive immigration formalities so that you could get everyone moving home as quickly as possible.

And now, as Embassy Tripoli rebuilds itself literally from the ground up, your support has been absolutely crucial. Again, you’ve arranged flights, you’ve shipped vehicles, oxygen, MREs, water, medical supplies, and sensitive material, acting in the very best traditions of this post and of the Foreign Service. I was just there. What once was the Ambassador’s residence is now the new chancery and people are working three and four in a room that once was a guest room or some other purpose. They could not do it without you. And I understand that from our friends in Tripoli, popcorn and bananas are the only two food that there’s an abundance of, so once again, you’re helping them by literally shopping to put something different on the tables.

Now, you’ve been busy the last few weeks. You had a CODEL for Senator McCain, a high-profile visit by Assistant Secretary Feltman who is here somewhere with us, and then my own visit, which you have just handled magnificently under very, very short notice. And a special thank you to Laura Danylin and her team for that. And I want to thank Rick Mills as chargé for his superb management of this extraordinary level of support, Carlos Dhabhar for the general services work that’s been done, and somebody told me that perhaps Carlos and Lauralee will be welcoming a new member of the Embassy team not too long from now.

And I met the Marines from your contingent this morning and I thanked them, and there’s just so much that has been done. Now, I’m particularly regretful that I did not get to go to the new Embassy, the new chancery which I’ve seen pictures of and everyone reports is truly a tribute to all of the work that went into a making it an environmentally exemplary building. And I also want to thank all of the locally employed staff. I took a picture with, I think, six of the longest serving. I think Joyce Dixon has been with the Embassy for 27 years and she must have started at, I don’t know, kindergarten or something. (Laughter.) And I understand you just had a new granddaughter, so congratulations to you.

Now we have a lot of work to do ahead of us, and I also thanked the Government of Malta today for everything they’ve done. They’ve been wonderful partners in helping us deal with all of the consequences of the historical movements that are sweeping the region. And we will continue to work closely with them on a range of important issues. The White House has announced the nomination of a career diplomat, Gina AbercrombieWinstanley, as your new ambassador. We’re hopeful the confirmation process, which you never can tell for sure in Washington these days, moves quickly so that Mission Malta can be up to full strength.

But please know that we really appreciate what you have done and the above-and-beyond commitment that so many of you have generated. And I just want now to shake your hands and personally thank you on behalf of our government and the American people. Thank you all very much.

 

Remarks to Embassy Staff and Families

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Embassy
Tripoli, Libya
October 18, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: As Gene and Assistant Secretary Feltman and I were walking through here, they were talking about how the last time Jeff was here was when we were very worried that Qadhafi and Sanussi were going to kill you.

AMBASSADOR CRETZ: Yeah. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: And we were debating and just pulling our hair out about what to do and how to respond to it, and then the threats got worse and the intimidation got worse, and so we had to bring Gene home for consultations, as they say. But here you are, you’re back and Qadhafi’s gone. (Laughter.) So it somehow seems to be all’s right with the world. (Applause.)

I am very pleased to have this chance to thank each and every one of you, and to return as Secretary of State to a free Libya. And what an amazing experience. And I’ve had the opportunity today to meet with a number of the officials of the Transitional National Council, students and faculty at Tripoli University, and then I just came from the medical center, where I met with doctors and patients and heard about the very serious needs of a lot of the wounded fighters who made the liberation of Libya possible.

I want to thank Gene, of course, and Joan, because I remember also those – where’s Joan? There you are. Hi, Joan. (Applause.) Come on up here. Come on up here a minute. Ah, come on.

I remember when Joan was evacuating and we got her on the ferry from Malta, and then the ferry from Malta didn’t leave, and then once it left, it was a very rough passage. So indeed, you’re back as well. And those of you who have worked with Gene and Joan to basically turn what had been the ambassador’s residence into our temporary Embassy, I am very, very grateful to each and every one of you. I know that you’re working in very difficult, cramped conditions, three and four of you to a room. I just saw some of that. You had no OpenNet and almost no basic office resources, and we all know that Libya is the land where Blackberrys come to die. (Laughter.) They don’t seem able to get their current going. But I think it’s remarkable, particularly for those of you who stayed throughout the last seven months, to be here back as part of our team on behalf of Embassy Tripoli.

I also want to really express – I know how many of you are feeling. The loss of our Embassy was a very personal one to many of you. You had worked so hard to get it built up and get it going. And the damages, the looting, were just appalling. But I am personally relieved that no damage was done to any of our staff members, because I know many of you were checking on it and trying to keep us informed. And I know, too, that the memories of the last very stressful eight months will be with you always. But at the same time, I hope you’re thinking about the future and what a new Libya will mean to you.

Thank you to all of the American staff who went through so much to evacuate all those homes and cars and family photos, even pets that you had to leave behind. I know how wrenching that was for our American team. The goodbyes you had to say, not only to friends but in some cases family members. Yes, indeed, the 18-foot waves you endured, and finally making it to safety.

But I know that the time was especially difficult for our Libyan colleagues. You endured great suspicion and harassment from the regime’s security forces. Yet in spite of that, many of you, with great personal risk, kept working, and I will always be grateful to you. You helped to safeguard our property. You helped to keep basic Embassy functions running. I know that almost everyone is back. There are a few who are still out there fighting, and we hope they return safely as well. And we look forward to working with you for many years ahead.

A lot has happened in the past, and I am very, very confident that the future will be worthy of the sacrifices that were made. I am also very confident that the relationship between the United States and Libya will only get stronger and deeper as we look for new ways to partner with one another. And I can only imagine the emotions of just less than a month ago when you raised the flags over our new Embassy territory. That is the very same flag that you rolled up and brought back to the United States, Joan. So I think you so much for that. And I heard that you not only played the American national anthem but the new anthem of a free Libya, which was especially welcome.

So I am grateful to you. I had an excellent pair of meetings with Chairman Jalil and Prime Minister Jibril. We went over a lot of the issues that we are working on together with our Libyan friends. This is the end, perhaps, of one phase, but it’s going to be the beginning of a very challenging period for all of us. I know the times are uncertain, and I know fighting continues as we speak. When we hear gunshots, we don’t know whether it’s fighting or celebratory. (Laughter.) I wish we could get the word out: Don’t waste your ammunition on – (laughter) – when you’re shooting in the air. That’s really not useful, and actually could come down and hit somebody, which would be dreadful. But I want you to know we’re really in this together with you, and we’re in it for the long run. We’re going to be a good partner to Libya, and of course, we remain grateful to all of you for everything you have done.

I want to shake as many hands as I can to thank you all personally, but it was very heartwarming and inspiring to hear the stories we heard from what you were doing, and how you were really continuing to represent America’s hope in the kind of Libya that you are now being given the privilege to help create. I am very, very excited, and I can only look forward to returning here in the not too distant future to see even more progress that is being made in Libya.

So thank you all so very much, and give yourselves a round of applause for everything you’ve done to make this happen so well. Thank you. (Applause.)

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Town Hall Meeting With Youth and Civil Society

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Tripoli University
Tripoli, Libya
October 18, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, President Krekshi and to all the deans and faculty and students of Tripoli University. Good afternoon. I am deeply honored to be here with you today. I appreciate greatly the president’s kind words about the support that our government provided. But the victory is yours, the future is yours, and it is a personal honor to be here in the heart of a liberated Tripoli, speaking to a brave generation of Libyans.

I know that more than 30 years ago students from this university came to this very spot to engage in historic protests, and their voices were crushed by the Qadhafi regime. But today, because of the courage of the Libyan people, we can be here together to have a conversation about what you hope for your futures and what partnership the United States can offer. So on behalf of all of the people of my country, I congratulate all of the people of the new Libya. Libya, (in Arabic.) It is wonderful to be here. (Applause.)

The last seven months have been historic, not only for Libyans, but indeed for the world, because you have faced your challenges and conducted your revolution with courage and commitment. You demanded the rights and the dignity of a free people, and you withstood the brutal assaults from those who were only wedded to the past. And now we have a new era. There will be new stories written about Libya in the history books.

But what will that story be? That, to me, is the question of the day. If you are committed to a new Libya, then how will you make your contributions? The structures of oppression have been torn down, but new structures are only being imagined now. So what – excuse me – (coughs) – I talk way too much. (Laughter.) What we all have to determine is how you turn to reconciliation and create an inclusive Libya that guarantees human rights and dignity, that delivers jobs and opportunities, that governs itself under respect for the rule of law.

Now, every democracy reflects the unique choices and passions of its people. That is one of democracy’s great strengths. We do not expect your democracy to be exactly like our democracy. We come from different backgrounds, we have different histories, and yet there are certain fundamentals about democracy that we think are more likely to produce a better outcome.

A democracy makes a virtue of the diversity of its people. No democracy can function effectively unless every group contributes. So Libya will need the talents of all of its people, young people, women, people from every part of the country. I feel strongly that in the weeks and months ahead, as you make these decisions about how to shape your democracy, women need to be part of that decision making. Because women defied Qadhafi’s troops, women supported the revolution.

I was struck by a quote that I read of a woman who was asked by a reporter why she took such great risks to be part of this revolution, and she responded by saying, “For God, for tasting freedom, for our land, for our liberty, for the future.” Well, that is what people who fight for their freedom believe, and women must be part of the new Libya.

The same is true for young people. This rising generation here at the university has given so much, and I agree with the president that you expect so much as well. And those expectations are warranted, but it will take time, effort, and some patience to achieve the goals that you seek.

We will be here as your partner. We will continue to emphasize the importance of the rule of law, respect for human rights, trade and investment, and the importance of civil society, academic institutions, and learning. We want to provide care and treatment for Libya’s war wounded, and we want to increase our educational exchanges. We will be funding English classes for disabled war veterans. We will resume educational exchanges and institute, once again, the Fulbright Program. In fact, we will double the numbers of those who will come to the United States to study. Through our Middle East Partnership Initiative, we want to connect up young Libyans from one end of your vast country to another.

There are so many possibilities and there are so many challenges. And what I want to do for my time with you is to hear from you, hear what you would like from the United States, hear what you would like from your new government. We have members with us from the Transitional National Council, who I know are interested as well in hearing from the young people of their country.

So with your permission, I would like to turn now to soliciting your views and your questions, and I will, to the best of my ability, respond to any question that is directed at me. So how shall we proceed? Shall I call on people, and you will bring them the microphone? Is that appropriate? All right. So who would be the brave person who wants to go first?

Yes, I saw your hand right there, the young women in the second row. And if your question is in Arabic we will have it translated before I try to answer it so I know what it was.

QUESTION: Hi. (Inaudible) organization for women and children. I’d like to welcome you to Libya. I hope you enjoy it.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.

QUESTION: My question, Libyan women went through tough times throughout this revolution. (Inaudible) – she got tortured, arrested, she lost her son, brother, and husband. What is the message you would like to send to Libyan women, and as a woman would you like to – do you hope to see a Libyan woman as a foreign minister or a president maybe of this country? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that Libyan women have the same rights as Libyan men. I would hope for a future of democracy and equality and opportunity for all. And I say that for these reasons: First, it is hard to imagine how Libya – the new, free Libya – will become a democracy and leave out half of the population. That doesn’t add up to me. That’s not what I hear or see from the Libyans who have so bravely fought for their freedom. And I don’t know any country that can succeed to the extent expected if half of the population is denied the opportunity to participate. So in this new democracy, I would hope to see the rights and responsibilities of women be given full inclusion.

Secondly, women did suffer during this revolution, as you yourself have just said. And we know that from the reports that came out of Libya, that are still coming out of places like Sirte. Women suffered because they demanded their own rights and were personally mistreated, and women suffered because they sent their sons and their husbands and saw their fathers and their brothers go off to fight for their freedom. So I think women in Libya have earned the right to be given the same opportunity to help build a new Libya.

And finally, I have had the privilege of traveling to over 90 countries as Secretary of State. I’ve been in all kinds of countries with all kinds of governments, and I have seen the very significant contributions that women can make. I just met – for example, you said foreign minister – I just met with the foreign minister of Bangladesh, who is a woman. I was in Indonesia recently and meeting with the finance minister of Indonesia, who is a woman. I’ve been in Malaysia and met with the governor of the Central Bank in Malaysia, who is a woman. Many of the countries that are Muslim majority and democratic, such as the three I just named, have recognized the importance of including women and giving women the opportunity to serve their country, to start businesses, to teach in universities, and to pursue their own God-given potential.

So I believe strongly that this will be important for women, but it will be equally important for men in a new Libya. And the United States will support organizations that are committed to ensuring that women can become active, responsible participants in Libyan society. I met two young women, as I was walking in, who are from a new organization called Voices of Libyan Women. And I thank them for taking on this important responsibility, and we will look forward to assisting you.

Yes.

QUESTION: Hi. My name is (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: Here comes the microphone.

QUESTION: Thank you. My name is (inaudible). I – first of all, I would like to welcome you here, and I volunteer with the university to help rebuild this university. I would like to ask you, many people feel that the U.S. had taken the backseat in terms of helping this revolution. Would you see the U.S. taking the lead on terms of rebuilding this country and helping? And if so, what kind of resources would you be providing and the most suitable tools to help rebuild this country?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, I think it’s fair to say that the United States played a unique leadership role in what happened in Libya, because we wanted to be sure, number one, that there was an international coalition in support of Libya. And I’m very pleased that there was. It was quite historic that you had the UN passing strong resolutions, which the United Nations was on the lead on, and then you had NATO coming together to protect civilians, and the Arab League, which had called for action, actually having member states participate in that coalition, the no-fly zone, the maritime embargo. The United States was actively involved, but we also thought it was important that there be a broad base of support for the Libyan revolution, and indeed, there has been. So we are very pleased by that.

We also have said – and part of the reason for my trip is to emphasize our commitment to helping Libya navigate through this next period of your history. Now, unlike many countries in the world that find themselves free of a dictatorship, Libya is blessed with natural resources and human resources that you don’t often find in many other countries. Yes, you do have oil, and now maybe that oil can be used for the benefit the Libyan people, not to enrich a relatively small group of powerful people.

And you have human resources. This great university is a testament to that. You have a lot of expertise within the Libyan people themselves, and certainly the Libyan Diaspora that came back to help win your freedom. So I don’t know that it’s so much, in Libya’s case, a question of money as it is getting expertise, technical assistance, and support for what you already intend to do. And I told both Chairman Jalil and Prime Minister Jibril we intend to support you on that. So I really believe that Libya is as well positioned as any country in recent history to make this journey to democracy successfully.

Now, that’s not to say it’s going to be easy, because it will not be easy. You have to unify your country. You know what people say. People say, “Well, Libya can’t be unified. You have the east, you have the west, you have the south. You have only six million people in this huge country. You have unprotected borders. You have so many different tribal interests.” Well, I don’t believe that. I think that you have enough of a commitment to your future to bring people together and to create that national unity, and you all will have to work on it.

I think there are several dangers, and the president referred to one. Everybody wants what they want, and they want it now. I mean, if I had a magic wand, I would have brought it with me, and I would leave it here, but I do not. And that means that it is going to take longer than anybody wants it to take. But you have to start on this journey step by step, and you have to be somewhat patient with each other as you try to work out how to organize yourselves.

But I have every confidence you will be successful, and the United States will help you. We’ll help you with resources, with technical expertise, with any kind of support for elections and for economic opportunities. You name it; we are ready to be helpful to you, but want it to be your priorities, not anybody else’s.

So many hands. How about this gentleman in the third row? Right there.

QUESTION: Hi. My name is (inaudible). I’m at the (inaudible). And thank you for every word that you said to encourage and support our revolution here. My question is: One of my goals in Libya is helping more young people to become part of the global community. What steps do you think Libyan youth should be begun with after the work to become effective partners in the global community?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that’s a very important question, because the more Libya gets integrated into the regional and global community, the stronger Libya will be. Now, I know that you have communicated with one another and with people around the world through the internet, which is one way of being connected up to the global community. I read an interesting story about a young man here, I think, at the university, who was working to contact people in other countries that had gone through similar transitions to ask for their personal advice, and I think that kind of outreach is very important. So I would encourage you to do it, and maybe even in an organized way, to create a site where people around the world who want to help Libya, who want to contribute to Libya, who believe strongly in what you’re doing, can find a way to be of assistance. So it’s a two-way street; you’re not only reaching out, but people are reaching in.

I think when it comes to economic integration, this part of the world, namely all of North Africa, in fact, most of the African continent and the Middle East, have not been as open economically as I think would benefit you. So when you think about integrating into the global economy, think about how you can tear down barriers so there can be more trade, more commerce, more activity coming and going. Because right now, there isn’t as much as there should be, and I think there could be a lot more that would benefit Libya.

One idea that I know people in Libya are exploring is: How do you make sure that the money you earn from your oil goes to benefit the Libyan people? And there are several examples. Norway, for example, has the money from the oil industry in a trust fund, which they use for certain common purposes. You talk about rebuilding this great university. Well, there needs to be some recognition that your natural resources should be used to benefit all Libyans. And that’s another way to promote national unity, to tell people in every part of Libya, “You’re not going to be forgotten. You’re not going to be cut out. You’re going to be part of Libya’s future, because we’re going to protect the oil revenues – a certain percentage of it – for benefitting all of Libya.” There are ideas out there like that, that if you reach out, you can find out more about.

So I would encourage you to look at all kinds of possibilities for better organizing and communicating from Libya to the rest of the world, and then look at ways to integrate you, particularly economic, and then look at ideas that you can transplant and bring back to Libya to benefit the Libyan people.

Yes, this young woman right there in the second row.

QUESTION: Hello, welcome to Libya. My name is Sarah Spani. I’m an honors graduate from this university, the school of engineering, and I’m a member of women organization, name is (inaudible) Women’s Association. My question is for the last four decades, Qadhafi didn’t give any chance for Libyan people, women as well as men, to participate in any type of political or civil activities, yet we have no political parties. What is the best strategy, in your point of view, and fastest strategy to encourage our people to involve more in the political life, considering that we have elections in a matter of two years or less and we have to elect our parliaments and our president. How do we do that? How to encourage our people in the fastest time? Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: That is an excellent and very important question, because it is, as you say, absolutely essential to create political parties, to create political agendas and platforms so people know what you stand for and what they would be getting if they vote for you. And the United States has for many years provided support to other countries that are going through this process. We don’t have any intention of picking winners or losers, but how do you do it? How do you create a political party? How do you create a political platform? How do you campaign? What are the techniques that are most useful to reaching people?

And we have several NGOs that do this all over the world and are certainly more than ready to help. So do the Europeans. They have a lot of groups that do the same. And even Latin American countries that have thrown off dictatorships in the last 20-30 years and are now democracies are ready to help.

So we can certainly, through our Embassy and our Ambassador – Gene Cretz is here with us – we can provide you with information and we can also connect you up to groups in our country and help you access groups in other places that can give you the kind of advice that you’re looking for.

I think that some of the experiences that are more recent, particularly in Latin America, maybe Central and Eastern Europe, in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia – Indonesia has been a democracy for 10 years now – could be of great benefit to you. They’re very vibrant democracies. They have political parties. Men and women run and get elected. And I think that would be one of our principal objectives, which is to help you look for and find the best ways to organize.

I want to emphasize how important it is that you organize. I mean, what often happens post-revolutions is that people are exhausted. I mean, it’s a terribly traumatic experience for a country and for people to go through. And a lot of people want to just go home, they want to get back to their jobs, back to their studies – totally understandable. And the political process they will leave to somebody else. But in a democracy, the best political process is the one that involves the most people and gets people to feel strongly about their choices and what they want from their leaders.

So I hope that you and all the young people here will get into the political system, learn how to form parties, how to make coalitions, recognize that in democracy compromise is essential. Because people do come, they get elected from different places with different ideas, and they have to then kind of work out what’s the best solution to reach. And we have a lot of experience in this and we’d be more than happy to provide some of that expertise.

Let me go way back to the gentleman sitting way back there. I don’t want to forget the people in the back seats here. This man, right here on the aisle. Yeah.

QUESTION: Hi (inaudible) graduate from dentist school. I’m trying – I’m asking is there a possibility for making a program for dentists who can train and do their internship in the USA, since here in Libya it doesn’t have the dental equipment and to make better future dentists. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I will look into that. I think that’s an excellent suggestion. I will speak with our dental association when I get back to the United States and see if we couldn’t work out some kind of exchange program that would assist you. I thank you for raising it.

And then the gentleman behind there in the first row.

QUESTION: Ask by Arabic?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Okay. My interpreter is here.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) The United States of America supported the right of the Libyan people to self-determination and supported also the project for the Libyans to defend themselves. What are the Libyan people able to prove in a short time in order to get all that support from the United States, from everywhere, and the Palestinians were not able in over 50 years to achieve it? What is that the Palestinians need to do in order to get such a support like the one you gave to the Libyan people?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We need to negotiate a state that will meet the needs of the people. There are many examples around the world where, through negotiations with both sides, we were able to set forth a pathway to full statehood. It just happened in Sudan, not far from Libya, about – starting about 10 years ago, ending in 2005. There was a negotiation and resulted in a referendum and it resulted in a new state.

There is no shortcut to that, because all of these very complex issues have to be resolved. And I take this very, very seriously, very personally. You might remember when my husband was president, they got very close but didn’t succeed. And it’s something that I am very committed to following through on and intend to do everything I can to try to bring about the negotiations, because otherwise you can’t declare it, you have to achieve it through negotiations. That’s the only way that it will actually be real.

So let’s see, this gentleman right there in the middle. Yes. Here comes the microphone.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Hello, Madam Secretary. I’m Hiba Aboreg. Welcome to Libya. I’m Hiba Aboreg. I’m a medical student in this university, and what I wanted to ask you is about freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is very important to the American way of life, and we are very new to this democracy, so what I was wondering was what steps do you think we, both as a government and as a people, can take to – sorry. I’m kind of nervous.

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, you’re doing very well.

QUESTION: What do you think we can – what steps do you think we can take to root the freedom of speech into the Libyan identity? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I do believe very strongly that freedom of speech is absolutely essential to any democracy, so I think there has to be a guarantee of freedom of speech in your constitution and in your laws, which your new government will begin to pass, once you have your parliament, and that there has to be also a respect imbued in the people for freedom of speech. Because people in my country say things all the time that I disagree with and that I think are wrong, but we believe that more speech is the best answer to speech you don’t agree with. So you make your case, you publish articles, you go on the radio or the TV, now you go on the internet, and you make your position known. So we hope that freedom of speech will be respected and legally protected in the new Libya.

Oh my goodness, too many hands. I can’t – I don’t want to leave people out in the back, because I always feel bad about that. The man in the white shirt.

QUESTION: Maldrew Abdulli from Libya Times magazine. I would like to ask you, the United States has been supporting Libya since the beginning of this revolution. There are two things that the Libyan people now are in need of it. The injured fighters, which already have been now in hospitals and everywhere – would the United States be interested to cure somehow the injured fighters which are in hospitals now, or at least support them with medical equipment or medical staff? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. And we will do both, and I thank you for asking that. We have told the Transitional National Council that we will transport some of the most seriously wounded to hospitals in the United States. We will provide medical equipment and material that is needed to operate your surgeries and other equipment that is required for the care of your wounded. And we will work with other countries to make sure that their needs are met.

And it’s not only the physical wounds, but we know that there are also traumas, psychological problems that people who are in combat experience. And that’s especially true when the people who won this revolution were not professional soldiers. They came from all walks of life. They had – many of them never fired a gun before, and they are thrust into the bloodiest of conflicts, close quarter combat in places throughout the country.

So we feel very strongly that we want to support taking care of the injured, the wounded, in body and mind, and we want to work with Libya to be able to care of your own people. So that’s one of my pledges to you.

My goodness. Yes, young woman right there. Second in, yes.

QUESTION: Hello. I’m Mana Whity, student in athletics department at Tripoli University. I would like to thank you for coming here. I’m a bit nervous. I got a question for you: To my knowledge, the Qadhafi regime has been created under Libyan (inaudible) and under support of some Western countries. What measure the United States will present to us to prevent such a regime to be created again – sorry – especially in Libya?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that, certainly, the most important thing now is to make sure that Qadhafi and his regime are finally prevented from disrupting the new Libya. And as you know, we had a very hostile relationship with Qadhafi over many years because of his behavior and because of his actions, both inside of Libya and outside of Libya. We did appreciate the decision that he made a few years ago to do away with his nuclear program, because that made it possible for the world to be safer and eventually for you to be more secure in your revolution.

So we want to do everything we can to prevent him from causing trouble for the new Libya. We want to make sure he’s brought to justice, along with the people around him, his family members and others who are still supporting him. And that’s what we intend to do to try to help protect civilians from any reprisals by Qadhafi coming out of anywhere. We don’t know where he is, but we hope he can be captured or killed soon so that you don’t have to fear him any longer, and then you have to move forward.

One of the problems you will face is how to reconcile different people, how you will bring people into a new Libya and not spend your time trying to settle scores from the past. That will be very hard. Countries that have succeeded, like Chile or South Africa, have been incredibly successful. Even Rwanda, where 800,000 people were killed, has kept its eye on the future. Countries that keep looking over their shoulders toward the past and they want to find the guy who did the bad thing to their family 20 years ago and they want to do this and they want to do that find it difficult to move forward. There’s a saying in my country: “You can’t drive forward if you’re looking in the rearview mirror.” So how do you overcome all of those terrible experiences and feelings and stay focused on the future? That will be a hard task for Libya. But I know you can do it.

Oh my goodness. Let’s see, how many more questions do we have? Let me see here. I want to be sure to be fair in getting as many as possible. Let me – this man right there, yep, and then I’ll come to you next, okay?

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) (Inaudible) from the library and information section (inaudible) from the removal of (inaudible) that caused disturbance not only to Libyans, but to the entire world because I did the documentation and archivals. My question is: What can be a helpful exchange between our two countries, especially with information management and libraries, and indexation such as for instance having something like the Library of Congress is very famous in the whole world, such (inaudible) has to do with all the departments of a university. How can you help us with this kind of expertise? And thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Could you repeat the question?

INTERPRETER: Yes. The question pertains, Madam Secretary, to his field. He works in the archival and library and information management of libraries. He’s very fascinated with the Library of Congress type of proto model and was wondering how could the United States help his university, his section – he’s with the entire university – how could the United States offer such expertise to this field, which is very important in information management and libraries and index section.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I will look into that. I think it’s a very good question, and I will, again, take it back to the United States. I will speak with our archivists and our library experts. You’re right that the Library of Congress is a magnificent institution, and we’ll see if we can provide some specific support for your information systems here. So I hope that you will contact – I hope that the young dentist and I hope you, sir, will come down and introduce yourself to our ambassador so we can follow up with each of you, okay? Good.

And yes, uh-huh.

QUESTION: (In Arabic.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think she’ll wait, and then once you’ve asked the question, she’ll translate the whole question so we can hear it more easily.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Madam Secretary, my question that pertains to the following: We believe that there is a new political philosophy for our country, that is, what is referred to usually as a liberalcrat or something to that effect. Do you believe that such a philosophy can happen here, and how can we promote it and make it happen?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am not an expert on any particular new philosophy, so I cannot address the specific question you asked me. I can only tell you that I think there will be room for many philosophies in the new Libya, because people will present points of view and you will be able to test them and argue about them and present your case about them. And I think through that kind of exchange of views in the political process, in the media, in the university, you can come to what are the best answers for Libya.

So you may have one philosophy and someone sitting over here may have a different philosophy, but the two of you together perhaps can come up with ways of presenting your views that will help move Libya forward. And I think that should be the goal of everyone. What will make – at the end of your efforts, are the people of Libya better off when you stopped than when you started? Is the country coming together or pulling apart? Are you creating a political and economic model that will be sustainable over the generations?

Those should be the questions I would hope you would keep in mind. Are we making lives better through what we are doing? Are we bringing people together? Are we creating systems that will truly stand the test of time? And I think every philosophy should be judged against those kinds of questions.

Yes, young woman right there? Yeah.

MODERATOR: We will have one more time for questioning.

SECRETARY CLINTON: This – okay, I’ve called on this woman, the second row, second seat here. There you go.

MODERATOR: Will you please pass the —

QUESTION: Hi, (inaudible) from the Voice of Libyan Women. I was wondering, as a woman who fought her way into politics on your own, what’s your opinion about quota?

SECRETARY CLINTON: About what?

QUESTION: Quota.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Quotas. That’s never been an issue in my country, but it has been an issue in many countries and I think that there are many systems where quotas have been absolutely necessary in order for women to get their foot in the door. So I would suggest that you and your colleagues look at all the different kinds of quota systems. There are quota systems in India, there are quota systems in many countries in Africa, in other places in Asia. So there are many countries which made the decision that in order to ensure that women were – women’s voices were at the table, there had to be seats set aside for women. And I think that makes a lot of sense in many different countries.

So I would urge you to do a study, look at what’s worked and what hasn’t worked, and where the results have made it possible for more women to participate in political life. And it very well might work here in Libya because you’re starting from a new system and nobody is an expert in it. It’s going to be brand new. And I think you want to be sure that women’s voices are not eliminated from the very beginning of your democratic process because it would be hard to catch up.

So I think I would favor some form for Libya to start with, but I don’t have an opinion about what that would look like. You would have to design it.

QUESTION: I have a question.

You know what? There are so many hands that are up and —

MODERATOR: Sorry about that.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Let me, if I may, Mr. President. If you will do this, Ambassador Cretz, will you stand up and will people who work with you at our Embassy, will you raise your hand? Any of our people from the Embassy, if you give your question to any of these men and women who work at our Embassy, I will answer your question and they will get the answer back to you, but – and I know there are about a hundred left, so I will do that to all of you. Thank you. (Applause.)

MODERATOR: Okay. We would like to thank very much, Your Excellency. Time is running out. And welcome back again to Libya. Thank you so much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I hope to come back to the new Libya. Thank you. (Applause.)

MODERATOR: Okay. This is a promise. This is a promise, okay? (Applause.)

 

A Libyan student makes a video as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a town hall meeting with Youth and Civil Society at Tripoli University in Libya Libyan students listen to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speak during a town hall meeting with the Youth and Civil Society at Tripoli University A Libyan student takes a picture while U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a town hall meeting with the Youth and Civil Society at Tripoli University in Libya A Libyan student asks U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a question during a town hall meeting with the Youth and Civil Society at Tripoli University in Libya 10-18-11-32a

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Remarks With Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
World Islamic Call Society
Tripoli, Libya
October 18, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON:(In progress) on the soil of a free Libya. And on behalf of the American people I congratulate all Libyans. It is a great privilege to see a new future for Libya being born. And indeed, the work ahead is quite challenging, but the Libyan people have demonstrated the resolve and resilience necessary to achieve their goals.Think about what has been achieved already. In crowded squares and mountain passes, Libyans stood up against a dictator’s aggression, and claimed the rights and dignity of a free people. Libyans were called rats by their own leaders and they were confronted by every possible tactic to break your spirit. But no threats dimmed the courage of the Libyan people. The United States was proud to stand with you, and we will continue to stand with you as you continue this journey, respecting your sovereignty and honoring our friendship. This is Libya’s moment. This is Libya’s victory and the future belongs to you.

The United States knows something about revolution and liberty. That is how our nation was born more than 230 years ago. And we know that democracy takes time; it will not be easy or quick. But we are filled with admiration for what you have already accomplished and confident in your ability to move forward.

Now, we recognize that the fighting, the bloody fighting, continues. We know that Qadhafi and those close to him are still at large. But the NATO and international coalition that came together on your behalf will continue to protect Libyan civilians until the threat from Qadhafi and those who hang to the past is ended.

In our meetings today, the chairman, prime minister, and their colleagues shared with us their plans for establishing an inclusive democracy in Libya. We agreed that the Libyan people deserve a nation governed by the rule of law, not the whims of men. We believe you deserve a government that represents all Libyans from all parts of the country and all backgrounds, including women and young people. We believe you deserve a transparent and fair judicial system. We also are convinced that revenge and vigilantism have no place in the new Libya.

And we believe you deserve an economy that delivers jobs, dignity, and opportunities to all Libyans – not just to the powerful and connected. We also share your concern about caring for the wounded and the families of the fallen, about securing weapons that may have gone missing, about integrating all the various revolutionary forces into a new and unified Libyan military.

Libya is blessed with wealth and resources, most particularly the human resources of the Libyan people. And there is a pressing need, as I was told today, for international expertise and technical assistance. That is why we welcome the idea of a joint committee between Libya and the United States to look at the priorities that the Libyans themselves have.

I am pleased that we are working together to return billions of dollars of frozen assets and that we have reopened our Embassy. We will stay focused on security: I am pleased to announce that we are going to put even more money into helping Libya secure and destroy dangerous stockpiles of weapons. And the Administration, working with Congress, is going to provide $40 million to support this effort. We will also work with Libya to destroy chemical weapons stocks.

We want to expand our economic cooperation with Libya, to create new educational and cultural exchanges and deepen our engagement with civil society. First, we will launch this new partnership to provide care to your wounded. It deeply moves us that so many people dropped whatever they were doing to fight for their freedom – engineers and teachers, doctors and business leaders, students, and so many others. We plan to evacuate some of the most seriously injured to specialized medical facilities in the United States. We want to help you care for your patients here in Libya, so we will work together to establish a modern medical management system and to provide needed supplies and equipment.

We are also very focused on the young people of Libya who have the most to gain from this new freedom. And today I am pleased to announce we are resuming the Fulbright program and doubling its size to permit even more Libyan students to study and train in my country. We will also open new English language classes across Libya for young people and provide special training for Libyan veterans with disabilities because of their combat experience.

We are increasing grants and training to new civil society organizations and working with Libyan women to make sure they have the skills and opportunities to participate fully in the political and economic life of their countries.

And as with the transitions in Tunisia and Egypt, we will partner with Libya to create new economic opportunities and broader prosperity by boosting trade and investment, increasing tourism, building ties between Libyan and American businesses, and helping to integrate Libya more closely into regional and global markets.

This list is just a beginning, because we want to hear from the Libyan people, from the new government that will be established after Libya is fully liberated. But we think we share a lot of the same aspirations for our families and our countries and that we have a lot to learn from each other and give to each other.

Later, I will be meeting with students and civil and society leaders at Tripoli University, talking and listening to the young people of Libya, because it is to all of them that we dedicate our efforts on your behalf.

So again, prime minister, let me thank you for your warm welcome, and thanks to the people of Libya. And we give you our very best wishes and promise our best efforts as you undertake this journey to a new democracy. (Applause.)

PRIME MINISTER JIBRIL: Thank you, your Excellency.

MODERATOR: (In Arabic.)

QUESTION: (In Arabic.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me begin by saying that I personally and the Government of the United States supports human rights everywhere for everyone. And we advocate that not only to governments but also through civil society and work to try to support the opportunities and aspirations of every individual to live up to his or her God-given potential. So we have spoken out. We will continue to speak out.

But different circumstances demand different kinds of responses, and the opportunity now in Libya is to not only chart a new future for Libyans but to stand as a model for democracy and freedom that was won with the blood of your martyrs is an extraordinary chance that comes perhaps only once in human history. So we think that what Libya has before it, the opportunity to make good on the promise of the revolution, is of the utmost importance, and that is why we are standing ready to work closely with the new Government of Libya and with the people of Libya.

We have and will continue to speak out to our friends, who we believe should do more on behalf of women and women’s rights – and I have said that many times – and with those with whom we have very serious differences, who are preventing the full aspirations and freedom of their people to flourish. But today, I am here to talk about Libya and Libya’s future and the hope that not only the United States but the world has invested in the future that Libyans will make for themselves.

MODERATOR: (In Arabic.)

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, Mister Prime Minister, how concerned are you about the possibility of civil war here, or any lengthy ongoing conflict with pro-Qadhafi forces? And also, could you both comment on what you believe should happen to the convicted Lockerbie bomber? Should he go back to prison?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think, first of all, we are encouraged by the commitment of the Transitional National Council to taking the steps necessary to bring the country together. National unity is one of the highest priorities that Libya faces right now. And we discussed the process of forging a new democratic interim government that is transparent, inclusive, and consultative. And how that is done will, of course, depend upon the decisions that the Libyan people themselves make.

But from long experience, one factor we know must be confronted is unifying the various militias into a single military that represents the Libyan people and government. And the Transitional National Council is very focused on doing just that. They want to get all the militias under national command. They want to prevent reprisals and secure the stocks of weaponry that have come off the battlefield or have been discovered from the previous regime. And we think that the programs that the Transitional National Council have outlined to pay to the families of the fallen martyrs, to prepare programs and treatment and training for those who have served, are exactly what will be needed. Getting a national army and a police force under civilian command is essential. And the United Nations, the United States, and other partners stand ready to do that. But we are still at the point where liberation has not yet been claimed because of the ongoing conflicts that persist, and of course, the continuing freedom of action of Qadhafi and those around him. So the Transitional National Council has to put security first. There has to be a resolution of the conflict before many of these programs can actually be put into action. And I really believe that all members of all militias must see the benefit of joining the new government, of pledging allegiance, as we say in my country, to the new government.

You know, I come from a very diverse country. We fought a civil war, and it was horrible. It was the war in which more Americans died at each other’s hands than any other, and we lived with the consequences for decades afterwards. In today’s world, in the 21st century, that will just throw a people further behind history. So I know that the leadership understands that. They are focused on doing everything they can to end the fighting, to declare the liberation of the country, to form a new government, and to begin to pull the entire country together. So we will do everything we can to respond to that.

And we have made, of course, our strong views known about Megrahi, and I have said, many times, that we believe that he should never have been released. I raised this issue again with the leadership here. We – and we recognize the magnitude of all the issues that Libya is facing, but we also know the importance of the rule of law, and they have assured us they understand how strongly the United States feels about this and all the sensitivities around this case. We will continue to pursue justice on behalf of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing. This is an open case in the United States Department of Justice, and we will continue to discuss it with our Libyan counterparts.

QUESTION: Does the United States —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Will you talk in the microphone so the press can hear you, sir? Thank you.

QUESTION: You hear me now?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) from Libya Al Hurra TV. Will the United States consider cooperating with the Libyan Islamists on delivering political process for Libya? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: The democracy that takes root in Libya must be reflective of the aspirations of the people of Libya, not the desires or dictates of any outside group. So with respect to Libyans themselves, we will support a process of democratizing that respects the rule of law; that respects the rights of minorities and women and young people; that creates independent institutions, like a free press and an independent judiciary. Groups and individuals who really believe in democracy should be welcome into that process. But groups that want to undermine democracy or subvert it are going to have to be dealt with by the Libyans themselves.

There are people – and I’ve been working in this area for many years, even as a private citizen and as a United States senator. There are many people who say they support elections, but only if they get elected. They want one election, one time, and then if they are elected no more elections. So these are all the kinds of challenges that Libyans will face in putting together their democracy. But people must renounce violence, they must give up arms, they must be committed to a democracy that respects the rights of all. And then, of course, you have an inclusive democracy that includes people, but they must be committed to the goals of a true democracy.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, I’d like to take you a bit east of here. Today, Gilad Shalit has returned home after more than five years in captivity, and hundreds of Palestinian prisoners have been released as well. I was wondering whether you could give us your reaction to the deal struck between Israel and Hamas and how that fits in, if at all, with your wider efforts to resume peace talks, for example, in the Middle East. And also slightly connected to this, we are hearing reports that the American Israeli citizen, Ilan Grapel, who’s been detained in Egypt on charges of spying, may be released. I was wondering whether you could confirm that.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well first, we are pleased that a long ordeal, being held five years as a hostage, has ended for Gilad Shalit and he’s been released and finally reunited with his family. He was held for far too long in captivity. And we are also hopeful that Ilan Grapel will similarly be released. We see no basis for any legal action against him.

And of course, we are hopeful that there will be a return to negotiations by the Israelis and the Palestinians by the end of this month, as outlined by the Quartet statement.

So we continue to be very focused on working toward a two-state outcome that would give the Palestinian people the same rights that the Libyan people are now obtaining to chart their own destiny and make their own way in life with their own goals and aspirations being fulfilled, and that Israel would have secure borders and could contribute to the prosperity of the larger region. So we remain focused on that and we’ll continue to work toward those outcomes.

QUESTION: (In Arabic.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Prime Minister Jibril is smiling because I have raised it every time I have seen him and every time that I have seen Chairman Jalil and all of the Libyan officials with whom I have met over the last many months.

I would make three points. First, no country can become a democracy, no economy can develop as fully as it could, if half the population is not included. And the women of Libya have the same rights as their brothers and their husbands and their fathers and their sons to help build a new Libya. So we are very committed and very outspoken about what we hope will be the full inclusion of women in a democratic future.

Secondly, women also sacrificed in this revolution. Women were in the streets. Women were supporting the fighters. Women were sending their sons and their husbands off to an uncertain future, and many will never see them again. So women have sacrificed. They may not have been on the front lines holding a weapon, but they were holding together the society and supporting those who were fighting for Libya’s independence. So they have earned the right to be part of Libya’s future.

And finally, there is an opportunity here that I hope Libya will seize. I believe because you have won your freedom – no one handed it to you, you fought for it and you won it – that you will find it in your hearts to demonstrate to the entire world that Libya is not only free, but Libya is equal, Libya believes in the rule of law, Libya will educate all of their boys and girls to take their rightful places in the world. I would hope that I could come back to a free, democratic Libya in a few years, and it would be a shining example of what is possible when free people make their own choices.

So I cannot imagine how that could come to pass if women are not given the right to serve their country, to run their businesses, to be educated to the best of their abilities. So I will certainly look to ways that the United States can support the women in Libya to be able to take their rightful places in this new democratic future.

Thank you.

MODERATOR: (In Arabic.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, my friend.

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