Posts Tagged ‘Uzbekistan’

Speaking of Vladimir Putin Hillary says “hard men represent hard choices” and goes on to provide her analysis of him and how who he is informs his particular choices.  She says he views geopolitics as a zero-sum game where if someone is winning someone else has to be losing.

Her recommended strategy for managing a relationship with the Russians: work with them on specific issues; rally other nations to work with us against negative behavior as needed.

She betrays a clear preference for the vision Yeltsin had for Russia and mentions this moment when he turned back the forces of an old soviet-era coup.

We know Yeltsin kept a photo of her in his office.  There was mutual admiration, clearly.  For the heck of it I also share these.   They always make me smile.

We will never see anything like that from Putin.

Calling Russia the fourth most dangerous place in the world to be a journalist, she refers to this meeting with civil leaders where she spoke of press freedom and human rights.

Hillary Clinton at a Reception for Civil Society Leaders in Moscow

 Hillary Rodham Clinton
She also gave this daring radio interview on this trip and spoke of human rights.

Hillary Clinton’s Interview with Moskvy Radio

It was during the 2008 primaries here in the U.S. that term limits forced Putin to relinquish the presidency to Dmitri Medvedev whom Hillary found surprisingly conciliatory.

The approach, therefore, that was THE reset, was three-pronged:

  1. cooperation on aligned interests,
  2. firmness where interests diverged,
  3. engagement with the people.

She attributes the use of the term reset to Joe Biden who used it first.  As she looks back at her first official meeting with Lavrov,  we get a glimpse of the value she places on the use of humor in diplomacy.  Even funnier, in the book she relates how Philippe Reines tried to get the button back to correct the label, prevailed upon the Russian ambassador to Switzerland who said he would have to ask the minister, and Philippe said that his minister was going to send him to Siberia if he didn’t get it back.  Hillary said she was tempted.

Hillary Clinton’s Reset Meeting with Russian FM Lavrov

The next month the two new presidents would meet. It was a watershed moment – a very productive meeting.  Medvedev acknowledged that the U.S. was probably right about Iran nuclear intentions and the two decided that it was time to revisit the nuclear treaty our two countries share. START had expired, and nothing had been done to revise and renew it.  Hillary and Sergei Lavrov were about to be assigned what might have been their most important mission: a New START.  They, and their respective squadrons, would prove to be a close and impressive team.

A year later,  she and Secretary Gates introduced the New START Treaty.

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks On The New START Treaty

The presidential signing took place in Prague in April 2010.

Immediately afterwards Hillary went on the offensive to get the treaty ratified.  In the book, Hillary manages to reduce the battle for ratification to about a page.  In real life, it took a year for the teams to hammer out the treaty (not bad considering the massive assignment) and then it took all of this to get it ratified.

Her allies on The Hill were Vice President Joe Biden, Harry Reid, John Kerry, and Richard Lugar.  Her companion in the trenches was Robert Gates.

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks on the Announcement of the Release of the Nuclear Posture Review

Smart START – Hillary Clinton Unveils Non-Proliferation Rationale @ McConnell Center Speaker Series!

Yes, it was and is that McConnell Center (a very smart move). She also published an international op-ed.

Our Giant Step Towards a World Free from Nuclear Danger

Video: Secretary Clinton on the New START Treaty

Video & Text: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks on the New Start Treaty at the Senate Armed Services Committee

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks to Members of the U.S. Delegation to the New START Negotiations and Nuclear Posture Review Department Staff

Video & Text: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks on the New START Ratification

Always keep smiling, even when the struggle is hard!

Secretaries Clinton and Gates on Senate Foreign Relations Committee Approval of the New START Treaty

When possible, wear pink.  It weakens resistance.

The New START Treaty: It’s Time for the Senate to Vote

But, as Hillary remarks, after the 2010 mid-term elections it appeared that ratification was going to be a tough battle.  Many Tea Party candidates had been elected to Congress and some seats had been lost in the Senate.   There was pressure from the far right that threatened to get in the way.

This is just me, not Hillary, but her analysis of Putin and what drives him could also apply to some Tea Party folks who believe in a zero-sum game and think our glory days lie in a past century.  One way Putin is more advanced than they is that he is less insular.  He intends to organize with his Pacific neighbors.

I do not believe New START would have been on the agenda, however, if he and not Medvedev were president.

Video: Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Richard Lugar on The New START Treaty

Powerhouse Pow-Wow: How to Jumpstart New START

Finally, right before Christmas, as if a gift, ratification!  It was a present – from Hillary and Sergei Lavrov to the world.  Thank you both and your industrious teams!

Secretary Clinton’s Statement on Senate Ratification of New START

Hillary Clinton’s New START: A Happy Beginning

The instruments of ratification were exchanged in February 2011.  Hillary was so happy that they finally had gotten this done that she remarked that she was having trouble signing her own name – a problem we have not seen on the book promotion trail.

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks After Exchange of Instruments of Ratification for the New START Treaty

If anyone tries to tell you she accomplished nothing or that the reset did not work,  show them this page.  She worked very hard to get this treaty and to get it ratified.  We are lucky.  This protects us all.

But as 2011 began with this extraordinary bi-national victory,  the tone shifted with the year drawing to a close.  As Hillary recounts, Russian parliamentary elections in December were marred by fraud reports,  and Putin announced his intention to run for the presidency again.

Hillary expressed concern about these reports, and when folks in Russia hit the streets to demonstrate their disapproval, Putin blamed her for the unrest.

At this OSCE conference Hillary quotes herself.

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the OSCE

The Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve the right to have their voices heard and their votes counted. And that means they deserve fair, free, transparent elections and leaders who are accountable to them.

Although she argued to Putin that it was unlikely that people woke up and went into the streets because they thought she wanted them to, she does not completely reject the idea that she might have inspired some courage to protest.

As Putin retrieved the presidency and rejected an invitation to the G-8  at Camp David, she warned President Obama that Putin’s “regional integration” was code for rebuilding the empire of the past.

The reset, she tells us was what you think it was.  It delivered or disappointed according to your expectations.  A Rorschach test of sorts.  It was meant, she states, as a recognition, not as a reward.

To illustrate the complexities of the reset she provides the example of supply routes to Afghanistan.  As we saw in the Pakistan chapter, one of these was over land.  But we also leased former Soviet air bases in both Kyrgystan and Uzbekistan for air transport.

Given the world-view Hillary assigns to Putin, it is not hard to see why he might perceive our presence on former Soviet military bases as a threat.  That, indeed, is what he warned the Kyrgys and Uzbeks of – a permanent U.S. presence on these bases (that we were leasing).

A long, but necessary land route for supplies crosses Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan by rail. The complex came to be known as the Northern Distribution Network and was crucial to the Afghanistan surge.  Medvedev signed off on our use of Russian rails for this purpose in 2009 (for a price).  The movement of lethal cargo across former Soviet land provided an opportunity for Russia to exert some muscle.

When Hillary visited Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, and Uzbekistan in 2010, she was asked where they stood in the reset.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

QUESTION: Where does Kyrgyzstan come in in your reset with Russia?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Russia and the United States, we think, have to work hard to overcome a legacy of mistrust, and try to chart a new course. So when the Obama Administration came in, President Obama and I said we’re going to try to reset relations with Russia. That doesn’t mean we will always agree, because we will not. But it does mean, where we can agree, we should. And we should try to make the world safer and more secure, fewer conflicts, fewer problems.

… But what’s important for us, for the United States, is that Kyrgyzstan be left alone to make its own decisions about what is best for Kyrgyzstan, and that no country interfere with or undermine the legitimate aspirations of the people of Kyrgyzstan to have a democracy that will fulfill the aspirations of you, and no one else. That is our hope.

QUESTION: And is there any rivalry going on between Russia and the U.S., I mean, in the region, particularly in Kyrgyzstan?

SECRETARY CLINTON:… I think it’s important for you to have relations with many, but not be dependent on any. Try to balance off all the different relations you have, and get the best help you can from other countries that wish to participate with you.

The entire transcript is here.

Secretary Clinton’s Townterview in Kyrgyzstan


Strategy to counter Putin’s neo-colonial agenda included helping Europe,  eastern Europe in particular, secure alternative sources of fuel and energy and reduce dependence on Gazprom since  Russia could shut down those supply lines at will.

With Cathy Ashton she initiated the U.S. – E.U. Energy Council.  Although, as she says, these efforts did not make headlines here at home, they forced Gazprom to compete and influenced Ukraine’s desire for closer ties to Europe (and freedom from Gazprom) which, in turn, relaxed Putin’s grip on the former Soviet state and emboldened Ukrainians to stand firm in their intent to join with Europe.

Joint Statement Following the U.S.- EU Energy Council Ministerial, Lisbon


As she brings this Russian chapter to a close she shares some personal insights and moments with Putin, including the invitation for Bill Clinton to tag polar bears with him.

Another involves her attendance at APEC in Vladivostok in September 2012.

Hillary Clinton at APEC in Vladivostok

She mentions that President Obama could not attend because of his campaign schedule here at home.  Both Putin and Lavrov resented  1) that President Obama was not there and 2) remarks she had made about Russia’s support for Bashar Al-Assad and therefore resisted a meeting with her. Protocol dictated that the former APEC host (U.S.) be seated beside the current host at the ceremonial dinner.  As the president’s representative, the U.S. CEO was Hillary and she was seated beside Putin at the dinner.  Not only did they socialize and talk issues and strategy, but Putin shared a story about his parents that no one had ever heard.

She does not mention, so I shall, that at this APEC Summit she signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Russian Federation on Cooperation in the Antarctic and a Joint Statement on Strengthening U.S.-Russian Inter-Regional Cooperation with Sergei Lavrov.   So the reset continued to succeed.

Hillary Clinton At Signing Ceremony With Russian FM Lavrov

Prior to leaving the department she sent President Obama an analysis of relations with Putin’s Russia and some recommendations that some thought extreme at the time.  More recent events have shown her assessment to be on target.

As was the case with some previous chapters, the final paragraphs seem directed to Putin and the Russian people more than to us.   It is excellent advice and they all should attend to it.


Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>



She does not mention this, so I shall even though it is off-topic.  The APEC  summit in Vladivostok came at the end of this trip for which she cut short an already brief vacation.

Just Confirmed: Hillary Clinton to Visit Cook Islands, Indonesia, China, Timor-Leste, Brunei, and Russia

August 28, 2012 by still4hill

She had been away and working non-stop for eleven days.  There are no “weekends” for a traveling secretary of state.  It was eleven solid days packed with work.  She had  been in six countries. She was in Vladivostok through the September 9, flew home and was at the State Department for a 9:15 meeting on September 10.

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Public Schedule for September 10, 2012

Take note of the date.  She came home to more than a dozen embassies and consulates under siege and was at her office late the next evening as tragic events unfolded.

To those who question where she was and what she was doing, I can answer that she was working as she had been for two solid weeks with no break.  I would also ask them when the last time was that they worked through two weeks straight for the long hours that she worked without a day off.  To imply or assert that Hillary Clinton ever shirked any aspect of her duty as secretary of state, especially with our embassies and consulates in danger, is a reprehensible assault on a dedicated public servant – particularly when the agenda is purely political.

As I said, it is off-topic, parenthetical, and it is just me.



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No pics with the children so far.

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Meeting with Staff and Families of Embassy Tashkent


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Embassy Tashkent
Tashkent, Uzbekistan
October 23, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am delighted to be here, and I want to thank all of you for coming out on a Sunday morning and apologize that, as is often the case, we got a little delayed, did some interviews and had some typical challenges. But all is well, and I’m especially pleased to join you here in this beautiful atrium.

As some of you might remember, when I came last December, you did not have an ambassador, so I would like to welcome and thank your new Ambassador for his service, and to thank all of you for the great cooperation and partnership that you have together. George understands, as he just said, the importance of Uzbekistan to the region and to our national interest – not just because of its central role in the Northern Distribution Network and our efforts in Afghanistan, but for growing trade and economic opportunities and a great opportunity that we have to try to help develop democracy here in Uzbekistan.

I’m delighted to be back for a third visit. When I was first lady, I helped open the nation’s first public health clinic for women. I’ll go back there today to see how they’re doing. And I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to travel in the country, from Tashkent to Samarkand to Bukhara and many places in between. I just finished an interesting, productive meeting with four representative civil society activists. I assured them that their messages and their concerns were being heard here, and basically assigned the Ambassador and all of you to follow up to make sure they know that.

I really want to also thank your DCM. Thank you so much for your assistance in putting together our visit, also Chip Layton and the human resources team and whole management section. I know that when somebody like me shows up, there’s even more work than what you usually are faced with, but as is the case, you have performed amazingly well.

I know too that this Embassy demonstrates what we call for in the QDDR. It is a great interagency team. Our State and DOD officers have shown real interagency teamwork as you strengthen the Northern Distribution Network. I know our State and USAID officers, working with local staff, have really taken on helping the Uzbek Government to tackle trafficking-in-persons, and we are making real progress, and I thank you for that. Others of you are helping to grow more food here, helping young people get jobs and economic experience. And we, of course, are very grateful to our Marine Guard detail.

So I thank all of you, and particularly the children who got up early and got dressed up and brought in for this occasion. And I am especially grateful to our local staff, our American and Uzbek alike. You are part of this team. And the Uzbek staff is absolutely instrumental in everything that we do. I know that this is not sometimes an easy post, and all of you, American and Uzbek alike, work under some difficult stresses, but you consistently operate at the highest levels.

So I wanted to come by personally, see this beautiful atrium, and to thank you and let you know how much what you do is valued back in Washington. And now, I’d like to say hello to as many people as I can, and enjoy the rest of your Sunday. Thank you. (Applause.)

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Remarks At GM Plant


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
GM Plant
Tashkent, Uzbekistan
October 23, 2011

Well, please, everyone be seated and good day to you. Thank you for being here and for touring this magnificent, impressive new factory facility. I’m pleased to be here with Foreign Minister Ganiyev and also want to acknowledge Mr. Rosu Pulof, chairman of GM’s Uzbek partner company, and to thank Juergen Spendel, general director of GM, and all of the distinguished guests. I also would like to thank the American Chamber of Commerce in Tashkent and the American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC for all of your efforts to promote trade and economic ties between our two countries.

This plant is a joint venture from top to bottom with all of the newest, most advanced technology. It is a collaboration between Uzbek and American companies, and it will serve as a symbol of our friendship and cooperation. We place a priority on shared ventures like this plant. It was designed by Uzbek and American engineers and architects working together. It was built to be environmentally responsible for the local community. In fact, GM’s water purification technology will ensure the water is cleaner when it leaves the factory than when it entered.

GM’s global manufacturing processes will be carried out by skilled Uzbek workers using locally sourced components, ultimately adding over 1,000 new jobs for Uzbeks. And the use of American machinery and technology as well as the revenues created from the annual production of more than 225,000 new power-trained engines will also support jobs in the United States for Americans.

GM’s presence here in Uzbekistan adds to our efforts to build closer economic connections between ourselves and the countries of South and Central Asia. And today, I am proud to announce that the State Department and the nonprofit organization CRDF Global are launching the Central Asian Technology Entrepreneurship Program. This program will help train the next generation of entrepreneurs in Uzbekistan and foster a culture of technology-centered development here and throughout the region. Eight entrepreneurs will each be awarded a $20,000 techno prize, and one of the eight will be selected to travel to Silicon Valley, meet with potential investors, and prepare their technology for the marketplace.

This is a fitting place to launch this prize because Uzbekistan has a proud history of science and innovation. Many noble scientists and scholars were born and worked in this region, even the father of algebra, and your young people are full of talent and energy. Entrepreneurship is a core value for my country, and we want to encourage it here in Uzbekistan. We believe in order to take even a greater advantage of the global marketplace, Uzbekistan needs to continue its reforms in rule of law, democracy, and human rights. And I’d like to congratulate GM Uzbekistan on being named a finalist for the State Department’s 2011 Award for Corporate Excellence.

So thank you very much for this wonderful partnership, and I look forward to hearing about the great results. Thank you all. (Applause.)

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Thank you so much, DOS for sending this late on October 25.  I would have loved to have had this on Sunday when all of this happened!  Am Post-dating it so it shows on the correct day.

Public Schedule for October 23, 2011

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
October 23, 2011


Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

AM  Secretary Clinton appears on ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley, FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace, and NBC’s Meet the Press with David Gregory in interviews taped from Tashkent. Check your local listings for airtimes.

9:50 a.m. LOCAL  Secretary Clintons holds a roundtable discussion with civil society representatives, in Tashkent.

10:25 a.m. LOCAL  Secretary Clinton meets with the staff and families of Embassy Tashkent, in Tashkent.

11:00 a.m. LOCAL  Secretary Clinton visits a Women’s Wellness Center, in Tashkent.

11:50 a.m. LOCAL  Secretary Clinton delivers remarks at the General Motors Plant in Tashkent.

PM  Secretary Clinton returns from foreign travel.


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She looks so tiny on the gangway.  So much brilliance, beauty, and power in such a tiny package!

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Busy, busy, busy. And just a few minutes ago, the president placed Iraq firmly upon her shoulders.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Travels to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan

Press Statement

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 21, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is traveling to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan from October 22-23, 2011.

In Tajikistan, Secretary Clinton will meet with President Emomali Rahmon and Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi to discuss a broad range of bilateral and regional issues. Secretary Clinton will also hold a town hall with civil society in Dushanbe.

In Uzbekistan, Secretary Clinton will hold a bilateral meeting with President Islam Karimov and Foreign Minister Elyor Ganiev. Secretary Clinton will also tour the new General Motors Powertrain plant in Tashkent, where she will give remarks announcing the Central Asia Technology Entrepreneurship Program and Techno-Prize Competition.

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Today, Mme. Secretary met with Kuwaiti Prime Minister Nasser al Sabah, Uzbekistan’s Foreign Minister Elyor Ganiev, and Nigerian Foreign Minister Olugbenga Ashiru.  She looked lovely and charming.  Here are some pics.  Enjoy!

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Uzbek FM, posted with vodpod

Remarks With Uzbek Foreign Minister Elyor Ganiev Before Their Meeting


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
September 29, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON:I’m delighted to welcome Foreign Minister Ganiev here to Washington. We are working well and closely together with Uzbekistan on a number of issues, and this gives us an opportunity to discuss matters of importance between our two nations, as well as regional issues as well.

FOREIGN MINISTER GANIEV: (via interpreter) I am grateful for this opportunity to meet with you, Madam Secretary. We’ll have an opportunity to discuss a number of issues that are related to the prospects of the relations between our two countries.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, sir. Thanks very much. Thank you.

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Our very busy Secretary of State visited both Uzbekiatsn and Kyrgyzstan today, and, true to form, she took time to visit with embassy staff and their families in both locations.   Can anybody name a prior SOS who made such efficient use of  travel time and reached out to broader populations than this one?  I didn’t think so.  No one before her has managed time quite this way or addressed such diverse audiences.  These embassy visits are special because they are the people who work so hard to make these visits run smoothly and safely.

Meeting With Staff and Their Families of Embassy Tashkent


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Embassy
Tashkent, Uzbekistan
December 2, 2010

Date: 12/02/2010 Description: Secretary Clinton speaks to the Embassy Community in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.  Charge Duane Butcher on left. - State Dept Image

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you, and I appreciate all of the great work that the chargé and all of you have done in order to prepare this visit. It has been a very important trip for me. I started this morning in Kazakhstan, went to Kyrgyzstan, here I am in Uzbekistan, and I will end the night in Bahrain. So this is a four-country day.

But this is one of the most important visits that I could make anywhere because I want to thank you for the work you are doing on behalf of the relationship between the United States and Uzbekistan. I want to thank you for, sometimes against great odds, promoting democracy and human rights, working to improve the lives of the people of Uzbekistan. I was delighted to sign an agreement on science and technology in order to try to find other ways to connect with and promote positive cooperation between our two countries. And you will have an ambassador soon; we’re waiting for confirmation of Ambassador Designate Krol. Things move a little slowly sometimes in Washington after elections, but we are pushing hard.

I also, in addition to thanking the chargé, want to thank Nicholas Berliner – where is Nicholas? Is Nicholas here? Thank you, Nicholas, for the extra hours that you worked. I know that our mission in Uzbekistan is in excellent and experienced hands. And I really want to thank each and every one of you, Americans and Uzbeks alike. You’re helping to advance our cooperation in so many areas. We’re stepping up our political exchanges. We’re revitalizing the annual bilateral consultation. You helped to set up the Northern Distribution Network that supplies our troops in Afghanistan and so much more.

This relationship is crucial. But it is also in a region that where just 20 short years ago – and that is really the way to think about it, because it puts into perspective that, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it still is very difficult to work to support democratic institutions, civil society, human rights to promote freedom and opportunity for all people. I just had a few minutes with some of the local Uzbek NGOs and activists who depend on you for support of their work. These are brave people. I met a woman who I spoke with in 1999 in Istanbul at a conference against human trafficking, and her work still continues.

So the same power, the persistence, and particularly the support of the United States is critical. I also want to recognize the local staff and long-term employees. You have been absolutely critical members of this mission for years, and I know that you sometimes face challenges working for the United States. I’m aware of that, but I appreciate it because you are truly on the front lines not only in strengthening and deepening our relationship, but also working to find ways to improve individual lives as well as the entire population.

We are grateful for your dedication and your professionalism, not just in Tashkent, but I know that a number of you have served in Iraq. You are a sought-after commodity and we are grateful to you. I’m especially proud of the way that you all came together over the summer when violence broke out in southern Kyrgyzstan and refugees flooded over the border.

I had a very long talk at that time with President Karimov, and he referenced it in our meeting today, because I stressed the importance of Uzbekistan supporting those refugees during that time of violence and conflict, and I said at the time that our embassy and our government would support the government of Uzbekistan doing that. And you did. You donated and distributed money, clothing, medicine, and supplies. You provided comfort and care and you underlined our commitment.

You are the first post to adopt our smart messaging system, to harness social media tools such as web chats to push out our public diplomacy. The embassy’s Facebook page is doing a wonderful job of responding to people who comment and also correcting misconceptions about American policy. I understand it helps to convene people face to face in the Chai Chat Club, wherever that is — (laughter) – and ping-pong parties, which I would love to participate in sometime. So thank you and thank you for what you’ve done to make this visit a success from our part in raising a lot of very challenging but important issues with the government, supporting civil society, and signing the Science and Technology Agreement.

Now, I want to shake as many hands as I can on the way out, and I particularly appreciate your bringing your children because much of what we do – certainly how I see my job in the State Department as your Secretary of State – is what we can do to make life better for the next generation. How do we give people the commitment that they can count on to improve their own lives, seek out their own opportunities, and make life better not just for their families, but for the larger society. So thank you all very, very much. (Applause.)


Meets With Embassy Personnel and Their Families


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Embassy
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
December 2, 2010

Date: 12/02/2010 Description: Secretary Clinton greets Embassy Bishkek staff in the Kyrgyz Republic. - State Dept Image

AMBASSADOR GFOELLER: Dear friends, dear Embassy Bishkek community, it’s an extraordinary honor and pleasure to introduce to you a person who really needs no introduction, which is our boss, Secretary Clinton.

Secretary Clinton, I’m incredibly pleased to introduce my team to you. This is a fantastic team that’s been through a lot during the past year. They’ve pulled together and achieved amazing things, not a single American injury in all of the violence that took place. And I think we can honestly take credit, a little credit, for helping to make sure (inaudible) on the road to democracy. Very personally, you have been an inspiration to me for many years. Your statement that women’s rights are human rights has always reverberated with me. I think it reverberates with many, many in our community. When I was Consul General in Jeddah before coming here, I had several of your statements on women’s rights printed up and translated into Arabic and put on little cards and I would give them out to my Saudi women friends. A lot of them are still floating around Saudi Arabia. I wanted to give you your own. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Ambassador. I am so delighted. This is great. Well, I will put this in my pocket and carry it around, myself. But it’s nice to know that we have a common message that you carried forward when you were in Jeddah, and I appreciate very much your hard work over many years, serving our country with such distinction. We are very grateful to you.

I also want to thank Larry Memmott for lending his talents to this important mission. And it is exciting for me to be back in Bishkek after having visited here the first time, back in 1997. Reminders of Kyrgyzstan’s past are everywhere. I remember the 50-foot statue of Lenin towering over downtown. Somebody told me it’s still there.

There was a lot of optimism about the future. I did a ribbon cutting at the American University in Kyrgyzstan, which is now the American University of Central Asia which the United States has continued to support. I was made an honorary professor at that time, and that was 13 years ago. So that’s probably the longest sabbatical ever. (Laughter.)

I just met with the president, and I am pleased to see the developments of the past year. Because, as the Ambassador said, one could not have predicted that it would have gone as well as it has. There is still a long way to go, but the fact that the government will be formed today, or shortly, and that there is an agenda for democracy that is taking hold is very reassuring.

I’m finally delighted to visit the Silver Diner Embassy of Central Asia. (Laughter.) I know that this is a warehouse as opposed to the chancery – (laughter) – but it’s probably bigger than the chancery, and it certainly is bigger than your largest conference room, which I am told holds, like, 10 people. I guess you know that we’ll be breaking ground on a new chancery next year, and that will give those of you who will still be here when it’s finished, and those who will follow after you, a safer, more comfortable work environment.

But I want to thank all of you for what you do day in and day out. I know that this has been a difficult post during this past year. There were very real security concerns for you and your families. I know many of you slept here at the embassy. We followed what was happening on an almost minute-by-minute basis. Assistant Secretary Bob Blake is here and he came out right in the midst of the worst of the violence to demonstrate American support and solidarity. But through it all you have kept up your morale, you have stayed focused on your work, and you have made a real difference. So your commitment to this mission is inspiring.

In just the past year, you helped monitor elections, you organized debates among the candidates, you gave shelter to families whose homes had been destroyed. And your work is producing real results for the people of Kyrgyzstan.

It’s really quite remarkable that, in less than six months, the government organized a constitutional referendum and held parliamentary elections. At the press conference that I just had with the president I praised the government for that accomplishment. There are many countries that have been holding elections for a lot longer and still don’t get it right. These elections were universally accepted, which no one could have predicted, and I know that the United States contributed to that.

I am proud of what we’ve accomplished, but there is so much more we have to do. We have to help the government and people of Kyrgyzstan expand the circle of freedom and broaden civil society, develop economically and democratically to fulfill the potential that we know resides here.

And I particularly want to thank our locally engaged staff for everything you’ve done. I know some of you had real serious concerns about your own families and your own personal security. And I am grateful because we, literally, could not run any embassy anywhere in the world without those of you who know so much more than our rotating U.S. Government officials ever can know. And we rely on you, and we need you, and we’re grateful to you. We appreciate your sacrifice. We appreciate your understanding.

I pledged our support from the Government of the United States to Kyrgyzstan. We are going to try to be even more helpful in working with the government and the people as they tackle a lot of these very difficult issues. We know that stability and security in Central Asia is particularly important to Kyrgyzstan, which is vulnerable from so many different directions, and we will do all that we can to be a good partner and a good friend.

So, thank you for being part of this exciting mission at this an important moment in the history of relations between our two countries. I look forward to coming back, seeing the new chancery some day, or at least the ground breaking, because it takes forever in the government to build these chanceries. (Laughter.) But we’re going to get started on it. For that, I hope you are going to be pushing to make sure it’s accomplished.

But thank you all very much, and thanks especially for the extra work that went in to my visit, because I know how hard you work every day, and then along comes the Secretary of State, and you have to work even more. I’ll be out of your hair shortly. I think I have one more stop. And then my plane will take off, and I become somebody else’s responsibility in Uzbekistan. And you have deserved, I think it’s fair to say, Ambassador, a great wheels up party. (Laughter.)

So, thank you all very much. (Applause.)


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Hi all,

Posting on the fly here this morning. No schedule for the day so far, but there are a few pictures I thought I would share. One is of her arrival in Uzbekistan with FM Norov and the others are in Kyrgyzstan with President Roza Otunbayeva. More later as news develops,  and as I have time.

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