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Remarks With U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague After Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 12, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, and let me again welcome the foreign secretary here to Washington and to the State Department. It is a special pleasure to see him at the end of a year in which we cooperated so closely and constructively together. We’ve had a very robust shared calendar as we’ve tackled these global challenges every single day of this entire year, it seems. And we’ve met on many previous occasions, both bilaterally and then through a multitude of multilateral engagements. So it’s good to review and look forward at this time of year.

We will be meeting again, we’ve already concluded, numerous times in the first half of next year. And obviously, we have a lot to talk about whenever we do meet. Our meeting today reflected a wide array of shared concerns and challenges, including the economic crisis in Europe, the embassy – attack on the UK Embassy in Iran, the transition in Afghanistan, the situation in Pakistan, the evolving situations in Burma, North Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, and so much more. We lost track of all of the matters which we went over today.

We naturally discussed the decisions regarding Europe’s debt crisis, and we have a – as we’ve said many times, a great stake in a speedy resolution. We support efforts to enact pro-growth reforms, and we will continue to work closely with our European partners. We discussed the ongoing efforts to press the Iranian Government to meet all of its international obligations. The attack on the British Embassy was an affront not only to the British people, but to the international community. Governments owe a duty to protect diplomatic lives and property, and we expect the Government of Iran to do just that both inside and outside of Iran. That is why we strongly supported the UN General Assembly’s resolution deploring the plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador here in Washington. And we’re working together on additional sanctions, and the great work that the foreign minister and the Government of the UK has done with us at the IAEA to express nearly unanimous concern about Iran’s nuclear program.

Afghanistan was a big part of the discussion today, following up on our meetings in Bonn and the ISAF meeting in Brussels at NATO. The British and American men and women of our armed forces have literally stood and fought side by side and have reversed the Taliban momentum on the battlefields. And our diplomats and development experts have likewise stood shoulder-to-shoulder to try to help the people of Afghanistan realize a better future. As we talk about transitioning security, we look very clearly at the goal that was set at the Lisbon summit. This transition is a new phase of support for Afghanistan, not the end of our commitment, and we will stay very closely connected as we move through this period as well.

I welcomed the news that the foreign secretary will be going to Burma. I think we have a real opportunity through sustained diplomacy to test the new government and to work toward the resolution of outstanding problems that prevent that country from achieving its rightful place in the community of nations for the 21st century. And there’s a very clear path forward if they wish to follow it. We of course discussed the Middle East and, in particular, Syria. We’ve worked closely together to increase the pressure on the Asad regime. We welcomed the recent action by the Arab League. I met with members of the Syrian opposition last week. We encourage other Arab leaders to meet with them as well and continue our support for peaceful protest and reform inside Syria.

And we compared notes on the parliamentary elections in Egypt. The Egyptian people are justifiably proud to begin the process of choosing their new leaders. We urge the Egyptian authorities to ensure that free and fair voting continues through the next election rounds, and that there be a steady transition toward a new civilian government. And at the same time, we call upon the continued protection of peaceful protestors and holding those accountable for previous incidents of violence.

So this is just a snapshot of our very lengthy and substantive conversation. So again, Foreign Secretary, welcome back to Washington.

FOREIGN SECRETARY HAGUE: Well, thank you very much indeed. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a great pleasure as always to be here in Washington with Secretary Clinton. The United States of America is our closest and our indispensible ally in foreign policy. And as ever, we’ve had a good meeting of minds as we discussed this very broad range of challenges that we face. As everyone knows, we’ve had in 2011 a momentous year in world affairs, and I think we’ve risen to these challenges with confidence. Our joint efforts in Libya, for instance, to save lives benefitted from the seamless cooperation in diplomacy and in defense, which is one of the distinctive hallmarks of the relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

2012 is set to throw up challenges in foreign policy that could be more demanding and complex still, and we must be ready for those. Britain is determined to play its full part alongside the United States, standing shoulder to shoulder and building on our shared values, our sense of common purpose, our mutual resolve.

As you’ve heard from Secretary Clinton, our discussions today have ranged over a very wide range of subjects. We’ve discussed the economic situation in Europe, in particular in the Eurozone. And in the United Kingdom, as our prime minister has said in parliament today, we want to see the Eurozone stabilized. That involves far more than simply greater medium-term fiscal integration. Important though that is, the markets wants to be assured that the firewall is big enough for the Eurozone and that banks are adequately recapitalized, that the – that countries like Greece have adequately dealt with the problems.

We cannot sign a European treaty that does not give adequate protection to the single market in Europe, but we’re not changing our relationship with the European Union, and we will work with our European partners over the coming months on the need for the EU to remove barriers to trade, to complete the single market, to conclude free trade agreements around the world. These remain the most important way for Europe to compete and address economic problems and generate essential growth.

As you’ve heard, we share a growing concern with the United States about the situation in Syria and the deplorable violence orchestrated by the regime. We welcome the continued efforts of the Arab League and call on the international community to unite in its condemnation of events in Syria.

Our talks reaffirmed our countries’ close understanding of the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program. I particularly thanked Secretary Clinton for her robust support over the recent attacks on our embassy in Tehran, and we shared our latest thinking on the expansion of sanctions against Iran. This includes European Union consideration of measures against the Iranian energy sector as part of the pressure on Iran to return to negotiations over its nuclear ambitions.

We discussed the Middle East peace process and the need for a return to negotiations. That cannot safely be delayed. I briefed Secretary Clinton on our preparations for the London conference on Somalia in February. We need a stronger international approach to the crisis there and to seize the opportunity now to address the root causes of terrorism, instability, piracy. We will spend a lot of time and attention on this in the early months of 2012, and see it as a key priority for next year, and I look forward to continuing to work with Secretary Clinton on this.

We reviewed progress on Afghanistan in the light of the Bonn conference, which we both attended last week. Ten years on, great strides have been made. Our goal now is to consolidate them so that the Afghan people can take control of their own security from 2014. And Britain will continue to work closely with the U.S. and with our other partners in Afghanistan as we work towards the very important Chicago summit to be held in May.

We’ve discussed the protests that we’ve seen in recent days in Moscow. It’s clearly important that the Russian Government investigates the allegations of alleged abuses, and we welcome the commitment of President Medvedev to do so.

We also agreed the international community must show strategic patience in the Western Balkans, which Secretary Clinton has rightly described as unfinished business. And we strongly support that region’s integration within Euro-Atlantic structures and the resolution of outstanding issues. We share a common commitment to the territorial integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina as a single, sovereign state. And we discussed ways in which we can intensify our efforts, working with the Office of the High Representative, the European Union, and other nations to help that country turn a new page in 2012.

We’ve discussed our diplomacy in the Asia Pacific region and the United States announcements about that region in recent weeks, and in that regard, I particularly welcome Secretary Clinton’s recent visit to Burma. Our common objective is to see political freedom in Burma, and constructive engagement which helps further that goal is very important. I will visit Burma in early January, and we will remain in close contact with the U.S. on this issue, as on all the other issues that I’ve mentioned in the coming months.

In all of these areas, Britain doesn’t have a more important ally than the United States, and I look forward to all our work together over the coming year that is as effective and durable in its consequences as it has been this year and in so many other years before it.

Thank you very much indeed.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Okay. Four questions today, first one from BBC (inaudible).

QUESTION: Thank you. Two questions for you: First, Secretary Hague, I know you’ve just said that the UK’s not changing its relationship with the EU. But do you believe that the British Government’s decision on the Eurozone diminishes Britain’s influence in Europe and perhaps in the world?

And a question for both of you: Secretary Hague, you’ve also just said that you welcome the investigation into the allegations of fraud in the elections in Russia. Do you trust – do you both trust that the results will be what is required, and will it allay the concerns of the protesters? What do you think the Russian authorities should do beyond an investigation to address those concerns?

FOREIGN SECRETARY HAGUE: Well, on the – taking the second question first, of course, that will depend on the investigation and what it produces and how it is conducted. It’s important that such investigations take place, so I think it is right, as I’ve said, to welcome the willingness of the Russian Government to do that. Clearly, as nations that believe in democracy and freedom of speech and political freedom, we want to see such investigations take place as transparently and as fully as possible, but I think that it’s impossible to judge them in advance.

On the question of the European Union, no, I don’t agree with the thrust of your question. On all of the issues that we’ve just been describing, all the foreign policy issues in dealing with Iran, pressure on Syria, on how to take forward the Middle East peace process, the European Union is an important player – very important player in the world and in those – and determining the European Union attitude on all of those issues, the United Kingdom plays an absolutely central and leading role.

We also do so in pushing forward the single market in Europe, in championing free trade agreements such as the one we signed with South Korea earlier this year. And all of that continues; that doesn’t change because we choose not to participate in one set of arrangements which are not adequate for us. That’s not a new thing to do. The United Kingdom did not join the euro, and we’re pleased we did not join the euro. We’re not part of the Schengen border arrangements, and we’re very satisfied that we’re not. Europe can develop in a way in which there are overlapping circles of decision-making. And not every nation has to participate in everything.

But that doesn’t alter our central role in driving forward European policy on the whole range of subjects that I’ve just described.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I would just add to what William already said about Russia. We were pleased that the protests yesterday were peaceful. We think that’s a very good sign. There were dozens of them across the country. And the fact that the government has announced that it is willing to investigate allegations of fraud and manipulation associated with the December 4th Duma elections is a good sign and a reassuring position for the Russian people.

But the proof is in the pudding. We’ll wait and see how they conduct such an investigation, what the consequences are. They have a good roadmap coming from the OSCE which has set forth a number of recommendations. So we’re supportive of the announcement of investigations, and now we hope that it will be followed through on.

MODERATOR: Next question, (inaudible) of the London Times.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) from the Times. Last week an American general in Baghdad said that he wasn’t sure what would happen in Iraq after the last American troops have left. After December the 31st, your own Department, Madam Secretary, will be, as it were, in charge of American interests in Baghdad and in Iraq. How confident are you that Iraq is going to turn into the sort of country perhaps you had in mind when this all began?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have been having very intensive discussions with President – with Prime Minister Maliki and various ministers of his government starting last night, going through into the morning in the Oval Office with the President, and we certainly are looking forward to a normal relationship between two sovereign countries.

The outline for our actions was set prior to this Administration coming into office in 2008, when the Bush Administration agreed that our military presence would end at the end of this year. That is going to happen. We hope, in fact, that our troops will be out in time for Christmas. And then we will be taking, on a case-by-case basis, requests for additional assistance, of which there are many coming from the Iraqis. Certainly in the security and the military training arena, there is quite a long list of requests, and we are looking forward to evaluating those and fulfilling them wherever possible.

We are going to be working on police training, which is getting underway. We have a number of agreements that have been worked on under the strategic framework that was adopted back in 2008. So we’re on the path to meet our commitment to withdraw all U.S. military personnel even as we maintain a robust civilian presence under State Department leadership that’ll include diplomats, business and development experts, security assistance experts, law enforcement officers, and others from civilian agencies across the United States Government. They will be working out of our Embassy in Baghdad, out of our consulates general in Erbil and Basra, our diplomatic presence in Kirkuk, and they will be protected, as our civilians are in many places in the world, by contracted security personnel. That’s a very common practice.

So again last night and today, our Iraqi partners made clear that they want a relationship that is deeper and broader than a military relationship, and we are working to achieve that.

MODERATOR: (Off-mike.)

QUESTION: Thank you. Madam Secretary, if I could follow up on Iraq, was there any resolution in your meetings about the fate of the last detainee in —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Steve, I can’t hear you.

QUESTION: I’m sorry. I’ll repeat it. Was there any resolution in your meetings with the Iraq – with the fate of the last detainee, Ali Musa Daqduq?

And if I could ask you both on Iran, with the drone crash, the attack on the embassy, the various assassinations, the explosion at a missile factory recently with the IAEA findings, is there a risk now that the – that our countries are lurching towards some sort of confrontation with Iran? And specifically, Madam Secretary, the Senate has voted to expand U.S. sanctions to include the Iranian Central Bank. Where do you stand on the negotiations? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Steven, first, with respect to actions regarding Iran, we are very clearly making known our concerns. We submitted a formal request for the return of our lost equipment, as we would in any situation to any government around the world. Given Iran’s behavior to date, we do not expect them to comply, but we are dealing with all of these provocations and concerning actions taken by Iran in close concert with our closest allies and partners, starting with the UK. We obviously believe strongly in a diplomatic approach. We want to see the Iranians engage, and as you know, we have attempted to bring about that engagement over the course of the last three-plus years. It has not proven effective, but we’re not giving up on it.

And with respect to any actions on further sanctions, we have been very tough, and not only did we work hard to get international sanctions through the United Nations, but we, along with close partners like the UK, like the EU, and others, have applied additional sanctions, and we will continue to do so. I’m not going to telegraph where, when, and how, but our view is that the path that Iran seems to be going down is a dangerous one for themselves and for the region. And the danger is compounded, on top of their provocation, their deliberate support for terrorism in many places, by their continuing pursuit of a nuclear weapon. So it’s something that the world has to respond to, and I think we’ve been quite effective in doing so.

With respect to your first question, that is still a matter of discussion between us and the Iraqis.

FOREIGN SECRETARY HAGUE: And on Iran, as Hillary says, we are not giving up on engagement with Iran, but on a number of occasions, Iran has behaved in a way, in recent weeks and months, which have intensified confrontation with the rest of the world. We have seen – in the plots to assassinate the Saudi ambassador here and the invasion of the British Embassy compounds in Tehran, we’ve seen an increasing predilection for dangerous and illegal adventures on the part of at least parts of the Iranian regime. It may not be the work of a united Iranian regime, but from at least parts of the Iranian regime, such actions have been sanctioned.

And so we will increase the peaceful, legitimate pressure on Iran. We see that not as confrontation, but as a necessary response to the – in particular, to the nuclear program. We adopted in the European Union, ten days ago, sanctions on an additional 180 individuals and entities, and we will expand those sanctions further – or we intend to do so at the end of January – with tougher sanctions on the financial sector, on the energy and transport sectors from the European Union as a whole, and so we will continue to intensify that pressure while Iran’s nuclear program continues with no adequate explanation of a peaceful purpose.

MODERATOR: Last question comes (inaudible).

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, could I just ask you, does Britain’s new position in Europe concern you, especially given the historic bridge that the UK has offered between Europe and the U.S.?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I have to say it does not. I think that the role that the UK has played in Europe will continue. And we, of course, welcome that. And our concern has not been over the position that the UK has taken, it’s whether the decisions made by other members of the Eurozone countries within the EU will work, and we want to encourage that. We are very hopeful and supportive that this latest set of actions will send the right signals and have the results that are being sought. So I separate out the economic issues – which, as William said, the UK has never been a party to the euro, so that’s not something that’s particularly going to change – from the political work that we do almost every day with the UK and with the EU. So I don’t see any spillover there at my view.

Thank you.

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Mme. Secretary has another busy week ahead with an evening event on Monday.   Then she hits the tarmac again for a few days.  Safe travels, Mme. Secretary.  We love you!

Secretary Clinton To Deliver Remarks at the 2011 Annual Conference on U.S.-Turkey Relations on October 31

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 28, 2011

On October 31, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will deliver remarks at the opening dinner of the 2011 Annual Conference on U.S.-Turkey Relations, hosted by the American-Turkish Council.   Secretary Clinton’s remarks will begin at approximately 7:45 p.m.

The theme of the 30th Annual Conference is “Honoring the Past, Building for the Future.” The conference is the largest annual gathering of public officials and private business people dedicated to the promotion of a strong U.S.-Turkey relationship. The American-Turkish Council expects several hundred Turkish and American government, business and military leaders will attend.

In addition to Secretary Clinton, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, and Minister of National Defense Ismet Yilmaz will deliver remarks.

 

Secretary Clinton to Travel to London, United Kingdom and Istanbul, Turkey

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 27, 2011

Secretary Clinton will travel to London, United Kingdom, November 1, 2011, to deliver a keynote speech at the London Conference on Cyberspace, hosted by the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, William Hague. While in London, Secretary Clinton will also meet with Foreign Secretary Hague to review a range of issues on our shared global agenda.

Secretary Clinton will then travel to Istanbul, Turkey, on November 2, to participate in the Istanbul Conference for Afghanistan: Security and Cooperation in the Heart of Asia. The conference will be co-chaired by Afghanistan and Turkey and will include Afghanistan’s neighbors and other key regional partners. The United States is attending as a supporter and welcomes regional efforts to demonstrate support for Afghan priorities of transition, reconciliation, and economic growth.

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

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

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The International Community Needs To Stay Focused on Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

Op-Ed

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
United Kingdom Foreign Secretary William Hague
Joint Op-Ed Published in Newspapers Throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina
June 7, 2011

 


 

The arrest on May 26 of Ratko Mladic, the fugitive former Bosnian-Serb Army Commander, brings at last the prospect of justice for the victims of the genocide at Srebrenica 16 years ago. It offers the chance of closure to the families of the victims. And it offers a vital opportunity to draw a line under the past, and to move the entire Western Balkan region decisively towards a better future.

Already there has been considerable progress. The situation in Serbia and Croatia is dramatically different to that of two decades ago. Those countries are now moving steadily forward to membership of the European Union. Croatia is already a member of NATO and seeking conclusion of its accession negotiations with the EU. Serbia is working in pursuit of EU Candidate status. But while its neighbors are looking to the future, the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina itself gives rise to mounting concern.

For half a decade now, Bosnia and Herzegovina has been sliding backwards. That slide has accelerated in recent months, and now demands a firm response from the international community, above all from the European Union. The country’s institutions are gridlocked. In the Republika Srpska entity, harsh nationalist rhetoric and actions challenging the Dayton framework risk dragging BiH back towards the past – just at the moment its neighbors start moving towards a European future.

The real victims of this paralysis are not Bosnia and Herzegovina’s politicians, but its citizens – the very people these political leaders were elected to serve. Instead of living in a free, fair and prosperous society, many still live under the shadow of division and fear, suffering from poverty, unemployment and lack of opportunity.

It need not be like this. Bosnia and Herzegovina has every prospect of a bright and hopeful future. It is a beautiful European country, with talented and resourceful people. It has a rich heritage and an abundance of natural resources. It has always been, and remains, a bridge between East and West. The Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina have a long tradition of moderation, and are a continuing rebuke to the notion that Islam has no place in Europe. We want to see BiH thriving as a peaceful member of the European Union and NATO, with the conflict and suffering of the 1990s left behind never to return. We know that the citizens of this unique country want this too, from Prijedor to Travnik, from Foca to Livno and from Mostar to Brcko.

So how can we make this a reality?

First, the international community needs to stay focused on Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Western Balkans as a whole. Yes, there are plenty of other challenges – from Afghanistan to Libya, from the Arab Spring to the Middle East Peace Process. But we know all too well that what happens in one Balkan country has inevitable knock-on effects across the region. Nowhere is that more true than Bosnia and Herzegovina. What happens there will affect what happens to its neighbors, and vice versa.

Second, there must be no doubt about the resolve of the international community to stand by the settlement agreed at Dayton which ended the conflict. Our message is crystal clear: we are committed to Bosnia and Herzegovina as a single state, with two vibrant entities and three constituent people. We will not tolerate any challenges to the country’s unity and sovereignty. Our support for the Office of the High Representative in upholding the Dayton Agreement will be firm and unwavering. We will hold personally accountable politicians and those around them who seek to undermine this framework.

Third, we look to the political leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to work with each other and with their counterparts in the region to move beyond the stale arguments of the last two decades which have served the peoples of BiH so poorly. It is time to build on the successes of the last 16 years – the restoration of freedom of movement, the repair of BiH’s physical infrastructure, the reform of its defence sector – and to equip Bosnia to move forward alongside its neighbors to membership of the European Union.

That means looking at the Dayton Agreement as a foundation to be built on, not a chain to be broken. BiH needs more effective and efficient government at all levels – a state government that can meet the requirements of Euro-Atlantic integration; entities and lower levels of government that are economically sustainable and can deliver basic services. And above all it needs political leaders who are ready to take courageous decisions towards these ends rather than in their own narrow personal or ethnic interests.

To those who say this is impossible, we say that the rest of the region is proving every day what progress is possible. It is time for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s leaders to deliver for their people too.

In March, European Union nations agreed a reinvigorated strategy for Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the creation of an enhanced presence in Sarajevo with a strong mandate and resources. This strategy should allow the EU to play a leading role in supporting positive change and protecting against threats to stability. EU High Representative Ashton has named Peter Sorensen, a senior diplomat with 15 years of experience in the Balkans, to lead this EU effort. The U.S. and UK will be strongly supportive of Ambassador Sorensen, using all of the levers available to achieve progress, while working in close partnership with the Peace Implementation Council and the Office of the High Representative.

As Mladic faces justice at last, the world has a duty to commit itself once more to standing by the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The vision of a stable, prosperous and sovereign BiH as a member of the EU and NATO is not an impossible dream, it is our firm objective. That is what the people of Bosnia want, and what we want too. As President Obama said in London on 25 May, “We have always believed that the future of our children and grandchildren will be better if other people’s children and grandchildren are more prosperous and free – from the beaches of Normandy to the Balkans to Benghazi. That is our interests and our ideals.” In Bosnia and Herzegovina, let us hold true to that principle.

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For a change of pace, here are some pictures of her day so far. She looks smashing!

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Public Schedule for May 25, 2011

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
May 25, 2011

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON:
Secretary Clinton accompanies President Obama on his State Visit in London, United Kingdom. Later in the day, Secretary Clinton travels to Paris, France to participate in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Ministerial Council Meeting and 50th Anniversary Commemoration. Click here for more information.

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No, these are not from this evening’s gala, but they are worth a look. Last night Mme. Secretary dined with William Jefferson Hague, British Foreign Minister, and his wife Ffion (often aka Fiona, like HRC’s little lookalike niece). We see them leaving the Wolsley Restaurant in London’s Piccadilly. Mme. Secretary looks most fetching! (Keatsian remark of the day.)

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Remarks With British Foreign Secretary William Hague

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
London, England
May 23, 2011

FOREIGN SECRETARY HAGUE: (In progress.) — this time in foreign affairs. No one works more tirelessly for global security than Hillary Clinton, and she is a great colleague, as I have discovered over the last year, and a source of inspiration for many people around the world, including often for her fellow foreign ministers. So I thank her very much for that.

Our two countries have an extraordinarily close working partnership in foreign policy and a relationship in defense and intelligence that is without any parallel anywhere in the world. And for many years, we’ve confronted the menace from al-Qaida and other terrorist groups together. We will redouble these efforts following the death of Usama bin Ladin alongside our support for lasting political settlement in Afghanistan and for stability in Pakistan. And the Pakistani people have suffered another appalling terrorist attack in Karachi, which I condemn in the strongest terms.

I see every single day in my work as foreign secretary that our relationship with the United States is unique, that it is indispensible to both our countries, and this is on top of our ties in investment, trade, science, research, and education which support about a million jobs on each side of the Atlantic. So there is no doubt that the U.S-UK relationship is still special, it’s still fundamental to both our countries, it’s still thriving, it’s still a cornerstone of stability in our world.

The President’s visit coincides, as we know, with a period of immense change in the Middle East and North Africa. That has brought renewed hope of a better life to millions of people, but it’s also marked by violence and uncertainty, and the British Government is determined to work closely with the United States and our other allies to support democracy and human rights in that region, and to challenge those who take the path of violence and repression.

In Syria, the regime has chosen violence and the mass detention of protestors rather than reform. We believe that democratic nations can’t stand silent in the face of such acts, and that’s why the meeting of European foreign ministers in Brussels, which I attended earlier, Europe joined the United States in adopting additional sanctions on those responsible for the continuing violence, including President Asad himself. Syria must change course, and until it does, Britain is committed to working with the United States to increase pressure on the regime, including at the United Nations.

In Libya, our two countries and our allies acted swiftly to prevent the massacre of civilians in Benghazi. Today, Secretary Clinton and I discussed our continuing commitment to implement the UN Security Council resolutions. Our action is protecting civilian life. It’s necessary, it’s legal, it’s right, and Britain is committed to intensifying military, diplomatic, and economic action against the Qadhafi regime in the coming weeks.

Secretary Clinton and I discussed President Obama’s very important speech on the Middle East, to which the British Government strongly welcomes and supports. Like the United States, we are ready to offer our assistance to governments that commit themselves to democratic reform. And we support the legitimate aspirations of the people of the region. Later this week, we will work together at the G-8 summit to support democratic transition in Egypt and Tunisia. And we’ve begun this work ourselves on a smaller scale here in the UK through our Arab Partnership Initiative, and the European Union this week will set out its vision for a revised neighborhood policy.

We believe that progress in the Middle East peace process is more urgent than ever. As a strong friend to Israelis and Palestinians, we say time is running out for a two-state solution, and the initiative must be seized now. And I particularly welcome President Obama’s clear message that the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on 1967 lines with agreed land swaps. We have called for such a commitment as part of the process and reestablishing negotiations on the basis of clear parameters, and this is, to us, a significant and valuable act of American leadership.

Iran’s nuclear program – just a couple of final subjects – and its refusal to enter constructively into negotiations remains a deep concern for both our countries. We have discussed that in our talks this afternoon. Iran should not doubt our resolve. And today, the European Union, with strong British urging, has imposed sanctions on more than 100 Iranian banks, individuals, and companies linked to Iran’s nuclear program. We’ve also discussed the situation in Yemen and Sudan.

And finally, Secretary Clinton and I discussed the worrying developments in Bosnia-Herzegovina and our determination to support peace and stability in the Western Balkans. The referendum proposals passed by the Entity of Republika Srpska National Assembly are a very real threat to the rule of law, to the Dayton Agreement, and to Bosnia’s European future. And there’s no alternative to a swift and full repeal of the referendum.

Hillary, I’m delighted you’re here today and I know that we both look forward to President Obama’s state visit this week, and to further reinforcing the relationship between Britain and the United States, and over to you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, William, thank you very much, and I would love to be able to get away with just saying, “Ditto,” and leaving it at that, but I guess I’m compelled to add my voice to yours, and reiterating the indispensible, unique, and special relationship that exists between our two nations, our governments, and our peoples. And we are certainly looking forward to President Obama and Mrs. Obama’s state visit starting tomorrow. And thank you for welcoming us so warmly and thank you for the great working relationship that we have and the many areas where we consult closely and frequently on matters of mutual concern. And I was grateful again for the conversation we had which, as you have just summarized, covered quite a bit of ground. I will just highlight a few of the issues.

First, on Libya, we reiterated our shared commitment to enforce the UN Security Council resolution and to protect Libyan civilians. I think both of us believe that we are making progress, but we know that our resolve must be firm and that we have to make it clear that time is running out for Colonel Qadhafi and those around him.

In Syria, the Asad government continues to respond to peaceful protests with brutal violence. By our best estimate, nearly 1,000 people have now been killed. And that is against the backdrop of President Asad talking about reform while his security forces fire bullets into crowds of marchers and mourners at funerals. This cruelty must end, and the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people must be honored.

The U.S., the EU, and others have already imposed sanctions against senior Syrian officials, including new measures announced today targeting President Asad. Foreign Secretary Hague and I are both absolutely consistent with our message to the Asad government: Stop the killings, the beatings, the arrests; release all political prisoners and detainees; begin to respond to the demands that are upon you for a process of credible and inclusive democratic change.

President Asad faces a choice: He can lead the transition to democracy that the Syrian people have demanded; or he can, as President Obama said on Thursday, get out of the way. But there is no doubt that if he does not begin to lead that process, his regime will face continuing and increasing pressure and isolation.

I appreciated the foreign secretary’s positive words about President Obama’s speech concerning a comprehensive Middle East peace. The United States has outlined principles that we believe provide a foundation for negotiations to resolve core issues, end the conflict and all claims. Everyone knows what the results should be: two states for two people with secure and recognized borders, based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps and security arrangements that ensure Israel can effectively defend itself by itself.

As the President now has said twice in the last three days, this is a well-known formula to all who have worked on this issue for a generation. Certainly, it is the formula that was used by two prior presidents – one Democratic, one Republican. It allows the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last 44 years, including the demographic realities and the needs of both sides.

As the President also said, and I would underscore this, no country can be expected to negotiate with a terrorist organization sworn to its destruction. Any Palestinian government must accept the principles outlined by the Quartet, including recognizing Israel’s right to exist and rejecting violence and adhering to all existing agreements.

The foreign secretary and I also reviewed the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Afghanistan, British and American troops continue to work side by side to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida and its terrorist allies. Our military and civilian men and women have made great progress breaking the Taliban’s momentum, and we are determined to continue to press al-Qaida and its affiliates on all fronts, even after killing its leader, Usama bin Ladin.

We are going to be discussing and planning to start bringing troops home as part of a responsible transition to an Afghan lead for security, even as we maintain a long-term commitment to the Afghan people. And we are actively supporting an Afghan-led political process to broker reconciliation with members of the Taliban who renounce violence, cut ties to al-Qaida, and support the Afghan constitution.

With respect to Pakistan, Pakistan has hard choices to make. We know the facts. Pakistan is a nuclear-armed state, home to nearly 180 million people, making it the world’s sixth largest nation. It needs international support to deal with political and economic problems and the threats it faces from internal violence. This latest attack on a Pakistani naval installation in Karachi is another reminder of the terrible price the Pakistani people have borne in their own struggle against violent extremism.

We have killed more terrorists on Pakistani soil than anywhere else in the world, and that could not have been done without the cooperation of the Government of Pakistan. But there is more work to be done and the work is urgent. Over the long haul, both the United Kingdom and the United States seek to support the Pakistani people as they chart their own destiny, away from political violence, toward greater stability, economic prosperity, and justice.

In Yemen, we are dismayed that President Saleh continues his refusal to sign the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative which would help resolve the political challenges facing Yemen today. The international community, led by the GCC, has worked hard to build support for this initiative. President Saleh has agreed on multiple occasions to sign it. Once again, he is failing to live up to those promises. We urge President Saleh to immediately follow through on his repeated commitments to peacefully transfer power. This is critical for the peace and security that the Yemeni people are seeking.

Finally, we discussed events in Sudan, in particular in Abyei. The United States calls on the Sudanese armed forces to immediately cease all offensive operations in Abyei and withdraw. Both sides must follow through on implementing the agreements of January of 13th and 17th and chart a way forward that restores calm, upholds the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and advances a negotiated political settlement on the future status of the Abyei area.

There were other matters as well, but I think those were the highlights. But as always with the foreign secretary, we have much to discuss when we meet, because we have a similar perspective and shared values and a long history of facing foreign policy challenges together as partners and friends.
Thank you.

FOREIGN SECRETARY HAGUE: Thank you. And now it’s time for a few questions, which Carl will call.

QUESTION: Lindsey Hilsum, Channel 4 News. Secretary of State, the U.S. pulled back very shortly after the beginning the campaign in Libya, and it is taking a very long time. Is there any chance that the Americans will now become more active, sending out you’re A-10s and so on again?

And Foreign Secretary, are you concerned that Britain is running out of time, you need the Americans to do more on Libya, because basically Britain is going to run of money and run out of bombs?

FOREIGN SECRETARY HAGUE: Hillary, do you want to go first on that one?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Certainly. Well, let me begin by saying that together with our NATO allies and coalition partners, the United States and Britain have been united from the very beginning in responding to the crisis in Libya, and we are united today in our understanding and commitment about what needs to happen in order to end it. We do believe that time is working against Qadhafi, that he cannot reestablish control over the country. The opposition has organized a legitimate and credible interim council that is committed to democratic principles. Their military forces are improving. And when Qadhafi inevitably leaves, a new Libya stands ready to move forward.

Now, with respect to the military operation, even today the United States continues to fly 25 percent of all sorties. We continue to provide the majority of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets. We continue to support all of our allies in their efforts. I think that what we have done is what we said we would do and we continue to do what we have said we would do. We have great confidence in our allies. We have enormous respect for the capacities of our British friends, and certainly their performance in Libya, as we have seen in prior areas of joint effort such as Afghanistan, has been exemplary. So have a lot of confidence in what our joint efforts are producing.
We would like to see some other of our NATO friends and allies join in with us in order to make sure that the pressure is maintained consistently. But I think if you look at the last two weeks, you will see an up tempo of military action; you will see a very concerted and effective campaign against targets both on land and now increasingly at sea. So I know that we all would like to see this draw to a close as soon as possible, but I would reiterate what I have on many occasions prior to this: We’re making progress. We have to be patient and persistent, and I have no doubt that we will.

FOREIGN SECRETARY HAGUE: And just to expound of that and answer the part of the question addressed to me, you should not underestimate in any way the huge contribution the United States has made to working with its allies on this. We could not have done what we did at the beginning of the military action in Libya to disable the static air defenses of the Qadhafi regime without the unique assets and involvement of the United States of America. As you just heard, about a quarter of all the sorties now that are flown in the NATO and allied operation are by United States aircraft, giving logistical and many other forms of support. So it’s not our business this week to criticize the role of the United States, which has clearly been crucial.

The military tempo has been increased in recent weeks, and indeed, in recent days. You’ve heard about the airstrikes against regime warships that have been engaged in laying mines of Misrata, about the airstrikes on the intelligence building of the regime in Tripoli. That increase tempo will continue. And it is important that nations across NATO, as well as our Arab allies, play their full part in doing that.

And on the question about time, I think it’s important to be clear that time is not on the side of Qadhafi. In so many conflicts, we’re told time is not on our side. Well, actually in this case, time is not on their side because the economic and military and diplomatic pressure on the regime will continue to be intensified in the days and weeks ahead.

Let’s have the next question.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, there was a lot, to use your (inaudible) policy. Is there areas where there’s less alignment with the UK and Europe in general where you’d like to see a lot more alignment? And do you agree with the foreign secretary when he says time is running out on the Middle East peace process?

And Foreign Secretary, did – in terms of is there areas where you’d like to see a bit more alignment when it comes to U.S. foreign policy and British foreign policy? Thanks.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I would begin by saying I think if there were any closer alignment, we would worry about each other because we have worked so closely together during my time as Secretary of State and certainly during the last year plus with William, and the President and prime minister, I think, feel the same way. They consult frequently and in depth about a full range of issues. And I think on many important matters, we find ourselves very much in alignment, and then we work to bring other communities together to support our particular perspective. And to that end, we are always very pleased to work with the UK as a partner in the United Nations, to work to support their views in the European Union on issues like the recent sanctioning of Syrian officials, including Asad. So we are very closely connected and working well together.

With respect to the Middle East process, I think, as the President made clear in his speech last week, we do not think that the status quo is sustainable, and therefore, we want to see a return to negotiations and a seriousness of effort on both sides so that both parties recognize that negotiating an end to the conflict and the resulting outcome of two states is in each of their interests. And the United States will continue to urge that and make our own views very clear, as the President has done.

We recognize that the United States cannot, the UK cannot, the international community cannot impose a solution, a lasting solution, on the parties. Ultimately, they have to negotiate a sustainable peace agreement that responds to their particular needs. And I hope that we will see a return to the negotiating table. We’ve also made it clear that we do not support unilateral action or the Palestinians going to the United Nations in the fall. We think that is a very bad idea, since it will not result in a state with the kind of future that the Palestinian people deserve.

So we’re going to continue to speak out. And I think it’s critical that others, and certainly the UK has done that with its strong statement in support of what the President said, send a clear, unmistakable message to both the Palestinians and the Israelis: Now is the time. In this period of great upheaval, there is an opportunity to come to a successful outcome. There are, yes, many obstacles in the way – I mentioned a few of them – Hamas being one of them that we are particularly focused on. But it is now clear that there is no path forward other than through negotiations. So let’s get about the business of hammering out that two-state solution that prior presidents, prior Israeli prime ministers have worked on but never finally gotten to the finish line with successive leaders of the Palestinians. So I can’t stress strongly enough how importantly the United States sees this as a priority.

FOREIGN SECRETARY HAGUE: And just to add a little to that, I suppose it shows something when the differences between us are not so apparent that the question has to be asking us to identify them – (laughter) – for the benefit of the press. But it is true that at the moment the foreign policies of the United Kingdom and the United States are very closely aligned. We shouldn’t be afraid of differences when they arise, and I’m sure we won’t be.

But the President’s visit occurs at a time of strong agreement about these central challenges, about these immense events in the Middle East, the most important event of the 21st century so far in our view, and of the President’s speech last week, and what we’ve said in this country, what the prime minister and I have said, shows how similarly we view these things. And that is because in our daily work what we are doing is not coordinating the tactics of foreign policy; we are representing nations that have such strong shared values and that so often lead to the same overall strategy. And I think that will be very clear this week. So we haven’t gotten a list of all these differences to please you with.

A couple more questions.

QUESTION: James Robbins from the BBC. Madam Secretary, given this very close alignment between you, what is there left for the President and prime minister to talk about in London this week? (Laughter.) What, if you could will it, would be the most important, most useful decision they could make together?

And finally, on a point of detail perhaps, if the French are deploying attack helicopters to Libya, do you welcome that and how would it be useful? Would it be useful in getting closer to Colonel Qadhafi forces?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as to your first question, I’m not going to preempt the President and the prime minister. I will let them speak for themselves. But I think, as William just said, this visit comes at a particularly positive moment in our relations because of the close coordination and cooperation we have. It’s not only, as William said, because of our shared values and our historical relationship, but it’s also because we’re problem solvers. I mean, we like to see decisions made in the international community that will promote democracy, that will protect human rights, that will protect people from the scourge of terrorism, that will open up economic opportunities and markets. I mean, we have views based on what we see happening around the world as to what is more successful and what is not. And we will put forth those views. And they remarkably coincide because of our own experiences.

And with respect to any French offers to increase their contributions to the efforts in Libya to protect civilians, I’m sure that will be taken up through the NATO chain of command. But obviously, the French have been a very strong partner and a leader in these efforts, and we would welcome further commitments that they might make.

FOREIGN SECRETARY HAGUE: And while not commenting on – at the moment on any particular deployment, remember that the tactics of the Qadhafi regime in Libya have changed as the – over the weeks of this action. And so sometimes what we do in response, the assets we use in response, our own tactics in response, do also have to change.

While – on the broader question, while there are no fundamental differences, as you can gather, in foreign affairs and – that will be there for the talks between the President and the prime minister, there is a great deal to discuss, of course, in how we accomplish many of our shared objectives in the world, of how we promote reconciliation in Afghanistan, how we conduct relations with Pakistan – which Hillary was just addressing – how we make sure that the countries of the Middle East and North Africa can share with others the economic opportunities of the future, influencing their own behavior in a positive direction. So there is an enormous amount to discuss notwithstanding the strong level of agreement with which we begin this state visit.

And I think there’s just time for one more question. Carl.

MODERATOR: (Off-mike.)

QUESTION: Good evening. My name is Anna (inaudible) and I’m from the Croatia Daily. So my question is regarding Bosnia. I’m wondering how come it’s being discussed now, (inaudible), and whether now – this is being again, after the war. Do you have the impression that the international community has failed in setting a solution for Bosnia? Thank you.

FOREIGN SECRETARY HAGUE: Well, I don’t think the international community has failed, but it’s very important that the international community does not assume that everything was settled and can be left alone in the Western Balkans. This was just the problem of the 1990s. It’s something that we have to continue to work on. What was brought about in the 1990s in terms of the – of a settlement can slide back, and we have seen disturbing signs in Bosnia that it is sliding back.

It’s very, very important for the future stability and integrity of that country, for its aspirations, to join the European Union. And indeed, we want all of the Western Balkan states, including Croatia, to be able to – and Croatia is first in line – to be able to join the European Union. It’s very important for all of those things that the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina are able to work together in a functioning state, with a functioning constitution, with politicians who work alongside each other. And so it’s – given the difficulties there, it is important we give renewed attention to the problems of that region. Those problems have been discussed in the European Foreign Affairs Council today, and we’ve discussed them today and on many other occasions. And I think it’s fair to say that in the coming weeks and months, the United Kingdom and the United States will be giving further increased attention to this region.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we believe that it’s imperative that we continue to work with the nations and the peoples of the Western Balkans. We don’t have a vote in the European Union. We’re strongly in support of Croatia’s membership. And we agree that we would like, eventually, to see other nations as well be admitted because it’s unfinished business in Europe. And we do not want to ignore any signs that could lead to division and potential conflict, so we’re going to stay very focused.

And we want to work with those leaders, not just in government but in other areas of life, who are looking at a different future, who are not mired in the past but can break loose and imagine a Bosnia-Herzegovina that is part of Europe, part of the transatlantic community. That’s what we would hope for the people and we’re going to continue to focus on what it will take to see that vision realized.

FOREIGN SECRETARY HAGUE: Thank you very much indeed.

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