Posts Tagged ‘Wyatt Andrews’

Interview With Jill Dougherty of CNN


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Rangoon, Burma
December 2, 2011

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, thank you very much for taking time out. This is a busy trip, historic, really. I wanted to start with Aung San Suu Kyi. It must – I would like to know what it was like to see her face to face. There was obviously a lot of chemistry between you. But I also wanted to ask: Right now, is American policy too focused on her? Dare I say does she have a veto on U.S. policy toward Myanmar?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jill, let me start by saying that it was just an extraordinary personal privilege for me finally to meet her. I felt like I had known her for years because of all of the information that I had about her and the interactions that friends of mine had with her who carried messages back and forth, and I just really felt like it was meeting an old friend, even though it was our first time. And I deeply admire and appreciate everything that she’s done over the years to stand steadfastly for democracy and freedom and to be someone who people in her country look up to and know that she has their best interests at heart, and they want to follow her because of that.

She is someone who we talk to and rely on about policy advice, and certainly we were very gratified that she encouraged us to engage, encouraged my trip, as she said publicly today, thought that we were proceeding appropriately, cautiously to determine whether or not these reforms were for real.

But she’s not the only person we talk to. For the past two and a half years, ever since I asked that we do a review of our Burma policy, because I didn’t think we were making the kind of progress we all had hoped to for the people here, we’ve had about 20 or more high-level visits from our assistant secretary, our special representative and others. They have fanned out across the country meeting with all kinds of people. Our Embassy here has been deeply consulting with people.

So of course we highly respect the opinions of Aung San Suu Kyi, for all the obvious reasons, but this was a consensus that developed that there was a great desire to encourage this reform and to validate the reformers so that they would feel acknowledged in the outside world and, frankly, encouraged to go even further.

QUESTION: You’ve talked a lot about political reform, but then you have, of course, mentioned economic reform. And one of the key issues there is that the military controls a lot of the economy. Are you convinced that this government is sincere in wanting to really restructure, reform, invite investment from the outside, which could threaten the military?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I can only report on what they asked me. They asked that I personally follow through on a request for the World Bank to send an assessment team, that we try to offer technical advice about how they can and should reform their economy. There are a lot of vested interests. You always find that when you move from an authoritarian regime to a more open one. But we’ve seen it work elsewhere. There does have to be a lot of changes in the economy here. They need exchange rate reform. There’s all kinds of basic questions they have to answer. So again, we’re at the very beginning. Where we’ll be in one year, five years, or ten, I can’t sit here and predict. But there was a great desire on the part of the leadership in Nay Pyi Taw to have assistance in reforming the economy, and we will encourage that.

QUESTION: And I know we don’t have a lot of time, but just very briefly, North Korea, big issue here. What is your understanding in brief about what Myanmar was/is doing with North Korea in terms of nuclear or missile technology?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, there has been a military-to-military relationship in the past around missile technology in particular. But we’ve been pressing very hard on that, and we had a receptive audience yesterday in talking about the need to end that relationship if the country expects, under this current government, to have any deeper engagement with us, politically or economically, or with South Korea, which has a great deal to offer in terms of development assistance and the like. So we’ve made it clear that it would be difficult for us to pursue our engagement unless that relationship was once and for all ended.

QUESTION: And one question on Iran. Right now there’s a lot of extreme behavior by Iran. We’ve had the Saudi Arabia plot; we had the attack on the British Embassy; there are other reports about Germany against U.S. interests still being investigated. What is going on? I mean, is Iran and the leadership becoming unhinged, or is this some deliberate policy of destabilization?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Jill, we have observed the leadership in Iran engaged in a very serious power struggle between the supreme leader and those around him, the presidency and those around it. So we think there’s a lot of jockeying going on. We believe that the military, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, particularly the so-called Qods Force, is gaining in authority, and that’s a dangerous signal, because they seem to be quite reckless. There’s a long history of provocative actions stretching from Saudi Arabia to Argentina that they have precipitated. And it goes with our constant warning to the international community that we’re dealing with a dangerous regime, one that is unpredictable, that seems to be almost irrational from time to time as to the actions they’re taking.

I mean, what did it do for them to unleash mobs against the British Embassy, other than harden the resolve of so many people against them? Their plot against the Saudi Ambassador to the United States seems unbelievably reckless. So it is a sign of desperation, whether it’s because of their internal power struggles, their personality conflicts, the fact that we know the sanctions are really having an impact on them. I can’t predict all of the reasons or the directions that it will go, but it underscores the policy that we’ve been following in the face of their refusal to change their behavior.

QUESTION: But it doesn’t seem to be leading to anything. It’s not stopping their program.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we think that the sanctions have had a quite serious effect on them. Now, we know that there’s more to be done, which is why Secretary Geithner and I announced more sanctions about a week ago, and you just saw the European Union adopt more sanctions. So the vice is getting tighter.

QUESTION: Well, thank you very much, Madam Secretary.


Interview With Wyatt Andrews of CBS


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Rangoon, Burma
December 2, 2011


QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thanks for your time this afternoon.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Wyatt.

QUESTION: You have said several times you’ve come here to test the Burmese leadership on whether they’re serious about reform. So the question is: Did they pass the test?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’s incomplete at this moment, because we saw some positive changes, we’ve heard some encouraging commitments, but there’s still so much to be done, starting with the unconditional complete release of all the political prisoners, that were are still in an engaging mode. We want to follow closely what they actually do, and as I’ve said, when they start to take actions that further the momentum for reform and democratization, we will, too.

QUESTION: When you were sitting in these meetings with them, though, did you have the sense that they meant it?

SECRETARY CLINTON: You know what? I’m going to judge their actions. They certainly said a lot of the right things that we found promising. But we also are aware, as with any of these transitions, there will be those who want to hurry reform, and there will be those who want to stymie it, and then there will be a lot of people in the middle who will be kind of fence-sitting until they see how it turns out.

And one of the reasons for my coming was to send a very clear signal that the United States would welcome this reform process, deepening, continuing, and taking on the hard issues – the political prisoners, the elections, their free, fair, credible nature, the difficult work of trying to end these conflicts in ethnic areas that have gone on for 60 years in some cases, but without which being resolved, the country cannot be unified, cannot be secure and at peace, and there will always be then an excuse for the military to have to assert itself on security grounds.

So there are some very promising steps, and it wasn’t for me to jump to any conclusions based on this one trip, but to come away having delivered a set of clear messages, having heard what I did, and then being in a position back in Washington to continue supporting the reformers.

QUESTION: You are dealing, though, with a military, an entrenched military establishment here. They’re intertwined still in the government, they’re intertwined in big business, industry, every aspect of society. Is it even possible that an entrenched military like this would give up power, support free elections? Is that possible?

SECRETARY CLINTON: It is possible, and it’s happened in other places in this region. We have the history in Korea, where over the years after the Korean War it was a rocky road to democracy and prosperity, and there were a lot of bumps and detours on the way with coups and assassinations and military authoritarianism, but they stayed with it. In Indonesia we have a democracy run by a former general who took off the uniform that is now 11, 12 years old, but looks like it’s really settling in and sustainable. We have examples from Latin America, from Africa, and elsewhere.

So we know it can be done. It’s a question of whether the leadership and the rank and file will accept that there is an important, essential role in any society for a military under civilian rule. And if that can be inculcated by some of the civilian leadership that were formally leaders of the military, then there’s a fighting chance that the attitudes will change and the appropriate delegation of responsibility between a military within a democracy and the democratic leadership can begin to take hold.

QUESTION: When you were in the capital the other day, I’ll bet you asked yourself this question. And the question is: Why is this happening, and why is it happening now?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah. I’ve talked to a lot of experts, both inside the country and outside, and there are a number of explanations. There was a growing sense among the military leaders and some of their allies in the private sector that Burma was increasingly isolated. They looked around and watched the rising standard of living in East Asia and Southeast Asia in particular. They’re a member of ASEAN. They see the progress that is being made in their neighboring countries, and they started to say, “Well, what’s happening to us? Why aren’t we also progressing?”

And they, I think, concluded that they might miss out on the economic prosperity and the growth that is possible, and having seen that because they were traveling – there was an increase in the opportunities for a lot of the military leaders to get out and see what was happening elsewhere – they said, “Well, what are the ingredients as to what we need to do?” And I know that the Indonesians, because I have talked to President Yudhoyono about this, had reached out to the military leadership and talked about the transition from military to civilian government. So I think there are a lot of trends, sort of economic, strategic trends, and personal experiences that together has created the impetus for these changes.

QUESTION: Tell me a little bit about Aung San Suu Kyi, your impressions of her. And do you think this would be happening without her?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I doubt that very much. I mean, I can’t look back on history and say, “What if? What if?” But her steadfastness, her determination, her dignity in representing a better future, a democratic future for the people of this country, has inspired so many of her fellow citizens. And the fact that she has been generous in sharing her thoughts and her hopes on an ongoing basis with several generations now of her fellow citizens has created a broad-based expectation. I met with a number of civil society activists, democracy activists, human rights activists, ethnic minority representatives, and the vast majority mentioned what she meant to them.

QUESTION: Did her 20 years of resistance to this regime lead to this moment?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think it contributed to it. I have no doubt about that. I think it was one of a number of important factors. But what is so remarkable about her witness, because really that’s what it was over all those years, is that no matter how oppressive the regime became, no matter how violent, she continued to embody that quiet, peaceful strength that says to any authoritarian or dictator, “I’m still here. I’m still as committed as I ever was, because what I’m standing for is more eternal than what you are standing for.” And that’s a powerful message, particularly in this society.

QUESTION: There are a lot of people back home who say you should not be here, that by being here you’re rewarding a horrible regime that hasn’t really proven itself on the world stage.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, of course I know there are those who are skeptical. So am I. I want to be shown what they’re going to do. But it was remarkable to me, Wyatt, how everyone that I met with in the opposition inside society, starting with Aung San Suu Kyi, thanked me for coming, expressed great appreciation for America’s engagement. They think is exactly the right time for me to be here, for me to be saying what I’m saying both privately and publicly.

And with all due respect, I think the people who have been imprisoned, who have watched their loved ones and their colleagues be beaten or even killed, who have suffered so much are better judges about what’s possible than any of us who are so far away, who are certainly hoping for a good outcome but have no stake in it. And therefore, I’m going to be guided by the advice I received from Aung San Suu Kyi and others. And as she said publicly today, we have closely coordinated with her every step that we have taken, and she has been fully supportive.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thank you.



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