Entries in Secretary of State (12)


Secretary Clinton Says ‘Oui’ to New French President

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that she welcomes the new French president, Francoise Hollande, and is looking forward to working with him. In an interview with USA Today, Clinton said even though Hollande, who is a socialist, will have very different policies from conservative predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, she believes the strong relationship between France and the United States will continue.

“Different voices may be louder on growth than they have been, but the overall approach of how we support Europe’s recovery hasn’t changed,” Clinton told USA Today. “It’s been our view that there needed to be some adjustments to just austerity, so that there could be growth, both for economic reasons and for political reasons.”

As the two largest and most stable economies in the eurozone, France and Germany have been the stalwarts during the ongoing economic crisis. Both have helped bail out other eurozone countries in trouble, but also set strict austerity requirements for countries to remain part of the euro. Some, such as Greece, have balked at the forced cuts, causing domestic political turmoil and sending global markets into a tailspin.

The Obama administration has taken the position that Europe cannot solve its economic problems with austerity measures alone. Similar to the U.S. with its stimulus packages, Europe should also have a plan for growth that will stimulate the economy and provide jobs for the continent’s unemployed youth, which makes up more than 22 percent of the 18- to 24-year-old population. "We’ve been delivering that message, publicly and privately, for some time,” said Clinton.

It’s a message that’s likely to resonate with Hollande, who beat incumbent president Sarkozy by campaigning against Sarkozy’s deeply unpopular economic cuts.

Hollande reiterated his "pro-growth” economic plans in his acceptance speech last week and warned that France and Europe are headed for a shift. “Europe is watching us,” he said to cheering crowds. “Austerity can no longer be the only option.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Reached Out to Haqqani Terrorists, Clinton Says

Win McNamee/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- The Obama administration has reached out to the Haqqani network, the terror group based in Pakistan that is blamed for a string of attacks in Afghanistan, including the assault on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul last month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed Friday.

“We have reached out to the Taliban, we have reached out to the Haqqani network to test their willingness and their sincerity. And we are now working among us — Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States — to try to put together a process that would sequence us toward an actual negotiation,” Clinton told reporters in Islamabad.

Clinton is in Pakistan, pressing that government to do more to crack down on terror groups like the Haqqanis.

She said the meeting was arranged by Pakistan’s powerful intelligence service, which the U.S. has accused of colluding with terror groups, and was only “preliminary” to see if the Haqqanis were interested in talks.

“We had one preliminary meeting to essentially just see if they would show up for even a preliminary meeting,” Clinton said, adding that no negotiations are ongoing.

A senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, later told reporters traveling with Clinton that the message during that meeting was clear: that the door is open to militants who want to meet conditions for peace, but that the U.S. was also prepared to fight.

The meeting took place last summer before the September embassy attack and had the support of the Afghan government. The official described the meeting as one of several “straws in the wind” to determine how to develop a political resolution to the conflict in Afghanistan.

Clinton is in Pakistan with CIA Director David Petraeus and Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey to deliver a tough, unified message to Pakistan to crack down on militants operating within their borders.

Clinton told reporters that her two days of meetings in Pakistan have “done a lot to clear the air” and said that the relationship between the military and intelligence agencies are “back on the right trajectory.”

“We’re 90 to 95 percent on the same page,” Clinton said, adding quickly that they’re still working on the rest.

“I’m feeling very reassured and I think we’re back on the right track,” she added.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Secretary Clinton on Why The US Hasn’t Asked Assad to Step Down

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After being pressed repeatedly Thursday afternoon by reporters asking why the U.S. has not yet called on Syrian President Assad to step down, Secretary Clinton finally responded, saying, “I come from the school that actions speak louder than words.”

She said the U.S. is trying to develop international consensus for a global response to the violence in Syria.

Clinton said, “Sometimes you lose sight of the incredible tragedy unfolding on the streets by looking at the numbers, which are so numbing, but the shooting death of a 1-year-old recently by the Syrian regime tanks and troops is a very stark example of what is going on,” she said, noting that the U.S. believes the regime is responsible for over 2,000 deaths so far.

Secretary Clinton said the U.S. is committed to doing all it can to increase the pressure, and that includes sanctions. She stressed the importance of getting a “much louder, more effective chorus of voices that are putting pressure on the Assad regime” and says the U.S. is working to obtain them.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Secretary Clinton To Meet With Syrian Representatives

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- ABC News reports Secretary Hillary Clinton will meet with a group of Syrian activists and representatives from the Syrian-American community Tuesday as the Obama administration tries to develop its policy as President Assad’s crackdown intensifies.

“She’d like to hear from the Syrian community. It’s important because they are another voice and have connections to what’s going on in Syria,” a State Dept official tells ABC News.

Also Tuesday, U.N. diplomats in New York will meet again to haggle over the text of a British proposal that would condemn the Assad government’s crackdown. The big “if” is whether Russia and China will block the measure.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sec. of State Clinton: Al Jazeera Is 'Real News,' US Losing 'Information War'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made it clear Wednesday that she is worried the United States is losing what she calls the “information war” abroad.

China and Russia, she says, have started English-language networks that push their message overseas and even the Taliban controls the airwaves in Afghanistan.

And in the Arab world? Al Jazeera is king, and Clinton says she can see why.

“Al Jazeera has been the leader in that [they] are literally changing people’s minds and attitudes. And like it or hate it, it is really effective,” she said.

“In fact viewership of al Jazeera is going up in the United States because it’s real news. You may not agree with it, but you feel like you’re getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and, you know, arguments between talking heads and the kind of stuff that we do on our news which, you know, is not particularly informative to us, let alone foreigners,” she added.

Clinton’s State Department has tried to keep up, especially on social media, where this year they have started Tweeting in Arabic, Farsi, and other languages. Secretary Clinton last week held a Web chat with a popular Egyptian site that was able to gather 6,500 questions for her in just two days.

“We are really trying to play in that arena as best we can,” she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Clinton Praises Iran Protests, Raises Alarm Over Budget Cuts

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton applauded news from Iran that thousands of protesters demonstrated there Monday, demanding change, and compared the situation to Egypt, where Hosni Mubarak was thrown out of power last week after more than 30 years.

"We support the universal human rights of the Iranian people," Clinton said. "They deserve to have the same rights that they saw being played out in Egypt and that are part of their own birthright, and…we think that there needs to be a commitment to open up the political system in Iran, to hear the voices of the opposition in civil society." Clinton said she wanted to "very clearly and directly support the aspirations of the people who are in the streets." She maintained that the U.S. is against violence and that the demonstrations there are a testament to the courage of the Iranian people and an indictment on the Iranian regime.

As for Egypt itself, where protesters last week forced President Hosni Mubarak out of office, resulting in the military taking control of the country, Clinton said the U.S. will help the military in any way it can.

She said that the steps that the Egyptian military has taken since taking control are "reassuring" and that the U.S. is ready to assist them.

"The ongoing dialogue between our defense and military leadership with theirs has been very fruitful and I expect it to continue," Clinton said.

Clinton spoke with reporters after meeting with House Speaker John Boehner about funding for the State Department. The secretary said she told Boehner about her "deep concerns" over the budget cuts her department will face, in the near-term in the House GOP's proposal to fund the government through September, and it's call for further cuts in the next full fiscal year. She called the scope of the cuts "massive" and "detrimental to America's national security."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Secretary of State Clinton: There Is 'Growing Frustration' with Haitian Govt. at Pace of Recovery  

Photo Courtesy - U.S. State Department(QUEBEC, Canada) -- Speaking Monday in Canada, where she and her counterparts from Mexico and Canada discussed Haiti among other topics, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged the Haitian government to do more for the people there.
“We understand that the government itself was badly damaged, individuals were traumatized.  But there has to be a greater effort and there has to be a more focused approach toward problem solving,” she said.
Clinton was responding to a question about a threat from Senator Leahy to cut off U.S. aid to the Haitian government.
“I think Senator Leahy, who is a strong supporter of American foreign aid and humanitarian relief assistance, is expressing a growing frustration that you will find not only in Congress, but in our government and the American people, that as we’re approaching the one-year anniversary of the Haitian earthquake there hasn’t been the kind of coordinated, coherent response from the Government of Haiti that is called for,” she said, adding that Leahy’s frustration is “a very strong signal that we expect more and we’re looking for more.”

She said the Obama administration wants to push the Haitian government, but not to punish the Haitian people.
“We are trying to push forward in a difficult environment, and we want to see progress on the ground.  And we have supported the international approach toward sending technical experts.  We think that’s more important than political leaders.  We need to find technical experts who can delve into what happened in the election and try to create a transparent understanding that cannot only win the support of the international community, but most importantly the Haitian people,” she said, urging other countries to make good on their pledges to help Haiti.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Clinton Urges Iran to Strike Nuke Deal

Photo Courtesy - U.S. State Department(MANAMA, Bahrain) -- Speaking at a security conference in Bahrain Friday, Secretary Clinton directly addressed Iranian delegates in the audience, urging them to accept a nuclear deal that will be offered to them at meetings in Geneva next week.
“We hope that out of this meeting, entered into in good faith, we will see a constructive engagement with respect to your nuclear program,” Clinton said, adding that Iran must take steps to reassure the world about its nuclear intentions.
“We urge you to make that choice,” she said. She said the Obama administration’s offers for dialogue remain on the table.
Clinton was addressing the so-called Manama dialogue, hosted by the think tank IISS, and among the attendees is Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. Her remarks, which also praised Iran’s society and history, seemed almost an effort to tone down the rhetoric ahead of next week’s meeting.
On Monday and Tuesday the P5+1 will present Iran an updated fuel swap deal that would remove the country’s uranium stockpile in exchange for fuel to be used for electricity production.
Asked by an audience member after her speech what she expected to get out of the Geneva talks, Clinton said “that is largely in the hands of the Iranians.”
“It is, for me, if you are thinking strategically, very much in Iran’s interest to come to these talks in Geneva committed to working out a way to restore the confidence of the international community and firmly, conclusively reject the pursuit of nuclear weapons,” she said.
Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Hillary Clinton to Meet with Israeli Prime Minister

Photo Courtesy - U.S. State Department(NEW YORK) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benajmin Netanyahu in New York Thursday.

The meeting comes just days after Israel announced it would build over 1,300 new housing units in east Jerusalem.  On Wednesday, Clinton voiced criticism over the plan, calling it counterproductive.

Netanyahu's office has said in an official statement that he'll discuss with Clinton the need to formulate a broad U.S.-Israeli consensus on Israel's long term security needs under any peace agreement.

Political sources in Jerusalem say behind that general description, Netanyahu is specifically negotiating a 10-year security agreement with the U.S. in exchange for a new building freeze.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Secretary Clinton: No Role for Turkey, Brazil in Nuke Talks with Iran

Sec. Clinton & EU High Rep. Catherine Ashton: Photo Courtesy - U.S. State Department(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary Clinton on Wednesday ruled out any other country’s involvement in talks between Iran and the P5+1 -- comprised of the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Russia and China -- even as Iran proposes to hold the next round of negotiations in Turkey, a country that, along with Brazil, tried to strike a nuke deal with Tehran earlier this year.
“It is a P-5 plus one meeting with the Iranians,” Clinton told reporters. “At this moment, the offer of discussions with the Iranians is in that forum, and that is the appropriate venue for any discussion on any issue to occur.”
The proposal to hold talks in Turkey can be seen as a shrewd diplomatic dismissal by Tehran, as Ankara and Brasilia have been more sympathetic towards Tehran’s efforts. The P5+1 rejected their proposed deal with Iran next year, which was similar to a P5+1 offer at their last meeting in October 2009, because Iran had continued to produce more uranium in the interim.
The group is expected to offer an updated deal that would provide fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor in exchange for Iran shipping uranium abroad for enrichment. The deal is similar to last year’s offer but raises the amount of uranium Iran would have to send over and would demand they halt enriching uranium up to 20 percent.
Clinton said she spoke on Tuesday with EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, who deals with Iran on the group’s behalf, and that the P5+1 spoke at lower levels Wednesday. Clinton said a decision would be reached soon on where and when to hold the meeting. Iran has proposed it take place in late November or early December.
“The location has been discussed, and I believe that High Representative Ashton will be responding to the Iranians about where that should be and on what date,” Clinton said Wednesday, adding that Ashton will determine the specifics.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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