SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON
9:15 a.m. Secretary Clinton meets with the assistant secretaries, at the Department of State.
10:15 a.m. Secretary Clinton officiates the swearing-in ceremony for Ambassador-designate to Vietnam Dave Shear, at the Department of State.
10:45 a.m. Secretary Clinton attends a meeting at the White House.
1:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton officiates the swearing-in ceremony for Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma Derek Mitchell, at the Department of State.
2:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton delivers remarks to the participants in the 2011 African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program, at the Department of State.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, we’re really pleased to have you here and honored to have you on our show, Al-Hayat Al-Youm, and it’s exciting times in Washington, it’s exciting times even in Cairo.
I’d like to ask you about your assessment – after nearly eight months after Egyptian revolution. How do you in Washington look at what’s happening in Cairo?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you very much, Mr. Amer, for having me on this show and giving me a chance to talk with you. And I want to say that from our perspective, we are very impressed and encouraged by what we see happening in Egypt. We know this is a difficult transition period and, in the great span of Egyptian history, one of the most important moments of your history. And I think it’s essential that all of us look at how much has been accomplished in the last eight months and the fact that elections are scheduled, that there is a path forward for this very vibrant, new democratic change is very encouraging and we think it’s on the right track.
QUESTION: You’re talking about the very positive things that’s been taking place, however there are so many among the Egyptian politicians and intellectuals, some fears or concerns about the extension of the military rule. How do you think SCAF is holding up and managing the transition period?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, they took on an enormous responsibility that they never expected they would have to shoulder. But the fact that they are moving toward elections, I think, is not only important, but essential. I expect them to fulfill the promises that they have made to the Egyptian people because you cannot have the democratic governance that you are seeking unless you have a fully free, fair, transparent set of elections that then empowers the people who have been elected. But this is what we expect to see happen, and of course, we will express concerns if we don’t see it happening. But there is a schedule we believe needs to be followed.
QUESTION: Speaking of elections, how do you (inaudible) the elections process especially that – as you – of course, you’ve been following – you have new players, the fundamental Islamic political movements. How do you (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think it’s important that peoples’ voices be given an outlet to participate in the political system. But I also think that there must be a commitment to respecting human rights, to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, to the rights of women, and there has to be an agreed-upon understanding of what it will take for Egypt to go from where you are today to where I would like to see Egypt. I really believe that Egypt’s always been a leader of the Arab world – Egypt can become a world leader. There is a difference. Egypt could, with the right political and economic reforms, become one of the top 20 economies in the world, maybe even eventually one of the top 10.
There is so much that is in the potential, it can be so easily derailed. As you said, somehow not permitting the elections to go forward, military rule continuing, having one election one time that empowers people who have no interest in continuing to modernize the society, rejecting the rights of all Egyptians in favor of one particular point of view – that’s what the Egyptian people have to be careful about. You want an Egypt where people are free to be liberal, fundamentalists, conservative, progressive, whatever their particular views are, but showing respect for the state, for the institutions of the state, and the rights of the people. And that’s what I see you searching for and moving toward.
QUESTION: Will you be ready or prepared to sit in with a government with members of the Muslim Brotherhood as members or other Islamic (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: We will be willing to and open to working with a government that has representatives who are committed to non-violence, who are committed to human rights, who are committed to the democracy that I think was hoped for in Tahrir Square, which means that Christians will be respected, women will be respected, people of different views within Islam will be respected. We have said we will work with those who have a real commitment to what an Egyptian democracy should look like.
Now, we don’t expect your democracy to mirror ours – every country is unique historically and culturally – but we do think, from long experience around the world, there are certain pillars to a democracy: free press, free speech, independent judiciary, protection of minority rights, protection of human rights. All that was in the air in Tahrir Square.
So we hope that anyone who runs for election, and certainly anyone who’s elected and joins the parliament, joins the government, will be committed to making Egypt work and be open to all Egyptians no matter who you might be.
QUESTION: You’re looking at things very positively and that’s the same, maybe, atmosphere back in Egypt, with some fears of course.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: It’s the main feeling there. According to reports released a couple of weeks ago, the congress will be always waiting for your words in a report to assess the kind of U.S. aid that’s been given to Egypt. How do you (inaudible)? Is the U.S. aid, be it civilian or military, really jeopardized in the next – in the future?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I do not believe so. I very much support continuing aid. We have provided aid, both for civilian and military purposes, going back many decades now. And it’s been bipartisan; Republicans and Democrats have supported it. We believe in aid to your military without any conditions, no conditionality. I’ve made that very clear. I was with the foreign minister, Mr. Amr yesterday, and was very clear in saying that the Obama Administration and I personally am against that. I think it’s not appropriate. At the same time, we do have a long experience in understanding what works and what doesn’t work. And I’ll give you an example.
You were asking questions about what happens if certain people are in the government. Well, it’s really going to be up to the Egyptian people as to how they organize themselves for these elections. But I think it’s fair to point out that if there is an organized Islamic party and 40 other parties that divide up all of the votes, then I think one party will have a stronger position.
And I have been speaking with, when I was in Cairo some months ago and since then, young activists from Egypt. Our Embassy has certainly been reaching out. Because going from being demonstrators for freedom to being political actors – that’s not an easy —
SECRETARY CLINTON: — transition. And so we want to help people get themselves organized so that they are able to participate effectively, and again, with the conditions of nonviolence and all the others that I laid out, but no conditionality on our aid.
QUESTION: Yeah. When helping the others, this is something that might fuel some concerns in Egypt about funding NGOs. Why do you really fund NGOs in Egypt?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think it’s a – it’s something that we have done for many years, and we have learned from long practice that when you have a transition, a democratic transition, many people want to be active in politics. They don’t know how to do it. They don’t know how to register voters, how to form political parties. It’s not part of the experience that has been the daily life of Egyptians.
So we have several organizations that have worked all over the world. We do not take positions. We’re not for or against any party or any individual. It’s more the nuts and bolts; how do you run an election? Because you’ve had elections, but they were not free or fair or transparent, and they didn’t build confidence in the Egyptian people. We want Egypt to have the best election it’s ever had, and so our experience, particularly coming out of the fall of the Berlin Wall, where countries in Eastern and Central Europe came to us and said, “Help us do this,” the democratic transition in – across Africa, where we were helpful – we don’t have any stake in who’s elected. We wait to see who the people choose. But we think our nongovernmental organizations have a lot to contribute. We are more than happy to follow the rules of Egypt, but —
QUESTION: I was just going to ask about that. Because it’s against the law, and there’s so many NGOs that working outside the law and certain regulations.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.
QUESTION: So how are you going to do that?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we would like our NGOs to be registered. We would like for them to be under Egyptian law. I will say it’s a little ironic, because President Mubarak didn’t want us to have NGOs that were working with people either, so we think that Egypt is strong enough and resilient enough that appropriate regulation can recognize who the NGOs are that are working for the betterment of Egypt. Because I said to the foreign minister yesterday, “You know we’re there. You know we are saying look, we want to help people know how to run elections. We know that there are groups and countries that are funneling money into Egypt and nobody knows about it. You know what we’re doing, and we’re going to be as transparent with the government as possible.” But I would ask that everybody in Egypt say, “Look, the Americans are here to help us decide who we want to elect. Some people are trying to determine who gets elected.” There’s a big difference.
QUESTION: Okay. I wanted to ask you, you’re speaking right now on – about your reflections in Tahrir Square. When did you really feel that Mubarak has no chance?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I was as surprised as everybody else in the world that this happened as it did. Because I knew something would happen someday, but I didn’t expect it so soon. I had given a speech in Doha just a few weeks before saying that the foundations of these authoritarian regimes in the region were sinking into the sand. And then we saw Tunisia, and we saw Egypt, and then Libya. And we see all of the aspirations of the people coming forth.
But I think we were trying very hard, and our military was communicating directly. I was communicating directly with officials in the Mubarak regime to urge no violence against demonstrators, to urge that people be treated respectfully, that they had a right to demonstrate peacefully. And when you think about it, for as large a country as Egypt, what happened was remarkable, the way that it transitioned so quickly. And I think that we all saw it happening before our eyes, and we were doing our best to try to make sure that there was limited or as little bloodshed as possible and some agreement on a way to go forward that would permit people’s feelings and opinions to finally be heard and then to have a democratic transition and now that’s what we’re seeing.
QUESTION: But what was the – was there a certain point? Because we all remember your first statement when you were thinking – and everybody was thinking at the same time the same thing – is that we do have a stable government (inaudible) in Egypt. And a few days ago, everything just changed.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.
QUESTION: When was that point for you?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think for me it was when I concluded that there wasn’t any way that President Mubarak and the people closest to him could understand what was really happening, and there was no —
QUESTION: They were out of touch.
SECRETARY CLINTON: They were out of touch, and it was becoming clearer and clearer because of the responses. I mean, I had many conversations with many high-level officials, as did others in our government, urging, “You must, first of all, protect people. But secondly, you must change, and you’ve got to recognize that this has to – the new Egypt is being born.” It was just no way to communicate that. And we tried. We sent very direct messages.
QUESTION: I know you’re running on a very tight schedule. I have one more question to go. Everybody was looking to the Obama Administration when – I think you had a problem with high expectations. (Laughter.) How are you going to deal with the Palestinian application to the United Nations, especially that everybody’s maybe really think it will go through the General Assembly?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me reiterate that President Obama and I very much want to see a Palestinian state, and I have been publicly on record in favor of that since the 1990s. I was the first person associated with the United States Government to do that. And President Obama is also very committed. But we, I think, are realists that no matter what happens or doesn’t happen in the United Nations, unless we can get the Palestinians and the Israelis to negotiate over the boundaries of the state, the security provisions, what happens in Jerusalem, what happens with refugees, water, all of the issues we know so well have to be resolved, we’re going to raise expectations without being able to deliver.
I mean, if the United Nations passes a resolution which says we want to see Palestinians become a state and maybe we upgrade their status or maybe we recognize them, the next day nothing changes in Ramallah, and I want things to change. I want the Palestinians to have their own state; I want them to govern themselves; I want them to continue developing economically to be a real example, to work with Egypt for the betterment of people in the region, and we know that won’t happen.
So what we have said is very straightforward. We want to see both sides back at the table, and we criticize and make absolutely clear we don’t want to see provocative actions. We’ve said that about the recent announcements from the Israeli Government, but we also know that the Palestinians have to be willing to negotiate. And it’s hard for them because they feel like they’ve been at this for a while and nothing has happened. Both sides have their case to be made. Make it at the negotiating table. And that’s what we’re pushing for.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, we thank you very much for being with us today, for the time you’ve given us. We hope to see you soon in Cairo and have the same chance again.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. I would look forward to that.
QUESTION: Thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON
11:30 a.m. Secretary Clinton attends the dedication of the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge and Bill Clark wetlands, in Little Rock, Arkansas.
2:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton delivers remarks as part of the Kumpuris Distinguished Lecture Series, at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.
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SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, everyone. I am very pleased to have the foreign minister of Nigeria here, and I will address the concerns that we discussed. But I first want to begin with a statement about the assault on Ambassador Robert Ford and our Embassy staff in Syria this morning.
We condemn this unwarranted attack in the strongest possible terms. Ambassador Ford and his aides were conducting normal Embassy business, and this attempt to intimidate our diplomats through violence is wholly unjustified.
We immediately raised this incident with the Syrian Government, and we are demanding that they take every possible step to protect our diplomats according to their obligations under international law. Ambassador Ford has shown admirable courage putting himself on the line to bear witness to the situation on the ground in Syria. He is a vital advocate for the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people now under siege by the Asad regime. I encourage the United States Senate to show our support for Ambassador Ford by confirming him as soon as possible, so he can continue, fully confirmed, his critical and courageous work.
Now, I’m delighted to welcome the foreign minister. Minister Ashiru is a great diplomat. He’s been serving his country for many years and we had an opportunity today to follow up on the meeting that I had in New York with President Jonathan. We have worked closely with the people and Government of Nigeria over the last two and a half years to make progress in key areas.
The U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission is our flagship agreement for bilateral cooperation on the entire African continent. When we signed the agreement just 17 months ago, we set bold goals for ourselves. Today, the foreign minister and I discussed how far we have come in each area of the commission, including advancing good governance, promoting energy access and reliability, improving food security, dealing with extremism, and so much else.
Our joint efforts leading up to Nigeria’s elections in April deserve particular attention because we worked so closely with the government and civil society to improve transparency, to address the political and logistical challenges of the elections. And for the first time in recent history, Nigeria held elections that were widely hailed as credible and effective. And we know that over 90 percent of Nigerians thought the elections were free and fair. That is up from 30 percent just a short four years ago. So the people of Nigeria are making strides every day and consolidating their democracy and the institutions of democracy.
Nigeria has also played an important role on global issues through its seat on the UN Security Council and has been a leader in helping to improve stability in West Africa. Nigeria played a key role in supporting the difficult democratic transitions in Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Niger. Nigeria’s own example of credible elections provides it with great credibility in democracy promotion across the continent.
So as we continue our close cooperation through the second year of our Binational Commission, we will set forth our priorities, and they include improving governance, fighting corruption, delivering services more effectively to the people. We are working toward a strong anticorruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and other ways we can promote transparency.
Economic development is key; Nigeria is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, with the largest population in Africa and strong trading relationships. We want to see Nigeria prosper and grow. To this end, the United States Overseas Private Investment Corporation, OPIC, has just approved $250 million in financing to help revitalize the Union Bank of Nigeria, and to reach previously un-banked people in Nigeria. And we will look for ways to support Nigeria as it reduces inequality and builds a broader base for prosperity.
Finally, we will stand with Nigeria as it faces serious security issues. The bombing of the UN headquarters in Abuja last month was a horrific and cowardly act, and we want to work with Nigeria and West Africa to improve security and to make sure that we also address the legitimate needs of people before extremists have a chance to exploit them.
So again, Minister, our goals for the second year of the Binational Commission are just as ambitious as our goals for the first. We look forward to working closely with you, and I thank you for your long-standing commitment to the relationship between our two countries.
FOREIGN MINISTER ASHIRU: I thank you, Secretary of State Clinton. It’s a pleasure for me to be here, and we’ve had useful discussions with our American counterparts and we discussed issues of mutual concern to our two countries. Our relations is now anchored under the BNC, the Binational Commission, which was signed earlier this year. And in the Commission there are various sectors and we discussed areas of enhancing and promoting relations and attraction of investment, especially in the energy and power sector.
I reiterated the fact to the Secretary of State that the U.S. companies should take advantage of the boom that we foresee in the nearest future in the energy sector, and that the U.S. companies should not sit on the fence as they did when we had the telecoms boom in Nigeria. We should not allow their competitors to go reaping only from Nigeria, and now this is the time for them to move into Nigeria and take part in the energy boom which we foresee. And there are many notable U.S. companies that are the leading players, especially in manufacturing of turbines and so on. We believe this is the time for them to come to Nigeria and invest. And we see a big market for the energy sector in Nigeria.
And of course, we also open our doors to other companies in the agricultural and rural transportation sector to also come into Nigeria because we now having an agricultural boom. We are (inaudible); we are turning agriculture in Nigeria to mechanized farming, and we believe they have the expertise. They should now join the others who are already in Nigeria to come and see this transformation and let’s partake in it together. Of course, Secretary of State Clinton has already reviewed a number of the issues we discussed on the bilateral sides and also on the international arena. So with those few remarks, I say, Madam Secretary, thank you very much for this —
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Minister Ashiru. Thank you.
MR. TONER: Time for just two questions today. The first goes to Jill Dougherty of CNN.
QUESTION: Thank you. Madam Secretary, thanks for the comments about the attack in Syria. If you had anything further to add, especially about your level of concern for the safety of the ambassador, we’d be more than happy to hear it. I do have just two questions.
One concerns Uzbekistan. The President spoke with the President Karimov last night, and then also you met with the Uzbek foreign minister. Did you discuss expanding the Northern Distribution Network for Afghanistan? And does the Administration support expanding – or I should say dropping restrictions on military equipment that can be sold to the Uzbeks in spite of the concerns about potential human rights violations.
And just – I’m sorry – one other question. I represent a lot of journalists.
SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Maybe one is optional. (Inaudible) But there is interest among my colleagues in the continuing questions about Pakistan. There was an interview with Admiral Mullen. He’s not stepping away from those comments about the veritable arm, the Haqqani Network. Why is the Administration or parts of the Administration stepping back from those comments in spite of what he is saying?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jill, if I can remember them – (laughter) – the first one, with respect to Ambassador Ford, we’ve raised this ugly, unfortunate incident to the highest levels of the Syrian Government. We are demanding that the Syrian Government take all necessary steps to protect our Embassy, to protect our diplomats in accordance with the international obligations that every country must abide by. And this is absolutely required. The Vienna Convention requires that host countries protect property and persons of diplomatic missions. And I must say that this inexcusable assault is clearly part of an ongoing campaign of intimidation aimed at not only American diplomats but diplomats from other countries, foreign observers who are raising questions about what’s going on inside Syria. It reflects an intolerance on the part of the regime and its supporters, and it is deeply regrettable that we have the Asad regime continuing its campaign of violence against its own people.
So I hope that, first and foremost, our property, our – the persons that serve in our mission will be protected along with every other diplomat from every other country. But secondly, we continue to call for an end to the violence, and we’ll continue to speak out, and I think Ambassador Ford’s courage and clarity is making the point that the United States cannot and will not stand idly by when this kind of violence continues.
With respect to Uzbekistan, we value our relationship with Uzbekistan. They have been very helpful to us with respect to the Northern Distribution Network. They have also been helpful with Afghanistan in terms of reconstruction. They are deeply involved in assisting Afghans and the Afghan Government to try to rebuild and make Afghanistan a more prosperous, peaceful country. We believe that our continuing dialogue with officials of the government is essential. It always raises, as I have and as others from our government continue to do so, our concerns about human rights and political freedoms. But at the same time we are working with the Uzbeks to make progress, and we are seeing some signs of that, and we would clearly like to deepen our relationship on all issues.
Finally, with respect to Pakistan, I would certainly urge people to look at the entirety of Admiral Mullen’s testimony. He did raise serious questions, which our government has raised with the Pakistanis about the continuing safe haven for terrorists that strike across the border in Afghanistan against Afghans, Americans, NATO ISAF troops, civilians working there, as well as within Pakistan. But Admiral Mullen also said that this is a very critical consequential relationship. We have a lot of interests that are in common, most particularly the fight against terrorism. So we are certainly making clear that we want to see an end to safe havens and any kind of support from anywhere for terrorists inside Pakistan, and we also want to continue to work to put our relationship on a stronger footing.
MR. TONER: Next question goes to Peter (inaudible) from News Agency of Nigeria.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary of State, thank you very much for your firm belief in Nigeria, for you very open comment about our country. My question is on security in Nigeria. Will the U.S. support the Nigerian Government to go into dialogue with Boko Haram while there are ongoing killings on the streets of Maiduguri? And in the last 48 hours we have had unconfirmed reports from the extremist group saying they will disrupt the independence day celebrations.
And if you can indulge me one more question, you told us that you discuss with the minister – your meeting with the minister this afternoon, there was a follow-up on what you discussed with President Goodluck Jonathan, who attended General Assembly last week in New York. Did you raise the issue of Palestine with the minister, and what did our president tell you about Nigerians (inaudible) and preference if the issue of the Palestinian statehood should come to the Security Council?
Thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first with respect to Boko Haram, we have condemned its deadly use of violence. We think that its attacks on ordinary citizens, on institutions of the Nigerian state, on the United Nations office in Abuja, are absolutely unjustifiable. There is no set or principles or beliefs that can justify taking the lives of innocent people, and we offer our deepest condolences to all those families who have lost loved ones in these senseless attacks.
At the same time, we are working with Nigeria to try to develop capabilities to provide better security, to strengthen the security sector, because we think that some terrorist and extremist groups are absolutely unreconcilable. They cannot be convinced to end their violence and participate in society. But where there is an opportunity for any dialogue or outreach, we would support that. We certainly have around the world. But we also know that it has to be both at the same time. There has to be a strong, effective security response and an effort to try to remove the reasons why people would, in any way, condone or support this kind of terrorism.
And maybe – let me stop here and let the minister respond to that as well, and then I can answer your second question.
FOREIGN MINISTER ASHIRU: Yes. I can assure you that we had a useful discussion on that with the Secretary of State (inaudible) to offer support and assistance to Nigeria to combat this issue of terrorism. You see, no one country can handle this issue on its own, so it has to be multilateral and multifaceted. And from all our meetings, we’ve received assurances of support to help Nigeria in this new wave, which of course, as you rightly know, is much new to us in Nigeria. But we believe that our government is on top of the situation and they will continue to develop expertise and capability to manage and curtail this new menace that we have.
SECRETARY CLINTON: With respect to your second question, the minister and I had a good discussion of these issues today. I had the opportunity to talk to President Jonathan, as did President Obama, last week at the United Nations General Assembly. We believe strongly, and we have certainly communicated that to the president and the foreign minister, that the only route to a Palestinian state, which we want to see happen, is through negotiations. We know that whatever does or doesn’t happen in the United Nations will not create a state, and our goal is to see two states living side by side in peace and security.
The Quartet statement that was issued last Friday calls for a return to negotiations. We hope that Nigeria, who is a friend of both Israel and to the Palestinians, will tell both of them, get back to the negotiating table, because that’s where the differences must be resolved. It is the only place where we can get a durable and lasting peace, but we have certainly made it clear to all of our friends that we want to see a return to negotiations. Anything which is done that disrupts that or detours that is a postponement of the outcome that we are all seeking.
Thank you all very much.
SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON
11:15 a.m. Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Kuwaiti Prime Minister Nasser al Sabah, at the Georgetown Four Seasons in Washington, DC.
12:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Uzbek Foreign Minister Elyor Ganiev, at the Department of State.
1:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with President Obama at the White House.
(MEDIA DETERMINED BY WHITE HOUSE)
2:15 p.m. Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Nigerian Foreign Minister Olugbenga Ashiru, at the Department of State.
3:50 p.m. Secretary Clinton attends a meeting at the White House.
(MEDIA DETERMINED BY WHITE HOUSE)
5:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton holds a swearing-in ceremony for Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Dave Adams, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)
SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON
9:15 a.m. Secretary Clinton meets with the assistant secretaries at the Department of State.
10:15 a.m. Secretary Clinton chairs a Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Board Meeting, at the Department of State.
2:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, at the Department of State.
5:15 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, at the White House.