We’re finally back home after a whirl-wind trip across Europe.
We started in Zurich, where Secretary Clinton and her counterparts from France, Russia, and the EU helped bring Turkey and Armenia together to agree to begin the process of normalizing relations. There are a lot of difficult, complex issues that have to worked out, but we are very pleased that the protocols were signed -- the Washington Post called it “a potentially historic deal” -- and now the parties can move on to the next phase of seeking ratification by their respective parliaments.
Next up was London, where Secretary Clinton, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary David Miliband stressed their determination to stand together in the effort to build a global architecture of cooperation, and to develop the partnerships that are needed to meet today’s global challenges.
We left the United Kingdom for Ireland. In Dublin, the Secretary reaffirmed the strong partnership between our two nations, and thanked Ireland for pledging to commit 20 percent of its foreign assistance by 2012 to eradicating hunger around the world.
We headed north to Belfast, where Secretary Clinton addressed a full session of the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont and talked with business leaders about the investment opportunities created by peace. She reaffirmed the unwavering support of the United States for Northern Ireland’s peace process.
Finally, we traveled to Russia. In Moscow, Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov reviewed progress in the Binational Presidential Commission. This is a framework established in July which help us look closely at how we can pursue practical, concrete results on issues ranging from nuclear security and energy efficiency to scientific cooperation, economic growth, and even sports. The Secretary also met with President Medvedev. Before leaving Russia, we visited Kazan, in Tartarstan. We were all impressed not only by the Kremlin built by Ivan the Terrible, but by the region’s high level of religious tolerance and interfaith understanding, as well as economic progress and stability.
Then it was back across the Atlantic, heading home. Another successful trip in the books.