Secretary Clinton's Trip to Qatar and Saudi Arabia

Posted by Jeffrey Feltman
February 18, 2010
Secretary Clinton With Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani
Secretary Clinton Arrives Qatar
Secretary Clinton With Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan
Secretary Clinton Arrives Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Secretary Clinton With Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal in Riyadh
Secretary Clinton Talks With Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal
Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal During Press Conference
Secretary Clinton Walks With Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal in Riyadh

About the Author: Jeffrey Feltman serves as the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs.

The Obama Administration has made it a priority to broaden U.S. engagement around the world -- reaching out to a wider range of partners, in and beyond governments, to discuss and work together on shared challenges, concerns, and opportunities. To see this approach in action, you don't have to look further than Secretary Clinton's February 13 - 16 trip to Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which I was privileged to join.

On the ground, Secretary Clinton's schedule was jam-packed. Even younger aides, accustomed to the Secretary's often grueling schedule, began dropping like flies after the sixteen hour flight from DC to Doha. The Secretary, meanwhile, stayed up, editing her speech for the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha and reading her briefing papers.

After landing in Doha, she went straight into intensive bilateral talks with the head of the Turkish government, Prime Minister Erdogan, who was also in Qatar to attend the U.S.-Islamic World Forum, and then with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. The next day in Riyadh, she spent four hours in dialogue with the King of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. She also met with the Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal and the Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu. In each meeting, she discussed the many shared challenges and opportunities our countries face, including support for a comprehensive peace in the Middle East and concerns over Iran's nuclear ambitions.

In between these "bilaterals" Secretary Clinton sat down with civil society leaders in Doha; conducted a combined town hall and interview with students and Al-Jazeera in Education City; met with women business leaders from the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry; took questions from a group of Saudi students at Dar al-Hekma College; and delivered a significant policy address at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum.

For those keeping score at home, the Secretary met with government leaders, citizen activists, regional media, and leaders in education and the private sector. The dialogue was robust and lively. As she said during the Q&A session after her speech at the Doha Forum, "We are not always going to agree. We are not always going to disagree. We ought to narrow the areas of disagreement, enhance the areas of agreement, and look for ways to try to solve problems in between."

The administration's commitment to a broader engagement is evident not only in the conversations we have, but in the policies we pursue and the partnerships we build. In the last year, the United States rejoined the UN Human Rights Council and the P5+1 process with Iran. The Secretary traveled to the BMENA Forum for the Future in Morocco to reinforce the importance of civil society and announce programs to support citizen empowerment through education technology, and other means. The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) is ramping up its support for local activists and organizations with home-grown agendas for progress -- these projects now make up more than half of all MEPI-funded projects.

The clearest message I took away from the Secretary's trip, besides her unmistakable commitment to reaching out and hearing from people of all backgrounds and perspectives, was that the United States is fully committed to realizing President Obama's vision for a new approach to foreign policy -- through the work we do, and the way we do it. That vision is for relationships defined by partnership and by shared responsibility for tackling our common challenges. These aren't relationships that can be created in an instant, or even a year, as the Secretary said. But every day, we are building partnerships and looking to solve problems in accordance with the principles of mutual respect, mutual interest, and mutual responsibility; a shared commitment to universal values; and a broader engagement with citizens and governments alike.

Comments

Comments

Ron
|
New York, USA
February 19, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

Perspective is a Point-of-View....

Karzai is the problem. He runs the Opium out of Helmand via contracts with his brother (on CIA Pad)and local warlords; who, in turn, sell drugs and arms to Taleban, who blow US and allied personnel up with IED's. USG supports this corrupt arrangement, while trying to create a sub-national, Gov't-in-a-box perception/initiative nearly 10 years into this disasterous war. Drone hits on civilians in Majah and the German Drone strike on civilians while grabbing petrol, reinforce the idea of the US/NATO as an invasion force...perspectve?...give it a chance?...NATO wants 30 days... Obama as Karzai?....give it all a rest. Marjah is not the turning point...it is just pointless.

Ron
|
New York, USA
February 19, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

IRAN, IRAN, IRAN......

We are very late to take action against the nuclear development and weapons sites at Natanz, et al. Now the UN, IAEA, and Israel are weakened actors. Secretary Clinton has
clearly identified Iran as a military regime. DoD should take it from here.

Ron
|
New York, USA
February 19, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

US and South Asia.....

Ramp up business with South Asia and make sure the link to anti-corruption is strong in all deals. Buld a cushion against the shock from China's growing economic hegemony.

palgye
|
South Korea
February 22, 2010

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Dear to Mo.... .
(How doing to name, will not know. The features which I live is shabby too, I speak and the method thinks that is too impolite. And, me propels from here project almost most with the failure to end, throws away and thinks that from is more difficult.)

Before saying,

Mourning to Former Secretary of State Alexander Haig deads.

Received e-mail. Contents were about health Care Reform Mr. President Barack Obama `address. That is eternal in the world, thinks that is not. Thinks that and according to situation changes always.

He representative citizen but,

The influence which is absolute from United States Congress where represents the citizen to different one side thinks that Secretary Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is having yet.

Gives what kind of entrusting to not to be, is a fact which anyone knows, but the who cannot have a solution the secret intention which feels expresses the sentiment which is frank about the private plan.

The judgment thinks the thing which does oneself. Will follow the judgment and will respect. I know and is a sand of the sands where hangs thinks that must respect the intention of the ocean.

Is a contents which knows already, but copies a web site address and raises. Forgiving generously,…
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/02/19
/weekly-address-premiums-profits-and-need-health-reform?utm_source=33&utm_medium=email&utm_content=text&utm_campaign=healthreform

P.S
Expels and goes out and is unpleasant. Will think, to all misunderstands the maximum will endeavor. By the way, rather the themselves being difficult, to me speaks, Listens their story and about him there must be confrontation, thinks that plentifully there is not an ardency. Me thinks to the indication is, yet with one time.

Thank you.

palgye
|
South Korea
February 22, 2010

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Thinks that yet plentifully there are works, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia must do from the Middle East. Please does not forget the duty and a responsibility of the themselves and without being wishes. If with State of Israel there is cooperation which is informal and thinks that is better. Thinks that with Iran there is a possibility of doing many cooperation even about Republic of Iraq problem. The attribute of power thinks that is same. Thinks in the citizens problem of the method which comes to seem. Minimum, from Middle East…

and
FIFA?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
February 23, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Palgye,

Line from the song "The wind cries Mary". "...and castles made of sand, drift into the sea...eventually." Respect for the common man is the bedrock America was built on. That won't change anytime soon.

Sometimes the noise of politics can drown out reasonable intent, casting it into the ocean, fishing for a doubt. Times like these, Wise man on ladder keep center of gravity in belly button, never to fall off.

RE; "The judgment thinks the thing which does oneself. Will follow the judgment and will respect. I know and is a sand of the sands where hangs thinks that must respect the intention of the ocean."

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
February 23, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Palgye,

Re;

"Thinks that with Iran there is a possibility of doing many cooperation even about Republic of Iraq problem." Don't believe everything you think, my friend. I'm not certain Iran wish good cooperation with anyone. Seems not the case. Seeking confrontation rather, like lemmings over a cliff, A very long drop awaits.

.

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