Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with EU High Representative Lady Catherine Ashton today in Washington, DC. After their meeting, Secretary Clinton said, "...It's a very great pleasure for me to welcome Lady Ashton back to the State Department. Over the last year, we have had the opportunity to spend a lot of quality time together as we've traveled around the world. And I very much appreciate her leadership and the ability to discuss and work on a number of common concerns."
Secretary Clinton continued, "The post-Lisbon EU is expanding its role in world affairs, and the United States values our growing partnership with the EU and we see it as a cornerstone of global peace and security. It goes to the point of being self-evident that our ties with Europe are broad and deep, rooted in our common values and our shared history. And we have to look for opportunities to make the past not just a glorious time of close transatlantic cooperation, but as the prelude to a very smart, sustained involvement globally on the new threats and opportunities that confront us."
Secretary Clinton addressed many areas in which the United States and the EU are already working together, particularly the Balkans, the Middle East and South and Central Asia. Secretary Clinton said:
"We are partners in the Quartet and we share a strong interest in direct negotiations continuing between the Israelis and Palestinians. And I want to thank Lady Ashton and the EU for the strong support that has been given to the Palestinian Authority's efforts to build institutions and lay the foundation for a future state. We are working to continue these talks. Senator Mitchell is in the region today and will be meeting with Lady Ashton upon her arrival tomorrow.
"We also discussed our continuing concerns about Iran's nuclear programs and reaffirmed our commitment to seek a diplomatic solution. Of course, it requires Iran responding to the standing invitation that the High Representative has extended for the resumption of the P-5+1 discussions. And I want to also thank you for the many contributions to Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is very impressive that the EU has recently committed to increase Pakistan's access to EU markets.
"We discussed at some length the Balkans, where we both remain fully engaged and committed to helping all the countries of the region realize their aspirations for full integration into the Euro-Atlantic community. The United States welcomes the European Union's efforts to help Serbia and Kosovo resolve the practical issues between them, and I will be going to the region in about ten days. And we discussed at some length how we will enhance our cooperation not only at this level but on the ground."
You can read the transcript of Secretary Clinton's remarks with Lady Ashton here.