Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton Holds Townterview in Bahrain

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
December 3, 2010
Secretary Clinton Arrives Security Summit in Bahrain

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton participated in a townterview hosted by Bahrain TV at the National Museum in Manama. Secretary Clinton said:

"I am very impressed by the progress that Bahrain is making on all fronts -- economically, politically, socially. There is a very comprehensive vision of where the people and the Government of Bahrain are headed. I've had an excellent, long discussion with His Majesty the King. I know that there are still challenges as there are in any society. I come from a country that has made a lot of changes over the course of our existence, and we have continued to push the boundaries of opportunity to include more and more people. And I believe that the elections that you held six weeks ago with a very high participation of 67 percent was a really strong signal of the progress that is being made.

"So I'm delighted that I can be here to talk about what is being done, what remains to be done, the opportunities that young people see, because really the work that I do every day is for the future of the young people here in this audience and the kind of lives that you will lead.""...I think that the commitment to democracy is paramount and I've heard that from a broad range of your leaders and your citizens. There seems to be a strong broadly-held commitment to democracy. Then how each country travels the road of democracy because it's not a destination; it is a constant journey. We are still perfecting our democracy. And as I look around the world, I see that most democratic countries are still working to improve. So the commitment you've made is very promising, but there are a lot of decisions that still will confront you. What is important is that the entire society work together to achieve democratic progress, and I hope that is what will happen over the next years here in Bahrain."

During the townterview, a member of the audience asked the Secretary about Iran. She said:

"...Many countries, many people in the region and beyond, are worried about the possibility of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. I know that's a concern here in Bahrain. I know it's a concern in Saudi Arabia and in the UAE and in Egypt and Jordan and Israel. But it's also a concern in Europe and it's a concern in the United States.

"...On Monday, Iran has agreed to meet in Geneva, Switzerland with what are called the P-5+1. Those are the countries that the international community has deputized to work with Iran to try to convince Iran not to go forward with a nuclear weapons program. It is the United States and China and Russia and the United Kingdom, France and Germany, plus the European Union. So we're hoping that when Iran comes to the meeting in Geneva, it will engage in a very serious discussion.

"And I will say this today, I will say it tonight at the Manama Dialogue, I have said it all over the world -- the United States is sincere in its efforts to engage with Iran. We would very much like to see Iran take a position as a responsible leader that doesn't intimidate or threaten or scare its neighbors and others. But the choice is really up to Iran and we're going to keep working to try to come out with the right decision."

You can read the full transcript of Secretary Clinton's townterview in Bahrain here. Secretary Clinton is traveling to Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, and Bahrain November 30 - December 3. Learn more about her trip here.

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