Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton Holds Press Availability in Berlin

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
April 15, 2011

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Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed reporters at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Germany on April 15, 2011. The Secretary discussed the NATO Foreign Ministerial meeting, as well as her bilateral meetings with various counterparts on a wide range of regional and global issues, including developments in the Middle East, missile defense, and Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Secretary Clinton said, "Over the last two days, we have tackled a full and formidable agenda. On Libya, we built on the momentum created by Wednesday's Contact Group meeting in Doha. We put out a strong statement that clarified the military aims of our mission and carried forward the unified message of Doha. Our European and Arab allies and partners all agree: Attacks on and threats of attacks against the Libyan people must stop; Qadhafi's forces must withdraw from the cities they have forcibly entered and occupied; humanitarian supplies must be allowed to reach civilians, especially those in cities under siege.

"The statement also reinforced our agreement on a set of political and diplomatic objectives. It strongly endorsed the Contact Group's call that Qadhafi must leave power and a democratic transition must take place that reflects the will of the Libyan people.

"I think the bottom line is that here at NATO we achieved a solid and sustainable consensus on our objectives and what it will take to achieve them. I spoke at length with many of my counterparts about the practical steps we all have to take to pressure and isolate Qadhafi and advance our efforts to protect the Libyan people.

"On Afghanistan, I took the opportunity to consult with my colleagues on our three surges -- the military, civilian, and diplomatic surge -- all of which reinforce the transition process that is now underway. To do this once, we have to do it right. We need to underscore that we are transitioning, not leaving, and that we are building an enduring partnership with Afghanistan that will last well beyond 2014.

"I also had a very productive bilateral meeting with Afghan Foreign Minister Rassoul on the Strategic Partnership Declaration and Afghan-led reconciliation.

"Our missions in Libya and Afghanistan show that NATO plays a vital role in protecting our security and interests around the world. We are seeing that new challenges will often drive us to develop new capabilities and work with partners outside the alliance when shared interests and values are at stake.

"One of NATO's most important partners is Russia. Last year at Lisbon, we made historic progress together. Today, we worked to translate the promise of that moment into practical steps that strengthen our collective security. We also discussed NATO's partnerships with Ukraine and Georgia, and we looked for more effective ways for NATO to reach beyond the confines of the alliance and work effectively with all of our partners. Those nations willing to sacrifice for our common goals deserve a greater voice in decision making.

"We also launched a NATO Defense and Deterrence Posture Review process to determine what mix of conventional, nuclear, and missile defense forces NATO will need going forward. I outlined the core principles that will guide the U.S. approach to this process, and completing this review will be a priority when the United States hosts next year's NATO summit in 2012.

"On the margins of the ministerial, I had the chance to consult with a number of my counterparts on a wide range of regional and global issues, including developments in the Middle East, missile defense, and Iran's nuclear ambitions. So needless to say, this was another very full set of meetings, because we do have a full plate of issues. I am pleased with the progress that we have made this week and certainly ready for the work ahead."

You can read the Secretary's complete remarks here.

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