On Sunday, May 1, President Barack Obama addressed the nation and said, "Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who's responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.”
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton underscored the President's message and said, “[T]his a day, not only for Americans, but also for people all over the world who look to a more peaceful and secure future -- yes, with continued vigilance, but more so with growing hope and renewed faith in what is possible.”
From May 4 to 6, Secretary Clinton traveled to Italy to participate in a meeting of the Libya Contact Group and address food security at the UN Agencies in Rome. Speaking before the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Secretary Clinton highlighted the U.S. commitment to fighting hunger, malnutrition, and food insecurity around the world. Secretary Clinton said, “Let's move relentlessly ahead in advancing food security not only for more of the world's people, but a goal of all of the world's people."
The Secretary also met with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini in Rome, where they discussed the situations in Libya and Syria, as well as our efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Meanwhile, Ambassador Mark Grossman, U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Afghanistan, Ambassador Grossman met with senior Afghan government officials, parliamentarians, and representatives from civil society and the local media. In Pakistan, he joined Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, Afghanistan's Deputy Foreign Minister Jaweed Ludin, and other officials for a trilateral meeting in Islamabad.
Ambassador Eric Goosby provided updates on our collaboration to further our vision of partnership, efficiency, and innovation for sustained impact through PEPFAR at the annual meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa. The meeting focused on identifying opportunities to build on the impressive achievements the program has made so far, and establishing a "continuum of response."
USAID's Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg explored the hopes and challenges for south Sudan, while Under Secretary of State Judith McHale addressed new ways the United States can help support and strengthen our partnership with the next generation of African leaders. U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray described how the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HFA) allowed us to "reach out to hundreds of young people who, despite their economically-deprived circumstances, still represent Zimbabwe's future."
Assistant Secretary Ann Stock highlighted a Professional Fellows Program that promotes strong relationships between Americans and global partners, while our dedicated Foreign Service Liaison Officer Tom Weinz highlighted how Pacific Partnership 2011 is fostering networks to strengthen civil society.
In Dubai, Donna Hopkins, the Coordinator for Counter-Piracy and Maritime Security, attended a conference to strengthen the counter-piracy partnership between governments and industry. In other economic news, Under Secretary of State Robert Hormats brought to our attention the importance of competitive neutrality to ensure a sound basis for global competition. Sara Mangiaracina, a Conflict Prevention Officer, discussed a U.S. Embassy Asuncion program dedicated to preventing conflict by bolstering economic security in the at-risk northern region of Paraguay.
In Washington, Secretary Clinton addressed the recent violence in Syria. She said, "I am deeply troubled that the Syrian Government chooses to continue to use force and intimidation against the Syrian people. The United States condemns in the strongest terms the Syrian Government's actions over the past five weeks and calls on it to immediately cease the killing, arrest, and harassment of protestors, activists, and journalists."
Journalists from around the world gathered in Washington to commemorate World Press Freedom Day on May 3. Secretary Clinton congratulated UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Laureate Ahmad Zeidabadi and honored journalists. She said, “Today, we remember that journalism is a calling of everyday heroes. We must continue to stand up for those who speak out in perilous circumstances as they pursue, record, and report the truth.”
Secretary Clinton also held a bilateral meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd at the Department of State in Washington. The Secretary and Foreign Minister Rudd discussed how our two countries are fostering security through the Australia-U.S. Ministerial, working together on fighting al-Qaeda and its allies, and ending violence against women and girls.
The Secretary highlighted two unique partnerships that seek to improve the lives of women and girls around the world. First, Secretary Clinton unveiled the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action, a public-private partnership to improve maternal and child health. This partnership harnesses the power of technology to improve the health of women and newborns by reaching them with quality health information.
Second, the Secretary spoke with actress Julia Roberts about Ms. Robert's new role as Global Ambassador for the Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. Ms. Roberts said, “Nearly 2 million people around the world -- mostly women and children -- die each year from an activity that many of us take for granted: cooking for our families…I am proud to stand with Secretary Clinton to work to reduce the senseless and preventable deaths from unsafe cooking conditions in the developing world and I look forward to contributing to the important work of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves."Ms. Roberts, alongside Secretary Clinton, the United Nations Foundation, and other Alliance partners, will support the Alliance's goal of 100 million homes' adopting clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels by 2020. These efforts seem particularly relevant today as we celebrate Mother's Day in the United States, and I'd like to take a moment to thank my own mother for all she has done for me.
I'd also like to thank all of our readers for their feedback and comments from this last week, and I encourage all of you to join us online for the third joint meeting of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Secretary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner will be joined by Chinese Co-Chairs, Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo, in Washington, D.C., May 9-10. You can watch the livestream of the opening remarks Monday, May 9 at 9:15 a.m. (EDT), here on DipNote and www.state.gov.
We look forward to hearing from you in the week ahead.