Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton Meets With British Foreign Secretary Hague in London

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
May 23, 2011
British Foreign Secretary Hague and Secretary Clinton at Press Briefing in London

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Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met today with British Foreign Secretary William Hague at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. Following their meeting, Secretary Clinton underscored the "indispensible, unique, and special relationship that exists between our two nations, our governments, and our peoples." She then said:

"...We are certainly looking forward to President Obama and Mrs. Obama's state visit starting tomorrow. And thank you for welcoming us so warmly and thank you for the great working relationship that we have and the many areas where we consult closely and frequently on matters of mutual concern. And I was grateful again for the conversation we had which, as you have just summarized, covered quite a bit of ground. I will just highlight a few of the issues.

"First, on Libya, we reiterated our shared commitment to enforce the UN Security Council resolution and to protect Libyan civilians. I think both of us believe that we are making progress, but we know that our resolve must be firm and that we have to make it clear that time is running out for Colonel Qadhafi and those around him.

"In Syria, the Asad government continues to respond to peaceful protests with brutal violence. By our best estimate, nearly 1,000 people have now been killed. And that is against the backdrop of President Asad talking about reform while his security forces fire bullets into crowds of marchers and mourners at funerals. This cruelty must end, and the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people must be honored.

"The U.S., the EU, and others have already imposed sanctions against senior Syrian officials, including new measures announced today targeting President Asad. Foreign Secretary Hague and I are both absolutely consistent with our message to the Asad government: Stop the killings, the beatings, the arrests; release all political prisoners and detainees; begin to respond to the demands that are upon you for a process of credible and inclusive democratic change.

"President Asad faces a choice: He can lead the transition to democracy that the Syrian people have demanded; or he can, as President Obama said on Thursday, get out of the way. But there is no doubt that if he does not begin to lead that process, his regime will face continuing and increasing pressure and isolation.

"I appreciated the foreign secretary's positive words about President Obama's speech concerning a comprehensive Middle East peace. The United States has outlined principles that we believe provide a foundation for negotiations to resolve core issues, end the conflict and all claims. Everyone knows what the results should be: two states for two people with secure and recognized borders, based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps and security arrangements that ensure Israel can effectively defend itself by itself.

"As the President now has said twice in the last three days, this is a well-known formula to all who have worked on this issue for a generation. Certainly, it is the formula that was used by two prior presidents -- one Democratic, one Republican. It allows the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last 44 years, including the demographic realities and the needs of both sides.

"As the President also said, and I would underscore this, no country can be expected to negotiate with a terrorist organization sworn to its destruction. Any Palestinian government must accept the principles outlined by the Quartet, including recognizing Israel's right to exist and rejecting violence and adhering to all existing agreements.

"The foreign secretary and I also reviewed the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Afghanistan, British and American troops continue to work side by side to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida and its terrorist allies. Our military and civilian men and women have made great progress breaking the Taliban's momentum, and we are determined to continue to press al-Qaida and its affiliates on all fronts, even after killing its leader, Usama bin Ladin.

"We are going to be discussing and planning to start bringing troops home as part of a responsible transition to an Afghan lead for security, even as we maintain a long-term commitment to the Afghan people. And we are actively supporting an Afghan-led political process to broker reconciliation with members of the Taliban who renounce violence, cut ties to al-Qaida, and support the Afghan constitution.

"With respect to Pakistan, Pakistan has hard choices to make. We know the facts. Pakistan is a nuclear-armed state, home to nearly 180 million people, making it the world's sixth largest nation. It needs international support to deal with political and economic problems and the threats it faces from internal violence. This latest attack on a Pakistani naval installation in Karachi is another reminder of the terrible price the Pakistani people have borne in their own struggle against violent extremism.

"We have killed more terrorists on Pakistani soil than anywhere else in the world, and that could not have been done without the cooperation of the Government of Pakistan. But there is more work to be done and the work is urgent. Over the long haul, both the United Kingdom and the United States seek to support the Pakistani people as they chart their own destiny, away from political violence, toward greater stability, economic prosperity, and justice.

"In Yemen, we are dismayed that President Saleh continues his refusal to sign the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative which would help resolve the political challenges facing Yemen today. The international community, led by the GCC, has worked hard to build support for this initiative. President Saleh has agreed on multiple occasions to sign it. Once again, he is failing to live up to those promises. We urge President Saleh to immediately follow through on his repeated commitments to peacefully transfer power. This is critical for the peace and security that the Yemeni people are seeking.

"Finally, we discussed events in Sudan, in particular in Abyei. The United States calls on the Sudanese armed forces to immediately cease all offensive operations in Abyei and withdraw. Both sides must follow through on implementing the agreements of January of 13th and 17th and chart a way forward that restores calm, upholds the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and advances a negotiated political settlement on the future status of the Abyei area.

"There were other matters as well, but I think those were the highlights. But as always with the foreign secretary, we have much to discuss when we meet, because we have a similar perspective and shared values and a long history of facing foreign policy challenges together as partners and friends."

You can read the Secretary's full remarks with British Foreign Secretary Hague here.

Comments

Comments

Brian S.
|
Colorado, USA
May 26, 2011

Brian S. in Colorado writes:

The rapid shift on policy toward Yemen has not been thoroughly explained.

Certainly President Saleh was wrong to have the military fire on peaceful demonstrators, but that’s been his MO going back to 1978.

The US military and CIA backed the guy right up until earlier this year. Just a couple of weeks ago, he was our bulwark against al-Qaeda.

Sure, it makes sense for the USA to be supporting a true democracy movement, but is that really what we are backing ? It looks a lot like an intra-tribal conflict between factions within the Hashid tribal confederation. Who’s to say that the JPM “revolutionary youth” won’t be just as brutal, and just as undemocratic ? The fact that they have taken large sums of money from the CIA doesn’t lock them into any particular approach or ideology.

This is not like Egypt, or Tunisia, or Libya, where popular revolutions rejected the entrenched dictator. This is more like Afghanistan or Iraq, where we got involved in one side of a civil war. Please explain to the American people WHY we are switching sides, after spending hundreds of millions, maybe billions, to support Saleh.

The Yemeni people are too varied to be characterized as being of one mind on relations with the US, but let me generalize.
• Yemenis believe that the USA supports Israeli repression of Palestinians, and their reaction is strongly negative.
• Depending on which side of the civil war they fall on, they either love or hate the fact that the US has been providing substantial aid to Saleh, helping him stay in power.
• Yemenis are angry that the USA is holding about 90 Yemeni men at Guantánamo, including about 59 who we have declared to be innocent, and who are cleared for release. Most of those 59 were cleared for release up to 7 years ago, but still we hold them.

It looks like there may be a new dictator in Yemen soon. They might even have a democratic government there before too long. This would be a good time to take decisive action to get the Yemeni people to like us. That would be far more effective in combating al-Qaeda than basing 100,000 troops or Mercenaries there.

The President has all the authority and resources he needs to implement right now the Dat-dazh-deet (“Renewal”) Program (patent pending) to Deradicalize, Train and eventually Reintegrate those Guantánamo

Detainees who are Cleared for Release. It wouldn’t contravene the congressional restrictions in the 2011 NDAA.

Implementing that program would go a long way toward making amends to the people of Yemen, after years of propping up Saleh. It would show newfound respect for a people who put a premium on dignity.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
May 28, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

News Item:

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has joined American and other European leaders in calling for Moammar Gadhafi to step down from power, a shift that appears to indicate a closing diplomatic window for the longtime Libyan strongman.

---

Sometimes the biggest news is buried under the surface of press reporting on circumstance.

If my memory-or lack of one rather-serves just me well, I think this may be the very first time Russia has taken a foreign policy postion in support of removing a tyrant for humanitarian reasons, and I'm real proud of Mr, Medvedev for taking this bold step to support a valid methodology to restore sanity on the world stage, for suddenly the international community doesn't seem quite so dysfunctional anymore for some reason or another.

Must be folks are starting to get a grip as the President must have made way too much sense to ignore when he met with folks @ G8.

( either that or Mr. M read everything I've ever said about Russia/US relations here on Dipnote...and chuckle!....the President simply told him he might want to think about getting with the program...because he thought the following made to much sense for anyone to ignore...)

"I think a more entertaining question is whether we'll ever see Al Assad dropped off on the tarmac of a third country in his pajamas or not? Let alone in his birthday suit.

How hard do you think the world would laugh at the sight of that?

As for Ghaddafi, I think folks should quit looking for a nation to take him in as a political refugee, as nobody wants him.

Better to approach the mental institutions of the world and see if one has a suite of rubber rooms available for Ghaddafi and sons.
Folks might have more success with that.

Aye well, in my long foreign affairs wish list, these would only be the tip of the iceburg.

I wonder how the Russian gov. feels about the weapons they've sold to Assad being used to target civilians in Syria?

Maybe they'll get with the program and send the repo man to collect them since they've been turned on the people rather than some external entity in defense, eh?

Now there's a plan...

If we used our military relationship with Egypt and Bahrain along with our laws governing arms exports to encorage restraint towards protesters, surely the Russians can make an effort to do so with Syria. Along with anyone else that has sold this regime weapons.

I guess that would be a case of naked cooperation as far as a transparent "targeted" sanctions are concerned."

(-Posted on Fri Apr 29, 2011 "http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/site/entry/cretz_libya_developments#Com...")

---

Well done to Sec. Clinton and team for doing the heavy diplomatic lifting of angst involved in getting here over a number of years. I see you'all @ State been hitting that reset button fast and furiously and finally got it to light up.

Have a great weekend folks,

EJ

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