Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere at the Department of State on August 12, 2011. Secretary Clinton and Norwegian Foreign Minister Stoere discussed a wide-range of issues, including promoting sustainable development, protecting human rights, supporting the NATO mission to protect civilians in Libya, as well as the situations in Syria and Afghanistan.
Secretary Clinton said, "Before I begin about the matters that we were discussing, I want once again to offer our deepest sympathies on behalf of the American people to our friends in Norway, especially the families of those who lost loved ones. In the days since those terrible events, the whole world has once again witnessed the resilience and dignity of the Norwegian people as they have comforted the bereaved, healed the wounded, and pulled together on behalf of a nation whose values we so greatly admire.
"Once again, we see Norway setting an example for the world as a strong, generous, far-sighted member of the international community. But that is not a surprise because we see it on a regular basis. As food shortages, for example, threaten millions of lives in the Horn of Africa, we see Norway's global leadership in development assistance and disaster relief. Norway has already contributed nearly $50 million in this crisis. In fact, every year Norway dedicates a full 1 percent of its GDP to promote sustainable development around the world, and that is a remarkably generous amount.
"Norway's commitment to this work is rooted in the understanding that it is not just the right thing to do, but as I said in my speech yesterday, it is the smart thing as well because of the direct impact that development has on global stability, security, and opportunity. This is an insight we should remember here in Washington as we have our own discussions about how best to allocate our budgetary resources. And today, the foreign minister and I discussed development priorities, and in particular the situation in the Horn of Africa.
"Norway is rightly respected as a peacemaker and a peacekeeper, and I thanked the foreign minister in particular for Norway's strong support of the people of Afghanistan, its commitment to achieving a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, its contributions to the NATO mission to protect civilians in Libya. And we discussed the importance of supporting the Libyan people as they plan for a post-Qadhafi reconstruction and stabilization period.
"In addition, we discussed Syria, where we both remain acutely concerned about the Asad regime's campaign of violence against their own citizens. Norway and our other European allies have been strong, consistent voices on behalf of the Syrian people, and I commend them for their advocacy. The Asad regime's continued brutality is galvanizing international opinion. There has been a crescendo of condemnation not only from the world but in particular from the region.
"After the Security Council statement, we've seen movement in rapid succession from the Arab League, the GCC, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and others. The United States will continue to work with our partners to turn this growing consensus into increased pressure and isolation for the Asad regime. In particular, we urge those countries still buying Syrian oil and gas, those countries still sending Asad weapons, those countries whose political and economic support give him comfort in his brutality, to get on the right side of history. President Asad has lost the legitimacy to lead, and it is clear that Syria would be better off without him.
"Yesterday, the United States imposed new sanctions and Ambassador Ford delivered a clear message to the Syrian Government: Immediately stop the violence, withdraw your security forces, respond to the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people for a democratic transition in concrete and meaningful ways. Now, it is something that we are watching closely and we are consulting closely with partners around the world, and we expect to see action.
"So whether it's promoting sustainable development or standing up for universal rights in the face of political violence, the United States and Norway are working together on so many important issues. And I thank the foreign minister for his partnership and his friendship and this visit, and I look forward to our continuing work together."
You can read a full transcript of the Secretary's remarks here.