Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton participated in the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women and the Economy Summit (WES) meetings in San Francisco.
This AUSMIN ministerial marked the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-Australia Alliance. Secretary Clinton said, “…For 60 years now, each new global challenge has brought with it a new cause for cooperation with Australia and an ever stronger partnership grounded in our shared values.”
During their consultations, Secretary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and their Australian counterparts discussed challenges in the Asia-Pacific region, ways to improve and deepen cooperation, and issues affecting global security, including cyberspace.
Secretary Clinton delivered the keynote address at the APEC Women and the Economy Summit. She said, “As information transcends borders and creates opportunities for farmers to bank on mobile phones and children in distant villages to learn remotely, I believe that here, at the beginning of the 21st century, we are entering the participation age, where every individual, regardless of gender or other characteristics, is poised to be a contributing and valued member of the global marketplace.”
On September 13, Secretary Clinton released the 2010 mid-year Report on International Religious Freedom. She said, “...The protection of religious freedom is a fundamental concern of the United States going back to the earliest days of our republic, and it remains so today.”
Secretary Clinton also signed the U.S.-Romanian Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement on the Deployment of the Ballistic Missile Defense System with Romanian Foreign Minister Baconschi, and the White House released a fact sheet on implementing missile defense in Europe.
The State Department joined the George W. Bush Institute, the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) to announce the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, an innovative partnership to leverage public and private investment in global health to combat cervical and breast cancer -- two of the leading causes of cancer death in women -- in sub-Saharan and Africa and Latin America. Secretary Clinton said, “...One of the most powerful and effective ways of saving lives is by improving women's and particularly mothers' health.”
In other global health news, Secretary Clinton welcomed Chef Jose Andre as “Culinary Ambassador” for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. In this role, he will help to raise awareness of an issue that causes nearly two million deaths to women and children each year: toxic smoke from traditional cooking stoves. Meanwhile, Ambassador Eric Goosby and Ambassador Mark Dybul, the respective current and former U.S. Global AIDS Coordinators, co-authored an op-ed in The Huffington Post, where they said, “For the first time, grounded in scientific evidence, our efforts can put us within reach of an AIDS-free generation.”
In response to the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker reinforced Secretary Clinton's statement and added, “…The attacks serve to highlight the weakness at the core of the insurgency. Unable to confront ISAF and newly-trained Afghan troops on the conventional battlefield, they have turned to launching attacks on high-profile facilities like the U.S. Embassy in an attempt to garner headlines.”
On September 14, Assistant Secretary Jeffrey Feltman discussed his visit to Libya, where he met with Transitional National Council (TNC) officials, civil society representatives, and toured the remains of the U.S. Embassy. Earlier in the week, Spokesperson Victoria Nuland released a statement on the detention of sub-Saharan African refugees and migrants in Libya. She said, “…We have welcomed the Transitional National Council's (TNC) assurances of their commitment to safeguard the well-being of individuals throughout Libya and the TNC leadership's cooperation with those international agencies engaged in identifying and assisting those at risk and/or detained."
In Pakistan, the United States is providing a broad range of assistance to communities affected by this year's floods. In addition, the United States and Pakistan are working together to fight foot and mouth disease, which is estimated to cause $82 million in economic damage to rural Pakistani families every year. During the latest Pakistan-United States Energy Dialogue, leaders from both countries reaffirming the partnership to pursue practical solutions to Pakistan's energy needs.
September 15 marked International Day of Democracy, an opportunity to reflect on aspirations for freedom and dignity around the world. Assistant Secretary Michael Posner said, "The principles of democracy do not belong to any one country or group of people, but rather constitute timeless and universal truths.”
On a similar note, Ambassador David Killion shared how UNESCO promotes pride in cultural heritage and respect of other cultures. Ambassador John Beryle discussed how volunteers from the United States and Russia will participate in a 36-hour computer programming marathon to improve government transparency and openness.
In case you missed it, you can watch “Conversations With America: A Discussion on Multilateral Diplomacy and U.S. Global Leadership," during which Assistant Secretary Esther Brimmer discusses upcoming United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York.
In the meantime, we hope you enjoyed the third annual “Passport Day in the USA," and I'd like to thank all of you for your feedback and comments this past week. We look forward to hearing from you in the week ahead.