On December 8, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited The Hague, the Netherlands, where she delivered the keynote address at the opening of a ministerial conference on Internet freedom that launched a cross-regional, multi-stakeholder coalition committed to promoting the freedoms of expression, association, and assembly online. Secretary Clinton also met with Dutch Foreign Minister Uriel Rosenthal. In remarks with Foreign Minister Rosenthal at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Secretary Clinton said:
"...I'm always delighted to be back in the Netherlands and to be here in The Hague. And I want to thank you for many things. Our two countries have such a strong, close relationship. We work together on issues that span the globe, from the Middle East to Afghanistan, Iran, counterterrorism, global economic governance, humanitarian assistance, and so much more.
"This conference on internet freedom is another example of your leadership, and we particularly applaud it for all the reasons that you just mentioned. This is one of the defining issues of our time. Countries like the United States and the Netherlands have fought for centuries for free speech, the freedom of assembly and association, the freedom of religion, and all the other freedoms and rights that we hold dear and that we believe are universal -- they're not Dutch, they're not American, they're not Western. And as we look now at the challenges to a free and accessible internet that are popping up around the world, it's particularly timely that you would hold this conference here in The Hague, because it reflects your values but also your extraordinary determination to lead in areas that are going to affect the world for years to come.
"I'm honored to be here to deliver a speech that outlines some of the concerns we have. As you know, I made internet freedom one of the cornerstones of American foreign policy. I am personally passionate about it, because, to me, it's the same as the fights we have waged around the world when people are persecuted for speaking their minds or for gathering in basements or around corners to talk about what they hoped for their own lives and were brutally abused and persecuted. So now we have to protect those -- which is most of humanity -- that use the internet for communication."
You can read a full transcript of their remarks here.