Secretary Clinton Meets With U.K. Foreign Secretary Hague

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
December 13, 2011
Secretary Clinton With UK Foreign Secretary William Hague December 12, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague at the Department of State in Washington, D.C. on December 12, 2011. After their meeting, Secretary Clinton said:

"...Let me again welcome the foreign secretary here to Washington and to the State Department. It is a special pleasure to see him at the end of a year in which we cooperated so closely and constructively together. We've had a very robust shared calendar as we've tackled these global challenges every single day of this entire year, it seems. And we've met on many previous occasions, both bilaterally and then through a multitude of multilateral engagements. So it's good to review and look forward at this time of year.

"We will be meeting again, we've already concluded, numerous times in the first half of next year. And obviously, we have a lot to talk about whenever we do meet. Our meeting today reflected a wide array of shared concerns and challenges, including the economic crisis in Europe, the embassy -- attack on the UK Embassy in Iran, the transition in Afghanistan, the situation in Pakistan, the evolving situations in Burma, North Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, and so much more. We lost track of all of the matters which we went over today.

"We naturally discussed the decisions regarding Europe's debt crisis, and we have a -- as we've said many times, a great stake in a speedy resolution. We support efforts to enact pro-growth reforms, and we will continue to work closely with our European partners. We discussed the ongoing efforts to press the Iranian Government to meet all of its international obligations. The attack on the British Embassy was an affront not only to the British people, but to the international community. Governments owe a duty to protect diplomatic lives and property, and we expect the Government of Iran to do just that both inside and outside of Iran. That is why we strongly supported the UN General Assembly's resolution deploring the plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador here in Washington. And we're working together on additional sanctions, and the great work that the foreign minister and the Government of the UK has done with us at the IAEA to express nearly unanimous concern about Iran's nuclear program.

"Afghanistan was a big part of the discussion today, following up on our meetings in Bonn and the ISAF meeting in Brussels at NATO. The British and American men and women of our armed forces have literally stood and fought side by side and have reversed the Taliban momentum on the battlefields. And our diplomats and development experts have likewise stood shoulder-to-shoulder to try to help the people of Afghanistan realize a better future. As we talk about transitioning security, we look very clearly at the goal that was set at the Lisbon summit. This transition is a new phase of support for Afghanistan, not the end of our commitment, and we will stay very closely connected as we move through this period as well.

"I welcomed the news that the foreign secretary will be going to Burma. I think we have a real opportunity through sustained diplomacy to test the new government and to work toward the resolution of outstanding problems that prevent that country from achieving its rightful place in the community of nations for the 21st century. And there's a very clear path forward if they wish to follow it. We of course discussed the Middle East and, in particular, Syria. We've worked closely together to increase the pressure on the Asad regime. We welcomed the recent action by the Arab League. I met with members of the Syrian opposition last week. We encourage other Arab leaders to meet with them as well and continue our support for peaceful protest and reform inside Syria.

"And we compared notes on the parliamentary elections in Egypt. The Egyptian people are justifiably proud to begin the process of choosing their new leaders. We urge the Egyptian authorities to ensure that free and fair voting continues through the next election rounds, and that there be a steady transition toward a new civilian government. And at the same time, we call upon the continued protection of peaceful protestors and holding those accountable for previous incidents of violence.

"So this is just a snapshot of our very lengthy and substantive conversation. So again, Foreign Secretary, welcome back to Washington."

You can read a full transcript of their remarks here.

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