Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Germany and Bulgaria on February 3-5, 2012. In Munich, Germany, Secretary Clinton held bilateral meetings with her European and other counterparts and participated in the 48th Munich Security Conference. This annual event brings together global leaders to discuss common security challenges. In her address to the Conference, the Secretary reaffirmed the fundamental importance of the transatlantic relationship and Europe's role as an essential partner in addressing global security challenges.
"Europe is and remains America's partner of first resort. I have now traveled to Europe 27 times as Secretary of State. President Obama has visited 10 times. And wherever America is working to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, to fight disease, to help nations on the difficult journey from dictatorship to democracy, we are side by side with our friends in Europe," Secretary Clinton said.
The Secretary continued, "Today's transatlantic community is not just a defining achievement of the century behind us. It is indispensable to the world we hope to build together in the century ahead. Here in Munich, it is not enough to reaffirm old commitments. The world around us is fast transforming, and America and Europe need a forward-leaning agenda to deal with the challenges we face."
In Munich, Secretary Clinton also met with women leaders, with whom she discussed the first-ever U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security. Secretary Clinton said, "...The national action plan represents a fundamentally different way for the United States to do business. It is really trying to lay out a new approach in our diplomatic, military, and development support to women in areas of conflict, and to ensure that their perspectives and that considerations of gender are always part of how the United States approaches peace processes, conflict prevention, the protection of civilians, humanitarian assistance."
The Secretary traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria on February 5, to meet with senior Bulgarian officials and discuss a range of issues, including democratic transitions in the Middle East, our ongoing support for Afghanistan, energy security, and our bilateral cooperation in international law enforcement. After her meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Secretary Clinton said:
"The prime minister and I just had a very productive meeting. It underscored the depth and range of the partnership between us. As NATO allies, Bulgaria and the United States work side by side around the world to address critical issues, from ensuring a successful transition in Afghanistan to keeping the peace in Kosovo, to diversifying and securing our energy supplies, including in the nuclear sector. We are partners in helping to advance Bulgaria's energy independence and security and in protecting the beautiful Bulgarian environment.... Our excellent cooperation has helped to deter, detect, and stop trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials. Our joint counternarcotics investigations have seized over $3 million in illegal assets. Our law enforcement partnership has led to the arrest of hackers conducting international fraud schemes. I want to commend the law enforcement arms of the government, as well as the government itself -- for being a very effective leader in these kinds of efforts, addressing critical problems that affect, not just Bulgaria and the region, but indeed the world."
In Bulgaria, Secretary Clinton held a roundtable with young Roma professionals. During their discussion, Secretary Clinton said, "...One of the pieces of unfinished business is the full integration of the Roma people into the societies and nations where they reside. For too long, Roma citizens have been marginalized and isolated, prevented from contributing their talents and participating in their societies. This is a critical matter of human rights, and it affects millions of men, women, and children across the continent."
You can read more about the Secretary's travel on www.state.gov.