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Secretary Clinton in the Hague for Astan Conference

In Afghanistan, Global News, Politics, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, The Hague, United States on March 31, 2009 at 5:43 am

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gestures, as she arrives at Schiphol Airport, Netherlands, Monday March 30, 2009, ahead of Tuesday's U.N.-sponsored conference on the future of Afghanistan. The international conference on pacifying Afghanistan will include two unlikely partners for peace, the United States and Iran. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will attend the U.N.-sponsored conference Tuesday in the Netherlands. And a Dutch diplomat said Monday that Iran will send its deputy foreign minister, Medhi Akhundzadeh, to the meeting, as well. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gestures, as she arrives at Schiphol Airport, Netherlands, Monday March 30, 2009, ahead of Tuesday's U.N.-sponsored conference on the future of Afghanistan. The international conference on pacifying Afghanistan will include two unlikely partners for peace, the United States and Iran. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will attend the U.N.-sponsored conference Tuesday in the Netherlands. And a Dutch diplomat said Monday that Iran will send its deputy foreign minister, Medhi Akhundzadeh, to the meeting, as well. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

NETHERLANDS AFGHANISTAN CONFERENCE

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waves inside the limousine shortly after her arrival at Schiphol airport to attend the UN-conference on the future of Afghanistan. The Hague conference is officially being co-hosted by Afghanistan, the United Nations and the Dutch government.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waves inside the limousine shortly after her arrival at Schiphol airport to attend the UN-conference on the future of Afghanistan. The Hague conference is officially being co-hosted by Afghanistan, the United Nations and the Dutch government.

U.S. envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke (L) speaks with Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen before a meeting in The Hague March 30, 2009. The United States is expected to seek international support for its renewed commitment to defeat Islamist militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan at a U.N. conference in the Netherlands on Tuesday.Washington is hoping to enlist support from Iran, Russia, China and India amongst others for a new strategy to end a stalemate in Afghanistan and undercut an Islamist insurgency spilling increasingly into neighboring Pakistan.

U.S. envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke (L) speaks with Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen before a meeting in The Hague March 30, 2009. The United States is expected to seek international support for its renewed commitment to defeat Islamist militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan at a U.N. conference in the Netherlands on Tuesday.Washington is hoping to enlist support from Iran, Russia, China and India amongst others for a new strategy to end a stalemate in Afghanistan and undercut an Islamist insurgency spilling increasingly into neighboring Pakistan.


Clinton Urges Aid for Afghanistan, Warns on Threats


(Update1)

By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, Gregory Viscusi and James G. Neuger

March 31 (Bloomberg) — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pleaded for more financial aid for Afghanistan, warning world leaders not to use the economic slump as an excuse to short- change the country as the terrorist threat mounts.

Outlining President Barack Obama’s new war strategy at a meeting in The Hague, Netherlands, Clinton said extremists are on the march in Afghanistan and Pakistan and urged a renewed global push to stabilize the region.

“All too often in the past seven years, our efforts have been undermanned, underresourced and underfunded,” Clinton said. “While there is great temptation to retreat inward in these difficult economic times, it is precisely at such moments that we must redouble our efforts.”

The one-day, 73-country conference marks a turning point in the U.S. policy on Afghanistan, as Obama shifts the focus to economic reconstruction, eases pressure on Europe to send more troops, and steps up efforts to stamp out terrorist havens in neighboring Pakistan.

Since taking office in January, Obama has ordered 17,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan to fight the resurgent Taliban, the radical Islamist movement ousted by the U.S. in 2001 after the Sept. 11 attacks. As part of a strategic review announced last week, Obama also said he will send 4,000 more trainers to Afghanistan to build up the local army.

European leaders, hectored by the Bush administration for failing to dispatch enough frontline troops to the war zone, expressed relief that the U.S. will shoulder the extra military burdens.

New U.S. Approach

The new U.S. approach is not to badger European governments to send forces they don’t have, a senior U.S. official told reporters in Brussels yesterday. Instead, as shown by today’s “big tent” conference, the point is to encourage allies to do what they can.

While financial aid to rebuild Afghanistan’s economy and build up its 79,000-strong army figures high on the priority list, today’s conference isn’t meant to solicit extra donations on top of more than $21 billion pledged at a Paris conference last June.

Still, some new aid was on offer. China offered $75 million over five years and Spain said it will consider pledging 120 million euros ($160 million) for 2010-12. The European Commission, donor of $2.1 billion to Afghanistan since 2002, said it will provide another 60 million euros for rural development and to help stage Afghan elections on Aug. 20. The U.S. offered $40 million for the elections, further defraying costs estimated by the United Nations at $220 million.

As the deepest economic slump since World War II strains government budgets, Clinton also said much of the money plowed into Afghanistan has been misspent on programs that don’t work.

Bloomberg

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Secretary Clinton: Travel to The Hague for International Conference on Afghanistan, March 31

In Afghanistan, foreign policy, Global News, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, news, Politics, The Hague, United States on March 30, 2009 at 11:11 am

March 31, 2009 to April 1, 2009

sos-sealAt the invitation of Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to the Netherlands to attend the “International Conference on Afghanistan: A Comprehensive Strategy in a Regional Context” in The Hague on March 31. Building on the achievements of the conferences held in Bonn, in London, and most recently in Paris last year, The Hague Ministerial should reaffirm the solid and long-term commitment of the international community to supporting the Government of Afghanistan in shaping a better future for Afghanistan and its people.

Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke will accompany Secretary Clinton. The ministerial discussion will be co-chaired by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Afghanistan Kai Eide, Afghan Foreign – Afghan Minister for Foreign Affairs Spanta, and Foreign Minister Verhagen. While in the Netherlands, Secretary Clinton will also have a bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister Verhagen to discuss issues of mutual interest.

International Conference on Afghanistan: A Comprehensive Strategy in a Regional Context

Hillary Clinton Seeks Support On Afghan Plan, Iran Contact

by Sue Pleming

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was en route to the Hague on Monday, set for her first contact with Iran at an international meeting and seeking support for Washington’s new war strategy in Afghanistan.

U.S. officials said Clinton did not plan “substantive” talks with Iran on the sidelines of a conference on Afghanistan in the Netherlands but she hoped Tehran’s presence there would be helpful and could set a good tone for future engagement.”We hope they will sit down with us all at the table and that the Iranians will come ready, willing and able to help Afghanistan and Pakistan,” said State Department spokesman Robert Wood, who is traveling with Clinton to the Hague.

“We want them to play a positive role,” he told Reuters.


The White House said it would like specifically to see Tehran’s help in fighting drug trafficking from Afghanistan, pointing to problems with heroin abuse in Iran.

The Obama administration, in a reversal of predecessor President George W. Bush’s policy of isolating Iran, wants to engage Tehran, particularly on areas of mutual concern like Afghanistan.

But U.S. officials have made clear pleasantries exchanged between Clinton and the Iranian delegation expected in the Hague will not end three decades of hostility with Tehran.

The demand remains that Iran must stop sensitive nuclear work the West says is aimed at building an atomic bomb and Iran argues is for electricity.

“Iran has a right to be a member of the international community, but with that right comes responsibilities — principally as it relates, in this instance, to its nuclear program,” said Denis McDonough, White House deputy national security adviser, in a weekend conference call.

Clinton proposed Tuesday’s one-day conference in the Hague, held under U.N. and Dutch auspices, and said Iran should be there along with delegates expected from over 80 nations.

She sees the conference as an opportunity to win global status of support for the Obama administration’s new strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which was announced last Friday.


‘BUY IN’ SOUGHT for PLAN

“We are looking for buy-in, first and foremost,” said a senior State Department official of the new U.S. plan.

President Barack   Obama’s goal is to crush al Qaeda militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan and adopt a more regional approach to the conflict by involving neighbors such as Iran, as well as players India, China and Russia.

The United States also plans to send 4,000 more troops to train the Afghan army, along with hundreds of civilians to improve the delivery of basic services. This is in addition to 17,000 combat troops being added to Afghanistan before August elections.

Wood said Clinton was not going to the Hague armed with a “shopping list,” but others must do more and could offer practical help with equipment, transportation, training for Afghanistan’s police force and reconstruction projects.

“Failure is a real possibility. We have got to marshal all of our resources in a coherent and coordinated fashion.”

Former U.S. envoy to Afghanistan, James Dobbins, said he expected European countries could match U.S. offers in terms of economic resources and civilian personnel.

“I think that within reason the Europeans are going to respond,” said Dobbins,   now with the Rand Corporation think tank.

Dobbins said while Afghanistan would be the main focus at the meeting, Pakistan would have at least equal priority on the fringes of the conference.

The United States hopes a strong statement will emerge at the end of the meeting, emphasizing “unity of purpose” in tackling al Qaeda in Afghanistan and safe havens in Pakistan.

“It’s really a matter of coming together on the basic strategy,” said the senior State Department official.

Clinton promotes US-Mexican relations in Monterrey..

In economy, foreign policy, Madame Secretary Clinton, Mexico, news, Politics, Secretary Clinton on March 26, 2009 at 8:29 pm

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton:

hillary-mexico-pink1

is visiting a police station in Mexico’s capital in a show of support for authorities caught up in a struggle with powerful drug cartels. She also is ready to have a discussion with university students in Monterrey about U.S.-Mexican relations in general as she continues a brief tour which started with a pledge to stand with Mexico in the fight against drug-related crime. “The criminals and kingpins spreading violence are trying to corrode the foundations of law, order, friendship and trust between the United States and Mexico “will fail.”

She said the White House would seek an additional $80 million to help Mexico buy Blackhawk helicopters in addition to a three-year, $1.4 billion Bush administration-era program to support Mexico’s anti-crime and drug efforts.

A day before Clinton arrived in Mexico City, the Obama administration pledged to send more money, technology and manpower to secure the border in the Southwest U.S. and help Mexico battle the cartels.

Kansas City Star

CNN POLL: Hillary Clinton Getting High Marks (70% approval rating)

In economy, Global News, Politics, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Smart Power on March 25, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Hillary recognized by World as making progress unlike the president who signed and approved the AIG Bonus Payouts.

From CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

The poll's release comes as Clinton teams up with Mexican officials to kick off several weeks of meetings designed to find ways to fight drug violence on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border.

The poll's release comes as Clinton teams up with Mexican officials to kick off several weeks of meetings designed to find ways to fight drug violence on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border.

(CNN) – As Hillary Clinton flies to Mexico for a high level summit, a new national poll indicates 7 in 10 Americans are happy with the job she’s doing as secretary of state.

Seventy-one percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday say they approve of how Clinton is handling her job as America’s top diplomat. Fewer than one in four disapprove.

“Nine in 10 Democrats approve of Clinton — that’s no surprise,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “But by a 50 percent to 43 percent margin, Republicans also think she is doing a good job at the State Department. That’s an interesting result for a polarizing figure like Clinton.”

The poll’s release comes as Clinton teams up with Mexican officials to kick off several weeks of meetings designed to find ways to fight drug violence on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. Tuesday the Obama administration announced a major increase in security funding and agent deployments along the border.

“Since taking office in January, Clinton has been at the White House nearly every day, meeting with President Obama, Vice President Biden and other members of the cabinet and national security staff,” says CNN State Department producer Elise Labott. “The secretary maintains close ties with her former colleagues on Capitol Hill, and meets regularly with congressional leaders.”

The former first lady, senator from New York and one-time primary rival to Obama has already clocked close to 60,000 miles in her first two trips overseas — one journey to China, another to the Middle East and Europe — since taking over as secretary of state in January.

Clinton was met by large crowds and warmly received by world leaders on both trips, says Labott, although “she met some criticism in Beijing, where she was criticized for a lower-key approach that seemed to downplay the importance of human rights in the overall relationship with China.

“Her aides said she wanted a new approach to dealing with China’s human rights record, including less public criticism and more private discussions, which may prove more productive in changing Chinese behavior.”

Clinton’s approval rating is actually higher than that of her boss: The same CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll put Obama’s approval rating at 64 percent, 7 points lower than Clinton’s.

Clinton has a couple of advantages over Obama in public opinion today, says Holland. “She hasn’t had a prominent role in the administration’s economic or budget policies,” he says. “There haven’t been any international issues that have caused as much outrage as the AIG bonuses. And her name wasn’t on the ballot in November, so any partisan animosity to her that is left over from 2008 is not as fresh in the public’s mind.”

Clinton’s approval rating is also 10 points higher than the one predecessor Condoleezza Rice had in March 2005, two months into her tenure as secretary of state.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll of 1,019 Americans was conducted by telephone March 12-15. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Hillary arrives in Mexico..

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets journalists as she arrives at the international airport while Mexico's Ambassador to the U.S looks on in Mexico City March 25, 2009. Clinton said on Wednesday the United States and Mexico were making headway on efforts to resolve a dispute over Mexican trucks operating in the United States.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets journalists as she arrives at the international airport while Mexico's Ambassador to the U.S looks on in Mexico City March 25, 2009. Clinton said on Wednesday the United States and Mexico were making headway on efforts to resolve a dispute over Mexican trucks operating in the United States.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon (R) greets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton inside the Los Pinos presidential residence in Mexico City, March 25, 2009. An "insatiable" appetite in the United States for illegal drugs is to blame for much of the violence ripping through Mexico, Clinton said on Wednesday.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon (R) greets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton inside the Los Pinos presidential residence in Mexico City, March 25, 2009. An "insatiable" appetite in the United States for illegal drugs is to blame for much of the violence ripping through Mexico, Clinton said on Wednesday.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gestures during a press conference in Mexico City, Wednesday, March 25, 2009. Clinton is in Mexico for a two-day visit. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gestures during a press conference in Mexico City, Wednesday, March 25, 2009. Clinton is in Mexico for a two-day visit. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is greeted by Mexico's Foreign Minister to the U.S., Patricia Espinosa, as she arrives at the Los Pinos presidential residence in Mexico City March 25, 2009. Clinton is in Mexico for a two-day visit.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is greeted by Mexico's Foreign Minister to the U.S., Patricia Espinosa, as she arrives at the Los Pinos presidential residence in Mexico City March 25, 2009. Clinton is in Mexico for a two-day visit.

Thank goodness our girl hasn’t deserted US!

In Afghanistan, economy, fabulous women, Global News, Rise Hillary Rise, Smart Power on March 24, 2009 at 8:45 am

She was my first choice. She was my ONLY choice. How many of you needed a “CHANGE”? How many of you thought just about anyone could be president IF they surrounded themselves with brilliant, competent people? Yes, YOU and Oprah… Thanks a bunch, you silly ignorant, erstwhile people for closing your eyes to the Grandest Theft of another presidency. Playing directly into the hands of power players standing in the wings laughing at your stupidity, patiently waiting for the biggest Power Grab in the history of the World. By WHO, you say? You still don’t know? The WORLD BANKERS if you’re too busy to pay attention because you think you are immune to this financial crisis!

Well, common sense was overruled by impetuosity. The petulance of children wanting something shiny and new. Something that never had value for the price they were willing to pay. Something plastic. Something that would never hold up under the strain and difficulties of the problems facing the next president that would be needing immediate attention. Plastic is not steel and plastic is exactly what you forced us into by having your children take the lead and advising YOU who would be the best choice for the next president of this country.

When I heard Caroline Kennedy announce to the World, her children took her by the hand to hear Obama speak; she then claimed, Obama (HE)..his vision is the closest she has come to hearing a presidential candidate with the inspiration and vision of her father. … I might have beena child myself at the time of the Kennedy assassination but I did pick up a book or two during my formative years when my Dad heavily invested in my unorthodox college education. Having private tutelage is not always representative of privilege and wealth. My father felt children need to be trained to think for themselves. Obviously, somewhere along the way, Caroline has been caught up in her own celebrity and has lost the good sense of the culture and values her mother and father truly represented.

Thank goodness, Governor Paterson did not succumb to the pressure of the gated Caroline community who gave their half hearted endorsements to a another wayward Kennedy grown up around the core values of her Uncle rather than the legacy left to her by her parents.

My Dad was a fanatic about committing cumulative errors because it leads to irreconcilable events. Obama and Caroline are sterling examples of cumulative mistakes. I’m thankful New Yorkers woke up in time and discouraged Paterson doing just that, making a bad situation worse . And I’m happy to say, timing is everything. It wasn’t the time to distract the focus with inane candidates. It was the time to stay focused on the prize and proceed unrelentingly until we prevailed.

We did and were rewarded with Paterson’s appointment of Kirsten Gillibrand , as the next NY Senator. The thrill of victory is sweet for those wonderful New Yorkers who “thought for themselves.”


Hillary to attend Afghan Conference on March 31…

state-dept-logoReuters) – The State Department announced on Monday that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would attend a Conference on Afghanistan next week but did not say whether she would meet Iranian officials there.

State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Clinton would be accompanied by U.S. special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, to the conference, which is set to be held on March 31 in the Dutch city of The Hague.

“The Hague ministerial should reaffirm the solid and long-term commitment of the international community to supporting the government of Afghanistan in shaping a better future for Afghanistan and its people,” Wood said.

Clinton and Holbrooke are expected to provide details of a review of U.S. strategy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, which is set to be released by the Obama administration before the Dutch conference.

Earlier this month, Clinton said Iran’s foreign minister also would be invited to attend The Hague conference, setting up her first chance to meet a senior official from Tehran in her new role as top U.S. diplomat.

Last week U.S. President Barack Obama sent a video message to Iran’s government and people in which he said Washington wanted to have “constructive ties” with Tehran.

In an about face from President George W. Bush’s isolation policy of Tehran, the Obama administration has said it would like to engage Iran on a range of issues, from its nuclear program to assistance in stabilizing Afghanistan.

Wood said he knew of no meetings planned between Clinton and the Iranians, but also did not rule it out.

Iran has said it would be interested in attending the meeting in the Netherlands but has not yet said who could be there.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice attended several conferences aimed at stabilizing Iraq, where Iran was also invited.

Rice exchanged pleasantries with Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki at those events but never had substantive talks with him.


HRC BEING HONORED at a breakfast on MAY 18th.

In Helen Thomas, Hillary Clinton, Save America's Treasures, Secretary of State on March 23, 2009 at 8:23 am

Hillary Clinton listens during an event for the Preserve America/Save America's Treasures legislation at the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum in Washington, DC, 31 October 2007.

Hillary Clinton listens during an event for the Preserve America/Save America's Treasures legislation at the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum in Washington, DC, 31 October 2007.

While First Lady,Hillary Clinton initiated a millennium project, SAVE AMERICA’S TREASURES, and took a very personal interest in the preservation and restoration of Val-Kill, Eleanor Roosevelt’s home near Hyde Park.

She has continued to be supportive of this wonderful project which is also a great example of economic stimulus for upstate.

A committee for the May 18 breakfast is now being formed – members will probably be asked to raise or donate $5000, $3000 or $1000. Please let me know if you would like to join me and be involved on this committee. It will be great fun, for a great purpose!

Please hold the date for this unusual opportunity to spend time with her!

Individual tickets for the event will probably range from $200 to $350.

The Save America’s Treasures program received the 2007 Keystone Award, the highest award given to organizations outside the architectural field for outstanding contributions to society, from the American Institute of Architects and the American Architectural Foundation.

Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton To Receive Honorary Degree By New York University At The May 13th  commencement.

AP) – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Nobel Prize winner Albert Fert will be honored at New York University’s commencement next month. The school said Monday that Clinton will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the May 13 ceremony. Fert, a physicist, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree.

John Patrick Shanley, who has won a Pulitzer Prize, a Tony and an Oscar, will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. Also being honored are health advocate Jessie Gruman and journalist Helen Thomas.

See our link above saluting Helen Thomas, the First Lady of the Press.

Hillary Clinton Accepts Global Trailblazer Award; Receives Standing Ovation

In Award, Madame Secretary Clinton on March 21, 2009 at 7:15 am

Hillary Clinton is on hand at the Kennedy Center to accept accolades honoring women leaders.

Hillary Clinton is on hand at the Kennedy Center to accept accolades honoring women leaders.

Partisanship was tossed aside Thursday night at the 2009 Global Leadership Awards, held at the Kennedy Center, and honoring women leaders including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was there to accept her award.

The ceremony was put on by Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international organization promoting women in leadership, and saw such notables on stage as Ben Affleck, Sally Fields, Maria Bello, Candice Bergen, Diane von Furstenberg, Nicholas Kristof and Maggie Grace.

Clinton was there to accept the organization’s “Global Trailblazer” award for “her passionate commitment to promoting women’s rights and securing justice for all people around the world.” The award was presented to her by a former political opponent during Clinton’s time in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.).

“Vital Voices is all about uniting women and working together for positive change,” said the Hutchinson. “[Hillary Clinton] has reached out to bring people around this common cause and has used her powerful voice to raise the voices of all women. … As presidential candidate last year, she made 18 million cracks in the ceiling and inspired women all over the world. As secretary of State, she is putting women’s rights at the top of her agenda.”

“I want to thank Kay for being such a wonderful colleague and friend,” said Clinton in return. “I will do what I can to champion these issues and to use my own voice in support of women who raise their voices.” She added that governments and leaders “realize that no nation can be successful if it invests only in and listens only to one half of the population.”

Despite the night’s star power—and although additional awards were presented to women leaders from Afghanistan, Nigeria, Cambodia and the Democratic Republic of Congo—it in every way belonged to Clinton, beginning with a touching video tribute and capped with a standing ovation that lasted nearly two minutes when she appeared on stage. Even heartthrob Affleck failed to garner half as much applause.

Affleck, did, however get a big round of applause when he said, “As along as violence against women—sexual or otherwise—remains strictly and exclusvely a ‘women’s issue’ it will always be an issue. We men must own this and we must recognize that it is vital to our own survival and we must help our brothers see it as such.”

Those in attendance included Zain Verjee, Pierre Vimont, Nina Totenberg, Don and Rhoda Glickman, Juleanna Glover, Dal Magna, Wolf Blitzer, Betsy Fischer, Andrea Mitchell, Tammy Haddad, Val Dem, Sidney Blumental, Claire Shipman, Charlie Rose and Dina Powell.
LINK

Madame Secretary’s support for Historic Van Buren land aquisition realized…

In Hillary Clinton, National Historical Site, Preservation on March 20, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Senate passes Martin Van Buren National Historic Site Protection Act.

WASHINGTON – The US Senate has passed the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site Boundary Revision Act, legislation sponsored by then-Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand and then-Senator Hillary Clinton. The bill would enact a 2003 study by the National Park Service that will add approximately 261 acres to the current Park.

“We are now one step closer to preserving the history of Martin Van Buren’s Lindenwald and the rich agricultural character of the Hudson Valley,” said now-Senator Gillibrand. ***“The dedication of the local community to preserve their rich history has been vital. This boundary expansion would protect local agricultural lands and help to increase tourism opportunities in the historic Hudson Valley. ***I want to recognize Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,*** who sponsored the companion legislation in the Senate.”***

acerage-lindenwald_air

The boundary revision is supported by the Village of Kinderhook, the Town of Kinderhook, the New York State Historic Preservation Office, the Open Space Institute, the Columbia County Land Conservancy, the Friends of Lindenwald, the Columbia County Historical Society, the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, and was unanimously supported by the Columbia County Board of Supervisors in a 2005 board vote.

The legislation was included in an historic preservation bill that served as the legislative vehicle and passed by the Senate Thursday.

van-buren-pr-00075-d



The Van Buren-Kinderhook Connection.

US and Ireland share history and friendship..

In economy, Human Rights, Ireland, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, news, Politics on March 16, 2009 at 9:47 pm

hill-and-martin

WASHINGTON -msnbc-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has harsh words for violent opponents of the peace process in Northern Ireland.

Speaking at a press conference with Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin, Clinton praised Northern Ireland’s leaders for unity in condemning recent violence.

She called attacks this month that killed two British soldiers and a policeman “an affront to the values of everyone community, every ethnicity, every religion and every nation that seeks peace.”

Clinton responded to a reporter who referred to opponents of the peace process as dissidents, saying “Not dissidents. I’m all in favor of dissidents, I’m not in favor of criminals.”

Remarks with Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin After Their Meeting

In economy, foreign policy, Human Rights, Ireland, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, news, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, United States on March 16, 2009 at 7:59 pm

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Remarks with Irish Foreign Minister M…“, posted with vodpod
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SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. Well, I am delighted to welcome the foreign minister here today. I know this comes a little early, but, Minister Martin, I wish you and the people of Ireland and all people who are connected to the wonderful Irish history and traditions a very happy St. Patrick’s Day.

I had the great honor of representing a very large Irish American citizenry in New York for eight years, and I know well the contributions that Ireland and Irish Americans have made to the United States. They’re so numerous, they’re impossible to quantify. And indeed, we now have a President and a Vice President who trace some of their family roots back to Ireland.

So I am grateful that the foreign minister could join us here today ahead of the holiday tomorrow to acknowledge both the history and friendship that we share, but also the working relationship that we have enjoyed on a number of important issues that are really significant to both the people of Ireland and to Americans.

I told the foreign minister how much we appreciate that strong partnership. And we discussed and had a very productive meeting about a range of issues. Our countries share a vital economic relationship that has created tens of thousands of jobs in Ireland and the United States. We need to coordinate closely to preserve those benefits in the face of global economic challenges.

Ireland also makes significant contributions to global security. Over 800 troops, 10 percent of the country’s armed forces, are currently deployed overseas on peacekeeping missions in Chad, Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and other countries.

And on the subject of conflict prevention, I want to address the recent events in Northern Ireland. As many of you know, this is an issue of great personal concern and commitment to both me and to my husband. It was an honor to work on behalf of peace in Northern Ireland and to do so with the leadership of Senator George Mitchell as our negotiator. I had the privilege of visiting Northern Ireland numerous times to meet with activists from both communities. I spent a lot of time in particular with women, Catholic and Protestant, who were working to build bridges in their own communities, to find common ground as mothers and wives, and to create conditions for peace from the ground up.

Thanks to the brave efforts of government leaders and community activists like the women that I was privileged to know, the people of Northern Ireland, with the strong support of the Government of Ireland and the Government of Great Britain, reached a peace agreement, the Good Friday Agreement, that has delivered more than a decade of calm and progress.

Now, in recent days, a handful of rejectionists have tried to drag the people of Northern Ireland back into a full cycle of violence and retaliation. The recent attacks which killed two British soldiers and a police officer are an affront to the values of every community, every ethnicity, every religion, and every nation that seeks peace. I want to commend the entire leadership of Northern Ireland as well as the Irish and British governments for their constructive statements and their strong resolve in the face of this attack.

I hope that the recent arrests will bring an end to these tragic events and allow the people of Northern Ireland to continue to move forward not only with the important work of reconciliation, but with prosperity and progress that will redound to the benefit of all. The success of the peace process has consequences that go far beyond Northern Ireland. It provides proof to people everywhere that negotiations, dialogue, reconciliation, diplomacy can end conflicts that have tormented generations. The United States stand with the people of Northern Ireland. We will not let criminals destroy the gains that have been achieved through great courage and sacrifice.

Now, this issue is, of course, only a small facet of our relationship with Ireland. Whether it is supporting the Middle East peace process; strengthening democratic institutions in Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Western Balkans; promoting human rights; finding solutions to the global financial crisis and climate change; working together on development, we know Ireland is and will remain a strong and steady partner and leader. We share responsibilities, a common agenda, and a proud history.

So Minister Martin, I am grateful for your friendship and for the friendship that you represent on behalf of your country, and I look forward to working with you as we address these and other challenges.

FOREIGN MINISTER MARTIN: Thank you very much indeed, Secretary of State, and may I say that it’s a particular pleasure for me and indeed a privilege to be here with you and to have the opportunity to have our first bilateral meeting here in Washington.

I think you will agree that our meeting was substantive, it was productive, and very fruitful. And indeed, I, of course, congratulated Secretary of State Clinton on her recent appointment and, of course, said all of us in Ireland look forward to working with you in the months and indeed in the years ahead.

It is especially appropriate that the meeting should take place on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, when Ireland again has been honored so warmly here in Washington. And indeed there’s a special bond of friendship between Ireland and the United States, and again this is reflected, I think, in the very generous way in which St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated here today and tomorrow in Washington and indeed across the United States itself.

Secretary Clinton has been an extraordinary friend of Ireland and continues to be. For many years you’ve played a key role in our peace process, as you’ve just articulated, and you’ve been a frequent visitor to Ireland over the years. Your engagement at a political and civic level, particularly in terms of developing political awareness among women’s groups in Northern Ireland, was particularly important and earned you the greatest respect on the island of Ireland and indeed amongst our Irish American community here in the United States. And of course, we look forward very much indeed to welcoming you to Ireland for an official visit at an early opportunity.

In addition to that, we did discuss, of course, the situation in Northern Ireland, including the tragic events of last – of the past week, when three lives were needlessly and senselessly lost as a result of unacceptable and criminal attacks by dissidents. We – what has emerged from the past week, as I spoke and discussed with Secretary Clinton, has been a very strong unity of purpose from both the Irish and the British Government and indeed from all of the political parties on the island of Ireland. It has demonstrated a very significant unity of purpose in ensuring that we will never go back to the bad old days and that we’re very anxious to build on the political momentum and develop very strong political structures and community structures to ensure the continuation and the enhancement of the extraordinary achievements of the past ten years. And of course, America has been particularly important in relation to those achievements.

In terms of the ongoing bilateral relationship that we – Secretary Clinton has expressed interest in the new strategic framework that the Taoiseach announced last evening, which will in many ways be the framework for the development of our relationship with the United States in the decades ahead. And we want to work on quite a number of those issues into the future, not least in developing bilateral frameworks whereby young Irish people can come to America and indeed young Americans can come to Ireland to work and to study and to learn more about each other’s cultures and experiences. And in that context, we look forward to working bilaterally on issues such as development and other issues where we can add value to the world by working in partnership.

I wish to pay tribute to Secretary Clinton’s intensive engagement with the international community over the past few weeks. We look forward to the United States assuming a strong and progressive global leadership role in the years ahead. And already within the European Union community, there is strong anticipation, excited anticipation about the relationship that will develop across the Atlantic between the European Union and indeed the United States.

We’ve discussed, as the Secretary of State said, issues pertaining to the Middle East, to Afghanistan, to global economic downturn, and developments within the European Union itself. We welcome your very energetic engagement in the pursuit of a comprehensive peace settlement in the Middle East. And of course, we were particularly warm in our welcome of the appointment of Senator George Mitchell as Middle East envoy, a person who did an enormous amount of work for Ireland in developing the peace process back in Ireland. And anywhere we’ve gone in the Middle East, we have made it very clear a man of integrity, a man of fairness, and a man who listens has been appointed to a very sensitive post. And that speaks volumes in terms of your commitment to the resolution of that issue. And indeed, if we can be of any assistance in that regard, given our own experiences, we’re only too willing to provide such assistance.

We look forward to tomorrow, St. Patrick’s Day. I was intrigued by the Secretary of State Clinton’s memories of the capacity of the Irish to party in a unique way – (laughter) – and she interrogated the Ambassador in terms of where the real parties were going to be tomorrow evening. (Laughter.) And I think, you know, we’re looking forward to it, and the Taoiseach – and the meeting between President Obama and the Taoiseach tomorrow as well, which of course is the highlight of the remarkable celebration of our national day in the United States.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Minister Martin.

MR. WOOD: We’ll take a couple of questions. The first one is to Elise Labott of CNN.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary. On Pakistan, I’d like to talk to you about your message to Pakistan over the weekend, which certainly seemed to help, at least, calm the situation. What sort of pressure did you apply to Pakistan? Did you warn that Congress may not be forthcoming with aid if the political turmoil continues? And given the political turmoil, can you say that the government is stable and are you concerned that it’s distracted from the very important task at hand at fighting the war on terrorism? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, of course, the Pakistanis themselves resolved the difficulties that were manifest over the last several days. The work that was done by our Ambassador Anne Patterson and the Embassy staff, along with our Special Representative Richard Holbrooke and his staff, was, I think, very helpful in both working with the Pakistani leaders themselves and in keeping our government informed. I did speak with both President Zardari and Nawaz Sharif. And I believe that the resolution that they have agreed upon is the first step of what has to be an ongoing reconciliation and compromising of political views that can stabilize civilian democracy and the rule of law, both of which are essential to the efforts that the Pakistanis themselves see as so critical; namely, preventing extremism and violence from stalking the Pakistani people and the country.

So we are going to continue our very close working relationship with the government and a number of Pakistani leaders in the days and weeks ahead. We have another trilateral meeting scheduled a few months off. So there will be an ongoing effort to make our services available and to help the Pakistanis fight against our common enemy.

QUESTION: Are you worried that (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think they understand what’s at stake.

MODERATOR: Last question is from Denis Coghlan of the Irish Times.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Denis, how are you?

QUESTION: Very well. Thank you, Madame Secretary. The Administration has asked a number of European countries, including Ireland, to help with the resettlement of detainees in Guantanamo Bay. I wanted to ask you, first, how important is our help with that issue? And secondly, what would you say to European citizens who say that Guantanamo was an American creation that most Europeans didn’t approve of, and that the United States really has the responsibility to resolve the problems it created?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the President has made it clear that we will close Guantanamo. That is a position that was widely advocated by Europeans, both European governments and the EU, as well as European citizens from, I guess, every country. We believe that that is the right step for the United States to take, and we are going through our process now to evaluate the disposition with respect to each detainee.

But it is clear that we will need help because many of the detainees cannot safely, for themselves or others, be sent back to the countries from which they came. There are some countries that have made it very clear if the detainees are returned that they will face consequences; imprisonment, for example. So we need help to avoid the human rights problems that might arise with the release and resettlement of the detainees. And we are trying to do the best we can with the problem that we inherited, and that certainly is something that Europe, from one end to the other, called upon us to do. So we would hope to have the cooperation of European governments.

FOREIGN MINISTER MARTIN: First of all, we warmly welcomed the decision to close Guantanamo, and indeed Ireland was one of the first countries out calling for its closure. And it has been welcomed warmly across the European Union. And as I have said, and I’m on the record publicly as saying, that given the fact that we called for the closure of Guantanamo, we have – there’s a compelling logic to being responsive to the situation and to see what – where we can help in – within the context of the European Union as well, because we do believe that Europe is working on this at the moment, and I understand that the European Union is engaged with the Administration in terms of information and so on. And I know it will be the subject matter of discussions perhaps tomorrow as well between the President and the Taoiseach, so I’m not going to preempt anything the Taoiseach may say.

But we’re a friend of America and we will respond to the issues as they emerge. And we’ve made it clear that we want to be positive in our engagement on this issue with the Administration.

SECRETARY CLINTON: We appreciate that.

MR. WOOD: Thank you all very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: One – you want one more on each side?

MR. WOOD: Sure.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah, okay.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, how do you respond to criticism from Senators McCain and Graham and Brownback that Chris Hill is – does not have the experience necessary to become ambassador in Baghdad? He doesn’t have the experience in the Arab countries. And they also allege that he doesn’t have the negotiating skills necessary, and they point to the recent deadlock in the negotiations with North Korea as an example.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, obviously, I think both of those criticisms are unjustified and unfounded. Chris Hill is a distinguished, experienced diplomat who has served in some very difficult positions on behalf of our country. Another very distinguished, experienced diplomat, John Negroponte, was our ambassador to Iraq. He did not have Middle East or Arabic language skills when he was sent to Iraq. I believe the people you’ve just mentioned, my former colleagues, all voted for former Deputy Secretary Negroponte. So I think on the experience basis, he is not only very well-qualified in terms of running a large embassy, helping to deal with the myriad of issues that will arise as we conduct our withdrawal, but we’ll have around him, as any ambassador does, people who have particular skills and expertise.

With respect to the North Korean mission that we believe Ambassador Hill carried out with great persistence and success despite some difficult challenges, this is a hard set of challenges to meet. And it is our perspective that he made a lot of lemonade out of some pretty bad lemons, and he was able to get the North Koreans on record as agreeing to certain obligations. We now have to follow through on those obligations.

So our assessment, which we believe is rooted in the facts, may be different from those who, you know, are rightfully distressed with and extremely critical of North Korean actions on human rights, on their continuing effort to obtain nuclear weapons, on their belligerence and their provocative actions. But that is something that is not in any way reflective of the job that Chris Hill did in the Six-Party Talks, where we think he did a very good job.

MODERATOR: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: A question for the Secretary of State. You had strong words there for the dissidents in Northern Ireland. Can I just ask —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Not dissidents, not – I’m all in favor of dissidents. I’m not in favor of criminals.

QUESTION: Okay. Well, your strong words, how – I just want to ask how you felt personally last week when you saw the events unfolding. And just secondly on that, you’ve been asked to make an official visit at the earliest opportunity.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.

QUESTION: When do you think that will be and will President Obama be coming with you?

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) Well, I told the minister that unfortunately, my colleagues in the State Department know my great affection for Ireland and they’re somewhat skeptical that it’s a work job for me to go. So I’m working that through. I will get there at my earliest opportunity.

I think like all people who value peace and who know what it’s like to feel secure sending your, you know, son to the store or waiting for your husband to come home from work, those days were thankfully behind us. And so when these criminal elements, these rejectionists, determined to kill and try to set the communities against one another in Northern Ireland again, to relive the troubles and the bad days that everyone worked so hard to resolve, it was distressing.

But I was immediately heartened by the response across Northern Ireland, indeed, the island of Ireland with people speaking out against the murders and the violence and the provocation that these actions represented. I particularly appreciated the very strong statements of Northern Ireland’s leaders from both communities. So I believe this did, as the minister said, fortunately foil the efforts of the criminal elements to try to provoke violence again. In fact, it did show a unity of purpose, a commitment to a positive future.

Now that doesn’t mean all of the problems are over and all of the difficulties that people live with day-to-day – the minister and I talked about some of the economic issues that we wanted to help address in Northern Ireland. But it did, in a resounding way, demonstrate a commitment to peace that touched my heart and was incredibly moving to me.

Thank you all.

FOREIGN MINISTER MARTIN: Thank you.