Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

Hillary Clinton: If we want to give peace a chance, we have some work to do-

In Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, Middle East, Pakistan, Smart Power, United States on October 22, 2011 at 8:42 am

Pakistan put on notice


An exclusive session: Hillary Clinton with Pakistani civil society

Clinton: US Evaluating All Options To Pressure Libya, Urges Americans To Leave The Country

In Libya, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, Middle East, New Zealand, United States on February 23, 2011 at 6:16 pm

ABC News’ Kirit Radia reports: Asked what it will take for the United States to take a tougher stance on Libya, where the government has instituted a brutal crackdown against protestors seeking its ouster, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended the Obama administration’s actions so far.

“The United States, starting with what the president said on Friday, what I reiterated yesterday, have made it absolutely clear that we strongly condemn the violence in Libya, that we have called for an end to violence against protesters and those who are seeking the rights that are due to any people anywhere. And we deeply regret the loss of life that has already occurred,” she said at a press conference following a meeting with her Brazilian counterpart.

She told reporters that all options are still on the table.

“We will look at all the possible options to try to bring an end to the violence, to try to influence the government,” she said.

To that end, Clinton said the US wants to coordinate with international partners in creating a unified response to the violence, in large part because, she said, other countries have more leverage with Libya than the United States.

“There are many countries that have much closer relations with Libya than we do, as you know. We haven’t had those relations for many years to the extent that we have the kind of influence that other countries might be able to exercise now,” she said, referencing possible action at the United Nations Security Council and at the Human Rights Council.

“We have to get the international community together, because there is no doubt in my mind that this is now the moment for the international community to act together,” she said.

“We are joining with the rest of the world in sending a clear message to the Libyan government that violence is unacceptable and that the Libyan government will be held accountable for the actions that it is taking,” Clinton added.

Clinton also urged Americans to leave Libya if they can.

“In any situation our foremost concern has to be for the safety and security of our own citizens,” she said. “We urge Americans to depart immediately. If they need help, they should contact the embassy or go to our Bureau of Consular Affairs website for information.”

Earthquake in Christchurch

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
February 22, 2011

I am deeply saddened by the news that a second major earthquake in 6 months has struck Christchurch. On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I send our sincere condolences and sympathy to the people of New Zealand.

When the earthquake struck, American and Kiwi officials were in the middle of a meeting in Christchurch, discussing plans to further develop and expand the broad partnership between our nations.

The United States stands ready to provide assistance to the government of New Zealand and to the brave people of Christchurch. Our long history of friendship and mutual support in times of need is an example of our enduring bond.

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this terrible tragedy, especially the families of the victims, and with all the people of New Zealand.


U.S. being ‘out-communicated,’ Clinton says. Information is key!

In foreign policy, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, Middle East, the Taliban and al Qaeda on May 23, 2009 at 5:13 pm

Hill in Blues

Secretary Clinton testified yesterday (as seen above) in front of a Senate subcommittee that the United States is “being out-communicated by the Taliban and al Qaeda” and that it needs a “new strategic communication strategy” in order to “do a better job of getting the story of the values, ideals, the results of democracy out to people who are now being fed a steady diet of the [worst] kind of disinformation.”

Al Qaeda’s propagandists produce high-quality videos and elaborate Web sites, which has led U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates to often say, “We’re being out-communicated by a guy in a cave.”

Clinton didn’t provide details about what any “new strategic communication strategy” would involve, but whatever it is, let’s hope it follows sound media ethics. In the past, the United States secretly paid Iraqi newspapers to run articles written by U.S. troops. In 2006, the Defense Department’s inspector general discovered that the Lincoln Group, a private contractor, had paid Iraqi media outlets to run articles without attribution that were favorable to the U.S. military.

It’s doubtful, though, that Clinton would support such tactics. According to a 2008 Washington Post article, when then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld learned about the Lincoln Group’s “anonymous pay-to-publish program,” he told reporters, “Gee, that’s not what we ought to be doing.”

Clinton, the e-diplomat, has hinted a bit at what her communications strategy would involve. Tuesday, she mentioned reaching out directly to displaced Pakistanis on their cellphones.

In all fairness, FP — the print edition — runs multipage ads from various countries, which are clearly marked as “Special Advertising Supplement.” The May/June issue has supplements from the Dominican Republic, Angola, and Cabinda (an Angolan province).

And speaking of Angola, Clinton has that country on her schedule today:

11:00 a.m. Bilateral with His Excellency Ansuncao Afonso dos Anjos, Minister of External Relations of the Republic of Angola.

11:45 a.m. Meeting with Joint Summit Working Group.

2:00 p.m. Bilateral with His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania.

4:15 p.m. Attend The President’s bilateral with Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania.

Photo: TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

After meeting and dining yesterday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, shown above, Secretary Clinton devotes herself to humanitarian issues this morning.

In economy, foreign policy, Global News, Humanitarian Aide, Madame Secretary Clinton, Middle East, Peace on May 20, 2009 at 12:21 am

After meeting and dining yesterday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, shown above, Secretary Clinton devotes herself to humanitarian issues this morning.

After meeting and dining yesterday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, shown above, Secretary Clinton devotes herself to humanitarian issues this morning.

9:45 a.m. Meeting with Representatives of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

11:15 a.m. Announcement of Humanitarian Aid to Pakistan, in the Brady Room at the White House

11:50 a.m. Global Press Conference at Foreign Press Center in Washington, DC
To view via web:
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1:30 p.m. Meeting with former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan

International Women of Courage Awards to be Announced by Hillary Clinton…

In economy, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, Middle East, news, Politics, Turkey, United States, Washington, Woman of the Year on March 9, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will announce this year’s recipients of the Secretary of State’s Award for International Women of Courage. The awards ceremony will take place on March 11 at 4 p.m. in the Benjamin Franklin Room of the U.S. Department of State.

The annual Award for International Women of Courage recognizes women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for human rights and women’s equality. This is the only Department of State award that pays tribute to outstanding women leaders worldwide. This year, the Secretary of State will pay tribute to honorees representing Afghanistan, Guatemala, Iraq, Malaysia, Niger, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.

The Awards Ceremony will be pool press coverage for cameras and open for writers and still photographers.

Final access time for writers and stills: 3:30 p.m. from the 23rd Street entrance.

Media representatives may attend this event upon presentation of one of the following:

(1) A U.S. Government-issued identification card (Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense or Foreign Press Center),(2) a media-issued photo identification card, or

(3) a letter from their employer on letterhead verifying their employment as a journalist, accompanied by an official photo identification card (driver’s license, passport). Press should allow adequate time to process through security and to be in the briefing room 10 minutes prior to the briefing.

Ruth Bennett
Office of International Women’s Issues, U.S. Department of State
(202) 312-9867

Office of Press Relations, U.S. Department of State
(202) 647-2492

Hillary Clinton pledges multifaceted efforts to stabilize Pakistan

WASHINGTON: The United States will work with its NATO allies to forge a multifaceted strategy to stabilise Pakistan and Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has pledged. “We will be working with our NATO allies and other partners to come up with a comprehensive strategy that integrates military and civilian assets in a way that can try to stabilise both Afghanistan and Pakistan from the mutual threat they face from Al Qaeda and the Taliban,” she told German ZDF-TV during her tour of Europe.

According to a transcript released by the State Department, Clinton claimed insurgent groups “are determined to destabilize those countries to gain and hold territory to serve as safe havens for terrorists who plan and plot against Europe and the United States”. She said the Obama administration is “focused on a policy review concerning Afghanistan and Pakistan because we think we have strategic interests there and threats emanate from there”.

Clinton also held talks with members of the 26-nation NATO alliance on formulating an effective way forward in Afghanistan. Before travelling to Europe, Clinton hosted the Pakistani and Afghan foreign ministers in Washington for tripartite consultations on fashioning a comprehensive policy, under the Obama administration, for the Pak-Afghan border regions.

U.S. and Turkey Reaffirm Strong Partnership

hill-and-turkish-pm(Mar. 7) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan today reaffirmed the strong bonds of alliance, solidarity and strategic partnership between the Republic of Turkey and the United States, as well as the commitment of both countries to the principles of peace, democracy, freedom, and prosperity enshrined in the Shared Vision and Structured Dialogue document agreed to in July 2006

They reaffirmed their determination to diversify the broad based bilateral relations particularly between the Turkish and American people.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan today reaffirmed the strong bonds of alliance, solidarity and strategic partnership between the Republic of Turkey and the United States, as well as the commitment of both countries to the principles of peace, democracy, freedom, and prosperity enshrined in the Shared Vision and Structured Dialogue document agreed to in July 2006. hill-and-turkish-fm2

Turkey and the United States reiterated their determination to continue close cooperation and consultation on all issues of common concern. They pledge to contribute to peace and stability in the Middle East and in this context,

to support a permanent settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including alleviating the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of a two-state solution;

to enhance energy security and to expand the Southern corridor of natural gas and oil infrastructure

to enable Caspian basin and Iraqi energy producers to reach European and world markets;

to promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the south Caucasus, including through U.S. support for the efforts of Turkey and Armenia to normalize relations and joint support for the efforts of the Minsk Group to resolve the Nagorno Karabakh conflict;

to continue to cooperate in the Balkans;

to support strongly a comprehensive and mutually-acceptable settlement of the Cyprus question under the auspices of the UN and in this context ending the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots; and to enhance their cooperation in the fight against terrorism, particularly against their common enemies, the PKK and al-Qaeda.

The United States will continue its intelligence support for Turkish operations against the PKK and is reviewing ways to be more supportive. As members of the G-20, Turkey and the United States pledge continued cooperation to deal with the global economic crisis and efforts to increase and diversify bilateral economic relations with particular emphasis on trade, investment, scientific and technological cooperation.

Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Babacan discussed Turkey’s accession to the European Union as a member, a goal the United States continues to strongly support, as well as the Government of Turkey’s continued emphasis on reform process.

With their commitment to Transatlantic relations and as Allies in a strong NATO, they pledge continued cooperation in Afghanistan, including through continued Turkish contributions to Afghanistan. They reiterated their commitment to the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Iraq as well as reiterated their support for a democratic, pluralistic, unified and federal Iraq.

They also welcome Turkey’s deepening relations with the Government of Iraq as evidenced by high level visits as well as trilateral meetings to discuss cooperation against the PKK.

Turkey and the United States will strongly back the United Nations Security Council in its work to maintain global peace and security for the prevention and removal of threats to the international community and in this context will cooperate in dealing with issues including terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime and the threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery in the region and beyond.

Finally, they reaffirmed their determination to diversify the broad based bilateral relations particularly between the Turkish and American people. In that context, the Secretary and Minister announced the establishment of “Young Turkey/Young America”: A New Relationship for a New Age.

This initiative will enable emerging young leaders in Turkey and the United States to develop initiatives that will positively impact people’s lives and invest in future ties between the leadership of our two countries.

Clinton to attend key Nato talks

In foreign policy, Middle East, Moscow, NATO, news, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on March 5, 2009 at 3:50 am

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is participating in her first meeting with her Nato counterparts since the Obama administration took office.

This is an opportunity for Mrs Clinton to introduce herself as the alliance prepares for a crucial summit in France and Germany at the start of next month.

This is an opportunity for Mrs Clinton to introduce herself as the alliance prepares for a crucial summit in France and Germany at the start of next month.

Relations with Russia and Afghanistan will be the key items on the agenda for the gathering in Brussels.

This is an opportunity for Mrs Clinton to introduce herself as the alliance prepares for a crucial summit in France and Germany at the start of next month.

Nato remains the central pillar of the trans-Atlantic relationship.

But as its 60th birthday summit approaches, it is facing a critical military and political challenge in Afghanistan, where failure could call into question Nato’s whole credibility.

As the new Obama administration conducts its own Afghan policy review, the secretary of state will be eager to hear the opinions of her Nato counterparts.

But US foreign policy is now very much a team game and US Vice-President Joe Biden will be in Brussels next Tuesday for a more detailed exchange of views on Afghanistan.

Crucial role

It is Russia, though. that will dominate much of Thursday’s discussions.

Nato foreign ministers are expected to give a green light to the resumption of high-level ties with Moscow, curtailed after the Russian invasion of Georgia.

Nato will, nonetheless, be trying to show that more normal business with Russia does not mean that the alliance is abandoning countries like Georgia and Ukraine. Their foreign ministers will be here too.

But Moscow can no longer be ignored. Russia can play a crucial role in opening up new supply routes into Afghanistan. And these may prove invaluable as the US puts in more troops and the security of existing supply lines through Pakistan becomes more uncertain.


Palestinian Authority Is the Only Legitimate Government of Palestinian People

In foreign policy, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, Middle East, news, Smart Power, United States on March 5, 2009 at 3:27 am

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Secretary Clinton (Mar. 4): “The United States supports the Palestinian Authority as the only legitimate government of the Palestinian people. As a partner on the road to a comprehensive peace, which includes a two-state solution, our support comes with more than words. As I pledged in Sharm el-Sheikh, we will work with President Abbas, Prime Minister Fayyad, and the government of the Palestinian Authority to address critical humanitarian, budgetary, security, and infrastructure needs, both in Gaza and in the West Bank.”

Clinton pledges support for any Israeli government

In foreign policy, Middle East, news, Politics, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, United States on March 3, 2009 at 2:38 pm





TheSecretary of State lays a wreath next to the Eternal Flame during a ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem

TheSecretary of State lays a wreath next to the Eternal Flame during a ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM, March 3 (Xinhua) — Visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday said that the U.S. administration will stand by any Israeli government that comes out of the ongoing cabinet-making process.

She made the pledge during a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres in the morning, when she also stressed that the U.S. government is determined to push forward the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and realize a two-state solution.

“The government that will be formed in Israel will be committed to the peace process and to prior agreements,” responded Peres, who tasked ten days ago right-wing leader Benjamin Netanyahu with forming a new government.

Netanyahu recently stressed his intention to advance the peace process, but stopped short of committing himself to the two-state guideline. He also said the he would allow Jewish settlements in the West Bank to expand.

The former prime minister insisted in the past that peace efforts should be concentrated on developing the Palestinian economy, a stance that has been rejected outright by the Palestinians and is likely to put him on a collision course with the United States, Israel’s staunch ally.

The top U.S. diplomat will meet with Netanyahu later in the day. Local daily The Jerusalem Post quoted Israeli officials as saying that both would likely be in a “listening mode” and that no “fireworks” around either the two-state issue or construction in the settlements are expected.

Clinton is also scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday, before she goes to the West Bank on Wednesday for meetings with Palestinian officials.

U.S. Envisions Palestinian State at Peace With Its Neighbors

In foreign policy, Humanitarian Aide, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, Middle East, United States on March 2, 2009 at 7:40 pm

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Intervention at the International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Economy for the Reconstruction of Gaza

Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton
Sharm el-Sheikh, DC, Egypt
March 2, 2009

Thank you very much. It is a pleasure to be back in Egypt, and to be with so many people dedicated to building regional and global peace. I want to thank the Egyptian Government, my colleagues in the Quartet, the Norwegian co-chair, and other sponsors for convening this meeting. Let me also convey special gratitude to President Mubarak for his hospitality and for his personal efforts to bridge divides and end conflict.

I’m proud to be here on behalf of the Obama Administration – and to bring this message from our new President: The United States is committed to a comprehensive peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors and we will pursue it on many fronts. So too will we vigorously pursue a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As a sign of our seriousness, President Obama and I have appointed Special Envoy George Mitchell to lead this effort.

We commend President Abbas for his commitment to move forward with a negotiated solution, and also Prime Minister Fayyad for his work to build institutions to support a Palestinian state. And we take inspiration from the Arab Peace Initiative proposed by His Majesty King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and endorsed by the Arab League.

Time is of the essence. We cannot afford more setbacks and delays, or regrets about what might have been had different decisions been made. And now is not the time for recriminations. It is time to look ahead.

We gather today to address the humanitarian and early recovery needs of the Palestinian people after the recent conflict, and the United States joins with others in generously stepping forward to help. Our pledge of over $900 million, designed in coordination with the Palestinian Authority and to be submitted to the United States Congress, will deliver assistance to the people of Gaza and the West Bank.

All of us recognize that human progress depends on the human spirit. That a child growing up in Gaza without shelter, health care, or an education has the same right to go to school, see a doctor, and live with a roof over her head as a child growing up in your country or mine. That a mother and father in the West Bank struggling to fulfill their dreams for their children have the same right as parents anywhere else in the world to a good job, a decent home, and the tools to achieve greater prosperity and peace. That progress toward the goals we seek here today is more likely to grow out of opportunity, than futility; out of hope, than out of misery.

So we will work with our Palestinian partners, President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad, to address critical humanitarian, budgetary, security, and infrastructure needs. We have worked with the Palestinian Authority to install safeguards that will ensure that our funding is only used where, and for whom, it is intended, and does not end up in the wrong hands.

In pledging these funds, we are pursuing both a short- and long-term approach. It is not enough just to respond to the immediate needs of the Palestinian people. Our response to today’s crisis in Gaza cannot be separated from our broader efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace. Only by acting now can we turn this crisis into an opportunity that moves us closer to our shared goals.

By providing humanitarian assistance to Gaza, we also aim to foster conditions in which a Palestinian state can be fully realized – a state that is a responsible partner, is at peace with Israel and its Arab neighbors, and is accountable to its people; a state that Palestinians everywhere can be proud of and is respected worldwide.

This is the Palestinian state we all envision. This is the Palestinian state that we have an obligation to help create.

For the Israelis, that means showing the Palestinians that there are benefits to negotiating if their goal is to control their own destiny and live in peace and dignity in an economically viable state.

For the Arab states, it means signaling through words and deeds that the spirit of the Arab Peace Initiative can begin to govern attitudes toward Israel now. For all of us – the Arab states and the wider international community – it means working with the government of the Palestinian people, the Palestinian Authority, to help build a state that can meet international expectations and obligations.

And for the Palestinians, it means that it is time to break the cycle of rejection and resistance, to cut the strings pulled by those who exploit the suffering of innocent people, and show the world what the talent and skills of an exceptional people can build and create.

That is why we’re here today – not only to address Gaza’s urgent needs, but to move ahead toward genuine Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli peace.

Our aid package is meant to accelerate, not hinder, that effort.

Through his commitment to negotiations with neighbors, President Abbas has shown the hallmarks of leadership, as has Prime Minister Fayyad, who has bolstered the credibility of his government by instituting a national budget process that is transparent and serves the needs of the Palestinian people. They are offering their people the option of a peaceful, independent, and more prosperous future, not the violence and false choices of extremists whose tactics – including rocket attacks that continue to this day – only will lead to more hardship and suffering. These attacks must stop.

The positive approaches I’ve outlined offer an opportunity for even greater progress if our Palestinian partners can continue to work with us and abide by the PLO commitments to renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist. The Quartet, in adopting its own principles, has agreed with the Arab League that the interests of the Palestinian people are best served under a government that abides by the PLO commitments.

Only a Palestinian Authority that adheres to these principles can fulfill the aspirations of the Palestinian people to be free, independent, prosperous and peaceful, flourishing in a viable state of their own.

As President Obama has said, the United States will engage in this effort with vigor and intensity in pursuit of genuine progress – progress that will improve the lives and the livelihoods of the people of Gaza and the West Bank, the people of Israel, and the neighbors throughout the region.

Assistance for the Palestinians is one step up the ladder to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace. We must be willing to take this step – and many more together – until we fulfill that promise.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

Clinton Lands in Middle East With $900 Million in Aid (video)

In foreign policy, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, Middle East on March 1, 2009 at 6:26 pm

March 1 (Bloomberg) — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, arriving in Egypt late today, prepared to announce more than $900 million in aid to the Palestinians as she wades into the Middle East conflict that President Barack Obama has made an early diplomatic priority.

Clinton will join Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, other Arab leaders and European officials tomorrow at a conference to raise money for rebuilding the war-damaged Gaza Strip. A 22-day conflict between Israel and the militant Islamic Hamas movement devastated the coastal enclave.

None of the funds will go to Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and Israel, State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, the location for the conference on Gaza.

“Hamas is not getting any of this money,” Wood said. “We also want to make sure we are giving support to the” Palestinian Authority, he said.

About two-thirds of the money is going to the West Bank, Wood said. The West Bank is controlled by Hamas rival Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority. Abbas is engaged with Israel in peace talks, which Hamas opposes.

Strengthening Abbas

The Obama administration is seeking to strengthen Abbas while shunning Hamas. About $200 million will provide direct support for Palestinian Authority expenses such as salaries, and $400 million is allotted for projects the authority identifies as priorities, Wood said.

The U.S. will give $300 million for humanitarian aid in Gaza, to be delivered through the United Nations and other non- profit organizations not linked with Hamas, Wood said.

In the wake of the conflict in Gaza, Obama is trying to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in a broader effort to stabilize the Middle East. Arab countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are seeking to broker accords to end conflicts such as the standoff between Israel and Syria.

“Not only do we want to address the needs, the very real needs, in the Gaza Strip, but we also want to move forward toward that comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace that President Obama talked about,” Jeffrey Feltman, acting assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, said in Washington before the trip.

Quartet Meeting

The conference will be an opportunity for Clinton to meet many of her regional counterparts that she hasn’t met in Washington since taking office in January. Events will include a meeting on the sidelines for the so-called Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators, which includes the U.S., the European Union, the United Nations and Russia.

Middle East special envoy George Mitchell will also attend the gathering in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Israel ended on Jan. 18 an air, land and sea assault on Gaza aimed at stopping rocket attacks on Israeli communities by militants in the Hamas-ruled enclave. Hamas is regarded as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and Israel.

Clinton made no public comments during the flight from Washington or upon arrival. She told Voice of America radio earlier that she would make a significant aid pledge for Gaza that wouldn’t benefit Hamas, the U.S. government-funded news service said on its Web site.

Seventy-five countries and international organizations are attending the conference, which is being co-chaired by Egypt and Norway. Saudi Arabia has promised $1 billion in aid and the European Union, another $552 million.

Humanitarian Aid

The European contribution will go in part toward humanitarian aid and early recovery work such as removing rubble and unexploded ordinance and caring for traumatized children.

In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s budget for the West Bank and Gaza was $389 million, including $150 million to fund Palestinian Authority expenses such as salaries.

The World Bank today urged donor countries to channel funds for rebuilding Gaza through the Palestinian Authority and five local organizations with “proven capacity” to undertake projects. The groups aren’t linked to Hamas, which won 2006 parliamentary elections across Gaza and the West Bank and then ousted Abbas’s Fatah party from Gaza in 2007, dividing Palestinian governance.

The Bush administration declined to deal with Hamas. Clinton, in remarks to the Voice of America on Feb. 27, suggested President Obama will follow the same course by applying conditions for engagement with Hamas that Bush also required.

Recognition of Israel

While not rejecting a future Abbas-Hamas coalition government, Clinton said the Islamic group must “renounce violence, recognize Israel and abide by previous commitments” made by Abbas and his predecessor, Yasser Arafat. Hamas has so far refused the three conditions.

Clinton will travel next to Jerusalem and the Palestinian headquarters of Ramallah in the West Bank. There she’ll meet with current governing officials as well as Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Likud party leader asked to form the next Israeli government after elections last month.

Clinton will then shift to European issues as she heads to Brussels, where she will participate for the first time as the top U.S. diplomat in a meeting of NATO foreign ministers on March 5. They will be preparing for a summit of North Atlantic Treaty Organization leaders in April that will mark the alliance’s 60th anniversary.

In Brussels, Clinton is scheduled to meet separately with European Union officials, before going on to Geneva to confer with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. She will also visit Turkish officials in Ankara.

To contact the reporter on this story: Viola Gienger in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, at; Daniel Williams in Sharm el-Sheikh at

Last Updated: March 1, 2009 17:22 EST