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Secretary Clinton Responds to you!

In Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, news, Politics, Smart Power, travel itinerary, United States on March 13, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Secretary Clinton recently  traveled to the Middle East and Europe. During her travels, she received questions via text message. In response to those questions, when asked how she would describe the trip, Secretary Clinton said:

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“I thought this trip was a very good start for the new policies and the new approaches of the Obama Administration. I particularly appreciated all the work that went into the announcement that I made at Sharm el-Sheikh that the United States would commit more than $900 million to the cause of humanitarian relief for the Palestinians and for the work that the Palestinian Authority is doing in the West Bank.

I also very much enjoyed visiting a program that is in a contest for State Department recognition, talking to women in Israel who are part of a micro-finance and entrepreneurial training program, and then going to Ramallah and the West Bank and visiting another State Department-supported program, the ACCESS program that teaches young Palestinians, as it does with young people in many countries, learning English and learning more about our culture. This is a program specifically aimed at young people who are not from well-to-do, affluent, already-educated families. I was just thrilled at their enthusiasm.

Those are the highlights of what was a very important trip and a good beginning for our efforts.”

Secretary Clinton responded to the other frequently asked questions  here.

Secretary Clinton set to begin work on Middle East peace process

In Gaza, Human Rights, Humanitarian Aide, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, Middle East, news, travel itinerary, United States on February 28, 2009 at 8:09 am

The U.S. Secretary of State heads to the Middle East on Monday to work toward a solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.

Secretary Clinton Traveling to Middle East and Europe

Secretary Clinton Traveling to Middle East and Europe

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in the Middle East on Monday to begin making good on her commitment — and President Barack Obama’s — to make negotiating an end to the Arab-Israeli dispute a diplomatic priority.

Rather than bold visions and sweeping peace plans, however, Clinton will enter the Middle East arena with relatively modest steps to buttress a shaky cease-fire in place since the recent Gaza war, according to senior U.S. officials and Middle Eastern diplomats.

She doesn’t have much choice.

The militant Islamic group Hamas, which opposes negotiations with Israel, controls Gaza, and the secular Palestinian Authority, which is more amenable to compromise and controls the West Bank, is dogged by allegations of corruption and incompetence.

The important talks may be ones that Clinton isn’t participating in directly — negotiations between Hamas and the rival Palestinian Authority over a Palestinian unity government.

Clinton on Friday welcomed progress in the talks between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority but reiterated that Hamas must recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence and commit to peace talks.

”Otherwise, I don’t think [a unity government] will result in the kind of positive step forward either for the Palestinian people or as a vehicle for a reinvigorated effort to obtain peace,” she said in a Voice of America interview.

In Israel, meanwhile, hawkish Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to form a government following elections in which Israeli voters, soured on the prospects for peace, veered sharply to the right.

NO COALITION

Hopes for a pragmatic Israeli unity government were dashed Friday when Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of the centrist Kadima party rebuffed Netanyahu’s appeals to join him in a coalition.

Livni said she couldn’t join with Likud because of the right-wing party’s opposition to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

Livni’s decision makes it more likely that Netanyahu will establish a center-right government with Israel’s ultra-Orthodox and far-right political parties. It probably will boost the power and influence of ultra-nationalist Avigdor Lieberman, the head of Israel’s third-largest parliamentary bloc and a polarizing figure inside Israel and around the world.

Likud traditionally has been a supporter of expanding Jewish settlement on the West Bank, which Palestinians see as making a mockery of peace talks. Obama and Clinton have given no hint yet as to how they’ll handle the politically explosive settlements issue.

HUMANITARIAN AID

Clinton’s first stop will be in Sharm el-Sheik, on the southern tip of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, where she’ll attend a donors’ conference that will marshal humanitarian aid for war-torn Gaza. Clinton is expected to announce a U.S. pledge of about $900 million.

Aid from foreign treasuries alone, however, is unlikely to have much lasting impact. Israel, which controls most of what goes in and out of Gaza, has made it clear that it won’t allow major building supplies into the isolated Mediterranean strip so long as it’s controlled by Hamas.

With the prospects for productive peace talks uncertain at best, however, Clinton and Obama’s special envoy, George Mitchell, are likely to find themselves, like their predecessors, dealing with frustrating details such as how to get humanitarian and rebuilding aid into Gaza without inadvertently helping Hamas.

U.S., Israeli and Arab officials are working on a plan that would see aid channeled to international organizations and directly to individuals and business owners in Gaza, bypassing Hamas.

Miami Herald

~~~~~~~~~   HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHELSEA   ~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHELSEA ~~~~~~~~~~

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USA POLITICS

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Being the wonderful parents they are, Bill and Hillary have produced a wonderful daughter.

HAPPY 29th BIRTHDAY CHELSEA…. Many Happy Returns!


Secretary Clinton: Travel to the Middle East and Europe, March 1-7, 2009

In foreign policy, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, Middle East, Politics, travel itinerary on February 27, 2009 at 11:57 am

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Belgium, Switzerland, and Turkey from March 17, 2009.

state-dept-logoSecretary Clinton will attend and participate in the donors conference for Gaza recovery hosted by Egypt on March 2. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell and other high-level representatives will be in attendance in Sharm el-Sheikh with the Secretary during the conference.

The Secretary also will meet with senior Egyptian officials.


After the conference, Secretary Clinton will travel to Israel and the Palestinian Territories and meet with senior officials.


In Brussels, Secretary Clinton will attend an informal meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers on March 5, where she will consult with Allies and seek consensus on the approach to the upcoming NATO Summit. The Secretary also will attend a meeting with foreign ministers from all NATO and EU countries, as well as Switzerland, to further boost transatlantic relations.


Also in Brussels, Secretary Clinton will meet separately with EU officials.


In Geneva, Secretary Clinton will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss a number of issues of mutual interest, including possibilities for a follow-on agreement to START, and deepening our cooperation in areas such as Afghanistan.


While in Ankara Secretary Clinton will meet with key Turkish officials.