Welcome to "Text the Secretary," a mobile and online interactive forum where you can submit questions to Secretary Clinton.
In this session, Secretary Clinton answers questions taken during her trip to Ukraine, Poland, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia, July 1-5, 2010. Secretary Clinton selected frequently asked questions and answered them here.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
Sara Seyidova in Azerbaijan commented:
“Azerbaijan democrats are very dissappointed by your visit's results. You didn't support Azebaijani democrats who have been fighting for democracy under very tough situation for more than 20 years.”
My visit to Baku, the first by a Secretary of State since James Baker in 1992, was an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of our bilateral relationship with Azerbaijan. We appreciate Azerbaijan’s valuable contributions to regional security and stability. We also believe that Azerbaijan’s long term stability and prosperity, and our ability to deepen our bilateral relationship, will be best guaranteed if it demonstrates a consistent commitment to democratic reform, a message I delivered to all of my interlocutors in Baku. Support for democracy is a priority for the Obama Administration. As I told a group of Azerbaijani civil society and youth leaders at a roundtable discussion, I believe that much of the success of countries in the 21st century will be because they are open societies. Support for democratic development and the protection of human rights will continue to be a central element of our relationship with Azerbaijan and I look forward to continuing my dialogue on this critical issue with both the government and the people of Azerbaijan.
Brian in Chicago, Illinois: “Will your trip to Georgia help mediate the tension and violence between it and the other old Soviet states against Russia?”
The dissolution of the Soviet Union had a profound impact on all of Europe. As a result, each country in the region has built unique relationships with Russia and their neighbors. I went to Georgia with a clear message from President Obama and myself: the United States is steadfast in its commitment to Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We do not recognize spheres of influence. President Obama and I regularly discuss these issues with our Russian counterparts. We continue to call for Russia to abide by the August 2008 ceasefire commitments signed by Presidents Saakashvili and Medvedev, including the withdrawal of Russian troops to their pre-conflict positions. We also take every available opportunity to stress the need for humanitarian access to the breakaway territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We will continue to work toward a peaceful resolution of the conflict through established international mechanisms and constructive channels. The United States and Georgia share a deep friendship and we very much value the partnership between our two nations. We are committed to supporting Georgians as they work to build a future that is freer, more democratic, more prosperous, and more secure.
Armen from Hickory, North Carolina:
“During your meeting with the president of Azerbaijan, would you please raise the question of preparing his society for peace?...If they are serious about peace, they have to be realistic about the Madrid Proposals and the Minsk Group efforts and start translating those realities to the society of Azerbaijan.”
Well, first, let me say that I delivered the same message in Armenia that I delivered in Azerbaijan. This issue remains a high priority for the United States, and we will continue to address it at the highest levels of our government. When Presidents Obama, Medvedev, and Sarkozy made their Minsk Group statement at the G-8 on June 26, they stressed the importance that we attach to finding a peaceful settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We believe there has been progress, and that both Armenia and Azerbaijan recognize that any lasting settlement must be based on the Helsinki Principles. The Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan held intensive talks during the past year, including two weeks ago in St. Petersburg with President Medvedev. It is now time to complete work on the Basic Principles to enable the drafting of a final peace settlement. And we stand ready to help in any way that we can. The United States strongly condemns the use of force which will only serve to worsen the situation for the peoples of the region and lead to the loss of more life; violence is not the answer. The 1994 cease fire agreement must be honored and enforced. I will certainly do everything I can to assist in bringing the parties together to resolve this.