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Diplomacy in Action

Remarks With Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Karel De Gucht Before Their Meeting


Remarks
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
May 22, 2009


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Date: 05/22/2009 Description: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Karel De Gucht. State Dept Photo

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’s a pleasure to welcome the deputy prime minister and foreign minister here today. Karel has already hosted me in Brussels at a wonderful meal and a very productive bilateral discussion, and has been actively involved in the last four months in helping us figure out a way forward on a number of important issues that we care about between our two countries and also on a regional and a global basis. So it’s a pleasure to welcome you here.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER DE GUCHT: Thank you very much, Madame Secretary. I think it’s a very fortunate moment to meet each other because we just were both elected in the Human Rights Council, and I hope that we can use it as a podium to speak about human rights, which is very much of interest to you and also to us. And apart from that, there are still some little problems in the world, so – that we can certainly take the time to discuss.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Indeed.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER DE GUCHT: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you very much. Thank you.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, if Belgium offers to take in Guantanamo prisoners, is that – is this type of offer going to make it possible to get the deadline, the January deadline, to close the prison?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’re very grateful for the cooperation and assistance that Belgium and other countries have offered. As President Obama proceeds with the closure of Guantanamo, we’ll be discussing that. There is a lot of work ahead of us to be sure that we are fully able to produce the kind of information and responses that Belgium and other countries are looking for. But we’re very appreciative of – not on this – not just on this issue, but on the many issues that the minister and his government have been working with us.

Thank you.

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PRN: 2009/497



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