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Diplomacy in Action

Joint Press Availability With U.K. Foreign Secretary Miliband


Press Conference
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Carlton Gardens, London, United Kingdom
October 11, 2009

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FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thanks for coming to Carlton Gardens. Above all, a very warm welcome to Secretary Clinton, to -- her visit to -- London stay, as part of her European tour, where we are absolutely delighted to have you. We have had talks which I would describe as warm, detailed, intensive, and productive. I think all those qualities would fit the sort of relationship that exists between our countries, and has existed between our countries for many years.

I think it's fair to say that there is going to be a hot (inaudible) on the policy front. We are not short of big policy questions to address. And the transatlantic cooperation is going to be at a premium as we confront the shared challenges and the shared opportunities.

I think it's fair to say that we spent the most time today talking about the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The shared strategy that has been set out by our Prime Minister and by the President is founded on some very clear principles -- above all, the principle that we have a very strong stake in a strong, sovereign, independent Afghanistan that is able to defend its own people from the ravages of the Taliban.

Our resolve, joint resolve, shared with 40 other nations, is strong and clear. And the people of Afghanistan do not want the return to Taliban rule in Kabul, and we have determined to work with a new Afghan government to prevent that. We are especially conscious, I think, of the responsibility of -- as leaders of our countries -- diplomatic services to make sure that the civilian and political side of the strategy is as strong as the military side.

We have also discussed the situation in the Middle East. We are very strong supporters of the commitment from this administration to establish a Palestinian state that's able to live alongside Israel. And we have also discussed the need for care and restraint from all sides on the particular flashpoint issues, including Jerusalem.

Obviously, we have also reviewed our position on Iran, where our countries work so closely together, including on the most recent revelation of the covert Iranian uranium enrichment site. My point on this is very, very simple, that Iran will never have a better opportunity to establish normal relations with the international community. And it will never have a better opportunity than to show that the peaceful intent that marks its words about its nuclear program is matched by its deeds.

I think it's also worth saying that we have had an important exchange on climate change, where we are now less than 60 days away from the Copenhagen summit, which is a unique opportunity for the world to come together and address what is going to become our most press national question, if it is not dealt with in a serious way.

So I just finally say that Secretary Clinton's determination to be her own envoy when it comes to the question of further progress in Northern Ireland is something that is deeply meaningful to the British government, and I think to the British people, as well. Your visit to Dublin, your visit to Northern Ireland today is a token, not just of America's commitment to see through the remarkable progress that is being made there, but of also your personal commitment that has existed now for 15 or 20 years. And I am sure the reception that you receive from the business and community and (inaudible) leaders that you meet will be reflective of the esteem and the thanks that we want to give for the outstanding commitment to work for peace there.

So, thank you very much for being here. We look forward to (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, David. And it is a pleasure to be back once again in London, and to have this opportunity to enjoy both a wonderful breakfast and a very productive and detailed conversation over that breakfast. I am also looking forward to seeing the prime minister later this morning.

And first, let me just underscore how grateful I am for this opportunity to reaffirm the historic importance of the special relationship between our two countries. I have many fond memories of this beautiful city from visits over the years. And I remember well something that one of my personal heroines, Eleanor Roosevelt, said back in 1942, when she had come to visit both American and British troops, including her own son. And she spoke of that special bond that is formed between nations when their ideals and objectives coincide. That is still the case today. And both our ideals and our objectives on a broad range of challenges and opportunities that we see in the world give us the chance to continue to forge a better future for the people of our two countries.

The international agenda is broad and deep. And the United States and the United Kingdom are partners, working to advance our shared values on every front, from rebuilding the world economy, to combating climate change and fighting hunger, to facing down the threats of nuclear proliferation and violent extremism, to helping advance a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. We stand shoulder to shoulder in the effort to build a global architecture of cooperation, and to develop the partnerships that are needed to meet these global challenges.

So, as the foreign secretary said, we have had a wide ranging discussion today, but we have had many such discussions over the last nine months, my tenure as Secretary of State.

British leadership was pivotal in the run up to the historic Security Council session chaired by President Obama that unanimously adopted Resolution 1887, and committed us to work toward a world without nuclear weapons. British leadership is important to the P5 Plus 1 process, as we work together to press the world's great concerns about Iran's nuclear programs.

We agree that the P5 Plus 1 meeting in Geneva was a constructive beginning. But it must be followed by action. Words are not enough. And we are speaking with a single voice, and delivering a clear message to Iran: The international community will not wait indefinitely for evidence that Iran is prepared to live up to its international obligations.

We also had an opportunity to discuss the ongoing review of our overall efforts, both civilian and military, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I again expressed my admiration for the incredible courage and commitment of the British troops who are serving in Afghanistan. We are deeply grateful for their service, and we honor their sacrifice. And both of our nations are committed to the cause in Afghanistan.

We understand how difficult this is, but we have no doubt that we must be both committed, and demonstrate leadership necessary to achieve our goals. At the same time, we are working to support the democratically elected government of Pakistan in its efforts to confront violent extremism, and to assist the people whose lives have been disrupted by that conflict. We want to help the Pakistani people and their government improve in the delivery of services. We share the same goals for the region that is affected by so much violent extremism, mainly, a peaceful and prosperous future for the people who live there.

And finally, as the foreign secretary said, we discussed the peace process in Northern Ireland, where I will be traveling later today. This remains an issue of great importance for both of our countries, and we are committed to seeing the full implementation of the Good Friday agreement, and a lasting peace in Northern Ireland that brings the benefits of peace to the people.

We always have a full agenda. We never have enough time to discuss everything that is on our minds. But it is a personal pleasure for me to be working with Secretary Miliband. So I thank you again for hosting me today, and I look forward to the work ahead.

MODERATOR: We will now take questions. Tim Marshall. (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Good morning. Foreign Secretary first. You talked about a shared strategy in Afghanistan. But, as you know, D.C. has spent the whole week talking about what they're going to be doing in Afghanistan, drawing down troops, reinforcing troops, status quo. Have you been given a full briefing on the Americans' intentions, and what are they?

Madame Secretary, welcome back in London. Remarks from you on that would be useful. But also, I did want to ask you about Northern Ireland. There has been a couple of terrorist instances recently. There have been bombs found, and it's thought to be the real IRA. I wanted your message to the terrorists in Northern Ireland, and also to the people back home, any remnants of support they may still have in the United States.

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Well, thank you for that, Tim. We certainly have had a full discussion of the discussions that are taking place in Washington.

I think people are in danger -- people around the world are in danger -- of misunderstanding the discussion that is taking place. I am sure Hillary will want to comment on this. But when President Obama set out his strategy in March, he made it absolutely clear that, at the time of the election, the formation of a new Afghan government, it would be appropriate to review the civil and military components of the strategy, and, above all, to review the implementation mechanisms that exist for putting into practice the strategy that he announced, a strategy which is at one with the strategy that the Prime Minister has announced.

There are big decisions ahead, above all, for the new Afghan government which will be formed in the next few weeks. But there are also decisions for the whole of the coalition, led by the United States. And we are working very, very closely together in Afghanistan and in our capitals to make sure that the coalition effort is as clear and effective and as decisive as possible.

To repeat, that means a civilian and political strategy with means of implementation, as well as a military strategy. And certainly the candor and transparency that is at the heart of the special relationship that the Secretary spoke about has been evident in all of our discussions, both down to the detailed work that we do together in Lashkar Gah, in the heart of Helmand, and the discussions that we have had today.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I would only underscore the foreign secretary's points. Our strategy remains the same. We are committed to Afghanistan. We are very clear that the conjunction of al-Qaeda and elements of the Taliban and other extremists pose a direct threat to our two countries, and really, to the world.

But we are also committed to ensuring that the implementation of our strategy on both the civilian and the military side is as effective as possible. And I think that is to be recognized and appreciated, as opposed to some of the discussion as to, "Well, why would you be rethinking," or, "Why would you be looking hard," or, "Why would you be asking tough questions?" Well, because we want to do it right, and we want to keep doing it right.

We have been in office about nine months. We obviously believe that the prior eight years were not as effective or focused as they might have been. I remember the first time I went to Afghanistan as a senator in 2003, I believe. And I was met by an American soldier at one of the bases I visited who said, "Welcome to the forgotten front lines of the war against terrorism."

So, our challenge has been to take what we inherited, including an immediate request for troops that the President had to act on shortly after taking office, understanding that we wanted to integrate our civilian and our military approaches, that we wanted to see Afghanistan in the larger regional context, and to recognize the imperative of working with Pakistan in order to be successful in Afghanistan, as well as stabilizing and supporting the people of Pakistan.

So, I believe that we are engaged in not only a very important and, as David said, transparent process, but one that shows real leadership and commitment by the United States.

As regards Northern Ireland, and the continuing evidence of extremism in Northern Ireland -- because, to me, terrorism is terrorism -- and those who would try to disrupt the peace of people going about their daily lives, are out of step and out of time. But it is imperative that the process that was established by the Good Friday agreement be seen all the way to conclusion. And I know that Prime Minister Brown is very focused on that. I have met with the leaders in Northern Ireland. I will, obviously, be seeing them again tomorrow.

But there is no support coming at all from the United States. The best we can tell is that those who try to inflict harm on others and cause damage are funding their evil enterprise through criminal gains. So we hope to see an end to all of that.

MODERATOR: Next question, Jeff Mason, Reuters.

QUESTION: Thank you. Madame Secretary and Mr. Foreign Secretary, my question is about Pakistan. The West has always been confident that nuclear arms in Pakistan are secure. In light of yesterday's attacks, how can you continue to be confident about that?

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I am happy to -- sorry?

QUESTION: I would be grateful for responses from both of you.

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I think it's very important to underline, first of all, the concern everyone faces about the internal threat -- (inaudible), if you like -- that exists in Pakistan. That is the greatest threat to Pakistan's security.

We both used the phrase that the insurgencies -- plural -- that Pakistan faces are a mortal threat to that country. But it's a threat that, over the last three or four months, the Pakistani military and the Pakistani people have shown enormous resolve and determination and sacrifice in beating back. And it is a mortal threat that can and will be defeated by united action by the civilian and military leadership in Pakistan, with the support of their people, and the support of the international community.

In respect of the nuclear issue, there is no evidence that has been shown publicly or privately of any threat to the Pakistani nuclear facilities. I think it's very important that alarmist talk is not allowed to gather pace, but that is -- at no stage underestimate the nature of the insurgency that threatens the Pakistani people. And the loss of life in Peshawar on Friday is a stark reminder of what the Pakistani people face, and the sacrifice that is being demanded of them. And I think it's important that those two issues are not confused.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I would agree with David, that we have confidence in the Pakistani government and the military's control over nuclear weapons. The recent attack at Rawalpindi, that was right at a military installation, is another reminder that the extremists in Pakistan, whatever their titles, or whatever their affiliation, are increasingly threatening the authority of the state.

But we see no evidence that they are going to take over the state, it's just that they will continue to cause a great deal of harm to the people of Pakistan, which is why the Pakistani military and the government is going after them so aggressively.

MODERATOR: Next question. Katherine Fillpot with the Times.

QUESTION: Foreign Secretary, Madame Secretary, can I ask you both if you are prepared to endorse a Karzai victory in the Afghan election, despite the extraordinary allegations of fraud?

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I think we have both said very clearly that our countries will never be party to a whitewash. That is not the way in which we work. That is why both of our countries have supported so strongly the Electoral Complaints Commission, and the work that they are doing. It is very important that that is followed through.

There are Afghan processes that need to be followed that require real engagement from all sides of the Afghan political system. We wait for the conclusions of the Electoral Complaint Commission's work. As I said at our party conference 10 days ago, it is right that we wait, because the new Afghan government has big responsibilities that will require the engagement of the whole Afghan population.

And to repeat something I have said elsewhere, I think it's striking that all of the leading candidates have made clear their view that they need to reach out to each other, as well as reach out to the Afghan population. And Afghanistan needs a concerted and consensus approach, and I very much hope that's what they will get. But we are waiting for the results (inaudible) wait for the processes to be followed through carefully.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that's correct.

MODERATOR: One final question to Jill Dougherty, from CNN.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. This question would be to both secretaries, if you would.

Secretary Miliband, you have mentioned the covert facility at Qom. And in light of this annex to the IAEA report, do you -- what is the possibility that that enrichment facility at Qom might be just one of a series of secret uranium enrichment facilities in Iran?

And then, just another quick question about these democracy protesters whom Iran says they are going to execute. How do you keep faith with the democracy supporters, while at the same time engaging with Iran to get what you want, which is the end to their nuclear program?

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Well, I think that Iran's history of covert secret programs before 2003, whether it's their dispute with the IAEA, and more recently in respect of the Qom facility, explains why the international community does not have confidence in the Iranian regime's protestations about the purely peaceful aspects, or purely peaceful purposes, of their nuclear program.

I think the IAEA's role is particularly important, and I think it's very important that we support them. I think both of our countries are pledged not just to support the IAEA, but to build up the IAEA as an organization that can do that. By definition, we don't provide a running commentary on covert sites in Iran or in -- anywhere else. But I think that the revelations, in respect to the Qom facility, are very significant, indeed.

Secretary Clinton referred to the unity of the international coalition, and I think it is very important to use platforms like this to say that the P5 Plus 1 -- the United States, Russia, China, plus the three European countries -- are joined as one in our determination to engage with Iran, but also to engage on very clear principles. Iran can be treated as a normal country, in respect to nuclear matters, when it starts behaving as a normal country.

And that really leads to the second question, which is that we just have to stick to our principles. And our principles, in respect of human rights, are very clear. Our insistence that it is not for us to choose the government of Iran is clear. But also our insistence that it is right to stand up for human rights around the world, for universal values, is also very clear. And I think that that message to the Iranian government, as well as to the Iranian people, that it's their rights that need to be sacrosanct, is absolutely right, and is the right way to show our commitment and our engagement.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the whole premise of our approach to Iran is to pursue, wherever possible, the kind of engagement that will produce results, as we saw at the P5 Plus 1, on agreement for inspection of the site at Qom, the (inaudible), the agreement to have the enriched uranium shipped out of the country, and then returned for the Tehran research reactor, and an agreement for follow-on meetings that would be held soon.

So, it was a constructive beginning. But it has a long way to go before any of us are convinced that Iran is willing to abide by its international obligation, and to cease and desist any efforts toward a nuclear weapons program.

But, you know, we have negotiated with many, many countries over the years -- the former Soviet Union, for example -- whose human rights record and behavior toward their own people was of great concern to us, and that we spoke out about it at the same time that we negotiated arms control agreements.

With Iran, it is tragic that a country with such a great history, with, you know, so much to give to the rest of the world, is so afraid of their own people. And the way that they are utilizing secret prisons and detentions, show trials, is a reflection of the discontent that they know people feel toward the current leadership.

So, as David said, you know, we know that decisions about the future of Iran are up to the Iranian people. But we will continue to speak out on behalf of human rights, on behalf of democracy, on behalf of freedom of expression, that are really at the core of human freedom. And it's important that the people in Iran know that the United States, the United Kingdom, and others in the international community, are watching very closely as to what is happening, and standing on their side when it comes to their willingness to take great risks on behalf of the kind of future that they would like to see for their country. Thank you.

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, David.



PRN: 2009/T13-2



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