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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Walk and Talk with FOX's Greta van Susteren


Interview
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Embassy
Kabul, Afghanistan
July 20, 2010

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QUESTION: Madam Secretary?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Hello.

QUESTION: Well, you’ve had a busy two days (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s always the operative, but --

QUESTION: I know it’s hard -- I always have a hard time keeping up with you. The last two days (inaudible). And at least I don’t have to get up and give the speech and talk to people.

First of all, there was quite (inaudible) last night, those rockets. I heard they haven’t had rockets lately in the city, in Kabul. Do you think those rockets were for you to say hello?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I think those rockets were meant to express displeasure at the gathering of 70 nations and international organizations on behalf of a future for Afghanistan that repudiates everything that the rocket launchers stand for.

QUESTION: How about the Iranian minister showing up today? I take it that your paths didn’t cross?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We actually walked by one another, but that was the extent of it. Iran is a neighbor of Afghanistan. And Iran has a lot of interest in Afghanistan. It’s historically connected to Afghanistan, as are Pakistan, India, neighbors to the north. So I wasn’t surprised. In fact, the Iranians came to the very first Afghan Conference I went to in The Hague last year.

QUESTION: One of the interesting things I thought the Iranian foreign minister said is that he wants a time line - that was one of the five things. The President wants a time line. So is it sort of peculiar that we are seemingly on the same page on one rather controversial issue.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Very different reasons, Greta. I don’t want to read the mind of the Iranian speaker, but they want a time line because they want the U.S. and the west out of Afghanistan. And we have made clear that there will be an end to combat operations, but not an end to our involvement and commitment to Afghanistan and the Afghan people. We made the mistake of leaving Afghanistan once before, and it became a safe haven for terrorism, a failed state, in the control of the Taliban. And it is important that all of our people back home understand that the strategy that President Obama adopted after a very serious study at the end of last year is being implemented and I think shows some positive signs. It was a complete revamp of where we were when we came into office, increased in intensity and support. But I think it’s the right approach.

QUESTION: How do you measure success, though? You spoke briefly today about success. In fact -- I don’t want to misquote you -- you said that -- something that -- “Citizens of many nations represented here, including my own, wonder whether success is even possible.”

SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.

QUESTION: What is success or at least do we know what our goal is? How do you measure it?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, a secure and stable Afghanistan. What does that mean? It means a country that is able to defend itself with an army and a police force that is able to protect its citizens from the kind of terrorist activities that now plague too many parts of the country. And it is a place that we can look to and say, “That was at a moment in time where the greatest danger to our country emanated from on 9/11. But because of the sacrifice of so many people, so many Americans -- American soldiers have given their all here -- as well as our international partners, we have prevented Afghanistan from continuing as a safe haven for terrorists, and we have created an environment that gives the people of Afghanistan a shot at a better future.”

QUESTION: You’re going tomorrow to the DMZ with Secretary of Defense Gates to commemorate the 60th anniversary. You and I spoke about North Korea before, and South Korea. This is going to be deeply upsetting to the North Koreans, to have two very high cabinet officials, Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, show up there. You agree?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it may be. But I think it’s important for us to show solidarity with the people and Government of South Korea.

QUESTION: Do they doubt it?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t think they doubt it, but we want to trumpet it. We want to make sure that nobody doubts it. And we also want to make clear to the North Koreans that there is another path available. There is a way that they could cooperate with us and the international community, with the South Koreans, and choose a future that is not one where their people starve, where they have no chance of really advancing in anything other than the missiles that they make, and where their nuclear program would be dismantled and we’d have a denuclearized Korean peninsula.

We have offered that choice, we are going to continue to offer that choice. But, in the meantime, we want everybody to know that we support strongly our ally, South Korea. And by the way, South Korea is a country we’ve stood by through a lot. And a lot of Americans died in the Korean War -- I think at least 55,000. And the United States stuck with North Korea[1] through all kinds of political problems, coups, and upheavals. And now, here we are with a country that we have invested a lot into that is a stable leader in the world, one of the G20 -- going to be hosting the next G20 -- and I think it’s important to get a little historical perspective.

When we think about commitments, they don’t have to be boots on the ground in combat. But long-term commitments like the one that we are working on here in Afghanistan can pay big dividends for American.

QUESTION: I guess the thing that always strikes me is that, in order for sanctions or even to show something as symbolic as you and Secretary Gates are doing tomorrow, is that the North Korean leadership has to care about their people. You have to care in order for any of this to be effective. And that’s why I just wonder what – where we’re going.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, you’ve been there, Greta, and I’ve been fascinated to hear you talk about your experience there. And we really had hoped for a different relationship with North Korea. But that is truly up to them. The ball is in their court. But we are going to make it clear that the United States stands in strong defense of the people of South Korea.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thank you very much. And I know you’ve got a lot to do. I’m jumping ship, getting off tomorrow. But --

SECRETARY CLINTON: You going to go with us to Seoul?

QUESTION: Yes, I’m going to Seoul, but I know your schedule is crazy, so I know your staff will kill me if I ask another question.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good to see you all, thank you.

____________________________

[1] South Korea, not North Korea



PRN: 2010/989



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