SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon. Welcome to the Treaty Room here in the State Department.
Before we begin with the business at hand today, on behalf of all the women and men at the State Department I want to express my deepest condolences to the family of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. Richard was a trusted friend, a valued mentor, and an indispensable colleague to so many of several generations of American diplomats. Of all the many things that have already been said and will be said – and it has been remarkable to see the tributes coming in from around the world – the word that keeps being said over and over again is “statesman.” It’s a word that we don’t use much anymore, but Richard embodied it, a man who loved our country and dedicated his life to serving not only our people but the cause of peace, a diplomat who used every tool in the toolbox and someone who accomplished so much on behalf of so many.
I am very grateful for the wonderful support that has been given to Richard’s family. I have no doubt that Richard would be the first to urge us to go forward and continue his work and continue his mission of not only what he was doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but across the broad reach of American foreign policy.
Let me now welcome a friend and an esteemed colleague who I have had the great pleasure of working with now for over a year, someone who has demonstrated the vigor of the Zuma Administration in her country in tackling problems at home, regionally, and globally. And today we will sign a new partnership framework for the PEPFAR program, which has so much meaning to us as a partner with our friends in South Africa. It embodies a new level of cooperation that has been made possible because of the tremendous efforts of the South African Government.
In addition to Minister Mashabane, I want to welcome Director General Ntsaluba, Ambassador Diseko, Ambassador Rasool, Ambassador Nene. I’d also like to recognize our Ambassador Gips, Ambassador Goosby, Ambassador Carson, and so many others both here and elsewhere in Washington, at our Embassy in Pretoria, and, most importantly, in the Government of South Africa.
We are here at a moment when South Africa is turning the tide against HIV/AIDS. It is exciting to see, and we are already reviewing surveys being done by the South African Government as the minister will, I’m sure, mention that shows HIV among youth is falling. We want to do everything we can to be a good partner. In his moving speech on World Aids Day last year, President Zuma noted that HIV/AIDs is a disease that can only be overcome by individuals taking responsibility for their own lives and the lives of those around them.
And what South Africa has done is to make a tremendous commitment by doubling its investment, now covering 60 percent of the total spending. There is so much that’s being done at the grassroots level on prevention, efforts against discrimination, treating people with HIV, and doing so much more to put together a comprehensive strategy. And we together have worked on the development of a promising microbicide that could prevent the transmission of the HIV virus. This was led by South African scientists, and it’s the kind of new partnership we want to see more of together.
There is a lot that we want to do far beyond HIV/AIDS. In fact, the minister and I are very proud to lead a very reinvigorated bilateral strategic dialogue. We just reviewed the progress in our recently concluded meeting, and I think it’s fair to say that a lot of good is being done that is making a difference in the lives of people in both of our countries and beyond.
So now it is my great pleasure to invite the minister to make her remarks.
MINISTER NKOANA-MASHABANE: Thanks very much. My dear friend and colleague Secretary of State Madam Clinton, it is always such a great pleasure for me to be here with you. And I would really at the outset want to take this opportunity on behalf of myself and our delegation to pay our sincere message of sympathy to the Ambassador Holbrooke family, to your good self, to President Obama, government and people of the United States. Indeed, you have lost in him a dedicated diplomat and a dedicated statesman and a friend of the international community. May his soul rest in peace, and our hearts go out, again, to the family.
Indeed, in you, I have found a true friend but also a working partner. But we are working together to reinvigorate the very, very strong and very important bilateral ties that looks at our bilateral relationship, elevated to another level through the strategic partnership and strategic dialogue that we have solidified by signing, I hope – in this room last – this year in April. The amount of work that our working groups working on our leadership had covered, from issues around trade and investments to issues of food security, to issues of fighting HIV and AIDS.
And I can confirm what you’ve just said, but in the period that we’ve been working together, starting from last year during a visit in South Africa through Minister Dr. Motsoaledi and President Zuma and all our cabinet members – with your support, we have put 1.1 million people under this care of the HIV and AIDS treatment. We have tested more than 5 million South Africans. And with Dr. Motsoaledi, our minister of health, in the next less than 18 months, we’ll have tested about 15 million South Africans who should really take responsibility to take care of themselves, but also take care of their loved ones.
This partnership under PEPFAR, it’s really through Ambassador Goosby and all those who work with him – really, bravo, and thank you ever so much for the support. It really – it’s turning the tide at home. South African Government spends about 6 billion rand on this program, and your 2.3 billion rand will go a long way. The U.S.A. is a leader; don’t be shy to lead. You lead by also showing compassion to those who need you, those who can account for the resources that you provide for them for support.
I was quite elated to learn from our trade and investment delegation that the last time they’ve had such a vigorous engagement with their counterparts here was about nine years ago. So our partnership has really taken this relationship forward. We want to work with you to make AGOA bring meaning to many of our African compatriots. We have listened to your views about the national investment initiative that President Obama leads. Within, there are synergies between the two, and we should continue to work on that. Under our partnership, we also work on issues around peace, security, peacekeeping, peacemaking, and post-conflict in Africa, which is highly appreciated by all of us.
Madam Secretary, we walk into the United Nations Security Council hoping to find a good friend there under your leadership, your good self. We would want to make a contribution with many progressive governments around the world, in particular with your government, to make sure that United Nations Security Council work for peace around the world, and peace dialogue, and peace first priority. We are making an undertaking here that together with all African countries, we will work to make sure that we bring the AU Peace and Security Council to the table to work with the United Nations Security Council.
Madam Secretary, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your warm hospitality, but inside this building, I actually forget that it’s winter outside. (Laughter.) It’s always a pleasure to meet with you, and I look forward to hosting you again in South Africa next year for our second round of strategic dialogue. I guess by that time, we will have even – covered even greater grounds.
May I take this opportunity to thank our very, very energetic and hardworking ambassadors – Ambassador Gips, Ambassador Rasool, and all the leadership, all for our respective departments – Dr. Ntsaluba, Ambassador Carson, and all your delegations, as you have mentioned them all, and each one of them by name. Thank you ever so much. We look smart, we look progressive, we look focused because you work very, very hard with us.
Once again, bravo, and well done.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. Well, they do make us look good.
FOREIGN MINISTER NKOANA-MASHABANE: Yes, thank you. (Laughter.)
(The document was signed.)