DCSIMG

News Archives






President Obama: Remarks with President Hu Jintao of the People’s Republic of China at the Official Arrival Ceremony

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 19, 2011
Remarks by President Obama and President Hu of the People’s Republic of China at Official Arrival Ceremony
South Lawn
9:20 A.M. EST

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good morning, everyone. President Hu, members of the Chinese delegation, on behalf of Michelle and myself, welcome to the White House. And on behalf of the American people, welcome to the United States.

Three decades ago, on a January day like this, another American President stood here and welcomed another Chinese leader for the historic normalization of relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. On that day, Deng Xiaoping spoke of the great possibilities of cooperation between our two nations.

Looking back on that winter day in 1979, it is now clear. The previous 30 years had been a time of estrangement for our two countries. The 30 years since have been a time of growing exchanges and understanding. And with this visit we can lay the foundation for the next 30 years.

At a time when some doubt the benefits of cooperation between the United States and China, this visit is also a chance to demonstrate a simple truth. We have an enormous stake in each other’s success. In an interconnected world, in a global economy, nations — including our own — will be more prosperous and more secure when we work together.

The United States welcomes China’s rise as a strong, prosperous and successful member of the community of nations. Indeed, China’s success has brought with it economic benefits for our people as well as yours, and our cooperation on a range of issues has helped advance stability in the Asia Pacific and in the world.

We also know this: History shows that societies are more harmonious, nations are more successful, and the world is more just, when the rights and responsibilities of all nations and all people are upheld, including the universal rights of every human being.

Mr. President, we can learn from our people. Chinese and American students and educators, business people, tourists, researchers and scientists, including Chinese Americans who are here today —- they work together and make progress together every single day. They know that even as our nations compete in some areas, we can cooperate in so many others, in a spirit of mutual respect, for our mutual benefit.

What Deng Xiaoping said long ago remains true today. There are still great possibilities for cooperation between our countries. President Hu, members of the Chinese delegation, let us seize these possibilities together. Welcome to the United States of America. Hwan-ying. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT HU: (As translated.) Mr. President, Mrs. Obama, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, it gives me great pleasure to come to Washington and pay a state visit to the United States at the beginning of the new year, at the invitation of President Obama. At this point in time, let me extend, on behalf of the 1.3 billion Chinese people, sincere greetings and best wishes to the people of the United States.

I have come to the United States to increase mutual trust, enhance friendship, deepen cooperation, and push forward the positive, cooperative, and comprehensive China-U.S. relationship for the 21st century.

Over the past 32 years, since the establishment of diplomatic ties, the China-U.S. relationship has grown into one with strategic significance and global influence. Since President Obama took office, with concerted efforts of the two sides, our cooperation in various fields has produced fruitful results and our relations have achieved new progress. This has brought real benefits to our two peoples, and contributed greatly to world peace and development.

As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, the people of both China and the United States want to see further progress in our relations and people around the globe want to see greater prosperity in the world. Under the new circumstances, and in the face of new challenges, China and the United States share broad common interests and important common responsibilities.

We should adopt a long-term perspective, seek common ground while resolving differences, and work together to achieve sustained, sound, and steady development of our relations. I hope that through this visit, our two countries will advance the positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship, and open a new chapter in our cooperation as partners.

Our cooperation as partners should be based on mutual respect. We live in an increasingly diverse and colorful world. China and the United States should respect each other’s choice of development path and each other’s core interests. We should deepen mutual understanding through communication, increase mutual trust through dialogue, and expand common ground through exchanges.

Our cooperation as partners should be based on mutual benefit. China’s future and destiny are increasingly tied to those of the world and China-U.S. relations have become closer. Our two countries should seek to learn from each other through exchanges and achieve win-win progress through cooperation. This is the right approach for us to develop our relations.

Our cooperation as partners should be based on joint efforts to meet challenges. China and the United States should step up communication and coordination in international affairs, work together to counter the global challenges, and make a greater contribution to world peace and development.

Our cooperation as partners should be based on the extensive involvement of the people. The Chinese and American people cherish deep friendship towards each other, and they fought side by side at defining moments in history when the future and the destiny of mankind were at stake. The two peoples should extend exchanges and enhance friendship. This will offer a inexhaustible driving force for the growth of our relations.

Ladies and gentlemen, our world today is undergoing major development, major changes and major adjustments. To pursue peace, development and cooperation is the irresistible trend of our time. Let us seize the opportunity to forge ahead, hand in hand, and work together to enhance cooperation as partners, and let us work with all other countries to build a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity.

Thank you once again, Mr. President, for your warm welcome. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you very much. Thank you.

END
9:38 A.M. EST

 
LEARN MORE ABOUT: , , , , ,


Ambassador Beyrle’s Remarks at Roundtable on Safety of Journalists in the Modern World

Dear friends,

I want to thank the Union of Journalists and the Moscow Human Rights Bureau for organizing this event and for the invitation to join you today. The topic of today’s roundtable is certainly timely.  Last week’s verdict in the Anna Politkovskaya case and last month’s murder of Anastasiya Baburova have kept the subject of journalist security at the front of all of our minds.  The topic is also extremely important.  Any contract murder is a terrible crime, but the murder of a journalist in order to silence him or her, has ramifications for society beyond the crime itself.  It undermines freedom of the press and freedom of speech, essential elements of any society that aspires to be free and democratic.  

In thinking about the public ramifications of a murder, we must never forget that any murder is first and foremost a tragedy for the victim’s family and loved ones.  Alix Lambert’s fine Russian-English book, The Silencing, about the murders of six journalists, draws attention to this human element by compiling essays from the victims’ friends and family.  Alix’s book is focused on Russia.  But, as she writes, silencing of journalists is not just a Russian problem.  The United States and other countries too have seen their share of violent crime against journalists.  In 1992, New York Mafia boss John Gotti ordered the assassination of a radio talk show host, Curtis Sliwa, as retaliation for public comments Sliwa had made about Gotti.  Fortunately, Sliwa survived.  Chauncy Bailey, the former editor of the Oakland Tribune, was not so lucky.  He was murdered in 2007 in what appears to have been retaliation for articles he wrote exposing local corruption.  

And one of the most horrific crimes in recent years was the beheading of American journalist Daniel Pearl by terrorists in Pakistan in 2002.  But I am proud to say that cooperation between Pakistani and U.S. law enforcement solved that case and resulted in the conviction of the mastermind, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh.  

The Pearl case underscores the importance of international cooperation in protecting journalists. Journalists from different countries should share best practices and publicize crimes against their fellow members of their own community.  The U.S. based Committee to Protect Journalists has taken the lead in this area and we laud their efforts.  At the same time, law enforcement agencies should share intelligence and evidence and cooperate on investigations, as was done in the Pearl case.  And, finally, governments must send an unambiguous message that the murder of journalists will not be tolerated.  This is most important to me, that such a message be sent.

I am happy that representatives of all of these communities are present today. I hope that this roundtable will start a U.S.-Russian dialogue in this area and will help both our countries to better protect journalists and the values of free speech for which too many of them have died.  We hope that the Russian government will do everything in its power to bring to justice all those responsible for these crimes, and assure it of our full support of those efforts.

Thank you.

 
LEARN MORE ABOUT: , , , , ,
LEARN MORE ABOUT: , , , ,


The United States and Russia in a New Era: One Year After “Reset”

Thank you for that kind introduction. I’m truly honored to be at the Center for American Progress, whose commitment to renewing America’s global leadership I deeply admire. I can’t think of a better forum for offering a few reflections on relations between the United States and Russia. Nor can I think of a better moment to take stock, a little over a year after President Obama launched an effort to “reset” our relationship with Russia, and just days after he and President Medvedev signed an historic arms control agreement in Prague.

Let me acknowledge at the outset my own abiding interest in relations between Russia and America. During the course of my checkered diplomatic career, including my most recent posting in Moscow, as U.S. Ambassador from 2005 until 2008, I have seen many ups and many downs in our relationship. Along the way, I have no doubt made my own share of missteps and misjudgments. I have learned that few things come quickly or easily in our relationship; that interactions between Russia and America are often an uneasy mix of competition and cooperation; and that navigating past the mistrust and misapprehensions of the past will take considerable time and effort, from both of us. But I have also learned to deeply respect Russians and their history, culture and language; to realize how much we have to gain by working together on the main challenges of a new century; and to understand that opportunities are unfolding before us that far outweigh our differences. Rarely has there been a time when getting relations right between our two countries, and between our two societies, mattered more than it does today.

Where We Were

I’ll start by taking a quick look backward. By the end of 2008, in the wake of the Russia-Georgia war, relations between the United States and Russia were as sour as they had been in more than twenty years. Mutual frustration obscured mutual interest. A steady adversarial drift threatened to lead us down paths that were neither in our own interests nor in those of the wider international community. Americans believed that Russians were too quick to assume the worst about American motives, and prone to bully their neighbors and manufacture images of enemies at the gate to justify over-centralization of power at home. Russians believed that Americans were too quick to lecture and preach, and prone to double standards; they were becoming convinced that Americans were fundamentally uncomfortable with the reemergence of Russia as a Great Power and determined to constrain it. While U.S. and Russian officials rightly noted that there was no ideological basis for a “new Cold War,” we lacked the diplomatic architecture, the political and economic ballast, and most of all the basic trust, that might have helped manage differences and preserve perspective. It was, all in all, an unhappy mix.

President Obama and Secretary Clinton came to office without illusions about our difficulties with Russia or the complexities of our relationship, but with a firm commitment to making a fresh start. Their approach was guided by several assumptions.

First, and perhaps most obvious, Russia and the United States matter to one another, and how well or how poorly we manage our interactions matters to the rest of the world. The two of us control more than 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons, and our leadership can do more than anyone else’s to help secure nuclear material globally and prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. Russia is today the world’s biggest producer of hydrocarbons; America is still the biggest consumer. We are both permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Russia sits astride Europe, Asia and the broader Middle East – three regions whose future will shape American interests for many years to come. And in an era in which common challenges – nonproliferation, climate change, energy security, the struggle against terrorism, and many more – demand common action more than at any other period in human history, the United States and Russia have a lot more to gain by working together than by working apart. As President Obama put it in Moscow last July, “on the fundamental issues that will shape this century, Americans and Russians share common interests that form a basis for cooperation.” And the President made clear that “America wants a strong, peaceful and prosperous Russia,” acknowledging that only if Russia “occupies its rightful place as a Great Power” can we achieve the partnership on key strategic issues that we both need.

Second, mutual respect must underpin a fresh start in relations. For America’s part, that means acknowledging the greatness of Russia’s contributions to human civilization over the centuries, in literature and science and many other fields. It means understanding what more its immensely talented people can contribute in the future. It means understanding what Russians have endured, in the unimaginable brutalities of Stalinism, in the enormous sacrifices that we honor once again in this year’s 65th anniversary of our collective victory over Fascism, and in the troubles and humiliations that flowed after Soviet Communism collapsed of its own contradictions. And it means understanding that Russia is still in the midst of a complicated transition, still coming to terms with itself after hundreds of years of empire, 70 years as an ideological warrior, and decades as a military superpower. Mutual respect does not, however, mean that we cannot speak plainly about our disagreements. We can, and we do, on questions ranging from human rights to Russia’s neighborhood, where we will continue to urge the same respect for the sovereign choices of Russia’s neighbors that we will accord to Russia’s own sovereign choices.

Third, it’s important to build a structure for our relationship, based not only on personalities and rapport amongst leaders, but also on institutions and practical mechanisms at every level. As George Kennan once put it, the business of diplomacy and of advancing our interests with other countries is a little like tending a garden, with painstaking cultivation of a range of connections and common concerns, and careful attention to the weeds and differences that often obstruct progress.

And finally, we assumed that it was possible – indeed, essential – to try to pursue each of the issues before us on its merits. We were not so naïve as to think that areas of agreement and common ground could be fully insulated from areas of disagreement and friction, but our starting point was that problems in one area of our relationship should not preclude progress in others. In a more mature relationship between Great Powers, even one with all the historical baggage that Russia and America bring, we ought to be able to build on shared interests while not pulling our punches on differences, and take steps that benefit both of us without grand bargains or tradeoffs that come at the expense of others. That is admittedly easier said than done, but it’s the spirit and mindset in which the new Administration approached a badly broken relationship with Russia.

Where We Are

At the beginning of 2010, we are in a significantly better place with Russia than we were at the beginning of 2009. Many challenges and difficulties remain, and we have a great deal of work to do together to widen and strengthen the base of cooperation, but we’ve made a promising start.

President Obama and Secretary Clinton have both invested substantially in relations with Russia, and made it a high priority. The President’s meeting with President Medvedev in Prague last week was their seventh face to face discussion in a little more than a year; they’ve had some sixteen substantive phone conversations over the same period, and have developed a very effective pattern of communication. The same is true of Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov, and of U.S.-Russian contacts at many other levels. All this diplomatic effort has produced practical results. Let me describe briefly a few of them.

The first is renewed nuclear leadership by Russia and the United States. The new START agreement signed by President Obama and President Medvedev in Prague on April 8 enhances American security, reduces the threat of nuclear war, and sets a powerful example of responsible U.S.-Russian leadership in managing and reducing our remaining nuclear arsenals on the eve of the NPT Review Conference in May. New START reduces the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads on each side by roughly 30%, from the upper limit of 2200 in the Moscow Treaty of 2002 to 1550. The allowable number of nuclear delivery vehicles will be reduced from the existing START level of 1600 to 800, with no more than 700 deployed at any one time. The new treaty contains modernized and streamlined verification and transparency measures that will build confidence and predictability on both sides. It does not constrain our own capacity to pursue missile defense programs. New START continues the vital work of arms reductions pursued by Administrations of both parties since the end of the Cold War, a moment when Russia and America together deployed some 20,000 strategic nuclear warheads.

Russia and the United States have also led the way in the crucial work of safeguarding nuclear materials. Building on the vision and determination of Senator Richard Lugar and former Senator Sam Nunn, we have helped Russia improve security at its facilities. The U.S. and Russia lead the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, whose critical task was strongly supported at this week’s Nuclear Security Summit in Washington. Yesterday, Foreign Minister Lavrov and Secretary Clinton signed a new bilateral agreement that will dispose of 34 metric tons each of weapons-grade plutonium, enough to make some 17,000 nuclear weapons.

Even as we have worked to reduce our nuclear arsenals and safeguard nuclear materials around the world, Russia and America have increased our cooperation to ensure that other countries do not acquire nuclear weapons. We are both key partners in the Six Party talks, and resolute in our determination to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. And we are equally committed to holding Iran to its international responsibilities and preventing it from developing nuclear weapons, which would have catastrophic consequences for stability in a part of the world that matters enormously to both of us, and to the global economy. We have worked painstakingly from the beginning of the new Administration to build a habit of close consultation with Russia, along with our other partners in the P5+1 group which leads international diplomacy on the Iranian nuclear issue. We collaborated carefully with Russia on a creative confidence-building proposal regarding the Tehran Research Reactor, which the IAEA offered to Iran last autumn. We constructed this proposal with Russia in the sincere hope that it would be something to which Iran could say “yes.” It would have met an Iranian humanitarian need; enabled the Iranian leadership to offer tangible proof of the exclusively peaceful nature of its intentions, by using much of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium for a clear civilian purpose; and in the process it would have provided time and space for serious negotiation. The TRR proposal was meant both to test Iran’s intentions, and to invest in partnership with Russia.

After an initial positive reaction to our joint proposal in early October in Geneva, Iran’s actions have been uniformly negative. We and the Russians, along with the Chinese and our European partners, have begun serious work on a new UNSC sanctions resolution, aimed at taking intelligent, targeted measures to try to change the calculus of the Iranian leadership and produce the negotiated resolution to which we remain committed. That level of cooperation was unimaginable in the depths of U.S.-Russian acrimony at the end of 2008; while we will no doubt continue to have our share of tactical differences, we have come a long way in a relatively short time in our efforts together on Iran.

A second area of significantly improved cooperation is fighting violent extremism and resolving regional conflicts. The attacks on the Moscow Metro two weeks ago are a horrific reminder of what we have both suffered at the hands of terrorists, and of our common stake in defeating them. We have stepped up joint work among our intelligence and law enforcement authorities, and reinvigorated our Counterterrorism Working Group. At the same time, Russia has become a much more active operational partner in the collective effort to help stabilize Afghanistan, and prevent violent extremists from regaining a platform there from which they could once again threaten all of us. We negotiated an unprecedented military transit accord with Russia last spring, providing a new air corridor which now averages two flights a day, transporting nearly 20,000 American troops to Afghanistan so far. Most of those flights transit the Manas facility in Kyrgyzstan, an arrangement which remains of fundamental importance to our shared objectives in Afghanistan. We have stepped up counter-narcotics cooperation, also a crucial common interest. And Russia is exploring ways in which it can contribute to Afghan economic recovery, for example by supporting a joint assessment team to visit the Salang Tunnel.

We have worked well together on other regional conflicts. Russia hosted a valuable Ministerial meeting of the Quartet last month, and remains an important partner in the long and often frustrating struggle to foster Arab-Israeli peace. We have also been effective partners in encouraging reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia, and in promoting diplomatic progress on Nagorno-Karabakh.

A third advance is the creation of a new structure for more systematic cooperation between us, the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission. Overseen by Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov, the Commission now includes some 16 working groups, spurring engagement and new ideas for partnership that go well beyond the traditional Cold War confines of arms control and security. The working groups have already stimulated a number of creative initiatives, on mutual interests ranging from energy efficiency to youth sports exchanges to health care to university partnerships to preserving the Arctic environment. A delegation of CEOs from leading American technology companies just returned from a long trip to Russia, excited by the prospects for cooperation in innovation, and full of new ideas for using social media to promote better governance, combat trafficking in persons, and improve education and health care. Much more is possible in the months and years ahead.

Many hard challenges obviously remain in the U.S.-Russian relationship, alongside the considerable gains of the past year. We disagree fundamentally about the situation in Georgia, and the status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Each of us has genuine concerns for the regions closest to our borders, but 21st century values and expectations — and not 19th century views about spheres of influence — should drive a frank dialogue over our interests in the world as a whole, as well as in areas closer to home. Even as basic differences persist, we both have an obligation to help ensure that tensions do not erupt into violence again.

The United States will also continue to be plainspoken and unapologetic about our interest in universal human rights, and our conviction that democratic institutions and the rule of law are the keys to unlocking the enormous human potential of Russia, America and any other society in the 21st century. We make those arguments with humility, and well-aware of our own considerable imperfections. Winston Churchill once remarked that ”what I like most about Americans is that they always do the right thing in the end … it’s just that they always like to exhaust all the alternatives first.” Churchill had a point; we make our share of mistakes, as recent history will attest. But our institutions, and our commitment to freedom of speech and equal administration of justice, have helped us correct those mistakes, and guard against corruption and abuse of power. We do not seek to impose our system on anyone else, but we do believe firmly, as President Obama put it in his speech to the New Economic School in Moscow last July, that “the arc of history shows that governments which serve their own people survive and thrive … governments which serve only their own power do not.”

Russia will make its own choices as it seeks to modernize, innovate, diversify beyond hydrocarbons, and compete effectively in a new century. It will not be easy to translate into practice President Medvedev’s admirable emphasis on fighting corruption, empowering civil society and building respect for rule of law – especially against a backdrop in which the murders of seven journalists in 2009 go unpunished, a high-profile lawyer apparently dies of neglect while being held in pre-trial detention, and peaceful expressions of dissent are met with intolerance. Russians, in my experience, generally contain their enthusiasm for the preachy and patronizing tone which we have sometimes employed on these matters, but that doesn’t mean that we should shy away from expressing our concerns. And far more importantly than what Americans think, it is deeply in the self-interest of Russians and their future to address all of those challenges.

The Road Ahead

Alongside the concrete accomplishments of the past year, the atmospherics of bilateral relations are improving. Pollsters report that over 50% of Russians now have a positive view of the United States, compared to around 30% at the end of 2008. But we will not sustain that progress unless we build on the foundation which has been laid, and widen the arc of cooperation. We need a relationship that is about more than New START and nuclear security, important as those issues are. We need a relationship that connects us more actively and intimately on the other great challenges before us in the 21st century, from economic modernization to climate change and energy security. And we need a relationship that connects our societies, and especially our young people, in ways that can help shape a more hopeful future for both of us.

Nowhere is that task more important in 2010 and the years beyond than in economic cooperation. The truth is that this is one of the most under-developed areas of our relationship. In the wake of the battering that we’ve both taken during the global economic crisis, it’s time to consider a more ambitious approach to strengthening our economic ties. In his state of the federation address last November, President Medvedev acknowledged that Russians have not freed themselves from a “humiliating dependence” on raw materials exports. Just as importantly, he cited Russia’s weak rule of law and pervasive corruption as anchors on Russia’s economic performance and potential. He noted that Russia remains the only G20 member outside the World Trade Organization, which serves neither Russia’s long-term interests nor those of the rest of us. Both President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin have pointed to demographic decline as another serious impediment to Russia’s revival. That is hardly an academic problem for the barely 30 million Russians living east of the Urals, in all of the vastness of Siberia and the Russian Far East, sitting on just about everything in the periodic table of elements.

It is very much in the interests of the United States to contribute to Russia’s economic modernization, to its full integration into international economic institutions like the WTO and OECD, and to the full development of its remarkable resources – not only those in the ground, but especially those in the minds and intellects of its talented people. Two way trade between our countries was a paltry $24 billion last year, with two way investment even smaller. We can, indeed we must, do better, as Prime Minister Putin and Secretary Clinton discussed in Moscow last month. Major American firms like Boeing, Alcoa and Microsoft have expanded investments as a sign of confidence in Russia’s long-term health, and the long-term promise of our economic relationship. Russian interest in the American market is rising, reflected in Aleksey Mordashov’s multi-billion dollar bet on the U.S. steel industry. It is worth it for both of us to take a hard look at how we might reenergize Russia’s WTO accession bid, despite the considerable complications posed by Russia’s decision to enter into a customs union with Kazakhstan and Belarus, both of whom are also still outside the WTO. And it is long past time to repeal the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which has long since served its original purpose.

The visit to Russia of the American innovation delegation that I mentioned earlier highlights the promise of mutually-reinforcing, knowledge-based sectors in both our economies, essential to building a multi-dimensional relationship with Russia that takes us beyond the confines of government ministries. The tens of thousands of Russians who live and work in Silicon Valley, and the steadily increasing pool of young, tech-savvy entrepreneurs in Russia, are evidence of what Russia has to offer, and of the possibilities for much greater cooperation in science and technology. Energy efficiency is another area in which both of us have a lot to gain by working together. Russia can save significantly if it reduces wasteful gas flaring and increases commercial energy conservation, and we can jointly develop the technology and practices to help make that possible. We can also do more together to pursue clean, renewable energy sources. Civilian nuclear cooperation is an area of particular promise, and reviving the effort to seek Congressional approval of the 123 agreement signed by Russia and the United States two years ago would be a concrete, positive step. Progress along these fronts would help Russia reduce carbon emissions, and help it protect the hugely important clean water and forest resources of Siberia.

As we seek to expand the base of the Russian-American relationship, and begin to put into it more of the economic ballast which is such a critical feature of some of our other Great Power relationships, we must also obviously continue to preserve and build upon the progress we’ve made in security and other areas over the past year. We have tough work ahead of us to sustain our partnership on Iran. We need to use New START and the successful Nuclear Security Summit as a springboard to strengthen the global nonproliferation regime at the NPT Review Conference, and set a careful agenda for further arms reductions.

Missile defense, which has been a source of such suspicion and tension between us, can instead be a transformative opportunity for the United States and Russia. Our two countries have devoted more study and resources than any other to defending against the threat from ballistic missiles. We have much to learn from each other. We have already begun a joint threat assessment. It would make sense to take a fresh look at the Joint Data Exchange Center initiative which we began a decade ago. And we can explore practical steps toward cooperation on missile defense, consistent with the new phased adaptive approach of the Obama Administration.

We have a chance to build better understandings on European security issues, preserving mechanisms which have worked well in the past and taking up President Medvedev’s call to examine ways of improving transparency and preventing conflict. There is more we can do together on Afghanistan, and in counter-narcotics cooperation. We can enhance bilateral cooperation on disaster relief and emergency situations, and use that as a stimulus for wider multilateral cooperation, including through the G8. We can do much the same in expanding the G8 Global Partnership, completing ongoing projects to secure nuclear and chemical materials in Russia, and applying the lessons we’ve learned to other countries. We can further develop our partnership in the Arctic. We can focus more attention on our trans-Pacific connections, pursuing the possibility of a shared heritage area across the Bering Strait, designating protected parklands on the coasts of Alaska and Chukotka. We can continue the cooperation in space which our two countries have led for so many years. And we can seek to expand exchanges among students, athletes, scientists and artists.

A Final Note, and A New Start

John Maynard Keynes once wrote that “the difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas, as in escaping from old ones.” The past has indeed been a heavy burden on the future of relations between Russia and America, from the complex inheritance of Cold War animosity to the perceived humiliations of the 1990s to the adversarial drift that emerged at the end of the last Administration. Over the past year, President Obama and President Medvedev have made a promising new start, beginning to move beyond past frustrations and grievances, and producing tangible results. The New START agreement which they signed in Prague six days ago is the most impressive, and most fittingly named, example.

There is certainly much that is tentative and fragile about that progress. Sustaining a positive direction will take continued hard work, and a strong mutual commitment to widen our cooperation beyond nuclear and security issues, and to invest broader contacts with deeper content. The concept of “reset” carried with it the misleading notion that the slate could be wiped clean with the push of a button, starting anew unburdened by the past. Reality, of course, is a little more complicated. But for the first time in a long time, the possibilities before us outnumber the problems. That is a very good thing for Russians and Americans, and for the entire world.

Thank you.

 
LEARN MORE ABOUT: , , , ,


The Practice of Partnership: The 2009 Cyril Foster Lecture

Thank you for that kind introduction. It’s an honor to be back at Oxford, an institution for which I have enormous respect. It is a particular pleasure to speak to you on Thanksgiving, the most distinctly American of the holidays that we celebrate across the Atlantic.

I remember my first Thanksgiving away from home, as a struggling and uncertain post-graduate student at St. John’s College, Oxford, in the autumn of 1978, gathered not around a table with roast turkey and my family, but around more pints than I can recall and new-found friends at the Lamb and Flag. I can dimly recollect giving enthusiastic thanks for everything from the rise of Jimmy Carter and Margaret Thatcher, to John Travolta’s fashion sense in Saturday Night Fever.

Thirty-one years later, I stand before you still lacking John Travolta’s fashion sense, still lacking in certainty about many things, but deeply thankful for the honor to give this year’s Cyril Foster lecture. The list of previous speakers – from great statesmen like Kofi Annan to great historians like Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. – is a humbling one for an everyday diplomat. Standards are obviously slipping. But I will do my best, drawing on nearly three decades in the U.S. Foreign Service, to offer a few modest insights about this critical moment for my country and for the world.

You’ve already heard Cyril Foster’s extraordinary story. Foster’s only condition was that the lecture named after him feature “a prominent and sincere speaker” who would address “the elimination of war and the better understanding of the nations of the world.” I can’t make any claim to prominence, but I’ll do my best to be sincere.

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Cyril Foster’s personal cause – peace and understanding – has also been a central goal of American foreign policy during my career in the diplomatic service, spanning five Presidents and eight Secretaries of State. We have made more than our share of mistakes along the way, offering frequent validation of Winston Churchill’s famous observation that “the thing that I like most about Americans is they generally choose the right course in the end … it’s just that they like to exhaust all the alternatives first.”

When I reflect on the experiences I’ve had over the past three decades, something striking occurs to me: from a diplomat’s perspective, what it takes to promote peace has changed. Now more than ever, no country can solve any major problem alone. So today, success depends more than ever before on our ability to build partnerships – and not just partnerships between governments, but between societies and peoples as well. This partnership imperative is what I want to focus on this evening — giving you not just a sense of why it is so necessary, but of how, from my perspective as a diplomat, we are pursuing it.

The Partnership Imperative
I joined the American diplomatic service in 1982. We didn’t know then that the Cold War was entering its final phase. If anything, East-West tensions seemed to be flaring as dangerously as ever. We were consumed with debates over Euromissiles and Star Wars, Central American revolutions and the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Yet there was a basic logic governing what we did. Soviet-American rivalry gave order to the international landscape, and Containment provided a framework for our foreign policy. We thought of countries like China – where Deng’s reforms were just starting – or India – which was still mired in what used to be called “the Hindu rate of growth” – largely in terms of this bipolar order. Amid all the danger, there was still a kind of clarity.

There is much about today’s world that we can celebrate. Astounding economic growth in much of Asia has raised hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. The number of children dying from preventable illness is at an historic low. And the number of people who die in war every year has been declining drastically, thanks to the prolonged absence of great-power conflict.

Now, I don’t mean to offer some Panglossian reading of the international situation. For along with these changes has come a growing sense of confusion and insecurity. And for those of us trying to interpret and navigate this new world, a growing sense of humility.

The best attempts to define this new era have focused less on what it is than on what it is not – the “post-Cold War.” Richard Haass talks about “the age of nonpolarity”: we’ve left behind the bipolar world of the Cold War, we’ve passed the supposed “unipolar moment” of the 1990′s, and yet the notion of a multi-polar world, with various power centers balancing and competing with one another, doesn’t quite capture it either. Fareed Zakaria has written about “the post-American world” – one in which American dominance is fading, or at least rising powers are catching up, but where the order that will replace it is not yet clear.

Whatever label you choose, today’s threats do feel more varied and less predictable; the sources of our security seem less certain and more diffuse. Our interconnectedness means that none of us can solve problems alone, while threats – from nuclear weapons proliferation to climate change, pandemics, economic crisis, and transnational crime – can spread among us more quickly than ever. New powers, from China and India to Brazil, Turkey, and Indonesia, are playing an ever-greater role, while non-state actors are claiming influence in ways both profoundly positive and deeply destructive.

Despite this, we are not doomed to insecurity or chaos. But we have to develop new tools of leadership and cooperation where the old ones are no longer doing their job. And we have to use those tools to build a new architecture of cooperation.

That is the spirit that animates American foreign policy today – the impetus behind our strategy of partnership. When President Obama spoke at the United Nations a couple of months ago, he described “a new era of engagement with the world … in word and deed.” Secretary Clinton has talked about “tilting the balance away from a multi-polar world and toward a multi-partner world.”

Now, I wish I could stop here, on a conveniently high note: our new commitment to the promise of partnership – a nice new bumper-sticker slogan for American foreign policy. But not wishing to insult Cyril Foster or his appeal for sincerity, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that partnership is an easy slogan but an exceedingly difficult task to carry out in practice.

For example, as we set out to build a multi-partner world we have to appreciate the force of history and the power of nationalism. When it comes to building partnerships, ignoring history makes it much less likely that we will manage to overcome it. For many nations, actions are guided by a sense of past slights or traumas, or a desire to revive past glory, as much as by clear interests. Only by addressing historical aspirations and resentments directly can we build partnerships on strong foundations.

This challenge of history is a potent force in any society, but particularly powerful in places like Russia, where I have been privileged to spend much of my checkered career. For Russians, perhaps in contrast to Americans, history is very much alive. People still talk about the Mongol invasion – which started in 1223. There is strong, and justified, pride in the Soviet role and massive Soviet sacrifice in World War II. There is, among many, a yearning for the influence (if not the totalitarian repressiveness) of the Soviet days, and lingering trauma over the difficulties of the 1990s. Without understanding all of this, Russia’s stance on many issues can often seem incomprehensible. But where we have started to consider and at least take into account all of Russia’s living history, we have a good chance of moving beyond it, to partnership on issues of common concern.

So keeping these difficulties in mind, how do we get beyond the bumper stickers and translate a commitment to partnership into real policy? My experience, particularly in these first 10 months of the Obama administration, has yielded a number of basic observations. Let me focus on three.

Partnership Begins At Home
The first step in a successful partnership strategy – and one to which President Obama and his Administration attach great importance – is making the United States an attractive partner for others. Partnership really does begin at home. The truth is that the power of our example matters more than the power of our preaching. We need to live our own values, demonstrating through our own behavior the ideals and standards that we seek in others – and that others expect of us. Where we have fallen short of these in recent years, we are now working hard to correct our mistakes.

But it is not just about values. It is about showing ourselves to be reliable, consistent, and tough-minded. We can’t simply jettison partnerships when they don’t serve us in some particular area. We need to meet disagreement with frank and respectful discussion. And we need to show that we are willing to take some risks to build partnerships and to make them work over the long term.

A crucial part of this is in many ways the simplest: listening, which can sometimes seem like an unnatural act for Americans. It is not always all about us. The fact is that we live in a world where other people and other societies have their own realities, not always perfectly aligned with or even hospitable to ours. We don’t have to accept their realities as our own, or agree with them, or indulge them — but understanding them is the starting point for sensible policy, and enduring partnership.

Just as important as considering the priorities of others is making our own priorities clear. During its 10 months in office, the Obama administration has made a concerted effort to explain our priorities – in many cases by speaking to the rest of the world directly. In a series of speeches from Prague to Cairo, Moscow, Accra and Tokyo, the President has outlined a set of ambitious goals: to reduce and prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and ultimately seek a nuclear weapons-free world; to secure our future by addressing climate change and producing clean energy; to isolate and defeat violent extremists; to bolster and spread global prosperity; and to enhance good governance and universal human rights. In all of our partnerships, we are working to advance these same fundamental priorities – although our approach may differ case by case.

Partnership Comes In Many Shapes And Sizes
That brings me to my second point: partnerships come in many different shapes and sizes. We should be ambitious. But we also have to be realistic about what some partnerships can achieve.

In many ways, the premier partnership for the United States remains our special relationship with the United Kingdom. This relationship is built on a bedrock of shared values and common interests, tested over a long history, through genuine triumphs and real disagreements.

But we need to be realistic in our expectations for partnership more generally. Not all of them will be like the special relationship – which is what, I suppose, makes it special – or like some of the United States’ other close friendships, such as those with our other trans-Atlantic partners, or with countries such as Canada, Japan, Israel and Australia. Nor should they be. Partnership takes many different forms, all of which bring their own benefits.

We also have to keep some perspective. As Secretary Clinton has put it, commonality of interest doesn’t automatically mean common action. No matter how overwhelming the logic of cooperation, there are still endless opportunities for mistrust and misunderstanding in partnerships new and old.

In fact, partnership can be as much about disagreement as it is about agreement. Acting on clear agreement will happen more or less easily. Yet addressing a disagreement takes work – to reach a compromise where possible, but more often than not, to make sure that disagreements don’t escalate. Even in a world defined by partnership, nations will still have interests that don’t align – having to do with trade, with borders, with resources, and on and on. If there is a genetic shortcoming common to diplomats, it is a tendency to ignore points of discord and hope that cooperation in other areas will take care of them. But as with human relationships in general, these things can get worse rather than better over time if we don’t address them, seeking out ways to compromise or, at the very least, prevent competing interests from turning into broader conflict.

A few examples from U.S. foreign policy today might be useful here, so let me say something about our work with the emerging and re-emerging Great Powers that Goldman Sachs famously referred to as the BRICs – Brazil, Russia, India, and China. These are certainly not the only, or even necessarily the most important, partnerships we are focused on, but for the sake of demonstration I’ll consider these four.

First Russia – a country that, as I’ve mentioned, has been a focus of my career. After much acrimony between the United States and Russia in recent years, the Obama administration has made a concerted effort to “reset” relations, building on potential common ground on issues from strategic arms reduction to Afghanistan and Iran.

We can’t say that this is truly a strategic partnership, in the sense of a neat coincidence of values and interests — but it certainly can be a partnership on key strategic issues. Of course we have significant differences, on questions ranging from Russia’s neighborhood to human rights. And of course our relationship is a combination of cooperation and competition. But that does not mean that we cannot work better together on some crucial fronts.

Today, the United States and Russia hold 95% of the world’s nuclear weapons. It is profoundly important that the two of us set a good example in how we manage and reduce our own nuclear arsenals. And we must work together to strengthen the global non-proliferation regime. If we can cooperate on nonproliferation and Afghanistan and global economic stability, then the strategic benefits will be great even when disagreements and tensions persist. And ultimately, trust and an established ability to work together may allow us to broaden our partnership and overcome some of these disagreements.

The dynamic with Brazil is in many ways quite different. Rather than a re-emerging power, Brazil’s rise in recent years is giving it a newfound potential to play a regional and global role, and the United States is gratified to see Brazil seizing this potential in a variety of ways – from using its own experience in agricultural development and combating hunger to help sub-Saharan African countries, to showing new leadership in the sometimes fractious politics of its own continent.

We in the United States welcome Brazil’s rise. We see a strong and globally active Brazil as a very positive force in our own hemisphere. Brazil’s commitment to democracy, market economics, regional integration, and trade, and its willingness to embrace globalization and assert a leadership role within the international system makes it an attractive and useful partner. Its successful combination of political stability, economic growth, and effective commitment to social justice makes it an example to others around the world. Yet we have our share of disagreements with Brazil. We have seen this in the WTO and other trade fora. We have no illusions that such competing interests will simply vanish. Rather, we’ll continue to address them in a spirit of mutual respect. And we also understand that our partnership must evolve as Brazil continues to grow, as its interests expand and change, and as it demonstrates the responsibility that comes along with its influence.

India is another country whose extraordinary growth is giving it a powerful, new role on the global stage. As illustrated by Prime Minister Singh’s visit to Washington earlier this week, significantly the first State visit of our new Presidency, the Obama Administration is determined to deepen the ties between the U.S. and India that have evolved over the past decade. From counterterrorism to nonproliferation, education to agriculture, science and technology to women’s empowerment, our cooperation reflects the depth and breadth of the relationship between the world’s two largest democracies. India is another hugely-significant model for other emerging democracies, and it has a central role to play on virtually all of the major challenges of this new century. As President Obama emphasized during the Prime Minister’s visit, India’s leadership and partnership will be crucial for helping to shape the rise of a stable, peaceful, and prosperous Asia.

Now, that doesn’t mean that we will always agree, because we won’t. That doesn’t mean that we can always avoid mutual suspicions or misunderstandings, because we can’t. But there is enormous and growing scope for real partnership between us. And what is especially noteworthy in this effort is that the ties between our governments are in many ways far behind the deep connections between our societies and our people.

As Secretary Clinton has put it, “we need the bilateral cooperation between our governments to catch up with our people-to-people and economic ties. We need to make sure that the partnership between Washington and New Delhi, our capitals, will be as advanced and fruitful as the linkages that already exist between Manhattan and Mumbai, or Boston and Bangalore.” In this partnership, you could say the people are leading the leaders.

And finally, there’s China. As President Obama made clear last week in Beijing, the United States welcomes China’s rise as a responsible player in world affairs, and we do not see any zero-sum game or inevitable rivalry. In fact, we’re working hard to build new mechanisms of cooperation with China, built on the recognition that virtually no major international problem can be solved without it. Take climate change: the United States and China are the two biggest emitters of greenhouse gasses, so we are working to reduce our own emissions while helping China continue its extraordinary development without doing irrevocable damage to the environment.

But of course, at times we do have real disagreements. As President Obama said at the first meeting of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in July and again on his recent visit to China, we will be very straightforward about these disagreements – such as over basic human rights or China’s treatment of some of its ethnic and religious minorities – and we will make clear that these issues matter to us. But at the same time, we cannot let them prevent us from cooperating on challenges like reducing global emissions or rebalancing the global economy or de-nuclearizing North Korea. Just because we don’t see eye-to-eye on every issue doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work together on issues where we do – where our common interest is so clear and so urgent that common action cannot be put off.

Let me pause here to make an obvious but important point: just as we understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to partnership, we also recognize clearly that strategies for partnership also require strategies for dealing firmly and creatively with adversaries. Dealing with adversaries is the subject of an entirely different lecture, but here I will simply offer the following thoughts. Direct engagement with adversaries has its own purposes. With Iran, since the beginning of the Obama Administration, we have sought to engage with the Iranian leadership, to make clear plainly and directly both our interest in a more normal relationship, based upon mutual interest and mutual respect, but also our profound concern about many of Iran’s actions, especially its nuclear program. Focus on nuclear issues does not – and must not – mean turning a blind eye to serious human rights abuses in Iran; the brutal repression of people seeking simply to express their views peacefully is appalling.

Nevertheless, our sincere hope has been — and remains — to find a way out of the mutual animus of the last three decades. We have worked intensively with Russia and the IAEA and others to offer creative confidence-building proposals to Iran, such as the use of Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium as the basis for refueling a research reactor in Tehran that produces medical isotopes. Sadly, we have little to show for that effort so far, and the Iranian leadership has thus far not been able to get to yes on a very significant – and fleeting – opportunity.

The wider purpose of engagement with an adversary, like Iran, is to help cement partnership with others who share our concerns. By participating actively and energetically in direct talks with Iran in the so-called “P5+1,” we strip away the argument that our unwillingness to engage is the core problem, rather than Iran’s own reluctance to make an agreement. On Iran, as on North Korea, engagement with adversaries is an investment in partnership with key international players, whose support we will need to build the leverage that is essential to successful diplomacy.

Broad Partnerships Are Enduring Partnerships
Third and finally, our multi-partnership strategy is guided by the principle that the wider the base of a partnership, the more lasting it is. Broader partnerships tend to be more enduring partnerships. That’s why we are seeking to build durable structures of partnership, both bilaterally and in multilateral institutions. And that’s why the Obama administration is working to develop ways to move beyond governments to build deeper ties between our citizens and societies.

As any diplomat would tell you, in setting out to build new partnerships or to improve difficult relationships, there is a temptation to approach things narrowly, on an issue-by-issue basis – trying to achieve cooperation on one specific thing or address one specific problem instead of laying the foundation for a broader, more comprehensive solution. But this won’t always work. The more challenging the relationship, the more important it is that we build a partnership as broad as possible, introducing new areas for cooperation, which sometimes spill over constructively on areas of difficulty.

All partnerships need some kind of structure – think about the various kinds of alliances and fora that underpin trans-Atlantic ties, like the U.S.-EU Summit held in Washington earlier this month. Structure helps improve communication between partners and ensures follow through on decisions and initiatives. And it can also help avoid surprises.

That is why the United States is setting out to build different kinds of structures to support our key bilateral partnerships, especially with rising or resurging global players.

With India, we have built a new strategic dialogue that will ensure communication on a range of issues while remaining flexible enough to change as our relations develop. In the case of Russia, where we also have many overlapping strategic interests but far from complete convergence, we have created a new bilateral Presidential commission, launched during President Obama’s visit to Moscow last July. With China, we have started the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, which met in Washington in July and will convene in China next year. And with Brazil, we are actively exploring similar structures to fit that extraordinarily important partnership.

Along with creating enduring bilateral structures, we’re also committed to adapting multilateral institutions. One of the great triumphs of the twentieth-century was building a global architecture in the wake of World War II that survived through the Cold War and did much to promote collective problem-solving and avert violence. That architecture continues to serve us today, but it increasingly doesn’t fit this century’s challenges and realities.

We need to make our existing institutions better reflect the distribution of power and the kinds of problems they must solve. We also need to build new mechanisms and update existing ones, some of them formal – like the G-20, which has just replaced the G-8 as the main forum for global economic policy, or the UN Security Council – and some of them informal – like the Six-Party Talks or the P5+1. All of these are key to getting partnership right, and it is crucial that we reshape them before they’re reshaped for us by a new distribution of power or unforeseen events.

Widening the base of partnership means more than the diplo-speak of global architecture and international institutions. Partnerships need to go beyond governments – and strengthen connections with and among peoples and societies at all levels. The nature of power in the twenty-first century, in other words, demands a whole new approach; problems will not be solved by a government or governments alone; they demand action from a whole range of actors new and old.

As hard as it is for someone who has spent over a quarter-century in the diplomatic service to say, the future can’t just be left to professional diplomats. We need to build public-private partnerships, with governments working alongside civil society, NGOs, businesses, and citizens. And we also need to build connections between them – empowering networks of people who can harness new technologies and make common cause on their own to find common solutions.

Expanding scholarship programs and people-to-people exchanges is one of the smartest investments that we can make in long-term partnerships across societies and national borders. One of the best initiatives we undertook in Russia in the 1990′s was to increase exchanges. Today, there are some 70,000 alumni of those programs living and working all across Russia, each equipped with a better understanding of how Americans think and what we can accomplish together.

Secretary Clinton has focused on our broad approach to partnership again and again, and her travels have reflected her own commitment to it: everywhere she goes, she spends as much time meeting with students, civil-society activists, war widows, and regular citizens as she does meeting with government ministers. She has appointed the State Department’s first ever Special Representative for Global Partnerships to focus on building broad public-private partnerships in the United States and around the world. And she has made it a priority to use new social network technologies to engage with citizens with a regularity and depth that was impossible before.

Conclusion
Partnership is a neat bumper-sticker and a handy slogan, but the practice of partnership is hard. That should come as no great surprise, in this complicated new century unfolding before us. Nor should it be a source of pessimism.

That may sound strange coming from someone who has spent most of his career in Russia and the Middle East, both regions where pessimists rarely lack either company or validation. I’m reminded of one of the many, characteristically fatalistic, Russian definitions of a pessimist — someone who thinks that tomorrow will be better than the day after. I have something a little different in mind. I think that tomorrow will actually be a pretty complicated period for building partnerships in a very unsettled world. But I genuinely do believe that, with strong vision and leadership from the United States, a multi-partner world is within our reach, and well-worth our sustained effort. And I genuinely do believe that the day after tomorrow holds real and enduring promise for the kind of pragmatic partnerships that benefit us all.

Thank you very much, and Happy Thanksgiving!

 


Interview with Gazeta.Ru

 

QUESTION: How would you evaluate the ongoing dialogue with Russia?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: Well, thank you. It is nice to speak to you. We always have a very long foreign policy agenda with Russia. And I want to cover the full range of topics. The specific focus of my visit this time is the upcoming European security agenda. Of course, President Medvedev has recently agreed to come and attend the NATO-Russia Council Summit in Lisbon in November and we also have an OSCE Summit in Astana the first of December. And it is a big agenda for these two meetings and so the focus of our discussions in Moscow over the past two days has been how to make the most productive use of those meetings.

QUESTION: How does the NATO proposal for an all-European missile defense system that could include Russia correspond with the idea of the American national missile defense system?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: Well, broadly the Obama Administration certainly does not see Russia as a threat. And the agenda of the NATO-Russia Council Summit will be the practical areas in which we can cooperate jointly and work together. And certainly the missile defense that the United States has proposed has never been targeted at Russia or with Russia in mind. I think that we have made that very clear. There is a growing missile threat from the Middle East and we are interested in pursuing the technologies that will help defend our populations and troops and territories against that threat. And in that context we see Russia as a potential partner because Russia could potentially be threatened by the same missiles (inaudible). And that is why we have proposed cooperation with Russia both bilaterally and in the NATO-Russia context. So this will be one of the issues on the agenda for the NATO-Russia Council and we hope that Russia will look favorably on the idea of cooperation.

QUESTION: What would you say to Russians who say the results of the “reset” are favorable only to the U.S.? For example, the new START treaty, the Afghan transit agreement, and the S-300 issue with Iran.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: I do not agree with that way of looking at things. You take even the examples that you have given – New START, Afghan transit, S300s. Russia benefits from our cooperation in all these areas. Russia, like the United States, has an interest in a stable Afghanistan. You could even argue more of an interest than the United States because Russia is closer in the way that the drug trade goes through Afghanistan. We absolutely believe that Russia has a common interest with us in stabilizing Afghanistan. And if allowing the United States to transit Russia makes the international coalition in Afghanistan more effective, it is absolutely in Russia’s interest to do so. And similarly the proliferation question in Iran. A nuclear Iran, we believe Russian officials have made clear is not in Russia’s interest. Containing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is in Russia’s interest just as much as in the United States’ interest. So, far from seeing this somehow as a gift from Russia to the United States, it is a common interest that we are pursuing together. And on New START, same thing. We both have an interest in reducing numbers of nuclear weapons and launchers, and thereby contributing to global stability and saving money. So none of these things are gifts from Russia to the United States but actions in our common interest. And finally, to the extent that these agreements contribute to a better overall relationship between Russia and the United States, they provide opportunities for us to move forward in different areas including economic cooperation and other bilateral questions. So it really is a two way street. That is the beauty of it, if you will, is that it is not zero sum – where I give and the other side gains and vice versa. But we are finding areas where mutual cooperation results in mutual benefit.

QUESTION: Can we agree that the Russian and American comprehension of Eurasian security is the same, given that both sides have completely different architectures for Eurasian security?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: We have some differences on the overall European security architecture. It is true that the United States has been and remains of the view that a new treaty is not necessary or practical. We think there are already some pretty good European security institutions in place and some pretty good principles for European security in place, and that we do not need to invent new ones. What we need to do is make sure that the existing principles are implemented. And yes we have been skeptical that a new treaty would be possible to elaborate and ratify and that it could be workable. But we are open to a dialogue on all of these questions. We welcome input from Russia and from all parties to the European security situation. We have a good and strong ongoing dialogue. So we may have a difference on the specific idea of a treaty. But we the United States accept the European security situation as imperfect. There is always room for improvement. We are ready to talk about that.

QUESTION: Do both sides have to overcome the Georgian issue, leaving it in the status quo conditions?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: Well, we do have a real difference on Georgia. The United States continues to recognize Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. I would add that so do the vast majority of countries in the world. Very, very few have joined Russia in recognizing and the United States will continue to support Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We have also been very clear that we don’t believe that there is a military solution to this conflict. And the only way to reestablish Georgia’s territorial integrity is through (inaudible) and patiently working with all of the people of Georgia to move forward. So it is a real difference between the United States and Russia. We try to manage it. We try to insure that it doesn’t interfere with the other areas of practical cooperation we have. But it is an important matter of principal of the United States and we will continue to stand by Georgia in that regard.

QUESTION: Is Georgia still a point of irritation in the U.S.-Russia bilateral relationship? Or have both sides decided to take it easy?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: Well, I think that I have characterized it. It is a real difference and we talk about it, and we have not found an agreement on the right (inaudible). But we have also agreed not to let it stand in the way of the better relationship that we have a mutual interest in. So we have had a difference on Georgia ever since the start of the Obama administration but it hasn’t prevented us from pursuing our mutual interests in arms control, counterterrorism, potential missile defense cooperation, economic cooperation. So in that sense it is not standing in the way of the relationship we are trying to build but it is a real difference and one that we need to work on.

QUESTION: Is the United States concerned about France’s Mistral sale to Russia?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: Well, weapon sales decisions are sovereign decisions for countries to make. And if a NATO ally like France is considering such decisions, we can have our views but ultimately it is a national decision. That said, just as we the United States have refrained from introducing significant changes in military equipment into that potentially unstable part of the world, we would hope that other NATO allies would do the same and exercise judgment and restraint when it comes to selling military equipment that could significantly alter the security situation on the ground.

QUESTION: Could you please comment on Turkey’s recent refusal to participate in the proposed missile defense system? What about the Czech Republic and Poland?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: Is the first thing that you said was about Turkey? Let me just clarify. It is not accurate to say that Turkey has refused to participate. There is (inaudible) at NATO. All NATO allies have recognized that there is a potential threat from ballistic missile proliferation and that missile defenses can contribute to the protection of our forces, of NATO forces in Europe. There is an ongoing discussion about whether to adopt territorial missile defense as a mission for NATO, and the United States has offered and made a specific offer of its phased adaptive approach, which would be the U.S. contribution to that European missile defense if allies so choose. Neither Turkey nor anyone else has rejected participation or support for that. It is a matter of discussion among allies that will be agreed we hope at the NATO Summit in Lisbon. And we are talking to Turkey as with our other allies about the adoption of a territorial missile defense for NATO. We are hopeful, I think, because Secretary General of NATO after the last ministerial, we are hopeful that all allies will agree to such a mission because we think that it is a real issue and that missile defense can contribute to our security. As for the rest of the other countries you named in the system, just to clarify, the previous administration, the Bush administration, was planning to build missile defense in Europe based on ground-based interceptors in Poland and expand radar in the Czech Republic. President Obama looks at the issue, looked at the evolving intelligence, at the evolving threat, at the evolving technology, and concluded that we would all be better off building a system based on a different kind of missile, the Standard Missile 3, and a different kind of radar. And so changed the approach from the deployment previously considered. And announcements have been made about locating SM3s in Poland and Romania, and that is the current U.S proposal for its contribution to a NATO missile defense.

QUESTION: Could you please comment on the ratification of the New START Treaty during the period between the November elections and the January inauguration of the new Senate?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: I can only say we hope so. We would like to have seen it passed before the elections. That is not going to happen at this point. But there will be a short session of Congress called the lame duck session because it will happen after the election of the new Congress, where they will have the opportunity to pass New START and I can only say we hope they’ll do so. It passed by a large margin out of Committee. We think it makes sense for the United States and hope that the Senate will take it up as part of this lame duck session. Otherwise, it will have to be held over until the new Congress is in place after January.

QUESTION: Do you speak with your Russian counterparts regarding human rights?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: Yes, we do speak to Russian officials and representatives about these issues all the time. President Obama has done so, Secretary Clinton has done so, and I and my colleagues do so as well. I have met with NGO groups on visits to Moscow and do pretty much every time I come to Moscow. It is important for the United States and it is our view that countries prosper when they have open and transparent societies like rule of law and democracy and human rights. And we make that clear in our dialogue with our Russian friends.

QUESTION: Could you please comment on the Khodorkovsky case?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: Well, we follow that case very closely as we do all such cases. And again we can only reiterate in general terms the importance of ensuring fair prosecutions and respect for the rule of law.

QUESTION: A bill was recently proposed in the U.S. Congress concerning the Magnitsky case. The bill would deny entry visas to a number of Russian officials. What are your thoughts regarding this bill?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: Well, I think the legislation that you are referring to underscores the seriousness with which Congress and indeed the Administration as well sees the issue of the Magnitsky case, and the importance of following up and investigating what happened and seeing the perpetrators brought to justice. So I think the legislation is a sign that Americans are following this very closely and take it very seriously.

QUESTION: Can you predict the outcome of this bill?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: I cannot make predictions about the fate of bills in the Congress. You’ve seen the significant support for it but I cannot predict how it will come out.

 
LEARN MORE ABOUT: , , , , ,


U.S.-Russia Relations Under the Obama Administration

As prepared

Thank you very much for having me here today. It’s great to be back at GMF and I look forward to this exchange of views.

This is a timely moment to take stock of U.S.-Russian relations — eighteen months into the Obama Administration, eighteen months into the “reset” of relations between our two countries, and nearly one year since the Obama-Medvedev summit in Moscow. President Medvedev will soon be traveling to the United States, visiting Silicon Valley and holding a series of meetings in Washington as well. The trip in a sense caps a year and a half of hard work in reorienting our relationship and offers a chance to reflect on how far we’ve come.

I’d like to start by going through the basic logic of the “reset”. When President Obama came into office less than six months after the Georgia war, U.S.-Russian relations were at their lowest point in years and perhaps in the post-Cold War period. There were other troubling events that had colored the recent past as well:

  • Gas cutoffs to Ukraine
  • A cyber-attack on Estonia
  • Virulently anti-Western speeches from Putin including one in which he compared U.S. policies to those of the Third Reich
  • The resumption of Russian strategic bomber air patrols along the Norwegian coast and as far away as the Caribbean
  • President Medvedev’s threat to deploy Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad

President Obama and Secretary Clinton had no illusions about the differences we had and continue to have with Russia, but they also recognized that the level of acrimony and distrust that pervaded U.S.-Russian relations did not serve U.S. interests. Moreover, they saw that the poisonous atmosphere between the two countries was a threat to the stability and security of Europe itself. The relationship was undermined by a lack of trust and the absence of any political structures for constructive dialogue, let alone cooperation. This meant not only were we not getting anything done but that Russia had nothing at stake in its relations with the United States and so was uninterested in considering U.S. positions.

And so the idea behind the reset was a simple one: The United States and Russia have significant common interests and where the United States and Russia have common interests, we should cooperate. Where we have differences, we will be honest about them, both in private and in public, and work to move the Russians to more reasonable positions. We will pursue a better relationship with Russia in our mutual interest and we will do so without sacrificing our principles or our friends. With these basic propositions as a guide, we have pursued a path of principled engagement. And we believe that path has yielded considerable results.

There may have been a time during the course of last year when one could have asked, “What has the reset really gotten us?” It’s a legitimate question, but the implied critique is not really sustainable halfway into 2010. The Obama Administration’s new approach to Russia has produced considerable results that have advanced U.S. interests on a host of vital issues. Some of the most prominent include:

  • The New START Treaty, which is the most comprehensive arms control agreement in nearly two decades. The Treaty cuts – by about a third – the nuclear weapons that the United States and Russia will deploy. It significantly reduces missiles and launchers. It puts in place a strong and effective verification regime. And it maintains the flexibility that we need to protect and advance our national security, to guarantee our commitment to the security of our Allies, and to move responsibly toward world without nuclear weapons. 
  • We concluded a lethal air transit agreement that has now permits, on average, two U.S. planes a day to fly over Russia carrying troops and supplies in support of the mission in Afghanistan. To date, over 275 flights have carried over 35,000 passengers and valuable cargo. Russia’s rail network has facilitated transit of more than 10,000 containers of supplies. And Russia’s willingness to consider NATO’s request for helicopters, spare parts, and training to the Afghan National Security Forces open the door to additional important security assistance. About 30% of cargo to Afghanistan goes through the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) and 60% of the NDN goes through Russia. 
  • Well over 100 meetings and exchanges have taken place under the auspices of the Binational Presidential Commission, bringing together over 60 Russian and American government agencies, not to mention multiple private sector and non-governmental partners. We have achieved concrete results: 
  •  
    • On security, we have agreed to dispose of enough weapons-grade plutonium for 17,000 nuclear warheads;
    • On economics, American companies were the first to announce investments in Russia’s Skolkovo innovation center, while Russia just awarded a 50-aircraft tender for Boeing 737s worth $4 billion;
    • On people-to-people cooperation, we completed in May our first ever youth basketball exchange in the United States and supported over 40 American cultural events in Russia.
    • We are working on many other areas from the environment to terrorism.

The UN Security Council has just enacted a series of tough sanctions against the Iranian regime, aimed at sharpening the choice for Iran between continued isolation and addressing the concerns of the international community about its nuclear program. In crafting and passing this resolution, we worked very closely with the Russian government. This is a real contrast from where things stood on this issue a year ago or even six months ago. I was with Secretary Clinton in Moscow in October when the headlines were “Russia Rebuffs US on Sanctions.” We have seen a real change in the Russian attitude. This also comes on the heels of our cooperation on UNSC resolution 1874 on North Korea. These are clear examples where our common interest in preventing nuclear proliferation combined with our new diplomatic approach produced effective action.

We have maintained throughout the efforts to achieve these results a staunch insistence on our values and on defending our principles and friends. Where we agree with Russia, we seek to cooperate – and where we disagree, we do not hesitate to voice our differences. We have a very strong record to stand on of demonstrating the solidity of our strategic commitments and the firm principles behind them. Some have suggested compromises on Central European security, Georgia, and human rights as the “cost” of reset, but the argument does not stand up to scrutiny.

Central Europe. In July 2009, a group of Central European intellectuals released an open letter critical of the Obama Administration’s approach to the region. Yet the record clearly shows we have staunchly defended the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Central European states and their basic right to choose their own alliances.

  • In September 2009, we announced the new Phased Adaptive Approach for European missile defense – which uses proven and new technology, covers more of Europe, and is therefore more responsive to the current and future security threats the continent faces. 
  • Nor does our cooperation with Russia imperil in any way our commitment to defend our Allies in accordance with Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. Neither the U.S. nor the Alliance views Russia as an enemy. And both the U.S. and our Allies are committed to engaging with Russia on areas of mutual interest, in particular as regards addressing the new security threats that emanate from outside Europe. At the same time, Article 5 means exactly what it says with respect to protecting the security of all our Allies, no matter where those threats may arise.

Georgia. We have been unambiguous in standing up for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia. We have committed one billion dollars in assistance to Georgia to aid in its reconstruction. We have pursued a strategic partnership with Georgia – something I am actively involved in, with a great deal of high-level interaction between the United States and Georgian governments. And I just spent last week in Geneva in talks aimed at getting Russia to live up to the ceasefire commitments it agreed to in 2008, including pulling back its forces to the positions they held prior to the outbreak of the conflict. We will continue to support Georgia and stand by it.

Human Rights. We also continue to be plainspoken with Russia about our commitment to human rights and democracy. In every senior-level meeting I have participated in with Russian counterparts, these concerns have been raised. We believe that fostering a respect for human rights as well as promoting the development of strong democratic institutions and the rule of law are the keys to a stable, secure and prosperous Russia. The entire Obama Administration has engaged intensively on this issue: the President held a parallel civil society event during his visit, gave a speech in which he emphasized the importance of democracy to students at the New Economic School, met with opposition leaders, and gave an interview to Novaya Gazeta. Secretary Clinton has also met extensively with civil society leaders, gave a speech at Moscow State University describing how political freedom was necessary for progress, and gave an interview on Ekho Moskvi. NSC Senior Director Mike McFaul on his recent trip to Moscow held a civil society event on prison reform and met with Sergei Magnitsky’s mother and Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s lawyer, and with independent bloggers; I have had my own meetings with human rights groups in Moscow and in DC.

  • We also spend $33.6 million on funding for democracy promotion and civil society in Russia.
  • The Civil Society Working Group of the new Bilateral Presidential Commission is providing yet another avenue to pursue these issues with Russian counterparts.

There is, however, a deeper level at which the reset contributes to European security. A better, more stable, more constructive relationship between the United States and Russia is good not just for our two countries, but it is good for Europe as a whole. Contrast the tone of the relationship today with the period from 2006 to 2009. What we have seen is not a merely a change in tone and rhetoric, or just a good personal rapport between presidents. Russia recently agreed to settle a 40-year old border dispute with Norway, on terms that were unacceptable to Gorbachev and Yeltsin. In a hugely symbolic step, NATO troops marched in Moscow’s Victory Day parade. Russia has begun an outreach to Poland in the past few months that has already seen Vladimir Putin acknowledge the Katyn Massacre and kneel at a memorial to its victims. In the wake of the tragic plane crash that killed the Polish president and other dignitaries, Russian officials reacted promptly and cooperatively throughout the investigation.

All this demonstrates that the reset in relations cannot be understood as the mere result of a change in U.S. policy. It is just as much the result of a Russia that is willing to engage in pragmatic solutions to the problems we all face. As a leaked foreign policy document published recently in the Russian edition of Newsweek implied, the leaders in the Kremlin now believe that they need and can achieve good relations with both Europe and the United States. This makes sense when you look at Russian interests from a strategic perspective: in a complex and changing world, the principal threats to Russian security do not come from stable democracies in Central Europe.

There is still much more to do as we seek to advance our relationship with Russia – we seek to do more in terms of arms control, we have to deepen our economic relationship, we should work to get the Russians into the WTO, we want to cooperate on the development of missile defense, and we need to make progress on Georgia. Even with more progress, we do not expect that we will always agree with Russia – and when we do not, we will express that disagreement vigorously and we will unyieldingly defend our principles, our commitments, and our allies.

But this opportunity to take stock just as clearly demonstrates how far we’ve come. It is striking that favorable attitudes towards the United States in Russia have increased from 38 to 54 percent from January 2009 to January 2010. We have a number of concrete achievements brought about by U.S.-Russian engagement, we have continued to keep faith with our allies and our principles, and we have seen substantial progress in creating a more stable European security environment as a whole.

With that, I look forward to our discussion.

 
LEARN MORE ABOUT: , , , , ,


Strengthening the Transatlantic Alliance: An Overview of the Obama Administration’s Policies in Europe

Chairman Wexler, Congressman Gallegly, members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today about Administration policies and priorities in Europe and strategies to further strengthen the transatlantic relationship.

President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and I are committed to reinvigorating and deepening the traditional relationships of confidence and trust we share with Europe. Europe is eager to reciprocate and increase the breadth of our close relationship, one that is based on shared values, including an enduring commitment to democracy, transparency, accountability, respect for human rights, and the rule of law. Today, I will highlight some examples of what the United States and Europe have achieved and what our policy objectives are going forward. To do that, I will touch on three strategic priorities for the Administration in Europe: European engagement on global challenges; a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace; and a renewed relationship with Russia.

Many of our European partners are among the most prosperous, democratic, and militarily capable countries in the world. Working with our European allies both bilaterally and multilaterally will remain critical to success in tackling the many global challenges we face together. The United States cooperates with Europe on all of the most important global challenges, including restoring growth and confidence in the world financial system; fighting poverty and pandemic disease; countering terrorism and nuclear proliferation; advancing peace in the Middle East; promoting human rights; and combating trafficking in persons. Still, there are other areas where our cooperation with Europe needs to increase. We can and must do more to address challenges like ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq; instability in Pakistan; Iranian and North Korean nuclear weapons programs; energy security and climate change. As President Obama has said, “The United States is ready to lead, and we call upon our partners to join us with a sense of urgency and common purpose.”

Critical Partnerships

One of the Administration’s most important priorities will be to continue the historic American project of helping to extend stability, security, prosperity, and democracy to all of Europe and Eurasia. The objective of all Presidents since World War II, both Democratic and Republican, has been to work with Europe to realize a joint vision of a Europe whole, free, and at peace. One of the ways the United States seeks to further this goal is through our critical partnerships in Europe – which include the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union (EU), and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

NATO

In April, NATO, the most successful alliance in history, celebrated its 60th Anniversary. Allies initiated a discussion of the Alliance’s future and tasked the Secretary General to launch a review of NATO’s Strategic Concept to insure that NATO is both prepared and equipped to meet the new security challenges of the 21st Century, including extremism, terrorism, proliferation, insurgency, failed states, piracy, and cyber threats.

Also at the Summit, Allies welcomed Albania and Croatia as NATO’s newest members, reinforcing the message that NATO’s door remains open. The United States joined Allies in welcoming France’s return, after over 40 years, to the integrated NATO military command structure. France’s full participation in NATO is a symbol of a renewed European commitment to NATO. Finally, Allies selected former Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen as the next Secretary General of NATO, to lead the reform of the Alliance so that it retains the flexibility and resources required to meet the new challenges of our time.

The United States also remains unequivocally committed to our Article 5 commitment; we will not waiver from the enduring premise that an attack against one is an attack against all. As NATO Heads of State and Government reaffirmed at the Summit in Strasbourg-Kehl, “the strong collective defense of our populations, territory, and forces is the core purpose of the Alliance and remains our most important security task.” We will continue to support adequate planning, exercises, and training to ensure NATO has the capabilities to remain as relevant to the security of Allied populations in the 21st century as it was in the 20th century.

Some of the most pivotal outcomes of the Strasbourg-Kehl Summit dealt with Afghanistan. On March 27, the President announced a new strategy for ensuring vital U.S. national interests in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This strategy for the first time integrates our civilian and military efforts in both countries, with the goal of disrupting, dismantling, and defeating al-Qaeda and eliminating its safe-havens. The Alliance unanimously endorsed this new strategy in Strasbourg. While the Summit was not a pledging conference, Allies and partners committed to provide 3000 new forces for Afghan election security and over a thousand new trainers, troops and civilians to support this new strategy. These new contributions will support political growth and security transformation in Afghanistan and contribute to regional stability.

Despite all of these positive developments, I do not wish to understate the enormity of the challenges we face – or the consequences of failure. Although Allies and Partners currently contribute over 32,000 troops to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF), we look forward to their additional contributions in the form of troops, civilian assistance or funds. The UK, Germany, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Turkey provide especially valuable support to the Afghanistan mission. Allied troops are deployed throughout Afghanistan, although some nations continue to impose “caveats” that restrict where their troops can go and what missions they can conduct. Our commanders in the field have asked for maximum flexibility in deploying Allied troops assigned to ISAF, and we continue to press Allies to eliminate caveats. The United States currently provides approximately 29,000 troops to ISAF. Most of our additional deployments will also come under ISAF.

We recognize that there is not a purely military solution to the conflict, and that we must complement the security NATO provides by increasing international civilian assistance to Afghanistan. In partnership with the NSC, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke is leading the overall effort for the Administration and has assembled an interagency team in Washington to coordinate with our military and to implement the President’s new strategy more effectively.

EU

Another increasingly important partnership for the United States is with the European Union, which has become one of our most crucial partners in addressing regional and global challenges in Europe and around the world. Our priorities for U.S.-EU cooperation cover almost all major U.S. foreign policy concerns including: energy security, climate change, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and the Middle East. The President raised each of these issues with his European counterparts at the April 5 EU Summit in Prague. He also assured them that the United States will be a ready partner on all these issues.

We are listening to our European partners and consulting with them closely, but also calling on them to bear their fair share of responsibilities for defending and promoting our common interests. During the Swedish EU Presidency that will begin on July 1, we look forward to continued close, results-oriented U.S.-EU cooperation. In July, I will meet with counterparts from the 27 EU member states, the European Commission, and the Council Secretariat.

The United States and the EU have the largest economic relationship in the world. Together, we generate 60 percent of world GDP. We will continue to work with the EU to promote the growth of our own market and support free trade and open investment around the world through the Transatlantic Economic Council. We will also cooperate with the EU to mitigate the effects of climate change, an issue that is now front and center in our foreign policy. The Department’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, Todd Stern, will work with our partners in Europe and around the globe to craft environmentally sound, scientifically driven, and pragmatic solutions to the world’s toughest environmental challenges and to lay the foundation for a successful outcome at this December’s UN climate conference in Copenhagen.

The EU also shares our concerns on security issues, such as Iran, including its nuclear activities, support for terrorism, and the domestic human rights situation. The EU-3 (France, Germany, and the United Kingdom) have worked closely with us in the P5+1 (the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany), while EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana has served as the representative of the P5+1 in direct negotiations with the Iranians on the nuclear issue. In addition to UN Security Council resolutions, the EU has also implemented additional autonomous sanctions intended to press the Iranians to come to the negotiating table.

The United States and the EU are coordinating closely on providing significant financial, political, and military support for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Among other priorities, we are working to alleviate the refugee situation in Pakistan, and to monitor upcoming elections and train police in Afghanistan.

The EU is also a crucial partner in our efforts to bring peace to the Middle East. As the largest donor to the Palestinian people, the EU worked closely with us earlier this year on the resolution of the conflict in Gaza, and it has consistently been a strong partner for us within the Quartet (the United States, Russia, the EU, and the UN). The EU has offered to reactivate and expand its dormant Gaza border monitoring mission while maintaining an ongoing police and rule of law training mission in the West Bank designed to complement our own efforts to improve the capabilities of the Palestinian security forces.

Energy is increasingly at the heart of U.S. and European security concerns. The mutual focus on energy independence and new energy technologies – combined with the ongoing Russia-Ukraine gas issues, energy price volatility, the financial crisis and ongoing climate negotiations – necessitates deeper transatlantic energy cooperation. We are committed to working with the EU to develop access to alternative sources of gas, such as the Southern Corridor, which could tap into Caspian and Middle Eastern supplies, delivering gas to many of Europe’s most vulnerable markets. European energy security is strengthened when prices for natural gas, a key strategic commodity, are determined by market rather than monopoly forces. Increasing such market efficiencies requires greater competition in European gas markets through increased diversified supplies of gas from the Caspian region and Iraq, as well as via liquefied natural gas; interconnections of European natural gas networks; and application of European competition policy to prevent manipulation of gas prices. The President appointed Ambassador Richard Morningstar to be Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy and has asked him to take the lead in coordinating our work with Europe to enhance and strengthen our cooperation to address European energy security.

OSCE

The OSCE is an important regional organization for promoting security defending human rights, and supporting democratic development throughout Europe and Eurasia. Our challenge is to reinvigorate the OSCE as a key promoter of fundamental freedoms, human rights, and civil society as necessary components of security in the region. The Secretary will initiate a structured dialogue on priority security issues when she attends the informal OSCE ministerial in Corfu later this month.

G-20

We also continue to work closely with our European partners through the G-20. At the April G-20 London Summit, the United States and the EU committed to steps that will address the global financial crisis. We are now following through on those commitments, which include strengthening international financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund and the Multilateral Development Banks, in preparation for the next meeting of G-20 leaders in Pittsburgh this September. Together with the other G-20 participants, we are resisting protectionism and promoting global trade and investment.

Europe: Whole, Free, and at Peace

Over two decades ago, the United States set out a vision for working with our European allies and partners on a Europe whole, free, and at peace, extending the zone of peace and prosperity throughout all of Europe. Many Central and Eastern European countries are now full members of NATO and the EU – this reality is one of Europe’s most significant post-Cold War accomplishments. Yet we still have unfinished business in extending that vision and prosperity to Europe’s south and east. Critical challenges remain, and only through collective action will we continue to make progress.

The global economic crisis has created additional pressures on our European friends and Allies and particular challenges for accomplishing our shared objectives in Europe and around the world. Europe’s stability and prosperity affect its strength as a global partner of the United States. Economic uncertainty may also aggravate Europe’s internal questions of identity, including those related to immigration, race, globalization, and trade. The economic crisis has hit certain parts of Europe especially hard, and we may very well see conditions get worse before they get better. Still, we must not allow this crisis to derail the critical work of pursuing a Europe whole, free, and at peace. Our collective security objectives will not be reached by decreasing capacities or turning increasingly inward. On the contrary, we must continue to make the case to our friends and Allies that, despite the devastating effects of the economic crisis, the many global and security challenges we face are too critical to ignore.

Turkey

Turkey is crucial to success in many of our most important foreign policy priorities, including stability and prosperity in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, achieving a lasting peace in the Middle East, securing European energy diversity and resolving frozen conflicts and regional disputes. We support Turkey’s aspirations for eventual membership in the EU as Turkey advances reforms that will make it an even stronger partner. We encourage the EU to reach out to Turkey to demonstrate real prospects for membership. Doing so will serve as a catalyst for additional internal reforms. We are also encouraging Turkey to make additional needed reforms required to meet membership criteria, reforms that will strengthen Turkey’s democracy and economy. We encourage Turkey to take steps that will bolster its relations with its neighbors by re-opening the Halki Seminary and normalizing relations with Armenia, including a candid exploration of the two countries’ sometimes tragic history. We must also work to resolve outstanding disputes in the Aegean, to reduce prospects for heightened military tensions in a strategic area. Turkey is also at the center of U.S. and European Union efforts to diversify European gas supplies by expanding a “Southern Corridor” of energy infrastructure to transport Caspian (and eventually Iraqi) gas to Europe.

Armenia

The United States seeks to help Armenia strengthen its security and prosperity by settling Armenia’s conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh and by encouraging Turkey and Armenia to normalize their relations. We believe these two processes should proceed separately, but in parallel, and at different speeds. Armenia and Turkey announced in their April 22 joint statement they had “agreed on a comprehensive framework for the normalization of their bilateral relations.” This represents an historic opportunity as Turkey and Armenia are closer than ever before to normalizing relations and re-opening their border. Meanwhile, the United States has helped invigorate progress towards a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement through its mediation as a Co-chair of the OSCE’s Minsk Group. The meetings of Armenian President Sargsian and Azerbaijani President Aliyev on May 7 in Prague and June 4 in St. Petersburg cleared the way to accelerate efforts to finalize a framework agreement by the end of 2009. We also seek to advance democratic and market economic reform in Armenia, including through the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact with Armenia.

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is an important partner of the United States on regional security (especially counterterrorism) and on helping our European allies diversify their supplies of natural gas. Azerbaijan also exports nearly one million barrels of oil per day to global markets via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, free from geographic chokepoints (such as the Turkish Straits and the Straits of Hormuz) and from monopolistic pressures. As noted above, the United States has helped generate new progress toward a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Our U.S. Co-chair of the OSCE’s Minsk Group, Deputy Assistant Secretary Matt Bryza, joined his Russian and French colleagues in facilitating five meetings between Presidents Sargsian and Aliyev over the past year. Secretary Clinton has been personally engaged in a series of discussions with Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders, including meetings with Foreign Ministers Mammadyarov and Nalbandian in Washington on May 5. I made my first trip to the Caucasus last week, where I visited Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to pursue our objectives in the region.

Cyprus

We will also continue to support the current negotiations in Cyprus – led by the two Cypriot communities under the auspices of the UN Good Offices Mission. Resolution of the Cyprus problem will have a tremendous impact on the region by strengthening peace, justice and prosperity on the island, advancing Turkey’s EU accession, improving NATO-EU cooperation and removing a source of friction between two NATO Allies, Greece and Turkey. As President Obama said, we are “willing to offer all the help sought by the parties as they work toward a just and lasting settlement that reunifies Cyprus into a bizonal and bicommunal federation.”

Greece

Greece is an important NATO Ally and the people-to-people ties between our countries run deep, sentiments the President reiterated to Prime Minister Karamanlis when they met in April. We look forward to working with Greece on a host of global challenges ranging from piracy to non proliferation. We also recognize the role Greece plays in important regional issues, including in the Balkans, the Aegean and Cyprus, and through its current chairmanship of the OSCE. We support Greece’s application for the Visa Waiver Program, and together, we are moving the process forward.

Balkans

We are showing renewed leadership in the Balkans where more than a decade after Western interventions, the forces of democracy, openness, and modernity still struggle against backward-looking ethnic nationalism and intolerance. In concert with our European partners, we are intensifying our engagement with the region’s leaders and pressing for reforms that will advance their states toward the European mainstream. The Administration places great importance on completing the task of fully integrating the Balkan region into the Euro-Atlantic community. However, much work remains to secure a peaceful and prosperous future for the region.

Macedonia

Supporting Macedonia’s integration into NATO and the EU remains a vital element in our efforts to promote peace and stability in the Balkans. As Allies reaffirmed at the Strasbourg-Kehl Summit, Macedonia will join NATO as soon the name issue is resolved. We would like to see this issue resolved soon. To that end, and in keeping with longstanding U.S. policy, we support a mutually acceptable solution to Macedonia’s name through the ongoing UN process led by Ambassador Nimetz. Deputy Secretary Steinberg delivered that message personally during his visits to Athens and Skopje in May.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

In his recent trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vice President Biden made clear our continuing commitment to help the country overcome its wartime legacy and transition to a modern state that can join NATO and the EU. To do so, Bosnia’s leaders must abandon divisive rhetoric and actions that threaten or violate the Dayton Peace Agreement, which remains the foundation for stability. Reforms that have been achieved must be protected, state-level institutions must be strengthened, and attempts to undermine them must stop.

Bosnia’s leaders must work across ethnic lines to reach compromises on governmental reforms that will enable the country to meet its Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Recently, while in Bosnia, Vice President Biden and EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana stressed that Bosnia’s future is in Europe, and it is natural that the EU will take on a greater role in guiding the reform process consistent with EU accession requirements. But before the Office of the High Representative can transition to an EU Special Representative, the so called “five plus two” reform agenda of outstanding Dayton implementation and state building objectives and conditions must be completed.

Serbia

The Vice President also met with Serbian President Tadic, Prime Minister Cvetkovic, and Defense Minister Sutanovac to stress the Administration’s intent to reinvigorate the relationship. He made clear that, despite our differences over Kosovo, we have extensive common interests, and the United States stands ready to support Serbia as it moves towards full integration into European and Euro-Atlantic institutions. This includes strengthened ties and membership in the European Union and closer cooperation with NATO, including eventual membership when Serbia is ready. The Vice President stressed that Serbia must uphold its commitment to work with the international community on practical humanitarian matters in Kosovo that will help improve the lives of all of Kosovo’s citizens, including ethnic Serbs. Belgrade’s full cooperation with the EU rule of law mission remains a key element in this. Vice President Biden also emphasized that we expect Serbia to continue its efforts to capture and extradite to The Hague the remaining war crimes fugitives Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic.

Montenegro

Montenegro is a new democracy, strongly committed to integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions, including NATO and the EU. In his May trip to Montenegro, Deputy Secretary Steinberg reaffirmed our strong support for Montenegro’s NATO and EU aspirations and encouraged the government to continue to play a stabilizing role in the region. He also stressed the need to step up efforts to strengthen rule of law, as well as transparency and accountability in government.

Kosovo

Kosovo’s success as an independent state within its current borders remains a critically important factor for stability in the Balkans. Yesterday (June 15th), Kosovo celebrated the one-year anniversary of the establishment of its constitution, and it has made tremendous progress during the sixteen months since its independence. Kosovo’s independence is irreversible. To date, sixty countries from around the world have formally recognized Kosovo. The shareholders of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank also recently voted to admit Kosovo as a member. Membership in these international financial institutions will help Kosovo’s efforts to achieve economic stability and prosperity for the benefit of all its citizens.

Kosovo’s leadership is upholding its commitments to build a multiethnic democracy, with far-reaching protections for Kosovo Serb and other minority communities. The government has demonstrated Kosovo is willing and able to play a constructive role as a responsible member of the international community. Of course, much work remains as Kosovo’s leaders build for the future. The United States will support Kosovo as it re-doubles efforts to build governing capacity, develop a sound economy and environment for investment, and maintain momentum in creation of a robust, multi-ethnic democracy.

Eurasia

Furthermore, in promoting a peaceful, united, and democratic Europe and Eurasia, we must strongly support the sovereignty and independence of all European states, including those that emerged out of the former Soviet Union.

Georgia

The United States strongly supports Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and its commitment to further democratic reform. We must work with our international partners, including the UN, OSCE and EU, to improve the security and humanitarian situation throughout Georgia and to increase international access to the separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. We will maintain solidarity with the international community in refusing to recognize the independence of these separatist regions of Georgia. We regret that Russia blocked the extension of the OSCE and UN missions in Georgia. EU monitors play a crucial role in defusing tension along the administrative border between South Ossetia and the rest of Georgia. On June 22, 2009, Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Vashadze will chair the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Council, based on the charter our two countries concluded in January 2009, which reaffirms our commitment to deepen cooperation with Georgia.

Ukraine

The United States is committed to insuring a prosperous, democratic, and independent Ukraine by helping consolidate its democratic institutions and continue reforms. It is important for Ukraine’s leaders to work together to address its serious economic crisis as well, including taking all necessary steps to implement the $16.4 billion IMF Standby Program.

The United States strongly supports the right of both Ukraine and Georgia to pursue their membership aspirations in NATO. To achieve NATO membership, both countries must complete rigorous reforms to meet NATO’s performance-based standards. Under the auspices of the NATO-Ukraine and NATO-Georgia Commissions, Allies, including the United States, are working with both countries to provide concrete advice, assistance, and practical support to help guide these efforts.

Moldova

A country that has been a concern recently is Moldova, where repeat parliamentary elections will take place after the parliament failed to elect a president. We will urge the Government of Moldova to conduct the elections in a fair and transparent manner, seriously addressing concerns raised about the conduct of the previous parliamentary elections, including accurate voter lists and a free and independent media. This would increase confidence in Moldova’s democratic institutions and demonstrate that Moldova remains on a path of reform and democratic development. We will continue to work for a negotiated settlement of the separatist conflict in the Transnistria region that provides for a whole and democratic Moldova and the withdrawal of Russian forces.

Belarus

In Belarus, we will encourage the regime to emerge from isolation and to respect the Belarusian people’s basic rights and democratic aspirations through undertaking genuine political and economic reform. Our assistance program in Belarus complements these goals.

Russia

As we work to promote security, prosperity and democracy across Eurasia, the Obama Administration is committed to reinvigorating our relations with Russia and looks forward to building a relationship based on respect and mutual cooperation. President Obama and President Medvedev met in London on April 1, where they reaffirmed that Washington and Moscow share common visions of many of the threats and opportunities in the world today. The two presidents’ joint declaration recognized that more unites us than divides us. The task is now to translate that sentiment into actual achievements as we look ahead to a July summit in Moscow.

We also share major common interests and will work together on these important areas. In this regard, Presidents Obama and Medvedev agreed to develop a robust agenda for bilateral cooperation, agreeing to work together on a variety of issues, including reducing strategic nuclear weapons and enhancing nuclear security, and to cooperate on such issues as counterterrorism, counternarcotics, Iran, North Korea, the environment, strengthening civil society, and the global economic crisis. We also appreciate the Russian decision to allow non-lethal transit through their territory to assist international efforts in Afghanistan, a mission that has clear security implications for Russia and an area that offers the United States and Russia more common ground on which to constructively work together in the future.

Another part of that agenda will be the negotiation of a follow-on agreement to the START treaty, which is set to expire on December 5, 2009. So far, there have been two rounds of productive meetings in May and June. The negotiators are charged with reporting their progress to the Presidents during their meeting in Moscow in July.

Russia and the United States bear a special responsibility for the future safety of the world. We are working very hard together to find practical solutions, including through the UN Conference on Disarmament, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, Cooperative Threat Reduction programs, and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.

One of the outstanding issues we face is the drift in relations between Russia and the NATO alliance, as well as the weakening of European security structures triggered by Russia’s suspension of its implementation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. At the OSCE ministerial in Corfu, we will discuss ways to strengthen European security. We are pleased that the NATO-Russia Council will also meet at the ministerial level on the margins to resume dialogue and refocus on areas of shared interest. The Secretary spoke about an “all weather” forum for dialogue where areas of common interest and grave importance to our shared and global security can always be discussed. We welcome a dialogue with Russia in the OSCE about its ideas for a new European security architecture. We remain committed to working through and improving existing structures and mechanisms for joint cooperation on European security. The OSCE will serve as an important forum for such a discussion, as the sole multilateral organization in Europe that brings us all together on equal terms.

At the same time that we reinvigorate our relations with Russia, we will not abandon our principles or ignore concerns about democracy and human rights. While we look forward to forming a more cooperative partnership with Russia, we have no illusions that this will be easy or that we will not continue to have differences. The United States will not recognize a Russian sphere of influence. The United States will also continue to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia’s neighbors. They have the right to make their own decisions and choose their own alliances. The United States and Russia can still work together where our interests coincide while seeking to narrow our differences in an open and mutually respectful way.

Western Europe

As we recognize the many challenges that we face in spreading security, prosperity, and democracy to South and Eastern Europe, it is also important that we recognize and continue to work with our traditional friends and allies in Europe’s West.

The United States enjoys some of its closest and most productive partnerships with the countries in this region. President Obama made two visits to reinforce these relationships in the first five months of his presidency. Our Allies throughout Europe share an enduring set of common interests and values with us and they also possess the ability to bring real assets to the table – diplomatic, financial, and military – for joint action to promote and defend those interests. The United States is grateful to all of these countries and our NATO partners in other regions such as Australia for their significant contributions to the joint mission in Afghanistan, and looks forward to continuing our close cooperation as we begin implementing the new strategy there. Sixty years ago, our nations came together to fight a common enemy that threatened the freedom of the citizens of Europe. Today, we continue to work together with these important Allies on many new and emerging threats.

Global Cooperation

Finally, let me address several specific issues, some old and others very new, which pose significant challenges to the United States and our transatlantic friends. As President Obama said on his first trip to Europe, “America can’t meet our global challenges alone; nor can Europe meet them without America.”

Foreign Assistance

An integral part of working with our European partners on global issues is being a good partner ourselves. Specifically this involves making good on our foreign assistance commitments and maintaining them in the years to come. The job we started after the fall of the Berlin Wall – to help nurture democratic and economic reform among the states of the former Soviet Union — is far from over. Many countries in Central and Eastern Europe have been phased out of foreign assistance, primarily because of their membership in the EU or NATO. Countries that are still receiving our help in making the democratic transition arguably present an even tougher challenge today, especially during a global economic downturn. U.S. foreign assistance invests in American security by contributing to European security and helping build stable and full participants in the transatlantic community.

Our assistance is essential to bolstering the efforts of still-fragile reformers like Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova to integrate into Euro-Atlantic institutions. In the Balkans, our Fiscal Year 2010 request to Congress represents a re-balancing of aid levels to maintain robust funding for Kosovo, to increase aid to consolidate progress in Albania and Macedonia, to strengthen reforms in Serbia, and to ensure that Bosnia and Herzegovina gets back on the path to Euro-Atlantic integration. We are seeking additional resources to prevent or reverse further democratic backsliding in places like Belarus, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. In Russia, we focus on programs to promote democratic development and human rights to enhance cooperation with Moscow to counter nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and global health scourges.

Our military assistance to Europe and Eurasia, for which we seek to restore funding following sharp cuts in 2008 and 2009, pays us dividends by building new capabilities in countries that support our security operations abroad, including Afghanistan, and by improving the professionalism of European forces, and developing their interoperability with NATO.

Public Diplomacy

One of the most important components of global cooperation in the 21st century is our Public Diplomacy strategy. That involves being able to effectively communicate with European governments and publics in a way that creates an understanding of our policy objectives, lays the groundwork for concerted action with European partners beyond Europe’s borders, and engages Europe’s young generation of “first time voters” to create a sense of common values and purpose with the United States. To do this, the Department is engaged in rapid and targeted delivery of policy messages to meet ever-shorter news cycles; developing innovative uses of new media to engage youth audiences; expanding programs that invite dialogue – listening as well as talking; and creating new exchange programs that allow us to engage Europe’s future leaders, and in expanding our use of our soft power tools, like culture and sports, to open doors and begin dialogue.

Engagement with Muslims in Europe

Another crucial aspect of our strategy is to engage constructively with Muslim populations in Europe. As President Obama said during his trip to Turkey in April and in his Cairo speech earlier this month, the United States seeks a new beginning with Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest, mutual respect, and the principles of justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings. The Department’s engagement efforts in Europe seek to capitalize on these interests by improving understanding of the United States, helping to build networks of European and American Muslims, facilitating improved inter-community relations, and supporting peaceful grassroots organizations, with a particular focus on youth outreach. Our approaches are tailored to the different contexts and the variety of Muslim communities in different countries, and include engagement with students and community groups, internships, mentoring, exchanges and many others.

Holocaust Issues

Yet another aspect of our global cooperation involves engaging the countries of Europe to help those still-living survivors of one of the worst genocides in the history of the world, the Holocaust, achieve some belated justice. The upcoming Conference on Holocaust Era Assets offers us that opportunity. Former Deputy Treasury Secretary Stuart Eizenstat will head the U.S. delegation to the Prague Conference which will address five main themes: immovable (real) property restitution and compensation, Nazi-confiscated art, Holocaust education and remembrance, recovery of Judaica, and social welfare needs of Holocaust survivors.

Counterterrorism

Another critically important area where the United States and Europe work increasingly well together is counterterrorism. Steps taken by European governments, often in concert with us, and ongoing counterterrorism relationships with European countries have had a direct and positive impact on the security of the continental United States and our interests overseas. We cooperate closely on law enforcement, cyber security, intelligence gathering and information exchange, as well as on international transport security and border control, and on dealing with the consequence of terrorist attacks. We also work closely with European governments to freeze assets and designate individuals and organizations with financial links to terrorists.

Conclusion

The United States and Europe share the important responsibility of leading the international effort to address our most pressing global challenges. We also share core values – human rights, democracy and the rule of law – a strong foundation as we work together on our global agenda of advancing these core values as well as security, prosperity, and stability to the entire European continent and around the world. We must continue to embrace this responsibility to lead and recognize that our results are best, and our partnership strongest, when we work together.

Mr. Chairman, Congressman Gallegly, members of the Committee, I am grateful for the opportunity to speak before you today, and I welcome the opportunity to respond to your questions.

 


Interview with Yevgenia Albats, The New Times

QUESTION: On December 5, 2009 the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) expired, but negotiations regarding a new one between Russia and the United States have so far failed. What are the major obstacles for the new treaty?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to complete this agreement soon. It’s a technically very complex treaty to accomplish. We share an interest in making real reductions in our strategic arsenals, and that is the most important point. To do that in a way that is verifiable, but which is less costly and less operationally complex than the previous START agreement is the key challenge, and we are working through it together.

QUESTION: Given that the Cold War is long gone, why it is imperative to have this treaty signed? What may happen if it does not go through?

SECRETARY CLINTON: As President Obama said in Prague, the existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War. While the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up. As more nations seek to acquire these weapons, the United States and Russia, as nuclear powers, have a special responsibility to lead in efforts toward a world without nuclear weapons. By taking concrete steps such as the new START Treaty, we can reduce our own stockpiles and encourage others to do the same. Presidents Obama and Medvedev have both recognized the importance of having a quality agreement that meets the needs and interests of both sides and I am confident that we will be able to get there together.

QUESTION: It seems that two presidents, the Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev, and the U.S. President Barack Obama were quite optimistic about the new treaty throughout their meeting and telephone conversations last year. However, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on December 29th expressed certain concerns about U.S. «aggressiveness» and disruption of the nuclear balance. He suggested linking the U.S. missile defense system in Europe to the treaty in question. What would be your response to Vladimir Putin’s concerns?

SECRETARY CLINTON: As both Presidents agreed in Moscow, the subject of the new START treaty will be strategic offensive arms. We are more than willing to discuss missile defense and other defensive systems with our Russian partners, but we feel that the best way forward is to give each issue the full and separate attention it deserves. We are discussing missile defense cooperation with the Russian Government, and we hope to cooperate on missile defense with Russia to address a range of threats from around the world. Russia and the United States have unique missile defense assets which if used together in a cooperative manner could enhance the security of both countries.

QUESTION: A year ago, you, Madam Secretary, proclaimed a «reset» in the U.S.-Russian relationship. Has this «reset» materialized?

SECRETARY CLINTON: The reset is now well-established, but the true test of its success is how we expand our cooperation in areas of shared interest. We are working closely together in addressing the issues revolving around Iran’s challenge to the international community on nuclear non-proliferation. We are making progress on the new START Treaty. We’ve also made progress in our common efforts in Afghanistan, in trying to build stability there and in dealing with the threat posed by Al-Qaida and violent extremists. We have also been working closely on North Korea and Middle East peace negotiations, together with other members of the international community to tackle these challenging issues which affect the entire world. And finally, with the Bilateral Presidential Commission, we are broadening contacts through expanded cultural and educational exchanges, law enforcement cooperation, joint projects in health and the environment, and other activities which will improve the lives of average Americans and Russians.

QUESTION: Iran is already the hottest political issue of 2010. Given that Iran failed to satisfy requests from the United States and other members of the International Commission involved, what are the odds that the United States will use military force over economic sanctions?

SECRETARY CLINTON: The U.S. has always been committed to try to resolve the problem of Iran’s nuclear program through peaceful means. We have worked very closely with our international partners in pursuing engagement with Tehran, including by working with Russia, France and the IAEA to find a creative way to provide fuel for Iran’s medical research reactor in spite of its continuing violation of UN Security Council resolutions on its nuclear program. But Iran has repeatedly refused these opportunities. Now Iran has announced it will accelerate its enrichment activities in defiance of the Security Council’s decisions. We believe Iran’s dangerous steps must have consequences, so we will be working further with Russian and our other partners in applying pressure on Iran to persuade it to reconsider its continuing resistance to engagement on the nuclear issue.

QUESTION: Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser during President Carter’s administration, in an interview (with The Daily Beast website) in late September 2009, said that the United States will attack Israeli jets if they fly over Iraq on their way to attack Iran. To which extent does this view of the former national security adviser, known to be close to President Obama’s administration, reflect the official point of view of Washington? Do you, Madam Secretary, exclude the possibility that Israel may attack Iran on its own? What will be the consequences?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I hold Mr. Brzezinski in high esteem, but he is of course speaking as a private citizen. We remain focused on trying to convince Iran to work with the rest of the world in a constructive manner. Only by doing so can Tehran have a more productive relationship with its neighbors and the international community at large, a relationship the Iranian people deserve.

QUESTION: The United States is about to deploy more troops in Afghanistan. What goals does your government hope to accomplish there, where others, including the USSR, failed?

SECRETARY CLINTON: As President Obama said in his announcement of his new Afghanistan strategy, our ultimate goal is to defeat Al-Qaida and prevent their return to Pakistan or Afghanistan. To that end, we have devoted new resources to disrupting terrorist networks in Pakistan and Afghanistan, promoting a more effective Afghan national government that can eventually lead the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist fight, and working with our partners and organizations, such as the UN, to reinforce the stability of the constitutional government in Pakistan. By taking this multi-layered approach, we believe we will be able to help bring peace and security to the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the region as a whole.

QUESTION: World media has written time and again about the threats coming from Pakistan. There are allegations that Pakistan gives shelter to terrorists and that some members of the Pakistani secret service are helping Afghan Taliban. What is your view of the situation in Pakistan, given that this country has nuclear weapons? Aren’t you afraid that the Pakistani nuclear arsenal may end up in the hands of extremists?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Clearly, you cannot expect to bring stability to Afghanistan without also assisting the Pakistani government in combating terrorism in the region as well. That is why the President’s new strategy looks to assist Pakistan in ensuring stability and constitutional civilian rule. We are increasing and broadening our economic assistance to Pakistan with a focus on creating economic opportunity as a means of thwarting extremism. In addition, we are working with Islamabad to strengthen its governmental capacity to ensure that the country as a whole can fight off the terrorist threat from the Taliban and Al-Qaida. We understand that there are no simple solutions to the problems in the region. By adopting an approach that looks to reinforce the economic and governmental capacity of Pakistan and Afghanistan, we will be able to secure our own future security as well as that of the region.

QUESTION: Returning back to U.S.-Russian relations: There have been ongoing discussions both in Washington and in Moscow between the adherents of the so-called “realpolitik” approach, and those who believe that the Russian government should be held accountable for the violation of human rights. President Clinton’s administration was a huge supporter of the Russian democratic development. President G.W. Bush’s administration was inclined to a different approach, in which pragmatism prevailed over human rights issues. What is your approach?

SECRETARY CLINTON: As I said when I visited Moscow, I believe that the Russian people yearn for their rights just as much as Americans or anyone else does. The reset of relations between Russia and the U.S. is not merely on a government to government level but also about bringing our two peoples closer together. And it is on the strong foundation of accountable governance and the rule of law that we can strengthen the many ties between our two nations.

QUESTION: There are plenty of people in Washington who believe that Russia is not ‘grown-up’ enough for democracy, and the United States will be better off supporting authoritarian regime in my country. What will be your argument in support of the first or the second approach?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We reject the idea that some countries are not ready for democracy. We believe that human rights are universal and that all people, regardless of where they live, thrive in an open society where ideas are exchanged freely. This competition of ideas leads to more accountable governance and a more innovative, prosperous economy, which form a solid foundation for the kind of relationship that we are looking for with Russia and Russians. The discussions I had with students and non-governmental activists when I visited Moscow last October reinforced my conviction that Russians share these same basic aspirations.

QUESTION: Previous US administration was fairly aggressive in its rejection of the Russian government’s claims that the former republics of the Soviet Union are “its zone of special privilege interests”, countries like Ukraine and Georgia first and foremost. What is your view on that? Would you consider Ukraine and Georgian membership in NATO any time soon?

SECRETARY CLINTON: The United States stands by the principle that sovereign states have the right to make their own decisions to chart their own foreign poliices and to choose their own alliances. We reject the notion of zones of influence as 19th century ideas. We fully support the decisions of NATO and its ‘open door” policy toward membership for both Georgia and Ukraine.

QUESTION: Vice-President Joe Biden, while on his visit to the Caucasus last year expressed a very harsh opinion regarding Moscow’s politics towards the post-Soviet countries. Is it to say, that you and Biden have a different approach to the issue?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Both Vice President Biden and I support the President’s vision and policies. We all want to seek a fruitful working relationship with Russia. At the same time, we recognize that there will be differences. The United States continues to fully support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia. We, like the overwhelming majority of countries in the international community, consider Abkhazia and South Ossetia to be integral parts of Georgia.

QUESTION: Research has been done that problems with obtaining visa to European Union and the United States contribute to the negative view Russian people hold of the West. Would you consider free entry anytime soon between our countries?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Our visa policies are based on U.S. law and the concept of reciprocity. While visa-free entry into the U.S. is a long way off, we can do more to ease travel for our citizens in the short run. We are actively working with the Russian government through the Presidential Bilateral Commission to make it easier for both Russians and Americans to visit each other’s countries and see for themselves just how much we have in common.

QUESTION: One, personal question, if you don’t mind. It has been announced that Chelsea has got engaged (Congratulations!). Does your current job leave any time to be involved in her wedding plans?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Like any mother of a bride to be, I am excited and happy for my daughter.

QUESTION: There has been lots of discussion regarding harsher sanctions towards Iran. However, many believe that these sanctions would most likely be ineffective at this point. How does the United States plan to deal with these new developments? Does the West have any concrete ideas and means to stop Ahmadinejad?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Sanctions, when imposed by the UNSC and enforced by all countries can be very effective. Years of sanctions against Libya, which was pursuing a nuclear weapons research program, ultimately contributed to Tripoli’s decision to drop that idea. We have no illusions in the case of Iran that Tehran will be easily persuaded. We are concerned that steps toward uranium enrichment and testing of missile systems pose a increasingly greater threat to the international community. It would be irresponsible of us not to do all we can to address that threat.

QUESTION: More than 60 members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama in December protesting the appointment of Mr. Surkov, the first deputy chairman of the Russian presidential administration, as the co-chair of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission’s Civil Society Working Group. The legislators called him “one of the masterminds behind Russia’s authoritarian course” and urged President Obama to boycott these meetings until he was replaced. What would be your response to the congressmen’s letter?

SECRETARY CLINTON: The Civil Society Working Group under the Bilateral Presidential Commission met for the first time January 27 in Washington. We believe the meeting was a success, having launched a process of dialogue on key issues, including the fight against corruption. The final session of that day brought U.S. and Russian governments and NGO representatives together to share experiences and consider how together they can work to address common problems. Our goal is to have government launch this dialogue and work on various themes between NGOs and other representatives of civil society in both countries, but we hope that we can step back as these contacts and relationships flourish on their own. As for who leads the Russian government delegation to the Civil Society Working Groups, that is a decision for President Medvedev.

QUESTION: We just read that President Clinton had a heart surgery. How is his health? The New Times would like to pass our warmest wishes to President Clinton.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you for the kind words about Bill, I will be sure to share with him. He is doing very well. . As you know he has plunged back into work on assistance to Haiti, which both President Obama and Secretary General Ban Ki Moon asked him to help with. His energy and commitment to helping others in need drive his efforts.

 


U.S.-Russia Relations: “Reset” Fact Sheet

In one of his earliest new foreign policy initiatives, President Obama sought to reset relations with Russia and reverse what he called a “dangerous drift” in this important bilateral relationship.  President Obama and his administration have sought to engage the Russian government to pursue foreign policy goals of common interest – win-win outcomes — for the American and Russian people.  In parallel to this engagement with the Russian government, President Obama and his administration also have engaged directly with Russian society — as well as facilitated greater contacts between American and Russian business leaders, civil society organizations, and students — as a way to promote our economic interests, enhance mutual understanding between our two nations, and advance universal values.  On the occasion of President Medvedev’s visit to the United States and one year after President Obama visited Russia, it is time to take stock of what has been achieved from this change in policy and what remains to be done in developing a more substantive relationship with Russia.

Government-to-Government Agreements and Accomplishments

The New START Treaty:

On April 8, 2010, in Prague, Presidents Obama and Medvedev signed the New START Treaty, a strategic offensive arms reduction treaty to follow-up on the START Treaty, which expired on December 5, 2009.  The New START Treaty reduces limits on U.S. and Russian deployed strategic warheads by approximately one third.  The Treaty provides the flexibility needed for the United States to structure its forces at the reduced level to meet national security and operational requirements.

 The Treaty limits each side to 1550 deployed strategic warheads, 700 deployed strategic delivery vehicles, and 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and heavy bombers equipped with nuclear armaments.  The Treaty has a strong verification regime to allow each party to confirm that the other party is in compliance with the treaty limits, including on-site inspections, data exchanges, exhibitions, and notifications about the movement and production of strategic systems, as well as a provision on non-interference with National Technical Means of verification.

In their June 24 Joint Statement on Strategic Stability, President Obama and President Medvedev acknowledged their commitment to continuing the development of a new strategic relationship based on mutual trust, openness, predictability and cooperation by following up on the New START Treaty.

Iran:

Since 2009, President Obama and President Medvedev have worked closely to address the international challenge presented by Iran’s nuclear program and its failure to meet its international obligations, and have built a strategic partnership on this issue.  Robust U.S.-Russia cooperation on Iran has manifested itself through the P5+1, as well as on the original IAEA proposal to supply nuclear fuel to the Tehran Research Reactor in exchange for Iran’s low enriched uranium being shipped out of Iran and held under IAEA safeguards.

As a result of Iran’s continued failure to meet its international obligations on its nuclear program, President Obama and President Medvedev worked closely with other members of the UN Security Council to reach an agreement on UN Security Council Resolution 1929, the most comprehensive set of sanctions against Iran to date, to demonstrate that there will be a cost to Iran for not meeting its international obligations on its nuclear program.  U.S.-Russian partnership in crafting this resolution was critical to its successful adoption.  UNSCR 1929 imposes restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities; its ballistic missile program; and, for the first time, its conventional military.  This was a particularly important step for Russia, which has confirmed that it will not deliver S-300 missiles to Iran, in accordance with the new resolution.   The resolution will put a new framework in place to counter Iranian smuggling, and crack down on Iranian banks and financial transactions.  It targets individuals, entities, and institutions – including those associated with the Revolutionary Guard.

North Korea:

Russia joined the United States in supporting UN Security Council resolution 1874 in response to North Korea’s nuclear test.  The resolution condemned in the strongest terms the May 25, 2009, nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and tightened sanctions against it by blocking funding for nuclear, missile and proliferation activities through targeted sanctions on additional goods, persons and entities, widening the ban on arms imports-exports, and called on Member States to inspect and destroy all banned cargo to and from that country    on the high seas, at seaports and airports    if they have reasonable grounds to suspect a violation.

Non-Proliferation:

In addition to the New Start Treaty and actions taken against Iran and North Korea, the U.S. and Russia have made significant progress in developing our common nonproliferation agenda over the past eighteen months.  Russia joined the United States in supporting the UN Security Council Resolution 1887 on September 24, 2009.  Russia also played a critical role in President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit, held on April 12-13, 2010.  On the sidelines of this meeting, the United States and Russia signed a protocol to amend the 2000 Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement, which commits both countries to dispose of 68 metric tons or approximately 17,000 nuclear weapons-worth of excess weapons-grade plutonium. Russia recently shut down its last remaining weapons-grade plutonium production power plant. 

 Russia also has established an international nuclear fuel bank that provides incentives for other nations not to acquire sensitive uranium enrichment technology.  In support of the July 2009, U.S.-Russia Joint Statement on Nuclear Cooperation, the United States and Russia have accelerated and expanded efforts to secure and remove vulnerable nuclear material from around the world.  In particular, we have worked together to remove or dispose of 475 kilograms of nuclear weapons-usable highly enriched uranium fuel and plutonium (enough for over 19 nuclear weapons) from 8 countries.  This included the complete removal of all weapons-usable HEU from three countries.  While it is not yet agreed, Russia has been supportive of U.S. efforts within the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to strengthen controls over enrichment and reprocessing technologies.  The U.S. and Russia also continue to build upon over fifteen years of significant cooperation to strengthen the security of nuclear facilities and materials.
 
Afghanistan:

Over the last 18 months, the Obama Administration has expanded the volume of supplies being shipped to our troops in Afghanistan through the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), thanks in part to Russia’s agreement to allow ground and air transit for troops and supplies for Afghanistan through its territory.  At present, 30 percent of supplies to our troops in Afghanistan travel over the NDN, and of this cargo, 65 percent of the supplies being routed through the NDN transit through Russia.   Russia’s participation in the NDN has allowed the U.S. to expand more efficient and direct routes that offer a strategic and vital alternative to the Pakistan routes.  
Russia’s agreement to fund the navigation and flight fees for 4,300 official U.S. flights and allow air transit for unlimited amounts of commercial charter flights with supplies has been vital to bringing in troops and supplies for the surge in troops President Obama ordered as a result of his review of our efforts to secure and stabilize Afghanistan.   Since the Afghanistan Air Transit Agreement was signed with Russia at the July 2009 summit, over 35,000 U.S. personnel and troops have flown to Afghanistan via the Russian routes.  Russian companies also have provided vital airlift capacity for over 12,000 flights in support of our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, thirty percent of the fuel U.S. military troops use in Afghanistan, and over 80 MI-17 helicopters to the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, and Afghan Drug Interdiction Forces. During their meeting on June 24, 2010, President Medvedev pledged to provide 3 more MI-17 helicopters to the NATO-led effort in Afghanistan, and offered to provide more than a dozen more under a special financial arrangement.

In addition, the Counternarcotics Working Group under the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission has established cooperation on reducing the supply of narcotics from Afghanistan to Russian territory, including joint operations, enhanced information sharing, stopping illicit financing of Afghan-related terrorism from narcotics trafficking, and cooperation on demand reduction.

Kyrgyzstan:

In response to the coming to power of a Provisional Government in Kyrgyzstan in April 2010, Presidents Medvedev and Obama and their administrations closely coordinated their efforts to enhance stability.  After the tragic outbreak of violence in Osh and Jalalabad in June 2010, American and Russian diplomats have closely coordinated our common responses, both in the provision of humanitarian assistance and in the development of multilateral responses to the crisis.  On June 24, Presidents Obama and Medvedev issued a joint statement affirming our common interest in supporting the people of Kyrgyzstan in their efforts to prevent further violence, address the current humanitarian crisis, and restore stability and democracy.

Georgia:

The Obama Administration continues to have serious disagreements with the Russian government over Georgia.  We continue to call for Russia to end its occupation of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and in parallel have worked with the Russian government to prevent further military escalations in the region.  We have witnessed some incremental confidence building measures, such as opening the border at Verkhniy Lars and allowing direct charter flights between the two countries, and continue to press for the strengthening of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms and a return of international observers to the two occupied regions of Georgia.

Accelerating Russia’s WTO Accession:

After a long lull while Russia focused on forming its Customs Union with the Republics of Belarus and Kazakhstan, the United States and Russia have intensified their discussion regarding Russia’s WTO accession.  On April 27, 2010, First Deputy Prime Minister Shuvalov led a high-level Russian government delegation to Washington to meet with Director of the White House National Economic Council Larry Summers, USTR Ambassador Ron Kirk, and other senior Obama administration officials.  This meeting produced a roadmap of necessary steps needed to be taken by Russia to accelerate its WTO accession. The United States pledged to provide additional technical assistance to help speed the process of revising Russia’s WTO Working Party Report taking into account the new Customs Union.  On June 24, based on the significant progress achieved, including agreement on the treatment of state-owned enterprises, and provided that Russia fully implements the mutually agreed upon action plan for bringing Russian legislation into compliance with WTO requirements, the Presidents agreed to aim to settle remaining bilateral issues by September 30.

American-Russian Cooperation in Managing the Global Financial Crisis:

The United States and Russia have collaborated closely within the framework of the G20 on measures to address the global economic crisis, and on the coordination of the reform of financial regulation.  In addition, the United States and Russia have worked to improve the governance and capacity of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Resubmission of the 123 Agreement:

If approved, the U.S.-Russia 123 Agreement would provide a solid foundation for long-term U.S.-Russia civil nuclear cooperation; create commercial opportunities for U.S. industry; and enhance cooperation on important global nonproliferation benefits.  The Agreement would allow for potential commercial sales of civil nuclear commodities to Russia by U.S. industry and joint ventures between U.S. and Russian firms to develop and market civil nuclear items as well as proliferation-resistant nuclear technologies.  In addition, the Agreement has the potential to increase cooperation between Russia and the United States in their nuclear supply policies and approach to the fuel cycle.

Energy Efficiency:

On June 24, our Presidents agreed to implement a multifaceted initiative to promote energy efficiency and the development of clean energy technologies under the Action Plan of the Bilateral Presidential Commission’s Energy Working Group.  The centerpiece of this collaboration will be the development of a pilot smart grid project based on the most innovative technologies to cut losses in electric power systems and reduce emissions.  Russian and U.S. cities will be matched to implement similar projects, and to share best practices and technical information.  The Action Plan also includes implementing energy management and technical programs to improve energy efficiency in Russian and U.S. public sector buildings.  The U.S. and Russia also agreed to develop financial mechanisms to help create investment incentives for small and medium sized private companies to promote energy efficiency and clean technologies.

Creation of the Presidential Bilateral Commission:

During their meeting in Moscow on July 6, 2009, Presidents Medevedev and Obama established the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Commission consisting of sixteen working groups ranging from nuclear cooperation, space, health, military-to-military, cultural and sports exchange, to civil society.  Since the creation of the commission, dozens of delegations have traveled to each country, video conferences have been held, and numerous new bilateral activities and programs have emerged to pursue projects of mutual benefit to the American and Russian people.  We also agreed to add an Intelligence Sharing Working Group to the Commission.  The Commission’s first annual report was published on June 24, 2010, and can be accessed at the Commissions website: www.state.gov/russiabpc

Military-to-Military Cooperation:

Russia and the United States agreed to renew bilateral military cooperation and have approved a work-plan for this cooperation under the Defense Cooperation Working Group of the Bilateral Presidential Commission.  Russia and the United States also have cooperated successfully on anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and have committed to intensify counter-piracy cooperation.  The U.S. sponsored Russia’s UN Security Council resolution for an UN-led study on the cost and effectiveness of various approaches to prosecute pirates.

Dual Track Engagement in Support of Universal Values:

The Obama Administration has pursued a strategy of dual-track engagement – engagement of Russian government officials and in parallel Russian civil society — to advance democracy and human rights within Russia.  Through government-to-government channels, the Obama Administration has looked for ways to support President Medvedev’s efforts at fighting corruption and deepening the rule of law.  In the spring of 2010, American and Russian officials met several times to discuss open government initiatives in both countries, interactions which produced the Joint Statement on Open Government released by our two countries during President Medvedev’s visit to Washington on June 24, 2010.  The Working Group on Civil Society also has tackled the issues of anti-corruption, child protection, prison reform, and migration.

In parallel to these government-to-government exchanges, Obama Administration officials meet frequently and directly with Russian civil society leaders, be it through President Obama’s attendance at  parallel civil society summit in Moscow last July, President Obama’s meeting with human rights activists from Russia and other countries in February 2010, Secretary Clinton’s meeting with human rights activities and civil society leaders in Moscow in October 2009, or everyday encounters between U.S. government officials and Russian civil society leaders in Moscow and Washington.  The Obama Administration also has encouraged peer-to-peer dialogues between American and Russian civil society leaders, while at the same time expanding financial support through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for programs on rule of law, human rights, civil society, media, and political processes.

While seeking to engage the Russian government and Russian civil society in ways to promote universal values, the Obama Administration has not shied away from criticizing human rights abuses, including our public condemnation of the murder of human rights defender Natalya Estemirova, our statement on irregularities in the October 2009 regional elections, and our expression of concerns for arrests of peaceful demonstrators.  Speeches by President Obama and Secretary Clinton in Moscow have underscored our commitment to defending human rights and advancing democracy around the world, including in Russia.

Supporting President Medvedev’s Initiative on Innovation:

The Obama Administration has welcomed President Medvedev’s focus on innovation and has looked for ways to support this initiative.  In February, 2010, the State Department and National Security Staff led a delegation of high-tech executives to Moscow and Novosibirsk to help promote this innovation agenda, including promoting entrepreneurship, openness and transparency, internet freedom and freedom of expression, and the use of communications technologies to augment the work of traditional civil society organizations.  In the wake of this visit, a new forum called “Rustechdel” has been created, matching information technology professionals with civil society actors.  Russian civil society organizations in Siberia have adopted tools, such as live streaming to conduct training for Siberian non-governmental organizations in managing administrative responsibilities and promoting respect for human rights.  Private sector Russian entities have teamed up with healthcare experts to establish a “Text4Baby” program, using sms texting to inform pregnant mothers of issues related to the health of them and their babies.  Private sector entities from the United States are working to outfit orphanages in Novosibirsk with computers and links to the internet as well as partnering with Russian non-governmental organizations to provide mentoring in life skills and appropriate usage.  United States non-governmental organizations have teamed up with Russian partners to offer prizes to Russian software developers to produce programs and tools that would help to combat trafficking in persons.  In May 2010, Obama Administration officials also participated in the “The First Venture Capital Trip to Russia”, a program organized by AmBar and Rusnano which brought two dozen venture capitalist from the United States to Russia to explore investment opportunities.  During President Medvedev’s visit to Washington on June 24, the U.S. and Russian government issued joint statements on collaboration in the areas of innovation and open government.

Supporting People-to-People Exchanges:

The Education, Culture, Sports and Media Working Group of the U.S.–Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission has expanded and enriched connections between Russians and Americans through arts exchanges, sports diplomacy, cultural performances, exhibitions, and engagement through traditional and social media.  The State Department has committed to a substantial increase in Fiscal Year 2010 funds to support these activities.  In parallel, new non-government partnerships between Russian and American student organizations, cultural groups, and artists have expanded, sometimes with but oftentimes without U.S. government support. On June 24, 2010, Presidents Obama and Medvedev issued a Joint Statement on People-to-People Connections, articulating a shared desire to see such contacts continue to grow.

The U.S.-Russian Foundation for Economic Advancement and the Rule of Law:

In June 2009, the U.S.-Russia Foundation for Economic Advancement and the Rule of Law (USRF) registered in Russia as an affiliate of the non-profit organization USRF in the United States and has begun to work with Russian institutions to develop projects that encapsulate the principles of enterprise, accountability, and partnership.  Among other new projects and grants, the USRF continues to support the Center for Entrepreneurship in Russia.

Private, Non-Governmental Initiatives and Activities

Parallel Business Summits:

In July 2009, during the Presidential Summit in Moscow, American and Russian business associations convened a parallel business summit that included hundreds of business representatives and CEOs from both countries.  During the June 24, 2010 summit in Washington, American and Russian CEOs convened a small meeting of representatives from a number of different sectors to discuss ways in which to expand trade and investment and foster conditions conducive to innovation in both countries.  American and Russian business associations also convened a parallel business summit that included participation by senior government officials from both countries.

Parallel Civil Society Summits:

In July 2009, American and Russian non-governmental organizations, including Eurasia Foundation, the New Eurasia Foundation, and CSIS convened a parallel civil society summit to coincide with the Presidential summit in Moscow.  American and Russian non-governmental organizations gathered to discuss a number of themes including anti-corruption measures, community development, health, and media among others.  During the meeting, President Obama appeared, hearing reports from representatives of the different working groups and making remarks.  During the June 24 summit in Washington, IREX and New Eurasia convened a steering group meeting of civil society organizations, many of whom participated during the 2009 summit, to continue discussion in many of the same thematic areas and additional ones, such as education and child protection.  During the session, information technology specialists interacted with traditional civil society actors to offer suggestions and ideas for how new technologies and innovation can complement and augment the work of the different groups.  The steering committee laid the foundation for institutional engagement in the coming year for expanded participation by both American and Russian groups.

Expanding Trade and Investment:

Rostechnologiya and Boeing signed a proposal acceptance to enter into a sale of 50 737 Boeing aircraft with a potential additional sale of 15 planes to the Russian national airline Aeroflot.  The multi-billion dollar sale will create potentially 44,000 new jobs in America’s aerospace industry.   U.S. companies have opened new manufacturing facilities in Russia in the areas of soft drinks, paper, and tractors.  In July 2009, PepsiCo announced it will invest nearly one billion USD in drink and food manufacturing facilities in Russia, including a new bottling plant in the Domodedovo, Moscow region.  In April 2010, a joint venture between International Paper and Ilim Pulp announced an investment of 700 million USD to build a new kraft pulp mill in Bratsk.  That same month, Deere & Company announced the opening of a new manufacturing and parts distribution facility, amounting to approximately a 500 million USD investment.  In May 2010, Kimberly-Clark announced the opening of a 170 million dollar plant in the Moscow region producing diapers.  On June 4, 2010, GE entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Russian state corporations Russian Technologies and Inter RAO UES, to pursue a strategic cooperation relationship for the production and distribution of industrial products needed to address Russia’s growing infrastructure demands.  The MOU specifically contemplates the formation of joint ventures in the areas of power generation and healthcare equipment.  While the terms of the joint venture agreements have yet to be finalized, the arrangement could result in billions of dollars in revenues to GE over five years, ultimately helping to support jobs and innovation in both Russia and the United States.  On June 17, 2010, Chevron Corp. and OAO Rosneft agreed to explore for oil and natural gas on a block in the Black Sea, a project that could lead to more than 1 trillion rubles ($32 billion) in spending. On June 17, 2010 American lithium-ion battery manufacturer Ener1, Inc. signed a memorandum of understanding with Russia’s Federal Grid Company (MICEX: FEES) to help develop new opportunities to use high-performance battery systems to improve the reliability and performance of the Russian electricity system, which is facing record setting demand on an aging grid.  In June, Siguler Guff & Company, a U.S.-based private equity firm, made a $250 million commitment towards the development of Russia’s innovation economy through its investment in a network of carrier-neutral data centers being built in Moscow and other Russian cities.   The company’s Russia-based sponsor, DataSpace, responsible for overseeing this investment, will locate its headquarters in Skolkovo, the future high-tech center.  On June 23, during President Medvedev’s visit to Silicon Valley, Cisco announced a pledge of one billion dollars in investments over the next ten years in technology projects in Russia, and that it would establish a second headquarters at Skolkovo for its emerging technologies unit.  U.S. angel investors in the high-tech sector have created business incubators in Saint Petersburg and Novosibirsk and, working with Russian partners, have created an entrepreneurial fund for Russian start-ups.  The Russian government has liberalized its visa and registration requirements for skilled workers coming to work in the area of innovation.

Changing Russian Attitudes toward the United States:

According the Pew Research Center, the number of Russians with a favorable attitude towards the United States has increased from 44 percent in 2009 to 57 percent in June 2010.  In another poll by the Moscow-based Levada Center, Russian favorable attitudes towards the United States increased from 38 percent in January 2009 to 60 percent in May 2010.  According to Levada, the percentage of Russians with negative attitudes has decreased from 49 percent in January 2009 to 26 percent in May 2010.

Preserving U.S.-Russian Historical Legacy:

On June 22, 2010, the Russian company Renova signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Office of the Governor of California establishing a foundation that will assist in the restoration of the historic Fort Ross, the hub of the southernmost Russian settlements in California at the beginning of the 19th century.

 


Joint Statement by President Dmitriy Medvedev of the Russian Federation and President Barack Obama of the United States of America

Reaffirming that the era when our countries viewed each other as enemies is long over, and recognizing our many common interests, we today established a substantive agenda for Russia and the United States to be developed over the coming months and years.  We are resolved to work together to strengthen strategic stability, international security, and jointly meet contemporary global challenges, while also addressing disagreements openly and honestly in a spirit of mutual respect and acknowledgement of each other’s perspective.  We discussed measures to overcome the effects of the global economic crisis, strengthen the international monetary and financial system, restore economic growth, and advance regulatory efforts to ensure that such a crisis does not happen again. We also discussed nuclear arms control and reduction.  As leaders of the two largest nuclear weapons states, we agreed to work together to fulfill our obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and demonstrate leadership in reducing the number of nuclear weapons in the world.  We committed our two countries to achieving a nuclear free world, while recognizing that this long-term goal will require a new emphasis on arms control and conflict resolution measures, and their full implementation by all concerned nations.  We agreed to pursue new and verifiable reductions in our strategic offensive arsenals in a step-by-step process, beginning by replacing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with a new, legally-binding treaty. We are instructing our negotiators to start talks immediately on this new treaty and to report on results achieved in working out the new agreement by July. While acknowledging that differences remain over the purposes of deployment of missile defense assets in Europe, we discussed new possibilities for mutual international cooperation in the field of missile defense, taking into account joint assessments of missile challenges and threats,  aimed at enhancing the security of our countries, and that of our allies and partners. The relationship between offensive and defensive arms will be discussed by the two governments. We intend to carry out joint efforts to strengthen the international regime for nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. In this regard we strongly support the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and are committed to its further strengthening. Together, we seek to secure nuclear weapons and materials, while promoting the safe use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. We support the activities of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and stress the importance of the IAEA Safeguards system. We seek universal adherence to IAEA comprehensive safeguards, as provided for in Article III of the NPT, and to the Additional Protocol and urge the ratification and implementation of these agreements. We will deepen cooperation to combat nuclear terrorism.  We will seek to further promote the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, which now unites 75 countries. We also support international negotiations for a verifiable treaty to end the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. As a key measure of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, we underscored the importance of the entering into force the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.  In this respect, President Obama confirmed his commitment to work for American ratification of this Treaty. We applaud the achievements made through the Nuclear Security Initiative launched in Bratislava in 2005, including to minimize the civilian use of Highly Enriched Uranium, and we seek to continue bilateral collaboration to improve and sustain nuclear security. We agreed to examine possible new initiatives to promote international cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy while strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime. We welcome the work of the IAEA on multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle and encourage efforts to develop mutually beneficial approaches with states considering nuclear energy or considering expansion of existing nuclear energy programs in conformity with their rights and obligations under the NPT. To facilitate cooperation in the safe use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, both sides will work to bring into force the bilateral Agreement for Cooperation in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. To strengthen non-proliferation efforts, we also declare our intent to give new impetus to implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1540 on preventing non-state actors from obtaining WMD-related materials and technologies. We agreed to work on a bilateral basis and at international forums to resolve regional conflicts.  We agreed that al-Qaida and other terrorist and insurgent groups operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan pose a common threat to many nations, including the United States and Russia.  We agreed to work toward and support a coordinated international response with the UN playing a key role. We also agreed that a similar coordinated and international approach should be applied to counter the flow of narcotics from Afghanistan, as well as illegal supplies of precursors to this country. Both sides agreed to work out new ways of cooperation to facilitate international efforts of stabilization, reconstruction and development in Afghanistan, including in the regional context. We support the continuation of the Six-Party Talks at an early date and agreed to continue to pursue the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in accordance with purposes and principles of the September 19, 2005 Joint Statement and subsequent consensus documents. We also expressed concern that a North Korean ballistic missile launch would be damaging to peace and stability in the region and agreed to urge the DPRK to exercise restraint and observe relevant UN Security Council resolutions. While we recognize that under the NPT Iran has the right to a civilian nuclear program, Iran needs to restore confidence in its exclusively peaceful nature.  We underline that Iran, as any other Non-Nuclear Weapons State – Party to the NPT, has assumed the obligation under Article II of that Treaty in relation to its non-nuclear weapon status.  We call on Iran to fully implement the relevant U.N. Security Council and the IAEA Board of Governors resolutions including provision of required cooperation with the IAEA. We reiterated their commitment to pursue a comprehensive diplomatic solution, including direct diplomacy and through P5+1 negotiations, and urged Iran to seize this opportunity to address the international community’s concerns. We also started a dialogue on security and stability in Europe.  Although we disagree about the causes and sequence of the military actions of last August, we agreed that we must continue efforts toward a peaceful and lasting solution to the unstable situation today. Bearing in mind that significant differences remain between us, we nonetheless stress the importance of last year’s six-point accord of August 12, the September 8 agreement, and other relevant agreements, and pursuing effective cooperation in the Geneva discussions to bring stability to the region.  We agreed that the resumption of activities of the NATO-Russia Council is a positive step.  We welcomed the participation of an American delegation at the special Conference on Afghanistan convened under the auspices of Shanghai Cooperation Organization last month. We discussed our interest in exploring a comprehensive dialogue on strengthening
Euro-Atlantic and European security, including existing commitments and President Medvedev’s June 2008 proposals on these issues. The OSCE is one of the key multilateral venues for this dialogue, as is the NATO-Russia Council. We also agreed that our future meetings must include discussions of transnational threats such as terrorism, organized crime, corruption and narcotics, with the aim of enhancing our cooperation in countering these threats and strengthening international efforts in these fields, including through joint actions and initiatives. We will strive to give rise to a new dynamic in our economic links including the launch of an intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation and the intensification of our business dialogue. Especially during these difficult economic times, our business leaders must pursue all opportunities for generating economic activity. We both pledged to instruct our governments to make efforts to finalize as soon as possible Russia’s accession into the World Trade Organization and continue working towards the creation of favorable conditions for the development of Russia-U.S. economic ties. We also pledge to promote cooperation in implementing Global Energy Security Principles, adopted at the G-8 summit in Saint Petersburg in 2006, including improving energy efficiency and the development of clean energy technologies. Today we have outlined a comprehensive and ambitious work plan for our two governments.  We both affirmed a mutual desire to organize contacts between our two governments in a more structured and regular way. Greater institutionalized interactions between our ministries and departments make success more likely in meeting the ambitious goals that we have established today. At the same time, we also discussed the desire for greater cooperation not only between our governments, but also between our societies — more scientific cooperation, more students studying in each other’s country, more cultural exchanges, and more cooperation between our nongovernmental organizations.  In our relations with each other, we also seek to be guided by the rule of law, respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights, and tolerance for different views. We, the leaders of Russia and the United States, are ready to move beyond Cold War mentalities and chart a fresh start in relations between our two countries.  In just a few months we have worked hard to establish a new tone in our relations.  Now it is time to get down to business and translate our warm words into actual achievements of benefit to Russia, the United States, and all those around the world interested in peace and prosperity.

 
 

Disclaimer: The Office of Policy Planning and Public Diplomacy, in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, of the U.S. Department of State manages this site as a portal for international human rights related information from the United States Government. External links to other internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.