The United States is deeply concerned by the humanitarian emergency in the Horn of Africa and today’s announcement by the United Nations that a famine is underway in parts of Somalia. The United States is the largest bilateral donor of emergency assistance to the eastern Horn of Africa. We have already responded with over $431 million in food and non-food emergency assistance this year alone.
But it is not enough — the need is only expected to increase and more must be done by the United States and the international community. That is why today the United States government is providing an additional $28 million in aid for people in Somalia and for Somali refugees in Kenya.
The eastern Horn of Africa is prone to chronic food insecurity which has been exacerbated by a two-year drought. Crops have dried up, livestock have died, and food prices have been skyrocketing. In Somalia, twenty years without a central government and the relentless terrorism by al-Shabaab against its own people has turned an already severe situation into a dire one that is only expected to get worse. Even so, we remain cautiously optimistic that al-Shabaab will permit unimpeded international assistance in famine struck areas.
The United States — in close coordination with the international community — is working to assist more than 11 million people in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, who are in dire need of assistance. To anticipate growing needs, the United States government has worked with our partners over the last year to pre-position food in the region, increase funding for early warning systems, and strengthen non-food assistance in the feeding, health, water and sanitation sectors. In addition to emergency assistance, this administration’s Feed the Future program is working to break the cycle of hunger once and for all by addressing the root causes of hunger and food insecurity through innovative agricultural advances.
But the United States cannot solve the crisis in the Horn alone. All donors in the international community must commit to taking additional steps to tackle both immediate assistance needs and strengthen capacity in the region to respond to future crises.
Funding Opportunity Number: PRM-AFR-11-CA-AF-071811-HORN
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number: 19.517
Announcement issuance date: Monday, July 18, 2011
Proposal submission deadline: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) EDT. Proposals submitted after this deadline will not be considered.
ADVISORY: PRM strongly recommends submitting your proposal early to allow time to address difficulties that may arise due to system delays.
Proposed Program Start Dates: Immediately
Duration of Activity: No more than 12 months.
In funding a project one year, PRM makes no representations that it will continue to fund the project in successive years and encourages applicants to seek a wide array of donors to ensure long-term and diverse funding sources.
Current Funding Priorities for refugees in Ethiopia and Kenya:
(a) For Kenya, only proposals for assistance programs in response to new Somali arrivals in refugee camps will be considered.
(b) For Ethiopia, only proposals for assistance programs in response to new Somali arrivals in refugee camps in the Dolo Ado region will be considered.
(c) Proposals must focus on the following sectors: Health, Emergency Nutrition, Protection (including prevention of and response to gender-based violence and assistance to unaccompanied minors), Shelter and Infrastructure, and/or Water and Sanitation.
(d) PRM will accept proposals only from NGOs working in the aforementioned sectors that are existing PRM partners with FY 2010 or FY 2011funding.
(e) PRM will give priority to proposals from organizations that include activities that build on existing programs in response to the influx of new arrivals from Somalia to the above referenced camps in Kenya and Ethiopia.
International Organizations (IOs) that are engaged in programs relevant to the assistance addressed by this PRM funding announcement should ensure that these programs are made known to PRM on or before the closing date of this funding announcement so that PRM can evaluate all IO and NGO programs for funding consideration.
Funding Limits: None.
As stated in the General NGO Guidelines, PRM looks favorably on cost-sharing efforts and seeks to support projects with a diverse donor base and/or resources from the submitting organization.
Proposal Submission Requirements:
See “How to Apply” (http://www.grants.gov/applicants/applicant_faqs.jsp#applying) on Grants.gov for complete details on requirements, and note the following highlights:
· Proposals must be submitted via Grants.gov.
· Do not wait until the last minute to submit your application on Grants.gov. Applicants who have done so in the past and experienced technical difficulties were not able to meet the deadline. Please note: Grants.gov is expected to experience continued high volumes of activity in the near future. PRM strongly recommends submitting your proposal early to avoid submission delays.
· If you encounter technical difficulties with Grants.gov please contact the Grants.gov Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-800-518-4726. Applicants who are unable to submit applications via Grants.gov due to Grants.gov technical difficulties and who have reported the problem(s) to the Grants.gov help desk and received a case number and had a service request opened to research the problem(s), should contact PRM Program Officers Cathy Baroang at (202) 453-9381 or BaroangCA@state.gov or Chris Upchurch at (202) 453-9384 or UpchurchCM@state.gov to determine whether an alternative method of submission is appropriate.
· Applications must be submitted under the authority of the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) at the applicant organization. Having proposals submitted by agency headquarters helps to avoid possible technical problems.
· Pursuant to U.S. Code, Title 218, Section 1001, stated on OMB Standard Form 424 (SF-424), Department of State is authorized to consolidate the certifications and assurances required by Federal law or regulations for its federal assistance programs. The list of certifications and assurances can be found at: http://fa.statebuy.state.gov/content.asp?content_id=161&menu_id=68.
Proposal Content, Formatting and Template:
Please refer to the “Proposal Submission and Review Process” section in PRM’s General NGO Guidelines. PRM strongly encourages organizations applying for PRM funding to use the PRM recommended proposal and budget templates. Templates can be requested by sending an email to PRM’s NGO Coordinator. You must type “PRM NGO Templates” in the subject line to receive an automated reply containing the template.
PLEASE TAKE SPECIAL NOTE OF THE FOLLOWING REQUIREMENTS OUTLINED IN THE PRM’s NGO GUIDELINES:
This announcement is designed to accompany PRM’s General NGO Guidelines, which contain additional administrative information and explain in detail PRM’s NGO funding strategy and priorities. Please use both the General NGO Guidelines and this announcement to ensure that the proposed activities are in line with PRM’s priorities and that your proposal submission is in full compliance with PRM requirements. Proposal submissions that do not meet all of the requirements outlined in these guidelines will not be considered.
· Proposals should outline how the NGO will acknowledge PRM funding. If an organization believes that publicly acknowledging the receipt of USG funding for a particular PRM-funded project could potentially endanger the lives of the beneficiaries and/or the organization staff, invite suspicion about the organization’s motives, or alienate the organization from the population it is trying to help, it must provide a brief explanation in its proposal as to why it should be exempted from this requirement.
· Focus on outcome or impact indicators as much as possible. At a minimum, each objective should have one outcome or impact indicator. Wherever possible, baselines should be established before the start of the project.
· To increase PRM’s ability to track the impact of PRM funding, include specific information on locations of projects and beneficiaries. Any project involving the building or maintenance of physical infrastructure must include coordinates of site locations (place name, P-Code, latitude and longitude coordinates).
· Budget must include a specific breakdown of funds being provided by UNHCR, other USG agencies, other donors, and your own organization. PRM strongly encourages multi-lateral support for humanitarian programs.
· Organizations that currently receive PRM funding for activities that are being proposed for funding under this announcement must include the most recent quarterly progress report against indicators outlined in the cooperative agreement. If an organization’s last quarterly report was submitted more than six weeks prior to the submission of a proposal in response to this funding announcement, the organization must include, with its most recent quarterly report, updates that show any significant progress made on objectives since the last report.
Reports and Reporting Requirements:
Program reporting: PRM requires quarterly and final program reports describing and analyzing the results of activities undertaken during the validity period of the agreement. It is highly suggested that NGOs receiving PRM funding use the PRM recommended program report template. To request this template, send an email with the phrase “PRM NGO templates” in the subject line to PRM’s NGO Coordinator.
Financial Reports: Financial reports are required within thirty (30) days following the end of each calendar year quarter during the validity period of the agreement; a final financial report covering the entire period of the agreement is required within ninety (90) days after the expiration date of the agreement.
For more details regarding reporting requirements please see PRM’s General NGO Guidelines.
Proposal Review Process:
PRM will conduct a formal competitive review of all proposals submitted in response to this funding announcement. A review panel will evaluate submissions based on the above-referenced proposal evaluation criteria and PRM priorities in the context of available funding.
PRM may request revised proposals and/or budgets based on feedback from the panel. PRM will provide formal notifications to NGOs of final decisions taken by Bureau management.
PRM Points of Contact:
Should NGOs have technical questions related to this announcement, they should contact the PRM staff listed below prior to proposal submission. (Note: Responses to technical questions from PRM do not indicate a commitment to fund the program discussed.):
PRM Program Officer Cathy Baroang (BaroangCA@state.gov; 202-453-9381), Washington, DC
PRM Program Officer Chris Upchurch (UpchurchCM@state.gov; 202-453-9384), Washington, DC
Regional Refugee Coordinator for the Horn of Africa Lubna Khan (KhanL@state.gov), U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The White House
Office of the Vice President
12:56 P.M. (local)
PRESIDENT KIBAKI: I think we are all ready. Members of the media, this morning we held very useful discussions with the visiting United States Vice President, the Honorable Joseph Biden, on a broad range of issues touching on both bilateral and regional matters. In the meeting, the Kenyan side included the Right Honorable Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the Vice President, Honorable Kalonzo Musyoka, and some cabinet ministers.
As a government, we are happy that Kenya and the United States enjoy extremely warm and friendly relations that go back to our independence. Our meeting today, therefore, provided a welcome opportunity to review our bilateral relations and exchange the views on key issues of mutual interest in a candid and cordial atmosphere.
I briefed the visiting U.S. Vice President of the important milestone that have covered — that we have covered in implementing our reform agenda. The referendum on a new constitution, scheduled for 4th August this year, is the most important reform initiative for the Grand Coalition Government. We are confident that through this process, Kenyans will get a new constitution.
We have also expressed our appreciation for the U.S. support in many areas of cooperation, especially in health, agriculture, and security. We have requested that assistance be extended to other sectors, including transport, housing, energy, and water.
We also requested the U.S. administration to encourage American investors to take advantage of the single East African Common Market that will become a reality next month. The single market will also — will allow free movement of people, goods, services, and capital throughout the five member countries that compromise — Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi.
We also discussed other regional matters, including Somalia. Stabilization of Somalia is a high priority in our common efforts to secure regional peace and stability. Both the United States and Kenya are concerned about the growing acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia and the instability caused in Somalia by extremist groups. This matter must be addressed with greater urgency. We have asked the U.S. government to provide the leadership to forge a concerted international effort to stabilize Somalia.
We also discussed present developments in Sudan, in the context of the implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement, of which both our governments are guarantors. We have noted the recent elections in Sudan. We expect that the referendum planned for January next year will take place as scheduled. In our view, the best way of supporting Sudan’s internal stability, regional peace, and prosperity is to respect the verdict of the people, irrespective of the outcome of the referendum.
At our meeting, we also appreciated the continued keen interest that President Barack Obama has continued — has shown in Kenya. We thank President Obama for his support, and count on his administration’s goodwill and cooperation.
Ladies and gentlemen, I now wish to invite the United States Vice President, Joseph Biden, to make his remarks. I thank you very much.
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thank you, Mr. President. I am honored to be here in this beautiful country with such a rich and diverse culture and so many qualified leaders. It’s great to see you all. And thank you for giving me all the time you did this morning.
Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister, I have had — I think we’ve had some very productive discussions today and covering many interests, some of which you’ve mentioned, Mr. President. But I must tell you, I was truly impressed by the mutual cooperation between you and the Prime Minister and your commitment — your commitment to — your mutual commitment to reform.
We reaffirmed our commitment to work together and to deepen Kenya’s democracy, and to strengthen the rule of law and advance the prospects for a peaceful, prosperous future.
We focused as well on the need to fully implement Kenya’s reform agenda, and the importance of the constitutional reform process.
And we share the wish of the people of Kenya for a peaceful constitutional referendum that unites Kenya and accelerates the implementation of these reforms.
As President Obama said in a recent interview, the upcoming constitutional referendum is, as he said — and I quote — “a singular opportunity to put Kenyan governance on a more solid footing that can move beyond ethnic violence, and move beyond corruption, [and] can move the country toward a path of economic prosperity.”
And we talked a lot about economic prosperity. Better governance is just not an end in itself — it is a path to job creation and to a better economy. Two-thirds of your citizens are under the age of 25, and they are an incredible source of strength. But they also represent a challenge to create positive, creative, and productive outlets for their energy and enthusiasm in a prospering economy.
And as Kenya moves forward, so too will the United States in strengthening our relationships with you, both economically and politically. Kenya is already the largest recipient of U.S. support in sub-Saharan Africa. Putting in place a new constitution and strengthening your democratic institutions with the rule of law will further open the door to major American development programs such as the Millennium Challenge and will, I predict, bring about reinvestment by American corporations and international organizations in Kenya that could provide millions of dollars in assistance in grants through the Millennium Challenge, as well as begin to further build the economy of this great country.
Reform is also — will also encourage, as I said, new foreign investment and reinvigorate tourism. As I told the President and Prime Minister, Americans want to do business here in Kenya. I come from a state that is the corporate state of America. I can tell you, when these reforms take place, you will find a completely different atmosphere about investment in this country. Americans want to do business here, they want to travel here, and with the right climate they will come.
And I’ve noticed, Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister, when we invest, it has the tendency to generate additional investment — additional investment from other parts of the world. We see a prosperous Kenya in not only the interest of the Kenyan people — and all of East Africa — but in everyone’s interest. And so we encourage — with these reforms, when they occur, we encourage the investment — and not just Americans, but everyone from around the world would like to see this country grow.
I also discussed the cooperation that we have underway and will continue in the shared challenges in the region, including Somalia and the Sudan.
I assured the President and the Prime Minister that the United States supports Kenya’s effort to secure the border in the face of very real threats from those who wish to spread chaos through despair and violence.
We recognize that Kenya’s long term stability and development are tied to regional security and development, and the United States is committed to work with Kenya to achieve both those objectives. And I look forward to speaking in more detail tomorrow about this partnership between the United States and Kenya, and my absolute conviction that Kenya’s best days are yet to come.
For today, let me simply say thank you to the President and the Prime Minister for their hospitality and for the very good exchange of ideas we had, and for making me more optimistic than I have been about the prospects of this reform occurring. And I want to thank all of the cabinet members as well for the hospitality they’ve shown me and my delegation. And I will have more to say about this in a major speech I’ll deliver tomorrow.
Thank you all very much, and thank you very much, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT KIBAKI: Asante sana.
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. Thank you very much.
1:08 P.M. (local)
Speaker of Parliament Kenneth Marende ruled on February 17 that President Kibaki’s nominations to key judicial and budget positions were not consistent with the provisions of the new constitution, highlighting the importance of moving forward on reform transparently and cooperatively. Progress can only be achieved if the President and Prime Minister work together in a collaborative way to implement the constitution, particularly to ensure that appointments are made in a transparent and credible manner.
Adoption of Kenya’s new constitution in August 2010 was a major milestone in implementing sweeping democratic reforms set out in the National Accord. The National Accord – which is written into the constitution’s transitional provisions – calls for the two principals to consult with a view to achieving compromise on key issues. We also encourage the coalition leaders to involve civil society in the constitutional implementation process in order to achieve national consensus.
Full implementation of the letter and spirit of the constitution is crucial to realize the promise of a democratically stable and prosperous future for all Kenyans.
FOREIGN MINISTER WETANGULA: Good afternoon, gentlemen and ladies from the media. I’m happy to be here this afternoon with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who jetted in last evening to attend the AGOA Forum. After the opening of the forum, where you all were, she’s had very in-depth bilateral discussions with President Mwai Kibaki, who was accompanied by the Right Honorable Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, and a number of Kenyan ministers.
Several issues were discussed, including but not limited to the bilateral relations between Kenya and America. The two sides agreed that we are satisfied with the level of engagement between our two countries, and we shall strive to make it even better.
The Secretary of State raised issues about our engagement in Somalia to make the Horn of Africa safer. We also discussed the issue of internal reforms within Kenya, the need to have a new constitution, which the president had mentioned in his speech, the reform of the police force and other security organs, the issue of dealing with the post-election violence arising from the elections of last year but one.
We also discussed the issues of travel bans or other travel advisories between America and Kenya, where they’re renewed every other time. We raised the issue of piracy and the need for America to partner with other countries involved in the war against piracy to make the Indian Ocean shipping route safer.
President Kibaki and his team assured the Secretary of State that reforms are on course, that the war against impunity in the country is on, that the war against corruption is on, and all sanctuaries of corruption will be destroyed to make Kenya a cleaner and safer place to do business, that Kenya is committed to its role in the region as a leader, to bring normalcy to Somalia, to continue assisting the Sudan, and all other neighbors that require our assistance. And above all, President Kibaki conveyed his gratitude to the American Government led by President Obama, and the continued positive support to the country, and confirmed that Kenya will do everything possible to play its role within the community of nations.
Kenya also did raise – and the Secretary of State has assured the President and his team that she’ll look at it – the question of our benefitting from the Millennium Challenge Account, which you know Kenya is at the threshold level. We wanted it to be looked at and see if it can be raised to the comeback level. And finally, we have agreed that our relationship is historical, it’s strong, it must be made stronger, we must be open to each other, we must continue talking to each other candidly, and whenever criticism comes our way, we must take it as a positive step towards improving our relations and not as a reverse to this relationship. And we have left the meeting all happy and satisfied that that is the direction to go.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. It is a pleasure to be here with the foreign minister. I thank him for the work he has done in preparation for my meetings, and I’m very grateful for the hospitality that your country has shown me and my delegation.
The United States and Kenya share a long and deep history of friendship and cooperation. We consider Kenya a key strategic partner, a regional leader, and a nation of almost boundless potential. I have just come from a candid and wide-ranging conversation with the president, the prime minister, the vice president, and other ministers of the government where we discussed, in depth, the steps that are needed to realize that potential and to seize the opportunities that I discussed in my speech earlier.
The United States worked hard last year with Kofi Annan and the team of African Eminent Persons to support the Kenyan people to resolve the crisis that afflicted this country. Unfortunately, resolving that crisis has not yet translated into the kind of political progress that the Kenyan people deserve. Instead, the absence of strong and effective democratic institutions has permitted ongoing corruption, impunity, politically motivated violence, human rights abuses, and a lack of respect for the rule of law.
These conditions helped fuel the post-election violence, and they are continuing to hold Kenya back. The reform agenda agreed to by the coalition government and discussed in the speech that President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga gave this morning must be fully implemented not just to avoid a repeat of the previous crisis or worse, but more importantly, to set the stage for a better future, a future worthy of the dynamic people of this country, a future of economic growth, democratic development, social justice, and the opportunity for every Kenyan child to live up to his or her God-given potential. I wanted the leaders to know that we respect greatly the way that the Kenyan people pulled their country back from the brink of disaster once, and the ongoing connection between the private sector, civil society, and the government that is the key to resolving these issues.
I also want the government and the people of Kenya to know that President Obama feels a personal connection and commitment to the future of Kenya. It is, of course, a result of his own personal connection, his father’s life. But it is also because, as he said in the video this morning, he has such a great deal of affection and admiration for Kenya. He has come to this country, the first time in the late 1980s, and of course, shortly before he began running for president. We want you to know that we will stand with you. We know that democracy does not come easily. It hasn’t come easily to the United States or any country. We have our own challenges. But we have worked for more than 230 years to perfect our union, and we know we have more work to do. The election of President Obama demonstrates that progress is possible. And I can personally attest that political rivals can become productive partners in the service of the country and the people they love.
We also know that a lot of that hard work is underway. And we commend the Waki Commission’s efforts to identify steps to improve the performance and accountability of state security agencies.
But finally, we know that just as President Obama said in his speech in Ghana that the future of Africa is up to the African people, the future of Kenya is up to the Kenyan people. The United States stands ready and willing and eager to be of assistance to build on the more than 50 years of partnership and friendship we have between us. And despite the setbacks of the recent past and the difficult road ahead, President Obama and I are convinced that the leaders of this nation have the capacity to reclaim the dream of one Kenya. Now is the time to find and exercise the will, and we will be there with you as you take these steps toward that better future of one Kenya.
Thank you very much.
FOREIGN MINISTER WETANGULA: Thank you.
QUESTION: Thank you. Madame Secretary, my name is Jeff Koinange. I work for a TV station called K24. This question is directed at you. As soon as you landed last night, there was a statement from the U.S. Government criticizing Kenya’s latest move to appoint a TJRC, Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, in other words, opting to go their own way and not opting to go for a special local tribunal to try the perpetrators of the post-election violence.
Well, basically, the TRC has no powers to try anybody. What more pressure can your government keep applying to the Kenyan Government to make sure that those perpetrators are eventually arrested, detained, whatever, so that, as you mentioned, we don’t limp towards 2012, knowing that those folks are still out there and nothing has been done? What more can be done?
And I have a follow-up.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Do you want to ask your follow-up, and I’ll answer both.
QUESTION: Sure, okay. I’m sorry, yeah. The follow-up is a country right next door, Sudan, there’s a warmonger who has been indicted by the ICC. Nobody seems to be doing anything about it in terms of putting pressure for him to either face justice or whatever. Is it because their country has natural resources like oil, or because they’re dealing with the Chinese it’s a very sensitive situation? In other words, is it sort of a double standard? A lot of pressure being applied on the Kenya Government, no pressure being applied on Sudan, and yet very little is being done both ways.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Let me take your second question first, because I think that it is very significant that a criminal indictment was returned by the International Criminal Court against President Bashir. And that was a very significant step by the international community. The actions by the ICC sent a clear message that the behavior of Bashir and his government were outside the bounds of accepted standards and that there would no longer be impunity.
Now, just as in a criminal process, the indictment has been laid down. The United States and others have continued to support the need to eventually bring President Bashir to justice, but he’s found a lot of protectors, and mostly in this continent, where people have allowed him to travel and have not used the forces of their own judicial and law enforcement institutions to arrest him, to turn him over the ICC.
We know this sometimes takes time. If you look at some of the international tribunals, there are periods of time during which the investigation takes place, if it does get started – in this case, it did – then if an indictment is returned, there is often time before the person indicted is brought to justice.
So I actually think that what has happened in Sudan sends a very strong message. And of course, one of the reasons why the United States and other friends of Kenya are encouraging Kenya to handle this internally is so that it is not sent to the ICC. The ICC won’t act if a country is dealing with internal problems on its own.
And with respect to your first question, the ministers explained to me that there is a constitutional impediment to creating a local tribunal outside the ordinary judicial system, and that there is required to be a constitutional amendment in order to create a local tribunal, which has not passed the Kenyan parliament. I think that is regrettable because, obviously, the government has come up with this constitutional amendment, and there are reasons why it is preferable to the Truth and Justice and Reconciliation Commission because it would have the ability to actually prosecute perpetrators.
We have made our views known. As you referenced, a statement from our ambassador summarized those views. I know this is not easy. I understand how complicated this is. It’s complicated, in part, because politically how do you go about prosecuting the perpetrators without engendering more violence from those who are supportive of the positions or the affiliations of the perpetrators. So it does take a lot of political will and leadership.
And we continue to believe that a special local tribunal is in the best interest of Kenya, so as to avoid having outsiders determine the outcome here. But as you know, Kofi Annan and the people working with him have handed a sealed envelope of ten names to the ICC, which has a lot on its plate. It’s not acting immediately, of course, because I think there is still the hope that Kenya will resolve this matter on its own, and that is certainly the American hope as well.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary. If you don’t mind going a little bit outside Africa for a moment. On North Korea, the two journalists were released. From your conversations with your husband, with former President Clinton, what’s the signal that he gets and what’s the impression he gets from Kim Jong-il? Is North Korea ready to go back into the denuclearization talks? And could you also confirm, the North Koreans say that there was an apology on behalf of former President Clinton?
SECRETARY CLINTON: The last question is that’s not true, that did not occur. But let me just take a step back here and say that we have been working hard on the release of the two journalists. We have always considered that a totally separate issue from our efforts to reengage the North Koreans and have them return to the Six-Party Talks and work toward a commitment for the full, verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
I was very pleased to get the news that my husband’s plane had taken off from Pyongyang with the two young women onboard. They are on their way to California, where they will be reunited with their families.
I had a very brief conversation with my husband. We did not go into the details of some of the questions that you’re asking. There’ll be time to talk about that later. This was mostly just to communicate directly how relieved and pleased he was, and we are, with the successful completion of this mission.
As I said in a long set of remarks in Thailand about two weeks ago, the future of our relationships with the North Koreans are really up to them. They have a choice. They can continue to follow a path that is filled with provocative actions which further isolates them from the international community, which resulted in the imposition of sanctions by the Security Council and the full cooperation of the international community, including and led by China for the implementation of those sanctions under the resolution. Or they can decide to renew their discussions with the partners in the Six-Party Talks. We have always said that there would be a chance to discuss bilateral matters with the North Koreans within that regional context, and that is still the offer today. So it is up to them.
I mean, we have successfully completed a humanitarian mission that was a private mission that was undertaken by my husband, and we’re very relieved about that. But now we have to go back to the ongoing efforts to try to enlist the North Koreans in discussions that the world wants to see them participate in.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) from NTV in Kenya. Secretary Clinton, I’ve got a couple of questions for you. Firstly, you said that in your discussion about the TRJC and the local tribunal, the government did indicate to you that they are unable to pass it through parliament. Is this not, in fact, hypocrisy on the part of the Kenyan Government, because in the past year they’ve been able to pass other constitutional bills through parliament? And when it comes to local tribunals, it’s proving to be harder. Is it not, in fact, (inaudible) vested interests in government that are doing that?
Number two, are you, as the U.S. Government, considering visa bans or other sanctions against those suspected to have masterminded the post-election violence?
And finally, critics say that President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have become cozy, relaxed, and slackened the pace of reforms, reforms you talked about with them today. What is your government actually doing to ensure that they keep their eye on the ball and that these reforms, including the constitutional reforms of the judicial and the security forces and whatever else you talked about, do actually come to pass for the benefit of Kenya?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I can only report to you what the president, the prime minister, the vice president, and the other ministers told us: that they are committed to the reform agenda that they agreed to when they entered into a coalition government; that they believe they are getting close to a constitutional draft that would answer some of the difficult questions that Kenyans are looking for, like land reform and the like; that they are proceeding with police and judicial reform despite some setbacks which they recounted to me.
We very much want to support them in moving this agenda forward, and I made that abundantly clear. I delivered a very frank statement from President Obama that he also would like to do everything we can to see this reform agenda delivered on. And I think the Kenyan Government knows that if we can be of any help, we stand ready to do so. We’ve made that offer.
I think that it’s difficult for someone who’s not in the Kenyan political process to comment on the actions of the Kenyan parliament. We have enough trouble with our own Congress in Washington, where we have a very big Democratic majority, but the President doesn’t always get what he wants to have done the first time out.
But I wanted publicly to say that to members of parliament trying to resolve this issue internally is far preferable to losing control of it and seeing it go to the International Criminal Court or out of the hands of Kenyans themselves. As hard as it is to resolve this in Kenya, I think it is better for Kenyans. So certainly, if parliamentarians are watching your news programs, it would be in the best interest of the future of Kenya for that to be taken care of within the parliament.
And finally, with respect to any actions that our government might take, those are always available and open to us. We hope that that doesn’t come to pass. We very much want to see the coalition government succeed. We want to see the reforms passed.
And finally, on the question about whether the president and the prime minister are getting along, I think that’s a good sign. I know when I accepted President Obama’s request to take this position, many people said, oh, it will never work, that there’ll be all these problems. And in fact, we are working very closely and personally together. That doesn’t mean, in this context with the president and the prime minister, that they still don’t have issues that they have to work on.
But you won’t get anything done if people don’t cooperate and if people don’t have a personal relationship. I mean, politics around the world depends upon relationships. You can’t get things done if people don’t have a level of trust between themselves in order to take some very tough decisions. And so I’m hoping that the kind of interaction that I had today with the president and the prime minister, which was very positive, very frank, very open, is indicative of continuing progress on behalf of this important agenda.
MODERATOR: Okay. The final question –
SECRETARY CLINTON: Wait, how about the foreign minister? Would you like to add anything, sir?
FOREIGN MINISTER WETANGULA: Yes. I think I should. (Inaudible) and all my Kenyan colleagues here know the level of reforms that we are undertaking. And I want to assure you that in a democracy, even if you have the majority in parliament, it is very dangerous and risky to marshal parliament to do what you want. You must let them vote with their conscience, and our parliamentarians have indicated to you and the whole country that this is their preference.
What we must do, and I think it’s important that Kenya must do, is not to lose sight of the reform of the constitution – create strong institutions that will make it difficult for the events of last year to occur again in this country. I think that, as a long-term measure, is very critical.
Secondly, on the question of persons that bear the greatest responsibility for the problems of last year, the route to The Hague has never been closed. It is always there. The envelope is there, and we don’t need to give any concern for the ICC to act. But I’ve always said, and I think the Secretary of State has reiterated, that it’s neater, it’s better, it’s in the interest of this country for us to resolve most of our issues locally than to seek international support. And I do think that the avenue for prosecution, even through the current criminal system – criminal justice system, is not closed. If adequate reforms are made that meet the confidence of the public, I think people can still be prosecuted locally.
SECRETARY CLINTON: And I would just add it would be a very welcome sign to see prosecution through the regular court system. That would be an appropriate response.
FOREIGN MINISTER WETANGULA: Absolutely.
MODERATOR: The final question, Washington Post, Mary Beth Sheridan.
QUESTION: Thank you. This is a question for Secretary Clinton. What do you make of the fact that nobody accused in this violence has been punished in a year and a half – Kenya has a very long culture of never punishing any top officials – and that the very ministers who are suspected of instigating the violence are the ones that killed the possibility of the independent tribunal? How can you have any faith in them on this issue? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we’ve made it very clear that we are waiting, we are disappointed that action hasn’t taken place yet. Our Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson, who served as an ambassador here and has a great deal of regard for Kenya, has spoken out. Our ambassador has spoken out. I mean, we’ve been very clear in our disappointment that action has not been taken. And of course, it is far preferable that it be done in the regular course of business that prosecutors, judges, law enforcement officials step up to their responsibilities and remove the question of impunity.
We in the United States sometimes go to having special tribunals, special prosecutors for certain politically connected wrongdoing, and so we know that trying to create another entity may be appropriate. But if it can’t get created, then you’ve got to go back to the system you have. And a truth and justice and reconciliation commission without any ability to bring people to justice is not going to satisfy many of the deepest concerns that are expressed by the Kenyan people.
And I’m not understating, or I don’t mean to underestimate, the difficulty of doing this, of creating some kind of pathway for holding people accountable. But in today’s world, where information is communicated instantaneously, people are no longer going to put up with that. You can find information out so easily by people Twittering and otherwise communicating that governments have to be more transparent and governments have to be more accountable. And I used that phrase that I very much like in my speech that sunlight is the best disinfectant; bring it out and try to resolve it. Now does that mean everybody has to be prosecuted right away? Well, there probably has to be some process put in place, but there needs to be a beginning. And I think that’s what we are looking for, and that’s what we’re hoping to see from the current government.
FOREIGN MINISTER WETANGULA: Thank you. Finally, let me say something about the issue Jeff Koinage raised on the Sudan. First of all, I don’t think it is true that America is harsher to Kenya than it is to Sudan. But on the issue of the indictment of President Bashir, the African Union took a position, and the position is very clear and we have articulated it many times. One, the AU does not and has not and will not say that President Bashir is innocent, because we have no capacity to say that. He has been investigated, he has been indicted.
What the AU asked the Security Council to do was that within the context of Article 16 of the Statute of Rome, the Security Council could suspend the warrant for a year because there was visible progress in Sudan, that there was internal discussions, there were talks going on in Qatar, and we wanted to see whether that texture can bring relative calm and peace in the country, because we do know that peace, security, stability and all these factors must be looked at within the same context. And nobody will stand in the way of President Bashir being arrested and prosecuted, but for now, the AU’s position is that let’s see what internal mechanisms can be done. I don’t think the AU is asking for too much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Somalia? Well, we had a very long discussion about Somalia.
FOREIGN MINISTER WETANGULA: Yes, it took the centerpiece of the discussions.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. And we very much appreciate Kenya’s efforts working on its own and with the international community. We recognize the border problems that Kenya has with its long border with Somalia. We certainly offered whatever help and assistance we could provide to Kenya to deal with the border, the refugee flow, which Kenya is trying to absorb 6,000 refugees and –
FOREIGN MINISTER WETANGULA: Ten thousand a month.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Ten thousand a month. So Kenya’s bearing a big burden for the instability and violence within Somalia. The United States is supporting the Transitional Federal Government. I’ll be meeting with Sheikh Sharif tomorrow to discuss what else the international community can do to try to support his efforts to stabilize Somalia, to create a functioning government. But we know we’re facing a very difficult conflict, and we also know that the presence of al-Shabaab and terrorist elements within Somalia poses a threat. It poses a threat to Kenya, poses a threat to the stability of Africa and beyond. So this is an area where we’re going to work even more closely together.
And on another area, piracy, I would just say that Kenya, again, is absorbing a lot of the burden from the international community. Kenya offered to receive the pirates, to hold the pirates. They need more help in doing that. The United States is leading an international contact group on piracy. We want to provide more assistance to Kenya, which is offering this very important service.
So we talked a lot about the work that Kenya is doing within the regional and global security context, which is absolutely invaluable.
FOREIGN MINISTER WETANGULA: Thank you very much, Secretary of State, and have a good afternoon.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary. You are here in Nairobi and we are talking about Pyongyang. And this is because of the dramatic rescue mission that your husband managed to complete successfully. I know you haven’t had time to talk to him about all of the details. As we sit here, he’s still flying back. But you did talk to him briefly. What was the feeling, the emotion?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Andrea, he was so relieved and so happy to be bringing these young women home. I think it’s in a way even more personal since we have a daughter of approximately the same age. And he told me it was a very moving experience. He can’t wait to get them reunited with their families. So on the basis of the humanitarian mission, we feel very good.
But I want to be sure people don’t confuse what Bill did, which was a private humanitarian mission to bring these young women home, with our policy, which continues to be one that gives choices to North Korea. They can continue on the path they are on, or perhaps they will now be willing to start talking to us within the context of the Six-party talks about the international desire to see them denuclearized.
QUESTION: Do you think this could be a breakthrough? Your husband spent more than three hours with Kim Jong-il. He’s the highest ranking person to visit North Korea in more than a decade. Is that maybe a possible breakthrough?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we won’t know. I mean, that wasn’t the purpose of it, and it certainly is not anything we’re counting on because the Obama Administration has to deal with North Korea going forward. But I hope that North Korea makes the right choice. I hope they realize that we’re sincere in our offer to have a different relationship with them if they are willing to move toward full and verifiable denuclearization. And I think the entire world would welcome that change on their part.
QUESTION: It is very clear from all of the reporting, from briefings we’ve had from other senior officials, that there was an understanding that if President Clinton went, these women would likely be released. So there were talks between the United States and North Korea. That’s a step.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we do have some channels to talk with North Korea. And as the background briefing you received from high Administration officials made clear overnight, when the message came to us from the young women themselves to their families, to former Vice President Gore, and then to the Administration, that sending my husband would be the best way to ensure their release, of course, we took that very seriously and discussed it. The White House reached out, as they said, to my husband to ask him if he would be willing to do that. There were briefings about it.
But in order to manage the logistics of it, it did require communication with channels representing the North Korean Government. That’s not the first time, nor will it be the last, that something like that happened. But we would like to see our conversations back in a broader context where we can be exploring ways to end North Korea’s isolation by denuclearizing the peninsula and providing assistance, and then steps toward normalization.
QUESTION: Clearly, you and Bill Clinton, your husband, had conversations. You have been very successful in the first six months keeping your role very separate from his despite all of the suggestions beforehand that there would be mixed messages and signals. What about the fact that he was taking on this role? Did you have any doubts there’d be a downside, that it would either confuse the Secretary of State and the former President, or send too important a signal of respect to North Korea at a time when they have been behaving very badly?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Ever since the two young women were arrested and especially since their trial – which ended in sentences of 12 years in labor camps – I, President Obama, our entire team, have been committed to doing what we could to try to get them home. And when the word came that this would get that done, I was very much in favor of it because I wanted to see Euna and Laura returned.
Again, I’m sure that I was thinking about it in part as the mother of a daughter, an adventurous daughter who goes around the world and goes places I never went at her age. And I think the fact that my husband was willing to do it and made it very clear it was a private humanitarian mission shouldn’t confuse anyone. Our policy remains the same. We’ve made it clear as to what the options are to North Korea, and it’s up to them, after their consideration, what they intend to do.
QUESTION: You speak of yourself as a mother. You referred not too long ago to the mother in you that reminds you of small children and unruly teenagers demanding attention – this in reference to the way North Korea has been behaving. They in response said, “We cannot but regard Mrs. Clinton as a funny lady, as she likes to utter such rhetoric, unaware of the elementary etiquette in the international community. Sometimes she looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping.”
SECRETARY CLINTON: Those are mixed metaphors. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: That’s a big change from Bill Clinton being greeted by a schoolchild with flowers at Pyongyang airport and having a long dinner with Kim Jong-il.
SECRETARY CLINTON: But I think it illustrates that our position in the Obama Administration is very clear. We obviously are concerned by these provocative actions that North Korea engaged in. We were very pleased that we obtained unanimous support for the toughest consequences and sanctions to be imposed on North Korea.
So our diplomacy, our engagement with our partners in the Six-Party Talks and with the UN are where we are putting our energy. At the same time, we were deeply concerned about the future of these two young women, and I’m very pleased that we finally can see them coming home safely. But our policy is in no way affected by this humanitarian mission.
QUESTION: You have three Americans, including journalists, now in Iran, with the possibility of very serious charges there, and it’s not (inaudible) coming from the Iranian regime. Is there a possibility of a high-level envoy, even possibly Bill Clinton, to try to get them out?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s premature. Remember that the message from the young women to their families and Vice President Gore and then to my husband and to the White House and me was a request, in effect. Right, now, we’re just trying to find out the status of our three missing Americans.
QUESTION: What do you mean –?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we don’t know much. We didn’t even know until recently that they were in official custody. I had called for the Iranians to let us know. I mean, young people being held by some nongovernmental or disaffected or totally unrelated group or the government. And now we know that they’re in the custody of the Iranian Government.
So we are looking to our friends, the Swiss, to try to find out for us. I think I also want to thank the Swedish ambassador and his team in Pyongyang. They were our contacts. They were the ones that got to see Laura and Euna. But I also want to emphasize, Andrea, please, please don’t go near borders of hostile countries. This is something that countries are looking for. And you don’t have to get very far away from some of these borders to be picked up by their border patrols and their security forces. It’s regrettable that this has happened again, and I really want – I mean, go hiking, have a great time, do journalism, but stay away from those borders. Do not put yourself in these positions where you can end up in prison in a country like Iran or North Korea.
QUESTION: President Ahmadinejad has taken office today, with very hostile remarks for the West, people (inaudible) crackdown (inaudible). (Inaudible) work with now? Does the United States have to deal with Ahmadinejad? He is the leader. And despite the protests (inaudible) the regime, (inaudible) the only (inaudible) town, he and the clerical supporters that he still has?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, there’s no doubt that he took office today and was inaugurated again as president. But there’s also no doubt that there continues to be a lot of foment and ferment within Iran itself, many people who are very bravely pursuing a reform agenda. We want to make it clear that the Iranians who are seeking their rights deserve to be heard and responded to by their government.
There are certain issues, however, as you well know where the United States and other countries have to deal with the government that is there. So it certainly is unfortunate that there was such a crackdown on legitimate protest and questions about the irregularity of the election. But now we do find ourselves having to deal with the government that has taken office.
QUESTION: But there are time limits, and we need a response from Iran by September, October, by this fall, or else will lead to sanctions as tough as sanctions on gasoline and refined products that they really desperately need?
SECRETARY CLINTON: The President has said that we want some sign by the fall, September, as to whether or not there is going to be any bilateral engagement between us and Iran, and that we would not have an open-ended opportunity awaiting the Iranian Government. They would have to decide whether they want to pursue the possibility, and they’d have to be willing to do it on an expedited basis. Simultaneously, we have begun exploring with our allies what kind of additional action, including tougher sanctions, would be available. Because it would be better if we’re going to try to send a message to Iran that the actions be as broad as possible, as they now are with North Korea., but I’m not going to preview or comment on anything that might be in such a sanctions package.
But also remember, too, that there are incentives for Iran. Iran deciding that it will abide by obligations they’ve already agreed to, that it will not pursue a nuclear weapons program, that it will agree to international safeguards and inspections concerning a peaceful civil nuclear program, carries with it some benefits. So it’s not just the sanctions side. I want to make it clear that we are prepared, if we are entering into a serious negotiation with the Iranians, talk about what’s in it for them. Obviously, we care deeply about the threat that a nuclear-armed Iran poses, not only to the region but beyond, and an arms race that it would definitely trigger, but it is also in Iran’s interest to (inaudible) closer (inaudible) to international acceptability.
QUESTION: What do you say to critics who think the Administration has not been (inaudible) enough, not tough enough on the regime and its crackdown on demonstrators, and that we really let these people down?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t see it that way. I think that it was very important that we not look like we were too eager then to be involved in any way. This was an internal matter. It took the world by surprise to see the uprising of discontent and demands coming from the Iranian people. We didn’t want the government to be able to (inaudible) and say, oh, well, this is all because of the United States, look at what they’re saying.
At the same time, we wanted to be very clear – and I think both the President and I were – that we thought the actions by the Iranian authorities cracking down on dissent, imprisoning people, distinguished people – clerics, political and business leaders, deporting journalists, the kind of crackdown on information technology was absolutely appalling. We made that clear. We said it repeatedly.
And I think that the people inside Iran know that we were trying to walk a delicate line for them, that this story is about them, it’s not about us and our rhetorical flourishes; it was about the courage of the people in the streets in Iran, it’s about the continuing fight that the reformists are waging, it’s about a hundred people standing trial in a show trial in Tehran. Those are the people who need to be given attention and support.
QUESTION: Here on this trip, you’re going to be commemorating the 11th anniversary of the Embassy bombing.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: And there are reports that there is an increasing al-Qaida presence in the Horn of Africa. How great a concern is there (inaudible) is anything more United States can do?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, terrorism remains our number one security threat and concern. I had very long discussion today with the president, prime minister, vice president, other ministers in the Kenyan Government about Somalia, about the threat posed by the terrorist group al-Shabaab. The Horn in Africa is a strategic location, important to Africa, important as we’ve seen in the piracy challenge to global trade. We remain vigilant and we remain focused on what we can do to assist other countries in dealing with the threat of terrorism.
I think that there is no doubt that the terrorists, particularly al-Qaida, have suffered some setbacks. Their financing is not what it once was. They don’t have the freedom of movement. And as we just saw a few weeks ago in Jakarta, they are part of a syndicate of terror. And they, unfortunately, have people on every continent who are prepared to commit violence.
But I’m in Africa, in large measure, to emphasize the President’s message in Ghana, a message of responsibility, a message that good governance, transparency, accountability are essential ingredients for economic growth and prosperity, and to visit (inaudible) here in Kenya that hold both promise and problems, and to look for ways that the United States can be a more effective partner.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) the message about the problem of corruption and how it feeds into poverty and keeps people in a terrible situation.
SECRETARY CLINTON: You can’t (inaudible), Andrea, because it’s tragic. Corruption makes doing business more expensive. It deprives people of their (inaudible) democracy, where they believe their voice counts and they are equal to anyone else in the society. It is an impediment to African development. Some good steps are being taken in some parts of Africa, but so much more needs to be done. And we want to both deliver a strong message about that, but also offer help and assistance.
QUESTION: Thank you so much, Madame Secretary. Good to talk to you.
Let me give you a little bit of a taste for what the Secretary hopes to accomplish here in Kenya on her first stop. She has about five key objectives in being in Kenya. One, she wants to demonstrate strong U.S. commitment to partner with African states to promote greater trade, investment, and economic opportunities in Africa and between the United States and Africa. She’s going to do this largely through her active participation in the AGOA Forum, where she will be the keynote speaker on the first day of the Forum’s activity.
Secondly, she wants to promote the Administration’s emerging food security initiative. And she will do that by going to visit one of the premier agricultural research institutions in Africa. Its abbreviated name is KARI, K-A-R-I. It’s the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute. There, she will have an opportunity to meet with a number of world-class African scientists who are working on helping to develop new seeds, varieties that are drought-resistant and disease-resistant, that can be used to help boost agricultural productivity. But it will also give her an opportunity to talk about the Administration’s food security initiative.
Thirdly, the Secretary wants to talk with Kenyan leaders about the implementation of the Kofi Annan accords which ended the post-election violence in February of 2008. It is important for Kenya to move forward with the constitutional, judicial, police, and land reform requirements that were a part of the Kofi Annan agreement. Implementation of those agreements has been slow, and in some ways, frustrated. The Secretary wants to encourage the full implementation of those agreements, especially those elements of the agreement which deal with impunity and holding those individuals who were responsibility for the violence accountable under law.
Fourth, the Secretary wants to take the opportunity of being in Kenya to meet with the leader of the Transitional Federal Government, President Sheikh Sharif. He will come across from Mogadishu while the Secretary is in Nairobi to speak with him to – he will give her an assessment of the situation on the ground in Kenya.
Let me just say a broad word about Kenya itself and put it in perspective for the United States. Kenya is and has been America’s most important partner in East Africa and the greater Horn of Africa since its independence in 1963. Our relationship with Kenya has been broad and deep and enormously useful for the United States. We have our largest diplomatic mission in Sub-Saharan Africa in Nairobi, and second-largest on the continent after Cairo.
Our political relationship has traditionally been very good and, unlike any other country in East Africa, it has been an unbroken and very good political relationship. With every other country in the region, we have at one time or another have had to close down or leave or we have been under pressure, whether it has been Uganda or whether it has been Ethiopia during the era of the Derg, whether it has been Tanzania, where we have very good relations today but had very, very difficult relations during the era of Vietnam.
In Kenya, we’ve always had a very good and positive relationship with this country. We’ve enjoyed very good military-to-military ties. Kenyans have had a professional military. They have been very active as peacekeepers, not only in Africa but also as far away as East Timor and also in the Middle East.
And it has been a place where we have been able to work effectively. Kenyans have allowed us as well, as a country, to carry out many of the emergency and post-conflict operations that we have responded to in this part of the world. The U.S. would not have been able to respond to the problems of Somalia in the early 1990s without the use of Mombasa and the airport to go into, the Jomo Kenyatta. We would not have been able to undertake the relief effort after the genocide in 1994 in Rwanda without the use of the airport that we would go into to ferry equipment and air supplies into Rwanda. We would not have been able to carry on a major relief operation into Southern Sudan without the support of the Kenyan Government. And of course, the Kenyan Government was instrumental as a host and as a lead in putting together the North-South Peace Agreement between the government of Khartoum and the government in Juba. In many of these instances, we have been very close partners with the Kenyans in many, and if not all, of these operations. The relationship is strong.
We also note that this country is the hub of all activities in this region. Kenya is a crossroads. It has the strongest economy in the region and, in fact, has the strongest non-oil, non-mineral based economy in Africa. It is the country with the strongest agricultural base, the country with the strongest financial and banking and insurance base, and the country that has the strongest industrial base in the area.
The United States wants to continue to be a strong friend and partner of Kenya, and that is why we remain concerned about the trajectory of the politics in Kenya over the last two years since the flawed elections in December of 2007.
VICE CHANCELLOR MAGOHA: Secretary Clinton, your Excellencies, Dr. Sally Kosgey, the minister for education, science, and technology, Chancellor Wanjui, PS higher education, Your Excellencies, invited guests, participants, ladies, and gentlemen, on behalf of the University of Nairobi and on my own behalf, I warmly welcome you all to the university and to this open dialogue forum. The University of Nairobi wishes for very successful and rewarding event. Thank you very much.
I now invite Honorable Dr. Sally Kosgey, the minister for higher education, to invite Secretary Clinton. (Applause.)
MINISTER KOSGEY: Secretary of State of the United States of America, congressmen – my friend, Congressman Payne, your Excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen, I’m pleased to welcome you to the University of Nairobi.
May I salute you, Madame Secretary, for visiting Kenya and our continent so early in your new Administration. Half a century ago, a young, democratic government in the United States of America initiated the airlift program to assist an emerging Kenya address its intellectual capacity needs to run a new republic. This initiative led to other generous contributions by U.S. philanthropists and institutions. Many Kenyans have contributed and continue to contribute to the development of Kenya, who are beneficiaries of these initiatives from the United States of America. Today, many Kenyans of all generations continue to share values with the people of your country with reference to economic and political developments.
Madame Secretary, a few years ago, Kenya initiated a free universal primary education. Much has been done to make secondary education also free. We salute your country for your contributions to this sector. However, funding for higher education and also for science and technology remains low, yet we are aware that this sector is essential for development. We hope the United States of America will continue to support us in this field and work with us in enhancing and deepening the higher education and science and technology sector. We are particularly keen on targeted cooperation in science and technology and research for development.
Madame Secretary, the last time there was such a large gathering to hear a visitor at this university was on the occasion of a visit by a senator from Illinois who came here – (applause) – who came here to share his vision with young Kenyans. He definitely captured the imagination of many, and I’m pleased that today, you have found an opportunity to share with young Kenyans in your interactions the views and aspirations of all Kenyans and relations with the United States.
Madame Secretary, I want to emphasize once more that we are pleased to see you here; we are pleased that you have chosen to come to Kenya at the beginning of your official visit as the Secretary of State. Now, I want to hand over to Beatrice Marshall. Where are you?
MS. MARSHALL: Dr. Sally Kosgey, Minister – thank you very much indeed, Dr. Sally Kosgey, Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology. Now, welcome to this open forum. U.S. President Barack Obama was in Africa recently with a powerful message to a hopeful continent. He said, and I quote, “Countries like Kenya which had a per capita economy larger than South Korea’s when I was born have been badly outpaced. In my father’s life, it was partly tribalism and patronage in an independent Kenya that, for a long stretch, derailed his career.” End of quote.
Now given his Kenyan lineage, millions of Kenyans are expectantly looking to the President of the United States, a leader of the free world, to help in breaking our unique chains of poverty and underdevelopment. But the question is: Are these expectations realistic? Today, Kenyan youth and civil society have a rare opportunity to engage the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
But first, before we field those questions to Secretary Clinton, I’ll hand you over to my colleague, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.
MR. ZAKARIA: Thank you, Beatrice. Thank you, all of you, for hosting this event, the University of Nairobi, the Government of Kenya, and of course, most importantly, thank you to Madame Secretary, the Secretary of State of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton. For all of those of you outside this hall, we are coming to you from Nairobi, a unique town hall being hosted by the University of Nairobi with a very special guest, the Secretary of State of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Madame Secretary, let me ask you a few questions to get us started and to let people get a sense of the kind of questions they should feel free to ask. You spoke a great deal when you have been in Kenya about the need for the reform agenda to be implemented, for the investigation and prosecution of post-election violence to take place, and you used language that was surprisingly frank, some people thought even tough.
In your conversations with Kenyan leaders – you met with all the senior leaders – did you get any assurances that things are moving in the right direction? Because so far, most external observers believe that they are not.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Fareed, I want to get to that because that’s a very important question, and I noticed the sign as I was driving into the university, “This is a corruption-free zone,” and I think that – (applause) – I think that the goal of the university and the young people here – civil society, many members of the private sector, and of course, reformers within government at all levels – is to expand that zone to cover the entire country and to provide the opportunity for people – (applause) – to have a chance to go as far as their hard work and talents will take them.
And I also really want to echo my thanks to the minister and to the chancellor and all the dignitaries here on the stage with us, and particularly to this great university, which has such a reputation for excellence not only in Africa, but beyond the continent. And of course, it is a pleasure to be at the university where now-President Obama came as a senator and delivered a very strong message even then. How many of you were here when President Obama, then-Senator Obama, arrived?
Well, I reread his speech and I just wanted to begin my response to Fareed’s very important question by reading the last paragraph of then-Senator, now President Obama’s speech at this university in 2006: “In today’s Kenya, it is that courage that will bring the reform so many of you desperately want and deserve. I wish all of you luck in finding this courage in the days and months to come, and I want you to know that as your ally, your friend, and your brother, I will be there to help in any way I can.” And the message that I delivered in public and in private was a message directly from President Obama. He cares deeply about this country. And it is very touching and moving to me to see the feelings of kinship and relationship that exists between the people of Kenya and our President.
So the question truly goes to the heart of the matter. The reform agenda is imperative for Kenya’s future to unlock the potential to fulfill the promise that Beatrice told us came from President Obama’s speech in Ghana, where he said something which students of economics know – that in the early 1960s, at the time of independence, smart investors bet on African countries like Kenya, and wrote off countries like South Korea. The argument was that Kenya had the infrastructure, it had the education, it had people with a sense of the future; it had fought a struggle for liberation.
And now, as President Obama pointed out in his speech in Ghana, the fact is that Kenya has not fulfilled its economic promise, and I believe, in part, because it hasn’t yet realized fully what it means to have a functioning, dynamic democracy, and a free press and an independent judiciary, and a sense of future gains from present-day sacrifice among the people who have run the country. The people of Kenya work very hard and the professional people in Kenya are among the best in the world. The private sector is dynamic. The government has to reform itself if Kenya will be all it can be.
That is the message that President Obama and I have delivered. It is tough, but it’s also lovingly presented. President Obama very much wants the people of Kenya to be the leaders of a reform movement that will deliver results for the people of Kenya, and where no one will any longer say that, as someone said to me just yesterday – the common parlance tragically summed up is, if you have a problem in Kenya, why hire a lawyer when you can buy a judge? (Laughter.)
So yes, we want to see the reform agenda because we know that it’s not just the violence after the election, but it is an accumulation of decisions that are not in the best interests of the people of Kenya. And the leadership with whom I met said that the constitutional reform will be coming forward – I hope it does – that police and judicial reform will be coming forward, and of course, the big question about how to end corruption and impunity in public service.
And I have urged that the Kenyan Government try to find the way forward to handle this themselves, but if that is not possible, and people think it is not, then the names that have been turned over to the International Court of Criminal Justice will be opened, and an investigation will begin, and Kenya will not be making these very tough decisions for itself, which is a kind of rite of passage for democracies, dealing with people and making sure impunity is not permitted.
So I hope and I pray that whatever route is taken, it leads to the reforms that are so necessary for this great country. And I’m joined in that by Congressman Donald Payne and Congresswoman Nita Lowey, who are with me; Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson, who was once our ambassador here; and of course, our current serving ambassador. All of us bring this message from President Obama.
MR. ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about one part of it you talked about, which is the potential for the names of the alleged perpetrators of the post-election violence to be sent to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. This is something the Kenyan National Commission of Human Rights has recommended in the report that came out last month. Does it hinder your ability as Secretary of State of the United States to push these issues when you consider the fact that the United States is not itself a signatory to the International Criminal Court?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that is a great regret, but it is a fact that we are not yet a signatory. But we have supported the work of the court and will continue to do so under the Obama Administration.
MR. ZAKARIA: But do you wish we were a signatory?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it – I think we could have worked out some of the challenges that are raised concerning our membership by our own government, but that has not yet come to pass. The way the court works is that a nation that is a signatory, including an African nation, could refer this matter of the post-election violence to the international court. And I saw a poll of Kenyans saying that a vast majority of Kenyans agree with the Waki Commission that that should be done. And in my conversations, even with ministers in the government who understand how important it is to deal with this matter, they too have said that probably that is the only road forward.
As an outsider and as someone who knows how difficult these decisions are, that is not something that I will play a role in, but I think it’s important that a decision be made. If there’s not going to be a special local tribunal that has confidence of the people, then I think the people deserve to know that someone is going to put in motion the process to hold people accountable, and it may well be that that is the ICC. So that’s going to be up to Kenyans.
MR. ZAKARIA: The second part of what you talked about was corruption, which is, as you know, a huge problem in Kenya. And while there has been talk about combating it, and the signs of corruption-free zones are now seen more often, in 20 years there has not been a successful prosecution of any Kenyan politician or official on corruption charges. Many people suggest that the only way to put teeth in this policy, to make good on the tough part of the tough love, is to withhold aid at some point if there is not reform on the corruption agenda.
Could you imagine a situation when the United States or other Western donors withhold aid because corruption is not being tackled?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that would not be our choice because a lot of our aid goes directly to nongovernmental organizations and to work of people like Wangari Maathai, my friend and the Nobel Prize winner from Kenya. And we don’t want to deprive the people who are doing work, like I saw yesterday at the Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute, training women farmers who do 70 percent of the agricultural work in Kenya, like most of Africa.
So we are not considering that, but we are considering steps that would target individuals about whom there is overwhelming evidence and belief that they have contributed to and participated in corruption at a massive level, and also the kind of post-election violence and extrajudicial killings that are so troubling. That is a possibility that we will consider.
But let me raise another idea. I said in my speech yesterday before the AGOA Forum, quoting one of our famous judges, that sunlight is the best disinfectant. And I think there’s an opportunity for young people and for civil society to use modern technology to run corruption watches and reporting. There are some examples of this beginning around the world where you basically surface what is going on. And it goes on at all levels of society, and frankly, look, it goes on in our society. We have to go after it all the time ourselves. You have seen people get arrested in America, whether they’re governors or they’re Congress members, if there is a belief that they have committed an act of corruption.
And I think there ought to be a way to use interactive media, especially the internet, obviously, and some of the new vehicles like Twitter, et cetera, to report in real time allegations of corruption. My friend Nita Lowey, our congresswoman who is here, runs the committee in Congress that determines in the House of Representatives all the aid, the foreign aid. And she met over the past couple of days with women who are entrepreneurs. They get microfinance. They do work like beauty salon work or selling gasoline or doing work at a low level, many of them living in Kabira. And much of their hard-earned income goes to protection money, goes to bribes. So here they are working as hard as they can to raise their families, and everybody has their hand out.
Now, what if we had groups of young people anonymously reporting all of this? I think there ought to be new ways of thinking about how civil society can take on corruption. And of course, there needs to be leadership from all levels of government within the civil service, within the elected ranks of government, and reporting mechanisms. You have a very vibrant free press, as I have seen for myself, which does an excellent job on many of these issues. But I think even more could be done.
So the short answer is yes, we will consider consequences aimed at individuals, not aimed at the people of Kenya.
MR. ZAKARIA: For my last (inaudible) let me actually turn to Wangari Maathai, in a sense, which is – when you were nominated Secretary of State, The New York Times asked a bunch of people to offer up questions that people might ask of you, and one of the people they asked was Wangari Maathai. And I’m just going to ask her, if I may, to recall the question that you asked of the Secretary, which related to China’s influence in Africa, African leaders’ desires to build ties with China, and the potential you worried about. And I wonder if you could just express it.
MS. MAATHAI: Well, thank you very, very much, Mr. Zakaria. Secretary of State, it’s wonderful to have you here in Nairobi in Kenya, East Africa. I’m sure I’m speaking on behalf of all of the people of this sub region in welcoming you here and saying thank you very much for coming.
At that time, and even now, there were – the concern that I – I have two concerns that I can probably bring out together. But the concern over China was the fact that here we are in a continent that is extremely rich. Africa is not a poor continent. Anything you want in the world is on this continent. It’s like the gods were on our side when the world was being created. (Applause.)
Yet we are considered among the poorest people on the planet. There’s something seriously wrong. And one of it, of course, is good governance.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
MS. MAATHAI: Even though we don’t like to be told, the truth of the matter is if you govern yourself in a responsible way, in an accountable way, if you share your resources in an equitable way, you’re more likely to please your people, and they are likely to have the energy to produce more. (Applause.)
So I was wondering, especially in relation to conflicts and competition over resources on this planet, what can a strong, powerful country like the United States of America do to persuade other strong countries like China to do business in Africa, with a consciousness that we must also demand from our leaders good governance?
SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s a great question, Wangari, great question. (Applause.)
MS. MAATHAI: So that we can – so that we do not allow ourselves to be exploited yet again by these oncoming, upcoming economical giants, but who come and want to do business with our leaders without wondering and being concerned about human rights issues, equity issues, and governance issues. Thank you. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Look, I think that’s one of the most important questions for Africa. Africa historically has been exploited during colonialism and post-colonialism by corporations and by your own leaders so that the fruits of this richness that exists in the earth, in the waters of Africa, have not gone to the people.
And it is one of the biggest concerns that I have, because there is so much money being made right now, and it’s not any one country; it’s not any one corporation. But it is unfortunately aided and abetted by poor governance that doesn’t realize that the money needs to go back to the people in very tangible ways to build the economy, to build the infrastructure, to create sustainable employment. Because extractive industries do not leave sustainable economies and environments unless there are rules that are enforced.
And I often use an example that I think is a good model – Botswana. At the end of the colonial period in Botswana, the people of Botswana will tell you it was very fortunate because the colonialists – in that case, it was Britain – left right before diamonds were discovered – (laughter) – right? And there was enlightened leadership in Botswana who said, “We have diamonds. What shall we do with them?” And what they did was to create a mechanism so that funding and revenues from the exploitation of the diamonds went to build the infrastructure. So those of you who have been to Botswana know they have a very good network of roads, they have potable water everywhere. I mean, they invested in their people.
Contrast that to what’s going on in the Congo, where I’ll be in a few days, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I’ll be in Goma, and I will be there primarily to speak out against the unspeakable violence against women and girls in eastern Congo. It is the worst example of man’s inhumanity to women. And women are being used in conflicts.
Now, what are the conflicts about? Well, yes, there are tribal and other reasons why the conflicts are going on, but get below the surface. It’s because there are mines in eastern Congo that produce the minerals that go into our cell phones and our other electronics. There is a lot of money being made by a lot of people, but it sure isn’t helping the people of the DRC.
I could go across the continent. Look at Nigeria, another great country. Nigeria imports petroleum products even though it’s the fifth-largest producer of petroleum in the world. That is bad governance. That is a failure of rules that are enforced for the benefit of the people. And we have got to speak out about this. And it is a question, as Wangari so rightly says, of who is in charge and whether they have the best interests – not of their own families in mind; everybody will take care of their own families – but of the people they are supposed to govern and lead.
And I am just absolutely convinced that Africa’s best days can be ahead if we get a hold of this whole question of the use of natural resources and who benefits and where the revenues go.
MR. ZAKARIA: And what do you say to Prime Minister Odinga if he says he doesn’t need lectures on good governance from outside? (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I had quite a good conversation with him, and I told him that I was bearing a message from the son of Kenya, Barack Obama. (Applause.)
MR. ZAKARIA: So it’s not really an outsider?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that he has a great deal of understanding of what we are trying to say. I mean, we are very committed to helping Kenya. But as President Obama said in his speech in Ghana, the future of Africa is up to Africans, and the future of Kenya is up to Kenyans.
But I don’t think we would be friends, as we have been for more than 50 years, if we did not share our concerns. It would be easy to just stand on the sidelines and say help us on terrorism, help us on Somalia, help us here, help us there, and not say, but how about really looking at these internal issues and trying to figure out what you’re going to do? Because we want Kenya to have a leadership role in the 21st century, and the people of Kenya to have the potential that your hard work and talent deserves.
MR. ZAKARIA: Beatrice Marshall from our affiliate, KTN, do you want to ask a few questions or gather together some of the extraordinary people here and have them ask some questions?
MS. MARSHALL: Right. Thanks, Fareed. We are going to take questions now from the floor. The floor is open and we’ll take our first question from Peter Karuki (ph.). Peter, you can ask your question. Please stand up, be brief and to the point.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary of State. My name is Peter Karuki (ph) from civil society. Now, following the general elections of 2007, the U.S. Government was actually one of the first foreign governments to recognize the results. That recognition was soon thereafter withdrawn. Now following the crisis that ensued, there was a commission formed to look into the election problem and electoral reforms proposals. Now that commission did make a finding that that election was itself a sham.
Now given the question of impunity that Kenya is facing, what is the position of the U.S. Government in regard to constitutional and legal change in government, given that the finding of that commission raises serious legality questions about this government? And I would like to know what your position is, given that Kenya is, in another three years, facing a general election. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Peter, our position is that the reform agenda is absolutely essential to be accomplished before the next election in order to avoid the kind of conflict and irregularities that were alleged and have been proven coming out of the last election.
In the work that I’ve done in many places around the world, no one can reform a government from the outside. It takes the people of the country and particularly the role that civil society and the private sector played in trying to deal with the aftermath of the election. So yes, I mean, we can encourage, we can lecture, we can offer assistance, we can try to highlight good practices. But it has to be done by the people of Kenya. And I think the electoral reform, the judicial reform, the police reform, the constitutional reform all have to be done before the next election. Now, how that happens is truly up to the government and the people of Kenya.
But let me just also say that what we saw coming out of that election, in terms of violence, was very disturbing because of the groups and the tribal violence that took place. There has to be a lot of outreach and discussion and healing at the local level. People have to believe in one Kenya, which was really the slogan and the goal coming out of colonialism. And so anything that can be done to push the reform agenda, to hold the government accountable – and there are people within in the government who want this reform agenda to go forward. I’ve had many conversations in the last 24 to 36 hours, intense conversations.
But it’s very often difficult inside a government to move the levers unless you can say, oh, but they’re pushing us, they’re pushing us. So there has to continue to be the kind of pressure and demands that came from civil society before. But I would also ask that you make sure it’s not just on this level, but the (inaudible) goes down into society so that people will not respond to provocation again, that they will feel that the reforms will benefit them and their families. I think that’s a big piece of what has to happen as well.
MS. MARSHALL: Secretary Clinton, thank you very much. We’ll take some more questions from the floor. Of course, President Obama has stressed on the importance of youth taking their opportunity, and today we’d like to hear a little bit more from Kenya’s youth.
Caroline (ph), could you please ask your question.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think if you talk, it’ll pick up. Let’s try it, Caroline (ph).
SECRETARY CLINTON: No? Here comes Beatrice.
QUESTION: My name is Caroline Rutto (ph) from Citizens Assembly. The challenge that youth face in this country is lack of access to information, lack of employment, and lack of capital. I would like to ask how far or how will the U.S. Government help the youth access the skills, technology, and knowledge that can help them benefit from the AGOA?
The other thing I would like to ask is: How far are you willing to help youth also participate effectively? Youth try to participate, but there is no real level playing ground. They cannot participate in governance. And how far are you willing to help us mobilize, and to help us mobilize so that you can participate effectively in governance and demand for a corruption-free government? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I know that our Embassy and our government, mostly through USAID, the Agency for International Development, has worked with youth groups. I know the ambassador was telling me about some of the meetings he’s held with representatives of youth groups and civil society. And we want very much to encourage the next generation of leaders and to try to provide some of the support and the tools that young people need in order to participate. So we would welcome any specific suggestions.
We have, as you know, a very big commitment of aid programs, but we want to make sure that they go to where they will have the greatest impact. At the AGOA Forum, what we offered was more help by the United States to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses get into the American market. There are so many products that can go into the American market duty free, but a lot of people don’t know how to access it. So we are prepared, through our Embassy and through the very talented people who work there, to be of assistance. So if you have specific ideas, please let us know.
MS. MARSHALL: All right. We’ll take another question here from the floor.
QUESTION: My name is Martin Allo (ph) from the (inaudible) side of Kenya. I just wanted to stay with the issue of free and fair elections a bit, and perhaps ask you to clarify what the American position is, because we’ve seen in the recent past, beginning with Kenya, that we’re seeing less and less free elections, and then followed by Zimbabwe. In Kenya, we saw American position falter a little bit, first recognized and then retract. In Zimbabwe, there seemed to be a very clear stand that there wasn’t trust that Mugabe was going to do a free and fair election from the first instance.
And so it seems to me that once that has gone, we seem to see the same situation in Zimbabwe, power sharing in Kenya, power sharing. And there seems to be a silent (inaudible) he has to do with business with these, and that seems to be questioning the very idea of democracy. I’m wondering we can actually have some variations of democracy. Should we be expecting that American position will be very clear and very straight, that we cannot have anything less than free and fair elections? Thanks.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me say three things about that. As some of you know who have followed Fareed’s work, he coined the phrase “illiberal democracy.” Elections are held, they can be free and fair, they can be unfree and unfair. But what happens is someone gets elected and then they basically begin to dismantle the building blocks of democracy: cracking down on the press, cracking down on the judiciary, employing corruption instead of merit. You know all of the aspects of that.
So clearly, it is not only our policy, but it is our intent to do everything we can to ensure as free and fair elections as possible. And there are many vehicles for doing that. I mean, the United States has groups that work to provide technical assistance and monitoring of elections. The European Union does. The United Nations does. There are a lot of different ways that we can participate with the Kenyan Government and Kenyan civil society to ensure that the elections are as free and fair as possible.
Once an election is held, of course, there is always the problem of winners and losers. And sometimes in a free and fair election, those who lose feel aggrieved and create foment within society, and their followers will never believe the election was free and fair, even if it was. We have a little experience of that ourselves, going back to our 2000 election where there was a lot of real pent-up rejection on the part of many Americans.
So holding elections that have credibility is something I believe every country owes its citizens. And I often look to India. Now think about India; this huge democracy with very hard-fought elections, and in the last 20 years, going back and forth between the Congress Party and the BJP. But they have figured out how to run an election where the result can be surprising and unpredicted but accepted. They moved elections into a civil service body that is immune from politics. They used – they were one of the very first to use computerized elections; 450 to 500 million people vote, many of whom are illiterate, but they have figured out a way to convey the basic message about who the people are running for office. I said, only half-jokingly, after our problems with our 2000 election and then our 2004 election and some of our constituencies, that we should outsource our elections to India. (Laughter.)
But there are models around the world. And there are lots of ways for civil society to look at the best practices, work with the university and the scientists and researchers and political scientists and others here, and say this is what a free and fair election looks like, and here are the foundational steps that have to be taken in order for it to be accepted.
Once the election happens, though, the United States, like every government, is left with a very difficult choice. And what we historically have done, and we did it in Zimbabwe, we rejected the Mugabe election. But the people within Zimbabwe came to us and said we’ve got to make the best of a very bad deal. The Prime Minister Tsvangirai was in Washington. The President and I met with him in the Oval Office. He said, look, this is very difficult for me. You’re in government with people who’ve tried to kill you and your associates for years. But this is for the best of the people of Zimbabwe, so please help us.
That puts us in a very difficult position. We don’t want to legitimize what was a wrong election. We don’t want to do anything that helps Mugabe and his supporters, because we reject their illegitimacy – we believe that about them. But when the people who have been on frontlines struggling come to you and say, please help us, we’re not going to turn away. We’re going to try to be thoughtful and careful and not – we said we’d help them on – helping farmers get their fields back in shape and get their crops in, and we would try to pay the schoolteachers directly. Because we heard from the reformers inside the government that they actually had a reformer minister of education who began to survey. The schools were in total disarray, the teachers had been scared off, the children no longer came. And one of the first things that this minister received was a telephone call from President Mugabe’s office telling the minister to come pick up his new Mercedes Benz. He said, “I don’t need a Mercedes Benz. I need teachers and schoolbooks.”
So this is a very difficult evaluation. So understand how we try to work though this.
MR. ZAKARIA: But if I may just press the question of – what he seems to be suggesting is is the message being sent out to African leaders is rig the election, refuse to leave power, and eventually there’ll be some kind of grand coalition which you’re a part of. (Applause.) And if you look at the Kenya Government, it’s 94 ministers, each drawing a salary of about $15,000 a year, which in Kenya is a fairly large sum of money, bound together in a kind of mutual compact of greed and corruption. Is that going to solve the problems of the country? (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, it is not. It is not going to solve the problems of the country. But I guess my message is that the United States cannot solve the problems of Kenya. And that as a government with many interests, and particular interest in the well-being and the future of the people of Kenya, and hopefully future leaders among this audience, we can take a position, like we have from time to time, where there is absolutely no pretense of democracy and we can have no diplomatic relations and we can have sanctions. But we don’t think that’s an appropriate response in a situation like this.
Politics is better than conflict. So even if you don’t like the political outcomes, because people have figured out ways to work with those against whom they have been involved in politics or even who they don’t believe have the best interest of the country at heart, it is not up to the United States, I do not believe, to say, well, we won’t work with you. It is up to us to do what we are doing, what the President has done, what I have done on this trip, which is to say we expect so much more of you, we believe in you and your potential.
But we cannot dictate to you who you have in your government. You have to determine how to influence and change this government, and do not be deterred by the difficulty of it. I think that is our message, Fareed, because we have a lot of very strong connections with Kenya. We want to continue supporting this university. We don’t want to say, well, we don’t like the government so we’re not going to support the university. I don’t think that’s a very smart conclusion to draw.
MS. MARSHALL: All right. Part of your itinerary will take you to the DR Congo, and we have here a student from the DRC with a question. Go ahead with your question, please.
QUESTION: My name is Jean Bonair Congolu (ph). I’m, as I said, a citizen of Democratic Republic of Congo and (inaudible) post-graduate (inaudible) conflict in this university. And it seems you have added your voice in what is going on in Goma all eastern Congo. As you are going to be there very soon, my concern is as you are going there, because the problem in Congo is the multibillion company who are outside Africa, who are influencing the ongoing conflict in the DRC. What is your foreign policy takes of the multimillion company who are financing conflict in that region?
Secondly is the role of the militias, the armed groups. If those are non-invited or those are invited by the neighboring states, what is the American takes in ending the militia’s activity, as you said, raping women, killing children, recruiting the young men like us to join the army by force so that they may continue disturbing the government of Kinshasa? And another thing is –
MR. ZAKARIA: How about at least we keep it to those two very important questions?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, obviously, we are very concerned about conditions in the DRC. And in many ways, the problems that we see in the DRC are so acute because much of the country is ungoverned. In the entire country, I think it’s right to say there’s only something like 300 miles of paved road. It is a very difficult set of challenges that we’re facing in trying to work to improve governance and the rule of law inside the DRC. But we are very committed to doing so.
But we also, while we’re kind of working to try to change things in the medium and long term, we have these short-term emergencies of the violence in the east, which is militia-fueled, which has been going on for years. And there are many different fingers in that pot, stirring it, and creating the conflict.
And we are looking for ways to try to create conditions where the corporations and the countries who are exploiting the mineral wealth understand it is in their interest to try to help diminish the conflict, where the UN peacekeepers play an even more effective role, where the military of the DRC is well enough trained and committed to helping to end the conflict.
So we are working on both of those levels, dealing with the crisis and the emergency and trying to help set some processes in motion that can create a better outcome over the next several years. It’s very difficult. I’m not going to sit here and tell you we have the answers. The United States, even with our new President, cannot tell people what to do and expect it to happen. You have to work with people. You have to create the conditions that will change the behaviors and realize the kind of outcomes that we think are in the interests of the people of these countries.
MS. MARSHALL: Secretary Clinton, we – you are going to be meeting Somalia authorities during your visit here in Kenya. The concerns of America in regards with instability in the Horn of Africa region, what will be your message to the Somalia authorities? What will be your message to the Horn of Africa leaders?
And secondly, sanctions against Eritrea, the U.S. has threatened sanctions against Eritrea. Will that assist in restoring, really, stability in Somalia or helping in the problems of Somalia?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’ve had many conversations about Somalia over the last days here. And with the border that Kenya shares with Somalia, the instability in Somalia is of great concern. It’s also a humanitarian issue because about 10,000 Somali refugees come across the border when the fighting is intense every month. And so there’s a lot that Kenya worries about, and understandably so. And we’re – I’m going to be meeting with Sheikh Sharif, the president of Transitional Federal Government. And was it a perfect election? Of course not. But the legitimacy of his election is something that we want to recognize and support him as he tries to assert governance over parts of Somalia that have been riven with conflict since 1992. It’s a tragedy. I mean, there are many Somalis in Nairobi and in Kenya, people who would love to go home if they could make a living and raise their families in peace, and they cannot.
So our goal is to try to help create conditions of stability. And the African Union has military forces in Somalia, a program called AMISOM. They are trying to create areas of their conflict-free zones. We need to get some of the neighbors to quit funding the terrorist organization, al-Shabaab. And I think there’s a lot of work to be done there. We’ve made it clear that we want to be supportive. But again, this is an African-led mission, and we applaud that and we want to support the African intervention into Somalia.
MS. MARSHALL: All right. We’ll hear more from the floor and our young people. Go ahead with your question. Please be brief and to the point.
QUESTION: Thank you. My name is Yoshin Amori (ph). I work for (inaudible) youth initiatives. I have a question. You have had a meeting with the prime minister and the president and other state and non-state actors. What is your impression on the existence, if at all, of political – real political goodwill for implementation of real reforms in Kenya? And if at all, you may have lost hope on our leadership, the way Kenyans have, then what do you think are the options that Kenyans have to ensure that we reform this country and that we have a leadership that will implement what Kenyans want? And what would be the role of the United States in implementing such a strategy? Thank you. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I work for a president who believes in hope – (laughter) – and so we don’t give up hope, we just try to figure out different ways to see it made into reality. As I said, I think that there are people within the leadership – I’m not going to name names, I just would be doing that based on my own impressions, which I don’t think would be fair – but there are people within the leadership who really understand the necessity for these reforms. Whether they can be successful or not is still up in the air.
But at the very least, they must do electoral reform to avoid the kind of outcome that you experienced before. And they must do judicial and police reform. Put aside the question of holding people accountable and ending impunity, which I think is much harder for them to get their arms around because of the obvious implications. But on electoral reform, police, and judicial reform and constitutional reform, there should be a constant pressure from civil society and the private sector.
And I think there are ways of doing that, making this a daily effort and not losing hope, because there have been many situations where reform took a long time and it was very hard won. Think about our civil rights revolution. There are many – we could be transported back to Alabama or Mississippi in the 1950s or the early 1960s. And instead of me sitting here, it might be Dr. King or one of our other great civil rights leaders. And the questions might be, well, why? We can’t keep waiting. We have to do this. It’ll never change. And the answer would be, yes, you have to organize and you have to be smarter and you have to work harder. And guess what? We finally got there. And we now have a president who would not be president were it not for the sacrifice and the persistence and the perseverance of those who came before. So it is my hope that those of you who are pushing for reform, keep thinking about ways of putting the right kinds of pressure to bear on those in power.
And when you say, well, what else can you do, Kenya strikes me as a very political culture. I’ve talked with Americans who have worked here in the embassies. They’ve been around Kenya. They’ve been in small villages. Everybody has a political opinion. (Laughter.) I mean, you could never have gotten out of your village and maybe not even be educated, but you understand that politics counts in Kenya. And so you think about it and you express your opinion. You have to then not just be in civil society, as important as that is and the path that many of you have chosen, and I applaud you for it, but at the same time, some of you have to be in politics.
Max Weber talked about the hard boring of hard boards in politics. And very often, the people who are left standing are the people who just never gave up. So you have to be willing to take on the political challenge as well as the reform challenge. Start now. I mean, I don’t know enough about Kenyan politics, but are there parties that either you can join or you can form? Are there ways of getting out and beginning to plan for the 2012 elections right now? I mean, I’ll tell you, we have people in America who are already thinking of running for president in 2012 and 2016 and 2020.
MR. ZAKARIA: Nobody on this stage.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Nobody on this stage, however. (Laughter.)
MR. ZAKARIA: Last question from the floor.
MS. MARSHALL: Yes, yes. We are going to take our final question from Halima (ph).
QUESTION: Thank you. My name is Halima Mohamed Saleh (ph). I work with (inaudible) Kenya from coastal region. I wanted to ask because Muslim community, especially the women, have been marginalized. And I don’t know what the United States of America have to contribute to the (inaudible) success of the Muslim community. Second thing is that if you have a program, probably on international dialogue, so that people can understand more on our community and instead of actually criticizing and not wanting to know more on Islamic culture. Thank you. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Those are very good questions and good points. Let me just – let me go specifically to her questions and then just broaden it as I end my answer.
Yes, we do have programs aimed at the Muslim community. As you know, the President’s speech in Cairo was meant to be the beginning of a dialogue. We are working through the State Department and the rest of our government to create such discussions both within the Muslim community and between the Muslim community and other communities. And I am particularly concerned about opportunities for women, women of all faiths, all tribes, all ethnicities, all everything. I think that no society can be successful unless women have their full rights and have the ability to participate fully in their countries. (Applause.)
So this is an area that we are particularly concerned about. And I hope that – is somebody from the embassy, Ambassador, that if we could get your name, so we could follow up with you to see what specifically we could do?
But let me broaden this. I think that some of the violence that came after the last election was shocking to Kenyans. And I believe there is a great opportunity for civil society to engage in a dialogue across Kenyan society, not just with Muslims, but with different parts of the country, with different tribes in the country, to begin to really figure out how you unify the country and create a sense of commitment to the future that will benefit everyone. And that would be a great undertaking for Kenyan civil society to decide to do.
MS. MARSHALL: All right. I’ll hand over to Fareed. I understand our time is limited.
MR. ZAKARIA: Our time is limited, and I’m just going to end with one very specific question. This is a news report I saw while preparing for this town hall, and it involves a woman, a young woman, a very attractive young woman. A Kenyan city councilman says he offered Bill Clinton 40 goats and 20 cows for his daughter’s hand in marriage five years ago. (Laughter.) He is still awaiting an answer. And I thought on this occasion, you know, Mrs. Clinton, if you think about it – (laughter and applause) – if you think in the current global economic climate with asset values have gone down, your stock portfolio is probably down, your government has had – your husband has had to do a little bit of government work, take time off from the private sector, it’s not a bad offer. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, my daughter is her own person. She’s very independent. So I will convey this very kind offer. (Laughter.)
MR. ZAKARIA: And we thank Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. We thank the University of Nairobi, the Government of Kenya and our associates, our affiliate, and (inaudible). Thank you so much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Beatrice. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
QUESTION: So probably I’ll just start (inaudible) relationship between the U.S. (inaudible). So I just would like to know (inaudible).
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s a wonderful question because the President’s speech was so historic, and it was meant to not only reach out to the Muslim world, but for us to find concrete ways to work together.
So some of the things we’re doing are increasing educational exchanges, looking for ways to work with individuals as well as groups in different societies who are trying to improve the lives of women, who are trying to improve health care, education, who are looking for ways to promote democracy and the rule of law, who are interested in having interfaith dialogue. So the State Department and other parts of our government are reaching out to learn from people throughout the Muslim world what would be most useful, and then we’re going to try to both fund and respond to that.
QUESTION: All right, let’s talk about Somalia (inaudible) issue between the Muslim world and the instability Somalia. (Inaudible) fighting (inaudible) Somalia have been the women and the children. So (inaudible) if you – the U.S. (inaudible) America (inaudible) invasion like you did in Iraq or Afghanistan, it’s going to be (inaudible). So what strategies are you (inaudible) situation in Somalia?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have absolutely no intention of doing any kind of military action on our own. And in fact, we have been pleased that the African Union and African countries have come to the aid of the Transitional Federal Government to try to stabilize Somalia and to drive out the violent extremists who, as you say, often target innocent people.
I mean, what kind of war is it when you kill women and children, and you destroy for the sake of destruction, to intimidate people and just break the spirits of people? And the Somali people have suffered for a very long time. The United States wants to help Somalis themselves take back their country, take it away from foreign fighters and foreign ideas that are un-Somalia. This is not about Somalia anymore. It’s about trying to gain control over a piece of territory so that you can create a terrorist haven. That’s not the way Somalia (inaudible). This is something that I feel very strongly about. But we’re going to support those who are trying to support a better future.
QUESTION: And in your speech yesterday at the AGOA Forum (inaudible) education (inaudible) to help (inaudible) in the government. And as a Muslim woman (inaudible), especially the hijab. I’d like to know personally your stand on hijab.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I consider it a personal decision, and I have Muslim women friends who wear a hijab and who don’t. And I want women to make their own choices. I want women to be educated enough and feel confident enough that if it is their choice to wear a hijab, they wear it; if it is not their choice, they do not wear it.
Because I think that Muslim women, like all women, should have the right to make decisions that are important for themselves and their families. So in my country, there is – there are many opportunities for women to pursue their jobs regardless of whether or not they cover themselves.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) Barack Obama government initiative headed by George Mitchell. So I would like to know (inaudible) what have you achieved in Palestine in bringing the Palestinian people together (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have tried to support the Palestinian Authority. I just announced last week $200 million to go to support them, because in the West Bank the Palestinian Authority is establishing security, they are encouraging businesses, they are encouraging education, and they are really making a very good showing of how they would run a state. And it’s something I want to support, so we are.
And George Mitchell is working with the Israelis, the Palestinians, and Arab groups in different countries to try to come together in, we hope, a few months at a comprehensive peace negotiation that would lead to the creation of a Palestinian state.
QUESTION: And finally, (inaudible). So according to you, how (inaudible) common (inaudible) woman (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: In two ways. Kenya and most of the African countries have not yet fully utilized AGOA. There are 6,999 products that can be exported to the United States duty free, but what we have found is that a lot of people don’t know that. And so we’re going to do a better job of trying to reach out and explain that to people.
Now, the individual women in Kabaras (ph) selling vegetables will not be able directly to get into the AGOA forum, but if she is part of a larger group or if she is the farmer who is growing the vegetables who then can be part of a cooperative that would be able to get into America, that can happen. But it takes organization, and it takes planning. And we’re going to try to do more to help businesses here in Kenya be able to get the tools they need to participate.
QUESTION: Thank you so much for (inaudible).
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. It was a pleasure talking to you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, thank you very much for taking time out of this very hectic schedule to spend it with us.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Fareed, and thank you for coming to Nairobi for this opportunity.
QUESTION: It’s my pleasure. Let me take you back a little bit. Let me ask you – you are somebody who has had an incredibly full life with many different accomplishments. But much of it was not spent in the realm of foreign policy. What is the first memory you have of a foreign policy event that you remember?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, for me personally, it was in 1979, I think, going to the governor’s mansion – no, when was this – going somewhere with Jimmy Carter when Deng Xiaoping came, so when he was either the president then – yes, I guess he was the president when he came in late ‘70s. And it was the first foreign leader I had ever met, and Bill was invited because he was the young governor of Arkansas. And I was just very taken by the whole experience, and that was my first real introduction. I had been abroad, but I had never been anything other than a student of international relations and had always avidly followed the news.
QUESTION: And when you were a student, you were quite active on Vietnam. As I recall, you joined Eugene McCarthy’s campaign.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: And was Vietnam an (inaudible) part of the reason you joined?
SECRETARY CLINTON: It was. I mean, I think it even goes back further. My father was a great newspaper reader and loved to talk about current events around the world over dinner. And I was very taken with President Kennedy’s inauguration and, of course, his speech and I was too young to –
QUESTION: Wait, you were? Because your father was a Republican and –
SECRETARY CLINTON: He was.
QUESTION: — also you worked for Goldwater.
SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s right, but my mother was a closet Democrat, which she has later admitted. But I was very taken by the role of America in the world. I was a big Eisenhower fan even at a young age. But just going through all of that in ’68, that incredible year of tragedy in our country, I was involved in student politics around Vietnam. And then in ’72, I worked for McGovern, in part because of my continuing concern about that. So it’s always been an interest to me; I just never had a chance to actually meet a leader or be involved in it until years later.
QUESTION: What do you think you bring from those early years, though? What – you know, what stays with you as something you want to do now that you’re Secretary of State?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think several things. First, I have been a student of foreign policy my entire life and I think I bring a very broad interest and a voracious appetite for information about how decisions are made and how to promote values within foreign policy. I think too that my political background is actually very helpful, because – especially in these emerging democracies where they’re learning politics, but they may not be learning governing, I think I have a grasp of the difficulties that they are facing, assuming good faith that they actually want to be able to govern well.
And then of course, my deep and abiding interest in women’s issues, that goes back certainly to my college and law school years, and the role that women must play in their societies if we’re going to advance democracy and human rights and economic empowerment, all of which I think are at the core of what our foreign policy objectives should be.
QUESTION: And then we get to the unusual circumstances of your becoming Secretary of State. There’s a lot of –
SECRETARY CLINTON: Unusual is an understated way of saying it. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Well, there’s no way – no way around talking about this partnership or this relationship with Barack Obama.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right, right.
QUESTION: Because it is very unusual in the American political context to have the chief rival of a presidential candidate then become part of his cabinet. And people have often referred to the experience of Abraham Lincoln picking William Henry Seward. But there is another example, which is Woodrow Wilson had to pick William Jennings Bryan as his secretary of state, and that didn’t end up so well. It was a choice made for political reasons. Wilson made foreign policy out of a kitchen cabinet in the White House with Colonel House. William Jennings Bryan was kind of the guy who was sent around to make speeches. Do you worry about that happening?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Not at all, and I think it’s a unique relationship. If there is an analogy, it is much closer to Seward, whom I admire, having been a New York senator myself. No, because I think that in many ways, the policies that President Obama and I talked about during the campaign were maybe difference in degree, not kind. We have a world view that says America should be leading by example. It’s not the – I think my husband said, actually, it’s not the example of our power, but the power of our example that we want to convey.
And so when the President asked me to consider this, I was personally very surprised. And I became even more surprised when accounts of the campaign came out and said that he had been thinking about it for some time. But I also believe that what I brought to the job, the real commitment that I have to being not just effective, but being part of a team that’s effective – which the President knows, we served in the Senate together – has really worked out better than anybody could have predicted.
I think our personal relationship has certainly deepened and broadened over the course of the last six and a half months, the time that we spend together, the difficult problems that we wrestle with. But also the team – Bob Gates and I, Jim Jones and I, others who work with us – are really open. And Henry Kissinger said to me that he was very surprised; it was the first administration he could remember where if he talked to me and then he talked to somebody in the White House, he got the same story.
And it’s because we really try to hash out problems in private. We really understand the significance of the responsibilities that we shoulder at a time of great peril and promise in American history. And the President is a disciplined, decisive interlocutor in the meetings that we have. So it’s been a rewarding professional and personal experience.
QUESTION: So you’ve watched two White Houses up close. What would you say is the principal difference between the way Bill Clinton ran the White House and Barack Obama runs the White House?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think both of them bring just enormous intelligence to the job. I mean, obviously, I know Bill much better. But I have seen in President Obama as well just an intelligence that is so compelling to struggle with the difficult issues that are put before you. I think that the time in which Bill served was so different from the time in which President Obama is serving.
And in the White House, I think Bill is very constantly seeking out information, always trying to figure out where to end up, but he does it in a very public way, I mean, “Well, what do you think, Fareed? I mean, tell me that.”
I think that President Obama is very clear about the process that he wants to lead to his decision. I think, obviously, my husband made a lot of great decisions for our country and I think that President Obama is doing the same.
QUESTION: Do you worry, though, that with a president who is very interested in foreign policy, as President Obama is with a national security staff which has many of his old campaign aides on it, that inevitably, power will move more and more closely to the White House and things will – policy will be made there?
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, I don’t worry about that for a couple of reasons: First of all, because I’m not exactly a shrinking violet, and my opinions are not only sought, but listened to, and I appreciate that very much. And obviously, we do our homework in the State Department so that when we tee up something, we can both explain it and defend it. And I have a great team – Jim Steinberg, Jack Lew, Cheryl Mills and everybody on the political side, and then these extremely professional Foreign Service and Civil Service people.
So we are the implementers. There is no doubt about that. The White House cannot implement policy. But the partnership between the White House, the State Department, the Defense Department, and occasionally other intelligence departments, both DNI and CIA and then others coming in, is truly a team effort. And I think that the White House, in a complicated world with a government as big as ours, has to coordinate. I mean, that is one of its principal roles.
And I think the NSC is really growing into an understanding of how best to fulfill its role. It cannot implement. It cannot execute. And you need very good, solid relationships with the rest of the government to make sure that your policies and your – the direction you want to set are actually followed up on.
So when it comes to making policy, I think that we’ve had such a seamless, ongoing dialogue about everything that – I’ve been around Washington long enough, unfortunately, to know that there will always be people who want to take credit wherever they are or who want to try to take advantage over somebody’s disadvantage. But there’s been so little of that and instead, it’s a really serious professional operation.
QUESTION: So let’s talk about some of those policies. On Iran, there are a number of people, as you know, who argue that the President and you were too slow to condemn what seems to have been fraud in the elections, too slow to offer support to people on the ground because you wanted to preserve the option of negotiating with Iran. Can you really negotiate with Iran at this point?
I understand, in general, one negotiates with all kinds of regimes. But practically speaking, right now, with Ahmadinejad having been inaugurated in a very disputed atmosphere, won’t you be legitimizing him if you negotiate with him?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Let me start with the first part about our reaction. There was another very important aspect. We did not want to get between the legitimate protests and demonstrations of the Iranian people and the leadership. And we knew that if we stepped in too soon, too hard, the attention might very well shift and the leadership would try to use us to unify the country against the protestors. That was a – it was a hard judgment call, but I think we, in retrospect, handled it pretty well. Now, behind the scenes, we were doing a lot. As you know, the young – one of our young people at the State Department got Twittered, “Keep going,” despite the fact that they had planned for a technical shutdown. So we were doing a lot to really empower the protestors without getting in the way. And we’re continuing to speak out and support the opposition.
On the question of engagement, that has been the President’s policy. We have made it clear. We have communicated in a number of ways to the Iranian leadership. But we are under no illusions; we were under no illusions before their elections that we can get the kind of engagement we are seeking. The President has also said, look, we need to take stock of this in September. If there is a response, it needs to be on a fast track. We’re not going to keep the window open forever.
But we’re not just sitting here waiting for somebody in Iran to say, “Let’s talk.” We are working with our allies to make the case that we need to have prepared a very robust set of sanctions that we can get the international community to sign off on the way we did with North Korea. We are also, though, looking at an incentive package. We’ve got to be able to say to the Iranians, “Well, here’s what’s in it for you if you get back into the good graces of the international community on your nuclear program – you foreswear nuclear weapons, you take appropriate safeguards regarding any kind of civil nuclear program.”
QUESTION: You’ve talked about that, the importance of making clear to the Iranians that they do have a right for a civilian nuclear program, but not for nuclear weapons.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: One potential solution, that in the past the Iranians have suggested they might be open to, is to have an Iranian enrichment capacity in Iran, but under permanent international supervision. Do you think that is a potential way out of this dilemma?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that would not be our first choice. We would rather that the Iranians not have control and authority over the full enrichment and reprocessing cycle, that it be under the supervision of the IAEA, but in another country, Russia being the example that has often been discussed.
But these are the kinds of issues that would be part of the negotiations. There are certain safeguards that might be acceptable, but others that would, we know, be merely shammed. So trying to get to the full panoply of what could be available is part of what we’re teeing up in the event there is such a negotiation.
QUESTION: I have to ask you a question that is of personal interest. Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari –
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.
QUESTION: — has been arrested and is now going through what can only be called a kind of Stalinist show trial. What is your reaction to that?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am just appalled at the treatment that Mr. Bahari and others are receiving. It is a show trial, there is no doubt about it, and it has caught up journalists and clerics and former elected officials and even people in the current what was the government before the elections. And it is a sign of weakness. It demonstrates, I think, better than any of us could ever say that this Iranian leadership is afraid of their own people and afraid of the truth and the facts coming out.
We’ve expressed our concern about Mr. Bahari’s confinement and now the trial. As you know, he’s a Canadian, and we have certainly told the Government of Canada that we would be willing to do whatever is appropriate. They have thanked us for that, thanked us for our concern. They believe that they should take the lead on that and we’re supporting them.
QUESTION: Let me ask you about Afghanistan. It’s a little bit confusing, I think, to Americans to understand where we are, because it seemed as though there was an Afghanistan strategic review, the President made clear that he was sending troops, but also that this seemed, from a lot of the body language, to be the final increase in troops that Afghanistan would receive. Secretary Gates, on our program, said it would be a very hard sell to send any more troops.
Now we have a new commander in the field, there is some talk of perhaps needing more troops, Secretary Gates has said, well, now maybe I’m open to it – all this happening against a backdrop of the worst month of U.S. casualties in Afghanistan. Why are the casualties rising? And is sending more troops there in these circumstances sending more troops into a black hole?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Fareed, the strategic review on Afghanistan, which set forth an approach that we’re following, made it clear that we needed to integrate military and civilian assets, and try to build up the Afghan National Army and a Afghan police force as quickly as possible. What we’re finding is that that is the key. If you read the accounts of what our marines and soldiers are encountering, it’s tough fighting. I mean, they’re really taking it to the Taliban in areas that have been largely uncontested. And –
QUESTION: So you think this is a little bit like the surge in Iraq; that once you start engaging the enemy, inevitably your casualties mount and perhaps this might even be a sign of success?
SECRETARY CLINTON: There are certainly military experts and analysts who believe that, who are explaining to me and to others that what we’re seeing is tragic, and the loss of life is something that I deeply regret. I mean, nobody’s more anxious than the President and I are for us to be successful and to be able to send our young men and women home. But not being on the sidelines, moving out of the comfort zone – remember that British and NATO forces have also suffered their greatest losses – is a kind of combat challenge that the Taliban has been able to avoid up until now.
But no decisions have been made about the military side of our strategy. There’s a lot of discussion going on, and what I like about the President and the White House and the team that we have is that we’re always asking, “Well, what are we doing,” or “Can we do it better, what are the costs, what are the consequences?”
So there’s been no decision, but I think it’s important for the American people to know that we have our best commanders, we have our best civilian team, we have an embassy headed by a former general who served in Afghanistan, but who really gets the civilian component of this, to other ambassadors who are there to run our aid program and to work on the political dynamics inside of Afghanistan.
We’re trying to make sure that there’s a – as free and fair and legitimate election as can be held on August 20th. And then once there is a winner of this election, we have some very hard tasks about what we expect from the Government of Afghanistan. And first and foremost is helping us expedite the training of an Afghan National Army that will help our forces hold ground and then take over that responsibility.
QUESTION: Is the current administration in Afghanistan being a useful partner, both in terms of trying to do this stuff and actually getting it done? Or could one potentially see a change in administration in Afghanistan as a good thing?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’re actively impartial in what’s going on in Afghanistan in terms of the election. I think it’s surprised people that this has turned into a real election. There are campaign rallies, there’s radio and television advertising. I think the incumbent, obviously, as incumbents do, has an advantage. But very vigorous campaigns are being run by several contestants. So we’re just going to do everything we can to make sure the election is fair, and then once there is a winner, we will work.
Now, the previous years of the term of President Karzai has been mixed. I mean, in some areas, we’ve made a lot of progress and have had a very good relationship. In other areas, it needs improvement. So we will work with whomever the people of Afghanistan select, but we will be very specific about what we need to see coming from the government.
QUESTION: You and the President have both communicated to the Government of Israel that you do not want any more settlements. You were very clear in your statement; you said no exceptions. And yet the government in Israel seems to be making an exception. Do you intend to in any way enforce that view that the United States has to ensure that the Government of Israel does not do what you don’t want it to do, which is to expand the settlements in the West Bank?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as you know, we’re in the midst of the very intense negotiations that Senator Mitchell is carrying out. And I think both Israel and the United States are working from a position of friendship, a durable partnership, a commitment by the United States to the security of Israel, which is absolutely imperative and nonnegotiable.
But there are steps we would like to see all the parties take in order to maximize the chances for success of the negotiations to reach a comprehensive peace that result in a two-state solution.
And there are areas where Senator Mitchell is hammering out the details with the Israelis, with the Palestinians, with Arab countries. And I’m actually cautiously optimistic that we will be able to tee up negotiations. Now there is no guarantee. These are very, very difficult issues to resolve. But I think that starting with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s important speech where he accepted the two-state solution and laid out –
QUESTION: But placed conditions on it with the Palestinians regarding entirely (inaudible) –
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, but both sides do that. I mean, that’s politics, that’s negotiations. I mean, people are likely to end up in a place that makes neither of them happy, and then the rest of us can say, “Well, that’s probably a good outcome,” but they start from maximalist positions. That’s where people obviously begin.
QUESTION: But the relationship with Israel has been prickly. I’ll give you one example: You extended a kind a nuclear umbrella, the prospect of a nuclear umbrella, to Israel and potentially other countries in the Gulf. And we’re talking about the Iranian nuclear program. The response from the Israeli Government was to criticize you, was to say that you were giving in to, you know, accepting an Iranian nuclear program. Were you surprised by their response?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think they misunderstood what I was saying. I said defense umbrella. I didn’t specify what kind of defensive measures might be available to those in the region. But I clearly was sending a message to Iran, and we’ve obviously explained that to our friends in Israel.
But the message was to make clear to whoever is making decisions in Iran these days, particularly about something as important as their nuclear weapons potential, that if they believed that this would give them a more secure position, a greater capacity to influence events, to intimidate their neighbors, to expand the reach of their ideology, they were mistaken, that there was no chance in the world that even if they were to obtain that – and it was obviously prefaced and meant in that way because our position remains the same – we do not intend to accept nuclear weapons by Iran. We think that is unacceptable.
But for the sake of argument and for the sake of their calculus, if that is among their objectives, they need to think again, because they will render their position less secure, they will trigger an arms race in the region, and they will certainly put greater pressure on the United States to extend a defense umbrella in order to hem in and contain them. So I just wanted to be sure that they were thinking like we were thinking, and I think the Israeli response only looked at the fact that, “Oh my gosh, well, does that mean you’re changing your policy, that now, somehow it’s acceptable?” No, of course not; we think this influences the thinking inside Iran.
QUESTION: If you had to choose, which is worse: a Iranian nuclear weapons program or an American attack on Iran?
SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) Well, we have no intention to pursue the latter. This is something that is a very delicate and difficult issue to even contemplate. And yet at the same time, we are very concerned about Iran being a nuclear weapons state. And it’s not going to surprise anyone that Israel views that as an existential threat, that many in the United States see that also as a direct threat to American interests.
But force should never even be contemplated except as a very last resort. We are still focused on our engagement. We’re still focused on bringing international pressure. We’re still focused on trying to effect the calculations of the Iranian Government. And we’ll see where that leads us.
QUESTION: You just got through a bilateral with China, a strategic and economic set of meetings. Do you believe that China is now assured that the United States is managing its fiscal house well? The concerns that they have publicly made several times about their fears of an American deficit, management of the dollar, were those – in those discussions, did you get a sense that they are breathing a sigh of relief?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that it is fair to say that they are somewhat reassured. I think Secretary Geithner and Larry Summers and the economic team have done an excellent job of keeping the Chinese informed about the steps that we were taking in our government. I think the recent signs of stabilizing in our own economy have been reassuring. Obviously, we are not out of the woods yet and neither are they. But it is fair to say that the – in my view, the very large stimulus that both of our countries took – ours in dollar terms bigger than theirs, but as a percentage of their economy, quite significant from them – have really helped to get the global economic engines at least beginning to turn on.
The problem, of course, is that both of us may well have been, prior to this recession, on unsustainable pathways. I mean, we could not continue to spend the way we had spent on an individual level or at a government level, and now, of course, our deficit is even greater, which the President has said is going to be addressed. They have an export-driven approach, but at some point, they’re going to have to stimulate internal demand. So –
QUESTION: Did they make any assurances that they were going to do that? Because right now, it is the government spending, right?
SECRETARY CLINTON: It is.
QUESTION: The Chinese Government, not the Chinese consumer?
SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s right. Well, but they are taking some steps toward creating what we would call a safety net – some kind of health insurance program, some kind of social security type program. Because you have to render people secure if you expect them to spend. Otherwise, they have to keep their own money under the mattress or in the bank so that they can draw it down when they need it. So there has to be some government expenditure to try to create that safety net.
Now we’re having our political battles over healthcare, but certainly, we do have a safety net – unemployment, insurance, social security, et cetera. We have to reform it, but it’s there. And American consumers have spent in a way that kept the global economy afloat for years now. I mean, if you think of the global economy before the recession, it was like an inverted triangle resting on the shoulders of the American consumer. But I think spending habits, at least in the short term within our country, are not going to be what they were before. So it is in everyone’s interests that some of the developing economies do more to generate internal demand.
So we face our challenges. I think we have gotten through this first period better than many had expected. We still have some choppy water ahead, but the President’s view is that we inherited this terrible crisis. The ship of state has been stabilized, but now we have to determine what direction we go. And I certainly believe we’re going to have to go in the direction of lowering our deficit, reforming some of our entitlement programs, encouraging more exporting of our economy, which means investing in our manufacturing sector, which is part of what I hope comes from the stimulus bill, and the investment in clean energy.
So there’s a lot of – a lot to be done, but I think the Chinese are breathing a little easier.
QUESTION: North Korea.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: You famously now compared North Korea to an unruly teenager demanding attention, and you said, “I’m not going to give them that kind of attention.” But didn’t your husband do precisely that – give them the attention they sought with this extraordinarily high-level visit? That was – they were demanding attention and we gave it to them.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, but we see this as two very different approaches. I mean, they were demanding attention with respect to their provocative actions on missile launches and nuclear tests. And previously, that had always gotten a response, not just from the United States, but the international community. That has not been forthcoming now.
These two young women, however, caught up in this nightmare, as Laura Ling termed it correctly, were really a humanitarian plea that I felt strongly we needed to answer. They needed to be brought home, reunited with their families, but also to resolve that so it wasn’t hanging over our head as we work to try to move back in to a process to lead to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
And both the President and I had said for weeks that we wanted to do whatever it took to try to get them home, and I’m very happy that happened.
QUESTION: Tell us a little bit more about it. So President Clinton comes back. He spends three hours talking to the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il. What was his impression of him?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’re going to get a full debriefing, which we really haven’t had the chance to get.
QUESTION: But you must have spoken to him on the phone.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I do. I had – I have spoken to him on the phone, but I have this policy, I never talk about what I talk to my husband about, Fareed. But I think he’s going to be able to meet with a lot of our Administration officials over the next days and weeks to share his impressions, along with other members of his delegation. Obviously, what we are hoping is that maybe without it being part of the mission in any way, the fact that this was done will perhaps lead the North Koreans to recognize that they can have a positive relationship with us.
I mean, remember, when I first went to Japan and South Korea and China right out of the box as Secretary of State, I said, look, we have to get back to the full and verifiable denuclearization of the peninsula, but we want to take steps to move toward normalization with North Korea. We have no designs on North Korea. We’re not, in any way, intending to threaten North Korea in an offensive manner. Our concern is what they do internally that then threatens our allies and our partners and eventually us. It’s not a good feeling to see them exporting nuclear technology as they have, or to continue to build up their own capacity.
So we reached out to the North Koreans, made it very clear that we wanted to create that kind of engagement, and they not only rejected it, but they began to take these provocative actions which resulted in the entire international community – most importantly, China – saying, wait, you can’t do this. I think they were surprised by that. I think the consequences of the Security Council Resolution 1874 and the sanctions that have been imposed, the most onerous that we have ever had, were quite eye-opening for them.
So we’re hoping that we can get back to a process that they will participate in with the understanding that yes, we demand that they denuclearize, but we also are not coming empty-handed. If it is full and verifiable, the international community will be responsive.
QUESTION: But the Bill Clinton mission, it was unorthodox. I mean, here you have a former president going on what appeared to be a state visit from the way in which he was greeted, being received by North Korea’s top nuclear negotiator. It’s a mission that was funded by private corporations and individuals. Is this something we – you expect to see more of as a way of reconciling his role in America?
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, no. I mean, this, as you know, came from the families. I mean, this was a message that Laura and Euna were given by the North Koreans, which they passed on to their families and former Vice President Gore.
QUESTION: Naming him specifically?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Naming him specifically. And then they passed it on, obviously, as they should, to the rest of us. And it was not anything Bill was interested in seeking or even contemplating. But of course, when Vice President Gore called and when our Administration evaluated it and began to brief him, he said, look, if you think it’s the right thing to do and if you think I should do it, of course I will do it. But it is a private humanitarian mission. It was not in any way an official government mission.
QUESTION: But John Bolton, the former UN ambassador said –
SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Should I even go on?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m sorry. No, you shouldn’t.
QUESTION: Should I?
SECRETARY CLINTON: You really shouldn’t. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: But he said this is rewarding hostage-taking.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, well –
QUESTION: Why – why is he wrong? Because you – they effectively took hostages.
SECRETARY CLINTON: We have done this so many times before. I mean, we’ve had former presidents do it, we’ve had sitting members of Congress do it. It is something that – it is absolutely not rewarding them. It is not in any way responding to specific demands. It is a recognition that certain countries that I think are kind of beyond the pale of the rule of law hold people and subject them to long prison terms that are absolutely unfair and unwarranted.
And maybe it’s the fact I have a daughter, but I believed that if we could bring these young women home, we should bring them home. And it had nothing to do with our policy, and of course, you mentioned somebody who – heavens, if President Obama walked on water, he would say he couldn’t swim. So I mean, it’s just not – it’s not something that I think is relevant to what we’re trying to do.
QUESTION: You’ve made an important speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in which you talked about a kind of new model of multilateralism where you had not great power of competition, but great power of cooperation. The idea is basically to solve some of the collective action –
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.
QUESTION: — problems we have by getting the other great powers of the world to cooperate. But what if they don’t? I mean, what – how does this model work when you have a China that says we’re not going to accept binding targets on missions; when we have an India that says don’t even bring up the issue of climate change in terms of targets; the Russians who have been quite non-cooperative on many issues? It’s a nice theory, but how does it work in a world in which these major countries simply don’t see eye-to-eye with the United States?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think, though, you have to put it in a broader context. First, on a number of important issues, even since we’ve been in power over the last six and a half months, we’ve gotten very positive cooperation out of the countries that you named. And in some areas, we are going to see eye-to-eye. And we don’t want to be in a zero-sum game where if we don’t agree with somebody, we therefore don’t even try to partner with them on a whole other range of issues that are important to us.
But if you take climate change, which I think is a critical, collective action, common good problem, I think you’ve got to get below the surface a little bit. The arguments that are going on between our negotiators and our countries over how best to approach climate change are not a rejection by either China or India that climate change is real; that, in many respects, it threatens a lot of their territory even more than it threatens us, given the projections. But what they’re saying is, look, we can’t be in the same regime as the developed countries. I mean, we’re not there yet; we don’t have the historical responsibility. We believe in mitigation, but we got to be able to take steps that we think will fulfill our responsibilities.
And I actually think if you look at China, which has done a lot more on renewable and a lot more on some of the technology than they are given credit for, and in some respects, even more than we’ve done to date; if you look at India, putting $3 billion into reforestation out of their budget, and you ask, “Well, that’s not what we’re doing,” well, but then their response is, “We are moving pretty rapidly. We may not be moving exactly as you would want us to move,” and India is saying, “We haven’t gotten credit for reforestation, but that’s a real effort to mitigate against climate change. We need credit for that.”
I think we’re in the beginning of the hard bargaining and the sorting out. And what we want them to do is not match us in absolute terms, but have reductions from business as usual; given the technological advances, don’t repeat our mistakes. I mean, to be fair to us, for 150 years, the industrial revolution, we didn’t really get it. We knew that you couldn’t breathe until you had to clean up the air for that purpose, but we didn’t understand the connection with climate. We have no excuses left now.
And our argument to China and India is: Yes, you have a right to develop and we want you to develop, and in fact, we admire your commitment to eradicating poverty and we want to help you do that. But you can’t do it the way we did it, because you will suffer consequences that will undermine your development. I think that that conversation is a very healthy one for us to have, and to try to figure out how we’re going to get to Copenhagen and come up with an agreement that is credible.
QUESTION: Speaking of final questions, speaking of hard negotiations, what message would you have to the Senate Democrats who seem to be holding up the passage of a comprehensive healthcare bill? Or are they amending it in ways that are useful and productive?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, actually, I think that it’s a very healthy process that’s going on. They are having to hammer out all of their differences. And there are serious differences in viewpoint, for example. But what the President has said, and what I believe is the right approach, is that this can’t be put off any longer.
I mean, it’s a little bit like what I was saying about climate change. Back in ’93 and ’94 when I was on the frontlines and taking all the incoming fire on this issue, people didn’t really accept in their gut that we had to do this. They kept thinking there’s another way out of this, and it’s not that bad, and we’ll try managed care and we’ll try more HMOs, we’ll try all of that. And now, all these years later, we realize that we have some fundamental problems with our existing system that has to be – that have to be addressed.
So I actually believe that at the end of the day, with all of this negotiation and back and forth, we’re going to come up with something. My hope is that it’s going to be meaningful enough to make a difference; to make a difference on the cost side, which is the paramount issue for people like us who have insurance – okay, how do we keep affording it and making sure that it is of high quality; assurances that what we’re going to do on the public side – the Medicaid and Medicare programs – are not going to undermine those programs in ways that they can’t deliver cost-effective quality care; getting people insured and moving as rapidly as possible toward universal care; changing the delivery system and the incentives so that we actually figure out ways to reward prevention, pay for prevention.
In ’93, for example, Fareed, I have – a man who became a friend of mine, but I didn’t know him at the time, Dean Ornish – he came to see me and he said, “Look, I have proof – ”
QUESTION: This is the doctor that –
SECRETARY CLINTON: Who did a lot of work on cardiovascular health, and he said, “I have proof that changes in diet, stress reduction, exercise are as effective if not more effective than medical interventions in lowering people’s overall threat of heart disease.” He said, “But I can’t get Medicare to pay for somebody going to an exercise class, or to pay for a nutritionist to come to their house and talk to them.”
Well, we worked and worked on that all through the time my husband was president. And then finally, during – sometime during the Bush Administration, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, CMS, said okay, fine, we’ll begin to pay for this. Well, it shouldn’t be that hard. We’re more than happy to pay for a pill or pay for a procedure; how do we change behaviors, how do we convince the medical establishment to do that. There’s just a lot that needs to be at least included,