U.S. Foreign Policy Priorities and Sec. Clinton's Trip to Asia
11:00 a.m. EDT
MR. DUGUID: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the State Department’s Washington Foreign Press Center. We have with us today the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, Mr. Philip J. Crowley, who will lead off with a few remarks and then take your questions.
Assistant Secretary Crowley.
MR. CROWLEY: Thank you very much. I pledged to Gordon and the team here at the FPC in Washington that I would come here on a regular basis to chat with you, and I’m glad to have the first opportunity to do that. And I promise I will do the same to our colleagues in New York, as well.
To start off, just thought it would be useful to go back and talk a little bit about the priorities that Secretary Clinton outlined in her fine speech earlier this week at the Council on Foreign Relations – just going back over a number of the key priorities of the Obama Administration, which included reversing the spread of nuclear weapons, isolating and defeating terrorists, pursuing comprehensive peace in the Middle East, seeking global economic recovery and growth, combating climate change, and supporting and encouraging democratic governments and, of course, standing up for human rights anywhere in the world.
Obviously, this is a very ambitious agenda and, in order to pursue that, she outlined five policy approaches. One, to update and create vehicles for cooperation with our partners, pursuing principled engagement with those who disagree with us, elevating development as a core pillar of American power, integrating civilian and military action in conflict areas, and finding ways to leverage key sources of American power. And we see those elements in some of the key issues that I’m sure that you will ask about today.
Obviously, one of those is combating violent extremism around the world. And we obviously see another tragic example of that today in Indonesia. I would just call your attention to a statement by Secretary Clinton this morning as she was traveling to India. And I’ll just quote from it.
“Our sympathies go out to the victims of these tragic attacks, their families, and the people and Government of Indonesia. We condemn these senseless acts of violence and stand ready to provide assistance if the Indonesian Government requests us to do so. The State Department is working to help American citizens injured in the blast.”
We understand that at least eight American citizens were among those injured and we’re fortunate that none of them appear to be life-threatening. But as Secretary Clinton continued in her statement, “The attacks reflect a viciousness of violent extremists and remind us that the threat of terrorism remains very real. We have no higher priority than confronting this threat along with other countries that share our commitment to a more peaceful and prosperous future.”
And of course, finally, in my opening remarks, the Secretary, as we speak, is still winging her way towards India. She’s still in the air, will arrive in Mumbai in the next hour or two. But when she arrives in India, she’ll have the opportunity to broaden an already significant partnership that has emerged between India and the United States. We have a number of common interests, common values, and a common stake in the future of the 21st century. And she will address, in India, in her discussions with Minister Krishna and also Prime Minister Singh, a number of issues, including security, nonproliferation, climate change, and will try to find ways in her outreach while she’s in India to increase the interaction among – with the Indian people and try to see how we can harness the efforts of the private sector as well – engineers, entrepreneurs – to try to pursue these challenges that we face.
And then obviously, finally, after she visits both Mumbai and Delhi, she will move on to Thailand. And it’s important here that the visit to Thailand has both a significant bilateral element as well as a multilateral element, an opportunity to talk to Prime Minister Abhisit and Foreign Minister Kasit in Thailand, and then on to the ASEAN forum. We’ll have a number of important – both the bilateral, trilateral discussions with our friends from Japan and Australia, as well as the formal meetings of the ASEAN nations.
With that, I’ll be happy to take your questions.
QUESTION: In his March 27th speech, President Obama had said he would like to engage Indian and Pakistan in a diplomacy so that there could be reduced tension between the two countries. Can you give us some sense or details about in the last three months or 100 days what U.S. has done to engage the two countries in diplomacy and reduce tension?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, obviously, I think what’s important to start off is to recognize the joint statement that was reached in Sharm el-Sheikh yesterday, where both India and Pakistan itself pledged to deepen cooperation, exchange information on terrorism. And that is a vitally important step. Obviously, the Secretary is going to India on this particular trip, as she indicated earlier this week. She will also be traveling to Pakistan later in the year. Richard Holbrooke will be departing Washington early next week for stops in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, as well as Brussels, Belgium. So I think the – in the first six months of the Obama Administration, obviously, not only is the Secretary and the President focused on these, but you have, through Richard Holbrooke and others within the State Department, intensive focus on the challenge in South Asia. And we recognize that it is ultimately greater integration among these countries, working on common challenges, regional challenges, finding new structures to be able to expand this cooperation. That will be how the region ultimately overcomes the challenges that it’s facing. And obviously, the United States is – stands ready to assist in any way we can.
MR. DUGUID: I think we have a question from New York. Sir.
QUESTION: Good morning.
MR. CROWLEY: Good morning.
QUESTION: Secretary Clinton seems to be emphasizing diplomacy and Americans’ relationship with the rest of the world. In fact, you said in your – part of your opening remarks is that the Secretary is interested in engaging the rest of the world with diplomacy.
But it seems that – there seems to be a disconnect with regards to Africa, in general, and Zimbabwe in particular, where the Obama Administration is continuing the Bush Administration’s posture to Zimbabwe. Is there some sort of a – is there a connection between the Secretary and the President, or is there a disconnect between the Secretary and the President? What the Obama Administration is doing, is that a reflection of what Secretary Clinton wants with regard with regard to Zimbabwe, or is it – there’s some sort of disagreement there?
Well, I would say there’s no disconnect either between the President and the Secretary or their view of the importance of Africa. Obviously, President Obama had a trip to Ghana on his recently completed trip. Secretary Clinton will be going to Africa early in August for an extensive trip as well.
You mentioned specifically Zimbabwe. Obviously, both the President and the Secretary hosted Prime Minister Tsvangirai for a recent visit here to Washington, finding ways to increase aid to the Zimbabwe people. We still have significant concerns about the – about governance in Zimbabwe. There was a recent meeting between Assistant Secretary Johnny Carson and President Mugabe. Reports are there was some tension in exchanges between the two.
Clearly, Zimbabwe has work to do in terms of its challenge of governance. President Mugabe is hardly what we would consider a model leader. Secretary Clinton in her speech earlier this week talked about the responsibilities that governments do have in the 21st
century. They have to be working for their people. They have to deal with the challenge of corruption. And clearly, we believe that Zimbabwe needs to improve governance. That was the message when Prime Minister Tsvangirai was here in Washington. I know he took that message on board and carried that back to his country.
Thank you. Andrei Sitov, from TASS.MR. CROWLEY:
Andrei, how are you?QUESTION:
Hi, P.J., and thanks for doing this. And thanks to our friends at the FPC who are our best friends in Washington.
I have questions about two things that you mentioned in your opening remarks and the priorities in April in Prague. President Obama said, “My Administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.” My question about that is, what, if anything, has been done in the three months that have passed? And also, in Moscow, they decided, among other things, on the creation of a new bilateral commission, which will be practically headed by Secretary Clinton and her Russian counterpart.
Again, sir, what, if anything, has been done to do this? And if nothing practical – if there has been no practical steps, maybe there are plans that you could share. Thank you. MR. CROWLEY:
Sure. On the first, you’re quite right. Secretary Clinton in her speech earlier this week highlighted the importance of – on the nonproliferation front of not only completing a successful new START Treaty with Russia. Obviously, the presidents, during the recent summit in Moscow, took stock of the progress that had been made, and, obviously, negotiations (inaudible) continue in advance through the end of the year.
We obviously recognize that there is a very important review conference coming up next year regarding the nonproliferation treaty, and we believe that it will be important for the United States, as part of this nonproliferation agenda, to pass the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. I think the Secretary reflected this week this is not going to be an easy challenge. We’ve tried it before. Treaties have not – have been very difficult to get past our United States Senate in the recent past. But we definitely think that this is something that is in both our interest and the interest of the world to fulfill the vision that President Obama laid out in Prague. And the CTBT will be a vitally important component of that.
The Secretary just welcomed Under Secretary Ellen Tauscher into her new position, and it will be part of her larger responsibility to aggressively pursue a plan that ultimately gets us to a successful completion of the START negotiation into the NPT review conference and ultimately a ratification of CTBT.
And your second question was? QUESTION:
The second question was asking about the bilateral commission with the --MR. CROWLEY:
Sure, sure. Obviously, the Secretary’s injury prevented her from going to Moscow, so – but during the summit, there was the bilateral presidential commission announced. The Secretary has indicated that she will return to Moscow later this year to begin a formal dialogue with her counterpart, Foreign Minister Lavrov.
There are a number of areas. There will be subgroups ranging from nuclear energy and security, arms control and international security, foreign policy and combating terrorism, drug trafficking, business development, energy and the environment, agriculture, science and technology, space cooperation, health, prevention – or emergency management, civil society and educational and cultural exchanges.
Obviously, this will be an opportunity for the United States and Russia to deepen their cooperation in many different areas. It’s a very important relationship. We have a lot of areas where we have shared interests and can cooperate effectively. Clearly, in a relationship of this magnitude, you’re also going to have areas of tension. But part of – I think part of the purpose of the commission will be to regularize the ability of the two countries to cooperate. And in doing so, we believe that this will help to further advance these issues in a broader context as well.QUESTION:
So the visit will be the starting point? I thought the starting point was the starting point. MR. CROWLEY:
I’m sorry, what?QUESTION:
I said so the visit – the Secretary’s visit will be the starting point for the commission -- MR. CROWLEY:
Well, I mean, obviously, in any kind of formal meeting, there’s a lot of preparatory work to be done. So it will occur at the ministerial level in the fall, and there will be a great deal of work that will be done in term – to make that a successful meeting. So I would anticipate that preparatory work has already started now and will continue over the next couple of months as we prepare for the first commission meeting later this year.QUESTION:
Hi, Witold Zalewski, Polish Press Agency. A group of former presidents of Central Eastern European countries, like President Walesa, Havel and others, prominent politicians, sent a letter to President Obama sort of complaining that this region, Central Eastern Europe, is somehow neglected in – by the new – by this Administration, and expressing some misgiving that in all these talks with Russia on disarmament and anti-missile shield, the interests of this region might be jeopardized. Of course, it’s a question of – you know, this base of interceptors in Poland and so on. What is the answer? What would be the answer of the Administration? MR. CROWLEY:
Well, it is fair to say that in six months on the job, President Obama and Secretary Clinton have not visited every single country on the planet. That’s true. But we just spoke a moment ago, referred to the President’s speech in Prague. The Secretary has been in Europe on multiple occasions.
So I think that you have a number of mechanisms. She has hosted foreign ministers from Central and Eastern Europe since she took over at the State Department. We’ve had other fora through which you can deal with these pan-European issues, including through NATO and the EU. So I would say that there is a substantial agenda. I think the Administration has worked very, very hard to repair and expand our relationships with Europe and including Central and Eastern Europe. The Secretary, for example, is very focused on the ongoing situation in the Balkans, for example. I think the Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg was in Croatia last week.
So I think that it’s fair to say that we will have the kinds of high-level visits that we’ve all become accustomed to over time, but to say that in the first six months that we have somehow ignored the challenges in Central and Eastern Europe, I think we would respectfully disagree.QUESTION:
In Secretary Clinton’s speech earlier this week, she talked about how the time is now for Iran. And President Obama has said they have till the end of the year. Can you elaborate on what that means? Does that mean at the end of the year, more sanctions? What other action is the U.S. ready to take? And then also there seems to be a growing rift with Rafsanjani’s comments this morning, the former president within the clerical leadership. Would there ever be any efforts with the U.S. on trying to maybe talk first with some of the people in Iran who do seem to disagree with Ahmadinejad? MR. CROWLEY:
Well, I think the President and the Secretary have been very clear in terms of our approach to Iran. The door is still open for principled engagement. But the United States has laid out a path for Iran, but we’re waiting to see what choices Iran itself makes. As Rafsanjani said this morning, he himself said that there is still doubt within the Iranian people about the result of the election. The President and the Secretary have said the same thing reflecting what – how we see the current situation in Iran and the voices that were – that have been on the streets, raising questions that Iranian leaders have yet to answer.
It’s unclear. Obviously, we continue to take stock of what’s happening in Iran. This is not for the United States to resolve. This is a debate and a dispute that is going on within Iran. As the President and Secretary have said, there are universal principles that we feel are very important here – freedom of expression –also of importance to those of you in the room, as Mr. Rafsanjani himself reflected today, freedom of the press and the ability of the media to fairly report what is happening there.
So – but this is clearly something that the Iranian leadership has to continue to address – that there are profound questions that the Iranian people still have about the future direction of their country. We have those same questions in terms of when, how and to what effect the Iranians will be willing to engage. But we have concerns about the recent
past and some of the events that have taken place there. But we remain ready to engage, if Iran chooses this path, because it is in our national interest to do so. We still have our own concerns about Iran, its nuclear ambitions, its support of terrorism, its future place in the region. We are willing to address those in a dialogue based on mutual interest and mutual respect, if Iran chooses to follow that path.
Yes, hi. Joyce Karam with Al Hayat newspaper. I wanted to ask you on the peace process on the issue of settlements, how important do you think reaching a settlement freeze and agreement with the Israelis on a settlement freeze to resuming negotiations? And if I can ask a second question. Fred Hoff, Mitchell’s senior aide is in Syria. I mean, we are seeing a bigger role from Washington in reaching a comprehensive peace. Is Washington ready to mediate the Syria-Israeli track? MR. CROWLEY:
Well, as both the President and the Secretary have said on a number of occasions, we are – we have a tremendous interest in seeing a comprehensive peace in the Middle East and that includes progress and ultimately agreements on all elements of the peace process, and that would include issues between Israel and Syria. We would also note that there have been other successful mediations in the recent past on that front through the good offices of Turkey, for example.
As to where we go from here, clearly, we are working with all of the parties in the Middle East. And all of the parties have responsibilities and all of the parties have to take actions that create the conditions that’ll allow a peace process to resume in the Middle East. So yes, we are discussing settlements and other issues with Israel. And we would also take note of some positive developments that Israel has taken in recent weeks with regard to security and cooperation with Palestinian security authorities in the West Bank.
We are also calling on the Palestinians. They have responsibilities both to continue to work on security, to take steps to reduce incitement, obviously, to create conditions on the West Bank that will allow normal life to expand. And we’ve also called upon Arab states to take steps that lead to more normalized relationships between those states and Israel. In that respect, obviously, the op-ed in today’s Washington Post, by Shaikh Salman, was a very, very welcome step, and talks about the kinds of steps that states have to take now. And continued support for the Arab Peace Initiative, for example. These are important gestures.
Last month you had a similar statement by President Mubarak of Egypt calling on the region to seize the moment now. And that’s our message. But from the United States’ standpoint, we’re willing to do whatever we can to create conditions that allow a peace process to move forward. And then once you get into a formal negotiation, we can begin to address the various issues that continue to exist – they’re all well known – and – but we want to make sure that we get to a point where formal negotiation can resume.
Hi, Ai Awaji of Jiji Japanese newswire. Thanks for doing this. MR. CROWLEY:
You’re welcome. QUESTION:
And on North Korea, the U.S. has been saying that North Koreans know what they have to do, they have to come back to the talks, and the ball is in their court. But they haven’t responded. MR. CROWLEY:
Those are true. QUESTION:
But they haven’t responded to the call. And now their number-two leader said that the Six-Party Talks ended for good. So now that they made it clear that they have no intention to come back to the talks, isn’t it time to change its approach toward North Korea? Is that kind of (inaudible) review is going on inside the U.S. Government, or do you still stick to the same position and wait for them to come back to the talks? MR. CROWLEY:
Well, the fact is we are taking significant steps together with our other partners on this issue. Clearly, we are aggressively implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1874. Yesterday, for example, the UN announced the results of a sanctions review and placing further sanctions and limitations on both entities and individuals that are tied to North Korea’s nuclear program, so we are not waiting for North Korea. We’re doing aggressively things to help them understand that their provocative actions, their unwillingness to fulfill their obligations in their – in the 2005 agreement to take affirmative steps to denuclearize the peninsula. We’re not waiting for that. We are aggressively doing things that both – where they pay a price for this recalcitrance, but also we try to take steps to ensure that they are less able to proliferate technology and weapons elsewhere in the world. So we have what I would call a new approach. But clearly, we would like to see North Korea return to a process and to begin to take irreversible steps towards denuclearization of the peninsula. That is our goal. That is a shared goal – whether it’s China, Russia, South Korea, Japan – and we are making that clear to North Korea every single day. QUESTION:
And what’s your current position on direct – I’m sorry. What’s your –MR. CROWLEY:
Our current position simply is –QUESTION:
Yeah, on – I mean, engagement – in terms of engagement, direct engagement with North Koreans. MR. CROWLEY:
Well, clearly, again, we have supported the Six-Party process. We think that’s the – that’s a useful mechanism. However, North Korea has indicated that it right now is not prepared to come back to that, but the door to negotiation is open. However, if North Korea wants to come back through that door, it will have to do so by taking very specific steps. You know, we’re not – as I think a senior Administration official said at the briefing earlier this week, we’re not focused on halfway measures. We have a bottom line here, and that is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. If North Korea wants to return to that process and start moving in the direction that it indicated it was prepared to do in 2005, we’ll be supportive of that. Until that time, we are aggressively implementing the provisions of 1874, and we are continuing to do things that we believe will have an impact on North Korea.
Wait for the microphone, please. QUESTION:
Mina Al Oraibi of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. I want to ask you about Prime Minister Maliki’s visit next week. I know there’s been a lot of talk about the importance of the strategic framework agreement, but could you go into some detail? Are we expecting any sorts of announcements of new agreements with the Iraqis? And also, the significance of this visit, since it’s the first with the new Administration. Thank you. MR. CROWLEY:
I’m not aware that there’ll be any new agreements. I don’t rule that out. Obviously, the Secretary had a meeting with her Iraqi counterpart yesterday to prepare for the visit by Prime Minister Maliki next week.
I think right now, we are, in fact, focused on full implementation of the agreements that the United States has made with Iraq in recent months, both to implement the SOFA and also move towards that strategic framework agreement where we can shift the basis of the United States-Iraqi relationship towards more political stability, economic growth, culture exchanges, and so forth.
So I think it’s important for the leaders to take stock of where we are in that implementation. And as we go along, obviously, there’ll be opportunities for fuller and deeper cooperation, both in terms of helping to stabilize Iraq itself, but also finding ways to more fully integrate Iraq into the rest of the region as we go forward.MR. DUGUID:
I think we have another question from New York. Sir. QUESTION:
Yes, sir, I want to get back to Secretary Clinton’s declaration of U.S. engagement with the rest of the world. The African Union has some disagreements with the United States with regards to Zimbabwe and the Sudan. Specifically, the African Union called on the United States to lift sanctions that have been imposed on Zimbabwe to enable the new, inclusive government to work, and also called on the U.S. to back off from the support of the ICC’s indictment of the president of the Sudan to get the system moving forward again.
On both of those issues, the United States did not respond favorably to it. Is this an indication of the manner in which the United States will engage and relate to the African Union, or is this an aberration? And what areas of cooperation do you see the U.S. will work with the African Union? And that’s one.
And two, during President Obama’s address to Ghana’s parliament last week, he condemned and criticized, admonished, African leaders for supporting African dictators. And he referred to many African leaders who attended the funeral of President Omar Bongo of Gabon, but he also failed to mention that the president of France, Sarkozy, and all of his predecessors also attended President Bongo’s funeral. Will the U.S. be taking a position in terms of being consistent in condemning African leaders who coddle African dictators, and also European leaders who coddle African dictators?MR. CROWLEY:
Let me perhaps answer by lifting this above just Africa. This is – I think you’re going to see a consistent approach out of the Obama Administration and the Clinton State Department. We talk every – all the time about governments and their both rights and responsibilities. We talk about it in terms of countries in Africa; we talk about it in terms of countries in the Middle East and in Asia and Europe, as well. And going forward in the 21st
century, how will countries advance? The character of their governments does matter. And are governments working on behalf of their people? Are they opening up doors to let information in, or are they restricting the flow of information because they don’t trust their people?
The Secretary is about to land in India, which is a fascinating country. India is fully engaged in the world. India is harnessing the capabilities of all of its people. India’s diversity works to its ultimate advantage. It is stepping up and showing that it is willing to engage widely around the world and take its rightful place in trying to solve the problems that the entire world represents. The capacity of government to do that matters. The nature of governments to do that matters. If leaders are governing to enrich themselves, if leaders are governing to divide their societies, they will ultimately be less successful than governments that are working on behalf of their people, governments that are working to empower their people.
Now, the President went to Ghana because Ghana is an important example of the kinds of governments that we hope will spread to other parts of the continent. I think Zimbabwe is a model of government that we would like to see Africa move from this model to one that is more constructively engaged in the region, in working more affirmatively on behalf of all of its people.
We will continue to engage governments like Zimbabwe. We will continue to see how we can help them advance in the future. But the government itself has important responsibilities to take, and time and time again, it is our view that President Mugabe has made the wrong choices.
Maria Tabak, Russian News Agency RIA Novosti. You mentioned that there are a few bilateral meetings planned for Secretary Clinton in Thailand. Does she plan to meet bilaterally with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov? And if so, what do they plan to discuss?MR. CROWLEY:
I think that’s probably – that’s possible, particularly since they did not have the chance to meet either in Trieste or in Moscow. But I can’t predict. I mean, I know she will have a wide range of meetings. It wouldn’t surprise me if the two of them get together; they do so very frequently.
Thank you. Alexandra Omur from the Financial Times. What do you expect from tomorrow’s negotiations between the two parties in Honduras, and how are you viewing President Zelaya’s ultimatum threat?MR. CROWLEY:
Well, obviously, you’re quite right. We are very supportive, as we’ve indicated many times. In fact, Secretary Clinton, when she met with her counterparts from Canada and Mexico, reaffirmed our support for the negotiation of President Arias. They will meet tomorrow with representatives from the Zelaya government and the de facto regime in Honduras, and we again call upon both parties to find a way to reach a peaceful and negotiated solution. And we hope that countries and individuals refrain from any actions that could lead to violence.QUESTION:
(Inaudible) Costa Rica? I’ve been -- (Inaudible.)MR. CROWLEY:
I mean – you need Costa Rica, but obviously, involving the Zelaya government and the de facto regime in Honduras.
In the back.QUESTION:
You said the door to negotiation is open for North Korea. Does that mean if and when North Korea is ready, they just need to say, okay, we’re coming back, or there should be some specific measures they should take before they come back to table?
Second question: The U.S. aggressive approach, how does it fit its efforts to get the two American journalists – get released? Thank you. MR. CROWLEY:
Well, on your second point first, we do not believe that the two issues are connected. Secretary Clinton has called for North Korea to release the journalists. There has been, obviously, a legal process. And we believe that that it is important now to release the journalists on the basis of an amnesty, and we again call for North Korea to do that.
In terms of coming back to a negotiation, we believe that, obviously, there needs to be a process through which North Korea can take irreversible steps towards denuclearization. And clearly, when they indicate that they may or may not in the future be willing to come back to a process, they have to indicate that they are prepared to take the steps that were outlined in the 2005 agreement. I don’t think they are mutually exclusive. Obviously, we would like to see North Korea both stop the kind of provocative actions that they’ve done recently that does create tension and potentially instability in the region. And then more significantly, we want to see that they are willing to abide by the agreement that they reached in 2005 and take these important steps towards a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.
Yes, sir.MR. DUGUID:
The microphone is arriving.QUESTION:
Sorry. Arun Kumar, INS. Secretary Clinton mentioned there are six pillars to U.S. policy towards India. Could you tell us which one --MR. CROWLEY:
This is a quiz?QUESTION:
No, no. (Laughter.) I’m not – which one – which one would you consider to be the most important, especially if you could elaborate on the global role that she sees for India? My second question relates to the end user verification agreement which is about to be signed – is likely to be signed, so what would be the implications of the agreement for both U.S. and India?MR. CROWLEY:
Well, obviously, on your latter question, we are working with India on an end use agreement. I don’t want to prematurely announce any news from here. Clearly, as the Secretary arrives in India for important meetings with her counterpart and Prime Minister Singh, I’ll allow the officials in India to indicate that we have reached an agreement.
But clearly, this is part of the fulfillment of an important initiative that India and the United States have signed in the area of nuclear cooperation. Obviously, it’s going to take some time to implement that agreement. I’m sure that this will be substantial area of discussion and the various leaders will reflect on the progress that is made in terms of both fulfilling the initiative and its various components.
India is a global power. And I think, as the Secretary reflected earlier this week and will certainly do so when she is in India, there is an opportunity to expand the areas of cooperation. One of the areas that I know will be discussed in detail is the area of climate change. Clearly, from a U.S. standpoint, we recognize that finding a global solution to climate change will have to involve significant action by the United States and other developed countries, and also significant participation by developing countries, whether it’s India on the one hand, or China on the other. So obviously, we are very conscious of the calendar and the fact that we are moving steadily toward Copenhagen and we want to make sure that we are doing everything possible so that we arrive at a meaningful negotiation and agreement later this year.
Clearly, from the standpoint of India, energy is vitally important. How are – and the two are obviously linked in the sense that how countries develop in the future and the energy consumption – access to energy on the one hand and consumption on the other hand. We see a tremendous opportunity to – for the development of clear sources of energy. And that can be an important stimulus in terms of – and a catalyst for research development, job creation, and so forth. I think that same opportunity exists for India, as well.
We want to see India continue to increase its role in terms of regional stability, regional security, economic development in the region. We saw recently, for example, that India has played a very constructive role in helping the United States and others in terms of conflict resolution. As I mentioned earlier, the meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh and the statement between the Indian leader and the Pakistani leader in terms of cooperation on terrorism; vitally important to stability in the region.
So – and I’m sure I’m leaving something out in terms of the types of things that the leaders will discuss while the Secretary is in India this week. But it is – we happen to believe that the world’s largest democracy and the world’s oldest democracy have – share a great deal in common and can only expand, deepen, their relationship going forward. That will have significance in terms of our bilateral relationship and also significance in terms of being able to address regional challenges, global challenges. And we’re very pleased to see India begin to step up and take a more significant role and addressing those challenges.MR. DUGUID:
Assistant Secretary, I think we have time for two more questions.MR. CROWLEY:
Okay. We’ll take these two and wrap up. Go ahead.QUESTION:
Thanks. Will there be any announcement on the two sites for – reserved for U.S. entities in India? Do you foresee any announcement on that --MR. CROWLEY:
-- while the Secretary’s in India?MR. CROWLEY:
On the sites reserved for nuclear – or for U.S. entities in India?MR. CROWLEY:
Let’s see, I’ll – whatever news we’re going to make in India, I’ll leave to the Secretary there.
Also back on Honduras, President Arias of Costa Rica said that the two sides have reached an agreement possibly on a unity government, I guess. What are the chances that will actually happen and what would that government look like? And what is your response to the possibility of President Zelaya returning to Honduras with the help of Venezuela?MR. CROWLEY:
Well, we certainly think that all countries in the region should play a constructive role and that no country in the region should encourage any action that would potentially increase the risk of violence either in Honduras or in surrounding countries. That’s why we support the Arias mediation. That’s why we support, ultimately, a peaceful, negotiated solution.
So this is not – again, not something that the United States is going to impose. We ultimately want to see a restoration of democratic and constitutional order in Honduras. This is something that’s important, so whatever government emerges from this should be democratic, should be constitutional, and should be seen as legitimate in the eyes of the Honduran people.
But we – and this is an important opportunity for the region. This is why the United States fought so hard in the recent OAS meeting regarding Cuba and its possible return to the OAS, why we thought it was very important to reaffirm the democratic principles laid out in the Inter-American Democratic Charter. And now what you’re seeing in Honduras is a real-life manifestation of those principles, that any attempt to change government by extra-constitutional means, in our view, is wrong.
And so ultimately, this is something where the parties have to get together, negotiate, find a solution, and help Honduras get to elections later in the year, and where it can once again establish a stable government that represents the interests of all of the citizens of Honduras.QUESTION:
Thank you very much.MR. DUGUID:
Assistant Secretary, on behalf of the Foreign Press Centers in Washington and New York and our colleagues in both audiences, we thank you and look forward to your next visit.
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