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German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle

Remarks With German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State Ministry of Foreign Affairs Berlin, Germany November 9, 2009

FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: (Via interpreter) Madame Secretary, ladies and gentlemen, I extend a very warm, warm welcome to all of you here, and a very warm welcome goes out to the Secretary of State of the United States of America. Dear Hillary Clinton, once again, I’d like to use this opportunity to extend a very warm welcome to you. It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you, the Secretary of State of the United States of America, and the members of her delegation to Berlin.

Today, on a day that is of historic importance, we thank you for your visit (inaudible) very much of the importance of the contribution of the United States of America and the American people to the freedom of the country I represent. Since the foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany, the United States of America has, in a hands-on manner, stood up for our freedom and for our security. This is why the Germans are deeply grateful to the United States of America and its people. Allow me, dear Hillary, to use this opportunity to once again express the gratitude of the Federal Republic of Germany and of its people here in Germany, and speaking on behalf of my people, thank you, and you represent your country, the United States of America.

It’s our third (inaudible). Last week, I paid my first introductory visit to the United States of America, to the American Government when I came to Washington. Yesterday, we both enjoyed a dinner at the Atlantic Council and we enjoyed the honor of receiving the Freedom Award from the Atlantic Council. That was a deeply moving moment, a very touching moment.

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Today, we focused on a number of political issues and discussed them in detail. We exchanged views on climate policy issues. Both the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Germany want to ensure that Copenhagen becomes a success. We would want to see an improvement in the field of climate protection. What we want to achieve is concrete results at Copenhagen so as to better protect our climate, and we’re (inaudible) to believe that if we do so, we stand a chance to achieve good results. Europe and the United States of America have to closely coordinate their policies and have to act together using their strengths and their force to (inaudible) outcome.

We talked in detail about security issues, development of (inaudible), and of course, we also touched on Afghanistan. Afghanistan, we’re really focused (inaudible) the exchanges we had last week. Here again, there is agreement on (inaudible) necessary to make the Afghan Government, to make President Karzai realize that good governance has to become (inaudible). We want to see improvement here. We want the Afghan Government to be a government for the people as a (inaudible) who are (inaudible) to make our contribution towards reaching this objective.

We want to ensure that a good and peaceful development can occur within Afghanistan; and in return, we expect of the Afghan Government that it makes its own contribution towards this objective and that it becomes a government of the people as a whole and that it adheres to the (inaudible) that underlie good governance. Last week already, we talked in detail about this issue.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear Hillary, once again (inaudible) welcome to you. I had indeed very interesting exchanges with you. They were more than interesting, though. Some were characterized by the inclusive atmosphere, and I want to thank you for that. Personally, I’d like to thank you for that. It’s not (inaudible) something which (inaudible) ultimately (inaudible). Having come to (inaudible) a brief time ago, we can only expect to receive such a friendly welcome and to develop such close contact. I’m looking forward to close cooperation with you, and I’m confident that American-German friendship will continue to deepen and to be developed further. When we talk about Germany and the United States of America, we’re talking about more than a friendship and partnership. It’s a deep and heartfelt friendship between those peoples and countries.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. I can only echo exactly what the foreign minister had said. We have had three very productive and personally rewarding meetings over the last week. I particularly appreciate the words that I heard from Guido last night about his own personal experience as a young boy of 13, when his father took him to see the wall, and how emotionally that affected him and I’m sure influenced his values in politics and his personal commitment. It was a remarkable story and one that I will long remember.

We had constructive and productive discussions starting in Washington last week, continuing here in Berlin. The United States is eager to work with the new German Government on a full range of shared challenges. We face complex threats that cannot be stopped by borders or oceans. Global recession, violent extremism, nuclear proliferation, climate change, hunger, and disease are only some that are the transnational threats of our time. And only by working together in close partnership can we meet these challenges. So I want to recognize Germany’s leadership and applaud Germany’s work for peace and prosperity in Europe, in NATO, and around the world.

Germany and the United States are working together to rebuild the global economy, to forge a strong international agreement to combat climate change and chart a clean energy future. Chancellor Merkel made a very important speech to the Congress last week, and called the test of climate change one of the greatest that humanity has faced.

In Afghanistan, German soldiers are working to bring stability to a troubled land and hope to people who have known too much violence for too long. We honor their service and their sacrifice. And we recognize the commitment that it takes, not just from the men and women in uniform, but from their families and indeed the entire German nation.

We also appreciate Germany’s generous support for the Pakistani people who are working to turn back violent extremism and try to ensure a more democratic, prosperous future for themselves and their children.

And we are grateful for Germany’s leadership and partnership in our efforts to ensure that Iran lives up to its international obligation, that it complies fully with UN Security Council resolutions and IAEA directives on its nuclear program. In her moving address before Congress, Chancellor Merkel urged us to come together as partners to tear down the walls of today. As one of the millions of Germans who grew up in East Germany, she knows what it is like to yearn for freedom long denied. And she knows that there are no walls that cannot be torn down when people stand up and work together.

So here in Berlin on this important anniversary, I am more confident than ever that we are up to the challenges we face. I had an opportunity to discuss these challenges at breakfast with the chancellor, at lunch with the foreign minister – I am certainly well informed and well fed – and to underscore that we are united by core values of democracy, tolerance, respect for human dignity. These are the principles on which Germany and the United States stand today. In fact, they’re enshrined in Germany’s basic law.

But equally importantly, they are in the hearts of the brave men and women who took control of their destinies 20 years ago and gave the world a new birth and burst of freedom, and they exist in the hearts of men and women around the world today. We are very grateful that this partnership is one of our strongest and most important. I am personally looking forward to working with the foreign minister and this new government, because even though we meet today to honor the past, our eyes are squarely on the future, our minds are focused on the challenges we face, and our hearts are beating faster at the possibility that we will be able to meet the challenges of today, as those who came before us met theirs.

So thank you so much for your commitment to freedom and democracy and the values that we think belong to all people, and which are exemplified by our two nations today.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) I’m (inaudible) from the (inaudible). I have a question for both of you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: See, the foreign minister and I talked in English, so I have to stick these in my ears.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: You can tell this – them, but they won’t believe it. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: I am a witness. (Laughter)

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Madame Secretary, you stressed in your speech that we must continue fighting for freedom (inaudible). Could you be somewhat more concrete as far as the role of NATO is concerned and your expectations regarding Germany?

And Mr. Foreign Minister, could you mention for us what you perhaps have offered on behalf of the federal government and Afghanistan above and beyond what has already been provided? And another question regarding Ms. Steinbach. Do you reject her chairmanship of the foundation?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say that we have consulted continually with our German partners and our allies in NATO. There was an important defense ministers meeting in Bratislava about 10 days, two weeks ago. As you know, Chancellor Merkel met with President Obama on her trip last week. The foreign minister and I have been discussing the way forward. And I think as the foreign minister rightly said, any commitment by the governments and the people of the United States, Germany, and others who have joined with us through both NATO and the international forces has to be met by an even greater commitment on behalf of the new government of President Karzai to deliver services for the people of Afghanistan, to begin the effort to root out corruption, to have more accountability and transparency in the way that the government operates.

We are very clear that we will be expecting more from the Government of Afghanistan. And it is certainly a mutual commitment that the foreign minister and I feel on behalf of our two countries. The United States would not be in Afghanistan, the President would not be engaging in such a thoughtful, deliberative process if we did not believe that conditions in Afghanistan directly impact and threaten the security of the American people and our friends and allies like Germany.

We are not in Afghanistan because it’s a good thing to do or because it’s a nice way to show our concern for people around the world, and particularly to try to help with the development of the people of Afghanistan. Those are important and worthy objectives. We are there because we view the syndicate of terrorism directed and led, funded, and inspired by al-Qaida to be a direct security threat to our values, our way of life, and to our interests and our friends and allies.

So any decision that President Obama makes is premised on that fundamental security assessment. And I believe that the German Government and this new government in particular is conducting its own analysis, and we will be continuing to consult. The President will be reaching out to the chancellor and we will be talking as well. But we are going to present to the Government of Afghanistan and President Karzai a clear set of expectations and of accountability measures, so there can be no doubt as to what we expect from this relationship.

FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: (Via interpreter) And I’d like to provide a brief answer to your question. Currently, we are conducting strategic discussions, strategic debate, and from our perspective, it’s also important that we also follow procedure in this discussion/debate First of all, it sets targets, objectives, and then discuss the strategy. And then after that, additional questions will be answered, particularly regarding implementation.

And I am pleased to be able to state that our contributions and achievements regarding the training of the police forces and the schools is something that’s kindly appreciated by our American partners and others. And Germany can indeed provide an important contribution in this area. And we do want to make sure that Afghanistan is self-sufficient regarding security. And if we want this, then we have to make sure that Afghanistan has its own security infrastructure, that that system is there, and we want to help build it. This is an important contribution that we can (inaudible) discuss this as well. And this is also fully in line with my personal statements and the policies of the new government.

Now as far as the foundation is concerned, I would like to provide another – only a very brief answer regarding – because the Secretary is here. This foundation is called reconciliation for displaced individuals. It has to do with reconciliation, and for this reason, the federal government’s decision will be fully in line with this goal of reconciliation.

QUESTION: Sorry about that.

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) This is Matt Lee from the Associated Press. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Mr. Minister, first of all, congratulations on your --


QUESTION: Very nice to meet you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think he was caught somewhat unawares so –

FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: We interrupted you. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: My apologies. First of all, congratulations on your day, Mr. Minister. I want to break with – I was going to try to break with tradition and ask only one question, but ask you –ask it of both of you. But something has just happened which – in Iran, which is that the reports that the three American hikers have been – who were detained have been charged now with espionage, and I’m wondering if I could get your comment on that, Madame Secretary.

And then, for both of you, what was going to be my only question is on Iran as well, and that is that for weeks the Iranians have been stalling, have not been answering – have not been giving an answer to your – to the offer that was proposed in early October. And I want to know when can they reasonably conclude that your warnings of sanctions, if they don’t agree, is just an idle threat? Because there are obviously some who believe that it is just an idle threat. When does that time come? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Matt. With respect to the three American hikers who were detained by the Iranians when they were hiking in northern Iraq, we believe strongly that there is no evidence to support any charge whatsoever. And we would renew our request on behalf of these three young people and their families that the Iranian Government exercise compassion and release them so they can return home, and we will continue to make that case through our Swiss protecting power who represents the United States in Tehran.

Secondly, the question of Iran’s response to the proposal by the P-5+1 regarding the exporting out of their low-enriched uranium for reprocessing and then return to the Tehran research reactor has not yet been formally replied to by the Iranians. We believe that this offer represents an important opportunity for Iran both to meet the medical and humanitarian needs that the Tehran research reactor fulfills and to begin to restore international confidence in their nuclear program. We are at very close consultation with our P-5+1 colleagues on next steps; we very much appreciate the active involvement of our German partners. And because we don’t yet have a formal reply from the Iranians, it would be premature to go to any next steps if Iran decides ultimately to reject this offer.

So what we intend to do is press, both through P-5+1 and through the IAEA, to convince Iran to accept this opportunity. But as you know, during the United Nations General Assembly, there was an important meeting in New York where each of the countries in the P-5+1, which include China and Russia, obviously the United States and Germany, France and the UK and the European Union was represented. We all signed a statement that set forth the understanding that what we were pursuing was a dual-track strategy – one track aimed at engagement and diplomacy and efforts like the one represented with the offer on the Tehran research reactor, but the second track very clearly intended to show the Iranians that there were consequences if they failed to fulfill their obligations and if they continued to ignore the opportunity to work with the international community.

So although it is premature to speculate at this point, I think the Iranians are well aware that this is a two-track process, and we continue to urge them to work with us on the first track of diplomacy and engagement.

FOREIGN MINISTER WESTERWELLE: (Via interpreter) First of all, with the – even if the question was not addressed to me, I would like to stress the solidarity of Germany with the three young individuals and their families. This is, of course, a very difficult situation, and those individuals who are impacted by this should know that we are looking to them and that we are at their sides.

And I would also like to make a brief statement regarding your question on Iran. We want dialogue and we want a diplomatic solution. We also we know that dialogue and partnership and talks are what are most important with Iran. But Iran must also know that our patience in the international community is not unlimited. The federal chancellor made a very clear statement in her speech in Washington and we (inaudible) nothing from this.


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