World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Interview With Michele Kelemen of NPR

Interview With Michele Kelemen of NPR

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Brussels, Belgium
December 4, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: There was a great deal of commitment expressed, of understanding and solidarity. And the numbers of troops that are being announced is heartening. We heard this morning from – off the top of my head – the Italians, the Poles, the Slovaks. I mean, we had a very good time listening to what was coming forth. And between absolutely brand-new commitments, and a willingness and resolve to leave troops that were going to come out after the election, we are over 5,000. The exact numbers will be totaled up going forward.

QUESTION: But the big countries – Germany, France – have said that they’re going to wait until January Are you worried at all that there’s some hesitation?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the United Kingdom has come forward with more troops; that makes them the second largest contributor. Both France and Germany wanted very much to have this conference in London at the end of January. And my impression is that we will hear more from them as we move toward the conference.

QUESTION: A lot of European countries talk about sending trainers to Afghanistan, and I wonder – you told us on the airplane that there’s not much of a distinction these days between combat forces and trainers. And I wonder if that’s been a hard sell here at NATO.

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, Michele. There is a distinction, but it’s not as clear-cut a one as people sometimes imagine, because there are different phases of training the end of the training is actually taking place in combat, because we can’t just send over people to teach them how to load their guns and then send the Afghan soldiers out into the field. And General McChrystal’s view is that we need people living, working, literally breathing together off the battlefield, on the battlefield, before we can say with confidence that an Afghan security force unit is ready to go on its own.

QUESTION: And that makes a difference for the U.S. schedule for withdrawing?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it does. But it also makes a difference in the need for more combat troops as well as more trainers, and we’re getting both.

QUESTION: The State Department’s also – I don’t know if we want to call it a civilian surge, but planning to send in more civilians, agricultural experts and others. Are you hearing from NATO countries? Are they pitching in more on that front? And is there a real strategy, a development strategy?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, there is. People are coming forward with new contributions, and some of it is very direct, like more money into the Afghan national security force trust fund, and we’ll use that to train the security forces, but others are saying they want to do more on public administration, on agriculture, education. I just want to be sure that we are all part of an international plan. We now have an international military plan under General McChrystal. I’m working to get an international civilian plan, and that’s one of my highest priorities.

QUESTION: I want to ask you on another topic – maybe not one that you’re dealing with today, or maybe perhaps you are – and that is Iran, because President Obama has said that by the end of the year, we should know where we are in this diplomatic effort. So we’re almost at the end of the year. We don’t seem to be in a very good position on this. Are sanctions ready to go? With likeminded nations, or do you also get China and Russia on board for --

SECRETARY CLINTON: The world has to now begin to pressure Iran. And I think we’ll be making that case in the next weeks. We always knew this would be very difficult. Remember, the prior administration didn’t believe in arms control treaties – (laughter) – and so we are pretty much starting from scratch, and these are highly complex technical negotiations.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Covid: 250 Groups Urge WTO Chief To Ditch Pharma-Friendly Approach And Embrace Vaccine Patent Waiver

by Jake Johnson, staff writer An international coalition of 250 civil society groups on Tuesday urged the head of the World Trade Organization to embrace a temporary suspension of coronavirus vaccine-related patents, warning against pursuit of a voluntary ... More>>

Samoa’s Stunning Election Result: On The Verge Of A New Ruling Party For The First Time In 40 Years

Tamasailau Suaalii Sauni , University of Auckland and Patricia A. O'Brien , Georgetown University Samoan politics is on a knife edge. After the country voted in general elections on April 9, counting so far has resulted in a dead heat between the two ... More>>

Timor-Leste: UN Agencies Support Response In Wake Of Deadly Floods

United Nations agencies in Timor-Leste are supporting response efforts, as floods and landslides left widespread damage across the country, including in the capital, Dili. According to media reports, at least 21 people died in the country and many ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

C40: UN Secretary-General's Remarks To Meeting With Leading Mayors Supported By Cities

UN Secretary-General's remarks to Meeting with Leading Mayors Supported by C40 Cities: “Advancing a Carbon-Neutral, Resilient Recovery for Cities and Nations” 16 April 2021 Thank you for joining me today, and for your commitment and leadership. Cities ... More>>

Awake At Night: S3-Episode 21: There Is Hope

Brazzaville visit to CSI Pilote du Diabete with Health workers at a local government clinic. 2018 - Photo: ©CSI/Dr. Soumya Swaminathan 'When it comes to a pandemic, it really needs global collaboration and solidarity because the pathogens and viruses More>>

UN: Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic

Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle inequalities exacerbated by pandemic With many economies reeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to unlock concrete investments ... More>>