Thursday, February 26, 2009

Support for Kosovo, envoy to North Korea and an unprecedented trilateral talk

Secretary Clinton reaffirmed the U.S.'s full support to the people of the Republic of Kosovo and its democratic development as an independent and sovereign state during a joint press conference this morning after the meeting with Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu and Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi. Watch their remarks here.

The event here underlined the continuity of U.S. support for Kosovo through three administrations. President Bill Clinton backed the NATO air campaign that drove Serb forces out of Kosovo in 1999 and the Bush administration helped lead the political process that led to the independence declaration of Kosovo. And today, the Obama administration is committing to helping the fledgling Balkan state gain further international aid and recognition.

Flanked by Fatmir Sejdiu and Hashim Thaci Hillary said this:

"The continual support for Kosovo has been through 3 different administrations, beginning from President Clinton, then Bush, and now President Obama. We, the United States stand by Kosovo and will continue to work for it. It has been recognized by 55 countries and we pledge to support Kosovo to gain more recognition. I admire the fact how President Sejdiu and Prime Minister Thaçi, have worked for the Kosovo's territorial integrity, and how they have deal with their neighbors, particularly their northern neighbor, Serbia. Also the people of Kosovo and its leadership have shown maturity and diligence, which we admire."
Today during a press announcement with Special Representative for North Korea Policy Ambassador Stephen Bosworth, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Bosworth will begin his first trip to North Korea early next week. Bosworth believes the leadership in Pyongyang wants continued dialogue. Watch their remarks here. He stated:
"I found the North Koreans, I thought, quite inclined toward continued dialogue with the United States and a continued commitment with the people of the region in the six-party process. Now obviously I was not there speaking for the United States, was not there as an official representative, but in my judgment they see the benefits to them of engagement with the outside world and are prepared to move ahead."
Bosworth will visit Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing and Moscow and he plans to directly engage North Korea in his new capacity but it is not confirmed if he will meet with North Korean officials.

Clinton had this to say:

"Ambassador Bosworth, as some of you who have been around here know, is an experienced diplomat and will lead our efforts to address the full range of concerns with respect to North Korea, including its nuclear ambitions and its proliferation of sensitive weapons technology as well as its human rights and humanitarian problems... He will work closely with our allies and partners to convince North Korea to become a constructive part of the international community."
Clinton said Bosworth will serve as the senior emissary for engagement with North Korea while State Department diplomat Sung Kim will be the head of the U.S. delegation to the six-party talks.

She also praised Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs Christopher Hill, and said he will be moving on to what she termed "another challenging assignment." It is Rumored that he is in line to become the next U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. The Secretary then had a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,Rangin Dadfar Spanta. She told the press that she wanted to thank Minister Spanta and the delegation from Afghanistan for a series of excellent meetings they have been having with our government and with the Pakistani delegation over the past three days. Watch their remarks here. She then announced a trilateral meeting between she was to host with the delegations from Afghanistan and Pakistan. The meeting was with Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar and Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

The unprecedented trilateral talks were part of a U.S. effort to encourage cooperation between the neighboring governments over terrorist inroads in both countries. They came as the Obama administration is conducting a strategic review of the foundering Afghan war effort and of its policies toward Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"Our basic purpose was to exchange views on the strategic issues now being reviewed in our policy review by the Obama administration," Clinton said. "That goal has been amply fulfilled." Afterward she sad the meeting was "especially meaningful" because "we have all been working together," she said, adding that the governments will come together again in late April or early May.

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