Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Today's Important Meetings; Spain may help close Guantanamo

Some important Hillary news to catch up on: It's old news here, but yes, the next Trip on the Secretary's agenda is Israel. And she will be bringing more than just good ol' U.S. Diplomacy, she'll be packing $900 mil to help rebuild Gaza and strengthen the Palestinian Authority.

Her main goal is to breathe new life into peacekeeping efforts between Israelis and Palestinians. This whole idea of handing over $900 million dollars to another war torn country while we are strapped for cash has not gone over well with... well anyone really. There's been much criticism about the money falling into the hands of Hamas. That topic is u for debate...

Part of the goal of this funding is to boost the Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas, which controls the occupied West Bank. The U.S. wants to see Abbas play a central role in the reconstruction effort in Gaza and, in effect, increase its influence in the Hamas stronghold. Washington is also putting pressure on other donors to bolster Abbas.

In other news... Monday, Secretary Clinton appointed Dennis B. Ross, who in 1995 brokered an agreement between Israel and Palestinian Authority, as her special adviser for the gulf and Southwest Asia. Ross served under two US Presidents: George H W Bush and Bill Clinton. He is known for shaping the Middle East policies under the two administrations. As Special Adviser to Hillary, Ross will provide her and State Department officials strategic advice and perspective on the region; offer assessments and also act to ensure effective policy integration throughout the region; but its been made clear he is not an "envoy" and won't be involved in any negotiating. Ross will coordinate with senior officials in the development and formulation of new policy approaches; and participate in inter-agency activities related to the region.

So, on to today's affairs, which are still unfolding. Down at the State Department there were a lot of meetings going on, with very very brief remarks.

The first meeting, may of very well been the most important. Read about the interesting relationship with Spain here. Watch the Secretary and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos before their meeting here.

The results of this meeting are quite heavy. After their meeting, Moratinos said he had promised Secretary Clinton that Spain would make contact immediately to study possible Guantanamo Bay prisoner transfers on a case-by-case basis. He spoke to the Spanish media saying: "She asked me for help with the solution of this unacceptable tragedy which is the prisoners at Guantanamo. I told her that Spain is in principle open to co-operating in receiving some prisoners, as long as the legal conditions are acceptable."

That is really huge! We have about 250 prisoners at Guantanamo and have released or transferred to other governments about 520 other men and teenagers previously held there. Obama called for the closure of Guantanamo within one year. Looks like Hillary is the FIRST to really make a bold statement and take action on this.

Just as an aside, Hillary got a lot of criticism from Human Rights groups and activists when she didn't make human rights the top priory in China. But really, how could she of gone into a country like China and reprimanded them for holding prisoners when we have an entire prison full of possibly innocent people that we don't know what to do with. I fully applaud her to have the courage, strength and grace to go abroad with a clear agenda and not back down or tip-toe around any touchy issues. Then to come home and start the process and start really making some changes. Even just reaching out hand to another country and talking and getting ideas about how to approach Guantanamo Bay show she is ready to renew the moral standing of the U.S. We no longer will force other countries to do what we, ourselves, have not done or are not willing to do. To me, that's good foreign policy.

Then the Secretary was to head to the White House to preside at the official meeting of President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso. Which, by the way, Hillary arranged while in Tokyo! She spoke with National Security Adviser James Jones in the Oval Office, although I haven't heard any other details about what went on during the meeting. Then it was back to the State Department for more meetings. Watch the photo opp with Secretary Clinton and Timor-Leste President Jose Ramos-Horta here. View the clip of Secretary Clinton and Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon in the Treaty Room at the State Department here. Watch the brief meeting and remarks of the Secretary and Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi after their meeting here. Right now, I am awaiting a Speech from President Obama where I'll be keeping my eyes out for that bright pink Pantsuit!


Nancy in Cali said...

she is sooooo damn cute!!!

Sarah said...

the first pic of her smiling is my absolute FAV

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