Remarks to the Press

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
October 19, 2009


SECRETARY CLINTON: Okay. Jill, because you had asked a question this morning.


QUESTION: Madame Secretary, thank you. Following up on this morning, the latest indications are that Karzai has gotten 48 percent of the vote, so according to the constitution, that means a runoff. You’ve been speaking with him. In fact, it would be interesting to find out whether you spoke with him today. But is he committed to a runoff? If not, what does that do to the legitimacy of that – of the vote, the election? And what about the prospects for a coalition government?


SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jill, you’re right; I have spent a lot of time on the phone over the last several days, since last week, and again today, talking with a number of the people directly involved, including President Karzai and Dr. Abdullah. The ECC, the Elections Complaint Commission, has made its findings known, and we’re looking to hear from President Karzai tomorrow, Kabul time. But we have continued to urge that everyone follow the constitution and the legal process, which is important for the people of Afghanistan and their leaders to exemplify a commitment to the orderly running of elections going forward.


I am very hopeful that we will see a resolution in line with the constitutional order in the next several days, but I don’t want to preempt in any way President Karzai’s statement which will sort of set the stage for how we go forward in the next stage of this.


QUESTION: Madame Secretary, will you wait to unveil the new Administration policy on Afghanistan – will you wait until the election results are final and you have a credible government to work with?


SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that really this is one of the factors that has to be taken into account. And I know that the President and all of us working with him are very conscious of the importance of determining the way forward with the elected leadership in Afghanistan. But I’m not going to in any way prejudge what the President decides to do or put any restraints on his actions. But obviously, this is a major part of our strategic review as to getting the election behind us, getting a new government that can represent the partnership we’re seeking as we move forward.


QUESTION: Is it practically possible to get a second run done before winter?


SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, it is. We have every assurance from General McChrystal and the ISAF command, as well as the Afghan security representatives, that it is absolutely possible to do.


QUESTION: You said you expected to hear from President Karzai tomorrow, Kabul time.




QUESTION: And you said you were hopeful that there would be a resolution in line with the constitution --




QUESTION: -- within the next few days.




QUESTION: Why won’t that be tomorrow? Why won’t we have clarity on it tomorrow if that’s when you expect him to respond?


SECRETARY CLINTON: He is going to announce his intentions. I’m going to let him do that. But I am encouraged at the direction that the situation is moving.


MR. KELLY: Okay. Thank you very much.






QUESTION: One more? Niharja Farouk from Iraq TV. Your Excellency, there is no clear position from U.S. Government about Iraqi request to open investigation about the bloody Wednesday, the bombing that putting in Iraq, and like many people is killed. What is the U.S. position from Iraqi request?


SECRETARY CLINTON: The U.S. position is that we support a special representative of the security – of the Secretary General being appointed to look into these very serious matters. We were deeply upset by the tragic bombing of the ministries of foreign affairs and finance that took so many innocent lives and injured so many other Iraqis. So we support the Iraqi request that there be a special representative to look into these very serious problems.


QUESTION: You expect like on a few days, like the Secretary General will be like names that are presented to go to Iraq?


SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that the Secretary General intends to make an announcement, and I will leave that to him to make the announcement so that it comes directly from the Secretary General.


QUESTION: Thank you.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you all. Thank you.

PRN: 2009/1040