Secretary Clinton Meets With Staff of Embassy Sana'a

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Sana'a, Yemen
January 11, 2011




I really appreciate the opportunity to say thank you. And it’s fine; we’re not going to translate. I appreciate that opportunity because you’re the ones who do the work. I show up – a Secretary of State shows up, like, once every 20 years, and day in and day out it is you who are working to implement the policy of the United States.

I thank Gerry for his leadership and he’s been serving our country for a long time, and we appreciate his being here at this critical juncture in the relationship between the United States and Yemen. I’m delighted that I had a chance to come. I do remember Gerry asking me, and I hoped I would be able to say yes and actually deliver on it. But we are very fortunate that we’ve been able to make this visit because there is so much that we’re working on together.

And I saw the hole in the ground as I came in. And I know Embassy Sana’a is crowded and there has been a surge in people because we know that there is so much to be done in our relationship, not just with the Government of Yemen but with the people of Yemen. And that is what I’m particularly focused on today.

And I hope that you recognize how much those of us in Washington understand that Yemen is really on the front lines. It’s on the front lines of so much that matters to the American people. And obviously, our fight against the terrorists is critical here, but so is our effort to try to broaden our relationship so that we include economic and political and social issues on our agenda. I happen to think that they are mutually reinforcing, and what you’re doing to support Yemen’s active civil society, which I saw in action earlier today at the town hall, is absolutely essential to our strategy.

We did finish the recent Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, and one of the key findings, it won’t surprise you, is that we all have to work more closely together. The United States Government needs to be one team. All of our civilian agencies need to be better coordinated and focused under our chiefs of mission, and our relationship and partnership between our civilian and our military personnel also needs to be strengthened.

And you do excellent work and you’re far from home, and many of you are operating under not only difficult conditions but often dangers and threats. The memory of the locally employed guard and the five soldiers who were killed in September 2008 weighs heavily on all of us, and I will continue to do my very best to provide you with the security that you need.

Following the attack in ’08, Embassy staff took up donations from their own pockets to give to the families of the soldiers who were killed. I know you recently raised more than $1,600 for a local staff member who had a serious medical condition so it could be taken care of in Jordan. And it’s that kind of teamwork that really matters to me. I want to thank all of our USG employees and I want to thank our locally engaged staff: Each and every one of you is a part of this incredibly important effort that we are working on together here in Yemen.

Yemen’s challenges can seem overwhelming. The road is clearly hard. There is no easy shortcut. The only solution is to continue what we’re doing and intensify our efforts one day at a time, building relationships, looking for results. And what you’re doing is appreciated. Sometimes it may not be expressed, but one of the reasons I came was to say I appreciate your long hours, your sacrifice. I appreciate your families, because I know that they sacrifice as well. And I appreciate your service to the United States.

Now I hope I can say hello and thank you personally to a number of you as I leave and go on to Oman. Once I’m up in the air I’m no longer your responsibility, and you have earned a wheels-up party, so the ambassador and the DCM, I hope, are going to take that to heart. But again, thank you so much for serving in a really important role at a very critical time in the history of our two nations. Thank you. (Applause.)

PRN: 2011/T37-04