Remarks With OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
OECD Conference Center
Paris, France
May 26, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very, very much, Secretary General, for your leadership of the OECD. It’s making a real difference and I am especially appreciative of everything you did to make this 50th anniversary celebration such a success. The United States has been proud to serve as chair, and we are pleased by the progress that is being achieved. And also, let me express my gratitude to Germany for serving as vice chair and to France for hosting all of us here.

We did cover a great deal of ground in our ministerial meetings, and let me briefly touch on a few highlights. First, members endorsed a new OECD vision statement that will help ensure the organization’s next 50 years are as successful as the first 50 years. The vision statement lays out a path for the OECD to become an even more effective and inclusive global policy network, bringing high standards, best practices, and rigorous peer review to a wider range of economic and social challenges around the world. And it will keep us focused on promoting sustainable economic growth, creating jobs, and spurring innovation.

Second, we agreed on a new approach to development that will better prepare developing countries to move from aid to sustainable and inclusive growth. The OECD will work more closely with developing countries to share best practices, reduce poverty, and widen the circle of prosperity. In our discussions, I stressed the importance of helping developed countries – with developing countries – make reforms in three interconnected areas – on taxes, transparency, and corruption. This will enable developing countries to fund more of their own growth.

Third, we highlighted the crucial role that women and girls can play in driving economic progress, and we strongly backed the OECD’s important new gender initiative, and thank you for including gender in the new better life indicators.

Finally, we took several steps to keep the OECD at the forefront of good governance and corporate responsibility. We agreed to new guidelines for multinational companies that include important new provisions on human rights, conflict minerals, and internet freedom. And we also welcomed Russia to the OECD Working Group on Bribery, a significant step in its own right and a milestone in Russia’s path toward full OECD membership.

On all of these and other fronts as well, we’re making encouraging progress, which is so sorely needed. The United States is committed to the OECD, its mission, and its future, because we see its values, standards, and hard-won knowledge as increasingly important in a rapidly changing world. And being on the site where George C. Marshall’s vision for the Marshall Plan came to fruition reminds us that people acting in good faith, holding themselves to high standards, driving toward consensus, can make a real difference. As the OECD increases its own global reach, it stands to play an even more vital role.

So let me thank you again, Secretary General, for your partnership.

STAFF: Okay. We’re a little bit pressed for time, so I think we have about – time for about four questions. Let me start with Agence France-Presse.

QUESTION: This is a question for Mrs. Hillary Clinton. Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister, is officially candidate to become the head of the IMF. So far, the U.S. didn’t take a clear position on the matter, saying that she and the Mexican candidate were both reliable. But the European – your European partners expect more support from you. Are you prepared to deliver this support?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say that the United States has not taken a position on any candidacy as yet. As you know, the timeframe for candidates to be put forward has a few more weeks to run. So officially, the United States will be assessing and then eventually announcing its preferred candidate.

Unofficially, let me say that we welcome women who are well-qualified and experienced to head major organizations such as the IMF.

STAFF: Okay. Maybe a second answer, I think.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)


QUESTION: Another question for Mrs. Clinton: The OECD has started his work on the so-called global standards for the financial markets. Do you think that that could be an useful tool to prevent the coming of another crisis?

SECRETARY CLINTON: The United States welcomes the OECD’s work on financial markets. As you know, the OECD’s analysis of economic statistics is really viewed around the world as highly credible; in fact, probably the gold standard. And therefore, the OECD’s concerns and follow-through regarding what we have learned from the recent terrible economic crisis that the world has experienced will not only guide the OECD’s work, but I’m sure be viewed as a resource for governments as well.

STAFF: The next question is from Arshad Mohammed of Reuters.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, there were gunfights through the night in Yemen in which dozens of people are reported to have been killed. One, is Yemen sliding toward civil war? Two, what, if anything, can the United States do to try to influence President Saleh to step down beyond simply words, all of which he has thus far ignored?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Arshad, we are very troubled by the ongoing clashes between various factions inside of Yemen. As you know, we have expended an extraordinary amount of effort, along with our colleagues from the Gulf and Europe and elsewhere in trying to mediate the conflict in Yemen. And we call on all sides, all sides immediately, to cease the violence. It has been a hallmark of our policy ever since the events of this year in the Middle East and North Africa to call for peaceful protests and for nonviolent responses.

The situation is very volatile. We are monitoring it closely. You’re aware that just a few days ago, our Ambassador and other ambassadors were effectively detained by large crowds outside the residence of the ambassador from the United Arab Emirates. We have ordered the departure of American personnel. And we are working with all of our colleagues to do everything we can to end the fighting. We continue to support a unified and stable Yemen, and we continue to support the departure of President Saleh, who has consistently agreed that he would be stepping down from power and then consistently reneged on those agreements, turning his back on the commitments that he made and disregarding the legitimate aspirations of the Yemeni people.

So we now urge him once again to immediately follow through on his repeated commitments to peacefully and orderly transfer power, and ensure that the legitimate will of the people of Yemen for political and economic reform can be addressed. And of course, it is a very, very challenging situation currently in Yemen, but the United States is working with a broad cross-section of countries and representatives within Yemen to try to end the fighting and move the process forward.

STAFF: And a final question from Anne Gearan of the Associated Press.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, on Pakistan, the prime minister has said that he will call – he will use all available means to go after militant sanctuaries. What does that mean to you? Is that any different than promises that Pakistan has made going back a couple of years now? And more generally, are you disappointed in the reaction of Pakistan’s leadership since the killing of bin Ladin, the expulsion of U.S. military trainers and sort of generally whipping up anti-American sentiment?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Anne, I think we need to put your question and my answer into a broader context. Since 9/11, Pakistan has been a strong partner in our counterterrorism efforts. Now, there have been times when we have had disagreements, there have been times when we wanted to push harder, and for various reasons, they have not. Those differences are real. They will continue.

But the fact of the matter is that the international community has been able to kill more terrorists on Pakistani soil than anyplace else in the world. We could not have done that without Pakistani cooperation. I believe strongly it is in our national security interests to have a comprehensive, long-term partnership with the government and people of Pakistan. As you know, we’ve been building that partnership through a series of ongoing high-level engagements. We will be working through these near-term challenges. But we will also keep our eye on what is in our strategic interests – that is, our first and highest responsibility.

And going forward, we are ready and willing to support the people and Government of Pakistan as they defend their own democracy from violent extremism. They have lost thousands of Pakistanis, civilian and military. They have seen not only their military facilities, but mosques and marketplaces, universities and schools attacked ruthlessly with extraordinary damage. And so for me, we’re going to continue our consultations. We do have a set of expectations that we are looking for the Pakistani Government to meet.

But I want to underscore, in conclusion, that it is not as though they have been on the sidelines. They have been actively engaged in their own bitter fight with these terrorist extremists who target indiscriminately people from all walks of life, all ages, and we’re going to look to put our partnership on as strong a foundation going forward as possible.

QUESTION: Are those expectations on counterterrorism, Madam Secretary?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Across the board.

QUESTION: Across the --

SECRETARY CLINTON: Across the board.

STAFF: Thanks for coming.

PRN: 2011/ T47-06