Remarks at the G8 Plenary Session

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Blair House
Washington, DC
April 11, 2012

Well, once again, welcome to the historic Blair House here in Washington. I greatly appreciate this opportunity to discuss in person the many global issues that require joint leadership from the G-8 nations. The events of this past year, even of just this past week, affirm the continued need for comprehensive international cooperation, and the G-8 is an essential forum for that.

We are alarmed for the ongoing violence in Syria, and we are concerned about the problems facing Special Envoy Kofi Annan as he attempts to bring about a ceasefire and the end to violence. We are very watchful of this. This will be on our agenda later this afternoon. We will look for ways that we can, together, try to bring about a peaceful resolution of the current situation and a political transition for the sake of the Syrian people.

We also look forward to the beginning of the next round of P-5+1 talks in Turkey. These talks are an opportunity for Iran to address seriously the international community’s concerns about its nuclear program. And we believe there is still time for diplomacy, but it is urgent that the Iranians come to the table to establish an environment conducive to achieving concrete results through a sustained process.

And further to the east, North Korea is readying a long-range ballistic missile launch over the East China Sea. It comes just weeks after North Korea agreed to a moratorium on missile testing; it violates multiple UN Security Council resolutions. I think we all share a strong interest in stability on the Korean Peninsula, and we will be discussing how best to achieve that as well.

Earlier today, our Quartet colleagues – which includes the United Nations, represented by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; the European Union, represented by High Representative Cathy Ashton; the Russian Federation, represented by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov; and the United States, represented by myself and our special envoys – met to review the situation in the Middle East. Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh briefed on Jordan’s recent engagement. The Quartet underscored its support for Jordan’s positive efforts. We remain committed to the goals that we outlined in New York last September. We agreed on the importance of continued financial international support for the Palestinian Authority, including the need for $1.1 billion in immediate assistance.

And finally, we have begun discussing some of the transnational issues – terrorism, piracy, food security – that affect so many millions of people throughout the world. We are also going to be discussing our shared framework to support the democratic transitions and promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth through the Deauville Partnership in the Middle East and North Africa.

So there’s a lot for us to discuss, and we have a full agenda ahead of us in preparation for the leaders meeting at Camp David next month. So again, I welcome my colleagues and look forward to our work together. Thank you all.

PRN: 2012/549