Remarks With Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn Before Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
July 25, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’s a pleasure to welcome the Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Luxembourg here. I have the opportunity to work with him on a number of important issues in NATO and in other fora, where we are committed to advancing our shared values and interests. And I’m looking forward to the opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues. So welcome, Jean. We’re so happy you’re here.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER ASSELBORN: Thank you, Hillary. First, I am grateful and it’s an honor for me to be here. It’s the sixth time that I have been in this house as Foreign Minister. I saw three different colleagues, three highly appreciated personalities, and I want to thank you, Hillary, in the name of Luxembourg for the very, very great job you are doing since now.


DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER ASSELBORN: Let me talk a little bit about Europe and the United States. I think that we are facing unprecedented challenges on the economic field, you know also how difficult it is in our region. But I think that we have to put our energies together. We cannot face them, I think, alone. We will not manage it to face and to find solutions. So I think that more than ever, today we have to play together and to put really our energies in the same basket.

I just want to mention maybe three topics very briefly that I think that we have to work together. The first is Sahel. I was in Africa in the last two weeks, in Addis Ababa and also in Mozambique. And in the Sahel region, there is a humanitarian crisis and a security crisis that is unfolding out of our very eyes. And we have to cooperate, I think, with the Western African organizations and the African Union to avoid the “Afghanization” of this region.

The second point, of course, is Syria. I think that the only aim of the United States and the European Union is to make – to increase the pressure on the regime that the killings and the violence stop. And therefore we need to cooperate with all the diplomatic means that we have at our disposal.

And the last point, I think, on Northern Africa, there is a lot of hope, I think, and in Egypt – you have been there – in Libya, but also in Tunisia. The core challenge is to accept the results of democratic elections and to safeguard, if I can say, the fundamental human rights fixed in the UN Charter and to support – and that’s very important for Europe - to support the countries to restart the economy and to give social hope to these countries.

So I mentioned three points that – for us as Europeans – are important. I am the longest serving foreign minister in the European Union, but now more than ever, I think we can share, and we have to share, our values and cooperate very strongly together. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we certainly agree with that.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, all, very much.

PRN: 2012/1216