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Aug 5, 2011

Clinton urges al Shabaab to fight Somalia famine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday called on al Shabaab militant Islamists to allow food aid into famine-hit areas of Somalia and said aid agencies would not be penalized if some of their assistance inadvertently ends up in militant hands.

Clinton accused al Shabaab, which controls large parts of the Horn of Africa country, of deliberately blocking emergency food supplies to some of the 3.7 million people in urgent need of assistance.

Aug 4, 2011

Clinton gives no hint on Keystone XL decision

WASHINGTON, Aug 4 (Reuters) – Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton assured Canada’s foreign minister on Thursday the
United States was on track to decide on TransCanada Corp’s
(TRP.TO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) bid for a $7 billion cross-border pipeline by the end
of the year but gave no hint which way the decision would go.

Clinton met with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, who
said he told her the Keystone project was “tremendously
important to the future prosperity of the Canadian economy.”

Aug 3, 2011

U.S. puts new emphasis on Syria opposition

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is building contacts with Syria’s embattled opposition as fears grow that President Bashar al-Assad’s relentless crackdown has pushed the country into an end-game that could prove chaotic.

As Syrian military forces pushed into the volatile city of Hama, where more than 90 people have been killed since Sunday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met for the first time with expatriate Syrian activists. U.S. Ambassador to Damascus Robert Ford has reached out to opposition supporters as well.

Aug 3, 2011

Analysis: U.S. puts new emphasis on Syria opposition

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is building contacts with Syria’s embattled opposition as fears grow that President Bashar al-Assad’s relentless crackdown has pushed the country into an end-game that could prove chaotic.

As Syrian military forces pushed into the volatile city of Hama, where more than 90 people have been killed since Sunday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met for the first time with expatriate Syrian activists. Ambassador to Damascus Robert Ford has reached out to opposition supporters as well.

Aug 2, 2011

U.S. weighs Syria sanctions, boosts opposition contact

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senators on Tuesday called on the Obama administration to impose tough new sanctions on Syria’s energy sector as Washington sought to put muscle behind its demand that President Bashar al-Assad halt his lethal crackdown on unarmed protesters.

“The United States should impose crippling sanctions in response to the murder of civilians by troops under the orders of President Assad,” Senator Mark Kirk, a Republican, said in introducing legislation to target firms that invest in Syria’s energy sector, purchase its oil or sell gasoline.

Aug 2, 2011

U.S. relaxes limits on Somalia aid as famine looms

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is working to get more relief into famine-ravaged southern Somalia and is reassuring aid agencies they will not be penalized for programs in regions controlled by al Shabaab rebels, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

“We have issued new guidance to allow more flexibility and to allow a wider range of aid to a larger number of areas in need,” one U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Aug 1, 2011

Hillary Clinton to meet Syrian activists as violence spikes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet expatriate Syrian political activists on Tuesday as Washington struggles to craft an effective response to President Bashar al-Assad’s bloody crackdown.

U.S. officials said the meeting would be Clinton’s first with a group of Syrian activists since peaceful anti-government protests began in March. They declined to give any further details, citing the sensitivity of the situation.

Jul 25, 2011

Clinton seeks to reassure Asia on U.S. debt

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to reassure Asian investors over U.S. debt worries on Monday, saying she was confident President Barack Obama would ultimately reach a deal with congressional leaders to prevent a catastrophic default. “I’m confident that Congress will do the right thing and secure a deal on the debt ceiling, and work with President Obama to take the steps necessary to improve our long-term fiscal outlook,” Clinton said in a speech to business leaders in Hong Kong. Clinton’s speech was overshadowed by Washington’s failure thus far to craft a deal to extend the U.S. government’s borrowing authority, but she said the political wrangling over spending was both natural and healthy. “Let me assure you we understand the stakes. We know how important this is for us and how important it is for you,” Clinton said. U.S. lawmakers failed to achieve a budget breakthrough on Sunday, with scant sign of a possible deal to raise the government’s debt ceiling and head off a default in nine days that could trigger global economic calamity and downgrade America’s triple-A credit rating. After weeks of rancorous talks, both sides appeared further apart than ever on a deficit reduction deal that would clear the way for Congress to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

FREE AND FAIR

Clinton laid out the U.S. vision for the future of world trade, one she said must be based on “open, free, transparent and fair” principles that apply to all. “We in the United States are in the middle of a necessary transition. We must save more and spend less…we must borrow less as well,” Clinton said. “Our partners must meet this change with changes of their own.” Despite the problems, Clinton said the United States was committed to expanding its economic outreach — and to push for a “level playing field” to counter what Washington believes are unfair advantages that have helped China and some other emerging economies grow so fast. She urged Asian governments to do more to boost local consumer demand, and to take a new look at policies ranging from intellectual property rights to support for state enterprises at the expense of private entrepreneurs. Clinton’s speech did not directly target China, but her message was clearly intended for Beijing, which U.S. officials have accused of using regulatory measures and an artificially low exchange rate to rack up some $3.2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves. U.S. officials said China was clearly concerned about the U.S. debt impasse and had repeatedly urged Washington to get its economic house in order.

Jul 24, 2011

Clinton says more needed on S.China Sea disputes

NUSA DUA, Indonesia, July 24 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton said on Sunday that China and Southeast
Asia must urgently finalise a code of conduct for the South
China Sea, a potentially oil-rich region.

“We think that it was an important first step but only a
first step,” Clinton told reporters after Beijing and members of
the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
agreed last week to work toward a new mechanism for resolving
disputes.

Jul 23, 2011

U.S. calls for more clarity on South China Sea claims

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) – The United States called on Saturday on rivals in the disputed South China Sea to back up territorial claims with legal evidence — a challenge to China’s declaration of sovereignty over vast stretches of the region.

“We also call on all parties to clarify their claims in the South China Sea in terms consistent with customary international law,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in remarks at Asia’s largest security conference.