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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  February 28, 2011 8:00pm-10:59pm EST

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celebrated last year. his family started out poor and he went to denmark to get an education and was an immigrant to this country which had not yet bought the virgin islands. yet through education and the enterprise and the opportunity to use that enterprise, he's credited with not only having become the first black millionaire, but more importantly was named the african founding father of california. . he also specifically played a maim role in the development of the city of san francisco. today there's no welcome in this country of immigrants and they are denied access to programs that would help them to transition into this country. today if one is poor, the cuts in the republican-passed h.r. 1, the cuts to community programs, health centers, access to higher education, job training and the support for health of mothers and babies, that would ensure that the uneducated, the unheamenty, the jobless and the
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poor stay that way. there will be few in any alexander or not even a black thousand-aire if the tea-party-led ma jort party has their way. what has happened to the inalienble rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness? does the republican party plan to cut that too out of the declaration of independence? so here we are just five days away, four, really from a government shutdown if we can't agree on how to pay to keep the government open for the next seven months. the best -- the simplest and the fairest way to do that in my opinion, in the middle of the fiscal year when departments are carrying out plans and programs to improve and protect the lives of those who live and work in this country, is to continue the spending at last year's levels, no increases. just last year's levels. that essentially adds nothing to the deficit and most importantly it does not destroy the small gains we have been making in bringing this country out of a
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deep and painful recession. countless reputable economists like zandi who has been quoted here this evening, have told us over and over again, now is not the time to cut the spending that's required to stabilize and begin to grow our economy again. if the republican majority's successful with the cuts they want to make, they'll destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs. and make the already bad situation that they and president bush created even worse for the american people who are depending on us to bring them relief. what's happening is that the majority is pretty much demanding that the rest of us accept $4 billion in cuts over the next two weeks in order to keep the government from shutting down. and they do have the votes, especially in this body. in that $4 billion, education takes an over $500 million cut
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in funding in just two weeks. some of these programs the president plans to end next year and while i'm with holding judgment on that decision, ending them now means the people working in those programs may be out of work if these cuts are continued. these programs include school improvements, safe schools and higher education programs. other cuts are proposed for reading and literacy programs and some that work to improve academic achievements. suspect that these programs really need -- i suspect that these programs need not to end. this country will need to win the future. given the instability in the middle east and the terrible turn that pirating has taken, can we afford to cut $245 million in the homeland security program, even for just two weeks? i don't think so. and i am sure the american people we have sworn to protect
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don't think so either. coast guard operations, customs and border patrol salaries and construction projects, all of that sounds like less security and the possibility of more people out of work to me. fema disaster mitigation grants, emergency operations money. we were to have 70-mile-per-hour winds here in washington this evening. storms and tornadoes will not necessarily stop for two weeks because the republicans have to bow down to the tea party. in just two weeks there would be an almost $200 million cut in h.u.d. neighborhood and economic developments grants. just in the two weeks. and almost $50 million in job training and unemployment services will be cut. with over 9% unemployment in many places, some in the double digits, and in the middle of a
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recession that has shown no mercy to the poor and the middle class, i guess there will be no mercy from this body's leadership either. i left health for last on this stop gap measure. where i count over $460 million in cuts in these two weeks. close to $400 million that have comes from the agency that provides services, treatment and trains health professionals. and it's the cuts to w.i.c. and maternal child health were not must, children's programs have again been the targets of cuts, including programs to special education. and there would be a $6 million cut from the administration on aging. i don't understand it. if we're not placing our priority on taking care of our children and elderly, what kind of country are we? so i say to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, this country's in trouble, it's time to end the politics and do not only what the economists tell us we ought to do, but more
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importantly we need to come together and do what is right. these cuts are not right, not for two weeks, and not for the rest of this year. we really need to put the welfare of the american people of this country ahead of party politics. the times require it and our people expect it. you know, i think we ought to change the word spending and call it investment because that's what it really is. investment is something that's understood and supported and it's what is on the chopping block. investing, not just spending for spending's sake, is what democrats began to do in the last two congress, to invest in health for all americans, in equality opportunity, for a quality education, investing in restoring jobs and building a healthier economy, investing in cleaning up a polluted and unhealthy environment, indiana vesting in a better future -- investing in a better future for us.
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we want to win the future. the republican agenda looks to the past, not the future. it looks to the past to continue the economic policies that ran our economy into the ground in the first place. it looked to the past to focus on the programs they have long hated. e.p.a. regulations, health care reform that is finally making it possible for many to become insured and secure in that insurance, community programs that help poor areas of our country have a fair shot of just surviving, programs that lift our spirits and call forth our better serves, the arts, the humanities, public broadcasting, and believe it or not, they're cutting programs like w.i.c., head start and maternal and child health. we have to fight for these programs every year during the administration of george w. bush and so it's no accident that we're fighting for them again. this whole agenda is not about cutting spending at all. it's a facade for what they're really trying to do, that is, gutting the program they and their supporters love to hate.
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and in pursuing this agenda, they're putting the slow recovery that still has to reach urban and rural main street in jeopardy. putting us in jeopardy of reverting back to where we started earlier this year, to where their policies took us in 2009, a place that no one wants to go back to. and, my friends, not one thing has this republican majority done about the biggest crisis facing our country and its families, the economy and jobs. talk about the job-killing act of 2011. well, that was not health care reform, which is actually the biggest job creator we have passed in recent years. the winners in that category clearly are the c.r. that was forced through this congress two weeks ago, and this two-week stop gap that would cut the federal budget by $4 billion. what we need is a clean c.r. at 2010 levels to the end of this fiscal year so that we can begin to focus on the 2012 budget,
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which is the more appropriate place to look at deficit reduction and which is due in less than two months. let me say a word about what the governors are doing. it doesn't take 20-20 vision to see that this is a coordinated effort. unions which created our middle class in the first place have always been one of the republicans' targets. the war against the poor and middle class is not just being fought in washington, my friends, but also in the states by republican governors. and lastly, let me -- please don't let our republican colleagues fool anyone into thinking that social security or medicare need to be addressed as part of our need to reduce the deficit. they do not. but they too have always been in their bull's eye. we need to do what is never to protect them for the future generations, but colleagues on the other side of the aisle, we have seen some of your plans to weaning these vital programs, but seniors, the disabled and we democrats want to make sure that the tea party and the republicans keep their hands off of social security and medicare.
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black history is not just the commemoration of how far african-americans have come, but also how far this country has come. most importantly it is a reminder that we both still have more to do and further to go. today's republican agenda for this country threatens to erase all of the gains we celebrate this month, to put up road blocks in our road to progress, road blocks to a better future for all americans and to ensuring that this country we love regains and retains its number one position in the world . it's time to stop the madness and time to work together to continue to build a stronger america one child, one family, one community at a time. and, mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from the virgin islands for the purpose of her motion.
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mrs. christensen: mr. speaker, i move to adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is adopted. accordingly the house stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow for morning
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>> today the world's eyes are fixed on libya. we have seen colonel gaddafi's security forces open fire on
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peaceful protestors again and again. they have used heavy weapons on unarmed citizens. they are attacking demonstrators. there are reports of soldiers executed for refusing to turn their guns on their fellow citizens of indiscriminate killings, arbitrary arrests and torture. colonel gaddafi and those around him must be held accountable for these acts, which violate international legal obligations and common dissensy. through their actions, they have lost the legitimacy to govern and the people of libya have made themselves clear. it is time for gaddafi to go, now without further violence or delay. the international community is speaking with one voice. and our message is unmistakable.
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these violations of universal rights are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. this council took an important first step on accountability on friday by establishing an independent commission of inquiry. on saturday in new york, united nations security council unanimously adopted a resolution imposing an arms embargo on libya, freezing the assets of key human rights violators and other members of the gaddafi family and referring the libyan case to the international criminal court. tomorrow, the united nations general assembly should vote to accept the recommendations to suspend the government's participation here in the human rights council. governments that turn their guns on their own people have no
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place in this chamber. the arab league deserves our praise as the first multi lateral organization to suspend libya's membership despite the fact that libya was serving as the arab league chair. we hope to see our friends in the african union follow suit. we all need to work together on further steps to hold the gaddafi government accountable, provide humanitarian assistance to those in need and support the libyan people as they pursue a transition to democracy. today i have had the privilege of consulting with a wide range of colleagues here in geneva and president obama is meeting with u.n. secretary general in washington. we will coordinating closely with our allies and partners. the united states has already imposed travel restrictions and
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financial sanctions on gaddafi and senior libyan officials. we have frozen assets to ensure that they are preserved for the libyan people. and we have halted our very limited defense trade with libya. we are working with the united nations, partners, allies, the international committee of the red cross and the red crescent and other n.g.o.'s to set up a robust humanitarian response to this crisis. as we move forward on these fronts, we will continue to explore all possible options for action. as we have said, nothing is off the table so long as the libyan government continues to threaten and kill libyans. ultimately, the people of libya themselves will be the ones to chart their own destiny and shape their own new government.
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they are now braveg the dictator's bullets and putting their lives on the line to enjoy the freedoms that are the birthright of every man, woman and child on earth. like their neighbors in egypt, asserting their rights and claiming their future. now while these circumstances in egypt, tue neice yeah and libya are each unique, in every case, the demand for change has come from within, with people calling for greater civil liberties, economic opportunities and a stake in the governance of their own societies. and the world has been inspired by their courage and their determination. we see in their struggles a universal yes or noing for dignity and respect and they remind us that the power of human dignity is always underestimated until the day it
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finally prevails. this moment belongs to the people particularly, the young people of the middle east. on behalf of president obama and the american people, let me say that we are inspired by what you are doing and heart yented by what it means for your future. the united states supports orderly, peaceful and irreversible transitions to real democracies that deliver results for their citizens. on this, our values and interests converge. supporting these transitions is not simply a matter of ideals, but also a strategic imperative. without meaningful steps toward representative, accountable and transparent governance and open economies, the gap between people and their leaders will only grow and instability will
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deepen. what might have been possible in the 20th century with new tech nolings and the power that people now have to connect is no longer possible. and to hang on to systems that are unaccountable and that do not respond to the legitimate needs of one's people poses a danger, not only a danger to leaders, but a danger to all of our interests. by contrast, history has shown that democracy tends to be more stable, more peaceful and ultimately more prosperous. democratic change must grow from within. it cannot be implanted from the outside and let me be among the first of many to say, the west certainly does not have all of the answers. the first steps of change have come quickly and dramatically. it is, however, proving
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tragically difficult in libya. in other nations, change is likely to be more deliberate and methodical. in all cases, the united states will support citizens and governments as they work for progress. we are well aware of the challenges that come with these kinds of transitions. you cannot create jobs or economic opportunities over night. these changes can be chaotic. and in the short-term, there will be new voices and political competitions emerging for the first time. and as history has shown, these new bursts of democracy, of freedom, of human rights, can be derailed who use violence, deception and rigid elections to stay in power or to advance an undemocratic agenda. but like colonel gaddafi,
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leaders who deny their people freedom and opportunity will in the end fuel the very instability they fear. so the process of transition must be protected from anti-democratic influences from wherever they come. political participation must be open to all people across the spectrum, who reject violence, uphold equality and agree to play by the rules of democracy. those who refuse should not be allowed to subvert the aspirations of the people. and leaders cannot claim democratic legitimacy if they abandon these principles once they are in power. free and fair elections are essential to building and maintaining democracy, but elections alone are not sufficient. sustainable democracies are built on strong institutions, including an independent judiciary that promotes the rule of law and helps ensure official
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accountability and transparency and stands against corruption. recent days have underscored the importance of freedom of expression, whether it's in the public square, through the press or on the internet. brave journalists have broadcast images of repression around the world and the young people of tunisia and egypt have shown everyone what a force of democracy, the open exchange of ideas can be. a vibrant civil society is also an indispensible building block of democracy. and not only in the middle east, but around the world, citizen activists and civic organizations are emerging as strong voices for progress. they help develop solutions to solutions and empower women and minorities. united states is committed to broadening our own engagement with civil society and we urge leaders and governments to treat
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civil society as partners, not adversaries. there also must be transitions to thrive, a commitment to make economic opportunity available to all. human rights, democracy and development are linked and mutually reinforcing. we have seen inequity and lack of economic opportunities drive people into the streets. so to earn the confidence of one's own people, governments have to deliver on the promise of improved lives. there is no doubt that the most important goal for most people in the world today is a decent life for themselves and their families. at the very least, that must be the goal that we deliver on. it is also particularly important that women and minorities have access to opportunity and participation. nations cannot flourish if half their population is confined to
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the margins or denied their rights. we have seen how women play a vital role in driving social and economic progress when they are accorded their rights and afforded equal opportunity and in so doing, they lift up not only themselves, but the families and their societies. these are not western principles or american ideals, they are truly universal, lessons learned by people all over the world who have made the difficult transition to sustainable democracy. and as we look at what is happening now in the middle east, of course those changes will be shaped by local circumstances and led by local leaders. and people themselves will determine whether or not the change has worked. but universal principles will be important touchstones along the way. that is why as we watch what is happening in egypt, we hope there will be a broad array of
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opposition voices and representatives to ensure that the reform process is inclusive. we want to see concrete steps taken, including enacting constitutional reforms and releasing political detainees and lifting the state of emergency. the united states stands ready to assist however appropriate, especially through economic assistance that helps promote reform and create greater opportunity. in tunisia, we welcome the interim's leadership to include broad-based government and its desire to hold elections as so as possible. and we were hartened to hear this morning from tunisia's secretary of foreign affairs, it will welcome the u.n. human rights office and open its doors to all the u.n.. we are supporting the people on their difficult road ahead. and as other important partners
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such as jordan and bahrain take steps, sometimes very difficult steps to open their political space, we will stand behind them and support their efforts, because we are vinced they will advance all of our shared interests. but now there is an alternative vision for the future of the region that only proposal mythses more frustration and discord. extremeists and rejectionists across the middle east argue that they are the ones that champion the rights of the downtropical depressionen. for decades, they claimed the only way to achieve change is through violence and conflict, but they have undermined peace and progress. the success of peaceful protests has discredited the extremists and exposed their bankrupt arguments. iran, for example, has consistently pursued policies of violence abroad and tyranny at
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home. in tehran, security forces have beaten, detained and in several recent cases, killed peaceful protestors even as iran's president has made a show of denouncing the violence in libya. iranian authorities have targeted human rights defenders and political activists, ex-government officials and their families, clerics and their children, student leaders and professors as well as journalists and bloggers. last week, the united states imposed new sanctions on iranian officials for serious human rights abuses. here at the human rights council, we are working with sweden and other partners to establish a special counsel on iran. its mandate would be to investigate and report on abuses in iran and speak out when the government does not meet its human rights obligations.
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rights' advocates have demanded this step to raise international pressure on their government. this will be a see himinal moment for this council and a test of our ability to work together to advance the goals that it represents. indeed, every member of this council should ask him or herself a simple question, why do people have the right to live free from fear in tripoli and not tehran. the denial of human dignity is an outrage that deserves the condemnation of those who speak out for freedom and justice. the human rights council was founded because the international community has a responsibility to protect universal rights and to hold violators accountable, both in fast-breaking emergencies, such as libya, and in slow-motion
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tragedies of chronic abuse such as burma and north korea. we saw this council at its best on friday when it took decisive action on libya. we saw in december's special session where the situation is increasingly dire and there has been a large spike in violence. we must continue sending a strong message that actions are unacceptable and the international community must keep up the pressure. last fall, this council also took the important decision to create a council for freedom of assembly and association and we have likewise seen a strengthening in the council's approach to freedom of expression. but too often still, we are not seeing a serious enough response to use this institution to advance human rights. sometimes the council does not act and its integrity is
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undermined because it deefers to regional relations, diplomatic niceities and cynical politics. membership on this council should be earned for respect of human rights. that is the standard laid out for the general assembly. this council predecessor, the human rights commission, lost its credibility in part because libya was allowed to serve as its president. it should not take bloodshed for us to agree that such regimes have no place here. and i must add, the structural bias against israel, including a standing agenda item for israel whereas all other countries are treated under a common item is wrong and it undermines the important work we are trying to do together. as member states, we can take this council in a better, stronger direction. in 2009, the united states joined the human rights council,
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because president obama and i believed we could make a difference by working with you on the inside, rather than standing on the outside merely as a critic. and over the past 18 months, we have worked together. we have reached across regional lines in an attempt to overcome what hobbles this country more than anything else, our divisions as member states. the unity of purpose we have forged with respect to libya offers us an opportunity to continue that progress. as we look ahead and as the council completes a review of its own operations, we hope to help set a new agenda based on three principles. first, the council must have the capacity to respond to emergencies in real-time. and it must demonstrate clearly that it poses the will to address gross abuses, hold violators accountable and work
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with governments, citizens and organizations genuinely committed to reform. second, the council must apply a single standard to all countries based on the universal declaration of human rights. it cannot continue to single out and devote disproportionate attention to any one country. and third, the council needs to abandon tired, rhetorical debates and focus instead on making tangible improvements in people's lives. for example, in this session, we have an opportunity to move beyond a decade-long debate over whether insults to religion should be banned or criminalized. it is time to overcome the false divide that pits religious sensitivities against freedom of expression and pursue a new
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approach based on concrete steps to fight intolerance wherever it occurs. together we can and must help this council live up to its mission and ensure that it plays a constructive role in the days and months ahead. we will face new problems and new challenges, but if we have a firm foundation rooted in the universal declaration of human rights, we will chart a steady course. make no mistake, this popular wave of reform is spreading, and each country is unique, but many of the concerns that throw people into the streets and squares of the middle east are shared by citizens in other parts of the world. too many governments are hobbled by corruption and fearful of change. too many young people cannot find jobs or opportunities. their prospects are shaped more
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by who they know than by what they know or what they can dream. but it is not my mother's or even my world anymore. what has happened with new technologies of the 21st century means that young people know everything that is going on everywhere and they no longer will tolerate a status quo that blocks their aspirations. young people in the middle east have inspired millions around the world and we celebrate what some are calling the arab spring. this is a hopeful season for all humanity, because the cause of human rights and human dignity belongs to us all. so for leaders on every continent, the choice becomes clearer day by day. embrace your people's aspirations, have confidence in their potential, help them seize it or they will lose confidence
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in you. those of you who were here on friday and many of us watching on our television screens saw the libyan representative renounce gaddafi's violent rule and said young people in my country today are with their blood writing a new chapter in the history of struggle and resistance. we in the libyan mission have categorically decided to serve as representatives of the libyan people and their free will. this is the call we should heed. this is the time for action. now is the opportunity for us to support all who are willing to stand up on behalf of the rights we claim to cherish. so let us do that and let us do it with the sounds of the young people from the streets of tripoli and the markets of tunis and markets of cairo echo in our
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ears. thank you very much. [applause] >> i think secretary of state of the united states of america for her statement. >> the united nations said hundreds, maybe thousands of civilians may have been killed or wounded in libya while thousands more have made their way to tunisia and egypt. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> as events evolve in libya, accurate information from the u.n. and its partners about the situation on the ground is scarce due to ongoing security concerns in the country. however preliminary information coming from eastern libya suggests that normalcy is returning.
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the military arm is taking measures to make sure we are prepared for any eventuality. i'm very concerned by the alarming reports of continued violence in the country. there are reports that civilians, including women and children have been wounded and gravely injured. while there are no confirmed numbers of deaths and wounded, estimates range from hundreds to thousands. we appeal to all parties to refrain from violence against civilians. tens of thousands of people from win libya are crossing borders, mainly into egypt and tunisia. as of this morning, the estimated number of people who have crossed into egypt since the beginning of the crisis is now over 61,000, while the number of those crossing the border of tunisia may number up to 40,000. the majority of people entering are migrant workers and
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government has asked for help to respond to the needs. so the concern, giving the numbers about the provision of water and sanitation to these populations. we welcome the positive indications the united nations has received from tunisia and egypt that they will maintain open borders for people fleeing violence in libya. there is no clear information on internal population movements inside libya, but there are concerns that libyans deeper inside the country and in the capital are being prevented from fleeing. an assessment of the egyptian-libyan border was completed on sunday. the border crossing is said to be well organized and humanitarian assistance provided by eight organizations were seen to be entering libya. in addition to participating in the assessment, my organization
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is deploying a team to cairo to reinforce the coordination in tripoli and put in place mechanisms for coordination, information management, reporting and public information. the new director of the coordination and response division is now in cairo to oversee this process. efforts by humanitarian agencies so far have been focused mostly on the border areas between libya and tuenissa and egypt. there are teams deployed assisting the people coming across the borders. it is focusing relief efforts on neighboring countries. governments have shown incredible general rossity and ordinary people, particularly in tunisia have been hosting people in their homes. there is work with the
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government of tunisia to fly in tents and other basic materials that arrived over the weekend. according to the world health organization, the health situation is precarious. so far, trauma kits and surgical kits have been sent and w.h.o. has reached them with medical supplies. they will assess needs and do contingency planning for delivering food assistance to people affected by the violence inside libya, if there is a need and once the security situation allows. firsthand accounts from people arriving at the borders mention shortages in food, gas and medical supplies. libya depends on food imports and could see a potential interruption in its food supply chain due to the unress. we also remain -- unrest. we are concerned about the
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workers from subsa harrah hob unable to leave. >> questions, please? >> thank you very much. you mentioned all these concerns that you have. in your estimation which is the most primary of concerns that you have? is it food? is it medical aid? how many people are being injured? how can we get access to them? what are your primary concerns at this point in time? >> the primary concern is getting access particularly to tripoli and the neighboring areas where the security situation is extremely volatile. all the reports are that through the east, supplies have managed
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to get in and the situation there has returned to almost normal from the reports we are getting. we want to get in and do proper assessments. we are seeing terrible photographs in our television screens as people are fleing, but we need to have a proper sense of what the needs are. other concerns are that countries do not close their borders. these are people in desperate need and it applies not only to tunisia and egypt and the niger countries, but applies to european union countries. access is of concern with respect to medical supplies. the information that we're getting is that there are some shortages. we worry about the possibility of longer term shortages with
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respect to food, but that is not necessarily the most critical issue at this point in time. >> thank you for explanation. and i have two simple questions. one thing is please specify again what is urgently needed for the libyan people in the current situation. and the second question, as you know, the security situation is very, very severe, very bad and how can you and organization supply needed material to people? >> i'm not sure i understand the question. >> what was the first question? >> let me clarify again, what is urgently most necessary for people in this situation in libya? what is needed urgently?
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>> well, i think that people in libya probably most want is a degree of security. i mean they are fleeing an extremely volatile insecure situation. and what you have in different parts of the country, which is being controlled by different elements. we are seeing reports of over 1,000 people who are said to have died as a result of security problems in tripoli. but at the moment, we don't have any u.n. staff in tripoli. they have been taken out of the country because of security concerns. we have seen people go into bengazi and we have a much better sense of what is happening in the east. and in the west, where people
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are crossing into tunisia, we are hearing concerns about the violence, concerns about supplies running out, particularly fuel. in terms of the security situation and what kind of materials can we get into the country, medical supplies have gone in through the east to bengazzi and w.h.o. have managed to gain access and organizations like islamic relief and other u.n. organizations who are operating in the border area. they have been extremely active on the border with tunisia. one organization is setting up a transit camp. but we need to understand what
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is happening in country and this is one of the things that we are trying to resolve in the next day or so. >> we are running out of time. could you both please ask your questions and to matthew first and then ms. amos can answer. sounded like aid is coming in by land. france said it will fly in supplies. is that possible? what do you think about a no-fly zone and whether it would be -- in order to ensure that aid can come in and protect the people that are fleeing. >> you talked about european nations keeping their borders open, do you have a read on how many people are attempting to make the crossing now? >> no. and your final question, we don't have figures as to people who are fleeing into europe. the sense that we have is that there is a mix of people, some
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of whom are economic migrants who are trying to reach european union country as a result of the ongoing volatility in the region and libya has added on to that. but the main -- the main problem has been people fleeing into tunisia and into egypt with rising numbers going into niger. we don't know how many people from subsaharan africa, for example, are still in libya. you will recall there was an issue about centers for subsahar and for instance who have now been released but we aren't sure where they have gone yet and will try to get to the border with niger. in terms of aid being flown in
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or going in over land and obviously, if we're able to get ems in through both routes, that's important. one agency, for example, the tents that came over the weekend, non-food items came in by cargoo plane over the weekend. if member states are using air to get resources into the border areas or into libya itself, i don't see that as a problem. in terms of the issue of the no-fly zone, this is something being discussed and debated at a political level and i'm not prepared to comment on that at this point in time. >> thank you very much indeed. thank you.
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> more now on libya from the u.s. ambassador to the united nations, susan rise. she spoke to reporters for about 20 minutes at the white house before the daily briefing. >> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. as i mentioned this morning, we have with us today the united states ambassador to the united nations susan rice and was in a meeting with the president and u.n. secretary general and i would like her to speak about that meeting and she'll take questions from you and i'll step aside. thanks. >> thank you very much. good afternoon, everyone. i want to give you a brief
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readout of the president's meeting with the u.n. secretary general. as you might expect, significant portion of that meeting was devoted to discussing the situation in libya. the u.n. has played a positive and very important role in efforts to end the bloodshed there and hold the gaddafi regime accountable and support the libyan people. in libya, the united nations is demonstrating the indispensible role it can play in advancing our interests and defending our values. we'll come back to libya in a few minutes but let me finish a brief readout of the president's meeting with the secretary jornle. they also discussed the situation elsewhere in the middle east as well as the situation and are concerned about the escalation of violence there and need to enable the legitimately elected general to assume governing.
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they discussed the historic referendum that took place in southern sudan where the people overwhelmingly voted for independence and they discussed the vital work that the u.n. and international community have still to do over with the parties to the sudanese conflict to resolve outstanding issues and ensure lasting peace as the south gains its independent independence in july this year. they also discussed their shared agenda to build on the strength of the united nations while pursuing and implementing very important management reforms as well as budgetary discipline. and finally, president obama reafffirmed the administration's strong belief that the united nations continues to play a vital role in addressing tough global and transnational threats and in doing so its work
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enhancing the safety and well-being of the american people. coming back to libya, as you know in new york on saturday night, the security council adopted resolution 1970, a tough and binding set of sanctions aimed at stepping the libyan regime from killing its own people. as you know from the very beginning of the crisis in libya, we have been clear it is vitally important for the international community to speak with one voice and has done so with an unusual and important sense of urgency, determination and unity of purpose. this resolution that we passed had several important components. first it refers the situation in libya directly to the international criminal court. this is the first time that the security council has unanimously voted to refer a case of heinous human rights violations to the i.c.c. it includes a travel ban and asset freeze on key libyan
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leaders. it imposes a complete arms embargo on libya and mechanisms to enforce it. and it takes new steps against the use of mersen areas to attack its own people and facilitates the delivery of humanitarian assistance. these sanctions and accountability mechanisms should make all members of the libyan regime think about the choice they have before them. violate human rights and be held accountable or stop the violence and respect the libyan's people call for change. there is no escaping that critical choice. meanwhile, all the members of the united nations security council are newted in their determination if their sanctions work and work as swiftly as possible. the security council has not finished its business and will continue to monitor the situation in libya quite closely and i'll reiterate what the
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president said over the weekend. now is the time for colonel ca gaffey to step aside and -- gaddafi and have a government that is responsive to their aspirations. i'm happy to take a few of your questions. >> i'll call on people. what i would like to do is refer questions to ambassador rice now. >> can you update us on the status of the talks about the no -fly zone? >> secretary clinton said today in geneva, these talks are under way with our partners in nato and elsewhere. we have made clear it is an option we are considering and considering actively and seriously. >> are you prepared to offer material support to the anti-government rebels in libya? >> we are in communication with
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all sorts of elements of libyan society, civil society, leaders of all sorts who understand their perspectives and be supportive as we can of the libyan people's aspirations for freedom and for justice. it's unclear at this point who will emerge as the critical opposition elements. and we await to see how the opposition will coalesce and it is premature to talk about that. >> thanks for being here. in an interview with several reporters, muammar gaddafi said he isn't going anywhere and all my people loves me and specified that the united nations would impose sanctions based purely on media reports.
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do you have any response to any of the things he said in the interview? >> it sounds quite frankly delus ional and laugh while slaughtering his own people and it underscores how unfit he is to lead and how disconnected from reality. it makes all the more important the urgent steps we have taken in the past week on an international basis and the steps we have taken through the united nations and security council and we are going to continue to keep the pressure on. you have seen reports about the massive quantity of resources from $30 billion that the treasury department has seized since the asset freeze went into effect on friday. and in light of the fact that colonel gaddafi and his son say
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they have no resources out there to be seized. they have led a clean and uncorrupt life. >> when you talk about gaddafi slaughtering his own people, he appeared to be doing that a week or so even longer and yet the president stopped short calling for regime change until this weekend. why did it take so long for a change in regime? now you are saying gaddafi has to go. he has been slaughtering his people for days. why did it take until this weekend? >> it is up to the libyan people and we are supportive of their efforts to achieve the universal rights and freedoms and the opportunity that they are seeking. i think we have been very, very clear about what is right and what is moral in this situation and what has been unacceptable
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and inexcuseable violence and we have taken strong and swift action to confront that. on friday, we froze the assets of libya's leaders and on monday, $30 billion, unprecedented quantity of resources have been seized in just over the last several days. on saturday, the security council with u.s. and leadership of others moved at a speed that i can tell you from my experience, almost unheard of to pass unanimously a resolution that not only imposed a travel embargo but referred the situation in libya for the first time on to the international criminal court. >> what changed since february 23? >> the situation has evolved. as the president has said, focused very urgently on the protection of americans and ensuring that americans are safe. but we have also at the same
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time been actively working and planning to enable the swift and decisive response that you have seen forthcoming from the u.s. government. . >> there is talk of oil embargoes but does it make sense it's in the hands of armed forces. >> the united states has historically in recent years moved away from sweeping measures and focused more precisely on targeted measures that go after the leadership of the country and isolate those responsible for atrocities. we're in a different world than we were 15, 20 years ago and have learned some lessons from regimes like iraq and elsewhere that didn't have the targeted effect that was desired and more scatter shot. at least in the context of the security council in new york whether we look at sanctions on iran, north korea, or libya, we aim first and foremost at
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targeted measures that go after those responsible for violations. >> what about the oil? >> we have not had active discussions in new york on oil. >> two questions, one, can you walk us through what the process would be for the united nations to recognize the sort of opposition in libya or recognize maybe the eastern part of that controlled territory, number one. and number two, is there a message in there for the iranian government, the governments of bahrain of how swiftly the u.n. seemed to respond in this case and maybe the lack of quickness they responded to the iranian uprising? >> the question of recognition is a very complicated one. and to recognize or seek a changed government required a vote of a u.n. credentials committee. and depending on the murkiness of the situation, that can be
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more or less complicated. we're dealing now with a request to the secretary-general from came daughtery -- qaddafi to withdraw accreditation for his dip national in new york who stood up, his deputy prime rep to the regime and have been very clear in calling for the kinds of measures the security council took on saturday. it's too soon to say in all honesty how issues of credentials and issues of recognition will be sorted out. in -- unless and until there is an obvious alternative government, it's hard to give credentials to -- >> a week, a month? >> it depends on how it evolves. until there's an obvious alternative it's hard to take from one and give to another because there's not a clear other to whom recognition can be given. >> i think when -- >> what enabled the security
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council to act so swiftly and decisively in this instance was there was just an egregious and widely reported series of mass killings by security forces on innocents, not only those protesting but those who stuck their heads out of windows, going into hospitals, reportedly, and shooting those dead that have already been wounded, shooting people as they came out of mosques. and all of this, i think, served to galvanize a sense of outrage and determination on the part of the security council and the rest of the international community that action had to be taken. and quite unusually, the first calls came from the arab league and the african union and subsequently the o.i.c. for this kind of action and the fact that libya's own diplomats in new york were urging decisive action i think also was an important factor.
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>> you reiterated the call for qaddafi to go and yet the u.s. doesn't have significant contact with the opposition. if he were to oblige and get on a plane and go, what does the u.s. want to see happen next? >> obviously the united states wants to see a responsible government emerge that respects the will of the libyan people. there is a serious institution building challenge that exists in libya, but in libya as elsewhere in the region, we believe there are universal rights that need to be acknowledged and respected and processes that are determined by the people in each of these different countries that charts a specific course that's suitable to that country. it would be wrong of us to sit here with a roadmap for political transformation in libya but our consistent message across the region, indeed across the world, is that the people deserve the right to chart their own future
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in a fashion that is -- that enables them to express themselves freely, assemble freely, select their leaders and do so free of violence and intimidation. >> one more for ambassador rice. margaret? >> thank you. with regard to the military question, i know you're saying it's premature to decide whether to commit troops. is it the u.s.'s position that would need to be done through a nato commitment and not through a u.s. military commitment and that secondly, in the conversations with ban ki-moon, is the president discussing more broadly how to do a proactive strategy with unrest in the middle east and how do you get ahead of that? >> let me come to your second question first. the president and secretary-general discussed the region broadly and the international efforts, including those led and coordinated by the united nations to be responsive to developments in each of these countries. so, for example, the secretary-general reported that
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he has sent high level teams to both egypt and tunisia to engage those governments about the process of transition and the political support that the united nations and the international community might be able to provide in support of those political transitions. with respect to libya, the secretary-general indicated he intended to name a senior level person to coordinate the united nations humanitarian and political efforts with respect to libya. that is something that we had encouraged and welcomed. and so there was a real effort discussed and agreed that would help to coordinate and consolidate both the humanitarian response, particularly with respect to libya and the political efforts to help support the democratic transformations that we hope are underway in various parts of the region. with respect to the military question, and we are in
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discussions with partners and allies in nato and elsewhere. we have been very clear that we have a range of options, a wide range of options that we're considering but it would be premature to say more than that. >> but you don't want the u.s. -- it seems the u.s. doesn't want a u.s. stamp on any action. the president is taking great pains to say there has to be a unified response s there a decision -- >> i think it's premature to speculate about any military action. we're simply in the process of planning and discussing various contingencies. >> one more. >> ambassador rice, you said something to the effect that we have not actively discussed oil at the u.n. are you talking about specifically the libyan issue or the increase -- the act to increase oil like in mexico or canada? >> i was just responding to the specific question of whether
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multilateral oil sanctions have been discussed actively in new york with respect to libya and the answer to that is no. >> so what about -- the -- >> the other issues, to my knowledge have not been discussed in a formal venue and not really the place where that discussion would occur. >> can you quantify the $10 million in humanitarian efforts the united states has committed for those refugees fleeing into the other countries? >> the u.s. government has begun to mount a very robust humanitarian response that will include resources to the various concerned agencies like the high commissioner for refugees, like the international organization for migration. we'll also be looking at other kinds of humanitarian needs, the secretary-general explained to the president today, for instance, the u.n. is quite concerned about the dirth of medical supplies in libya and the importance of urgent action
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being taken to ensure those kinds of critical humanitarian needs are met and we'll be supportive of those efforts as we always are. >> i have to let the ambassador go. >> thanks, dr. rice. >> now british prime minister david cameron on the situation in libya. his government has frozen assets of libyan leader muammar qaddafi and is working with allies on planned of a no-fly zone there. this is a little more than an hour. >> the statement of the prime minister. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i would like to update the house on the evacuation of british nationals from libya. the actions we are pursuing against colonel qaddafi and his administration and developments in the wider region. on evacuation, mr. speaker, we have been working intensively to get our people out. as of now, we have successfully removed around 600 british nationals from libya, the evacuation has centered on
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three locations, trip olie airport, the port at bengazi and the oil fields. at tripoli air force, six aircraft organized with a c-130 hercules flight have brought out more than 380 british nationals and a similar number of foreign citizens, at bengazi, the h.h.s. cumberland have taken out 11 british nationals and 303 foreign citizens from over 30 different countries. the first of these evacuations took place in very difficult sea conditions and the second arrived earlier today. these evacuations were assisted on the ground by five rapid deployment teams and nearly 30 extra staff from the foreign office who helped marshall british citizens in the midst of chaotic scenes in and around the airports and ports. clearly the most valueninging part of the evacuation has involved those british nationals scattered across 20
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locations in the oil fields deep in the desert. on friday evening i authorized a military operation to bring as many as possible out of the desert. on saturday, two r.a.f. c-130 aircraft flew in the eastern desert and picked up 74 british nationals and 102 foreign nationals at three different locations. the second mission took place yesterday, bringing out a further 21 nationals and 168 foreign nationals. on this second mission, one of the aircraft involved suffered minor damage from small arms fire. this underlines the challenging environment in which the aircraft were operating. indeed, britain has now taken on a leading role in coordinating the international evacuation effort. our awacs aircraft are directing national aircraft involved and the brigadier is commanding the u.k. operation and has established a temporary joint headquarters in malta helping to coordinate the efforts of many countries. i've thapingd the maltese prime minister.
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and we should pay tribute to malta and her people for the role they are playing. in terms of the number of british citizens remaining in libya it is difficult to aser certain precisely given the situation on the ground and many will be jewel nationals and not all of them will want to leave. i ask for urgent work to be done on both categories, those who wish to leave and those who currently do not. on current indications are that as of today there are fewer than 150 british citizens remaining in libya, of which only a very small proportion wish to leave. clearly, this can change at any time and we will keep the house regularly updated. we will continue to do all we can to ensure that those who wish to leave can do so. h.s. cumberland will remain in the area together with h.s. york which also stands ready off trip olie -- tripoli to assist. and we have others ready to fly at short notice. the government will continue to
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focus on making sure our citizens are safe. cobra has met regularly to coordinate the effort and i personally chaired three meetings over the weekend and the security council is looking at the overall strategic picture meeting last friday and again today not least to look at other risks to british citizens in countries in the wider region. as i said last week there will be lessons we wish to learn from this evacuation including in respect of hiring charter aircraft, use of defense assets and the need for greater redundancy. mr. speaker, clearly an important decision was when to extract our embassy. this was taken the cobra meeting friday and carried out on saturday. after the remaining civilians have been extracted from tripoli airport and in parallel with the start of the desert operations which were of course planned for malta. our judgment throughout has been that the risk to british citizens have been growing, including to our embassy and the american, french and germans suspended the operations of their embassies. britain maintains a consular
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warden in tripoli and ben gazi and maintain that turkey will look at our interests while the british operations remain suspended. i'm sure theous will want to put on record thanks to all those who made the rescue effort, to the royal navy crews and pilots and all three armed services and to our diplomatic service and all those who put themselves in harm's way to help our people leave safely. mr. speaker, let me turn to the pressure we are now putting on qaddafi's regime. we should be clear, for the future of libya and its people, colonel qaddafi's regime must end and he must leave. to that end, we're taking every possible step to isolate the qaddafi regime, to deprive it of money, to shrink its power and ensure anyone responsible for abuses in libya will be held to account. with respect to all these actions, britain is taking a lead. over the weekend we secured agreement for a u.n. security council resolution which we had
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drafted and which is unusually strong, unanimous and includes all of our profsals and condemns qaddafi's actions and imposes a travel bananasette freeze for those at the top of his murderous regime and demands an immediate end to the violence and killing of protesters, access to human rights monitors, lifting of restrictions on the internet and media, and an end to the detention of journalists. it refers libya's current leaders to the international criminal court to face the justice they deserve. mr. speaker, we will also the drives force end a special session of the u.n. human rights council on friday which started work to eject libya from the council and the foreign secretaries in geneva today along with secretary of state hillary clinton to see this work through. with our european partners we've secured freezing the assets of a wider group of individuals and banned them from entering the european union and imposing a wider arms embarring on the regime.
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europe is implementing the direct measures on the regime. a special privy council session was held wednesday on which we frozen the assets of qaddafi, five family members and people acting on their behalf and entities controlled by them. the treasury stepped in to block a shipment of 900 million pounds of bank notes to libya and neither qaddafi or his family may enter the u.k. and we revoked the number of visas of libyans linked to regime on immigration watch lists. we'll look at each and every way of stepping up pressure on this regime. further isolation of the regime by expelling it from international organizations, further use of assets freezes and travel bans to give the clearest possible message to those on the fringes of the regime that now is the time to dessert it. we do not in any way rule out the use of military assets. we must not tolerate this regime using military force
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against its own people. in that context i asked the ministry of defense and chief of defense staff to work with our allies on plans for a military no-fly zone. mr. speaker, it is clear this aenily jet regime that lost the consent of its people and our message is simple to qaddafi, go now. everyone hopes the situation will be revolved quickly but there is a danger of a humanitarian crisis inside libya and we dispatched teams to be in place at the continue erbeian and egyptian borders -- at the tunisian and egyptian borders. the international development secretary will be visiting the region later this week to assess the situation on the ground for himself but in the meantime britain will fly intense and blankets from our stops in dubai for use at the tunisian border. north africa and the wider middle east are at the epicenter of momentous events. history is sweeping through this region and yes, we must deal with the immediate
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consequences, especially for british citizens caught up in these developments but we must also be clear about what these developments mean and how britain and the rest in general should respond. in many parts of the arab world, hopes and aspirations which have been smothered for decades are stirring. people, especially young people, are seeking their rights and in the vast majority of cases are doing to peacefully and bravely. the parallels with what happened in europe in 1989 are not of course precise and of course there have been many disappointments in the past, but those of us who believe in democracy and open society should be clear, this is a precious moment of opportunity. while it is not for us to dictate how each country should meet the aspirations of its people, we must not remain silent in our belief that freedom and the rule of law are what best guarantee human progress and economic success. freedom of expression, a free press, freedom of assembly, the right to demonstrate peacefully, these are basic rights and they are much the
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rights of people in tahrir square as they are in trafalgar square and are not the western values but of human being everywhere. and we must look at our relationship with this region with the billions of euro the e.u. funds and our cultural ties and must be clearer and tougher in linking our development assistance to real progress in promoting more open and plural societies. and we need to dispense once and for all with the outdated notion democracy has no place in the arab world. too often in the past we made a false choice between so-called stability on the one hand and reform and openness on the other. as recent events have confirmed, denying people their basic rights does not preserve stability, rather the reverse. we should be clear, too, that now is not the time to park the middle east peace process, quite the opposite. in short, reform, not repression is the way to lasting stability. no one pretends democracy and open societies can be built overnight. democracy is the work of
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patient craftsmanship and takes time, as we know from our own history, to put its building blocks in place. what is happening in the wider middle east is one of those once in a generation opportunities, a moment when history turns a page. the next page may not be written and it forced us to seize this chance to fashion a better future for this region, to build a better relationship between our peoples, to make a new start. as the inspiring opposition leaders i met in tahrir scare said to me this week we have the opportunity of achieving freedoms you and britain take for granted. i'm determined we should not let them down and i commend this statement to the house. >> hear, hear. >> mr. speaker, can i thank the prime minister for his statement, and i would like to ask him about the four areas he covered, the immediate safety of british nationals, the future of the libyan regime, the wider middle east and lessons learned from this crisis? can i first join him in expressing deep and abiding gratitude to members of the
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british armed forces who succeeded with extraordinary courage and professionalism in evacuating so many of our citizens and those of other countries from libya the last week. these brave men and women are a credit to our nation. >> hear, hear. >> time to add my thanks to the foreign office staff on the ground to their efforts. our first concern as the prime minister said must be the safety of our own people. for operational and security reasons i would not expect the prime minister to discuss future operations but can he reassure the house all contingencies continue to be looked at in relation to any remaining u.k. citizens stranded in libya? and given the closure of the british embassy on saturday and i understand the reasons for that, can he assure us everything is still being done to keep in close contact with those citizens that remain until what means of communication are available to them? on the question of libya's political future, i think the whole house will endorse the view expressed by the prime minister that the only acceptable future is one
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without colonel qaddafi and his regime. we welcome what he says about a possible no-fly zone. can i also welcome the international isolation of libya expressed in u.n. security council resolution 1970 including sanctions and arms embargo and a decision to refer the killing of protesters to the international criminal court? the resolution imposes travel bans for 17 qaddafi loyalists and asset freezes on a number of other individuals. can the prime minister tell the house where he thinks he's asset freezes go wide enough in covering all those beyond colonel qaddafi's immediate family who made the decision to stand with him? and can he reassure the house the government will make full use of the provision in paragraph 23 of the resolution to nominate additional regime members who should be targeted by travel bans and asset freezes? on the human rights situation, there is clearly a growing humanitarian crisis on the tune erbeian -- tunisian border and
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welcome the steps that are going to be taken. let me transfer the events beyond libya in the wider region. the events unfolding across the middle east and the prime minister reflected this in his statement are as significant as the liberations that affected eastern europe in 1989 and as he said our response to them needs to be equally ambitious. there is a popular will in many of these countries for democratic reform and this movement is in line with the values we share. does he agree that the way to approach this situation is that we need to build a strategic response including closer economic ties, support for civil society, and institution building in those countries? and would he concede there is much we can and should do bilaterally, real progress will require sustained will and effort at a multilateral effort including at the european union? can i also share the sentiments he expressed it would be a tragedy if in this moment of change the opportunity was not grasped to make progress on the issue of israel-palestine. can i therefore give my support
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to his calls for the rapid resums of talks between israel and the palestinian and for his decision to support the recent u.n. security council on settlements? can he say what steps the u.k. will now be taking to get negotiations moving again? on the question of armed sales, can the prime minister confirm that the government will work with the e.u. partners to strengthen the guidelines and the operations of the rules on arms sales? finally, mr. speaker, can i ask about the lessons to be learned from the immediate crisis response last week? many members of the house on all sides have been in recent days dealing with constituents anxious about about their family members stranded in libya. does the prime minister accept the foreign office should have done more as other countries did to ensure planes were on the ground in libya on tuesday rather than late on wednesday night to evacuate our citizens? and can he explain why this was not the case? given the scale of emergency and the transparent need for
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coordination across government, does he now agree the emergency committee cobra should have been convened earlier than thursday? and again, can he explain why that didn't happen? and mr. speaker, can he share with the house the wider lessons he personally learned about the running of his government? i think the whole country has now thankfully seen the scale of response that can be mobilized to help our citizens. but can he promise that the british nationals abroad in the future won't be let down as they were by the chaos and incompetence we saw last week? >> hear, hear. >> i have to say to the prime minister, i am surprised he hasn't taken the opportunity to apologize to this house for the handling that we saw last week, and i hope in his reply he'll take the opportunity to do so. and when the inquiry is completed, will the prime minister promise there will be an oral statement to report its findings to the house along with the conclusions on the lessons that need to be learned? >> hear, hear. >> prime minister? >> thank you, mr. speaker.
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first of all, i thank him for our praise of the armed forces and i think they have performed a magnificent job and should thank the foreign office staffs and those in the crisis center i visited in the foreign office which is manning the phones around the clock and doing what is an extremely difficult job. in terms of future operations, it's difficult to say too much more in the house but obviously i've given these new numbers about the number of british citizens we believe are still in libya and those who want to leave but is a small number at the moment who want to leave and can change and we have the assets in place to help where appropriate. in terms of what replaces our embassy, weville with a consul in tropoli and will be working with the turkish government and i've spoken to the turkey prime minister as well as many others. in terms of the action we take against libya, he asked whether the travel bans and asset freezes go wide enough.
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it is an important point and we want to right now isolate and target the key members of the regime but with a clear warning those close to the regime have a choice, they can dessert it and they can leave it or if they stay with it there's the chance they'll be hit by travel bans and asset freezes, too, and would be part of turning up the pressure. in terms of the wider region, i agree with what he says about institution building and indeed making sure the european union sharpens up its act in terms of its neighborhood policy. i think there is room, yes, for multilateral action but i hope in this country that we can do more in terms of political relations and building on also party to party relations to try and help build up the building blocks of democracy in those countries. i agree with what he says on israel-palestine. i'm proud of the fact we backed the security council resolution. that was the right decision, although obviously it meant a disagreement with our oldest and strongest ally, the united states. but it was the right decision to make. on armed sales, i agree the
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guidelines need to be clear and need to be adhered to. finally, as to a number of questions about lessons to be learned. as i said, i think there are lessons to learn and what worked with respect to egypt with a combination of scheduled flights and chartered flights did not work in the case of libya. lessons need to be learned including the case of military assets. i would make the point it's not as easy as some people say, the more you rely on charters earlier the more the scheduled airlines collapse and you can leave yourself with a bigger problem. he asked a question about learning lessons of the wider running of government. of course there are always lessons to learn and perhaps if an apology is in order he should think of one about the dodgey dealing with libya under the last government. >> mr. speaker, i agree with the prime minister in view of the complete chaos engulfing libya and there's a rare opportunity here together with our european partners to expedite the downfall of the
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present regime and create a post-qaddafi structure in the vacuum, but will he agree that given libya's appalling human rights it was a complete misjudgment to have entered into a defense cooperation agreement with libya? >> i do think there are lessons to learn from what was the deal of the desert. what i will say is the last government was correct to encourage the giving up of weapons of mass destruction by think more parameters should have been put on the relationship in terms of the release of al magret, i and should not have been the government's position to facilitate that and lessons need to be learned more broadly about it and am sure we'll have the opportunity. >> mr. jack straw, can i echo those appreciation for the diplomats and others who worked so hard to provide an service for the citizens and others stranded and i commend the other actions the government is taking with respect to this. could i ask him to expand on
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the point he made in his statement about what he described as greater redundancy for responding to future crisis by which i assume he means greater resilience, greater resources and would he accept that cutting the foreign office 's staff by 450 to save 30 million pounds at a time when our budgets have been flat cannot but significantly undermine the ability of the foreign office adequately to response when the next strike occurs. >> i listen to the gentleman with his experience. indeed, though, the cuts to the foreign office are much less severe than other departments so i don't think that has had a material impact. in terms of the issue of redundancy what i mean here is clearly the case of egypt, that combination of scheduled flights and adding in chartered flights meant we actually led the pack in terms of getting people out, clearly in libya the situation was different and more difficult and we need to learn the lessons about what
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extra capacity you need to put in place. as i say, it's not as simple as some people think because actually if you add in capacity too quickly you collapse the scheduled flights and b.m.i. and both flights to libya and land yourself with a bigger problem. lessons should be learned and the only point i make now as we stand today briten is now doing a huge amount to help other countries out of libya, helping over 32 nationalities. >> mr. edward lee. it's strange, isn't it, when we have a defense review we're told we're no longer a world power and don't need a royal navy, but as we saw last week we need one more than ever and the only ship we could find was onen on the way to scrap yard. ened i would sure my friend as long as he on the state there will be no further cuts to the royal navy? >> we are exceptionally well served by our navy and not only h.s. cumberland but h.s. york have been on hand to help in libya. the point i would make is obviously we are making a reduction in the number of
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current frig either -- frigots but have the type coming on stream but in all cases it's a mixture of military and civilian assets that need to be brought to bear to make sure we get countries out of libya. >> the prime minister has my strong support for the vote the government cast at the security council on february 17, the last government cast a similar vote in january of 2009 with cross party support. however, does he also agree with me the lesson of the last decade is of their own volition, the israelis and palestinian will not find a resolution between themselves and the international committee needs to force a timing on that dispute and that needs to be led from the u.n. security council. >> i agree with the right old gentleman and good to see him in his place and i think what i'm trying to make sure is that there is a real combination effort between britain, france, germany and the united states to try and provide that backing. the only problem is, and he
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will be aware of this, it is difficult for us to want a solution more than the parties want a solution. but we should put every available pressure we can and indeed should be making the argument right now that the awakening of democracy in the middle east is not a threat to the peace process but indeed could be an opportunity. >> mr. james arbucknot. president mahmoud abbas called for elections in the palestinian authority. does my friend share his concern that hamas whose electoral mandates that expired is refusing to allow such elections to take place in gaza? already i think -- >> i think my right old friend makes a good point. the key thing in terms of our engagement should be to ask those on the palestinian side to accept the key principles of recognizing the state of israel and recognizing former agreements and then it's possible to go forward and hold proper negotiations. but we need that to happen in order to get both parties around the table properly to
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then hammer out the solution i think everybody knows is there. >> mr. ben bradshaw, in his conversations with president obama, has he emphasized the urgency and the opportunity of the events in the middle east provide to make progress on israel, palestine and has he also expressed disappointment at the american veto of that resolution. >> i had very frank conversations with president obama on this. i do believe in the special relationship and believe it's incredibly close and important relationship but i believe when you do disagree you should be frank in sago so and on this issue britain and america don't agree and we think that resolution, while not ideally drafted is basically right and why we voted with it and very disappointed it was vetoed. obviously we have to persuade the americans that further investment in the peace process is absolutely worth it. not just for its own sake but for the wider peace of the region and to remove a great cause of instability and extremism in our world. >> mr. john baron. the government has been
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absolutely right to support the forces for democratic change but further to his statement does my right, honorable friend think that the support will have any affect on future relationships with our other autocratic friends in the region? >> as i hope my old friend would notice, i just completed a trip to the gulf region and i was actually quite struck how a number of our very strong and old allies like in kuwait, like in qatar and oman are actually in favor of taking further steps towards democracy, towards more open societies, and far from being dismayed by our very clear reaction that democracy and freedom and that sort of progress is a good thing, we're fully in support of it. >> hear, hear. >> mike gapes. speaker, when he was in kuwait as well as promoting arms sales and exports, did the prime minister have an opportunity to discuss with john major, the former prime minister, the fact that 20 years ago a no-fly zone
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was imposed without the security council resolution, and isn't it time the european union nato members worked more urgently to make sure qaddafi's regime cannot use helicopters and aircraft to crush the resistance to him? >> i think i agree with my old friend. it was a pleasure being in kuwait with sir john major because it was an opportunity to commemorate the action that he led as prime minister in terms of liberating that country from saddam hussein. and all i say to those who question whether his right to take defense companies to visit kuwait, kuwait was a country where 20 years ago we risked the lives of our service personnel to free that country and seems to me an odd argument to sekou wait shouldn't have the means of its own defense. in terms of a no-fly zone, of course we must comply with international law but my argument is we need to do the preparation and planning now because no one can be sure what colonel qaddafi will do to his own people and if he starts taking that sort of action we
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might need to have a no-fly zone in place very quickly. >> mr. speaker, the prime minister is right to praise the bravery of u.k. military in the evacuation but given many international companies have operations in libya, the prime minister is satisfied that working in these high risk environments such as desert oil fields with a country with oppressive regimes these companies had evacuations in place or do they need to learn a lesson? >> i think the lady makes an extremely good point and this is a conversation i think we should be having now with those oil companies. yes, of course they do have security arrangements and transport arrangements and it's important to get our people out and working with them and make sure they are playing their part in delivering that and i'm sure that there are lessons to be learned and probably more they could have done rather than being quite so reliant on us. >> tony lloyd.
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thank you, mr. speaker, may i say what a great pleasure it is so ee him in his place because i spent last week trying to speak to a foreign officer with no success. but the development in libya, the criminal court that's been invoked in this case but can i make it clear from the dispatch, this won't only apply to colonel qaddafi and his immediate family but will apply to anybody in libya who chooses to side with the regime in any future atrocities? >> the gentleman makes an extremely good point, not only the international criminal court and reach of international law does not just apply to people in the qaddafi regime or those in the armed forces who commit atrocities, it applies to any mercenary who goes to libya and does those activities. as i said, in a previous statement, the reach of the international law is very long and its memory is also very long and quite right, too. >> mr. dobias ellwood, the prime minister describes a very
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fluid series of events and this is a once in a lifetime generation to encourage democracy to spread across the middle east. he gave a very robust message to colonel qaddafi, does he have an equally robust message to the dictators in africa who chose not to support democracy but send mercenaries to support colonel qaddafi and the dictatorship? >> my honorable friend makes a good point, in which this is a test for everyone, a test for nato, a test for the e.u. and a test for the arab league and yes it will be a test for the african union as well. the iran league has actually suspended libya in terms of its membership and i think we should look for the african union to take robust action as well and certainly the point he makes about mercenaries is well made and we should make that very clear to african armies, african leaders who are contemplating that sort of measure. >> mr. david willick. would we be pleased we took part in an armed fair in libya
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past november where all kinds of crowd control happened with sniper rifles were sold to the regime given the history of qaddafi? and frankly, prime minister, isn't it time this country, whichever government is in office stop sending arms to murderous bastards who terrorize their own people? >> the point i would make and this is across party point and we do have in this country some of the toughest arms control legislation and regime that anywhere in the world, what this government has done is immediately revoked about 30 licenses covering a whole range of products to that regime and others in the region. i think it's right. but there are further lessons to be learned? i'm quite clear we should look at those as to what else should be done. >> mr. david trebinik. >> we assured the house we learned the failure of the last labor government to plan effectively for after regime
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change? >> i think my friend makes an important point which is we need now to plan for every eventuality and i mentioned the importance of planning for a potential humanitarian crisis we also need to plan for what may happen shoot regime fall or indeed something we don't want to happen it embeds itself for a long time and we have a situation of a civil war in libya. we have to prepare for every eventuality and work with the international community to make sure we're ready for those. >> mr. speaker, further to the point traced by the honorable gentleman, may i make the point the end user certificate scheme is broken, it does not work s since last year the first half of last year, 31 million pounds worth of armaments were sold to libya and many of them were stunned guns, smoke grenades, tear gas, and the whole panoply of stuff used against civilians have not been taken to state
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against aggression by another? >> i think the general makes a good point and when you look at the whole terms of the deal in the desert that was done we have to ask ourselves serious questions about how widely it went and what sort of equipment it involved and frankly i'm pleased now we put in place these revocation of these licenses but i think there are lessons to be learned about what was intended by what was agreed several years ago. >> mr. tom baldry. >> the unanimous decision by the security council to refer qaddafi to the international criminal court is of incredible importance because it demonstrates the first time in controversy that heads of state and heads of government will be liable to prosecution if they commit human rights offenses and offenses against human rights. >> i think my honorable friend makes an speakly good point which is when britain and it was britain that drafted the text of the resolution, the advice i was given, this would take days, probably weeks to get through the u.n. security council and i think it is
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remarkable the u.n. security council has adopted this unanimously and there were no votes against and that all countries without naming names backed it. i think it's a very, very positive sign and hope when it means we come forward with fresh security council resolutions to tighten further the screw on this dreadful regime there will be similar support. >> talking about planning for the future, has he heard any discussions with nato in terms of should we require further rescue actions whether nato could play a larger role rather than just bilateral action? >> the honorable lady makes a good point, defense has been discussing with nato a range of things today including which she speaks about but also military planning for things like no-fly zones. what i would say is although there have been, as it were, bilateral efforts of countries like britain to get in areas like the desert and rescue our own people, there's been a huge amount of coordination in malta and i pay tribute to brigadier bashel for leading this process
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to make sure whether it is german planes or british planes or canadian planes we're taking each other's nationals out. i've had a range of conversations with different prime ministers and presidents to make sure we're all helping each other in this regard and what is being coordinated from malta. >> william cash. >> long time honorable friend about the concern of the prospect of qaddafi unleashing his very significant war machine against the people of libya? and would he give thought to the idea that those who are resisting qaddafi must be properly armed if necessary in order to ensure that they are not wiped out as happened in share yofeo -- sarejovo. >> we're trying better to make an established contact with the opposition to learn about them and what their intentions are. clearly what we want and what is in our interest and i would argue in the interest of the whole world and libyan people is the swift removal of colonel
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qaddafi from his position. that is what we want to achieve and if helping the opposition in some way would help bring that about, it's certainly something we should consider. >> frank dobson. >> will the prime minister confirm there's nothing new or peculiarly labor about dodgey relations between the british government and the murderous libyan regime? and would he confirm that when after in april of 1984 metropolitan police, constable von fletcher was shot dead from the libyan embassy, the thatcher government humiliated the commissioner of the metropolitan police by requiring him to provide policemen to provide an escort of the murderer to the airport so that he could get back safely to libya? >> i feel that's somewhat of a tortured way of making a political point and i would make one in return.
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you have to comply with international rules. i make one simple point is that in the last parliament there was a choice about whether to support the release of mcgrawy, one party decided it was the right thing to do and am proud to say this party didn't. >> roger halthorn. >> my grandfather was one of thousands of jews who had to leave libya because of qaddafi appropriating jewish businesses and homes. he came to this country bra of its democracy. he would have been shocked to have seen not just the close relations between the last government of qaddafi, but also the fact that our distinguished universities were accepting over a million pounds, particularly the school of economics from qaddafi. could my honorable friend take steps to ensure this scandal never happens again? >> my old friend speak with great power about this. what i've said about the relations with libya, i do think it was right to try and
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bring that country in from the cold. of course it was. but the question is whether parameters should have been put on that relationship. and i think it's for everyone to ask what agreements they came to and i heard the head of london's school of economics trying to justify that on the radio this morning. let's hope at least the money they have can now be put to a good use. >> mr. christopher bryant. >> thank you, mr. speaker. given the circumstances the prime minister describes isn't it increasingly difficult to explain the behavior of the special ambassador for trade who is not only a very close friend of qaddafi but is also a close friend of the convicted lip ran gun smuggler, isn't it time we dispense with the services of the duke of york? >> i'm not aware of the particular connections, the honorable gentleman chooses to make. i'm very happy to look into them. but if we're going to disqualify friends of qaddafi from public life it would be
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saying goodbye to one or two of his old friends. >> i'm extremely grateful to the prime minister for his reply but may i say references to members of the royal family should be very rare, very sparing, and very respectful. we have to be very careful in our humbling of these masses and i hope that we will be. mr. james gray? >> mr. speaker, thank new congratulating the brave young air men and women who are still in my constituency whose c-130 hercules played a role in the evacuation. will the prime minister agree in the future the much greater role to be played by contractors who in moment this scant plans of evacuation by their own but we are saving the risk of young service lives by their plans? >> my friend makes a good point. and obviously there needs to be a deeper conversation and greater planning between companies and government, of course companies that have played an important role, but i do feel we need to make sure we get this right for the future.
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when we're trying to bring people out of the desert across 20 or more platforms is extremely complicated and i'm sure we can learn some lessons how to do it better in the future. >> i think all of us want to place on the record tremendous admiration for the courage of the libyan people, men, women and children who were actually fighting the dictator with their bare hands. can i say to him if we're looking at lessons learned we should look at what happened when a no-fly zone was provided for the kurds of iraq. it was john majors move and it meant that thousands of kurds were protected. there's not a lot obviously we can do immediately but we should look at that, i think, as a matter of great importance because i do believe it could save thousands of lives if he is actually going to form his own people from the air. >> the honorable lady speak
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with great passion about these issues and i think she's right to draw attention to what people are doing in libya, showing extraordinary bravery. as we've seen right across north africa and the middle east, this is not an islamist revolution but the peoples revolution and people want the sorts of freedoms we take for granted in this country. in terms of a no-fly zone, i have to tell her it's not without its difficulties and problems. libya is an enormous country and you'd try to cover a vast area and would take a serious amount of military assets to achieve it and obviously doesn't necessarily stop all oppression of the libyan people because there are other ways other than helicopter gunships and planes to carry that out, but i do think it's one thing we need to look at, look at urgently and plan for in case we find, as we may well do, that colonel qaddafi is taking further appalling steps to oppress his people and that's why the conversations are taking place today. >> duncan haynes. >> it's been good to hear more muscular liberalism this raven and the prime minister rightly calls qaddafi's rule anily jet
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regime which had lost the consent of its people. when does he consider it was last anything but? >> i have never supported colonel qaddafi or his regime. and i do think it is illegitimate. clearly that begs the question how long we're going to go on recognizing this regime and again it's another urgent piece of work i've requested to make sure we do everything we can to isolate, to cut off the money, to cut off the supply, to cut off the oxygen to this regime so it falls as fast as it possibly can. >> mr. mcshane. >> mr. speaker, you recall 10 days ago a question i begged the foreign secretary to suspend arms sales to the region and to gear up for an office response. i'm very glad the prime minister gripped it. can i welcome the last part of his statement about building on this for a new approach to democracy? would he consider creating a british foundation for democracy development to include businesses, n.g.o.'s, the media, judges, trade
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unions, like the work put in to support what happened in 1989 and the 1970's and use of development money, this way we can create something that can help everybody in the future rather than rekim nate about the past? >> it's not always i'm in complete agreement with the honorable gentleman but this is one of those occasions. i think the whole idea of greater party-to-party contacts and political contacts, building what i call the building blocks of democracy in terms of civil societies and political parties, this is something britain has expertise and i think excellence. we obviously have the westminister foundation for democracy and we need to ask whether there's more we can do with that or whether it is some other new mechanism we need to build but i'm glad to see there's cross party support for something i think britain can play a unique party for building. >> given the capability gap we had to accept from the ccsr
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with the combat ship and on thursday the u.s. journalists were pressing the state department officials to explain why the u.s. was not able to match british evacuation efforts, is the prime minister confident that in future years we can rely on the united states to deliver for us and others we would wish to help? >> the honorable lady makes a -- asks a good question about capability gap. clearly, i would argue that what this has demonstrated is the importance of flexibility, in fact what's been necessary is having a good range of military assets, having transport aircraft, as we will with the future, a-400-m and having large numbers of highly trained special forces and we will have more under the defense review and also being able to have, as we come in malta and cicely and elsewhere having basing rights and the ability to fly. i will make the point that of course people put the question about carries but i would make
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the point perhaps that the u.s. has something like 12 aircraft carriers but not one currently in the mediterranean but seems to me what's more important is flexibility of forces and the ability to get people in and out quickly rather than obsessing about political platforms. >> jeremy corbin. >> i thank the prime minister for his statement and reconvening of the u.n. human rights council which i hope will take center stage in future developments. is he not, however, concerned that in every country in the region, tunisia, bahrain, egypt, yemen, the security forces that have used weapons against civilians and have killed young people demonstrating for their rights and jobs are using equipment made in britain, europe or the united states? we have to look to our relationship and our sales of arms that have been used to carry out the carnage against holy innocent civilians trying to demand what we want for ourselves? >> i make two points to the honor value jabble. 0 -- honorable gentleman. we've revoked huge numbers of
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licenses including those he mentioned. there's a broader point in which those countries that met the aspirations with reform are actually have a chance of success and progress, those that have met them with repression are actually finding that is not the answer and think that is the case we'll ee across this region. >> still a great many members seeking to contribute but there is pressure on time with a heavily subscribed debate under the ausmuses of the business committee to follow and there if i'm to accommodate the colleagues, extreme brevity is now careered -- now required. >> returning to the question raised by the member in terms of cloaked relations with colonel qaddafi's son, was the prime minister surprised as i was to find he had very many meetings with the previous business secretary, lord mantelson and had actually described the previous prime minister, tony blair, as a close, personal friend? >> my honorable friend makes a good point, which just highlights i think the issues i was raising earlier.
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at the point i would make is this, as i said, it was right to restore relations with libya but parameters and judgment need to be brought to bear as well. >> in congratulating the right and honorable gentleman on the vote cast by the united kingdom and the security council on israeli settlements, may i ask him whether he like chancellor merkel received a reproachful telephone call from netanyahu and if so, did he, like chancellor merkel, tell netanyahu, that he, netanyahu is the principle obstacle to negotiations and he must get on and negotiate? >> hear, hear. >> well, as it happens i didn't on this occasion get a reproachful phone call from netanyahu but if i had done, for once i'm in full agreement with the honorable gentleman and i'm sure would have responded as he suggests. >> does the prime minister think the relative inability of the west to offer moral
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leadership to those seeking greater freedom in the middle east owes something to the disastrous policy of regime change by military means implemented by president bush and prime minister blair eight years ago? >> i take some issue with my friend. i think we should stop arguing about some of these points in the past and actually try to build a stronger argument about what our engagement with this region should be like. where i agree with him i think the sort of what i called the rather naive neocon crew you -- view you can impose democracy at the enof a barrel is wrong is not right but also is wrong with a hard-core realist approach saying we have to deal with what is there, we should learn from our own history and recognize putting in place the building blocks of democracy, having elections, yes, but also the rule of law, an independent judiciary, a proper place for the military in society, free association, free speech, many rights we had years before having the vote, that is what we should be focusing on in our relations with these countries
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so we can help point them to a better future. >> the citizens of libya felt in great danger, quite frankly it was abandonned by this government. and might you have a independent inquiry with the foreign office? [inaudible] >> i think the honorable gentleman is being slightly unfair. i think this is not easy things to get right. i think we did well in the case of egypt. clearly there are lessons to learn. i don't think it is a complicated process of learning the lessons. i think there are a number of steps i said about defense assets and redundancy and about the use of scheduled flights. and i think we can learn those lessons relatively quickly and think it is a relatively straightforward and easy thing to use do. >> given that currently qaddafi's recent behavior is no surprise to anyone, does the
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prime minister understand the vast majority of people in britain share his anger, the last government in collusion with the scottish government did all it could to secure the release of the lockerbie bomber? >> i put this on the report many times, i think it was wrong to try and facilitate the release. i think the british government should have taken a clear view and was the largest mass murder that took place in british history and this person should die behind bars and would have been the clear and right view and taken the country with him. >> jim >> could i share the experience of my constituents and his family? and james was released last night. his family spent most of last week trying to contact the foreign office appeared numerous phone calls were unsuccessful.
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he was asked -- the family was asked repeatedly if he could make his way to tripoli. is the prime minister assure that the victims will be included in that inquiry? >> the foreign office minister is listening to this and i am sure he will be able to take up this individual case. i have visited the crisis center at the foreign office and seen the hard work they are doing. they were coping not only with the crisis in libya but also with the earthquake in new zealand and taking calls on both of those. i have been impressed by the work they do. as a constituency case, the foreign office will take it up for him. >> and jeremy le foye? >> the african union. colonel gaddafi is a former chairman. would you share with me the hope that the african union would in
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future exclude such dictators from its membership? >> what i can say is that we are on the case of this issue. the secretary for international development will be talking with a number of african leaders to make the point about the unacceptable behavior of colonel gaddafi. >> he said the hopes and aspirations are stirring. if we are to build a new relationship with the middle east based on mutual respect, is it not the case that we need to get rid of our reputation for double standards? that not only means standing up to dictators. it also means that the occupation of one country by another is wrong and has to end. >> i would have some agreement with the hon. gentleman. i think we should be clear and the case of israel and palestine that the settlement are wrong.
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the vote recast in the un security council is clear about that. we should also be clear that we want to see the advance of civil society, pluralism, democracy and freedom in countries across north africa and the middle east. what i have found in talking with leaders, actually, it is not a message that friends and the gulf reject. it is one day except and see the sense of. we as an old friend, we should be explaining how important it is -- unsound with respect, done so recognizing that different countries have different rates of development. >> thank you. in light of gaddafi's 40 years of tryanny at hoem, does he agree that it was a morally wrong for the defense department to sign those
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defense contracts. >> my hon. friend makes a good point. there was a degree of credulity of the last government. i would be happy to put them all there so that people could see the mistakes that were made heard . >> the least likely option is that the gaddafi would be brought to a quick end. he is already enforcing his position in the capital. the real worries there are that there will not only be a humanitarian disaster but there will be of human rights disaster. the prime minister has indicated some areas he is looking at. will he redouble efforts not only nationally but international to ensure that we do not stand by and see that happen? >> i agree. we should not stand by. if colonel gaddafi uses military
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force against his own people, the world cannot stand by. that is quite urgent discussions need to take place in nato and we need america to be fully engaged. what we cannot know from here is except what happens next. if someone had predicted catholic half of libya would be under the control of of rebel groups -- predicted that half of libya would be under the control of rebel groups, what is exciting is that this murder is a dictator who everyone thought was in control has been knocked over so quickly. >> an mcintosh? >> i think the prime minister -- i thank the prime minister. but i also mark my personal thanks to cumberland who helped three lady mp.'s while patrol in the gulf at this time against iran. the real threat of the all-
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points hike in this country from the instability in the middle east. we put our minds at rest of the government -- will handle the instability? >> i think the hon. lady would like to get me to pre-judge the budget. let me say how brave those pilots and crews of those aircraft work. an extremely difficult mission, involving a number of stops and desert areas, very uncertain about what they would find. i think it is incredible work they have done. >> can the prime minister please tell the house what reports he has received about the killing of people in tripoli who were celebrating after listening to inaccurate reports from us started forces gaddafi had fled to venezuela? >> i have not seen those
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specific reports, but a number of people have been killed and -- murdered in tripoli. the responsibility lies squarely with the people that run that regime and not anybody else. >> on the broader prado about the changes we are seeing in the middle east, would the prime minister agree that it is britain's and nationals interests that we pursue a soft power, to promote democracy and support opposition movements, where people are moving towards greater democracy in these countries? >> i very much agree with that. in terms of soft power, we do have a credible assets, whether it is the bbc, a british council, political relations. all of those things should be brought to bear, recognizing that building a democracy is painstaking and patient work. a long side hard power, it is a soft power assets that can sometimes achieved great
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success. >> can the prime minister explain the procedure used for the covert emergency response? was it because the deputy prime minister would have had a role of he had not been out of the country? will he review it and will be published that review? >> in this case, let me just be clear that on monday the foreign office crisis center was established which had mod people embedded in it. the idea that two department of state were working together was wrong. it meets officially, in , her terms of official activities. it has been inactivity over the weekend. >> henry smith? >> can the prime minister say whether the military agreement
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signed by the last agreement was used for special forces -- to train special forces in libya and if they have been used against the people? >> i am not aware of that, but i think the full terms of the deal in the desert need to be made clear. those people opposite calling for the words are a, perhaps with like to issue it for themselves. -- those people opposite calling for the word sorry, perhaps would like to issue it for themselves. >> we have seen murder on the streets of tripoli as a result of the foreign secretary's foolish remarks. >> the murder on the streets of tripoli is the responsibility of colonel gaddafi and his murderous regime. for members opposite to make some fake political point is truly pathetic. >> i welcome the prime minister's statement.
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the successful rescue missions we have seen and the leadership the u.k. forces are showing in libya. can the right hon. friend to tell the house what steps are being taken to develop contingency plans to protect british nationals in iman and yemen if the violence escalates in both those countries? >> we are doing extensive work looking at the number of british nationals across the region and preparing for all eventualities. we do not want to do anything to encourage those sorts of issues, but we are thinking of going on to make sure we have those issues covered. >> we share his objective of a successful and is stringently controlled defense export sector in the u.k., but does he not think he could have made better progress towards the objective, if he had reconsidered the timing of his trade mission last week? >> company i do not agree with that.
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i would like -- i do not agree with that. i would like to make people happy, but it was a -- are raised trip. it was worthwhile going to cairo to meet the protestors and going to kuwait on the 20th anniversary of his liberation and being able to make a speech in parliament about the importance of spreading democracy and freedom, i think that is important. in terms of who accompanied me, i had a little check, in november, 2008, the former prime minister took many of the same companies, including british aerospace. it is companies like rolls- royce and british aerospace, large employers, i think it is important that we help those in businesses and make sure that they go on and plain peopemploy. >> can i congratulate the prime
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minister on the quick action they took of stopping the -- at the un? can the prime minister tell the house that the government will press the u.s. to take action against any country that breaks the un resolution? >> i thank the hon. gentleman for his question. the most important thing is to encourage countries to take action and put in place the terms of the un sanctions. that is why we held the privy council yesterday. we passed legislation, putting in place the asset freeze. it is encouraging others to take that step before we take the next step of widening the net and putting more pressure on this regime. >> before the prime minister takes too many trips down memory lane with sir john major, perhaps he should recall 5h3the arms exported under the neck -- the last tory government --
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perhaps he will look at the role of providing cover for arms sales to on that stable countries. >> 20 years ago, this country played a part in an international coalition to bring about the liberation of kuwait. should we continue to have a strong religious it with that country, which has a pa rliament, is taking steps for greater openness -- should we have a close relationship? i say, yes, we should. >> i thought it was impressive that the prime minister was in the middle east so early. most people on this side would agree. would the prime minister again take credit to our raf personnel that did beat the desert rescues and point out that 95 british nationals were rescued and over 200 foreign
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nationals were rescued. >> his son is a chenoot pilot. i think what they have done is outstanding. there are over 32 different nationalities that have been rescued and brought back by the british. there is a coordination going on by the british in malta. and our a-wacs aircraft is providing input. this is something our british forces can be proud of. >> the deputy prime minister had once said that the prime minister is a flaky on foreign affairs. will the prime minister accept that he showed poor judgment in prioritizing arms sales to the region? >> i think that was the
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definition of a flaky, asking that question. i went to egypt, an important country that we should be encouraging. i made a speech in the kuwaiti parliament about democracy. but, yes, links with the middle east countries are important. country after country has said they were completely ignored and downgraded by the last government. i think, actually, making sure we are building those relationship is important. i think this judgment on this one is completely wrong. >> libya is a real wake up call. afghanistan is not the only country that matters in this world and it shows that we have not had a balanced foreign policy. would the prime minister agreed that this is a reason to accelerate the drawdown of resources from afghanistan so we can meet the many crises which
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will confront us over the next decade? >> i do not think this is ian either/or. i know my friend has considerable experience in afghanistan. the drawdown should take place. we have said an end date. it should be done with our nato partners to make sure what we are doing on the ground is what we need to do so that country could have some chance of controlling its own destiny and providing its own security. our aim in afghanistan is no more than the afghans themselves should be able to secure the country. it is as simple as that. >> the last few weeks have shown that not everything in the middle east is not necessarily contingent upon the israeli- palestinian conflict, but is it important to show that whatever democracies and merge it is important that they recognize the legitimacy of israel and that they function as
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democracies and act as a counterbalance to iran? >> i do not think that we should be pessimistic about the effect of greater democratization in the middle east and in the arab world of the prospects of arab- israeli peace, because some are autocratic regimes used the conflict as a way of keeping their own populations happy without having democracy. so, yes, the road may be quite bumpy and difficult, but deals between democracies i think in the nd will be stronger. >> my constituent was stranded in the desert in an oil field. he returned home last friday. initial contact with the foreign office was difficult because of the circumstances on the ground, but the family felt let down by their employers, ops international, who did not make all of the information available to the embassy.
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so that coordination could be brought about effectively. what action will the prime minister take to ensure the sharing of information? >> i think my hon. friend makes a good point. there are lessons about how information is shared. there is an ever-changing picture. we look at the numbers in libya that want to come out. even in the age of internet and mobile phones, getting a real grip on those numbers as i believe we have and will go on publishing, is difficult, but companies working with the government is the central part of that. >> would the prime minister agree with me that much of what we have heard from the party opposite over the last week at the height of the crisis is nothing short than naked, political opportunism. the deputy leader of the labor party should apologize for comments should posted on twitter. >> order. >> i am always interested to
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hear the hon. john appeared he is at -- i am afraid he is asking the prime minister about something to which even the prime minister does not have responsibility. we will leave it at that. >> is it right to send assistance to tackle the refugee problem on libya's borders? can we prevent the turmoil becoming an immigration problem in italy and southern europe? >> there are urging conversations under way about that. at the moment, the pressure is on the borders between libya and tunisia, libya and egypt. a lot of that is migrant workers returning to their countries. my right hon. friend, the secretary of state of international development will visit the region soon. we are sending out technical experts. i think there is a real job for the european union it to make sure that this is not turn into a refugee crisis.
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>> i would like to thank the prime minister and all colleagues. his succinctness means that no fewer than 53 backbenchers were able to make statements. >> the people of libya have made themselves clear -- it is time withoutdafi 6toto go now further violence. >> world leaders continue to speak of about the future of the muammar gaddafi-led libya. watch what you want when you want at the c-span a video library. in a few moments, president obama tells the national governors association that he supports their efforts to present alternatives to his health care plan. in a half-hour, the governor's focus on education in this session with the head of microsoft, bill gates. after that, more about the
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situation in libya from secretary of state hillary clinton. ben bernanke delivers the semiannual monetary policy report to the senate banking committee tomorrow morning. live coverage is on c-span-3 at 10:00. ben bernanke was last on capitol hill and early february before political unrest in the middle east led to an increase in the price of oil. >> and mighty american history professor pauline maier has written several books on the american revolution, including "from resistance to revolution, american scripture, and ratification" join our conversation, taking your phone calls, e-mails and tweets, sunday at noon eastern on c-span-2.
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[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] guest>> during remarks to the national governors' association, president obama talked about economic stimulus and public employee unions. this is a half-hour. [applause] >> i'm joe biden's husband. we decided to bring in the second team to talk to you all. folks, welcome back to the white house. for those of you, this is your first visit as governor, welcome and congratulations on your elections. over the last two years, the
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older governors will tell you they got tired of hearing for may, i was on the phone as so often during the recovery act. i know none of you like the recovery act much, but i just want to start off by thanking the governors of four -- who have been here for the last two years, off for the way in which you implemented it. there are over 75,000 individual projects of that went on in your states. and a total of 250,000 awards. and the group of i.g.'s and outside examiners pointed out there is less than 1/110 of fraud, and that is because of you and it is because of the mayors and the new governors. there will be continued
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relationship between the federal and state and local government. we plan to try to use that as a template as to how to move forward so we save taxpayers money. the recovery is underway, although i am sure a lot of you having to cut your budgets, do not feel it. it is a very difficult time for you all, and i want you to know that i think we can probably agree on the major initiatives. we may have a different priority but we all know we have to do something about all long-term debt. we have to do something about preparing ourselves to compete in the future. it -- in terms of education, innovation, and infrastructure. i want to remind you all that i know you all know, but sometimes our constituents, they think we have already lost the future to china. they think we have lost the future to india. they think we are behind the 8- ball. we are still better positioned
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than any country in the world to own the the 21st century economically. our gdp is greater than china, germany, and japan combined. the median income is close to $50,000. in china, it is $4,500. we wish them better, but to put it in perspective, it is important to know where we stand now, the platform from which we now operate and why, if we do the right things, we have an overwhelming prospect to not only recover here in united states but to lead the world and the 21st century. the man i am about to introduce to your shares your view. americans have never settle for number two, literally. this is not hyperbole. we want other nations to do well, we will do better if they do well, but we are not prepared, nor are you, to settle for being number two and anything.
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folks, that is why we laid out, the president has laid out in his state of the union speech the need for us to innovate. we have the most innovative the economy in the world. we of the freest of free enterprise systems. we know what we are doing. we want to unleash the free enterprise system. we also know we cannot rank tied with five nations for numbernine and a percentage of people we graduate from university. it is not acceptable. and that is why, by 2020, and we will in fact be leading the world as we did in the past. that is a goal that we will meet. as my wife, a community college teacher was saying, any nation that out-educate us, will out- compete as. it is as simple and basic as that. we cannot have a 20th-century infrastructure for the 21st century. it is already, in some areas,
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teetering on needing major repairs. by infrastructure i mean ports, roads, airports occurred we also mean modern infrastructure from broad band to the new changes that will have to take place for what reason? to make american business more competitive and make american employees more hirable. able's no such word, but to be higher. the neighborhood i come from, people understand what i said. folks, i want to introduce you to the guy who will that -- we will disagree in the details, but i am sure you share this man's view -- there is no, no, no acceptable rationale for america ibeing anything other than number one and the world. ladies and gentleman, the president of the united states of america. [applause] >> thank you.
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thank you. have a seat. thank you very much. thank you. thank you, everybody. grab a seat. thank you, joe. thank you to the members of my cabinet in my administration who are here. thank you, governor gregoire, for your outstanding leadership. i also want to acknowledge ray. where's ray? there he is. executive nga's director for 28 years and this is his final meeting. ray, thank you. [applause] so, i hope everybody had fun last night. i know that you had a wonderful time listening to michelle and
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jill. jill's main function is to provide a buffer between me and them so i do not have to follow them immediately, because they care deeply about what's happening with military families. i hope today all of you feel free to make yourself at home. for those of you with a particular interest in the next election, i do not mean that literally. [laughter] we -- [laughter] we meet at a moment when democrats and republicans, leaders at national and state levels, face a very big challenges. our country has come through a long recession, and as we recover, the question we will have to answer is where will the
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new jobs come from? what will the new sources of economic growth be? and how can we make sure the american dream remains a reality into the 21st century? in the short term, we came together here in washington and enacted tax cuts that are making americans' paychecks a bigger and are allowing businesses to write off major investments. these are tax cuts, changes in the tax credit system that will spur job creation, and i am proud that democrats and republicans worked with each other to get it done. in the long term, however, we need to address a set of economic challenges that the housing bubbled papered over for a decade. we live in a more connected and competitive world than before. when each of you try to bring new jobs and industries to your
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state, you are not just competing with each other but you are competing with china, india, brazil, with countries all around the world. and that means that we as a nation need to make short that we are the best place on earth to do business. we need a skilled and educated work force, a commitment to cutting edge research and technology, and a fast and reliable transportation and communications network. that is how we will bring new jobs to america and how we will win the future making these necessary investments would be hard at any time, but it's that much harder at a time when resources are scarce. after living through a decade of deficits and a recession, we cannot afford to kick the can down the road any longer. so the budget debate that we are having is going to be critical
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in washington. and so far most of it has been focused almost entirely on how much of annual domestic spending in the parlance we call it domestic discretionary spending that we should cut. there is no doubt that cuts in discretionary spending have to be a part of the answer for deficit reduction. that is why, as a start, i have proposed a five-year spending freeze that would reduce our deficits by $400 billion, the budget i sent to congress. cuts or eliminates more than 200 federal programs and reforms of dozens of others from healthcare to homeland security to education, so that rather than throwing money at programs with no measured results, we are committed to finding only those things that work. all told, the budget cuts i propose will bring annual domestic spending to its lowest share of the economy since
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dwight eisenhower. let me repeat that. domestic budetget, discretionary spending would be lower as a percentage of gdp than it was under the nine previous administrations, including under ronald reagan. but we know that this kind of spending, domestic discretionary spending which has been the focus of complaints about out of control federal spending, makes up only about 12% of the entire budget. if we truly want to get our deficit under control, then we will have to cut excess of spending wherever it exists, in defense spending, and i have to say that bob gates has been as good as to word of taxpayer dollars when it comes to the pentagon is just about -- as good as steward of taxpayer dollars when it comes to the pentagon. medicare and medicaid and in spending through loopholes.
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that will be a tough conversation, but it is one we need to have and one i expect to have with congressional leaders in the weeks to come. those of you in this room are on the front lines of this budget debate. as the recovery act funds that saw through manys t states are phasing out, and it is undeniable that the recovery act help every single state manage your budgets, whether you admit it or not, you face some tough choices on everything from schools to prisons to pension secured i also know that many of you are making decisions regarding your public work forces. and i know how difficult that can be. i recently froze the salaries of federal employees for two real years. it is not something i wanted to do, because i did it because of the tough fiscal situation we are in. so i believe that everybody
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should be prepared to give up something in order to solve our budget challenges. and i think most public servants agree with that. democrats and republicans agree with that. in fact, many public employees in their respective states have already agreed to cuts. but let me also say this -- i do not think it does anybody any good when public employees are denigrated or vilified or their rights are infringed upon. we need to attract the best and brightest to public service. these times demanded. we are not going to attract the best teachers for our kids, for example, if they only make a fraction what -- of what other professionals make. we're not going to convince the brightest americans to put their lives on the line as police officers or firefighters if we do not properly reward that bravery. yes, we need a conversation about pensions at medicare and
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medicaid and other precious we have made as a nation, and those will be tough but necessary conversations. as we make these decisions about our budget going ford, though, i believe everyone should be at the table. and that the concept of shared sacrifice should prevail. if all of the pain is borne by only one group, whether it is workers or seniors or the porto, while the wealthiest among us get to keep or get more tax breaks, we are not doing the right thing. that is something that democrats and republicans should be able to agree on. now, as we begin to get our budget under control, the other thing we cannot do is sacrifice our future. even as we cut back on those things that do not add to growth or opportunity for our people, we have to keep investing in those things that are absolutely necessary to america's success -- education, innovation, infrastructure. on education, our approach has
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been to partner with you. it is time for more flexibility -- to offer more flexibility in exchange for better standards, to lift the cap on charter schools, to ask you to come up for some of the best ways for your states to succeed. that was the idea behind race to the top. you show us the best plans for reform, we will show you the money. we are also working with you and with congress to fix no child left behind with a focus on reform, responsibility, and most importantly, results. we are trying to give states and schools more flexibility to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad teachers, because we know that the single most important factor in a child's success other than their parents is a man or woman at the front of the classroom. and i had the chance to see this recently. i went over to parksville middle school in maryland, where
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engineering is now the most popular subject, mainly thanks to some outstanding teachers who have inspired students to focus on the math and science skills. so we know teachers can make a difference, and we want to help you have the very best teachers in the classroom. we also have to invest in innovation. american research and technology. and the work of our scientists, engineers, and in sparking the creativity and imagination of our people. a lot of this is done in the private sector, but as much as the private sector is the principal driver of innovation, it is often hesitant to invest in the unknown, especially when it comes to basic research. historically, that has been a federal responsibility. it is how we ended up with things like the computer chip and the gps. it is how we ended up with the internet. it is also how a lot of your
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states are attracting jobs and industries of the future. i went to wisconsin a few weeks ago and visited a small town company called orion that is putting hundreds of people to work manufacturing energy to fit -- energy-efficient lights. in ohio and pennsylvania, thanks in part to federal grants, i saw universities and businesses joined together to make the world -- make america the world leader in biotechnology. if you have any doubt about the importance of this federal investment in research and development, i would suggest that you talk to the cutting edge businesses in your own state. they will tell you that if we want the next big breakthrough, the next big industry to be an american breakthrough, and american industry, then we cannot sacrifice these investments in research and technology. the third way we need to invest is in our infrastructure.
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everything from new roads and bridges to high-speed rail and high-speed internet, projects that create hundreds of thousands of private-sector jobs. and i know that in some of your state's infrastructure projects have garnered controversy. sometimes they have gotten caught up in partisan politics. this has not traditionally been a partisan issue. lincoln laid the rails during the course of a civil war appeared eisenhower build the interstate highway system. both parties have always believed that america should have the best of everything. we do have -- we do not have a third rate airports or bridges or highways. that is not who we are. we should not start going down that path. new companies are going to seek out the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information, whether they are in
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chicago or shanghai, and i want them to be here in the united states. so to those who say we cannot afford to make investments in infrastructure, i said we cannot afford not to make investments in infrastructure. we always have had the best infrastructure. the notion that somehow we'd give up that leadership at this critical juncture makes no sense. just ask folks that i met up in marquette, michigan. i was talking to rich schneider about this. this is a town of 20,000 people. far away from the hustle and bustle of places like detroit or grand rapids. but because of the wireless infrastructure they have set up, they have now got the local department store, a third- generation, family-owned, has been able to hook up with
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university and have access to wireless, and they are now selling 2/3 of their goods online. they are one of the 5000 fastest-growing companies in america because the infrastructure was in place to allow them to succeed you have kids in school houses -- you have kids in school house is better able to plug into lectures and science fares anywhere in america because of the infrastructure set up. that is a smart investment for every state to make. a federal governor wants to be your partner in making those investments. these other kinds of investments that pay huge economic dividends in terms of jobs and growth. they are the fundamentals of that allowed some states to weather the economic storms a better than others. they are the fundamentals that will make some states a better positioned to win the future than others. these investments are not just critical for your state success, they are critical for america's
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success. i want to be a partner in helping you make that happen, which brings you to -- brings me to the final topic. and that is getting control of our health care costs. now, i am aware i did not convince everybody here to be a member of the affordable care act fan club. but surely we can agree that for decades our governments, our families, our businesses and watched as health care costs ate up more and more of their bottom-line. there is no disputing that. it did not just happened last year or two years ago. it has been going on for years now. we also know that the biggest driver of the federal debt is medicare costs. nothing else comes close. we could implement every cut that the house of representatives right now has proposed, and it would not make
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a dent in our long-term budget. would not make a dent because of health care costs. we know it is one of the biggest strains in your health -- your state budget, medicaid. for years, politicians of both parties promised real reform. everyone talked about it. well, we decided to finally do something about it, to create a structure that would preserve our system of private health insurance, would protect our consumers from the worst abuses of insurance companies, would create competition and lower costs by putting in place new exchange is run by the states where americans could pull together to increase their purchasing power and select from various plants. the same way that members of congress do, the same way that those who are lucky enough to work for big employers do.
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the affordable care act has done more to make sure everyone can buy insurance and attack the federal deficit than we have seen in years. that is the opinion of the congressional budget office. nonpartisan, the same one tha tputt puts out number is that when it is handy to go after me, people say, look at these numbers. they are saying that we are saving $1 trillion on our health care costs. otherwise, we would be $1 trillion at more in the red. that is something we should build on. that does not mean that the job of health care reform is complete. we still have to implement the law and we have to implement it in a smart and non bureaucratic way. i know that many of you have asked for flexibility for states under this law.
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in fact, i agree with mitt romney, who recently said he is proud of what he accomplished on health care in massachusetts. it supports giving states the power to determine their own health care systems. he's right. alabama is not going to have the same needs as massachusetts or california or north dakota. we believe in flexibility. right now, under the affordable care act, massachusetts and utah already operate exchanges of their own that are very different. operate them in their own way and we made sure that all law log that. -- allowed that. the same applies to choosing benefit rolls that meet the needs of your citizens or allowing for consumer-driven plans and health savings accounts. and this recognition that states the flexibility to tailor their
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report tapproach to their needss why part of the law says that beginning in 2017, if you can come up with a better system for your state to provide coverage of the same quality and affordability as the affordable care act, you can take that route instead. that portion of the law has not been remarked on much. by 2017, if you have a better way of doing it, help yourself, go ahead, take that route. now, some folks have said, that is not soon enough. a few weeks ago, the oregon senator, a democrat, and scott brown, a republican, and louisiana senator mary landrieu, they proposed legislation that would accelerate that provision so it would allow states to apply for such a waiver by 2014 instead of 2017. i think that is a reasonable
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proposal. i support it. it will give you flexibility more quickly while still in guaranteeing the american people reform. if your state can create a plan that covers as many people as affordably and comprehensively as the affordable care act with out increasing the deficit, you can implement that plan and we will work with you to do at. it. i do not believe any single party has a monopoly on good ideas. and i will go to bat for whatever works, the matter who or where it comes from. i also share your concern about medicaid costs. i know this is an ectopic of significant conversation over the last couple of days -- this has been a topic of to the conversation. over half of medicaid costs come from just 5% of the enrollees, many of whom are what is called dual eligible, seniors in medicare as well as in medicaid.
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the affordable care act helps address this by changing the incentives for providers so that they start adopting it best practices that will work to reduce costs while improving quality, but we understand the pressure you're under. we understand we have to do more. so today, i mentioned this to christie last night, i am asking you to name a bipartisan group of governors to work with secretary sebelius. if you can come up with more ways to reduce medicaid costs while providing quality care, i will support those proposals as well. so here's the bottom line. once fully implemented, i am convinced the affordable care act will do what it was designed to do -- cut costs, cover everybody, quote end the worst abuses in the insurance industry and bring down our long-term
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deficit. i am not open to read fighting the battle of the last two years or undoing the progress we have made, but i am willing to work with anyone, anybody in this room, a democrat or republican, governors or members of congress, to make this law ev3n en better, to make care even better and fix what needs fixing. you see, part of the genius of our founders was the establishment of a federal system in which each of our states and serves as a laboratory for our democracy. through this process, some of the best state ideas became some of america's best ideas. so whether it is through race to the top or improving the affordable care at or reforming the way we approach social programs by insuring that spending is tied to success, our approach has been to give you the flexibility that you needed to find your own innovative
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ways forward. this week, i am issuing a presidential memorandum that instructs all government agencies to follow this flexible approach wherever the law allows. but, even as we preserve the freedom and diversity that is at the heart of federalism, let's remember that we are one nation. we are one people. our economy is national. our fates are intertwined. today, we are not competing with each other. we are competing with other countries that are hungry to win new jobs, hungry to win new industries. i am confident we will win this competition. as long as we are fighting together. i know that whatever our differences, you share that goal. so you have got to apart -- you have got a partner in the white house to make this happen. i hope this becomes a start of a productive and serious conversation going forward. >> the winter meeting of the national governors' association
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ended monday in a session with microsoft chairman bill gates is focusing on education. this is an hour. >> the road to recovery runs through our community and technical colleges and our four universities. we need more people to have an education beyond high school. we need them to have certificates and degrees that meet the needs of our economy now and in the future. so that is why as nga chair i devoted my focus on college completion. the demand for certificates and degrees is real and growing. nearly 2/3 of the job openings over the next decade will require some kind of credentials or something beyond high school. we are currently on track as a
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nation to fall short of fulfilling those openings by 3 million graduates. right now we have a growing mismatch between the jobs that are opened and the skills of the people who are available to fill them. the minneapolis federal reserve estimates that as much as 1/3 of our current unemployment rate is a result of this mismatch and not the great recession. at the same time our states are facing a lasting limits on the resources we have, to invest in higher education, economic growth is likely to be slower and the next few years than it has been in recent years. this will mean a slow revenue growth in our states, and thus, plenty of competition for those revenues from health care to pensions to infrastructure at a time we quit we need to invest in education. the challenge before us is increasing productivity. graduating more students with the knowledge and the skills
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our states indeed and the resources we have. so how is it that we meet that challenge? first, we need to do a better job of measuring the performance of our higher education systems. as governors, we need to know how well our universities are doing at moving students through their certificates and degrees, if we are going to be able to make a smart investment with limited dollars and to gauge the return on those investments. nga and the complete college america have developed college completion metrics that 24 states have already endorsed. i have asked my legislature to put it in statute later this year. nga will announce metrics designed to gauge how well our colleges and universities are doing at graduating students with certificates and agrees that our states actually need. second, we must look at new ways of providing and paying for higher education.
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this includes everything from giving more of our high school students a head start on college to finding colleges based on completion instead of enrollment. to redesigning college math class is so that they teach students more and cost less. and because we now have the common core standards in nearly all of our states, it is time to end the finger pointing over college readiness and to eliminate the need for remedial class is at our colleges and universities. we can ill afford remedial class is for 50% of our students who go on to our community and technical colleges. third, we have to focus on better serving the students that we need for a competitive economy but have not been able to do a very good job at graduating. this includes our working adults, the men and women who have to put in an awful shift and then head off to class, while taking care of children or aging parents. for too many of these students,
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the road to college ends before they have a certificate or a degree. that simply must change. we must get them over that hurdle. the report in front of you provide strategies and best practices in states for getting more of our adult students to and through college. these are things that we can do, the dollars that we currently have, by making sure our adult students have access to financial aid and provide programs and services that treat them like adults, with schedules that fit their lives. so i encourage each of you to take a look at this, ask how well your state can do in educating these adult students when you get home, and allow them to get their certificate or their degree. it is a big agenda, and governors will be looking for support from all corners to get this job done. we are fortunate right now to have an amazing asset before us today. a prominent and influential supporter in this effort across
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our country. bill gates does not need an introduction to any of us here. the work of his foundation, that of he and his wife melinda, started in 1994. what it has done and what it stands or speaks for itself. today, the foundation is synonymous with education, innovation, and improvement. working with federal and state leaders, educators, on to power doors, to make the promise of a quality education a reality for more americans, the foundation's higher education goal is simple and it is inspiring. by 2025, the u.s. will double the number of low-income young adults who have a post-secondary credential with labor market value. today, bill gates has joined us to share with us his insights about how we can achieve that ambitious and necessary goal. and the role that governors can
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play in that effort. so it is a great pleasure for me to present to you a fellow washingtonian, but individual who is a citizen of the world -- a bill takgates. [applause] >> thank you, all, for having me here. i want to thank governor chair e anire and the vice for this opportunity. i also want to thank you for the incredible amount of time that all of you put into education. i think it is a key topic for the future of the country, and i think, although there are many groups that get involved, you're in the position to provide leadership. you're in a position to make a huge difference here. as was said, our foundation
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started about 16 years ago in some of our education work. it was 10 years ago, we decided this would be our primary focus in the united states. outside the u.s., we work on global health issues, but in the u.s., education is our consuming focus. what that's meant is things like working in libraries, scholarships, but overwhelmingly it means the issues of making sure that our k-12 and higher education systems are far more productive than they have been to date. when we think about the key challenges ahead, i think there is one measure that stands out above all and that is, are we treating people for the jobs of tomorrow? of the 100 kids that go into ninth grade right now, only 44 of them will get a post secondary degree by the time they are 26. and as the governor said, that
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is a huge mismatch with were the job opportunities would be. and so it is a big challenge. the theme this year, the work on this -- complete to compete -- that is bringing you metrics to look at the investments made in higher education and understand why there is drastic differences between different institutions in terms of the completion rates. so i've got a few slides today that i think illustrate how i think about this education problem. but i-- want to leave most of te time for the discussion. this is

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