tv Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 19, 2012 1:00am-6:00am EDT
>> that's by far the most important thing you do. there will be 150 million americans watching. [applause] but it makes a difference. the president will engage in a personal character assassination campaign. so we'll have to fire back one, in defense, and number two, in offense. that will be one of those things that -- so all the money will be spent in 10 states, and this is one of them. the best thing i can ask you to do. talk to people, work them out. make a difference. i'm not terribly well known by the general american public.
>> and they -- >> they can say all those negative things. the fact i'm either tied or close to the president, and the fact he's out there talking about the one-year anniversary of osama bin laden, that's very interesting. >> i would disagree with that. i think a lot of people feel let down by the president. >> yeah. >> my question is, to be, why not stick up for yourself and say why is it bad to aspire --
media is there. they write about it. we'll have three debates. there will be ads which attack me. i will fire back in a way that describes -- in the best way we can the fact that if the theme of my speeches are, you know, the ambassador heard me today several times. i wind up talking about how the thing which i find most disappointing in this president is his attack of -- one american
against another american. >> yes. >> i said, senator rubeo, when he grew up here poor, that they looked at people that had a lot of wealth. and his parents never once said, we need some of what they have. we they should give us some. instead they said, if we work hard and go to school, some day we might be able to have that. [applause] how much of that gets picked up? there are so many things that don't get picked up in a campaign, because people aren't watching it. by the way, most people don't watch during the summer. we're going to go into a season here, starting from mid-june, of almost no attention paid. then after labor day, in september and ok, that's when it will get going.
>> for the past three years, everybody has been told, don't worry. we'll take care of it. how are we going to do it, two months before the elections, to convince everybody you've got to take care of yourself? >> well, there are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. there are 47% who are with him. who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them. who believe that they're entitled to health care, to food, to housing, you name it. but that's -- it's an entitlement. and the government should give it to them. and they will vote for this president no matter what. and i mean, the president starts off with 48%, 49%, 40% -- or he
starts off with a huge number. these are people who pay no income tax. 47% of americans pay no income taxes. so our message of low taxes doesn't connect. and he'll be out there talking about the tax cuts for the rich. i mean, that's what they sell every four years. about 45% of the people will vote for republican. 48%, 49%. they're only focused on one little area of the world, the south china sea, the east china sea. that's it. our navy is smaller in the number of ships than any time since 1917, and this president
wants to shrink it. our air force is older and smaller than at any time since 1947, and he wants to shrink it. if we go the way of europe, spending 1% or 2% of our own the the military, we will not be able to have freedom in the world. >> when the electorate tunes in, in september, the markets are going to be looking at marginal tax rates going up. another debt ceiling fight. the sequestration under debt ceiling. what do they call it? taxageddon. you know, the -- >> the markets are not going very very happy. if we win on november 6, there
will be a great deal of optimism in this country. we'll see capital come back. without even doing anything, we will actually get a boost in the economy. if the president gets re-elected, i don't know what will happen. i can't predict. i any it will be the exact opposite of what i expect. if we get the tax increases on january 1 with this president, and with a congress that can't work together, it's really frightening. >> 54% of american voters think the chinese economy is bigger than the u.s. economy. when i met you four or five weeks ago, you said -- you did the diagram where you went very granular and you said, look, guys, this is a small group. this is it. this is what it is.
now are you -- how are you going to win if 54% of the voters think china's economy is bigger than our own? or if it costs 4 cents to make a penny and we keak keep making pennies? canada got it right a month ago. why isn't someone saying, stop making pennies. round it to the nearest nickel. that's an easy thing to do, you know, compared to iran. i wanted -- i want to see you take the gloves off and talk to the people that actually read the people. -- read the paper. >> well, i wrote a book that lays out my view for what has to happen in the country, and people who are fascinated by policy will read the book.
we have a web site that lays out white papers on a whole series of issues that i care about. i have to tell you, i don't think this will have a significant impact on my electability. i wish it did, but i think our ads will have a much bigger impact and the debates will have a big impact. >> i don't even know -- >> that's my point. my dad used to say, being right early is not good in politics. and in a setting like in, a highly intellectual subject on a whole discussion of a whole series of important topics typically doesn't win elections. i can tell you i have a good
team of extraordinaryly experienced, highly successful consultants. a couple of people in particular who have done race reases around the world. these guys are from the u.s., the karl rove quifflents. they do races all over the world. in armenia, africa, israel. i mean, they worked for benjamin netanyahu in his race. and they do these races, and they see which ads work, and which processes work best. and we have ideas about what we do over the course of the campaign. >> i think one of the aspects of hope and change that worked well for obama four years ago was he promised to bring us more honest, transparent government in washington. i've been around politics. the first campaign i worked in
was barry goldwater's in 1964. so i think the -- but from what i've seen in the last month because of my own personal involvement in the issue is government in washington right now is permeated by cronyism, corruption. our regulatory agencies are supposed to protect the public are protecting the people that they're supposed to be regulating. and i think it is something that if spun the right way in simple terms can resonate with the american people. obama did not keep his promises. pelosi was supposed to give us an honest congress and has given us the opposite. i think the campaign issue can work well. my recommendation would be, clean house. s.e.c., f.c.c. are disasters.
>> and what i wish we -- i wish we were were unionized so we could get a lot deeper than your actually allowed to go. those people i told you, the 5%, 6%, or 7% that we have sort of bring on our side, they all voted for barack obama four years ago. and by the way, when you say to them, do you think barack obama is a failure? they say no, they like him. but when they say, are you disappointed that his policies haven't worked? they say yes. and because they voted for him, they don't want to be told that they are wrong, that he's a bad guy. they want to believe he tried to do the right thing, but he's not
up to the task. they love the phrase "he's over his head." but we spend our days with people that agree with us. these people are people who voted for him and don't agree with us. so the things that animate us are not the things that animate them. the best response i have found is he said he would bring unemployment below 8%. it hasn't been below 8% since. 50% of the kids coming out of high school can't graduate from high school. what are they going to do? these are the kinds of things that i can say. what he's going to do is villify me as someone who has been successful. he will label me an evil, bad guy. that may work. i honestly think right now people are saying, i want
but regis is gone. and i've done the night -- the evening those shows. i've been on letterman a couple of times. i've been on leno more than a couple times. and i was asked to do "saturday night live." i did not do that. in part, you want a -- want to show that you're fun and you're a good person, but you also want to be presidential. "saturday night live" has the potential of looking slapstick and not presidential. >> i agree. >> but "the view" was fine. whoopi goldberg in particular, she said, you know what? i think i could vote for you. and i said, "i must have done something really wrong." [laughter]
>> i was going to say that i think our media strategy that will be sending ann on "the view" and having her sit there. >> yes. >> got it. >> because she is, i think, your best surrogate. >> yes. >> your best advocate. >> i agree. >> she connects so well. i mean, we talked so much about this, and somebody said, oh, many people think of you as a rich guy. and those of us who know you, know that's not -- >> i'm as poor as a church mouse, right? >> yeah, yeah.
>> so people don't get tired of her. or start attacking. >> i'll tell you, but you will see more of her in the september-october time frame. hillary rosen, you know, attacked her, and that made ann much more visible to the american people, which i think was very helpful. it gave her a platform that she would not have had otherwise. and i agree with you, i think she will be extraordinarily helpful. >> people who friended her on facebook or whatever happened after the rosen thing, just -- that shows you the value of social networking, and just, like, how important media can
be. [applause] >> presidential candidate mitt romney. a leaked video from a private fund raiser in may. this begins with an introduction by the candidate's wife, ann. it's 20 minutes. >> we were invited to stay at the white house. i was very excited about that. we got to stay in the living quarters.
we are exploring, we are opening doors. why don't we open the front door. and there's joyce outside. he said, hey, who is that? she closes the door fast, and she said, well, it is just ann romney. [laughter] >> earlier today, i enjoyed that very, very much. what a lovely first lady she was. how much we appreciated her
service. [applause] so we have an important election coming up. we have been traveling around the country. we have been nearly every corner of this country. we recognize something. there are millions of americans out of work right now. what is haming happening to me, which is very interesting, so many women are coming up to me, and they are grabbing my hand. a couple of things they say to me, they say they are praying for me. which i appreciate very much, but then they say please. please we need help. i think this economy has been especially hard on women. more women have gone into poverty in the last four years than men, and more women have lost their jobs than men. so women are hurting. i want everyone to know what i
know about mitt. and that is, that he cares. he cares about individuals that are suffering and hurting. i am so grateful for this guy, because i've seen what an amazing example he has been to my sons to making sure that they are aware that when they were small children, that mitt was taking them with him on his visits to people that were hurting and needing help. he's the guy that's always been there for people that need help. i don't think there is a better time or more important time in our country's history that understands the economy, has had the experience in the economy, in the real world economy, that understands how important it is to get this economic engine turned back on again. i have all the faith in the world in this guy. i know he can do it. i know one thing about him. he does not fail. let's hear it for the next
president of the united states. [applause] >> thanks, sweetie. that's quite an introduction here. i got how many introductions tonight? anyone else want to offer an introduction? thank you. this really is a critical time for the country, and i think a time of choice. elections are always about choice. i think the choice is in more stark relief than most electrics. i think in part because of where the country is. i think when you have $16 trillion in debt, when you see places like europe facing fiscal calamity or crisis, while you recognize these are critical times, what you have in this country, 23 million americans out of work, 23 million. when half the kids coming out of college can't find work or work consistent with an education that includes college, think
about that? this is america. what's happened? and so the president and i offered two very distinct paths. his path is one which has been not just spoken about, we've seen it. we don't have to guess what his path might look like or what he would do, because he's been in office for four years. while he will be critical of the republican house and senate over the last couple years, he had a democrat house and senate, majority, for the first two years. so we saw what he wanted to do and what he did, did not make things better. every recession ends, and after a recession jobs start coming back. in one month when ronald reagan was president, we created over a million jobs. we've seen jobs bump along the bottom. housing prices bump along the bottom. we have looked at incomes for the american family. do you realize the median income in america has dropped every year for the last four years?
think about that. this hasn't turned around yet. these are people that have not felt the kind of real economy that americans wanted. that's in part because the president's vision is very different. his perspective for america is one with a government that plays a more and more intrucive role in our lives, that's larger and larger, tells us what kind of health insurance we have to have, invests in businesses, decides it is going to make some investments here and there. by the way, do you know how much money the president's agenda invested in wind and solar and green jobs, so to speak? $90 billion. that's an enormous amount of money. someone said to me, he likes to pick winners and losers. someone else said to me, no, he likes to pick losers, because they haven't been successful. this is a very different path than the path we have traditionally followed as a nation. his path has led to the kind of circumstance ann spoke about, with 47 million people on food
stamps. when he took office, 32 million were on food stamps. 15 million more, record, just a month ago. 47 million. the increase to 15 million is more than the population of ohio. that's a lot of people. these are not statistics. these are our brothers and sisters. these are our fellow americans facing challenging times. now i expect the president in his convention speech to go out and talk about the 23 million that were unemployed, and the 47 million that were on food stamps and then to lay out his plan for how he was going to get jobs again and rising incomes, and he didn't do that. as t. boone just indicated, he didn't lay out a plan. now, i have a plan. i know what i'm going to do. i know how it is going to create 12 million jobs in four years. i'll tell you what it includes.
five things. by the way, the order of these five things begins in the same order i offer it in any place i am in the country. so don't think i am polishing the apple for pickins here. number one is taking care of our coal, our oil, our gas, and our renewables. that's what we have to start with. [applause] i don't have to explain horizontal drilling to you or how we tap into pockets of oil and gas and have new resources we would have never imagined, but we do. as a result of that, america can be the largest energy producer in the world. north america can be energy independent within eight years. we do that by taking advantage of our natural gas resources. we have natural gas in transportation, power, heating and cooling, using the oil resources we have. i'm going to double the number of permits, on shore and off shore in federal land.
the president cut them in half, a long way to go. i'm going to make sure we're using our coal. we have 250 years worth of coal. more than any other nation on earth. so number one for us is having energy in abundance at reasonable rates, and that will bring back about four million jobs. both in the energy sector and manufacturing that comes back because of abundant low cost energy here. that's number one. number two, trade. opening up trade, particularly in latin america, really expanding on our trade, our free trade agreements and relationships with other nations will be good for america, good for our jobs. by the way, we have to crack down on china when they cheat. they manipulate their currency. [applause] they steam patents and designs, they have counterfeit goods. i know they want to be a responsible partner in the world of trade and commerce, and they are going to have to understand, they can't take away jobs on an
unfair basis. number three, we have got to make sure our workers have the skills that they need for today, and that our kids are getting an education that will allow them to compete tomorrow. that means it is time for us to put the kids, and their parents, and the teachers first and the teachers union behind. its interests are very different. [applause] number four, let me mention for a moment, you are not going to have entrepreneurs risk their life savings to start a business in america or big corporations decide to expand in america if they think we're on the road to greece. anded president has put us on that road. these trillion dwhrar deficits take us inexirably to a point where we have a crisis. i will cut fiscal spending. i will cap it. we will finally get america on track to a balanced budget.
that will help restore jobs. [applause] number five, we have to champion small business. entrepreneurs, innovators have to recognize it is a good thing to begin a business in america. by the way, if you are successful, we congratulate you. we don't attack you, we welcome success in this country. [applause] there are ways to do that. tax policies. the president wants to raise taxes on a million small businesses, i want to lower them. regulators have to see their job as encouraging the economy and encouraging small business, not crushing it. we have to replace obama care with real reform that brks brings down the cost of health care and keeps the government out of the relationship between ourselves and our doctor. [applause] i just have to tell you that i am confident that if we do those
five things, take advantage of energy, expand trade, give our kids and our adults the skills they need to compete, finally get us on track to a balanced budget, and then really think about how we champion small business, you are going to see this economy come roaring back. i know that because i have seen in the american heart, there is still the passion for entrepreneurship and innovation and building, building enterprises that there has been over the last decade. and i just have to tell you a couple stories, because it is my favorite part of being on the campaign trail, meeting people, and often hearing their stories. some are extraordinary in their scope. others are extraordinary in their accomplishment, even though they are perhaps, not as big in the effect that they have. so i am in high point north carolina the oth day. it has been a few weeks. i meet with a woman there who owns her own company. she makes furniture. the furniture industry has been decimated by chinese imports and foreign imports, but she's still
in business. my rally is in her place of business. i say, how did you do it? she said, well, it is hard to compete with the chinese. but she said i need to find a market segment that they weren't in, that she could provide a special product for. so her speciality, which she dominates, is making waking room for hospitals. she makes sure if you go to a hospital and you are watching a patient, and you have one chair in that room, the patient's room, that's her chair. that is can-do entrepreneurship. i met another woman, one of my favorite stories. she had her own business. i said how did you get started? she said, my husband lost a job, and i took a class in upholstering. she decided to start her own company. she hired her husband as her
first employee. then she went on to hire 39 oom people as upholsterers. snow now she -- now she has a leading upholstering industry. i met another woman -- these are not all women stories, by the way. sara faye she came to one of my fund raisers. she said i got started by selling pumpkins from the back of my pick-up truck at age 16. i said what do you do now? she said i'm still selling pumpkins. she's the largest seller of pumpkins and melons in the country with a massive business. it is just amazing. this is what makes our economy go. it is not a government telling people what they have to do and how they have to do it. it is instead free people pursuing their own dreams. this idea that the president has of redistributing, i know there are some people in our country
who want to have a government take from some to give to the others. they would like to be the others that are on the receiving end of that, and they feel that a redistribution model makes sense. the president some years ago says he favors redistribution. i don't. i believe instead the role of government is to help those that need help. we're a compassionate people. if there is someone who needs help, we help them, that's why we have a safety net. but then government gets out of the way and allows people to pursue their dreams and build enterprises. when they build them, they reap the rewards, and they higher people, and that betters the economy. that's how it works. i don't need to tell you people about harold hamm. you know harold hamm right? a truck driver, oklahoma city. drove a truck for 10 years to save money to go to college. gets to college. gets a degree in geology.
a little while later he looks at some maps in the u.s. and decides there must be oil in the hills of california. he drills a dry hill. i'm told it costs about $16 a piece. people call it harold's followy where he hit gold, black cold. that's now known always the ba chan range which is estimated to have about 27 billion barrels oil in it, which happens to equal the full amount of america's reserves at that time. that's harold's story. he's doing fine now, by the way. another guy, jim leasode from southern illinois. jim graduated second in his class in high school, second from the bottom, and concluded college would not be part of his future. he talked to his dad about a loan. his dad greed to give him money
and they split the business 50-50. he went on to buy the equipment for this restaurant business he wanted to begin. a hamburger, griddle, rollers that make the hot dogs, one of the hoods to take out the smoke. by the time he priced it ourkts he realized he did not have enough money to buy the stuff. the only thing he could afford was the equipment to make scand sandwiches. which isn't much. tables and a few other things. he made sandwiches and delivered them. took them to people at the office. now jimmy john has 1,500 restaurants and employs 60,000 people, all right? [applause] it is free people pursuing their dreams that makes america's economy so strong. other nations have tried other paths. taking the path of europe, the path of bigger and bigger government which takes more and more from people and makes it harder and harder to build
enterprises. having government to choose winners and losers in the economy is a foreign concept in america. our approach is very different. it is yes a government that protects our freedoms. but also puts up opportunities. that cares for those that are in need of care, but then encourages the american people to pursue their dreams. that's what has made us who we are. and the reason this economy is stumbling along and so many people are suffering is the president's tried to put in place something which is not the way america has ever worked before. i want to bring back america. i want to restore the principles that made our economy work. i will get people to work again, get rising incomes again, and make sure the future is right -- the future is bright for our kids. [applause] you've been standing long enough, and i want to thank you. your generosity is moving, and i need you to get out and vote.
that's in about six weeks. i need you to make sure that if you have any friends that voted for barack obama, give them a call, and explain why it is important to bring america back to the economic principles that will put people to work. that's what this is about. it is about pulling people out of poverty, getting them back in the middle class, and having a middle class where people have rising incomes again. that's what it is about. that's what i know how to do. it is also about something even bigger than that. that is only if we have a strong economy, and strong values will america be able to lead in the preservation of liberty around the world. i was with olek wilessa the other day -- the other month she said. she came in and said, you must be tired.
you sit, i talk, you listen. so i did. he spoke for about 15 minutes. he repeated this again and again. he said where is american leadership? he talked about asia, middle east, other parts of the world. he said, we need american leadership. you are the only nation that can lead. we need american leadership. we can only have an economy that's second to none, and a military that's so strong no one would think of testing it. i am committed to a strong military. i will not cut our military. [applause] and i'll make sure we get more good jobs and we see rising take-home pay again. i want to help our families across this country. i want to see them alleviate poverty and get people out of poverty. i want to thank you for our help. the great estrogen racial held up a torch for the world to see.
it is our turn. we have to hold up that torch. it is our time. we are going to do it and take back america. too you so much. -- thank you so much. thank you. [applause] >> on tomorrow's "washington journal" congressional efforts to avoid the fiscal cliff. tom harkin. and a recent "washington monthly" article profiledse files the new financial protection bureau. we'll talk to washington monthly editor and chief paul
glasssmith. "washington journal" begins live at 7:00 a.m. >> welcome to you. this is a -- what a -- i am so grateful to welcome aung san suu kyi to her first visit to the u.s. in -- we have the blue moon society, and we have a great relationship with the state department. secretary clinton is here today. a number of her colleagues are here today, patrick murphy, michael posner, and curt campbell. in addition i would like to rg a couple of our board members, george moose, judy ansley,
perkins, and pricilla, without her i don't think this event would have occurred. i would like to aung san suu kyi for coming, and i would like to turn things over to henry etia -- henrietta ford for her remarks. [applause] i join with jim, and i want to tell you that this is an extremely large and important pleasure that we have in welcoming all of you here today. it is an event in honor of a remarkable individual, aung san suu kyi. we welcome you and your delegation to washington. we have followed your struggle over these past two decades and have been inspired by your unwaivering commitment to advancing human rights, equity, and justice in your country. secretary clinton, we are honored by your presence today.
thank yofor joining us, and thank you and your team, many of whom are with you here today, for your leadership in strengthening u.s.-burma relations. my colleagues are delighted to co-host this event along with the united states institute of peace. jim congratulations on your appointment of president of this great institution. we look forward to continuing our work together. i am pleased to say that the society's relationship with aung san suu kyi goes back to the late 1960's and early 1970's when she was living in new york city and working for the united nations. we are grateful for this long-standing friendship, and we are glad so many of her friends and supporters could join her today, to welcome her back to the united states. asian society has been organizing burma related public programming focused on human
rights, health, political developments, and regional issues as well as art exhibitions and cultural performances. since its founding in 1956 by john d. rockefeller iii. in 2009 we established a task force devoted to improving burma-u.s. relations, which we have followed up with an emphasis on strengthening relations between our countries, and marshalling expertise in support of the transition under underway in burma. let me conclude by saying we recognize this is a most important moment in burma's history. we are committed to continuing this work. asian society and our partners in this effort stand ready to help. thank you. jim? [applause]
i have to introduce someone who has no need to be introduced, secretary clinton. [applause] >> well, it is wonderful to be back here at usip, especially for this extraordinary auspicious owe indication. i want to thank aung san suu kyi and congratulate jim marshall on becoming president. we certainly look forward to being with us. i want to thank the asian society, and henrietta fore and all of those who represent the commitment that started in the 1960's that certainly has stood the test of time. we certainly very much enjoy working with you as well. now, the purpose for this gathering is quite an exciting one. because we have here an
opportunity for someone who has arepresenting the struggle for freedom and democracy, for human rights, and opportunity. not only in her own country, but seen as such around the world. so it is wonderful to see aung san suu kyi back in washington as a free and forceful leader of a country opening up to the world in ways that would have been difficult to imagine even recently. the stickers of progress that president obama spoke of a year ago summer have been growing and strengthening in the times since. hundreds of prisoners of conscience have been released over the past year, including some just this week. opposition political parties have been legalized and their
numbers have won seats in parliaments. restrictions on the press and on freedom freedom of assembly have eased. we have seen laws that have been enacted to expand the rights of workers to form labor unions and to outlaw forced labor. and the government has reached fragile ease fires in long-runningth nick conflicts. -- long-running ethnic conflicts. aung san suu kyi's position never wavered in years of house arrest. she and other leaders have joined with the president and the new government to take the courageous steps necessary to drive these reforms. i have met with the president twice. then this summer in cambodia. i look forward to welcoming him to new york next week to the united nations general assembly.
this morning at the state department suu kyi and i had the chance to talk about the work ahead. and there is a lot of work. i think one of the important reasons for her visit at this time is to remind us of how much more still lies ahead from strengthening the rule of law in democratic institutions to addressing the challenges in many of the ethnic conflicts and in states. the government and the opposition need to continue to work together to unite the country, heal the wounds of the past, and carry the reforms forward. that is also key to guard against backsliding. because there are forces that would take the country in the wrong direction if given the chance.
we in the state department and the obama administration are certainly the first to say that the process of reform must continue. political prisoners remain in the tension. ongoing ethnic and sec tarne violence continues to under-- sectarian violence continues to undermine lasting peace. some military contacts with new england -- north korea exists. further reforms are designed to increase transparancy and address constitutional challenges. but the united states is committed to standing with the government and the people of burma to support this progress that has begun but is still a work in progress. we have taken steps to exchange embassadors, ease economic sanctions, and pave the way for american companies to invest in the country in a way that advances rather than undermines
continued reforms. we are both in contact with government and opposition leaders. our first ever ambassador to this new burma, derrick mitchell, is here with us today, and he along with the team that assistant secretary curt campbell leads, are not only in constant communication, but ongoing consultation with many representatives that -- with different constituents -- constituencies in burma so we can provide the help and support necessary. i had the honor of visiting aung san suu kyi this summer in the house that was once her prison. we talked about many things, including the chefpk of moving from -- the challenge of moving from protest to politics, from symbol to stateswoman. that is what her country needs from her now.
i know a little bit about how hard that transition can be. it exposes you to a whole new source of criticism, and even attacks, and requires the kind of pragmatic comprowmide and coalition building that is the lifeblood of politics that may disappoint the purists who have held faith with you while you were on the outside. yet in the months since suu kyi walked out of house arrest and into the political arena, she has proven herself to be a natural. campaigning hard, legislating well, and staying focused on what can be done right now and tomorrow and the day after tomorrow to move her country forward. so i think you are in for a
tremendous opportunity today and the days ahead as she has a very generous schedule of activities. i unfortunately have to depart back to the state department, but it will be certainly a great pleasure for me now to introduce someone who is not only a nobel laureatte and a hero to millions but also a busy member of parliament and the leader of her political party, please welcome aung san suu kyi. [applause]
[applause] >> thank you. thank you. thank you for a very warm welcome. it is a great pleasure to see many familiar old faces. i attended an asian society meeting, i believe, over 40 years ago in new york. it was nothing like this. but i remember it was interesting, and there was great interest in burma, even in those days. i have been asked to speak on u.s.-burma bilateral relations. before i start on that, i would like to say how happy i am to be with you today, to be with the people of the united states that stood by us through our hard years of struggle for democracy. we are not yet at the end of our struggle, but we are getting there. we have crossed the first
hurdle. there are many more hurdles to cross. i hope that you will be with us as to make our way to the goal for which our people has been longing for 50 years, because military dictatorship came to burma in 1962. we are now in 2012. that's half a century. that's a long, long time for people to live under a dictatorship. so what we have to do in the future is not just to spin democracy -- bring democracy to burma, but to rebuild our nation in a democratic mood. for that we look to help from our friends and from those who appreciate the value of democracy and democratic values. speaking of u.s.-burma bilateral relations, bilateral relations are shaped by geopolitics and by
history, and these days also by the communications revolution and global zation -- globalization. the illustration of the dimensions of geopolitics and history. china and india, the two biggest powers in asia, and because we are on the border of south asia and southeast asia, our position is unique. and any relationship with burma must take into consideration this situation. as soon as burma started re -engaging with the united states. or the other way around. as soon as we started re-engaging with one another, questions were asked as to how this would impact on u.s.-china
relations. people naturally associate u.s.-china relations with us us-burma relations. there were many questions asked as to whether the united states engagement with burma was aimed at containing the influence of china in asia. this is a natural question, and one that i think if we have to answer honestly cannot be answered simply. i do not think any country could change out of the united states or china or burma that our relations have nothing to do with the relations that we have with other countries around us. and it is only natural that united states relations with burma should have some impact on the united states relations with china.
also, that our relations with the united states would impact to a certain degree with our relations with china. but i think this can be taken forward in a positive fashion. it does not mean that because burma is engaging now with the united states that its relations with china should in anyway deteriorate. also, it does not mean that because the united states is engaging with burma it should in anyway be seen as a -- as hostile toward china. we can use our new situation to strengthen relations between all free countries. for us, to put it very simply, it would be to our advantage, for the united states and china to establish friendly relations. this would help us a great deal. and this is what i look forward to.
burma has had a good history of preserving friendship with many different countries following many different ideologies. ours was one of the first countries to recognize communist china back in the 1960's. it also is our country which has particularly warm relations with india to its west. when we became independent, we were considered the country most likely to succeed in southeast asia. .
run by catholic priests. while the american baptist mission set up a number of schools for girls as well as for boys. the girls schools are particularly well known. the difference between the educational institutions run by the american mission areas and the catholic mission areas was that the american mission areas
were very keen on preserving the traditional culture and manners of the local people. the a.b.m., the girls wore burmese costume, but in the con vent they wore tunics. also they were more inclined to take up christian names, where the majority of girls who went to a. b. m. schools retained their burmese names and costumes. they encouraged the preservation of burmese manners so that the products of a.b.m. schools were considered very proper, very well educated. but also very much aware of burmese manners of courtesy. my mother went to one of these
schools. she went to a very famous a.b.m. school known as the camadine girls high school. all of her life she was stamped by her years there. very proper, very disciplined, very precise, very elegant. now i myself went to the english methodist high school for a number of years, which is actually an american institution. i learned there a lot of hymns. [laughter] it is ironic because my mother in the days of colonialism when she went to the a.b.m. girls school wore a burmese costume. i went to the english med dustin school after
independence, and i had to wear skirts. very strange. i noticed there was less encouragement of burmese manners in the english school than my mother's school pack in the 1930's when she was there. so education was very closely associated with them in those days, and also health care. i think many of you will have heard of the famous dr. seagrave, the burma surgeon, who spent a lot of years in the states and ran a very well-known hospital. when i was growing up in the 1950's after independence, one of the very best hospitals in burma was considered to be that run by the seventh day add venters 'tises -- adventists.
so we associated american relationships with burma more with education and health. the first books i ever borrowed was from the library in angun. we must not overlook the importance of hollywood films and pop music. that had a great influence on the young in my day, and i think it still continues to have a lot of influence on the young of burma now as the young everywhere else in the world despite the years we spend under military dictatorship where we were cut off from almost everything outside our own country. the years of military rule eroded the relationship between burma and the united states. by the way i think i should
make a point of saying that there are people who refer to burma as myanmar, and it is entirely a matter of choice. i refer to burma as burma because this is the name it was known when we became independent, and it is the name to which i am used. but it is for each individual to make his or her own choice as to which name he or she uses. the relationship between our countries deteriorated beginning in 1962 when the first military regime took over. the very first time was in 1958, but that was for a couple of years. then there were democratic elections and a civilian government was restored. but a military dictatorship was once again instituted in 1962. we can say it was more or less unchanged until 2010. it is true that the -- what is
it known as the military caretaker government took on the name of the burma socialist party of the it was supposed to be a socialist party government rather than a military regime, but in effect it was very much dominated by the military. since 2010 of course things have changed to a certain extent. i will go back to that later. there was the burma socialist program party. it was not just the united states, but the rest of the world in general that was viewed with suspicion by the then dictator. because of this, we lost many of our links with the west. in the old days we had sent many of our young people to
study in institutions, in europe and in the united states. even before independence we had scholars studying in the united states, quite a number, usually sponsored by different organizations. after independence we expanded our cultural and educational ties with the united states. and because of the communist insurgence that started soon after we achieved independence, we also had military relations with your country. but after 1962 these relations dwindled to almost nothing. it was not just with the united states, but with the west in general that the military regime did not wish to deal. particularly after 1988, as i am sure all of you know, there was a democratic uprising throughout the country in 1988
when people asked for multi--party democracy. they had seen that a one party dictatorship only brought the country from a state of prosperity to one of near poverty where we were declared one of the least developed countries in the world. as a result of this uprising, the military put down the demonstrators very brutally. there was much bloodshed and some of the following years were some of the hardest our country has ever had to go through. yet the united states from the very beginning stood by the forces for democracy, and for this i would like to thank all of you. because when people are in a difficult situation, we need friends. we need friends who are strong and who are committed. the united states is committed
to democratic values and proved to be a good friend to all of us who struggled for democracy. but in the process, relations between the governments of the two countries deteriorated. less and less engagement. here i would like to say that i have always been for engagement. you can engage in different ways. you can engage as friends, or you can engage as people who have agreed to disagree. it is to me a sad thing that engagement between our two countries came to almost nothing during two decades or more. but now the situation has changed. because of what happened in 2010. to begin with, the military
regime was replaced by a civilian regime, elected in 2010. i will be quite frank and say that we have grave doubts about the way in which those elections were conducted. even the united nations, which is generally very cautious about such remarks, has admitted that the elections of 2010 were deeply flawed. and the government that was established as a result of these elections was made up largely of ex-members of the military. many of them had in fact been in the military government until just a few months before the elections, when they left the military to contest as members of the national
assembly. the change brought about in 2010 was questioned by very many, who felt that it was not enough just to have elections. which as i mentioned earlier, were considered to be deeply flawed, and to have a so-called elected civilian government. democratic practices had to be seen. democratic institutions had to be built. and the world was interested in finding out how this process was going to go. and the united states in particular was interested in how far along the path to democracy burma was actually going to go. i would say that the real changes came about in 2011. i was released towards the end
of 2010, but my party was then operating as an unregistered political party, or shall we say de-registered. we had been registered way back in 1989 to contest the elections of 1990, where we won over 80% of the seats. but the results of the elections were not honored, so we remained, with great difficulty, as a political party. still registered, but not allowed to operate as a political party. during those years i would say that u.s. will have burma bilateral relations was more democracy to democracy rather than government to government. after 2010 things began to change a little. there was a greater push for there was a greater push for reengagement with burma because
of the new civilian government and because i had been released, although my party still remained de-registered because we had refused to take part in the 2010 elections. to take part in the 2010 elections, our party would have been obliged to expel all of its members who were under detention, including myself. and also we would have been obliged to reject the results of the 1990 elections. more over, we would have to take an oath to uphold and defend the constitution of 2008. this is the constitution which we felt was not conducive to the building of a genuine democratic society. apart from the fact that is allowed for 25 unelected military representatives to
take part in all assemblies from the national to the local level, it also provided for the commander in chief to take over all parts of government at any time that he considered necessary for the sake of the country. >> for this and other reasons we felt that we could not take the oath to defend and protect the 2008 constitution. but there is a story to that. it should be a lesson to all of us that when you read the constitution, he don't just read the body of the constitution. you should read the appendicses as well. which i have to say we did to begin with, but we forgot to reread them. in 2011 when the president made it possible for our party to be reregistered, it was done on
the understanding that the regulations for the elections and for party registration would be changed so we would not have to expel any of our members who happened to be under detention. secondly, we would have to agree to abide by and to respect the constitution, which was fine by us. i think everybody has to do that in any country. and also the speaker of the house made a statement to the effect that the 1990 elections had been wind-up -- won by them. this resulted in a withdrawal of the rejection of the 1990 elections. we contested 45 seats.
these were the seats vacated by members of the government. because under the constitution if you become a member of the government, you have to vacate your parliamentary seat. so we contested 44 of them. we won 43. i am very annoyed to say we lost one. [laughter] but this has made us the biggest opposition party in our national assembly. when you are consider there are all together 651 members, 44 is not too much. but we found just before -- or just after the elections that we had forgotten to look into the words of the oath that we would have to take. these remained the same as the previous election regulations. we had to undertake to defend and protect the constitution.
while there was a lot of soul-searching over this, we wondered whether in principal we should refuse to do this. but politics is about compromise. it is about being practical. it is about being down to earth and to do what is best under the circumstances. the people that voted for us were very anxious for us to get into the national assembly. they understood our dilemma with regard to the wording of the oath. but still, the great majority of our people wanted us to enter the national assembly and to serve them through the legislative process. on top of that, many of the ethnic nationality parties that already had representatives within the national assembly were keen for us to join them because they felt that this would strengthen us. i don't know whether i should
refer to them as opposition parties, but certainly they felt they could work together with us and to a certain extent we could counter the overwhelming influence of the union, solidarity and development party, which had won over 80% of the seats. we thought about this very carefully, and in the end i decided that as we were the ones who had made the mistake of not looking through all of the appendicses carefully, we would have to questions our mistake and to respect the will of the people who had voted for us, and also to respect the desire of our friendly parties to work with us, and we decided to take the oath. well, i took it, but we still
stand by a party platform, which is first, rule of law. second an interethnic conflict in our country, and third, necessary amendments to the constitution. as the constitution itself allows for amendments, but only with over 75% of the votes. which means we would not get all the civilian votes, but all the civilian votes, but at least one member of the military block to vote with us because they have 25%. still, i think we did the right thing when we decided to enter parliament. i think this is when we had to start thinking very seriously about new u.s.-burma bilateral relations. burma had certainly started out on the process of
democratization. how far will it go? how sustainable is it? how genuine is it? those are the questions. i think these questions have not yet been answered in their entirety. how genuine is the process, how sustainable is it? it will depend on all of us. first of all, it will depend on the people of burma. the people of burma as represented by those in the legislature will have a lot to do with it. we must also remember that the reform process was initiated by the president. i believe that he is keen on democratic reform. but how the executive goes about implementing those
reforms is what we have to watch. and when we think of democracy, we have to think of the three props of democracy, the three arms of democracy. executive, the legislature and the judiciary. we cannot judge how genuine or sustainable the democratization of burma is simply by looking at the executive. neither can we do it simply by looking at the legislature, nor by looking simply at the judiciary. if you were to look at the judiciary in burma, you would probably see nothing because there is our weakest arm. and this is what we are trying to build up in the legislature, through the legislature itself and through the committee for the rule of law, which i am fortunate, or unfortunate, i don't know, to be chairman. and we all have to work
together. so new u.s.-burma bilateral relations i would like to be founded firmly in the recognition of the need to give equal weight to the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, and to judge the progress of democratization in burma by how strong all these institutions are and how well able to work together as a whole to establish democratic practices in our country. our people have been divorced from democratic values and practices for many decades. in fact, they say -- many of them say very frankly we really don't know w when they voted for us, when we
went around the country before the elections of april, i asked many of them why they wanted democracy. they usually would say we want to be able to lead our own lives freely. they wanted the freedom to be able to decide their own destiny. this was a very simple wish on the part of many of our people. they also wished to be taken out of poverty. burma has become very poor over the years under military dictatorship. u.s.-burma bilateral relations will also need to be built on policies that will help to raise us out of poverty. for many years the dictatorship in burma claimed that u.s. sanctions had had no effect whatsoever, and they did not
care. but then lately, in the last years of military rule, the united states sanctions were blamed for all the economic ills of burma. not just economic ills, but other ills as well. there is great eagerness for these sanctions to be removed. on my part, i do not think that we need to cling on to sanctions unnecessarily, because i want our people to be responsible for their own destiny and not to depend too much on external props. we will need external help. we will need the help of our friends abroad from all over the world. but in the end, we have to build our own democracy for ourselves, and we would like u.s.-burma relations to be founded firmly on the reddick nixon -- recognition for our
own people to be accountable for their own destiny. we need the kind of help that has been given to us by the united states historically in the fields of education and health, in the fields of humanitarian aid. our education system is in a shambles. many of our people are barely educated. 15% of our children do not go to school at all. and of the rest, hardly 20% make it through high school. so burma's educational system is in dire need of reform, and we need practical help. our health system is in exactly the same situation. we need great help with education, with health, with the building up of democratic institutions. as i mentioned early dwrer, the
weakest of these institutions is the judiciary. we have to work hard at it. without rule of law, you cannot have the kind of economic reforms that will lift our people out of poverty. economic relations between the u.s. and burma seem to have come to the forefront over the last several months. there is great eagerness on the part of international business toss invest in burma. recently -- businesses to invest in burma. the first draft that came out was considered disappointing by many would-be investors. but some changes have been made to this, and i believe that it will prove to be a lot more attractive than first draft that came out last month.
but whatever laws we produce, without the rule of law, without the kind of judicial system that will be there to make sure that the laws are upheld and obeyed, it will not provide anybody with either security or with the freedom necessary for them to operate effectively in our own country. so while the united states seems to be concentrating a lot on the economic aspect of its relations with my country, i hope they will do this in full awareness of the need to promote rule of law and to help the president and his executives to carry out the reforms they have in mind, as well as to help the legislature to strengthen itself as a body
that will protect the people's interests through the laws that they enact, and the laws that they amend, and the laws they simply have to get rid of. there are many laws in our country that do more harm be good, but not too many. several, let's put it that way, such as those under which activists have been put in prison over the decades. there has been a release of prisoners in burma, about 500, of which about 90 are political prisoners. pie our count, over 200 political prisoners remain in prison. this is according to the list of the n.l.d. there are other lists that are longer than this. i think the list that is
accepted by the united states is rather longer than ours. so that would mean by the united states count, more than 300 or ebay more than 400 people -- even moring 400 political prisoners remain. by our count, it is 200. all of them have to be freed. there should not be a single political prisoner in the country. there should be no prisoners of conscience because in a genuine democracy, people should be able to act in accordance with their conscience so long as they are not infringing on the rights of others. rule of law and human rights cannot be separated. it says in the preamble to the university decoration of human rights that human rights should be protected by the rule of law . this is the principle to which the n.l.d. has adhered. during the troubles that have
arisen in the state, we have always kept to this principle, that there must be respect for human rights, and there must be rule of law. this is the way in which we can defuse the tensions that have created the communal violence which took place as recently as a few weeks al. -- weeks ago. the government has formed a commission to look into the situation there. the n.l.d. is a political party, seen as the opposition party, seen as the opposition party, as the major opposition party. we do not want to make political capital out of the situation in that state. we want to give the government all the opportunities it needs
to defuse the situation there and to bring about a peaceful settlement. we do not want to criticize the government just for the sake of making political capital. we want to help the government in any way possible to bring about peace and harmony in that state. whatever help is asked from us we are prepared to give if it is within our ability to do so. but it is not for us -- we are not in a position to decide what we do and how we operate because we are not the government. i think this has to be understood by those who wish the n.l.d. to do more. what we can do is to declare our principles and our preparedness to help in every way we can. human rights and the rule of law, these cannot be ignored if
we are to resolved all of these communal problems. and that i think has to be accepted by all responsible parties. to ignore either human, or rule of law, or to insist on human rights and to pretend that rule of law is a different matter will not work. nor will it work the other way around. you can not say we must have rule of law, but human rights is something we will think about later. these two have to go together. i am not going to take about the state issues in greater detail now. ills also like to take about the issue of other ethnic nationalities. fighting has been going on for some time, and i understand it has intense a fade over --
intensified over the last two days. we need to build up ethnic harmony in our cup. in the end, harmony can only be brought about through museum understanding and respect. this cannot be built up quickly, but we have to work at it. and i believe that we need a time frame when we are talking of political settlement. we cannot keep going on and on and on saying some day we will get there. we have to have benchmarks. we have to have mile stopes. we have to know when we want to get to where at wha mehere to talk about principall i am here to talk about u.s.-burma bilateral relations. what i am here to say is i would like the united states to be aware of our problems. it is only by keeping up an awareness of our problems that
we shall be able to establish a strong healthy relationship between our two countries. i want our countries to be friends. you have been our friend, the friends of the forces of democracy through long years. now it is time for you to be the friends of our whole country, of the democratic process of our people, of our aspirations. to be able to help us realize our aspirations, you have to understand what they are. you have to understand what our needs are. and that is what real engagement is, trying to understand one another. we, too, have to try to understand the united states. it is not a one-way business. it is two-way traffic. without understanding on both sides, we cannot be real
friends, and we cannot engage in a positive way. you may say well what does burma have to give the united states? well, we have a lot to give you. it is not just the economic opportunities for businesses. we can give you the opportunity to engage with a people who are ready and willing to change a society. this will give you the opportunity to see how you can work together to change a society. i think there are many things in your society that you wish to change as well. i don't think there is a single country in the world that can be said to be perfect. and by helping others, you will also learn how to help yourselves. when you study the problems of a country, you will gain new insight into how you can deal with the problems relating to your own country. when we are studying the
problems in the state, you will greater insight into why there are global problems that exist between the united states and other countries. i would like u.s.-burma relations to be a balanced one, a relationship that is based on mutual respect, mutual understanding and genuine friendship. we have a long way to go. i am very hopeful that burma will get to the point when we can say now we are a society firmly rooted in democratic values and democratic institutions. i am now a member of the legislature, so actually i would like to speak up for the legislature. it's a very new ridge slache, very new in more ways than one.
the building is absolutely brand new, and quite impressive. lots of marble, crystal and all that. we are finding our way. we have been fortunate in that both speakers of the assemblies, the speaker of the upper house as well as the speaker of the lower house has treated us, a very small opposition, very fairly. they have both gone out of their way to make us feel we are not discriminated against, that we are given consideration as an opposition party. and wee party. and we have also established good relations with members of other parties, including the usdp. and we have established good relations with members of the ethnic nationality parties. we are beginning to learn to
work together. we are beginning to learn the art of compromise, give and take, the achievement of consensus. it is good that this is beginning in the legislature, and we hope that this will spread out and become part of the political culture of burma. the burmese political culture has been very weak in negotiated compromises. it is not the way we have worked for a good many years. but if we are to resolve the problems that now face our country, we will have to learn the art of negotiated compromise, and we hope very much that the united states and other friends will help us in this learning process. in the end, u.s.-burma relations will be what we make of it, we here and now.
because we are the ones who are going to lay the foundation for the relationship between our two countries. what happens over the next few years will decide how strong and how healthy the relationship between our two countries will be. i hope that all of you will take this as a common thought to be carried out together with commitment and with confidence, because i am sure that we will succeed in our endeavor. not easily. there are many, many obstacles in the way, and i am not going to talk about this because i think when the question and answer question session comes, everybody will talk about the obstacles, and then i will talk
about them. let me bring my part of the proceedings to a conclusion by saying i would like to thank all of you for what you have done for our country in the past, and i look forward to the future when we shall be able to do much for one another. thank you. [applause] or tom with the asian society has an award to present. could you come up? you are the awardee. thoughtful and candid comments today. i like everyone today feel very fortunate to be here on the occasion of your first visit to
the united states in some 40 years. so fuld permit me, for more than three decades, the asia society has been recognizing extraordinary individuals have committed to advancing mutual unders between asians and americans in meaningful ways. this award is bestowed on leaders whose values promote democracy, human rights, justice and equal access to resources. aung san suu kyi embodies these qualities like no other. we are delighted to have the opportunity to present it to her today in person. aung san suu kyi is the chair of burma's leading opposition party, the n.l.d., and her biography is well-known to all.
that has been led primarily by her tireless advocacy for democracy and the rights of her people, much of that achieved over decades of detention. she was awarded the nobel peace prize in 1991 for her life-long struggle. she is an inspiration to the people in burma and all the people in the world. it is a special honor for me to present this award today because i am a long-time visitor to burma. i am a great fan of the country. it touches your heart. i first went there in the mid 1970 he is, and i have kept going back every year since the year 2000 there. is a lot to love about burma. it is beautiful, bountyful, and i don't think one could find a kinder and more resilient people in the world. i work with a school and
medical clinic near the capital. i was involved in this work by a very great man, a man i know you know well, a patriot and you know well, a patriot and a man who has been one of your close colleagues in the n.l.d. we have spent many days and nights going over the years of struggles and triumphs of n.l.d. and the challenge of finding democracy. through him i met many other supporters of your party, many of whom have spent time in prison and often under deplorable conditions. i have never met you, and it is a thrill to do so today. of all my visits to burma, none was like i had last year. i was there last winter, and it was electrifying. good news is hard to come by these days. it has been astonishing to see so much good news coming from
burma of all places. i was there for the campaign season, and it was a marvel to witness the change in attitude, spirit and hope of the burmese, who after 50 years of pretty much a brutal military dictatorship are awakening at last. your pick was everywhere i went, hanging in the bazaars and market. a few years ago it was illegal to even possess a picture. i picked up a few posters and picked up a hand bag that says i heart democracy. the n.l.d. won 43 of the 44 seats that were open for this election. the longing for change in burma is overwhelming, and while we know there will be obstacles along the way, many of which you alluded to today, the democracy you have advocated for and devoted yourself to all your life really seems
inevitable. it is a thrill to watch this history being made, and it's a thrill to have you here with us today. on behalf of asia society, it is my honor to call you to the stage. that is what it says here, but you are already on the stage. >> i knew i should have waited. [laughter] >> that's all right. it has been great to have you here. this is an award in recognition of your decades long struggle to promote democracy, human rights and justice. let me present it. [applause] >> we were scheduled to end at
about 1:30, but we are going to stretch it out >> we are going to jump into it. i am with the center here at the institute. it is an honor to co-moderate with my colleague, suzuki dimaggio. we have received a number of questions from twitter, facebook and e-mail. suzuki? >> first, let me say what a thrill it is to see you again. welcome back to the united states after so many long decades. i hope you know on this tour you are going to meet probable thousands if not more of your supporters and friends. we are looking forward to that. you spoke always bit about the obstacles and getting to them in the "q & a" session. you spoke eloquently about the u.s.-burma relationship and
have far it has come. enemphasis has been put on economic issues. you made the point just now that without rule of law, the economy cannot be strengthened in a just way. now we know that the united states is considering a lifting and an easing of the blanket ban on imports from burma. so my question to you is obviously such an easing would help people in your country in a meaningful way, but do you support such a move now? if so, why? and if not, what needs to be done to get there? >> i do support the easing of sanctions because i think that our people must start taking responsibility for their own destiny. i do not think we should depend on u.s. sanctions to keep up the momentum of our movement for democracy.
we've got to work at it ourselves. there are very many other ways in which the united states can help us to achieve our diem critic ends, can -- democratic ends, can help us build up the democratic institutions we are in need of. sanctions are not the only way. we are grateful for the fact that sanctions were instituted in the past. it helped us greatly. i do not agree with those who say that sanctions hurt burma economically. but they certainly had a very great political effect. the fact that so many people tried to blame sanctions for the economic ills of the country only proves how potent it was as a weapon. not that it really hurt us economically. if you read the reports of the i.m.f., i think you will find that sanctions in fact had very little economic impact in burma. >> i am going to ask you a question that actually came from twitter.
the question is there are a number of cease-fire agreements and peace negotiationings ongoing in burma with the various ethnic groups. what can the burmese government do to build trust with the ethnic groups and gain their confidence that the government is responsive to their concerns? and what role do you think civil society can play in that peace process in burma? >> there has been distrust between -- strategic distrust i was going to say between the ethnic groups and the military government of burma for very many years. now this is a civilian government. you have to remember that most of the members of the civilian gofrlt are from the old military depofrlt. still, the military still has a very powerful position in the achievement of cease-fires. the problem now in the kachin
state is they believe the cease-fire agreements will not be kept without the compliance of the military, and they are not certain that the military acts in accordance with the directions of the executive. it is a question of lack of trust. nobody trusts anybody else, and that needs time to build up. i think we need to learn more about conflict resolution and negotiation from those who have gone through the same experience. i have spoken to a few people who have gone through conflict resolutions in other part of the world, and from one session i learned a lot. we have to learn how to go about it. it is not something that comes naturally. >> we received a number of questions related to the situation in one state.
you had asked for a clarification. in the past when you addressed this issue, you note "third down" was a situation related to citizenship and that would be a way to look at it. the question is do you mean by that, and moving forward, what is the best way to address this issue? >> to begin with, i didn't say this was just to do with citizenship. it has to do with rule of law. first and foremost it was a question of keeping peace in the area. the very first crime that was committed a few months back, if that had been handled in accordance with rule of law principles, that is to say action should have been taken quickly, and justice would have
been seen to be done, and that would have helped. but because in the beginning the basic norms of rule of low were not observed, everything became worse and worse. looking at it in the long-term, citizenship laws come into it. we have to know who are citizens of burma. on the other hand we have to examine our citizenship laws to find out if they are in line with international standards and with basic human rights requirements. it is not just citizenship laws when you are talking about rule of law. we are just talk about rule of just laws, laws to do with crimes. it all started with a crime, and because of the way in which the authorities handled it, and was seen a as inadequate, everything became worse.
>> we have time for one more question. this actually came from an e-mail. the question is what can members of the pro democracy movement known as the 88 generation, many of whom had been imprisoned in the past, as well as other activists, as well as exiles, do to contribute to burma's peaceful transition. what is their role? >> i don't think all those who belong to activists groups have to do just one thing. each person has his own strengths and weaknesses. each person has his own talents. they have to choose. some may be best taking part in humanitarian activities. some may be best going into politics. some may do best in other directions such as literature, arts, et cetera. so i don't think that just because they have been
activists in the past, that they all should be lumped together and expected to do just one thing. there are many things they can do. i assume that each one of them is different, that each one of them is an individual with his own talents, his own inclinations, and his own ambitions. i don't think they should be kept together as one organization all the time. they have to expand with the changing times. >> and then the follow up question is are they welcome? are they open to participate? >> when, burma? >> the are you talking about the ones who are living abroad? >> exactly. >> that depends on two things. one on the regulations of the government, what what were the regulations regarding the state us of each individual. i don't believe they would all fall into one category.
the second thing, will they be welcome in burma? i think so. i think the people in burma would welcome back any of our citizens who have lived abroad for a long time if they wish to come back. >> thank you. >> on that note with a very short "q & a," but we were thrilled to have the opportunity, thank you so much for joining us. i know jim is going to give some closing remarks. but i want to tell all of you that this entire discussion will be available on our websites. so please tell your friends and colleagues to view what i think was a very important statement from you at this moment. thank you very much. >> thank you. [applause] >> thanks for our partners, the state department, the asian society and to all those who put this together. we are going to move aung san
suu kyi out of the building. fuld hold tight for just a minute or so, we will let you go. we are going to leave right now. >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain in your seats until the official party departments. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> democracy activists aung san suu kyi's visit to washington continues today where she receives the congressional gold meldal. she will be honored by congressional leaders, secretary of state hillary clinton and laura busch. you can watch live coverage at
action? >> welton mono. i read out some details a few minutes ago -- well, who know. i read out some details a few minutes ago about some changes in provisions while the partnering of afghan forces takes place. the impact on british forces and how they conduct what they do in afghanistan is expected to be minimal. i do not think, the taliban or anyone else would see that as a significant change. >> there has been very serious scrutiny of these attacks by the coalition forces. of course, israelis have to work out exactly what is going on, but the best study has shown that three-quarters of these attacks are not conducted by the
taliban and that these people are not in any way connected to the taliban. why do you insist that these are connected to the taliban attack? >> they are the type that the taliban would like to see. some of them are organized by the taliban. others are by people who sympathize with the taliban. i think that shorthand is a fair enough description. >> as far as we can see, there are no links between these people and the taliban. is that not something that we should be taking on board and is that not something more serious? >> of course, it means that merely identifying the origins or background of the people involved is not sufficient. you have to have the forces with an increased ability to protect themselves. that is why one of the things
that has been brought in is having a personal weapon at all times. of course, there's a predictable element that you stay. and that is the case that not everybody that is opposed to international forces being in afghanistan is a supporter of the taliban. that is absolutely right. but i think the response is that saying that the measures that we take to mitigate the risks are the same. >> it has been almost two years since the peace council was set up. and 3.5 years since officials of the front office began speaking about political negotiations with the taliban. in your response to a 2011 report, you said, we need to take advantage of military and civilian gains made in 2011, a
year of reconciliation and transformation. how successful have been? >> we have not succeeded in i get. that does not reduce the importance of continuing with those efforts. not all those efforts are ones that we can get a running commentary on, of course. but we do have them with the government of afghanistan and pakistan. to sayt be able everything we do and that we have succeeded yet. we have not succeeded in bringing health and stability yet to afghanistan. but we will continue to do so. >> is there any sense of when one would need to, achieve that
kind of scenario to decrease the threat of a war? >> to begin with, i think the important point to make is that this is not a process that works according to a timetable. like any negotiation, any negotiation of conflict in the world, it would not be possible to do that. the military time tail -- time table is set by the afghan security forces and their ability to cope on their own. and they are coming up this october to their intended strength of 352,000. in total, they are on track to meet their intended strength. i do not think there needs to be a deadline for reconciliation. which might take place in the overall settlement, or it might
be a partial reconciliation in a settlement or in stages, or at the local level. it is a far more complex situation and when you can put a date on. i do not think that once the chance to do so expires with the involvement -- i do not think that the chance to do so expires with the involvement of our troops through 2014. well'll ability to perform will continue and continue to increase. this may continue to be a long process. >> if, for whatever reason, the taliban were not prepared to engage constructively in a political settlement, do we have an alternative strategy? what would be partners do if we were unable to achieve successful negotiation with the taliban? >> that would be a more the gulf
situation in afghanistan. but we will continue with our military plans, our commitment to 2014 being cleared. " we have set out to do with our allies is to make sure that the afghan security forces do have the strength and ability to operate from their own. they are already leading insecurity. and in -- in the security over a large part of afghanistan. that is crucial. and they will have to continue to meet the consequence of those, and without british forces being deployed in a combat role. >> there is a piece in the times that you may have seen about troop strength. that has proved to be very
controversial. -- about drone strikes. and that has proved to be very controversial do you have any comments about drone strikes? but i do not know that i have any comment on them in public. >> according to the report, it says that political reconciliation might be hampered by the continuing use of drone strikes. it talks of civilians being killed in drone strikes and military individuals as well. almost 300 people have been killed in drone strikes. it is a very controversial issue. and clearly, and this speech that we have seen today, there is a typical buyer room --
[indiscernible] >> there are a lot of assumptions about our intelligence, and some are accurate and some are not. -- some are not accurate and some are not. i gathered in a speech about the role of services, which was not about how we use or share intelligence with our partners. which is an important consideration for them as well as for us. i do not confirm or deny the use of intelligence in any context. and i'm not able to change that position. people do make arguments about drone strikes. and there are legitimate arguments before and against them.
the united states has put the argument for why -- for what they do and why they do what they do. and there are arguments that can be put against them. but we do not comment on them. we cannot reveal how we use british intelligence. >> if you see it as something that could hamper the peace talks, if it does? >> how we use british intelligence, which is what you are really asking, -- i understand the reason for asking, but i'm sure you understand the reason why i will not expand on that board go into that. it is not something i can discuss, and the use of drones or the lack of use of drums. that is for the state. and anything we do ourselves in any area has always been aligned
with international law. but i cannot comment on whether we use our own intelligence or not. >> is our policy to support these drones in afghanistan. >> that is a matter for the united states and pakistan and afghanistan. it is nothing that the british bombardment decide. it is a matter for the states concerned. -- it is nothing that the british government can decide. it is a matter for the states' concerns. >> my question is pakistan. >> our concern is our own military operations. i do not feel i can go into those in public leader. >> you know where i'm coming from on this.
our mission in afghanistan has been confused almost from the start. when we succeed in our original mission in clearing al qaeda out of afghanistan, which was relatively early, the mission morphed into a nation-building exercise. and the mission of human-rights has plagued afghan cents. -- since then. in a statement to the house on thursday, the secretary made clear that nation-building was central to the strategy. and yet, on the same day when visiting troops in afghanistan, he said, now that the outcry has been eliminated from afghanistan, it is not enough to ask her to put their lives on the line for nation building, but for national security interests. what is the mission there for?
>> i don't think there is a contradiction. our objective is to protect our national security interest. we can be unequivocal about that. continue, the work they're continuing the afghan to kurdish forces -- the afghan security forces, there is a part of being able to promote reconciliation and also assist afghanistan in its own social and economic endeavor. >> let's be clear about this, because there is confusion ohere perinto. you are saying that it is in the national security interest to be there and not to nation building. if there were nation-building,
ensuring human rights and elections, they did not necessarily a sign up for all of that. that does not have to do with defeating the taliban. what exactly is the mission? are you saying it is the national security interest and nation-building? >> i would say both. our objective is to protect and maintain our own national security. the mission is subjective. and many are our own military. it also encompasses a great deal of the work. >> he would accept that al qaeda was essentially defeated
in afghanistan many years ago. what this mission has now more often to is taking on the taliban and other elements. i take it they are not a homogenous group. and this is a nation-building exercise. to many, this mission has more to into something else. if we are there to protect our national security interest, the defense secretary said something very interesting. that is, we have to adopt a sort of northern ireland style approach to negotiations. do you believe that we are doing enough to pressure americans to open nontraditional talks with the taliban. the american position has said that at least publicly, will only talk to the taliban if they lay down their arms and accept the constitution. that will not happen.
we have to get real about this. we ought to have non-traditional talks with the taliban. if national security interests are taliban it -- are paramount in afghanistan, then are we doing enough to change that view? >> the american view has developed over the last few years the same as ours, i think, in being in favor of reconciliation. in being open to having discussions with all to bring about reconciliation. >> are you saying that their position has changed in that americans, supported by that view, will now have conditional talks with the taliban and they do not have to lay down their arms and accept the constitution as a precursor to those talks? >> it is the view of all
involved, including the afghan , that reconciliation has to include acceptance of the afghan constitution, and going away from violence. >> these are two separate things. i'm suggesting that before you get to reconciliation, you have to talk. you make peace with your enemies, not your friends. you how to talk with the various parties around the table the play a role in afghanistan. no one can deny that have -- that the taliban and should be excluded from that. is it the american position supported by the british, or is it the british view at the very least, that we should have non- traditional talks with the taliban? the american point of view was
expressed early recently that they will not even talk to them or negotiate with them until they lay down their arms and accept the constitution, which they will not do. >> the u.s. had the same policy that we have. there have been contacts with the taliban, and i've said that before. i will also not give commentary on them for obvious reasons. it would permit it to -- it would prohibit such contact if we gave the such contact conversations. and based on all of the conditions are was talking about being met, of course. >> do we have those preconditions for negotiation? >> as far as i'm concerned, i've always said that we have our --
that there are contacts for reconciliation. there are recommendations for reconciliation. but i have not said that in order to set forth any talks those conditions must be met. >> you said you were very clear that the reconciliation process cannot be connected by a timetable. given the fact that we have announced in military withdrawal from a combat role timetable, haven't we actually made it impossible to get an early process of negotiation and reconciliation? because we have already announced to the taliban that we will not be enough combat role, and all they need to do is undermine the building of the afghan security forces in knowing that president obama, and therefore, our prime minister subsequently, but
caving in to that mission? >> as i was saying earlier, the military timetable is an unusual thing in itself. it is right in this case because the timetable for our own combat role with british forces not being anything like they are now is tailored to the growth and capabilities of the afghan security forces. what should the enemies of that focus on. undermining the capabilities of the afghan security forces. these are forces that have much greater capabilities and i garrido or two years ago and are growing all the time -- than a year ago or two years ago and are growing all the time. there will have to be that reconciliation.
if insufficient, and as a result, the expectation is the calculation is made, maybe in the middle of next year, or maybe in the middle of 2014. the afghan security forces are not just -- to hold the areas of the population there nevertheless, the tables of the military will go ahead. the consequences will follow. within plan b, is there a possibility to allow long periods for the afghan forces to be built to the necessary climate? >> there are different rates of withdrawal and withdraw from, situations which are yet to be decided. the data is very firm.
the prime minister has been clear about that for the last two years. so have all the rest of us in the government. partly because that is a key factor in the taking on of the responsibility by the afghans -- afghans. they need to know it is their responsibility. they need to know a transition has taken place. they have already taken on that responsibility. if you look at a place which transitioned some time ago to afghan security, our experience was when we sesaid the afghans would be responsible, that helped to create the dynamic, the protest, and took on all things we need them to take on. they need to know that it does not change. >> they also know they will not
change, therefore all in the to do is to undermine the forces so that at that point, they are in a stronger position than they would otherwise be. >> while that may be true, it is also true these forces are on track. to reach their strength. their capability is growing all the time. 353,000 by october of this year. one of the largest military forces in the world. they are on track to do that. that strategy, that approach, is not being successfully undermined by and about -- by anybody at the moment. >> gains have been made forward in afghanistan. folks that are proceeding. how confident are you those gains are going to be permanent. is that one of the conditions
secretary clinton will be pushing very hard? >> yes, it is something we always push. in the end, it is afghan that will determine what happens. that is the whole point of what we are working towards, here. we are doing whatever we can to make sure the culture is changed, that the culture of the role of women and the involvement of women in society changed. that is a big change in afghanistan. i have had discussions with afghan students where they attitudes of the male students, even of young people, was still quite different from the female students. i think some of it is long-term work. i think, as you will be aware, the parallel with decisions, we brought together last numbers of
women leaders in society, and so that work has gone on and will continue, all the way through, remaining involvement in afghanistan. >> is there any kind of political surge? we have all recognized the need for regional talks. russia, i ran. -- iran. hillary clinton called for this earlier this year. there does not seem to be time this is happening. is it in the pipeline? >> there are many things in the pipeline. a lot of our work with the government of afghanistan, pakistan, in particular, is to promote political reconciliation, a political surge that you are talking about. as i was saying, we cannot say it succeeded. a lot of that work goes on.
>> there is no conference plan or anything like that? >> no, i think for a conference of all parties involved, enough progress would have to be made to give that a chance of success. we are not at that point yet. >> can we turn to syria? you said just a few weeks ago that the situation is likely to to carry eight, even from its current position. what do you base that assessment on? >> that is partly because it is keep. -- it is a deteriorating. there is nothing on the table at the moment that has any chance of being passed. it is going to change that in the future. we are taking a whole range of measures on september 3 to try
to help the people in this conflict, but we are not able to bring this to an end. we have to state whether it will continue -- whether it will continue to get worse. the intensity of the fighting has been great in recent months than it was six or 12 months ago. i believe the situation will continue to deteriorate. >> one of the concerns expressed by the russians is that they are uncertain as to what would actually replace the regime if it collapses. do you have any ideas of what syria is going to look like? thus what it should look like to begin with is what we agreed with the russian far minister
along with the other permanent members of the security council and many leading arabs. a transitional government. transitional government that should include members of the present government, and members of the opposition, on the basis of mutual consent. there were many things we were not able to agree with, as you well know. we were not able to agree with russia on the revolutions we put forward. the latest in july was vetoed by russia. we did agree with russia on that. a transition government -- a transitional government on mutual consent is what the government should look like. what we have not been able to agree on in the u.n. is how to agree on how that happens. >> what do you think it will look like? you said what it should look like. it seems to be quite a lot of evidence coming out.
we may end up with the regime heart -- more hardline than the current one. >> the longer this goes on, the more excrements we will be able to find a foothold. the less easy it will be to have any agreed transition between all the groups involved. the longer it goes on, the worse consequences will be. i do not want to hide that from anybody in any way. we are dealing with -- it is another reason we are dirling with a deteriorating situation -- dealing with a deteriorating situation. the things that russia -- an extremist regime, and the
region, are made more likely by the failure of the u.n. security council to pass the resolution mandating and requiring the implementation of the peace plan that tells cnn put forward -- that kofi annan put forward. we will continue to work with them and talk to them about changing that. there has been no sign so far or change in the russian position. >> the transitional regime that we are talking about is a regime of a number of the , yet thegovernment kofi plant entailed leaving it in place. would you say that's an inconsistency? >> the proposal was built on the kofi plan. we had to agree what we would
all be happy with, including russia and china, a transitional government in syria based on mutual consent. kofi was very happy to support that. but he lacked was the full weight of the un security council saying there will be consequences if -- we did not know if they meant military consequences. that was not suggested that all. the consequences if that plan is not far off -- followed. >> if we are to bridge the gaps with russians, are our allies and we could -- prepared to compromise? >> we have been ready to compromise throughout the spirit in framing the resolution we put forward on the 19th of july, that was vetoed, we were happy to accommodate by russia.
nonmilitary consequences. even implementing those would require reference back to the u.n. security council. despite meeting all of the russian concerns, they were not willing to support anything that was a revolution under chapter 7. in our view and the view of the great majority, anything short of chapter 7 is too weak. >> is there is a collapse of the regime, what will the reaction ran be?neighbors in i ran th >> consent. i pay tribute to the people of iraq, jordan, for the
hospitality they are extending to hundreds of thousands of people. they are doing their best to cope with that. we are one of the leading countries in the world. the donations we give is to help those countries and we need other countries to stand up more. it is in their interest, as well, for this to be brought to an end as soon as possible. i cannot say department bears any side of that at the moment. -- save the parliament bears and the sight of that at the moment. say the parliament bears and the any sight of that at theen moment.
>> are you suggesting there is regret? [indiscernible] let's say the russian government did go for a chapter 7 agreement and the chinese road in behind them. what affect would you think that -- defect would you think that has on the resolution? but -- effect do you think that would have? >> that will make a vast difference in the regime and a determination to carry on
murdering their own people know -- and that has killed so many of its own people can reside over order and stability in their country again. it is doomed. it is a matter of time. as things stand, the situation will have to deteriorate further for that to come about. i do not know if there is any contradiction to what i have said. chapter 7 resolution or make an enormous difference. >> i think, chapter 7 resolution, the ability to pursue a political transition. i take the signal that a strong chapter 7 resolution voted would extend and homes of support [indiscernible] i think that would be very
important. behind him as he pursues the geneva plan or something close to it. >> it was suggested they would agree and the decapitation of the regime. president assad. a deal that similarly took place in yemen. >> there has been no sign of that agreement. we have had long and exhaustive discussions with russian leaders about this. the prime minister during the olympics. another serious discussion about it. russia has agreed to what i was describing early. a transitional government on mutual consent. in our view, mutual consent means inevitably that afghan would not be a part of that.
it is difficult to imagine in a government formed by mutual consent that they would be present. i have agreed to that. they would not agree on any measure to bring that about, to require that, and force that, for the united nations to mandate that. that remains a gap between us. at the moment, there is no sign in a change. that is why we pursue the many other strands. the work and sent out. the relief come of a non-lethal support. -- the relief, the non-lethal support. we can do a lot in the absence of that. we cannot do -- have an internationally agreed solution. >> how do you feel that the mood following the intervention in
libya has affected? p5? how much do think that plays into the problem with syria at the moment? >> it is one of the factors. i think there are many other factors at work. their own position is different. russian interests are much stronger in syria. this is not the only factor certainly, there has been different -- has been disagreement about the implementation.
we remain entrenched in our view that that was necessary. >> a lot further than it was agreed in in the security council resolution -- resolution. [indiscernible] do you think that has an impact with regards to a resolution with syria? >> i do not think we went further than in that resolution. all measures to perspective is a to protect civilian -- all measures to protect civilians. i think we are absolutely correct. there are other factors at work. i think to ask about the p5.
while we have this impact on on a whole range of other subjects, the security council is living up to its abilities at the moment. on syria, we are in a deadlock. >> been a rock and afghanistan the central conclusion notwithstanding iran support for enemies in this country, it is important to try to include them what you think there would exclude them? >> we exploited them from a
geneva. that does not mean they are excluded from everything. the iranians would not object to that. america was very clear there were not part of the geneva talks because it was difficult to even are arrived at the agreement they were talking about on what a transitional government would look like. i think the presence of iran and -- it would probably have made it impossible. it was more important to have a position agreed among the permanent five members of the council and to have iran at the table. they are a country that is actively engaged in assisting the voskhod regime in the oppression of syria -- the assad
regime in syria and other places. -- which includes iran. i discussed that in egypt last week. we have not criticized that. but we are skeptical as to whether such agreement would come up with an agreement that is viable for the people of syria. >> can you tell me whether the u.k. has provided equipment or training to the city national council>> the terms under which
we provide equipment, mentoring, i sat down to the house on the third of september, which i am sure you have seen. i announced 5 million pounds. that assistance is and communications equipment, water purification, medical supplies, which general go through international agencies. those go to, this is not there for lethal. it does not in support of military or violence operations. that is a more important criteria than the name of the nation. >> we have following the announcement taken to a number of various communications. [indiscernible] water purification. there is a lot of work to help train human rights. [indiscernible] accountability for crimes committed in syria.
some of that assistance and some of the political work we do is with the national council, that assistance has not gone to the pre-syrian army. >> providing that military support. >> certainly, the opposition and groups [indiscernible] evidence over recent weeks and months have said they have done increasingly well. we have an armed embargo. we will do our utmost to monitor. we feel it is important to be of assistance and a dire situation.
communications equipment can also be used to warn people of impending attack and save their lives. >> i am not being critical. >> no, no. as i argued a couple weeks ago when i made my statement, i think whatever risks are involved in supplying the kind of equipment we do suppy are outweighed. >> the regime's communication blockade. that is evidently anted jamil communications equipment. it is a sophisticated equipment. it is equipment that is going to be useful in terms of
improving the military effectiveness of the operations groups to the sad regime. i put it to you, the policy is being given by presentation of factors. we are trying to appear presentation elite to be acceptable by supplying what you described as nonlethal equipment. that can contribute to the military of the opposition groups. we are not prepared to go further and supply ammunition, etc.. i put it to you, can we really
risk this policy of giving support on representational distinction which does the stand up in military terms? >> it is by human factors. we want to help save lives. that is our responsibility. has always been. we do that to humanitarian aid. we give to more than 40 million fans so far. that is what this assistance is designed to do, as well. there are people who are unable to communicate the ideas of freedom and democracy in many cases that they want to communicate. they cannot communicate about the intentions of the regime. sometimes, their lives are lost as a result. i think we do have a responsibility to help those people. now, of course, anything we do in this area is against all the usual criteria on which you are one of the experts and against the wall. we will -- against the law. we have a human and a moral responsibility to assist people in this situation. i cannot see it being driven by any press additional factor.
i do not hide in any way the all flesh of the situation and the likelihood it will deteriorate. the you want to add to that? >> there will always be some risk involved in this line of work. we have a careful process within government. within the syrian policy. with the legal adviser in. and to make sure we are sharing information with them to try to address and minimize these risks. at the same time, trying to find ways to get practical support under intense pressure and great personal risk.
>> i do not in any way doubt your sincerity that we are providing a substantial value of equipments, including communication equipment. to save lives. there is no question in my mind that the type of equipment being supplied can be of military benefit. i put it to you as a question. is it really the real dividing line, the british government and perhaps others? it is not the real dividing line. to you want to get and a position in which british are used against russian equipment? >> we are not supplying for a whole range of reasons -- >> i understand that. i am saying that is not the dividing issue a policy.
you wish to avoid all costs providing lethal weapons which could be used to improve military efficiency. you do not want to appear to have a situation where you supply lethal weapons that can be used against russian supply equipment. is not that that is the driving separation behind the conclusion you are making progress i cannot think so. i cannot think of it in that way. we have not discussed that in that way in the government. we are trying to help people. it is obviously a desperate situation and there are risks attached. but i think with the equipment we are supplying, the balance of risk is in favor of supplying this. for all the reasons i said before, for illegal equipment, the balance is different. there has to be a much higher threshold.
in determining how it might be used in voting. i see that as the dividing line. >> [indiscernible] the turks are provided with syrian opposition with equipment and a half to meet with equipment and other assistance which is complementary to an outsourcing policy. >> usually, in outsourcing, you pay. we are not paying. we are not paying any other country to do that. >> military equipment is being provided. the network of friends of syria. we are distancing ourselves politically.
we have made a decision, probably a right decision, that we wish to provide a mechanism that we are not voluntarily sending lethal equipment. >> we wish to do what is the normal practice of this country and has been in the various conflicts of the middle east. the book the libyan conflict was applied on that occasion communication equipment but not lethal weapons. it has never been our decision to supply weapons to it aside. it is our normal practice. it is in line with the principles of this country and
it is in line with the laws of this country. that determines it, rather than what other countries are doing. it is not part of some secret strategy with other countries. >> [indiscernible] some of the opposition? >> i do not recall that. whenever france did, the united kingdom did not. is there not a danger on relying on undemocratic, silly a rab regimes. they may end up assisting some groups in syria to get weapons which might not have been taken if we ourselves have gone to take on the role.
>> this is the argument we would need to intervene ourselves to send with what is in order to stop other people from doing so. i cannot think that would necessarily affect anyone else from doing it. who might do that. there are major other drawbacks to the policy. we can expand on them as much as you like. we would not know how those weapons would be used. the conflict in syria would be defined as one in which the west is involved. i think the drawback, i do not [indiscernible] we do not know how the situation will develop. >> reports of some of the extremists, perhaps al qaeda,
extreme groups who are being harmed through saudi arabia. >> i cannot comment on who is arming who. we do not provide information about that. i am concerned about extremist groups fighting syria, as i said earlier. we should be concerned about it. everyone on the un security council should be. the longer that goes on, the harder it will be to have peace and stability. >> to establish some corridor with and syria to provide for the population. >> it has not been called for a convention or corridor. the meeting we had at the u.n.
security council in august. the commission -- it has had advantages of such a policy. i do not think we should be dismissive of any of the options you put forward. it is a difficult situation. we do not know what options may be necessary in the future. as things stand today, the creation of such corridors or safe havens, which are phenomenally difficult to protect, it would be tantamount to have a major military
intervention in syria. i am not excluding any options for the future. the committee will be well aware of that. it will require intervention on a vastly greater scale than was the case in libya. it would require the full involvement of the united states. >> another question. 20 years ago, the government did produce the policy to support the iraqis. what would we require if there was to be some initiative of
that kind, given that specific u.n. resolution 20 years ago? >> i do not think i want to set criteria for that. we have had intervention's some that where we have had a un resolution, libya being the obvious case last year. it can be argued that in certain extremis circumstances, the responsibility to protect is so essential and imperative that under international law, we are able to act. that is argued. nevertheless, any such intervention would have to follow the criteria. it would have to be successful. successful intervention would require vastly greater military
force. it will only be answered with the full participation of the united states. >> the proposition which has been put to by mr. gates. word to be entertained by the government. i agree with your references to libya. it made an enormous difference to the attitude. when the government brought forward the proposal. for that intervention. the fact that it was authorized, it made the argument much easier. you have painted a somber picture in which, for the moment, there is no obvious step we can take beyond what one
might describe as the support option, which the government has embarked upon. can i urge you to maintain the pressure on russia? and just draw to the attention that one of the important factors in the ethnic cleansing was the fact that the patience of russia made it clear it was no longer willing to give an unequivocal support. i do not imagine the present state of the soviet union that we might get anything quite as clear cut.
surely, it is worth pursuing as hard as we possibly can, the argument that russia really holds the key to the kind of resolution to this issue which would be in russia's interest. quest this is the argument i think you have very well. it was the argument i was trying to set out earlier. the argument should be those. if i am right, along the this goes on, the worse the situation is likely to be. the worse it will be for russia. as well as for international peace and security. it should be in the interests of russia. to support the kind of resolution we put forward. that is not the view of the russian government. i entirely take aboard your encouragement to continue.
we will continue with those efforts. i expect next week during the assembly in new york, we will continue these discussions in many different ways. the fact that the moment remains i go to the house on the third. a change in the russian position is most likely going to happen with a further change of the situation on the ground in syria. >> the united states and the united kingdom joining together to embark on a military activity in the middle east, it would be hardly likely to ensure the end to the instability, which is seen in the streets of some arab countries. >> there are major disadvantages.
i think it is important to stress that partly what we have been discussing here is the potential collapse of the syrian state of an even greater humanitarian crisis of the disorder spilling over into neighboring countries. i do not think we should be in the business of ruling things out. we must be conscious of the serious disadvantages and always weigh those and the balance. that is what we do today and i feel, given the reaction and the comments to the policies i set out to syria, i think the policy commands general consent in this country and in this parliament and we will keep
parliament fully informed of any change in our thinking. >> can we turn to iran? >> can i share with you some concerns and questions with regards to the evidence of iranian building a nuclear weapon. the evidence given by the u.s. director of national intelligence and the director of the cia. they said they have no evidence that they do not believe they made a decision to go ahead with a nuclear weapon. national intelligence evidence since 2010, the operations. to the statements -- we believe he is speaking off the record, but they do not sit well together. i do not expect you to comment.
i accept that. can i take your view as to whether the air iranians have ashley decided to build a nuclear weapon? >> i cannot think we did have absolute certainty on that either way. i am not able to discuss our intelligence priming. our concern, current concern is over iran's nuclear program and its inability to explain to us or the international community that that activity is for peaceful purposes.
that is our concern. that is a big enough concern in its own right. their respective whether a decision has been taken to manufacture a nuclear weapon. >> i think you are wrong. we have to base our foreign policy decisions on evidence. do you except there is ambiguity here? where do you see the red line. the israeli red line appears to be and richmond.
where do we sit in that range? it is not clear where it is on this. >> i am not going to choose a red line. we are trying to promote a solution to this. it is worth noting that last week, the board of governors voted in favor of a strong resolution on iran. this was russia and china voting on this. the iranian corp. was a potential urgent international conference and the peaceful nature. it expressed serious concerns
about continued in richmond and heady were to relate to activities in iran. it is not a western convention. we are not imagining that. those activities are very serious. >> i think you should except that iran -- other countries and nuclear powers have not. can i bring you back to the testimony given to the senate. i take it you are not disagreeing with their assessments that iran has not yet, or are you? >> i am not disagreeing.
i qualify that by always saying they are we would not necessarily now. what we do know is alarming enough. it is some of the things i just described. >> you would except that before any sort of intervention from the israelis, and i hate we are -- i hope that we are counting against preemptive military strikes, that we should be stressing to the israelis the importance of concrete evidence of the decision to build a nuclear weapon, as opposed to circumstantial. >> there is no doubt. what i just described in the resolution is going on. our policy, and it has been debated in the house, it is a policy of sanctions and negotiations. we have been pursuing both of those vigorously in the year. the european union and partners
around the world have implemented various sanctions which are having a major impact on iran. we will be intensifying the sanctions in the coming weeks and months and the absence of a successful negotiation. our advice to israel has been very clear that in the circumstances and in the pursuit of this policy, we are not in favor of a military strike on iran. >> thank you. >> not being productive. an assessment of how effective the sanction will be. are you optimistic this will produce results? >> the imports and oil came on the first of july.
it does appear iranian oil sales are dramatically lower than one year ago. something like 1 million barrels a day lower than they were last year. that is a large cut in i iranian oil revenues. those sanctions are having an effect. it is not our assessment at the moment that it has led to a change in iran's policy. >> if the iranians said it is their intention to build a bomb and they have one, we would continue the sanctions?
>> i am sure. absolutely. >> how much preparation can be made for a world in which we have a nuclear armed iran? >> that would be a development so serious. so serious for the middle east as a whole. our efforts must be directed to preventing it. i think it is a mistake to move on to arguments about how we would contain the situation, because we create the illusion it would be easy or possible to manage. the consequences are unknowable. it will be intensified. the intensification of our sanctions. >> correct me if i am wrong, but
there is no evidence of any effort so far of a diplomatically or economically arresting iran's -- advance at all. >> it would be very surprising if they did not have that effect. as we said a moment ago, it has not led to a change in policy in iran. i firmly believe the policy we are pursuing is the best of of a peaceful outcome and it would be a better policy than not pursuing the sanctions. it would increase the likelihood of an israeli and military attack on iran. >> thank you. can we turn to libya and north africa? as you are aware, your response was just published. could you give us an update in your reaction to the tragic death of the u.s. ambassador and do you think it was a one off or is it part of a coordinated program? >> is a tragedy. that is the first thing to say.
this is a highly respected ambassador who worked for a closely with some of our staff. he was working hard in the interests not just for the united states but for libya. we express our condolences and also to discuss the various security measures each of our countries have taken. i met the u.s. secretary of state in baghdad.
it happened last week. we discussed the situation. i think the first thing to say about this is that the film to which people -- which has provoked outrage was designed to provoke outrage. although i have not seen it, it is clearly a contemptible piece of work. we should have the clear opinion about it. at the same time, there is no excuse for violence. it must be understood across the region that diplomats working in places are doing so to help the people of libya. i therefore welcome the clear condemnation of what has happened by leaders including islamist leaders across the region, including the president of egypt, who i visited earlier the same day.
including the leaders of libya. it is also important to point out so people can and see the balance of opinions in libya, the outpouring of support and very strong reaction against the violence which our embassy has reported from libya and people have taken to the streets, saying, not in our name. the embassy has messages condemning the attacks. libyan political leaders and leaders of the government have repeatedly condemned what they call a cowardly and criminal act. in my own experience, i visited twice in the last year. there were vast members of people there who want good relations with western nations and all nations and are grateful for all the assistance
we have given them. so, i believe we must continue to support the people in the so-called arab spring trying to bring freedom and democracy to their country. this is a tragic event. we must not be discarded. we must continue that support. we must maintain our efforts in their ability to be maintained. [indiscernible] the u.s. activity in libya has remained diplomatic. the united states will look at whatever they need to do to improve their own security. i cannot comment further on what they do. their response has been entirely diplomatic so far.
so has our response. our embassies have not been affected as directly or targeted in the same way. our embassies in sudan was friday. the german diplomats took refuge in our embassy. the protection of embassies. otherwise, our embassies have not been directly targeted. i was inside the embassy in cairo. i gathered outside the american embassy next door. no attempt was made to enter the british embassy. we keep our security under careful review. we have increased the training of our staff. safe training.
we are keeping on top of this every day. >> continuing your last sentence, we visited egypt, libya, and tunisian earlier this year. it is self evident that in these situations, you can have a degree of security and danger which can escalate in a matter of hours. which is difficult to deal with. may i ask you, do you have confidence that you have the capabilities and the resources to provide proper protection, security protection, to our diplomats serving in libya and elsewhere in the middle east? and their families when they have families with them still?
>> we take precautions. we take necessary precautions all the time to read an attempt was made on the life of our ambassador three months before last week's incident. so we had already taken the precaution. we asked to review their security procedures. that involves a cost of reevaluation of the nature of any local threats and the willingness of the host nation to protect. it is primarily the responsibility of the host nation to ensure the safety of diplomats and diplomatic missions. whenever necessary, remind post -- host nations of the response
of a day to do that. our approach is one of risk management rather than complete risk avoidance. it is inevitably part of our work in what regions that there is sometimes a risk. we do our best to minimize it. we do that all the time. did i miss anything? >> what i asked on resources. are you satisfied that our resources anibal you to take necessary measures -- enable you to take necessary measures. and your finest people saying we cannot afford it? >> that does not happen. the security of our staff is a prime consideration. it occupies a large part of our budget. necessary majors are not rigid
measures are not [indiscernible] either of my officials here might wish to comment on that. >> when heads of mission request additional security measures, those measures are granted. there's never a financial reason not to ground to those measures. we spend a significant portion of our budget, about 70% of our running costs, on security. it is not constrained by money. recognize that our staff is in difficult security environment. >> that is a very important point. after the incidents in khartoum friday -- the restraint presence of mind about staff is absolutely outstanding. local as well as u.k.based diplomats, local security staff as well. can have great confidence in them around the world.
>> you refer to your visit to egypt. would you update us on the current assessment of egypt? >> present obama was careful not to describe them as an ally or an enemy. but i regard egypt as a friend of the u.k. we do not have a formal alliance. united states had very technical terms in terms of non-nato allies. we do not have those same terms. egypt is a friendly country an important ally for us. the rest of the tenure of our discussions was encouraging. there was a concentration and
dented the egyptian leadership on the economic scene -- in the egyptian leadership on the economic scene. that requires practical government. that requires economic expansion, attraction of foreign investors. given the demonstration was -- visitors to the prime minister of egypt was a large u.s. trade delegation. strong encouragement of the egyptian government. i think that is well understood. the president -- i have found his manner, his approach to the particular economic challenges of his country and the recognition of the importance of that to be more encouraging than anything i've seen in egypt in the last few years.
we cannot have any complacency about what the challenges are. >> are you saying the relationship between the u.k. government's and the egyptian government is better than it was with mubarak? >> i do not have much experience personally of the relationship with the mubarak regime but the relationship with egyptian society has the potential to be much better than in those times. we are supporting the yearning of people to have their freedom and democracy as well as projects under our partnership to support business ethics and entrepreneurship. i visited some of people last week benefiting from those products. that can include a good
relationship with the government. i think it is at least as good as the relationship that this government or past governments have had with the mubarak regime. >> what about the treatment of gays, women, minorities? >> this is a very important subject. the president has been elected. the constitution is now being prepared. also the secretary general of the constitution's assembly lead in the drafting of the constitution. and people from across other political parties. part of my measure is to encourage them to ensure that human rights covers the
protection of minorities are enshrined in the constitution. >> and homosexuals and women? >> as far as i'm concerned, that is an important part of human rights. also in egypt, the importance of religious toleration of the position of coptic people. we have been through all these subjects. >> there seems to be a massive change in the security threats now facing the country. it shipped from terrorist organizations -- a ship from terrorist organizations towards a mob. we have seen it in bank as a -- benghazi where despite a large security presence, a u.s. ambassador was killed.
this suggests we are moving into a world that will be more and more difficult to continue to depend on governments protecting our diplomats because the skit -- the investments required to deal with 400 people, they have huge implications for the number of embassies he can run. >> it will have to remain for the host government. this is an increased threat. that does not reduce the other threats -- the attempt on the life of our ambassador in benghazi. this does that mean other threats are being reduced. there is no way of avoiding the prime responsibility of being host nation. there are many circumstances in which host nations fully lived
up to these responsibilities. what we are hearing about your is the exception to that. across the middle east, host nations often do an outstanding job in -- and their police forces often do a great job protecting foreign embassies. where they fall down than to that task, then we have discussions with those governments. that is what unites states has been doing as well. i do not think that can bring about a fundamental change. we will not able to deploy our own military to protect. an inability to protect embassies will affect our ability to continue to deploy them in these countries and it will affect the economic features of the countries concerned. >> what they may be seeing regarding the very changes in
the middle east is the assumption of the threats on host countries -- [indiscernible] that could have implications for security policies. >> we will see. i think you may find these events are reminder to host countries responsibilities. >> we have to be cleared differentiating between regimes and those like the libyan authorities where the will was there to try to help with the capabilities were not. -- while the capabilities or not. i think they want to meet those responsibilities as part of
overcoming the legacy they have on the gadhafi regime. we have to be clear from different -- that kind of situation from something like iran. >> in that case, we could not operate an embassy any longer in tehran. you raised the question of egypt's relationship with israel. president mubarak was no support for maintaining the peace treaty. in the aftermath of the fall of the regime, there is some speculation as to whether a new egypt would feel similarly committed to that. what assessment are you able to make about the attitude towards israel?
which would be a fundamental pillar in any effort to retain stability in the middle east. >> the president has said he stands by the peace treaty with israel. welcome back. his concentration is very much -- we welcome that. his concentration is very much on building up egypt's own factor -- own future. that is the right priority. i also discussed with him and other colleagues the situation in china where there have been security problems. we stand ready to work with egypt in any way we can to assist in the sense of our own expertise and how to deal with such internal security issues.
that is something that is very important. i welcome the stance the president has taken on this. >> were positive about the process and the response reflects that. but there are some concerns being expressed. i'm interested in your assessment of the card as a sheet -- current situation in tunisia. >> we remain positive about it. the arab spring in general, this has the potential to be the greatest extension of human freedom since the end of the cold war. but as i have often said, many of you on this committee have often said, it will have crises
and problems along the way for many years. that will be true in each of these countries. we found on farm policy discussing -- on foreign policy that tunisia is actively engaged in the arab league in working with countries like the united kingdom with a similar view of the way forward. in economic policy, they want to expand trade, they want to attract businesses, they want to work closely with the european union. that that is how their leadership is going to be, that is something for which we have nothing to fear. we have to support them in their own stability without trying to dictate for them what to do. this is a further illustration of why i say we must continue our support for the arab spring. >> our bilateral relationship with ecuador.
>> it generated huge headlines all over the world. was it a diplomatic blunder? what went wrong? >> that is what you call a loaded question. i think it was the right thing to do. you wanted the governor of ecuador to know that -- before they made a decision about granting what they call under the 1954 agreement diplomatic asylum, a concept we do not recognize. if they did so, that would not be a division that would find much favor in law in the united kingdom. we worked on an agreed texts
with them. it's about their legal position in the u.k. which remains the legal position which was not a threat with them a clear at the time and have since made clear with the vice president of ecuador on the 29th august. this does not imply a threat to the united kingdom and is a strong upholder of international law of the vienna convention, the relevant act of parliament include a commitment to international law but we have our own legal responsibilities. our own extradition laws. we will fill those responsibilities. you wanted to make all that clear and we continue to make that clear.
>> there have been a number of eminent critics he said the foreign office has slightly overreached themselves. another former ambassador said they made a big mistake it was skeptical. that is not issued a threat. it is a question of semantics. >> people have their opinions. i am not sure the word slightly is a particularly damning criticism. people are entitled to their opinions. we have stated that our position. ecuador stated their position. we have the same situation as before.
both countries are willing to negotiate about it. the legal position it -- is different. our position is very clear. they're contacted this -- diplomatic asylum is one that we not recognize. we have agreed to continue to talk about this. given the different legal -- there is no solution in sight at the moment. but we will continue to be available to talk to ecuador about it. >> say you are continuing to talk? >> the particular work that is referred to in and the memoir, there were seven meetings before then between the u.k. and ecuador. it shows the work was going on.
>> the particular work that is referred to in and the memoir, there were seven meetings before then between the u.k. and ecuador. it shows the work was going on. that work well attach to leave in our view the embassy. be made very clear -- we have made very clear that it would have had to have had that results. that remains the position. we have not gone backwards in 04 words. remained -- or forwards. we reamin at the impasse -- remain at the impasse of ecuador. i had an amicable meeting with ecuador. i have set out to him as iav