Meeting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gives a speech on Internet freedom at the Newseum in Washington, DC.

There was an incomprehensible feeling of strength and dignity, energy and calm understanding of her own power and importance as the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton walked into the Treaty Room in the U.S. Department of State on Monday to meet our group of about 30 journalists and bloggers who came to learn about “social media” in the United States.Secretary Clinton is perhaps the most powerful politician I’ve seen from such a short distance. Madam Secretary came to us to say a couple of words about the importance of new technologies. Than she said she’d be happy to answer a couple of questions.

Secretary Clinton commented on a question asked by my collegue Ulviyya Asadzade from RFE/RL Azerbaijani service on the recent “2009 Annual Report on Human Rights” prepared by the U.S. State Department, which is highly critical of the situation with freedom of speech and human rights in Azerbaijan. Secretary Clinton dismissed charges, that the US Administration is overlooking human rights violations in Azerbaijan and continuing cooperation with Azerbaijani authorities in almost every aspect because of energy interests.

“We are aware of the issues both in Azerbaijan and Armenia,” Secretary Clinton said specifically mentioning two Azerbaijani bloggers who were jailed “over views expressed.”

However, the U.S. Secretary of State said, the current U.S. administration is doing its best to resolve the Karabakh conflict. “We think, that if the conflict is resolved a lot of the HR issues will be solved too,” she concluded.

She also answered a question on Uganda and, I think, Palestine, but my mind was racing – thinking of what I should do with the answer related to Karabakh I just got… Well – now I’ve posted it where appropriate

Meanwhile, I’ll be heading to the U.S. Congress today, on to San Francisco to meet Google, Facebook and Twitter later this week. While at it – I’d suggest you to view the video below – these are U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks on Internet freedom in a speech on January 21st.

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6 thoughts on “Meeting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

  1. I don’t know if she sincerely thinks that the resolution of the Karabakh conflict will result in the improvement of the human rights in Azerbaijan or Armenia. While Karabakh is used as a smokescreen and an excuse by both the governments to cover up their mistreatment of their citizens, the root cause of the human rights violations is to preserve their grip on the economic resources of their own respective countries.

    Undoubtedly, Ms. Clinton knows and understands this. Why did she have to BS us is another question. Maybe she just wants us to hear what we want.

    1. One of the easiest ways for an authoritarian government to keep its grip on power is through bellicose sabre-rattling, and it clearly gets louder every time human rights abuses are highlighted. As you say Nazarian, the Karabakh problem is used by both governments as a smokescreen, so if somehow the smoke is cleared, the rulers’ selfishness will be much more clearly seen by the citizens, and the excuses they give for their greed and their human rights and civil rights abuses will ring hollow. Perhaps that’s what Clinton’s point is?

  2. Don’t worry, they will always find a smokescreen. At least now, hopefully, the bloodshed is over in NKR except for the occasional flare-ups to keep the community preoccupied. If NKR is resolved, they will have to find some other enemy – with their Stalinist heritage, they will have no problems doing so at all.

    1. Exactly, Nazarian! But at least this U.S. administration is honest. They’re saying upfront – we’ll turn a blind-eye on some things, as long as you solve Karabakh issue.

      With Bush administration, they would speak about spreading democracy in the world, but it was OK for Azerbaijan to become authoritarian, as long as it had oil, and Armenia to go back on democratic values, as long as we remained peaceful and didn’t interfere with plans to transport oil from Azerbaijan…

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