News / Africa

Clinton Sets Visit to Egypt, Tunisia

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies during the Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Budget hearing at Capitol Hill in Washington, March 10, 2011
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies during the Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Budget hearing at Capitol Hill in Washington, March 10, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Egypt and Tunisia next week in the highest-level U.S. visit to the region since the popular upheaval that toppled the governments there.  Clinton told a Congressional panel she will also meet Libyan opposition figures.

Clinton says she will be opening a dialogue with members of the Libyan opposition both in Washington and on her trip to the region next week, while again expressing caution about unilateral U.S. military action in Libya.

Amid a background of bipartisan calls in Washington for direct military aid to Libyan rebels or a no-fly-zone to halt air attacks by government forces, Clinton said the Obama administration is looking into "every option imaginable."

But she said past history in Iraq and Serbia suggests that no-fly-zone regimes are not a panacea.  And she said absent international authorization, U.S. unilateral action "would be stepping into a situation whose consequences are unforeseeable."

"I really want people to understand what we are looking at," Clinton said.  "And I will reiterate what the president has said and what our administration has consistently said: we are considering everything.  But we think it is important that the Congress and the public understand as much as possible about what that actually means.  And I can assure you that the president is not going to make any decision without a great deal of careful thought and deliberation."

Clinton will visit Paris on Monday to discuss Libya with fellow foreign ministers of the G8 group of world powers before her North Africa visit.

She told panel members that while Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi scrapped his nuclear program several years ago in return for international incentives, he still retains some chemical weapons and other, as she put it, "nasty stuff" in his arsenal.

She also disclosed the administration has suspended its relationship with the Libyan embassy in Washington, where pro- and anti-Gadhafi officials have vied for control.

But the United States has not broken off relations with the Libyan government and U.S. officials have been in contact, since fighting began there, with Foreign Minister Musa Kusa.

Clinton's appearance before a House Appropriations subcommittee was otherwise dominated by budget issues, including Republican moves to sharply reduce State Department and foreign aid spending for the rest of the current fiscal year, and in 2012.

Overall Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers of Kentucky told Clinton the United States simply "cannot sustain" the level of foreign affairs spending in administration requests.

"We are borrowing 42 cents on the dollar that we spend," said Rogers.  "It is time that we get serious about reducing spending, putting a dent in our record-setting deficit.  It is difficult to believe that the administration shares my goal to cut spending, when the 2012 State-foreign operations request of $59.5 billion is an increase of more than 22 percent above the 2010 bill."

Clinton said the increase is in large part the result of the State Department assuming responsibility for U.S. programs in Iraq with the withdrawal of U.S. military forces.

She said she shares the view that the United States must return to a strong fiscal footing, but that retreating from America's global leadership role would be counter-productive.

"I know we are tempted to try to step back from these obligations," added Clinton.  "But every time we have done that, it has come back and hit us right square between the eyes.  We left Afghanistan after we pushed the Soviet Union out, and now we are paying a terrible price for that."

Clinton said added State Department spending for Iraq and other front-line states is less than a tenth the size of the anticipated $45 billion reduction in Pentagon war spending next year.  She said the United States needs to protect the investment, including the sacrifices of American troops, which it has already made in Iraq democracy-building.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid