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

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Goodbye Ketchup, Hello Sriracha!

    How immigrants are triggering a great transformation in American cuisine

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora