News / USA

Kerry Begins Work as Secretary of State

New Secretary of State John Kerry shows his first diplomatic passport he got when he was 11 years old when his father was in the foreign service, during a ceremony welcoming him as the 68th secretary of state, Feb. 4, 2013.
New Secretary of State John Kerry shows his first diplomatic passport he got when he was 11 years old when his father was in the foreign service, during a ceremony welcoming him as the 68th secretary of state, Feb. 4, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has begun work as America's top diplomat. On his first day in office, he stressed the need to protect universal human rights.

Arriving the first day on his new job,  Kerry told State Department employees he will continue President Obama's push to make the world a safer place.
 
"This president's vision, and what he has implemented through your efforts over the course of the last years without any question, has restored America's reputation and place in the world," Kerry said.

He said that reputation can help empower people.
 
"We get to try to make peace in the world, a world where there is far too much conflict, far too much killing. There are alternatives," Kerry said. "We get to lift people out of poverty. We get to try to cure disease. We get to try to empower people with human rights. We get to speak to those who have no voice."
 
Kerry Begins Work as Secretary of Statei
X
February 04, 2013 7:59 PM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has begun work as America's top diplomat. On his first day in office, he stressed the need to protect universal human rights.

Human rights were a focus of President Obama's first term, including stopping violence against women in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Human Rights Watch deputy Washington director Sarah Margon says Kerry can do more.
 
"I'd like to see in the next Obama administration it become an even more central tenet particularly on some of the central national security issues that the administration is going to have to address," Kerry said.
 
On the Middle East, Kerry has already phoned Israeli President Shimon Peres, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas -- making a personal commitment to pursue peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
 
Kerry also telephoned the foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea. He assured them that North Korea should understand it will face "significant consequences" if it continues "provocative" missile tests.
 
Speaking to the department's employees, Kerry addressed the sacrifices made by those killed in September at the U.S. mission in the Libyan city of Benghazi.
 
"The dangers could not be more clear. We are reminded by the stars and names on the wall," Kerry noted. "And we are particularly reminded by Chris Stevens and Glen Dougherty, and Tyrone Woods, and Sean Smith."
 
Cato Institute analyst Malou Innocent says Kerry has big challenges in Libya.
 
"It's very difficult to transition from a state-building operation to a nation-building operation, the sense of creating a cohesive Libyan identity.  That's something that Gadhafi exploited to his benefit. He ruled by divide-and-rule, of course.   So moving forward we are still going to see a degree of chaos in Libya even as it has a veneer of sort of a Western democracy," he said.
 
Kerry joked about succeeding two women -- Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice. He told diplomats he has "big heels to fill."

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid