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October 30th, 2009
06:01 AM ET

Full transcript: One-on-One with Secretary of State Clinton

Editor's Note: CNN's Jill Dougherty sits down with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Pakistan. See the interview on "American Morning" Friday, 6-9 a.m. ET on CNN. Below is an edited transcript of the full interview.

Jill Dougherty: Iran not agreeing to ship out LEU…is it time to stop talking and move to sanctions?

Hillary Clinton: We are working with the IAEA, with France, Russia, the other members of the P5 +1 who are all united and showing resolve in responding to the Iranian response and seeking clarification so I am going to let this process play out, but clearly we are working to determine exactly what they are willing to do, whether this was an initial response that is an end response or whether it’s the beginning of getting to where we expect them to end up.

Dougherty: But you have been personally skeptical … are you vindicated? Are you right?

Clinton: Well, we are going the extra mile as we said we would, as the president made clear in his inauguration speech we would, and I think it's very significant that Russia and France and the UK, Germany, China are all united about this. I mean this is not the United States saying we have an idea, you know, we want you to follow through on. This is all of us saying: we came to this idea, you agreed in principle and we expect to have you follow through, so I think we’ll take it day by day, see what the final outcome is.

Dougherty: One more on that: do you have commitment from Russian/China that if Iran won’t follow through on that specific part, that you would move forward on sanctions?

Clinton: I don’t want to speculate or answer a hypothetical. I want this process to play out. This was an agreed-upon approach. I signed an agreement back in New York during the United Nations General Assembly, along with the foreign ministers of every single country that are members of the P5+1 and the EU, so you know, let’s see where this leads.

Dougherty: Off to the Mideast. Things are not looking good. What can you possibly do to pull this back on track?

Clinton: Well, I’m in the region and I’m going to be meeting Senator Mitchell to visit with the leaders of both the the Palestinian Authority and, of course, Israel. I have a different take on this. I know that what we are asking, after 8 years of very little being asked of the parties, is difficult, I understand that. And I also know that patience is called for because a 2-state solution is challenging for both Israel and the Palestinians because of the positions that they have historically taken. But I am a strong believer in persevering and so is Senator Mitchell and we are going to continue down this road and do everything we can to clear away whatever concerns that the parties have, to actually get them into negotiations where they then can thrash out all of these difficult issues. President Obama laid out the menu of difficult issues in his speech at the United Nations, but we have to start. And I watched in the '90s as my husband just kept pushing and pushing and pushing and good things happened. There wasn’t a final agreement, but fewer people died. There were more opportunities for economic development, for trade, for exchanges, it had positive effects, even though it didn’t cross the finish line. So I think that being involved at the highest levels sends a message of our seriousness of purpose.

Dougherty: What's your strategy of settlements, Arabs, no working?

Clinton: Well, we believe that all of the elements that have to be addressed for any kind of final resolution are important. The president mentioned every one of them, settlements included. And there are many ways of getting to these negotiations, so I don’t want to pre-judge and I don’t want to be unduly pessimistic, and I’m certainly not unduly optimistic! I think I’m pretty realistic about what has to be overcome for there to be the level of acceptance that is required to get into these negotiations, but remember, prior to negotiations people stake out all kinds of positions and then in the cauldron of actually getting down to specifics, that all begins to get worked out.

Dougherty: Quotes about al Qaeda. Are you saying someone in government is complicit with al Qaeda? Or not following through on getting al Qaeda?

Clinton: No, No. What I was responding to was what I have been really doing on this trip, which is there is a trust deficit, certainly, on the part of Pakistanis toward the United States, toward our intentions and our actions. And yet we have so much in common, we face a common threat. We certainly have a common enemy in extremism and terrorism and so part of what I have been doing is answering every single charge, every question. I’m going to continue today to put myself in as many different settings as possible because it’s not adequate just to meet with government officials. But trust is a two-way street. And I think it’s important if we are going to have the kind of cooperative partnership that I think is in the best interest of both of our countries, for me to express some of the questions that are on the minds of the American people and I’m not pre-judging the answer but I am asking the question.

Dougherty: But isn’t that your question? Your personal question?

Clinton: Well, I’m an American! (laugh) And I think we have every reason to say, look, we are applauding the resolve you are showing in going after the Taliban extremists that threaten you, but let’s not forget that they are now part of a terrorist syndicate that in sort of classic syndicate terms would be headed by al Qaeda. Al Qaeda provides direction and training and funding and there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that they are encouraging these attacks on the Pakistani government, which are so tragic and that the Pakistani people are determined to beat back. So even given the success of the Pakistani military’s operation, which has been extremely courageous in Swat and now in South Waziristan, success there is not sufficient. It is necessary because you have to take on these threats wherever they occur, but it’s not sufficient to eliminate the threat that Pakistan faces. As long as al Qaeda can recruit and send forth suicide bombers, which we’ve seen in our own country with the arrest of Zazi who was clearly connected to al Qaeda, trained at an al Qaeda training camp in Pakistan – I just want to keep putting on the table that we have some concerns as well. And that’s the kind of relationship I’m looking to build here.

Dougherty: Did you underestimate the level of anti-Americanism here?

Clinton: No, because I’ve been following the research and the polling that’s gone on for a couple of years. I knew that we were inheriting a pretty negative situation that we were going to have to address and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to have a long enough time – three days is obviously a long trip for a secretary of state but I was committed to doing it and finding the time in my schedule because I wanted to have these interactions. I don’t think it’s – I don’t think the way you deal with negative feelings is to pretend they’re not there. Or to gloss over them or to come just with happy talk. That’s why I wanted to elicit all these questions from the Pakistani press and the people I met with because I wanted to demonstrate that, look, we are not coming here claiming that everything we’ve done is perfect. I’ve admitted to mistakes by our country going back in time, but I’ve also reminded people that we’ve been partners and allies from the beginning of Pakistan’s inception as a country. Pakistan has helped us on several important occasions and we are very grateful for that so let’s begin to clear the air here. We are not going to always agree that never happens in any relationship that I’m aware of. But we are going to honestly set forth our areas of disagreement but then we’re also going to work on all that we agree on and we’re going to try to demonstrate results from our partnership that the people of Pakistan and the people of our country can see.

Dougherty: Policy on Afghanistan…working with regional leaders…does that mean the Obama administration has a lack of faith in the government of Hamid Karzai if he wins?

Clinton: Well, Jill, I don’t think it’s either/or. It’s got to be both/and. The very nature of Afghanistan as a country is that it’s never had a strong central government. It always had local control of one kind or another so of course we’re going to work with governors and district leaders and village leaders and the like but there are certain functions that only a central government in Kabul can perform. One of our goals is to help stand up an effective Afghan national security force. Well, that has to come from Kabul, from the president, the Ministry of Defense, to create more of a police force to deal with day to day crime and some of the challenges that people report to us about. Well, that requires the Ministry of Interior to work. I think in the past – and you know it’s difficult to go back – but I think there might have been too much emphasis on the central government and the idea that there could be some kind of nation-building that would transform Afghanistan overnight. Well, we don’t accept that. We don’t think that’s going to happen,. But what we do believe is that we have to work with the president and the cabinet and officials in Kabul AND the officials at the local level and that’s going to be our approach.

Dougherty: Domestic question. Plouffe book…Bill hindered Hilary’s chances at vice president?

Clinton: I am very happy with the position that I have and I think Joe Biden is doing a great job as vice president, so I think we should move on from the campaign of 2008.


Filed under: World
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Mitchell

    Wow...I hope the snipers don't shoot at her like she swore happened before. When it was proven that it never happened she sure was red faced and mad. How can a proven lier on this level have any standing as a representive of our country. I guess she learned from her lying under oath to a federal grand jury hubby.

    October 30, 2009 at 8:03 pm |
  2. ronvan

    WAY TO GO HILLARY! It is about time someone "called out" Afganistan & Pakistan about "hiding or protecting" our enimies. If they want to continue providing sanctuary for them then how about declaring that country a "terrorist state", & stop any monies or support to them. Pakistan has the ability to run all the "slime" terrorist's out of the country if they don't want to capture or kill them.

    October 30, 2009 at 7:23 am |