The Secretary of State Hillary Rodham is set to visit European countries such as Hungary, Lithuania and Spain as part of U.S. efforts to advance and strengthen democracy in the region.
The Secretary is on her way to Budapest for the opening of the Tom Lantos Institute and her bilateral visit in Hungary. She will then go on to Vilnius, Lithuania for the Community of Democracies event and a bilateral visit and then onto Spain for a bilateral visit.
According to the Senior Administration Official, the Secretary is going to be able to visit three countries on this trip that she has not previously visited in her capacity as Secretary of State.
“And so that makes it a special trip for her and the countries involved. And she will on this trip do what we always do when we travel to Europe, which is advance our broad based and comprehensive partnership with Europe and with Europe abroad.” -Senior Administration Official
Ms. Clinton will be talking across the board about the things that the United State is doing with and in support for these countries. She will look at internal developments, especially in the countries of Hungary and Lithuania as they mark 20-plus years of transition. She will also be looking at issues of economic adjustment, particularly in the country of Spain.
“And with all three of the countries she will be looking at the EU agenda as we collaborate with our EU partners, as all three of these countries are EU members.” -Senior Administration Official
Ms. Clinton will be working with them on U.S. global agenda, as Europe is the cornerstone of its global engagement. She will be talking about the details of what the United States is doing to advance stability and democracy in every place from the Balkans to Afghanistan to Libya.
According to the Senior Administration Official, as part of U.S. global engagement, one of the special themes of the entire trip and for each of Ms. Clinton stops will be democracy. She will discuss issues together with the leaders of the three nations to advance the issues of human rights, fundamental freedoms, to perfect our own democracies, and to advance this agenda elsewhere.
“As you know, one of the issues that she has emphasized and that we are seeing on the ground is how difficult democratic transition can be and how important it is for us to seize moments of opportunity to make sure that we translate promise into reality, and as we do so, to make sure that we carry out a very special responsibility that we as established democracies, but also newer democracies.” -Senior Administration Official
The Secretary will start with the opening of the Lantos Institutein Hungary. She will be meeting extraordinary individual that Tom Lantos was as the only Holocaust survivor to be a member of Congress, a lifelong fighter for human rights and freedom, but also somebody who in the midst – in the course of his congressional tenure worked across partisan lines.
She will also meet with civil society leaders in Hungary that will allow her to carry on the message and that dialogue from the Lantos Institute, and she will be able to hear from political voices across the spectrum of Hungarian political life and to continue that dialogue.
Ms. Clinton then will have a session with Prime Minister Orban, and in that session she will talk about all aspects of our wide-ranging partnership, the many areas on which we cooperate, everything from Libya, where Hungary is the protecting power for the United States, to Afghanistan.
Ms. Clinton will also talk about advancing democracy, strengthening democracy within Hungary. She will talk in greater detail later about the agendas in Lithuania and Spain. In Lithuania after the Hungary stop, the Secretary will take part in an event on women enhancing democracy.
The event will include over 20 women leaders from the Middle East, Europe, elsewhere around the world. It is an event that is co-chaired by the Lithuanian and Finnish presidents, but it will also include leaders from Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, and Slovakia.
“It is women’s rights and advancement of women is a key part of our human rights agenda. It’s the work that Ambassador Melanne Verveer has been engaged in.” -Senior Administration Official
The U.S. and Lithuania are co-chair of the Community of Democracies Working Group on Gender Issues. This will be an opportunity for the Secretary and all these women leaders to address the issues that are associated there.
The Secretary will then have a Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society that is a continuation of the Strategic Dialogue she launched in Washington. The Secretary is committed to hearing directly from the people who are on the ground working to advance democracy. Ms. Clinton wants to know about the problems and the challenges they face, but also about where they see progress and potential, and to share ideas about the way forward.