Clinton begins five-nation Europe tour

By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, December 4, 2011 12:50 EDT
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WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left on Sunday for a five-day European trip which will take in a key international conference on the future of Afghanistan.

Clinton’s trip starts in the German city of Bonn where she will lead the US delegation to Monday’s conference, which aims to chart a course for Afghanistan after NATO’s withdrawal at the end of 2014.

The State Department said in a statement that the conference, the first of its kind to be chaired solely by the Afghan government, “will be an opportunity to review progress achieved since 2001 and highlight the strong international support for Afghanistan through transition and beyond.”

Clinton then travels on December 6 to Vilnius, Lithuania, where she will participate in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) ministerial meeting.

There she will also meet with Lithuanian officials and with Belarussian and a wide range of other civil society representatives from across the OSCE region.

The State Department said Clinton then will travel to Geneva to deliver remarks to mark International Human Rights Day, which falls later that week.

On December 7, Clinton will speak in Geneva at an event commemorating the 60th and 50th anniversaries of the Refugee and Statelessness conventions.

She will also deliver the US national statement at the Biological and Toxin Weapons (BWC) Review Conference, an international gathering which seeks to combat biological threats, before traveling on to Brussels and the Netherlands.

In Brussels, she will attend meetings of the North Atlantic Council, the NATO-Russia Council, and will hold talks on Afghanistan with partners from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on December 7-8.

Her trip wraps up in the Netherlands on December 8 with a visit to The Hague, where she will deliver the keynote address at the opening of a ministerial conference on Internet freedom.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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