Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
April 8, 2009

Date: 04/08/2009 Description: Remarks by Secretary Clinton and Panamanian Foreign Minister Samuel Lewis Navarro before their meeting.  State Dept Photo SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon. Today, I’m very privileged to be meeting with First Vice President of Panama Sam Lewis, and I want to express how pleased we are to have you here and have this opportunity to discuss a range of important issues that not only matter to our two countries, but to the broader region.

FOREIGN MINISTER NAVARRO: Thank you very much. I want to thank the Secretary of State, Secretary Clinton, for this opportunity. As you’ve mentioned, we’ll discuss both bilateral and hemispheric issues, especially in light of the upcoming Summit of the Americas. Panama and the United States have enjoyed a very special relationship, historically, which has helped us tackle very – many issues in the past. And we are sure that that is what will continue to happen. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you so much.



QUESTION: Madame Secretary, why is now the time to invite Iran to engage in direct relations?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the – you’re referring to the P-5+1 meeting. And as we speak, Under Secretary Bill Burns is now participating in the P-5+1 as a full participant, not just as an observer. And obviously, we believe that, you know, pursuing very careful engagement on a range of issues that affect our interests and the interests of the world with Iran makes sense, and there’s nothing more important than trying to convince Iran to cease its efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon.

PRN: 2009/305