Monday, December 1, 2008

Clinton vows to make US force for positive change

Hillary Clinton on Monday vowed to make the United States a new force for positive change, saying that as secretary of state she would work with the world community to solve global crises.

"The American people have demanded not just a new direction at home, but a new effort to renew America's standing in the world as a force for positive change," Clinton told a Chicago press conference after being nominated to the post of secretary of state by president-elect Barack Obama.

Clinton vowed to "reach out to the world again" after eight years of President George W. Bush's administration and promised to give "this assignment, your administration and my country, my all."

"America is a place founded on the idea that everyone should have the right to live up to his or her God-given potential. It is the same ideal that must guide America's purpose in the world today," said Clinton, who leaves a seat as New York senator to serve as secretary of state. Her nomination requires Senate confirmation.

Obama said that Clinton's appointment as top diplomat was a "sign to friend and foe of the seriousness of my commitment to renew American diplomacy and restore our alliances."

Former president Bill Clinton, who had fiercely campaigned for his wife in her battle against Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, praised the president-elect for his choice.

"She is the right person for the job of helping to restore America's image abroad, end the war in Iraq, advance peace and increase our security," Clinton said in a statement.

Clinton said the former first lady had "already earned the respect of foreign leaders and diplomats" through her work to promote human rights and improve women's access to education and healthcare worldwide.

"I commend president-elect Obama for asking her to be a part of a great national security team. America will be well-served," he said.

Obama, who is to take office on January 20, also confirmed that he was keeping Defense Secretary Robert Gates in his post, but with a "new mission" to end the Iraq war and hand over control of the country to the Iraqis.

"I will be giving Secretary Gates and our military a new mission as soon as I take office, responsibly ending the war in Iraq through a successful transition to Iraqi control," said Obama, pledging to turn attention to the fight against Al-Qaeda and insurgents in Afghanistan.

"We will also ensure that we have the strategy and resources to succeed against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban," Obama said.

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