Transcript for Crisis In Syria: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Supports Obama's Plan
This is a special report from ABC news. I'm -- -- New York with -- ABC news digital special report. It is Hillary Clinton's turn the former secretary of state is at the White House today for reform on wildlife trafficking but the headline of course. -- her first comments around the crisis in Syria -- let's listen. -- on this issue. Earlier. Thanks to all of my former colleagues in government thanks to all of the ambassadors and other representatives of countries concerned about. Wildlife protection and the urgency of stopping. The killing -- the -- And thanks especially to the leaders at both American and international conservation. Groups who. Have been in the trenches for so long on this issue. I especially want to thank Judith McHale who is chairing the council. Distinguished. Outside advisors some of whom you have just heard from. In addition to her service as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy. -- Judith was president and CEO. Discovery communications. She helped produce the landmark 1989. Documentary ivory wars. Which built crucial support for passage of the international convention on wildlife trafficking. And it is. Not only time it's probably past time to galvanize a new international movement against poaching and trafficking. So it's wonderful having Judith and her colleagues back on this case. Before I get to -- subject at hand I'd like to say a few words about Syria. A vigorous and important debate is under -- in congress and around kitchen tables all over America. This is a challenge that -- has. Capitalized. The kind of debate that I think is good for our democracy. As you know this is eight fluid situation with statements from Russia Syria and others in the last several hours. I just come from a meeting with President Obama where we discussed the latest developments. And three points in particular are at the heart of the decision our country and our congress has to make in the days ahead. First as the president tests that. The -- -- regimes. In human use of weapons of mass destruction against innocent men women and children. Violates a universal norm at the heart of our global order. And therefore it demands a strong response from the international community led by the United States. Second the international community cannot ignore the ongoing threat from the Asad -- -- stockpiles. Of chemical weapons. Whether they are used again against Syrian civilians. Or transferred to Hezbollah. Or stolen by other terrorists. This is about protecting both the Syrian people and our friends in the region. The world will have to deal with this threat as swiftly. And comprehensively. As possible. Now if the regime. Immediately. Surrendered its stockpiles. To international control. As was suggested -- secretary Kerry. And the Russians. That would be an important step. But this cannot be another excuse for delay for obstruction. And Russia has to support the international community's efforts sincerely. Or be held to account. It is very important to note. That this discussion that has. Taken hold today. About potential international control over Syria's stockpiles. Only. Could take place in the context. -- -- credible. Military threat. By the United States to keep pressure on the Syrian government. As well as those supporting Syria like Russia. Third. -- has been emphasized many times and I did so as secretary of state. The broader conflict in Syria is a threat to regional stability and security. Of our allies and partners. As well as a humanitarian. Catastrophe. For the Syrian people. And those neighboring countries attempting to absorb hundreds of thousands now. More than two million refugees. A -- a political solution that ends the conflict. Is in the interests of the United States. It will require an intense diplomatic effort guided by the roadmap. That was agreed to by the international community. In Geneva last year in June up 2012. There was an agreement we hammered out. That pointed the way forward we need to get to the opportunity to begin such negotiations. To move toward a resolution. The president I discussed these challenges today I will continue. To support. His efforts and I hope that the congress will as well. I also want to thank President Obama for making the fight against illegal wildlife trafficking a priority across the United States government. And for inviting me and Chelsea to participate today on behalf of the Clinton foundation. And I am delighted. That secretary -- secretary Kerry attorney general holder and so many others are working to. Build on the president's executive order and advance the strategy on wildlife trafficking. That it is embodied in the second border and that we unveiled at the State Department last November. Now this audience knows very well that the problem of wildlife trafficking is one that is global. And some species are much more at risk than others. But we need a new impetus for trying to ring -- -- world community to gather around. Preventing. The continuing slaughter and trafficking of endangered species. And a new. Those who share our planet with us. Now in particular. Elephant poaching and ivory trafficking have once again reached a crisis point. You know the statistics. Over the past decade the number of elephants killed has doubled. As many as 35000. Elephants were slaughtered by poachers last year alone. That is 96. Elephants killed every single day. As a result -- number of African forest elephants which are especially at risk. Has declined by more than 75%. Since 2002. At this -- African forests allison's will be extinct within ten years. Now of course this is an ecological disaster but that's not all but it is. Illegal poaching and trafficking also represent an economic and security challenge in Africa and beyond. Wildlife trafficking has become more organized. More lucrative and more dangerous than ever before. Poachers now use helicopters automatic weapons. Night vision goggles satellite phones to overwhelm and even murder park Rangers and other local authorities. They are spreading instability undermining the rule of law threatening the tourist trade that is the lifeblood of so many African communities. I was watching these trends and as someone mentioned earlier I asked the intelligence community for I think the first ever assessment. On the security implications of wildlife poaching. Here's a small flavor of what we found. We have seen -- -- op the al-Qaeda affiliate from Somalia. -- John -- week that have terrorized Darfur and Sudan. Those Hillary Clinton is of course a former secretary of state backing president Obama's plan to intervene with military action in Syria. Now earlier today in London secretary of state John Kerry was asked if there was any thing. The Bashar Al Asad regime could do to stop an attack. And this was his response. Sure he could turn over every single bit of this chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. Turning I don't fault. Without delay. And allow that full and total accounting for that. But he isn't about to do it and it can't be done obviously. And -- in the hour of that statement being put out the State Department was backing off those comments dismissing it as. A theoretical argument but by this afternoon. After the Russians presented the plan to aside deputy national security advisor Tony and Lincoln seem to be taking that idea. A bit more seriously. With regard to the -- Reports today. About this a Russian initiative we have we've seen the reports. We want to take a hard look the proposal will obviously discuss the idea with the Russians. And of course we would welcome a decision and action. By Syria to give up this chemical weapons the whole point of what we're doing is to stop Syria from using these weapons again. Now as we just heard moments ago Hillary Clinton seeming to give some. Credence to the possibility of a -- -- as the potential she did -- say that the presence of a military threat was necessary. To make any such plan. Viable this all coming as the president is about to make a prime -- address tomorrow night to the American people and tonight ABC's Diane Sawyer. We'll have an interview with the president as the crisis in Syria. Does intensified and a complete report on abcnews.com. For now I'm Dan cuts -- New York with his ABC news digital special report. This has been a special group. Report from me.
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