Clinton: Mideast Protests Are a Rejection of Bin Laden's Ideology

Speaking in NATO meeting in Rome, U.S. Secretary of State urges continued ties with Pakistan, despite reports that Osama bin Laden had been hiding in the country for years.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that pro-democracy protests sweeping across the Middle East are proof that Osama bin Laden's violent ideals were being rejected.

Earlier this week, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader who masterminded the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, is dead and the U.S. had recovered his body.

Hillary Clinton AP 29.11.2010
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.AP

Speaking in a Rome press conference on Thursday, Clinton said she felt that uprisings against authoritarian rulers across the Middle East and North Africa showed that bin Laden's ideas were being rejected.

"His ideology of hatred and violence is thankfully being rejected in what we see going on in the Middle East and North Africa as people are protesting largely peacefully for a better future."

Clinton, who was in Rome for a meeting of a NATO-backed coalition against Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi, also urged the continued ties with Pakistan in wake of bin Laden's killing.

The discovery that the al-Qaida leader was able to live for years in the military garrison town of Abbottabad, just north of the Pakistani capital, has raised doubt in the United States about whether Pakistan was a reliable ally against militants.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Clinton acknowledged that Washington's relationship with Islamabad was awkward at times, but said it was still important.

"It is not always an easy relationship, you know that," Clinton said, adding that "on the other hand it is a productive one for both our countries and we are going to continue to cooperate between our governments, our militaries, our law-enforcement agencies but most importantly between the American and Pakistani people."

Pakistani officials say they are committed to fighting extremism and Pakistan has suffered at the hands of militants as much as any country.

Clinton declined to comment on details of the special forces operation in which bin Laden was killed in Pakistan on Sunday. U.S. officials initially said bin Laden was armed but later said he was not, raising concern among some Europeans over whether his killing was lawful.