"And finally, the United States has decided to join the Alliance of Civilizations. We recognize the value of the Alliance of Civilizations as an important initiative seeking to improve understanding between cultures and peoples. We will be the 119th member country or international organization in the alliance’s group of friends. And on May 28 and 29, the Government of Brazil will host the next Alliance of Civilizations’ Forum in Rio de Janeiro and the United States will attend this forum – our first event as a member of the group of friends.
QUESTION: Why hadn’t you been a member before?
QUESTION: You’re not civilized?
MR. CROWLEY: (Laughter.) I think going back to the previous administration had a particular (inaudible) to joining an international organization.
QUESTION: Why, though?
MR. CROWLEY: You’ll have to ask them.
QUESTION: No, no. Why – I mean, there were concerns about this group, were there not?
MR. CROWLEY: I mean, it was created in 2005 and we think the alliance activities complement President Obama’s vision of more active U.S. engagement with other nations and international organizations to advance America’s security interests and meet the global challenges of the 21st century.
QUESTION: Are you convinced now that the group is not going to be promoting things hostile to Israel?
MR. CROWLEY: I think we believe that – I mean, the focus – the agenda of this organization, we think, is very consistent with what we’re trying to achieve in our relations with a broad range of countries.
QUESTION: Did you discuss it with Israel before announcing you’d join it?
MR. CROWLEY: I do not know. I mean, we pursue our own national interests. We don’t normally ask other countries permission to do what we think is in our interest.
QUESTION: I don’t believe she said “ask permission.”
MR. CROWLEY: You feeling all right? I heard a rumor you were --
QUESTION: My daughter. That’s all (inaudible). ..."