Monday, August 15, 2016

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement on The Republic of Congo’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
August 15, 2016

On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I send best wishes to the people of the Republic of Congo as you celebrate your 56th Independence Day on August 15.

Our two countries stand together in defense of regional security, environmental protection, and the health and happiness of all Congolese. The United States looks forward to continued partnership to help build a more secure, democratic, and prosperous future for Congo in the year ahead.

Congratulations on this special day.

U.S. Concerned About Detention of Darfuris by the Government of Sudan

Concerns Regarding Detention of Darfuris by Government of Sudan Authorities

Press Statement
Elizabeth Trudeau
Director, Office of Press Relations
Department of State
Washington, DC
August 12, 2016

The United States is gravely concerned about the Sudanese government’s ongoing detention of at least 15 Darfuri individuals, including one Sudanese national employee of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). The detentions followed a visit by Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan Donald Booth to Sudan’s North and Central Darfur states as well as internally displaced persons (IDP) camps at Sortoni and Nertiti in the Jebel Marra region of Darfur from July 26-28, 2016. Many others who were not detained were nonetheless questioned by security officials about the nature of their contact with the Special Envoy.

The United States immediately expressed its concern about the reported detentions to senior Sudanese officials, and we call on the Government of Sudan to immediately release all of those detained. These actions are particularly unfortunate as they undercut the Government of Sudan initially granting permission for the Special Envoy’s fact-finding visit and allowing him to travel to areas and speak with individuals of his choosing. Such firsthand knowledge is important to shaping future U.S. engagement with the Government of Sudan and opposition groups and leaders regarding Darfur.

As Sudan seeks to pursue an inclusive national political dialogue, the Sudanese people need to be free to voice their opinions. The United States urges the Government of Sudan to respect its citizens’ rights to freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association, including by the press, as these are vital elements for an environment conducive to an inclusive national dialogue for which all continue to work.

President Obama to Participate in 2nd U.S.-Africa Business Forum

Office of the Press Secretary
August 11, 2016

Statement by the Press Secretary on the President’s Participation in the Second U.S.-Africa Business Forum

The President will participate in the second U.S.-Africa Business Forum, hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies, on September 21, 2016 in New York City. Building on the progress made during the first U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington, D.C. in 2014, the Forum will once again bring together African heads of state and government and U.S. and African CEOs. It will be an opportunity to forge new partnerships to continue to address the continent’s most pressing challenges and to build a stronger, more sustainable future for citizens on both sides of the Atlantic.


Secretary Kerry Issues Statement on Chad’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
August 11, 2016

On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I offer my best wishes to the people of Chad as you celebrate your national day on August 11.

On April 10, the Chadian people turned out in historic numbers to make your voices heard in the democratic process, and the United States commends all who participated. Our shared commitment to democracy is one of many ties that bind our nations together. We are also united in the fight against violent extremism. The United States condemns the repeated terrorist attacks that have targeted the Chadian people and security forces over the past year, and we are grateful for Chad’s leadership in the regional efforts to defeat Boko Haram and return peace and stability to the people of the region. We value Chad’s partnership in strengthening regional security, as well as in protecting refugees, advancing human rights and the rule of law, and promoting environmental and wildlife conservation.

On the occasion of the 56th anniversary of Chad’s independence, I wish the people of Chad peace and prosperity in the coming year.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard Sworn In as New U.S. Permanent Representative to the African Union

Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard (left)
Photo: State Department

Washington, DC
August 9, 2016

On Friday August 5, 2016 Mary Beth Leonard was sworn in as the new U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Stated with the Rank of Ambassador. The ceremony was officiated by Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, Heather Higginbottom.

About Ambassador Leonard

Mary Beth Leonard, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, previously served as the U.S. Department of State Faculty Advisor, U.S. Naval War College, Rhode Island (2015-2016). Her recent service as Ambassador to Mali (2011-2014), Deputy Chief of Mission to Mali (2006-2009), and Director of the Office of West African Affairs (2009-2011) demonstrated her ability to guide interagency programs and proved pivotal to making the U.S. a leading partner in supporting democratization, development, security sector reform, peacekeeping, and good governance. Ms. Leonard’s deep understanding of the region, bridging long academic interest in African studies through numerous African assignments, makes her uniquely qualified to serve as Ambassador to the African Union.

Previously, Ms. Leonard served as the Department’s Diplomat in Residence, Tufts University (2014-2015), Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy Paramaribo, Suriname (2004-2006), and as Deputy Principal Officer, U.S. Consulate General Cape Town, South Africa (1999-2003). She worked as Regional Desk Officer, Office of Southern African Affairs (1998), Economic and Commercial Officer, U.S. Embassy Lomé, Togo (1996-1998), and Desk Officer for Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea (1994-1995) and Zaire (1995-1996 ), Office of Central African Affairs. Earlier assignments included as a Watch Officer, Operations Center, and Consular and Economic Officer at U.S. Embassies in Namibia and Cameroon. Before joining the Foreign Service, she was an Analyst with the U.S. Department of Defense.

Ms. Leonard earned a B.A. from Boston University, Magna Cum Laude (1984), a M.A. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (1998), and a M.A. with distinction from the U.S. Naval War College (2004). Her numerous Department of State awards include the 2013 Diplomacy for Human Rights Award. Her languages are French, Spanish, Afrikaans, and Dutch.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Government of Tunisia Issues $500 Million Bond with U.S. Guarantee

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
August 5, 2016

Today, the Republic of Tunisia successfully closed on its offering of a $500 million sovereign bond issuance guaranteed by the United States of America. This loan guarantee, following earlier guarantees in 2012 and 2014, underscores the enduring and strong commitment of the United States to help Tunisia advance its democratic transition. The loan guarantee supports Tunisia as it pursues important economic reforms to provide a foundation for robust, shared economic growth, while also furthering Tunisia’s ability to access global capital markets.

Today’s issuance of a $500 million, five-year Tunisian sovereign bond on international markets is backed by a 100 percent guarantee by the U.S. government of the repayment of principal and interest, and was priced at a coupon rate of 1.416 percent.

President Obama Participates in YALI Town Hall