Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Acting Deputy Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
April 28, 2015
We condemn the attacks by Boko Haram on Karamga Island in Lake Chad, which killed 48 Nigerien security forces and wounded another 37, with others still missing. We offer our condolences to the Government and people of Niger and to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives and who are missing.
We condemn the violent actions of Boko Haram and its continued disregard for human life. Boko Haram has perpetrated countless unprovoked attacks on men, women, and children in their homes, schools, places of worship, and businesses. Their brutality and barbarism know no bounds.
The United States is committed to supporting the efforts of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to help the countries of the region increase their capabilities to degrade and destroy Boko Haram. We commend efforts by the African Union and Lake Chad Basin Commission countries and Benin to stand up the MNJTF.
Photo: U.S. Embassy, Egypt website
Investing in the Future of Egypt
Acting Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
April 28, 2015
To solidify the partnership between the young people of Egypt and the United States, the U.S. Government is announcing the launch of the U.S.-Egypt Higher Education Initiative. The United States seeks to provide young Egyptians with the skills to obtain the jobs that will both help Egypt meet the needs of a 21st century economy, with a particular focus on science, technology and entrepreneurship, and on women’s education, and provide meaningful employment to the thousands of Egyptians who enter the work force each year.
The unprecedented $250 million initiative will provide Egyptians with up to 1,900 university scholarships and
exchanges to study in the United States and Egypt, and it will support up to 20 higher education partnerships to strengthen research and exchanges between Egyptian and U.S. universities.
Acting Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
April 27, 2015
Secretary Kerry will visit Nairobi, Kenya, beginning on May 3, to reinforce the importance of our strong bilateral relationship. In his meetings with government officials, business leaders, opposition leaders, humanitarian aid organizations and civil society representatives, he will discuss a range of issues including security cooperation — particularly in light of the recent tragic attack at Garissa University College – refugee assistance, trade, and biodiversity.
This visit will focus on our common goals, including accelerating economic growth, strengthening democratic institutions, and improving regional security.
The Secretary will travel to Djibouti, Djibouti, on May 5, where he will meet high-level leaders to discuss our bilateral cooperation and their support to evacuation efforts from Yemen. He will engage with Djiboutian youth and religious leaders on a range of issues. The Secretary will also visit with U.S. military personnel at Camp Lemonnier.
This is the first time that a sitting Secretary of State will visit Djibouti.
Acting Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
April 25, 2015
The United States deeply regrets the decision by Burundi’s ruling party, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy–Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), to disregard the term-limit provisions of the Arusha Agreement by naming President Pierre Nkurunziza as its candidate for a third presidential term. With this decision, Burundi is losing an historic opportunity to strengthen its democracy by establishing a tradition of peaceful democratic transition.
The United States continues to support the Burundian people’s peaceful pursuit of their democratic rights and freedoms. We regret this significant missed opportunity, but the hard work of building democratic practices and institutions must continue. In that spirit, we urge all parties to participate in the legislative and national elections and ensure these electoral processes are inclusive, transparent, credible, free and conducted in an environment without threats, intimidation, or violence.
We specifically call on the Burundian government to respect the rights of all peaceful political parties and their candidates to campaign, hold meetings and rallies, and express their views. We also call on the Burundian government to respect the right of the media to report freely on the electoral process and campaigns. We further urge the government to cooperate fully with the UN Electoral Observer Mission (MENUB) and all international and domestic electoral observers throughout the entire electoral process, as well as on the election days.
The United States calls on all parties in Burundi to abide by the non-violence charter signed March 9 and refrain from any violent acts, including hate speech or other provocations, that could feed the climate of fear and instability. We renew our calls on all candidates, their supporters, and Burundian citizens to reject all forms of violence, and on the national police, the Burundian military, and all security force personnel to provide security in an impartial manner throughout the electoral processes.
We commend the neighboring countries for their efforts to receive the almost 15,000 Burundians who have fled the country over the past month, and encourage their continued close coordination with UNHCR and support to provide asylum to those fleeing political violence and persecution. We urge all regional actors to refrain from any acts that could contribute to the climate of instability in Burundi.
The United States will continue to monitor the situation in Burundi closely and take targeted measures, including, where appropriate, by denying U.S. visas, to hold accountable those individuals who participate in, plan, or order violence against the civilian population. Violence has no place in democratic elections, and perpetrators of such violence will not be welcome to travel to the United States and risk being held accountable in a court of law for any crimes for which they are responsible.
April 24, 2015
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Tanzania as you celebrate the 51st anniversary of the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar.
Deep bonds of friendship unite the people of the United States and the people of Tanzania. The first class of Peace Corps volunteers traveled to your country to build roads connecting your cities. And soon after, President John F. Kennedy and Prime Minister Julius Nyerere shook hands in Washington, where both men reaffirmed our commitment to equality and opportunity for all our citizens.
Today, Tanzania is a model in the region of good governance, democratic ideals, and individual freedoms. We remain committed to working with you to build on your achievements in health care, access to electricity, gender equality, and in safeguarding Tanzania’s rich natural heritage for generations to come.
As Tanzanians celebrate Union Day at home and abroad, I wish you peace and prosperity in the year ahead.
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 20, 2015
Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of President Caid Essebsi of Tunisia
On Thursday, May 21, President Obama will host Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi at the White House. The visit will underscore the United States’ longstanding friendship with Tunisia, our commitment to strengthening and expanding our strategic partnership with Tunisia’s new government, and our support for the Tunisian people following their historic 2014 democratic elections. President Obama looks forward to discussing with President Caid Essebsi a range of issues pertaining to the continued consolidation of Tunisia’s democracy, U.S.-Tunisian security cooperation, and Tunisia’s efforts to advance important economic reforms. They will also discuss regional developments, including events in Libya and terrorist threats in the region.
Acting Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
April 16, 2015
The United States remains deeply concerned by the ongoing detention, without formal charges or regular access to legal counsel, of youth activists by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At least three youth members of the “Filimbi” movement detained during a peaceful civil society event in the capital Kinshasa have been held since March 15, while at least four members of the “Lucha” organization later detained during a peaceful protest in the North Kivu provincial capital Goma also remain in custody.
The United States calls on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to ensure that these detainees, and all detainees, are afforded full due process and released immediately if no charges are warranted. As the Democratic Republic of the Congo enters its electoral cycle, it is especially important that the Government uphold the constitutional rights of all citizens to the freedoms of assembly and expression.
Friday, April 17, 2015
Office of the Vice President
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2015
Readout of the Vice President’s Call with Nigerian President-Elect Buhari
Vice President Biden spoke with Nigerian President-elect Muhammadu Buhari to congratulate him on his victory in the recent Nigerian elections and affirm that the United States stands ready to expand collaboration with Nigeria on issues of common concern, including economic and security matters. The Vice President commended President-elect Buhari for his leadership in helping to ensure the elections were conducted peacefully and urged him to continue to foster a smooth, inclusive, and peaceful transition with President Jonathan. The Vice President expressed the United States’ support for Nigeria’s efforts to counter Boko Haram, recover hostages held by the group, and protect civilian populations. The Vice President also expressed the willingness of the United States to partner more closely with Nigeria to strengthen its economy.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 15, 2015
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT BEFORE MEETING WITH WEST AFRICAN LEADERS ON EBOLA
10:45 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I want to welcome Presidents Sirleaf, Koroma and Condé. The United States has a long partnership with Liberia and Sierra Leone and Guinea — partnerships that prove to be critical in the fight against Ebola. We’re here to assess progress today and to look ahead.
We begin by noting the incredible losses that took place in all three countries. More than 10,000 people have died from Ebola — men, women and children. On behalf of the American people, we want to express our deepest condolences to the families and recognize how challenging this has been for all the countries involved.
Under extraordinary circumstances, the people of these three countries have shown great courage and resolve, treating and taking care of each other, especially children and orphans. The United States has been proud to lead an international effort to work with these three countries in a global response.
Last week, there were fewer than 40 new cases, so we’ve seen major progress. In Liberia right now, there are zero cases. In Sierra Leone and Guinea combined, there were fewer than 40 new cases last week and that’s around the lowest number in a year. Now we’re focused on a shared goal, and that is getting to zero. We can’t be complacent. This virus is unpredictable.
We have to be vigilant, and the international community has to remain fully engaged in a partnership with these three countries until there are no cases of Ebola in these countries. Health systems also have to be rebuilt to meet daily needs — vaccines for measles, delivering babies safely, treating HIV/AIDS and malaria. And with our Global Health Security Agenda, we intend to do more to prevent future epidemics.
So the Ebola epidemic has been also an economic crisis. That’s part of the reason why these three presidents are here. They’re going to be meeting with a number of the multilateral institutions — the IMF and World Bank here in Washington. There’s the challenge of restoring markets and agricultural growth, promoting investment and development. So I’m going to be looking forward to hearing from them on how the United States can stand shoulder to shoulder with them to work hard to take this crisis and turn it into an opportunity to rebuild even stronger than before: To strengthen administrative systems, public health systems, to continue the work that they’ve done in rooting out corruption, reinforcing democratic institutions — all of which will be the foundation stones for long-term progress and prosperity.
So Madam President, Mr. Presidents, we are very grateful for the hard work that you’ve done. We’re proud to partner with you and we intend to see this through until the job is done.
Thank you, everybody.
10:49 A.M. EDT
Acting Deputy Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
April 15, 2015
The United States welcomes the African Union’s announcement of its new Special Representative for the Great Lakes Region and Head of the AU Liaison Office in Burundi, Dr. Arvin Boolell. The United States looks forward to continuing our important partnership with the African Union in promoting democratization, ending the threat of armed groups in the region, bolstering regional stability and cooperation, and ensuring that upcoming elections in several Great Lakes countries are free, fair, and peaceful—most imminently in Burundi, where critical elections are set to begin on May 26.
The United States expresses its sincere appreciation for the work of outgoing AU Special Representative Boubacar Diarra, whose steadfast and principled efforts proved instrumental in reducing tensions in the region, promoting greater stability and cooperation, and encouraging peaceful, democratic transitions.
The United States encourages regional governments, including the Government of Burundi, which hosts the AU Liaison Office, to continue their engagement and cooperation with Special Representative Boolell in pursuit of our shared commitment to democracy, stability, and economic development.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2015
Statement by NSC Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice’s Meeting with African Union Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice met today at the White House with African Union Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. Ambassador Rice commended the African Union’s leadership on global health issues, and the two discussed the need to continue focusing on Ebola until we get to zero cases. Ambassador Rice reaffirmed that the United States remains committed to continuing to expand trade between the United States and Africa, including through initiatives launched at last year’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. She reiterated the strong U.S. interest in renewing the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) as soon as possible, for as long as possible. The two also discussed regional issues of mutual concern, including the need to work together to advance peace in South Sudan and Libya and to combat terrorism and prevent violent extremism. They agreed to continue to advance these shared priorities and to continue to deepen the strong partnership between the United States and the African Union.
Acting Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
April 14, 2015
The United States is concerned by the National Transitional Council’s April 7 passage of certain changes to Burkina Faso’s electoral code that exclude candidates in the upcoming elections who had voiced support for a constitutional revision to amend presidential term limits in late 2014. The changes to the code would seem to be inconsistent with the democratic principles of freedom of expression, freedom of association, and free, fair, and peaceful elections. We urge the transitional government, civil society, and other actors who were instrumental in defending these democratic principles to use a coordinated, consensual, and inclusive approach in conducting the elections.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 13, 2015
Readout of the Vice President’s Call with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa
Vice President Biden spoke with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa today to discuss the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The Vice President and Deputy President Ramaphosa discussed the critical role that AGOA has played in expanding U.S.-Africa trade. The Vice President reiterated the U.S. interest in renewing AGOA as soon as possible, for as long as possible, in order to continue to encourage sustainable investment and robust economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. The Vice President expressed concern about barriers to market access in South Africa for certain U.S. products, and urged South Africa to address these issues as soon as possible. The two leaders agreed to continue to work together to address these concerns.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Photo: State Department
Secretary of State
AU Commission Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
Benjamin Franklin Room
April 13, 2015
SECRETARY KERRY: Please, sit down. Thank you. Thank you, everybody.
Well, good morning, everybody, and a very warm welcome to all the members of our visiting delegation from the African Union, and particularly to the chair, Dr. Dlamini-Zuma – a number of familiar faces that I see here from our visit last April to Addis Ababa, and we’re delighted to welcome you back. And I look forward to a very productive exchange between our teams on the key topics that have been selected. I think it’s going to be very productive. And then, Madam Chair, you and I will have a chance to be able to have a bilat to summarize at the back end of this, and we appreciate that.
Let me just emphasize, and I think all of you know this from the historic meeting that President Obama hosted here in Washington last summer, that the President and this Administration, the State Department, are deeply, deeply committed to the importance of the relationship with Africa. And there is both so much opportunity and so much challenge at the same time. We believe that Africa has enormous capacity – unique on the planet, really, for both political and economic growth and development and we know that the African Union is going to play an absolutely critical role in shaping that growth and that development.
We all know that Africa’s population is younger and growing faster than anywhere in the world. Globally only about a quarter of the population is under the age of 15, but in Africa it’s more than 40 percent. This represents the opportunity and the challenge that I just mentioned. The opportunity is that African markets and economies have incredible room for expansion. The challenge is to ensure that those young people receive the education and then the jobs that they need in order to be able to fulfill their hopes and ultimately to be able to pursue their aspirations throughout their lives.
That is why President Obama is deeply committed to the renewal, the timely renewal, of the African Growth and Opportunity Act and also to move ahead with innovative programs like the Young African Leaders Initiative, the Transform Africa, the Power Africa. Each program is tied to goals that African leaders themselves have identified as the priorities. For example, Dr. Dlamini-Zuma is among many in the region who have expressed to me their desire to leap over the conventional pattern in developing energy use by rapidly expanding power generation from hydro, from wind, from solar – sun. And I take seriously her charge to mechanize African agriculture so that African women can, as she said, “retire to the museum the handheld hoe.” And as we all know that is still used by too many in order to till the land.
In the past year, leaders inside and outside Africa have been tested by the Ebola crisis. That crisis is not over and vigilance remains absolutely essential. But we can have a lot of reason to hope that the worst is behind us, and this did not happen by accident. That’s something that’s really important to focus on. It happened because the world community, in tandem with African governments, worked to be able to deal with it. Early on, the African Union deployed medical personnel and helped to coordinate a very effective response.
President Obama dispatched 3,000 American troops to build treatment centers and assist in training health workers. And all told, my government contributed more than $1 billion to ease the crisis, and today we continue working closely with all the parties. And I’m pleased that in a few minutes we’re going to sign the Memorandum of Cooperation in support of the AU’s very bold plan to establish an African version of the American Centers for Disease Control.
My country’s CDC was created 70 years ago in response to an epidemic of malaria. An African counterpart is already clearly needed, not just because of Ebola, but to cope with health threats of every kind and to enable countries throughout the region to share information and build the capacity to prevent, detect, and treat outbreaks of epidemic disease.
Under the new memorandum, our CDC will provide expert technical help to support a surveillance and response unit and an emergency operations center as well as provide fellowships for African epidemiologists who will provide their services to the new center in Addis Ababa. Of course, economic, social, and health initiatives don’t operate in a vacuum. They are closely related to the quality of governance and to growth of strong, democratic institutions. That’s why we have to do all that we can in the next years in order to make sure that the two dozen elections that are scheduled across Africa are conducted freely, fairly, peacefully, and on time.
Despite a six-week delay, the recent presidential balloting in Nigeria was extremely encouraging. Both the candidates and the voters showed a genuine commitment to democracy and a willingness to follow the constitutional procedures. And in the days after, President Jonathan earned global respect by urging his supporters not to mourn, but instead to celebrate the establishment of a legacy of democratic freedom.
One of the principal challenges facing the new government in Abuja will be that of protecting Nigerian citizens from the terrorist threat. The United States endorses the effort by the AU and its partners to establish a multinational taskforce to halt Boko Haram’s campaign of murder, kidnapping, and theft both within and beyond Nigeria’s borders. We will also continue more generally to help African governments improve their counterterrorist and border security capabilities. And as we were reminded so tragically in Kenya just two weeks ago, there are people in Africa and across the world whose sole desire is to divide and destroy. We, together, stand for everything that they want to break down. And that, my colleagues, my friends, is a badge of honor.
In recent years, we have learned that diplomatic and peacemaking initiatives in Africa work best when they are African-led. But the United States and the broader international community can still help, and we are prepared to do so. Accordingly, my government will continue to work with the AU and other partners to promote stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, of the Central African Republic, Somalia, Sudan, and elsewhere, and we will continue contributing to the defeat of the scattered remnants of the Lord’s Resistance Army. And we fully support efforts to mediate an end to the senseless and highly destructive fighting in South Sudan. Not only will we do that by silencing the guns, but also by establishing a transitional government of national unity and by agreeing on the institutions and the reforms necessary for lasting peace, reconciliation, and justice.
I was personally deeply involved in the post-comprehensive peace agreement negotiations. I traveled there many times. I was there during the referendum and there during the independence, and nothing obviously is more challenging to us than the effort to try to complete that journey and find a way back to peace and stability.
In our session today, our delegations are going to focus on four critical areas: economic growth and investment, opportunity and development, democracy and governance, and peace and security. I hope we’re going to use the time to think creatively about the ways in which we can advance each of those sectors. And I think our future success will depend not only on whether we’re moving in the right direction, which obviously always is critical, but also whether we’re pushing far enough, whether we’re embracing a large enough and ambitious enough goal in order to meet the challenge of this 40 percent of young people who are under the age of 15 who are hoping that our leadership will create a framework that will guide and structure their future with all of the hopes and aspirations that they possess.
So we have a lot of work to do. But it’s clear to me that we also have grounds for confidence because of the hard work of the AU, because of the extraordinary progress being made all across Africa. I want to say that I am very proud personally of the terrific work that our Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has done, our superb Ambassador Reuben Brigety, and for the hard work of all of the experts on the team that has assembled here today. I’m grateful to them and to all of you for engaging in this discussion, and I’m especially pleased now to yield the floor to the very distinguished Dr. Dlamini-Zuma. (Applause.)
MS DLAMINI-ZUMA: Thank you very much. First let me thank you, Secretary Kerry, for hosting this high-level dialogue and of course thank the rest of the team for working hard so that it happens and the welcome that they’ve given us.
There is deep historic, cultural, political, and economic ties between the United States and Africa. And over the last decade, they have crystallized in such areas as economic development, peace and security, governance and democracy, as well as cooperation on social issues such as health and education. The Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2013 between the African Union Commission and the U.S. Government, with the then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, continues to provide a structural framework for this relationship. The first U.S.-Africa Leadership Summit last year was a historic moment in a partnership of mutual respect and shared interests.
The African Union in January adopted its 50-year vision, Agenda 2063, which sets out the priorities of the continent in education, health, agriculture, infrastructure, economic diversification, and so on. It encapsulates the aspirations of Africans that have – they have for themselves and their continent, and how in the shortest possible time Africa can overcome the burden of underdevelopment and build shared prosperity, human security for all its people – men and women, young and old.
Our Agenda 2063 is an overarching vision and framework, and it’s a practical program of action, through which governments, civil society, regional economic communities, and continental institutions can together to create a better life for the current and future generations of Africans.
I’m pleased to see that this very practical approach also finds expression in the work done in the four areas around which the U.S. and Africa are cooperating. Without preempting our discussions, let me highlight a few of these issues. Firstly, we all agree that our people are our most precious resource, as Secretary Kerry has just said, and we must therefore continue to focus our investment in their education, in health, access to basic services such as water, sanitation, shelter, and energy. Across the continent, governments are focused in addressing health challenges by building resilient health systems and access to health care.
But let me also just thank the U.S. and the government and the people for the support that you have given to the three countries that were devastated by Ebola, but also for the support that you’ve given to the African Union and the health workers that had to go and work in those countries. We see positive developments, as you have just said, but of course, the epidemic is not over and so we still need to continue working and being vigilant. And with the support of the international community, we think it would be possible to see this epidemic behind us. However, we must not let up until all the three countries are Ebola-free. In fact, I don’t think one country can actually be Ebola-free until all of them are.
The process to restore health services in these three countries has to start. The countries will continue to need this assistance, especially in rebuilding their health system, their public health for greater resilience, and a better responsive capacity. So together I think we can continue supporting these countries.
But more generally, the AU’s decision to form an African Centre for Disease Control is aimed at strengthening the capacities of the African countries to combat disease, sharing information, build collective capacities not only against Ebola, as you just pointed out, but also HIV, TB, malaria, and many other diseases. The Memorandum of Understanding between the AU and the U.S. Government on this will assist the early operationalization of the Centre for Disease Control with lessons from the current Ebola outbreak.
Secondly, investments in the future generation means investing in education, with special attention to science, technology, engineering, and math. The focus on technical and vocational education and training in our cooperation is therefore very important. In addition to plans to develop high-level skills in these areas and revitalization of African universities, in addition we must ensure that these programs give access to both men and women alike.
A third area in our aspiration around economic development and diversification: Over the past few years, the U.S. has cooperated with us around energy, through Power Africa, a basic ingredient not only for human development, but also for manufacturing, beneficiation, and services. The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit saw specific commitments on broadening this program from both the public and the private sectors. We must follow up on this, whether indeed we are making progress in accelerating major energy projects of mutual interest through the regional energy pools. Of course, as you rightly pointed out, we want to have a good mix of renewable and clean energy.
In addition, there is also scope for cooperation around Agenda 2063 on the program of infrastructure, PIDA, and on our flagship projects, which are on roads, rail, and also aviation, including the continental high-speed rail project to connect African capitals and commercial centers. Industrialization, agriculture, and trade remain critical as Africa seeks to move away from being an exporter of raw materials and to provide jobs and economic opportunities for its young population.
This informs our discussions about the terms of extension of AGOA and about investments into Africa. In addition, the transformation of African agriculture is on track through CAADP programs as well as U.S.-Africa cooperation on irrigation, (inaudible) development, extension services, and the general modernization of agriculture through climate-smart agriculture and with more Africans involved in agribusiness in the regional and global food chains.
So maybe if I just say a few words on AGOA. We understand AGOA is a preferential arrangement to assist the development of African industry. In its extension, we must ensure that AGOA continues to achieve the goal and gives Africans the policy space to develop and to be able to expand their industrial capacity and, of course, have a market for what they produce.
Fifthly, there is progress with regards to peace and security, democracy, and good governance, including a number of elections taking place this year. To date, the elections in Comoros, Zambia, Lesotho, and Nigeria went well – and given the challenges that Nigeria was facing, certainly did Africa proud. In the remaining elections, there are issues of concern with some, but we are working on these with the affected countries and regional economic communities to ensure that the elections are peaceful and fair.
On peace and security, we remain seized with the situation in South Sudan, Libya, Mali, Somalia, and with the broader and growing threat of global terrorism. In the context of our goal of silencing the guns, we shall continue strengthening cooperation with the U.S. on these issues, especially on the issue of terrorism that seems to be gaining ground both in Nigeria and, of course, Kenya, and other countries. And of course we must also build inclusive societies where no one feels left out. The management of diversity and give young people a stake in our societies by investing in them is very important as part of this fight.
Lastly but not least, 2015 is the African year of empowerment of women with the intention to make progress in a number of challenges facing women, including maternal and infant mortality, access to education, access to finance and capital. In addition, we want to give practical expression to improving women’s productivity in agriculture by starting to provide them with alternate technologies to the hand hoe, as you have just mentioned, and I hope that America will be a good partner for the African women in banishing the hand hoe to the museum. Key to changing the situation of women is to move more swiftly to increase women’s participation in legislatures and governments, in the professions, managements, and boards, at the table in peace negotiations, and in all other areas of human endeavor.
Let me conclude by just saying this high-level dialogue should take forward the above issues and the specific programs of our cooperation in very practical ways. We look forward to the discussions and cementing the relationship between the U.S. and Africa. And I wish to thank everyone in advance and also thank our two ambassadors. Well, I don’t know whether we should – he should be our ambassador also. (Laughter.) He is – yes. And our ambassador here for ensuring that we can indeed take this relationship to a higher level.
Thank you. (Applause.)
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Dr. Dlamini-Zuma. We really appreciate very, very much those words and your thoughts. And particularly, I can assure you on the empowerment of women, this Administration is deeply engaged in many initiatives to that effect, and not just across Africa but throughout the Middle East and Central Asia and elsewhere, and we will continue very, very much to do so.
It’s our privilege now, I believe, to sign a memorandum.
STAFF: Ladies and gentlemen, the Secretary of State and the chairperson of the Commission of the African Union will now sign the Memorandum of Cooperation between the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services of the United States of America, and the African Union Commission.
(The memorandum was signed.)
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much. (Applause.) Well done. Thank you very much.
So I think Assistant Secretary Linda Thomas-Greenfield will chair at this point in time, and we’re going to step out, and then we’ll meet again later this afternoon. Thank you. Appreciate it. (Applause.)
STAFF: Ladies and gentlemen, this now concludes the signing ceremony (inaudible). Thank you.
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
April 12, 2015
Following is a joint statement on Libya by Foreign Ministers Fabius, Steinmeier, Gentiloni, García-Margallo, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Hammond, and Secretary of State Kerry.
Foreign Ministers Fabius, Steinmeier, Gentiloni, García-Margallo, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Hammond, and Secretary of State Kerry welcome the resumption of the Libyan political dialogue under the auspices of Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Bernardino Leon in Morocco April 15 and the next meeting of the political parties in Algeria April 13. We strongly urge all participants to the dialogue to negotiate in good faith and use this opportunity to finalize agreements on the formation of a National Unity Government and make arrangements for an unconditional ceasefire. Only through compromise can Libya move toward a more secure, stable, and prosperous future.
We urge all parties to stop the fighting and expect Libya’s leaders to fully support SRSG Bernardino Leon and to engage in the UN-facilitated political dialogue. In particular, we call for the immediate cessation of airstrikes and ground offensives. Such provocations undermine the UN talks and threaten chances for reconciliation. We reaffirm that those who threaten the peace, stability or security of Libya, or undermine the successful completion of its political transition may be designated by the UN sanctions committee. Now is the time for all groups in Libya to move forward in a spirit of compromise. Further delay in reaching a political agreement only deepens the schisms in Libyan society and emboldens those who seek to profit from the ongoing conflict.
The growing threat of terrorism in Libya is of grave concern to the international community. Extremists use the lack of order to their advantage, causing further suffering and bloodshed both inside and outside Libya. We urge the parties to the UN-facilitated dialogue to come together and form a united front both to confront terrorists and to address the root of the problem in a coherent manner, including by offering a vision of a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Libya and by providing essential services to the Libyan people. The international community is prepared to fully support a unity government in addressing Libya’s challenges.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation
The U.S. Department of Commerce
The Millennium Challenge Corporation and the U.S. Department of Commerce have partnered to organize an energy focused trade and investment mission to Tanzania and Malawi. Through this mission, U.S. companies will have the opportunity to engage with senior officials from the governments of Tanzania and Malawi, senior leadership from MCC, State, Commerce and Energy, as well as representatives from the local private sector to understand the business climate and investment opportunities in these two countries.
We are seeking participation from fully integrated energy solutions companies to equipment, technology, engineering and ancillary service providers. In addition, project developers are eligible to participate.
Sunday, May 31, 2015 through Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Wednesday, June 3, 2015 through Friday, June 5, 2015
If you or your organization would like to participate, please complete the application by Friday, April 17, 2015. To learn more please visit the MCC Mission Website or contact us at InvestmentMission@MCC.go
Acting Deputy Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
April 10, 2015
The United States again congratulates the people of Nigeria and the Nigerian Government on historic, well-conducted, and largely peaceful elections the weekend of March 28. The United States further commends Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its Chairman Attahiru Jega on the successful vote. We also recognize the professionalism with which the security services enacted their duties during the election.
Nigerian voters will return to the polls tomorrow to elect their governors and state representatives. Nigerians demonstrated their deep commitment to democracy through patience at the polls on March 28 and 29 and calm while the results were announced. The United States encourages Nigerian voters to bring that same level of commitment to peaceful, credible elections to the polls tomorrow and throughout the post-election period. The United States also calls on political leaders to underscore the message to their supporters that they should remain peaceful and pursue any grievances through the judicial process. Finally, the United States urges state and local electoral officials, as well as security providers, to discharge their responsibilities with neutrality, remaining vigilant to guard against fraud and intimidation.
Saturday, April 11, 2015
State Department Photo
Department of State
April 9, 2015
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, good morning, everybody. I’m very pleased to welcome my friend, the Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar, and his delegation for the third session of the Strategic Dialogue between the United States and Morocco.
A year ago, the foreign minister hosted me and my delegation in Morocco, in Rabat, and we had a wonderful, wonderful visit there. As everybody knows, Moroccans have an extraordinarily rich culture that is shown in many ways, and I’m happy to say one of the ways is in treating guests to a delicious meal that is actually seven or eight meals disguised as one. Their hospitality is truly spectacular. And I very, very much hope to work with our superb representative in Rabat, Ambassador Dwight Bush, in order to see if I can have a chance to visit again, which we have talked about, and which I very much hope to do.
The U.S.-Moroccan Dialogue is grounded in a very longstanding friendship, and it’s real. It extends back to 1777, when Morocco recognized the independence of the United States. And we have initiated this particular dialogue because we feel that our leaders want to make certain that people understand that we have to do much more than just celebrate our history, we have to build the future. And that’s what we’re working on doing. By working together, we can help shape a future in which our citizens will be safer, they’ll be more prosperous, and where builders, not destroyers, will be strengthened and be the people who really define and write the history and meet the expectations of our people.
There can be no question that our meeting today is timely. The amount of time that we have to talk literally flew by, and we scratched the surface of many of the challenges that we face. And I thank my friend, Salaheddine, for his wisdom, for the breadth of his vision that he brings to the table in the challenges – in meeting the challenges that we face together.
Events in Africa and in the Middle East have presented all of us with a new mix of challenge. It’s different than it has been. It’s fast moving. There’s more sectarianism than any of us want, many times disguised in religion – not representing real religion but disguised in ways that are calculated to affect the minds of people and, unfortunately, set them on a course of violence and destruction.
Our delegations really look forward to reviewing today all of the aspects of this regional situation that we face together. There’s no one country that’s going to solve this. It’s going to take all of us working effectively together and it’s also going to take time. But we know that we have a very firm foundation on which to build.
Morocco is a major non-NATO ally of the United States and is the only country in Africa with which we have a free trade agreement, for example. It has successfully completed a productive compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation and it recently hosted a well-attended Global Entrepreneurial Summit. And in July, it will serve as a venue for an important international meeting on climate change.
So Morocco is doing more than its fair share of contributing to the global dialogue on the issues of the day. And today our working groups are going to focus on four areas, including security cooperation. And here, my government commends Morocco for serving as co-chair of the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s campaign to prevent the recruitment of foreign terrorist fighters. Morocco is also a member of the anti-Daesh coalition. And since that coalition came together, it is a fact that Daesh has been pushed back significantly, and the result of that is that it is becoming increasingly dependent on its ability to be able to attract foreign fighters. And that means that we have to redouble our own efforts to persuade – and if necessary, prevent – young people from making the fatal mistake of signing up. And Morocco is a leader in our efforts to do that.
Also this year, Morocco will host African Lion, which is an annual military exercise that will continue next month. It includes several of our European and African partners. And in this era, it is essential that our armed forces experience working together, so that if a humanitarian or any other kind of emergency arises, we will be able to respond effectively before it is too late. Interoperability is a critical concept in the context of today’s challenges.
Other security-related topics that we’ll be covering today include the unrest in Libya, where we spent a fair amount of time talking a few minutes ago, where Morocco has supported and hosted UN negotiations and is undertaking a major leadership role in helping to find a path forward. And I was encouraged today in the comments of the foreign minister about the approach that is unfolding over the course of these next weeks.
Morocco is also taking steps to reform its justice sector, to professionalize its police force, to promote the rule of law, and strengthen its border security and its counterterrorist capabilities. The United States strongly backs all of these initiatives, and we will do everything that we can to be helpful as Morocco pursues success in each of those sectors.
A second area of discussion today concerns our growing economic and energy ties. Our free trade agreement is now almost a decade old, and it has already yielded very positive results for both sides. But we want to do better; we want to do more. We know we can. And so we’re going to talk this morning about how to ensure that the free trade agreement benefits grow in a balanced and more expansive way.
We’ll also talk about increasing our business-to-business contacts, intensifying two-way investment, and Morocco’s plan to generate at least 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources of energy.
In Morocco, as elsewhere, young people are the key to the future. The average age in Morocco is increasing now, but unemployment rates for those people who are 15 to 24 years old and not in school still remain high. It’s a challenge. It’s a challenge everywhere, by the way. And we hope that the government’s efforts to grow the economy, coupled with a $38 million agreement through USAID, will provide the nation’s youth with the confidence and the skills that they need to make the critical leap from school to paycheck, to a good job for the long-term future.
A third focus of our dialogue concerns the value of education and people-to-people contacts. Morocco has embarked on a program of comprehensive education reforms, designed to lift the standards and provide greater opportunity to young people, to women and girls particularly. And here again, the United States is helping through a $25 million USAID grant to improve achievement at the primary school level. We’re also excited about the J. Christopher Stevens Virtual Exchange Initiative that was launched by the United States and Moroccan students this spring.
Our fourth area for discussion will highlight public institutions and civil society. The international turbulence of recent years shows how absolutely vital it is to be able to provide a peaceful outlet for political expression and to maintain governing structures that are sustained by the full support of their national populations. Morocco has the potential to be a model – the model, if you will.
But as we know from our own experience in the United States, building resilient and robust democratic institutions is a long-term job. We’re still working at it. We have our own challenges, and we know that. And so we talk with appropriate humility about any other country’s challenge, but we’re all in this together and we all have to draw from each other’s experiences and work together. Accordingly, we welcome Morocco’s effort to strengthen political parties and to give space to civil society in advance of the national elections.
We also respect His Majesty King Mohammed VI’s spiritual authority as a faith leader and his consistent and vocal opposition to any use of religion to justify violence against innocent persons.
In closing, let me just say that the foreign minister and I and our teams have a lot to discuss, as you can tell. And I very much look forward to having this discussion over the course of the day in the warmth and friendship that really does define this relationship. So I’m very pleased to yield my – the floor to my colleague and my friend, Foreign Minister Mezouar. Thank you. (Applause.)
FOREIGN MINISTER MEZOUAR: (Via interpreter.) Thank you, John, and dear friend. First of all, I would like to thank you for your kind words, for your hospitality, and for making your teams available. They worked hard. I would like to congratulate them.
And as you said, dear friend, we are two friendly countries and we have been longstanding friends, and this friendship in our context today is a fundamental basis to move ahead. It’s the fundamental basis that will allow us to face the transformations of today’s worlds with all of its complexities. And I think that our meeting of today as part of the strategic dialogue is the best message that we could convey together to say there aren’t just problems, but there’s also some progress being made. Humanity advances via crises, but also thanks to ability to ensure that progress may also be made.
I applaud – I salute the excellent relationship that we share, and this relationship that allows us doing meetings such as this one, but also doing very brief meetings that this relationship allows us to deal very quickly on the various topics, because you have the same assessments, the same analyses, but above all, we are members of the same bloc, the bloc of freedom, the camp of peace, that of democracy – the bloc of universal values, the bloc that defends the most disenfranchised, and also the bloc of solidarity. I think that these are the values that we share, and they allow us to always work with great peace of mind, to work together on the fundamental topics.
We met a year ago in Morocco, and of course, we were delighted to host you. Yes indeed, we shared some good meals, but we shared other meals, and namely our shared vision of what we wanted to be, of what we wanted to do. Morocco is a country, as you observed – is a country which is moving ahead. It’s a country which has built its model – its model of development, which is based on values, on institutions which are solid and strong. This is a country which has a history, and this history makes it stronger. This history helps us also via the reforms process that are continuing. Reforms never stop and they can never stop, because the world is moving. Societies are moving, are changing. And since the world and societies are moving and changing, well, reforms must also continue to move and change just like a society must continue to move and advance.
So Morocco does indeed appear to be this harbor of peace in a disrupted, disturbed, and ailing region of the world. We share our experiences with others, we provide our contribution, we engaged in the fight against ignorance, against extremism, because there is no war of religions, there’s no war of civilizations, but there’s a fight against ignorance. And that means that what we are engaged in together has meaning, because it’s the world as we see it, it’s societies as we perceive them, which are the engines of our actions, which are the engines of our relationships.
So I’m happy that today, once again, of the opportunity of this third strategic dialogue, that we’re able to notice that our relationship is vivacious. The advantages of these meetings that allows us to be constantly creative. They allow us to be constantly – say to yourselves we must ensure that this exceptional relationship, that this quality of relationship, it has to be supplied, it has to be complete – constantly fed, supplied; otherwise it will stagnate and it will regress.
So we are engaged in a virtuous, positive logic between our two countries. And here I would like to pay greater tribute to Ambassador Bush, who is doing a wonderful job. And also I would like to pay tribute to your teams at the State Department, who are also doing wonderful work to bring people together, to come up with imaginative things to create. I wish – would be remiss if I failed to pay tribute to our own ambassador, who is also working hard to ensure that constantly this exceptional relationship be preserved, sustained.
We talked about problems in our region. Here I would like to say two or three messages. The first message about Libya: Libya, as you know, the dialogue is taking place in Morocco, in serenity, in a state – atmosphere of responsibility. The Libyan people want peace; they want stability. The various components of the dialogue have been determined. There is a real awareness. The Libyans are capable of making peace. The Libyans are capable of getting along and the Libyans are capable of building a future within a framework of stability, as part of a modern society, an open society, with institutions that will allow them to deploy their wonderful energy. They do have that energy that will allow them to move ahead in the construction of their country, but also in the construction of the region.
Libyans need to be supported. We are engaged in a phase where the fundamental principles of the agreement have been accepted. Today, we must give this momentum and we must say and affirm that they are capable of making peace. They are capable of moving towards a political solution that will help them to overcome the difficulties that they have today.
So this is an opportunity to applaud the efforts of Bernardino Leon, who is working with great tact, with great engagement, but also applaud the various factions, the various protagonists who are engaged in the dialogue. And I am convinced that next week’s meeting will make it possible to move towards a definitive solution.
And why – I would also like to mention Yemen. We must, above all, understand that it is no longer possible to allow that in countries affected by this type of instability that legitimacy be swept aside by anyone. We must bring order back and respect. There was a dialogue and this dialogue was supposed to lead to the organization of a national unity government that would lead to new elections and representation. When units or factions start believing that, given they have a few militaries or some assets, they can destabilize states, the message that has to be retained is that – that has to be conveyed that this is fundamental. It has to be firm. It is no longer allowed that any minority, that any faction, should be able to destabilize the foundations of a state, because destabilizing the foundations of a state will bring us back to situations of insecurity, instability, always difficult to solve and which generally profit – benefit to those who know but we never think about.
So Morocco is determined, vis-a-vis values and principles. Morocco is engaged in the fight against extremism but also engaged in the fight against any type of destabilization which would lead to anarchy. So Morocco is engaged in the commission and it’s also engaged in this coalition for Yemen on the basis of values but also based on a value – on a vision of the dynamic to which the Middle East region must join, generally speaking.
I would also wish to emphasize the fact that the fight against extremism and the determination with which the coalition is acting is starting to produce results. These results are encouraging. This also encourages the Government of Iraq, which is responsible – its officials and its army – to come up with a solution that will make it possible to eradicate all forms of extremism and to fight against terrorism. So these are all – as many actions of the international community. And thanks to your leadership, dear friend, and we are all determined towards this action.
But I would also bring your attention to another aspect that should not be overlooked, that should not be forgotten. I would like to applaud your tenacity on the Israeli-Palestinian issue and on peace in this region. With determination, you led difficult negotiations. I think that this process is not over. With – this process must continue. The statement of Mr. Netanyahu is placing the international community in front of its real responsibilities, but we must never forget that peace in the Middle East will never take place as long as peace and stability in that region of the world, and especially as part of Israeli-Palestinian conflict has not been achieved.
His Majesty, the King is engaged via the committee accords to constantly provide this indispensable support to the Palestinians and particularly to the holy sites. These sites have to be protected. This is part of the heritage of humanity. They have to be protected for mankind. And Morocco, which is also engaged in this process of resumption of the dialogue, of discussion with the Quartet that had been designed by the Arab League, which had its meeting last Monday, in order to explain that we need a resumption of the process and the dialogue on the basis of engagements of the international community on behalf of the solution of two states, as it was defined – namely, the process that you have conducted yourself. Morocco will host the Summit of the Arab League next year in Morocco, and some very important topics will be on the agenda. And of course, Morocco is engaged in peace and in the rapprochement and the dialogue. This is fundamental because this period, this timeframe that we’re experiencing is sensitive, it’s explosive, and Morocco, thanks to the momentum, His Majesty, the King, is assuming the role of leadership, which is its own.
Morocco is also progressing on some various issues. You talked about them. There are two topics about which we have made some real progress – the issue of women, first of all, which was a struggle, a momentum. And thanks to His Majesty, there was this momentum. And this liberation that was conducted created for this amazing energy and skills in Morocco, and also the issue of youth. And this is an issue, of course, that we have not been working just since today. Morocco has always integrated – as part of its vision of development of society and of economic and social development, we integrate the training and the education of the youth as part of a strategy of development which is our own, and this is yielding good results, but we must continue to work even harder.
And this was part of the Global Entrepreneurial Summit that we were – had the pleasure of hosting, and you had the – gave us the honor of attending this. And this was a wonderful opportunity to show the amazing pool of talent that Morocco has in terms of creativity, of unyielding all of this power, and these means that will allow the youth to take its role and play its responsibility in the development of society. And of course, Morocco remains available to provide this expertise, this experience, as part of the upcoming summit which will take place in Nairobi, I believe, in July.
So Morocco is advancing with great serenity. Reforms are important, but in greater serenity they are done, the better it is. And it is acknowledged, appropriated by society. It is acknowledged by the political forces and the components of society. Morocco is advancing. We know we have to conduct reforms. We are conducting reforms and we’re expanding the field of liberation and of energies, and that makes the strength of our country. The strength of our country comes on the fact that we are liberating energies, and we have a leadership, because this leadership is modern. This leadership is progressive. This leadership is democratic. This leadership believes in human values.
His Majesty plays this role of leadership, but also, given the fact that we were able to build for more than a half century a momentum of political diversity and of political dialogue and of political representation, which this all allows us, indeed, to manage our differences with political alternative, with a democracy, with serenity and responsibility – and all of these things are things that we share with you, because the world also needs examples. Our relationship is an example because it is serene, it is responsible, because it looks to the future. And we all – Morocco is also an example that we share with other countries. And the stability of the region is fundamental. Previously, we mentioned the issue of the Sahara – Moroccan Sahara, and we emphasized on the fact that Morocco is a country that always looks to the future to build the future. Morocco provided concrete responses and concrete solutions via the autonomy proposal. This proposal is a proposal which moves towards integration but also towards the facilitation of the construction of the Maghreb space, and this on behalf of the populations, on behalf of the various countries.
So Morocco is a player that always looks at things positively. We have turned the page of the 25th century – we’re on the 21st century, and the 21st century has its own logic, and this logic says we must always be in a positive momentum, provide positive contributions, seek solutions, overcome the static systems of history which disrupt populations, which disrupt relations between countries. So Morocco wants to move ahead.
And we would like to thank you for the role that you play, the – your engagement on behalf of this virtuous dynamic that we want to move towards in this region with respect to the resolution of a problem which has been invented for 40 years, and which affects our territorial integrity. So these always many subjects which are important that we share, but I – once again, I would like to say I do know that you have a plane to catch. I would like to thank you for your friendship, for your availability towards Morocco. We’ll have – we have opportunities to meet once in a while in always various different locations, but these are very special moments, and we wanted to share them intensely with you on behalf of our relationship, on behalf of the friendship which unites our people here. I would like to pay tribute to the entire team which is here today, the three groups which are working, which are – the four groups, pardon me – four groups which are moving ahead with determination to provide content and to strengthen the economic component that is a momentum that has its own progression.
I would just like to conclude with one point which is important to us and that we share with you – Africa. Africa is the continent that we have to invest in. Morocco is engaging, it’s providing its experience, its expertise. We are providing our investments. We are providing human development. Morocco is providing this dimension of religious moderation which is fundamental today as part of the relationship and the stability and the stabilization of societies. We are engaged and will continue to be engaged.
When His Majesty, the King met President Obama, decided that this would be a thrust of the partnership between our countries, will provide it with more and more contact by engaging ourselves. We do know that the issue of energy is important, therefore our shared expertise should help towards, move in this dimension the issue of food security and the stabilization of populations, human development – really just development, but also investments. Morocco is the first investor, African investor in west – in Central Africa. So we are the largest African investor, which means that Morocco is engaged in this dynamic of development stabilization of Africa, which is a wonderful continent, which is a continent which has huge potential, and also needs to know that it has friends and friends that are – have wanted well, and since – we have good wishes for this continent and we’ll continue to work towards that.
Thank you once again, dear John. Thank you to all of you. (Applause.)
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much, Salaheddine, very eloquent comments. And I want the
record to show that even when he was being serious, he was talking about (inaudible). (Laughter.) Thank you. (Applause.)
FOREIGN MINISTER MEZOUAR: Thank you. (Applause.)
QUESTION: Can we get (inaudible)? Will Cuba be removed from the state sponsors of terror list?
SECRETARY KERRY: I can’t, I’m sorry. I can’t. I’ve got to run now.
Joint Statement of the Third Session of the U.S.-Kingdom of Morocco Strategic Dialogue
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
April 9, 2015
The following is a joint statement by the governments of Morocco and the United States following today’s Strategic Dialogue.
At the third session of the United States–Morocco Strategic Dialogue today at the Department of State, Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar reviewed progress over the past year and discussed developments in the broader region which will shape our joint agenda over the next year. Building on the priorities defined in November 2013 by President Obama and King Mohammed VI, the outcomes of 2014’s Second Strategic Dialogue, and the shared economic objectives discussed during Vice President Biden’s November 2014 visit to Morocco, our strategic partnership and shared vision will promote a secure, stable, democratic, and prosperous Maghreb, Sahel region, Africa, and Middle East.
Support for Democratic Reforms:
The Secretary reiterated the United States’ appreciation for the action and leadership of His Majesty the King in continuing efforts to strengthen further Morocco’s democratic institutions and promote economic prosperity and human development. He welcomed the recent launch of a series of programs designed to strengthen political parties and civil society and to help prepare for municipal and regional elections, which will represent a new devolution of power to local authorities.
The Secretary hailed the passage of important reforms to Morocco’s system of military justice to ensure that civilians will no longer face military tribunals. He also noted the important role of civil society as a voice for the public in the policy process; in this regard, the Secretary welcomed the recent registration, in accordance with the recommendations of the National Human Rights Council (CNDH), of a number of civil society organizations.
The Secretary congratulated the Minister on Morocco’s immigration reforms and its legalization of more than 18,000 illegal migrants and asylum seekers over the course of 2014. The Minister underlined the important role that the National Human Rights Council has played in the protection and promotion of human rights nationally. The two parties discussed joint initiatives to work together to promote human rights globally at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The Minister and the Secretary reviewed the successful Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in Marrakech in November 2014 and discussed the next steps to jointly promote a culture of entrepreneurship in support of socioeconomic development and shared prosperity across the region. The Minister and Secretary emphasized the importance of Moroccan and U.S. support for a successful sixth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya.
The Secretary congratulated Morocco on its eligibility for a second Millennium Challenge Corporation compact and looked forward to the important work it will do to stimulate investment and growth by promoting private sector linkages in education and improving land policy and productivity. The Secretary and Minister applauded the Memorandum of Understanding signed today between the Government of Morocco and the Millennium Challenge Corporation designed to share expertise and lessons learned with other select countries in Africa.
They discussed efforts to further increase trade and investment between the two countries and take full advantage of the U.S.–Morocco Free Trade Agreement. They praised the strengthening of business to business ties through an ongoing series of United States–Morocco Business Development Conferences. The Minister and the Secretary welcomed the potential of future cooperation on energy and highlighted Moroccan progress toward its 2020 renewable energy targets, including notable advances in wind and solar power.
Engagement in Africa:
The Secretary highlighted the leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI in promoting human development and economic prosperity within Africa.
The Secretary and the Minister reaffirmed the two countries’ will to work jointly to ensure security and stability and economic growth in Africa through a comprehensive and coordinated approach including food security, access to energy, trade promotion, conflict prevention, and the preservation of cultural and religious identity.
The Minister emphasized Morocco’s role and commitment in supporting growth and development in Africa and in providing an avenue for increased trade and investment in Africa, in particular through the enhancement of south-south cooperation; the Secretary reaffirmed the U.S. interest in coordinating efforts with Morocco on the continent and seizing the opportunities presented for shared prosperity.
The Issue of the Western Sahara:
The Secretary reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to a peaceful, sustainable, mutually agreed-upon solution to the Western Sahara question. The United States’ policy toward the Western Sahara has remained consistent for many years. The United States has made clear that Morocco’s autonomy plan is serious, realistic, and credible, and that it represents a potential approach that could satisfy the aspirations of the people in the Western Sahara to run their own affairs in peace and dignity. The United States supports the negotiations carried out by the United Nations, including the work of the UN Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General Ambassador Christopher Ross, and urges the parties to work toward a just, lasting, and mutually agreed political solution. The United States also supports the role of the UN Mission for the Referendum on Western Sahara (MINURSO). The Secretary and the Foreign Minister affirmed their shared commitment to the improvement of the lives of the people in the Western Sahara and discussed appropriate ways to meet that goal.
The Minister congratulated the United States for organizing the White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism in Washington and reaffirmed its readiness to play a leading role in its follow-up process and demonstrating progress on the Summit’s action agenda at the leaders’ summit against violent extremism in New York on the margins of the UNGA. In this regard, the Secretary thanked the Minister for Morocco’s participation in this summit and for Morocco’s leadership in addressing the challenge of Foreign Terrorist Fighters, including through Morocco’s co-chairing the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s Foreign Terrorist Fighters Working Group. The Secretary and the Minister hailed the work done since its creation by the Global Counterterrorism Forum.
Mindful of the importance of border control in any strategy to fight terrorism, they reaffirmed the commitment of Morocco and the United States to co-lead, within the GCTF, the Initiative on Open Border Security.
The Secretary noted the United States’ appreciation for Morocco’s leadership in countering violent extremism and welcomed the creation of Mohammed VI Institute of Training of Imams, Morchidines and Morchidates from Morocco and other African, Arab and European countries.
They looked forward to this year’s largest-ever iteration of the multilateral African Lion military exercise in Morocco, a critical event in support of greater regional security cooperation.
They noted robust and growing cooperation to support Morocco’s reform of its justice sector and promoting the rule of law, and welcomed the launch of new law enforcement and counterterrorism programs, including a trilateral initiative with Moroccan and American trainers working together to train other African partners in border security and crisis management.
The Secretary and the Minister reaffirmed their commitment to support the project initiated by the International Institute for Criminal Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ), for the establishment of an informal platform for judicial cooperation in the Maghreb and the Sahel region on terrorism and other related cases.
Minister Mezouar reiterated His Majesty Mohammed VI’s support to the efforts by President Obama and the Secretary to advance Middle East peace and they acknowledged the contribution of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, as Chairman of Al Quds Committee, to the efforts aiming at achieving a two state solution.
The Minister and the Secretary reemphasized our shared goal of stability and security throughout the region and the continent of Africa, in particular the Sahel region. They noted the importance of stability in Libya and discussed both countries’ support for the UN process to advance reconciliation there.
The Secretary praised Morocco’s constructive role in inter-Libyan political talks, taking place in Skhirat, Morocco, under the auspices of the UN Special Representative for the Secretary General for Libya. The Secretary and the Minister underlined the vital importance of reaching a political and negotiated solution, which will promote stability and reconciliation in Libya.
On Mali, the Minister and the Secretary emphasized the need for a comprehensive solution which could address the root causes of the conflict and ensure a genuine and lasting national reconciliation which engages and is freely agreed to by all the concerned parties. The Secretary and Minister Mezouar underlined the importance of a solution that preserves Mali’s sovereignty and unity.
Educational and Cultural Cooperation:
The Minister and the Secretary discussed further cooperation to promote mutual understanding and dialogue in Morocco and throughout the region. They commended the work of the MacArthur Foundation, DreamYard, and Digital Youth Network together with the Moroccan Education and Resource Network (MEARN) in launching the J. Christopher Stevens Virtual Exchange Initiative pilot program between Morocco and American students earlier this spring. The Secretary congratulated Morocco on the comprehensive educational reforms the government has taken on, in recognition of the importance of education as it relates to developing a participatory democracy and encouraging economic growth.
The Secretary looked forward to furthering our partnership through USAID’s multi-year $25 million commitment to improving primary grade educational attainment. The Minister and the Secretary confirmed that strong interfaith dialogue, the promotion of values of moderation and tolerance are key for stability and development in the region and welcomed the convening of the international conference entitled “Women at the Heart of Monotheism: A Plural History” held in Rabat in November 2014.
The Secretary congratulated Morocco on its decision to organize and host the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which will take place in 2016.
The Minister and the Secretary concluded by noting that the Moroccan–American strategic partnership is based both on shared interests and shared values which provide many avenues for cooperation and collaboration bilaterally, regionally, and globally. They committed to following up on the joint agenda in all its facets. The Secretary thanked the Minister for his invitation to visit Morocco, and they look forward to the fourth session of the Strategic Dialogue in Rabat next year.
State Department Photo
April 8, 2015
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, good afternoon, everybody, and it’s my great pleasure to welcome Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra, the foreign minister of Algeria. And I’m really happy to welcome him and his entire delegation here. (Inaudible) happy to have you here.
Ramtane and I met last September to discuss regional security issues in Algiers a year ago, I guess, we met during our second annual Strategic Dialogue. So we’ve had a chance to be able to share thoughts and to find common ground, and I’m very, very appreciative for the relationship that we have. And I thank him very much for his hospitality when I was in Algiers. I had a chance to be able to play soccer with a bunch of young kids at a clinic. And I’m very happy that a lot of them were much too young to remember Landon Donovan’s extra-time goal for America that won the – (laughter). I won’t even repeat it. Diplomacy – (laughter) – diplomacy brings countries together and overcomes last-minute World Cup goals. (Laughter.) So thank God for that.
I am very, very grateful to Ramtane for his very generous hospitality, but most importantly, President Obama and our entire Administration are very grateful for the very significant cooperation that we have. It’s a difficult region. There are enormous challenges today. Partners need to work together effectively, and we have been doing so with Algeria, and we thank you for that.
The ties between the United States and Algeria are actually very, very long and longstanding. Many people are not aware that the city of St. Augustine, Florida was founded 450 years ago, and it was named in honor of a man who lived in what is now Algeria, the great scholar Augustine of Hippo. And ever since 1783, when Algeria became one of the very first nations to officially recognize the now-United States, the people of our two countries have actually had a great deal in common.
Those shared interests were reflected today throughout the Strategic Dialogue that has been taking place, and that included expert discussions on four critical sets of issues: energy and commerce; security collaboration; education and cultural exchanges; and the political cooperation. So I just want to offer very quickly a thought on each.
First, we are committed to strengthening the economic and energy ties between our two countries. And just last month, Assistant Secretaries Patterson and Rivkin of the State Department and Jadotte of the Commerce Department led a trade delegation to Algeria. And these delegations enabled top-level American firms to share insights with their Algerian counterparts and to be able to explore new ways of doing business together.
I should emphasize that we’ve been working very intensively with our partners in Algeria to identify and to remove barriers that impede increased trade and investment, including the trade and investment framework, the agreement – the trade and investment agreement council that was reached on February – I think February 17th. And today’s dialogue, Ramtane, contributed to the progress and moving in the right direction on that.
We also appreciate enormously Algeria’s leadership in the climate negotiations that are going to take place in the final meeting in Paris later this year. We’re particularly grateful for your partnership as the co-chair of this important process. And as you know, the United States just submitted its emission reduction target and we strongly encourage Algeria now to also join in putting forward its target. In order for this agreement to succeed – and it is vital for everybody that this agreement does succeed – we need to have everybody participate. And President Obama is deeply engaged, as I am, in crisscrossing the world in order to encourage people to come to Paris ready to make an agreement.
Second, security cooperation is a cornerstone of the U.S.-Algeria relationship. And as we were reminded tragically in Kenya last week, terrorist groups such as Daesh, al-Qaida, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram all pose a serious challenge to every single one of us. And that is why the United States welcomes Algeria’s plan to host an international summit this summer on the issue of de-radicalization, one of several follow-on events to the conference on Countering Violent Extremism that President Obama held here in Washington in February.
I’m grateful to Algeria for agreeing to share the lessons from its own battle against violent extremists, and we greatly appreciate Algeria’s engagement in the Global Counterterrorism Forum and its partnership with us in the leaders meeting in September on the margins of the UN General Assembly.
Our counterterrorism coordinator, who I see sitting here with Ambassador Patterson, Ambassador Kaidanow and Algerian Minister-Delegate Masaha (ph) will continue to work together closely on counterterrorism issues. And we’re going to deepen all the aspects of our security partnership with Algeria, and I look forward to building on our work to promote justice sector reform, the rule of law, and border security.
Third, it is vital for us to continue to strengthen people-to-people ties. The United States is committed to supporting Algeria with more English language learning opportunities, expanding our cultural exchanges, and making it easier for Algerian students to study in the United States. And every person in Algeria who wants to learn English should have the chance to do so. That’s what we believe and we’re going to work on making that a reality. And we’ll continue our efforts to promote citizen engagement with the government and a strong, active, and independent civil society, including through the Middle East Partnership Initiative.
Finally, our political cooperation remains absolutely critical, especially in the face of the growing instability throughout the region. Here Algeria is playing an important, highly constructive role, and we’re grateful for that. I especially appreciate Ramtane’s mediation efforts in support of the inter-Malian peace agreement, a blueprint for restoring security, supporting economic development, and promoting good governance, as well as reconciliation and justice.
Going forward, we believe the parties must abide by their pledge to resolve peacefully their remaining differences and to work together to promote good governance and security for their people.
Algeria has also been a vital backer of UN-led efforts to reach a political solution in the embattled and deeply divided nation of Libya. The recent meeting of Libyan political parties and activists in Algiers was a very important milestone. It underscored not only Algeria’s leadership in the region, but also the commitment of the parties to dialogue as the only viable solution to this crisis. So the United States, I pledge to you, will continue to support this process, the goal of a stable and united Libya at peace with both its neighbors and itself.
Obviously, our delegations had a lot to talk about today, as you can tell from my comments. This dialogue could not be more timely. We value deeply our friendship and we believe strongly that an Algeria that is stable, that is increasingly prosperous and working in partnership with the international community is vital for the region and vital really for the world.
So I warmly welcome our guests today, particularly the new Algerian ambassador here in Washington, Madjid Bouguerra, and I thank them for a very productive and useful set of discussions today. We have to build off of these discussions. I’m confident that we will, and I look forward to visiting with all of you in Algiers sometime in the not-too-distant future.
Now it is my pleasure to recognize Foreign Minister Lamamra. (Applause.)
FOREIGN MINISTER LAMAMRA: Thank you very much, John. Thank you for reminding us of so many commonalities and including those fond memories that we keep of your not-too-distant stay in Algeria, though we would have loved to have you again in between. And I’m delighted that we had so many things to discuss, including between yourself and President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who is sending his greetings as well as his best wishes to you and through you to President Barack Obama.
I was of the view that we could set aside things, but I think that now it’s better for me also to take advantage of my speaking notes so that I would cover as much ground as you have so ably done. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, you should have told me ahead of time. I would have saved time. (Laughter.)
FOREIGN MINISTER LAMAMRA: So it’s nice to be here again during this cherry blossom season. I would like to thank you, John, for your warm welcome and promising remarks. My team is pleased to be part of the third session of the Algeria-U.S. Strategic Dialogue and ready to engage with a positive spirit in a wide-ranging discussion about the implementation of what they have been working on during the day’s session.
Since its inception three years ago, the Algeria-U.S. Strategic Dialogue is having a tangible and positive impact in terms not only of its achievements, but more importantly with regard to the new spirit it had infused to our multidimensional cooperation. This forum has been, indeed, very instrumental in providing the needed holistic approach to our bilateral interactions, and I’m glad to see that we share the same desire and commitment to reinforce them in order to serve the best interests of our two countries. Our ambition is to enlarge the scope of this forum, thus making it an oriented action, policy and decision-making body. Algeria is satisfied indeed with the way this dialogue is evolving and with the results so far achieved.
Dear John, dear friends and colleagues, your visit, John, to Algeria last year was fruitful and it has opened many avenues for both countries to work closely together. In the political field, the two countries have developed strategic partnership that covers many areas. We can say today, safely, that the Algeria-American partnership is effective.
Let me add that Algeria is committed to deepen its political, security, economic and commercial relationship with the United States. Moreover, thanks to the trust, mutual respect and shared values that characterize our relations, Algeria and the United States have been able to maintain continued political dialogue and close consultations on international and regional issues of mutual interest.
On the issue of terrorism, the quality and effectiveness of our cooperation are a source of satisfaction. Indeed, Algeria and the U.S. are playing a leading role in shaping a coordinated global response to this multifaceted threat to the international peace and security. Both our countries are founding members of the Global Forum Against Terrorism. Last month, we hosted a meeting of the Working Group on the Sahel that Algeria co-chairs with Canada. In the months ahead, Algiers will, as you mentioned, host a high-level conference organized by the African Union on the issue of terrorism financing. While the fight against terrorism groups – against terrorist groups must continue to be waged vigorously, there is an urgent need for the international community, we believe, to adjust its preventive strategy in order to be in a better position to counter what we see as a shift in the modus operandi and the targets of these terrorist groups.
In this context, the recently-held White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism was timely. It was also very useful as it sought to consider the phenomenon of the radicalization especially among the youth in a multidimensional approach. Algeria expressed during that meeting its readiness to share the lessons it has learned the hard way from its own experience in dealing with this very sensitive problem, by organizing a very important international meeting devoted to de-radicalization.
We are of the view that to be successful in this endeavor, we must effectively combat Islamophobia throughout the world. The stigmatization of Muslims is not only unacceptable, but it further damages our collective efforts to countering the propaganda of violent extremism.
Our economic cooperation has reached, during the last months, an unprecedented dynamic in terms of exchange of high-level visits and the holding of business forums and trade missions. These interactions between our respective government representatives and business communities are of the utmost importance. I do believe that the visit of the Algerian minister of industry and mining to the United States last October and the holding last February in Algiers of the second session of Algeria-U.S. Council on Trade and Investment can be considered as a significant progress. I welcome in this regard the holding of this session, and I do hope that the council will be able to meet annually, as stipulated.
Algeria has endeavored to fulfill its obligations under this agreement, and particularly, those obligations relating to the setting of an open and predictable environment for trade and investment, the elimination of non-tariff barriers, and the protection of intellectual property rights. At the same time, Algeria expects that this agreement will effectively encourage investments that are generating wealth, job creation, and transfer of technology. The Algerian Government seeks to diversify the national economy, and it has consequently taken significant and concrete measures for setting up a friendly environment for national and foreign investments. As a matter of fact, we have already asked our international partners, including the U.S., obviously, to support us in this challenging process.
Ladies and gentlemen, in leading an international mediation effort for the resolution of the crisis in Mali – an action that you have mentioned, and I thank you for the kind words you have used in this respect to describe my own personal role in it – Algeria designed a solution that ensures the preservation of the unity and territorial integrity of the Republic of Mali and creates the necessary conditions for its national reconstruction and economic development. The recently-concluded Algiers Agreement represents the best compromise, which serves the interests of Mali while recognizing the legitimate claims and aspirations of the populations of the northern Mali regions.
Algeria is convinced that the restoration of a lasting peace in Mali will have a positive impact on the whole situation in the Sahel region, as well as on the global fight against terrorism. Algeria is committed to building an integrated, united and prosperous Maghreb beyond mere rhetoric. My country has demonstrated in deeds its act of solidarity whenever any one of our neighbors was in need of it. We lent our support, full support to Tunisia to successfully go through the democratic transition and take its responsibilities in the face of terrorism and instability. We are guided by the same spirit of solidarity with regard to the tragic situation prevailing in Libya. Algeria has constantly pleaded for a political solution as the only way to preserve the unity and territorial integrity of Libya. Any military intervention would further exacerbate the conflict and would more than likely annihilate the chances of a peaceful settlement based on national reconciliation. We are glad that Algeria and the U.S. share the same vision and stand by the same position.
In close coordination with the UN Secretary-General Special Representative Bernardino Leon, Algeria has already hosted the meeting of leaders of political parties and prominent Libyan personalities. We see this as a promising step in a process that needs to be supported by the international community as a whole.
On Syria, we believe that there can be no military solution to the conflict. We think also the time has come for the international community to engage all the political actors in an inclusive dialogue with the aim of finding a consensual solution to this destructive and senseless war.
Concerning the situation in the Middle East, Algeria supports the legitimate of the Palestinian people to a state with East Jerusalem, Al-Quds, as its capital. We urge the international community to live up to its obligations towards the peace process, which should resume without delay in order to achieve the just and lasting solution the Middle East is so desperately looking for. I certainly take this opportunity to salute your personal efforts, John, in these regards.
With respect to Western Sahara, Algeria continues to support the UN secretary general and his personal envoy, Chris Ross, in their efforts to achieve a mutually acceptable political solution which provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in accordance with the UN Charter and relevant resolutions.
Algeria strongly believes that there is no other alternative for the settlement of this conflict than the holding of a free and fair referendum of self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.
Let me conclude, John, by expressing once again my sincere appreciation for you, to you, and for all your colleagues, bearing in mind that the outcomes of this third session of our strategic dialogue are so positive and so promising. I believe that these outcomes will give a real impetus to the already strong and mutually beneficial strategic partnership between our two countries. I very much look forward to receiving you again and again in Algiers. (Applause.)
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you.
Joint Communiqué on the U.S.-Algeria Strategic Dialogue
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
April 8, 2015
The following is a joint communiqué by the governments of Algeria and the United States following today’s Strategic Dialogue.
The United States and Algeria convened the third session of the Strategic Dialogue on April 8, 2015, with Secretary of State John Kerry and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ramtane Lamamra chairing their respective delegations.
The two sides engaged in a wide-ranging discussion of the future of the U.S.-Algeria relationship.
The two governments agreed to work together to promote regional security, combat terrorism, increase information sharing, advance nonproliferation, and coordinate programs to build the capacity of regional partners. The United States is grateful for Algeria’s role in promoting peaceful solutions to regional conflicts, including Algeria’s mediation of an agreement between the Government of Mali and northern armed groups and its support of UN Special Representative of the Secretary General Bernadino Leon’s efforts in Libya. The United States and Algeria agreed that a national unity government in Libya is essential to defeat terrorist threats in the region. Algeria reaffirmed its commitment to hold a summit on de-radicalization as a follow-on to the 19 February Ministerial Meeting of the White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism. The United States and Algeria pledged to continue their work together, including through the Global Counterterrorism Forum, on the action agenda outlined during the Ministerial in advance of the leaders’ summit against violent extremism on the margins of the UN General Assembly in September.
The two governments agreed to deepen their economic and commercial relationship. The United States supports Algeria’s efforts to diversify its economy and invite more foreign investment, as well as the development of Algeria’s energy sector, including renewable energy technologies and non-traditional hydrocarbons. The United States also continues to support Algeria’s efforts to join the World Trade Organization. Both sides emphasized their strong support for continued business-to-business engagement and exchange of expertise.
The governments also agreed to review ways to increase educational exchanges and encourage Algerian students to study in the United States, to include expanded English language learning opportunities for Algerian young people, and a commitment to pursue recognition of U.S. higher education degrees. Both sides renewed their commitment to open an International American School in Algiers in September 2016.
The delegations expressed support for United Nations Security Council Resolution 2152, including the commitment to assist the parties to achieve a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the context of arrangements consistent with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, noting the role and responsibilities of the parties in this respect.
Foreign Minister Lamamra and Secretary of State Kerry emphasized their commitment to the important relationship between the United States and Algeria and pledged to expand, deepen, and broaden political, economic, security, and commercial cooperation. Algeria expressed its gratitude to the United States for hosting the third U.S.-Algerian Strategic Dialogue. Each side looks forward to continuing consultations on the topics discussed in each working group, and agreed to another session in Algiers next year.