Thursday, October 29, 2015

U.S. Special Advisor for Children’s Issues Travels to Uganda and Ethiopia


Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
October 26, 2015

Special Advisor for Children’s Issues, Ambassador Susan Jacobs, will visit Uganda and Ethiopia from October 26-31.

Special Advisor Jacobs will travel to Uganda to deliver remarks at the National Forum on the State of the Ugandan Child. She will also meet with government officials, non-governmental organizations, and other experts to encourage strengthening child protection systems. She will discuss intercountry adoption as an option for children living outside of family care.

Special Advisor Jacobs will then visit Ethiopia to meet with government officials and discuss ways to cooperate and improve the intercountry adoption process. She will also visit with non-governmental organizations in promoting solutions for children needing permanent families.

For more information about children’s issues, please visit: ChildrensIssues.state.gov

U.S. Bureau of OBO Announces the Construction Award for the New U.S. Embassy in Niamey, Niger


Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
October 26, 2015

The Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) announces the design/build construction award for the new U.S. Embassy in Niamey, Niger, to BL Harbert International.

The multi-building campus will be situated on the existing 10-acre Embassy compound in the Yantala neighborhood. The new campus will include an office building, a Marine Security Guard Residence, community facilities, and associated support facilities.

Miller Hull Partnership, LLP of Seattle, Washington, is the design architect and Page Southerland Page, Inc. of Washington, DC, is the architect of record.

Since 1999, as part of the Department’s Capital Security Construction Program, OBO has completed 129 new diplomatic facilities and has an additional 55 projects in design or under construction.

The mission of the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations is to provide safe, secure, and functional facilities that represent the U.S. government to the host nation and support our staff in the achievement of U.S. foreign policy objectives. These facilities should represent U.S. values and the best in U.S. architecture, engineering, technology, sustainability, art, culture, and construction execution.

U.S. Special Advisor for International Disability Rights Judith Heumann Travels to Kenya and Ethiopia


Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
October 23, 2015

Special Advisor for International Disability Rights Judith Heumann will travel to Kenya and Ethiopia from October 25 – November 7, 2015. Ms. Heumann will meet with a broad range of government, private sector, and civil society representatives to discuss issues of mutual concern related to the rights of persons with disabilities, such as implementation of disability rights laws, inclusive education, accessible workplaces, and the ability of disabled persons’ organizations to advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities. Additionally, SA Heumann will participate in UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) events in Nairobi, and meet with the African Disability Forum in Addis Ababa.

Ms. Heumann will draw on the experiences, challenges, and lessons learned from the disability movement in the United States and explore ways to increase international cooperation to share best practices.

DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs and the Commission on African Affairs Host Community Town Hall

The Mayor’s Office on African Affairs and the Commission on African Affairs invite you to an African community town hall discussion on key policy initiatives crucial to the African community. The discussion will focus on identifying various needs of the community while highlighting gaps and seeking ways to connect communities to District resources.

The theme is “Pathway to the Middle Class” and topics of discussion will include (but are not limited to):
• Education
• Jobs
• Affordable Housing
• Public Safety
• Economic Development
• Language Access
• Access to Resources

We want to hear from you!

WHEN: Tuesday, November 3, 2015 from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM (EST)

WHERE: Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center – Edna Cromwell-Frazier Community Room – 2nd Floor,
Reeves Building. 2000 14th Street NW. Washington, DC 20009

RSVP REQUIRED
: Click here to Register

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement on Zambia’s National Day


Department of State
Washington, DC
October 23, 2015

On behalf of President Obama and the citizens of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Zambia on the 51st anniversary of your independence.

The long partnership between our two nations is grounded in mutual respect and enhances the security and prosperity of both our countries. The United States honors Zambia’s proud traditions, including its enduring commitment to a democratic future. We look forward to continuing to work with you to promote the building blocks of prosperity, which include education, access to quality health care, good governance, and respect for human rights under the rule of law.

As you celebrate this special day with family, friends, and loved ones, know that the United States stands with you as a partner and friend.

Notice of Funding Availability – DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs


MOAA’s African Community Grant Updates:

Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) and Call for Reviewers

NOTICE OF FUNDING AVAILABILITY (NOFA)
FY 2016 African Community Grant

Background Information:
The Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (MOAA) is soliciting grant applications from qualified Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) serving the District of Columbia’s African constituents [residents and/or business owners] – for its FY 2016 African Community Grant. The grant is intended to fund programs that provide targeted services and resources to the District’s African residents and/or business owners in areas of need in the community.

Funding priority areas identified for FY 2016 are aligned with Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration budget priorities:
• Education
• Jobs & Economic Development
• Public Safety
• Housing
• Transportation
• Environment
• Health & Wellness
• Good Government
• Arts & Creative Economy

Eligibility Criteria:
Organizations may apply if they meet all of the following eligibility requirements at the time of application:
• be a Community-Based Organization with a with a Federal 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status or evidence of fiscal agent relationship with a 501 (c)(3) organization
• the organization or program serves the District’s African residents or business owners,
• the organization’s principal place of business is located within in the District of Columbia,
• the organization is currently registered in good standing with the DC Department of Consumer& Regulatory Affairs, Corporation Division, and the Office of Tax and Revenue, and
New to FY 2016 – Applicants who have received African Community Grants for three consecutive award cycles are NOT eligible to apply for a period of one fiscal year following their last award.

Program Scope:
For FY 2016, MOAA’s African Community Grant will fund culturally and linguistically appropriate programs with demonstrated tie into the Mayor’s priority areas and community needs in the following program areas: economic and workforce development, youth engagement and education, health education and linkage to human services, and promotion of the arts and humanities [see RFA for details].

Release Date of RFA: October 26, 2015

Availability of RFA: The RFA will be posted on OAA’s website (www.oaa.dc.gov) & the on the District’s Grant Clearinghouse Website at http://opgs.dc.gov/page/opgs-district-grants-clearinghouse; and in the Funding Alert published on the Office of Partnerships and Grant Services’ website.

Amount of Awards: Eligible organizations can be awarded up to $20,000.

Length of Awards: Grant awards are for FY 2016,
January 15, 2016 – September 30, 2016.

Pre-Bidder’s Conference: November 3, 2015 | 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
2nd Floor Edna Cromwell Community Room
Franklin D. Reeves Center of Municipal Affairs
2000 14th Street, NW
2nd Floor Edna Cromwell Community Room
Washington, DC 20009

MOAA Contact: Heran Sereke-Brhan, Deputy Director
Phone: (202)-724-7670
Email: heran.sereke-brhan@dc.gov

Deadline for Electronic Submission: 5:00 pm on November 20, 2015 | oaa@dc.gov

New U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia Sworn In


On Thursday October 22, 2015, Ambassador Daniel H. Rubinstein was sworn in as the US Ambassador to Tunisia. The ceremony was officiated by Counselor Tom Shannon.

Ambassador Rubinstein is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service. Prior to this position, he served as the Department’s Special Envoy for Syria in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, a position he held from 2014 to 2015. Mr. Rubinstein is well-known for his extensive service throughout the Middle East and leadership in managing large, multi-agency posts. His broad overseas experience, service in key leadership positions in Washington, and work on highly-visible, complicated policy issues, including as Special Envoy for Syria, make him uniquely qualified to serve with distinction as U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia.

Previously, Mr. Rubinstein served in the Department as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Intelligence and Research (2012-2014). Prior to that, he was Consul General, U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem (2009-2012), Chief, Civilian Observer Unit, Multinational Force and Observers, Sinai, Egypt (2008-2009), and Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy Amman, Jordan (2005-2008).

He also served as Director, Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs, Washington, D.C. (2004-2005), Science Counselor, U.S. Embassy Brasilia, Brazil (2002-2004), Economic Section Chief, U.S. Embassy Damascus, Syria (1999-2002), and Director, Arabic Field School, Foreign Service Institute, Tunis, Tunisia (1998-1999). His early assignments with the Department included serving as Economic Officer in the Office of Israel and Arab-Israeli Affairs, Economic/ Commercial Officer, U.S. Embassy Luanda, Angola, Foreign Affairs Economic Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and as a Junior Officer at U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv, Israel.

Mr. Rubinstein earned a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989 and has won numerous Department performance awards. His languages are Arabic, Portuguese, and Hebrew.

New U.S. Ambassador to Central African Republic Sworn In


On Friday October 15, 2015, Ambassador Jeffrey Hawkins was sworn in as the US Ambassador to the Central African Republic. The ceremony was officiated by Counselor Tom Shannon.

Prior to this position, Ambassador Hawkins served as Consul General at the U.S. Consulate in Lagos, Nigeria, a position he held from 2012 to 2015. Jeffrey Hawkins was Director of the Office of Near East and South and Central Asia in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor from September 2010 to 2012. He was an adviser to the Assistant Secretary on human rights policies for the Near East and South Central Asia region and managed millions of dollars of human rights programs.

Mr. Hawkins served as Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) at U.S. Embassy Luanda, Angola between September of 2008 and August of 2010. As DCM, Mr. Hawkins was the Ambassador’s senior advisor on policy and management and oversaw the operations of the Embassy, including some 50 American diplomats and 135 Angolan staff, as well as an $80 million assistant budget.

Prior to arriving in Angola, Mr. Hawkins was U.S. Consul in Lille, France, where he was responsible for American relations with northern France. Between 2004 and 2006, Mr. Hawkins served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.

Mr. Hawkins worked as Political and Economic Counselor in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004. While in Kabul, Mr. Hawkins played a key role in activities with major implications for U.S. foreign policy, including the drafting of the Afghan constitution, preparations for Afghanistan’s first post-conflict elections, and coordination with NATO and the United Nations in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Mr. Hawkins has also served as acting Deputy Director of the State Department’s Office of Central Asian Affairs, Desk Officer for Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, Political Officer in Islamabad, Pakistan, Deputy Consular, Section Chief in Chennai, India and Political Officer in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Prior to joining the State Department, Mr. Hawkins was a Presidential Management Intern at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Mr. Hawkins is the recipient of numerous State Department awards, including the Meritorious Honor Award and the Superior Honor Award. Mr. Hawkins speaks French and Portuguese.

Mr. Hawkins is married to Annie Chansavang, a financial officer with the French oil company Total. They have two sons, Maxime and Alexandre.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Macy’s Commemorates 10 Years of Rwanda Path to Peace Initiative

Rwandan weavers create special 10-year anniversary designs for sale this fall and holiday

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct. 21, 2015– This fall, Macy’s (NYSE:M) is celebrating 10 years of its Rwanda Path to Peace initiative, offering customers special commemorative designs to honor the decade-long partnership. Originally launched in fall 2005, the program affords an opportunity to create economic sustainability and stability for the women weavers of Rwanda impacted by the country’s civil war and genocide, and is now the longest-lasting program of its kind.

“Macy’s Rwanda Path to Peace program was one of the first-ever ‘trade-not-aid’ efforts and is the longest-enduring, impacting thousands of women throughout the country of Rwanda,” said Willa Shalit, co-founder of the program. “This important initiative, in partnership with the Rwandan weavers’ cooperative, Gahaya Links, has enabled women in Rwanda to take care of essential human needs, send their children to school, buy health insurance and malaria nets, and to help rebuild their communities. We are so grateful to Macy’s and its customers who have responded with open hearts, so that Americans can directly support peace and prosperity from one continent to another.”

Macy’s Rwanda Path to Peace program brings the age-old art of Rwandan basket weaving to customers in the United States, with product available in select Macy’s stores and on macys.com. The vibrant colorful baskets range from a classic 9-inch fruit bowl to a 16-inch large statement piece, with retail prices ranging from $30 to $60.

“As an early and dedicated advocate for this program, I am so proud of the decade of work we have been honored to do through our Rwanda Path to Peace project,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman and CEO of Macy’s, Inc. “Through this program, Hutu and Tutsi women, representing both sides of a devastating genocide, have come together to weave baskets of peace. From my first visit to Rwanda, my life was permanently changed by the strength of the weavers I met – knowing what they have endured and all they have taught us about courage, forgiveness and grace. I want to thank our customers for continuing to support this effort and for helping us make a difference in the world.”

Macy’s commemorated the anniversary with a special customer event at Macy’s Herald Square in New York City on Oct. 20. The in-store celebration featured live musical performances, traditional Rwandan food and a ceremony honoring the women who made this project possible.

For more information about Macy’s Rwanda Path to Peace, visit macys.com/Rwanda.

About Macy’s
Macy’s, the largest retail brand of Macy’s, Inc., delivers fashion and affordable luxury to customers at approximately 775 locations in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, as well as to customers in the U.S. and more than 100 international destinations through its leading online store at macys.com. Via its stores, e-commerce site, mobile and social platforms, Macy’s offers distinctive assortments including the most desired family of exclusive and fashion brands for him, her and home. Macy’s is known for such epic events as Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks® and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®, as well as spectacular fashion shows, culinary events, flower shows and celebrity appearances. Macy’s flagship stores — including Herald Square in New York City, Union Square in San Francisco, State Street in Chicago, and Dadeland in Miami and South Coast Plaza in southern California — are known internationally and are leading destinations for visitors. Building on a more than 150-year tradition, and with the collective support of customers and employees, Macy’s helps strengthen communities by supporting local and national charities giving more than $69 million each year to help make a difference in the lives of our customers.

###

Ethiopia and Djibouti Agree to $1.5 Billion Oil Pipeline Deal

Story & Picture Courtesy of AFRICA UPDATE – October Vol. 3

Office of U.S. Representative Karen Bass
Washington, DC

The governments of Ethiopia and Djibouti have reportedly signed an oil pipeline construction agreement worth $1.5 billion that will link the two countries oil export industries. The deal will allow Ethiopia to use Djibouti’s Red Sea port to import more than 50,000 barrels of oil per day. The deal also includes an import facility with a storage capacity of 950,000 barrels of oil and the capacity to transport 240,000 barrels of fuel per day. During the last decade, economic growth in landlocked Ethiopia has outperformed every other country in Sub-Saharan Africa. To sustain this growth, the government has prioritized expenditures to expand infrastructural development.

The agreement received throughout the region, including from the neighboring states of Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya and Egypt; as it has the potential to increase energy security, promote economic growth momentum and make the region a commercial logistics hub for the rest of Africa.

This new pipeline agreement also brings additional development opportunities to the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia is currently pursuing an agreement with Djibouti for the construction of a new railway line between the two countries. If agreed, the railway could produce positive outcomes for the mobility of goods and services between the nations.

Finally, the project is expected to increase the efficiency and safety of Ethiopia’s supply chains, by reducing transportation costs while increasing the scale of oil imports. This pipeline project could also reinforce Djibouti’s position as a regional center for shipping and expand its capacity for trade. The pipeline is schedule to be completed by late 2018.

South Sudan’s President Kiir Announces Creation of 18 New States

Story & Picture Courtesy of AFRICA UPDATE – October Vol. 3

Office of U.S. Representative Karen Bass
Washington, DC

On October 2, 2015 South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir issued a Presidential decree ordering the creation of 18 new states across the nation. In addition to the ten states currently existing, this would bring the total number to 28 states for an estimated population of 8 to 10 million people. The controversial announcement of this decree has the potential to disrupt the implementation of the peace agreement signed by President Kiir and opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar signed on August 26, 2015; as it was unilaterally declared prior to the formation of the Government of National Unity.

South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan in July 2011 as the outcome of a 2005 peace deal that ended what was then Africa’s longest civil war. The peace that followed was short lived, as civil war broke out in December 2013 due to political discord between President Salva Kiir and his former Vice President Riek Machar. Since that time, thousands of people are reported to have been killed and more than 1.5 million internally displaced.

While some citizens applaud the decree, on the grounds that creating additional states will broaden participation in government and minimize marginalization of minorities in South Sudan. Many in the regional and international community have registered their objections.

The Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD), which has led peace talks for South Sudan’s warring parties for two years, condemned the President’s order saying it “violated the peace agreement”. The United States, the United Kingdom, Norway, and the European have also spoken out against President Kiir’s order in a joint statement issued just days after the decree. The statement also calls on President Kiir to refrain from implementing the decree until the warring parties comply with all processes of implementing the peace agreement. Despite international and regional calls for the delay of the order, President Kiir has instructed his administration to continue implementation of his decree.

Early this October, in an attempt to calm international concerns, South Sudan’s Vice President James Wani Igga held several meetings with members of congress, seeking to explain the President’s decision. Meanwhile the South Sudanese opposition group, led by Dr. Riek Machar also conducted several congressional meetings explaining why they believe the decree is harmful to the peace process. Both parties also held a joint meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry, which focused on their full compliance in the implementation of the peace agreement.

###

World Health Organization Reports Positive Trends in Fight Against Ebola


Story & Picture Courtesy of AFRICA UPDATE – October Vol. 3

Office of U.S. Representative Karen Bass
Washington, DC

In early October, World Health Organization (WHO) reporting indicates a positive trend toward abating the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The WHO’s latest “Ebola Situation Report” indicates that there are no confirmed new cases of Ebola virus since the week of October 4 in each of the three most devastated countries: Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. This marks the first time that a complete epidemiological week has elapsed with zero confirmed cases since March of 2014.

The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been the largest and most geographically wide spread since the first Ebola virus was first recorded in Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976. So far, 37,769 cases of Ebola have been diagnosed, with 862 deaths in Guinea, 2,484 deaths in Liberia, and 1, 200 in Sierra Leone.

In Guinea, all patients diagnosed with the virus have now completed their follow-up and all are reported to have tested negative for active Ebola virus. For Liberia, the positive trend began when the incidence of newly confirmed cases continued to remain below 10 per week for 11 consecutive weeks. Over the same period, transmission of the virus has been geographically confined to several small areas across Liberia. Health officials in Sierra Leone have not reported or confirmed any new cases of Ebola for the third consecutive week prior to the World Health Organization’s report. All contact linked to the country’s two most recently active chains of transmission have now completed 21 days quarantine. In addition, the last case to receive treatment was discharged from an Ebola treatment center on September 26, 2015.

If continued, this trajectory is promising for the fight to end the Ebola outbreak. Despite this encouraging progress, considerable effort is required to halt all chains of transmission in the affected countries; prevent further spread of the disease; relieve the pressure on national healthcare infrastructure; and to help reactivate essential healthcare services in these countries.

###

Friday, October 16, 2015

Under Sec. Sarah Sewall to Travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo

 
 
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
October 16, 2015

Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall will travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from October 18-24, 2015.

While in the DRC, Under Secretary Sewall will discuss bilateral and regional issues, including the need to ensure timely, credible, and peaceful elections; combat sexual and gender-based violence; strengthen rule of law; and end the suspension of exit visas for internationally adopted children. She will meet with government officials, the opposition, civil society, youth, community and religious leaders, UN officials, and other key stakeholders. She will also deliver a speech at a local research organization.

Under Secretary Sewall will travel to eastern Congo where she will meet with local government officials, civil society, community leaders, legal aid and health providers, and representatives of the United Nations Organizations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). She will also visit the Vulnerable Children and Youth Training Center and meet survivors of gender-based violence.

Quality Health Africa Summit 2015


The 2015 Quality Health Africa Summit is a flagship program that will strive to target ways to strengthen and sustain Africa’s vulnerable health system. This two day program held in the United States and Africa will focus on current developments and international relations through lectures, workshops, and discussions. The theme for this year’s Summit is “Innovation in Combating the Health System Disparities in Africa”.

When: Friday, October 23, 2015 |9:00 am -4:00 pm

Where: US House of Representatives, Rayburn House | 200 D St SW | Washington, DC 20024 | Rm B340 | Washington, DC | 20003

Learn more

Ambassador Jenkins Attends Regional Health Meeting in Sierra Leone


Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
October 15, 2015

Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, Special Envoy and Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs, will be in Freetown, Sierra Leone on October 15 – 16, 2015 to attend a meeting hosted by the African Society for Laboratory Safety and the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (WHO/AFRO). The meeting will bring partners together to initiate and build consensus around an inclusive roadmap framework for the implementation of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) across Africa. Ambassador Jenkins will provide opening remarks on the GHSA and the importance of that agenda to the ongoing work in Africa to strengthen their health systems after the Ebola crisis.

For updates, follow the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN) on Twitter, at @ISNAsstSecy.

For more information about ISN, please visit our website: http://www.state.gov/t/isn/.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement on Equatorial Guinea’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
October 12, 2015

On behalf of President Obama and the citizens of the United States, I send best wishes to the people of Equatorial Guinea on your Independence Day.

The United States and Equatorial Guinea continue to have strong and fruitful economic ties. We are committed to our work together to improve health and basic education. We look forward to continued cooperation between our two countries, especially towards our shared goal of keeping Equatorial Guinea, and all of Africa, polio-free.

We also look forward to expanding collaboration on maritime security, economic diversification, and good governance for the benefit of all.

As you gather with family and friends, I wish the people of Equatorial Guinea peace, prosperity, and stability in the year to come.

U.S. Issues Statement on Completion of the Libyan Political Framework Text


Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
October 9, 2015

The completion of the final political framework text and announcement of the names of the senior leaders for a Government of National Accord is a significant milestone in the Libyan political process. I welcome these important steps and commend the courageous Libyan delegates who have spent the past year in difficult negotiations to create an inclusive new government.

All sides should now move forward on an agreement that can provide the Libyan people with the safety, security, and rule of law they deserve. I urge members of the House of Representatives and the General National Congress to immediately endorse the final text and the slate of leaders for the Government of National Accord. Finalizing this arrangement can help return Libya to a path of peace, stability, and prosperity and the United States stands ready to support a new Government of National Accord.


U.S. Congratulates Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet

The members of the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo Photo: EPA/HO
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 9, 2015

Statement by the President Congratulating the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Recipients

On behalf of the American people, I congratulate Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. This brave coalition of workers, industry, lawyers and human rights advocates is an inspiring reminder that lasting peace and security can only be achieved when citizens are empowered to forge their own future and that democracy is both possible and necessary in the North Africa and the Middle East.

In the five years since a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself on fire to protest an oppressive dictatorship, the Tunisian people have made remarkable strides in building an inclusive democracy, and the Quartet has played an indispensable role. When the promise of the Jasmine Revolution was in doubt, the Quartet helped to bring Tunisians together in a peaceful dialogue. With the Quartet’s support, Tunisians voted in free elections, forged a new constitution that upholds human rights and equality for all people, including women and minorities, and formed a national unity government, including secular and Islamist parties, showing that democracy and Islam can indeed thrive together.

Today’s award is therefore also a tribute to the perseverance and courage of the Tunisian people who, in the face of political assassinations and terrorist attacks, have come together in a spirit of unity, compromise and tolerance. I welcomed President Caid Essebsi, Tunisia’s first democratically elected president, to the White House this year to reaffirm America’s support for Tunisia’s democracy, and I have been proud to meet with Tunisian students–young men and women who are working to create more opportunity and prosperity in their country. In a region gripped by so much tumult and violence, Tunisia points the way to a better future – one in which stability is pursued through peaceful dialogue, not violence and division.

Just as the world must support the Tunisian people, we must stand with civil society groups around the world who advocate, often at great risk to themselves, for the human rights and inherent dignity of every human being. In this never-ending work for justice and peace, these fearless men and women have a steadfast partner in the United States of America.

###


The Nobel Peace Prize for the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
October 9, 2015

I congratulate Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet for their selection as winners of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize.

This extraordinary honor recognizes the critical role civil society organizations played following the Tunisian revolution — by preserving national unity and constructing a political process that led to both a constitution and free and fair national elections.

As assassinations and street protests roiled domestic politics in 2013, the National Dialogue Quartet played an invaluable role in keeping Tunisia’s transition on track. These organizations promoted consensus-building and social cooperation by working across the spectrum of Tunisian society to advance dialogue and foster Tunisia’s continuing democratic transition. Their inspiring achievement is a shining example for all societies that are working towards an inclusive transition from dictatorship to democracy.

We laud Tunisian leaders from across the political spectrum who worked with the Quartet and others in civil society and who made difficult compromises for the sake of the Tunisian people. The Tunisian model of inclusivity and respecting fundamental freedoms of all its citizens is the best answer to the violence and extremist ideologies that have torn apart other countries in the region.

The United States remains committed to supporting the Tunisian people and their government as they continue to strengthen and protect their democracy and fulfill their aspirations for a safe, secure, and prosperous future.

PEPFAR Annual Treatment Report

 



International Health Issues: The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief’s (PEPFAR) Annual Treatment Report

10/05/2015 03:26 PM EDT

Background: The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) represents America’s commitment to saving lives and the shared responsibility of all global partners toward achieving an AIDS-free generation. The rapid expansion of access to antiretroviral treatment (ART) under PEPFAR has been one of the program’s most significant achievements. By the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2014, PEPFAR supported life-saving ART for 7.7 million men, women and children (of which, 4.5 million are receiving direct support and 3.2 million are benefiting from essential technical support to partner countries).

In addition to saving lives, treatment provides striking indirect health benefits. For every 1,000 persons supported on treatment for one year, PEPFAR estimates that it prevents 449 children from becoming orphans.

Definitive scientific research has proven that providing treatment to HIV-infected persons reduces the likelihood of transmission to their non-HIV-infected partners by an estimated 96 percent, and prevention of new infections must be considered among the other demonstrated benefits of treatment. [1] Additionally, patients who initiate ART at or above CD4 500 cells/ml are substantially less likely to develop tuberculosis (TB), a leading cause of mortality among People Living with HIV (PLHIV).

Treatment also has broader benefits to economic development, worker productivity and household incomes. Healthier people have a positive impact on their local economies; studies on agricultural workers in Western Kenya and elsewhere in Africa have demonstrated a reversal of low productivity after HIV-infected workers are started on treatment.[2] In fact, if patients initiate treatment early enough, they may avoid any loss of employment.[3]

To meet the global need for treatment and sustain the positive impact of providing ART, PEPFAR is maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of its investments. PEPFAR has prioritized the use of data and analysis to understand treatment costs, their drivers and how efficiencies can extend the impact of programs. PEPFAR has been at the forefront of driving the collection and use of these data for its own efforts, as well as supporting multilateral efforts to drive efficient programming.[4]

While Phase I of PEPFAR focused on the emergency response, Phase II, which commenced in 2008, emphasized enhanced country engagement and sustainability. During this period, PEPFAR established Partnership Frameworks—joint strategic roadmaps on HIV/AIDS, agreed to and signed by the U.S. and partner governments, promoting mutual accountability and sustainability of the HIV/AIDS response. Phase III of PEPFAR focuses on sustainable control of the epidemic.[5] As one of five Action Agendas to accelerate epidemic control, PEPFAR’s Efficiency Action Agenda commits to increased transparency, oversight and accountability across PEPFAR and its interagency partners to ensure every taxpayer dollar is optimally invested and tracked. PEPFAR’s Expenditure Analysis (EA) Initiative provides a foundation to the Efficiency Action Agenda through the routine collection of PEPFAR’s results-linked expenditures. Total PEPFAR expenditures can be analyzed by program area, cost category and country, including sub-national geographic units. The analysis links routinely collected results data with expenditures to calculate a PEPFAR unit-expenditure per achievement, such as PEPFAR expenditure per patient-year of HIV treatment. EA results are now an integral piece of information for country teams to develop their budget and target projections as well as improve partner and portfolio management.[6] In addition, EA facilitates joint planning with country governments and other donors ensuring improved coordination of resources in support of national treatment goals and comprehensive HIV programming. PEPFAR will continue to lead the global community in these efficiency initiatives and will expand EA and other innovations in order to save even more lives. PEPFAR Dashboards (http://data.pepfar.net/) show PEPFAR total expenditures by country, program area and cost category.

Methodology: The PEPFAR EA Initiative is now the primary source of data for estimating the PEPFAR annual cost of treatment. Institutionalized in 2012, the EA has been phased in over a three-year period. In 2013—the most recent year with complete data—approximately $3.3 billion in United States Government (USG) funds were collected through EA from over 1,100 implementing partner agreements across 19 PEPFAR countries and regional programs. The 2013 results accounted for 95% of the total PEPFAR Country Operational Plan (COP) budget for 2012 and captured 95% of total outlays as reported by PEPFAR implementing agencies[7]. PEPFAR successfully expanded EA to include all operating units in 2014[8].

In each of the 19 countries included, every PEPFAR implementing partner (IP) with operations in USG FY 2013 was required to report comprehensive information on PEPFAR expenditures in a standardized format (EA data collection template). Extensive technical assistance was provided to IPs to ensure consistency and integrity of reported data. In addition, data were subject to a 4-tier validation and quality assessment process prior to being finalized. All results are reported in 2013 USD and represent expenditures between October 1, 2012 and September 30, 2013. Full EA data from all COP countries will be available in 2014 and all out-years.

PEPFAR EA provides the most up-to-date and comprehensive data ever available on PEPFAR treatment expenditures and associated achievements. Given the rapid nature of this methodology, there is some trade-off in level of detail when compared to intensive, facility-level costing studies. Facility-level studies offer a wealth of information on the cost structure and source of inputs across funders at the point-of-service, but they are resource- and time-intensive and do not typically capture above-facility expenditures. PEPFAR EA accounts for every PEPFAR dollar spent, thus filling this data gap and serving as an effective adjunct to more targeted and intensive cost studies.

To assess variation in results from the different costing methods, PEPFAR compared recent results from the PEPFAR Kenya facility-level ART cost study and output from EA over a similar time horizon. The analysis showed PEPFAR’s unit expenditures from EA were similar to PEPFAR’s share of the unit costs for adults on treatment, supporting the use of EA as a reasonable proxy for measuring the PEPFAR contribution to the full cost of treatment in the countries in which we work. PEPFAR is actively working with key stakeholders to improve the availability and congruency of expenditure data from all sources to better understand the full cost of treatment on a more routine basis.

Results: Table 1 summarizes PEPFAR unit expenditures for Adult and Pediatric ART across 19 country programs included in EA 2013. The program provides holistic care to all Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV) and does not disaggregate care services for those on ART because services are often similar.

Table 1. PEPFAR Unit Expenditure for Core Interventions, 2013 USD

Country                  Adult ART               Pediatric ART
Botswana                   $387                              $0
Cameroon                    $0                                $0
Cote d’Ivoire            $305                               $0
Ethiopia                    $176                            $151
Haiti                         $681                            $499
Kenya                       $290                             $199
Lesotho                      $41                               $41
Malawi                      $40                               $32
Mozambique            $184                              $95
Namibia                     $0                                 $0
Nigeria                    $317                            $193
Rwanda                   $407                               $0
South Africa            $43                               $29
Swaziland                $67                               $64
Tanzania                $209                               $66
Uganda                  $211                             $129
Vietnam                $458                              $143
Zambia                 $170                                $51
Zimbabwe            $129                                $25

PEPFAR support for treatment ranges in scope and scale across countries and regions, from key inputs for service provision (e.g., clinic personnel, commodities, etc.) to technical assistance for strengthening national treatment programs. The type and level of support depends on unmet need, identified gaps, and capacity of the partner country to respond. Variation across countries in PEPFAR unit expenditures is expected and a function of the type of support provided and typical cost of inputs. For example, in lower-middle income countries with greater capacity—e.g., South Africa—PEPFAR’s role is primarily to provide technical assistance for expansion and quality improvement rather than direct provision of services. In countries like Namibia and Cameroon, PEPFAR helps to strengthen the national treatment program, but does not reach beneficiaries directly.

In some technical assistance countries, such as Botswana, PEPFAR primarily supports the national program, but also provides treatment to a limited segment of the population that would otherwise go unreached. Country-level unit expenditures allow for a better understanding of how our treatment resources map to program performance and what resources are required to sustain and accelerate achievements in the future. Within countries, unit expenditure data is an invaluable tool to assess efficiency in program implementation models, cost structure, and geographical allocation.

PEPFAR now collects expenditure data at the sub-national level, which will enable our programs to use this information to compare program costs geographically. We are working to make this data available in the PEPFAR Dashboards. We do not, however, aggregate this information by rural/urban distinction due to contextually specific definitions of these terms, shifting population dynamics, and frequently changing administrative units in host countries. Sub-national results are available for each country, but have not been presented in this report due to the volume of data.

Cost Estimates: PEPFAR is one source of support for the treatment program in partner countries and the full unit cost of treatment requires information from other funding sources, especially the Global Fund which often provides funding for 1st line treatment. In addition, timely cost information is needed to estimate resources required to control the HIV/AIDS epidemic globally. Currently, no systematic collection of data on the costs of providing treatment not funded by PEPFAR exists and is not practicable at this time due to the immense effort required of all stakeholders to align data elements, systems, analysis and reporting. PEPFAR is working to harmonize internal expenditure accounting methods (EA) with host country governments and key stakeholders, such as the Global Fund, to improve the availability of data on the full spend for care and treatment and the full cost per patient year. In addition, PEPFAR has been working intensively with multilateral institutions responsible for standard frameworks for national HIV resource tracking to ensure congruency of collected financial and economic information for incorporation into strategic planning discussions. A full analysis of the funds spent on care and treatment by source of funding will be available in the future as methods and systems are harmonized. The speed at which comparable data for non-PEPFAR sources will become available depends on a number of factors, including the structure and adaptability of public financial tracking systems in partner countries.

As part of broader collaborative strategy to improve coordination between Global Fund and PEPFAR, PEPFAR has been working with the Global Fund to harmonize financial monitoring and construct a framework for comparable expenditure datasets between the two organizations. With the inception of Global Fund’s New Funding Model, these efforts have been concretized with the development of a “minimum dataset” capturing financial data from both funding sources within the year. With financial and technical assistance from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Global Fund and PEPFAR are currently engaged in joint expenditure analysis pilot activities in a subset of countries to test the integrity of this framework. The ultimate goal is to better understand for each country where both funders are present who pays for what and how we can strategically align to assess overlap/duplication, course correct where needed, and maximize our comparative advantages to best support the needs of the country.

Conclusions: PEPFAR’s success in driving down unit costs maximizes the impact of taxpayer dollars to save lives and represents an important development for the landscape of global health and for development more broadly. Ongoing work within PEPFAR is utilizing expenditure analysis and focused costing studies to continue to identify cost drivers and maximize the efficiency of programs in order to continue to expand treatment programs. Specifically evaluating and integrating data from sites to analyze cost, results and quality, to identify cost effective high quality sites, evaluate the characteristics of these sites and promote these specific qualities to other sites. PEPFAR is currently the global leader in applying this type of analysis and is actively working with multilateral partners such as the Global Fund, the World Bank, UNAIDS, the Gates Foundation, and others to use these data as a basis for tracking expenditures in relation to outputs and ensuring maximal value for investment. For further information on these efforts, see http://www.pepfar.gov/smart/index.htm and http://www.pepfar.gov/documents/organization/195700.pdf .

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement on Uganda’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
October 9, 2015

On behalf of President Obama and the citizens of the United States, I am delighted to congratulate the government and people of Uganda as you celebrate the 53rd year of your country’s independence on October 9.

The United States values the longstanding friendship between our countries and looks forward to continuing to work closely with you in a host of areas of mutual concern. These include economic growth, bilateral trade and investment, stability in East Africa, the fight against malaria and HIV/AIDS, democratic governance and respect for human rights. Together, our countries are creating new opportunities for the people of Uganda and the United States, while also striving as steadfast partners to advance regional peace and security.

As you gather with family and friends to observe your national day, Ugandans may be assured of the lasting friendship and best wishes of the United States.

Secretary Kerry Meets South Sudanese Leaders

Secretary Kerry Poses for a Photo With the South Sudanese Delegation Before Their Meeting in Washington. State Department Photo
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
October 8, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Special Envoy Don Booth welcomed South Sudanese leaders – including Vice President James Wani Igga, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, and Deng Alor Kuol – to the U.S. Department of State on October 7, to discuss ways of accelerating implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan.

The Secretary expressed serious concern about the renewed fighting in Unity State, stressing that it cannot be tolerated, and urging all parties to respect the ceasefire. The Secretary urged the leaders to expeditiously finalize security arrangements for Juba, create institutions to oversee the permanent ceasefire, and ensure no unilateral actions undermine the agreement.

Secretary Kerry affirmed that the United States stands ready to support implementation of the agreement provided the parties demonstrate their commitment to it by moving forward with implementation.

He also emphasized our enduring friendship with the people of South Sudan, for whom we have provided over $1.3 billion in humanitarian assistance since December 2013.

U.S. Issues Statement on the Republic of Congo


Referendum on a New Constitution in Republic of Congo

Press Statement
Mark C. Toner
Deputy Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 6, 2015

The United States notes with concern the decision by Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou N’Guesso to hold a referendum on a new constitution that would overcome existing term limits and permit him to run again for president after the end of his term in 2016.

As President Obama stated in his address at the African Union, Nelson Mandela and George Washington “forged a lasting legacy not only because of what they did in office, but because they were willing to leave office and transfer power peacefully.” President Obama underscored that, “when a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife – as we’ve seen in Burundi. And this is often just a first step down a perilous path.”

We reiterate that regular, peaceful, democratic leadership transitions provide a dynamic and healthy mechanism for citizens to hold political leaders accountable for their governance and foster long-term stability. No democracy is well-served when its leader alters its constitution for personal or political gain.

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement on Lesotho’s National Day


Secretary of State
Washington, DC
October 5, 2015

On behalf of President Obama, I congratulate the people of the Kingdom of Lesotho on the 49th anniversary of your independence.

Over the years Lesotho has made strides in letting the voices of its people be heard through the democratic process. The United States and Lesotho have forged an enduring friendship based on shared values and mutual respect. My government remains committed to working with the people of your country to strengthen democratic institutions, promote sustainable development, help civil society to flourish, and intensify the fight against HIV/AIDS.

We call on all parties to remain focused on creating opportunities for the people of Lesotho and building trust in transparent and accountable government institutions. Together we hope to achieve our mutual goal of a stable, healthy, and prosperous future for all Basotho.

On this special day, I congratulate the people of Lesotho for their progress and wish you peace and prosperity in the coming year.

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement on Guinea’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
October 2, 2015

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Guinea as you commemorate 57 years of independence on October 2.

The United State values the partnership with Guinea. We recognize the progress Guinea has made, especially in the fight against Ebola, and see the upcoming national elections as an opportunity to further strengthen Guinea’s commitment to an inclusive and peaceful democracy. We remain committed to working with the government and people of Guinea to support economic development, strengthen democratic institutions, and reinforce our joint effort to counter the spread of the Ebola virus disease in West Africa.

On this joyous holiday, I send best wishes for a peaceful and prosperous future.

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement on Nigeria’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
October 1, 2015

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the citizens of Nigeria as you celebrate your Independence Day on October 1.

Nigerians can observe this national day with gratitude and pride knowing that it follows a largely peaceful general election in March—a significant moment for your country. I was privileged to travel to Nigeria in the lead up to that historic balloting. During my visit, I reaffirmed the importance of the U.S.-Nigeria strategic partnership and the need to uphold peace and democratic principles as the nation headed to the polls. I was pleased to see the high-level of participation in the democratic process, which resulted in a successful transfer of power. I was also honored to attend the presidential inauguration on May 29.

Even with the elections behind you and a new government in place, much hard work still lies ahead. When President Obama met President Buhari, in July, the United States pledged to support Nigeria firmly as it strives to curb corruption, bolster the economy, consolidate democratic governance, and address regional issues, including the weakening and defeat of Boko Haram.

The partnership between our countries is strong because of our people, because of our collaboration in so many areas, and because of our commitment to uphold and advance shared values. The United States looks forward to deepening its friendship with you in months and years to come.

I extend my very best wishes to you on this, the 55th anniversary of your nation’s independence.

Under Sec. Sewall Speaks at High-Level Meeting on Central African Republic

Remarks
Sarah Sewall
Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights
New York City
October 1, 2015

We gather at an extremely tense moment for the Central African Republic. Over the last few days, we have witnessed the alarming outbreak of violence in Bangui. At least 36 people have reportedly been killed and a hundred injured.

According to UNICEF, children have been “deliberately targeted” by this violence. In addition, armed men have set up make-shift barricades across the capital; peacekeepers from the UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) have come under attack; and more than 500 inmates escaped from the Ngaragba prison, including many members of the Anti-Balaka and Seleka militias.

Taking advantage of the turmoil, armed thugs have looted businesses and the offices of several international organizations, and even ransacked the humanitarian stockpiles intended for the 2.7 million people in the Central African Republic in need of humanitarian aid. As a result of the recent spike in violence, more than 27,000 Central Africans have fled their homes, joining the hundreds of thousands already displaced.

The brutality of the reported attacks – the throat of 16-year-old boy slit; a 17-year-old shot and burned; armed men going room to room in hospitals searching out victims on the basis of their religion or ethnicity – seems deliberately aimed at stoking more violence and fear. And the timing – starting right after President Samba-Panza, senior officials from the transitional government, and MINUSCA leaders flew to New York for the UN General Assembly – has led many to ask whether the perpetrators intentionally stoked the violence to maximize instability while key actors in the country’s political transition were abroad.

Yet it would be a mistake for us to blame this surge in violence on a single barbaric act – no matter how deplorable it was. Instead, what recent events reveal is just how fragile the situation in the Central African Republic continues to be, how tattered the nation’s social fabric is after years of widespread strife, and the enduring specter of mass violence that threatens this fragile nation. So the question for the international community is: How can we build a more resilient and inclusive peace in these circumstances? Let me recommend four steps.

First, we – and by “we” I mean all of the countries here today, as well as others that are committed to the future of the Central African Republic – must redouble our support for the transitional government led by President Samba-Panza, which has made a determined effort to foster stability, reconciliation, and accountability in the face of daunting challenges. Our support is especially crucial in the next two months, when both legislative and presidential elections are scheduled to take place.

In that spirit, I have a simple message from the United States to President Samba-Panza and all Central Africans: You have America’s full and unwavering support as you work towards building peace, unity, and a democratic transition of power. That is why today the United States is announcing an additional $15.5 million to support your ongoing transition, including elections, which comes atop $40 million we have already dedicated to strengthening your nation’s rule of law, and nearly $268 million we have provided in life-saving humanitarian assistance.

Second, the international community must maintain a robust security presence in the Central African Republic. Deadly as this spasm of violence has been, it would have been much worse were it not for the presence of peacekeepers from MINUSCA and French forces deployed under Operation Sangaris.

At the same time, the difficulty these international forces and their national counterparts have experienced over recent days in containing the violence and restoring order in the capital should force a candid assessment of what must be done to prevent this from happening again. We welcome the decision of France to maintain their force now deployed.

Third, we must continue to support long-term efforts to promote accountability and the rule of law in the Central African Republic. That means continuing to support the development of justice institutions eroded over decades of impunity and graft. In June, the National Transitional Council established a Special Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. This body has already played a critically important role by granting Central African refugees the right to participate in the upcoming elections, increasing their legitimacy for all Central Africans, particularly Muslims, who have been displaced in disproportionate numbers. Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court continues its own investigation into the horrific crimes committed in the country during the conflict. Finally, we have imposed tough sanctions on the individuals who fed ethnic and religious violence – sanctions we all must be prepared to expand and apply to other individuals.

Fourth, regional actors must take steps to prevent former regime officials living outside the Central African Republic from stoking violence for their own cynical political gains. We all know who these individuals are – they are people who have consistently have put their own interests ahead of the welfare of their fellow citizens. Unchecked, you can be sure they will do everything they can do to undermine the transition.

As we catalogue the enduring sources of tension and instability in the Central African Republic, it can at times feel challenging to maintain a sense of optimism about the country’s future. But let me close by citing a number that should give us faith in the people of the country. Seventy percent. That is the number of Central Africans who, according to recent reports, have already registered to vote in the upcoming elections. It amounts to nearly 1.6 million Central Africans, an overwhelming majority, who are ready to exercise their right to vote. And that number will grow as refugees living outside of the country register to take part in the upcoming elections. This number speaks to a basic aspiration on the part of Central Africans to choose their leaders and their country’s future – a right they have not been able to exercise for some time, or arguably ever. And that persistent aspiration – even in the face of violence and enduing divisions – is a fundamental building block of any democracy. If Central Africans can hold firm to that aspiration, so can we. And we must do everything we can to give that aspiration a chance to prosper.

Thank you.

Sec. Kerry Speaks at High-Level Ministerial on Libya

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry participates in the High-Level Ministerial on Libya at the United Nations in New York City on October 2, 2015. [State Department photo]

Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
United Nations Headquarters
New York City
October 2, 2015

SECRETARY KERRY: Mr. Secretary-General and distinguished ministers and friends, Libyan political leaders, Bernardino Leon, thank you for your terrific efforts and those of everybody who’s been negotiating away. This is a very important meeting. This is a very important moment. And we’re here because we have a shared interest in peace for Libya and in security for the broader region.

And I’m sitting next to my friend from Egypt, Sameh Shoukry. We’ve talked many times in the last months about the impact of what is happening in Libya on the region, on its neighbors. And we’re living in a world with too much conflict, too many places where states are either failing or are failed, and the world is wondering whether or not multilateral institutions or any of us in positions of leadership have an ability to be able to make a difference.

Here there is an opportunity to make a difference immediately and have an impact. For years, we have worked with the Libyan people to foster the establishment of a society with effective and accountable political, economic, and security institutions. But institutions cannot meet the needs of their citizens in the absence of fundamentals: safety, security, the rule of law. And there can absolutely be no security without unity.

And that is why I’m encouraged to see so many of Libya’s neighbors, friends, and partners in this room. We come together to endorse the progress that Libya’s leaders have made in negotiating a political framework for a new Government of National Accord. And that accord not only can but it may be the only way to provide a way forward for Libya, and I hope everyone will join in and contribute our best to this effort.

Libya’s a small country – six and half million people or so – with enormous resources at its disposal. It should be possible with those level of resources and that size of a country for every person to have a piece of the pie. But if individual militias or individual leaders keep fighting for something other than Libya’s interests, it will only help ISIL, and that is exactly what we are seeing happen. So it’s critical for people to come together and shut down the possibility of extremists filling a vacuum. And there’s been a vacuum for too long.

As we all know, this process has been filled with difficulties and setbacks. And the simple reality is that we are here at a moment when we cannot afford any more delays. It’s imperative that all parties work to approve the final framework and fill the leadership positions for that government as soon as possible. And negotiation of the text is complete. The document is well balanced. It addresses the most basic aspirations of the Libyan people.

So I urge all Libyan leaders, especially those gathered here, to take one more courageous step for the people who suffer the most, the people on the ground in Libya, and come together and agree that those who will head this new government – a government that must be representative, stable, inclusive – will take hold and start to define the future of this country.

Let me reiterate – and I think everybody understands this: There is no time to waste. We all know the threats that further hesitation will bring. Libya has already suffered economically, socially, and politically, and its people have been hurt terribly. They deserve better, and the path is open for them to now achieve better. But each party has to live up to the responsibility of this critical moment, and that means reaching agreement on the names of new leaders not tomorrow, not next week, but now – even while Libyan delegates are here in New York. This can happen. And we hope that the process can be completed within a very small number of days.

Our special envoy, Jonathan Winer, has been working at this every step of the way with Bernardino, with others, and I think this could be a victory for multilateral effort if we all seize this particular moment.

Ultimately, it’s Libya and Libyans who will determine their own future. We know that. But the international community does have an ability to help. And Libyan leaders I hope will understand – and I’ll repeat it here: If they make the right decisions, if they come together, if they forge a true government of national unity, and if they begin to govern as their people need them to govern, we, the international community, will be behind them and beside them each and every step of the way. They can count on that.

So my colleagues, the question that Libyans face as nation in the coming months really couldn’t be any more important. Now, I just asked, what do a doctor in Benghazi, and a mother with young children in Zintan, and an engineering student in Misrata, and a grandfather from Sebha have all in common? What kind of constitution is going to help each of them live in peace and provide prosperity for their families? What are the rights and responsibilities that define Libyans as citizens and the future that they want to shape together?

These questions need answers that only Libyans can provide. And one thing is crystal clear: They do not need more internal violence, political bickering. They need to begin together to build a true nation – rebuild – and a stable nation, and a united and an optimistic nation, and a nation that can make all Libyans and will make all Libyans proud.

And to that very, very worthy end, the United States and all of us involved in diplomacy will continue to do everything that we can to help.

Thank you.

U.S. Issues Statement on AU Commission’s Report on South Sudan


Release of the Report of the AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan

Press Statement
John Kirby
Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 30, 2015

The United States welcomes the decision by the Peace and Security Council of the African Union to release the report of the Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan. This is a long-awaited and necessary step in addressing the call of the South Sudanese people for justice and reconciliation. The terrible human suffering exacted during South Sudan’s conflict – from ethnically motivated murders, to reprisal killings, to widespread sexual violence – demands nothing less than a full and impartial accounting.

The United States appreciates the Peace and Security Council’s mandate for the African Union Commission to establish the Hybrid Court for South Sudan as provided for by the August peace agreement. The establishment of an independent, credible institution will be vital to ending the cycle of impunity that has perpetuated conflict in South Sudan and critical to the full implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. The numerous and disturbing reports of abuses and violations by both parties to the conflict underline the need for a credible court to try those most responsible for atrocities.

We urge the Commission to work closely with the United Nations, international partners, and the people of South Sudan to determine the mandate, structure, and location of the new court. The United States has committed $5 million to promote justice and accountability in South Sudan and calls on other partners to join us in offering financial and technical support. We stand ready to support a credible, impartial, and effective court that provides the South Sudanese people the justice they deserve.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Five African Countries Included in Declaration on Peacekeeping Operations


Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2015

Declaration of Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping

The Governments of Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, Fiji, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Republic of Korea, Romania, Rwanda, Turkey, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, Ukraine, United States, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Vietnam jointly declare their support for the following:

As the United Nations marks its seventieth anniversary, we recognize that, for sixty-seven years, its Member States have called and depended upon United Nations peacekeeping operations to help maintain international peace and security around the world. Since 1948, UN peacekeeping has evolved through tragedy and triumph to meet new security threats and challenges as the world itself, and environments in which peacekeepers are deployed, has changed dramatically. We salute the sacrifices of the brave peacekeepers, who deploy to volatile and dangerous locations throughout the world to serve humanity and the cause of peace. Today, we celebrate the essential role that UN peacekeeping plays in bringing security, hope and peace to millions of people, redouble our efforts to ensure that peacekeeping operations succeed in meeting this challenge and underscore our commitment to the highest standards of professionalism and conduct.

We believe that the effectiveness of UN peacekeeping operations is the responsibility of all Member States and relies particularly on partnerships among the Security Council, Troop and Police Contributing Countries, financial contributors, host countries, the UN Secretariat and regional organizations. We, therefore, welcome the convening of the regional meetings on peacekeeping held in Ethiopia, Indonesia, Rwanda, the Netherlands and Uruguay, with the aim of strengthening cooperation among relevant actors, as well as contributing to improving the UN peacekeeping architecture overall. We underscore the need to enhance consultations between the members of the Security Council and relevant Member States contributing personnel to UN peacekeeping operations to seek a shared understanding of the mandates and a common commitment to their implementation.

Today, we recommit ourselves to modernizing UN peacekeeping operations to ensure their success. We are committed to doing our part to further strengthen peacekeeping, underscored by the additional significant commitments to UN peacekeeping announced today, which will help meet persistent capacity gaps, improve the performance and capabilities of uniformed personnel, support rapid deployment and reinforce and enhance the foundation for future peacekeeping efforts. To achieve this goal, we also call on Member States to join us in making additional commitments to UN peacekeeping.

These contributions must be accompanied by reforms in how UN peacekeeping is organized and supported. We welcome the efforts to advance the cause of reform through the report of the Secretary-General, entitled “The Future of Peace Operations: Implementation of the Recommendations of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations,” and the report of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (hereinafter, “the Panel”) and look forward to discussing the Secretary-General’s recommendations, where applicable, in an appropriate intergovernmental forum. We underscore the need for a truly integrated mission planning and assessment process that fuses operations and logistics with political goals; strengthened evaluation of operational readiness and performance; improved human resources management and procurement practices that enable missions to deploy more quickly, effectively and flexibly; intelligence capabilities, which identify threats to UN personnel and facilitate the effective implementation of mandates; capable and accountable leadership in peacekeeping operations and merit-based leadership selection, with due consideration for geographical representation; and a more effective peace and security bureaucracy at the UN Headquarters. We stress the need to increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives in UN peacekeeping.

We affirm that proper conduct by, and discipline over, all personnel deployed in UN peacekeeping operations are vital to their effectiveness. In particular, sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers, including all civilian staff deployed to UN peacekeeping operations, against anyone is unacceptable. We reaffirm our support for the UN “zero tolerance” policy on all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse. We call on the Secretary-General to continue to strengthen the Organization’s prevention, enforcement and remediation efforts. We are committed to taking serious and concerted action to combat sexual exploitation and abuse, including rigorous vetting and training of uniformed personnel to be deployed to UN peacekeeping operations, as well as swift and thorough investigations, appropriate accountability measures and timely reporting to the United Nations on all incidents.

We underline that the protection of civilians is a solemn responsibility we all share. Failure to protect civilians not only risks lives, but also undermines the credibility and legitimacy of UN peacekeeping. We are committed to ensuring that our uniformed personnel deployed in peacekeeping operations are properly trained on UN policies and guidance on the protection of civilians, including on the use of force consistent with the operation’s mandate and rules of engagement. We underline our commitment to investigate and, as appropriate, discipline uniformed personnel if they fail to fulfill their mandate to protect civilians. In this regard, we take note of the initiative by Member States to develop, as relevant, the best practices set out in the Kigali Principles.

We express our firm commitment to the safety and security of UN peacekeepers. We note with concern the evolving threats they face working in dangerous environments. We underscore the critical importance of strengthening casualty response. We call on all Member States and the UN to prioritize the generation of capabilities in these areas, to work to ensure the availability and appropriate control over aviation assets to improve medical evacuation and to strengthen UN standards of emergency care. We underscore the importance of respect for the freedom of movement of UN peacekeepers. We call on host countries to cooperate fully with, and provide unhindered access to, UN peacekeepers to enable them to carry out their duties, in accordance with their mandates.

We acknowledge the critical role played by subregional and regional organizations in confronting some of the world’s most difficult stabilization challenges, and underscore our commitment to supporting deeper partnerships and cooperation between the UN and such regional organizations to address threats to international peace and security. We underscore that UN peacekeeping operations are a means to support sustainable political solutions to armed conflicts and to contribute to the conditions for durable peace. We highlight that UN peacekeeping operations are most effective when they support an end to violent conflicts, shore up the confidence of all parties to pursue the peaceful resolution of disputes and aid in advancing the cause of peace. We affirm the primary importance of efforts to mitigate and prevent conflict, including through the use of UN mediation, good offices and special political missions.

###

U.S. Issues Statement on Central African Republic


Press Statement
John Kirby
Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 28, 2015

The United States condemns in the strongest terms the continuing violence in Bangui, Central African Republic, that started on Friday, September 25. We offer our condolences to the families of those killed.

We call upon those who engaged in violence, or are considering further violence, to lay down their weapons and return home. Those guilty of committing or inciting violence, including leaders of anti-Balaka militias and ex-Seleka groups, must be held accountable for their actions. We fully support the efforts of the Central African and international forces to reestablish order and bring these perpetrators to justice. The era during which such individuals have been able to carry out their malevolent actions with impunity must come to an end.

We express our full support for President Catherine Samba-Panza and her transitional government. We further support the ongoing transition process, including efforts to ensure that all eligible Central Africans have the right to vote in upcoming elections, and pledge continued U.S. assistance in support of the ongoing transition.

The United States remains committed to helping the Central African Republic establish the peace and stability its citizens deserve. It is only with peace and stability that job creation, economic development, and prosperity will ultimately be possible for current and future generations of Central Africans.

U.S. Issues Statement on Burkina Faso

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2015

Statement by the National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice on Recent Events in Burkina Faso

The United States congratulates the people of Burkina Faso for their success in defending Burkinabe democracy and reinstating the transitional government earlier this week. Burkinabe citizens again refused to accept infringement of their right to choose leaders in a legitimate process, just as they did a year ago when the previous president attempted to extend his stay in office illegitimately. The success of the people of Burkina Faso in peacefully resisting the actions of a few who sought to undermine democracy is a reminder that ordinary citizens with the courage to speak out against injustices are the ultimate protectors of democratic governance.

We wish to express our appreciation to the international partners who condemned the events in Burkina Faso and took immediate action to help prevent the country’s democratic transition from being derailed, especially the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union, and the United Nations. ECOWAS leaders, in particular, helped bring the parties together, pushed for the release of those being detained, and gathered to express their support for reinstating the transitional government. These developments highlight the importance of regional leadership in upholding democratic standards and defending the rights of citizens to choose their governments.

Burkina Faso now faces some of the hardest questions, and the United States will continue to stand with the people of Burkina Faso as they prepare for democratic elections. We call on all parties to embrace peaceful dialogue and seek inclusive solutions that uphold the principles of democratic governance that the people of Burkina Faso have repeatedly stood up to protect.

###