Friday, March 31, 2017
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
March 28, 2017
Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of President Al Sisi of Egypt
President Donald J. Trump looks forward to welcoming President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt for an official visit to Washington on April 3. President Trump and President Al Sisi will use the visit to build on the positive momentum they have built for the United States-Egypt relationship. They will discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues, including how to defeat ISIS and pursue peace and stability in the region.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
March 23, 2017
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CONTINUATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH RESPECT TO SOUTH SUDAN
On April 3, 2014, by Executive Order 13664, the President declared a national emergency pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706), to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States constituted by the situation in and in relation to South Sudan, which has been marked by activities that threaten the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan and the surrounding region, including widespread violence and atrocities, human rights abuses, recruitment and use of child soldiers, attacks on peacekeepers and humanitarian workers, and obstruction of humanitarian operations.
The situation in and in relation to South Sudan continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. For this reason, the national emergency declared on April 3, 2014, to deal with that threat must continue in effect beyond April 3, 2017. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13664.
This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.
DONALD J. TRUMP
THE WHITE HOUSE,
March 22, 2017.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
February 17, 2017
READOUT OF THE PRESIDENT’S CALL WITH PRESIDENT BEJI CAID ESSEBSI OF TUNISIA
President Donald J. Trump spoke today with President Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia to discuss Tunisia’s democratic transition and our counterterrorism partnership. President Trump praised Tunisia’s stability and security as it continues its democratic transition more than six years after the revolution in January 2011. The two leaders also discussed the terrorist threats that Tunisia is facing and the importance of counterterrorism cooperation. The leaders reaffirmed the historic United States-Tunisia relationship and agreed to maintain close cooperation, including on security matters, and seek additional ways to expand cooperation between the two countries.
Mark C. Toner
Department of State
February 3, 2017
The United States reiterates its sincerest condolences to the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo following the recent passing of former Prime Minister Etienne Tshisekedi.
While this is a difficult period and a time of mourning in the DRC, it is also a moment for unity. We urge the Congolese people to come together and honor Tshisekedi’s memory by continuing to pursue his ideals of a peaceful and democratic Congo.
To that end, we call on all parties to the December 31, 2016 agreement and their supporters to work even more diligently towards its timely implementation and toward the country’s first democratic transfer of power. These achievements would be both a solid foundation for the DRC’s future and a lasting tribute to Etienne Tshisekedi’s legacy.
Photo & Story: The Carter Center
Monday, March 27, 2017
OFID awards Carter Center $800,000 grant for Blinding Trachoma Elimination in Mali, Niger
ATLANTA — The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) has awarded The Carter Center a grant of US$800,000 to help support an initiative to eliminate blinding trachoma in Mali and Niger.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter; Ambassador (ret.) Mary Ann Peters, the Center’s CEO; and Dr. Walid Mehalaine, head of OFID’s Grants and Technical Assistance Unit, gathered Friday, March 24, for a signing ceremony at The Carter Center in Atlanta. Dr. Mehalaine represented Mr. Suleiman Al-Herbish, Director-General of OFID.
“This support is deeply appreciated and will improve health for many people as we strive for the elimination of blinding trachoma as a public health problem in Mali and Niger,” said President Carter, founder of The Carter Center, which has been a leader in the fight against trachoma for two decades.
Including this grant, OFID has given The Carter Center $3 million since 1997 to support multiple public health programs.
“I commend the Carter Center for its leading role in the battle against neglected tropical diseases such as blinding trachoma and Guinea worm,” Al-Herbish stated. “Eliminating and treating preventable diseases is particularly important in the fight against poverty. Since 1997, cooperation between our organizations has been very beneficial. OFID values this partnership and looks forward to deepening it in these and other areas of mutual interest.”
Trachoma, caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, is the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness. Evidence of it can be traced to as early as 8,000 B.C. It affects millions of people in communities that lack access to clean water and sanitation.
The Carter Center’s Trachoma Control Program has worked with the Mali and Niger National Trachoma Programs to implement the full World Health Organization SAFE strategy since 1999. SAFE is an acronym for Surgery, Antibiotics, Facial cleanliness, and Environmental improvement.
To date in Mali and Niger, The Carter Center has facilitated 94,919 surgeries, distributed more than 4 million doses of antibiotics through surgical activities and mass drug administration, provided more than 4,000 villages with health education (including the importance of facial cleanliness to ward off flies), supported the construction of 219,947 latrines, and trained and equipped 10,084 masons in Mali and Niger.
The three-year project supported by the OFID grant will enable the program to do even more to eliminate blinding trachoma in those countries by 2020, including the provision of free corrective surgeries to around 36,000 individuals, distribution of antibiotic eye ointment, promotion of hygiene campaigns, and the construction of latrines to limit fly populations. Also planned are support to national programs, health education training for an estimated 9,500 health workers, community leaders, women’s groups and school personnel, and research in support of the global trachoma program. The elimination of blinding trachoma is in line with OFID’s mission to eradicate all forms of poverty in partner countries, particularly the least developed countries, and its support to the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals agenda (SDG3).
“It’s gratifying to have generous partners like OFID join us in the effort to eliminate blinding trachoma in West Africa and elsewhere,” Peters said. “Strong, dependable partners allow us to keep advancing against this horrifying disease among impoverished populations.”
A recently announced $5.1 million Conrad N. Hilton Foundation challenge grant to The Carter Center will match the OFID grant dollar-for-dollar, effectively doubling the impact of the gift.
More about trachoma
Infections often begin in early childhood. Multiple infections can eventually cause inflammation and scarring of the inner eyelid, which leads to trachomatous trichiasis, the painful, blinding stage of trachoma in which the eyelashes turn inward and scratch the surface of the eyeball. A simple outpatient surgical procedure can relieve pain and, if done early enough, reverse the condition.
“Women and children are disproportionately affected by trachoma because of their frequent close contact,” said Kelly Callahan, director of the Carter Center’s Trachoma Control Program. “Infected secretions from the child’s nose and eyes get on the mother’s hands and clothing; when she happens to touch her own eye, the mother becomes infected.”
Trachoma can be found in over 50 countries, most in Africa and the Middle East, and a few countries in the Americas and Asia. Globally, 200 million people are at risk for trachoma, and over 3.2 million are at immediate risk for blindness from trichiasis. Although trachoma is easily preventable, more than 2 million of the world’s poorest people are blind today because they did not have access to eyelid surgery or prevention strategies. The disease is responsible for an estimated annual productivity loss of up to $8 billion.
About The Carter Center
The Atlanta-based Carter Center is a pioneer in disease eradication and elimination. For more than three decades, the Center has led efforts to end suffering related to neglected tropical diseases, including Guinea worm, river blindness, and trachoma. As part of that work, The Carter Center has delivered more than 500 million doses of medication.
About the OPEC Fund for International Development
The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) is the development finance institution established by the Member States of OPEC in 1976 as a channel of aid to developing countries. OFID works in cooperation with developing country partners and the international donor community to stimulate economic growth and alleviate poverty in all disadvantaged regions of the world. It does this by providing financing to build essential infrastructure, strengthen social services delivery, and promote productivity, competitiveness and trade. OFID’s work is people-centered, focusing on projects that meet basic needs — such as food, energy, clean water and sanitation, health care and education — with the aim of encouraging self-reliance and inspiring hope for the future.
Thursday, March 30, 2017
FILE – Former political prisoner Ahmed Kathrada, center, and wife of former president Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel, left, at the South African premier of the film “Mandela – Long Walk To Freedom,” in Johannesburg, Nov. 3, 2013. Actor Idris Elba, who stars as Mandela, is at right.
Johannesburg, South Africa
March 28, 2017
South African anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada, who spent many years imprisoned alongside Nelson Mandela, has died at the age of 87.
Kathrada’s foundation announced Tuesday he died at a Johannesburg hospital after a short illness following brain surgery.
His activism against white-minority rule in South Africa led to his 1964 conviction in a trial that sent Kathrada to prison along with a group of African National Congress figures that included Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Govan Mbeki.
Kathrada spent more than 26 years behind bars, including 18 years at the notorious Robben Island prison. In 2013, he led then-U.S. President Barack Obama on a tour of the site.
Kathrada had also been a vocal critic of South African President Jacob Zuma, including writing an open letter last year calling on Zuma to resign.
“This is a great loss to the ANC, the broader liberation movement and South Africa as a whole,” said Neeshan Balton, executive director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.
Protecting Slave Related Sites and Antiquities
02/23/2017 03:57 PM EST
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC, United States
February 23, 2017
On February 27, cultural heritage professionals from Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Jamaica, Mozambique, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and South Africa will gather in Charleston, South Carolina for a Department of State sponsored workshop on the protection of sites and antiquities associated with the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Organized by the U.S. National Park Service, the workshop will focus on legal, national, community, and other strategies to protect this heritage from damage and loss due to vandalism, theft, and other threats.
The workshop is the first of two organized to support cultural heritage professionals from partner countries in their efforts to apply cultural preservation policies and best practices at slave trade sites, improve protection of sites associated with the slave trade, foster community engagement as a means of site protection, and support terrestrial and submerged resource survey and stewardship. This workshop supports the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024).
A second workshop focusing on historic and archaeological site management will take place in April 2017.
Mark C. Toner
Department of State
February 21, 2017
The United States is gravely concerned by the February 20 declaration of famine in parts of South Sudan and by the significant scale of humanitarian need throughout the country. This crisis is man-made, the direct consequence of a conflict prolonged by South Sudanese leaders who are unwilling to put aside political ambitions for the good of their people. We call on President Kiir to expeditiously make good on his promise that humanitarian and developmental organizations will have unimpeded access to populations in need across the country.
An estimated 5.5 million people—nearly half of South Sudan’s population—will face life-threatening hunger this year. Humanitarian actors are working tirelessly to reach those in need. All parties to the conflict must stop impeding relief efforts and allow food and other essential assistance to reach those who need it the most.
The United States remains the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance to South Sudan, having provided more than $2.1 billion since 2014. Our assistance, including more than 600,000 metric tons of urgently needed food assistance, has saved lives and helped avert famine for three consecutive years. We call on donors and other members of the international community to provide timely additional humanitarian assistance to save lives and support the people of South Sudan.
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2017
President Donald J. Trump spoke today with President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya to reaffirm the strong bilateral relationship between our two countries. The two leaders discussed our economic partnership and mutual dedication to overcoming terrorism and other regional security challenges through close cooperation. President Trump expressed appreciation for Kenya’s significant contributions to the African Union Mission in Somalia and recognized Kenyan troops’ sacrifices in the fight against al-Shabaab. The two leaders also discussed ways to boost bilateral trade and investment in Kenya and the broader East Africa region.
March 9, 2017
Source: Bloomberg News
By Angela Rascouet and Paul Burkhardt
Exxon Mobil Corp. said it will buy 25 percent of a project off Mozambique from Italy’s Eni SpA for about $2.8 billion as the U.S. oil giant expands in natural gas.
The acquisition of the offshore Area 4 stake comes after former Exxon Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson — now U.S. Secretary of State — discussed plans to buy into Eni’s assets with Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi in July.
“This strategic investment will enable Exxon Mobil’s LNG leadership and experience to support development of Mozambique’s abundant natural gas resources,” Tillerson’s successor as CEO, Darren W. Woods, said in a statement on Thursday.
Exxon’s involvement could accelerate the development of one of the world’s largest liquefied natural gas projects as oil majors increasingly focus on cleaner hydrocarbons. While Eni will continue to operate the Coral floating LNG project and all upstream operations in Area 4, Exxon will lead the construction and operation of gas liquefaction facilities onshore.
“Having Exxon as a partner is certainly positive given their experience in such complex projects,” said Alessandro Pozzi, an analyst at Mediobanca SpA who had expected the stake to only fetch $2 billion.
Exxon will buy half of Eni’s 50 percent indirect stake in the block, held through a 71 percent stake in Eni East Africa, which owns 70 percent of Area 4. The concession, where Eni discovered gas in 2011, includes both the Coral and Mamba gas fields, with reserves estimated at 85 trillion cubic feet.
Exxon’s buy-in at a higher-than-expected price should “ease investor concerns” on the project, said Biraj Borkhataria, an analyst at RBC Europe Ltd.
Mozambique’s state oil company, Korea Gas Corp. and Galp Energia SGPS SA each hold 10 percent of Area 4, while the remainder is owned by China National Petroleum Corp. through its 28.6 percent stake in Eni East Africa.
Exxon’s purchase will require clearance from the authorities in Mozambique.
The neighboring offshore Area 1, operated by Anadarko Petroleum Corp., contains more than 75 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
The stake sale means Eni is making good on its March 1 promise to deliver 5 billion to 7 billion euros ($5.3 billion to $7.4 billion) of asset disposals by 2020. That target doesn’t include the stake sales to BP Plc and Rosneft Oil Co PJSC in its giant Zohr gas project off Egypt, which brought in $2.1 billion last year, according to Mediobanca.
BP Plc said in October it would buy all LNG production from Eni’s Coral South Floating LNG plant, a deal worth about $1 billion a year at current prices. A final investment decision on that project has yet to be made amid concerns it might be impacted by Mozambique’s failure to make an interest payment on a Eurobond in January, becoming the first African nation to default in six years.
As the world moves toward cleaner ways of producing and consuming energy, many major oil companies are increasing their focus on natural gas, which is considered a crucial bridge fuel in the transition to a low-carbon future. Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s $54 billion takeover of BG Group Plc last year was a significant pivot toward gas, giving the company massive LNG projects in Australia.
Thursday’s deal signals further M&A appetite from Exxon, which in January decided to double its footprint in the Permian shale-oil basin in a transaction worth $6.6 billion.
February 1, 2017
African leaders have adopted a strategy calling for a collective withdrawal from the international criminal court. The non-binding decision came behind closed doors near the end of an African Union summit. Decision reached at African Union summit follows announcements by South Africa, Burundi and the Gambia that they plan to leave the court.
It was the latest expression of impatience by African leaders with the court, which some say has focused too narrowly on Africa while pursuing cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Late last year, South Africa, Burundi and the Gambia all announced plans to leave the court, leading to concerns that other states would follow.
Desire Assogbavi, head of Oxfam International’s liaison office to the summit, confirmed the adoption of the strategy. A source close to the continental body’s legal council also confirmed it, saying countries had been divided on whether to call for leaving the court individually or together.
The source said the majority of countries also wanted the meaning of immunity and impunity amended in the Rome Statute, the treaty that set up the court in 2002. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
Some African countries have been especially critical of the ICC for pursuing heads of state. Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir has been wanted by the court since 2009 for allegedly orchestrating atrocities in Darfur. The ICC also caused an uproar among some African nations by indicting Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta on charges of crimes against humanity for 2007 post-election violence in which more than 1,000 died. The case collapsed because of what the ICC prosecutor called lack of cooperation by Kenya’s government.
Elise Keppler with Human Rights Watch’s international justice programme said the ICC withdrawal strategy has no timeline and “few concrete recommendations for action”. She pointed out that several African countries, including Nigeria, Senegal and the Republic of Congo, have spoken up in support of the ICC in recent months.
A draft of the strategy, obtained by the Associated Press, recommends that African countries strengthen their own judicial mechanisms and expand the jurisdiction of the African court of justice and human rights “in order to reduce the deference to the ICC”.
Chadian diplomat elected as the new AU Commission chairperson after seven rounds of voting in Addis Adaba.
By Hamza Mohamed
January 30, 2017
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Chad’s Moussa Faki Mahamat has been elected as the new chairperson of the African Union Commission, in a vote held at the bloc’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Monday.
After seven rounds of voting, the Chadian foreign affairs minister defeated favourites Amina Mohamed of Kenya and Senegal’s Abdoulaye Bathily.
The 56-year-old and father-of-five succeeds South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the first woman to lead the bloc of 54 states, who did not seek a second term in office after completing a four-year term.
Kenya was the first to congratulate the newly-elected AU chief.
“Kenya congratulates him on a race well won. We pledge to work with him to defend the pan-African agenda of integration for Africa, as well as democracy, sovereignty and prosperity for all of its people,” a statement by Kenya’s State House spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said.
Faki is not new to the workings of the AU, having previously served as the body’s chair of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council.
Heads of state from the 54-member countries cast their vote in a private ballot.
A candidate needs to secure at least a two-thirds majority, 36 votes, to be declared winner.
The AU was supposed to pick a new leader in July last year but the election was postponed following three rounds of voting after candidates failed to garner the required number of votes.
More than 50 percent of the member states abstained from the second round of voting last year.
Meanwhile, the AU is expected to vote on Tuesday whether Morocco, the only country in Africa that is not part of the organisation, will be re-admitted into the body.
Rabat withdrew from the union in 1984 to protest against the admission of disputed Western Sahara territories.
Source: Al Jazeera News
January 27, 2017
President Donald Trump on Friday banned nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for at least the next 90 days by executive order.
The order bars all people hailing from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Those countries were named in a 2016 law concerning immigration visas as “countries of concern.”
The executive order also bans entry of those fleeing from war-torn Syria indefinitely. Trump also has stopped the admission of all refugees to the United States for four months.
The order also calls for a review into suspending the Visa Interview Waiver Program, which allows travelers from 38 countries — including close allies — to renew travel authorizations without an in-person interview. The order sparked controversy at home and abroad and had several world leaders reacting to it, including the outgoing African Union Commission’s Chairwoman who issued the statement below.
“We are entering very turbulent times. The very country to which many of our people were taken as slaves during the Transatlantic slave trade has now decided to ban refugees from some of our countries. What do we do about this? Indeed, this is one of the greatest challenges to our unity and solidarity.”
H.E. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
Here is the order in its entirety:
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
January 27, 2017
PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATE
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, including the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq., and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, and to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Purpose. The visa-issuance process plays a crucial role in detecting individuals with terrorist ties and stopping them from entering the United States. Perhaps in no instance was that more apparent than the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when State Department policy prevented consular officers from properly scrutinizing the visa applications of several of the 19 foreign nationals who went on to murder nearly 3,000 Americans. And while the visa-issuance process was reviewed and amended after the September 11 attacks to better detect would-be terrorists from receiving visas, these measures did not stop attacks by foreign nationals who were admitted to the United States.
Numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001, including foreign nationals who entered the United States after receiving visitor, student, or employment visas, or who entered through the United States refugee resettlement program. Deteriorating conditions in certain countries due to war, strife, disaster, and civil unrest increase the likelihood that terrorists will use any means possible to enter the United States. The United States must be vigilant during the visa-issuance process to ensure that those approved for admission do not intend to harm Americans and that they have no ties to terrorism.
In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.
Sec. 2. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to protect its citizens from foreign nationals who intend to commit terrorist attacks in the United States; and to prevent the admission of foreign nationals who intend to exploit United States immigration laws for malevolent purposes.
Sec. 3. Suspension of Issuance of Visas and Other Immigration Benefits to Nationals of Countries of Particular Concern. (a) The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, shall immediately conduct a review to determine the information needed from any country to adjudicate any visa, admission, or other benefit under the INA (adjudications) in order to determine that the individual seeking the benefit is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public-safety threat.
(b) The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, shall submit to the President a report on the results of the review described in subsection (a) of this section, including the Secretary of Homeland Security’s determination of the information needed for adjudications and a list of countries that do not provide adequate information, within 30 days of the date of this order. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall provide a copy of the report to the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence.
(c) To temporarily reduce investigative burdens on relevant agencies during the review period described in subsection (a) of this section, to ensure the proper review and maximum utilization of available resources for the screening of foreign nationals, and to ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals, pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas).
(d) Immediately upon receipt of the report described in subsection (b) of this section regarding the information needed for adjudications, the Secretary of State shall request all foreign governments that do not supply such information to start providing such information regarding their nationals within 60 days of notification.
(e) After the 60-day period described in subsection (d) of this section expires, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall submit to the President a list of countries recommended for inclusion on a Presidential proclamation that would prohibit the entry of foreign nationals (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas) from countries that do not provide the information requested pursuant to subsection (d) of this section until compliance occurs.
(f) At any point after submitting the list described in subsection (e) of this section, the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security may submit to the President the names of any additional countries recommended for similar treatment.
(g) Notwithstanding a suspension pursuant to subsection (c) of this section or pursuant to a Presidential proclamation described in subsection (e) of this section, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.
(h) The Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall submit to the President a joint report on the progress in implementing this order within 30 days of the date of this order, a second report within 60 days of the date of this order, a third report within 90 days of the date of this order, and a fourth report within 120 days of the date of this order.
Sec. 4. Implementing Uniform Screening Standards for All Immigration Programs. (a) The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation shall implement a program, as part of the adjudication process for immigration benefits, to identify individuals seeking to enter the United States on a fraudulent basis with the intent to cause harm, or who are at risk of causing harm subsequent to their admission. This program will include the development of a uniform screening standard and procedure, such as in-person interviews; a database of identity documents proffered by applicants to ensure that duplicate documents are not used by multiple applicants; amended application forms that include questions aimed at identifying fraudulent answers and malicious intent; a mechanism to ensure that the applicant is who the applicant claims to be; a process to evaluate the applicant’s likelihood of becoming a positively contributing member of society and the applicant’s ability to make contributions to the national interest; and a mechanism to assess whether or not the applicant has the intent to commit criminal or terrorist acts after entering the United States.
(b) The Secretary of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the Secretary of State, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, shall submit to the President an initial report on the progress of this directive within 60 days of the date of this order, a second report within 100 days of the date of this order, and a third report within 200 days of the date of this order.
Sec. 5. Realignment of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for Fiscal Year 2017. (a) The Secretary of State shall suspend the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days. During the 120-day period, the Secretary of State, in conjunction with the Secretary of Homeland Security and in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, shall review the USRAP application and adjudication process to determine what additional procedures should be taken to ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States, and shall implement such additional procedures. Refugee applicants who are already in the USRAP process may be admitted upon the initiation and completion of these revised procedures. Upon the date that is 120 days after the date of this order, the Secretary of State shall resume USRAP admissions only for nationals of countries for which the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence have jointly determined that such additional procedures are adequate to ensure the security and welfare of the United States.
(b) Upon the resumption of USRAP admissions, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality. Where necessary and appropriate, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall recommend legislation to the President that would assist with such prioritization.
(c) Pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States and thus suspend any such entry until such time as I have determined that sufficient changes have been made to the USRAP to ensure that admission of Syrian refugees is consistent with the national interest.
(d) Pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the entry of more than 50,000 refugees in fiscal year 2017 would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and thus suspend any such entry until such time as I determine that additional admissions would be in the national interest.
(e) Notwithstanding the temporary suspension imposed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may jointly determine to admit individuals to the United States as refugees on a case-by-case basis, in their discretion, but only so long as they determine that the admission of such individuals as refugees is in the national interest — including when the person is a religious minority in his country of nationality facing religious persecution, when admitting the person would enable the United States to conform its conduct to a preexisting international agreement, or when the person is already in transit and denying admission would cause undue hardship — and it would not pose a risk to the security or welfare of the United States.
(f) The Secretary of State shall submit to the President an initial report on the progress of the directive in subsection (b) of this section regarding prioritization of claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution within 100 days of the date of this order and shall submit a second report within 200 days of the date of this order.
(g) It is the policy of the executive branch that, to the extent permitted by law and as practicable, State and local jurisdictions be granted a role in the process of determining the placement or settlement in their jurisdictions of aliens eligible to be admitted to the United States as refugees. To that end, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall examine existing law to determine the extent to which, consistent with applicable law, State and local jurisdictions may have greater involvement in the process of determining the placement or resettlement of refugees in their jurisdictions, and shall devise a proposal to lawfully promote such involvement.
Sec. 6. Rescission of Exercise of Authority Relating to the Terrorism Grounds of Inadmissibility. The Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall, in consultation with the Attorney General, consider rescinding the exercises of authority in section 212 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182, relating to the terrorism grounds of inadmissibility, as well as any related implementing memoranda.
Sec. 7. Expedited Completion of the Biometric Entry-Exit Tracking System. (a) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall expedite the completion and implementation of a biometric entry-exit tracking system for all travelers to the United States, as recommended by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.
(b) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit to the President periodic reports on the progress of the directive contained in subsection (a) of this section. The initial report shall be submitted within 100 days of the date of this order, a second report shall be submitted within 200 days of the date of this order, and a third report shall be submitted within 365 days of the date of this order. Further, the Secretary shall submit a report every 180 days thereafter until the system is fully deployed and operational.
Sec. 8. Visa Interview Security. (a) The Secretary of State shall immediately suspend the Visa Interview Waiver Program and ensure compliance with section 222 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1222, which requires that all individuals seeking a nonimmigrant visa undergo an in-person interview, subject to specific statutory exceptions.
(b) To the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, the Secretary of State shall immediately expand the Consular Fellows Program, including by substantially increasing the number of Fellows, lengthening or making permanent the period of service, and making language training at the Foreign Service Institute available to Fellows for assignment to posts outside of their area of core linguistic ability, to ensure that non-immigrant visa-interview wait times are not unduly affected.
Sec. 9. Visa Validity Reciprocity. The Secretary of State shall review all nonimmigrant visa reciprocity agreements to ensure that they are, with respect to each visa classification, truly reciprocal insofar as practicable with respect to validity period and fees, as required by sections 221(c) and 281 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1201(c) and 1351, and other treatment. If a country does not treat United States nationals seeking nonimmigrant visas in a reciprocal manner, the Secretary of State shall adjust the visa validity period, fee schedule, or other treatment to match the treatment of United States nationals by the foreign country, to the extent practicable.
Sec. 10. Transparency and Data Collection. (a) To be more transparent with the American people, and to more effectively implement policies and practices that serve the national interest, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, shall, consistent with applicable law and national security, collect and make publicly available within 180 days, and every 180 days thereafter:
(i) information regarding the number of foreign nationals in the United States who have been charged with terrorism-related offenses while in the United States; convicted of terrorism-related offenses while in the United States; or removed from the United States based on terrorism-related activity, affiliation, or material support to a terrorism-related organization, or any other national security reasons since the date of this order or the last reporting period, whichever is later;
(ii) information regarding the number of foreign nationals in the United States who have been radicalized after entry into the United States and engaged in terrorism-related acts, or who have provided material support to terrorism-related organizations in countries that pose a threat to the United States, since the date of this order or the last reporting period, whichever is later; and
(iii) information regarding the number and types of acts of gender-based violence against women, including honor killings, in the United States by foreign nationals, since the date of this order or the last reporting period, whichever is later; and
(iv) any other information relevant to public safety and security as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General, including information on the immigration status of foreign nationals charged with major offenses.
(b) The Secretary of State shall, within one year of the date of this order, provide a report on the estimated long-term costs of the USRAP at the Federal, State, and local levels.
Sec. 11. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
DONALD J. TRUMP
THE WHITE HOUSE
A KDF soldier attached to Amisom guards the Kismayu International Airport control tower. A US National Guard unit is conducting “overseas deployment training” with the Kenya Defence Forces in the latest in a series of US initiatives intended to bolster Kenya’s military resources.. PHOTO | FILE
By KEVIN J KELLEY
A US National Guard unit is conducting “overseas deployment training” with the Kenya Defence Forces in the latest in a series of US initiatives intended to bolster Kenya’s military resources.
The four-month set of exercises begun in December by the Massachusetts branch of the National Guard at Thika Barracks coincides with the recent announcement of a pending $418 million sale of US military aircraft to the KDF.
That transaction in turn follows a US donation last year of six helicopters valued at $106 million for the KDF’s use in operations against al-Shabaab in Somalia.
These moves point to a deepening US commitment to assisting Kenya’s efforts to enhance its security by diminishing the threat posed by al-Shabaab.
The sales, donations and training moves were all set in motion under the Obama administration.
President Donald Trump has yet to indicate how his administration will respond to the long-running war in Somalia and to Shabaab’s attacks inside Kenya
In the current Thika Barracks exercises, members of the KDF Engineer Brigade are being trained in “site development, vehicle preventive maintenance checks and services, site clearing, grading, road improvement, foundation work and debris removal,” according to the US Army’s Africa arm.
A US Army press release quotes a Massachusetts National Guard sergeant as expressing hope that his unit’s partnership with KDF will continue in the future.
Converted agricultural aircraft
A US State Department spokesperson meanwhile confirmed in an email message on Tuesday that the Kenyan government plans to cover the entire $418 million cost of up to 12 converted agricultural aircraft and two trainer planes along with associated weaponry.
Transfers of military hardware to developing countries are sometimes subsidized by the US government through its Foreign Military Sales program. But that is not happening in the case of the Air Tractor deal.
The US Congress must review the pending sale within 30 days in accordance with Foreign Military Sales stipulations, the State Department spokesperson noted.
“Once the Congressional review period has been completed, the United States and the partner nation meet to finalize the sale, and settle on the final price and delivery details,” the State Department source added.
“After that, the order is sent to [the US Defense Department], which works with the US company, which manufactures and delivers the requested item.”
Source: The Star
The Future of AGOA
By KAREN KANDIE
The African Growth and Opportunities Act allows eligible African countries to export a wide range of goods to the US duty free. The tenure of the trade agreement runs until 2025 when it will either be renewed or terminated. Speculative concerns the new Trump administration may affect the agreement negatively are largely unfounded. Excluding oil and gas products, AGOA accounts for only two per cent of the US total global trade, making it a low priority for the new administration.
Kenya ranks fifth among the 38 beneficiary countries of AGOA. Nigeria, South Africa, Angola, and Chad take the lead. Oil-related products dominate the exports for Nigeria, Angola and Chad, with more than 95 per cent of their exports in this category. Textiles are the bulk of the Kenya exports and accounted for more than 80 per cent of the total export to the US in 2015.
The sector provides more than 40,000 jobs, mainly low and unskilled labor in the EPZ. Although the program has been in place since 2000, the potential to stimulate the cotton industry has remained untapped, with close to 90 per cent of the inputs currently imported. It remains one of the available opportunities to revive the cotton sector, boost businesses by encouraging exports and creating employment.
While the benefits to African countries are obvious, there are minimum incentives for the new administration to backtrack on it. The agreement is the centerpiece of US trade policy for Africa and the most significant American initiative in the history of US-Africa relations. It is non-reciprocal and unilateral in the sense that countries do not directly concede market access to the US.
However, the agreement comes with stringent country eligibility requirements that are reviewed on an annual basis at the sole discretion of the US. The most critical condition is for a beneficiary to make progress towards the elimination of barriers to US trade and investment. Also in the raft of conditions is the promotion of a market-based economy that protects private property rights and minimizes government interference in the economy through such measures as price controls, subsidies, and government ownership of economic assets.
Then there are the human rights and governance conditions in the mix. This implies that countries have to contend with the prospects of having eligibility withdrawn or granted at the discretion of the US. Frankly speaking, a country can only second-guess whether or not it meets eligibility in the “eyes of the US”. Despite the potential that it presents to Africa, the conditions make it highly unpredictable at the least.
That said, the putting America first policy by the new administration increases the already existing unpredictability of AGOA. Like in other policy issues in the new administration, Kenya and other beneficiary countries are hopeful that AGOA will not only continue in the new administration but its effectiveness will be addressed.
Mark C. Toner
Deputy Department Spokesperson
Department of State
January 11, 2017
The United States is troubled by the decision by an Egyptian court after a judicial process to freeze the assets of additional human rights defenders, including Mozn Hassan of Nazra for Feminist Studies and Mohamed Zarea of the Arab Penal Reform Organization. These freezes follow similar actions against the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, and the Egyptian Center on the Rights to Education – and their leaders – in September.
These human rights organizations work to document violations and abuses, advance women’s rights and gender equality, and defend the freedoms enshrined in Egypt’s constitution. This decision comes against a wider backdrop of restrictions on Egyptian civil society activity and will produce neither stability nor security. We urge the Government of Egypt to lift these asset freezes, take all legally available measures to end the investigations into these human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and ease restrictions on association and expression so that these and other NGOs can operate freely.
A new era for US-Africa engagement dawned today with the searing-in of President Donald J. Trump in Washington, DC. The new administration has not yet named its key officials for Africa, but African leaders and Africanists eagerly await the new direction President Trump will forge in the next four years. AMIP News will continue to follow and report on US-Africa engagement under the Trump Administration.
Below is the President’s inaugural speech as prepared for delivery.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
January 20, 2017
Remarks of President Donald J. Trump
Friday, January 20, 2017
Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world: thank you.
We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people.
Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come. We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.
Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent.
Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.
For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.
Washington flourished – but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered – but the jobs left, and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s Capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes – starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you. It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country. What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the
January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now.You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before. At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.
Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public. But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now. We are one nation – and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.
The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans. For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; Subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; We’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own; And spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon.
One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind.
The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world. But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future.
We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power.
From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this moment on, it’s going to be America First. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.
I will fight for you with every breath in my body – and I will never, ever let you down.
America will start winning again, winning like never before.
We will bring back our jobs.
We will bring back our borders.
We will bring back our wealth.
And we will bring back our dreams.
We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.
We will get our people off of welfare and back to work – rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.
We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American.
We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world – but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.
We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.
We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones – and unite the civilized world against Radical Islamic Terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.
At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.
The Bible tells us, “how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.There should be no fear – we are protected, and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.
Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger. In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action – constantly complaining but never doing anything about it. The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action. Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America.
We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.
We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.
A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions. It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag. And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.
So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words:
You will never be ignored again. Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams, will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way. Together, We Will Make America Strong Again.
We Will Make America Wealthy Again.
We Will Make America Proud Again.
We Will Make America Safe Again.
And, Yes, Together, We Will Make America Great Again. Thank you, God Bless You, And God Bless America.
Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs
Department of State
January 3, 2017
Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs
Department of State
January 3, 2017