Friday, May 27, 2011




May 26-27, 2011
Deauville, France


1. The G8 and Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa, and the African Union Commission, highlight the importance of an enhanced partnership between the G8 and Africa. Africa is on the move, and is becoming a new pole for global growth, even if challenges to be addressed remain, particularly in the least developed countries. The G8 and Africa stand side-by- side during this key time of change.

2. To reach our objectives, we are determined to further promote together shared values, notably peace and human rights, democratic governance and sustainable development, and we will continue to endorse our respective and shared responsibilities in this regard, in a spirit of mutual accountability.

* * * Peace, Security and Governance

3. We welcome the overall progress that has been made towards stability and democracy on the continent. Several long-lasting armed conflicts have come to an end and democratic processes are becoming the norm and no longer the exception. However, we need to address remaining challenges, notably respect for free and fair election results and for the rule of law, people’s aspirations for increased democratic openness, and resolution of the persisting conflicts. Current global threats such as terrorism, trafficking in human beings, arms and drugs, organized crime and piracy likewise, require strengthening national and regional initiatives in Africa with the support of the international community and increased global cooperation.

4. We commend the steadfast support of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union and the United Nations for the free and sovereign will of the Ivorian people. We express our deep concern over the grave humanitarian and socio-economic situation in Côte d'Ivoire. In this regard, we call on the International Community as a whole to extend the necessary support to alleviate the plight of the refugees and internally displaced persons as a matter of urgency and to lend support to President Alassane Ouattara and his government to enable them to restore lasting peace, security stability and economic recovery throughout the country. We also encourage the Ivoirian authorities to spare no efforts to take the necessary steps to address the issues of justice, peace and reconciliation among all Ivoirian people, and to implement the pending issues of the Ouagadougou Political Agreements, including those relating to Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of ex-combatants.

5. We commend the African Union High Level Implementation Panel for Sudan for its work with the Sudanese parties. While congratulating the parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the people of Sudan for the successful conclusion of the 2011 referendum, we condemn the recent escalation of violence in Abyei. We call on all parties to withdraw all unauthorized forces from the area, to uphold their previous commitments, and we call on the parties to reach agreements on all outstanding issues of the CPA, particularly the status of Abyei, oil issues and debt. We also urge the parties to reach a speedy conclusion to the negotiations on post-referendum arrangements between Sudan and an independent South Sudan, within the framework of good neighbourhood and the mutual economic viability of the two states. We express concern about the persistent violence and insecurity in Darfur and call on all parties to engage with a view to reaching a speedy solution in the context of the Doha Process mediated by the Joint Chief Mediator and the Government of Qatar. We encourage G8 and African countries’ continued cooperation and mutual efforts to these ends, including through the Sudan Consultative Forum.

6. We urge the Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to broaden and consolidate the reconciliation process and to work with the international community with a view to agreeing on the way forward notably on how to end the transition and on the key tasks ahead such as the constitutional process after the Transitional Federal Institutions’ mandate expires in August 2011. We call on all actors to support an inclusive, Somali-led process as the means to resolve the conflict. We commend the action undertaken by the African Union and its mission, AMISOM, and express our full support for the mission and the effort of the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Somalia. We commit to remain constructively engaged on Somalia and to support international efforts for the establishment of a peaceful and secure environment in which human rights and democratic institutions can develop at all levels.

7. We welcome the Political Declaration and Action Plan adopted at the G8 Ministerial Meeting on Transatlantic Cocaine Trafficking on May 10 and aimed at strengthening the international and regional cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking on both sides of the Atlantic.

8. We reaffirm our commitment to fight against all forms of terrorism and address the conditions conducive to terrorism in full compliance with international law, in particular the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and international conventions. We encourage the creation of regional strategies to take into account all the dimensions of this transnational threat. We stand ready to assist the countries affected by this scourge in building their own capacities to fight terrorism and terrorist groups.

9. We express our continued concern regarding the serious threat of piracy, in particular emanating from Somalia. We underline our determination to continue to respond resolutely to this threat, through a coordinated response at sea and by tackling longer-term regional capability development needs, including through the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, as well as the comprehensive strategy that would address the root causes of piracy and reinforce the Somali capacity. In parallel, we agree that effective prosecution including execution of sentences need increased support. We welcome the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1976, which represents a significant step forward in the fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia.

10. We welcome efforts made by the African Union and the regional economic communities to build up the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), including the African Standby Force, as well as the successful implementation of the G8 Action Plan, adopted at the Sea Island Summit in 2004, to reinforce African peacekeeping capabilities. We stress the need to further enhance the APSA in a spirit of mutual accountability, and we recognize the progress made with the recent APSA assessment and the adoption of the indicative elements for the APSA Roadmap. We emphasize the importance of improving coordination between all stakeholders in providing assistance and of promoting African ownership, in order to ensure maximum impact and sustainability of peace and security initiatives on the African continent.

11. Respect for human rights, the rule of law and democratic governance, as well as gender equality, are of key importance to sustaining development, stability and democracy. We welcome the African Union decision on speeding up the ratification of African governance and human rights instruments, in particular the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. We recall our support to the African Governance Architecture, in particular the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), and we encourage further implementation of the APRM National Programmes of Action’s recommendations. We also encourage ratification and full implementation of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and its Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa.

12. We fully support the action taken by the African Union and African regional organizations to fight unconstitutional regime changes. We encourage further efforts to ensure the rule of law and the respect of human rights and to tackle impunity. We strongly welcome the initiatives taken by several African countries to set up transitional justice mechanisms to address human rights violations. These actions need to be further developed.

Economic Development and Environment

13. Africa is increasingly a destination for foreign investment and private sector development. The challenge today is to build on the current and positive dynamic of the African economy to achieve a more inclusive, shared and sustainable growth that creates jobs, ensures human security and empowers individuals, especially the younger generation. We need to intensify our efforts on drivers for economic growth, including human capital development, regional and global trade integration, business environment, domestic resources mobilization, and scaling up access to infrastructures and related services, including for energy, transport, information and communication technologies. In this regard, we welcome the conclusions of the 16th meeting of the Africa Partnership Forum (APF) on 21 April 2011 in Paris.

14. Beyond traditional official development assistance (ODA), African countries need to attract additional domestic and foreign direct investment to finance economic growth, while preserving debt sustainability. Mutual efforts to improve the regulatory framework and the business environment, and to fight corruption, need to be strengthened. To this end, we will establish a dialogue within the APF, involving business, to increase momentum and help remove obstacles to business environment reform. We encourage responsible investment by all stakeholders and call on companies to improve their corporate and social responsibility.

15. Regional integration is essential to increase growth and stability in Africa.Ambitious strategies have been adopted but progress in implementing those remains slow and uneven. African economies are also not sufficiently integrated into global supply chains. We support an ambitious vision for regional integration initiatives and free trade areas in Africa, as building blocks to deeper integration at a later stage. We welcome the proposed focus of the January 2012 African Union Summit on boosting intra-African trade for the means of fostering a better regional and continental integration on this issue. We will continue to support the African Union and regional economic communities to fully implement their action plans, including the Minimum Integration Programme of the African Union. We encourage increased coordination between them and with the African Union. We will support actions to improve the efficiency of key trade corridors, especially those that are important for accelerating trade in Africa’s landlocked countries, notably the implementation of the corridor action plans developed by the regional economic communities. We also call for policy reforms required for increasing regional trade and improving infrastructure. Taking into consideration the specific challenge the continent is facing, we call for concerted action by the international community, and notably through the Multilateral Development Banks, to prioritise Africa in financing infrastructure projects.

16. Regional integration in Africa is also crucial to ensure the effective integration of the continent in the global markets. We reiterate our commitment to advance the process of trade liberalization and rule-making to strengthen the multilateral system, and are ready to explore all negotiating options to bring the Doha round to a conclusion including with regard to the priorities of least developed countries (LDCs) in line with the Doha mandate.

17. Improved domestic resources mobilisation is crucial to sustain development, strengthen growth resilience and reduce aid dependency. Improving taxation administration systems and policies in developing countries will help build a sustainable revenue base to fund nationally owned development plans.

18. Transparency in payments and revenue collection linked to extractive resources and sound financial governance on the management of these revenues are essential to taking full advantage of domestic resources and ensuring delivery of public goods and services for citizens. More broadly, transparent, fair and functioning public financial systems are very important requirements for poverty reduction as well as sustainable and self-determined development. Good financial governance on both the revenue and spending sides is a key prerequisite to reach this. Therefore, we emphasize the importance of further fostering the 2007 G8 Action Plan on Good Financial Governance in Africa and welcome the ongoing African-led development efforts for Good Financial Governance.

19. We will all continue to support transparency in other areas including through the full implementation of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI). We call on all countries, notably resource-rich countries, and extractive companies to join or support this initiative. We also welcome the complementary efforts to increase revenue transparency, and commit to setting in place transparency laws and regulations or to promoting voluntary standards that require or encourage oil, gas, and mining companies to disclose the payments they make to governments. We encourage full implementation of international and regional initiatives to tackle illegal exploitation of and trade in natural resources in Africa, such as the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region Action Plan adopted in Lusaka in December 2010. A comprehensive and global approach is needed to address the illegal exploitation of and trade in mineral resources and promote sound natural resources management, including the protection of forests.

20. The G8 will continue to support capacity building and technical cooperation on macro-economic governance, domestic taxation, public financial management, and negotiations of concessions and contracts.

21. Limited access to energy along both dimensions – electricity and cooking fuels – remains a major concern. It is a key bottleneck for economic development and poverty reduction, and the widespread use of traditional cooking fuels is at the origin of severe negative health and environmental impacts. We therefore emphasize the need to ensure access to sustainable energy services, with a particular focus on renewable energy sources. The G8 will continue to support projects for access to energy, both decentralised and centralised, notably those with a regional dimension and a sustainable development perspective, as well as cross-border trade and capacity-building initiatives on energy. The African Union-NEPAD Action Plan and the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) constitute appropriate frameworks to mobilise foreign direct investment. We stress the need for institutional and regulatory reforms to attract increased investment, notably from the private sector.

22. We deem of the utmost importance that the use of large river water resources should have in due consideration the interests of both upstream and downstream countries in order to reach agreements aiming at common development.

23. Agriculture in Africa can serve as an important driver of broad-based sustainable economic growth and development. Sustainable increases in agricultural productivity and production offers ample opportunities to attract private-sector investment and leverage private sources of capital, create jobs, raise income of farmers and stimulate inclusive growth in rural Africa. They contribute to better food security and are key factors in counteracting price volatility. We commit to improving food security in Africa by enhancing cooperation among the G8 and Africa through the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

Mutual accountability

24. In a spirit of mutual accountability, we are fully committed to meeting our commitments and to monitoring their implementation, with a view to achieving the Millenium Development Goals by 2015, strengthening economic growth and job creation, and addressing global challenges.

25. We welcome the mutual accountability process, and the 2011 G8 Accountability Report on health and food security and the first African Union and NEPAD Accountability Report on the G8/Africa Partnership. We recognise the need to continue our efforts to improve the mutual accountability process.

26. We encourage mutual accountability and transparency in the use of domestic and external resources for development and we encourage civil society and private sector stakeholders to foster accountability at all levels. Accountability mechanisms should monitor performance and provide for adequate incentives for compliance. We call on all donors and African partners to provide transparent and comprehensive information on aid flows and participate in multilateral accountability efforts. We welcome the determination of Japan to hold the TICAD Ministerial Meeting held in Dakar on 1 and 2 May despite the challenges caused by the recent disaster.

27. Ahead of the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness to be held later this year in Busan, Korea, we welcome efforts to implement the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action. Major challenges remain such as involving new stakeholders in the development agenda, including new donors and the private sector, enhancing the impact of aid, limiting aid fragmentation through a better division of labor, strengthening institutional capacities, and increasing accountability and transparency. We call for a reinforced focus on the impact and outcomes of aid and development policies.

28. Considering the remaining challenges, we stress the urgent need to mobilise a wide range of resources for development and global public goods. ODA is a key element for African developing countries, in particular least developed countries and fragile states. We reaffirm our commitments, including on ODA and enhancing aid effectiveness. In synergy with other sources of funding, ODA also serves as a catalyst for key development policies and to leverage for private investment for economic growth. We stress the need to go beyond aid and mobilize other resources as stated in the Monterrey consensus, including domestic resources, innovative financing, migrant remittances, market instruments used by development banks and private sector flows.

29. The challenges lying ahead are considerable. But so is our shared commitment to overcome them. We will act in the spirit of partnership aimed at liberating development potential of one billion Africans.

Fact Sheet: G-8 Summit in Deauville, France


Office of the Press Secretary


May 27, 2011

Fact Sheet: G-8 Summit in Deauville, France

President Obama joined other heads of state and government from France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada, Russia, and the European Union at the annual G-8 Leaders’ Summit in Deauville, France, on May 26-27. The President and his G-8 counterparts pledged solidarity with the people of Japan in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and offered continued assistance as needed to ensure a speedy and lasting recovery.

During the two-day Summit, the President and other Leaders agreed to closely cooperate on a wide range of key global priorities. The Leaders:

Announced an action plan to support democratization and economic modernization in the Middle East and North Africa. G-8 Leaders met with the Prime Ministers of Egypt and Tunisia and expressed support for the historic transitions in both countries.

Discussed drivers of economic growth in the United States and around the world, including innovation, green growth, and the role of the Internet, and agreed to work together to promote strong, sustainable, and balanced global growth. The President’s top priority remains to create jobs and opportunity for all Americans.

Reconfirmed their commitment to keep markets open and to work together to find a path forward for the liberalization of global trade.

Emphasized that addressing climate change remains a top priority and committed to implementing the undertakings made in Copenhagen and Cancun to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Committed to promoting the highest levels of nuclear safety in the wake of the nuclear accident in Japan.

Reaffirmed their commitment to a common approach to solving the world’s most pressing security challenges, including combating terrorism, drug trafficking, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. G-8 Leaders remain united in addressing key sources of regional and global instability, including the use of force against civilians by the Libyan regime and Iran and North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

· Renewed the G-8’s partnership with Africa. President Obama and other G-8 Leaders met with the leaders of seven African countries (Algeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guinea, Niger, and Senegal) to discuss common approaches to tackling the continent’s most pressing economic and security challenges. Both the G-8 and African Leaders emphasized the important role that human rights, democratic governance, and sustainable development must play in strengthening growth and stability in Africa.

· Emphasized mutual accountability of both G-8 and African countries for our respective commitments, as well as the importance of aid effectiveness. The 2011 G-8 Accountability Report was released prior to the Deauville Summit and details progress, both collectively and individually, in the areas of food security and global health (see separate fact sheet).

President Obama looks forward to welcoming G-8 Leaders to the United States in 2012 as next year’s G-8 host.

Fact Sheet: G-8 and the Middle East and North Africa


Office of the Press Secretary


May 27, 2011

Fact Sheet: G-8 and the Middle East and North Africa

Recognizing the historic changes underway in the Middle East and North Africa, President Obama joined with G-8 leaders, the Prime Ministers of Egypt and Tunisia, the Secretary General of the Arab League, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank to launch the “Deauville Partnership” with the people of the Middle East and North Africa.

Building on the new economic vision that the President laid out on March 19, the United States will work with other G-8 leaders, international financial institutions and UN agencies, countries willing to contribute to democratization and modernization in the region, and the private sector to achieve common goals to support transitions in the region. The Partnership is based on two pillars:

A Political Process. This process is intended to support the democratic transition and foster governance reforms, notably the fight against corruption and the strengthening of the institutions needed to ensure transparency and accountable government.

An Economic Framework. This framework is intended to support sustainable and inclusive growth and to support Partnership countries in the economic and social reforms that they will undertake, particularly to create jobs and enshrine the fair rule of law. The framework also aims to ensure that short-term economic stability underpins the challenge of transition to stable democracies.

Democratization and a broadening of economic opportunity go hand in hand, and the United States will work with Partnership countries to develop an economic agenda to support these objectives. In the short term, Partnership countries will work to support economic stabilization to ensure that instability does not undermine the process of political reform, and that social cohesion and macroeconomic stability are maintained. Over the medium-to-long term, the United States will work to support a broadening of economic opportunity for the people of the region.

Economic Stabilization. Egypt and Tunisia had positive economic outlooks before recent unrest but are facing a series of economic dislocations associated with the transition. G-8 leaders welcomed assessments by the IMF and look forward to its continued engagement with countries in the region. G-8 leaders:

Called on the IMF to respond with the necessary financial support to help meet the external financing needs of countries in the region committed to economic stability and a macroeconomic framework.

Welcomed the joint action plan that multilateral development banks (MDBs) presented and called on MDBs to deliver enhanced, frontloaded and coordinated support to Partnershcp Countries based on strong economic programs to strengthen governance and bolster the business climate. G-8 leaders also recognize the role that regional players can play in helping to mitigate near-term financial pressures.

Broadening Economic Opportunity over the Medium-to-Long Term. While Egypt and Tunisia registered economic growth over the past decade, these gains were not widely disbursed. Over the medium and long term, the United States and other members of the G-8 commit to support Partnership countries in addressing underlying economic challenges in order to broaden economic opportunity. To achieve these goals the G-8 will:

Rely on repositioned and coordinated multilateral development banks’ actions.
Leverage the experience of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in accompanying economic transition.

Changing the Scale of Trade and Investment Integration. G-8 leaders committed to supporting the integration of the Partnership countries in the regional and global economy through increased trade and inward investment to the region. In this regard, G-8 leaders:

Encouraged and agreed to support through bilateral and multilateral channels the efforts of MENA countries to bolster further regional trade and investment integration, including through trade facilitation, reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers, access to the service sector, the promotion of direct investments, and regulatory convergence.

Offered to consider additional support through, inter alia, improved market access opportunities, including the following initiatives:

o As President Obama outlined on May 19, the United States will launch a comprehensive Trade and Investment Partnership Initiative in the Middle East and North Africa. This will facilitate more trade within the region, build on existing agreements to promote integration with other markets, and open the door for those countries that adopt high standards of reform and trade liberalization to construct a high-profile regional trade arrangement.

o The European Union (EU) will reinvigorate and strengthen its neighborhood policy towards Partnership countries to provide greater support to those engaged in building democracies. The EU is considering launching negotiations on trade and economic integration partnerships with them, which will bring them progressively closer to the EU single market.

Committing to develop the Partnership, to monitor the process of transition, and to ensure that reform is matched by the response of the international communities, G-8 leaders asked senior officials of their foreign and finance ministries to meet in coming months to define the framework of the Partnership and to take this work forward. G-8 leaders agreed to assess the Partnership at their next meeting under the chairmanship of the United States in 2012.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Statement by the Press Secratary on Sudan


Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
May 21, 2011

Statement by the Press Secretary on Sudan

The United States condemns the offensive operations being undertaken by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) in and around Abyei town and today’s Presidential decree dissolving the Abyei Administration. While the United States deplored the May 19 attack by Southern forces on a United Nations convoy that was transporting a SAF company lawfully operating as part of the Joint Integrated Units in Abyei, this response is disproportionate and irresponsible. The actions being taken by the Government of Sudan are blatant violations of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and threaten to undermine the mutual commitment of the CPA parties to avoid a return to war.

The United States calls on the SAF to immediately cease all offensive operations in Abyei and withdraw its forces from Abyei. Failure to do so could set back the process of normalizing relations between Sudan and the United States and inhibit the international community's ability to move forward on issues critical to Sudan's future. Both sides must follow through with implementing the Kadugli Agreements of January 13 and 17, including the withdrawal of all unauthorized forces in Abyei. The United States calls on President Bashir and First Vice President Kiir to meet immediately and agree on a way forward that restores calm, upholds the CPA, and recommits both sides to a negotiated political settlement on the future status of the Abyei Area.

US Ambassador to Sudan Lyman on Violence In Abyei


Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release

On-The-Record Briefing

Special Envoy to Sudan Ambassador Princeton Lyman Briefs the Press on Violence in Abyei

May 23, 2011

Washington, D.C.

MS. FULTON: Good afternoon, and welcome to the State Department. Today, it’s our great pleasure to have with us again Ambassador Princeton Lyman, our special ambassador to the –for Sudan issues, to talk to you about the violence in Abyei, the recent violence in Abyei. Without further ado, I’ll turn it over to Ambassador Lyman. Thank you.

AMBASSADOR LYMAN: Thanks very much and thanks for coming. As many of you know, we’ve had quite a situation develop over the last few days. There was an incident on May 19th in which Southern forces attacked a UN convoy that was carrying Northern soldiers to the town called Goli. And that convoy was attacked; some people were wounded, and it produced what we feel is an extremely disproportionate response by the Government of Sudan. They basically invaded Abyei and they have now taken over most of Abyei. They have taken over Abyei town. The administration has had to flee. Most of the people in Abyei town have fled south. They virtually – the government virtually occupies Abyei.

This is a very serious violation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and it certainly jeopardizes the process of negotiation that had been underway to resolve the remaining issues before the South becomes independent on July 9th.

We have been – the U.S. has been very heavily engaged over the last several days and nights in talking to the parties, in talking to regional leaders, talking to the United Nations, to the Africa Union, and others, with several major points.

First of all, we feel that the attack on the UN convoy was deplorable and wrong, but we feel the response of the government was disproportionate and irresponsible. We think those forces should be withdrawn; the civilian administration, which President Bashir unilaterally dissolved, should be recreated; and we have urged that President Bashir and Vice President Kiir, who is head of the Southern Sudan administration, immediately come together and calm this situation down and restore the level of cooperation they talked about after the January 9th referendum. They have not been meeting recently and so far have not been in direct touch, and we feel that’s an extremely important thing for them to do.

Now, it happens that the UN Security Council was visiting Sudan at this very time. In fact, they were scheduled to go to Abyei but, of course, could not under the circumstances. They were in Khartoum yesterday and they issued a statement which I hope you have been able to see, basically saying some of the same points that the White House said Saturday night condemning both the attack on the UN convoy but condemning in particular this overreaction and this occupation of Abyei and urging that the troops be withdrawn, that the two leaders meet immediately, that they go back to the negotiations under the CPA.

Others have been involved. The AU chief mediator, former President Mbeki, has seen President Bashir. He’s seen President – Vice President Kiir today. And we are trying to bring this crisis under control. It’s the most serious one since the attack on Abyei in 2008, and we feel that both sides must restore calm and cooperation between them.

Ironically, this all took place just as fairly productive discussions were going on between the two parties on the economic issues between them. They had been going on in Ethiopia at this very time. And it just indicates that there’s so much to be done and so much negotiation that has been planned and is underway, that this crisis really calls into question how those negotiations can be finished on time in the right spirit.

So let me stop there, and I’d be happy to answer your questions. I’ll put you in charge.

QUESTION: Can you confirm or deny reports that the North is repopulating the area of Abyei?

AMBASSADOR LYMAN: We know that people from the Misseriya have been seen in Abyei town. Whether they’re coming in in the wake of this invasion or actually settling, it’s much too to get a fix on that. But since the takeover just happened over the weekend, it seems a little preliminary to make a judgment like that.

QUESTION: The White House statement over the weekend said that they thought that this situation may affect the process of normalization between Khartoum and the United States. Could you elaborate on that and discuss maybe further what other leverage the United States specifically might have to get them to pull back?

AMBASSADOR LYMAN: No, I’m glad you raise that, because in our roadmap toward normalization, it includes specifically a resolution of the Abyei problem, which has to be a negotiated solution, and it involves full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. So this action complicates both of those conditions, and what it means is that our ability to move toward normalization is going to be complicated as well.

We had started the process, as you know, of looking at how to take them off the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. We’ve been working with the World Bank and others on the debt situation. We’ve been looking at the prospect of naming a full ambassador after July 9th in Khartoum. All of these are important steps in normalization. They can’t be fulfilled if we don’t have a successful CPA.

QUESTION: And how will these steps be affected by the occupation of Abyei?

AMBASSADOR LYMAN: Well, the point is that these are all steps toward normalization. If we don’t have a successful completion of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, if we don’t have Abyei being negotiated rather than occupied, it’ll be hard to move forward on those items because that’s part of the roadmap. So you can’t complete the roadmap if you can’t complete these conditions.

MS. FULTON: Next question.

QUESTION: What about the status of the referendum? When can it happen, how can it happen, and with the evacuation or fleeing of so many residents of Abyei, how can that be actually accomplished anytime soon?

AMBASSADOR LYMAN: Well, the referendum had been – had not taken place because the two sides could not agree on who would be the eligible voters, whether it would be primarily the Ngok Dinka or whether the Misseriya would have the right to vote. And because of that difference and many, many meetings to try and resolve it, attention had turned to an administrative solution, whether the two principals, President Bashir and Vice President Kiir, could come to a negotiated solution on Abyei.

President Mbeki, the former South African president who leads the AU negotiation, had put several options, administrative options, to the two presidents some months ago. They were unable to agree on any of them and turned back to the international community and said, “Can you come up with some other ideas?” And in fact, we have been working on trying to develop a new proposal for them, and this obviously makes that more difficult to do. But the attention had turned from the referendum to see if there was an administrative solution.

QUESTION: I was wondering if the U.S. has any indications about movements of either arms or more soldiers that would back up the more widespread suggestion that these two sides are actually on the verge of going back to war. Do you think that that’s a realistic threat given where we are now?

AMBASSADOR LYMAN: I think the danger of further conflict in Abyei is serious. There is some fighting going on now down toward the southern border where Southern forces are still inside Abyei and are being – are fighting South – Sudanese armed forces. So the danger of further clashes is very great. I don’t think that means that they’ll go to general warfare between the two, but any kind of warfare, and especially over in area – an issue as emotional and difficult as Abyei, is a very dangerous prospect.

QUESTION: Can you talk about U.S. contacts with the parties? Do you yourself plan to head out there?

AMBASSADOR LYMAN: The Secretary of State, Denis McDonough of the National Security Council, myself, Johnnie Carson, our assistant secretary for Africa – we’ve all been in contact with parties and with regional leaders constantly over the last several days. And of course, as you know, Ambassador Susan Rice is there with the UN Security Council, and of course, we have chargés in both Khartoum and Juba, and everybody’s been involved in all of this. I am scheduled to go out to the region this week. I haven’t worked out the exact day, but I will be going out this week.

QUESTION: Will that include Sudan? I’m sorry, you said to the region --

AMBASSADOR LYMAN: Yes, to Sudan. I’m sorry.

QUESTION: -- and Sudan was in the region. I wanted to make sure.


QUESTION: Do you know who specifically Secretary has spoken to, and then can you tell us who you –

AMBASSADOR LYMAN: She spoke to Vice President Taha. Denis McDonough spoke to Foreign Minister Karti. She – the Secretary spoke to Vice President Kiir. I spoke to Vice President Kiir. John Kerry – Senator Kerry has also been making calls and issued a statement today, which – or yesterday, which you may see. So there have been a lot of calls.

MS. FULTON: Any further questions? Okay. Thank you very much for joining us.

AMBASSADOR LYMAN: Thank you all.

# # #

Thursday, May 19, 2011

President Obama's Speech on Middle East & North Africa

President Obama's Speech on Middle East & North Africa

Office of the Press Secretary

May 19, 2011

Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery
“A Moment of Opportunity”
U.S. Department of State
May 19, 2011

As Prepared for Delivery –

I want to thank Hillary Clinton, who has traveled so much these last six months that she is approaching a new landmark – one million frequent flyer miles. I count on Hillary every day, and I believe that she will go down as of the finest Secretaries of State in our nation’s history.

The State Department is a fitting venue to mark a new chapter in American diplomacy. For six months, we have witnessed an extraordinary change take place in the Middle East and North Africa. Square by square; town by town; country by country; the people have risen up to demand their basic human rights. Two leaders have stepped aside. More may follow. And though these countries may be a great distance from our shores, we know that our own future is bound to this region by the forces of economics and security; history and faith.

Today, I would like to talk about this change – the forces that are driving it, and how we can respond in a way that advances our values and strengthens our security. Already, we have done much to shift our foreign policy following a decade defined by two costly conflicts. After years of war in Iraq, we have removed 100,000 American troops and ended our combat mission there. In Afghanistan, we have broken the Taliban’s momentum, and this July we will begin to bring our troops home and continue transition to Afghan lead. And after years of war against al Qaeda and its affiliates, we have dealt al Qaeda a huge blow by killing its leader – Osama bin Laden.

Bin Laden was no martyr. He was a mass murderer who offered a message of hate – an insistence that Muslims had to take up arms against the West, and that violence against men, women and children was the only path to change. He rejected democracy and individual rights for Muslims in favor of violent extremism; his agenda focused on what he could destroy – not what he could build.

Bin Laden and his murderous vision won some adherents. But even before his death, al Qaeda was losing its struggle for relevance, as the overwhelming majority of people saw that the slaughter of innocents did not answer their cries for a better life. By the time we found bin Laden, al Qaeda’s agenda had come to be seen by the vast majority of the region as a dead end, and the people of the Middle East and North Africa had taken their future into their own hands.

That story of self-determination began six months ago in Tunisia. On December 17, a young vendor named Mohammed Bouazizi was devastated when a police officer confiscated his cart. This was not unique. It is the same kind of humiliation that takes place every day in many parts of the world – the relentless tyranny of governments that deny their citizens dignity. Only this time, something different happened. After local officials refused to hear his complaint, this young man who had never been particularly active in politics went to the headquarters of the provincial government, doused himself in fuel, and lit himself on fire.

Sometimes, in the course of history, the actions of ordinary citizens spark movements for change because they speak to a longing for freedom that has built up for years. In America, think of the defiance of those patriots in Boston who refused to pay taxes to a King, or the dignity of Rosa Parks as she sat courageously in her seat. So it was in Tunisia, as that vendor’s act of desperation tapped into the frustration felt throughout the country. Hundreds of protesters took to the streets, then thousands. And in the face of batons and sometimes bullets, they refused to go home – day after day, week after week, until a dictator of more than two decades finally left power.

The story of this Revolution, and the ones that followed, should not have come as a surprise. The nations of the Middle East and North Africa won their independence long ago, but in too many places their people did not. In too many countries, power has been concentrated in the hands of the few. In too many countries, a citizen like that young vendor had nowhere to turn – no honest judiciary to hear his case; no independent media to give him voice; no credible political party to represent his views; no free and fair election where he could choose his leader.

This lack of self determination – the chance to make of your life what you will – has applied to the region’s economy as well. Yes, some nations are blessed with wealth in oil and gas, and that has led to pockets of prosperity. But in a global economy based on knowledge and innovation, no development strategy can be based solely upon what comes out of the ground. Nor can people reach their potential when you cannot start a business without paying a bribe.

In the face of these challenges, too many leaders in the region tried to direct their people’s grievances elsewhere. The West was blamed as the source of all ills, a half century after the end of colonialism. Antagonism toward Israel became the only acceptable outlet for political expression. Divisions of tribe, ethnicity and religious sect were manipulated as a means of holding on to power, or taking it away from somebody else.

But the events of the past six months show us that strategies of repression and diversion won’t work anymore. Satellite television and the Internet provide a window into the wider world – a world of astonishing progress in places like India, Indonesia and Brazil. Cell phones and social networks allow young people to connect and organize like never before. A new generation has emerged. And their voices tell us that change cannot be denied.

In Cairo, we heard the voice of the young mother who said, “It’s like I can finally breathe fresh air for the first time.”

In Sanaa, we heard the students who chanted, “The night must come to an end.”

In Benghazi, we heard the engineer who said, “Our words are free now. It’s a feeling you can’t explain.”

In Damascus, we heard the young man who said, “After the first yelling, the first shout, you feel dignity.”

Those shouts of human dignity are being heard across the region. And through the moral force of non-violence, the people of the region have achieved more change in six months than terrorists have accomplished in decades.

Of course, change of this magnitude does not come easily. In our day and age – a time of 24 hour news cycles, and constant communication – people expect the transformation of the region to be resolved in a matter of weeks. But it will be years before this story reaches its end. Along the way, there will be good days, and bad days. In some places, change will be swift; in others, gradual. And as we have seen, calls for change may give way to fierce contests for power.

The question before us is what role America will play as this story unfolds. For decades, the United States has pursued a set of core interests in the region: countering terrorism and stopping the spread of nuclear weapons; securing the free flow of commerce, and safe-guarding the security of the region; standing up for Israel’s security and pursuing Arab-Israeli peace.

We will continue to do these things, with the firm belief that America’s interests are not hostile to peoples’ hopes; they are essential to them. We believe that no one benefits from a nuclear arms race in the region, or al Qaeda’s brutal attacks. People everywhere would see their economies crippled by a cut off in energy supplies. As we did in the Gulf War, we will not tolerate aggression across borders, and we will keep our commitments to friends and partners.

Yet we must acknowledge that a strategy based solely upon the narrow pursuit of these interests will not fill an empty stomach or allow someone to speak their mind. Moreover, failure to speak to the broader aspirations of ordinary people will only feed the suspicion that has festered for years that the United States pursues our own interests at their expense. Given that this mistrust runs both ways – as Americans have been seared by hostage taking, violent rhetoric, and terrorist attacks that have killed thousands of our citizens – a failure to change our approach threatens a deepening spiral of division between the United States and Muslim communities.

That’s why, two years ago in Cairo, I began to broaden our engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect. I believed then – and I believe now – that we have a stake not just in the stability of nations, but in the self determination of individuals. The status quo is not sustainable. Societies held together by fear and repression may offer the illusion of stability for a time, but they are built upon fault lines that will eventually tear asunder.

So we face an historic opportunity. We have embraced the chance to show that America values the dignity of the street vendor in Tunisia more than the raw power of the dictator. There must be no doubt that the United States of America welcomes change that advances self-determination and opportunity. Yes, there will be perils that accompany this moment of promise. But after decades of accepting the world as it is in the region, we have a chance to pursue the world as it should be.

As we do, we must proceed with a sense of humility. It is not America that put people into the streets of Tunis and Cairo – it was the people themselves who launched these movements, and must determine their outcome. Not every country will follow our particular form of representative democracy, and there will be times when our short term interests do not align perfectly with our long term vision of the region. But we can – and will – speak out for a set of core principles – principles that have guided our response to the events over the past six months:

The United States opposes the use of violence and repression against the people of the region.

We support a set of universal rights. Those rights include free speech; the freedom of peaceful assembly; freedom of religion; equality for men and women under the rule of law; and the right to choose your own leaders – whether you live in Baghdad or Damascus; Sanaa or Tehran.

And finally, we support political and economic reform in the Middle East and North Africa that can meet the legitimate aspirations of ordinary people throughout the region.

Our support for these principles is not a secondary interest– today I am making it clear that it is a top priority that must be translated into concrete actions, and supported by all of the diplomatic, economic and strategic tools at our disposal.

Let me be specific. First, it will be the policy of the United States to promote reform across the region, and to support transitions to democracy.

That effort begins in Egypt and Tunisia, where the stakes are high –as Tunisia was at the vanguard of this democratic wave, and Egypt is both a longstanding partner and the Arab World’s largest nation. Both nations can set a strong example through free and fair elections; a vibrant civil society; accountable and effective democratic institutions; and responsible regional leadership. But our support must also extend to nations where transitions have yet to take place.

Unfortunately, in too many countries, calls for change have been answered by violence. The most extreme example is Libya, where Moammar Gaddafi launched a war against his people, promising to hunt them down like rats. As I said when the United States joined an international coalition to intervene, we cannot prevent every injustice perpetrated by a regime against its people, and we have learned from our experience in Iraq just how costly and difficult it is to impose regime change by force – no matter how well-intended it may be.

But in Libya, we saw the prospect of imminent massacre, had a mandate for action, and heard the Libyan people’s call for help. Had we not acted along with our NATO allies and regional coalition partners, thousands would have been killed. The message would have been clear: keep power by killing as many people as it takes. Now, time is working against Gaddafi. He does not have control over his country. The opposition has organized a legitimate and credible Interim Council. And when Gaddafi inevitably leaves or is forced from power, decades of provocation will come to an end, and the transition to a democratic Libya can proceed.

While Libya has faced violence on the greatest scale, it is not the only place where leaders have turned to repression to remain in power. Most recently, the Syrian regime has chosen the path of murder and the mass arrests of its citizens. The United States has condemned these actions, and working with the international community we have stepped up our sanctions on the Syrian regime – including sanctions announced yesterday on President Assad and those around him.

The Syrian people have shown their courage in demanding a transition to democracy. President Assad now has a choice: he can lead that transition, or get out of the way. The Syrian government must stop shooting demonstrators and allow peaceful protests; release political prisoners and stop unjust arrests; allow human rights monitors to have access to cities like Dara’a; and start a serious dialogue to advance a democratic transition. Otherwise, President Assad and his regime will continue to be challenged from within and isolated abroad

Thus far, Syria has followed its Iranian ally, seeking assistance from Tehran in the tactics of suppression. This speaks to the hypocrisy of the Iranian regime, which says it stand for the rights of protesters abroad, yet suppresses its people at home. Let us remember that the first peaceful protests were in the streets of Tehran, where the government brutalized women and men, and threw innocent people into jail. We still hear the chants echo from the rooftops of Tehran. The image of a young woman dying in the streets is still seared in our memory. And we will continue to insist that the Iranian people deserve their universal rights, and a government that does not smother their aspirations.

Our opposition to Iran’s intolerance – as well as its illicit nuclear program, and its sponsorship of terror – is well known. But if America is to be credible, we must acknowledge that our friends in the region have not all reacted to the demands for change consistent with the principles that I have outlined today. That is true in Yemen, where President Saleh needs to follow through on his commitment to transfer power. And that is true, today, in Bahrain.

Bahrain is a long-standing partner, and we are committed to its security. We recognize that Iran has tried to take advantage of the turmoil there, and that the Bahraini government has a legitimate interest in the rule of law. Nevertheless, we have insisted publically and privately that mass arrests and brute force are at odds with the universal rights of Bahrain’s citizens, and will not make legitimate calls for reform go away. The only way forward is for the government and opposition to engage in a dialogue, and you can’t have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail. The government must create the conditions for dialogue, and the opposition must participate to forge a just future for all Bahrainis.

Indeed, one of the broader lessons to be drawn from this period is that sectarian divides need not lead to conflict. In Iraq, we see the promise of a multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian democracy. There, the Iraqi people have rejected the perils of political violence for a democratic process, even as they have taken full responsibility for their own security. Like all new democracies, they will face setbacks. But Iraq is poised to play a key role in the region if it continues its peaceful progress. As they do, we will be proud to stand with them as a steadfast partner.

So in the months ahead, America must use all our influence to encourage reform in the region. Even as we acknowledge that each country is different, we will need to speak honestly about the principles that we believe in, with friend and foe alike. Our message is simple: if you take the risks that reform entails, you will have the full support of the United States. We must also build on our efforts to broaden our engagement beyond elites, so that we reach the people who will shape the future – particularly young people.

We will continue to make good on the commitments that I made in Cairo – to build networks of entrepreneurs, and expand exchanges in education; to foster cooperation in science and technology, and combat disease. Across the region, we intend to provide assistance to civil society, including those that may not be officially sanctioned, and who speak uncomfortable truths. And we will use the technology to connect with – and listen to – the voices of the people.

In fact, real reform will not come at the ballot box alone. Through our efforts we must support those basic rights to speak your mind and access information. We will support open access to the Internet, and the right of journalists to be heard – whether it’s a big news organization or a blogger. In the 21st century, information is power; the truth cannot be hidden; and the legitimacy of governments will ultimately depend on active and informed citizens.

Such open discourse is important even if what is said does not square with our worldview. America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard, even if we disagree with them. We look forward to working with all who embrace genuine and inclusive democracy. What we will oppose is an attempt by any group to restrict the rights of others, and to hold power through coercion – not consent. Because democracy depends not only on elections, but also strong and accountable institutions, and respect for the rights of minorities.

Such tolerance is particularly important when it comes to religion. In Tahrir Square, we heard Egyptians from all walks of life chant, “Muslims, Christians, we are one.” America will work to see that this spirit prevails – that all faiths are respected, and that bridges are built among them. In a region that was the birthplace of three world religions, intolerance can lead only to suffering and stagnation. And for this season of change to succeed, Coptic Christians must have the right to worship freely in Cairo, just as Shia must never have their mosques destroyed in Bahrain.

What is true for religious minorities is also true when it comes to the rights of women. History shows that countries are more prosperous and peaceful when women are empowered. That is why we will continue to insist that universal rights apply to women as well as men – by focusing assistance on child and maternal health; by helping women to teach, or start a business; by standing up for the right of women to have their voices heard, and to run for office. For the region will never reach its potential when more than half its population is prevented from achieving their potential.

Even as we promote political reform and human rights in the region, our efforts cannot stop there. So the second way that we must support positive change in the region is through our efforts to advance economic development for nations that transition to democracy.

After all, politics alone has not put protesters into the streets. The tipping point for so many people is the more constant concern of putting food on the table and providing for a family. Too many in the region wake up with few expectations other than making it through the day, and perhaps the hope that their luck will change. Throughout the region, many young people have a solid education, but closed economies leave them unable to find a job. Entrepreneurs are brimming with ideas, but corruption leaves them unable to profit from them.

The greatest untapped resource in the Middle East and North Africa is the talent of its people. In the recent protests, we see that talent on display, as people harness technology to move the world. It’s no coincidence that one of the leaders of Tahrir Square was an executive for Google. That energy now needs to be channeled, in country after country, so that economic growth can solidify the accomplishments of the street. Just as democratic revolutions can be triggered by a lack of individual opportunity, successful democratic transitions depend upon an expansion of growth and broad-based prosperity.

Drawing from what we’ve learned around the world, we think it’s important to focus on trade, not just aid; and investment, not just assistance. The goal must be a model in which protectionism gives way to openness; the reigns of commerce pass from the few to the many, and the economy generates jobs for the young. America’s support for democracy will therefore be based on ensuring financial stability; promoting reform; and integrating competitive markets with each other and the global economy – starting with Tunisia and Egypt.

First, we have asked the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to present a plan at next week’s G-8 summit for what needs to be done to stabilize and modernize the economies of Tunisia and Egypt. Together, we must help them recover from the disruption of their democratic upheaval, and support the governments that will be elected later this year. And we are urging other countries to help Egypt and Tunisia meet its near-term financial needs.

Second, we do not want a democratic Egypt to be saddled by the debts of its past. So we will relieve a democratic Egypt of up to $1 billion in debt, and work with our Egyptian partners to invest these resources to foster growth and entrepreneurship. We will help Egypt regain access to markets by guaranteeing $1 billion in borrowing that is needed to finance infrastructure and job creation. And we will help newly democratic governments recover assets that were stolen.

Third, we are working with Congress to create Enterprise Funds to invest in Tunisia and Egypt. These will be modeled on funds that supported the transitions in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall. OPIC will soon launch a $2 billion facility to support private investment across the region. And we will work with allies to refocus the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development so that it provides the same support for democratic transitions and economic modernization in the Middle East and North Africa as it has in Europe.

Fourth, the United States will launch a comprehensive Trade and Investment Partnership Initiative in the Middle East and North Africa. If you take out oil exports, this region of over 400 million people exports roughly the same amount as Switzerland. So we will work with the EU to facilitate more trade within the region, build on existing agreements to promote integration with U.S. and European markets, and open the door for those countries who adopt high standards of reform and trade liberalization to construct a regional trade arrangement. Just as EU membership served as an incentive for reform in Europe, so should the vision of a modern and prosperous economy create a powerful force for reform in the Middle East and North Africa.

Prosperity also requires tearing down walls that stand in the way of progress – the corruption of elites who steal from their people; the red tape that stops an idea from becoming a business; the patronage that distributes wealth based on tribe or sect. We will help governments meet international obligations, and invest efforts anti-corruption; by working with parliamentarians who are developing reforms, and activists who use technology to hold government accountable.

Let me conclude by talking about another cornerstone of our approach to the region, and that relates to the pursuit of peace.

For decades, the conflict between Israelis and Arabs has cast a shadow over the region. For Israelis, it has meant living with the fear that their children could get blown up on a bus or by rockets fired at their homes, as well as the pain of knowing that other children in the region are taught to hate them. For Palestinians, it has meant suffering the humiliation of occupation, and never living in a nation of their own. Moreover, this conflict has come with a larger cost the Middle East, as it impedes partnerships that could bring greater security, prosperity, and empowerment to ordinary people.

My Administration has worked with the parties and the international community for over two years to end this conflict, yet expectations have gone unmet. Israeli settlement activity continues. Palestinians have walked away from talks. The world looks at a conflict that has grinded on for decades, and sees a stalemate. Indeed, there are those who argue that with all the change and uncertainty in the region, it is simply not possible to move forward.

I disagree. At a time when the people of the Middle East and North Africa are casting off the burdens of the past, the drive for a lasting peace that ends the conflict and resolves all claims is more urgent than ever.

For the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure. Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state. Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection. And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist.

As for Israel, our friendship is rooted deeply in a shared history and shared values. Our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. And we will stand against attempts to single it out for criticism in international forums. But precisely because of our friendship, it is important that we tell the truth: the status quo is unsustainable, and Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace.

The fact is, a growing number of Palestinians live west of the Jordan River. Technology will make it harder for Israel to defend itself. A region undergoing profound change will lead to populism in which millions of people – not just a few leaders – must believe peace is possible. The international community is tired of an endless process that never produces an outcome. The dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation.

Ultimately, it is up to Israelis and Palestinians to take action. No peace can be imposed upon them, nor can endless delay make the problem go away. But what America and the international community can do is state frankly what everyone knows: a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples. Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people; each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace.

So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, and a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.

As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself – by itself – against any threat. Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism; to stop the infiltration of weapons; and to provide effective border security. The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign, non-militarized state. The duration of this transition period must be agreed, and the effectiveness of security arrangements must be demonstrated.

These principles provide a foundation for negotiations. Palestinians should know the territorial outlines of their state; Israelis should know that their basic security concerns will be met. I know that these steps alone will not resolve this conflict. Two wrenching and emotional issues remain: the future of Jerusalem, and the fate of Palestinian refugees. But moving forward now on the basis of territory and security provides a foundation to resolve those two issues in a way that is just and fair, and that respects the rights and aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians.

Recognizing that negotiations need to begin with the issues of territory and security does not mean that it will be easy to come back to the table. In particular, the recent announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel – how can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist. In the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question. Meanwhile, the United States, our Quartet partners, and the Arab states will need to continue every effort to get beyond the current impasse.

I recognize how hard this will be. Suspicion and hostility has been passed on for generations, and at times it has hardened. But I’m convinced that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians would rather look to the future than be trapped in the past. We see that spirit in the Israeli father whose son was killed by Hamas, who helped start an organization that brought together Israelis and Palestinians who had lost loved ones. He said, “I gradually realized that the only hope for progress was to recognize the face of the conflict.” And we see it in the actions of a Palestinian who lost three daughters to Israeli shells in Gaza. “I have the right to feel angry,” he said. “So many people were expecting me to hate. My answer to them is I shall not hate…Let us hope,” he said, “for tomorrow”

That is the choice that must be made – not simply in this conflict, but across the entire region – a choice between hate and hope; between the shackles of the past, and the promise of the future. It’s a choice that must be made by leaders and by people, and it’s a choice that will define the future of a region that served as the cradle of civilization and a crucible of strife.

For all the challenges that lie ahead, we see many reasons to be hopeful. In Egypt, we see it in the efforts of young people who led protests. In Syria, we see it in the courage of those who brave bullets while chanting, ‘peaceful,’ ‘peaceful.’ In Benghazi, a city threatened with destruction, we see it in the courthouse square where people gather to celebrate the freedoms that they had never known. Across the region, those rights that we take for granted are being claimed with joy by those who are prying lose the grip of an iron fist.

For the American people, the scenes of upheaval in the region may be unsettling, but the forces driving it are not unfamiliar. Our own nation was founded through a rebellion against an empire. Our people fought a painful civil war that extended freedom and dignity to those who were enslaved. And I would not be standing here today unless past generations turned to the moral force of non-violence as a way to perfect our union – organizing, marching, and protesting peacefully together to make real those words that declared our nation: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.”

Those words must guide our response to the change that is transforming the Middle East and North Africa – words which tell us that repression will fail, that tyrants will fall, and that every man and woman is endowed with certain inalienable rights. It will not be easy. There is no straight line to progress, and hardship always accompanies a season of hope. But the United States of America was founded on the belief that people should govern themselves. Now, we cannot hesitate to stand squarely on the side of those who are reaching for their rights, knowing that their success will bring about a world that is more peaceful, more stable, and more just.


Secratary Clinton on Cameroon's Independence Anniversary


Office of the Spokesman

For Immediate Release May 19, 2011


Cameroon’s Anniversary of Independence ‪‪

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Cameroon as you celebrate the anniversary of your independence this May 20. Our two nations share an enduring partnership that reflects our long history working on behalf of common causes.

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Peace Corps this year, we honor the Peace Corps volunteers who have partnered with Cameroonians in rural villages and urban towns. Since 1962, more than 3,000 Volunteers have worked with Cameroon to help improve the quality of lives and empower individuals and communities throughout the country.

The United States remains committed to working with the Cameroon Government as it seeks to strengthen democracy, governance, and rule of law. We look forward to seeing the people of Cameroon exercise their right to vote later this year in a free, fair, and credible Presidential election.

As you celebrate this special occasion, know that the United States stands with you. We are committed to this enduring partnership to help build a more peaceful and prosperous future for all our people.

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An Upate on US Engagement with Sudan


Office of the Spokesman

May 18, 2011

On-The-Record Briefing

Special Envoy to Sudan Ambassador Princeton Lyman and

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah On Their Recent Visits to Sudan

May 18, 2011

Washington, D.C.

MS. FULTON: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to the Department of State. I’m very happy to have with us today, Special Envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman, Ambassador Princeton Lyman, and the USAID Administrator Raj Shah to talk to you about their respective recent trips to Sudan and U.S. engagement in Sudan.

So without further ado, I will turn it over to Ambassador Lyman first for some remarks, and then Administrator Shah, and then we’ll open it up for Q&A after that. Thank you.

Ambassador Lyman.

AMBASSADOR LYMAN: Thank you. Thank you all for being here. Let me just briefly cover a few items and then I wanted you to hear from Administrator Shah, who has just come back from a very, very successful trip.

I was in the region just a couple weeks ago, stopping in Doha for the Darfur peace talks, a day in Khartoum, then down to South Cordovan where there was – that was on the first day of the election there, and I’ll come back to that – and then to Darfur and then to Juba.

The issues that are very much on our mind are the following: the Darfur situation, where we are hoping that at Doha, where negotiations have gone on for some time, that there can be an agreement between the government and at least two of the rebel groups. Others have also been invited to Doha. My colleague Dane Smith, who works full-time on Darfur, has been spending a great deal of time in Doha with one of his staff to bolster that negotiating process. It’s a hard process, but at least the parties are talking.

I spent some time in Khartoum talking with people there about the progress under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and then went to South Cordovan because they’ve just had in that time – it was the first day of elections – an election for governor and state legislature. It’s a very critical state because it borders on Abyei, it borders on Darfur, it is also supposed to be where one of the processes of popular consultations are to take place. It’s a state where a lot of the civil war was fought, but it’s in the North.

Since then, the election has come off, but there is now a dispute over the results. The National Electoral Commission has declared the NCP candidate, the governor, to have been reelected, and the SPLM candidate has raised a number of what they feel are irregularities. We have encouraged them to follow the process established, which is to go to the courts with these complaints, and we’ve urged all parties to stay calm, and so far everybody has stayed calm. But this has continued to be a very tense situation.

In Darfur, I was looking at recent displacements in the Zam Zam camp, talking to UNAMID about questions of access, talking to internally displaced people, getting a sense of the security situation and the possibilities for better access and better programs there, and then went to Juba, where there was, at that point, and still is to some extent, a crisis in Abyei. Abyei is a region that is in dispute between the North and the South. It’s now in the North. Part of the CPA, there was to be a referendum or other way to resolve the issue of whether Abyei should be in the North or the South. That has not been resolved.

There was a clash on May 1st in which 11 members of the Joint Integrated Unit – that’s a military unit – were killed, and it looked like the two sides were almost ready to go to war. Together with the UN and the AU, we worked very hard to get the parties to go back to an agreement they had signed but not implemented called the Kadugli agreement, whereby both sides withdraw the extra forces that they’ve brought into Abyei. Meetings are going on to establish a clear timeline for that withdrawal, it unfortunately hasn’t started yet. But we hope that agreement will be implemented and reduce the tension in the state while we continue to work on a overall solution for Abyei.

Final thing I would mention is that the parties, after something of a hiatus, are back negotiating issues under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. They start tomorrow, in Ethiopia, to look at the most difficult and important economic issues, and that will be followed by political talks to take on the other issues. So that process is now resumed and underway, and we’ll be following it very, very closely.

So let me leave it there and turn it over to the administrator.

MR. SHAH: Thank you. I want to start just by thanking Ambassador Lyman for his strong leadership on all of these complex and important Sudan issues, and recognizing that the United States has played such a critical role in implementing the CPA and pursuing effective implantation of that.

I had the opportunity to travel to Sudan, both to Juba and to Khartoum, with my counterpart development ministers from the United Kingdom, Andrew Mitchell, and from Norway, Erik Solheim. And the purpose of our trip and the decision to go together was to send, really, a united and coordinated message and to have a development dialogue in both the North and the South that was well organized and consistent across some of the major development partners for South Sudan and for Sudan.

In Juba, we had the chance to visit with President Kiir, the cabinet, various members of civil society, and the private sector. And our messages were pretty consistent across those groups. We, first and foremost, reaffirmed the importance of the CPA in continuing to make progress on a range of issues that Ambassador Lyman just described. But we spent most of our time talking about the development strategy for the South, and what it would take to help Southern Sudan become a successful and viable economy with real private investment and transparent and effective governance. We underscored that private sector growth and transparent, credible governance that allowed for businesses to work in Southern Sudan would be critical to the efforts to diversify the economy and meet population needs.

We noted that USAID, partnering with others like the World Bank, have helped Southern Sudan improve its performance on the Doing Business Report significantly. And we heard from a range of private sector partners about how conditions had improved so that now they were seriously investing in various sectors in Juba and in Southern Sudan.

We focused on agriculture and we had the chance to announce a major new partnership with the Government of Southern Sudan and with a range of important partners, such as the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, the International Fertilizer Development Corporation, Equity Bank, and others to make sure that a focus on smallholder farming and smallholder agriculture would, in fact, allow for a more diversified and productive Southern Sudanese economy and begin the process of creating real food security in the South. And we’ve worked with the World Food Program to also design programs and projects that would help towards that end. That project was jointly launched with Minister Anne Ito from the Ministry of Agriculture in Southern Sudan, and we’re very optimistic about what that will result in, in the near future.

Our conversations with the government there also highlighted the need to fight corruption and to put in place transparency initiatives with respect to how oil revenues are spent. Our Norwegian counterparts, having had unique experience with that issue, have offered to take the lead in partnering with the government in pursuing that objective.

We also wanted to send a strong, coordinated message that too often development assistance is not well coordinated and well organized, and everybody tries to do everything. In the South, we suggested that the United States will take the lead in donor coordination, especially across the UK, Norway, and U.S. programs. That doesn’t mean the U.S. will lead in every sector and every area of work. It simply means that we will work in a more coordinated way with our counterparts from the UK and Norway to make sure there’s a real division of labor and a consistent way of working with the Government of Southern Sudan and against the government’s own plans and strategies going forward.

And finally, we offered to host in September – and President Kiir accepted this offer – a major development and private investors conference here in Washington, where we would offer our Southern Sudanese counterparts the opportunity to come and present their own plan and their own vision for a diversified economy, a well-governed Southern Sudan, and the ability to attract real private investment. And we expect that a broad range of donor partners, the world multilateral institutions, and private partners and private companies will participate in that important meeting.

In the north, we had a continued dialogue on development issues, and we continue to work with the UK and Norway on issues like debt relief and exploring what that might look like in the future. In – the Norwegians have offered to host an investor conference for the north, and we certainly support that effort. Most of our conversations in Khartoum from a USAID perspective focused on Darfur, and as Ambassador Lyman mentioned, we highlighted some of the critical challenges for access and safety for humanitarian workers right now, and asked for real progress in that area of work.

We also asked for a real partnership to accelerate recovery efforts where safety and security is strong enough to allow for more diversified programming, and to allow for people to move out of camps and into local communities in a way that is safe and productive. And we worked with our range of implementing partners and NGOs to learn about some of the issues they’re having, and also some of their, really, enterprising efforts to try to diversify their programming to allow for voluntary resettlement where that’s possible.

Overall, for me this was my second trip following a trip that I made perhaps 10 months ago or so, and I came away very optimistic, especially with commitments that the southern Sudanese have made to transparent governance, to having an integrated development strategy, to working with donor partners and development partners in a coordinated way, and with a real desire to attract private investment as the core driver of wealth and wealth creation and employment in their economy. So, we’ll look forward to working with Ambassador Lyman, with the Department of State, and with our partners in Sudan to achieve those outcomes.

Thank you.

MS. FULTON: Okay. With that, we’ll open up for questions.

QUESTION: Hi. Andy Quinn from Reuters. For Ambassador Lyman: We’re now, what, a little bit under two months out from the South Sudan declaring independence, and you said they’re only just now getting back to the table on these outstanding issues. What’s your – do you think that they are going to be able to make the deadline, to try and get this wrapped up by the time South Sudan becomes independent? And secondly, on Khartoum’s actions in Darfur, we have reports of airstrikes being carried out against villages. Are they, in any way, fulfilling the U.S. expectations for opening up in their behavior in Darfur?

AMBASSADOR LYMAN: Yeah. Let me take your first question. What happened up until about two weeks ago or so, is that the – what were called the cluster groups and sub-cluster groups, these are the technical negotiating committees – has more or less completed their work and identified issues which had to be settled at a higher political level. And that’s what’s beginning now, is to take those issues which need higher level political resolution. Let me just give you some examples on the economic side which are being taken up in the next two, three days. One – two of them relate to the oil sector. One is the amount of oil proceeds to the North during what is perceived to be a transition period before they lose most of their revenue from the South’s oil, but second is – are problems of ownership of the pipeline and other complicated structural issues in how you run the oil sector when it – when the countries divide. So those – some of those are political-level decisions and are being addressed.

Then there’s a question of redemption of Sudanese pounds when the South issues its own currency and how you – how that’s handled. That needs to be addressed. And there are some remaining issues on division of assets, et cetera. So those are issues being taken up by a higher-level group of economic leaders, and then there are the political issues that they’ll take up afterwards, mainly borders, security, range from its – for South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and border monitoring, and, of course, Abyei. So, I think they’re now engaged at the political level on those. They’ve more or less finished a lot of the technical work.

On your second question, we’re very disturbed by the continued fighting. The Security Council has said that the Government of Sudan should not bomb, and when they do it means civilians are affected and displaced and often killed. We’ve also urged the rebels to reach agreement on a ceasefire or a cessation of hostilities. So far they have not been prepared to do so because both sides seem to feel that such an arrangement should only be part of a broader peace agreement. I find that somewhat frustrating, but that’s the situation. In the meanwhile, the kind of fighting that just took place recently and the bombing is quite distressing.

QUESTION: Just a quick follow-up on – particularly on the Darfur issue. Given that Darfur was central to the U.S. proposal to Khartoum about this roadmap for eventual normalization, is it safe to say that that cannot proceed any further while the situation in Darfur remains as it is now? Has that frozen?

AMBASSADOR LYMAN: No, it’s not frozen. The roadmap pertains to progress under the CPA and on the situation in Darfur. And, as I mentioned, progress is going on under – on the CPA, and there are negotiations going on in Doha which the government is participating in on Darfur. So, I wouldn’t at all say the situation is frozen, but how things play out in Darfur obviously is terribly relevant to how we proceed with the roadmap.

QUESTION: Can I just follow up on Andy’s question for the Ambassador? I didn’t hear you answer his specific question about your optimism given the timeline that we’re facing.

AMBASSADOR LYMAN: Actually, I am optimistic, for two reasons: One, I think for some of these issues it’s critical that they reach a decision by July 9th, because on July 10th they will want the oil to function, they will want the borders – people to continue to be able to trade on the borders, et cetera. I don’t think these negotiations are going to be easy, but I think there’s a great deal of impetus to reaching the critical decisions that enable the two sides to go forward.

So, I’m reasonably optimistic that it can be done.

QUESTION: This is for Administrator Shah. You mentioned that you went with the other two ministers. In Europe, there has been this tendency of the African countries asking Europe not to dump aid but to develop infrastructure that can generate employment and democratic institutions development. So what is happening on that front?

ADMINISTRATOR SHAH: Well, I think the conversation in – and the programs that are in place in Southern Sudan are a good example of the steps forward on that front. We are working together with a range of local construction firms and with the World Food Program to help build out road infrastructure and feeder road infrastructure in particular to support the development of an agricultural economy. That’s a joint effort between the United States and the UK.

In sectors like health and water, we’re also working together to help address malaria, for example, which is the number one cause of death for children under the age of five in Southern Sudan, and doing that in partnership with the UK and with Norway so that we have a coordinated effort that is about achieving real results.

And I think across the sectors and across our conversation, the conversation was very focused on what are the results we’re trying to achieve and how are we going to accomplish a division of labor across our three country partners in order to help Southern Sudan achieve those results. And that’s really what they were asking for as well. They were welcoming aid in an orientation where that aid was about achieving real results in the agriculture sector, the health sector, education programs, and efforts like that.

QUESTION: This was a question on your trip. Now you’re back in Washington. Can I ask you a question for here? Yesterday, after a hearing in Congress, the five Democrats –

MS. FULTON: Tejinder, we’re going to stick to Sudan.


MS. FULTON: (Inaudible.)


MS. FULTON: Thank you. Any further questions?

QUESTION: I’ve got one for Dr. Shah. There’s been a number of reports suggesting that the Northern economy might really be in trouble after separation, and you’ve stressed what the U.S. is planning to do for the South. I’m wondering what the U.S. has in mind for the North. Do you agree with those assessments? Do you think that they’re looking at tough times? And can you talk to us anything – anything more about the debt relief proposals? Are we any closer to an understanding of how and when that might happen?

ADMINISTRATOR SHAH: Sure. Well, I do believe that in the North they will have important economic issues that require real leadership, and we discussed them in some detail. They need a more diversified economic base. Particularly in southern parts of the North, they need to reinvest in agriculture, which continues to be the area of employment for 80 percent of the population in those particular areas and communities. And they need to do that in a way that recognizes that trade with the South is going – whether in the agriculture sector or other sectors, is going to be a critical part of an economic strategy, just as for the South trade with the North will continue to be quite important for their economic viability. So we did have important conversations on those types of issues.

I think it’s important to recognize that together with the UK and Norway, it’s our expectation that the UK in particular will take the lead in engaging with the North on a set of development programs and projects. And when it comes to issues like debt relief, U.S.-held debt is a very, very small proportion of the aggregate, of the total aggregate debt. So while those discussions are ongoing, it’s really other countries that are leading the technical process. And of course, the United States is part of the technical process with, I believe, our assistant secretary of Treasury, either there now or on their way soon to continue the technical conversations on debt relief.

QUESTION: Can you give us any sense of the timeline? I mean, how long are those technical conversations likely to take?

AMBASSADOR LYMAN: I can just add a little bit to what the administrator said. And it’s an interesting insight into the negotiation process, because one of the things that did occur at an earlier negotiating session was a tentative agreement between the North and the South how they would handle the debt issue and something called zero option, in which the North assumes all the debt but the South works with them to get international debt relief and the international community does as well. There was a meeting at the World Bank during the spring meetings of the Bank and Fund in which this was discussed, and the Bank and the African Development Bank are leading a technical effort, as the administrator said, to gather all the information, et cetera, that goes into a debt relief process.

This is a complicated, long-term process. Reaching what is one of the critical stages – that is, determining if Sudan is eligible for what’s called HIPC, Heavily Indebted Poor Countries debt relief – could take as much as two years. So that process has started, but it’s a long, complicated process. But I really was struck by this tentative agreement, which is a very good win/win situation and the kind of thing we’d like to see more in the negotiations.

MS. FULTON: Lalit.

QUESTION: U.S. and India are partnering together for agricultural reforms in Africa. Are there any specific projects which both countries are working in Sudan?

ADMINISTRATOR SHAH: Not that I’m aware of in Sudan. There are specific projects in a number of other countries, but to keep this focused I won’t go into describing them now. But I will say that joint trilateral partnership is moving forward very, very effectively in a number of other Sub-Saharan African countries.

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you.

QUESTION: It’s on Sudan, for the ambassador. The Pentagon last night confirmed that it is looking into alleged misappropriation of assets by Pakistan by sending helicopters to Sudan which were meant for fight against terrorism. Is there a mechanism whereby you (inaudible) incoming assets? Have you received any request to check on these – which is the authority, which is on ground checking on this?

AMBASSADOR LYMAN: I’m sorry. I’m not familiar with that. I’ll have to look into it. I was not familiar with that issue. Sorry.

MS. FULTON: Okay. If there are no further questions, this concludes the briefing. Thank you very much for your time.

QUESTION: Thank you.


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