Tuesday, September 30, 2014

African Women Participate in TechWomen 2014

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
September 29, 2014

As part of the U.S. Department of State’s TechWomen exchange program, companies in the San Francisco Bay area and Silicon Valley will host 78 women from the Middle East and Africa from September 30 – November 5. The TechWomen program supports the United States’ global commitment to provide women the access and opportunities needed to advance their careers, pursue their dreams, and build a network of mentors in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

This year’s participants – from Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, the Palestinian Territories, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tunisia, Yemen, and Zimbabwe – will work side-by-side with American counterparts at 40 leading companies. They will attend professional networking events and workshops hosted by partners in one of the following tracks: hardware, Internet, science, software, telecommunications, and for the first time this year green technology, as women who work in that field look for global solutions to environmental challenges.

After returning to their home countries, the 2014 TechWomen participants will join other program alumnae and several visiting U.S. mentors to conduct workshops for women and girls who have expressed interest in pursuing tech-based careers.

The professional mentor organizations include Adobe, Autodesk, BrightRoll, Cahill Contractors, Calix, Cisco Systems, Cleantech Open, Code for America, Coursera, eBay, Ericsson, Esurance, Everwise, Genentech, Juniper Networks, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, LinkedIn Corporation, Los Altos History Museum, Lumos Labs, McAfee, Meltwater, Mozilla Corporation, NASA Ames, NestGSV, Northgate Environmental Management, Pacific Gas & Electric, Digital Health, Salesforce.com, San Francisco Department of the Environment, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara Valley Water District, ServiceMaxx, SolarCity Corporation, SunEdison, Symantec Corporation, ThoughtWorks, Twitter, Vista Solar, VMware, Walmart, and Wikispaces (Tangient) LLC.

TechWomen, launched in 2011, is conducted in coordination with the Institute of International Education (IIE)’s Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives in San Francisco. Join the conversation on Twitter @TechWomen or follow on Facebook. For more information, please contact of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at ECA-Press@state.gov.

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement on Nigeria’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
September 30, 2014

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

Our peoples enjoy an enduring partnership founded on shared values of democracy, security, and respect for human rights and the rule of law. The United States and Nigeria must continue working together to thwart destabilizing forces that would use violence to undo gains achieved to date through so much effort.

I was honored to speak with President Goodluck Jonathan at the United Nations General Assembly last week, and to welcome him to Washington, DC, this summer for the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit. We discussed how our two countries can deepen our partnership through trade and collaboration.

And weeks before, I shook hands with Beatrice Jedy-Agba—a courageous Nigerian woman who has devoted her life’s work to combatting human trafficking and bringing a peaceful, secure future to all Nigerians.

I wish all Nigerians a prosperous future on the 54th anniversary of your independence.

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement on Botswana’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
September 30, 2014

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I send best wishes to the people of Botswana as you celebrate 48 years of independence on September 30.

The United States and Botswana are natural partners. Ours is a relationship built on the shared values of democracy, justice, equality, and the fundamental rights of all people. Together we are taking our partnership to the next level by investing in Botswana’s greatest natural resource of all—its people.

The Young African Leaders Initiative is lifting up Botswana’s youth. Our commitment to combatting HIV/AIDS through PEPFAR is healing the sick. And the listing of the Okavango Delta as the 1000th UNESCO World Heritage Site is raising the global profile of environmental issues.

It is with an eye to a shared, bright future that we work together as Americans and Batswana to strengthen the relationship between our governments and between our people.

I send warm wishes to the people of Botswana for continued peace and prosperity.

U.S. Pledges $83 million Additional Emergency Assistance for South Sudan

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
September 29, 2014

Today, Assistant Secretary Anne C. Richard announced nearly $83 million in additional emergency assistance for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in South Sudan and South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda. The additional funding was announced at the annual meeting of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ governing Executive Committee in Geneva. With this announcement, the total U.S. emergency assistance for the South Sudan crisis in fiscal year 2014 is more than $720 million.

Conflict in South Sudan threatens to create a famine in a country where more than two million people are already facing crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity and tens of thousands of children are at risk of malnutrition-related death. Without progress on political negotiations, the end of the current rainy season is likely to bring a new, intensified chapter of fighting and displacement. With over 450,000 new South Sudanese refugees since December 2013, there are now more refugees than when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement ended Sudan’s long civil war in 2005. An additional 200,000 South Sudanese are expected to flee to neighboring countries by the end of the year.

The United States remains committed to the people of South Sudan. This latest U.S. contribution will allow both international and non-governmental organizations to provide refugees and IDPs with basic life support such as access to clean water and sanitation; food, health care, and essential household items; gender-based violence prevention and response; critical services to treat malnutrition; distribution of seeds, tools, and livelihood support kits; employment training; and programs to protect children, including education and efforts to reunite families torn apart by displacement.

While the United States is striving to do all we can to help, we urge other donors to continue to respond and similarly ramp up assistance to prevent the worst consequences of this conflict. Most importantly, the United States calls on all parties to the conflict to end the violence and allow immediate and unconditional access for humanitarian workers to reach people in need across all areas of South Sudan. Gains made through international assistance can only be sustained if leaders prioritize peace and invest in services for their own people.

U.S. Commends Cote D’Ivoire for Reinstating Air Travel

Photo: Getty Images
Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Department Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
September 27, 2014

The United States commends Cote d’Ivoire for reinstating air travel to Ebola-affected countries, in line with WHO and IATA recommendations. President Ouattara’s decision greatly enhances the ability of the international community to facilitate and deliver the rapid and critical response to the Ebola outbreak and helps maintain vital trade and commercial links to the region. The United States welcomes Cote d’Ivoire’s timely action and example and continues to urge everyone in the international community to do more to stop Ebola and save lives.

G-7 Foreign Ministers Issue Joint Statement on Ebola

State Department Photo
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State

New York City, NY
September 25, 2014

The text of the following statement was released by the Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and High Representative of the European Union:

Begin Text:

We, the Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and the High Representative of the European Union, express our deepest concern about the unprecedented spread of Ebola in parts of West Africa.

We are deeply saddened by the loss of thousands of lives and the suffering the disease is inflicting. We note with regret that there appears to be no standard cure against the Ebola virus yet. We recognize the courageous efforts undertaken by volunteers and health workers in the region. We urge the international community to bring high-quality medical care to Ebola patients including healthcare workers and accelerate development and testing of vaccines and therapies.

We underscore our willingness to provide relief to the countries ravaged by the virus and emphasize our common understanding that Ebola is a common global threat to peace and security. We recall that the G7 has played a leading role in combatting infectious diseases and we express our firm determination to support all necessary efforts to stop the Ebola virus from spreading further and prevent this humanitarian disaster from worsening.

We welcome the leading role of the United Nations and the World Health Organization and the decision to launch the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER). We acknowledge also the response of countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. We underline that the current crisis has a humanitarian as well as a regional security dimension. To address the latter, we look forward to entering into a dialogue with the most affected countries, the neighbouring states and international partners.

We applaud the international assistance coming from the World Bank, the African Union, the African Development Bank, the European Union, non-governmental organizations and private companies, and we urge everyone in the international community – governments and non-state actors alike – to immediately increase its support.

We express our readiness to assist the affected countries in their fight against Ebola as well as their efforts to cope with Ebola-induced challenges such as shortages in the provision of non-Ebola basic healthcare, shortages in food and budgetary constraints.

We underline the necessity to enhance the ability of the countries concerned to fight the disease themselves – i.e. through the provision of medical care and equipment, training of medical personal, and secondment of medical experts as well as the need to assist them in rebuilding their health services.

In this context, we warn that although the spread of Ebola must be contained, affected countries must not be isolated. We underscore that the provision of assistance depends on unhindered access to the countries concerned, and underline that G7 countries with the UN will encourage and maintain air and maritime links with the countries concerned. The G7 call on other countries to follow this practice. In order to facilitate and streamline the transportation of essential goods and equipment, G7 countries support the establishment of regional transportation hubs.

We commend international health care workers working in affected countries for their selfless commitment and brave services, putting their own lives at risk. We agree to provide the best possible care for international health care workers in the event they contract the virus. To this end, G7 countries will coordinate capabilities and resources to help to ensure appropriate treatment locally as well as for airborne medical evacuation and hospitalization of infected international health care workers taking due account of the EU initiative in this field.

We underline the importance of the UN Mission in Liberia and call on all countries to maintain their level of support for the mission.

This crisis requires an urgent and prompt response to control the spread of the virus, but also a long term approach that extends beyond the immediate containment of the disease. Even while we are responding to the immediate Ebola epidemic, we must also act to establish capacity around the world to prevent, detect and rapidly respond to disease threats like Ebola. In order to do so, we support the implementation of the International Health Regulations and the Global Health Security Agenda.

G7 Africa Directors have already met in New York. They will continue to cooperate closely in all aspects of the Ebola crisis and will reach out to the countries affected.

U.S. Priorities In Sudan And South Sudan – Briefing

State Department Photo
Foreign Press Center With Ambassador Donald Booth, Special Envoy To Sudan And South Sudan

Thursday, September 25, 2014, 3:00 P.M. EDT
New York Foreign Press Center, 799 United Nations Plaza, 10th Floor

MS. STAVROPOULOS: Good afternoon and welcome. My name is Daphne Stavropoulos. We are very pleased today to have Ambassador Donald Booth, the U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, with us. He’s going to make opening remarks that are going to be on the record. After he makes his remarks, we’ll open the floor to questions. We may have journalists at our foreign press center in Washington, D.C., and we certainly have some viewing live – via livestream.

So with that, we want to thank you again for coming today, and I’ll turn it over to you, Ambassador.

AMBASSADOR BOOTH: Okay, well, good afternoon. I’ve just come from the Secretary-General’s special event on South Sudan over at the UN, which focused on the twin issues of the ongoing crisis in the country, both the political crisis – the conflict – and the humanitarian crisis. And I think there was a general agreement among the participants that the humanitarian crisis, while donors are stepping forward and providing assistance, that the crisis itself is – stems from the ongoing conflict. And the conflict is manmade; therefore this humanitarian crisis is manmade, and it needs to be addressed.

I think one of the panelists put it very well is we need to focus on protecting the people and achieving peace in the country, that the two are inextricably linked. But the humanitarian situation in South Sudan is indeed dire. There are about 3.9 million people in the country that need food assistance. There are close to 1.7 million people that have been displaced by the conflict; 500,000 of them are living in neighboring countries as refugees. Of the ones that are in the country, almost 100,000 are actually in various UN camps, the UNMISS bases that have been turned into protection-of-civilian sites. These people have been there for the most part since the conflict began in December.

The conflict had its origins in political competition within the ruling party, but then ended up splitting the country along ethnic lines, and the conflict has been addressed by a mediation process by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, which is the East African, Horn of Africa regional organization. They were given that mandate by the African Union back in December and they have been leading a mediation process ever since. That process has achieved a cessation of hostilities agreement by the parties. That was accomplished in January, but it was not respected; the fighting continued. In May, they managed to bring together President Kiir and the opposition leader Riek Machar in Addis Ababa, and we got a commitment from both of them to negotiate a transitional government that would bring about an end to the hostilities and usher in the reforms that would be needed, including the writing of a new permanent constitution.

Again, the negotiations since May have not been conclusive. The talks resumed again in Ethiopia formally this past Monday and are continuing now in the city of Bahir Dar in Ethiopia under the mediation of IGAD supported by many of the international partners, supported definitely by the African Union, by the Troika of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Norway; supported by the European Union and by China as well.

So – and many other donors that are contributing to the efforts supporting the mediation effort and supporting one of the elements that came out of the cessation of hostilities agreement which was the establishment of a monitoring and verification mechanism. This is a civilian mechanism, an unarmed mechanism, that was designed to go in and investigate violations of the cessation of hostilities report on who had done what. And it has been established now in seven different sites in South Sudan and has been providing reporting, though it has been hampered by the fact that it is operating in a non-permissive environment; i.e., an environment where fighting continues.

And so one of the missions that the Security Council gave to UNMISS when it changed the mandate of UNMISS back in April was to give the primary mandate of the mission to be protection of civilians, and included in that was a protection of the monitors mandate.

So the region has given a 45-day deadline for negotiations. That deadline is approaching. The negotiations, as I said, are currently underway, and they have become multi-stakeholder negotiations, where it’s not just the two armed groups that are at the table but IGAD has brought in as well representatives of other members of the party, of the SPLN – the ruling party – who had been detained after the conflict broke out and who have chosen not to take sides with either the government or the opposition, with other political parties, with the civil society representation, and also representation of the religious community – the idea being to bring more voices from South Sudan into the peace process so that any eventual peace process arrangement for a transitional government would have a broader basis and a broader buy-in. What IGAD is striving for, we’re all striving for, is peace but also a sustainable peace and putting South Sudan on a trajectory where it can come up with a political arrangement that the different ethnic groups can live together peacefully and harmoniously.

The independence of South Sudan has been described by some as the creation of two multiethnic countries, and that’s quite true. Both Sudan and South Sudan are multiethnic countries, and both are grappling with the issues of how to govern multiethnic countries.

So let me stop there with those remarks on South Sudan and the peace process, and we can turn to any questions you have.

MS. STAVROPOULOS: Please make sure to state your name and your media affiliation.

QUESTION: Ambassador, hi, thanks for doing this. I’m Kevin Kelley. I write for The Nation in Kenya and for the East African. I spoke with you briefly at the Africa summit in Washington in August and I asked you then whether you thought that IGAD was in danger of losing some credibility because it keeps threatening to impose sanctions, and it doesn’t. And now we have another deadline that – we’ll see what happens. But the Enough Project put out a report today saying that IGAD’s losing credibility by not imposing sanctions. Has the United States played a role in discussing this with IGAD, saying that you need to do what you say you’re going to do? The U.S. imposed sanctions this week on two military – two more military leaders.

AMBASSADOR BOOTH: We have discussed the issue of sanctions with IGAD. Back in May when Secretary Kerry traveled to the region and met with a number of IGAD foreign ministers, they were talking about punitive measures to be taken if the parties did not negotiate seriously, and they, indeed, have let that threat go unfulfilled. But the – they remain focused on trying to use both the threat and actual measures to try to leverage the negotiations forward.

There’s always a concern that if you just go ahead and impose a sanction that you can foreclose options. And this is one of the reasons that the U.S. and the European Union have been very careful to be – move in a deliberate fashion in terms of sanctioning people and sending the message that the pressures will increase. And I think that’s what IGAD is trying to figure out, is what is credible that they can do as a region,– that they can agree on and they can work together on, because the effectiveness will require them to work together. And so I think they’re looking for ways to bring pressure to bear on the parties, and we continue to engage with them on how best to do that.

QUESTION: I can do a follow-up if nobody else has – I forget the source of this, but it was one of the think tanks suggested in a report recently that maybe one reason why IGAD’s reluctant to impose sanctions is because Kenya, for example, serves a conduit for weapons going to South Sudan, and some of these leaders on both sides of the battling are keeping funding money in surrounding countries. Do you think that there are disincentives of that kind to move forward with sanctions?

AMBASSADOR BOOTH: Well, I think the – as I say, I think the countries of the region are looking at how best to leverage the negotiations and to do so in a way that is credible. And so I think one of the things that the region has talked about itself is an arms embargo. I think there’s a recognition that they would have to be the ones that would implement that, and I think they’ve been looking seriously at how they might do something like that. So, again, what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to use both the posturing and at the same time working out how they might be able to actually implement something in order to maximize the pressure and influence the negotiations.

QUESTION: Just one more, if I could just follow – following up on that. Would the United States not move through the Security Council to seek an arms embargo on all parties in South Sudan until IGAD acts? Is that the U.S.’s position?

AMBASSADOR BOOTH: The Security Council has to reach agreement on any sanctions. We’re one vote in it, and we have to make sure that those who could block it with one vote don’t do so, which was going to require a level of African support. And when we feel we have that level of African support, I think the Security Council action is quite possible.


QUESTION: Thanks for being here with us, Mr. Ambassador. On the issue of civilian casualties and thousands of refugees, and apart from the African efforts and the United Nations and the Security Council, what has been the role on the ground of the United States on these issues?

AMBASSADOR BOOTH: Well, the United States, working as part of the Troika, has been supportive of the IGAD mediation process. We have been consulting with the mediators, giving them support – political support where needed, and trying to help build the pressure on the parties to negotiate seriously. It’s one of the reasons the U.S. issued the executive order for targeted individual sanctions back in April. We have followed through with two rounds of designations under those sanctions, and we’re prepared to continue to utilize that executive order, if need be.

We have been the major funder of the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism and helped in the establishment of that through assistance that we provided, technical expertise, people who had worked previous monitoring missions. We have also been – we were very supportive of the effort to bring – to strengthen the UN mission in South Sudan, both to change its mandate to one of protection of civilians but also to bring in troops from the region so that there would be a credible regional force there that could help protect not only civilians, but also the monitors.

So we continue to work on a political level with the parties in South Sudan. We engage with all of the actors. We’ve helped to – the civil society groups to organize, to have a voice in these negotiations. We did so at the request of IGAD. So we basically are – as IGAD likes to say, we’re sort of a force multiplier for them. We are supportive of their effort. We help to move that – the process forward as best we can.

Secretary Kerry, as I mentioned, traveled to the region in early May, and I think his visit to Juba as well as to Addis and his engagement with President Kiir and with opposition leader Riek Machar helped to facilitate them agreeing to come together in Addis, where IGAD, under the leadership of Prime Minister Hailemariam of Ethiopia, managed to wring this commitment from the two sides to move forward toward a transitional government.

So that’s the kind of engagement that we’ve had. At the same time, we’re of course addressing the humanitarian situation on the ground. We’ve contributed $636 million so far since this crisis began for the humanitarian situation alone, and have been a major leader in helping – working with the UN to organize that relief effort.

QUESTION: What has been the effect of the crisis in South Sudan to Sudan, (inaudible) issue of Darfur and other issues of crisis in Sudan?

AMBASSADOR BOOTH: Well, I think probably the most immediate has been the fact that due to the fighting, oil production has declined, and so therefore, transit revenues have declined. The Sudanese have expressed great concern at the presence of some elements of the JEM and other opposition movements from Sudan who have gone to South Sudan to fight on the government side down there. The Government of South Sudan has expressed concerns that the Government of Sudan is supporting opposition forces.

But I would say that Sudan has generally engaged as a member of IGAD. They have contributed a member of the mediation team. They have contributed members to the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, and generally have gone along with the direction that IGAD as an organization has wanted to take in trying to bring about an end to the conflict.

Yes, please.

QUESTION: I’m Vasco De Jesus, VascoPress, Brazil. And given all these variables, do you have a timeframe that you expect these parties will get together in the road of peace? It’s a two-year, one-year – how do you foresee?

AMBASSADOR BOOTH: Well, the – as I say, IGAD – I mean, they are together. They’ve been together since January with a few breaks in between under this IGAD mediation. They’re under a 45-day deadline now. I think, obviously, if there’s progress being made, if there’s a seriousness of negotiation, no one is going to stop them from talking in the middle of a constructive process. But the process of some sort of reconciliation, accountability, some of the critical reform areas that will need to be addressed by a transitional government – again, IGAD has talked about a 30-month transition period. But that’s after you get a peace agreement and after you get agreement on what will constitute a transitional government.

The – everybody has been pushing the process as quickly as possible. The parties have resisted coming to grips witha lot of the serious issues until recently, when there were some very constructive discussions on specific issues such as security sector reform, accountability and reconciliation, reform of the public finances. And so there is – once they get down to discussing the – kind of the more substantive issues, they – the talks tend to be a bit more productive. It’s when they’re talking about who should be in charge that it’s a bit less productive.

Though IGAD – in an attempt to push the process forward, the last IGAD summit basically laid out an outline and a protocol for a transitional government that would have President Salva Kiir, as the duly elected president of the country, continue as president through the transition, but that there would be a prime minister that would be nominated by the opposition,would have to be agreed to by the president, but the powers of that prime minister are a subject of negotiation. And so that’s, again, a task ahead of the negotiators here.


QUESTION: On Sudan, the issue about Darfur has been on for more than 10 years. So what do you think should be the solution to this, because since the UN is (inaudible) from resolving the issue in Sudan?

AMBASSADOR BOOTH: Well, there have been many peace agreements for Darfur, the most recent one having been the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, which really only one major group signed on to. Other armed groups, the Darfuri groups, refused to sign on to it. As they’ve explained it to me, they don’t believe it’s a basis for addressing the underlying issues of the conflict in Darfur, and therefore they didn’t want to be part of it. They saw it as more an effort at co-opting them. That’s their view.

The bottom line is that there hadn’t been really a serious discussion between the government and the Darfuri armed opposition. This is something that President Mbeki, in his role as chair of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel, has taken up recently, and as I understand will be having actually a meeting with Darfuri groups, and is working with the government in Khartoum to try to find a way to get a process for negotiating a cessation of hostilities in Darfur and a humanitarian access agreement as part of something in parallel that he’s doing with the Two Areas of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. And both of those cessation of hostilities agreement negotiations would tie – could become permanent peace agreements but via addressing the political issues which are common to both areas of conflict via this national dialogue that President Bashir has put on the table in the speech he made in January. And so I think there is – if President Mbeki is allowed to continue and have a parallel negotiation process for Darfur with what he’s doing in the Two Areas, and if there is a genuine national dialogue to link those two cessation of hostilities negotiations to,

I think there is a possibility of them evolving into a permanent ceasefire and a peace agreement.

But this is still early, very early. And the fighting, unfortunately, continues very, very vicious – fighting that basically affects civilians, aerial bombardment and the new version of the Janjaweed, the Rapid Support Forces which operate in Darfur as well as the two areas.

In Darfur I think there were 500,000 people displaced last year —

QUESTION: This year?

AMBASSADOR BOOTH: — by fighting. And in the two areas this year another 100,000 displaced. So the impact really is on civilians.

MS. STAVROPOULOS: We have time for just one or two more questions.

QUESTION: Just one follow-up on South Sudan. Do you personally or the United States believe that the two parties are equally culpable for the violations of the ceasefire, or do you think that the rebels or the governments are primarily to blame for the breakdown?

AMBASSADOR BOOTH: Both sides have committed violations of the ceasefire. The monitoring and verification mechanism has documented that. The important thing is that you can get into this tit-for-tat that has to stop. They’ve recommitted in May twice. The May 9th agreement between Riek Machar and President Kiir also recommitted them. And they were recommitted again in this last IGAD summit to implementing the cessation of hostilities agreement. They just need to get on with doing it.

And one of the problems is the forces in many areas are in very close proximity to each other, so it doesn’t take much to start a firefight. I would say since May a lot of the violations, if you will, have been more sort of indirect fire, but there have been several that have been blatant attacks. We have condemned those, such as the attack recently in the areas around Renk in Upper Nile and also the attack against Nasir by opposition forces.

MS. STAVROPOULOS: If there are no more questions, I want to thank Ambassador Booth very much for participating in today’s discussion. We really appreciate you coming. And for all of you, we will be sending the transcript to you later today and it’ll be posted on the fpc.state.gov website. And we encourage everyone here to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Thank you very much.


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Clinton Global Initiative Recognizes African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP)

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
September 26, 2014

The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) has selected the State Department’s African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) as one of this year’s CGI Commitment to Action honorees for its program to help the women entrepreneurs develop and integrate their businesses into local supply chains.

Through the support of the Clinton Global Initiative, AWEP will launch the “Missing Middle of Africa Supply Chain Project,” a program that will facilitate supplier development opportunities for African women entrepreneurs. This CGI Commitment to Action will reach more than 5,000 beneficiaries in Sub-Saharan Africa. This program will significantly increase the funding opportunities available to AWEP members, enable greater access to global markets and increase trade and investment in Africa.

Working with partner organizations – the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the African Diaspora Marketplace, the Small Enterprise Assistance Funds, Western Union, Deloitte Consulting, the Women’s Presidents Organization and WEConnect International — AWEP entrepreneurs will develop strategic mentoring and partnerships with U.S. women-owned firms.

AWEP members include more than 1,600 businesses and 22 chapters throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Chapters are located in Angola, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

CGI’s commitment to AWEP was announced at the 2014 CGI Annual Meeting on September 21–24, 2014 in New York City.

Remarks By President Obama At U.N. Meeting On EBOLA

Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Office of the Press Secretary
September 25, 2014

Remarks By President Obama At U.N. Meeting On EBOLA
United Nations Building
New York City, New York
11:15 A.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Mr. Secretary-General, thank you for bringing us together today to address an urgent threat to the people of West Africa, but also a potential threat to the world. Dr. Chan, heads of state and government, especially our African partners, ladies and gentlemen: As we gather here today, the people of Liberia and Sierra Leone and Guinea are in crisis. As Secretary-General Ban and Dr. Chan have already indicated, the Ebola virus is spreading at alarming speed. Thousands of men, women and children have died. Thousands more are infected. If unchecked, this epidemic could kill hundreds of thousands of people in the coming months. Hundreds of thousands.

Ebola is a horrific disease. It’s wiping out entire families. It has turned simple acts of love and comfort and kindness — like holding a sick friend’s hand, or embracing a dying child — into potentially fatal acts. If ever there were a public health emergency deserving an urgent, strong and coordinated international response, this is it.

But this is also more than a health crisis. This is a growing threat to regional and global security. In Liberia, in Guinea, in Sierra Leone, public health systems have collapsed. Economic growth is slowing dramatically. If this epidemic is not stopped, this disease could cause a humanitarian catastrophe across the region. And in an era where regional crises can quickly become global threats, stopping Ebola is in the interest of all of us.

The courageous men and women fighting on the front lines of this disease have told us what they need. They need more beds, they need more supplies, they need more health workers, and they need all of this as fast as possible. Right now, patients are being left to die in the streets because there’s nowhere to put them and there’s nobody to help them. One health worker in Sierra Leone compared fighting this outbreak to “fighting a forest fire with spray bottles.” But with our help, they can put out the blaze.

Last week, I visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is mounting the largest international response in its history. I said that the world could count on America to lead, and that we will provide the capabilities that only we have, and mobilize the world the way we have done in the past in crises of similar magnitude. And I announced that, in addition to the civilian response, the United States would establish a military command in Liberia to support civilian efforts across the region.

Today, that command is up and it is running. Our commander is on the ground in Monrovia, and our teams are working as fast as they can to move in personnel, equipment and supplies. We’re working with Senegal to stand up an air bridge to get health workers and medical supplies into West Africa faster. We’re setting up a field hospital, which will be staffed by personnel from the U.S. Public Health Service, and a training facility, where we’re getting ready to train thousands of health workers from around the world. We’re distributing supplies and information kits to hundreds of thousands of families so they can better protect themselves. And together with our partners, we’ll quickly build new treatment units across Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, where thousands will be able to receive care.

Meanwhile, in just the past week, more countries and organizations have stepped up their efforts — and so has the United Nations. Mr. Secretary-General, the new UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response that you announced last week will bring all of the U.N.’s resources to bear in fighting the epidemic. We thank you for your leadership.

So this is all progress, and it is encouraging. But I want us to be clear: We are not moving fast enough. We are not doing enough.

Right now, everybody has the best of intentions, but people are not putting in the kinds of resources that are necessary to put a stop to this epidemic. There is still a significant gap between where we are and where we need to be. We know from experience that the response to an outbreak of this magnitude has to be fast and it has to be sustained. It’s a marathon, but you have to run it like a sprint. And that’s only possible if everybody chips in, if every nation and every organization takes this seriously. Everybody here has to do more.

International organizations have to move faster, and cut through red tape and mobilize partners on the ground as only they can. More nations need to contribute critical assets and capabilities — whether it is air transport, or medical evacuation, or health care workers, or equipment, or treatment. More foundations can tap into the networks of support that they have, to raise funds and awareness.

More businesses, especially those who already have a presence in the region, can quickly provide their own expertise and resources,
from access to critical supply chains to telecommunications. And more citizens — of all nations — can educate themselves on this crisis, contribute to relief efforts, and call on their leaders to act. So everybody can do something. That’s why we’re here today.

And even as we meet the urgent threat of Ebola, it’s clear that our nations have to do more to prevent, detect and respond to future biological threats — before they erupt into full-blown crises. Tomorrow, in Washington, I’ll host 44 nations to advance our Global Health Security Agenda, and we are interested in working with any country that shares this commitment.

Just to emphasize this issue of speed again. When I was down at the CDC — and perhaps this has already been discussed, but I want to emphasize this — the outbreak is such where at this point more people will die. But the slope of the curve, how fast we can arrest the spread of this disease, how quickly we can contain it is within our control. And if we move fast, even if imperfectly, then that could mean the difference between 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 deaths versus hundreds of thousands or even a million deaths. So this is not one where there should be a lot of wrangling and people waiting to see who else is doing what. Everybody has got to move fast in order for us to make a difference. And if we do, we’ll save hundreds of thousands of lives.

Stopping Ebola is a priority for the United States. I’ve said that this is as important a national security priority for my team as anything else that’s out there. We’ll do our part. We will continue to lead, but this has to be a priority for everybody else. We cannot do this alone. We don’t have the capacity to do all of this by ourselves. We don’t have enough health workers by ourselves. We can build the infrastructure and the architecture to get help in, but we’re going to need others to contribute.

To my fellow leaders from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, to the people of West Africa, to the heroic health workers who are on the ground as we speak, in some cases, putting themselves at risk — I want you to know that you are not alone. We’re working urgently to get you the help you need. And we will not stop, we will not relent until we halt this epidemic once and for all.

So I want to thank all of you for the efforts that are made. But I hope that I’m properly communicating a sense of urgency here. Do not stand by, thinking that somehow, because of what we’ve done, that it’s taken care of. It’s not. And if we don’t take care of this now we are going to see fallout effects and secondary effects from this that will have ramifications for a long time, above and beyond the lives that will have been lost.

I urge all of you, particularly those who have direct access to your heads of state, to make sure that they are making this a top priority in the next several weeks and months.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END 11:25 A.M. EDT

Ethiopian PM Desalegn and Pres. Obama Meet – Remarks

File Photo
Office of the Press Secretary

September 25, 2014

Remarks By President Obama And Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn Of The Federal Democratic Republic Of Ethiopia Before Bilateral Meeting

United Nations Building
New York City, New York
9:57 A.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I want to extend a warm welcome to Prime Minister Desalegn and his delegation. When I spoke previously at the Africa Summit about some of the bright spots and progress that we’re seeing in Africa, I think there’s no better example than what has been happening in Ethiopia — one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

We have seen enormous progress in a country that once had great difficulty feeding itself. It’s now not only leading the pack in terms of agricultural production in the region, but will soon be an exporter potentially not just of agriculture, but also power because of the development that’s been taking place there.

We’re strong trading partners. And most recently, Boeing has done a deal with Ethiopia, which will result in jobs here in the United States. And in discussions with Ban Ki-moon yesterday, we discussed how critical it is for us to improve our effectiveness when it comes to peacekeeping and conflict resolution. And it turns out that Ethiopia may be one of the best in the world — one of the largest contributors of peacekeeping; one of the most effective fighting forces when it comes to being placed in some very difficult situations and helping to resolve conflicts.

So Ethiopia has been not only a leader economically in the continent, but also when it comes to security and trying to resolve some of the longstanding conflicts there. We are very appreciative of those efforts, and we look forward to partnering with them. This will give us an opportunity to talk about how we can enhance our strategic dialogue around a whole range of issues, from health, the economy, agriculture, but also some hotspot areas like South Sudan, where Ethiopia has been working very hard trying to bring the parties together, but recognizes that this is a challenge that we’re all going to have to work together on as part of an international community.

So I want to extend my thanks to the Prime Minister for his good work. And we look forward to not only an excellent discussion, but a very productive relationship going forward.

Mr. Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER DESALEGN: Thank you very much, Mr. President. First of all, I would like to thank you very much for receiving us during this very busy time. We value very much the relationship between the United States and Ethiopia. And as you mentioned, my country is moving, transforming the economy of the nation. But needless to say that the support of the United States in our endeavor to move forward has been remarkable.

I think the most important thing is to have the human capability to develop ourselves. And the United States has supported us in the various programs that helped us move forward in having healthy human beings that can produce. And as you mentioned, agriculture is the main source of our economic growth, and that has been the case because we do have our farmers which are devoid of malaria, which is the main debilitating disease while producing. So I think that has helped us a lot.

And we value also the support the United States has offered to us in terms of engaging the private sector, especially your initiative of the Power Africa program, which is taking shape. I think it’s remarkable and a modern kind of approach. And in that sense, we are obliged to thank you very much for this program and to deepen this Power Africa initiative.

Beyond that, you know that through your initiative and the leaders of the United States, we have the Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which is the most important program, where the private-public partnership is the initiative. We have a number of U.S. investors now engaged in agricultural production, helping the smallholder farmers, which is the basis for our agricultural growth that’s taking place now in Ethiopia.

Besides, peace and security is very essential for any kind of development to take place. In that sense, our cooperation in peace and security and pacifying the region, the continent, as well as our Horn of Africa — I think this has helped us a lot to bring peace and tranquility in the region. And we’ve feel that we have strong cooperation. We have to deepen it. We have to extend now our efforts to pacify the region and the continent. Of course, also, we have to cooperate globally, not only in Africa, and that relationship has to continue.

So, Mr. President, thank you very much for receiving us. We value this relationship, which is excellent, and we want to deepen it and continue.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Two last points I want to make. Obviously we’ve been talking a lot about terrorism and the focus has been on ISIL, but in Somalia, we’ve seen al-Shabaab, an affiliate of al Qaeda, wreak havoc throughout that country. That’s an area where the cooperation and leadership on the part of Ethiopia is making a difference as we speak. And we want to thank them for that.

So our counterterrorism cooperation and the partnerships that we have formed with countries like Ethiopia are going to be critical to our overall efforts to defeat terrorism.

And also, the Prime Minister and the government is going to be organizing elections in Ethiopia this year. I know something about that. We’ve got some midterms coming up. And so we’ll have an opportunity to talk about civil society and governance and how we can make sure that Ethiopia’s progress and example can extend to civil society as well, and making sure that throughout the continent of Africa we continue to widen and broaden our efforts at democracy, all of which isn’t just good for politics but ends up being good for economics as well — as we discussed at the Africa Summit.

So, thank you very much, everybody.

10:04 A.M. EDT

U.S. Priorities in Africa – Briefing

State Department Photo

David Gilmour, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs

New York, NY
September 25, 2014
9:00 A.M. EDT

The New York Foreign Press Center, New York, NY

MS. STAVROPOULOS: Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us at the New York Foreign Press Center today. We are very pleased to have Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs David Gilmour here with us. I’ll be turning over the floor to him in just a moment. His remarks will be on the record, and afterwards we’ll open the floor for questions. I know we have a journalist in Washington, D.C. or a few at the – our sister center, and if they were to approach the podium, we will recognize them in turn to ask their questions as well. Thank you very much for joining us, and with that, we’ll turn it over – turn the floor to Deputy Assistant Secretary Gilmour.

MR. GILMOUR: Great. Thank you. Well, the – welcome. Nice to meet you this morning, and thank you for coming. And I’m very pleased to be here with you this morning on behalf of Assistant Secretary of State Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who was looking forward to speaking with you this morning, but she was called to another meeting. So I’m pleased to be here to take her place.

She’s been very busy this week meeting with many of the heads of state that – who we just hosted in Washington last month for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, and that summit was really an extraordinary event. It really sort of surpassed all of our expectations. We were very pleased with it. And I think what was clear for everyone was that even as Africa continues to face great challenges, we’re also seeing more prosperity on the continent with rapidly growing economies and lots of investment opportunities, a burgeoning middle class, and a very dynamic young population.

Certainly, one of the most pressing issues facing Africa right now, and particularly West Africa, is the Ebola outbreak, and it’s a virus that West Africans have not encountered before. And the health systems, particularly in Liberia, are breaking down under the demands placed on their very limited resources. The important thing about Ebola is that we know how to treat it and how to stop the spread of the disease, but no treatment can be effective if the patients cannot get to the facilities and if there’s no equipment and if there aren’t enough trained healthcare workers.

Last Tuesday, President Obama announced a major increase in our efforts to help the affected countries and the international community. And I should be clear that the United States has been involved in the response to Ebola since the very first cases were reported many months ago. However, as the outbreak worsened and increased, we determined that this is a national security priority for the United States and we ramped up our response.

One of the new components in the Ebola response – the U.S. response, that is – will be a joint force command that will coordinate a regional response on the ground. An estimated 4,000 U.S. forces will be involved in the staging and transporting of supplies, building additional treatment units, and setting up sites to train 500 healthcare providers per week.

Stopping Ebola will take more than just the efforts of the United States and we are mobilizing partners around the world to help, but we have to act fast. Last week, the UN Security Council resolution on Ebola had 134 co-sponsors, and that’s more than any other resolution in the Council’s history. As we move forward, we must turn that resolve into action to control the outbreak, prevent a humanitarian disaster, and to strengthen health systems for the future.

Another critical conversation that’s going on at UNGA this week is how the world is responding to the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters. The President chaired a meeting at the UN Security Council on this topic, and raised it in his address to the General Assembly. Foreign terrorist fighters increase the brutality, intractability, and sectarian nature of the conflicts. And not only do these individuals threaten the states through which they transit, they return home radicalized to violence and possessing new military skills, increasing the risk of homegrown terrorist attacks.

We all know that the evil of terrorism is not just confined to the Middle East – it exists across Africa and throughout the world – and on Sunday we commemorated the solemn one-year anniversary of the al-Shabaab attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi. Recently, we’ve made progress in pushing back al-Shabaab. In recent weeks, al-Shabaab has lost additional territory to the renewed offensive by AMISOM and the Somali National Army, and it has suffered the loss of its co-founder, Ahmed Godane, and seen terrorist cells in Kampala disrupted by Ugandan security agencies. We must remain vigilant and understand that the fight is not over yet.

On the other side of the continent, we’re dealing with Boko Haram in Nigeria, and as an aside, I’d like to mention – I’d like to certainly commend the Government of Nigeria for its efforts to combat the spread of Ebola. Nigeria was one of the very first nations to respond when it donated $3.5 million two months ago to ECOWAS to fight Ebola, and Nigeria’s also been very active in training healthcare workers from all three affected countries in Lagos. So we certainly commend Nigeria’s efforts in responding to Ebola.

Back to Boko Haram, Boko Haram threatens not only the stability of Nigeria but the entire region. And long before the world’s attention was captured by the brutal kidnapping of hundreds of young women and girls in Chibok, we’d been working with Nigeria and its neighbors to address the growing threat from Boko Haram. Sadly, the Chibok girls and women are not the only victims of Boko Haram’s brutality and terrorism. More than 2,000 persons have been victimized by Boko Haram’s violence this year alone and recent events in Borno State and in Cameroon’s far north are evidence of this, and we’re deeply concerned about the security of Maiduguri in the near and in the long-term. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes, some into Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.

And just as we are stressing to our coalition partners in dealing with the threat posed by ISIL, the response in Africa cannot be exclusively military; it must be comprehensive. And that’s why we urge Nigeria and all the countries confronting this problem to invoke a comprehensive approach that brings both civilian and security tools to the fight. And we’re committed to supporting Nigeria in these efforts.

Let me turn for a moment to the Central African Republic. And I’m pleased to report that we’ve resumed operations at our Embassy in Bangui this week – or last week, I should say. And this coincides with the handover of authority for peacekeeping from the African Union-led mission MISCA to the new UN-led mission MINUSCA, which is the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission for the Central African Republic. And MINUSCA will continue to work alongside the French and European forces that are already there in place.

Unfortunately, the standing up of the UN mission does not mean that the humanitarian emergency is over. There’s still great need in that country. And in response to the urgent needs on the ground, the United States recently announced 28 million in additional funding for CAR last week and is providing over $145 million in humanitarian assistance for the crisis thus far. And we’re certainly continuing to support the Central African Republic as it moves toward the process of a national dialogue, reconciliation, and eventually free, fair, and peaceful elections – that its people certainly want and very much deserve.

Let me come back a moment to the African Leaders Summit, and I would comment that the feedback we’ve received from leaders this week that the assistant secretary’s had in her meetings has been overwhelmingly positive. The leaders were very pleased to have so much time to engage with President Obama and with the American private sector. Here in New York, we’ve seen what an infusion of positive energy the summit has brought to these relationships. Secretary Kerry is pleased about that, as is Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield and all of us who work on U.S.-Africa relations day in and day out.

During the course of the summit, we announced $33 billion in commitments for new trade and investment from U.S. companies, and another 4 billion for Africa’s development, including maternal and child healthcare, delivery of vaccines and drugs. We launched a number of new programs from the Security Governance Initiative to the Global Resilience Partnership to the Doing Business in Africa Campaign, which will spur U.S. investment in Africa and increase African investment in the United States.

In addition, we’ve committed $110 million a year for the next three to five years for the new African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership or what we call APRRP for short. And this program will help to build the capacity of African militaries to rapidly deploy peacekeepers to – in response to emerging conflicts.

We also hosted a very successful 13th AGOA ministerial, the African Growth and Opportunity Act on the eve of the summit. And President Obama has made it clear that he seeks a seamless renewal of the AGOA prior to its expiration next year, and we will work with Congress to achieve that goal.

Leading up to the summit, we were all talking about the fact that most of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies are in Africa. The African continent is home to a burgeoning middle class with an appetite for U.S. products. As African economies continue to grow, there’s an opportunity for job creation in the United States, and American CEOs recognize that.

Although much of our attention and energies at this moment have been diverted to dealing with Ebola, it does not define our relationship with Africa or with the affected countries. As the international community comes together to tackle the epidemic and to stop the further spread of Ebola, which I know we can and we will do, I’m confident that the – that Africa’s economic health will replace the other health headlines once again.

And with that, I’ll stop there and be happy to take your questions. Thank you.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.) All eyes will be on Nigeria as the country prepares for the 2015 election. What advice would you give the government? And in view of already charged scenario, politicians are making provocative statements and charging the system. What advice do you have for the government?

MR. GILMOUR: Well, in terms of – as I mentioned, in terms of the security situation, what we advocate is certainly a comprehensive approach to the problem, that it’s not a problem that can be solved purely by military means or by – with security tools. The north of Nigeria is a region that’s been underdeveloped for a long time, so there needs to be a response by the whole of the Nigerian Government in terms of social services, in terms of economic development, in terms of investment. So that’s what we see as the kind of long-term solution to that problem, as well as a strong security response. So all of the tools have to be used.

And I think we see other examples around the world. You can look at countries like Colombia, where there have been successful campaigns against insurgencies using the broad range of tools, so that’s the approach that we advocate. So I think that’s an important part of the discussion.

Just in general, we certainly hope for a robust and broad political discussion in Nigeria and free and fair and open and credible elections.

MS. STAVROPOULOS: It looks like we have a question from Washington. Can you go ahead, Washington?

QUESTION: Can you hear me?

MR. GILMOUR: Yes, go ahead.

QUESTION: Right. Philip Crowther with France 24. First of all, one question on the foreign fighters story that was important yesterday. Are you seeing any movement of foreign fighters from African countries and from countries where you know that terrorism and particularly the Islamist terrorism is rife? Are you detecting any movement toward the likes of Iraq and Syria at the moment?

MR. GILMOUR: Well, I think we’re always concerned about the possibility of that, and certainly concerned about the possibility of movement within Africa between the conflicts that are going on in the different regions. And as we speak to the African leaders, we hear a constant concern about, particularly groups like Boko Haram potentially connecting up with extremists from East Africa or those in the Central African Republic.

I particularly look after the Central African region as my main portfolio, and speaking to leaders out there, they’re very concerned about this problem of fighters potentially moving across borders. So it’s something we all need to – all the governments need to work together on, in not only restricting the movement of potential fighters but also in restricting financial flows as well.

QUESTION: Been any movement so far toward particularly Iraq and Syria? I know you’ve been able to detect plenty of American citizens. Have you been able to detect citizens from other African countries that you’ve been looking at? Have they made their way to Iraq and Syria, do you know?

MR. GILMOUR: I don’t have any information on that. No.


MR. GILMOUR: Yeah. Sorry.

QUESTION: Thank you. Thank you very much for being here with us. I’m curious to know about the – a little more about the joint forces command with 4,000 U.S. forces and how that is going to be implemented. Would you shed some light?

MR. GILMOUR: Well, the 4,000 number refers to all the personnel that would be involved kind of throughout the entire chain, both from the AFRICOM headquarters in Germany through – there are plans for intermediate staging areas in other countries to move supplies, and then finally the forces that would be on the ground, which would be primarily, as I understand it, engineers who would do construction. Because our main challenge is to – and particularly in Liberia – is to help construct as quickly as possible Ebola treatment centers. So there will be – so there are plans to construct a large number of these treatment centers. And then also there’s going to be – the Department of Defense has announced about a week ago that they would bring in a field hospital, so that will be set up. So it’s mainly personnel to help with logistics and bringing in supplies and doing construction.

QUESTION: And so the headquarters will be in Germany?


QUESTION: So is there going to be —

MR. GILMOUR: It’s U.S. Africa Command.

QUESTION: — a secondary managing center for the –

MR. GILMOUR: In Liberia.

QUESTION: In Liberia?


QUESTION: What about – and from Liberia it will spring to other countries, or not necessarily?


MR. FORD: There’s an intermediate base in Dakar.

MR. GILMOUR: Is that? Okay. So that’s been – yes.

MR. FORD: Yeah. Dakar was going to be the intermediate base that they’re going to ship to and then they’re going to help feed the region.

QUESTION: In Dakar? Dakar?

MR. GILMOUR: In Senegal.

QUESTION: Senegal. Okay. Thank you very much. Thank you.

MR. GILMOUR: Okay. Thank you.

QUESTION: On the —

MODERATOR: We’ll come back to Washington in just a moment.

MR. GILMOUR: Oh, okay. Sorry.

MODERATOR: We see you; we’ll come back.

QUESTION: On the U.S.-African Summit, I don’t know what mechanism has been put in place to monitor the implementation of the commitment that has been made by the leaders.

MR. GILMOUR: Well, that’s part of the idea this week with the discussions. That’s been a main focus with – in – the Assistant Secretary’s discussions with leaders this week are the follow-up exactly to that, how do we move forward on implementing these. And some of the initiatives, like the security governance initiative that I mentioned and the peacekeeping initiative – those are with particular countries. And so certainly, there are specific follow-up on those. But I think that’s been a topic of discussion with all the leaders this week, is how do we continue to move forward on those. And certainly, it’s a process that will continue with our embassies in each of the countries around the continent as well.

Heading back to Washington?

MODERATOR: We can go back to Washington.

QUESTION: Yeah. Same one, Philip Crowther with France 24 again. Just wanted to make sure on the question that I asked earlier what your answer was. I couldn’t hear it, whether it was an “I don’t know” or a “No comment” on whether you know whether African fighters or jihadists have made their way over to Iraq and Syria. And after that, I’d just ask one more question if I may.

MR. GILMOUR: Okay. Yeah, no, I don’t have any information on that. And perhaps we can get you something on that, but I don’t have any knowledge of that.

QUESTION: And then just finally on the coalition that the President asked yesterday at the Security Council that he wants the world to join him in this diplomatic and potentially wider-ranging military coalition against ISIL, have you – what kind of outreach have you done to African countries? Who is on board? And what might they potentially do? Are we looking at staging areas more than anything, the likes of – I don’t know – I think you use Djibouti, Eritrea, and Niger at this point in terms of airfields. Do you know what is being done in Africa for this diplomatic and military coalition against ISIL?

MR. GILMOUR: No, I don’t have any information on that as of yet. Okay.

STAFF: Please go ahead.


QUESTION: Yeah. There was an appointment, I think, yesterday of the Ebola coordinator Ambassador Powell. I don’t know – is she going to be on a shuttle around – I’m sorry, West Africa, or she will be stationed in Washington?

MR. GILMOUR: In Washington – she’s just come on board. She’s just started the job. And I’m not aware yet of any travel – I don’t know if you are, Rodney, but – so as far as I’m aware for now, her job is going to be in Washington coordinating. That’s not to say that she may not travel later, but I’m not aware of any travel being planned at this point.

MR. FORD: Oh, I think she’s here in New York too. She’s had —

MR. GILMOUR: And she is here today in New York, yes.

MR. FORD: — (inaudible) a couple of Ebola meetings here today.

QUESTION: Oh, okay, yeah (inaudible) Ebola today, high-level meeting today.

QUESTION: Would you please share with us some of the outcomes on the private sector side of the African Leaders Summit that was held in Washington?

MR. GILMOUR: Well, there’s tremendous interest, as you might know. We had this business forum, and there were 200 CEOs from major American companies and major African companies as well, and that the leaders had a chance to spend a full day interacting with them. So there was tremendous interest on the part both of African leaders and African business as well as American CEOs. And I think Americans see great opportunity for investment in Africa, just as companies in Brazil and India and China and many markets are looking at Africa as an investment opportunity.

So as I mentioned, there were some $33 billion worth of potential investments announced that came out of that deal. So yeah, as I say, there’s just tremendous interest, and I think we’ll certainly be seeing more of that.

There’s been some very successful joint ventures between American companies and South African – or – and African partners, I should say, and I think we’ll see more of that. There’s – particularly in the resource sector, in transportation, and in lots of different sectors. So there’s certainly great potential.

QUESTION: I know you mentioned China.

MR. GILMOUR: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: I would like to ask you about – how do you perceive the presence of China in Africa?

MR. GILMOUR: Oh, people ask us about that all the time, of course, and we certainly see China’s role as a positive one. China has much to contribute, and China’s made many investments, particularly in terms of infrastructure, that have been sorely needed for Africa. Africa needs all kinds of infrastructure everywhere, and so it’s great that the Chinese are playing an important role there. And our only comment is that – to African governments is that when they work with any foreign partner, they should ensure that the investments that they make, the partnerships they make, are a good deal for their country, and that they look out for the interests of the African countries in those, but – yes, but by and large, a very positive role.

QUESTION: Back to the Nigerian – forthcoming Nigerian general election is next year, that’s 2015. Is there any support the United States is making towards assisting Nigeria in the conduct of the election, and maybe other issues that have been coming up, like the issue of the (inaudible)? The situation has been very hard, and all – what support the U.S. is doing towards that?

MR. GILMOUR: Well, we have ongoing programs in support of democratic institutions. That’s certainly our priority everywhere, is just – and this is – President Obama has defined that that’s our top priority for Africa is the strengthening of democratic institutions.
And so we’re always ready to help bring in American experts to advise on democratic processes and things like the rule of law. So this is an ongoing effort of ours that we’re always doing. And we can get you some more details on what’s being done in particular in Nigeria. But yeah, certainly it’s something that we’re interested in supporting.

QUESTION: I’m curious to know if there is still an institutional memory at the State Department of a man that I much admired in the ’80s, Chester Crocker.

MR. GILMOUR: He’s still in Washington, yeah.

QUESTION: Meaning the work that he did in those days is still relevant as a backup for the – how do you deal – because he’s a very strong person in those – he was, he used to be in those days. And today, he’s still active there. And how – what is the – how would you compare the American foreign policy in Africa these days and –

MR. GILMOUR: Well, I think in – at that time, we were certainly focused on ending conflicts in Africa, and there were great conflicts going on in Southern Africa, and particularly in Portuguese-speaking countries in Southern Africa. And we’re very pleased that now – and I think we’ve just come on the 20th anniversary of some of those peace agreements, so that’s a very positive thing, that we can look back at these last 20 years and see Southern Africa in particular being at peace this whole time.

And I think the efforts are not that different. We’re focused on different areas of the continent now trying to resolve conflicts. But I think the prosperity and growth and success we’ve seen in Southern Africa is directly attributable to having – to our predecessors having solved those conflicts in the ’80s, and certainly the end of the Cold War played a major role in that as well, and the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa.

Now, we have different challenges today, but this – it’s the same idea. In order – Africa has such tremendous potential, and I’ve worked in and out of Africa for about 28 years my whole career, and in no time have I – in my career have I seen a greater sense of optimism and positive energy. And so these are really exciting, positive days, times to be working in Africa. And so I think all of us see the tremendous potential of so many countries, and then Africa has this fantastic youth population that’s growing so fast, and there’s so much talent and energy in Africa’s young people.

So in order to have Africa realize its potential through all those things, we have to have peace, and so solving these conflicts, particularly in West Africa and Northern Nigeria and that region and in East Africa, the conflict in Somalia and the extremism there – it’s really important to settle those so that these countries can realize their potential, in the same way that we’ve seen South Africa and Mozambique and Angola and the others that have been at peace for the last 20 years and how well they’ve done, so –

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

MS. STAVROPOULOS: Thank you, and if there are no other questions from Washington, we want to thank you very much for participating –

MR. GILMOUR: My pleasure.

MS. STAVROPOULOS: — today, everyone in the room that was in Washington and those watching via the web live. Today’s briefing was on the record and the transcript will be posted at fpc.state.gov later today or tomorrow. We invite you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, so thank you very much.

# # #

Amb. Nancy Powell Appointed Ebola Coordinator for U.S. State Department

Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 24, 2014

Secretary Kerry named Ambassador Nancy Powell to lead the Ebola Coordination Unit at the Department of State. In this role, Ambassador Powell will lead the State Department’s outreach to international partners, including foreign governments, to ensure a speedy and truly global response to this crisis.

President Obama has declared the Ebola outbreak a national security priority. Speaking on September 16 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the President outlined the U.S. Government’s strategy to address the threat from the worsening Ebola epidemic in West Africa. The four goals of that strategy are
1) controlling the epidemic at its source in West Africa;
2) mitigating second-order impacts, including blunting the economic, social, and political tolls in the region;
3) engaging and coordinating with a broader global audience; and
4) fortifying global health security infrastructure in the region and beyond.

Even as we lead, the President emphasized at the CDC the need for more nations to contribute the experienced personnel, supplies and funding. Ambassador Powell, working with leaders from across our government, is leading our efforts to build the coalition required to bring this epidemic under control.

Ambassador Powell most recently served as U.S. Ambassador to India. Prior to that, she was the Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources. Ambassador Powell previously served as the State Department’s Senior Coordinator for Avian Influenza, a role for which she was honored with the Homeland Security Service to America Medal in 2006.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Algerian Foreign Minister Lamamra & Sec. Kerry Deliver Remarks Before Meeting

State Department Photo   
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra address reporters before their bilateral meeting at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.

Treaty Room
Washington, DC
September 18, 2014

SECRETARY KERRY: Good evening, everybody. Thank you very much. I’m sorry to keep you waiting. I apologize for running a little late. But it’s a great pleasure for me to be able to welcome the foreign minister of Algeria here to Washington. Foreign Minister Lamamra and I are getting to be old friends, if not a little older, and I’m enormously appreciative of the wonderful visit that I had to Algeria where we talked about a great many of the regional issues.

Today I want to particularly thank the Government of Algeria for their very prompt and strong support for the coalition to deal with the problem of ISIL. We’re appreciative of their efforts in counterterrorism particularly.

And also in the course of the next days in New York I will be hosting a small meeting of key nations that have an interest in Libya. We all know that Libya is challenged right now. A near neighbor, Algeria has critical relationships, and together with Egypt the region is working very hard to help deal with this issue. We want to be supportive and we want to work cooperatively, and I look forward to not just the discussion we have today but to furthering our efforts in this small group meeting that takes place in New York.

So these are important days; there’s a lot happening. All of us need to rely on each other and work together cooperatively, and I’m glad we have a friend and a partner in Algeria. Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER LAMAMRA: Thank you very much. Well, back in the month of April President Bouteflika and I were very much pleased to receive John Kerry. It was his first official visit to Algeria, building on the solid foundations that our predecessors did put for our strategic partnership. I believe that the meeting was fruitful; it has opened very, very numerous avenues for us to work closely together. Our bilateral partnership is promising; it encompasses so many areas of business. It is not anymore limited to energy; it covers so many areas, and it is really a good terrain and good ground for American companies to come and to contribute in the development of Algeria.

In the political area, I believe that we have been developing the strategic partnership which covers so many areas. We work closely together. We share values and interests, and I believe that our consultations have always the impact of moving forward issues in a way that contributes to ensuring the blessings of a normal life to our people in our region and beyond our region.

Algeria and the U.S. have been developing a very effective and action-oriented counterterrorism partnership. I think it has proven to be very serious. Algeria, as you know, can be counted among the few countries that have effectively defeated terrorism. We have paid the very high price for that, but we enjoy today security, a very reasonable level of security and a quietness in our country. And we do contribute; as I say, we are a security and stability exporting countries. We work with our neighbors, we develop very good relations and partnership, and as the Secretary said, Libya as well as Mali, immediate neighboring countries to Algeria, where as you know, terrorism and instability prevail. They are the focus of our immediate diplomatic action, while of course contributing our share to resolving other issues beyond our borders.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, my friend. Very important.


SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you all.

President Obama’s Remarks on the Ebola Outbreak

Photo: nbcnews.com

Office of the Press Secretary
September 16, 2014

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Georgia

4:01 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Please be seated. I want to thank Dr. Frieden and everybody here at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for welcoming me here today. Tom and his team just gave me an update on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, our efforts to help mobilize the international community to fight it, and the steps that we’re taking to keep people here at home safe.

Tom and his team are doing outstanding work. Between the specialists they have on the ground in West Africa and here at headquarters, they’ve got hundreds of professionals who are working tirelessly on this issue. This is the largest international response in the history of the CDC. After this, I’ll be meeting with some of these men and women, including some who recently returned from the front lines of the outbreak. And they represent public service at its very best. And so I just want them to know how much the American people appreciate them. Many of them are serving far away from home, away from their families. They are doing heroic work and serving in some unbelievably challenging conditions — working through exhaustion, day and night, and many have volunteered to go back. So we are very, very proud of them.

Their work and our efforts across the government is an example of what happens when America leads in confronting some major global challenges. Faced with this outbreak, the world is looking to us, the United States, and it’s a responsibility that we embrace. We’re prepared to take leadership on this to provide the kinds of capabilities that only America has, and to mobilize the world in ways that only America can do. That’s what we’re doing as we speak.

First and foremost, I want the American people to know that our experts, here at the CDC and across our government, agree that the chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low. We’ve been taking the necessary precautions, including working with countries in West Africa to increase screening at airports so that someone with the virus doesn’t get on a plane for the United States. In the unlikely event that someone with Ebola does reach our shores, we’ve taken new measures so that we’re prepared here at home. We’re working to help flight crews identify people who are sick, and more labs across our country now have the capacity to quickly test for the virus. We’re working with hospitals to make sure that they are prepared, and to ensure that our doctors, our nurses and our medical staff are trained, are ready, and are able to deal with a possible case safely.

And here I’ve got to commend everybody at Emory University Hospital. I just had the opportunity to meet with Doctors Gartland and Ribner and members of their team and the nurses who — sorry, doctors, but having been in hospitals, I know — (laughter) — they’re the ones really doing the work. And I had a chance to thank them for their extraordinary efforts in helping to provide care for the first Americans who recently contracted the disease in Africa. The first two of those patients were released last month and continue to improve. And it’s a reminder for the American people that, should any cases appear in the United States, we have world-class facilities and professionals ready to respond. And we have effective surveillance mechanisms in place.

I should mention, by the way, that I had a chance to see Dr. Brantly in the Oval Office this morning. And although he is still having to gain back some weight, he looks great. He looks strong and we are incredibly grateful to him and his family for the service that he has rendered to people who are a lot less lucky than all of us.

As we all know, however, West Africa is facing a very different situation, especially in the hardest hit countries: Liberia, Sierra Leone, and in Guinea. Tom and others recently returned from the region, and the scenes that they describe are just horrific. More than 2,400 men, women and children are known to have died — and we strongly suspect that the actual death toll is higher than that. Hospitals, clinics and the few treatment centers that do exist have been completely overwhelmed. An already very weak public health system is near collapse in these countries. Patients are being turned away, and people are literally dying in the streets.

Now, here’s the hard truth: In West Africa, Ebola is now an epidemic of the likes that we have not seen before. It’s spiraling out of control. It is getting worse. It’s spreading faster and exponentially. Today, thousands of people in West Africa are infected. That number could rapidly grow to tens of thousands. And if the outbreak is not stopped now, we could be looking at hundreds of thousands of people infected, with profound political and economic and security implications for all of us. So this is an epidemic that is not just a threat to regional security — it’s a potential threat to global security if these countries break down, if their economies break down, if people panic. That has profound effects on all of us, even if we are not directly contracting the disease.

And that’s why, two months ago, I directed my team to make this a national security priority. We’re working this across our entire government, which is why today I’m joined by leaders throughout my administration, including from my national security team.
And we’ve devoted significant resources in support of our strategy with four goals in mind. Number one, to control the outbreak. Number two, to address the ripple effects of local economies and communities to prevent a truly massive humanitarian disaster. Number three, to coordinate a broader global response. And number four, to urgently build up a public health system in these countries for the future — not just in West Africa but in countries that don’t have a lot of resources generally.

Now, this is a daunting task. But here’s what gives us hope. The world knows how to fight this disease. It’s not a mystery. We know the science. We know how to prevent it from spreading. We know how to care for those who contract it. We know that if we take the proper steps, we can save lives. But we have to act fast. We can’t dawdle on this one. We have to move with force and make sure that we are catching this as best we can, given that it has already broken out in ways that we had not seen before.

So today, I’m announcing a major increase in our response. At the request of the Liberian government, we’re going to establish a military command center in Liberia to support civilian efforts across the region — similar to our response after the Haiti earthquake. It’s going to be commanded by Major General Darryl Williams, commander of our Army forces in Africa. He just arrived today and is now on the ground in Liberia. And our forces are going to bring their expertise in command and control, in logistics, in engineering. And our Department of Defense is better at that, our Armed Services are better at that than any organization on Earth.

We’re going to create an air bridge to get health workers and medical supplies into West Africa faster. We’re going to establish a staging area in Senegal to help distribute personnel and aid on the ground more quickly. We are going to create a new training site to train thousands of health workers so they can effectively and safely care for more patients. Personnel from the U.S. Public Health Service will deploy to the new field hospitals that we’re setting up in Liberia. And USAID will join with international partners and local communities in a Community Care Campaign to distribute supplies and information kits to hundreds of thousands of families so they can better protect themselves.

We’re also going to build additional treatment units, including new isolation spaces and more than 1,000 beds. And in all our efforts, the safety of our personnel will remain a top priority. Meanwhile, our scientists continue their urgent research in the hope of finding new treatments and perhaps vaccines. And today I’m calling on Congress to approve the funding that we’ve requested so that we can carry on with all these critical efforts.

Today, the United States is doing even more. But this is a global threat, and it demands a truly global response. International organizations just have to move faster than they have up until this point. More nations need to contribute experienced personnel, supplies, and funding that’s needed, and they need to deliver on what they pledge quickly. Charities and individual philanthropists have given generously, and they can make a big difference. And so we’re not restricting these efforts to governmental organizations; we also need NGOs and private philanthropies to work with us in a coordinated fashion in order to maximize the impact of our response.

This week, the United States will chair an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council. Next week, I’ll join U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to continue mobilizing the international community around this effort. And then, at the White House, we’re going to bring more nations together to strengthen our global health security so that we can better prevent, detect and respond to future outbreaks before they become epidemics.

This is actually something that we had announced several months ago at the G7 meeting. We determined that this has to be a top priority; this was before the Ebola outbreak. We anticipated the fact that in many of these countries with a weak public health system, if we don’t have more effective surveillance, more effective facilities on the ground, and are not helping poor countries in developing their ability to catch these things quickly, that there was at least the potential of seeing these kinds of outbreaks. And sadly, we now see that our predictions were correct. It gives more urgency to this effort — a global health initiative — that we have been pushing internationally.

Let me just close by saying this: The scenes that we’re witnessing in West Africa today are absolutely gut-wrenching. In one account over the weekend, we read about a family in Liberia. The disease had already killed the father. The mother was cradling a sick and listless five-year-old son. Her other son, 10-years-old, was dying, too. They finally reached a treatment center but they couldn’t get in. And, said a relative, “We are just sitting.”

These men and women and children are just sitting, waiting to die, right now. And it doesn’t have to be this way.

The reality is that this epidemic is going to get worse before it gets better. But right now, the world still has an opportunity to save countless lives. Right now, the world has the responsibility to act — to step up, and to do more. The United States of America intends to do more. We are going to keep leading in this effort. We’re going to do our part, and we’re going to continue to make sure that the world understands the need for them to step alongside us as well in order for us to not just save the lives of families like the one I just discussed, but ultimately, to make sure that this doesn’t have the kinds of spillover effects that become even more difficult to control.
So thank you very much to the entire team that’s already doing this work. And please know that you’ve got your President and Commander-in-Chief behind you. Thank you.


4:14 P.M. EDT