Friday, December 5, 2014

Remembering Nelson (Madiba) Mandela: 1918 – 2013

Picture Courtesy of People Magazine

Office of the Press Secretary
December 5, 2014

Statement by the President and First Lady on the First Anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s Passing

On this first anniversary of the passing of Nelson Mandela, Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to the Mandela family and all South Africans. One year ago the world lost a leader whose struggle and sacrifices inspired us to stand up for our fundamental principles, whose example reminded us of the enduring need for compassion, understanding, and reconciliation, and whose vision saw the promise of a better world. As we pause today to remember the legacy of Madiba, I hope we can all take a moment to reflect on how Mandela’s life has inspired our own, and will impact the paths of generations to come – including the next generation of world leaders, as while Mandela left behind a world more just and free, there is much more work to be done. On this day, and on every day, we honor his spirit and his memory.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Asst. Sec. Thomas-Greenfield Visits Liberia in Support of Ebola Response Effort

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
December 1, 2014

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield is traveling to Monrovia, Liberia December 2-5 as part of a U.S. delegation reviewing ongoing Ebola response efforts in the country. The delegation will be led by Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict Michael Lumpkin and also includes Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez, USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health, and Dr. Mitchell Wolfe, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Assistant Secretary Lumpkin and the delegation will meet with U.S. government personnel serving in the region, as well as UNMEER (UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response) and international medical staff who are serving the people of Liberia during this global health crisis. The delegation will meet with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to underscore the United States’ continued commitment to Liberia and to explore avenues to accelerate Liberia’s economic, political, and social recovery after the Ebola crisis.

The United States is Liberia’s largest bilateral partner and has long been working with the government to move Liberia from a post-conflict country to a developed country. Since the end of the conflict in 2003, the United States has invested more than $2 billion toward rebuilding Liberia and improving the lives of its people. Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield was the U.S. Ambassador to Liberia from 2008 to 2012.

United States Dedicates New U.S. Embassy in Rabat, Morocco

U.S. Ambassador Bush and Morocco Chief of Government Benkirane
State Department Photo

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
December 2, 2014

In an important symbol of our commitment and enduring relationship with Morocco, U.S. Ambassador to Morocco Dwight L. Bush, Sr., and Principal Deputy Director of the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) Heather Townsend, alongside local officials, dedicated the new U.S. Embassy in Rabat today.

The new multi-building complex provides employees with a safe, secure, and modern workplace. The campus is situated on a site of just under 8 acres, on King Mohammed IV Road, approximately 3 miles from the Rabat city center. With a project budget of $181 million, it includes a Chancery, a U.S. Marine Security Guard residence, and a service/utility building.

The project incorporates numerous sustainable features to conserve resources and reduce operating costs, including large vegetated roofs over the underground parking structures, and a white roof and light-colored exterior to reflect solar heat. Automated air-conditioning and heating systems will reduce operating costs. All water used on-site is treated and used for site irrigation.
SmithGroupJJR of Washington, D.C. is the design architect and PAGE of Washington, D.C., is the architect of record. B.L. Harbert International of Birmingham, Alabama constructed the multi-building campus.

Since 1999, as part of the Department’s Capital Security Construction Program, OBO has completed 118 new diplomatic facilities and has an additional 41 projects in design or under construction.

OBO’s mission is to provide safe, secure, and functional facilities that represent the U.S. Government to the host nation and support our staff in the achievement of U.S. foreign policy objectives. These facilities should represent American values and the best in American architecture, engineering, technology, sustainability, art, culture, and construction execution.

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement on Central African Republic’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
December 1, 2014

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of the Central African Republic as you celebrate your independence on December 1.

The United States is proud to stand with the courageous people of the Central African Republic. I commend all of you who are working to promote peace, advance the democratic transition, and promote national reconciliation. The United States shares your vision for a future rooted in security, justice, and prosperity for everyone.

The resumption of operations at our embassy in Bangui this past September is a testament to our commitment. We will continue to support your country as you seek the peace and unity that you so richly deserve.

I wish all people of the Central African Republic a joyous National Day.

U.S. Congratulates Namibia on Presidential Elections

Picture: Alliance/dpa/Gao Lei
Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
November 30, 2014

The United States congratulates the people of Namibia for exercising their democratic right to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections on November 28.

Namibia has once again demonstrated its commitment to an open electoral process and respect for presidential term limits. We applaud the active participation of Namibia’s political parties, civil society, and citizens in shaping an inclusive discussion throughout the campaign. The extraordinary participation among first-time voters and women candidates reflects the progress that Namibia has made and the commitment of the Namibian people to a democratic future.

The United States and Namibia share a strong partnership. We work together to strengthen health care systems, counter threats to Namibia’s unique ecosystems, promote peace and security in the region, and protect human rights for all of Namibia’s citizens, particularly the most vulnerable in society.

The United States looks forward to continuing our partnership with the new Namibian Government and the people of Namibia in support of Namibia’s development and the welfare of its people.

World AIDS Day, 2014

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
November 29, 2014

Presidential Proclamation — World AIDS Day, 2014


In communities across our Nation and around the world, we have made extraordinary progress in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. Just over three decades ago, when we knew only the devastation HIV inflicted, those living with it had to fight just to be treated with dignity and compassion, and since the first cases of AIDS were reported, tens of millions of vibrant men and women have lost their lives to this deadly virus. Today, we have transformed what it means to live with HIV/AIDS. More effective prevention, treatment, and care now save millions of lives while awareness has soared and research has surged. This World AIDS Day, we come together to honor all those who have been touched by HIV/AIDS and celebrate the promising public health and scientific advances that have brought us closer to our goal of an AIDS-free generation.

Since I took office, more people who are infected with HIV have learned of their status, allowing them to access the essential care that can improve their health, extend their lives, and prevent transmission of the virus to others. My Administration has made strides to limit new infections and reduce HIV-related disparities and health inequalities, and we have nearly eliminated the waiting list for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program. For many, with testing and access to the right treatment, a disease that was once a death sentence now offers a good chance for a healthy and productive life.

Despite these gains, too many with HIV/AIDS, especially young Americans, still do not know they are infected; too many communities, including gay and bisexual men, African Americans, and Hispanics remain disproportionately impacted; and too many individuals continue to bear the burden of discrimination and stigma. There is more work to do, and my Administration remains steadfast in our commitment to defeating this disease. Guided by our National HIV/AIDS Strategy, we are working to build a society where every person has access to life-extending care, regardless of who they are or whom they love. The Affordable Care Act prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage due to a pre-existing condition, such as HIV/AIDS, and requires that most health plans cover HIV screenings without copays for everyone ages 15 to 65 and others at increased risk. We have expanded opportunities for groundbreaking research, and we continue to invest in innovation to develop a vaccine and find a cure. And this summer, my Administration held a series of listening sessions across the country to better understand the successes and challenges of those fighting HIV at the local and State level.

In the face of a disease that extends far beyond our borders, the United States remains committed to leading the world in the fight against HIV/AIDS and ensuring no one is left behind. Hundreds of thousands of adolescent girls and young women are infected with HIV every year, and we are working to reach and assist them and every community in need. As part of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, over 7 million people with HIV around the globe are receiving antiretroviral treatment, a four-fold increase since the start of my Administration. In countries throughout the world, our initiatives are improving the lives of women and girls, accelerating life-saving treatment for children, and supporting healthy, robust communities.

As a Nation, we have made an unwavering commitment to bend the curve of the HIV epidemic, and the progress we have seen is the result of countless people who have shared their stories, lent their strength, and led the fight to spare others the anguish of this disease. Today, we remember all those who lost their battle with HIV/AIDS, and we recognize those who agitated and organized in their memory. On this day, let us rededicate ourselves to continuing our work until we reach the day we know is possible — when no child has to know the pain of HIV/AIDS and no life is limited by this virus.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States do hereby proclaim December 1, 2014, as World AIDS Day. I urge the Governors of the States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, officials of the other territories subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and the American people to join me in appropriate activities to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS and to provide support and comfort to those living with this disease.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.


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Secretary Kerry Issues Statement on Mauritania’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
November 28, 2014

On behalf of the American people, I send best wishes to the people of Mauritania on the 54th anniversary of your independence on November 28.

Mauritania and the United States have a strong partnership founded on shared interests for regional peace and security, and countering the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

Last August, I hosted President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz in Washington at the U.S. – African Leaders Conference. I thanked President Aziz for his work in crafting a ceasefire agreement in Mali and for your country’s commitment to counterterrorism efforts throughout the Sahel.

I look forward to working with the Mauritania government and civil society to expand trade and increase prosperity for all Mauritanians in the years ahead.

On this day of celebration, I wish all Mauritanians a joyful Independence Day.