Thursday, April 28, 2016

U.S. Announces Additional Humanitarian Assistance for the People of South Sudan

United States Announces Additional Humanitarian Assistance for the People of South Sudan

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
April 27, 2016

The United States today announced more than $86 million in additional humanitarian assistance to help conflict-affected people in South Sudan, as well as South Sudanese refugees in the region.

This new funding will provide much-needed safe drinking water, emergency health care, nutrition services, shelter, improved sanitation facilities, agricultural training, and seeds, tools, and fishing supplies for the most vulnerable families and communities. These include internally displaced persons both within and outside of UN Protection of Civilians sites, refugees seeking asylum in South Sudan, and South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries. The U.S. Government is also supporting clinical and psychological treatment for survivors of gender-based violence, as well as the transport of life-saving supplies and aid workers to ensure that people who are living in remote and hard-to-reach areas quickly receive assistance.

For more than two years, the delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance has been seriously disrupted by the denial of movement and access perpetrated by all parties to the conflict. As we anticipate the quick formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity and a renewed commitment to the implementation of the peace agreement, the United States expects a fundamental shift in the relationship with the humanitarian community. Specifically, we expect the transitional government to adhere to core humanitarian principles and to change past policy and practice to ensure aid reaches those in need without regard to ethnic or political discrimination. We furthermore expect the transitional government to take action to prevent the extortion, theft, and physical harm of aid workers. Leaders must also allow full freedom of movement for all civilians.

This new assistance announced today underscores the long-standing commitment of the American people to the people of South Sudan. The United States is the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance to South Sudan. This additional funding raises the total of U.S. humanitarian aid to nearly $1.6 billion since the start of the current conflict in December 2013.

U.S. Issues Statement on Burundi

Welcoming the Resumption of the Burundian Dialogue

Press Statement
Mark C. Toner
Deputy Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
April 26, 2016

The United States welcomes the announcement by former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, as the facilitator of the East African Community (EAC)-led Burundian dialogue, that the next round of talks will take place May 2–6 in Arusha, Tanzania. We continue to support the regionally mediated dialogue as the best means to restoring peace and stability to Burundi and strongly urge all stakeholders to fully participate without preconditions or redlines.

The resumption of dialogue is critical, as the situation in the country is increasingly dire. This year-long crisis already has claimed over 400 lives and led over a quarter million Burundians to flee their country. We continue to see reports of sharp increases in killings, including the recent assassination of General Kararuza, torture, forced disappearances, and sexual violence, along with the use of illegal detention facilities by government security forces and armed factions of the ruling party youth wing. This horrific violence must end, and those responsible for atrocities must be held accountable. The opening of a preliminary examination in Burundi by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court sends a strong warning in this regard to all perpetrators and would-be perpetrators.

The United States stands ready to support the EAC and all Burundian stakeholders in their pursuit of a peaceful, consensual solution to this crisis. The sooner this crisis is resolved, the sooner we can help Burundi realize greater development and prosperity.

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement on Sierra Leone’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
April 27, 2016

On behalf of President Obama and American people, I am delighted to congratulate the people of Sierra Leone on the 55th anniversary of their country’s independence.

The government, families, and communities of Sierra Leone face a wide range of daunting challenges, yet continue to do the hard and sometimes painstaking work of building a democratic and prosperous society for themselves and for future generations.

The United States is committed to doing its part to help Sierra Leone strengthen its governing institutions, expand economic opportunities, and support the recovery of its health care system. And we are dedicated to deepening the bonds of friendship between our two nations and remaining a partner in Sierra Leone’s pursuit of peace, growth, security, and progress for all its citizens.

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement on Togo’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
April 27, 2016

On behalf of President Obama and American people, I wish to extend congratulations to the people of Togo on the 56th anniversary of your independence.

Togo and the United States enjoy excellent relations, based on a mutual interest in strengthening democracy and rule of law, supporting economic development, and ensuring citizen security in Togo. Our strong partnership works to improve health, education, agriculture, and the environment.

The United States looks forward to deepening the strong relationship we enjoy with Togo and supporting your efforts towards a prosperous and secure future.

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement on the Republic of Tanzania’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
April 26, 2016

On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I congratulate the people of Tanzania as you celebrate the 52nd anniversary of the United Republic of Tanzania.

Tanzania and the United States share a long history of cooperation and friendship. In the coming year, we will continue to work together to make progress in health and education, encourage economic growth, support democratic governance, and advance regional security.

As Tanzanians gather to celebrate Union Day, I share the hopes of the Tanzanian people for a peaceful and prosperous future.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Deputy Secretary Higginbottom Travels to Madagascar and Kenya

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
April 25, 2016

Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom will travel to Madagascar and Kenya, April 25–May 1.

Deputy Secretary Higginbottom is among the most senior U.S. State Department officials to visit Madagascar. As the country returns to democracy, her visit underscores the support of the U.S. Government for the Malagasy people. During the visit, she will discuss governance, including transparency and accountability, development and economic growth, and the preservation of Madagascar’s unique environment. She will meet with President Rajaonarimampianina and other government officials as well as visit U.S. foreign assistance programs related to health, community development, and wildlife protection.

In Kenya, Deputy Secretary Higginbottom will participate in the Giants Club Summit, a high-level meeting of heads of state, business leaders, and wildlife experts to discuss ways to protect Africa’s remaining elephant populations and their environments. Her visit underscores the U.S. Government’s support for Kenyan and continent-wide efforts to combat wildlife trafficking. Following the summit, Deputy Secretary Higginbottom will witness the largest ivory burn in history, an event intended to send a message to the world that ivory’s only worth is as attached to a living animal. In addition, she will meet with government officials and others to discuss sustainable development, the protection of refugees, and wildlife conservation and trafficking. She will meet with refugees and review processing and security vetting for those who have been referred for resettlement in the United States.

U.S. Issues Statement on Failure of Government of Sudan and Opposition to Form TGNU

South Sudan: Failure of Government of South Sudan and Opposition to Form TGNU

Press Statement
John Kirby
Assistant Secretary and Department of State Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
April 24, 2016

The United States is disappointed by the continued failure of the Government of South Sudan and by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement -SPLM/A-IO (IO) to form the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU) and implement the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan.

Yesterday, the government denied landing permission to flights for the return of opposition leader Riek Machar. This interference resulted in the failure to meet the deadline in the compromise proposal put forward by the regional and international partners of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission that was agreed to by both sides. We have previously condemned obstruction by the IO, including the arbitrary demand by Riek Machar that more forces and heavy weapons than was previously agreed precede his arrival to Juba.

Despite the best efforts by South Sudan’s neighbors, the Troika, United Nations Mission in South Sudan, China, the African Union, the European Union and, most importantly, by South Sudanese advocating for peace, leaders on both sides have blocked progress.

The United States will continue to work with those who are sincerely committed to implementing the Agreement, particularly its provisions for reform of the security sector and public finances and for reconciliation and accountability.

The scope of future U.S. engagement in helping South Sudan confront the country’s security, economic and development challenges, however, will depend on the parties demonstrating commitment to work together to implement the Agreement. We have been working intensively with our partners, especially Ethiopia, to facilitate Riek Machar’s return. Given the actions by both sides to prevent or delay his return, it is now time for the parties to assume primary responsibility for facilitating the return of Riek Machar to Juba to form the TGNU and to demonstrate that they are genuinely committed to peace.

Ambassador Catherine Russell Travels to Sudan and Malawi

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
April 22, 2016

Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell will travel to Sudan and Malawi from April 23 – 30.

In Sudan, Ambassador Russell will meet with government officials, representatives of civil society and international organizations, community leaders, and students to discuss the status of women and girls in Sudan. Her meetings will focus on preventing violence against women, promoting women’s economic empowerment, and enhancing women’s roles in peace, security, and reconciliation efforts.
The Ambassador will also meet with Awadeya Mahmoud, a 2016 recipient of the Secretary’s International Women of Courage Award.

In Malawi, Ambassador Russell will meet with government officials, local leaders, members of civil society, and students to learn more about the status of adolescent girls—particularly their health, education, and safety—as part of a new U.S. effort to empower girls in Malawi under the Let Girls Learn initiative championed by First Lady Michelle Obama.

For more information on this trip, follow @AmbCathyRussell on Twitter. For more information on the State Department’s work on global women’s issues, visit

Completion of OBO’s Second Wind Turbine at New U.S. Embassy in Nouakchott, Mauritania

Photo: US Embassy, Mauritania
Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
April 22, 2016

In celebration of Earth Day, the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) is pleased to announce the completion of the Department’s second power-generating wind turbine at the new U.S. Embassy in Mauritania.

The 50 kilowatt (kW) turbine in Nouakchott is expected to generate nearly 142 megawatt hours (MWh) per year – equivalent to roughly the consumption of 13 average American homes – as well as save 84 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year, equivalent to the operation of 18 average vehicles. The cost savings generated are expected to pay back the initial investment in less than 12 years and, after payback, the U.S. government is estimated to save significantly on electricity costs.
Earlier this year, OBO constructed the Department’s first 20kW wind turbine at the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados. A third 6kW wind turbine is currently under construction at the U.S. Embassy in Valletta, Malta, and will be completed later this year.

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 U.S. values and the best in U.S. architecture, engineering, technology, sustainability, art, culture, and construction execution.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi Meets Secretary Kerry

Photo: State Department

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Cairo, Egypt
April 20, 2016

Well, let me express what a pleasure it is for me to be back in Cairo. I’m very grateful to President al-Sisi and Foreign Minister Shoukry for their welcome and for the serious conversation that we just engaged in. Regrettably, this is a short visit only because I need to join President Obama for the summit that we’re having in the region, but I committed to President al-Sisi today to return very soon to follow up on the discussion that we had this morning.

We talked in a very serious and very constructive way about the challenges that Egypt is facing, and I want to emphasize that the United States views Egypt as critical to the peace and security of the entire region. We care enormously about the – about succeeding in overcoming the difficult challenges that Egypt faces at this moment, both in terms of security, the challenge of extremists who engage in activities that create instability and attack the peace and security of all citizens everywhere, and also the challenge of an economy that needs to see greater investment, more job creation, and growth.

The United States wants to help in those endeavors, and in furtherance of that, I will come back with additional thoughts about ways in which we can work together to invigorate the economy, to attract investment, to create jobs, and also ways that we can work together in order to deal with Daesh particularly and to help Egypt in terms of the security concerns that it has today.

We talked, of course, about politics, about Syria, about Libya, where there are real challenges and where Egypt is being enormously helpful. We have mutual interests in the security of the region. And we also talked about ways in which we can hopefully resolve some of the differences and questions that have arisen about the internal politics and choices for the people of Egypt.

Let me emphasize, most importantly, Egypt has always been and is the historical center of the Arab world. It’s a quarter of the Arab population. The United States understands the importance of Egypt to this region and we are deeply committed – contrary to some things that occasionally get written or some suggestions that people make – we are deeply committed to the stability of Egypt and to helping Egypt through the difficult challenges that it faces, which, by the way, it doesn’t face alone in the world. There are many countries going through this kind of challenge at this time.

So it’s important for all of us to work together to find the common through, and through a long history, Egypt and the United States have been able to do that. So we look forward to doing so in the days ahead.

Thank you.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

U.S. Official Speaks on Continuing Hope for the Missing Chibok Girls

File Photo

Two Years Later: Continuing Hope for the Missing Chibok Girls

Linda Thomas-Greenfield
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs
210 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC
April 14, 2016

As prepared

Good morning everyone, and thank you so much for having me. Congresswoman Wilson, Congresswomen Lee, and Senator Collins: Thank you for the invitation and for organizing this important event.

It is great to see so many people in the audience who are passionate about Africa, helping to solve the continent’s problems, and contributing to its success.

I am heartened to see people from all walks of life focusing on the need to bring the Chibok girls home and defeat Boko Haram. For Nigeria, and the continent to succeed, Boko Haram must be defeated – plain and simple.

I would like to take a moment to extend the deepest condolences of the U.S. government and all of us here in the room to the families and loved ones of the victims of all of Boko Haram’s brutal attacks. I know that when children and communities are being attacked, behind those numbers are real people – real children, real mothers, real fathers – suffering because of Boko Haram. The report UNICEF just released on the child victims of Boko Haram’s barbarism drives home this point powerfully.

Two years following the kidnapping of the Chibok girls, none of us has given up on the fight to bring these girls – and the many others like them – home for good.

We are outraged. These girls, against extreme adversity, chose to dedicate themselves to school, and had great hopes and dreams for their future, and the future of their country.

Right now, they should be in the safety and comfort of their homes, surrounded by their families and friends, and pursuing their academic dreams. Instead, they were stolen from their families by a brutal terrorist organization.

Now, two years after their kidnapping, the United States again calls for the immediate release, without preconditions, of the Chibok girls and all hostages held by Boko Haram.

While the Nigerian government maintains the lead role in the ongoing search, the United States continues to provide a range of assistance to Nigerian authorities, including advisors, intelligence, training, survivor support services, and advice on strategic communications.

More broadly, we are partnering with Nigeria and its neighbors to support their efforts to defeat Boko Haram, strengthen their economies, and create opportunity. These are key parts of the long-term solution.

I am pleased that our African partners have had some success in winning the freedom of thousands of civilians held hostage by Boko Haram. And I look forward to the day when all the Chibok girls will be among those freed.

Unfortunately, Boko Haram’s impact goes well beyond the Chibok girls. We are equally concerned about the thousands of other victims of Boko Haram. By some measures, Boko Haram has been the deadliest terrorist organization in the world.

Two months ago, I gave a speech on Boko Haram at one of Congresswoman Bass’s Africa Policy Breakfasts. I described Boko Haram as murderers – pure and simple murderers. Their savagery has no limit.

Defeating Boko Haram requires fighting them on all levels. The fight cannot be won solely on the battlefield.

Nigeria and its regional partners must lead the fight against Boko Haram, and we are absolutely committed to supporting all of our partners in that effort.

Through our counter Boko Haram Strategy, we are focused on assisting the efforts of Nigeria and its neighbors to weaken Boko Haram’s capacity, financing, and cohesion. We will work to counter and prevent the factors that can lead individuals to violent extremism. We will promote more inclusive and capable local governance to address the underlying drivers of insecurity; and we will respond to the humanitarian needs of civilians affected by Boko Haram.

One component of our strategy is providing support to the Multinational Joint Task Force, which includes soldiers from Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, and Benin. We are providing advisors, intelligence, training, logistical support, and equipment. This is part of a regional approach to a problem that transcends borders.

We are also providing a range of security assistance to Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin countries, and we have stepped up information-sharing efforts.

But again, the fight against Boko Haram goes well beyond the battlefield. It is a fight that requires long-term solutions. Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin countries must address the drivers of extremism that gave rise to Boko Haram. These drivers include ineffective and exclusionary governance, corruption, lack of education, and lack of economic opportunities for the growing young population.

The good news is that Nigeria is in an excellent position right now to capitalize on its enormous potential and provide greater opportunities for its people. Nigerian youth have tremendous talents—from the tech sector to entrepreneurship—that form the foundation for a strong and prosperous Nigeria. President Buhari and the U.S. government share the priorities of fighting corruption and strengthening the Nigerian economy. If we can succeed in these areas, we will create jobs for the youth of Nigeria, and reduce the pull to extremism.

The U.S. government supports and complements Nigeria’s anti-corruption efforts by focusing on capacity building assistance to state and local governments, civil society watchdogs, journalists, law enforcement agencies, and the judiciary. These efforts will help prevent corruption; expose, investigate, and prosecute acts of corruption; and assist with tracing and, to the extent possible, recovering plundered assets.

Progress in combatting corruption will have huge benefits, including helping to ensure badly needed resources can flow to the fight against Boko Haram, assisting communities affected by the group’s violence, and stimulating the economy.

Fighting corruption is also central to our efforts to build up the Nigerian economy and create jobs. A key area we are focused on is the power sector. President Obama’s Power Africa initiative is playing a critical role in supporting Nigeria’s efforts to improve power supply and expand electricity access.

We have also assisted the Nigerian government in the planning and implementation of investments in telecommunications infrastructure in rural areas, and we’re looking to continue this support.

The long-term solution to defeating violent extremism is all about creating opportunity, and these are just a few of the many initiatives we are working on to build those opportunities.

There are also some important steps that Nigeria must take in its efforts to defeat Boko Haram. I highlighted these steps in a speech at the U.S. Institute of Peace two weeks ago. First, it is critical that the foot soldiers of Boko Haram – especially those who may not have joined willfully – are able to leave the group and eventually be accepted back into their communities.

Second, people who have been forcibly displaced by Boko Haram must not be asked to return to their homes before those communities are safe and the displaced feel ready to return.

Third, more broadly, the Nigerian government must commit to more inclusive politics and more effective governance in areas where Boko Haram preys.

And fourth, Nigeria should invest more of its own resources to meet the humanitarian needs of the victims of Boko Haram.

And this brings me to the importance of addressing the humanitarian crisis, which I know is a focus of the panel today. This conflict has resulted in some 2.4 million internally displaced people in the Lake Chad Basin region and nearly 170,000 Nigerians living as refugees in neighboring countries.

Across the region, in 2015 and 2016, the United States is providing nearly $198 million in humanitarian assistance for Boko Haram-affected populations, including internally displaced persons and refugees.

Our funding supports essential emergency protection and assistance for refugees and internally displaced persons. Our partners are playing a key role in providing aid to Nigerian IDPs living outside of camps, providing emergency food, health, water, and sanitation services.

This aid includes a $20-million crisis education response that has already established nearly 300 informal learning centers for children of displaced families and their host communities.

USAID also provides psycho-social first aid for women and young girls abducted by Boko Haram, including girls from Chibok. We will continue efforts like these, because we have to step up to help these people.

So – where do we go from here? Two years on, the fact that the Chibok girls are still missing reminds us how much more work we have to do.

The challenge of defeating Boko Haram is going to require long-term dedication. All of us here in this room have a role to play, and we need your help. We need the business community to help create jobs in the region, think tanks to identify solutions, civil society to push for improved accountability and human rights, and journalists to report on Boko Haram’s brutality.

It’s also important that we all stand up and say that we can no longer accept these terrible crimes. Boko Haram does not represent the views of the Muslim populations in Africa. And they do not represent the voices and values of the African people. It’s important that we stand up and say, ‘African lives matter!’

We all know how high the stakes are, so we must do all we can to help our partners overcome these challenges.

Thank you so much.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Supporting Tunisia's Imperiled Transition

Two Africans to be Honored Among Global Emerging Young Leaders

Washington, DC
April 18, 2016

Somalia’s Asha Hassan and Tunisia’s Ahlem Nasraoui will be honored with eight other global emerging young leaders at a ceremony at the U.S. Department of State on April 20, 2016.

The Emerging Young Leaders Award will be granted to ten outstanding young leaders (ages 16-24) from across the globe. The awardees will visit the United States for an intensive three-week program designed to recognize and support their efforts to enact positive societal transformation.

Honorees will first visit Washington, D.C. where they will be recognized in a public ceremony for their efforts. They will also participate in Global Youth Service Day events, where they will share in the value of community service. They will attend meetings with U.S. government officials and non-governmental organizations.

These ten remarkable young people will visit the United States for an intensive program, April 13–May 5, specially tailored to explore leadership practices in the non-profit, government, and private sectors, and to broaden their networks of resources and support. The exchange program provides skills and training to set awardees on paths for increased collaboration on global issues affecting youth, particularly those involved in combating extremism, empowering voices, and building peace.

They will travel to cities across the United States to participate in professional meetings and engage with their American counterparts. They will visit Roanoke-Blacksburg, Austin, and Chicago. The young leaders will reconvene in Washington, D.C. to share project plans and examine ways they can collaborate and build on their experiences.

The Emerging Young Leaders exchange program will continue in their home communities with mentoring and support through a virtual exchange. Upon their return home, the awardees will be eligible to apply for individual grants to support their work.

Asha Hassan – Somalia

Asha Hassan is an ethnic Somali dedicated to working with youth. She has developed youth-led units spearheading dialogue and reconciliation among ethnic clans in her home region of Kenya. One of her passions is to mobilize Somali girls to be change agents in their communities, teaching children the value of life and warning them against joining extremist groups. She has used innovative means to reach her audience and warn youth about the dangers of being used to cause conflict in the community. – See more at:

Ahlem Nasraoui – Tunisia

Ahlem Nasraoui works to empower women and youth in Tunisia through entrepreneurship. She has managed several hackathons, boot-camps and startups for young leaders to support the democratic transition in her home country. Ahlem started a Peace Mediators program to confront terrorism and extremism, coaching youngsters in leadership, arts and mediation. In recognition of her efforts, Brightest Young Minds in South Africa selected Ahlem as one the 100 most Influential African Leaders. She initiated several startup training events for women and designed a project that trained youth to be peer-to-peer agents of change. Ahlem has also spoken at various in TedX events in Tunisia. – See more at:

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement on the Republic of Zimbabwe’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
April 18, 2016

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I send best wishes to the people of Zimbabwe as you mark 36 years of independence on April 18.

The United States upholds the same vision for Zimbabwe as its people—a Zimbabwe that is democratic, prosperous, and provides for its people. Over the coming year, we will continue to stand with Zimbabweans in pursuit of our shared goals.

U.S. Condemns The Gambia’s Response to Peaceful Protests

Press Statement
John Kirby
Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs
Department of State
Washington, DC
April 17, 2016

The United States condemns the Government of The Gambia’s severe response to recent peaceful protests. We call for an immediate end to violence and urge all Gambians to exercise restraint and remain calm.

The United States calls on the Government of The Gambia to uphold its international obligations under the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including the right to peaceful assembly.

U.S. Provides Additional $29 Million in Humanitarian Assistance for Malian Regional Crisis

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
April 17, 2016

Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall announced in Mali nearly $29 million in new humanitarian assistance to benefit Malians uprooted by the conflict that broke out there in 2012. Peace agreements are in place; however, 145,000 Malian refugees remain in Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Niger as well as more than 52,000 internally displaced Malians. This funding will support the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Program (WFP), and other international organizations in Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger to provide essential protection and assistance, such as health, food, water, livelihoods, and education.

This new funding brings the total U.S. humanitarian assistance for the Mali regional crisis in FY 2015 and FY 2016 to more than $105 million.

Funding announced today will allow UNHCR to scale up livelihoods and resilience-based interventions, increase collaboration with partners to enhance peaceful coexistence between refugees and host communities, and harmonize programming to ensure the viability and continuity of self-reliance efforts between countries of asylum and areas of return. It will also support WFP efforts to maintain food and nutrition activities for Malian refugees in the region.

The United States is hopeful that conditions will soon improve such that all are able to voluntarily return to their homes in safety and dignity. Until then, the U.S. commends host communities in Mali and host countries in the region for remaining safe havens for the displaced.

The United States encourages other donors to join us in contributing to the Humanitarian Response Plan, which is only 12% funded to date in 2016. This is inadequate to meet even the most basic needs of displaced Malians.

U.S. Official Speaks on Supporting Tunisia’s Transition

Antony J. Blinken
Deputy Secretary of State
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Washington, DC
April 14, 2016

Good morning. Thank you all very, very much. Minister Brahim, it is wonderful to see you, to be with you today. Ambassador Gouia, my friend, Minister Muashar, also very good to see you again, and so many friends and colleagues who are here, it is a great privilege to join you this morning.

Let me though, before I get started, just quickly return the favor. We have a big problem, which is that Bill and I have a mutual admiration society, and it is convening today once again briefly. Let me just say this. There is a tendency in global affairs today to prioritize the urgent over the important, to judge by the tweet rather than the fact, to question the value of embassies in an age where social media makes everyone a diplomat.

And in this world where things are moving so quickly and so fast and so much information is coming at you, there are a few individuals, really just a very few, whose character, whose composure, and whose caliber embody the very mission of diplomacy and whose record of leadership remind us of diplomacy’s tremendous relevance to everything we are doing today.

In my experience, Bill Burns embodies exactly that. He is one of those very, very few people. I have a little post-it note on my desk that I inherited from Bill that reads WWBD – What Would Bill Do. I refer to it all too frequently. And I suppose if Bill had to go anywhere after State, we’re particularly grateful that it was here to Carnegie, where he has continued to illuminate the path forward on the most critical issues of our day.

And what brings us together today is exactly that—one of those issues thanks to Bill’s leadership.

So, Bill and the entire Carnegie team, thank you for your work to shape this conversation—to bring so many people around what is a critical issue. Your tireless engagement with the government of Tunisia, with Tunisian civil society, with the international community has shed light on the challenges ahead, the milestones that we have to reach, and the importance of working together to help Tunisia achieve those goals.

Two hundred and seventeen years ago, America, fresh from independence, sent its first-ever Consul across the Atlantic to negotiate peace and secure trade with the Bey of Tunis.

One hundred and fifty-one years ago, a magnificent portrait of the Bey was given to the United States as a kind gesture in a trying time and now hangs with great appreciation in our State Department.

And last year, last May, President Obama welcomed President Caid Essebsi to the Oval Office and hosted the first-ever meeting between a U.S. president and a democratically elected Tunisian president.

Across this long arc of history, both our nations have experienced times of great struggle and setback as we have pursued—forever forward—societies that reflect our principles and actually live our values. Here in the United States, we are reminded almost every day that our journey is still far from complete.

In Tunisia, against the greatest of headwinds, people are proving that no one—no single country, no single culture, no single faith—has a monopoly on the ideals of democracy.

Across the political spectrum, secularists and Islamists, left and right, have come together in common purpose that shows how democratic transitions, while incredibly difficult, can succeed through courageous leadership and national consensus.

In just a few short years, the Tunisian people have negotiated a peaceful transfer of power from a transitional government to a democratically elected coalition government.

They drafted a new inclusive constitution that protects the freedom of assembly, the freedom of the press, and the freedom of religion, upholds human rights, guarantees equality for men and women.

They cast ballots in a free and fair election, choosing from more than 100 political parties. We have just two of them—I can only think 100. Challenging.

They have created space for civil society to flourish. For the second year in a row, Freedom House has categorized Tunisia as “free”—the first Arab country to be recognized in this way.

Last year, when the Nobel Committee awarded a coalition of Tunisian human rights defenders, lawyers, business owners, and labor leaders the highest prize for peace, it was in recognition of the tremendous commitment of the Tunisian people to chisel the fragile foundations of democratic governance out of the rubble of dictatorship and revolution.

I say all this because it is easy and understandable—and we’ll come to it—to get fixated and focused on the challenges, the shortcomings, the deficits, they’re real, they’re deep, and they’re difficult. We’ll talk about them. But it is so important to level-set too, and put into perspective what has been achieved, what Tunisians have achieved in the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

It has not been easy, and at times the forces of opposition to progress, opposition to freedom, they have grown perilously strong.

Political leaders were assassinated during the transition, putting at risk the very change for which the Tunisian people had marched in the streets.

Violent extremists too have tried everything they can to prevent Tunisia’s democratic experiment from succeeding.

Last year, as Bill mentioned, I was in Tunisia, and I visited the National Bardo Museum to pay tribute to those, Tunisians and foreigners, who lost their lives in that horrific attack—an attack that stuck at Tunisia’s very history and soul, but actually even more broadly in a sense, at civilization.

The contrast, our Tunisian friends know this so well and those of you who have had a chance to visit, this is one of the most extraordinary museums in the world. I have rarely been as overwhelmed at the sheer magnificence of what was there as in visiting the Bardo, but when you contrast that with the horror of what took place there.

The time I visited, the bullet holes were still there. In fact, the Director of the Museum was kind enough to give us a tour—actually walked us through the very trajectory that the terrorists had taken that day, and the contrast between the extraordinary beauty of the place and the civilization that it represented and what had happened on that day couldn’t have been stronger. But it was still there.
Still standing. And people were there, still coming. And that is what is so important.

But this evil at the heart of the attack on the Bardo Museum, in Sousse, on Ben Guerdane just this past March have raised the specter of the violence that has torn apart other countries in the region.

As of now I think it is fair to say and safe to say that the terrorists and recidivists have failed. Their savagery has only hardened Tunisia’s resolve to meet the ideology of terror with a commitment to the rule of law.

The challenges facing Tunisia are as great as any young democracy must face: challenges of fully eradicating corruption, engaging marginalized populations in its interior region, reducing the weight of bureaucracy, getting people, especially young people, into productive jobs, and translating reforms into tangible results for all Tunisians.

Unless these challenges are met, it is true that the hope and promise of this extraordinary democratic transition is at risk. It is at risk of withering. It is at risk of losing the unique opportunity Tunisians have right now to chart a much brighter future.

I think what Carnegie has done today, Bill, is to put forward an ambitious plan to confront the challenges directly. At the heart of its proposal is a message that could not be more important: the need for the international community and the Tunisian government and people to tackle these challenges together. Both sides have to deliver if we are going to succeed.

As Tunisia’s leaders strengthen their commitment to reform, we will continue to bolster their efforts—helping to fill vital needs, provide critical know-how, and help cushion the near term pain of change, because we know that the decisions that are being made by political leaders are difficult.

They are hard. And they sometimes require real risk up front. They sometimes require what seems to be sometimes a step back in being able to deliver for people before you can take a leap forward. And that is hard, hard, hard to do.

We are determined to match Tunisia’s commitment with our own—deepening the political, economic, and security support it needs to make the most of their moment.

First, we are committed to help Tunisians consolidate their democratic gains as the greatest bulwark of long-term growth and stability and an important counterpoint to those who believe that Islam is somehow incompatible with democracy.

In rapid order, Tunisia has worked to improve accountability among security services, combat corruption, and hold the first-ever municipal elections. We have invested in their efforts to reform the security and justice systems—providing safe and effective crowd control training, helping create a prison classification system to properly identify high-risk offenders, inmates with special needs, and low-risk offenders who can be referred to community corrections programs.

Just this past February—February 2—the Tunisian parliament approved amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure that strengthens detainee rights. The new provisions grant suspects the right to a lawyer from the first moment of detention, shorten the maximum time someone can spend in detention without being charged, and invalidate court proceedings if the Code of Criminal Procedure is breached. The reform addresses in part at least concerns over continued allegations of torture and other mistreatment by police. And, of course, what is always critical is the implementation, and we’ll be looking to that and Tunisians will be looking to that, but the legal framework is there, and that is what is so important.

At the same time, we have helped Tunisia’s parliament and parties institutionalize the democratic practices that the nation’s leaders have started—including things like helping Members of Parliament, parliamentary groups and commissions develop ways to solicit input from citizens, document and track citizen requests, and prioritize issues to be debated and addressed through legislation.

Because after all, they are there as representatives of the people, and their job, just as it is here for our legislators, is to try and address the concerns of the people.

They need to know them. They need to be responsive to them. And they need to act on them.

On March 11, the Tunisian Parliament passed 123-0 a landmark bill requiring public institutions to publish on their websites reports of oversight bodies, a full budget broken down by regions and municipalities, information concerning public services and contracts. This transparency in government is critical to the credibility of governance, to creating confidence of the citizenry in its elected representatives and the executive branch.

These reform efforts have not only been called for by donors and implemented by government officials. They have been demanded by Tunisian society, itself. Carrying forward their nation’s history of a rich and vibrant civil society, Tunisians are reclaiming space once denied them to actively participate in their nation’s political and economic life.

In both 2011 and 2014, more than three thousand trained and certified Tunisian election observers fanned out across the nation to send real-time reports and show skeptics what an open, free, fair, and competitive election in an Arab country looks like.

And more recently, new civil society organizations have formed to prevent the spread of violent extremism and stop the recruitment, radicalization, and mobilization of young people as agents of terror. There is real movement in this area, and we are working to support it.

Second, we are helping deliver on the promises of the revolution by improving the daily lives of Tunisians. The pressure on Tunisia’s young democracy to meet the economic expectations of its citizens, to move the economy forward is simply extraordinary, especially given all that we know about the link between jobs and security.

Over a third of Tunisians are under 25 years old. And Tunisians between the ages of 15 and 30 comprise of only one-third the labor force, but three-quarters of the unemployed. The outlook for employment remains challenging, but we’re focused on helping this cohort emerge as an engine for progress rather than become a recruitment pool for violent extremists.

There is, of course, no grievance so bitter, no disadvantage so deep that it ever justifies terrorism, but unemployment, marginalization, and hopelessness can sow the seeds of radicalization, just as education, opportunity, and good governance can form the roots of sustainable, inclusive prosperity.

We have to address these environmental issues that put communities and people more at risk of going the wrong way and conversely actually strengthening their resilience and making it less likely.

With our technical assistance and support, Tunisia’s leaders are enacting tough economic reforms and working to create an environment in which business can thrive. I have had the opportunity to talk to the Minister about this in the past. There is a very strong reform agenda, but again I want to emphasize, we know how difficult it is—inherently these are challenging political decisions, and it is very difficult in any political system, including our own, to recognize and act on the need for short-term pain in order to get longer-term gain, but that is the challenge before Tunisia.

Late last year, Parliament adopted the Competition and Prices Law to reduce barriers to investment, while closing some of the loopholes that allowed companies to use political influence to secure a monopoly or fix prices. And the new Public Private Partnership law will allow for quicker and greater mobilization of capital into public projects, especially for badly needed infrastructure.

We have extended almost one billion dollars in loan guarantees to help the Tunisian government gain affordable financing. And with $60 million in seed funding from the U.S., the Tunisian American Enterprise Fund is ramping up its investments in small businesses, like an IT firm in Sousse, a textile company in Mandouba, and ceramics shop in Nabeul. These small and medium sized enterprises are truly engines for growth and employment, and we have a very strong incentive in helping create an environment and helping give them any additional resources they need to try and take off.

But it is not enough to help established businesses grow. We also want young people to start them. We want to help Tunisia foster an innovation ecosystem that allows new ventures to flourish and entrepreneurs to fail and try again on the road to success.

Parenthetically, it is one of the most interesting cultural challenges that we see around the world—one of the things that people look to the United States for is this entrepreneurial and innovative capacity, and one of the hallmarks of that capacity, as all of you know, is actually a willingness to fail and indeed if you are successful and you haven’t failed once people look at you a little suspiciously.

But we have a system that allows for people to fail, and not be out of the game. Bankruptcy, for example, is absolutely critical, so there are a series of laws that need to be taken into account to create a system in which people can take risks and not literally worry about losing their shirt or their roof over their head, and at the same time there is a cultural dynamic to all this in getting people to recognize that it is okay to fail, that that may be the road ultimately to succeeding.

That is why we have helped the government make it easier for new businesses to register and access financing. We’ve expanded our exchange programs for students and increased our support for entrepreneurs. The Thomas Jefferson Scholarship Program. The Fulbright Tunisia Tech+ Scholars. Through those programs, nearly 500 Tunisians have qualified to study at universities and community colleges across the United States. Through USAID, we are training the next generation of Tunisian youth with the skills they need in math, science, and engineering to compete in a high-tech marketplace.

But for growth to stick, for unemployment to come down, Tunisia has to continue pursuing and implementing significant reforms, including revisions to its investment code, banking sector, and tax and customs administration—all of which, if done successfully, will attract more investments and facilitate entrepreneurship and job growth.

Third and in parallel with our political and economic partnerships, we are deepening the security cooperation in a way that protects our citizens and strengthens Tunisia’s capability to defeat those who threaten its freedom and security.

This past September, Tunisia joined more than 60 other nations in the Global Counter-ISIL or Counter-Daesh Coalition. We are consulting closely about the danger posed by regional instability, especially in neighboring Libya, where a real and effective government of national unity is urgently needed and is now starting to take root. Our cooperation with Tunisia has never been more important in this area, as we work to stop the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters traveling to and from Iraq and Syria, as well as to Libya.

The United States has been working to double our security assistance, which has already enabled the Tunisians to acquire badly needed equipment, including night vision goggles, body armor, armored vehicles. More importantly, it has provided training to help modernize Tunisia’s police, its national guard, its military into modern forces that capable of defeating threats while also respecting the rule of law.

To this end, we have helped improve the way their forces engage with communities, especially those in the interior and the south, and helped them develop more effective tools for gathering evidence so the practice of torture is fully excised.

Ultimately, Tunisians know that the reflex to meet extremism with extremism only provokes a dangerous spiral of grievance and repression.

The stakes today could not be any higher.

Across the region, governments are confronting the very same questions as Tunisia—questions of stability and security, of rights and freedoms—without always understanding the answer. The fundamental truth that we recognize and that we grapple with too is that there is no choice between the protection of our citizens and the preservation of our values. It cannot be either-or. It must be both.

Over the long-term, we believe from our own experience but also from the experience of countries around the world that democracy serves as the strongest defense against violent extremism and radicalization precisely because it gives all people the opportunity to express their rights, pursue their ambitions, and redress their grievances peacefully.

In the short-term what is required is tremendous patience, perseverance, and engagement.

As Carnegie’s report emphasizes, we have to do our part to help the Tunisian people actually see the dividends of democracy. We have to prioritize the coordination of our assistance and ensure it is delivered to the parts of Tunisian society that need it the most.

Now the experts say on average, successful transitions from dictatorship to full democracy with rule of law take somewhere between 15 or 20 years in the best of circumstances. Fifteen to 20 years in the best of circumstances.

For Tunisia, it’s been five years. So we need to put our expectations in line with the reality of the difficulty and the duration of these transitions.

No country can serve as the perfect model for another and there are no guarantees, but Tunisia’s early experiences—against a backdrop of regional chaos and violence—teach us of the importance prioritizing the interests and investing in the human capital of our citizens.

No organization has been a stronger voice for this message than al-Bawsala, an organization that I know is well known to pretty much all of you in this room.

Set up in the months after Tunisia’s first parliamentary elections by talented young Tunisians, al-Bawsala dedicated itself to helping its fellow citizens see inside their political process for the very first time and as a result feel some ownership for that process and some ownership for the direction of their country. In 2013, the French paper Le Monde nicknamed this young transparency team “les incorruptibles.”

Not long ago, the organization’s founder and president Amira Yahyaoui explained it this way: “My biggest frustration,” she said, “is that each time I had to explain why we should vote for independence of the judiciary, why we should vote for gender equality. Each time, I never had an example from the region. There was no precedent in the region—there is no precedence in any country that looks like us. I think what Tunisia did is that tomorrow a Libyan NGO, or a Yemeni NGO, or a Syrian NGO can point to Tunisia and say, ‘Put it in our constitution too.’ ” That is what they did. That is incredibly powerful, and it is more needed than it has ever been.

Young Tunisians like Amira have propelled their nation into courageous but also uncharted lands, where it must now stay the course. That really is the hard part. We know there are going to be hard days ahead. We know there are going to be setbacks. We know there are going to be sacrifices. It is easy to say that at a distance of an ocean, but it is so much harder for our Tunisians friends to live that every single day, but to keep standing and keep moving forward.

But as Tunisians seek to build the Arab world’s newest democracy, they do have the support of friends all over the world, especially in the United States and significantly right here in this room. The Carnegie report emphasizes how important it is for all of us to work together, to combine our capacities and insights to ensure we are maximizing the potential of our partnerships. That is very powerful too.

So I really wanted this opportunity to come and pay respect to our Tunisian friends, and to pay respect to the tremendous work that Carnegie has done trying to marshal some of the thinking and the energy and commitment that exists here in the United States and around the world for Tunisia. So to our Tunisian friends and to Carnegie, thank you for all that you have done to help Tunisia usher in a future that its people have fought for and a future that they deserve—one of peace, one of prosperity, one of security, of democracy for every single Tunisian.

Thank you very, very much.

Under Secretary Sewall Travels to Mali and Guinea

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
April 14, 2016

Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall is on travel to Mali and Guinea April 14-21. Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Hawa Bangura will accompany Under Secretary Sewall.

In Mali, Under Secretary Sewall will meet with Prime Minister Modibo Keita as well as other government officials, civil society representatives, and members of the diplomatic community to encourage implementation of the 2015 Accord for Peace and Reconciliation and to emphasize U.S. support for ensuring accountability for conflict-related sexual violence. She will also discuss the threat of violent extremism and meet with Malian officials who are drafting the country’s first national action plan to prevent violent extremism.

In Guinea, Under Secretary Sewall will meet with senior government officials and civil society representatives to discuss the investigation of the 2009 stadium massacre case, the ongoing challenge of sexual and gender-based violence, and the global threat of violent extremism. She will visit a U.S.-supported program focused on the elimination of female genital mutilation and cutting and meet with survivors and family members of victims of the 2009 stadium massacre.

To follow the trip and for more information on the State Department’s work on civilian security, democracy, and human rights, follow us on Twitter @CivSecatState or visit

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Asst. Secretary Linda Thomas-Greenfield Travels to Accra

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
April 15, 2016

Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield is traveling to Accra and London April 17-22, 2016.

In Accra, Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield will attend the first U.S.-African Think Tank Dialogue roundtable to discuss governance and democracy issues with senior representatives of prominent African think tanks. While in Ghana, she also will visit a local USAID project for sanitation and wastewater.

In London, Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield will attend the biannual P3 High Level Africa Security Meeting with UK and French partners. The meeting will focus on P3 support for African-led peacekeeping, efforts to support Nigeria and the other Lake Chad Basin countries in the fight against Boko Haram as well as P3 support for ongoing AU and UN efforts in Somalia and the Sahel. She will also meet with UK Minister for Africa James Duddridge on the margins of the P3 meeting.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

U.S. Special Envoy Perriello Travels to DRC, Burundi, and Tanzania

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
April 12, 2016

U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa Thomas Perriello is in the midst of an extended trip that started on April 4, 2016 in Paris, France, and Brussels, Belgium, and includes stops in Geneva, Switzerland; Kinshasa and Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); Bujumbura, Burundi; and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, through April 20, 2016.

The trip is focused on donor coordination, supporting efforts to advance the regionally mediated dialogue among all Burundian stakeholders and supporting upcoming elections in the DRC. The Special Envoy discussed all of these topics – along with the latest humanitarian needs, existing sanctions regimes, and other concerns in the region – with partners in Europe, including UN agencies in Geneva.

The United States is committed to supporting elections in the DRC that are credible, free, and in accordance with its constitution. The Special Envoy traveled to Kinshasa on April 11. There, and in Lubumbashi, he is meeting with Congolese stakeholders to discuss how to advance the electoral process and help the DRC realize its first peaceful, presidential transition. He will also raise U.S. concerns over the DRC government’s treatment of political opposition and civil society and the closing of political space more broadly.

The regionally mediated dialogue on Burundi remains the best option for resolving the crisis there, and the U.S. Government encourages the region to reconvene it urgently. We welcomed the appointment by the East African Community (EAC) of former Tanzanian President Mkapa to facilitate that dialogue, and we strongly support African Union (AU) and UN efforts to increase monitoring and reporting on Burundi’s human rights and security situations. The Special Envoy will travel to Bujumbura on April 17 to engage with Burundian stakeholders about ongoing concerns over human rights and political space and will press the Government of Burundi to follow through on its recent commitments to release political prisoners and reopen media outlets.

The Special Envoy’s trip will conclude in Tanzania on April 20, where he will meet with officials to discuss EAC and regional efforts in advancing dialogue and peace in Burundi.

U.S. Issues Statement Supporting the Safe Return of Those Kidnapped and Abused by Boko Haram

Press Statement
Mark C. Toner
Deputy Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
April 12, 2016

As we approach the second anniversary of the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls from their school in Chibok, the United States again calls for the immediate release, without preconditions, of all hostages held by Boko Haram. The kidnapping of these young women, along with the kidnappings of countless others by Boko Haram, epitomizes this terrorist group’s depravity.

The United States continues to assist the Nigerian government’s efforts to locate and bring home all those who have been kidnapped by Boko Haram with intelligence and advisory support. The United States is also delivering over $240 million in development and humanitarian assistance across the Lake Chad Basin region to provide conflict-affected populations and refugees with transitional assistance, psycho-social services, health programs, and emergency education for children displaced by violence.

U.S. Condemns Recent Attacks by SPLA

Press Statement
Mark C. Toner
Deputy Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
April 11, 2016

The United States condemns recent attacks by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), which destroyed a declared opposition cantonment site at Numatina in Wau County, South Sudan. These attacks followed a surge of SPLA troops and military equipment into the area. This action is in clear violation of the permanent ceasefire provisions that apply nationwide and were agreed to by all peace agreement signatories.

We take note of credible reports that the opposition and associated armed actors have recently attacked government forces and civilians in the area. We condemn such actions, which also constitute a violation of the permanent ceasefire provisions. We call on the parties to provide access for the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM) to investigate the circumstances surrounding these incidents.

We urge all parties to resolve disputes through dialogue. Disputes related to ceasefire implementation and cantonment should be referred to the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) and other relevant mechanisms outlined in the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan.

There is no military solution to the conflicts in South Sudan. We call on all parties to fulfill their commitments to implement the provisions of the peace agreement in full.

U.S. Issues Statement on Djibouti Elections

Press Statement
Mark C. Toner
Deputy Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
April 11, 2016

The United States commends the Djiboutian people for peacefully exercising their right to vote during their country’s April 8 presidential election.

While elections are an integral component of all democratic societies, democracy is also built on the foundation of rule of law, civil liberties, and open political discourse between all stakeholders. We encourage the Government of Djibouti to support the freedoms of peaceful assembly, association, and expression for all of Djibouti’s citizens.

The United States has a strong partnership with Djibouti. We look forward to advancing our shared interests and helping Djiboutians build a more prosperous, secure, and democratic future. We take note of the reports released by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the African Union, and others and the recommendations by the African Union on improving future electoral processes in Djibouti. We hope to work with the Government of Djibouti to advance those recommendations.

U.S. Expresses Serious Concern Regarding Darfur Referendum

Press Statement
Mark C. Toner
Deputy Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
April 9, 2016

The United States expresses serious concern regarding the Government of Sudan’s plans to conduct a referendum on April 11-13 over the political future of Darfur. If held under current rules and conditions, a referendum on the status of Darfur cannot be considered a credible expression of the will of the people of Darfur. Moreover, it will undermine the peace process now under way.

Insecurity in Darfur and inadequate registration of Darfuris residing in internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps prohibit sufficient participation. Furthermore, the Darfur Referendum Commission’s recent announcement that Darfuris residing outside of Darfur will be ineligible to vote disenfranchises millions of Darfuris, refugees, and IDPs.

Lasting peace in Sudan will only be attained through a political process that addresses the underlying causes of the Darfur conflict, secures a lasting cessation of hostilities, and creates the space for meaningful participation of Darfuri groups and all Sudanese in an inclusive and genuine national dialogue. The announced Darfur Referendum will contradict these key objectives and the broader goal of peace and stability in Darfur.

The United States will continue to support the people of Sudan who wish to advance peaceful governance and inclusive participatory politics for long-term stability in Sudan.

U.S. Sends Two Former Guantanamo Detainees to Senegal

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 4, 2016

The United States is very grateful to our partner, the Republic of Senegal, for offering humanitarian resettlement to two individuals formerly in Department of Defense custody at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba detention facility.

On April 4, the Department of Defense announced the transfer of two Libyan nationals to the Republic of Senegal. These two individuals, Salem Abdu Salam Ghereby (Internment Serial Number (ISN) 189) and Omar Khalif Mohammed Abu Baker Mahjour Umar (ISN 695), were unanimously approved for transfer by six U.S. government departments and agencies, either through the 2009-2010 Executive Order Task Force or the more recent Periodic Review Board process. Senegal joins 26 different countries which, since 2009, have extended resettlement opportunities to nearly 100 detainees.

The United States appreciates the generous assistance of the Government of Senegal as the United States continues its efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. This significant humanitarian gesture is consistent with Senegal’s leadership on the global stage.

As the President has repeatedly made clear, the Administration is determined to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The continued operation of the detention facility weakens our national security by draining resources, damaging our relationships with key allies and partners, and serving as a propaganda tool for violent extremists. We are taking all possible steps to reduce the detainee population at Guantanamo and to close the detention facility in a responsible manner that protects our national security.

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement on the Republic of Senegal’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
April 4, 2016

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I send our very best wishes to the people of Senegal as you celebrate your independence on April 4.

The strong partnership between our two countries has flourished due to the shared values of our citizens and their common pursuit of prosperity and peace. The United States applauds the many contributions that Senegal has made to regional security and fully supports your efforts to expand economic opportunities, improve education and health, and strengthen democratic institutions.

On the occasion of the 56th anniversary of Senegal’s founding, I offer my congratulations to all, and look forward to deepening our friendship even further in years to come.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

U.S. Issues Statement on 22nd Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide

Office of the Press Secretary
April 7, 2016

Statement by the President on the 22nd Anniversary of the Genocide in Rwanda
Twenty-two years after the genocide, we stand with the people of Rwanda to commemorate the more than 800,000 men, women, and children whose lives were lost during 100 days of unspeakable violence. We honor not just the victims but also those who risked their lives to save others as well as the survivors who carry the memories of these atrocities. On this solemn day, we remind ourselves of our common humanity and shared commitment to protecting civilians and ensuring that mass atrocities of this magnitude never happen again.

Today, even as the United States grieves with the Rwandan people, we are inspired by the progress Rwanda has made in moving beyond these horrible crimes and in building a more peaceful and prosperous future for its citizens. The United States Government and the American people will continue to extend our friendship and partnership to Rwanda as we reconfirm our commitment to protecting the vulnerable, to preventing mass atrocities, and to upholding the inherent dignity of every human being.

Commemoration of the 22nd Anniversary of the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 7, 2016

We stand today with the people of Rwanda in paying tribute to the more than 800,000 men, women, and children who were savagely murdered in the Rwandan genocide twenty-two years ago.

We grieve for those innocent lives lost, for the families and friends who will forever cherish them, and for the survivors who suffer as both victims and witnesses to one of
the most unspeakable acts of evil of our lifetime.

The United States remains deeply committed to preventing the horror of mass atrocities and genocide from occurring again, and to continuing to work with the people of Rwanda and the international community to finish the task of bringing those responsible for those heinous acts to justice.


U.S. Issues Statement on Presidential Elections on the Republic of Congo

Press Statement
Mark C. Toner
Deputy Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
April 7, 2016

The United States is profoundly disappointed by the flawed presidential electoral process in the Republic of Congo. Widespread irregularities and the arrests of opposition supporters following the elections marred an otherwise peaceful vote.

The United States calls upon the Congolese Government to correct these numerous deficiencies before scheduling legislative elections in order to bring credibility to future electoral processes. We continue to urge the Congolese Government to respect the people’s constitutional rights of freedom of expression, movement, and association. We further encourage all parties to engage in constructive, inclusive dialogue.

The United States is also deeply concerned about the welfare of thousands of Congolese who awoke on April 4 to the sound of gunfire and explosions and fled their homes. A climate of fear works against the national unity and peace that the Congolese people deserve.

We are inspired by the Congolese people, who have demonstrated a strong commitment to democracy and have persevered in difficult times. Their continued peaceful involvement in the political process is vital to the future development of the Republic of Congo.

U.S. Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs Bonnie Jenkins Travels to Ethiopia

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
April 6, 2016

Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins will lead the U.S. delegation to a Review and Assistance Conference on the Implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) at the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on April 6-7, 2016. Resolution 1540, among its other legally binding obligations, requires all States to prohibit non-State actors, including terrorists, from engaging in a range of activities related to nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and their means of delivery, and to have controls for legitimate commercial and scientific activities that terrorists and other criminals might abuse for proliferation purposes. Full and effective implementation of the resolution and other nonproliferation and disarmament instruments will enhance the national capacities of AU Member States to deal with the multitude of threats and create a secure and well regulated environment for foreign investment.

For further information, please visit our website, or follow Ambassador Jenkins on Twitter @CTRAmb

U.S. Delegation Attends Inauguration of Benin’s President Patrice Talon

Office of the Press Secretary
April 4, 2016

President Obama Announces Presidential Delegation to the Republic of Benin to Attend the Inauguration of His Excellency Patrice Talon, President-elect of the Republic of Benin

President Barack Obama today announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to the Republic of Benin to Attend the Inauguration of His Excellency Patrice Talon, President-elect of the Republic of Benin, on April 6, 2016.

The Honorable D. Bruce Wharton, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, U.S. Department of State, will lead the delegation.

Members of the Presidential Delegation:

* The Honorable Lucy Tamlyn, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Benin, Department of State

* Ms. Kyeh Kim, Principal Deputy Vice President, Millennium Challenge Corporation


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Nigerian President Buhari Meets Secretary Kerry

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari pose for a photo before their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C., on March 31, 2016

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
March 31, 2016

The following is attributable to Spokesperson John Kirby:

Secretary Kerry met today on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit with Federal Republic of Nigeria President Buhari.

The Secretary expressed a firm commitment to continue working closely with Nigeria, highlighting the country’s importance to the region and to the continent. He offered continued U.S. support for efforts to increase security and stability, and to promote development in the areas of northeast Nigeria that have fallen victim to terrorist attacks by Boko Haram.

Secretary Kerry also offered continued U.S. support to locate and help with tracing and investigating looted funds. He noted Nigeria’s potential to enhance its agricultural production and infrastructure, and the potential of these industries to generate more employment opportunities, especially for Nigerian youth. He encouraged President Buhari to take steps to leverage private sector investment in these areas.

U.S. Issues Statement on Sentencing of Angolan Activists

Concerns Regarding Sentencing of Angolan Activists

Press Statement
John Kirby
Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs
Department of State
Washington, DC
March 31, 2016

The United States believes the harsh sentences levied this week by an Angolan court against the Angola 15+2 activists threaten the exercise of freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly. Both freedoms are enshrined in the Angolan Constitution, protected under Angola’s international human rights obligations, and are core values of any strong and functioning democracy.

We are also concerned about reports of procedural irregularities and lack of transparency in the trial, which raise questions about whether the rule of law has prevailed in this case.

We are encouraged, however, that the trial of the 15+2 activists has become a matter of national Angolan debate. We call on the Government of Angola to protect Angolans’ constitutional right to engage in peaceful, open, and public discourse.

U.S. Delegation to Attend Inauguration of Niger’s President

Office of the Press Secretary
March 31, 2016

President Obama Announces Presidential Delegation to the Republic of Niger to Attend the Inauguration of His Excellency Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger

President Barack Obama today announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to the Republic of Niger to Attend the Inauguration of His Excellency Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger, on April 2, 2016.

General David M. Rodriguez, Commander, U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM), will lead the delegation.

Members of the Presidential Delegation:

* The Honorable Eunice S. Reddick, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Niger, Department of State

* The Honorable Bisa Williams, Former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Niger, Department of State

* Ms. Kyeh Kim, Principal Deputy Vice President, Millennium Challenge Corporation


Media Note
Elizabeth Trudeau
Director, Office of Press Relations
Department of State
Washington, DC
April 1, 2016

On the occasion of Niger’s April 2 presidential inauguration, the United States congratulates President Mahamadou Issoufou on his election to a second term. We look forward to continuing to work with President Issoufou and the people of Niger on our many shared priorities.

The United States remains committed to supporting the Nigerien people through our partnership with Niger on security, development, and democratic governance.

DC’s MOAA Hosts African Diaspora Coding Academy’s Graduation Ceremony

EKO | African Diaspora Coding Academy 2nd Graduation Ceremony

On March 26, 2016, the Mayor’s Office on African Affairs hosted a graduation ceremony for 32 participants who have successfully completed EKO’s web development training.

EKO | African Diaspora Coding Academy is a program developed in partnership with Coders4Africa (C4A), the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO), and DCHR’s Center for Learning and Development to provide greater access to free coding classes, software design and application development to 120 African-born population in the District.

During the event, each of the 32 participants received a certificate of completion signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser. The ceremony was highlighted by the presentation of final projects to the audience, which included Archana Vemulapalli, Director of the Office of the Chief Technology Officer, who gave congratulatory remarks to the participants. Lafayette Barnes, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Partnerships and Grants Services, Nicole Cook, Associate Director of DCHR’s Center for Learning & Development and members of the DC Commission on African Affairs were among the attendees of the event. Please join the Mayor’s Office on African Affairs in congratulating all the participants of the EKO | African Diaspora Coding Academy.

3 African Women Named Among 2016 International Women of Courage

Secretary Kerry Delivers Remarks at the 2016 International Women of Courage Award Ceremony

On Monday March 28, 2016, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry presented the 2016 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award to a group of extraordinary women from around the world at the U.S. Department of State.

The Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award annually recognizes women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk. Since the inception of this award in 2007, the Department of State has honored nearly 100 women from 60 different countries.

The 2016 awardees are:

• Sara Hossain, Barrister, Supreme Court, Bangladesh

• Debra Baptist-Estrada, Port Commander, Belize Immigration and Nationality, Belize

• Ni Yulan, Human Rights Activist, China

• Latifa Ibn Ziaten, Interfaith Activist, France

• Thelma Aldana, Attorney General, Guatemala

• Nagham Nawzat, Yezidi Activist and Gynecologist, Iraq

• Nisha Ayub, Transgender Rights Advocate, Malaysia

Fatimata M’baye, Co-founder and President of the Mauritanian Association for Human Rights, Mauritania

• Zhanna Nemtsova, Journalist and Activist, Russia

• Zuzana ┼átevulov├í, Director of the Human Rights League, Slovakia

Awadeya Mahmoud, Founder and Chair of the Women’s Food and Tea Sellers’ Cooperative and the Women’s Multi-Purpose Cooperative for Khartoum State, Sudan

Vicky Ntetema, Executive Director of Under the Same Sun, Tanzania

• Rodjaraeg Wattanapanit, Bookstore Owner and Co-founder of Creating Awareness for Enhanced Democracy, Thailand

• Nihal Naj Ali Al-Awlaqi, Minister of Legal Affairs, Yemen

Fatimata M’baye, Mauritania

In 1988, Fatimata M’baye, the co-founder and president of the Mauritanian Association for Human Rights, became Mauritania’s first woman lawyer. In the 30 years since, she has achieved many more firsts – the first conviction for child exploitation, the first indictment for slavery, and the first prison sentence applied under the 2007 anti-slavery law, which she helped draft. Despite multiple imprisonments and threats to her life, she regularly takes on the most difficult legal cases – from representing clients accused of apostasy to her work on behalf of a “committee of widows” seeking justice for husbands murdered during a period of state-sanctioned communal violence. In a country struggling with unresolved ethnic tensions, Ms. M’baye promotes a message of tolerance: “I do not see myself as a black woman. I could be born white, yellow, Mongolian, or Kurdish, and I would have recognized myself in each of these. For me, the value of the human being is above everything.”

Awadeya Mahmoud, Sudan

A champion of women working in Sudan’s informal sector, Awadeya Mahmoud has been fearless in confronting government authorities, challenging unfair social norms, and overcoming economic obstacles. Ms. Mahmoud is Founder and Chair of both the Women’s Food and Tea Sellers’ Cooperative and the Women’s Multi-Purpose Cooperative for Khartoum State. The cooperatives represent some 8,000 women, many of them internally displaced by conflict in Darfur and the Two Areas, who depend on selling tea and other informal sector work to survive. Like the women she represents, Ms. Mahmoud was displaced by conflict and became a roadside tea seller when her family moved to Khartoum. As a “tea lady,” she faced harassment from authorities. Unshaken by the fact that she had no legal recourse in Sudan’s male-dominated society, she organized women into cooperatives, encouraging them to assert their rights, engage politicians on police behavior, and skillfully use the media to draw public attention to the challenges women in the informal sector face. 25 years later, her continuing resolve to seek justice and equal opportunities for women remains an inspiration to women throughout Sudan

Vicky Ntetema, Tanzania

Vicky Ntetema is Executive Director of Under the Same Sun, an NGO dedicated to ending the often-deadly discrimination against people with albinism. A decade ago, as the BBC’s Tanzania Bureau Chief, Ms. Ntetema went undercover to investigate the gruesome business of buying and selling the body parts of people with albinism. Posing as a potential buyer, she infiltrated networks of witchdoctors who claimed the body parts could bring luck to purchasers. Death threats followed the airing of Ms. Ntetma’s stories, and temporarily forced her into hiding. But her courageous reporting galvanized international attention and led to a series of arrests and convictions. Ms. Ntetma has remained fearless, eventually leaving journalism to fight with international public and private sector partners for the human rights of people with albinism.