Monday, July 31, 2017

2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Summit

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
July 28, 2017

Representatives of the U.S. Government, private sector, and civil society will meet with nearly 1,000 young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa during the State Department-sponsored Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit from July 31-August 2, in Washington, DC. The Mandela Washington Fellowship and Summit fosters and builds relationships that support and expand U.S.-Africa cooperation on shared goals the continent.

The Summit, held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, will feature an Expo with more than 100 organizations engaged with Africa, as well as a Congressional Forum and other leadership and networking sessions. The young African leaders are convening in Washington after six weeks of academic study and leadership training at 38 higher education institutions across the United States as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Alumni of the Fellowship are playing a role in strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa. The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative, the United States’ effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a program of the U.S. Government and is supported in its implementation by IREX.

DC MOAA Hosts Third Annual Mandela Day of Service

File Photo

Story: DC MOAA

On Friday, July 14, 2017, the Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (MOAA) in partnership with Howard University, the UNESCO Center for Peace and the Commission on African Affairs hosted its third annual Young African ConneXions Summit (YAX) themed Strengthening Diaspora Partnerships. The Summit was held at the Howard University School of Business Auditorium as part of MOAA’s Community and Youth Engagement Outreach program.

Following the annual Young African ConneXions Summit, MOAA hosted its third annual Mandela Day of Service on Saturday, July 15, 2017. The agency was joined by volunteers at the Anacostia Park Skating Rink on 1800 Anacostia Drive, Washington, DC 20003, for 67 minutes of community service to commemorate the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela.

Please visit our Facebook page to view pictures of the events #YAX2017 and Mandela Day of Service

US Issues Statement on Libya

Press Statement
Heather Nauert
Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 28, 2017

The United States remains committed to working with Libya and our international partners to help resolve the political conflict and advance peace and long-term stability in Libya.

While the Libyan people must lead the process of achieving political reconciliation in their country, the international community plays an important role in supporting those efforts.

In this regard, we welcome the Joint Declaration from the July 25, meeting between Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and General Khalifa Haftar, hosted outside of Paris by French President Emmanuel Macron. We call on all Libyans to support political dialogue and adhere to a cease-fire, as stated in the Joint Declaration.

The United States also welcomes new UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya Ghassan Salamé as the head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, UNSMIL, which plays a critical role in advancing lasting peace and stability. We look forward to working with him to help Libyans reach a political solution.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

WiSci Girls STEAM Camp in Malawi Begins July 30

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
July 24, 2017

Building upon the success of the WiSci (Women in Science) Girls STEAM Camp held in Peru in 2016 and in Rwanda in 2015, this year’s WiSci Girls STEAM Camp will take place in Malawi, July 30–August 14. A public-private partnership designed to expand science, technology, engineering, arts and design, and mathematics (STEAM) exposure and opportunities for adolescent girls, the 2017 camp brings together 100 students from Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Liberia, Tanzania, Zambia, and the United States.

Led by industry experts, WiSci 2017 focuses on the applications of science and technology in creating a safer, more prosperous, and secure world. Campers will learn about coding and app development, engineering and robotics, micro- and molecular biology, satellite mapping, and sustainable development. They will have the opportunity to present project ideas and designs that use the skills and tools they gained to address a social or development challenge. The camp will also provide the girls with leadership and communication skills, teamwork opportunities, cultural exchange, educational excursions, mentorship, and professional development and networks extending beyond the camp to continue participants’ engagement in STEAM fields.

The 2017 WiSci Girls STEAM Camp is led by founding partners the U.S. Department of State, United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign, and the Intel Corporation, and sustaining partner Google. Additional programmatic support is provided by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, American Society for Microbiology, and NASA. The implementing partner for WiSci 2017 is World Learning.

The WiSci Girls STEAM camp is part of the U.S. government’s efforts to empower adolescent girls, especially in the STEAM fields, and to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.

For more information on the WiSci Girls STEAM Camp, visit, follow #WiSci2017 on social media, or contact Alex Campbell, or Anita Ostrovsky,

New Ghanaian Ambassador to US Presents Letters of Credence

Washington, DC
July 30, 2017

On Friday, July 21, 2017, the new Ghanaian Ambassador to the U.S.–Dr. Baffour Adjei-Bawuah–presented his Letters of Credence to President Trump at an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony in the Oval Office at the White House.

The presentation of credentials is a traditional ceremony that marks the formal beginning of an Ambassador’s service in Washington.

US Welcomes Sudan’s Commitment to Fight Terrorism

Press Statement
Heather Nauert
Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 20, 2017

The United States welcomes the recent announcements by the Governments of Sudan and Saudi Arabia underscoring Sudan’s commitment to sustain positive dialogue with the United States and to continue collective efforts to fight terrorism. As outlined in the 2016 U.S. Country Report on Terrorism issued July 19, the United States notes Sudan’s improved counterterrorism efforts through enhanced interagency and international cooperation to address the threat from ISIS and other terrorist organizations, and its willingness to pursue counterterrorism operations alongside regional partners, including operations to counter threats to U.S. interests and personnel in Sudan.

The US and Togo To Co-Host the 2017 AGOA Forum

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
July 14, 2017

The United States and Togo will co-host the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum in Lomé, Togo August 8-10. The Forum will bring together senior government officials from the United States and 38 Sub-Saharan African AGOA-eligible countries to discuss ways to boost economic cooperation and trade between the United States and Africa. The African Union and regional economic communities will also participate.

The theme of this year’s Forum is “The United States and Africa: Partnering for Prosperity through Trade.” The 2017 Forum will explore how countries can continue to maximize the benefits of AGOA in a rapidly changing economic landscape, and highlight the important role played by women, civil society, and the private sector in promoting trade and generating prosperity.

Representatives from the private sector, civil society, and the U.S.-sponsored African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) will participate in Forum activities August 8-9. The Ministerial plenaries will follow on August 9-10, bringing together senior government officials from the United States and the 38 African beneficiary countries.

U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer will lead the U.S. delegation, which will include senior officials from the U.S. Departments of State, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Transportation, Treasury, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, as well as the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the U.S. African Development Fund. Members of Congress and their staff from both parties are also invited to attend the Forum.

The AGOA law, which enhances market access to the United States for qualifying sub-Saharan African countries, has been the cornerstone of the U.S. government’s trade policy with sub-Saharan Africa since 2000. The law mandates that each year a special Forum be convened to discuss issues related to the implementation of the law and issues of economic cooperation and trade in general.

For specific information about the AGOA Forum private sector dialogue, please visit:
For specific information about the civil society/AWEP event, please visit:
For information about AWEP Togo, please visit:
Additional questions may be sent to:

Update on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
July 24, 2017

Today, the United States announced that through support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) four African countries are approaching control of their HIV epidemics.
Groundbreaking new PEPFAR data show that the HIV epidemic is coming under control across all age groups in Swaziland, the country with the highest HIV prevalence in the world. Additional PEPFAR-supported studies released in December 2016 for Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe also demonstrate significant progress toward controlling the HIV epidemics in these countries.

In Swaziland, new HIV infections have been nearly halved among adults, and HIV viral load suppression – a key marker of the body successfully controlling the virus – has doubled since 2011. These data suggest that Swaziland has met the global target for community viral load suppression among HIV-positive adults four years ahead of schedule. The Swaziland data is particularly important because PEPFAR funded a comprehensive survey in 2011-2012, which provides the critical baseline comparator of current results and progress.

Today’s findings demonstrate the remarkable impact of the U.S. government’s efforts, through PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in close collaboration with African countries and other partners.

The United States is the largest bilateral donor to the global HIV/AIDS response. Through PEPFAR, the United States continues to invest in over 50 countries, ensuring access to services by all populations, including the most vulnerable and at-risk groups. Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are among the 13 highest-burden countries that have the greatest potential to control their epidemics by 2020 through the UNAIDS 90-90-90 framework and expansion of HIV prevention, leading PEPFAR to accelerate its efforts in these particular countries.

For more information about PEPFAR, visit:

100&Change | The Carter Center Takes Aim at a Big Fish

Dr. Richards with a patient.

Story and Photo: The Carter Center

By Frank Richards
Dr. Frank Richards leads the Carter Center’s efforts to eliminate river blindness (also known as onchocerciasis), a parasitic disease transmitted by the bites of infected black flies.

There’s a famous line in the movie “Jaws” – after the stunned sheriff sees the monster shark for the first time, he says to the shark hunter: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

As The Carter Center tackles the monstrous challenge of eliminating river blindness in Nigeria, we’re gonna need a bigger plan, a bigger program, a bigger posse of volunteers—in short, a bigger paradigm. Our proposal to the MacArthur Foundation lays out a plan to do this that is entirely achievable with sufficient support; in other words, with a bigger budget.

But everyone involved, especially the millions of people in thousands of affected communities, must understand that to eliminate this curse, we need all hands on deck, and everyone needs to take the medication in the correct doses at the prescribed times. A Mectizan distribution program of this size, in the most populous nation in Africa and the most endemic for this disease worldwide, will require an exponential level of effort and perseverance; it has never been attempted at this scale.

We know our method works; we’ve used it to eliminate river blindness in Ecuador, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico. But Nigeria’s at-risk population is 100 times that of all of those places combined, so we have to scale everything up. Tens of thousands of volunteers will need to bring health education to their villages, measure for proper dosage and administer ivermectin tablets—medicine which is proven to stop transmission of the condition—and keep better records that will provide better data needed to track our progress. We will need a lot more volunteers, and each will need to be thoroughly trained, equipped and motivated. We’ll also need a lot more medication, storage space for it, and vehicles and drivers to distribute it. Once we’ve gained the advantage over river blindness, once it is gone from people and the environment, we can scale down all these activities for good.

This is a huge shark we are going after. But at The Carter Center, we don’t shy away from challenges. We believe that when the opportunity arises to make a terrible disease go away forever, we are morally obligated to give it our best shot.

Carter Center Conveys Note of Pride in South Africa Program

Marion Scher (journalist/media consultant and trainer), Mia Malan (health editor of Mail and Guardian), Hlubi Mboya (television personality), and Cassey Chambers (operations director, South African Depression and Anxiety Group) speak about mental health journalism at the 2017 Mental Health Summit in South Africa.

Story and Photo: The Carter Center

By Rebecca Palpant Shimkets
Rebecca Palpant Shimkets, associate director in the Carter Center’s Mental Health Program, develops and oversees the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism.

Seeing South Africa’s mental health journalism program blossom fills me, along with Rosalynn Carter and everyone here at the Carter Center’s Mental Health Program, with the kind of pride one feels when a family member receives a university degree. We are thrilled to have helped the program take its first steps.

In South Africa, like many other countries, mental health is shrouded in ignorance and stigma. Many people associate mental illness with a moral failure or witchcraft, but we know it is a health condition that can be treated.

Journalists have a powerful role to play in better informing the public, dispelling myths and misconceptions, and showing the real faces of mental illness — our neighbors, friends, colleagues, even ourselves. The media also can help shape public policy by shining a light on systemic failures and gaps in services, as well as providing a platform to discuss solutions.

In 2004, South Africa began developing ways for the media to better address mental health issues. The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism South Africa were created and awarded annually until 2011. A total of 14 fellowships were awarded before the South African Depression and Anxiety Group took over administration of the program with a vision for sustaining it without the Carter Center’s help.

That vision has never faltered. Zane Wilson and Marion Scher have found ways to train journalists, provide technical support to media outlets, and carry the torch The Carter Center ignited.

Just one example of a journalism fellow who has made a difference is Tamar Kahn of Business Day in Cape Town. Kahn was a 2006-07 fellow who has written extensively about the mental health issues faced by South African police officers and their families. Kahn uncovered a “tough man” mentality, a common cultural trait in South African men that was exacerbated by working in law enforcement. As a result, many officers lack the skills or inclination to seek the help they need. The publication of Kahn’s work was accompanied by a surge in coverage of mental health issues by South African newspapers and radio shows.

“It’s a way of taking our readers, I hope, to places that they would never go,” Kahn said. “And by showing them these places, perhaps they will be better informed about the challenges facing our police force and in turn pressure our policy-makers to improve the mental health services for police men and women.”

The mental health journalism landscape has changed dramatically in the past dozen years as more and more journalists have addressed the topic. It’s exciting to see Discovery Health declare that these issues are so important that the company will support a journalist to cover them using the standards and criteria established by The Carter Center.

Mrs. Carter and The Carter Center are enormously proud of all the fellows, of Zane and Marion for their determination to sustain the vision, and of Discovery Health for believing in the value of this work.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

US Extends Sudan Sanctions Review Period

Africa: The Administration Extends Sudan Sanctions Review Period
07/11/2017 08:19 PM EDT

Press Statement
Heather Nauert
Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC

July 11, 2017

Today, the President issued an Executive Order (E.O.) extending the review period established by E.O. 13761 of January 13, 2017, which set forth criteria for the revocation of certain sanctions on Sudan. The President’s E.O. extends the review period for an additional three months and provides for the revocation of those sanctions if the Government of Sudan (GOS) sustains the positive actions that gave rise to E.O. 13761, including maintaining a cessation of hostilities in conflict areas in Sudan; improving humanitarian access throughout Sudan; and maintaining its cooperation with the United States on addressing regional conflicts and the threat of terrorism.

The United States will revoke the sanctions if the GOS is assessed to have sustained progress in these areas at the end of the extended review period. The general license issued by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which became effective on January 17, 2017, remains in place and broadly authorizes U.S. persons to process transactions involving persons in Sudan; engage in imports from and exports to Sudan; and engage in transactions involving property in which the GOS has an interest.

While we recognize that the GOS has made significant, substantial progress in many areas, the Administration has decided that some more time is needed for this review to establish that the GOS has sustained sufficient positive actions across all areas listed in E.O. 13761. We remain deeply committed to engagement with the GOS and working toward further progress on achieving a sustainable peace in Sudan, removing remaining obstructions to the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and bolstering cooperation to counter terrorism and promote regional stability. Beyond these key areas connected with the potential revocation of most sanctions on Sudan and the GOS, the Administration is also committed to intensifying engagement with the GOS on a broader range of vital issues, including our ongoing dialogue on improving Sudan’s human rights and religious freedom practices, and ensuring that Sudan is committed to the full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea.

Background Briefing on Sudan Sanctions

07/12/2017 03:03 PM EDT

Special Briefing
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Senior Administration Officials
Via Teleconference

July 12, 2017

MODERATOR: Thank you. Thanks, everyone, for joining us for the background call on the administration’s decision yesterday to extend the review period for the revocation of certain sanctions on Sudan. You may have seen the statement that was released yesterday, so we wanted to bring some folks in to discuss the decision in greater detail. We have [Senior Administration Official One]; also [Senior Administration Official Two] and [Senior Administration Official Three]. I’d like to add that the call will be embargoed until the end of the call. You can refer to the officials as senior administration officials who are involved in the Sudan assessment process.

With that, I will turn it over to [Senior Administration Official One] to get a little bit more into the details of today’s decision. And let me just add that [Senior Administration Official Two] has to drop off the call early, so we’ll get to [Senior Administration Official Two] after [Senior Administration Official One]. [Senior Administration Official One], thank you. Go right ahead.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Good morning, everybody. I just would like to take a very quick moment to set the frame of what the decision – that took place. Executive Order 13761, issued in January 13, provided for sanctions relief for Sudan with respect to certain sanctions if the Government of Sudan sustained positive actions that gave rise to this order. And basically, these actions, just to be clear so we’re all on the same page, included maintaining a cessation of hostilities in the conflict areas in Sudan, continuing improvement of humanitarian access throughout Sudan, and maintaining cooperation with the U.S. on both regional conflicts and the threat of counterterrorism in the context of regional conflicts. A key issue is countering the Lord’s Resistance Army.

So the administration recognizes Sudan has made significant progress in these areas over the last six months, but given that a new administration came in in January and looking at where we’ve gone and where we will go, the administration decided that it needed more time to review Sudan’s actions and to establish that the government has demonstrated sustained, positive actions across all the areas that are set out in the executive order. As a result, the President yesterday issued a new executive order that extended the review period for three months. The Government of Sudan, if it is assessed at the end of that review period to have sustained positive actions as we’ve been discussing, the United States will revoke the sanctions. But there was a feeling that the additional time was needed to ensure that, given the scope and gravity of this decision, we reached the proper outcome.

The administration is committed to sustaining this discussion as well as engaging with the Government of Sudan on other vital issues outside of the five-track arrangement, including intensifying our ongoing and fairly intense already dialogue on improving Sudan’s human rights and religious freedom record, and also to ensure that, like we are on track with that throughout the globe, committed to the full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea. And I’m sure that [Senior Administration Official Two] will have more to say on that if there’s questions.

A couple of other things I’d like to note: In that throughout the course of the extended review period, the OFAC license that was issued in January remains in effect, and what that does essentially is it authorizes U.S. persons to engage in transactions involving Sudan, authorizes imports and exports, and engage in transactions that involve property related to the Government of Sudan. So this general license allows these actions that had been prohibited under previous executive orders as it has for the last six months, and as we go forward – additional three months of the review period, this will stay in place.

One other thing I’d like to note before we go into questions is that the administration looked at all relevant and credible information in terms of where we’ve assessed where we’re going to date, and that this decision was reached through a senior-level process, interagency process, that took the views of the Department of State, the Treasury, the intelligence agencies, as well as USAID and others who have an interest and focus on these issues. But it was the President who made the final decision based on his – the recommendations of the senior levels of the interagency – interagency.

So I think with that I will stop and let any questions go to my colleagues who are also on the line [Senior Administration Officials Two and Three].

MODERATOR: Okay. [Senior Administration Official One], thank you so much. Go right ahead. Let’s take our first question, and if anyone – let me mention again: If anyone has a specific question for [Senior Administration Official Two], since she has to drop off the phone early, go right ahead with that as well.

OPERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to ask a question, please press * and then 1 on your telephone keypad. You’ll hear a tone indicating you’ve been placed in queue. To remove yourself from queue, simply press the # key. Once again, to ask your question, please press * and then 1 at this time. And one moment, please.

The first question is from Matina Stevis with The Wall Street Journal. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. Thanks very much for doing this. It’s much appreciated. You will have seen in the last few moments that the Sudanese president has issued a statement saying he is suspending the sort of relevant commission that was working with the U.S. civil servants and other authorities on this. It is the view of the Sudanese Government that they have no more to do and that this decision effectively is a moving of goalposts. How do you respond to that, and how concerned are you that even this small extension might lead to backtracking of some of the progress that you guys have said has been made over the last few months and, indeed, nearly two years?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: I don’t want to characterize the Sudanese reaction right now because we’ve – we’re having still senior-level engagement on this issue as we speak and going forward. So I’m not going to comment on this report. We don’t know if it’s accurate, and since it’s, I think, a press report, we will wait until we have, actually, a full set of senior-level engagement and discussion back and forth.

We welcomed what Sudan has done to bring itself more in line with international standards and integrate its economy in the marketplace. We want to have a positive relationship going forward; we’ve made that clear throughout the process, and we hope that Sudan will continue. And again, the key focus, I think, for the Sudanese has been working to achieve the full revocation of sanctions. And if, at the end of the three months, which is a relatively short extension, and I think one where we can actually make some additional progress, the stated intent, as our statement indicates, is to lift the sanctions.

QUESTION: Thank you. Thank you very much.



OPERATOR: If there are additional questions, please press * and then 1. Once again, to ask additional questions, please press * and then 1. And one moment please.

And we’ll go to the line of Robbie Gramer with Foreign Policy. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. Thanks so much for doing this. I was wondering if you could comment on reports that came out a few months back on Sudan purchasing arms from North Korea. Have you talked at all with the Sudanese Government about clamping this down or stopping this, and have they assured you that would – they will?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Yeah. Basically, if you’ll notice that we do mention North Korea in the statement the department issued. The implementation of Security Council resolutions in North Korea, and especially efforts to stem North Korean missile proliferation and financing activities, is a top security priority for the President. He’s said this many times. I want to note – I want to turn this over to [Senior Administration Official Two] if she has any comment on this.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: Sure. Hello, everybody. Again, I’m [Senior Administration Official Two], and as [Senior Administration Official One] has said, and I’ll reiterate, and as you’ve seen in our statement, the Trump administration has made it really clear that the number one security issue for them and for our new government is North Korea. And that is a global, top security issue.

So yes, we have made our position clear with the Sudanese Government, and even outside of the five-track plan and in our longer-term engagement, for a very long time, that they must abide by the UN Security Council resolutions with regards to North Korea. So we continue to say that; that has not been added to the five-track framework, but it has been a continual concern we have with the Sudanese Government, and we’ve expressed that all along.

MODERATOR: (Inaudible) add to that. (Inaudible.)

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: I just wanted to add that we have been and we will continue to be talking about this issue. It is something that we are doing across the board with a range of countries. So again, I think that all our partners and – across the world, and all people – all the other countries that we’ve raised it with understand where this stands in our security priorities, and certainly the Sudanese do as well. And I think that we’ll stop there.

MODERATOR: Okay. Next question, please.

OPERATOR: The next question comes from the line of Kylie Atwood with CBS News. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hello. Thanks for doing this. I have a question on the special envoy for South Sudan and Sudan here at the State Department. Is that a position that’s vacant right now? And if so, does that vacancy have anything to do with prolonging this policy review in that there’s no one who is a voice at the table that could be kind of an additional person to have conducted the review? Thanks.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: There is no special envoy for the moment, although [the] office is fully staffed and continues to work on these issues. What I can say is that basically, the appointment of a special envoy or a special representative for Sudan is under consideration by the administration as a part of State’s ongoing reorganizational design, and that’s really where we are right now. It would – I would not draw any other conclusions based on staffing right now.

MODERATOR: Okay. Next question, please.

OPERATOR: Next, the line of Matina Stevis, Wall Street Journal. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Sorry to use up my time, and then I hope other colleagues get to other questions. I just wanted to ask for your comments, since we have you here, on reports from expert analysts that have already been published that potentially, the decision was the outcome of lobbying both from human rights groups, by the likes of John Prendergast and former administration officials, as well as the so-called Christian right, which has historically been very active in lobbying for the isolation of Sudan and the split of South Sudan in the past. Do you guys have any comments on allegations that this – these influences and public statements are what’s really swayed you?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: I don’t want to speculate on any of the internal deliberations. What I can say is that we haven’t made a decision. We decided to – as an administration, that more time was needed to assess this issue.

As we note, there has been some significant progress made across the five tracks. On the question of humanitarian access, there’s been progress in our ability to get to different places on ensuring that the access of some additional materials has happened. But I’m not going to speculate on where we are and what we are – where we’re going on this other than to say that these five issues continue to be extremely important in terms of where we want to go. Humanitarian access has always been a real problem, and I think we’ve succeeded in reversing a number of longstanding impediments. The extended review period is going to let us do even more, and we want to make sure that our principle – which is unfettered humanitarian access in all contexts – is something that we could go forward with with the Government of Sudan, and that restrictions on travel and other issues are – that are inconsistent with the freedom of movement are addressed and overcome.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: This is [Senior Administration Official Two]. I would just add to the question, too, that this was a robust policy review process to determine that we just needed more time, that the new administration needed more time. Our principal – all principals were involved, and like [Senior Administration Official One] said, this is not a decision; it is, in fact, just having – giving a new administration a little bit more time. But we did have a lot of review go on and we’re still going to continue that process.

MODERATOR: Okay, everyone. Thanks so much for joining the call. Let me just go over this again, that the call is a background call with senior administration officials who are involved with the Sudan assessment process. The embargo from this call has now been lifted. Thank you, everyone, so much for joining us today and thanks for our speakers, [Senior Administration Official One], [Senior Administration Official Two], and also [Senior Administration Official Three]. Thank you.

TechGirls From North Africa Invest in STEM Futures

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC

July 10, 2017

Teenage girls from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, and Tunisia will participate in the U.S. Department of State’s TechGirls exchange program from July 12–August 3. During their three weeks in the United States, participants will strengthen and develop technical skills, form invaluable networks, and establish relationships with mentors that will influence their future tech careers. The TechGirls initiative empowers girls around the world to become leaders in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

The 28 TechGirls will attend leadership clinics and project management workshops at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA and in Washington, D.C. While at Virginia Tech, the teens will also participate in an eight day, interactive technology and coding camp conducted by the Department of Computer Science Training, participate in a day of job shadowing with top tech companies in the Washington, D.C.-area, and engage in community service activities. Top leaders in the tech industry from the United States and the Middle East and North Africa will mentor the girls throughout the program.
The State Department and program partner Legacy International have teamed up with both public and private sector partners for this year’s TechGirls program, including: AT&T, Byte Back, Echo & Co, FCC, i Strategies Lab, Islamic Relief, Nokia, NPR, Relief International, Synoptos, TechChange, Vox Media, and 18F.

TechGirls exchange alumnae, now totaling 130, have utilized the program’s lessons to train more than 2,300 peers in their home countries. The achievements of these alumnae and the talent of the incoming class contribute to the U.S. global commitment to advance the rights of women and girls around the world, as well as STEM education.

Join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter using hashtag #TechGirls.

US Issues Statement on 6th Anniversary of The South Sudan Conflict

Press Statement
Heather Nauert
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC

July 9, 2017

The birth of South Sudan in 2011 was marked by hope for a peaceful and prosperous future. The American people, like many around the world, celebrated as the South Sudanese forged a free and independent nation following years of strife. Six years later, on the occasion of South Sudan’s independence, the promise of 2011 has been supplanted in 2017 by a continuing civil war and devastating humanitarian crisis affecting millions.

The conflict that broke out in December 2013 set South Sudan on a precarious course, causing immense suffering, creating divisions and holding the country back. We deeply regret that the second chance made possible by the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity in April 2016 was squandered. Following the collapse of the permanent ceasefire in July 2016, the armed conflict expanded across the country and the parties to the conflict remain unwilling to return to the negotiating table. The consequences have been dire: two million people displaced inside South Sudan, nearly two million people displaced as refugees outside of South Sudan, and six million people facing life-threatening hunger.

The United States remains deeply committed to a stable and inclusive South Sudan, and stresses once again that there is no military solution to this conflict. On this day meant to celebrate South Sudan’s creation, we call upon South Sudan’s leaders and all parties to end this self-destructive violence, to return to political dialogue, and to help South Sudan realize its full potential.

We extend our best wishes to the people of the Republic of South Sudan on the sixth anniversary of the nation’s independence. The United States will stand with the people of South Sudan and with all leaders who are working for peace, stability, and justice.

President Trump Calls Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi

File Photo

Office of the Press Secretary

July 5, 2017

Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Call with President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt

President Donald J. Trump spoke today aboard Air Force One with President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt to address the ongoing dispute between Qatar and its Arab neighbors.  President Trump called on all parties to negotiate constructively to resolve the dispute, and he reiterated the need for all countries to follow through on their commitments at the Riyadh Summit to stop terrorist financing and discredit extremist ideology.

The two presidents also discussed the threat from North Korea.  President Trump stressed the need for all countries to fully implement U.N. Security Council resolutions on North Korea, stop hosting North Korean guest workers, and stop providing economic or military benefits to North Korea.


MCC Expanding Access to Water and Sanitation in Cabo Verde

Thanks to an MCC-funded project in Cabo Verde that provided low-cost household connections to water and sanitation networks, Celestina now has clean water coming directly to her home, and now spends less time collecting water. As women and other vulnerable groups gain a greater voice in decision-making and greater access to water and sanitation services, they will be better positioned to pursue education and employment opportunities that help them lift themselves out of poverty. Photo: MCA-Cabo Verde II

June 16, 2017

Story: MCC website

Spotlight on Cabo Verde: Expanding Access to Water and Sanitation is Critical to Economic Growth

Women, the poor and other vulnerable groups are particularly impacted by the shortcomings of the water and sanitation sector in developing countries like Cabo Verde. Yet, women and the poor are seldom represented in national policy conversations and decision-making. At the local level, utilities rarely design services that address the challenges that these groups face in accessing and paying for water and sanitation. But in Cabo Verde, an island nation off the coast of West Africa, this is changing.

In partnership with the Government of Cabo Verde, MCC is supporting reforms to the country’s major water and sanitation institutions and the development of a financially sound basis for the delivery of water and sanitation services — from clean tap water to safe wastewater removal. By considering women, the poor and other disadvantaged populations in making these reforms, along with improving accountability, the Government of Cabo Verde is expanding access to and affordability of these vital services to help people lift themselves out of poverty.

Read more about MCC’s partnership with the Government of Cabo Verde in our blog post from Naomi Cassirer, MCC Gender and Social Inclusion Director, and Lona Stoll, MCC Deputy Vice President for Sector Operations.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

US Sponsors Fraudulent Documentation Recognition Course for Namibian Officials

The fraudulent document training participants receive award certificates for taking part in the training, March 29, 2017. (U.S. Department of State photo)

Diplomatic Security : Diplomatic Security Service Conducts Fraudulent Documentation Recognition Course for Namibian Officials
06/22/2017 12:58 PM EDT
June 16, 2017
By Anne Carey, DSS Public Affairs
Document fraud, and its nexus to international terrorism, poses more risk to national security than ever before.
This reality has thrust a routine, but crucial, training program into the spotlight: U.S. Embassy-sponsored training in detecting document fraud before it becomes visa and passport fraud.
For Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) special agents at the U.S. Embassy Windhoek, Namibia, and the U.S. Consulate Cape Town, South Africa, who recently trained about 80 Namibian law enforcement and financial officials at the American Cultural Center in Windhoek, it was also a “win-win” for both missions, according to Windhoek Regional Security Officer Jason Meixner.
Law enforcement officers and other officials who took the fraudulent document training course in March learned about detecting imposters, fraud trends in regional travel documents, and counterfeit-resistant security features used on U.S. travel documents. They are able to immediately begin incorporating what they learned during the training into their daily duties in border security, law enforcement, immigration, and the financial sector.
U.S. Assistant Regional Security Officer-Investigations Cassius Gray and Criminal Fraud Investigator Antonio Solomon ran the workshops. Both men are posted at the U.S. Consulate in Cape Town and assist U.S. Embassy Windhoek with criminal investigations when needed.
“We had numerous compliments from everyone that attended [the three-day workshop] that both Cassius and Antonio were great instructors, and kept all of the students engaged,” RSO Meixner wrote in an email.
“We would love for them to return sometime at the end of this year or early next year to put on the same workshop in Walvis Bay, Namibia for law enforcement officials working in the airports and seaports on the coast,” RSO Meixner added.
According to RSO Meixner, the training not only enhanced the U.S. embassy’s contacts with Namibian law enforcement officials, but will likely benefit the U.S. Consulate in Cape Town with new Namibian Customs and Immigration contacts working the South African/Namibian border.
The training is an example of how DSS’ Overseas Criminal Investigations (OCI) division assists DSS personnel assigned to missions overseas in developing law enforcement relationships and enhance its foreign partners’ capabilities and security procedures.
As OCI Division Chief Jeff McGallicher said in November 2016, on a local level, OCI’s closest partners are police, immigration, customs, and airline personnel in the host country. Together they work to “protect the integrity of the passport and visa systems, disrupt criminal and terrorist mobility, and coordinate with host nation law enforcement to combat the production and use of fraudulently obtained travel and identity documents.”
On April 6, the Namibian Sun picked up the story. Namibia’s senior immigration officer, Philemon Shikale, told the Sun that fraud cases in the country have increased in the past two years. Imposters are now producing fake visa documents and removing authentic pictures from identity documents — replacing them with fakes.
“Namibia has strict immigration laws and this is forcing many travelers to forge their documents,” according to Shikale, who works at a border control site in Windhoek.

Nairobi Hosts US-Kenya Cyber and Digital Economy Dialogue

Photo: State Department
Africa: Coordinator for Cyber Issues and U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy To Participate in the U.S.-Kenya Cyber and Digital Economy Dialogue 
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
June 27, 2017

On June 22-23, 2017, the United States and Kenya held the first U.S.-Kenya Cyber and Digital Economy Dialogue in Nairobi, Kenya.
The following statement was issued by the Governments of the United States and Kenya at the conclusion of the Dialogue:
On June 22 and 23, the United States and Kenya affirmed their joint commitment to an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure cyberspace during the first U.S.-Kenya Cyber and Digital Economy Dialogue.
Hosted in Nairobi by the Kenyan government, the meeting focused on the future of the digital economy and protecting the opportunities it presents by combatting cybercrime and promoting cybersecurity. Officials discussed policy coordination, information sharing, and capacity building, with an emphasis on public-private cooperation. The Dialogue underscores our shared goal to collaborate on Internet policy matters and engage on digital economy and cyber issues in relevant international fora. Representatives from both delegations applauded the progress made and agreed to build on the exchange through annual Dialogues going forward.
The Department of State’s Coordinator for Cyber Issues Christopher Painter and Acting Coordinator for International Communication and Information Policy Julie Zoller co-led the U.S. delegation. The interagency delegation included representatives from the Departments of Commerce and Justice, the Federal Communications Commission, as well as from the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Mr. Joe Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communications and Technology (ICT), led the Kenyan delegation. Cabinet Secretary Rachel Omamo of the Ministry of Defense, joined Mr. Mucheru, as did representatives from the Office of the Attorney General, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense, and the Cabinet Secretary’s own Ministry of ICT.
Following a productive day of bilateral discussions, key private sector and civil society members joined the exchange and offered insights into policies to spur innovation, develop the digital workforce, and increase public awareness of cyber-related issues. Key non-government partners in attendance included the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, the American Chamber of Commerce, Microsoft, Symantec, and others.
The U.S.-Kenya Cyber and Digital Economy Dialogue formalizes a close relationship that developed over the past five years through consultations, capacity building efforts, and discussions during multilateral conferences and meetings. Subsequent iterations of the Dialogue will serve as a policy-level channel for identifying cyber and digital economy issues of mutual concern and developing joint initiatives, in turn strengthening and helping protect the economic interests of both countries.
To learn more about this trip or other cyber policy efforts at the Department of State, please follow us on Twitter @State_Cyber and @StateCIP.
To learn more about the Department of State’s efforts in economic matters, including communications and information policy issues, follow us on Twitter @EconatState or at the EconAtState Facebook page.

Asst. Sec. Henshaw Travels to Uganda for Refugee Summit

Museveni and UN Secretary general Antonio Guterres. ALL PHOTOS/PPU
Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
June 21, 2017
Acting Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration Simon Henshaw will travel to Uganda from June 21-23 as part of the United States delegation to the Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees, led by U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac. The Summit, hosted by Ugandan President Museveni and UN Secretary General Guterres, is being held in light of Uganda now hosting nearly 1.3 million refugees, including those entering in large numbers from South Sudan – currently the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis.
Assistant Secretary Henshaw’s visit reinforces the U.S. commitment to the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which demonstrated the unity of the international community in humanitarian efforts to save lives, protect rights, and share responsibility on a global scale.

US Issues Statement on Attack in Mali

Press Statement
Heather Nauert
Department of State Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 19, 2017
The United States expresses its condolences to the victims and their families of the June 18 terrorist attack at Hotel Kangaba “Le Campement” outside Bamako, Mali. We appreciate the efforts of Malian, French, and United Nations peacekeeping forces in responding to the attack and securing the compound.
The United States reiterates its firm resolve in the fight against terrorism worldwide and its solidarity with the government and people of Mali in that effort.