Supporting A Transition To Civilian Rule In Sudan

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

The United States supports a transition to a peaceful and democratic Sudan led by civilians who represent the diversity of Sudanese society. The will of the Sudanese people is clear: it is time to move toward a transitional government that is inclusive and respectful of human rights and the rule of law.

We are encouraged by the decision to release political prisoners and cancel the curfew in Khartoum. The United States, along with our international partners, continues to stress with the members of the Transitional Military Council and other armed groups the need to show restraint, avoid conflict, and remain committed to the protection of the Sudanese people.

Sudan’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism remains in effect, and Phase II discussions are suspended. We will continue to calibrate our policies based on our assessment of events on the ground and the actions of transitional authorities.

The Republic Of Zimbabwe’s National Day

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

On behalf of the United States, I offer our sincerest congratulations on the 39th anniversary of Zimbabwe’s independence.

Zimbabwe has the opportunity to set itself on a path of deep and meaningful political and economic reform, which holds the promise of improved lives and a better future for all Zimbabweans. The United States remains committed to the people of Zimbabwe, and it is our sincere hope that promised reforms will soon bear fruit.

We wish all Zimbabweans a very happy independence day.

United States And Japan To Hold Security Consultative Committee (“2+2”) Meeting April 19

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan will host Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya in Washington, D.C., for a Security Consultative Committee (“2+2”) meeting April 19.

The meeting will focus on U.S.-Japan coordination on the evolving regional security environment, including achieving the final, fully verified denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; enhancement of the U.S.-Japan Alliance’s capabilities across conventional and non-conventional domains; and cooperation to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific. The participants will also discuss the continued realignment of U.S. armed forces in Japan.

Following the meeting, Secretary Pompeo, Acting Secretary Shanahan, and their Japanese counterparts will hold a joint press availability.

Indonesia April 17 Elections

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

We congratulate the people of Indonesia on holding their first simultaneous presidential and legislative elections on April 17. The spirited campaigns and robust participation by Indonesia’s public, civil society, and media underscore the strength and dynamism of Indonesia’s democracy.

The United States and Indonesia are two large, diverse, and vibrant democracies with shared values and common interests that serve as a foundation of our bilateral Strategic Partnership.

This year we celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations with Indonesia. The United States looks forward to working with Indonesia’s elected officials through increased economic engagement, a strong security relationship, and shared global policy priorities.

Universities Urged To Boost Support For Armed Forces

Two Government Ministers have written to universities calling on them to step up provisions for the forces community and sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant

Graduation

Graduation

Universities should do more to support ex-service personnel and the children of servicemen and women who have lost their lives during duty, the UK Government has urged today (18 April).

In a joint letter to all UK universities, the Universities Minister and Defence Minister have called on institutions to step up and support those that have sacrificed the most, by signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant.

The Armed Forces Covenant aims to remove barriers faced by members of the armed forces community in accessing public services, including education. Only 57 of 136 UK universities have signed up to the Covenant to date, with just 3 of the 24 Russell Group universities pledging their support.

Universities can support the Covenant in a number of ways including ensuring admissions policies reflect the needs of the armed forces community, benchmarking military experience and qualifications against course entry requirements or having a presence at local careers fairs for those leaving the services.

The Ministers are also calling on universities to establish armed forces champions within each institution, which would be empowered to uphold the commitments of the Covenant, and to act as a first point of contact for the military community, service charities, and local businesses.

The call comes as the Department for Education confirms £5 million in continued funding for higher education schemes in England for the armed forces. The Service Leavers Scheme pays the tuition fees for ex-service personnel who have not studied higher education before, and the Armed Forces Bereavement Scheme provides university scholarships for children of those killed in the line of duty.

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said:

We want everyone with the talent and potential, no matter their circumstances or background, to go on to university and thrive.

The scholarships offered by these two crucial higher education schemes empower those who have fought for our country, or whose parents have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Nearly 60 of our universities have signed up to delivering the Armed Forces Covenant, which provides rights for veterans and their families to access education, and I know universities such as Winchester have long had outreach programmes with their local armed forces communities. I’m sure all universities will wish to consider the benefits of being a civic university that supports armed forces families in their communities, which is why I have written urging them all to actively consider signing up to the Covenant.

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood said:

Signing the Armed Forces Covenant is a fantastic way to show support for our former and current service men and women, as well as their families. Thousands of businesses and organisations have already pledged to make a difference, and I’m pleased that so many of this country’s universities have already followed in their footsteps – with the Universities of South Wales and Lincolnshire and London South Bank University receiving awards last year for their work supporting the military community.

Today, I want to make sure that all universities understand the value of supporting our armed forces and their families, and I encourage them to step up and sign our pledge.

The participation rate for young people from military service families in higher education is 24 per cent, according to research by the University of Winchester. This compares with a rate of approximately 43% for the overall population.

Universities which have already signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant are leading the way with support for military personnel and their families, pledging to support those who wish to serve in the armed forces as Reservists, and offering flexible leave before or after deployment to personnel and their partners.

Some universities have also included Service children as a target group in their Access and Participation Plans, which all English universities will be drawing up this year for implementation in 2020/21.

The University of Winchester leads a number of initiatives to support children from military families to progress in education, including developing resources for higher education providers to use in outreach activities.

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