Category Archives: News

On The Occasion Of Christmas

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

On behalf of the Department of State, I would like to wish a Merry Christmas to all those celebrating today, together with Orthodox Christians celebrating in early January.

This joyful occasion brings Christian communities together to rejoice in the birth of Jesus. In addition to celebrating and spending time with loved ones, the spirit of Christmas reminds us of Jesus’ message of hope, mercy, and love of neighbor. This season reminds us to care for the less fortunate, including those communities around the world today who are not able to observe this holiday freely due to persecution or instability.

Again, a very Merry Christmas to those celebrating around the world. May you be surrounded by family, friends, and neighbors during this festive season.

Arms Control And International Security: Palau Endorses The Proliferation Security Initiative

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

The United States welcomes the decision by the Republic of Palau to endorse the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and looks forward to working with the Government of Palau to advance the nonproliferation goals of the PSI and its Statement of Interdiction Principles. The Republic of Palau is the 106th state to become a PSI participant.

Launched in Krakow, Poland in 2003, PSI participants commit to undertake measures, on a voluntary basis and consistent with their authorities and resources, to interdict illicit transfers of weapons of mass destruction- and missile-related items, exchange relevant information, and strengthen legal authorities to conduct interdictions. Participants also conduct exercises, workshops, and other activities to improve their capacities to fulfill their PSI commitments. The addition of each new participating state strengthens the Initiative and helps ensure that it will remain a durable international effort in the years ahead.

The United States urges all responsible states to endorse and participate in the PSI. For more information on the Proliferation Security Initiative, please see the State Department’s website: http://www.state.gov/t/isn/c10390.htm.

Climate, Environment, And Conservation: U.S. National Statement At COP24

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Katowice, Poland

Judith G. Garber

Judith G. Garber

President of COP 24, Excellencies, and Distinguished Delegates; I am so pleased to be with you today. I am grateful to our gracious hosts here in Poland for their hospitality, excellent preparation, and leadership.

The United States supports a balanced approach that promotes economic growth, improves energy security, and protects the environment.

The U.S. record of accomplishment and leadership is clear: Our energy-related CO2 emissions have fallen by 14 percent since 2005, even as our economy has grown by over 19 percent.

As President Trump announced last year, the United States intends to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, absent the identification of terms that are more favorable to the American people. He also made clear that the United States will continue to be a leader in clean energy, innovation, and emissions reduction. Our National Security Strategy declares “The United States will remain a global leader in reducing traditional pollution, as well as greenhouse gases, while expanding our economy. This achievement, which can serve as a model to other countries, ?ows from innovation, technology breakthroughs, and energy efficiency gains, not from onerous regulation.”

The global climate conversation needs to embrace not only aspiration but today’s reality. The U.S. approach incorporates the realities of the global energy mix and uses all energy sources and technologies as cleanly and efficiently as possible, including fossils fuels, nuclear energy, and renewable energy.

This diverse energy portfolio is possible thanks to early stage research and development and private sector finance and innovation.

A quarter of our energy-sector CO2 reduction has come from utilizing natural gas. The U.S. natural gas boom is the result of years of U.S. innovation and R&D investment. General Electric, the U.S. National Laboratories, and American entrepreneurs all played a role in perfecting the extraction techniques that unleashed America’s natural gas revolution.

R&D and operational experience are bringing down the cost of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage or CCUS. One hybrid coal and gas power plant in Texas captures more than 90 percent of the emissions from its flue gas stream. CCUS enhances our energy security and economic development and preserves the environment.

The United States is home to the world’s largest nuclear power industry. Thanks to significant investment by the U.S. Department of Energy and the private sector, the first Small Modular Reactors will be operational by the mid-2020s. They will be flexible, scalable, easier to finance, and capable of powering remote areas and micro-grids.

In 2017, the United States exported more advanced energy technology than any other country in the world. The United States is also the world’s largest oil and gas producer and the second largest producer of renewable energy.

In 2018, the United States announced new R&D funding in nuclear, solar, marine, and fossil energy. We are making significant progress in Smart Grids, advanced storage technologies, wind, and hydropower.

In sum, the United States will continue to engage our many partner countries and allies around the world to reduce emissions, to continue to adapt to climate change, and to respond to natural disasters. We will also work with other countries to develop and deploy a broad array of technologies, as we continue to promote economic growth, improve energy security, and protect the environment.

Thank you.

International Health Issues: Statement From Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., On President Trump Signing PEPFAR Extension Act Of 2018

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

President Donald J. Trump signed yesterday the PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018, which extends provisions of the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003 for an additional five years.

This marks another significant moment in the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief’s (PEPFAR) history of lifesaving work. In the past 15 years, PEPFAR has enjoyed tremendous bipartisan support from eight U.S. congresses and has been supported by three consecutive U.S. presidents. Since its inception, PEPFAR has saved over 17 million lives, prevented millions of HIV infections, and transformed the global AIDS response from death and despair to life and hope.

I thank President Trump for his strong support and leadership of PEPFAR, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives for their unwavering commitment to the program, and the American people for their compassion and generosity that make PEPFAR possible.

Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., is the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy.

Africa: “Development, Diplomacy, And Defense: Promoting U.S. Interests In Africa”

Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, House Foreign Affairs Committee, Washington, DC

Tibor P. Nagy, Jr.

Tibor P. Nagy, Jr.

Thank you Chairman Royce, Ranking Member Engel, and Members of the Committee for the opportunity to testify today on U.S. policy toward Africa, and to my colleague and friend Ramsey Day of USAID here with me today. I also want to express my gratitude to Chairman Royce and other members for your longstanding interest in Africa.

Today’s hearing comes at an opportune time. We are at a critical juncture for the relationship between the United States and the nations and people of Africa. Africa faces an uncertain and challenging, but by no means predetermined, future. The choices we make now will affect not only our relationship with the continent, but will have ramifications worldwide.

Africa is facing a demographic tsunami. Its population will double by 2050 to around 2.5 billion people, 50 percent of whom will be under the age of 24. Challenges with infrastructure, corruption and terrorism continue, and China is asserting itself on the continent economically, militarily, and politically. We must remain a positive alternative, and make clear that engaging with the United States will mean greater prosperity and security for Africa.

I am very fortunate to be in my current position. Virtually my entire career centered on Africa, much of it living there in eight different countries. Since my first diplomatic assignment forty years ago, Africa has changed dramatically.

I recently concluded two trips to the continent, in West Africa and East Africa, where I also addressed the African Union. Let me assure you of this: Our potential with Africa is limitless! With every challenge there is opportunity, and we must capitalize on our successes.

Here I would like to articulate some of the focus areas of the Bureau of African Affairs.

First, we are promoting stronger trade and commercial ties between the United States and Africa, working with our African partners to build a level playing field across the continent’s markets. African governments need to increase transparency and fairness in their commercial environments to attract more business, and have predictable policies, laws conforming to international standards, and a credible dispute resolution process.

Second, more than 60 percent of sub-Saharan Africa, 600 million people, is below the age of 25, representing 40 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s unemployed. We are working to match American investment and ingenuity with the dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit of young Africans; anchoring them to their countries, and keeping them from resorting to migration, militancy, or crime.

A third area is working to advance peace and security through partnerships with African governments and effective regional mechanisms.

Finally, we are focused on countering the Chinese narrative and setting the record straight. The United States has a longstanding commitment to Africa, as a partner positively supporting economic growth, good governance, rule of law, enhanced gender equality, and health of the African people.

Let me begin with the promotion of stronger trade and investment ties. Everywhere I speak to an African audience, I emphasize we seek to do business not just in Africa, but with Africa.

Our promotion of free trade agreements with the United States communicates to Africans that transparency, fairness, and good governance attract U.S. investment, and we hope to negotiate a first-ever Free Trade Agreement with a Sub-Saharan African country.

Trade has greatly expanded. Under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA, from 2000 to 2016 U.S. investment in sub-Saharan Africa increased from seven to 29 billion dollars, providing opportunities for hundreds of thousands of Africans. Since 2000, U.S. exports to Africa rose from six to more than 14 billion dollars last year, and U.S. imports from Africa totaled nearly 25 billion dollars, a total two-way trade of 39 billion dollars in 2017, up 5.8 percent from 2015.

The U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation provides assistance to the world’s poorest countries who demonstrate commitment to good governance, economic freedom, and investing in their citizens. This week, I attended a ceremony with Secretary Pompeo where MCC and the Government of Senegal signed a 550 million dollar compact that will modernize Senegal’s power sector to increase economic growth and reduce poverty through improved access to electricity.

The BUILD Act, which President Trump signed into law in October with strong bipartisan support, will establish the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation. This new law consolidates, modernizes and reforms the U.S. government’s “development finance” capabilities. Africa is the largest regional exposure totaling more than six billion dollars and the BUILD Act will help mobilize additional private sector investment.

With our second focus, we go beyond investing in Africa, to investing in Africans.

Through the Young African Leaders Initiative, or YALI, we equip the next generation of Africans with leadership and entrepreneurship

skills. The YALI Network, a virtual community of more than a half million members, helps young Africans develop skills and connections needed to make change in their communities.

Our third focus, promoting peace and security, is essential to secure Africa’s opportunities and prosperity. We support African-led efforts against terrorism and other transnational threats. U.S. assistance has brought some success in the Lake Chad region, Somalia and elsewhere, and we seek burden-sharing opportunities with non-African actors as well.

We have provided training to peacekeepers from more than 20 African countries, with substantial impact. Ten years ago, Africans comprised only 40 percent of the continent’s peacekeepers. Now that figure has exceeded 60 percent. U.S.-funded programming is vital to these forces, as it is to the G5 Sahel Joint Force and African-driven efforts in the Lake Chad region to counter terrorism in West Africa.

Our African partners are working to ensure stability and defeat terrorist organizations in East Africa as well. The AMISOM mission composed of regional states is helping Somalia become more stable and

prosperous, and we are providing development and security assistance so the Somalis can govern themselves.

Additionally, we support efforts by African partners to strengthen their maritime and border security and their efforts to address trafficking in arms, drugs, and wildlife.

Finally, we want to be clear to all Africans that the United States has an unwavering commitment to the continent, shown through our long-standing partnerships and support for good governance, security, human rights and economic growth, and provision of humanitarian assistance.

African countries should know that some infrastructure projects and seemingly attractive loan terms from other countries can lead down a dangerous path to indebtedness, loan defaults, and concessionary extraction of natural resources stifling the economic growth needed to create jobs.

In contrast, the United States is pursuing sustainable alternatives for African growth and development. U.S. programs like AGOA, PEPFAR, Power Africa, and Feed the Future opened the U.S. market to African goods, countered HIV/AIDS, brought electricity to rural areas, protected vulnerable women and children, supported youth entrepreneurship, and helped Africans in innumerable ways.

As we continue to engage with Africa, we must assess how to best work with each country and multilateral institutions to advance our mutual interests and priorities.

The State Department cannot do this alone; we need to continually synchronize our approach among all elements of national power. Only by balancing resources among development, diplomacy, and defense can we speak with a coordinated voice to the governments, and the people, of Africa.

I do not exaggerate when I say Africa is the continent of the future, but a future envisioned by Africans and not one seen as forced upon them, and success must ultimately come from developing African solutions to African problems. We must look at Africa through the windshield, NOT through the rear-view mirror.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak today. I look forward to your support as our nation continues our engagement with Africa.

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