Category Archives: USA

Africa: Background Briefing on South Sudan

From: U.S. Department of State
Background Briefing on South Sudan
Special Briefing
Senior Administration Officials
Via Teleconference
May 6, 2014

MODERATOR: Hi everyone, this is [Moderator]. This is a background call. We’ll have a couple of speakers, both of whom should be referred to in reporting as Senior Administration Officials, please. That’s how we’re going to do this call. Just so you know who’ll be speaking, first we’ll hear from [Senior Administration Official One] at the Treasury Department, who I know you are all very familiar with, and then we’ll hear from [Senior Administration Official Two] here at the State Department, who will talk a little bit about the Secretary’s trip and some of the other policy issues as well. And then we’ll open it up for questions.

So again, this is all background, Senior Administration Officials. Thanks for joining today. As you saw, the Secretary just announced to talk about the sanctions we’ve imposed related to South Sudan. So with that, let’s turn it over to [Senior Administration Official One] and then we’ll go to [Senior Administration Official Two] and then we’ll go to questions.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Thanks very much, [Moderator], and good afternoon to everyone. Just wanted to talk briefly about the sanctions steps that the Administration has taken today. In the last hour, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control has rolled out sanctions against two individuals who have been driving and directing the conflict in South Sudan. The individuals are a South Sudan anti-government force leader by the name of Peter Gadet and a commander within the South Sudanese Government’s Presidential Guard by the name of Marial Chanuong. And we will have our press release up shortly, if it isn’t up already, to give you the spelling of those individuals.

Marial Chanuong, first, is, as I noted, the commander of the Presidential Guard for the South Sudanese Government, so he is reporting to President Salva Kiir. The Presidential Guard led the operations in Juba following the fighting that began on December 15th of 2013. And the second individual, Peter Gadet, who is fighting among the anti-government forces, is commanding a group of troops who were responsible for some of the horrific violence we saw just last month in Bentiu, the capital of Unity State in South Sudan.

Both of these individuals were sanctioned under the recently issued Executive Order by President Obama EO 13664, which allows us to target those responsible for or complicit in actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan. That EO was signed by the President just last month on April 3rd, 2014. And it is a broad and flexible EO, which gives us the authority to target not just commanders but those directly engaged in violence and those who are providing material support to the forces that we see directing the violence, including those who are targeting UN peacekeepers or those delivering humanitarian supplies.

This new EO will be a critical new peace to our efforts to hold accountable those who obstruct the peace process and those responsible for violence against civilians. Today’s actions are the first designations under this authority, and we expect them to serve as a warning to those engaged in continuing the cycle of violence that has already claimed thousands of lives in South Sudan since December 2013.

And with that, I would turn it over to my State Department colleague.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: Thanks very much, and I appreciate the chance to speak about what’s happening in South Sudan. As my colleague from Treasury stated, today the United States officially sanctioned two individuals whose actions have threatened the peace, security, and stability of South Sudan, or who have committed atrocities.

First, Marial Chenuong, as he said, commanded the Presidential Guard Forces and ordered and led attacks directed at civilians in the early stages of this conflict in Juba. The other, Peter Gadet, was – led the anti-government forces who were responsible for the April 17th attack on Bentiu, in violation of the cessation of hostilities from the January 23rd agreement, which resulted in the killing of more than 200 civilians.

As [Senior Administration Official One] said, we will continue to use the authority under President Obama’s executive order to hold accountable those who commit atrocities, obstruct the peace process, or undermine peace and stability in South Sudan.

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of the Secretary’s trip to South Sudan. It was his first as Secretary but by no means his first trip to South Sudan. He traveled to Juba and to the region, where he made very plain that it was critical that all parties abide by the cessation of hostilities, where he met with members of civil society and with UNMISS, the United Nations peacekeeping operation in South Sudan, and where he underscored the vital importance of humanitarian assistance, especially as the rainy season has already commenced.

In these meetings, he pushed for a meeting between President Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar to come to Addis for negotiations as a – one stage but a critical stage in the road to a more inclusive peace process for South Sudan. Both parties have now agreed to travel to Ethiopia for that meeting, and it is now tentatively scheduled for May 9th.

As the Secretary said today, we refuse to let South Sudan plunge into violence, famine, and deeper desperation. We will continue to stand with the people of South Sudan who call for peace and who recognize that the only way to resolve this conflict is through political dialogue.

And we’d be happy to take your questions.

MODERATOR: Great. If the operator could let folks know how to ask a question.

OPERATOR: Thank you. If you’d like to ask a question today, you may press *1 on your telephone keypad, and you should hear a tone acknowledging that you’re in the question queue. Once again, it’s * then 1 at this time.

MODERATOR: Great. Thanks. It looks like our first question is from Reuters, from Anna of Reuters. Go ahead.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) why you chose these particular two people outside of – is it meant to – also to send a message to Kiir and Bashir that there could be more sanctions? And also, are you, in general, ready to sanction more people if the peace talks don’t lead to cessation in the violence? Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Yes. I mean, as I tried to signal in my opening remarks, this is a very powerful and flexible tool, the President’s new executive order, and today is our first use of the tool. We’re using it in a limited way against two individuals. They’re two individuals that we think are fairly significant, both of whom have blood on their hands with respect to the activities that they have directed or conducted. So we believe today’s actions are significant but also are, as you note, a signal to any who would consider or who are already contributing to violence on either side in South Sudan.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: I would just add to that in this case you have individuals who are both responsible for attacks on civilians, one of whom was responsible for attacks that began in December 15th in Juba, and one for attacks in Bentiu much more recently. So we see the sort of scope of the conflict and the toll it’s being – that it’s taking on civilian lives. And I think that was one of the reasons for these selections.

MODERATOR: And I’ll just jump in here. Finally, we’ve also said repeatedly that there are a couple goals with these sanctions, right? One is accountability, which is what you’ve seen today. And the other is to serve as a deterrent, if it can, going forward for future violence. So I think hopefully this can begin to serve both of those goals.

Our next question is from Deb Riechmann of the Associated Press.

QUESTION: Hi. Can you just explain what the sanctions do? I haven’t seen anything yet that says – do they freeze assets or what do they do?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Yeah. So they do freeze assets. The other component is that they prohibit any and all transactions by U.S. persons, wherever located, with the designated individuals. What that means, as a practical matter, is that, as of 2:30 today, these names and their identifying bio-identifiers were sent out to tens of thousands of institutions in the U.S. and around the world, who now have them as a part of the OFAC SDN list or blacklist.

And as a practical matter, we’ve seen these actions disrupt and interfere with financial operations of designated individuals far away from U.S. shores. But certainly, the legal direct impact would be any assets they have in a U.S. bank, with a U.S. person, or that transits the U.S. even for a split second would need to be blocked, and U.S. persons can’t do business with them. As a complement, the State Department is – typically enacts a visa ban against the individuals listed as well.

MODERATOR: Thanks. Our next question is from Barbara Usher of the BBC.

QUESTION: Thank you. I’m just wondering if it was only a U.S. action. I know that some officials were saying that sanctions would be more effective if Uganda and Kenya participated, because a lot of the assets of these men are in those countries. Is this something that you’ve done in conjunction with neighboring countries?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: We’re definitely working in partnership with neighboring countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, talking to them about these steps as well as their own efforts to secure peace in South Sudan. We are also working in partnership with the European Union and other – the members of the South Sudan Troika, which consists of the U.S., the United Kingdom, and Norway, and coordinating our efforts across the board to bring this crisis to an end.

MODERATOR: Can the operator remind folks how to ask a question, please?

OPERATOR: If you would like to ask a question today, you may press * then 1.

MODERATOR: Great. Thank you. Our next question is from the other Matt Lee, Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Great. Thanks a lot, [Moderator]. I wanted to ask, there was a – it was said that in Security Council consultations at the UN that senior government officials were named in a radio broadcast prior to the attacks in Bor on the UN compound in killing the civilians. I just wonder if you can say are these people – is that the case? Do you know the names of people that sort of called for that attack, and in which case, why aren’t they on this list?

And I also – this might for Senior Administration Official Number Two. Secretary Kerry was talking about a legitimate force to help make peace. And I just wanted to know, is the UN – is the U.S. thinking of that as part of UNMISS mission or as the IGAD force? And if so, would it require a Security Council approval? Thanks.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: On the first, I mean, we typically do not comment on actors against whom we are – we have not yet – we have not yet acted, a clunky way of saying we don’t comment on those who are not part of our designation. But anyone who is contributing to the violence, whether that’s by directing violence, whether that’s by funding it, fueling it, contributing arms, can be a subject of designation in the future. And I’ll leave it to my State Department colleague to answer the second question.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: Yeah. On the question about the regional force and on UNMISS, we – it is something that conversations and discussions are ongoing between countries of IGAD, with New York, with ourselves and others on how best to create this additional force presence that we are working very much with UNMISS and see this as part of the same effort. But we do think it’s very important that the regional forces are able to join this effort in larger numbers and appreciate the efforts of, particularly, the governments of Ethiopia and Kenya, who are leading the mediation and who are seeking to work with UNMISS in this regard.

MODERATOR: Great, thanks. Our next question is from Phil Stewart of Reuters.

QUESTION: Yeah, hi. Can you hear me?

MODERATOR: We can hear you.

QUESTION: Great. Just quickly, what assets of these two individuals are actually going to be affected if any? Are there any identified? And also, I’m seeing a report that Uganda is saying that targeted sanctions against South Sudan are not necessary. Has Uganda communicated this to the United States? Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: So we typically will put out an action like this and then hear from financial institutions in the coming hours about assets that they’ve frozen. We don’t have perfect transparency, of course, into where assets may be held or where they be moved. And movement of assets is really important to recall here, in that a typical international transfer from one country to another, neither U.S. – neither of them, the United States, will often transit U.S. shores.

So many lay people aren’t following the dynamics of what a U.S. designation means, but what it means is typically a transaction between two African countries may well touch a U.S. institution, and a transaction of that type would need to be blocked in the U.S. But as of today, the moment of designation, we’re not identifying the assets of blocked individuals and we don’t traditionally identify how much has been blocked under an individual’s name.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: I can’t comment on Uganda’s statement specifically. I can tell you that we have been talking to all the countries in the region and we will continue to do so and take on board their thoughts on this. We do very much think that targeted sanctions – and these are highly targeted sanctions – will, in fact, have the impact we hope, and that we will continue to dialogue with the region on it.

MODERATOR: Great, thanks. I think we have time for a few more. The next question is from Gregory Warner of NPR.

QUESTION: Yeah. I’ll make this quick and I’m joining by Skype from Juba. So I guess I just wanted to clarify – and maybe you don’t know this – but the percentage, a rough percentage, of their assets that might be affected by the sanction and that split-second passage though the U.S. that we’re talking about. And then also, in terms of your conversations with the neighboring countries, I mean, how soon do you hope that the neighboring countries will join the sanctions, or is that your intention?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: On the first question, obviously, we’re not in a position to assess what percentage of their assets might be bound up in international transactions. It’s not simply a question of what might have been transiting today, but on any future day. So long as these designations are in effect, they’ll bar these individuals from access to the U.S. dollar, to the U.S. financial system, and any transactions that are attempted will more than likely be blocked.

But in an action like this, the primary purpose, as you heard both myself and my colleague describing, is not a freezing of funds. The primary purpose is to isolate and apply pressure to change the decision-making calculus of the key actors involved, whether that’s the two individuals we named today, who we very much hope will desist from directing bloodshed against innocent civilians, or whether that’s others who would contemplate engaging in similar actions. So the tool here is a financial tool, but of course it’s much more than that, and these actions are noted around the world and have, in the past, served as powerful disruptors and deterrent actions against individuals engaged in human rights abuses.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: And on the question of other countries in the region, we definitely encourage others in the international community to take similar steps, and we will work with the UN Security Council in the effort to authorize additional targeted sanctions. These are issues that the Secretary discussed during his visit to Addis last week, and to make sure that the steps we are taking are consistent with the goals of the mediating teams and other partners in the region.

MODERATOR: Great, thanks. Our next question’s from Pat Reiber of the German Press Agency.

QUESTION: Yeah, hi. I think most of my questions have been answered. I was – just wanted to know more about what Kenya and Uganda will be doing, and Ethiopia, in accord with the sanctions that the U.S. is putting out there.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: Yeah. On that, as we said, we certainly encourage others in the international community to take similar steps to what we’ve done today.

MODERATOR: Great. Our next question’s from Emile Barroody of Al Mayadeen.

QUESTION: Yes, thank you for doing this. Is there any other sanctions in the pipes against other members of the South Sudan military?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: We don’t talk about prospective actions that may still be coming, but we are clearly signaling today our willingness to use this tool against others who are directing or committing acts of violence. And the hope here, of course, is to incentivize the diplomacy and to encourage the talks that we’re all very much hoping will reduce the violence.

MODERATOR: Great, thanks. And it looks like our last question’s from Brian Monroe of

QUESTION: I’m going to record it so we can put it on the site, okay?

MODERATOR: This is on background, though, so you can’t actually record it for the site. Brian?

QUESTION: Hello? Can you hear me?

MODERATOR: Yeah. Did you hear me?

QUESTION: Oh, now I can perfectly. No, the key question I was asking is – I apologize (inaudible), another conversation jumped in there – I was just curious, what is the expectations from banks in terms of the depth of due diligence on these names? I mean, because always the question is: Is this names that they just put in their filters and they just see what sticks out? Or do you expect maybe a more rigorous look in terms of assets or sub-entities, or basically, just all the assets tied to these names? Thank you very much.

MODERATOR: Hey, Brian, this is the Moderator. Did you hear that this call’s on background, so not to be recorded for broadcast?


MODERATOR: Okay. So you can’t record the answer and put it on your website.

QUESTION: No, no, no, that was a conversation for someone else. No, absolutely.

MODERATOR: Oh, okay. Well, it came up on here. Okay. Go ahead. If my colleagues have answers, go ahead and [Senior Administration Official One] may.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Yeah. So the primary obligation, of course, is to ensure that filters contain these names and identifiers to be sure that any current accounts are searched, and any prospective transactions or account openings are detected and blocked.

We’re not talking with these two individuals about CEOs or those who have large business interests, and so I don’t think the question about how deep should people be diving in terms of their due diligence is as applicable as it might be in another context. But of course, if you’re a bank that has more heavy exposure to South Sudan, to business coming in and out of Juba, that implies a greater burden with respect to the due diligence one needs to do.

MODERATOR: Okay, great. Well, thank you to everyone for joining. Again, sorry to be a stickler there, I thought you were talking about this call. This is all on background, senior Administration officials. As always, you know how to follow up with us, but thanks to everyone for joining, and have a great rest of your evening.

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U.S.& Angola: Africa: Remarks While Touring a GE Facility in Luanda

From: U.S. Department of State
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Luanda, Angola
May 4, 2014

Well, Jay Ireland, thank you very much for a generous welcome here to General Electric in Luanda in the center of this extraordinary economic activity. I’m very excited to be here. I’m sorry that my wife is not here, because she was born in Mozambique and speaks – her first language is Portuguese. (Applause.) So I hear it around the house all the time – muito obrigadoand all that stuff. (Laughter.)

But it’s a privilege for me to be able to be here, and I want to thank Foreign Minister Chikoti for his welcome and for the opportunity to be able to meet the president tomorrow and have a good conversation about the bilateral relationship between the United States and Angola. I am particularly pleased to be here with other representatives of the oil and gas industry, a representative from Chevron, from ConocoPhilips, as well as from ExxonMobil – Esso, as you call it here. And I’m very grateful that the representative from the U.S.-Angola Chamber of Commerce is here, too.

As you’ve heard in the earlier introductions, I’m here with former United States Senator Russ Feingold, who is our – President Obama’s and my special envoy to the Great Lakes region and who is working to produce greater stability and peace in the region. President dos Santos and Angola have provided important leadership, and I want to thank you, Angola, for the leadership an the participation and the help to solve conflicts that have gone on for too long.

But as I mentioned a moment ago, we’re standing in a place of enormous economic activity with great promise for future economic growth and development. I am accompanied on this trip by the president and CEO of the EximBank[1], Elizabeth Littlefield, because the EximBank[2] is very much a partner with General Electric and very involved in helping to support economic development here in Angola and in other parts of Africa.

In fact, though EximBank[2] we have just provided a $600 million, just about a $600 million loan guarantee that will assist in the purchase of a Boeing 777 for Angola. This will grow the opportunity of, obviously, more ability to have business and more ability to have trade, and also for people to simply come to be able to engage in some of the exciting things that are happening in Angola. In addition, Exim[2] is providing another $300 million or so of additional economic investment here in Angola.

So let me just say quickly why being here is important today. Africa is changing. Eight of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world are here in Africa. There is enormous opportunity for the people of Africa, the people of Angola, to be able to gain in healthcare, in education, in jobs, in the quality of life. And I know the government is very focused on how to provide for increased standard of living for the people of the country. That comes from fair and reasonable trade agreements where everybody benefits, where there’s an ability to create jobs. When a Boeing airliner is bought from Boeing, it creates jobs in America, but it will also create jobs and opportunity here in Angola.

General Electric has recently sold four power turbines to Angola. This is for a project in Soyo. And this will help provide the power that then generates the ability for hospitals, for schools, for homes, for cities, for stores to be able to grow and prosper. So we believe there are great opportunities on which we can build where, most importantly, Angolans will benefit.

I just spoke with the representative for ConocoPhillips, who tells me and the representative for Chevron – who tell me about the several thousands of employees. ConocoPhilipps is newer here, but Chevron has about 3,500 workers employed. So more and more Angolans are being trained to take on more and more different kinds of important jobs.

The first lady of Angola was in Los Angeles a number of years ago, and she was talking with the executives there about a disease here in Angola. A lot of people thought you couldn’t do anything about it. But Chevron, which had been working here for many years, stepped up and they talked with the Texas Children’s Hospital and they got care to be able to come her to help cure this disease for children. More than 3,000 children’s lives have been saved

So this is not just about business. This is about building a relationship between two people, two countries, and building a future. And when I look out at the economic energy out here in the port in all these containers and these ships and the work that you’re doing, I am confident that Angola, working together as you are now, will be able to help contribute to an extraordinary journey in Africa as a whole, and we will provide greater opportunity to everybody.

Thank you for the privilege. Muito obrigado. (Applause.)

[1] Elizabeth Littlefield is the president and CEO of OPIC.

[2] OPIC

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USA, State Dpt.: Press Releases: Press Availability in South Sudan

From: U.S. Department of State
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Embassy Juba
Juba, South Sudan
May 2, 2014

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, good afternoon. I just completed an in-depth, very frank, and thorough discussion with President Kiir. And throughout the meeting, I think it’s fair to say that both of us spoke very candidly, very directly, and we got to the issues that I came here to discuss. Throughout the meeting, I made it clear to him that he needs to do everything in his power to end the violence, and also to begin a process of national dialogue, a process by which there is the beginning of discussions – real discussions – about a transition government that can bring peace to the country.

It’s fair to say that President Kiir was very open and very thoughtful and had thought even before this meeting about these issues, because we have talked about them on the phone in recent days, and because our special envoy and others have had conversations with him about it. So he committed very clearly his intention to do exactly that: take forceful steps in order to begin to move to end the violence and implement the cessation of hostilities agreement, and to begin to engage on a discussion with respect to a transition government.

I just spoke a few minutes ago to Prime Minister Hailemariam of Ethiopia to convey to him President Kiir’s willingness to travel to Addis Ababa in the near term, sometime early next week hopefully, in order to engage in a discussion with Prime Minister Hailemariam, and hopefully with Riek Machar, who had previously indicated to the prime minister a willingness to do so. And I hope to talk to him sometime later in the course of today to encourage him to do so.

This meeting of Riek Machar and President Kiir is critical to the ability to be able to really engage in a serious way as to how the cessation of hostilities agreement will now once and for all really be implemented, and how that can be augmented by the discussions regarding a transition government and meeting the needs of the people of Sudan. President Kiir and I have spoken about this many times over the course of the last months. We particularly spoke almost every day during the period from December 15th through the Christmas period. In fact, I even talked to him on Christmas Day, and was particularly pleased today to be able to return to Juba in order to sit down and discuss these issues face to face.

I’ve told President Kiir that the choices that both he and the opposition face are stark and clear, and that the unspeakable human costs that we have seen over the course of the last months, and which could even grow if they fail to sit down, are unacceptable to the global community. Before the promise of South Sudan’s future is soaked in more blood, President Kiir and the opposition must work immediately for a cessation of hostilities, and to move towards an understanding about future governance of the country.

I might also say that we do not put any kind of equivalency into the relationship between the sitting president, constitutionally elected and duly elected by the people of the country, and a rebel force that is engaged in use of arms in order to seek political power or to provide a transition. Already, thousands of innocent people have been killed and more than a million people have been displaced. And it is possible – as we’ve seen the warnings, because people have not been able to plant their crops – that there could be major famine in the course of the months ahead if things don’t change.

Both sides are now reportedly recruiting child soldiers and there are appalling accounts of sexual violence in the conflict. The reports of Radio Bentiu broadcasting hate speech and encouraging ethnic killings are a deep concern to all of us. The United States could not be any clearer in its condemnation of the murder of the civilians in Bentiu or in Bor and all acts of violence, including those that use ethnicity or nationality as justification are simply abhorrent and unacceptable.

If both sides do not take steps in order to reduce or end the violence, they literally put their entire country in danger. And they will completely destroy what they are fighting to inherit.

The people of South Sudan – and I’m talking about all the people of South Sudan – all of them have suffered and sacrificed far too much to travel down this dangerous road that the country is on today. That is why both sides must take steps immediately to put an end to the violence and the cycle of brutal attacks against innocent people.

Both sides have to do more to facilitate the work of those people who are providing humanitarian assistance, whether from the UN or from the UN mission or any organization that is responding to increasingly dire needs of citizens. Both sides need to facilitate access for humanitarian workers, for goods, for cash in order to pay salaries, and they need to provide this access to South Sudan’s roads, to its waterways, including to opposition-held areas. And we talked about this very directly this morning with President Kiir and his cabinet members.

It is important that both sides also act to ensure the safety and the security of the humanitarian workers themselves, and both sides must stop dangerous verbal attacks on people who are bravely providing relief to the South Sudanese people. It’s unconscionable that people who have come here not with weapons but with assistance are being attacked by both sides, and nothing will do more to deter the international community and ultimately to wind up in an even worse confrontation in the country itself.

Both President Kiir and Riek Machar must honor the agreement that they made with one another to cease hostilities, and they need to remember as leaders their responsibilities to the people of the country. The fate of this nation, the future of its children must not be held the hostage of personal rivalry.

Yesterday in Addis I spoke with representatives from the African Union and South Sudan’s neighbors about how we can coordinate and restore peace and accountability. We support the AU’s Commission of Inquiry in South Sudan, and I met this morning with the leader of that commission and listened to their early reports of their work. And we support the IGAD’s monitoring and verification mechanisms. The United States is also prepared in short order to put sanctions in place against those who target innocent people, who wage a campaign of ethnic violence, or who disrupt the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Even as we come here in this moment of conflict in an effort to try to find the road that has been obscured, I can’t help but remember – as I drove to meet with the president and as I came back here to our Embassy, having traveled here and been here a number of times – but particularly at the moment of self-determination for this country, it is important to remember what the people of South Sudan achieved for themselves recently. Through their efforts, through their commitment, through their patience, they helped to move this country to independence, to the creation of a nation, through peaceful, democratic, and prosperous future, and the opportunity to be able to try to achieve that. And they came together to create a new nation in that effort.

I remember walking in one community and watching people vote and talking to somebody who was standing out in the hot sun and who’d been there for hours. And I walked up to them and said, “Look, I hope you’re not going to get impatient. Don’t leave. You need to wait to vote.” And that person to me said, “Don’t worry” – I was then a senator – “Don’t worry, Senator, I’ve waited 50 years for this moment. I’m not going anywhere until I’ve voted.” The dedication that I saw, the commitment of people to try to create this nation deserves to be fully supported and the aspirations of those people deserve to be met by our efforts, all of us, to try to bring peace, and mostly by the leaders to fulfill the promise that made them leaders in the first place.

It is absolutely critical that to prevent that moment of historic promise from becoming a modern-day catastrophe, we all need to work harder to support the hopes of the people and to restore those hopes. We have to be steady in our commitment to the people of South Sudan. And I was encouraged yesterday in Addis Ababa by the unanimous commitment of the neighbors, of IGAD, of the foreign ministers I met with from Kenya, from Uganda, from Ethiopia, all of whom are committed and dedicated to helping to pull South Sudan back from this precipice and help to implement the cessation of hostilities agreement, and most importantly, help South Sudan to negotiate its way through this transition government that can restore the voice of the people in a way that can give confidence to the South Sudanese people, that their future is indeed being spoken for and that the best efforts are being made to meet it.

So with that, I’d be delighted to take any questions.

MS. PSAKI: The first question will be from Michael Gordon of The New York Times.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) you’ve described some of the political and military steps that you would like to see unfold – expect to see unfold in the next weeks. If neither side honors their commitments, how specifically do you plan to hold them accountable? And how long do you plan to wait before holding them accountable? There’s been some concern in the Congress and by groups like Oxfam that the United States has moved too slowly on this. And are you prepared to sanction the president and Riek Machar themselves?

And lastly, yesterday, you spoke publicly about your interest in deploying African troops to create a more robust peacekeeping force here. How many troops do you think should – will be deployed? When do you think this will happen? Will there be – will it be necessary to secure a new UN Security Council mandate to make this happen? Basically, how real is this? Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, it’s real. Each of the countries I just listed are all committed. And I met yesterday with the foreign ministers who say they are absolutely prepared to move with troops from those countries almost immediately. But yes, we do need to secure an additional United Nations Security Council mandate. I believe that can be done quickly. I hope it can be done quickly. And it’s very, very important to begin to deploy those troops as rapidly as possible.

How rapidly? Hopefully within the next weeks, and we’re talking about an initial deployment of somewhere in the vicinity of 2,500 troops. Well, I think 5,500 have been talked about, and it may be that there are even – it may be that, depending on the situation, more may have to be contemplated. But for the moment, that’s the limit, that’s what’s being talked about.

With respect to the hopes on the – what was the first part? The —

QUESTION: How long do you plan to wait before (inaudible)?

SECRETARY KERRY: Oh, okay. Let me just say – you asked about the – sort of what might follow if people don’t implement these steps. And the answer, very, very directly, is the global community will then make moves in order to have accountability. There is a commission of inquiry already underway. I met this morning with the head of the commission of inquiry and listened to former Nigerian President Obasanjo’s observations about his initial start of that effort. We support that effort; the global community supports that effort. That will obviously be ongoing.

I think the single best way for leaders and people in positions of responsibility to avoid the worst consequences is to take steps now, the kind of steps that we heard promised this morning. We are not going to wait. However, there will be accountability in the days ahead where it is appropriate. And the United States is doing its due diligence with respect to the power the President already has with respect to the implementation of sanctions, and I think that could come very quickly in certain quarters where there is accountability and responsibility that is clear and delineated.

MS. PSAKI: The next question will be from Memoska Lesoba from Eye Radio.

QUESTION: You said that President —

SECRETARY KERRY: Can you hold it up real close?

QUESTION: You said President Salva Kiir has agreed to transitional government. What kind of a transitional government? Can you delve more into that? And I would want to know what kind of sanctions would be imposed if (inaudible) way of (inaudible) resolve the crisis, and what impact will it have.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, with respect to the transition government, ultimately it is up to the people of South Sudan. And it is up to an inclusive process which brings the civil society to the table and reaches out to political opposition and to all of the different stakeholders in South Sudan to shape that. What is important is that President Kiir is prepared to engage in that process in a formal way, to reach out, to work with IGAD, to work with the community, in order to make certain that that process is real, it’s transparent, it’s accountable.

Now, how that unfolds will be part of the discussions that we hope will take place between Prime Minister Hailemariam as the mediator and two of the principle antagonists in this conflict, President Kiir representing government and Riek Machar. But there are other players, lots of them. As you know, 11 detainees have now been released. And each of those detainees has – have had voices and roles to play in the politics of South Sudan.

So it’s really up for the process itself to take shape as the stakeholders and as the people of South Sudan speak up and speak out and demand a certain kind of participation. What’s important is that that participation is promised and it is available.

With respect to sanctions, we are – there are different kinds of sanctions, obviously – sanctions on assets, sanctions on visas, sanctions on wealth and travel and so forth. All of those options are available, among others. But in addition to that, with the commission of inquiry and other standards that are applied. There have been atrocities committed and people need to be held accountable for those kinds of atrocities. And there are methods by which the international committee undertakes to do that. So I think the real test is what happens in these next days, what kind of bona fide legitimate steps are taken by people to prove they want to move in a different direction. And that will be a significant guide as to what may or may not be pursued by members of the international community in the days ahead.

MS. PSAKI: The next question will be from Lara Jakes of AP.

QUESTION: Thank you. Just to clarify, in this transitional government, do you see a place for either President Kiir or Riek Machar to be holding office in the future for this country? And then also, as you head to Congo tomorrow, what are you looking to hear regarding the prosecution of troops who were given amnesty and then returned to M23? And is the United States satisfied with the deep mobilization plan for all armed troops in eastern Congo, including Hutu troops – I’m sorry, groups? And then one last one. Could you comment on the new charges against Gerry Adams? Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: I don’t have any comment on the charges issue. I’ve heard about it, I’m not familiar with all of the details of it. And he’s presented himself. He maintains his innocence. And we need to let the process in Northern Ireland work its way.

With respect to the Central African Republic – excuse me, the D.R.C. – we are hopeful that the terms that have been put in place, the Kampala Accords, are going to be implemented properly. But I’m going to wait to comment more fully on that until I meet up with Special Envoy Feingold, who will meet us there when we arrive there. And I think I would rather get the latest briefing up to date before I summarize it, because I may be outdated and I just would rather do that.

On the first part of your question —

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Whether or not they can be part of in the future – that’s not a decision for the United States of America to make or to comment on. That’s for South Sudanese to decide. It’s for the process to decide. I think that certainly people will judge carefully, I think, what happens in these next days, which could have a great deal to do with respect to future legitimacy of any player engaged in this, not just President Kiir or Riek Machar, but anybody who is engaged. If there is a legitimate, open, transparent, accountable, and real process by which people are listened to and people come together, then the people of South Sudan will have an opportunity to make that kind of decision and it won’t be necessary for us to comment on it.

If it doesn’t go in that direction, it may be that the United States and other interested parties who have helped so significantly to assist South Sudan in this journey to independence and nationhood, it may be that they will be then more inclined to speak out about what’s happened with leadership here or not, but at the moment I don’t think it’s appropriate to do that.

MS. PSAKI: The final question will be from Gabriel Shada from Radio Miraya.

QUESTION: Thank you. The background to the conflict in South Sudan refers to a disagreements, disgruntlements inside the SPLM ruling party on the modalities of election and selection of leaders. So reaching an agreement that does not resolve the SPLM leadership issues is like suspending the real issues, which means they will rise again in the nearest future. So how can the U.S. Administration help the SPLM sort out its problems.

Second question is about the U.S.A. promising a lot to help South Sudan in the past, and even now. But one of the promises was building the – an institutional capacity for South Sudan, and observers can see that institutional capacity in South Sudan is still very, very weak. What are the reasons for this failure, especially when building the capacity of the army and other institutions? Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Very good questions. Very, very good questions. With respect to the first question, you’re absolutely correct: There are internal issues within the SPLM that need to be resolved. But it’s not up to the United States to resolve them. It’s up to the leaders and the members of the SPLM to do so, recognizing that their validity and credibility as a leading party to be the governing party of the country is at stake in how they do that.

And so it is – there’s already a process in place where they’re doing some meetings and evaluations, and will do that. What is important is that they recognize that the negotiations over a transitional government ultimately, in terms of what role they play or how that plays out, will depend to some measure on how they resolve those kinds of internal issues. And the credibility of the civil society, the credibility of the people of South Sudan, with respect to their leadership will depend, obviously, on their ability to do that.

So that’s part of the road ahead. And they know that work is in front of them. They understand that. They discussed it with us here today, and I’m confident that that’s very much in their minds as they think about the future structure of any kind of transition and future.

But it’s also related, I may say, to the second part of your question. Yes, the United States committed to do certain kinds of things, as did the international community. And for a certain period of time, many of those things were attempted to be done, but the truth is that there’s been a difficulty, as I think most people understand, in the governing process that gave people pause and made people stand back a little bit. And that’s been part of the problem. And that’s why this transitional government’s effort is so important, because it is the key to being able to open up the kind of direct help and input that would be then meaningful and not wasted and not lost. And it’s very important that there be a process in place where people have confidence that the way forward is clear and that assistance can be put to the use that it’s meant to be put to.

So I would say to you that that’s part of the reason why this transitioning effort is so critical, because it really is what can restore the legitimacy so that going forward all those people who care, and there are many who do – in Africa, in Europe, in America, elsewhere – would be able to hopefully help in the capacity building for the country. That’s really where all of South Sudan’s energy ought to be going, not into killing each other but into building a government that can serve the needs of the people. And our hope is that that is what can get restored out of this terrible conflict that has interrupted that path.

MS. PSAKI: Thank you, everyone.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you all. Appreciate it.

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Africa: Ethiopia’s Investments in Family Planning

From: U.S. Department of State Remarks
Anne C. Richard
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Washington, DC
April 23, 2014

Let me start by thanking you for organizing this event.

And thank you for preparing this video. It is inspiring to see how enlightened family planning policies can transform the lives of women like Mihret who was a child bride and young mother and is now proudly helping others make their own choices about when to bear children.

I would also like to thank CSIS and Janet Fleischman and Alisha Kramer for producing this excellent report. The fact that it grew out of a bipartisan trip is encouraging. So is your astute analysis of what Ethiopia is attempting to do in the area of reproductive health, the strategies that have worked, the obstacles to be overcome, and what donors and governments, including our own can do to help.

And finally I would like to thank many of you in the audience who have dedicated your careers and lives to bringing family planning services to women who desperately need them. As Assistant Secretary, I have had the chance to witness first-hand how important this work is, and what it means to those who benefit from it. This past fall I attended the Third International Family Conference in Addis. On this trip, I toured our implementing partners’ facilities, including projects run by Pathfinder and Marie Stopes International.

I visited the home of a family involved in Pathfinder’s “model families” effort. In this program, families are encouraged to adopt 16 measures to improve the overall health of the household, such as using family planning, vaccinating children, sleeping under mosquito bed nets and building hygienic latrines. These families are then celebrated as “trendsetters” for the community so that others will copy their behavior. I also visited a Marie Stopes “Blue Star” franchise effort where pharmacists receive special training in the use of long-term contraception and sexual and reproductive health services. They then agree to provide high quality longer-term family planning methods like implants and IUDs at affordable prices, and they get to use the Blue Star logo on their clinic or pharmacy. This brings customers to them who end up also using their other services.

Ethiopia’s enlightened health policies and quest for sustainable development are incredibly important – not just for Ethiopia but as an example to other nations grappling with similar problems.

Today, we share the planet with seven billion people. We added a billion in just the past twelve years. And by 2050 there could be nine or even ten billion of us. Virtually all of this growth will occur in developing countries. Birthrates elsewhere have plummeted, but in some of the world’s poorest nations they are rising.

It would be one thing if women were simply choosing to have large families. But we know that many become pregnant as early and as often as they do because they have no means to prevent it. Globally, surveys indicate that hundreds of millions of women want to avoid getting pregnant but have no access to modern methods of contraception. The gap between what is needed and what is available is widest in sub-Saharan Africa, where according to the Guttmacher Institute, 28 percent of married women aged 15 to 49 lack access to modern and effective forms of birth control.

Young girls face the most acute unmet need. Like Mihret in the video we’ve seen, many are expected, even compelled to marry and bear children when they are still in their teens. Every year, more than 60 million girls get married before they turn 19. Throughout the developing world, less than one-third of married adolescents are using modern contraceptives, although many more want to avoid or delay pregnancy. More than two thirds of the married adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa aged 15-19 want modern contraception and do not have it.

And, I find this particularly shocking –around the world two million girls aged 10-14 give birth every year, and over 90% of these girls are married. These marriages and pregnancies can have devastating, life-long consequences. We see them as a form of gender based violence and an abuse of these girls’ human rights.

But adult women who cannot access modern contraceptives or adequate healthcare also can experience life-threatening problems. One in 22 women in sub-Saharan Africa dies during pregnancy or childbirth. That’s compared to roughly one in 6000 in wealthy countries. Babies face heightened risk as well. When mothers have babies spaced closely together, survival rates fall. These are preventable deaths.

In addition to saving lives, sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights can promote human rights, gender equality and health, economic empowerment and prosperity. Ethiopian government and health officials spoke forcefully and eloquently about this in the video. And we in the U.S. Government could not agree more.

The evidence is overwhelming. Women’s equality, empowerment, and human rights are inexorably tied to their ability to control when they bear children. And empowering women to make these decisions is one of the best ways to fight poverty. Girls who can delay pregnancies can become educated, productive, healthy adults, and raise more educated, productive, healthy children. This virtuous cycle can propel families and whole nations out of poverty. Research has provided compelling, concrete examples of how family planning unleashes economic growth. Falling fertility rates in parts of East Asia and Latin America have raised the share of the population in the workforce, driven up output, and created a so-called “demographic dividend.” A UN study has also documented the opposite: when early pregnancy truncates girls’ educations, it derails their careers, reduces their lifelong earnings and hampers their ability to invest in their children. The researchers estimate that the United States loses one percent of GDP due to adolescent pregnancy. Uganda loses 30 percent. The countries that pay the steepest price for these early pregnancies are the countries that can least afford it.

Finally, I was recently surprised to learn that simply providing family planning services to all women who want them would cut global carbon emissions by between 8 and 15 percent. That is the same reduction we would achieve by stopping all deforestation or by multiplying the world’s use of wind power by forty fold…more proof that voluntary family planning can fuel sustainable development.

Against this backdrop, what Ethiopia is attempting is all the more impressive and urgent. Ethiopia is the second most populous nation in Africa, with a high birthrate and 65 percent of its population is under the age of 30. It faces the same array of challenges that many of its neighbors do: child, early, and forced marriage and maternal mortality are far too prevalent, and the vast majority of the population is rural and poor and hard to reach. Yet Ethiopia has placed family planning at the center of its development agenda, has pioneered an effective health extension program and dedicated funds to pay health extension workers. In fact, I met one of these impressive women during my visit. It is a potent combination. In the past decade years, Ethiopia has quadrupled the use of modern contraception. Today in Ethiopia contraceptive prevalence is 28.6 percent; the government aims to more than double contraceptive prevalence to 66 percent by 2015.

And in a span of five years, Ethiopia has cut the mortality rate for children under five in half. At the same time, it has nearly doubled literacy rates, approached nearly universal primary school enrollment and strengthened education for women and girls.

Together with other these measures intended to spur entrepreneurship and improve fiscal and labor policies Ethiopia has begun to reap its own “demographic dividend.”

How is Ethiopia succeeding in this regard where others have failed? As your report notes, changing attitudes toward contraception has been key. Engaging traditional and religious leaders as allies is good. I commend the government’s willingness to invest real resources, including providing contraceptive services for free. And I also credit the government’s partnerships with organizations such as those represented in the room today. The question is whether these achievements can be replicated. Will other developing countries that face daunting immediate needs make the same critical investments and choices?

We, in the U.S. Government are committed to doing what we can to help. The United States, through the US Agency for International Development, is the largest bilateral provider of family planning assistance, providing approximately $610 million in 2013. As a global leader in support of family planning and sexual and reproductive health for nearly 50 years, the United States government has provided over $3 billion in family planning assistance and support since 2009.

With expert colleagues, the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration also works in international fora to highlight the links between family planning services and development. In planning meetings that will shape the post-2015 Development Agenda, the United States is making the case that sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights are essential to empowering women, eradicating extreme poverty and fostering sustainable development.

During the recent UN Commission on Population and Development (CPD) our Population team led by Margaret Pollack called on delegates to fulfill the commitments made back in Cairo in 1994 under the ICPD Program of Action: namely universal access to quality, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information, education and services. Governments promised to promote and protect reproductive rights; reduce infant, child, and maternal mortality; and achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls so that all individuals, and all nations, have the opportunity to realize their full potential.

Our delegation pointed out that we are not there yet. We called for an end to the scourge of violence against women and girls and to practices like as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation and cutting, and for integrated, quality sexual and reproductive health services. We stated that these should include maternal health care and access to a broad range of safe and effective modern forms of contraception. We also called for services to prevent and treat sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and AIDS and provide access to safe abortion.

We also drew attention to the special needs of the largest-ever generation of adolescents and youth. The majority of these young people live in developing countries, have limited access to sexual and reproductive health services and crave information. They need it to help them make wise decisions about their health, now and in future.

Another priority for us is the plight of people affected by conflicts and crises. Reproductive health needs do not disappear when people are driven from their communities by conflicts or natural disasters. In fact the can become more acute. Displacement can heighten the need for contraception while raising barriers to access – both for women who cannot care for or protect newborns, and adolescents who may be torn away from family and social support structures and exposed to sexual violence and coercion.

Comprehensive family planning programs should begin as soon as a situation allows. This involves training staff, offering community education, establishing client follow-up, providing a wide range of methods, and maintaining a contraceptive supply chain system. We will continue to actively support the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and many other development and humanitarian organizations to respond to the challenges of providing predictable access to reproductive health services in crisis settings.

We also recognize that we have more to learn about what it is that women want and need from sexual and reproductive health services. To that end, we applaud Family Planning 2020’s research going beyond numbers and metrics so collectively we can improve our understanding of why some women stop using particular types of birth control. These efforts will help us to better provide the range of modern contraceptive methods individual women want, and empower them to understand, ask for and receive specific products that suit their needs. The objective is to enable an additional 120 million women and adolescent girls in the world’s poorest countries to access and use voluntary family planning information, contraceptives and services by 2020.

In closing, we know that being able to plan one’s family is pivotal. It can spell the difference between life and death, opportunity and helplessness, hope and despair. And, as Ethiopia’s government has recognized, it is one of the best weapons against poverty.

So keep doing what you’re doing. You make the case every day for why it is so important. It’s you and your organizations that are in the field who can tell the most compelling stories of people whose lives have been directly affected by our joint initiatives and programs. These stories remind us of why consistent U.S. government support for sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights are so vital.

Your continued support and commitment is essential to fighting for a sustainable future – one that empowers children to grow up healthy and pursue their dreams, and help their communities and nations thrive.

Thank you.

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Al Gore Promotes Population Control: Africans Must Have Their Fertility “Managed”

From: Fakhi Karume

Al Gore is coming under fire for promoting population control in Africa, saying that citizens of African nations must have their fertility “managed.”

Al Gore is coming under fire for promoting population control in Africa, saying that citizens of African nations must have their fertility “managed.”

Tim Graham of Neswbusters blogged on what was said:

algoreSpeaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, former vice president Al Gore asserted that it’s crucial for global philanthropists to impose “fertility management” on Africa. No one called that racist.

Gore, who apparently mismanaged his fertility by having four children, praised the “wonderful work’ of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: “Depressing the rate of child mortality, educating girls, empowering women and making fertility management ubiquitously available — so women can chose how many children and the spacing of children — is crucial to the future shape of human civilization.”

He warned, “Africa is projected to have more people than China and India by mid-century — more than China and India combined by end of the century, and this is one of the causal factors that must be addressed.”

Gore pushed population control back in 2011 as well:

Gore spoke at New York City’s “Games For Change” Festival. He addressed his same old shtick: climate control and the environment, but this time added a new twist: adding that the stabilization of the earth’s population will help curb pollution. Gore remarked:

“One of the things we could do about it is to change the technologies, to put out less of this pollution, to stabilize the population, and one of the principle ways of doing that is to empower and educate girls and women. You have to have ubiquitous availability of fertility management so women can choose how many children have, the spacing of the children… You have to educate girls and empower women. And that’s the most powerful leveraging factor, and when that happens, then the population begins to stabilize and societies begin to make better choices and more balanced choices.”

Gore is echoing the same message Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates gave in a video he posted to YouTube last year, in which he stated, “If we do a really great job on new vaccines, healthcare, reproductive health services, we could lower [the population] by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.” Thankfully, the video was removed, but it seems to have left an impression.

What I want to know is: Since when does America have a population control problem? And when did our environment become so endangered that we need to consider killing our children to fix it?

What Gore clearly doesn’t understand is that there’s a much more important issue plaguing our country. Polluted waters and climate changes are a concern sure, but the extermination of innocent children is a crime of much more concern, and one I refuse to stand for.

USA, State Dpt.: Egyptian Court Sentencing Recommendations

From: U.S. Department of State
Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
April 28, 2014

The United States is deeply concerned by today’s Egyptian court actions related to another mass trial and preliminary death sentences as well as the banning of the April 6 Youth Movement activities. Today’s preliminary death sentences against 683 defendants and the upholding of death sentences against 37 defendants from a March 25 decision are unconscionable.

As the Secretary has said, it is impossible to believe that such proceedings could satisfy even the most basic standards of justice, let alone meet Egypt’s obligations under international human rights law. We again urge Egyptian authorities to remedy the situation and reverse these court rulings and ensure due process for the accused on the merits of individual cases. We continue to urge the Egyptian Government to suspend future mass trials of Egyptians.

Today’s decision by a court of urgent matters to ban the activities of The April 6 Youth Movement is also troubling. Supporters of the movement were at the forefront of the January 25, 2011 revolution that overthrew former president Mubarak, and the Government of Egypt must allow for the peaceful political activism that the group practices if Egypt’s interim Government intends to transition to democracy, as it has committed itself to do.

These court decisions run counter to the most basic democratic principles and foster the instability, extremism, and radicalization that Egypt’s interim Government says it seeks to resolve. We urge the Egyptian Government to demonstrate – through actions rather than words – its support for the universal human rights and freedoms and democratic, accountable governance that the Egyptian people continue to demand.

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USA & Egypt: Readout of Secretary Kerry’s Call With Egyptian Foreign Minister Fahmy

From: U.S. Department of State
Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC

April 22, 2014

Today, Secretary Kerry spoke with Egyptian Foreign Minister Fahmy to inform him that he is certifying to Congress that Egypt is sustaining the strategic relationship with the United States – including by countering transnational threats such as terrorism and weapons proliferation – and that Egypt is upholding its obligations under the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty. He reaffirmed that Egypt remains, as it has been for decades, an important strategic partner for the United States. The Secretary noted that he is not yet able to certify that Egypt is taking steps to support a democratic transition. He urged Egypt to follow through on its commitment to transition to democracy – including by conducting free, fair, and transparent elections, and easing restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly, and the media – as Egypt will be more secure and prosperous if it respects the universal rights of its citizens.


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Writes Leo Odera Omolo In Kisumu City

The burial of the US President Barrack Obama’s aunt Zeituni Abong’o Onyango Obama is set for Thursday, April 24,2014. It will now take place in a public Muslim cemetery I n Kisumu city.

Zeituni’s mother Mama Sarah Obama made an announcement in her Alego Kogelo home in Siaya County. She disclosed that the body of her daughter who died in the US two weeks ago will be flown from the US to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi on Thursday morning and thereafter will be flown further to Kisumu about 400 kilometers south west of Nairobi.

From the Kisumu airport the body will be taken to the main Muslim Mosque in the city center for prayers and will then be buried the same day at the town’s Muslim public cemetery.

It was previously hinted that Zeituni was to be buried at her matrimonial home at Kendu-Bay. The place where she was married. She has four children three sons and one daugfter all grownups. And according to Luo traditional norm and virtue, a married woman either divorced, separated or otherwise is required to be buried in her matrimonial homestead. It could be that the negotiations between the two families which could have seen her being buried her Kendu Bay did not materialize.

Since the death of Zeituni in the US was broken at her rural home I Alego Nyang’ma Kogelo there has been a big influx of friends, relative and well wishers as well as mourners to the home to condolence the family.


Africa: FY 2014 Funding Opportunity Announcement for NGO Programs Benefiting Refugees in Chad and Cameroon

From: U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
April 16, 2014

Funding Opportunity Number: PRM-PRMOAPAF-14-014

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number:
19.517 – Overseas Refugee Assistance Programs for Africa

Announcement issuance date: Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Proposal submission deadline: Friday, May, 16, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. noon EDT. Proposals submitted after this deadline will not be considered.

**ADVISORY: All applicants must submit proposals through the website PRM strongly recommends submitting your proposal early to allow time to address any difficulties that may arise.**

If you are new to PRM funding, the registration process can be complicated. We urge you to refer to PRM’s General NGO Guidelines “New to PRM Funding” section for information and resources to help ensure that the application process runs smoothly. PRM also strongly encourages organizations that have received funding from PRM in the past to read this section as a refresher.

Proposed program start dates: August 1, 2014-September 15, 2014

Eligible Applicants: (1) Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with IRS, other than institutions of higher education; (2) Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) status with IRS, other than institutions of higher education; and (3) International Organizations. International multilateral organizations, such as United Nations agencies, should not submit proposals through in response to this Funding Opportunity Announcement. Multilateral organizations that are seeking funding for programs relevant to this announcement should contact the PRM Program Officer (as listed below) on or before the closing date of the funding announcement.

Duration of Activity: 12 to 24 months

Program plans from 12 to 24 months will be considered. Applicants may submit multi-year proposals with activities and budgets that do not exceed 24 months from the proposed start date. Actual awards will not exceed 12 months in duration and activities and budgets submitted in year one can be revised/updated each year. Continued funding after the initial 12- month award requires the submission of a noncompeting continuation application and will be contingent upon available funding, strong performance, and continuing need. In funding a project one year, PRM makes no representations that it will continue to fund the project in successive years and encourages applicants to seek a wide array of donors to ensure long-term funding possibilities. Please see Multi-Year Funding section below for additional information.

Current Funding Priorities for refugees in Chad and Cameroon:

PRM will prioritize funding for proposed NGO activities that best meet the Bureau’s priorities for refugees in Chad and Cameroon as identified below.

(a) Proposed activities should primarily support Sudanese refugees residing in the 13 camps in eastern Chad; Central African refugees in the five camps in southern Chad or in UNHCR-designated host communities; or Central African refugees residing in eastern Cameroon. Because of PRM’s mandate to provide protection, assistance, and sustainable solutions for refugees and victims of conflict, PRM will consider funding only those projects that include a target beneficiary base of at least 50% refugees.

(b) Proposals must focus on the following sectors:

Health (including reproductive health)
Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)
Prevention of and Response to Gender-based Violence
Psychosocial Support
Child Protection, to include secondary education for Sudanese refugees

Country Specific Instructions

(1) Chad

Proposals should focus on Sudanese refugees in the 13 camps in eastern Chad and/or Central African refugees in the nine camps or UNHCR-designated host communities in southern Chad.
Proposals may include work in the following areas: Primary health care, including reproductive health; secondary education; prevention of and response to gender-based violence; WASH; and livelihoods.
Proposals should include a well-developed plan for training and building the capacity of local staff and service providers as well as building refugee self-sufficiency.
Proposal should include a transition plan for long term sustainability of programming.

(2) Cameroon

Proposals should focus on new Central African refugees residing in eastern Cameroon. Proposals may include work in the following: prevention of and response to gender-based violence.

(c) PRM Standardized Indicator Initiative:

Health: Proposals focusing on health in camp based settings must include a minimum of one of the four following indicators and should try to include as many of the other indicators as are relevant:

Number of consultations/clinician/day (Target: Fewer than 50 patients per clinician per day).
Measles vaccination rate for children under five (Target: 95% coverage).
Percentage of deliveries attended by a skilled birth attendant in a health care facility (Target: 100%).
Percentage of reporting rape survivors given post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) with 72 hours (Target: 100%).

NGO proposals seeking to fund service provision may include the following indicators as appropriate:

Primary Care: number and percentage of beneficiary patients, by sex and age, receiving primary health care assistance.
Emergency Care: number and percentage of beneficiary patients, by sex and age, receiving care for trauma or sudden illness.

Proposals should include custom health indicators in addition to the relevant standardized indicator(s).

Key Resources – Health

Sphere Handbook:
UNHCR Health Guidelines, Policies, and Strategies:
OFDA NGO Guidance (pages 96-110):

Livelihoods: Proposals focusing on livelihoods in camp-based settings must include a minimum of one of the three following indicators and should try to include as many of the other indicators as are relevant:

Camp-Based Settings:

Number of project beneficiaries, disaggregated by gender and population (refugee, national) receiving training on appropriate skills as determined by market and livelihood assessments. This may include language and skills training, entrepreneurship building, financial literacy, business support services, job placement and apprenticeship schemes, and/or legal aid.
Number and percentage of program participants, disaggregated by gender and population (refugee, national) reporting higher household income level by end of project period as compared to the pre-project baseline assessment.
(Temporary Employment) Number of beneficiaries, disaggregated by gender and population (refugee, national) participating in cash or food for work programs.

Proposals should include custom livelihoods indicators in addition to the relevant standardized indicator(s).

Key Resources – Livelihoods

USAID/OFDA Guidelines for Proposals, October 2012 (pgs. 82-96)
Women’s Refugee Commission, Preventing Gender Based Violence, Building Livelihoods: Guidance and Tools for Improved Programming
Minimum Economic Recovery Standards, 2nd ed. Washington, DC, USA: The SEEP Network, 2010.
Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis Toolkit. (EMMA) Practical Action Publishing. 2010. (In French as of 2011.)
Local Economic Recovery in Post-Conflict: Guidelines. Geneva: ILO, 2010.—ed_emp/documents/instructionalmaterial/wcms_141270.pdf

(d) Proposals must have a concrete implementation plan with well-conceived objectives and indicators that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and reliable, time-bound, and trackable (SMART), have established baselines, and include at least one outcome or impact indicator per objective; objectives should be clearly linked to the sectors.

(e) Proposals must adhere to relevant international standards for humanitarian assistance. See PRM’s General NGO Guidelines for a complete list of sector-specific standards including new guidance on proposals for projects in urban areas.

(f) PRM strongly encourages programs that target the needs of vulnerable and underserved groups among the beneficiary population (women; children; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex (LGBTI) individuals; older persons; the sick; persons with disabilities; and other minorities) and can demonstrate what steps have been taken to meet the specific and unique protection and assistance needs of these vulnerable groups effectively. NOTE: PRM partners must now complete a gender analysis (see PRM proposal template, section 3a) that briefly analyzes (1) gender dynamics within the target population (i.e., roles, power dynamics, and different needs of men and women, girls and boys); (2) associated risks and implementation challenges for the project posed by those dynamics; and (3) how program activities will mitigate these protection risks and be made accessible to vulnerable groups (particularly women and girls). A gender analysis is a requirement prior to PRM making a final funding award.

(g) PRM will accept proposals from any NGO working in the above mentioned sectors although, given budgetary constraints, priority will be given to proposals from organizations that can demonstrate:

a working relationship with UNHCR, current UNHCR funding, and/or a letter of support from UNHCR for the proposed activities and/or overall country program (this letter should highlight the gap in services the proposed program is designed to address);
a proven track record in providing proposed assistance both in the sector and specified location;
evidence of coordination with international organizations (IOs) and other NGOs working in the same area or sector as well as – where possible – local authorities;
a strong transition plan, where feasible, involving local capacity-building;
where applicable, adherence to PRM’s Principles for Refugee Protection in Urban Areas available online at
a budget that demonstrates co-funding by non-U.S. government sources.

Funding Limits: Project proposals must not be less than $250,000 and not more than $2.5 million or they will be disqualified. As stated in PRM’s General NGO Guidelines, PRM looks favorably on cost-sharing efforts and seeks to support projects with a diverse donor base and/or resources from the submitting organization.

Proposal Submission Requirements: Proposals must be submitted via (not via If you are new to PRM funding, the registration process can be complicated. We urge you to refer to PRM’s General NGO Guidelines “New to PRM Funding” section for information and resources to help ensure that the application process runs smoothly. PRM also strongly encourages organizations that have received funding from PRM in the past to read this section as a refresher. Applicants may also refer to the “Applicant Resources” page on for complete details on requirements (

Please note the following highlights:

Do not wait until the last minute to submit your application on Organizations not registered with should register well in advance of the deadline as it can take up to two weeks to finalize registration (sometimes longer for non-U.S. based NGOs to get the required registration numbers). To register with, organizations must first receive a DUNS number and register with the System for Award Management (SAM) at which can take weeks and sometimes months. We recommend that organizations, particularly first-time applicants, submit applications via no later than one week before the deadline to avoid last-minute technical difficulties that could result in an application not being considered. PRM partners must maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which they have an active federal award or an application under consideration by PRM or any federal agency.
Applications must be submitted under the authority of the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) at the applicant organization. Having proposals submitted by agency headquarters helps to avoid possible technical problems.
If you encounter technical difficulties with please contact the Help Desk at or by calling 1-800-518-4726. Applicants who are unable to submit applications via due to technical difficulties and who have reported the problem to the help desk, received a case number, and had a service request opened to research the problem, should contact the relevant PRM Program Officer to determine whether an alternative method of submission is appropriate.
Pursuant to U.S. Code, Title 218, Section 1001, stated on OMB Standard Form 424 (SF-424), the Department of State is authorized to consolidate the certifications and assurances required by Federal law or regulations for its federal assistance programs. The list of certifications and assurances can be found at:

Proposal Content, Formatting and Template: This announcement is designed to accompany PRM’s General NGO Guidelines, which contain additional administrative information on proposal content and formatting, and explain in detail PRM’s NGO funding strategy and priorities. Please use both the General NGO Guidelines and this announcement to ensure that your proposal submission is in full compliance with PRM requirements and that the proposed activities are in line with PRM’s priorities. Proposal submissions that do not meet all of the requirements outlined in these guidelines will not be considered.

PRM strongly recommends using the proposal and budget templates that are available upon email request from PRM’s NGO Coordinator. Please send an email, with the phrase “PRM NGO Templates” in the subject line, to PRM’s NGO Coordinator. Single-year proposals using PRM’s templates must be no more than 20 pages in length (Times New Roman 12 point font, one inch margins on all sides). If the applicant does not use PRM’s recommended templates, proposals must not exceed 15 pages in length. Organizations may choose to attach work plans, activity calendars, and/or logical frameworks as addendums/appendices to the proposal. These attachments do not count toward the page limit total however annexes cannot be relied upon as a key source of program information. The proposal narrative must be able to stand on its own in the application process.

To be considered for PRM funding, organizations must submit a complete application package including:

Proposal reflecting objectives and indicators for each year of the program period.
Budget and budget narrative for each year of the program period.
Signed completed SF-424.

In addition, proposal submissions to PRM should include the following information:

Focus on outcome or impact indicators as much as possible. At a minimum, each objective should have one outcome or impact indicator. Wherever possible, baselines should be established before the start of the project.
To increase PRM’s ability to track the impact of PRM funding, include specific information on locations of projects and beneficiaries (GPS coordinates if possible).
Proposals should outline how the NGO will acknowledge PRM funding. If an organization believes that publicly acknowledging the receipt of USG funding for a particular PRM-funded project could potentially endanger the lives of the beneficiaries and/or the organization staff, invite suspicion about the organization’s motives, or alienate the organization from the population it is trying to help, it must provide a brief explanation in its proposal as to why it should be exempted from this requirement.
The budget should include a specific breakdown of funds being provided by UNHCR, other USG agencies, other donors, and your own organization. PRM strongly encourages multilateral support for humanitarian programs.
In FY 2014, PRM is asking applicants whose proposals address gender-based violence (GBV) through their projects to estimate the total cost of these activities as a separate line item in their proposed budgets. PRM’s budget template document has been updated to reflect this new requirement.
Gender analysis (See above. Required before an award can be made).
Copy of the organization’s Code of Conduct (required before an award can be made).
Copy of the organization’s Security Plan (required before an award can be made).
Proposals and budgets should include details of any sub-agreements associated with the program.
Most recent Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA), if applicable.
NGOs that have not received PRM funding since the U.S. government fiscal year ending September 30, 2004 must be prepared to demonstrate that they meet the financial and accounting requirements of the U.S. government by submitting copies of 1) the most recent external financial audit, 2) proof of non-profit tax status including under IRS 501 (c)(3), as applicable, 3) a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, and 4) an Employer ID (EIN)/Federal Tax Identification number.
Organizations that received PRM funding in FY 2013 for activities that are being proposed for funding under this announcement must include the most recent quarterly progress report against indicators outlined in the cooperative agreement. If an organization’s last quarterly report was submitted more than six weeks prior to the submission of a proposal in response to this funding announcement, the organization must include, with its most recent quarterly report, updates that show any significant progress made on objectives since the last report.

Multi-Year Funding: Applicants proposing multi-year programs should adhere to the following guidance:

Applicants may submit proposals that include multi-year strategies presented in 12-month cycles for a period not to exceed 24 months from the proposed start date. Fully developed programs with detailed budgets, objectives and indicators are required for each year of activities. These can be updated yearly upon submission of continuation applications. Applicants should note that they may use PRM’s recommended multi-year proposal template for this application, which is different from the single year template. Multi-year funding applicants may also use PRM’s standard budget template and should submit a separate budget sheet for each project year. Multi-year proposals using PRM’s templates must be no more than 30 pages in length (Times New Roman 12 point font, one inch margins on all sides). If the applicant does not use PRM’s recommended templates, proposals must not exceed 25 pages in length. Organizations may choose to attach work plans, activity calendars, and/or logical frameworks as addendums/appendices to the proposal. These attachments do not count toward the page limit total.

Multi-year applications selected for funding by PRM will be funded in 12- month increments based on the proposal submitted in the initial application as approved by PRM. Continued funding after the initial 12- month award requires the submission of a noncompeting continuation application and will be contingent upon available funding, strong performance, and continuing need. Continuation applications must be submitted by the organization no later than 90 days before the proposed start date of the new award (e.g., if the next project period is to begin on September 1, submit your application by June 1). Continuation applications are submitted in lieu of responding to PRM’s published call for proposals for those activities. Late continuation applications will jeopardize continued funding.

Organizations can request multi-year funding and continuation application templates by emailing PRM’s NGO Coordinator with the phrase “PRM NGO Templates” in the subject line.

Reports and Reporting Requirements:

Program reporting: PRM requires quarterly and final program reports describing and analyzing the results of activities undertaken during the validity period of the agreement. It is highly suggested that NGOs receiving PRM funding use the PRM recommended program report template. To request this template, send an email with the phrase “PRM NGO Templates” in the subject line to PRM’s NGO Coordinator.

Financial Reports: Financial reports are required within thirty (30) days following the end of each calendar year quarter during the validity period of the agreement; a final financial report covering the entire period of the agreement is required within ninety (90) days after the expiration date of the agreement.

For more details regarding reporting requirements please see PRM’s General NGO Guidelines.

Proposal Review Process: PRM will conduct a formal competitive review of all proposals submitted in response to this funding announcement. A review panel will evaluate submissions based on the above-referenced proposal evaluation criteria and PRM priorities in the context of available funding.

PRM may request revised proposals and/or budgets based on feedback from the panel. PRM will provide formal notifications to NGOs of final decisions taken by Bureau management.

Branding and Marking Strategy: Unless exceptions have been approved by the designated bureau Authorizing Official as described in the proposal templates that are available upon email request from PRM’s NGO Coordinator, at a minimum, the following provision will be included whenever assistance is awarded:

As a condition of receipt of this assistance award, all materials produced pursuant to the award, including training materials, materials for recipients or materials to communicate or promote with foreign audiences a program, event, project, or some other activity under this agreement, including but not limited to invitations to events, press materials, event backdrops, podium signs, etc. must be marked appropriately with the standard U.S. flag in a size and prominence equal to (or greater than) any other logo or identity. Subrecipients and subsequent tier sub-award agreements are subject to the marking requirements and the recipient shall include a provision in the subrecipient agreement indicating that the standard, rectangular U.S. flag is a requirement. In the event the recipient does not comply with the marking requirements as established in the approved assistance agreement, the Grants Officer Representative and the Grants Officer must initiate corrective action.

PRM Points of Contact: Should NGOs have technical questions related to this announcement, they should contact the PRM staff listed below prior to proposal submission. Please note that responses to technical questions from PRM do not indicate a commitment to fund the program discussed.

PRM Program Officer: Kristen Frost,, (202) 453-9383, Washington, D.C.

Regional Refugee Coordinator: Mary Eileen Earl,, (235) 22-51-70-09 ext. 4323, U.S. Embassy, N’Djamena.

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Africa: Meeting With South Sudanese Minister Awan Riak

From: U.S. Department of State

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
April 10, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry met today with the South Sudanese Minister in the Office of the President Honorable Awan Riak.

The Secretary noted his grave concern with respect to the situation there, and reaffirmed our support for the people of South Sudan and our readiness to stand with those who take bold steps to lead the country out of the crisis. He raised the need for the Government of South Sudan immediately to stop the fighting, provide full humanitarian access, and cease harassment and threats against the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). The Secretary emphasized the importance of full cooperation with the African Union Commission of Inquiry and the U.S. Government’s support for justice, reconciliation, and accountability for human rights violations and abuses.

They had a frank discussion of the way forward to heal the wounds of the violent conflict that broke out on December 15, and how to create a durable and inclusive path to peace. The Secretary noted that he continues to monitor events in South Sudan closely and called for progress toward inclusive, broad-based negotiations led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. The Secretary emphasized the U.S. Government’s continued call for South Sudan’s leaders to prioritize the interests of the South Sudanese people over their own personal or ethnic interests.

The United States will continue to stand with the people of South Sudan and with those who take the courageous – and necessary – steps to bring peace, stability and good governance to South Sudan, so that its people can return to their livelihoods and its economy can flourish. But we will not stand by while the hopes of a nation are held hostage to short-sighted and destructive actors.

On April 3, the President authorized targeted sanctions that can and will be used against those who contribute to conflict by undermining democratic processes or institutions or by obstructing the peace process and against those who commit human rights abuses in South Sudan.

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USA, Dpt. of State Press Releases: Attack on UN Employees in Somalia

From: U.S. Department of State

Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
April 7, 2014

The United States strongly condemns the killing of two employees of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in Puntland, Somalia. We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed in the attack. The United States urges the relevant authorities to fully investigate this crime and to bring the perpetrators to justice without delay.

We reiterate our appreciation to all United Nations staff in Somalia for their continued dedication under difficult circumstances. The United States and the United Nations remain determined to support the people and the Federal Government of Somalia in their efforts to strengthen peace, security, and the rule of law.

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USA, D.o.S.: Press Releases: Joint Statement of the Second Session of the United States – Kingdom of Morocco Strategic Dialogue

From: U.S. Department of State
04/04/2014 10:51 AM EDT
Joint Statement of the Second Session of the United States – Kingdom of Morocco Strategic Dialogue
Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
April 4, 2014

At the second session of the United States-Morocco Strategic Dialogue today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Foreign Minister Dr. Salaheddine Mezouar and Secretary of State John Kerry built on the substantial and ambitious roadmap agreed to by His Majesty the King Mohammed VI and President Obama in Washington in November 2013, pledging to use our strong strategic partnership to advance shared priorities of a stable, democratic, and prosperous Maghreb, Africa, and Middle East.

Support for Democratic Reforms

The Secretary reiterated the United States’ appreciation for the action and the leadership of His Majesty the King in deepening democracy and promoting economic progress and human development during the last decade. In this context, the Minister and the Secretary discussed the ongoing implementation of Morocco’s 2011 constitution and how the United States can support the strengthening of Morocco’s democratic institutions, civil society, and a culture of human rights. The Secretary welcomed the Government’s endorsement of a law eliminating military tribunals for civilians, another important step in implementing His Majesty the King’s vision of Morocco that conforms to international norms and best practices with regards to human rights. The Secretary also noted the United States’ Government’s continuing interest in the outcome of Morocco’s National Dialogue on Civil Society and the development of an enabling environment for dialogue between government and citizen. The Secretary commended the Minister for Morocco’s continuing efforts to implement sweeping changes to its asylum and immigration system, with positive implications for legal and illegal migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. The two parties reaffirmed their intent to work together to promote human rights globally at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Economic Cooperation

The Minister and the Secretary discussed the benefits of maintaining an attractive business climate for investment in Morocco. They acknowledged the concrete measures undertaken by Morocco to become eligible to join the Open Government Partnership, the importance of Morocco as a trade and investment platform for North and Sub-Saharan Africa, and United States’ support to improve the quality and relevance of Morocco’s basic education. They lauded the signing of a $38 million agreement to provide Moroccan youth with the workforce development tools for a better transition from education to employment. They discussed the recently concluded Second United States-Morocco Business Development Conference, which strengthened business-to-business ties in the service of expanding trade and capitalizing on the United States-Morocco Free Trade Agreement, promoting investment, collaborating on energy issues, and encouraging regional economic integration through the establishment of effective partnerships. Both parties look forward to Morocco’s hosting the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Summit before the end of this year and the important opportunity that represents to build a culture of entrepreneurship to create employment opportunities for youth across the region. They welcomed the positive preparatory work for a 2nd Millennium Challenge Corporation compact.

Engagement within Africa

The Secretary underlined the leadership of His Majesty the King to promote social development and economic prosperity within Africa, reaffirmed our desire to work jointly to ensure stability and human development in Africa through a comprehensive and coordinated approach including food security, access to energy, and trade promotion. In this context, the United States Administration looks forward to Morocco’s active participation in the United States-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC in August.

Educational and Cultural Cooperation

The Minister and the Secretary discussed further cooperation to promote mutual understanding and dialogue in Morocco and throughout the region. They commended the work of the Moroccan American Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange (MACECE), and expressed enthusiasm for the contribution that the J. Christopher Stevens Virtual Exchange Initiative will make. The Secretary noted that he will be swearing in over 100 new Peace Corps volunteers today, in the latest renewal of a historic and fruitful partnership bringing American youth together with Moroccan citizens in the service of socioeconomic development and mutual understanding. The Minister and the Secretary of State confirmed that strong interfaith cooperation, the promotion of values of moderation and tolerance are key for stability and development in the region. They welcomed the dynamism of the inter-university cooperation and research programs in that field. Both parties encouraged the MACECE to widen its activities and expressed enthusiasm for the contribution that the J. Christopher Stevens Virtual Exchange Initiative will make.

Security Cooperation

The Minister and the Secretary noted our shared goal of stability and security throughout Africa. They remarked on today’s conclusion of the joint exercise African Lion with the participation of 18 countries, reflecting a vision of strengthened cooperation and capacity to provide security to the people of the region. They discussed efforts to find new avenues for civilian security cooperation, including in criminal justice cooperation and efforts to promote the rule of law. The two parties also discussed a joint proposal that would couple United States’ and Moroccan counterterrorism expertise in such a way that would facilitate Morocco supporting regional security efforts. They noted Rabat’s hosting of the Fifth Global Counterterrorism Forum Coordinating Committee this week as a symbol of that ongoing cooperation.

The Issue of the Western Sahara

The Secretary reaffirmed our commitment to a peaceful, sustainable, mutually agreed-upon solution to the Western Sahara question. The United States’ policy toward the Western Sahara has remained consistent for many years. The United States has made clear that Morocco’s autonomy plan is serious, realistic, and credible, and that it represents a potential approach that could satisfy the aspirations of the people in the Western Sahara to run their own affairs in peace and dignity. The United States supports the negotiations carried out by the United Nations, including the work of the UN Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General Ambassador Christopher Ross, and urges the parties to work toward a just, lasting and mutually agreed political solution. The two parties affirmed their shared commitment to the improvement of the lives of the people of the Western Sahara. In this regard, Morocco presented the report on the new economic model prepared by the Economic, Social and Environmental Council. The Secretary welcomed the recent actions and initiatives taken by Morocco to continue to protect and promote human rights in the territory, including the growing and important role of the National Council for Human Rights.

Middle East Peace

Secretary Kerry commended the commitment of Morocco to the shared goal of a comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He welcomed the contribution of His Majesty the King, including through his chairmanship of the Al-Quds Committee, and the recommendations made by the Committee’s 20th Session held this past January.


The Minister and the Secretary closed by emphasizing the broad set of values shared by the United States and Morocco, providing the foundation for even wider cooperation in our strategic partnership. They expressed their intent to continuing following up on the joint agenda which grew out of last November’s successful visit of His Majesty the King to Washington. The Secretary thanked the Minister for his invitation to visit Morocco and looks forward to the next session of the Strategic Dialogue in Washington.

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Africa: Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne C. Richard Travels to Switzerland and Chad

From: U.S. Department of State
Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 29, 2014

Assistant Secretary Anne C. Richard will travel to Geneva, Switzerland on Monday, March 31, 2014 for meetings with officials from United Nations and other international humanitarian organizations. 

On Tuesday, April 1, 2014, Assistant Secretary Richard will travel to Ndjamena, Chad, where she will meet with Chadian government officials and representatives of both international and nongovernmental organizations. Assistant Secretary Richard will also travel to southern Chad with representatives from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to visit refugees from the Central African Republic living in camps as well as Chadians who had been living in the Central African Republic but have had to flee the violence there. 

In FY 2013, the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) obligated over $43 million for humanitarian activities in Chad.  Chad is currently host to well over 500,000 refugees, vulnerable migrants, and other populations of concern from the crises in the Central African Republic and Sudan.

For more information on PRM, you can follow us on Twitter or Facebook. For questions about this trip, please contact Public Affairs Officer Christine Getzler Vaughan at or (202) 453-9370.

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US State Dpt., Press Releases: U.S. Concern about Sharp Escalation of Violence and Insecurity in Darfur

From: U.S. Department of State
03/26/2014 02:19 PM EDT
Press Statement
Marie Harf
Deputy Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 26, 2014

We are deeply concerned by the sharp escalation in violence and insecurity in Darfur resulting from actions committed by Sudanese Government forces, government-sponsored militias, and Darfuri armed movements.

On March 22, 300 unidentified, heavily armed men reportedly attacked the Khor Abeche Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp, and between March 15 and 17, the Sudanese Government-supported Rapid Support Forces (RSF) attacked sixteen villages in North and South Darfur kidnapping and killing civilians. Additionally, we are disturbed by reports that on March 18, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) bombed several villages in East Jebel Marra, which resulted in a number of civilian casualties and the displacement of over 15,000 civilians. Equally alarming are reports of several incidents involving elements of Justice and Equality Movement, the Sudan Liberation Movement/ Minni Minawi faction and the Sudan Liberation Movement/ Abdul Wahid faction, which resulted in heavy civilian casualties in North Darfur.

The United States strongly condemns these attacks. We urge all parties to immediately halt attacks against civilians, and further call upon the Government of Sudan to prevent further violence, particularly the indiscriminate attacks committed by government-sponsored militias, such as the RSF, and to cease its own campaign of aerial bombardments.

We also reiterate our call for the Government of Sudan to immediately allow full and unfettered humanitarian access to affected populations who are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance and to cease obstructing the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) as it works to carry out its mandate to protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian access.

Violence and insecurity in Darfur so far this year have displaced an estimated 215,000 civilians. We urge the Government of Sudan and armed movements to begin an inclusive and comprehensive political dialogue to bring peace to Sudan and to reestablish the rule of law.

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Deputy Secretary of State Higginbottom’s Travel to Tunisia

From: U.S. Department of State
Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC

March 18, 2014


Deputy Secretary Higginbottom traveled to Tunisia March 17-18th to meet with Tunisian officials, business leaders, students, and civil society representatives to discuss with them ways to strengthen the U.S.-Tunisia relationship. Deputy Secretary Higginbottom underscored the U.S. belief that Tunisia remains a bright hope for a successful transition to democracy. Working with the people and government of Tunisia to lay a foundation for political stability and economic prosperity that solidifies their democracy, strengthens civil society, and empowers youth is a top priority for the United States.

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USA: Creating a Clear Path to the Middle Class by Strengthening Ohio Manufacturing

from: Senator Sherrod Brown

In Ohio, we know manufacturing can create a path to the middle class. But during the Great Recession, that path became turbulent as plants across the country shuttered their doors and devastated local communities that depended on their jobs.

But today, due to smart investments and a renewed effort in manufacturing, we are adding jobs in that sector for the first time since the 1990s. Since December 2009, the manufacturing sector has added more than 300,000 jobs to the economy. This is particularly important for Ohio, which is the third largest manufacturing state in the country.

However, there is still work to be done as too many manufacturing communities are struggling with the effects of those shuttered plants and devastating job loss. We need to do everything we can to help get these communities working again; to get businesses moving back in and creating jobs.

The good news is that we know what works. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just target our efforts and make smart investments. One example of this is the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program. The program was created in 2000 to provide a tax incentive to investors for projects in low-income communities. And the program is incredibly successful. Between 2003 and 2012, the NMTC was used to generate $60 billion in private investment, and created more than 550,000 jobs across the country and 30,000 jobs in Ohio. For every tax credit dollar, these projects leveraged more than $2.50 in private sector investment.

A few years ago, I attended a ribbon cutting at Alcoa in Barberton for a new piece of energy savings technology. The new equipment allowed the company to install new technology to produce billet from remelted scrap aluminum.

This billet is then used to make new wheels, increasing the efficiency and sustainability of Alcoa’s manufacturing process. The NMTC was one tool that the community used to help Alcoa make the investment in Barberton, instead of at one of its facilities outside of the United States. We can build on this success with the Manufacturing Communities Investment Act.

My legislation would reauthorize the New Markets Tax Credit and create a new Manufacturing Communities Tax Credit. Communities that have experienced significant job loss would now be eligible for the credit to create new manufacturing jobs. The new credit would attract new private investment to places like Wilmington, where they lost 7,000 DHL jobs; or Warren, where RG Steel cut 1,000 jobs.

This legislation is a first of its kind effort that specifically targets manufacturing communities hit hard by the changing economy. It provides private investors with a significant incentive to invest in manufacturing communities and companies that will create high skill, high pay, and secure jobs in the manufacturing sector. And it is a great example of how government can work with the private sector to revitalize hard-hit communities.



Sherrod Brown
U.S. Senator

Senator Brown’s Offices

Washington, D.C.
713 Hart Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510
p (202) 224-2315
f (202) 228-6321

200 N High St.
Room 614
Columbus, OH 43215
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f (614) 469-2171
Toll Free
1-888-896-OHIO (6446)

U.S. Ambassadors to Participate in Panel Discussion on U.S. Global Health Diplomacy and the Role of Ambassadors

From: U.S. Department of State

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 13, 2014

U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Pamela White, U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Jeanine Jackson, and U.S. Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu Walter North will participate in a panel discussion on U.S. Global Health Diplomacy and the Role of Ambassadors hosted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, March 17. The event will also feature remarks from Ambassador Leslie Rowe, Acting Special Representative for the Secretary’s Office of Global Health Diplomacy and former U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique and to Papua New Guinea, on the role of the new office.

In recent years, the U.S. Government has increasingly focused diplomatic efforts on global health issues. In 2013, the Secretary of State created a new Office of Global Health Diplomacy to elevate global health issues in the diplomatic dialogue and to support U.S. Ambassadors and embassies in using diplomacy to advance their global health programs around the world.

Dr. Jen Kates, Kaiser Family Foundation’s Vice President and Director of Global Health and HIV Policy, will provide opening remarks and moderate the panel discussion. Topics of discussion will include: How does diplomacy intersect with global health, and how is the new focus on global health diplomacy reshaping the work of U.S. Ambassadors with partner countries? And, how does this new office relate to and collaborate with other parts of the U.S. Government’s global health architecture and foreign policy?

Attendees must register with KFF in advance at

For further information, please contact Sheila Weir, Public Affairs Officer, Secretary’s Office of Global Health Diplomacy (S/GHD) at or 202-647-0477.

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US: Press Releases – State Department Concludes Settlement of Alleged AECA and ITAR Violations by Esterline Technologies Corporation

From: U.S. Department of State
Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC

March 6, 2014


The U.S. Department of State concluded an administrative settlement with Esterline Technologies Corporation of Bellevue, Washington, to resolve alleged violations of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) (22 U.S.C. § 2778) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) (22 C.F.R. Parts 120-130). Esterline agreed to enter into a consent agreement with the Department pursuant to ITAR Section 128.11. The agreement was reached following an extensive compliance review by the Department’s Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance (DTCC) in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. This settlement addresses hundreds of alleged civil violations of the AECA and ITAR, and highlights the Department’s responsibility to protect U.S. defense articles, including technical data, and defense services from unauthorized use.

DTCC determined that Esterline demonstrated inadequate corporate oversight and failed to establish an adequate AECA and ITAR compliance program in its defense trade activity. Over the course of many years, Esterline and its operating divisions, subsidiaries, and business units disclosed to the Department hundreds of alleged AECA and ITAR violations consisting of unauthorized exports of defense articles, including technical data, and defense services; unauthorized temporary imports of defense articles; violations of terms and conditions of licenses or approvals granted; exports of defense articles in excess of quantity and value authorized; improper use of exemptions; and failure to file or filing of incorrect documentation with the Automated Export System.

DTCC’s compliance review concluded that many of these alleged violations occurred because Esterline did not properly establish jurisdiction over its defense articles and technical data, did not properly administer licenses and agreements, and had incomplete or poor recordkeeping. The alleged violations involved defense articles, technical data, and defense services that are or were controlled at the time of the alleged violations by the U.S. Munitions List under the following current or former categories: IV(h), VI(i), VI(f), VI(g), VII(g), VII(h), VIII(h), VIII(i), XI(a), XI(c), XI(d), XII(e), XII(f), XV(e), XV(f), XX(c), and XX(d).

Under the terms of a three year Consent Agreement with the Department, Esterline will pay a civil penalty of $20 million. The Department agreed to suspend $10 million of this amount on the condition the Department approves expenditures for self-initiated, pre-Consent Agreement remedial compliance measures and Consent Agreement-authorized remedial compliance costs. Additionally, Esterline will engage a Special Compliance Official to oversee the Consent Agreement, and Esterline will conduct two audits of its compliance program as well as implement additional compliance measures, such as improved policies and procedures, and additional training for employees and principals.

Esterline disclosed the alleged AECA and ITAR violations resolved under this settlement to the Department, acknowledged the serious nature of the alleged violations, cooperated with the Department, and implemented or has planned extensive remedial measures. For these reasons, the Department determined that an administrative debarment of Esterline was not appropriate at this time.

The Consent Agreement and related documents will be available for public inspection in the Public Reading Room of the U.S. Department of State and on the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls website at

For additional information, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs’ Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at

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US State Dpt. – – Press Releases: Remarks With British Foreign Secretary William Hague, and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia at Top of Tripartite Agreement Ministerial

From: U.S. Department of State
03/05/2014 06:50 AM EST

Remarks With British Foreign Secretary William Hague, and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia at Top of Tripartite Agreement Ministerial

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Chief of Mission Residence

Paris, DC, France

March 5, 2014


SECRETARY KERRY: Well, we’re glad to have our friends here from Ukraine and from Great Britain, partners in the Budapest Agreement of 1994, regrettably missing one member, but we will be meeting, hopefully this afternoon, with that additional member. So we look forward to our own discussion this morning. We appreciate you being here. Thank you.

William, do you want to say anything?

FOREIGN SECRETARY HAGUE: Well, it is absolutely right that we have met for consultations under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. And that is provided for in Article 6 of the memorandum, and in such a crisis it’s absolutely right to meet. It is regrettable – exactly as you said, John – that Russia is not here with us. But we will make every diplomatic effort today to bring Russia and Ukraine into direct contact at ministerial level with the support of other nations. And this is one opportunity to do that; we will try to create other opportunities later today.

FOREIGN MINISTER DESHCHYTSIA: I’ll say a few words also?

SECRETARY KERRY: Of course, Andrii, absolutely.

FOREIGN MINISTER DESHCHYTSIA: As an equal partner in the Budapest Memorandum. (Laughter.)


FOREIGN MINISTER DESHCHYTSIA: And I’m very glad that we have these consultations here, and that during these days we’ve had so many consultations in Ukraine – your visit, and with Secretary Hague and with Secretary Kerry two days ago, yesterday, so now we have these consultations here. It’s very decisive and important moment, and we are looking very much forward that we will be also having consultations with Russia bilaterally and multilaterally.

SECRETARY KERRY: I’m just going to read two paragraphs from the Russian Federation Commission[i]: “The United States of America and the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defense or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.”

It also says the same parties – the United States, the Russian Federation, et cetera – “In accordance with the principles of the CSCE Final Act” – that’s Helsinki – “to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty.” So there are very clear legal obligations that are at risk in this, and we’re going to talk about those here this morning. So thank you all very much.




[i] 1994 Budapest Memorandum

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USA: State Dpt.; Collected Department Releases: Daily Press Briefing – March 3, 2014

From: U.S. Department of State
Date: Mon, Mar 3, 2014 at 8:52 PM

12:48 p.m. EST

MS. PSAKI: Hi, everyone. Good afternoon from a snowy day in Washington. I don’t have anything at the top, and obviously want to get to as many questions as possible. While we’re doing this briefing over the phone, it is on the record, as per usual. So why don’t we go directly to questions?

OPERATOR: And ladies and gentlemen, if there are any questions from the phone lines at this time, please press * followed by the 1 on your touchtone phone. You’ll hear a tone indicating you’ve been placed in a queue, and all questions will be pulled in the order they are received. And once again, if there are any questions at this time please press * followed by the 1 on your touchtone phone. And one moment please for our first question.

And our first question today comes from the line of Matt Lee from the Associated Press. Please go ahead.

MS. PSAKI: Matt?

OPERATOR: Mr. Lee, your line is open. Please go ahead with your question.

QUESTION: Sorry. I had my phone on mute. Sorry.

MS. PSAKI: No problem. Makes it harder to hear your question.

QUESTION: Sorry? Can you hear me?

MS. PSAKI: I said it makes it harder to hear your question.

QUESTION: Yeah, it does. Okay. Well, anyway, sorry about that. Listen, I just wondered – I just have some logistical things. One, is it still – is the – given the weather and everything else, is the AIPAC speech still on? If it is, can you give us any kind of a preview of it? And then on Ukraine-related, is he expecting to still see Lavrov in Paris and/or Rome?

MS. PSAKI: Sure. So, on the logistical question, yes, the AIPAC speech is still on. The Secretary is looking forward to delivering that later this evening. His other meetings today are still on as well, including the meeting with the Moldovan foreign minister[1] that should be underway, meetings he’ll be having with Prime Minister Netanyahu, as well as meetings he’ll be participating at the White House in.

We hope to, just from a logistical standpoint, provide some excerpts to all of you later this afternoon. Broadly speaking, this speech will be about his – about the strong commitments and longstanding commitment of the United States to our relationship with Israel, the important partnership we’ve had over the course of decades. The Secretary will also talk about the two challenges – the two – Israeli’s security, one being Iran and the threat of acquiring a nuclear weapon. He will reiterate the strong commitment of the President and of the Administration not to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon, and lay out the bottom line as we look to the comprehensive negotiations that are ongoing.

He’ll also talk about the ongoing negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and he will again repeat – reiterate what you – many have heard him say many times, which is what the positive benefits would be to both the Israeli and the Palestinian people should they reach a final status agreement. He’ll talk about the impacts – the positive impact that would have on security in Israel and how our goal is to make Israel stronger at the end, and that is, of course, a fundamental component of these discussions.

He’ll also talk about the benefits to the Palestinian people and their interests and aspirations to have a more viable and prosperous economy. So he’ll talk about those – all of those issues. And again, we hope to have excerpts out to all of you later this afternoon.

I think you had a third question and now I forget what it was.

QUESTION: Well, do you expect him to talk about the BDS again? And then the other question on – which was also on logistics was just about potential meetings with Lavrov and —

MS. PSAKI: Sure. He will, as has been not only the longstanding position of the United States Government, but his position in his 29 year or now 30 years in public service, reiterate our opposition to any boycott of Israel, and that will be a part of the speech as well.

In terms of a Lavrov meeting, I don’t have any schedule updates for you. Obviously, there’s been a discussion of that, but the schedule is still being finalized over the course of the days he’ll be in Paris and Rome.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. PSAKI: Thank you.

OPERATOR: And we do have a question from the line of Anne Gearan with The Washington Post. Please go ahead.

MS. PSAKI: Hi, Anne.

QUESTION: Hi. So can you just give us the best case for what the Secretary hopes to accomplish in Kyiv? I mean, he won’t be seeing, it seems to me, the people who matter most here, who would be the Crimean officials or Russian officials there, right? He will only be seeing the interim government leaders? Is that right?

MS. PSAKI: That’s right. Well, he will be seeing, of course, members of the transitional government, members of the Rada, members of civil society, including interfaith religious leaders. So we’re still finalizing the schedule. I know it’s tomorrow, but as you all know, this trip just came together over the course of the last 72 hours. But broadly speaking, Anne, he’s going to be discussing, of course, Ukraine’s economic and political needs, seeing what additional support we can provide, and really sending a strong message that we support the people of Ukraine, the voices of the people of Ukraine. And obviously, they’re going through their own transition here, so he’ll discuss all of those issues and really be looking forward.

Just a couple of other updates for all of you. I think some of you have seen it, but Assistant Secretary Nuland is in Vienna today meeting with senior officials of the OSCE and representing the United States at a special meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on Ukraine. While she’s there, she’s also meeting with member states to work towards an OSCE monitoring mission for Crimea and eastern Ukraine. This mission would provide accurate facts and information about what is happening in these regions and would reduce tensions. She’s also made some public comments; I would also point you to where she repeats our support for the OSCE launching a full-scale monitoring mission, which is obviously what they’re discussing.

We’re also – we also support and we’re working towards a high-level meeting of the signatories to the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. That, of course, would include Ukraine, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. And so that is something we’re working towards, so I don’t have anything on the schedule to announce yet over the course of the next coming days.

QUESTION: Do you expect him to have public remarks on the subject of Ukraine before he goes?

MS. PSAKI: He just did a spray with the Moldovans, so I obviously wasn’t there because I’m here with all of you. But I believe he may have touched on Ukraine there.

QUESTION: Okay, thanks.

MS. PSAKI: Sure. I think we’re ready for the next question.

OPERATOR: And our next question comes from the line Arshad Mohammed with Reuters. Please go ahead.

MS. PSAKI: Hi, Arshad.

QUESTION: Hi, Jen. Interfax quoted a Ukrainian defense ministry official as saying that the Russian fleet gave Ukrainian forces in Crimea until 0300 GMT to surrender or face attack. One, do you have any reason to believe that the Russian Defense Ministry coupled with the Russian fleet has indeed given the Ukrainian forces in Crimea a deadline by which to surrender or be attacked?

And secondly, regardless of whether you know for sure whether there’s been such an ultimatum, how – what do you think of such an ultimatum being given or threatened?

MS. PSAKI: Sure. Well, I don’t have any independent information on that. I’ve seen the same reports as you, and thank you, of course, to you and others who sent those over. But of course these reports today of threats of force against Ukrainian military installations would, if true, in our view constitute a dangerous escalation of the situation for which we would hold Russia directly responsible. You’ve seen over the course of the last 72 hours that the international community has been very unified in steps we’ve taken, and whether that’s the statement – the strong statement made by the G7, statements coming out of NATO, obviously there’s the meeting of the OSCE today – and that coordination and cooperation will continue. And as Russia takes steps, the international community will look closely at taking steps as well. So I don’t have anything independently for you on those reports. If that changes, we will, of course, provide an update. But that is certainly where we stand at this point.


MS. PSAKI: Thank you. Next question.

OPERATOR: And we do have a question from the line of Jo Biddle with AFP. Please go ahead.

MS. PSAKI: Hi, Jo.

QUESTION: Hi there. Can you hear me, because I had to —

MS. PSAKI: I can hear you.

QUESTION: Okay. Can I just go back to clarify on the question of whether the Secretary will be meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov? He did actually announce he would be – last week that he would meet on Wednesday with the Russian foreign minister. From your reply to Anne, are you now saying that may not happen as the Secretary had already previewed?

And my second question is on the issue of settlements and whether there is going to be a push for the U.S. Administration – perhaps via the talks at the White House today – for Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu to agree to a freeze on settlement building as any step forward for the framework to happen. I don’t know if you saw the reports that came out of Israel this morning that there’s been more settlement building than ever. I don’t just have it in front me. So I wondered if you could answer those two questions. Thanks.

MS. PSAKI: Sure. On the first question, I just don’t want to get ahead of where we are in terms of finalizing items in the schedule. So it’s not a stepping back from anything; it’s more we’re obviously balancing a number of priorities and we’re working through scheduling logistics, so I expect we’ll have more of an update in the next 24 hours on that. But I did not mean to be an alarmist in any way, shape, or form.

QUESTION: Oh, okay. It’s just that we already have in copy that they’re meeting, so, I mean, I suppose the issue is, for most people, do we still say that they’re going to meet or do we say that it hasn’t been finalized?

MS. PSAKI: I would – it’s accurate to say it hasn’t been finalized at this point.

QUESTION: Okay. Fair enough. Okay. And what about on the settlement issue?

MS. PSAKI: On the settlements, obviously, I would point you to my friends and former colleagues at the White House in terms of a specific readout of the meeting with the prime minister. But our focus remains on narrowing the gaps on a framework for negotiations moving forward. That will of course address all the core issues, as you know, but I don’t want to predict or preview any plans for an ask on a settlement freeze.

Obviously, we’re discussing a range of options. We’re not going to outline those. And as you know from the discussion we’ve had over the course of the last six to eight months on this, the agreement was that the Palestinians would not go to the UN and the Israelis would release prisoners. Obviously, that doesn’t change our view of settlements. We continue to believe that settlements are illegitimate. That is the reason, one of the many reasons, addressing that issue – as to why we’re so committed to addressing the issue of, I should say, borders, and having two states of – why we’re so committed to these discussions. But I don’t have any prediction for you or any information on a discussion of a settlement freeze in the short term.

QUESTION: And do you have any reaction to the news by – from Israeli Government data that – I found it now – that new settlement building in the West Bank increased by 123.7 percent last year? What would be the U.S. reaction to that?

MS. PSAKI: I’d have to look at the statistics and talk to our team about it. I know there are a range of ways of measuring it. It doesn’t change the fact that, again, we feel settlement activity is illegitimate. We don’t think it is a step that is helpful or productive in creating the environment to have a positive outcome of negotiations. That’s a message we’ve sent many times publicly and privately, and I can assure you we will continue to.

QUESTION: Okay. Thanks, Jen. Thank you.

MS. PSAKI: Thanks, Jo.

OPERATOR: And our next question comes from the line of Nicole Gaouette with Bloomberg News. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi there, Jen. Can you hear me?

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: I’m just wondering if the Secretary did meet with Tzipi Livni this morning or any other Israeli officials, and whether you can give us a readout.

MS. PSAKI: He did have the meetings as scheduled this morning, and the meetings as scheduled are planned to proceed this afternoon. These are – we’re having continued discussions. The Secretary is closely engaged, Ambassador Indyk is closely engaged, and obviously, the President’s closely engaged in having Prime Minister Netanyahu in the White House today for a meeting.

But the focus right now is on the ongoing discussions about a framework for negotiations. Obviously, we feel that’s a pivotal piece to moving this process forward. So that was his focus of the discussions this morning, as well as this afternoon. And of course, we expect in any of these discussions, specifically with Prime Minister Netanyahu, that a discussion of the negotiations with Iran and the P5+1 about the comprehensive negotiations will be a part of it as well.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. PSAKI: Thanks, Nicole.

OPERATOR: And our next question comes from the line of Justin Fishel with Fox News. Please go ahead.

MS. PSAKI: Hi, Justin Fishel.

QUESTION: (Laughter.) Hi, Jen. And that’s Fishel, for the record, not Fishel, but —

MS. PSAKI: No one can pronounce my name either.

QUESTION: It’s a common error, and I’m not going to hold that against anyone. So Jen, how many Russian troops do you estimate are in Crimea right now? And how many of those are from outside of the Black Sea Fleet? So how many do you think they’ve brought in?

MS. PSAKI: Justin – and I could have said this at the top – I’m just not going to give and not in a position to give an update on what is happening on the ground in terms of the military movements. Obviously, we’re incredibly concerned about that. We are unified with the international community in our view that these steps have been illegal. We’ve taken steps in response, of course, to that. But I’m not going to be able to provide you with a ground game, military update.

QUESTION: Okay. Well, because – the reason I ask is because everybody here just says, “We’re closely watching, we’re closely watching.” So if you’re closely watching, you probably know those numbers, my guess is. But if you don’t want to provide them, that’s fine.

MS. PSAKI: Maybe I can help you better with a different question.

QUESTION: Okay. Great. So there was a story today in The New York Times that provided some readout from a phone call between Obama and Chancellor Merkel. And for whatever reason, the White House pointed us to the State Department to comment on some of that. I’m not sure if you can, but one of the things she said apparently is that he, Putin, is not in touch with reality and that he is, quote, “in another world.” Is that something you’re prepared to comment on? Did – was that expressed by Merkel to —

MS. PSAKI: Even if we were – had participated in that call, we wouldn’t speak to the comments of another foreign leader. So I would point you to the Germans on the validity of comments and what comments were made.

I mean, I will say that obviously, we’re working closely with all of the members of the G7, including Germany, on what the appropriate next steps may be. And that’s something that obviously the President’s been closely in touch with his counterparts on, Secretary Kerry’s been closely in touch with his counterparts on. There are several layers of that that we’re discussing, including political steps, including economic steps. So that’s the primary focus of our engagement, but I would point you to the Germans on any readout or confirmation of Chancellor Merkel’s comments.

QUESTION: Okay. And last question: The Paralympics are upcoming in Sochi in March. I’ve seen reports that British officials and perhaps U.S. officials are (inaudible) these games. What’s the official stance here? Are any athletes not going to go or any government officials? What can you say about the Paralympics?

MS. PSAKI: I’ve seen that announcement coming out of the White House. It’s a good question, so let me check on the more detailed specifics in terms of what it means if we’re not participating or not – or taking steps. So I’ll do that, Justin, and I can get that around to you and others who are interested.

I will say, broadly speaking, the Russians invested upwards of 50 – is it 50, I think, million dollars in the Olympics. Their – the view of the world of Russia matters to them. They’ve taken steps to rebuild their reputation, to engage with the West, and that’s one of the reasons we believe that political steps and sending a political message in coordination with the international community will be effective in cooperation and in partnership with economic steps. But let me check on the specifics for you.

QUESTION: Thanks, Jen. Justin out.

MS. PSAKI: Thanks, Justin.

We’re ready for the next question.

OPERATOR: And we do have a question from the line of Elise Labott from CNN. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Thanks for doing this. I have a question on the Mideast, and then I have a question on the possible sanctions against Ukraine, which you probably got into on the top, but I was upstairs with the Secretary.

MS. PSAKI: No, no, no. It’s okay. Go ahead.

QUESTION: On Ukraine – I mean, we understand that there are, like, a lot of preparations being done, like, a kind of teed-up for the President in terms of executive orders and possibly targeting of specific individuals. But I mean, what’s the trigger for these sanctions to take place? I mean, does he have to do – if he doesn’t —

MS. PSAKI: Are you talking about sanctions against the Russians?

QUESTION: Yeah, yeah, sorry. What is the trigger here? Does he – if he doesn’t withdraw within the specific amount of time, if he goes any further into eastern Ukraine? I mean, what is going to be the ultimate determinant of whether you’re going to make a decision on sanctions?

MS. PSAKI: Sure. It’s a good question. Well, first let me say that obviously, as the Secretary said over the weekend, there is an alternative path and Russia does not need to proceed on this path. They can engage directly with Ukraine, withdraw troops back to bases, refrain from interference elsewhere. And that’s a path they can take. But if they continue on the path they’re taking, including the steps they’ve taken in Crimea, the steps the military has taken, all of the issues that we’ve expressed concerns about, we will continue to take steps on our own.

So at this point, we’re not just considering sanctions given the actions Russia is taking. It is likely that we will put those in place, and we are preparing that right now. So we have a broad range of options available, as you know. We’re looking at the best way to hold people accountable. Obviously, we’ll make those decisions and those decisions will be made at a high level, but we are preparing options and we – and it is – we are likely moving down that path if things proceed.

QUESTION: But I just want to talk about – I understand that you’re preparing options and you’ll proceed if they continue to go down this path. So if they don’t pull back, are you going to put sanctions on? If they move farther? I just want to kind of nail down what does – do they have to do or not do in order for these sanctions to kick in?

MS. PSAKI: Well, just to be clear, if I didn’t make it clear enough, we are far more forward on this than we were even yesterday. So we’re continuing to make decisions day by day on questions like what sanctions we may or may not put in place for the Russians. There’s not a scientific answer that I can give you, and obviously, I’m not going to spell out discussions that are happening internally. It’s not as if there is a secret checklist. The question is: What are the most appropriate steps, what is the best way to hold people accountable and send the economic messages we need to send, send the political messages we need to send?

So the factors we are taking into account is certainly whether Russia proceeds in their military intervention here or whether they draw back troops, whether they engage with Ukraine or they don’t. Obviously, there are a range of factors we’re looking at, but I think we can all see the steps they’re taking on the ground which have raised concerns, and that’s why we’re proceeding down this path.

QUESTION: So you would say it’s highly likely that in the absence of any change in the situation, that you would impose these sanctions?

MS. PSAKI: Yes. And then you said you had a Middle East question?

QUESTION: Yeah. I mean, when you talk about these settlement blocs, I mean, is it – what do you think of the kind of intentions and the good faith of the Israelis when you’re talking about these settlement blocs on the – when the President is meeting with the prime minister?

MS. PSAKI: Look, I don’t want to do too much political analysis here given, of course, these meetings are ongoing and our focus here is on narrowing the gaps on a framework so that we can proceed with the final status negotiations. That is our priority. Obviously, we’ve expressed concern in the past about settlements. We don’t think they’re helpful, we don’t think that they’re productive, and we don’t think they send the right message when we’re trying to move forward in challenging negotiations between the parties.

But beyond that, I’m not going to do an analysis on timing. Obviously, there are a range of officials who are engaged on announcements on the ground, so I hesitate to analyze what it means as it relates to the meetings today.


MS. PSAKI: I think we’re ready for the next question.

QUESTION: And our next question comes from the line of Said Arikat with Al Quds. Please go ahead.

MS. PSAKI: Hi, Said.

QUESTION: Hello, Jen. How are you?

MS. PSAKI: Good.

QUESTION: Jen, let me just try another crack at the settlement issue. I mean, how should the Palestinians feel (inaudible) you can’t express your concern? I mean, if you look at the numbers there, they are really staggering. And since the restart of the talks in July, I mean, we’re talking about more housing in the last six months than the whole of 2012. So what do you make of that, I mean, just to follow up on Elise’s question?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Said, I know you and I and all of us have talked about this in the past, but we don’t hesitate to express concerns when settlement announcements are made and even when they’re not. We don’t think they are legitimate. We don’t recognize their legitimacy. But again, this is just a reminder of why it’s so important for the parties to remain at the table, for all of us to engage on moving towards a path forward that leads us to final status negotiations, because we do want to see two parties that – two peoples living side by side. And that’s the only way we think that this can be finally resolved.

QUESTION: Okay. Let me ask you about what Abbas said this morning to Zehava Gal-On, the head of the Meretz Party, the Israeli Meretz Party, at a meeting with her. And he told her he does not intend to go beyond the nine months, and if it all fails, he’s going to go to the UN, in fact, he’s going to go to other international bodies and so on. Are you going to sort of pressure him or (inaudible)?

MS. PSAKI: (Inaudible) and that’s because we see the positive impact for the Israeli people, for the Palestinian people, for the region writ large. But in terms of what would happen next, we’re going to cross that bridge when we come to it. Our next step here is for – to narrow the gaps, to come to an agreement on a framework for the remainder of the period of final status negotiations. If we do that, there will be an investment and a clear path – investment by the parties and a clear path forward. So we will discuss this question when we hopefully reach that point.

QUESTION: Okay. And finally, Jen, I really appreciate you doing this. Saeb Erekat arrives today or arriving today. Will he have any meetings with anyone? I know you guys will be traveling. Will he meet with someone like Deputy Secretary Burns or anybody else at the State Department in the next couple days?

MS. PSAKI: Sure, that’s a good question, Said. He has meetings every time he’s here, typically, with officials here, so let me check on that. Obviously, there’s the meeting upcoming next Monday with President Abbas, but I will check and see if there’s any meetings with Saeb Erekat to report out to all of you.

Okay, I think we’re ready for the next question.

OPERATOR: We do have a question for the line of Lalit Jha with PTI. Please go ahead.

MS. PSAKI: Hi, Lalit. Can you hear us?

OPERATOR: And it looks like they did just drop out of queue. One moment, please.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

OPERATOR: We do have a question from the line of Taurean Barnwell with NHK. Please go ahead.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: Hi, I wonder if we can switch to North Korea for a little bit.

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: I have a question on – about a recent missile launch talking about North Korea. This is their second in the last week. I want to know if the State Department has a response to their latest provocative action.

MS. PSAKI: Sure. Well just to repeat for those of you who are not focused on this at this moment, let me just give you a little more information. According to U.S. Government information, North Korea launched two Scud class short-range ballistic missiles from its southeast coast Monday morning. Both missiles flew in a northeasterly direction and landed in the sea. We are continuing to closely monitor North Korean activities and intentions, and we’re closely monitoring the situation on the Korean peninsula.

We urge North Korea to refrain from provocative actions that aggravate tensions, and instead focus on fulfilling its international obligations and commitments, including by abiding with the United States – United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718, 1874, and 2094. Scud missile launches are a violation of these UN Security Council resolutions. These resolutions require North Korea to abandon its ballistic missile program in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner. So we urge North Korea to exercise restraint and take steps to improve its relations with its neighbors. The onus is on North Korea to refrain from provocations.

QUESTION: Okay, thank you very much.

MS. PSAKI: Thank you. Ready for the next question.

OPERATOR: And our next question comes from the line of Lalit Jha with PTI. Please go ahead.

MS. PSAKI: Hi, Lalit.

QUESTION: Hi, thank you for doing this. Will the developments in Ukraine have any impact on your operations in Afghanistan? I mean, your posts, your decision to pull out all the troops after 2014? Would you still insist on that?

MS. PSAKI: No. So just to reiterate, one, we’re not talking – no one’s preference is a military action in Ukraine. That’s why we’re pulling every lever we can on the economic end and on the political end. And obviously, the Secretary’s trip there is also to – tomorrow is to convey our support for the efforts of the interim government moving forward. But Afghanistan, our position remains the same. We need to have a BSA in order to have a remaining presence. You know the President’s announcement last week about our openness to one of Karzai’s successor’s signing the BSA. But again, it remains in the interest of the people of Afghanistan. Given the broad and deep support we’ve seen for the BSA from the Afghan people, we believe the Afghan people have also already expressed their support for these steps and also support for the progress that’s been made in keeping that going. But I would not draw a connection between the two international events.

QUESTION: And to the neighboring country, in Pakistan, one of the leaders, Imran Khan, who is heading the Tehreek-e-Insaf party, he’s saying that he doesn’t want peace in Pakistan. You know Pakistan Government has launched a massive operation against the terrorist groups in the tribal regions of the country.

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think our actions and our efforts, including the recent Strategic Dialogue we had with Pakistan and our ongoing engagement – the Secretary was there last summer. He said he hopes to go again. And we have an ongoing vital shared strategic interest with the Government of Pakistan in ending terrorism and pursuing a stable, peaceful, and prosperous region. So the proof is in the pudding and we remain very closely tied with the Government of Pakistan in fighting terrorism and coordinated with them in that effort as well.

QUESTION: And finally, the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai is traveling to India this week, leaving tomorrow. Is she carrying any message from the Secretary? This will be the – a major visit by her before the Energy Secretary’s travel there next week also.

MS. PSAKI: Yeah, that’s right. She is. She has a heavy schedule over the next couple of days. She’s going to meet with government and business leaders in Bangalore to discuss our joint efforts to foster innovation, increase our high-tech and engineering engagement, and strengthen U.S.-India economic ties. She’s also traveling to New Delhi where she will meet with senior Indian officials to discuss the full range of bilateral and regional issues, including our shared defense, security, and economic engagement.

She is – this is an important trip for us. We have a broad and strategic partnership with India, and we’re a proud partner with India on virtually every field of human endeavor, from innovative solutions, to poverty and disease, to space exploration and counterterrorism. And the Secretary is sending with her a message that this relationship is important, we want to move past disagreements we’ve had because we have so many issues that are important for us to work closely on. So that is the purpose of her trip, and obviously she has an expansive itinerary while she’s there.

QUESTION: And in the itinerary, does she have any plans to meet the opposition leaders before the election?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any plans for that in my list. We will check, Lalit, and see if anything has changed. But obviously, we’re meeting with a range of officials and – as you know, but it’s worth repeating: We don’t take a position on the future of leadership in India. Obviously, that’s up to the people of India.

QUESTION: Thank you so much.

MS. PSAKI: Thank you. Next question.

OPERATOR: We have a question from the line of Margaret Warner with PBS NewsHour. Please go ahead.

MS. PSAKI: Hi, Margaret.

QUESTION: Hi, Jen. Thanks for doing this.

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: Two questions: You might have covered this at the top because I missed the first, like, three minutes, but Moscow is talking about a return to the February 21 agreement which would have included Yatsenyuk in – I mean, Yanukovych still in this government until the new elections. Now, I’m aware that the Russians didn’t even sign that deal, but there was that deal. And then the Rada took the steps it did. So one, do you think there is any sort of off-ramp, as you all were talking about yesterday, in that?

And two, do you think in general the new Ukrainian government or the interim Ukrainian government could be doing more to reach out to the political leadership in the Russian-speaking eastern portions?

MS. PSAKI: Sure. Well a couple of things, and if I don’t answer every one, I’m sure you’ll tell me.

One, on Yanukovych, we’ve been pretty clear that we believe he lost his – the legitimacy as the leader of Ukraine when he abdicated his responsibilities by fleeing during a political crisis, and also before, signing the legislation necessary to implement the February 21st agreement. And events since then, which you’re familiar with and have been reporting on, have obviously surpassed the circumstances at the time. As you noted, there was a near-unanimous vote of the Rada, including virtually all members of Yanukovych’s own party to elect a new speaker and to move forward on the path.

So look, our focus here is on encouraging both the new government and the interim government to take steps forward, which they are doing. That includes being inclusive, which they are doing; it includes moving forward to elections in May; it includes taking the economic reforms – putting in place the economic reforms necessary, and the IMF will soon be on the ground to engage with that and assess the situation.

But there is an off-ramp for Russia. We – and we very much encourage them to take that off-ramp. They can engage directly with Ukraine, they can withdraw troops back to bases, they can refrain from interference elsewhere in Ukraine and support international mediation. There are many ways to protect the interests of Russian – of the Russian people, and that’s a discussion that of course is being had at the OSCE. We support international mediation, and that’s a discussion they’re having there as well.

QUESTION: But, I mean, are you saying that he fled before the Rada did anything, and that therefore it was his fleeing that precipitated what the Rada did? And more to the point, I’m just asking, whether in the interest of keeping Ukraine a whole country, whether there could be more being done by that interim government other than sending these oligarchs back to the east to make those regions feel included and that their points of view are being taken into account.

MS. PSAKI: Sure. Well, I think, one, again, it’s now been February 21st, so we’re over – we’re about 10 days ago. And obviously, there have been a range of events that have happened since then. When Yanukovych fled, he did leave a void of leadership. The Rada and others did take steps to move forward and determine how to best govern Ukraine in the interim as they try to keep a unified and stable Ukraine together. But that doesn’t mean there’s not an off-ramp. Of course, there’s an off-ramp, which is what I mentioned. And there have been steps taken since then, as you know, by the Russians that have been not just of great concern but have unified the international community in opposition to them. So those are all events that have happened since February 21st.

In terms of more that can be done, obviously engagement and inclusiveness over the long term is certainly something that we’re not only encouraging, we are working, of course, with the new government on taking steps to implement. But remember there is a lot happening on the ground. Right now, their priority, of course, is keeping the country unified and taking economic reform steps that are necessary, and we’re working with all of them on that as well.

QUESTION: But you don’t fault them for not doing more on that front?

MS. PSAKI: Well, there’s a long path forward, Margaret. And I think they have taken remarkable steps and been – in light of the circumstances. And again, it’s important about where we go from here as well, and we’ll be working with them, as will many members of the international community.


MS. PSAKI: And just a last point here. Obviously, I mentioned the OSCE because protection of minority rights and inclusiveness and that entire question is a reasonable topic for discussion in fora such as the OSCE, and there’s many ways that those protections can be complied with and abided by. So we’re just asking to take the best path forward, not just – I’m not even referring to the new government. I’m referring to the steps taken by the Russians.

MODERATOR: And our next question comes from the line of Matthew Lee from the Associated Press. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Sorry Jen, I didn’t intend to ask a —

MS. PSAKI: No, it’s okay.

QUESTION: Being talked into a second round here. But your answer to Margaret Warner on – so is it the Administration’s position that the February 21 deal is no longer valid? It’s no longer —

MS. PSAKI: Well, I mean, Matt, I think – look, since then Yanukovych left the country, he didn’t put in place new legislation that was necessary for it. Obviously, since then, the acts of aggression from the Russians have proceeded rapidly. So there are a lot of events that have happened since then. I’m just referring to the reality of what’s happening on the ground.

QUESTION: I understand that. But do those steps – is the Administration saying that those steps nullify the February 21 deal? I mean, I just – if you could just say in plain, straightforward plain English the United States does not or does believe that the February 21st deal constitutes a basis for a potential resolution, that would be helpful – I mean, not just to us, but I think to the Russians as well – to know where you’re coming down on this.

MS. PSAKI: Well, look, I mean, Matt, I think the point here is that the events have transpired since then that have – and I think the Secretary even said this last week – that have meant we’ve had to deal with the circumstances as they exist on the ground. So any agreement can be a basis, but obviously, we’re dealing with aggression from the Russians, we’re dealing with steps that have been taken that were not in place on February 21st.

QUESTION: Well, I understand that. So are you saying that the steps that have happened – what has happened post-February 21st means that that February 21st agreement is no longer an option?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not saying it’s not an option. Obviously, any agreement can be a basis for moving forward. But the point is that the circumstances have changed dramatically since then, so we can’t just pick up that agreement —

QUESTION: Right, okay. So – but with modifications, then, it could be – you’re saying as a basis it could be – it is doable or it’s workable?

MS. PSAKI: Well, sure. Pieces – but well, look, I have – I’ve got to talk to our team about this again. I just don’t want to speak out of turn. I mean, that was an agreement that was agreed to when Yanukovych was still in the country. He is no longer in the country, right? He has abdicated his power. There is a new government in place. So I think circumstances have actually surpassed what was in that agreement, but I will have to talk to them more specifically about whether there is a basis that can be used moving forward.


MS. PSAKI: We’re ready for the next question.

OPERATOR: And we do have a question from the line of (inaudible) from the Voice of America.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: Sure, hi. Thank you very much, Jen, for doing this. My question is regarding North Korea and Japan, which they started – the Red Cross officials have started the meeting today in China from Monday to Wednesday talking about the return of the remains of the Japanese that died in North Korea after the Second World War. I wonder if you have any comment on that, and if the United States see that as a positive development and if the United States have any indication or get a heads up on the Japanese Government about this talk. Thank you.

MS. PSAKI: Sure. Well, generally speaking, we would refer you to the Government of Japan. We, of course, remain closely coordinated with Japan on North Korea policy. We remain in very regular contact. We’re not opposed to remains recovering operations as a humanitarian effort, but in terms of specific details I would point you to them.

QUESTION: Do you think this is a positive development?

MS. PSAKI: Again, I’m not going to weigh in much further than I already have. We support Japanese efforts to resolve outstanding issues, whether that’s the abductions issue or any other in a transparent manner. But I would point you to Japan on the specifics here.

QUESTION: One final —

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: Another question regarding the attack in Kunming in China: I wonder if the U.S., do you – does the State Department have any comments on that? Thank you.

MS. PSAKI: Sure. Well, we acknowledge that China has characterized the incident as a terror act. We extend our condolences for the loss of life. We of course oppose terrorism in all of its forms, and based on the information reported by the Chinese media, this appears to be an act of terrorism targeting random members of the public. We don’t have any other independent information, but again, we of course deplore violence intentionally directed at innocent civilians in any case, regardless of whether – regardless of the cause. So that is where we are.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. PSAKI: Thank you. Next question?

OPERATOR: And we do have a question from the line of Bingru Wang with Hong Kong Phoenix TV. Please go ahead.

MS. PSAKI: Hi, Bingru.

QUESTION: Hi, Jen. I just want to follow up on the Kunming attack. First of all, how do you define a terrorist attack? If this is not, which kind of attack you – the State Department would consider and describe it as terrorist attack?

MS. PSAKI: Well, as I mentioned, based on the information reported by the Chinese media, this appears to be an act of terrorism, targeting random members of the public. So we are calling this an act of terrorism. I don’t have anything to outline for you in terms of how we determine that, but it’s based on information available. And we acknowledge, of course, that China has also characterized the incident as a terror attack.

QUESTION: And also, the Chinese authority today is – they’re announcing the attack is – in Kunming was perpetrated by the separatists from Xinjiang province. Do you agree with the Chinese conclusion on this case?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have – we don’t have any information, independent information about the identity or the motivation of the attackers. So I don’t want to speak to that from here at this point.

QUESTION: And also I recalled last year when the Tiananmen incident happened, you said you were still investigating, and you didn’t have a conclusion back then to define it as a terrorist attack or not. Are you still investigating on that case, or do you have a conclusion right now?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have anything new to tell you about that specific case. Obviously, we’ll look at each situation case by case.

QUESTION: Okay. One more follow-up.

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: Last question: So when the Boston bombing took place in U.S. last year, you described it as coward act of terrorism. And then there was this attack in Russia last year, you also condemned it as terrorist attack. So this time, when it comes to China, 29 innocent people died. Why, at the first time, the first day, you didn’t – the statement of U.S. Embassy in China, they didn’t describe this as a terror attack?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have anything to outline for you there other than to convey to you that, of course, we look at every situation separately, and depending on information available. And again, I think I’ve been pretty clear that based on the information available, this appears to be an act of terrorism targeting random members of the public.

QUESTION: Thank you, Jen.

MS. PSAKI: Thank you.

Next question.

OPERATOR: We do have a question from the line of Rosie Gray with BuzzFeed. Please go ahead.

MS. PSAKI: Hi, Rosie.

QUESTION: Hi. Thanks for doing the call. I just was wondering if you could speak a little bit to, like, the role of the EU here. They called an emergency meeting for Thursday – which doesn’t sound very emergency to me – but they called an emergency meeting for Thursday for the heads of state and government of the EU member states. And they’ve been so far, I would say, pretty cautious in their public statements about, like, how they would provide consequences for Russia for this. I’m just wondering if you can speak a little bit to what you guys are hoping the EU will do here and whether there’s any updates you can provide as to what they are planning.

MS. PSAKI: Well, obviously the EU will announce what the EU may or may not do, but, I mean, I would point you to the coordinated, strong statements coming from everyone from the G7 to NATO, to comments made over the weekend by individual leaders, whether that’s the French or Foreign Secretary Hague condemning the actions that have taken place in Ukraine and calling for international efforts and coordinated efforts, whether that’s economic assistance to Ukraine that’s needed or steps to hold the Russians accountable.

So I think that speaks to how committed European countries are. We work in lockstep with them. EU High Representative Ashton has been on the ground numerous times in Ukraine over the past couple of months, and we work closely with them as we look to take steps, whether that’s sanctions, whether that’s economic assistance, whether that’s efforts to support the IMF, or whether that’s efforts to hold others accountable. So they’ve been an important and vital partner, and we expect that to continue.

And remember, regardless of when meetings are called, there are meetings virtually every day, if not multiple meetings, about the situation on the ground in Ukraine. If you look at just this past weekend, you saw (inaudible) all the calls that President Obama made on Saturday. Secretary Kerry held a meeting – or held a conference call, I should say, with a number of his counterparts from Europe. And there are meetings that will be ongoing. So I would point you to the day-by-day, and not look for just one that’s been announced or identified for a couple of days from now, because in all likelihood, all of those officials will be speaking in advance of Thursday anyway.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. PSAKI: Thanks, Rosie.

OPERATOR: And we do have a question from the line of Mark Mardell with the BBC. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Yeah, thank you very much for doing this. First of all, is there any time scale on the sanctions that you’re preparing? What sort of time scale are you looking at? Is – sanctions tend to take and economic pressure tends to take time. Military action happens very quickly. Is there any sign the Russians are taking notice?

And also, and I’m sure you might have seen this, but there’s a report from Britain that the UK Government has ruled out trade sanctions. Are you worried that some EU nations aren’t worried about their economic relationship with Russia and may not go as far as you would like?

MS. PSAKI: Sure. Well, obviously, the situation, as you know, Mark, is incredibly fluid, and we remain in very close contact with our counterparts around the world on various steps we’re considering, what they’re considering, and to make sure that we’re coordinated throughout this process.

I would say that the steps that we are taking are having an impact, even just the impact of the political steps we’re taking, including the announcement by the G7 about not participating in preparations for the G8 in Sochi, including messages that have been sent about how opposed the international community is to the actions of the Russians. If you look at just factually the sharp decline of the value of the Russian ruble, if you look at the Russian stock market today, those are just two examples.

Obviously, in terms of specific steps on sanctions – sorry, that’s a tongue twister – steps on sanctions, I don’t have any timeframe for you, but I would just say that we’re looking at a broad range of options. Whether that’s individuals, whether that’s institutions, whether that’s officials, those are all under consideration. But there’s a dual impact of the economic sanctions as well as the political steps we’re taking, and we’re already seeing that have an impact on the ground.

QUESTION: Any sense of disappointment or worry that the EU may not come on board?

MS. PSAKI: Look, I think, again, we’re in – working in lockstep with our European counterparts. We’ve been working with them in lockstep for months on this, long before the events of the last week. We will keep them informed of what we’re considering; they keep us informed of what they’re considering. We’re obviously working closely on efforts such as economic assistance to complement the IMF. And in this case, I’m not indicating an announcement coming today. I’m indicating that this is a step that we’re very prepared to move forward on. But of course, we’ll be briefing our counterparts and allies on that as well.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. PSAKI: Thank you. I think we have time for a few more here.

OPERATOR: We do have a question from the line of Tejinder Singh with Times Now TV. Please go ahead.

MS. PSAKI: Hi, Tejinder.

QUESTION: Hi. I have just two questions, one on Ukraine. What – my colleagues staying in Brussels are saying the Russians are moving ahead with actions. They have put – as an earlier question from Reuters, they have given deadlines. They are on the ground, the boots on the ground, while the West and the U.S. is just words and words and words. And so do you think that we are ready to do something more than just words?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I would refute the notion of that question. I mean, as I said earlier, certainly reports, which I think you’re referring to, of threats of force against Ukrainian military installations would, if true, constitute a dangerous escalation of the situation for which we would hold Russia directly responsible. No one wants to see a military intervention be the step here. That’s why we’re using all of our economic, diplomatic, and political levers to put the necessary pressure on. And we’re already seeing an impact on the ground, whether that is the crashing of the ruble, the impact on the stock market, or even just reputationally after Russia invested so much in building their reputation through the course of the Olympics. You see the international community unified in coming out against them. So we’re seeing all those efforts take place.

We’re evaluating this day by day. I just talked a little bit about additional steps that we are considering, but I would refute the notion that we are talk, talk, talk. We are very much walk, walk, walk, and we will continue to evaluate this day by day.

QUESTION: Thank you. And the second question is about the visit of Secretary Biswal to India.

MS. PSAKI: Uh-huh.

QUESTION: What I have learned, and there are talks going on about her meeting with opposition leaders, including Narendra Modi. Can you confirm or deny it?

MS. PSAKI: (Inaudible) it’s a great question. I don’t have the details of her schedule. I know those have certainly made progress since last Friday when we talked about this, so let me talk with our team after this and see if there’s an update on what meetings she may or may not have on the ground, and we’ll get that around to you and others who are interested in that.

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you very much, and enjoy the snow.

MS. PSAKI: Thanks. You, too. Next —

OPERATOR: We do have a question (inaudible) line of Ashish Sen from The Washington Times. Please go ahead.

MS. PSAKI: Okay. Hi, there.

QUESTION: And on – this is on Ukraine. Are you seeing any evidence of Russian mobilization or intentions to go beyond the Crimean peninsula into the eastern parts?

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, obviously, we’re watching and monitoring this closely, as I mentioned earlier. I’m not going to give a play by play of what we’re seeing on the ground. Clearly, any escalation of the situation – rhetoric, but certainly, more importantly, movements – would be of great concern. We’d hold Russia directly responsible, and we are watching that very closely on the ground. But I’m not going to give a play by play on military steps and what we’re seeing, obviously (inaudible) for our own sources as well.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. PSAKI: Thank you.

OPERATOR: And our last question today comes from the line of Margaret Warner from the PBS NewsHour.

MS. PSAKI: Hey, Margaret.

QUESTION: All right, and hi, Jen. I know I already had one, but I just —

MS. PSAKI: No, no, that’s fine.

QUESTION: Just quickly, what are – are there any U.S. or NATO obligations to Ukraine or treaty obligations under the Partnership for Peace?

MS. PSAKI: Well, under – I’d have to check on that specifically for you, Margaret. I mean, there are obviously a range of treaties and memorandums. I mean, even with the Budapest Memorandum, the signatories, as you know, reaffirmed their commitment to respect independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine. That also means an obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity. But I’d have to check with our team on the specifics of the range of treaty obligations we have, and we can get that around to you, of course.

QUESTION: That would be great. Thanks.

MS. PSAKI: Great. Well, thanks, everyone. I’ll be here all day, so let me know, and we’ll get around some follow-ups to those of you who have those as well.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:45 p.m.)

[1] prime minister

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