The United States takes note of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) September 23 statement and joins it in expressing deep concern about the current situation in Yemen. We again express our sincere condolences to all those who have lost loved ones as a result of recent violence. We urge all parties to cease violence and exercise maximum restraint. We support the GCC’s call for the formation of a committee to investigate events that resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians. Too many Yemenis have lost their lives and each day that passes without a peaceful and orderly transition is another day that the Yemeni people are forced to live in an unstable environment that threatens their security and livelihood.
The Yemeni government must immediately address the democratic aspirations of its people. The Yemeni people have made clear their desire for a peaceful and orderly transition that is responsive to their calls for peace, reconciliation, prosperity, and security.
We again urge President Saleh to initiate a full transfer of power without delay and arrange for presidential elections to be held before the end of the year within the framework of the GCC initiative. The Yemeni people have suffered enough and deserve a path toward a unified, stable, secure, and democratic Yemen. We will continue to work with the GCC and others in the international community to support the Yemeni people’s aspirations.
First, thank you for including me on today’s panel. I commend the Wilson Center and International Crisis Group for taking on this difficult and critical topic. The mass rape of well over 100 women just days ago in South Kivu is a disheartening reminder that despite international efforts, we still have a very long way to go before we can claim any success. Thank you to Dr. Mukwege for your inspiring work.
When Secretary Clinton traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in August 2009, she said that she saw humanity at its worst – and at its best. At its worst was the use of rape and sexual terror as a tactic of war. But, she said, Dr. Mukwege represents “humanity at its best.” He has given himself unstintingly to the work of Panzi hospital. He does heroic work every day to repair the mutilated bodies of the survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Not only does Dr. Mukwege save lives, but he also helps survivors rehabilitate back into society.
Sexual violence used as a tactic of war is threat to international peace and security. The international community recognized this when it adopted the United Nations Security Council resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, beginning with Resolution 1325, in the year 2000.
President Obama’s National Security Strategy recognizes that “countries are more peaceful and prosperous when women are accorded full and equal rights and opportunity. When those rights and opportunities are denied, countries lag behind.”
Secretary Clinton has noted that where women are oppressed and marginalized, societies are more dangerous and extremism is more likely to take hold. The suffering and denial of women’s rights and instability of nations go hand in hand.
No where do we see that more starkly than in the DRC. In her 2009 visit to the region Secretary Clinton highlighted the devastating role of sexual violence as a strategic weapon in armed conflict. We have since increased efforts to respond and prevent SGBV in the DRC and around the world.
In 2009, the United States introduced Security Council Resolution 1888, which created a UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, and ensured that a team of experts would be deployed to conflict situations where sexual violence is likely to occur, in order to help governments strengthen the rule of law, improve accountability, and end impunity.
In support of Women, Peace and Security, the United States has also developed a comprehensive strategy to address SGBV in the DRC. In partnership with the Congolese government and civil society, the USG’s four key objectives in this strategy are to: 1) reduce impunity for perpetrators of SGBV; 2) increase prevention of and protection against SGBV for vulnerable populations; 3) improve the capacity of the security sector to address SGBV; and 4) increase access to quality services for SGBV survivors.
Across the USG, we are working with international and local NGOs, multilateral organizations and other donors to achieve these objectives. Since 2002, the USG has obligated nearly $150 million towards combating SGBV in the DRC.
USAID-funded programs have provided care and treatment services for over 100,000 SGBV survivors, including access to medical care, counseling and family mediation, social and economic reintegration support, and legal aid.
We are working with UNHCR and ICRC, as well as NGO prevention and response activities to help for returned refugee populations and internally displaced persons, many of whom are SGBV survivors.
We are also working to promote human rights, provide legal services to SGBV survivors, and build the capacity of local NGOs, justice sector and law enforcement personnel, and the media.
In the judicial and police sectors, we are providing assistance to the American Bar Association in order to increase access to justice for victims of SGBV, while at the same time increasing public awareness to the severity of these crimes and the avenues available to seek justice. INL also works with the International Organization for Migration to train members of the border police to recognize and investigate SGBV.
U.S. Africa Command has a small but growing commitment to assist in the prevention of SGBV and to help survivors. DOD funds are also being committed to provide infrastructure upgrades to facilities used by other service providers, to conduct research on SGBV, to train military officers and judicial officials on human rights and investigating war crimes, and potentially in future years to conduct SGBV prevention training with civilians as well as militaries.
Responding to, and preventing if possible, SGBV is one of the most difficult challenges that UN peacekeepers face in a situation like the DRC. We commend MONUSCO for taking on this issue more aggressively. In the case of the South Kivu rapes this month, which MONUSCO has quickly sent a mission to investigate, it was some two weeks before word of the tragedy reached outsiders, demonstrating once again that we need to find a way to communicate about such attacks in a much more timely way. And to communicate about early warning signs in a way that connects the dots and helps with prevention. The desertion of the alleged perpetrator of these rapes from the FARDC earlier in June is in retrospect a key warning sign.
We remain committed to working with the DRC government, the United Nations, and other international and local partners to strengthen the DRC government’s capacity to prevent SGBV, address the threat from illegal armed entities (including through their link to conflict minerals), and break the cycle of impunity for war crimes affecting innocent men, women, and children. In addition, we are committed to supporting the full inclusion of women in the country’s economic and political development. That is why it is critical that we promote women’s access to small grants and skills training, which is essential to civil society’s ability to effectively impact the DRC’s growth and stability.
President Obama and Secretary Clinton are fully committed to advancing the agenda of women as agents of peace and security because women are critical to solving every challenge we face. No country can get ahead if it leaves half its people behind.
Women are a powerful voice for peace and an instrument of development when given the opportunity. Investing in women is not only the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do.
This weekend, in Juba, South Sudan, Africa’s 54th nation was born. Millions of people are celebrating a new national identity and new national promise. Like on our own July Independence Day 235 years ago, there is reason to hope for a better future — if the people and leaders of both Sudan and South Sudan commit themselves to the hard work ahead.
This day was far from inevitable. For more than two decades, Sudan has been riven by intense fighting over land and resources. Just a year ago, talks between the Sudanese government in the north and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in the south had stalled. Preparations for a referendum on southern independence had fallen behind. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005 appeared close to collapse. A return to open conflict seemed likely.
Thankfully, people on both sides and across the world worked together to chart a different path.
Activists, religious groups and human rights advocates focused attention on the conflict and refused to let it fade. Last year, President Obama committed to reenergizing the peace effort. Since then we have redoubled our engagement with partners in the north and south, as well as in the African Union, Europe and the United Nations.
Most of all, though, Saturday’s successful outcome is a testament to the will and dedication of the people of Sudan and South Sudan and their leaders. They have shown that even under the most difficult circumstances, peace is possible if people are willing to make hard choices and stand by them.
But just as independence was not inevitable, neither is a lasting peace between Sudan and South Sudan. Decades of war have left deep distrust on both sides and significant social, political and economic challenges. Both nations will have to take decisive steps to consolidate progress.
First, they must quickly return to the negotiating table and seek to complete the unfinished business of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. That means settling outstanding questions related to finances, oil and citizenship; demarcating remaining border areas; and fully implementing their agreement on temporary arrangements for the contested Abyei area, which lies along the border of Sudan and South Sudan, including the redeployment of all Sudanese military forces. The violence that has flared in Abyei in recent months cannot be allowed to return and jeopardize the larger peace.
Second, South Sudan must address its internal challenges. Its people face wrenching poverty, inadequate education and health care, and the continuing presence of armed militia groups. To succeed, South Sudan will have to begin building an effective, democratic and inclusive government that respects human rights and delivers services with transparency and accountability.
Over the years, American development experts in South Sudan have helped build new roads, clinics and schools; worked with farmers to grow more food; and trained more effective civil servants. As we move ahead, the United States and the world will be there as South Sudan lays the foundation for its future.
Third, Sudan must address its own challenges. Sudan’s future success rests on its ability to end its isolation in the international community. That is the only way it will secure access to international financing, investment and debt relief. The United States is prepared to help — including by normalizing our bilateral relations — and we have taken some initial steps in that direction. But we can move forward only if Sudan fulfills its obligations and demonstrates its commitment to peace within its borders and with its neighbors.
One urgent step both sides must take is agreeing to a cessation of hostilities in the northern border state of Southern Kordofan, which started in early June. We are deeply concerned about the continued aerial bombardments, harassment of U.N. staff and obstruction of humanitarian relief efforts. The longer this fighting goes on, the more difficult it will become to resolve.
We also remain deeply concerned about the humanitarian and security crisis in Darfur. Sudan’s government must move to address the economic and political grievances of the Darfuri people, and to hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes. The United States will continue to work with international partners to build on the progress made in the peace process that is now coming to a close.
After decades of conflict, the people of this region have reason to hope again. When I met with leaders of Sudan and South Sudan last month in Addis Ababa, I reminded them that they have the power to chart a better future for all Sudanese. As they do, they can be assured that the United States will be a steadfast partner.
The United States is concerned by on-going violence in Burma’s northern Kachin State and other regions of the country and calls for a halt to hostilities. The Burmese Army and the Kachin Independence Army began fighting on June 9 and have continued over the past three weeks. We are particularly concerned by the reports of human rights abuses in the area, including reports of casualties, rape, and displacement of thousands of local residents. There have also been reports of clashes in Karen and Shan states.
We urge all appropriate authorities to ensure, in line with international standards, adequate support, safety, and protection for those persons fleeing conflict along Burma’s borders. This recent violence underscores the need for an inclusive dialogue between the Government of Burma and opposition and ethnic minority groups to begin a process of genuine national reconciliation.
Deputy Secretary Steinberg’s Remarks to the Center for Strategic and International Studies Colombia Conference
DEPUTY SECRETARY STEINBERG: Well, thanks, Mack, for that exceedingly generous introduction. I’m touched, and it means a lot coming from you because of all that you’ve done for your country and especially on Latin America. And the ambassador and to so many good friends, current and former colleagues in the audience and in and out government, it’s a really pleasure for me to be here. I was telling Lourdes on the way over, this could be my last speech as Deputy Secretary. I’ve only got about two weeks to go. And I was particularly eager to do it, frankly, for the reasons that Mack outlined because it has been an especial privilege for me to come back into government and continue the work that was begun in my last time in government under the Clinton Administration and to see both the enormous progress that was made and the realization of the vision we had back in the late 1990s and to be able to be a small part of carrying that work forward to a new height.
And it has, in every respect, been gratifying because, as Mack said, first, it is a wonderful case study in successful policymaking, which makes it useful for me going back to academic life to have a case study of – of a success story rather than what went wrong, which is the kind of standard case study, but also because it really does reflect an incredibly broad set of actors in both countries working together over an extended period of time, and it really does demonstrate that if you’re going to be successful in policy, you have to establish a broad base of support not just among policymakers, but among publics. And I think that has been a key feature of why this policy has been so successful – the strong commitment of both the American people and the Colombian people as well as the political and government leaders.
And it has been in the last two and a half years, really, just a tremendous opportunity to work with the two administrations in Colombia and now with President Santos, Foreign Minister Holguin, and the ambassador to take this forward. Over the two and a half years since I’ve been a deputy secretary, I’ve had the privilege of making this an important part of my job. I’ve made two trips to Colombia since becoming deputy secretary, and on my last trip, I had a chance to launch the high-level partnership dialogue and just a few weeks ago, host the second meeting of the high-level partnership dialogue here in Washington. So – and we’ve seen in very concrete terms and ways that I’ll outline in a minute just how much has been done.
But I also think it’s important to just remember how far we have come. When I came into government and not that long ago, people were – some quarters were talking about Colombia as a near- or potentially failed state. And yet today, Colombia is the fourth largest recipient of foreign direct investment in Latin America behind Brazil, Chile, and Mexico. And along with tremendous economic growth and the achievements on the security front, we have now seen a movement to an even more broad-based strategy – the democratic prosperity agenda that makes sure that not only will Colombia and Colombians be secure and that the country will be prosperous, but all of the people in Colombian society will share in these great achievements.
It’s true; you can talk about statistics, and statistics are really important. You can just think, for example, that since 2002, terrorist attacks are down 77 percent, homicide is down 56 percent, and kidnapping is down 92 percent. But what’s even more important – and I know many of you in the audience know – is the palpable sense of a future and security that so many people have. The work has not ended, but the sense of optimism, the sense that Colombia can not only survive, but thrive is really critical. And these most recent presidential elections, I think, are a strong reflection of the great democratic tradition of Colombia and the strength of the democratic commitment of Colombian society. This is a model that serves as an exemplar all through the region and around the world that people can look to as an example of societies that come together to vindicate that democratic objective.
And since the election of President Santos, you can see what a remarkable step forward that has been taken and the broad-based commitment of President Santos and his administration. In just a short period of time, we have seen the recently enacted land restitution and victims reparation law addressing the foundational causes of conflict within Colombia and assisting hundreds of thousands of displaced persons and other vulnerable populations recover land, which is both an important political achievement, but also a strong commitment of resources. He’s begun to heal the breach between the executive branch and the legislative branch and strengthening the independent prosecutor’s office as well as moving forward on a host of human rights cases. He’s working to strengthen relations with civil society, working with Vice President Garzon to build a sense of trust between civil society and the government rather than a sense of conflict and adversarialism.
And President Santos and his administration, led by the foreign minister, have made improving relations with their neighbors a priority, which is paying dividends already, including, as we’ve seen, the extradition to Colombia of important narco-traffickers. And the continued work that the Santos administration is doing at going after the FARC network and its key leaders, with the recent successful operations, is just a further example of the broad-based effort to deal with the full range of challenges.
And we in the United States are honored to partner with Colombia across this full set of issues. And to make sure that it is not a one-dimensional relationship, we instituted the High-Level Partnership Dialogue to broaden and strengthen the range of our engagements. And if you look at the topics that we have established as our formalized working groups, science and technology , energy, environmental protection and climate change, culture and education, social and economic opportunities, and of course, the very important set of issues around democracy, human rights, and good governance.
And at our last meeting, we had more than 60 Colombian Government officials, including Vice President Garzon, Foreign Minister Holguin, and many other cabinet and sub-cabinet officials, who met with more than 120 U.S. Government representatives from more than 19 agencies. And this is more than a talk shop. As the Vice President and I agreed at the very first meeting of our group, the Human Rights Working Group, we’re focused on concrete agenda, concrete results, to demonstrate to our people in both countries that this is a partnership that delivers the goods.
So, for instance, on the human rights side, we agreed to jointly track certain key human rights cases on a monthly basis and to identify obstacles and better direct our assistance to Colombia. And we on the United States side reiterated our support to help build the fiscalia and make sure that we can continue the important work that’s taking place there.
On energy, a topic close to Mack’s heart, we reviewed existing partnerships in renewable and fossil fuel energy, as well as exploring additional avenues of collaboration in regional electrical interconnection, shale gas, and mining.
And Colombia will soon host the first plenary meeting for the Action Plan on Racial and Ethnic Equality, a plan – a commitment that we jointly signed during my first visit to Colombia.
Beyond these efforts, we are supporting Colombia’s aspirations to become a member of the OECD. And in these HLPD meetings, we also agreed to enhance cultural and educational cooperation in Colombia and encourage economic and social opportunities for Afro descendents and indigenous communities, which are such an important part of the fabric of Colombian society.
And together, we’re working on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UNFCCC, including implementing the Cancun outcome and looking forward to working together at the next meeting in Durban, South Africa.
Now, having said that we broadened the partnership to all these issues, we continue to recognize that we can’t neglect the issue of drug trafficking on both the supply and the demand side and the impact that it has on all our societies. And so while we have not achieved all of our counternarcotics goals, our cooperation together has helped Colombia become more stable, denied millions of dollars in illegal drug revenues to the FARC, and reduced the amount of pure cocaine capable of being produced in Colombia by 59 percent, from 700 metric tons in 2001 to 290 metric tons in 2009, which has had a positive impact here on our society. And we must continue, and Secretary Clinton has made clear that we take responsibility for continuing to do our side of the business, which is dealing with the problem of drug demand.
Now, this is – I’ve talked so far primarily about our work together on bilateral issues and helping to strengthen Colombia’s security, economic prosperity, and inclusivity. But what has been especially rewarding for me is to see the growing role that Colombia is playing on the regional and international stage. As we like to say in our business, Colombia has gone from being a consumer of security to a provider of security and support for others who face even greater challenges.
Today, Colombia sits on the UN Security Council, trains police to help other nations meet their law enforcement challenges, and is playing a leading role, now successfully, in bringing Honduras back into the Inter-American system. And I think that is, as we’ve taken examples from our collective and successful work together, Colombia continues to help others deal with these challenges. So, for example, the institutional capability in counternarcotics built in Colombia over the last decade has allowed Colombia to share its security expertise with others. Over the last two years, Colombia has trained more than
9,000 police from 18 Latin American and three West African states. It’s trained hundreds of Mexican investigators and dozens of Mexican helicopter pilots. It’s offered similar assistance to its Central American neighbors, who are deeply affected by transnational crime and drug trafficking.
Now, of course, as Mack previewed, I wouldn’t want to end my discussion here without touching on the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, which will open new markets and create new jobs and opportunities for both of our peoples. We’ve been impressed by the level of commitment and, more importantly, by the quick action by the Colombian Government to address labor-related concerns. In April, the U.S. and Colombian governments agreed to an ambitious and comprehensive action plan that includes major, swift, and concrete steps that the Colombian Government has agreed to take to address outstanding labor concerns, in addition to the good work it is doing on the human rights front.
The action plan contains several milestones, including 20 milestones due by April 22nd, which the Colombian Government needed to accomplish for the Administration to initiate technical discussions with the Congress. On May 4th, we finished our review of those accomplishments and announced that we were ready to move forward to the next stage in the process. Specific improvements that have already occurred under the action plan include expanded eligibility for Colombia’s protection program to include not only labor leaders but also rank and file activists and those seeking to form a union. Over 95 judicial police investigators have been assigned exclusively to pursuing cases of labor violence, with early identification of any union affiliation now mandatory. And ahead of schedule, Colombia enacted legislation to move up the effective date of new penalties for abuse of cooperatives, which try toevade worker protections.
And I’m pleased to see that there’s been strong support, not only here in the United States but in Colombia, for the Action Plan. According to Julio Roberto Gómez, the secretary general of the Confederación General del Trabajo, it is, in his words, “Positive that President Santos has put forth an agreement that includes issues such as freedom of association, human rights, and guarantees for workers as they are related to the FTA.” Or as José Luciano Sanín, director of the – general of the Escuela Nacional Sindical, has observed, “We are witnessing a moment that we have not had in at least 20 years. After the 1991 constitution this would be our most important agenda for the labor movement.”
All of these steps are a strong indication of Colombia’s commitment to working to address the issues that the Administration and others have identified. Now, of course, there’s still more work to be done under the action plan, including several items that we’ve agreed to see completed before June 15th. We are confident and optimistic about the steps that Colombia will take, and allow us to move our own process forward to pass the FTA this year, as the Secretary has said.
This is really a set of remarkable achievements. Just think, in the last two weeks, separate from commitments under the Action Plan, the Colombian Government has engineered a breakthrough protection agreement with the teachers union; moved forward on a decree for collective bargaining for the public sector; concluded a tripartite agreement signed by the country’s second-largest labor federation, itself, and business; achieved the first convictions in a controversial, so-called Soacha false positives murder case; and seen Colombians elected to the administrative tribunal of the ILO.
And in all these issues, President Obama said it best, “I believe,” in his words, “that in Americas – in the Americas today, there are no senior partners and there are no junior partners, there are only equal partners.” Of course, equal partnerships, in turn, demand a sense of shared responsibility. In Colombia, I have found, and we have, a true and willing partner. I am, as I say, truly impressed by what’s been achieved, but also know that you all understand that this is a never-ending effort and that each step needs to be succeeded by more determination to see the achievement of these goals of security and prosperity, of inclusivity, and to see that the fate of Colombia, as it seeks to achieve them, is deeply intertwined with our own.
This is a special partnership for us in the United States, and I have been privileged to be a small part of it over the last two and a half years. So thank you for your attention today, and I look forward to your questions. (Applause.)
Go ahead. Do we have mikes? There we go. Go ahead.
QUESTION: I’m sorry. I do not have a question. My name is Juan Carlos Isgara (ph), but there is an assessment I have to make. I was brought here to talk about justice, and if I was brought here to talk about justice, there is an act of justice that I have to make, and that is, Mr. McLarty, to say again, after all these years, I remember that when almost nobody believed, you believed. When almost everybody turned around, you gave us your hand, and you were a great supporter of Colombia in the middle of the night during very bad circumstances. And now that we are seeing a bright sky and a beautiful day, we have to remember the night just in order to say in the name of the Republic of Colombia and of every Colombian, thank you very much, Mr. McLarty. (Applause.)
QUESTION: Steve Lande, Manchester Trade. I don’t think there’s any question that a combination of Obama Administration education and Colombia action has really made this agreement ready to pass. The question, of course, is that we have a serious domestic political problem in the United States that has nothing to do with Colombia, well known. I’ve been in trade policy for umpteen years, and it is very strange that something as basic as trade adjustment assistance, which has been U.S. policy for 34 years is now being questioned.
But the real question to my mind is: Does Colombia understand this? Do they realize that this is not really aimed at them? What happens if because of trade adjustment assistance, if Colombia – or because of disagreement, if Colombia, which I assume they will live up to the obligations. And I’d like to ask Mack to speak a little bit on this question, too, because of his experience over the previous couple of – excuse me, during the previous democratic administration in this area about what do we do if the Republicans – and I know I shouldn’t say this, but I’m a Democrat – what do we do if the Republicans really keep their feet in and do not compromise on this trade adjustment assistance act?
DEPUTY SECRETARY STEINBERG: Let me just say a quick word and then I’ll either invite or allow our people sitting here who are not really part of the presentation to either decide whether they want to answer or not. I think – as you know well from the perspective of the Administration, in the long run, we have to – if we’re going to pursue a trade agenda, which is enormously important to our future for jobs and competitiveness, that there has to be a broad-base of support in society. And that there’s no doubt, from our perspective, that the Colombia FTA, like Panama and South Korea, are win-wins for both societies but not for every single person. And trade, inevitably, has some dislocating features.
And the best way to move forward is not to retreat from trade, but to make sure that everybody can benefit from it, that people who are inadvertently – at least in the short term – suffering from trade have an opportunity to have that blow cushioned and to be ready to compete in that world. And that’s why we want a comprehensive approach that includes active pursuit of FTAs, including new ones that we’re negotiating like the TPP in East Asia, but also to make sure that our – that the American worker and the American people are part of this and feel beneficiary. So that’s why we think this is all a part of a package and we strongly hope that the Congress sees that we won’t have the support of the American people if we don’t have a comprehensive strategy.
All right. Mack.
MR. MCLARTY: Well, I’ll be very brief. I think Secretary Steinberg outlined precisely the balance here that needs to be achieved, should be achieved. It started really with President Obama’s comments and remarks of doubling our exports and that really set the predicate for moving forward on trade agreements.
There’s not that big a gap in a dollar sense between the Republicans and Democratic position. Clearly, there needs to be a deal in the middle. I believe there will be. It should take about an hour. It’s going to take a little longer than that. (Laughter.) But I think at the end of the day, they’ll get there.
DEPUTY SECRETARY STEINBERG: One more.
QUESTION: Phil McLean from here in CSIS. Since you’re returning to academia, let me ask you a classic college-type question – compare and contrast. Compare and contrast what happened in Colombia and U.S. policy in Colombia with what – pick a country out there in the Middle East and how we did things differently and what’s to be recommended and not recommended.
DEPUTY SECRETARY STEINBERG: Well, I think – I’m glad it was a compare and contrast and not a what-if. I’ve spent two and a half years resisting hypotheticals, and I’m now going to go back to a world where I can actually ask them of my students all the time. (Laughter.)
I think that the biggest success of Plan Colombia, what we’ve done together, were really the things that Mack touched on, which is, first, we had a strong bipartisan basis for this in the United States. And on the big challenges, whether it’s providing security and moving forward on social inclusion in Colombia or dealing with democratic transformation in the Middle East, these things don’t happen overnight. They require a sustained commitment of both policy and resources to make it happen. And there needs to be a sense among all the parties that you’re in it for the long term. If you don’t have that, then people will game the system because they’ll assume it’s a flash in the pan or that the kinds of benefits – the costs are often upfront in – or front-loaded and the benefits are in the long term.
So let’s take Egypt for example. One of the biggest challenges and one of the biggest impulses to the revolution in Egypt was the lack of economic opportunity, the fact that the system, although there had been some economic reforms, was not providing jobs and opportunity, particularly for many of the reasonably well-educated young people who are coming out of universities or training programs.
And so addressing that economic need and those social and economic needs is critically important, but it doesn’t happen overnight. We can give some short-term economic assistance, but what’s really needed is to stimulate long-term economic opportunity. But that doesn’t happen overnight, and so the people of Egypt, like the people of Colombia, need to know that we have a long-term plan, that there will be some short-term sacrifices to get the Egyptian economy into a place which can produce good jobs for people over the long term, and we need to find ways to give them the confidence that if they take the necessary steps that the United States and Europe and others will be with them.
That’s what we did in Plan Colombia. We were ableto be convincing because we had bipartisan support, because there was a strong commitment to whatwe could do this; it wasn’t one congressional session or one presidential administration. Those are hard to do, as Mack will tell you. But when it’s done, it’s America at its finest. And I think that’s something that we all need to focus on is how do we build these strong commitments that have the support of both parties – the people as well as government, and in both countries – to sustain these kinds of long-term challenges. And the fact that we’ve done it together in Colombia, I think shows it can be done and that can give people some confidence and encouragement to look for ways to replicate that.
Okay, one more.
QUESTION: Thanks. And I wish you the very best. My question goes to the congressional play going on with the FTA. You thought and said you were confident that by the end of the year we would see something. In my conversations with, for example, with folks – I won’t say who – in connection with Korea, were thinking that they are going to see an FTA approved in Congress by the August 2nd recess. I guess my question is both to you and to Mack whether Colombia is prepared for the possibility that this thing will go beyond August 2nd? And how does – how do we explain this under the circumstances and do we really need to have to explain it? Do you think that deal that, Mack, you thought was so close to getting can be gotten by August 2nd?
DEPUTY SECRETARY STEINBERG: Well, I’d say just my reference to the end of the year, I’ve learned a couple of things in my government service, is first it never hurts to quote your boss. (Laughter.) And second, it’s never smart to say something different from your boss. (Laughter.)
But I think what the Secretary meant to imply with that is – I mean, she is realistic. She served in the Congress. I don’t think she wanted to set some commitments to make it feel like somehow if we don’t get it by June, July, whatever, that that’s a failure. I think it was a strong commitment that we ought to find a way to do it this year. Obviously, we’d all like to see the logjam broken and move forward on these things sooner. So I don’t mean to imply that it’s not possible to get it done sooner. I just want to err a bit on the side of caution because often, even as Mack says, even if we resolve the issues around the TAA, there are always floor scheduling things. I worked in the Senate myself. And so the unpredictability of congressional action is something we just all have to live with.
I don’t know if you want to add anything to that.
MR. MCLARTY: (Off-mike.)
DEPUTY SECRETARY STEINBERG: All right. Good. Well, thank you all. Really appreciate it. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much. I have a little bit of a Mark Twain kind of feeling that I’ve been attending my own funeral. (Laughter.) I am quite humbled and somewhat embarrassed by the wealth of very kind and overly generous comments. But for me, it is an extraordinary honor to be here with all of you and certainly to receive this recognition from the Marshall Foundation. So thank you, Jay, and thanks to the entire board. Let me also recognize and thank the splendid VMI cadets who are here, including Rachel Singh, who accompanied me to the stage.
And I’m especially honored when I think of the prior recipients of this very distinguished award, including my colleague, Secretary Gates, whom I had the honor of introducing in the State Department in 2009. We’ve had a very special evening with so many good friends here, and Christiane, thank you for not only MCing but for the role that you’ve played in bringing so much of the world into America’s homes over the last years. To General Odierno, whom I am so pleased will be assuming a new position, subject to Senate confirmation – I learned to say that as a Senator. (Laughter.) And to the extraordinary presence of all of the sponsors of this event, Michael Strianese, thank you for your comments, and to Brian Shaw, and everyone who has made this evening so special.
I want to, in her absence, thank my friend, the former president of Chile, who has her own remarkable life story of resilience and strength. And to my dear friend and predecessor, Madeleine Albright, who has been a colleague and advisor and counselor, and who just recently completed for NATO an incredible job of looking at NATO’s strategic positioning for the future, leading a group of very esteemed representatives from across the NATO family, just one more evidence of Madeleine Albright’s continuing service to our country.
I think a lot about George Marshall. I have an extraordinary sense of the character and integrity, the commitment to service that led him to perform so admirably on behalf of our country during some of the most challenging times that we have ever faced. Leading our nation in war as a general, in peace as Secretary of State and later as Defense Secretary, he was, they say, the only man, according to President Truman, who could get along with Franklin Roosevelt, the Congress, Winston Churchill, the Navy, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And he did so while never avoiding the hard issues, while always sharing his best advice, speaking his mind.
I’ve seen a lot of people in public service over my time here in Washington who would be well served – and we would be better served – if George Marshall’s example were followed. I also know from the work that I have done over the last two and a half years how still contemporary the views that Marshall brought to the fore, following the Second World War, are today. He certainly spoke his mind in 1947, when he outlined the principles of what became known as the Marshall Plan. He is certainly very well remembered for one of the great foreign policy achievements of the 20th century.
Now many of us think of the Marshall Plan in concrete terms, literally. The allies won the war with guts and valor, and the Marshall Plan won the peace with bricks and mortar. But there was more to the plan than constructing buildings and bridges. Marshall knew the importance of economic growth to build stability, democracy, and security, not only in Europe but everywhere. And he knew that the people of Europe needed economic opportunity to rebuild their livelihoods, recover their dignity, and reset their destiny. By spurring the market economy, rebuilding the agricultural base, modernizing industry, and training European business leaders, his plan helped 17 nations including Germany and Italy take the lead in their own revitalization.
Now the cost of the four-year plan was $13 billion, which translates into more than $120 billion today. I often think about whether we would today be able to summon that kind of vision of a future that would be in America’s interests but would require continuing sacrifice. Now my father, who served for five years in the Navy during World War II, came out of service like so many men of that generation and was committed to making up for lost time with his family, with his business, trying to seize as much of the American dream as he possibly could. And here was President Truman and General Marshall saying, well, you’ve sacrificed a lot during the last years. We defeated enemies that were putting at risk everything we cared about. And yes, you’ve earned the chance to turn inward and think about all that makes life worth living and wars worth fighting. But we’re going to continue to tax you. We’re going to continue to require you to help us rebuild the very enemies that you have spent years trying to defeat. It’s almost unimaginable that the case was made, that the political environment accepted that case and understood what it meant for us.
We can look back now and see how the investment reaped dividends in so many different ways. It prompted European governments to denationalize their industries and strengthen their labor laws. It preempted the westward creep of communism. It helped us lay the foundation for winning the Cold War. And it created strong allies for the United States and laid the groundwork for the European Union. And the Marshall Plan wasn’t just important for the rebirth of Western Europe. It became a model for many nations in 1989, after the Berlin Wall came down. By establishing enterprise funds to spur investment in Eastern and Central Europe, we helped post-Soviet countries develop robust economies and new destinies.
We were mindful of the lessons of the Marshall Plan in all of the years since. Tomorrow in the State Department, we’ll be having an investment conference for Iraq. Some of you have told me you will be there as we try to help rebuild a country devastated by tyranny and war to achieve sustainable economic growth. In our efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan over the last years, we’ve certainly tried to apply wherever possible some of the Marshall principles, trying to target assistance toward private enterprise and ramp up existing energy infrastructure such as the electricity grids to attract investment and promote growth.
And today, as the Arab Spring unfolds across the Middle East and North Africa, some principles of the plan apply again, especially in Egypt and Tunisia. As Marshall did in 1947, we must understand that the roots of the revolution and the problems that it sought to address are not just political but profoundly economic as well. Remember the Tunisian vendor whose self-immolation launched the Arab Spring. He was what we might call a very small businessman, whose livelihood and dignity were threatened. Protesters across the region spoke out as passionately for jobs and economic opportunity as they did for freedom, human rights, and a voice in their own government.
An extraordinary entrepreneurial spirit is waiting to be tapped in countries like Egypt and Tunisia. Their people have the talent and the drive to build resilient economies and enduring democracies. If we support their efforts, we can help them unlock the region’s potential, rebuild their dignity, and realize their hopes. And I argue very strongly, by doing so we will advance our own security.
The United States has asked the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to present a plan that would help stabilize and modernize the economies of Tunisia and Egypt. We have offered, as the President explained in his speech a week ago, to provide up to $1 billion in debt relief for Egypt, and we’ve issued a $1 billion loan guarantee program to help finance infrastructure and job creation.
In addition, we will launch programs to allow private investors to help local companies build new businesses across the region, and we are working with Congress to create the kind of enterprise funds that supported the economic recovery of so many post-Soviet countries. These funds, drawn from existing programs within the State Department and USAID, would give Egyptian and Tunisian entrepreneurs and businesses the capital they need to start new ventures and thereby create jobs.
The world took an important step in this direction last Friday, when President Obama and the G8 leaders committed at least $20 billion to build economic growth and create jobs. And that complements the strong response underway from the Gulf countries. I think we all understand the opportunity we face and the consequences if we miss it.
So as we go forward, we can all learn a lot from George C. Marshall’s life, his service, and what he stood for. And we should remember first of all that the genius of the Marshall Plan was not in the money it provided; the money opened the door to the reforms that were promoted. That is what we must do today. I am well aware of the difficult budgetary times in which we live. I face that every single day in the work that I do. And I think often about 1947, about my father, a small businessman, a Republican through and through, who was asked to continue sacrificing for his children and grandchildren, to help build a more peaceful, secure, prosperous world.
Marshall advocated, from the moment he launched his plan, that we should offer partnership, not patronage, and that we should never lose sight of the real bottom line. Prosperity and freedom abroad mean security and opportunity here at home. And Marshall said the purpose of our policy should be, and I quote, “the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist.”
This is another important, historic moment. I think I can imagine the kind of ideas that George Marshall would be offering, and the challenge he would make to all of us as to whether we are up to this moment. It’s not only for Egyptians and Tunisians and others who may follow, but for all of us. So, General Marshall, let me reassure you that the United States is committed to the future of those willing to do the hard work of political and economic reform, to build democratic institutions, and open markets; to respect and protect human rights, and create conditions for men and women to fulfill their own God-given potentials.
If we recall what George Marshall did all those years ago and the benefits that still accrue to us, I hope we will summon the same will to do what is called for today. And with that, I thank you for keeping George Marshall’s values alive and present in this complex and fast-changing world. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. It is a great honor to join you here in Addis Ababa and to address the African Union. I want to thank Chairperson Ping, members of the African Union Commission, ambassadors to the AU, representatives of United Nations agencies, and, most of all, representatives of the nations and people of Africa. Thank you for the opportunity to be here with you. It is good to be back in Africa, and it is a singular honor to address this body.
During the past few days, I have traveled to Zambia, Tanzania, and now Ethiopia, meeting with leaders and citizens who are rising to meet challenges of all kinds with creativity, courage, and skill. And I am pleased to come to the African Union today as the first United States Secretary of State to address you, because I believe that in the 21st century, solving our greatest challenges cannot be the work only of individuals or individual nations. These challenges require communities of nations and peoples working together in alliances, partnerships, and institutions like the African Union.
Consider what it takes to solve global challenges, like climate change or terrorism, or regional ones, like the African Union’s work in Sudan and Somalia. Your efforts to end the brutal campaign of the Lord’s Resistance Army, your push to create a green revolution for Africa that drives down hunger and poverty, the challenge of helping refugees displaced by conflict, the fight against transnational crimes like piracy and trafficking: These are diplomatic and development challenges of enormous complexity. But institutions like this make it easier for us to address them, by helping nations turn common interests into common actions, by encouraging coalition building and effective compromising, by integrating emerging nations into a global community with clear obligations and expectations.
That is why, as Secretary of State, I have emphasized the work of regional institutions throughout the world, in Latin America, in Asia, in Europe, and in Africa. Now, regional institutions, of course, may differ, but increasingly they are called upon to be problem solvers and to deliver concrete results that produce positive change in people’s lives.
To solve the problems confronting Africa and the world, we need the African Union. We also need Africa’s sub-regional institutions, all of whom must help lead the way. Because the results you will achieve will shape the future, first and foremost, of course, for the people of Africa, but also for the people of my country, and indeed for people everywhere because what happens in Africa has global impact. Economic growth here spurs economic growth elsewhere. Breakthroughs in health research here can save and improve lives in other lands. And peace established here makes the world more secure.
So the United States seeks new and dynamic partnerships with African peoples, nations, and institutions. We want to help you accelerate the advances that are underway in many places and collaborate with you to reverse the dangerous trends and encourage political, economic, and social progress.
Today, I’d like briefly to discuss three areas, which are areas of emphasis for you and for us and where I think we can make particular progress through regional institutions like the AU. They are democracy, economic growth, and peace and security. These are, of course, the core areas of focus for the African Union, and that’s for a reason. All three are critical for a thriving region. All three must be the work both of individual nations and communities of nations. And all three present challenges, opportunities, and responsibilities we must address together.
First, democracy. Let me begin by saying this is an exciting time for African democracy. More than half the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have embraced democratic, constitutional, multi-party rule. Now, some, like Botswana, Ghana, and Tanzania, have spent decades building strong institutions and a tradition of peaceful, democratic transitions. (Interruption to audio.) When things like this happen, you just keep going. (Laughter.) (Applause.) Now, those countries that I mentioned are models, not only for their neighbors, but increasingly for countries everywhere.
Other African nations have been also making important advances. In Nigeria, President Jonathan was inaugurated 15 days ago after what many have called the fairest election in Nigeria’s recent history. Benin and Malawi both held successful elections this spring, building on previous successful multiparty contests. Kenya’s democracy got a boost from last year’s referendum on its new constitution. The vote took place without violence, and the constitution, which includes a bill of rights and limits on executive power, passed by a large margin. Niger and Guinea, both of which endured recent military coups, held successful elections in the past year. And in Cote d’Ivoire, the crisis that followed the 2010 elections was finally resolved two months ago with the help of the AU, and the elected winner is now serving as president.
These are just a few examples of Africa’s recent democratic gains. A complete list would fill all the time we have today. In several nations, the institutions of democracy are becoming stronger. There are freer medias, justice systems that administer justice equally, and impartially, honest legislatures, vibrant civil societies.
Now, much of the credit for these hard-won achievements rightly belongs to the people and leaders of these countries who have passionately and persistently, sometimes at great risk to themselves, demanded that their leaders protect the rule of law, honor election results, uphold rights and freedoms. But credit is also due to the African Union, which has prohibited new leaders who have come to power through military rule and coups from being seated in the organization. The AU and Africa’s other regional institutions have also played a pivotal role in ending crises and creating the conditions for successful, democratic transitions, with the AU’s work to monitor elections being an especially important contribution.
But, even as we celebrate this progress, we do know that too many people in Africa still live under longstanding rulers, men who care too much about the longevity of their reign, and too little about the legacy that should be built for their country’s future. Some even claim to believe in democracy – democracy defined as one election, one time. (Laughter.) (Applause.)
Now, this approach to governing is being rejected by countries on this continent and beyond. Consider the changes that have recently swept through North Africa and the Middle East. After years of living under dictatorships, people have demanded new leadership; in places where their voices have long been silenced, they are exercising their right to speak, often at the top of their lungs. In places where jobs are scarce and a tiny elite prospers while most of the population struggles, people – especially young people – are channeling their frustration into social, economic, and political change.
Their message is clear to us all: The status quo is broken; the old ways of governing are no longer acceptable; it is time for leaders to lead with accountability, treat their people with dignity, respect their rights, and deliver economic opportunity. And if they will not, then it is time for them to go.
Every country in the world stands to learn from these democracy movements, but this wave of activism, which came to be known as the Arab Spring, has particular significance for leaders in Africa and elsewhere who hold on to power at all costs, who suppress dissent, who enrich themselves and their supporters at the expense of their own people. To those leaders our message must be clear: Rise to this historic occasion; show leadership by embracing a true path that honors your people’s aspirations; create a future that your young people will believe in, defend, and help build. Because, if you do not – if you believe that the freedoms and opportunities that we speak about as universal should not be shared by your own people, men and women equally, or if you do not desire to help your own people work and live with dignity, you are on the wrong side of history, and time will prove that.
The United States pledges its support for those African nations that are committed to doing the difficult but rewarding work of building a free, peaceful, and prosperous future. And we look to institutions like the African Union, that are dedicated to democracy and good governance, to continue to encourage countries to walk that path or risk isolating themselves further.
Now, of course, creating the conditions that allow people and communities to flourish in a democracy cannot simply be a matter of holding elections; they are a necessary but not sufficient condition. Good governance requires free, fair, and transparent elections, a free media, independent judiciaries, and the protection of minorities. And democracy must also deliver results for people by providing economic opportunity, jobs, and a rising standard of living.
Now, here, again, the map of Africa is lit up with success stories. Six of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies in the last decade are in Sub-Saharan Africa, and that percentage is expected to grow in the next five years. At a time when investors everywhere are hunting for promising new markets and worthy new ventures, Africa is attracting attention from all corners.
But a prosperous future is not guaranteed. Several of Africa’s highest performing economies are dependent on a single industry or a single export, often a commodity, which we know can have both good and bad consequences. It can discourage the rise of new industries and the jobs that come with them, and it can concentrate a nation’s wealth among a privileged few. Meanwhile, even while growth rates skyrocket in some countries, in others they are rising too slowly and it can take too long for growth on paper to translate into jobs that are spread across a country. But it is this desire that is especially urgent among the youth of Africa that cannot be ignored.
When we saw the uprisings first in Tunisia and then in Egypt, they were about both political change and economic change. Too many young people said they had studied, they had worked hard. The tragic story of the young vegetable vendor who finally, in great frustration – because no matter how hard he tried, a corrupt regime would not give him the chance to have the sweat of his brow translated into economic benefits for himself and his family. More than 40 percent of the people living in Africa are under the age of 15. It rises to nearly two thirds if we look at under the age of 30. These young people are all coming of age at once and they are all connected. There are no more secrets because of social media, because that incredible technology can inform a young person in a rural area, where there are no roads, but there are cell phones, what is going on in his capital or in neighboring countries.
Creating jobs and opportunity for these young people is an enormous challenge, and one that I know the African Union is committed to addressing. Your summit later this month is focused on youth empowerment for sustainable development. You are right that young people must be brought into this work themselves, otherwise your hardest working, your best and your brightest, will either be frustrated and act out against the leaders of their country or they will leave to find opportunities in other lands. After all, the people who are speaking out most passionately across Africa are doing so with an eloquence and an advocacy that should, as the older generations, make us proud. These are young people who want to make something of themselves. All they need is the chance to do so.
Countries such as Zambia, Mali, Ghana, and Rwanda have had strong successes with their approaches to development. They have diversified their economies and created jobs across many sectors, which has helped to decrease poverty. They have continuously reinvested in the foundations of their economies, building roads and power plants and expanding access to financial services so more people can start or grow businesses. Based on lessons we’ve learned from our work around the world, the United States wants to deepen our partnerships with countries that take a broad-based, inclusive, sustainable approach to growth.
Now, I will be the first to admit that too much of our development work in the past provided only temporary aid and not the foundation for lasting change that helps people permanently improve their lives and communities. But the Obama Administration is taking a different approach. Our goal is to help countries’ economies grow over time so they can meet their own needs. Ultimately, we believe that the most effective development programs are the ones that put themselves out of business because they spark economic activity, they help create strong institutions, they nourish a private sector that, unleashed, will create more jobs.
And at the same time, we are asking our partners to do their part. How? Increased transparency, strengthen tax systems, fight corruption. Every bribe paid to a customs official or a government employee represents a hidden tax on the cost of doing business and a drag on economic growth. We are making this a priority in our diplomatic engagement, and we look to our partners to take concrete actions to stop corruption. One of the possible benefits of technology is doing what’s called electronic government, e-government, putting government services online so you don’t have to go through so many hands to get that permit to start a business. And we are encouraging and will work with countries interested in pursuing that kind of opportunity.
We’re also putting a new emphasis on trade. I spoke about this a few days ago at the AGOA Forum in Lusaka. During the past decade, Africa’s non-oil exports to the United States quadrupled, and we’ve only begun to tap the potential. We can and we will trade much more with each other. In fact, we are establishing, with a $120 million commitment over the next four years, trade hubs to help businesses write business plans; to learn how to market their products; to get the kind of technical advice that would not be affordable for a small or medium-sized business.
Trade should not only, however, increase across the ocean or the sea to Europe and the United States. Trade has to increase across this continent. There is less trade among the countries within Sub-Saharan Africa than within any other region in the world, and yet there are consumers and there are producers, but there are barriers – tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers, longstanding suspicions that have to be overcome in order to take advantage of the economic engine that Sub-Saharan Africa can be.
I commend those countries and institutions working to accelerate economic integration, such as the East African Community. And last year, the United States became the first country to nominate an ambassador to the EAC, and we are pursuing a partnership to help build a customs union and a common market. And we applaud the efforts that began with the meeting in South Africa, last week, to discuss a tripartite free trade agreement that will lower trade barriers across dozens of countries.
And the vision of an African common market is worth pursuing. This approach is reflected in our Millennium Challenge Compacts, which form partnerships with developing countries devoted to good governance, economic freedom, and investing in one’s citizens. You can see it in our Partnerships for Growth Program: We picked four countries in the world that we thought could put all the pieces together, and two of them are in Africa, Tanzania and Ghana. These nations have made strong commitments to democracy, to their own development progress, and we’re stepping up our economic relations with these top performers.
Another example of our new approach is our Feed the Future food security initiative. We’re investing $3.5 billion in 20 focus countries, including 12 in Africa, to revitalize agricultural sectors so you can increase food production and availability, raise your farmers’ incomes, decrease hunger and under-nutrition. And through the Feed the Future, we are supporting the AU’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program, which, we think, has laid the foundation for more effective agricultural policies across the continent. By investing in agriculture and strengthening nations’ food security, we will see economies grow and stability increase.
There’s another important element of sustainable economic development, and that is improvements in health. Right now, several African countries are making great strides in bringing life-saving health interventions to more of their people. Zambia has significantly reduced mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Nigeria has made great progress in fighting polio through renewed vaccination efforts. And Ethiopia has mobilized an army of 30,000 health workers to bring a basic package of care to remote regions. We are backing these kinds of improvements through our Global Health Initiative, which supports country-led programs and helps countries unite separate health programs into one sustainable health system.
So we are combining our efforts through PEPFAR, through AID, through CDC, and other U.S. Government approaches, because we think health is a critical element of a nation’s security. When epidemics are prevented from occurring or ended or controlled quickly, when people can get life-saving care when they need it and return to their jobs and their lives, families are stronger, communities are stronger, and nations are stronger.
And finally, when it comes to economic opportunity and development, we must empower the continent’s women. The women of Africa are the hardest working women in the world. And so often – (applause) – so often what they do is not included in the formal economy, it is not measured in the GDP. And yet, if all the women in Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town, decided they would stop working for a week, the economies of Africa would collapse. (Applause.)
So let’s include half the population. Let’s treat them with dignity. Let’s give them the right and responsibility to make a contribution to the 21st century of African growth and progress. And the United States will be your partner, because we have seen what a difference it makes when women are educated, when they have access to health care, when they can start businesses, when they can get credit, when they can help support their families. So let us make sure that that remains front and center in the work we do together.
And finally, let me address peace and security. In recent years, a quiet storyline has emerged out of the security challenges that have developed on the continent. More and more, the African Union and Africa’s sub-regional organizations and African states, working alone or in concert, are taking the lead in solving Africa’s crises. In Somalia, AMISOM, the African Union’s peacekeeping mission, thanks to heroic efforts by Ugandan and Burundian soldiers, has helped the Transitional Federal Government make remarkable security gains in Mogadishu over the past couple of months. Al-Shabaab, an affiliate of al-Qaida, is finally on the defensive, and we see that because they are increasingly resorting to suicide bombers and the targeting of civilians, a sign of desperation.
Now, we expect Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government to create political and economic progress to match AMISOM’s security progress. It cannot continue operating the way it has in the past. We look to the TFG to resolve their internal divisions and improve the lives of the millions of Somalis who continue to suffer, and we know that the AU will be their partner in doing so.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we remain concerned about the continued violence against women and girls and the activities of armed groups in the eastern region of the country. Every effort by the AU and UN will be necessary to help the DRC respond to these continuing security crises.
And then there is the situation in Sudan: South Sudan is less than one month away from becoming the world’s newest state. And the governments of Sudan and South Sudan have made laudable progress in implementing certain provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. But recent developments along the border, particularly in the Abyei region, are deeply troubling. The parties must resolve the remaining CPA issues peacefully through negotiations, not violence. And again, the African Union has played a critical role in facilitating negotiations in Sudan. And I also want to thank the prime minister of Ethiopia, our host country, for everything he has done and is doing as we speak today.
I will have the opportunity later this evening to meet with representatives from both the North and South to add my voice and that of President Obama and my government to the chorus of voices saying the same thing: Resolve your differences, settle the problem in Darfur. And we got some good news out of Doha today that we hope will translate into real progress. But come together and make it possible for both of these countries to have peaceful, prosperous futures.
And there is, of course, another country whose security matters to all of us, and that is Libya. Libya has been the subject of many of our discussions during the past few months. And I believe there is much on which we can agree. There is little question that the kind of activities that, unfortunately, have affected the Libyan people for more than 40 years run against the tide of history. And there is little question that despite having the highest nominal GDP in Africa, thanks to oil, Libya’s wealth was too concentrated within Qadhafi’s circle.
But of course, all the countries here are not in agreement about the steps that the international community, under the United Nations Security Council, have taken in Libya up to this point. Having looked at the information available, the Security Council, including the three African members, supported a UN mandate to protect civilians, prevent slaughter, and create conditions for a transition to a better future for the Libyan people themselves.
Now, I know there are some who still believe that the actions of the UN and NATO were not called for. And I know it’s true that over many years Mr. Qadhafi played a major role in providing financial support for many African nations and institutions, including the African Union. But it has become clearer by the day that he has lost his legitimacy to rule, and we are long past time when he can or should remain in power.
So I hope and believe that while we may disagree about some of what has brought us to this place, we can reach agreement about what must happen now. For as long as Mr. Qadhafi remains in Libya, the people of Libya will be in danger, refugee flows by the thousands will continue out of Libya, regional instability will likely increase, and Libya’s neighbors will bear more and more of the consequences. None of this is acceptable, and Qadhafi must leave power.
I urge all African states to call for a genuine ceasefire and to call for Qadhafi to step aside. I also urge you to suspend the operations of Qadhafi’s embassies in your countries, to expel pro-Qadhafi diplomats, and to increase contact and support for the Transitional National Council. Your words and your actions could make the difference in bringing this situation to finally close and allowing the people of Libya, on an inclusive basis, in a unified Libya, to get to work writing a constitution and rebuilding their country. The world needs the African Union to lead. The African Union can help guide Libya through the transition you described in your organization’s own statements, a transition to a new government based on democracy, economic opportunity, and security.
As we look to the future, we want to work with the African Union not only to react to conflicts and crises but to get ahead of them, to work together on a positive agenda that will stop crises before they start. And I think we can find many areas for collaboration.
On youth engagement, which is a priority for both the AU and President Obama, we seek to pursue a specific work plan with you. On democracy and good governance we already work together to monitor elections across Africa. Now we need to do more to help countries strengthen democratic institutions. On economic growth and trade the AU plays a major role in building Africa’s sub-regional architecture, and we stand ready to support you.
So I want to commend Africa’s institutions for what you have already accomplished, and in some cases, just a few years after your creation. And I will pledge my country’s support as you continue this work. Whether you seek to deepen the integration among your members, improve coordination, or reform your operations, we will be with you.
A good example that the chairman mentioned is what we can offer in the work we are doing to help reform the UN’s support for the African Union here in Addis Ababa. The UN and the African Union asked the United States to identify ways their work together could become more effective and strategic. We said yes, and now there are people at the State Department focused on this issue working closely with many of you in this room.
And as has already been announced, we are rejoining the UN Economic Commission for Africa, another sign of our commitment to engaging with Africa’s regional institutions. (Applause.)
On this trip to Africa, I am reminded every hour that for every challenge now facing Africa, a solution can be found somewhere in Africa. (Applause.) You do not have to look far afield to see political, economic, and social success.
Earlier I mentioned the Arab Spring, a name that suggests the blossoming of something new. And what is now blooming across the Arab states has already taken root in many African nations, commitment to democracy, recognition of human rights, investment in economic health and education programs, and an emphasis on meeting the needs of our young people.
Across this continent the work is underway, but there is a long season ahead. So I urge you not to be impatient; do not grow weary while doing good. Keep showing leadership. Keep building a path to a future worthy of the talents and aspirations of the young men and women of Africa. The United States believes deeply in these values. We believe passionately in the promise and potential of pluralistic democracies, of free markets. We welcome to our shores immigrants from every country represented here, and we can see the success stories that so many of them have built in the United States. But I have never met an immigrant from Africa who has not said he or she wished they could have done the very same in their own country, among their own people, close to their family, eating the food, smelling the flowers, seeing the sights that are in their blood. I want to see that for Africa, where people are coming home to Africa because this is where opportunity for the future resides.
Thank you and God bless you. (Applause.)
The State Department has a long history of supporting reform efforts in Bahrain, through direct diplomatic engagement and projects of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).
During the past eight years, MEPI has worked strategically with Bahraini partners on a reform agenda focused on political pluralism, women’s rights, youth empowerment, labor, civil society strengthening and legal and judicial reform. Engagement around these issues has included opportunities for dialogue and collaboration between government and non-government stakeholders.
MEPI supports the growth and aspirations of Bahrain’s peaceful civil society. Recent programming with civil society partners has focused on raising awareness of women’s rights at the community level; developing documentary films and public service announcements on domestic violence; conducting trainings on disability rights, strengthening civil society, governance and transparency, human rights and media monitoring, and training for female candidates.
Since September 2009, the American Bar Association, with MEPI funding, has been working with the Ministry of Justice and local bar associations to increase judicial capacity, improve legislative drafting, and promote professionalism among Ministry officials.
The U.S. Embassy has emphasized youth programs, including enhanced collaboration with academic institutions, and exchange and scholarship programs focused on promising young Bahrainis.
Secretary Clinton delivered a keynote address at the Manama Dialogue in Bahrain on December 3, 2010, in which she highlighted “human security” as one of four main principles critical to maintaining Gulf security. She defined human security as including participatory governance, freedom of expression, free access to education and employment, and women’s empowerment. While in Manama, the Secretary also held a town hall meeting to directly engage with civil society and youth.
DRL Deputy Assistant Secretary Kathy Fitzpatrick visited Bahrain on January 11 to engage the Government of Bahrain and advocate for reforms, including on its incarceration policies, commitment to transparent judicial proceedings, and civil society development.
Assistant Secretary Feltman has visited Bahrain five times since demonstrations began in February to address unrest and political reform.
The State Department has expressed deep concern about the detention of civil society leaders and opposition politicians, as well as Bahraini moves to clamp down on opposition political activities and independent media. Secretary Clinton issued a statement on March 19 in support of political reform in Bahrain, saying “our goal is a credible political process that can address the legitimate aspirations of all the people of Bahrain.”
Deputy Secretary Steinberg visited Bahrain May 17 and affirmed the long-standing commitment of the United States to a strong partnership with both the people and government of Bahrain and stressed the importance of full respect for universal human rights. He urged all parties to pursue a path of reconciliation and comprehensive political dialogue.