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The Obama Administration’s European Agenda

As prepared

Thank you Fred, I am delighted to be here at the Atlantic Council today, as part of your broader program of events this afternoon. Through activities like these, the council has been one of the leading forums for ensuring the continued vitality of the transatlantic relationship, and I am especially pleased to be speaking to you just before the President travels to Lisbon for an important series of European summits.

In Lisbon, the President will meet with heads of state and government from all 28 NATO member nations; he will convene a summit of the 49 nations contributing troops to Afghanistan through ISAF as well as major economic assistance donors; he will join with his Allied counterparts and the President of Russia for a NATO-Russia Council Summit; and finally he will join the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council at the U.S.-EU Summit. This will be followed up with a trip by the Secretary of State to attend the OSCE Summit in Astana, Kazakhstan. This is, by any standard, an intense schedule of diplomatic engagement. And the intensity of our upcoming interaction with Europe reveals how central the U.S.-European partnership is to addressing global challenges.

When the Obama administration came into office, we made re-engaging with our European allies one of our top priorities. President Obama did so because he recognized that there is no better partner for the United States than Europe, where we work with democratic, prosperous, militarily-capable allies who share our values and share our interests. We face a daunting international agenda that cannot be handled by any one nation alone, and that is why we so often turn to Europe as our partner of first and best resort.

So, as we approach the two-year mark of this administration, it is useful and important to take a step back and take a look at where we stand. To that end, I’d like to do three things today. First, I’ll describe the strategic objectives which drive our approach toward Europe. Then, I’d like to offer you an assessment of our record over the past two years on these objectives. Finally, I’ll outline what we see to be the next steps to be in our engagement with Europe, with a particular emphasis on the four major summits the United States will participate in starting this week.

When I think about this administration’s priorities in Europe, there are three basic objectives that stand out in our engagement with the continent:

1) First, we work with Europe as a partner in meeting global challenges. On every issue of global importance, Europe’s contributions are crucial to solving major international challenges. No matter what the issue is – from the war in Afghanistan, to the Iranian nuclear challenge, to the ongoing global economic troubles – Europe is indispensable. We are vastly stronger – in terms of legitimacy, resources, and ideas – when we join forces with Europe on the global agenda.

2) Second, we are still working with Europe on Europe, that is to say working to complete the historic project of helping to extend stability, security, prosperity and democracy to the entire continent. The extraordinary success that the United States and Europe have had together in promoting European integration, in consolidating and supporting the new democracies in Central and Eastern Europe and integrating them into Euro-Atlantic institutions demonstrates the promise of this enterprise. But our work is not done. And so the effort continues in the Balkans and further to Europe’s east and in the Caucasus.

3) Finally, we have sought to set relations with Russia on a more constructive course. President Obama recognized that he had inherited a relationship that was in a difficult place and that this situation did not serve the interests of the United States or its allies. Therefore, our goal has been to cooperate with Russia where we have common interests but not at the expense of our principles or our friends.

Looking back on the past two years of the Obama administration, we have significant progress we can point to in each area:

First, on working with Europe on global challenges, we have worked together as never before with our European partners on the major security challenges we face in the world today. Specifically:

  • In Afghanistan, in the wake of the President’s speech in November 2009, Europe contributed about 7000 additional troops, over 100 training teams for the Afghan army and police, and nearly $300 million for the Afghan National Army trust fund. European nations now have almost 40,000 troops in Afghanistan and the total European contribution to Afghanistan since 2001 comes to $14 billion.
  • On Iran, we maintained unity in our efforts to engage and have at the same time seen the strongest-ever set of sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council and even more robust set of follow-on sanctions adopted by the European Union. These additional measures taken by the EU cover a variety of areas critical to the regime including trade, finance, banking and insurance, transport, and the gas and oil sectors, in addition to new visa bans and asset freezes. These steps have raised the price of Iran’s failure to meet its obligations and we hope will serve to bring them back to the negotiating table.
  • On missile defense, we gained broad support for our Phased Adaptive Approach which seeks to counter the real and current missile threats Europe faces and we are moving forward with plans to identify various basing locations. We expect, at the NATO Summit in Lisbon, that NATO leaders will adopt missile defense as a NATO capability.

In the second area, extending the European zone of peace, prosperity, and democracy we have also had some important successes but equally important challenges remain. As I said at the outset, the work of “completing” Europe is not finished. What I think is most notable about efforts now under the Obama Administration is how closely – as part of a deliberate strategy – we are working together with Europe to achieve this goal.

  • Take, for instance, the countries of the EU’S Eastern Partnership: Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. The United States strongly supports and works with this EU initiative to extend democracy, stability, and security to this part of the world. We share the same strategy because we share the same goals.
  • The same can be said of the Balkans: the U.S. and European view is that Europe will not be complete until all of the countries of the Western Balkans are full EU members. I was with Secretary Clinton last month on her trip to the Balkans and I can tell you that our policy toward the region is very closely coordinated with the European Union. On the dialog between Serbia and Kosovo, on the future of Bosnia, on Croatia’s path to the EU, we have consulted closely with Europe. We also welcomed Albania and Croatia into NATO, extended Membership Action Plans to Bosnia and Montenegro, and Macedonia will join once the dispute over its name is resolved. The intensive joint diplomacy of recent months has shown how closely our visions are aligned, something which is essential for progress in the region.

Finally, what has arguably been the most controversial part of our European agenda – our reset with Russia – has started to pay significant dividends. We have made enormous progress in setting our bilateral relationship on a path of pragmatic cooperation. We can now say that effective diplomacy with Russia can help with U.S. global priorities. This diplomacy has already had some tangible benefits:

  • First, we have concluded a New START Treaty. The agreement is the most comprehensive arms control agreement in nearly two decades and significantly reduces the number of nuclear weapons and launchers deployed by the United States and Russia while also putting in place a strong verification regime.
  • We have concluded a lethal transit agreement for ferrying supplies to Afghanistan across Russia that is now an important logistics route for our efforts in Afghanistan and has completed more than 500 flights.
  • We have secured cooperation with Russia on Iran, both in terms of a strong UN Security Council resolution and additional steps by Russia to ban the sale of S-300 missiles to Iran.
  • We have done all of this without compromising our principles – in particular our steadfast commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all of the nations of Europe and our commitment to human rights in Russia.

As you can see, it’s been a full two years. But we have more to do. And I think the best way to convey that is for me to describe the four upcoming summits we have with Europe: a NATO Summit, a NATO-Russia Council Summit, a U.S.-EU Summit, and an OSCE Summit. These institutions are the pillars of peace and prosperity in Europe and Eurasia. Our agenda for these summits illustrates very well how engaged we are with Europe and how we intend to advance our strategic objectives in and with Europe.

NATO

At the NATO Summit, we plan to unveil a new Strategic Concept, lay out the approach that we and our NATO allies are taking to transition in Afghanistan, and advance our relationship with Russia. The new Strategic Concept – the first in 11 years – will chart the future course of the alliance and prepare it to meet new threats. NATO Secretary General Rasmussen has done a superb job producing a document with vision, clarity and focus. It places Article 5—our collective defense commitment—rightly at the heart of why we are NATO Allies, while also recognizing that NATO is no longer just a regional military alliance. The Strategic Concept will also identify the capabilities we need – including territorial missile defense and cyber early warning systems – to meet new security challenges and better protect Allied populations. We look forward to a robust endorsement of it from allies at Lisbon.

We also intend to revamp the way NATO does business through organizational reforms that will allow NATO to implement these capabilities more effectively and more rapidly. We will examine how to strengthen existing partnerships and create new ones. Partnerships – with non-NATO members in Europe, with institutions like the UN, EU, and the OSCE, with strategic allies like Japan and Australia – are one of NATO’s most potent tools.

On Afghanistan, the President and his counterparts from ISAF will emphasize two mutually supportive themes. The first theme is an announcement of a responsible transition that will gradually turn over lead responsibility for Afghanistan’s security to Afghan National Security Forces. Transition is actually a process that began in President Karzai’s inaugural address over a year ago. The idea is that transition will unfold according to conditions on the ground, including progress in training Afghan forces, and assessments carried out by Afghan and international experts. Transition will not happen overnight. It is not a single event and it will not be a rush for the exit. The second theme is announcement by all NATO Allies that will reaffirm their deep and enduring commitment to Afghanistan’s security and in particular to the development of its security forces.

NATO-Russia Council

NATO’s relationship with Russia has been transformed in the last 20 years from adversary to partner. We are partners in dealing with a full range of security challenges. And the business of practical cooperation will enhance our collective security: Russia’s and that of every ally. This is the first NATO-Russia Council meeting since the Georgia conflict in 2008 and an opportunity to demonstrate that we can extend our bilateral reset with Russia into the NATO arena. We have already demonstrated that we can practically cooperate while standing by our principles. We have consistently maintained our commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia’s neighbors and stood up for human rights within Russia.

We now want to take this practical cooperation to a higher level, in areas of shared interest such as Afghanistan, missile defense, counternarcotics, counterterrorism, and counter-piracy. NATO and Russia expect to agree on the NATO-Russia Joint Review of 21st Century Security Challenges to demonstrate a shared understanding of these issues and other potential threats. Let me add, however, that these efforts at cooperation will in no way limit the United States’ or NATO’s capacity to deploy missile defense or other collective defense capabilities.

U.S.-EU Summit

This U.S.-EU summit will be the first since the EU strengthened itself via the Lisbon Treaty. Our participation represents another opportunity to demonstrate that we believe that a strong and united Europe is a stronger partner for the United States. This summit in particular will highlight our expanded and strategic partnership in three concrete and crucial areas, the economy, security, and global issues.

On economic cooperation, it is important to remember that the United States and Europe are each others’ largest trade and investment partners, accounting some $4 trillion in flows and generating approximately 1 in 10 jobs. The relationship is central to both our economic futures. We will follow-up on the G-20 meetings last week in Seoul to sustain the recovery and generate jobs for our economies, by consulting on best steps to address current imbalances in the global economy and by addressing bilateral barriers to trade. The leaders will task the Transatlantic Economic Council to coordinate our policies to promote innovation and to get regulators to pursue greater collaboration, especially in new and emerging technologies.

On security cooperation, we will identify ways to enhance our already significant common efforts on counter-terrorism and security, including through data exchange programs such as the Passenger Name Record agreement which protect both our privacy and our security, through cooperation on cybersecurity, and through sharing best practices to combat violent extremism. As the events of this summer demonstrated, both Europe and the United States face an ongoing threat and close transatlantic cooperation is crucial to addressing it.

Finally on global challenges, the leaders will address a number of critical foreign policy issues such as Iran, climate change, Middle East peace, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. In particular, we will look to better coordinate development assistance. The United States and Europe together provide 80 percent of the world’s development assistance. We will work on ways to avoid duplication and get greater value from U.S. and EU resources, while better meeting the development needs of poorer countries, as well as those emerging from crises and disaster

OSCE

At the OSCE Summit, we will mark the 35th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act, which was a watershed moment in the Cold War, and we will emphasize that the commitments and principles in the Helsinki Final Act still apply equally to each participating state today. The OSCE has matured from its Cold War roots to become a global forum meant to prevent crises, promote human rights, and enhance good governance. But thirty-five years later, the Helsinki principles are still not universally implemented. We have witnessed in recent months instances of continuing violence against journalists, steps to undermine the work of human rights activists and NGOs, and actions that call into question the basic rights of ethnic minorities. There is more to be done.

At the Astana Summit, we will seek to revitalize the OSCE across all its dimensions, underscoring the importance of protections for journalists and the freedom of expression, seeking new steps to enhance energy security and promote transparency and good governance, and strengthening military transparency through work to update core elements of Europe’s arms control framework.

The vast agenda we will address through these four major summits reflects a single enduring truth. Global problems today are so complex and interrelated that they are beyond the scope of any one country to dictate solutions. In seeking partners to meet these new global challenges, the United States can have no closer friend than Europe. Together – and only by working together – we can build a world with more freedom, more opportunity, and more security for all our citizens.

 
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U.S.-Russia Relations: “Reset” Fact Sheet

In one of his earliest new foreign policy initiatives, President Obama sought to reset relations with Russia and reverse what he called a “dangerous drift” in this important bilateral relationship.  President Obama and his administration have sought to engage the Russian government to pursue foreign policy goals of common interest – win-win outcomes — for the American and Russian people.  In parallel to this engagement with the Russian government, President Obama and his administration also have engaged directly with Russian society — as well as facilitated greater contacts between American and Russian business leaders, civil society organizations, and students — as a way to promote our economic interests, enhance mutual understanding between our two nations, and advance universal values.  On the occasion of President Medvedev’s visit to the United States and one year after President Obama visited Russia, it is time to take stock of what has been achieved from this change in policy and what remains to be done in developing a more substantive relationship with Russia.

Government-to-Government Agreements and Accomplishments

The New START Treaty:

On April 8, 2010, in Prague, Presidents Obama and Medvedev signed the New START Treaty, a strategic offensive arms reduction treaty to follow-up on the START Treaty, which expired on December 5, 2009.  The New START Treaty reduces limits on U.S. and Russian deployed strategic warheads by approximately one third.  The Treaty provides the flexibility needed for the United States to structure its forces at the reduced level to meet national security and operational requirements.

 The Treaty limits each side to 1550 deployed strategic warheads, 700 deployed strategic delivery vehicles, and 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and heavy bombers equipped with nuclear armaments.  The Treaty has a strong verification regime to allow each party to confirm that the other party is in compliance with the treaty limits, including on-site inspections, data exchanges, exhibitions, and notifications about the movement and production of strategic systems, as well as a provision on non-interference with National Technical Means of verification.

In their June 24 Joint Statement on Strategic Stability, President Obama and President Medvedev acknowledged their commitment to continuing the development of a new strategic relationship based on mutual trust, openness, predictability and cooperation by following up on the New START Treaty.

Iran:

Since 2009, President Obama and President Medvedev have worked closely to address the international challenge presented by Iran’s nuclear program and its failure to meet its international obligations, and have built a strategic partnership on this issue.  Robust U.S.-Russia cooperation on Iran has manifested itself through the P5+1, as well as on the original IAEA proposal to supply nuclear fuel to the Tehran Research Reactor in exchange for Iran’s low enriched uranium being shipped out of Iran and held under IAEA safeguards.

As a result of Iran’s continued failure to meet its international obligations on its nuclear program, President Obama and President Medvedev worked closely with other members of the UN Security Council to reach an agreement on UN Security Council Resolution 1929, the most comprehensive set of sanctions against Iran to date, to demonstrate that there will be a cost to Iran for not meeting its international obligations on its nuclear program.  U.S.-Russian partnership in crafting this resolution was critical to its successful adoption.  UNSCR 1929 imposes restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities; its ballistic missile program; and, for the first time, its conventional military.  This was a particularly important step for Russia, which has confirmed that it will not deliver S-300 missiles to Iran, in accordance with the new resolution.   The resolution will put a new framework in place to counter Iranian smuggling, and crack down on Iranian banks and financial transactions.  It targets individuals, entities, and institutions – including those associated with the Revolutionary Guard.

North Korea:

Russia joined the United States in supporting UN Security Council resolution 1874 in response to North Korea’s nuclear test.  The resolution condemned in the strongest terms the May 25, 2009, nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and tightened sanctions against it by blocking funding for nuclear, missile and proliferation activities through targeted sanctions on additional goods, persons and entities, widening the ban on arms imports-exports, and called on Member States to inspect and destroy all banned cargo to and from that country    on the high seas, at seaports and airports    if they have reasonable grounds to suspect a violation.

Non-Proliferation:

In addition to the New Start Treaty and actions taken against Iran and North Korea, the U.S. and Russia have made significant progress in developing our common nonproliferation agenda over the past eighteen months.  Russia joined the United States in supporting the UN Security Council Resolution 1887 on September 24, 2009.  Russia also played a critical role in President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit, held on April 12-13, 2010.  On the sidelines of this meeting, the United States and Russia signed a protocol to amend the 2000 Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement, which commits both countries to dispose of 68 metric tons or approximately 17,000 nuclear weapons-worth of excess weapons-grade plutonium. Russia recently shut down its last remaining weapons-grade plutonium production power plant. 

 Russia also has established an international nuclear fuel bank that provides incentives for other nations not to acquire sensitive uranium enrichment technology.  In support of the July 2009, U.S.-Russia Joint Statement on Nuclear Cooperation, the United States and Russia have accelerated and expanded efforts to secure and remove vulnerable nuclear material from around the world.  In particular, we have worked together to remove or dispose of 475 kilograms of nuclear weapons-usable highly enriched uranium fuel and plutonium (enough for over 19 nuclear weapons) from 8 countries.  This included the complete removal of all weapons-usable HEU from three countries.  While it is not yet agreed, Russia has been supportive of U.S. efforts within the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to strengthen controls over enrichment and reprocessing technologies.  The U.S. and Russia also continue to build upon over fifteen years of significant cooperation to strengthen the security of nuclear facilities and materials.
 
Afghanistan:

Over the last 18 months, the Obama Administration has expanded the volume of supplies being shipped to our troops in Afghanistan through the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), thanks in part to Russia’s agreement to allow ground and air transit for troops and supplies for Afghanistan through its territory.  At present, 30 percent of supplies to our troops in Afghanistan travel over the NDN, and of this cargo, 65 percent of the supplies being routed through the NDN transit through Russia.   Russia’s participation in the NDN has allowed the U.S. to expand more efficient and direct routes that offer a strategic and vital alternative to the Pakistan routes.  
Russia’s agreement to fund the navigation and flight fees for 4,300 official U.S. flights and allow air transit for unlimited amounts of commercial charter flights with supplies has been vital to bringing in troops and supplies for the surge in troops President Obama ordered as a result of his review of our efforts to secure and stabilize Afghanistan.   Since the Afghanistan Air Transit Agreement was signed with Russia at the July 2009 summit, over 35,000 U.S. personnel and troops have flown to Afghanistan via the Russian routes.  Russian companies also have provided vital airlift capacity for over 12,000 flights in support of our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, thirty percent of the fuel U.S. military troops use in Afghanistan, and over 80 MI-17 helicopters to the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, and Afghan Drug Interdiction Forces. During their meeting on June 24, 2010, President Medvedev pledged to provide 3 more MI-17 helicopters to the NATO-led effort in Afghanistan, and offered to provide more than a dozen more under a special financial arrangement.

In addition, the Counternarcotics Working Group under the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission has established cooperation on reducing the supply of narcotics from Afghanistan to Russian territory, including joint operations, enhanced information sharing, stopping illicit financing of Afghan-related terrorism from narcotics trafficking, and cooperation on demand reduction.

Kyrgyzstan:

In response to the coming to power of a Provisional Government in Kyrgyzstan in April 2010, Presidents Medvedev and Obama and their administrations closely coordinated their efforts to enhance stability.  After the tragic outbreak of violence in Osh and Jalalabad in June 2010, American and Russian diplomats have closely coordinated our common responses, both in the provision of humanitarian assistance and in the development of multilateral responses to the crisis.  On June 24, Presidents Obama and Medvedev issued a joint statement affirming our common interest in supporting the people of Kyrgyzstan in their efforts to prevent further violence, address the current humanitarian crisis, and restore stability and democracy.

Georgia:

The Obama Administration continues to have serious disagreements with the Russian government over Georgia.  We continue to call for Russia to end its occupation of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and in parallel have worked with the Russian government to prevent further military escalations in the region.  We have witnessed some incremental confidence building measures, such as opening the border at Verkhniy Lars and allowing direct charter flights between the two countries, and continue to press for the strengthening of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms and a return of international observers to the two occupied regions of Georgia.

Accelerating Russia’s WTO Accession:

After a long lull while Russia focused on forming its Customs Union with the Republics of Belarus and Kazakhstan, the United States and Russia have intensified their discussion regarding Russia’s WTO accession.  On April 27, 2010, First Deputy Prime Minister Shuvalov led a high-level Russian government delegation to Washington to meet with Director of the White House National Economic Council Larry Summers, USTR Ambassador Ron Kirk, and other senior Obama administration officials.  This meeting produced a roadmap of necessary steps needed to be taken by Russia to accelerate its WTO accession. The United States pledged to provide additional technical assistance to help speed the process of revising Russia’s WTO Working Party Report taking into account the new Customs Union.  On June 24, based on the significant progress achieved, including agreement on the treatment of state-owned enterprises, and provided that Russia fully implements the mutually agreed upon action plan for bringing Russian legislation into compliance with WTO requirements, the Presidents agreed to aim to settle remaining bilateral issues by September 30.

American-Russian Cooperation in Managing the Global Financial Crisis:

The United States and Russia have collaborated closely within the framework of the G20 on measures to address the global economic crisis, and on the coordination of the reform of financial regulation.  In addition, the United States and Russia have worked to improve the governance and capacity of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Resubmission of the 123 Agreement:

If approved, the U.S.-Russia 123 Agreement would provide a solid foundation for long-term U.S.-Russia civil nuclear cooperation; create commercial opportunities for U.S. industry; and enhance cooperation on important global nonproliferation benefits.  The Agreement would allow for potential commercial sales of civil nuclear commodities to Russia by U.S. industry and joint ventures between U.S. and Russian firms to develop and market civil nuclear items as well as proliferation-resistant nuclear technologies.  In addition, the Agreement has the potential to increase cooperation between Russia and the United States in their nuclear supply policies and approach to the fuel cycle.

Energy Efficiency:

On June 24, our Presidents agreed to implement a multifaceted initiative to promote energy efficiency and the development of clean energy technologies under the Action Plan of the Bilateral Presidential Commission’s Energy Working Group.  The centerpiece of this collaboration will be the development of a pilot smart grid project based on the most innovative technologies to cut losses in electric power systems and reduce emissions.  Russian and U.S. cities will be matched to implement similar projects, and to share best practices and technical information.  The Action Plan also includes implementing energy management and technical programs to improve energy efficiency in Russian and U.S. public sector buildings.  The U.S. and Russia also agreed to develop financial mechanisms to help create investment incentives for small and medium sized private companies to promote energy efficiency and clean technologies.

Creation of the Presidential Bilateral Commission:

During their meeting in Moscow on July 6, 2009, Presidents Medevedev and Obama established the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Commission consisting of sixteen working groups ranging from nuclear cooperation, space, health, military-to-military, cultural and sports exchange, to civil society.  Since the creation of the commission, dozens of delegations have traveled to each country, video conferences have been held, and numerous new bilateral activities and programs have emerged to pursue projects of mutual benefit to the American and Russian people.  We also agreed to add an Intelligence Sharing Working Group to the Commission.  The Commission’s first annual report was published on June 24, 2010, and can be accessed at the Commissions website: www.state.gov/russiabpc

Military-to-Military Cooperation:

Russia and the United States agreed to renew bilateral military cooperation and have approved a work-plan for this cooperation under the Defense Cooperation Working Group of the Bilateral Presidential Commission.  Russia and the United States also have cooperated successfully on anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and have committed to intensify counter-piracy cooperation.  The U.S. sponsored Russia’s UN Security Council resolution for an UN-led study on the cost and effectiveness of various approaches to prosecute pirates.

Dual Track Engagement in Support of Universal Values:

The Obama Administration has pursued a strategy of dual-track engagement – engagement of Russian government officials and in parallel Russian civil society — to advance democracy and human rights within Russia.  Through government-to-government channels, the Obama Administration has looked for ways to support President Medvedev’s efforts at fighting corruption and deepening the rule of law.  In the spring of 2010, American and Russian officials met several times to discuss open government initiatives in both countries, interactions which produced the Joint Statement on Open Government released by our two countries during President Medvedev’s visit to Washington on June 24, 2010.  The Working Group on Civil Society also has tackled the issues of anti-corruption, child protection, prison reform, and migration.

In parallel to these government-to-government exchanges, Obama Administration officials meet frequently and directly with Russian civil society leaders, be it through President Obama’s attendance at  parallel civil society summit in Moscow last July, President Obama’s meeting with human rights activists from Russia and other countries in February 2010, Secretary Clinton’s meeting with human rights activities and civil society leaders in Moscow in October 2009, or everyday encounters between U.S. government officials and Russian civil society leaders in Moscow and Washington.  The Obama Administration also has encouraged peer-to-peer dialogues between American and Russian civil society leaders, while at the same time expanding financial support through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for programs on rule of law, human rights, civil society, media, and political processes.

While seeking to engage the Russian government and Russian civil society in ways to promote universal values, the Obama Administration has not shied away from criticizing human rights abuses, including our public condemnation of the murder of human rights defender Natalya Estemirova, our statement on irregularities in the October 2009 regional elections, and our expression of concerns for arrests of peaceful demonstrators.  Speeches by President Obama and Secretary Clinton in Moscow have underscored our commitment to defending human rights and advancing democracy around the world, including in Russia.

Supporting President Medvedev’s Initiative on Innovation:

The Obama Administration has welcomed President Medvedev’s focus on innovation and has looked for ways to support this initiative.  In February, 2010, the State Department and National Security Staff led a delegation of high-tech executives to Moscow and Novosibirsk to help promote this innovation agenda, including promoting entrepreneurship, openness and transparency, internet freedom and freedom of expression, and the use of communications technologies to augment the work of traditional civil society organizations.  In the wake of this visit, a new forum called “Rustechdel” has been created, matching information technology professionals with civil society actors.  Russian civil society organizations in Siberia have adopted tools, such as live streaming to conduct training for Siberian non-governmental organizations in managing administrative responsibilities and promoting respect for human rights.  Private sector Russian entities have teamed up with healthcare experts to establish a “Text4Baby” program, using sms texting to inform pregnant mothers of issues related to the health of them and their babies.  Private sector entities from the United States are working to outfit orphanages in Novosibirsk with computers and links to the internet as well as partnering with Russian non-governmental organizations to provide mentoring in life skills and appropriate usage.  United States non-governmental organizations have teamed up with Russian partners to offer prizes to Russian software developers to produce programs and tools that would help to combat trafficking in persons.  In May 2010, Obama Administration officials also participated in the “The First Venture Capital Trip to Russia”, a program organized by AmBar and Rusnano which brought two dozen venture capitalist from the United States to Russia to explore investment opportunities.  During President Medvedev’s visit to Washington on June 24, the U.S. and Russian government issued joint statements on collaboration in the areas of innovation and open government.

Supporting People-to-People Exchanges:

The Education, Culture, Sports and Media Working Group of the U.S.–Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission has expanded and enriched connections between Russians and Americans through arts exchanges, sports diplomacy, cultural performances, exhibitions, and engagement through traditional and social media.  The State Department has committed to a substantial increase in Fiscal Year 2010 funds to support these activities.  In parallel, new non-government partnerships between Russian and American student organizations, cultural groups, and artists have expanded, sometimes with but oftentimes without U.S. government support. On June 24, 2010, Presidents Obama and Medvedev issued a Joint Statement on People-to-People Connections, articulating a shared desire to see such contacts continue to grow.

The U.S.-Russian Foundation for Economic Advancement and the Rule of Law:

In June 2009, the U.S.-Russia Foundation for Economic Advancement and the Rule of Law (USRF) registered in Russia as an affiliate of the non-profit organization USRF in the United States and has begun to work with Russian institutions to develop projects that encapsulate the principles of enterprise, accountability, and partnership.  Among other new projects and grants, the USRF continues to support the Center for Entrepreneurship in Russia.

Private, Non-Governmental Initiatives and Activities

Parallel Business Summits:

In July 2009, during the Presidential Summit in Moscow, American and Russian business associations convened a parallel business summit that included hundreds of business representatives and CEOs from both countries.  During the June 24, 2010 summit in Washington, American and Russian CEOs convened a small meeting of representatives from a number of different sectors to discuss ways in which to expand trade and investment and foster conditions conducive to innovation in both countries.  American and Russian business associations also convened a parallel business summit that included participation by senior government officials from both countries.

Parallel Civil Society Summits:

In July 2009, American and Russian non-governmental organizations, including Eurasia Foundation, the New Eurasia Foundation, and CSIS convened a parallel civil society summit to coincide with the Presidential summit in Moscow.  American and Russian non-governmental organizations gathered to discuss a number of themes including anti-corruption measures, community development, health, and media among others.  During the meeting, President Obama appeared, hearing reports from representatives of the different working groups and making remarks.  During the June 24 summit in Washington, IREX and New Eurasia convened a steering group meeting of civil society organizations, many of whom participated during the 2009 summit, to continue discussion in many of the same thematic areas and additional ones, such as education and child protection.  During the session, information technology specialists interacted with traditional civil society actors to offer suggestions and ideas for how new technologies and innovation can complement and augment the work of the different groups.  The steering committee laid the foundation for institutional engagement in the coming year for expanded participation by both American and Russian groups.

Expanding Trade and Investment:

Rostechnologiya and Boeing signed a proposal acceptance to enter into a sale of 50 737 Boeing aircraft with a potential additional sale of 15 planes to the Russian national airline Aeroflot.  The multi-billion dollar sale will create potentially 44,000 new jobs in America’s aerospace industry.   U.S. companies have opened new manufacturing facilities in Russia in the areas of soft drinks, paper, and tractors.  In July 2009, PepsiCo announced it will invest nearly one billion USD in drink and food manufacturing facilities in Russia, including a new bottling plant in the Domodedovo, Moscow region.  In April 2010, a joint venture between International Paper and Ilim Pulp announced an investment of 700 million USD to build a new kraft pulp mill in Bratsk.  That same month, Deere & Company announced the opening of a new manufacturing and parts distribution facility, amounting to approximately a 500 million USD investment.  In May 2010, Kimberly-Clark announced the opening of a 170 million dollar plant in the Moscow region producing diapers.  On June 4, 2010, GE entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Russian state corporations Russian Technologies and Inter RAO UES, to pursue a strategic cooperation relationship for the production and distribution of industrial products needed to address Russia’s growing infrastructure demands.  The MOU specifically contemplates the formation of joint ventures in the areas of power generation and healthcare equipment.  While the terms of the joint venture agreements have yet to be finalized, the arrangement could result in billions of dollars in revenues to GE over five years, ultimately helping to support jobs and innovation in both Russia and the United States.  On June 17, 2010, Chevron Corp. and OAO Rosneft agreed to explore for oil and natural gas on a block in the Black Sea, a project that could lead to more than 1 trillion rubles ($32 billion) in spending. On June 17, 2010 American lithium-ion battery manufacturer Ener1, Inc. signed a memorandum of understanding with Russia’s Federal Grid Company (MICEX: FEES) to help develop new opportunities to use high-performance battery systems to improve the reliability and performance of the Russian electricity system, which is facing record setting demand on an aging grid.  In June, Siguler Guff & Company, a U.S.-based private equity firm, made a $250 million commitment towards the development of Russia’s innovation economy through its investment in a network of carrier-neutral data centers being built in Moscow and other Russian cities.   The company’s Russia-based sponsor, DataSpace, responsible for overseeing this investment, will locate its headquarters in Skolkovo, the future high-tech center.  On June 23, during President Medvedev’s visit to Silicon Valley, Cisco announced a pledge of one billion dollars in investments over the next ten years in technology projects in Russia, and that it would establish a second headquarters at Skolkovo for its emerging technologies unit.  U.S. angel investors in the high-tech sector have created business incubators in Saint Petersburg and Novosibirsk and, working with Russian partners, have created an entrepreneurial fund for Russian start-ups.  The Russian government has liberalized its visa and registration requirements for skilled workers coming to work in the area of innovation.

Changing Russian Attitudes toward the United States:

According the Pew Research Center, the number of Russians with a favorable attitude towards the United States has increased from 44 percent in 2009 to 57 percent in June 2010.  In another poll by the Moscow-based Levada Center, Russian favorable attitudes towards the United States increased from 38 percent in January 2009 to 60 percent in May 2010.  According to Levada, the percentage of Russians with negative attitudes has decreased from 49 percent in January 2009 to 26 percent in May 2010.

Preserving U.S.-Russian Historical Legacy:

On June 22, 2010, the Russian company Renova signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Office of the Governor of California establishing a foundation that will assist in the restoration of the historic Fort Ross, the hub of the southernmost Russian settlements in California at the beginning of the 19th century.

 
 

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