Belarus National Day

3 Jul

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Today is Belarus’ official Independence Day.  On behalf of the United States of America, I send my warmest wishes to the people of Belarus, wherever they may be.

On Independence Day, despite being an occasion to celebrate hard-won freedoms, Belarusians remain unable to determine their country’s future or express their views without fear of harsh reprisal. For the second year in a row, too many Belarusian families will mark this Independence Day separated from their loved ones, as more than 1,200 political prisoners languish in prisons for trying to exercise the freedoms this day is supposed to symbolize.

The United States stands with the people of Belarus, who continue to seek the promise of true independence, and demonstrate great courage in pursuit of freedom, democracy, and accountability.

$820 Million in New U.S. Military Assistance for Ukraine

1 Jul

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Ukrainians continue to face a brutality highlighted once again this week by an attack that struck a shopping mall filled with civilians.  They continue to fight for their country, and the United States continues to stand by them and their just cause.  As the United States prepares to commemorate our independence, we remain committed to the independence, security, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Pursuant to a delegation of authority from the President, I am authorizing our fourteenth drawdown of arms and equipment from U.S. Department of Defense inventories for Ukraine’s self-defense since August 2021 of up to $50 million.  This authorization, along with the Defense Department’s parallel announcement of $770 million in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funding, will bring total U.S. military assistance to Ukraine to more than $6.92 billion since Russia launched its brutal, unprovoked, full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Our commitment to the Ukrainian people will not waver, and we will continue to stand united with Ukraine.

Reaffirming Our Commitment to the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

1 Jul

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

On this day 54 years ago, the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) opened for signature in London, Moscow, and Washington, DC.  Today, the United States reaffirms its commitment to this critical treaty and celebrates the immeasurable contribution it has made to the security and prosperity of the nations and peoples of the world.

The NPT has provided the essential foundation for international efforts to stem the looming threat – then and now – that nuclear weapons would proliferate across the globe.  In so doing, the NPT has served the interests of all its parties and limited the potential risk of a devastating nuclear war.  It has also expanded access to the astonishingly diverse benefits of the peaceful uses of the atom, whether for electricity, medicine, agriculture, or industry.

When the 10th Review Conference of the NPT opens one month from today, the United States will highlight the treaty’s enduring role in reducing global dangers – whether by facilitating arms control, safeguarding peaceful nuclear activities, or deterring violations – as we work toward our ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons.  We look forward to working with all parties to preserve and strengthen this important treaty.

Canada Day

1 Jul

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

On behalf of the people and government of the United States, I am honored to send heartfelt congratulations to our Canadian friends and neighbors as you celebrate Canada Day on July 1.

Today, we join our friends, neighbors, and allies in Canada in a celebration of democracy and independence. These are two of the many core values that the United States and Canada share, which allow us to work side-by-side to address some of the greatest challenges and opportunities in our hemisphere and in the world.

This past year we made great strides together to advance the Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership and follow through on our commitments made at the North American Leaders’ Summit. We look forward to continued cooperation with the Canadian people, private sector, civil society, and government to further this work and to fulfill the commitments made at the Summit of the Americas.

As President Biden reiterated during his meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau at the Summit of the Americas, the United States has “no better friend in the whole world than Canada.” Based on our shared values and close ties, we are proud to work with Canada to promote democracy, prosperity, and security in our region and around the world.

I wish our Canadian friends and neighbors a happy Canada Day.

Je souhaite une joyeuse et sécuritaire Fête du Canada à nos ami.e.s et voisin.e.s du Canada.

Rwanda National Day

1 Jul

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

On behalf of the United States of America, I offer my congratulations to the people and Government of Rwanda as you celebrate 60 years of independence on July 1 and the 28th anniversary of Liberation Day on July 4. The United States remains committed to working with you on issues of mutual interest including regional peace and security, good governance, global health and food security, and respect for human rights.

The Federal Republic of Somalia’s National Day

1 Jul

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

On behalf of the United States of America, I congratulate the people and Government of Somalia on your 62nd National Day.

The United States supports your efforts to build resilient communities, foster inclusive economic growth, and increase security for Somalia and its neighbors.  We share the goal of a democratic, prosperous, and peaceful future for your nation.

The United States looks forward to continuing its strong partnership with Somalia.

Burundi National Day

1 Jul

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

On behalf of the United States of America, I send my congratulations to the people of the Republic of Burundi as you celebrate 60 years of independence. We look forward to working with you in the years ahead to promote the protection of human rights, regional peace and stability, and economic development.

Welcoming Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid

1 Jul

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I offer our warmest congratulations to Yair Lapid on assuming the role of Prime Minister of Israel.  I look forward to continuing to work closely with Prime Minister Lapid to bolster all aspects of the enduring U.S.-Israel partnership and to counter shared threats. At the same time, I would like to recognize outgoing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for his leadership as Israel’s premier over the past year and thank him for his continued efforts as Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Religious Affairs.  The bond between the United States and Israel has never been stronger.

Israel has no better friend than the United States and our commitment to Israel’s security remains ironclad. The President and I look forward to further enhancing our vital bilateral partnership during his visit to Israel in July and beyond.

Hong Kong 25 Years After Handover

30 Jun

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

On July 1, we mark the 25th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China.  This date was envisioned as the halfway point of 50 years of promised autonomy under the “One Country, Two Systems” framework.  Yet it is now evident that Hong Kong and Beijing authorities no longer view democratic participation, fundamental freedoms, and an independent media as part of this vision.

In 2019, millions of Hong Kongers joined public protests to oppose controversial extradition legislation.  Beijing’s response – the National Security Law – set the stage for an erosion of autonomy and dismantling of the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents over the last two years.  Authorities have jailed the opposition, with many imprisoned for more than a year.  Hong Kong’s leaders have raided independent media organizations, shuttered museums and removed public works of art, weakened democratic institutions, delayed elections, prevented vigils, disqualified sitting lawmakers, and instituted loyalty oaths.  Government officials have spread disinformation that grassroots protests were the work of foreign actors.  They have done all of this in an effort to deprive Hong Kongers of what they have been promised.

We stand in solidarity with people in Hong Kong and reinforce their calls for their promised freedoms to be reinstated.

Democratic Republic of the Congo National Day

30 Jun

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

On behalf of the United States, I extend my best wishes and congratulations to the people and the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the 62nd anniversary of your independence.

On this occasion, we reaffirm our commitment to strengthening our U.S.-DRC Privileged Partnership for Peace, Prosperity, and Preservation of the Environment which reflects our common values and shared interests in improving the lives of our citizens.

We look forward to strengthening our partnership on shared priorities such as democratic institutions, economic prosperity, health, and conservation in the Congo Basin.

I look forward to advancing our partnership with the DRC to work for a better future for all Congolese people.