Ambassador Hussain’s Trip to the Oak Creek Sikh Memorial Anniversary Candlelight Remembrance Vigil

9 Aug

Office of the Spokesperson

U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain traveled to Oak Creek, Wisconsin August 5-6 to participate in the 10th Annual Oak Creek Sikh Memorial Anniversary Candlelight Remembrance Vigil. The event convened federal and state government representatives, civil society, and religious leaders to honor the victims of the 2012 attack and to stand in solidarity with the Sikh community. Ambassador Hussain met with community leaders and local government officials to discuss our continuing efforts to work together to combat hate and protect religious freedom and places of worship everywhere.

United States Hosts Proliferation Security Initiative Exercise Fortune Guard 22

8 Aug

Office of the Spokesperson

The United States will host Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) Exercise Fortune Guard 22 on August 8-12, 2022, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Fortune Guard 22 is part of the PSI’s Asia-Pacific Exercise Rotation series. The exercise will bring together 21 countries to address the full range of weapons of mass destruction counterproliferation interdiction-related activities, from whole-of-government rapid decision making to operational interdiction, seizure, and disposition. Fortune Guard 22 will feature expert briefs; a scenario-based tabletop discussion; a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear response subject-matter-expert information exchange; and live exercises to demonstrate Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) interdiction capabilities.

Fortune Guard is the U.S. contribution to the Asia-Pacific Exercise Rotation series, which the United States inaugurated in 2014. Each of the Asia-Pacific Exercise Rotation host countries hosts their own exercises: Pacific Protector in Australia; Pacific Shield in Japan; Maru in New Zealand; Deep Sabre in Singapore; and Eastern Endeavor in the Republic of Korea.

The Asia-Pacific Exercise Rotation’s annual dedicated series of PSI exercises builds regional WMD counterproliferation political will and capacity, and signals partners’ resolve to take action to conduct counterproliferation interdiction as part of their long-term commitment to the PSI.

The PSI was established in 2003 to stop or impede transfers of WMD, their delivery systems, and related materials flowing to and from states and non-state actors of proliferation concern. Thus far, 107 states have endorsed the PSI Statement of Interdiction Principles. In doing so, they have committed to take effective measures to interdict WMD-related transfers consistent with national law and international obligations, adopt streamlined procedures for rapid information exchange, and strengthen relevant national and international laws and frameworks.

The United States urges all remaining non-endorsers to endorse and participate in the PSI.

Special Advisor on International Disability Rights Minkara’s Travel to Romania and Moldova

8 Aug

Office of the Spokesperson

Special Advisor on International Disability Rights Sara Minkara will travel to Bucharest, Romania and Chisinau, Moldova August 9-12 to meet with senior government officials, civil society organizations, and international organization representatives about addressing the challenges facing persons with disabilities in each nation, including refugees from Ukraine with disabilities.  Special Advisor Minkara will highlight both countries’ efforts to reshape the narrative around disability emphasizing the value, rights, and equality that persons with disabilities bring to all sectors of society when fully included.  The meetings will also focus on further supporting the needs of refugees from Ukraine with disabilities and increasing support for persons with disabilities globally.

Follow Special Advisor Minkara on the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor’s Facebook and Twitter.

For media inquiries, please contact DRL-Press@state.gov.

Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Meeting with Australian FM Penny Wong

8 Aug

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met today with Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Penny Wong to discuss U.S. and Australian efforts in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region while also deepening economic engagement in the region through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. They discussed the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) recent actions that undermine international peace and stability and reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. They also highlighted their commitment to the highest possible nonproliferation standards in carrying out their objectives with the United Kingdom through the AUKUS partnership. Deputy Secretary Sherman and Foreign Minister Wong reiterated the importance of holding Russia accountable for its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, including on assistance to Ukraine and in imposing sanctions aimed at holding Russia to account. Deputy Secretary Sherman and Foreign Minister Wong also discussed recent U.S. and Australian engagements with Pacific Island countries and future opportunities to collaborate with the region to advance Pacific Island priorities. Finally, they addressed continued coordination to combat COVID-19 and build stronger global health security under the COVID-19 Global Action Plan.

Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Meeting with Australia Assistant Minister for Trade and Manufacturing Tim Ayres

8 Aug

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met today with Australia Assistant Minister for Trade and Manufacturing Tim Ayres to congratulate him on his new role and to discuss the close U.S.-Australia economic partnership. They discussed the importance of secure and resilient supply chains, including for critical minerals vital to our shared energy transition and climate goals. Deputy Secretary Sherman and Assistant Minister Ayres discussed cooperation to combat economic coercion and advance collaboration with partners and allies to advance peace, prosperity, and stability in the region, including through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.

Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Meeting with Australian DFAT Secretary Jan Adams

8 Aug

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met today with Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Secretary Jan Adams in Canberra, Australia, to discuss the importance of deepening engagement and cooperation with our partners in the Pacific Island nations to advance the Pacific Islands’ priorities. They reaffirmed the commitment of the United States and Australia to maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and discussed recent actions by the People’s Republic of China that undermine international peace and stability. They also discussed U.S. and Australian efforts to support the people of Ukraine and hold the Kremlin accountable for its unprovoked, unjust, and premeditated invasion of Ukraine. The Deputy Secretary also expressed the United States’ continued commitment to our enhanced trilateral partnership, AUKUS.

The United States and the Republic of South Africa

8 Aug

Office of the Spokesperson

The United States and South Africa enjoy a strategic partnership with a strong network of people-to-people relationships with businesses, non-governmental organizations, universities, cultural institutions, and individual citizens. As a global voice, strong and vibrant democracy, and a country built on its commitment to human rights, South Africa is a strategic partner of the United States, with strong collaboration in shared global and bilateral priorities, including health, climate, trade and investment, education, and digital economy.
U.S.-South Africa Relations

  • Since South Africa’s transition to democracy in 1994, the United States and South Africa have built a solid bilateral relationship. The United States first opened a consulate in Cape Town in 1799, and in 1929 established formal diplomatic relations with South Africa after the United Kingdom recognized South Africa’s autonomy within the British Empire. In 1948, the South African government instituted apartheid, a system of governance that formalized the political subjugation of the majority non-white population. U.S.-South Africa relations eventually became severely strained by South Africa’s racial policies; the U.S. Congress ultimately passed the 1986 Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, which imposed sanctions on the apartheid South African government.
  • The United States and South Africa share vibrant educational and people-to-people ties, significant economic and political interests, as well as common development objectives throughout Africa. As a strong democracy and sub-Saharan Africa’s most advanced economy, South Africa plays a key economic and political role on the continent. The United States seeks opportunities for increased U.S.-South African cooperation on regional and international issues.
  • Since 1994, South Africa has made notable strides toward building an inclusive democracy that provides increased opportunity for its people. U.S. assistance focuses on improving healthcare, increasing education standards and teacher training, building capacity in agriculture to address regional food security, and both mitigating and adapting to climate change.

U.S. Health Partnership with South Africa

  • Since 2004, the U.S. government has invested more than $8billion in assistance through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). This assistance bolsters South Africa’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and helps ensure that all South Africans live longer and healthier lives. PEPFAR investments have also contributed to strengthening global health security by supporting human resources for health, as well as building clinical capacity in support of the COVID-19 response. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programs strengthen small- and medium-sized enterprises, create employment, improve training and job skills, promote basic education, combat gender-based violence, and promote HIV/AIDS care, prevention, and treatment.
  • South Africa joined the United States to launch the COVID-19 Global Action Plan, through which our government are collaborating to end the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen global health security architecture. South Africa has been a key partner in the global response, including at the regional, and global levels.  Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States has provided almost $75 million in COVID-related assistance to South Africa and has provided, in partnership with COVAX, almost 8 million vaccine doses.

Bilateral Economic Relations

  • South Africa is the largest U.S. trade partner in Africa, with a total two-way goods trade of $21billion in 2021. Approximately 600 American businesses operate in South Africa, and many of those use South Africa as a regional headquarters. South Africa qualifies for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act as well as the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences trade preference program. Both governments engage in frequent discussions to increase opportunities for bilateral trade and investment and optimize the business climate. The two nations signed an amended Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in 2012. In addition, South Africa belongs to the Southern African Customs Union, which signed a Trade, Investment, and Development Cooperative Agreement (TIDCA) with the United States in 2008. The United States and South Africa have a bilateral tax treaty that prevents double taxation and fiscal evasion.

U.S.-South Africa Climate Cooperation

  • South Africa’s dependence on coal as a primary fuel source for electricity generation made it one of the top 15 greenhouse gas emitters in the world.  Climate change is already altering South African ecosystems, economies, and livelihoods. Since 1990, the national average temperature has increased twice as fast as global temperature.  The United States and South Africa cooperate across a range of climate-related initiatives, from reducing emissions while expanding energy access while creating jobs, to clean energy infrastructure, to environmental protection, climate adaptation and mitigation.
  • The U.S. government is helping the Government of South Africa achieve its goal of shifting the power sector to 42 percent non-fossil fuel sources by 2030 and reducing overall Green House Gas emissions in line with Paris Agreement targets. In partnership with national and sub-national authorities, the U.S. government is accelerating large-scale and distributed renewable energy deployment through technical assistance and capacity building.
  • The Just Energy Transition Partnership brings together the United States and South Africa along with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the European Union in a landmark partnership to support the transition of South Africa’s economy away from fossil fuels. The Partnership aims to accelerate the decarbonisation of South Africa’s economy, with a focus on the electricity system, to help it achieve the ambitious goals set out in its updated Nationally Determined Contribution emissions goals.  It will mobilize an initial commitment of $8.5 billion for the first phase of financing, through various mechanisms including grants, concessional loans and investments and risk sharing instruments, including to mobilize the private sector.

South Africa’s Membership in International Organizations

  • South Africa’s principal foreign policy objectives are to encourage regional economic integration in Africa, promote the peaceful resolution of conflict in Africa, and use multilateral bodies to ensure that developing countries’ voices are heard on international issues. South Africa and the United States belong to many of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, G-20, and World Trade Organization. South Africa is also a member of BRICS and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). South Africa participates as a key partner in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Enhanced Engagement program.

U.S. Food Security Assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa

8 Aug

Office of the Spokesperson

Secretary Blinken travels to South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda this week, where the United States has been deploying resources and working in partnership with African governments, institutions, businesses, scientists, and other leaders to prevent hunger and combat the global food security crisis while also addressing the increasing rates of malnutrition, which has hit the continent of Africa the hardest.

At the G7 Summit in June, President Biden and G7 leaders announced over $4.5 billion to address global food security, over half of which will come from the United States.  This $2.76 billion in U.S. government funding will help protect the world’s most vulnerable populations and mitigate the impacts of growing food insecurity and malnutrition, including from Russia’s war in Ukraine, by building production capacity and more resilient agriculture and food systems around the world, and responding to immediate emergency food needs.  We have recognized the need for immediate action to prevent far-reaching consequences, and we are responding with support targeting Africa’s own plans for food security and food systems transformation.

Of this $2.76 billion, $760 million will be for sustainable near-term food assistance to help mitigate further increases in poverty, hunger, and malnutrition in vulnerable countries impacted by high prices of food, fertilizer, and fuel.  Of this amount, we are working with Congress to allocate $336.5 million to bilateral programs for Sub-Saharan African countries, including Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe and regional programs in southern Africa, west Africa, and the Sahel.

  • Also of this $2.76 billion, USAID is programming $2 billion in emergency food security assistance over the next three months.  As of August 8, 2022, the U.S. has provided nearly $1 billion specifically for countries in Africa toward this $2 billion commitment, including Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Uganda.

In addition to the President’s G7 commitment, the U.S. has announced the drawdown of the balance in the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, an effort in coordination with the U.S. Department of Agriculture which will provide an additional $670 million in food assistance to respond to historic levels of acute food insecurity around the world.  Funds announced in July and August 2022 will be used to procure U.S. food commodities to bolster existing emergency food operations in countries facing severe food insecurity. Resources will be delivered to:: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan.

President Biden also announced that the United States is expanding sustainable African food production through the U.S. government’s signature global food security initiative, to eight additional African countries, including Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia. This expansion brings the number of priority countries globally to 20 and delivers on President Biden’s commitment in September 2021 to work with Congress to provide $5 billion through Feed the Future to end global hunger, malnutrition and build sustainable, resilient, inclusive food systems abroad.

Finally, the U.S. government will also contribute to international efforts to support livelihoods and nutrition and help vulnerable countries build their resilience to shocks including food price volatility, supply chain issues, climate impacts, and other long-term threats. Subject to Congressional notification, the U.S. is planning to provide $120 million to the following efforts:

  • The African Development Bank’s (AfDB) African Emergency Food Production Facility (AEFPF) to increase the production of climate-adapted wheat, corn, rice, and soybeans over the next four growing seasons in Africa.
  • The International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD) Crisis Response Initiative (CRI) to help protect livelihoods and build resilience in rural communities.
  • The Africa Adaptation Initiative (AAI) to develop a pipeline of bankable projects in Africa, to leverage private equity.
  • The Africa Risk Capacity (ARC) Africa Disaster Risk Financing Programme (ADRiFi) to help African governments to respond to food system shocks by increasing access to risk insurance products.
  • A fertilizer efficiency and innovation program to enhance the efficiency of fertilizer use in countries where fertilizer tends to be overapplied.
  • Support for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will fund soil mapping spanning multiple countries to provide information allowing for wiser water usage, greater fertilizer conservation, and improved climate resilience impacts.

Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Meeting with Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Select Cabinet Members

7 Aug

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman met today with Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in Honiara, Solomon Islands. They discussed the U.S.-Solomon Islands bilateral relationship, including cooperation in areas such as provision of COVID-19 vaccines, reducing poverty, enhancing climate resilience, increasing tourism investment, and deepening efforts to mitigate unexploded explosive ordnance (UXO) in Solomon Islands, a legacy of the Second World War. They also discussed developments affecting regional and global security. The Deputy Secretary also highlighted recent developments in the process to open the U.S. Embassy in Honiara.

Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Meeting with Solomon Islands Opposition Leader Wale and Member of Parliament Kenilorea, Jr.

7 Aug

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met today with Solomon Islands Opposition Leader Matthew Wale and Member of Parliament Peter Kenilorea, Jr. in Honiara, Solomon Islands. They discussed opportunities to strengthen the relationship between the American people and the people of Solomon Islands.