U.S. Policy Update for 26 August, 2016

Today’s topics: Italian Earthquake, Middle East, Afghanistan, Colombia, Stem

Italian Earthquake

24 August 2016 Secretary Kerry’s Call With Italian Foreign Minister Gentiloni  Secretary Kerry offered his condolences today to Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni for the loss of life and devastation caused by today’s earthquake. He made clear the American people stand with Italians in this difficult time and offered any U.S. assistance that Italy might require. The Secretary pledged to stay in close contact as search, rescue and recovery efforts continue.

Middle East

Secretary Kerry Addresses Reporters During a Joint News Conference With Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in Jeddah
Secretary Kerry Addresses Reporters During a Joint News Conference With Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in Jeddah

25 August 2016  Remarks Secretary of State John Kerry With Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir This afternoon Adel and I met with our counterparts from the Gulf Cooperation Council – UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Kingdom joined us, as well as UN Special Envoy Ismail Ahmed. The purpose of our meetings was, quite simply, to see if together we could find a way to end the violence of Yemen, to end the war, and to address the deeply troubling situation there, which has now not only killed more than 6,500 people to date, but become a humanitarian crisis of enormous magnitude and a growing security threat, and one that everybody agreed – there was no debate about this – if we cannot find a solution to the war that meets the appropriate needs of respecting the sovereignty and the security of Saudi Arabia, while at the same time providing the Houthi, a minority, an opportunity to be part of a government in the future, then things can only go in one direction, and that is worse, in Yemen.

The restoration of stability to Yemen is vital in order to ease the suffering and to prevent groups like al-Qaida and Daesh from taking further advantage of the political and security vacuum and the instability that has been created. It is essential for Yemen, for countries in the region, and for the world community in general to agree on a plan to end the fighting and achieve a lasting peace.

25 August 2016 Joint Statement on Libya by the Governments of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States  The Governments of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States welcome the statement of the Presidency Council (PC) of 24 August 2016 and the announcement of its intention to submit a revised list of Government of National Accord (GNA) Ministers to the House of Representatives (HoR). They emphasised the unanimous adoption of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2259 which endorses the Rome Communiqué of 13 December 2015 and the Libya Political Agreement to support the GNA as the sole legitimate government of Libya and reject official contact with parallel institutions that claim to be the legitimate authority but are outside the Libya Political Agreement. They recalled the Vienna conference of 16 May 2016 in which the international community expressed unanimous support for Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.

25 August 2016 United States Announces Additional Humanitarian Aid for Yemen U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced today nearly $189 million in additional humanitarian assistance in response to the crisis in Yemen, bringing the total U.S. humanitarian assistance for Yemen to more than $327 million in fiscal year 2016. The contribution will help meet urgent humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable people in the Middle East’s poorest and most food insecure country, as well as Yemeni refugees in neighboring countries.

Afghanistan

25 August 2016 Press Statement John Kerry On American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) Attack  The United States condemns in the strongest terms the attack on the American University in Kabul, an institution created with the sole purpose to help educate and enlighten the future leaders of Afghanistan. On behalf of the American people, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the friends and families of those who were killed and injured. I know I join countless others around the world in saying that my thoughts and prayers are with you.

This was a cowardly assault on talented and motivated scholars – students and faculty alike – dedicated to a better and more prosperous future for Afghanistan, as well as the police and security staff who help make that future possible. Though it took and altered innocent lives, this attack will ultimately fail to change that path or deter the cause of peace in that country.

The American University of Afghanistan will continue to serve as a beacon of hope for all Afghans. And the United States, our allies and partners, will continue to stand with them as they confront the threat of terrorism, strive for peace, and educate themselves and their children. Now, as before, we affirm our dedication to those goals and to an enduring and vibrant partnership with the government – and the citizens – of Afghanistan.

25 August 2016 Afghan Security Forces on Positive Trajectory (DOD link) Afghan forces are performing better this year than last year, and are generally on track with their offensive campaign plan and are on a positive trajectory, the NATO Resolute Support Mission deputy chief of staff for communications said today.

Colombia Final Peace Accord

25 August 2016 John Kerry Secretary of State Press Statement  After over fifty years of conflict and four years of difficult negotiations, a final peace accord has been reached by the Colombian government and the FARC. The United States strongly supports this accord that can achieve a just and lasting peace for all Colombians.

Oceans

Ocean wave and sunset (© Shutterstock.com)
Ocean wave and sunset (© Shutterstock.com)

26 August 2016 Love the ocean? The world needs your story at #1KOceanActions If you’ve participated in a beach cleanup, campaigned to protect a stretch of coast, or even surfed with a SmartFin, you’re helping protect one of the most precious resources on the planet: the ocean.
Share your story with the #1KOceanActions campaign and you could be featured at the 2016 Our Ocean Conference from September 15 to 16 in Washington.

The Our Ocean Conference will bring together hundreds of the world’s leaders on ocean issues to find ways to preserve this critical resource.
You can be one of them!

STEM

Secretary Kerry, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues Catherine Russell and Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield Meet With a Group of Young Women who Have Been Empowered, or are Encourgaging Others to be Empowered Through Education in Abuja
Secretary Kerry, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell and Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield Meet With a Group of Young Women who Have Been Empowered, or are Encourgaging Others to be Empowered Through Education in Abuja

24 August 2016 Secretary Kerry’s Remarks at a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Girls Event in Nigeria   This is a privilege for me. I am a father of two daughters, and they’ve both been very lucky to have great opportunities in their lives. One is a doctor today and one is a filmmaker today. And I also had the privilege – we are in the Rosa Parks Room here. I don’t know if you know that, but – or all of you know who Rosa Parks is, but Rosa Parks was a very, very famous civil rights activist in America who sat in a bus and refused to move when people told her she had to move, because as an African American, she wasn’t allowed to sit where she was trying to sit. But she stayed where she was and she became a symbol of people standing up and fighting for their rights. So she sat down, but she stood up, if you know what I mean. And it was a symbol to people – it inspired a movement. All of you are inspirational, and I really appreciate your being here.