U.S. Policy Update for Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Today’s Topics: Hiroshima / G7/South Sudan / Djibouti

G7

11 April 2016 Press Availability for G7, John Kerry, Secretary of State, Hiroshima, Japan Good afternoon, everybody. Konnichiwa. I am very privileged to be here, and I want to thank Foreign Minister Kishida and the Government of Japan for hosting us here in Hiroshima for the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of 2016. I also want to thank our terrific Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and her entire team for their hard work and for what they are accomplishing in strengthening, building the relationship between the United States and the people of Japan.

My fellow ministers and I today and yesterday had a really very busy couple of days – very intensive discussions; five different sessions, I think; two working meals. And we covered a range of topics which I know Fumio Kishida has talked to you about a little bit earlier. Before I get to those issues, I want to express on a personal level how deeply moved I am and how honored I am to be here as the first Secretary of State to visit the beautiful city of Hiroshima. Earlier today, as you know, I joined Foreign Minister Kishida and the other ministers for a tour of this extraordinary Peace Memorial Museum. It is a stunning display. It is a gut-wrenching display. It tugs at all of your sensibilities as a human being. It reminds everybody of the extraordinary complexity of choices in war and of what war does to people, to communities, to countries, to the world.

11 April 2016 VOA News G7 Ministers Issue Joint Statement on Maritime Disputes Foreign Ministers from the Group of Seven (G-7) expressed concern in a joint statement issued on Monday over tensions in the East and South China Sea, calling for “all states” to pursue a peaceful settlement of maritime disputes.

“We express our strong opposition to any intimidating, coercive or provocative unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions, and urge all states to refrain from such actions as land reclamation, including large scale ones, building outposts, as well as their use for military purposes,” said the G-7 Foreign Minister’s statement on maritime security.

While the statement did not explicitly name China, who is not a G-7 member, it contained a message viewed as critical of Beijing’s massive efforts to assert its claims over a string of islands in the South China Sea through new constructions.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the G-7 meeting should not “hype” the South China Sea issue. He said doing so will not help solving the problem, and it will affect regional stability, according to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The statement by foreign ministers from seven industrialized countries also urged “all states” to manage disputes “through applicable internationally recognized legal dispute settlement mechanisms, including arbitration.”

South Sudan

11 April 2016 Press Statement from Mark Toner, Deputy Department Spokesperson The United States condemns recent attacks by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), which destroyed a declared opposition cantonment site at Numatina in Wau County, South Sudan. These attacks followed a surge of SPLA troops and military equipment into the area. This action is in clear violation of the permanent ceasefire provisions that apply nationwide and were agreed to by all peace agreement signatories.

We take note of credible reports that the opposition and associated armed actors have recently attacked government forces and civilians in the area. We condemn such actions, which also constitute a violation of the permanent ceasefire provisions. We call on the parties to provide access for the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM) to investigate the circumstances surrounding these incidents.

We urge all parties to resolve disputes through dialogue. Disputes related to ceasefire implementation and cantonment should be referred to the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) and other relevant mechanisms outlined in the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan.

There is no military solution to the conflicts in South Sudan. We call on all parties to fulfill their commitments to implement the provisions of the peace agreement in full.

 

Djibouti

11 April 2016 Press Statement from Mark Toner, Deputy Department Spokesperson The United States commends the Djiboutian people for peacefully exercising their right to vote during their country’s April 8 presidential election.

While elections are an integral component of all democratic societies, democracy is also built on the foundation of rule of law, civil liberties, and open political discourse between all stakeholders. We encourage the Government of Djibouti to support the freedoms of peaceful assembly, association, and expression for all of Djibouti’s citizens.

The United States has a strong partnership with Djibouti. We look forward to advancing our shared interests and helping Djiboutians build a more prosperous, secure, and democratic future. We take note of the reports released by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the African Union, and others and the recommendations by the African Union on improving future electoral processes in Djibouti. We hope to work with the Government of Djibouti to advance those recommendations.