Lundi 22 Avril 2019  

N°124 - Quatrième trimestre 2018

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  S.E.M. / H.E. Craig Roberts Stapleton

A Worldwide Presence on Every Front 2005        


As it pushes forward with the battle to bring democracy and freedom to Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has also stepped up its support to developing countries and is spearheading efforts to curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons. In the aftermath of the November 7th midterm elections, H.E. Craig Roberts Stapleton, United States Ambassador to France, outlines U.S. foreign policy objectives for our readers.



The Diplomatic Letter: It has been five years since the September 11th terrorist attacks in the United States. How would you qualify the impact of this event on society and what has been done since then to make the world more secure?


H.E. Craig Roberts Stapleton: The fifth anniversary of September 11th marked an occasion for the international community to reaffirm its unequivocal condemnation of all acts of terror. The victims of September 11th were citizens of more than 90 different countries and adherents of many faiths, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Terrorism affects all of us. It has brought tragedy, destruction, death and terrible grief to innocent people across the world, from Indonesia to Morocco, Spain, Jordan, England, India and Egypt.

Terrorist attacks against the United States and our friends and allies began long before we acted to remove the Taliban regime, which was harboring al Qaida in Afghanistan, or to remove Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime from power in Iraq.

The terrorists, such as those who were responsible for September 11 and those who may be behind the most recent mass murder plot against airplanes in London, have long targeted innocent people. Their agenda is to impose a Taliban-like tyrannical regime on the many proud and sovereign nations of the Islamic world, and they have nothing but intolerance for all those who do not share their extremist beliefs. They have repeatedly shown their contempt for human life, regardless of race, ethnicity or religion. We saw the type of society they seek to impose in the Taliban rule of Afghanistan, when girls were not allowed to go to school, women were not allowed to work, music was banned, and cultural and historical landmarks were destroyed.

The fight against terrorism is a struggle to uphold universal values and principles. Much more unites us as citizens of the world than divides us. Across all borders, we share a common humanity. While the color of our skin, the language we speak, or the way we worship may be different, people everywhere aspire to speak their minds, participate in their society, worship freely, live in security, and pursue education, jobs and greater opportunities for their families. As an international community, we must foster debate, encourage education and provide information because we believe most people everywhere, of every faith, will choose freedom over tyranny and tolerance over intolerance and fanaticism.

Despite al-Qaida’s repeated attempts to characterize the world as being in the midst of a clash of civilizations, the simple fact is that the international community has come together in unprecedented ways to confront common threats and ease human suffering among all peoples, including Muslims. America is doing its part, working in partnership with countries throughout the Islamic world, to improve the lives of all Muslims. The United States is the largest single donor of aid to the Palestinian people which we provide through the United Nations and through a variety of international organizations. Americans were the largest providers of help to Muslims affected by the tsunami in Indonesia and the earthquake in Pakistan.   We provide funds for Muslim girls and boys to go to school, for Muslim women to learn English, for Muslim youths to get training for jobs. We liberated Kuwait from invasion and, in Kosovo and Bosnia, protected oppressed Muslim minorities against their Christian oppressors. In Afghanistan and Iraq, we are working in partnership with democratically elected Muslim leaders to provide freedom and security for Muslim populations that were brutally repressed under the Taliban and Saddam Hussein.

As we reflect on September 11, 2001, we also look forward. We seek to work in a spirit of partnership with people and nations across the world to confront this ideology of hate and foster a climate of hope and opportunity. We are far from perfect, yet we believe the ideals of freedom and justice that guide us are right and true for people everywhere. We want to work in partnership with nations throughout the world in ways that will result in a more peaceful and prosperous world; as President Bush said in his speech on September 11th 2006: “One of the strongest weapons in our arsenal is the power of freedom. The terrorists fear freedom as much as they do our firepower. They are thrown into panic at the sight of an old man pulling the election lever, girls enrolling in schools, or families worshiping God in their own traditions. They know that given a choice, people will choose freedom over their extremist ideology.”


T.D.L.: Domestically, the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 continues to have repercussions. How do you explain the way this catastrophe was handled by the authorities?  


H.E.C.R.S.: Hurricane Katrina was the most destructive natural disaster in U.S. history, with over 1,836 dead and more than 705 missing, and billions of dollars in property lost or destroyed. It forced hundreds of thousands of Americans to resettle to other states, some temporarily, some permanently. As is often the case in the face of such disasters, our friends around the world came together and the U.S. received an outpouring of generous offers of assistance, even from countries still recovering from their own catastrophes such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand and the Maldives. Nations, charities, businesses and individuals worldwide contributed billions of euros to relieve people of their suffering and to rebuild their lives and communities Private French citizens alone contributed more than € 500,000 to the Hurricane Katrina relief and reconstruction fund. The extreme generosity on the part of individuals of a nation with historical ties to this region of the United States is a vivid example of the humanity and compassion that unite us all as human beings.

We gratefully accepted the French government’s various offers of supplies, divers and logistical assistance. Private citizens and organizations from across France flooded our Embassy with hundreds of calls and letters to offer condolences and to make contributions – ranging from home hospitality and scholarships for students to financial donations. We were deeply touched by those gestures of sympathy and friendship.

The magnitude of Hurricane Katrina ultimately served as a catalyst for far-reaching reform and transformation. Soon after Katrina made landfall, State and local authorities understood the devastation was serious but, due to the destruction of infrastructure and response capabilities, they lacked the ability to communicate with each other and coordinate a response. Federal officials struggled to carry out responsibilities generally conducted by State and local authorities, such as the rescue of citizens stranded by the rising floodwaters, provision of law enforcement, and evacuation of the remaining population of New Orleans, all of this without the benefit of prior planning or a functioning State/local incident command structure to guide their efforts.

We recognize the federal government’s slow response to the catastrophe, but state and local governments are best positioned to address incidents in their jurisdictions and will always play a large role in disaster response. Americans have the right to expect that the Federal government will always effectively respond to a catastrophic incident.

To that end, we are building upon the national and homeland security foundations we established since 9/11 and implement a unified system of National Preparedness. Together, we will strengthen our ability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, and recover from a wide range of catastrophic possibilities that are as varied as terrorism and as random as the weather. There is no greater mission, and no greater tribute to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.


T.D.L.: How do you explain the situation in Iraq and what appears to be a slide towards civil war? What is being done to ensure security, namely for the inhabitants of Baghdad where there have been repeated attacks?


H.E.C.R.S.: The situation in Iraq is very difficult because an enemy is trying to stop this new democracy, just as there are those who are trying to stop the development of a Palestinian state and those who try to undermine democracy in Lebanon. We have no doubt that terrorists, and others opposed to peace, will continue to seek to incite communal hatred and target the innocent in a desperate attempt to tear down all progress towards a free and stable Iraq – all the more reason for the international community to stay engaged and not turn away from Iraq in its time of need.

Baghdad – with almost 7 million inhabitants – draws global attention as a target for sensationalized attacks. It is the focus for terrorists, illegal armed groups and violent extremists who wish to trample on Iraq’s new democracy and impede the progress of the elected government. This is why the Baghdad Security Initiative, also known as Amaliya Ma’an Ila al-Amam (or Operation Together Forward) was adopted not only to immediately reduce violence, but also to stop the root causes of sectarian violence. Prime Minister Maliki’s plan for securing Baghdad is closely tied to a larger program for national reconciliation, which seeks to foster political understanding between Sunnis, Kurds and Shiites, including those who control or influence illegal armed groups involved in sectarian conflict.

This reconciliation effort is showing early promise.   In the Rashid district of Baghdad, Sunni and Shiite political leaders, tribal leaders and imams met and signed an agreement forswearing violence. Tribal leaders went a step further by renouncing protection for tribal members who engage in sectarian violence. In nearby Babil province, a reconciliation conference ended with tribal sheiks signing an oath that pledges them to work hand-in-hand with other leaders from the province.

Iraq’s leaders and the Iraqi people have stood firm in the face of horrendous acts of terror and sectarian violence and the United States will not abandon them in their struggle to build a free nation. America and our coalition partners will continue to stand with the democratic government elected by the Iraqis. We will continue to help Iraq secure the international assistance and investment indispensable to creating jobs and opportunity, working with the United Nations and through the International Compact with Iraq.

The United States will also continue to train the Iraqis who have stepped forward to fight the enemies of freedom. We will not yield the future of Iraq to terrorists and extremists. In return, Iraqi leaders must rise to the challenges the country is facing, and make difficult choices to foster security and prosperity. Working together, we will help Iraqi democracy succeed, so it can become a beacon of hope for millions in the Muslim world.


T.D.L.: Washington has repeatedly denounced the influence of Iran as a factor of destabilization in the region. Beyond Iran’s nuclear program, how do you view the weight that Iran has today in the Middle East?


H.E.C.R.S.: The United States and France share the same broad objectives of halting the spread of nuclear weapons and the transfer of nuclear technology.   Iran represents a significant threat to non-proliferation as well as to regional stability in the Middle East and we call on it to honor the United Nations Security Council request for it to suspend its nuclear activities, in accordance with its commitments to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

We are committed to ensuring that Iran comes to understand that developing nuclear weapons is not in its interest and that reaching an agreement through negotiations is the best option.

France, the United States and our international partners are united in our determination to see the proliferation implications of Iran’s advanced nuclear program resolved. The U.S. strongly supports the European efforts to secure Iran’s agreement to provide objective guarantees that its nuclear program is intended for exclusively peaceful purposes. As those discussions proceed, we urge Iran to abide fully by the terms of the November 2004 Paris Agreement and by the November 2004 IAEA Board of Governors resolution, including the need to suspend – fully and verifiably – all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. Iran should cooperate fully with IAEA requests for information and access, comply fully with all IAEA Board requirements, resolve all outstanding issues related to its nuclear program, and ratify without delay the Additional Protocol.

A nuclear-armed Iran is intolerable, not just to the United States but to the entire international community. With nuclear weapons, Tehran could light a fuse for further nuclear proliferation by those countries that would be threatened by Iran, bringing into question the effectiveness and, in fact, the future of the nuclear nonproliferation regime. Iran accepted a legally binding obligation when it signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the requisite IAEA (International Atomic Energy Association) agreement to accept IAEA safeguards on and verification of its nuclear activities.


T.D.L.: What is the U.S. actively doing to persuade Iran to stop its nuclear program? Will the U.S. contemplate the possibility of direct talks with Teheran?


H.E.C.R.S.: We are seeking a diplomatic solution to the problem and we are working with our allies to encourage reforms and curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Last May, the United States and the members of the Security Council presented Iran with a broad package of incentives in return for an end to its uranium enrichment. The United States has also agreed to join the EU3 in direct talks with Iran if it accepts the terms of the incentive package.

While in New York in September 2006 for the United Nations General Assembly, President Bush and President Chirac discussed the importance of preventing Iran from acquiring military nuclear capabilities, and both spoke about their desire to solve the issue diplomatically. Indeed, UN Resolution 1696 is the foundation for our discussions on this issue. If Iran does suspend its enrichment-related programs and Dr. El Baradei of the IAEA confirms this fact, then we will be able to proceed with negotiations. Secretary Rice reaffirmed that the United States would take part in these negotiations and said she would personally attend the first round. If Iran does not suspend, however, then in compliance with Resolution 1696 we will implement sanctions measures under Article 41 of Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. Given the hard-line nature of the regime in Iran, it is no surprise that negotiations have been difficult. The leaders of Iran have a real choice to make and it would be a shame if their choice resulted in their country’s isolation from the community of nations.

The United States admires Iran’s rich history and many contributions to civilization. The Iranians deserve an opportunity to determine their own future, to develop an economy that rewards their intelligence and their talents, and live in a society that allows them to fulfill their tremendous potential. The greatest obstacle to this future is that the rulers have chosen to deny the people liberty and to use the nation’s resources to fund terrorism, fuel extremism, and pursue nuclear weapons. Despite what the regime has said, we have no objection to Iran’s pursuit of a truly peaceful nuclear power program.

We look forward to the day when America and Iran can once again be good friends and close partners in the cause of peace. With the images of our Embassy hostages seared so deeply into our collective consciousness, it is easy to forget that our countries once enjoyed excellent relations and, only a generation ago, 200,000 Iranians were studying in the U.S. We intend to restart such exchange programs as an important element in our public and cultural diplomacy effort with Iran.


T.D.L.: Iran’s nuclear program and the recent North Korean nuclear missile test have called into question the effectiveness of the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1970. How does the U.S. continue to uphold the need for the NPT while signing bilateral agreements on nuclear cooperation with non-signatory countries such as India?


H.E.C.R.S.: The United States and its international partners are committed to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, and all of us agree that the proclaimed actions taken by North Korea are unacceptable and deserve an immediate response by the United Nations Security Council.

The North Korean regime remains one of the world’s leading proliferators of missile technology, including transfers to Iran and Syria. The transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to states or non-state entities is a serious threat to the United States and indeed to the international community as a whole, and we will hold North Korea fully accountable of the consequences of such action.

President Bush has stressed that the United States continues to put the accent on diplomacy, and he has reaffirmed to the U.S.’s allies in the region, including South Korea and Japan, that the United States will meet the full range of our deterrent and security commitments. During an October 19 joint press briefing in Seoul, South Korea, with South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon, the soon-to-be secretary-general of the United Nations, Secretary Rice stressed that: “there remains a path open for diplomacy and that we hope that the North [North Korea] will return to the talks, but this time return really willing and ready to dismantle its weapons program.”

Threats will not lead to a brighter future for the North Korean people, nor weaken the resolve of the United States and our allies to achieve the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. North Korea’s claim to missile tests serves only to raise tensions, while depriving the North Korean people of increased prosperity and better relations with the world offered by the implementation of the joint statement of the six-party talks. The oppressed and impoverished people of North Korea deserve a brighter future.

Concerning the Non-Proliferation Treaty, today it is facing the most serious challenge in its history due to instances of noncompliance. The vast majority of member states have lived up to their NPT nonproliferation obligations – which constitute the Treaty’s most important contribution to international peace and security – but some have not. Fighting terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, coupled with the risk that such weapons could be acquired by terrorists, remain our greatest security challenges. We seek to strengthen and support the important role of the United Nations in assisting member states in combating both challenges. We will assist other states around the world to build stronger legal, regulatory, enforcement and other institutional capacity against proliferation. And we will work for more effective responses to address proliferation threats and prevent or remedy non-compliance.

As for the US-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative, we came to the conclusion that our past nonproliferation policies toward India had not achieved their purposes; that they had no effect on India’s development of nuclear weapons. Nor did they prevent India and Pakistan from testing nuclear weapons in 1998. They contributed little to lessening regional tensions, which brought India and Pakistan repeatedly to the brink of war. They effectively forced India to rely on oil and gas from Iran and the Persian Gulf, or on destabilizing competition over waterways to produce hydroelectric power. They isolated India from the standards of the nuclear nonproliferation establishment, and left India with resentful attitudes and a protected and sheltered nuclear industry.

When President Bush came into office, he judged that our relations with India would be central to the future success of U.S. foreign policy in South Asia and around the world. He resolved to transform our relationship and build a global partnership with the world’s largest democracy. A partnership founded on common interests and shared ideals. The United States and India both value individual freedom and rule of law, both are committed fully to civilian control of the military, and both are committed to economic liberty and strong growth of our free economies.

Moving forward in building this new strategic relationship will hinge, to a great degree, on the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative. Let me mention the specifics of this Initiative.  

India has pledged, for the first time in 30 years, to submit its entire civil nuclear program to international inspection and to take on significant new nonproliferation commitments in exchange for full civil nuclear cooperation with the international community. With this initiative, the world is expecting India to be a full partner in nonproliferation, and India is expecting the world to help it meet its growing energy needs.

Finally, it is important to remember that India never signed the NPT and has consequently never violated it, whereas Iran and North Korea both signed the Treaty and violated their obligations. India has a solid nonproliferation record, it is a democracy, a peaceful and friendly state and the Initiative reflects America’s confidence in India as a global strategic partner with a commitment to tolerance and freedom.


T.D.L.: Observers are saying that the project for the “Greater Middle East” is at an impasse. What is the current US strategy for the Middle East?


H.E.C.R.S.: The challenges of the United States in the Middle East are deep and enduring but our resolve to promote lasting peace for Israelis, Palestinians, and their neighbors is unwavering.

All of our policy objectives are based on two underlying pillars. The first is promoting freedom, justice and human dignity – working to end tyranny, to promote effective democracies, and to extend prosperity through free and fair trade as well as wise development policies. The second pillar of our global strategy is to confront the challenges of our time by working with a growing community of democracies on many of the problems we face — from the threat of pandemic disease to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to terrorism, to human trafficking, to natural disasters — which reach across national and regional borders.

Some of the changes in the Middle East are happening gradually, but changes are real. Algeria has held its first competitive presidential election, and the military remained neutral. The United Arab Emirates recently announced that half of the seats in its Federal National Council will be chosen by elections. Kuwait held elections in which women were allowed to vote and run for office for the first time. Citizens have voted in municipal elections in Saudi Arabia, in parliamentary elections in Jordan and Bahrain, and in multiparty presidential elections in Yemen and Egypt. These are important steps, and the governments should continue to move forward with other reforms that show they trust their people.

The international community must support those in the region who are offering a more hopeful alternative.   We must seek true stability through a free and just Middle East where the extremists are deterred by millions of citizens in control of their own destinies. While we seek positive change that will translate into a better life for all the people of the region, we work closely with governments, with civil society, and with others on a wide spectrum of priority issues. We deeply respect and seek to nurture important and deeply rooted relationships with Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Their steps towards reform are encouraging, but there is more to be done in terms of countering extremist ideology and promoting moderation and tolerance.

All of these issues constitute a challenging and difficult agenda. Some of these crises have now occupied policymakers and governments for decades. But we know that the voices of reform, for positive change, and for greater humanity in governance did not originate from the West; they came from regional leaders both inside and outside government. We readily acknowledge that democracy will develop in the region with its own Middle Eastern characteristics and with its own timing. We are providing tangible support to reformers and peacemakers in the region so that conflict will diminish, democracy can spread, education can thrive, economies can grow, and women can be empowered. The United States diligently works to support all of these changes in an environment of mutual respect and humility, deeply conscious of the need to respect the traditions and culture of the region and to listen to the people, even when their voices are raised in anger or criticism.

T.D.L.: Specifically what is the U.S. vision for a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in light of Hamas’ involvement in the Palestinian government?


H.E.C.R.S.: The United States and the EU believe that a just and lasting settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is vital to promoting stability in the region and diminishing the terrorist threat.   Some Europeans believe that the Bush Administration has been working more robustly to promote peace since the start of its second term and appreciate renewed U.S. consultations with the EU through the Quartet (U.S., EU, Russia, UN).   The Europeans viewed U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s role in brokering a November 2005 deal on security controls for Gaza border crossings as extremely positive.   As part of this accord, the EU is assisting with monitoring the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. Like the United States, the EU has called on Hamas, which won a majority in the January 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, to renounce violence and recognize Israel. The EU is the largest donor of foreign assistance to the Palestinians and has agreed with the United States that aid should be targeted directly to the Palestinian people and not given through the Hamas-led government.

The world must choose between supporting the moderates and reformers working for change across the Middle East, or yielding the future to the terrorists and extremists. America has made its choice: we will stand with the moderates and reformers. Together we will support the dreams of good and decent people who are working to transform a troubled region – and by doing so, we will advance the high ideals on which the UN was founded.

President Bush’s vision of a two-state solution with Israelis and Palestinians living in peace, stability, prosperity, and dignity is the only viable solution. This two-state vision has been rejected by Hamas, which continues to not recognize Israel. That is why the international community, in the form of the Quartet insists that Hamas must renounce terror, recognize Israel, and accept agreements previously entered into – all prerequisites to the lasting peace we are seeking to accomplish. France was the first government to articulate these three conditions in the wake of Hamas’ election victory, and we appreciate French firmness in refusing to have contact with, or cooperate with, a Palestinian government, which does not meet these conditions. The U.S. and Europe agree that future assistance to a new Palestinian government should be reviewed against its acceptance of these three principles; the burden of compliance rests squarely with Hamas. At the same time, we remain committed to addressing the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people who should be given the chance to enjoy a good life, safety, security, and economic well-being.

Far too many lives have been lost on both sides as a result of violence and terrorist action. While we recognize and fully respect the political process that brought it to power, we have serious and long-standing concerns about Hamas. Any Palestinian government that encourages or tolerates terrorism against innocents not only increases violence against the Israelis, but does great harm to the interests of the Palestinian people, ensuring their further isolation. The United States will have no contact with such a government and we are working with many others in the region and the world to demand that it abandon its support for terror, recognize Israel’s right to exist, and abide by previous agreements.


T.D.L.: What is the U.S. position concerning the ongoing humanitarian and political crisis in the Sudan? What is the US doing to address the suffering of the Sudanese people?  


H.E.C.R.S.: From the beginning of the conflict in the Sudan, the most urgent international priority has been to deal with the humanitarian emergency.   The United States has led the international humanitarian response by providing more than 60 percent of the food distributed by the UN World Food Program and by dedicating more than $1.3 billion in assistance in each of the last two years to Darfur and the people of southern Sudan.

However, to create lasting peace for Darfur, the fundamental political problems must be addressed in addition to the humanitarian conditions. The security situation in Darfur continues to deteriorate. The Government of Sudan, and all armed groups, including those rebel groups who have not signed the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) must refrain from violence and choose to pursue a peaceful solution to the crisis. Humanitarian workers must also be protected while they provide life-saving humanitarian assistance.

The situation in Darfur is a humanitarian crisis, to be sure – but it is more than that. It is fundamentally a political problem, rooted in the historic challenge of governing Sudan. To create the opportunity for real and lasting peace in Darfur, we must help to resolve the broader political problems within Sudan.

Signed in January of 2005, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, or the CPA, is a blueprint for the democratic transformation of Sudan – one that attempts to resolve, for the first time ever, the country’s underlying political problems. The CPA creates a new political framework – a Government of National Unity – through which to devolve power and distribute wealth from Sudan’s central government to its marginalized provinces in the south. It could also serve as a model for the west and for the east. From the ruins of the war, the CPA creates an environment of security and stability, which is supported by 10,000 UN peacekeepers. This force is helping to create the necessary political space for reconciliation to occur in Sudan. It’s a long and difficult process, to be sure, but one that can, and should, lead to freedom, peace, and development for all of Sudan’s people.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement remains the political roadmap to a widely-shared goal of a unified, peaceful, and democratic Sudan. But as we were concluding the CPA, another conflict was erupting – this time in Darfur, in western Sudan. Like the long civil war between north and south, the conflict in Darfur is also political in nature, arising from the fact that the government in Khartoum has never shared wealth and power fairly with the people of Darfur.

The U.S. insists that the government of Sudan must immediately and unconditionally accept a UN peacekeeping force into Darfur. If the Sudanese government will not save the lives of its own people, then the United Nations must act. The Sudanese government has a clear and consequential decision to make between cooperation and confrontation. If the Sudanese government chooses to cooperate, it will find a dedicated partner in the United States that is willing to work toward the common goal of a unified, peaceful and democratic Sudan. A UN deployment would secure the area, stabilize the country, benefit the Sudanese people and thereby serve the interests of the Sudanese government. However, if the Sudanese government chooses confrontation then the regime in Khartoum will be held responsible, and it alone will bear the consequences.

Rebuilding Darfur is contingent on the arrival of UN peacekeepers. It is not the U.S.’s intention to impinge on Sudan’s sovereignty, but sovereignty must be rooted not merely in control, but in responsibility. The decision of the Sudanese government should reflect the role Sudan wishes to play in the world. If the Sudanese government wishes to become a respected member of the international community, then it must act like one and behave responsibly.   UN peacekeeping troops are intended to promote peace in Darfur, and we applaud the interest of many countries in contributing to this important effort.

The United States is working closely with the African Union, the European Union, the UN Security Council and other key partners to review our options and continue to press the Sudanese government to recognize the reality that a UN peacekeeping mission is necessary in Darfur.


T.D.L.: What are the U.S.’s priorities for the African continent? How does the U.S. work with Europe to promote growth in developing countries?


H.E.C.R.S.: The four key priorities are:

– to support the spread of political freedom throughout the continent,

– to expand economic opportunity and growth,

– to address the unique challenge of the HIV/AIDS pandemic,

– and to reinforce African initiatives to end conflict and fight terror.  

Economic expansion on the continent is at an eight-year high, with 20 countries registering growth each of the past five years.   Six major wars have ended in the past six years: in Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Sudan’s north-south 22-year civil war. Africans are taking control of their collective destiny through institutions like the African Union and its New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) program, which contributes to better governance and friendlier ties among states. We succeed as African countries take their place squarely in the community of democracies building an international system based on our shared values, and contributing to global peace and prosperity.

The United States will continue to support the institutions essential for democracy – a free press, an independent judiciary, a sound financial system, and vibrant political parties. Over the next two years, strengthening the electoral infrastructure will be a priority since, in many African countries; elections have become flash points for conflict: losers frequently contest results with policy issues taking a second place to ballot theft and street protest. The Democratic Republic of Congo has made great progress in implementing the transition to democracy set forth in the Global and Inclusive Agreement of 2002 and holding free and fair elections will complete the transition from war to peace. As for Cote d’Ivoire, there is hope that the Security Council resolution on political transition will lead to elections and the successful conclusion of the U.N. peacekeeping mission within a year. We are working to build the capacity of independent national electoral commissions to conduct free, fair, and transparent elections that engender public confidence. The prospects are good. In the last decade, more than two-thirds of Africa’s 48 countries have held free elections.

Our alliance is determined to promote development, and integrate developing nations into the world economy. And the measure of our success must be the results we achieve, not merely the resources we spend. Together, we created the Monterrey Consensus, which links new aid from developed nations to real reform in developing ones. This strategy is working. Throughout the developing world, governments are confronting corruption, the rule of law is taking root, and people are enjoying new freedoms. Developed nations have responded by increasing assistance by a third.

Through the Millennium Challenge Account, my nation is increasing our aid to developing nations that govern justly, expand economic freedom, and invest in the education and health of their people. While still providing humanitarian assistance and support, developed nations are taking a wiser approach to other aid. Instead of subsidizing failure year after year, we must reward progress and improve lives.

The United Sates and Europe are determined to encourage commerce among nations, because open markets create jobs, and lift income, and draw whole nations into an expanding circle of freedom and opportunity. We will continue to increase trade, and as we do so, we will resolve our trade disagreements in a cooperative spirit. This is why we continue to advance the Doha Development Agenda, and work to bring global trade talks to a successful conclusion.

U.S.-Africa policy has helped us advance freedom, peace, and prosperity in Africa, working in partnership with Africans to build the institutions that will sustain progress across generations. The priorities for U.S.-Africa policy derive directly from President Bush’s charge to make the world better and safer, and the Secretary’s guidance that the State Department will pursue its goals through transformational diplomacy.


T.D.L.: What are the prospects for the WTO and the Doha Round?


H.E.C.R.S.: Promoting free trade is integral to President Bush’s vision of expanded economic opportunity, prosperity and freedom throughout the world.   Since providing the leadership that launched the WTO Doha Development Agenda in 2001, the United States has been working for over four years through the Doha Round of trade negotiations to bring about a comprehensive multilateral agreement to create new market openings for trade in agriculture, manufactured goods, and services – and thereby bring new economic opportunities worldwide and meet the development promise of Doha.

The economics are clear: trade liberalization, combined with pro-market, developmental domestic reforms, enhances the economic growth potential of developing countries. The U.S. is deeply committed to helping the world’s developing countries grow their way into greater prosperity. To catalyze far-reaching trade liberalization through the Doha Round, the United States has put forth bold reform proposals to open markets, spur economic growth and alleviate poverty.

Leadership is needed from the largest stakeholders in global trade, who must take real steps to open markets in order to bridge the fundamental divisions in the Doha negotiations.   Substantial contributions that provide new and real market access in agricultural and manufactured good and services, are urgently needed, in order to achieve the ambitious results that bring Doha to a successful outcome. Unless this happens soon, an historic opportunity to expand global economic growth and alleviate poverty may be missed.


T.D.L.: How would you qualify the state of the transatlantic relationship? What are some of the shared challenges that the US and Europe face? What is the US view on the European Union and the role that it has to play within the international community?


H.E.C.R.S.: I would say that it is a healthy and robust relationship. The United States and Europe share a rich and intertwined history. I have looked at Europe from the perspective of the Czech Republic and now France and noted that the security and prosperity of the U.S. and the EU remain inextricably linked. Continued dialogue is essential to strengthening our understanding and resolve. Europeans are not shy about speaking up when they disagree with America and Americans are not shy about expressing their views either. Friends and allies debate and sometimes disagree, but at the end of the day, we come together to pursue common interests with mutual respect.

Economically, the United States and the EU share the largest trade and investment relationship in the world. Two-way flows of goods, services, and foreign investment exceed $1 trillion per day! U.S. and European companies are also the biggest investors in each other’s markets; total stock of two-way direct investment is over $1.6 trillion. Most of this economic relationship is harmonious, but trade tensions persist. Nonetheless, both sides have expressed their determination to pursue negotiations that would conclude the Doha Development Agenda by the end of 2006.

We cooperate to fight terrorism and the proliferation of weapons. Most visibly in the headlines recently, the U.S. and Europe have cooperated to try to prevent Iran’s regime from developing nuclear weapons that would threaten the region and the world. We have worked together to promote stability in the Balkans, Afghanistan. In Iraq our European partners are contributing to providing security and development assistance to Prime Minister Maliki’s democratically elected government.

The United States has always been a staunch supporter of a strong European Union. America and Europe are part of a united democratic community bound by shared values of freedom, democracy, economic opportunity, human rights, and the rule of law. President Bush and Secretary Rice are working closely with their EU counterparts to put this partnership to work to meet global challenges. Not long ago, some in both Europe and America saw the European Union as a counterweight to the United States, but President Bush believes a strong Europe is important to America as a partner in   advancing our shared interests.  

The fact is that the U.S. has few other comparable partners. Proponents of close U.S.-European ties argue that neither the U.S. nor the EU can adequately address such diverse concerns alone and the record shows that we can accomplish much more when we work together.
  The enemies of freedom would like nothing more than to see the United States and Europe at odds because they fear the strength and moral clarity of transatlantic solidarity. The friends of freedom, who need and want our support, have it – from both sides of the Atlantic.
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