July 14, 2024

International Anti-Corruption Efforts, Sudan, Nigeria; Cote d’Ivoire Child Protection Compact; Food Security; Women Leaders in Africa; Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS

President Joe Biden travels over the National Mall on Marine One, Monday, August 29, 2022, en route to the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Department Press Briefing – December 7, 2022

Department Press Briefing
Ned Price, Department Spokesperson
December 7, 2022

[Excerpted …]

MR PRICE: As you can see, we have a couple very special guests with us. As I think many of you may know – as all of you soon will know – we are in the midst of the International Anti-Corruption Conference, so we thought it prudent to have two of our top experts on anti-corruption speak to you today for a few minutes and then take a couple of your questions. I don’t think either needs an introduction, but we of course have with us Todd Robinson, our assistant secretary in our Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs; we also have Richard Nephew, who is the coordinator on global anti-corruption.

I will turn it over to Todd, you’ll hear from Richard, and then they’ll take your questions, and then we will continue with our regularly scheduled program. So with that, Todd.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROBINSON: Thank you. Hello, everyone. Great to be here with you today and to briefly speak about our anti-corruption efforts, which is a huge theme this week and also in the long term for us. I am here today with Richard Nephew, our Coordinator on Global Anti-Corruption.

Last year, President Biden designated the fight against corruption as a core national security priority and released the first U.S. Strategy on Countering Corruption. A year later, we are showcasing efforts across the U.S. Government to implement the goals set out in the strategy and commitments made during the 2021 Summit for Democracy.

Yesterday, National Security Advisor Sullivan opened the International Anti-Corruption Conference here in D.C., which the department is co-hosting with Transparency International. The IACC is the leading global anti-corruption gathering, with almost 2,000 in-person attendees from around the world, and thousands more virtually. Transparency International has proven to be a valued partner in our efforts to raise awareness and combat corruption. And I would invite you all to follow along on our social media accounts for more announcements and developments.

Looking ahead, this Friday, International Anti-Corruption Day, Secretary Blinken will participate in the department’s International Anti-Corruption Champions Award ceremony. We will honor eight individuals who have demonstrated leadership, courage, and impact in preventing, exposing, and combating corruption around the world. These individuals have been participating in a two-week International Visitor Leadership Program around the United States and we’re incredibly excited to have them here with us to take part in the event. We hope you’ll follow the ceremony on Friday at 9:00 a.m. to learn more about the honorees and their impressive work.

Additionally, we’re looking forward to Secretary Blinken participating in a fireside chat later that day with three or four of our champions as part of the IACC. They will exchange ideas and lessons learned in their efforts to promote transparency and accountability in their countries and communities.

Clearly, no country can effectively fight corruption alone. We are honored to work alongside anti-corruption champions all over the world, like those who will be recognized Friday, and with international partners around the globe to defeat corruption.

With that, I am happy to turn this over to Richard and look forward to taking any questions you may have. Thank you.

MR NEPHEW: Hello, and thank you so much, Todd, and thank you, Ned, for the opportunity to be here today as we recognize several important events in our global fight against corruption.

As Todd noted, it was almost a year ago exactly when President Biden released the first-ever U.S. Strategy on Countering Corruption. The first pillar of the strategy focuses on modernizing and integrating our U.S. Government efforts to counter corruption. My position – which was established by Secretary Blinken last December – is a direct result of this aspect of our national strategy and a reflection of the President’s elevation of anti-corruption as a core national security interest of the United States.

My role is to help guide the State Department’s implementation of the U.S. Strategy on Countering Corruption, to ensure that we are championing and elevating anti-corruption efforts, that we are undertaking these activities in an integrated way, and that we as a department are advancing the President’s designation of anti-corruption as a top foreign policy priority and one critical to our broader efforts to encourage democratic renewal globally.

Since taking this role in July, I have met with officials throughout the State Department and U.S. Government, with foreign partners, with non-governmental organizations, with private sector groups, and courageous activists – including those who will be honored by Secretary Blinken on Anti-Corruption Day this Friday. I have been truly inspired by the work that this dynamic coalition is advancing each day in the fight against corruption.

This week’s International Anti-Corruption Conference offers a perfect opportunity for these groups to come together and focus on the enduring challenges posed by corruption. Even as we point to real achievements, there is still much to do, and the impacts of corruption continue to be felt at all levels of society in countries all around the world.

At the State Department, we’ll be working to improve our policy coordination, make sure our foreign assistance is strategically focused, deploy all available tools to prevent and combat corruption, and ensure we, along with our partners, are implementing the international anti-corruption architecture that we’ve built over the last several decades. We’re also paying particular attention to transnational corruption and kleptocracy.

In all these efforts, we will approach our task with humility and know that we must continue making reforms here at home, such as through rules related to beneficial ownership. We’ll also continue to find inspiration in the contributions of anti-corruption advocates from around the world, like those who are gathered in Washington this week.

Our efforts underscore the global nature of the corruption threat, one that impacts each and every country around the world, but also the global coalition that is working to fight and defeat corruption.

Thank you very much for your time, and I look forward to taking your questions.

…..

MR PRICE: ….

And next, as you saw yesterday, we welcome the December 5th signing of an initial framework political agreement in Sudan. We commend the parties’ efforts to garner support for this framework agreement from a broad range of Sudanese actors and their call for continued, inclusive dialogue on all issues of concern and cooperation to build Sudan’s future. There is now a credible path to final agreement on forming a civilian-led government that would take Sudan out of its current political crisis – we respectfully urge all Sudanese stakeholders to seize this opportunity.

Now more than ever, all political stakeholders and civil society actors must put Sudan’s national interest above narrow personal and party ends.

In support of the Sudanese people who continue to demand freedom, peace, and justice under a democratic government, and recognizing the fragility of democratic traditions[1], the Secretary announced an expansion of visa restriction policy under Section 212(a)(3)(C), or the “3C” policy, of the Immigration and Nationality Act to cover any current or former Sudanese officials or other individuals believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic transition in Sudan, including through suppressing human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the immediate family members of such persons. This should send a clear signal that the United States will promote accountability in an effort to prevent spoilers – whether military or political actors – who attempt to undermine or delay Sudan’s democratic transition.

With that, turning to questions.

….                 

QUESTION: Could I follow up on your comments on Sudan at the beginning?

MR PRICE: Sure.

QUESTION: If not mistaken, it was $700 million was suspended at the – when the coup took place in October of 2021. Does that remain suspended with the tentative agreement on Monday? Is there any timeline, perhaps, for when that could be restored, potentially?

MR PRICE: There has been no change in our suspension of the emergency funding for Sudan. Of course, we are watching very closely. We are – we welcomed the announcements, the announcement that we saw from the parties. This was a very positive step. We still know that this is a process that is subject to spoilers and to those who would put their own personal agenda over the best interests of the Sudanese people.

So Sudan has a long way to go back on that path towards democracy. It has made that path, it has made that trek once before. We are going to continue to stand with the people of Sudan who so clearly aspire to continue down, to advance down that path towards a democratic transition, and we’ll be there to support them along the way.

….

QUESTION: On Nigeria, Reuters reported today that since at least 2013, the Nigerian military has conducted a secret, systematic, and illegal abortion program ending at least 10,000 pregnancies. The abortions were mostly carried out without the person’s consent. Do you have any reaction to this and will you be raising this with Nigerian authorities?

MR PRICE: My reaction to it in the first instance was a personal one, and that I read it and was deeply disturbed by it. It was a harrowing report. We are – it’s a concerning report, and for that reason, we are seeking further information, but I just don’t have anything to offer at this – at this time.

[End Excerpt]

For full text of briefing, please follow this link.

Administrator Samantha Power Delivers Remarks “The Face Of Modern Corruption,” At The International Anti-Corruption Conference Plenary Session

United States Agency for International Development
Remarks
Samantha Power, Administrator
Washington, D.C.
December 6, 2022

ADMINISTRATOR POWER: Good afternoon, everyone. It’s a great privilege to be among you, I’m a great admirer of the work that so many of you are doing.

And thank you, Rueben, thanks for welcoming me and for organizing this forum. I had the great pleasure of joining Rueben for a discussion last year at the U.N General Assembly on the frontiers of anti-corruption and that has really informed my thinking and that of USAID as an institution as we think about the adjustments that we need to make. 

Today, as you all know, corruption is no longer just about individual autocrats pilfering their nation’s wealth to live large – it is about their building out an entire system of governance – aided by facilitators beyond their borders. 

It’s about taking advantage of an opaque global financial system to pillage on a grand, international scale with the help of a new industry of these shadowy facilitators. 

And it’s about using corruption to influence the politics – and the policies – of other countries and to reshape global norms and influence multilateral institutions in a manner that is seen to be serving their interests.

Today, I’m going to do two things. I will discuss the ways that the United States is radically adapting our approach to tackle the corruption of today and tomorrow – corruption that is systemic in nature, facilitated by shadowy external forces, and instrumentalized transnationally by autocrats to secure those political and policy aims. I will also discuss the efforts that all of us, in this fight – governments, civil society, the private sector, and everyone watching online today – should embrace to defeat it.

It turns out that one of the most vivid, ghastly totems of modern corruption is a 350-acre estate that sits just fifteen miles outside Kyiv. By now, many of you are familiar with this estate – it is sort of the stuff of legend in such circles as these.

The opulent grounds on this estate feature a private golf course, impeccably manicured gardens, and even a small zoo with peacocks and giraffes. At its center sits a large mansion. Its garage features dozens of rare cars. Its sinks are gold-plated. And its chandeliers, which are also gold, cost $41 million. 

This complex, known as Mezhyhirya, was home to Viktor Yanukovych for 12 years when he was Ukraine’s Prime Minister and President. While in office, his lavish lifestyle was no secret to the public. Ukrainians watched him take his private helicopter to work, and reporters had an open competition to unearth details of the opulence inside this home. 

But, what were more inconspicuous were the billions of dollars he stole and hid around the world. It is estimated that while in office, Yanukovych and his cronies extracted as much as $37 billion worth of Ukraine’s wealth, leading a system of oligarchs who leached off the state, while much of the loot was hidden away in Russia and in Western countries. 

This was money meant for roads and bridges, for medicines at public clinics, for paying teachers. Indeed – instead, I should say – it was used to pay the vet bills for exotic fish.

And Yanukovych was able to traffic in this corruption only because powers outside of Ukraine helped make him President. With $10 billion in loans from bankers close to Vladimir Putin, Russian oligarchs funded Yanukovych’s 2010 election bid. In return, Yanukovych oriented Ukraine away from the West, signing a lucrative gas deal with Russia, and even accepting an economic bailout from Moscow, instead of the European Union. Many Ukrainians saw this as a blatant betrayal of the country’s interests in favor of Russia’s interests, and ultimately of course it sparked the Revolution of Dignity. 

Yanukovych’s story illustrates the features of modern corruption. The corruption all of you are doing so much to try to combat.

Yanukovych didn’t simply try to enrich himself. He used his position to create a system of entrenched corruption in key industries like energy and real estate, capturing the levers of state power for political control – a system known well as kleptocracy.

Rather than being constrained by how many assets he could buy up with stolen money in his own country, he invested his wealth abroad with the help of facilitators. In fact, in recent years, an entire sinister industry of these middle men has arisen, standing ready to move illicit funds through a complicated network of shell companies, laundering the money to hide billions in the hope that law enforcement and activists or journalists can’t find it. Yanukovych and his circle used offshore companies prolifically, with one of his cronies setting up 26 shell corporations in the British Virgin Islands in 2012 alone. 

And of course, Yanukovych’s corruption was never about Ukraine alone – it was about Russia. Putin is threatened by democratic advances – especially in his neighborhood. He feels stronger when democracies grow weaker, when they become more polarized or when oppression becomes more common. The more leverage Putin has over the leaders of countries at the UN, the more he can use that leverage to swing votes and to silence criticism of Moscow’s aggression. The weaker the rule of law and the more centralized power is in developing countries – especially resource-rich countries – the easier it is for the Kremlin to cook up a deal to plunder natural resources.  

When Russia funds pro-Kremlin media outlets, and issues loans to sympathetic political parties like the National Rally – formally known as the National Front – in France, Moscow benefits. It is no coincidence that the National Rally recognized Putin’s illegal annexation of Crimea. The People’s Republic of China is well versed in using corruption to further its interests abroad, especially in extractive industries and infrastructure. Using their Belt and Road Initiative, China often exerts its power by offering corrupt favors in exchange for preferential investments and control.

In Malaysia, for instance, after former Prime Minister Razak was caught red-handed funneling state money into his personal bank account, he struck a deal with Beijing. The PRC would attempt to influence investigators to drop their probes – even offering to spy on reporters who helped leak the scandal – in exchange for stakes in massive rail and pipeline infrastructure projects in Malaysia as a part of the Belt and Road.

Systemization, facilitation, instrumentalization of corruption to obtain political benefit abroad – these are the qualities, the faces of modern corruption. 

And the impact this hyperpower corruption is having on international development is staggering. 

The UN estimates that corruption costs the developing world $1.26 trillion each year, which is a staggering nine times the amount of all the official development assistance provided each year – nine times that amount. In global health alone, Transparency International estimates that number is $500 billion, the pandemic, of course, only fueling that number’s rise, both in the West and elsewhere. 

And women and marginalized groups – including the LGBTQI community – often bear the brunt of corruption.  

To respond, the United States has raced to alter our approach, to meet the modern conditions of corruption – the modern qualities and faces of corruption. The Biden-Harris Administration, as I know you heard, became the first in history to identify corruption as a core national security interest. At USAID, as many of you know, one of my first steps as Administrator was to stand up an Anti-Corruption Task Force – led by Shannon Green – not just to lead our current efforts but in truth, to transform our thinking. 

And today, this very day, I’m excited to launch USAID’s first-ever Anti-Corruption Policy(link is external). This new policy is going to guide our revamped approach, emphasizing that corruption is not just something that happens within a country, but it is something exacerbated by global trends and perpetuated by global networks that include criminal syndicates and trafficking rings. It orients our focus upstream toward the most damaging kinds of corruption – when corrupt officials use their political power to steal their nation’s wealth. It also compels us to try to address corruption across every sector in which we work, and attack it from every angle. 

At the core of this new approach – to be specific – is our flagship Transforming the Fight Against Corruption Initiative, which refocuses our efforts to address corruption that occurs at the highest levels of government, spills across borders, and is the very foundation of kleptocracy. This initiative is designed to block corrupt actors from siphoning off their nation’s wealth and help shield our partner countries from corrupt internal and foreign influence. 

It has three components. First, we want to reduce opportunities for corruption in the first place – both domestic and transnational. Second, where corruption does occur, we want to raise its cost to deter it – including by funding global networks of investigative journalists and activists who can help expose complex, multi-country schemes. And third, we want to incentivize good behavior and integrity, so that upstanding public servants are rewarded, and private sector leaders are making decisions that improve anti-corruption efforts rather than exacerbating them. 

Let’s start with reducing opportunities for corruption. We know that the most effective period that countries have to pass meaningful anti-corruption reform is within the immediate narrow window following a democratic breakthrough – within the first 18-to-24 months of a major political transition. To help local champions take advantage of these novel opportunities we have launched a new Anti-Corruption Response Fund. Already, we have put it to good use. When President Abinader of the Dominican Republic came to power pledging to fight corruption, we were able to support his Administration as they pursued ethics reforms for public officials as well as really important procurement reform. 

We’ve also introduced a new Global Accountability Program, which is aimed at strengthening government systems in our partner countries so that they have greater capacity to detect and root out corruption – coming from within their own borders and again to stress, also from without. In Moldova, for example and you’ll hear soon from the great President Sandu, USAID worked with the Central Electoral Commission and political parties to encourage greater transparency in financial disclosures so that external actors who are looking to manipulate and exert influence over Moldovan politicians, cannot hide their contributions. 

And perhaps most relevant to preventing corruption is getting ahead of what might become its biggest source in the future: the global green mineral supply chain. As countries mobilize to rapidly transition to clean power, the demand for the minerals needed to power solar panels, wind turbines, and more efficient batteries is skyrocketing. But many of these resources come from countries where corruption is rampant. Instead of these resources enriching citizens, which is so long overdue, they have the potential to become the latest resource curse. 

Just weeks ago, following COP 27, we issued the Green Minerals Challenge(link is external), calling for solutions to help us detect and prevent corruption in this emerging supply chain. We will grant up to ten winning submissions up to $400,000 each, and offer them targeted support to help turn their ideas into reality. We’re still accepting submissions for this challenge until January 9th, and to apply, anyone can go to challenge.gov

To raise the cost of corruption, we are doubling down on efforts to support investigative journalists with the resources they need. 

In Europe, we helped support the Suisse Secret project which reviewed complicated records from one of the largest-ever Swiss bank leaks. That investigation revealed a number of corrupt actors across Eastern Europe, including a Serbian drug lord with political ties, the sons of an Azerbaijani strongman, and Venezuelan businessmen who looted the country’s oil wealth even as the country descended further into humanitarian crisis. 

In Latin America, we helped create secure platforms so investigative journalists across the region can collaborate on cross-border investigations – we need so much more of this. As a result of this connectivity, journalists have produced hundreds of investigative pieces on environmental degradation, corruption, and money laundering – uncovering over $280 million in mismanaged public funding.

But, as we adapt our tactics to expose modern-day corruption, so too have oligarchs and autocrats shifted their tactics to discredit and silence their critics, including many in this room. They are combining old tricks like paying off dissenters and jailing critics with newer tactics like running smear campaigns against activists or digitally surveilling opposition leaders, and even peaceful protestors online. 

In particular, journalists today say that the biggest hurdle to their work is actually not the death threats that they receive or the intimidation – which of course can be devastating – but the lawsuits brought against them by corrupt actors, which can cost millions, which the corrupt actors can afford, and it can put these incredibly important outlets out of business. 

For instance, a small investigative journalism organization based in Serbia that we at USAID support called KRIK, is currently dealing with eleven lawsuits costing $1 million – that is more than three times their annual budget. 

This same pattern is happening all around the globe. 

So, we, at USAID, have designed a new insurance fund called Reporters Shield that investigative journalists and civic actors around the world can use to defend themselves against expensive bogus lawsuits. Journalists can begin enrolling for coverage next spring, and will begin receiving services in the summer. 

Reporters Shield is launching thanks to the partnership with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, but we are still searching for partners, to provide both funding and technical expertise. So here, I call upon all those who care about media freedom to join us in providing support. 

Finally, we’re incentivizing the kind of honest behavior – in the public and private sectors – that can serve as an alternative to corruption. 

After Vice President Harris issued a call to action for international and local companies to increase investments in Northern Central America, more than 40 companies and organizations stepped forward to commit more than $3.2 billion to expand economic opportunity. Just as important though, the companies making these new investments are being vetted for high standards of transparency, human rights and labor rights. Endemic corruption has hindered – is hindering – economic development in Northern Central America, and in many places in that region, it is getting worse. The private sector must be part of the solution. 

In Zimbabwe and Liberia, we support a creative program that, rather than seeking to name and shame corrupt actors, practices with which we are familiar and believe in, this program “names and fames” honest actors. Integrity Icon recognizes and profiles bureaucrats who are defying the odds to serve the public interest, detailing their stories on TV and radio. Each episode helps dispel the myth that corruption in government is inevitable, and celebrates those devoted to true public service.

Each plank of our new strategy – reducing corruption, raising its costs, and incentivizing good behavior – is key. But no matter our strategy, we have to wrestle with the tensions that come with providing life-saving services in highly corrupt environments.

In every setting in which we work, USAID takes exhaustive steps to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse. And often what that means in situations where corruption is rampant, is that we avoid working with governments and local NGOs that we fear to be corrupt, circumventing them to deliver assistance.

For instance, in Sudan, after the military takeover last year, we conducted an in-depth analysis to better understand who was controlling key industries. Such analyses leave us better positioned to channel aid through partners who are playing a constructive role.

But avoiding this corruption, rather than working to address it, is untenable, and it breeds dependence. Because what that means in practice is often creating – what we all know too well, which is – parallel systems of delivering aid, in perpetuity, never allowing for the type of local ownership of humanitarian and development work that is most sustainable. 

In settings where lives literally hang in the balance, we must not only track how much food we deliver or how many shots we get in arms, but also work to make the procurement, logistics, and personnel systems of the local government – including those we are not using – more accountable and effective.

We can scale up the kind of analyses done in Sudan, so we have a better sense of our options for local vendors and can avoid indirectly feeding corrupt networks – the trucking company we employ may be clean, but if it’s owned by the President’s nephew, we’ve got a little more digging to do.

Grappling with corruption, even in these life-and-death humanitarian emergency circumstances, is something we need to do openly, we need to honestly discuss with our local partners, and with other donors and lending institutions – very much looking forward to hearing from David Malpass imminently here today. If we hope for this to be an impactful effort, it has got to be collective. 

And the same is true when it comes to tackling the modern face of corruption. Corrupt actors thrive when we stick to our siloes instead of building bridges – across sectors, across geographies, across stakeholders. 

Citizens everywhere – from Iraq to Armenia and even Russia and China – have protested in recent years against the actions of autocrats and oligarchs. People have turned out in record numbers to elect candidates running on anti-corruption platforms – candidates like President Abinader, President Hichilema in Zambia, and of course President Sandu.

These windows of opportunity open suddenly, but they are fleeting. 

Ukraine faced a similar window of opportunity in the wake of the Revolution of Dignity. And here, I will close. Ukraine threw off the yoke of corruption and rejected autocrats who were luxuriating in the privacy of their estates, while the basic needs of Ukrainians were not being met. 

And in the years since, they have ushered in a wave of institutional innovation and reform. With America’s support, they have established specialized anti-corruption institutions that have turbocharged the way Ukraine prevents and investigates corruption. These institutions are young, they have a long way to go – Ukrainian civil society, activists and officials, I think would be the first to admit – but they have helped foster greater confidence from businesses to invest, they’ve fostered better public services for citizens, and generally, public trust in government has improved. All moves, we know, that infuriated Vladimir Putin and indeed, helped motivate him to launch this war as he realized with this rule of law being strengthened that his grip on this neighboring country was slipping. He specifically cited Ukraine’s anti-corruption bodies in his television address justifying the invasion of Ukraine. 

Ukraine’s fight today is, of course, against an invading army, but their insistence on strengthening their institutions and batting down corruption has helped fuel their remarkable defense of democracy – especially at the grassroot level

In that post-revolution period, after the Maidan, Ukraine made one other decision to fight corruption. After Yanukovych fled, the question of what to do with the Mezhyhirya estate arose. Should it be shuttered; should its assets be sold off? Remember those sinks and those chandeliers? Should it be reclaimed, restored as a government building belonging to the public? No, Ukrainians decided. It should become a museum of corruption – a stark reminder of how much Ukrainians would lose if kleptocrats and corrupt actors were ever allowed to seize power again. 

Thank you so much.

Expanded Visa Restriction Policy for Individuals Undermining the Democratic Transition in Sudan

Press Statement
Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
December 7, 2022

We welcome the December 5 signing by Sudanese parties of an initial framework political agreement – an essential first step toward forming a civilian-led transitional government and establishing constitutional arrangements for a transitional period. We support the plans by Sudanese civilian parties and the military to hold inclusive dialogues on outstanding issues before concluding a final agreement and transferring authority to a civilian-led transitional government, and we call for quick progress toward these ends.

In support of the Sudanese people’s demands for freedom, peace, and justice under a democratic government, and recognizing the fragility of democratic transitions, the United States will hold to account spoilers – whether military or political actors – who attempt to undermine or delay democratic progress. To that end, I am announcing today an expansion of the current visa restriction policy under Section 212(a)(3)(C) (or “3C”) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to cover any current or former Sudanese officials or other individuals believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic transition in Sudan, including through suppressing human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the immediate family members of such persons.

This action expands the Department’s tools to support Sudan’s democratic transition and reflects our continued resolve to support the people of Sudan in their manifest desire for a responsive and responsible civilian-led government. Just as we used our prior visa restrictions policy against those who undermined the former civilian-led transitional government, we will not hesitate to use our expanded policy against spoilers in Sudan’s democratic transition process.

We once again call on Sudan’s military leaders to cede power to civilians, respect human rights, and end violence against protestors. At the same time, we urge representatives of Sudan’s civilian leaders to negotiate in good faith and place the national interest first.

Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Sudan and South Sudan

John Kelley
Political Counselor
New York, New York
December 7, 2022

AS DELIVERED

Thank you, Madam President, and thank you, SRSG Volker, for your comprehensive briefing.

The United States welcomes the announcement by Sudanese parties of an initial political framework agreement. This is an essential first step toward re-establishing Sudan’s democratic transition. There is now a credible path to a final agreement that would take Sudan out of its current political crisis.

We commend parties’ efforts to garner support for this framework agreement from a broad range of Sudanese actors and their plans for an additional phase for continued, inclusive dialogue on key issues of concern. But time is of the essence. We urge all Sudanese actors to engage in dialogue in good faith and to establish a civilian-led transitional government as soon as possible.

We fully support the UNITAMS-AU-IGAD role in facilitating the next phase of dialogue and concluding negotiations.

The United States reiterates the need for the Sudanese government – including the military and security services – to fully respect the freedoms of association, expression, and peaceful assembly. The government and military must also fulfill their responsibility to protect the population and hold accountable those responsible for violence against civilians.

We call on the government to create a more conducive environment for negotiations by releasing political detainees, ceasing violence against protesters, and reversing recent administrative decisions that undermine the Sudanese Bar Association and other professional organizations.

The United States condemns the actions of spoilers inside and outside Sudan attempting to restrict political space and undermine Sudan’s stability and democratic transition. Similarly, we condemn recent violence, to which the SRSG just referred, in Darfur and Blue Nile states, which exacerbates the dire humanitarian situation and erodes the gains of the Juba Peace Agreement.

This violence demonstrates the urgent need to implement the Agreement, including security sector reform; robust international monitoring and reporting mechanisms; the full deployment of Security Keeping Forces in Darfur; and comprehensive, inclusive, and transparent transitional justice processes.

I thank you, Madam President.

###

United States and Côte d’Ivoire Sign Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
December 7, 2022 

Today, Chargé d’Affaires to Côte d’Ivoire Joann M. Lockard, First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire Dominique Ouattara, and Minister of Employment and Social Protection Mr. Adama Camara signed the U.S.-Côte d’Ivoire Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership, a historic non-binding multi-year initiative to address child sex trafficking and forced child labor in Côte d’Ivoire.  Implementation of this jointly developed partnership will strengthen the efforts of the Ivoirian government as they work with national stakeholders and civil society organizations in a sustainable, coordinated fashion to address child sex trafficking and forced child labor.

The CPC Partnership signing comes after several months of discussions between representatives of the Government of Côte d’Ivoire, the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office), which is responsible for leading the Department’s global engagement to combat human trafficking, and the U.S. Embassy in Abidjan.

With the signing of this CPC Partnership, the TIP Office, working with Congress intends to provide up to $10 million in U.S. foreign assistance that will be awarded to nongovernmental and/or international organizations who will collaborate with relevant Ivoirian government ministries and the TIP Office to implement the action plan that has been developed to achieve the objectives of the CPC Partnership.  These objectives include ensuring prevention efforts are better coordinated and targeted across the country; providing protection services that are readily accessible to child trafficking victims using a trauma-informed and victim-centered approach; ensuring justice sector actors utilize existing trafficking-specific legal frameworks to identify child trafficking victims, investigate cases, and prosecute and convict perpetrators of child trafficking in a child-friendly, victim-centered, and trauma-informed manner; and promoting coordination across relevant ministries, civil society, local communities, and foreign counterparts.

The TIP Office will select implementing partners through a competitive solicitation process.  The Notice of Funding Opportunity will be posted on the TIP Office’s website:

Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Meeting with Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Director-General Qu

Readout
Office of the Spokesperson
December 7, 2022

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met with Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Director-General Qu Dongyu today in Rome, Italy. Deputy Secretary Sherman and Director-General Qu emphasized the importance of FAO’s mandate to respond to the current global food security crisis, exacerbated by Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine. The United States supports FAO’s focus on science and technology in promoting the global food system transformation needed to increase global food security and combat climate change.

Remarks at an Event Titled “Breaking the Barriers of Entry for Women Leaders in Africa” Hosted by the U.S. Institute of Peace

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
Washington, D.C.
December 6, 2022

AS DELIVERED

MS. LISE GRANDE: Good afternoon. My name is Lise Grande, and I’m the head of the United States Institute of Peace, which was established by the U.S. Congress in 1984 as a national public nonpartisan institution dedicated to helping prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflict abroad. It is an honor for the United States Institute of Peace to welcome two exceptional women leaders, Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, for a very special discussion on women’s leadership in Africa. 

Next week Washington will host the U.S.-Africa Summit. Today’s conversation, which comes ahead of the summit, allows us to reflect on and talk about the next generation of women leaders and their role in politics, public service, and the private sector across Africa. It also gives us a chance to reflect on the U.S.’s commitment to the global women, peace, and security agenda set out in Resolution 1325, adopted by the UN Security Council and enshrined into U.S. law five years ago. 

It is a distinct honor for the institute to welcome President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, the first democratically elected woman head of state in Africa. President Johnson Sirleaf is one of the most revered women leaders of our generation, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Grand Cross of the French Legion of Honor, and the Mo Ibrahim Prize for African Leadership.

In 2018, President Johnson Sirleaf founded the Presidential Center for Women and Development with the aim of championing women’s ascension to the highest levels of leadership, and challenging systematic barriers to girls’ and women’s advancement. In 2020, President Johnson Sirleaf launched Amujae, a wonderful program that inspires and prepares women to take up roles and excel at the highest levels of public leadership. We are delighted to have with us today several Amujae leaders, who will be taking the floor very shortly.

It is a privilege to welcome back to the institute Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a Cabinet secretary in the Biden Administration. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield has a distinguished 35-year record of public service in foreign affairs, having been appointed as U.S. Ambassador to Liberia from 2008 to 2012, and with postings in Switzerland, Pakistan, Kenya, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Jamaica. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield has served as the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. The Ambassador is the recipient of the University of Minnesota Herbert Humphrey Public Leadership Award, the Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award, and the Warren Christopher Award for Outstanding Achievement in Global Affairs.  

Please allow us also to extend our warmest welcome to Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex, who is a global champion for the women, peace, and security agenda and the UK’s Preventing Sexual Violence initiative, and who yesterday received the Hillary Rodham Clinton Award for Exceptional Leadership in advancing women’s rights and creating a more peaceful and secure world for all.

We’re very pleased to introduce Aluel Atem and Angela Chin, who will be moderating this very special inter-generational conversation. Aluel is a program officer with USIP’s curriculum and training team, where she manages the institute’s flagship training program with the Kenya Border Police. Aluel is an African feminist activist who has co-founded two women’s rights initiatives, Crown the Women and Ma’Mara Sakit Village in South Sudan.

Angela is the senior program assistant for USIP’s Sudan and South Sudan programs. As a Charles B. Rangel Fellow, Angela has interned at the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, and will join the U.S. Foreign Service in 2023. Angela is a black American feminist activist, a graduate of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

I am delighted to hand over to Aluel and to Angela. (Applause.)

MS. ALUEL ATEM: Thank you, Madam President, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield. You’ve both had such notable careers in your leadership positions, and for many, especially black young women, that itself is history and lessons. Can you both share with our audience today just a bit about your personal leadership journey to these incredible positions of power and leadership?

ssPRESIDENT ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF:

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