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Anniversary Of Bombings In Nairobi & Dar Es Salaam

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Dean Acheson Auditorium
Washington, DC
August 7, 2008

Secretary Condoleezza Rice: Remarks at the Tenth Anniversary Commemoration of the Bombings of U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you, Assistant Secretary Frazer, for that kind introduction. And I would also like to thank Under Secretary Kennedy, who helped us to put today’s events together.

I am honored to be with all of you to remember those we lost on this day 10 years ago in an unspeakable attack on our embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. I want to welcome both family members who lost loved ones and the survivors of that tragic day. We are also grateful to have with us Ambassador Peter Ogego of Kenya and Chargé Joseph Sokoine of the Embassy of Tanzania. We gather today to honor those who were killed and to offer our condolences to their families and their friends.

It is fitting that today in Nairobi and in Dar es Salaam, Kenyans and Tanzanians, families and friends, are also gathering to commemorate the departed. In Nairobi, the blast that took the lives of 218 Kenyans and Americans, while thousands more were injured in the streets around the embassy. In Dar es Salaam, nine Tanzanians, one Kenyan and one Somali citizen were killed, and 85 people were wounded.

These were innocent people, stolen from us in a moment of terror. American families sent their sons and daughters proudly to represent the United States abroad. They should not have died as they did. For all of you – the families of the victims, the survivors of that day, and those of you whose lives were forever changed by the injuries you received – you all gave America more than was ever asked, and for your sacrifice, our nation is eternally grateful.

On that dark day ten years ago, the bombings of our Embassies seemed merely to be the senseless violence of evil men, an organization called al-Qaida. When seen from today, however, ten years later – after the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, the attack on Khobar Towers in 1996, the attack on the US* Cole in 2000, and of course, the terror of September 11th – we now see those bombings of our embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in a new light. We see them as they were – as the opening of a new “twilight struggle” between hope and fear, peace and hatred, freedom and tyranny: a struggle that has now finally, fully been joined.

And on that day, we saw in our response – from our diplomats and development workers, our soldiers and our citizens, our friends and our allies – what is best in humankind, and why we shared – why our shared values will prevail.

Today we recognize and celebrate the service of the many dedicated employees and their families from the Department of State, from USAID, from the Department of Defense, and from other agencies, who under the exceptional leadership of Ambassador Prudence Bushnell, who is with us today, and Chargé John Lange – who kept these Embassies functioning in the terrible aftermath of that bombing. Yet you tended to the wounded, notified family and friends, and kept everyone back home apprised of the situation. For your hard work and your sacrifice in the most difficult of times, the United States is forever in your debt.

Ten years ago al-Qaida may have destroyed two embassies, but they did not destroy the ties that bind the American, Kenyan, and Tanzanian people. They did not destroy our spirit. Indeed, their attacks only strengthened the ties between our nations. Today, we remain partners with the people of Tanzania and Kenya. And I witnessed the spirit of that partnership when I visited both Kenya and Tanzania earlier this year. Secure new Embassies have now been built in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, reflecting the enduring strength of these relationships. Bombs and bullets and terror can never – and will never – break our bond.

I am told that as we were planning for this anniversary, the son of one of the victims approached our Ambassador in Kenya and shared some advice. He said, “I think this should be both a commemoration and a celebration ceremony – a commemoration of the suffering and the loss of life, but a celebration of the fact that those who survived the attack and their families have not let this terrible tragedy dim the prospects for a brighter future.”

That view illustrates the unfailing resolve of America and our friends – the fact that even in the face of the greatest adversity, we remain confident, committed and unwavering, and that we will not cower to those who seek to do harm to our people and attack our ideals. Those who lost their lives ten years ago in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam paid the ultimate price protecting our people and supporting our values. We vow to always honor their sacrifice and to continue their good work.

Thank you. (Applause.)

2008/623
Released on August 7, 2008


***

FACT SHEET

Steps Taken After 1998 Bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam

Establishment of Office of Casualty Assistance:

* The Office of Casualty Assistance (OCA) was established in 1999, following the bombings of U.S. Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to allow the Department of State to provide a more focused assistance to those suffering a tragedy.

* OCA provides administrative assistance and on-going support following the death of a U.S. citizen Department of State employee serving abroad or their family member, or of a Department of State employee in the United States. OCA also offers support to all US Government employees serving under Chief of Mission authority and their family members, including Locally Employed Staff (LE Staff), and Department of State employees in the United States who are victims of terrorism, mass casualty, or certain other critical incidents.

* OCA provides a single point of contact in the Department for employees and families, and is an advocate within the Department, with other federal, state and local agencies, and in the private sector, providing assistance in gaining access to benefits and compensation, counseling, community services, and other support. The duration of services is determined by the needs of families and may continue for months or years.

* Since 1999, OCA has provided assistance in connection with the deaths of nine US Government employees who died in terrorist attacks, most recently a State Department employee in Iraq in June, an AID employee in Khartoum in January, and a USDA employee in Afghanistan last October.

Compensation for Victims of the Embassy Bombings:

* All of the families of the American victims of the bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam (as well as all of those injured) have received the benefits for which they are eligible under existing law. Where eligible, these benefits included compensation under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act, a death gratuity (up to $10,000), one year’s salary under section 413 of the Foreign Service Act, and a death gratuity under the Victims of Terrorism Compensation Act. Also included were Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance, refund of retirement contributions, final salary and annual leave, and payment from the Thrift Savings Plan, where applicable. The Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime provided for many out-of-pocket expenses. A scholarship fund for tertiary education was established for those with children.

* All of the LE Staff victims have received all of the benefits to which they were entitled under the law, including compensation under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act, a death gratuity, and one year’s salary under section 413 of the Foreign Service Act. In addition, many out-of-pocket expenses were covered by other sources, such as the Department’s Foreign Service National Fund, allocations from the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime, and an allotment from the U.S.Agency for International Development that was used for to offset the cost of mental health counseling.

* The families of the 173 Kenyan citizens killed or injured who were not affiliated with the US Government received a five-year package of assistance provided by the United States through USAID from 1998-2003, totaling approximately $42.3 million. (Note: The projects disbursing these funds were worked through contractors, NGOs, and the Kenyan Government to ensure that critical needs of Kenyans were met in six areas: Search and Rescue Operations ($4,450,000); Medical Follow-up ($6,350,000); Socio-economic support for victims ($5,500,000); Rehabilitation and Reconstruction ($13,000,000); Assistance to Businesses ($7,000,000) and Disaster Preparedness ($6,000,000).

Moving personnel into safer, more secure facilities:

* Since the bombings of U.S. Embassies on August 7, 1998, the Department has moved over 18,000 U.S. and locally-employed staff overseas into safer, more secure, and well-maintained diplomatic facilities. The Bureau of Overseas Building Operations (OBO) has completed 60 capital construction projects at a cost of $4.1 billion, including new embassies, consulates, and office annexes. Twenty of those completed projects were in Africa. In Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, new embassy compounds were completed on January 27, 2003.

* With strong Congressional support and by partnering with the American contractor community, the Department accelerated the capital construction program. Prior to 1998, OBO built about one new embassy a year; now, seven to eight are completed each year. OBO has 28 more projects under design or construction worldwide at a cost of $3.0 billion. Ten more projects are planned for contract award in FY 2008, at a cost of $1.1 billion.

* OBO’s Compound Security Upgrade Program spent $1.007 billion since FY 1999 on walls, gates, access controls, and other security features designed to help protect our USG staff at missions that have not received new facilities.
Security Improvements:

* With the support of the administration, OMB, and Congress, funds were allocated for additional security personnel, equipment such as armored vehicles, and security enhancements for our facilities and residences. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security initiated new programs to upgrade guard services and counter surveillance capabilities, and reviewed and altered security standards to reflect additional types of threats.

* The Soft Targets Program, managed jointly by OBO and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, has provided $94.8 million to date to improve security at overseas schools attended by children of US Government employees and at US Government employee association facilities.

2008/621
Released on August 7, 2008

ENDS

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