East Asia and the Pacific: Issue 26—August 10, 2011
East Asia and the Pacific: Issue 26—August 10, 2011
Office of Public
Bureau of Public Affairs
Secretary Clinton Calls on al-Shabaab to Allow Assistance in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia, August 8 – As the crisis in the Horn of Africa continues, U.S. agencies are working aggressively to provide urgently-needed humanitarian assistance in Somalia and the Horn of Africa, including in areas in Somalia under the de facto control of al-Shabaab, a terrorist organization that is subject to sanctions by the U.S. and the UN. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed her concern and said, “In certain areas of Somalia where access has been possible, including parts of Mogadishu, and in the refugee centers hosted by Ethiopia and Kenya, we are saving many Somali lives. However, al-Shabaab militants have deliberately blocked the delivery of food assistance in an area of south central Somalia which is under direct or indirect control of al-Shabaab. … It is particularly tragic that during the Holy Month of Ramadan, al-Shabaab is preventing assistance to the most vulnerable populations in Somalia, namely children, including infants and girls and women who are attempting to bring themselves and those children to safety and to the potential of being fed before more deaths occur. I call on al-Shabaab to allow assistance to be delivered in an absolutely unfettered way throughout the area that they currently control so that as many lives as possible can be saved.”
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs Don Yamamoto spoke before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs on August 3, 2011. In his testimony he said, “Somalia is at the center of the crisis, but the crisis is affecting the entire Horn of Africa. Ethiopia has issued an appeal indicating 4.5 million Ethiopians need food assistance. In Kenya, the government and a consortium of NGOs have placed 10 districts in the north and east under alert for increased food insecurity and malnutrition. The crisis has hit hardest in Somalia, where failed or poor rains combined with conflict have left 3.7 million people in need of immediate, lifesaving assistance.” Secretary Clinton Remarks on the Crisis in the Horn of Africa» Crisis in the Horn of Africa Webpage» Horn of Africa Background Briefing» Frequently Asked Questions for Private Relief Efforts» Fact Sheet on U.S. Response to Humanitarian Crisis in the Horn of Africa» Don Yamamoto Testimony on Responding to Drought and Famine in the Horn of Africa»
U.S. Response to Ongoing Violence in Syria
WASHINGTON, DC, August 4 – The United States condemns the ongoing violence in Syria, particularly the brutality practiced by the Syrian Government against its own citizens. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with U.S.-based Syrian activists and members of the Syrian-American community in Washington, D.C. on August 2. Following their meeting, Secretary Clinton said in a press statement, “As I told the activists today, the United States will continue to support the Syrian people in their efforts to begin a peaceful and orderly transition to democracy in Syria and to have their aspirations realized. We have nothing invested in the continuation of a regime that must kill, imprison and torture its own citizens to maintain power.” Following an August 4 meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, Secretary Clinton told the press, “I think I’ve said all I can say, that we are working around the clock to try to gather up as much international support for strong actions against the Syrian regime as possible. I come from the school that actions speak louder than words.” Statement by the President on the Violence in Syria» Secretary Clinton August 1 Press Statement on Continued Violence in Syria» Secretary Clinton August 2 Press Statement Following Meet with Syrian Activists» Interview with Ambassador to Syria Ambassador Robert Ford»
Secretary Clinton Welcomes Gary Locke, New Ambassador to China
WASHINGTON, DC, August 1 – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered remarks at the Swearing-In Ceremony for U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke. “…think about the story that Gary takes with him, the son of an immigrant family from China who didn’t learn to speak English until he started school, whose grandfather came to the United States from China in the 1890s and worked as a house servant in return for English lessons, whose father and mother worked in their mom-and-pop grocery seven days a week, 365 days a year, so their five children would have better lives. The Locke family understood what the American dream meant. They knew that it was an opportunity and not a guarantee, and that they had to do their part to be able to take advantage of what this country offered.” After being sworn in, Ambassador Locke, who is the first Chinese American to represent the U.S. as ambassador to Beijing, delivered remarks. “I firmly believe improved U.S.-China cooperation is critically important, not just for our own two countries but for the world community,” he said. “In those sensitive areas where America and China have differences or serious disagreement, I will work to keep the lines of communication open, to convey the Administration’s positions clearly, and to engage with Chinese Government officials at the highest levels. At the same time, I hope to do more to communicate directly with the Chinese people to improve understanding between our two great nations.” Additional Photos of the Swearing-In Ceremony» Full Remarks» DipNote Post with Video»
Inside the Beltway
Musician Will.i.am to Support the 100,000 Strong Initiative
WASHINGTON, DC, July 29 – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Grammy Award-winning musician and producer will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas. During the meeting, Secretary Clinton highlighted the goals of President Obama’s 100,000 Strong Initiative to increase dramatically the number, and diversify the composition of American students studying in China. Will.i.am will direct a concert in Beiing later this year to benefit the Initiative and to underscore the overall importance of educational and cultural ties between the United States and China. “In order to become responsible global citizens, young people need to experience the world around them,” will.i.am said. “Kids from underserved communities rarely have the opportunity to study and travel abroad, and we want to change that. We must make sure that American students have the cultural awareness and skills necessary to succeed in a global economy.” The Beijing concert will celebrate U.S¬China educational and cultural exchanges and will include performances by will.i.am and other American and Chinese pop stars. President Obama announced the 100,000 Strong Initiative in November 2009 and Secretary Clinton officially launched the effort in May 2010. The Initiative is a public-private partnership; to date, private corporate and foundation donors have pledged more than $7 million towards the Initiative. 100,000 Initiative Info Page» 100,000 Initiative Newsletter» Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the Start of the 100,000 Initiative»
Seventy-Seven Inventions That Could Save Moms and Babies
WASHINGTON, DC, July 28 – In March, USAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, the Government of Norway, and the World Bank partnered to launch a grant program in maternal and newborn health. Through a worldwide competition, the partners sought groundbreaking prevention and treatment methods to address the critical need for innovations that go beyond conventional approaches and have the potential to save the lives of millions of women and babies in the hardest to reach communities of the world. Nearly $14 million will be provided by the partners for this grant program’s first round of funding. Over 5 years, the partners aim to invest at least $50 million in projects to better the lives of pregnant women and their babies in the hardest to reach corners of the world. Seventy-seven finalists out of over 600 applications were selected to compete in the final stage of the Saving Lives at Birth program. The innovators traveled to Washington, DC to participate in the USAID Saving Lives at Birth Development Challenge July 27-28 where the top 19 nominees for awards were announced.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered remarks during the ceremony. “You know the statistics: a woman still today in 2011 dies in childbirth every two minutes. In 2009, according to the World Health Organization, 2.6 million children were stillborn, one million newborns die every year in the two days after birth, and we just cannot watch that happening without saying, ‘How can we prevent these deaths?’” she said. “How do we make it our priority to put this on the agenda of governments that have not always paid enough attention? Well, we wanted to mobilize a global community of innovators, and so many of you are representing that global community.”
Saving Lives at Birth is the first in a series of Grand Challenges for Development that will be announced by USAID in the coming years to mobilize focused attention and resources around the most pressing obstacles to achieving their development goals. These Grand Challenges for Development are definable, quantifiable goals that address some of the largest solvable problems poor countries currently face. Secretary Clinton’s Remarks» Saving Lives At Birth Website» List of Finalists»
Global Issues Affecting the Nation
Secretary Clinton on the Occasion of the Beginning of Ramadan
WASHINGTON, DC, August 1 – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton issued a statement on the occasion of the beginning of Ramadan.
“On behalf of the people of the United States, I wish all Muslims around the world a happy and blessed Ramadan.
“Ramadan is a time for self-reflection, sharing and renewal. American Muslims make valuable contributions to our country every day and millions around the world will commemorate this month with acts of service and volunteerism to their communities.
“Along with dozens of our Embassies, I will host an Eid Celebration in Washington for Muslims and non-Muslims to join together and reflect on our common values, faith and the gifts of the past year.