Daily Archives: May 2, 2014

Africa: Meeting With Staff of Embassy Juba

Meeting With Staff of Embassy Juba

Remarks

John Kerry
Secretary of State

Embassy Juba
Juba, South Sudan
May 2, 2014


AMBASSADOR PAGE: I would ask our staff to stand, but they’re always standing. (Laughter.) It is my great pleasure to introduce to you our boss, the Secretary of State. Most of you know that he was sworn in back in February of 2013 as the first Secretary of State in about a hundred years who had come from serving as the sitting head of the Foreign Relations Committee. So we’re very pleased to have a former senator who has a lot of experience in South Sudan. As many of you know, he was here for the referendum vote. He also was here for independence. So South Sudan has a very, very special place in his heart. And it gives me great pleasure to introduce him to you. (Applause.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much, Ambassador. Thank you all. How you all doing? Everybody good? (Cheering.) All right. I’m glad to hear that. Sounded like you were all very (inaudible). (Laughter.) Sorry, guys. Not yet.

Ambassador, thank you for your great leadership here. We – I got to know the ambassador really well during Christmas holidays, which were not Christmas holidays, obviously. But I think it was about 3 or 4 in the morning that she’d be on, and we had some late-night meetings during that period of time.

I understand a lot of you here (inaudible) the embassy personnel now refer to each other by your radio monitors or something. Is that true?

AMBASSADOR PAGE: Call signs, yes.

SECRETARY KERRY: By your call signs. Is that a fact? Everybody’s kind of into that. And I heard she is Cool 1. Is that right? (Laughter.)

AMBASSADOR PAGE: Ice 1.

SECRETARY KERRY: Ice 1? Not Cool 1, Ice 1?

AMBASSADOR PAGE: No, Cool 1 is the radio. Ice 1 is the vehicle.

SECRETARY KERRY: Oh, Ice 1 is the vehicle. (Laughter.) I like that. The – I’m not going to share with you any of my nicknames. (Laughter.) That’s dangerous. But – and where’s John Thomas? Is he here? Not here right now?

AUDIENCE: I don’t see him.

SECRETARY KERRY: I understand there’s a USAID driver, John Thomas.

AUDIENCE: He’s driving.

SECRETARY KERRY: Oh, he’s driving? (Laughter.) All right. (Inaudible.) Well, tell him I mentioned him here, because I gather he was our first employee. He was here when this area became converted from USAID into our consulate, and then ultimately into the embassy. So I just wanted to pay tribute to him and say, “Thank you.”

Let me just thank all of you here. This is a post that has been living as complicated a life as you can live in the context of the Foreign Service. And I’m very grateful to everybody for putting up with the tension that surrounded the question of whether or not the embassy would stay open, not stay open, and so forth. I was very strongly in favor of keeping it open, I want you to know, and the ambassador was very strongly in favor of keeping it open. And in the end, I think we all made the right decision.

AMBASSADOR PAGE: Absolutely.

SECRETARY KERRY: We did the right thing. And I’m very, very glad that we won that argument. But you can understand that people were concerned. Particularly, the President was worried about not having another American outpost that became the source of violence, the victim of violence. And I want to thank all of you, particularly those of you (inaudible) the departure – the ordered departure you’re living under even right now, where we have a reduced presence here as a result.

I very much want to thank all of you who are Sudanese, South Sudanese, who work here and help us. We cannot do this job without you. (Applause.) And as the ambassador mentioned, I became fascinated by the struggle for the creation of South Sudan, because I knew that the longest war in Africa’s history took place here, and almost two million people were killed. And it seemed to me that the struggle for recognition and against the oppression of Sudan and this division between people was best – that it was best dealt with and best represented through the creation of the nation.

So I was here a number of times. I’ve been to Darfur; I’ve been to Khartoum many times. I’ve been to Juba several times. I’ve been able to stay here, spent the night in the compound, and so forth. And I believe in the possibility, as you do.

The last months have been terribly disappointing for everybody. And I hope that the meeting I had today with President Kiir, and the meetings I’ve had in Addis Ababa, and that the meetings that will take place in the next days will give all of us an opportunity to be able to try to grab the future again, and define the future where the people of this country are being served in full by all of the governing process. President Kiir today committed to work on a transition government, and we’re going to work to hold him to that. And we will work with him and with you to help make that a reality.

The road isn’t easy. I know it won’t be. But at least there’s a clear direction in which we know we can move. And we’re going to work very, very hard to build capacity in this government going forward. But we need all of you. We need your good faith. We need you to talk to your friends and your family and people, and help them understand that in the days ahead we have an opportunity to create something different, providing we can get the leaders to follow through. I believe there will be additional UN forces coming. I believe there will be additional international support. But a lot of it depends on our ability to be able to create the governing process. So everybody, not just you, but we also have a government that we can work with, that can be responsive, and that will help to make things happen.

Not everybody gets to help give birth to a nation. What you’re doing is a unique experience, and I hope that working together – for those of you who live here and are South Sudanese, and this is your life, we hope that one day you’ll welcome back somebody who was here in the embassy, who comes back with their family to show them all the changes and all the progress and all the things that you’re doing, and we’ll be able to celebrate together the creation of the great nation of South Sudan. Thank you all very, very much. (Applause.)

Before I say hello, I want to recognize our Marine detachment that’s here. We have an augmented Marine force here, but I want – these guys just won the Marine detachment of the year for last year, 2013. Give them a hand. (Cheers and applause.)


Africa: Press Availability in South Sudan

Press Availability in South Sudan

Remarks

John Kerry
Secretary of State

Embassy Juba
Juba, South Sudan
May 2, 2014


SECRETARY KERRY: Well, good afternoon. I just completed an in-depth, very frank, and thorough discussion with President Kiir. And throughout the meeting, I think it’s fair to say that both of us spoke very candidly, very directly, and we got to the issues that I came here to discuss. Throughout the meeting, I made it clear to him that he needs to do everything in his power to end the violence, and also to begin a process of national dialogue, a process by which there is the beginning of discussions – real discussions – about a transition government that can bring peace to the country.

It’s fair to say that President Kiir was very open and very thoughtful and had thought even before this meeting about these issues, because we have talked about them on the phone in recent days, and because our special envoy and others have had conversations with him about it. So he committed very clearly his intention to do exactly that: take forceful steps in order to begin to move to end the violence and implement the cessation of hostilities agreement, and to begin to engage on a discussion with respect to a transition government.

I just spoke a few minutes ago to Prime Minister Hailemariam of Ethiopia to convey to him President Kiir’s willingness to travel to Addis Ababa in the near term, sometime early next week hopefully, in order to engage in a discussion with Prime Minister Hailemariam, and hopefully with Riek Machar, who had previously indicated to the prime minister a willingness to do so. And I hope to talk to him sometime later in the course of today to encourage him to do so.

This meeting of Riek Machar and President Kiir is critical to the ability to be able to really engage in a serious way as to how the cessation of hostilities agreement will now once and for all really be implemented, and how that can be augmented by the discussions regarding a transition government and meeting the needs of the people of Sudan. President Kiir and I have spoken about this many times over the course of the last months. We particularly spoke almost every day during the period from December 15th through the Christmas period. In fact, I even talked to him on Christmas Day, and was particularly pleased today to be able to return to Juba in order to sit down and discuss these issues face to face.

I’ve told President Kiir that the choices that both he and the opposition face are stark and clear, and that the unspeakable human costs that we have seen over the course of the last months, and which could even grow if they fail to sit down, are unacceptable to the global community. Before the promise of South Sudan’s future is soaked in more blood, President Kiir and the opposition must work immediately for a cessation of hostilities, and to move towards an understanding about future governance of the country.

I might also say that we do not put any kind of equivalency into the relationship between the sitting president, constitutionally elected and duly elected by the people of the country, and a rebel force that is engaged in use of arms in order to seek political power or to provide a transition. Already, thousands of innocent people have been killed and more than a million people have been displaced. And it is possible – as we’ve seen the warnings, because people have not been able to plant their crops – that there could be major famine in the course of the months ahead if things don’t change.

Both sides are now reportedly recruiting child soldiers and there are appalling accounts of sexual violence in the conflict. The reports of Radio Bentiu broadcasting hate speech and encouraging ethnic killings are a deep concern to all of us. The United States could not be any clearer in its condemnation of the murder of the civilians in Bentiu or in Bor and all acts of violence, including those that use ethnicity or nationality as justification are simply abhorrent and unacceptable.

If both sides do not take steps in order to reduce or end the violence, they literally put their entire country in danger. And they will completely destroy what they are fighting to inherit.

The people of South Sudan – and I’m talking about all the people of South Sudan – all of them have suffered and sacrificed far too much to travel down this dangerous road that the country is on today. That is why both sides must take steps immediately to put an end to the violence and the cycle of brutal attacks against innocent people.

Both sides have to do more to facilitate the work of those people who are providing humanitarian assistance, whether from the UN or from the UN mission or any organization that is responding to increasingly dire needs of citizens. Both sides need to facilitate access for humanitarian workers, for goods, for cash in order to pay salaries, and they need to provide this access to South Sudan’s roads, to its waterways, including to opposition-held areas. And we talked about this very directly this morning with President Kiir and his cabinet members.

It is important that both sides also act to ensure the safety and the security of the humanitarian workers themselves, and both sides must stop dangerous verbal attacks on people who are bravely providing relief to the South Sudanese people. It’s unconscionable that people who have come here not with weapons but with assistance are being attacked by both sides, and nothing will do more to deter the international community and ultimately to wind up in an even worse confrontation in the country itself.

Both President Kiir and Riek Machar must honor the agreement that they made with one another to cease hostilities, and they need to remember as leaders their responsibilities to the people of the country. The fate of this nation, the future of its children must not be held the hostage of personal rivalry.

Yesterday in Addis I spoke with representatives from the African Union and South Sudan’s neighbors about how we can coordinate and restore peace and accountability. We support the AU’s Commission of Inquiry in South Sudan, and I met this morning with the leader of that commission and listened to their early reports of their work. And we support the IGAD’s monitoring and verification mechanisms. The United States is also prepared in short order to put sanctions in place against those who target innocent people, who wage a campaign of ethnic violence, or who disrupt the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Even as we come here in this moment of conflict in an effort to try to find the road that has been obscured, I can’t help but remember – as I drove to meet with the president and as I came back here to our Embassy, having traveled here and been here a number of times – but particularly at the moment of self-determination for this country, it is important to remember what the people of South Sudan achieved for themselves recently. Through their efforts, through their commitment, through their patience, they helped to move this country to independence, to the creation of a nation, through peaceful, democratic, and prosperous future, and the opportunity to be able to try to achieve that. And they came together to create a new nation in that effort.

I remember walking in one community and watching people vote and talking to somebody who was standing out in the hot sun and who’d been there for hours. And I walked up to them and said, “Look, I hope you’re not going to get impatient. Don’t leave. You need to wait to vote.” And that person to me said, “Don’t worry” – I was then a senator – “Don’t worry, Senator, I’ve waited 50 years for this moment. I’m not going anywhere until I’ve voted.” The dedication that I saw, the commitment of people to try to create this nation deserves to be fully supported and the aspirations of those people deserve to be met by our efforts, all of us, to try to bring peace, and mostly by the leaders to fulfill the promise that made them leaders in the first place.

It is absolutely critical that to prevent that moment of historic promise from becoming a modern-day catastrophe, we all need to work harder to support the hopes of the people and to restore those hopes. We have to be steady in our commitment to the people of South Sudan. And I was encouraged yesterday in Addis Ababa by the unanimous commitment of the neighbors, of IGAD, of the foreign ministers I met with from Kenya, from Uganda, from Ethiopia, all of whom are committed and dedicated to helping to pull South Sudan back from this precipice and help to implement the cessation of hostilities agreement, and most importantly, help South Sudan to negotiate its way through this transition government that can restore the voice of the people in a way that can give confidence to the South Sudanese people, that their future is indeed being spoken for and that the best efforts are being made to meet it.

So with that, I’d be delighted to take any questions.

MS. PSAKI: The first question will be from Michael Gordon of The New York Times.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) you’ve described some of the political and military steps that you would like to see unfold – expect to see unfold in the next weeks. If neither side honors their commitments, how specifically do you plan to hold them accountable? And how long do you plan to wait before holding them accountable? There’s been some concern in the Congress and by groups like Oxfam that the United States has moved too slowly on this. And are you prepared to sanction the president and Riek Machar themselves?

And lastly, yesterday, you spoke publicly about your interest in deploying African troops to create a more robust peacekeeping force here. How many troops do you think should – will be deployed? When do you think this will happen? Will there be – will it be necessary to secure a new UN Security Council mandate to make this happen? Basically, how real is this? Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, it’s real. Each of the countries I just listed are all committed. And I met yesterday with the foreign ministers who say they are absolutely prepared to move with troops from those countries almost immediately. But yes, we do need to secure an additional United Nations Security Council mandate. I believe that can be done quickly. I hope it can be done quickly. And it’s very, very important to begin to deploy those troops as rapidly as possible.

How rapidly? Hopefully within the next weeks, and we’re talking about an initial deployment of somewhere in the vicinity of 2,500 troops. Well, I think 5,500 have been talked about, and it may be that there are even – it may be that, depending on the situation, more may have to be contemplated. But for the moment, that’s the limit, that’s what’s being talked about.

With respect to the hopes on the – what was the first part? The —

QUESTION: How long do you plan to wait before (inaudible)?

SECRETARY KERRY: Oh, okay. Let me just say – you asked about the – sort of what might follow if people don’t implement these steps. And the answer, very, very directly, is the global community will then make moves in order to have accountability. There is a commission of inquiry already underway. I met this morning with the head of the commission of inquiry and listened to former Nigerian President Obasanjo’s observations about his initial start of that effort. We support that effort; the global community supports that effort. That will obviously be ongoing.

I think the single best way for leaders and people in positions of responsibility to avoid the worst consequences is to take steps now, the kind of steps that we heard promised this morning. We are not going to wait. However, there will be accountability in the days ahead where it is appropriate. And the United States is doing its due diligence with respect to the power the President already has with respect to the implementation of sanctions, and I think that could come very quickly in certain quarters where there is accountability and responsibility that is clear and delineated.

MS. PSAKI: The next question will be from Memoska Lesoba from Eye Radio.

QUESTION: You said that President —

SECRETARY KERRY: Can you hold it up real close?

QUESTION: You said President Salva Kiir has agreed to transitional government. What kind of a transitional government? Can you delve more into that? And I would want to know what kind of sanctions would be imposed if (inaudible) way of (inaudible) resolve the crisis, and what impact will it have.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, with respect to the transition government, ultimately it is up to the people of South Sudan. And it is up to an inclusive process which brings the civil society to the table and reaches out to political opposition and to all of the different stakeholders in South Sudan to shape that. What is important is that President Kiir is prepared to engage in that process in a formal way, to reach out, to work with IGAD, to work with the community, in order to make certain that that process is real, it’s transparent, it’s accountable.

Now, how that unfolds will be part of the discussions that we hope will take place between Prime Minister Hailemariam as the mediator and two of the principle antagonists in this conflict, President Kiir representing government and Riek Machar. But there are other players, lots of them. As you know, 11 detainees have now been released. And each of those detainees has – have had voices and roles to play in the politics of South Sudan.

So it’s really up for the process itself to take shape as the stakeholders and as the people of South Sudan speak up and speak out and demand a certain kind of participation. What’s important is that that participation is promised and it is available.

With respect to sanctions, we are – there are different kinds of sanctions, obviously – sanctions on assets, sanctions on visas, sanctions on wealth and travel and so forth. All of those options are available, among others. But in addition to that, with the commission of inquiry and other standards that are applied. There have been atrocities committed and people need to be held accountable for those kinds of atrocities. And there are methods by which the international committee undertakes to do that. So I think the real test is what happens in these next days, what kind of bona fide legitimate steps are taken by people to prove they want to move in a different direction. And that will be a significant guide as to what may or may not be pursued by members of the international community in the days ahead.

MS. PSAKI: The next question will be from Lara Jakes of AP.

QUESTION: Thank you. Just to clarify, in this transitional government, do you see a place for either President Kiir or Riek Machar to be holding office in the future for this country? And then also, as you head to Congo tomorrow, what are you looking to hear regarding the prosecution of troops who were given amnesty and then returned to M23? And is the United States satisfied with the deep mobilization plan for all armed troops in eastern Congo, including Hutu troops – I’m sorry, groups? And then one last one. Could you comment on the new charges against Gerry Adams? Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: I don’t have any comment on the charges issue. I’ve heard about it, I’m not familiar with all of the details of it. And he’s presented himself. He maintains his innocence. And we need to let the process in Northern Ireland work its way.

With respect to the Central African Republic – excuse me, the D.R.C. – we are hopeful that the terms that have been put in place, the Kampala Accords, are going to be implemented properly. But I’m going to wait to comment more fully on that until I meet up with Special Envoy Feingold, who will meet us there when we arrive there. And I think I would rather get the latest briefing up to date before I summarize it, because I may be outdated and I just would rather do that.

On the first part of your question —

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Whether or not they can be part of in the future – that’s not a decision for the United States of America to make or to comment on. That’s for South Sudanese to decide. It’s for the process to decide. I think that certainly people will judge carefully, I think, what happens in these next days, which could have a great deal to do with respect to future legitimacy of any player engaged in this, not just President Kiir or Riek Machar, but anybody who is engaged. If there is a legitimate, open, transparent, accountable, and real process by which people are listened to and people come together, then the people of South Sudan will have an opportunity to make that kind of decision and it won’t be necessary for us to comment on it.

If it doesn’t go in that direction, it may be that the United States and other interested parties who have helped so significantly to assist South Sudan in this journey to independence and nationhood, it may be that they will be then more inclined to speak out about what’s happened with leadership here or not, but at the moment I don’t think it’s appropriate to do that.

MS. PSAKI: The final question will be from Gabriel Shada from Radio Miraya.

QUESTION: Thank you. The background to the conflict in South Sudan refers to a disagreements, disgruntlements inside the SPLM ruling party on the modalities of election and selection of leaders. So reaching an agreement that does not resolve the SPLM leadership issues is like suspending the real issues, which means they will rise again in the nearest future. So how can the U.S. Administration help the SPLM sort out its problems.

Second question is about the U.S.A. promising a lot to help South Sudan in the past, and even now. But one of the promises was building the – an institutional capacity for South Sudan, and observers can see that institutional capacity in South Sudan is still very, very weak. What are the reasons for this failure, especially when building the capacity of the army and other institutions? Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Very good questions. Very, very good questions. With respect to the first question, you’re absolutely correct: There are internal issues within the SPLM that need to be resolved. But it’s not up to the United States to resolve them. It’s up to the leaders and the members of the SPLM to do so, recognizing that their validity and credibility as a leading party to be the governing party of the country is at stake in how they do that.

And so it is – there’s already a process in place where they’re doing some meetings and evaluations, and will do that. What is important is that they recognize that the negotiations over a transitional government ultimately, in terms of what role they play or how that plays out, will depend to some measure on how they resolve those kinds of internal issues. And the credibility of the civil society, the credibility of the people of South Sudan, with respect to their leadership will depend, obviously, on their ability to do that.

So that’s part of the road ahead. And they know that work is in front of them. They understand that. They discussed it with us here today, and I’m confident that that’s very much in their minds as they think about the future structure of any kind of transition and future.

But it’s also related, I may say, to the second part of your question. Yes, the United States committed to do certain kinds of things, as did the international community. And for a certain period of time, many of those things were attempted to be done, but the truth is that there’s been a difficulty, as I think most people understand, in the governing process that gave people pause and made people stand back a little bit. And that’s been part of the problem. And that’s why this transitional government’s effort is so important, because it is the key to being able to open up the kind of direct help and input that would be then meaningful and not wasted and not lost. And it’s very important that there be a process in place where people have confidence that the way forward is clear and that assistance can be put to the use that it’s meant to be put to.

So I would say to you that that’s part of the reason why this transitioning effort is so critical, because it really is what can restore the legitimacy so that going forward all those people who care, and there are many who do – in Africa, in Europe, in America, elsewhere – would be able to hopefully help in the capacity building for the country. That’s really where all of South Sudan’s energy ought to be going, not into killing each other but into building a government that can serve the needs of the people. And our hope is that that is what can get restored out of this terrible conflict that has interrupted that path.

MS. PSAKI: Thank you, everyone.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you all. Appreciate it.


Africa: Updated: Secretary Kerry Travels to Addis Ababa, Juba, Kinshasa, and Luanda

Updated: Secretary Kerry Travels to Addis Ababa, Juba, Kinshasa, and Luanda

Press Statement

Jen Psaki
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC
May 2, 2014


Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Juba, South Sudan, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Luanda, Angola, on April 29-May 5 to encourage democratic development, promote respect for human rights, advance peace and security, engage with civil society and young African leaders who will shape the continent’s future, and promote trade, investment, and development partnerships in Africa.

The Secretary’s trip will also highlight U.S. investments in the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

In Addis Ababa, Secretary Kerry will co-convene the Fourth Session of the U.S.-AU High-Level Dialogue and discuss a range of issues on which we partner with the African Union (AU). Secretary Kerry will meet with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom to discuss efforts to advance peace and democracy in the region, and strengthen important areas of bilateral cooperation with Ethiopia.

In Juba on May 2, Secretary Kerry will reiterate the need for all parties to respect the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, to immediately cease attacks on civilians, and to fully cooperate with the United Nations and humanitarian organizations to protect civilians and to provide life-saving assistance to the people of South Sudan. He will also meet civil society leaders, IDP representatives, and UNMISS officials.

In Kinshasa, Secretary Kerry will meet with President Joseph Kabila and will discuss how the DRC government’s progress in neutralizing some of the dozens of dangerous armed groups that victimize the Congolese people can be consolidated and how to best advance the DRC’s democratization and long-term stability, including through a timely and transparent electoral process.

In Luanda, Secretary Kerry will commend President Jose Eduardo dos Santos for Angola’s leadership of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and encourage the President’s continued personal engagement in the Great Lakes peace process. The Secretary will also discuss bilateral policy and trade issues with Foreign Minister Chikoti.

Secretary Kerry will also be accompanied by Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Special Envoy for the Great Lakes and the Democratic Republic of the Congo Russell Feingold, Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan Donald Booth, and Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues Catherine Russell.

Follow Secretary Kerry’s travel via @JohnKerry, @StateDept, and @StateDeptSpox on Twitter and go to the Department’s Flickr account for the latest trip photos. Stay connected: http://blogs.state.gov/social-feeds and keep track of all of the Secretary's travels at: http://www.state.gov/secretary/travel/index.htm


Africa: Background Briefing Previewing Secretary Kerry’s Trip to Ethiopia, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola

Background Briefing Previewing Secretary Kerry’s Trip to Ethiopia, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola

Special Briefing

Office of the Spokesperson

Senior State Department Official
Washington, DC
April 29, 2014


MODERATOR: Great. So this is a background briefing by a Senior State Department Official to preview the Secretary’s trip to Africa over the next couple of days. And our Senior State Department Official Number One here will give an overview of the trip, and then, as usual, we’ll take some questions.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: Just on housekeeping, we report on South Sudan only after we’re on the ground in South Sudan.

MODERATOR: Once we land, exactly, exactly.

QUESTION: But we’re now going to discuss this?

MODERATOR: We’re now going to discuss, yeah. Yes.

QUESTION: Right, got it. So we know what we’re doing when we get there. That’s good.

QUESTION: And the dates and the other details of the other stops, those are reportable?

MODERATOR: Absolutely, yes, yes.

Okay. Go ahead.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Okay. Shall I start? Well, let me just start by saying how excited we are about the Secretary’s trip to Africa. This is his second trip since starting as Secretary of State. He was in Addis for the 50th anniversary of the AU last year.

So let me just start where we’re going to start. We leave tonight and we land in Addis Ababa tomorrow. We have three items on our agenda for the Secretary’s stop in Ethiopia. First he will be chairing and opening a High-Level Dialogue. It’s an annual High-Level Dialogue that we have with the AU. So he’ll open that, and I will continue with that meeting. We have a number of issues that we want to discuss with the AU, starting with peace and security issues and providing support for AU forces that are operating in Somalia, in CAR, as well as African forces that are supporting our efforts in DRC.

So we’ll be talking with the AU on how we can improve our coordination and our cooperation on peace and security issues. We will also be looking at governance issues with the AU very, very broadly, and talk to the AU about development issues such as agriculture. This is the fourth High-Level Dialogue we have had with the AU since we started in 2011. Yeah, four years – ‘10. Yeah, 2010.

MODERATOR: ‘10.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: And the second part – and none of these are in priority order, but the second part is meeting – bilateral meetings with the Ethiopian Government to discuss the full range of bilateral coordination and cooperation issues that we have with Ethiopia. Certainly, top on that list will be issues related to press freedoms and human rights, but also our cooperation with the Ethiopians in Somalia and their efforts on supporting the negotiations in South Sudan.

And then third will be the South Sudan portion. The Ethiopians will host a meeting of the foreign ministers from IGAD countries – the two foreign ministers involved in the negotiations, Uganda and Kenya – and the Secretary will have discussions that cover the broad issues of where we’re going in South Sudan. Don Booth, our special envoy, will meet us there and will be part of that meeting. He’ll also be meeting with former President Obasanjo of Nigeria, who’s head of the Commission of Inquiry from – for the AU. Obasanjo was in South Sudan last week, and he’ll be briefing the Secretary on what his team found during that visit.

We hope to have engagements with Ethiopian youth while we’re there. He will be meeting some of the YALI participants and have discussions with those participants. And we’ll talk about the heads of state summit with the AU, with the foreign ministers, and particularly with the Ethiopians, with Haile Mariam, to talk about what kinds of commitments we will look to have governments make when they come to the heads of state summit in Washington in August.

So that’s the first part of the trip. We go to South Sudan – I’m not talking dates? Okay. (Laughter.)

MODERATOR: They won’t use it, but they know when we’re going.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: You won’t use it then.

MODERATOR: Yes.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah.

MODERATOR: Yeah, right.

QUESTION: She already said that we’re going, just not when.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah, yeah. So we’re going to South Sudan on the second day. He will be meeting with Salva Kiir, and our hope is that he will get Salva Kiir to, one, agree to moving forward on the cessation of hostilities agreement that his government signed with the anti-government forces. We will be pushing Salva Kiir on providing more space for humanitarian actors, and also looking at how South Sudan moves forward after this very, very horrific period that they’ve gone through over the past few months – what kind of government they will have and what role, if any, Salva Kiir himself will be playing in a future transitional government.

We come back to Ethiopia, and the Secretary will give a broad-based speech on our Africa policy, covering the full range of issues that we work on the continent to support. That will take place early on Saturday morning, and then we leave for Democratic Republic of Congo.

You want me to stop there, or shall I continue?

MODERATOR: Why don’t we go through the whole trip and then we can do questions. Does that work? Your memory is amazing.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: (Laughter.) In Democratic Republic of Congo, the purpose of this trip – we feel that we have achieved some success in Democratic Republic of Congo after many, many years of conflict. In December of last year, the Nairobi agreement was signed that ended the fighting with M23 and the government. So we’re looking at where we go for next steps. And Russ – Senator Feingold, our special envoy, will join us on this portion of the trip, and he has been working relentlessly on trying to move our agenda forward in DRC, and where we go now that peace – this at least in the east has been achieved – how the government deals with other rebel groups that are continuing to operate in DRC, how we work with other regional partners, and how we prepare for the upcoming election in 2015.

The Secretary will meet with the president. He’ll have meetings also with the foreign minister. And then we’re looking at doing a visit to a hospital, where we’ll look at some of our activities and programs in DRC.

And then the following day we head to Angola, and we’re very pleased that the Secretary agreed to go to Angola. The Angolans have been playing an extraordinarily positive role on a number of regional issues, particularly as they relate to DRC but also most recently in Central African Republic, where now President dos Santos is the head of the International Contact Group for the Great Lakes. He’s been very proactive in that leadership role in pulling the regional leaders together to work on a solution for DRC to keep that process moving forward. But also he’s been very, very proactive in supporting efforts in Congo.

The Government of Angola gave $10 million to the Government of Central African Republic to pay salaries. They have offered their assistance in providing airlift to future troops that might deploy to Central African Republic. So we want to kind of codify that commitment and encourage them to make additional commitments. We want to see regional leaders make – take leadership and take responsibility for some of the crises that are occurring on the continent. And we think that Angola has moved very positive – has taken very positive steps in this direction.

MODERATOR: All right. Why don’t we take some questions? Michael, you want to kick it off?

QUESTION: Okay. You – I guess I – you had mentioned that South Sudan – the hope was to move forward on the cessation of hostilities and provide space for humanitarian actors and determine, I guess, the shape of what the —

QUESTION: Future will be.

QUESTION: — future political entity would be. Could you just put a little flesh on those bones and explain in a little more detail what you mean?

QUESTION: Also, have the hostilities stopped? I mean —

QUESTION: Yeah.

QUESTION: — there’s so many massacres and horrible things happening.

QUESTION: Yeah, it sounds like it’s getting worse.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: No, the hostilities have not stopped, and that’s —

QUESTION: Right.

QUESTION: Maybe you could —

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah.

QUESTION: Yeah.

QUESTION: — combine these and explain what’s happening with the hostilities and just some details about what you’re hoping to do.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: The idea is to push for both sides to honor the agreement that they signed that they have never honored in terms of hostilities. They have continued to fight. Many thousands of people have been killed since this war started in December, and they continue to move forward. I think both sides think that they can win this militarily, and they have certainly not participated in any committed way to finding a negotiated settlement for the conflict.

We have proposed that the Secretary also call Riek Machar. I don’t know when that call will take place, but we want the call to take place after he has visited – after he’s visited Juba to also push Riek Machar to honor the cessation of hostilities.

We will be delivering tough messages to both sides to indicate, one, that they will be held accountable if they don’t make the – if they don’t take the necessary actions to end the hostilities. We have a executive order that the President signed that we have not yet implemented, but they will be – that will be put in front of them at —

QUESTION: Executive order to apply sanctions?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: To apply sanctions.

QUESTION: On the —

MODERATOR: To individuals.

QUESTION: On the – which individuals?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: To – on – we have not decided on a list of who the individuals are yet, but that is something that – that we’re working on.

QUESTION: So is this just kind of a reminder of the threat of sanctions, or is he going to announce sanctions? I mean, it sounds like if you haven’t decided which individuals are on the —

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We’re working on – we’re working on that and we’re working on a list. So that process is moving forward. I don’t think we will be announcing that while we’re there, but it is something that we’re working proactively to do.

QUESTION: What else in terms of ways to get both sides to honor the agreement – what other things are being – offered is not a strong-enough word, but just kind of, I assume, we need more stick than carrot in this process of neither one are honoring the – neither side is honoring the —

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah, I – I – working with the regional leaders who have been involved in this negotiation process, they have also lost their patience with both sides in trying to get the regionals to also agree to sanctions and travel bans, and whatever other pressures we can put on them is something that we’re working on with both the Kenyans, the Ugandans, as well as with the Ethiopians. And as I mentioned, Obasanjo was there last week with a team looking at the atrocities, and he will be doing a report for the AU. And they have taken that responsibility very seriously.

QUESTION: And will there be some kind of readout in Addis of that AU report, do you think?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I don’t know that they are ready for a readout of the report. He just went in, and I don’t think he’s gone into the north yet, where there have been equal – north of South Sudan, where atrocities were also committed. So I think they’re still in the process of gathering data.

MODERATOR: Nicolas.

QUESTION: You just said that you will be trying to set up a call with Riek Machar. There is no plan to meet – to a meeting between the Secretary and Riek Machar?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Not – not for this trip. Don Booth, the special envoy, met with Riek Machar last week, late last week.

QUESTION: And you don’t have a call set up? You’re just hoping —

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: No, we – the plan is to make a call.

QUESTION: While we’re on South Sudan, can I just ask you to be a historian here for a moment? How did it get this bad, and how did the United States let it get to this point? I mean, this is a country the United States felt, and still does to an extent, inordinate pride in helping to create. I mean, what the heck happened, and could it have been prevented?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think if it could have been prevented, we would have prevented it. I don’t know that I am the right historian for you on that. And I certainly, as the United States, don’t take responsibility for what happened. It is clear that Riek Machar and Salva Kiir do not have their countries’ best good in their hearts. I see them fighting a personal battle that has led to the deaths of many people. This is not a battle against – Nuer against Dinka. It is a Riek Machar-Salva Kiir battle, and they have used ethnic tensions and their own ethnicity to foment what has been a horrific war in this country.

I think – I had a hearing on the Hill today and I said we saw the problems, but none of us saw that it was going to turn this badly this quickly. I think there was a feeling that we were going to work with them to help them address what were clearly political tensions within the party between Riek and Salva Kiir, and also some leadership issues that Salva Kiir exhibited very, very early on. Again, I just – I don’t think – and I would encourage you to ask the question to Don Booth as well, but I don’t think any of us saw that this was going to turn into a full-fledged war with thousands of people being killed.

QUESTION: Yeah. I mean, actually, I look forward to speaking with him too. But just to press you a bit on that point, I mean, the enmity between those two and the potential for that to blow up was foreseen to a degree at the beginning, which is why Riek Machar was made vice president. I mean, there was an attempt at the start to head that off, so it wasn’t as if this was like, oh my goodness —

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yes. No, it wasn’t.

QUESTION: — no one saw any of this coming, right?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: No. They saw that, and that attempt failed. And when he left the party, there was some concern that this was going to turn into violence. And Riek Machar said very, very clearly he was going to wait until the party conference that took place in December, and he was going to fight it out politically.

What happened on December 15th, we’re still not 100 percent clear on. But that’s when the fighting started and Riek went into the bush. There is this narrative of a coup. I don’t think any of us – off the record – bought into that narrative. I’ve said it actually on the record that we didn’t buy into the narrative of a coup attempt. But what happened has led to a major civil war in the country.

QUESTION: And one last follow-on on that. You mentioned December 15th. Is it correct that any sanctions you would move for now would cover activities on both sides from December 15th forward? Is that – you’re looking at this period, right?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: It will definitely cover activities from both sides. I don’t know the start date, but it could be December 15th. I – we can get back to you with that. But it will cover activities from both sides.

QUESTION: I thought that’s what the executive order covered.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah. I just don’t recall.

MODERATOR: We’ll check in.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I’ll check that, yeah.

QUESTION: Okay. All right. Thank you.

QUESTION: The – so the Ethiopians were hosting the Ugandan and Kenyan foreign ministers, so it’s four foreign ministers, right? The Secretary —

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yes.

QUESTION: — Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda —

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yes.

QUESTION: — on South Sudan. The U.S. dialogue with the AU on CAR, is there a Boko Haram-Nigeria component?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: There’s not a Boko Haram. Well, let me say that we’re going to talk broadly about peace and security across the continent, and so there could be a Boko Haram component to that discussion, but we have not – there are no AU troops that are involved in Nigeria.

QUESTION: What about —

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: So the reason we’re focusing on CAR and Somalia is because those are places where we have cooperated with the AU in providing peacekeeping troops.

QUESTION: What about Sahel-AQIM terrorism in general and the AU component of that?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We will talk about that.

QUESTION: What about Somalia? I’ve seen an uptick in violence recently in the Sahel.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We have, and we’ve actually invited the president of Somalia to come to Addis to meet with the Secretary.

QUESTION: What’s the – at one point, maybe even as recently as eight to nine months ago, there was talk about opening an office or establishing some kind of permanent office in Mogadishu, in the green zone there, and obviously that is not happening anytime soon, but —

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: It’s not. We’re still talking about it and we’re still looking at how we might do that. The uptick in violence has caused us to pause and rethink our timeline for doing that. I think part of the uptick in violence that we’re seeing in Mogadishu, the attack in Kenya, is a result of what we view as the success of AMISOM in pushing Boko Haram – sorry, I’m mixing up my – pushing al-Shabaab out of Mogadishu and then moving into areas outside of Mogadishu. They’re now coming back into Mogadishu because they’re being pushed out, and they’re looking for opportunities to make a statement, such as what they did in Kenya.

QUESTION: Any U.S. kind of commitment to – is it Sheikh Hassan Mahamud —

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We are committed to supporting him. And we’d like to see that – we’d like to see his government be successful. We have been working with his government on some capacity-building activities. We’ve been working on some training activities with the Somali National Army as well.

QUESTION: The – on DRC, you said that there’s been some success after many, many years of conflict. And you talked about what the Secretary will discuss with Kabila – Joseph. But what – are you satisfied that the Ugandan and Rwandan governments are doing what they need to do to keep their side of responsibility for Kivu’s security?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well —

QUESTION: I know they’re sort of conspicuously not on this trip.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah. So no, they’re not on the trip. But so far, they have. I mean, it was hard getting all of them to the negotiating table and getting an agreement for M23 to lay down their arms. We could not have gotten that without the cooperation of the Ugandans and the Rwandans. So they have, at least for now, made a commitment to supporting this effort. We’re looking at, with M23, the next steps in amnesty, holding those who will be held accountable – to hold those accountable, and to look at reintegration of others back into the country. Some of them are in Uganda, some of them are in Rwanda, and some of them are still in DRC.

QUESTION: Do you envision an AU mechanism for holding M23 accountable. I don’t recall what the – or is that a Congolese judiciary —

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think we’re still working on that. But I think we’re looking at the Congolese judiciary doing that, although we’ve had a couple go to the ICC.

QUESTION: Can you – what is the status of the peacekeeping effort in South Sudan and what remains to be done?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We’re still —

QUESTION: It’s been a while since I wrote about it.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah.

QUESTION: But it was inadequate, they were looking for resources, they were having a hard time finding them.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We’re still working out the details of what the new peacekeeping component will look like in South Sudan. We know that what we have there now has to be rethought.

QUESTION: What do we have there now?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well, the UN is there, but it’s not a peacekeeping mission. And so what we’re hoping is that we are able to get the AU. And there’s still not agreement on how the AU troops will be integrated into the UN operation, or whether they’ll be integrated. So that’s all being worked out right now in New York as well as in —

QUESTION: What’s hanging it up?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well, I think part of it is there was an initial concern that the AU wanted to be a little bit separate from the UN. They wanted to go in as a separate peacekeeping force. And we’re concerned that – we don’t want two lines of security there. So they have to be part of the UN system when they go in.

QUESTION: And how big will it be when it happens?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: That has not been decided. I’ve seen numbers that go from 5,000 upward.

QUESTION: And what assets is the U.S. Government making available?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We will do as we have always done. If it’s a peacekeeping mission, we’ll provide the kind of support at the levels that we have provided to peacekeeping missions. But we’re also looking at how we might be more proactive in supporting the training and the equipping of the African peacekeeping forces, as we’ve done in CAR.

QUESTION: What is the interaction with the Khartoum government like? I mean, that – it’s been an issue of cross-border movement and havens and so forth. Are they being at all helpful, any more helpful, talking at all, what?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I’ll leave that question for Don Booth to answer. I think they are kind of playing both sides. They – at least on the surface, they appear to be helpful. One of the negotiators has been participating, is from Sudan. But I think we’re seeing them playing both sides.

QUESTION: You talked about working with the Kenyans and the Ugandans and the Ethiopians on sanctions and travel bans on South Sudan. Is Khartoum part of that conversation?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We – I don’t think we’ve had discussions with Khartoum on that. I think what we realize is that a lot of the South Sudanese own property and travel to Kenya and Uganda and Ethiopia. And so without a – without them participating, we think the sanctions will be weaker.

QUESTION: What do you mean by codify? You mean that they wouldn’t implement their own sanctions and —

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Or participate – do their own sanctions or participate in something that may be broader from the UN.

QUESTION: Is there any history or culture of that? So is that a high hurdle for you?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think it’s going to be a hurdle. But I was somewhat buoyed by the statement that President Kenyatta made stating that they can’t stand by and watch the beginnings of a genocide and the killings continue. So that was a pretty strong statement coming out of Kenya.

QUESTION: But what is the expectation that the sanctions will change the course of events in South Sudan?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think we’re hopeful that it will be – serve as a deterrent. But given everything that has happened already, we still have a lot to hold people accountable for.

QUESTION: You had said that it appears that both the Salva Kiir and the Riek Machar – both sides appear to believe they can win militarily in South Sudan. Can I presume from that it’s the view of the United States Government that neither side can win militarily, that there is not a military solution? Or might one run the other out?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think there’s no military solution to this. The issues in South Sudan are much more complex than that. There are political issues, there are issues of what kind of constitutional government they will have, what kind of democracy they want to have in the future. These are things that cannot be fought on the battlefield. They have to be fought at the negotiating table.

MODERATOR: We can do one or two more here.

Nicole, do you have anything on the phone?

QUESTION: Yeah. Can you hear me?

MODERATOR: Yeah.

QUESTION: Okay. I wanted to ask about the human rights component of the trip. It seems very heavily weighted toward security. I saw that the Secretary is going to meet with civil society in at least one of the stops and in Angola – I think it was Ethiopia and Angola?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: As well as in South Sudan.

QUESTION: Okay. So could you just talk a little bit more about that and say why there’s no civil society or NGO sort of element to the DRC stop? Because it seems like in every country, there’s an issue with repression and a lack of a space for things like civil society and democratic movements. And I was also wondering if the Secretary is going to be pushing Ethiopia at all on reconciliation with Eritrea.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We don’t have Eritrea on the agenda, but it could – it certainly could come up because it’s an issue that is very high on certainly the Ethiopians’ agenda.

But on the issue of civil society, we do have a civil society component in every single stop that the Secretary is making. This is very, very high on his agenda and human rights is very high on his agenda. And these will be issues that will be raised in our bilateral meetings with the Ethiopians, with the Government of DRC, with the Government of Angola, as well as certainly with Salva Kiir, where the human rights violations and the lack of humanitarian space have been major, major issues.

MODERATOR: Nicolas.

QUESTION: Can we go back to DRC and the Great Lakes? The fact that we don’t go to Rwanda, is it a sign that the U.S. policy to the Great Lakes has slightly shifted, that there is a king of rapprochement with DRC and that the relationship between the U.S. and Rwanda are not as good as they used to be?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: No, I wouldn’t come to that conclusion. The Secretary is making a trip. Our special envoy thought that the time was right for him to make a stop in DRC to push the agenda for finding political solutions in DRC, that the Secretary could actually help move that agenda. And we added Angola because of Angola’s role as the president of the Contact Group for the Great Lakes. So Rwanda didn’t come into play as being part of this trip, but it has – it’s not a relationship issue.

MODERATOR: And wasn’t – Ambassador Power was just —

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah. And I was just there as well.

MODERATOR: Two weeks – I believe two weeks ago or so.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah.

QUESTION: And is this the first time that the Secretary has been to South Sudan? Did he go last year?

MODERATOR: It’s not the first time he has personally been there.

QUESTION: But as Secretary?

MODERATOR: As Secretary, yes.

STAFF: He said he was there for there for the referendum as senator.

MODERATOR: But not – he – the only – he’s been to Ethiopia before as Secretary. He’s been to South Sudan previously in his – as senator.

QUESTION: Okay.

MODERATOR: All right.

QUESTION: Can I ask one tiny question on Somalia? You said that the timeline had shifted because of the violence. Could you just give me a better sense of what that means? Because I thought that after the military forces got into Somalia, the embassy would be kind of right behind them.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well, we’re making plans for having an embassy. We’ve identified a location. We’re ramping up our visits. But we also are very conscious of the security environment there, and we certainly need to make sure, as we’re making these decisions about putting our people in places where there’s danger, that we have done a good assessment of the security situation before we send them there. So we’re still working on it and we’re still moving forward, but I think we’ve kind of slowed down a bit while we determine how best to provide the best security for our people. That’s the highest on our agenda. If we lose – if anything happens to anyone in Somalia or anyplace, there will be hell to pay. So we want to make sure that we – when we make these decisions, we’ve taken into account every single possibility.

QUESTION: Do you agree – you must have seen the SRSG’s – SG, the special representative, the UN dude who was here last week – (laughter) – who said that if there was one more massive hit, that that would probably result in the UN having to pull out its headquarters, and he suspected that other foreign offices would close as well. Do you agree with that?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think that was a little overstated. I think it will require that we look, continue to monitor our security posture in these countries. When things happen, I have the responsibility of, along with several other people in the Department, of signing on the orders for people to go into Somalia. So I look more closely when something like that happens, and we make a determination about the timing, whether this is the right timing and where we want people to go. So I think the UN will do that, but I don’t see the UN pulling out. I hope they don’t.

QUESTION: And just to clarify, pulling out would mean to close their office in that green zone —

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah, and I just don’t —

QUESTION: — as opposed to just working out of Nairobi and coming up, like you all are doing.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah. I mean, there have not been any successful attacks in the green zone. There was one attack at the gate going into the airport, but nothing has entered into the green zone.

QUESTION: I like your Lalibela Cross.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Thank you. I love it, too. The Ethiopians love to see me in this, and I’ve just had it for years. I never take it off.

MODERATOR: (Laughter.) She’ll have it on tomorrow.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah. And I forget I have it on, and they’re just all excited and they see me, and I’m like, “What? Oh, yeah. My husband gave me this for an anniversary present like 30 years ago.”

QUESTION: So you’re with us the whole trip?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I’m with you the whole trip.

QUESTION: But if you could periodically explain what the hell is going on, that would help. (Laughter.)

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: If I know, I’ll explain it. I’ll ask [Moderator] and then I’ll come and whisper it to you.

QUESTION: You’ll know more than we do, so —

MODERATOR: And to answer Anne’s earlier question, the executive order covers from December 15th to the present.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yes.

QUESTION: December, I’m sorry?

MODERATOR: Fifteenth.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: December 15th.

QUESTION: And that’s on – and I’m sorry, I know you keep trying to —

MODERATOR: South Sudan.

QUESTION: But it’s on – I know – but on individuals and what, on like travel, or on asset freezings, or what? What exactly does it cover?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: It covers travel and it covers assets, and it is – it’s a broad sanction for South Sudan, but it also covers individuals that we will do on a case-by-case basis. So we will come up with a list of individuals who will be held accountable for blocking the peace efforts and who have committed gross violations of human rights and atrocities.

QUESTION: Because the —

QUESTION: And the hope is that the travel would include to the other three countries, right? Ethiopia, Kenya —

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think it’s – our hope is that they will take the initiative to also impose sanctions on South Sudan. They have not indicated to us that they intend to do that, but it’s something that we —

QUESTION: We’re talking about the neighbors now?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yes.

QUESTION: Right.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We’ve had a conversation —

QUESTION: A travel ban by the U.S. wouldn’t have as much teeth as it would to some of the neighboring countries surely.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah.

QUESTION: And could that list include Salva Kiir and Riek Machar?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I suppose it could.

QUESTION: It sounds like you’re at the beginning of the process of really working with the Kenyans and the Ugandans and the Ethiopians about the travel ban. It’s not —

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: No, it’s not – it hasn’t gone – we’ve had discussions with them. They have initiated discussions. We know that a lot of the assets that are held by South Sudanese – they own houses and property in Kenya and Uganda, so if this is to have teeth, they too ought to participate in it.

MODERATOR: All right.


DR Congo: UN peacekeepers on alert after battling rebel group in eastern province

Mayi-Mayi rebels attacked United Nations peacekeepers in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where the Mission is on alert monitoring and the situation, it was announced today.

“We can confirm the attack and that Mayi-Mayi Janvier is part of the APCLS [Alliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign Congo],” a UN spokesperson confirmed to journalists in New York.

In addition, the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) confirmed that the ACPLS attacked DRC Government positions at the commercial district of Birere in the city of Goma, the capital of North Kivu.

“Heavy exchanges of fire were reported,” the spokesperson said, adding that MONUSCO supported the national army (FARDC) to recapture the district.

At least six people were killed and several wounded, including two UN peacekeepers.

Some 4,000 civilians are seeking safety at MONUSCO base in Nyabiondo.

“MONUSCO continues to monitor the situation, including through the use of unarmed aerial surveillance,” journalists were told.

In the past year, the Security Council mandated MONUSCO to use an intervention brigade to neutralize armed groups, reduce the threat they posed to State authority and civilian security and make space for stabilization activities.

In an unanimous resolution adopted by the 15-members last month, the Council renewed the mandate of both MONUSCO and its Intervention Brigade for another year, taking them to take all necessary measures to protect civilians; monitor implementation of the arms embargo; and provide support to national and international judicial processes in the DRC, among other responsibilities.

The Council also demanded that the various Mayi Mayi groups, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Bakata-Katanga “cease immediately all forms of violence and other destabilizing activities and that their members immediately and permanently disband, lay down their arms and demobilize children from their ranks.

SOURCE: AFRICAN RENEWAL