South China Sea

Press Statement
Patrick Ventrell
Acting Deputy Spokesperson
Office of Press Relations
Washington, DC
August 3, 2012


As a Pacific nation and resident power, the United States has a national interest in the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, freedom of navigation, and unimpeded lawful commerce in the South China Sea. We do not take a position on competing territorial claims over land features and have no territorial ambitions in the South China Sea; however, we believe the nations of the region should work collaboratively and diplomatically to resolve disputes without coercion, without intimidation, without threats, and without the use of force.

We are concerned by the increase in tensions in the South China Sea and are monitoring the situation closely. Recent developments include an uptick in confrontational rhetoric, disagreements over resource exploitation, coercive economic actions, and the incidents around the Scarborough Reef, including the use of barriers to deny access. In particular, China’s upgrading of the administrative level of Sansha City and establishment of a new military garrison there covering disputed areas of the South China Sea run counter to collaborative diplomatic efforts to resolve differences and risk further escalating tensions in the region. MORE

Statement by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Algerian Elections

"I would like to congratulate the people of Algeria on this week’s elections. The Government of Algeria invited international and non-governmental organizations to send observation missions and conducted elections that provided the Algerian people with the opportunity to express their will. These elections — and the high number of women elected — are a welcome step in Algeria’s progress toward democratic reform. The United States looks forward to working together with the newly elected National Popular Assembly and to continuing to strengthen our ties with the government and the people of Algeria."

Senegal: The Path to Promise

MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes, second from right, meets with members of Senegalese civil society, March 2012. [MCC photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Daniel W. Yohannes serves as Chief Executive Officer ofMillennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

As Senegal today celebrates the 52nd anniversary of its independence, I just returned from the inauguration of the country’s new president, Macky Sall. Last Thursday, I was honored to receive a call from the White House asking me, on behalf of President Obama, to lead the official U.S. delegation attending his inauguration. Ambassador Johnnie Carson, the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and General Carter Ham, Commander of U.S. Africa Command, joined me on the delegation, which was rounded out on the ground by our U.S. Ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, Lewis Lukens.

The delegation represented agencies which carry out the three… more »

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Elections in Burma

We congratulate the people of Burma on their participation in the electoral process, and Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy on their strong showing in the polls. This election is an important step in Burma’s democratic transformation, and we hope it is an indication that the Government of Burma intends to continue along the path of greater openness, transparency, and reform.

An Important Step Forward for Democracy in Africa

A woman votes at a polling station in Senegal, March 25, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Lewis Lukens serves as U.S. Ambassador to Senegal.

When I arrived in Senegal last August, I knew that it would be an exciting year for this nation’s democracy, but I don’t think anybody could have predicted the path that Senegalese took to get to where they are today. Much of the population rose up in protest to attempted changes to the constitution last year on June 23 (a date now immortalized by a civil society movement called Movement 23, or M23). 

Since last June, Senegal’s democracy has seemed more fragile than ever before during its 52-year history. Yet today, Senegal has a new President-elect, Macky Sall, after current President Abdoulaye Wade graciously conceded defeat last night. Senegal’s strong tradition of democracy and vibrant civil society shone through again. 

On February 26, I had the honor and privilege of accompanying Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson, as… more »

U.S. Support for Egypt
Press Statement
Victoria Nuland
Department SpokespersonOffice of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 23, 2012


Today, Secretary Clinton has certified to Congress that Egypt is meeting its obligations under its Peace Treaty with Israel. The Secretary has also waived legislative conditions related to Egypt’s democratic transition, on the basis of America’s national security interests, allowing for the continued flow of Foreign Military Financing to Egypt. These decisions reflect America’s over-arching goal: to maintain our strategic partnership with an Egypt made stronger and more stable by a successful transition to democracy.

Egypt has made significant progress toward democracy in the last 15 months, including: free and fair parliamentary elections and the transfer of legislative authority to the new People’s Assembly, and a date announced for complete transition to civilian leadership. However, Egypt’s transition to democracy is not yet complete, and more work remains to protect universal rights and freedoms. The Egyptian people themselves have made this clear to their own leaders.

The Secretary’s decision to waive is also designed to demonstrate our strong support for Egypt’s enduring role as a security partner and leader in promoting regional stability and peace. Egypt has maintained thirty-plus years of peace with Israel. It contributes to efforts to stop proliferation and arms smuggling and facilitates missions from Afghanistan to counterterrorism in the Horn of Africa.

We are committed to supporting the Egyptian people as they strive for the dignity, opportunity, rights and freedoms for which they have already sacrificed so much. That includes protection for civil society and NGOs, which have a critical role to play in building Egypt’s democracy. We remain deeply concerned regarding the trials of civil society activists—non-Egyptians and Egyptians alike—and have raised these concerns at the highest levels, urging an end to harassment.

The political transition underway is bringing about a new, more democratic Egypt. As this process continues, we look forward to engaging with Egyptians on how we can best support and advance the interests we share. We will, of course, consult closely with the Congress about these issues.

Egyptians are living through one of the most remarkable periods of their thousands of years of history. Today we reaffirm our support for Egypt, for its historic accomplishments to date, for the democratic journey it is on and for our enduring partnership.

Situation in Mali

Press Statement

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 22, 2012

The United States condemns the military seizure of power in Mali. We echo the statements of the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States and other international partners denouncing these actions. We call for calm and the restoration of the civilian government under constitutional rule without delay, so that elections can proceed as scheduled.

We stand with the legitimately elected government of President Amadou Toumani Touré. Mali is a leading democracy in West Africa and its institutions must be respected.

Preventing Mass Atrocities and Serious Human Rights Violations

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton released a press statement on Preventing Mass Atrocities and Serious Human Rights Violations on August 4, 2011. Secretary Clinton said:

"Preventing mass atrocities and serious human rights violations is both a powerful moral imperative and a compelling strategic interest for the United States. The new interagency Atrocities Prevention Board announced by President Obama today will develop cross-cutting strategies to prevent atrocities and ensure that senior officials throughout our government are warned about emerging threats. And for the first time, we will explicitly bar persons identified as organizing or participating in war crimes, crimes against humanity, and certain serious violations of human rights from entering the United States.

"These steps, accompanied by a thorough interagency review of our practices

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers remarks with European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton after their meeting at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on July 11, 2011.

Lifeline Fund Provides Emergency Assistance to Embattled NGOs

Secretary Clinton during meeting of Lifeline Donor Steering Committee, Vilnius, July 1, 2011. [AP]

Trip Page | Photos

Last July at the Community of Democracies meeting in Krakow, Secretary Clinton announced that the United States would create an international fund to support embattled Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and invited like-minded governments to join in this global effort. One year later, the Department of State, together with twelve other democratic nations spanning the globe, launched the Lifeline: Embattled NGOs Assistance Fund in a meeting in Vilnius with the international consortium of organizations who will be implementing the Fund’s activities.

The Department of State is honored to partner with Australia, Benin, Canada, Chile, the… more »