U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iraqi Council of Representatives Speaker Usama al-Nujayfi meet in Baghdad on March 24, 2013. [State Department Photo/Public Domain]
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From March 20 to 23, 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry accompanied President Barack Obama on his travel to Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and Jordan. On March 24, Secretary Kerry met with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad, Iraq. The goal of the Secretary’s visit to Baghdad was to demonstrate the strong U.S. commitment to Iraq. During a press availability in Baghdad, Secretary Kerry said:
“I was very pleased to be able to have a chance to affirm to the Iraqi leaders that I met with that the United States continues to stand with the people of Iraq as they work…more »
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Baghdad, Iraq on March 24, 2013 [State Department Photo/Public Domain]
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry surveys Baghdad as he travels to meetings during an unannounced stop on March 24, 2013. [State Department Photo/Public Domain]
Office of the Spokesperson
September 28, 2012
The Secretary of State has decided, consistent with the law, to revoke the designation of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and its aliases as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under the Immigration and Nationality Act and to delist the MEK as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224. These actions are effective today. Property and interests in property in the United States or within the possession or control of U.S. persons will no longer be blocked, and U.S. entities may engage in transactions with the MEK without obtaining a license. These actions will be published in the Federal Register.
With today’s actions, the Department does not overlook or forget the MEK’s past acts of terrorism, including its involvement in the killing of U.S. citizens in Iran in the 1970s and an attack on U.S. soil in 1992. The Department also has serious concerns about the MEK as an organization, particularly with regard to allegations of abuse committed against its own members.
The Secretary’s decision today took into account the MEK’s public renunciation of violence, the absence of confirmed acts of terrorism by the MEK for more than a decade, and their cooperation in the peaceful closure of Camp Ashraf, their historic paramilitary base.
The United States has consistently maintained a humanitarian interest in seeking the safe, secure, and humane resolution of the situation at Camp Ashraf, as well as in supporting the United Nations-led efforts to relocate eligible former Ashraf residents outside of Iraq.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with Vice President of Iraq Khudayr Musa Jafar Abbas al-Khuzai in New York, New York on September 25, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]
Office of the Spokesperson
September 16, 2012
Today, the seventh convoy of approximately 680 Camp Ashraf residents arrived safely at Camp Hurriya. This convoy represents the last major relocation of residents from former Camp Ashraf to Camp Hurriya and marks a significant milestone in efforts to achieve a sustainable humanitarian solution to this issue. Over the coming weeks, the small group temporarily remaining at former Camp Ashraf will address residual issues and then also move to Camp Hurriya.
The United States appreciates the efforts of the Government of Iraq to accommodate both security and humanitarian concerns throughout this process, including the peaceful and orderly closure of former Camp Ashraf and relocation of its residents to Camp Hurriya. We count on Iraq’s continued adherence to the December 25, 2011 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United Nations that provides a path for the safe relocation of former Ashraf residents out of Iraq.
We welcome the cooperation by the former Ashraf residents in this relocation and look forward to their continued participation in the process set forth in the MOU. Additionally, we are grateful for the work of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, whose personnel have achieved much under challenging circumstances.
The United States will continue to support those efforts and, working with the United Nations and our partners in the international community, turn our attention to supporting the permanent relocation of the residents from Iraq.
Office of the Spokesperson
September 5, 2012
The United States remains deeply concerned by the humanitarian crisis caused by violence in Syria. Over 100,000 refugees have flooded into neighboring countries in the month of August, stretching host country capacity. We commend the generosity of Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq in assisting approximately 240,000 Syrians who have fled.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has stated that as many as 2.5 million people in Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance, more than double the number that was assessed in March 2012, and over 1.2 million people have been internally displaced.
To help meet the growing humanitarian need, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah announced today in Jordan that the United States is providing an additional $21 million to the U.N. World Food Program (WFP). Of this new funding, $14.3 million will provide food assistance to conflict-affected people inside Syria and $6.7 million to support Syrians displaced to neighboring countries.
With this new assistance, the United States is providing a total of more than $100 million for humanitarian activities both inside Syria and in neighboring countries: MORE
About the Author: Kelli R. Davis serves as a Program Officer for SportsUnited in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Recognizing the universality and positive impact of sports, 11 Iraqi taekwondo students and two coaches traveled to Washington to take to the mats and interact with their American counterparts last month. For 10 days, these taekwondo students, not only fine-tuned their discipline and teamwork skills through this martial art — they also got a first-hand glimpse at how taekwondo can bring cultures together.
The group of students exemplified that taekwondo is a tool not only used for self-defense, but also a peaceful way to promote understanding and friendship among competitors. Despite language barriers, the martial arts students communicated through a handful of Korean commands used in traditional taekwondo training worldwide.
As a part of the U.S. Department of State’s Sports Visitor Program, which aims to start a dialogue with students and athletes at… more »
About the Author: Major General Walter D. “Waldo” Givhan, United States Air Force, currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Plans, Programs and Operations in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.
I recently had the privilege of visiting James Madison University to attend the closing ceremony for the 2012 Senior Managers’ Course in Explosive Remnants of War and Mine Action, where I met a select group of individuals serving on the front lines of humanitarian crises and post-conflict environments around the world.
This year, the 17 participants represented 13 different countries, including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Uganda, and Vietnam. These “Senior Managers” are each leaders in their respective national mine action and ERW programs. This diversity the students bring in terms of background and experience is one of the main reasons… more »