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2014 Annual Report of the Government of the United States of America for the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights Initiative

March 19, 2015 Comments off

2014 Annual Report of the Government of the United States of America for the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights Initiative
Source: U.S. Department of State

Each member of the VPs Initiative is required to report to VPs Initiative participants annually on their efforts to implement the VPs. The U.S. Government has prepared this public report in line with our commitment to make our participation in the VPs Initiative as transparent as possible.

The VPs Initiative is a multi-stakeholder initiative made up of governments, companies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that promotes the implementation of a set of principles that guide oil, gas, and mining companies in providing security for their operations in a manner that respects human rights. Specifically, the VPs guide companies in conducting a comprehensive human rights risk assessment in their engagement with public and private security providers to ensure human rights are respected in the protection of company facilities and premises.

2015 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report

March 19, 2015 Comments off

2015 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
Source: U.S. Department of State

The 2015 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) is an annual report by the Department of State to Congress prepared in accordance with the Foreign Assistance Act. It describes the efforts of key countries to attack all aspects of the international drug trade in Calendar Year 2014. Volume I covers drug and chemical control activities. Volume II covers money laundering and financial crimes.

Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs Release of Foreign Relations of the United States, 1977-1980, Volume IX, Arab-Israeli Dispute, August 1978-December 1980

February 17, 2015 Comments off

Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs Release of Foreign Relations of the United States, 1977-1980, Volume IX, Arab-Israeli Dispute, August 1978-December 1980
Source: U.S. State Department

The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1977–1980, Volume IX, Arab-Israeli Dispute, August 1978–December 1980. As part of the Foreign Relations subseries devoted to the foreign policy of the administration of President Jimmy Carter, this volume is the second of two volumes that document U.S. efforts to achieve a negotiated settlement to the Arab-Israeli dispute. This volume begins with the August 1978 acceptance by Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin of President Carter’s invitation to attend a tripartite summit meeting at Camp David. It traces the course of the September 1978 Camp David Summit and the series of negotiations which followed, talks which culminated in the conclusion of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty on March 26, 1979.

During this period, the Arab-Israeli dispute was top on the list of U.S. foreign policy priorities, reflected in President Carter’s direct involvement in the peace process. With the U.S. failure to broaden Arab support for its diplomatic efforts and the pressures caused by a growing number of crises elsewhere, the administration’s engagement with the Arab-Israeli dispute entered a less intensive phase after the spring of 1979. The volume concludes by documenting the administration’s ultimately unsuccessful attempt to build upon the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty and address the situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. During the last eighteen months of the administration, U.S. diplomacy toward this issue focused on keeping the faltering autonomy negotiations on track, securing the continued goodwill and stability of Egypt, mediating Sadat’s public rivalries with other Arab countries, dealing with the upheaval in Lebanon, and addressing the series of resolutions related to the Arab-Israeli dispute brought before the United Nations.

U.S. Department of State — 2014 Fiscal Transparency Report

January 16, 2015 Comments off

2014 Fiscal Transparency Report
Source: U.S. Department of State

The Department of State hereby presents the findings from the FY 2014 fiscal transparency review process in its Fiscal Transparency Report. This report describes the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency developed by the Department of State in consultation with other relevant federal agencies, identifies governments that are potential beneficiaries of FY 2014 foreign assistance funds, assesses those that did not meet the minimum fiscal transparency requirements, and indicates whether those governments made significant progress towards meeting the requirements.

Final Coburn Oversight Report Finds Major Problems in DHS

January 15, 2015 Comments off

Final Coburn Oversight Report Finds Major Problems in DHS
Source: U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs

On his final day serving in the U.S. Senate, Senator Tom Coburn released an oversight report, A Review of the Department of Homeland Security’s Missions and Performance, which finds the Department of Homeland Security is not successfully executing any of its five main missions.

“Ten years of oversight of the Department of Homeland Security finds that the Department still has a lot of work to do to strengthen our nation’s security,” Dr. Coburn explained. “Congress needs to review the Department’s mission and programs and refocus DHS on national priorities where DHS has a lead responsibility.”

The following are some of the report’s key findings:

  • The Department of Homeland Security spent $50 billion over the past eleven years on counterterrorism programs, including homeland security grants and other anti-terror initiatives, but the department cannot demonstrate if the nation is more secure as a result.
  • As of 2014, 700 miles of the Southern border remain unsecured.
  • DHS is not effectively administering or enforcing the nation’s immigration laws, and only 3 in 100 illegal immigrants will ever face deportation.
  • DHS spends more than $700 million annually to lead the federal government’s efforts on cybersecurity, but struggles to protect itself and cannot protect federal and civilian networks from the most serious cyber attacks.
  • DHS has spent $170 billion for natural disasters since 2002, in part because of an increased federal role in which the costs of small storms are declared “major disasters.”

Despite these findings, Senator Coburn expressed optimism about the Department’s future if Congress acts soon to address the problems identified in this report. “I am confident that Secretary Jeh Johnson is leading the Department in the right direction,” Senator Coburn commented. “One of the biggest challenges that Sec. Johnson and DHS face is Congress and its dysfunctional approach to setting priorities for the Department. Congress needs to work with the Department to refocus its missions on national priorities and give Secretary Johnson the authority to lead and fix the Department.”

Fact Sheet — New START Treaty Aggregate Numbers of Strategic Offensive Arms

January 9, 2015 Comments off

New START Treaty Aggregate Numbers of Strategic Offensive Arms
Source: U.S. Department of State

Data in this Fact Sheet comes from the biannual exchange of data required by the Treaty. It contains data declared current as of September 1, 2014. Data will be updated each six month period after entry into force of the Treaty.

Fact Sheet: Charting a New Course on Cuba

December 19, 2014 Comments off

Charting a New Course on Cuba
Source: U.S. Department of State

Today, the United States is taking historic steps to chart a new course in our relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people. We are separated by 90 miles of water, but brought together through the relationships between the two million Cubans and Americans of Cuban descent that live in the United States, and the 11 million Cubans who share similar hopes for a more positive future for Cuba.

It is clear that decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed to accomplish our enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba. At times, longstanding U.S. policy towards Cuba has isolated the United States from regional and international partners, constrained our ability to influence outcomes throughout the Western Hemisphere, and impaired the use of the full range of tools available to the United States to promote positive change in Cuba. Though this policy has been rooted in the best of intentions, it has had little effect – today, as in 1961, Cuba is governed by the Castros and the Communist party.

We cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. It does not serve America’s interests, or the Cuban people, to try to push Cuba toward collapse. We know from hard-learned experience that it is better to encourage and support reform than to impose policies that will render a country a failed state. With our actions today, we are calling on Cuba to unleash the potential of 11 million Cubans by ending unnecessary restrictions on their political, social, and economic activities. In that spirit, we should not allow U.S. sanctions to add to the burden of Cuban citizens we seek to help.

See also: Announcement of Cuba Policy Changes (John Kerry, Secretary of State)
See also: Briefing on Changes in U.S. Policy Toward Cuba (Roberta S. Jacobson, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs)

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