Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Jose W. Fernandez is traveling to Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, and the United Kingdom through October 11, 2023, to deepen transatlantic cooperation on key economic growth and economic security priorities. This includes a wide range of policy areas such as trade, technology, climate, energy, food security, and providing sustained support for Ukraine's economic recovery, future, and shared prosperity.In Berlin, Under Secretary Fernandez joined the High-Level Economic Dialogue to strengthen even further the robust U.S.-German bilateral relationship.Under Secretary Fernandez visited Paris to participate in the International Energy Agency (IEA) Ministerial alongside Ministers of Energy from all over the world, to discuss ways to better source and process critical minerals, which are vital for the clean energy transition.In Brussels, Under Secretary Fernandez will tour theBelgium-basedInteruniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC) factory in Leuven, one of Europe's leading semiconductor R&D centers, employing 5,000 researchers. He will also hold meetings with U.S. private sector companies and meet with senior European Union officials to discuss trade issues related to the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC), in addition to meeting with the head of the Secretariat of the Donor Coordination Platform for Ukraine.In Rome, Under Secretary Fernandez will meet with senior government officials to discuss G7 planning and economic security issues.In London, the Under Secretary will participate in a Financial Times Mining Summit to discuss the importance of securing reliable, transparent, and sustainable critical minerals and participate in the Minerals Security Partnership Ministerial hosted by the United Kingdom.To stay updated, follow Under Secretary Fernandez on Twitter:@State_E, Facebook:@StateDeptE, and LinkedIn:@State-E.For press inquiries, please contact:E_Communications@state.gov.
To enhance the United States' partnership with the Pacific Islands, and to achieveour shared vision for a resilient Pacific region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken presided over a signing ceremony between the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an independent U.S. development agency, and the Republic of Kiribati.
The ceremony took place during the U.S.-Pacific Islands Forum Summit, convened by the White House on September 25. MCC CEO Alice Albright and President of the Republic of Kiribati Taneti Maamau signed an agreement to fund a $29.1 million Threshold Program, the United States’s largest direct grant investment in Kiribati to date.
The program aims to boost the I-Kiribati people's participation in employment opportunities by:
Building the capabilities of the Kiribati Ministry of Employment and Human Resource to share job opportunities and help under-represented groups including women and members of ethnic minority groups find jobs.
Creating a resource center for overseas I-Kiribati workers to understand their rights in the countries where they are employed.
Establishing English-language camps for I-Kiribati youth in Fiji and the United States and providing students with year-long scholarships to study in American high schools.
MCC and the Republic of Kiribati will partner with the International Labour Organization and American Councils for International Education to deliver on the Threshold Program.CEO Albright and President Maamau signed the agreement following remarks from CEO Albright, Secretary Blinken, and Kiribati's Minister for Employment and Human Resource Taabeta Teakai.The partnership is a crucial part of the U.S. government's continued commitment to the Pacific region, which President Joseph Biden has made clear is a top priority.
Office of the SpokespersonThe below is attributable to Spokesperson Matthew Miller:Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met today with the Republic of the Marshall Islands Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Jack Ading, the Federated States of Micronesia President Wesley Simina, and Palau President Surangel Whipps, Jr., in Washington, DC. The Secretary underscored the strong people-to-people ties and shared history that are underpinned by the Compacts of Free Association between the United States and the three countries, collectively known as the Freely Associated States (FAS). The Secretary commended the FAS dignitaries for the progress in the negotiations on Compact-related agreements, which signal a new era in our partnerships and help achieve a secure, free, and open Indo-Pacific.
Office of the SpokespersonThe below is attributable to Spokesperson Matthew Miller:Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor today in Washington, D.C. Secretary Blinken and Minister Pandor had a productive and direct exchange, affirming the need for robust cooperation between South Africa and the United States on issues of common interest, including reform of international financial institutions to ensure greater inclusivity of the Global South. Secretary Blinken emphasized our desire to continue moving forward with the Just Energy Transition Partnership to help South Africa meet its energy needs and thanked South Africa for hosting the upcoming African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum.
Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of StateNew York City, New YorkPalace HotelSECRETARY BLINKEN:Well, good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to day 27 of UNGA (inaudible). (Laughter.) Welcome to Friday, but the end also of a very (inaudible).As President Biden said to the General Assembly, we are meeting at an historic inflection point. The importance of the United Nations Charter and its core principles has never been clearer. The need for cooperation to address challenges no nation can solve alone has never been greater, and I think you saw both of those ideas come together here in New York this week.We came into this week clear-eyed about the stakes, committed to showing that we can deliver tangible results for the American people - and people around the world - by working in common cause, and determined to marshal the full force of American diplomacy to mobilize effective coalitions capable of meeting the challenges that we face.As you heard President Biden say to the General Assembly, we can and we must cooperate to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals, to reform multilateral development banks to meet the needs of low- and middle-income countries, to invest in infrastructure that lays the foundation for broad-based economic opportunity, to address the climate crisis, to strengthen health and food security.The United States is the world's leading contributor to all of these crucial efforts - and, as President Biden pledged, we will continue to be.At the same time, we can and we must continue to defend the pillars of the United Nations Charter, and work to advance international peace and security, without which we can't achieve any of our goals to build a more free, a more open, a more secure, a more prosperous world.There's no choosing between these priorities. We can do both. We have to do both. And as we've showed this week, we are doing both.And let me just take a couple minutes to suggest how we're doing that.We're delivering affirmative solutions for the challenges that are facing developing countries.You've heard us and you've heard the President launch and address the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment, or PGI. You saw that further in action this week. We brought together private sector leaders to mobilize additional investment on top of the billions we and our G7 partners are already investing toward our goal of delivering $600 billion in high-quality infrastructure investment by the year 2027.You saw us talk about and move forward on a program we called VACS. This is the program we have with the African Union and the United Nations on food security and helping countries in Africa in particular develop their own sustainable and effective sources of food. And here we're focused on making sure that with the most nutritious African crops - we're focused on them. We are breeding climate-resistant varieties and we're improving the soil they grow in. This focus on seeds and soil, as we call it, is a key part of the solution to meeting the global demand for food and making sure that countries in Africa in particular are self-reliant.We convened countries in support of our multilateral mission in Haiti that the UN is now engaged in and working on. Kenya stepped forward in its willingness to be the lead nation. And in the weeks ahead, I suspect you'll see action here at the UN - at the Security Council - to endorse such a force. This is a critical moment in trying to address the needs in Haiti; in particular, to stabilizing the country so that everything else can move forward - political transition, humanitarian assistance, development.We're also forging fit-for-purpose coalitions to tackle emerging challenges.We brought together for the second time our Global Coalition to Address Synthetic Drug Threats, here in New York convening more than 100 countries, and we're developing joint plans of action to deal with every aspect of the synthetic drug problem - public health, regulatory, security solutions - all grounded in cooperative work among countries and organizations. As you've heard me say, this is the number one killer of Americans aged 18 to 49 - in our case fentanyl - but this is a problem that is now taking root in many other parts of the world, and the fact that so many countries are digging in to working together and addressing it is evidence of the fact that there's a strongly felt need to find cooperative global solutions.We gathered governments, artificial intelligence developers, civil society to help direct AI toward meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, to making sure that it is used for good to advance the progress that we know we need. Fostering its positive uses, minimizing its negative uses is a key part of what the United States is working to do every day, including around the world.We also continue to strengthen our alliances and partnerships and bring them together in new ways.We had the first-ever leaders level meeting of the C5+1, the group that brings together our Central Asian partners with the United States. We had meetings with the Quad, with the Gulf Cooperation Council, with ECOWAS.We brought together the Partnership for Atlantic Cooperation - over 30 countries from 4 continents working together to promote a sustainable ocean economy, to advance greater scientific and technological cooperation, and to address together the climate crisis.Finally, we affirmed our commitment to upholding and defending the United Nations Charter.In the Security Council, member-states from every region condemned Russia's war on Ukraine. They affirmed Ukraine's right to sovereignty and territorial integrity. They expressed support for a just and lasting peace.And, of course, we advanced our work on these priorities in meetings with leaders from around the world. By my count and the count of the team, I met with more than 90 countries in both bilateral and multilateral meetings. So you get to cover a lot of ground over the course of five days.This included candid and constructive discussions with China's Vice President Han Zheng - showing that we will continue to seek ways to work together on issues where progress demands our common efforts, while managing our competition responsibly.So this has been an incredibly full week. And reflecting on it, I think that we saw an international community that looks to the United Stateslooks to the United States to bring countries together in a way that's affirmative, that's inclusive, and that meets the real challenges that people face, while at the same time upholding the basic principles of the international system that we know are vital to maintaining peace and stability.We delivered on that this week. We're going to build on the momentum from this week as we go forward in the weeks and months ahead.With that, happy to take some questions.MR MILLER: First question goes to Will Mauldin withThe Wall Street Journal.QUESTION: Thank you so much, Mr. Secretary. I wanted to ask you about the Army tactical missiles, the ATACMS that the U.S. has agreed to provide to Ukraine. Was curious: What were the factors that led you and the others in the administration to make the decision, and do you think there are some missed opportunities in terms of Ukraine not getting this type of weapon or other systems earlier?I also just wanted a quick follow-up on your UN remarks. You met with 90 countries. Is it - is the UN changing? Is it important to meet with more smaller and developing countries because some of the larger ones don't show up or don't see eye to eye on the Security Council? Thank you.SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thanks, Will. The second part first.I think what was very striking about this week is the fact that, yes, we engaged, I engaged, with 90 countries. In some ways, that's typical of these weeks. But there - there was an intensity to the engagements I think because so many countries recognized that in different ways we're at what President Biden calls an inflection point, that the substance of the meetings was significant, and the twin pillars of what we're working on here: on the one hand, upholding the principles of the charter - sovereignty, territorial integrity; and on the other hand, moving forward on the things that matter to people around the world - the global goods that the United States uniquely is in a position to help advance, whether it's health, whether it's food security, whether it's energy security, whether it's infrastructure, whether it's climate, whether it's reforming the multilateral development and assistance and financial system.All of those things were front and center. And by our presence, by our engagement, by the President's very forceful speech to the United Nations General Assembly, I think we've had an ability to demonstrate once again this week that the United States is the country that others look to for leadership, for support, for assistance, for partnership. It was very powerful and palpable this week.With regard to Ukraine, you heard President Zelenskyy's very powerful address to the General Assembly, and you've also seen him at the Security Council. I think what was particularly instructive there was the fact that virtually every country on the Security Council made very clear their support for the UN Charter, for the principles at the heart of the charter that are being aggressed by Russia, and also noted the second- and third-order consequences of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, consequences that are doing tremendous damage to countries around the world.With regard to our own support for Ukraine, I think we delivered our - if I have the count right - 47th drawdown package of military equipment. We are constantly in discussions with Ukraine - and this has been the case from day one - on trying to determine what they need and to make sure that they get it when they need it. And it's an ongoing process and we're doing that virtually every day, and so are dozens of other countries around the world that are supporting Ukraine.And as you've heard me say many, many times before, it's not just an individual system. You've got to make sure that they have the ability to operate the system, so training comes in in many cases. You've got to make sure they have to ability to maintain the system, so if you provide something it doesn't fall apart in a week's time. And you want to make sure that whatever many other countries are providing, it's being used in an effective and coherent way.So that's literally a daily conversation with them. I don't have anything to say or certainly to announce on any given weapons system. You saw what was in the drawdown package that was announced yesterday, and this will - this whole process will continue going forward in terms of looking to address the needs the Ukrainians have to make sure that they can be as successful as possible in continuing to recover the territory that Russia has taken from them.MR MILLER: Olivier O'Mahony withParis Match.QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. So - I'm sorry. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. What do you make of the absence of the leaders of the four other permanent members, member-states of the Security Council? And more particularly, do you regret the absence of President Macron, who is a big supporter of multilateralism? Thank you so much.SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you. I can't speak to those who are here or not here, what led to their decisions. These are obviously choices that governments and leaders make. I can tell you that certainly the French delegation was extremely active and present, led by Foreign Minister Colonna and by many other French diplomats we worked with very closely throughout the week on a wide variety of issues. So in my own experience this week, my French colleagues and counterparts have been very much engaged and very much present.Just coming back to what I said a minute ago, I think from our perspective we've seen the intense focus, interest, and in many cases reliance of other countries on the work that the United States is doing both to uphold the core principles of the international system as expressed in the UN Charter as well as working to deliver on the needs that people have around the world if we're going to have a truly open, stable, prosperous, and secure world.And everything that we did here this week, we found extremely enthusiastic engagement from countries throughout the world, whether it wasin our own hemisphere, Africa, the Middle East, Asia. So for us, this was an extremely productive week , a very good way to be able to make progress on concrete issues that affect the lives of our own citizens and affect the lives of people around the world.Again, I'd cite just one example of this was the coalition that I mentioned a moment ago that we brought together on dealing with synthetic opioids - in our case, fentanyl, but there - some of the other synthetic drugs that are having devastating consequences in countries around the world, whether it's captagon or tramadol or methamphetamines. And our ability to mobilize others in positive collective action, I think, was very much on display this week. This coalition, among many other things that we're doing, is one example of that.MR MILLER: Humeyra Pamuk with Reuters.QUESTION: Thank you, Matt. Thank you. Hello, Mr. Secretary; thank you. Two questions. Saudi Crown Prince MBS in an interview this week said, If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, we must, too. I'm wondering: Don't you find this kind of desire potentially destabilizing for the region? And doesn't that comment give you second thoughts about enabling the kingdom to have civil nuclear program as part of the Saudi-Israel normalization deal? After all, the Iranian nuclear program began with U.S. technology provided under a 1957 agreement under Shah Pahlavi.My second question is about Senator Menendez. There are a lot of details in the indictment on how he ghost-wrote a letter on behalf of the Egyptian Government to other U.S. senators advocating for them to release a hold on 300 million in aid to Egypt. And just last week, you have used your right to waive human rights conditions on $235 million of military aid to Egypt. While the allegations are from 2018, I'm wondering: Don't you think today's indictments cast a shadow on that decision, your decision last week? There are calls for that decision to be reviewed. What do you say? Thanks.SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thanks, Humeyra. Second part first. This is obviously an active and ongoing legal matter, so you'll understand that I have no comment on it.With regard to Iran and nuclear weapons, I think the comments that you alluded to point to the fact that Iran's own activities in pursuing a nuclear program are a profoundly destabilizing element and one that risks the security of countries not only in the region but well beyond it, which is why we're determined - President Biden is determined - that Iran never acquire a nuclear weapon. And as we've said many times, we believe that diplomacy is the most effective way to do that. As you know, we tried to work indirectly with Iran as well as with European partners, and even Russia and China, to see if we could get a return to joint compliance with the Iran nuclear agreement, the so-called JCPOA, but Iran couldn't or wouldn't do that. And so the problem is very clear, and the problem is Iran. That is the destabilizing element.Just this past week, we saw them remove IAEA inspectors, who are critical to doing the work of the IAEA, to, as best it can, ensure that Iran is being consistent with whatever obligations it has and is - and having a clear sense of what they're actually doing. So that is not evidence of an Iran that's interested in actually being a responsible actor when it comes to its nuclear program, and that is the destabilizing element.MR MILLER: Serife Cetin with Anadolu Agency.QUESTION: Secretary, thank you for the opportunity. We've seen that the U.S. has been following the developments in Karabakh very closely, and I believe you also spoke about this with your Turkish counterpart. Mr. Secretary, in a recent phone call with Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan, you said that the U.S. fully supports Armenia's territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence. I'd just like to know if the U.S. also recognizes and supports Azerbaijan's right to restore its own territorial integrity, including in Karabakh. Thank you.SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you. Well, first let me say this. I had the opportunity this week to speak to both leaders - Prime Minister Pashinyan, President Aliyev. And what I expressed to both is our deep concern about the actions this past week, particularly Azerbaijan's military actions. And as a general proposition, for the United States we want to make clear that the use of force is unacceptable and it runs counter to the efforts that we've been engaged in - but more important, both countries have been engaged in - to find a just and dignified peace in the region.This is something that's manifestly in the interests of both Azerbaijan and Armenia. Both have invested in it, including President Aliyev and Prime Minister Pashinyan. And this is something that we've worked to support along with the European Union. So the actions that we saw this week simply run counter to that effort, and that kind of just and durable peace that we're working toward would be a tremendous benefit to both countries, to the region, and also, I think, a strong change for the better in the current of history after 30 years of conflict.I'm also deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation for the population inside Nagorno-Karabakh, and the imperative of having unimpeded access for humanitarian organizations to reach populations in need is also front and center in our thinking. So we've been in close touch with all sides - we've been in close touch with the European Union as well - to try to move this back to a better place. There have been conversations just over the last 24 hours involving Baku, involving those representing ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. And moving back to talking, negotiating, diplomacy is where we want to drive this.When it comes to sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence, we stand for those propositions for everyone concerned.MR MILLER: And for the final question, Iain Marlow from Bloomberg.QUESTION: Hi there, Secretary; thank you. I just wanted to ask on the Canada-India diplomatic spat over the alleged murder of the Sikh leader in Canada by agents of the Indian Government - two questions. First, there's been reports that President Biden brought this issue up with Modi personally and that a Five Eyes ally provided signals and human intelligence that formed the backbone of Trudeau's accusations in parliament earlier this week. I'm just wondering: Can you tell us anything about - anything more about U.S. engagementwith Canada on this issue? And ongoing U.S. engagement with India - as people have said - spokespeople from the NSC have said - is ongoing.And second, in comments in New York yesterday, Trudeau framed Canada's pursuit of these allegations not just as a process of finding justice for a Canadian citizen who was murdered, but as part of a broader battle to defend the international rules-based order. And I'm just wondering: India's obviously a growing strategic partner of the U.S. How do these allegations square with India's desire to play an increasingly prominent role on the world stage? And if these allegations turned out to be true, doesn't that undermine the U.S. vision of India as a pillar of democratic values that can help counterbalance China in Asia? Thanks.SECRETARY BLINKEN:Thanks, Iain. Let me say a few things about this. First, we are deeply concerned about the allegations that Prime Minister Trudeau has raised. We have been consulting throughout very closely with our Canadian colleagues - and not just consulting, coordinating with them - on this issue. And from our perspective, it is critical that the Canadian investigation proceed, and it would be important that India work with the Canadians on this investigation. We want to see accountability, and it's important that the investigation run its course and lead to that result.I'm not going to characterize or otherwise speak to diplomatic conversations that we have. We've been engaged directly with the Indian Government as well. And again, I think the most productive thing that can happen now is to see this investigation move forward, be completed. And we would hope that our Indian friends would cooperate with that investigation as well.More broadly - and you've heard me speak to this - we are extremely vigilant about any instances of alleged transnational repression, something we take very, very seriously. And I think it's important more broadly for the international system that any country that might consider engaging in such acts not do so. So it's something that we're also focused on in a much broader way.Thank you.MR MILLER:Thank you.
Office of the SpokespersonToday, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Jose W. Fernandez signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S.-UAE Business Council, the UAE-India Business Council, and the UAE-Israel Business Council to create the I2U2 Private Enterprise Partnership. This new public-private partnership will work to increase awareness of the I2U2 initiative in business communities and support projects and other efforts that further the goals of the initiative.The signing ceremony includedIndia's Ministry of External Affairs Secretary Dammu Ravi, Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director-General Ronen Levi, and UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, as part of their I2U2 meeting on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly high-level week in New York City.class="external-link-title">View the Memorandum of Understandingclass="filesize icon-pdf">.This announcement also included the launch of a new webpage for I2U2 and the opening ofnew project submissions through the website.Visitthe I2U2 webpageto learn more.To stay updated, follow Under Secretary Fernandez on social media: class="external-link" href="https://twitter.com/State_E" target="_BLANK" rel="noopener">Twitter@State_Eclass="icon-external">, href="https://www.facebook.com/StateDeptE" target="_BLANK" rel="noopener">class="external-link-title">Facebook@StateDeptE, and href="https://www.linkedin.com/company/state-e/" target="_BLANK" rel="noopener"> LinkedIn@State-E.For press inquiries, please contactE_Communications@state.gov.filter="111001000111" />
Estimated to be worth $28 billion, Cisco's planned acquisition of Splunk will form one of the world's largest software vendors that will look to help enterprises better safeguard themselves as AI becomes pervasive.
Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of StateNew York City, New YorkRockefeller FoundationSECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you. Thank you very, very much. So we're, what, about halfway through High-Level Week, I think - (laughter) - which is known at the department basically as speed-dating for diplomats. And we have lots of events, lots of meetings, lots of gatherings. But I have to tell you I was really looking forward to this particular meeting, this particular gathering, and I'll tell you why in a few minutes.But let me just start by saying to Raj, my friend and colleague of many years, thank you. Thank you for the extraordinary leadership that you've shown here, the leadership that you showed in government, but also the partnership on this issue and so many others. And that includes hosting us here just about a month ago to meet with and learn from agricultural leaders about what it's going to take to meet growing global food demand. It was, for me at least, a very enlightening session. Cary was there, and we continued to learn a lot every single day.Cary Fowler is a remarkable resource for the State Department and for the country, the State Department's Special Envoy for Global Food Security, known, I think, to everyone in this room. Cary has taught me more about soil and seeds than I ever knew I wanted to know. (Laughter.) And we're also joined by another extraordinary colleague, Jose Fernandez, our Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment.So we're here in large part because, among many other challenges we face, we are facing a global food crisis - one that, as you all know, is fueled by climate change, COVID, and now, especially, conflict. This emergency has left 700 million people undernourished. It's helped stunt the growth of more than 30 percent of Sub-Saharan African children under five. It's driven the price of staple crops like rice to a 15-year high.When I think about just one of those statistics, stunted growth for more than 30 percent of Sub-Saharan African children under five, I'm thinking about my own kids, who are almost exactly that age. I'm thinking about what President Biden has said, which is that if your kids have an empty stomach, pretty much nothing else matters. It is the foundation of everything. And so as Raj said, we're tackling a lot of other challenges around the world, but if we don't get this right, I actually don't think anything else really, really matters. We have to as a matter of our humanity and, quite frankly, as a matter of our profound self-interest.We are working in our government to try to deliver solutions to, in the first instance, mitigate the impact of the immediate crisis we face. If you go back to January of 2021, we've provided more than $17.5 billion to address global food security - insecurity. And we're continuing to work to rally the world to deliver the urgent relief that people need - people facing acute hunger in this moment, including the millions affected by Russia's aggression against Ukraine, the world's breadbasket. We continue to join the UN and countries around the world in calling on Russia to stop its attacks on Ukrainian ports and grain silos, to allow desperately needed grain to reach the world.You all know this, but it's important to keep emphasizing. The fact that we had to have a Black Sea Grain Initiative negotiated by the United Nations and Trkiye, that never should have been necessary in the first place. It was - only became necessary because Russia invaded Ukraine and then, having done that, blockaded its ports. The result of that initiative - getting the grain moving again - meant that some 35 million tons of grain got out of Ukraine and, principally, to the developing world. Two-thirds of the wheat coming out through that got to the developing world - the equivalent of 18 billion - 18 billion - loaves of bread. Now Putin's torn it up and is trying to use it once again as political leverage. Weaponizing food - talk about unacceptable; that should be near the top of the list.So we are working aggressively on this to try to mitigate the damage that's being done, to look in the case of Ukraine for alternate routes, but also, more broadly, to come to the assistance of people who desperately need it right now. I'm proud of the fact that the United States is by far the largest donor in the world to the World Food Program. We provide about 50 percent of the World Food Program's budget every year. I would note that other very large countries that are often in the headlines provide less than 1 percent of its budget.But here is the thing, and this is something I am profoundly convinced of from the conversations I've been able to have over the last couple of years with colleagues, especially colleagues in Africa. Even as we focus on these near-term needs, even as that is an obligation for us, we can't lose sight of the fundamental challenge of the coming decades - feeding more and more people in the world where growing food is becoming harder and harder. And working to genuinely give countries the capacity to have sustainable productive capacity of their own - this is what countries around the world most want. Yes, they deeply value the emergency assistance. But what they really want to be able to do is stand on their own feet, and we have the means, I'm convinced, to help them do that and so much more. I think there is huge potential that countries that right now are not able to feed their own people to turn around and not only feed their own people, but feed many others. There is so much untapped productive capacity around the world if we can just do our jobs and do them right.But the challenge we have, especially if you project out over the next 25 or so years, is this: Global demand for food is projected to increase by 50 percent between now and 2050. Over the same period, prolonged droughts, horrific wildfires, catastrophic storms caused or exacerbated by climate change we know could reduce yields by as much as 30 percent.So we've already got a huge problem, and if we're looking out to 2050 we see hugely growing demand and potentially significantly diminishing supply. We have to do something about that and we have to do it now.Our ability to provide sufficient, affordable, and nutritious food in the future, I think, depends on making some significant decisions today.President Biden talks a lot about what he calls an inflection point. It's something that comes along every six or seven generations, and what it means is this: The changes in the international environment right now are so significant, so profound, that the decisions that we and other countries make today are going to shape the future not just for the next few years but for the coming decades. And this is the kind of moment that comes around only once every six or seven generations. We had it after World War II. We had it after the Cold War. Now we're facing such a moment again.And this question of food security, I think, is a powerful example of that. Quite literally, the decisions we make now in the next few years are going to shape the next decades.So, in February of this year, the United States, the African Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization came together and launched something we call the Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils - or VACS. VACS is part of USAID's Feed the Future initiative. And USAID has been our extraordinary leader on all things food security, and Feed the Future has been our comprehensive response to food insecurity, and we are devoting a billion dollars annually to strengthen food systems, to expand social safety nets, to boost nutrition in over 40 countries.But the new element we've added, the new approach that Cary has really helped pioneer and shape, VACS - twofold. First, we're investing above ground: identifying the indigenous and traditional African crops that are most nutritious but also most resilient to climate impacts; and then we're taking them, improving these varieties, and delivering them to consumers and markets. At the same time, we're investing below ground: mapping, conserving, building healthy soils - because as Dr. Fowler reminds us, poor soils do not produce rich harvests.In July, the United States committed $100 million to VACS - $30 million to adapt crops, $70 million to enhance the health of soil. And working through the International Fund for Agricultural Development - IFAD - we have also established a new multi-donor funding platform to help finance those better seeds and soils. I am very proud of the fact that the United States is a founding donor, and I have a very simple request to you tonight: Join us. Commit to this effort so that we can demonstrate real action on climate adaptation ahead of COP28 in Dubai. Make this investment in our shared future. I think we have a powerful opportunity to make a profound difference, to do the shaping of the next decades starting right now.Now, I know for all of us involved in this, the task can seem daunting, even overwhelming. But we've been here before, as Raj reminds us. In the middle of the last century, experts were predicting a population bomb. They were warning of mass starvation. I remember studying this in school. And of course, it was Norman Borlaug - working through the Rockefeller Foundation - who catalyzed the Green Revolution and is literally credited with saving billions of lives. Think about that for just a minute. Talk about extraordinary; that's the definition.So here tonight, and the reason I was so excited about being with you tonight, is because I think we have in this room and in the networks of people, organizations, institutions, expertise that you're all connected to, I think we have the ability to once again mobilize our respective governments and institutions, to harness agricultural ingenuity, to feed the world. What an extraordinary and wonderful mission. Thank you for being willing to take part in it.Thank you very much. (Applause.)
Office of the SpokespersonOn September 18, Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Jose W. Fernandez convened U.S. government and private sector stakeholders from key sectors to discuss how to increase investment in critical minerals. This roundtable was co-organized by the Department of State's Office of Global Partnerships and the non-profit SAFE, represented by SAFE's President and CEO Robbie Diamond and Director of International Affairs Abigail Hunter. Among the U.S. government participants in the discussion were Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources Geoffrey Pyatt, Chair of EXIM Bank Reta Jo Lewis, and Special Representative for Global Partnerships Dorothy McAuliffe.Demand for critical minerals, which are essential to the clean energy transition and other technologies, is projected to expand by factors of four to six and up to 42 times more (for lithium) in the coming decades. Transparent, diverse, predictable, secure, and sustainable supply chains for critical minerals are vital to deploying clean energy technologies at the speed and scale necessary to combat climate change effectively.The convening highlights the U.S. Department of State's commitment to working with partners across the public and private sector to address challenges and create opportunities in responsible mining, processing, and recycling of critical minerals. The U.S. officials and key stakeholder participants held candid conversations about how economic and diplomatic tools, including the Minerals Security Partnership (MSP), can address the needs and concerns of private sector investors as they seek to engage with minerals projects along the value chain - including extraction, processing, and recycling - and promote investment in projects that meet high environmental, social, and governance standards.To stay updated, follow Under Secretary Fernandez on social media: Twitter@State_E, Facebook@StateDeptE, and LinkedIn@State-E.For press inquiries, please contactE_Communications@state.gov.
Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of StateNew York City, New YorkPermanent Mission of the People's Republic of China to the UNVICE PRESIDENT HAN:(Via interpreter) It's my pleasure to meet you again, Mr. Secretary of State. In autumn of 2015, during your visit to China, we held friendly talks in Shanghai - development and the reform of the Shanghai free trade summit. You asked about Shanghai's innovative development, as well as how American companies were doing in Shanghai. And now, eight years later, the memory is still fresh in my mind.At present, China-U.S. relations are the most consequential relations. In June this year, you visited China and held candid, pragmatic, and productive communication with various sides in China. Such communications sent to the whole world the constructive message of China and the United States stepping up engagement and dialogue and working together to stabilize the bilateral relationship. The world needs a steady and sound China-U.S. relationship, and such a relationship is beneficial with two countries and the world at large.Last year, President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden had a successful meeting in Bali. They reached a series of important common understandings which pointed the way forward for China-U.S. relations. At present, China-U.S. relations face various difficulties and challenges. It requires both sides to work together to show sincerity, work in the same direction, and make common efforts.China has all along followed the three principles put forward by President Xi Jinping, namely mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation in viewing and handling China-U.S. relations. And we sincerely hope that the U.S. would take more concrete action to deliver on the common understanding between our leaders for the sound and steady growth in China-U.S. relations.I'd like to hear from you, Mr. Secretary of State.SECRETARY BLINKEN: Mr. Vice President, first, it's good to see you again. I remember well our meeting in Shanghai in 2015, and I'm pleased for the opportunity to meet here on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly.I think it's a good thing that we have this opportunity to build on the recent high-level engagements that our countries have had, to make sure that we're maintaining open communications and to demonstrate that we are responsibly managing the relationship between our two countries.From the perspective of the United States, face-to-face diplomacy is the best way to deal with areas where we disagree, and also the best way to explore areas of potential cooperation between us. The world expects us to responsibly manage our relationship. The United States is committed to doing just that.And I'm looking forward to a good conversation with you today. Thanks for having us here.
Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of StatePresident Biden today announced the appointment of Penny Pritzker as the U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine's Economic Recovery.In this role, she will work with the Ukrainian government, the G7, the EU, international financial institutions, international partners, and one of our great assets - the American private sector - to help forge Ukraine's future as a prosperous, secure, European democracy. Special Representative Pritzker will drive efforts to shape donor priorities through the Multi-Agency Donor Coordination Platform to align them with Ukraine's needs and to galvanize international partners to increase their support for Ukraine. She will also work closely with the government of Ukraine as it intensifies reforms needed to win the future, open export markets, mobilize foreign direct investment, and catalyze economic recovery.Special RepresentativePritzker's extensive private sector experience, service as Secretary of Commerce, and deep personal connection to Ukraine and the Ukrainian diaspora make her uniquely qualified for this task. Tracing their roots to the village of Velyki Pritsky outside of Kyiv, her family owned a grain store before emigrating the United States more than 100 years ago.Special RepresentativePritzker is a deeply committed leader trusted across the political spectrum for her proven track record of delivering positive outcomes and results.Special RepresentativePritzker's appointment demonstrates our commitment to strengthen Ukraine's European future and follows new economic and security commitments announced at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in London and in Vilnius by the G7+ and NATO. Her rolewill build on the steadfast work of the State Department, USAID, the Commerce Department, and other agencies to accelerate Ukraine's economic transformation.She will be key to our determination to see to it that Ukraine not only survives but thrives, standing on its own.I welcomeSpecial RepresentativePritzkerto the role and extend my deep gratitude for her renewed public service.
Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of StateThe Departments of State and the Treasury are imposing further sanctions on over 150 individuals and entities in connection with Russia's unlawful invasion of Ukraine. As part of today's action, the U.S. government is targeting individuals and entities engaged in sanctions evasion and circumvention, those complicit in furthering Russia's ability to wage its war against Ukraine, and those responsible for bolstering Russia's future energy production.The Department of State is imposing sanctions on over 70 entities and individuals involved in expanding Russia's energy production and export capacity, operating in Russia's metals and mining sectors, and aiding Russian individuals and entities in evading international sanctions. The Department of State is also designating one Russian Intelligence Services officer and one Georgian-Russian oligarch whom the FSB has leveraged to influence Georgian society and politics for the benefit of Russia. Additionally, the Department is designating numerous entities producing and repairing Russian weapon systems, including the Kalibr cruise missile used by Russian forces against cities and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, and an individual affiliated with the Wagner Group involved in the shipment of munitions from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to the Russian Federation.Concurrently, the Department of the Treasury is imposing nearly one hundred sanctions on Russia's elites and its industrial base, financial institutions, and technology suppliers, including one official of the Wagner Group for advancing Russia's malign activities in the Central African Republic. This action comes after the Wagner Group helped ensure the passage of a July 30 constitutional referendum that undercut the country's democracy.The United States and its allies and partners are united in supporting Ukraine in the face of Russia's unprovoked, unjustified, and illegal war. We will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.All targets are being designated pursuant toExecutive Order 14024, which authorizes sanctions with respect to specified harmful foreign activities of the Government of the Russian Federation.For more information on today's actions, please see the Department of State'sfact sheetand the Department of the Treasury'spress release.
Roiland's former fans and dates described disturbing interactions with the animator, with many playing out over texts. One woman said the 'Rick and Morty' creator sexually assaulted her, another said she was left 'traumatized.' (Warning: This article contains explicit language.)
Washington, D.C.QUESTION: Today we are thrilled to have the U.S. Secretary of State, our friend, Tony Blinken, on the show. He is fresh off visits to Ukraine, to India —SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, fresh, I'm not so sure. (Laughter.)QUESTION: Not so sure about fresh. India for the G20, Vietnam. Tony, great to see you.SECRETARY BLINKEN: Tommy, Ben, great to be with you. Thanks for having me.QUESTION: So Tony, I wanted to kick this off. I know you're - the day this airs, there will be a speech that you're giving. And I know it's in part intended to kind of step back and give a look - broader look at the Biden administration's foreign policy. But the way I wanted to ask this question is essentially, even people following this closely, they see the war in Ukraine, they see a lot of hot spots that flare up that you have to rush to and deal with. Even people that listen to this podcast, follow things pretty closely, are probably having trouble trying to make sense of like what is this moment that we're in.And you've been in multiple administrations - Clinton administration after the end of the Cold War, the Obama administration after the financial crisis. This is obviously a different kind of moment. What would you say to people who are trying to make sense of this, of like - what is this kind of - what is the moment that we're in geopolitically and how is your job different today than it would have been in the Obama administration or the Clinton administration?SECRETARY BLINKEN: So Ben, I think as we're looking at it, we really see this moment as an inflection point, by which I mean this: We've all been living through, working through what was called the post-Cold War era. And as we see it, that era has come to an end and there's an intense competition on to shape what comes next. And we're seeing that in a couple of ways.We're seeing that with this renewed but also in many ways new great power rivalry and competition. We're also seeing it, though, with a whole host of profound transnational challenges that are putting new and extraordinary demands on governments and international organizations much more so than ever before, whether it's climate, whether it's mass migration, whether it's the food insecurity that we're seeing, energy challenges, emerging technologies.And for a variety of reasons, we've come to a moment where so many of the benefits that we thought would accrue from the end of the Cold War - benefits which in many ways we saw but not to the extent and not with the durability that we hoped - we're seeing that in many ways being questioned and come to an end. And we are engaged heavily in how we shape the next period of time in a way that reflects what we want to achieve, which is, broadly speaking, a world that's free, that's open, that's secure, that's prosperous, that's connected.And the importance of an inflection point moment - and I'll stop with that - is that almost by definition, you get to one of those moments - and they come around every six or seven generations - the decisions that we make now, the way we organize ourselves at home, the way we organize ourselves in the world, are likely to shape what things look like not just for the next few years, but for the next decades. We believe we're at that kind of moment.QUESTION: Tony, one of the big sort of inbox issues is - for you guys lately has been Ukraine, and you just got back from your third trip, I believe, since the war started. It's been raging for a year and a half. The U.S. has provided an enormous amount of assistance to Ukraine. I think I read today that the number has topped a hundred billion. Ben and I watched the Republican primary foreign policy debates very closely and the arguments are generally against U.S. support for Ukraine and they're very simple and they're very clear, right? It's like we should be spending that money here, we should be securing our border here, the risk of escalation with Russia is constant if not growing.I even hear supporters of the U.S. - the war effort in Ukraine saying our message is more complicated, we don't know what success looks like, we don't know what the endgame is, we're worried about the counteroffensive maybe stalling or struggling, we're worried about there not being sort of public peace talks. And I was just wondering if you could help the listeners understand, like, what our core objectives are in Ukraine and what success looks like so they can try to figure out what an endgame might be.SECRETARY BLINKEN: Yeah. So Tommy, I think first, it's important to step back and look at the stakes of Ukraine for us, and indeed, for folks around the world.Look, first, I think most Americans just inherently don't like to see one big country bully another. It's something that we generally object to and, where we can, want to do something about. So when we see the brutalization of Ukraine by Russia, when we see what's being done on a daily basis to bomb not only its cities but to bomb its people, its infrastructure, when we see some of the atrocities that have been committed by Russian forces in Ukraine, that's something that gets people, rightly, concerned and upset.But fundamentally, there's something even larger at stake, which is this is not only an aggression against Ukraine, it's an aggression against some very basic principles that we labored long and hard to try to establish after two world wars to try to ensure that it would be less likely that we have another world war and certainly less likely that we'd have conflict, and that we'd have a greater chance at building peace and stability. A lot of this is enshrined in the United Nations Charter and other places, and it basically says one country doesn't have the right to go in, change the borders with another by force, try to take it over, try to do what Russia did, which was to erase Ukraine's identity, erase it from the map, subsume it into Russia.Because if we allow that to go unchecked, if we allow that to go forward with impunity, then it opens a Pandora's box. It's open season. Every would-be aggressor around the world will say, Well, if Russia can get away with it, so can we. And Russia itself - the idea that it would stop at simply trying to take over Ukraine, it would stop there, I think is very misguided. So not doing something about this is a recipe for a world of conflict that we know from history draws the United States in, in ways that cost a lot more toil and treasure and blood than we're seeing now. So I think that's the big piece that's so important.The other big piece is this: This is not just the United States standing with and standing up for Ukraine. It's dozens of countries around the world. And we've built different coalitions to deal with different aspects of this - the military piece, the economic and reconstruction piece, the energy piece, the humanitarian piece. And you're seeing countries from around the world coming in and standing with Ukraine.The ultimate objective, really, Tommy, is two-fold. First, of course, is to deny Russia any kind of strategic success in Ukraine, because if we don't then, as I said, it's open invitation for aggressors everywhere. And already it's really important to note that Russia has failed in what it was trying to accomplish, because its goal, as I said, was to erase Ukraine from the map, to end its identity as an independent country, to subsume it into Russia. That's already failed. Where exactly it settles, exactly where the lines are drawn - that's fundamentally up to the Ukrainians.And we want to stand with them to maximize their ability to take back the remaining territory that Russia seized. Russia still controls about 17 percent of Ukraine. But not only that, to ensure that Ukraine not only survives but also thrives. And that gets into supporting it economically and supporting its democratic emergence. But the objective is to make sure that Ukraine can stand on its own feet. This is not a recipe for some kind of indefinite support by the entire world to keep Ukraine going. It's getting Ukraine to a point where militarily, economically, democratically it can stand strongly on its own.QUESTION: It seems clear that Putin is struggling to get the resources necessary to conduct this war. He is reportedly meeting with Kim Jong-un today in Russia. A lot of analysts though are saying - are looking at this meeting and saying this is a significant and worrisome evolution of the Russia-North Korea relationship, because North Korea finally has something that Putin actually wants, in this case artillery shells. He can use that as leverage to extract something that might worry us a lot like military technology to launch missiles, spy satellites, nuclear technologies. It's notable that Kim is accompanied by two aides that I believe manage like the satellite program and manage their acquisition of nuclear-capable submarines, for example. How worried are you about this deepening partnership between Russia and North Korea and the potential for North Korea to get these more modern weapons, or sort of like nuclear infrastructure?SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, I think this says two things to us. First, it says that Russia's increasingly desperate - desperate because of the effectiveness of the Ukrainians in pushing them back; desperate because the sanctions and export controls that so many countries have imposed on Russia are denying it the technology that it needs to replace and even modernize its military and its weaponry, so it's looking wherever it can. And of course, right now it's looking primarily to North Korea and to Iran. On one level, that's kind of a Star Wars bar scene of countries. So I think it does speak to Russia's desperation.On the other hand, it's also true that we don't want to see Russia be in a position where it can strengthen the capabilities it's bringing to dealing with the aggression on Ukraine, and we also don't want to see North Korea benefitting from whatever technologies it might get from Russia, and same with Iran where there's also a two-way street relationship that's developing. We're working with other countries; we're taking our own actions to try to disrupt as much of that as we possibly can. Of course, the relationship between Russia and North Korea that's moving forward now is in violation of numerous UN Security Council resolutions. We're looking to make sure that we, as necessary, can impose costs and consequences. But I also think it's having the effect of further isolating these countries from the rest of the world.QUESTION:So one question following on both - this inflection point you mentioned in Ukraine, you were recently in India for the G20. And it was interesting because that came shortly after, for India, the BRICS Summit that got a lot of attention in South Africa. And so we see kind of India comfortable at the BRICS Summit, comfortable in Washington, the state visit. But I want to ask more generally about the Global South and countries like India and countries in places like Southeast Asia and in Africa that have been much more reticent to kind of embrace the Ukrainian side of this war in the same way that, say, our European allies have.Is there a risk? Because it feels like here in the United States and in Europe and some of our Asian allies - okay, the Ukraine war is an inflection point. The Ukraine war itself is kind of representative of the inflection point that you talk about. But it does feel like, almost a couple of years into this war, that's not a view that is shared in the Global South, and that if anything there might even be a risk that our focus on Ukraine is not where their heads are at. They're thinking about climate change or they're thinking about development or they're thinking about emerging technologies.How do you balance this risk between wanting to get a statement at the G20 expressing support for Ukraine, versus maybe not meeting these countries where they are, in which they're like, You know what? I don't like the fact that there's this war, but I don't really want to get involved in it. And why aren't you talking to us about what we care about? What would you say to that kind of line of critique that we hear a lot from some elements of the Global South?SECRETARY BLINKEN:Sure, I - Ben, I think two things. First, if you look at what we've been able to do over the last year and a half with regard to the rest of the world and Russia's aggression against Ukraine, on multiple occasions we've had more than 140 countries at the United Nations clearly stand up for territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty, and against the Russian aggression. That includes many - most of the countries in the so-called Global South, because I think they understand that the principles I was talking about earlier are principles that matter to them, too. And so again, we've seen them stand up similarly with some of the support that we've helped to build for Ukraine.As I said, it's not just the military piece. It's the economic and reconstruction piece, its energy, its humanitarian. A number of these countries have taken part in pieces of this, which goes to the kinds of varied coalition's that we're building on any given issue, what I like to call variable geometry, because what we're doing is we're putting together, for very fit-for-purpose reasons, different collections of countries, different sizes, different shapes of coalitions to address specific problems.That's one piece, but the other piece is exactly what you said. We have to and we are demonstrating that we're focused on the issues that matter most to them, and that we are the answer to many of the problems that they're facing. And Russia in this particular case is a big part of the problem. Food security, to take one example - the combination of - over the last few years - of climate change, of COVID, and of conflict, and particularly now the Russian aggression against Ukraine has had devastating consequences for countries particularly in the Global South when it comes to food insecurity.The breadbasket of the world, Ukraine - Russia preventing Ukraine from exporting its grain and its wheat. An initiative by the United Nations to allow that to happen, the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which, when it was in effect, allowed 30 million tons of grain to get out of Ukraine, the equivalent of 18 billion loaves of bread. The Russians recently tore that up. Who does that hurt the most? The very countries in the developing world that desperately need it. Even countries that weren't direct recipients of Ukrainian grain are affected by the fact that prices go up when grain is kept off the market.We've put together a coalition of countries around the world to deal effectively with food insecurity, both emergency assistance where we're the number-one provider around the world, as well as long-term support, to help these countries build their sustainable productive capacity so that they're not the prisoners of a country like Russia weaponizing food. I can go across the board on the things that countries are actually looking for and want. Infrastructure - a huge demand for infrastructure around the world. Well, thanks to what President Biden's done, starting with the G7 and now expanded to the G20, we have a very significant program of infrastructure investment that is bringing countries together to catalyze private sector investment to respond to these needs. But to do it as a race to the top, not a race to the bottom that these countries have experienced when they've had other significant supporters of infrastructure do it in a way that builds to shoddy standards, that doesn't pay attention to the environment or the rights and needs of workers, and that puts a huge amount of debt on countries that they can't afford.We're in the process of reforming the international financial system so that countries have greater access to capital, so that they have ways of getting debt relief that they can make more manageable the needs that they have. And of course working to make sure we have a Security Council at the United Nations that's better reflective of the world of today, not the world that existed when the Security Council was formed.So in these and so many other ways, we've been demonstrating that yes, we're focused on the agenda that most countries around the world want us to focus on, and in this moment a country like Russia is the main disruptor of that agenda.QUESTION: And is - one more thing on this. Are you - it's interesting that the G20 just happened, before that the BRICS summit. We've obviously had a G7, which you guys have referred to. I think an interesting, good bumper sticker: the steering committee of the free world. But we're also - the UN meetings are coming up. And it - these are my words, not yours. It feels like the UN is far less capable of being a place of collective action, I mean, for the obvious reason that Russia is not going to let anything get through the Security Council on anything that we care about, for instance.Is there a worry that yes, you're building these coalitions, and good, strong coalitions of likeminded countries on different issues - like you said, variable geometry, which I did not do well in geometry - (laughter) - at school. But I get your meaning, like you have Quads and orientations in Asia; you had the trilat with Korea and Japan at Camp David; the G7. But then China is building its own blocs. Are you worried a bit that part of what's happening is the world is sorting out into kind of competing blocs, and rather than having that system that coordinates collective action that there's a system being built that is really an us-versus-them system, even if that's not the intention of the United States, that that may be the effect of what's happening in this - at this moment?SECRETARY BLINKEN: Look, there's no doubt that the international system, the UN system, is challenged in many ways. But that's not a reason to give up on it. It's a question - it's actually a reason to double down, lean in, and seek to make it more effective and, again, more reflective of the world, as you might put it, as it is, not as it once was. And that's what —QUESTION: Good point there, Tony.SECRETARY BLINKEN: Yeah, I'm trying.QUESTION: I appreciate that. Seamless.QUESTION: Yeah, I can - seamless, yeah.SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you.QUESTION: Yeah. (Laughter.)SECRETARY BLINKEN: But - and that's not purely out of altruism. It's because it's in our interest to do it. The fact of the matter is virtually none of the problems that we have to face around the world and that are having an effect on the lives of our fellow citizens are problems that we can effectively address alone, as strong and powerful as we are. We benefit profoundly from having these alliances, these partnerships, these coalitions, and an effective international system that can pick up some of the burden. Because if not, then either we're going to be stuck doing it alone at much greater cost or no one does it, and then you're going to have a vacuum that is just filled by bad things before it's filled with good things.So we have an interest in making sure that the UN can operate effectively through its programs; for example, on food security, on maternal health, on climate, you name it. And to some extent, even if you have relative paralysis at the Security Council for the reasons you said, that doesn't mean that these different programs aren't functioning and having a positive impact, again, in ways that, if they weren't around, we'd have to pick up the slack. So we're working on that.Look, I'd like to see a Security Council that functions, but that is very challenging at a time when you have the antagonisms that we have with Russia and the competition that we have with China.But we're also seeing this, Ben, and this is what I'm finding as I travel around the world: There's a demand signal from countries around the world that we, the United States, lead responsibly. And that means dealing with what you were talking about a few minutes ago, which is focusing on the things that matter to them, and also trying to find ways to move forward and try to make the UN and other international institutions more effective. And if and as we do that, or at least as we're seen and caught trying, that actually benefits us in our leadership around the world.QUESTION: Tony, last question for you; thank you again for your time. There have been a bunch of news reports about a possible U.S.-brokered normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Now, I know you wouldn't ever comment on a deal that's not finalized, nor would you get ahead of President Biden to be able to announce -SECRETARY BLINKEN: That's correct.QUESTION: But I was hoping you might help us understand why the administration thinks now is the moment where it might be advantageous to cut a deal with the Saudis and the Israelis. Because in Israel, there have been months of protests over changes to the judiciary. People like Ehud Barak said that these changes could turn Israel into, quote, a de factor dictatorship, where there's questions about the future of Israel's democracy. Over in Saudi Arabia, it obviously, of course, already is a dictatorship. The crown prince has an ever-worsening human rights record. The most recent iteration of that was reports that border guards were shooting at Ethiopian migrants. As part of a policy, MBS has a tendency to undercut U.S. interests.I mean, cards on the table, obviously - in case it's not obvious already - I'm not a big fan of Bibi or MBS, but I'm wondering sort of like why help these two leaders out now? It seems like a big political win for two folks who fight against President Biden's political wins on a regular basis.SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, first, Tommy, this and most things that we do are not about individual leaders or individual governments; they're about the substance of the issue and whether we can, in whatever we're doing, advance a world that's a little bit more peaceful, a little bit more prosperous, a little bit more full of opportunity. And there's no question in my mind that if we could help achieve normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, it would move the world in that direction. We've had extraordinary turmoil in that part of the world going back to at least 1979 - decades of turmoil.Moving away from that, having more moderating and integrating dynamics carry things forward, I think would be a profound change and a profound change for the good - and a change that would, again, not be tied to any specific government but to the fundamental interests of the countries involved.Now, this is really hard to do. And there's a lot that goes into it. And unclear whether we get there. But there's no doubt in my mind that if we could, it would be good for us, good for the countries in question, good for the region, and indeed good for the world beyond. If you have the leading Muslim country in the world, Islamic country in the world, making peace with Israel, that's going to have benefits that travel well beyond the region.Now, one very important piece to this. Normalization - any of the efforts that are going on to improve relations between Israel and its neighbors - are not, cannot be a substitute for Israel and the Palestinians resolving their differences and having a much better future for Palestinians. And in our judgment, of course, that must - needs to involve a two-state solution. So it's also clear from what we hear from the Saudis that if this process is to move forward, the Palestinian piece is going to be very important, too.QUESTION: Yeah, I mean, that is the big question, right? Because the previous Abraham Accord normalization deals have said to the Palestinians, kind of, You get bread crumbs, if not, and if nothing at all. And I was just in Morocco, where I was recalling how Jared Kushner handed over control of an entire disputed region to the Moroccan Government as part of the Abraham Accord deals. And I was just trying to figure out to what extent the normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel is viewed as something that would aid a Middle East peace process or efforts to get a Palestinian state. But it seemed to be - been on ice for a while.SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, look, that's clearly something that's important to the Saudis in doing any kind of deal. It would be important to us, too. But I think every country involved, if this is to move forward, will clearly find significant tangible benefit in it - in the near term, but again this is even more about putting in place a foundation for a much different future, one that is more peaceful, that is more secure, that is more prosperous in moderating so many of these different problems and passions that have led to turmoil over the last decades, and through the process of integration that is going to deliver much more tangible benefits to people in all of these countries and throughout the region. That's the goal.Now, again, whether we can get there, the jury's out. Because the practical substance of this is challenging, it's hard, but we're working on it, and I think the labor is well worth the fruit that could be produced.QUESTION: Excellent. Well, listen, Tony, thank you so much for doing the show, and thanks for all the hard work, and God, I hope you get some sleep, man.QUESTION: Yeah, thanks for everything. Thanks for everything you're doing. We can see you out there working hard.SECRETARY BLINKEN: As always, great to be with you guys. Thanks for having me on.
Office of the SpokespersonThe U.S. State Department is partnering with the Government of Vietnam to explore opportunities to grow and diversify the global semiconductor ecosystem under the International Technology Security and Innovation (ITSI) Fund, created by the CHIPS Act of 2022. This partnership will help create a more resilient, secure, and sustainable global semiconductor value chain.Vietnam shows promise as a partner in ensuring the semiconductor supply chain is diverse and resilient. Products ranging from vehicles to medical devices increasingly rely on semiconductors as the building blocks of today's economy. By building on Vietnam's existing strengths in assembly, testing, and packaging. This collaboration strives to identify new opportunities that attract industry investments and expand the technical workforces in both countries.The partnership is beginning with a review of Vietnam's current semiconductor ecosystem, regulatory framework, and workforce and infrastructure needs. The outcome of this review will inform potential future collaboration on developing this critical sector.In August 2022, President Biden signed the CHIPS Act of 2022, a U.S. law that appropriated new funding to boost domestic manufacturing and research of semiconductors in the United States. The CHIPS Act of 2022 created the ITSI Fund, which provides the U.S. Department of State with $500 million ($100 million per year over five years, starting in Fiscal Year 2023) to promote the development and adoption of secure and trustworthy telecommunications networks and ensure semiconductor supply chain security and diversification through new programs and initiatives with our allies and partners.More information about the ITSI Fund:The U.S. Department of State International Technology Security and Innovation Fund.
Office of the SpokespersonSpecial Presidential Advisor for the Americas Christopher J. Dodd will travel to Peru from September 12 - 14. His visit will focus on encouraging Peru's full participation in the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity. In Lima, he will meet with Peruvian government leadership, key congressional leaders, and the business community. His engagement emphasizes the strong and mutually beneficial commercial partnership between Peru and the United States that promotes innovation and protects workers and the environment. For further information, please contact WHA-Press@state.gov.
ZDNET's resident presidential scholar takes a deep dive into political campaign deepfakes in the time of generative AI. This affects much more than the national contests. AI will transform local politics, too.
Office of the SpokespersonAs a demonstration of the enduring commitment to strengthening the relationship between the United States and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), U.S. Ambassador to the DRC Lucy Tamlyn, with representatives from the U.S. Mission to the DRC, the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO), and Congolese officials, celebrated the groundbreaking of the new U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa on August 29.The embassy will be a symbol of our shared commitment to advancing democratic values, sustainable economic growth, and global cooperation.The project is expected to infuse $170 million into the local economy and provide employment opportunities for more than 1,600 Congolese nationals. Since April 2023, the United States has invested $1.4 million in the local economy to advance this project and expects to procure cement, concrete aggregates, soils and fill materials, and landscaping materials locally. Congolese construction workers will also benefit from skills acquired as part of the project and related safety training.The embassy design draws inspiration from the diverse environmental mosaic of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Department is committed to implementing rigorous energy-saving and sustainability strategies to minimize the environmental impact of construction, optimize building performance, and enhance sustainability and resilience.SHoP Architects of New York, New York, is the design architect, and B.L. Harbert International of Birmingham, Alabama, is the design-build contractor, with Page of Washington, D.C., as the architect of record.Since the start of the Department's Capital Security Construction Program in 1999, OBO has completed 177 new diplomatic facilities, and currently has more than 50 active projects in design or under construction worldwide.OBO provides safe, secure, functional, and resilient facilities that represent the U.S. government to host nations and that support U.S. diplomats in advancing U.S. foreign policy objectives abroad.For further information, please contact OBO External Affairs atOBO-External-Affairs@state.govor visitwww.state.gov/obo.
Office of the SpokespersonAssistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Energy Resources (ENR) Geoffrey R. Pyatt will travel to Bucharest, Romania and Rome, Italy on September 5-8. On September 5-6 in Bucharest, he will participate in the Three Seas Initiative (3SI) Summit and meet with Romanian and regional government officials to discuss progress on shared energy security and clean energy priorities, and support for Ukraine and Moldova. In Bucharest, Assistant Secretary Pyatt will also participate in an American Chamber of Commerce-hosted forum and address the energy sector as a strategic avenue for stronger U.S.-Romania economic ties. On September 7, Assistant Secretary Pyatt will travel to Rome for bilateral meetings with senior Italian government officials and representatives from the private sector to discuss regional energy security issues, advancing collaboration on the clean energy transition, and support for Ukraine. For further media information, please contact ENR-PD-Clearances@state.go
African economies should seize the opportunity to better integrate into technology-intensive global supply chains and boost prosperity, but this depends on their ability to harness key market and investment trends, the UN's trade and development bodyUNCTAD said on Wednesday.
As Afghanistan's widespread economic crisis drags on and jobs become scarcer, the women of Dogabad village are finding innovative ways to support their loved ones, even as their own lives seem grimmer than ever. In this impoverished neighbourhood of Kabul, against all odds, women are taking the lead.
This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is a simple anonymous comment about “porn addiction”: Funny, porn is addictive is a line pushed by religious fascists who wish to tell everybody what is good or bad based on a book that has its fair share of porn. In second place, it’s Stephen […]
If you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide, right? That’s what law enforcement and surveillance agencies tell us, coaxing us into letting our guard down so they can dig into our stuff without worrying about little things like probable cause. Cops like to do their work without creating narratives they can’t challenge. Hence […]
There may come a time when journalists around the world are left to point at massive datacenters housing AI journo-bots that have perfectly replicated what human journalists can do, screaming “Dey took ‘er jerbs!” like a South Park episode, but today is not that day. And frankly, it doesn’t feel particularly close to being that […]
Given enough time and attention, informal parlance just becomes… parlance. And so it is for the Kansas State Police. For years, troopers have evaded the Constitution and applicable Supreme Court decisions to make the Fourth Amendment irrelevant. There’s a term for this: “Kansas two step.” Enough drivers have encountered it that it is no longer […]
A Texas federal district judge granted a preliminary injunction blocking the enforcement of a controversial age verification law set to enter force September 1. The court determined that House Bill (HB) 1181 was overly broad, even in the narrowest interpretations, and violated the First Amendment and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. […]