|"The national interest of America involves more than eliminating aggressive threats to our safety. We also stand for the values that defeat violence, and the hope that overcomes hatred. We find our greatest security in the advance of human freedom."|
U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, Connecticut
May 21, 2003
During FY 2003 the Department of State has made substantial progress in advancing the nation's foreign policy agenda as set forth in the National Security Strategy. The Department's work includes shaping the USG's response to immediate and urgent international security concerns such as the war on terrorism, curtailing the spread of weapons of mass destruction, defusing regional conflicts, and managing ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition, the Department has implemented policies and programs that will bring long-term improvements in the security environment for all Americans while championing human dignity, democracy, and economic prosperity throughout the world.
In 2003, the United States faced immediate challenges in the Middle East, South Asia and East Asia. With the downfall of Saddam Hussein's regime, the United States embarked on a historic mission to transform Iraq into a prosperous, stable and peaceful democracy. We have created the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) to support democratic, economic and educational reform efforts throughout the entire region. The Department worked to implement the President's vision of peace between Israel and the Palestinian people as outlined in a performance-based roadmap to a negotiated Israeli-Palestinian settlement. The result of this shift has been significant and beneficial pressure to reform the Palestinian Authority.
In South Asia, the Department has shaped ongoing operations in Afghanistan, including helping to build a new system of governance and contributing to reconstruction projects. We have worked to promote cooperation with India, a state with the potential to become one of the great democratic powers of the twenty-first century. Innovations in the US-India relationship include our ongoing discussion about how best to improve ties in the high-tech, civilian nuclear, and space sectors. With regard to Pakistan, the US undertook a long-term commitment to the people of Pakistan centered around a proposed five-year, $3 billion assistance package to help build a stable and democratic Pakistan.
In East Asia, the Department worked to deepen its ties with China and strengthen its alliance with Japan. The creation of Six Party Talks to deal with the North Korean nuclear problem has brought together all six states of Northeast Asia in an effort to peacefully end North Korea's program; it reflects the growing partnership between the United States, its allies, China and Russia. This innovative approach may have implications for future relations among the nations of this region. We continue to work closely with the nations of Southeast Asia to support regional efforts to strengthen democratic rule, increase economic development and combat terrorism. As examples, the years 2003-2004 will see an unprecedented number of elections for new governments within the region.
In Europe, we have accelerated the Balkan's integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. We have supported expanding NATO's membership and accelerated its transformation by expanding NATO's operations to Afghanistan and Iraq. We have broadened our cooperation with the European Union, including advancing the Global War on Terrorism. Through the Freedom Support Act, we have promoted economic reform throughout the former Soviet Union and seen significant economic improvement throughout many countries in the region. We also continue to drive home the importance of democratization and human rights in the region and have supported numerous non-governmental organizations in this area.
The Department has strongly supported several peace processes in African states where the parties have demonstrated a willingness to reach a final conclusion, particularly in Sudan. We have played a major role in helping to bring peace and stability to Liberia and in supporting the efforts of the regional leaders to find a lasting solution to the conflict in Burundi.
U.S. President George W. Bush addresses the United Nations General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York City.
The Department continues to support efforts to advance economic development and democracy promotion in Latin America. We also continue to cooperate with countries in the region against narco-terrorism, in particular in implementing its security assistance program for Colombia. In the past year, the Department initiated programs aimed at developing agendas for cooperative action with the other main centers of global power. At the United Nations, the Department successfully achieved unanimous endorsement of the Administration's broad approach to Iraq with passage of UNSC Resolution 1511.
To increase efforts to curb the proliferation of WMD, the Department has implemented the President's Proliferation Strategy Initiative (PSI) to interdict WMD activities. The United States and ten other countries agreed to and published a "Statement of Interdiction Principles" and more than 50 additional countries have indicated their support for the PSI. Following successful at-sea exercises conducted in the Coral Sea and the Mediterranean this year, the Department has scheduled a series of intrerdiction training exercises.
The Department has worked in the past year to implement the President's HIV/AIDS and Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) initiatives, both of which will help develop the capacity of lesser developed countries to address poverty and disease. The Department has also undertaken important steps to combat trafficking in persons. Congress approved the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Chile and Singapore, which were negotiated by the Administration with help from State Department bureaus. FTA negotiations were launched with five Southern African Customs Union (SACU) countries (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland) as well as with the Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua (CAFTA).