"The security of our world is found in the advancing rights of mankind."
President Bush addresses the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention at the Cinergy Center in Cincinatti, Ohio.
In FY 2004, the U.S. Department of State made significant progress in fulfilling the President's objectives outlined in the National Security Strategy. The Department's efforts enhanced the security of the American people by promoting human dignity, democracy, and economic prosperity throughout the world.
The United States led vigorous and successful efforts to counter the threats of terrorism and WMD proliferation. With the Department's assistance, more than sixty nations endorsed the President's Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). With the passage of UN Resolution 1540, the international community as a whole affirmed the President's call to criminalize WMD trafficking. Steady American and British diplomacy led Libya to renounce and verifiably eliminate its WMD programs. The United States rolled up the A.Q. Khan proliferation network, which was responsible for the spread of nuclear technology from Pakistan to Iran, Libya, and North Korea. With our partners and allies, the Department confronted Iran and North Korea on their nuclear programs.
The Department efforts promoted fundamental political, economic and educational reforms in the Middle East, producing some landmark achievements. In June, Iraqi sovereignty was transferred to the Iraqi people, and in August the National Conference paved the way for elections in early 2005 as part of our steadfast committment to Iraq's democratic transition. American efforts to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict continued, with the Department pressing the performance-based Road Map, which would lead to two states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security. Building on the momentum generated by the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and its efforts to expand economic, political and educational opportunities in the region, the United States led the G-8 in adopting the Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative (BMENA). With its centerpiece the Forum for the Future, this innovative, multilateral initiative will advance freedom, democracy, education and economic reform.
In South Asia, the United States continued its operations against the remnants of the Taliban and al Qaeda. The United States has spent significant funds on the reconstruction of Afghanistan, while ensuring that women participate in the country's democratization. Over the course of the year the United States supported the rapprochement between India and Pakistan, improving American bilateral relations with each country. U.S.-India relations were transformed by the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership (NSSP). America's partnership with Pakistan deepened as a result of the recent designation of Pakistan as a Major Non-NATO Ally.
In East Asia, the United States continued to enhance relations with its five alliance partners—Japan, South Korea, Australia, Thailand, and the Philippines—as well as its robust security partnership with Singapore. We expanded coordination and joint action with China, most notably on regional and global issues such as North Korea, Afghanistan, South Asia, and in common efforts against terrorism, narcotics, and other transnational threats. Indicative of its commitment to regional dialogue and multilateral engagement in East Asia, three rounds were held in 2003-2004 of the six-party framework talks to bring about the total, verifiable, and irreversible disarmament of North Korea's nuclear programs. The shared threat of terrorism produced closer cooperation between the United States and the nations of Southeast Asia.
In Europe, the Bush Administration oversaw the most robust enlargement in the history of NATO. Seven new members joined the Alliance, bringing membership to twenty-six and continuing the process of adapting NATO to the challenges of the 21st century. NATO continued its vital role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. The Alliance also agreed to a training mission in Iraq. When the EU expanded by ten states, the Department led American efforts to broaden our relationship with the enlarged EU. The partnership between the United States and Russia produced cooperation on issues such as the global war on terror. With Russia's support for the Proliferation Security Initiative, announced earlier this year, U.S.-Russia cooperation and intelligence sharing will extend to WMD trafficking as well. United States assistance and support to the new government in Georgia helped quickly stabilize this key Caucasus country.
The United States remains committed to peace and stability in Africa. In working to end the bloody twenty-year civil war in Sudan, the Department galvanized the international community against genocide in Darfur. In helping Liberia recover from years of civil war, the Department focused on humanitarian assistance, security sector reform, good governance and financial sector support, as well as disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and rehabilitation programs. The Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Initiative (TSCTI) is evidence the United States is working closely with African partner states to address mutual security concerns.
Economic development and democracy promotion remained key priorities for the United States in Latin America. This year the Department helped conclude the U.S.-Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Negotiations on a U.S.-Andean Free Trade Agreement (FTA) were launched with Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia, and bilateral FTA negotiations began with Panama. The United States advanced global economic growth by securing a framework agreement to conclude the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Development Round. FTAs were also concluded with Australia, Bahrain, and Morocco, and FTA negotiations were launched with Thailand.
Realizing the President's pledge to provide greater resources to countries taking greater responsibility for their own development, the Department played a key role in supporting the establishment of the new Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which promotes good policy environments, economic growth, and poverty reduction in some of the world's poorest countries. With the Secretary in his role as chairman, the MCC Board designated sixteen countries eligible for Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) assistance and established a Threshold program to help additional countries adopt reforms and become eligible.
Demonstrating its multilateral leadership in humanitarian issues, the United States remains the largest contributor to the World Food Program and to the international fight against HIV/AIDs. The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) picked up speed with the creation of the new Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator.
The United States bolstered its commitment to peacekeeping, with the adoption of the Action Plan on Expanding Global Capability for Peace Support and by joining the G-8 in promising to train 75,000 peace support troops by 2010. The Department established the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization to help societies transition from conflict to peace, laying the foundation for lasting peace, good governance, and sustainable development.