AP/Wide World Photo
In FY 2005, the Department of State contributed significantly to creating a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community. These efforts were designed to fulfill the President's National Security Strategy objectives by furthering democracy, advancing economic prosperity, and promoting religious and human rights throughout the world - especially in states transitioning toward democracy.
The United States continued to lead vital and successful efforts to counter threats of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation. Through the Six Party Talks, the United States, China, Russia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, signed a joint statement of principles unanimously reaffirming the goal of verifiable, peaceful, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The Department continued to expand participation in the President's Proliferation Security Initiative, with more than seventy nations now supporting the initiative. The United States has worked to support efforts of the European Union, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the international community to end Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons capability by pressing Iran diplomatically to cease its pursuit of sensitive nuclear fuel cycle capabilities. Through the Trilateral Steering and Cooperation Committee, we worked with the Government of Libya in implementing its commitment to abandon WMD programs, promoting a "Libya Model" for rogue states to follow. With the Government of Russia, the U.S. continued implementing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and the Moscow Treaty, further reducing the numbers of deployed strategic nuclear weapons.
In the Middle East, the Department's efforts promoted peace and stability in the region. The U.S. Government's strong support for Iraq's transition to a permanent constitutional democracy, its increasing responsibility for security operations, and the reconstruction of its economy and essential services has set a path toward democracy, stability, and prosperity. In January, millions of Iraqis voted in the country's first free and democratic elections in over half a century, and October's constitutional referendum solidified Iraq's commitment to democracy. American efforts to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, working towards our goal of two democratic states - Israel and Palestine - living side by side in peace, leaped forward when Israel peacefully withdrew from the Gaza Strip. For the first time, Egypt also held its first competitive presidential elections, with opposition parties allowed to register, organize and mobilize voters.
In South Asia, the United States continued military and diplomatic efforts to combat extremism and to eliminate remaining al Qaeda elements. With U.S. and international assistance, Afghanistan successfully conducted Provincial Council and National Assembly elections. More than 1.5 million new voters registered, and the new National Assembly should be seated before the end of the year. The United States continues to devote considerable resources to Afghanistan's reconstruction and transition towards a democracy that is open to all of its citizens, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or gender. U.S. relations with India reached an historic high with Prime Minister Singh's July visit to Washington and our bilateral agreements to pursue greater cooperation along a number of fronts, including the "Next Steps in Strategic Partnership," promising broader cooperation owing to India's efforts to strengthen export controls and to prevent the onward proliferation of sensitive materials and technologies. In addition, we announced our intention to further bring India into the global nonproliferation mainstream by way of a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation initiative. Relations with Pakistan are excellent, as demonstrated by our close cooperation in the aftermath of the devastating October earthquake. We committed $156 million to Pakistan earthquake relief efforts for reconstruction, airlift and other logistical support. The funds have been used for medical supplies, winterized tents, food, blankets, heavy road-building equipment, and other relief supplies. Our strong partnerships lend support to the Indo-Pakistani process of rapprochement and offer additional opportunities to build stability and development in other countries of concern, including Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.
In East Asia, the United States continues to enjoy strong relations with allies Japan, South Korea, Australia, Thailand, and the Philippines - as well as its security partnership with Singapore. The threat of terrorism in the region, as evidenced by this year's bombings in Bali, continues to produce close cooperation and information sharing between the United States and Southeast Asian nations, and we continue to work together on an array of shared transnational challenges. The expanded relationship between the United States and China is being demonstrated by coordination on negotiations with North Korea to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.
In Europe, NATO took on a greater role in Iraq through a training mission, and expanded the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, which is key to stability and development there. The United States continued to promote transformation of the Alliance to enhance further its ability to deal with 21st century challenges such as terrorism, WMD proliferation, and security crises outside Europe, while promoting better coordination with the European Union.
The United States continued to work closely with the European Union on the full range of issues worldwide, including promoting democracy, good governance, and shrewd economic policies. The United States supported the European Union's decision to open negotiations with Turkey on EU accession and, using diplomatic tools and assistance under the Support for East European Democracies Act, helped move former communist countries, such as Croatia, Serbia-Montenegro, Bosnia, Macedonia, Romania and Bulgaria further along the road of Euro-Atlantic integration. After ten years of U.S.-led effort, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline was inaugurated, opening a new era of energy security and regional stability. Assistance from the FREEDOM Support Act in support of democratic and economic reforms and strong U.S. support for the OSCE and its objective election observation role helped to promote democratic developments in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan.
The United States maintains a strong commitment to peace and stability in Africa. The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief delivered HIV/AIDS assistance to bilateral programs in over 120 countries. The Department continues to work towards ending the 20-year civil war in Sudan and obtain NATO agreement to support the African Union's peacekeeping expansion in Darfur. The U.S. provided peace support operations training and capacity building for several African states under the African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance program and adopted the Action Plan on Expanding Global Capability for Peace Support, which will allow us to work in conjunction with the Group of Eight to train 75,000 peace support troops by 2010.
The United States has worked successfully with its western hemisphere partners to create a community of nations characterized by democratic institutions, respect for individual freedoms and human rights, market-oriented economic institutions, and cooperation against terrorism and crime. Together with its regional partners, the United States is committed to defending and promoting democracy through the Organization of American States Inter-American Democratic Charter and the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption. We promoted economic opportunity through the Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement, the negotiation of additional free trade agreements, and the U.S.-Mexico Partnership for Prosperity. Through hemispheric cooperation in programs such as the Andean Counterdrug Initiative, the newly developed Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, and the Security and Prosperity Partnership with Canada and Mexico, our regional diplomacy has advanced a number of priority U.S. interests.