President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:
- · Frederick “Rick” Barton – Assistant Secretary for Conflict and Stabilization Operations andCoordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, Department of State
- · Arun Majumdar – Under Secretary of Energy, Department of Energy
- · Marie F. Smith – Member, Social Security Advisory Board
The President also announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key administration posts:
- · Barbara K. Rimer – Chairman, President’s Cancer Panel
- · Owen N. Witte – Member, President’s Cancer Panel
President Obama said, “These men and women have demonstrated knowledge and dedication throughout their careers. I am grateful they have chosen to take on these important roles, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”
President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:
Frederick “Rick” Barton, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Conflict and Stabilization Operations and Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, Department of State
Frederick “Rick” Barton currently serves as a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State. From December 2009 to October 2011, he served as the U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in New York with the rank of Ambassador. Prior to this role, Mr. Barton was a Senior Adviser and Co-Director of the Post Conflict Reconstruction Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He was also Co-Chair of a working group on Stabilization and Reconstruction at the United States Institute of Peace, Co-Chair of the Princeton Project on National Security’s Working Group on Reconstruction and Development and an expert adviser to the Iraq Study Group and the Task Force on the United Nations. From 1999 to 2001, he served as the United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva. Mr. Barton was the founding Director of the Office of Transition Initiatives at the U.S. Agency for International Development, serving from 1994 to 1999. Prior to this, Mr. Barton was President of Barton & Gingold, a strategy and public relations firm in Portland, Maine from 1983 to 1994. He served as New England Director of Public Affairs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 1978 to 1981. A graduate of Harvard College, Mr. Barton earned a Master’s in Business Administration from Boston University, with an emphasis on Public Management.
Dr. Arun Majumdar, Nominee for Under Secretary of Energy, Department of Energy
Dr. Arun Majumdar has served as the Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) since 2009. Previously, he was Associate Laboratory Director for Energy and Environment at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. His research career has focused on the science and engineering of energy conversion, transport, and storage, ranging from the molecular and nanoscale level to large energy systems. He has served on the advisory committee of the National Science Foundation’s engineering directorate and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Dr. Majumdar was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2005. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 1985 and his Ph.D. in 1989 from the University of California, Berkeley.
Marie F. Smith, Nominee for Member, Social Security Advisory Board
Marie F. Smith was the President and Spokeswoman for the AARP, formerly the American Association for Retired Persons, between 2004 and 2006. She was elected and served as President-elect of the AARP in 2002 until 2004, and previously served as Treasurer of the AARP Foundation Board of Directors, Chair of the AARP National Legislative Council, and a Spokesperson for the AARP’s Women’s Initiative Program. Before her time at the AARP, Ms. Smith spent twenty-five years with the Social Security Administration (SSA), holding several senior positions there, including Director of Manpower Management. She began at the SSA as a claims representative. Ms. Smith earned a B.S. from Fisk University.
President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:
Dr. Barbara K. Rimer, Appointee for Chairman, President’s Cancer Panel
Dr. Barbara K. Rimer is the Dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, positions she has held since 2005 and 2003, respectively. She is also a member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at UNC. From 1997 to 2002, Dr. Rimer served as Director of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute. Previously, she held leadership positions at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC and the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Rimer has served on a number of boards, including the Task Force on Community Preventive Services, AFLAC’s board of directors, and as the first woman to chair the National Cancer Institute’s National Cancer Advisory Board. Dr. Rimer is a recipient of the Director’s Award from the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society’s Distinguished Service Award. She was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2008. Dr. Rimer holds a B.A. and M.P.H. from the University of Michigan and a Dr.PH. from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Dr. Owen N. Witte, Appointee for Member, President’s Cancer Panel
Dr. Owen N. Witte has been Director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) since 2007. From 2005 to 2007, he served as the Founding Director of the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Witte first joined the faculty of UCLA in 1980, becoming the David Saxon Presidential Chair in Developmental Immunology in 1989, and a Distinguished Professor in 2004. In addition, Dr. Witte has been an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1986. Dr. Witte has served on a number of boards, including the American Association for Cancer Research. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Witte holds a B.S. in Microbiology from Cornell University and an M.D. from Stanford University School of Medicine.
President Obama Announces Presidential Delegation to the Kyrgyz Republic to Attend the Inauguration of His Excellency Almazbek Atambayev
President Obama Announces Presidential Delegation to the Kyrgyz Republic
to Attend the Inauguration of His Excellency Almazbek Atambayev
President Barack Obama today announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to the Kyrgyz Republic to attend the Inauguration of His Excellency Almazbek Atambayev on December 1, 2011.
The Honorable Pamela L. Spratlen, United States Ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic, Department of State, will lead the delegation.
Member of the Presidential Delegation:
The Honorable Robert O. Blake, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Department of State.
Statement by the Press Secretary on the Storming of the British Embassy in Tehran
The United States condemns in the strongest terms the storming of the British Embassy in Tehran. Iran has a responsibility to protect the diplomatic missions present in its country and the personnel stationed at them. We urge Iran to fully respect its international obligations, to condemn the incident, to prosecute the offenders, and to ensure that no further such incidents take place either at the British Embassy or any other mission in Iran. Our State Department is in close contact with the British government and we stand ready to support our allies at this difficult time.
President Obama Grants Pardons and Commutation
WASHINGTON, DC – Today President Barack Obama granted pardons to five individuals and commutation of sentence to one individual:
- · Lesley Claywood Berry Jr. - Loretto, Ky.
Offense: Conspiracy to manufacture, possess with intent to distribute, and distribute marijuana, 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 and 846.
Sentence: April 29, 1988; District of Minnesota; three years in prison.
- · Dennis George Bulin - Wesley Chapel, Fla.
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute in excess of 1,000 pounds of marijuana, 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846 and 18 U.S.C. § 2.
Sentence: March 10, 1987; Middle District of Alabama; five years of probation and $20,000 fine.
- · Ricky Dale Collett - Annville, Ky.
Offense: Aiding and abetting in the manufacture of 61 marijuana plants, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 2.
Sentence: March 7, 2002; Eastern District of Kentucky; one year of probation conditioned on 60 days of home detention.
- · Martin Kaprelian - Park Ridge, Ill.
Offense: Conspiracy to transport stolen property in interstate commerce, 18 U.S.C. § 371; transporting stolen property in interstate commerce, 18 U.S.C. § 2314; concealing stolen property that was transported in interstate commerce, 18 U.S.C. § 2315.
Sentence: Feb. 1, 1984; Northern District of Illinois; nine years in prison, five years of probation.
- · Thomas Paul Ledford - Jonesborough, Tenn.
Offense: Conducting and directing an illegal gambling business, 18 U.S.C. § 1955.
Sentence: June 12, 1995; Eastern District of Tennessee; one year of probation conditioned on performance of 100 hours of community service.
- · Eugenia Marie Jennings - Alton, Ill.
Offense: Distribution of cocaine base, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1).
Sentence: Feb. 23, 2001; Southern District of Illinois; 262 months in prison, eight years of supervised release, $1,750 fine.
Terms of commutation: Prison sentence to expire on Dec. 21, 2011, leaving intact and in effect the eight-year term of supervised release with all its conditions and all other components of the sentence.
On Wednesday, November 23, 2011, the President signed into law:
H.R. 398, which suspends, when either spouse is on active duty abroad in the U.S. Armed Forces, the required periods of time to file a petition (and appear for an interview with the Department of Homeland Security) to remove the conditional basis for permanent resident status of alien spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents;
H.R. 2447, which provides for the award of a congressional gold medal in honor of the Montford Point Marines, in recognition of their personal sacrifice and service to their country; and
S. 1412, which designates the facility of the United States Postal Service located in Woburn, Massachusetts, as the Officer John Maguire Post Office.
Statement by the Press Secretary on Recent Developments in Egypt
Since the start of the Arab Spring, the United States has spoken out for a set of core principles that have guided our response to events, including opposition to the use of violence and repression, defense of universal rights including the freedom of peaceful assembly, and support for political and economic reform that meets the legitimate aspirations of ordinary people throughout the region.
In Egypt over the past several days, we have seen protesters demand the realization of these principles. We have condemned the excessive use of force against them and called for restraint on all sides. We deeply regret the loss of life, and urge the Egyptian authorities to implement an independent investigation into the circumstances of those deaths. But the situation Egypt faces requires a more fundamental solution, devised by Egyptians, which is consistent with universal principles.
The United States strongly believes that the new Egyptian government must be empowered with real authority immediately. We believe that Egypt’s transition to democracy must continue, with elections proceeding expeditiously, and all necessary measures taken to ensure security and prevent intimidation. Most importantly, we believe that the full transfer of power to a civilian government must take place in a just and inclusive manner that responds to the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people, as soon as possible.
Egypt has overcome challenges before and will do so again. The United States will continue to stand with the Egyptian people as they build a democracy worthy of Egypt’s great history.
First Lady to Invite Military Families to View White House Holiday Decorations
Wednesday, November 30 * White House – Mrs. Obama will welcome military families, including Gold Star and Blue Star parents, spouses and children, to the White House for the first viewing of the 2011 holiday decorations. Mrs. Obama will deliver remarks in the East Room, and then ask military children to join her in the State Dining Room as White House Chefs Cris Comerford and Bill Yosses, and White House Florist Laura Dowling demonstrate holiday crafts and treats. This year, a special Gold Star Christmas tree decorated by Gold Star families will be displayed at the visitor’s entrance on the East Wing Landing. The theme of this year’s Blue Room Christmas Tree will be honoring Blue Star families.
Statement by the Press Secretary on President Obama Commemorating World AIDS Day
On Thursday, December 1, World AIDS Day, President Obama will speak at an event hosted by the ONE Campaign and (RED), joining former President George W. Bush and others who have been so critical in the worldwide fight against AIDS. The event, called “The Beginning of the End of AIDS,” will take place at George Washington University on Thursday morning. More details, including media credentialing information, will be released as they become available.
FACT SHEET: High-Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth
The Leaders of the United States and the European Union (EU) recognize that transatlantic trade and investment constitutes the largest economic relationship in the world, creating jobs, increasing economic growth, and driving competitiveness on both sides of the Atlantic. Given the successes of our existing economic partnership, the United States and the EU are committed to identifying new ways of strengthening our economic relationship and developing its full potential. A number of studies and proposals have advocated new bilateral trade, investment, and other economic agreements to access the untapped economic opportunities of our relationship.
At the November 28, 2011 EU-U.S. Summit meeting, Leaders directed the Transatlantic Economic Council to establish a High-Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth, led by U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. The Working Group is tasked to identify policies and measures to increase U.S.-EU trade and investment to support mutually beneficial job creation, economic growth, and international competitiveness. Leaders asked the Working Group to work closely with all public and private sector stakeholder groups, and to draw on existing dialogues and mechanisms, as appropriate.
The Working Group will examine options in areas including, but not limited to, the following:
· Conventional barriers to trade in goods, such as tariffs and tariff-rate quotas;
· Reduction, elimination, or prevention of barriers to trade in goods, services, and investment;
· Opportunities for enhancing the compatibility of regulations and standards;
· Reduction, elimination, or prevention of unnecessary “behind the border” non-tariff barriers to trade in all categories;
· Enhanced cooperation for the development of rules and principles on global issues of common concern and also for the achievement of shared economic goals relating to third countries.
For each option it assesses, the Working Group will take into consideration:
· the short- and medium-term impact on economic growth, job creation, and competitiveness;
· the feasibility of each option;
· the implications for, and consistency with, bilateral and multilateral trade obligations.
Upon completing its analysis, the Working Group will also consider and recommend the practical means necessary to implement any policy measures identified. These could include a range of possible initiatives, from enhanced regulatory cooperation to negotiation of one or more bilateral trade agreements addressing the issues above.
The Working Group will provide an interim update to Leaders on the status of its work in June 2012. It will issue a report with findings, conclusions, and recommendations to the Leaders by the end of 2012.
Joint Statement: US-EU Summit
1. We, the leaders of the United States and the European Union, met today at the White House to affirm our close partnership. Drawing upon our shared values and experience, and recognizing our deep interdependence, we are committed to ensuring that our partnership brings greater prosperity and security to our 800 million citizens, and to working together to address global challenges.
2. Since our meeting in Lisbon last November, the global economy has entered a new and difficult phase. We are committed to working together to reinvigorate economic growth, create jobs, and ensure financial stability. We will do so by taking actions that address near-term growth concerns, as well as fiscal and financial vulnerabilities, and that strengthen the foundations of long-lasting and balanced growth. In that regard, the United States welcomes the EU’s actions and determination to take all necessary steps to ensure the euro area’s financial stability and resolve the crisis. The EU looks forward to U.S. action on medium term fiscal consolidation. We agree on the importance of working together with emerging economies to foster policies supporting sustained and balanced global growth. We recall our commitment to implement fully the outcome of the G20 Cannes Summit.
3. We recall our G20 commitment to support the multilateral trading system and resist protectionism. We stand by the Doha Development Agenda mandate and recognize the progress achieved so far, but note that in order to contribute to confidence we must pursue fresh, credible approaches in 2012 to advance the negotiations and pursue new opportunities and challenges. We look forward to the upcoming Ministerial meeting in Geneva, which provides an important opportunity to work on such approaches.
4. We applaud the success of the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) on a wide range of issuesand welcome the progress achieved in secure trade and supply chain security, electric vehicles and related infrastructure, regulatory practices, small and medium-sized enterprises, and in the Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector. We encourage the TEC’s continued leadership in helping us avoid unnecessary divergence in regulations and standards that adversely affects trade. We urge the TEC, together with our regulators and standard-setters to step up cooperation in key sectors such as nanotechnology and raw materials to develop compatible approaches to emerging technologies. We also instruct the TEC to pursue its work on strategic economic questions, not least in the field of investment, innovation policy, and the protection of intellectual property rights to level the playing field for our companies in third countries, in particular emerging economies.
5. We must intensify our efforts to realize the untapped potential of transatlantic economic cooperation to generate new opportunities for jobs and growth, particularly in emerging sectors. We are committed to making the U.S.-EU trade and investment relationship – already the largest and most integrated in the world – stronger. To that end, we have directed the TEC to establish a joint High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth, co-chaired by the U.S. Trade Representative and the European Commissioner for Trade. We ask the Working Group to identify and assess options for strengthening the U.S.-EU economic relationship, especially those that have the highest potential to support jobs and growth. The Working Group is to report its recommendations and conclusions to Leaders by the end of 2012, with an interim report in June 2012 on the status of this work.
6. We recognize the vital role of the U.S.-EU Energy Council in fostering cooperation on energy security, renewables and other clean energy technologies, energy efficiency, and effective policies for facilitating trade and bringing clean energy technologies to market. We affirm the value of common approaches toward safe and sustainable development of energy resources and the diversification of supplies. We also call for reinforced bilateral and multilateral cooperation with a special focus on critical materials, smart grid technologies, hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, and nuclear fusion.
7. On climate change, we affirm our intent to work closely together to ensure a positive, balanced outcome in Durban, including mitigation, transparency and financing. We stand fully behind the commitments we made last year in Cancun. We affirm that Durban should deliver on operationalizing the Cancun agreements and helping the international community move a step further towards a comprehensive, global framework with the participation of all, including robust and transparent greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitments by all major economies, recalling the 2°C objective agreed upon in Cancun. With this in mind, we will cooperate closely in other relevant fora, notably the Major Economies Forum. We also intend to work together to address other global sources of emissions, including from the aviation and maritime sectors, in the appropriate multilateral forums and consistent with applicable agreements.
8. As the leading donors of development assistance, we reaffirm our commitment to aid effectiveness, recognizing that our joint efforts to advance division of labor, transparency, country ownership, and accountability will enhance the impact of our assistance. We are coordinating our preparations for the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, and will continue to work closely to strengthen partnerships among all development stakeholders, accelerate progress toward the Millennium Development Goals, and address the challenges encountered in fragile states. In 2012, we have committed to make information on foreign assistance programs more accessible and compatible with international standards, and will encourage the OECD DAC to become an international hub for aid transparency. We request the U.S.-EU Development Dialogue to pursue with vigor our joint efforts in areas such as food security, climate change, health and the MDGs. We agreed on the importance of close cooperation on security and development in the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and Afghanistan.
9. The events in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya over the past year offer an historic opportunity for successful democratic reform in the Arab world, inclusive economic and social development, and regional integration. The unfolding democratic process in Tunisia is an encouraging example of the potential for democratic transition. Egypt today has just begun a complex election process as the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces begins to transfer authority over civilian functions to a new government. Still, considerable challenges lie ahead. As the two largest providers of foreign assistance to the region who share core principles and values that have helped our own societies and economies to integrate, we pledge to support the democratic transitions underway, as well as broader political and economic reform in the region, including the constitutional reforms in Jordan and Morocco. In Libya we are working together on short term assistance and needs assessments, and will continue to seek new opportunities for greater cooperation, in coordination with the Transitional National Council and the UN, to meet the needs of the Libyan people.
10. Jointly, and through the Deauville Partnership effort, we intend to promote democracy, peace, and prosperity, and to increase economic growth and integration in the Middle East and North Africa. We are committed to collaborate closely in areas such as support for democratic transitions, strengthening the positive role of civil society, and health and education programming. We also extend our support to making women’s rights a legal and practical reality in the region. We share a strong interest in economic reform and will also jointly promote best practices that support trade, investment, and job creation and deepen intra-regional trade and integration. We are both eager to increase our trade and investment links with the region. We plan to work in partnership with international financial institutions to ensure robust donor coordination and in particular to ratify quickly necessary changes to the agreement establishing the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to allow lending in the region.
11. We call on the Syrian government to end violence immediately, permit the immediate entry of human rights observers and international journalists, and allow for a peaceful and democratic transition. We also welcome the agreement for political transition in Yemen and call on all political actors to help implement it in good faith, and in accordance with UNSCR 2014.
12. We reaffirm the Quartet Statement adopted in New York on 23 September 2011 that provides a framework for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and we call on the two parties to engage actively in this effort.
13. On Iran, we share deep concern about activities relating to the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program, as highlighted in the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General’s report and the November 18 Board of Governors’ resolution. We stress our determination to ensure that Iran complies with its obligations, including abiding by United Nations Security Council resolutions, and to cooperate fully with the IAEA to address the international community’s serious concerns over the nature of its nuclear program. We reaffirm our commitment to work toward a diplomatic solution, implement UN Security Council Resolution 1929 (2010) and other relevant Security Council Resolutions, and consider additional measures given Iran’s continued failure to abide by its international obligations. We also note the recent plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, the sanctions we have imposed thereafter on five individuals including the head of the Qods Force, and our determination to ensure the perpetrators and their accomplices are held to account.
14. With regard to the EU’s Eastern neighbors, we are working together to support democracy, resolve protracted conflicts, foster economic modernisation, and advance their political association and economic integration with the EU, recognizing in this regard the importance of the EU’s Eastern Partnership. We insist that the Government of Belarus immediately release and rehabilitate its political prisoners, and make progress towards respect for the principles of democracy, the rule of law, and human rights; and call on the Government of Ukraine to make good on commitments to uphold democratic values and the rule of law, notably to ensure a fair, transparent and impartial process in trials related to members of the former Government including any appeal in the case of Ms Tymoshenko. The right of appeal should not be compromised by imposing limitations on the defendants’ ability to stand in future elections in Ukraine, including the parliamentary elections scheduled for next year.
15. We pledge to continue our close cooperation in the western Balkans and reaffirm our commitment to preserve stability and to support the reforms needed to move the region forward on its path to Euro-Atlantic integration.
16. The United States and the EU have a strategic interest in enhancing co-operation on political, economic, security, and human rights issues in the Asia-Pacific region to advance peace, stability and prosperity. We intend to increase our dialogue on Asia-Pacific issues and coordinate activities to demonstrate an enduring, high-level commitment to the region and encourage regional integration, including through the region’s multilateral organizations.
17. We note our continued efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with particular attention to plans for the December 5 Bonn Conference on Afghanistan and the international community’s long-term commitment to support sustainable security and economic development in Afghanistan, based on effective and accountable institutions of governance and sustainable assistance levels, after the planned drawdown of international military forces. We support economic development and wider reforms in Pakistan and note Pakistan’s important role and ongoing commitment to combating terrorism and achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan and South Asia.
18. We note the considerable progress made since our last meeting in Lisbon on our commitments on a wide range of transnational security issues that affect our citizens. We welcome the successful completion of negotiations on a new Passenger Name Record agreement, and look forward to its early adoption and ratification. We are determined to finalize negotiations on a comprehensive U.S.-EU data privacy and protection agreement that provides a high level of privacy protection for all individuals and thereby facilitates the exchange of data needed to fight crime and terrorism. We reaffirm our desire to complete secure visa-free travel arrangements between the US and all Member States of the EU as soon as possible and consistent with applicable, domestic legislation. We look forward to a positive outcome for Administration-supported legislation that would refine the criteria for the Visa Waiver Program.
19. We encourage continued efforts to extend our partnership on counter-terrorism cooperation, both bilaterally and multilaterally, including through the UN. We applaud the establishment of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum, and our cooperation to combat terrorist financing. We strongly support continuation of our joint efforts to empower diaspora communities to counter violent extremism.
20. To strengthen our collaboration on conflict prevention and crisis response, already ongoing in many theaters, the U.S. and EU signed a framework agreement in May 2011 that facilitates U.S. civilian participation in EU crisis management missions. As the trans-Atlantic community faces the challenges of crisis management in an era of fiscal austerity, we encourage further work to strengthenthe EU-NATO strategic partnership in crisis management, including on capabilities development, ahead of the 2012 NATO Summit, in the spirit of mutual reinforcement, inclusiveness, and decision-making autonomy.
21. We reaffirm the commitments enshrined in the joint declaration on non-proliferation and disarmament we adopted in 2009 and the joint statement on UNSCR 1540 in 2011. We support the conclusions and recommendations of the May 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, including the Action Plan and proposed 2012 Middle East conference. We are determined to promote the IAEA’s safeguards, Additional Protocol, and the highest standards of safety and security for peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the Nuclear Security Summit objectives, a successful Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference, and the convening of a Diplomatic Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in 2012.
22. We share a commitment to a single, global Internet, and will resist unilateral efforts to weaken the security, reliability, or independence of its operations— recognizing that respect for fundamental freedoms online, and joint efforts to strengthen security, are mutually reinforcing. We welcome the progress made by the U.S.-EU Working Group on Cybersecurity and Cybercrime, notably the successful Cyber Atlantic 2011 exercise. We endorse its ambitious goals for 2012, including combating online sexual abuse of children; enhancing the security of domain names and Internet Protocol addresses; promotion of international ratification, including by all EU Member States, of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime ideally by year’s end; establishing appropriate information exchange mechanisms to jointly engage with the private sector; and confronting the unfair market access barriers that U.S. and European technology companies face abroad.
23. Our meeting today is proof that a strong U.S.-EU partnership is crucial to building a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world. We know that our ability to respond to and overcome the global challenges we face is increased by the degree to which we can act in close coordination and cooperation. We will continue to seek every opportunity to increase our cooperation.
Statement by President Obama on Congressman Barney Frank’s Retirement
This country has never had a Congressman like Barney Frank, and the House of Representatives will not be the same without him. For over 30 years, Barney has been a fierce advocate for the people of Massachusetts and Americans everywhere who needed a voice. He has worked tirelessly on behalf of families and businesses and helped make housing more affordable. He has stood up for the rights of LGBT Americans and fought to end discrimination against them. And it is only thanks to his leadership that we were able to pass the most sweeping financial reform in history designed to protect consumers and prevent the kind of excessive risk-taking that led to the financial crisis from ever happening again. Barney’s passion and his quick wit will be missed in the halls of Congress, and Michelle and I join the people of the Bay State in thanking him for his years of service.
We Can’t Wait: President Signs Memorandum to Modernize Management of Government Records
Today, President Obama took the most significant steps since the Truman Administration to improve the management of federal records. Today’s Presidential Memorandum directs agencies to move into a digital-based records keeping system, a move that will save taxpayer dollars, promote accountability, and increase government transparency. Today’s action delivers on a commitment the President made in September 2011 when the White House put forward the Open Government Partnership: National Action Plan for the United States.
“The current federal records management system is based on an outdated approach involving paper and filing cabinets. Today’s action will move the process into the digital age so the American public can have access to clear and accurate information about the decisions and actions of the Federal Government,” said President Obama.
Over the last 10 years, the National Archives and Records Administration has taken in an average of 475 million pages of records per year. Recently there has been significant growth in the volume of electronic records being accessioned, and total archival electronic holdings currently total 142 terabytes. According to a recent report by the National Archivist and Records Administration, agencies have done a poor job of managing the increased volume and diversity of information that come with advances in information technology. Many are unlikely to fully comply with legal requirements under the Federal Records Act. The Records Management Presidential Memorandum responds to this underlying problem.
Today’s Presidential Memorandum initiates a comprehensive assessment of agency systems for collecting, maintaining, and preserving the records that document the operation of our democracy. Specifically, it calls for reports within the next 120 days, by each agency head, describing current plans for improving records management programs; outlining current obstacles to sound, cost-effective records management policies; and cataloguing potential reforms and improvements. The agency reports will inform, and be followed, by a Records Management Directive, to be issued by the Director of OMB and the National Archivist of the United States that will identify specific steps agencies must take to reform records management policies and practices.
The Management Directive will focus on making records management more cost-effective and accessible to the public and on transitioning from paper-based records to electronic records where appropriate. In a key provision, the President has required the Director of OMB and the National Archivist to consult with those inside and outside the government – including public stakeholders interested in improving records management and open government.
Obama Administration Officials to Announce Progress Cracking Down on Counterfeit Goods; Launch of Public Awareness Campaign on How Counterfeiting Causes Job Loss, Crime, Health Risks
Obama Administration Officials to Announce Progress Cracking Down on Counterfeit Goods
Launch of Public Awareness Campaign on How Counterfeiting Causes Job Loss, Crime, Health Risks
WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, November 29th, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will hold an event at the White House to announce the Administration’s progress in cracking down on intellectual property theft crimes and its launch of a public education campaign intended to increase Americans’ knowledge of the threat these crimes pose to economic prosperity and public safety. Holder will be joined by Acting Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank and Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel, who will discuss the ways in which counterfeit goods impact the everyday lives of American families: posing health risks, harming the economy, and costing American jobs. Holder will also be joined by Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement John Morton, who will discuss ongoing administration enforcement efforts concerning counterfeit goods and intellectual property crimes. Ann Harkins, National Crime Prevention Council President and CEO, will describe and unveil the products of the campaign to build awareness about the harm caused by counterfeit goods and engage the public in stopping intellectual property theft.
Statement by the Press Secretary on Bahrain
We welcome today’s report by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, which provides a thorough and independent assessment of events in Bahrain since protests first erupted in February. King Hamad’s decision to establish the Commission was a courageous one, and we commend him for it. We commend the chairman of the Commission, Cherif Bassiouni and the other commissioners for their thorough and painstaking efforts over nearly 5 months. The report identifies a number of disturbing human rights abuses that took place during this period, and it is now incumbent upon the Government of Bahrain to hold accountable those responsible for human rights violations and put in place institutional changes to ensure that such abuses do not happen again.
We welcome King Hamad’s commitment to carry out the report’s recommendations and will closely follow the implementation process. More broadly, we believe the Commission’s report and subsequent steps taken to implement its recommendations can serve as a foundation for advancing reconciliation and reform. Bahrain is a long-standing partner of the United States, and we urge the government and all parties to take steps that lead to respect for universal human rights and to meaningful reforms that meet the legitimate aspirations of all Bahrainis.
Statement by President Obama on the Signing of the GCC-Brokered Agreement in Yemen
I welcome today’s action by the Yemeni government and the opposition to sign a political agreement brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council to form a government of national unity within 14 days and hold early presidential elections within 90 days. In particular, the United States welcomes President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s decision to transfer executive powers immediately to the Vice President in accordance with the agreement. This represents an important step forward for the Yemeni people, who deserve the opportunity to determine their own future.
For ten months, the Yemeni people have courageously and steadfastly voiced their demands for change in cities across Yemen in the face of violence and extreme hardship. Today’s agreement brings them a significant step closer to realizing their aspirations for a new beginning in Yemen. The United States urges all parties to move immediately to implement the terms of the agreement, which will allow Yemen to begin addressing an array of formidable challenges and chart a more secure and prosperous path for the future. The United States will continue to stand by the Yemeni people as they embark on this historic transition. We also acknowledge the important work done by our GCC partners in supporting this step forward.
FACT SHEET: ASEAN-UNITED STATES LEADERS MEETING
On November 18, 2011, President Obama met with the leaders of the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations to review our cooperation on building greater economic, security, and people-to-people ties with an important region and a key Asian multilateral organization. With a population of approximately 580 million and a combined GDP of $1.5 trillion, ASEAN is the United States’ fourth largest export market, includes two treaty allies, one of our closest security partners, and several emerging regional powers, and sits astride some of the world’s most important trading routes and sea lines of communication.
Leaders adopted the Five-year ASEAN-United States Plan of Action, a roadmap for expanding our strategic cooperation. The Plan of Action includes collaborative projects in three main areas—political and security, economic and trade, and socio-cultural cooperation.
Going forward, the United States will work with ASEAN through the US-ASEAN Trade and Investment Framework Work Plan to build on existing work on trade facilitation and ongoing dialogues on trade and environment and trade finance by introducing new initiatives on digital connectivity and trade and investment in healthcare services, agribusiness, and consumer goods.
The United States and Brunei announced the United States Partnership with ASEAN on English Language Education. This ambitious, five-year, $25 million initiative, supported by the governments of Brunei and Singapore with the East-West Center in Hawaii as an implementing coordinator, reflects a commitment to help unify the diverse members of ASEAN, improve English language capacity, and advance educational and teaching opportunities in the region.
The United States is supporting the launch of the ASEAN youth volunteers program and sponsorship a visit by the Volunteers and the ASEAN Commission on Women and Children the U.S. next April to connect with U.S. civil society groups on best practices.
The United States, under President Obama’s global Feed the Future initiative and through the ASEAN Secretariat, will support a program to promote the role of the private sector and public-private dialogue on food security policies and solutions.
The United States announced plans to launch an initiative enabling US Trade and Development Agency to bring the best of U.S. business to ASEAN in a first, major commercial outreach to discuss upcoming connectivity infrastructure projects and the role for U.S. business.
The United States proposed the creation a Southeast Asia Maritime Partnership (SAMP), which will provide a multi-agency approach to cooperation and capacity building on maritime awareness, management and security.
The United States and ASEAN will work together to launch the “ASEAN Single Window” pilot program, a trade facilitation project to expedite cargo clearance. When fully operational, this will be the world’s first regional integrated cargo-clearance system.
ASEAN leaders, supported by the United States as an Asian Development Bank (ADB) member, will create an ASEAN Infrastructure Fund. ASEAN governments, supported by ADB members, will contribute to the fund to help underwrite infrastructure projects in the region. The initial fund of $600 million will support infrastructure projects aimed at creating an integrated ASEAN community, and will provide expanded opportunities for U.S. businesses to participate in ASEAN infrastructure projects in the energy, transportations, and information and communications technology sectors.
President Obama announced the three U.S. members of the U.S.-ASEAN Eminent Persons Group: Stapleton Roy, Charlene Barshefsky, and Muhtar Kent, fulfilling a commitment he made with ASEAN leaders in 2009. The group will deliver recommendations to the Leaders ahead of the next ASEAN-US Leaders Meeting.
Leaders welcomed the successful conclusion of negotiations to enable the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France and China to accede to the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ) protocol, and agreed to take the necessary steps to enable the signing of the protocol and its entry into force by these states at the earliest opportunity.
The ten ASEAN Leaders are Sultan Hassanal of Brunei, President Thein Sein of Burma (Myanmar), Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, President Yudhoyono of Indonesia, Prime Minister Thongsing of Laos, Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia, President Aquino of the Philippines, Prime Minister Lee of Singapore, Prime Minister Yingluck of Thailand, and Prime Minister Dung of Vietnam, as well as ASEAN Secretary General Surin.
Fact Sheet: Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits
In August, President Obama called on Congress to enact tax credits that will help get veterans back to work. The Returning Heroes Tax Credit provides businesses that hire unemployed veterans with a maximum credit of $5,600 per veteran, and the Wounded Warriors Tax Creditoffers businesses that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities with a maximum credit of $9,600 per veteran.
These tax credits were included in the American Jobs Act and were signed into law by President Obama on November 21, 2011.
Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits
Under the Recovery Act, employers who hired certain unemployed veterans were eligible for a tax credit of up to 40 percent of the first $6,000 of wages, for a maximum credit of $2,400. This credit expired at the end of 2010.
On November 21, 2011, the President signed into law two new tax credits:
- The Returning Heroes Tax Credit is a new hiring tax credit that will provide an incentive for businesses to hire unemployed veterans.
- Short-term unemployed: A new credit of 40 percent of the first $6,000 of wages (up to $2,400) for employers who hire veterans who have been unemployed at least 4 weeks.
- Long-term unemployed: A new credit of 40 percent of the first $14,000 of wages (up to $5,600) for employers who hire veterans who have been unemployed longer than 6 months.
- The Wounded Warrior Tax Credit will double the existing tax credit for long-term unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities.
- Maintain the existing Work Opportunity Tax Credit for veterans with service-connected disabilities (currently the maximum is $4,800).
- A new credit of 40 percent of the first $24,000 of wages (up to $9,600) for firms that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been unemployed longer than 6 months.
Executive Actions to Get Veterans Back to Work
Earlier this year, the President also announced a series of executive actions to help get veterans back to work.
These initiatives include:
Veteran Gold Card: Post-9/11 veterans can now download the Veteran Gold Card, which entitles them to enhanced services including six months of personalized case management, assessments and counseling, at the roughly 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers located across the country. This could help serve the more than 200,000 unemployed Post-9/11 veterans. The President directed the Department of Labor to launch this initiative in his August 5, 2011 speech at the Navy Yard.
My Next Move for Veterans: The Department of Labor has launched My Next Move for Veterans, a new online resource that allows veterans to enter their military occupation code and discover civilian occupations for which they are well qualified. The site also includes information about salaries, apprenticeships, and other related education and training programs.
Creating a Veterans Job Bank: The Administration launched the Veterans Job Bank, at National Resource Directory, an easy to use tool to help veterans find job postings from companies looking to hire them. It already searches over one million job postings and is growing. In a few easy steps, companies can make sure the job postings on their own websites are part of thisVeterans Job Bank. These resources can be accessed at www.whitehouse.gov/vets
Joining Forces: In August, the President challenged the private sector to hire or train 100,000 veterans or military spouses by the end of 2013. The President also asked First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to lead these efforts with the private sector as part of their Joining Forces initiative. In just over 100 days, more than 1,500 private sector companies have stepped up and already employed more than 18,000 veterans and spouses. In addition, these private sector companies have committed to hiring 135,000 veterans and spouses by the end of 2013, exceeding the President’s challenge. Also included in these private sector employment efforts is a dedicated commitment to hire 5,000 wounded warriors.
Challenging Community Health Centers to Hire 8,000 Veterans in Three Years: The Obama Administration challenged Community Health Centers to hire 8,000 veterans – approximately one veteran per health center site – over the next three years. The health reform law provides funding for community health centers to serve more Americans and hire more workers. The National Association of Community Health Centers will also contribute to this effort and joined the Administration in announcing this Community Health Center Veterans Hiring Challenge.
Helping Veterans Become Physician Assistants: To fast-track medics into jobs in community health centers and other parts of the health care system, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) pledged to open up career-paths beyond nursing and expand opportunities for veterans to become physician assistants. Through this initiative, HRSA will begin to give priority in physician assistant grant awards to universities and colleges that help train veterans for careers as physician assistants.
Together, these initiatives and the tax credits will lower veteran unemployment through increased hiring, improve resources for veterans to translate their military skills for the civilian workforce, and provide veterans with new tools to aid their search for jobs.
FACT SHEET: U.S. PRESSURE AND SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN
As part of our ongoing efforts to increase the cost of Iran’s failure to live up to its international obligations regarding its nuclear program, today the United States announced the imposition of new sanctions against Iran. These measures build upon the framework that this Administration has established, which is comprised of national and multilateral sanctions that have contributed to what Iranian President Ahmadinejad recently called “the heaviest economic onslaught on a nation in history.” Our sanctions have:
- · Slowed the Iranian nuclear program. The former head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Salehi, admitted in 2010 that sanctions have delayed Iran’s enrichment program. Iranian officials have long complained that sanctions have limited their access to nuclear technology and information. Sanctions have sensitized countries to the risk of doing business regarding items that can be used to further Iran’s nuclear program, resulting in Iran’s inability to acquire thousands of a dual-use nature. The United States has also made use of the inspection provisions contained in United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1929 to work with partners to deny Iran access to items it has procured and to call out clearly the extent of Iran’s sanctions evasion.
- · Stymied Iran’s access to the international financial system. U.S. sanctions on Iranian financial institutions paved the way for Iran’s near-total isolation from the international financial system. Under this Administration, we have tightened Iran’s access by imposing sanctions on dozens of firms and financial institutions that were enabling Iran to evade international sanctions. UNSCR 1929 explicitly calls on states to prevent the provision of financial services, including insurance and re-insurance, that could contribute to Iran’s illicit nuclear and missile-related activities. Iran has been forced to resort to exotic, expensive, and cumbersome methods to engage in the most basic of financial transactions. Today’s announcement that the United States has identified Iran as a jurisdiction of primary money laundering concern is the latest in our efforts to inform the international financial community of the risks involved in doing business with Iran.
- · Hindered Iran’s oil and gas sector. U.S. sanctions have deterred investment in Iran’s oil and gas sector for years. However, with this Administration’s robust implementation of both the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) and the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA), we have been successful in pushing Iran’s erstwhile foreign partners to exit Iran. The Iranian oil ministry acknowledged publicly that it is $100 billion short in investment that it needs to develop this sector; we are confident that, as a result of our sanctions, Iran will not receive this assistance. Today, we have expanded our already robust sanctions in this regard today through our decision to make sanctionable the provision of certain goods, services, technology, and support to Iran’s oil, gas, and petrochemical industries. UNSCR 1929 notes the potential connection between Iran’s revenues derived from its energy sector and the funding of Iran’s proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities. And the EU, Japan, South Korea, Canada, and several others have taken similar steps to prohibit support to Iran’s energy sector.
- · Exposed Iran’s support for terrorism. We have designated Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism and used our counterterrorism authorities to impose sanctions on Iranian individuals and entities responsible for terrorism. This includes the IRGC-Qods Force and, in October, the five individuals in connection with the alleged plot to assassinate Saudi Ambassador al-Jubeir in Washington, D.C. We have also used these authorities to identify other ways in which Iran contributes to terrorism, such as its facilitation of the efforts of al Qa’ida members operating in Iran.
- · Demonstrated our support for universal human rights. Beyond our international dialogue and our civil society outreach programs, we have used our sanctions authorities to impose consequences on those who are responsible for serious human rights violations in Iran. We intend to make additional use of this tool, to continue to demonstrate our solidarity with those in Iran striving for acknowledgment of these rights by Iranian authorities, and to encourage U.S. partners to take similar steps.
The sanctions that we have imposed – along with our partners – have been targeted against Iran’s illicit conduct and the mechanisms by which Iran supports these activities. However, Iran has decided to utilize even its otherwise legitimate financial institutions and firms to support its illicit activities. This has resulted in growing numbers of its firms, banks, and individuals involving themselves in illicit conduct, and therefore increased Iranian exposure to sanctions. As long as Iran’s illicit conduct continues, the United States will be unrelenting in our efforts to expose Iranian cover organizations, deceptive business practices, and other efforts to evade sanctions.
Statement by the President on the Announcement of Additional Sanctions on Iran
Today, my Administration has taken yet another step to further isolate and penalize Iran for its refusal to live up to its international obligations regarding its nuclear program. For years, the Iranian government has failed to abide by its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It has violated repeated UN Security Council resolutions, as well as its commitments to the International Atomic Energy Agency. In the face of this intransigence, the world has spoken with one voice —at the IAEA, at the UN, and in capitals – making it clear that Iranian actions jeopardize international peace and stability, and will only further isolate the Iranian regime.
Today, my Administration has taken action to impose an additional cost on Iran for its actions. New sanctions target for the first time Iran’s petrochemical sector, prohibiting the provision of goods, services, and technology to this sector and authorizing penalties against any person or entity that engages in such activity. They expand energy sanctions, making it more difficult for Iran to operate, maintain, and modernize its oil and gas sector. They also designate 11 individuals and entities for their role in assisting Iran’s prohibited nuclear programs, including its enrichment and heavy water programs. And today we have taken the next significant step to escalate the pressure by acting under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act, identifying for the first time, the entire Iranian banking sector – including the Central Bank of Iran – as a threat to governments or financial institutions that do business with Iranian banks. We are joined in this action by the United Kingdom and Canada, who have also acted to cut off Iran from their financial systems today. I welcome these steps and encourage all of our partners to do the same.
As President one of my highest national security priorities is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, including to the Iranian government. Since taking office, I have made it clear that the United States is prepared to begin a new chapter with the Islamic Republic of Iran, offering the Iranian government a clear choice. It can fulfill its international obligations and reap the benefits of greater economic and political integration with countries around the world, or it can continue to defy its responsibilities and face even more pressure and isolation. Iran has chosen the path of international isolation. As long as Iran continues down this dangerous path, the United States will continue to find ways, both in concert with our partners and through our own actions to isolate and increase the pressure upon the Iranian regime.
STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT OBAMA
12:42 P.M. WITI
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good afternoon, everybody. Throughout my administration — and throughout this trip — I’ve underscored America’s commitment to the Asia Pacific region, but also I’ve underscored America’s commitment to the future of human rights in the region. Today I’m announcing an important step forward in our efforts to move forward on both these fronts.
For decades, Americans have been deeply concerned about the denial of basic human rights for the Burmese people. The persecution of democratic reformers, the brutality shown towards ethnic minorities, and the concentration of power in the hands of a few military leaders has challenged our conscience, and isolated Burma from the United States and much of the world.
However, we have always had a profound respect for the people of Burma, and the promise of their country — a country with a rich history, at the crossroads of East and West; a people with a quiet dignity and extraordinary potential. For many years, both the promise and the persecution of the Burmese people has been symbolized by Aung San Suu Kyi. As the daughter of Burma’s founding father, and a fierce advocate for her fellow citizens, she’s endured prison and house arrest, just as so many Burmese have endured repression.
Yet after years of darkness, we’ve seen flickers of progress in these last several weeks. President Thein Sein and the Burmese Parliament have taken important steps on the path toward reform. A dialogue between the government and Aung San Suu Kyi has begun. The government has released some political prisoners. Media restrictions have been relaxed. And legislation has been approved that could open the political environment. So, taken together, these are the most important steps toward reform in Burma that we’ve seen in years.
Of course, there’s far more to be done. We remain concerned about Burma’s closed political system, its treatment of minorities and holding of political prisoners, and its relationship with North Korea. But we want to seize what could be an historic opportunity for progress, and make it clear that if Burma continues to travel down the road of democratic reform, it can forge a new relationship with the United States of America.
Last night, I spoke to Aung San Suu Kyi, directly, and confirmed that she supports American engagement to move this process forward. So today, I’ve asked Secretary Hillary Clinton to go to Burma. She will be the first American Secretary of State to travel to the country in over half a century, and she will explore whether the United States can empower a positive transition in Burma and begin a new chapter between our countries.
That possibility will depend upon the Burmese government taking more concrete action. If Burma fails to move down the path of reform, it will continue to face sanctions and isolation. But if it seizes this moment, then reconciliation can prevail, and millions of people may get the chance to live with a greater measure of freedom, prosperity, and dignity. And that possibility is too important to ignore.
Later today I’ll reinforce these messages in America’s meeting with ASEAN — including with President Thein Shein. Meanwhile, when she travels to Nay Pyi Taw and Rangoon, Hillary will have the chance to deliver that message to the government, to civil society, and to democratic activists like Aung San Suu Kyi.
Again, there’s more that needs to be done to pursue the future that the Burmese people deserve — a future of reconciliation and renewal. But today, we’ve decided to take this step to respond to the positive developments in Burma and to clearly demonstrate America’s commitment to the future of an extraordinary country, a courageous people, and universal values.
Thank you very much.