[Senate Hearing 109-900] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] S. Hrg. 109-900 AFRICAN ORGANIZATIONS AND INSTITUTIONS: CROSS-CONTINENTAL PROGRESS ======================================================================= HEARING BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON AFRICAN AFFAIRS OF THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS UNITED STATES SENATE ONE HUNDRED NINTH CONGRESS SECOND SESSION __________ NOVEMBER 17, 2005 __________ Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Relations Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.access.gpo.gov/congress/ senate U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 33-724 WASHINGTON : 2007 _____________________________________________________________________________ For Sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: toll free (866) 512-1800; (202) 512�091800 Fax: (202) 512�092250 Mail: Stop SSOP, Washington, DC 20402�090001 COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS RICHARD G. LUGAR, Indiana, Chairman CHUCK HAGEL, Nebraska JOSEPH R. BIDEN, Jr., Delaware LINCOLN CHAFEE, Rhode Island PAUL S. SARBANES, Maryland GEORGE ALLEN, Virginia CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut NORM COLEMAN, Minnesota JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts GEORGE V. VOINOVICH, Ohio RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, Wisconsin LAMAR ALEXANDER, Tennessee BARBARA BOXER, California JOHN E. SUNUNU, New Hampshire BILL NELSON, Florida LISA MURKOWSKI, Alaska BARACK OBAMA, Illinois MEL MARTINEZ, Florida Kenneth A. Myers, Jr., Staff Director Antony J. Blinken, Democratic Staff Director ------ SUBCOMMITTEE ON AFRICAN AFFAIRS MEL MARTINEZ, Florida, Chairman LAMAR ALEXANDER, Tennessee RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, Wisconsin NORM COLEMAN, Minnesota PAUL S. SARBANES, Maryland JOHN E. SUNUNU, New Hampshire CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut LISA MURKOWSKI, Alaska BARACK OBAMA, Illinois (ii) C O N T E N T S ---------- Page Cooke, Jennifer, G., co-director, Africa Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies............................ 26 Prepared statement........................................... 28 Frazer, Hon. Jendayi E., Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Department of State............................................ 3 Prepared statement........................................... 6 Holt, Victoria K., senior associate, the Henry L. Stimson Center. 33 Prepared statement........................................... 35 Martinez, Hon. Mel, U.S. Senator from Florida, opening statement. 1 Pierson, Hon. Lloyd O., Assistant Administrator for Africa, U.S. Agency for Development......................................... 11 Prepared statement........................................... 12 Additional Material Submitted for the Record Response of Hon. Jendayi Frazer to written questions submitted by Senator Richard Lugar.......................................... 45 ................................................................. (iii) AFRICAN ORGANIZATIONS AND INSTITUTIONS: CROSS-CONTINENTAL PROGRESS ---------- THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2005 U.S. Senate, Subcommittee on African Affairs, Committee on Foreign Relations, Washington, DC. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:32 p.m. in room SD-419, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Mel Martinez (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding. Present: Senators Martinez, Feingold, and Obama. OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. MEL MARTINEZ, U.S. SENATOR FROM FLORIDA Senator Martinez. I call this subcommittee hearing to order and thank all of you for coming. This is a hearing of the Subcommittee on African Affairs of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We want to welcome to the subcommittee hearing this afternoon, all of you, especially my ranking member, Senator Feingold. Let me first thank our distinguished witnesses who have joined us today for coming. Last month we unexpectedly had to postpone the hearing because of the terrible storms that we had in Florida, and I had to return home to see about those. But I appreciate your understanding that situation and your flexibility in rescheduling it for today, and I want also to thank the ranking member for his flexibility and very much thank you for coming today. This afternoon our focus is on African organizations and institutions, looking at cross-continental progress. By cross- continental progress, we are talking about the positive trend we have seen in recent years with African initiative, the commitment and consistency of African leadership, the development and demonstration of African resolve. As our panelists will discuss this afternoon, this initiative and this resolve have led to the formation of unprecedented and historic African-led organizations and institutions, most notably the establishment of the African Union. In just a few short years, the AU has emerged as the leading pan-African organization of states, comprised of all states in Africa with the exception of Morocco. At its core, the AU is about African leadership and African resolve. It is about the potential and promise for African nations to collectively increase good governance, democracy, stability, and economic growth. The shared goals and shared ambitions embodied in the AU are extremely valuable and commendable. I am confident the AU will increasingly play a leading role in addressing and advancing key priorities facing the continent. Equally positive are the efforts and initiatives being advanced by the regional economic communities. Initially established as economic bodies, several of the regional economic communities have launched conflict resolution and peacekeeping operations. For example, the Economic Community of West African States has played a central mediating role in nearly every civil war in West Africa since its creation. An additional positive development is the innovation being advanced by the New Partnership for Africa's Development. In its initial years, NEPAD has successfully identified projects and programs aimed at spurring economic growth, political- economic integration, as well as good governance and security. Collectively, these African-led organizations and institutions hold great promise for the future. Together these organizations can truly advance and sustain good governance, democracy, stability, and prosperity. At the same time, however, these organizations and their leadership are encountering great challenges. Despite laudable and commendable success, these institutions are being tested. Their leaders are being tested. From institutional capacity to leadership difficulties and resource constraints, there are real hurdles. There are also credible concerns about the apparent multiplicity of organizations, their overlapping memberships, and seemingly conflicting areas of responsibility. These are hurdles and questions that require urgent attention for continental progress and advancement to continue, and that is what I encourage our distinguished witnesses to outline and discuss this afternoon. Africa is at a crucial and critical crossroads. The challenges and opportunities are immense. I encourage our panelists to address where things are going, where they are working, why they are working, look at where U.S. priorities and resources are assigned, and why, and finally outline prospects for the future and how we can help. Long-term sustainable success in Africa will undoubtedly depend on the strength and resolve of African leadership and African initiative. Our challenge is to provide the right kind of support and the right kind of assistance, targeted in meaningful, balanced, and welcomed areas. Now, I would like to briefly introduce our witnesses. We have two very distinguished panels before us. We will hear from two administration officials, Ms. Jendayi Frazer, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and Mr. Lloyd Pierson, Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development for African Affairs. In our second panel, we are pleased to have Ms. Jennifer Cooke, co-director of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. We also welcome Ms. Victoria Holt, senior associate at the Henry L. Stimson Center here in Washington. We look forward to a lively discussion. We welcome all of you, and before turning it over to our witnesses, I would like to invite my distinguished colleague and ranking member for his opening remarks. Senator Feingold. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, first, for your excellent leadership of the subcommittee, and second, for your kind words about me and our work together. I will forgo a formal opening statement because we want to hear from you. We have four votes starting I think at 3:30. Senator Martinez. That is right. Senator Feingold. But let me just quickly say that I have been on this subcommittee for 13 years. I have been a chairman for those wonderful 18 months when we were in the majority, ranking member the rest of the time. I see these organizations as some of the most interesting, exciting, and challenging aspects of work on Africa. It holds great hope for the future, but there are enormous challenges and this is an important subject to take up, and I look forward to hearing the testimony and hopefully having time to ask some questions. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Senator Martinez. Thank you. At this time we would call on Secretary Frazer for your opening comments. STATEMENT OF HON. JENDAYI E. FRAZER, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR AFRICAN AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF STATE Secretary Frazer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you along side my colleague, Lloyd Pierson, at this hearing to discuss our work with the African Union and subregional organizations to advance freedom, peace and prosperity in Africa. It is my first Senate testimony as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. I am very pleased to be here, especially on this important topic. I have a longer written statement, Mr. Chairman, and ask that I be allowed to submit it for the record. Senator Martinez. Without objection. Ms. Frazer. Thank you. I firmly believe there has never been a more auspicious time than now to consolidate the progress and promise of the continent. The emergence of an activist African Union with a modern, forward-looking agenda is one of the most important developments on the continent in decades. We have embraced a U.S.-Africa partnership that will allow the United States and the African Union to jointly advance our many shared key goals, including promoting good governance, social and economic development, combatting terrorism, and ending and preventing conflict. Most importantly, the African Union and some of the regional and subregional organizations in Africa are demonstrating increasingly effective leadership in advancing these goals. Helping to strengthen further those organizations to prepare them to be fully effective for the 21st century, so they can address Africa's challenge is vital to U.S. interests. Our cooperative efforts with the African Union and subregional organizations generally focus on the following key areas: First, diplomatic cooperation to prevent conflicts when possible and to resolve conflicts that have broken out; second, support for regional or subregional military interventions when there is no other alternative to end violence; third, assistance for capacity-building and institution-strengthening; fourth, support for efforts to promote trade, economic growth and development; and fifth, increasing cooperation in other areas ranging from counterterrorism to disease eradication to the promotion of good governance. I would like to very briefly review the efforts made by the African Union and subregional organizations, the support we have provided, and areas of needed future focus. The African Union and some of the subregional organizations, particularly the Economic Community of West African States, have joined in mitigating conflicts through peace support operations and diplomatic missions. African nations already provide close to 30 percent of United Nations peacekeeping forces worldwide, with 4 African countries-- Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa--among the top 10 UN troop contributors. In peacekeeping, African forces, rather than non-African ones, are more easily deployed in African states. In cases where political agreement and preparations for a UN mission oftentimes involve months of delay, a deployment by peacekeeping forces from the African Union or subregional organizations like ECOWAS is often a vital response tool. The United States supports African peacekeeping in two major ways, through direct assistance to ongoing operations and through programs to enhance the capacity of African peacekeepers. The Bush administration has assisted the African Union with operations first in Burundi and more recently in Darfur, Sudan. We also supported ECOWAS in Liberia in 2003. In Burundi, we supported the African Union's first operation, which was called AMIB, contributing some $11 million to the AU mission as it monitored peace agreements reached between the former Tutsi- dominated government and its three main Hutu rebel groups. The United States has provided a major share of the African Union mission in Darfur, known as AMIS, funding over $160 million. We have also provided over $768 million in humanitarian relief in Darfur. In Darfur, the AU forces have much reduced large-scale organized violence in areas where they are deployed. Some violence continues as a result of banditry, rebel attacks, and janjaweed actions. But among those options that we must consider in Darfur is clearly the possibility of increased support by the United Nations or perhaps a transition to a UN mandate. We are consulting with the African Union and our partners closely on such options. We expect to support logistics, communications, training, and other assistance to the AU and the regional peacekeeping standby brigades. For example, over the past 4 years, we have provided over $11 million in equipment to set up an ECOWAS peacekeeping logistics depot in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Equipment from this depot has been vital in supplying ECOWAS and UN forces in Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire, as well as the AU forces in Darfur, and we are now working on provision of equipment for an AU depot as well. We are strengthening AU and ECOWAS communications capacity. The United States has provided over $10 million worth of computer, radio, and other communications links to help ensure that ECOWAS member states can communicate smoothly and that the AU forces have the radio equipment they need to be effective. We also support the efforts of the African Union to boost its counterterrorist capabilities. We will be working with our African partners to encourage the provision of adequate funding, personnel, and support to the regional counterterrorism training at the African Union's African Center for the Study and Research on Terrorism in Algiers, Algeria, and the AU's planned early warning center to counter terrorist threats. We are increasing our engagement with subregional organizations based on the regional economic communities. These regional organizations are recognized by the African Union as pillars of a continental architecture. They play a lead role in regional stability and will be the focus for regional African peacekeeping brigades of the AU's African standby force. Sub- regional organizations can apply neighborly persuasion and even military force to stabilize a country before it slips into conflict. An important factor in the work of subregional organizations is leadership by a strong regional country, such as South Africa in the Southern African Development Community, or Nigeria in ECOWAS, two countries which combined have 50 percent of sub-Saharan Africa's GDP. A strong lead nation seems to ensure a more effective subregional organization, although, at times, it may also inhibit open and thorough discussion and examination of alternative policies. We will support rationalizing Africa's subregional organizations to eliminate overlapping memberships and responsibilities and reduce costs of maintaining headquarters and staff. We will also support efforts by the AU and subregional organizations to speed up conclusion of the operational agreements. ECOWAS, the Economic Community of the West African States, has one of the continent's most effective military arms. Its deployments have served as precursors to UN peacekeeping missions in Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire, and Sierra Leone, with ECOWAS still retaining a presence in both Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire. In addition to the funds contributed to the ECOWAS efforts in Cote d'Ivoire, we contributed over $90 million to ECOWAS for its outstanding efforts in Liberia. In Southern Africa, we look to the Southern Africa Development Community to continue regional economic growth, stability, and prosperity; and we are looking at efforts to re- engage with the SADC troika in the near future. In East Africa, our work with Kenya and Uganda on a north- south peace agreement in Sudan is a model for what can be accomplished by U.S. engagement with Africa's subregional organizations. We are also increasing our work with the AU's New Partnership for Africa's Development, NEPAD, and the subregional organizations to support regional economic integration, good governance, and prosperity throughout the continent. Regional economic integration is crucial to increasing trade and investment and to breaking down barriers to trade and investment in order to drive growth and prosperity. In fiscal years 2002 to 2005, we have provided nearly $5 million to the African Union and to subregional organizations to advance regional trade and investment, to advance climate reform practices, to develop regional financial markets, and to provide technical assistance to increase trade and the free flow of goods, services, and capital. We provide over $100 million a year in funding for the African Development Bank, which promotes economic development and regional integration across Africa. The African Union and the subregional organizations have made major progress in the past 5 years. We will continue our work with the UN to help us strengthen the AU as an institution and as a continental actor and to support Africa's subregional organizations. We will also work to support commitments by African governments, organizations, and non-African partners to ensure stability, development, and good governance. In conclusion, our vision is that African nations and peoples can enjoy the fruits of peace, democracy, and prosperity and good health working through the African regional and subregional organizations. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I look forward to answering any of your questions. [The prepared statement of Secretary Frazer follows:] Prepared Statement of Jendayi E. Frazer, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am delighted to have the opportunity to appear before you today, in my first Senate testimony as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, to discuss our work with the African Union and African subregional organizations to advance freedom, peace, and prosperity in Africa. I firmly believe there has never been a more auspicious time than now to consolidate the progress and promise of the continent. The emergence of an activist African Union (AU) with a modern, forward- looking agenda is one of the most important developments on the continent in decades. The AU offers a considerably more dynamic vision of the future than did its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity. The timing could not be better, coming as it does when we have embraced a U.S.-Africa partnership that will allow the United States and the AU to jointly advance our many shared key goals including promoting prosperity, good governance, social and economic development, and combating terrorism. Most importantly, the African Union and some of the regional and subregional organizations in Africa are demonstrating increasingly effective leadership in advancing these goals. Helping to strengthen further those organizations--to prepare them to be fully effective for the 21st century so they can address Africa's challenges--is vital to U.S. interests. Our cooperative efforts with the AU and subregional organizations generally focus on the following key areas:
Diplomatic cooperation to prevent conflicts when possible, and to resolve conflicts that have broken out. Support for regional or subregional military interventions when there is no other alternative to end violence. Assistance for capacity building and institution- strengthening. Support for efforts to promote trade, economic growth and development. Increasing cooperation in a broad range of areas key to achieving peace and prosperity in Africa, ranging from counter- terrorism, to disease eradication, to promotion of good governance. Let me review briefly the efforts made by the AU and the subregional organizations, the support we have provided, and areas of needed future focus: CONFLICT RESOLUTION The African Union and some of the subregional organizations, particularly the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), have joined in mitigating conflicts through peace support operations and diplomatic missions. African states have the capacity to staff peace support operations: many do not realize that African nations already provide close to 30 percent of United Nations peacekeeping forces worldwide, with four African countries--Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa--among the top ten U.N. troop contributors. African states and organizations quite reasonably prefer that African forces, rather than non-African intervention, be the first approach to conflict response on the continent and we support that. In fact, in cases where political agreement and preparations for a U.N. Mission oftentimes involve months of delay, a deployment by peacekeeping forces from the African Union or other subregional organization is often the only response tool available. The United States supports Africa peacekeeping in two major ways: through direct assistance to ongoing operations and through programs to enhance the capacity of African peacekeepers. In addition to U.S. support for global U.N. peacekeeping operations--where the United States currently provides 27 percent of the funding for such operations--the United States has assisted the African Union to stand up operations first in Burundi and more recently in Darfur, Sudan. We also supported ECOWAS in Liberia in 2003 and Sierra Leone in 1998-2000. In Burundi, we supported the AU's first such operation (AMIB), which was crucial in advancing the peace process and monitoring peace agreements reached between the former Tutsi-dominated government and three main Hutu rebel groups. That Burundi operation transitioned into a United Nations peacekeeping operation, which successfully paved the way for elections that have installed a new government and Parliament. We contributed some $11 million to the AU's Burundi effort, in addition to the money provided in support of the U.N. operation once the U.N. took charge. The AU did a good job in this first effort, but could not have succeeded in this very important endeavor without donor support. In Darfur, Sudan, the AU has taken the next big step by taking on the daunting task of managing the deployment needed to seek peace in Darfur. Its staff and officials clearly have learned important lessons from their Burundi experience and their capabilities have improved. Still, they cannot do this alone. International partners are necessary, and the United States has shown that it is such a partner. We have put forward a major share of the funding needed to bring peace to Darfur, including providing over $160 million in funding to support the AU deployment in Darfur. To date, we have provided over $768 million in humanitarian relief in Darfur. It is vital that the AU effort succeed, and we are helping to ensure that it does. Our logistics support for the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) is key to its success, and we will not halt our PKO-funded support. Separately, we are providing expertise in ways that help enhance the AU's capacity. The AU welcomes the opportunity for its staff to develop cooperative working relationships with non-African governments and organizations, such as the U.S. and NATO. Through NATO, we and our NATO partners are providing training expertise and airlift that are vital to the AU operation. The African Union effort in Darfur has demonstrated why deployment of African troops is a viable option. It has also underscored the need for us to continue to work closely with the African Union to address continuing needs related to command and control that must be addressed to increase the effectiveness of AU interventions. The African Union showed that its majority Muslim (three of four major troop contributors have heavily Muslim forces--Nigeria--50 percent of its contingent, Gambia--95 percent, Senegal--90 percent; Rwanda is only 1 percent) forces are best suited to address the complex social and political issues, in a context in which virtually all of the population is Muslim. The result has been impressive: where the African Union forces are deployed, large-scale organized violence has largely diminished. In many cases, the African Union commanders are also engaged in mitigating local disputes and in facilitating urgently needed humanitarian relief. While violence continues as a result of banditry, rebel attacks, and janjaweed actions, the African Union forces are playing a crucial role to help bring about an end to violence. To help ensure greater peace and stability in Darfur, we must simultaneously increase our support to the African Union forces in Darfur (AMIS) while working closely with the AU and other donors to press the parties to make additional political progress and determine next steps. Among those options that must be considered is a possible increased support role for the United Nations, or perhaps a transition to a U.N. mandate. We are consulting with the AU and our partners closely on such options. The African Union's ongoing mediation of talks between the Sudanese government and the Darfur rebels also highlights the value of the AU's dynamic, holistic approach to conflict resolution. African Union political offices and missions also have had some success in dealing with crises and helping to advance development of democracy in the region. For example, the AU is committed to sustaining the peace process in Cote d'Ivoire, begun earlier by ECOWAS and to which, I might add, the United States contributed over nine million dollars. A key element of building capacity for the AU flows from our intended support for the AU's Africa Standby Force (ASF) and the national militaries that will make up that force. The AU plans for the ASF to provide both a rapid deployment capability to prevent mass violence or a longer-term force to sustain a peace agreement. Primary to our efforts is the African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) program that provides training to African regional organizations and national peacekeepers. ACOTA training activities will continue with Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, Mozambique, Gabon and others, while adding additional partner countries via funding through the Global Peace Operations Initiative. As part of the worldwide GPOI effort, the United States expects to provide training to at least 40,000 African peacekeepers over 5 years. Training peacekeepers is not enough, so we will also support logistics, communications, training and other assistance to the AU and standby brigades. For example, over the past 4 years we have provided over $11 million in equipment to establish and stock an ECOWAS peacekeeping logistics depot in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Equipment from the depot in turn has been vital in supplying ECOWAS and U.N. forces in Liberia, and Cote d'Ivoire, as well as AU forces in Darfur. The demonstrated value of that depot has shown that it will be worthwhile to provide equipment for the AU depot as well. Additionally we are strengthening AU and ECOWAS communications capacity. The United States has provided some $10 million worth of computer, radio, and other communications links to help ensure that ECOWAS member states can communicate smoothly, and that AU forces have the radio equipment they need to be effective. On the training front, we look forward to extending ACOTA multinational exercises to willing regional organizations in the near future and have recently provided support to peacekeeping training centers in Ghana and Mali. Our ties with the African Union are growing stronger. We currently coordinate with the AU office in New York, including on U.N. matters. Congressional action and an Executive Order by President Bush have placed the AU on the list of Public International Organizations, entitled to official G visas and civil immunity for official acts, and the AU plans to open a Washington office this year. We plan to assist the AU in that effort as much as possible. The AU office will expedite and enhance contacts between the AU and Congress and with executive branch agencies. The AU also plans to have the staff of its Washington office reach out to the African diaspora and to the business community, and engage groups with a focus on Africa. The Director of the Secretary's Policy Planning Staff, Dr. Stephen D. Krasner, hosted the first Planning Policy Talks with the AU on July 29, 2005 to help identify policy challenges and capacity needs. The talks covered a broad range of topics under the headings of democracy and governance, the Millennium Challenge Account, post-conflict reconstruction, and counter terrorism. The talks, which we hope will occur biannually, provide another vehicle for policy exchanges and information exchanges on sharing how we can support capacity building within the AU and among the member states. We fully support the efforts of the AU to boost its counter terrorism (CT) capabilities. The AU has developed a strategy to create both an early warning center to counter terrorist threats and a regional CT training center as part of their CT center's mission. We support these goals, and are exploring ways to support these efforts with training opportunities, resources to increase CT cooperation in the region, and the provision of expert advice and guidance. We already have provided some $250,000, for example, to help set up an anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist finance assistance program in West Africa through West Africa's Inter-Governmental Anti-Money Laundering Group. Most important, we will be working with our African partners to encourage the provision of adequate funding, personnel and support to the African Center for the Study and Research on Terrorism in Algiers. The Department will be supporting a conference in February at the AU Center that will draw resources from trans-Saharan countries into the Center's mission. SUB-REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND CONFLICT PREVENTION As we work with the African Union and subregional organizations to accelerate economic progress, we will support the development of African mechanisms that help to mitigate crises before they fester and erupt into conflict. Prevention and mitigation are ultimately far less costly to both the people of Africa and to their partners working with them toward a safe and free continent. The AU has several mechanisms to address this, including eminent persons who work to mediate crises; regional workshops on best practices in democracy and elections; and training and deployment of AU election monitors. As a result, the United States has the opportunity to work with the AU and subregional organizations to bring an end to conflict on the continent. The administration's approach to work with lead African mediators and multilaterally with the United Nations, African Union, and subregional organizations like ECOWAS has worked. As the member states demonstrate buy-in, I strongly support increasing our engagement with subregional organizations in the four distinct sub-regions of sub- Saharan Africa--Central, Western, Eastern and Southern Africa. The subregional organizations based on the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) are recognized by the African Union as pillars of a continental architecture. They play a lead role in regional stability and will be the focus for regional African peacekeeping brigades of the AU's ``African Stand By Force.'' Sub-regional organizations can apply neighborly persuasion and even military force to stabilize a country before it slips into conflict. There are disadvantages, however, when affected states feel their neighbor has taken too much interest in their internal affairs. Another important factor in the work of subregional organizations is leadership by a strong regional country, such as South Africa in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) or Nigeria in ECOWAS (two countries which combined have 50 percent of sub-Saharan Africa's GDP.) A strong lead nation seems to ensure a more effective subregional organization, but at times could also inhibit open and thorough discussion and examination of alternative policies. We will support efforts by the AU and subregional organizations to speed up conclusion of their operational agreements, to clarify responsibilities and reduce costs while sharpening their focus. The activities of three of the more developed subregional organizations illustrate issues they are tackling and the character of our engagement and partnership: ECOWAS--THE ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICAN STATES Nigeria plays a lead role, with French-speaking Senegal senior among ECOWAS's Francophone members. ECOWAS has one of the continent's most effective military arms. Its deployments have served as precursors to U.N. peacekeeping missions in Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire, and Sierra Leone, with ECOWAS still retaining a presence in both Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire. President Obasanjo of Nigeria has both a role within ECOWAS and within the African Union (as Annual Chair of the AU Assembly), which has illuminated some policy disconnects, particularly between the AU's Peace and Security Commission and ECOWAS, and between Nigeria and the office of the ECOWAS Executive Secretary. In addition to the funds contributed to the ECOWAS effort in Cote d'Ivoire, we contributed over $19 million to ECOWAS for its outstanding effort in Liberia. SADC--THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY South Africa, the economic powerhouse of the continent, is the dominant player in SADC. The United States and South Africa have a shared interest in promoting peace and stability on the continent. Our already strong bilateral relationship is expanding to include greater military-to-military cooperation, including planning for training for peacekeeping operations. Our Ambassador to Botswana, where SADC has its headquarters, also serves as the Secretary of State's Representative to SADC and works closely with the organization. An effective SADC, working to enhance peace, stability, and prosperity in the continent is vital to U.S. national interests. IGAD--THE INTER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITY ON DEVELOPMENT Somalia continues to be a significant concern for the IGAD member- states of East Africa, particularly Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. The government of Kenya, under the auspices of IGAD, chaired the Somalia National Reconciliation Conference, which concluded in October 2004 following the formation of a national parliament, election of a transitional president and formation of a transnational cabinet-- collectively known as the Somalia Transitional Federal Institutions (TFls). Although Somali parties remain divided by key issues that have prevented further progress in establishing the TFls inside Somalia, IGAD member states continue to play a significant role in the ongoing political process. The international community, including the United States, is urging Somali leaders to reach a consensus agreement on these key issues, including how to address continued insecurity throughout Somalia, through dialog at the cabinet and parliamentary levels. The United States has contributed some $750,000 to IGAD's efforts to bring peace to Somalia. There is much yet to be done, but we will continue to coordinate our engagement in Somalia with our regional and international partners to support the establishment of effective governance in Somalia. IGAD also played a key mediation role in the Sudan North-South peace process. ENGAGING WITH AU INSTITUTIONS ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Africa is not a continent of conflicts, despair, and disease. The bulk of the continent is not in crisis. Democratic elections are increasingly the norm, and economic growth is at its highest levels in nearly a decade. We are deeply engaged with African countries and institutions to support Africa's efforts to consolidate and build on the remarkable progress of recent years, as well as to prevent the outbreak of new conflict. Most of the more than three billion dollars in assistance that we provided to Africa last year supported bilateral programs at the country level. We also are working with the AU's New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the RECs in support of their programs to promote regional economic integration, good governance, and prosperity throughout the continent. The RECs have a major role to play, not only in peace support operations, but also in promoting the regional economic integration that is so crucial to increasing trade and investment, which will drive growth and prosperity. In many respects the RECs have not advanced as far on the economic front as on the peace and security front, and further progress could be enhanced were there to be some rationalization of the current overlapping REC structure. However, we are seeing sustained efforts to break down barriers to trade and investment through, for example, customs unions and trade agreements by the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), and others. Another example is the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). Historically this was just a monetary union made up of the countries with currencies tied to the French Franc. In recent years, however, these countries have begun to work together in other ways as well. In fiscal year 2003, the United States contributed $250,000 to help the WAEMU improve its member countries' government debt issuance practices, and in recent years, FY2002-FY2005, we have provided nearly $5 million to the AU and to subregional organizations--WAEMU, COMESA, and the EAC--to advance regional trade and investment climate reform practices, develop regional financial markets, and provide technical assistance to increase trade and the free flow of goods, services and capital. At the continent-wide level, we provide over $100 million a year in funding for the African Development Bank, which in turn promotes economic development across Africa, giving special attention to national and multinational projects that promote regional integration. We hope to increase our engagement with both the AU and RECs to help build their capacity to accelerate economic growth and poverty alleviation through strategically targeted financial and technical support for their programs to promote trade, investment climate reform, transparency and good governance, sound management of natural resources, and social development. The United States and its G8 partners have an ongoing dialog with NEPAD and have made far-reaching commitments to develop enhanced partnerships with those countries that demonstrate commitment to AU/ NEPAD's principles of sound economic, political, and social governance. In addition to our many bilateral programs that support the goals and objectives of the AU and NEPAD at a country level, we are supporting the realization of NEPAD programs such as the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Plan and NEPAD's efforts to facilitate and accelerate regional infrastructure development. Through the Africa Partnership Forum, which includes all of the major African institutions as well as development partners, we are developing a process to hold each other mutually accountable for fulfillment of our many respective commitments. Africans themselves are also increasingly seeking to hold each other accountable. The NEPAD African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is a bold undertaking by and for African countries to review a country's economic, political and corporate governance in a manner based on clear standards and criteria that reflect best practice. Nearly two dozen countries have signed up to be reviewed, and the first two reviews, of Ghana and Rwanda, including associated national action plans to address shortcomings, have been discussed at high levels and should be finalized by the end of the year. Working with the AU through enhanced relationships, and with stronger subregional organizations, I believe we can secure the progress already underway. The AU and the subregional organizations have made major progress in the past 5 years, and the United States has made a major contribution to advancing stability and prosperity in Africa. Yet more needs to be done. We will continue our efforts to work with the U.N. to help us strengthen the AU as an institution and as a continental actor, and to support Africa's subregional organizations. We will also work to ensure that Africa and its people have a future which is not shadowed by images of conflict, refugees and corruption, but which, rather, is buoyed by commitments by African governments, organizations and non-African partners to ensure stability, development and good governance. Our vision is that African nations and peoples can enjoy the fruits of peace, democracy, prosperity, and good health. With your help, we will help make that vision a reality. Senator Martinez. Madam Secretary, I thank you very much for your remarks. We also welcome the distinguished Senator from Illinois to the hearing. We want to now hear from Administrator Pierson. STATEMENT OF HON. LLOYD O. PIERSON, ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR FOR AFRICA, U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT Mr. Pierson. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Senator Feingold, Senator Obama. I have a brief opening statement I would like to read, but a longer statement for inclusion in the record. Senator Martinez. Your statement will be included in the record. Thank you. Mr. Pierson. I am pleased to have the opportunity to appear before you once again as Assistant Administrator for Africa. At the request of the subcommittee, I am here to update you on our work at the United Nations Agency for International Development to support development and peace and security efforts in sub-Sahara Africa, in particular as they relate to areas of democracy and governance, trade and economic development, and security sector reform. As the G-8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, in July demonstrated, there is a general consensus among world leaders to focus more attention on Africa and African development needs. The United States has been and will remain a leader in this effort. I believe that it is our role at USAID to work with our African partners to hasten the advent of peace, democracy, good governance, security, and quality of life on the continent, as well as address major humanitarian crises such as the potential spread of Avian influenza. Bilateral country programming is the central avenue for U.S. assistance, but in Africa many of the most complex development challenges do not respect national boundaries. Many important issues can best be solved on a regional basis. Thus, we are giving priority to funding selected regional programs and initiatives that have achieved impact by addressing regional conditions. USAID programs promote and endeavor to enhance partnerships between African leaders, governments, multilateral development institutions, business, universities, and other nongovernmental organizations. We also value the principle of ownership and attempt to build on the leadership, participation, and commitment of countries and their peoples. One of the ways we do this is by supporting and strengthening African subregional organizations as well as organizations such as the New Partnership for Africa's Development that cover all regions of Africa. Organizations such as this are key partners and stakeholders in the work that we do. This past year, USAID through the President's initiative to end hunger in Africa actively facilitated NEPAD's leadership to organize five regional meetings along with a continent-wide summit. The meetings engaged most African countries and over 1,000 stakeholders took part. Subsequently, the G-8 members at Gleneagles committed to supporting the CAADP, which is the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program. Other key regional organizations with whom we work include COMESA and ECOWAS, and my written statement provides details about the extent of our work, the work of USAID, with these organizations. As the largest bilateral donor in sub-Saharan Africa, we must actively collaborate with our African counterparts in order to achieve common goals. Mr. Chairman, I sincerely appreciate this subcommittee's continuing interest in Africa and USAID's critical role on the continent. I would be happy to take your questions at this time. [The prepared statement of Mr. Pierson follows:] Prepared Statement of Lloyd O. Pierson, USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa I. INTRODUCTION Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am pleased to have the opportunity to appear before you once again as Assistant Administrator for Africa to update you on our work at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to support development and peace and security efforts in sub-Saharan Africa. In today's testimony, I'd like to address the importance of African ownership of regional development and humanitarian efforts and the critical role of African regional and subregional organizations, in the areas of democracy and governance, trade and economic development, and security sector reform. As the G-8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland in July demonstrated, there is a general consensus among world leaders to focus more attention on African development needs. The United States has been and will remain a leader in this effort. It is our role at USAID to work with our African partners to support the advent of peace, democracy, good governance and security on the continent, as well as help ensure the conservation of Africa's natural resource base and address major humanitarian crises such as the potential imminent spread of Avian Influenza. As you are aware, sub-Saharan Africa is the world's poorest region: over half of its 700 million people live on less than $1 per day. Rapid urbanization poses new and difficult challenges as the demographic landscape changes and cities struggle to provide sufficient jobs and services, particularly for the young, who can become easy targets for extremists, criminal gangs or armed militias. The HN/AIDS pandemic has completely overwhelmed many health systems and impoverished families. The aftermath of lingering conflicts and armed strife have exacted a huge toll on economic growth. And, if not averted, Avian Influenza could have a similarly disastrous effect on the region. Yet despite these challenges, significant progress has been made on several fronts. The number of free democracies in Africa has almost tripled from four to 11 over the past decade and more than half of the remaining countries in the region are in the transition process toward transparent and free democracy. The number of conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa has decreased in recent years, signaling achievements in conflict mitigation and resolution. Liberia, Angola, and Sierra Leone have restored peace after years of civil war. And the peace agreements in Congo and the Sudan give rise to renewed hope that an end to these prolonged conflicts is in sight. Furthermore, sub-Saharan Africa posted its strongest level of overall GDP growth in 8 years in 2004, topping 5 percent. Mozambique, Tanzania, and Senegal are among countries with robust growth rates. However average GDP per capita in Africa is still only $500, less than one-tenth the global average of $5,510, meaning that much work remains. During President Bush's June 10, 2005 speech, he noted that the link between democracy and development is critical as experience has shown that ``aid works best when certain conditions are in place such as a commitment to just governance, respecting the rule of law, investing in citizens' health and education, and opening up economies.'' The number of African countries that pass the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) indicator test is a clear indication of the continent's progress and potential. As you know, the MCA funds only countries that have demonstrated a commitment to democracy and good governance, investing in people and economic freedom. In FY06, twelve of the twenty-three countries that are fully eligible for MCA funding, and seven of the fifteen countries eligible for threshold assistance, were located in Africa. Also for FY06, four of the seven new countries selected as eligible to apply are Sub-Saharan African. USAID programs in Africa are rooted in the President's commitments to Africa. Funding for these Presidential initiatives is programmed to countries where the impact is expected to be the highest. I will briefly discuss the most significant and far-reaching of these Presidential and Agency commitments toward the end of my testimony. II. THE IMPORTANCE OF REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS Country programming is the central avenue for U.S. assistance, but many of the most complex development challenges do not respect national boundaries and are best addressed on a regional basis. Examples of regional program priorities include: 1. Programs that address cross-border problems requiring action from several countries. For example, inter-regional trade programs to reduce barriers to movement of goods and services across borders; cross-border peace or counter-terrorism initiatives; and health initiatives to stop the spread of diseases like HIV/AIDS through regional transportation channels. 2. Programs to help indigenous governmental and non-governmental regional organizations to promote policy reforms and improve the institutional capacity of member countries. These include programs to improve governance, fight infectious diseases, expand trade, improve food security, protect biodiversity, mitigate the risks of conflicts, and address the sources of state fragility that cross national boundaries. 3. Regional programming is also used to improve information- sharing, technology transfer and research among neighboring countries and support joint management of shared resources (e.g., water). To effectively implement regional programs, efficient coordination mechanisms are required. African regional organizations, such as the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) are ideally suited to provide this mechanism. Therefore, USAID seeks to improve the effectiveness of African regional organizations to perform their missions and to work through these organizations to target regional development objectives. USAID programs promote and enhance partnerships between African leaders, governments, multilateral development institutions, business, universities, and other nongovernmental organizations. We also value the principle of ownership and strive to build on the leadership, participation and commitment of countries and their peoples by supporting and strengthening African regional organizations. Regional organizations are key partners and stakeholders in our work to improve the lives of the continent's citizens for a variety of reasons. First, because regional organizations are backed by national African leadership, they provide a level of local legitimacy to critical issues in ways that global or bilateral institutions cannot. For example, the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have played pivotal roles in mediating conflict and securing peace in the Sudan and Liberia. Second, as I noted earlier, many of Africa's challenges require a regional approach. It is essential to address the HIV/AIDS crisis through regional mechanisms, as this disease travels freely across borders. With this in mind, USAID is providing a grant to the West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) to allow key personnel to receive joint training and share critical information needed to combat HIV/AIDS more systematically. Third, coordination of multi-donor, multi-country initiatives is far more efficient when carried out through a single institution that is engaged with all relevant partners and has a significant presence in each participating country. Each donor is thus engaged with a single partner, rather than one or more per country; and the regional organization is able to harmonize donor support, thereby greatly reducing transaction costs. For these reasons, the USAID is aligning several key programs to support African leaders in strengthening African regional institutions. III. STRENGTHENING REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS African regional and subregional organizations were established and have evolved during different time periods and for distinct purposes. As you are aware, there are organizations that encompass the continent, such as the African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), as well as those that operate within small geographic regions, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). They currently possess varying levels of capacity and do not always coordinate their efforts. The Africa Bureau is collaborating with regional organizations in an effort to achieve mutual goals and objectives. We, along with other international and bilateral donor agencies, see great promise in these institutions as they continue to increase their capacity to bring about peace and security, and improve the policy environment for sustainable development in Africa. I will highlight several examples in which African leadership and ownership of a regional initiative contributed to the overall positive outcome. A. Democracy and Governance We are beginning to see the genuine results of African regional leadership in the area of democracy and governance. One innovative instrument introduced by African leaders through the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) is the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). NEPAD was launched in July, 2001. Its mission is to ``establish the necessary conditions which enable the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy and in international negotiations'' and to ``promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels as well as the integration of African economies.'' NEPAD falls under the African Union (AU) umbrella of regional organizations and is both a framework and a vision for sustainable development in Africa. As part of NEPAD, African leaders have made a commitment to seek the end of conflicts in Africa and improve political, economic and corporate governance to foster a better climate for transformational development. The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is designed to monitor progress in improving political, economic and corporate governance. This Peer Review process began in late 2004 in Ghana, Mauritius, Kenya and Rwanda. As of today, 24 African countries have agreed to undergo peer review. The NEPAD Secretariat oversees the process, with participation from African institutions such as the U.N. Economic Commission on Africa, the African Development Bank, the Africa Commission on Human Rights, and the Africa Institute. Representatives from these institutions serve on Peer Review Teams assigned to the countries volunteering for review. Though the implementation of the review process is proceeding much slower than expected, the results of the reviews of two countries--Ghana and Rwanda--should be made known soon. While recognizing that Africans have the principal responsibility for the continent's development, African leaders look to their development partners--primarily donor countries, multilateral organizations and international financial institutions--to help create a more enabling external environment for African development. Specifically, they seek to increase Official Development Assistance (ODA) with lower transaction costs, greater access to markets in the industrialized countries, a reduction in the debt burden, and expanded foreign direct investment. NEPAD refers to these African commitments and desired changes by donors as ``mutual accountability.'' The United States has expressed its support for the commitments that African governments have made to improve political, economic, and corporate governance. As an active participant in the G-8 African Personal Representatives Meetings, the United States is involved in assessing the progress in implementing the G-8 African Action Plan. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) was founded in 1979 as the Southern African Co-ordination Conference (SADCC), to harmonize economic development among the countries in Southern Africa. In 2001, SADC reorganized to focus on trade and finance, infrastructure, food and agriculture, and social and human development. USAID has supported SADC initiatives since the early 1980s in areas such as strengthening regional transportation systems, agricultural development through research and food security and environmental and natural resource activities. With the end of apartheid in South Africa, SADC has placed an increasing priority on regional economic integration. USAID has provided assistance, particularly in the implementation of the SADC Trade Protocol, which lays the groundwork for a free trade area among SADC member states by 2008. Our current relationship with SADC can best be described as strained. In 2003, the SADC Secretariat decided to cease official cooperation with USAID because U.S. policy and legislation restricts assistance to Zimbabwe, a SADC member. For our part, we were disappointed that SADC did not support our position on Zimbabwe. However, we continued to support regional integration in Southern Africa by working directly with the SADC technical working groups and independent units. For example, USAID has supported the SADC Parliamentary Forum, an autonomous unit, to promote compliance with regional norms and standards for free and fair elections. B. Trade and Economic Development USAID actively supports African regional and subregional organizations in the area of trade and economic development. For example, USAID is playing a major role in supporting NEPAD by funding and facilitating the implementation of the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP). One of NEPAD's major initiatives, CAADP was established by African Heads of State, who have committed the resources and leadership of their governments to support its implementation. USAID's support for the African Union is channeled through NEPAD, as just noted, to establish a CAADP process and investment plan. CAADP is a growth-oriented agriculture program, aimed at increasing agricultural growth rates to 6 percent per annum to create the wealth needed for rural communities and households in Africa to prosper. The CAADP has four key components: (1) Extending the area under sustainable land management and reliable water systems; (2) improving rural infrastructure and trade-related capacities for market access; (3) increasing food supply, reducing hunger, and improving responses to food emergency crises; and (4) improving agricultural research, technology dissemination and adoption. We will also support AU/NEPAD's CAADP implementation through other regional economic communities that will build the regional capacity needed for achieving agricultural growth and increase the availability of and access to food within regions. CAADP will enable the AU to build a global multi-donor partnership that will align with African agriculture resources and country and regional contexts, help African leaders create the conditions needed to achieve a 6-percent agricultural growth rate per year and finally break the cycle of famine. USAID will support the CAADP in up to six countries that are meeting their pledges to increase support for and attention to the agricultural sector. In addition, we will collaborate on efforts in hunger hot spots to develop a process and plan to address the policy and technical barriers that make countries famine prone and ultimately integrate them into the CAADP. This past year, USAID, through the President's Initiative to End Hunger in Africa (IEHA), actively facilitated NEPAD's leadership to organize five regional meetings-- along with a continent-wide summit, which was held in Accra, Ghana in May of this year. This was a featured G-8 action promised at Sea Island. The meetings engaged almost every African country and over 1,000 stakeholders took part. Subsequently, the G-8 members at Gleneagles committed to supporting CAADP. NEPAD and its Regional Economic Communities continue to look to USAID for leadership and advice on CAADP, and we expect this initiative to yield tangible results in the very near future. At a subregional level, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was founded in 1975 to attain regional integration through cooperation and development in all fields of economic activity that would raise the standard of living and increase the stability of West African countries. ECOWAS works toward creating region-wide policies and programs in key sectors including energy, transportation and agriculture, as well as on developing a common external tariff for the region. ECOWAS also has been actively engaged in mitigating conflict in the region in order to enable stronger economic ties. In the energy sector, USAID is currently assisting ECOWAS to create a West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) for energy trading and to build linking lines throughout the region to integrate the fragmented national electric power systems of West Africa, increasing access to affordable, reliable electricity. USAID's technical assistance was a deciding factor in the World Bank's June 2005 approval of a $350 million adaptable program lending facility to support the WAPP. We plan to continue our collaboration with ECOWAS to speed development of this critical sector. USAID is also helping ECOWAS to enhance regional economic integration by increasing trade and reducing customs barriers. In addition, we are currently providing financial and capacity building support to ECOWAS in the areas of agriculture, humanitarian concerns such as trafficking in persons, health, and organizational development, primarily in financial management and manpower systems. Prospects for ECOWAS' continued growth and development are good primarily because there is widespread recognition in the region that an effective regional organization must exist if economic and political integration is to occur and, within the donor community, there is a willingness to collaborate and to coordinate assistance efforts, with an emphasis on capacity building. In another sub-region of the continent, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is a group of 20 African nations which agree to promote integration through trade, natural resource and human development for the benefit of their respective populations. The primary objectives of COMESA are to create a Free Trade Area, establish a Common External Tariff among member states, and to remove structural and institutional weaknesses of member states to attain collective sustainable development. With a combined population of 385 million and a market of $388 billion, the COMESA region constitutes an important potential market for the United States. Since 1998, USAID has viewed COMESA as a key development partner, providing approximately $25 million in assistance to support capacity building for COMESA in the areas of (1) trade and institutional strengthening and (2) conflict prevention, mitigation and response. COMESA is a principal USAID partner in promoting and fostering U.S.-Africa trade relationships. Our programs seek to help the private sector and governments in the region understand the challenges of the global marketplace and take advantage of the opportunities stemming from the World Trade Organization and the COMESA Free Trade Area. Specific areas of focus include drafting a regional approach to biotechnology and biosafety, harmonization of telecommunications policy, development of a common investment area, and the creation of a regional customs bond guarantee program. It should be noted that in 2002 COMESA member states experienced an intraregional trade growth rate of 22 percent. Finally, USAID funding is helping COMESA to develop stronger linkages between the Secretariat and the relevant Ministries in member states to improve capacity in financial management, human resource development and information technology. C. Security Sector Reform USAID is aligning its efforts in security sector reform to complement the extensive initiatives of the State Department and other USG agencies. For example, USAID is working with ECOWAS to develop its conflict prevention and mitigation mechanism, which involves setting up a central unit at headquarters, establishing Observation and Monitoring Centers and setting up ancillary entities for conflict resolution. While progress toward achievement of its economic objectives has been slower, ECOWAS has established a strong track record in its peace keeping operations in conflict-prone areas, which substantially improves the regional economic climate and sets the stage for sustained growth. For example, ECOWAS had a pivotal role in brokering peace in Togo, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia and Guinea Bissau in recent years. ECOWAS and the African Union were instrumental in overturning the coup in Togo earlier this year. USAID is also working with COMESA in conflict prevention and mitigation to provide governance skills training for parliamentarians and civil society organizations throughout the region. Support was also provided to the COMESA Court of Justice to adjudicate cases and disputes at a regional level. In addition, USAID funds are being used to design a protocol and accreditation system for private sector and civil society organizations, along with the establishment of a Peace Desk to advise the Secretariat on peace and security issues among member states. Finally, I would like to note our work with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Comprised of seven member states (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda) located in the Horn of Africa, IGAD was established in 1986. Its focus is on three priority areas: food security and environmental protection, conflict prevention and management, and economic cooperation and integration. Although USG funding for IGAD is complicated by statutory restrictions regarding Sudan and Somalia, both IGAD member states, IGAD is a significant partner. Most concerns have abated since Uganda took on the rotating Chairmanship of IGAD in 2003. Currently, we assist IGAD in three critical areas. IGAD provides the platform for the organization of the peace talks for both Sudan and Somalia. Kenya has been designated by IGAD as the member state to lead these negotiations. The IGAD Secretariat has played a substantial role in mobilizing financing for both initiatives; without the contribution of IGAD, these regionally led negotiations might never have taken place. A second major IGAD activity is the implementation of a conflict early warning mechanism (CEWARN). From its inception in 1987, this initiative has been financed jointly by USAID and the German Technical Cooperation Organization. While CEWARN had no actual response mechanism, it has the near-term potential to significantly reduce the level of livestock theft, conflict, violence and death in trans-border areas by providing information on causes and events that will permit IGAD member states to intervene in local conflicts before they escalate. If successful, this activity will help moderate conflict in a severely conflict-prone region. The third IGAD activity supported by USAID is the Drought Monitoring Centre based in Nairobi. IGAD member states have assumed responsibility for financing the operational costs of the center, which was previously operated through the World Meteorological Organization. The Centre's reports on drought conditions, food production projections and forage conditions are essential for the planning of food and other emergency assistance in the region. Each of these regional organizations cited in this testimony has assumed a critical coordination and technical role to advance economic development and trade, improve conditions conducive to democracy and good governance, and to bring about an end to violent conflict and to secure peace in Africa. By supporting activities to increase institutional effectiveness and improve the enabling environment in which they operate, USAID support enables these regional partners to fulfill the missions that their members have laid out for them. IV. KEY PRESIDENTIAL AND AGENCY INITIATIVES FOR STRENGTHENING REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS As I noted in my testimony before you last March, over the past 4 years, USAID has significantly expanded our level of official development assistance in Africa. Our strategy in Africa is shaped by new thinking about the role of foreign assistance that has crystallized since the millennium began. First, U.S. strategic and foreign policy interests are front and center, in keeping with USG recognition that development--along with diplomacy and defense--is one of the three tools of foreign policy and is consistent with the joint objectives laid out in the State Department-USAID Strategic Plan. Second, our strategy reflects a new paradigm for foreign aid focusing on the distinction between ``transformational development'' and ``fragile states.'' Africa has more ``top performing'' transformational states and more ``fragile'' states than any other region. And many of the transformational development countries have important vulnerabilities that, if neglected, may cause them to slip into fragility. Third, we are exercising a more directive role in USAID/Washington, to ensure that funds are allocated to those country and regional programs and toward those sectors and goals with the greatest likelihood of significant impact. For its part, Washington will align its staffing, operating expense and programmatic resources to assist recipient Missions to achieve that impact. A significant portion of our assistance will be channeled through six Presidential Initiatives. The President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief provides major funding to address the most serious effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic; Another health initiative, the President's Initiative on Malaria, will expand malaria prevention and treatment programs in up to 15 African countries where the incidence is highest by 2008. USAID is the lead managing agency of this program; In the area of education, the Presidential Africa Education Initiative supports training of new teachers and provides more textbooks and scholarships for children throughout Africa; The Presidential Initiative to End Hunger in Africa focuses on programs to improve the use of modem technology and increase agricultural productivity and income for small-scale farmers, thereby increasing food availability; Formerly known as the Africa TRADE Initiative, the President's African Global Competitiveness Initiative is working to improve the trade and investment environment and promote the fuller integration of Africa into the global economy; The Congo Basin Forest Partnership supports efforts to conserve the outstanding forest and wildlife resources of the Congo Basin Forest, which is the second largest remaining tropical rain forest in the world; and finally, The Africa Bureau Anti-Corruption Initiative is designed to reduce corruption in sub-Saharan Africa and to lend specific support to recent efforts by African leaders to link good governance with sustainable development practices. V. CONCLUSION As the largest bilateral donor in sub-Saharan Africa, we must actively collaborate with our African counterparts in order to achieve our common goal of a better quality of life for all Africans. Regional organizations are key development actors in the countries they serve. Their successes contribute to overall levels of peace and security, and economic development. As they strengthen their institutional and technical capacity, their potential impact will only increase. By supporting discrete regional activities and by helping to strengthen these regional organizations through training and well-targeted technical assistance, USAID will continue to play a leadership role in this process. Mr. Chairman, I sincerely appreciate this committee's continuing interest in Africa and USAID's critical role in the continent. I would be happy to discuss these and other issues of concern in Africa with you and members of the committee at this time. Senator Martinez. Thank you, Mr. Pierson, very much. Senator Obama, do you have an opening statement you care to make? Senator Obama. Well, I just want to thank both of you for the services you are rendering to the country, and I think that all of us recognize that, given the enormous problems and enormous opportunities in Africa, that it is absolutely critical that we build up institutional capacity in these areas, whether it is military capacity or peacekeeping capacity through the African Union or it is various institutional mechanisms to improve public health systems throughout the region or mechanisms to ensure that economic development is happening at an appropriate scale. These are all issues that would benefit from both institutions inside each country, but also regional approaches. So I am just encouraged that we are thinking in those terms and I hope that our good intentions are followed up by strong action. Senator Martinez. Thank you, Senator. Just a couple of questions to follow up. Secretary Frazer, I was intrigued by your mention of the Darfur and increased support role for the UN. I wonder if you might elaborate a bit on the Darfur situation and what you see. You mentioned also something about a mandate and I am not sure I understood what you meant by that. So if you could elaborate on that aspect of your testimony I would appreciate it. Ms. Frazer. Yes, thank you, Mr. Chairman. What we have seen in Darfur is that the African Union has about 6,700 troops, the AMIS force in Darfur currently. The sense is that you need about 12,000 forces in Darfur. The African Union forces have played a fabulous role in deploying quickly and also in ending the type of organized, systematic violence. There is episodic violence that is taking place right now, but AMIS has effectively stamped down the massive human rights violations and killings that were going on last summer. But what we have found is, both in terms of providing logistical support and operational command and control, that there may need to be some further assistance to the AMIS force as well as to increase the troop ceiling, to actually get to that target, about 12,000. What type of assistance are we talking about specifically? What we have found is that when you get beyond battalion and brigade level, you start going to brigade and division level, and coordinating the logistics and the operational understanding of the battlefield as a whole requires more headquarters planning. So the UN is able to provide that capacity, that headquarters planning element, where the AU may be reaching the limit of its capacity. Also, they may not have enough forces sufficient to actually reach that 1se priority2,000 troop ceiling in Darfur, as AU missions currently are in Cote d'Ivoire, in Liberia, and still in Burundi and other places. So what we are looking at is the possibility--we are discussing this with our colleagues in the AU--the possibility of the UN basically rehatting the forces that are there and then expanding those troops with new troop contributors. When I talked about a mandate change, I was talking about from an AU mandate to a UN mandate, basically rehatting the force. Senator Martinez. So it would be a UN force then rather than an AU force? Ms. Frazer. That is one of the options that is being looked at, to try to again increase the capacity, as well as the troop numbers. This is still under discussion. Senator Martinez. How many troops does the AU have currently deployed in the three or four nations that you referenced? Ms. Frazer. That is a good question, Mr. Chairman. I do not have those specific numbers. In Darfur alone it is 6,700. Senator Martinez. But it is reaching the maximum that they can deploy probably, which prompts the need for UN intervention---- Ms. Frazer. That is exactly right. Senator Martinez [continuing]. At least in the sense of command and control and technical support, I suppose? Ms. Frazer. That is right, yes, sir. Senator Martinez. There seem to be a lot of organizations and hard to sometimes understand their responsibilities and whether or not they might even be conflicting and overlapping in terms of responsibility, objectives, and membership. I just wonder if you could explain to us how formal the relationships are between the various organizations, ECOWAS and the African Union and all of these various groups that are all participating one way or the other. What are the agreements that govern them and how do we interact with them? Ms. Frazer. Yes. The relationship between the subregional organizations and the AU is rather formal. The subregional organizations, as I said, are the constituent architecture of the African Union and in particular, in the peacekeeping field, the standby brigades will be based on the subregional organizations, but they would be the standby brigades deployed by the AU. So the relationship between, say, ECOWAS, SADC, IGAD, and the East Africa community is rather formal. The overlapping relationship is where you get into the monetary unions, the economic communities, which often are broader. Let us say the COMESA overlaps East Africa Community, as well as the Southern African Development Community. And they have to harmonize their rules for trade, for example, or the Southern African Customs Union and how it fits within the Southern African Development Community. So harmonizing the trade rules, the tariff rules, is important amongst these economic units. Then what started as economic organizations have taken on more of a political and military character or security character. The main ones are ECOWAS, SADC, IGAD, and the East Africa Community. Our relationship is more or less formal with those four. Our Ambassador in Nigeria also is accredited to ECOWAS. Our Ambassador in Botswana also is accredited to the Southern African Development Community and serves as our liason to that organization. Senator Martinez. Thank you. Administrator Pierson, I heard you reference Avian influenza. How big a threat does it appear to be in the African continent? Do we have a handle on that and what steps are we taking to respond to a potential outbreak? Mr. Pierson. It potentially is a major threat, Mr. Chairman Approximately 3 weeks ago all of our mission directors and regional mission directors in Africa were on a conference call with me and the director of the veterinary services for the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. What he told us at that time--this was approximately 3 weeks ago--that Africa was at very high risk and there was the potential, particularly in East Africa, that Avian flu could hit within a 2-week period. That 2-week period has gone. There are no cases of which we are aware at this time. But what it did emphasize to us is the urgency of how we had to approach the problem. The migratory pattern of the birds as we understand put the East Africa area at the highest risk immediately. On a longer term, West Africa is potentially, what we are told, within a 6-month period. The President has made Avian flu a very large priority. It is the number one priority for the Administrator of USAID. We have asked all--we have met with all of the African ambassadors in Washington, emphasizing the importance of preparation for Avian flu. Senator Martinez. Thank you, sir. My time is up. Distinguished ranking member, we turn it over to you for your questions. Senator Feingold. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Secretary Frazer, clearly the AU demonstrated incredible ability and was vital in bringing steadiness in Burundi. What can we learn from that accomplishment that would help us address the terrible human rights abuses in Darfur and are there any shortcomings of the AU's approach that we ought to be careful to avoid? Ms. Frazer. Thank you for that question. Indeed, in Burundi, the AU again took a leadership role. They deployed early. They had tremendous challenges in terms of financing. The United States helped to finance them with about $10 million, but over time what we ended up doing was exactly what is being looked at as an option for Darfur, which is eventually we blue-hatted the force in Burundi and it became a UN force, and that was partly to help to sustain that force. So I think that that model is also a model that we used in Liberia, in which the ECOWAS forces were able to deploy quickly into the crisis. These mainly were Nigerian forces, but there also were Ghanaian, Senegalese, and others, and over time we again blue- hatted them and brought in international forces to help sustain that mission. So I think that that is a lesson learned and a model both from Burundi and Liberia that applies very well to Darfur. Of course, the operational area is much larger in Darfur than was the case in Burundi, so the logistical challenge is much greater. So the importance of trying to build the capacity of the AU's headquarters--right now it is important for us to, as we said, look at blue-hatting that force, but it is also over the long term necessary to build that institutional capacity within the AU itself. Senator Feingold. In the examples you gave, were the AU force supplemented by international, other national forces, or did they displace the African forces? Ms. Frazer. In the case of Liberia they were supplemented. In the case of Burundi, it is basically the AU forces that stayed there and they were paid for as a UN force. But in the case of Liberia they were supplemented. Also in the case of Liberia, we found again this issue of headquarters planning support. Actually, in the case of ECOWAS, the United States played a role putting military advisers into ECOWAS headquarters to give them that planning capability. So what we need to do over the long term is provide that capacity internally. Senator Feingold. When do you think the time frame would be for having this happen in Darfur, the blue-hatting that you are talking about? Ms. Frazer. Well, as I say, it is being discussed as one of the options. But if you look at the time line for UN deployments, the advantage of the AU and regional forces is that they can deploy rather quickly, but the time line for a UN force, where the Untied Nations Peacekeeping Office (DPKO) would have to actually get involved in coming out, doing an assessment, then doing the planning at UN headquarters, it would not be any earlier, I would think, than mid-2006. Senator Feingold. Would you talk about your sense of U.S.- AU relations? What is the status of the expected AU office in Washington here and will the U.S. appoint an ambassador to the AU? Ms. Frazer. I think our relations are excellent with the AU. We consult frequently with them. The United States, as you know, deployed troops to AMIS. We airlifted some of those troops to Darfur. So we have a very good diplomatic and operational relationship. We are expecting the AU office to open in Washington. We are looking forward to that. We have discussed it with Chairman Konare, as well as President Obisanjo, the chairperson of the AU right now. As for the United States appointing an ambassador, that is certainly under strong consideration by the administration, to appoint an ambassador to the AU to increase that strong positive relationship. Senator Feingold. When do you think the Washington office of the AU will open? Ms. Frazer. Any day. We are working with them right now to open that office. They have agreed to do it. Senator Feingold. OK. How are we helping on the border of Ethiopia and Eritrea? UNMEE has said that we are on the cusp of warfare there and I understand the AU hopes to have a preventative force, I think it is called the Africa Standby Force, ASF, in this region by next year. How quickly can this nascent ASF establish stability and where do the AU forces come into play here? Ms. Frazer. On the Eritrea-Ethiopia border, Senator Feingold, I have been focusing my attention on getting UNMEE back up and running. As you know, President Isaias has grounded UNMEE. We think it is critical that UNMEE be allowed to operate, and I have been really concentrating my attention on trying to get that mission back up and operating. So I am not certain about the time line for an AU force or specifically what role an AU force would play on that in terms of the boundary. I think the important thing is to concentrate on the UN mission that is already there, that has the legitimacy, that has the mandate. Senator Feingold. Keep me informed, if you could, of whatever developments there are in that regard. You obviously noted that prevention and mitigation are important in assuring that tension does not erupt into a conflict here. Are we engaged in political diplomacy to prevent Ethiopia and Eritrean conflict? Secretary Frazer. We are, with Kofi Annan. He has talked often with Secretary Rice on this issue. We feel that it is extremely important to move towards demarcating the boundary. We believe that it is also important to get both countries to reduce the tensions between them, and we think it is extremely important, as I said, to get UNMEE up and operating again. So we are working with the UN. We have had conversations at a high level both with Ethiopia, Prime Minister Meles, as well as with Eritrea. So there is definitely quite a lot of diplomacy taking place right now to try to lower the tension. Senator Feingold. There have been very disturbing allegations, on another front, about the activities of peacekeeping forces in Africa. Reports have described evidence of rape and sexual abuse by peacekeepers and staff members in Congo, for example, and have suggested that such abuses are too often tolerated. What role has the United States played in supporting regional military training to ensure that peacekeepers do not engage in these kinds of abuses? Ms. Frazer. We certainly have--in our African Contingency Operations Training Assistance program, we certainly engage in human rights training. We have supported the development of codes of conduct in places like Mali. We support the work of UNDP, UNDPKO, and others also to try to develop these codes of conduct, that even soldiers can carry in their pockets. So this is integrated into our training programs. We also have to hold those who have committed these crimes accountable, and I think that the UN and UNDPKO are definitely focused on that. Senator Feingold. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Senator Martinez. Senator Obama. Senator Obama. Let me just see if I can close the loop here on the Darfur situation. Is it my understanding then that blue helmets--that the United States is currently and actively working with the United Nations to get UN troops to supplement the AU in Darfur? Ms. Frazer. No, Senator Obama, that would be going too far at this point. What we are doing is consulting with the African Union about various options for increasing the capacity of the AMIS force. One of the options is the possibility of blue- hatting them with the UN. Senator Obama. OK. But the AU forces as I understand it-- several months ago there was talk about ramping up to 12,000. That does not seem to be possible any time soon, am I correct? Ms. Frazer. That is correct. That is exactly right. Senator Obama. What also seems to be accurate is that with the 7,000 or so AU troops that are currently there we do not have--we have sufficient coverage to essentially bear witness and perhaps stop some of the most egregious activity; we do not have the capacity to cover an enormous region, and so what is frequently happening then is that activities outside of the site of AU forces may intimidate populations. They are all displaced. There does not seem to be any prospect at this point, given the strength of forces there, that we are going to be able to actually start moving people back to their homes from the settlements that have developed. Is that accurate? Secretary Frazer. I think I would answer it in this way. We are working on three fronts. The most important front--and I am leaving this evening, going to Darfur to meet with SLM leaders. The most important front is to try to get a political solution. That ultimately is what will allow people to return home to create an environment of peace and safety and security, through a political negotiation. So we are working very hard on that track. The second is to continue to put pressure on all parties to adhere to the ceasefire, because frankly even 12,000 troops, given the size of the area, will not be able to stop all incidents of violence. Senator Obama. Fair enough. Ms. Frazer. So we really do need to get a commitment out of the government of Sudan, out of the SLA, the JEM, and force the government to control the activities of the janjaweed to adhere to their ceasefire. Then yes, indeed, on the final front, we need to increase the number of monitors. The important point here is we can do a lot now even with the 6,700. Part of that is for the AU to clarify the mandate of those forces. It seems to be that some units---- Senator Obama. Sorry to interrupt, but is that a problem of the AU clarifying the mandate or is that us forcing Sudan's hand in order to clarify the mandate? Ms. Frazer. No, I think that what I was saying is that it is the AU. It is the AU mandate. Some units of the AU, the AMIS force, understand that they can protect civilians, for example, and that is within their mandate to do. Others think that they have to stand back and do nothing and just observe and report. Senator Obama. Yes, but are they not also constrained by what the Sudanese government is willing to grant them; there has been a consistent issue of whether the mandate is too weak, and that we should be forcing the Sudanese government's hands even as the parallel negotiations are taking place with the rebel groups and the Sudanese government, that we also have somewhat hamstrung the AU? So it is not entirely a mistake on their part to assume that there is some ambiguity to that mandate. Ms. Frazer. No, I think there is a mistake on their part. I think that that has been a discussion here, but it is my understanding that the AU mandate is quite clear and they do have the capacity under their mandate to protect civilians, but that that word has not gotten out to the units uniformly. Senator Obama. OK. Ms. Frazer. So part of it is absolutely clarifying that mandate to the various units. Some units, national units, act one way; others sit back. We need to make sure that the force commanders out there---- Senator Obama. So I just want to be clear. Under your understanding, under the existing mandate that exists, they can protect civilians against janjaweed and the Sudanese government has authorized such intervention? Ms. Frazer. That is right. Senator Obama. That is your understanding? Ms. Frazer. That is right. Part of the problem for the AMIS forces in protecting civilians is getting the equipment that they need, which is why we are trying to get the armored personnel carriers in there, because then they can have greater mobility and security for themselves. So we do need to increase their capacity. But in terms of the mandate, it is my understanding that they have the sufficient mandate to protect civilians. Senator Obama. When I met with the AU countries at the UN, part of--speaking to the resource issues that you are talking about, obviously they were hoping, I think, for more money from the UN and from the United States. My general view is I want to make sure that money is well spent and that there is accountability and transparency in terms of how that money is spent. Having said that, it does seem that these forces that are deployed are real strapped. So my question is what are we, either as the U.S. Government or through various UN bodies or through NATO or other mechanisms, what kinds of support are we giving them in terms of airlifts, food supplies, equipment, and so forth? Secretary Frazer.We have spent about $160 million and we have set up 32 base camps for the AMIS forces. So we have been a major contributor to them. We obviously also airlifted the Rwandan forces into Darfur. So we continue to support them materially. We have contractors out there working very closely with them. So I think that we are supporting them and if they need additional support we will look at how we can do that with the resources, if we can get the resources. Senator Obama. My time is up. Let me just say this. The administration generally has been better on this issue than a number of European countries. I have said that to Secretary Rice and I have said that to Ambassador Zoellick. I still do not get a sufficient sense of urgency at the highest levels on this issue. There is a lot of stuff going on in the world and I recognize that our foreign policy apparatus is rightly busy with Iraq and Afghanistan and the situation in the Middle East. But I have to say that I am getting a sense of drift right now in terms of the policy in Darfur. My hope would be that we start ramping up activity, including putting more pressure on other countries to get involved in this issue, because right now we have an enormous number of people who have now for a year, year and a half, been living in camps, and there is a crisis that is going to explode at some point if we do not catch it now. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Secretary Frazer.Senator Obama, if I might, I understand exactly what you are saying, and I think that we do feel the urgency. Ambassador Zoellick, our Deputy Secretary, has been there four times. He just returned. I have been there three times in the last month, or I am going tonight, so it will be three times in one month that I am going out to Darfur. I can assure you that this is getting the highest level attention from President Bush, Secretary Rice, Deputy Secretary Zoellick, myself and others, Andrew Natsios and others. So we do need to fix this. But as I said, a lot of attention has to be focused to support the AMIS force, but also to really push hard for a political settlement, which is why I am getting on a plane tonight. Senator Obama. Absolutely. That is not just true in Darfur, that whole political settlement issue. Secretary Frazer.Yes, sir. Mr. Pierson. Mr. Chairman, may I also add---- Senator Obama. Please. Mr. Pierson [continuing]. To what the Assistant Secretary has said in terms of urgency? By far the majority of time, effort, and money in the Africa Bureau at USAID is spent on Sudan-related issues. In this past fiscal year, approximately $850 million got strong bipartisan support, but approximately $850 million has been spent in Sudan by the United States, both in terms of humanitarian assistance and development assistance in the south. That number we expect to go up in the next fiscal year. We do understand your comments, sir, but I will assure you I think both from the Department of State, throughout the administration, and USAID, we view those problems, as well as a number of issues in Africa, that we are trying the address them on a very urgent manner. I have been to Darfur, I have been to the South, and when you see the suffering there and understand some of the complexities of the issues, you can only come away thinking of it in terms of human life and you have to deal with it urgently. Senator Obama. Mr. Chairman, I know I am out of time and I am not trying to get the last word here, but I just want to say, a lot of the activity you are talking about has to do with the North-South issues. Those are important and we want to preempt additional problems--and obviously Garang's death increased those problems. So we have been dealt a bad hand. You guys personally, I know, have been putting time into this issue and I very much appreciate it. But the spotlight is not being shown on this right now. There is not sufficient discussion in my view, not simply in the press, but in the UN. We are not pressuring our allies more vigorously to get involved and engaged in this process. So I know it is tough, and I know you personally have been committed to this issue, but we need to ramp it up. Senator Martinez. My intent was to perhaps delve a little longer with this panel, but we are going to move along to the second panel. I want to thank you both for being here. Madam Secretary, I want to wish you very great success in your trip today. I know how important that is. I know with Secretary Zoellick's continued, repeated visits that it is hard to conceive of how we could be adrift. I think you have shown great interest and concern. So I commend you and wish you well on your trip this evening. Secretary Frazer.Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Senator Martinez. We want to at this time, because of the vote upcoming, move to the second panel and welcome them to the table. Thank you. For our second panel we have Victoria Holt, a senior associate of the Henry L. Stimson Center here in Washington, and Jennifer Cooke, co-director of the Africa Program at CSIS. We welcome you both and thank you both for being here. The last time we went from right to left, so this time we will go from left to right and, Ms. Cooke, we will hear from you first for your opening remarks. STATEMENT OF JENNIFER G. COOKE, CO-DIRECTOR, AFRICA PROGRAM, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES Ms. Cooke. Chairman Martinez, Senator Feingold, I am grateful to you for the opportunity to speak today on the important subject of African regional organizations. I am going to concentrate my remarks primarily on the launch of the African Union and how best the United States can assist it. I will give a brief summary of my written remarks. Senator Martinez. Your full remarks will be made a part of the record. That is fine. Ms. Cooke. As we heard from Secretary Frazer, the formation of the African Union in 2001 signaled a new determination among key African leaders to take greater responsibility for shaping the continent's future. Most significantly, these leaders consciously committed the AU to play a more proactive role in ending Africa's conflicts and in setting credible new norms for economic and political governance. This shift is still early and in its fragile stages and we should not be surprised if it is a little uneven and if it takes time to really consolidate itself. But it is already beginning to generate some early promising returns. It is being called upon to play a lead role in some of the continent's most formidable crises, among them Togo, Cote d'Ivoire, Mauritania, and of course Darfur. Mr. Chairman, as the AU's new role has unfolded it has become increasingly clear that U.S. interests in Africa are in close alignment with and indeed interdependent with those of the African Union. We see this in Darfur, but also well beyond Sudan. Over the last decade there has been a dramatic rise in U.S. interests in Africa, in counterterrorism, energy, HIV- AIDS, answering the threat of genocide, promoting democracy, and ending chronic wars. There is increasing bipartisan consensus in Congress, in successive administrations, within the American public, to help address Africa's challenges and encourage and support promising trends. But to meet these rising U.S. national interests, we need competent, like-minded partners on the continent. The African Union is just such a partner. It is not without uncertainty, it is not without problems, but it is nonetheless a promising partner. It has embraced many of the same values and goals that animate U.S. policy. Mr. Chairman, it is in the U.S. national interest to support the Nation's sense of collective African responsibility. This goal should be a long-term priority of U.S. foreign policy. For the United States to be successful in this arena, however, it will need to take three steps to build more systematic, reliable, bipartisan U.S. engagement. A critical first step is for the United States to appoint a fully accredited U.S. Ambassador to the African Union. I was pleased to hear that this is under discussion. I think this is an excellent idea. The United States has taken this step with other regional organizations, to the considerable benefit of U.S. foreign policy interests. Such an appointment will help ensure consistency of U.S. approach. It will signal the seriousness with which we take the AU and it will allow a single focus point for U.S. engagement, both on immediate priorities and on longer-term goals. It is not a costly step, nor is it premature. If anything, it will provide additional oversight over the multiplying streams of U.S. assistance to the AU. A second critical step is for the U.S. to define a realistic, dynamic strategy of long-term engagement with the AU, tied, importantly, to reliable baseline year to year funding. The United States should be looking out at least a decade in this engagement and begin setting targets for support, either in absolute dollar amounts, or as a percentage of international support. Currently U.S. support to the AU is ad hoc, it is crisis-driven and it is very uneven and unpredictable from year to year. We need to fix this. To help the AU to work more closely with our European partners, we need to be more predictable in this. Priorities for our support should include targeted training and flexible support to build mediation capacities, strengthening regional peacekeeping capacities--and we have heard some on that; I think we will hear more from Victoria-- encouraging norms on governance and economic stewardship, both in our bilateral relations and in supporting emerging AU mechanisms, and helping strengthen AU action and consensus on infectious disease and environmental stewardship. In all these areas, the United States has special expertise to contribute. Third, the United States has to respond more effectively to the ongoing emergency in Darfur. Beyond the evident humanitarian costs of the conflict, the current intervention is an early test of AU commitment, capacity, and credibility of future efforts. We cannot allow this mission to fail. The administration is to be commended for the critical high-level attention it has given to this crisis, but U.S. leadership should push for an expanded U.S. peacekeeping role in Darfur. This request has to come from the AU if it is going to fly within the Security Council. We need to urge AU leadership to put a direct and persuasive request to the Security Council to partner with the AU in Darfur. The United States should also work to place greater diplomatic pressure on the parties to the conflict, potential regional spoilers, and international stakeholders. President Bush, for example, has a prime opportunity this week to signal to the Chinese government the importance he attaches to Darfur and to ask China for greater cooperation in resolving the crisis there. We also need to ensure, though, that in responding to this crisis we do not undermine efforts to build enduring AU capacities. U.S. support will be critical to the African Union's future and the African Union's success will be important to advancing U.S. stakes in Africa. The administration is to be commended for its current support to the AU and to the negotiations in Darfur, but to build a long-term reliable partner, the United States can do more and should build an approach that is coherent, predictable, institutionalized, and well-led at a senior level. Supporting the trend towards African ownership and responsibility warrants such an approach. Mr. Chairman, Senator Feingold, I want to thank you for your attention and for the opportunity to speak with you today. [The prepared statement of Ms. Cooke follows:] Prepared Statement of Jennifer Cooke, Co-Director, African Program Center for Stragetic and International Studies INTRODUCTION Chairman Martinez, and members of the subcommittee, I am grateful to you for the opportunity to appear here today to speak on the very important subject of the African Union. I will concentrate my comments on the launch of the African Union and how best the United States can assist it. In 2001, the transformation of the Organization for African Unity into the African Union signaled a new determination among several key African leaders to take greater responsibility for shaping the continent's future. Most significantly, these leaders consciously committed the AU to play a proactive role in ending Africa's conflicts and in setting credible new norms for economic and political governance. They stirred the AU to come out openly in opposition to military and other forms of egregious misrule, to fight corruption, and to embrace the principle of self-criticism and peer review. This shift was a conceptual and political watershed. It emerged from the 1990s when a proliferation of African crises--in Somalia, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, and others-- wreaked untold misery on African populations, while the OAU stood on the sidelines, quiescent and utterly ineffectual, shielded by its founding principles of the sanctity of state sovereignty and non- interference. With the formation of the African Union, and a parallel initiative, the New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), a new consensus began to emerge around the paradigm of human-- versus state--security, and the collective responsibility of Africans to protect that security. This has translated into a far greater willingness by African leaders to mediate conflicts among their continental neighbors and to begin to lay down standards of good governance, economic stewardship, and meeting basic needs in health, education, and other social services. These steps led to the creation in 2003 of the AU Peace and Security Council, plans for the eventual creation of a continent-wide African Standby Force, and the ambitious embrace of a lead role by the AU in both brokering a peace settlement and putting in place a major peace operation in the Darfur region of Sudan. At the same time, the AU has assumed responsibilities for ending internal conflict and misrule in Burundi, Togo, Mauritania, and Cote d'Ivoire. On a parallel track, the AU is moving forward with a newly formed African Peer Review Mechanism to evaluate governance among states that volunteer for review. This pivotal change is still at an early, fragile stage. The new norms are an aspiration. They are often violated, as the case of Zimbabwe shows only too clearly. Implementation of the change is uneven, and the AU remains heavily dependent on external support. The institutional architecture envisioned for the AU is ambitious and broad, and yet at the moment these ambitions remain largely a framework, with neither depth nor capacity. Nor has the AU fully sorted out how it will relate to the multiplicity of other African institutions and initiatives, many of which overlap: the regional economic communities, the African Inter-Parliamentarian Union, the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, and others. Action often depends on the inclination of key personalities within the AU, and on occasion, rivalry for influence hampers effectiveness. We should not be surprised that it takes time for a new regional body such as the African Union to launch itself. It took many years for other comparable regional bodies in Latin America, Asia, and Europe to acquire institutional capacity and build confidence both within and without their respective regions. The AU experience will not be fundamentally different. It is equally important to note that the advent of the AU has generated high expectations within Africa and in the international community and has begun to generate some early promising returns. Indeed, the AU is already being called upon to play a lead role in some of the continent's most formidable crises. Mr. Chairman, as the AU's new role has unfolded, it has also become increasingly clear that U.S. interests in Africa are in close alignment with--indeed interdependent with--those of the African Union. That intersection is most poignantly seen in Darfur, but also reaches well beyond Sudan. Over the last decade there has been a dramatic rise in U.S. strategic interests in Africa: in combating terrorism, ensuring steady and reliable energy supplies, combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic, preventing mass atrocities and answering the threat of genocide, promoting democratization, and ending Africa's chronic wars that undermine hope for economic growth and development within an expanding global economy. There is increasing bipartisan consensus, in Congress, in successive administrations, and among the American public to help address the challenges that Africa faces and to encourage and support promising trends and initiatives. To meet these rising U.S. national interests in Africa requires an effective U.S. policy that looks out into the future and that identifies competent and like-minded partners on the continent. The African Union is just such a key emergent partner, not the sole option, and not one without uncertainty and problems, but nonetheless an important and promising partner. It has embraced many of the same values and goals that currently animate U.S. policy, and is showing early progress. Conversely, the African Union's continued future progress rests to a significant degree on its success in building effective external partnerships, most importantly with the United States and the European Union. For these reasons, it is in U.S. national interests to support the nascent sense of collective African responsibility embodied in the African Union and to work assiduously to build a strong, enduring partnership with the AU. That goal should be a long-term priority of U.S. foreign policy. For the United States to be successful in this arena, however, it will need to take three steps to build a more systematic, reliable, bi- partisan, and long-term U.S. engagement with the African Union. 1. A critical first step is for the United States to appoint a fully accredited U.S. Ambassador to the African Union. The United States has taken this step with several other regional organizations (NATO, OAS, ASEAN, EU) to the considerable benefit of U.S. foreign policy interests. Such an appointment to the AU, with adequate authority and staff support, will help ensure consistency of U.S. approach, signal the seriousness of U.S. purpose, and allow a single focal point for U.S. engagement on both immediate priorities and the longer-term challenges that the AU will face. This is not a costly step, nor is it premature. If anything, it will provide additional valuable oversight of the multiplying streams of U.S. assistance to the AU. 2. A second, critical step is for the United States to define a realistic, dynamic strategy of long-term engagement with the AU, and to tie that strategy systematically to consistent, reliable baseline funding. The United States should be looking out at least a decade in this engagement and begin setting targets for support, either in absolute dollar amounts or as a percentage of support requirements. Currently U.S. support to the AU is ad hoc, crisis-driven, vulnerable to raids from other budget lines, and uneven from year-to-year. If the U.S. is to be credible and reliable in assisting the AU to acquire key new capacities, it needs to break consciously with current practices. Sectoral priorities for financial and technical support should include: i. Helping build the AU's capacity to resolve conflicts though targeted training and support of mid-level mediators, expanding the competence of negotiating teams beyond the senior-most echelons; and strengthening regional peacekeeping capacities, notably the planned African Standby Force; ii. Helping to standardize and strengthen emerging norms on governance and economic stewardship; and iii. Helping strengthen approaches to chronic and infectious diseases (to include HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria) and the environment. In all of these areas, the U.S. has special expertise to contribute. 3. Third, the United States must respond more effectively to the ongoing emergency in the Darfur region in Sudan. This will require (as outlined below) heightened U.S. leadership to facilitate an expanded U.N. peacekeeping role in support of the AU in Darfur and greater diplomatic pressure on the parties to the conflict. It will also require special care that the U.S. response to this immediate crisis does not weaken the U.S. resolve to build enduring AU capacities over the long-term. The United States should not mortgage the AU's future to finance its current, urgent emergency requirements. The United States and the EU alike suffer from this malady, and each needs somehow to learn how simultaneously to balance meeting immediate urgent requirements like those in Darfur while also addressing the AU's long term capacity requirements. THE IMMEDIATE CHALLENGE: CRISIS IN DARFUR The United States should use all its persuasive power to encourage the African Union to partner with the United Nations and request an alignment of AU and U.N. forces in Sudan, and, together with the international community, to pressure the Government of National Unity in Khartoum to acquiesce. The most immediate and pressing challenge for the African Union is the crisis in Darfur. Beyond the evident humanitarian costs of the conflict, the current security operation and mediation efforts under way are an early test of AU commitment and capacity. Success of this mission is critical, not only for the people of Darfur, but for the longer-term prospects of AU interventions. And right now that intervention is in crisis. The world's first priority there must be to fix the security situation, which is disintegrating into an increasingly diffuse mix of banditry, retaliation, and breakdown of command and control both within the fragmenting rebel movements and on the government side. There can be no progress on political mediation until there is some restoration of order, some control over cross-border trafficking in arms and support, an effective clamp-down on Eritrean, Libyan and Chadian meddling in the conflict, and heightened pressure on Khartoum. This is clearly beyond the AU's current capacity. The United States has committed $167 million to the AU mission in Darfur. And as Deputy Secretary Zoellick stated earlier this month, in areas where they have deployed, security has improved. But the African Union itself, currently with just over 6,000 troops on the ground, has acknowledged that it will be near impossible to get 13,000 troops deployed in any reasonable timeframe. The recent kidnappings and killings of AU troops and continued insecurity in Darfur are proof that the African Union at this stage, despite commitment and commendable performance, does not have the capacity to fulfill this daunting task. At this point, our best and most realistic option would be for the U.N. Security Council to enlarge the ambit of its Sudanese peacekeeping operation, to allow support for the AU mission in Darfur. It simply makes no sense to have 10,000 U.N. troops in Sudan, mandated to monitor and support implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, parallel to an AU force in Darfur, but forbidden from intervening in that area of the country that most needs security. But for the Security Council to take this step to merge the two missions, the request will need to come--directly and persuasively--from the African Union itself. A merger of this kind need not undermine or detract from the accomplishments, responsibility, or command structure of the AU forces on the ground, but rather will signal a mature acknowledgement of what is required to uphold the responsibility to protect. The United States and other key players should lend political support to AU mediation efforts in Abuja by assigning senior, empowered advisers and mediators to the talks; by making available quick and flexible financing for training and technical assistance; by exerting diplomatic pressure to minimize the role of potential regional spoilers; and, in consultation with AU mediators, by continuing to build unified, international pressure on both the rebel groups and on Khartoum to make demonstrable progress in fulfilling their promises and negotiating in good faith. The Darfur negotiations in Abuja will be stalled unless there is a change in the security situation on the ground. That said, since negotiations began last year, the AU mediation team has improved dramatically in competence, organization, operational capacity, and openness to external assistance. The African Union's Special Envoy for the Darfur Talks, former Tanzanian Prime Minister Salim Ahmed Salim, has proven an adept and able leader, and according to those involved in the negotiations has made a real difference. If the AU, with U.N. assistance, can exert a modicum of control over the security situation in Darfur, the AU talks, with focused multilateral support may be able to make some headway in reaching a negotiated settlement. But here too, they will need substantial support from the international community. The division between the two factions of the SLM is both a threat to security and an obstacle to peace negotiations. Neither the U.S. nor the AU can dictate who should represent the SLM at the peace negotiations. However, until they resolve their internal differences, our only option is to recognize a de facto situation of two parallel movements. In the light of this, it is essential that the U.S. make clear that hostilities between the two factions are unacceptable. The African Union should not be tasked with sorting out the thorny question of SLM representation when the peace talks begin. Rather, the U.S. and other international partners should adopt a common position and do their utmost to ensure SLM agreement in advance. MANY CRISES, LITTLE CAPACITY, MIXED RESULTS Darfur is currently the most pressing challenge that the African Union's peace and security architecture faces, and the one that for many reasons has garnered the most international attention. But the organization has interceded in a number of other African crises and today continues to grapple with multiple complex crises. And for the foreseeable future, it will not lack for crises. The situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, rising tensions between Ethiopia and Eritrea (and within Ethiopia itself), a deteriorating situation in Chad, and the failed state of Somalia, are among the situations where the African Union will likely be expected to play an increasingly active role. Even in Darfur, notwithstanding the enormity of the catastrophe and the momentous international attention generated, the African Union mediation effort was slow in starting, initially disorganized, and divided on how much external involvement would be acceptable. Darfur and other interventions that have received much less international attention and support have illustrated the critical need for longer- term capacity building and institutionalization. A number of the most senior envoys in these efforts have been outstanding statesmen, and highly effective. But at more junior and mid-level echelons, there is often a lack of mediation, administrative, or managerial experience and capacity, making it difficult for the organization to prioritize, to manage external assistance, or adequately plan. The majority of AU interventions remain heavily contingent on the inclination of the most powerful AU leaders, most notably President Obasanjo of Nigeria and President Mbeki of South Africa, and the organization has not yet fully sorted out its relationship with regional organizations like SADC and ECOWAS in determining which body should intervene in given situations. Finally, the African Union should not be expected to shoulder the responsibility for Africa's most intractable conflicts alone. In many of these conflicts, only a strong concerted multilateral effort will be able to generate the pressures and incentives necessary, with the AU as a key--or ideally a leading--negotiating presence. Some examples from previous AU interventions point to the potential and actual gains from AU initiatives along with the need for greater international support to them. Burundi--African Union engagement in Burundi was considered an important first test of the organization's commitment and capacity to promote peace and security in Africa, and by most accounts the AU's role was crucial in consolidating the Burundian peace process, as well as bolstering the organizations confidence in carrying out its new mandate. However, a number of considerations should be kept in mind. First, the AU intervention in Burundi was driven largely by the personal leadership of then AU chair Thabo Mbeki, who saw the deployment as an opportunity to demonstrate the new AU commitment to the responsibility to protect. South Africa provided the majority of the AU troops. Second, the African Union was not alone in the process. The Arusha Accord of 2000, a first major breakthrough in Burundi's peace process, called for a U.N. peacekeeping operation, but absent a comprehensive cease-fire agreement the U.N. would not authorize the mission. The AU peacekeeping operation therefore, deployed in April 2003, was conceived and implemented as an interim, bridging force. The 3000-plus AU troops were absorbed into a larger U.N. force of 5,650 little over a year later in June 2004, in direct response to a request from the AU. The transition from an AU to U.N. force was smooth, with the AU command structure left largely intact, and troops on the ground re-hatted as U.N. forces.\1\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- See Kristiana Powell, The African Union's Emerging Peace and Security Regime, Institute for Strategic Studies, Pretoria, 2005. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Third, while the African Union mission paved the way for the U.N. deployment by bringing a modicum of security while cease-fire negotiations were underway, it by no means had the capacity--in numbers, equipment, or financial capacity to implement the robust mandate required--including protection of civilians, disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration. The process might have floundered badly had not the U.N. come in with the manpower, equipment, resources, and experience to get the job done. The African Union mission was blessed with the excellent negotiation skills and staying power of AU envoy Mamadou Bah, backed by senior South African leadership, but crucial to the mission's success was the close collaboration with, and generous support from, the United States, the UK, and the United Nations, all of which invested significant diplomatic and financial resources in the effort. Togo--Among the most striking shifts since the establishment of the AU has been that coups within member states, once a fairly regular and unremarkable occurrence in the African context, are now deemed unacceptable and generally provoke a strong condemnatory reaction from the AU membership. When President Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo, died in office after ruling the country for 38 years, the military appointed his son Fame Gnassingbe as president and pushed the national assembly to amend the constitution retroactively to make the move technically legal. The African Union acted quickly, labeling the move a coup and, with unanimous endorsement of the AU Peace and Security Council, imposed diplomatic, travel and arms sanctions on the Togolese state. Bowing to pressure by the African Union and regional leadership, Gnassingbe announced that Presidential elections would be held, and lifted, albeit partially, a ban on political activity. The Togo example is not an unqualified success. Although the AU forced an electoral process, the elections were deeply flawed and political participation in Togo remains severely constrained. The African Union has yet to come to terms with the limits of national sovereignty, and so far has been loath to offer frank assessments of even the most blatantly shoddy election processes. Nor does the AU have the capacity or staying power to exert high-level, long-term follow-up pressure and attention in these instances. Mauritania--When a coup in Mauritania in August 2005 unseated President Ould Taya, an unpopular autocrat, the African Union quickly condemned the move and suspended the country's membership from the organization. Although the AU did not push to have Taya re-installed, it has insisted on a timetable for elections and a transfer to civilian rule. The Mauritania coup illustrates a broader concern of how the United States can support the goals and the norms that the African Union is attempting to set. There is some conjecture that the United States' fairly uncritical embrace of Taya on counter-terrorism operations fueled popular discontent, since Taya used that engagement to legitimate his rule and sideline dissenters. This illustrated the broader point of how U.S. engagement with African leaders needs to be carefully calibrated to reinforce the governance norms that the African Union is seeking to promulgate. In coming years, the U.S. will need to grapple with how to integrate short-term security concerns with the longer-term challenges of democratization and popular participation. Zimbabwe--Finally, Zimbabwe reveals most clearly the African Union's limitations. The AU--as well as much of the rest of the world-- has relied almost exclusively on South African President Mbeki for a political solution to Zimbabwe's crisis, and Mbeki, for political and philosophical reasons, has been so far unwilling to take meaningful action. The AU is paralyzed; although some individual states--Senegal, Kenya, Ghana--have voiced cautious disapproval of Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe, many are loath to criticize an elder statesman and former front-line leader. Further, Mugabe has fairly skillfully appealed to populist sentiments in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa by portraying the opposition as merely a front for Western neo-colonial interests. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Anan's naming of Special Envoy Anna Tubaijuka to report on the mass housing demolitions in spring 2005 nudged Mbeki to name former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano to mediate between Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF and the opposition MDC. But President Chissano was rebuffed by Mugabe, and ZANU-PF has only intensified its efforts to silence the opposition. Public opinion may be shifting in South Africa the housing demolitions, which were broadcast on South African television, were starkly reminiscent of apartheid-era tactics--but the international community cannot rely on quick AU action. The United States and others will need to continue to seek common ground with the African Union, both in perception of the problem and in looking toward solution. But this should not stymie consideration of other options, for example, broadening bilateral and U.N. pressures through additional investigations and rapporteurs. The United States will need to prepare for the worst case scenario in Zimbabwe, a possible collapse of the Zimbabwean state, which would demand close cooperation between African states and international partners to address. BEYOND CONFLICT: ESTABLISHING STANDARDS FOR GOVERNANCE Perhaps the greatest role the African Union can play over the long- term is addressing the root causes of conflict, most importantly in setting norms for good governance, economic management, environmental stewardship, and investment in health and education. This will be a long and gradual process, but one that is well-worth supporting. A number of promising initiatives are today in their infancy. The innovative African Peer Review Mechanism, for example, measures participating states' performance against political, economic, and corporate governance standards. To date, 23 countries have signed up for peer review; two of these reviews have been completed and several more are under way. Countries initially undergo a self administered internal review, followed by an outside assessment. A final report, including plans for corrective measures is discussed among AU heads of state, and countries volunteering for review. The Abuja Declaration on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and other Related Infectious Diseases of 2001, was an important symbolic achievement. African leaders collectively acknowledged the exceptional threat HIV/ AIDS poses to development, political stability, food security, and social cohesion, and pledged to set a target of allocating 15 percent of annual budgets to their countries health sector. Other proposed measures include a continent-wide early warning system, intended to link regional early warning reporting with the AU Peace and Security Council; an African Productive Capacity Initiative intended to strengthen African industrial capacities and regional integration; and a post-conflict reconstruction commission. Today, it is difficult to guess which of these initiatives will eventually flourish, but the United States and international community can work with the AU leadership as the organization sets priorities and crafts longer-term strategies. U.S. support will be critical to the African Union's future. And the African Union's success will be important in advancing rising U.S. stakes in Africa. The administration is to be commended for its current support to the AU and to the negotiations in Darfur. However, to help build a long-term, reliable partner, the United States can do more, and should build an approach that is coherent, predictable, institutionalized, and well-led at a senior level. Supporting the trend toward African ownership and responsibility warrants such an approach. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you again for bringing attention to these important issues and for the opportunity to speak with you today. Thank you. Senator Martinez. Thank you very much. Ms. Holt, we will hear from you now. Thank you. STATEMENT OF VICTORIA K. HOLT, SENIOR ASSOCIATE, THE HENRY L. STIMSON CENTER Ms. Holt. I too will summarize my remarks, so I hope that-- -- Senator Martinez. The full remarks will be made a part of the record. Thank you very much. Ms. Holt. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, Senator Feingold, it is a pleasure to be here. I know we are a bit short on time, so I thought I would hit some high points. First, I will just put peacekeeping in context, look specifically at Africa and then make some recommendations as you look forward to your agenda for the coming year. First, congratulations, I think this is a very important issue. I think it is important for two reasons. The U.S. cares deeply about its own security and its national interests, and that is one reason we look at peacekeeping in Africa. We care about failed states. We care about ungoverned spaces. But we also have a humanitarian urge in this country and peacekeeping can serve that as well. Just a quick reminder, what is peacekeeping, before I talk about it in the Africa context? It is an effort to move violent conflict into political expression. It is not the answer to everything. It is not the equivalent of going in and fighting a war. But when it is done right it can be a very useful tool. What we have seen, which is quite impressive, is African leadership coming to take this on on their own continent in greater numbers, particularly with the African Union and with ECOWAS. But before I talk specifically about them, I should point out that peace operations and stability operations have grown worldwide. We see American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Balkans. We see a military stretched beyond an area that we have seen before. So as a result, I think we also look at African leadership because Africa has been the host to more peacekeeping in the last few years than any other continent. Eight of the 16 UN operations today are in Africa. Seventy-five percent of UN peacekeepers now are working there. Some of these missions are large and complex. So what does that mean in the context of the African Union? Well, since 2002 it has taken on, as we have already heard, two new peacekeeping operations, first in Burundi and now in Darfur. ECOWAS has had a longer history of peacekeeping through the 1990s, but has also taken on ambitious operations--Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire, and Liberia--most recently. But we should not mistake their willingness, their personnel, and their speed of deploying troops, as well as their understanding of the regional issues and the willingness to live in difficult situations, which are all vastly important and critical, with the capability that we usually equate with successful operations. So just a note of caution. Headquarters of both ECOWAS and AU are roughly two dozen people. This is a vast improvement over 5 years ago, when you might have found one or two people there. But this is why it matters. We need to think about how we help them with planning and management. We know well that their member states cannot financially support them at this time. We know also that they need logistics and transportation and many of basically what I call surround-sound, particularly the handoff to what the UN calls peace-building. We want rule of law to last. They need better expertise in how to convey that. For a long time, that is going to be reliant on the UN to come in and help them with that kind of work. In general this is a good news story. I think that an excellent leadership effort has been going on. But I do not think this is a situation where at this point we can see them take on missions that we usually equate with the capabilities of the UN, and in some cases, NATO and the European Union, if not MNFs. One more note on the UN and then I will move to U.S. policy options. One thing we could really do to assist better coordination, this sort of ``all boats rise'' approach, which I think would benefit us, is if we enabled the United Nations to work better with the African Union, ECOWAS, and with SADC and IGAD, as they emerge more into peacekeeping. What do I mean? The UN is designed to support UN operations. They do not have a mechanism currently, formally, to work with these regional groups. They were able to do it in Darfur, basically by using another device, a special political mission. But it would do us well to think about this and have a few people whose job it is to work with these organizations, to help them plan and then help with the inevitable handoff, which we may see in Darfur, but we have already seen in Liberia, Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire and other places; it could be smoothed out and work better. We would all benefit from that. Real quick on U.S. policy: The United States, in general, does not do peacekeeping in Africa, certainly not since the last large mission in Somalia. So our strategy tends to be to support other actors. We do this through training, we do the support to operations, we do this through support to regional organizations and through paying our assessments to the UN and voting on the Security Council. Two accounts that you need to look at that support all of this. The voluntary Peacekeeping Operations account in the State Department is around $200 million this year. Appropriators cut about $20 million out of it. That houses all of our Global Peace Operations Initiative and other training. It houses our bilateral support to operations and it hosts all of our bilateral support to ECOWAS and the AU, which is great work. But I worry that we need at least $75 million for our support to Darfur for this year, so we already start out with a bit of a shortfall. Our dues to the UN certainly has caused some sticker shock up here. We are looking at over a billion dollars being required for the coming year. If State was candid with you, they would say that is about $500 million short, what you just sent them, for what they are actually going to need. It is fair of us to ask hard questions about these peacekeeping budgets, but we vote for them on the Security Council. And if they work, then we will have a better chance of success, both on the peace-building piece and going in correctly. So I need to flag those two accounts to you and to suggest thinking about, in the coming year, how we can make those programs work better. Finally, in addition to the UN mechanism and funding, I have to mention Darfur briefly. I agree that there is mission mandate language that talks about civilian protection. It is much like the language in most of UN peacekeeping operations. But the AU cannot do this without stronger political leadership and potentially a deterrent that can back them up. I think we have heard some good options in testimony in full committee. I do worry that Deputy Secretary Zoellick is correct, that Darfur remains a tinderbox and that we do need to look at the security question if we are going to get to a political solution. Finally, it is never popular for Congress to ask for more reports, but I might suggest to the subcommittee it would be very helpful if you could ask the administration, particularly State, to come back to you and bring together these various programs that they are presenting. We did not touch on counterterrorism today, but much of the training we are going to be doing in Africa will overlap with peacekeeping. We have varied accounts, and excellent people working in the administration on this, but particularly as you start out the new year, it might be nice to have this in one place to help guide your discussions as we look at both our interests in security and our humanitarian concerns in Africa. Thank you. [The prepared statement of Ms. Holt follows:] Prepared Statement of Victoria K. Holt, Senior Associate, the Henry L. Stimson Center Chairman Martinez, Senator Feingold, members of the committee, it is an honor to testify before you today on the role of African leadership and organizations in regional conflict management and peace operations. I applaud the committee's attention to this topic, and hope this discussion will draw needed attention to African-led endeavors, to our interests in the region, and to how the U.S. and international actors can better address and leverage success. OVERVIEW: AFRICAN SECURITY AND PEACE OPERATIONS First, let me offer some context. The world has increasingly turned to peace operations as tools to help support transitions from armed conflict to sustained peace. Today we see thousands of forces deployed worldwide, from Afghanistan to Haiti, from Iraq to the Sinai. As more civil wars end, regional crises calm, and democratic efforts look for support, peace operations are often the tool of choice for the international community. They are often sent to help prevent state failure, to support post-conflict reconstruction and to address aspects of humanitarian crises. Many of these multinational missions are large and complex, led as coalitions or by NATO, but increasingly by the United Nations and African actions. Africa has seen dramatic growth in peace operations over the last 6 years, hosting more peacekeepers than any other region. The United Nations currently leads eight such operations on the continent: in Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia/Eritrea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan and the Western Sahara.\1\ Over 30 African nations contribute personnel to these missions, and in most cases, make up from one-quarter to one-half of U.N. forces.\2\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \1\ In September 2005 the U.N. reported 68,513 peacekeepers deployed worldwide, with 53,702 in Africa. Peacekeepers include troops, military observers and civilian police. These numbers do not include civilian staff in the field or at U.N. headquarters. \2\ Data from the United Nations as of 30 September 2005. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- With the increased demand for security providers, the spotlight has also moved to African organizations and their efforts to manage regional crises. We see new African engagement in resolving conflicts, promoting democratic regimes, and strengthening multinational efforts. Fueled by ambitious leadership and prompted by multiple conflicts, the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are developing greater capacity to tackle issues of regional peace and security. Both groups have deployed troops and led new peacekeeping missions, as seen in Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire, Darfur and Liberia. Other organizations are more focused on conflict resolution, such the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (MAD), with its efforts in Somalia and Sudan. More than a decade after the Rwandan genocide, the crisis in Sudan again brings international attention to the questions of intervention and peace operations. Which African groups have the will and mechanisms to plan, deploy, manage, and sustain peace operations effectively? What is their relationship to the United Nations and other multinational organizations? What role can and should the United States play? My testimony looks at three areas related to African security and peace operations.\3\ First, I will consider the emergence of African organizations in leading peace operations. Second, I will look at how these African organizations and their operations fit within the context of international efforts, especially those of the United Nations. Third, I will consider U.S. goals and how our policies support these efforts in Africa, including the situation in Darfur with the AU, and offer some options for Congress. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \3\ This statement draws on my work at the Henry L. Stimson Center, including a study conducted with support from the U.S. Institute of Peace, African Capacity-Building for Peace Operations: U.N. Collaboration with the African Union and ECOWAS (2005). --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Second, let me argue that these issues are very important to the United States. As Americans, we view peace operations as serving U.S. strategic and security interests through preventing state failure, increasing stability, and moving conflicts into lively political expression rather than deadly armed warfare. We also view peace operations as a means to address our deep-felt concern for addressing humanitarian crises and supporting human rights, part of our commitment to act well in the world. These goals are inter-related, and serve both immediate and longer-term aims such as supporting democratic reforms and reducing terrorist havens, enabling trade and economic opportunity, and strengthening regional security and healthy governance. Defining Peace Operations--A Tool For What? Peacekeeping missions are intended to provide temporary security and enable political efforts to take hold for sustaining peace. Such missions range from military observers overseeing disputed border areas, as in the U.N. mission in Ethiopia-Eritrea, to more complex operations involving disarmament of forces and establishment of the rule of law, such as in Liberia. These operations should be married with concurrent peacebuilding efforts that continue after the troops have left. Peace operations are never assured of success, however. Each mission is deployed with cautious optimism that a conflict can be brought to a conclusion--that peacekeepers will help the shift to a sustained peace--but the result ultimately rests with local actors. Even after international forces deploy, crises can remain challenging, as seen dramatically in Sudan and the DRC where conflict continues and keeps millions displaced, vulnerable and at risk of death. Peacekeepers should not be sent to wage war or substitute for political engagement, yet they often operate under difficult conditions, in dangerous neighborhoods with tenuous peace agreements, and with too little back- up. When peace operations are not married with political support from member states, their jobs become even more difficult, especially for the nations volunteering troops and police. Peacekeepers put their lives on the line, as seen by the 86 U.N. personnel who died this year. AFRICAN ORGANIZATIONS AND PEACE OPERATIONS Matching Political Will and Operational Capacity African leadership has helped bring a new era of engagement in security and support for peace efforts. Leaders such as Olusegun Obansanjo of Nigeria, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Alpha Konare of Mali have played public roles to bring the African Union and other initiatives into the forefront, in contrast to the criminal actions of Charles Taylor of Liberia and Charles Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Many others have contributed to peace efforts, such as Nelson Mandela's engagement with Burundi, as well as countless leaders who work in national roles or serve as envoys, diplomats and military leaders. As African nations develop greater capacity for peace operations, two multinational organizations stand out: the African Union and the ECOWAS. Both have adopted formal mechanisms with wide-ranging peace and security responsibilities, unparalleled in Asia, South America or the Middle East. Other regional organizations, such as the South African Development Community (SADC) and IGAD, can play a significant role in conflict resolution but are not yet able to deploy peace operations. The African Union. The African Union was born from the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 2002. With 53 founding members (all African nations except Morocco), the AU is headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It has more authority to intervene in matters related to peace and security than its predecessor, which valued non-interference. The AU Constitutive Act embraces international cooperation, but also sets out an AU role ranging from mediation to forceful intervention. The AU has an ambitious agenda on the continent, and has already deployed two peace operations. In April 2003, the AU launched a mission in Burundi which would grow to over 3,300 peacekeepers, led by South Africa with troops from Mozambique and Ethiopia. The objective was to uphold the cease-fire agreement, support disarmament of armed forces, assist in establishing stability, coordinate with the U.N. and facilitate humanitarian assistance. More observers were supplied by Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali, Togo and Tunisia. The AU mission in Burundi was established with the understanding that mission leadership would pass to the U.N. Indeed, the AU relied heavily on outside support from the U.N. and Western countries (including the U.S. and the United Kingdom) for logistics and funding. While there was cooperation among these actors, it was improvised, and the AU transitioned its mission to the U.N. in 2004. Building off its success in Burundi, the African Union launched its second mission in Darfur in 2004. This mission was much more ambitious, with the aim of monitoring a cease-fire agreement in an area equivalent to the size of Texas, where conflict and a humanitarian crisis continued at a level considered genocide by the United States. Today that mission has grown to nearly 7,000 personnel, benefiting from both willing African nations and major financial, logistical and operational support from the West and other developed states. Even as it has succeeded at many tasks, the AU faces fundamental problems. In addition, the African Union is also developing the African Standby Force (ASF), a force designed to be made of multidisciplinary contingents on standby in five regions of Africa. By 2010, the ASF forces are to be ready for swift call-up for missions ranging from observation to intervention against genocide. ECOWAS has endorsed a Standby Force, but has yet to develop specific doctrine or policies to support it. IGAD is slated to coordinate development of the Eastern African Standby Brigade (EASBRIG) and SADC is moving to create a standby brigade. Progress is slow, and coordination across the regions is challenging, reflecting the uneven distribution of support for the ASF and capability in regional groups. ECOWAS. Made up of 15 West African states, ECOWAS is the most advanced regional organisation in Africa in terms of peace operations. Based in Abuja, Nigeria, ECOWAS put boots on the ground during the 1990s in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau, with mixed reviews. ECOWAS' security-related responsibilities were further outlined in its 1999 Protocol. They include resolving internal and interstate conflicts, strengthening conflict prevention, supporting deployment of peacekeeping operations and humanitarian relief missions. ECOWAS has also deployed peacekeepers to Cote d'Ivoire in 2002 and Liberia in 2003. ECOWAS forces deployed to Liberia in July 2003 with troops from Ghana, Senegal, Mali and Nigeria, backed up by U.S. Marines, and later by U.N. personnel and the multinational group, the Standby High Readiness Brigade. The ECOWAS forces made a strong impact, stabilizing the country even as they faced deployment delays, equipment shortages and limited communications and information systems. The mission later transitioned to U.N. leadership, with ECOWAS forces being ``rehatted'' as U.N. troops. Common Challenges. With these operations, African organizations can be misunderstood as having more capacity than they actually possess. Certainly progress is clear: the AU and ECOWAS have adopted frameworks, increased their headquarters staff, built better planning capacity, and worked with member states and outside partners to organize, deploy and manage peace operations. But both organizations face substantial hurdles. The AU and ECOWAS have deployed troops, but they are not self- sustaining and require outside logistical support. They face fundamental gaps in their planning and management capacity to lead peace operations. Their headquarters staff total a few dozen professionals; the most skilled are taxed by the requirements of their (often multiple) responsibilities. The AU and ECOWAS are reliant on external sources to finance their operations, since they lack sufficient funding from their member states. Ambitious plans for coordinating peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions are still in the early stages of being operationalized. In short, there is striking contrast between the AU and ECOWAS willingness to deploy troops and their capacity to plan and support such deployments. For these African organizations to play a stronger role in peace operations, they require baseline capacities: management and planning, financing, logistics and transportation, command and control, skilled and available personnel, and clear leadership. The AU and ECOWAS would also benefit from clearer concepts of operations, mandates, leadership qualifications and doctrine for their missions, as well as from more development of deployable police and other personnel. Outside Partners. Donor governments are looking to support successful efforts in Africa, and have offered bilateral support directly, through regional venues (e.g., the European Union, or EU) and via the G8 process, to leverage African national, regional and continent-wide capacities.\4\ The G8 nations are pledged to their 2002 Africa Action Plan, an ambitious effort to provide bilateral funding and support peace and security tools in Africa, especially the ASF and added forces for peace operations. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \4\ The G8 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Outside partners can address some needs (e.g., logistics and transportation support). Other areas require development of skills within the organizations (e.g., command and control, leadership) and support from member states. Support from the West includes military training, such as the recent French-led RECAMP exercises, which involved 1,800 troops from 12 African nations, as well as training programs run by the United Kingdom, Norway and the United States. ECOWAS and the AU have had difficulty responding to outside offers of assistance, however, and often partner countries can be unsure how to approach them. Bilateral donors could improve their impact with better coordination of competing bilateral efforts to train and equip African forces, which can lack coordination, be duplicative, and not focus on where real gaps exist. A headquarters data base and tracking system to handle incoming offers of financial, material and personnel support could be useful for partner countries, African organizations and the United Nations. II. LINK TO INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS How do African regional organizations and operations fit within the context of international efforts? African organizations are taking on a role in peace operations where few other multinational organizations act. NATO and the EU, for example, have only recently become active in Africa, with NATO support to the AU mission in Darfur and the EU authorizing a peacekeeping operation, Operation Artemis, led by the French to help stabilize the town of Bunia in the DRC in the summer of 2003. The primary organization with a role in Africa is the United Nations. The Prominence of Africa in U.N. missions. Africa dominates the U.N.'s peace operations agenda. Seventy-five percent of U.N. peacekeepers today are in Africa. The United States and other members of the Security Council have approved an unprecedented number of complex, Chapter VII peacekeeping operations since 2003, adding African operations in Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire, Burundi, and most recently, Sudan. The Security Council has also tripled U.N. forces in the DRC since 2000. The U.N. manages nearly 80,000 personnel around the world with a headquarters staff of about 600 people in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO). While overstretched, the U.N. still has more political leverage and organizational reach to support peace operations and run multiple efforts simultaneously than any other organization. The U.N. has programs related to relief, development, health, and peacebuilding, for example. No African group has this breadth or the ability to yet leverage peacebuilding efforts, which are needed to sustain post-conflict security and support rule of law. This role continues to require U.N. engagement. UN Collaboration with Regional Efforts. With the U.N. peacekeeping budget at about $4 billion (and growing), the benefit of collaboration between African organizations and the U.N. is clear. Some progress has been made. The United Nations has held high-level meetings on regional cooperation; the Security Council has identified Africa as a priority; and varied U.N. initiatives have looked at collaboration. Last year the Secretary General's High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change urged improving U.N. relationships with regional groups, developing a 10-year effort to support African regional capacities, and considering the provision of U.N. stocks and funding, to African-led operations.\5\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \5\ A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility, Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, the United Nations, December 2004, page 85. The Panel suggested collaborations ranging from information exchanges to co-training of civilian and military personnel to the use of NATO to help train and equip regional organizations. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- The U.N. has helped match countries offering troops for African-led operations with countries that can provide airlift to deploy troops, and assisted with mission planning. For the AU mission in Darfur, the U.N. Secretariat provided unusually strong mission planning support after the Security Council approved that role via a unique U.N. special political mission. So far, however, collaboration is ad hoc. The United Nations is designed and funded to focus on U.N. operations rather than those led by other multinational groups--even when such missions are authorized or welcomed by the Security Council--which makes collaboration more difficult. Getting Serious: Create a Plan. The U.N. needs two tools. First, the U.N. needs a strategy for providing support to regional organizations such as the African Union. Second, the U.N. needs a mechanism to trigger support and a means to provide it consistently. This is straightforward. The strategic vision already is the working notion of many U.N. member states: create an international architecture of capacity for peace operations, and adopt an ``all boats rise'' approach to regional groups who are willing to take on missions relative to their capacity. The Security Council already has a trigger that could be brought to life: citation of Chapter VIII of the U.N. Charter, which recognizes the role of regional actors. Finally, the means is fairly simple: add a few personnel to the U.N. Secretariat whose job it is to plan and work with regional organizations effectively. There are plenty of areas ripe for better collaboration. The U.N. could help facilitate improving AU and ECOWAS headquarters capacity, with a focus on mission planning and support. Other areas include: use of logistics sites (such as the U.N. Logistics Base at Brindisi and African depots); development of the African Standby Force capacities; integration of participation in the U.N. Standby Arrangements System, a data base of national capacities of member states; design of pre- deployment training; systems for hand-offs between African-led and U.N.-led operations; sharing of lessons learned; use of early warning and analytical information in Africa; harmonization of national training and doctrinal materials; identification of command and control issues; and coordination of funding. In many areas, the continuing U.N. effort to modernize and reform its peacekeeping capacity is instructive. As U.N. missions have grown in numbers, size and complexity since 1999, the U.N. has scrambled to fill shortages in available, well-trained military and civilian personnel, funding, ready equipment and logistics. Lessons could also be learned from NATO, the EU and other member states. III. U.S. LEADERSHIP AND POLICY ISSUES The United States and other developed states are deciding how best to support peace operations and related efforts, as well as allocate resources to African-led efforts, the U.N. and other multinational operations, and their own initiatives to address such conflicts and transitions to peace. U.S. Approach. Since the end of the cold war, the United States' only major peacekeeping role in Africa has been in Somalia. The U.S. remains very cautious about participating in peace operations. With more attention after 9/11 to preventing state failure, helping prevent terrorism, and post-conflict reconstruction, U.S. policy has focused on supporting other actors to conduct and manage peace operations. There are four major approaches: Training African Forces. The U.S. has trained African military forces, primarily through the African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) program, which began in 2002 and followed the earlier African Crisis Response Initiative. That program is expected to expand as part of the new Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), which aims to train roughly 75,000 troops worldwide, with two-thirds in Africa. Bilateral Support to Operations. The U.S. has provided some bilateral assistance to African-led multinational operations in Africa, such as support to ECOWAS forces in Cote d'Ivoire, providing airlift to help Ethiopians deploy with the AU into Burundi, and offering contracted support for AU forces in Darfur today. Direct Assistance to African Organizations. The United States has provided some support to regional multinational organizations, such as funding a U.S. advisor at ECOWAS headquarters. Funding of U.N. Peacekeeping Operations. As a member of the Security Council, the U.S. supports U.N. peace operations and pays a percentage of the U.N. peacekeeping budget. All of these programs are solid approaches to security challenges. But the State Department is chronically faced with difficult choices about resources due to its limited funding. U.S. budgets for these programs have not kept pace with the dynamic growth in African-led efforts, U.N. operations, and the need to accelerate support to such efforts. One exception is GPOI, which may bring substantial new resources to bear in the region, especially if it supports regional organizations and their operations, as well as training. Even so, the United States is unlikely to play a major role in this area of African security without more support for these programs. U.S. Programs & Funding. Within the State Department budget, two accounts before the committee resource the current U.S. approach and deserve support: The Voluntary Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) account, requested at $196 million for fiscal year 2006 (FY06), is the primary source of U.S. support to regional efforts and organizations worldwide. Funding for the African Regional account is requested at about $41 million, to provide support to African operations, regional initiatives and African organizations, an amount insufficient to meet U.S. interests in this area. Also requested within this account is $114 million in funding for the Global Peace Operations Initiative, with activities in Africa including the ACOTA program, for training of African forces. The Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA) account, requested at $1.036 billion for FY06, provides the U.S. share of contributions for UN-led peace operations. The request is less than the $1.3 billion projected as needed for the coming year--before taking into account the U.N. mission in Sudan, new or expanded missions. This budget lacks room for initiatives that invest in capacity-building and long- term reform efforts, which limits the U.S. ability to promote such reforms at the United Nations or within specific missions. To avoid new arrears for operations we support, Congress also needs to lift the ``cap'' on payment of our U.N. peacekeeping share, and realign our funding with the U.N. assessment rate we negotiated and agreed to pay. Enough Support? When one considers all these two accounts are trying to accomplish in Africa, they are an excellent investment. Even in a time of limited budget resources, however, this funding is less than needed to meet our interests in the continent most faced with post-conflict operations. The PKO Africa Regional funding could easily be doubled for good use, such as providing some of the $50 million needed to support the AU in Darfur, which many in Congress have sought to provide. The U.S. would also benefit and maximize its impact if the State Department office for the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization was fully supported and funded (which it is not). The administration is also increasing U.S. training for counter- terrorism activities in Africa, first through the Pan Sahel Initiative and more recently through the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative. Both programs offer training to African militaries in areas that include skills useful for peace operations. At the same time, the U.S. has cutoff our International Military Education and Training (IMET) funding to some African countries, including South Africa, further reducing our military-to-military relations and preventing their leaders from participating in peacekeeping seminars hosted by the U.S. War Colleges and related programs. This is counterproductive to our goals. See the Bigger Picture. As Africa draws greater U.S. resources and attention, a better strategic vision is needed to many disparate programs and objectives. This committee does not benefit from a single source of information on the varied U.S. efforts, put in the context of parallel international efforts. To understand where U.S. policy is leading us, this committee would be well-served to ask for a comprehensive review of U.S. security assistance in Africa, of U.S. funding for peacekeeping efforts and related U.S. counter-terrorism accounts, as well as the rationale for these programs, and hopefully, how they are coordinated and working together toward a shared strategic vision. Sudan. In Sudan today we see an on-going crisis in Darfur, where the U.S. declared that genocide has occurred. Roughly two million people have been forced from their homes. The international community has supported deployment of peacekeepers in Darfur by the African Union, recognized as the only force likely to be acceptable to the government of Sudan. By all accounts, the AU has achieved a great deal, providing eyes and ear on the ground and carrying out important work to report on cease-fire violations, offer presence and deter violence in the areas they are deployed, bolstered by Western support and funding. Yet the AU force is primarily an observer force with some deterrent ability. Their mandate gives them only a limited ability to intervene on behalf of civilians and offer them protection. Even as the AU operation grows to nearly 7,000 personnel, the force is too small and ill-equipped to effectively cover the area of Darfur. The peacekeepers there are hampered without greater mobility and communications. In short, the AU force is not a force prepared or equipped to help bring stability to a region with ongoing conflict and a tremendous humanitarian crisis. The U.S. has argued strongly for peace in Sudan and in Darfur, and backed up the AU troops with funding and logistical support. We see renewed political attention with Deputy Secretary Zoellick's recent trip to Darfur. The U.S. supported a U.N. team to work with the AU to develop its plans, including Americans with experience and practical expertise. The U.S. has helped keep world attention on the crisis and organized with others governments to identify financial and materiel needs of the African Union. But no matter how much support the U.S. offers the African Union--and we could offer much more--the AU mission is fundamentally ill-suited to act as much more than a monitoring force in the region. In short, the AU can do extremely well but still fail to solve the larger problem of violence against civilians in the region. No one wishes to see the AU fail, especially in a mission where it has staked its credibility. Until a political settlement takes hold, the AU force needs to be backed up by a credible deterrent against continuing acts of violence by the Janjaweed, the Government of Sudan and the rebels. These measures would also support humanitarian efforts, including the return of refugeesiind those displaced by the war to their homes. This job requires the mobility, command and control, support and credibility of a well-trained coherent military force. Many options have been offered. Proposals include doubling the AU force and backing it up with better equipment, transportation, communications, and a credible military deterrent; creation of a no-fly zone to deter and police incursions; stationing of a rapid reaction force able to respond on short notice to attacks; and development of a NATO bridging force to support the AU better. Such options require action by the Security Council, clearly not an easy task. Nevertheless, the Council could use expansion of the current U.N. peacekeeping mission in Sudan to address the situation in Darfur. Otherwise, we need to be honest that the AU will continue to be limited in what it can do in Darfur. Where else in the world would we ask a new multinational organization with little experience to lead a mission that would be challenging to NATO? A few trends are clear. There is genuine growth in African ambitions and willingness to deploy peacekeeping forces. There is greater multinational engagement in Africa, especially through the United Nations, which needs to be developed further. And there is increased support from developed states and the U.S. to support African capacity-building. The challenge is to support and leverage this political energy into tangible results. Strengthen U.S. Tools. The United States has a vital role to play in Africa and in peace operations. We will benefit from increasing our funding of U.S. initiatives, especially those supported through the State Department's PKO and CIPA accounts, to train, support, and enhance African peacekeeping missions. We can and should offer political and materiel resources to Africa organizations and operations, to support lead countries and leaders in Africa, and to the U.N. and other multinational efforts to build capacity and a better- working international capacity. The U.S. also should take a leadership role in strengthening the capacity and effectiveness of the AU mission in Darfur. Understand U.S. Strategy and Policy. This committee could benefit from a central source of information on the funding and programs in Africa in this area, since programs are spread across offices and even Departments. The committee should request a review of U.S. security assistance to Africa, including support for regional capacities, training and bilateral aid for peace and stability operations. This review should be put in the context of U.S. strategy toward Africa, to help consider policy options. Create a Mechanism to Enable Better U.N. Collaboration with Regional Groups. U.N. mechanisms to work with regional organizations are still in their infancy. Even citation of Chapter VIII by the Security Council does not trigger U.N. collaboration. This should change. The U.N. needs a strategy and formal means of providing support to organizations such as the African Union and ECOWAS on a consistent basis. To identify these areas of potential support, the United States should urge the U.N. to conduct a full assessment of how it could work more effectively with African organizations in the early planning and startup phase of an operation; during the initial deployment and as forces ramp up; and, when appropriate, during hand-offs of leadership from regional to U.N. peace operations. U.N. member states should agree to use Chapter VIII of the U.N. Charter to trigger real support to regional peace operations authorized by the Security Council. On a case-by-case basis, the Council could also direct the use of assessed funding through the United Nations to support these missions. Thank you. Senator Martinez. Well, thank you both for excellent remarks and very insightful comments. I think you have hit on a lot of key issues. With the time we have remaining, what we might just do is have a quick round, each of us, and we might repeat it again to make sure each of us gets a few questions. Ms. Holt, I want to just follow up with you as to whether you--and I do not think you discussed this specifically, but the African Standby Force, that concept. Please speak to that if you would. Ms. Holt. The African Standby Force is an idea that is the backing up of the African Union. The African Union is now going to be taking on missions that range all the way from mediation to intervention against genocide. Their concept is to create a standing force within Africa based in each of the five regions within Africa. It is ambitious. They wish to be operational by 2010. At this point ECOWAS is probably the most advanced. They have endorsed an idea for a standby force within the region. The last time I looked at their proposal it was about 6,000 troops. IGAD I think may be involved with EASBRIG, the eastern task force; and SADC in the South, I have heard that they are moving forward. But the reality is that these troops right now are not sitting at home ready to go. I do think there is a question of connectivity between each of the regions and the African Union itself and the headquarters. So I think it is still evolving. I think it is something that the G-8 has endorsed with its Africa Action Plan, that the United States is also supportive of. But I think we are going to have to make a better connection between our training of troops, their headquarters capacity, and how they work within the continent to see this come to the fore. Senator Martinez. Let me see. I am going to let you get a question or two in. I think we are going to be called any time, and then I will come back. Senator Feingold. Thanks, Mr. Chairman. To either of you or both of you, what obstacles are there to AU intervention in a political crisis? Does the AU have to wait for states to formally request intervention to restore peace and security or gain member consensus before restoring peace and stability in a crisis? What role does NEPAD's voluntary African peer review mechanism evaluation play into intervention? I just want a sense of how that works. Ms. Cooke. Sure. I think currently one of the limitations of the AU is that intervention in particular crises is still hinged to a large extent on the inclination of particular leaders, so that when Mbeke decides or Obisanjo decides they can really drive that intervention. But if there is not that kind of high-level leadership, it is often much slower to come together. That said, there are many energetic African leaders and Cunairy, who is the current chair of the AU commission, is a superb statesman, former president of Mali, and I think we can see more activism there. However, it does go to the issue of institutionalizing and kind of setting standards for intervention and so forth. The Africa peer review mechanism, which grew out of NEPAD, which is part of or under the auspices of the AU, but it is somewhat parallel, does not play much of a role in these mediation efforts. This is a mechanism to which countries voluntarily submit or join. They first undergo an internal review of their governance standards, then open it up to the broader group, come up with a policy for redressing whatever their weaknesses may have been. It is a voluntary system so far. Two countries have undergone the review. Twenty-three have signed up for voluntary review. Senator Feingold. Thank you. Ms. Holt. Ms. Holt. I would just concur with Ms. Cooke's statement. Maybe just to add, if you mean intervention in the more military sense, theoretically at least the African Union can intervene, particularly in the case of genocide. It is the (h) clause in their Constitutive Act. But it recognizes that to do so it would probably ask a member state to lead an intervention, and obviously we have not seen this yet on the continent. So I would just flag that as something still to be developed. I cannot offer more than that on that point. Senator Feingold. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you. Senator Martinez. They have called us to a vote, but I want to just ask one last question if I may. Thank you, sir, for your participation. The interaction between NEPAD and AU, can you just deal with that and if you can in brief moments help me a little bit with that. Ms. Cooke. Sure. NEPAD grew up--it was kind of the brain child of three or four key African leaders--President Mbeke of South Africa, President Obisanjo of Nigeria, President Boutaflica of Algeria, and President Wadd of Senegal. It grew up at the same time that the Organization of African Unity was reinventing itself as the African Union. So initially it was not meant to be part of the African Union, but the two have merged and it is somewhat under African Union leadership. So I think it is all part of this momentum of kind of taking greater responsibility that happened within the AU. NEPAD is another expression of that. The two are more closely merged than they were originally. Senator Martinez. One of the things we did not get to today--and I would love to have enough time for us to --first of all, I want to thank you both. You have done a great job and you have really added to our discourse greatly. So I appreciate your insights and your great knowledge and I wish we had more time to expand on all of this. But one of the things I wanted out of this hearing is for us to discuss all the good things that are happening. Unfortunately, we have talked too much about, still like always we do, about some negative aspects of it. But there is much going on that is good. I know that progress is being made in the fight against AIDS and I know that our government has played I think a leading role in the world. I was also pleased recently to have had an opportunity to talk with Prime Minister Blair and his great interest, right before Gleneagles, and his commitment to renewed effort. I hope we could on the next occasion talk about economic development, about growth, about ownership opportunities, about business creation, about trade and things of that nature. I would hope it would come to a day when a hearing like this would be held and we would talk about how the AU is managing all of the trade agreements that are being made between the countries. So anyway, with that hope and that bright future, I thank you for your participation today and look forward to coming together again another day to talk some more about this topic. Thank you very much and the hearing is adjourned. [Whereupon, at 3:41 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.] A P P E N D I X ---------- Additional Material Submitted for the Record Response of Hon. Jendayi Frazer to Written Questions Submitted by Senator Richard Lugar Question. Why hasn't a permanent ambassador been named to Ethiopia? How long has it been? When will the President name a permanent ambassador for Ethiopia? Has our ambassador to Ethiopia ever been a non-Foreign Service experienced official? Answer. The White House remains engaged in identifying a chief of mission candidate for Ethiopia. While the majority of past U.S. ambassadors to Ethiopia have been career Foreign Service Officers, there have been three non-career U.S. ambassadors to Ethiopia: Joseph Simonson served 1953 to 1957; Edward M. Korry served 1963 to 1967; and E. Ross Adair served 1971 to 1974. Ambassador Brazeal departed Ethiopia on September 3, 2005. Since that date, Ambassador Vicki Huddleston, a retired career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Career Minister, has very capably represented the U.S. Government in Ethiopia as Charge d'Affaires. Question. Although electoral advances have been made since the last election the brutality remains and the reform of the country's institutions is weak. What are the determinant factors in U.S. policy toward Ethiopia with regard to the war on terror, cooperation on the Eritrean border dispute, economic, social, and political reform? Answer. United States national security and national interests guide U.S. policy determinations on Ethiopia. Major U.S. objectives with regard to Ethiopia include countering any terrorist threats in the region; enhancing regional peace and stability; promoting democratization, rule of law, and respect for human rights; supporting economic prosperity; and providing humanitarian assistance to mitigate human suffering. Helping the people of Ethiopia address the effects of HIV/AIDS is also a key U.S. interest, as Ethiopia is one of 15 focus countries for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). These objectives are interrelated and one objective does not supercede others. In all of these sectors, U.S. interests guide the policy formation process. The pursuit of each of these objectives reinforces the other by helping create an environment that supports a stable Ethiopia, prevents the conditions that breed and provide safe haven for terrorists, and builds our partnership with the Ethiopian government in addressing common threats. Our policy formation, however, must factor in how our objectives fit with Ethiopia's objectives, how much leverage the United States holds with Ethiopian decisionmakers, and in what areas we may be most able to achieve progress at any given time. Ethiopia has been an active and receptive partner in the global war on terrorism. Our common objectives enable the United States to work closely with Ethiopia in pursuit of countering the terrorist threat in the region and building local capacity in support of that objective. Ethiopia is an active participant in the African Contingency Operations Training Assistance (ACOTA) program, and is one of the continent's major contributors to multilateral peacekeeping operations. With regard to the Ethiopia-Eritrea border, the United States and Ethiopia agree broadly on the need for long-term regional stability, but may disagree on the tactics in pursuit of that end. We recognize that the parties themselves have determined that the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission's (EEBC) decision shall be final and binding, and that it is incumbent on the parties to reach a lasting solution to the border standoff. Bilaterally, and through the United Nations, we have called on Ethiopia to start the implementation of demarcation, by taking the necessary steps to enable the Commission to demarcate the border completely and promptly and without preconditions. The Government of Ethiopia has affirmed that it will pull back troops deployed near the Ethiopian-Eritrean border to positions held in December 2004, as called for in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1640. Prime Minister Meles has also publicly pledged Ethiopia's full cooperation with the United Nations Mission for Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), the peacekeeping mission monitoring the Temporary Security Zone along the border. The United States has encouraged Ethiopia to take steps to liberalize its economy since the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front government came to power in 1991. There has been some, albeit slow, progress on the economic front--robust economic growth rates, progress in the investment climate, improved revenue collection, etc.--as a result of our economic assistance programs and U.S. and international advisors. We have been able to assist the Ethiopians to strengthen and diversify their economy. Our interests in the areas of social and political reform include protection of human rights, fostering press freedoms, opening of political space for dialog, and the expansion of educational and health services. While the dynamic and open campaign period in the run-up to the May 2005 elections showed promise, irregularities with the conduct and vote-tallying portion of the elections highlighted the fragility of this progress. Nonetheless, the opposition made tremendous gains as evidenced by the numbers of elected to Parliament. The post-election political violence and harassment of opposition leaders and supporters stand out as issues of particular concern in policy formulation deliberations. We are strongly encouraging the Government of Ethiopia to respect the human rights of all its citizens and to work with the opposition to ensure stability and an inclusive government. The breadth of U.S. engagement with a country such as Ethiopia is great and factors in policy determination are complex. U.S. relations with Ethiopia have entered their second century and it is a relationship that the United States values. The United States and the people of Ethiopia share many common objectives and values and there are significant areas of mutual interest on which we can collaborate. In each of the realms of policy consideration noted in this question, however, there are areas for improvement. Some are greater than others, but these are areas in which we continue to engage. The United States continuously re-evaluates this relationship and neither takes it for granted nor stands by it at all costs. As such, we continue to engage the range of stakeholders in Ethiopia and within the United States. We value the input and perspective of each of these stakeholders and appreciate the Congress's close attention to this complex relationship. Question. Is the U.S. policy one of advising the opposition to wait until the next elections to challenge for control of the legislature and executive? Answer. Active political debate and representation of the range of positions is key in a democracy. United States policy is that the opposition, as well as the governing party, should pursue their political efforts through legal and constitutional means. All political parties should participate actively in the political process, but resorting to violent actions is unacceptable. The United States has consistently called on Ethiopian opposition parties to take up their elected seats in parliament and in the regional councils to represent the will of the public that voted for them. It is incumbent on these individuals to represent an active and vocal alternative voice to the governing party. The United States has also called for the Government of Ethiopia to release political detainees and to ensure that detained opposition leaders be accorded timely due process in accordance with the constitution. The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia certified the final results of the May 2005 parliamentary elections. While there were significant irregularities in the conduct and compiling of results from these elections, the Carter Center's election observation team has stated that the majority of the results were credible. While the May 2005 elections were far from perfect, they do represent a milestone in Ethiopia's progress toward democratization. For the first time in history, average Ethiopians truly believed that they had a choice in their national leadership, opposition parties were able to campaign in cities and the countryside, large public demonstrations were permitted, and all parties were able to convey their platforms through the media. As a result, the total opposition representation in parliament increased from 12 seats in 2000 to 174 seats in 2005. If any party objects to these results, the United States encourages them to pursue their complaints through established legal channels. Beyond this, the United States persists in pressing the Ethiopian government to open political space to allow the opposition to play a meaningful and active role in parliament, to enhance the transparency and capacity of the National Electoral Board, to end detentions of opposition supporters, and institutionalize the democratic gains evidenced in the campaign period. This can only happen successfully through the full and active participation of opposition parties in this process. Question. What assistance is the U.S. prepared to offer for Ethiopians? What assistance will be made to those building on democratic gains? What assistance will be directed to the governing regime? Answer. The United States has been very active in coordinating with the international community regarding assistance to Ethiopian governing and opposition parties to support the democratization process. Collective statements by the United States and other members of the international community calling for non-violence, encouraging the rule of law, and confirming the goodwill of both the Ethiopian government and opposition aided both sides to reach out to the other in the aftermath of the parliamentary elections to stem the violence and restore order. Since the release of the final results of the May 2005 elections, by lending its good offices, the United States has played a key role in bringing the government and opposition together to bridge their differences in resolving the political stalemate. Because of this active diplomacy, the government and opposition came together for talks in late-September and early October, and a period of peaked political tension passed. U.S. encouragement resulted in major portions of the Ethiopian opposition taking their seats in parliament as an active alternative voice to the governing regime. Active U.S. engagement has also succeeded in the appointment of an independent commission to investigate the political violence of June and November 2005. We continue to push the Ethiopian government to accord expeditious due process to opposition leaders under arrest and to reach out to the opposition to move forward with reconciliation. The United States has also coordinated with the broader international community in identifying assistance to support the democratic gains that these talks have achieved. The United States, working through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is currently providing assistance to new members of parliament on parliamentary procedure and legislative drafting to build their capacity to serve as strong representatives of their constituents. Following U.S. consultations with European partners, the international community has offered expert assistance from established parliamentary democracies on parliamentary rules of procedure to assist both the Ethiopian government and opposition in reviewing a major impediment to active opposition participation in parliament--rules changes governing the tabling of agenda items in parliament. The U.S. Government is currently examining its fiscal year 2006 resources to determine the most appropriate use of technical and financial assistance to widen political space in Ethiopia. The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa stands prepared to provide media training and capacity building for both state-run and private media institutions in Ethiopia. Additionally, the United States is willing to provide technical assistance in any efforts by the Ethiopian government and opposition to develop new media laws and a media code of conduct. Finally, the United States stands prepared to resume assistance to the National Democratic Institute, International Republican Institute, and/or IFES, in the event that they are permitted to return to Ethiopia. These organizations have the unique qualifications to provide technical assistance to the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia on the administration of elections, to civil society organizations on election observation, and to political parties to promote capacity development. Question. The European Commission and the Carter Center have denounced recent elections in Ethiopia that were flawed by intimidation of opposition supporters, beatings, and killings of opposition candidates, and rigged ballot counting. Our own IRI and NDI and IFES observers were expelled prior to the election. Despite similar circumstances in Ukraine where a new election was called for by the international community, Ethiopia has not been encouraged to do so. Is there a double standard here in not encouraging similar steps? Why or why not? What message is being sent to Ethiopia and the region? Answer. There is no double standard. While the expulsion of NDI, IRI, and IFES was regrettable and protested by the United States, the Carter Center was able to field election observers to follow the May 15 parliamentary elections. Furthermore, the Carter Center was able to keep observers in place throughout the election complaints review process and the August 21 elections in the Somali region and re-runs of contested seats. The Carter Center has not denounced the May 2005 parliamentary elections in Ethiopia. While the Carter Center did highlight concerns and cases of intimidation and electoral irregularities, it also stated that these elections ``offered Ethiopian citizens a democratic choice for the first time in their long history.'' While the Carter Center did note that some results based on the complaints review process lacked credibility, it noted that the ``majority of the constituency results . . . are credible and reflect competitive conditions.'' The United States believes that the Carter Center's assessment accurately reflects the conduct of this election. The campaign period and many aspects of the May 2005 elections did show significant improvements over previous Ethiopian elections. Opposition candidates had an unprecedented ability to campaign actively and convey their messages through state media, and the record turnout and heavy pro-opposition vote show that the public truly felt that it had a choice in these elections. Certainly, irregularities were noted throughout the process, and these are issues that should be addressed by the Ethiopian people and political parties as the country further entrenches its democratic gains. The United States has encouraged candidates for office to challenge the election results which they dispute through existing legal channels and rejects pursuit of unconstitutional means as an acceptable strategy. Question. The Meles regime has been in power for 14 years and during this time there has been little economic progress in Ethiopia. Should the U.S. make economic aid contingent on land reform, privatization of nationalized businesses, and elimination of communist style economic policies? Answer. Since the early 1990s, Ethiopia has pursued a market- oriented economic development strategy. It has eliminated discriminatory treatment of the private sector in areas such as taxes, credit, and foreign trade, and worked to simplify bureaucratic regulations and procedures. Ethiopia has participated in World Bank and International Monetary Fund structural adjustment programs that promoted reforms in macroeconomic policies and procedures, including public expenditure reviews, conservative management of the money supply, tax reforms, and customs and civil service reforms. Over 220 properties have been privatized since 1994, worth $405 million, though the privatization effort has slowed since 2001. In 2003, Ethiopia formally applied for membership to the WTO. While Ethiopia remains one of the world's poorest countries, the economic assistance that the United States provides to Ethiopia is contributing to the country's efforts to prevent famines and to promote economic stability and prosperity. The United States continues to encourage economic sector reforms by providing economic assistance that contributes to establishing an environment conducive to private sector led economic growth. With U.S. Government assistance, progress has made in the areas of reforming tax administration and operations, reducing the number of days to register a business, and improving land tenure security through land certification. Other major non-humanitarian U.S. assistance programs focus on improving community level primary health care and primary education, especially for girls and mothers, fighting HIV/AIDS, increasing food security for households, enhancing agricultural productivity, capacity development for local government transparency, increasing exports and jobs, and counter-terrorism assistance. The U.S. emphasis on project support, rather than budget support, ensures that economic aid is targeted to bring about specific results on the ground. Despite its macroeconomic challenges, Ethiopia has seen some notable economic progress in recent years. The Ethiopian economy grew by 11.6 percent in 2004. In September, a British publication rated Ethiopia first among African countries for cost effectiveness for foreign direct investment, noting the country's inexpensive labor and suitable infrastructure. The economy's dependence on agriculture has decreased notably. Industry grew by 5.1 percent per year between 1992 and 2004, while the service sector achieved a real growth rate of 6.8 percent per year during this period. Ethiopia has even begun attracting international investors away from other African countries in areas such as floriculture. The Ethiopian government introduced a value-added tax in January 2003, which has broadened the tax base and increased revenues. To attract foreign investment, Ethiopia has reduced the minimum required level of investment from $500,000 to $100,000 for foreign firms and lifted minimum capital requirements altogether for those exporting over 75 percent of their output. The Government of Ethiopia is actively engaged in supporting Ethiopia's participation in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and has undertaken a number of programs and policies to promote exports, including a government credit facility, provision of serviced land, and tax incentives. The U.S. Government is working to support Ethiopia's participation in AGOA through outreach/promotion efforts and technical assistance to the private sector. Greater economic reforms are certainly necessary for Ethiopia to achieve its full development potential--whether it be continued land reform to allow land to be used as collateral for investment, private sector involvement in telecommunications, opening the country to foreign financial institutions, or privatizing more state owned enterprises. Nevertheless, the withdrawal of economic assistance--which promotes a healthy population and workforce, bolsters basic literacy and numeracy, ensures safe births, fights HIV/AIDS, promotes the adoption of improved agricultural production methods, provides assistance to chronically food insecure households, provides technical assistance for small-scale agricultural marketing, and greater transparency and good governance--would harm the Ethiopian people and do little to enhance economic progress. We believe that continued bilateral and multilateral pressure on the Ethiopian government to adopt economic reforms and liberalize its economic and investment regimes for the country's own best interest will yield the greatest results toward broad-based poverty reduction and economic prosperity. Question. What steps are the State Department and Bush administration taking or prepared to take to pressure the Meles regime to restore the rights of minority parties in Parliament? Answer. Senior United States officials have met regularly with Ethiopian government officials to seek fair and constitutional treatment of minority parties. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns has specifically urged Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to reach out to and work with the opposition. Regarding the restoration of the rights of opposition parties in parliament, our Charge d'Affaires in Addis Ababa, and senior State Department officials have met numerous times with Prime Minister Meles, the Speaker of Parliament, and other Ethiopian officials to press for a reversal of the parliamentary rule changes made in July that imposed new constraints on opposition participation in debate. Prime Minister Meles has responded that he is willing to explore this matter; the subject currently stands as an agenda item for on-going government- opposition talks. Ambassador Huddleston and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Don Yamamoto have encouraged the Speaker of Parliament to set aside at least one committee chairmanship for the opposition to fill. The Speaker has expressed openness to this suggestion. With our encouragement the Speaker of Parliament has agreed to permit an opposition whip to participate in deliberations on setting the parliamentary agenda along with the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front's whip and the Speaker. Recent parliamentary debates have shown that those opposition members of parliament who have taken their seats have had an opportunity to participate in debates on agenda items. With respect to minority parties outside of parliament, there has been little progress. While representatives from all parties from which candidates were elected have taken their seats, a significant portion of MPs-elect from the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) have continued to boycott parliament. In early November, the Ethiopian government detained senior CUD officials for advocating a change in government through extra-constitutional means. CUD officials have complained since August that their supporters were being harassed by government and security officials, that their leaders were being followed, that the government had shut down various CUD offices in rural areas, and that thousands of CUD supporters were being detained by the police. The United States has taken every opportunity to investigate these allegations and protest such actions to the Ethiopian government. We have called for the government to release all political detainees, and either charge and accord due process to, or release, detained CUD officials. We have called for the Ethiopian government to cease all harassment of opposition officials and supporters. We have called on all parties to abide by the rule of law. We will continue to push the Ethiopian government to permit opposition parties to actively participate in all legal political activities, to extend greater access for these parties to state- operated media, and to open the political space for opposition representatives to play meaningful leadership and minority roles in parliament and the regional councils to which they were elected. Question. Has the Ethiopian government investigated the June 8, 2005 killing of civilians who were protesting? Why not? Answer. After persistent pressure by the United States, including the specific request by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the Ethiopian parliament voted on November 14 to establish an independent commission to investigate the election-related violence of June 8 and early November. Parliament approved the appointment of eleven commissioners nominated by the Prime Minister on December 6. The commissioners include religious, academic, business, and judicial leaders. The commission is charged with preparing a report detailing the number of deaths, the amount of property destroyed, and whether there were violations of constitutional or human rights. The commission has 90 days in which to produce its report. Question. Is the State Department doing anything to press for an investigation of the killing of civilians and the imprisonment of thousands of political prisoners? Answer. After persistent pressure by the United States, the Ethiopian parliament voted on November 14 to establish an independent commission to investigate the election related violence of June 8 and early November. Parliament approved the eleven nominated commissioners on December 6. Senior State Department officials have protested the detention of thousands of demonstrators and opposition supporters in meetings with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and senior Ethiopian government officials in Addis Ababa and in Washington. We have called on the Ethiopian government to immediately release all political detainees. We have urged the Ethiopian government to charge those detainees whom it refuses to release, accord them full due process, and allow for access to counsel, family and international observers. The vast majority of those detained during and in the aftermath of the public demonstrations of early November have now been released. Prime Minister Meles publicly announced on December 13 that approximately 3,000 individuals would face charges in connection with anti-government protests that occurred in November. We continue to monitor the detention of opposition leaders closely and to press for access to them by representatives of the international community. Senior U.S. officials, including Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto and Charge d'affaires Vicki Huddleston, have met with immediate family members of detainees to hear their concerns. Embassy officials will attend the December 16 court hearing of detained opposition leaders, at which we expect the Government to announce formal charges.