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Press Release - 2006 U.S.-EU Summit Progress Report on Political and Security Issues

June 21, 2006


Overall, our relationship has continued to develop in a very positive way in the follow up to the 2005 Summit. We have put the relationship to work by concentrating on specific issues. More effective dialogue, often in advance of policy formulation, has led to convergence on some key issues.

We can identify genuine progress in several areas, including those targeted by the joint declarations adopted at the 2005 Summit:

Key Accomplishments

Democracy and Human Rights

Beginning with Ukraine in late 2004, we have seen the development of a co-operation in our dialogue on democracy promotion, both in the long-term and with a more immediate focus. Intense exchanges took place on countries like Lebanon, Belarus, Burma, Ukraine, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Yemen. In each case the nature and level of our dialogue has varied, from high-level political exchanges to working level desk-to-desk contacts and co-operation on the ground in ensuring coherence in assistance programs. We are convinced of the importance and strength of delivering the same political messages and coordinating possible actions in certain countries.

We have pursued dialogue on country resolution strategies in the UN Commission of Human Rights and the UNGA Third Committee, where we succeeded in having a number of country resolutions adopted. We have had intensive consultations during the UN negotiations on the establishment of the Human Rights Council, and held regular consultations on human rights. We worked together to help establish a UN Democracy Fund to promote and consolidate new and restored democracies and a Peacebuilding Commission to work in an advisory capacity on specific post-conflict situations. We have moved forward on the management reform agenda outlined in the World Summit Outcome Document. We have supported election monitoring missions by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and collaborated on initiatives to stem trafficking in persons.

Regional issues

We have seen a period of profound and rapid change in the Middle East with the Gaza disengagement followed by elections in the occupied Palestinian territories and in Israel. The United States and EU have held regular consultations, in particular within the Quartet, on the evolving situation. Hamas election victory in the Palestinian elections means we are faced with an entirely new situation, reinforcing the need for close U.S.-EU co-operation. This was in evidence in the successful conclusion of negotiations to open the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, an agreement overseen by EU monitors and reinforced by assistance to Palestinian customs. On Syria/Lebanon, we have developed a joint policy within the UN aimed at ending Syria's interference in Lebanon, and we have maintained parallel pressure on Damascus to comply with the requests by the UNSC in connection with the murder of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. We have worked together to prepare the international conference in support of Lebanese reform program. On the Broader Middle East and North Africa initiative, launched by the G8, we have worked together to produce concrete results in the Forum for the Future meetings, launching or supporting a number of initiatives such as the Foundation for the Future and the Fund for the Future, and initiatives supporting civil society organizations and educational reforms.

On the Western Balkans, we have coordinated our messages very closely to support and accompany the status process in Kosovo, cooperating closely with UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari and with the UNMIK. We have pursued the promotion of constitutional and police reforms, and, in coordination with NATO, defence reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as consolidation of democracy in Serbia and Montenegro and preparations for a Montenegrin independence referendum that ensured the outcome was accepted as legitimate. We have underlined that full cooperation with ICTY is an essential element for integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures.

We have sought to engage with Russia on internal and neighborhood matters, notably democratic freedoms, respect for human rights, civil society and transparency and a responsible approach to energy security matters. We welcomed Ukraine's free and fair parliamentary elections held in March. We both have concluded agreements toward Ukraine's WTO accession bid. We have worked closely on Belarus in order to develop complementary long-term strategies to support democratization, civil society, opposition and democratic forces, to increase access to independent media and to improve the human rights situation. We delivered strong joint messages both before and after the March elections. We have taken joint steps to expand travel restrictions and to impose targeted financial sanctions against those responsible for the violations of international electoral standards, human rights and the crackdown on civil society and the democratic opposition.

Afghanistan has reached a critical point in its stabilization. We both have provided financial assistance for Afghani parliamentary elections. At the London Conference on Afghanistan in February 2006, we renewed our commitments to Afghan reconstruction and support for the Afghanistan Compact, which provides a blueprint for building greater security, further progress on rule of law, governance and human rights, and economic and social development. We cooperate in a number of sectors vital to Afghanistan s development, such as counter-narcotics, security sector and judicial reform, civil society development, human rights, education and culture. Twenty-three EU member states participate in ISAF, and the EU has contributed over $3.3 billion to Afghan reconstruction and development since 2002. The U.S. has requested over $1.1 billion for Afghanistan in its 2007 budget request. Since 2001, the U.S. has committed over $10.3 billion to Afghanistan.

On Iraq, we hosted the U.S.-EU Conference on Iraq in Brussels in June 2005 to build a renewed international partnership with Iraq, to support Iraq's political transition process, to encourage its economic recovery and reconstruction and to help establish the rule of law and public order. This conference was attended by over 80 ministerial-level delegations and demonstrated support for the Iraqi Transitional government and people in the period leading up to the elections in the latter half of 2005. The EU-Iraq Joint Political Declaration committed the EU to holding a senior-level dialogue with Iraq. The EU agreed to open a Baghdad office, and broadened the scope of its assistance beyond already substantial aid and reconstruction programs by supporting the electoral and constitutional process and opening negotiations on a trade and co-operation agreement. The European Commission, which provided 518 million in assistance from the end of 2003 to 2005, plans to provide an additional 200 million in 2006 for a total of 718 million. The EU provided electoral experts for the December 2005 elections and trained approximately 300 international experts. Through the EU Integrated Rule of Law Mission for Iraq, EUJUST LEX, the EU provides a significant number of Iraqi criminal justice officials with professional learning opportunities. The mission is a crucial complement to other international efforts in the area of rule of law in Iraq. The United States provided substantial support for the December 2005 elections through NGOs, which trained approximately fifteen thousand election monitors. In conjunction with the UN, the United States provided the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) $41 million to support a variety of election programs, including training of election administrators, logistics, voter education, public outreach and conflict mitigation. As of early June, the United States had provided $14.5 billion of the $20.9 billion it had committed to support the reconstruction of Iraq, and expects to complete the large infrastructure projects it had undertaken by the end of 2006. U.S. assistance programs are increasingly focused on building Iraqi government capacity, both at the ministerial and local levels.

On Iran, joint efforts achieved a strong international consensus that Iran must not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapons capability and must comply with its international obligations, including a full and sustained suspension of enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and a return to negotiations. We coordinated closely our political messages, where the EU has taken the leading role and the U.S. has supported EU diplomacy.

We have strengthened our cooperation on Africa, in order to promote peace, democracy and human development, in particular by enhancing AU capacity for peace support operations, backing the implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement in Sudan, supporting AU leadership in the Darfur crisis through the UN and other international partners and organizations, including NATO, pursuing a resolution of the border stalemate between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and supporting the Somalia reconciliation process. We have also worked together on a regional approach to peace and security in West Africa, by enhancing conflict management in ECOWAS and supporting the peace process on the Democratic Republic of Congo, namely through the assistance to the organization of the coming elections.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, we have worked very closely to promote stability and security in Haiti through the deployment of a UN mission including troops and police officers; to advance democracy by supporting the organization of successful presidential and parliamentary elections in February and April 2006; and to address critical humanitarian needs, strengthen governance, and foster broad-based economic recovery by providing humanitarian and development assistance to the population and local authorities.

On East Asia, we have continued our strategic dialogue on East Asia that includes security and military issues as well as economic and other issues. We have also advocated regional integration and an inclusive East Asian Community process that complements existing fora.

Security Issues

Our cooperation in the fight against terrorism has continued unabated. Well-established working relations at all levels have enabled us to deepen our mutual understanding and information sharing. We have continued to grapple together with important issues related to the fight against terrorism and the role of the UN, terrorist financing, radicalization and recruitment into terrorism. Our continued contacts have helped to create new avenues for strengthening coordination on provision of technical assistance to third countries. In particular, we welcome our in-depth dialogue on international and domestic legal frameworks that govern individual and collective responses to terrorism and on the need for states to ensure that any measures taken to combat terrorism comply with their obligations under international law, including human rights law, refugee law and International Humanitarian Law.

In the area of Justice and Home Affairs cooperation, the United States and all EU member states have signed bilateral instruments accompanying the U.S.-EU Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements, setting the stage for prompt ratification and entry into force of these important new law enforcement agreements. Negotiations between the United States and Eurojust started on a cooperation agreement. Jointly we have recognized the importance of effective border management and the need for effective exchanges of information to combat trans-national threats while protecting personal privacy. We are working to ensure the Interpol Stolen and Lost Travel Document database is populated with pertinent data from the United States and all EU Member States. We have had extensive discussions regarding the extension of visa free travel to EU Member States not in the Visa Waiver Program.

In our critical efforts to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, we continued to make individual and collective efforts on implementation of key multilateral arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation treaties, core regimes and initiatives including the G8 s Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, the Proliferation Security Initiative, and the Global Threat Reduction Initiative. Through our action to promote full implementation of UNSCR 1540, we worked to make it an effective tool to prevent proliferation of dangerous materials and WMD to both state and non-state actors. The United States and EU worked together to obtain the Security Council s unanimous adoption of UNSCR 1673, which extends for two years the mandate of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540. We took actions to put in place the legal and regulatory infrastructure to prevent the proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery, particularly to terrorists. We launched a dialogue on compliance and verification issues where we undertook to examine a number of concrete challenges to some specific disarmament and non-proliferation regimes, and have agreed to continue this exchange focusing on individual countries of concern and specific Treaty regimes. We have begun discussions in the run-up to the 2006 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention Review Conference. We also worked together to strengthen the NPT and IAEA, including through the Committee on Safeguards and Verification and by promoting adherence to safeguard agreements and the Additional Protocol and to promote the negotiation in the Conference of Disarmament of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for military purposes (FMCT). We reaffirmed the value of continuing consultations on arms control, non-proliferation, and disarmament issues and will seek ways of strengthening coordination.

On crisis management, we have begun a positive and mutually beneficial dialogue. Working contacts between EU institutions and their U.S. counterparts have multiplied, both in Brussels and in crisis areas, contributing to an efficient cooperation on specific issues such as DRC and Sudan, where the EU and NATO have helped support the AMIS mission. Informal consultation and cooperation mechanisms have been established between EU representatives and the U.S. Coordinator for Stabilization and Reconstruction. For the first time the EU has hosted a series of briefings for the yearly U.S. politico-military conference in Brussels. We look forward to closer cooperation in early warning in order to identify potential crises at an early stage and respond effectively to resolve conflict and prevent instability.

George W. Bush, Press Release - 2006 U.S.-EU Summit Progress Report on Political and Security Issues Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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