SOURCE: Afroamerica by David O'BrianIn the remarks by President Barack Obama at the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit at the United Nations in New York today Sep 22, 2010 (here), US President Barack Obama has renewed the commitment of the US Government to work with governments from developping countries that respect human rights, promote good governance, are accountable to their people, and move from authoritarian regime to peace and justice. He specially praised Tanzania fro good governance and democracy, Liberia and Sudan for transition to peace, Sierra Leone for entrepreneurship.
According to observers, the remarks may have been particularly directed against the Rwandan Dictator Paul Kagame, the co-chair of the UN MDG initiative, whose regime is accused of stifling democracy, repression against the opposition and those suspected of dissent, grave violations of human rights, and genocide against the Hutu majority ethnic group.
Repeating his consistent position that building democratic institutions is a prerequisite for development, President Obama said: “We know that countries are more likely to prosper when they encourage entrepreneurship; when they invest in their infrastructure; when they expand trade and welcome investment. So we will partner with countries like Sierra Leone to create business environments that are attractive to investment, that don’t scare it away. We’ll work to break down barriers to regional trade and urge nations to open their markets to developing countries. We will keep pushing for a Doha Round that is ambitious and balanced – one that works not just for major emerging economies, but for all economies.
We also know that countries are more likely to prosper when governments are accountable to their people. So we are leading a global effort to combat corruption, which in many places is the single greatest barrier to prosperity, and which is a profound violation of human rights. That’s why we now require oil, gas and mining companies that raise capital in the United States to disclose all payments they make to foreign governments. And it’s why I urged the G20 to put corruption on its agenda and make it harder for corrupt officials to steal from their own people and stifle their nation’s development.
The United States will focus our development efforts on countries like Tanzania that promote good governance and democracy; the rule of law and equal administration of justice; transparent institutions with strong civil societies; and respect for human rights. Because over the long run, democracy and economic growth go hand in hand.
We will reach out to countries making transitions from authoritarianism to democracy, and from war to peace. The people of Liberia, for example, show that even after years of war, great progress can be achieved. And as others show the courage to put war behind them – including, we hope, in Sudan – the United States will stand with those who seek to build and sustain peace.”
We also know that countries are more likely to prosper when they tap the talents of all their people. And that’s why we’re investing in the health, education and rights of women, and working to empower the next generation of women entrepreneurs and leaders. Because when mothers and daughters have access to opportunity, that’s when economies grow, that’s when governance improves.
Already on Friday August 13, 2010, the US National Security Council spokesperson Mike Hammer expressed Washington’s deep concerns about the “disturbing events” that happened in the period leading to Rwandan August 9, 2010 presidential elections (see our article on the elections by clicking here):
“We remain concerned, however, about a series of disturbing events prior to the election, including the suspension of two newspapers, the expulsion of a human rights researcher, the barring of two opposition parties from taking part in the election, and the arrest of journalists,” Mr Hammer said.
Instead of congratulating the winner, Paul Kagame, he let in known the displeasure of the US Government:
“We have expressed our concerns to the government of Rwanda, and we hope the leadership will take steps toward more democratic governance, increased respect for minority and opposition views, and continued peace.”
©AfroAmerica Network, 2010