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Financing of Terrorism on October 1, 2001. Azerbaijan is currently preparing national legislation to implement this convention and has requested U.S. assistance in drafting that and other anti-terrorism legislation. In the interim, the Government of Azerbaijan is utilizing a Presidential decree to investigate and freeze potential terrorist assets.

Before the waiver, section 907 hindered our ability to take full advantage of Azerbaijan's offer of support. Among other things, it prevented assistance to the Government of Azerbaijan in drafting and implementing anti-terrorist legislation, in building up Azerbaijan's ability to fight terrorist financing, and in helping Azerbaijan strengthen and secure its borders to prevent terrorist infiltration and exfiltration. Thanks to the leadership of Senator Brownback and Senator McConnell, Congress granted the President the authority to waive section 907 in Title II of the Kenneth M. Ludden Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs Act, 2002. The President exercised this authority on January 25. Various technical assessment assistance teams have visited Azerbaijan since January to discuss cooperation on terrorist financing, law enforcement, border control and other subjects. The Department of Defense plans to conduct its first-ever bilateral working group with the Azerbaijan Ministry of Defense in late March, following an assessment visit in late February. The State Department will brief the Appropriations Committees as required under Title II before the second week in March. Once the briefing is done, we can begin new assistance to and work in cooperation with Azerbaijan to meet our objectives in the war on terrorism.

The waiver of section 907 allows us not only to develop our relationship with Azerbaijan but also to develop our relationship with Armenia and engage both countries more deeply than we have been able to do in the past.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND OUR ALLIES ON TERRORISM

Question. Secretary Powell, could you please speak to how, and how well, the United States is reconciling our need to recruit allies with our obligation to promote respect for human rights and religious freedom?

Answer. The President has made it absolutely clear that the war on terrorism will not place our advocacy for human rights and religious freedom on hold. Indeed, the two priorities are mutually supportive. Our campaign to defeat international terrorism is a campaign to protect fundamental human rights, including religious freedom.

Nowhere is this convergence of goals clearer than in Afghanistan, where the Bonn Agreement includes protections for human rights and religious freedom. In Pakistan, our partnership has already yielded results that, if carried through successfully, may be of profound importance for religious minorities, including the reform of electoral laws to abolish the discriminatory separate electoral system for religious minorities and government efforts to reform madrassas. In China, the President will raise religious freedom as a core element of our relationship. Our engagement with countries on counterterrorism affords us more opportunities in which to raise our human rights concerns.

We recognize that our campaign against terrorism has increased our involvement with some countries whose records on religious freedom and human rights are disappointing. We are not ignoring these problems. On the contrary the campaign against terrorism has provided us with the opportunity for more active engagement with political leaders and civil society, and the fact that it is clear that we are committed over the long term increases the possibilities for moving countries in the right direction.

SUDAN

Question. Sudan has long been a particularly troublesome part of the world for human rights abuses-not the least of which include human slavery and religious persecution. I have heard conflicting reports of progress with the North and a potential easing off of American pressure to ensure self-determination and support of the South. I would urge the administration to remain aggressively involved in Sudanparticularly now as we are clamping down on world terrorism. Could you clarify the U.S. policy position in Sudan?

Answer. Sudan has indeed had a tragic history, and the suffering of its people continues. There has been no easing of pressure by the United States on the parties, and particularly on the Government of Sudan, to stop targeting civilians, end the practice of slavery and abductions, cease hostilities in the Nuba Mountains, provide for the safety of humanitarian workers, and commit itself to ending the war. In fact, pressure on these matters has been mounting. We are also demanding from the government a coalition partners in the global war on terrorism. There is no quid pro

quo-Sudan must improve both its cooperation on terrorism and bring an end to domestic abuses and the civil war if it wishes to improve relations with the United States. We remain hopeful that the modest beginnings made by the efforts of Special Envoy Danforth will soon grow into a sustainable, just peace for Sudan. To a large extent, however, the actions by the Sudanese Government over the next few months will determine the direction that U.S. policy will take.

We will continue to pursue a just and lasting peace in Sudan. We recognize many points will have to be negotiated in order to reach a solution acceptable to the aggrieved party; the southern Sudanese. Although the exact formula of a peace settlement remains to be resolved by the parties to the conflict-which could be concluded under the terms of the Intergovernmental Agency on Development (IGAD) Declaration of Principals (DOP)—no specific points, including self-determination, confederation or unity, have been taken off the negotiating table. No agreement, regardless of who brokered it, would last unless all parties agree that a just and equitable solution has been reached.

HUMAN RIGHTS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN

Question. Secretary Powell, I commend you, President Bush, and the First Lady for your leadership in making the needs and human rights of women a priority for current U.S. foreign policy on Afghanistan. Women and children are frequently the first victims in conflict situations. Are there further plans to integrate our efforts to promote the human rights of women and children into our war on terrorism and promotion of democracy abroad?

Answer. Ensuring women's human rights and those of their children strengthens democracy. It is at the core of building a civil, law-abiding society, which is an indispensable prerequisite for true democracy.

In times of conflict, women disproportionately bear the brunt of the atrocities. At the same time, women are excluded from access to power structures and participation in decision-making with regard to armed conflict, leaving them powerless to draw attention to difficulties they. experience in conflict situations and voiceless to recommend any preventive action. The USG advocates participation of women in all activities aimed at assisting or protecting them, from design to implementation ot a program.

There is need for much greater emphasis on gender-related issues, such as the human rights of women in conflict situations. We have supported initiatives (the Kosovar Women's Initiative; the Bosnian Women's Initiative, the Rwandan Women's Initiative) that aim to empower women to be able to rebuild their lives. There should be greater emphasis placed on addressing the protection and assistance needs of women in armed conflict and in the recovery from conflict as well. We have encouraged international organizations such as the ICRC to put greater focus on women conflict victims.

We are proposing to promote women's welfare and political participation as a key objective in a regional strategy for the Middle East and South Asia including, of course, Afghanistan. This includes educating women not to idealize and raise martyrs; providing them with literacy and education to make informed judgements, and become economically productive, therefore leaving them less vulnerable to messages from extremists and radicals; and providing women with sufficient opportunities for participation in public life to give them a stake in the system.

We have recently provided $60,000 for leadership training for women from the Middle East. In Syria this interactive training and participatory training focused on leadership, NGO development, strategic planning and mediation and conflict resolution. In addition, the International Visitor Program, the Fulbright Scholarship Program and the Humphrey Fellowships all promote democratic and economic development and closer ties between the U.S. and countries around the world participating in the programs. The Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' budget for FY 2002 is approximately $240 million for worldwide academic and professional exchanges, many of which involve women participants. For example, 50 percent of the Humphrey Fellows are women.

The United States plans to resume a broad range of educational and cultural exchange programs with Afghanistan, including programs focused on education and training for women. Under the auspices of the Fulbright Teacher Exchange programs, the Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs proposed to organize a one-year multi-phase program this year to enhance the skills of Afghan women teachers working in basic education. The program will bring ten women teachers to the United States to prepare them to become master teachers and teacher trainers. They will be trained in basic education, curriculum development and computer skills. Following their return to Afghanistan, they will train at least 100

more teachers in basic education skills, potentially impacting thousands of Afghan children.

The annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices is one of our major tools for raising awareness and promoting the human rights of women. These cover sexbased discrimination stemming from laws, regulations, or state practices that are inconsistent with equal access to housing, employment, education, health care, or other governmental benefits. Among the topics covered are societal violence against women, e.g., "dowry deaths," "honor killings," wife beating, rape, female genital mutilation and government tolerance of such practices. Also covered is the extent to which the law provides for, and the government enforces, equality of economic opportunity for women. Additionally, the Department has strengthened the Office of the Senior Coordinator for International Women's Issues that raises awareness of women's issues and is the focal point for the development and implementation of our pro-women agenda.

We will continue to promote inclusion of the concerns and human rights of women and children in our programs abroad, including those in war-torn countries and in our promotion of democracy around the world.

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