Campaign Promises

Cabinet/Departments -> State -> Europe

The Promise: "...will insist that the rights of the Serb community in Kosovo and the security of Serbian religious sites be vigilantly protected and will work to encourage Serbia to seek its future in a stable and prosperous West."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "A Stronger Partnership with Europe for a Safer America" dated 10/14/08.
Status:According to UN Security Council Resolution 1244, Serbia has the right to place up to 1,000 personnel at the most important religious and historical sites in Kosovo. The Kosovan Minister of the Interior, Bajram Regjepi, rejects this engagement of Serbian personnel.

The NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) announced in 08/10 that it would hand over the responsibility for protection of most Serbian monasteries and churches in Kosovo and Metohija to the largely ethnic-Albanian Kosovo police. The announcement was immediately condemned by the Serbian Orthodox Church. As of early-CY2013, KFOR was protecting three major Serbian Orthodox Church sites and a few monasteries.

Following a visit to Serbia by Vice President Biden in 05/09, a visit designed to energize U.S.-Serbia relations, the U.S. provides Serbia with an annual $50M aid package to support reforms needed for Serbia's integration in the European Union (EU) and other global institutions. In this area, there is support forthcoming from the USA for Serbia as it seeks a "future in a stable and prosperous West."

However, U.S. silence on the control of security of Serbian religious/historical sites by the mostly ethnic-Albanian Kosovo police, despite the provisions of UN Resolution 1244, is a situation that will serve to inhibit the prospects for true peace in that region for the foreseeable future.

The Obama Administration is considered to have made only initial progress in the fulfillment of this promise.
The Promise: "...will show U.S. leadership in seeking to negotiate a political settlement on Cyprus...believes strongly that Cyprus should remain a single, sovereign country in which each of the two communities on the island is able to exercise substantial political authority within a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "A Stronger Partnership with Europe for a Safer America" dated 10/14/08.
Status:As of end-CY2010, the Obama Administration, according to the U.S. Embassy Nicosia web site, still views the status quo on Cyprus as unacceptable, but prefers that United Nations intercommunal negotiations lead the way to achieve a fair and permanent settlement between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.

The USA provides approximately $11M annually to Cyprus to reduce tensions and promote peace and cooperation between the two communities, and creating conditions conducive to resolution of the long-standing Cyprus conflict by reuniting the island.

A few visits, a few dollars, and lots of words aside, the Obama Administration is not showing any "U.S. leadership" needed to resolve the Cypriot issue. Rather, Turkey is recognized by the Obama Administration as a key ally in the Middle East, one that continually progresses toward closer relationships with Iran, Russia and other Middle Eastern states not necessarily considered close allies of the United States, to the detriment of any resolution of the Cyprus partition situation.

Frustration on the lack of U.S. leadership for a political settlement on Cyprus was articulated by the President of the "Justice of Cyprus" International Coordinating Committe, Philip Christopher, on 06/04/12 in Washington, D.C. when he stated: "We are very disappointed with the administration. It has basically maintained the status quo...they have offered the same rhetoric."

This promise has not been fulfilled.
The Promise: "They [Obama and Biden] recognize that the historic political achievements of 2007 must be followed by economic development that benefits all of the people of Northern Ireland...will work closely with the Irish Taoiseach, the British Prime Minister, and the Northern Ireland Executive to continue on this path of peace and prosperity."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "A Stronger Partnership with Europe for a Safer America" dated 10/14/08.
Status:The first step in fulfilling this promise was the appointment of the U.S. Special Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland, Declan Kelly, in 09/09.

The Special Envoy's mission was to work with the Northern Ireland Government and private sectors in fostering new opportunities for trade and investment. Relations between the Obama Administration and the Taoiseach (Irish head of government/prime minister) and President have been cooperative.

The Obama Administration has also been supportive of the International Fund for Ireland (IFI), established in CY1986, which provides grants and loans to businesses to improve their economy, redress inequalities of employment opportunity, and improve cross-border business and community ties. Donor countries include the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the European Union.

The U.S. contribution to the IFI in FY2010 was $17M, up from $15M in FY2009. For FY2011, $18M was appropriated under the Continuing Appropriations Act (H.R. 3081). But this funding was eliminated under Public Law 112-6 on 03/18/11. Instead, the IFI received $2.5M from the FY2011 Economic Support Fund in the form of a grant.
For FY2012, President Obama requested $2.5M for the IFI but no specific amount was allocated by Congress. For FY2013, the House Appropriations Committee recommended zero funds for the IFI.

As a precursor to diminished U.S. funding of the IFI as depicted above, on 06/17/09, Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced legislation (H.R. 2915) that would ban further U.S. contributions to the International Fund for Ireland. While this bill expired with the 111th Congress, Congressman Chaffetz reintroduced it as H.R. 464 on 01/26/11. It too died when the 112th Congress expired at the end of CY2012.

But at this stage in Ireland's history, it is time for Ireland to make its own way to ensure its internal peace and prosperity.

This promise has been fulfilled.