Campaign Promises

Departments -> State -> Europe

ST-14 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, rejected 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 end-CY2016, KFOR was still protecting major Serbian Orthodox Church sites and a few monasteries such as the 14th Century Serbian Orthodox Visoki Decani Monastery near Decani, Kosovo.

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 served to inhibit the prospects for true peace and security in that region for the foreseeable future.

Following a visit to Serbia by Vice President Biden in 05/09, the U.S. committed to provide 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 was support forthcoming from the USA for Serbia as it seeks a "future in a stable and prosperous West."

The U.S. foreign aid package to Serbia, across all agencies (which saw a high of $99M in CY2001), was provided as follows during the Obama Administration:
FY2010 - $43M
FY2011 - $61M
FY2012 - $32M
FY2013 - $35M
FY2014 - $36M
FY2015 - $28M
FY2016 - $33M

The need to maintain a KFOR security presence in Serbia and the provision of aid below the promised $50M per year during most of President Obama's two terms in office are indicative of the slow progress Serbia is making toward achieving true peace and security. As of end-CY2016, Serbia remained as a candidate for membership in the European Union, a process started in CY1998.

This promise was fulfilled.
ST-15 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:The so-called Cypriot issue or conflict is an ongoing dispute between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots since the CY1974 Turkish military invasion and occupation of the northern third of Cyprus. Historically, relations between the USA and Cyprus have been considered good-to-excellent and the USA routinely uses Cypriot military bases, ports and airports such as the Port of Limassol and the Larnaca International Airport to support its activities in the Middle East.

As of end-CY2010, the Obama Administration, according to the U.S. Embassy Nicosia web site, still viewed the status quo on Cyprus as unacceptable, but preferred that United Nations inter-communal negotiations lead the way to achieve a fair and permanent settlement between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.

In FY2005, the USA provided approximately $36M in foreign aid to Cyprus (across all agencies) 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 years later under President Obama, foreign aid to Cyprus took a big hit as depicted below:
FY2010 - $15.0M
FY2011 - $9.0M
FY2012 - $1.2M
FY2013 - $4.8M
FY2014 - $880K
FY2015 - $420K
FY2016 - $303K

The Obama Administration did not show any "U.S. leadership" needed to resolve the Cypriot issue. Rather, Turkey was recognized by the Obama Administration as a key ally in the Middle East, an ally that continually moved toward closer relationships with Iran, Russia and others not considered allies of the USA, 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." That status quo was maintained through end-CY2016.

This promise was not fulfilled.
ST-16 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, businessman Declan Kelly, in 09/09. This position had remained vacant during the preceding Bush Administration. Mr. Kelly resigned in 05/11 and was replaced by former Senator Gary Hart in 10/14. Mr. Hart served as Special Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland until the end of the Obama Administration in 01/17.

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 with the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the European Union as contributors. This fund provides grants and loans to businesses to improve their economy, redress inequalities of employment opportunity, and improve cross-border business and community ties.

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. Subsequent year funding for the IFI was as follows:
FY2012 - $5M
FY2013 - $0
FY2014 - $2.1M
FY2015 - $1.25M
FY2016 - $750K

This promise was fulfilled.