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Diplomacy in Action

USG Assistance to Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa

FPC Briefing
Dr. Reuben Brigety
Deputy Assistant Secretary, ureau of Population, Refugees and Migration
Foreign Press
Washington, DC
July 14, 2010


Date: 07/14/2010 Location: Washington D.C. Description: Dr. Reuben Brigety, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration briefs on USG assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons in Africa at the Washington Foreign Press Center.  - State Dept Image

10:30 A.M. EDT

DR. BRIGETY: Great. Well, again, thank you very much for coming this morning. As mentioned, my name is Reuben Brigety. I’m the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, which is the bureau in the State Department which manages all the U.S. Government’s assistance to displaced people around the world, but more broadly acts as the principal humanitarian policy advisor to the Secretary of State. There are three deputy assistant secretaries in our bureau. Each of us has a regional portfolio in addition to several functional portfolios. My regional portfolio is Africa, so I’m responsible for all USG assistance to refugees and IDPs and other people of concern on the continent, which, as we view it, encompasses some 11 million people, about 2 million refugees, about 9 million IDPs and other people of concern. And the U.S. Government does about $350 million worth of assistance to these people in Africa every year. That number varies a little bit, but it’s basically in that neighborhood.

I am reasonably new to the Department. As a political appointee, having started in December, I have – for the first three months of my tenure I was working on Haiti issues because Haiti was an all-hands evolution for the Department so I got to do something with that, and then back on my brief full-time since mid March.

But what I would like to do is talk to you a little bit about today of my most recent visits and the issues that we are facing in support of refugees and IDPs and humanitarian protection generally. In March, I was in Kenya and Djibouti examining the quite profound refugee crisis that has originated in Somalia. As you all know, there are at least 270,000 refugees that are in camps in northeastern Kenya, arguably as many as 100,000 or so urban refugees based mostly in Nairobi, some in Mombasa. The camp populations, particularly at Dadaab refugee camp, increase about 5,000 a month.

We remain increasingly concerned about the humanitarian situation inside south central Somalia, it’s an impact on the region, principally in our partners in Kenya and Djibouti, Ethiopia as well. Obviously, we share very much the Kenyan Government’s concern about the potential destabilizing effect of the increase in these populations, and yet we also remain incredibly grateful for the strong host the Kenyan Government has been towards refugees generally.

In April, I was able to go to Algeria as part of a international multi-donor mission to examine the Sahrawi refugee populations in the Tindouf refugee camps in western Algeria. The precise number of refugees in those camps has not been determined because those numbers are very sensitive politically* for a variety of reasons, but we do know that the Sahrawi refugees have been in those camps for some 34 years. The political circumstances that have led – not only led to the displacement but indeed perpetuate the displacement are essentially frozen at the moment and have been for several years with some dispute between the Moroccans on the one side and the Polisario Front on the other with regard to the implementation of the 1991 UN Security Council resolution that is to call for a referendum to determine the final status of the western Sahara territory and has yet to be established.

The U.S. Government is the largest single donor in support of the Sahrawi refugee population there. Not only we provide them with general humanitarian support, but we are also very supportive of the confidence-building measures that are designed to reunite Sahrawi families that are in the camps with those families and remain behind in the territories of the western Sahara.

Just two weeks ago, I returned from a two-week trip to Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda to examine the displacement population situation there. I was in the DRC just shortly before the independence celebration, so I also had the great pleasure of being in DRC during the celebration of World Refugee Day, and as part of those celebrations UNHCR organized an 8-kilometer walk through downtown Kinshasa of about 200 people that was I was very pleased to be able to participate in.

After meetings in Kinshasa with the special representative of the secretary general, UNHCR, and others, I flew to Goma and spent several days in the eastern part of the country where violence continues in north Kivu and south Kivu, leading to an internally displaced population of almost 2 million people. In particular, the incidence of sexual and gender-based violence in eastern DRC is profound. Congo, as you know, is informally referred to as the rape capital of the world, given the significant sexual violence that continues to be perpetrated against women. We know that close to half of those rapes are conducted by the Congolese military itself, the FARDC. Close to half is also conducted by the FDLR, another major rebel group, the remaining 10 percent or so by various other armed groups.

Sexual and gender-based violence is a particular priority for this Secretary of State, Secretary Clinton having visited eastern DRC herself in August 2009. Part of my visit was not only to continue to highlight the issue, but indeed to continue to engage with our partners on the ground to determine what more we could do to help improve civilian protection in eastern DRC.

Following my trip to the Congo, I drove over the border and spent a couple of days in Rwanda as well. There are some 53,000 or so Congolese refugees inside Rwanda. UNHCR, the Government of Rwanda, and the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo have signed a tripartite agreement to begin to facilitate the return of those Congolese refugees, mostly Tutsi in origin, back to the Congo. Those camps in Rwanda have been in existence for about five to seven years, some longer than others. There are three different camps. I was able to visit the Nyabiheke camp, which has about 14,000 people, although it was originally designed for 4,000.

So in summary, I say those things just to let you know what I – about my most recent travels. As I say, I’m responsible for all our refugee situations across the continent in conjunction with not only our Africa office in PRM that I supervise but indeed with our refugee coordinators and with the great support of our various embassies across the continent, as well as in partnership, obviously, with our host governments.

At PRM, we are dedicated to basically doing two (inaudible) things. One is to continue to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to those people that need it, and the other is to continue to work politically for those durable solutions which allow those refugees either to return home or to be resettled within a third country or indeed be integrated locally in their host country so that they can begin normal lives. These are profound challenges in most places we work. We know that by technical definition, protracted refugee situations – or PRS – are situations in which people have been in displacement for five years or more. Virtually all of the refugee situations on the continent of Africa are protracted refugee situations, and they are protracted because one of those three permanent solutions – either resettlement, local integration, or repatriation to home countries – proves politically very difficult to achieve.

So part of what we do, as I mentioned, is to continue to engage in humanitarian diplomacy as a means of achieving permanent solutions for these people that are displaced and in desperate need of (inaudible).

So that is my basic summary, and with that I’d be more than happy to take your questions.

QUESTION: Regarding the Sahrawi refugees, what were the discussions you had with the Algerians or with the Sahrawi authorities?

DR. BRIGETY: Sure. I did not have any discussions with Algerian authorities there. We had multiple discussions with Sahrawi authorities in the camps. The Polisario Front, as you know, feels very strongly that – well, let me take a step back. I mentioned to you of the three durable solutions that are available to refugee populations: resettlement to a third country, integrating locally in the host country, or being repatriated to their country of origin.

The Polisario Front insists that the only option that is amenable to them is the repatriation to their home country, what they consider to be their home country, in the Western Sahara under the flag of the free Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. In order – if that were to happen, there clearly would have to be an agreement between the Government of Morocco and the Polisario Front to initiate the referendum that is called for in the 1991 UN Security Council resolution. That – so the fact that both parties cannot agree on the terms and the timing of that referendum is the main obstacle which continues to perpetuate the displacement of the Polisario.

So our conversations basically revolved around two main themes: One, the insistence of the Polisario Front that they have been displaced for over 34 years, their desire for the international community to be supportive in finding a political solution. The second part of our conversation had to do with ways in which we could continue to be supportive of the immediate and near-term humanitarian needs of these people that are displaced, in part because the Polisario had always assumed that their displacement would be temporary. The humanitarian conditions in the camp were always approached from essentially a temporary sort of solution. So for example, things like water infrastructure in the camp was not sufficiently built up in a permanent way over time because they never thought that their displacement would be permanent, for example.

So – but it’s clear that the incredibly austere conditions in which they live requires improved investment in infrastructure like water, investments in improving the pipeline for food infrastructure and food distribution. And those are the sorts of things that were discussed not only with me, but indeed with the other governments that were represented in the donor mission. I should say that the government – our response to the entreaties on the part of the Polisario on the political side of the equation was that the Government of the United States continues to support the UN-led process, continued to support in a mutually agreed upon resolution of the problem. We remain prepared to continue to facilitate and support the work of the SRSG there. And we very, very much hope that a political solution is found so that both parties can be satisfied. And indeed, this – one of the longest humanitarian displacements in the world, indeed, can be brought to a close in reasonably short order.

QUESTION: You also mentioned earlier that the U.S. is the biggest donor to the refugees in the Sahara.

DR. BRIGETY: That’s correct.

QUESTION: I wonder how much is the contribution – are your contributions to the (inaudible)?

DR. BRIGETY: I don’t have that number in my head. I think it’s close to around $10 million. But we – but I have your details and we will get that information back to you before the end of the day.

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you.

DR. BRIGETY: Yes, sir.

QUESTION: Mine was basically mainly on Kenyan refugees because I – you said you (inaudible)?

DR. BRIGETY: Yes.

QUESTION: And I’m sure you saw the deplorable condition that the refugees are living in.

DR. BRIGETY: Yes.

QUESTION: One of the most – the problem that these people are facing is overcrowding.

DR. BRIGETY: Yes.

QUESTION: And these numbers keep coming in all the days.

DR. BRIGETY: Right. Right.

QUESTION: I don’t know what your organization is doing mainly in conjunction with UNHCR. Are you working in any ways to expand the camps?

DR. BRIGETY: Yes.

QUESTION: And also to be with – the problems that arise as – from overcrowding to do with –

DR. BRIGETY: Yes.

QUESTION: -- medical services and (inaudible), lack of education in these camps.

DR. BRIGETY: Yes.

QUESTION: And on top of that, are you working with – in any way with the Kenyan Government?

DR. BRIGETY: Yes. Those are all excellent questions. I think you’re absolutely right to raise the question of overcrowding in the camps in Dadaab. As you may know, there are basically three camps in Dadaab: Dagahaley, Ifo, and Hagadera, I believe, is the third camp. We have – had been in discussions for many, many months with the Government of Kenya on the expansion of the Ifo camp as a means of improving – of reducing the overcrowding in the camps. Just after I returned from that trip – and I think it’s sort of a coincidental manner, in early April – the local authorities in Dadaab agreed to the distribution of additional land at the Ifo camp to create basically a second Ifo camp, which is meant to hold – I believe the number is up to 80,000 additional refugees. Not only – which would serve not only to sort of ease overcrowding in existing camps, but indeed to – obviously to serve as excess capacity to absorb more refugees across the border.

That had been a major part of our humanitarian diplomacy for many, many months. My boss, Eric Schwartz, was in Kenya toward the middle of last year and Under Secretary Maria Otero was there earlier this year advocating for that. So we’re very, very grateful for the Government of Kenya and for the local authorities especially in Dadaab supporting that.

UNHCR has put out an appeal of, I think, around $29 million. We can go ahead – we will sort of get the precise figures for you later today – to support the Ifo camp expansion and the other things like improving sort of water infrastructure and security, all the sorts of things that are necessary in order to provide for an additional camp. We will contribute close to $10 million as a government in support of that camp expansion. And we continue to remain ready to do so.

I did indeed speak with members of the Government of Kenya on various refugee-related issues in Nairobi. While I was there, I met with Minister Saitoti, the minister of interior while I was there, as well as the new minister for the – for immigration and refugee affairs. We agreed clearly of the need – of the potential security threat of this porous border with the inability to identify, in many cases, people that are coming and going across the border, unless indeed they actually come to the camps and remain to be registered.

As a part of that, we have continued to suggest to the Government of Kenya that they should reopen a screening center at Liboi, which they have agreed to do, indeed agreed to do, while I was there at part of their press conference. We have said that we are prepared to be supportive financially of the reopening of that screening center, although we’ve not had a specific – conversations about specific numbers, but as part of our overall partnership with the Government of Kenya, we will be reasonably prepared to do so.

Were those – was that all the questions you had initially or did I miss –

QUESTION: Yeah, pretty much. But are you aware that the Kenyan-Somalia border is closed?

DR. BRIGETY: Yes, yes.

QUESTION: And the rest – and the reasoning for Somalis to still come into Kenya because of the situation –

DR. BRIGETY: Yes.

QUESTION: -- that is still volatile –

DR. BRIGETY: Yes.

QUESTION: -- in Somalia? Were you in any discussion with the Kenyan Government on ways to maybe systematically open the borders and screen the refugees that –

DR. BRIGETY: Right. We were not in discussions with the Government of Kenya with regard to reopening the border because clearly, that is the sovereign prerogative of the Government of Kenya. The point we did make, though, is that even though the border was closed, as you mentioned, people continue to come. And as such, we suggested that it is important to be able to have some way of screening those people that continue to come despite the closure of the border.

As such, it is important to note that the outpost at Liboi, for example, that I mentioned, is not a reception center because the Government of Kenya is not formally receiving people across the border. It is indeed a screening center to identify those people that are coming, and therefore, also work in partnership with those people that have legitimate refugee claims and can make their way to the camps in Dadaab in order to receive the assistance they require as refugees under international refugee law.

MODERATOR: Any other questions?

DR. BRIGETY: Yes, please.

QUESTION: First of all, how would you – how would you look upon the pressure that piracy is placing on refugees in Somalia? And as an outcome of it, the (inaudible) of refugees in Kenya and also the problems in Uganda we had – you had with –

DR. BRIGETY: Yes.

QUESTION: -- the effects of (inaudible).

DR. BRIGETY: Right.

QUESTION: And presence of Lord’s Resistance Army –

DR. BRIGETY: Yes.

QUESTION: -- also in conjunction with (inaudible). And how much is tha, in the view of your policy towards aiding refugees? Because to my mind, that is a new point of tension which is building up in northern Uganda, and even expanding in the area northwest.

DR. BRIGETY: Yes, yes. Well, to take your points in turn, with regard to piracy and refugees, we do not see a clear link between the piracy issue on the one hand, and the refugee issue on the other, except that both of them are essentially either caused or facilitated by the same instability that is occurring in south central Somalia.

Obviously, the failure of a strong, centralized government – or a strong government, period – in south central Somalia creates the lawlessness in which the piracy problem can thrive. And also, the failure of a centralized government that can create and establish authority across south central Somalia, creates – helps to facilitate the fighting, which makes people seek refuge outside of Somalia, either in Kenya for the most part, which will also extend to Djibouti, and even in Ethiopia.

So in that regard, we remain deeply concerned about the fighting in south central Somalia, both for its own sake politically, militarily, but also for the law enforcement issue it creates with regard to piracy, and also for the spill on humanitarian effects that it causes.

With regard to the problem of Uganda, there have been reports that Al-Shabaab is responsible for the bombing in Kampala. They have – various Al-Shabaab groups have claimed responsibility for it. Clearly, this demonstrates the – or only goes to further highlight the challenge, the profound security challenge, that Al-Shabaab creates not only inside Somalia, but now potentially – it seems potentially in the region. And as such, certainly from our perspective as humanitarians, it’s a major problem that dramatically complicates our ability to provide humanitarian assistance to people that desperately need it inside south central Somalia.

On the Lord’s Resistance Army, it is clear that the LRA is a massive threat to civilians throughout that entire swath of territory. To a lesser extent than northern Uganda, because of the effectiveness of the Ugandan People’s Defense Force, but certainly to a very large extent in northeastern DRC, in parts of southern Sudan, and also in parts of the Central African Republic, increasingly.

As you may know, President Obama signed a piece of legislation into law the middle of last month requiring the State Department and even the entire U.S. Government to develop a strategy to counter the LRA, and to present that strategy to him no later than November. The Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration continues to be engaged with our other colleagues across the whole of the U.S. Government in the development of that strategy, principally, from our perspective, on ways in which civilian protection can be enhanced, even as other means are explored to address the threat that the LRA poses to civilians.

QUESTION: Which are the major values of providing aid to the refugees in that area, from your agency?

DR. BRIGETY: Sure. Well, we – the U.S. Government – and PRM, in particular – provides about $45 million of assistance to DRC in support of refugees and IDPs, generally. And the way in which we do our work is through – by funding major partners. So, for example, we provide a sizeable portion of that money to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and also the International Committee of the Red Cross, which are two of our major refugee partners in DRC. And that funding goes to support everything from gender-based violence sorts of activities, whether it’s listening to so-called listening houses, or maison d’ecoute, which are effectively kind of homes to provide psychosocial and other sorts of support to women who are raped, obviously support sort of traditional refugee activities through shelter, healthcare, water, food, et cetera.

But we are increasingly exploring other ways to support protection of civilians in that regard. We are working with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to support so-called joint protection teams, which are teams of not only human rights activitists and lawyers and documenters, but teams that will work closely with – now MONUSCO, the UN peacekeeping operation, as a means of not only documenting human rights abuses, but also tracking them so that you can actually sort of have a very clear idea of – have a much clearer picture of where those abuses are being perpetrated.

We are exploring other means, for example, of – like, we just recently funded an action with UNOPS, the UN force of the UN, which basically sort of does contact support, as a means of doing road rehabilitation in certain parts in DRC, particularly in the parts that are affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army, so that there is greater access to these communities. Because part of the reason the LRA preys on many of these civilian communities is because they’re so isolated. And part of our protection strategy is if we could actually improve road access to make these communities less isolated, that makes them less vulnerable to LRA attacks, both as a means of ensuring that humanitarian actors and peacekeepers, for that matter, can have access to those areas, but also it’s a means of ensuring that those people that are in those areas can get out much more readily if they need to. And then we are beginning to explore any number of other strategies, as well.

What I would say is that we are deeply concerned about the LRA threat. We – this is a problem that has existed for two decades. I think that the initiative and the political will this president has shown by signing the LRA legislation into law demonstrates just how seriously we take it, and we very much hope that in the not-too-distant future, the LRA will no longer be in a position to threaten civilians in the very grotesque way it has for the last two decades.

QUESTION: Thank you.

DR. BRIGETY: Sure.

Yes.

QUESTION: Okay. I’ll – bringing it back to Kenya, and this time around, I will talk about the refugee status from Sudan. As you know, the camps that were in northern Kenya that were (inaudible) for Sudanese refugees has slowly been closed –

DR. BRIGETY: Right.

QUESTION: -- as repatriation goes back to Sudan.

DR. BRIGETY: Right.

QUESTION: My question is: UNHCR has been focusing on closing the camps and taking them back. We have a very large population of Sudanese refugees who have settled (inaudible). I don’t know why – what is the criteria of dealing with those ones who are not – who are not in camps?

DR. BRIGETY: Right. Well, the problem of urban refugees is a problem of increasing concern, not simply in Kenya, but indeed, in many places around the world, certainly around Africa.

There are – refugees often try to settle in urban areas for a variety of different reasons, either because camps are overcrowded or because they find economic opportunities more readily available in urban areas. It is a challenge. It is, frankly, a great challenge for us to address for a variety of reasons. Often, these populations are much harder to identify. They – it’s – and when they are spread out in an urban area, as opposed to in a particular camp, it frankly makes it harder to deliver sort of basic services like food distribution or access to healthcare or even education if they are not in a position to access those services on par with other local citizens in the country in which they inhabit.

The – while there are – while UNHCR has been in the business of closing down a variety of camps in sort of the northern, northwestern portion of Kenya, there is still a camp in Kakuma, as you know that houses the majority of the remaining Sudanese population, which not only continues to exist, but indeed, is getting somewhat larger, both as principally as – there was a big transfer about a year or so ago of refugees from Dadaab to Kakuma as a means of trying to decrease the overcrowding and the congestion in Dadaab.

So this is a very general way of saying that you’re right to raise the issue. We continue to work with UNHCR in ways so that – prove our response to urban refugees in Kenya, but it’s also, frankly, a problem that is of growing concern elsewhere, which is forcing us to think about new ways in which we can do refugee response, generally.

QUESTION: Were you in any meetings and discussion about the (inaudible) refugees in Kenya as a result of the (inaudible)?

DR. BRIGETY: The violence, yeah.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

DR. BRIGETY: Right, right, right. The short answer is no, I was not on this trip. But we certainly continue to remain very concerned about it for a variety of reasons. The – I mean, obviously, we were deeply concerned and deeply disturbed by the level of violence that accompanied the previous election. We certainly very much hope that that is not something we’ll see ever again as we ensure your country and then Kenya’s support as well.

We remain, obviously, supportive of attempts not only by the Government of Kenya itself to care for its own citizens that happen to be displaced, and we will continue to work closely with the government to do so. It was not a focus on this past trip, just because I was focused on the issues of Somalia. But I suspect that given the significance of the issue, that it’s something that I will continue to be focused on.

Yes, sir?

QUESTION: You mentioned the refugees in cities and urban areas.

DR. BRIGETY: Yes, yes.

QUESTION: Well, assisting the refugees in the Republic of Congo is one thing, and assisting the refugees in South Africa is another --

DR. BRIGETY: Yes.

QUESTION: – because of the standard of development in both countries.

DR. BRIGETY: Right, right.

QUESTION: So, from what I know, South Africa is hosting about 4 million Zimbabweans. Most of them took refuge –

DR. BRIGETY: Right.

QUESTION: – in major cities.

DR. BRIGETY: Right.

QUESTION: Is the – your program – are your programs focusing on these other people? And what are the means to get to them and actually give them a hand?

DR. BRIGETY: Right. It’s very challenging. And I think you are correct to point out that not only is DRC different from South Africa, but indeed, every refugee situation is different in terms of how we respond.

The problem for response to refugees – principally Zimbabweans, but also from other parts of Somalia and other places that are in South Africa – in addition to their being in urban areas, is – of course, and our deep concern about xenophobic attitudes, and indeed, xenophobic violence towards these refugees and towards migrants inside South Africa. There have been reports of concern from a variety of different places, concern that such violence actually may spike in the wake of the World Cup festivities. We very much hope that will not be the case.

So we are – continue to try our best to work with the Government of South Africa to ensure that those people that are legitimately refugees are given the refugee protections that are required under international law, and those that may not technically qualify for refugee status but are economic migrants instead, are, at minimum, treated humanely and protected by law, even as local or national rules of migration and enforcement of those rules are done. And we obviously continue to remain in discussions with the Government of South Africa to ensure that these people are treated fairly, humanely, that they are not subject to particular forms of coercion or other deleterious treatment by security and police forces, all as a means of working with the South Africans to project the image to the world that they very much want to project to them, that they are as – sort of peaceful, welcoming government.

QUESTION: Thank you.

DR. BRIGETY: Sure.

QUESTION: I would like to return to the Sahrawi conflict if possible.

DR. BRIGETY: Please.

QUESTION: I mean, you’ve talked about the – all the difficulties the refugees are experiencing in the camps there. I mean, aren’t you concerned about the perpetuation of this conflict? I mean, it’s been going on for 34 years right now –

DR. BRIGETY: Right.

QUESTION: – and the situation is only getting more and more critical there. I mean, aren’t the U.S. concerned about it? And how could it push for a solution to end it?

DR. BRIGETY: We’re deeply concerned about it. The – as I say, the conditions in which these refugees live, have lived for 34 years, are incredibly harsh, incredibly difficult. They are completely reliant on assistance from the international community for everything: food, shelter, et cetera. Nothing would please us more for there to be a mutually agreed political solution that will allow this humanitarian problem to be resolved.

But that’s the point, is that the ultimate solution to this situation is a political one. There are any number of humanitarian interventions that we have made and will continue to make. But the parties themselves will have to come to an agreement. And we continue to work not only in our bilateral diplomacy with the Government of Morocco, with the Government of Algeria, to the extent that they are obviously a host country, with MONUSCO, the peacekeeping mission in – with the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General, to be supportive however we can in helping these two parties find a political solution to the conflict.

But at the end of the day, it is incumbent upon both parties to find that solution themselves. We can’t – we obviously cannot force it upon them. And we continue to hope that they will find a solution that is acceptable.

QUESTION: Okay. But the Algerian Government is the one who’s (inaudible). And also, it’s not only a hosting country, but it’s also part of it in (inaudible) and another. So isn’t the U.S. Government – also should put pressure on the Algerians?

DR. BRIGETY: Well, let me say this. The Algerians have been very gracious hosts to this population for over three decades. There are a number of parties that have an interest in how this conflict is resolved. Our position, as a government, is that – is the conflict should be resolved peacefully; that ultimately, the parties that – have to come to a resolution. Although there are a number of parties that have an interest, the two – the parties that have to come to an agreement are the Polisario and the Government of Morocco, which is not – which is to say that we clearly are engaged in a bilateral relationship with other parties that have an interest – especially the Algerians, as you mentioned – but we continue to be – to do everything we can to be supportive of the two principal parties coming to a mutually-agreed solution.

QUESTION: Thank you.

DR. BRIGETY: Sure.

QUESTION: I don’t know if you are the right person to ask this question, but we know Somalia now – the situation in Somalia is now getting worse. It’s now even spreading to other countries, as you mentioned, Uganda recently.

DR. BRIGETY: Right.

QUESTION: Are we going to see a situation where maybe the United States might decide to get serious about Somalia, and maybe even decide to send troops there to try to bring things to order?

DR. BRIGETY: Right. You are correct, that I am not the right person to ask that question – (laughter) – except to say that we have been serious about Somalia. Clearly, as you say, the decision to send armed forces ratchets our engagement – would ratchet our engagement up to an entirely different level. But my focus is the humanitarian part and I’m not about to get myself fired by talking about military action. All right.

MODERATOR: Dr. Brigety, it’s now 15 after.

DR. BRIGETY: Okay.

MODERATOR: We’ve got enough time for one or two more questions.

DR. BRIGETY: Okay.

MODERATOR: If people have questions.

DR. BRIGETY: Sure, great. Anybody else?

(No response.)

DR. BRIGETY: No? Well, great. Thank you very much for your time and your interest. I appreciate it. You have my card, so if you – and you asked a question about the specific number, amount – the dollar amount.

QUESTION: Yes.

DR. BRIGETY: We will get that – I’ll pass my card and we will get that answer to you before the end of the day.

QUESTION: Okay. You also mentioned the SRSG.

DR. BRIGETY: Yes.

QUESTION: What’s that?

DR. BRIGETY: The Special Representative of the Secretary General.

QUESTION: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Okay.

DR. BRIGETY: Excellent. Great. Thank you all for coming.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

DR. BRIGETY: Thanks.

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