Biden Names Samantha Power As US Aid Chief, Boosts Role

(FILES) In this file photo former US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power speaks about the global refugee crisis at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, DC, June 29, 2016. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)

 

President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday nominated former ambassador Samantha Power, a forceful advocate of humanitarian diplomacy, to lead US foreign aid and elevated the position’s role.

Power, if confirmed as administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), would sit on the National Security Council along with John Kerry, the former secretary of state tapped as climate envoy — for the first time giving such prominence to the two issues.

“Samantha Power is a world-renowned voice of conscience and moral clarity — challenging and rallying the international community to stand up for the dignity and humanity of all people,” Biden said in a statement.

“As USAID administrator, Ambassador Power will be a powerful force for lifting up the vulnerable, ushering in a new era of human progress and development and advancing American interests globally.”

Power would be the best-known figure ever to lead USAID, a new indication that Biden plans to put a focus on overseas assistance, which Secretary of State-nominee Antony Blinken has said will be “at the center of our foreign policy.”

A former war correspondent born in Ireland, Power won the Pulitzer Prize for her 2002 book “A Problem from Hell” in which she critiques the US reluctance to label and prevent genocide around the world.

Power, 50, was an early supporter of Barack Obama who in his second term as president made her US ambassador to the United Nations.

In a memoir published in 2019 entitled “The Education of an Idealist,” Power described the struggles to fit her vision into the reality of governance, including her unsuccessful push for more action on Syria by Obama, who feared stronger US intervention would become a quagmire.

At USAID, Power will face an early test in seeing how US assistance can bridge inequalities that have been aggravated by the Covid-19 crisis, which the World Bank has estimated could plunge up to 115 million people worldwide into extreme poverty.

Outgoing president Donald Trump has been a staunch critic of foreign aid, saying the United States should focus on itself, although bipartisan coalitions in Congress have rejected his more drastic proposals of cuts.

The Trump administration has largely seen aid through the prism of competition with China and other powers, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo boasting that the United States is “the most generous nation in the history of the world.”

Power would succeed acting USAID chief John Barsa, a Trump advisor who has raised controversy for installing outspoken conservatives and demanding the United Nations remove references to “reproductive health.”

AFP

Chibok Girls: U.S. Will Continue To Support Nigeria – Ambassador Power

chibok girlsThe U.S. Ambassador to United Nations, Samantha Power on Thursday said the United States will not rest in its support of Nigeria and other neighboring countries to secure the release of abducted people.

Speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Power noted that the Chibok girls issue is of top priority to her country.

The Ambassador, who came to the Presidential Villa with the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, said the meeting among other issues centered on what the United Nations and the USA are doing as a follow up to the promise to assist Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram.

She said apart from the provision of intelligence, the United States has been able to provide platforms to the Nigerian military in the fight against Boko Haram.

On the recent video showing proof of life of some of the abducted girls aired by CNN, she said the United States will follow every lead that will support the release of the girls.

Power had on Tuesday, pledged $40 million in humanitarian assistance to countries bordering Lake Chad, fighting Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said the money is to help about seven million people affected by the insurgent group that has killed around 15,000 people.

Power was in the capital of Cameroon, Yaounde, and met President Paul Biya.

“We discussed the monstrous threat posed by Boko Haram and we agreed, and he was very forceful on this point, that the military response alone could not succeed in defeating Boko Haram in the long-term,” she said of her meeting with Biya.

U.S. Pledges $40 Million To Countries Affected By Boko Haram

forexThe United States on Tuesday pledged $40 million in humanitarian assistance to countries bordering Lake Chad, fighting Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said the money is to help about seven million people affected by the insurgent group that has killed around 15,000 people.

Power was in the capital of Cameroon, Yaounde, and met President Paul Biya and attended a ceremony to burn 2,000 tusks in a bid to end elephant poaching. The trip includes visits to Chad and Nigeria.

“We discussed the monstrous threat posed by Boko Haram and we agreed, and he was very forceful on this point, that the military response alone could not succeed in defeating Boko Haram in the long-term,” she said of her meeting with Biya.

Respect for human rights, good governance, economic and forest development and a focus on civil society were essential components of the campaign, she said.

Power has been scheduled to visit the region’s Multinational Joint Task Force, which is staffed with troops from Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Benin.

Power also called for financial support from the international community to aid the development of areas battered by Boko Haram.

It takes total U.S. aid to the sub-region since 2014 to $237 million, she said.

Boko Haram: U.S. Permanent Rep To UN Visits Nigeria, Others

Boko Haram terrorists in north east NigeriaThe U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Samantha Power, is set to visit Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad for discussions on the growing threat the Islamic sect, Boko Haram poses to the Lake Chad Basin region.

A press statement from the United States Embassy said that the visit became necessary due to increasing concerns over the acute threat the group posed to civilians across the Lake Chad Basin and the group’s increasing lethality and relationship with the Islamic State also referred to as ISIS.

During her visit, Ambassador Power is expected to discuss ways to work with partners in the region to develop a comprehensive counter-Boko Haram effort that includes a more coordinated military campaign, improved humanitarian access and response, a well-resourced stabilisation and governance strategy, and expanded efforts to combat violent extremism.

In Cameroon, where she is expected to meet with government officials and civil society in its capital, Yaoundé, Ambassador Power will also travel internally to meet with refugees, Internally Displaced Persons, and Cameroonian forces on the front lines of the regional effort to end the activities of the terrorist group.

She will also meet with government officials, civil society and civilians affected by the violence in Chad and visit the headquarter for the Multinational Joint Task Force, a regional military effort composed of the Boko Haram-affected states in the Lake Chad Basin.