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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release August 16, 1999


             The President's International Affairs Budget:
                          Investments in Peace

During his address to the Veterans of Foreign Wars today, President Clinton will repeat his call to Congress for full funding of his international affairs budget. The President's investments in peace serve U.S. national security interests and minimize the need for military intervention abroad. The President will highlight the following initiatives:

Expanded Threat Reduction Initiative - During his 1999 State of the Union Address, President Clinton called for expanded cooperation with Russia, Ukraine, and other New Independent States (NIS) to safeguard weapons of mass destruction (WMD) materials and technology so that they never fall into the wrong hands. In the aftermath of the Russian financial crisis in August 1998, President Clinton directed a two-thirds increase for threat reduction programs over five years ($4.5 billion total). The Expanded Threat Reduction Initiative (ETRI) proposed in the President's balanced budget promotes increased funding for State Department non-proliferation and safety programs from $53 million last year to $251 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2000. It also increased combined funding in FY2000 for the successful Department of Defense Cooperative Threat Reduction program (also known as Nunn-Lugar) and the nuclear materials safety program at the Department of Energy to $750 million. We are actively working with our allies and other nations to encourage additional contributions to this effort. The Expanded Threat Reduction Initiative would:

In its FY2000 foreign operations appropriations bills, the Congress slashed the President's request for overall NIS assistance programs (which includes the ETRI funds for State) by $252-307 million, but did not specify how to apply the cuts. These cuts would force the Administration to make unacceptable tradeoffs between support for NIS reforms and threat reduction activities.

Middle East Peace - In reaching the agreement at Wye River last year, President Clinton committed to helping Israelis minimize the risks of peace and to lifting the lives of the Palestinians so that hopes for peace do not founder in poverty and despair.

For this reason, the President requested a three-year, $1.9 billion assistance package designed to help sustain the Middle East peace process. It includes funds to bolster Israel's security and to promote the safety and well-being of the Palestinian and Jordanian people.

In its FY2000 foreign operations appropriations bills, the Congress provided only the funds requested for Jordan. It has yet to fund the Israeli or Palestinian components of Wye, for either FY1999 or FY2000.

Conflict Resolution in Africa - Recent cease-fire agreements in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone, as well as the restoration of democracy in Nigeria, offer new opportunities for peace, prosperity and democracy in those regions. Supporting this trend through conflict resolution, democratization, and trade and investment is in the U.S. national interest. In his FY2000 budget request, the President proposed $818 million in development assistance and economic support funds to Africa.

In its fiscal year 2000 foreign operations appropriations bills, the Congress has cut significantly the President's request.

United Nations Arrears - Paying the U.S. dues to the United Nations is a legal and moral responsibility. But it is not only an obligation, it is an opportunity. The UN helps mobilize support of other nations for goals important to U.S. interests, from keeping the peace, to immunizing children, to caring for refugees, to combating the spread of deadly weapons.

The Senate has passed legislation that provides authorization for appropriations of the bulk of U.S. payment of UN arrears. Fiscal year Commerce, State, Justice appropriations bills, however, continue to underfund significantly UN arrears payments.