termination of sales of defense articles or services; termination of foreign military financing; denial of non-agricultural credit, credit guarantees or other financial assistance by any agency of the U.S. Government; prohibiting U.S. banks from making any loan or providing any credit to the governments of India and Pakistan except for the purpose of purchasing food or other agricultural commodities; and prohibiting export of specific goods and technology subject to export licensing by the Commerce Department.
India and Pakistan are contributing to a self-defeating cycle of escalation that does not add to the security of either country. They have put themselves at odds with the international community over these nuclear tests. In concert with the other permanent members of the UN Security Council and the G-8 nations, the United States has called on both nations to renounce further nuclear tests, to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty immediately and without conditions, and to resume their direct dialogue and take decisive steps to reduce tensions in South Asia. We also strongly urge these states to refrain from any actions, such as testing, deployment or weaponization of ballistic missiles, that would further undermine regional and global stability. And we urge them to join the clear international consensus in support of nonproliferation and to join in negotiations in Geneva for a cut off of fissile material production.
The United States has two principle economic objectives in the region: to promote regional economic cooperation and development, and to ensure unrestricted flow of oil from the region. We seek to promote regional trade and cooperation on infrastructure through the multilateral track of the peace process, including revitalization of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) economic summits.
The United States depends on oil for about 40 percent of its primary energy needs and roughly half of our oil needs are met with imports. Although we import less than 10% of Persian Gulf exports, our allies in Europe and Japan account for about 85% of these exports. Previous oil shocks and the Gulf War underscore the strategic importance of the region and show the impact that an interruption of oil supplies can have on the world’s economy. Appropriate responses to events such as Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait can limit the magnitude of the crisis. Over the longer term, U.S. dependence on access to these and other foreign oil sources will remain important as our reserves are depleted. The United States must remain vigilant to ensure unrestricted access to this critical resource. Thus, we will continue to demonstrate U.S. commitment and resolve in the Persian Gulf.
We encourage the spread of democratic values throughout the Middle East and Southwest and South Asia and will pursue this objective by a constructive dialogue with countries in the region. In Iran, for example, we hope the nation’s leaders will carry out the people’s mandate for a government that respects and protects the rule of law, both in its internal and external affairs. We will promote responsible indigenous moves toward increasing political participation and enhancing the quality of governance and will continue to vigorously challenge many governments in the region to improve their human rights records. Respect for human rights also requires rejection of terrorism. If the nations in the region are to safeguard their own citizens from the threat of terror, they cannot tolerate acts of indiscriminate violence against civilians, nor can they offer refuge to those who commit such acts.
U.S. policies in the Middle East and Southwest Asia are not anti-Islamic—an allegation made by some opponents of our efforts to help bring lasting peace and stability to the region. Islam is the fastest-growing religious faith in the United States. We respect deeply its moral teachings and its role as a source of inspiration and instruction for hundreds of millions of people around the world. U.S. policy in the region is directed at the actions of governments and terrorist groups, not peoples or faiths. The standards we would like all the nations in the region to observe are not merely Western, but universal.
In recent years, the United States has supported significant change in Africa with considerable success: multi-party democracies are more common and elections are more frequent and open, human rights are more widely respected, the press is more free, U.S.-Africa trade is expanding, and a pragmatic consensus on the need for economic reform is emerging. A new, post-colonial generation of leadership is reaching maturity in Africa, with more democratic and pragmatic approaches to solving their countries’ problems and developing their human and natural resources.
To further those successes, President Clinton made an unprecedented 12-day trip to Africa in March-April 1998. With President Museveni of Uganda, he cohosted the Entebbe Summit for Peace and Prosperity to advance cooperation on conflict prevention, human rights and economic integration. The summit was attended by Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia, Presidents Moi of Kenya, Mkapa of Tanzania, Bizimungu of Rwanda and Kabila of Congo. During the trip, the President unveiled a number of new programs to support democracy, prosperity and opportunity, including initiatives on education, rule of law, food security, trade and investment, aviation, and conflict resolution. President Clinton directly addressed the violent conflicts that have threatened African democracy and prosperity.
Sustaining our success in Africa will require that we identify those issues that most directly affect our interests and where we can make a difference through efficient targeting of our resources. A key challenge is to engage the remaining autocratic regimes to encourage those countries to follow the example of other African countries that are successfully implementing political and economic reforms.
Serious transnational security threats emanate from pockets of Africa, including state-sponsored terrorism, narcotics trafficking, international crime, environmental damage and disease. These threats can only be addressed through effective, sustained engagement in Africa. We have already made significant progress in countering some of these threats—investing in efforts to combat environmental damage and disease, leading international efforts to halt the proliferation of land mines and the demining of Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Eritrea. We continue efforts to reduce the flow of narcotics through Africa and to curtail international criminal activity based in Africa. We seek to keep Africa free of weapons of mass destruction by supporting South Africa’s nuclear disarmament and accession to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state, securing the indefinite and unconditional extension of the NPT, and promoting establishment of the African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone.
Libya and Sudan continue to pose a threat to regional stability and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States. Our policy toward Libya is designed to block its efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction and development of conventional military