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Rice Outlines State's Supplemental Budget Request

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2005 – The State Department's $5.6-billion budget supplemental request now before Congress "is absolutely critical to our national security," America's top diplomat noted at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing Feb. 17.

With most of the money earmarked for initiatives in Afghanistan and Iraq, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told committee members the supplemental funds will "ensure that we are able to respond speedily and effectively to the needs of our steadfast coalition partners in the war on terror."

Rice said the money would be used to aid newly elected governments in Afghanistan and Iraq "who are seeking our stabilizing assistance to move forward with reforms, and to the men, women and children swept up in humanitarian emergencies."

The request contains about $2.2 billion in international affairs funds earmarked for President Hamid Karzai's Afghan government, Rice said. Some $265 million of that money would be used to train public officials, she noted, as well as to "increase the participation of women in public life."

About $800 million would be applied "to improve the lives of Afghan citizens," Rice said, through infrastructure rehabilitation and improvement projects, including work on building schools, roads and health clinics.

Rice noted that $500,000 is earmarked for counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan, whose poppy crops produce much of the world's supply of opium. That money, she said, would be divided among anti-drug public information, law enforcement, alternative livelihoods, interdiction, and eradication initiatives.

Another $400 million would go to the Afghan police, Rice said, so "they can increasingly assume responsibility for their own nation's security."

And, about $60 million is set aside, she said, to fund operating and security costs at the U.S. Embassy in the Afghan capital Kabul.

About $1.4 billion is earmarked for State Department-affiliated projects in Iraq, Rice noted. Of that, she said around $658 million will go toward the construction of a new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and another $690 million is earmarked to cover embassy support and security costs.

Rice said the State Department also wants $150 million to be used in Pakistan for improving its border security and increasing interoperability between U.S. and Pakistani forces.

Another $200 million is earmarked for Jordan, she said, to provide economic and military assistance and to bolster that nation's counter terrorism and border security efforts.

Rice also wants $400 million for those U.S. partners in the global war against terrorist that have experienced "financial and military hardships" while contributing to coalition efforts. She said half of that money would be used to bolster security for U.S. allies that have deployed troops to Afghanistan and Iraq. The other half, she added, would be used to provide economic assistance for U.S. allies.

Another $17 million in supplemental funding, Rice said, would go toward establishing the new Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, which would coordinate overseas post-conflict and stabilization efforts.

Rice said about $700,000 of the State Department's supplement is earmarked for tsunami relief efforts, and another $242 million is set aside to meet emergency humanitarian needs caused by the Darfur crisis in Sudan.

Another $780 million, Rice said, would pay the U.S. portion of assessed costs of U.N. Security Council-sponsored missions in Sudan/Darfur, the Ivory Coast, Haiti and Burundi.

And $200 million of President Bush's $350 million pledge to be used to help Palestinians rebuild their infrastructure is contained in the State Department's supplemental request, Rice pointed out.

Rice said $60 million is earmarked for Ukraine's new leadership so that that country can further develop its march toward democracy.

America's diplomats need the appropriate resources "to act swiftly and effectively," Rice told the committee.

"The supplemental funding that we are seeking will help us to do just that," she said.

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Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

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