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Today, in violation of its previous commitments and international law, Russian military vehicles painted to look like civilian trucks forced their way into Ukraine. While a small number of these vehicles were inspected by Ukrainian customs officials, most of the vehicles have not been inspected by anyone but Russia. We condemn this action by Russia, for which it will bear additional consequences.
The Ukrainian government and the international community have repeatedly made clear that this convoy would constitute a humanitarian mission only if expressly agreed to by the Ukrainian government and only if the aid was inspected, escorted and distributed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). We can confirm that the ICRC is not escorting the vehicles and has no role in managing the mission, a condition that all parties had agreed would be required. Under the agreed terms, the mission should have been accomplished by sending a small number of inspected trucks in to drop their supplies and return to Russia within 24 hours by the same approved route by which they entered. That is not what is taking place. As we and governments around the world have said all along, Russia has no right to send vehicles, persons, or cargo of any kind into Ukraine, whether under the guise of humanitarian convoys or any other pretext, without the express permission of the government of Ukraine.
The primary barrier to the delivery of the humanitarian aid has been the lack of security guarantees from the Russia-backed separatists. Russian military vehicles piloted by Russian drivers have unilaterally entered the territory controlled by the separatist forces Russia has been training, supplying, and reinforcing for months. The Ukrainian humanitarian assistance convoy was prevented from delivering much needed assistance to Luhansk city.
At the same time as Russian vehicles violate Ukraine’s sovereignty, Russia maintains a sizable military force on the Ukrainian border capable of invading Ukraine on very short notice. It has repeatedly fired into Ukrainian territory, and has sent an ever-increasing stream of military equipment and fighters into Ukraine. As a result, the international community has been profoundly concerned that Russia’s actions today are nothing but a pretext for further Russian escalation of the conflict. We recall that Russia denied its military was occupying Crimea until it later admitted its military role and attempted to annex this part of Ukraine.
Russia’s decision today to send in its vehicles and personnel without the ICRC and without the express permission of the Ukrainian authorities only amplifies international concerns about Russia’s true intentions. It is important to remember that Russia is purporting to alleviate a humanitarian situation which Russia itself created – a situation that has caused the deaths of thousands, including 300 innocent passengers of flight MH17. If Russia really wants to ease the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine, it could do so today by halting its supply of weapons, equipment, and fighters to its proxies. This is a flagrant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Russia. Russia must remove its vehicles and its personnel from the territory of Ukraine immediately.
Vice President Joe Biden spoke today with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili about bilateral relations, Georgia’s deepening partnership with NATO, and Georgia’s efforts to attract foreign investment and grow its economy. The Vice President underscored his support for Georgia’s NATO membership aspirations as well as the United States’ steadfast commitment to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. The two leaders agreed on the importance of pursuing reforms to strengthen rule of law in Georgia and attract greater foreign investment, including from the United States. The leaders also pledged to continue to stay in close touch regarding developments in Ukraine and elsewhere in the region.
I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing today of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds. His instrumental role in the 1993 Downing Street Declaration in London with former British Prime Minister John Major and his efforts to enact subsequent ceasefires paved the way for every major peace agreement for the last twenty years, and his deep conviction that there was nothing to fear from peace still resounds across Ireland and Northern Ireland today.
Taoiseach Reynolds knew that keeping of peace requires continuing commitment and constant attention. I urge today’s leaders to continue advancing the peace process in Northern Ireland, so that all of its citizens can live in the peaceful, prosperous, and shared community that Reynolds envisioned. I send my deepest condolences to the Taoiseach’s wife, Kathleen, to the rest of his family, and to his friends and colleagues.
As the Department of Defense has now announced, earlier this summer the President authorized an operation to attempt the rescue of American citizens who were kidnapped and held by ISIL against their will in Syria. The President authorized action at this time because it was the national security team’s assessment that these hostages were in danger with each passing day in ISIL custody. The U.S. Government had what we believed was sufficient intelligence, and when the opportunity presented itself, the President authorized the Department of Defense to move aggressively to recover our citizens. Unfortunately, that mission was ultimately not successful because the hostages were not present.
Given the need to protect our military’s operational capabilities, we will not be able to reveal the details of this operation. But the President could not be prouder of the U.S. forces who carried out this mission and the dedicated intelligence and diplomatic professionals who supported their efforts. Their effort should serve as another signal to those who would do us harm that the United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will spare no effort to secure the safety of our citizens and to hold their captors accountable.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the remaining hostages’ families and their loved ones during this difficult time. We continue to call for their immediate release. On behalf of all Americans, we keep these individuals and their families in our thoughts and prayers.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:
President Obama said, “The extraordinary dedication these men and women bring to their new roles will greatly serve the American people. I am grateful they have agreed to serve in this Administration and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”
President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:
Patricia Welbourn Lorsch, Appointee for Member, Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Patricia Welbourn Lorsch is a former journalist, teacher, and political activist. She wrote and taught journalism at the Calcutta School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 1972 to 1975. Previously, she was a staff writer for Weekend Magazine in Montreal until 1970. She was a feature writer for the Daily Express in London until 1964, and she began her journalism career in 1961 as a reporter for the Evening Standard in London. Ms. Lorsch has been on the Board of Cambridge Family and Children’s Service since 2008, where she is currently Chair of the Development Committee. She serves on the Board of the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is a member of the Democratic National Finance Committee. Ms. Lorsch received a B.A. in French and Russian Languages from McGill University and studied drama at the Centre International du Spectacle in Paris.
Rusty Rueff, Appointee for Member, Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Rusty Rueff is Chairman Emeritus of the GRAMMY Foundation and a co-founder of the Patti and Rusty Rueff Foundation. He served as President and a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Conservatory Theater from 2003 to 2013. Mr. Rueff was CEO of SNOCAP, Inc. from 2005 to 2008. He was Executive Vice President of Human Resources for Electronic Arts from 1998 to 2005, and previously worked at PepsiCo from 1988 to 1998 and at Pratt & Whitney from 1986 to 1988. Mr. Rueff serves on the Purdue University College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Advisory Council, and is a benefactor of Purdue’s Patti and Rusty Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts. He is a corporate Director of Glassdoor.com, HireVue, runcoach, ReThink Books, 1-page, and Workboard. Mr. Rueff received a B.A. in Radio and Television and an M.S. in Counseling from Purdue University.
Orlan Boston, Appointee for Member, Board of Governors of the United Service Organizations, Incorporated
Orlan Boston is a Principal at Ernst & Young LLP, and has been the Americas Leader in the Transaction Advisory Services Life Sciences Practice since 2012. Prior to joining Ernst & Young LLP, Mr. Boston worked at Deloitte Consulting from 1997 to 2012. He became a Partner at Deloitte in 2007, and previously served in various positions which include National Life Sciences Mergers & Acquisitions Consulting Leader, a member of the National Markets & Services Leadership Committee, and Chief Diversity Officer. He has held roles in a number of organizations, including member of the NY LGBT Community Center Board of Directors, founder of The Center Young Leaders Council, contributing author of the I Am Eco-Warrior book, and executive producer of HBO’s The Out List documentary film. Mr. Boston received a B.S. from New York University’s Stern School of Business.
John D. Goldman, Appointee for General Trustee, Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
John D. Goldman was President of the San Francisco Symphony from 2001 to 2012 and has served on the Symphony’s Board of Governors since 1996. Previously, he was the Chairman of Willis Insurance Services of California, Inc. and CEO of Goldman Insurance Services. He served as Assistant Secretary of Transportation for the State of California from 1978 to 1981. Mr. Goldman was appointed to the Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2011. He served as the President of the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund and is the former President of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties. Mr. Goldman received a B.A. from Swarthmore College and an M.B.A. from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
Amalia Perea Mahoney, Appointee for General Trustee, Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Amalia Perea Mahoney was the Director of Galeria Amalia Mahoney, an art gallery in Chicago specializing in Latin American Art, from 1995 to 2001. She was first appointed to the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2013. Ms. Mahoney is a Steering Committee Member of the Women’s Board at the Goodman Theatre of Chicago and the University of Chicago Women’s Board. She is the former President of Friends of the St. Columbanus Food Pantry. She is a member of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Chicago Committee of Human Rights Watch, Arts Club of Chicago, and the Aspen Institute Society of Fellows. Ms. Mahoney received a B.A. from Loyola University Chicago.
Alyssa Mastromonaco, Appointee for General Trustee, Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Alyssa Mastromonaco is a contributing editor to Marie Claire, a position she has held since 2014. Previously, she served as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff at the White House from 2011 to 2014, and as Assistant to the President and Director of Scheduling and Advance at the White House from 2009 to 2011. She also served as Director of Scheduling and Advance during President Obama’s first presidential campaign beginning in 2007. She has worked for President Obama since February 2005, when she joined his United States Senate office as Director of Scheduling, and then was Political Director for the Hopefund, President Obama’s Political Action Committee. Earlier in her career, she was Director of Scheduling for Senator John Kerry's presidential campaign in 2004, and before that, she was Press Secretary for Congressman Rick Boucher. She serves on the Board of Directors of HeadCount.org and the Board of Visitors of the University of Wisconsin. Ms. Mastromonaco received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Reginald Van Lee, Appointee for General Trustee, Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Reginald Van Lee is an Executive Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton, where he has worked since 1984. He was named Partner at Booz Allen Hamilton in 1993 and Senior Partner in 2003. He was first appointed to the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2013 and served as a Member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities from 2009 to 2013. He is Chairman of the Washington Performing Arts Society and Vice-Chair of the board of the Washington Ballet. He is a Trustee of Massachusetts Institute of Technology Corporation and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. Mr. Van Lee is Chair of the board of the National CARES Mentoring Movement and a board member of the MAC AIDS Fund. He is Chairman Emeritus of the board of the Evidence Dance Company. Mr. Van Lee received a B.S. and an M.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School.
Danielle Gray, Appointee for Member, Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States
Danielle Gray is a litigation partner at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, a position she has held since 2014. Ms. Gray recently served as Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary at the White House from 2013 to 2014. She was Deputy Director of the National Economic Council and Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Policy from 2011 to 2013. Ms. Gray was Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division in the Department of Justice from 2010 to 2011. From 2009 to 2010, she was Associate Counsel to the President at the White House. Prior to joining the Administration, Ms. Gray served as Deputy Policy Director for Obama for America from 2007 to 2008. From 2004 to 2005 and from 2006 to 2007, she practiced law in Washington, D.C. and New York. Ms. Gray served as a law clerk for Justice Stephen G. Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court from 2005 to 2006 and for Judge Merrick B. Garland on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 2003 to 2004. In 2014, she was selected as a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, and was named a Lecturer of Law at Harvard Law School. Ms. Gray received an A.B. in Economics and Public Policy from Duke University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Barry Thom, Appointee for United States Commissioner, Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission
Barry Thom is currently the Deputy Regional Administrator, West Coast Region for the Fisheries Service of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce, a position he has held since 2013. From 2007 to 2013, Mr. Thom served as Deputy Regional Administrator, Northwest Region for NOAA's Fisheries Service. He also served as a Strategic Planner for NOAA's Fisheries Service in the Northwest Region. From 2001 to 2006, Mr. Thom served as a Marine Resource Management Specialist for NOAA. He began his career in 1997 as an Assistant Project Manager for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Mr. Thom received a B.S. from Oregon State University and an M.S. from the University of Washington.
Allan Holt, Appointee for Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
Allan Holt is a Managing Director and Co-Head of the U.S. Buyout group at The Carlyle Group. Previously, he was Head of Carlyle’s Global Aerospace, Defense, Technology and Business/Government Services team. From 1989 to 1992, he worked at Avenir Group, Inc. Prior to this, he was Director of Planning and Budgets at MCI Communications Corporation. Mr. Holt serves on a number of boards including The Hillside Foundation, Inc., and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. He also serves on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience. Mr. Holt received a B.A. from Rutgers University and an M.B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.
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