tv Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Ambassador Confirmations CSPAN August 26, 2018 2:36pm-4:04pm EDT
history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. today, we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the supremeuse, court, and public policy events in washington, d.c., and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. announcer: next, a confirmation hearing for the nominees picked to serve as u.s. ambassadors to morocco, bangladesh, pakistan, and somalia. they appeared before the senate foreign's relations committee to talk up at the refugee crisis, human rights, and counterterrorism efforts. this is one hour and half.
>> good morning. this hearing of the senate foreign relations committee will come to order. i want to thank senator merkley for helping to convene this hearing today and i'm grateful for our continued partnership on so many issues, senator. and i would also like to thank the senior senator from indiana, senator donnelly, as well as senator peters of michigan. the purpose of today's hearing is of course to review the nominations of five individuals for key positions. they include the following -- david t. fischer, nominated to serve as ambassador to the kingdom of morocco. the honorable earl robert miller, a career member of the senior foreign service to serve as ambassador to the people's republic of bangladesh. mr. daniel rosenblum, a career member of the senior executive service to be ambassador to the
republic of uzbekistan, easy for me to say. mr. kip tom to be ambassador and u.s. representative to the united nations agencies for food and agriculture. the honorable david yamamoto, a career member of the senior foreign service, to be ambassador to the federal republic of somalia. i want to welcome each of you and thank you for being here today and most importantly, i want to thank you for your willingness to serve our country. i'd like to extend a special welcome to mr. tom from indiana based on kip's tremendous experience and status as a fellow hoosier, i wrote a letter to the president last year recommending that he nominate mr. tom for this position. as i said in that letter, kip has more than four decades of domestic and international experience related to food and agriculture and is uniquely qualified. so i'm glad that you're appearing before the committee
today as a nominee for this important position. and i'm also grateful that you've invited so many members of your family. and in fact, i cannot recall having so many family members attend one of these hearings. and they all shared with me -- i think your parents shared with me we would have a lot more if it weren't harvest season. [laughter] sen. young: if they could raise their hands just to represent -- that's a lot of individuals, a lot of hoosiers. so thank you for being here. during his may 24 appearance before this committee, secretary pompeo said, quote, with so many challenges before us, the state department needs a full team on the field from locally employed staff around the world to senior leaders in washington, unquote. secretary pompeo expressed concern about vacancies in key positions and said we need our men and women on the ground, executing american diplomacy with great vigor and energy and representing our great nation.
i completely agree. and that's why i'm excited to have five nominees before the committee today. i'm hopeful that the committee and then the full senate can process their nominations as expeditiously as possible. with that, i'd like to recognize senator merkley for his opening comments and also indicate that our other senators do have time commitments. i know senator donnelly has another committee hearing and he'll need to be out of here roughly around 10 after in order to make that. so with that senator merkley. merkley: thank you very much, mr. chairman. and i'm glad we're able to have this hearing and expedite the process for so many individuals in key positions. thank you to mr. fischer and ambassador miller, mr. rosenblum, mr. tom, ambassador yamamoto, for being here today and for being willing to serve in critical posts for our nation around the world. i have seen the work agencies have performed, the food and
agricultural sectors during my congressional delegations abroad. i'm glad to see a nominee for ambassador for these vital institutions. and i'm pleased to see on this panel civil servants who have come to their positions with years of experience. ambassador miller, saturday will mark one-year anniversary the start of the brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing conducted by the burmese military against rohingya which is relevant to your position because of the 700,000 refugees that have fled the violence in burma to neighboring bangladesh. i look forward to hearing from you how the united states can assist bangladesh in addressing this very, very challenging situation. and i'm also pleased ambassador yamamoto's nomination is moving forward. i visited somalia in march of this year and know the challenges that you'll face in leading this mission. a part of the world that's wrestling with climate chaos and conflict and corruption and a combination of a substantial challenge and exciting to have a president there who is also a dual citizen with the united states and i think certainly working as -- to bring some real policy efforts to bear on those
challenges. i hope you will be given the necessary security resources and support from the department to do your work. when i visited the representatives of the united states, said we are the only ones who can't leave our compound and to do our work we need to get off the compound and an issue i've raised with secretary pompeo. i want to make sure that our team there is able to do the work. mr. rosenblum, if confirmed, you'll lead a mission in uzbekistan, historically important hub for supplying our troops in afghanistan and play an important role in resolving the conflict there including recently hosting some of the conversations with the taliban. i look forward to hearing from
mr. fischer, morocco is a fascinating state and i appreciated our conversation yesterday. and give you an opportunity to address a couple of the issues that the committee had raised that they wanted you to clarify. and thank you all. sen. young: senator donnelly, i welcome you to make whatever comments you'd like to make. donnelly: thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank all of our witnesses for your service to the country. i am here to introduce and proud to introduce my fellow hoosier kip tom who has been nominated to serve as america's ambassador to the united nations world food program and food and agriculture organization. before i speak about kip, i would like to take a moment to recognize some of the people who are here supporting him today. and there are a lot of people here supporting him today. his parents, everett and marie, have traveled from leesburg, indiana, to be here today. he's also joined by his wife, marcia, his sister, melinda, his children, cassy and kyle, his daughter in law and grandchildren, keegan, camden
and cameron and other family members and friends. i am sure they are all very, very proud of your accomplishments. a native hoosier kip is a seventh generation farmer. and has been active in agribusiness in indiana for -- over 40 years. he's a current chairman of tom farms in leesburg, indiana, which is one of the largest corn, soybean and seed growers in the state. kip's agribusiness experience spans the globe. it includes work in north america, south america, africa, europe, the middle east and asia. he serves on the boards of the indiana economic development corporation, the indiana chamber of commerce, the future farmers of america foundation, and the national 4-h foundation. his leadership in the field has also been recognized by the agriculture future of america. which awarded him the 2015 ag leader of the year award. i believe kip is highly qualified and will be committed to achieving the goals of the
united nations world food program and food and agriculture organization as they strive to defeat hunger and to achieve food security worldwide. i look forward to hearing his testimony and your questions. and as i said, we are very, very proud of mr. tom and i strongly, strongly support his nomination. thank you, mr. chairman. sen. young: thank you, senator donnelly. with that, senator peters, i welcome you to make any comments. sen. peters: well, thank you, chairman young, thank you for holding the hearing, ranking member merkley and other senators that are here and each of the folks who have been nominated, your willingness to serve if confirmed is certainly very much appreciated. i certainly appreciate the opportunity to introduce david fischer, a michigander and nominated to serve as the u.s. ambassador to morocco. i will say he is also backed up by a very large contingent of 17 members of the fischer family. and certainly great to have an opportunity to meet them before this hearing.
david is a leader in the metro detroit business community. he built his family's auto dealership business into one of the largest dealer groups in the entire country. he and his wife, jennifer, are known for dedication to the community and charitable causes, particularly focused on efforts to fight cancer, help children, and improve schools. david and i have talked about the importance of vocational education and his company has invested in these programs at michigan schools, providing students with the skills training, meals, and for those who earn the required certifications a good-paying job in his company. david's company also recognizes local teachers who have earned the distinction of teacher of the year in their districts. and he allows them to pick a car to use for an entire year at no cost to them in honor of their recognition. david has raised millions of dollars for renovations at the
college for creative studies in detroit. and thanks to david's leadership on the board of trustees, students have a cutting edge learning facility, contributing to detroit's long history as a leader in innovation as well as creativity. david and his employees have generously supported a number of charitable initiatives including fallen heroes, the red cross, the american cancer society, and ford mobile food pantry among many, many others. if confirmed, david will have an important job ahead of him as the ambassador to one of america's first allies. but as someone who has navigated the darkest days of an auto industry on the brink of a collapse to the road to recovery and has done that through collaboration and bringing people together, david has demonstrated tenacity, adaptability, and most importantly, leadership. thank you. chairman young: well, thank you, senator peters.
and welcome you to stay if you like but i understand your responsibilities may also carry you elsewhere. i gather senator flake also has an introduction to make. sen. flake: thank you, mr. chairman. it's tradition if somebody is from your state to -- a foreign service officer to introduce them here. earl miller is not from arizona. i'm sure he wishes he was. [laughter] flake: at times. but that may be at some point. but he's not. but i chair the africa subcommittee and had occasion to spend considerable amount of time in southern africa and to be able to witness what he has done in the country of botswana as its ambassador or our ambassador to botswana the last 3 1/2 years. he's here with his partner michelle, and his son alexander and andrew is elsewhere. i want to say it makes me so proud and one of the best things we get to do as members of the senate is to travel around and see the good work that foreign service officers are doing
around the world and in particular in botswana so many challenges there with one of the most successful efforts the u.s. has ever put in place with pepfar, botswana was taken from a country that was in severe danger of total collapse there to a situation where we're in a good position and moving toward at least a position where everyone is getting treated. and the efforts that ambassador miller made in that regard are commendable. also wildlife preservation and environmental habitat protection. we have a wonderful partnership with the government of botswana that would not be possible were it not for the efforts of ambassador miller. and i just want to say that south asia, bangladesh, is going to be grateful to have him. he's done a great job in his previous posts. and i just want to commend him
here today. and for all he's done for southern africa. thank you, mr. chairman. chairman young: well, thank you. and once again, i want to welcome all of our witnesses. without objection, your full written statements will be included in the record. and at this point, i'd like to invite each of you to summarize your written statement in no more than five minutes. i welcome you to introduce if you like any members of your family that may be present here today. so we will go in the order that i announced you beginning with mr. fischer. mr. fischer: senator, good morning. thank you so much, senator, thank you. as always, jennifer is there helping me turn the button on. if i may, with the fischer family, are you all here? everybody here? ok. presiding member young, ranking member merkley, and distinguished members of the
committee, i am honored to appear before you today as president donald j. trump's nominee to serve as the ambassador to the kingdom of morocco. first, i would like to express my profound thanks to the president and the secretary of state for the confidence they have placed in me and the opportunity to represent our country. presiding member young, i know that you and the members of this committee have a profound dedication to serving the american people and representing american interests around the globe. the opportunity with your consent and approval to work with you and your colleagues, the secretary of state pompeo, and the devoted members of this committee on behalf of the president is both humbling and invigorating. i am strengthened every day by the love and support of my family, including my wife, jennifer, who is here with me today, and who will join me on this journey. my sons david, junior, zachary and jeffery all of whom i could not be more proud of, together
as a family, as a company, we have championed countless causes related to social, civic, and community well-being. i have dedicated my career to developing our business across the united states and canada. today, my company founded nearly 75 years ago by my father, he employs people in the united states and such lifelong endeavors will serve this country well should i be confirmed. morocco is one of our oldest allies. and as you know, our treaty of peace and friendship with morocco ratified in 1787 is the longest unbroken treaty relationship in the united states history. our friendship and continued economic, political, and security collaboration are vital and must be strengthened. with my business background, i appreciate the tremendous opportunities for trade as
exports from the united states to morocco have tripled in recent years. morocco is one of the few countries to which we have a free trade agreement and it's also a gateway for u.s. companies to enter other markets. if confirmed, i would work closely with this committee as well as all other relevant departments and agencies to expand these opportunities for you as businesses. i also understand that no position is without its challenges while the unwavering resolve of men and women of our military continues to protect our nation and the world against the islamic state and other terrorist organizations. our fight continues. the united states and morocco stand firm in advancing religious freedom and rooting out extremism. morocco is an active and capable partner and one of the first african countries to join the global coalition to defeat isis
and as co-chair of the global counterterrorism forum. morocco plays a global role in the fight against terrorism. if confirmed, i will seek to further strengthen our security cooperation with morocco to protect u.s. interests in the region. i will support the united nations efforts to advance a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that provides for the self-determination for the people of the western sahara. today, the united states confronts complex foreign policy challenges around the world. morocco is a bridge to africa. to the middle east and to the muslim world. building a strong relationship with king mohammed vi will be paramount as we strengthen our collaboration from the foundation of trust. if confirmed, i am confident
that my experience in building and strengthening strategic alliances and cultivating and building commerce and supporting and promoting community, social welfare and human rights, will serve this administration and the united states well. if confirmed, i will work with the government of morocco to continue political reform and encourage further progress on human rights. i fully understand that it will be my duty and privilege to work on behalf of the president in lock step with the state department and this committee to represent the united states of america in advancing our interest and strengthen morocco as a secure, prosperous and vital ally of the united states of america. thank you presiding member young and members of this committee. chairman young: and thank you, mr. fisher. ambassador miller? amb. miller: mr. chairman, members of the committee, i am honored to appear before you today. i would like to thank the president and the secretary of
state for their trust placed in me. mr. chairman, i would like to introduce my partner, michelle edelman and youngest son alexander who just finished an internship at the state department this week. i would also like to introduce my son andrew. he is completing his studies at the university of south florida. their love and support over the years have been invaluable as they have accompanied me around the world. it has been my privilege to serve the american people in eight countries over the past three decades and to see my sons grow into such accomplished young man. and even considering following in dad's footsteps. it is an honor to be nominated to serve the united states in such a strategically important country at such a critical time. as the world's eighth largest country by population, bangladesh is known for its moderate, secular, pluralist --
pluralistic perspectives. bangladesh aspires to become a middle income country. it is increasingly important as a trading partner for u.s. investment. it is a vital link between south and southeast asia. it is a country of promise and opportunity. we work closely with bangladesh on a range of issues and hold regular dialogues on bilateral and regional issues, security and defense cooperation, as well as trade and investment. the u.s. is committed to a free and open end of pacific expanding our partnership with bangladesh. open access to oceans and airways. peaceful resolution to disputes. and free and reciprocal trade. we cooperate closely with bangladesh on counterterrorism insuring threats do not grow and threaten to destabilize region. we do so in a manner consistent with rule of law and respect for human rights.
we seek opportunities to increase our security defense cooperation in recognition of bangladesh's admirable country -- contributions to security and active roles in u.n. peacekeeping operations. bangladesh faces significant challenges we can work together to address in partnership. one is the rohingya crisis. the numbers are staggering. bangladesh hosts nearly one largestrefugees, the camp is now the fourth largest city in bangladesh. we are deeply appreciative of the generosity of the bangladeshi government and people who have opened their borders and hearts to the rohingya community who has suffered greatly. the united states, as always, is doing its part. we are the largest donor in addressing this humanitarian crisis. we are grateful for the funding from congress and continuing support. as we approach the one-year
anniversary of the attacks in burma that drove so many rohingya people from their homes, it is clear that this requires additional efforts. we will continue to work with with bangladesh, and our international partners to meet the urgent needs of the rohingya. the upcoming national elections is an opportunity for bangladesh to reaffirm its commitment to democracy and rule of law by holding free, fair, credible, and inclusive elections. that reflect the will of the bangladeshi people. to do so all parties must be able to fully engage in the political process. freedom of expression and the press is also vital. peaceful protesters must be able to express their views. and advocate for change without fear of retribution. the ambassador has done a superb job of being champion. if confirmed, i plan -- i pledge
to follow her admirable example. the u.s. remains concerned about recent trends in democracy and human rights in bangladesh and we remain troubled about attacks on vulnerable populations. killings,violence, allegedly committed by security forces. if confirmed, i will work to support efforts to promote accountability and strengthen human rights and democracy in bangladesh. mr. chairman, if confirmed, i would assume the responsibilities of my position with humility, dedication, and joy. i often tell my colleagues in the embassy in botswana, that an ambassador's greatest superpower is the power to do good. throughout my career including 24 years as special agent with the state department's diplomatic service, i have work to ensure the safety and security of our embassies. and people around the world in very challenging environments. i appreciate that this is the most serious responsibility. it will always be a top priority.
thank you, mr. chairman for your strong interest in south asia. if confirmed, i welcome the opportunity to work with you, the committee, and other members of congress to advance america's interest in bangladesh and throughout the region. i would be honored to answer questions. chairman young: thank you, ambassador miller. mr. rosenblum? mr. rosenblum: chairman young, senator shaheen, i am honored to be here today as the nominee to be u.s. ambassador to the republic of uzbekistan. i would like to introduce a few members of my family who have joined me here today. my wife sharon, son jenna, and daughter liana. my sister marion who has come down from boston to be with us today. they keep me grounded and i am grateful for that. they have already taken to calling me ambassadad. although i have reminded them that they cannot call me that until i am confirmed by the u.s. senate. my life journey that led me to sitting at this stable -- this
table started in middleburg heights, ohio. my mother was an educator who passed onto me her love of learning and fascination with history. my father worked at nasa for over 30 years developing rocket fuels that took the first americans into space and later in solar cell technology for use on earth. my dad was also a human rights activist who in the early 1960's helped organize the grassroots movement that provided moral and material support to jews and other oppressed minorities. his advocacy effort eventually led to the passage of an amendment and mass emigration of soviet jews to israel and the united states. i was deeply inspired by why -- by my father's civic activism and motivated to learn more about that harley place that occupied so much of his attention. no doubt this influenced my decision to study russian, history language, literature, and later to pursue a masters in
soviet studies. i also consider myself extremely fortunate to have spent four years here in the u.s. senate in the 1980's learning from one of the most brilliant and hard-working public servants i've ever known, senator carl levin from michigan. during more than two decades at the state department, i relished opportunities to collaborate with congress to further our foreign goals. if confirmed, i look forward to working with the members of this committee to promote u.s. interests and values in our uzbekistan. with what are those interests? why do we care? we care because what happens there directly affects the safety and security of american citizens. we have seen what can happen around the world when we disengage and ignore root causes of instability. a stable and secure uzbekistan is very much in the interest of america. we also have a sound and
long-standing bipartisan policy of supporting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the independent states that emerged from the collapse of the soviet empire. uzbeks appreciate america's steadfast support for their democracy. -- their sovereignty. when we were the first country to recognize their independence, a fully sovereign uzbekistan, free to align itself internationally as it sees fit, is very much in american interests. uzbekistan is currently going through an exciting phase in its history as an independent nation. over the past two years, the a series has launched of sweeping economic and political reforms aimed at modernizing the country's economy, improving the quality of life, and making its government more accountable. more than 40 activists and journalists have been released from prison. restrictions on civil society and the media are being listened. -- loosened.
incidents of forced labor are being reduced. child labor has been virtually eliminated. an important -- and important first step seven -- have been made. the president there has fundamentally reoriented uzbekistan's foreign policy. it is also playing a prominent role in searching for peace in afghanistan. if confirmed by the senate, my number one priority would be to ensure the safety and security of my embassy team as well as any americans there. beyond that, i will make it my priority to number one deepen our partnership with the country and pursue a shared regional security goals, and achieve a new level of cooperation with counterterrorism and other transnational threats. number two, to support the ambitious reforms the government
of uzbekistan has initiated. three, help u.s. companies take full advantage of opportunities to sell american products and to make investments as policy reforms make it easier to do business in uzbekistan. four, continue our focus on further improvements in the protection of basic rights and freedoms. and number five, expand educational, business, science, and cultural exchanges between uzbeks and americans. in order to establish a solid foundation for a long-term partnership. mr. chairman and members of the committee, if i am confirmed i pledge to work closely with you to support america's growing strategic partnership with uzbekistan. i am grateful for this extraordinary opportunity to serve my country, and i look forward to your questions. chairman young: thank you. mr. tom? mr. tom: chairman young, ranking member merkley, distinguished
members of the committee, thank you for this opportunity to appear before you today as the nominee to represent the united states of america as the ambassador to the u.n.'s agencies of food and culture in rome. i won't spare you any more time with introductions of the family, but but i really thank them for being here. i'm grateful to be given this opportunity. i will outline my qualifications and discuss my vision with you today. i would like to take the opportunity to recognize the leadership of the u.s. here. not only is the u.s. the largest food provider in the world, but we have addressed the root causes of global hunger. -- poverty. and hunger by giving farmers the tools and knowledge to help them feed themselves. this approach provides economic growth and stability at a time when the world needs it the most. i cannot imagine a better honor than to serve in a leadership capacity and be a small part in
advancing u.s. global security efforts to create a more stable food secure world. i have been privileged to visit the humanitarian response efforts in afghanistan, iraq, tanzania, and elsewhere where food security continues to be an -- a challenge. most of these people are farmers. i witnessed the challenges they have faced in growing enough food to feed their children and family. as a farmer and a father, to see these people struggle in this way is heartbreaking. while the world will always see crises, i know we can do better to bring people out of poverty. my story is an american story. i was born in leesburg, indiana, one of five children on a six generation farm. we were raised on a modest farm that my family settled in 1837. we may not have much materialistic way, but my
parents gave us what we could sewing strong family values, work ethic, leadership skills, many gained through organizations like 4-h and our church. it was because of these experiences that we quickly understood the freedoms and opportunities that this country offers. our family's experience is unique but it is also familiar to many americans across world america. -- across rural america and our country's history. it is on this same farm where i raised my own family and grew it into a larger farming business. it is recognized globally. the u.n. agencies in rome are three principal organizations dedicated to food and agriculture. as a successful farmer, i know what it takes to grow agriculture, create jobs, and empower youth. and i have sought to share my knowledge all over the world. during these 45 years of farming, i have been part of numerous agriculture and
technology startup companies in the silicon valley. agribusiness firms developing new technologies that have driven global and aquaculture activity. from 2005-2015, i was honored to serve with governor daniels and then governor pence on the indiana economic development board. during my time on the board, we saw high levels of job growth while attracting record levels of capital investment to our hoosier state. today, indiana is not rated as a top business place. as a business leader, whether working with government officials, startups, or established multinationals, i believe there is nothing more important to a leader success then his or her ability to unite those with different backgrounds, viewpoints and objectives the hind a common purpose. although i will always call mike -- my hoosier state home and i farmer, -- iself a
will always call myself a farmer, i look forward to this new chapter if confirmed. i'm eager to represent my country, build consensus amongst organizations and forge new relationships to advance u.s. interests. the u.s. is the largest donor providing more than $2.6 billion per year. if confirmed, i intend to bring private sector perspective to the oversight rules of the u.s. mission. mr. chairman, my goal in serving as ambassador to the united nation's commission on agriculture would be to serve -- improve our missions outcomes, serve the interest of the american people. if you can for me, i would bring all of my knowledge, work ethic, skills to bear to ensure this becomes a reality. i will do it in ways that i hope brings honor to our country, values, and national interest. thank you very much for your time. chairman young: thank you, mr. tom.
ambassador yamamoto? amb. yamamoto: thank you, mr. chairman. it is indeed a great honor to appear before you today to be considered for the position as the u.s. ambassador to the federal republic of somalia. i am very humbled by the nomination by the president and the confidence of the secretary of state. i would like to introduce my wife margaret who along with the many other dependence constantly -- an eligible family members, constantly make sacrifices each and every day and contributions to the u.s. government and the people of the united states. through two evacuations and supporting colleagues in harm's way, we also have two children committed to service including our daughter lara at west point and our son michael who serves as a captain in the u.s. army signal corps. i also served in afghanistan where my son served on two occasions. mr. chairman and honored
members, i have been very fortunate to serve in the foreign service with the last two decades in africa. as well as mogadishu, somalia as the charge d'affaires there. and recently, as the assistant u.s. secretary acting for the africa bureau. over the past several years, the characteristics that have designated somalia have made great strides and improvements and that is due not only to the u.s. leadership role but also the people in the government in somalia. we can only hope through sustained good governance, commitment to tackling security challenges, and a determination to bring a better future to the country and the people, the u.s. is an important partner in the implementation of the study and increasing security reforms. we are in a critical leadership role and if confirmed, mr. chairman, i will continue to
advance u.s. leadership role in advancing u.s. strategic interests in critical areas. first in building democratic institutions and holding governments accountable to the people. developing effective security forces. implementing stabilization and economic recovery programs and delivering humanitarian assistance. coordinating the international partners will also be critical to make the most effective use of u.s. influence and resources. strengthening the positive relationships we have, such as the african union, and the amazon contributions. also the gulf states and organizations involved in somalia will be our top priorities with this confirmation. above all, if confirmed, i will work to ensure the safety and security of the staff, u.s. government colleagues, u.s. citizens in somalia and the security challenges in mogadishu.
and they are significant and challenging. it is dangerous. it will continue to challenge us for years to come. mr. chairman, on a positive note also, somalia is unchanged. we have a return of the diaspora. an american citizens who are investing in somalia. and the progress will continue through the efforts we make in coordination with our colleagues. mr. chairman, and members of the committee, i would like to take this opportunity to say if confirmed, i would do my utmost to seriously dedicate myself to the service and values of this nation and the people and to our objectives in small you. -- in somalia. thank you, mr. chairman. chairman young: thank you, mr. ambassador. for the information of all of the nominees as well as the members present, votes have been called. it is unclear if we will have one or two votes but we will make every effort to expedite this process and keep it going if possible.
otherwise, we may recess. there will be seven minutes for members to ask their questions in the first round of questions. i will begin with mr. tom. sir, you are nominated to serve as the ambassador to the when agencies for food and agriculture in rome. let me reiterate how proud i am to have such a qualified individual from our home state of indiana nominated to this position. you will promote if confirmed u.s. interests and policies with respect to three entities. the food and agriculture organization. the world food program. in the international fund for agricultural development. as chair of the subcommittee that oversees multilateral institutions including the united nations and related entities, and to my efforts of the famine in yemen in particular, i have worked closely with the world food program.
executive director beasley has appeared before my subcommittee twice over the last roughly 18 months. mr. tom, once confirmed, will you let me know and members of my office know what we can do so we can work together and injure multilateral efforts are as effective as actually possible with respect to food security? mr. tom: senator young, thank you for that question. if confirmed, i will report back to this committee and let you know what my experiences are, the solutions i find and the work i have grown with along with executive director beasley and others at usaid to make sure we report back in our successes. and make sure that we understand that the success is measured by those that we lift out of poverty and help become food secure. thank you. chairman young: relatedly, i would like to take this opportunity to indicate how pleased i was that section 1290
is a provision in the national defense authorization act with whom i worked with senator shaheen and others and it was included in the acts that president trump signed into law. i look forward to reviewing secretary pompeo's submission related to yemen by december 12 -- september 12 in accordance with the law. ambassador yamamoto, in your written statement you list as one of your top priorities for somalia delivering humanitarian assistance to alleviate emergency food and health crises. based on your most recent position and your preparation for this hearing, can you just provide this committee and update on the food insecurity -- food insecurity crisis in somalia and indicate what tangible steps we should be focusing on as a committee and as a country to help alleviate the food insecurity situation? amb. yamamoto: thank you, mr.
chairman. somalia has a population of 11 million and over 50% experience acute food insecurity. 5.4 million people. it is not just amalia but the entire region is entering its fourth year of drought. that poses huge problems. the united states is the major donor for food assistance and humanitarian assistance to somalia. we will be working very closely with my colleague here mr. tom on the food insecurity issues. the way we deliver is that the united states remains critical to the humanitarian assistance not just to somalia, but the entire region. chairman young: you have preempted my follow-up question. i wanted your assurance that you would be working closely with mr. tom. mr. tom, my presumption is that you will be working closely with ambassador yamamoto. and both of you will be reporting back to my office and this committee on your efforts.
is that correct? mr. tom: senator young, it is correct. chairman young: ambassador? amb. yamamoto: yes. chairman young: ambassador miller, you have been nominated to serve as our ambassador to bangladesh. we know the military there are -- have conducted a horrific campaign of ethnic cleansing against the rohingya. as a result, we see hundreds of thousands of rohingya refugees in bangladesh. along with senator merkley, i have been active on issues related to burma and this crisis and i plan to continue my efforts. mr. ambassador, if confirmed, in coordination with our ambassador to burma, do i have your commitment you will keep this committee and my office regularly updated on the rohingya crisis and related fallout from that crisis and indicate to us perhaps most importantly how we can be helpful to you? amb. miller: thank you for the
question senator and thank you for your leadership on this important issue. i certainly make that pledge. i also want to recognize and thank senator merkley for leading the first congressional delegation to burma and bangladesh to see with his own eyes the ground truth of this immense humanitarian crisis. if confirmed, i pledge to keep this issue be the top priority, one of the top priorities of the u.s. mission in dhaka. as i mentioned committee united states is very grateful that the government of bangladesh has opened its borders and the people of bangladesh have opened their hearts to over a million refugees in the last two decades including 700,000 since august. i want to recognize the generosity of the american people. their hard-earned taxpayer dollars are saving lives. i will make it one of my top goals to make sure that continues to be the case and the dollars are spent wisely. right now, they are providing
emergency shelter, food, health support for the displaced and homeless communities in bangladesh. but we have to, senator, also focus beyond the immediate needs of this vulnerable population and basic in health and safety on medium and long-term planning. this crisis is not going to abate in the next year or possibly two or three years, so schooling,ng at likelihood training. it is also imperative that any repatriation be fully voluntary, safe, and dignified. and burma must commit to creating those conditions on the ground. the military and security forces must end the violence and adhere to the rule of law. those responsible for ethnic cleansing and other abuses should be held accountable. and in a letter that this committee sent to secretary pompeo last week urging a robust response to the crisis, ellie
wyzell, one of my heroes, says silence encourages the tormentor. confirmed, iou, if will work tirelessly with you with our superb team in dhaka, with bangladeshi officials, international partners, to help the victims of this great injustice. -- whatonce said, with all victims need above all is to know that they are not alone. but we're not forgetting them. that when their voices are stifled, they can borrow ours. while their freedom depends on us, the quality of our freedom depends on theirs. if confirmed, i will always remember that our lives not only belong to us but to those that need us desperately. chairman young: thank you, mr. ambassador. i am encouraged that you speak with such clarity and precision. and thoughtfulness and eloquence on this issue. with that, senator shaheen.
senator shaheen: thank you, mr. chairman. congratulations to each of you on your nominations. i look forward to working with each of you if confirmed. mr. tom, you spoke quite eloquently in your statement. about the importance of food security and what you have seen as you have traveled. i am troubled because in the last two presidential budgets the administration has proposed zero out the funding for peace reduced funding for the international disaster assistance, which supports that. based on your experiences, what kind of impact to you think it -- do you think it would have if the united states dramatically reduces funding for food programs and steps away from the role we have played in the world? mr. tom: senator shaheen, thank you so much for that question. if confirmed, i look forward to making sure that the u.s. who
has always been generous and very passionate in making sure that those around the world who are food insecure received the resources they need to stabilize their lives. let us face it, we live in the midst of a crisis globally where we have 11% more people hungry than we had a year ago. this is more than we can do ourselves. we need to reach out to our alliances around the world and measure our success not by the dollars we invest but by those that we lift out of poverty. shaheen: while i was encouraged by your comments regarding collaboration, and i agree with that, but is much as -- as much as we collaborate, if we zero out a program, it still leaves a vacuum there. so i am pleased to hear you say that you will advocate for continued funding for these important programs. one of the things that we know is that the administration is talking about a rescission in the state department and the
usaid budgets of $2 million-$4 million. we do not know yet because we have not seen where that will come from. we know that they intend to do it in such a way that will prevent us from using those funds because it will be at the end of the year when the funds will expire. i expect we will see an impact on virtually all programs within the department of state in a way that will be challenging. ambassador yamamoto, talk about if you would how we can continue to help our partners fight against the terrorist groups that we are seeing in somalia. you talked about some of the progress being made but what else can we do? amb. yamamoto: thank you, senator. we need to continue to support the african union mission, the amazon forces, and to continue to work with our partner countries of the european union and other like-minded countries such as japan and korea and
others to support and assist somalia's efforts to address the security needs of the country. that means working and coordinating with the president and the six regional states. i believe wext, are successful. i believe we will continue to be confirmed. sen. shaheen: mr. rosenblum, you talked about some of the changes happening in uzbekistan that are very welcome. one of the reasons that we have worked very closely with that government has been because of our efforts in afghanistan and uzbekistan has been very cooperative in those efforts. as we see the continued evolution of the conflict in afghanistan, are you concerned about any spillover into uzbekistan and what might happen as a result of changes in that conflict?
mr. rosenblum: senator, thank you for that question. there is the potential for spillover in that conflict and the government of uzbekistan is very aware of that. and for that reason, they have prioritized playing a constructive role in the reconciliation and peace efforts in afghanistan. just in the past few months, we have seen a reinvigorated effort by the government to play that role. they hosted an international conference on peace in afghanistan in march. they have invited members of the afghan government and the taliban as well to talks in tashkent. we have been encouraging this. they have a strong stake and interest in the settlement. they share a border of course. and we think they can play a very constructive role and if i am confirmed, that will be one of the main priorities of engagement.
both the role with respect to afghanistan but also the broader neighborhood and to become as -- a source of stability and peace in the neighborhood. shaheen: that is very encouraging and what is happening there is also very encouraging. i think their engagement both in afghanistan and the region offers a real opportunity as we look to be at a pivotal time in i look forward to working with you in that effort. ambassador miller, i really cannot say anything more to your -- or add to your statement. i was very pleased to hear what you had to say about your priorities and what they will be as ambassador in bangladesh. and i certainly look forward to working with you if confirmed in all of those efforts. mr. fisher, one of the things that we have the disappointing thing that we are seeing happen in morocco despite all of the
progress in so many areas has been their lack of success in combating human trafficking. we have seen some of the human rights violations that have happened in morocco and they have increased in recent years. can you talk about, if you are confirmed in your role as ambassador, what you could do to encourage the moroccan government to better address both human trafficking and other human rights violations? mr. fisher: thank you, senator for that question. trafficking is and has been an issue in morocco. they are ranked a tear to in the
state department's annual trafficking persons report. the government has not met the full standards of elimination of trafficking but it is my belief from what i have seen that they are trying to make significant efforts to do so. in 2016, the government of morocco enacted a new anti-trafficking law prohibiting all forms of trafficking and establishing and interministerial anti-trafficking commission. if confirmed, i will urge the moroccan government to increase its efforts to investigate prosecute potential trafficking crimes, to identify trafficking victims, and provide protection services catering to the needs of those affected. senator sheen: thank you, i am pleased to hear that. you are committed to continuing to speak up about those
violations of human rights? mr. fisher: thank you, senator. i am committed. senator sheen: thank you very much. i have to go and vote and so since neither senators todd or murphy have returned, i'm going to recess this hearing. thank you to all of you this morning and thank you to your commitment for serving our country. it is a public service that makes the difference for america and for our leadership in the world so thank you all very much. >> calling the subcommittee back
into session. and thank you all for staying with us through this short break. i wanted to start with mr. rosenblum and mr. rosenblum, what role can is uzbekistan play? >> senator, thank you for that question. it is an important role that a complaint. and since the president there became president, they have increasingly played a role in regional security summit in improving relations with their immediate neighbors including afghanistan. and judging by some of their
initiatives over the past few months, i think it is trying to promote peace and reconciliation in a very active way. it is in their interest to have a stable labor. -- a stable neighbor. i think you will recall that there was a high-level international conference held in march in tashkent hosted by the government on afghanistan. it has also been making efforts to boost trade with their neighbors. they have signed a number of trade agreements in the past few months with afghanistan. they supply a lot of electricity to afghanistan. much of kabul is powered by energy coming down. in all areas we are seeing a very active effort on their part. this is something we have encouraged. it is something we support. we want to make sure their efforts are well coordinated
with broader international efforts toward reconciliation with afghanistan. but as i have said, no one has more stake for peace in afghanistan than its neighbors. >> thank you. you mentioned the power provided to afghanistan. can you describe the makeup of uzbekistan's electric power? >> the power system there is primarily powered with oil and gas. some of which they produce themselves and some of which they bring in from neighboring countries. they do ask for a that power generation to neighboring countries including afghanistan as i mentioned. we also know that the government is very interested in developing renewable power and we have worked through some projects under usaid to give them the technical capacity they need to
develop that especially solar and possibly wind. this is an increasing move on the part of the government to diversify its energy generation. we are working with them with technical assistance. >> thank you very much. ambassador miller, will you urge on behalf of the united states the government of bangladesh to strengthen the infrastructure in the refugee camps and particularly provide for the opportunity for education for the children there? ambassador miller: i certainly will, senator. i mentioned when you stepped out how much i appreciate your leadership on this issue in leading the first codel to see the facts on the ground. we discussed when we met recently about what needs to be done to sustain this large population in bangladesh.
not only will i do my utmost to make sure they are being supported in the camps, we discussed their possible relocation to an island and how that could be problematic due to come even with infrastructure and seawalls, moving 100,000 refugees to an island as we talked about could subject them to flooding during monsoons and high tides. i want to make sure that any repatriation to burma or inside bangladesh is done in a fully voluntary, safe and dignified manner. if confirmed, one of my first trips would be to follow in your footsteps. i would go out to the camps as soon as i got into bangladesh to see the ground truth for myself. >> thank you very much. you mentioned at the island. this is a plan that i understand the government of bangladesh is going forward with. is it my understanding that it is a low-lying island and there is the possibility of flooding during monsoons and the isolation that occurs in that
situation -- it sounds like the policy of the u.s. is to discourage the government of bangladesh from proceeding with that effort? >> i checked on that question, senator. the u.s. has not spent any u.s. taxpayer funds building infrastructure or supporting development on that island. it is an island built on the sediment from the river that runs into the bay of bengal and the delta. it is an island that during the monsoon season can effectively be underwater. there is also some real issue on how you relocate when hundred thousand people and the fact that the island is so isolated it can become a target for piracy, trafficking, and other criminal activity. >> are we concerned about isis recruiting from the refugees who are in a difficult situation?
tightly crowded. monsoon rains coming down. not much future for economic opportunity. >> we certainly are. historically, the rohingya has been moderate, muslim practitioners but when you have a population of 700,000 living in desperate straits in dire conditions with the prospect of repatriation not clear at this point, we have to be really careful about the possibility for radicalization. al qaeda and isis are using the rohingya crisis in their propaganda internationally. i would work very closely with the government of bangladesh to keep a close eye on that. >> thank you. my time is up so i will yield to
my colleague. >> congratulations on your nominations. i want to talk about morocco. the subcommittee is very broad. i call it mary cash to bangladesh. there are a lot of countries to cover. i have enjoyed interacting with morocco. in the region that i serve on the subcommittee, there is an increasing pattern of government crackdowns on political activists and journalists and members of religious and ethnic i nor 80's. this includes most recently in saudi arabia, the government seek the death penalty for a nonviolent activist, a woman
from the shiite minority. in morocco, the leader of a protest movement from the berber region was sent along with other activists to 20 year prison terms. as the representative to morocco will you stand up for principle, justice, democracy, and free speech? >> senator, thank you for that question and the short answer is if confirmed absolutely yes. i look forward to working with the president's national security strategy which says governments that respect the rights of citizens remain the
best vehicle for prosperity, human happiness, and peace. i invite you to morocco if confirmed. i would hope to tour the country and look at the areas of interest with you and again if confirmed, i look forward to working further with the committee. >> i hope that if confirmed you will raise the issues in an appropriate way and keep the committee informed. morocco, unlike many of its neighbors, has not experienced a major terrorist attack since 2012 and that is due to very good work done in morocco. we should give them credit. many foreign fighters from isis come from morocco. as isis controls less territory and seeks to move on or return home, what existing programs can the u.s. provide to morocco to help them deal with the potential of moroccan native foreign fighters as they come back trying to stop them from engaging destructive activity? >> thank you for that question,
sir. the country of morocco is doing a good job of trying to identify and create an environment to control anyone that has been radicalized. they practice a moderate muslim faith. and that in itself and the export of a moderate muslim faith around africa is very helpful to try to control that. there are many fewer foreign fighters from morocco and if they are to return to morocco, they are identified and in some cases they are held. the country works to try to de-radicalize them. >> one more question. the western sahara in 2016, following the remarks by the
un's secretary-general referring to occupied western sahara -- morocco expelled the un's peacekeeping operation and military tensions escalated. forces moved into the buffer zone that the u.n. staff had released. both parties work to renew the agreement in 2017. the mandate was set to expire in 2018 but was extended to october. how likely is a new round of direct talks between morocco and the polisario front -- how realistic is it that these talks could move forward to a new place? >> senator, thank you for the question.
the u.s. continues to support a u.n. led efforts to find a just, lasting, and usually accept the ball political solution to the conflict that provides for the self-determination of the people of the western sahara. recently, former german president helmut kohl are, as the personal envoy of the secretary-general for western sahara was in morocco. he has visited all of the appropriate players in the region and he was in morocco, algeria, mauritania and has met with the polisario. if confirmed, i would be more than happy to come back and discuss that with this
committee. >> thank you very much. i know senator merkley asked a number of questions about bangladesh which is also in the foreign relations subcommittee where i serve as the ranking member. i applaud the work of senator merkley and others who have made this an area of focus. i would say to you, ambassador miller, that i did not get a chance to hear you're back and forth answers to senator merkley about that but i think continuing to encourage bangladesh to do the right thing in this significant humanitarian crisis is absolutely critical. we sometimes have the experience of meeting with the myanmar officials in bangladeshi officials and have them think are pointing both ways. i think you are taking this job at an incredibly important time. should you be confirmed i hope bringing in the humanitarian assistance to bear to provide solutions would be a top priority of years.
>> it certainly will be, sir. >> thank you, mr. chair. >> thank you, mr. senator. mr. rosenblum, your story about your father and his work to fight anti-semitism, i found your story powerful and compelling and something i hope reaches a much broader audience. in the u.s. and abroad we have seen a disturbing increase in anti-semitic hate crimes and violence and sadly, we have seen it in my home state of indiana very recently. these anti-semitic ask are contrary to our values, contrary to what america is all about. so, if confirmed, i would like to have a commitment from each one of you in your respective positions that you will do all you can to name, shame, and of -- and oppose anti-semitic statements and actions. mr. tom? >> senator young, you have my commitment. >> yes, sir, you have my commitment.
>> you have my commitment, sir. >> i do so pledge, sir. >> i do as well, sir. >> thank you, all. i won additional question today and then i will turn it over to senator mark lee for additional questions and senator kaine if you have additional questions i want to afford you that opportunity. ambassador yamamoto, you know in your prepared statement that you have recently served as the acting assistant secretary of state for african affairs. based on that experience, i would like you to provide an up date on the situation in drc with a particular focus on the need for joseph kabila to respect the constitutional term limits of his presidency and the need for credible elections this year. ambassador yamamoto: in that context, we are committed to
ensuring that there is a peaceful and proper transition from president kabila to the next president and that the elections will take place as agreed to by all of the parties this december and we are working very hard to make sure that that happens. >> i will look forward to working with you on that and being helpful however i can with you and others at the state department. as the chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the united nations, can you also provide us an opportunity on the unp's keeping mission there? ambassador yamamoto: the mission continues to face difficult challenges not only because of the security situation in the congo which iis certainly one of our longest serving missions on the continent. the u.s. remains committed to supporting the u.n. operations
and entering its success in stabilizing the congo and making sure that the elections take place. >> thank you, ambassadors. senator merkley. >> ambassador yamamoto, will you initially be serving from within the country or operating out of nairobi? ambassador yamamoto: we are very hopeful that we will go directly into mogadishu. >> that would be tremendous. one of the challenges that you are described for the team in small yet is that unlike the state department delegations to our country, our delegation there has been restricted to the military compound in mogadishu. do you foresee that changing? ambassador yamamoto: in my first time there in 2016, we were able to get to the outskirts of somalia. we hope to continue to do that because we need to engage the six regional leaders and also to help with coordination between
the regional leaders and the federal government. at this point, we cannot get outside of mogadishu. travel within the mogadishu is another issue. it is challenging and dangerous. from our windowless bunker accommodations, we will see opportunities that again we will take it as security merits. >> the new york times has been reporting on the use of drone strikes out of djibouti against the al-shabaab. do you have any sense of the effectiveness of this and is there a purely military strategy for trying to change the divided civil conflict occurring? ambassador yamamoto: thank you, senator. in my previous role as acting secretary we held lengthy discussions not only with the
general, the commander for africa command but also with other commanders from socom and other commands. there is no military solution in somalia. the amazon forces have been very successful in containing the rebels and the shabbat element but the answer is there has to be a whole government approach meaning you have to have strong democratic institutions accountable to the people. you need to have a government working closely together with the regional states to ensure there is economic development and stability. >> one of the things brought to my attention by the president of somalia is the trade of charcoal was resulting in devastating deforestation. the sale of charcoal was funding al-shabab. any sense of how we can take on
this challenge? ambassador yamamoto: we have worked with the united nations to restrict the sale of the charcoal. we are worked with the government and if confirmed, we will continue to work with the president and his government to ensure we do not have deforestation. if you have 50% of the people in need of food assistance and you have almost 25% displaced largely because of the climactic control problems, then we need to do much more to ensure that we have addressed the climate issues and also the problems generated by the charcoal. >> i am not sure that this is a case that somalia is the single worst deforestation cases but it is certainly among the top. you have mentioned the sale of
charcoal abroad and do some of the surrounding nations. i wanted to turn mr. tom to the issues that you are about to undertake. very important issues for food and agriculture. do you have any sense on how climate chaos is affecting fisheries and forests and aggravating the challenges of agriculture? >> sen. merkley: at thank you for that question. as a u.s. producer, we know our family over the last seven generations have always dealt with climate change and we know we need to adapt. fortunately for us here in the u.s. we have the benefit of land-grant universities and the private sector and our own resources to deal with the effects of the climate. not so with the case when you get into the food desperate countries around the world.
one of my goals will be to instill resilience and make sure that we can develop the capacity but give them the tools to work with the changing climate occurring in many of these desperate countries across africa and the middle east. >> thank you. i really look forward to the work you are going to do because this issue of food scarcity is affecting so many people. there is a high level of burnout in the u.s. in terms of absorbing the information. that is why i went to northern africa to visit the famines. we here in the committee have held forums on the famine. the u.n. agencies that you will be involved in are critically important. thank you.
committee a detailed it counting detailed accounting of the situations of the members can examine that? >> senator, thank you for the question. we have talked about it with office.menendez's that case was dismissed without prejudice. police -- please recall that while i own the company, i am the registry agent, i was named in the suit because i own the company. discussion. there was not a hint of an allegation against me, but we welcome the opportunity to provide the committee all information. >> mr. fisher, so you would submit a detailed exhalation for
the committee? >> of course. . welcome the opportunity >> i feel compelled to note on that particular case it was not just that you are the head of the company -- it was conversations the individual ad with you about the situation, so please make sure to address that piece of its as you submit your description. the committeee was somewhat troubled by was this was not on the list of lawsuits you initially submitted in your statements. if you will explain that in riding to the committee, that will be helpful to individuals, and i think the third issue was the issue of recusing yourself gore's --e of george
judge gorsuch, and then on recusing yourself. you are welcome to address it aw, but if you could submit written explanation of that, that would be helpful. welcome thei opportunity. i served in the state of michigan judicial tenure. as requested, there are seven members of the judiciary, and two independence. i served for six years, and i would be more than happy to discuss that. i look forward to that opportunity. >> thank you. the reason i am suggesting you submitted in riding, the members who are not here would appreciate having a chance to understand it. that way is easy dust easier than talking to each person. >> we absolutely will, sir. >> thank you.
is an incredibly important nation, a fascinating nation, such a unique history. are there any final comments you your like to share with interest of serving there? >> thank you for the opportunity, thank you, senators , for the opportunity to come today. towife and i have been morocco. it's a fabulous country. there's lots of opportunity to commerce, torow grow counterterrorism. we look forward to hopefully hosting you if you could come and we could tour the country and look at the opportunity. the commerce is better. with the free trade agreement, we have seen over a 300 increase in commerce. they are great counterterrorism partners of ours. tore's a lot to look forward
, serving if confirmed, and again, i invite you to come to morocco and we can discuss this, or i will come back and appear before the committee. >> professor john davis is one of the few americans to have ever received the highest honor morocco government of for his work in the country. unfortunately, he has passed away. to mention him because of the extensive work he has the united states and morocco. thank you very much. >> thank you, sir. >> i want to thank all of our nominees for your appearance here today, for your strong desire to serve our country in these important positions. for the information of our members, the record of today's hearing will remain open until of business on friday,
including four members to submit additional questions for the record. thank you to each of you, your families. this hearing is now adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> join us for book tv's live coverage of the 18th annual
library of congress national at 10estival, saturday a.m. eastern. coverage includes your collins from our set at the washington convention center with jon meacham and his book "the soul of america: the battle for our better angels." pulitzer prize-winning historian doris kearns goodwin with her book "leadership in turbulent times" and fox news host brian kill me and his book "the battle of new orleans: the battle that shaped our destiny." on book tv next saturday at 10 a.m. eastern. >> makes, state and treasury department officials testified before the senate foreign relations committee about the state of u.s.-russia relationships -- relations. they talked
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