Speeches and Remarks
Deputy National Security Advisor Denis R. McDonough Press Statement after Meeting with President Lobo
November 28, 2012
Thank you, Mr. Foreign Minister. I would like to thank President Lobo for his hospitality and the frank and open discussion that we had on a broad range of topics including citizen security, human rights, and economic development. I also extended my congratulations to the Honduran people on their strong participation in a peaceful, democratic, primary election process on November 18, recognizing the commendable work of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.
The United States and Honduras have enjoyed a close bilateral partnership over the years –at no other time in recent memory has our engagement been so robust– driven by the pursuit of new opportunities to advance the health, well being, and prosperity of both our peoples. I am here today to reaffirm the United States' commitment to that partnership.
Programs like the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) and the ACCESO program (Food for Peace) demonstrate the United States' continuing commitment to work with the Honduran government and people to create a safer, more prosperous Honduras.
Moving forward in the spirit of equal partnership and shared responsibility, our Embassy under the leadership of Ambassador Lisa Kubiske, is joining with the government of Honduras, civil society, human rights organizations, and the private sector to support initiatives that reflect the goals and aspirations of both our peoples.
President Lobo and I had a chance to discuss our ongoing collaboration –a key facet of which is our efforts to reduce crime and violence in Honduras. In September of this year, the United States and Honduras signed a memorandum of understanding on citizen security that advances the rule of law, intensifies cooperation in the fight against illicit drug trafficking, expands crime prevention programs, and pursues financial crimes.
Addressing corruption and impunity is a key priority of this memorandum. We encourage efforts by Honduras to implement reforms that will strengthen the capacity of institutions in the security and justice sectors to investigate crimes and arrest, prosecute, and convict criminal offenders. The work of the Public Security Reform Commission lays an important foundation for strengthening key institutions responsible for preserving the rule of law.
On the same day that the memorandum of understanding on citizen security was signed by Foreign Minister Corrales and Under Secretary of State Maria Otero, the United States and Honduras launched the first bilateral Human Rights working group which will address the culture of violence in Honduras. The launching of these two initiatives on the same day was intentional –it reminds us that the fight against violent crime and impunity cannot be conducted at the expense of human rights. It will be important to see tangible progress in this area. Civil society groups like the Alliance for Peace and Justice are important voices for improving human rights and security for all Hondurans. I will be meeting with members of several civil society groups next and look forward to their views on this important issue.
Today's discussions also included discussion of the poverty and inequality that too many citizens endure each and every day. Since economic development is the primary contributor to social development, this is an area where we intend to work closely with Honduras and other partners in Central America to promote greater prosperity.
It was a pleasure to discuss with President Lobo the state of our bilateral relationship and the many opportunities that exist for creating jobs, promoting citizen security, and elevating the importance of respect for human rights. This is the work we must continue together and which we are prepared to undertake as your partner and friend.