tv Ambassadorship Confirmations CSPAN June 21, 2018 10:51pm-12:16am EDT
good afternoon, this hearing on the senate foreign relations committee will come to order, today we gather to consider for nominations, the honorable brian nichols to be the u.s. ambassador to zimbabwe, mister gordon saw england, to be the representative to european union, mister giblin's to be the u.s. or visitors to belgium, and the representative to the un sessions of the united nations general assembly, that is a mouthful. >> [ laughter ] >> i want to welcome the nominees and their families. in your opening statement i hope you will introduce your families and friends to this committee, and i congratulate all of you on your selection by the president for these positions, and i want to thank you for your willingness to serve. before moving to opening statements, i would like to welcome several distinct wrist colleagues, who will help to introduce nominees.
senator wyden, and senator durbin will introduce mister giblin's. if you would like to begin? >> thank you mister chair. i should say, members of the committee, it is my great privilege to introduce mister gardens on glenn who has been on it looks is nominated to serve as the united states ambassador to the european union. he was born in seattle washington, and is a first generation american, his family history is both fascinating and instructive, as to why he has the experience and understanding to serve as u.s. ambassador to the eu. his parents, gunter and freda were born in berlin germany, and were married in 1937. they were forced to escape the [null] regime in germany, his mother was able to escape because her father was russian, and those with russian passports could leave. she ended up in uruguay, where mister simon's sister was born. his father was not so fortunate.
he had to be smuggled out of germany, and actually wound up in france, where he joined the french foreign legion and fought in north africa. he was put in a concentration camp in africa, where he was rescued by british army. he then joined the british army, being fluent in german, and assisted with decoding german ciphers. after eight years, they were reunited, and moved to seattle in 1953 where gordon was born four years later. gordon went on to graduate from the university of washington in seattle -- in seattle, and began his business career in commercial real estate before managing the aspen group, an investment fund, for more than a decade. mister sans linde is currently the founder, chairman, and ceo of providence hotels, excuse me. he originally purchased a bankrupt hotel, and transformed it into the enterprise he manages today. a national company which now employs nearly 1000 employees, to manage hotels across the
geographically diverse environment in the united states. in addition to his great business experience, he has been heavily involved in a number of philanthropic activities, cofounder of the gordon silent and catherine j durrant foundation, which strives to help families and communities. he has also served in a number of local and state national boards, and advisory committees in the past, and currently serves on several boards, including u.s. bancorp, washington state advisory board, stanford school of visitors at duke university, oregon school of science foundation, and the george w. bush center. his family history and contextual understanding that comes with it along with his extensive business experience in large enterprise and negotiations in markets and problem-solving relationship building, and managing competing interests ideally suited for the task. i would also tell you, he is a man of
great character, and a great mentor to two of his kids, who had the good sense to go to a north carolina school. they are at duke university, i'm sorry you didn't have the grades to get into unc chapel hill, but duke is a good plan b. >> [ laughter ] >> mister chair, thank you, i cannot think of a better person to take the post as ambassador to the eu, mister gordon silent. >> thank you. senator white's? >> thank you very much mister chairman, let me make this a filibuster free zone, and just have my remarks put in the record, and give you a sense of why i am here. i have known gordon sunderland, known in the pacific northwest as gordy for well over a quarter of a century. and, i think a senator mercy asked, well, how has that come about? does he want to play in the
nba, too? is basketball what did it? not really. there is a really small jewish community in oregon. and, we pretty much know each other. so those ideals, and the rosenfeld's, and the tenders, and the somnolence, we are just people who get together and back good causes and try to stand up for our state, and particularly, have an interest in global matters, because of our family background. we are both gordon sunderland and i, we are the children of german parents, and both of our families fled the nazis in the 30s. gordon's father used his foreign language fluency to help the british army during the war. my dad, who lived for a while in richfield, connecticut,
wrote the propaganda pamphlets for our army, but we dropped on the nazis. i'm telling you, those pamphlets smoked. it basically told the nazis they were going to freeze if they didn't pack it in and give up to the red white and blue. so, both gordon's family, and mind, ended up in the united states, as refugees. and i think we all know, america has always called to our shores from every nation on earth the industrious and creative, the steadfast and devout. in effect, we had a constant infusion of individuals, who share red white and blue values, of hard work, and love of country, the very core of our greatness. and my sense is, gordon and i have touched on this over the
years, that families like ours, and kids like us, who are first- generation kids of refugees, there's a word for that, where you try to protect the -- perfect the world, but i think what i say is that gordon and families like ours, we always thought it was our job to give back. always try to find a way to give back was the way people talked about it in jewish families in oregon, gordon and his wife katie have been supporters of so many causes. one of the things that i especially like about the families that they have been very generous to the portland art museum, and as a result now kids can go to this terrific
museum in oregon, 3000 miles away from some of what people think of as museums of new york, and washington dc, but now, because their kids get to go to an art museum for free. gordy has also been involved in several things i feel very strongly about, and no both the chair and ranking minority member care greatly about healthcare. gordon has been involved in the oregon health and sciences university foundation, where we are doing with their good work, and phil knight as well, who made a very generous donation recently to cutting-edge work to deal with cancer. i will close by way of saying that i think if you look at the totality of the experience that they bring to this post at a time when lots of politics
polarized and divisive, gordon will be a really good fit. i will close with one kind of comment about our state. what i have come to feel is that we have in oregon way about us, not down somewhere, it is not in our pioneer square in downtown portland, but it is all about taking a good idea wherever you can get it, caring about people, having a good heart. our late colleague in the senate mark hatfield really practiced the oregon way. our late mayor in portland, really practiced the oregon way. i think when gordon assumes this post, as i hope he will, he is going to speak with a real impact, with an oregon way type impact, for problem- solving, for values that we
hold dear, particularly on issues like anti-semitism, respect for human rights, and it's pleasure -- it is a pleasure to be part of the oregon caucus on behalf of the nominee. >> thank you. without objection your written statement will be entered into the record. senator gardner? >> thank you mister chairman, thank you for holding this hearing, let me welcome christina give wits to the committee hearing. christina's -- and ron give wits , i don't know if i'm supposed to say this but i will say it anyway, and ask for forgiveness afterwards. ron didn't get married until his 40s because he spent all the time before that trying to convince christina to say yes. that is the story, correct? but, i also want to welcome scott who is here today, his son and new fianci, as in the last week, and alexander, his son who is in australia, -- welcome to the family and thank you for being here today.
the first time i met ron i knew immediately that i would get along great with him. there was a poster on his wall that was a piece of farm equipment from a company called caulkins, i believe it was, and as somebody who grew up in a very small town who sold farm equipment, i knew a heck of a lot about that equipment and i didn't think anyone else in america off of the farm would know about it, and we had a long conversation about midwest companies that have a legacy presence in colorado and beyond. we were talking about household names that helped my hometown thrive that he was a part of. of course, there is his resume, which we can talk about today, which shows that he is more qualified to serve our great nation in this capacity than anyone else. his decades of business experience leading recognized brands and companies, he's been
a national leader, a leader of the boys and girls club across the nation, it didn't take long for me to recognize that ron just wasn't a business leader or political leader, his bio is filled with far more than job experience. he is a mentor, a philanthropist, a community leader. he is deep into the leadership of the arts and the incredible field museum at chicago. ron lives up to that adage of to whom much is given, much is expected. there are few who inspire as much as christina and ron. the list of their generation goes on and on to healthcare, welfare, veterans, and of course education, yet none of his ellipse is none of it is done seeking recognition or asking anything in return, it is truly to live up to that commitment, much is expected. they have indeed lived up to this incredible status. the family has never stopped championing others, and today's new mission is just one more step in giving back to his country, to our country. i know that this is why some of those close to him call him father ron.
he is one that serves everyone. people come to him for guidance and wisdom and when needed, some hard truth telling. peer to peer, ceo to ceo, and even some students, the words of his closest friends, he serves as a source of strength and wisdom for all that seek him out. his greatest achievement is not how much he is given, but how he has impacted and influenced and inspired all those around him. the mission in belgium is more important than ever. whether it is addressing the challenges in europe, or the opportunities in brussels, he will be a beacon of american values and the point of pride and diplomacy that will give comfort to all of us who recognize the importance of this role. the leadership and ambassador provides in the value of salvaged -- selfless leadership i am honored to be here today supporting ron and his family and i urge my colleagues to do the same. >> thank you senator gardner, senator durbin? >> thank you mister chairman, it is great to be back at the senate foreign relations committee, i promise someday i will return, just like macarthur, but, i wanted to be
here today especially, because of the nomination of ron give wits -- ron to be our next ambassador to belgium. i won't echo the kind remarks of cory gardner of colorado on behalf of aaron and his family but i will tell you that ron and i share something in common, a life experience that goes back a few years. we were both interns in the united states senate in the same year working for the same senator. morris udall, a congressman from arizona once said if you have politics in your bloodstream, only embalming fluid will replace it. during the course of my internship, in the senate office , i got politics in my bloodstream, and i have never quite left capitol hill cents. ron took a different path, he went back to the business world, successful with private business as well as his investments, and other endeavors. he did well for his -- himself but as corey has reminded us, he did not just sit on that
success, and walk away from his responsibility to many others, i have let know that for a long time, we are in an area which is an error i should say where there are arguments made about hyper partisanship, but i know that when it came to service for the public, ron stepped up to serve chicago's democratic friends as much as his republican friends. he committed to harold washington and eugene sawyer. he chaired the city cut universities, and the illinois state board of education. he served as well as corey has mentioned, as chairman emeritus for the boys and girls club of america for nearly 30 years, over and over again he stepped up for public service and he will do it again. belgium is an important ally to the united states, the european union's future is important important question for the united states. the future of the nato alliance is one that we have to address
on a regular basis, and should remind everyone, there has been peace in the world for a long period of time. ron is the right person to serve as america's face and voice in belgium, and i'm happy to endorse his nomination. >> thank you senator. i want to thank all of our senate colleagues for coming here and providing an introduction. i think buys partisan support for these nominees speaks well of them and of this process. as chairman corbo says, you're welcome to stages not sitting there. we really do appreciate you making those introductions. >> i want to thank my other colleagues for attending, and i want to be respectful to the time, so, rather than reading an opening statement, i will simply ask for consent to enter into the record, i will turn to senator murphy. >> i will take your cue and we can get right to the nominees. >> let me thank the nominees
and your families for your willingness to serve in these important capacities. these postings involve significant sacrifice not just from you, but also for your families. the positions you're in our important for your countries and institutions but also representing those back to this body, and i'm sure you will do a great job. we want to start with the honorable brian nichols. he is the honor to be nominated to the ambassador to zimbabwe. and served as the ambassador from -- to peru until 2017. he served as deputy chief admission to the u.s. embassy in pagoda from 2000 72,010. investor nichols? >> chairman johnson, ranking
member murphy and distinguished members of the committee, it is an honor to appear before you today as the president's nominee to be the next united states ambassador to the republican -- republic of zimbabwe. i am grateful to have the confidence of the president and secretary of state. as i approached 30 years in the foreign service, serving on some of our most challenging missions, it is a humbling distinction to appear before the senate for the second time as a nominee to serve the american people. my professional achievements owed to the wonderful women who join me today, my beautiful wife jerry also a senior foreign service officer and my daughters alex and sylvie. they have pushed me to be a better person, sacrifice for my career, and nurture me with their love and support. i would also like to recognize my older brothers david and keith for the powerful example they have set with me though they could not be here today. i have had the good fortune to represent the country that i love and fascinating countries around the world.
i have advanced american values of respect for democracy, human rights, and rule of law. those are values that my late father, charles nichols, a fulbright scholar, and founder of brown university's africana studies program, instilled in me and my brothers. my mother mildred nichols has served the people of rhode island promoting higher education, vocational training, and charitable programs, to lift people out of poverty for 50 years. should i be confirmed, i will draw upon those values and my experience to strengthen our relations with zimbabwe, as it reforms, promote american principles, and help the people of zimbabwe build a better future. as i have in all of my previous assignments, i will have no higher priority than the welfare and security of the american citizens. after 38 years of independence, zimbabwe approaches a crossroads. the government and people of zimbabwe have the opportunity
to follow a new path, to become a stable and democratic country, while returning to the prosperity of the past. this is what the zimbabwean people need and deserve, to fulfill this goal, we want to encourage them to enact political and economic reforms, and the test will be on july 30 their ability to deliver a free and open election. genuine reforms can and yield great benefits for her people. if confirmed, i look forward to close and continued collaboration with our congress, to help zimbabwe along a path of positive change. as we continue to support zimbabwe's democratic development, we will must also look into the people of zimbabwe and healthcare, people exchanging humanitarian aid and business element to preserve the human capital needed to
grow and preserve zimbabwe in the future. today's zimbabwe's can look back -- zimbabweans can look back across the history that build a great zimbabwe and influenced an entire continent -- continent. i have faith that with support and once given their ability to create and organize and express their well the people of zimbabwe will find the path forward and pursue it successfully. my recent foreign service assignments provide rich experience should the senate confirm me to serve as is and -- ambassador to zimbabwe. i lead a large mission that focused on improving the rule of law, fighting crime and corruption, strengthening host nation institutions and promoting respect for human rights particularly of women, girls, and disadvantaged groups. in that role, i let a unified mission initiative to grow american business initiatives and american jobs earning the departments cobb award for those efforts. i do that, help direct the state departments rule of law,
anticrime, and counter mycotic programming around the world, including in africa. as the principal deputy officer , i directed a team of 7000 professionals who work every day to expand access to justice, protect civilians, and come -- combat crime around the world. i'm especially proud of our efforts to expand partnerships in africa, combat wildlife trafficking, and build more professional police and prosecutors. in those positions, as well as deputy chief of mission in bogota, i served organizations that were more diverse than ever , improved morale, and effectively advance our nation's policies and priorities. should the senate confirm me, i will aim to example 5 the highest standards of our great nation while doing so. i look forward to partnering with you to advance american interests in zimbabwe and stand ready to answer your questions now and in the future. >> thank you ambassador
nichols. our next nominee is mister gordon's entente, the president's nominee, i think after the gordon -- introduction by senator wyden until as i don't think any further induction is necessary. >> before i begin, i want to thank the senators tillis and wyden for an overly generous introduction, it was much appreciated. chairman johnson, ranking member murphy and distinguished members of the foreign relations committee, good afternoon, it is an honor to appear before you as the president's nominee to serve as the united states ambassador to the european union. i am grateful to president trump for the faith and confidence he has placed in me, and to secretary pompeo for his support, and i am very grateful to you for your consideration of my nomination. before we begin, please allow me to introduce the members of my family, all here in attendance with me. first, my wife katie, without
whose intelligence, kindness, patience, and weight, i might have achieved very little, certainly not a place at the table. she is a fermentable success in business, as well as in our home. and she has been an enduring source of strength and humbling smart advice since the day i was fortunate enough to meet her nearly 30 years ago. sitting next to katie are our two proudest accomplishments, children both of whom are graduates at duke and departed very challenging summer internships so they could be here today. absent in spirit -- in body, having immigrated here after years of extreme travail, my parents adopted america and america adopted them with a passion unrivaled by anyone i have since encountered. there is was a story of intense personal sacrifice, unshakable spirit and faith, hard work, good luck, and a deep commitment in equal parts to the united states at each other. having met and married in berlin in 1938, gunter and freda, and my sister lucy,
unlike so many of their less fortunate relatives, were able to flee the scourge of [null]- ism. in 1939, freda and lucy found safe haven in south america, while gunter -- gunter volunteered to take up arms against a murderous authoritarian regime from which they just escaped. first was the french foreign legion in africa and later with the british army in burma. world war ii came to a close, and two years later, so did gunter and freda's eight-year separation, when they were reunited in montevideo, uruguay, in 1947, along with tens of thousands of other juice, gunter's surviving family had sought shelter in shanghai. soon, gunter, freda, and my sister lucy found permanent refuge in seattle, washington, on the northwestern edge of our great country. here, they raised two children, including me, the first of my family ever to claim natural born citizenship in the united states. here, they embarked on their
own unique american dream. american citizens eventually started running a small successful dry-cleaning business for the next 30 years. here, they labored, loved, made many friends, and had a positive impact on their community. here, they never ceased to be grateful to the country that had given them hope, safety, and a new beginning. gunter and freda fought hard for their american citizenship. they cherished it and nurtured it. they bequeathed to us neither riches, nor property, but something much more treasured, and abiding respect for industry, determination, and self-sufficiency. a deep love of god, family and country, faith in the rule of law, and finally, the certainty that self-governance is essential to happiness, prosperity, and true liberty. denied to so many of these for so long, gunter and freda embraced these american values with fervor. if confirmed, everything i say and do will be in and -- and advancement of american interests and these principles
first and foremost. they are certainly the principles that guide me throughout my life. most of them of course comprise the foundational western principles that undergird the u.s.-eu relationship that has endured since 1951. between us, the united states and eu member nations wielded the largest economic and military power in the world. they dominate global trade and lead in international and political developments. that is why our unique relationship with europe must only be strengthened and protected. as president trump said last year in his warsaw speech establishing the preservation of the west, as his primary foreign policy goal in europe, quote, there is nothing like this community of nations. the world has never known anything like it. we must have the desire and courage to preserve it in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it.". as you know better than most, there are many challenges that confront us. trade, security, the migrant crisis, briggs, but, no one
should doubt that the eu has a central role in participate -- precipitating our shared values around the world bridge to the benefit of our european friends but also to a vast as well as american people, the $5.5 trillion in annual commerce we share is just one compelling testament to that. finally, while much has been said about the tensions that currently exist within the u.s.- eu partnership, it is important to remember, historically, these ups and downs and incidences of public posturing have been the norm. that is the nature of complicated relationships. while it won't always be easy, our shared goals and values will triumph over our differences. i believe that my professional experience of the last several decades are instrumental in preparing me to lead the mission at the eu, should you confirm my nomination.
i'm gratified to have launched a hospitality and real estate holding company larger than i would have ever imagined, and sustaining several thousand individuals and their families from all walks of life and places. i have also traveled extensively throughout the world, including across europe, and having knowledge and deep respect for european culture and politics. while i have been fortunate enough to visit the vast majority of eu member countries, if confirmed, i look forward to visiting them all. i am proud that the first language i spoke at home was german, and if confirmed, i look forward to once again conversing with our friends throughout europe and -- in english but also in german were spoken. during the course of my life, i have this -- have had significant experience in lawmaking at every level of government from negotiating business deals across borders and advising several large companies with both domestic and international operations. i have always been comfortable working on a bipartisan basis, if confirmed, i can assure you
that i will bring my life experiences and skills to represent the united states at the european union. thank you for your consideration, and i would be pleased to answer your questions. >> thank you. our next nominee is mister ronald, ambassador to belgium, and again, following the introduction by senator gardner and durbin, i don't think we need any further introduction. >> thank you. ranking member murphy, distinguished members of the committee, it is a tremendous honor to appear before you today, as president trump's nominee to be the united states ambassador to the kingdom of belgium. for me, it is humbling that the president and secretary pompeo have the confidence in me, hopefully with your approval, to represent the american people in engaging with a critically important ally and a key center in europe. i would particularly like to thank senator durbin and gardner for speaking on my behalf. i would also like to thank
several members of my family who sit behind me, first and foremost is christina, to who i have been married for almost 43 years. we have two sons, alexander who lives in australia, and scott who joins us here today. alex is married to a lovely young lady and she recently gave birth to our first grandson, christopher. scott is accompanied by his newly minted fianci, mallory. my family's love and support has been a constant in every phase of my life. during my career, i have had a multiplicity of experiences, in government sector as well as the natural -- the public arena. i served as the president of helene curtis, a cosmetic manufacturer and marketer. when i took over the company it had sales of just over $100 million. when the business was sold 17 years later, the company was closing in on 1.5 million, and was on the fortune 300 list, with 40% of its sales coming
from outside the u.s. i have also served on a number of private-sector boards and directors, one of note among them was american national can, a subsidiary of the french aluminum company. in the public sector i was the founding member of the national committee for employer support of the guard reserve and served in that capacity for 10 years. in addition, i was the chairman of the economic development commission of the city of chicago at the time when the midwest was under great stress. i also served as the chairman of the city colleges of chicago, the second-largest community college district in the country. as well, i served two terms as the chairman of the illinois state board of education. i was appointed to these and other public service positions by both republicans and democrats. i believe the record will show that i can meet organizations no matter their political stripe.
in the not-for-profit arena, i worked in many kinds of establishments, from social service to cultural institutions to educational organizations. i have served in virtually every position over my 44 year tenure, with boys and girls clubs of america, including chairing the national organization. i have served as the chairman of the field museum of national history as well as the chicagoland chamber of congress -- commerce. in short i have led large and small organizations, public and private and not-for-profit. i feel confident in my pathic spirits in government, business, and philanthropy, has prepared me for this important opportunity to lead the united states mission to the kingdom of belgium. if confirmed, to serve as u.s. ambassador, i will work closely with the teams across the government, to strengthen our relationships and focus on the following areas of our alliance. first and foremost, i will work with belgian officials at all levels, to advance american interests, protect american citizens, and promote american democratic values.
the freedom of speech, freedom of press, and the freedom of religion are values that cannot and should not be compromised. if confirmed, i will work closely with the belgian government to addresses collective security concerns. i will encourage our belgium partners to move aggressively to fulfill their declaration commitment, to spending 2% of gdp on defense by the year 2024. working together, we can further strengthen communication between our law enforcement and terrorism communities, and hence neither, and further global security. if confirmed, i hope to advance our economic interests. more than 900 american companies are represented in belgium. in 2017, u.s. exports of goods and services to belgium were $35.5 billion. imports from belgium were 20.4. creating a trade surplus of
$15.1 billion. we are belgian's largest trading partner outside the european union. if confirmed i will work with our commerce department and industry economic experts to further a robust and successful partnership. finally, if confirmed, i will work diligently to lead our mission team and work closely with all agencies to deepen our historic alliance with the belgian alliance and belgian people. mister chairman, ranking member and members of the committee, i think you for the honor of appearing before you today and i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you. last but not least, ms. shelley is our nominee for the united nations and the general assembly. ms. shelley has served at the
un since 2014 as a deputy counselor from 2012 to 2014. she also served as a special advisor to the u.s. mission to the un from 2008 to 2011, and a senior advisor in the state department's bureau of legislative affairs in 2003 to 2007. prior to working for the state department, ms. shelley was a stafford for horseman in south carolina. ms. shelley? >> thank you ranking member murphy anything with members of the committee, i am honored to appear before you today as the president's nominee to serve as the representative of the united states of america to the united nations for un management and reform. i am grateful to president trump and ambassador haley for their confidence and this opportunity. i am joined here today by my husband george, whose love and support has been integral to me, being a working mother, representing the united states at the un for the last 10 years. and my oldest child nikolai, who is already a un diplomat having been dissipated in many meetings after missing mom
during marathon all-night negotiation. my other two children, my daughters karen and madeline, unfortunately, could not join me here as i am not sure i could contain their enthusiasm during the hearing, since they are three and one. i am also joined by my family, my parents scott and marilee norman, whose love and support provided the foundation and let me here today, as well as my sister peggy, and her daughter shayna and annabelle. and my brother-in-law eli. enabling the un to maintain its mandate to deliver on peace and security, addressing development aid is no simple task. the united states continues to be a champion for greater efficiency, by emphasizing the need for the united nations to show tangible impact on results. and by encouraging better ways of working. president trump secretary pompeo, and ambassador haley have all prioritized showing the value of the un to the american taxpayer.
this falls squarely on my shoulders. if confirmed, as the u.s. representative to the united nations to management and reform, through my ex parents as the un management and reform counselor to the commission to the un, i have seen firsthand the value of positive reform and the good that can be achieved. and also, the consequent is when it is not well-managed. for example, when we hold peacekeepers accountable for their performance, we see better results for the intended beneficiary of peacekeeping operations. i will assume the job is confirmed, at an auspicious time, as secretary general gutierrez plan through -- to reform the un system is underway. this presents real opportunities to align the un's work on peace and security, development, and interim management with u.s. values and priorities. i am honored to work alongside
ambassador haley, and under her leadership, to expand our reform efforts, including greater accountability and transparency, strengthen whistleblower protections, physical discipline, and making the un fit for purpose. if confirmed, i intend to work closely with other member states in the general assembly to advance these priorities, and other issues related to sound management and reform. thank you for this opportunity to appear before this committee today, and i look forward to taking your questions. >> thank you, miss shelley. there has been a vote called, senator murphy will vote as soon as he gets back i will vote for the time being in the meantime we will turn it over to senator flake for questions. >> thank you, i want to congratulate you all and your families, it's a tremendous sacrifice for families to have user like that. ron, it's good to see you here in this capacity. i know of your good work in chicago. ambassador nichols, we had a good visit in my office yesterday, we all know, and if you don't, zimbabwe is going through an election for the first time in about 40 years.
they free and fair election after the departure of robert mcgaughey. it is an important time there. can you talk about the importance you are hoping to get there by the 17th of february -- i'm sorry, of july? why is that important, for us to have an ambassador there for the election? >> thank you, senator flake. it is an honor to talk with someone who has such deep experience in the continent, and in zimbabwe in particular. the voice of the united states in calling for a free, fair, credible election, that gives the zimbabwean people greater confidence in their leaders, and the forcefulness, with which we consider democracy important in zimbabwe, is a priority for me and the united states government. having a person on the ground with the full force of the president of the united states
as his personal representative, is vitally important to advance our interest, and having had the honor to serve as an ambassador in the past, it is something that someone who does not have that investiture can't match. and, i certainly hope that i would be able to receive you and your colleagues in zimbabwe in the future if confirmed. >> thank you. i spent time in the 1980s in zimbabwe, and i look forward to this day for a long time, when they would have free and fair elections, and maybe have a post robert mcgaughey era. it is important as you say, we have a good team there. you will find when you get there, but we need an ambassador. and, i am glad of that hopefully we can get this process done and have you there. as i say, in zimbabwe, congratulations for this.
>> thank you senator flake, let me ask a general question of all the nominees. i know you have covered to a certain extent this in your opening statement but i really want to home in on each one of you views as your top one, two, or three priorities. maybe just top one, but give you the chance to expound a little bit more, i will start with you, mister sunderland. >> thank you senator johnson. i think it is an understatement to say that the relationship currently between the united states and european union is tense. one of my top priorities is to do a listening tour of all 28 member countries, to bring the temperature down a little, while these very delicate negotiations are going on over trade. once i'm through with that, one of my greatest priorities is to once again reestablish the close relationship that the eu and u.s. have on a whole host of issues.
when we work together, we are almost unstoppable as a team, and i would like to get us back to that place. >> ms or nichols? >> thank you mister chairman. as alluded to earlier, but july 30 elections will be a crucial moment in zimbabwe's history and an opportunity to have free fair and credible elections will be my earliest and top priority there. but, there are many other challenges that zimbabwe faces. profound reform to its institutions, to ensure the rule of law, to promote a private sector led economy, to encourage transparency and respect for human rights in its governance, and to give the zimbabwean people the opportunity to succeed through the work of their own labor, these are profound challenges, challenges that did not arise overnight, and they will not be solved immediately, but we must work together, and i look
forward to working with you, sir, and your colleagues to advance american interests in zimbabwe. >> miss chalet? >> senator, i am looking forward to building on the reform efforts that have been underway for a few years but particularly in rightsizing organization and instilling physical -- fiscal discipline but also increasing accountability and transparency which i think dovetails nicely with the secretary-general's efforts underway now and we need to ensure that that becomes a reality, and that we do increase that accountability, through strengthening whistleblowing protections, or addressing the terrible scourge of sexual exportation and abuse that peacekeepers have committed. i look forward to continuing this effort. >> thank you senator, given the difficulties of the last couple of years with result to attacks that have occurred in belgium, one of my top priorities, in
fact my top priority is to ensure the safety of the 23,000 americans that are living in belgium, plus the many tourists that come to the country on an annual basis. secondly, to work with the belgian government and belgian agencies, to strengthen the relationship and multilateral programs, and organizations, that we share together. and thirdly, given the fact that there are 900+ american corporations there, to find ways that we can build on that strong relationship, to bring jobs to our country as well as the country of belgium. >> thank you, i will turn it over to senator murphy and vote as fast as i can. >> thank you very much. mister chairman, thank you to all of you, for joining us here today, let me get my bearings here. i'm running back into the room. i am not sure what senator johnson asked so i will hopefully not cover the same
territory that he did. but, let me start with you, mister gibbons, i don't know to what extent you have talked about the work we have done with belgium in our multilateral relation on counterterrorism, this is a very sort of fractured country from indic governance standpoint. which, makes it hard often to communicate with them about what they know, regarding threats against their country, and the visa waiver program, those are obviously immediate threats against the united states. in prepping for this job, what have you learned about the ways that we can work with the government to try to enhance counterterrorism cooperation? >> the good news, thank you senator for the question, the good news, if confirmed, i will certainly work with our intelligence and military folks to strengthen what is already an ongoing program. prime minister michelle undertook a study several years
ago, after several of the attacks took place in belgium, and as a result, many programs are currently underway. if confirmed, i will work with the u.s. government agencies, the dea, the fbi, and others, to see if we can't continue what is an ongoing program to make belgium a safer place for all of us. >> great. mister simon, thank you so much for spending some time with me, we were able to talk privately about the mission that you are about to undertake, i will be very supportive of your nomination, i thank you for taking up the job. but, as i mentioned, privately, and i will say publicly, you are going to be asked to carry out a policy which seeks to
dissolve the transatlantic alliance. you may have different views, and there have been many others that have gone to serve the united states and europe, sitting exactly where you're sitting, who have had different views than that, but you are going to find out that the only views that matters are the presidents. the president has carried out a pretty intentional and consistent policy of trying to undermine our alliance with europe. he cheers countries that leave europe, he is a social media to publish really terrible nationalist anti-europe propaganda. he wants russia to be back into the g-7. without having done their part with respect to the immense agreement. i appreciate everyone that goes into this administration, especially those parts that serve the u.s. europe alliance
thinking that they can change the presidents mind. no one has been successful yet. so, let me ask you a little bit about this issue over russia. you have been preparing for this job, and no doubt, you have begun to have been briefed about what administration policy is, i assume given the president's comments, as he went to the g-7, that the u.s. policy today is for russia to be admitted back into the g-7, and that you will be sent to europe to work with our g-7 european partners to get russia back in. given the president's comments from a week ago. do you understand that to be the policy, and do you understand that to be your mission? >> i heard the president's comments in canada, and i don't necessarily know if it is set u.s. policy. i haven't discussed it with the president. if it were to be u.s. policy
that i would work to further it. without minimizing the many other issues we have with russia , including a lot of the activities over which we disapprove. so, it is a walking and chewing gum at the same time issue. and again, i have not been briefed by the president on what his actual policy is vis-@- vis the g-7. >> obviously are not going to create distance with the president, but, talk to the committee a little bit about how you plan to approach this question of the planned tariffs against the european union and retaliatory tariffs that they have announced and are putting together against the united states. how do you plan to approach what right now is an escalating trade war between the two countries.
as i'm reading your top priorities to bring the temperature down, how do you do that if the president is committed to that, and in fact may be committed to the opposite? >> i disagree with the premise that the president is trying to online the alliance. the president has a very unique negotiating style. and it is now becoming well known around the world, how he does negotiate. i think that the president is also mindful of the importance of the relationship and many other things which we share with the eu. and i don't agree that the president's goal is to unwind the relationship. i think the goal is to bring about free, fair, and equitable trade. so if his goal is not to unwind the relationship. >> what do you make of his online associate -- association with those who led the british
exit campaign and those elements within britain that were seeking to bring that country outside of the european union, that to me with deliberate attempts to use his power, both as a candidate, and the presidents to try to cheer on countries that no longer wants to be a part of the european union, and thus be a part of the organization to which you will be a representative? >> i think the people of the united kingdom made their own determination as to where they wanted to go, vis-@-vis the eu relationship. i don't know that i would characterize the president's actions as cheerleading, and i also don't believe that the president is necessarily hell- bent on dissolving the rest of the union. >> i hear you taking issue with some of my opening comments to you, i will in turn take some issue with the way in which you framed your opening comments. categorizing the presidents relationship with the european
union and europe over the last year and a half as being part of the normal give and take. i don't actually think that you can find a period of time that rivals the last year and a half with respect to the u.s. relationship with europe in the post-world war ii era, which i think fairly categorizes the modern relationship between the continent and our country. and i really worry about nominees that come before this committee, and try to normalize what is not a normal time in american foreign policy. at the same time, i do agree that it would be great if you could take the temperature down a notch. let me ask you a question, on a subject that i think we agree, and that is the future of energy security in the region. nord stream two is a project that would allow for russia to push an enormous amount of fossil fuel product into europe , bypassing ukraine, bad news
for ukraine, it is in the u.s. as you point bad news for europe to be more heavily reliant on russian gas. what is your views on nord stream two, and what do you understand as your mission in representing the united states on this issue with the european union? >> my primary mission, senator, is to make sure that, it is again come in our selfish and stressed -- interest to see that europe is not heavily dependent on one source of energy. putting europe in the hands of one supplier of energy who could at will disrupt that energy flow would not be in the united states interests. i also believe there are various member countries of the eu, that want to participate with various other suppliers of energy, including the united states, and want to do it
through contractual means, rather than through political means, which give them some form of security if those contracts are breached. >> thank you. mister nichols, you talk a little bit to us about the role of china, in zimbabwe. china has developed a close relationship with gabi and been a big investor in the country, for a long time. it has hosted zimbabwe's new leadership for their first state visit. obviously, china is playing a big role through the continent, but talk a little bit about this very big play they have made historically, and seek to continue in zimbabwe? >> thank you senator, that is obviously an excellent question and a crucial issue for us. china has invested heavily in the extracted resources sector
around the world, and zimbabwe, with its extensive mineral wealth, is certainly no exception to that. i believe that private sector led growth for zimbabwe is important, but i also think it is important that the people and government of zimbabwe receive fair and equitable treatment for their resources, and i hope that they are entering into a trade relationship with china with their eyes open, and certainly insisting that all countries that invest in zimbabwe respect worker rights, respect environmental regulation, and do not allow the resources that they have to be taken without proper compensation. i believe it is incumbent upon the united states and our
representatives around the world to insist on a level playing field for trade, and engagement and ensure that we have an opportunity to succeed as well. >> the reason china has been such a big player, at least part of it, is because the united states and many others like us have had a series of sanctions on economic participation in zimbabwe and aid, and many of those other donor governments are gradually scaling back sanctions during this period, and congress is set to consider legislation that might modify for assistance that were set out in the zimbabwe era and economic recovery act of 2001. so, as we consider some of the
ways in which we might be better engaged, do you have thoughts about how we might go passing legislation that might start to lighten up and modify those restrictions? >> thank you senator, i think we send an important signal that the united states remains committed to democracy, human rights, economic freedom, and anticorruption efforts. the importance of our engagement , is that we are doing so on a principled way. the specifics of the legislation , i don't think i can comment on, but i do believe that it sends a message of continued interest and prioritization of our relationship with zimbabwe. i think it is important also, senator, to note that we do not have comprehensive sanctions on zimbabwe, and other problems in
attracting foreign investment from zimbabwe are driven by the economic conditions there, and economic policies that the government has. we don't have frustrations on investments in zimbabwe, but rather dealings with specific individuals and entities. >> thank you very much. a couple of questions for miss shelley, and then i will send it over to senator marty as we await senator johnson's return, i want to talk about peacekeeping for a moment, the trumpet ministration has communicated its intent to reduce u.s. peacekeeping assessment by 25% or 28% depending on what legislation is operative from the united states congress. really interesting report that jal published earlier this year, in which they compare the cost of current un peacekeeping mission in the central african
republic with a hypothetical undertaking that would be done by the united states military, and overall, they found it would cost the u.s. twice as much to carry out a comparable mission if it was our own participation in un peacekeeping. how do you translate to us what the trump administration's plans are for peacekeeping, and in their desire to reduce american commitment, there was some suggestion that there might be peacekeeping operations that could be wrapped up without -- or scaled- back, without any security detriment to the united states? any clue as to what those may be and what you make of the report you are not like you might be familiar with it. >> thank you senator, i think it is a series of -- you captured a number of initiatives that we are undertaking, and i think that the commitment to un peacekeeping, especially, is that it is very much there by the united states and we feel that it is absolute --
absolutely critical to our national security. in terms of looking at assessments, we have said, and the president has said, that we would like to see increased burden sharing by other member states. the un should not be overly dependent on one single donor, and congress like you said, through whichever operative languages there has established 25%, and we feel that is an adequate assessment, and still maintain our largest contribution. i think equally important to looking at the assessment rates, and what the u.s. should pay is looking at the missions themselves and are they designed to promote political solutions, and ambassador haley did outline several principles in that regard. i think there are several principles that are currently under review that fit that bill, that could look at that. in darfur, right now, that is under review, and we are
continuing to look at several missions with those lenses. but, i think that we, coupled with looking at the efficiencies at the un and making sure the peacekeeping missions themselves are operating in the most effective manner are critical. i think they did point out the value of un peacekeeping to the u.s. and national security interests. >> one final question, mister chairman again to you miss shelley. the bureau of international organizational affairs of the state department is obviously one that you will work very closely with for the state department, and the united nations, last week foreign policy reported that a former food and beverage lobbyist, who was appointed as a senior advisor there, mari stall had been quietly vetting career diplomats and american employees of international institution to determine if they are loyal to president trump and his political agenda according to nearly a dozen current and former u.s.
officials according to this account, she is actively making lists and gathering intel, reports are that the new york times and washington post are working on filling in for the details on this story. two questions, are you personally aware of ms. stalls activities to apply to what the click politically lets his political loyalty test within the state department international organizations and whether or not you have personal organization of that? what is your opinion of these reports and whether or not the activity is appropriate? >> i am not personally aware of those charges and i would refer you back to the state department >> xena states has long provided citizen employment at
the un and we feel it is an absolute priority given our investment but also for the american values that we bring to the un, and ways of working, if confirmed i will continue to do that, i will work with the international organizations bureau to ensure that we are promoting the most qualified, because we are running up against countries, and we want to be sure we are well represented. >> do you believe it is appropriate for the demonstration to apply a politically lets his political loyalty test to either employees of the united nations or at the state department? >> senator, no, i think we should be looking at the most qualified candidates regardless of party. >> senator markey? >> thank you mister chairman very much. north korea is now hoping that
there will be a relaxation of sanctions upon them, ultimately that will be their goal. how can we ensure that not only the existing sanctions are enforced and remain in place, but also that we put additional pressure on recalcitrant countries who have yet to dissipate in that sanction regime? >> good afternoon, senator, thank you. >> is a microphone on? >> it should be. that, actually, senator, is one of my highest priorities. working in concert with the eu, the united states has the ability to create an enormous amount of economic damage to the north korean economy which
creates the leverage needed for the president to successfully negotiate the change in behavior that he is trying to negotiate, and one of my first priorities would be to and listed the cooperation even more strongly of the eu and its member countries in that regard. >> as you know, the eu's new privacy regime went into effect about three weeks ago. and, they now essentially have a privacy bill of rights for everyone in the eu, and american companies doing business in europe have to comply with that standard, which is essentially an opt in standard. the data that is collected by companies in europe not be compromised without getting permission from those consumers. if a company is requested -- required to get consent in
order to share european data, and also required to tell european consumers exactly how their data is being used, should that company provide american consumers with the same protections? >> i believe it should. >> you believe it should? >> yes. >> i agree with you, that that is where we are heading. europeans obviously suffered through the german invasion, the [null] occupation , and subsequently, the soviet union occupying much of europe as well. and identity was very important during that time, which is why i think there is a heightened sensitivity, because within the lifetimes of family members in each one of those european countries, they had to basically try to survive based upon identity. and, that is why all of this online information is so absolutely essential. now, with regard to harris, the