This Week at State: March 31, 2017

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This Week at State: March 31, 2017

Did you miss key foreign policy developments this week? Here’s our weekly This Week at State recap of the latest U.S. Department of State highlights covering a wide range of global issues, events, and initiatives:

First Lady Trump Presented 2017 International Women of Courage Awards

On March 29, First Lady Melania Trump and Under Secretary for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon honored 13 extraordinary women with the 2017 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award (IWOC). This annual award recognizes women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership,-- often at great personal risk -- in working to promote peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment. 

The 2017 International Women of Courage awardees came from Bangladesh, Botswana, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Niger, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkey, Vietnam, and Yemen. Since the inception of this award in 2007, the State Department has honored over 100 women from more than 60 different countries.

Secretary Tillerson Visited Turkey

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traveled to Ankara, Turkey, on March 30, to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, and other senior Turkish government officials. During the visit, the Secretary highlighted working together to defeat ISIS, building stability in the region, and bolstering economic ties between our two nations as long-term goals of mutual cooperation between the United States and Turkey.

“In the United States, the people of Turkey have a trusted ally and a partner who is committed to its safety and security and advancing economic opportunity. We look forward to approaching these challenges together, and the Trump administration will continue to build ties with this longstanding ally and our friend.” - Secretary Tillerson, remarks at joint press availability with Foreign Minister Cavusoglu, March 30.

Secretary Tillerson Attended NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting in Brussels

On March 31, Secretary Tillerson visited Brussels, Belgium to attend the NATO Foreign Ministers Meetings, continuing the United States’ high-level engagement with NATO. This meeting comes in advance of the NATO Leaders Summit scheduled for May 2017 in Brussels, where President Trump will seek to underscore the United States’ aims of seeing NATO allies renew their commitment through increased resources for NATO’s defense spending and encouraging NATO to increase its role in the fight against terrorism.

...the U.S. commitment to NATO is strong and this Alliance remains the bedrock for transatlantic security. This Alliance was forged from the ashes of World War II, and for more than half a century has been a necessary defensive measure against common threats. Our bond remains essential for facing national and international security challenges in an increasingly unstable world. At the top of this list is defeating ISIS, which is a threat to all member countries and partners.” -- Secretary Tillerson, NATO Foreign Ministerial Intervention Remarks, March 31.

The 34th Session of the UN Human Rights Council Concluded

U.S. leadership proved critical to shaping the international response to urgent human rights situations and issues at the UN Human Rights Council’s 34th Session recently hosted in Geneva (February 27-March 24). 

During  the Session, the United States introduced three priority resolutions that the Council adopted with broad cross-regional support. The United States also actively defended Israel from unbalanced criticism and, through vigorous lobbying, reduced support for anti-Israel resolutions. 

Editor's Note: This entry is also published on Medium.com/StateDept.

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