This Week at State: April 7, 2017

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This Week at State: April 7, 2017

Did you miss key foreign policy developments this week? We’ve got you covered. Each week DipNote will recap the latest U.S. Department of State highlights covering a wide range of global issues, events, and initiatives in one easy to read post.

Here are the highlights from This Week at State:

The United States Responded to Recent Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria

At the direction of President Trump, U.S. forces conducted a cruise missile strike against a Syrian Air Force airfield on April 7. The strike that targeted Shayrat Airfield in Homs governorate was in response to the Syrian government's April 4 chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun, which reportedly killed and injured hundreds of innocent Syrian people, including women and children. In remarks delivered by Secretary Tillerson following the airstrike, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said:

 “It’s important to recognize that as Assad has continued to use chemical weapons in these attacks with no response – no response from the international community – that he, in effect, is normalizing the use of chemical weapons, which may then be adopted by others.  So it’s important that some action be taken on behalf of the international community to make clear that the use of chemical weapons continues to be a violation of international norms.”  - Secretary Tillerson, Palm Beach Florida, April 7, 2017

The United States’ military action followed condemnation of the attack from a range of U.S. officials, including President Trump, Secretary Tillerson, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who addressed the UN Security Council at an April 5 emergency session called in the aftermath of the attacks.

Secretary Tillerson Joined President Trump for Meetings with China’s President Xi Jinping

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traveled to Mar-a-Lago in Florida to join President Donald J. Trump for meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping April 6-7. At the outset of the visit, Secretary Tillerson delivered remarks to the media underscoring the importance of the United States’ relationship with China and our commitment ensuring the ties between our nations endure for the future.

State Department Announced Secretary Tillerson's Travel to Travel to Lucca and Moscow

Secretary Tillerson will travel to Lucca, Italy, April 9-11 to attend the G-7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. The G-7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting provides a venue for the foreign ministers to discuss global political and security issues of the mutual concern. Their discussions will set the stage for the G-7 Leaders’ Summit, which President Trump will attend in Taormina, Italy in May 2017. On the margins of the G-7 Foreign Minister’s Meeting, Secretary Tillerson will also meet with several of his counterparts for bilateral discussions. On April 12, Secretary Tillerson will travel to Moscow, Russia for meetings with senior Russian officials.

Follow Secretary Tillerson’s travel to Lucca and Moscow via @StateDept on Twitter and go to the Department’s Flickr account for the latest trip photos.

Secretary Tillerson Hosted the Mexican Foreign Secretary in Washington, DC

On April 5, Secretary Tillerson met with Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray at the U.S. Department of State. During their meeting, the two leaders discussed a range of bilateral and regional issues, including economic cooperation, security, and migration. They also discussed cooperation in Central America and ongoing efforts to combat transnational criminal organizations and efforts at the Organization of American States to encourage Venezuela to resolve its current political and humanitarian issues.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson meets with Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray, at the Department of State, April 5, 2017.

United States Assumed Presidency of the UN Security Council

For the month of April, the United States will serve as President of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), a position that rotates every month among the 15 Security Council members. In its role as President, the United States will be responsible for setting the agenda for the month, organizing meetings, managing the distribution of information to Council members, issuing statements, and communicating the Council’s actions to the public. In her first meeting as president of the UNSC, Ambassador Haley delivered remarks at a press conference previewing the Council’s program of work for April, which will include two thematic sessions devoted to peacekeeping reform and human rights. Ambassador Haley also announced that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will chair a ministerial meeting of the Security Council on Nonproliferation and North Korea. The United States also called an emergency session the use of chemical weapons in Syria during which Ambassador Haley delivered remarks strongly condemning the attack.

U.S. Recognized the United Nations Day for International Mine Action and Mine Awareness

The United States joined the global community to mark the United Nations' International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action on April 4, 2017. This international commemoration annually serves as an opportunity to reflect on both the progress made and the challenges remaining in clearing landmines, hidden hazards which endanger communities in more than 60 countries around the world.

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

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