This Week at State: April 21, 2017

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This Week at State: April 21, 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 spanning a wide range of global issues, events, and initiatives in one blog post.

Here are the highlights from This Week at State:

Secretary Tillerson Outlined Need for Comprehensive Iran Policy Review

On April 18, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced the Trump administration's plans to conduct a review of U.S. Iran policy across the entire government. During a press availability on April 19, Secretary Tillerson said, “Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and is responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts and undermining U.S. interests in countries such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon, and continuing to support attacks against Israel.” 

The Secretary Tillerson shared that a comprehensive Iran policy will require the United States address all of the threats posed by Iran. Secretary Tillerson also warned, “An unchecked Iran has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea, and take the world along with it.”

Secretary Tillerson Shared Vision for U.S.-Saudi Economic Cooperation

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted the second annual U.S.-Saudi Arabia CEO Summit in partnership with the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry to look for opportunities to expand the U.S.-Saudi economic cooperation. Secretary Tillerson spoke to government officials and business leaders from both countries about the strong partnership between the two nations and deepening economic partnership in a way that strengthens ties and benefits both economies.  

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers remarks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-Saudi CEO Summit, at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. on April 19, 2017.

Highlighting the important role embassies can play in facilitating favorable economic partnership, Secretary Tillerson said, “The Department of State is ready to help in this process. First and foremost, our U.S. charge d’affaires, our deputy chief of mission, our consuls general, and commercial officers and economic officers in Saudi Arabia are at your disposal to engage with our government to facilitate trade and investment.”

United States Engaged Asia-Pacific Partners for Peace and Prosperity

This week, the State Department supported U.S. efforts to engage important partners in the Asia-Pacific region, highlighting the Administration’s agenda for shared economic prosperity and continued political-military cooperation to address threats posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Vice President Mike Pence traveled to the Republic of Korea, Japan, and Indonesia to reinforce the importance of these U.S. alliances and partnerships. In Washington, Secretary Tillerson met Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Minh of Vietnam, a strategic partner within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).  

Vice President Pence met with U.S. troops and their families as well as the staff from U.S. embassies who supported his travel. Vice President Pence also met with business and civil society leaders, including Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) alumni in Indonesia. In his remarks at ASEAN, Vice President congratulated the association for its 50th anniversary, marked 40 years of the United States’ diplomatic relationship with ASEAN, and announced that President Trump will attend U.S.-ASEAN Summit, East Asia Summit and APEC Leaders Meeting this November. 

U.S. Led UN Security Council Thematic Debate on Human Rights

On April 18, the United Nations Security Council held a thematic debate on Human Rights. U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley delivered remarks recognizing the importance of human rights as a key to peace and global security, raising Syria and North Korea as specific examples of continued concern.

In case after case, human rights violations and abuses are not merely the incidental byproduct of conflict. They are the trigger for conflict. When a state begins to systematically violate human rights, it is a sign, it is a red flag, it’s a blaring siren – one of the clearest possible indicators that instability and violence may follow and spill across borders. It is no surprise that the world’s most brutal regimes are also the most ruthless violators of human rights.- U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley

Thirtieth Anniversary of the Missile Technology Control Regime

This week the U.S. Department of State recognized the 30th anniversary of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which continues to serve as an outstanding example of multilateral nonproliferation cooperation. On April 16, 1987, the United States and its G-7 partners of Canada, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom announced the formation of the MTCR to restrict the transfer of missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction and related technologies. Since 1987, 28 additional countries have joined the Regime, and many other countries have adopted export controls consistent with the MTCR standards.

It is in the interest of the American people and the wider global community to oppose the spread of missile systems and technology to those who would misuse it. The United States looks forward to continued close cooperation with all members of the MTCR – and with states that are not members but have adopted export controls consistent with the Regime’s standards – to further promote missile nonproliferation and global security.- Press Statement by Acting Spokesperson Mark Toner, April 17, 2017

State Department Marked Holocaust Remembrance Day

Holocaust Remembrance Day – Yom HaShoah in Hebrew – will be observed in the United States on April 24, which corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar.

Leo Melamed, a Holocaust survivor helped by Consul Sugihara, serve as keynote speaker at State Department’s Holocaust Remembrance Day event.

The U.S. Department of State joined the Embassies of Lithuania, Japan, and Israel to sponsor an event commemorating this year’s Yom HaShoah observance at the Harry S. Truman building, the State Department’s headquarters. The Department event honored the legacy of Mr. Chiune Sugihara, Japanese Consul to Lithuania from 1939-1940, who saved the lives of some 6,000 Jewish refugees by issuing transit visas to Japan. The program also featured a film screening of Persona non Grata, the story of Consul Sugihara efforts, and discussion with the film's director. The Department was honored to have Mr. Leo Melamed, a Holocaust survivor helped by Consul Sugihara, serve as the event’s keynote.

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