This Week at State: May 12, 2017

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This Week at State: May 12, 2017

Did you miss key foreign policy developments this week? We’ve got you covered. Each week DipNote recaps 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 Led Final Arctic Council Ministerial Under U.S. Chairmanship

This week, U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson hosted the 10th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska. As the outgoing chair of the Arctic Council, the United States convened the foreign ministers of the Arctic states --Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, and the United States-- along with delegations from the Arctic Council’s indigenous Permanent Participant organizations as well as observer states and organizations.

During the two-day meeting, Secretary Tillerson announced the signing of the Fairbanks Declaration in which the Council reaffirmed its commitment to maintain peace, stability, and constructive cooperation in the Arctic. The Council also announced the signing of the Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation, an agreement that facilitates access by scientists of eight Arctic States to Arctic areas and calls for the parties to promote education and training of scientists working on Arctic matters. 

In his remarks to the Council, Secretary Tillerson recognized the Arctic Council as an indispensable forum for cooperation and reaffirmed that the United States will continue to be an active member as it transfers chairmanship of the Council to Finland. Secretary Tillerson stated, “The opportunity to chair the council has only strengthened our commitment to continuing its work in the future.”

United States and Georgia Signed General Security of Information Agreement

On May 9, Secretary Tillerson met with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili at the State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C., to participate in a signing ceremony for the U.S.-Georgia General Security of Information Agreement.  The agreement represents a major milestone in security cooperation between the United States and Georgia as it establishes a legal foundation for bilateral intelligence sharing and will strengthen counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries.

Following the signing, Secretary Tillerson and Prime Minister Kvirikashvili  met to discuss the strength of U.S.-Georgia partnership. Secretary Tillerson reaffirmed U.S. support for continued progress toward Georgia's Euro-Atlantic integration. Underscoring the significance of the 25th anniversary of U.S.-Georgia diplomatic relations, the two leaders agreed to continue efforts to ensure Georgia’s security and prosperity. 

State Department Hosted the 47th Annual Washington Conference on the Americas

On May 9, the U.S. Department of State also hosted the 47th Annual Washington Conference on the Americas along with the Council of the Americas at the Harry S Truman Building in Washington., D.C. This year’s conference brought together U.S. government officials and distinguished leaders from across the region to focus on the major policy issues affecting the Western hemisphere.  Acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Francisco Palmieri represented the State Department at the conference, which included remarks by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Canadian Minister of International Trade Francois-Philippe Champagne, among others.

United States Marked Public Service Recognition Week

Public Service Recognition Week has been celebrated the first week of May since 1985 to honor the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county, and local government employees. In his Presidential Proclamation, President Donald J. Trump said, “During Public Service Recognition Week, we express gratitude for our civil servants.  Their daily effort keeps our Government functioning and helps make our Nation exceptional.”

To mark the 2017 theme for Public Service Recognition Week, “Honoring Our Public Servants. Connecting Citizens with Their Government,” the State Department has highlighted the efforts of foreign affairs professionals who advance U.S interest with their work in Washington and in embassies overseas. Learn more about public servants working at the State Department here.

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

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