This Week at State: May 26, 2017

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This Week at State: May 26, 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:

United States Responded to the Attack in Manchester

Following the tragic May 22 attack in Manchester, United Kingdom, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson issued a statement, saying: 

“Our hearts go out to the families of those who have lost loved ones and to those injured in the attack in Manchester, U.K.”

On May 26, Secretary Tillerson made his first official visit to London to meet with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and to extend condolences for terrorist attack in Manchester.  During his visit, Secretary Tillerson affirmed that America stands with the British people at this time of great sorrow and pledged even greater resolve to defeat terrorism and extremism.

Secretary Tillerson said, "For all of us, life will go on. But for those families, there will be forever a void in this world that will never be filled, and they will have to live with that. And so we pray for their comfort and we pray for their healing, both physically and emotionally. The British people are renowned, however, for their strength in times of darkness, and we all know that. And they will not be broken by terrorism, and we know this. Even as our ally and friend mourns, the fires for justice burn very hot in all of our hearts. We will drive out the terrorists and the extremists.”

Secretary Tillerson Accompanied President Trump to the Middle East and Europe

Secretary of State Tillerson accompanied President Donald J. Trump on travel to Riyadh, Jerusalem, Rome, and Brussels.  This marked President Trump’s first international trip as President.

President Trump arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, May 20, and met with King Salman, the Crown Prince, and the Deputy Crown Prince. During his time in Saudi Arabia, the President participated in a signing ceremony of several agreements, bilateral meetings, and the inauguration of a new center intended to fight radicalism and promote moderation.

In Jerusalem, President Trump met with the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, and laid a wreath at Yad Vashem. He then delivered remarks at the Israel Museum celebrating the unique history of Israel and of the Jewish people. Later that day, the President met with the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. President Trump met the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, in Bethlehem and urged Palestinian leaders to take productive steps toward peace. The President also visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall.

President Donald J. Trump and other G-7 leaders pose for a group photo during the G-7 summit in the Ancient Theatre of Taormina in the Sicilian citadel of Taormina, Italy.

President Trump met with His Holiness Pope Francis at the Vatican and celebrated the rich contributions of Catholics to America and to the world. The President and the Pope discussed a range of issues of mutual concern including how religious communities can combat human suffering in crisis regions, such as Syria, Libya, and ISIS-controlled territory. In Italy, President Trump held bilateral meetings with President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

President Trump met with the King and the Prime Minister of Belgium. The President traveled to the European Union headquarters and attended the NATO Leaders Meeting. President Trump had a working lunch with newly elected President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and then delivered remarks at the unveiling of a new NATO memorial.

Today, President Trump is attending the G-7 Summit in Sicily, where he will meet bilaterally with world leaders. To learn more about the trip, go to WhiteHouse.gov/POTUSabroad.

United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Expanded Security Relationship

In a significant expansion of the more than seven-decade long security relationship between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Secretary Tillerson attended a signing ceremony for almost $110 billion worth of defense capabilities in support of Saudi Arabia's defense needs.

This package of defense equipment and services supports the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of malign Iranian influence and Iranian related threats. Additionally, it bolsters the Kingdom's ability to provide for its own security and continue contributing to counterterrorism operations across the region, reducing the burden on U.S. military forces.

This package also demonstrates the United States’ commitment to our partnership with Saudi Arabia, while also expanding opportunities for American companies in the region, potentially supporting tens of thousands of new jobs in the United States.

FY 2018 Budget Request Submitted for Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

President Trump’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget was released on May 23 and included a request for $37.6 billion for the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). This budget request reflects the President’s “America First” agenda.

In a statement, Secretary Tillerson noted, “This budget is responsive to the realities of the world in the 21st century, and ensures that the State Department and USAID can quickly adapt to an ever-changing international environment. Activities and programs supported in this budget will support our effort to defeat ISIS and other terrorist organizations and combat illegal migration and trafficking. This budget will also support our efforts to combat corruption and address threats to good governance, which helps level the playing field for American workers and businesses.”

The FY 2018 budget supports the President’s commitment to make the U.S. government leaner and more accountable to the American taxpayer, while maximizing our diplomatic and engagement efforts, including with our international partners. As we advance the President’s foreign policy priorities, this budget will also help lay the foundation for a new era of global stability and American prosperity.

Follow the State Department on Twitter and Facebook for additional information and updates.

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