This Week at State: July 14, 2017

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Secretary Tillerson Participates in a Ministerial Meeting With Foreign Ministers from Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE in Jeddah.

This Week at State: July 14, 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 Traveled To Ukraine and Turkey During First Leg of Overseas Trip

Following the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson traveled to Ukraine and Turkey to meet with senior officials.

Secretary Tillerson made his first official visit to Kyiv, Ukraine on July 9, where he met President Poroshenko and with young reformers from government and civil society. The Secretary reaffirmed America’s commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, while encouraging the Government of Ukraine to continue implementing reforms that will strengthen Ukraine’s economic, political, and military resilience.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson participates in a joint press availability with President Petro Poroshenko in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Following his visit to Ukraine, Secretary Tillerson traveled to Istanbul, Turkey. In Istanbul, Secretary Tillerson met with senior Turkish officials to discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues. Secretary Tillerson also delivered remarks at the World Petroleum Council Congress Opening Ceremony. During the ceremony the Secretary noted,

“The United States looks forward to engaging with Turkey on projects that will increase global energy security...these projects will enable Europe to diversify its energy sources, thereby improving its energy security.”

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is greeted by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu as he arrives at Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, on July 9, 2017.

Secretary Tillerson Worked to Promote Regional Security and Stability in the Gulf Region

This week, Secretary of State Tillerson traveled to Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia for meetings with senior officials from the region.  Discussions focused on a range of issues, including efforts to promote security and economic prosperity in the region. 

At the invitation of the Emir of Kuwait, Secretary Tillerson traveled to Kuwait on July 10 where he met with senior Kuwaiti officials to discuss ongoing efforts to resolve the Gulf dispute.

Secretary Tillerson then traveled to Doha, Qatar on July 11 to meet with senior officials, including Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani. In Doha, the Secretary and Foreign Minister al-Thani participated in a joint press briefing. During the briefing, Secretary Tillerson highlighted the importance of partnering with Qatar to combat terrorism, citing the recently signed memorandum of understanding between the United States and Qatar as an important component of this effort. The Secretary stated,

“The memorandum lays out a series of steps the two countries will take over the coming months and years to interrupt and disable terror financing flows and intensify counterterrorism activities globally. The agreement includes milestones to ensure both countries are accountable to their commitments. Together, the United States and Qatar will do more to track down funding sources, will do more to collaborate and share information, and will do more to keep the region and our homeland safe.” 

Secretary Tillerson rounded out his trip to the region with a stop in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud. In his remarks at a joint press availability, Secretary Tillerson underscored the interests shared between the United States and Saudi Arabia, such as promoting security, regional stability, and economic prosperity.

While in Jeddah, the Secretary also participated in a ministerial meeting with Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The Secretary closed his Middle East trip with a brief stop in Doha, Qatar on July 13 for working meetings before returning to the United States.

State Department Hosted Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Small Group Meeting

Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Brett McGurk hosted senior leaders of the Coalition for a series of meetings in Washington D.C, July 11-13.
The meetings sought to assess the campaign and discuss ways to intensify pressure on ISIS in each of the critical areas of counter finance, foreign terrorist fighters, stabilization support, and communications. Coalition representatives also discussed priorities to build on the progress in Mosul and Raqqa to set ISIS on an irreversible and lasting path to defeat. The coalition’s Small Group consists of key coalition stakeholders who play a major role, whether military or nonmilitary, in the campaign to defeat ISIS.

In his opening remarks, Special Presidential Envoy McGurk noted, "we all owe a debt of gratitude to the leadership of Prime Minister Abadi and the heroism of the Iraqi Security Forces, the Kurdish Peshmerga, and so many volunteers that took up arms against ISIS…. the liberation of Mosul is a milestone in our shared fight against ISIS, but it is not the end of the war, and we are committed as a country and a coalition to ensure ISIS’s total destruction.” Following the conclusion of the meetings on July 13, Special Presidential Envoy McGurk held an on-the-record briefing with reporters during which he noted, “This is now one of the largest coalitions in history...the global Coalition to defeat ISIS continues to grow. We remain united against this threat.”

Secretary Tillerson Marked the Liberation of Mosul by Iraqi Security Forces

Secretary TIllerson, on behalf of President Trump and the American people, congratulated Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi and the Iraqi people on their liberation of Mosul. 

In an official statement released on July 10, the Secretary stated:

 “...We honor the sacrifices of the Iraqi Security Forces and Iraqi people, as well as the Kurdish Peshmerga, in achieving this victory, and express condolences for the many lives lost in the operation….under Iraqi leadership, the United States and our Coalition partners will continue to work closely with the UN to stabilize liberated areas throughout Mosul, supporting the return of displaced civilians to their homes.”

U.S. Government Pledged Additional Humanitarian Aid for Global Famine Relief

State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert announced on July 11 that the United States had pledged nearly $639 million in additional humanitarian aid to help the millions of people affected by food insecurity and violence in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen. The United States is providing additional emergency food and nutrition assistance, life-saving medical care, improved sanitation, emergency shelter, and protection for civilians who have been affected by conflict, including those displaced internally, and also refugees. 

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.