This Week at State: September 1, 2017

5 minutes read time
The Harry S. Truman Building, headquarters of the Department of State in Washington, D.C.

This Week at State: September 1, 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 Extends Thoughts and Sympathies to Those Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Before his meeting with the German Foreign Minister on August 29, Secretary Tillerson made a statement on the situation in Texas and the impact of Hurricane Harvey. 

On August 30, Secretary Tillerson thanked the Government of Mexico for its offer of assistance to the State of Texas and to FEMA. 

For more information on the U.S. response to Hurricane Harvey and the resources available to those who want to help or those affected by this disaster, please check out this story from August 29.

Department of State Announces Efforts To Achieve Parity in Diplomatic Missions in the United States and Russia

On August 31, following the United States’ implementation of the reduction in staff at the U.S. Mission to Russia, Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert announced the United States is requiring the Russian Government to close its Consulate General in San Francisco, a chancery annex in Washington, D.C., and a consular annex in New York City by September 2. 

The statement added:

The United States hopes that, having moved toward the Russian Federation’s desire for parity, we can avoid further retaliatory actions by both sides and move forward to achieve the stated goal of both of our presidents: improved relations between our two countries and increased cooperation on areas of mutual concern.

– Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert

United States Continues to Pressure North Korea to Abandon its Nuclear Weapons Program

In an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Ambassador Nikki Haley emphasized the unanimous denunciation of North Korea’s recent missile launch over Japan, calling it “an outrageous act against a UN Member State.” She called on North Korea to stop any future missile launches and abandon its nuclear program. 

In a readout of Secretary Tillerson’s phone calls with the Foreign Ministers of Japan and the Republic of Korea, Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert confirmed the leaders agreed North Korea’s missile launch was an escalation of provocations, and the United States, Japan, and the Republic of Korea would continue to coordinate efforts to increase pressure on North Korea.

At the Conference on Disarmament – Group of 21 meeting in Switzerland, Ambassador Robert Wood reiterated the “clear global condemnation and indictment of North Korea for its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons activities.” He further emphasized the United States and the international community will continue to speak out against North Korea’s dangerous and provocative activities. 

Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison Underscores U.S. Commitment to NATO

In an op-ed published in The New York Times on August 30 and an appearance on MSNBC on August 31, United States Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison emphasized the United States’ commitment to “America’s most crucial security alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).” 

For more information about the U.S.-NATO relationship, check out this story from August 31.

United States Condemns Criminalization of Dissent in Venezuela

On August 30, the United States condemned the call by Venezuela’s illegitimate Constituent Assembly for trials of the political opposition, including members of the democratically-elected legislature, on charges of treason and alleged involvement in Venezuela’s economic crisis. In a statement, Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert emphasized this injustice “embodies yet another rupture in Venezuela’s constitutional order and defies the fact that in democracies, ideas and opinions are not crimes.” 

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

Editor’s Note: This entry is also published in the U.S. Department of State’s publication on Medium.com