This Week at State: December 1, 2017

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This Week at State: December 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 Speaks on U.S.-Europe Relations

In remarks delivered at the Wilson Center on November 28, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson highlighted U.S.-Europe alliances, focusing on our shared values and shared challenges.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks at the Wilson Center on November 28, 2017.

Secretary Tillerson highlighted the United States’ commitment to its European alliances saying, “Under President Trump, the United States remains committed to our enduring relationship with Europe. Our security commitments to European allies are ironclad.” The Secretary continued, “If we are to sustain the shared security commitments that ensure stability in the region, the Trump administration views it as necessary for our allies to be strong, sovereign, prosperous, and committed to the defense of shared Western ideals.”

Secretary Tillerson’s speech highlighted the United States’ cooperation with NATO as well as NATO’s role in maintaining safety and security both in Europe and outside of its region. The Secretary also addressed topics ranging from energy security and reconciliation in the Balkans to the conflicts in Ukraine, Syria, and Afghanistan. The Secretary also spoke about the U.S. and Europe’s shared challenge from Russia. 

Secretary Tillerson to Travel to Belgium, Austria and France

On November 30, Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert announced that Secretary Tillerson will travel to Brussels, Vienna, and Paris on December 4-8. In addition to bilateral meetings in each country, in Belgium, the Secretary will participate in meetings with NATO and European Union officials. In Vienna, the Secretary will also participate in the 24th Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Ministerial Council. 

United States Condemns North Korean Missile Launch 

In a November 28 statement, Secretary Tillerson addressed the most recent North Korean missile launch. “The United States strongly condemns North Korea’s launch of what is likely an intercontinental ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, indiscriminately threatening its neighbors, the region and global stability,” Secretary Tillerson said. 

The Secretary emphasized the need for the international community to continue strong economic and diplomatic measures, including enhancing maritime security. The Secretary concluded, “Diplomatic options remain viable and open, for now. The United States remains committed to finding a peaceful path to denuclearization and to ending belligerent actions by North Korea.” 

During a briefing for foreign media at the Foreign Press Center on November 29, Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert elaborated on Secretary Tillerson’s statement. 

At an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on November 29, Ambassador Nikki Haley also gave remarks on North Korea. 

Secretary Tillerson Holds Bilateral Meetings with Jordan, Bahrain, Macedonia, Germany, and Libya 

This week, Secretary Tillerson held bilateral meetings with King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein of Jordan, Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, and Libyan Prime Minister Faiez Mustafa Serraj in Washington, D.C. 

United States Commemorates World AIDS Day 

Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan gave remarks at the 2017 commemoration ceremony for World AIDS Day at the Department of State. 

During a special briefing on November 30, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy Ambassador Deborah L. Birx spoke about the progress the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has made to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS around the world. 

United States Co-Hosts Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 

The United States, along with the Republic of India, co-hosted the eighth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad, India from November 28 to 30. This year’s Summit highlighted the theme Women First, Prosperity for All, and focused on supporting women entrepreneurs and fostering economic growth globally. GES 2017 brought together 1500 entrepreneurs, investors and supporters from around the world to network, share ideas, make pitches and even secure funding for innovate projects, goods and services. 

Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump headlined the United States delegation to GES, which also included USAID Administrator Mark Green and U.S. Ambassador to India Ken Juster. 

For more information on GES 2017, visit https://www.ges2017.org/, @GES2017 on Twitter or @2017GES on Facebook.

Russia's Restrictive Media-Focused Legislation

Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert released a statement on November 28 addressing new Russian legislation on foreign media outlets. 

“New Russian legislation that allows the Ministry of Justice to label media outlets as 'foreign agents' and to monitor or block certain internet activity presents yet another threat to free media in Russia. Freedom of expression—including speech and media which a government may find inconvenient—is a universal human rights obligation Russia has pledged to uphold.”

– Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert

Department Spokesperson Nauert added, “The United States urges the Russian government not to use this legislation to further restrict the operation of media outlets or freedom of expression.” 

A Step Back for Democracy in Bolivia 

In a November 29 press statement, Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said, “The United States is deeply concerned by the November 28 ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal of Bolivia to declare inapplicable provisions of the country’s constitution that prohibit elected officials, including the President, from serving more than two consecutive terms. The decision disregards the will of the Bolivian people as confirmed in recent referenda.” 

United States Comments on Kenyan Presidential Elections 

In a press statement by Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert released on November 28, the United States congratulates the people of Kenya on the conclusion of the presidential election process, as well as President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto on their inauguration for a second term. The statement also addressed the United States’ concern regarding ongoing political tensions in Kenya, and encouraged the people of Kenya to come together at this critical moment and to work together peacefully and uphold the constitution. 

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.