This Week at State: January 5, 2018

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This Week at State: January 5, 2018

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 Expresses Support for the People of Iran

Vice President Mike Pence expressed the United States’ strong support for the people of Iran in an interview with Voice of America and an opinion editorial in the Washington Post,

“Today, the Iranian people are once again rising up to demand freedom and opportunity, and under President Trump, the United States is standing with them. This time, we will not be silent.”

-       Vice President Mike Pence

On January 4, Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert released a statement on the continuing protests in Iran.

The United States requested a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on January 5 to discuss the situation in Iran. When calling for the meeting, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said, “This is a fundamental matter of human rights for the Iranian people, but it is also a matter of international peace and security.”

Read Ambassador Haley's full remarks  at the January 5 emergency United Nations Security Council meeting  on Iran.

President Trump Declares National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

President Donald J. Trump declared January 2018 National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. In a presidental proclamation, President Trump said, “this month, let us redouble our efforts to ensure that modern day slavery comes to its long overdue end.” 

In the Department’s Press Briefing on January 4, Spokesperson Nauert highlighted this declaration and the State Department’s work to address these important issues.

For more information, check out this blog entry. 

State Department Announces Designations for Violations of International Religious Freedom

On January 4, the Department of State announced that the Secretary of State re-designated Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan as “Countries of Particular Concern”, a designation for governments that have engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom. The Secretary also placed Pakistan on a “Special Watch List” for severe violations of religious freedom. 

Assistance and Pakistan

During the Department Press Briefing on January 4, Spokesperson Nauert commented on the United States Government’s suspension of foreign military assistance and security assistance funding to the Government of Pakistan. Spokesperson Nauert said that the United States will suspend security assistance to the Pakistani military until the Pakistani government takes decisive action against groups, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network, that are destabilizing the region and targeting U.S. personnel. 

The United States welcomed the urgent and long awaited medical evacuations that recently took place from Eastern Ghouta in Syria. In a December 29 statement, Spokesperson Nauert expressed gratitude to the humanitarian and medical professionals on the ground for their compassion and tireless work, and repeated its call on Russia to live up to its obligations to ensure that the Assad regime ends the barbaric attacks against civilians in Syria. 

Concern Over Kosovo Assembly Attempts to Abrogate Law on the Specialist Chambers

In a statement released on December 29, Spokesperson Nauert expressed the United States’ concern over recent attempts in the Kosovo Assembly to abrogate the law on the Specialist Chambers, the court established to hear cases of alleged crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other serious crimes committed during the 1998-2000 conflict.

State Department Year in Review

In case you missed it, DipNote published a number of blog entries recapping the State Department and USAID’s work in 2017 and looking ahead to efforts in 2018. Some of those entries looked at the following topics:

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.

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Today, the United States Senate confirmed Philip Goldberg, Charge d'Affaires ad interim at the United States Embassy in Cuba, David Hale, United States Ambassador to Pakistan, Michele Sison, United States Ambassador to Haiti, and Daniel Smith, Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, as Career Ambassadors. According to the Foreign Service Act of 1980, the President is empowered with the advice and consent of the Senate to confer the personal rank of Career Ambassador upon a career member of the Senior Foreign Service in recognition of especially distinguished service over a sustained period. There have only been 59 Career Ambassadors confirmed prior to 2018. In recognition of this honor, we congratulate the Ambassadors and invite you to learn more about them. Philip Goldberg