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
“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.
Our statement on #Iran: We support the legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people, and call on the government to allow free exchange of ideas and information. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the deaths and arrests to date. To the victims: you will not be forgotten. pic.twitter.com/cUHOsqp7ka— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) January 4, 2018
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.”
.@USUN Ambassador Haley: In the end, the Iranian people will determine their own destiny. Let there be no doubt the U.S. stands unapologetically with those in #Iran who seek freedom for themselves, prosperity for their families and dignity for their nation. We will not be quiet. pic.twitter.com/cjvg9rfsW2— Department of State (@StateDept) January 5, 2018
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.
.@statedeptspox: @POTUS has proclaimed January as National Slavery and #HumanTrafficking Prevention Month. @StateDept supports work of our partners by targeting foreign assistance, supporting coordination of anti-trafficking policies & engaging civil society & the private sector. pic.twitter.com/tJvydp6JJP— Department of State (@StateDept) January 4, 2018
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.
We believe that the protection of religious freedom is vital to peace, stability, and prosperity. So in accordance with legislation, @StateDept annually designates governments that have engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom. pic.twitter.com/g0L7iFsdVo— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) January 4, 2018
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.
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 will suspend security assistance to the Pakistani military.— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) January 5, 2018
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.
U.S. remains concerned by dire situation in Eastern Ghouta and the continued, ruthless siege by the Assad regime. Syrian regime must allow medical evacuations in the besieged area. https://t.co/l5JwBZ1S9F— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) December 30, 2017
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:
- Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights
- Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism
- Educational and Cultural Affairs
- Global Coalition to Counter ISIS
- International Development
- International Security and Nonproliferation
- Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs