This Week at State: March 30, 2018

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This Week at State: March 30, 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 key moments from This Week at State:

U.S. Takes Action To Hold Russia Accountable for Its Destabilizing Behavior

On March 26, the Department of State announced its decision to expel 60 Russian officials from the United States, including 48 serving at Russia’s bilateral mission to the United States and 12 intelligence operatives from the Russian Mission to the United Nations. The United States will also require the Russian government to close its Consulate General in Seattle by April 2, 2018.

In a statement by the White House Press Secretary, the United States responded to Russia’s March 29 decision to expel U.S. diplomats and close the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg. 

Deputy Secretary Sullivan Hosts Bilateral Meetings with Turkish, Indonesian, and Malaysian Officials

On March 30, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan met with Turkish Under Secretary of Foreign Affairs Ümit Yalçın, at the Department of State.

On March 26, Deputy Secretary Sullivan met with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in Washington, D.C.

On March 26, Deputy Secretary Sullivan met with Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Condemns Houthi Missile Attacks in Saudi Arabia

In a press statement, Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert condemned the Houthi missile attacks aimed at several cities in Saudi Arabia on March 25.

“Our condolences go out to the families of any who were killed or injured‎. We support the right of our Saudi partners to defend their borders against these threats. ‎ We continue to call on all parties, including the Houthis, to return to political negotiations and move toward ending the war in Yemen.”

 -Spokesperson Heather Nauert 

United Nations Security Council Holds Briefing on Syria

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley delivered remarks at a UN Security Council (UNSC) briefing on Syria on March 27. In those remarks, Ambassador Haley called out members of the Security Council -- specifically Russia -- for failing to take action to protect the at least 1,700 civilians who were killed during a military campaign in violation of UNSC resolution 2401, which called for a ceasefire in Syria.

Under Secretary Shannon Delivers Remarks at the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan

Under Secretary for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon delivered remarks at the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan in Uzbekistan, where he thanked Uzbek and Afghan leaders for bringing the group together “to reaffirm our support for peace and stability in Afghanistan, as well as security and prosperity across the region.” In his remarks, Under Secretary Shannon underscored that the only way to achieve our shared objectives is through a negotiated political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

United States and India Host Working Group on Counterterrorism

The 15th meeting of the India-U.S. Counterterrorism Joint Working Group was held in New Delhi on March 27, 2018. Led by Ministry of External Affairs Joint Secretary Shri Mahaveer Singhvi and the State Department’s Principal Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Alina L. Romanowski, the Indian and the U.S. delegations achieved important progress on counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries, including strengthening information sharing and support for international and bilateral cooperation on justice, law enforcement, and capacity building efforts to counter terrorism, and United Nations Security Council Resolution 2396. 

State Department Comments on the Arrest of Serbian Official in Kosovo

State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert condemned the arrest of a Serbian official in Kosovo in a press statement on March 28.

“The United States strongly condemns yesterday’s events in Mitrovica, which unnecessarily heighten tensions and threaten regional stability. We urge all parties to avoid further escalation of the situation, and to act calmly and resolve disputes peacefully. To create lasting peace and stability in the Balkans, both Kosovo and Serbia need to focus on normalizing relations through the EU-led Dialogue. The United States stands ready to support all parties in Dialogue negotiations.”

 -Spokesperson Heather Nauert

United States and Poland Sign Patriot Deal

Spokesperson Nauert released a press statement following the signing in Warsaw of an agreement, between the United States and Poland, concluding Phase I of Poland’s purchase of the Patriot missile defense system, worth $4.6 billion and including a brand new, state-of-the-art command and control system for Poland’s air and missile defense.

“The signing of this agreement will strengthen the security and capabilities of the United States, Poland, and NATO along the Alliance’s Eastern Flank. It reflects Poland’s investment in sharing the burden of collective defense... It also creates jobs in both the United States and Poland.”

-Spokesperson Heather Nauert

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.