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.
Today, President Trump ordered the expulsion of dozens of Russian intelligence officers from the U.S. and the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle. With these steps, the U.S. and our allies and partners make clear to Russia that its actions have consequences. pic.twitter.com/rfGFXXrUlH— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 27, 2018
Today, @StateDept 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 @UN. https://t.co/hTFIDbyz4k pic.twitter.com/fr3D4oiYTx— Department of State (@StateDept) March 26, 2018
Ambassador Jon Huntsman of @USEmbRu on the Expulsion of Russian Intelligence Officers: With these actions, the United States along with its allies and partners make clear to #Russia that its actions have consequences. pic.twitter.com/f61v832U4q— Department of State (@StateDept) March 26, 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.
.@PressSec: #Russia's decision to expel American diplomats only further deteriorates the US-Russia relationship. The US responded appropriately in the expulsion of undeclared Russia Intel officers after the deadly attack in the U.K. pic.twitter.com/28T6eDwbvy— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) March 30, 2018
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.
.@statedeptspox: Deputy Secretary Sullivan met with Indonesian FM Marsudi today to discuss U.S.-#Indonesia partnership & mutual commitment to deepening cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region for the benefit of security, prosperity, & international order. https://t.co/RgDuwTUNrq pic.twitter.com/mgWZCNTlGG— Department of State (@StateDept) March 26, 2018
On March 26, Deputy Secretary Sullivan met with Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman in Washington, D.C.
.@statedeptspox: During their meeting today, Deputy Secretary Sullivan & Malaysian FM Anifah Aman discussed strengthening diplomatic, economic, & security ties & pledged to strengthen cooperation to counter the growing threat of ISIS. https://t.co/YoCEsMMspT pic.twitter.com/YyfHxSeDJV— Department of State (@StateDept) March 26, 2018
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.
.@USUN Ambassador Nikki Haley: A responsible #UNSC would condemn Syrian authorities, along with #Russia and #Iran, for launching a military offensive to seize #EasternGhouta the same day that we called for a ceasefire. #Syria pic.twitter.com/ZwzPP2CiSR— Department of State (@StateDept) March 27, 2018
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
Editor’s Note: This entry is also published in the U.S. Department of State’s publication on Medium.