This Week at State: April 27, 2018

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This Week at State: April 27, 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:

U.S. Congratulates Winner of Paraguayan Presidential Elections
In a press statement on April 23, Spokesperson Heather Nauert congratulated Mario Abdo Benitez on his election as the next president of Paraguay, based on the results from the elections of April 22.

“We congratulate the Paraguayan people on their participation in a successful election, and on this demonstration of their commitment to democratic values. The strong bilateral relationship between the United States and Paraguay is founded on shared commitment to democratic principles and the promotion of human rights and economic opportunity for all.”

-       Spokesperson Nauert

Acting Secretary Sullivan Delivers Remarks at the G-7 Ministerial Meeting in Canada

On April 23, Acting Secretary of State John J. Sullivan delivered remarks at a press availability as the G-7 Ministerial Meeting concluded in Toronto. The Acting Secretary affirmed the United States’ support for the efforts of Canada to build a more peaceful and secure world for all and in particular the nation’s efforts to to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment through strategic partnerships.

The Acting Secretary said, “Our conversations over the past few days have been very productive, and the U.S. remains committed to working closely with our G7 partners on all of the critical issues that we discussed, and we look forward to our leaders building upon our conversations when they gather in Charlevoix in June for the G7 leaders’ conference.”

On the margins of the G-7 ministerial, Acting Secretary Sullivan also met with a number of his counterparts for bilateral discussions. The Acting Secretary also engaged with staff at Consulate General Toronto.

U.S. Announces Additional Humanitarian Assistance for the Rakhine State Crisis

On April 23, Acting Secretary Sullivan announced $50 million in additional humanitarian assistance for vulnerable people fleeing the Rakhine State crisis. This brings the United States’ response to the crisis in Burma and Bangladesh to more than $163 million since August 2017, and total humanitarian assistance for displaced people in and from Burma to more than $255 million since the start of FY 2017. The Acting Secretary of State announced this new funding at the G7 Summit in Toronto, where he stood united with other G7 members to denounce human rights violations and abuses, including atrocities, committed in Rakhine State.

Vice President Pence and Acting Secretary Sullivan Host French President Macron for State Luncheon During State Visit

On April 24, Vice President Mike Pence and Acting Secretary Sullivan hosted the French President for a State Luncheon at the U.S. Department of State’s headquarters in Washington, DC. The Acting Secretary delivered remarks underscoring the importance of the United States’ alliance with France. The Acting Secretary also commented on our trade relationship and collaboration on a number of global issues.

The State Luncheon was a part of the Trump Administration’s first official ceremonial State Visit.

State Department Comments on Taliban Announcement of Spring Offensive

On April 25, Acting Secretary John Sullivan, commented on the Taliban’s announcement of their spring offensive. He said, “The announcement affirms the Taliban’s responsibility for the insecurity that destroys the lives of thousands of Afghans each year.”

Acting Secretary Sullivan affirmed the United States’ solidarity with the Afghan people in response to the Taliban’s announcement and encouraged Taliban leaders to engage peacefully. “As President Ghani recently said, the Taliban should turn their bullets and bombs into ballots. They should run for office. They should vote. We encourage Taliban leaders to return to Afghanistan from their foreign safe havens and work constructively for Afghanistan’s future. More violence will not bring peace and security to Afghanistan.”

State Department Commemorates the Birthday of the Disappeared Panchen Lama

In a press statement on April 25, State Department Spokesperson recognized the birthday of the 11th Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. Spokesperson Nauert called for his immediate release and urged China to uphold its international commitments to promote religious freedom for all persons 

United States, Japan, and Mongolia Hold Trilateral Meeting

The United States, Japan, and Mongolia held a trilateral meeting in Tokyo on April 26, 2018. The participants reaffirmed the importance of the U.S.-Japan-Mongolia trilateral meeting as an important mechanism for the exchange of views on regional and multilateral cooperation and on mutually beneficial economic development. Following the meeting the three nations released a joint statement

Mike Pompeo Sworn in as Secretary of State, Departs for Trip to NATO Ministerial and Middle East
Mike Pompeo was sworn in as the 70th U.S. Secretary of State on April 26, 2018. The Secretary of State, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, is the President's chief foreign affairs adviser. With Secretary Pompeo's swearing in, Acting Secretary Sullivan resumed his role as Deputy Secretary of State.

Immediately following his swearing-in, Secretary Pompeo embarked on this first trip as Secretary of State, making his first stop in Brussels on April 27  In Brussels, the Secretary met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and participated in the NATO Foreign Ministerial, during which allies discussed preparations for July’s NATO Summit of Heads of State and Government meeting.

At the conclusion of the NATO Ministerial, Secretary Pompeo delivered remarks to members of the press, where he underscored the importance of NATO and reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to the organization. 

One the Secretary departs Brussels, he will travel to the Middle East, where he will meet with Saudi, Israeli, and Jordanian leaders to discuss critical regional and bilateral issues.

President Trump Hosts Bilateral Meeting with German Chancellor Merkel

On April 27, President Donald Trump held a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Deputy Secretary Sullivan participated in the meeting. The United States and Germany form the bedrock of the transatlantic relationship and the NATO Alliance, based on shared values of freedom, democracy, and human rights. In remarks following their meeting, President Trump underscored the importance of the United States relationship with Germany. He also took a moment to comment on the situation in the Korean Peninsula, Iran, Syria, and the NATO Alliance among other issues. 

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.