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:
Secretary Pompeo Travels to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to the Middle East, where he visited Riyadh, Tel Aviv, and Amman to discuss our shared interests and regional peace and security issues.
On April 28, in Riyadh, Secretary Pompeo met with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, underscoring the importance of the United States’ strong relationship with Saudi Arabia.
Secretary Pompeo: Saudi Arabia's security is a priority for the United States. We'll continue to work closely with our Saudi partners to counter threats to this country's security. That starts with Iran. Iran destabilizes this entire region. pic.twitter.com/2fLZQ34nvC— Department of State (@StateDept) April 29, 2018
In Tel Aviv, on April 28, the Secretary met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and reiterated the United States’ support for Middle East peace, as well as regional threats to peace and security.
On April 30, in Amman, Secretary Pompeo met with Jordanian King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein to discuss a range of regional challenges and mutual interests. Secretary Pompeo also met with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, and gave remarks at a joint press availability.
Secretary Pompeo:We must not let #Syria again become a safe haven for ISIS or for any other terrorist group...Throughout the Syrian crisis Jordan has provided an extraordinary level of assistance to the Syrian people. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/RCORtebTWK— Department of State (@StateDept) April 30, 2018
While in Amman, Secretary Pompeo also met with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono to continue the U.S. and Japan’s close coordination on achieving the permanent and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea.
Read this DipNote blog entry for a full recap of the Secretary’s trip.
President Trump Welcomes Nigerian President
On April 30, President Donald J. Trump welcomed Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari for a bilateral meeting at the White House. In remarks at a joint press conference, President Trump said, “...the United States deeply values and appreciates Nigeria’s role as a strong, democratic leader in the region.”
The two leaders also discussed the United States and Nigeria’s economic and trade relationship, as well as the nations’ efforts to counter terrorist threats in Nigeria and the region.
Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan also met with Nigerian Foreign Minister at the State Department this week.
United States Strongly Condemns Attack on Journalists in Kabul
The United States strongly condemned the April 30 senseless and barbaric attack in Kabul that killed 29 people and wounded dozens more, including several brave journalists and media professionals, in a statement by Secretary Pompeo.
“The independent media is a cornerstone of democracy. Despite today’s attack, the vibrant media landscape that has developed in Afghanistan will endure, in large part due to those journalists and media professionals who tragically died in today’s attack, but whose courageous and steadfast work helped lay the foundation for Afghanistan’s thriving and resilient independent media. The international community’s commitment to the Afghan people and a lasting peace in Afghanistan will not be shaken by such attacks.”
- Secretary Pompeo
Department of State Welcomes New Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
Deputy Secretary Sullivan welcomed new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the Department of State on May 1.
In his remarks, Secretary Pompeo highlighted his intent to learn about the State Department and how it perform its mission and to empower his team to “be the diplomatic face that achieves the outcomes that America so desperately needs to achieve in the world.”
One of my favorite lines from @SecPompeo: "You chose to work here because you’re patriots and great Americans and because you want to be an important part of America’s face to the world. My mission will be to lead you and allow you to do that, the very thing you came here to do." pic.twitter.com/YIb6H9DEEa— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) May 2, 2018
Shortly after his arrival, Secretary Pompeo launched his Twitter account (@SecPompeo) with this tweet:
I'm grateful to @POTUS for the honor to serve as our nation's 70th Secretary of State. So many matters of global importance demand our focus. I'm committed to putting the interests of the American people first and look forward to serving with the world's finest diplomatic corps. pic.twitter.com/qEWQ6oa3Rm— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 1, 2018
Announcement of Operations to Liberate Final ISIS Strongholds in Syria
The United States, the Global Coalition, and local partners, including the Syrian Democratic Forces, announced the launching of operations to liberate the final ISIS strongholds in Syria on May 1. In a statement, Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said, “The fighting will be difficult, but we and our partners will prevail. We will defend United States, Coalition, and partner forces if attacked. The days of ISIS controlling territory and terrorizing the people of Syria are coming to an end.”
President Trump and Vice President Pence Lead Ceremonial Swearing-In
On May 2, President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence participated in the ceremonial swearing-in ceremony of Mike Pompeo as the 70th U.S. Secretary of State.
In his remarks, President Trump praised Secretary Pompeo’s experience and highlighted the State Department’s mission to advance American interests abroad.
"For nearly 230 years, the men and women of the U.S. @StateDept have skillfully and proudly answered this call. And now at this moment in time, I can think of no better person to lead these dedicated public servants than our new Secretary of State, @SecPompeo." pic.twitter.com/jw8LQD1hmS— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 2, 2018
Secretary Pompeo delivered remarks underscoring his commitment to carrying out the mission of the Department. The Secretary also addressed some of his key priorities, from Iran and Russia to North Korea.
.@SecPompeo: We have an unprecedented opportunity to change the course of history on the Korean Peninsula. It’s time to solve this. We are committed to the permanent, verifiable, irreversible dismantling of #NorthKorea’s weapons of mass destruction programs without delay. #DPRK pic.twitter.com/jv31RKXksP— Department of State (@StateDept) May 2, 2018
United States Marks North Korea Freedom Week
Department Spokesperson Nauert released a statement on May 2 on the occasion of North Korea Freedom Week.
During #NorthKorea Freedom Week, we must not forget the millions in #DPRK who continue to suffer under one of the most repressive & abusive gov'ts in the world. In tandem w/ maximum pressure campaign, we will continue to press for accountability for those responsible. #NKFW2018 pic.twitter.com/vIjLC2DQDw— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) May 2, 2018
State Department Honors Emerging Youth Leaders
On May 2, the State Department honored the ten recipients of the third annual Emerging Young Leaders Award. During the ceremony, Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce commended these young leaders for their tenacity and courage to improve their local communities, reaching beyond themselves to improve their nations even when faced with challenging environments.
Today, @StateDept honored 10 outstanding young leaders from across the globe for their efforts as partners for peace and drivers of economic growth and opportunity. Go behind the scenes with @ECAatState on Snapchat to hear from these inspiring #EYLeaders. https://t.co/cM7LaPFiN5— Department of State (@StateDept) May 2, 2018
Department of State Announces Global Engagement Center Technology Series
On May 2, the Department of State announced the establishment of the Global Engagement Center’s (GEC) Technology Series to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation. This initiative will convene some of the country’s best technologists, academics, and civil society advocacy groups on a regular basis to identify technological solutions and to encourage stronger public-private partnerships in the fight against foreign propaganda and disinformation.
United States Renews Commitment to Promoting and Protecting Press Freedom
In a May 3 statement for World Press Freedom Day, Secretary Pompeo renewed the United States’ commitment to promoting and protecting a free press, an essential pillar of democracy.
“Today, we honor the many journalists and media actors who have dedicated their lives, often at great risk, to promote transparency and accountability throughout the world.”
- Secretary Pompeo
State Department Hosts Foreign Affairs Day
The State Department hosted its annual Foreign Affairs Day on May 4, celebrating the work of active and retired employees of the Department and other Foreign Affairs Agencies. Secretary Pompeo delivered a keynote address highlighting his commitment to a pragmatic and principled foreign policy, and a strong diplomatic presence around the world.
.@SecPompeo on Foreign Affairs Day: America must continue our centuries-old mission of defending freedom, liberty & human dignity around the world, while 1st keeping our country & people safe. That is only possible with a strong diplomatic presence, in every corner of the world. pic.twitter.com/TKQ3jp5KX4— Department of State (@StateDept) May 4, 2018
Secretary Pompeo also delivered remarks at the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) Memorial Plaque Ceremony. This annual ceremony honors those who have lost their lives while serving overseas due to circumstances distinctive to the Foreign Service, including acts of violence or terrorism. Secretary Pompeo was joined by Deputy Secretary Sullivan, Under Secretary Thomas Shannon, and Deputy Under Secretary William Todd, as well as AFSA President Ambassador Barbara Stephenson.
.@SecPompeo at @afsatweets ceremony: Today, as we remember the fallen during this solemn occasion, we grieve for these heroes. But we also keep our eyes fixed on the more stable and more peaceful future we are all working together to build. pic.twitter.com/McBI8OerOX— Department of State (@StateDept) May 4, 2018
Editor’s Note: This entry is also published in the U.S. Department of State’s publication on Medium.