Did you miss key foreign policy developments this week? 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:
President Trump Announces Presidential Delegation to the State of Israel to Attend the Opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem
On May 7, President Donald J. Trump announced the Presidential Delegation to the State of Israel to attend the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan will lead the delegation.
Vice President Pence Addresses the Organization of American States
On May 7, Vice President Mike Pence delivered remarks at the Organization of American States in Washington, DC. The Vice President reaffirmed the Administration’s priorities in the Western Hemisphere.
“Under President Trump the United States will always put the security and prosperity of America first. But America first does not mean America alone. Our nation has always cared deeply about our neighbors across the hemisphere … we are all bound together by geography, by history, and by the enduring aspiration for freedom.”
-- Vice President Pence
Vice President Pence also reiterated the United States’ support for the people of Cuba and Nicaragua as they demand freedom and democratic reforms, and addressed the crisis in Venezuela, calling on Venezuela to suspend its presidential election later this month because of corruption concerns, and encouraging other nations in the region to take a stronger stance on behalf of the Venezuelan people.
Secretary Pompeo Meets with Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray
On May 7, Secretary Pompeo met with Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray at the State Department to discuss trade, security including transnational crime, other shared regional and global priorities of our two countries. In joint remarks following their meeting, Secretary Pompeo shared a readout of this meeting and underscored the importance of the United States’ partnership with Mexico.
.@SecPompeo: Today it is my pleasure and great honor to welcome Foreign Secretary @lvidegaray. #Mexico is one of the United States’ closest partners. Together, we are working to build a more secure, prosperous, and democratic Hemisphere. We are neighbors, allies, and friends. pic.twitter.com/VfnhHvbDVe— Department of State (@StateDept) May 7, 2018
U.S. Congratulates Tunisia, Armenia, and Malaysia on Recent Elections
The United States congratulated the people of Tunisia on the country’s first-ever free municipal elections. In a May 7 statement, Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert emphasized the importance of these as a step in the consolidation of its democracy. “As Tunisia meets the democratic milestones set out in its constitution, the United States continues to support Tunisia’s progress,” the Spokesperson said.
The United States also congratulated Nikol Pashinyan as the new Prime Minister of Armenia. “We look forward to working closely with the new government and with the people of Armenia on the many areas of shared interest between our countries, including increasing trade, working in support of democracy and rule of law, and safeguarding regional and global security,” Department Spokesperson Nauert said in a May 8 statement.
On May 9, the United States congratulated the people of Malaysia on their participation in a hard-fought election campaign. Department Spokesperson Nauert said, “We fully expect all institutions will carry out their functions and duties to produce and implement official results in accordance with the federal constitution and the will of the people.”
State Department Announces Annual Greening Diplomacy Initiative Award Winners
On May 7, the State Department announced its the Greening Diplomacy Initiative (GDI) Awards, recognizing innovative leadership within the Department of State in energy and environmental diplomacy. U.S. Embassy Kabul won the 2018 Greening Diplomacy Award winner for its efforts to reduce its environmental footprint, despite facing a constant critical-threat security environment with limited infrastructure.
Deputy Secretary Sullivan and Ambassador Haley Address 48th Annual Washington Conference on the Americas
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan delivered opening keynote remarks at the 48th Annual Washington Conference on the Americas, co-hosted by the U.S. Department of State and the Council of the Americas, on May 8, at the Department of State. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley also addressed the conference.
“We support the Venezuelan people in their sovereign right to elect representatives through free, fair, and transparent elections.” – Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan on #Venezuela at #2018WCA @ASCOA pic.twitter.com/H4gsJG9nA1— Department of State (@StateDept) May 8, 2018
State Department Comments on Closure of Controlled Crossing Points in Russian Occupied Georgian Territory of South Ossetia
In a May 8 press statement from Spokesperson Nauert, the United States expressed concern regarding the decision of de facto South Ossetian authorities to temporarily close controlled crossing points in Georgia along the administrative boundary line in the Russian-occupied territory of South Ossetia. The United States also called for an “immediate halt to the ongoing illegal detentions of Georgian citizens by de facto and Russian authorities along the administrative boundary lines with the Russian-occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.”
President Trump Announces the United States Terminating Participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
On May 8, President Donald J. Trump announced he is terminating the United States’ participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran and re-imposing sanctions lifted under the deal.
"Today’s action sends a critical message: the United States no longer makes empty threats. When I make promises, I keep them." pic.twitter.com/pd5WC2II95— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 8, 2018
Following the President’s announcement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement highlighting U.S. efforts to find a real, comprehensive, and lasting solution to the Iranian threat.
“We have a shared interest with our allies in Europe and around the world to prevent Iran from ever developing a nuclear weapon. But our effort is broader than just the nuclear threat and we will be working together with partners to eliminate the threat of Iran’s ballistic missile program; to stop its terrorist activities worldwide; and to block its menacing activity across the Middle East and beyond. As we build this global effort, sanctions will go into full effect and will remind the Iranian regime of the diplomatic and economic isolation that results from its reckless and malign activity.”
-– Secretary Pompeo
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Travels to North Korea, Returns With Freed Americans
Secretary Pompeo traveled to North Korea on May 8-9 to meet with North Korean Government officials, including Chairman Kim Jong Un, and to continue preparations for President Trump’s summit with the North Korean leader. Following his trip, Secretary Pompeo commented on these preparations saying, “both sides are confident that we will set the conditions for a successful meeting between the two leaders.”
I had productive meetings in Pyongyang with Chairman Kim Jong-un and made progress. I'm delighted to bring home three Americans.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 9, 2018
During the Secretary’s visit, the North Korean government released three detained Americans from custody. In a statement, the freed Americans expressed their deep appreciation to the United States government, President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, and the people of the United States for bringing them home.
.@PressSec: During @SecPompeo’s visit, #DPRK leadership released three American detainees. @POTUS appreciates leader Kim Jong Un’s action to release these American citizens, and views this as a positive gesture of goodwill. https://t.co/LXsWaQGPj4— Department of State (@StateDept) May 9, 2018
With @realDonaldTrump leadership @SecPompeo ‘s tireless work, three Americans are finally on their way home from #DPRK They’re all smiles & grateful. Also thanks to @Statedept Consular Affairs team! https://t.co/sAeoved5Wg— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) May 9, 2018
President Trump and Vice President Pence met the freed Americans upon their arrival at Joint Base Andrews on May 10.
President Trump also announced that his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would take place on June 12 in Singapore.
Secretary Pompeo Hosts Meetings with Korean and Canadian Foreign Ministers
Secretary Pompeo hosted a meeting with Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, on May 11 at the Department of State. During a press availability following their meeting, Secretary Pompeo highlighted the strong relationship between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea, and close coordination on issues of mutual importance, including North Korea.
Productive meeting with Kang Kyung-wha of @MOFAkr_eng today to discuss #NorthKorea and @POTUS’s commitment to the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. pic.twitter.com/NhFOUFDiEq— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 11, 2018
In a separate meeting on May 11, Secretary Pompeo hosted Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.
Delighted to meet @cafreeland today. Our relationship with #Canada is one of the closest and most extensive in the world. I appreciate Canada’s #LimaGroup efforts to support the people of #Venezuela, and opposition to #DPRK’s illegal #nuclear program. #FriendsPartnersAllies pic.twitter.com/mLfGpJH5wX— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 11, 2018
Editor’s Note: This entry is also published in the U.S. Department of State’s publication on Medium.