This Week at State: June 8, 2018

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This Week at State: June 8, 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:

Secretary Pompeo Marks 29th Anniversary of Tiananmen Square

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo marked the 29th anniversary of the peaceful demonstrations in and around Tiananmen Square in a June 3 statement.

"On the 29th anniversary of the violent suppression of peaceful demonstrations in and around Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, we remember the tragic loss of innocent lives.

 The United States views the protection of human rights as a fundamental duty of all countries, and we urge the Chinese government to respect the universal rights and fundamental freedoms of all citizens.”

-Secretary Pompeo

Secretary Pompeo Speaks With Global Leaders

On June 4, Secretary Pompeo hosted Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoğlu for a bilateral meeting at the Department of State. The Secretary also met with Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes Ferreira on June 4.

On June 5, Secretary Pompeo hosted a bilateral meeting with Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray Caso, a bilateral meeting with Singaporean Foreign Minister Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, and a bilateral meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, at the Department of State. The Secretary also spoke by phone with Icelandic Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson.

On June 6, Secretary Pompeo spoke by telephone with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. The Secretary also spoke by phone with Pakistani Chief of Army Staff Qamar Bajwa.

On June 7, Secretary Pompeo attended President Donald J. Trump’s bilateral meeting with Japanese President Shinzo Abe, at the White House.

Secretary Pompeo Gives Remarks at Organization of American States

Secretary Pompeo participated in the plenary session of the 48th General Assembly of the Organization of American States on June 4. In his remarks, Secretary Pompeo commented on the hope for democratic change in Cuba, the violence in Nicaragua, and the United States’ steadfast support for the people of Venezuela in their efforts to return to democracy.

United States Condemns Suicide Bombing on Ulema Council Meeting, Violence in Mali

In a statement on June 4, State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert condemned the suicide bombing on the Ulema Council meeting in Kabul, Afghanistan.

In a separate statement, Spokesperson Nauert condemned the violence at the June 2 opposition rally in Bamako, Mali.

“Attacking unarmed marchers engaged in peaceful dialogue is an affront to core democratic values. The United States urges the Government of Mali to allow for peaceful assembly by all citizens and groups, and encourages the government to support public dialogue, freedom of association, and freedom of expression at all times and particularly now, in advance of the July elections.”

-Spokesperson Nauert

State Department Bids Farewell to Under Secretary Tom Shannon

On June 4, the State Department bid farewell to Under Secretary for Political Affairs Tom Shannon, who retired after more than 34 years in the Foreign Service.

Support for Ongoing Defeat ISIS Operations in Syria

In a June 5 statement, Secretary Pompeo welcomed the launch of operations by the Syrian Democratic Forces against ISIS terrorists in Dashisha, Syria, noting the State Department’s support for this operation and the phase after ISIS.

“The Department of State has been proud to lend diplomatic support through this planning process together with our Department of Defense colleagues and Coalition Partners.”

-Secretary Pompeo

Emphasizing Importance of an Independent Anti-Corruption Court for Ukraine

Spokesperson Nauert emphasized the importance of “deep, comprehensive, and timely reforms”, including the establishment of a genuinely independent anti-corruption court in Ukraine, in a June 5 statement. The Spokesperson also emphasized the need for Ukraine to coordinate legislation regarding the establishment of the court with the International Monetary Fund.

“The anti-corruption court has important work to do on behalf of the people of Ukraine.”

-Spokesperson Nauert

State Department Establishes Health Incidents Response Task Force

On June 5, Secretary Pompeo announced that at his request, Deputy Secretary Sullivan established a task force to direct a multi-agency response to the unexplained health incidents that have affected a number of U.S. government personnel and family members stationed overseas.

Visa Restrictions Against Individuals Involved in Human Rights Abuses or Undermining Democracy in Nicaragua

On June 7, Secretary Pompeo decided to “impose U.S. visa restrictions on individuals responsible for human rights abuses or undermining democracy in Nicaragua”, Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert announced in a statement.

United States Welcomes Ceasefire in Afghanistan

“The United States welcomes President Ghani’s offer of a temporary ceasefire between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban to allow the Afghan people to celebrate Eid al-Fitr without fear of violence,” Secretary Pompeo said in a June 7 statement. The Secretary added, “This ceasefire further demonstrates the Afghan government’s commitment to explore ways to end the conflict.”

“The United States and our international partners look to the Taliban to honor the ceasefire and demonstrate their respect for the people of Afghanistan who have long called for a reprieve to the Taliban’s campaign of violence.”

-Secretary Pompeo

Secretary Pompeo Comments on President Trump's June 12 Meeting with North Korean Leader 

During a June 7 press availability at the White House, Secretary Pompeo spoke about President Trump’s June 12 meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore, as well as the Secretary’s upcoming travel to Beijing and Seoul.

Secretary Pompeo highlighted President Trump's hope for the meeting, while also emphasizing that the President will not accept a bad deal. "The United States has been clear, time and time again, that complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the only outcome that we will find acceptable," the Secretary said.

State Department Welcome 153rd Civil Service Orientation Class

On June 8, Secretary Pompeo gave remarks and administered the oath of office to the 153rd Civil Service Orientation Class at the Department of State.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo poses for a photo with members of the 153rd Civil Service Class at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on June 8, 2018.

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Editor’s Note: This entry is also published in the U.S. Department of State’s publication on Medium.