This Week at State: June 15, 2018

7 minutes read time

This Week at State: June 15, 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 key moments from This Week at State:

President Trump Meets North Korea Chairman Kim at Singapore Summit

President Donald J. Trump and North Korea Chairman Kim Jong Un held a historic summit in Singapore on June 12. In a joint statement, Chairman Kim committed to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The two leaders also committed to establish new U.S.–DPRK relations, to join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, and to recovering POW/MIA remains.

For more on the Singapore Summit, check out this blog entry.

Secretary Pompeo Travels to Singapore, South Korea, and China

During his trip to Singapore, Secretary Pompeo held bilateral events with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

For more on the preparations for the Singapore Summit, check out this blog entry.

Secretary Pompeo traveled to Seoul, Republic of Korea, June 13–14, where the Secretary met with senior Korean and Japanese officials to discuss the U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance, the U.S.-Japan alliance, our shared priorities, and next steps in our shared approach to North Korea.

On June 14, the Secretary visited Beijing, China where he had discussions with Chinese officials on bilateral, regional, and global issues that affect both countries.

State Department Comments on Developments in Hudaydah, Yemen

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commented on the situation in Hudaydah, Yemen. 

I have spoken with Emirati leaders and made clear our desire to address their security concerns while preserving the free flow of humanitarian aid and life-saving commercial imports.  We expect all parties to honor their commitments to work with the UN Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Yemen on this issue, support a political process to resolve this conflict, ensure humanitarian access to the Yemeni people, and map a stable political future for Yemen.”

- Secretary Pompeo

State Department Renews Commitment to Vulnerable Minorities in Iraq

In a statement by Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert, the State Department renewed the Administration’s commitment to the protection of Iraq’s diversity of faiths and its threatened religious minorities. “The State Department will continue to work with USAID and others to help protect minorities and other vulnerable communities around the world,” Spokesperson Nauert said.

United States Welcomes Announcement from Burundi President

The United States welcomed President Nkurunziza’s recent announcement that he does not intend to seek a fourth term. In a June 12 statement, Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert added, “We call on the government of Burundi to take transparent steps to improve governance, respect for human rights, civic space, and media freedom. These measures are essential for free, fair, and open political competition ahead of the elections in 2020.”

U.S. Supports Agreement on Macedonia Name Issue

In a June 12 statement by Spokesperson Nauert, the United States congratulated Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev and welcomed the historic agreement to resolve the name dispute which will benefit both countries and bolster regional security and prosperity. “We stand ready to support this agreement, as requested by the two countries,” Spokesperson Nauert said.

State Department Expresses Concern Regarding Bangladesh's Counter-Narcotics Campaign

Spokesperson Nauert expressed concern over reports that at least 147 people have been killed and 21,000 arrested since early May by Bangladeshi security forces in a nationwide counter-narcotics campaign, in a June 13 statement.

On June 13, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan met with Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado. According to a readout from Spokesperson Nauert, the leaders discussed the value of the two countries’ strong security and environmental partnership. Deputy Secretary Sullivan also thanked President Alvarado for Costa Rica’s advocacy of a peaceful, transparent, and democratic resolution to the crisis in Venezuela, and urged continued strong engagement on the issue in the Lima Group.

President Trump Authorizes Funding for the Syrian Civil Defense and UN International Impartial and Independent Mechanism

In a June 14 statement, Spokesperson Nauert announced that President Trump had authorized the United States Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State to release approximately $6.6 million for the continuation of the vital, life-saving operations of the Syrian Civil Defense, more commonly known as the White Helmets, and the UN’s International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism.

"The United States Government strongly supports the White Helmets who have saved more than 100,000 lives since the conflict began, including victims of Assad’s chemical weapons attacks. These heroic first responders have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world and continue to be deliberately targeted by the Syrian regime and Russian airstrikes.‎”

-        Spokesperson Nauert

State Department Expresses Concern Over Arrest of Human Rights Lawyer in Iran

“We are deeply concerned by reports that Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been arrested again,” Spokesperson Nauert said in a June 14 statement. “We applaud Ms. Sotoudeh’s bravery and her fight for the long-suffering victims of the regime. We call on Iranian authorities to release her immediately, along with the hundreds of others who are currently imprisoned simply for expressing their views and desires for a better life.”

State Department Deeply Dismayed By Reports of Convictions in Maldives

In a June 14 statement, Spokesperson Nauert expressed that the United States is “deeply dismayed” by reports about the convictions of former Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, and Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed without a fair trial. “This outcome casts serious doubt on the commitment of the Government of Maldives to the rule of law and calls into question its willingness to permit a free and fair presidential election in September that reflects the will of the Maldivian people,” Spokesperson Nauert said.

United States Calls for Preservation of Southwest De-escalation Zone in Syria

Spokesperson Nauert emphasized the United States’ commitment to “maintaining the stability of the southwest de-escalation zone and to the ceasefire underpinning it” in a June 14 statement.

“We reiterate that any Syrian government military actions against the southwest de-escalation zone risk broadening the conflict. We affirm again that the United States will take firm and appropriate measures in response to Syrian government violations in this area.”

-        Spokesperson Nauert

Department of State Marks the Occasion of Eid al-Fitr

Secretary Pompeo released a statement on June 14, marking the occasion of Eid al-Fitr.

To see how many embassies and consulates around the world joined the celebration of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, check out this blog.

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.