This Week at State: July 13, 2018

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This Week at State: July 13, 2018

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 key moments from This Week at State:

Secretary Pompeo Travels to Japan, Vietnam, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Belgium

Following meetings in North Korea, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo traveled to Tokyo, Japan on July 7-8, where he met with the Japanese and South Korean Foreign Ministers to discuss next steps regarding North Korea. The Secretary also met with Japanese Prime Minister Abe

Secretary Pompeo then traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam, July 8-9, where he met with Vietnamese leaders including General Secretary Trong, and gave remarks at a reception for the business community.

The Secretary’s travels continued in Afghanistan on July 9, where he met with President Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah, and Afghanistan National Security Council. Secretary Pompeo also met with staff at the U.S. Embassy and U.S. and coalition troops at Bagram Airfield. 

 On July 9-10, Secretary Pompeo traveled to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where he met with the Crown Prince and Foreign Minister. While in Abu Dhabi, Secretary Pompeo also gave interviews to The Nationaland Sky News Arabia. 

On July 10-12, Secretary Pompeo accompanied President Donald J. Trump to the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium. While in Brussels, Secretary Pompeo also participated in the U.S.-EU Energy Council and co-hosted a meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS with NATO. On the margins of the NATO Summit, the Secretary also held meetings with EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi, and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir

For more on Secretary Pompeo’s trip, visit the trip page and check out these blogs -- Pyongyang, Tokyo, and Hanoi, Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates, and Brussels.

U.S. Comments on Burma Court Decision To Continue Trial of Reuters Journalists

In a July 9 statement by Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert, the United States expressed sadness and disappointment by the Burma court decision to proceed with charges against journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo for their alleged violations of the Official Secrets Act.

“This is a step backward for press freedom and raises questions about the rule of law in Burma.”

- Spokesperson Nauert

U.S. and Guatemala Co-Host Security and Migration Working Conference

On July 10, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Carl Risch, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Kirsten D. Madison and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Francisco Palmieri accompanied Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen to Guatemala City, Guatemala, to participate in a working conference co-hosted by the Government of Guatemala on security and migration issues in Central America.

United States Welcomes Eritrean and Ethiopian Commitment to Peace and Security

Secretary Pompeo welcomed the July 9 commitment to peace and security between the State of Eritrea and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in a July 10 statement.

“The United States stands ready to support this process, and encourages all parties to continue working with transparency and confidence in the coming days. Peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea will further the cause of stability, security, and development in the Horn of Africa and Red Sea.” 

- Secretary Pompeo

State Department Delegation Visits Gulf Countries to Coordinate Pressure on Iran

A delegation of senior State Department officials from various bureaus visited Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries this week to explore raising economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran’s regime to counter its destabilizing behavior.

State Department Hosts 2018 AGOA Forum, African Women Entrepreneurs

The United States hosted the seventeenth annual U.S.-sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, commonly known as the AGOA Forum, on July 11-12, 2018, at the Department of State. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan gave opening remarks highlighting the great importance this administration places on our relationship with Africa and the genuine promise we see in the prospects for enhanced trade relationships with our African partners. 

The State Department also announced a visitor program for twenty-two women entrepreneurs from 13 African countries to connect with their American counterparts and accelerate the growth of their businesses. 

State Department Announces First-Ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom

On July 11, the State Department announced that Secretary Pompeo will host the first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom at the State Department, July 24-26. The Ministerial will convene government officials, representatives of international organizations, religious leaders, rights advocates, and members of civil society organizations from around the world to discuss challenges to religious freedom, identify concrete means to address persecution of and discrimination against religious groups, and promote greater respect for religious freedom for all. 

State Department Honors Journalists Murdered in Russia

Spokesperson Nauert released a statement on July 12 honoring Natalya Estemirova and Paul Klebnikov, two journalists murdered in Russia.

“We honor the memories of Ms. Estemirova and Mr. Klebnikov by calling for an end to the impunity for human rights abuses in Chechnya and elsewhere in Russia and by reiterating U.S. support for brave journalists and human rights defenders in Russia and around the world.”

- Spokesperson Nauert

Secretary Pompeo Travels to Mexico

On July 13, Secretary Pompeo traveled to Mexico City to meet with President Enrique Pena Nieto, President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, and Foreign Secretary Videgaray, and to reaffirm the U.S. partnership with Mexico to combat transnational criminal organizations and the opioid epidemic, and discussed efforts to enhance trade, curb irregular migration, and manage our shared border.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo addresses employees and their families at U.S. Embassy Mexico City in Mexico on July 13, 2018.

For more information on this trip, visit the Secretary’s trip page.

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.

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Today, the United States Senate confirmed Philip Goldberg, Charge d'Affaires ad interim at the United States Embassy in Cuba, David Hale, United States Ambassador to Pakistan, Michele Sison, United States Ambassador to Haiti, and Daniel Smith, Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, as Career Ambassadors. According to the Foreign Service Act of 1980, the President is empowered with the advice and consent of the Senate to confer the personal rank of Career Ambassador upon a career member of the Senior Foreign Service in recognition of especially distinguished service over a sustained period. There have only been 59 Career Ambassadors confirmed prior to 2018. In recognition of this honor, we congratulate the Ambassadors and invite you to learn more about them. Philip Goldberg