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 Helsinki, Participates in President Trump’s Meetings with Finnish and Russian Leaders
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo traveled to Helsinki, Finland on July 15-16, accompanying President Donald J. Trump for his meetings with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Landed in #Finland for #helsinki2018 where @POTUS & Prez Putin are set to discuss US/Russian relations. POTUS meeting is in the interest of US national security. It’s critical that the leaders of the US & Russia engage on important matters between our two countries. @StateDept pic.twitter.com/ZdNN6fHPTi— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) July 15, 2018
While in Helsinki, Secretary Pompeo also met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini.
Secretary Pompeo Provides Update on Talks with North Korea
In a statement, Secretary Pompeo provided an update on General Officer-level talks held on July 15 between the United States and North Korea on the repatriation of remains.
Today, representatives from the US held the first General-officer talks with DPRK since ‘09. They met to discuss the return of US service members’ remains. They also agreed to re-commence field operations in the DPRK to search for the est 5300 Americans who never returned home. pic.twitter.com/5M45MESN1G— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) July 15, 2018
Working-level talks continued on July 16 to coordinate next steps, including the transfer of American service members’ remains already collected in North Korea.
United States Condemns Escalation of Violence in Nicaragua
On July 16, Spokesperson Nauert released a statement condemning the ongoing attacks by Daniel Ortega’s para-police against university students, journalists, and clergy across Nicaragua.
We call on #OrtegaMurillo to stop the violence and end the bloodshed in #Nicaragua. The United States is watching and we will continue to hold accountable those responsible for the ongoing campaign of violence and repression. https://t.co/pmbPLcyxgg— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) July 17, 2018
Spokesperson Nauert also announced that the State Department has imposed additional U.S. visa restrictions on individuals responsible for human rights abuses or undermining democracy in Nicaragua, as well as on their family members.
“The United States will continue to expose and hold accountable those responsible for the Ortega government’s campaign of violence and repression.”
- Spokesperson Nauert
During the Department Press Briefing on July 18, Spokesperson Nauert reiterated calls for Daniel Ortega to stop the violence and end the bloodshed in Nicaragua.
Secretary Pompeo to Speak on ‘Supporting Iranian Voices’ at Reagan Library
The State Department announced that Secretary Pompeo will deliver remarks on “Supporting Iranian Voices”, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, on Sunday, July 22. Secretary Pompeo's remarks will be delivered as part of a visit with members of the Iranian-American community in the United States.
.@SecPompeo will deliver remarks on “Supporting Iranian Voices” at the @Reagan_Library on Sunday, July 22. Secretary Pompeo's remarks will be delivered as part of a visit with members of the Iranian-American community in the United States. https://t.co/5Dhm9icLe6 pic.twitter.com/TaDtThZJZC— Department of State (@StateDept) July 17, 2018
Global Sports Mentoring Program Honored at Sports Humanitarian Awards
On July 17, the U.S. Department of State and espnW’s Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP) was recognized as the 2018 recipient of the Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award at the annual Sports Humanitarian Awards in Los Angeles. In its seventh year, the GSMP is the flagship professional development exchange supporting the State Department’s ongoing efforts to advance the rights and status of women and girls around the world through sports.
Standing Ovation! Thanks @ESPN for shining a spotlight on the amazing work by @ECAatState & @SportandPeaceUT to engage, inspire, & empower girls/women. The real heroes are the US mentors & amazing #GSMP alum leaders who devote their lives to improve the lives of girls everywhere. pic.twitter.com/Gm1AWny6Hb— Marie Royce (@ECA_AS) July 18, 2018
Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce attended the ceremony along with the program’s implementing partner, the University of Tennessee Center for Sport, Peace, and Society, as well as several GSMP alumni. The ceremony will air on ESPN on July 24 at 7:00 PM EDT.
State Department Celebrates Nelson Mandela International Day
The State Department joined the world in marking Nelson Mandela Day on July 18, honoring the life and legacy of South Africa’s first black president.
Today as we mark 100 years since Nelson Mandela's birth, we reflect on his life dedicated to fighting injustice and promoting human rights, and honor his legacy as a great force of equality and freedom that helped transform our world into a better place. #Mandela100 #MandelaDay— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) July 18, 2018
The Department also highlighted how it is working to continue Nelson Mandela’s legacy through the Mandela Washington Fellowship exchange program.
Today, we recognize Nelson #MandelaDay and his service. Read more about how programs such as the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders & the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) continue to honor his legacy through service. #Mandela100 https://t.co/ZjH8D4808n— Department of State (@StateDept) July 18, 2018
Ambassador Haley, State Department Officials Speak on U.S. Withdrawal from Human Rights Council
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs Kevin Moley, and Senior Advisor for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Michael Kozak participated in a July 18 event “U.S. Withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council: Impact and Next Steps” at the Heritage Foundation.
In her keynote remarks, Ambassador Haley highlighted the United States’ continued commitment to human rights around the world. “To this day, the U.S. does more for human rights, both inside the UN and around the world, than any other country. And we will continue to do that. We just won’t do it inside a Council that consistently fails the cause of human rights,” Ambassador Haley said.
Department of State Releases Annual Investment Climate Statements
Secretary Pompeo and Deputy Secretary Sullivan Meet with Global Leaders
On July 19, Secretary Pompeo met with UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen Martin Griffiths in Washington. Also on July 19, Deputy Secretary John Sullivan met with Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai at the State Department.
Secretary Pompeo Provides Updates on Upcoming Religious Freedom Ministerial
Secretary Pompeo gave a series of interviews on July 19 to discuss the first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom to be held July 24-26 at the State Department. The Secretary’s interviews included: FRC Radio, Voice of America, EWTN, the Hugh Hewitt Show, Fox News, and ABC Radio Australia.
The State Department also announced that Vice President Mike Pence will deliver remarks at the Ministerial on July 26.
Pleased to announce @VP will deliver remarks @StateDept's first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom on July 26, hosted by @SecPompeo. We are committed to identifying concrete ways to prevent religious persecution and ensure greater respect for #ReligiousFreedom for all.— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) July 19, 2018
United States and India to Hold 2+2 Dialogue in September
In a July 19 release, the United States announced that the inaugural U.S.-India “2+2” Dialogue will be held in New Delhi, India, on September 6. The dialogue will discuss strengthening strategic, security, and defense cooperation as the United States and India jointly address challenges in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.
Secretary Pompeo Travels to New York for Meetings at United Nations
Secretary Pompeo traveled to New York on July 20 for meetings with U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and members of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the latest on North Korea. The Secretary also met with UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
Editor’s Note: This entry is also published in the U.S. Department of State’s publication on Medium.