This Week at State: July 20, 2018

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This Week at State: July 20, 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 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.

While in Helsinki, Secretary Pompeo also met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo meets with Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini at the Finnish Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland on July 16, 2018.

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.

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. 

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. 

Watch the Secretary’s remarks live, Sunday, July 22 at 6:00 PM PDT/9:00 PM EDT on state.gov or facebook.com/usdos.

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. 

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. 

The Department also highlighted how it is working to continue Nelson Mandela’s legacy through the Mandela Washington Fellowship exchange program. 

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

On July 19, the Department of State released its annual investment climate statements, analyzing 170 foreign markets to help U.S. companies make informed business decisions abroad. 

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. 

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. 

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.