This Week at State: August 31, 2018

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This Week at State: August 31, 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:

State Department Honors Memory and Service of Senator John McCain

On August 25, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo extended his deepest condolences upon the death of Senator John McCain.

See how the State Department and many of its embassies and consulates around the world honored Senator McCain here:

Department Notes One-Year Anniversary of Ethnic Cleansing in Burma

Secretary Pompeo noted the one-year anniversary of the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Burma, on August 25.

Secretary Pompeo Comments on U.S. Appearance Before ICJ

In a statement released on August 27, Secretary Pompeo commented on the United States’ appearance before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in a case brought by Iran. In the statement, Secretary Pompeo called Iran’s filing “an attempt to interfere with the sovereign rights of the United States to take lawful actions, including re-imposition of sanctions, which are necessary to protect our national security” and “a misuse of the Court.”

“We will vigorously defend against Iran’s meritless claims this week in The Hague, and we will continue to work with our allies to counter the Iranian regime’s destabilizing activities in the region, block their financing of terror, and address Iran’s proliferation of ballistic missiles and other advanced weapons systems that threaten international peace and stability.”

- Secretary Pompeo

Secretary Pompeo Comments on Strait of Hormuz

Secretary Pompeo commented on the Strait of Hormuz and the need for freedom of navigation on August 27.

President Trump Hosts Kenyan President at White House

On August 27, President Donald J. Trump welcomed Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta to the White House. President Kenyatta's visit to Washington marked 55 years of diplomatic relations between the United States and Kenya, and the start of a new U.S.-Kenya Strategic Partnership.

Read more about the visit and the new strategic partnership in this blog entry.

U.S., Mexico Reach Preliminary Trade Agreement

On August 27, President Trump announced that the United States and Mexico had reached a preliminary trade agreement to replace NAFTA.

Special Representative Hook Speaks on Iran Policy

Brian Hook, Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of State and Special Representative for Iran, gave remarks on Iran policy at the National Security Summit, held at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies on August 28.

 Secretary Pompeo Speaks with Kurdish Leader

On August 29, Secretary Pompeo spoke with Masud Barzani, former President of the Kurdistan Region and head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, to discuss political developments in Iraq and the broader region.

United States Condemns Russian Harassment of International Shipping

In a statement released on August 30, Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert condemned Russia’s harassment of international shipping in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, impeding maritime transit.

Secretary Pompeo Names New Director of Policy Planning

On August 30, Secretary Pompeo announced the appointment of Dr. Kiron Skinner as the incoming Director of Policy Planning at the State Department. Dr. Skinner is currently the W. Glenn Campbell Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Ambassador David Hale Sworn-in as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs

Ambassador David Hale, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, was sworn-in as the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs on August 30. Ambassador Hale, a 34 year veteran of the State Department, most recently served as U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan.

Secretary Pompeo Comments on Situation in Idlib, Syria

On August 31, Secretary Pompeo commented on reports of a Russian and Syrian assault on the Syrian city of Idlib.

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.