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 Marks International Day of Democracy
Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert marked the International Day of Democracy, on September 15, reaffirming the United States’ “unwavering belief in democracy as the form of government with the greatest capacity to advance peace, prosperity, and security, and to safeguard the universal human rights, fundamental freedoms, and dignity of every person.”
“On this day, and every day, we join like-minded governments, civil society, and ordinary people in our shared commitment to promote, protect, and advance democratic values around the world.”
- Spokesperson Nauert
Secretary Pompeo Speaks with Global Leaders
On September 16, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke with Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha. On September 17, Secretary Pompeo met with Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Nasser Bourita.
On September 18, Secretary Pompeo participated in President Donald J. Trump’s meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda, at the White House.
On September 19, Secretary Pompeo met with Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana. The Secretary also met with Côte d’Ivoire Foreign Minister Marcel Amon-Tanoh and spoke with Iraqi Speaker of the Council of Representatives Mohammed Halbusi by phone.
On September 20, Secretary Pompeo met with Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, and spoke by phone with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono. The Secretary also met with Mongolian Prime Minister Khurelsukh Ukhnaa where the two leaders released a joint statement and committed to a roadmap for expanded economic partnership.
State Department Observes Constitution Day
The State Department observed Constitution Day on September 17. In a statement, Spokesperson Nauert emphasized the importance of the day for all Americans to “pause and reflect on the wisdom and significance of our Constitution, and on the legacy it has bestowed on our people and the world.”
United States Calls UNSC Meeting on Enforcement of North Korea Sanctions
On September 17, the United States called a UN Security Council briefing on nonproliferation and the implementation and enforcement of UN sanctions on North Korea. In her remarks, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley emphasized the importance of the sanctions to achieving complete denuclearization in North Korea, and also addressed Russia’s role in covering up evidence of sanctions violations.
We have heard this same song from Russia many times before. Lying, cheating, and rogue behavior have become the new norm of the Russian culture. Russia needs to join the rest of the international community and support Security Council sanctions on North Korea. pic.twitter.com/I0QV0Z7Wgq— US Mission to the UN (@USUN) September 17, 2018
Secretary Pompeo also highlighted the importance of enforcement of the UN sanctions.
The U.S. called a meeting of #UNSC today to discuss sanctions on #NorthKorea and #Russia’s active attempts to undermine compliance with those sanctions. Global sanctions are an essential part of efforts to achieve denuclearization. We are as committed as ever to enforcing them.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 17, 2018
Secretary Pompeo Announces 2019 Refugee Ceiling
Secretary Pompeo gave remarks to the media on September 17 to announce the improved refugee policy of the Trump administration, which serves the national interest of the United States and expands our ability to help those in need all around the world.
.@SecPompeo: The improved refugee policy of this Administration serves the national interest of the United States and expands our ability to help those in need all around the world. We will continue to assist the world’s most vulnerable. pic.twitter.com/SKDHjdXdGD— Department of State (@StateDept) September 17, 2018
The U.S. prioritizes a course of action that allows refugees to go home safely and voluntarily when conditions permit – a solution that most refugees prefer, and reflects our commitment to achieving the best humanitarian outcomes, in keeping with our longstanding policy.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 18, 2018
Read more from Secretary Pompeo on America’s commitment to refugees and other displaced people in this blog.
Foreign Press Center Celebrates 50th Anniversary
On September 17, the Department of State’s Foreign Press Center celebrated its 50th anniversary.
50 years and counting of supporting transparency and a #freepress in #Washington. 50 years of showing the best of the @StateDept, #American values, and policy to the world. 50 years of reporting tours, briefings, interviews, and firsthand experience. #FPCinAction #FPC50th pic.twitter.com/39qyyjdWT0— Foreign Press Center (@ForeignPressCtr) September 17, 2018
Congratulations, @ForeignPressCtr on your 50th anniversary! We are proud of your great work in Washington and in New York, helping deepen the understanding of U.S. policy and American values through engagement with media from around the world. #FPCinAction #FPC50th— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) September 17, 2018
Secretary Pompeo Makes Statement on Downed Russian Aircraft
Secretary Pompeo expressed sorrow for the death of the aircrew members of the Russian plane that was downed by Syrian regime anti-aircraft fire in a September 18 statement.
“Yesterday’s unfortunate incident reminds us of the need to find permanent, peaceful, and political resolutions to the many overlapping conflicts in the region and the danger of tragic miscalculation in Syria’s crowded theater of operations.”
- Secretary Pompeo
Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook Comments on Iran’s Missile Program
On September 19, Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of State and Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook delivered remarks on Iran's missile program at the Hudson Institute.
"#Iran’s pace of missile launches did not diminish after JCPOA Implementation Day in January 2016, and Iran continues to prioritize its missile force development. Iran has conducted multiple ballistic missile launches since that time." - Special Rep. Brian Hook @HudsonInstitute pic.twitter.com/Cw6YtJolN4— Department of State (@StateDept) September 19, 2018
See more highlights from Special Representative Hook's speech in this blog.
State Department Releases Country Reports on Terrorism
On September 19, the State Department released its annual Country Reports on Terrorism, which describes the global counterterrorism landscape in 2017 and fulfills a congressional mandate. Coordinator for Counterterrorism Nathan Sales discussed highlights and trends in the report in a special briefing with journalists.
United States Furthers Sanctions Against Russia
On September 20, Spokesperson Nauert released a statement regarding President Trump’s new Executive Order, “Authorizing the Implementation of Certain Sanctions Set Forth in the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act”, which furthers the implementation of certain sanctions in Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) with respect to the Russian Federation.
In addition, the Secretary of State took two actions to implement his delegated authorities pursuant to section 231 of CAATSA and to further impose costs on the Russian Government for its malign activities.
U.S. Welcomes Turkish Court Decision Regarding Dr. Serkan Golge
The United States welcomed the Turkish Court of Appeals’ decision to reduce the sentence against Dr. Serkan Golge, in a September 20 statement by Spokesperson Nauert.
“That said, we continue to believe that the case against Dr. Golge lacks credible evidence and that he should be freed immediately to be reunited with his family. We will continue to follow Dr. Golge’s case closely, along with other unjust prosecutions against U.S. citizens and our own locally employed staff at Mission Turkey.”
- Spokesperson Nauert
United States Previews 73rd Session of UN General Assembly
On September 20, Spokesperson Nauert previewed Secretary Pompeo’s participation in the 73rd United Nations General Assembly High Level week, beginning on September 23.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley also outlined the United States’ priorities for the UN General Assembly.
United States Releases 2018 National Cyber Strategy
The United States released its 2018 National Cyber Strategy on September 21, outlining the steps the federal government is taking to advance an open, secure, interoperable, and reliable cyberspace. The State Department also outlined its engagement in key diplomatic and programmatic initiatives to support many key objectives reflected in the Strategy.
Secretary Pompeo Speaks to Values Voter Summit
Secretary Pompeo spoke to the 2018 Values Voter Summit on September 21, in Washington. In his remarks, Secretary Pompeo highlighted the ways in which the State Department is working to preserve freedoms, advance American interests, and protect human rights around the globe.
The Secretary focused specifically on the State Department’s efforts to ensure human dignity by defending religious freedom.
At the very heart of @StateDept's mission is the preservation of human dignity by advancing one of our most cherished & indispensable American liberties—religious freedom. Religious freedom is a fundamental human right that flows from the inherent dignity of each person. #VVS18 pic.twitter.com/0HrZlBGuui— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 22, 2018
We'll ensure those with a fire of faith in their hearts can exercise their God-given right to express it. From Iranian Christians & Uighur Muslims to detainees in North Korea & Turkey, we won't rest until believers are free to live their faith without fear of persecution. #VVS18 pic.twitter.com/fTCsbrNAk0— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 22, 2018
Editor’s Note: This entry is also published in the U.S. Department of State’s publication on Medium.