This Week at State: October 26, 2018

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This Week at State: October 26, 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:

United States Welcomes Macedonia Decision on Prespa Agreement

In an October 20 statement by Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert, the United States welcomed the decision by Macedonia’s Parliament to initiate the constitutional changes needed to implement the Prespa Agreement with Greece, calling it “a historic opportunity to advance stability, security, and prosperity throughout the region.”

Secretary Pompeo Comments on the Migrant Caravan

On October 21, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo released a statement on the migrant caravan, saying that the United States is “closely following the migrant caravan” and emphasizing that “the United States will not allow illegal immigrants to enter or remain in the United States.”

On October 23, the Secretary addressed the migrant caravan in his remarks to the media.

State Department Comments on Recent Elections in Bhutan, Cameroon and Afghanistan

On October 21, Spokesperson Nauert released a statement congratulating the people of Bhutan on the conclusion of successful national elections.

In an October 22 statement, Spokesperson Nauert congratulated the people of Cameroon for largely peaceful elections on October 7.

In remarks to the media on October 23, Secretary Pompeo addressed Afghanistan's recent parliamentary elections.

Senior Department Officials Meet with Global Leaders

On October 22, Secretary Pompeo spoke with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

On October 23, Secretary Pompeo met with UN Secretary-General Guterres at the State Department. The Secretary also spoke by phone with Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Mexican Foreign Secretary Videgaray.

On October 23, Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan met with UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen Martin Griffiths.

On October 25, Secretary Pompeo spoke with new Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi and new Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali al-Hakim. The Secretary also spoke with Philippines’ Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Teodoro Locsin Jr.

Marking 35th Anniversary of Terrorist Attack Against Beirut Marine Barracks

On October 23, the United States Embassy in Lebanon marked the 35th anniversary of the attack by an Iranian-trained Hizballah terrorist against the U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut, which killed 241 U.S. service members.

Secretary Pompeo also commented on the anniversary of the attack.

On October 25, President Donald J. Trump gave remarks to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the attack.

Secretary Pompeo Welcomes Pastor Brunson to the State Department

On October 23, Secretary Pompeo welcomed Pastor Brunson to the Department of State.

Secretary Pompeo Names New Foreign Service Institute Director

On October 23, Secretary Pompeo announced that Ambassador Dan Smith would assume the role of Director of the Foreign Service Institute.

On October 26, Deputy Secretary Sullivan swore-in Ambassador Smith as Director in a ceremony at the Foreign Service Institute.

Learn more about Ambassador Dan Smith and the Foreign Service Institute in this blog.

Secretary Pompeo Give Remarks to the Press

Secretary Pompeo spoke to the press on October 23. In his remarks, the Secretary addressed the recent Afghan Parliamentary elections, the migrant caravan, the U.S. response to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the recent “temper tantrum” of Cuban diplomats at a UN-sponsored gathering at the UN, and the appointment of Ambassador Dan Smith as the new Director of the Foreign Service Institute. 

Countdown to Iran Sanctions Deadline

On October 24, the Department of State began a 12-day countdown to the November 4th Iran sanctions deadline.

United States Welcomes Belgium Decision to Purchase F-35 Fighter Aircraft

In an October 25 statement, Spokesperson Nauert welcomed the Government of Belgium’s decision to purchase thirty-four new F-35 fighter aircraft. “The United States is proud of our enduring air partnership with Belgium,” Spokesperson Nauert said. “We look forward to continuing this partnership for many decades to come with the F-35 program.”

Secretary Pompeo Marks 20th Anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act

Secretary Pompeo commemorated the 20th anniversary of the signing of the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRF Act) into law on October 26. The Secretary noted, “The protection of religious freedom is central to the Trump administration’s foreign policy, and protecting this human right is an essential part of who we are as Americans.”

“Today, we reaffirm the inherent worth and dignity found in every person, who are endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Though the challenges to religious freedom are daunting, they are not insurmountable, and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that all may enjoy this universal freedom.”

- Secretary Pompeo

United States Welcomes UN Designation for Violation of North Korea Sanctions

In an October 26 statement by Spokesperson Nauert, the United States welcomed UN designations of vessels SHANG YUAN BAO, NEW REGENT, and KUM UN SAN 3 for engaging in UN-prohibited ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum to North Korean ships.

"UN Member States are required to prohibit persons or entities subject to their jurisdiction from engaging in ship-to-ship transfers. The United States will impose sanctions on any individual, entity, or vessel supporting North Korea’s illicit activities."

- Spokesperson Nauert

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.