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 Celebrates International Religious Freedom Day
On October 27, the State Department celebrated International Religious Freedom Day, marking the 20th anniversary of the signing of the International Religious Freedom Act.
Today, we celebrate 20 years since the creation of our International #ReligiousFreedom office. Where this human right flourishes, there's greater stability and more economic opportunity. Thanks to @IRF_Ambassador Brownback for carrying the torch on this foreign policy priority.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) October 27, 2018
Statement on Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting
Secretary Pompeo released a statement regarding the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27.
The murder of innocent people attending Sabbath services at the #TreeOfLifeSynagogue was an act of anti-Semitism and pure evil. We offer condolences to the victims’ families and gratitude to the brave first responders. May God comfort the Jewish community at this time of sorrow.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) October 28, 2018
Countdown to Iran Sanctions Deadline
The Department of State continued its countdown to the November 4th Iran sanctions deadline by highlighting 12 requirements Secretary Pompeo outlined for the Iranian regime to act like a normal state. This week, the Department highlighted #9, #8, #7, #6, #5, #4, and #3.
There are only 3 days left before the #Iran sanctions deadline, so here’s the 3rd requirement for the Iranian regime to behave like a normal state: it must end support for the Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan and the region, and cease harboring senior al-Qaida leaders. pic.twitter.com/9R2rvjDSil— Department of State (@StateDept) November 2, 2018
Concern Regarding Developments in Sri Lanka
In an October 28 statement, Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert stated that the United States “continues to follow developments in Sri Lanka with concern.” Spokesperson Nauert added, “We call on the President, in consultation with the Speaker, to immediately reconvene parliament and allow the democratically elected representatives of the Sri Lankan people to fulfill their responsibility to affirm who will lead their government.”
United States Congratulates Brazilian President-Elect
The United States congratulated Jair Bolsonaro on his election as the next president of Brazil, in a statement from Spokesperson Nauert.
“We salute Brazil’s strong commitment to democracy and congratulate the Brazilian people on participating in a successful election … We value our deep cooperation with Brazil and look forward to working with President-elect Bolsonaro in the coming years.”
- Spokesperson Nauert
On October 29, Secretary Pompeo spoke with Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, congratulating him and affirming the U.S.-Brazil relationship.
Condolences on Crash of Indonesia Lion Air Flight
“The United States extends its deepest condolences to those who lost family and loved ones in the October 29 plane crash in Indonesia,” Spokesperson Nauert said in an October 29 statement. “Preparations are underway to assist the Indonesian government in its investigation of this tragic accident.”
Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Marks 40th Anniversary
The State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) marked its 40th anniversary.
For 40 years, @StateINL has kept Americans safe by combating int'l crime, including drug trafficking, transnational gang activity, and corruption. We will continue the fight to keep Americans safe, meeting new drug and crime threats as they emerge. Happy anniversary, @StateINL! https://t.co/k6PT4UsAxK— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) October 30, 2018
Secretary Pompeo Emphasizes Importance of Ending the Yemen Conflict
Secretary Pompeo released a statement on October 30 calling on all parties to support UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen.
“It is time to end this conflict, replace conflict with compromise, and allow the Yemeni people to heal through peace and reconstruction.”
- Secretary Pompeo
Secretary Pompeo Discusses Global Issues in Media Interviews
On October 31 and November 1, Secretary Pompeo gave a number of interviews to discuss global issues including the pressure campaign against Iran, U.S. engagement on North Korea, and China. The interviews were with Brian Kilmeade of The Brian Kilmeade Show, Laura Ingraham of The Laura Ingraham Show, Tony Katz of Tony Katz Today, Mark Reardon of the Mark Reardon Show, and Lars Larson of the Lars Larson Show.
“The risk to the world from Iran increased during the JCPOA, and this administration is determined not to repeat that. We’re going to be diligent. These sanctions are not aimed at the Iranian people. Indeed, it is the Iranian people who we are supporting, and we hope that it will be the Iranian people that will demand that their government simply do the things that we’ve asked, to behave like a normal country.”
- Secretary Pompeo
United States Supports OSCE Mission to Investigate Human Rights Abuses in Chechnya
On November 1, the United States joined 15 other member states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to invoke the Moscow Mechanism, a rare diplomatic action triggering a formal international fact-finding mission to look into reports of impunity for human rights violations and abuses in the Russian Federation’s Republic of Chechnya.
BREAKING NEWS: 16 @OSCE countries, incl. U.S., have just invoked the "Moscow Mechanism" to address reports of serious #HumanRights abuses in #Russia’s #Chechnya region.— U.S. Mission to OSCE (@usosce) November 1, 2018
We call on Russia to cooperate fully with the Moscow Mechanism mission.
READ >>> https://t.co/PjJ6qc2nCI pic.twitter.com/vv9prciTDu
The U.S. firmly supports the @OSCE mission to investigate disturbing reports of #humanrights abuses in #Chechnya targeting members of the #LGBTI community, NGOs, and others. We will continue to work w/ our European partners to expose #Russia’s human rights violations and abuses. https://t.co/nQLIk03zGK— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) November 2, 2018
United States Addresses Human Rights in Cuba
In her remarks to the United Nations General Assembly on November 1, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley addressed the long history of human rights abuses in Cuba.
It's unthinkable that for 27 yrs UN members have blamed the US for denying human rights and freedoms to the Cuban people. Instead, countries should be focused on the real cause of the Cuban people's suffering—the dictatorship that has oppressed its people for decades. pic.twitter.com/RegnELCztQ— US Mission to the UN (@USUN) November 1, 2018
Secretary Pompeo Speaks to Media About Iran Sanctions
Secretary Pompeo, joined by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, conducted a briefing on November 2 to discuss the upcoming snap-back of sanctions against Iran.
.@SecPompeo: [This part of the campaign] is aimed at depriving the regime of the revenues that it uses to spread death and destruction around the world. Our ultimate aim is to compel #Iran to permanently abandon its well-documented outlaw activities & behave as a normal country.— Department of State (@StateDept) November 2, 2018
Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook also gave a special briefing on November 2.
State Department Marks International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists
On November 2, Spokesperson Nauert released a statement marking the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. The Spokesperson said, "Commemorating this day is particularly important this year, as we continue to seek all facts in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. We have taken initial action against those individuals believed to be responsible, and as Secretary Pompeo said last week, we will continue to explore additional measures against any individual determined to be responsible."
Welcoming International Statement on Agricultural Applications of Precision Biotechnology
Spokesperson Nauert welcomed the International Statement on Agricultural Applications of Precision Biotechnology in a November 2 statement.
Election of Doreen Bogdan-Martin to the International Telecommunication Union
Spokesperson Nauert commented on the election of Doreen Bogdan-Martin to the ITU in a statement on November 2.
We were honored to support her candidacy for this position and believe she is the right person for the job. Ms. Bogdan-Martin is the first woman to be elected for any senior leadership position at the ITU in its 153-year history."
Editor’s Note: This entry is also published in the U.S. Department of State’s publication on Medium.