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 Comments On the Release of an American Citizen from North Korea
On November 16, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo released a statement expressing appreciation for the cooperation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the embassy of Sweden in facilitating the release of an American citizen.
State Department Comments On the Detention of Civil Society Leaders in Turkey
On November 16, Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert commented on Turkey’s detention of academics, journalists, and civil society activists with ties to the Anatolia Culture Association. “We urge Turkey to respect and ensure freedom of expression, association, and assembly, fair trial guarantees, judicial independence, and other human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to release those held arbitrarily.,” the Spokesperson said.
Deputy Secretary Sullivan Concludes Asia Trip with Vice President Pence
On November 18, Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan concluded his trip to Asia. The Deputy Secretary accompanied Vice President Michael R. Pence as he led U.S. delegation attending the APEC and East Asia Summits and other bilateral meetings.
Deputy Secretary Sullivan had a great trip as part of @VP's delegation to #Japan, #Singapore, #Australia, & #PNG. We're advancing a free & open rules-based order in the #IndoPacific by reaffirming our commitments, expanding our joint economic interests & promoting shared values. pic.twitter.com/IBG8KLZjQQ— Department of State (@StateDept) November 18, 2018
.@POTUS sent me to APEC to share our progress toward his vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, “where sovereign and independent nations, with diverse cultures and many different dreams, can all prosper side-by-side, and thrive in freedom and peace.” #APEC pic.twitter.com/bcWb2XN1Wq— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) November 18, 2018
For more information on the United States’ efforts to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific region, check out this fact sheet.
Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Launches Twitter Account
On November 18, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad launched Twitter account to share information about his work leading the United States Government’s efforts to facilitate dialogue and negotiations that will bring peace to Afghanistan.
Welcome to my official @Twitter handle as the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation. Follow me here as we work towards facilitating an intra-Afghan dialogue that leads to a sustainable peace where all Afghans have a say in their country’s future. pic.twitter.com/6Waitp3oio— U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad (@US4AfghanPeace) November 17, 2018
Meetings with Global Leaders
On November 18, Secretary Pompeo met with Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom.
On November 19, Secretary Pompeo met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoğlu.
United States and Italy Hold Strategic Dialogue
On November 19 and 20, the United States and Italy held the inaugural U.S.-Italy Strategic Dialogue in Washington, DC. The dialogue addressed specific areas of partnership, with a goal of strengthened the ongoing commitment to the bilateral relationship.
Non c’è nulla su questa terra che debba essere più apprezzato della vera amicizia. The U.S. and #Italy are building upon a storied friendship by collaboratively addressing global challenges. Read our joint statement here: https://t.co/ktaKTmAD3h #usaanditaly #italiaeusa pic.twitter.com/GEkhJ6SvZF— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) November 20, 2018
On October 20, the United States sanctioned an international network by which the Iranian regime and Russia are providing millions of barrels of oil to the Assad regime in exchange for the movement of hundreds of millions of dollars to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force, and for onward transfer to terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hizballah.
Treasury targets illicit Iran-Russia-Syria network used to sell oil and bolster the Assad regime while generating terror funds for Hizballah and HAMAS https://t.co/maEbLM5O2K pic.twitter.com/o7gpyOg8AK— Treasury Department (@USTreasury) November 20, 2018
Today’s @USTreasury action targeting the Russia-Iran oil scheme to prop up Assad, and finance Hizballah & Hamas, sends a clear message: there are grave consequences for anyone shipping oil to Syria, or trying to evade U.S. sanctions on the Islamic Republic’s terrorist activities.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 20, 2018
Secretary Pompeo Gives Remarks to the Media
On November 20, Secretary Pompeo gave remarks to the media on a number of topics, including the Iran-Russia-Syria oil sanctions, the elections at INTERPOL, travels by Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun’s meetings with Republic of Korea officials, and the Secretary’s meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoğlu.
.@SecPompeo delivered remarks on Iran-Russia-Syria oil sanctions, @INTERPOL_HQ elections, travels by @US4AfghanPeace, Special Rep Biegun's meetings with ROK, and the Secretary's meeting with Turkey FM. pic.twitter.com/cL59EiboQJ— Department of State (@StateDept) November 20, 2018
United States Condemns Kabul Bombing
In a November 20 statement by Spokesperson Nauert, the United States condemned the attack in Kabul at a religious gathering that killed at least 40 and wounded over 60 civilians. Special Representative Khalilzad also commented on the attack.
We mourn the loss of life from todays heinous attack on innocent worshipers in #Kabul.We’re determined to work w all Afghans to end the war&remain committed to partnering w #Afghanistan to eliminate terrorists who kill civilians,oppose peace & have no role in Afghanistan's future— U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad (@US4AfghanPeace) November 20, 2018
State Department Marks Transgender Day of Remembrance
The State Department marked Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20.
On Transgender Day of Remembrance, @StateDept honors the memory of #transgender individuals who have lost their lives to bias-motivated violence. As @SecPompeo has said, #LGBTI persons deserve the same respect, freedoms, and protections as everyone. #humanrights #TDOR #TDOR2018 pic.twitter.com/7xZLJwlTUk— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) November 20, 2018
On Transgender Day of Remembrance, INL = committed 2 fight #hatecrime worldwide. Our Intl #LawEnforcement Academies train foreign police & prosecutors on stopping bias-motivated crime against #LGBTI indivs. Learn more: https://t.co/9Ruwat7ZuH. #TDOR #transawarenessweek @StateDRL pic.twitter.com/T6m6vxZPbI— US Dept of State INL (@StateINL) November 20, 2018
U.S. Calls for Credible Elections in Democratic Republic of the Congo
On November 21, the United States called for credible elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “As the election campaigns begin on November 23, we encourage all actors to remain engaged in the process, conduct their activities in a peaceful manner, and commit to respecting human rights, fundamental freedoms, and democratic values. The world is watching as the Congolese people exercise their right to vote and determine their country’s future,” Spokesperson Nauert said.
Secretary Pompeo Gives Interviews
State Department Celebrates Thanksgiving
Secretary Pompeo shared a Thanksgiving message on November 21.
I’m blessed to be leading the finest diplomatic corps in the world. The @StateDept team puts its heart and soul into the service of our nation. Susan and I appreciate these patriots’ and their families’ commitment to the mission, and wish all Americans a Happy #Thanksgiving. pic.twitter.com/WM359vMcDg— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 21, 2018
State Department officials posted in Washington, DC, and around the world also shared about relationships, partnerships, and progress they were thankful for in celebration of the holiday.
Secretary Pompeo Comments on Migrant Caravan
On November 22, Secretary Pompeo released a statement on efforts to protecting the United States' Southern border and to work with Mexico to address caravans and the safety of those transiting Mexico.
"I have been in close contact with Mexican Foreign Secretary Videgaray and it has been one week since Secretary Nielsen and I had a constructive meeting with Mexican Foreign Secretary-designate Marcelo Ebrard to discuss the migrant caravans. We have affirmed our shared commitment to addressing the current challenge. The caravans will not be permitted to enter the United States. There are real dangers to the safety and human rights of migrants from those who would prey on them."
State Department Comments on the Situation in Yemen
In a statement on November 22, Spokesperson Nauert reiterated the United States' call for all parties to support UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths by immediately ceasing hostilities and engaging in direct talks aimed at ending the conflict.
"It is time to end this conflict, replace conflict with compromise, and allow the Yemeni people to heal through peace and reconstruction."
Marking the 85th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Holodomor
This month, we join Ukrainians around the world in marking the 85th anniversary of the Holodomor, when millions of innocent Ukrainians were deliberately starved to death by the regime of Josef Stalin.
This month we join Ukrainians in marking the 85th anniversary of the Holodomor. As we remember the Holodomor’s millions of innocent victims, we reaffirm our support for #Ukraine’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity, Ukrainian people’s right to chart their own course. pic.twitter.com/TXpjO8egjb— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) November 23, 2018
Editor’s Note: This entry is also published in the U.S. Department of State’s publication on Medium.