This Week at State: November 23, 2018

8 minutes read time

This Week at State: November 23, 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:

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

State Department Marks Transgender Day of Remembrance

The State Department marked Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20.

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

On November 21, Secretary Pompeo gave interviews to Pete Mundo of the Pete Mundo Morning Show, Andy Hooser of The Voice of Reason, KQAM, and George Lawson of KFDI News.

State Department Celebrates Thanksgiving

Secretary Pompeo shared a Thanksgiving message on November 21.

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."

-Secretary Pompeo

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."

-Spokesperson Nauert

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.

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.