This Week at State: December 21, 2018

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This Week at State: December 21, 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:

U.S. Supports EU’s Resolve in Holding Russia Accountable

On December 15, Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino issued a statement in support of the EU’s recent steps to hold Russia accountable for its aggression against Ukraine.  

U.S. Comments on the Run-Up to the 2019 Bolivian Presidential Elections

On December 15, Deputy Spokesperson Palladino issued a statement asserting that threats against judges from the Supreme Electoral Tribunal are not conducive to creating the conditions required to hold free and fair elections in Bolivia in 2019.

Deputy Secretary Sullivan Concludes Travels with Visits to Macedonia and Poland

Deputy Secretary John J. Sullivan concluded his trip with visits to Skopje and Warsaw December 18 and 19.

On December 18, in Skopje, Macedonia, the Deputy Secretary discussed regional issues and encouraged senior officials to continue reforms as the country works to implement the 2018 Prespa Agreement.

On December 19 in Warsaw, Poland, where he reaffirmed the United States’ ironclad commitment to the NATO Alliance and commended Poland’s leaders for the country’s commitment to defense burden sharing.

U.S. and Netherlands Begin Accepting Applications for the 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Summit

The United States and the Netherlands, co-hosts of the ninth Global Entrepreneurship Summit which will convene June 4-5 in the Hague, announced the opening of the application period for the Summit.

On December 17, Deputy Spokesperson Palladino issued a statement congratulating Metropolitan Epifaniy on his election as the head of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.  

The United States maintains unwavering support for Ukraine and respects the freedom to worship unhindered by outside interference. The right to religious freedom extends to all Ukrainians, including those choosing to join – or not to join – the new Orthodox Church.”

-Deputy Spokesperson Palladino

Meetings with Global Leaders

On December 15, Deputy Secretary Sullivan met with Bulgaria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zakharieva.

On December 17, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo met with New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters.

On December 18, Secretary Pompeo met with Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali of Nepal and spoke by phone with the newly elected Metropolitan Epifaniy.

On December 19, Secretary Pompeo welcomed Oman’s Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah to the State Department. On December 20, Secretary Pompeo met with Filipino Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr., at the Department of State.

On December 21, Secretary Pompeo spoke by phone with Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati Iraqi President Barham Salih, and Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi.

Secretary Pompeo Hosts Holiday Receptions for Unaccompanied Families and Washington Diplomatic Corps

On December 17, Secretary Pompeo hosted a holiday reception for the families of State Department employees who serve at posts around the world where their families are unable to accompany them.

The Secretary also hosted an evening reception on December 17 for members of Washington’s Diplomatic corps.

State Department Releases 17th Edition of To Walk the Earth in Safety Landmine Clearance Report

On December 18, the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs released 17th edition of To Walk the Earth in Safety, the Department annual report summarizing the accomplishments of the U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction Program, highlights our enduring commitment to making post-conflict communities safer and setting the stage for their recovery and development.

Secretaries Pompeo and Nielson Address Chinese Actors Compromise Global Managed Service Providers

On December 20, Secretary Pompeo and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielson released a joint statement addressing Chinese cyber actors associated with the Chinese Ministry of State Security who have hacked multiple U.S. and global managed service and cloud providers since 2014.

Secretary Pompeo Welcomes Bulgaria's Defense Modernization

In a statement on December 19, Secretary Pompeo welcomed Bulgaria’s defense modernization plans and noted that the United States looks forward to the country’s imminent selection of a new multirole fighter aircraft.

U.S., Mexico Announce Commitment to Promote a Safer and More Prosperous Central America and Southern Mexico

On October 19, the State Department released the U.S. strategy for Central America and Southern Mexico.

Secretary Pompeo Gives Interviews on Global Issues

On December 20, Secretary Pompeo discussed Syria and hemispheric security and migration issues  in an interview with Laura Ingraham of The Laura Ingraham Show and North Korea and Iran with Steve and Ted in the Morning of KNSS Radio. The Secretary discussed Syria and the USMCA Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico in an interview with Bryce Dolan of 550 KFRM-AM as well as China, Syria, and North Korea with Brian Grimmett of KMUW Wichita Public Radio. On December 21, Secretary Pompeo discussed Syria, North Korea, and security issues with Steve Inskeep of NPR.

Secretary Pompeo Discusses New United States Action To Confront Illegal Immigration

In a statement on December 20, Secretary Pompeo discussed historic new action the United States is taking to confront the illegal immigration crisis facing the United States.

State Department Comments on Expert Report From the Moscow Mechanism for Human Rights Abuses in Chechnya

On December 20, Deputy Spokesperson Palladino released a statement welcoming the expert fact-finding report on human rights violations and abuses in the Russian Federation’s Republic of Chechnya and impunity for them

State Department Comments on Upcoming Election in Bangladesh

On December 21, Spokesperson Palladino released a statement on the upcoming election in Bandladesh.

State Department Comments on Canada's Legitimate Arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou
In a statement on December 21, Spokesperson Palladino said, "Canada, a country governed by the rule of law, is conducting a fair, unbiased, and transparent legal proceeding with respect to Ms. Meng Wanzhou, the Chief Financial Officer of Huawei. Canada respects its international legal commitments by honoring its extradition treaty with the United States," regarding Canada's Legitimate Arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.

The United States, Norway, and United Kingdom Release Joint Statement on Harassment of East African Monitoring Group Near Juba

On December 21, the United States, Norway, and the United Kingdom released a joint statement condemning the harassment and abuse of monitors from the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mission (CTSAMVM) on December 18.

"We are particularly concerned at reports that the attack on the monitors was carried out by the South Sudanese National Security Service. It is imperative that the Government of South Sudan investigate and hold accountable those found responsible. Any action that compromises the safety, integrity, and free movement of the CTSAMVM mission is unacceptable and a breach of the September 12th Peace Agreement, to which the Government of South Sudan is a party." 

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Editor’s Note: This entry is also published in the U.S. Department of State’s publication on Medium.