This Week at State: February 8, 2019

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This Week at State: February 8, 2019

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 key moments from This Week at State:

United States Announces Intent to Withdraw from the INF Treaty

On December 4, 2018, the United States announced that the Russian Federation is in material breach of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty -- an assessment shared by NATO allies -- and gave Russia 60 days to return to full and verifiable compliance  Russia refused to take necessary steps to return to compliance, and, on February 2, the United States announced the suspension of its obligations under the Treaty.

Secretary Pompeo Addresses the Lima Group Foreign Ministers Meeting

In his remarks via teleconference to the Lima Group foreign ministers meeting on February 4, Secretary Pompeo affirmed U.S. support for Interim Venezuelan President Juan Guaido and for democratic transition in Venezuela through free and fair elections.

European Countries Recognize Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s Interim President

On February 4, the United States welcomed the decision by Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom to recognize Juan Guaido as the Interim President of Venezuela.

Secretary Pompeo Meets with Iranian Women’s Rights Activist

On February 4, Secretary Pompeo met with Iranian women’s rights activist, journalist, and author, Masih Alinejad.  In the meeting, Secretary Pompeo thanked Ms. Alinejad for her bravery and dedication to defending human rights in Iran.

United States Congratulates Nayib Bukele on Election as Next President of El Salvador

In a statement on February 4, Deputy Spokesperson Palladino congratulated Nayib Bukele on his election as the next president of the Republic of El Salvador, and saluted the Salvadoran people for their commitment to democracy and their participation in a successful election.

Celebrating the Lunar New Year

On February 4, Secretary Pompeo offered his best wishes to those celebrating the Lunar New Year.  Deputy Spokesperson Palladino also echoed the Secretary’s message, wishing those who celebrate a healthy, happy, and prosperous Year of the Pig.

Ambassador Carol Z. Perez Sworn in as Director General of the Foreign Service

On February 1, Ambassador Carol Z. Perez was sworn in by Deputy Secretary John J. Sullivan as Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources.  Secretary Pompeo stated, “I have no doubt that she will help us strengthen a diverse, talented, and agile 21st century diplomatic corps to the benefit of all Americans.”

Secretary Pompeo Offers Warm Wishes to Those Celebrating Himalayan New Year

On February 4, Secretary Pompeo offered warm wishes to the peoples of the Himalayan region and Tibetans throughout the world in celebrating Losar. 

As you, your families, and your communities gather this year to celebrate the New Year, know that the United States remains your steadfast partner and friend.” -- Secretary Pompeo

Contributions by the Syrian Democratic Forces on Behalf of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS

In a February 4 statement, Deputy Spokesperson Palladino expressed appreciation for the contributions the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have made on behalf of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, and commended the continued efforts of the SDF to return foreign terrorist fighters to their countries of origin.

Meetings with International Leaders

On February 4, Secretary Pompeo met with Panamanian Vice President and Foreign Minister de Saint Malo.

On February 5, Secretary Pompeo met with Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo, as well as Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo, and spoke by phone with Afghan President Ghani.

On February 5, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale met with Turkish Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sedat Onal.

On February 6, Secretary Pompeo met with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

On February 7, held bilateral meetings with Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Swiss Federal Councilor Ignazio Cassis, and Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir.

Secretary Pompeo Appoints Elan S. Carr as Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism

On February 5, Secretary Pompeo announced the appointment of Elan S. Carr as the United States Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.  Promoting human rights and religious freedom, including by combating anti-Semitism everywhere it exists is a U.S. foreign policy priority that furthers our national interests of stability and democracy.

Secretary Pompeo on President Trump’s State of the Union Address

In a press statement on February 5, secretary Pompeo emphasized that President Trump has strengthened America at home and abroad by putting the interests of the American people first and reasserting American leadership around the world.  From making historic progress with North Korea, to confronting the regime in Iran, to supporting the Venezuelan people against tyranny, President Trump’s diplomatic agenda has made America safer, more respected, and more prosperous.

State Department Launches 22.33 Podcast of Life-Changing Stories

On February 5, the State Department launched a new podcast, 22.33, that discusses the impact of State Department-sponsored international exchange programs on individuals and communities around the world.  Each episode will highlight personal stories from American and foreign exchange program alumni who left home to tackle shared global challenges with their counterparts overseas. 

U.S. Hosts Ministerial of the Global Coalition - Working to Defeat ISIS

At the Global Coalition Washington Ministerial on February 6, the State Department reaffirmed its commitment to the Coalition and its goals.  The 79-member Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS has worked diligently since 2014 to reduce the threat ISIS poses to international security and our homelands.

In his remarks at the Ministerial, Secretary Pompeo emphasized that the Coalition’s final objective is to promote justice for victims, and ensure that ISIS is held accountable for the atrocities it has committed.

The participating Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS released a statement at the conclusion of the Ministerial. In addition, Secretary Pompeo, along with the Foreign Ministers and representatives of Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom met to continue their work in support of the UN’s efforts to achieve a political solution to the conflict in Syria.

Secretary Pompeo Discusses Global Issues in Media Interviews

On February 6, Secretary Pompeo spoke with Trish Regan of Trish Regan Primetime on Fox Business Network, where he discussed the  humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, American efforts to provide aid, and Maduro’s actions to prevent it from reaching the suffering Venezuelan people.

Secretary Pompeo also spoke with Maria Bartiromo of Mornings with Maria on North Korea, Iran, Russia, and efforts to defeat ISIS.

U.S. Recognizes UN and Syrian Arab Red Crescent Efforts to Deliver Humanitarian Aid to Rukban

In a February 6 statement, Deputy Spokesperson Palladino welcomed the news that the UN and Syrian Arab Red Crescent are making a second humanitarian aid delivery from Damascus to the Rukban encampment, providing critical food aid, medical care, warm clothes, and shelter materials.  

Observance of International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting

Gender-based violence against women and girls impedes equality and undermines peace, prosperity, and security for millions of women and girls around the world.  In a February 6 statement, Deputy Spokesperson Palladino asserted that the United States stands with women and girls throughout the world and renewed the call to end this abhorrent violence and create a safer, healthier, and more prosperous future for all women and girls.

Africa Working Group of the U.S.-Morocco Strategic Dialogue Convenes

On February 6, the United States and Morocco convened a working group of the U.S.-Morocco Strategic Dialogue in order to strengthen cooperation on our common interests in Africa.  Delegations from the United States and Morocco agreed to build on ongoing initiatives to address political, economic, and security issues facing the continent.

Upcoming Nigerian Elections

On February 7, Secretary Pompeo issued a statement on the upcoming elections in Nigeria. The Secretary said, “The United States government supports a free, fair, transparent, and peaceful election that reflects the will of the Nigerian people. It is critical that the Independent National Electoral Commission operates free from outside pressure and intimidation and in a totally objective manner. Nigerian security services must provide a safe and secure environment for the Nigerian people to exercise their rights. Those who interfere in the electoral process or incite violence must be held to account. The upcoming elections are an opportunity for Nigeria to solidify its place as a democratic leader in Africa.”

Secretary Pompeo Introduces New Coordinator for Global Engagement Center

Secretary Pompeo announced that Lea Gabrielle will serve as the Department’s new special envoy and coordinator of the Global Engagement Center (GEC). GEC is charged with leading the U.S. government’s efforts to counter propaganda and disinformation from international terrorist organizations and foreign countries.

United States Supports the Venezuelan People With Humanitarian Assistance

The United States is mobilizing life-saving humanitarian aid for the people of Venezuela, as well as supporting our Hemispheric partners in addressing the needs of Venezuelans who have fled to the region. Read more in this fact sheet. On February 7, U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams briefed the press on the situation.

Launch of Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative

On February 7, President Donald J. Trump launched the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative by signing a National Security Presidential Memorandum. This initiative will ensure women around the world are empowered and have the resources needed to meaningfully participate in, contribute to, and benefit from economic opportunities.

Secretary Pompeo’s Travel to Europe

Deputy Spokesperson Palladino announced that Secretary Pompeo will travel to Budapest, Bratislava, Warsaw, Brussels, and Reykjavik February 11–15. Read more about the Secretary’s travel here, and follow @SecPompeo on Twitter for the latest updates from the trip.

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.