This Week at State: February 22, 2019

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This Week at State: February 22, 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 the key moments from This Week at State:

U.S. Reiterates Calls That Humanitarian Aid Be Allowed to Enter Venezuela

On February 18, President Donald J. Trump delivered remarks to the Venezuelan American community in Miami reiterating the need for countries to recognize Juan Guaido as interim president and urging Venezuelan security forces to allow humanitarian assistance to enter the country. On February 17, Secretary Pompeo echoed Interim President Juan Guaidó's request to help meet the urgent needs of the people of Venezuela.

The President and Secretary’s comments came the during of a visit by USAID Administrator Green and other USAID officials to the Republic of Colombia, February 15 to February 18, to visit the border with Venezuela as the United States airlifted and pre-positioned additional humanitarian commodities to provide relief to tens of thousands of Venezuelans who are suffering from severe shortages of food and medicine caused by the mismanagement of the illegitimate Maduro regime.

Read more about the President’s comments and the USAID Administrator’s trip in this blog.

U.S. Reiterates Support for Freedom of Movement for Internally Displaced Persons in Rukban

On February 18, Deputy Spokesperson Palladino released statement applauding the recent successful delivery of assistance to more than 40,000 displaced people at the Rukban informal camp in south-eastern Syria. The Deputy Spokesperson reiterated “The United States has long advocated and will continue to advocate for freedom of movement for internally displaced persons (IDPs). It has not impeded and will not impede the movement of any IDPs who wish to depart from the Rukban encampment. Nor will it force anyone to leave. The United States fully supports a process that is free from coercion and allows for safe, voluntary, and dignified departures for those wishing to leave Rukban.”

Meetings with Global Leaders

On February 19, Deputy Secretary Sullivan spoke by phone with Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev and congratulated him on implementation of the historic Prespa Agreement. The Secretary also spoke with Greek Foreign Minister George Katrougalos to congratulate him on his appointment as Foreign Minister and to commend the Greek Parliament’s ratification of the Prespa Agreement and the NATO Accession Protocol for the Republic of North Macedonia.

On February 20, Secretary Pompeo met with Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid to discuss our common interest in deepening bilateral ties between the United States and Maldives and our shared commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

On February 22, Secretary Pompeo spoke by phone with Japanese Foreign Minister Kono. He also met with Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček and Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders at the State Department.

Secretary Pompeo Releases Statement on Hoda Muthana
On February 20, Secretary Pompeo released a statement on Hoda Muthana. “Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States. She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States. We continue to strongly advise all U.S. citizens not to travel to Syria.”

Secretary Pompeo Meets with UN Secretary-General, Speaks with Journalists in New York

On New York on February 21, Secretary Pompeo traveled to New York where he met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The Secretary also discussed a range of global issues including China, cyber issues, his recent trip to Europe and the Warsaw Summit, Syria, and Afghanistan with Maria Bartiromo of Mornings With Maria on Fox Business Network. He also discussed a several issues in an interview with Craig Melvin of NBC Today Show including North Korea, Hoda Muthana, Venezuela.

Troika Releases Joint Statement on Escalating Conflict in South Sudan

On February 20, The members of the Troika -- Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States-- released a joint statement on the escalating conflict in South Sudan.

“This renewed violence risks undermining the peace agreement and lowers confidence of the Troika and other international partners in the parties’ seriousness and commitment to peace at a critical time of the pre-transitional period of the revitalized peace agreement.” - Joint Statement

State Department Announces 2019 P3 Impact Award Applications Are Now Open
On February 21, the U.S. Department of State Office of Global Partnerships (S/GP), along with Concordia and the University of Virginia Darden School of Business Institute for Business in Society,  opened the application process for the sixth annual P3 Impact Award, which honors exemplary public-private partnerships (P3s) from around the world.

The P3 Impact Award was created by the three partners in 2014 to recognize and honor best practices of public-private partnerships that are improving communities in the most impactful ways. Applications are being accepted through April 19, 2019, and will be reviewed by an independent panel of judges. Full criteria and application instructions can be found at

U.S. Welcomes Micronesia’s Endorsement of the Proliferation Security Initiative

On February 22, Deputy Spokesperson Palladino released a statement on the decision by the Federated States of Micronesia to endorse the Proliferation Security Initiative nothing that the U.S. “looks forward to working with the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia as part of our broader cooperation to advance the nonproliferation goals of the PSI and its Statement of Interdiction Principles.”

U.S. Delegation Visits Colombia, Prepositions Additional Humanitarian Relief for Venezuela

Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams led a U.S. delegation to Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida and Cucuta, Colombia February 21-22 to support the delivery of humanitarian aid to some of the most vulnerable people in Venezuela in response to Interim President Guaido’s request. While in Colombia Special Representative Abrams met with Colombian President Duque and visiting delegations from Central and South America.

From February 4 to February 22, 2019, the United States pre-positioned approximately 191 metric tons of critical relief supplies-procured both locally and internationally-to help the people of Venezuela. This aid is part of the $20 million of initial humanitarian assistance to the people inside of Venezuela as announced by Secretary Pompeo on January 24.

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.