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 23, Secretary Pompeo delivered a statement, applauding the courage of hundreds of thousands of volunteers who have been helping to carry life-saving humanitarian aid to their fellow citizens. The Secretary called on Venezuelan security forces to do the right thing by allowing humanitarian assistance into the country, protecting civilians against Maduro’s armed gangs, and supporting the Venezuelan constitution and rule of law. The Secretary also saluted President Duque and Colombia for their leadership, and the Brazilian government for their commitment to democracy by staging critical lifesaving aid for the people of Venezuela.
A broad coalition of democracies insists that #Venezuela should be free & humanitarian aid should enter. We salute President @IvanDuque & Colombia for its leadership & recognize Brazil for its steadfast support by staging lifesaving aid for the Venezuelan people. #EstamosUnidosVE pic.twitter.com/h6Dv9mnGkC— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) February 24, 2019
On February 25, Vice President Pence announced that the United States is providing nearly $56 million in additional humanitarian assistance to support the regional response for the nearly 3.4 million Venezuelans who have fled Venezuela due to the political and economic crisis caused by Nicolas Maduro.
Just Announced by @VP: the U.S. will give nearly $56 mil in new #humanitarian aid to help people fleeing #Venezuela—providing shelter, livelihoods training & more. This funding complements food & medical #aid waiting at the borders to be delivered to brave Venezuelans. pic.twitter.com/up2YlsRqOL— Department of State (@StateDept) February 25, 2019
The United States also imposed sanctions on four governors aligned with the illegitimate Maduro regime who prevented desperately needed international humanitarian assistance from entering Venezuela and/or engaged in corruption to the detriment of the Venezuelan people.
U.S. Expresses Concerns Over Move to Indict Turkish Civil Society Leaders
On February 23, Deputy Spokesperson Palladino noted the United States’ concerns regarding reports that prosecutors in Turkey moved to indict 16 civil society, media, and business leaders. He urged Turkey to respect the freedom of expression and to release all those held arbitrarily.
U.S. is gravely concerned by reports that prosecutors in Turkey moved to indict 16 civil society, media, and business leaders. Exercising the right to freedom of expression should not result in an aggravated life sentence. We urge Turkey to release all those held arbitrarily. pic.twitter.com/mUWjIq8qwC— Robert Palladino (@StateDeputySPOX) February 23, 2019
U.S. Confirms the Rescue of U.S. Citizen Danny Burch from Captivity in Yemen
On February 25, Secretary Pompeo released a statement esxpressing gratitude to the United Arab Emirates, its people, and its leadership in facilitating the release of Danny Burch from Yemen, where he was taken hostage in 2017. He underscored that the safety and well-being of Americans remains one of the highest priorities of the Trump Administration.
The U.S. welcomes the recovery of U.S. Citizen Danny Burch held hostage in Yemen. Thanks to our partners in #UAE, @StateSPEHA, @USAinUAE, and the Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell for their efforts. The safety of Americans is a high priority of the @realDonaldTrump Administration.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) February 25, 2019
U.S. Announces Additional Humanitarian Assistance to the People of Yemen
On February 26, the United States announced nearly $24 million in additional emergency aid to the people of Yemen, who face the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. This funding brings the total humanitarian assistance provided by the U.S. Government for the Yemen response to nearly $721 million since October 2017.
Today, the United States announced nearly $24 million in additional emergency aid to the people of #Yemen, who face the world's largest humanitarian crisis. The U.S. is one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance to the Yemen response. https://t.co/3lPWsn9Crv— Department of State (@StateDept) February 26, 2019
Secretary Pompeo Travels to Hanoi, Vietnam, and Manila, Philippines
Secretary Pompeo traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam, February 24-28, where he participated in the President’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and bilateral meetings with Vietnamese leaders.
Made it to Vietnam for President @realDonaldTrump’s #HanoiSummit with the DPRK. Will be important opportunity to make progress on Singapore Summit commitments of transformed relations, building lasting peace, and complete denuclearization. pic.twitter.com/V5cJ3rWuH1— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) February 26, 2019
While in Hanoi, the Secretary delivered brief remarks and met with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, and thanked the Deputy Prime Minister for Vietnam’s partnership in hosting the President’s summit with DPRK Chairman Kim Jong-un.
Great exchange with @FMPhamBinhMinh. Vietnam is an increasingly close friend and partner of the United States -- we share a range of strategic interests and a common desire to promote peace, security, and a free and open Indo-Pacific. pic.twitter.com/96jDAq4HKZ— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) February 26, 2019
Terrific to meet with Secretary @teddyboylocsin to reaffirm the enduring U.S.-Philippines alliance. Strong partners in ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific region. #FriendsPartnersAllies pic.twitter.com/sqVWh5LTHV— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 1, 2019
U.S. Comments on Cuba’s So-Called Referendum
In a statement on February 26, Secretary Pompeo criticized the Cuban communist regime’s “national referendum” on revisions to its constitution as a process marked by carefully managed political theater and repression of public debate.
On February 24, the Cuban communist regime held what it called a “national referendum” on revisions to its constitution. No one should be fooled by this exercise, which achieves little beyond perpetuating the pretext for regime’s one-party dictatorship. https://t.co/dDdz6EW56B— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) February 26, 2019
U.S. Expresses Concern Regarding India-Pakistan Tensions
Following Indian counter-terrorism actions on February 26, Secretary Pompeo spoke with Indian Minister of External Affairs Swaraj to emphasize the United States’ close security partnership and shared goal of maintaining peace and security in the region. Secretary Pompeo also spoke to Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi to underscore the priority of de-escalating current tensions by avoiding military action, and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil.
.@SecPompeo spoke with @SushmaSwaraj and @SMQureshiPTI to emphasize the shared goal of maintaining peace and security in the region and to underscore the priority of de-escalating current tensions between India and Pakistan. Read his full statement: https://t.co/vEANoxGtGF— Robert Palladino (@StateDeputySPOX) February 27, 2019
U.S. Comments on Anniversary of Boris Nemtsov’s Assassination
In a statement on February 26, Deputy Spokesperson Palladino called on Russian authorities to identify publicly those who organized and ordered the assassination of former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov four years ago, and hold them accountable.
4 years ago, former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, a leading figure in #Russia’s democratic movement, was gunned down outside the Kremlin. The U.S. continues to call on Russian authorities to identify publicly and hold accountable those who organized and ordered the crime. pic.twitter.com/YOQRaYk3Ur— Robert Palladino (@StateDeputySPOX) February 26, 2019
U.S. Participates in the Barcelona Mobile World Congress
On February 26, Ambassador Robert Strayer, Senior Advisor Brian Bulatao, and other high ranking colleagues from across the U.S. Government participated in MWC Barcelona to discuss 5G, the next generation of mobile communication, which promises to transform both economy and society by connecting billions of devices to the Internet and enabling a broad array of new applications.
With the #5G revolution, the security of communications networks is all the more critical to the national security of the U.S. and our partners and allies. We must ensure the security of 5G equipment by limiting authoritarian regimes' access to, and control over, our networks.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) February 27, 2019
U.S. Commemorates World Wildlife Day
The State Department joined the international community in recognizing World Wildlife Day, commemorated annually on March 3 to raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. This year will mark the 6th anniversary of World Wildlife Day, and for the first time the State Department will highlight its collaboration with interagency partners, foreign governments, NGOs, and the private sector around the world to protect wildlife and ensure these species continue to thrive in the wild for generations to come.
U.S. Congratulates Moldova on Its Parliamentary Elections
On February 27, the United States congratulated the people of Moldova, the Central Electoral Commission, and the winners in the February 24 parliamentary elections.
The U.S. congratulates the people of #Moldova, the Central Electoral Commission, and the winners in the Feb 24 parliamentary elections. We urge Moldova’s leaders to move quickly to form a new government that respects the will of Moldovan voters and serves the Moldovan people. pic.twitter.com/OlMdyRozrb— Robert Palladino (@StateDeputySPOX) February 28, 2019
U.S. Reiterates Its Support for Ukraine’s Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity
On February 27, the fifth anniversary of the start of Russia’s occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, Secretary Pompeo reiterated the United States' position that Crimea is Ukraine and must be returned to Ukraine’s control.
.@SecPompeo: Five years ago, Russia's occupation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula fueled an escalation of Russian aggression that must not be tolerated. The U.S. reiterates its unwavering position: Crimea is Ukraine and must be returned to Ukraine’s control. https://t.co/qaRkcUYwC5— Robert Palladino (@StateDeputySPOX) February 27, 2019
Deputy Secretary Sullivan and USAID Administrator Green Meet With Humanitarian Organizations on Yemen
On February 28, Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan and USAID Administrator Mark Green met with representatives from international and non-governmental organizations on the situation in Yemen. The participants discussed progress on the political front since their last meeting.
Today, DepSec Sullivan and @USAIDMarkGreen met with representatives from international and non-governmental organizations on the humanitarian crisis in #Yemen. All reiterated the need for parties to implement agreements made in Sweden. https://t.co/QCxmkTTiBU pic.twitter.com/dZJcc3aQRy— Robert Palladino (@StateDeputySPOX) March 1, 2019
U.S. Comments on Nigerian Election Results
On February 28, The United States congratulated the people of Nigeria on a successful presidential election, and President Muhammadu Buhari on his re-election. The United States commends all Nigerians who participated peacefully in the election and condemn those whose acts of violence harmed Nigerians and the electoral process.
The U.S. congratulates the people of Nigeria on a successful presidential election, and President @MBuhari on his re-election. We commend those are participated peacefully and condemn those whose acts of violence harmed Nigerians and the electoral process. https://t.co/qkdd2E5OKo— Robert Palladino (@StateDeputySPOX) March 1, 2019
State Department Hosts Panel Discussion on African American Trailblazers in Diplomacy
On February 28, in recognition of African American History Month, the United States Diplomacy Center at the U.S. Department of State hosted a special program that explored the diplomatic careers of five African American trailblazers in diplomacy: Ebenezer Bassett, Ralph Bunche, Edward Dudley, Patricia Roberts Harris, and Mabel Murphy Smythe.
What better way to celebrate #BlackHistoryMonth than a panel discussion on trailblazing African American diplomats? Thanks to our panelists and our friends from @TheTLG1973 and @BIGNATIONAL for helping us to make it possible! pic.twitter.com/s6cgwdYvwF— US Diplomacy Center (@DiplomacyCenter) February 28, 2019
State Department Announces Secretary Pompeo Will Host the 2019 Annual International Women of Courage Awards Ceremony
On March 1, the State Department announced Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo will honor a group of extraordinary women with the 2019 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award on March 7. Established in 2007, this annual award honors women around the world who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in acting to bring positive change to their societies, often at great personal risk and sacrifice.
Editor’s Note: This entry is also published in the U.S. Department of State’s publication on Medium.