This Week at State: March 1, 2019

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This Week at State: March 1, 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 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.

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. 

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. 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.

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.

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.

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.  

Manila, Philippines February 28-March 1, Secretary Pompeo met with President Rodrigo Duterte and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin, Jr.

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.