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:
Secretary Pompeo Concludes Travels to Beirut, Jerusalem, and Kuwait City
Secretary Pompeo concluded his trip to Beirut, Jerusalem, and Kuwait City where he focused on reinvigorating partnerships, enhancing bilateral ties, and countering Iran. During the trip, which spanned March 19-23, the Secretary reinforced the value of our partnerships, as well as the importance of security and economic cooperation in achieving regional stability and countering the Iranian regime’s malign activities.
Just got back from Kuwait, Israel, and Lebanon. Strengthened our security, counterterrorism, and economic partnerships. Discussed ways to increase pressure on Iran to change its destabilizing behavior, and promote religious tolerance in the region. Memorable week. pic.twitter.com/5rAsYsbY15— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 24, 2019
Secretary Pompeo Delivers Remarks at AIPAC Policy Conference
On March 25, Secretary Pompeo delivered remarks at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. Secretary Pompeo focused on the threat of anti-Semitism and the work of the State Department in confronting the world’s number one proponent of anti-Semitism, the Islamic Republic of Iran.
It was my pleasure to speak to #AIPAC2019 today. My message was not only to reaffirm the essentiality of the U.S.-Israel relationship, but also that the U.S. stands with the Jewish people and Israel in the fight against the world’s oldest bigotry: anti-Semitism. pic.twitter.com/skcCMOCALR— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 25, 2019
See highlights from the Secretary’s AIPAC speech in this blog.
State Department Designates Former Guatemalan Official Due to Involvement in Corruption
On March 25, Secretary Pompeo publicly designated former Guatemalan Supreme Court Magistrate Blanca Aida Stalling Davila due to her involvement in significant corruption.
SecState is publicly designating former #Guatemala's Supreme Court Magistrate Blanca Aida Stalling Davila due to involvement in significant corruption. The U.S. is committed to combating corruption, increasing respect for fundamental freedoms & promoting good governance globally. pic.twitter.com/hcs0q0Edgg— Department of State (@StateDept) March 25, 2019
State Department Extends Nowruz Wishes to Those Celebrating
On March 25, Secretary Pompeo released a statement on the occasion of Nowruz. He said, “I would like to wish a Happy Nowruz to the people of Iran, and to everyone who celebrates this ancient tradition that marks the arrival of spring and a New Year, including people in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, India, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, the Kurdish people, and their communities in the United States.”
On behalf of the American people, I extend my warmest wishes to everyone celebrating #Nowruz in the U.S., Iran, and around the world. May the new year be filled with rebirth, health, and prosperity. Nowruz Mobarak! pic.twitter.com/hTYPsqEzV6— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 21, 2019
State Department Announces the Fortune-U.S. Department of State Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership
On March 25, the State Department announced that women leaders from 15 countries arrived in the United States this week for the Fortune-U.S. Department of State Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership. The 19 participants will spend a month working with executives from the Fortune Most Powerful Women community to enhance their business and leadership skills.
Special Representative for Syria Engagement and the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Briefs the Media
On March 25, Special Representative for Syria Engagement and Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Ambassador James Jeffrey, briefed the media on continuing U.S. efforts to deal with humanitarian needs, reconstruction, and stability in Syria after the victory over ISIS.
Today, Special Representative for #Syria Engagement and Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Ambassador James Jeffrey discussed ISIS’s territorial defeat and next steps in Syria and the D-ISIS campaign. pic.twitter.com/kXgoaquDRR— Department of State (@StateDept) March 25, 2019
Meetings with Global Leaders
On March 25, Secretary Pompeo spoke by phone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss the situation in Venezuela.
On March 26, Secretary Pompeo met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. Also on March 26, Deputy Secretary John J. Sullivan met with Malian Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, and the Under Secretary for Political Affairs David Hale met with the Republic of Cyprus’ Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides.
On March 28, Secretary Pompeo met with Iraqi Speaker of the Council of Representatives Mohammed al-Halbusi and Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman.
U.S. Announces Additional Humanitarian Assistance for Afghans
In a media note on March 26, the United States announced more than $61 million in additional humanitarian assistance to meet the needs of vulnerable communities, displaced persons, and returning refugees across Afghanistan, as well as Afghan refugees in the region.
The U.S. announced more than $61 million in additional humanitarian aid to meet needs of vulnerable communities, displaced persons & returning refugees across #Afghanistan & Afghan refugees in the region. U.S. is single largest donor of humanitarian aid to help the Afghan people. pic.twitter.com/qa0Hh3SGSv— Department of State (@StateDept) March 26, 2019
State Department Congratulates Thai Citizens on March 24 Election
On March 26, the State Department congratulated the tens of millions of Thai citizens who participated in the March 25 election for demonstrating their strong support for a return to elected government.
We congratulate the Thai citizens who participated in the long-awaited election. The U.S. looks forward to working w/ #Thailand’s newly elected government to advance values that bring our countries closer together, including democracy, security, and prosperity for all citizens. pic.twitter.com/w3wSj4BH5C— Robert Palladino (@StateDeputySPOX) March 26, 2019
Secretary Pompeo Delivers Remarks on State Department Efforts to Ensure Taxpayer Dollars Do Not Subsidize Abortions
In remarks to the media on March 26, Secretary Pompeo made two announcements about the State Department’s ongoing efforts to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars are not used to subsidize or promote abortions.
American taxpayer money will not be used to underwrite abortions. We’ll continue to refuse to assist foreign NGOs who perform or promote abortions, as well as give financial support to other foreign groups in the global abortion industry. We’ll protect the least among us. pic.twitter.com/I0EwjbNk6Q— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 26, 2019
Secretary Pompeo also spoke on the issue in an interview with Tony Perkins of Washington Watch.
Secretary Pompeo Commemorates 40th Anniversary of the Treaty of Peace Signing Between Egypt and Israel
In a statement on March 26, Secretary Pompeo celebrated the progress made in the 40 years since the signing of the Treaty of Peace between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the State of Israel. The treaty opened the door to increased U.S. partnership with Egypt, and set the stage for a safer, more stable, better integrated region, ending a long period of armed conflict.
U.S. Welcomes Appointment of Chief Monitor of OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine
On March 26, the United States welcomed the appointment of Ambassador Yasar Halit Cevik of Turkey as Chief Monitor of the Organization for Security Cooperation Europe’s (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine.
The U.S. welcomes the appointment of Ambassador Yasar Halit Cevik of #Turkey as Chief Monitor of the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission to #Ukraine (SMM). We urge all OSCE participating States to reiterate support for the SMM. pic.twitter.com/EF0bbGaa7P— Robert Palladino (@StateDeputySPOX) March 27, 2019
Secretary Pompeo Meets With Uighur Muslims Impacted by Human Rights Crisis in Xinjiang
On March 27, Secretary Pompeo met with Mihrigul Tursun, a Uighur Muslim who survived horrific conditions and abuse in a Chinese internment camp in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, and with three other members of the Uighur Muslim community: Gulchehra Hoja, Ferkat Jawdat, and Arfat Erkin, whose relatives have been detained in the camps or criminally sentenced by Chinese authorities. These individuals’ family members are among the more than one million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and members of other Muslim minority groups whom the Chinese government has detained in internment camps since April 2017.
Met with survivors and family members of China's campaign of repression and mass detention against #Uighurs, ethnic #Kazakhs, and other members of minority groups in #Xinjiang. I call on China to end these counterproductive policies and release all arbitrarily detained. pic.twitter.com/g803O23bej— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 27, 2019
Secretary Pompeo Testifies Before House Appropriations Committee on State Department Budget Request for FY2020
On March 27, Secretary Pompeo testified before the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs on the State Department Budget Request of $40 billion for FY 2020. Secretary Pompeo noted that the requested budget will protect our citizens at home and abroad and advance American prosperity and values, as well as support our allies and partners overseas.
Had an opportunity to discuss the 2020 @StateDept and @USAID budget with Congress today. This budget request will help us achieve our key diplomatic goals with China, Russia, Venezuela, Iran, and help our allies and partners become more secure and economically self-reliant. pic.twitter.com/2o1MABqSyn— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 27, 2019
U.S. and Laos Hold Ninth Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue
On March 27, the United States and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic held their ninth annual Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue, reflecting the growing, broad-based relationship between the two nations.
Secretary Pompeo Remembers the Legacy of Sergeant Travis W. Atkins
On March 27, Army Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins posthumously received the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony. Secretary Pompeo took a moment to recognize the hero.
Staff Sgt. Travis W. Atkins’ heroic actions during Operation Iraqi Freedom saved three lives, but cost him his. Today, he is posthumously awarded the #MedalofHonor, and we remember his legacy of bravery and selflessness. pic.twitter.com/jwXHgtAC3g— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 28, 2019
Secretary Pompeo Participates in National Review Institute’s 2019 Ideas Summit
On March 28, Secretary Pompeo participated in a moderated conversation on the “Leadership Role of the U.S. in the World” with National Review Editor Rich Lowry at the NRI’s 2019 Ideas Summit. The two discussed a number of global issues including NATO, North Korea, U.S. partnerships with European Allies, efforts to fight counterterrorism, and China.
State Department Engages in 32nd U.S.-ASEAN
On March 28, the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary W. Patrick Murphy co-chaired the 32nd U.S.-ASEAN Dialogue in Washington, D.C., together with Deputy Foreign Minister Thongphane Savanphet of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. The dialogue highlighted the broad range of U.S.-ASEAN cooperation across political, economic, and social pillars and highlighted the importance of the U.S.-ASEAN Strategic Partnership in securing a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Department of State Submits 2019 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
The U.S. Department of State submitted the 2019 edition of the annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) to Congress on March 18. This two-volume, Congressionally-mandated report assesses foreign governments’ efforts to reduce illicit drug production, trafficking and use, as well as their work to counter drug trafficking-related money laundering. The INCSR was first published in 1986, and this edition covers calendar year 2018.
State Department Comments on the Case of Metin Topuz
In a statement on March 28, Deputy Spokesperson Palladino commented on the case of U.S. Consulate General Istanbul employee Metin Topuz, whose trial began on March 26th. He said, “For nearly three decades and under our direction, Mr. Topuz worked tirelessly to promote law enforcement cooperation between the United States and Turkey, contributing to the safety and security of both our nations. We have seen no credible evidence that Mr. Topuz was involved in any illegal activities or doing anything other than official duties on behalf of the U.S. government and to the benefit of both the United States and Turkey. We reiterate our call on the Turkish government to resolve his case in a timely, transparent, and fair manner.”
State Department Hosts 10th Annual Foreign Policy Conference for Historically Black Colleges and Universities
On March 29, the U.S. Department of State hosted the 10th Annual Foreign Policy conference, convening students from HBCUs around the United States for a day of briefings and sessions with State Department officials focused on global issues and career opportunities.
Proud to have students from over 20 Historically Black Colleges and Universities attend @StateDept's 10th Annual #HBCU Foreign Policy Conference today. Students had the opportunity to hear from State Department employees about the important work of diplomacy. pic.twitter.com/7FYFMLA24J— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 29, 2019
Under Secretary Hale Travels to New York for United Nations Peacekeeping Ministerial
On March 29, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale traveled to New York, NY to lead the U.S. delegation at the United Nations Peacekeeping Ministerial on March 29, where he urged the UN and troop contributing countries to focus on strengthening peacekeeper performance. He also announced a new pledge to support UN peacekeeping through developing unmanned aerial systems capabilities for missions in the field – part of the United States commitment to continued leadership in support of peacekeeping.
Secretary Pompeo Congratulates NATO Secretary General on Extension of His Duty
On March 29, Secretary Pompeo congratulated Jens Stoltenberg on his extension as NATO Secretary General.
Congratulations to @jensstoltenberg on his extension as @NATO Secretary General. His exemplary leadership and the support from our Allies shows that together, we are #AlliedStrong and I look forward to personally welcoming him to Washington to celebrate #NATO70. pic.twitter.com/nODG0ozRuc— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 29, 2019
Special Representative for Venezuela Gives Briefing
On March 29, Special Representative for Venezuela Elliot Abrams delivered remarks on the situation in Venezuela. The Special Representative discussed efforts underway to get humanitarian aid into the country and reaffirmed U.S. support for the people of Venezuela.
Editor’s Note: This entry is also published in the U.S. Department of State’s publication on Medium.