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:
Deputy Secretary Sullivan Participates in the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
On April 6, Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan, joined by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale, concluded two days in Dinard, France, leading the U.S. delegation to the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. During the working sessions, Deputy Secretary Sullivan joined his G7 colleagues in rebuking Iran’s destabilizing activities in the Middle East, expressing concern about China’s unfair trade practices, calling for a peaceful, democratic transition in Venezuela, and condemning the deployment of Russian military forces there.
DepSec Sullivan, joined by Under Sec Hale, concluded 2 days at the #G7. DepSec Sullivan encouraged G7 partners to consider national security when evaluating telecommunications, and G7 reps collectively committed to increased cooperation to strengthen cybersecurity defenses. pic.twitter.com/oyVg9wpWxT— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) April 7, 2019
Secretary Pompeo Comments on Situation in Libya
In a press statement on April 7, Secretary Pompeo expressed concern about the fighting near Tripoli.
The U.S. is deeply concerned about fighting near Tripoli. We have made clear that we oppose the military offensive by Khalifa Haftar's forces. We continue to press Libyan leaders, together with our international partners, to return to political negotiations. pic.twitter.com/xM5ID6IxqX— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) April 8, 2019
State Department Announces Intent to Designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a Foreign Terrorist Organization
In remarks to the press on April 8, Secretary Pompeo announced his intent to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including its Qods Force, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This designation is a historic step to counter Iran-backed terrorism around the world.
On April 8, @SecPompeo announced the United States’ plan to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including its Qods Force, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). https://t.co/MXU0WmRTq7 https://t.co/rrzeK8ESPx— Department of State (@StateDept) April 8, 2019
Secretary Pompeo spoke about the designation in an interview with Bret Baier of Fox News.
Joined @BretBaier on @SpecialReport to discuss the announcement of our intent to designate IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. The reality is: there can be no peace and security in the Middle East without weakening the IRGC. https://t.co/U5rOwcSbu7 pic.twitter.com/nRMTeZP3Ek— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) April 9, 2019
Following the Secretary’s announcement, Special Representative for Iran and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State Brian Hook and Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Nathan Sales briefed the media on the designation. Learn more about this historic action in this blog.
State Department Designates Saudi Individuals for Their Roles in the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
On April 8, Secretary Pompeo publicly designated sixteen Saudi individuals for their roles in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Given credible information that these officials have been involved in significant corruption or gross violations of human rights, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.
Meetings with Global Leaders
On April 8, Secretary Pompeo met with Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen.
On April 9, Secretary Pompeo met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi.
On April 10, Secretary Pompeo met with UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore and UN World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley and Deputy Secretary Sullivan met with Tunisian Foreign Minister Jhinaoui at the Department.
On April 11, Secretary Pompeo met with Central African Republic President Faustin Archange Touadera at the State Department and Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in at Blair House, in Washington D.C. Deputy Secretary Sullivan met with Kuwaiti Minister of Commerce and Industry Khaled Al Roudan at the Department.
In Santiago on April 12, the Secretary met with President Pinera and Foreign Minister Ampuero.
Venezuela: Special Representative Abrams Discusses Venezuela Crisis; OAS Passes Resolution Recognizing New Permanent Representative of Venezuela; U.S. Provides Additional Humanitarian Assistance
On April 9, President Trump welcomed Venezuelan Ambassador to the United States Carlos Veccio to the White House for a credentialing ceremony. The United States accepted interim President Juan Guaido’s designation of Carlos Vecchio for this role on January 25, 2019.
On April 9-11, Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams met with Portuguese and Spanish officials in Lisbon and Madrid to discuss the deteriorating situation in Venezuela.The United States, Portugal, and Spain support a Venezuelan-led transition toward free and fair elections.
On April 9, the Organization of American States voted in favor of a resolution to recognize Gustavo Tarre Briceño as the legitimate representative of interim President Juan Guaido.
On April 10, during a UN Security Council Meeting focused on the humanitarian situation in Venezuela, Vice President Pence announced that the United States is providing nearly $61 million in additional humanitarian assistance to support the regional response for the 3.4 million Venezuelans who have fled the man-made crisis in their country.
Learn more about U.S. efforts to support rule of law and democracy in Venezuela in this blog.
Secretary Pompeo Testifies on the Department of State FY 2020 Budget Request
On April 9, Secretary Pompeo testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee on the Department of State FY 2020 Budget Request. In his statement, the Secretary said, “We are working every day to protect our citizens at home and abroad, advance American prosperity and values, and support our allies and partners overseas."
.@SecPompeo on FY2020 Budget: We are working every day to protect our citizens at home and abroad, advance American prosperity and values, and support our allies and partners overseas. pic.twitter.com/eFeeHeJ3w7— Department of State (@StateDept) April 9, 2019
On April 10, in remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Secretary outlined the administration’s greatest foreign policy challenges, what we’ve done to solve them, and ways we’ve benefited the American people by doing so.
State Department Promotes Disability Rights at Home and Abroad
On April 9, the State Department welcomed 15 international leaders in the disability sport sector for the annual “Sport for Community” program. Building on the success of the State Department and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program, Sport for Community is a counterpart mentorship exchange designed to create opportunities for people with disabilities and promote inclusion worldwide.
State Department Hosts ‘Experience Florida 2019’
Starting April 9, the State Department’s Office of Foreign Missions and Diplomatic Security Service, the Orange County Government, City of Orlando, and the Consular Corps of Orlando partnered to bring “Experience Florida 2019” to the foreign consular community. The four-day education and networking event brought together consular officials from 31 foreign consular missions together, and fostered connections within the state that will assist them in delivering enhanced support to their citizens living in or visiting Florida.
State Department Updates Safety and Security Messaging for U.S. Travelers
On April 9, the State Department introduced a new risk indicator to public Travel Advisories in order to communicate more clearly to U.S. citizens, the risks of kidnapping and hostage taking by criminal and terrorist actors around the world. The new “K” indicator is part of the State Department’s ongoing commitment to provide clear and comprehensive travel safety information to U.S. citizens so they can make informed travel decisions.
OPCW Executive Council Visits State Department
On April 11, the U.S. Department of State hosted senior members of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and a number of OPCW Executive Council representatives. The discussion focused on key U.S. policy priorities relevant to chemical weapons and reinforced our demonstrated and measurable progress towards the complete destruction of our chemical weapons stockpile, in a safe, quick, and practicable manner.
Deputy Secretary Sullivan Hosts U.S.-Caribbean Resilience Partnership Ministerial
Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan traveled to U.S. Southern Command headquarters in Miami, Florida from April 11–12 to host a ministerial with Caribbean leaders launching the U.S.-Caribbean Resilience Partnership, a new collaborative effort to build regional capacity to confront disaster response and promote resilience. Leaders discussed new opportunities for collaboration to enhance the region’s preparedness and response efforts.
At the launch of the new U.S.-Caribbean #ResiliencePartnership, Deputy Secretary Sullivan encourages #Caribbean leaders and U.S. agencies to work together to ensure the safety and security of our hemisphere. pic.twitter.com/ibVZPU2Fm1— Kimberly Breier (@WHAAsstSecty) April 12, 2019
Conclusion of the Sixth Round of Negotiations To Modernize the Columbia River Treaty Regime
The United States and Canada held the sixth round of negotiations to modernize the Columbia River Treaty regime April 10-11 in Victoria, British Columbia. U.S. and Canadian negotiators discussed issues related to flood risk management, hydropower, and ecosystem benefit improvement. U.S. negotiators continued to use the U.S. Entity Regional Recommendation for the Future of the Columbia River Treaty after 2024 as a useful guide during the negotiations.
U.S. Releases Final Argentina Declassification Project
On April 12, the U.S. government released the fourth collection of declassified documents pertaining to human rights abuses in Argentina between 1975 and 1983, culminating a historic effort by U.S. government agencies to release all such records from this period.
Secretary Pompeo Congratulates Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Re-election
On April 11, Secretary Pompeo congratulated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his re-election.
On the Seventeenth Session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission Under the New START Treaty
Mazal Tov to PM @Netanyahu on his re-election, and to the people of #Israel on exercising their freedom to vote. The U.S.-Israel alliance is unbreakable. We will continue to work together to address common threats and strengthen the bond between our democracies. pic.twitter.com/ieDNPCx4sW— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) April 11, 201
The Seventeenth Session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission under the U.S. – Russia New START Treaty was held in Geneva April 3-12, 2019. The U.S. and Russian delegations continued the discussion of practical issues related to the implementation of the Treaty.
Secretary Pompeo Welcomes New Special Representative to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism
On April 12, Secretary Pompeo swore-in Elan Carr, as the new Special Representative to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.
Happy to welcome Elan Carr as the new U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. I have full confidence Elan will act as a sentinel against bigotry and prejudice around the world and help the @StateDept continue to lead on this issue. pic.twitter.com/DBRGOeLh8g— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) April 11, 2019
On April 11, the Special Representative spoke with reporters at the State Department.
Special Envoy Carr: It is an honor to work on this issue as part of an Administration committed to the fight against anti-Semitism, to the protection of the Jewish people throughout the world, and to the support for the Jewish State. pic.twitter.com/Y8vnFq82j8— Department of State (@StateDept) April 11, 2019
Secretary Pompeo's Travel to Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Cucuta, Colombia
Secretary Pompeo is traveling to Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Cucuta, Colombia, April 11-15. The Secretary’s travel will celebrate and reinforce shared commitments to democracy and human rights, highlight increased opportunities for prosperity and security for our citizens, and rally support for democracy in Venezuela.
In Santiago on April 12, the Secretary met with President Pinera and Foreign Minister Ampuero to highlight Chile’s regional leadership, our strong economic ties, bilateral partnerships in science and technology, and security cooperation, including on cyber issues.
Editor’s Note: This entry is also published in the U.S. Department of State’s publication on Medium.