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 Participated in The Hill’s Newsmaker Series
On April 29, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo participated in a conversation on the Administration’s foreign policy priorities with The Hill’s Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack as part of The Hill’s Newsmaker Series. The Secretary’s remarks covered a number of global issues, including the State Department’s efforts to restore democracy for the people of Venezuela, efforts to counter terrorism, and Prersident Trump’s South-Central Asia strategy.
.@SecPompeo with @BobCusack: The threat from radical Islamic terrorism remains. We have made significant progress. President @realdonaldtrump has made very clear it is a priority for him and we’re devoting the appropriate resources to it. @TheHillEvents pic.twitter.com/ZTZTcR2fWt— Department of State (@StateDept) April 29, 2019
Meetings with Global Leaders
On May 1, Secretary Pompeo spoke by phone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Special Representative for Syria Engagement Travels to Turkey and Switzerland
From April 30 to May 2, Special Representative for Syria Engagement and Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Ambassador James Jeffrey traveled to Ankara, Turkey for meetings. Ambassador Jeffrey led an interagency delegation to continue discussions with senior Turkish officials on Syria, address Turkey’s legitimate security concerns, and promote stability and security in northern Syria as the U.S. military draws down its presence.
Secretary Pompeo Receives the Business Executives for National Security Eisenhower Award
On April 30, Secretary Pompeo delivered remarks as he received the Business Executives for National Security’s 2019 Eisenhower Award. Secretary Pompeo highlighted the situation in Venezuela and the importance of protecting the Venezuelan people, and discussed the challenges posed by working with China.
It was my honor to accept @BENS_org’s Eisenhower Award on behalf of @StateDept. As I thanked them for their work to champion private-sector efforts to bolster our national security, I also asked them to start a serious conversation about the particular challenge posed by China. pic.twitter.com/nByspZHgRU— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 1, 2019
U.S. Condemns Iranian Regime’s Crackdown on Women Activists
In a press statement on April 30, Spokesperson Ortagus condemned the Iranian regime’s growing crackdown on women advocating for their human rights
The U.S. condemns the Iranian regime’s crackdown on women’s rights advocates. Yasmin Aryani, Monireh Arabshahi & Mojgan Keshavarz were just arrested for protesting the hijab laws. Nasrin Sotoudeh got 148 lashes & 33 years. The world shouldn’t tolerate this abuse of Iranian women. pic.twitter.com/wdY2ian0J0— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) April 30, 2019
U.S. Expresses Concern About Increased Violence in Northwest Syria
In a press statement on April 30, Spokesperson Ortagus expressed alarm at the escalation of violence in Idlib and northern Hama. She stated, “The violence must end. The United States reiterates that any escalation in violence in northwest Syria will result in the destabilization of the region. We call on all parties, including Russia and the Syrian regime, to abide by their commitments to avoid large scale military offensives, return to a de-escalation of violence in the area, and allow for unhindered humanitarian access to address the humanitarian disaster created by the ongoing violence.”
State Department Remembers Senator Richard Lugar
On April 30, Spokesperson Ortagus acknowledged the death of Senator Richard Lugar, who was well known for his contributions to the diplomatic history of the United States, particularly in the field of non-proliferation.
It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the death of Sen. Richard Lugar April 28. Sen. Lugar is well known for his contributions to the diplomatic history of the U.S. We are grateful for his tireless work & advocacy to reduce global threats from weapons of mass destruction. pic.twitter.com/S6ObwO4Ekv— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) April 30, 2019
State Department Celebrates 40 Years of Peace Between Egypt and Israel
On April 30, Secretary Pompeo hosted a ceremony to celebrate and commemorate 40 years of peace between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the State of Israel. In a press statement, Spokesperson Ortagus discussed the treaty and shared a readout of this ceremony.
Honored to host a celebration today commemorating the 40th year of the #Egypt-#Israel Peace Treaty, one of the greatest diplomatic achievements of the 20th century. It is a shining example of the possibilities that can result from dialogue, compromise, and cooperation. pic.twitter.com/jW8ucFLTzb— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 1, 2019
State Department Hosts United Nations Counterterrorism Executive Directorate
On April 30, Ambassador Nathan A. Sales, the State Department’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism, welcomed United Nations Assistant-Secretary-General Michele Coninsx and the team from the UN Counterterrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) to Washington, D.C. for its first official assessment visit of the United States. While in the U.S., the CTED team will meet with officials across the U.S. government to discuss the measures the United States is taking to counter terrorist threats.
United States Affirms Support for the People of Venezuela
On April 30, U.S. government leaders reiterated their support for the people of Venezuela, following Interim President Juan Guaido's announcement of the start of Operación Libertad.
On April 30, Secretary Pompeo spoke with Wolf Blitzer of CNN and Bret Baier of Fox News, and on May 1 with Maria Bartiromo of Mornings with Maria on Fox Business Network on the United States’ continuing support of the National Assembly and their interim President Juan Guaido. Secretary Pompeo stated, “We will hold accountable those who turn to violence or inflict violence upon the Venezuelan people. So there will be a day for accountability for all those who engage in this, and we’re encouraging all the parties on the ground to solve – resolve this peacefully. This is a duly elected leader, interim leader, Juan Guaido, and it should be a political process for free and fair elections that should lead to the handover of all of the power inside of Venezuela.”
On May 1, Secretary Pompeo spoke by phone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, where he stressed that the intervention by Russia and Cuba is destabilizing for Venezuela and for the U.S.-Russia bilateral relationship. In an interview With Maria Bartiromo of Mornings With Maria on Fox Business Network, the Secretary discussed developments in Venezuela this week.
State Department Announces Secretary Pompeo's Travel to Rovaniemi, Berlin, London, and Nuuk
The State Department announced that Secretary Pompeo will travel to Rovaniemi, Finland; Berlin, Germany; London, UK; and Nuuk, Greenland, May 5-9.
.@SecPompeo will travel to Finland on May 5 to participate in the 11th @ArcticCouncil Ministerial. The Secretary will then travel to Berlin and London to discuss global and bilateral issues, and to Greenland to discuss shared priorities in the Arctic. https://t.co/Irw4Vp5mbD— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) May 1, 2019
U.S. Condemns Reports of Secret Executions of Minors in Iran
In a press statement on May 1, Spokesperson Ortagus expressed the United States’ dismay regarding the Iranian regime’s appalling secret execution of two 17-year old males, Mehdi Shohrabifar and Amin Sedaghat, in Adelabad prison in Shiraz, as reported by Amnesty International.
We are appalled about reports that the #Iran regime secretly executed two 17-year-old boys. We will continue to expose the regime's systemic abuses of human rights and ask others to join us in holding Iran’s corrupt leaders accountable. pic.twitter.com/HqKoJXntck— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) May 1, 2019
U.S. Welcomes United Nations 1267 Sanctions Committee Designation of Masood Azhar
In a press statement on May 1, Spokesperson Ortagus welcomed the addition of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) leader Masood Azhar to the United Nations’ (UN) 1267 ISIL and al-Qaida Sanctions list. This listing requires all UN member states to implement an asset freeze, a travel ban, and an arms embargo against Azhar. We expect all countries to uphold these obligations. The Spokesperson said, “Today’s designation is an important step in promoting a peaceful and stable South Asia. In line with this vision, we appreciate Pakistani Prime Minister Khan’s stated commitment that Pakistan, for the sake of its own future, will not allow militant and terrorist groups to operate from its territory.”
Congrats to our team @USUN for their work in negotiating JEM's Masood Azhar's #UN designation as a terrorist. This long-awaited action is a victory for American diplomacy and the international community against terrorism, and an important step towards peace in South Asia.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 2, 2019
United States Congratulates Poland on Its National Constitution Day
In a statement on May 2, Secretary Pompeo extend congratulations and best wishes to the people of Poland on the occasion of their 228th Constitution Day. He stated, “It was an honor for me to have visited Poland earlier this year and to see the tremendous progress the country has made since the collapse of communism and return of freedom 30 years ago. I look forward to marking this and several other important anniversaries in 2019 with our Polish Allies and friends as we continue to strengthen the strategic partnership between our two countries.”
United States and Japan Release Joint Statement on Science and Technology Cooperation
On May 2, following the Joint High-Level Committee Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation, the governments of the United States of America and Japan released a joint statement underscoring our shared goal of continuing to advance science and technology cooperation and further strengthen the U.S.-Japan relationship,
Secretary Pompeo Addresses State Department’s Foreign Affairs Day
On May 3, Secretary Pompeo delivered the keynote address at the Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Day for active and retired employees of the Department of State and other Foreign Affairs Agencies.
Secretary Pompeo also delivered remarks paying tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country around the world at the American Foreign Service Association Memorial Plaque Ceremony. The AFSA Memorial Plaque Ceremony honors those who have lost their lives while serving overseas due to circumstances distinctive to the Foreign Service, including acts of violence or terrorism.
Secretary Pompeo Comments on World Press Freedom Day
In a statement on May 3, Secretary Pompeo said, “On World Press Freedom Day, we reaffirm our commitment to protecting safety and freedom for members of the press. A free and independent media is indispensable to a vibrant, functioning democracy. Despite some progress, journalists around the world continue to be persecuted, targeted with violence, or even killed – all too often with impunity.”
Editor’s Note: This entry is also published in the U.S. Department of State’s publication on Medium.