This Week at State: May 24, 2019

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This Week at State: May 24, 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. Condemns Killing of Eddy Montes in Nicaragua

In a press statement on May 18, Spokesperson Ortagus condemned U.S. citizen and political prisoner Eddy Montes’ death at the hands of Nicaraguan Police.

U.S. Congratulates Scott Morrison and the Coalition on Victory in Australian Election

On May 18, Secretary Pompeo congratulated Mr. Scott Morrison and the Coalition on their victory in the Australian federal election.

U.S. Condemns Terrorist Attacks in Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso

On May 20, Spokesperson Ortagus condemned last week’s terror attacks in Niger, as well as recent attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso, which have taken the lives of security forces defending their nations.

Meetings with Global Leaders

On May 18, Secretary Pompeo discussed the U.S.-Chinese bilateral relationship and U.S. concerns about Iran in a phone call with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

On May 20, Secretary Pompeo spoke by phone with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono to discuss their engagement with Iran and to reaffirm the strength of the U.S.-Japan Alliance.

On May 21, Secretary Pompeo spoke by phone with Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Soreide to discuss the May 12 attack on the Norwegian-flagged ANDREA VICTORY cargo vessel in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. Secretary Pompeo also met with the Republic of Palau President Tommy Remengesau, Republic of the Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, and Federated States of Micronesia President David Panuelo at the State Department.

On May 22, Secretary Pompeo met with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, and discussed efforts to strengthen the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership.

On May 24, Secretary Pompeo met with Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, at the Department.

U.S. Comments on Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons by the Assad Regime

In a press statement on May 21, Spokesperson Ortagus asserted that the United States continues to closely watch the military operations by the Assad regime in northwest Syria, including indications of any new use of chemical weapons by the regime. Unfortunately, the United States continues to see signs that the Assad regime may be renewing its use of chemical weapons, including an alleged chlorine attack in northwest Syria on May 19, 2019. The U.S. repeats the warning that if the Assad regime uses chemical weapons, the United States and our allies will respond quickly and appropriately.

Secretary Pompeo Briefs Congress on Campaign to Push Back Iran’s Malign Activity

On May 21, Secretary Pompeo and Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan held a briefing for the House and the Senate on the strategic campaign to push back against Iran’s 40 years of terrorist activity. Following their discussions, Secretary Pompeo and Acting Secretary Shanahan participated in a press availability.

On May 21, Secretary Pompeo discussed these efforts on Iran in an interview with Hugh Hewitt of the Hugh Hewitt Show.

Secretary Pompeo Delivers Remarks at Celebration of Israel’s 71st Independence Day

On May 22, Secretary Pompeo joined Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer and delivered remarks at a Celebration of Israel’s 71st Independence Day. Secretary Pompeo focused on the shared values that bind Americans and Israelis together, and celebrated Israel’s example of a free, democratic, and prosperous nation.

U.S. Diplomacy Center Opens Exhibition on “From Pirates to Passports: A Timeless Commitment to Service”

On May 22, the Bureau of Consular Affairs launched the “From Pirates to Passports: A Timeless Commitment to Service” exhibit at the U.S. Diplomacy Center. This exhibit celebrates the 40-year anniversary of the founding of the Bureau of Consular Affairs and the long history of consular service to the American people.

Fulbright Program Unveils Updated Brand Identity

On May 22, the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board unveiled an updated Fulbright Program brand identity. The updated identity, including a new logo and brand narrative, demonstrates the Fulbright Program’s renewed commitment to its mission: to forge lasting connections, resolve misunderstandings, and help people and nations work together toward common goals.

Secretary Pompeo Discusses Global Issues in Media Interviews

On May 21, Secretary Pompeo discussed Iran in an interview with Hugh Hewitt of the Hugh Hewitt Show.

On May 23, the Secretary discussed China, Iran, religious freedom and more in a series of interviews, including with Emerald Robinson of One America News Network, Joe Kernen, Becky Quick, and Andrew Ross Sorkin of CNBC Squawk Box, Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, and Ainsley Earhardt of Fox & Friends.

State Department Officials Address China’s Persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang

Ambassador -at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback and Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Ambassador Nathan Sales co-authored an opinion piece that appeared in the Washington Post on May 23 addressing China’s attack on Uighurs.

Acting Under Secretary Singh Addresses Fourth Annual Trans-Caspian Forum

On May 23, Acting Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Manisha Singh delivered keynote remarks at the fourth annual Trans-Caspian Forum hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Caspian Policy Center.

Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) Policy Implementation Plan Updated

In July, Secretary Pompeo submitted to the President the Implementation Plan requested as part of the Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) Policy. This plan supports the U.S. National Security Strategy through a whole-of-government approach to better align our conventional arms transfers with our national security and economic interests.

U.S. Arms Transfers Rise 13 Percent in 2018

As reported in this fact sheet on May 21, over the last fiscal year, authorized arms exports rose by a total of 13 percent to $192.3 billion, adding thousands of jobs to the U.S. economy and sustaining many thousands more. These increases in both government-to-government and commercial sales of defense equipment by U.S. companies have coincided with efforts by the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs and its interagency partners to comprehensively reform and modernize the arms transfer process.

State Department Comments on Indian Elections

In a statement on May 24, Spokesperson Ortagus congratulated Narendra Modi and his National Democratic Alliance on their victory in India’s national elections.

State Department Announces Advisor Ivanka Trump’s Participation in the 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Summit

On May 24, the State Department announced the participation of Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump in the 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Summit. The United States and the Netherlands are co-hosting GES 2019, June 3-5, in The Hague, which will convene thousands of emerging entrepreneurs, investors, and entrepreneurship supporters from around the world.

This announcement follows the announcement of several other high profile speakers who will participate in the summit.

Secretary Pompeo Meets With Service Members

As the United States prepares to commemorate Memorial Day on May 27, Secretary Pompeo met this week with U.S. service members representing the USS New York

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.