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.
We vehemently condemn the killing of U.S. citizen Eddy Montes in #Nicaragua. The United States will hold accountable the #Ortega regime and all Nicaraguan security forces involved in human rights abuses and violations. https://t.co/EZRU01iGDf pic.twitter.com/1NyFETKwoU— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) May 18, 2019
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.
.@SecPompeo: The U.S. congratulates @ScottMorrisonMP & the Coalition on their victory in the May 18 Australian federal election. We look forward to continuing to work with the Coalition govt. on our shared vision for a peaceful & more prosperous world. https://t.co/stwnKlNmag— Department of State (@StateDept) May 19, 2019
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.
The United States condemns in the strongest terms last week’s terror attacks in #Niger, as well as recent attacks in #Mali and #BurkinaFaso. We offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed, and wish a quick recovery to all who were wounded. pic.twitter.com/dswXxPW3wf— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) May 20, 2019
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.
Going to the Hill shortly to have a serious discussion with lawmakers about 40 years of unprovoked aggression from the Iranian regime and to explain the prudent steps we’re taking to deter violence, protect American interests, and support the brave Iranian people.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 21, 2019
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.
From @POTUS Trump’s bold recognitions of Jerusalem and the Golan to the @WhiteHouse’s vision for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the U.S. will continue to stand with #Israel and support opportunities to pave the way to a brighter future for all. pic.twitter.com/zU50XnktId— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 23, 2019
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.
Yesterday @ECAatState and @FulbrightPrgrm unveiled a new logo and brand narrative to create connections, engage partners, and inspire outstanding applicants from both the US and abroad to apply. Check it out at: https://t.co/TVMRJLI3rj pic.twitter.com/ruoF6KeVVj— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) May 24, 2019
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.
Indeed - China’s attack on Uighurs isn’t counterterrorism. It’s ugly repression. CCP severely persecutes Muslims in Xinjiang province by arbitrarily detaining over a million people, separating children from families, and demanding they rid themselves of culture and religion. https://t.co/l3eCvDObl0— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) May 23, 2019
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
The U.S. offers its congratulations to @narendramodi and his National Democratic Alliance on their decisive election victory. We applaud the Indian people for voting in historic numbers and the Government of #India for their exceptional execution of this massive undertaking. pic.twitter.com/URj3c7mp4a— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) May 24, 2019
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.
We're excited to announce some of the high profile speakers and leaders joining #GES2019! @SecPompeo @SecElaineChao @constantijn14 @CorinneVigreux @ErelMargalit, we’re honored to have you! Stay tuned for more speakers who will share their stories at GES: https://t.co/GtxOoMfR7W pic.twitter.com/0aSjhXAQLS— The Global Entrepreneurship Summit (@theGESsummit) May 16, 2019
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.
Honored to meet the extraordinary service members on the USS New York this week, as we remember and give thanks to all our brave men and women in uniform this #MemorialDay weekend. pic.twitter.com/Md2MOUqQsf— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 24, 2019
Editor’s Note: This entry is also published in the U.S. Department of State’s publication on Medium.