This Week at State: July 12, 2019

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This Week at State: July 12, 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. Responds to July 5 Agreement Announcement in Sudan

In a press statement on July 6, Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus welcomed the progress in negotiations in Sudan and conveyed the United States’ hope that the negotiations will lead to the establishment of a civilian-led transitional government that is broadly acceptable to the Sudanese people. 

Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings Designated as the 24th U.S. World Heritage Site

On July 7, the United States applauded the decision of the World Heritage Committee to inscribe a group of eight masterworks by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright as a single World Heritage Site, the United States’ 24th site on the World Heritage List.

Secretary Pompeo Announces the Formation of a Commission on Unalienable Rights

On July 8, in remarks to the press, Secretary Pompeo announced the formation of a Commission on Unalienable Rights, which will be composed of human rights experts, philosophers, and activists, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents of varied backgrounds and beliefs, and will provide the Secretary with advice on human rights grounded in our nation’s founding principles and the principles of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Meetings with Global Leaders

On July 8, Secretary Pompeo met with Hong Kong businessman and publisher Jimmy Lai to discuss developments related to amendments to Hong Kong’s Fugitive Offendors Ordinance and the status of Hong Kong’s autonomy under the “One Country, Two Systems” framework.

On July 10, Secretary Pompeo met with UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen Martin Griffiths, and thanked him for his continued efforts to move the political process forward. Secretary Pompeo also met with Qatari Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and thanked the Amir for Qatar’s continued close partnership and friendship. Also on July 10, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. They discussed U.S.-Russia relations and the impact of regional challenges in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

TechGirls Arrive in the United States

On July 8, 52 secondary school girls from the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia arrived in Washington, D.C. to participate in the State Department’s TechGirls exchange program. Launched in 2012, this four-week program aims to empower girls in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields to pursue higher education and careers through hands-on skills development training with American technology leaders.

Secretary Pompeo Delivers Remarks on 'The U.S. and Israel: A Friendship for Freedom'

On July 8, Secretary Pompeo delivered remarks at the Christians United for Israel Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. Secretary Pompeo stated, “Our welcoming, the American welcoming, of the new Jewish state into the family of nations was one of the most consequential diplomatic decisions of the 20th century – not just in terms of the world map, but as a statement to the world of who we are as Americans. It proved, as we continue to prove, that we stand for human dignity, that we stand for justice, that we stand for independence.”

Public Designation of the Republic of Cameroon’s Jean Claude Ango Ango

On July 9, Secretary Pompeo publicly designated the Republic of Cameroon Inspector General of the Cameroonian Gendarmerie, Colonel Jean Claude Ango Ango, due to his involvement in significant corruption related to wildlife trafficking. As a result, Mr. Ango Ango and his immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.

Sanctioning of Three Senior Hizballah Officials

On July 9, the United States designated three senior Hizballah political and security officials who leverage their positions to facilitate Hizballah and the Iranian regime’s malign efforts to undermine Lebanese sovereignty. These officials have exploited their positions to smuggle illicit goods into Lebanon, pressure Lebanese financial institutions to assist Hizballah, undermine Lebanese institutions, and evade U.S. sanctions against Hizballah facilitators and financiers.

U.S. Concerned by Turkish Drilling in Cypriot Claimed Waters

In a press statement on July 9, Spokesperson Ortagus expressed concern regarding Turkey’s repeated attempts to conduct drilling operations in the waters off Cyprus and its most recent dispatch of the drillship Yavuz off the Karpas Peninsula. 

24th Anniversary of Srebrenica Genocide

In a press statement on July 11, Secretary Pompeo noted the passage of 24 years since the genocide in Srebrenica. Secretary Pompeo said, “The American people join with the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina to honor the memory of more than 8,000 innocent victims.”

2019 Investment Climate Statements Released

On July 11, the Department of State announced the release of the 2019 Investment Climate Statements. Investment Climate Statements help U.S. companies make informed business decisions by providing the latest assessment of conditions in over 170 foreign markets. The reports also form a chapter of the Department of Commerce’s Country Commercial Guides.

The United States Takes Action Against Venezuela’s Counterintelligence Agency

On July 11, the United States sanctioned the Maduro-aligned General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence, known as DGCIM.The DGCIM has been implicated in a variety of human rights violations and abuses. The United States will continue to take action in support of the liberation of the Venezuelan people from the repression of Maduro and his security forces and until they are able to live again in a democracy.

Four-Party Joint Statement on Afghan Peace Process

On July 12, the State Department released a joint statement with Russia, Pakistan, and China on the occasion of the Four-Party Meeting on the Afghan Peace Process, held in Beijing on July 10 – 11, 2019.

U.S. Expresses Concern for Wrongfully Detained U.S. Persons (CITGO 6) in Venezuela

On July 12, Spokesperson Ortagus reiterated the United States’ call for the release of the wrongfully detained “CITGO 6” in Venezuela. The Spokesperson addressed conflicting reports regarding the welfare and whereabouts of the group stating, “we insist that the former Maduro regime provide an immediate update on their condition.” 

This follows a July 8th statement condemning the wrongful detention and treatment of these U.S. persons at the hands of an illegitimate regime. 

United States Addresses the Ongoing Human Rights Crisis in Venezuela

On July 12, Secretary General Luis Almagro and the Organization of American States hosted a press conference to discuss the urgent and ongoing human rights crisis in Venezuela in light of continuing credible reports, including the recent UNOHCHR report, that the former Maduro regime is engaged in systemic human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture, detention of political prisoners, and forced displacement to prop up his crumbling de facto hold on power. 

Read more about U.S. support for the people of Venezuela here.

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.