This Week at State: August 2, 2019

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U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo participates in the ASEAN Regional Forum Ministerial in Bangkok, Thailand, on August 2, 2019. [State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha/ Public Domain]
U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo participates in the ASEAN Regional Forum Ministerial in Bangkok, Thailand, on August 2, 2019.

This Week at State: August 2, 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:

Secretary Pompeo Participates in Fireside Chat at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.

On July 29, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo participated in a fireside chat with David Rubenstein, President of the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. During their discussion, Secretary Pompeo discussed his time as the 70th Secretary of State, and our most pressing foreign policy challenges, including China, Iran, and Venezuela.

State Department Celebrates 230th Anniversary

On July 29, Secretary Pompeo, joined by Former Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger, delivered remarks at a celebration of the State Department’s 230th Anniversary, held in Washington, D.C.

State Department Releases U.S.-Caribbean 2020 Report

On July 29, the State Department delivered to Congress its U.S.-Caribbean 2020 report, which describes the State Department’s and USAID’s successes in advancing U.S. interests by engaging with the Caribbean on security, diplomacy, prosperity, energy, education, and health.

United States, United Kingdom, and Norway Reaffirm Commitment to South Sudan Peace Process

On July 29, the Troika (United States, United Kingdom, and Norway) reaffirmed their commitment to the IGAD-led South Sudan peace process and to the lasting peace the people of South Sudan deserve.

Secretary Pompeo Travels to Thailand, Australia, and the Federated States of Micronesia

On July 30, Secretary Pompeo traveled to Bangkok, Thailand, to strengthen the U.S.-Thai alliance and deepen the partnership with ASEAN. Secretary Pompeo stated, “The U.S.-Thailand alliance remains strong, and we continue to support Thailand’s role as a regional leader, including its chairmanship of ASEAN this year. Our alliance will grow even stronger as we work together to advance goals common to both countries, such as security, peace, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and throughout the world.”  As he began his travel to Bangkok, Secretary Pompeo delivered brief remarks to the traveling press.

In Thailand, Secretary Pompeo delivered opening remarks at the Lower Mekong Initiative Ministerial and the U.S.-ASEAN Ministerial. Secretary Pompeo also participated in a joint press availability with Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai and held bilateral meetings with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Secretary Pompeo also delivered remarks at the Siam Society on the United States engagement in Asia. 

In Bangkok, the Secretary participated in a series of bilateral meetings with leaders from the region. On August 1, Secretary Pompeo met with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to address issues of bilateral and regional importance and on August 2 met with Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar .

On August 2, the United States and Japan released a Joint Statement on the Japan-United States Mekong Power Partnership (JUMPP).

On August 2, the Secretary participated in a dialogue with the Foreign Ministers of Australia, and Japan, reaffirming the importance of the trilateral strategic partnership and of deepening coordination among Japan, the United States and Australia. 

On August 3, Secretary Pompeo met with Republic of Korea Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum, where the leaders reaffirmed the importance of the U.S.-ROK-Japan relationship, their shared commitment to the final, fully verified denuclearization of the DPRK, and to continue working closely to address common challenges in the Indo-Pacific.

On August 3, the Secretary traveled from Thailand to Australia. On August 4, Secretary Pompeo, along with Secretary of Defense Esper, will lead the U.S. delegation to the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN). 

Meetings with Global Leaders

Prior to his trip to Bangkok, onJuly 27, Secretary Pompeo spoke with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono. Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Minister Kono reaffirmed their shared commitment to the goal of the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea and reaffirmed the strength of the U.S.-Japan Alliance.

Public Designation of Albanian Mayor of Durres Vangjush Dako

On July 30, the Secretary of State publicly designated Albanian Mayor of Durres Vangjush Dako under Section 7031(c) of the FY2019 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, due to his involvement in significant corruption. Section 7031(c) provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that foreign officials have been involved in significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.

U.S. Welcomes Sale of F-16 Aircraft to Bulgaria

On July 30, the United States welcomed the Bulgarian Government’s decision to purchase eight F-16 multirole fighter aircraft, munitions, and related equipment. 

White House Special Representative for International Negotiations and Special Representative for Iran Speak on Israeli-Palestinian Peace and Iran

On July 31, White House Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason D. Greenblatt and Special Representative for Iran and Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of State Brian H. Hook spoke to Fox News, noting that Israeli-Palestinian peace would be Iran’s worst nightmare. 

U.S. and Mongolia Release Declaration on Strategic Partnership

On July 31, the Governments of the United States and Mongolia released a joint statement on the strategic partnership between our two countries, laying a foundation for cooperation and the future of the bilateral relationship.

U.S. Designates Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

On June 24, President Trump issued Executive Order 13876 imposing sanctions on the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ali Husseini Khamenei and the Supreme Leader’s Office, and authorized sanctions on others associated with the Supreme Leader. On July 31, the United States designated the Iranian regime’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who has acted on behalf of the Supreme Leader.

Secretary Pompeo Renews Nuclear Restrictions on Iran

On July 31, Secretary Pompeo continued restrictions on the Iranian regime’s nuclear program.  This action will help preserve oversight of Iran’s civil nuclear program, reduce proliferation risks, constrain Iran’s ability to shorten its “breakout time” to a nuclear weapon, and prevent the regime from reconstituting sites for proliferation-sensitive purposes.

Special Representative for Venezuela Abrams Discusses Venezuela Crisis with Canadian Officials

On August 1, Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams traveled to Ottawa, Canada, to meet with Canadian officials to discuss the situation in Venezuela. The United States and Canada support a Venezuelan-led transition toward free and fair elections.

Secretary of State Publicly Designates Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe

On August 1, Secretary Pompeo publicly designated Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe, former Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army’s Presidential Guard Brigade and current Ambassador Designate of Zimbabwe to Tanzania, due to his involvement in gross violations of human rights. Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe and his immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States, as the Department has credible information that Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe was involved in the violent crackdown against unarmed Zimbabweans during post-election protests on August 1, 2018, that resulted in six civilian deaths.

U.S. Comments on Sentencing of Huang Qi

The United States is deeply concerned by the sentencing of online activist Huang Qi to 12 years in prison. We call on China to immediately release Mr. Huang, and allow him access to his family, medical care, and legal counsel as soon as possible.

Statement in Commemoration of the World War II Genocide of Roma

In a statement on August 1, Secretary Pompeo addressed the 75th anniversary of the World War II Genocide of Roma, during which the Nazis sent 2,879 Romani men, women, and children at Auschwitz-Birkenau to the gas chambers killing entire families. “On this day, we mourn and remember the hundreds of thousands of Romani men, women and children who were savagely murdered by the Nazis during World War II,” he said.

U.S. Withdraws from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

In a statement on August 2, Secretary Pompeo said, “On February 2, 2019, the United States provided its six-month notice of withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty due to the Russian Federation’s continuing violation of the treaty.”

The United States Publicly Designates Venezuela’s Rafael Enrique Bastardo Mendoza and Ivan Rafael Hernandez Dala for Gross Violations of Human Rights

The United States publicly designated Rafael Enrique Bastardo Mendoza, Commander of Venezuela’s police special forces (the FAES), and Ivan Rafael Hernandez Dala, Commander of military counter intelligence (the DGCIM), for their involvement in gross violations of human rights.

U.S. Comments on Imposition of a Second Round of Sanctions on Russia under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act

In a statement on August 2, Spokesperson Ortagus said, “Today, pursuant to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act), the United States is announcing a second round of sanctions on Russia for its use of a “novichok” nerve agent in an attempt to assassinate Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal in the United Kingdom on March 4, 2018.”

U.S. Addresses Attacks in Yemen

In a statement on August 3, Spokesperson Ortagus commented on the attacks carried out August 1 and 2 in southern Yemen. She said, “We extend our deepest condolences to families of those killed and wish a speedy recovery to those injured.  Attacks such as these by the Iranian-backed Houthis, ISIS, or al-Qa’ida are unacceptable. It is critical that Yemenis work with UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths toward a political settlement that ends the conflict and brings peace, prosperity, and security to Yemen.”

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Editor’s Note: This entry is also published in the U.S. Department of State’s publication on Medium.