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’s Travel to Athens, Greece
On October 1-6, Secretary Pompeo traveled to Italy, The Holy See, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and concluded his travels in Greece, where he focused on deepening our historic alliance. On October 5, Secretary Pompeo gave remarks on “The United States and Greece: Showing the Way Forward” at Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens, Greece.
Secretary Pompeo met with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos, and participated in a working lunch and press availability with Foreign Minister Nikolaos Dendias. In his meetings, the Secretary reaffirmed our commitment to strengthening the U.S.-Greece relationship and working together to promote prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Minister Dendias also launched the United States-Greece Strategic Dialogue, which concluded on October 7. The Strategic Dialogue is a testament to the two countries’ intensive and constructive engagement, and highlights the strength of the bilateral relationship, confirming the mutual desire of the United States and Greece to deepen cooperation.
Update on North Korea Talks
On October 5, Spokesperson Ortagus issued a press statement on the North Korea Talks, noting that the U.S. delegation reviewed events since the Singapore summit, discussed the importance of more intensive engagement to solve the many issues of concern for both sides, and previewed a number of new initiatives that would allow us to make progress in each of the four pillars of the Singapore joint statement.
Warsaw Process Cybersecurity and Human Rights Working Groups Convene
On October 8, the United States, Poland, and the Republic of Korea convened the Warsaw Process Cybersecurity Working Group in Seoul. Nearly 50 delegations from around the world discussed the importance of strengthening cooperation to promote stability in cyberspace, deter malicious cyber activity, combat cybercrime, and protect critical infrastructure.
On October 10 and 11, the United States and Poland convened the Warsaw Process Working Group on Human Rights. This working group focused on Women, Peace, and Security, with the aim of supporting ongoing regional and national efforts to promote the meaningful participation of women in all phases of conflict prevention, resolution, and recovery.
On October 10-11, the United States and Poland convened the #WarsawProcess Human Rights Working Group, which focused on supporting efforts to promote the meaningful participation of women in all phases of conflict prevention, resolution, and recovery. https://t.co/mQHJLRDMdT pic.twitter.com/tAZiSqmV97— Department of State (@StateDept) October 12, 2019
On October 8, the United States and Estonia issued a joint statement on U.S.-Estonia Cooperation. The United States and Estonia are close Allies in NATO, share fundamental values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law, and work closely together to advance the security, prosperity, and stability of our shared Euro-Atlantic area and the wider world.
State Department Imposes Visa Restrictions on Chinese Officials
On October 8, Secretary Pompeo announced visa restrictions on Chinese officials for repression in Xinjiang, calling on the People’s Republic of China to immediately end its campaign of repression in Xinjiang, release all those arbitrarily detained, and cease efforts to coerce members of Chinese Muslim minority groups residing abroad to return to China to face an uncertain fate.
China has forcibly detained over one million Muslims in a brutal, systematic campaign to erase religion and culture in Xinjiang. China must end its draconian surveillance and repression, release all those arbitrarily detained, and cease its coercion of Chinese Muslims abroad.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) October 8, 2019
Secretary Pompeo Opens U.S.-Colombia High Level Dialogue
On October 9, Secretary Pompeo gave joint remarks with Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo and opened the eighth U.S.-Colombia High Level Dialogue in Washington, D.C. The Dialogue underscored our enduring bilateral partnership rooted in shared values and interests, and focused on security, democratic governance, and economic prosperity.
U.S. Policy on ICC Remains Unchanged
In an October 9 press statement, Secretary Pompeo affirmed that U.S. policy on the International Criminal Court (ICC) remains unchanged, and noted that the United States remains committed to protecting its personnel from the ICC’s wrong-headed efforts spearheaded by a few grandstanders. The Secretary also stated that the United States respects the decision of those nations that have chosen to join the ICC, and in turn, we expect that our decision not to join and not to place our people under the court’s jurisdiction will also be respected.
United States Sanctions Individuals for Corruption in South Africa
On October 10, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned four individuals for corruption in South Africa pursuant to Executive Order 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. This action demonstrated continued U.S. commitment to promoting transparency, accountability, and the rule of law globally.
United States Fully Supports Brazil’s Steps Towards OECD Membership
In an October 10 press statement, Secretary Pompeo expressed full support for Brazil to begin the process to become a full member of the OECD. The Secretary stated, “We are enthusiastic supporters of Brazil’s entry into this important institution and the United States will make a strong effort to support Brazil’s accession.”
U.S. Commits $5 Million to Conventional Weapons Destruction Assistance in Kosovo
On October 10, the United States committed an additional $5 million to clear cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war in Kosovo. Set to be implemented over four years, this assistance is expected to return at least 4.2 million square meters (1,060 acres) of hazardous land back to the people of Kosovo.
U.S. Announces Additional Deployment of U.S. Forces and Military Equipment to Saudi Arabia
In a special briefing on October 11, Special Representative for Iran and Senior Advisor to the Secretary Brian Hook announced the deployment of additional U.S. forces to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
U.S. Special Representative for #Iran Brian Hook discusses the deployment of additional U.S. forces to Saudi Arabia and the maximum pressure campaign on Iran. Watch the full briefing here: https://t.co/G2JLznj0Uz pic.twitter.com/c4TiGF4bUd— Department of State (@StateDept) October 11, 2019
Secretary Pompeo’s Travel to Nashville, Tennessee
On October 11, Secretary Pompeo traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, to meet with ministry and mental health leaders, and to deliver remarks at the 2019 American Association of Christian Counselors’ Rise Up World Conference. Secretary Pompeo also participated in interviews with local media outlets.
Around the world, more than 80% of people live in areas where #religiousfreedom is suppressed or denied. Inspired by the Christian mental health and ministry leaders I met with today in #Nashville who are committed to helping confront the impacts of this challenge. pic.twitter.com/U1FuCFEd6y— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) October 11, 2019
Joint Statement on the 10th U.S.-Japan Policy Cooperation Dialogue
On October 11, the Governments of the United States and Japan released a joint statement at the conclusion of the 10th U.S.-Japan Policy Cooperation Dialogue on the Internet Economy. The United States and Japan emphasized their continued commitment to an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet.
State Department Responds to Protests in Ecuador
In a press statement on October 11, Secretary Pompeo expressed support for President Moreno and the Government of Ecuador’s efforts to institutionalize democratic practices and implement needed economic reforms. The United States will continue to work in partnership with President Moreno in support of democracy, prosperity, and security.
We recognize the difficult decisions @Lenin and the Government of #Ecuador have taken to establish the basis for economic prosperity. We share Ecuador’s commitment to democracy & dialogue as the best way to resolve differences peacefully for the benefit of all Ecuadorians.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) October 11, 2019
U.S. Sanctions Individuals for Corruption in South Sudan
On October 11, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned Ashraf Seed Ahmed Al-Cardinal (Al-Cardinal) and Kur Ajing Ater (Ajing) for their involvement in corruption in South Sudan. The United States urges the Government of South Sudan to take seriously the clear linkage between corrupt activities and the motive of some elites to disrupt the peace agreement, the implementation of which has reached a critical stage.
U.S. Diplomacy Center Announces Donation of Set from CBS Television Studios Show Madam Secretary
On October 11, the State Department’s United States Diplomacy Center announced the donation of sets and prop material from Revelations Entertainment and CBS Television Studios show Madam Secretary to the nation’s first-ever museum and educational center dedicated to telling the story of American diplomacy.
State Department Observes International Day of the Girl
On October 11, Spokesperson Ortagus commemorated International Day of the Girl, pledging U.S. support to help countries protect their girls and to ensure they have the opportunities to reach their potential.
No country can get ahead if it leaves half of its people behind. This is why empowering women and girls is critical to peace and prosperity. @ECAatState exchange programs educate and equip girls to succeed through sport, STEM, and more. https://t.co/Fv12iYhDQF #DayoftheGirl pic.twitter.com/qsiUIGPwNj— Department of State (@StateDept) October 11, 2019
Meetings with Global Leaders
On October 7, Secretary Pompeo spoke by phone with UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
On October 8, Secretary Pompeo spoke by phone with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi. In addition, Special Representative Biegun met with ROK Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Ambassador Lee Do-hoon and Japanese Director General for Asian and Oceanian Affairs Shigeki Takizaki.
On October 10, Secretary Pompeo met with Salvadoran Foreign Minister Hill, Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman, and Foreign Minister of Colombia Carlos Trujillo ,and spoke by phone with Bulgarian Prime Minister Borissov. Also on October 10, Under Secretary Hale met with Federated States of Micronesia President David Panuelo.
On October 11, Secretary Pompeo spoke by phone with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
Editor’s Note: This entry is also published in the U.S. Department of State’s publication on Medium.