This Week at State: November 8, 2019

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Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo at a joint press availability with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Leipzig, Germany, on November 7, 2019. [State Department photo by Ron Przysucha/ Public Domain]
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo at a joint press availability with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Leipzig, Germany, on November 7, 2019.

This Week at State: November 8, 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. Commemorates International Day To End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists

In a press statement on November 2, State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus remembered reporters who have been killed while doing their jobs, and called for an immediate end to all threats, intimidation, and violence against journalists and other media professionals for their work. 

Secretary Pompeo Comments on Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2020

On November 2, 2019 President Trump signed the Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2020. Secretary Pompeo released a statement following this action stating, “Our Departments will work closely to implement the President’s program, which provides for the resettlement of up to 18,000 refugees in the United States this fiscal year.

United States Releases Report on the Implementation of the Indo-Pacific Strategy

On the occasion of the 2019 Indo-Pacific Business Forum and the East Asia Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, the U.S. Department of State released a progress report on the implementation of the U.S. whole-of-government strategy for the Indo-Pacific region.

State Department Hosts Event Recognizing the 40th Anniversary of the U.S. Embassy Takeover in Tehran

On November 4, U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo delivered remarks at an event honoring the service and sacrifice of the former hostages on the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Embassy takeover in Tehran.

State Department Celebrates 50th Anniversary of the English Language Fellows Program

On November 5, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce hosted an event celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the English Language Fellows program. Assistant Secretary Royce presented awards three outstanding alumni and to seven U.S. universities that have been important partners in the success of the Fellow program.

U.S.-Australia-India-Japan (“The Quad”) Hold Consultations in Bangkok 

Senior officials from the United States, Australia, India, and Japan met in Bangkok on November 4, 2019, for consultations on collective efforts to advance a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific. The four nations reaffirmed their support for a rules-based order in the region that promotes stability, growth, and economic prosperity.  

New Exchange Program on Women in Sports Media Kicks-Off with International Women Sports Journalists

This week, nearly 50 female sports journalists from around the world arrived in Washington, D.C., to participate in the first-ever International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) focused on women in sports media.The program will demonstrate the strides that women and girls have made in the decades since Title IX, while also addressing the obstacles female sports journalists face in the United States and abroad.

Secretary Pompeo Comments on On the U.S. Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement

In a press statement on November 4, 2019, Secretary Pompeo commented on the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. The Secretary stated, “Today the United States began the process to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Per the terms of the Agreement, the United States submitted formal notification of its withdrawal to the United Nations.  The withdrawal will take effect one year from delivery of the notification.”

Joint Statement on the 4th Republic of Korea-United States Senior Economic Dialogue

The Republic of Korea and the United States released a joint statement following the East Asia Summit in 2019, held in Bangkok on November 4, which highlighted the two sides’ ongoing efforts under the Senior Economic Dialogue (SED). Both sides intend to continue their close coordination through the SED to further strengthen bilateral economic ties and enhance their partnership on regional and global issues.

Meetings with Global Leaders

On November 4, Secretary Pompeo spoke with Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan al Saud and Inter-American Development Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno

On November 5, Secretary Pompeo spoke with Qatari Minister of State for Defense and Security Affairs Dr. Khalid bin Mohammed al Attiya and Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir.

On November 6, Secretary Pompeo spoke by phone with South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor

The United States Takes Action Against Former Maduro Regime Officials and Strengthens International Efforts

On November 5, the United States identified five members of the former Maduro regime and took action against them under the authority of Executive Order (E.O.) 13884.  These individuals include members of the Venezuelan military, Bolivarian National Guard, intelligence service, and the illegitimate Constituent National Assembly and are associated with corruption, human rights abuses, acts of intimidation, and violence.

Agreement in Southern Yemen

On November 5, the United States welcomed the signing of the Riyadh Agreement between the Republic of Yemen Government (ROYG) and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) in Riyadh. In a statement, Spokesperson Ortagus said, “we are hopeful that with this agreement, all parties will work together to end the conflict and to achieve the peace and stability that Yemen’s people deserve.”

Secretary Pompeo Travels to Germany to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo traveled to Germany from November 6-8, 2019, to participate in events commemorating the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and to highlight the vital role the United States played in helping the people of Eastern and Central Europe throw off the yoke of communism.

The Secretary met with Chancellor Angela Merkel, German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass, Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, and Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, to discuss the Transatlantic partnership and the need for strengthened engagement in the face of growing threats from Russia, China, and Iran.

For more information on the Secretary’s travel, visit his Germany trip page

State Department’s Reward for Justice Program Offers for Information on Senior Leaders of al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula

On November 7, the U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) Program announced it is offering a reward of up to $6 million for information on two senior al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leaders. 

U.S. Department of State Terrorist Designation of Amadou Kouffa

On November 7, the Department of State designated Amadou Kouffa as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Executive Order 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign persons who have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism. 

Further Financial Sanctions to Address Human Rights Abuses and Corruption in Nicaragua

On November 7, Secretary Pompeo announced the United States was sanctioning three Ortega regime aligned officials for their role in human rights abuses and corruption in Nicaragua. He said, “ The United States, acting in support of the Nicaraguan people and their calls for a return to democratic governance, again demonstrated its commitment to use all economic and diplomatic tools to hold the Ortega regime accountable for human rights abuses and rampant corruption.”
Secretary Pompeo Comments on Iran’s Nuclear Escalation

In a press statement on November 7, Secretary Pompeo said, “Iran’s latest nuclear escalations reflect the regime’s intentions all along: to extort the international community into accepting its violence and terror while it undermines the sovereignty of its neighbors. Members of the international community who are rightly concerned with Iran’s latest attacks and provocations should imagine how Iran would behave with a nuclear weapon. The United States will never allow this to happen.”

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.