This Week at State: December 13, 2019

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This Week at State: December 13, 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:

State Department Recognizes International Anticorruption Day

In a December 9 press statement, Secretary Pompeo reaffirmed U.S. commitment to prevent and combat corruption globally. The Secretary said, “Corruption obstructs economic growth and development, facilitates transnational crime, and fuels terrorism, robbing citizens around the world of their basic rights.” 

The United States Takes Action Against Maduro-Aligned Individuals

In a December 9 media note, the United States announced the sanctioning of two officials aligned with the former Maduro regime. With our democratic partners in the region and around the world, the United States will continue to support the people of Venezuela, interim President Guaido, and the National Assembly.

State Department Celebrates International Human Rights Day

In a December 10 press statement, Secretary Pompeo said, "Today, we celebrate the universal rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and recommit ourselves to protecting and promoting these fundamental, universal, and essential freedoms. The United States will always remain a staunch supporter of those who strive for their unalienable rights and human dignity.”

U.S. and the European Union Joint Statement on Consultations on Human Rights

On December 9, the European Union and the United States held human rights consultations in Brussels. The EU and the United States reaffirmed their strong commitment to the democratic principles and human rights as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They underlined the need for the Transatlantic partnership to cooperate in addressing challenges to human rights around the world, and to effectively promote and protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

U.S. Takes Action Against Corruption and Serious Human Rights Abuse

In a December 10 press statement, the United States announced 72 sanctions designations under the Global Magnitsky sanctions program. These actions target serious human rights abuse and corruption on a global scale, demonstrating the United States’ action to pursue tangible and significant consequences for those who undermine the rule of law, disregard internationally accepted human rights standards, and threaten the stability of international political and economic systems. 

Secretary Pompeo Delivers Remarks at Press Availability

On December 10, Secretary Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov participated in a press availability. In his remarks, the Secretary shared policy challenges in Venezuela and Ukraine.  

Troika Releases Statement with Sudan Armed Opposition Groups

In a December 11 media note, the United States announced that various Sudanese armed opposition groups met in Juba to resume peace talks. The United States, the United Kingdom, and Norway (the Troika) welcomed the resumption of these talks.

Secretary Pompeo Delivers Remarks to the Press

On December 11, Secretary Pompeo delivered remarks to the press. With regards to International Human Rights Day, the Secretary said, “The administration took a historic number of new actions this week to stand up for oppressed people all around the world and to take action against their oppressors.  Since Monday, the U.S. Government has designated an additional 68 individuals and entities in nine countries for corruption and human rights abuses using the Global Magnitsky Act.” 

U.S. Designates Key Iranian Shipping and Aviation Entities

On December 11, the United States took action against three Iranian entities linked to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and sanctioning eight other entities that helped smuggle weapons from Iran to Yemen and announced the designation of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, its China-based subsidiary, E-Sail Shipping Company Ltd, and the Iranian airline Mahan Air.  

U.S. Announces Official Launch of the Growth in the Americas Initiative

In a December 11 media note, the U.S. government announced it will officially launch the expanded Growth in the Americas (América Crece) initiative on December 17. Growth in the Americas is a whole-of-government initiative that will foster private sector infrastructure investment in Latin America and the Caribbean. Expanded bilateral cooperation between the United States and countries in the region will help reduce excessive regulatory, legal, procurement, and market barriers to investment.

U.S. Announces Visa Restrictions on South Sudan Peace Process Spoilers

In a December 12 press statement, the Secretary announced visa restrictions on South Sudan Peace Process Spoilers.  The Secretary said, “The people of South Sudan have suffered enough while their leaders delay the implementation of a sustainable peace. The South Sudanese deserve leaders who are committed to building consensus and willing to compromise for the greater good.  As the United States re-evaluates its bilateral relationship with the Government of South Sudan, the Department of State will implement visa restrictions under Immigration and Nationality Act Section 212(a)(3)(C) against those who undermine or impede the peace process in South Sudan.” 

The U.S. Takes Action Against the Ortega Regime in Nicaragua
In a December 12 press statement, the United States announced new financial sanctions against Daniel Ortega’s son Rafael Ortega and three Nicaraguan companies. This new action furthers the United States’ unwavering commitment to use all economic and diplomatic tools to hold the government of Daniel Ortega accountable for acts of corruption and unconscionable human rights violations, and to support the Nicaraguan people’s struggle for a return to democracy. 

Meetings with Global Leaders

On December 9, Secretary Pompeo met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

On December 11, Secretary Pompeo met with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew

On December 12, Ambassador Sales met with Kazakhstani Foreign Minister Tileuberdi

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.