Did you miss key foreign policy developments this week? We’ve got you covered. 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 highlights from This Week at State:
Khamenei’s Lies About the Wuhan Virus Put Lives at Risk
In a March 23 statement, Secretary Pompeo highlighted the Supreme Leader Khamenei’s fabrications regarding the Wuhan Virus. These lies are dangerous and they put Iranians and people around the world at greater risk.
Fact: In February, Iran’s chief terror airline, Mahan Air, ran at least 55 flights between Tehran and China, further infecting the Iranian people. At least five foreign countries’ first cases of coronavirus were directly imported from Iran, putting millions more lives at risk.
Fact: The Iranian regime ignored repeated warnings from its own health officials, and denied its first death from the coronavirus for at least nine days. The regime continues to lie to the Iranian people and the world about the number of cases and deaths, which are unfortunately far higher than the regime admits.
For more facts, read the Iran: COVID-19 Disinformation Fact Sheet.
On the Political Impasse in Afghanistan
On March 23, Secretary Pompeo traveled to Kabul, Afghanistan with an urgent message. The United States deeply regrets that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and former Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah have informed Secretary Pompeo that they have been unable to agree on an inclusive government that can meet the challenges of governance, peace, and security, and provide for the health and welfare of Afghan citizens. Because this leadership failure poses a direct threat to U.S. national interests, effective immediately, the U.S. government will initiate a review of the scope of our cooperation with Afghanistan. Among other steps, we are today announcing a responsible adjustment to our spending in Afghanistan and immediately reducing assistance by $1 billion this year. We are prepared to reduce by another $1 billion in 2021.
Department of State’s Global Effort to Bring Americans Home
In a March 24 statement, Spokesperson Ortagus discussed the State Department’s efforts to bring Americans home in the face of the historic challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Flights continue to land as @StateDept efforts to bring #AmericansHome continue during the #coronavirus outbreak. Thus far, we have brought home over 9,000 U.S. citizens from 28 countries. Americans abroad: register at https://t.co/t49IZiiE77 so we can reach you. pic.twitter.com/DzUr5e6zcN
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 24, 2020
That's nearly 1000 U.S. citizens who are headed home or have already arrived home from Peru. All around the world we're doing our best around the clock to bring #AmericansHome and we'll keep at it. Nice work @USEmbassyPeru! https://t.co/RdKNMSGl8r
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 26, 2020
Secretary Pompeo Hosts the Virtual G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
On March 26, Secretary Pompeo hosted the virtual G7 foreign ministers’ meeting.
Today’s Virtual G7 Ministerial wasn’t the format we’d envisioned for the meeting when we drew it up, but I’m glad we had the chance to meet, if only by teleconference.
.@SecPompeo: I made it clear to our #G7 partners – especially to our friends in Italy and the rest of Europe – that the United States remains committed to assisting them in all possible ways. pic.twitter.com/UILjQvHgJH
— Department of State (@StateDept) March 26, 2020
Release of Arbitrarily Detained Civilians and U.S. Citizens in Syria to Avert COVID-19 Spread
In a March 25 statement, Spokesperson Ortagus and the United States reiterated its calls for the Assad regime to take concrete steps to protect the fate of thousands of civilians, including U.S. citizens, being held arbitrarily in overcrowded and inhumane conditions in regime detention centers. She said “These conditions are prime for the quick spread of the virus which would have devastating impacts on vulnerable detainees who are already in poor health after months or even years of torture, malnutrition, and lack of access to medical care.”
Department of State Offers Rewards for Information to Bring Venezuelan Drug Traffickers to Justice
On March 26, the U. S. Department of State announced a series of rewards for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Venezuelan nationals for whom the Department of Justice unsealed indictments today for their roles in international narcotics trafficking: Nicolás Maduro Moros, Diosdado Cabello Rondón, Hugo Carvajal Barrios, Clíver Alcalá Cordones, and Tareck Zaidan El Aissami Maddah.
The Venezuelan people deserve a transparent, responsible, representative government that serves the needs of the people
The European Union’s Decision on Albania and North Macedonia
In a March 26 statement, Secretary Pompeo welcomed the European Union’s decision to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia. The United States looks forward to deepening our strategic partnership with Albania and North Macedonia as they begin the next steps on their Western path.
We welcome our 30th Ally, the Republic of North Macedonia, into the @NATO Alliance. North Macedonia has clearly demonstrated its commitment to the Transatlantic community and our shared values and security, and we congratulate its citizens on this momentous occasion. pic.twitter.com/QIOzfkHXJh
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) March 27, 2020
U.S. Foreign Assistance in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
In a March 26 statement, Secretary Pompeo announced that the United States has made available nearly $274 million in emergency health and humanitarian funding. Along with the U.S. private sector, the American people continue to lead in responding to this pandemic.
I am pleased to announce the U.S. has made available nearly $274 million in emergency health and humanitarian funding. Our leadership in the #coronavirus response is another example of how America continues to be the world’s greatest humanitarians.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 26, 2020
#AmbEisenberg: I am proud to see U.S. companies standing next to Italy in this critical moment #COVID19: so far, donations from the 🇺🇸 private sector reached € 12.5 million, not considering the supply of medical devices and other services. 🇺🇸 and 🇮🇹 are united more than ever!” pic.twitter.com/tT2XnoIgYv
— Ambasciata U.S.A. (@AmbasciataUSA) March 26, 2020
As the United States helps our own citizens, we are also helping other countries impacted by #coronavirus. In #Bangladesh, @USAID_BD is strengthening infection protection and control measure within the health sector, while also increasing awareness about the disease. https://t.co/meaQrmhdp8
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) March 24, 2020
Secretary Pompeo Meets with Foreign Leaders
On March 25, Secretary Pompeo conducted a call with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud.
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Each week, we recap the latest from the U.S. Department of State and cover a wide range of global issues, events, and initiatives. To learn more, go to www.state.gov and follow @SecPompeo, @StateDeptSPOX, @StateDept and Facebook.