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HU Global newsSM          1

The natural, inalienable rights and legal rights of the citizenry to be accurately informed must not, by corruption, be perverted, lest that citizenry, acting on such perversion in their daily judgments, certainly suffer to their physical and spiritual detriment.

�2014 Edgar Rogers-Chairman                                                                                                                                              Human Utilities Whole Armour







01/11/2024 01:47 PM EST

Office of the Spokesperson

The United States welcomes today’s announcement by the Government of Chile and Google, launching the Humboldt subsea cable route connecting Chile to Australia via French Polynesia.  This is the first-ever subsea cable connection between South America and the Indo-Pacific region.  When complete (estimated 2026), this transformational project will increase the reach, reliability, and resilience of the Internet by adding a trusted and secure route across the Pacific.

The Humboldt subsea cable route is an example of a commercially viable, multi-stakeholder approach to trusted information and communications technology development that will create new economic opportunities in Chile and beyond.  These undersea cables, paired with secure 5G wireless terrestrial networks, will accelerate South America and the Pacific Island nations’ digital connectivity and integration with the global economy.

This announcement follows the inaugural Leaders’ Summit of the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity, where President Biden hosted regional leaders, including Chile’s President Boric, to chart an ambitious course for deepening economic integration and mobilizing responsible private investment in the Western Hemisphere.  The Humboldt cable represents a concrete example of the potential for greater economic cooperation in the Americas. To help broaden access to modern, trusted and secure communications infrastructure throughout the Pacific, the United States remains committed to expanding access to fast, secure, interoperable, and reliable internet connectivity in the Pacific Ocean.  The Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy (CDP) plans to contribute $15 million to enable access to fast, secure, interoperable, and reliable internet connectivity in several Pacific Island Countries.  This is one way that the United States government is engaging with U.S. companies to enable the expansion of sustainable and reliable Internet infrastructure.

For more information, please contact


01/11/2024 08:44 PM EST

Matthew Miller, Department Spokesperson

The United States congratulates Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo on his re-election to a second term as President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  We also congratulate the Congolese people for their commitment to making their voices heard throughout the electoral process.  Now the important task of building national cohesion calls for leadership, accountability, and inclusivity at all levels.

Regrettably, as noted by domestic and international observation missions, insecurity, logistical issues, and preparatory shortcomings created significant delays and barriers to voting on election day.  For many, incidents of fraud and corruption raised doubts about the integrity of the results.  We encourage the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) to ensure greater transparency regarding the tabulation of remaining results.  The United States also strongly urges Congolese authorities to launch a comprehensive review of the electoral process, investigate and hold accountable those who attempted to undermine the will of the people, and, in consultation with stakeholders, act on recommendations to improve future elections.

The United States looks forward to expanding its partnership with the DRC government and working with Congolese people across the nation to advance our mutual interests.

08/01/2023 01:14 PM EDT

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

The United States commends the Government of Kenya for responding to Haiti’s call and for considering to serve as the lead nation for a multinational force in Haiti to assist in addressing insecurity caused by gang violence.  The United States looks forward to working with partners of Haiti to advance this process successfully, including through a UN Security Council Resolution authorizing a multinational force to Haiti.

Our support for the people of Haiti remains unwavering.

The United States calls on Haitian stakeholders to take steps urgently to expand political consensus and restore democratic order, consistent with the Inter-American Democratic Charter.  We reaffirm our gratitude to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), its Eminent Persons Group, and the Organization of American States through its Haiti Working Group chaired by Trinidad and Tobago, for their vital support of these efforts.



Treasury Building Engraving

U.S. Department of the Treasury

Office of Public Affairs


Press Release:             FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 16, 2023


Treasury Sanctions Mexico-based Transnational Human Smuggling Organization 

Sanctions Coordinated with Government of Mexico

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on the Hernandez Salas transnational criminal organization (TCO), a human smuggling organization based in Mexicali, Mexico, as well as several members and entities in its support network. The practice of human smuggling and the facilitation of fraudulent documentation undermines the U.S. asylum system, damaging public confidence in the vetting process and jeopardizing access to protection for vulnerable persons fleeing conflict, famine, and persecution. Often, migrants encounter violence in each territory they cross on their journey towards the United States and may even end up victims of human trafficking. This action continues the Biden-Harris administration’s whole-of-government effort to confront human smuggling on the southern border of the United States.

“In close coordination with our law enforcement colleagues and Mexican partners, today’s designation of Ofelia Hernandez Salas and her criminal enterprise aims to disrupt the group’s global operations,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “We will continue to aggressively target those who seek to prey on desperate migrants and abuse the U.S. financial system.”

According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, TCOs earn billions of dollars from human smuggling. Most individuals attempting to covertly enter the United States seek assistance organizing transport across the border; smuggling organizations, often associated with other TCOs, take advantage of those individuals by providing services at a significant cost.

This action was coordinated closely with the Government of Mexico, including La Unidad de Inteligencia Financiera (Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit), and is the result of ongoing collaboration with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Yuma; the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section; Joint Task Force Alpha (JTFA), the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona; the HSI Human Smuggling Unit, under the Extraterritorial Criminal Travel Strike Force program; and the U.S. Southern Command.


The Hernandez Salas TCO is a human smuggling organization based in Mexicali, Mexico, that has been responsible for thousands of individuals illegally entering the United States. The Hernandez Salas TCO facilitated the travel of non-citizens from countries posing national security concerns in their efforts to enter the United States without the appropriate vetting processes. The Hernandez Salas TCO is a sophisticated network that has used various methods to smuggle undocumented non-citizens into the United States since at least 2018.

Mexican national Ofelia Hernandez Salas (Hernandez Salas) is the leader of the Hernandez Salas TCO. Hernandez Salas and members of her TCO operate a global network of human smugglers that are responsible for the international smuggling of migrants into the United States. U.S. and Mexican authorities estimate victims pay $10,000 to $70,000 for smuggling services. Hernandez Salas and members of her TCO use facilitators in other regions to move migrants to the U.S. border. She is involved in document forgery and corruption in Mexico to smuggle undocumented migrants into the United States via the southern border and has links to the Sinaloa Cartel.

Hernandez Salas is incarcerated in Mexico awaiting extradition to the United States. A federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona indicted Hernandez Salas in 2021.

OFAC designated the Hernandez Salas TCO pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13581, as amended by E.O. 13863, for being a foreign person that constitutes a significant transnational criminal organization.

OFAC designated Ofelia Hernandez Salas pursuant to E.O. 13581, as amended by E.O. 13863, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial material, or technological support for, or goods or services to, or in support of, the Hernandez Salas TCO, and for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Hernandez Salas TCO.

OFAC is also designating four of Hernandez Salas’ human smuggling associates. Mexican national Raul Saucedo Huipio communicates with smuggling facilitators in Central America to transport migrants, collect fees, facilitate lodging, and coordinate travel. Raul Saucedo Huipio is incarcerated in Mexico awaiting extradition to the United States. A federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona indicted Saucedo Huipio in the same 2021 indictment as Hernandez Salas.

Mexican national Jesus Gerardo Chavez Tamayo is an enforcer who facilitates migrant crossings and receives payments for human smuggling services on behalf of the Hernandez Salas TCO. Mexican national Fatima Del Rocio Maldonado Lopez alters documentation and provides housing for migrants in Chiapas, Mexico. Mexican national Federico Hernandez Sanchez works with the Hernandez Salas TCO to smuggle undocumented noncitizens into the United States and also receives payments for human smuggling services.

OFAC designated Raul Saucedo Huipio, Jesus Gerardo Chavez Tamayo, Fatima Del Rocio Maldonado Lopez, and Federico Hernandez Sanchez pursuant to E.O. 13581, as amended by E.O. 13863, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in in support of, the Hernandez Salas TCO.

Lastly, the Hernandez Salas TCO uses Mexican entities Hotel Plaza and Hotel Las Torres to conduct human smuggling activities. OFAC designated Hotel Plaza and Hotel Las Torres pursuant to E.O. 13581, as amended by E.O. 13863, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in in support of, the Hernandez Salas TCO.


As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated persons described above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.

The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from OFAC’s ability to designate and add persons to the SDN List, but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior. For information concerning the process for seeking removal from an OFAC list, including the SDN List, please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897 here. For detailed information on the process to submit a request for removal from an OFAC sanctions list, please click here.

Click here for identifying information on the individuals and entities designated today.

View the chart on the individuals designated today here.




06/15/2023 08:41 PM EDT

Matthew Miller, Department Spokesperson

The United States condemns in the strongest terms the ongoing human rights violations and abuses and horrific violence in Sudan, especially reports of widespread sexual violence and killings based on ethnicity in West Darfur by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and allied militias.  Local groups estimate that up to 1,100 civilians have been killed in El Geneina alone, and the UN has reported more than 273,000 people are displaced in West Darfur state.  The Sudan Conflict Observatory and media outlets have documented satellite imagery of sections of El Geneina and whole settlements in West, South and North Darfur states razed to the ground by marauding forces, which credible Sudanese voices claim is part of an emerging pattern of targeted ethnic violence against non-Arab populations.  Women are bearing the brunt of this violence, and victims and human rights groups have credibly accused soldiers of the RSF and allied militias of rape and other forms of conflict-related sexual violence.

The atrocities occurring today in West Darfur and other areas are an ominous reminder of the horrific events that led the United States to determine in 2004 that genocide had been committed in Darfur.  We specifically condemn the killing of West Darfur Governor Khamis Abbakar on June 14 after he accused the RSF and other forces of perpetrating genocide.  We also express our concern over reports that the brother of the sultan of the Masalit tribe and 16 others were killed in El Geneina on June 12.

While the atrocities taking place in Darfur are primarily attributable to the RSF and affiliated militia, both sides have been responsible for abuses.  In Darfur, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) has failed to protect civilians and has reportedly stoked conflict by encouraging mobilization of tribes.  SAF attacks by military aircraft or drones have also impeded humanitarian efforts.  Both sides must cease fighting in the area, control their forces, and hold accountable those responsible for violence or abuses, and enable delivery of desperately needed humanitarian assistance.


05/15/2023 09:00 PM EDT

Office of the Spokesperson

Continuing with its tradition of transparency despite Russia’s purported suspension of New START, the United States has voluntarily released aggregate numbers of U.S. strategic offensive arms under the New START Treaty’s central limits on nuclear weapons.

The United States continues to view transparency among nuclear weapon states as extremely valuable for reducing the likelihood of misperception, miscalculation, and costly arms competitions. In recent years, the United States has taken many steps to strengthen transparency, predictability, and stability in the nuclear space. Such measures are especially important in periods of high tension.

The United States calls on the Russian Federation to comply with its legally-binding obligations by returning to full implementation of the New START Treaty and all the stabilizing transparency and verification measures contained within it.


05/17/2023 01:41 PM EDT

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Unknown assailants yesterday attacked a convoy of two U.S. government vehicles in the Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra state, Nigeria. The convoy was carrying nine Nigerian nationals: five employees of the U.S. Mission to Nigeria and four members of the Nigeria Police Force. They were traveling in advance of a planned visit by U.S. Mission personnel to a U.S.-funded flood response project in Anambra.

We do not yet know the motive for the attack, but we have no indications at this time that it was targeted against our Mission. The assailants killed at least four members of the convoy, and U.S. Mission personnel are working urgently with Nigerian counterparts to ascertain the location and condition of the members of the convoy who are unaccounted for.

We condemn in the strongest terms this attack. We will work closely with our Nigerian law enforcement colleagues in seeking to bring those responsible to justice.

The United States has no greater priority than the safety and security of our personnel. We express our heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed in the attack, and pledge to do everything possible to safely recover those who remain missing. We deeply value our relationship with our Locally Employed Staff and our partnership with Nigeria.

The United States reaffirms its commitment to the people of Nigeria to assist in the fight against violence and insecurity.


05/16/2023 12:54 PM EDT

Matthew Miller, Department Spokesperson

The United States strongly condemns the reported arrest of Robert Shonov, a former employee of U.S. Mission Russia.  The allegations against Mr. Shonov are wholly without merit.  Mr. Shonov is a Russian national who was employed by the U.S. Consulate General in Vladivostok for more than 25 years.  Following the Russian government’s April 2021 order forcing termination of all local staff employed at the U.S. Mission to Russia, Mr. Shonov was employed by a company contracted to provide services to U.S. Embassy in Moscow in strict compliance with Russia’s laws and regulations.

Like any diplomatic mission in the world – including the Russia’s Mission in the United States – the U.S. Embassy contracts for local services to operate its diplomatic mission.  Mr. Shonov’s only role at the time of his arrest was to compile media summaries of press items from publicly available Russian media sources.  His being targeted under the “confidential cooperation” statute highlights the Russian Federation’s blatant use of increasingly repressive laws against its own citizens.



05/08/2023 07:14 PM EDT

Matthew Miller, Department Spokesperson

We are deeply concerned by reports that unknown assailants in Burma shot at an ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre) convoy under military escort.  Just ahead of the ASEAN Leaders’ Summit, these attacks in Shan State come as the regime’s violence and disregard for the rule of law have led to greater instability on the ground, all while the regime has continued to neglect its commitments under the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus, including ceasing its violence and enabling unhindered humanitarian access.

The United States calls on Burma’s military regime to meaningfully implement the Five-Point Consensus and respect the democratic aspirations of the people who have demonstrated they do not want to live another day under the military’s tyranny.  The military regime must abide by its obligations under international humanitarian law, including rules on the protection of diplomatic personnel and civilians. The United States will continue to work with ASEAN and our allies and partners across the international community to support Burma on the path to long-term inclusive, democratic governance.


03/16/2023 09:58 PM EDT

Office of the Spokesperson

Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Jose W. Fernandez will travel to Bogotá, Colombia, March 17-18, Panama City, Panama, March 19-20, and Brasília and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 21-23, to promote key Administration goals, including in the areas of global health, food security, supply chain resilience, the environment, and regional economic cooperation throughout the Western Hemisphere.

The Under Secretary intends to deepen collaboration with Colombia’s Petro administration on key environmental, economic, and energy issues. He will host the first Economic and Health Dialogue of the Americas (EHA) high-level ministerial meeting in Panama, launched at the Summit of the Americas last June. Finally, Under Secretary Fernandez plans to build on President Lula’s successful February 10 visit to Washington to engage more closely with the new Brazilian leadership as it determines important policy positions on environment, energy, food security, critical minerals, agriculture, and other economic issues.

During his visits, Under Secretary Fernandez will meet with government, business, civil society, and other stakeholders to discuss cooperation on some of the most pressing global challenges, including supply chain resilience, health and food security, the clean energy transition and climate change, protecting the environment, and promoting critical and emerging technologies. He will also use what our countries have learned from COVID-19 to work together to prevent the next pandemic. There are also opportunities to advance several country-specific digital/telecommunications and commercial advocacy goals.

In Bogotá, the Under Secretary will promote engagement through the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity to advance a positive economic agenda for the region and discuss U.S.-Colombian joint projects to protect the environment and telecommunications advancements.  He will also hear from private sector and civil society voices on climate change mitigation, the clean energy transition, and labor rights.

In Panama City, Under Secretary Fernandez will lead the U.S. delegation at the first high-level dialogue of the EHA, facilitating conversations among senior health and finance officials across the Western Hemisphere to strengthen countries’ resilience against future pandemics.

In Brasília, Under Secretary Fernandez will meet with senior government officials, business, and civil society leaders to discuss expanding U.S.-Brazil cooperation in clean energy, health, resilient supply chains, sustainable agriculture, labor, and environmental protection. In Rio de Janeiro, Under Secretary Fernandez will meet with environmental NGOs, key health actors, clean energy advocates, and accelerators for women’s economic empowerment. 


02/21/2023 01:57 PM EST

Office of the Spokesperson

Underscoring the strong commitment to the U.S. – Türkiye alliance and Türkiye’s role as a NATO Ally, critical regional partner, and important U.S. security partner, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken joined U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Flake to dedicate the new U.S. Embassy Ankara.

Situated on nine acres in Ankara, the new design draws upon Türkiye’s material palette and vernacular design, incorporating a series of courtyards. The project employs rigorous energy-saving and sustainability features, aiming to reduce environmental impact, optimize building performance, and enhance the self-sufficiency of the campus.

Ennead Architects of New York is the design architect for the project, and B.L. Harbert International of Montgomery, Alabama, constructed the complex, investing roughly $175 million into the local economy.

Since the start of the Department’s Capital Security Construction Program in 1999, OBO has completed 175 new diplomatic facilities and has more than 50 active projects in design or construction worldwide.

The Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) provides safe, secure, functional, and resilient facilities that represent the U.S. Government to the host nation and that support U.S. diplomats in advancing U.S. foreign policy objectives abroad.



12/28/2022 07:04 PM EST

Vedant Patel, Principal Deputy Spokesperson

The United States is deeply troubled and disappointed by a Turkish court’s decision to uphold the conviction of Osman Kavala today.  As we have said before, his unjust conviction is inconsistent with respect for human rights and the rule of law.  We again call on Turkey to release Osman Kavala, in keeping with European Court of Human Rights rulings, as well as to free all others arbitrarily incarcerated. The people of Turkey deserve to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms without fear of retribution. 



12/28/2022 09:44 AM EST

Office of the Spokesperson

The text of the following statement was released by the State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel and Spokesperson of the EU High Representative, Nabila Massrali.

Begin Text:

The European Union and the United States of America are concerned about the continued tense situation in the north of Kosovo.

We call on everyone to exercise maximum restraint, to take immediate action to unconditionally de-escalate the situation, and to refrain from provocations, threats, or intimidation.

We are working with President Vučić and Prime Minister Kurti to find a political solution in order to defuse the tensions and agree on the way forward in the interest of stability, safety and well-being of all local communities.

We welcome the assurances of the leadership of Kosovo confirming that no lists of Kosovo Serb citizens to be arrested or prosecuted for peaceful protests/barricades exist. At the same time, rule of law must be respected, and any form of violence is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

The United States of America will support the European Union through its Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), in line with its mandate, which can closely monitor all investigations and subsequent proceedings to promote respect for human rights. This includes, in particular, fair trial guarantees, as well as protection and equal treatment for members of non-majority communities in Kosovo.

We also expect Kosovo and Serbia to return to fostering an environment conducive to reconciliation, regional stability, and cooperation for the benefit of their citizens.

All Dialogue obligations must be fully implemented without delay.

End Text.

12/28/2022 08:10 AM EST

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Today marks four years that Paul Whelan has spent wrongfully detained, away from his family, suffering through an unfathomable ordeal.  Russian authorities subjected him to a secret trial and sentenced him to 16 years in a Russian penal colony based on secret evidence.  His detention remains unacceptable, and we continue to press for his immediate release at every opportunity. I am committed to bringing home Paul and all U.S. hostages and wrongful detainees held around the world. As the President said directly to the Whelan family, our efforts to secure Paul’s release will not cease until he is back home with his family where he belongs.



12/09/2022 02:03 PM EST

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Today, we are imposing sanctions on three Russian entities connected to Moscow’s growing military relationship with Tehran – a relationship that includes the transfer of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) from Iran. The Kremlin is deploying these UAVs against Ukraine, including in large-scale attacks on civilian infrastructure.

The Department of State is designating the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS), 924th State Center for Unmanned Aviation, and the Command of the Military Transport Aviation (VTA) pursuant to Section 1(a)(i) of Executive Order 14024 for operating or having operated in the defense and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation’s economy.  VKS was the intended beneficiary of the Russia-Iran agreement on transferring UAVs; the 924th State Center for Unmanned Aviation sent personnel to Iran for training on operating Iranian UAVs; and VTA was involved in the transfer of UAVs from Iran to Russia.

Russia’s acquisition and Iran’s provision of these certain UAVs are in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and further fuels the conflict in Ukraine.  The United States will continue to use every tool at our disposal to disrupt these transfers and impose consequences on those engaged in this activity.



Office of Public Affairs

Readout of Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas Trip to Quito, Ecuador

QUITO – Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas visited Ecuador’s capital Quito from December 7ththrough 8thto meet with senior government counterparts and deepen our partnership on critical issues including strengthening cybersecurity, fighting transnational criminal organizations, combatting the movement of illegal narcotics through our hemisphere, and reducing irregular migration. President of Ecuador Guillermo Lasso invited the Secretary to visit when they met in June at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. President Lasso and his cabinet, including the Ministers of Interior, Foreign Affairs, Government, Defense, Telecommunications, the head of customs, and the Presidential Security Advisor, among others, hosted a series of bilateral meetings that also included U.S. Ambassador Michael Fitzpatrick and U.S. Embassy officials. 


In a joint press conference on Wednesday, the Secretary emphasized the importance of the U.S.-Ecuador relationship and reiterated the U.S. government’s commitment to continuing to support and work with the Ecuadorian government on issues of importance to our collective security and to protecting our democracies. The Secretary also stressed that the United States continues to enforce its immigration laws, and urged Ecuadorians not to put their lives in the hands of smugglers, noting that individuals and families who try to cross into the United States without a legal basis to stay will be removed.


The Secretary also met with DHS Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) personnel and the Ecuadorian members of the Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit (TCIU) with whom they work in close partnership to bring down criminal networks and bring criminals to justice. The HSI-Quito supported TCIU was established in April 2018, and its efforts have resulted in significant enforcement actions in the areas of counternarcotics, counter human smuggling, and combatting crimes involving child exploitation. The Secretary delivered an award for the success of this collaboration in breaking up a human smuggling organization that was illegally transporting Ecuadorians to the United States. During his visit, the Secretary also met with DHS Customs and Border Protection officers in Ecuador, who support their counterparts through capacity building and best practices related to customs enforcement, including with respect to the Government of Ecuador’s deployment of Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) scanners at its seaports, a critical tool in drug interdiction.

Secretary Mayorkas’s visit follows the U.S.-hosted Summit of the Americas in June and the multinational endorsement of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, which included Ecuador among its signatories.


09/26/2022 08:41 AM EDT

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

The United States today committed an additional $457.5 million in civilian security assistance to enhance the efforts of Ukrainian law enforcement and criminal justice agencies to improve their operational capacity and save lives as they continue to help defend the Ukrainian people, their freedom, and their democracy from the Kremlin’s brutal war of aggression.

Since mid-December 2021, the United States has now committed more than $645 million in assistance that has provided a tangible, positive impact on our Ukrainian law enforcement and criminal justice partners, including the National Police of Ukraine (NPU) and State Border Guard Service.  Our provision of personal protective equipment, medical supplies, and armored vehicles has significantly reduced casualties for Ukrainian civilians and their defenders.  Ukrainian law enforcement officers remain resilient, motivated, and determined to carry out their wide-ranging law enforcement missions and support for innocent civilians in towns and cities facing continuous Russian shelling.

In addition to expanding our direct assistance to Ukrainian law enforcement, a portion of this new assistance will also continue U.S. support for the Ukrainian government’s efforts to document, investigate, and prosecute atrocities perpetrated by Russia’s forces, drawing on our long-standing relationship with Ukrainian criminal justice agencies, including the Ukrainian Office of the Prosecutor General and the NPU’s war crimes unit.

The United States stands side-by-side with the Ukrainian people and remains committed to supporting a democratic, independent, and sovereign Ukraine.


09/25/2022 08:18 PM EDT

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson

The United States welcomes the release of several political prisoners in Belarus including Aleh Hurzdzilovich, a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist.

While the release of these political prisoners is a step in the right direction, too many political prisoners remain behind bars in Belarus.  We call for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners.


09/14/2022 07:23 AM EDT

Office of the Spokesperson

The United States, through the Department of the Treasury and the Department of State, and in coordination with international partners including the government of Switzerland and Afghan economic experts, today announced the establishment of a fund to benefit the people of Afghanistan, or the “Afghan Fund.”

The United States remains committed to supporting the people of Afghanistan amidst ongoing economic and humanitarian crises. Pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14064, President Biden set a policy of enabling $3.5 billion of Afghan central bank reserves to be used for the benefit of the people of Afghanistan while keeping them out of the hands of the Taliban and other malign actors. The Afghan Fund will protect, preserve, and make targeted disbursements of that $3.5 billion to help provide greater stability to the Afghan economy.

The Taliban are not a part of the Afghan Fund, and robust safeguards have been put in place to prevent the funds from being used for illicit activity. The Afghan Fund will maintain its account with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) based in Switzerland. The BIS is an international financial organization that provides a range of financial services, including banking services to central banks, monetary authorities and international financial institutions (see An external auditor will monitor and audit the Afghan Fund as required by Swiss law.

“The people of Afghanistan face humanitarian and economic crises born of decades of conflict, severe drought, COVID-19, and endemic corruption,” said Wendy Sherman, United States Deputy Secretary of State. “Today, the United States and its partners take an important, concrete step forward in ensuring that additional resources can be brought to bear to reduce suffering and improve economic stability for the people of Afghanistan while continuing to hold the Taliban accountable.”

“The Afghan Fund will help mitigate the economic challenges facing Afghanistan while protecting and preserving $3.5 billion in reserves from Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB),
Afghanistan’s central bank, for the benefit of the people of Afghanistan,” said Wally Adeyemo, United States Deputy Secretary of the Treasury. “The Taliban’s repression and economic
mismanagement have exacerbated longstanding economic challenges for Afghanistan, including
through actions that have diminished the capacity of key Afghan economic institutions and made
the return of these funds to Afghanistan untenable. Through this Fund, the United States will
work closely with our international partners to facilitate use of these assets to improve the lives
of ordinary people in Afghanistan.”

“In response to the critical challenges facing the people of Afghanistan, the United States is
already the largest donor of humanitarian assistance,” Sherman also noted. “We have worked
with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank to make available more than $1 billion in
assistance for basic services and other urgent needs, in addition to providing over $814 million in
U.S. humanitarian aid directly to implementing partners to support the Afghan people while
preventing funds from benefiting the Taliban. Now, the Afghan Fund will be part of our ongoing
diplomatic and humanitarian efforts on behalf of the people of Afghanistan.”

According to the World Bank, income and economic output in Afghanistan have fallen 20-30
percent, imports have declined by approximately 40 percent, and about 70 percent of Afghan
households report they are unable to fully meet basic food or non-food needs. Disbursements
from the Afghan Fund could include keeping Afghanistan current on its debt payments to
international financial institutions, which would preserve their eligibility for development
assistance, and paying for critical imports, such as electricity.


Central Bank of Afghanistan (DAB)
When the Taliban took over Kabul, Afghanistan’s central bank, DAB, lost access to its accounts
at financial institutions around the world—not just in the United States—because of the
uncertainty regarding who could authorize transactions on DAB’s accounts. Since then, the
economic situation in Afghanistan has continued to deteriorate due to the Taliban’s poor
economic management and failure to restore critical capabilities to DAB, such as adequate anti-money laundering and countering terrorist finance (AML/CFT) controls.

To rebuild confidence among the international financial community, DAB must demonstrate that
it has the expertise, capacity, and independence to responsibly perform the duties of a central
bank. To move toward that goal, DAB must demonstrate that it is free from political interference,
has appropriate AML/CFT controls in place, and has undertaken a third-party needs assessment
and onboarded a third-party monitor.

The Afghan Fund
The Afghan Fund is incorporated as a Swiss foundation established to protect, preserve, and—on
a targeted basis—disburse $3.5 billion for the benefit of the Afghan people. The Afghan Fund
can also serve as a vehicle to protect and disburse other Afghan central bank foreign reserves
currently held in additional countries. These disbursements are intended to help address the acute
effects of Afghanistan’s economic and humanitarian crises by supporting Afghanistan’s
macroeconomic and financial stability.

Location of Assets
The Afghan Fund will maintain its account with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). The BIS is an established international financial organization that provides a range of financial services, including banking services to central banks, monetary authorities and international financial institutions. See

The BIS will act as intermediary bank and will not be involved in the governance of the Afghan Fund or perform any related functions such as approving disbursements.

Use of the Funds
In the short-term, the Board of Trustees of the Afghan Fund will have the ability to authorize targeted disbursements to promote monetary and macroeconomic stability and benefit the Afghan people. This could include paying for critical imports like electricity, paying Afghanistan’s arrears at international financial institutions to preserve their eligibility for financial support, paying for essential central banking services like SWIFT payments, and others.

In the long-term, the goal is for funds not used for these limited purposes to be preserved to return to DAB. The United States has made clear that we will not support the return of these funds until DAB: (1) Demonstrates its independence from political influence and interference; (2) Demonstrates it has instituted adequate anti-money laundering and countering-the-financing-of-terrorism (AML/CFT) controls; and (3) Completes a third-party needs assessment and onboards a reputable third-party monitor.

Afghan Fund Governance
The Afghan Fund is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and a Board of Trustees oversees the fund. The Board currently consists of two highly qualified Afghan economic experts with relevant macroeconomic and monetary policy experience, a U.S. government representative, and a Swiss government representative. The Afghan Fund has the support of international partners committed to supporting sustainable monetary and macroeconomic stability in Afghanistan. An external auditor will monitor and audit the Afghan Fund as required by Swiss law.

Legal Basis for the Transfer of the Afghan Central Bank’s Assets
On February 11, 2022, the President signed E.O. 14064 to help enable certain assets belonging to DAB held in the United States to be used to benefit the Afghan people. Subsequently, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued a license authorizing the transfer of up to $3.5 billion of DAB funds for the benefit of the Afghan people.

Consistent with past practice and following the Taliban takeover, the Department of State certified two individuals pursuant to Section 25B of the Federal Reserve Act as having joint authority to receive, control, or dispose of property from the DAB’s account. Those individuals founded the Afghan Fund as a legal entity in Switzerland.


06/30/2022 02:16 PM EDT

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken called Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta today to discuss the government of Kenya’s efforts to address the continued violence in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  Secretary Blinken expressed his appreciation for the Nairobi Process, which has brought together the leadership of the DRC, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, South Sudan, and Tanzania.  The Secretary noted these heads of state meetings are instrumental for facilitating the de-escalation of regional tensions, and in particular between the DRC and Rwanda.

The Secretary underscored the importance of free and fair Kenyan elections that are peaceful and reflect the will of the Kenyan people.  He also engaged on other regional issues, including U.S. efforts to support African countries suffering from food insecurity as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the historic drought in the Horn of Africa.


05/09/2022 08:25 PM EDT

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson

The United States reiterates its strong support for the combined efforts of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), the African Union (AU), and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to facilitate a political process to restore a civilian-led transition to democracy in Sudan.  We welcome the outreach and progress made to date.

As the process moves forward and the facilitators begin conversations with stakeholders on the substance of a solution, we are convinced that the UNITAMS-AU-IGAD facilitated process is the most inclusive mechanism to achieve an urgently needed agreement on a civilian-led transitional framework.  We continue to encourage all Sudanese civilian and military actors to utilize this process to achieve democratic progress and national stability.

In recent phone calls with Sudanese civilian and military leaders, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Molly Phee welcomed the release of political detainees in the past few weeks.  At the same time, she pressed for the full implementation of promised confidence-building measures by the Sudanese military including lifting the state of emergency and the release of the remaining political detainees.  She stressed the need for all stakeholders to participate constructively in the UNITAMS-AU-IGAD facilitated process and to make rapid progress on the framework for a civilian transitional government.  She underscored the need for the military to transfer power to a civilian government established under such a framework to enable the resumption of international financial support and development assistance.



Suspending Energy Imports from Russia Act (04/07/2022 legislative day)

Suspending Normal Trade Relations with Russia and Belarus Act (04/07/2022 legislative day)

04/05/2022 03:43 PM EDT

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Following a coordinated German law enforcement action, the United States today took further action to combat Russian-related illicit finance and cybercrime by sanctioning the world’s largest darknet market for Russian speakers, Hydra, and the virtual currency exchange Garantex.

Today’s action – coordinated with our allies and partners – disrupts ransomware infrastructure and actors and targets the abuse of virtual currency to launder ransom payments.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Hydra, which provides a marketplace for illicit services, including ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) and hacking services and software, stolen personal information, counterfeit currency, stolen virtual currency, and illicit drugs. The U.S. Department of Treasury also designated Garantex, a virtual currency exchange that has processed millions of dollars in transactions associated with illicit actors, including nearly $6 million from Russian ransomware gang Conti and more than $2 million from Hydra.

The United States is committed to taking action against those who engage in money laundering or the financing of terrorism and allow their systems to be abused for illicit purposes. Wanton disregard for regulations and compliance by persons that run virtual currency exchanges will be investigated and, if appropriate, those responsible will be held accountable for their actions. The United States urges the international community to effectively implement international Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) standards with respect to virtual asset, particularly regarding virtual assets service providers.

For more information on today’s action, please see Treasury’s press release .



03/03/2022 07:12 PM EST

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson


MS PORTER: Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us. Also I thank you for your patience as we have had some scheduling changes today. I just have a few updates at the top and then we’ll resume with Q&A.

As the President announced today, the United States, in coordination with allies and partners, is targeting additional Russian elites, as well as their family members, who continue supporting President Putin, despite his brutal invasion of Ukraine. We’re also targeting their financial networks and assets, major Russian disinformation outlets that contribute to the destabilizing – destabilization of Ukraine, and defense enterprises of the Russian Federation as well as Belarus for supporting Putin’s war of choice. These actions by the Department of State and the Department of the Treasury target some of the wealthiest Russian elites close to Putin and influential Russian executives. Additionally, the Department of Commerce is imposing export controls on oil and gas extraction equipment that support Russia’s refining capacity.

We are also announcing a new visa restriction on certain Russian oligarchs, their family members, and their close associates, who enable Russia’s destabilizing foreign policy. These actions make it clear that there is nowhere to hide for individuals and entities that support Russia’s flagrant aggression against Ukraine.

Next, Secretary Blinken departed today for Brussels, where he will meet with our NATO, European Union, and G7 allies and partners to continue our coordination and express our appreciation on the unprecedented steps that have been made to – taken to support Ukraine and to hold Russia to account. The Secretary will also reaffirm our Article 5 commitment that any attack on any NATO member is an attack on us all.

Following Brussels, he will travel to Poland, which is already hosting hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees, with tens of thousands arriving by the day, and Moldova, which is hosting Ukrainian refugees and where Russian troops have been occupying territory against the will of the people for years. The Secretary will then travel to the Baltic region, with stops in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, where he will discuss our efforts to support Ukraine, strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defense, and other areas of shared interest with our Baltic allies.

As President Biden said in the State of the Union address, the response to Russia’s war has been unity – unity among world leaders, unity in Europe, unity among people gathering around the world to protest President Putin’s war of choice, including thousands of people in Russia and Belarus coming out to protest peacefully, even though they know they’re at risk in doing so. The Secretary’s travel continues our extensive consultations and coordination with our NATO Allies and European partners about Russia’s continued premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified war against Ukraine.

And finally, for some good news, I’d like to highlight the latest milestone in our global COVID-19 response. On December 2nd, President Biden announced that the United States would accelerate our COVID-19 vaccine donations by sharing 200 million safe and effective vaccine doses in 100 days, free of cost. This was an ambitious goal, requiring incredible coordination with other governments, vaccine producers, COVAX, the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust, and many other critical partners. As of today, we’ve delivered on the President’s promise and we’ve done that ahead of schedule. The United States has donated 200 million vaccine doses in 91 days.

These 200 million doses are a part of more than 480 million doses that have been shared with 112 countries and economies, and we’re not done yet. We will continue to work tirelessly to reach the President’s commitment to share 1.2 billion doses, to get shots in arms, and to save lives.

Let’s go to Janne Pak, please.

QUESTION: First question is Russian ambassador to South Korea expressed regret for the South Korean Government participation in sanctions against Russia, and he also pressured (inaudible) the Korean Peninsula issues, including promoting the gas pipeline project jointly by Russia and South Korea and North Korea. How do you assess on this?

Secondly, the China and North Korea are not participating in sanctions against Russia. Will there be any other sanctions on them? Thank you very much.

MS PORTER: Thanks, Janne. I’d just reiterate what we said at the top in underscoring what the President has announced today – of course, what we’ve done, what the U.S. has done in concert with our allies and partners in imposing more sanctions. And in doing so, we were targeting Putin’s allies, including Russian elites and their family members who have supported his brutal invasion.

And I think to your first question, I wouldn’t necessarily directly respond to – I think you said the Russian ambassador to South Korea and their participation of South Korea’s sanctioning Ukraine, but I would say that the world has spoken. The international community has been very clear and they’ve been – we’ve been united in our defense of this war, of the senseless war in Ukraine. I think that was obvious in the United States – I’m sorry, the UN General Assembly vote just yesterday, where over – 141 members voted in support of making sure that we know that Putin’s actions were wrong and that he – his war was unjust and premeditated, and I think that stands alone for itself.

Let’s go over to Nike Ching.

QUESTION: Hey, Jalina. Thank you very much for the call. First, could you comment on the RT closure today due to the condemnation it received in the United States? After Russia invaded Ukraine, do you expect more – does the U.S. expect more closure from Russia state-run media?

And secondly, on China, do you have anything on a New York Times report citing Western intelligence sources that senior Chinese officials told senior Russian officials in early February not to invade Ukraine before the end of the Winter Olympics, which the Chinese embassy has denied and pushed back? Thank you.

MS PORTER: Thanks, Nike. To your first question, I don’t have anything for you right now. If that does change, we’d be happy to get back to you.

To your second question on the Times piece that you mentioned, I’d say that the world, again, has been watching to see which nations stand up for Ukraine, as well as the basic principles of freedom, their territorial integrity, and sovereignty, and also who stands by or supports Russia –and, again, in their war that was unprovoked, that was premeditated, and, quite frankly, that was unlawful. Nations that side with President Putin will inevitably find themselves on the wrong side of history.

And I’ll just underscore what President Biden has said: Now is the time for leaders of the world to speak out clearly against President Putin’s flagrant aggression and to stand with the people of Ukraine. This has been a blatant attack on Ukraine’s national sovereignty and their territorial integrity, principles that the PRC claims to respect. This isn’t a moment for hiding or waiting to see what happens next. It’s already clear what’s happened right now.

Let’s go to the line of Rick Westhead, please.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.) I’m with TSN Sports. Yesterday Ukraine’s top diplomat in Canada sent a letter to the Canadian federal government asking that Canada, moving forward, no longer approve visas and work permits for Russian and Belarusian professional athletes. I’d like to know whether the U.S. State Department is also – is contemplating this, and if similar conversations have happened between the State Department and the Ukrainian embassy in Washington.

MS PORTER: Thanks for your question. I wouldn’t be able to preview any premeditative action, but what I can say broadly speaking is that we have been unable to process most visas in Moscow for the past several months because of the Russian Government’s force reduction in our consular workforce. Any non-immigrant visas may be processed wherever an application – an applicant is physically located and can schedule an appointment.

Let’s go to Humeyra Pamuk.

QUESTION: Hello, can you hear me?

MR PRICE: Hi. Yes, I can hear you.

QUESTION: Hi, Jalina. I have two questions. I see that Russia and Ukraine have agreed on the need to set up a humanitarian corridor to help fleeing civilians. I’m just wondering if U.S. is going to be involved in this effort in any way and whether Washington is in touch with Moscow specifically about a humanitarian corridor.

And then on Iran, could you just tell us the very latest on the indirect talks between U.S. and Iran? Is there a deal yet or is it imminent? Thanks.

MS PORTER: Thanks for your questions, Humeyra. To your first one, I don’t have anything to say specific to any participation in the humanitarian corridor, but I will say that the U.S. has been one of the foremost donors in humanitarian assistance in Ukraine, and we continue to stand by them to this day.

To your second question on Iran, I’ll just say that there has been significant progress and we are close to a possible deal, but a number of difficult issues still remain unsolved. There’s very little remaining time to reach a deal given the pace of Iran’s nuclear advances, and as we’ve said before –and I’ll underscore here again today – that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. So we will not have a deal unless we resolved quickly the remaining issues. If Iran shows seriousness, we can and should reach an understanding of mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA within days. Outside of that, anything would put us in the possibility of return to the deal at grave risk.

Let’s please go to Rosiland Jordan.

OPERATOR: Rosiland Jordan, your line is open. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. Hi. Thanks, Jalina, for the call. First, I wanted to ask you about today’s announcement out of Havana that additional U.S. diplomats will be rebased there in order to step up the ability to process visas for Cuban citizens. Why was that decision taken now? Does that mean that the U.S. does not think that there’s any potential future health risk to U.S. diplomats? And finally, does this – is this a harbinger of closer ties between the U.S. and Cuba now that the President has been in power for more than a year?

MS PORTER: Thanks, Ros. I’ll start by saying that the embassy in Havana looks forward to initiating a limited resumption of some immigrant visa services as a part of a broader expansion of the embassy to facilitate diplomatic and civil society engagement, and also to expand the provision of consular services. I’d also say at the direction of Biden-Harris administration, the State Department explored options to augment staffing at U.S. Embassy in Havana to facilitate the provision of consular services while also maintaining an appropriate security posture.

It goes without saying that our top priority is the safety and security of all of our people, and I would also say that we – our goal is to work with the embassy in Georgetown in Guyana. It will remain the priority, the primary processing location for Cuban immigrant visa applications. And we will begin – when we begin limited immigrant visa processing at Embassy Havana, we will also work with the National Visa Center to schedule a limited number of immigrant visa appointments for applicants whose information is documentarily complete.

Let’s go to Laura Kelly, please.

OPERATOR: Laura Kelly, your line is open.

QUESTION: Thank you so much for taking my question. I wanted to zoom out a little on sanctions – I hope I’m not getting ahead of myself – but I wanted to ask if there’s a timeline for these sanctions to remain in place, or if they are expected to be in place in perpetuity until certain conditions are met where – I’m sorry, the sanctions on Russia related to the Ukraine crisis. Are there certain conditions which would lift or ease sanctions that Russia – certain actions Russia can take? And are sanctions lifting and easing solely at the discretion of the President? Yes, that’s it.

MS PORTER: Thanks, Laura. I’m not in a position to preview any timeline, and again, the President just made these announcements today. But what I would say is that we used sanctions as a tool and we hope this tool will help them come back to the negotiating table of diplomacy. We hope that they will come back to the table of de-escalation. What we’ve seen is proof that that has not happened at all yet, so I don’t even think it’s appropriate to even think about any timeline at a time like this when they continue their aggression every single day.

Let’s go to José Luis Sanz.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) holding this. Well, El Salvador is the only country in Central America that has not yet made public their position in – on the invasion of Ukraine. And they abstained in the United Nations vote condemning the invasion.

Two questions related with that. One, has been any direct contact with the Salvadoran authorities or the President Bukele to try to persuade him or talk about this position? And second, Senator Menendez has talked about the possibility of taking some kind of action against the countries like Nicaragua or El Salvador that are not condemning the invasion. Which is your position on that?

MS PORTER: José, if we have you, could you please ask your second question again so I can have fidelity on who you said would target Nicaragua?

QUESTION: Yeah. The second question is that Senator Menendez talked yesterday about the possibility of the impact that the decision or the position of Nicaragua and El Salvador abstaining on the United Nations resolution could have, and the possibility of rebuilding CAFTA for those countries. Is there – this administration thinking about any kind of reaction against those countries or rebuilding the relationship with El Salvador or – in any way because of that?

MS PORTER: Thanks. What I’ll say is that we certainly aren’t in a position to interfere with any senators or members of Congress in what they deem appropriate in this situation. Our goal has always been to help the people of El Salvador in any way that we can. We value our strong relationship with the people of El Salvador and what we focus on is to promote an El Salvador that is safe and is prosperous and that is committed to fighting corruption as well.

As far as your first question, I would say again I’d underscore what I said before, in that the international community has spoken up. They – we’ve spoken up in unity. We’ve been clear that what – the senseless war in Ukraine is awful. But again, I wouldn’t go anywhere beyond that.

Let’s go to Olivia Gazis.

QUESTION: Thanks very much, Jalina. Wondering if you can talk about – the LFA said today that French President Emmanuel Macron came away from a 90-minute call with Putin worried that the worst is to come. Wondering if you’ve got a more detailed readout of that call and what specifically he meant. And then separately, relatedly, if you have any update on the U.S.’s efforts to determine whether Russia is, in fact, using prohibited weapons on Ukrainian soil. Thank you.

MS PORTER: Thanks, Olivia. To your first question, I would leave it to the French to provide a readout of President Macron’s call. And to your second question, the United States supports ongoing efforts to detect any potential human rights abuses or violations of international humanitarian law. Beyond that, I don’t have anything further.

Let’s go to Nick Wadhams, please.

QUESTION: Hi Jalina, thanks very much. Can you tell us if the State Department is going to release the names of the 19 oligarchs and the 47 family members and close associates who are the target of visa restrictions that were announced today? Thanks.

MS PORTER: Thanks, Nick. I would refer you to the White House fact sheet that came out. And to kind of summarize, it imposed visa restrictions on 19 oligarchs and 47 of their members, but did not highlight specifically who they were.

Let’s go to Joseph Haboush, please.

OPERATOR: Joseph Haboush, your line is open. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi, Jalina. I wanted to ask just a follow-up on the Iran talks. You mentioned there’s very little time remaining to reach a nuclear deal. Does Special Envoy Malley plan on returning if there’s no deal reached before the end of the weekend? And could you elaborate on the sticking points, and if the State Department is considering removing the IRGC as an FTO?

And just a second one. The UAE’s ambassador to the U.S. today mentioned that ties were undergoing a stress test between Washington and the UAE. And in an article published today in The Atlantic, the Saudi crown prince mentioned that he did not care what the – what President Biden thought of him. Any response to either of these comments? Thank you.

MS PORTER: If you’re still on the line, can you repeat your second question?

QUESTION: Yeah. So this morning, the UAE ambassador to the U.S. mentioned that ties between the U.S. and the UAE are going through a stress test, implying that ties weren’t at their best or at their highest levels. And the – in an interview also published today, the Saudi crown prince said that he did not care what President Biden thought of him. Any response on either of those? Thanks.

MS PORTER: Thanks for repeating that. I don’t have any response for you at this time, to your second question. To your first one, Special Envoy Malley continues to remain in the region. He’s consulting with his interagency team out there. I don’t have anything to preview beyond that. And we certainly don’t have anything to preview as far as FTOs.

Let’s take a final question from Eric Tucker.

QUESTION: Jalina, thank you so much for doing this. As you know, obviously the U.S. is currently holding Trevor Reed and Paul Whelan, and Ukraine is holding a North Dakota farmer, Kurt Groszhans. I’m wondering to what extent the war affects U.S. abilities to bring any of those three men home, and what sort of work continues to try to make those arrangements to get them home. Thank you so much.

MS PORTER: Thanks for your question. I’ll just underscore what we’ve said time and again, is – and that our top priority is the safety and security of all U.S. citizens. Of course, that includes Trevor Reed and Paul Whelan, and this is something that the Secretary works on day in and day out.

Thank you all for joining us this afternoon. That concludes today’s briefing. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day.

(The briefing was concluded at 3:38 p.m.)

# # #

  1. family members 
  2. Russia 


03/03/2022 06:34 PM EST

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

The United States remains united with our allies and partners in our commitment to ensure the Government of Russia pays a severe economic and diplomatic price for its aggression against Ukraine.  Today we are targeting Russian elites and their financial networks and assets, major Russian disinformation outlets that contribute to the destabilization of Ukraine, and defense enterprises of the Russian Federation, as well as imposing additional export controls on Russian oil and gas refining.  These actions make it clear there is nowhere to hide for individuals and entities that support Russia’s flagrant war against Ukraine.

Today’s actions by the Department of State and the Department of the Treasury target some of the wealthiest Russian elites close to Putin:  Alisher Usmanov, Boris Arkady, and Igor Rotenberg, and their family members and entities connected to them.  These actions also target influential Russian executives:  Nikolai Tokarev, President of Transneft; Sergei Chemezov, CEO of Rostec; and Igor Shuvalov, Chairman of VEB.RF.  These individuals, part of President Putin’s inner circle, have enriched themselves at the expense of the Russian people, and their support has facilitated Putin’s war of choice against Ukraine.

Second, the U.S. government is targeting those involved in Russia’s global disinformation and destabilizing influence campaign, including in Ukraine.  The Department of State is designating Dmitry Peskov, the chief propagandist of the Russian Federation and Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, under E.O. 14024.  The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assest Control (OFAC) is designating Russian elite Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who has been previously designated under various sanctions authorities.  Today, OFAC also is designating Prigozhin’s wife Polina, daughter Lyubov, and son Pavel, who play various roles in his business enterprise.  In addition, OFAC is designating 26 individuals and seven entities associated with Russia’s global disinformation campaign, particularly those backed by Russian intelligence services.  These targets utilize organizations that purport to serve as legitimate news sites but instead spread disinformation and ultra-nationalist propaganda for the Russian Federation.  These 33 individuals and entities have been designated under various authorities, including E.O. 13661, E.O. 13694, as amended, E.O. 13848, and 224(a)(l)(B) Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (“CAATSA”).

Third, the Department of State is imposing substantial costs on Russia’s defense enterprises by sanctioning 22 defense-related firms.  These far-reaching sanctions target entities that develop and produce fighter aircraft, infantry fighting vehicles, electronic warfare systems, missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles for Russia’s military.  These sanctions strike at the core of Putin’s war machine.

Fourth, the Department of Commerce is imposing export controls on oil and gas extraction equipment that support Russia’s refining capacity.  Because a significant portion of the Russian government’s revenue comes from the sale of oil and gas, these actions will degrade Russia’s ability to raise revenue to support and sustain its military aggression.  These measures also align U.S. export controls in this area with those of the European Union.

Finally, today the Department of State is announcing a new visa restriction policy to restrict the issuance of visas to certain Russian oligarchs, their family members, and close associates pursuant to Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  These oligarchs are known to direct, authorize, fund, significantly support, or carry out malign activities in support of Russia’s destabilizing foreign policy.  Restrictions may be lifted for individuals who cease their support for and involvement in the Russian government’s destabilizing activity.  In an initial action under this policy today, we are targeting 19 oligarchs and 47 family members and close associates.  We will continue to add names to this visa restriction policy as long as individuals continue to support and carry out destabilizing activity on behalf of the Kremlin.  We welcome recent similar actions by Allies and partners.

The United States commends the continued support of our allies and partners across the world in the face of the Russian aggression against Ukraine.  We also applaud the bravery of the Ukrainian people who are fighting in defense of their country and those who must endure this unprovoked Russian invasion.  We stand in solidarity with them and will continue to support the government and people of Ukraine in the face of the Kremlin’s aggression, and we are resolute in our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity.

For more information on today’s action, please see the Department of State’s factsheet and Department of the Treasury’s press release. 



Office of Public Affairs

Secretary Mayorkas Designates Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status for 18 Months

WASHINGTON  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the designation of Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months.  

“Russia’s premeditated and unprovoked attack on Ukraine has resulted in an ongoing war, senseless violence, and Ukrainians forced to seek refuge in other countries,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “In these extraordinary times, we will continue to offer our support and protection to Ukrainian nationals in the United States.”

A country may be designated for TPS when conditions in the country fall into one or more of the three statutory bases for designation: ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or extraordinary and temporary conditions. This designation is based on both ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in Ukraine that prevent Ukrainian nationals, and those of no nationality who last habitually resided in Ukraine, from returning to Ukraine safely. These conditions result from the full-scale Russian military invasion into Ukraine, which marks the largest conventional military action in Europe since World War II. This invasion has caused a humanitarian crisis with significant numbers of individuals fleeing and damage to civilian infrastructure that has left many without electricity or water or access to food, basic supplies, shelter, and emergency medical services.

Individuals eligible for TPS under this designation must have continuously resided in the United States since March 1, 2022. Individuals who attempt to travel to the United States after March 1, 2022 will not be eligible for TPS. Ukraine’s 18-month designation will go into effect on the publication date of the forthcoming Federal Register notice. The Federal Register notice will provide instructions for applying for TPS and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). TPS applicants must meet all eligibility requirements and undergo security and background checks.

01/10/2022 10:43 AM EST

Posted On: January 10, 2022
Report Date: January 2022
Report Number: AUD-MERO-22-18
Report: application/pdf icon aud-mero-22-18_-_web_posting_508.pdf
Report Highlight: application/pdf icon aud-mero-22-18_-_highlights_508.pdf

01/10/2022 02:04 PM EST

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) sanctions last month on four U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) commissioners, including Chair Nadine Maenza, Vice Chair Nury Turkel, and Commissioners Anurima Bhargava and James W. Carr, constitute yet another PRC affront against universal rights.  The PRC has previously sanctioned three other current or former USCIRF commissioners, in addition to dozens of current or former U.S. officials and organizations promoting democracy and respect for human rights around the world – all of which are without merit.  We remain undeterred by these actions, and we stand in solidarity with USCIRF and its staff.  The United States is committed to defending human rights around the world and will continue to use all diplomatic and economic tools to promote accountability.

Beijing’s continued attempts to intimidate and silence those speaking out for human rights only contribute to the growing international scrutiny of the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.  The United States again calls on the PRC to cease its acts of transnational repression, including coercive practices of imprisoning and denying freedom of movement to family members of Uyghur American activists, including individuals serving the American people.  These acts undermine the international rules-based order.

We support and stand with those who speak out on behalf of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion or belief.

01/10/2022 11:22 AM EST

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

In concert with democracies in the international community, the United States will continue to call out the Ortega-Murillo regime’s ongoing abuses and will deploy diplomatic and economic tools to support the restoration of democracy and respect for human rights in Nicaragua. To that end, the Department of State is taking steps to impose visa restrictions on 116 individuals complicit in undermining democracy in Nicaragua, including mayors, prosecutors, university administrators, as well as police, prison, and military officials.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today sanctioned six members of the Ortega-Murillo regime for currently serving as officials of the Government of Nicaragua or for having served at any time on or after January 10, 2007.  We are undertaking these economic sanctions and visa restrictions to promote accountability for the Ortega-Murillo regime’s escalating authoritarianism and abuses.

The regime continues to hold 170 political prisoners, with many of those detained suffering from a lack of adequate food and proper medical care.  Others remain in solitary confinement.  Ortega’s corrupt security and judicial system arrested these individuals for practicing independent journalism, working for civil society organizations, seeking to compete in elections, and publicly expressing an opinion contrary to government orthodoxy, among other activities considered normal in a free society.

We join the European Union in taking a strong stand against the human rights abuses and disrespect for the Nicaraguan people, demonstrated by the Ortega-Murillo regime.   President Ortega will inaugurate himself for a new presidential term today, but the pre-determined election he staged on November 7 does not provide him with a new democratic mandate; only free and fair elections can do that.  The Nicaraguan people deserve nothing less.

For more information about the OFAC sanctions, see the Treasury release: 

01/08/2022 11:17 AM EST

Office of the Spokesperson

The Quad (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America) welcome the announcement that the UN Interim Transition Assistance Mission to Sudan is facilitating discussions to resolve Sudan’s political crisis. We strongly support this UN-facilitated, Sudanese-led dialogue initiative. We urge all Sudanese political actors to seize this opportunity to restore the country’s transition to civilian democracy, in line with the 2019 Constitutional Declaration. We look forward to this being a results-oriented process that will guide the country towards democratic elections, in line with the Sudanese people’s manifest aspirations for freedom, democracy, peace, justice, and prosperity.

12/17/2021 11:30 AM EST

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson

The United States is gravely concerned by unconfirmed new reports alleging mass detentions, killings, and forced expulsions of ethnic Tigrayans in western Tigray by Amhara security forces.  The UN reports that 1.2 million people have been forcibly displaced from western Tigray since the beginning of the conflict in November 2020.  We call on Amhara leaders to renounce violence against civilians.  We also reiterate our call on Eritrea to remove its forces from Ethiopia.  We urge the Ethiopian authorities to investigate these reports to determine their veracity and to commit to inclusive, transparent processes to hold responsible those accountable.

We call on all armed actors in Ethiopia to renounce and end violence against civilians.  We also reiterate our call for a cessation of hostilities, an immediate end to human rights abuses and violations, negotiations without preconditions, unhindered humanitarian access, and the start to an inclusive national dialogue.

12/12/2021 09:45 AM EST

Office of the Spokesperson

The text of the following statement was released by the G7 foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union.

Begin Text: 

We, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union, are united in our condemnation of Russia’s military build-up and aggressive rhetoric towards Ukraine.

We call on Russia to de-escalate, pursue diplomatic channels, and abide by its international commitments on transparency of military activities as President Biden did in his call with President Putin on 7 December. We reconfirm our support for the efforts of France and Germany in the Normandy Format to achieve full implementation of the Minsk Agreements in order to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Any use of force to change borders is strictly prohibited under international law. Russia should be in no doubt that further military aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and severe cost in response.

We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the right of any sovereign state to determine its own future. We commend Ukraine’s posture of restraint.

We will intensify our cooperation on our common and comprehensive response

12/15/2021 08:44 AM EST

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson

We are alarmed by a potential deployment of Russia-backed Wagner Group forces in Mali.  We understand that the reported deal — costing $10 million per month — diverts money that could be used to support the Malian Armed Forces and public services to pay for the deployment of Yevgeniy Prigozhin’s Wagner Group forces to Mali.  Wagner forces — which are known for their destabilizing activities and human rights abuses — will not bring peace to Mali, but rather will destabilize the country further.

Yevgeniy Prigozhin is sanctioned by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union in connection with his dealings with the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense and his efforts to subvert U.S. democratic processes.  The Wagner Group, which is also sanctioned by the United States, has been implicated in abuses and actions that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the Central African Republic (CAR).  For example, in CAR, Wagner elements carried out extrajudicial killings of members of predominantly Muslim Peuhl communities.

The EU sanctioned the Wagner group and 11 of its associates on December 13 for its destabilizing activities in Ukraine, Libya, CAR, and Syria.

Countries that experience Wagner group deployments within their borders soon find themselves poorer, weaker, and less secure.  The cases of Libya, CAR, Ukraine, and Syria are examples of the detrimental impact of Wagner Group deployments.

In these places Wagner forces stoked conflict and increased insecurity and instability, causing the deaths of local soldiers and civilians and undermining national sovereignty — all while depleting the national treasury and diverting essential resources that could have been used to build the capabilities of the countries’ own armed services.

We urge the transitional government in Mali not to divert scarce budgetary resources away from the Malian Armed Forces’ fight against terrorism.  The wealth of the country — including mining concessions — should benefit the Malian people, and not be mortgaged to unaccountable foreign forces with a record of abusing local populations and undermining host nations’ control over their own territory.

Furthermore, the invitation to Wagner Group would disrupt efforts by the international community to support the fight against terrorism and could put at risk the contributions of more than 20,000 international peacekeepers and troops who serve Mali at no cost to the people or government.

The United States laments that Mali’s transitional government has refused to accept more than 2,000 additional MINUSMA military and police peacekeepers — again, at no cost to Mali — that would have contributed to civilian protection.  The United States also regrets that the transitional government has delayed efforts by international partners to deploy additional troops and trainers and to bolster security operations.  We call on the transitional government to take action to facilitate responsible and accountable security assistance efforts aimed at protecting and empowering the Malian people.

We also call on the transitional government to move rapidly to return Mali to democratic governance, which will allow the United States to resume security assistance that benefits the Malian people.

12/10/2021 01:08 PM EST

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

I extend my warmest congratulations to Ambassador Catherine Russell on her appointment by UN Secretary-General António Guterres as the next Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Ambassador Russell has had a long and distinguished career in public service, including as Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues. Her lifelong passion for public service as well as her strong and compassionate leadership will improve the wellbeing of children through this crucial position.

With this announcement, Ambassador Russell succeeds current UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, herself an extraordinary, visionary leader who has expanded UNICEF’s global impact on child health, learning, and welfare. My sincerest thanks to Ms. Fore for her unyielding commitment to the ideals that fuel UNICEF’s many accomplishments.

The United States looks forward to continuing our close collaboration, support, and lifesaving partnership with UNICEF under the leadership of Ambassador Russell.

12/14/2021 11:36 AM EST

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

The United States condemns today’s politically motivated convictions of Belarusian opposition figures Syarhey Tsikhanouski, Mikalai Statkevich, Radio Liberty journalist Ihar Losik, and others in judicial proceedings that do not conform to the rule of law. Belarusian courts harshly sentenced Mr. Tsikhanouski to 18 years, Mr. Statkevich to 14 years, and Mr. Losik to 15 years in prison. Neither these individuals, nor the Belarusian people, warrant such harsh repression.

Belarus has obligations under international law, as well as commitments as an OSCE participating State, to respect the right to a fair trial by an independent and impartial tribunal, as well as the rights of the individual to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly. Regrettably, these sentences are further evidence of the regime’s disregard for these international obligations as well as for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Belarusians. The Belarusian people deserve better.

We reiterate our call for the Lukashenka regime to end its crackdown on members of civil society, independent media, the political opposition, athletes, students, legal professionals and other Belarusians; to immediately release all of the more than 900 political prisoners, including  Mr. Tsikhanouski, Mr. Losik, Mr. Statkevich, and others; to engage in a genuine dialogue with the democratic forces and civil society; to hold free and fair elections under international observation; to stop its cruel exploitation of vulnerable migrants; and to respect its obligations under international law.

12/14/2021 01:02 PM EST

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson

The United States condemns the conviction and sentencing to 9 years imprisonment of noted Vietnamese author and journalist Pham Doan Trang, who did nothing more than peacefully express her opinions.  We note as well the recent opinion of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which found Trang’s detention to be arbitrary and in contravention of Vietnam’s international human rights commitments and obligations.  The United States calls on the Vietnamese government to release Trang, who has been recognized internationally for her work to advance human rights and good governance in Vietnam, and to allow all individuals in Vietnam to express their views freely and without fear of retaliation.  We also urge the government to ensure its laws and actions are consistent with the human rights provisions of Vietnam’s Constitution and Vietnam’s international obligations and commitments.

12/13/2021 08:53 PM EST

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson

The recent trial and sentencing of political opponents Reckya Madougou and Joel Aivo raise grave concerns about political interference in Benin’s criminal justice system.

We are alarmed by the further erosion of space for dissent, overall increased restrictions on participatory self-governance and freedom of expression, and systematic targeting of political opposition figures. Demonstrating to Benin’s citizens and international partners that the judicial system will not be used for political purposes is essential to restoring Benin’s former reputation as a regional leader in democratic governance and rule of law.

12/06/2021 09:15 AM EST

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

The Burmese military regime’s unjust conviction of Aung San Suu Kyi and the repression of other democratically elected officials are yet further affronts to democracy and justice in Burma.  The regime’s continued disregard for the rule of law and its widespread use of violence against the Burmese people underscore the urgency of restoring Burma’s path to democracy.  We urge the regime to release Aung San Suu Kyi and all those unjustly detained, including other democratically elected officials.  We reiterate our call for the regime to engage in constructive dialogue with all parties to seek a peaceful resolution in the interest of the people, as agreed to in the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus.  We join the people of Burma in their aspirations for freedom and democracy and call on the regime to end the use of violence, respect the will of the people, and restore Burma’s democratic transition.


12/13/2021 05:07 PM EST

Office of the Spokesperson

On December 9, the United States and Canada concluded the eleventh round of negotiations to modernize the Columbia River Treaty regime.  During this round, the United States and Canada discussed ecosystem priorities, post-2024 flood risk management, and Canada’s desire for more operational flexibility.

The U.S. Department of State leads a negotiating team consisting of representatives from the Bonneville Power Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwestern Division, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  The U.S. delegation also included the U.S. Department of Energy and expert-advisors from the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

The next round of negotiations will take place January 10, 2022, via videoconference. 

12/13/2021 12:29 PM EST

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson

The Department of State is disrupting wildlife trafficking networks by imposing visa restrictions on eight nationals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  These actions under section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which targets wildlife and timber traffickers who are believed to be, or have been, complicit in or involved in trafficking in wildlife, wildlife parts, or products.  Wildlife trafficking is a serious transnational crime that threatens national security, economic prosperity, the rule of law, long-standing conservation efforts, and human health through the spread of zoonotic disease.  The DRC is a major hub for trafficked wildlife and wildlife products moving from Africa to Asia and the Middle East.  This includes vast quantities of ivory and pangolin scales, as well as rhino horn, and endangered live animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, and African grey parrots.

This visa restriction policy is designed to further disrupt the movements and business of transnational criminal organizations involved in wildlife and timber trafficking by making it harder for them to smuggle illegal wildlife and timber.  We are sending a clear message that wildlife and timber traffickers are not welcome in the United States.  The United States is committed to working with DRC government authorities and the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) to disrupt trafficking networks and combat wildlife trafficking globally.


12/09/2021 04:20 PM EST

Office of the Spokesperson

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LNBL) this week released an in-depth study of India’s future power system investments.  The report shows that India could economically meet its electricity demand, which is expected to double by 2030, through renewables and complementary flexible resources, including energy storage, agricultural load shifting, and hydropower, and optimally utilizing the existing thermal power assets in the country.  The LBNL study validates the cost-effectiveness of Prime Minister Modi’s goal of installing 500 GW of non-fossil electricity capacity by 2030.  These targets are critical to meeting global climate goals as India is the world’s third-largest energy consuming country.  Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Jose W. Fernandez of the U.S. Department of State and Secretary Alok Kumar of India’s Ministry of Power highlighted the LBNL study during a virtual launch today.

This study was conducted under the Flexible Resources Initiative (FRI) of the U.S.-India Clean Energy Finance Task Force, managed by the State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources.  FRI advances cost-effective strategies to enhance the flexibility and robustness of India’s power system in support of its clean energy transition.

The study, Least Cost Pathway for India’s Power System Investments through 2030, found that dramatic cost reductions over the last decade in energy sources, such as solar, and flexible resources, like battery storage, make it affordable for India to meet its growing power demand dependably over the next decade, while at the same time reducing electricity costs by 8-10 percent and emissions intensity of electricity supply by 43-50 percent from 2020 levels.  It also finds that only 23 gigawatts of net additions to the coal capacity will be needed if battery storage costs continue to decline, supply chain issues are addressed, and adequate financing is secured.    The study is complemented by a report on important policy and regulatory recommendations, which if implemented, will enable India to achieve the 2030 goals at lowest cost.  These recommendations include a nuanced long-term resource adequacy framework for system planning and procurement, and reforms of India’s gas pipeline operations to enable cost-effective, flexible operations of India’s existing gas power plants for seasonal balancing.  These recommended regulatory changes will promote optimal investments, help avoid overbuilding assets, and assure the rapid retirement of uneconomic assets.

FRI is co-led on the U.S. side by the  Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Agency for International Development, and on the Indian side by the Ministry of Power in coordination with the Central Electricity Authority, Power System Operation Corporation, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board.



12/07/2021 08:45 AM EST

Posted On: December 07, 2021
Report Date: December 2021
Report Number: AUD-CGI-22-13
Report: application/pdf icon aud-cgi-22-13_-_web_posting_508.pdf
Report Highlight: application/pdf icon aud-cgi-22-13_-_highlights_508.pdf

u s department of homeland security u s immigration and customs enforcement

03/12/2021 12:44 PM EST
On Dec. 2, as part of Operation Blood Ties and with support from U.S. law enforcement, Brazilian authorities executed 21 search warrants and eight arrests in the states of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais.



04-08-2021 09:20 AM CEST

Russia has the largest area of forest on the planet, with more than a fifth of the world's trees. A new study, led by Russian scientists using data from ESA’s Climate Change Initiative, has produced new estimates of biomass contained in Russian forests, and confirms that the vast forested area is storing more carbon than previously estimated.




07/31/2021 09:41 AM EDT

Office of the Spokesperson

The United States and Canada hosted the third U.S.-Canada Critical Minerals Working Group meeting on July 28, co-chaired by U.S. Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Laura Lochman, and Assistant Deputy Minister of the Land and Minerals Sector of Natural Resources Canada, Jeff Labonté.

The working group discussed implementation of President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau’s commitment to strengthen cooperation on critical minerals supply chains as outlined in the Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership. Participants discussed ways to strengthen the Joint Action Plan for Critical Minerals to target a net-zero industrial transformation, and to support clean energy deployment, including batteries for zero-emissions vehicles, as well as stationary energy storage. They also shared perspectives on strengthening supply chains that utilize critical minerals, and reviewed President Biden’s Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains and the related 100-day supply chain review of critical minerals and materials and other key sectors issued in June.



07/31/2021 09:14 PM EDT

Office of the Spokesperson

The following is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with Israeli Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid today. Secretary Blinken and FM Lapid discussed the attack on the Mercer Street, a commercial ship which was peacefully transiting through the north Arabian Sea. They agreed to work with the United Kingdom, Romania, and other international partners to investigate the facts, provide support, and consider the appropriate next steps.



07/29/2021 09:53 PM EDT

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson

The United States is deeply concerned with the increasingly harsh surveillance, harassment, and intimidation of U.S. and other foreign journalists in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), including foreign journalists covering the devastation and loss of life caused by recent floods in Henan. The U.S. government reiterates the condolences of the American people to all those affected.

The PRC government claims to welcome foreign media and support their work, but its actions tell a different story. Its harsh rhetoric, promoted through official state media, toward any news it perceives to be critical of PRC policies, has provoked negative public sentiment leading to tense, in-person confrontations and harassment, including online verbal abuse and death threats of journalists simply doing their jobs. Foreign journalists are increasingly refused visas to enter or remain in the PRC, severely limiting the quantity and quality of independent reporting on important issues. We call on the PRC to act as a responsible nation hoping to welcome foreign media and the world for the upcoming Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In her July 26 meetings with PRC officials in Tianjin, Deputy Secretary Sherman specifically raised the importance of media access, freedom from harassment, and press freedom. We call on PRC officials to ensure that journalists remain safe and able to report freely.



Office of Public Affairs

Secretary Mayorkas Announces Extension and Re-Designation of Somalia for Temporary Protected Status

Extension and Re-Designation Allows Additional Eligible Somalis to Apply for TPS and Employment Authorization Documents

WASHINGTON—Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced an 18-month extension and re-designation of Somalia for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).  This extension and re-designation will be in effect from September 18, 2021, through March 17, 2023.

“Through the extension and re-designation of Somalia for Temporary Protected Status, the United States will be able to offer safety and protection to Somalis who may not be able to return to their country, due to ongoing conflict and a worsening humanitarian crisis,” said Secretary Mayorkas.  “We will continue to offer our support to Somali nationals through this temporary form of humanitarian relief.”

Secretary Mayorkas made this decision to extend and re-designate Somalia for TPS after consultation with interagency partners and careful consideration of the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in Somalia.  Three decades of conflict in Somalia, along with natural disasters and disease outbreaks, have worsened an already severe humanitarian crisis.  Somalia has recently experienced a dramatic upsurge in violence, severe drought, and flooding, which have contributed to worsening food insecurity and internal displacement.  The COVID-19 pandemic, in conjunction with an outbreak of cholera, also presents major challenges for a health care system that has already been severely weakened by the ongoing conflict.  These conditions prevent Somali nationals and habitual residents from returning to Somalia safely.

The extension of TPS for Somalia allows approximately 447 current beneficiaries to retain TPS through March 17, 2023, so long as they meet TPS eligibility requirements.  The re-designation of Somalia for TPS also allows an estimated 100 additional Somali nationals (or individuals having no nationality who last habitually resided in Somalia) who have been continuously residing in the United States since July 19, 2021, to file initial applications to obtain TPS, if they are otherwise eligible.

Current beneficiaries re-registering under the extension of TPS for Somalia must do so in a timely manner during the 60-day registration period that will be announced in the Federal Register notice, to ensure they keep their TPS and work authorization without a gap.


Under the re-designation of Somalia, eligible individuals who do not have TPS may submit an initial Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, during the initial registration period that will run from the publication date of the Federal Register notice, through the full length of the re-designation period ending March 17, 2023.  Applicants are also eligible to apply for TPS-related Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) and for travel authorization.


A Federal Register notice explaining the procedures necessary to re-register or submit an initial registration application and apply for an EAD will be published soon.

07/19/2021 12:26 PM EDT

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson

The United States welcomes the talks held July 17-18 between senior leaders of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban in Doha and the commitment the two sides have declared to accelerate negotiations towards an inclusive political settlement. Only a negotiated settlement can bring a lasting end to over 40 years of conflict in Afghanistan. 

The United States urges the Taliban to uphold the commitment in the Joint Declaration to protect Afghanistan’s infrastructure, protect civilians, and cooperate on humanitarian assistance. 

The United States commends the leadership of the State of Qatar in bringing the parties together as well as the United Nations for the essential role it is playing.  We remain committed to working alongside the international community and Afghanistan’s neighbors in advancing the Afghanistan peace process and supporting the people of Afghanistan in achieving the just and lasting peace they deserve. 


U.S. Department of Justice

07/16/2021 12:00 AM EDT
Jacksonville, Florida – U.S. District Judge Harvey Schlesinger today sentenced Ge Songtao (51, Nanjing, People’s Republic of China) to three years and six months years in federal prison for conspiring to submit false export information through the federal government’s Automated Export System and to export maritime raiding craft and engines to China fraudulently, and attempting to export that equipment fraudulently, in violation of U.S. law. In addition, the Court ordered Songtao to forfeit $114,834.27, the amount caused to be wired to a U.S. manufacturer to purchase the raiding craft and engines.




07/16/2021 11:49 AM EDT

Office of the Spokesperson

On July 16, the U.S. Department of State, along with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, issued a business advisory to caution U.S. businesses about emerging risks to their operations and activities in Hong Kong. Many of these risks stem from the implementation of the Law of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, also known as the National Security Law (NSL), and other recent legislative changes.

Developments over the last year in Hong Kong present clear operational, financial, legal, and reputational risks for multinational firms. This business advisory provides companies with information that can assist them in making informed business decisions and properly assessing risk.

The policies which the PRC government and the Government of Hong Kong have implemented undermine the legal and regulatory environment that is critical for individuals and businesses to operate freely and with legal certainty in Hong Kong.

Businesses should be aware that the risks faced in mainland China are now increasingly present in Hong Kong. The National Security Law and actions taken by PRC and Hong Kong authorities may negatively affect their staff, finances, legal compliance, reputation, and operations.

The advisory highlights the following:

  • Businesses operating in Hong Kong, as well as individuals and businesses conducting business on their behalf, are subject to the laws of Hong Kong, including the National Security Law. Foreign nationals, including one U.S. citizen, have been arrested under the NSL.
  • Businesses face risks associated with electronic surveillance without warrants and the surrender of corporate and customer data to authorities.
  • Businesses that rely on a free and open press may face restricted access to information.
  • Individuals and entities should be aware of potential consequences of certain types of engagement with sanctioned individuals or entities.
  • Businesses operating in Hong Kong may face heightened risks and uncertainty related to PRC retaliation against companies that comply with sanctions imposed by the United States and other countries, including through enforcement of the PRC’s Countering Foreign Sanctions Law.

Businesses with potential exposure should be aware of the potential reputational, economic, and legal risks of maintaining a presence or staff in Hong Kong.

In order to mitigate reputational and other risks, businesses should apply industry due diligence policies and procedures to address applicable and identified risks.

07/16/2021 01:50 PM EDT

Office of Treaty Affairs

Trade and Investment: Agricultural Products

Exchange of letters at Jerusalem and Washington December 3, 2020; entered into force December 3, 2020.

Extension of agreement of July 27, 2004: TIAS 04-910.

Agreement previously extended and amended December 10, 2008: TIAS 04-910; December 6, 2009: TIAS 04-910 ; November 19, 2012: TIAS 04-910; December 4, 2016; December 5, 2017: November 8, 2018: TIAS 18-1108; December 4, 2019: TIAS 19-1204.

07/16/2021 01:15 PM EDT

Office of Treaty Affairs


Signed at Cologne, Bonn and Tulsa December 9, 10 and 12, 2020; entered into force December 12, 2020.  With effect from December 13, 2020.

Extension of agreement signed December 8 and 13, 2010: TIAS 10-1213.



04/27/2021 01:13 PM EDT

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:‎

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met today with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Raychelle Omamo to open his virtual visit to Kenya.  They discussed the strategic partnership between the United States and Kenya.  Secretary Blinken emphasized our commitment to working with Kenya to advance our shared interests in democracy, human rights, economic ties, anti-corruption, refugees and their host communities, global health, regional security, and climate change for the benefit of the American and Kenyan people.  Secretary Blinken underscored the United States’ concern with the ongoing humanitarian and human rights crises in Tigray, including the reports of atrocities, and the threat that the extension of Somali President Farmajo’s term poses to stability in Somalia and the campaign against al-Shabaab.  Secretary Blinken noted Kenya’s strong and durable multilateral engagement and welcomed the opportunity to cooperate closely with Kenya on the UN Security Council on matters of international concern.



03/12/2021 05:38 PM EST

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson

Washington, D.C.

2:08 p.m. EST

MR PRICE: Good afternoon everyone and thanks for joining this telephonic briefing. We have just a couple things at the top before we turn to your questions. First, the United States is gravely concerned by the humanitarian situation in Yemen, and we remain one of its largest assistance providers. Secretary Blinken personally attended the March 1st Yemen donors conference to help raise the funds necessary to meet Yemen’s great needs. During that conference, Secretary Blinken announced more than $190 million in additional U.S. support for the people of Yemen. And just today, the United States restored full humanitarian assistance funding to areas of northern Yemen to help meet the needs of vulnerable Yemenis.

The United States supports the free flow of fuel, food, and other essential goods into Yemen. However, doing so requires not only that goods pass smoothly through ports, but also that they are allowed to pass through the country freely, including through areas under Houthi control. Unfortunately, we know that the Houthis continue to impede that flow, including diverting money from imports that were intended for civil service salaries in direct violation of their obligations under a UN-brokered agreement. As a result, civil servants are not getting paid and therefore lack funds to purchase what food is available. Houthi diversion of fuel imports is just one of the many ways they are exacerbating the humanitarian crisis for the majority of the Yemeni population under their control.

We have heard the UN and international donors decry the ways the Houthis are obstructing and diverting humanitarian assistance. And UN experts describe the ways they divert state revenues to fund their war efforts and place a stranglehold on economic activity. Contrary to some recent reporting, food is being consistently discharged at Hudaydah port according to data provided by the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism. Unfortunately, we can’t assure that food that passes through the port reaches those in need. That area is under Houthi control and the Houthis often divert and manipulate this aid, as I’ve mentioned.

The United States will work with the governments of Yemen and Saudi Arabia to find a way to ensure fuel makes its ways – makes it – makes it to the Yemenis who need it most and that it is not confiscated by the Houthis for sale on the black market or for use in their war effort. Only through a durable peace agreement can we hope to reverse the dire humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Supporting such an agreement is precisely what U.S. Special Envoy Lenderking is seeking to do and why he has spent the last 17 days in the region.

Separately in his remarks this week before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Secretary Blinken expressed his commitment to ensuring we have a whole-of-government approach to addressing the unexplained health incidents on U.S. personnel. At that HFAC hearing, the Secretary underscored the need to have a high-level person dedicated to this issue who can look at the issue every day and speak directly to him and his leadership team. Today we are pleased to announce that Ambassador Pamela Spratlen has begun her new position as senior advisor to the State Department Health Incident Response Taskforce. Ambassador Spratlen will streamline our coordination efforts with the interagency community and reaffirm our commitment to assure that those affected receive the care and treatment they need.

With that, operator, do you want to repeat the instructions for questions?

OPERATOR: And once again for questions, please press one and zero on your telephone keypad. To remove yourself from queue, repeat the one and zero command.

MR PRICE: Okay. We will start with the line of Matt Lee, please.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) health advisor. In the written announcement, there was nothing said about Cuba or any particular country where these issues may arise. Is that for a reason? Is it broader than that? And then my second question has to do with – it’s one that I brought up before with the Houthis, and that is that this situation seems to be getting worse rather than better – the humanitarian situation – since you guys removed them from the FTO list and since the three leaders were removed from the terrorism part of the SDGT list. And so I’m just wondering, I mean, is there any thought that you guys may have made a mistake in doing that? Thank you.

MR PRICE: Thanks, Matt. To your first question, as we mentioned, we do have no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. personnel, their families, and other U.S. citizens. Of course, these health incidents have been a priority for Secretary Blinken even before he was officially Secretary Blinken. He requested a comprehensive briefing on these incidents during the transition when he was secretary-designate. On his first day, full day here at the department, he received an update. He has since received comprehensive briefings.

He also wanted to ensure that the task force that has been established and working on these incidents since May of 2018 had connectivity directly to him, and directly to his senior leadership team. And so that is why we have decided, and he has decided to name Ambassador Spratlen as the senior advisor to the task force.

We didn’t specifically mention countries in that announcement because as you know, Matt, there have been now several countries where these incidents have been reported. We are seeking a full accounting of all of those who may have been affected by these incidents. That will be a large part of Ambassador Spratlen’s role, is to ensure that we know the full extent of these incidents.

There is also an individual on the task force who is responsible solely for engaging with those who may have been victims of these incidents. So we will continue to pay close attention to this. Secretary Blinken will continue to pay close attention to this, because he has no higher priority than the health and the safety and security than the department and dependents of department personnel.

When it comes to Yemen, Matt, look, we are not going to make any apologies for doing all we can to address the significant humanitarian plight of the people of Yemen. Yemen, as I’ve mentioned before, continues to be home to the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe. Some 80 percent of Yemen’s population lives – live under areas that are controlled by the Houthis. So what was very clear to us, what was very clear to members of Congress, what was very clear to aid organizations, what was very clear to UN entities, was that the broad designation of Ansarallah that was put forward in the very final hours of the last administration was far from alleviating the humanitarian plight of the Yemeni people, it was compounding it. It was making it worse.

And so it was very clear to us that if we were going to address not only the humanitarian plight and the humanitarian suffering of the Yemeni people, but if we were also to push forward with the political settlement that we know must be at the heart of our efforts to de-escalate, to bring security and stability not only to the people of Yemen but also to our partners in Saudi Arabia and throughout the region, we needed to address the humanitarian suffering, the humanitarian plight of the Yemeni people. We will not make any apologies for the fact that humanitarian concerns are primary in our policy. It’s precisely why Secretary Blinken attended the Yemen donors conference where he announced more than $190 million in U.S. support. It’s precisely why we have announced the resumption of the provision of some aid to parts of northern Yemen.

We will continue to look for ways to support the Yemeni people as we continue to support what UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths has been engaged in for some time now, and that in more recent weeks what Special Envoy Lenderking has been supporting, and that is bringing about a ceasefire and a political settlement to this long-running conflict in Yemen.

Next, why don’t we go to Cindy Saine.

QUESTION: Yes, sorry. On Ethiopia’s Tigray Region, has Ambassador Pasi returned from her trip? And what kind of situation did she find there? Can you elaborate a little bit about what kind of access she was granted, and what impact her – the visit is likely to have on policy? Thank you.

MR PRICE: Thank you for that. So Ambassador Pasi did travel to Mekelle on March 10th. She traveled with a delegation of other ambassadors and diplomats as part of an Ethiopian-Government-organized diplomatic visit. She participated in briefings with the leaders of the transitional government of Tigray, and while there, she outlined the U.S. Government support for the people of Tigray and all vulnerable populations in Ethiopia. She underscored the importance of accountability for those responsible for human rights abuses, for gender-based violence, for all other atrocities.

We have taken note of some of the statements emanating from Addis. What we continue to call for is full and unhindered humanitarian access, as well as accountability, for those responsible for the reported atrocities.

When it comes to our foreign assistance to Ethiopia, as you know, we did announce that we delinked our temporary pause on certain foreign assistance from our policy on the GERD, or the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. In addition to previously exempted programming, including humanitarian assistance and PEPFAR, we have decided to resume certain additional types of assistance related to global health food security and certain conflict mitigation activities.

Given the current environment in Ethiopia, we have decided not to lift the assistance pause for other programs, including most programs in the security sector. But it goes without saying, and this is also not unrelated to the previous question, that we remain committed to supporting the people of Ethiopia, and we’re the largest humanitarian donor in Ethiopia in FY 2020 and FY 2021 to date. We have provided more than $733 million in humanitarian assistance to respond to acute food needs, conflict-driven displacement, flooding, desert locust infestation, and the COVID-19 epidemic.

Lifting our assistance pause on programming outside of these areas remains under consideration. We are assessing whether to resume these programs in light of new challenges in Ethiopia and, of course, the needs of its people and how we can best address those.

We will go to the line of Francesco Fontemaggi.

QUESTION: There are several thing going on on Afghanistan after, of course, the Secretary’s letter and the U.S. draft plan that you have not commented but nor denied last week. We have now Turkey inviting the parties for talks in April, Russia hosting a conference next week and saying they’re on board with the idea of a Taliban role in an interim government. I wanted to know if all these initiatives were coordinated, if the U.S. is on board, of course, both with Turkey – I think yes – but with the Russian initiative; and further on, if you have any signs from Kabul and from the Talibans that they are willing to discuss the plan put forward by the U.S.

MR PRICE: Well, thanks for the question, Francesco. As you know, Special Representative Khalilzad remains in Doha, where he has been based for some time now. When it comes to the potential gathering in Turkey, as the Secretary has said, we have engaged countries in the region, as well as the United Nations, to try to move the parties towards a meaningful negotiation. And we welcome, as we have said, efforts by international partners to accelerate the peace process and to bring about a political settlement and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.

We know that international support is essential to a just and durable peace. It’s precisely why the special representative and the State Department more broadly, we have sought to ensure that Afghanistan’s neighbors and those in the region play a constructive role, because we all have a stake in a peaceful, stable, and secure Afghanistan. It is not just a question for the United States, it’s not just a question for NATO; it is something that Afghanistan’s neighbors must also support and support in a constructive way.

When it comes to Russia, we spoke about this a bit yesterday, I believe. As I was saying in the broader context, we do believe Russia, as well as other countries in the region, has an important stake in a secure and stable Afghanistan. We have met with the Russians in the past in support of the Afghanistan peace process. We’re not – we don’t have anything to confirm at this time regarding our – any sort of potential participation on our part.

In all of this, the United States is playing a support role. And that is precisely what Ambassador Khalilzad is doing, because we recognize that this process has to be Afghan-owned, has to be Afghan-led. Ambassador Khalilzad is in Doha now, where he is supporting that intra-Afghan negotiations, the negotiations between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban, recognizing that any ideas, any proposals, any initiatives, at their core have to have the support of the Afghan people and, again, be Afghan-owned and Afghan-led.

We will go to the line of Michael Lavers.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) my question. I wanted to follow up on what Ambassador Jacobson said on Wednesday during her briefing at the White House when she talked about $4 billion in aid being sent to the Northern Triangle to start addressing some of the root causes of migration out of the region. And I’m just wondering if you have any insight as to whether any of this 4 million will – 4 billion, excuse me, will go toward supporting LGBTQ groups, groups that work with folks with HIV and AIDS, to address some of the root causes of this migration. And also, will – does the State Department have any plans to bolster and support these groups in the region?

MR PRICE: Well, thanks for the question, Mike. You are absolutely right that President Biden has put forward this $4 billion plan, recognizing that if we are to get at the root causes of regional migration, we need to have a broad and comprehensive partnership with those countries in the region, especially the countries in the Northern Triangle. We have talked about corruption, we’ve talked about crime, we’ve talked about lawlessness, we’ve talked about impunity and insecurity as contributing to the patterns of irregular migration that have had an impact not only on our own border but, of course, on our southern neighbor in Mexico and the broader region as well.

That’s precisely why we need this partnership with the people of the region, with civil society elements in the region, and governments in the region to try and address some of these root causes. And you will note that I mentioned civil society as an important partner. Oftentimes, we know that civil society elements are important purveyors of humanitarian aid, humanitarian assistance, important implementers on the ground.

I don’t have any details to share as to whether LGBTQ rights groups are part of this, but civil society, of course, is a key element of that. I think more broadly – and you know this and have covered this – the United States stands up for and defends the rights of LGBTQI people around the world. We firmly oppose abuses against the community, and we urge governments to repeal laws that criminalize individuals on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. As you know, the President, as an early act in office, put forward a presidential memorandum that once again made it the policy of the U.S. Government not only to protect but also to promote the rights of LGBTQ people around the globe. That applies equally to the Western Hemisphere as it does to other regions, and that partnership with civil society will be vibrant and ongoing under this administration.

Let’s go to the line of Laura Kelly.

QUESTION: I hope you can hear me.

MR PRICE: We can.

QUESTION: Okay, great. If I may ask a question on Venezuela, if you are reviewing U.S. policy towards Venezuela, where are you in that review? Any action you’re considering, such as lifting sanctions?

And if I may, Rob Berschinski was announced today as a special assistant to the President and the National Security Council for Democracy and Human Rights. Do you have any comment on that appointment and how you’ll work with him? Thanks.

MR PRICE: Well, thanks very much for that. There are some things about our Venezuela policy that are not up for review, and that is the fact and our recognition that Nicolas Maduro is a dictator. And his repression, his corruption, his mismanagement, we know that has created one of the worst humanitarian crises this hemisphere has seen.

We also have already taken action in some important ways. Of course, there was the announcement this week of temporary protected status for Venezuelans who are in the United States. We continue to seek to find ways to address the humanitarian concerns of millions of Venezuelans with international partners. We continue to look to target regime officials and their cronies involved in the corruption and human rights abuses that we have spoken to. And we continue to look for ways to aid and restore a peaceful, stable, and democratic future for Venezuelans in the region through, importantly, free and fair elections and a long-term economic recovery.

We also have been very clear that we continue to recognize the legal authority of the democratically elected 2015 National Assembly and, of course, the person chosen by this National Assembly to be its president as the constitutional interim president of Venezuela is Juan Guaido. Secretary Blinken had an opportunity in recent days to speak to Juan Guaido. We will continue to work with the National Assembly, continue to work with our allies and our partners both in the region as well as with Europe, and through other venues to support the Venezuelan people and to support their aspirations for human rights and for democracy going forward.

When it comes to Rob Berschinski, of course, we will – there is a close partnership between the State Department and the National Security Council, including on issues of human rights. Rob has been a powerful advocate within the community in recent years. Many of us have been fortunate to work with Rob over the years, and I know that we will continue to work very closely with him in his new role, for which we congratulate him.

Let’s go to the line of – how about Jiha – Jiha Ham.

QUESTION: (No response.)

MR PRICE: Do we have Jiha Ham?

QUESTION: All right, can you hear me?

MR PRICE: Yes, we can now.

QUESTION: Oh, good. Well, yeah, I have a question about the Secretary’s upcoming travel to Japan and South Korea. If you are currently reviewing the policy on North Korea, I’m wondering how important these visits to Tokyo and Seoul are in respect to the policy review? You remember Assistant Secretary Sung Kim already had a meeting with his counterparts, and I assume that he’s been discussing about the new policy.

So is there any possibility that the Secretary finalizes the policy review with his counterparts during the visit?

MR PRICE: Well, thanks for that question. It’s an especially important one because it’s an especially important ingredient in our North Korea policy, and the ingredient of partnership – partnership including and especially with our treaty allies in the region. And, of course, the Secretary, together with Secretary Austin, the Secretary of Defense, will visit two of those important treaty allies in the Indo-Pacific, Japan and South Korea, starting early next week.

I say it’s an important in our North Korea policy, in our North Korea – our ongoing North Korean policy review, because we know – and this applies to every challenge across the board – but North Korea is an excellent example of it. We will not be as effective at achieving our interests if we don’t approach the challenge of North Korea, including the challenge of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and its other areas of malign behavior, in lockstep with those partners and allies. We will – it’s imperative that we approach this challenge with them together.

I wouldn’t look for any sort of formal announcement about our North Korea policy review on this trip, precisely because this trip is a key ingredient to that policy review to ensure that the Secretary has an opportunity – the Secretary together with Secretary Austin – that both of them have opportunities to speak to their counterparts, to speak to the political leadership in both of these treaty allies, to have that input as we consider the most effective ways to bring about our end goals with North Korea. And that, of course, is reducing the threat to the United States and our allies as well as improving the lives of the North Korean and the South Korean people, all the while remaining committed to the denuclearization of North Korea. So I would expect we’ll have more to say on this topic in the coming days.

Why don’t we go to Doug Byun.

QUESTION: Thank you, Ned, for taking my questions. Doug Byun from Yonhap News Agency, South Korea. I hope you can hear me.

MR PRICE: We can.

QUESTION: Okay. My question is related to South Korean and Japan relations. The United States is focusing on cooperation with the countries as well as among those countries. But as you know, the – there has been growing tension between the two countries over history issues, including the issue of comfort women, who are sex slaves of the Japanese military during World War II. And just yesterday, a 93-year old former comfort woman in Korea, Lee Yong-soo, sent an open letter to Secretary Blinken asking for a meeting with him during his visit to South Korea next week to discuss this issue. So my questions are: First, is the State Department aware of this letter and the request for meeting, and is such a meeting something the Secretary might consider? And lastly, will the State Department support taking this issue before the International Court of Justice if it came to that? Thank you.

MR PRICE: Well, thank you for the question. Let me start by saying broadly – and we’ve already alluded in this call to the trilateral engagement that Acting Assistant Secretary Kim took part in with senior Japanese and Korean officials the other week – but we know that a robust and effective trilateral relationship among the United States, the Republic of Korea, and Japan, and we know that it’s critical for our shared security, our common interest in defending freedom and democracy, upholding human rights, championing women’s empowerment, combating climate change, promoting regional global peace and security, bolstering the rule of law in the Indo‑Pacific and across the globe. We know that.

We have long encouraged Japan and South Korea to work together on history related issues in a way that promotes healing and that promotes reconciliation. As we stated at the time, we welcome specific efforts, including the 2015 Comfort Women Agreement, as an example of the two countries’ commitment to forging a more productive and constructive bilateral relationship. When it comes to that agreement, when it comes to the trilateral relationship, it was at the time Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken who was at the center of brokering some of these efforts.

This is something – the trilateral relationship is something that Secretary Blinken – now Secretary Blinken has invested quite a bit of time and focus into. And, of course, in the upcoming trip, we are prioritizing travel to these important treaty allies, not only to signal the strength of the bilateral alliance between the United States and Japan and the United States and South Korea, but also the important we place – importance we place on that trilateral relationship, as we know just how important it will be for every challenge we face in the region and beyond.

Let’s go to take a final question or two. Jennifer Hansler.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) hear me?

MR PRICE: We can.

QUESTION: All right, great. On Myanmar, I was wondering if there has been any additional contact with the military leaders since the ambassador’s conversation with the deputy commander last week. And has the U.S. been able to reach Aung San Suu Kyi or any of the NLD officials who are detained? And are you concerned that their lives could be at risk given that two NLD officials have died in Burmese custody? Thank you.

MR PRICE: Thanks for the question. When it comes to Aung San Suu Kyi, we do have an outstanding request for contact with the state counsellor, who, of course, is currently unjustly detained by the military. We have continued to consistently inquire about her health and safety as well as the health and safety of all detained civilian leaders and civil society actors, and we’re working through appropriate channels to attempt to make contact with those detained.

When it comes to our contact with the military, let me just say that we will continue to press Burmese military officials to refrain from violence, to restore the democratically elected government, and to release those unjustly detained. While we will continue to use a number of channels to make these points, I don’t think it would be prudent for us to comment on that in particular.

When it comes to – I would just like to take an opportunity to comment on the death – the deaths of the NLD members in Burmese military custody, and to note that we condemn the security forces’ actions that resulted in the deaths of two NLD members, including the killing of Zaw Myat Lynn as well as the death of Khin Maung Latt, who died after being unjustly detained, unjustly detained with so many of their fellow countrymen and countrywomen.

The military and police have shown complete disregard for the people of Burma and have targeted young people – doctors, civil servants, journalists, and political activists. We reiterate our calls to the military and the police to stop the violence and arbitrary detentions, to release all those unjustly detained, and again, to restore the democratically elected government of – civilian government of Burma.

Why don’t we take a final question from Gaby Perozo.

QUESTION: Hi, can you hear me?

MR PRICE: We can.

QUESTION: Thank you so much. Will the U.S. agree to support an election for governors and mayors in Venezuela even with Maduro in power and knowing there are no electoral guarantees set up at the present? Some opposition leaders are considering participating in these elections.

And another question: Venezuelan Ambassador Carlos Vecchio confirmed this week that one of the proposals being discussed in Washington, D.C.’s diplomatic circles is creation of a new international coalition, which some called G8YHH* or Group of 8 for Venezuela. The coalition would include Canada, United States, maybe France or Germany. Can you tell us more about it? Thank you so much.

MR PRICE: Well, when it comes to Venezuela – and I mentioned this previously, but the United States will continue to work through all appropriate venues to support the Venezuelan people and to support their aspirations for human rights and democracy. We look forward to strengthening coordination with those international partners, and they include the EU, the OAS, the Lima Group, the Contact Group, and others, as we work toward a peaceful, democratic transition in Venezuela.

When it comes to the elections, it’s not just that we are seeking – that we are calling for elections. Importantly, we are calling for free and fair elections, and that is what the Venezuelan people deserve. That is what the Venezuelan people demand when it comes to their aspirations for achieving democracy and human rights, and the United States will continue to stand with them in calling for, again, those free and fair elections as what we seek to help them achieve.

I think with that, we will call it a day. I believe as many of you know, we will do a call later today to preview the upcoming travel to Japan and South Korea, so we’ll have an opportunity to speak to many of you then. And talk to you soon.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:42 p.m.)


02/18/2021 02:13 PM EST

Office of the Spokesperson

The following statement was released by United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, and UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab following today’s ministerial meeting:

Begin text:

The Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom and the U.S. Secretary of State held a virtual meeting, for the second time in this format since Secretary Blinken took office, to discuss Iran and other pressing issues. They reaffirmed the centrality of the transatlantic partnership in dealing with the security, climate, economic, health and other challenges the world faces.  

Regarding Iran, the E3 and the United States expressed their sharedfundamental security interestin upholding the nuclear non-proliferation regime and ensuring that Iran can never developa nuclear weapon.In this context, the conclusion of the JCPOA was a key achievement of multilateral diplomacy. The E3 welcomedthe United States’ stated intention to return todiplomacy with Iran as well as the resumption of a confidentand in-depth dialogue between the E3 and the United States. The Ministers affirmed strong interest in continuing their consultations and coordination, including with China and Russia, on this key security issue, recognizing the role of the High Representative of the European Union as Coordinator of the Joint Commission. 

The E3 and the United States affirmed their shared objective of Iran’s returnto full compliancewith its commitments under theJCPOA. Secretary Blinken reiterated that, as President Biden has said, if Iran comes back into strict compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA, the United States will do the same and is prepared to engage in discussions with Iran toward that end. 

In this context, the E3 and the US called on Iran not to take any additional steps, in particular with respect to the suspension of the Additional Protocol and to any limitations on IAEA verification activities in Iran. The E3 and the United States are united in underlining the dangerous nature of a decision to limit IAEA access, and urge Iran to consider the consequences of such grave action, particularly at this time of renewed diplomatic opportunity. They reiterated their full support for the professional and impartial role of the IAEA and its Director General and their efforts to implement the necessary verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear commitments under the JCPOA. 

The E3 and the United States also expressed their shared concerns over Iran’s recent actions to produce both uranium enriched up to 20% and uranium metal. These activities have no credible civil justification. Uranium metal production is a key step in the development of a nuclear weapon. 

The E3 welcomed the prospect of a U.S. and Iranian return to compliance with the JCPOA. The E3 and the United Statesaffirmed their determination to then strengthen theJCPOA and, together with regional parties and the wider international community, address broader security concernsrelated to Iran’s missile programs and regional activities. We are committed to working together toward these goals.  

The Ministers also called on Iran to release all our arbitrarily detained nationals and reunite them with their families. They also expressed deep concern about the continuing grave human rights violations in Iran. 

The E3 and the United States look forward to engaging with partners in order to work together toward these key objectives. 

They expressed their joint determination to work toward de-escalating tensions in the Gulf region.   They stressed in particular the urgency of ending the war in Yemen, while reaffirming their steadfast commitment to the security of their regional partners. On Yemen, the Ministers agreed to work closely together to support United Nations Special Envoy Griffiths’ efforts to end the war and to address the humanitarian crisis.  They expressed concern about the recent Houthi offensive against Marib and strikes against civilian infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, calling upon the Houthis and all Yemeni parties to engage constructively in the political process.  

On Iraq, the Ministers reiterated their condemnation of the February 15 rocket attack in Erbil.  They expressed their condolences for the victims, their families, and the Iraqi people and emphasized that attacks on U.S., Coalition and NATO personnel and facilities will not be tolerated.  Ministers reiterated their support for the Iraqi Government. 

Discussing the evolving challenge posed by ISIS, ministers re-committed to continuing critical efforts to target and eliminate the ISIS threat in Iraq and Syria, including efforts via the 83-member Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.  They also emphasized the growing importance of coordinating efforts to target the threat posed by ISIS branches and networks worldwide.  

The Ministers agreed to closely coordinate to address the global challenges posed by China, as well as the need for cooperation across a range of issues, including climate change.  

On Myanmar, they condemned the military coup.  They called on military leaders to immediately end the state of emergency, restore power to the democratically elected government, refrain from violence, release all those unjustly detained, and respect human rights and the rule of law. 

The Ministers agreed on the importance of further strengthening NATO and ensuring it is positioned to address today’s strategic realities building on the NATO Reflection Group’s Recommendations. 

Ministers agreed that strong international and multilateral cooperation was essential to ending the COVID 19 pandemic and building back better collectively. They reviewed efforts on the global response, including support for rapid deployment of vaccines globally, primarily through the ACT-A/COVAX facility.   

They agreed to work with urgency to address the climate crisis ahead of the 26th UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Glasgow in November.  They agreed that significant collective action was needed to implement the Paris Agreement, including keeping a 1.5 degree Celsius temperature rise within reach. They look forward to the upcoming U.S.-hosted Leaders’ Climate Summit as an important forum to for enhanced climate ambition. 

End text.

01/24/2021 01:20 PM EST

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson

The United States strongly condemns the latest attack on Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. We are gathering more information, but it appears to have been an attempt to target civilians. Such attacks contravene international law and undermine all efforts to promote peace and stability. As we work to de-escalate tensions in the region through principled diplomacy, including by bringing an end to the war in Yemen, we will also help our partner Saudi Arabia defend against attacks on its territory and hold those who attempt to undermine stability to account.



01/01/2021 09:40 AM EST

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Today, the Department of State is announcing the addition of Banco Financiero International S.A. (BFI) to the Cuba Restricted List, effective upon publication in early January. BFI is a Cuban military-controlled commercial bank that benefits directly from financial transactions at the expense of the Cuban people. The Cuban military uses BFI’s key role in foreign exchange to give military and state companies preferential access, secure advantageous exchange rates, and finance government-controlled projects that enrich the regime. The profits earned from these operations disproportionately benefit the Cuban military rather than independent Cuban entrepreneurs, furthering repression of the Cuban people and funding Cuba’s interference in Venezuela.

President Trump has made it clear that he stands with the Cuban people in their longstanding struggle for freedom and against the communist regime in Havana. Adding BFI to the Cuba Restricted List furthers the Administration’s goal of preventing the Cuban military from controlling and benefiting from financial transactions that should instead benefit the Cuban people.



12/21/2020 12:06 PM EST

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

China’s authoritarian rulers impose draconian restrictions on the Chinese people’s freedoms of expression, religion or belief, association, and the right to peaceful assembly.  The United States has been clear that perpetrators of human rights abuses like these are not welcome in our country.

Today, I am announcing the imposition of additional restrictions under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act on the issuance of visas for Chinese officials who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, policies or actions aimed at repressing religious and spiritual practitioners, members of ethnic minority groups, dissidents, human rights defenders, journalists, labor organizers, civil society organizers, and peaceful protestors.  Family members of such persons may also be subject to these additional restrictions.

This action demonstrates the U.S. government’s resolve to hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable for its increasing repression against the Chinese people.  This year, the United States has imposed visa restrictions and financial sanctions on CCP officials involved in the horrific abuses taking place in Xinjiang, restrictions on access to Tibet, and the destruction of Hong Kong’s promised autonomy.  Today’s action creates additional restrictions applicable to all CCP officials engaged in such repressive activities, no matter their location.

The United States stands with the many individuals persecuted for their peaceful efforts to exercise their rights – lawyers such as Xu Zhiyong, house church pastors such as Wang Yi, civil society activists such as Huang Qi, Uyghur academics such as Ilham Tohti, democracy advocates like Jimmy Lai, and Tibetan linguists and businesspeople such as Tashi Wangchuk.  We call for their immediate release and urge CCP authorities to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms to which the people of China are entitled under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


12/15/2020 12:51 PM EST

Office of the Spokesperson

We are saddened by the passing on December 10 of His Excellency Sylvanus Nsofor, Ambassador of Nigeria to the United States, and offer our sincere condolences to his family and all those who worked with him.  Ambassador Nsofor was an important and influential member of the diplomatic community in Washington, D.C. and helped to strengthen our partnerships across the West Africa region.

Ambassador Nsofor’s long career in public service, which spanned both the law and diplomacy, was a testament to his dedication to the Nigerian people.  In striving to find common ground between the United States and Nigeria, he supported mutually beneficial programs and initiatives across a wide range of sectors including educational exchange, rule of law, and business investment.  He saw tremendous value in people-to-people connections and fostered a spirit of cooperation across the diplomatic corps.

The Department of State honors Ambassador Nsofor’s leadership in promoting diplomatic exchange and understanding during his tenure in the United State



General Banner


04-12-2020 02:47 PM CET

MEPs have fought for and obtained better support for key EU programmes creating jobs, tackling the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and boosting climate action.
Committee on Budgets

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP
04-12-2020 11:07 AM CET

MEPs will hear about the progress on authorising Covid-19 vaccines and vote on measures tackling the spread of child pornography online.

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP
04-12-2020 09:04 AM CET

On Friday, EU legislators reached a provisional agreement on how EU countries will be able to spend funds allocated to fisheries and aquaculture for 2021-2027.
Committee on Fisheries

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP


11/16/2020 12:00 AM EST
On the two-year anniversary of the Attorney General’s China Initiative, the Department continues its significant focus on the Initiative’s goals and announced substantial progress during the past year in disrupting and deterring the wide range of national security threats posed by the policies and practices of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government.



12/03/2020 05:10 PM EST

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

The United States is appalled by the Hong Kong government’s political persecution of Hong Kong’s courageous pro-democracy advocates. The use of courts to silence peaceful dissent is a hallmark of authoritarian regimes and underscores once again that the Chinese Communist Party’s greatest fear is the free speech and free thinking of its own people.

Hong Kong historically benefitted from a free and open system that celebrated the peaceful advocacy of citizens like Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow, Ivan Lam, and Jimmy Lai. Hong Kong’s people should be free to exercise the rights guaranteed to them under the Basic Law; the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a UN-registered treaty; and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Their struggle to resist the CCP’s denial of their fundamental rights will stand throughout history as a testament to the human spirit.

The United States will continue to work with our allies and partners around the world to champion the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong and all those who suffer under the CCP’s repressive rule. We stand with Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow, Ivan Lam, Jimmy Lai, the people of Hong Kong, and all the people of China.

11/13/2020 10:34 PM EST

Office of the Spokesperson

The text of the following fact sheet was released by the Governments of the United States of America and the Republic of Korea following bilateral consultations on the margins of the 2020 East Asia Summit.

Begin Text:

As allies whose relationship is grounded in our shared values, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States of America continue to work together to create a safe, prosperous, and dynamic Indo-Pacific region through cooperation between the Republic of Korea’s New Southern Policy and the United States’ Indo-Pacific Strategy based on the principles of openness, inclusiveness, transparency, respect for international norms, and ASEAN centrality.

Our cooperation is comprehensive and growing.  We are enhancing economic prosperity through cooperation on infrastructure, energy, the digital economy, smart cities, and natural resources management (“Prosperity”); building a people-centered community while championing good governance by investing in human resources development and anti-corruption programs, and investing in human capital by promoting women’s empowerment, and spearheading health and climate change initiatives in the Pacific Islands (“People”); and ensuring peace and security through capacity building efforts to counter transnational crimes and drug trafficking, and promoting cybersecurity, maritime security, marine environmental protection, and disaster response and preparedness (“Peace”).

On August 19, 2020, we launched the inaugural U.S.-ROK Indo-Pacific Strategy-New Southern Policy Dialogue.  During the virtual working-level dialogue, the two sides jointly decided to strengthen law enforcement, cybersecurity, and Pacific Island Country cooperation.  An additional dialogue on ASEAN and the Mekong region is scheduled for the end of 2020.


The United States and the Republic of Korea recognize that market-based economic systems, private sector finance, adherence to the rule of law, and open investment environments drive the Indo-Pacific region’s prosperity.  Under the next phase of the New Southern Policy, the New Southern Policy Plus, which was announced on the occasion of the 21st ASEAN-ROK Summit, the Republic of Korea will prioritize ROK-ASEAN cooperation in the fields of healthcare, education, and infrastructure to enhance pandemic preparedness and post-COVID-19 economic resilience in the region, taking into consideration priorities for cooperation from the ASEAN member states.

  • Strengthening Bilateral Partnerships: The U.S. Department of State hosted the fifth U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) Senior Economic Dialogue (SED) in a virtual format in October 2020.  During the SED, the two countries examined ways to strengthen their economic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region in the areas of development, energy, and infrastructure.
  • Development Cooperation: After signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in September 2019, the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) expanded collaboration in the development field.  USAID and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) created and began to execute a work plan for cooperation including COVID-19 response; gender equality; informational and communications technology; and the youth, health, and education sectors.
  • Infrastructure: The MOU signed by the ROK Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF) and the U.S. Department of Treasury in October 2019 furthers bilateral cooperation in support of infrastructure development throughout the region through market-oriented, private sector investment.  The first Korea-U.S. Infrastructure Finance Working Group meeting and a Private Sector Roundtable Meeting on Infrastructure Cooperation were held in February 2020 in Seoul.  The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and the ROK Export-Import Bank regularly engage on potential joint financing opportunities in the Indo-Pacific, aiming to catalyze investment in Mekong infrastructure.  The ROK and the U.S. Department of State continue to exchange views on the Blue Dot Network for quality infrastructure.
  • Energy: The Department of State hosted the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) for the seventh U.S.-ROK Energy Security Dialogue in a virtual format in August 2020.  Both sides decided to continue collaboration to enhance energy security in the physical and cyber domains and discussed opportunities to further deepen cooperation on energy security, including through the Energy Resource Governance Initiative.
  • Digital Economy: The United States and the ROK are exploring opportunities for collaboration on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) capacity country assessments, joint training, and cybersecurity capacity building, including at the fifth U.S.-Republic of Korea ICT Policy Forum held in September 2020.  The two countries are also working together to promote international collaboration for enhancing 5G security and participated in the Prague 5G Security Conference in September 2020.  The two countries, along with Japan, worked to advance women’s empowerment by hosting the Summit on Women’s Leadership in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), and working together to remove barriers to women’s participation in STEM industries.
  • Smart Cities: Through the U.S.-ASEAN Smart Cities Partnership (USASCP), the United States expanded its programs in water management and reuse, Cities in Health, and transportation planning.  In coordination with USASCP and the ASEAN Smart Cities Network, KOICA is supporting the development of the Smart City Valley Program in the central region of Vietnam.  A Korean public health expert will speak at the USASCP-led Smart Cities Third Country Training Program Seminar for ASEAN government officials.
  • Natural Resource Management: The ROK-S. partnership on the Plastics Solution Alliance in Timor-Leste brought together private sector and civil society partners to create a recycling system that supports the sustainable removal of plastic waste produced in Dili.  We expect to create new enterprises and “green collar” job opportunities.  In addition, under this initiative the two countries supported the construction of hand-washing stations from recycled plastic to help COVID-19 response in Timor-Leste.


Both the Republic of Korea and the United States recognize the growing importance of enhancing well-being, livelihood, and welfare of the people and have significantly invested in the people of South and Southeast Asia, both in terms of development assistance and private sector-led investments in order to provide them the skills and resources needed to participate in the global economy and create conditions for self-reliance.

  • Human Resource Development: The Republic of Korea provides an annual contribution of $14 million under the ASEAN-ROK Cooperation Fund, funding human resource development and academic and cultural exchanges.  The United States, through USAID, collaborates with the ASEAN Secretariat and ASEAN member states to contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth and encourages rules-based systems to support a peaceful, secure, and prosperous region through programs such as the Inclusive Growth in ASEAN through Innovation, Trade, and E-Commerce project; and the Partnership for Regional Optimization within the Political-Security project; and ASEAN Policy Implementation project.
  • Anti-Corruption: KOICA and USAID are working with the Government of Indonesia (GOI) to support its National Integrated Complaint Handling system (LAPOR-SP4N!), which allows citizens to submit complaints about public services and assists the GOI to ensure its public service expenditures translate into desired results.  Alongside USAID’s complementary anti-corruption programs, KOICA’s $5 million contribution covering its 2019-2022 investment in LAPOR will help combat government corruption and provide a transparent way to process complaints from federal to local levels.
  • Women’s Empowerment: The ROK and the United States endorsed an action plan outlining a shared vision for future cooperation to promote women’s economic empowerment in the ROK and throughout the region.  Based on the action plan, the two countries held roundtables in December 2019 and virtually in September 2020.  The ROK and the United States have joined efforts on the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) to include small and medium enterprises owned and led by women in global and regional value chains.  The two countries also work together to coordinate private and public sector consultations and build strategic partnerships through the Providing Opportunities for Women’s Economic Rise (POWER) Initiative that supports the goals of the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative.  The United States and ROK also joined together as part of the Core Group of UN Member States launching a new Call to Action on Women’s Economic Empowerment in October 2020.  The United States and the ROK were among several other countries to co-sponsor the East Asia Summit Leaders’ Statement on Women, Peace, and Security, promoting regional high-level action on women’s meaningful participation in security and peace issues.
  • Climate Change in Pacific Island Countries: KOICA is funding climate change response and health care capacity building projects in Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Kiribati.  USAID partners with communities, governments, and regional organizations across the Pacific to strengthen climate resilience.  USAID’s Institutional Strengthening in Pacific Island Countries to Adapt to Climate Change (ISACC) boosts government capacity to develop and implement climate-related policies.  Additionally, USAID’s Climate Ready has helped Pacific Island countries mobilize $54 million from various international funds.
  • Health: After signing an MOU in October 2019, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), formerly the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), which was promoted to an independent agency and renamed in September 2020, and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have improved regional coordination of infectious disease control and prevention.  In June 2020, through a technical teleconference, experts shared information on COVID-19 reinfection cases and discharge criteria for patients impacted by the virus.  KOICA, KDCA, USAID, and the U.S. CDC supported the implementation of a Roadmap for the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) in Cambodia and are now collaborating with the Cambodian Ministry of Health on a new project designed to improve public health surveillance, laboratory systems, and the emergency response system.
  • COVID-19: The ROK provided $5.2 million in humanitarian assistance to support 12 ASEAN and Pacific Island countries in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In addition, under the COVID-19 Comprehensive Rapid Response Program, the ROK came up with an assistance package worth $10 million, designed to strengthen the capacity of partner countries to respond to epidemics.  This program was implemented in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam.  The ROK contributed $1 million to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund and is providing ASEAN countries PCR equipment, diagnostic kits, and personal protective equipment, utilizing the ASEAN-ROK Cooperation Fund.  To date, the U.S. government has provided more than $130 million in funding to support the COVID-19 response in Pacific Island countries.  This includes a $5 million contribution from USAID across the 12 Pacific Island countries to strengthen civil society capacity to address critical non-health impacts of COVID-19 by protecting the rights of vulnerable and marginalized groups, combatting disinformation and hate speech, and providing grants to address community-identified development challenges.


The Republic of Korea’s New Southern Policy and the United States’ Indo-Pacific Strategy share the goal of contributing to regional peace and stability.  Both the Republic of Korea and the United States are strengthening and expanding cooperation to support our partners in the region to overcome diverse non-traditional security challenges.

  • Countering Transnational Crimes: The ROK and the United States are coordinating efforts to support law enforcement agencies’ capacity building in ASEAN countries.  The Korean National Police Agency’s (KNPA) K-Cop Wave Program has provided training, equipment, and expertise to law enforcement agencies in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam.  The United States is planning to invest $55 million in the Mekong region to strengthen the region’s law enforcement and justice sector capacity to combat transnational crime and is reviewing partnership with the ROK on its K-Cop Wave Program.  In addition, the two countries are considering ways to strengthen our regional law enforcement networks via the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok and the Korean National Police University.
  • Counternarcotics: The ROK has been conducting anti-drug assistance programs for drug control authorities in Southeast Asia focusing on officer-exchanges, campaign co-hosting, training, and provision of equipment.  The United States and the ROK are continuing to enhance working-level coordination among respective law enforcement agencies and information sharing networks including the Anti-Drug Liaison Officials Meeting for International Cooperation.  During the August 2020 U.S.-ROK Indo-Pacific Strategy-New Southern Policy Dialogue, both countries decided to coordinate in preventing illicit drug trafficking, sharing best practices and expertise, and collaborating on reducing substance use through drug demand reduction interventions.
  • Maritime Security: The ROK and the United States are working to increase transparency and strengthen maritime law enforcement capacity with partner maritime law enforcement agencies to more efficiently provide material support for facility construction and enhance equipment interoperability based on complementary efforts, architecture, and equipment.
  • Cybersecurity: During the August 2020 U.S.-ROK Indo-Pacific Strategy-New Southern Policy Dialogue, both countries identified common areas for cyber capacity building cooperation, including facilitating ROK participation in the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs-funded U.S. Transnational and High-Tech Crime Global Law Enforcement Network (GLEN), continued coordination on the Joint U.S.-ROK Symposium on countering cyber attacks to financial institutions, and sharing best practices to assist the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office’s work to establish the Asia-Pacific Cybercrime (APC) Hub.
  • Marine Environmental Protection: The ROK has provided education and training sessions on seawater quality analysis, marine environment monitoring and responses to marine debris with officials from Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Laos, and Thailand.  The ROK looks forward to coordinating with the United States to convene the 7th International Marine Debris Conference in 2022 to address this growing problem throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Water Security: In a collaborative effort to enhance capacity to cope with water-related disasters, the ROK MOFA and Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water) have partnered with the Department of State, U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to implement a joint project which provides satellite-based water resource data and training to Mekong countries. The Korea-Mekong Water Resources Management Research Center, in collaboration with the United States and other partners, works to improve water resources management in the Mekong region.  The ROK also shared its analysis and expertise at the Indo-Pacific Conference on Strengthening Governance of Transboundary Rivers in October 2020.
  • Disaster Response and Preparedness: The Republic of Korea committed $1.8 million to a ROK-Pacific Islands Climate Prediction Service Project to build resilience to natural disasters in the Pacific Islands, which concludes in 2021.  In concert, USAID obligated nearly $8.3 million in fiscal year 2020 to build the Pacific Island countries’ disaster preparedness and response capacity to strengthen first responders, enhance and expand early warning systems, increase disaster awareness, and improve preparedness among at-risk communities.

End text.

11/13/2020 10:27 PM EST

Office of the Spokesperson

The U.S.-ASEAN Smart Cities Partnership (USASCP) was launched by Vice President Pence at the 2018 U.S.-ASEAN Summit in Singapore.  The Departments of State, Commerce, and Transportation; National Science Foundation; USAID; USTDA; and others have launched 20 projects to improve transportation, water and resource reuse, and health system capacity for cities in the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN).

The USASCP is a key component of demonstrating our commitment to ASEAN and its role at the heart of the Indo-Pacific.  The USASCP seeks to harness U.S. public and private sector expertise to collaborate with the 26 ASCN participating cities to meet the varied challenges of rapid urbanization and to help improve the quality of life for people in the region.

The three main goals of the USASCP are to: 1) Promote U.S. private sector engagement in smart, sustainable city solutions and advance capacity of urban service delivery in ASEAN; 2) Share best practices and technical collaboration among U.S. cities, universities, and industry leaders with their counterparts in the ASCN; and 3) Strengthen the digital economy and cybersecurity capability in ASCN cities.


Private Sector Engagement:  The U.S. private sector and U.S. government shared best practices on smart, sustainable cities at the Third Indo-Pacific Business Forum and the ASEAN Smart Cities Network High-Level Forum in October 2020.  In early 2020, U.S. Embassy Jakarta organized an Indonesian delegation visit to San Antonio to meet U.S. industry experts and learn about power distribution systems for smart cities.  Additionally, U.S. private sector companies such as Mastercard presented their intelligent mobility solutions and innovative payment systems to over 130 ASEAN stakeholders during recent discussions on sustainable transportation.  USASCP is planning further sessions for U.S. businesses and Southeast Asian city authorities, as well as trade events and reverse trade missions for ASEAN cities.

Water Security:  City pairings between ASEAN and U.S. cities focus on delivery of essential urban water services, including improved access, stormwater management, treatment, and reuse.  These pairings strengthen water security through the exchange of knowledge, goods, and services between utilities and/or management districts.  The program, called Water Smart Engagements (WiSE), is implemented in conjunction with the Department of State and the U.S. Water Partnership.  In addition to the following city pairs, another two pairs will be announced in the coming year:

  • Phuket, Thailand, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and San Francisco, California
  • Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and Washington, D.C.

Transportation:  City pairs in transportation focus on policy, planning, and technology in smart transportation solutions.  The Department of Transportation is hosting a series of regional webinars in 2020 in advance of onsite activities.  The USASCP transportation partnership focuses on the following city pairs:

  • Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Boston, Massachusetts
  • Jakarta, Indonesia, and Los Angeles, California
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Dallas, Texas
  • Phuket, Thailand, and Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and Portland, Oregon

Innovation Research Grants and University Partnerships: USASCP partners with the National Science Foundation to support a range of technological and socio-economic innovations across sectors, including: renewable energy-generating bike lanes (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia); assessing the socio-economic impacts of the digital/informal economy (Jakarta, Indonesia); biophysical and social data collection for decision-making in smart garden alleys (Makassar, Indonesia); and artificial intelligence for crowd and traffic analysis and congestion mitigation (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam).

Health in Cities: USASCP is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and our embassies in the region to increase resiliency of local health care infrastructure as part of the U.S.-ASEAN Health Futures initiative.  An initial grant will go to Cambodia for medical records digitization in three ASCN cities.

Integrated Urban Services: This program will demonstrate the socio-economic value and urban benefits of resource recovery and reuse through integrated systems (e.g. water, waste, food) that promote greater efficiency, improve water and energy security, and mitigate public health concerns.  It will be implemented in cooperation with Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Energy Systems Modelling and Cybersecurity: USASCP in collaboration with the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Labs plans to promote renewable energy integration within existing power grids and apply socio-economic modelling to understand demand for urban services.  Human and system resources will be strengthened to mitigate cybersecurity risks to the energy grid.

For more information on the see: or contact


Office of the Press Secretary

Statement from National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien

Beijing's recent actions disqualifying pro-democracy legislators from Hong Kong's Legislative Council leave no doubt that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has flagrantly violated its international commitments under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and its promises to the people of Hong Kong, including those under the Basic Law.  "One Country, Two Systems" is now merely a fig leaf covering for the CCP's expanding one party dictatorship in Hong Kong.  The United States will continue to utilize all the powers granted under the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, and the Executive Order on Hong Kong Normalization to identify and sanction those responsible for extinguishing Hong Kong's freedom.


11/06/2020 09:31 AM EST

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

The United States congratulates New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Labour Party on their victory in the October 17 national parliamentary elections and commends the people of New Zealand for demonstrating the power of participatory democracy.

New Zealand is one of our closest friends.  We congratulate new Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta and look forward to working with her and the rest of New Zealand’s government to further deepen our enduring partnership that is based on our shared history and democratic values.

10/29/2020 09:48 AM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

The United States strongly condemns the arrest and detention of three student democracy activists and calls on Hong Kong authorities to release those that remain detained immediately. The Beijing-controlled Hong Kong government continues to stifle dissent, repress public opinion, and use law enforcement for political purposes.

The People’s Republic of China has violated its international obligations under the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, while the Chinese Communist Party and its Hong Kong proxies crush the promised autonomy of Hong Kong, and eviscerate Hong Kong’s respect for human rights, including the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong

10/28/2020 08:17 PM EDT

Office of the Spokesperson

The text of the following Memorandum for Economic Cooperation was released by the Governments of the United States of America and Iceland at the conclusion of the second United States-Iceland Economic Partnership Dialogue, held October 27, 2020.

Begin text:

Iceland and the United States of America held their second Bilateral Economic Partnership Dialogue virtually on October 27, 2020. The two countries focused on their shared commitment to further build upon the existing strong bilateral economic ties and mutual strategic cooperation. They also decided to jointly address global challenges of mutual concern. In this spirit, the two countries adopt this Memorandum for Economic Cooperation in pursuit of closer economic and strategic ties.

I. Introduction

The United States and Iceland share deep historic ties, common values, and a strong economic relationship. The United States is proud to be the first country to recognize Icelandic independence in 1944.

Building on our bilateral trade and investment volumes of over $1 billion, we intend to work together to further expand commerce and investment between our countries.

Through increased commercial ties and economic opportunities, we aim to amplify innovation and productivity leading to job creation in both nations.

In an effort to strengthen our economies fighting to recover from a global pandemic, our goal is to find joint collaboration opportunities that include everyone in the benefits of economic growth.

We recognize the importance of an open and transparent policy framework which encourages cross-border investment and enables fair competition.

As founding members of both the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), we are committed to member-driven missions to strengthen cooperation for international organizations.

II. Modernizing and Protecting Critical Infrastructure

A world increasingly connected through technology, travel, and trade, needs modern infrastructure to create economic opportunity.

We recognize the importance of mitigating risks to global supply chains and the importance of protecting critical infrastructure, particularly cyber communications networks. We, therefore, emphasize the necessity of a 5G ecosystem based on free and fair competition, transparency, and the rule of law.

We recognize the importance of using effective tools to address potential national security risks arising from cross-border investment, while not deterring benign foreign investment that will be critical for returning to strong economic growth.

III. Trade Relations

The long-standing economic relationship between the United States and Iceland is strong and has been steadily growing in past years. Despite the strong bilateral relations, the benefit of even greater economic cooperation, increased trade and investment, and elimination of trade barriers, will enhance economic growth and encourage increased productivity for both countries. Trade in services and investment is increasing and plays an important role in our trade relations. We intend to continue to explore ways to enhance cooperation on trade and investment.

IV. Travel, Tourism and Exchanges

We intend to promote travel and tourism between our two nations highlighting cultural ties. We further propose to encourage academic, student, professional, and culture exchanges resulting in a better shared understanding between our populations.

V. Energy Diversification

Energy security and diversification of energy sources underpin the national security and economies of our two countries. Iceland’s global leadership on cutting-edge geothermal technologies, paired with the United States’ innovation in energy efficiency and world class service sector, present unique opportunities for cooperation in the energy sector. We intend to cooperate on sustainable, clean and efficient energy technologies, such as hydropower and geothermal.

VI. Scientific and Technology Cooperation

We are committed to advancing bilateral cooperation in scientific research and higher education partnerships by expanding opportunities for scientists’ collaborations in priority areas, including marine environment and natural resource protection, health, renewable energy and emerging technologies, including in scientific computing. Both sides also anticipate safeguarding sensitive research in science and technology, highlighting the importance of the inclusion of the private sector, scientific institutions, universities and think tanks in further exploring ways to cooperate in these fields with the aim of encouraging investments and innovation in new technology.

VII. Women’s Economic Empowerment

Both countries have made the empowerment of women in the economy a high priority. We expect to continue our cooperation on promoting women’s economic empowerment, sharing best practices and highlighting national platforms promoting entrepreneurship and economic opportunities for women, including in our respective foreign policies.

VIII. Arctic Cooperation

As member states of the Arctic Council, we seek to maintain the Arctic as a region of peace, stability and cooperation. Both countries intend to work together within the Arctic Council to enhance sustainable development, environmental protection, and the well-being and security of the people living in the region.

Our two countries aim to advance our bilateral cooperation in the Arctic, including in pursuing new opportunities for scientific collaboration, trade and commerce.

IX. Conclusion

The United State and Iceland are committed to continuing cooperation in all the above and anticipate that the annual Economic Dialogue will be a forum in which these and other issues of mutual interest will be taken forward and addressed.

End text.

10/28/2020 05:03 PM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Today, I am announcing the designation of First Secretary in the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala, Felipe Alejos Lorenzana, and former Deputy Delia Bac, due to their involvement in significant corruption.  Mr. Alejos’ and Ms. Bac’s corruption has undermined the rule of law and the Guatemalan public’s faith in their government and their country’s democratic institutions and public processes.  While acting in his official capacity as a deputy in the Guatemalan Congress, Mr. Alejos was involved in corrupt acts to enrich himself, while also seriously harming U.S. businesses’ international economic activity.  In her official capacity as a deputy from 2008 to 2020, Ms. Bac was involved in corrupt acts including using her political influence for the personal enrichment and advancement of herself and her family.

These designations are made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020 (Div. G, P.L. 116-94).  Under Section 7031(c), once the Secretary of State designates officials of foreign governments for their involvement, directly or indirectly, in significant corruption, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.

The law also requires the Secretary of State to either publicly or privately designate such officials and their immediate family members.  In addition to Mr. Alejos, the Department is publicly designating his spouse, Maria Ximena Morales de Alejos, and his minor sons.

These designations reaffirm the commitment of the United States to combating corruption in Guatemala.  We stand with the Guatemalan people in this fight.  The Department will continue to use these legal authorities to promote accountability for corrupt actors who operate with impunity in the region and globally.

For more information, please contact

10/28/2020 10:12 AM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

The United States welcomes the departure from Belarus of wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Vitali Shkliarov. After three months of wrongful detention and house arrest, Mr. Shkliarov has been reunited with his family and has arrived in the United States. As the President and I have made clear, we will not tolerate foreign governments wrongfully detaining U.S. citizens.

Office of the Press Secretary

October 26, 2020

Dear Mr. Chairman: (Dear Senator:) (Dear Representative:)
Pursuant to the Constitution and the laws of the United States, and consistent with section 6(e) of the Comprehensive Peace in Sudan Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-497), as amended by the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006 (Public Law 109‑344), I have made a certification regarding the Government of Sudan in accordance with section 12(a)(2) of the Sudan Peace Act (Public Law 107-245), as amended by the Comprehensive Peace in Sudan Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-497). 
I have enclosed copies of the Certification and Memorandum of Justification.

                              DONALD J. TRUMP



U.S. Nominates Christopher Liddell for OECD Secretary General
10/20/2020 09:59 AM EDT

Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson

The United States is pleased to nominate Christopher Liddell as the U.S. candidate for the position of Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The OECD is a uniquely valuable forum where the United States works with the other advanced free market democracies to develop best practices and standards that enhance growth and create jobs.

A native of New Zealand, Christopher Liddell is currently Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination at the White House. Before his government service, Mr. Liddell served as Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer of General Motors, Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Microsoft Corporation, and Chief Financial Officer of International Paper. As Secretary General of the OECD, Mr. Liddell will draw upon decades of high-level public and private sector experience to ensure the OECD pursues a focused and impactful member-driven agenda.

We thank outgoing Secretary General Ángel Gurría of Mexico for his years of service, and look forward to working with other OECD members to select a Secretary General to lead this vital organization in the post-COVID period and to analyze and debate policies that will lead to strong economic growth around the globe.



General Banner


14-10-2020 03:16 PM CEST

When: Thursday 15 October at 15:30 - Where: Anna Politkovskaya pressroom and via Skype

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP
14-10-2020 01:33 PM CEST

In a spirit of compromise, Parliament made a concrete and realistic proposal for an immediate increase of key programme envelopes in the long-term EU budget by €39bn.
Committee on Budgets

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP
14-10-2020 12:06 PM CEST

To fill gaps exposed by COVID-19 and ensure that health systems can face future threats to public health, an ambitious EU health programme is needed, say MEPs.
Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP



10/14/2020 06:22 PM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Today, we join with all Americans in welcoming the release of two U.S. citizens from Houthi custody in Yemen.

My deepest condolences go out to the family of a third American who died while in captivity, but whose remains are being repatriated.

I would like to thank Sultan Haitham bin Tariq of Oman, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia for their diplomatic efforts.  I also want to commend the tenacious diplomacy of our embassies in the region who helped facilitate this release.

Today’s news is the latest affirmation that President Trump remains committed to bringing every American held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad back home.  This Administration will not rest until they are all reunited with their families.

10/14/2020 11:57 AM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education

Dear Presidents of American Institutions of Higher Education and Affiliates:

At the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, we share a mission to advocate for American values, including the important principle of academic freedom. U.S. institutions of higher education are an invaluable partner in that mission. It is in the spirit of this shared mission that we write to you about a real and growing threat: the malign influence of the authoritarian government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on our nation’s campuses.

This threat, and the seriousness with which the U.S. academic community regards it, were on open display in the last several weeks. As it became clear that students in the free world could not study and discuss contemporary China without fear of violating the new Hong Kong National Security Law, some U.S. professors offered to hide their own students’ identities or allow them to “opt out” of China-related coursework and classroom discussions. They feared that the PRC could prosecute their students for statements made in a U.S. classroom.

Such fears about free speech on American campuses being suppressed by the PRC are well justified. At least one American has been indicted in Hong Kong for statements made in the United States, and at least one student from the PRC has been jailed in China for statements made while in the United States. This kind of repression is not new. For years, students from the PRC have been repressed, and in some cases have had their family members harassed in China over their actions while studying in the United States.

In practice, students visiting from China, members of Chinese minority language and ethnic groups, and those with other connections to China who voice dissent from the PRC’s authoritarian actions are the most endangered by the PRC’s increasingly aggressive posture.

The presence of this authoritarian influence on our campuses has never been more concerning, nor more consequential. The PRC has suppressed human rights and freedoms in Hong Kong; has intensified longstanding repression of ethnic and linguistic minorities in the so-called “autonomous regions” of Tibet, Inner Mongolia, and elsewhere; and is believed to be engaged in the world’s largest internment of a religious minority since the Second World War in the “autonomous region” of Xinjiang. The broad implications for ensuring academic freedom, honoring human rights, protecting university endowments, and safeguarding intellectual property are outlined in the enclosed recent State Department letter to the governing boards of U.S. institutions of higher education. Not only does the PRC seek to control any criticism of its policies wherever they may occur, but there is extensive evidence that the PRC employs Chinese nationals in the U.S. to steal intellectual property and monitor the actions and activities of other Chinese students and scholars to ensure their continued acquiescence to its authoritarian principles. This only underscores the importance of work the Department of Education has undertaken to ensure compliance in reporting and transparency for the public under section 117 of the Higher Education Act. The initial reporting has given further support to these concerns.

The PRC’s efforts to control campus dialogue are sometimes supported by a physical campus presence in the form of a Confucius Institute. Today there are Confucius Institutes located on or near the campuses of approximately 60 U.S. colleges and universities. Confucius Institutes are branded as Chinese language and cultural learning centers, but there is increasing evidence that they are also tools of malign PRC influence and dissemination of CCP propaganda on U.S. campuses. The presence of a Confucius Institute, with the Beijing-based funding that comes with it, can provide an institution with financial and other incentives to abstain from criticizing PRC policies, and may pressure the institution’s faculty to censor themselves. The American Association of University Professors noted in a 2014 report that “Confucius Institutes function as an arm of the Chinese state and are allowed to ignore academic freedom.”

Many educators are surprised to learn that some U.S. colleges and universities make use of teaching materials developed by an authoritarian government and taught by teachers who are vetted, supplied, and paid by that same government. A review by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs determined that approval from an institution affiliated with the PRC’s Ministry of Education has been generally required when filling teaching positions associated with Confucius Institutes. This practice, by the PRC, does not necessarily align with our values or support the safe, equitable, and positive learning environment we all strive to preserve.

On August 13, the State Department designated the Confucius Institute U.S. Center (CIUS) in Washington, D.C., as a foreign mission of the PRC. While the CIUS designation does not directly affect Confucius Institutes on campuses around the country, it will provide much-needed transparency by requiring CIUS to provide information about its operations to the State Department, including regarding its relationship with individual Confucius Institutes in the United States. As a result, U.S. stakeholders, including universities and colleges, will be able to make more informed choices about PRC government influence exerted on their communities.

Although the State Department’s designation of CIUS does not compel any action on the part of your institution, we ask your board and staff to examine carefully all PRC regime-related activities associated with your campus and consider whether student physical safety, academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and appropriate governance and transparency are upheld. We urge you to assess the capacity of PRC-funded programs to withstand open intellectual inquiry by closely examining their actions in the face of independent thinkers, academics, and civil society activists that speak on campus about issues relating to the PRC’s authoritarian actions.

If you find that the PRC’s presence, while meant to provide a Chinese language and culture opportunity for your students, also aims to constrain academic discourse about the PRC’s actions, we urge you to take appropriate action. Together we can ensure that the PRC government does not inhibit students’ ability to engage with diverse perspectives and to inquire openly on all subjects, including acquiring Chinese language skills or cultural awareness. Our universities and colleges must remain a safe and welcoming environment for all students, researchers, and scholars.

While Americans may differ on many issues, threats to our freedoms unite us all. We look forward to working together to advance academic freedom on our Nation’s campuses and around the world.


Betsy DeVos
Secretary of Education

Michael R. Pompeo
Secretary of State

10/03/2020 07:04 PM EDT

Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson

We are outraged at the Hong Kong government’s arbitrary arrest of more than 80 people on October 1.  A stable and prosperous Hong Kong depends on honoring the rights of assembly, free speech, and other fundamental freedoms.  By repressing peaceful public opinion, the Hong Kong government once again shows its complicity with the Chinese Communist Party’s evisceration of Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms of its people. We deplore the local authorities’ continued use of law enforcement for political purposes, which is contrary to the preservation of the rule of law, and respect for human rights, including the rights to assembly and free expression.  These arrests again underscore Beijing’s complete dismantlement of One Country Two Systems that the PRC promised to uphold.

The United States Announces Additional Assistance to Respond to the Venezuela Crisis
09/19/2020 03:25 PM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

The United States remains the largest single donor of humanitarian and development assistance around the world, including for Venezuelans in need, because doing our part to respond to global crisis situations is a national security priority.

The United States is demonstrating our continued commitment to the Venezuelan people and our response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis caused by the corrupt and illegitimate Maduro regime with the announcement of an additional nearly $348 million in humanitarian assistance. This amount includes nearly $143 million from the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, and more than $205 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development. This additional U.S. humanitarian assistance includes support to the more than seven million Venezuelans with critical needs inside Venezuela, the more than five million who have sought refuge in countries across the region, and the generous communities hosting them. This new funding now brings the total amount of U.S. humanitarian and development assistance toward the Venezuela crisis to more than $1.2 billion since 2017, excluding COVID-19 supplementary funding.

Many Venezuelans continue to struggle to meet their basic needs and U.S. assistance supports the well-being of forcibly displaced Venezuelans. U.S. humanitarian assistance provides access to emergency food, safe drinking water, direct cash assistance, sanitation, and hygiene support, health care, medical supplies, psychosocial support, livelihoods, and protection for vulnerable groups including women, youth, and indigenous people especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We appreciate the efforts of all donors who have committed resources to these life-saving initiatives and encourage both traditional and new donors to increase their efforts to help meet growing needs of crisis responses.



09/08/2020 08:24 PM EDT

Original release date: September 8, 2020

Adobe has released security updates to address vulnerabilities in multiple products. An attacker could exploit some of these vulnerabilities to take control of an affected system.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) encourages users and administrators to review the following Adobe Security Bulletins and apply the necessary updates.

This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) - Defend Today, Secure Tomorrow

09/14/2020 09:00 AM EDT

Original release date: September 14, 2020

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have issued an advisory about Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS)-affiliated cyber threat actors targeting U.S. government agencies. Through the National Cybersecurity Protection System, CISA has observed Chinese MSS-affiliated cyber threat actors operating from the People’s Republic of China using commercially available information sources and open-source exploitation tools.

CISA leveraged the MITRE Adversarial Tactics, Techniques, and Common Knowledge (ATT&CK®) and Pre-ATT&CK frameworks to characterize the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) used by Chinese MSS-affiliated actors. CISA encourages users and administrators to review the joint cybersecurity advisory and CISA's Chinese Malicious Cyber Activity page for more information.

This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.



09/03/2020 09:30 AM EDT

Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson

The United States has long been the world’s most generous provider of health and humanitarian assistance to people around the world.  This assistance is provided with the support of the American taxpayer with the reasonable expectation that it serve an effective purpose and reach those in need.

Unfortunately, the World Health Organization has failed badly by those measures, not only in its response to COVID-19, but to other health crises in recent decades.  In addition, WHO has declined to adopt urgently needed reforms, starting with demonstrating its independence from the Chinese Communist Party.

When President Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from that organization, he made clear that we would seek more credible and transparent partners.

That withdrawal becomes effective on July 6, 2021, and since the President’s announcement, the U.S. government has been working to identify partners to assume the activities previously undertaken by WHO.

Today, the United States is announcing the next steps with respect to our withdrawal from the WHO and the redirection of American resources.  This redirection includes reprogramming the remaining balance of its planned Fiscal Year 2020 assessed WHO contributions to partially pay other UN assessments.

In addition, through July 2021, the United States will scale down its engagement with the WHO, to include recalling the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) detailees from WHO headquarters, regional offices, and country offices, and reassigning these experts.  U.S. participation in WHO technical meetings and events will be determined on a case-by-case basis.


09/03/2020 09:43 AM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

The Maduro regime’s announcement of conditional dismissal of criminal charges against roughly one-third of the political prisoners it holds does not solve, nor even address, Venezuela’s underlying political crisis.  Hundreds of political prisoners remain, and like those now offered house arrest or an end (for the moment) to their criminal cases, none of these Venezuelans should ever have been imprisoned for a single day.

For those prisoners who were released, returning home is a day to celebrate.  The United States joins in respect and admiration for these patriots and for the sacrifices they have made to free their country.

Still, the condition of democracy in Venezuela remains dire.  These dismissals of charges are conditional, with officials threatening to rescind the benefit if any individuals “return to any act of terrorism, violence, or coup-mongering,” as arbitrarily determined by the regime.  Among those still threatened, harassed, and indicted by the regime are Venezuelan leaders like Juan Guaido, Leopoldo Lopez, and Julio Borges, as well as Venezuelan Ambassador to the United States Carlos Vecchio, and many other fighters for Venezuelan democracy.  Moreover, no prominent imprisoned chavista or trade union leaders were included; nor any members of the military, despite their disproportionate numbers among political prisoners.  Most exiled Venezuelan democratic political leaders will not be able to return, because they know they could be jailed instantly; there are zero guarantees for their safety.  Charges against Deputy Juan Requesens were not dismissed, and he remains under house arrest.  On the same day that Requesens was released, the mother of National Assembly Deputy Armando Armas was arbitrarily detained, reminding us that the regime maintains a revolving door of incarceration and intimidation to extort participation in Maduro’s December 6 electoral farce.

Conditions for free and fair elections do not exist in Venezuela and the release of a number of political prisoners does not change that.  None of the political parties whose leadership was removed and their names, symbols, and assets stolen by the regime have been restored, including parties from the left that challenge the regime’s control of Chavez’s political legacy.  Many political opponents of the regime are still prohibited from running for office and remain without political rights.  The illegally appointed National Electoral Commission (CNE) remains under tight regime control, a fact that will become critical because complex registration processes are in its hands.  Freedom of the press does not exist. Freedom of expression does not exist.  Freedom of assembly does not exist.  These minimum conditions to receive a credible international electoral observation mission remain absent.

We urge all democratic actors, both within and outside of Venezuela, to continue to insist on the necessary, internationally accepted conditions for free and fair elections.  We, and our democratic partners in Venezuela and the international community, will not contribute to legitimizing yet another electoral fraud carried out by the Maduro regime. Venezuelan citizens deserve our continuing solidarity in their struggle to restore democracy to their country.


09/03/2020 11:48 AM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Today, the Department of State imposed sanctions on five entities under section 3(a)(ii) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13846 for knowingly engaging in a significant transaction for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran.  The Department of State also imposed sanctions under section 5(a)(vii) of E.O. 13846 on three individuals who serve as principal executive officers of the sanctioned entities, or perform similar functions and with similar authorities as a principal executive officer.

Iran’s petroleum industry is a major source of revenue for the Iranian regime and funds its malign activities throughout the Middle East.  Our actions today reaffirm the United States’ commitment to denying the Iranian regime the financial resources it needs to fuel terrorism and other destabilizing activities.  We call on the regime yet again to stop undermining the Iranian people’s prosperity by exploiting Iran’s natural resources to sow chaos and destruction.

The entities sanctioned today are Iran-based Abadan Refining Company; China based Zhihang Ship Management CO Ltd., New Far International Logistics LLC and Sino Energy Shipping Ltd.; and United Arab Emirates (UAE) based Chemtrans Petrochemicals Trading LLC.  The individuals sanctioned today are:  Min Shi, employee of New Far; Zuoyou Lin, employee of Sino Energy; and Alireza Amin, employee of Abadan.

The Department of the Treasury also imposed sanctions on six entities for their support to Triliance Petrochemical Co. Ltd., an entity designated by Treasury and State in January 2020, and for related activities.  These entities, based in Iran, UAE, and China, support Triliance’s continued involvement in the sale of Iranian petrochemical products, including efforts by Triliance to hide or otherwise obscure its involvement in sales contracts.  These entities are:  Iranian company Zagros Petrochemical Company; UAE-based Petrotech FZE (located in the Hamriya Free Zone, Sharjah, UAE) and Trio Energy DMCC; and Hong Kong-based Chinese entities Jingho Technology Co. Limited, Dynapex Energy Limited, and Dinrin Limited.

All entities targeted today continued to facilitate Iran’s export of petroleum, petroleum products, and petrochemicals contrary to U.S. sanctions.  This is another reminder that the United States will not waver in its commitment to sanctions enforcement.    Our sanctions will remain in place until Iran changes its behavior.

08/09/2020 10:26 AM EDT

Office of the Spokesperson

We the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, and the United States Secretary of State are gravely concerned by the Hong Kong government’s unjust disqualification of candidates and disproportionate postponement of Legislative Council elections.  These moves have undermined the democratic process that has been fundamental to Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity.

We express deep concern at Beijing’s imposition of the new National Security Law, which is eroding the Hong Kong people’s fundamental rights and liberties.

We support the legitimate expectations of the people of Hong Kong to elect Legislative Council representatives via genuinely free, fair, and credible elections.  We call on the Hong Kong government to reinstate the eligibility of disqualified candidates so that the elections can take place in an environment conducive to the exercise of democratic rights and freedoms as enshrined in the Basic Law.  Beijing promised autonomy and freedoms under the “One Country, Two Systems” principle to the Hong Kong people in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a U.N.-registered treaty, and must honor its commitments.  We urge the Hong Kong government to hold the elections as soon as possible.

08/05/2020 04:57 PM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

The Clean Network program is the Trump Administration’s comprehensive approach to guarding our citizens’ privacy and our companies’ most sensitive information from aggressive intrusions by malign actors, such as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Today, I am announcing the launch of five new lines of effort to protect America’s critical telecommunications and technology infrastructure.

These programs are rooted in internationally accepted digital trust standards and built upon the 5G Clean Path initiative, announced on April 29, 2020, to secure data traveling on 5G networks into U.S. diplomatic facilities overseas and within the United States.

The five new lines of effort for the Clean Network are as follows:

  • Clean Carrier: To ensure untrusted People’s Republic of China (PRC) carriers are not connected with U.S. telecommunications networks. Such companies pose a danger to U.S. national security and should not provide international telecommunications services to and from the United States.
  • Clean Store: To remove untrusted applications from U.S. mobile app stores. PRC apps threaten our privacy, proliferate viruses, and spread propaganda and disinformation. American’s most sensitive personal and business information must be protected on their mobile phones from exploitation and theft for the CCP’s benefit.
  • Clean Apps: To prevent untrusted PRC smartphone manufacturers from pre-installing –or otherwise making available for download – trusted apps on their apps store. Huawei, an arm of the PRC surveillance state, is trading on the innovations and reputations of leading U.S. and foreign companies. These companies should remove their apps from Huawei’s app store to ensure they are not partnering with a human rights abuser.
  • Clean Cloud: To prevent U.S. citizens’ most sensitive personal information and our businesses’ most valuable intellectual property, including COVID-19 vaccine research, from being stored and processed on cloud-based systems accessible to our foreign adversaries through companies such as Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent.
  • Clean Cable: To ensure the undersea cables connecting our country to the global internet are not subverted for intelligence gathering by the PRC at hyper scale. We will also work with foreign partners to ensure that undersea cables around the world aren’t similarly subject to compromise.

Momentum for the Clean Network program is growing. More than thirty countries and territories are now Clean Countries, and many of the world’s biggest telecommunications companies are Clean Telcos. All have committed to exclusively using trusted vendors in their Clean Networks.

The United States calls on our allies and partners in government and industry around the world to join the growing tide to secure our data from the CCP’s surveillance state and other malign entities. Building a Clean fortress around our citizens’ data will ensure all of our nations’ security.

08/05/2020 04:52 PM EDT

Office of the Spokesperson

The U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program, which is administered by the Diplomatic Security Service, is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the identification or location of any person who works with or for a foreign government for the purpose of interfering with U.S. elections through certain illegal cyber activities.

The reward offer seeks information on the identification or location of any person who, while acting at the direction of or under the control of a foreign government, interferes with any U.S. federal, state, or local election by aiding or abetting a violation of section 1030 of title 18, which relates to computer fraud and abuse. The Rewards for Justice program is administered by the Diplomatic Security Service.

Persons engaged in certain malicious cyber operations targeting election or campaign infrastructure may be subject to prosecution under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030, which criminalizes unauthorized computer intrusions and other forms of fraud related to computers. Among other offenses, the statute prohibits unauthorized accessing of computers to obtain information and transmit it to unauthorized recipients.

More information about this reward offer is located on the Rewards for Justice website at We encourage anyone with information on foreign interference in U.S. elections to contact the Rewards for Justice office via the website or e-mail (, or contact the Regional Security Officer at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

The Rewards for Justice Program is an effective law enforcement tool and is administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service. Since its inception in 1984, the program has paid in excess of $150 million to more than 100 people across the globe who provided actionable information that helped prevent terrorism, bring terrorist leaders to justice, and resolve threats to U.S. national security. Follow us on Twitter at

07/31/2020 11:13 AM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

The Chinese Communist Party’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang, China against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities rank as the stain of the century. The Trump Administration has led the world’s effort to impose tangible costs on the PRC’s continuous campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, intrusive surveillance, forced labor, forced population control, involuntary collection of biometric data, and genetic analyses targeted at these groups. Today, we are continuing that record of principled action.

On July 9, 2020, the United States designated Chen Quanguo, the current First Party Secretary of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), a paramilitary organization subordinate to the CCP, for his connection to serious human rights abuse in Xinjiang. Following his arrival in the region, Chen Quanguo began implementing a comprehensive surveillance, detention, and indoctrination program in Xinjiang, targeting Uyghurs and members of other ethnic minorities. The XPCC has been directly involved in implementing these measures. Today, the U.S. has imposed sanctions on the XPCC.

The U.S. also sanctioned today Sun Jinlong, former Party Secretary of the XPCC, and Peng Jiarui, Deputy Party Secretary and Commander of the XPCC. They were designated pursuant to Executive Order 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. These actions will also restrict the ability of Sun Jinlong and Peng Jiarui to travel to the United States.

Today’s designations are the latest U.S. government action in an ongoing effort to deter human rights abuse in the Xinjiang region. We call on all countries to join us in condemning the CCP’s heinous abuse of the human rights of its own citizens, affecting countless families across the world.

For more information regarding this action, please see the press release issued today by the Department of the Treasury.

07/30/2020 05:08 PM EDT

Cale Brown, Deputy Spokesperson

We are shocked, saddened, and outraged that American citizen Tahir Naseem was killed yesterday inside a Pakistani courtroom.  Mr. Naseem had been lured to Pakistan from his home in Illinois by individuals who then used Pakistan’s blasphemy laws to entrap him.  The U.S. Government has been providing consular assistance to Mr. Naseem and his family since his detention in 2018 and has called the attention of senior Pakistani officials to his case to prevent the type of shameful tragedy that eventually occurred.  We grieve with the family of Mr. Naseem. We urge Pakistan to immediately reform its often abused blasphemy laws and its court system, which  allow such abuses to occur, and to ensure that the suspect is prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

07/30/2020 01:25 PM EDT

Office of Treaty Affairs

Defense: Status of Forces

Agreement signed at Kigali May 28, 2020; entered into force May 28, 2020.

Public Designation of Russian National Ramzan Kadyrov Due to Involvement in Gross Violations of Human Rights
07/20/2020 10:41 AM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Today, the Department of State is publicly designating Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation, under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020.  This designation is due to Kadyrov’s involvement in gross violations of human rights in the Chechen Republic.  The Department has extensive credible information that Kadyrov is responsible for numerous gross violations of human rights dating back more than a decade, including torture and extrajudicial killings.

We note that today’s action also applies to Mr. Kadyrov’s spouse, Medni Kadyrova, and his daughters Aishat Kadyrova and Karina (aka Khadizhat) Kadyrova.  We will encourage likeminded countries to take similar measures.

Along with many other likeminded nations, the United States has repeatedly raised concerns about reports of Mr. Kadyrov’s violations publicly and privately.  We have already imposed economic sanctions on Mr. Kadyrov and several of his associates, using multiple authorities.  In 2018, the United States and fifteen other nations took the extraordinary step of invoking the OSCE’s Moscow Mechanism to create a fact-finding mission into horrific reports of abuses against LGBTI persons, human rights defenders, members of the independent media, and other citizens who ran afoul of Mr. Kadyrov.  The Moscow Mechanism rapporteur found that “harassment and persecution, arbitrary or unlawful arrests or detentions, torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial executions” had taken place and that “a climate of impunity” surrounded these events.  We are concerned that Mr. Kadyrov is now using the excuse of the coronavirus pandemic to inflict further human rights abuses on the people of the Chechen Republic.

Today’s action serves to notify Mr. Kadyrov that his involvement in gross violations of human rights has consequences, both for him and his family, and that the United States is committed to using all the tools at our disposal to ensure accountability for those who engage in this abhorrent behavior.




 Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Recent Actions updates for the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Update to OFAC's list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) and Blocked Persons

The SDN list has recently been updated.  Please visit this page to access the latest version of the SDN list.  Check this page periodically as it may also be updated if a new list-related format or product is offered.

Please visit this link for specific information on today's action.


07/08/2020 08:13 PM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

On July 9, five years ago the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a nationwide offensive targeting hundreds of defense lawyers and human rights defenders for detention, interrogation, and politically motivated criminal charges. The “709” crackdown, named for the date it began on July 9, 2015, was designed to intimidate a generation of lawyers and activists from representing or assisting anyone the CCP perceives as a threat to its absolute power. It showed the world what it means to govern via “rule by law,” rather than a system based on the rule of law.

This wave of repression continues, demonstrated by the secret trial and June 17 sentencing of Yu Wensheng for defending victims of the 2015 crackdown. After detaining human rights lawyers like Wang Quanzhang for years and denying them visits from their families and chosen attorneys, the PRC detained those lawyers’ own defense attorneys — such as Yu and Li Yuhan — without due process. PRC authorities continue to keep some human rights lawyers under house arrest (Jiang Tianyong) and have disbarred others (Wang Yu, Jiang Jitian, Li Jinxing, and Wen Donghai) even after their release from prison.

The PRC has also targeted peaceful activists, like Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi, who have worked with human rights lawyers to protect Chinese citizens’ rights and defend against the abuses of government officials.

The United States urges the PRC to honor its international human rights obligations and commitments and domestic legal guarantees protect



FAA logo

SAFO 20011, Operations in Oceanic Airspace during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, is now published.

This SAFO serves to advise flightcrews of the potential loss of Air Traffic Control (ATC) services in the event of an oceanic ATC facility shutdown and recommends the mitigating procedures contained herein.

The SAFO can be viewed by downloading the attached .pdf file or by clicking on the following link


General Banner
02-07-2020 10:24 AM CEST

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP

01-07-2020 09:03 AM CEST

While the corona pandemic continues, Germany took over the six-month presidency of the Council of the EU on 1 July. We asked German MEPs for their expectations.

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP

07/01/2020 08:44 PM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Washington, D.C.

QUESTION: For more on China, Hong Kong, and America’s role in the world, joining me now, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Mr. Secretary, thanks for being here.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Bret, thanks for having me on this evening. Great to be with you again.

QUESTION: We just heard you talk about the companies, American companies, warning them to keep forced labor out of their supply chains, pointing directly at China and these concentration camps, as described by the Defense Department. Will we see investigations and prosecutions of American businesses who don’t heed this warning?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Bret, President Trump has been very clear the way the previous administrations have dealt with the Chinese Communist Party by turning the other cheek and letting them abuse America is not going to continue, so we have responded across a number of fronts. So you identify one, this forced labor. Nobody wants to buy products, cheap products, that were made with slave labor in western China. They want clarity about the tracing of the product that they have. And so we’ve asked every business to evaluate their supply chain and make sure that nothing like that ever gets in, and we’ve put them on notice for actions that we may take as we move forward.

QUESTION: Now, last month President Trump told Axios that he held off sanctions – sanctioning Chinese officials involved with the mass detention camps because it would have interfered with his trade deal with China. Should those have been separated?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, Bret, I’ve been Secretary of State for two and a half years. No, there’s always complex tradeoffs that one has to make. President Trump has been very clear when he signed this bill, the Uyghur bill last week, that we were going to take this seriously, we were going to deal with it, we were going to put harsh restrictions in place. We’re working on that. No country has responded in the same way that we have. We hope the whole world will join.

What’s going on there, Bret, is historic. There is forced sterilization. They’re forcing women to have abortions. This is a place with some of the most fundamental violations of human rights that the world has seen in an awfully long time.

President Trump has been serious about making sure the world sees this, and we hope that countries all across the world, including Muslim countries in the world, will see their way clear to putting their shoulder to the grindstone to help resolve this problem as well.

QUESTION: I guess the question is: Should the President have done more? He had a lot of opportunities talking with President Xi.

SECRETARY POMPEO: There is no country that has done more and I’m confident will do more, Bret.

QUESTION: All right. In Hong Kong, we did the story there about the new security law in place. You’ve certified that Hong Kong is no longer sufficiently autonomous. Again, should the administration have acted more forcefully to deter Chinese crackdown in Hong Kong?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I’ll tell you, Bret, I wish the previous administration had taken China seriously. It’s truly – this isn’t partisan. Forty years of failed American policy with respect to China. This administration is trying to clean it up, trying to get it right. The Chinese have taken advantage of us in multiple ways.

We’ve done really good work, important work trying to protect the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong. General Secretary Xi has chosen to go a different direction, and we’re responding in a way that will put pressure on Beijing and try to maintain whatever we can of the remaining freedoms in Hong Kong. I will tell you the notion that there remains one country and two systems is fundamentally at odds with the facts on the ground today. I regret that.

QUESTION: You know that your critics, including now John Bolton, say that this was all about election politics and to get China to buy soybeans in places that affect re-election.


QUESTION: Okay, that’s what we’ll get from that. What does success look like with China? The U.S. and China, what does it look like? Can China be a responsible partner with President Xi at the helm in the Chinese Communist Party?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Look, that’s up to the Chinese Communist Party. That’s their decision to make. What the United States can control is what we do. When there is unfair and nonreciprocal trade, we’re going to demand by – demand that it be right. And when they don’t do it, we’re going to do things like placing tariffs on their goods. When they engage in behavior that’s militarily threatening to the United States, we’re going to put $700 billion into our Department of Defense to keep Americans safe and secure. And when the Chinese engage in cyber espionage, we’re going to impose penalties on them such that they will be deterred from doing that. Those are the things we can do.

We are hopeful. We want the Chinese people to be successful. The Chinese Communist Party today has made a decision; it wants to be an imperialist power and wants to be authoritarian in nature, and it wants to compete across the world in ways that are inconsistent with the good things happening for the American people and, frankly, people of democracies all across the world. President Trump’s policies are aimed squarely at reversing that.

QUESTION: I want to spend some time on the Russia bounty story in Afghanistan. First, does the Russian Government have American blood on its hands in Afghanistan?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Bret, I don’t want to get into the intelligence. The Intelligence Community has put out two statements. I used to have that job. I’m going to honor what they’ve said.

Here’s what I can say with absolute certainly: The United States has responded appropriately to the threats that have been presented to it in Afghanistan consistently through my entire three and a half years, first as CIA director and now as Secretary of State. There are many folks using the Taliban or who have used the Taliban over years and years and years as proxy forces. There’s been money funneled in there from all across the world, unfortunately.

President Trump has taken this seriously. We are hopeful we’ll make progress on our peace and reconciliation plan, and we will respond to any threat, whether that’s Iranians using the Taliban or the Russians. We’ll make sure they know. The Russians have been providing weapons to the Taliban for an awful lot of years, and so this is an ongoing challenge we have. And our forces on the ground under General Miller and the Resolute Support mission are deeply aware of the threat from the Taliban, whether that’s supported by any third party or none.

QUESTION: You know – you just referenced you were CIA director – there’s not often consensus across the Intelligence Community on intel. I mean, if it dealt with bounties, killing American troops, shouldn’t the President have been told about it? We know that it was discussed in the National Security Council at the principals and the deputies level. You said today that key members of Congress had that intel as well, even though there wasn’t a consensus. Why wasn’t the President briefed on it?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, Bret, that’s actually not quite right. Most intelligence that’s read, there is, in fact, a consensus. Almost all of the analytical product that I read every day has a consensus across the entire Intelligence Community. It is often the case that it is not. That happens. When that happens, we need to make sure we get it right.

Look, Bret, you know this. Every morning I wake up and I read the intelligence materials. And when I read them, there are people all across the world who are threatened, including my officers at embassies all across the world. We don’t always make sure that gets to the President. We do the right thing. We make sure the ambassador on the ground knows, that the commander on the ground knows, that our allies who may be threatened as well know. It is the tactical and operational response to keep our soldiers safe and secure that is most important.

When the Intelligence Community feels like something rises to the level that needs to get to the President, I am very confident they will consistently present it to them. I know that when I was the CIA director, I did that.

QUESTION: Did you know about this particular intel piece?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I don’t want to talk about the intel in particular on this, Bret.

QUESTION: All right. Let me just —

SECRETARY POMPEO: I mean, there’s just – I just – I’m not trying to be clever. There’s just so much that has been reported that is not accurate and that is incomplete, that by refuting any particular element of it I am putting at risk our capacity to actually resolve and figure out what’s going on here.

QUESTION: And I want to ask you about that and the leak itself. But here is what the Democratic nominee is saying about it: “He either reads and/or gets briefed on important issues and forgets it, or he doesn’t think it’s necessary that he need to know it. He should at a minimum have picked up the phone and said, ‘Vladimir, old buddy, if any of this is true, and it does – then it seems to me that you’ve got a big problem.’”

All right. So it’s not just the Democrats, obviously. You have Senator Chuck Grassley on the Senate floor saying it demands a serious response. You have two key Republicans in the House, Mike McCaul and Adam Kinzinger, saying, “There are already those who are politicizing this issue, however we cannot use – let politics overshadow the truth that Republicans and Democrats alike can agree on: the Putin regime cannot be trusted. If the intelligence review process verifies the reports, we strongly encourage the administration to take swift and serious action to hold the Putin regime accountable.”

SECRETARY POMPEO: Bret, there’s been no administration to hold the Russians accountable in the way this one has. I only wish former Vice President Biden had held the Russians accountable. We’d have been cleaning up a lot less of a mess. I wish he’d provided arms to the Ukrainians. I wish he had gotten out of the INF Treaty. I wish he hadn’t allowed and invited the Syrians – the Russians into Syria.

I could go on, but you’ve got a short show. The failures of the previous administration allowed the Russians a lot of space to move. We’ve pushed back. We’ve sanctioned more Russians than any other administration in history. I’ll take a back seat to no one with respect to what our administration and President Trump has done to hold Vladimir Putin accountable when he is engaged in malign activity. And should we find out that there is evidence that he’s putting our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines at risk anywhere in the world, including in Afghanistan, I am very confident that President Trump will direct me and he himself will respond appropriately.

QUESTION: How damaging was this leak? You were CIA director. The White House press secretary the other day said that there were rogue officers in the Intelligence Community who want to undercut the President. Do you believe that?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Bret, I don’t know where this leak came from. But when periodicals report this information, it breaks my heart, because it puts our intelligence officers and our military men and women at risk. It is dangerous. It is unlawful. And I hope that we can figure out who did it, and they’ll be brought to justice.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you did speak out when it was alleged that Iran was paying the Taliban a thousand dollars for each American killed in Afghanistan as a member of Congress, and you spoke out about the Obama administration’s response at the time, which obviously you criticized in the overall Iran deal.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, that’s absolutely true. I’ve spoken about the Iranians providing assistance to the Taliban in my current role as Secretary of State as well. I’ve criticized other governments. We’ve worked to make sure Pakistan wasn’t providing safe haven for the Taliban in Afghanistan, too. No, we’re equal opportunity when it comes to making sure we protect Americans wherever they are serving.

QUESTION: All right, let’s talk about a couple of other substantive things. One is you mentioned the Taliban peace deal. You said that the Taliban would publicly renounce al-Qaida. You talked about that. I asked you about it back in March. Take a listen:

QUESTION: “It says it will not allow any of its members or other individuals or groups, including al-Qaida, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies. But that’s not really a break; that’s not renouncing —

SECRETARY POMPEO: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

QUESTION: A renouncing of al-Qaida?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Absolutely. Absolutely. When you say you’re not going to let them operate there, you know it, Bret. They’ve done it for 20 years. They’re not going to let them operate anymore. That’s – that is a central provision.”

You went further, saying that they would eventually take up arms and fight al-Qaida working alongside us to destroy al-Qaida. Have you seen any indication that the Taliban is doing any of that?



SECRETARY POMPEO: Bret, I can’t talk about the things that I have seen. But know this: I spoke with the Taliban again just this week in an effort to further the peace negotiations to try and get them to the table with the Afghan Government. I think we’re closer than we were even just a couple weeks back.

The Taliban continue to have impressed upon them the importance of this break from al-Qaida, and I think we will be able to see when we get to that point. When we have these negotiations commence, I think the world will be able to see that the Taliban are no longer going to tolerate what they have permitted to happen and that the Pakistanis too will do the things that need to be done to reduce the footprint from al-Qaida.

Remember, Bret, we’re down to a couple of hundred active al-Qaida fighters inside of Afghanistan. The reason we went there in 2001 was to crush al-Qaida. That has largely been achieved.

QUESTION: Can you confidently state that America will have U.S. troops in Afghanistan on Election Day?

SECRETARY POMPEO: The President will ultimately make that decision, Bret.

QUESTION: Okay, one more thing, the EU blocking travelers from the U.S. due to the coronavirus pandemic. Your reaction to that, and is there any pushback from the U.S.?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, remember, we’re not allowing Europeans to come here today either, Bret. We’re in close conversation with countries all around the world, including European countries, to make sure that when we reopen our country to travel from their nations that we do so in a way that keeps American people safe and reduces risk from COVID here in the United States. They have a responsibility to do that for their nations as well.

And I have every confidence that we’ll get this right with countries all across the world. It’s not just the Europeans. We need to get this right. We need to get the economy back open and get people traveling all across the United States and international travel as well.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, we appreciate your time.


QUESTION: Happy Independence Day early.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you. Happy Fourth of July to you too, Bret.

QUESTION: All right, all the best.

On China’s Threats to Impose Visa Restrictions on U.S. Officials
06/29/2020 10:46 PM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

The Chinese Communist Party’s crackdown on Hong Kong prompted the United States to retool its relationship with the territory. The Chinese Communist Party’s threats to retaliate by restricting visas for U.S. citizens exposes once again how Beijing refuses to take responsibility for its own choices. If China wants to regain the trust of Hong Kongers and the international community, it should honor the promises it made to the Hong Kong people and to the United Kingdom in the U.N.-registered 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration.


06/16/2020 03:09 PM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Technological advancements that provide greater interconnectivity also offer greater opportunity for exploitation by malicious actors who target at-risk Americans.  Today, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control took action against six Nigerian nationals, pursuant to Executive Order 13694 as amended, for conducting an elaborate online scheme to steal more than $6 million from victims across the United States.

The six individuals designated today manipulated their victims to gain access to their sensitive information and financial resources.  The U.S. will not tolerate such gross misuse of technology.   The United States will use all of the tools at our disposal to defend the American people and businesses from malign actors that seek to target them, including cyber-enabled actors who prey on vulnerable Americans and businesses.


Office of Public Affairs

Acting Secretary Wolf’s Statement on Extension of Non-Essential Travel Restrictions with Canada and Mexico

The Department of Homeland Security will ensure that the measures taken at our borders will protect America from all threats, including threats against the health and safety of our citizens. Based on the success of the existing restrictions and the emergence of additional global COVID-19 hotspots, the Department will continue to limit non-essential travel at our land ports of entry with Canada and Mexico. This extension protects Americans while keeping essential trade and travel flowing as we reopen the American economy.  

The Department of Homeland Security is in close contact with our Canadian and Mexican counterparts regarding this extension, and they agree on the need to extend their non-essential travel restrictions as well. I look forward to continue working with our neighbors to maintain essential trade and travel while protecting the health of our respective citizenry.


05/19/2020 08:16 AM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

I would like to congratulate Dr. Tsai Ing-wen on the commencement of her second term as Taiwan’s President. Her re-election by a huge margin shows that she has earned the respect, admiration, and trust of the people on Taiwan. Her courage and vision in leading Taiwan’s vibrant democracy is an inspiration to the region and the world.

The United States has long considered Taiwan a force for good in the world and a reliable partner. Support for Taiwan in the United States is bipartisan and unanimous, as demonstrated by the recent enactment of the TAIPEI Act which strengthens our overall relationship and supports a closer economic partnership. We have a shared vision for the region—one that includes rule of law, transparency, prosperity, and security for all. The recent COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity for the international community to see why Taiwan’s pandemic-response model is worthy of emulation.

As we look toward the future, I am confident that, with President Tsai at the helm, our partnership with Taiwan will continue to flourish.

Best wishes for a successful second term.



05/17/2020 03:56 PM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

It has recently come to my attention that the Chinese government has threatened to interfere with the work of American journalists in Hong Kong. These journalists are members of a free press, not propaganda cadres, and their valuable reporting informs Chinese citizens and the world. Any decision impinging on Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms as guaranteed under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law would inevitably impact our assessment of One Country, Two Systems and the status of the territory.

The United States Condemns Attempts by PRC-Affiliated Actors to Steal American COVID-19 Research
05/14/2020 12:20 PM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

The United States condemns attempts by cyber actors and non-traditional collectors affiliated with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to steal U.S. intellectual property and data related to COVID-19 research, as announced in a May 13, 2020 warning by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.  The United States calls on the PRC to cease this malicious activity.  As the May 13 warning notes, “The potential theft of this information jeopardizes the delivery of secure, effective, and efficient treatment options.”  The PRC’s behavior in cyberspace is an extension of its counterproductive actions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  While the United States and our allies and partners are coordinating a collective, transparent response to save lives, the PRC continues to silence scientists, journalists, and citizens, and to spread disinformation, which has exacerbated the dangers of this health crisis.





04/10/2020 03:52 PM EDT

Dr. William Walters

Julie J. Chung, Principal Deputy Assistant SecretaryBureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs

Ian G. Brownlee, Principal Deputy Assistant SecretaryBureau of Consular Affairs

MR BROWN:  Good afternoon, everyone, and thanks for joining today’s call.  Since January 29th of this year, the U.S. Department of State has coordinated repatriation of some 56,000 Americans from more than 100 countries.  To tell the story of the State Department’s historic effort to repatriate Americans from every corner of the globe, we have joining us for today’s on-the-record call Ian Brownlee, our Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary from the Bureau of Consular Affairs; Dr. William Walters, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Operations from the Bureau of Medical Services; and Julie Chung, our Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary from the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

By now you’re very familiar with PDAS Brownlee and Dr. Walters.  PDAS Chung has joined the call for the first time today having just returned on a repatriation flight from Peru to help shed some light on the effort to bring Americans home from that Andean nation.  Dr. Walters will begin with some opening remarks and turn it over to PDAS Chung.  Following that, PDAS Brownlee will give the latest repatriation figures, then we’ll take a few questions.  A reminder that this briefing is embargoed until the end of the call.

Dr. Walters, please go ahead.

DR WALTERS:  Good afternoon, everybody, and thanks again for the opportunity to update you with the latest statistics.  Currently there are a total of 55 cases domestically and one confirmed death.  Overseas the numbers are 285 confirmed cases; still holding at the previously reported three deaths, all within locally employed staff.  We extend our condolences to the employees and the families who’ve been affected by this virus, both those that have lost loved ones and those that are struggling in over 220 missions around the world.  With that, I’ll hand over to my colleagues.

MS CHUNG:  Good afternoon.  This is Julie Chung.  Thank you for the opportunity to brief.  I arrived back in the U.S. late last night after spending two weeks supporting our embassy team in Peru, so clearly an effort to get more than 6,800 Americans from all corners of Peru back home under extremely challenging circumstances.  Now that I’m back home – actually, I’m closer to home, as I’m currently self-isolating before reuniting with my family – I wanted to share some firsthand observations on our ongoing, around-the-clock work to repatriate U.S. citizens in Peru.  The entire mission in Peru came together to undertake this unprecedented repatriation effort.  Our volunteers included consular officers, military personnel from all branches, representatives from our U.S. Government agencies, and even family members who were volunteering.

And as a result, we have now successfully repatriated the vast majority of Americans in Peru who indicated that they wanted to return to the U.S.  The U.S. embassy has offered over 40 international flights, facilitated six international private charters, and facilitated three medevacs from Peru since the country closed its airspace on March 16th.  We have successfully repatriated Americans from a significant number of cities outside Lima, including Iquitos, Arequipa, Pucallpa, Puerto Maldonado, Trujillo, and all around in the Ica region.  And we also worked closely with the Peruvian coast guard to bring Americans by boat down a river in the jungle.  We hired buses to also bring Americans from coastal regions, and we’ve also used small U.S. Government aircraft to shuttle Americans from various cities around the country.

And so – and they’ve done all this while facing a really unique set of challenges in Peru given the extent of the restrictions driving the international airports closure.  The embassy team worked with airlines, local aviation authorities, police to create a system basically from scratch.  We used our own U.S. Government-owned hangar instead of the international airports’ facilites and we initially faced complications getting permits for flights due to the national quarantine and airport closure.  But the Peruvian Government has been cooperative in allowing expedited approvals, which allows for a more predictable schedule of flights.

We of course continue to improve communication to the U.S. citizens through social media, multiple MASCOT messages, and our website; we created a care response team to respond to emails and make direct calls to as many U.S. citizens as possible.

Now, we understand there’s still some groups of U.S. citizens who have requested assistance, and we will continue to work on getting them home.  At this point, the embassy has a good process for doing that.  So I delayed my departure from Peru already once to support our team’s efforts to set that process in motion.  And the U.S. mission throughout this process and beyond will continue to be led by a very senior Foreign Service officer, Charge Denny Offutt, who is continuing to lead the effort on the ground while Ambassador Urs continues to work these issues from Washington.

The U.S. Government is pressing for Peruvian Government concurrence to start commercially operated rescue flights in lieu of State Department chartered flights to repatriate the remaining Americans and we will continue to work with the Peruvian authorities and with the private sector to explore additional flight options.  But if you plan to return to the U.S., we have told the citizens we urge you to do so on available flights as soon as possible as we can’t guarantee when these flights will occur and when the international airport will reopen.  President Vizcarra has extended the national quarantine an additional two weeks until the end of April.

So I’ll be returning to my job in the bureau now that the repatriation efforts are starting to move to the next phase and we’ll look at other regions, other countries in the region.

So as of early this morning the department had repatriated nearly 30,000 U.S. citizens from Latin America and the Caribbean out of a total of 56,000 worldwide.  So we’re seeing now the highest levels of demand for repatriation shift over to the South and Central Asia region, but I’m proud of the tremendous work our Western Hemisphere team has achieved in repatriating the majority of U.S. citizens from the region back home.  We still have a lot of work to do, and I’ll be of course supporting our efforts to continue getting Americans home from places such as Colombia, Haiti, and Ecuador.

And I close by emphasizing that, as I’m sure PDAS Brownlee will say as well, that if you’re an American overseas and you’re still considering whether to come home, it’s time to make that call.  We are dedicated to serving U.S. citizens abroad, but we cannot guarantee that our repatriation efforts will continue indefinitely.

And with that, I’ll conclude.

MR BROWNLEE:  Thanks very much, Julie.  Ian Brownlee here again.  I’m really glad that Julie is here with us today.  She’s able to offer a unique and personal vantage point into how our repatriation’s been working on the ground.  And Peru is a great example.  Although it hasn’t been without challenges, it really highlights all the tremendous work our staff has been doing around the globe and around the clock, from start to finish, to overcome these challenges.  And we will, quote, “finish,” close quote, our State Department charted flights sometime soon.

The Secretary stated on Wednesday that timeline will be based on demand and resources.  Although there are still U.S. citizens in Peru who’d like to come home now and we are committed to seeing them home, the department is looking into how to transition out of the business of setting up direct charter flights and leave that to the ones who know how to do it best: commercial airlines.  (Inaudible) heard this all week and we think it’s the most sustainable (inaudible) model.  So keep watching this space.

To those Americans (inaudible) calling or emailing our embassies for help, we hear you.  We’re working to get you out.  Whether it’s on a commercial flight, State Department charter, or a commercially operated rescue flight, we will not rest until we have explored every possible option to assist.

I really don’t (inaudible) belabor the point about STEP, but it is truly crucial that every American overseas enroll in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program at  This is how they find out about the latest travel options out of the country and it’s how we find out that they are in the country at all.  Like I said, we’re working with commercial carriers to get more commercial flights out of – into Peru and the rest of South America.  We’d like to use this model for when we’re wrapping up our operation in other regions.

All of that information is on our embassy and consulate websites as soon as it’s ready.  If somebody has already enrolled in STEP, they will get an email with that information, so if one of your readers is not enrolled in STEP, encourage them to do so.  And if you’re thinking about coming home and there are flights available, get on that plane now.  With that, I look forward to your questions.

MR BROWN:  Okay.  For our first question, let’s go to Matt Lee.

QUESTION:  Hey there.  Thanks, and usual caveat:  I apologize for Elmo and Peppa Pig in the background if they’re there.

I’ve got two – I got two really brief ones, one for Doc Walters.  The one confirmed death domestically, can you be just a little bit more specific?  Was that in D.C. or in one of the satellite offices?

And then for PDAS Chung, on Peru, could you – I think you gave the number, but I might have missed it.  What’s the total number that have been repatriated from Peru?  And did you guys really – did you know – maybe I’m just ignorant – I had no idea there were so many Americans in Peru.  Were all of these people registered?  What do they do?  I mean, were there a lot of them who had not registered in STEP?  Were you surprised at the amount of demand?  Thank you.

DR WALTERS:  Okay, it’s Dr. Walters.  The one domestic case fatality was in New York City.

MS CHUNG:  Okay.  And to answer the other part of your question – who knew – I think exactly right, we – I think we did not realize there – that Peru would be basically the – globally, the largest number of repatriations.  Again, the number of Americans that are there and registered in STEP increased day by day as that – they closed the airport and closed the borders.

But I think the unparalleled scale of this was not expected by either the Peruvian Government or by the embassy, and you – I’ve seen all walks of life and every diverse kind of American citizen out there, everyone from backpackers, long-term residents, a lot of missionaries from the Latter-day Saints and other faiths.  We’ve had adventure travelers, teachers, basically just a wide swath of people who, because they were really surprised by the sudden closure of the borders overnight and the airport closure, and then immediately started to – many of them had – who had not registered for STEP had started to do so.  And so I think the scale of this is beyond any magnitude that we’ve seen before.

And in terms of the numbers, I think as of yesterday it was at over 6,800.  And when we started this, we thought it was about 5,000, so we’ve already gone beyond that amount.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

MR BROWN:  Okay.  For the next question, let’s go to Christina Ruffini.

QUESTION:  Sorry, I was too stupid to get my phone off mute.  I was wondering – I have kind of a more general question – I’m wondering what’s being done to coordinate with the countries in Latin America on a response to the virus.  We’re reading a lot about what’s going on in Ecuador.  Some of the images coming out of there are quite startling.  I’m wondering if you can give us any idea of some of the places that you’re most concerned about in the region and what the State Department is doing specifically in those areas to mitigate the virus.  Because obviously, spikes in those places would be more likely to impact the U.S. on a possible second wave.  Thank you, guys, so much.

MR BROWNLEE:  Christina, Ian Brownlee here.  I think we’re really going to have to take most of that question, because we are focused – I certainly am focused on repatriating Americans, and not – we’re not really addressing foreign assistance issues or that sort of question.  So we’ll have to take that question and get back to you unless somebody else on the line feels confident to answer it.  Over.

QUESTION:  I was hoping PDAS Chung could maybe take a swing at it.

MS CHUNG:  Well I think, as the – Secretary Pompeo has said, we have been focusing on the needs of the American citizens in the U.S.  But we do have CDC attaches throughout the region and around the world, and USAID programs are building ongoing health care systems and providing capacity to that.  In regard to specific COVID-related assistance, I think we’ll have to get back to you on that.

MR BROWN:  Thanks.  For the next question, let’s go to Michele Keleman.

QUESTION:  Thanks.  I actually had a question about those CDC personnel, because we’ve heard that almost all of them have left a place like Kenya.  I wonder if they’re part of the chief of mission personnel, are you – at embassies.  Are you seeing many of them returning home on these authorized departures?  Thanks.

MS CHUNG:  I don’t know about the specific CDC personnel, but actually I do have some additional information on some of the assistance in Latin America and the Caribbean.

So for instance, humanitarian assistance is being provided to Colombia in the amount of $8.5 million to survey the spread of the virus, provide water and sanitation supplies, manage the COVID-19 cases, and more.  And in Colombia, the U.S. has invested approximately $32 million in health for the past 20 years, and nearly 12 billion in total assistance in that same timeframe.

Another example is in Haiti.  We have provided $2.2 million in health assistance that will help the Haitian Government scale up its risk communication efforts, water and sanitation, prevent and control infections, manage COVID-19 cases, strengthen laboratories, and more.  And the U.S. has invested 1.8 million – I’m sorry, $1.8 billion in health in Haiti, and nearly 6.7 billion in total assistance over the past 20 years.

So these are just two of the examples that we have ongoing assistance but also some additional assistance as we address COVID cases.

MR BROWN:  Okay.  Next question, let’s go to Jennifer Hansler.

QUESTION:  Hi, thank you.  Could you please give us an update on how many folks you’re still tracking who might need help getting back from overseas?  And then do you feel that the airlines, specifically the major U.S. carriers, are doing enough to assist with these efforts on these charter repatriation flights?  And what more specifically are you asking them to help with?  Thank you.

MR BROWNLEE:  (Inaudible).  We are tracking (inaudible) – and you’ve heard me say it before, but I’ll say it again:  These numbers are somewhat fuzzy.  Julie went into this specifically with regard to Peru.  But we’re tracking about 20,000 who have indicated a desire to return to the United States.  Many people in Peru, India, and other places get a call from us saying we’ve got a seat for you on tomorrow’s flight, and then they say no thank you.  We’ve also found that many of these (inaudible) were entered in STEP by family members, so (inaudible) children of elderly parents in places like Peru are entering their parents —

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, I’m sorry to interrupt.  Would you mind repeating that?  It seemed to be breaking up a little bit.

MR BROWNLEE:  I’m sorry.  I’m explaining some of the uncertainty about these numbers.  (Inaudible) that in some cases the individual whose name is entered in STEP was not entered by that person but maybe by a family member who knew that person was living in, for example, Peru.  And then when we call the person and say we understand you want to leave, he says no, no, I’m at home here, I’m perfectly happy.  So again, the number is 20,000 but that remains somewhat – somewhat fuzzy.

We are working closely —

QUESTION:  And on –

MR BROWNLEE:  I’m sorry.  We’re working closely with the airlines.  A number of them have been assisting us.  So for example, United is working with us on the repatriations out of India.  We’re working with smaller ones in Central and northern South America.

I’m sorry, I’m getting a message saying I’m breaking up badly.  I think I better just stop it because, apparently, I’ve got a bad signal.  Can you hear me better now?

MR HARUTUNIAN:  Yes, that’s better.  Go ahead.

MR BROWNLEE:  Let me just (inaudible).  We are working closely with the airlines and we find they are being cooperative with us.  Over.

MS CHUNG:  And if I could just add to that – this is Julie – and from what I’ve seen in Peru as well, we have called individuals, emailed individuals who have confirmed, and many have changed their minds or canceled at the last minute.  And yesterday at the hangar – I was at the hangar and somebody changed their mind right before they boarded and said, actually, I do want to stay here and just wait it out here.

So again, we want to make sure we take care of every American, every individual counts, and helping them get home whether it’s through our U.S. Government charter or a privately arranged charter, but we do get a lot of indecision and people who have for various reasons, whether it’s COVID cases in the U.S. or other family reasons have changed their minds, and so that number remains inconsistent.

MR HARUTUNIAN:  Okay, next question.  Let’s go to Conor Finnegan.

QUESTION:  Hey, thanks for doing this.  I have a WHA question.  Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras and El Salvador too have all asked the U.S. to halt removals and deportations of migrants.  Can you update us on those discussions and whether or not the administration is doing that, is halting them, because it can risk the spread of COVID?  There was at least one case of a migrant being deported to Guatemala who later confirmed positive for COVID.  Thank you.

MS CHUNG:  I apologize —

DR WALTERS:  Our focus —

MS CHUNG:  Go ahead.

DR WALTERS:  Julie, unless you have an answer, my default would be that we cover that separately.  Our focus here is on repatriation efforts.

MS CHUNG:  Yeah, I’m sorry.  I apologize.  I’ve been on the ground in Peru for the past two weeks, so my entire focus has been on the – coordinating the Peru repatriations, but I’ll have to consult with my colleagues on that.

QUESTION:  Can I just follow up then with a different question?  On Tuesday there were, I think, 78 countries that you had repatriated Americans from.  Ian, I think you said today that there were now over a hundred or nearly a hundred.  Why the big jump in terms of numbers of countries where you’ve been able to repatriate folks?

MR BROWNLEE:  Yes, as of today, we’re looking at 101 countries.  This is really because we’re bringing more people out of Africa (inaudible) operations (inaudible) in Africa, including, for example, Mbabane, Eswatini, places like that that previously we had (inaudible).  So we’re getting some of the smaller pockets of U.S. citizens, so the overall number of countries is going up.  Over.

MR HARUTUNIAN:  Okay, thanks.  Next, Jessica Donati.

QUESTION:  Hi, I was wondering if you could just add some more details to the staffer who died in New York.  Was that an FSO and is that an American citizen?

DR WALTERS:  This was – the case involved a contractor and was not a U.S. direct hire, and I don’t have any other information available.

MR HARUTUNIAN:  Okay.  And next, Humeyra Pamuk.

QUESTION:  Hi, Dr. Walters.  My question was actually pretty much the same with Jessica’s and you just answered, but you sort of broke up as well.  You said – so I can hear it properly, you said it was the person who passed was a contractor and wasn’t an American?  Can you repeat that, please?  Thank you.

DR WALTERS:  No.  Yeah, what I said was that – sorry for the disruption.  The impacted individual was a contractor, was not a direct hire.  I don’t have any information on nationality.  And really, I don’t have any other information available.

MR HARUTUNIAN:  Okay, thanks.  Looks like our last question is from Abbie Williams.

QUESTION:  Hi.  Thanks for doing this.  I just wanted to follow up on what is happening in Moscow and the inability to coordinate with Aeroflot about getting American citizens on those planes.  I wondered if you thought there was any other motivation there, and if you could just kind of give us a general update.  Thanks.

MR HARUTUNIAN:  Ian, are you still on?

MR BROWNLEE:  Sorry, I was talking with the mute on.  I apologize.  I will repeat what I just said.  There have been several flights out of Moscow bringing – and I’m sorry, I don’t have the numbers at my fingertips, but hundreds of U.S. citizens out.  The embassy is reaching out through STEP and similar programs to U.S. citizens in Moscow and elsewhere to see if there’s interest in anybody else coming home.  So that’s where we are on Russia.  Over.

MR BROWN:  Okay, we’ve had one more add themselves to the queue.  Nike Ching, go ahead.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.  My question I would like to ask PDAS Julie Chung.  Do you see certain governments in the Western Hemisphere are taking advantage of the COVID-19 emergency to enact autocratic measures that encroach on citizens’ civil liberties, including press freedom and other rights?  Thank you.

MS CHUNG:  I think in general these – this is an unprecedented time, not for just this region but globally.  So governments are taking measures to put in quarantines, curfew, other things to protect the health and safety of our citizens.  And so I think, again, in the time of crisis we turn to each government to do what they think is the best for their communities and able to ensure that safety and security.  So I defer to each of the separate governments on what individual measures they are taking, and this is an unprecedented time for us to all take certain actions.

MR BROWN:  Okay.  As one last question for Dr. Walters, I just wanted to ask you to clarify a point.  You briefed confirmed cases.  I believe these guys are seeing our reports of current cases on the website.  If you could explain the difference.

DR WALTERS:  Yes.  So when we report positive cases, we’re reporting both the current cases, which are people who are currently being treated and those that have recovered.  And so – and that’s important I think for everyone to take away from this is you’re going to see the number of cases sort of on our dashboard.  Those recovered cases are going to continue to grow because people are getting better from this virus.  It has horrible impacts on people’s lives, absolutely, but there is a light at the end of this tunnel.  And that discrepancy, if you will, is hopefully going to become more apparent, right, where people get better.  We are transparent.  We are trying to be sort of an example of the transparency that we wish we had from others earlier in this outbreak.  So we’ll report current cases and we’ll report total cases, and the difference between them is either an unfortunate death or, more hopefully, the – those that recovered.

MR BROWN:  Okay.  Thanks to all of our briefer for joining us and taking their time to share.  And thanks to everyone for joining today.  This is the end of the call.  The contents – the embargo on the contents is lifted.  Have a great afternoon.


Virtual Forum on Expanding Taiwan’s Participation on the Global Stage
04/02/2020 09:16 PM EDT

Office of the Spokesperson

On March 31, 2020, high-level officials representing the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the U.S. Department of State, the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), and the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs convened for a virtual forum on expanding Taiwan’s participation on the global stage.

The discussion focused on creating forums to share the successful and internationally lauded Taiwan Model on fighting COVID-19 with countries around the world.  Participants also discussed ongoing efforts to reinstate Taiwan’s observer status at the World Health Assembly, as well as other avenues for closer coordination between Taiwan and the World Health Organization.  Participants in the forum included: AIT Director Brent Christensen, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Pam Pryor, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Ambassador Atul Keshap, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Jonathan Fritz, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Nerissa Cook, TECRO Representative Stanley Kao, Taiwan Deputy Foreign Minister Kelly Hsieh, and Taiwan Director General for International Organizations Bob Chen.

Recently, the United States and Taiwan announced enhanced cooperation on preventing the spread of COVID-19.  Working with Taiwan and like-minded ​countries to expand Taiwan’s international participation is an important part of that effort.  Countries around the world can benefit from better understanding the Taiwan Model, as well as the generous contributions and impressive expertise Taiwan – a vibrant democracy and force for good – brings to the global community.



04/01/2020 07:24 PM EDT

Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson

The United States is committed to the global fight against COVID-19.  We are a generous and reliable contributor to crisis response and humanitarian action across the world, but we cannot do it alone.  The countries of the G20 agreed last week to work together to defeat the coronavirus, and we are working closely with these countries and others to ensure that critically needed supplies get to those in need.

As a follow-up to the March 30 phone call between President Trump and President Putin, the United States has agreed to purchase needed medical supplies, including ventilators and personal protection equipment, from Russia, which were handed over to FEMA on April 1 in New York City.

Both countries have provided humanitarian assistance to each other in times of crisis in the past and will no doubt do so again in the future.  This is a time to work together to overcome a common enemy that threatens the lives of all of us.


From Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere:
Today, President Donald J. Trump spoke with President Vladimir Putin of Russia. President Trump and President Putin discussed the latest developments and efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The two leaders agreed to work closely together through the G20 to drive the international campaign to defeat the virus and reinvigorate the global economy. The leaders also discussed critical bilateral and global issues. President Trump and President Putin agreed on the importance of stability in global energy markets. Regarding Venezuela,  President Trump reiterated that the situation in Venezuela is dire, and we all have an interest in seeing a democratic transition to end the ongoing crisis.

byLinda Feldmann 
Washington Bureau Chief
The Christian Science Monitor



USCIS signature


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced it has temporarily closed its offices in Rome, Italy, and Nairobi, Kenya, to the public, due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In February, USCIS announced the temporarily suspension of services at its offices in Beijing and Guangzhou, China. 


USCIS will post updates on the office pages when the offices are scheduled to reopen.   


USCIS will reschedule all appointments and will continue to respond to email inquiries. Please visit the “Contact Us” sections on our Nairobi and Rome pages for information on how to send an inquiry via email. Please submit all inquiries in English.  


Education and precautions are the strongest tools against infection. Get the latest facts by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 website. Continue to practice good health habits, refrain from handshakes or hugs as greetings, and wash hands and clean surfaces appropriately.  


USCIS will provide further updates as the situation develops and will continue to follow CDC guidance. Please also visit for updates.



24-03-2020 10:43 AM CET

The European Parliament is mobilising additional funds to help the EU countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP
24-03-2020 10:13 AM CET

Flight cancelled due to Covid-19? Don’t wish or not allowed to travel? Find out about your passenger rights in the EU in these exceptional times.

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP



03/19/2020 08:42 PM EDT

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus:

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke today with Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Luis Ebrard Casaubon on coordinating a plan to restrict non-essential travel across our shared border in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The two leaders discussed the importance of creating a uniform North American strategy to reduce public health risks to our communities and more effectively address rising challenges jointly.  They also discussed ways to reduce the adverse impact the COVID-19 crisis is having on the economy and to prioritize continuing essential cross-border commerce and trade.


CDC World Map

Global Map

As of 12:00 p.m. ET March 19, 2020

World map showing countries with COVID-19 cases

Global case numbers are reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) in their coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation reportexternal icon. For U.S. information, visit CDC COVID-19 in the U.S.

Locations with Confirmed COVID19 Cases, by WHO Region


  • Algeria
  • Benin
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Congo
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eswatini
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Ethiopia
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire)
  • Kenya
  • Liberia
  • Mauritania
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • Senegal
  • Seychelles
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • Zambia


  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Barbados
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • French Guiana
  • Guadalupe
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Martinique
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Suriname
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Uruguay
  • United States

Eastern Mediterranean

  • Afghanistan
  • Bahrain
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Morocco
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Tunisia
  • United Arab Emirates


  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Armenia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czechia
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Holy See (Vatican City)
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Netherlands
  • North Macedonia
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom

South-East Asia

  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Maldives
  • Mongolia
  • Nepal
  • Sri Lanka
  • Thailand

Western Pacific

  • Australia
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Fiji
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Philippines
  • Republic of Korea
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Vietnam




16-03-2020 11:31 AM CET

Cancellation of the ENVI Committee meeting of 18 - 19 March 2020

In the context of the exponential growth of the epidemic, the President of the European Parliament has announced a number of measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to safeguard Parliament's core activities.

Today, 10 March, the Conference of Presidents adopted a revised calendar of meetings and the changes concern the following:

  • Next week (week 12) is a "white week" without activities (instead of a committee week),
  • Committee meetings will resume on weeks 13 and 14 together with Political Groups and Plenary,
  • The April I plenary session will be held in Brussels from 1-2 April (instead of Strasbourg, 30 March - 2 April),
  • Week 15 is now a "white week" without activities (instead of a "turquoise" week).

Following that decision the ENVI Committee meeting of 18 and 19 March is cancelled.


03/19/2020 03:14 PM EDT

Office of the Spokesperson

The following statement was issued jointly by the Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and the Kingdom of Norway.

Begin text:

The Troika welcomes the formation of the Executive of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity, with all ministerial portfolios now allocated between the parties to the agreement. We welcome the appointment of women as key Cabinet ministers while encouraging the government to take all necessary measures to allocate at least 35 percent of positions in the Executive to women as outlined in the peace agreement. Expectations from the people of South Sudan are high, and the way forward fraught with challenges.

To succeed, the unity government and other stakeholders can work together to ensure their deeds and words inspire collaboration and trust. Leadership working together, genuinely united, can put their country firmly on the path towards peace and prosperity. They face an early and unprecedented challenge presented by the COVID-19 global pandemic, which will require a quick and decisive response, in coordination with international partners.

The Troika looks forward to working in close partnership with a genuinely united government as it establishes its priorities and starts to develop plans to deliver the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan in full. This will require a sustained focus on building unified security forces, ensuring transparency and ending corruption, establishing political space and democratic institutions, respecting human rights, and implementing transitional justice mechanisms. To this end, we welcome the renewal of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS); it will have a key role to play in this critical phase. The people of South Sudan have waited a long time for peace to come and to have a government that puts their needs first; the country’s political leaders owe it to them to ensure that their wait has not been in vain.

03/16/2020 01:28 PM EDT

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus:‎

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke by phone on March 16 with Yang Jiechi, Director of the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Communist Party of China.  Secretary Pompeo conveyed strong U.S. objections to PRC efforts to shift blame for COVID-19 to the United States.  The Secretary stressed that this is not the time to spread disinformation and outlandish rumors, but rather a time for all nations to come together to fight this common threat.


03/16/2020 01:13 PM EDT

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus:‎

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke today with Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya.  The Secretary and the Foreign Minister discussed efforts to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak around the world.  Secretary Pompeo expressed his deep appreciation for the strong and enduring bilateral cooperation between the United States and Spain as well as for Spain’s sustained contributions to global peace and security.  They also continued their productive discussions on standing up to the former Maduro regime’s inhumane repression of the Venezuelan people.  The Secretary and the Foreign Minister also conferred on bilateral trade issues and the importance of building NATO’s capabilities to address global challenges.



03/12/2020 01:29 PM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

The United States is committed to preventing and combating narcotics trafficking globally.  The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) yesterday designated four Mexican businesses pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) due to their links to the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) and the Los Cuinis Drug Trafficking Organization (Los Cuinis), two of the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in Mexico.  This action reinforces the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) efforts through Project Python, a nationwide operation to disrupt CJNG through a series of coordinated arrests, seizures, and indictments.

The designations include:  International Investments Holding S.A. de C.V.; GBJ de Colima, S.A. de C.V., a gas station company located in Villa de Alvarez, Colima, Mexico; Corporativo Sushi Provi, S. de R.L. de C.V.; and Master Reposterias Y Restaurantes, S.A. de C.V.  In addition to these designations, OFAC identified Cabanas La Loma en Renta and Cabanas La Loma Tapalpa, two new names for a cabin rental business located in Tapalpa, Jalisco, Mexico that was designated on September 17, 2015 for providing material assistance to CJNG drug trafficking activities.

The Kingpin Act blocks all property and interests in property within the United States, or within the possession or control of any U.S. person, which are owned or controlled by designated individuals or entities.  The Kingpin Act also generally prohibits transactions or dealings by U.S. persons, or persons within the United States, in property or interests in property of designated individuals or entities.

The United States is committed to working with our partners in Mexico and throughout the region to address the production, trafficking, and use of illicit drugs as a top foreign policy priority.  Through targeted foreign assistance, diplomatic engagement, and tools such as the Kingpin Act and the State Department’s Narcotics Rewards Program, the United States will continue its whole-of-government effort to deny foreign narcotics traffickers access to the U.S. financial system and to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations that threaten the health and welfare of Americans.

Temporary Pause of International Exchange Programs Due to COVID-19
03/12/2020 09:19 AM EDT

Office of the Spokesperson

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) will temporarily pause all ECA-funded programs that involve travel to and from countries with heightened U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Alert Level 2 (Practice Enhanced Precautions) and Warning Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel) or heightened State Department COVID-19 related Travel Advisory Levels 3 (Reconsider Travel) and 4 (Do Not Travel).

  • ECA-funded programs will be paused for CDC Alert Level 2 (Practice Enhanced Precautions) and Warning Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel) countries due to COVID-19.  Details of the travel notices issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for all locations are available at
  • ECA will pause ECA-funded programs in countries with COVID-19 related State Department Travel Advisory Levels 3 (Reconsider Travel) and 4 (Do Not Travel).  Details on travel advisories for all locations are available at
  • In addition, ECA will also temporarily postpone or cancel large ECA-sponsored gatherings worldwide, if these gatherings include people who have traveled internationally in the past 14 days.
  • ECA constantly reviews safety and operational constraints on its programs, and additional postponements or cancellations are possible on this basis.
  • ECA views the health, safety, and well-being of program participants as its highest priority.  In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, ECA will pause programs for 60 days and review this decision every 30 days thereafter.
  • ECA will continue to directly communicate information about the management and status of current and future programs and gatherings to relevant participants and stakeholders.
  • ECA has already evacuated or offered voluntary departure for U.S. citizen exchange participants from countries or regions where there are elevated Centers for Disease Control Warning Levels or State Department Travel Advisories (Azerbaijan, China, Italy, Mongolia, Republic of Korea).



General Banner
24-02-2020 12:01 PM CET

Vote in Committee

The next meeting of the INTA Committee will take place on:

Monday, 16 March 2020, 15.00 - 18.30 and

Tuesday, 17 March 2020, 09.00 - 12.30 and 15.00 - 18.30

in Brussels, room Antall (JAN) 6Q2.

Further information
Draft agenda

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP

24-02-2020 11:46 AM CET



The next meeting of the Subcommittee on Human Rights will take place on Wednesday 18 March from 09.00 to 12.30 and from 14.30 to 18.30 and on Thursday 19 March from 09.00 - 12.30, room A3G-3.
Representatives of NGOs as well as other organisations are requested to accede to the EU Transparency Register and follow the procedures therein for access to the European Parliament.

Source : © European Union, 2019 - EP



02/20/2020 08:18 AM EST

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

On October 28, 2019, the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) Main Center for Special Technologies (GTsST, also known as Unit 74455 and Sandworm) carried out a widespread disruptive cyber attack against the country of Georgia.  The incident, which directly affected the Georgian population, disrupted operations of several thousand Georgian government and privately-run websites and interrupted the broadcast of at least two major television stations.  This action contradicts Russia’s attempts to claim it is a responsible actor in cyberspace and demonstrates a continuing pattern of reckless Russian GRU cyber operations against a number of countries.  These operations aim to sow division, create insecurity, and undermine democratic institutions.

The United States calls on Russia to cease this behavior in Georgia and elsewhere.  The stability of cyberspace depends on the responsible behavior of nations.  We, together with the international community, will continue our efforts to uphold an international framework of responsible state behavior in cyberspace.

We also pledge our support to Georgia and its people in enhancing their cybersecurity and countering malicious cyber actors.  We will offer additional capacity building and technical assistance to help strengthen Georgia’s public institutions and improve its ability to protect itself from these kinds of activities.


12/31/2019 04:01 PM EST

Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson

We are alarmed that Pastor Wang Yi, leader of the Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, was tried in secret and sentenced to nine years in prison in connection to his peaceful advocacy for religious freedom. We call for his immediate and unconditional release.

Pastor Wang Yi was originally arrested with dozens of other congregants on December 9, 2018, during a massive crackdown on Chengdu’s largest unregistered church. He was found guilty during a closed-door trial December 26 on trumped-up charges of “inciting subversion of state power” and “illegal business activities,” with no defense lawyer present.

This is yet another example of Beijing’s intensification of repression of Chinese Christians and members of other religious groups. We continue to call on Beijing to uphold its international commitments and promises made in its own constitution to promote religious freedom for all individuals, including members of ethnic and religious minorities and those who worship outside of official state-sanctioned institutions.




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