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Prime Minister Trudeau and President Biden to hold first meeting

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that he will hold a bilateral meeting with the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, on February 23, 2021. This will be the first bilateral meeting between Canada and President Biden’s administration. The two leaders will meet virtually.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Trudeau and President Biden will advance shared priorities, and work together to end the global COVID-19 pandemic. They will discuss their shared vision for a strong economic recovery, growing the middle class and creating jobs, maintaining strong supply chains, climate change, our bilateral energy relationship, defence and security, and promoting diversity and inclusion.  

Quote

“Canada and the United States share one of the strongest and deepest friendships between any two countries in the world. It is built on common values, strong ties between our people, and a shared geography. I look forward to my meeting with President Biden, where we will work together to end the COVID-19 pandemic and support people in both our countries.”

The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Quick Facts

  • Canada and the United States share one of the largest trading relationships in the world.
  • Canada is the United States’ largest customer and buys more goods from the United States than China, Japan, and the United Kingdom combined.
  • Canada is the top trading partner for most U.S. states.
  • Canadian companies operating in the United States directly employ 725,000 Americans.
  • Canada and the United States have worked side by side in the North American Aerospace Defence Command since the pact was created in 1957.
  • The joint stewardship of the environment is a cornerstone of Canada-U.S. relations, from air and water quality to wildlife management. This includes at least 50 federal bilateral arrangements, more than 100 arrangements at the state and provincial level and the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909.
  • Canada is the largest supplier of all forms of energy to the U.S.

 

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.

ENHANCING ECONOMIC PROSPERITY

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.

INVESTING IN HUMAN CAPITAL AND CHAMPIONING GOOD GOVERNANCE

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.

ENSURING PEACE AND SECURITY 

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.

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

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:  https://www.usascp.org/ or contact USASCP@state.gov.

 




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 INL-PAPD@state.gov.



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

 

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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.

Sincerely,

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 www.rewardsforjustice.net. 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 (info@rewardsforjustice.net), 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 https://twitter.com/RFJ_USA.

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 linkhttp://www.faa.gov/other_visit/aviation_industry/airline_operators/airline_safety/safo/all_safos/

 

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.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Nonsense.

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: Yes.

QUESTION: How?

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.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you.

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.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

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 step.state.gov.  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 uscis.gov/coronavirus 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

Africa

  • 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

Americas

  • 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

Europe

  • 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

 

General Banner

 

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 https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices.
  • 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 state.gov.
  • 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

DROI

 

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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