Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Meeting with Zambian Foreign Minister Kakubo

20 May

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman met today in Washington with a Zambian government delegation that included Foreign Minister Stanley Kakubo, Secretary of the Treasury Felix Nkulukusa, and interim National Security Advisor Lawrence Mwananyanda.  The Deputy Secretary thanked Zambia for its unwavering support against the war on Ukraine, including at the United Nations and other multilateral institutions, and expressed support for Zambia’s political and economic renewal, including ongoing multilateral efforts to restructure Zambia’s external debt.  The officials discussed the strong U.S.-Zambia partnership and opportunities to strengthen the trade and investment relationship, based on mutual prosperity for both countries.

Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with UN Secretary-General Guterres

20 May

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met today in New York City with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to discuss President Putin’s brutal war against Ukraine and its devastating effects on global food security. They discussed the Secretary-General’s visit in April to Kyiv and Moscow, noted concerns regarding the humanitarian crisis caused by the war, and shared perspectives on the United Nations’ response to the acute human suffering in and around Ukraine.  They also discussed expanding humanitarian access in Syria.  The Secretary affirmed the United States looks forward to partnering with the UN Secretariat, Member States, and other key stakeholders to advance the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda initiative.

Secretary Antony J. Blinken At a Roundtable on Humanitarian Assistance in Ukraine

20 May

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

New York, New York

Lotte The Palace New York

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Liz, thank you.  Thank you for those truly overly generous words.  But the one part of that that’s true is that we’ve had a relationship going back many, many years (inaudible).  It’s something that I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in over many years now.  And I have to tell you I think the mission that you’re leading is arguably more important (inaudible).  It’s something that we’ve known (inaudible) for a long, long time, but the fact of the matter is if we’re not engaged, if the United States is not there, then usually there’s a vacuum that’s going to wind up being filled by bad things before it’s filled by good things.  And you have been promoting, advancing the proposition that U.S. leadership, U.S. engagement, matters.  It makes a difference.

And I think we’ve seen that in the case of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.  I’m proud of the fact that we’ve stood up in terms of our support for Ukraine itself – security, economic, and humanitarian.  I’m proud of the fact that we’ve brought dozens of countries along in exerting necessary pressure on Russia to end the aggression.  And I’m proud of the fact that we’ve also been able to strengthen our own Alliance, our defensive Alliance, NATO.

But having said all of that, I’m equally proud of the extraordinary response that we’re seeing from the private sector, a response some of which I’ve seen firsthand, including in Poland – our friend (inaudible), just to cite one of many, many, many examples – but really stepping up for the Ukrainian people, responding to the extraordinary humanitarian needs that exist, but also beginning this conversation about the longer term and how we think about rebuilding, because the devastation that’s been wrought on Ukraine and big parts of its economy are quite staggering and are going to require a lot.

So I was really anxious to get together with this group.  I’m grateful for the fact that you’ve taken the time to do this today, because it’s an opportunity for us to hear a little bit about what the experience has been to date in finding different ways to support Ukrainian people in Ukraine, but also what your thoughts are for going forward and the extent to which this has shaped your own thinking about engagement on these issues, because something as significant, as dramatic, and as deep-rooted as this also gets us thinking about how we do things (inaudible) to do things going forward.

So I’m really grateful for this conversation and anxious to be listening in order to hear from each of you, so thank you.

PHOTOS: DNC Chair Harrison Hosts LGBTQ Community Listening Session in Florida

19 May
Today, Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison traveled to Florida to host a listening session with LGBTQ and youth leaders in Orlando. Chair Harrison was joined by partners from Equality Florida, the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus, and local youth activists to discuss recent anti-LGBTQ legislation being pushed by Governor Ron DeSantis.

Please see below for photos from the event:
Building on the DNC’s 57-state-and-territory strategy, these events are the latest in Chair Harrison’s community engagements across the South this week, which includes stops in Little Rock, Arkansas; Orlando and Miami, Florida; and Robeson County, North Carolina with rural, LGBTQ, youth, Latino, Black, AAPI, and Native community members.
 
This community outreach comes as the DNC has committed more resources earlier than ever in a robust 57-state-and-territory strategy to invest in strong long-term party infrastructure. So far this cycle, the DNC has made almost $50 million in commitments and contributions to states for party-building and electoral programs. As part of this investment, the DNC and state parties last year announced a historic agreement to increase the DNC’s monthly State Party Partnership (SPP) funding by 25% and create a first-of-its-kind Red State Fund to invest in Democratic state parties’ efforts to sustain long-term programs in traditionally Republican states.

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Secretary Antony J. Blinken at the International Migration Review Forum

19 May

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

New York, New York

United Nations Headquarters

SECRETARY BLINKEN: Good afternoon. President Shahid, Director General Vitorino, thank you for your leadership at this first International Migration Review Forum. These are unprecedented times. There are more migrants on the move around the world today than at any time since World War II, some 95 million. As people leave their homes in search of safety and opportunity, undertaking perilous journeys, it’s critical that countries and institutions work together to make migration safer and more orderly.

Forging that common approach to managing migration and protecting vulnerable people is the intention of the Global Compact for Migration. The United States supports that vision. We seek migration policies that are grounded in human rights, human dignity, transparency, and state sovereignty. And we’re committed to partnering with civil society, with governments, the private sector, and international institutions like the United Nations, because this is a challenge that no one of us can solve alone.

The countries here today have taken important steps since the Global Compact was adopted in 2018. For example, several of our neighbors in the region have provided legal status and services to people fleeing repression and made education available to their children. International organizations and nongovernmental groups are providing support after climate-related disasters and training local officials in climate resilience and adaptation to help communities that are now threatened with being displaced because of the climate crisis. We also welcome efforts by civil society to keep governments focused on human rights and humanitarian assistance, because migration is not an abstract notion. Every migrant is a human being deserving of dignity and protection.

The United States will work closely with our partners to build on the progress that’s being made. Next month, at the Summit of the Americas, we’ll continuing developing a collaborative response to irregular migration throughout our hemisphere where the issue is particularly acute. Together, we’re working on the root causes of irregular migration, including a lack of economic opportunity, insecurity, corruption and repressive governance, climate-related emergencies, to address why people are leaving their homes in the first place. For example, Vice President Kamala Harris rallied the private sector to invest more than a billion dollars to create economic opportunities in Central America.

We’re working to expand legal pathways for migration, including allocating more than 50,000 additional temporary worker visas this year, expanding family reunification programs, and funding support for vulnerable migrants and refugees around the globe.

We’re also helping to improve protections for migrants worldwide, in part through our work with the International Organization for Migration and the International Labor Organization, to combat human trafficking and to promote ethical cross-border job recruitment.

There’s another migration issue that is front of mind today. Almost 13 million people have fled or been displaced in Ukraine since President Putin’s war began in February. I want to commend the countries that are welcoming Ukrainian refugees and supporting the humanitarian response. We remain united in supporting Ukraine and opposing this senseless war.

The United States will continue to work for safe, orderly, and humane migration around the world. As a nation built and enriched by immigrants, this issue is particularly close to our hearts. Thank you to everyone here for your commitment, and we very much look forward to our work in the months and years ahead. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

$100 Million in Additional U.S. Military Assistance for Ukraine

19 May

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

For nearly 12 weeks, Russia has waged its unprovoked and brutal war against Ukraine, its sovereignty, its territorial integrity, and its people.  Beaten back from its failed attempt to seize Kyiv, Russia continues a grinding offensive across Ukraine’s south and east.  Ukraine’s courageous defense forces remain firmly in the fight.  The United States, as well as more than 40 Allies and partner countries, are working around the clock to expedite shipments of arms and equipment essential to Ukraine’s defense.

Pursuant to a delegation from the President, I am authorizing our tenth drawdown of additional arms and equipment for Ukraine’s defense from U.S. Department of Defense inventories, valued at up to $100 million.  This brings total U.S. military assistance to Ukraine to approximately $3.9 billion in arms and equipment since Russia launched its brutal and unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

U.S. and international military assistance continues to complement direct U.S. financial support to Ukraine, support for documenting evidence of Russia’s atrocities against the people of Ukraine, and measures to continue ratcheting up the pressure on Russia and its remaining enablers.  Taken together, these efforts strengthen Ukraine’s position at the negotiating table while continuing to isolate Russia from the world until it ends its senseless and brutal war of choice against Ukraine.   The United States is committed to helping Ukraine continue to meet its defense needs and build its future capabilities, as well as to bolster Allies and partners across NATO’s Eastern Flank and the broader region.

The United States, our allies, and our partners are proud to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine in their just cause:  the defense of their country and their democracy.  United with our Allies and partners, we will succeed, and a democratic, sovereign, and independent Ukraine shall prevail.

Rick Scott Takes His MAGA Agenda To Battleground States

19 May

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Rick Scott has made it clear: The Republican agenda includes an extreme plan to end the Social Security and Medicare guarantees and raise taxes on half of working families. Scott’s agenda is wildly unpopular and he’s decided to take it on the road to show voters across the country what’s at stake if Republicans take control in November. 

Rick Scott is hitting battleground states to highlight his agenda to raise taxes on working families and end the Social Security and Medicare guarantee – a welcomed demonstration of how wildly out of touch Republicans are with the American people. 

Fox News’s Paul Steinhauser: “NEW on @FoxNews – @SenRickScott -the @NRSC chair – to headline @SCNHGOP (Sullivan County New Hampshire GOP) Lincoln Reagan fundraising dinner on May 20. Scott was last in N.H. in August.”

NC GOP Convention: “Congressional Luncheon featuring Senator Rick Scott”

Let’s be clear: Rick Scott laid out his blueprint for the American people – raising taxes for half the country, including seniors and retirees – and everyone from elected Republicans to Senate candidates are lining up to support it.

Fox 8 WGPH: North Carolina Senate candidate Ted Budd “generally agreed with some of [the Scott plan’s] major points.”

Pennsylvania Senate Candidate Mehmet Oz on Scott’s proposal: “He also has a vision for what the party can do going forward’”

Senator Ron Johnson: “It’s a positive thing.” 

Senator Mike Braun: “Independents are the individuals that elect the swing-state senators and the president, and I think they want something other than no or I’m not interested… I’m glad Rick did it. Nothing is going to be perfect…we’ve got to be for something.”

Senator Joni Ernst: “I think every Republican, as we step forward, will determine what is in the best interest for their own party dynamics within their states and defending what we believe to be true, liberty, freedom, you name it, that’s what we are for.”

Arizona Senate Candidate Jim Lamon: “Rick [Scott] called the other day, I said, ‘Dude, you go on my website?’ You know, it looked awful familiar, right?’”

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House Republicans Vote AGAINST Making It Easier to Deliver Baby Formula

19 May

Last night, in a stunning display of callousness and cruelty, MAGA House Republicans voted against critical funding to help boost the supply of baby formula. While President Biden and Democrats are taking action to address the shortage, Republican extremists have proven – yet again – that they would rather stand in the way of helping American families. 

Despite Republicans feigning concern about the baby formula shortage, the vast majority of House Republicans actually voted AGAINST funding to address it.

Fox Business: “House Republicans demand answers from Biden administration on baby formula shortage”

Associated Press: “House bill to boost FDA resources amid infant-formula shortage narrowly overcomes 192 no votes from Republicans”

Newsweek: “Full List of 192 House Republicans Who Voted Against FDA Baby Formula Bill”

Meanwhile, President Biden and Democrats are continuing to take strong action to address the shortage and increase the supply of baby formula across the country. 

New York Times: “Biden Invokes Defense Powers in a Bid to Ease Formula Shortage”

CNBC: “Biden is requiring suppliers to direct ingredients to baby formula manufacturers before any other companies who may have placed orders for those same goods.”

Associated Press: “House Dems propose $28 million to address formula shortage”

CNN: “Biden administration addressing logistical issues with infant formula manufacturer Reckitt”

Washington Post: “The Food and Drug Administration has also reached an agreement with Abbott to reopen the Michigan facility, which was shut down after a bacterial contamination scare.”

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Targeting Hizballah Financial Facilitator’s Abuse of the Business Sector

19 May

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson

Hizballah continues to exploit the private sector and commercial activity to fund its illicit and destabilizing activities.  The United States is committed to protecting the international financial system from Hizballah’s abuses and to supporting legitimate businesses in Lebanon, Iraq, and the broader Middle East.  Today, the United States is designating a key Hizballah businessman and financial facilitator, as well as several of his companies and associates in Lebanon and Iraq.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has designated Ahmad Jalal Reda Abdallah and his network of associates and companies under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, which targets terrorists, leaders of terrorist groups and other officials, and those providing support to acts of terrorism or to persons blocked under E.O. 13224.  The United States designated Hizballah as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997 and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in 2001.

Hizballah structures companies to disguise its ownership and make the companies appear legitimate.  Through actions like those carried out today, we continue to counter Hizballah’s exploitation of businesses to fund its terrorist activities and its efforts to destabilize Lebanon and the wider region.

For more information on this action, please see the Department of the Treasury’s press release .