Secretary Pompeo’s Call with Guyanese President Ali

31 Aug

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus:‎

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke today with Guyanese President Mohamed Irfaan Ali.  Secretary Pompeo congratulated President Ali on his electoral victory, which reflected a free, fair, credible, and transparent electoral process that respects the rule of law and the will of the Guyanese people.  The Secretary added that the United States looks forward to working with Guyana to advance shared values, economic prosperity, and security in the region.



Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Vince Coglianese and Mary Walter of WMAL’s Mornings On The Mall Radio Show

31 Aug

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Via Teleconference

QUESTION:  And joining us right now on Mornings on the Mall:  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.  Mr. Secretary, great to have you with us this morning.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  It’s great to be with you, too.  Good morning.

QUESTION:  So many things to talk about.  I saw Jared Kushner, the senior advisor to the President, is in the Middle East.  He made an historic flight from Israel to the UAE this weekend, which is just the latest step in the connection between those two countries.  There is some conversation about another country coming on soon.  Can you give us an indication of when that might happen?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Well, goodness, the work has been done over a couple years under President Trump to create Middle East stability, to identify Iran as the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, and to build out a security arrangement is now beginning to yield real tangible results.  Mr. Kushner’s visit today to the Emirates followed my trip there just last week where I visited Oman, Bahrain, the Emirates, and Israel, all aimed – and Sudan – all singularly aimed at building out on the work that we have done.

I don’t know which country will choose to recognize Israel next, but I’m confident that every nation in the world will come to recognize Israel, the Jewish homeland, as the rightful place, and country that they’ll want to do business with for their own interest, their security interest, their economic interest, and frankly it’s just the right thing to do.

QUESTION:  How important is all of that to dealing with Iran in the Middle East?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  It’s central.  These countries all are under threat.  You saw the Iranian reaction to the announcement about the recognition of Israel by the United Arab Emirates.  They threatened them, they bullied them, they said they would knock down all the glass towers in the Emirates.  It is the Islamic Republic of Iran that poses the instability in the Middle East.  President Trump took that on from the very beginning of his time, whether it was withdrawing from the ridiculous JCPOA, the Iran nuclear deal; whether it was the strike we took against Qasem Soleimani – all of the things we have done to deter and to put pressure on the regime in Iran benefit those nations in the Middle East.  And their capacity to cooperate – the Emiratis and Israelis can have the capacity to cooperate in securing the Middle East against this enormous threat.

QUESTION:  Secretary Pompeo, when you made the announcement, when your – the administration made the announcement of this historic deal between UAE and Israel, the UAE was recognizing Israel’s existence and legitimacy – and something interesting happened.  You had Joe Biden come out and basically try and take credit for the deal.  He suggested that this was only the latest iteration, building on the work of prior administrations.  But it kind of sounds like, if I have my facts right, that the way that the Obama administration contributed to this was to actually empower Iran, make Iran more threatening, give Iran billions of dollars, and allow them to commit acts of proxy violence around the region.  That maybe actually helped push UAE to the table, no?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  It was crazy – (laughter) – when I heard the former Vice President make that statement.  The previous administration took a fundamentally different approach.  It transferred, as you said, billions of dollars in wealth to the Islamic Republic of Iran to that regime.  It created a condition where the Palestinians had a veto over stability in the Middle East.  This administration said we’ve tried for 40 years the previous model, and the previous eight years before President Trump for sure we’ve tried that; we’re going to go down a different path.  We’re going to recognize the rightful capital of Israel as Jerusalem, we’re going to acknowledge what took place on the Golan Heights and that these settlements can be lawful.  All of these things created the conditions, and then the United States preparedness to put pressure on Iran allowed the states in the Gulf, Arab states throughout the region to begin to say it’s the right thing to do, we can create stability.

We want good things for the Palestinian people, all of us do, but underneath the umbrella of the President’s vision for peace in the region, it’s the right thing to do to recognize, and we hope more countries will take us up on that and take the Israelis up on that offer, just to coexist and to work along each other for – alongside each other for peace in the coming weeks and months.

QUESTION:  So Bloomberg just ran a report that the U.S. is pushing China and Iran closer together, and that under the pressure the two are said to be contemplating a 25-year strategic partnership.  How does this change the landscape in the world?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Well, China has important interests, and it is – it probably should come as no surprise to anyone that two of the world’s greatest violators of basic human rights might find common cause.  So we, when watching this unfold as well – one of the things we’ve been working on is that the – this nuclear deal allows the Iranians to buy and sell weapons in a month and a half, in six weeks.  It was crazy.  It’s unsafe; it’s destabilizing.  One of the people who – one of the countries that would like to sell weapons to Iran would be China.  They’ll make a lot of money off of it.

I’m sure the Chinese will buy some systems from Iran as well.  We’ve got to prevent this from happening, and the world should know that should China choose to violate the sanctions that we have imposed against Iran, that we’ll hold everyone accountable.  We are neutral as to holding every actor that violates the U.S. sanctions against Iran accountable, and following October – and following the snapback, which we expect will take place in just a couple of weeks, all of the UN sanctions will be imposed again against Iran and we will reduce the opportunity that China might have to form common cause with Iran.

QUESTION:  Speaking of China, the President announced a couple weeks ago that he’s very concerned about one of the most popular apps in the United States – social media apps.  It’s called TikTok, and it’s owned by a Chinese company ByteDance.  There is some consideration, the President said, of allowing a U.S. company to acquire TikTok, and then everything would be fine.  He will not ban the social media network at that point, but we hear – we see news over the weekend, Secretary Pompeo, that the Chinese have maneuvered that now the Communist Party of China will have to grant permission for such a sale were it to take place.  In your estimation, will TikTok be banned from the United States?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Goodness, I couldn’t answer that question.  What we know is this:  We will ban the Chinese Communist Party from stealing the information – your information, my information, your kids’ information, whoever is using TikTok.  We will prevent that information from being placed in the hands of the Chinese national security apparatus and the Chinese Communist Party.  The President’s purpose in this is not to harm any one company or to harm anyone who wants to have access to social media, but to protect and preserve American national security.

So I don’t know how this will unfold.  We saw the decision that the Chinese made across this weekend.  What we know is that our obligation is to make sure that our people’s data doesn’t end up in the wrong place – addresses, names, health information, facial recognition data sets – all of those things that the Chinese Communist Party would love to have on hundreds of millions of Americans, we’re going to do everything we can to prevent them from having it.  And the executive order the President issues with respect to technology, which would include TikTok, is a central part of that.

QUESTION:  You talk about information getting into the Chinese hands.  Yet another university professor or researcher at University of Virginia was arrested trying to get on a plane to China, and he is allegedly – was trying to board that plane with stolen research.  He’s been charged with federal crimes.  There seems to be one of these stories a week with researchers or professors tied to our universities that are Chinese nationals or students that are taking our technology and sending it to China.  How do we stop this?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Mary, we’re working hard at it.  I regret only that for decades we’ve allowed this to go on.  No administration has taken this seriously until these last couple years when President Trump began to demand that we get this right.  So it’s a real challenge.  You have the Thousand Talents program; you have all these efforts that the Chinese Government has made to infiltrate American university systems.  And you’re seeing – you saw the decision that the State Department made to demand that the Chinese consulate, their diplomatic facility in Houston, Texas which was a den of spies, be closed.  We sent them home.  You’ve seen the Justice Department and the FBI working hand-in-hand with each other and with the State Department to make sure that we protect this exact data.

We know this:  We know that the Chinese Communist Party has stolen hundreds of billions of dollars of intellectual property, and with that tens and hundreds of thousands of American jobs.  That’s a – the real hardship of this is that all of these jobs that have gone to China because they’ve stolen this information, either by taking it through cyber means or, as you’ve described, by their people actively working inside of our places of research.  President Trump is determined to stop this, and for the first time – for the first time in decades, you have an administration that is taking this threat from the Chinese Communist Party seriously.

QUESTION:  Well, what’s even more disgusting about this is – if it could get more disgusting, Mr. Secretary – is that what we have is, like, U.S. taxpayers are paying for research grants for these institutions.  The professors then use those grants to conduct the research and then they send their findings to the Chinese Government, who is sending them money.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  It’s crazy.  And then they turn around and take that data, use it to develop products, and then subsidize those products and sell them back here – things like that AI machine learning software, companies like a TikTok, right, where there’s these data and the things that they learned through stealing intellectual property from the United States.  So we’ve got a full-on campaign, a counterintelligence campaign, an FBI effort, a Justice Department effort, and then the work that we will do diplomatically and economically, as you have seen the President demand, for the first time, a reasonable, reciprocal trade arrangement with China.  There certainly remains much work to do, but President Trump is very focused on this.  I regret only – and this is not partisan.  There were Republican presidents and Democrat presidents that preceded President Trump.  None of them took this threat seriously.

QUESTION:  Wouldn’t it be easier and quicker to just sanction them by not allowing any more Chinese students to come into this country for a period of X number of years, no more Chinese researchers for an X number of years, and solve the problem, cut them off right away?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  I don’t want to get in front of decisions that the President is evaluating.  Look, not every Chinese student who is here is working on behalf of or at the behest of the direction of the Chinese Communist Party, but it’s something President Trump has taken a serious, serious look at.  I think —

QUESTION:  But those students —

SECRETARY POMPEO:  I think you’ll see more to follow in the coming weeks and months.

QUESTION:  Looking forward to those announcements, but just – but Secretary Pompeo, one of the interesting things about all this is those students by and large are not here because they’re being sent as spies, but do live under the threat of their families being impacted by the Communist Party back home, no?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  That’s correct.  And it is also the case that nearly every student who is here is being watched, right.  The Chinese Communist Party is watching them, making sure that they’re engaged in behavior that’s consistent with what the Chinese Communist Party wants them to do.  That is absolutely the case.  They’re not – you wouldn’t consider them spies in the most formal sense, but many of these students are under enormous pressure as a result of the activity that the Chinese Communist Party is taking back home.

QUESTION:  China and Iran being on our radar, very obvious.  We haven’t heard much about Russia.  Are things quiet with Russia now?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Actually, lots going on with Russia, some of it good, some of it much less so.  We’re working closely with them to try and figure out a way to take down the risk of nuclear weapons ever being used.  We’re in detailed discussions with them on a arms control agreement.  We made real progress in the last couple weeks.  I hope we could get that done before the end of the year, would be a good thing for the world, take down risk from nuclear weapons.  We work with them on counterterrorism, but we’ve also seen them engage in malign activity all across the world and we’ve made clear to them too our expectation that they won’t get involved in our election as well.

QUESTION:  And then we saw – we did see a report from this past week that we have intercepted a Russian aircraft off the coast of Alaska, as well as a submarine just last Thursday off the coast of Alaska.  Are these incidents picking up?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  I’ll leave to the Department of Defense to talk about the details of that, but it’s the case that we have watched increasing Russian activity, both there in the region in and around Alaska and in other parts of the world.  We saw the incident last week where a Russian vehicle intentionally rammed an American vehicle.  These are the kinds of things that we work closely with the Russians to say this is unacceptable behavior, that America will respond.

QUESTION:  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, thank you so much for your time.  Just on a lighter note, one quick thing:  I graduated high school with your Under Secretary David Hale.  Could you please tell him to return my phone call?  (Laughter.)

SECRETARY POMPEO:  I’ll tell David to give you a holler.  (Laughter.)

QUESTION:  Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Thank you very —

QUESTION:  I have to go to the top to get a return phone call.  (Laughter.)

QUESTION:  That’s right.  (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY POMPEO:  I’ll make it happen.  Thank you all.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much, Secretary.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  You all have a great day.

QUESTION:  Have a great day.  Mike Pompeo.  This was Mornings on the Mall.  Hold tight.



Trinidad and Tobago’s Independence Day

31 Aug

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

On behalf of the Government of the United States and the American people, I extend my congratulations to the people of Trinidad and Tobago as you celebrate your 58th Independence Day.

The United States values the strong ties between the American and Trinidadian and Tobagonian people and our work together on initiatives that strengthen our partnership and our economies.  Our exchange programs will continue to build personal and professional relationships between our people in every field, from sports and youth civic engagement to public health and disaster preparedness.  We also look forward to continuing our collaboration under the U.S.-Caribbean Resilience Partnership and U.S.-Caribbean 2020 Strategy.

On this day of celebration, I send our best wishes to Trinidadians and Tobagonians for peace, prosperity, and good health in the coming year.


Troika Statement on the Peace Agreement between Sudan Armed Opposition Groups

31 Aug

Office of the Spokesperson

The United States, the United Kingdom, and Norway (the Troika) welcome the peace agreement between the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) and the Civilian-led Transitional Government of Sudan, initialed on 28 August 2020 as the first step in a long process to rebuild hope and stability for conflict-affected communities in Sudan.  The peace agreement lays a foundation for sustainable peace and stability in Darfur and other conflict-affected areas that is critical for Sudan’s democratic transition.

We recognize the concessions all have made to conclude these negotiations and call on all parties to implement the agreement in good faith, with the same spirit of partnership and compromise, and in a way that complement the ongoing talks with other groups.  The agreement demonstrates the commitment of the parties to prioritize peace as called for in the August 2019 Constitutional Decree.  It is an important step in restoring security, dignity, and development to the population of Sudan’s conflict-affected and marginalized areas.  We believe the formal agreement must be followed up with local peace and reconciliation efforts in the conflict-affected areas.

The Troika urges the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North-Abdelaziz al-Hilu and the Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdulwahid Al Nur to build on this achievement and to engage in serious negotiations with the Government of Sudan in order to achieve the promise of a comprehensive peace called for by the Sudanese people in the revolution of December 2018.  All Sudanese have the right to live in peace and enjoy the same privileges and responsibilities.  Only a fully inclusive national process can address fundamental questions relating to the identity of the state.

The non-violent December 2018 Revolution provided a once-in-a generation opportunity to transform Sudan into an inclusive, peaceful, and just state.  The recent increase in violence in in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, and Port Sudan highlights the challenges to achieving sustainable peace.  We urge the government and its partners to establish the Peace Commission and the Transitional Legislative Council and begin to bring accountable administration and justice to all of Sudan.  A just Sudan requires neutral and professional security services that protect and safeguard all Sudanese equally.  We urge the SRF, other opposition groups, and political parties to put aside differences and personal ambitions for the good of their entire country.  The Troika urges Sudan’s diverse communities to overcome old enmities and to unite to support this singular opportunity for lasting peace.

We commend the Government of South Sudan for its role in mediating the peace negotiations, and recognize the valuable support provided by the United Nations and regional and bilateral partners that helped make the peace agreement possible.

The Troika will continue to support the Sudanese people in their quest for freedom, peace, and justice.



In WHO global pulse survey, 90% of countries report disruptions to essential health services since COVID-19 pandemic

31 Aug

WHO to roll out learning and monitoring tools to improve service provision during pandemic

The World Health Organization (WHO) today published a first indicative survey on the impact of COVID-19 on health systems based on 105 countries’ reports. Data collected from five regions over the period from March to June 2020 illustrate that almost every country (90%) experienced disruption to its health services, with low- and middle-income countries reporting the greatest difficulties.  Most countries reported that many routine and elective services have been suspended, while critical care - such as cancer screening and treatment and HIV therapy – has seen high-risk interruptions in low-income countries.

"The survey shines a light on the cracks in our health systems, but it also serves to inform new strategies to improve healthcare provision during the pandemic and beyond,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. "COVID-19 should be a lesson to all countries that health is not an ‘either-or’ equation. We must better prepare for emergencies but also keep investing in health systems that fully respond to people’s needs throughout the life course."

Services hit across the board: Based on reports from key informants, countries on average experienced disruptions in 50% of a set of 25 tracer services. The most frequently disrupted areas reported included routine immunization – outreach services (70%) and facility-based services (61%), non-communicable diseases diagnosis and treatment (69%), family planning and contraception (68%), treatment for mental health disorders (61%), cancer diagnosis and treatment (55%). 

Countries also reported disruptions in malaria diagnosis and treatment (46%), tuberculosis case detection and treatment (42%) and antiretroviral treatment (32%). While some areas of health care, such as dental care and rehabilitation, may have been deliberately suspended in line with government protocols, the disruption of many of the other services is expected to have harmful effects on population health in the short- medium- and long-term.

Potentially life-saving emergency services were disrupted in almost a quarter of responding countries. Disruptions to 24-hour emergency room services for example were affected in 22% of countries, urgent blood transfusions were disrupted in 23% of countries, emergency surgery was affected in 19% of the countries.  

Disruption due to a mix of supply and demand side factors. 76% of countries reported reductions in outpatient care attendance due to lower demand and other factors such as lockdowns and financial difficulties. The most commonly reported factor on the supply side was cancellation of elective services (66%).  Other factors reported by countries included staff redeployment to provide COVID-19 relief, unavailability of services due to closings, and interruptions in the supply of medical equipment and health products.

Adapting service delivery strategies. Many countries have started to implement some of the WHO recommended strategies to mitigate service disruptions, such as triaging to identify priorities, shifting to on-line patient consultations, changes to prescribing practices and supply chain and public health information strategies. However, only 14% of countries reported removal of user fees, which WHO recommends to offset potential financial difficulties for patients.

The pulse survey also provides an indication of countries’ experiences in adapting strategies to mitigate the impact on service provision.  Despite the limitations of such a survey, it highlights the need to improve real-time monitoring of changes in service delivery and utilization as the outbreak is likely to wax and wane over the next months, and to adapt solutions accordingly.  

To that end, WHO will continue to work with countries and to provide supportive tools to address the fallout from COVID-19. Given countries’ urgent demand for assistance during the pandemic response, WHO is developing the COVID19: Health Services Learning Hub, a web-based platform that will allow sharing of experiences and learning from innovative country practices that can inform the collective global response. WHO is also devising additional surveys at the sub-national level and in health facilities to gauge the longer-term impact of disruptions and help countries weigh the benefits and risks of pursuing different mitigation strategies. 

Note to editors

The survey ‘Rapid assessment of continuity of essential health services during the COVID-19 pandemic’ (HYPERLINK), was conducted in 159 countries (all WHO regions except the Americas). 105 responses were received (66% response rate) from senior ministry of health officials covering the period from March to June 2020. The purpose of the survey was to gain insights and perspectives on both the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on up to 25 essential health services in countries and how countries are adapting strategies to maintain essential services.

While pulse surveys have some limitations, the strength of this effort is that it is comprehensive, looking at 25 core health services (as opposed to single topic surveys) and representing disruptions to these services in a comparable way across over 100 countries. It reveals that even robust health systems can be rapidly overwhelmed and compromised by a COVID-19 outbreak, reinforcing the need for sustained data collection and strategic adaptations to ensure maintenance of essential care provision.



Operational Guidance for maintaining essential services during an outbreak


First Ladies of Nigeria mobilize around the Global Strategy for Elimination of Cervical Cancer

31 Aug

Nigeria’s First Ladies Against Cancer (FLAC) have issued a statement in support of the Global Strategy to Accelerate the Elimination of Cervical Cancer as a Public Health Problem. The First Ladies call for bold action to ensure that the strategy’s 90-70-90 targets are achieved for women and girls throughout the country. The statement declares, “we stand ready to work in partnership with other national stakeholders to ensure that these global commitments are taken forward in Nigeria.  As a group of women leaders, we call for early steps in Nigeria, to send a strong signal of the importance of cervical health to women, our communities and our economies despite the COVID-19 pandemic.”

We thank the First Ladies of Nigeria for their support and for their continued advocacy for the safe delivery of these important services.