Enactment of Legal Peace Legislation to Restore Sudan’s Sovereign Immunities

30 Dec

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

With the enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act on December 28, the way is clear for victims of the 1998 East African Embassy bombings, the 2000 attack on USS Cole, and the 2008 murder of USAID employee John Granville, to receive long-awaited compensation for their immeasurable losses. The $335 million previously provided by Sudan and to be released to the United States from escrow is in addition to the compensation Sudan has already paid to some victims of the Cole attack as part of a private settlement.

Achieving compensation for these victims of terrorism has been a top priority of the Department. We are pleased to have been able to work with Congress on this legislation while also preserving the ability of 9/11 victims with pending claims against Sudan to continue to pursue those claims.

The enactment of this legislation represents a fundamental change in Sudan’s relationship with not only the United States but also the entire international community. It removes a major impediment to Sudan’s full reintegration into the global economy by reducing the risk of attachment of Sudan’s assets, opening the possibility for substantially increased trade and investment.

This historic step is possible because of the courageous actions of the Sudanese people, who have placed their country on a path towards democracy and economic prosperity. The leadership of the civilian-led Transitional Government in delivering on the demands of the people of Sudan is integral to the success of this transition. We commend the Sudanese people for their continued insistence on freedom, peace, and justice, and we congratulate Prime Minister Hamdok and the civilian-led Transitional Government for their courage in advancing both the aspirations of the people they serve and the cause of regional peace under the Abraham Accords.

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The United States Sanctions Venezuelan Officials Involved in Unjust Sentencing of the Citgo 6

30 Dec

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

The United States is designating the Venezuelan judge and prosecutor who presided over and prosecuted the November 2020 trial and sentencing of six U.S. persons known as the “Citgo 6.”  These Americans have been unjustly imprisoned in Venezuela since November 2017 after being lured to Caracas under false pretenses.

Lorena Carolina Cornielles Ruiz (Cornielles) presided over the trial of the Citgo 6 while Ramon Antonio Torres Espinoza (Torres) was the prosecutor representing the illegitimate Maduro regime.  As such, these two officials played critical roles in the kangaroo court trials of each of the Citgo executives.  These proceedings were marred by a lack of fair trial guarantees and based on politically motivated charges, and media and human rights groups were denied access to the trials.

These six men and their families have suffered long enough.  It is time for Maduro to release the Citgo 6 and let them be reunited with their families.

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Joint Statement of the United States-Bahrain Strategic Dialogue

30 Dec

Office of the Spokesperson

The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Begin text:

His Excellency Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani and Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo launched the U.S. – Bahrain Strategic Dialogue this month. The Strategic Dialogue demonstrates the joint commitment of both countries to bolster their collective efforts to broaden and elevate their bilateral partnership.

The Strategic Dialogue, held virtually over a two-week period, focused on cross-cutting priority areas of cooperation to enhance prosperity through trade and investment, strengthen mutual security, and build understanding through people-to-people exchanges in education, culture, science, and environment. The participants discussed U.S. support for the Kingdom of Bahrain, a Major Non-NATO Ally of the United States, in its efforts to enhance its military and security capabilities and the longstanding U.S.-Bahrain security relationship. The United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain reiterated their joint commitment to deter and confront external threats to the Kingdom of Bahrain and improve regional stability.

The launch of the Strategic Dialogue reflects the determination of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States to work closely together to maximize opportunities to accelerate their mutual peace and security objectives. These include achieving shared human rights goals such as the advancement of women, combatting human trafficking, protecting and promoting international labor and human rights standards, and reinforcing their bilateral exchange of best practices. The United States recognized the progress the Kingdom of Bahrain has made toward its labor reforms and efforts to combat human trafficking and commended its Tier 1 status in the U.S. Department of State’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report for the third year in a row.

The Strategic Dialogue discussed advancing cooperation in law enforcement and maritime and border security to tackle old and new security challenges. To provide for maximum security and stability for both nations, confronting terrorism and transnational crimes and other states’ malign activity, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States announced their intention to enter into security partnerships to improve information-sharing, exchange expertise, and build capacity, including through concluding Memoranda of Cooperation regarding border and cargo security. To confront emerging digital threats, both sides expressed their commitment to greater coordination and cooperation toward bolstering cyber resilience, combatting cybercrime, and strengthening critical infrastructure protection measures. In this regard, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States expressed their intention to establish information-sharing mechanisms to enhance operational collaboration.

The Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States announced their intention to strengthen judicial and law enforcement cooperation to combat transnational crime and terrorism by sharing evidence and information used to investigate and prosecute these crimes. These bilateral efforts will demonstrate the strength of existing law enforcement-to-law enforcement cooperation and build on efforts to counter transnational crimes and terrorism of all forms. Both countries affirmed their intention to take further steps to cut off terrorism financing. In this regard, the United States expressed its appreciation for the continued commitment of the Kingdom of Bahrain to strengthen its anti-money laundering practices, increase information-sharing with the United States, and support joint action against terrorist financiers.

The Strategic Dialogue addressed the importance of achieving mutual prosperity through increased trade and investment across sectors, noting the importance of the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement, which entered into force in 2006. The participants discussed the expansion of the friendly people-to-people ties between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States across educational, cultural exchange, scientific, and environmental collaboration. The two governments welcomed the decision of the U.S. Department of State and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain to extend the validity of tourist visas issued to citizens of both countries to ten years, which will further strengthen bilateral ties and boost tourism and travel.

In light of the signing by the Kingdom of Bahrain of the historic Abraham Accords, as well as the strong and enduring bilateral ties that characterize the decades-long friendship between the United States and Kingdom of Bahrain, the launch of the Strategic Dialogue reaffirms the two governments’ shared resolve to sustain their cooperation, advance the cause of peace, and deepen their bilateral partnership.

The United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain look forward to future sessions of the Strategic Dialogue, which will continue to reflect and reaffirm the longstanding partnership and friendship between the two nations, and underscored their intention to coordinate on priority areas through the formation of a Strategic Dialogue working group involving representatives of their respective governments.

End text. 

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COVID-19: One year later – WHO Director-General’s new year message

30 Dec


Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General


 

As people around the world celebrated New Year's Eve 12 months ago, a new global threat emerged.

Since that moment, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken so many lives and caused massive disruption to families, societies and economies all over the world.

But it also triggered the fastest and most wide-reaching response to a global health emergency in human history.

The hallmarks of this response have been an unparalleled mobilization of science, a search for solutions and a commitment to global solidarity.

Acts of generosity, large and small, equipped hospitals with the tools that health workers needed to stay safe and care for their patients.

Outpourings of kindness have helped society’s most vulnerable through troubled times.

Vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics have been developed and rolled out, at record speed, thanks to collaborations including the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator.

Equity is the essence of the ACT Accelerator, and its vaccine arm, COVAX, which has secured access to 2 billion doses of promising vaccine candidates.

Vaccines offer great hope to turn the tide of the pandemic.

But to protect the world, we must ensure that all people at risk everywhere – not just in countries who can afford vaccines – are immunized.

To do this, COVAX needs just over 4 billion US dollars urgently to buy vaccines for low- and lower-middle income countries.

This is the challenge we must rise to in the new year.

My brothers and sisters, the events of 2020 have provided telling lessons, and reminders, for us all to take into 2021.

First and foremost, 2020 has shown that governments must increase investment in public health, from funding access to COVID vaccines for all people, to making our systems better prepared to prevent and respond to the next, inevitable, pandemic.

At the heart of this is investing in universal health coverage to make health for all a reality.   

Second, as it will take time to vaccinate everyone against COVID, we must keep adhering to tried and tested measures that keep each and all of us safe.

This means maintaining physical distance, wearing face masks, practicing hand and respiratory hygiene, avoiding crowded indoor places and meeting people outside.

These simple, yet effective measures will save lives and reduce the suffering that so many people encountered in 2020.

Third, and above all, we must commit to working together in solidarity, as a global community, to promote and protect health today, and in the future.

We have seen how divisions in politics and communities feed the virus and foment the crisis.

But collaboration and partnership save lives and safeguard societies.

In 2020, a health crisis of historic proportions showed us just how closely connected we all are.

We saw how acts of kindness and care helped neighbors through times of great struggle.

But we also witnessed how acts of malice, and misinformation, caused avoidable harm.

Going into 2021, we have a simple, yet profound, choice to make:

Do we ignore the lessons of 2020 and allow insular, partisan approaches, conspiracy theories and attacks on science to prevail, resulting in unnecessary suffering to people’s health and society at large?

Or do we walk the last miles of this crisis together, helping each other along the way, from sharing vaccines fairly, to offering accurate advice, compassion and care to all who need, as one global family.

The choice is easy.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, and we will get there by taking the path together.

WHO stands with you – We Are Family and we are In This Together.

I wish you and your loved ones a peaceful, safe and healthy new year.

 

 

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By 151 Votes in Favour to 2 Against, with 1 Abstention, Fifth Committee Approves $3.21 Billion Budget for 2021, Concluding Main Part of Seventy-Fifth Session

30 Dec

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) wrapped up the main part of its seventy-fifth session on Wednesday by approving resources of $3.21 billion for the 2021 regular budget, the Organization’s second annual budget in nearly 50 years.  After the United States’ representative’s request for a recorded vote, the budget was approved with 151 delegates voting in favour, the United States and Israel voting against, and one abstention by Sudan.

On the Silencing and Prosecution of PRC Citizen Journalist Zhang Zhan

29 Dec

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

The United States strongly condemns the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) sham prosecution and conviction of citizen journalist Zhang Zhan on December 28. We call on the PRC government to release her immediately and unconditionally. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has shown once again it will do whatever it takes to silence those who question the Party’s official line, even regarding crucial public health information.

Lying is a feature, not a bug of authoritarian regimes. The CCP restricted and manipulated information about the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan from the start and brutally silenced other brave truth-tellers, such as Dr. Li Wenliang, Chen Qiushi, and Fang Bin. Because of the CCP’s gross malfeasance, the rest of the world relied heavily on uncensored reports from citizen journalists like Zhang to understand the true situation in Wuhan after the CCP-imposed strict media controls were enforced and a controllable outbreak turned into a deadly global pandemic. Her hasty trial, to which foreign observers were denied access, shows how fearful the CCP is of Chinese citizens who speak the truth.

The PRC government’s fear of transparency and its ongoing repression of fundamental freedoms are a sign of weakness, not strength, and a threat to all of us. The United States will always support the right of Chinese citizens to express themselves freely and peacefully.

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