United States-Japan Extended Deterrence Dialogue

30 Apr

Office of the Spokesperson

The United States and Japan held a bilateral Extended Deterrence Dialogue by video teleconference on April 30, 2021.  The Dialogue provided an opportunity for our two governments to hold in-depth discussions on regional security, Alliance defense posture, nuclear and missile defense policy, and arms control issues.  Since 2010, it has provided a forum for U.S.-Japan Alliance officials to discuss how to maintain and strengthen deterrence as part of our security and defense cooperation.  The dialogue’s longevity attests to the unwavering U.S. commitment to the defense of Japan through the full range of its capabilities, including nuclear weapons.

Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Alexandra Bell, and Department of Defense Principal Director for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy Brad Clark, co-chaired the meeting for the Government of the United States.  Deputy Director General for North American Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Arima Yutaka and Deputy Director General for Defense Policy, Ministry of Defense, Yamato Taro co-chaired for the Government of Japan.

Joint Statement on the Extended “Troika” on Peaceful Settlement in Afghanistan

30 Apr

Office of the Spokesperson

The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America, the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on the occasion of the Extended “Troika” on Peaceful Settlement in Afghanistan.

Begin Text:

On April 30, representatives of the extended “Troika,” comprising the United States, the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, met in Doha, Qatar to discuss ways to support intra-Afghan negotiations and help the parties reach a negotiated settlement and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.  The extended “Troika” met with representatives of the Islamic Republic negotiating team and of the Taliban, as well as Qatar, who graciously hosted the participants.

In the spirit of the discussions, as well as provisions of joint statements on the outcomes of previous “Troika” meetings and discussions held on March 22, April 25, July 11, and October 25, 2019; June 3 and November 30, 2020; and March 18, 2021; the four states participating in the extended “Troika” have affirmed as follows:

  1. We acknowledge the widespread and sincere demand of the Afghan people for a lasting and just peace and an end to the war.
  2. We reiterate that there is no military solution in Afghanistan and a negotiated political settlement through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process is the only way forward for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.
  3. We take note of the April 14 announcement by the United States and NATO that U.S./NATO forces will begin a responsible withdrawal from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021 that concludes by September 11, 2021. We reiterate that the withdrawal of foreign troops should ensure a steady transition of the situation in Afghanistan. We stress that, during the withdrawal period, the peace process should not be disrupted, no fights or turbulence shall occur in Afghanistan, and the safety of international troops should be ensured.
  4. We expect the Taliban to fulfill its counterterrorism commitments, including preventing terrorist groups and individuals from using Afghan soil to threaten the security of any other country; not hosting these groups and preventing them from recruiting, training, and fundraising. We expect the Afghan government to continue counterterrorism cooperation with the international community.
  5. We reiterate our call on all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan to reduce the level of violence in the country and on the Taliban not to pursue a Spring offensive. We condemn in the strongest terms any attacks deliberately targeting civilians in Afghanistan and call on all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law in all circumstances, including those related to protection of civilians.
  6. We reiterate that diplomatic personnel and property shall be inviolable, and the perpetrators of any attack or threat on foreign diplomatic personnel and properties in Kabul will be held accountable.
  7. We urge the Government of the Islamic Republic and the High Council for National Reconciliation to engage openly with their Taliban counterparts regarding a negotiated settlement. We do not support the establishment in Afghanistan of any government imposed by force, consistent with the Joint Statement of the March 18 Expanded Troika.
  8. We support a review of the status of designations of Taliban individuals and entities on the UN 1988 sanctions, as stated in the UNSC resolution 2513 (2020). Practical measures to reduce violence and sustained efforts to advance intra-Afghan negotiations by the Taliban will positively affect this review process.
  9. We note the preparations by Turkey to host a conference of senior leaders of both Afghan parties in order to accelerate the intra-Afghan negotiations, and we also welcome the United Nations and Qatar’s roles as co-conveners of this dialogue. We call upon the negotiating parties to make progress toward an inclusive political settlement and a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire.
  10. We appreciate the long-standing support of the State of Qatar to facilitate the peace process, and we support the continuation of discussions between the parties’ negotiating teams in Doha.
  11. We welcome an expanded role for the United Nations in contributing to the Afghan peace and reconciliation process, including by leveraging its considerable experience and expertise in supporting other peace processes.
  12. We strongly advocate a durable and just political resolution that will result in the formation of an independent, sovereign, unified, peaceful, democratic, neutral and self-sufficient Afghanistan, free of terrorism and an illicit drug industry, which contributes to a safe environment for the voluntary, expeditious and sustainable return of Afghan refugees through a well-resourced plan; stability; and global security.
  13. We call on all Afghans including the Government of the Islamic Republic and the Taliban to ensure that terrorist groups and individuals do not use Afghan soil to threaten the security of any other country.
  14. We reaffirm that any peace agreement must include protections for the rights of all Afghans, including women, men, children, victims of war, and minorities, and should respond to the strong desire of all Afghans for economic, social and political development including the rule of law.

End text.

Sea Turtle Conservation and Shrimp Imports Into the United States

30 Apr

Office of the Spokesperson

The Department of State protects sea turtles around the world through its certification program, which allows for the importation of wild-caught shrimp into the United States pursuant to Section 609 of Public Law 101-162 (“Section 609”).  Each year the Secretary of State (or his delegate) certifies to Congress that governments and authorities of shrimp-harvesting nations and economies have programs to reduce the incidental taking of sea turtles in shrimp trawl fisheries.

This year, the Department certified 35 nations and one economy and granted determinations for twelve fisheries as having adequate measures in place to protect sea turtles while harvesting wild-caught shrimp.  Annual certifications are based in part on overseas verification visits by a team composed of State Department and National Marine Fisheries Service representatives.

Six of the world’s seven species of marine turtles are listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  The U.S. Government is currently providing technology and capacity-building assistance to other nations to contribute to the recovery of sea turtle species and help them certify under Section 609.  The U.S. Government also encourages legislation like Section 609 in other nations to prevent the importation of shrimp harvested in a manner harmful to protected sea turtles.

For more information on the Certification to Congress, please see the Federal Register Notice published on April 30, 2021, 86 FR 23027.  For more information on U.S. government sea turtle conservation efforts, please visit the websites of the State Department’s Office of Marine Conservation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration , and the Fish and Wildlife Service .

For press inquiries, contact OES-PA-DG@state.gov.

IN THE STATES: From Scranton to Seattle, Americans Are Crediting President Biden with Getting U.S. Back on Track in First 100 Days

30 Apr
This week, as President Biden marked his 100th day in office, the Democratic National Committee launched a billboard campaign across the country, anchored in the president’s hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania. State parties across the country highlighted how the Biden-Harris administration has already delivered on its commitment to put the pandemic in the rearview mirror with vaccines in arms, checks in hands, and more than one million jobs created since he took office. And Americans across the country read about how the American Families Plan will invest in their kids and families and enable those who dropped out of the workforce – particularly the approximately two million women who left due to COVID-19 – to rejoin and stay in the workforce.

Here’s a look at what voters in states across the country were reading — and seeing — this week:

The Democratic National Committee unveiled an updated billboard campaign across the country and a new billboard in President Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania to thank the president for getting America back on track. 

 

  • POLITICO: California Playbook: FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: With President Biden marking his 100th day in office this week, the Democratic National Committee has decided to unveil a high profile, celebratory billboard in Los Angeles thanking him “for putting America back on track.’’
  • Colorado Politics: DNC billboard boosts Biden as administration’s 100-day mark nears
  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Just in time for Joe Biden’s visit, the Democratic National Committee is out with a new billboard near Hartsfield-Jackson airport thanking the president for putting the nation “back on track.”
  • WMUR: NH Primary Source: DNC Manchester billboard updated with pro-Biden COVID-19 vaccine, jobs message
  • Cleveland.com: On board: As part of their continuing campaign to hype Democratic President Joe Biden and the coronavirus recovery plan across the U.S., the Democratic National Committee is up with another billboard near the Cleveland airport. This one touts Biden’s first 100 days in office, boosting his achieved goals for vaccines and increased stimulus checks for the public.
  • Wilkes-Barre Times Leader: DNC unveils Biden billboard in Scranton; updates one in Luzerne County
  • Kiro7: DNC puts up billboard in Seattle thanking President Biden for work during first 100 days
  • Wisconsin Examiner: DNC ad campaign puts Biden’s face on his administration’s early victories

On press calls and in op-eds, local Democratic leaders touted President Biden’s accomplishments in his first 100 days, and discussed what his policies mean for their own communities. 

  • In Florida: Florida PoliticsFlorida Democrats in Congress celebrate Joe Biden’s speech, first 100 days
  • In Georgia: WSB-TVPresident Biden thanks Georgians during rally to celebrate first 100 days in office
  • In Minnesota: Duluth News Tribune: Biden 100 days in / DFL Chairman’s View: America already getting back on track
  • In Nevada: Nevada Independent: Biden, Nevada congressional Democrats tout accomplishments, push for next $1.8 trillion plan
  • In Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Capital-Star: People ‘feel like life is worth living again’: Pa. biz owners look to promises, challenges post-pandemic | Wednesday Morning Coffee

Across the country, people are reading about how President Biden’s American Families Plan would grow the middle class by investing in our kids, our families, and our economic future.

  • In Arizona: KNXV-TV: Roughly 113,000 Arizona kids would be eligible for universal preschool under President Biden’s ‘American Families Plan’
  • In Florida: WFLAPresident Biden proposes 2 years free community college
  • In Georgia: WSB-TV: President pitches American Families Plan that would extend child tax credits, free community college
  • In Illinois: WREX: Rockford workforce leaders say Biden’s American Families plan will help women get back to work
  • In Mississippi: WLBT: Potential impacts of American Families Plan for child care in Mississippi
  • In New YorkKIMT3: AMERICAN FAMILIES PLAN COULD MAKE RCTC TUITION FREE
  • In Wisconsin: CBS58: Biden’s American Families Plan fills gaps in education system
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Secretary Blinken’s Call with Dominican Republic Foreign Minister Alvarez

30 Apr

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with Dominican Republic Foreign Minister Roberto Alvarez today. Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Alvarez emphasized the important U.S.-Dominican bond formed by the over two million Americans of Dominican descent living in the United States, extensive economic ties, and a shared commitment to democracy in the region. They discussed economic and security cooperation, COVID-19 coordination, and regional issues of mutual concern. The Secretary and Foreign Minister also spoke about the importance of advancing human rights, transparency, and the rule of law throughout the region.

GET YOUR POPCORN: Republican Civil War Rages On

30 Apr
If it’s a day that ends in -y you can guarantee there’s a story about Republicans ripping each other apart as they struggle to find a message — and this week wasn’t any different. 

Here’s a small reminder of the awful week Republicans had, and that’s not including the local pressnational press, and late night comedians ripping Republicans for touting President Biden’s American Rescue Plan that they all voted against.

First there was this, 

Reuters: “Trump lashes out at McConnell again, saying Republicans need new leadership”

And then this,

Vanity Fair: MITCH MCCONNELL TRADES DONALD TRUMP IN FOR A YOUNGER, SKINNIER MODEL

But maybe there’s hope here…

New York Times: “Pence, in his first speech since leaving office, speaks fondly of Trump.”

Nevermind!

Politico: “Mike Pence reemerges. But Trumpworld is moving on.”

And don’t you forget about the clown show brought to you by Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans:

Politico: “Matt Gaetz is going on tour. With Marjorie Taylor Greene… Together, they plan to attack Democrats and call out Republicans they deem as insufficiently loyal to former President Donald Trump.”

Politico: “McCarthy and Cheney worlds apart after Florida retreat”

CNN: “McCarthy on Cheney’s fitness for leadership: ‘That’s a question for the conference’”

What a year this week has been for the Republican Party… Can’t keep up? That’s okay, neither can they. 

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Secretary Blinken’s Call with Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar

30 Apr

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar today to reaffirm the strength of the U.S.-India partnership in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Expressing his appreciation for Indian assistance in America’s time of need, Secretary Blinken reviewed comprehensive ongoing U.S. government efforts in support of the Indian government’s COVID-19 response operations.  He also noted the outpouring of support from U.S. industries, non-governmental institutions, and private citizens for COVID-19 relief efforts in India.  The Secretary offered condolences and noted our concern for those who have lost friends and loved ones during this difficult period.  Secretary Blinken and Minister Jaishankar agreed to remain in close contact.

Republic of the Marshall Islands Constitution Day

30 Apr

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I congratulate the citizens of the Republic of the Marshall Islands on your 42nd Constitution Day.  The United States and the Marshall Islands share a historic friendship underpinned by our Compact of Free Association, and I look forward to strengthening the deep bonds between our nations and citizens.

Building on a foundation of democracy and support for human rights, our countries collaborate at many levels.  From our close cooperation at the United Nations to coordination among our health care experts on delivering COVID-19 vaccines, the relationship between our two countries is essential for achieving our shared goals.

Through the bonds between our citizens and the strong partnership between our governments, together we will continue to confront the climate crisis, work to defeat COVID-19 and prevent future pandemics, and promote regional security for a better future.  Again, I extend my congratulations to all Marshallese on this occasion.

U.S. Mediation Team Travel to Lebanon

30 Apr

Office of the Spokesperson

The U.S. team mediating the Israel-Lebanon Maritime Boundary negotiations, led by Ambassador John P. Desrocher, will travel to Lebanon on May 3. The U.S. team will mediate talks between representatives from the governments of Israel and Lebanon on the disputed maritime boundary, beginning May 4. The resumption of talks is a positive step towards a long-awaited resolution.

For any questions, please contact NEA-Press@state.gov and follow us on Twitter @StateDept_NEA.

G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ Meeting and the Secretary’s Travel to Ukraine

30 Apr

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson

Secretarof State Antony Blinken is attending the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ Meeting in London, United Kingdom, May 3-5, 2021.  The Secretary has said wherever the rules for international security and the global economy are being written, America will be there, and the interests of the American people will be front and center.  We see the G7 as a crucial forum for that effort.

The Secretary is looking forward to discussing the democratic values that we share with our partners and allies within the G7.  The United States will discuss how we can work with other countries to address the key geopolitical issues we face as we build back better from this pandemic.  Tackling the COVID-19 and climate crises will feature prominently on the agenda, as will advancing economic growth, human rights, food security, gender equality, and women’s and girls’ empowerment.

Additional countries will join as guests at the Ministerial, including Australia, India, South Africa, the Republic of Korea, and Brunei in its capacity as Chair of ASEAN. The Secretary appreciates UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab  extension of this invitation and the opportunity to engage directly with our partners and allies.  These meetings will lay the groundwork for the 46th Leaders’ Summit in Cornwall in June.

While in the United Kingdom, the Secretary will meet with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Raab to discuss shared U.S.-UK priorities related to addressing global issues and to affirm the strong alliance between our countries.  Secretary Blinken will also take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral in remembrance of those who gave their lives in defense of liberty in World War II.

The Secretary will then travel to Kyiv, Ukraine, May 5-6, where he will meet with President Zelenskyy, Foreign Minister Kuleba, other officials, and representatives of Ukrainian civil society to reaffirm unwavering U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression.  He will also encourage continued progress on Ukraine’s institutional reform agenda, particularly anti-corruption action, which is key to securing Ukraine’s democratic institutions, economic prosperity, and Euro-Atlantic future.