U.S. Nominates Christopher Liddell for OECD Secretary General

20 Oct

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.

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Progress on New START

20 Oct

Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson

We appreciate the Russian Federation’s willingness to make progress on the issue of nuclear arms control.

The United States is prepared to meet immediately to finalize a verifiable agreement. We expect Russia to empower its diplomats to do the same.

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Attacks on Civilians in Salah al-Din Governorate, Iraq

19 Oct

Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson

The United States strongly condemns the massacre of innocent civilians by Iran-backed militias in Salah al-Din governorate.  This occurred within hours of an attack by Iran-backed militias on the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s branch office in Baghdad.  The Government of Iraq needs to immediately exert control over the Iran-backed militias who are lawlessly attacking religious and ethnic minorities, peaceful protesters and activists, political party headquarters, and diplomatic missions.  The perpetrators of this violence must be brought to justice.  The actions of these groups are preventing the international community from helping Iraq and are leading Iraq towards sectarian violence and instability.  We urge all parties to act responsibly and work together to help Iraq overcome its economic challenges, security challenges, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Attack on Kurdistan Democratic Party Baghdad Office

18 Oct

Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson

The United States strongly condemns the attack on the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s branch office in Baghdad by Iran-backed elements of the Popular Mobilization Forces. The ability to speak freely and critically is a vital component of any democracy, and political parties should be able to engage in robust debate without threat from militias and thugs. The destabilizing activities of Iran-backed militias operating outside of Government of Iraq control are inflaming ethnic and sectarian tensions and undermining democracy. We strongly urge all parties to behave responsibly during this critical period in which Iraq is already dealing with a pandemic, an economic crisis, and the continued threat of ISIS.

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U.S. Response to Turkey’s Renewed Survey Activity in the Eastern Mediterranean

13 Oct

Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson

The United States deplores Turkey’s October 11 announcement of renewed Turkish survey activity in areas over which Greece asserts jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey’s announcement unilaterally raises tensions in the region and deliberately complicates the resumption of crucial exploratory talks between our NATO Allies Greece and Turkey.

Coercion, threats, intimidation, and military activity will not resolve tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. We urge Turkey to end this calculated provocation and immediately begin exploratory talks with Greece. Unilateral actions cannot build trust and will not produce enduring solutions.

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Attack on a UN World Food Program Convoy in South Sudan

9 Oct

Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson

The United States is deeply concerned by the attack on a United Nations World Food Program (WFP) humanitarian cargo convoy in South Sudan this week.  As a result of this attack, an aid worker remains missing and three are injured.  We express our sympathy to the family of the missing aid worker and wish the wounded a full and swift recovery.

Humanitarian aid workers in South Sudan and throughout the region work under extremely challenging conditions to assist some of the world’s most vulnerable men, women, and children.  This is the second attack on humanitarian cargo vessels in this area in the past two months.  We call on the Government of South Sudan to investigate this attack fully and expeditiously and provide the security necessary to ensure the safety of aid workers who are delivering critical life-saving services and assistance.

The United States is the largest single donor of humanitarian assistance to the people of South Sudan, providing nearly $907 million in humanitarian aid in FY 2020 through UN and NGO partners.  We continue to stand with the South Sudanese people to help address their ongoing humanitarian needs and demonstrate the long-term commitment of the U.S. Government and international community to South Sudan’s stability.

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Update to Secretary Pompeo’s Travel to Asia

4 Oct

Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo will travel to Tokyo, Japan on October 4 to 6.

Planned meetings with the Quad Foreign Ministers in Tokyo will focus on pressing issues of the Indo-Pacific region.

Secretary Pompeo expects to be traveling to Asia again in October and will work to reschedule visits on that trip, that is now just a few weeks off.

 

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On the Arrests of Hong Kong Protestors

4 Oct

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.

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Escalation of Violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan

27 Sep

Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson

The United States is alarmed by reports of large scale military action along the Line of Contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone that has resulted in significant casualties, including civilians.  We extend our condolences to the families of those killed and injured.

The United States condemns in the strongest terms this escalation of violence.  Deputy Secretary Biegun called the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Jeyhun Bayramov, and the Foreign Minister of Armenia, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, to urge both sides to cease hostilities immediately, to use the existing direct communication links between them to avoid further escalation, and to avoid unhelpful rhetoric and actions that further raise tensions on the ground.

The United States believes participation in the escalating violence by external parties would be deeply unhelpful and only exacerbate regional tensions.  We urge the sides to work with the Minsk Group Co-Chairs to return to substantive negotiations as soon as possible.  As a Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the United States remains committed to helping the sides achieve a peaceful and sustainable settlement to the conflict.

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The United States Announces an Additional $5 Million for Education Cannot Wait

17 Sep

Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson

Today, the United States announced $5 million to support Education Cannot Wait during its High-Level Advocacy Discussion, “The Future of Education is Here for Those Left Furthest Behind,” a virtual meeting of global leaders, education experts, and young people on the margins of the 75th United Nations General Assembly.  The United States has supported the Education Cannot Wait global fund since its inception to address the urgent education needs of millions of children in conflict and crisis situations.  This latest announcement brings total U.S. support for this fund to $40.3 million since 2017.

More than half of the world’s refugee populations are children below the age of 18, and many will spend their entire childhoods in countries of asylum.  Displaced children face heightened risks of abuse, violence, exploitation, and separation from their caregivers.  The United States, through the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, is providing this assistance to preserve safe spaces, allow access to information and other services, and lay the foundation for lifelong learning and hope for the future – needs highlighted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

This support for Education Cannot Wait is part of longstanding U.S. leadership in humanitarian assistance and diplomacy that catalyzes international crisis responses and advocates for the world’s most vulnerable people.  Investing in the lives of crisis-affected children, their families, and their communities promotes a more secure world for us all.  The United States is proud to help lead the way in ensuring access to education in crisis responses and encourages even broader support for this initiative from other donors.

 

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