Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Sandra Smith of America’s Newsroom, FOX News

21 Aug

New York

SECRETARY POMPEO:  “Our message is very, very simple.  The United States will never allow the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism to freely buy and sell planes, tanks, missiles, and other kinds of conventional weapons.”

QUESTION:  That is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on U.S. efforts to block Iran from getting nuclear weapons, this as key U.S. allies reject the Trump administration’s bid to reinstate sanctions suspended by the Iran nuclear deal.  The UK, France, and Germany all saying the U.S. lacks legal authority to restore those measures since the U.S. withdrew from the agreement in 2018.

Joining us now is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.  Mr. Secretary, an honor to have you here this morning.  Thank you for being here.  So you —

SECRETARY POMPEO:  It’s great to be with you.  Thanks for having me on.

QUESTION:  You are fresh off your trip to New York.  That was your message to the UN Security Council on the world stage yesterday.  How was it received?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Well, I think that freedom-loving people all around the world know that the Islamic Republic of Iran has been engaged in terror activity around the world now for four decades.  And they ought not be allowed – on October 18th of this year under the foolish deal that was struck by the Obama-Biden administration, they ought not be allowed to buy and sell weapon systems that threaten Europe, that threaten the Middle East, that threaten our good friends in Israel.  We’re not going to let that happen.  We have the capacity to stop it.  We’re going to use every diplomatic tool in our arsenal to prevent it from happening.

QUESTION:  What was the rejection of our demands by our allies – what does that mean for us on the world stage as far as isolation?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Well, Sandra, it’s disappointing, because privately, every world leader, every one of my counterparts tells me that America is doing the right thing.  No one has come to me and advocated for allowing Iran to have these weapon systems.  And so for them not to stand up and tell the world publicly at the United Nations, yep, this is the right thing, it’s incomprehensible to me.  To side with the Russians and the Chinese on this important issue at this important moment in time at the UN, I think, is really dangerous for the world.

But have faith:  The American people should know that President Trump will always do the right thing.  If it means we have to stand alone or lead, we’re always going to do it.  We will make sure that the Islamic Republic of Iran doesn’t have the hundreds of billion dollars that would flow from being able to sell weapon systems to become an arms dealer around the world.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, retired four-star general Jack Keane was on our network a short time ago.  In his words, Iran has doubled down on their bad behavior.  And in the letter that you delivered to the Security Council at the UN yesterday, you wrote that Tehran has repeatedly violated the arms embargo by proliferating weapons to its partners and proxies throughout the Middle East region.

What is the threat that Iran poses not just regionally, but around the world today?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  So I’m going to give you just a couple of simple examples.  This is a country that’s engaged in significant cyber attacks.  They’d be allowed to now buy and sell tools that were connected to their cyber capability.  This threatens not only the region, but the entire world.  Don’t forget there were passengers traveling on a commercial airline that the Iranians shot down flying into their airport killing hundreds of people – people from Canada, people from all across the world.  Know the dangers of the Islamic Republic of Iran are not confined to the harm they inflict on the Iranian people, the risk they present in the Middle East, or even to the dozens of efforts to conduct terror operations inside of Europe in just the last handful of years; they are a danger to the world.  They have been for four decades and they ought not be permitted to buy and sell weapons.

QUESTION:  As far as consequences for those countries that are not on board – Russia and China indicating that they would ignore the U.S. snapback – what will the consequences be?  Are you considering further sanctions on them?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Yeah, Sandra, this reminds me of when President Trump made the decision with respect to the silly nuclear deal.  He said we’re not going to comply with it anymore and we put sanctions on – American sanctions in place.  Though people said to us that’ll never work, American sanctions alone will never impact the Islamic Republic of Iran, but of course, we’ve demonstrated over these three and a half years that that’s false.  We have decimated the amount of money that the Islamic Republic of Iran has to conduct terror campaigns.

And when the UN sanctions come back into place, Russia and China can talk a good game today, but I assure you the United States will use every tool in its arsenal to make sure that the Chinese and the Russians are incapable of delivering weapon systems to Iran that threaten us, and we will do everything in our power to make sure that they don’t get the money that comes alongside being a global arms dealer as well.  Our sanctions will work, American efforts will work, and I am confident when that day comes, the world will be alongside of us as well, just as they have been in complying with our sanctions over these last three years.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary of State, we really appreciate you coming on this morning.  Hope we can have you back soon.  The hearing is underway on Capitol Hill.  We’re going to go to the postmaster general.


QUESTION:  Appreciate it.  Please come back soon.  Thank you.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Yes, ma’am.  Thank you.


U.S.-Australia Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Frontier Technologies Dialogue

12 Aug

Washington, DC

Today, the United States of America and Australia convened virtually for the Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) on Science and Frontier Technologies Dialogue to further strengthen cooperation between our world-class scientific communities.

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Kelvin Droegemeier and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios led the American delegation, which included leaders from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy, and the National Institutes of Health. The Honorable Karen Andrews, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, led the Australian delegation, which included leaders from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources; Department of Education, Skills and Employment; Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization; National Measurement Institute; and Geoscience Australia.

The Dialogue was convened under the authority of the Agreement Relating to Scientific and Technical Cooperation between the Government of the United States and the Government of Australia, signed in November 2016.  The inclusion of a Frontier Technologies Dialogue follows the September 2019 Leaders’ meeting between U.S. President Donald J. Trump and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, during which both leaders underscored the importance of science and technology cooperation including advancing frontier technologies.

The United States and Australia have a long and productive history of partnership in areas that are shaping the future. The strong history of science and technology collaboration between the two nations, which was first formally acknowledged in a cooperation agreement signed in 1968, is reflected in vibrant relationships at the researcher-to-researcher level, growing links at institutional levels, and a range of government-to-government activities. In particular, the planned MULTIPLIER (MULTIPlying Impact Leveraging International Expertise in Research Missions) expedition between Australia and NSF will provide a valuable way to identify follow-on research activities in areas of mutual and strategic interest.

The Dialogue undertook a meaningful exchange of views related to artificial intelligence (AI), quantum information science (QIS), and oceans exploration and mapping.  Also discussed were approaches to ensure the integrity of the international research enterprise.  Participants highlighted existing and new collaboration as outcomes of the Dialogue.

The United States and Australia prioritize research and development that benefits citizens and is rooted in a shared commitment to foundational scientific values and principles. This includes freedom of inquiry, merit-based competition, accountability, integrity, openness, transparency, reciprocity, and promotes protection of intellectual property, safe and inclusive research environments, rigor and integrity in research, research security, and reducing administrative workload.

The United States and Australia underscore the importance of supporting innovation and adoption of AI that fosters public trust and confidence, and protects privacy, civil liberties, human rights, and democratic values.  Both sides have strategic approaches to further the state of the art in AI research and development, including opportunities for greater collaboration. Together, the United States and Australia further recognize the importance of leadership from democratic nations on the development of emerging technologies to advance innovation and promote applications consistent with our shared values.

To accelerate discovery in quantum information science, the United States and Australia are identifying opportunities to share resources and expertise, including between industry and government stakeholders, for strengthened bilateral cooperation. Further, both countries are exploring ways to leverage existing programs and opportunities to deepen cooperation, realize the transformative potential of QIS, and advance its positive impact on the national security and economic prosperity of both countries.

The United States and Australia continue to fight COVID-19 together and Australia has joined the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, which provides COVID-19 researchers worldwide with rapid access to the world’s most powerful high performance computing resources to advance the pace of scientific discovery in the fight to stop the virus. Australia’s National Computational Infrastructure and Pawsey Super Computing Centre will partner with the consortium in advancing science and discovery and sharing knowledge.

The United States and Australia are committed to advancing ocean mapping and exploration through bilateral engagement and strong support for research partnerships with non-governmental entities. Both countries recognize the importance of mapping and exploration to support growth of the sustainable blue economy and stimulate economic recovery. The United States and Australia have current and planned ocean initiatives and are identifying opportunities for future collaboration, including opportunities for joint development and testing of innovative tools and systems (e.g., autonomous and robotic technologies, AI and machine learning, cloud computing) to better map, explore, and understand the regional ocean environment. The United States and Australia also recognize the importance of continued science-based coordination in the Pacific Ocean, including to underpin the administration and sustainable management of the marine environment with Pacific Island countries.

Upon its conclusion, the United States and Australia found that the Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Frontier Technologies Dialogue was highly productive and strengthens the already great partnership between the two nations. Both countries reaffirmed their commitment to continue close coordination on science and technology cooperation.


AUSMIN 2020 Health Security Statement

28 Jul

The text of the following statement is released by the Governments of the United States of America and Australia regarding progress towards health security cooperation to be discussed at the 2020 Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) to be held on 28 July.

Begin Text:

At no other time in recent history has collaboration been more critical to prevent, prepare and respond to the collective threat posed by infectious diseases and pandemics. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the governments of the United States and Australia are taking joint action to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats, including those of zoonotic (animal) origin particularly the Indo-Pacific region. COVID-19 is just one example of the rising trend of diseases caused by viruses that have jumped from animal hosts into the human population The bilateral partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) remains vital to preventing the risks of future infectious diseases outbreaks and pandemics and their devastating health, economic and social costs.

Recognising that much pivotal work remains to be done to strengthen and accelerate capacity building for health security in the Indo-Pacific, the United States and Australia remain deeply committed to transparency, accountability and collaboration in this area. This includes commitment to a One Health approach that fosters cooperation between environmental conservation and human health, animal health and plant health.

On the occasion of AUSMIN 2020, and in support of the goals of the United States Global Health Security Strategy and Australia’s Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific region, our two governments reaffirm our strong partnership, and welcome strengthened cooperation throughout 2021 and beyond, by way of a joint plan of activities including:

  • Virtually co-convening a second Southeast Asia Health Security Donor Coordination Meeting in 2020;
  • Exploring opportunities to collaboratively build Indo-Pacific partner capacity in biosecurity, biosafety, and bio-surveillance to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks caused by especially dangerous pathogens, through laboratory placements for participants from the Greater Mekong Subregion in Australian research institutions, as well as joint biosafety training;
  • Working together in third party countries to improve hygiene conditions, stop the selling of high risk wildlife in ‘wet markets’, and immediately encourage the enforcement of laws addressing the sale of illegal wildlife in all markets. This includes support to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to develop a targeted risk assessment and mitigation plan for identified wet markets in Indonesia to reduce risks of zoonotic disease spillover events;
  • Exploring collaboration between the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security (CHS)’s implementing partners and the upcoming USAID Strategies to Prevent (STOP) Spillover program as well as an upcoming USAID private sector engagement program to identify and help partner governments mitigate zoonotic disease spillover risks with pandemic potential in the region, including through support for market solutions in the prevention of zoonosis and antimicrobial resistance along the livestock value chain;
  • Extending collaborative support for a three-year program to strengthen community pandemic preparedness in Indonesia through the Red Cross in Indonesia, which builds on the U.S.-supported Community Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness Program (CP3);
  • Extending the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Stop Transmission of Polio (STOP) program to the Indo-Pacific region, particularly in Papua New Guinea;
  • Supporting the Global Field Epidemiology Roadmap and exploring ways to strengthen the secretariat role of the Task Force for Global Health, further building on a CHS-supported high-level workshop in Geneva in February 2019 that brought together key players for this task;
  • Strengthening public health emergency operations centers and conducting simulation exercises in selected partner countries including Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar;
  • Working with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to accelerate the development and distribution of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to improve access to new and under-used vaccines for the most vulnerable children and cohorts in the world’s poorest countries;
  • The Australian Defence Force (ADF) and US Indo-Pacific Command co-convening a series of webinars for counterpart agencies on Health Security in the Pacific with a focus on Pacific Island countries, and culminating in an in-person Pacific Regional Health Security Workshop in 2021;
  • The ADF and US Indo-Pacific Command co-convening Military Health Security Summit 2021 in Sydney, Australia, building on the outcomes of the successful Australia Defence Forces-USINDOPACOM co-hosted Military Health Security Summit in June 2019.

These activities will continue to expand Indo-Pacific health security engagement and capacity building and build the significant progress achieved under this bilateral multi-sectoral partnership over the last two years. We welcome in particular the focus on the Pacific where, in response to the vulnerabilities of Pacific Island countries, Australia and the United States have successfully collaborated to:

  • Co-procure, along with other partners, nearly 100,000 GeneXpert cartridges and testing machines to enable in-country COVID-19 testing;
  • Coordinate contributions to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) assisting on the ground in countries in their COVID-19 response;
  • Coordinate ventilator and oxygen supply donations to match needs;
  • Provide complementary support for the establishment of air transport and logistics services for the Pacific Humanitarian Pathway, which will assist the Pacific Islands Forum with the delivery of humanitarian and critical medical supplies, including personal protective equipment, within the region, and;
  • Coordinate support efforts through participation in regular US-Affiliated Pacific Islands teleconferences.

Australia and the United States have demonstrated their commitment to transparency and accountability in global health security over the past twelve months by:

  • Conducting regular interagency health security dialogues to share information, policy perspectives, and best practice from our respective health security investments, with the engagement of the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. CDC, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).
  • Commencing staff exchanges, with Australia’s Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security (CHS) hosting a U.S. Government Science Fellow for three months in 2019 from DTRA;
  • Conducting consultations between CHS and U.S. government country teams and other in-country experts to support DFAT’s 2018 Health Security Scoping Missions in the Indo-Pacific;
  • Providing joint leadership within the Steering Group of the multilateral Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA 2024; including through Australia’s Secretariat role and rotating membership of the Steering Group from 1 January 2019 and the U.S. government’s permanent membership), supporting the GHSA 2024 health security capacity improvement target and furthering the objectives of the GHSA Action Packages for Antimicrobial Resistance, Biosecurity and Biosafety, Sustainable Financing for Preparedness, and Workforce Development;
  • Coordinating support for One Health capacity building through multilateral partners to enhance understanding of emerging zoonotic disease and antimicrobial resistance risk, and enable targeted risk-based mitigation along animal value chains and in live animal markets in the Greater Mekong sub-region;
  • Aligning U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) Oceania and Australian Defence Force (ADF) Joint Medical Command Strategies, including executing joint health workforce development activities and collaborating on a regional health security forum at the inaugural Global Health Security Conference in Sydney in June 2019;
  • Co-convening the first-ever Southeast Asia Health Security Donor Coordination Meeting in September 2019, involving the Australian government, the U.K. government, multilateral organisations and six U.S. government agencies;
  • Developing an Indo-Pacific Collaborative Engagement Plan for DTRA’s Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP) and CHS, which may extend to other agencies in the future.

The United States and Australia look forward to continuing to work together bilaterally, and regionally including in relevant regional organizations, and in international forums, to promote an Indo-Pacific region that is safe and secure from the threats posed by infectious diseases and to reduce the risks of future pandemics. There has never been a more vital time to strengthen global health security.