Independent Audit Advisory Committee Holds Fifty-First Session, 22-24 July

28 Jul

The Independent Audit Advisory Committee of the United Nations (IAAC) held its fifty-first session from 22 to 24 July 2020.  Due to ongoing challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the meetings were held virtually.  The session was presided over by the Chair, Janet St. Laurent.  All the other members of the Committee — namely Richard Quartei Quartey (Vice-Chair), Dorothy Bradley, Anton Kosyanenko and Agus Pramono — were in attendance.

Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2536 (2020), Security Council Extends Sanctions against Central African Republic, Expert Panel Supporting Compliance

28 Jul

The Security Council today decided to extend its sanctions regime against the Central African Republic for one year, including an arms and ammunition embargo with some exemptions, while also renewing the mandate of its related Panel of Experts for 13 months.

EU and China discuss trade and economic relations

28 Jul
The European Union and China held today their 8th High-Level Trade and Economic Dialogue (HED). The HED focused on the joint response to coronavirus and global economic governance issues, bilateral trade and investment concerns, and cooperation in the area of financial services and taxation.

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Special Representative for Iran and Senior Advisor to the Secretary Brian Hook Traveled to Tunisia, Qatar, and Kuwait to Discuss Extending the UN Arms Embargo on Iran

27 Jul

Office of the Spokesperson

On July 24-26, Special Representative for Iran and Senior Advisor to the Secretary Brian Hook traveled to Tunisia, Qatar, and Kuwait to discuss extending the UN arms embargo on Iran, which is scheduled to expire on October 18, 2020.   In Tunisia, Special Representative Hook met with Foreign Minister Noureddine Erray.  He discussed the range of threats Iran poses to international peace and security and requested Tunisia’s support as a non-permanent member of the Security Council to extend the arms embargo.  In Qatar and Kuwait, Special Representative Hook discussed the need to extend the arms embargo to preclude a regional arms race and halt Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region.  He also emphasized the benefits of regional cooperation and reiterated the need for members of the Gulf Cooperation Council to take steps to rebuild trust and restore unity.  In Doha, he met with Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani. In Kuwait City, he met with His Highness Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al Hamad Al Sabah and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Ahmad Nasser al-Mohammad Al Sabah.

Special Representative Hook will travel to Estonia and the United Kingdom on July 28-29 for consultations with our European allies.

 

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Secretary Pompeo’s Call with Costa Rican Foreign Minister Solano

27 Jul

Office of the Spokesperson

The following is attributable to Principal Deputy Spokesperson Cale Brown:

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke today with Costa Rican Foreign Minister Rodolfo Solano Quiros. Secretary Pompeo commended Foreign Minister Solano on our continued security cooperation and track record of success in counter-narcotics efforts, as well as for Costa Rica’s economic reforms over the last 18 months, which were linked to the rigorous OECD process. The Secretary expressed U.S. support for Costa Rica’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Minister Solano also spoke about the upcoming election for president of the Inter-American Development Bank, as well as the People’s Republic of China’s empty promises to Central America.

 

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Celebrating the 231st Anniversary of the U.S. Department of State

27 Jul

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Today, the U.S. Department of State celebrates its 231st anniversary as the nation’s first executive agency. This milestone is an opportunity to reflect on the essential role of U.S. diplomacy in advancing the interests, security, and economic prosperity of the American people. I commend the State Department team for their extraordinary work to promote and demonstrate our democratic values and advance the cause of a free, peaceful, and prosperous world.

Since our last anniversary celebration a year ago, we’ve continued our pressure on the Iranian regime to end their support of terrorism and other destabilizing activities, promoted peace in Afghanistan where parties are on the verge of inter-Afghan negotiations to end forty years of conflict, and revealed the true nature of the Chinese Communist Party to our allies and partners around the world. We also welcomed North Macedonia as the 30th NATO member and released our plan to implement the U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security because empowering women to lead is the right thing to do, and it will make the world safer.

In 2020, in response to unprecedented challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, our team of great Americans and locally employed staff have added to the Department’s storied legacy by repatriating more than 100,000 U.S. citizens on 1,140 flights from 136 countries and territories. In partnership with USAID, the team has worked to provide more than $1.5 billion in U.S. support to bolster the ability of our global partners to fight the virus. In addition, the State Department worked hard for the lifting of foreign country export restrictions so that medicine, equipment, and supplies can flow through private sector supply chains into the United States from overseas. This remarkable contribution deserves the thanks of our nation.

I am deeply proud of the Department’s champions of diplomacy who exemplify our Professional Ethos daily as they advance U.S. foreign policy as One Team, with One Mission, and One Future.

 

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Secretary Pompeo’s Call with Georgian Prime Minister Gakharia

27 Jul

Office of the Spokesperson

The following is attributable to Principal Deputy Spokesperson Cale Brown:

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke today with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia. Secretary Pompeo and Prime Minister Gakharia discussed the importance of the U.S. Georgia partnership and our close coordination in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Secretary Pompeo also highlighted the importance of holding free, fair, and transparent parliamentary elections this October, noting that a level playing field is integral to democratic elections. He commended the passage of constitutional amendments establishing a partially proportional electoral system and stressed the importance of rigorous implementation of recently passed electoral reforms. The Secretary urged continued efforts to strengthen the independence of Georgia’s judiciary as an essential step for attracting foreign investment and cautioned against politicization of Georgia’s judicial and electoral processes.

Secretary Pompeo reiterated unwavering U.S. support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and agreed with Prime Minister Gakharia that Russia must halt its destabilizing actions and fulfill its commitments under the 2008 ceasefire agreement.

 

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Trump And Republicans Found Enough Money To Help Trump Hotel But Not Unemployed Americans

27 Jul

Trump and Senate Republicans want to cut unemployment benefits and say they don’t have enough money for rent or food assistance. Yet they managed to find enough for the FBI HQ that has nothing to do with the pandemic, but benefits Trump’s hotel, and held up negotiations over it.

Trump pressured Senate Republicans into including nearly $2 billion in the coronavirus relief bill for construction of a new FBI headquarters across from his DC hotel—which held up negotiations on badly needed relief.

Washington Post: “Under intense White House pressure, Senate Republicans agreed Monday to allocate $1.75 billion in their coronavirus relief bill towards the construction of a new D.C. headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

Washington Post: “Complicating efforts for a compromise are potential conflicts of interest stemming from Trump’s continued ownership of a hotel a block down Pennsylvania Avenue.”

Even Senate Republicans couldn’t explain why Trump insisted the FBI funding be included or what it had to do with the pandemic.

MCCONNELL: “‘You’ll have to ask them why they insisted that be included,’ he told reporters, referring to the White House.”

SHELBY: “Asked Monday what a new FBI building had to do with the novel coronavirus, Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), a key negotiator of the stimulus package, paused and said, ‘Good question.’ Shelby, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said that for some items the bill had to ‘stretch the link’ to the pandemic.”

Spending on the new FBI headquarters and requiring it remain at its current location could help benefit Trump’s hotel.

New York Times’s Jim Tankersley: “This spending could help the president’s business, by preventing the construction of a rival hotel if the FBI moves its HQ.”

Washington Post’s Dan Eggen: “Before Trump was elected, officials at his company feared a competing hotel if the FBI moved its headquarters. Now Trump is trying to get money in the coronavirus relief bill to keep the FBI building where it is – and keep away any competitors.”

Trump and Republicans want to cut unemployment benefits and came up with a more complicated program that could take months to implement.

CNBC: “GOP relief plan slashes unemployment benefits by 43% for average worker”

Washington Post: “In the new GOP plan, Senate Republicans propose cutting weekly emergency unemployment benefits from $600 to $200 until states can bring a more complicated program online.”

Bloomberg: “The proposal favored by Republicans for extending supplemental unemployment benefits aiding millions of Americans made unemployed by Covid-19 could take some states the rest of the year to implement.”

Trump and Senate Republicans also left out additional funding for essential items like rental and food assistance in their stimulus plan.

CBPP: “The Senate Republican plan is similarly inadequate in addressing rising hardship among those struggling to put food on the table. It doesn’t raise SNAP benefit levels even though 26 million adults reported that their households, which include millions of children, often or sometimes didn’t have enough to eat in the last seven days, according to Census data from early July.”

CBPP: “The plan also falls far short in addressing the looming crisis of evictions and homelessness, providing little to help people now facing severe housing instability. It contains no funding for homelessness services or additional rental vouchers, and it fails to extend the federal eviction moratorium that expired Friday.”

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