Indonesia National Day

14 Aug

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the Indonesian people as you celebrate your 75th year of independence on August 17.

The 75th anniversary is a momentous occasion and a time to recognize the immense strides the Indonesian people have made to emerge as one of the world’s largest democracies and a G20 country.  It is also a moment to reflect on the long friendship between our nations.  The strategic partnership the United States and Indonesia have forged remains more important than ever, even as both countries face the unprecedented challenge of the global pandemic.  We will continue to strengthen the bonds that our two countries enjoy based on our shared democratic values, our deep economic ties, and our commitment to a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

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U.S. and Concerned Nations Stand Together for Democratic Change in Venezuela

14 Aug

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Today the United States joins democracies around the world to reiterate our support for Venezuela’s democratic forces as they defend the rights of the Venezuelan people.  The joint declaration calls for a transitional government that will hold free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections.

Amidst flagrant human rights abuses and violent coercive tactics, the illegitimate Maduro regime is attempting systematically to destroy Venezuela’s ability to conduct free elections.  International standards for free and fair elections are not even close to being met.

This joint declaration demonstrates we are not alone in our resolve to strengthen support for a transitional government in Venezuela and an end to the Maduro dictatorship.  We are joined by members of the Lima Group, the International Contact Group, the European Union, and many other countries committed to the restoration of democracy in Venezuela.  The following parties have joined, and we welcome other countries that are considering it:  Albania, Australia, Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Israel, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Korea, Saint Lucia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

It is time for a peaceful, democratic transition in Venezuela.  The United States and the international community share an obligation to demonstrate and provide support for the Venezuelan people as they strive to reclaim their democracy.

https://www.state.gov/joint-declaration-of-support-for-democratic-change-in-venezuela/

 

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DNC on Social Security Anniversary

14 Aug

DNC Chair Tom Perez and DNC Seniors Council Chair Steve Regenstreif released the following statement celebrating the anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt signing the Social Security Act of 1935  into law:

“Democrats are proud to be the party that created Social Security – the bedrock of the middle class. For 85 years, this critical program has allowed Americans to retire with independence and dignity, and provided a financial lifeline to millions of disabled workers, survivors, and children. And yet, in the same month we celebrate this historic anniversary, Donald Trump has launched an all-out assault on the way Social Security is funded.

“As our nation faces the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans should be able to count on these benefits. Social Security has never missed a payment, and Democrats are committed to ensuring that it never will. For decades, we have fought to protect Social Security from those who want to privatize it, cut its benefits, erect barriers to coverage for disabled workers, and raise the age of retiree eligibility. And we aren’t stopping now.

“Under Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s leadership, we will increase benefits and provide more accurate cost-of-living adjustments that reflect the high costs facing older Americans. We will make sure that those who take time out of the workforce to care for loved ones aren’t penalized when it comes to Social Security benefits. And we will keep Social Security strong for today’s workers and retirees, and for generations to come.

“Democrats are committed to improving retirement security for all Americans. We enacted Social Security, and we are the party that will ensure its future.”

The post DNC on Social Security Anniversary appeared first on Democrats.

Joint Declaration of Support for Democratic Change in Venezuela

14 Aug

Office of the Spokesperson

The text of the following declaration was released by several members of the Lima Group, the International Contact Group, the European Union, the United States, and others.

Begin text:

We, a group of concerned countries including members of the Lima Group, the International Contact Group, the European Union, the United States, and others, call upon all Venezuelans, of all ideological tendencies and party affiliations, whether civilian or military, to put the interests of Venezuela above politics and engage urgently in support of a process shaped and driven by Venezuelans to establish an inclusive transitional government that will lead the country into free and fair presidential elections, sooner not later. National Assembly elections alone do not present a political solution and instead may further polarize an already divided society.

We call upon all institutions of the Venezuelan state to participate in such a process. Venezuelans and the international community have put proposals on the table towards this goal. Such a process should include the ability of the National Assembly to fully carry out its functions and the restoration of the independence and of the Supreme Court and National Electoral Council. The discussions and progress made in the Norwegian-led talks in Barbados should also inform the way forward.

We reiterate the willingness of all those countries maintaining economic sanctions to discuss sanctions relief in the context of political progress.

The humanitarian, social and political situation in Venezuela continues to deteriorate, underlining the need for a peaceful and inclusive political process that will restore democracy and set the country on course for recovery. The current pandemic and Venezuela’s overwhelmed public health care system have added urgency to the need to end the status quo. We are committed to continue our efforts to assist Venezuelans facing the pandemic and the previously existing humanitarian crisis on the basis of need, not political affiliation.

We call for an end to all political persecution and acts of repression. Human rights defenders, humanitarian actors, health workers, journalists, members of Venezuela’s indigenous communities, members of the National Assembly under the leadership of Juan Guaido, and the Venezuelan population at large have all faced increased repression in Venezuela.

We call on all political parties and institutions in Venezuela to engage promptly in, or in support of, a process that will establish a broadly acceptable transitional government that will administer free and fair presidential elections soon and begin to set the country on a pathway to recovery. For a peaceful and sustainable resolution of the crisis, a transitional government is needed to administer presidential elections, so that no candidate has an improper advantage over others.

A swift and peaceful transition to democracy is the most effective and sustainable route to stability, recovery and prosperity in Venezuela. We remain committed to helping the Venezuelan people achieve a peaceful, prosperous and democratic future.

End text.

 

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Secretary Pompeo’s Meeting with IAEA Director General Grossi

14 Aug

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus: ‎

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo met today with International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi in Vienna, Austria. Secretary Pompeo and Director General Grossi emphasized the importance of the IAEA’s activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, including its work in providing diagnostic kits to IAEA Member States and maintaining the IAEA’s global safeguards inspections regime. The Secretary and the Director General also discussed the need for Iran to respond to the IAEA’s requests for information and access to resolve questions about Iran’s nuclear activities.

 

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INCB, WHO and UNODC statement on access to internationally controlled medicines during COVID-19 pandemic

14 Aug

Scope (COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients affected by the pandemic)

The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) call on governments to ensure that the procurement and supply of controlled medicines in countries meet the needs of patients, both those who have COVID-19 and those who require internationally controlled medicines for other medical conditions.

There is a need to ensure access to controlled medicines such as sedatives and analgesics for intubation protocols for the treatment of patients with COVID-19. Non-COVID patients continue to require controlled medicines for the management of pain and palliative care, surgical care and anaesthesia, mental health and neurological conditions, and for the treatment of drug use disorders.

It is important to remember the needs of existing patients who require controlled medicines for the management of these health conditions. These patients faced barriers to accessing controlled medicines before the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has further resulted in interruptions of the medicines supply chain, and it is critical that access to essential health services and medications not be forgotten or de-prioritised during this pandemic.

Need for equitable access

As the pandemic increasingly affects countries with under-resourced health infrastructure and services, it is an ethical imperative to ensure that all people in all countries of the world are able to access essential medicines. This includes those medicines that are under international control.

Governments should ensure that sufficient quantities of internationally controlled medicines, of assured quality, are available and affordable to people under medical care.  Throughout the duration of the pandemic and beyond the acute phase of burden on the healthcare infrastructure, it is critical that governments work cooperatively to ensure that no country, no region, no district, no city and no patient is left behind. Competent national authorities, manufacturers, suppliers and distributors play a crucial role in ensuring that internationally controlled medicines urgently needed for medical treatment are available within and across national borders.  The supply chain is the foundation of quality medical care because without the necessary supplies, including essential controlled medicines, patients will suffer.

Solutions to address barriers

Governments are reminded that in acute emergencies, it is possible under the International Drug Control Conventions to utilize simplified control procedures for the export, transportation and supply of medicinal products containing controlled substances, especially in those cases where the competent authorities in the importing countries may not be operating at full capacity. Competent national authorities may permit the export of medicines containing narcotic drugs and/or psychotropic substances to affected areas even in the absence of the corresponding import authorizations and/or estimates. Urgent deliveries do not need to be included in the estimates of the receiving countries affected by emergencies. When possible, competent national authorities are also encouraged to issue electronic import and export authorizations through the INCB International Import and Export Authorization System (I2ES), PEN Online and share related contingency measures in the forum therein.

Countries should ease COVID-19 related transport restrictions for controlled medicines and consider local production solutions when feasible, to meet the COVID-19 driven demand spikes.

To assist countries as they work to find solutions to the lack of access and availability of controlled medicines, the three organizations suggest the following technical assistance and support documents:

  • Countries are encouraged to refer to the Guide on Estimating Requirements for Substances under International Control developed by the International Narcotics Control Board and the World Health Organization for use by Competent National Authorities.
  • Countries are encouraged to refer to WHO’s toolkit on the clinical care of severe acute respiratory infections, which includes guidance on the use of controlled medicines for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
  • Countries are further advised to utilize WHO’s operational guidance for maintaining essential services during an outbreak to balance the demands of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic whilst simultaneously ensuring that essential health services and provision of medication for other ongoing medical conditions are maintained.
  • Countries are encouraged to refer to normative guidance such as the WHO List of Essential Medicines and guidelines for the pharmacological and radiotherapeutic management of cancer pain in adults and adolescents.
  • Countries are further advised to refer to and utilize the strategies presented in UNODC’s Technical Guidance: Increasing Access and Availability of Controlled Medicines developed in collaboration with experts, civil society partners and other international partners.
  • Under the UNODC-WHO-UICC Joint Global Program, countries are encouraged to reach out to UNODC and WHO for technical assistance and support at the national level that also involves civil society partners.

 

Conclusions

The work of doctors, nurses, and health care professionals in general, who provide treatment and care to people including the most vulnerable, needs to be supported and safe and effective medicines should be available, accessible and affordable at all times for people who need them.

INCB, WHO and UNODC are committed to continue to work together to address this critical issue and will expand joint efforts to engage with other partners and increase advocacy and technical assistance to countries for improving access to controlled medicines during the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate barriers to ensure that both patients affected by COVID-19 or by other non-COVID-related conditions requiring medicines under international control have access to these medicines when they need them.

 

 

 

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Secretary Pompeo’s Meeting with Austrian President Van der Bellen

14 Aug

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus:

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo met today with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen in Vienna, Austria. Secretary Pompeo and President Van der Bellen discussed the strong ties between the United States and Austria, noting the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. They spoke of the importance of multilateral cooperation particularly in fostering economic recovery after the pandemic, including‎ increase‎d trade and investment ties with Austria.

 

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U.S.-Austria Joint Declaration

14 Aug

Office of the Spokesperson

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

The United States and Austria are pleased to be meeting here today in the historical Belvedere Palace, host to the signing of the Austrian State treaty 65 years ago.  Since starting diplomatic relations more than 180 years ago, our countries have shared a long history of vibrant political, economic, and cultural exchange.  Our friendship after the Second World War is founded upon common values, including the promotion of human rights, fundamental freedoms, global security, and international prosperity.

We are meeting in challenging times.  The current COVID-19 pandemic represents a collective call to action that we can only successfully address through better cooperation as we endeavor to overcome the pandemic’s human toll and the economic contraction caused by public health measures.  We share a commitment to the rapid recovery of our economies, including by supporting the efforts of our business communities.

The Western Balkans are a region where Austria and the United States have worked together to promote peace and stability for many years, as is shown, among many other factors, by our joint commitment to peacekeeping in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The United States and Austria share largely the same vision for the region, a strong basis for productive partnership and regular high-level consultations.  We will continue to work together on promoting the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, and advancing the integration of these states into the Transatlantic community, with full EU membership as a goal for all of the Western Balkans region.

As in any friendship, people-to-people contacts are the lifeblood of Austro-American relations.  Hundreds of thousands of artists, businesspeople and entrepreneurs, students and teachers, tourists, sports and entertainment figures have made our exchanges more dynamic, diverse, and deeper. Mutual understanding and benefits have only increased as a consequence.

The wide array of organizations and individuals active on both sides of the Atlantic are an essential element of our bilateral relationship.  But their invaluable contributions need to become more visible to the general public.  To promote our Strategic Partnership’s myriad human connections, we have agreed to launch a bilateral dialogue between our civil societies.  This additional dialogue will intensify channels of encounter, exchange, and cooperation and will complement and reinforce official government channels of communication.  And in the hope that the travel situation would allow it, we intend to organize an inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Austria Civil Society Dialogue in early 2021.

 

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Joint Statement on the 7th U.S.-Republic of Korea Energy Security Dialogue and Track 1.5 Roundtable Discussion

14 Aug

Office of the Spokesperson

The text of the following statement was released by the governments of the United States of America and the Republic of Korea.

Begin text:

The U.S. Department of State hosted the seventh U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) Energy Security Dialogue in a virtual format on August 12.  Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Diplomacy Kurt Donnelly and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General for Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Scientific Affairs Keeyong Chung led the delegations.

The discussion reinforced the role energy cooperation plays in strengthening the U.S.-ROK partnership and focused on energy markets post-COVID-19, national energy policies, bilateral cooperation, and areas of mutual cooperation in multilateral fora devoted to energy.  Both sides agreed to continue collaboration to enhance energy security in the physical and cyber domains, and to strengthen their energy industries.

In keeping with last year’s practice, a virtual 1.5 track discussion was held on August 11, where experts briefed representatives from the U.S. and ROK private sector and government on the ROK’s hydrogen industry and global energy markets.

End text

For further information, contact Donald Kilburg, Spokesperson for the Bureau of Energy Resources, at KilburgDF@america.gov or visit www.state.gov/e/enr. Additional information is available on Twitter at @EnergyAtState.

 

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