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Press Releases: Secretary Pompeo's Call With Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

lun, 01/21/2019 - 18:28
Readout Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC
January 21, 2019

The below is attributable to Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino:‎

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke on the phone today with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. They discussed ongoing U.S.-Turkish engagement as part of the deliberate and coordinated withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria. Secretary Pompeo reiterated the commitment of the United States to addressing Turkish security concerns along the Turkey-Syria border, while emphasizing the importance that the United State places on the protection of forces that worked with the United States and the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.


The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: Secretary Pompeo's Call With Republic of Korea Foreign Minister Kang

lun, 01/21/2019 - 16:28
Readout Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC
January 21, 2019

The below is attributable to Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino:‎

Secretary Michael R. Pompeo spoke on January 20 with Republic of Korea (R.O.K.) Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha. They updated each other on respective U.S. and R.O.K. engagements with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (D.P.R.K.). Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Minister Kang affirmed the enduring strength of the U.S.-R.O.K. Alliance.


The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: Secretary Pompeo's Phone Call With Japanese Foreign Minister Kono

lun, 01/21/2019 - 16:24
Readout Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC
January 21, 2019

The below is attributable to Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino: ‎

On January 20, Secretary Michael R. Pompeo spoke with Japanese Foreign Minister Kono to discuss next steps on DPRK engagement. Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Minister Kono reaffirmed our commitment to the final, fully verified denuclearization of the DPRK. Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Minister Kono affirmed the strength of the U.S.-Japan Alliance and to continue working closely together to address common challenges in the Indo-Pacific.


The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo With Scott Thuman of Sinclair Broadcast Group

dim, 01/20/2019 - 15:09
Interview Michael R. Pompeo
Secretary of State Washington, DC
January 18, 2019

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you for the time.

SECRETARY POMPEO: You bet. It’s great to be with you.

QUESTION: This week, four Americans were killed in Syria. ISIS has claimed responsibility, yet when the President announced that there was going to be a withdrawal, he said we have won against ISIS. In light of what we just saw, how do we declare that?

SECRETARY POMPEO: The loss of American life is always tragic. The loss of these four, this is certainly the case. This administration has done more to take down the caliphate in Syria than had been done in previous years. We’re proud of that. But we understand deeply that this threat, this ideological threat from radical Islamic extremism, of which ISIS is a component – we have al-Qaida and there are many groups; al-Shabaab, we saw a terror attack this week – these threats are real and the United States continues to put enormous pressure all across the globe to defeat this threat from radical Islamic terrorism. We are serious about it. We’re serious about it in Syria. We have forces throughout the region that will continue to attack ISIS in Syria proper, but in western Iraq as well, as is appropriate. All across the globe, this administration is determined to take down this threat from terrorism.

QUESTION: Does the death of those four Americans reinforce the need to pull U.S. forces out or do you worry that creates a vacuum? Would we essentially be declaring victory and walking away too soon?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So the change the President made there is tactical, right. We’re going to get our 2,000 uniformed military personnel out of the region. We still have enormous reach there. We have the capability to do this. And most importantly, we have the direction from the commander, President Trump, to continue this fight. And even as we sit here today, even as we’re sitting in this room, the campaign in Syria against ISIS continues.

QUESTION: By far the largest effort to stop terror has been in the Middle East. You just returned from a trip there to ensure our partners that we are fully engaged. Now critics would argue that by getting forces out of Syria, getting them out of Afghanistan, that we’re less engaged, less involved. How do you respond to that?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, remember, we’re fighting these terror threats all across the world. We’re fighting them here in the United States. We do work to defeat them in Asia and in Africa. In every case, we try to make sure we have all of the tools of American power – and importantly, you mentioned my trip – and our allies in the world working alongside us in a coordinated way to share intelligence, to provide the right tools, whether they are diplomatic tools, military tools, counterterrorism tools. Each of those elements of power to defeat these threats are fully engaged. And so a tactical change in one place or another, adding a few soldiers, taking some soldiers down, these are tactical changes. They don’t change the mission set, and frankly, I’m convinced we will continue to have the successes we’ve already had in the first two years of this administration.

QUESTION: Are we winning the war on terror?

SECRETARY POMPEO: This is a long struggle. I’m confident we’ll be at it for a while. We’ve made real progress. We’ve had success at reducing the risk here in the homeland, and one always wants to be cautious, but we’ve had some success there. These are important things that the American people need to understand. This threat continues, but this president is determined to reduce the risk to the American people from terrorism wherever we fight it, whether it is Sunni terrorism, Shia terrorism that’s taking place from Tehran – each of these threats is something that this administration will continue to put the full force of the American power behind reducing.

QUESTION: Regarding Iran, you’ve talked about their “five-capital strategy,” about the spread of their forces across the region backing terror, and you’ve said that people should, quote, “take control of their capital.” Does there have to be regime change in Tehran?

SECRETARY POMPEO: No. What there needs to be is behavior that is like a normal country. The religious revolution there is out actively engaged in suicide campaigns in – assassination campaigns, rather, in Europe. They are conducting terror campaigns throughout the region, whether they’re supporting the Shia militias in Iraq, or the Houthi forces in Yemen, or Hizballah in Lebanon and Syria. These are real threats, and what we’re demanding from the Islamic Republic of Iran is very simple: Don’t build nuclear weapons, don’t continue your nuclear program, cease the terror campaigns, stop assassination efforts, behave like a normal country, and then you can live in your country in the way that the people of Iran, the people of Iran who are smart and capable and want something different from this, will get us all to the right place.

QUESTION: How critical is it that the Arab nations band together and create essentially an Arab NATO so that the U.S. could hand over some of the more costly, dangerous responsibilities there?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So we’ve already made real progress with that. We have Arab partners throughout the region doing a lot of work alongside of us. And in many cases, as you’ve seen our efforts in Syria, doing some of the hardest, most difficult tasks in the region. I travelled to Egypt where the Egyptians are doing great counterterrorism work. We all need to do more. I was in Bahrain where they’ve done really good work as well. In each of these places, these countries are already working on these problem sets to support our joint effort to take down the threat from extremism and terrorism. I want to make sure we’re doing this in a coordinated way, so to the extent we can get all of the Gulf states, all of those countries in that region together working on the same issue, we’ll be more successful.

QUESTION: Are we getting out of the Middle East?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Absolutely not. We’re a force for good. The notion of get out doesn’t frankly – doesn’t capture what it is the Trump administration is intending to do. This is about protecting Americans, and we will do the things we need to do to protect America.

QUESTION: The controversy continues around the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It’s not going away. Is the relationship with Saudi Arabia so important that even if the crown prince had some involvement, he wouldn’t face punishment for that?

SECRETARY POMPEO: We’ve said everyone who needs to be held accountable will be. Period. Full stop.

QUESTION: Are you satisfied with what you’ve seen so far on that action?

SECRETARY POMPEO: The United States continues to develop the facts set to make sure we understand precisely what happened, who all was involved. We recognize this murder was unacceptable. We’ve already held a number of actors accountable and will continue to do so. It’s important to note, we can do two things at once here in the United States. It’s not – sometimes people suggest that you either have to spend all of your energy trying to hold the murderers of Jamal Khashoggi accountable or you can have an important partnership with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is entirely possible; indeed, we are accomplishing both. This is an important relationship. It’s important for Saudi Arabia, it’s important for the United States, and we’re going to continue to make sure we do the things to protect the American people by making sure that relationship is strong.

QUESTION: On North Korea, there’s plenty of reporting about a delegation here in Washington this weekend planning for a possible second summit. Critics say since that first meeting that North Korea has yet to truly denuclearize as far as giving up weapons, long-range missiles. Some people wonder what is the point of having these conversations anymore. Is there a reason to be optimistic?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. “Critics say” is how you began this question, as I recall. Some critics have said we’ve offered too much. Many critics have said we haven’t offered enough. I don’t have much to add other than the President has made enormous strides in working with North Korea to get their commitment to denuclearize. We now need to execute. We need to implement. We’ve always known this would be a long process. While we do that we need to make sure we reduce risk, and we’ve done that. There aren’t nuclear tests being conducted. There haven’t been missile tests conducted. These are things that were threatening the United States when President Trump took office. We want to reduce that risk, reduce North Korea’s capacity to build out their program. These discussions are an important component for making sure that we do everything we can to deliver on the commitments that were made in Singapore between Chairman Kim and President Trump.

QUESTION: Five past presidents have tried the same thing. Is there reason to believe that this time is different?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. It’s the first time a North Korean leader has met with a United States president, looked him in the eye and said I’ll do it.

QUESTION: Regarding NATO, we’re about to mark 70 years, 70th anniversary there. I’m sorry, on NATO, we’re soon marking our 70 years of partnership, but President Trump has talked about the U.S. quote going its “own way.” Is the U.S. discussing leaving the group? Would you support that?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So I’ll get a chance in just a couple months now to host a big meeting here in Washington, D.C., all of the members of NATO celebrating this 70th anniversary. President Trump’s been very clear: he fully supports the mission that we’re engaged in with respect to NATO. He wants our partners to respect that commitment as well. He wants them to live up not – frankly, not to commitments that the United States made, but to commitments that each of those countries made. It was those countries that themselves in Wales, years ago now, said we’ll get up to a certain level of spending. We need them to do that, and President Trump has spent two years working on that. We’ve had success. I forget the number now, but we’re to $50 or $60 billion more spending by our NATO allies. This is all for the good. This is all for the NATO mission. This is a central part of President Trump’s efforts to build coalitions, to grab allies, and to make sure that we are working together for our common objectives. In that sense, we’re fully supportive of making sure that NATO can execute its mission, and we’re counting on our European partners to do their part to assist in it.

QUESTION: Last thing. This administration has seen numerous cabinet changes over the last couple of months. We’re all well aware the President’s relationships can sour at times. In one word, how would you describe your relationship with the President?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Oh, I can’t answer in one word. I work for the President. I work at his pleasure. I every day strive to achieve the mission, the commander’s intent that he lays out for me and for the State Department so that we can bring diplomacy to the right places, and frankly, to achieve those outcomes that the American people so richly deserve. So it’s a great relationship in the sense of I think we have a good understanding of what it is we’re trying to do, and I work hard at it every day.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you for your time.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, sir.

QUESTION: Appreciate it.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Good to see you.

QUESTION: Thank you.


The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: Congratulatory Statement on Madagascar's Presidential Election

sam, 01/19/2019 - 13:06
Press Statement Robert Palladino
Deputy Spokesperson Washington, DC
January 19, 2019

The United States commends the Malagasy government and its citizens for the peaceful presidential election, which further strengthens Madagascar’s democracy. Since Madagascar’s independence in 1960, the United States has supported the development of the country’s democratic processes and institutions. We will continue to promote a prosperous, secure, and democratic future for the people of Madagascar.

We congratulate President Andry Rajoelina on his election and inauguration. The United States looks forward to working with President Rajoelina and the new Malagasy government to strengthen the rule of law and democratic institutions, combat corruption, promote trade and investment, and safeguard regional and global security.


The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: Secretary Pompeo's Call With Colombian President Ivan Duque

sam, 01/19/2019 - 00:17
Readout Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC
January 18, 2019

The below is attributable to Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino‎:

Secretary Pompeo spoke today with Colombian President Ivan Duque. He expressed his deepest condolences to Colombia and to the families and friends of those killed and injured in the attack against the Escuela de Cadetes de Policía “General Francisco De Paula Santander” police academy in Bogota, Colombia. The United States stands with Colombia as it brings to justice those responsible for this heinous attack.

The United States strongly condemns the ELN terrorist group believed to be responsible for the attack. We call on the group to cease all terror activities and to release the many innocent people it has kidnapped and currently holds hostage.

During the call, Secretary Pompeo also reaffirmed the United States’ continued support for President Duque’s counterterrorism and counternarcotics efforts to bring security and stability to the Colombian people.

The United States stands with the Colombian people and government in their rejection of terrorism and their resolve to build a strong Colombia at peace. We offer our full support to bring to justice the terrorists and criminals, and those who support and enable them, who for too long have denied the Colombian people the peace and security they deserve.


The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: Secretary Pompeo's Meeting With DPRK Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol

sam, 01/19/2019 - 00:00
Readout Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC
January 18, 2019

The following is attributable to Robert Palladino, Deputy Spokesperson:

Secretary Pompeo and Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun met with DPRK Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol in Washington January 18. The Secretary, Special Representative Biegun, and Vice Chairman Kim discussed efforts to make progress on the commitments President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un made at their summit in Singapore. At the conclusion of the Secretary’s meeting with Vice Chairman Kim, the two sides held a productive first meeting at the working level. Special Representative Biegun will travel to Sweden January 19-22 to participate in an international conference hosted by the Swedish foreign ministry.


The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: Attacks on LGBTI Community in Chechnya

jeu, 01/17/2019 - 22:52
Press Statement Robert Palladino
Deputy Spokesperson Washington, DC
January 17, 2019

We are deeply disturbed by credible reports out of Chechnya about renewed attacks against individuals perceived to be members of the LGBTI community. Civil society groups report that at least 40 individuals have been illegally detained since December, including two who reportedly died in custody after being tortured. We call on Russia to live up to its international obligations and commitments and its own constitution, and launch an immediate investigation into these human rights abuses. We also urge the Russian Federation to ensure that the rights of all human rights defenders are fully respected in Chechnya, and those illegally detained, including Oyub Titiev, be immediately released.


The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: Terrorist Attack in Nairobi, Kenya

jeu, 01/17/2019 - 00:47
Press Statement Robert Palladino
Deputy Spokesperson Washington, DC
January 16, 2019

The United States condemns in the strongest terms the January 15 terrorist attack at the DusitD2 Hotel Complex in Nairobi, Kenya. The United States offers our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed and a quick recovery to all who were injured. In particular, our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Jason Spindler, an American who died during the attack.

These craven attacks are a stark reminder of why the United States remains resolved in our fight to defeat terrorism. We stand with the Kenyan government and people as they confront violent extremism and work to bring the perpetrators to justice.


The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: Secretary's Determination of 45-Day Suspension Under Title III of LIBERTAD Act

mer, 01/16/2019 - 21:04
Media Note Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC
January 16, 2019

The Secretary of State reported on January 16, 2019, to the appropriate Congressional committees that, consistent with section 306(c)(2) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (22 U.S.C. 6021 - 6091) and the authority delegated to the Secretary by the President on January 31, 2013, the Secretary made a determination to suspend for forty-five days beyond February 1, 2019, the right to bring an action under Title III of the Act. This extension will permit us to conduct a careful review of the right to bring action under Title III in light of the national interests of the United States and efforts to expedite a transition to democracy in Cuba and include factors such as the Cuban regime’s brutal oppression of human rights and fundamental freedoms and its indefensible support for increasingly authoritarian and corrupt regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua.

We call upon the international community to strengthen efforts to hold the Cuban government accountable for 60 years of repression of its people. We encourage any person doing business in Cuba to reconsider whether they are trafficking in confiscated property and abetting this dictatorship.


The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: United States Calls for a Lawful, Transparent Process To Resolve Electoral Disputes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

mer, 01/16/2019 - 18:41
Press Statement Robert Palladino
Deputy Spokesperson Washington, DC
January 16, 2019

The United States stands with the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at this historic moment. It is the people who should determine their country’s future through a fully transparent and constitutional process. The United States recognizes the legitimate concerns over the transparency of the electoral process.

As the tabulation process continues, we urge the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) to ensure that the final declared results reflect the will of the Congolese people, as expressed through the ballot box on December 30, 2018.

The United States supports the lawful right of candidates to file a legal challenge to the election results and urges the Constitutional Court to execute a lawful, fair, and transparent process for resolving electoral disputes. The United States will hold accountable those who perpetrate election violence or undermine democratic processes. Maintaining peace in the DRC depends on a fully transparent and legal process to resolve any concerns regarding election results.


The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: United States Urges a Free and Fair Electoral Process Ahead of Moldova's February Parliamentary Elections

mer, 01/16/2019 - 16:15
Press Statement Robert Palladino
Deputy Spokesperson Washington, DC
January 16, 2019

The United States urges the Moldovan authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure a free and fair electoral process and a transparent outcome that respects the will of Moldovan voters. We encourage the government to implement OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) prior recommendations for Moldova that remain outstanding. Local and national authorities should ensure that candidates are able to register to participate in the elections and carry out their campaigns without fear of harassment or physical harm. Media outlets should provide equal access to all candidates and approach their coverage in a fair, balanced, and impartial manner, consistent with Moldova’s media laws. Ultimately, we believe, the goal of all the parties and candidates is the same, ensuring a prosperous and democratic future for Moldova and its citizens. The United States will continue to help the Moldovan people achieve this goal.


The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: U.S. Commitment to Religious Freedom

mer, 01/16/2019 - 16:09
Press Statement Michael R. Pompeo
Secretary of State Washington, DC
January 16, 2019

Today the United States honors National Religious Freedom Day. On this day in 1786, the Virginia General Assembly adopted Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. It begins with a groundbreaking statement: “Almighty God hath created the mind free.” This Statute goes on to guarantee freedom of religion to people of all faiths and would inspire the religious freedom protections in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and which in turn inspired the protections enshrined in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Every person around the world should be free to believe, or not believe, in accordance with their conscience. Governments have a duty to protect religious freedom, and promoting this freedom is a key foreign policy priority for the Trump Administration.

As part of our commitment to this freedom, the United States will host the second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom July 16-18, 2019, in Washington, D.C. This Ministerial will again gather hundreds of government representatives, religious leaders, survivors of religious persecution, and members of civil society to build on the actions that began with the inaugural Ministerial last year. I look forward to hosting this important meeting and to strengthening the coalition of nations and organizations committed to defending this universal right.


The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: Secretary Pompeo's Call With Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland

mer, 01/16/2019 - 14:24
Readout Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC
January 16, 2019

The below is attributable to Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino:

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke yesterday with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. The Secretary and the Foreign Minister discussed a number of global and bilateral issues, including Russia and Venezuela. They expressed their concerns about the arbitrary detentions and politically motivated sentencing of Canadian nationals. They noted their continued commitment to Canada’s conduct of a fair, unbiased, and transparent legal proceeding and U.S. extradition request with respect to Ms. Meng Wanzhou, the Chief Financial Officer of Huawei. They expressed their concerns about the detention of Paul Whelan in Russia.


The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: Iran's Firing of Space Launch Vehicle Defies International Community

mar, 01/15/2019 - 22:13
Press Statement Michael R. Pompeo
Secretary of State Washington, DC
January 15, 2019

In continued defiance of the international community and UN Security Council Resolution 2231, the Iranian regime fired off a space launch vehicle today. Such vehicles incorporate technologies that are virtually identical and interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles. Today’s launch furthers Iran’s ability to eventually build such a weapon.

We have been clear that we will not stand for Iran’s flagrant disregard for international norms. The United States is working with our allies and partners to counter the entire range of the Islamic Republic’s threats, including its missile program, which threatens Europe and the Middle East.


The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: Vice President Pence To Deliver Remarks to Global Chiefs of Mission Conference

mar, 01/15/2019 - 16:54
Notice to the Press Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC
January 15, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence will deliver remarks to the Global Chiefs of Mission Conference “One Team, One Mission, One Future” at 10:20 a.m. Wednesday, January 16, 2019 in the Dean Acheson Auditorium of the Department of State.

This event is open press coverage. Due to security screening requirements, video cameras must preset at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 at the 23rd Street Entrance, and equipment must remain overnight. On Wednesday, January 16, final access time for writers and stills is 9:30 a.m. from the 23rd Street entrance.

Media representatives may attend this event upon presentation of one of the following: (1) a U.S. Government-issued photo media credential (e.g., Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense or Foreign Press Center), or (2) an official photo identification card issued by their news organization, or (3) a letter from their employer on official letterhead verifying their current employment as a journalist. Additionally, they must present an official government photo identification card (i.e., U.S. driver's license or passport).

For further information, please contact the Office of Press Relations at (202) 647-2492 or PAPressDuty@state.gov.


The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: Secretary Pompeo's Meeting With Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Sa'id

mar, 01/15/2019 - 13:25
Press Statement Robert Palladino
Deputy Spokesperson Washington, DC
January 15, 2019

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo met yesterday with Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Sa’id in Muscat. The Secretary commended the Sultan for Oman’s unique capacity to create opportunities for dialogue on difficult issues at challenging times, including by separately hosting both Palestinian Authority President Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in Oman in October. The Secretary and the Sultan discussed ways to promote peace throughout the region. On Yemen, the Secretary and the Sultan agreed on the importance of all parties continuing to engage and working with UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths toward a political solution to end the conflict and bring peace, prosperity, and security to Yemen. The Secretary thanked the Sultan for hosting meetings on the economic and energy pillars of the Middle East Strategic Alliance on January 9 in Muscat. The Secretary and the Sultan also discussed ways to build upon the strong bilateral U.S.-Oman economic and security partnership.


The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: Remarks to Traveling Press

lun, 01/14/2019 - 14:41
Remarks Michael R. Pompeo
Secretary of State King Khalid International Airport
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
January 14, 2019

SECRETARY POMPEO: So good afternoon, everyone. I had a brief but very productive trip. I had a chance to meet with the Saudi foreign minister, with King Salman, and then, ultimately, with Crown Prince Salman; discussed the issues that relate to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States as they pertain to what I was trying to accomplish on this trip, right.

The context for this conversation was the efforts that the Trump administration is making to create a stable and peaceful region here in the Middle East. So our conversations spanned a wide range of those set of objectives. We certainly talked about our effort to counter Iranian malign influence, but we spoke about all the issues in the region, ranging from the continued efforts of Hizballah; we talked about the fact that the – the work that was done in Sweden on Yemen was good, but we need both sides to honor those commitments. To date, the Iranian-backed Houthis have chosen not to do that.

We spoke about human rights issues here in Saudi Arabia – women activists. We spoke about the accountability that – and the expectations that we have. The Saudis are friends, and when friends have conversations, you tell them what your expectations are. And I think the Trump administration has made clear our expectation that all of those involved in the murder of Khashoggi will be held accountable.

So we spent time talking about human rights issues, the Khashoggi case in particular, and we also talked about Syria and the President’s decision to withdraw our 2,000 uniformed personnel from Syria and what that means and how we will continue the campaign against ISIS/Daesh, and the other important interests that the United States has in the region and that the Saudis share as our partner in those efforts.

With that, I’m happy to take any questions.

MR PALLADINO: Let’s start with Nick.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary --

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, Nick.

QUESTION: -- in the President’s tweets this morning about Turkey, he referenced the idea of a 20-mile safe zone but didn’t say much beyond that. Could you elaborate a little bit on what he meant? That tweet’s caused some confusion.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Only to say that we continue to have conversations with all the players involved in our goal. Remember the objective is to create a political process that will lead to the Saudi[1] people having the opportunity to create a nation for themselves – a unified Syria where the people of Syria have the opportunity to create a good outcome for themselves. So it’s in that context that we address all of the various issues there, whether it’s the Iranian influence there, the Russians’ activities. And in – with respect to those tweets, the issues along the Syrian-Turkey border in the north, we continue to have conversations. I spoke with my foreign minister counterpart yesterday to have conversations about what that will look like. The President’s aim there, I think, is the one that we have been talking about for some time, which is that we want to make sure that the folks who fought with us to take down the caliphate in ISIS have security, and also that terrorists acting out of Syria aren’t able to attack Turkey. Those are the twin aims.

And so the precise methodology which by we will achieve that – that security for both of those elements along that border – is something we’re still working on. And so if we can get a space – call it a buffer zone, others might have a different name for it – if we can get the space and the security arrangements right, this will be a good thing for everyone in the region.

MR PALLADINO: Andrea.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary --

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, ma’am.

QUESTION: -- thank you very much for doing this. Can you elaborate on what your expectations are regarding Khashoggi and what the crown prince responded and whether you believe it’s credible that this plot could have been hatched and carried out without his knowledge?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Our expectations have been clear from early on: Every single person who has responsibility for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi needs to be held accountable. And the crown prince – I spoke about this with King Salman as well – they both acknowledged that that accountability needed to take place. They talked about the process that’s occurring inside of the country, both the investigative process and the judicial process that’s taking place, and they reiterated – it’s not new – they reiterated their commitment to achieve the objective, the expectations that we have set for them.

QUESTION: Did he still describe it as a rogue operation?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I’m not going to talk about the details of the conversations. They – the expectations that we’ve set for them are very clear. We’ve spoken about this a great deal and their continued commitment to continue to pursue all those connected is something that they have not wavered from since the first time we’ve had conversations with them.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MR PALLADINO: Okay. Barbara. Barbara next, actually. Let’s go to Barbara.

QUESTION: Sir, in terms of the discussions you’re having about the arrangement along the Turkey-Syria border, there have been some rumors that that might involve an Arab force that’s acceptable to both sides. That’s one of the things on the table. Can you say anything about that? And also, can you say anything about the women activists in jail? Did you get any commitments about whether they might be released or how they’ve been treated or what the situation is with that?

SECRETARY POMPEO: We spoke in particular – we spoke about a number of human rights issues, certainly including the women’s rights activists. Their commitment was that the process – the lawful, judicial process here would take place, they would do so quickly, and that they would continue down that path. They understand the concerns that some have and they are going to do their best to communicate as appropriate. So – and your first question was about Syria and the Arab forces.

QUESTION: There’s a – one of the things out of the discussions was an Arab force.

SECRETARY POMPEO: I don’t – there’s lots of things under discussion. There are lots of possibilities about how we might achieve the end state that I described in my earlier response.

MR PALLADINO: Okay, Matt.

QUESTION: Yeah, I just wanted – you had mentioned that you talked with the Turkish foreign minister yesterday. You talked to him again, after Saturday, or what was that – you told us --

SECRETARY POMPEO: I spoke with – no, I’ve had one conversation on this trip with him. The day --

QUESTION: Okay, so there wasn’t a second one?

MR PALLADINO: We --

SECRETARY POMPEO: There hasn’t been a second one.

MR PALLADINO: We did the release, so you’ve got the readout of that call, correct?

QUESTION: Yeah, I do, but I just want to make sure there wasn’t a second call.

SECRETARY POMPEO: There’s only been a single call.

QUESTION: Especially because of the threat that appears to be implied in the President’s tweet about devastating Turkey economically if the Kurds are hurt. Can you offer any --

SECRETARY POMPEO: The administration has been very consistent with respect to our requirement that the Turks not go after the Kurds in ways that are inappropriate. If there are terrorists, we’re all about taking down extremists wherever we find them. I think – I think the President’s comments this morning are consistent with that.

QUESTION: What did he mean by economic devastation?

SECRETARY POMPEO: You’d have to ask – you’d have to ask him.

MR PALLADINO: Okay.

SECRETARY POMPEO: I – we’ve applied sanctions in many places around the world. I assume he’s speaking about those kinds of things, but you’d have to ask him.

Yes, please.

MR PALLADINO: Adam.

QUESTION: Yes, thank you. Two brief ones for you. I was hoping you could elaborate just briefly on how U.S. and Saudi in these talks are specifically working to combat Iran in Yemen and Syria. What do they expect? What are you communicating back? And I was also hoping you could tell us a little bit about the nature of your conversations with the President on the trip. What has he communicated – expectations – and what have you communicated back?

SECRETARY POMPEO: You mean with President Trump?

QUESTION: Yeah.

SECRETARY POMPEO: During the trip we’ve talked about lots of things, many of which have nothing to do with the Middle East. The world goes on while I travel. So we’ve had conversations about --

QUESTION: Has he had specific expectations for this trip specifically?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Oh, yes, we had – yes, but most of those we had conversations about over the weeks that preceded this trip as we were laying out those conversations. So I’ve certainly provided him updates on the conversations I’ve been having on the trip as well, but in terms of the expectations and the things we’re hoping to achieve, it’s been pretty consistent with what all of the United States Government agreed to along with the President in preparation for the trip. What was – your second question was about Iran?

QUESTION: The first was --

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- hoping you could just characterize the conversations you just came from in terms of Iranian action in Yemen and Syria, what the Saudis are expecting, what you’re communicating back.

SECRETARY POMPEO: So this all – step back and this all starts with extremism in whatever form you find it. In this case you have Iranian-backed Houthis, Iranian-backed Hizballah, Iranian-backed Shia militias in Iraq, Iranian-backed forces in Syria, and in each case the root of the challenge stems from the revolutionary nature of the Islamic regime and their efforts abroad. And so they’re focused on doing the things they can do. I talked to – I shared with the crown prince and with the king, if I recall correctly, my conversations to help Iraq as well. We want an Iraq that is independent, sovereign, and how it is we might do that – there are lots of economic things we can do to assist Iraq in getting back on its feet, which will permit them to be more independent and have more control and be more sovereign. I shared with the crown prince my conversations when I traveled to Iraq.

So we had a chance to have a wide series of conversations about how it is – America’s continued effort on the economic and financial front – to attempt to convince the Iranian people that America is serious about empowering them and creating opportunities for the Iranian people. We talked about each of those things today.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR PALLADINO: Let’s go to Tracy.

QUESTION: Hi, yes. Did you come away from your meeting with the crown prince reassured or convinced or more optimistic that they’re really going to get to the bottom of the Khashoggi case? Any kind of assurances? Any kind of change?

SECRETARY POMPEO: No change. They’ve provided assurances since the beginning.

QUESTION: So nothing has changed? It’s the same line?

SECRETARY POMPEO: They still are working through their fact-finding process. You should know that the United States continues to work through its fact-finding process as well. That is, our efforts to uncover the facts surrounding this. And then, consistent with the President’s commitment to hold everyone accountable, we continue inside the United States Government to do that as well.

MR PALLADINO: Let’s go to Matt.

QUESTION: Are you leaving satisfied --

MR PALLADINO: Matt. Matt.

QUESTION: To follow up on that --

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary --

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes.

MR PALLADINO: Matt. Go ahead, Matt.

QUESTION: -- The Washington Post reported that no detailed records exist within the U.S. Government of President Trump’s meetings with Vladimir Putin. Is that true?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I’ll leave that to the White House. These were presidential conversations. I’ll --

MR PALLADINO: Let’s go to Edward.

SECRETARY POMPEO: -- let the White House respond to that.

MR PALLADINO: Edward.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, two questions. One is: How do you reconcile your calling for full accountability with the CIA’s assessment, which they’ve already made, that the crown prince himself ordered the killing? That’s the first question.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah.

QUESTION: The second one is: What are the specific policy tools you want these countries to exercise in regard to these Iranian-backed militias? Like, are you implying that they should put their own forces in the field or are there other policy tools that you’re (inaudible)?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So, first one first: I don’t talk about CIA assessments. Second one: All of the tools that independent nations exercise to attain their independence and sovereignty, we are hopeful we can collectively – the United States certainly, but countries throughout the Middle East – I spoke with King Abdullah about this; I spoke with – I spoke with President Sisi about this. Each of those countries – I spoke – I spoke with the Emiratis about this. Each of those countries wants to do what it can to build out that independent, sovereign Iraq, to help their government get on its feet and have the Iraqi independence that we’ve been working on, the United States has been working on for now decades. And so all the tools available with regard to their security forces, yes, we want those security forces to be in the control of the Iraqi Government and we want them to have full control over all of their security forces, just in the same way we expect that of every sovereign nation.

QUESTION: But the question is more about the militias throughout – the Iranian-backed militias throughout the region.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Throughout the – that’s the region. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: You – but you talked specifically about Iraq.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, that’s certainly the region, but we have – sure, you have Iranian-backed forces in --

QUESTION: Syria.

SECRETARY POMPEO: -- in Syria, you have them in Lebanon, you have them in Yemen. It’s a five-capital strategy, right? This has been the – this is the history of Iran’s efforts: five capitals. And our effort is to make sure that the Iranian people get control of their capital and that it becomes a nation that is normal and isn’t conducting terror campaigns that are unrivaled anyplace else in the world.

MR PALLADINO: Francesco.

QUESTION: With the Khashoggi murder, there was a lot of talk back in D.C. – back in D.C. about, most broadly, the behavior of the crown prince. Do you share the view that his behavior can be a concern for the relation with the United States? Did you ask him to change his behavior, that there might be something around that?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So the United States relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. That’s who – that’s who our partner is; that’s who our strategically shared interest is with. So I had – I spoke with the ruler in Saudi Arabia, the king, and the crown prince, and the foreign minister, and we spoke about a wide range of issues. And where we’re working closely together and being successful we want to redouble our efforts, and where friends think the other one is falling short I was very clear and candid about those things where America is not satisfied, where they’re not meeting our expectations. And they – and they appreciate that.

By the way, you should know they shared places they think America may not be doing everything. I mean, this is – this is how friends engage. You have conversations where you’re not always exactly in the same place, and each tries to ensure that the other understands their position and why it is they’re there, and then you do your best to move forward together.

MR PALLADINO: Conor.

QUESTION: I essentially had the same question, Mr. Secretary. There are a lot of different areas where people think that the crown prince has extended the kingdom too far – in Yemen; the episode with Saad Hariri from Lebanon. He will be around for a long time as a young man and a leader in this kingdom. Do you think that he needs to be chastened at all on his behavior?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I’ll – I don’t even know where to begin to respond to a question like that. Remember what the United States has; it has a deep, longstanding relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. And so its leaders are going to act for – in their country’s interest. That’s their obligation, the same way mine is to act in America’s best interests. And so we shared with them places we think that the kingdom isn’t doing what it is we wish that they would do. And when they’re doing the things we’re – that make good sense for partners and friends, we were – we tell them about that and we redouble our efforts there.

MR PALLADINO: Two more questions.

SECRETARY POMPEO: It’s the ninth – about the ninth question that’s been the same question, so if there’s – if there’s anything anybody else might like to talk about, I’m --

QUESTION: I have a very different – I have a very different one.

MR PALLADINO: Let’s go to Courtney.

SECRETARY POMPEO: -- I’m happy to take a shot at something a little bit different, perhaps. It’s been a very productive trip and we’ve talked about lots of really important things, and we ought to talk about those here this afternoon.

QUESTION: A different question. Mr. Secretary, how did – how did the Saudi leaders react to your comments in Doha yesterday talking about trying to resolve the Gulf dispute and the – and improving the prospects for (inaudible)?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, I had – yeah, actually we spent more time talking about the remarks in Cairo, which they thought were well placed and consistent with both America’s policy and what it is they hope we’ll continue to do. That is, they think we have the right understanding of the challenges that are here in the Middle East, that this administration does. But we did talk about how we might put the Gulf back in a better place. I think they’d like to see that too. It’s a matter of us all figuring out how to do it together, but mostly, those countries figuring out how they can put it back together. We’ll --

QUESTION: How --

SECRETARY POMPEO: We can certainly – we can certainly provide assistance and support, but at the end of the day, those countries have to get back together. My conversation with them was to share places where it diminishes our capacity to all work together, and I, for that reason, have a keen interest and America has a keen interest in putting those countries back in a better place together.

MR PALLADINO: Lesley, go ahead.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, first of all, condolences. I’m sorry for your loss.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you very much.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.) Second of all, I just want to be clear about the President’s tweet and how it’s affected the relationship with Turkey given that the lira has been very hard-hit today. Do you think that, in any way, this could compromise your plans for a withdrawal and that Turkey would continue to go ahead with this plan for it to step in?

SECRETARY POMPEO: It’s a fair question. So I haven’t had a chance to have any conversations with the Turks as of yet, since the President’s tweets went out, but I will. I’m sure I’ll talk to them before too long. I don’t think it changes the President’s decision for our 2,000 uniformed personnel to depart Syria. I don’t think it’ll change that. I think in some ways it sets – it just demarks the importance that we place on this, the importance that we – we want a secured border for all of the parties, not even just the Turks and the Kurds; there are Arabs, there are Christians in the region that we want – we want that to be a place where there isn’t violence as there’s been over these past years. We want – and a good part of that region, there are still – depending on how you define the region, there are still millions of displaced persons in that region too. We want to take that violence level down so that we can begin to return the displaced persons to that region as well. I actually think the President’s remarks are pretty clear about what America hopes to achieve in these conversations with all of the parties, the Turks certainly included amongst them.

MR PALLADINO: Last question, Michele.

QUESTION: Yeah. When you talked in Cairo about rejecting false overtures from enemies, which I assume is Iran, does that rule out the possibility of humanitarian dialogue about prisoners? There’s a new – another American that we’ve learned of since you’ve been on this trip. And then, real quickly, did you raise the April Corley case in Egypt?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes on the April Corley case, and with respect to conversations about prisoners, there are few things that occupy more of my mind than getting Americans back from everyplace, and the Iranian regime has been particularly brutal with respect to the unlawful detention of Americans. I mean, Bob Levinson goes back now years. I don’t want to say more than to say that we are very focused. We have the whole team, certainly at the State Department but across the entire United States Government, that night and day tirelessly is working to return Americans wherever they’re wrongfully detained. And that certainly includes folks that are held inside the Islamic Republic of Iran as well. I’ll take one – I’ll take one more.

QUESTION: Can Oman be helpful on that?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, they have – they have – Oman has historically been helpful on that. I’m sure this will be part of my conversation in what I guess is now my final stop. So, yeah.

Anyway, all right. Well, thank you all very much. Thanks. Thanks for your time.

MR PALLADINO: Okay, thank you, all. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

QUESTION: Thank you.

# # #

[1] Syrian


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Press Releases: Secretary Pompeo's Meeting With Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir

dim, 01/13/2019 - 20:32
Readout Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC
January 13, 2019

The below is attributable to Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino:

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo met today with Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir and Saudi Ambassador to the United States Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz in Riyadh. The Secretary and the Minister discussed critical regional issues, including Iran, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Libya, and Afghanistan. The Secretary and the Minister agreed on the importance of continuing to support political progress in order to achieve peace in Yemen. The Secretary and the Minister discussed the need for continued regional efforts to stand against the Iranian regime’s malign activity and to advance peace, prosperity, and security.

The Secretary emphasized the importance of Saudi Arabia continuing its investigation into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in order to ascertain facts, assess information, and hold those responsible accountable. The Secretary and the Minister looked forward to working together to continue building upon the important, strategic partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia.


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Press Releases: Joint Statement of the Second United States-Qatar Strategic Dialogue: Forward Together

dim, 01/13/2019 - 17:54
Media Note Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC
January 13, 2019

The governments of the State of Qatar and the United States held the second Strategic Dialogue in Doha, Qatar on January 13, 2019. U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo co-chaired the opening session with Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. Senior U.S. officials came to Doha to engage with their Qatari counterparts on numerous aspects of the robust bilateral relationship, including: regional security and defense cooperation, education and culture, law enforcement and counterterrorism partnerships, commercial and energy cooperation, and labor issues.

The two countries welcomed this second annual Strategic Dialogue, the first in Doha, and reviewed the significant progress since the first Strategic Dialogue was held in Washington, D.C., in January 2018. They highlighted the strength of the bilateral relationship and the opportunities to further deepen our cooperation to benefit both countries. Today, the United States and Qatar signed three Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and Statements of Intent (SOIs) to advance cooperation in different areas.

Political Cooperation

Qatar and the United States expressed strong support for the expansion of bilateral relations evinced by high-level meetings in 2018 between: U.S. President Donald J. Trump and HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani; U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani; U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis and Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs Khalid al-Attiyah; and an exchange of other minister-level visits to Washington and Doha. These high-level diplomatic engagements highlight the two nations’ shared commitment to advance cooperation and promote global peace and prosperity.

The two governments expressed concern about the detrimental security, economic, and human impacts of the Gulf crisis on the region. Qatar highlighted its appreciation for the constructive role played by the United States in support of the efforts of the Emir of Kuwait to resolve the dispute. Qatar and the United States affirmed their continued support for a strong and united Gulf Cooperation Council that is focused on promoting a peaceful and prosperous future for all the people of the region and on countering regional threats.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Arabian Peninsula and Regional and Multilateral Affairs Timothy Lenderking and Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary General Dr. Ahmed bin Hassan al-Hammadi discussed potential mechanisms to address wider regional challenges beyond the Gulf, including establishing a Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) between the United States and its Gulf and regional partners.

The two governments discussed regional security, including: joint efforts to defeat ISIS, finding a lasting resolution to the conflicts in Syria, Libya, and Yemen, as well as political developments in Iraq; and efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The United States also recognized Qatar’s active leadership and mediation to promote peace and reconciliation among all parties in Afghanistan and Sudan. The U.S. shared Qatar’s concern about recent developments in Gaza and the need for tangible steps to improve humanitarian and economic conditions.

The United States acknowledged Qatar's generous humanitarian role bilaterally and multilaterally through the work of various UN agencies, in the form of a $500 million multi-year assistance pledge, including $8 million annually between 2019 and 2023 to support forcibly displaced populations, and assist refugees including millions of vulnerable young children and women.

Among the primary beneficiaries will be the UN Development Program, UNICEF, UNRWA, the World Food Program, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Special Purpose Trust Fund, the UNSC Counterterrorism Committee, and Department of Political Affairs, among others.

Defense Partnership

Qatar and the United States emphasized the vital contribution their defense partnership provides for the security and stability of the region. This strong and lasting partnership is key to successfully combating terrorism, countering violent extremism, and deterring external aggression. U.S. officials lauded Qatar’s contributions in supporting the strategic U.S. military presence in Qatar under the U.S. Central Command.

Chairman of Military Cooperation Authority Brigadier General (Pilot) Fahad Al-Sulaiti, and U.S. Principal Director for Middle East Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense Jennifer Zakriski participated in sessions on defense cooperation. The two governments reaffirmed their commitment to the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation to promote peace and stability and counter the scourge of terrorism. The United States welcomed Qatar’s generous offer to expand critical facilities at bases used by U.S. forces in the country and to align operating procedures at these bases with NATO standards, thereby increasing the operational capability of U.S. and coalition forces based in Qatar. The U.S. and Qatar signed an MOU enabling deeper coordination on potential expansion at Al Udeid Air Base. Qatar’s offers to fund capital expenditures and sustainment affords the possibility of a more enduring U.S. presence.

Both countries noted the recent expansion of the bilateral maritime partnership, including the visit by the largest U.S. naval ship to ever come to Qatar in October 2018. Qatar’s Navy and Coast Guard represent the largest maritime contribution in the 33-nation Combined Maritime Force (CMF) Task Force-152 led by the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet and continue to be high value partners and members. These missions increase regional security by providing a visible presence and deterrent to maritime crime in the Arabian Gulf.

The two governments discussed the $26 billion Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program that currently exists between the United States and Qatar. Qatar highlighted the continued opportunity for U.S. partnership in developing Qatar’s Expeditionary Amphibious Capability, Joint Special Forces expansion, as well as an improved ability to defend against external aggression and to better operate alongside U.S. and NATO military forces in coalition operations. In 2018, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps hosted a Qatar Naval delegation to the United States to showcase U.S. expeditionary amphibious operations, and both nations conducted amphibious exercise Eastern Maverick for the first time since 2012.

The two governments acknowledged their strong and lasting bilateral security partnership, and look forward to further discussions on the possibility of more enduring basing.

Education and Cultural Cooperation

U.S. Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce participated in sessions on culture and education cooperation with Qatari Under Secretary of Education Dr. Ibrahim bin Saleh bin Khalifa al-Nuaimi. Both governments underscored the significance of cooperation in the fields of education and culture, as evidenced by their inclusion for the first time in the Strategic Dialogue and by the signing of the first bilateral MOU and SOI in education and cultural cooperation.

The U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani signed the MOU in the field of education to continue building and sustaining key partnerships in the fields of: primary, secondary, and higher education; English and Arabic language instruction; student advising; promoting academic exchange; and facilitating a wide range of study abroad options that enable students to achieve their personal and professional goals.

Both countries expressed the importance of continued mutual cooperation in these fields, agreeing to continue working through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Culture, Qatar’s Ministry of Education and Higher Education, and the Qatar Foundation. The U.S. also praised Qatar Foundation and its affiliates for their important work on joint educational, research and cultural programs with leading American institutions, both in Doha through Education City and in the United States.

In recognition of the bilateral cooperation in the field of culture, the two governments also signed a Statement of Intent (SOI) to work together to enhance cultural understanding and people-to-people connections between the United States and Qatar, in order to foster mutual understanding, promote intercultural dialogue, and support the shared ideals of tolerance and appreciation for diversity. As a result of the SOI, both parties will encourage cultural programming, cultural dialogue, cultural and professional exchange programs, programs that support and engage youth, and both parties will support the work of individuals and organizations who are committed to enhancing cultural understanding between the United States and Qatar.

Counterterrorism & Law Enforcement Partnerships

U.S. Coordinator for Counterterrorism Ambassador Nathan Sales co-chaired a session on law enforcement and counterterrorism partnerships with Qatar’s Chairman of the National Anti-Terrorism Committee, Major General Abdul Aziz al-Ansari. Qatar emphasized the United States’ significant role in the region and its contributions to countering terrorism and violent extremism.

The United States thanked Qatar for its continued efforts to counter terrorism, counter the financing of terrorism, and prevent violent extremism in all forms. Both sides intend to strengthen their security and counterterrorism (CT) partnership to eradicate terrorism and violent extremism. The United States welcomed Qatar’s commitment to provide $75 million over five years to the work of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, including its efforts to help Member States develop and implement advance passenger information and passenger name record systems in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2396.

They reviewed the positive progress made under the terms of the MOU on Counterterrorism signed on July 11, 2017, and the second bilateral CT Dialogue convened in Doha September 5, 2018, including the 2018 Joint Action Plan to implement provisions on border security, information sharing, countering the financing of terrorism, anti-money laundering, aviation security, cybersecurity, and judicial capacity building.

Qatar and the United States hailed the start of a robust slate of Anti-Terrorism Assistance training that began in November 2018 that will consist of 33 courses over the next four years and will provide the Ministry of Interior and Internal Security Forces with enhanced skills and abilities to detect and defeat threats from transnational terrorist and criminal organizations, with special focus on supporting Qatar’s security preparations to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

The two governments also noted progress on a bilateral LOI on Cybersecurity Cooperation signed at the first Strategic Dialogue by Qatar’s Ministry of Transport and Communications and the U.S. Department of State. The LOI resulted in exchanges of Qatari and U.S. cybersecurity experts and officials in the last year, the participation of a U.S. cybersecurity expert in Qatar Central Bank’s FinTech conference, and opened avenues for increased information sharing between Qatar’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team (Q-CERT) and its U.S. counterpart.

Qatar and the United States reaffirmed the need to address violent extremism through preventive frameworks. They underscored the role that both countries play in supporting the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) and the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) as well as QFFD leadership in transparency of developmental assistance and Qatar’s active membership of the Middle East North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF).

Trade, Investment & Energy Cooperation

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette and Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Frank Fannon participated in a session on energy cooperation with Qatar Petroleum Director for International Engagement Sheikh Mishal bin Jabor Al Thani.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Manisha Singh and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Africa and the Middle East Eric Meyer participated in a session on commercial cooperation with Qatari Under Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry HE Sultan Bin Rashid AlKhater.

The two governments acknowledged the challenges facing Qatar as a result of the Gulf crisis. Qatar and the United States also stressed the importance of maintaining freedom of navigation, overflight, and unimpeded lawful commerce in accordance with international law. Both countries also underscored their commitment to boosting trade and investment and noted the growing strength of bilateral trade relations. Qatar confirmed that the United States is its top import partner, representing 18% of all imports to Qatar in 2018.

Qatar and the United States welcomed the role of U.S. companies in Qatar’s development and of Qatari investment in U.S. firms and jobs. The Qatari delegation outlined successful implementation of reforms designed to attract foreign investment in Qatar, including free trade zones and expanding business ownership for non-citizens.

The two governments recognized Qatar Investment Authority’s (QIA) previous commitment to invest $45 billion in American firms, real estate, and jobs. QIA Chief Executive Mr. Mansour al-Mahmoud described plans to increase Qatari investments in American infrastructure.

The two governments expressed their mutual desire to build upon the momentum of their MOU to enhance cooperation between Qatar and the United States in the energy sector. Both governments recognized the importance of Qatar Petroleum’s (QP) announcement of a planned investment in the United States over the next five years valued at $20 billion. They also welcomed recent moves by a number of U.S. energy companies to establish offices in Qatar to support joint ventures with Qatargas and Nakilat.

Delegations from the two countries met separately to discuss civil aviation matters, during which they reaffirmed the commitments by both governments to financial transparency and to putting business with state-owned enterprises on commercial terms set out in the Understandings initially announced on January 30, 2018. Those Understandings sought to ensure healthy competition in the global aviation sector while preserving the Open Skies relationship between the United States and Qatar.

Labor

U.S. Deputy Under Secretary of Labor for International Affairs Martha Newton participated in a session on labor issues with Qatari Under Secretary of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs Mohammad Hassan Al Obaidly. Both sides acknowledged recent progress and commitments made by Qatar on combating human trafficking and advancing labor rights. Under the framework of the U.S.-Qatar Anti-Trafficking MOU signed during last year’s Strategic Dialogue, the State of Qatar and the Government of the United States have undertaken over a dozen joint initiatives to build capacity, raise awareness, and promote labor rights. To further bolster these positive developments, this year the two governments look forward to signing a MOU to expand collaboration with a specific focus on strengthening Qatar’s labor inspectorate and helping to address the challenges facing domestic workers.

Forward Together

The United States and Qatar emphasize the importance of their continued partnership which benefits the interests of both countries, as well as the security and prosperity of the Gulf region.

This Strategic Dialogue process underlines the commitment of Qatar and the United States to increase cooperation in fields that provide the greatest mutual and practical benefit. Such cooperation includes the issues discussed today but also incorporates important work in the fields of health, food safety, intellectual property rights, nuclear safeguards and more. Qatar and the United States remain committed to dialogue and long-term cooperation on political issues, consolidating state-of-the-art defense facilities, combating terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms, countering the financing of terrorism, expanding their trade and investment partnerships, and enhancing educational and cultural cooperation.

To expand partnerships and advance mutual policy goals in those areas, the two sides agreed to hold the first working group in April of 2019. Qatar and the United States look forward to reviewing progress in these areas at the next Strategic Dialogue in Washington in 2020.


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