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Press Releases: Remarks With Irish Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign and Trade Minister Simon Coveney Before Their Meeting

il y a 14 heures 12 min
Remarks Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State Treaty Room
Washington, DC
February 23, 2018


SECRETARY TILLERSON: I want to welcome Tanaiste and Minister of Foreign Affairs Coveney from Ireland to the State Department. I’m pleased to have him here with us.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER COVENEY: Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary --

QUESTION: Secretary Tillerson, will the U.S. State Department consider appointing a special envoy to Northern Ireland given the difficulties in the country at the moment?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: We’re reviewing some names with the White House as we currently speak. We’ve had some names we’re going over with them.

QUESTION: Are you confident that the facility in Jerusalem is going to be ready for a move in May?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Fairly confident, yes. Thank you.

QUESTION: Including the security infrastructure?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: We’ll be fine.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER COVENEY: Thank you.


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Press Releases: Deputy Secretary Sullivan Travels to Haiti

ven, 02/23/2018 - 21:28
Media Note Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC
February 23, 2018

Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan will travel to Port-au-Prince, Haiti to meet with Haitian President Jovenel Moise and Caribbean leaders attending the twenty-ninth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) from February 26-28.

The Deputy Secretary will focus discussions on issues of mutual interest to the United States and the Caribbean, including energy diversification, regional security, and economic development. The United States is an enduring partner to the Caribbean as underscored in the Caribbean 2020 strategy, which strengthens security, diplomacy, prosperity, energy, education, and health in the region.

While in Haiti, the Deputy Secretary will also engage with U.S. Embassy staff, as well as representatives from the business community and civil society, and make a visit to the Haitian National Police School, which receives funding from the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement.


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: Under Secretary Shannon's Travel to Ecuador, Colombia, and Chile

ven, 02/23/2018 - 21:20
Media Note Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC
February 23, 2018

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon, Jr. will travel to Ecuador, Colombia, and Chile February 25-March 3. The Under Secretary will underscore long-standing U.S. support for bilateral priorities and reaffirm U.S. engagement to promote a safe, prosperous, and democratic hemisphere.

In Quito, Ecuador on February 25-27, Under Secretary Shannon will meet with Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno to discuss the strengthening of the bilateral relationship and expanded collaboration in areas of mutual interest. In meetings with other Ecuadorian officials, he will discuss trade and investment, counter-narcotics cooperation, and regional and international issues.

Under Secretary Shannon will then travel to Bogotá, Colombia on February 28, where he will meet with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Vice President Oscar Naranjo to discuss the U.S. partnership with Colombia to combat narcotics trafficking and transnational crime, support sustainable peace, and improve regional security.

On March 1, Under Secretary Shannon, with U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Ricky Waddell, will co-lead the U.S. delegation to the United States-Colombia High Level Dialogue, where he will discuss initiatives to achieve increased stability, prosperity, and opportunities for the citizens of both countries. Under Secretary Shannon will meet in this context with Foreign Minister María Ángela Holguín.

The Under Secretary will then travel to Santiago, Chile on March 2 to meet with President Michelle Bachelet and Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz. During these meetings, he will discuss the United States’ strong partnership with Chile on bilateral and regional efforts to advance security, prosperity, and democratic governance.

For further information, please email WHAPress@state.gov.


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External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: Counterterrorism Coordinator Nathan A. Sales To Speak at Defeat-ISIS Coalition Conference on Mobilizing Law Enforcement Efforts

ven, 02/23/2018 - 20:42
Notice to the Press Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC
February 23, 2018

Counterterrorism Coordinator Nathan A. Sales will deliver the opening remarks at the International Conference on Mobilizing Law Enforcement Efforts to Defeat ISIS at the Department of State’s Loy Henderson auditorium at 9:00 am on February 27, 2018.

The Department of State, in cooperation with INTERPOL and the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law, is hosting the two-day conference on February 27-28, 2018. The Defeat-ISIS Coalition is at a key strategic moment as we near the military defeat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and the destruction of the group’s physical and operational hub. It is critical that we now strengthen our focus on civilian sector tools as ISIS seeks other places to operate. This conference will bring together senior-level diplomatic, justice, and law enforcement officials responsible for counterterrorism from approximately 90 countries and organizations.

Counterterrorism Coordinator Nathan A. Sales’ remarks are open to the press. Pre-set time for cameras is 8:15 am from the 23rd Street entrance. Final access time for writers and stills is 8:30 am 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 Rhonda Shore at shorerh2@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: Acting Assistant Secretary Molly Phee Travel to Geneva

ven, 02/23/2018 - 20:38
Media Note Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC
February 23, 2018

Acting Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Molly Phee will travel to Geneva, Switzerland, from February 26 - March 2, for the opening of the 37th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC).

Acting Assistant Secretary Phee will deliver the U.S. national statement at the Council on February 28, outlining U.S. priorities at the HRC.

While in Geneva, the Acting Assistant Secretary will also meet with leaders of several international organizations, including the World Health Organization, International Telecommunication Union, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

For further information, contact IO-Press-DL@state.gov. Follow the Bureau of International Organization Affairs at @State_IO.


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: Opening of U.S. Embassy Jerusalem

ven, 02/23/2018 - 18:59
Press Statement Heather Nauert
Department Spokesperson Washington, DC
February 23, 2018

In May, the United States plans to open a new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. The opening will coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary. The Embassy will initially be located in the Arnona neighborhood, in a modern building that now houses consular operations of U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem. Those consular operations, including American citizen and visa services, will continue at the Arnona facility without interruption, as part of the Embassy. Consulate General Jerusalem will continue to operate as an independent mission with an unchanged mandate, from its historic Agron Road location. Initially, the interim Embassy in Arnona will contain office space for the Ambassador and a small staff. By the end of next year, we intend to open a new Embassy Jerusalem annex on the Arnona compound that will provide the Ambassador and his team with expanded interim office space. In parallel, we have started the search for a site for our permanent Embassy to Israel, the planning and construction of which will be a longer-term undertaking. We are excited about taking this historic step, and look forward with anticipation to the May opening.


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: Estonia National Day

ven, 02/23/2018 - 14:07
Press Statement Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State Washington, DC
February 23, 2018

On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I wish to congratulate Estonia and its people on the commemoration of the centennial anniversary of your declaration of independence.

Estonia is a vital ally of the United States and our relationship is stronger than ever. Our two countries are linked by shared sacrifice, vibrant economic ties and a common commitment to Western freedom. During his visit last year, Vice President Pence emphasized the United States’ unwavering support for Estonia and the region. He also reiterated our commitment to NATO and to Article 5. I commend Estonia on your successful EU Presidency, your leadership in cybersecurity, and for spending two percent of Estonia’s GDP on defense spending. I also want to thank Estonia for your continued support to defeat terrorism and defend democracy.

Congratulations on your 100th anniversary, which we look forward to commemorating with you throughout this special year.


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: Brunei Darussalam National Day

mer, 02/21/2018 - 17:34
Press Statement Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State Washington, DC
February 21, 2018

On behalf of President Trump and the American people, I send my best wishes to the people of Brunei Darussalam as you celebrate your 34th National Day on February 23, 2018.

Brunei Darussalam is our valued partner in Southeast Asia, with our friendly relations dating back more than 170 years. The United States believes our longstanding bilateral relationship serves as a model for cooperation in strengthening peace and prosperity across the Indo-Pacific. We look forward to working with Brunei Darussalam to advance our shared interests in the economic, security, and cultural realms.

I wish His Majesty Hassanal Bolkiah and all the people of Brunei a peaceful and prosperous year, and I extend the warmest congratulations from the American people as you celebrate your country’s anniversary.


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: State Department Announces Fulbright Top Producing Institutions

mer, 02/21/2018 - 15:28
Media Note Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC
February 21, 2018

The U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce that the lists of more than 150 U.S. higher education institutions that sent the most Fulbright U.S. Students and Scholars abroad in academic year 2017-2018 are now available. The lists highlight the Fulbright Program’s strong institutional diversity and impact on American communities.

The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in collaboration with the Institute of International Education, compiles the lists, which are organized by Carnegie Classification.

Topping this year’s lists of Research, Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Special-focus 4-year institutions that sent the most U.S. students abroad on the Fulbright Program are Brown University (RI), Truman State University (MO), Bates College (ME), and the Rhode Island School of Design. The University of Michigan, Ithaca College (NY), Middlebury College (VT), and the University of Richmond (VA) sent the most Fulbright U.S. Scholars in the Research, Master’s, and Bachelor’s categories. Fulbright Students are recent college graduates, graduate students, and early career professionals. Fulbright Scholars are faculty, researchers, administrators, and established professionals.

Twenty-five U.S. community colleges and several special focus four-year institutions also sent Fulbright U.S. Scholars abroad in 2017-2018 and are recognized in the top producing lists. For a full list of the institutions by category, please visit the Fulbright Online website.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 380,000 participants—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential—with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Over 1,900 U.S. students, artists, and early career professionals in more than 100 different fields of study receive Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants annually to study, teach English, and conduct research overseas. More than 800 U.S. scholars, artists and professionals teach or conduct research overseas through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program annually.

Interested media should contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at eca-press@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: Recent Actions Regarding Latvia's Banking Sector

mer, 02/21/2018 - 00:36
Press Statement Heather Nauert
Department Spokesperson Washington, DC
February 20, 2018

The United States has full confidence that the Government of Latvia will take the necessary steps to uphold the integrity of its banking and financial sector. For many years, we have been working together with Latvia to combat corruption, money laundering, and other threats to international security. Moving forward, the United States supports and will continue to help the Government of Latvia, the Latvian Financial Capital and Markets Commission, and Latvian law enforcement to realize our shared vision of a strong and well-regulated Latvian financial sector.


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: State of Emergency in Maldives

mer, 02/21/2018 - 00:34
Press Statement Heather Nauert
Department Spokesperson Washington, DC
February 20, 2018

The United States is disappointed by reports that Maldivian President Yameen has extended the state of emergency in that country for an additional 30 days. The United States continues to call on President Yameen to end the state of emergency, uphold the rule of law, permit the full and proper functioning of the Parliament and the judiciary, restore constitutionally guaranteed rights of the people of Maldives, and respect Maldives’ international human rights obligations and commitments.


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 and Libya Sign Cultural Property Protection Agreement

mar, 02/20/2018 - 23:30
Notice to the Press Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC
February 20, 2018

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs I. Steven Goldstein and Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Under Secretary for Political Affairs Lutfi Almughrabi will sign a landmark bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on cultural property protection on February 23, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at the U.S. Department of State.

As part of the ongoing cooperation between the United States and Libya’s Government of National Accord, the United States will impose import restrictions on categories of archaeological material representing Libya’s cultural heritage dating from 12,000 B.C. through 1750 A.D. and Ottoman ethnological material from Libya dating from 1551 to 1911 A.D. Restrictions are intended to reduce the incentive for pillage and trafficking and are among the many ways the United States is combatting the financing of terrorism and disrupting the global market in illegal antiquities. These restrictions continue similar restrictions implemented by the U.S. government on an emergency basis on December 5, 2017.

The cultural property agreement negotiated by the State Department under the U.S. law implementing the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property underscores the United States’ commitment to our relationship with Libya, as well as our global commitment to cultural heritage protection and preservation. The United States now has similar bilateral agreements with 17 countries around the world, as well as emergency import restrictions on cultural property from Iraq and Syria.

For further information, please contact eca-press@state.gov.

Pre-set time for cameras is 1:30 p.m. from the 21st Street entrance. Final access time for writers and stills is 1:45 p.m. from the 21st 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.


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: Fourth Anniversary of Ukraine's Revolution of Dignity

mar, 02/20/2018 - 01:08
Press Statement Heather Nauert
Department Spokesperson Washington, DC
February 19, 2018

Four years ago, Ukrainians from all walks of life and all regions of the country came together on the Maydan, Kyiv's central square, to demand their government recognize the choice of the citizens of Ukraine to join Europe. Scores of Ukrainians—the “Heavenly Hundred”—gave their lives on the Maydan for the dream of a better Ukraine. The United States will continue to stand by Ukraine as it faces ongoing Russian aggression, which has claimed over 10,000 lives and displaced more than 1.6 million Ukrainians.

Ukraine has taken important steps over the past four years, yet there is still more work needed to fulfill the promise of the Maydan and unlock Ukraine’s potential. The United States calls on Ukraine’s leaders to redouble their efforts to implement the deep, comprehensive and timely reforms that are necessary to build the stable, democratic, prosperous, and free country Ukrainians deserve. We are proud to work with the people of Ukraine to honor the sacrifices made four years ago for Ukraine’s European choice.


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: Interview With Margaret Brennan of CBS 60 Minutes

lun, 02/19/2018 - 11:39
Interview Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State Washington, DC
February 18, 2018

MS BRENNAN: Rex Tillerson admits he was an unconventional choice for Secretary of State. He had no prior government experience. But as CEO of ExxonMobil, he had crisscrossed the globe striking deals with foreign leaders. Secretary Tillerson, a man who still considers himself a Boy Scout and follows what he calls the Code of the West, is fiercely private and has shied away from interviews, but he agreed to do a rare, wide-ranging one with us. With the Olympics underway and North Korea very much on his mind, he talked to us about what may be the toughest deal he will ever work on.

QUESTION: In his New Year’s Day speech, Kim Jong-un said the “entire area of the U.S. mainland is within our nuclear strike range.” That’s got to make you nervous.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: It does make us nervous. It also – it also stiffens our resolve. That kind of a threat to the American people by a regime like this is not acceptable, and the President’s meeting his responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief of asking our military – Secretary Mattis at the Defense Department – to ensure we are prepared for anything.

QUESTION: And those military options are there in case you fail.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: In case I fail. I say to my Chinese counterpart, “You and I fail, these people get to fight. That’s not what we want.”

QUESTION: But you are willing to work with and potentially negotiate with Kim Jong-un?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, that’s who we will have to work with to achieve this diplomatically. What we have to determine now is: Are we even ready to start? Are they ready to start? And if they’re not, we’ll just keep the pressure campaign underway, and we will increase that pressure. And we are doing that. Every month there are new sanctions rolled out. The world wants North Korea to change.

QUESTION: Well, there are some questions about how badly China wants them to change. You’ve really needed their help to put economic pressure on Kim Jong-un. What reassurances have you given to China so that they actually follow through?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: What I think we got a common understanding with China is that North Korea represents a serious threat to China as well. And we’ve been very clear with them that they are going to have an important role to play once we get to the negotiating table.

QUESTION: So I hear you saying there these wouldn’t be one-on-one talks. China would be at the table.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Early on they might be one-on-one discussions. For the U.S., first, and North Korea to determine? Is there a reason to begin to put the construct for negotiations in place?

QUESTION: What is the carrot that you’re dangling for North Korea to convince them to talk?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: We’re not using a carrot to convince them to talk. We’re using large sticks, and that is what they need to understand. This pressure campaign is putting – is having its bite on North Korea, its revenue streams. It’s having a bite on its military programs.

QUESTION: But to say “full denuclearization” – why would they agree to give up something they’ve already got that they think is an insurance policy?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Because it buys them nothing. It buys them more of being the hermit kingdom, isolated – isolated from the world diplomatically, isolated from the world economically.

QUESTION: Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, “Every one of us should pray Rex Tillerson and Jim Mattis are successful over the course of the next eight to ten months diplomatically, or our nation is going to be facing one of the greatest military decisions that we face.” Eight to ten months. That’s how much time you have to get this done?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: I’m going to use all the time available to me. Our diplomatic efforts will continue until that first bomb drops. My job is to never have a reason for the first bomb to drop. And we don’t know precisely how much time is left on the clock.

QUESTION: You seem to have convinced the President that diplomacy is the way to go on this, but it wasn’t always so clear. Back in October, you said you were working to get a dialogue going with the North Koreans, and the President tweeted, “Rex, stop wasting your time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.” Have you asked him not to call him “Little Rocket Man?” Is that a diplomatic term?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: (Laughter.) The President’s going to – the President’s going to communicate the way he communicates. My job as chief diplomat is to ensure that the North Koreans know we keep our channels open. I’m listening. I’m not sending a lot of messages back because there’s nothing to say to them at this point, so I’m listening for you to tell me you’re ready to talk.

QUESTION: How will you know?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: They will tell me. They will tell me.

QUESTION: That explicitly?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: We receive messages from them. And I think it will be very explicit as to how we want to have that first conversation.

(A video clip begins playing.) “SECRETARY TILLERSON: What’s the latest?”

MS BRENNAN: As we saw during this meeting with top aides about the crisis in Yemen, the whole world is now his portfolio.

(The video clip continues.) “SECRETARY TILLERSON: I think is saw some reports of further missile attacks out of Yemen…”

MS BRENNAN: But Rex Wayne Tillerson comes from a family of modest means in north Texas. He was named after actors Rex Allen and John Wayne because his parents loved Westerns.

QUESTION: We actually have a photo of you back in your Boy Scout uniform. I understand you rose to Eagle Scout.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Yes.

QUESTION: How old were you here?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: I think I was 14 when that was taken.

QUESTION: You look very proud.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: I am very proud. And was very proud. I still am.

QUESTION: I can tell. I mean, Boy Scouts, you reference it a fair amount. That played a big formative role in your life.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: It really shaped who I am.

QUESTION: You still think of yourself as a Boy Scout?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Yes.

QUESTION: Really?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Absolutely.

QUESTION: You don’t get to be the CEO of ExxonMobil as a Boy Scout.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: I did.

QUESTION: You talked a lot about something that you’ve called the Code of the West. What does that mean?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, the Code of the West – as the West was unfolding, there wasn’t a lot of law enforcement, and people basically relied upon each other’s word and “as my word is my bond.” And I’ve used that throughout my life as well, even at ExxonMobil. I would sit down with the head of state for that country or the CEO of that company, and we’d look each other in the eye, and I’d say, “All I need to know is that you’re going to live up to your side of this deal, and I give you my word I’ll live up to my side of this deal.”

And then a lot of the Code of the West was people were very loyal to their organizations. And the phrase “riding for the brand” is a phrase that’s always stuck with me that --

QUESTION: Riding for the brand?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Riding for the brand. When a cowboy signed on to a ranch or to that organization, he was committed to that organization.

QUESTION: And what is the brand for you now?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: The State Department, the United States Government, the American people are my brand.

QUESTION: So one leader you hadn’t met before December of 2016 was Donald Trump. Tell me what that first encounter was like.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: We met in his office in Trump Tower, and he just began by asking me why don’t you just kind of talk about how you see the world. So we just – we walked around the world for about an hour. And then after that, then he kind of went into a little bit of a sales pitch with me and said, “I want you to be my Secretary of State.” And I was stunned.

QUESTION: You didn't know it was a job interview?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: No, I didn’t. I didn’t. I thought it was just I was going up just to talk to him and share with him, which I’ve done with previous presidents. I did with President Obama. I did with President Bush. So I really thought that’s all it was. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Did you have any sense of what you were getting yourself into?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: By and large, I did.

QUESTION: You’ve won some policy arguments: when it came to keeping troops in Afghanistan; you prevented the President in some ways from tearing up the Iran nuclear deal like he said he was going to do. You lost a few arguments too: the Paris climate agreement the President exited; the Trans-Pacific trade partnership, you cautioned against ripping up a deal America had committed to; and you cautioned against moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem on the timeline they laid out. Do you think that’s a fair accounting of your record?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: I think the American people have won with the decisions the President has taken. And it’s not about agreeing or disagreeing, because he’s the decision maker.

QUESTION: Tell me what it’s like to work in an administration where the U.S. has walked away or threatened to walk away from a number of commitments. That has to be hard for someone who believes in the Code of the West.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, some of those I think it’s important to keep in mind what the level of commitment was. We have agreements that the Congress never had the opportunity to weigh in on. And so President Trump was elected by the American people, and many of these were issues that he ran on.

(A video clip begins playing.) “QUESTION: White House officials have said that you’re going to be pushed out.”

MS BRENNAN: In the past year, Tillerson spent a lot of time denying that he was being outflanked by others in the President’s inner circle and that he was either going to resign or be fired.

(The video clip continues.) “SECRETARY TILLERSON: That’s ridiculous.”

MS BRENNAN: After reports he called the President a moron:

QUESTION: Why didn’t you deny calling the President a moron?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: That’s a really old question.

QUESTION: Do you understand that, by not answering the question, some people thought you were confirming the story?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: I think I’ve answered the question.

QUESTION: You think you answered the question?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: I’ve answered the question.

QUESTION: Did you call the President a moron?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: I’m not going to dignify the question. We’ve got so many bigger issues that we could be talking about. I’m not from this town. I understand this town likes to talk about a lot of things that are really not important.

QUESTION: Do you think you have enemies in this town?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: I don’t know.

QUESTION: Where do you think those reports came from that you were resigning or being fired?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: I have no idea where they come from. I really don’t, and I don’t give it much thought.

QUESTION: I mean, you walk into ministry meetings and reporters are shouting, “Sir, when are you resigning?”

SECRETARY TILLERSON: I never hear those questions. The only person that knows whether I’m resigning or not is me.

QUESTION: So one of the other challenges that you have here is sometimes the President’s message doesn’t jive with your own. I think you’d acknowledge that.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, as I said, the President communicates in his own style, his own way, his own words. And from time to time, I will ask him, “Are you changing the policy?” Because if we are, obviously, I need to know, and everyone needs to know.

QUESTION: Well, you would have thought he’d talk to you about changing the policy before he tweeted.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: And to finish the thought, that has never happened. Every time I’ve talked to him, he said, “No, the policy hasn’t changed.” And I say, “Then I’m good.” (Laughter.) That’s all I need to know.

(A video clip is played.) “SECRETARY TILLERSON: I thought today we’d just have a chat…”

MS BRENNAN: Within the ranks of the State Department, there have been complaints Secretary Tillerson is dismantling American diplomacy by embracing major budget cuts and being slow to fill crucial jobs.

QUESTION: There are 41 embassies without confirmed ambassadors, and that’s even in places where there are crises. No ambassador in South Korea, Saudi Arabia, in Turkey. How do you explain that?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, there’s been no dismantling at all of the State Department. We’ve got terrific people, both Foreign Service officers, civil servants, that have stepped into those roles around the world, and have stepped in here.

QUESTION: On an interim basis.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: It is an interim basis. So clearly, it is not with the same kind of support that I wish everyone had. But our foreign policy objectives continue to be met (inaudible) Senate-confirmed --

QUESTION: But some of these don’t even have nominees. I mean, 41 embassies without ambassadors in them.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, some of these are in the process. It’s not a question of people being – or neglecting the importance of it. It’s just the nature of the process itself.

QUESTION: You’ve said you have a very close relationship with Vladimir Putin. You’ve done huge deals with him. Photos of you toasting him with champagne. And all that closeness raised eyebrows. It even inspired a Saturday Night Live skit. Did you ever see that skit?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: I did. My kids pointed me to it. (Laughter.)

(A video clip is played.) “Puty, oh my God.” “Rexy, baby…”

QUESTION: Did you laugh?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Absolutely. Absolutely. I laughed out loud.

QUESTION: It made light, though, of this concern that you have a friendship with Vladimir Putin, and that because of that you and the President aren’t going to hold him to account.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: The relationship that I had with President Putin spans 18 years now. It was always about what could I do to be successful on behalf of my shareholders, how Russia could succeed.

QUESTION: How different was it walking into the Kremlin as Secretary of State?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: It was different because – and I had to think very, very carefully about that. And the only thing I said to him was, “Mr. President, the same man, a different hat.”

QUESTION: But the dynamic changed.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: The dynamic changed because the issues were different. What he is representing is different than what I now represent. And I said to him, “I now represent the American people.” And I think it was important that that be said right up front, and he clearly got it. I mean, he clearly understood that as well.

QUESTION: But since you’re Secretary of State now, you’ve accused him of violating nuclear arms control agreements, of cheating on North Korea sanctions, letting Assad continue now to use chlorine gas chemical weapons on civilians. He doesn’t seem to be particularly concerned about the warnings you’re giving him.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, I don’t know. We’ll see if he’s concerned or not.

QUESTION: There were six chlorine gas attacks in the past 30 days.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: That’s correct. And we have called them out for the fact that Russia has special responsibilities, in our view, because of commitments they made to destroy chemical weapons and ensure they knew that there were none.

QUESTION: That sounds a lot like the last administration. It doesn’t sound very different.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, when it comes to killing people with chemical weapons, it shouldn’t look any different. I think the only difference is the consequences for it. And President Trump has already demonstrated there will be consequences.

QUESTION: Does that mean military action is still on the table for chlorine gas attacks?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: As it was – as it was in April last year, we are serious about our demands that chemical weapons not become regularized or normalized as a weapon in any conflict.

QUESTION: Why not implement the sanctions that Congress overwhelmingly says they want to see put on Russia?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: We have and we are. We have taken steps that have already prevented a number of Russian military sales as a result of the legislation, and we are evaluating additional individuals for possible sanctioning.

QUESTION: So I know we’re under a time constraint.

(A video clip is played.) “…the President.”

MS BRENNAN: Near the end of our interview, we were interrupted by a phone call from the President.

(The video clip continues.) “SECRETARY TILLERSON: Be right back.”

MS BRENNAN: Afterward, the Secretary took us out for a brief stroll on his terrace before heading to the White House.

QUESTION: How often do you talk to the President?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: We typically will try to talk every day even if it’s only for a few minutes. A lot of times, I’ll call from the road when I’m on a trip just to let him know how it’s going and…”

MS BRENNAN: Rex Tillerson enjoys the view from the top of the State Department. He seems to be one of the few people in Washington not surprised he’s still here.

QUESTION: If I believed the press reports that came out about you in the past year, you would not be sitting here talking to me as the Secretary of State. It seems like reports of your political death were premature?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, I hope with this little bit of exchange we’ve had, you understand the man better. That’s why I’m still here. Those things don’t bother me. I’m here to serve my country. I committed to this President. My word is my bond. I ride for this brand. That’s why I’m here, and nothing anybody else says is going to change that.


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Press Releases: The Gambia National Day

dim, 02/18/2018 - 15:00
Press Statement Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State Washington, DC
February 18, 2018

On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I offer congratulations to the people of The Gambia on the 53rd anniversary of your country’s independence on February 18, 2018.

We commend your impressive progress since the return of democracy to The Gambia. The Gambia’s eligibility under the African Growth and Opportunity Act and its selection by the Millennium Challenge Corporation for a Threshold Program are endorsements of your commitment to good governance and economic development.

The United States remains committed to supporting The Gambia and its people as you strive to promote democratic principles, economic growth, and investment.


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External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: Acting Assistant Secretary Thornton To Travel to Berlin

ven, 02/16/2018 - 23:09
Media Note Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC
February 16, 2018

Acting Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Susan Thornton, will travel to Berlin, Germany, to meet with European counterparts to discuss issues of mutual interest in the Indo-Pacific region February 19-20, 2018.

For updates, please follow the East Asian and Pacific Bureau on Twitter at @USAsiaPacific.

For press inquiries please contact EAP-P-Office-DL@state.gov.


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External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: Kosovo National Day

ven, 02/16/2018 - 22:00
Press Statement Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State Washington, DC
February 16, 2018

On behalf of the United States, I congratulate Kosovo and its people on celebrating 10 years of independence as a sovereign nation.

In the decade since independence, Kosovo has shown determination in maturing into a more stable, democratic, and inclusive country. The United States continues to support Kosovo’s citizens as they work to strengthen democratic and multiethnic institutions, increase economic growth, and bolster the rule of law on the path toward full integration in the international community.

I wish the people of Kosovo a future filled with peace and prosperity.


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External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: Troika Statement on Phase 2 of the High Level Revitalization Forum for South Sudan

ven, 02/16/2018 - 18:06
Media Note Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC
February 16, 2018

The text of the following statement was issued jointly by the Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and Norway.

The members of the Troika (Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States) welcome the parties’ constructive efforts toward compromise for the benefit of the people of South Sudan at the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) over the last two weeks in Addis Ababa. The Troika expresses its appreciation for and fully supports the continuing effort by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to restore peace through the HLRF, and commends the tireless efforts of the IGAD Special Envoy Ambassador Ismail Wais and the mediation team.

The Troika underscores the critical importance of the parties creating a conducive environment for peacemaking: fighting while talking is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. The parties must make good on their promises to implement the Agreement on a Cessation of Hostilities (ACOH) signed in December 2017. We take note and support the intention by IGAD and the African Union to identify and impose consequences on those undermining peace as soon as possible and we stand ready to support them in their efforts. Implementation of the ACOH must also include the release of political prisoners and prisoners of war, the end to the use of child soldiers and sexual and gender-based violence as a weapon. The parties must also allow unfettered access for Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM) monitors and for humanitarian assistance and aid workers responding to Africa’s worst humanitarian crisis.

While useful dialogue has taken place over the past two weeks, there is much more for the parties to do if the HLRF is to make meaningful and sustainable progress towards peace. The Troika calls on all parties to reconvene as soon as possible, without preconditions, to address the important security and governance arrangements that are essential for peace. We urge all parties to take steps to maintain the momentum of the process and refrain from comments or actions that could make returning to dialogue more difficult. We urge the parties to agree that a negotiated arrangement for an inclusive transitional government that reflects South Sudan's diversity is needed. We encourage the parties to set as priorities the separation of powers, dispute resolution and reconciliation mechanisms, service delivery, and accountability. Arrangements must not advantage any political, armed, or ethnic group. We call on the parties to develop practical security arrangements that end violence and build confidence, and set out a realistic path to broader security sector reform. We urge the parties to support financial reforms that address corruption and build confidence in public institutions.

The Troika renews its firm view that elections in 2018 are not viable given the continuing conflict, lack of security, displacement of one third of the population, and severe food insecurity affecting half the population. It calls on all parties to reject any unilateral effort to extend power though the ballot box, the legislature, or military means. A negotiated path to elections also means the protection of fundamental political freedoms, and significant improvements in security and humanitarian conditions. The Troika continues to stand with the people of South Sudan and urges their leaders to move expeditiously to achieve the peace their people deserve.


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External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

Press Releases: Press Availability With Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

ven, 02/16/2018 - 16:22
Remarks Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State Ankara, Turkey
February 16, 2018

FOREIGN MINISTER CAVUSOGLU: (Via interpreter) Distinguished members of the press, yesterday and today we have been hosting the United States Secretary of State, Mr. Rex Tillerson. We’re very glad to host him here. We pay great attention to this visit because we’re passing through a very critical timing in our bilateral relations, and therefore we do believe that this visit is of utmost importance.

Turkey and the United States of America have been continuing their strategic partnership over the course of the history, increasing its depth every day, and with the steps that have been taken on both sides, this strategic partnership has been extended into various spheres. And it does not just include the two countries, but in our region and beyond, it includes many countries as well as many states and many nations who are benefiting from this strategic partnership. The basis of this strategic partnership is actually the fight that we gave together in Korea.

In our past, we had some ups and downs in our relations. We even had times of crisis, but always and always, the strategic partnership vision was at the forefront in terms of its mid-term and long-term goals. When we started dialogue in a frank and sincere environment, we were able to overcome all these critical phases together.

Now, like I have said, we are passing through such a critical stage in our relations. Yesterday, we were received by the president of the republic, and we had a trilateral meeting, and we had the same sincere and frank atmosphere where both sides expected – expressed their thoughts, their expectations, and even their worries in a most sincere and frank manner. And the meeting, which took about three hours, was not just a meeting that we discussed our bilateral relations, but also our cooperation in regional issues as well as our mutual perspectives.

As I said before, our relations are at a critical turning point. We were either going to correct this and continue our relations or we were going to go into a much more worse position. But with the will that we put forward as of yesterday, we have taken an important turn in terms of normalizing our relations. We reached an agreement and an understanding.

Of course, there are certain steps that are needed to be taken to achieve this. There are expectations on both sides. We have certain worries about the Fethullahist terrorist organization and our fight against this FETO terrorist organization, and the support that is provided by the United States on YPG and similar organizations, and our expectations pertaining to PKK. Of course, these are very important security worries that are closely related to our existence, and we do want to believe that these are taken into consideration seriously.

But up to this point, there were certain promises that were made, there were certain topics that we discussed, there were certain promises that were not kept, and there were certain issues that we could not resolve. So from this point on, we wanted to focus as to how we can take solution-oriented steps so that the issues are not just on paper, and we wanted to talk about how we can implement this, how we can make sure that they are implemented. So we were able to talk about all of these, and we decided to create a mechanism or even mechanisms to be able to discuss these and resolve them.

One such mechanism, as you will see in the press declaration, is about the general issues: the consular issues, the issue regarding FETO, the Fethullahist terrorist organization, and some issues that the United States attaches importance to. Actually, we had a working group that we established after the visa crisis, but now we are going to extend the content of all of these and we will be talking about all of these together. For instance, on the FETO issue, do we have evidence or not? Do we need any additional evidence? Is the evidence that we have sent sufficient? Instead of discussing this in length before the public, we want to discuss this in the working – (break in audio) – because in order to reach any conclusion, any result, we need to work together and act together.

(Break in audio.)

On the Syria issue, we also talked about how we are going to overcome our worries regarding the Syrian issue: which steps are we going to take, how are we going to fight against terrorist organizations, how are we going to establish stability in those cities that have been cleared of terrorist attacks, how – who is going to do this, how are we going to respect the territorial integrity of Iraq, and most importantly, how are we going to work together to achieve a political resolution with the Geneva process. So we were able to talk about how we will take concrete steps with our experts so we’re not talking about promises or commitments any longer. We want to overcome all of these by working together, and I am sure that all of these will bring important results for us.

All these mechanisms are not kicking the ball off to the corner. They are not delaying the process. To the contrary, these are important aspects to get results and mechanisms that will achieve results that will meet the expectations of both sides. So we are not trying to gain time, and hopefully, the next meeting is going to take place before the middle of March. We have agreed on this aspect as well.

In the end, distinguished members of the press, the meetings that we had yesterday and today have been important in terms of the future of our bilateral relations, in terms of overcoming our mutual worries, and both on Syria, Iraq, and especially on the issue of the fight against terrorism. The cooperation with respect to regional issues were important, and this was a critical visit and a critical series of meetings. I do believe that once the relations are set into track again, what is important is as a result of all these visits and meetings to be able to take step towards the future jointly, commonly, in partnership, and get results. So we will work like two allies, establishing trust once again, and we will base our relations on this basis that have been strengthened by our partnership and alliance thoughts. With these opinions and thoughts, once again I would like to say welcome to our guest, Mr. Tillerson, and leave the floor to him, and then we will be answering questions from your side.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, I want to thank Foreign Minister Cavusoglu for his hospitality during this visit, and I also want to express my appreciation to President Erdogan for the extensive amount of time he provided to me yesterday evening so we could have a very full discussion of both sides’ concerns but also a lot of discussion about the future and how we go forward from where we are today. I want to reaffirm the deep and important relationship between the United States and Turkey. Ours is not an alliance of convenience or of temporary interest. It is a time-tested alliance built on common interest and mutual respect.

Turkey was one of the first countries to join NATO. Turkish troops served alongside Americans in Korea, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Kosovo. We have made many shared sacrifices together. We stand shoulder to shoulder with Turkey against terrorist threats. Turkey is a critical partner in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Daesh. We’re grateful that Turkey has allowed the United States and other NATO countries to base forces in Incirlik, and Turkey is the linchpin of strategic stability at the crossroads of the three continents.

Our two countries share the same objectives in Syria: the defeat of ISIS, Daesh; secure and stable zones; an independent and unified Syria; and help chart a new democratic future for Syria under the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 process. We are hopeful that the Geneva process will produce a new constitution for the Syrian people and elections to be held under UN auspices. A democratic future for Syria is essential for preventing ISIS from re-emerging and from stopping the suffering that the Assad regime has inflicted on the Syrian people. The Turkish Government and people deserve the gratitude and recognition for the unprecedented hospitality they have displayed in hosting more than 3 million Syrian refugees.

We recognize the legitimate right of Turkey to secure its borders. We take it seriously when our NATO ally Turkey says it has security concerns. As to Afrin, we call upon Turkey to show restraint in its operation to minimize the casualties to civilians and avoid actions that would escalate tensions in that area.

From the beginning, we’ve been transparent with Turkey regarding our objectives in Syria. Our relationship with our NATO ally Turkey is enduring and strategic. I again conveyed this message to President Erdogan and to the foreign minister today, as have many other U.S. officials. We have always been clear with Turkey that the weapons provided to the Syrian Democratic Forces would be limited, mission-specific, and provided on an incremental basis to achieve military objectives only.

We have long supported and will continue to support Turkish democracy. Respect for the rule of law, judicial independence, and an open press are a source of strength and stability. When Turkey maintains its commitment to these principles, it expands our potential partnership. We support the Government of Turkey’s right to bring the perpetrators of the 2016 coup to justice. It is important to handle these cases in a transparent and fair manner that respects human rights and fundamental freedoms. We continue to have serious concerns about the detention of local employees of our mission in Turkey and about cases against U.S. citizens who have been arrested under the state of emergency. We will continue to engage with our Turkish counterparts to seek a satisfactory resolution to these cases, and we call upon Turkey to release Pastor Andrew Brunson and other U.S. citizens whom we believe are being unjustly detained. With regard to Serkan Golge, we believe his release through the appeals process would be both just and appropriate.

I want to thank again President Erdogan and Foreign Minister Cavusoglu for the opportunity to discuss these and many other very, very important issues, and for the cooperation we both have been able to show one another and respect in charting a way forward in this relationship. The United States truly appreciates our long friendship with Turkey. We value it, and we look forward to strengthening it as we move forward. Thank you.

MODERATOR: (In Turkish.)

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Sevil Erkus from Hurriyet Daily. My first question will be to our guest, Secretary of State. Mr. Tillerson, we are actually passing one of the most critical stages of the Turkish-United States relations. In order to overcome these problematic aspects – the aspect pertaining to the assistance of military equipment to YPG and PYD – Ankara worries. In order to overcome all these worries, and also, in the context of Syria, to establish cooperation between Turkey and United States, do you have any proposals for solutions? Could you share these with you?

Also, if the Afrin operation is extended to Manbij, the fact that there are American soldiers there – do you have any plans to withdraw forces from that region, or the fact that they’re at harm?

My question to you, Mr. Foreign Minister --

FOREIGN MINISTER CAVUSOGLU: (Via interpreter) So we said actually two questions each, but you have asked more than 10 now.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) My question to you: Before you said either these relations are going to go worse or going to be improved. You said today that you had taken a decision to normalize relations. Did you get the relevant warranties or safeguards from the United States that you were expecting from your side?

Another aspect: With respect to a news item that was reflected on the media, it was indicated that the troops on Manbij would be withdrawn to the eastern part of Euphrates and that this was a proposal that you brought. Did you make such a proposal indeed so that the American troops were withdrawn from that area, and how does American side resolve?

FOREIGN MINISTER CAVUSOGLU: (Via interpreter) So this is actually a question for two hours.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: In our discussions last night with President Erdogan, we brought forward proposals on how we can address all of the critical issues that are standing between this relationship today. And those will be addressed – some will be addressed in the joint statement that we will be releasing following this press avail. But the foreign minister did touch on a few of those, and we want to work specifically on the issues that are standing between us.

What we have agreed is our objectives for Syria are precisely the same. There are – there’s no daylight between Turkey and the U.S. objectives: defeat ISIS, stabilize the country, create stabilization areas so eventually refugees and internally displaced persons can begin to return home, and support the political solution for Syria that will result in a whole, independent, democratic Syria with no special demarcations dividing Syria and with the Syrian people selecting their leadership through free and fair elections. And we all share that same objective.

And now, going from this point forward, we are going to closely coordinate our efforts against the final defeat of Daesh. We do not have them fully defeated today, but we’re going to coordinate our efforts against the final defeat of Daesh as well as other terrorist groups that are located inside of Syria. We want to coordinate how to stabilize areas together and who will occupy those areas. And the objective and intent is to return these villages, these cities back to the composition of people who were there before they were overrun by Daesh. So we’re going to address Manbij first. It’s one of the first areas we’re going to work on. The United States made commitments to Turkey previously. We’ve not completed fulfilling those commitments. Through the working group we’re going to address that, and Manbij is going to receive priority.

But it’s not just Manbij. We have to think about all of northern Syria, and we’ve agreed on certain areas we’re – we’ll continue to work together, and then we’re going to coordinate very closely on supporting the Geneva process, because ultimately, that is the pathway to a peaceful, stable Syria. That improves Turkey’s security as well on its border when we can achieve that final peace.

FOREIGN MINISTER CAVUSOGLU: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much. At the beginning of my remarks, I said that this was a very critical visit for the future of our relations. It was a critical timing. Therefore, in the meetings that we held since yesterday evening, we talked about how our expectations were to be met, and there were other concerns of the United States on their citizens, about the local employees of the consulate. There were, of course, expectations on their side.

We’re already working on these consular issues, but our worries were in direct relation to the direct threats that we were receiving about the YPG attacking our citizens, because our people are dying. Up to this point, we had about 100 citizens, Turkish citizens, or Syrian-origin people coming from Afrin. They were killed by missiles or by arms that were coming from Afrin. They lost their lives because of this. So of course, undoubtfully, this working group which is going to meet our expectations and the concrete steps that we will take is crucial. This is important on YPG, on ISIS/ISIL, on FETO. These are important with relation to all of these aspects.

On the other hand, on Manbij, of course, Rex Tillerson gave the answer to your question. And in 2016, there were commitments of the United States to Turkey at every level, including President Obama, John Kerry, and Mr. (inaudible), who is still at his position, and by other people in high-level positions, but these promises were not kept. And even at one point, we were to send a delegation to tell that YPG was actually going to move to the eastern part of Euphrates, but from that visit we were not convinced and we learned later on that they had not moved. So in this process, we are going to start from Manbij, and we will be sure of the steps that we have taken.

We also need to ensure that YPG is going to move to the eastern part of the Euphrates. We need to see the implementation together, and Rex stated very clearly: For stability in these regions, we will talk about as to who is going to manage these cities and who is going to provide the security. If Manbij is 95 percent Arab town, it actually does not make any sense that YPG is going to provide security there, because that will mean that there will not be any stability there. So we will be talking with this understanding so that stability is attained and we will be rest assured of the security. It’s not just for Manbij, but we will start from there. And once YPG leaves that and after we have the trust established, we will be able to take steps together with the United States of America, but now YPG needs to leave that zone, and this is a commitment that the United States of America has made to us, and we will be talking about the implementation of how this promise will be kept. Thank you.

MODERATOR: (In Turkish.)

QUESTION: Thank you. Mr. Secretary, there seems to be a little short on specifics here. Do you agree that you are talking about what you’re going to do in the future and you have not agreed on specific steps that will begin starting today? And can you explain why it has taken so long for two allies to come together with an agreement on what seems to be a very basic principle, that two allies will not shoot at each other in Syria and one will not give the other an “Ottoman slap”? Are you confident that in the future some of the rhetoric will be turned down, and what has been the hang-up?

And Mr. Foreign Minister, I wanted to ask you if you agree that some of the rhetoric in recent weeks from yourself and your president has been overheated and unhelpful. And also, what will it take for your government to finally be confident enough to lift the state of emergency and release thousands of your own citizens, plus the American citizens and embassy employees who have been imprisoned on what much of the world considers to be very flimsy evidence? Thank you.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, with respect to how we’re going forward – and that’s what all of the discussion here was about, recognizing where we find ourselves. And I think as the foreign minister indicated, we find ourselves at a bit of a crisis point in the relationship. And we could go back and revisit how we got here, but we don’t think that’s useful. We’ve decided and President Erdogan decided last night we needed to talk about how do we go forward. The relationship is too important, it’s too valuable to NATO and our NATO allies, it’s too valuable to the American people, it’s too valuable to the Turkish people for us to not do anything other than concentrate on how are we going forward.

And out of the meetings last night – and much of our staff was up through the night to memorialize how we’re going to go about this, and we’ll share a little bit of that in the joint statement. We’re going to reserve a lot of the details because there’s a lot of work yet to be done, and we – and our working teams need to be allowed to do that work in a very open, frank, honest way with one another so that we can chart the way forward together. And I think that’s the important point I want you to take away here, is we’re not going to act alone any longer. We’re not going to be U.S. doing one thing and Turkey doing another. We are going to act together from this point forward. We’re going to lock arms, we’re going to work through the issues that are causing difficulties for us, and we’re going to resolve them and we’re going to move forward with the future defeat of ISIS in terms of coordinating our efforts to complete this battle, which is not yet complete; to addressing other terrorist presence inside of Syria; to stabilizing areas and ensuring that the stability architecture, both security forces and governing councils, are representative of the conditions that existed in those cities before they were overrun by ISIS.

And we have good mechanisms on how we can achieve that, but there’s a lot of work to be done. People are going to have to roll their sleeves up. We’re going to get started very quickly. As the foreign minister said, we’re going to have the first round of these engagements before the middle of March. We know we need to move with some sense of urgency and promptness to address this, because we have a serious situation still inside of Syria, and we need to address that jointly together.

So I would say the specifics will emerge out of the work as we allow these groups to come together, but I think the objective, we’ve made clear as to what our objective is. So now we’re going to have a team of people working towards putting that in place and implementing it, and we’ve given you a little bit – just a little bit of a peek of some of the early priorities we’re going to place for these groups to work on.

FOREIGN MINISTER CAVUSOGLU: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much for your question. Since last night, we have been talking about how we can overcome these problems, and these are not just explanations and announcements coming from our side. That will not be a realistic approach. Our declarations was not declarations of enmity. And of course, we were taking into consideration our worries and the realities that we show – show from our side.

Likewise, as politicians, sometimes we take certain steps, and by the steps that we take and by the commitments that we have paid, we might be guiding this popular sentiment with the positive inputs. But when it comes to a point – this is true for all political sphere, but in Turkey, the president of the republic and we as politicians, including me, we should be voicing the opinion of the Turkish public, because we are representing them. And the declarations that we made were just ramifications of the popular thought in Turkey.

Secondly, the detention or the prosecution that is taking place – this does not have anything to do with the state of emergency in Turkey, and this state of emergency is nothing to restrict the fundamental rights and freedoms of Turkish citizens or anybody living in Turkey. In 2003, one of the first steps that we took when we came to government was actually to remove the state of emergency in southeast part of Turkey. In some European countries, after one terrorist attack there is a state of emergency declared. But we, on the other hand, were – the leader of a terrorist organization who is residing in Pennsylvania attempted a coup in our country. So with the state of emergency, we needed to take rapid steps against this terrorist organization. This was the expectation of our people. So the prosecution that is continuing in Turkey has been in line with the EU, with the Council of Europe criteria, and in line with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the legislation which has been democratically enacted in Turkey in parallel with those standards.

So this prosecution within the state of emergency has nothing to do with any judicial proceeding that goes on in this period. Therefore, independent courts that have been established and that have been reformed with the legislation in parallel to the standards of the EU and the Council of Europe are conducted. It does not have any – does not receive any direction from any other third country or a political intervention from within. And the state of emergency does not have any connection to this. We do hope that within this whole process we would always have the following: that in terms of accelerating in the prosecution we might have certain recommendations, but in the end, the independent judiciary passes judgment. The appeal process is open. You can go all the way up to the constitutional court. We do have an individual application system to the constitutional court and even the European Court of Human Rights. So the remedies in terms of the legal sphere go all the way up to Strasbourg within that understanding.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Gonca Senay from TRT World. I have questions to both ministers. In terms of earning in the trust of the Turkish public, I think we listed the expectations on the Turkish side, but I do want to ask a question to Mr. Tillerson, especially reminding him of the budget drop that was proposed by Pentagon. Will the arms assistance provided to YPG by the United States of America – is it going to cease? And this morning, there was certain news that the Turkish soldiers would be acting together with the American soldiers in Manbij. Thirdly, will you take a step on the FETO issue?

Mr. Cavusoglu, my question to you is that you talked about certain mechanisms involving FETO, and you said that you were talking about the mid-March. Is there any timetable, or is this an agreement that both sides have reached? And what is going to be the level of this working group? What level in the administration? Thank you.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: With respect to DOD’s budget for the coming year, only sufficient funds have been included in their budget to continue the defeat of ISIS campaign, and this is to continue to supply the SDF forces primarily with ammunition, because this fight goes on. There’s no more being provided than we believe is necessary to complete the battle to defeat Daesh.

The question of Manbij is one that, as I said, is going to be given priority in our joint working group effort, and this is one of – as the foreign minister indicated, one of the issues for us to work together on is what kind of security should be provided. Manbij is strategically a very important city from the standpoint of our defeat of Daesh but also our containment and ensuring that they do not re-emerge. It’s geographically important. That’s why the U.S. has left a troop presence in Manbij to ensure that that city remains under control of our allied forces and does not fall into the hands of others. So that will be a topic for discussion in terms of how we go forward to ensure Manbij remains within our control because of its strategic importance.

And we did agree – we had a lot of conversation last night with President Erdogan regarding the concerns over Fethullah Gulen back in the United States as well as his organization, and we’ve agreed that we will continue to examine all the evidence that can be provided to us. We will continue our own efforts at our own independent investigations to ensure that we know when illegal activities are being carried out in the United States, and we remain open and anxious to receive any new information and evidence that the Turkish Government can provide us as well. So it remains an open investigation with the United States.

FOREIGN MINISTER CAVUSOGLU: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much. As I have just mentioned and I – as I repeatedly say, the purpose of these mechanisms and working groups is to keep the promises that were not kept so far, and in order to take tangible and concrete steps. This is true for YPG; this is true for FETO as well. And in Syria, not only ISIS/ISIL, because we have achieved important results regarding ISIS/ISIL, and the Republic of Turkey has fighted more than everyone in this fight, and it just killed more than 3,000 Turks in just Syria. And as – in – with regards to foreign fighters, their extradition and their prevention in terms of entering in the country, we have taken important steps and we have also served as a co-chair as well in the council. But we need to fight against all types of terrorist organizations in order to achieve the political framework that we have just described with new constitution, with new laws. We want to take the country to an election.

Of course, these working groups will have different boards, and for example, in the first one, the ministry of foreign affairs will be the coordinator. However, there will be officers from the intelligence unit from the ministry of justice as well. And especially regarding financial crimes and regarding topics about the corruptions of FETO terrorist organizations, we will have representatives from the department of financial crimes. And as it was mentioned by Rex and by relevant authorities, recently there are investigations carried out regarding FETO schools in this United States, and it will bear us the results about the corruption taking place in the U.S. and how they achieve, how they earn these money for election. And with just simple investigations, we – they will see these results.

And again, regarding Syria, we will have our soldiers – I mean the ministry of defense – we will have intelligence units and other relevant authorities in these groups and in these wars. So we have identified the participants and we have agreed on the parties as well, and from now on we will try to come together and achieve results altogether.

QUESTION: Did you warn Turkey that they could be subject to sanctions under CAATSA legislation if they go ahead with the purchase of the S-400 system?

And for you, Mr. Foreign Minister, would the threat of U.S. sanctions stop you from going ahead with the purchase of the S-400 system? And if you do buy the system, do you still want to remain in NATO if you’re obtaining the weapons from Russia?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: We did discuss the impact of the CAATSA law that was passed by the Congress last summer that deals with purchases of Russian military equipment. I discussed it last night with President Erdogan; we had further discussions this morning about it. And indeed, it’s in the first group of issues that the foreign minister is referring to. We need to put a group of experts together, and we’ll look at the circumstances around that, as we’ve done with governments all over the world, not just Turkey, because the intent of that legislation was not to harm our friends and allies. But it is directed at Russia for its interference in our elections. So we’ve been advising countries around the world as to what the impact on their relationship and purchases that they might be considering with Russia, and many have reconsidered those and have decided to not proceed with those discussions.

Every case is individual on its own. We want to consult with Turkey and at least ensure they understand what might be at risk in this particular transaction. We don’t have all the details yet, so I can’t give you any kind of a conclusion, but it’ll be given very careful scrutiny, obviously, and we’ll fully comply with the law. And we are – we are now implementing CAATSA and fully applying it around the world.

FOREIGN MINISTER CAVUSOGLU: Thank you very much. First and foremost, I need to underline that I am against the terminology that you use. You used the threat terminology. That is not a correct terminology to be used because it is true for all countries and states. We never use the language of threat and we deny if it is used against us, because this is not correct.

But as Rex has also indicated, this was not something that we talked just yesterday and today. When we met in Vancouver, we talked about this, and from time to time when we have phone conversations, we talk about such issues. This was again brought to the agenda in one of those talks. Of course, there is a law that was enacted by the United States Congress, and they explained this legislation to us. But on the other hand, this is our national security, and it’s important for our national security. I have emergency need of an air defense system. We want to purchase this from our allies, but this does not exist. So even when we are purchasing small-scale arms, the Congress or some other European parliaments, we have – we have and we had difficulty in purchasing these because of these excuses, and I have an emergency need. And the Russian Federation came up with attractive proposals for us. We also talked to other countries, not just with Russia, but we talked about this issue of emergency need with many countries and we had bilateral talks.

Also, in the mid-term, we talked about joint production and technology transfer. We focused on this because this is important for Turkey. And lastly, during the Paris visit of our president – with Eurosam – this is a French-Italian partnership – there was a pre-agreement signed, a memorandum of understanding signed with these groups. So we do not have any problems with our allies. Why should we not meet this requirement with NATO? But, of course, when it is not met within this platform, we need to look for alternative resources. Otherwise, some batteries – some Patriot were withdrawn from our frontier. Some European allies withdrew them. We have (inaudible) of the Italians and Patriots of Spain, and we do not have any other air defense. And we need to meet this requirement as soon as possible. And when we talked to Russia, this was actually an agreement that we reached before the legislation in Congress was enacted. And the remaining part was about the details of loans, et cetera.

Of course, we talked about all of these, and we will take into consideration this – within this working group the commission, but all of us need to understand each other and respect each other. Thank you very much.


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Press Releases: Department Seeks Partner for U.S. Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai

ven, 02/16/2018 - 13:56
Media Note Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC
February 16, 2018

Today, the Department published a Request for Proposal in the Federal Register (#2018-03116) for the fundraising, project management, design, construction, operation, and disassembly and removal of a USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Expo 2020 Dubai, which will take place October 20, 2020 – April 10, 2021 and coincide with the UAE’s 50th founding anniversary, will be the first Expo (also known as a World’s Fair) to take place in the Middle East, North Africa, or South Asia. It is expected to attract 25 million visitors from the region and around the world. The UAE is the largest export market for U.S. goods and services in the Middle East.

On October 19, 2017, the Secretary informed the UAE Government of the United States’ intention to participate with an official USA Pavilion, contingent upon identification of a viable private sector partner and successful fundraising efforts.

The theme of Expo 2020 Dubai is Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, representing the potential of what can be achieved when meaningful collaborations and partnerships are forged. The Expo’s subthemes are Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability. The USA Pavilion would emphasize the “Mobility” sub-theme, and the pavilion’s architecture and interior design should communicate American progress, ingenuity, and innovation in social, physical, and mechanical mobility in commerce and the arts.

Over the next two months, the Department’s Expo Unit will hold a series of virtual and in-person information sessions on U.S. participation in Expo 2020 Dubai in Washington, New York, Detroit, San Francisco, and Houston. For further information visit the Department’s Expo Unit site (https://www.state.gov/r/expo/). For more information on Expo 2020 Dubai visit https://expo2020dubai.ae/


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