President Duque, President Varela, President Morales, and especially President Guaido of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela – Vice President Mourao, your Excellencies – it’s an honor to address the nations gathered here at this momentous hour for the people of Venezuela and for the progress of freedom in this hemisphere.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) arrived in Odesa, Ukraine, Feb. 25, 2019 for a scheduled port visit as part of our continued Black Sea presence and support to our region partners.
The United States expresses our deep gratitude to the United Arab Emirates, its people, and its leadership in facilitating the release of Mr. Burch. I applaud the innumerable lines of effort from across the U.S. Government to enable this effort, to include the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Robert O’Brien, U.S. Embassy Abu Dhabi, and the Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell.
It is my honor today to announce that Danny Burch, a United States citizen who has been held hostage in Yemen for 18 months, has been recovered and reunited with his wife and children. I appreciate the support of the United Arab Emirates in bringing Danny home. Danny’s recovery reflects the best of what the United States and its partners can accomplish.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (PDAS) for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, Ambassador Alice Wells will travel with a delegation to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and Tashkent, Uzbekistan on February 25-28.
Today has been a historic day. Interim President Juan Guaido, the National Assembly and the people of Venezuela have been an inspiration to the world. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers turned out in peace to face down a dictator and help to carry life-saving humanitarian aid to their fellow citizens.
The United States is gravely concerned by reports that prosecutors in Turkey moved to indict 16 civil society, media, and business leaders. Exercising the right to freedom of expression should not result in an aggravated life sentence.
The United States strongly condemns the Venezuelan military’s use of force against unarmed civilians and innocent volunteers on Venezuela’s border with Brazil. Press reports indicate that the military has killed two indigenous people and has injured many other people attempting to keep the border open to humanitarian aid.
The United States stands with the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C.) following that country’s historic transfer of power. The elections reflect the desire of the people of the D.R.C. for change and accountable government institutions.
Assistant Secretary Kimberly Breier will travel to Brazil and Paraguay February 24 through March 2 to promote regional prosperity, security, democracy, and human rights.