The United States stands with the Venezuelan people, and supports their efforts to resolve the economic, political, and humanitarian crises facing their country. We remain deeply concerned that the Venezuelan people are experiencing dire humanitarian conditions, to include lack of access to affordable food and vital medicine, medical supplies, malnutrition, and a rise in malaria cases, among other harsh realities.
Upon taking office, President Trump identified North Korea as the United States’ greatest national security threat. That judgment remains the same today.
After its ICBM launch on November 29th, the North Korean government claimed that it now possessed the capability to strike any location in the continental United States. North Korea’s growing capabilities reflect a direct threat to our security and the security of the entire world. We do not regard this claim as an empty threat.
Today’s NAC statement on the INF Treaty shows once again the solidarity of the United States and our NATO Allies on speaking to Russia with one voice about its dangerous and destabilizing behavior. Our Allies reaffirmed that the U.S. is in compliance with our obligations under the INF Treaty and that Russia’s behavior raises serious concerns.
We commend United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and his team for their efforts in the latest round of Syria talks in Geneva. We also note the constructive participation of the Syrian opposition delegation, which stands in contrast to the obstructionism and procrastination of the Syrian regime delegation.
More than 25 governments – from the Middle East, South America, Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia, and North America – participated in this session, along with Europol and INTERPOL. The LECG session focused on Hizballah’s terrorist plotting and activities, and in particular on how the organization moves operatives and goods across borders. Participants discussed how law enforcement and border security tools can be used to counter these types of transnational threats.
It’s really important that you be here today, because we have a story to tell, and the story is a very important one. And it’s not just important for the United States, it’s important for the entire international community. As President Trump announced on October 13, the United States is taking a new approach to Iran by focusing on all of the regime’s destabilizing behavior. That means we are focused not just on the nuclear program.
On December 12, U.S. citizen Joshua Holt was charged after more than 17 months of detention. U.S. Embassy personnel were not permitted to observe Mr. Holt’s court hearing on December 12.
Washington – The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated Okot Lukwang and Musa Hatari pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13667, which targets certain persons contributing to the conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR), including those that support armed groups involved in activities that threaten the peace, security, or stability of the CAR through the illicit trade of natural resources. Both designated persons facilitated the transfer of ivory, weapons, and money in support of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).
Ambassador Kaidanow is going to talk about a newly published report. You should have it on the desks in front of you. It’s called, “To Walk the Earth in Safety,” and she’s here to talk a little bit more about this. It’s an annual State Department report that highlights the State Department’s commitment to conventional weapons destruction.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen will convene the second high-level dialogue with their Mexican counterparts to continue discussion on strategies to disrupt transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) on December 14 at 9:00 a.m. at the Department of State. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will also participate.