On behalf of the United States, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, France, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands, I thank all of you for your briefings. Our presence at this gathering sends a strong message of commitment to inclusive and credible elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo on December 23, 2018.
Today President Trump requested $39.3 billion for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) budget. This request upholds the President’s commitment, as outlined in the National Security Strategy and the State Department and USAID’s Joint Strategic Plan, to protect our security, rights, and values.
Secretary Tillerson had a productive meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fatteh al-Sisi Monday in Cairo. They discussed our two countries’ shared commitment to fight terrorism in all its forms, and particularly to continue our efforts as members of the global coalition to defeat ISIS.
MODERATOR: Welcome, everybody. We’re going to get started. We have about 30 minutes for this briefing, so I don’t want to waste any time. I would like to welcome Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Francisco Palmieri back to the Foreign Press Center. He’s here to discuss a review of Secretary Tillerson’s recent trip to Latin America and the Caribbean, and also to discuss issues of strategic importance in the Western Hemisphere. And with that he’ll make opening remarks, and then we’ll open it for questions.
The United States welcomes reports of the four U.S.-funded World Food Programme cranes offloading goods at Hudaydah port. These cranes are offloading key supplies for the people of Yemen and will allow greater throughput of critical humanitarian assistance and goods.
On February 7th and 8th, the United States and France further deepened their joint commitment to an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure cyberspace during a whole of government cyber bilateral dialogue. The meeting covered approaches to address domestic cybersecurity challenges, ways to strengthen international security and stability in cyberspace, and updates on cyber-related diplomatic and capacity building efforts. Discussions also focused on efforts to counter malicious state and non-state cyber activities, the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes, and cybercrime.
Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo remain imprisoned by the Burmese government for pursuing a story about previously unreported mass graves in Rakhine State.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Hi, folks. Senior Department Official One here with you. So as you know, part of the visit to – on this trip is going to involve a trip to Amman, Jordan. It’s something that Secretary Tillerson had been planning on doing for quite a long time.
The United States denounces the decision by Venezuela’s National Electoral Council to unilaterally advance presidential elections without guarantees to ensure free, fair, and internationally-validated elections. These elections do not have the agreement of all political parties and limit the ability of individuals to run in the election. By denying participation in the electoral process, the Maduro regime continues to dismantle Venezuela’s democracy and reveals its authoritarian rule.
Yesterday, the Venezuelan opposition announced that their negotiations with the government ended without agreement on a way to end the country’s worsening political crisis. The opposition rejected a draft proposal by the Maduro regime that did not include even the most basic elements for guaranteeing credible elections.