MODERATOR: Okay, thank you, sir. Good afternoon, and thanks, everyone, for joining us for today’s background call previewing Secretary Tillerson’s trip to Europe. We’re joined by [Senior State Department Official], who will be referred to as Senior State Department Official. As a reminder, today’s call is on background and it will be embargoed until the conclusion of the call. And with that, I’d be happy to turn it over to our senior State Department official for some opening remarks, and then we’ll take some questions.
MODERATOR: Good morning. Thank you, sir. Good morning, everyone, and thanks for joining us for today’s background call on U.S. policy on Syria, and specifically the implications of the Secretary’s speech that took place in California earlier this week.
We’re joined today by [Senior State Department Official], who will be referred to as Senior State Department Official. As a reminder, today’s call is on background and will be embargoed until the conclusion of the call. With that, I’m happy to turn it over to our senior State Department official for some brief opening remarks, and then we’ll open it up for your questions. If you could please try to keep your questions to one a time so we can get around to as many journalists as possible. Thank you.
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon and Canadian Assistant Deputy Minister for International Security and Political Affairs Mark Gwozdecky co-chaired the eleventh U.S.-Canada High-Level Policy Review Group on January 19, in Washington, D.C. The Review Group, which last met in Ottawa on June 1, 2017, discussed a broad range of bilateral, regional, and global issues on which the United States and Canada cooperate.
Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan will travel to New York on January 19 to participate in a ministerial-level, United Nations Security Council meeting on “Building Regional Partnership in Afghanistan and Central Asia as a Model to Link Security and Development.”
On January 21, he will arrive in London, where he will meet with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and National Security Advisor Mark Sedwill to discuss our cooperation on issues of mutual concern around the world, including Iran, Syria, Libya, the DPRK and Ukraine.
Ambassador Nikki Haley, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, delivered remarks at a UN Security Council briefing on nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
SECRETARY TILLERSON: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much.
Well, good morning. And I really, really appreciate this opportunity to swing down to Stanford while I was out on the West Coast and particularly to address this group. And I want to thank Stanford and the Hoover Institution and the international studies group for allowing me to speak to you this morning. I have familiarity with the Hoover Institution; I’ve spoken at some of their events in the past in my prior life, and it has consistently produced great, principled scholarship that makes the calls for representative government, private enterprise, and protecting the American way of life right at the center of your activities, and very important topics that we spend our time on.
Ambassador Nikki Haley, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, delivered remarks during a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Libya. In her remarks, Ambassador Haley underscored the importance of prioritizing basic human rights for those affected by the crisis and expressed U.S. support of the UN’s efforts to facilitate a political process that can lead to peace.
Ambassador Wells: Hi. Thank you again for being here so early in the morning.
I wanted to have a chance to discuss my consultations yesterday where I was able to stress, really, the continued importance to the United States of our bilateral relationship with Pakistan. I look at the 70 years of cooperation as a time when we often, Pakistan and the United States, have really written some of the great chapters of history together. We are very invested in Pakistan’s economic success. We’re Pakistan’s largest export destination with $6 billion in bilateral trade. We’ve achieved, I think, phenomenal accomplishments working with Pakistan in the area of energy cooperation, adding over 3,000 megawatts of energy, again, as part of this broader strategy to help Pakistan succeed economically.
When we talk about Libya today, so many of the problems we face go back to one key issue: respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. This conflict began when the Libyan people rejected the Qadhafi regime’s decades of oppression and tyranny. This brutal dictatorship left Libya with weak institutions, which gave political spoilers, criminal gangs, and terrorists a chance to exploit Libya for their own purposes.