MODERATOR: Good morning, Mr. Mehta and Lalit Jha, glad you could join us this morning. And good afternoon from London. This is from the State Department’s London Media Hub. I’d like to welcome our participants, who have dialed in from around the world. Today we’re joined by Mr. Simon Henshaw, who is our Acting Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration. Acting Assistant Secretary Henshaw will discuss his recent trip to the region, humanitarian and human rights concerns stemming from the Rakhine State crisis, and U.S. support for refugees in Bangladesh and the region. Acting Assistant Secretary Henshaw is speaking to us from Washington D.C. We will begin with remarks from the Assistant Secretary, then we will open it up to your questions. Please press *1 on your phone to join the question queue. If you are using a speakerphone, you may need to pick up the handset before entering *1. Today’s call is on the record and will last approximately 30 minutes. And with that, I’ll turn it over to the Acting Assistant Secretary.
Today, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) are announcing amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR), respectively, to implement changes to the Cuba sanctions program announced by the President in June.
The United States welcomes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's statement exposing the Iranian regime's support for Houthi militias, including the supply of illegal arms such as ballistic missiles. We condemn the Iranian regime's activities and stand with Saudi Arabia and all our Gulf partners against the Iranian regime's aggression and blatant violations of international law. These missile systems were not present in Yemen before the conflict, and we call upon the United Nations to conduct a thorough examination of evidence that the Iranian regime is perpetuating the war in Yemen to advance its regional ambitions. The United States calls on all nations to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its repeated violations of UN Security Council Resolutions 2216 and 2231, which ban arms transfers to the Houthis and prohibit Iran from exporting all arms and related materiel and specifically ballistic missile-related items.
In our short time in your country, Melania and I have been awed by its ancient and modern wonders, and we are deeply moved by the warmth of your welcome. Last night, President and Mrs. Moon showed us incredible hospitality in a beautiful reception at the Blue House. We had productive discussions on increasing military cooperation and improving the trade relationship between our nations on the principle of fairness and reciprocity.
The United States is concerned by persistent flaws in the Nicaraguan democratic process, as illustrated by the November 5 municipal elections. Although voting itself was calm, we condemn the post-electoral violence, lament the loss of life, and call for an investigation that brings those responsible to justice. We are seriously troubled by credible reports of irregularities throughout this electoral process.
On October 26, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), a body established by unanimous decision of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), concluded that the Assad regime is responsible for the use of sarin in Khan Shaykhun on 4 April 2017.
Saudi Arabia recently released information regarding a ballistic missile launched by the Houthis into Saudi Arabia in July 2017. The information shows that the missile was an Iranian Qiam – a type of weapon that had not been present in Yemen before the conflict, constituting violations of UN Security Council Resolutions 2216 and 2231.
Let me start by congratulating the Iraqi Security Forces on their recent successes as they drive ISIS out of Iraq. On Sunday, the prime minister raised the Iraqi flag on the border at Al-Qa'im, another milestone in the defeat of ISIS as a physical caliphate.
On the afternoon of October 14, 2017, two bombs exploded in downtown Mogadishu. The first and larger of the two bombs, a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, killed and injured hundreds of people, leveled two city blocks, collapsed nearby buildings, and left an enormous crater near one of the city’s major intersections.
Today, the National Day for the Victims of Communism, marks 100 years since the Bolshevik Revolution took place in Russia. The Bolshevik Revolution gave rise to the Soviet Union and its dark decades of oppressive communism, a political philosophy incompatible with liberty, prosperity, and the dignity of human life.