The United States welcomes the urgent and long awaited medical evacuations that took place over the past forty-eight hours from Eastern Ghouta in Syria. We also extend our gratitude to the humanitarian and medical professionals on the ground for their compassion and tireless work. Their dedication and efforts to save lives in the most difficult of environments illustrate the best in humanity.
There are many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with the regime's corruption and its squandering of the nation's wealth to fund terrorism abroad.
The United States welcomes yesterday’s exchange between the government of Ukraine and Russia-led forces in eastern Ukraine of more than 300 detainees. This exchange is one step toward implementation of the Minsk agreements. We once again call on the sides to fully implement their Minsk commitments including through a true “all-for-all” detainee exchange; a full ceasefire; the withdrawal of heavy weapons; safe and secure access for OSCE Special Monitoring Mission monitors; and humanitarian access to the conflict zone.
The United States strongly condemns today's barbaric attack at a cultural and social center in Kabul, Afghanistan, and offers its deepest condolences to the victims and their families.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke yesterday by phone.
The two discussed concerns related to the DPRK’s destabilizing nuclear program and emphasized that neither the United States nor Russia accepts the DPRK as a nuclear power.
Today, the United Nations agreed on a budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Among a host of other successes, the United States negotiated a reduction of over $285 million off the 2016-2017 final budget. In addition to these significant cost savings, we reduced the UN’s bloated management and support functions, bolstered support for key U.S. priorities throughout the world, and instilled more discipline and accountability throughout the UN system.
In response to the November 29, 2017 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch by North Korea, United Nations Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 2397 imposes strong new sanctions on North Korea’s energy, export, and import sectors with new maritime authorities to help shut down North Korea’s illicit smuggling activities.
The United States condemns the illegitimate Constituent Assembly’s continued attacks on Venezuelan democracy. On December 20, it passed a decree to effectively ban certain political opposition parties from participating in the 2018 presidential election.
I arrived in Hyderabad, India in the evening. Even in the obscurity of darkness, I could make out the brightly colored signs welcoming delegates to the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES). With the significant time difference, I was very much awake and ready to take on the coming week.
So today, we’re here to bring you two senior State Department officials to brief you on two important foreign policy issues. First, I’d like to introduce you to our Deputy Assistant Secretary for Arabian Gulf Affairs, Tim Lenderking. Many of you perhaps know Tim. He is here to speak about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. You may have seen a short while ago that the White House put out an announcement on Yemen and the changes, we believe, to the humanitarian situation there. In addition, USAID put out a statement as well.