Europe and Eurasia: On the Attack in Strasbourg

Press Statement

Robert Palladino

Deputy Spokesperson

Washington, DC
December 12, 2018

The United States stands in solidarity with France and condemns in the strongest terms the horrific act of terror in Strasbourg. Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of those affected and with all the people of Strasbourg. We commend the work of the first responders, and are ready to provide any assistance that French officials require in this difficult time. We remain committed to working with France and our other allies and partners to defeat the global threat of terrorism. Crimes that target the innocent only reinforce our shared resolve to stop these senseless attacks and those who would commit them.

The U.S. Mission to France has issued a Security Alert to inform U.S. citizens of the attack, and stands ready to provide consular assistance to any affected U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens should maintain security awareness and monitor media and local information sources. We also strongly encourage U.S. citizens in Strasbourg to contact family and friends in the United States directly to inform them of their safety and whereabouts.

Europe and Eurasia: Remarks to the First Plenary of the 2018 OSCE Ministerial Council


A. Wess Mitchell

Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs

2018 Meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council
Milan, Italy
December 6, 2018

Thank you, Minister Moavero, for hosting us this week.

Secretary Pompeo regrets that he could not be here today. He returned to Washington to pay his respects to President George H.W. Bush. During his presidency, President Bush strongly supported the OSCE. In 1990, he joined in signing the Charter of Paris for a New Europe and the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.

President Bush’s words at the 1992 Helsinki Summit are worth recalling today. He said, “Our world has changed beyond recognition, but our principles have not changed …. With our principles as a compass, we must work … to channel change toward the peaceful order that this century has thus far failed to deliver.”

Twenty-six years later, the OSCE remains a crucial element of European security. The United States helped build this architecture, we are the largest financial contributor to the OSCE, and we are committed to strengthening it.

The Helsinki Final Act speaks of sovereign equality, the inviolability of national borders, the territorial integrity of states, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. These are non-negotiable pillars of the Act. The disregard that Russia has shown for these principles – through both repression at home and aggression abroad – should concern us all. The United States stands with courageous civil society members in Russia, who face intimidation and violence.

Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine demonstrates the need for us to redouble our OSCE efforts. As we have said on many prior occasions, the United States denounces Russia’s lawless actions in Ukraine. They are flagrant acts of belligerence.

We witnessed an escalation on November 25th, when Russian vessels rammed and fired on Ukrainian ships. This was the continuation of a pattern. Russia’s repeated aggression contravenes all ten foundational principles of the Helsinki Final Act – a document to which Russia itself is committed.

The consequences are not hard to see. Russia’s destabilizing actions have prompted NATO Allies to enhance their deterrence and defense posture.

In the past four years, Russia has precipitated Europe’s largest humanitarian crisis in a generation – one that has cost more than 10,000 casualties in eastern Ukraine, and displaced more than 1.5 million people from their homes. Ukrainians have been imprisoned, tortured, and killed. Crimean Tatars and others who resist Russian rule are arbitrarily prosecuted. The OSCE should not mince words when assigning responsibility for these acts.

As Secretary Pompeo made clear last summer in the Crimea Declaration, the United States will continue to impose consequences on Russia until Moscow fully implements the Minsk agreements and returns control of Crimea to Ukraine.

We call on Russia to end its aggression in Ukraine, to release the detained sailors and their vessels, to return control of Crimea to Ukraine, and to stop harassment of unarmed, OSCE civilian monitors.

Nearly 70 of those monitors, I should add, are American citizens. The United States is the single largest contributor to the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, which acts as our eyes and ears in the conflict zone.

It’s not only recent events in Ukraine that show Russia’s disregard for OSCE commitments. There are also Georgia and Moldova.

Russia’s continued occupation of Georgian territory and failure to fulfill commitments to withdraw forces from both places have prolonged these conflicts and deepened regional divisions.

Meanwhile, in the South Caucasus, we should continue to work toward a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The failure to uphold basic principles and commitments has damaged trust among OSCE states. Russia must honor its existing commitments.

Today we had hoped to welcome agreement on some initial steps to update the OSCE Vienna Document to help mitigate concerns regarding large-scale military exercises occurring ever more frequently on the continent. A large majority of the states around this table supported that effort, but Russia made it clear it did not see a need for military transparency. I call on Russia and all participating States to work together to change that dynamic. We should intensify our efforts next year with the goal of issuing an updated Vienna Document at the end of 2019.

OSCE states cannot turn a blind eye when Russia attacks the national sovereignty and borders of its neighbors, shoots down SMM drones, undermines basic human freedoms, and weakens our common security.

The United States, for our part, will continue to support the OSCE and its comprehensive approach to security.

Thank you.

Europe and Eurasia: The Thirteenth U.S.-Italy Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Technology

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC
December 7, 2018

The thirteenth U.S.-Italy Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Technology (JCM) convened December 3-6 in Washington, DC, culminating in the signing of a joint declaration at the U.S. Department of State. Italian and U.S. government agencies and research organizations met throughout the week to discuss advancements, continued research cooperation, and new initiatives to increase collaboration in areas such as physics, telecommunications, health and life sciences, forestry, and resilience to natural disasters. Notably, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research agreed to collaborate on particle accelerator construction at Fermilab. Furthermore, 18 new Italian research projects, managed in collaboration with U.S. government-funded American institutions, will be financed by the Italian Government. The thirteenth JCM coincided with the 30th anniversary of the signing of the original U.S.-Italy Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement.

For further information about the U.S-Italy JCM, please contact the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs at

Europe and Eurasia: Remarks at the Ukraine-Hosted Side Event at the 2018 OSCE Ministerial Council on Russian Aggression in Crimea, the Kerch Strait, and the Sea of Azov


A. Wess Mitchell

Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs

25th OSCE Ministerial Council
Milan, Italy
December 6, 2018

Thank you, Pavlo, for organizing this important event.

The past four years of Russian aggression against Ukraine I think have been a wake-up call for all of us. If ever in the OSCE’s history there were a reason for its existence, it’s today, in Ukraine. Recent events in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov should give us all a new sense of urgency.

Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea near the Kerch Strait is a dangerous escalation. Russia’s aim is to debase Ukraine’s sovereignty and negate its territorial integrity. Russia’s aggression includes its self-described annexation of Crimea. The world pays far too little attention to the abuses occurring every day against countless Ukrainian civilians in Crimea and Donbas. Altogether, this conflict has so far taken the lives of more than ten thousand people. This has happened in the 21st century, at the height of the modern era, in full view of international institutions like the OSCE.

Russia’s blocking of the Kerch Strait on November 25 constitutes an unambiguous violation of international law. Europe and America must respond firmly to Russia’s latest unjustified and unprovoked attack on a European state.

The United States calls on Russia to immediately release the 24 captured Ukrainian crew members and the three vessels it has unlawfully seized, and to keep the Kerch Strait open to vessels transiting to and from Ukrainian ports. Russia has reportedly charged the crew members with illegally crossing Russia’s maritime border.

This is an astonishing claim given that Crimea is Ukrainian territory. In essence, the Russian government is charging the Ukrainian sailors with illegally crossing the Ukrainian border. This from a Russian government that claims to champion the principles of national independence and sovereignty.

In reality, Russia has violated international law by blocking the Kerch Strait and then launched an unprovoked attack as the three Ukrainian vessels attempted to withdraw to their home port in Odessa. Ukrainians chose not to return fire. This is not a situation in which both sides are to blame. One party is to blame and that is Russia.

The United States’ response to Russian aggression has been firm. As Russia has ramped up its aggressive activities in the Sea of Azov over the past several months, the United States transferred two Coast Guard vessels to Ukraine to enhance its maritime security. We conducted the Sea Breeze naval exercise with Ukraine in conjunction with NATO Allies and issued multiple statements condemning Russian illegal maritime actions. We have also committed to maintaining sanctions against Russia for its aggression in eastern Ukraine and attempted annexation of Crimea. We have raised concerns about Russia’s action in the Sea of Azov on numerous occasions at the OSCE Permanent Council in the months leading up to the latest incident.

As Secretary Pompeo stated in his July 25 Crimea Declaration, we will never recognize Russia’s attempted annexation of Ukrainian territory. We will continue to impose costs for Russian aggression. We urge our European allies to show vigilance, unity, and moral clarity in the face of this latest aggression.

The United States encourages the OSCE to enable the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to increase reporting on the Sea of Azov and Kerch Strait. This effort can begin immediately and without a change to the SMM’s mandate. If, as the Russian Federation claims, its attacks on the retreating Ukrainian vessels off the coast of Ukrainian Crimea were somehow “provoked” by Ukraine, it should follow that the Russian Federation would support increasing the OSCE’s ability to monitor activities in and around the Kerch Strait.

The United States encourages the OSCE to confront the polite fiction at the heart of this institution that allows Russia to attack fellow OSCE member states, kill their civilians, shoot down SMM drones, deny SMM access to Crimea, and hold habitual snap exercises while impeding normal OSCE business, paying a paltry 4 percent of the budget of this organization, and claiming to be an OSCE participating State in good standing. The OSCE must confront this reality or expect to lose relevance in the 21st century.

Russia’s aggression near the Kerch Strait was a miscalculation. It has strengthened Western resolve to maintain sanctions against Russia and has galvanized the international community’s efforts to ensure respect for international law and lawful maritime passage.

By continuing on this path of aggression, Russia only further isolates itself and reduces the possibility of a better future for itself and its neighbors. It is time for Russia to rethink this approach, respect international law, and fulfill its commitments as an OSCE state and would-be member of the community of civilized nations.

Thank you.

Europe and Eurasia: Finland National Day

Press Statement

Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

Washington, DC
December 6, 2018

On behalf of the United States government, I congratulate the people of Finland on the 101st anniversary of your independence.

In 2019, the United States and Finland will celebrate 100 years of diplomatic relations and I am proud to say that our partnership is as strong as ever. We commend Finland for standing up and hosting the European Center of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats (Hybrid CoE) to support its work to increase preparedness, build resilience, and defend against hostile state influence activities. As a founding participating state, the United States is committed to the Hybrid CoE’s mission and to continuing our important partnership with Finland in this arena.

The United States and Finland share a deep commitment to democracy and human rights and partner on many issues, including the Arctic, regional and global security, and strengthening the economic and people-to-people ties between our great nations. The binational Fulbright Finland Foundation is one the strongest Fulbright programs in the world ensuring that the long history of exchange between our people will continue to grow.

Hyvaa itsenaisyyspaivaa! We look forward to the next 100 years of prosperity and growth in our U.S.-Finnish relationship.

Europe and Eurasia: Press Availability at NATO Headquarters

Press Availability

Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

Brussels, Belgium
December 4, 2018

SECRETARY POMPEO: Good evening, everyone. I want to begin this evening by expressing my condolences to the Bush family on the passing of a great man, President George H. W. Bush. He embodied literally the best of America in his devotion to public service and his ardent patriotism. My wife Susan and I mourn with President Trump and all of our fellow Americans as we celebrate his incredible life. Tomorrow I will join the President and my fellow cabinet members in honoring him during America’s national day of mourning.

President Bush, during his entire lifetime, was a relentless defender of transatlantic security. Today, we strive to emulate his example by asserting powerful American leadership on behalf of our people and our allies. When the INF Treaty was inked in 1987, it represented a good-faith effort between two rivals to de-escalate the threat of nuclear war. President Reagan described it as the realization of “an impossible vision,” and Mikhail Gorbachev said it had “universal significance for mankind.”

But whatever successes this treaty helped produce, today we must confront Russian cheating on its arms control obligations. As I told my fellow ministers earlier today, our nations have a choice. We either bury our head in the sand or we take common-sense action in response to Russia’s flagrant disregard for the express terms of the INF Treaty.

It’s worth noting that Russia’s violations didn’t happen overnight. Russia’s been flight-testing the SSC-8 cruise missile since the mid-2000s. They’ve been testing it in excess of ranges that the treaty permits. All the tests of the SSC-8 have originated from a Kapustin Yar site from both a fixed and mobile launcher. Its range makes it a direct menace to Europe.

In 2017, General Selva of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress that Russia had deployed its missile, and I quote, “in order to pose a threat to NATO and to facilities within the NATO area of responsibility,” end of quote. Russia continues to press forward, and as of late 2018 has filled multiple battalions of the SSC-8 missiles.

Throughout all of this, the United States has remained in scrupulous compliance with the treaty. In spite of Russia’s violations, we have exercised the utmost patience and effort in working to convince Russia to adhere to its terms. On at least 30 occasions since 2013, extending to the highest levels of leadership, we have raised Russia’s noncompliance and stressed that a failure to return to compliance would have consequences.

Russia’s reply has been consistent: deny any wrongdoing, demand more information, and issue baseless counter-accusations. For more than four years, Moscow has pretended that it didn’t know what missile or test the United States was even talking about, even when we provided extensive information about the missile’s characteristics and testing history. It was not until we chose to publicize the Russian name of the missile in November of 2017 that Russia finally acknowledged its existence. Then Russia changed its cover story from the missile that does not exist to the missile that exists but is treaty-compliant.

These violations of the INF Treaty cannot be viewed in isolation from the larger pattern of Russian lawlessness on the world stage. The list of Russia’s infamous acts is long: Georgia, Ukraine, Syria, election meddling, Skripal, and now the Kerch Strait, to name just a few.

In light of these facts, the United States today declares it has found Russia in material breach of the treaty and will suspend our obligations as a remedy effective in 60 days unless Russia returns to full and verifiable compliance.

We’re taking these steps for several reasons. First, Russia’s actions gravely undermine American national security and that of our allies and partners. It makes no sense for the United States to remain in a treaty that constrains our ability to respond to Russia’s violations. Russia has reversed the trajectory of diminishing nuclear risk in Europe, where America has tens of thousands of troops and where millions more American civilians are living and working. These Americans live and work alongside many more millions of Europeans who are put in danger by Russian missile systems.

Second, while Russia is responsible for the demise of the treaty, many other states – including China, North Korea, and Iran – are not parties to the INF Treaty. This leaves them free to build all the intermediate range missiles that they would like. There is no reason the United States should continue to cede this crucial military advantage to revisionist powers like China, in particular when these weapons are being used to threaten and coerce the United States and its allies in Asia.

If you ask the question why the treaty wasn’t enlarged to include more nations, including China, keep in mind that it has been tried three times without any success already, and it has failed each time.

Third, inertia will not drive policy in the Trump administration. As President Trump has made clear and as I spoke about this morning, the United States will not support international agreements that undermine our security, our interests, or our values.

Finally, and I want to be clear about this, America is upholding the rule of law. When we set forth our commitments, we agree to be bound by them. We expect the same of our treaty counterparts everywhere, and we will hold them accountable when their words prove untrustworthy. If we do not, we’ll get cheated by other nations, expose Americans to greater risk, and squander our credibility.

Earlier today, I spoke on America’s enduring leadership role in the international order and I reiterate that powerful American leadership means never abandoning our responsibility to protect our security and our nation’s sovereignty. I’ve stated our position in no uncertain terms. The United States remains hopeful that our relationship with Russia can get better, can get on better footing.

With that being said, the burden falls on Russia to make the necessary changes. Only they can save this treaty. If Russia admits its violations and fully and verifiably comes back into compliance we will, of course, welcome that course of action. But Russia and Russia only can take this step.

We appreciate NATO’s strong support for the United States decision as expressed in this statement released today. The United States and our NATO allies stand vigilant that Russia’s lawless conduct will not be tolerated in the realm of arms control or anywhere else.

Thank you.

MS NAUERT: We have time for several questions. The first one goes to Teri Schultz from Deutsche Welle. Teri.

QUESTION: Hi. Thank you. Secretary Pompeo, I’m here.


QUESTION: What does this mean concretely? What will the next steps be? Are you just waiting the 60 days and hoping that Europe can help pull Russia back into compliance? What exactly – how exactly will this play out now? And then does the six months start in 60 days? Just a few more details on that. Thank you.

SECRETARY POMPEO: You bet. So as I said in my remarks, we would welcome a Russian change of heart, a change in direction, the destruction of their program and their follow-on continuance of the terms of the treaty. And so over the next 60 days they have every chance to do so. And we would welcome that.

I will tell you, our European partners appreciate that extra time. We work closely with them. They asked for an extended period, and we, in our efforts to make sure that we had complete unity – and I will tell you, as you speak to the other 28 ministers who are here today, there is complete unity around this – we believe this is the right outcome. The six-month period will begin to run 60 days from now. During the 60 days, we will still not test or produce or deploy any systems, and we’ll see what happens during this 60-day period.

We’ve talked to the Russians a great deal. We’re hopeful they’ll change course, but there’s been no indication to date that they have any intention of doing so.

MS NAUERT: Jessica Donati from Wall Street Journal.

QUESTION: Yeah. Thank you. Beyond withdrawing from the – or suspending your membership of the INF Treaty, what other steps can you do to help Ukraine in what it’s suffering at the hands of Russia?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So there was lots of discussion about that today. I’ll leave to a couple of others to talk about the conversations. But two things were very clear from the time that we spent with the Ukrainian foreign minister as a group, is that there is complete unanimity that the Russian action was lawless and unacceptable and deterrents must be restored, and that that is a collective commitment of Europe and the world to deny Russia the capacity to continue to violate basic international law norms. We hope that the Russians will return the sailors that they’re holding today, just immediately. And we will collectively develop a set of responses that demonstrate to Russia that this behavior is simply unacceptable.

MS NAUERT: Emerald Robinson from One America News.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. You talked about, yes, the commitments with treaties in regards to the United States and its allies. But you also talked about international institutions and gave America’s viewpoint on that. You called out specifically the IMF and the World Bank and the UN. How do you think so many large international institutions can be reformed today? Is it a question of new leadership?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Every institution needs to be evaluated consistently, right. That doesn’t – multilateral, international organizations are no different. These organizations have now been around for an extended period of time, and each of them is worthy of full review. Do they still – are they still fit for purpose? Do they still serve their intended means? That’s what I spoke about this morning.

President Trump believes that if we exert American leadership and American national sovereignty and we evaluate these institutions against the objective of creating prosperity and peace around the world, that each of them is ripe for some piece of reform. And we’ll look at the parts that are working as I – and I described several institutions’ functions that are working. We’ll keep those. We’ll enhance those. We’ll want to be part of those.

But if it’s broken and it’s not delivering for America and for the world then we ought not rest on our laurels and think, “boy, that’s good,” just because it’s multilateral. That notion that the mere nature of something being multilateral is not in and of itself a good. The things that are good are the things that flow, the things that follow from the work that nation-states do as part of those multilateral organizations, and the United States is intent on being a leader to make sure each of those institutions that you mentioned is delivering.

MS NAUERT: Last question, Guy Taylor from Washington Times.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Back to the INF Treaty just for a second. You mentioned the prospect of the U.S. developing and deploying systems that would otherwise be in violation of the treaty. From a strategic perspective, is that kind of deployment something that the administration, the Trump administration, is really now preparing to do? And can you speak perhaps to European concerns about the prospect of the deployment of midrange nuclear weapons across Western Europe, for instance, that have been banned by this treaty for so long?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So I can say two things about that today. European nations can rest assured that as we prepare how we will all protect and create stability in Europe and around the world from the threat of intermediate nuclear range missiles, and those in particular from Russia, that we will be working closely with our European allies and other allies throughout the world who are also threatened by these missile systems. And so it won’t come to a surprise anyone what the United States is thinking, how we’re approaching it, and we will look for their assistance, their help, their inputs in how to develop a security architecture – an architecture that actually delivers.

I mean, we – just to be clear, we had a party – a treaty that had two parties, only one of which was compliant. That’s not an agreement. That’s just self-restraint, and it strategically no longer made sense to remain in that position and we’ll develop our course forward. I don’t want to say much about what the United States policy is going to be because there are lots of folks still to talk to. And I will also leave to the Department of Defense the nature and work that they’re doing on systems that will ultimately potentially be noncompliant.

MS NAUERT: Okay, thank you very much everyone. Thank you.

Europe and Eurasia: Restoring the Role of the Nation-State in the Liberal International Order


Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

German Marshall Fund
Brussels, Belgium
December 4, 2018

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Ian, for the kind introduction. Good morning to all of you; thank you for joining me here today. It’s wonderful to be in this beautiful place, to get a chance to make a set of remarks about the very work that you do, the issues that confront the Marshall Fund and confront our region as well.

Before I start today with my formal remarks, it would be – I would be enormously remiss if I did not pay a well-deserved tribute to America’s 41st president, George Herbert Walker Bush. He was a – many of you know him. He was an unyielding champion of freedom around the world — first as a fighter pilot in World War II, later as a congressman. He was the ambassador to the United Nations, and then an envoy to China. He then had the same job I had as the director of the CIA – I did it longer than he did. He was then the vice president under Ronald Reagan.

I got to know him some myself. He was a wonderful brother, a father, a grandfather, and a proud American. Indeed, America is the only country he loved more than Texas. (Laughter.)

I actually think that he would be delighted for me to be here today at an institution named after a fellow lover of freedom, George Marshall. And he would have been thrilled to see all of you here, such a large crowd gathered who are dedicated to transatlantic bonds, so many decades after they were first forged.

The men who rebuilt Western civilization after World War II, like my predecessor Secretary Marshall, knew that only strong U.S. leadership, in concert with our friends and allies, could unite the sovereign nations all around the globe.

So we underwrote new institutions to rebuild Europe and Japan, to stabilize currencies, and to facilitate trade. We all co-founded NATO to guarantee security for ourselves and our allies. We entered into treaties to codify Western values of freedom and human rights.

Collectively, we convened multilateral organizations to promote peace and cooperation among states. And we worked hard – indeed, tirelessly – to preserve Western ideals because, as President Trump made clear in his Warsaw address, each of those are worth preserving.

This American leadership allowed us to enjoy the greatest human flourishing in modern history. We won the Cold War. We won the peace. With no small measure of George H. W. Bush’s effort, we reunited Germany. This is the type of leadership that President Trump is boldly reasserting.

After the Cold War ended, we allowed this liberal order to begin to corrode. It failed us in some places, and sometimes it failed you and the rest of the world. Multilateralism has too often become viewed as an end unto itself. The more treaties we sign, the safer we supposedly are. The more bureaucrats we have, the better the job gets done.

Was that ever really true? The central question that we face is that – is the question of whether the system as currently configured, as it exists today, and as the world exists today – does it work? Does it work for all the people of the world?

Today at the United Nations, peacekeeping missions drag on for decades, no closer to peace. The UN’s climate-related treaties are viewed by some nations as simply a vehicle to redistribute wealth. Anti-Israel bias has been institutionalized. Regional powers collude to vote the likes of Cuba and Venezuela onto the Human Rights Council. The UN was founded as an organization that welcomed peace-loving nations. I ask: Today, does it continue to serve its mission faithfully?

In the Western Hemisphere, has enough been done with the Organization of American States to promote its four pillars of democracy, human rights, security, and economic development in a region that includes the likes of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua?

In Africa, does the African Union advance the mutual interest of its nation-state members?

For the business community, from which I came, consider this: The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were chartered to help rebuild war-torn territories and promote private investment and growth. Today, these institutions often counsel countries who have mismanaged their economic affairs to impose austerity measures that inhibit growth and crowd out private sector actors.

Here in Brussels, the European Union and its predecessors have delivered a great deal of prosperity to the entire continent. Europe is America’s single largest trading partner, and we benefit enormously from your success. But Brexit – if nothing else – was a political wake-up call. Is the EU ensuring that the interests of countries and their citizens are placed before those of bureaucrats here in Brussels?

These are valid questions. This leads to my next point: Bad actors have exploited our lack of leadership for their own gain. This is the poisoned fruit of American retreat. President Trump is determined to reverse that.

China’s economic development did not lead to an embrace of democracy and regional stability; it led to more political repression and regional provocations. We welcomed China into the liberal order, but never policed its behavior.

China has routinely exploited loopholes in the World Trade Organization rules, imposed market restrictions, forced technology transfers, and stolen intellectual property. And it knows that world opinion is powerless to stop its Orwellian human rights violations.

Iran didn’t join the community of nations after the nuclear deal was inked; it spread its newfound riches to terrorists and to dictators.

Tehran holds multiple American hostages, and Bob Levinson has been missing there for 11 years. Iran has blatantly disregarded UN Security Council resolutions, lied to the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors about its nuclear program, and evaded UN sanctions. Just this past week, Iran test fired a ballistic missile, in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

Earlier this year, Tehran used the U.S.-Iran Treaty of Amity to bring baseless claims against the United States before the International Court of Justice – most all of this malign activity during the JCPOA.

Russia. Russia hasn’t embraced Western values of freedom and international cooperation. Rather, it has suppressed opposition voices and invaded the sovereign nations of Georgia and of Ukraine.

Moscow has also deployed a military-grade nerve agent on foreign soil, right here in Europe, in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention to which it is a party. And as I’ll detail later today, Russia has violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty for many years.

The list goes on. We have to account for the world order of today in order to chart the way forward. It is what America’s National Security Strategy deemed “principled realism.” I like to think of it as “common sense.”

Every nation – every nation – must honestly acknowledge its responsibilities to its citizens and ask if the current international order serves the good of its people as well as it could. And if not, we must ask how we can right it.

This is what President Trump is doing. He is returning the United States to its traditional, central leadership role in the world. He sees the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. He knows that nothing can replace the nation-state as the guarantor of democratic freedoms and national interests. He knows, as George H.W. Bush knew, that a safer world has consistently demanded American courage on the world stage. And when we – and when we all of us ignore our responsibilities to the institutions we’ve formed, others will abuse them.

Critics in places like Iran and China – who really are undermining the international order – are saying the Trump administration is the reason this system is breaking down. They claim America is acting unilaterally instead of multilaterally, as if every kind of multilateral action is by definition desirable. Even our European friends sometimes say we’re not acting in the world’s interest. This is just plain wrong.

Our mission is to reassert our sovereignty, reform the liberal international order, and we want our friends to help us and to exert their sovereignty as well. We aspire to make the international order serve our citizens – not to control them. America intends to lead – now and always.

Under President Trump, we are not abandoning international leadership or our friends in the international system. Indeed, quite the contrary. Just look, as one example, at the historic number of countries which have gotten on board our pressure campaign against North Korea. No other nation in the world could have rallied dozens of nations, from every corner of the world, to impose sanctions on the regime in Pyongyang.

International bodies must help facilitate cooperation that bolsters the security and values of the free world, or they must be reformed or eliminated.

When treaties are broken, the violators must be confronted, and the treaties must be fixed or discarded. Words should mean something.

Our administration is thus lawfully exiting or renegotiating outdated or harmful treaties, trade agreements, and other international arrangements that do not serve our sovereign interests, or the interests of our allies.

We announced our intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, absent better terms for the United States. The current pact would’ve siphoned money from American paychecks and enriched polluters like China.

In America, we’ve found a better solution – we think a better solution for the world. We’ve unleashed our energy companies to innovate and compete, and our carbon emissions have declined dramatically.

We changed course from the Iran deal, because of, among other things, Tehran’s violent and destabilizing activities, which undermined the spirit of the deal and put the safety of American people and our allies at risk. In its place, we are leading our allies to constrain Iran’s revolutionary ambitions and end Iran’s campaigns of global terrorism. And we needn’t a new bureaucracy to do it. We need to continue to develop a coalition which will achieve that outcome which will keep people in the Middle East, in Europe, and the entire world safe from the threat from Iran.

America renegotiated our treaty, NAFTA, to advance the interests of the American worker. President Trump proudly signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement at the G20 this past weekend in Buenos Aires, and on Friday will submit it to the Congress, a body accountable to the American people.

The new agreement also includes renegotiation provisions, because no trade agreement is permanently suited to all times.

We have encouraged our G20 partners to reform the WTO, and they took a good first step in Buenos Aires this last week.

I spoke earlier about the World Bank and the IMF. The Trump Administration is working to refocus these institutions on policies that promote economic prosperity, pushing to halt lending to nations that can already access global capital markets – countries like China – and pressing to reduce taxpayer handouts to development banks that are perfectly capable of raising private capital on their own.

We’re also taking leadership, real action to stop rogue international courts, like the International Criminal Court, from trampling on our sovereignty – your sovereignty – and all of our freedoms. The ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor is trying to open an investigation into U.S. personnel in connection with the war in Afghanistan. We will take all necessary steps to protect our people, those of our NATO allies who fight alongside of us inside of Afghanistan from unjust prosecution. Because we know that if it can happen to our people, it can happen to yours too. It is a worthy question: Does the court continue to serve its original intended purpose?

The first two years of the Trump administration demonstrate that President Trump is not undermining these institutions, nor is he abandoning American leadership. Quite the opposite. In the finest traditions of our great democracy, we are rallying the noble nations of the world to build a new liberal order that prevents war and achieves greater prosperity for all.

We’re supporting institutions that we believe can be improved; institutions that work in American interests – and yours – in service of our shared values.

For example, here in Belgium in 1973, banks from 15 countries formed SWIFT to develop common standards for cross-border payments, and it’s now an integral part of our global financial infrastructure.

SWIFT recently disconnected sanctioned Iranian banks from its platform because of the unacceptable risk they pose to a system – to the system as a whole. This is an excellent example of American leadership working alongside an international institution to act responsibly.

Another example: the Proliferation Security Initiative, formed by 11 nations under the Bush administration to stop trafficking in weapons of mass destruction. It has since grown organically to 105 countries and has undoubtedly made the world safer.

And I can’t forget, standing here, one of the most important international institutions of them all – which will continue to thrive with American leadership. My very first trip, within hours of having been sworn in as a secretary of state, I traveled here to visit with our NATO allies. I’ll repeat this morning what I said then – this is an indispensable institution. President Trump wants everyone to pay their fair share so we can deter our enemies and defend people – the people of our countries.

To that end, all NATO allies should work to strengthen what is already the greatest military alliance in all of history.

Never – never – has an alliance ever been so powerful or so peaceful, and our historic ties must continue.

To that end, I’m pleased to announce that I will host my foreign minister colleagues for a meeting in Washington next April, where we will mark NATO’s 70th anniversary.

As my remarks come to a close, I want to repeat what George Marshall told the UN General Assembly back near the time of its formation in 1948. He said, quote, “International organizations cannot take the place of national and personal effort or of local and individual imagination; international action cannot replace self-help.” End of quote.

Sometimes it’s not popular to buck the status quo, to call out that which we all see but sometimes refuse to speak about. But frankly, too much is at stake for all of us in this room today not to do so. This is the reality that President Trump so viscerally understands.

Just as George Marshall’s generation gave life to a new vision for a safe and free world, so we call on you to have the same kind of boldness. Our call is especially urgent – especially urgent in light of the threats we face from powerful countries and actors whose ambition is to reshape the international order in its own illiberal image.

Let’s work together. Let’s work together to preserve the free world so that it continues to serve the interests of the people to whom we each are accountable.

Let’s do so in a way that creates international organizations that are agile, that respect national sovereignty, that deliver on their stated missions, and that create value for the liberal order and for the world.

President Trump understands deeply that when America leads, peace and prosperity almost certainly follow.

He knows that if America and our allies here in Europe don’t lead, others will choose to do so.

America will, as it has always done, continue to work with our allies around the world towards the peaceful, liberal order each citizen of the world deserves.

Thank you for joining me here today. May the Good Lord bless each and every one of you. Thank you. (Applause.)

Europe and Eurasia: Georgia’s 2018 Presidential Election

Press Statement

Heather Nauert

Department Spokesperson

Washington, DC
November 30, 2018

The United States congratulates Salome Zourabichvili on her election as President of Georgia.

We welcome the assessment by the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission that Georgia’s presidential runoff was competitive and that candidates were able to campaign freely. We also share the Mission’s concerns and those of other international and domestic observers about instances of misuse of state resources for partisan campaigning, among other issues. These actions are not consistent with Georgia’s commitment to fully fair and transparent elections, and we urge Georgian authorities to address the shortcomings raised by OSCE/ODIHR and other observers.

The United States will continue to support strongly Georgia’s democratic and economic development, territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, and Western integration and will continue to work with Georgia in the area of electoral and democratic reform.

Europe and Eurasia: On the Occasion of Romania’s National Day

Press Statement

Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

Washington, DC
November 30, 2018

On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I congratulate the Romanian people on your National Day.

On this day, we celebrate with all Romanians the 100th anniversary of the creation of modern Romania and we reflect on our friendship and strategic partnership. Romania is a strong Ally of the United States. We appreciate Romania’s contribution to global security through its membership in NATO, including participation in international missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we appreciate the sacrifices Romania has made. We salute your leadership in addressing regional issues, such as Black Sea security. The United States will continue to stand with Romania in its efforts to uphold democratic values and the rule of law, which are at the core of our relationship and the foundation of economic growth and prosperity.

Europe and Eurasia: Albania National Day

Press Statement

Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

Washington, DC
November 28, 2018

On behalf of the United States government and the American people, I congratulate the people of Albania as you celebrate your Independence Day.

As you commemorate your 106 years of independence, we in America celebrate and recognize our enduring friendship with Albania. The United States values Albania’s commitment to NATO and the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, which contribute to stability and peace around the world. We commend the Government of Albania’s continued efforts on justice reform and building strong democratic institutions, and we support Albania’s great strides towards Western integration.

The United States is proud of the strong bond between our people and looks forward to many more years of partnership and cooperation between our two countries.