Europe and Eurasia: Joint Statement of the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission Working Group on People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges

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Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
April 5, 2019


The U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission's Working Group on People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges met March 29 in Tbilisi and coordinated new approaches to a variety of topics critical to the bilateral relationship.

The United States reaffirmed its strong commitment to Georgia’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. The United States supports the Georgian government’s peace initiative “Step To a Better Future” to improve the lives of the residents of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia. Both sides agreed on the importance of intensifying people-to-people contacts and engagement to support progress toward peace and reconciliation.

The United States welcomed the Georgian government’s commitment to investments and reforms under its new “Education: A Road to Freedom” plan. Georgia and the United States continue to transform Georgia’s education system into a more student-centered, quality-oriented learning model, focused on strengthening critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Both sides agreed upon the importance of: civic education programs; entrepreneurial skills; operations and maintenance of public schools; international accreditation of higher education programs; and vocational education programs strongly linked to market demand. The United States supports the Georgian government’s emphasis on English language education. The two sides agreed on the importance of youth development programs that lead to an educated, healthy, creative, employed, and civic-minded generation, ready to build a prosperous, democratic country.

The Working Group pledged to continue cooperation on strategic communications strategies that maintain public understanding of, and support for, Georgia’s Western choice and defend against aggressive Russian disinformation and propaganda. The United States confirmed its support for Georgian government efforts that aim to ensure all Georgian citizens enjoy the same rights and access to social, economic, and political systems, particularly programs that promote tolerance and civic integration of ethnic and religious minority communities in Georgia.

The two sides agreed that bilateral exchange programs and other people-to-people contacts, such as the Peace Corps program, strengthen the bilateral relationship. The United States reaffirmed its support for programs that complement U.S. assistance to Georgia’s education sector and that contribute to the preservation of Georgian religious and cultural heritage.

Building upon the current achievements of the MCC Georgia Compact II, the Georgian side reiterated that it welcomes the opportunity of working with MCC towards a new program to support Georgia’s economic growth agenda.

The United States applauded Georgia for its achievements in health service delivery as demonstrated by the progress toward elimination of hepatitis C. The United States also lauded Georgia’s active engagement in the Global Health Security Agenda and expressed appreciation for its longstanding partnership with the United States on health security issues.



http://www.state.gov/p/eur/ci/gg/rls/prsrl/290945.htm
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Europe and Eurasia: Remarks at the Reception to Celebrate NATO’s 70th Anniversary

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Remarks

Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium
Washington, DC
April 3, 2019


SECRETARY POMPEO: (Applause.) Well, good evening, everyone. Welcome to all the foreign ministers here. Seventy years is really huge. It’s a big milestone for NATO, and I’m looking forward to celebrating tonight and getting some important work done tomorrow.

I want to thank all the members of the United States Senate and the House of Representatives who are here, as well as all the former U.S. officials who have been able to join us here this evening. Thank you very much for being here.

And finally, I’d like to acknowledge Secretary General Stoltenberg for all that he has done to strengthen this amazing, important NATO Alliance. (Applause.) There’s no better marker for excellence than the fact that your colleagues extended your tenure. At the end of it, in 2022, he will be NATO’s second-longest serving secretary general. It is truly an honor to have him here with us this evening.

And I wanted you to note that to my right, if you look in the glass case, you will see the original NATO Treaty. It’s an enduring document. The alliance it created has been essential to the freedom and security of the West for seven decades now.

When the treaty was signed on April 4th in 1949, in this very room, President Harry S. Truman spoke of our collective aspirations. He called NATO, quote, “a shield against aggression” and “a bulwark which will permit us to get on with the real business of government and society – the business of achieving a fuller and happier life for every one of our citizens.”

At the time, not everyone agreed – not everyone agreed with the central notion that NATO would be a force for peace. Some thought the idea of NATO was too aggressive, more likely to increase conflict than to reduce it. But the 12 founding nations knew better, and over the years, their historic hopes have been vindicated. The “fuller and happier life for our citizens” that Truman sought has been realized.

Remember that in 1949, Europe was still reeling. It was walking a long road to full recovery from the war. The rationing of clothes, for example, was just ending in the United Kingdom. The Marshall Plan was barely 12 months old.

Compare that situation to today, when six of the 10 largest economies in the world are NATO Allies. NATO Allies together make up half of the world’s GDP. This prosperity is not by coincidence largely a result of the security that NATO provides.

NATO’s accomplishments, too, are many. It has deterred the expansion of Soviet communism in Europe. NATO, too, is responsible to ensure that the European continent is never engulfed in conflict in the way that it was during World War II. Then, of course, after the Cold War, the alliance adapted to new circumstances. NATO established the Partnership for Peace, and more nations were welcomed as members of this critical Alliance. NATO confronted ethnic conflict in the Balkans. And more recently, we have undertaken a joint fight against terrorism in places like Afghanistan and in Iraq. And all of us here remember September 11th, 2001, and we remember the day after, when NATO invoked Article 5 for the first and only time in its history.

These powerful moments are etched in everyone’s memories. They remind us of the clear benefits of the NATO Alliance.

And today, across the world, new challenges are confronting us – Russian aggression, mass migration, vulnerabilities inherent in new technologies, along with older, persistent ones. They’ve created a geopolitical environment that is increasingly unstable and even more competitive. Our task, like our visionary forebears’, is to meet these challenges through strategic renovation.

Thankfully, we have strength in numbers. NATO has grown to include 29 nations. This year, we’re preparing to welcome the 30th, North Macedonia, and I’m pleased to say that last week we formally submitted the documents for North Macedonia’s accession to our United States Senate for its ratification. (Applause.) Together, the members of the Alliance are enhancing our deterrence and defense posture. We have strengthened our forward presence in the Baltic and Black Sea regions. We are increasing our readiness of forces, and we are improving our resilience against hybrid and cyber threats of our modern times.

With these efforts, though, comes a need for further investments, investments by all of us in our collective defense. Canada, European Allies will, by the end of 2020, invest an additional $100 billion in our collective security. America is grateful for these efforts, but we can and must do more.

Let it be our mission this week to make sure the Alliance continues to live up to its promise, that it continues to function as the “shield” and as the “bulwark” that President Truman had imagined when he was standing here.

I want to thank you all again. I want to thank you all again for being here. Enjoy the rest of the evening, and now I will turn it over to Secretary General Stoltenberg. Thank you. (Applause.)

SECRETARY GENERAL STOLTENBERG: Secretary Pompeo, dear Mike, first of all, thank you so much for your strong leadership and your strong personal commitment to our alliance, and for your generous invitation. The fact that you are hosting us all here tonight is yet another example of how you are devoted to the idea of the transatlantic partnership, and this is really the perfect venue for celebrating the 70th anniversary of our alliance.

Ministers, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, 70 years ago, 12 sovereign nations gathered here to sign the North Atlantic Treaty we have to the right. And every time we have returned to celebrate NATO’s 20th, 50th, and now 70th anniversary, our family has grown bigger and stronger – from 12, and to soon 40 friends and allies. So I cannot think of any better place to celebrate 70 years of the world’s most successful alliance than in this room with all of you here together tonight.

NATO’s founding fathers were visionary leaders, architects of a global system that would bring 70 years of unprecedented peace and prosperity. One of them was Norwegian Foreign Minister Halvard Lange. Lange spent three years in concentration camps during the Second World War, so he felt deeply the value of freedom and democracy. On signing the NATO treaty, he said, “Our pact is a pact [for] peace, directed against no nation…solely against aggression itself.” His words rings just as true today as they did 70 years ago.

A copy of this treaty is written on the wall in the entrance of the NATO headquarters in Brussels, a daily reminder of the commitment that has kept us safe for seven decades. It is one of the shortest international treaties ever, but its reach is vast, and it has stood the test of time because we have united around our core commitment to protect and defend one and another.

Like all partners, sometimes we have our differences, but as President Truman said back in 1949, while we may “go about our business in different ways with different governments, economic systems, languages, and cultures, these differences present no real obstacle to the association of free nations, devoted to the common cause of peace.”

Time and again, Europe and North America have served together under the same flag for the same cause of freedom and democracy, deterring the Soviet Union, bringing stability to the Western Balkans, fighting terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan, changing as the world around us changes. And as we look together towards a more unpredictable world, we continue to stand shoulder to shoulder, investing more in defense, modernizing our alliance, addressing tomorrow’s challenges in cyberspace. But we can and must do more together to guarantee the security and prosperity of each and every one of our nations, our way of life, our common values, our mutual interests.

So tomorrow we will continue our discussions about the future of our alliance, to ensure we remain a modern alliance fit for future challenges. Thank you so much and congratulations for the 70 years. (Applause.)



http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2019/04/290886.htm
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Europe and Eurasia: On the Occasion of Greek National Day

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Press Statement

Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

Washington, DC
March 25, 2019


On behalf of the American people and the Government of the United States of America, I extend best wishes to the people of Greece on the 198th anniversary of your independence.

The United States and Greece have enjoyed enduring friendship and cooperation embedded in our shared democratic values and common interests. We work together to promote trade and investment, regional stability and security, and the diversification of energy resources.

Our two nations continue to cooperate closely. I had the honor to host Minister of Foreign Affairs George Katrougalos last December, to launch the inaugural U.S.-Greece Strategic Dialogue. The Strategic Dialogue included high-level interagency representation from both countries and built on a year of comprehensive engagement, highlighted the strength of the bilateral relationship, and confirmed the mutual commitment of the United States and Greece to deepen our cooperation. Greece is a valued NATO Ally and together we have made progress over the past year in advancing our common interests.

As you celebrate this important occasion, the American people wish you peace, prosperity, and happiness over the coming year.



http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2019/03/290634.htm
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Europe and Eurasia: Ghana’s National Day

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Press Statement

Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

Washington, DC
March 6, 2019


On behalf of the United States, I congratulate the people and Government of Ghana as you celebrate your 62nd independence day on March 6.

The United States and Ghana have a deep friendship based on shared values. Through your spirit of democracy and robust economy, Ghana is a leader in the region and beyond. We offer our continued support to Ghana as you expand opportunities for trade and investment, combat corruption, and strengthen regional stability.

We look forward to working with all the people of Ghana in support of our continued friendship and longstanding partnership.



http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2019/03/290019.htm
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Europe and Eurasia: On the Occasion of Bulgaria’s National Day

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Press Statement

Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

Washington, DC
March 1, 2019


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

March 3 marks the creation of an independent, modern Bulgaria. Later this month we will also celebrate Bulgaria’s sovereign decision to join NATO 15 years ago. Since Bulgaria shed the Communist yoke 30 years ago, our two countries have become strong Allies and partners. This past year, Bulgaria demonstrated its positive leadership with a successful EU Presidency, taking steps to modernize its defense forces, and by providing its vital support for the Prespa Agreement, which is strengthening peace and stability in the region.

I wish the people of Bulgaria an enjoyable holiday and look forward to seeing our friendship and economic partnership grow ever stronger in the years to come.



http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2019/03/289805.htm
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Europe and Eurasia: Crimea is Ukraine

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Press Statement

Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

Washington, DC
February 27, 2019


Five years ago, Russia's occupation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula fueled an escalation of Russian aggression. Russia attempted to upend the international order, undermined basic human freedoms, and weakened our common security. The world has not forgotten the cynical lies Russia employed to justify its aggression and mask its attempted annexation of Ukrainian territory. Russia’s use of force against a peaceful neighbor must not be tolerated by reputable states. The United States reiterates its unwavering position: Crimea is Ukraine and must be returned to Ukraine’s control.

The United States remains gravely concerned by the worsening repression by Russia’s occupation regime in Crimea. During the past five years, Russian occupation authorities have engaged in an array of abuses in a campaign to eliminate all opposition to its control over Crimea. As part of this campaign, Russia has arbitrarily detained and wrongfully convicted individuals for peaceful opposition to the occupation, and in some cases has forcibly transferred these individuals from occupied Crimea to Russia. The United States calls on Russia to release all of the Ukrainians, including members of the Crimean Tatar community, it has imprisoned in retaliation for their peaceful dissent. This includes Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Volodymyr Balukh, Ruslan Zeytullayev, and approximately 70 others. We call on Russia to cease all its abuses immediately, to end its occupation of Crimea, and, in the meantime, to comply with its obligations under international law, including the law of occupation.

In the Crimea Declaration of July 25, 2018, the United States reaffirmed its refusal to recognize the Kremlin’s claims of sovereignty over Crimea. The United States also condemns Russia’s illegal actions in Crimea and its continued aggression against Ukraine. The United States will maintain respective sanctions against Russia until the Russian government returns control of Crimea to Ukraine and fully implements the Minsk agreements. The United States reiterates its unbending support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, within its internationally recognized borders, including its territorial waters.



http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2019/02/289749.htm
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Europe and Eurasia: Estonia National Day

http://internationalpeoplesearch.com


Press Statement

Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

Washington, DC
February 24, 2019


Congratulations to the people of Estonia on your 101st anniversary of independence. On behalf of the United States government, I want to thank Estonia for your unwavering commitment to our transatlantic community and your dedication to promoting peace, prosperity, and freedom.

The United States and Estonia share a commitment to our mission in NATO and to our Allies. We commend Estonia for your contributions to global security in Afghanistan and Iraq, hosting NATO’s Center of Excellence on cybersecurity, and dedicating over two percent of your GDP to defense spending.

Throughout the past year, we were proud to commemorate your centennial anniversary with you including hosting President Kersti Kaljulaid, along with the presidents of Latvia and Lithuania, at the White House in April for the U.S.-Baltic Centennial Summit and the U.S. Baltic Business Forum.

In 2019, we look forward to honoring more of your milestones including the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and movements like the Baltic Way. The bravery of the Estonian people in 1989 supported the expansion of democracy and freedom throughout the region.

I am sure that the partnership between the United States and Estonia will only deepen in the years to come. Õnnitlused!



http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2019/02/289674.htm
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Europe and Eurasia: Interview With Thora Arnorsdottir of RUV

http://internationalpeoplesearch.com


Interview

Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

U.S. Embassy Reykjavik
Reykjavik, Iceland
February 15, 2019


QUESTION: So welcome, Mr. Pompeo.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, very much. Thanks for having me on your show.

QUESTION: So the scope of your visit to Hungary, Poland, Slovakia on this European tour was pretty clear, but why is Reykjavik your last stop?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, this is a place where America needs to continue to engage the important relationship we have, and you see it with American tourists coming here. So there’s a deep economic relationship. We have had a historic, important security relationship as well. The geostrategic importance of the place at which the island sits escapes no one, including some of America’s adversaries and the adversaries, I think, of European countries as well, and so I wanted to get here to see our American friends here and talk to them about ways we can further the cooperation between our two countries.

QUESTION: So maybe to simplify, you’re afraid that we’ve made new friends in your absence maybe.

SECRETARY POMPEO: If America is not engaged, if we pull back, folks will fill the vacuum, and the Russians and the Chinese see that and use every opportunity they can, and we think that presents risk to freedom-loving nations like Iceland and freedom-loving nations like America. And so if we work together and America is on the scene, we think we’ll make lives for each of our two countries much, much better.

QUESTION: So I want to stick to the Arctic for a bit because, like you said, the Chinese have put forward their policy; they call it a Silk Road. They’ve been working here in diplomacy for decades. And we have Russian submarines in our waters that we don’t know what are doing. They have eyes set on the Arctic. Where have you been? Where is the U.S. policy on the Arctic? What’s the plan?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So this administration – yeah. It’s a fantastic question. It’s why I’m here. This administration has developed a plan. We have a theory. You can read it in our National Security Strategy. It is laid out very clearly. We believe that this is a space – the Arctic is a space where there should be freedom of navigation; there should be low tension; there should be security; there should be rule of law; there should be transparency about what’s taking place. We think if those things happen, that good countries of the world, countries like Iceland, the democracies of the world will be successful, and those who have malign intent, those who are coming to the Arctic for reasons that are about domination or about control or about extending their economic influence at the expense of others rather than creating win-win situations, we think they will be the net losers if we can build out an Arctic system that looks like that. Iceland has been at the forefront of it, and we very much want to make sure we’re partnered and engaged.

QUESTION: This is a very beautiful vision, but how are you going to make sure that’s what’s going to happen? I mean, you could read between – not even between the lines – it was quite straightforward that you’re afraid that Iceland is going to be a bridgehead of China —

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah.

QUESTION: — that have been in the Arctic. How are you going to ensure this vision comes true?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. So it’s not just Iceland. China has these ambitions elsewhere, as far – places as far away as Africa and places like Asia as well, in what I could call the Chinese near-abroad.

We think we – collectively, we think the West has a better model for the world, and so how will we do this? First, it’s a series of conversations. It’s to make sure that we all share the same set of facts about the risks. The first way one protects themselves is they arm themselves with knowledge about risk, and so one of the things that we have done this last year and a half is go out to our friends around the world and identify for them basic facts about the risk that engagement with some of these other countries presents. And we think when they see that, they’ll be prepared to engage along with us, invest their own resources in protecting themselves, not only from a security perspective, but importantly, from an economic perspective as well. Some of the practices that China has engaged in can only be deemed predatory economic practices, which are much to the detriment of the nations that allow them to do that.

So we want to get out and share that understanding, and then I’m confident we will build institutions and relationships that allow freedom and democracy to flourish. And where the Chinese show up simply to compete, we think this is very reasonable. It’s not a containment strategy but one that says eyes wide open and make sure that the deals that countries are entering into with China actually benefit the countries that engage in them.

QUESTION: Now, because our time is limited, I’m going to move southwards from the Arctic to the Middle East, the region which has been in a critical situation for too many years. Now, there is a thing that I don’t get. President Trump declared victory over the Islamic State in Syria in December in a tweet – the only reason for us being there – and then John Bolton comes and says no, no, no, we’re not pulling out, we’re not deserting our allies and there is a lot of Daesh still to fight, and then you say, well, we’re going to pull out but we’re still going to get rid of every Iranian boot in Syria, I think you said —

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah.

QUESTION: — and we’re going to protect our allies, the Kurds. How are you going to have it both ways? With, like, magic and mind power? I mean, how do you do it if you’re not there?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. I actually think we all three said the exact same thing. The mission set hasn’t changed remotely. The caliphate that was in Syria – you remember the people in cages; you remember the beheadings; you remember that they controlled a massive amount of territory. That’s gone. It’s gone in part because of good work by the United States but also good work by our allies and good work by the local forces in Syria as well, and in Iraq. This was really good work. As that’s advanced, as the caliphate has been taken down, the mission doesn’t end. We fight ISIS on multiple continents today, but our tactics will change, and they’ll continue to change, and we will adapt just as ISIS adapts. We get the threat from radical Islamic terrorism. President Trump understands this intently. We’re determined to fight them where we find them and to reduce the risk to not only the United States but to our allies.

But it’s not the case that we have to have 2,000 or 4,000 or 14,000 soldiers in each of these places. We can use locals to help us – it’s in their back yard – and we can use other means by which to push back against this, not the least of which is fighting back against the ideology which delivers it.

QUESTION: But you can understand the worries that this has created in the region. I mean —

SECRETARY POMPEO: Actually I don’t. Actually I don’t don’t, to be honest with you. I don’t understand.

QUESTION: I mean, honestly and clearly, what does it mean for the allies of the United States in Syria, such as the Kurds? I mean, they obviously were very worried when this declaration came out.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, they were even more worried before we were there.

QUESTION: Sure. I mean —

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. And – right.

QUESTION: — and as you said, President Erdogan – why should he give them any mercy south of the border in Syria when it’s not even the case in his own country?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Because we’ve made clear that there’ll be a real price if he doesn’t. President Trump made very clear his expectations with respect to how Turkey would treat those to his south inside of Syria. He said that there will be a real cost associated with behavior in that way, and we are fully engaged diplomatically to deliver an outcome which protects the folks that are in Syria as well as ensures that those people in Syria aren’t attacking Turkey as well. We think they are each entitled to their own security and we’re confident we can deliver that.

QUESTION: Now, I know you’re very focused on Iran as well, and the European countries have chosen to stick to negotiations and diplomatic relations, so the European foreign minister didn’t show up to the conference in Poland on Iran. Why do you think – why is it your belief that the maximum pressure strategy will change a thing in the regime in Iran?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So three things. We’re not focused on Iran; we’re focused on security. It turns out the biggest risk to security in the Middle East is the Islamic Republic of Iran, and so that’s the place one has to go to tackle the problem. It was a fascinating – we had 60 countries. I regret that Ms. Mogherini didn’t attend. I think it’s unfortunate for the EU that she chose not to come. It saddens me because we had over 60 countries there, and we had an historic visit; we had Arab countries and we had the prime minister of Israel in the same room, talking about a common threat. We didn’t coach them. We didn’t train them. They showed up and each made clear that the biggest threat to the stability and the safety of their own people is the Islamic Republic of Iran. You know the history.

The Arabs and the Israelis have a long history. It has not been sitting in a room together, talking about how to push back on a threat to protect their own people. It was historic. It was important. We think it’s going to lead to great things in the months and years ahead. And the United States is determined. The pressure campaign is aimed at a singular thing: it is to deny wealth to Qasem Soleimani and to Rouhani and Zarif so that they can commit terror. They’re the world’s largest state sponsor of terror – so that they don’t have the wealth and resources to commit terror acts all around the world, including their assassination campaign in the heart of Europe.

QUESTION: Now, I can’t have the Secretary of State in front of me today without asking, even though I know that the building of the wall is not in your ministry, but falls under the department of home security, and I know that you support it, but do you think it’s justified to declare an emergency to get the money for it?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Absolutely.

QUESTION: That’s a clear answer.

Is it round-up?

MR PALLADINO: We’re done. We’ve got to wrap it up.

(Break.)

QUESTION: That’s the thing. You’ve been Secretary of State for a year. If everything goes to plan, you have two more years. We live in interesting times, to put it mildly. What are your priorities? Like what do you want to have achieved in two years’ time? You don’t change the world, but where do you want to be in two years’ time?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, so three things. One, I lead a big organization, the United States Department of State. I want to make sure that team is ready and capable of delivering American diplomacy in every corner of the world in a professional way long after I’m gone, so I spend a lot of time building out the team and working to make the State Department effective and great partners for countries like Iceland.

Second, President Trump is very focused on the issue of nuclear proliferation and the risk that nuclear weapons pose to the world. In a couple weeks he will travel – I’ll go along with him – to Hanoi, where he will again meet with Chairman Kim Jong-un, and I hope we can make a material decrease in the risk that his – that Kim Jong-un’s nuclear weapons pose to the world.

The final thing is we want to make sure that international institutions are fit to function. Many of these – NATO, the IMF – lots of international institutions were built decades ago, and President Trump is committed to making sure we ask the question, do they still work? Where they do, United States is incredibly supportive; where they don’t, we want to fix them. We want to make sure that the set of rules was in place, that the goals that those institutions were created for, the problems they were intended to solve are actually the problems that they’re working on effectively. And if we can do that, if I can be a small part of helping that take place, I’ll think – I’ll have considered my time as the Secretary of State a success.

QUESTION: Thank you very much for being with us.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you very much, ma’am.



http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2019/02/289526.htm
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Europe and Eurasia: Kosovo National Day

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Press Statement

Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

Washington, DC
February 17, 2019


On behalf of the United States government and the American people, I congratulate Kosovo as you celebrate your eleventh anniversary as a sovereign, independent nation.

The United States remains committed to helping Kosovo open the doors to a more prosperous, stable, and secure future in your second decade of independence. Comprehensive normalization of relations with Serbia, with mutual recognition as its centerpiece, will be essential to Kosovo’s success. Securing this vision also demands continued strides to strengthen your democratic institutions. We want to keep building on our bilateral partnership, based on shared values and priorities, helping Kosovo pave its way to further Western integration.

The United States values the strong bond between our people and will support the steps of those working to unleash Kosovo’s great potential.

 



http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2019/02/289501.htm
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Europe and Eurasia: Lithuania National Day

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Press Statement

Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

Washington, DC
February 16, 2019


On behalf of the people of the United States and our government, I wish to congratulate all Lithuanians on the 101st anniversary of restoration of your independence. Sveikiname!

Together, over the course of the past year, we have celebrated your centennial anniversary and all that you have achieved since your declaration of independence in 1918. We were proud to host President Grybauskaite at the White House in April 2018, along with the presidents of Estonia and Latvia, for the U.S.-Baltic Centennial Summit and the U.S. Baltic Business Forum. In honor of the Baltic centennial anniversaries, we also hosted over 100 youth from across the region to the United States on U.S. government exchange programs.

Throughout 2018, we amplified our close partnership as Allies, including through major NATO exercises like Saber Strike and BALTOPS in June 2018. We commend and thank Lithuania for its significant contributions to security and stability in the region and beyond, including in Afghanistan and Iraq, and note that Lithuania is already dedicating two percent of its GDP on defense spending. In 2019, Lithuania will celebrate the 15th anniversary of its accession to NATO and we are grateful to have such a steadfast Ally.

In 2019, we commemorate 30 years since the 1989 revolutions including the fall of the Berlin Wall and democratic milestones like the Baltic Way, which ushered in an era of unprecedented freedom and prosperity for the region and for our transatlantic community. The United States is proud to partner with Lithuania in that community. May the next 101 years continue to deepen the strong ties between the United States and Lithuania.



http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2019/02/289516.htm
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