Europe and Eurasia: Remarks to Traveling Press


Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

Bocharov Ruchey
Sochi, Russia
May 14, 2019

SECRETARY POMPEO: So we had – I don’t know – an hour-and-a-half, almost two-hour meeting. President Putin was there, Foreign Minister Lavrov was there, a couple others in attendance as well. And we talked about nearly every issue facing our two countries, all the challenges and all the opportunities between us as well. We had a very productive conversation on pathways forward in Syria, things that we can do together where we have a shared set of interests, how to move the political process forward. So I’m very excited about that part of the conversation.

And we were also able to make some, I think, truly constructive process points with respect to how Afghanistan might roll out. We each have histories – Russia has a history in Afghanistan; we now have been there for 17 years – how we can move forward on that.

And then we talked – we spent a fair amount of time thinking about North Korea, how we might unlock the denuclearization. I think we share the same objective, and I hope we can find ways that we can work together on that. He understands that the U.S. is going to be in the lead, but I think there’s places we can work together.

Then we spent a lot of time talking about the strategic dialogue and arms control and how we would move that process forward too.

Happy to take a couple questions before we all head on the plane.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you talked a little bit about this during the briefing, but on Iran, did you – do you see any link between Iran and the events in the last couple days? Do you have any evidence to suggest that Iran was in some way responsible for that?

And then second, on Ukraine, do you still believe that it is a precondition for a meeting between the two presidents that Russia release the Ukrainian sailors from the Kerch Strait?

SECRETARY POMPEO: With respect to your second question, I’ll leave that answer to the White House. With respect to the first question, I don’t have anything to add concrete about the connection between the actions and Iran. I think in the coming hours and days we’ll know the answer to that, but I don’t have anything this evening.

QUESTION: Could I ask you a broader question about how you found President Putin? You’ve had sharp words for him before, even at the Claremont Institute the other day. Do you fundamentally see him in a different way after today, or do you still have the same view on the behavior and how his government acts?

SECRETARY POMPEO: This is about the relationship with the United States and Russia and how we move forward together. It’s not about personalities. It’s not about people. It’s about how do you take the interests of our two countries. We’re going to protect our interests doggedly. They are going to do their best to protect their interests in that same way.

So no, we had a good conversation. He was fully engaged. He obviously knows these issues very, very well, and so we were able to have – quickly get down into the context and concrete components of the various elements of the relationship. So in that sense, it was really – really very productive.

QUESTION: A similar question to that. There’s a lot of folks who back home don’t think it’s time to move on in the relationship, still holding on to what happened in the 2016 election. Do you think that the U.S. is ready to move past that and begin repairing the relationship, as you said?

And then secondly, you’ve made clear and Sergey Lavrov made clear that you don’t share an understanding of what happened in 2016. Do you think that the message got through, though, on 2020? Do you think they understand that there would be real repercussions?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I said it as clearly as I could, so yes, I think so. By the way, we have another election in the middle of that. We had one in 2018, where we had some good success at making sure that we kept our election safe and secure and free from interference. So we have another data point after 2016 that we can turn to to gain even more confidence. We’ll continue to do the things we need to do to protect our elections in 2020, and I don’t think you could be mistaken about America finding that Russian interference is unacceptable in the 2020 election.

What was your first question, Guy? Your first question was about – oh, is it time to move on.


SECRETARY POMPEO: It’s not about – I don’t see it as moving on. It’s the case that we have places where we just have very different views. You mentioned Ukraine. Look, we have different views on how Ukraine ought to proceed. So it’s not about moving on; it’s about trying to find solutions, compromises, places where there are overlapping interest so you can make progress at unlocking some of the most difficult problems that are facing us.

And so you try to keep the process on high ground, and you try and keep the relationships on the high ground. That’s important. President Trump has made very clear that he wants us all to do that, and we – I strove to do that today with Foreign Minister Lavrov and President Putin. But each of us was very clear about the places we were prepared to go and the things we weren’t prepared to do, and we’ll keep working on each of those.

QUESTION: You mentioned some shared interest in Syria. Were there any concrete steps taken on that front?

SECRETARY POMPEO: There were, but nothing that I can really share with you. But there were. There were some things that I think we can both go do. I guess I can talk about one of them.

So there’s the political process associated with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 that has been hung up, and I think we mutually now can begin to work together in a way to unlock that, to get that process to at least take the first step of forming that committee. It’s not done. It’s not – I’m not sure we have all the capacity of that, but I think we now have a common understanding of the places we were hung up, which I think we can work our way through.

Europe and Eurasia: Remarks With Russian President Vladimir Putin


Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

Bocharov Ruchey
Sochi, Russia
May 14, 2019

PRESIDENT PUTIN: (Via interpreter) Mr. Secretary of State, dear colleagues, we are glad to welcome you in Russia. As you know, several days ago I had the pleasure of talking to the President of the United States on the phone, and I had the impression that the President intends to rebuilding – intends to rebuild U.S.-Russian relations and contacts in order to solve the issues of mutual interest.

On our behalf, we have said it multiple times that we also would like to rebuild fully fledged relations, and I hope that right now a conducive environment is being built for that, because, though, however exotic the work of Special Counsel Mueller was, I have to say that on the whole he had a very objective investigation and he confirmed that there are no traces whatsoever of collusion between Russia and the incumbent administration, which we’ve said was absolutely fake. As we’ve said before, there was no collusion from our government officials and it could not be there. Still, that was – that was one of the reasons certainly breaking our (inaudible) ties.

I am hoping that today the situation is changing (inaudible), maintaining strategic stability, the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, on solving regional crises, fighting criminal gangs, environmental issues, eradicating poverty, and other threats in modern times, (inaudible) solutions on economic matters. (Inaudible) trade was quite low in – for the past years (inaudible) last year we saw some increase in trade. I think it has grown by 5 percent (inaudible).

We know the United States (inaudible) a major oil producer. In this regard, Russia has something to discuss regarding the stability of global energy markets. There are also other facets for our cooperation in economic security. I hope that all the (inaudible) be (inaudible) reason for our discussion.

My foreign minister reported to me a brief about your negotiations, and I wanted your visit as Secretary of State, your first time here, would benefit our bilateral ties and would facilitate their development. We are very happy to see you here.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for spending some time with me this evening. We did have a productive set of conversations this afternoon between us. There’s places we disagree; there’s places I think there are truly overlapping interests that we can build on, and most importantly, President Trump very much wants to do that. Always, just as you will, we’ll protect our nation’s interests, but there are places that our two countries can find where we can be cooperative, we can be productive, we can be cumulative, we can work together to make each of our two peoples more successful and, frankly, the world more successful too.

And so President Trump wants to do everything we can, and he asked me to travel here and communicate that – when we have a chance in a little bit, a couple other ideas to suggest. But some of our cooperation has been excellent, on North Korea, on Afghanistan. We’ve been doing work, counterterrorism work, together. These are things we can build upon, and I know we’ll get a chance to talk about our strategic security dialogue as well and the hopes that we have for that to work alongside you, and that’s very, very global in (inaudible).

Thank you again for having me here this evening.

Europe and Eurasia: Press Availability With Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Press Availability

Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

Rus Hotel
Sochi, Russia
May 14, 2019

MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Ladies and gentlemen, we are beginning a joint press conference. Secretary of State, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, please.

FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV: (Via interpreter) Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, I would like to once again welcome Mike Pompeo on Russian soil. This is his first visit to Russia in his capacity of Secretary of State of the U.S., though he used to come here in his other capacities before. Today we have had negotiations as a follow-up to a meaningful one-hour-and-a-half telephone conversation between our presidents which took play on the 3rd of May. And following up on that conversation, heads of state instructed us to intensify our dialogue.

We have started to tackle this task several days ago in Rovaniemi in Finland on the margins of the ministerial council of the Arctic Council. That was a very useful meeting. And today in the wake of that dialogue we have verily discussed the situation in our bilateral affairs, as well as exchanged opinions on the most relevant issues of international and regional issues – first and foremost Venezuela, Korean Peninsula, Syria, Middle East on the whole, and North Africa as well, Ukraine, Afghanistan, and the situation around Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on settling the Iranian nuclear deal.

And as a result of our negotiations, we’ll report to President Putin in a few hours. But overall, I would like to say that this was a frank and a useful conversation. It is clear that our relations have seen better times and there is a potential for mutually beneficial cooperation, and it largely remains untapped. And a certain role is played in that by the legacy from the predecessors that was inherited by this administration, and I mean anti-Russian sanction policy.

Since we are talking about major nuclear powers, the tension between Russia and the United States unavoidably has a negative impact on global affairs. Therefore we, together with the Secretary, have agreed that we need to take practical steps to amend the current situation. Russia is interested in normalizing our dialogue, and we are convinced that it is quite possible and real if we hold this dialogue based on mutual respect and consideration of each other’s interests.

We have agreed that it’s important to rebuild the channels of communications. Lately, these channels were frozen, largely due to a wake of baseless accusations against us in attempts to influence American elections and certain collusion of high-ranking officials of the incumbent administration, and it is clear that such insinuations are absolutely fake.

The report was published recently by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and we hope that this tumultuous situation will die down and we can finally move on to building more professional, constructive dialogue between Russia and the U.S. I believe that we have all the basic understandings that were discussed by our presidents at their meeting last year in Helsinki at the summit and several times over the phone. Right now, all these understandings are not fully being implemented.

As for tangible results, we can say that December last year saw rebuilding of the working group on counterterrorism at the level of deputy secretary of state and deputy foreign minister. That’s a good step, but it’s not enough. We expect that it’ll be possible to implement other ideas that were reviewed in Helsinki and recently by us in Finland as well as today here in Sochi.

First and foremost, I’d like to highlight that it is – it would be useful to create a nongovernmental expert council of famous political analysts, ex-military and diplomats, specialists for bilateral relations, and they could have a fresh take, and they would – could help us decide how to overcome the accumulated mistrust in order to have the right interpretation of each other’s actions in military sphere and to prevent arms race, and in the future to create sustainable and normal cooperation in other spheres as well.

We believe it is also useful to create a business advisory council that could unite representatives of larger – of major businesses from both countries, and they could draft recommendations how the governments could create conditions for a conducive environment for economic cooperation. We have also discussed what could give a positive impetus to Russian-American relations. We have given a memo to the Secretary of State, and we hope that Washington will carefully review that.

As for international agenda, we had a frank conversation on many issues, including the situation around Venezuela. Russia is for the nation of Venezuela to define its own future. And in this regard, it is extremely important that all patriotic and responsible political stakeholders in this country to start a dialogue between themselves. And a number of countries in the region call for the same thing within the mechanism of Montevideo. The government, as Nicolas Maduro has said, is prepared for such a dialogue.

We spoke about Syria and the need to fully implement the Resolution 2254. The key clause there is the respect of sovereignty, territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. We have agreed to continue consultations based on the context that we have, and we have compared notes on a number of specific aspects, including those that have to do with the final eradication of terrorism on the Syrian soil, ensuring the return of refugees, solving humanitarian issues, as well as launching of political process in establishing a constitutional committee. And we hope that this committee in the nearest future will be able to start its work in Geneva under the aegis of the UN.

We spoke about Middle East, about the situation that is taking place around JCPOA on ensuring the peaceful nature of Iranian nuclear program. We have many differences here, but the fact that we talk on this topic and will continue to discuss this situation, that gives us hope that certain agreements could be reached with the support of the U.S. and Russia.

As for the situation in the Ukraine, there is also a UN Security Council resolution that endorsed Minsk agreements, and we expect that the new administration in Ukraine will be able to define their position on Minsk agreements basing their actions on the fact there is no alternative to political settlement of this inner Ukrainian crisis.

As for other issues, I would like to highlight the situation around Korean Peninsula. Our presidents discussed that thoroughly in their conversation on the 3rd of May. President Putin told President Trump about the summit which took place in Vladivostok on the 25th of April. We are promoting dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang. We are prepared to support such a dialogue, and we are positive that in the end we should strive to create a strong mechanism of peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

Naturally, we highlighted that the leadership of DPRK expects certain guarantees of security of their country reciprocated by denuclearization, and that denuclearization should be expanded over the whole of the Korean Peninsula.

We highlighted very useful cooperation that’s happening on Afghanistan, including the trio format – Russia, United States, and China.

We paid special attention to the issues of strategic stability. We have reviewed the situation that’s taking place around intermediate-range force – nuclear forces treaty. We spoke about the promise of the New START Treaty, considering that it is going to expire in February 2021. We are interested in renewing a professional and specific dialogue on all aspects of arms control. I hope that such an agreement will be positively received by our two nations and the global community on the whole.

Overall, I’d like to say once again that this conversation was a frank one, meaningful, detailed. And I hope that the visit of Mike Pompeo would not only help improve the atmosphere of Russian-American relations, but it would also allow to move on maybe through small steps, but with specific, concrete steps, in solving practical issues that require to be settled both in bilateral sphere and in regional and international agenda.

I would like to thank my counterpart for good negotiations, and please, you have the floor.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Sergey, thank you. Good afternoon. I want to first of all say that I appreciate President Putin and Prime[i] Minister Lavrov for hosting me today. Thank you, sir. We had a frank discussion about many issues, including many places where we disagree. The United States stands ready to find common ground with Russia, as long as the two of us can engage seriously on those issues.

We discussed, as Foreign Minister Lavrov said, many important topics. We talked about terrorism. We talked about Afghanistan. President Trump has made clear that his expectation is that we will have an improved relationship between our two countries. This will benefit each of our peoples, and I think that our talks here today were a good step in that direction.

A few subjects that we talked about. Foreign Minister Lavrov mentioned that we spoke about Syria. We both want to move forward on the political track to bring the suffering of the Syrian people to an end, and we want to do so in a way that ensures that Syria will never again be a haven for Islamist terrorist groups. I also raised our concern about the escalation of the situation around Idlib in the northwest of Syria.

We also discussed North Korea and its nuclear program. The United States and Russia agree on the goal of the denuclearization, and we’ll continue to discuss it. I underscored that we must maintain full implementation of the UN sanctions until the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea is achieved. And our two teams have been working very closely together on this in a very productive fashion.

On Venezuela, we have disagreement. I urged my Russian colleagues to support the Venezuelan people as they return democracy to their country. The United States and more than 50 other nations agree that the time has come for Nicolas Maduro to go. He has brought nothing but misery to the Venezuelan people, and we hope that the Russians’ support for Maduro will end. But despite our disagreements, we’ll keep talking. I hope we can find a way forward that ends with the humanitarian and political crisis that is happening. On this we both agree.

We also discussed the situation in Ukraine. The Trump administration has been clear that we do not recognize Russia’s attempted annexation in Crimea, and we hope that we can continue to move forward. Our sanctions have remained in place. I urged Russia to reach out to Ukraine’s new president to demonstrate leadership by taking a step towards breaking the stalemate. We would, in particular, welcome the release of the Ukrainian crewmen detained near the Kerch Strait last year, and we talked about implementation and how we might move forward in obtaining a ceasefire in the Donbas region.

We spoke a bit about the activities that are taking place in the Middle East today, with particular focus on the actions that Iran is taking. I made clear that the United States will continue to apply pressure to the regime in Tehran until its leadership is prepared to return to the ranks of responsible nations that do not threaten their neighbors or spread instability or terror.

As Foreign Minister Lavrov alluded to, very much on President Trump’s mind is arms control. Our actions on the INF Treaty have demonstrated that we’re committed to effective arms control that advances U.S. allied and partner security that is verifiable and enforceable. The President has charged his national security team to think more broadly about arms control, to include countries beyond our traditional U.S.-Russia framework and a broader range of weapon systems. The President wants serious arms control that delivers real security to the American people. And we know – and I think we agree on this – to achieve these goals, we’ll have to work together, and that it would be important that, if it’s possible, we get China involved as well. We’ll have a more extensive set of conversations, both about arms control and a opportunity to discuss all broad strategic security issues between our two countries in the weeks ahead.

I also raised the issue of U.S. citizens who have been detained in Russia, making sure that our citizens are not unjustly held abroad. It is one of President Trump’s highest priorities.

And we spoke, too, about the question of interference in our domestic affairs. I conveyed that there are things that Russia can do to demonstrate that these types of activities are a thing of the past and I hope that Russia will take advantage of those opportunities.

Finally, I wanted to emphasize the American friendship with the Russian people. Our two nations share proud histories and respect for one another’s cultures. We seek a better relationship with Russia and we urge that it work alongside us to change the trajectory of the relationship, which will benefit each of our peoples. Thank you, Sergey.

MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Dear colleagues, we are moving on to Q&A. Kommersant newspaper, please. You have the floor.

QUESTION: (Via interepreter) Vladimir Solovyov, Kommersant newspaper. You mentioned the New START Treaty, which is expiring in 2021, but it is still unclear whether it will be surely prolonged. Therefore, the question to Secretary Pompeo: Is Washington prepared to extend New START Treaty for five years, as Moscow is proposing? Whether U.S. is prepared to discuss concerns of Russia of that conversion of launchers and heavy bombers as well?

And a question to Mr. Lavrov: If the U.S. did not alleviate concerns of Russia, will Moscow continue to want to prolong the treaty? Thank you.

SECRETARY POMPEO: So Foreign Minister Lavrov raised the issue of concerns about compliance with New START today. We’ll continue to work to allow that treaty to be verified exactly as the verification regime exists. As for its extension, what we’ve agreed that we will do is we will gather together teams that will begin to work not only on New START and its potential extension, but on a broader range of arms control issues that each of our two nations have, I think, in our shared best interest achieving an agreement on.

FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV: (Via interpreter) Now, as for our position, indeed we have concerns that have to do with the claimed refitting of the U.S. launchers of Trident SLBMs as well as heavy bombers – of converting them to non-nuclear forces. The START – the treaty foresees certain procedures that allow for the second party – should allow for the second party to verify that this conversion, refitting of equipment, is done in such a way that it is impossible to return the nuclear warheads to the launchers on the bombers. We are discussing that at Bilateral Consultative Commission, which oversees the implementation of the treaty, and we expect that this discussion will yield positive result in the end.

As for the question of what Russia will do if these concerns remain in place, I’d prefer not to respond to that, because right now we proceed from the assumption that we can agree within the Bilateral Consultative Commission, and guessing – doing the guesswork what will happen, what will not, that’s possibly not the diplomatic task. Our task is to achieve a result, and that’s what we will do.

MS ORTAGUS: Okay. Thanks. We’re going to go to Guy Benson from Fox News.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. I want to follow up on Venezuela. Mr. Secretary, what was the message from the Trump administration specifically in regards to the Russian Government and their continued support of Nicolas Maduro and their active involvement in the Western Hemisphere?

And Mr. Foreign Minister, why is it that the Russian Government persists in supporting Mr. Maduro when virtually every democracy in Latin America has recognized Mr. Guaido as the legitimate interim leader of that country? Thank you.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Guy, we talked about this for some time. We made clear the U.S. position. We want every country that’s interfering in Venezuela to cease doing that. We want the Venezuelan people to get their democracy back. We want them to have a fair, free election, elect their own leadership, not in the way that the sham election took place with Mr. Maduro. So whether it’s Iranian forces or Chinese or Cubans, the Trump administration’s position is that they all need to cease having an impact in supporting Maduro and allow the Venezuelan people not only to get their democracy back but give them an opportunity to rebuild this country that has tremendous wealth. There are Russian companies operating there that are successful businesses as well. We want those countries – we want that country to get a chance to rebuild its economy, too, so that it isn’t dependent on humanitarian assistance from anywhere in the world, but rather they can begin to deliver economic outcomes for themselves. And to do that, the central point is that we need free and fair elections there, not interfered by any other nation.

FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV: (Via interpreter) As for our position, and in response to your question why Russia is taking such a stance in support of dialogue, of viewing all the issues by Venezuelans themselves with no ultimatums and no preconditions – well, this position stems from the fact that democracy cannot be done by force. The threats that we hear against Maduro government, threats that come from the mouths of official representatives of the U.S. administration and from Mr. Guaido, who always mentions his right to invite military intervention from outside – this has nothing in common with democracy.

We remember back in 2003 – I think that was May – the President of the United States, George W. Bush, on the board of aircraft carrier declared the democracy in Iraq. We remember 2011. It was declared that the leader of Libya Muammar Qadhafi was ousted and now Libya is a democracy. I don’t think I should go into more detail on how the democracy fuels itself in Iraq and Libya and other places where such attempts of coup d’etat took place and it brought nothing good about.

MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Russia 24 Channel, please.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Thank you. Natalia Litovko, Russia 24 Channel. Question to both ministers about possible personal meeting between President Putin and President Trump. We see contradictory information there. Could you please clarify whether such a meeting will take place? We hear about Osaka, but is it planned and when and where?

A second question to Secretary Pompeo. You just came back from Brussels, where you discussed with your European colleagues the nuclear deal with Iran. Well, the latest news about possible relocation of troops to the Middle East – that sounds concerning. Does it mean that Washington chose a strategy of force against Iran? Are European leaders on board with you on that?

FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV: (Via interpreter) Well, naturally, we heard statements by President Trump that he expects to hold a meeting with President Putin, including during the G20 summit in Osaka. We heard a proposal. Well, if we receive such an official invitation, we’ll respond positively, and we talked about that today with Michael Pompeo.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Let me talk about my conversations in Brussels and then more broadly about the United States policy with respect to the Islamic Republic of Iran. So I went to Brussels to share with our European friends the threats and concerns we have about actions that the Iranians are taking or are potentially taking, and we wanted to make sure they understood the risks as we saw them, and I shared that with them in some detail.

As for our policy, it’s been consistent now for the entire Trump administration. And the decision to withdraw from the JCPOA, now just over a year ago, made clear what our objectives are. We laid them out in May of last year. We’re looking for Iran to behave like a normal country, and that’s our ask. And we have applied pressure to the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran to achieve that.

We fundamentally do not seek a war with Iran. We’re looking for the regime to simply stop conducting assassination campaigns throughout Europe, to cease their support of Hizballah that threatens interests all across the Middle East, their support for the Houthis that are launching missiles into areas where there are Russians and Americans traveling. These missiles could easily kill a Russian or an American. We laid them out in some detail. Our position hasn’t changed.

And the movement of troops that you described I’ll leave to the Department of Defense, but we’ve also made clear to the Iranians that if American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion.

MS ORTAGUS: Shaun Tandon, AFP.

QUESTION: Great. Thank you. Thanks for you time. I wanted to follow up on a couple of statements that you’ve said. First, for Foreign Minister Lavrov, you mentioned that despite the disagreements with Iran that there’s a possibility of certain agreements on Iran going forward. Could you explain what you see in common with the U.S. on Iran, where you can go?

Secretary Pompeo, if I could ask you about the mysterious incidents in the UAE, regarding the oil tankers, have you pinpointed responsibility for that? And if I could follow up on your statement about the election, you said that there are things that Russia could do to show that election interference is a thing of the past. What are those things? What do – what would you like Russia to do? Thank you very much.

FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV: (Via interpreter) As for situation in Iran, Iran and JCPOA, on the settlement of Iranian nuclear issue, I hope that reason will gain the upper hand and that rumors about the ostensibly planned of 120,000 strong army of the U.S., what we spoke about today, is just a rumor. And Mike said that it’s a ministry of defense thing, and these are just rumors which are baseless, because this region is so tense with different conflicts and difficult situations. And on the margin, I say that we spoke about the future of Palestinian-Israeli settlement as well. I said that we hope to find a political solution to the situation around Iran. Indeed, we’ll try to facilitate for the situation not to tip over to the military scenario. And how we do it, that’s the task for diplomats. And I felt that the U.S. side has a commitment to finding a political solution.

The situation is a complex one. As you know, we did not support and we believe that it is a mistake that the U.S. decided to withdraw from JCPOA. And those measures that the U.S. Government is undertaking right now by introducing sanctions which prohibit to have any deals with Iran – you cannot buy oil; you cannot trade with Iran at all – I hope that we together, with our European colleagues, with our Chinese colleagues, who are also a party to the agreement on Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, will keep in touch with our American colleagues and try to find ways out of this crisis. Because right now we have only entered this spiral and we’re getting sucked into it.

I’d like to use this opportunity that I have the floor – I wanted to talk about the topic that you – the question that you addressed to Secretary Pompeo about the interference of the Russian Federation in the election process in the U.S. I gave Mike today a copy of an article that was published in the United States in 1987 with a warning that the Soviet Union is going to influence the elections, the presidential elections which were planned for 1988. The article actually mentioned for the first time about the political ambition of then successful businessman Donald Trump. So we can discuss this topic forever, but until we have cold, hard facts on the table, we cannot have a grown-up discussion about it. The facts tell us that there is no proof of those who are trying to hype up this topic. We have mentioned several times that we could have renewed professional contact in cybersecurity, and within this context we could discuss any concerns that one party has to another. Attacks against our internet resources, they – the lion’s share of those attacks come from the United States soil.

And when we talk about the latest presidential campaign in the U.S., since 2013, we used to have, and we still have, a channel of exchange on information about possible indeliberate risks in cyberspace. And since October 2016, when the Democratic administration of the United States raised this issue for the first time, till January 2017, till Donald Trump inauguration, we used to have a traffic of response and requests of information, and we have offered recently – when the verbal attacks against Russian Federations that had to do with alleged interference in elections reached their ceiling, we suggested that we could use this traffic between these two special centers that deal with cyberspace threats. We suggested to publish that, and I mentioned that to Mike. Administration refused to do so. I don’t know who made this decision. However, the publication of this data was blocked by the American side, but we believe that making them public would alleviate a lot of those deliberations that have been spread right now.

Naturally, we will not act unilaterally, we will not publish them, we will not make them public. But I’d like to just – to flag this fact: Once again, I’m saying we are prepared. We are ready. We want to deal with our American colleagues with the issues that appear in the cyberspace through professional dialogue with no emotions, no political jaundice, with no ideology, with no attempts to make this topic the main one in the domestic policy in the U.S.

And I’m sorry, by the way, I gave Mike an unofficial – a non-paper, a non-official memo, and it lays out the relevant – the actual information of U.S. interference in the domestic policy of the Russian Federation, including the notorious law on support of freedom in the Ukraine – it was adopted by the Congress – where the Secretary of State is instructed, he’s obligated to promote democracy in Russia directly through working with Russian NGOs, and $20 million have been earmarked for that annually. That’s not contemplations or a deliberation. This is a real law. We are prepared to talk on this topic.

And His Excellency much respected by me, Mr. Huntsman, knows how hard it is to work in Russia sometimes, and our ambassador in the U.S. also knows that about the issues that arise, and we want to alleviate those issues for – all that accumulation of mutual negative actions, which was initiated by the United States that we had to reciprocate, to alleviate that all, for the diplomats to work transparently, openly, according to the Viennese Conventions on Diplomatic Relations, without equating perception from the other side that someone is trying to influence a domestic political process.

By the way, once again, we gave an example of 1933, when the United States spearheaded through – President Roosevelt and People’s Commissioner Mr. Litvinov exchanged notes where they committed to non-interference in each other’s processes. I’d like to highlight once again, this action was initiated by the U.S. for several years now, starting with the Obama administration. We suggested to our partners to reconfirm that commitment. Right now, they are not prepared for that, so draw your own conclusions.

SECRETARY POMPEO: You can see we have some disagreements on this issue. I promise not to go back to history from the early ’30s, but I made clear to Foreign Minister Lavrov, as we’ve made clear for the past months, that interference in American elections is unacceptable. If the Russians were to engage in that in 2020, it would put our relationship in an even worse place than it has been, and encourage them not to do that, that we would not tolerate that. We’ve said this not only about the Russians but about other countries as well. Our elections are important and sacred, and they must be kept free and fair and with no outside country interfering in those elections.

Your first question was about what we know about the attacks that took place off of the United Arab Emirates. I don’t have any information that I can share with you yet about the nature of what took place there. We’re working diligently to get answers to what caused those ships to have the problems that they have today.

MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Ladies and gentlemen, that concludes our press conference. Thank you for taking part in it.

[i] Foreign Minister Lavrov

Europe and Eurasia: Remarks With Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Before Their Meeting


Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

Rus Hotel
Sochi, Russia
May 14, 2019

FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV: (Via interpreter) Mr. Secretary of State, (inaudible) welcome to Sochi.

We had a chance to hold the discussion on the 6th of May, when we had our negotiations in Finland on the margins of the Arctic Council. We covered and we had an exchange of opinions on the international agenda and several bilateral issues. And I hope that today we’ll have a chance to discover them and to discuss them in more detail.

I hope that we’ll be able to come up with specifics of ways how to get U.S.-Russian relations out of that regrettable state that they happen to be, due to several objective and subjective reasons involved, considering that this is the task, the instructions coming from our presidents that was confirmed during the Helsinki summit, as well as in their conversation on the 3rd of May.

We have multiple issues that require both urgent methods as well as long-term, sustainable solutions.

That has to do with the situation in strategic stability sphere, as well as more efficient ways to tackle terrorism, as well as finding solutions to different clashes in different regions of the world.

We see that there are certain suspicions and prejudice on both sides, but this is not a way for – have a win-win situation because that mistrust that we have hinders both your security and our security, and causes concern around the world.

I believe that it is time to build new, more constructive and responsible metrics of our relationship, of our mutual perception, and we are prepared to do that if our U.S. colleagues and counterparts readily support that. I believe that a requisite – an important requisite for success of our dialogue is to rebuild trust at all levels of our dialogue – in the highest level, at the working level, (inaudible). And considering that we have met over the past two weeks for two times, that’s a reason for some optimism. Let’s try it and see what happens.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Sergey, thank you for hosting me. I appreciate it. It’s great to see you again, twice in a couple weeks. I’m excited about that. And I know we’ll see you too (inaudible), we’ll have many more opportunities for conversation.

I’m here today because President Trump is committed to furthering this relationship. As I think you said, we have differences. We – each country will protect its own interests, look out for its own interests of its people. But – it’s not (inaudible) that we’re adversaries on every issue, and I hope that we can find places where we have a set of overlapping interests and can truly begin to build out strong relationships, at least in those particular – on those particular issues.

I’ve seen it myself. We worked closely with you on counterterrorism during my time and service in the Executive Branch very successfully. We’ve saved American lives, we’ve saved Russian lives, as we’ve (inaudible) good, honest, sincere work together. And I think on issues such as arms control and nuclear proliferation, we’ve talked about some of the regional conflicts and terrorism, I think there are spaces where we can get our teams and begin to build out a common set of understandings. I hope too that we can begin to build out our strategic security dialogue, as you and I spoke about when we were in Finland a couple weeks back.

And I hope this effort, I hope this good-faith effort on the part of each of our two nations, as directed by President Trump and President Putin, will stabilize the relationship and put it back on a trajectory that I think will be good for not only each of our two countries and each of our peoples, but for the world as well. I know we’ll have frank discussions, and I’m sure there will be places where we just can’t find common ground, but I look forward to our time together.

Europe and Eurasia: On the Occasion of Europe Day

Press Statement

Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

Washington, DC
May 8, 2019

In honor of Europe Day, I offer my best wishes to the citizens of the European Union on behalf of all Americans.

The United States and the European Union have a strong and enduring partnership born out of shared history, values, and decades of cooperation. We are a force for peace and democracy in the world.

Together we promote international security, address shared global challenges, and advance the prosperity of all our citizens. We work closely in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and elsewhere to coordinate our humanitarian assistance to those in need.

From countering terrorism, to preventing global drug trafficking, to standing unified on sanctions, we make each other more secure. Our educational and cultural exchanges enrich the lives of our citizens and strengthen the transatlantic bond.

Together we have created the largest economic relationship anywhere in the world, resulting in millions of jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

On Europe Day, we celebrate the mutual interests and strong friendship between the United States and the European Union.

Europe and Eurasia: The Special Relationship

Press Availability

Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

Lancaster House
London, United Kingdom
May 8, 2019

MR SAATCHI: Good afternoon, everyone. I’m Maurice Saatchi, and on behalf of the distinguished board of directors of the Center for Policy Studies, the outstanding teams from the CPS, the UK Foreign Office, the U.S. State Department, the U.S. embassy, and Ambassador Johnson, thank you all and welcome.

It was in this very room in Lancaster House that the inaugural CPS Margaret Thatcher Lecture was delivered by Rupert Murdoch, and next month I hope we will welcome you all again to the Guildhall for the Thatcher Conference on Britain and America. It’s my honor today to greet our illustrious Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who will then introduce our guest speaker, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Before we begin, will you join me in congratulating the latest symbol of Anglo-American cooperation, the royal baby? (Applause.) We will build on that Special Relationship today. (Laughter.)

May I give you the backstory for this event? Let’s put it like this: How do you become an icon? That is the question. U.S. President Kennedy knew. If he had left Dallas that fateful day, he would have told us in six words. Reviewing America’s place in the world, he would have said conformity and complacency will not do. He had no interest in the status quo, and neither did Mrs. Thatcher. They shared the conviction that an individual acting alone, or almost single-handed, can make what seems highly improbable in fact happen. For them, the whole point of being an icon – of being alive – is to change the world.

So it was 40 years ago that Margaret Thatcher won the first of her three historic election victories. As leader of the opposition, she had worked out that general elections are an intellectual battle and that the winner is the one with the best arguments. So she founded the CPS to do the job. In the first CPS office, Mrs. Thatcher sat on the floor, wiring the kettle, but as her official biographer explains, she wasn’t wiring the kettle. She was rewiring conservatism.

Henry Kissinger has told us how they first met. Officials in the State Department in Washington told him about her and suggested that when he was next in Britain he should meet her. As the minister for education, she was astonished that the national security advisor for the United States of America would want to see her. Dr. Kissinger describes how after a while he said to her, “So you’ll be moving to the center ground, will you?” Her reply was, “No, I’m not moving to the center ground, I’m moving the center ground to where I’m standing.”

The Iron Lady also agreed with President Kennedy that to win a war you need more than air power or financial power or even manpower. It requires brain power, the mastery of the inside of people’s minds. With President Reagan, Mrs. Thatcher understood the point of moral leadership, something good in the moral sense. They did not think this talk of morality was mumbo jumbo, philosophical claptrap, or pie in the sky. On the contrary, they agreed with our great General Slim, whose statue stands right opposite the gates of 10 Downing Street, that you cannot win a war unless your troops believe they are fighting for a noble object. That is how Mrs. Thatcher and President Reagan brought down the Berlin Wall, and as we know, consigned Soviet communism to the ash heap of history.

However, times change, and now defensive prefixes atone for free-market capitalism: inclusive capitalism, caring capitalism, compassionate capitalism, progressive capitalism, and so on. And now we all look to the Chinese version of state capitalism with bewilderment.

So, dear all, everyone knows the great line of the American Declaration of Independence: “We the people hold these truths to be self-evident.” But less quoted, I think, is the most beautiful last line: “We pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

I would say to you, all my friends, American intellectual self-confidence has been the heartbeat of Western civilization, and I’m sure today we will learn again how America deserved and won that iconic status.

Please, would you welcome the Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to introduce our guest of honor. (Applause.)

FOREIGN SECRETARY HUNT: Thank you, Maurice, and I’m delighted and honored to have this opportunity to introduce Secretary of State Mike Pompeo here in Lancaster House. Your job, Mike, was created in 1790, and you are the 70th Secretary of State. My job was created in 1782 and I am the 64th foreign secretary. (Laughter.) And the first task of the first foreign secretary, Charles James Fox, was to decide whether to recognize the independence of the United States of America. I’m delighted to say that that first foreign secretary was an ardent supporter of the American Revolution. Indeed, Fox was so keen to recognize American independence that his enthusiasm outran the government’s official position and he resigned in protest. (Laughter.) But he got his way in the end.

So there’s no one else in the world who can say this, Mike, but my job created your job. (Laughter.) Welcome to being Secretary of State. (Applause.)

And this shows that the friendship between Britain and America is woven into the very fabric of the offices that you and I hold, and in our meetings today I voiced my pride in the role that Britain and America play in the world. Whether we’re combating Daesh in the Middle East, taking military action to degrade chemical weapon use, exposing cyber attacks, we strive side by side to make the world a safer place. And Mike, you have been at the forefront of this, and I commend your leadership.

When Margaret Thatcher visited President Reagan soon after he was inaugurated in 1981, she said, “Your problems will be our problems, and when you look for friends, we shall be there.” They reshaped the world in the 1980s, accelerating the downfall of communism and helping millions to win their freedom. They had the occasional differences. The invasion of Granada was one, and there’s a famous story that when Margaret Thatcher called President Reagan to complain, during the tongue-lashing that he was getting on the phone, he put his hand on the receiver, held it away, and said to his officials, “Isn’t she wonderful?” (Laughter.)

But in that great tradition, I’m delighted that Mike will address us today on the enduring friendship between our two countries and America’s role as a force for good in the world. Ladies and gentlemen, give a big hand for Secretary Pompeo. (Applause.)

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you. Good afternoon, everyone. Serious matters at hand. I hope we find some joy and some fun as I move through my remarks today. Jeremy, you reminded me I’m the 70th Secretary of State, and I’m mindful that President Trump is number 45, so turnover in my job is a lot higher. (Laughter.) And so I hope I get it right today.

Thanks for the kind introduction. I first met Jeremy – I think it was your first day. We were in Brussels, if I recall. And it brought to mind that – I could see – I knew a little bit about you, and it brought to mind Churchill’s famous quote that Jeremy “has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices” that I so admire. (Laughter.) We are – I hope to live up to your skills and your talents.

It’s great to be back in Britain too. I’ve visited here as a private citizen many times, but it’s another thing altogether to be here representing the United States of America. Thank you to the British people and the British Government for the warm welcome you have given me today. I’m grateful, too, for the incredible privilege to speak here in this amazing room, in this historic space. Thank you so much for giving me this glorious opportunity to speak on behalf of the United States of America. And I want to thank her majesty’s government for sharing this national treasure with all of us today.

I see a handful of members of parliament here today, and others in the audience. Thank you for joining, and I would be remiss if I didn’t say congratulations. You stole my joke. But I do want to say thank you to the duke and duchess of Sussex on the new addition to their family. This was good news on both sides of the Atlantic.

To deliver the Margaret Thatcher lecture is truly humbling for me.

I didn’t invent this, but when I was in private sector in Kansas, I worked diligently on something we called the Kansas Public Policy Institute. It was a small free-market think tank in Kansas and we raised a little money and caused havoc in the capital of Kansas, Topeka, driving our government in Kansas to be smaller and more responsive to the people of Kansas. Her co-founding of this and the little bit of work I was able to do there were in the same vein, and so Lord Saatchi, thank you for your kind remarks today, to Robert Colvile, thank you too for offering me this opportunity.

It’s amazing. You talked about this. This is now the 40th anniversary of her election. I have a son who is 28 who doesn’t always remember these times and would have read about them in the history books, and I see some of you look like you were reading about them in the books too. But those of us who were around know that this Special Relationship is a direct result of some of the most remarkable leadership that Britain has ever had during her time in office.

As she remarked on the 200th anniversary of our diplomatic ties, she said, quote, “There is a union of mind and purpose between our peoples which is remarkable, and which makes our relationship truly special.” “It just is and that is that.” Indeed.

Our two nations are united by a common history and cultural heritage. But even more importantly, we share a set of common values, respect for the rule of law and for property rights, protection of basic freedoms, an unwavering belief in human dignity. These sturdy pillars of our societies form the basis of our mutual success and our independent success. And like anything of value – if you’ll allow a former Army man to say it bluntly – they must be vigilantly protected. They must be worked at.

I mentioned earlier I am from Kansas. It’s a small state, rectangular, right in the center of our country. There was another great American who came from that place: Dwight D. Eisenhower. He was from a little place called Abilene. He told an audience in this very city in June of 1945 – he said, quote, “To preserve his freedom of worship, his equality before the law, his liberty to speak and act as he sees fit…..the Londoner will fight. So will the citizen of Abilene. When we consider these things, then the valley of Thames draws closer to the farms of Kansas and the plains of Texas.” We live in the footsteps of great leaders like this. Our relationship is built upon great leaders who recognize this. How fitting it is for me to be able to recite these words as someone from Kansas on the 74th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day.

I’m sure for many of you, like many back in the States, it’s easy to forget just how special the relationship is between our two countries.

We have a robust defense partnership, in truly every sense of the word. Your sailors have berths on American ships. The United Kingdom was spending 2 percent of GDP on defense well before President Trump demanded it of every NATO member. But even the vast sums of money are a pittance compared to the British blood that has been spilled fighting alongside us for decades. For this, the American people are immensely grateful.

There’s our intelligence relationship too as well as our diplomatic partnership. I saw firsthand when I was the director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency every day the incredible value of our British partners: MI-6, MI-5, GCHQ, each of them delivering to keep the American people more safe and secure. In fact, I’m sure they were listening to me on my flight in. (Laughter.) That’ll come back to haunt me. (Laughter.)

As Secretary of State, look, I see it in too – I’ve been doing this now – I’ve been a year and a couple weeks as Secretary of State. I see your diplomats, who are free to enter our headquarters in Washington, D.C. wearing the very same badges that we do. No other country has a privilege that special. Nor can I forget about the massive educational and cultural exchanges, which have blessed both of our peoples over so many years. Indeed, in her younger years, Margaret Thatcher participated in a program that’s still around today. It’s called the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership program. We try to train people around the world about American values. I am confident we learned more from her than she did from us. (Laughter.)

And not the least of all between our two countries is the incredibly important economic relationship that we have. This economic cooperation is a model for the rest of the world to emulate. We’re the world’s largest economy; yours is the fifth-largest. The volume of trade between our two nations is staggering. We collectively set the standards for innovation, for entrepreneurship, and also, importantly, for human striving. Our economies are the envy of the world, and I’ll come back to that.

As I read the history, it is absolutely unmistakable, and one cannot challenge the idea that we have accomplished so much together over these past decades. But there’s an awful lot more to do especially in a world that’s changing as rapidly as the one in which we live in today.

As the Secretary of State, I see a landscape that is far more complex than the one that we faced together in the Cold War. We faced Islamist terrorism as Londoners, and those who live in Manchester know so well. We faced the re-emergence of great power competition in the likes of China and Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

We, too, face the swings and roundabouts of our politics as every democracy does.

And I want you to know, because this is so important, that it is now the actual opposite of the right time to go wobbly, and I’ll come back to that. We must stand together to address the challenges of our time.

We’ve already stood fast together in regard to Russia. After the chemical weapons attack that took place here in Salisbury, along with our other allies, we pushed back, we punished Russia with important sanctions. We wanted the world to know that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by nations like ours who value the rule of law.

You recognize, too, that Russia wants Nord Stream 2 to use energy as leverage over Europe – we shouldn’t allow it to proceed. We must continue our close cooperation in that regard.

I traveled in last night from Baghdad. In the Middle East, the Royal Air Force supported the Syrian Democratic Forces that dismantled the ISIS caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

And in Yemen, the United Kingdom has led the efforts to find a diplomatic solution to this Iranian proxy war. The 770 million pounds in aid that your country has committed to that conflict to help feed starving people in Yemen is remarkable and something you should be incredibly proud of. I made clear in remarks I gave in Cairo, Egypt, now several months back, that resolving Middle East challenges demands a strong network of allies and partners, and I appreciate that the United Kingdom is right out in front.

President Trump has led tough diplomacy towards the final, fully-verified denuclearization of North Korea. You’ve supported this. That mission is important, and the pressure campaign that the world has engaged in must continue. This is an outcome that is imperative for the security of the world. The Royal Navy, too, has deployed to the Pacific to deter illicit ship-to-ship transfers on North Korean fuel that would have undermined those sanctions. We thank you for that. This must continue.

In China, we face a new kind of challenge. It’s an authoritarian regime that’s integrated economically into the West in ways the Soviet Union never was. President Trump is in the midst of trade talks. I hope they’re resolved successfully, but it is important that we get these trade relationships right.

But separately, separately it’s important that we speak honestly about the nature of the Chinese regime. I’ve been talking to other audiences about the more than one million Chinese Muslims detained in camps in Xinjiang. That’s the same province in China that pioneered a credit system in which users trade freedom and privacy for government benefits. And it’s the same province that’s the beginning of the Belt and Road. It’s the future China wants for China and for the world.

Britain has first-hand experience with this challenge. In the cyber-realm, the A.P.T. 10 Group acted on behalf of the Chinese Ministry of State Security to steal intellectual property and sensitive commercial data from Europe and from Asia and from the United States. We appreciate the United Kingdom publicly calling out China for that cyber attack. There will be more and we must be ever vigilant.

Even more in plain sight, China steals intellectual property for military purposes. It wants to dominate AI, space technology, ballistic missiles, and many other areas. China’s growing capacity is matched by its appetite for expansion. I just gave a major speech in the Arctic Council warning against China’s incursions in the Arctic. We can’t let the High North – or any other area – go the way of the South China Sea.

Ask yourself – ask yourself this: Would the Iron Lady be silent when China violates the sovereignty of nations through corruption and coercion? Would she have welcomed the Belt and Road Initiative without demanding absolute transparency and the highest standards? Would she allow China to control the internet of the future?

Look, I know it’s a sensitive topic, but we have to talk about sensitive things as friends. As a matter of Chinese law, the Chinese Government can rightfully demand access to data flowing through Huawei and ZTE systems. Why would anyone grant such power to a regime that has already grossly violated cyberspace? What can her majesty’s government do to make sure sensitive technologies don’t become open doors for Beijing’s spymasters?

This is a discussion that extends far beyond technology and trade, although it’s often couched that way. Insufficient security will impede the United States ability to share certain information with trusted networks.

This is exactly what China wants; they want to divide Western alliances through bits and bytes, not bullets and bombs. We know that 5G is a sovereign decision – we respect every nation’s right to make its own choices – but it must be made in the broader context, the broader strategic context of China’s efforts throughout the world.

And finally, there’s the subject of the Islamic Republic of Iran. There is no daylight between our two countries on the threat emanating from the Iranian regime. We agree that they’re operating in defiance of the UN’s ballistic missile resolution. We agree they fund terror across the Middle East, and across the world. We agree that they take hostages, and repress their own people. I urge the United Kingdom to stand with us to rein in the regime’s bloodletting and lawlessness, not soothe the ayatollahs angry at our decision to pull out of a nuclear deal. If this is about something like commerce, let’s open markets together. I know that we can.

And that brings me to the next point. You are our partner, our best partner in promoting free enterprise.

The world can look at our prosperous trade relationship and see the fruits of democratic capitalism. How’s that for a hyphen before capitalism? (Laughter.) Let’s keep the West’s wellspring of innovation alive.

Again, as often, Mrs. Thatcher’s wisdom applies. She said, quote, “Government should create the right framework of sound money, low taxes, light regulation, and flexible markets – including labor markets – to allow prosperity and employment to grow,” and for nations to prosper. We encourage the United Kingdom to liberate its economy and take advantage of its untapped energy resources as well. Freedom brings wealth, and growth, and human dignity. The energy revolution is one American revolution that the British can actually welcome. Shale exploration has created waves of wealth and jobs in the United States. It could do so here too.

There’s one more big item on the table, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t address it. President Trump is eager for a new free trade agreement that will take our number-one trade relationship to unlimited new heights. And I spoke with both Foreign Secretary Hunt and Prime Minister May about this this morning. We’ve filed all the papers we can at this point, and we are ready to go.

But we can’t make progress on a new agreement until Brexit gets resolved – Godspeed and good luck. (Laughter.) How it turns out is, of course, your sovereign choice, but whatever happens you should know we will honor that decision. Look, our relationship has been amazing and strong before Brexit, and it will be strong after it. Ultimately, when all is settled, you’ll be first in line for a new trade deal, not at the end of the queue.

Finally, I’d like to address the shared values we hold so dear. I’m troubled by the anti-Semitism that’s emerging again in our society, and in yours. We must stop this cancer before it metastasizes even further.

In a free society, a yarmulke should not be a scarlet letter. And hatred of the Jewish State is just as bad. As I said in a speech now several weeks back, anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.

As I close today, I’ll say simply this: The Special Relationship is the beating heart of the entire free world. President Trump has called it “a bond that is like no other.”

Theresa May was the first foreign leader that was welcomed to the White House. Less than a month from today, he’ll have the privilege to pay a visit here, and gather with other transatlantic allies to commemorate D-Day. We will remember the courage shown by Britons and Americans alike in that fateful hour.

But I also remind you of the diplomatic cooperation that helped win that war, as any good secretary of state would.

In 1941, the new American ambassador, John G. Winant, got off the plane in the dark of night at Bristol Airport. His first words were modest: “There is no place I would rather be at this time than in England.” Those words were conveying his solidarity with your nation right from the get-go. He chose not to live in the official ambassador’s residence – that seems unimaginable, having just left Winchester. (Laughter.) Instead, a modest flat was where he took his residence. He ate the same rations as Londoners. He joined them in the shelters during air raids. Day in and day out, he worked closely with Churchill, helping to coordinate urgent lines of effort.

We all know how that story ended: We won the war. When he and Churchill met for the last time, Churchill described him this way, quote, “He is a friend of Britain, but he is more than a friend of Britain. He’s a friend of justice, of freedom, and of truth.” Nothing has changed, literally nothing. As Secretary of State and a representative of President Trump, I tell the people of the United Kingdom that America will remain a friend to you and a friend of justice, freedom, and truth. Let our nations go forward in that same spirit. Let’s recognize how special this relationship really is. Let’s tend to it; let’s expand it. And as Mrs. Thatcher once toasted President Reagan, let us look forward with confidence to the next 200 years of Anglo-American friendship, to an enduring and confident alliance, and to peace and freedom for today’s and future generations. Thank you, and may God bless you. (Applause.)

Europe and Eurasia: Press Availability With British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Press Availability

Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office
London, United Kingdom
May 8, 2019

FOREIGN SECRETARY HUNT: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I’m delighted to welcome Secretary Mike Pompeo to the foreign office for his first bilateral visit to Britain, and it is a privilege to reaffirm the strength of the friendship between our two countries. The Anglo-American alliance was forged in the greatest struggle against tyranny the world has ever known. We’ll soon commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings when Britain and America joined forces with our allies to begin the liberation of Europe. We look forward to welcoming President Trump to mark that occasion, and it’s fitting that Secretary Pompeo should be our guest on V-E Day.

I’m proud to say that in defense and security, Britain and America cooperate more closely than any two countries in the world. We keep our peoples safe, we entrust one another with intelligence that saves lives on both sides of the Atlantic. Just last year when the Russian state used a chemical weapon in Salisbury, America responded by expelling 60 Russian officials, more than any other country, an act of friendship for which I repeat my thanks.

We stand together in defense of the values upon which our nations were founded. Today, Secretary Pompeo and I met faith leaders, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, to discuss how we can better protect freedom of religion in a world where people of all faiths, including 245 million Christians, face persecution for practicing their beliefs. This is an issue close to both our hearts. The recent atrocities in New Zealand and Sri Lanka remind us just why.

And I’m thankful that today we have a glimmer of light with the news that Asia Bibi will be able to embark on a new chapter of her life. I welcome the Government of Pakistan’s commitment to uphold the rule of law following the decision of its supreme court to confirm her acquittal. Britain’s primary concern has always been the safety of Asia Bibi and her family, and we’ve been in contact with our partners to help ensure she gets the freedom and security she deserves.

Today, the prime minister and I have had excellent discussions with Secretary Pompeo on a range of global challenges including China and the situations in Yemen and Iran. Let me focus on two of those.

First, Iran: The UK and U.S. work incredibly closely on Iran, including to counter Iran’s destabilizing activity in the Middle East. Whilst we both agree that Iran must never be able to acquire a nuclear weapon, it’s no secret that we have a different approach on how best to achieve that. The UK has continued to support the nuclear deal, which is a key achievement of the global nonproliferation architecture, because we believe it’s in our shared security interests.

But today’s announcement from Tehran about its commitments under the deal is an unwelcome step. I urge Iran not to take further escalatory steps and to stand by its commitments. Sanctions were lifted in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program. Should Iran cease to observe its nuclear commitments, there would, of course, be consequences. For as long as Iran keeps its commitments, then so too will the United Kingdom.

Turning to Venezuela, I’m deeply concerned by the plight of the Venezuelan people, who have suffered so much at the hands of Maduro, and we must intensify pressure on the regime, including through potential further sanctions and condemn those who are propping up Maduro, particularly Russia, whose deployment of military personnel in Caracas will achieve nothing except prolong the suffering of the Venezuelan people. So that’s why earlier today, the foreign office expressed our deep concern about the Kremlin’s actions to the Russian charge d’affaires.

As we respond to these challenges, Britain and America are united by the values that have always been at the heart of our alliance. Our countries cherish the same beliefs in liberty, democracy, and the rule of law. The anniversary of D-Day reminds us how the valor and sacrifice of a previous generation saved those values from tyranny, and our duty is to follow humbly in that great tradition.

So let me close by repeating my welcome to Mike, who is a great friend of the UK. We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the United States to defend our common values.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you. Thank you, Foreign Secretary Hunt. This is my first trip to the United Kingdom as Secretary of State, but Jeremy and I have met many times at many different places in the world, and we talk frequently by phone. You’ve truly become a great friend and I know that you’re a great partner to our collective desire to keep our two countries safe.

It was my privilege to meet with you and with Prime Minister May. President Trump is very much looking forward to his visit here next month and commemorating D-Day with our great allies.

It was evident in my conversations both with Jeremy and with Prime Minister May that the Special Relationship doesn’t simply endure; it’s thriving, despite what you might read in the papers, and we’re ready to meet new challenges and face them together and seize on new opportunities together as well.

Brexit has obviously been a hot topic here. I reiterated to the prime minister as well as to Foreign Secretary Hunt that it’s the United Kingdom’s sovereign and democratic choice on how it will proceed, but also that no matter what happens, the United States will continue our strong relationship with both the United Kingdom and the EU. Our great hope is that Brexit can be resolved soon because President Trump is eager to strike a bilateral trade agreement that expands on our number-one trade relationship.

I’ve had the privilege as both CIA director and now as the Secretary of State to observe how the UK has been amongst our most reliable partners on a broad range of security issues. We are grateful for your support of our diplomacy and pressure against North Korea, your eagerness to contribute to the strength of the NATO alliance, and your leadership to resolve crises in Syria and in Yemen. The United Kingdom also has contributed mightily to the Coalition to Defeat ISIS and, as the attacks in Sri Lanka showed, we need to keep up that fight against radical Islamic terrorism. A key part of that fight is that every coalition member must take back terrorist fighters captured on the battlefield.

Our nations have also stood side-by-side in confronting Russian aggression. We jointly held Russia accountable for the chemical weapons attacks in Salisbury of last year, and together we will continue to disrupt the hostile activities of Russian intelligence networks, uphold the prohibition of chemical weapons use, and defend our peoples against all forms of Russian aggression.

The United States and the UK cooperate a great deal on regional security in Asia as well. That cooperation will be all the more necessary as China tries to shift the global balance of power in its favor. As a historic maritime power, Britain has shown leadership in standing up to China’s unlawful behavior in the South China Sea, and we urge the British Government to be equally vigilant and vocal against a host of other Chinese activities that undermine the sovereignty of all nations.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative is just one of these problems. China peddles corrupt infrastructure deals in exchange for political influence. Its bribe-fueled debt-trap diplomacy undermines good governance and threatens to upend the free-market economic model on which so many countries depend, and which has lifted up hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. If China can’t conduct BRI with maximum transparency, it shouldn’t do it at all. We hope the UK will insist on the same.

We also discussed at some length the importance of secure 5G networks. I’ll have a little more to say on that this afternoon, but I’m confident that each of our two nations will choose a path which will ensure security of our networks.

Elsewhere in Asia, the United States unequivocally supports UK sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory. Its status as a UK territory is essential to the value of the joint U.S.-UK base on Diego Garcia and our shared security interests.

We also had a forthright conversation on the Islamic Republic of Iran, and as Jeremy said, we share the same perception of the Iranian threat and we are together trying to find new ways to work closely to combat that threat.

Finally, and following up on the roundtable discussion that we had with faith leaders this morning, the foreign secretary and I discussed the importance of religious freedom. This is just one example of the commitment to shared values on which this historic relationship depends. We will continue to cooperate to protect the God-given right of human beings in all parts of the world to believe what they want to believe. We look forward to seeing the UK at the second annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, which I’ll host in July.

Thank you again, Foreign Secretary Hunt, for your hospitality, and I look forward to continuing to meet the challenges of our time together.

MR HOULSBY: Okay. We have time for a few short questions. First, James Landale from the BBC.

QUESTION: Good afternoon. Foreign Secretary, can the Iran nuclear deal survive? What are you prepared to do to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive? And whose side are you on here, Tehran or Washington?

And Mr. Secretary, if Iran enriches more uranium, what will the United States do? What sanctions are you – further sanctions are you prepared to contemplate? And is there not a danger here that the greater – the more pressure the United States places on Iran ends up not with Iran changing its behavior, but an increasing risk of war? Are you really prepared to contemplate the risk of war in Iran?

FOREIGN SECRETARY HUNT: I’ll go first. On the Iran nuclear deal, it is a very important achievement of Western diplomacy. Despite all the problems that we have in the Middle East today, Iran does not have nuclear weapons and its neighbors have not responded by getting their own nuclear weapons. And Secretary Pompeo and I are at one in agreeing that it will be a massive step back for that region if it became nuclearized.

The JCPOA is a deal, and in return for the lifting of sanctions Iran has agreed to vital compliance measures. If they break that deal, then there will be consequences in terms of how European powers react. So we urge the Iranians to think very long and hard before they break that deal. It is in no one’s interest, it is certainly not in their interest because the moment they go nuclear, their neighbors will as well. And so that’s why this is a very serious moment, and we strongly urge them to reconsider what they said in their letter.

SECRETARY POMPEO: So not far from here are the Churchill War Rooms, where a leader of this great country stared evil in the face and recognized the threat which – that that evil presented to the entire world. We’re working together to push back against that threat. Your question about whose side are you on – this is a parlor game that gets played. We’re on the same side. We’re on the side of values-driven democracy, we’re on the side of freedom, we’re on the side of creating a nation for the Iranian people where they can have religious freedom and they can have a democracy. We’re on the side of Europe so that it can exist without assassination campaigns being conducted in its own capitals. We’re on this side together. We’re on the side of urging a nation not to underwrite Hizballah, which presents risks to Israel.

These are things that Jeremy and I and our two countries share and have in common, and we are each determined to ensure that that outcome is ultimately achieved.

MS ORTAGUS: Courtney McBride, Wall Street Journal.

QUESTION: Thank you both. Mr. Secretary, what does the selective noncompliance announcement from Iran specifically mean for the U.S.? I mean, does it change anything? I mean, are – is – are you concerned that this removes remaining safeguards against nuclear activity?

And for you, Mr. Foreign Secretary, are you ruling out immediate sanctions? You sound as though you’re urging Iran to resume or remain in compliance. Are you ruling out an immediate response from the UK and from Europe more broadly? And beyond that, is there a red line?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So as for the United States, first of all, I’ve seen the reporting, I’ve seen the letter that’s been sent. I think it was intentionally ambiguous. We’ll have to wait to see what Iran’s actions actually are. They’ve made a number of statements about actions they threatened to do in order to get the world to jump. We’ll see what they actually do. The United States will wait to observe that. And when we do, we’ll make good decisions. We’ve – obviously we’ve made a decision different than the United Kingdom has with respect to the JCPOA. And so they – Iran’s decision to depart from the JCPOA for us mostly is about their decision to work on their nuclear program to create pathways which might reduce their breakout time. These are the things that are essential for us to continue to work and to observe, and I am confident that as we watch Iran’s activity that the United Kingdom and our European partners will move forward together to ensure that Iran has no pathway for a nuclear weapon system.

FOREIGN SECRETARY HUNT: According to the letter that we’ve received this morning, there is a 60-day window before Iran plans to do anything, and they need to be very clear that if they don’t comply with the JCPOA, there will be consequences. And I’m sure that I’m speaking for my European colleagues in that respect as well. This is a very big moment for Iran. Their economy is in a state of severe distress; it’s the last thing they should be doing for the Iranian people, to be investing money in re-nuclearizing, and it will make them less secure, not more secure.

MR HOULSBY: Larissa Brown from the Daily Mail.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. If Britain gives partial access to Huawei to its 5G network, will that affect your special relationship with Britain, and how concerned are you? If I may, are you frustrated by Britain’s reluctance to take back its foreign fighters from Syria? And Secretary of State, is this Huawei deal worth risking Britain’s special relationship with America? Thank you.

SECRETARY POMPEO: So I have great confidence that the United Kingdom will never take an action that will break the special relationship, just so you should know upfront more broadly. With respect to 5G, we’re continuing to have technical discussions. We’re making our views very well known. From America’s perspective, each country has a sovereign right to make its own decision about how to deal with the challenge.

The United States has an obligation to ensure that places where we will operate, places where American information is, places where we have our national security at risk, that they operate inside trusted networks, and we will – that’s what we’ll do.

With respect to the foreign fighters, yes, we have an expectation that every country will work to take back their foreign fighters and continue to hold those foreign fighters, and we think that’s essential. There are challenges that even go beyond that today. There are some 70,000 people at a camp there, some women and children. We’ve got to sort through that. There’s very real risk.

When I was in Baghdad last night, I spent a great deal of time talking with the Iraqi leadership about this and how we can all move forward together to ensure that our children and our grandchildren never have to fight these same terrorists again. We’ve rounded them up. They are now detained, and they need to continue to be detained so they cannot present additional risk to anyone anywhere in the world.

FOREIGN SECRETARY HUNT: All right. Just on that last issue, this is obviously a very important issue that we’re working through very closely. We have to keep an eye on both the security of the United Kingdom, but also make sure there is due process, and we are looking at all the options available to us in this situation.

With respect to Huawei and 5G, we have not made our final decision as a government. We are considering the evidence very carefully, but we would never take a decision that compromised our ability to share intelligence with our Five Eyes colleagues or particularly with the United States. And we are absolutely clear that the security relationship that we have with the United States is what has underpinned the international order since 1945 and has led to unparalleled peace and prosperity, and the preservation of that is our number one foreign policy priority.

MS ORTAGUS: Katie Pavlich, Townhall.

QUESTION: Secretary Pompeo, what is your reaction to the European countries that remain in the JCPOA setting up special financial channels for Iran to continue doing business while avoiding the triggering of U.S. sanctions especially given Iran’s threats today of noncompliance with that deal? And Foreign Minister Hunt, where does the UK stand on Nicolas Maduro and the current crisis in Venezuela? Is the UK willing to go beyond condemnation and sanctioning if Maduro decides to stay? And I’d like to get your reaction to the endorsement of Maduro’s dictatorship by labor leader Jeremy Corbyn.

SECRETARY POMPEO: I’d actually rather answer your second question. (Laughter.) Yeah, I will. I’m happy to address the question you put to me. Look, we’ve talked with the UK, Germany, and France about INSTEX. There are provisions in the sanctions we put in place that allow humanitarian aid and certain products to get into the country. We’ve said so long as that is the vehicle – that is a vehicle being used for that limited purpose, that non-sanctioned purpose, it’s, of course, unobjectionable. When transactions move beyond that, it doesn’t matter what vehicle’s out there, if the transaction is sanctionable, we will evaluate it, review it, and if appropriate, levy sanctions against those that were involved in that transaction. It’s very straightforward.

As for your second question, it is disgusting to see leaders in not only the United Kingdom, but in the United States as well, who continue to support the murderous dictator Maduro. And it is not in either of our country’s best interest for those leaders to continue to advocate on their behalf – the Venezuela people have spoken through their constitutional mechanism. They have put Juan Guaido as their interim president, and he is the duly elected leader there, and Maduro is on borrowed time. And to see American leaders or leaders from this country continue to provide support and comfort to a regime that has created so much devastation, so much destruction – I was in Colombia, I saw those families who had to make choices about whether to feed their children on even days or odd days. That is a direct result of Nicolas Maduro. And no leader in a country with Western democratic values ought to stand behind them.

FOREIGN SECRETARY HUNT: This is a country where 3 million people have fled the country. GDP’s gone down by 40 percent in the last four years. People can’t access basic meds, and people are rifling through rubbish bags to get food in the streets. And John McDonnell describes this as socialism in action, and I think people need to draw their own conclusions about what his own plans might be for the UK.

MR HOULSBY: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got time for today. Thank you.

Europe and Eurasia: Remarks at Beginning of Religious Freedom Roundtable


Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
Lambeth Palace
London, United Kingdom
May 8, 2019

ARCHBISHOP WELBY: I know we are under some considerable time pressure, and I’ll move round, and then as we go around, we’ll make introductions as we go around. I’d like to start by formally conveying a warm welcome, if a rather brief one, to our visitors at Lambeth, especially to you, Mr. Secretary. The Archbishops of Canterbury have been here for about 800 years, and I think this is the first time that we have had the privilege of welcoming a U.S. secretary of state, so it’s a big first for us.

I am very grateful, too, to have the Foreign Secretary here as well as the Secretary of State, and particularly would like to mention our gratitude to the Foreign Secretary for commissioning the independent report on the persecution of Christians around the world by the Bishop of Truro, which came out last week and was really quite shocking in many ways. And I know that this area of freedom of religion and belief has been a priority of American foreign policy for a long time and that you have pushed it forward very hard, Mr. Secretary. We welcome that very warmly.

We are also concerned – and this is part, very much part, of the Anglican tradition going back many generations – that in this country we work very closely together with other denominations and other faiths, and in a sense have – we are an umbrella for the different faith communities here. And that starts from the Christian belief that we are all made in the image of God, that Christ died for all, that we belong and are precious to God – every one of us.

One of the things as Archbishop of Canterbury and a denomination that’s in 165 countries with 85 million people, and the average Anglican is a woman in Sub-Saharan Africa in her 30s on less than $4 a day and probably in a zone of persecution or conflict, is that we see both the struggles of the Church in some parts of the world, the rich parts very often, but the vibrancy and the development of the Church in the global south particularly.

And that is something that brings me to the two concerns that I would like to put before you, and then we’ll move round to you and then to the Foreign Secretary. One of the things we are concerned about is that foreign policy takes into account the impact and the importance of freedom of religion and belief. We have valued and essential foreign policy links around the world, but as you know better than I do, in some of them, freedom of religion and belief is not accepted. We would like to encourage that, while being culturally sensitive, to say that freedom to worship is an essential part of being a human being.

Secondly, that where the interests of minorities are concerned, foreign interventions can often have very serious long-term consequences, as we’ve seen with the collapse of the Christian population in some parts of the Middle East. We will hear from Archbishop Angaelos, I think, who is Coptic Orthodox, where the Church is flourishing in Egypt, but in many other parts we’ve seen a terrible collapse, I think, if you come from Iraq, where it has been particularly notable in the last 20 years. And we hope that that can be something that can be part of the thinking about the consequences of intervention.

Having said that, I know you are under great time pressure, and it’s the rare thing of brief remarks by an Archbishop, so Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you. I’ll do an equally rare feat and make short remarks from a Secretary of State. (Laughter.)

First of all, thank you so much for hosting me in this beautiful place. This is a refreshing journey. Thank you for being with us. Thank you all for joining me this morning as well.

President Trump has made clear that he wants religious freedom to be a central part of what his administration stands for, and so you’ve seen us do that at the American State Department. We’ve held a foreign ministers’ meeting last summer, where we brought in people from all faiths. It was a remarkable event, over 60 countries represented there and many, many religious – people from many, many religious backgrounds, come together to talk about tolerance, faith, and how it is that we can build institutions around that that preserve and protect everyone’s right to worship in the United States. It’s in our Constitution. It’s in the First Amendment, this idea. It’s central to our founding.

We’ll do the ministerial again this summer in the – at the end of the month, and we think this can help every country in the world improve their capacity to allow people to practice their faith in the way they want, or if they don’t want to practice a religion, this should be tolerated, equal as well because as you said, every human being should be treated with the dignity that comes as a result of their (inaudible) created in the image of God.

So thank you, (inaudible) and I look forward to our discussion today.

ARCHBISHOP WELBY: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. Foreign Secretary.

FOREIGN SECRETARY HUNT: Well, thank you, Archbishop, and Mike, thank you very much for this – this is a very big program today. The fact that you’ve carved out some time for this is hugely symbolic, very, very important to us.

We’re playing a bit of catch-up with the United States on this agenda. I think we have shied away from it for all sorts of reasons. Perhaps now there’s a political preference in there as well, and we want to change that. We strongly support freedom of religious belief. We’re kind of focused on the Christian element of that, which represents about 80 percent of the cases of persecution worldwide, about 245 million people across the world.

In terms of foreign policy, the area we’d like to work closely with you is that the countries that we know have the biggest problems in this area – places like Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Sudan – are often relationships, are often countries that we have a strong aid relationship with, we have influence. I’m not always sure that we use that influence to push this agenda.

And I think from that point of view, the other thing is that a lot of these countries are emerging democracies, and one of the things as more established democracies that we can do is give guidance to politicians not to fan hatred in their countries by fueling religious differences. And this is, I think, an increasing problem that we’re seeing.

So we’re really delighted to have you. Thank you, Mike, for coming.

ARCHBISHOP WELBY: Thank you very much for those remarks, and for those who’ve been listening, the issues of freedom of religion and belief are global, they’re generational, and they’re theological. They’re about how we understand human beings. And so I think if the press would be kind enough to sit quietly away now, we will continue our roundtable with contributions from the guests from other traditions and (inaudible).

Europe and Eurasia: Looking North: Sharpening America’s Arctic Focus


Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

Rovaniemi, Finland
May 6, 2019

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Ambassador. I know you’re enjoying your time here tremendously, and you are doing an outstanding job.

It’s great to look out here and see so many friends, too. Who’d have thought I could come this far north and know this many people? It is heartening to me.

I grew up in southern California about four minutes from Disneyland, which claims to be the happiest place on Earth by trademark, so you all have some work to do here. Get the trademark.

Thanks for being here. Thanks especially to Foreign Minister Soini, Foreign Minister Thordarson, Michelson, and Minister Bagger. I also understand we have Mayor Lotvonen here, and lots of city leaders from this special place. I’m looking forward to my stay here. Thanks for your hospitality, too. I’m touched by your warm welcome. This is only the second time I’ve had the opportunity to visit Finland, but I really do feel, as I said earlier, that I’m among friends.

The Finnish people have a tradition of hospitality for visiting Americans. I love the story of Eleanor Roosevelt and her visit to this city in 1950 to check on your postwar reconstruction progress. It was short notice, and the Finns wanted to place a special – had a special place for her arrival. So they had an architect design a cabin overnight and mobilize their best construction crew to build that place. Her plane touched down just as the outer door was being fitted in. The townspeople were ushered in, and grand welcoming ceremony, and that cabin still stands today.

So as you can see, we’ve been friends for an awfully long time. In Finland and the U.S., you have a pair of nations that are celebrating our 100th year of diplomatic relations. We have a lot to look back on, but also a great deal to look forward to, and I want to speak today about our future – not just about our bilateral future, but about our future in this region, here in the Arctic. And what better place to do it, for me to have the opportunity to participate in the Arctic Council?

It’s an honor to gather here this week with fellow members, the seven other nations in addition to the United States and the proud indigenous people. I’m not the first secretary of state in recent memory to participate in the Arctic Council proceedings, and you can be sure that I will not be the last. I might, however, be the first to give a major address outside of those formal proceedings.

And I wanted to do so because the importance of what I came here for transcends any one forum.

The world has long felt magnetic pull towards the Arctic, but never more so than today.

For reasons I’ll explain in a moment, the region has become an arena for power and for competition. And the eight Arctic states must adapt to this new future.

In its first two decades, the Arctic Council has had the luxury of focusing almost exclusively on scientific collaboration, on cultural matters, on environmental research – all important themes, very important, and we should continue to do those.

But no longer do we have that luxury of the next hundred years.

We’re entering a new age of strategic engagement in the Arctic, complete with new threats to the Arctic and its real estate, and to all of our interests in that region.

Before we sit down for tomorrow’s formal council meetings, I want to give a voice to a sense of what’s at stake and what I think we can do together about it.

Let’s start with the most fundamental principle: The United States is an Arctic nation. But even before the purchase of Alaska, our interest here stretched back centuries.

Indigenous peoples have lived in the Arctic for generations, well before there was an America to speak of. In the 1730s, winters from – or excuse me, whalers from New England traveled the Davis Strait between Canada and Greenland. In the 1800s, our polar explorers were celebrities.

The funeral procession for one of them, Elisha Kent Kane, was said to be the second largest of the century, bested only by the Lincolns.

Alaska was purchased by the United States in 1857, and the deal was over – was completed by Secretary of State William Seward. After he retired, Seward wasted – excuse me, Seward was asked, what’s the greatest contribution he made during his long and very distinguished career. He had to pause for just one moment to say that the purchase of Alaska was my most important undertaking, but it will take the country a generation to truly appreciate that.

Now here we are multiple generations later. This is our time to appreciate it like never before. This is America’s moment to stand up as an Arctic nation and for the Arctic’s future. Because far from the barren backcountry that many thought it to be in Seward’s time, the Arctic is at the forefront of opportunity and abundance. It houses 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil, 30 percent of its undiscovered gas, and an abundance of uranium, rare earth minerals, gold, diamonds, and millions of square miles of untapped resources. Fisheries galore.

And its centerpiece, the Arctic Ocean, is rapidly taking on new strategic significance.

Offshore resources, which are helping the respective coastal states, are the subject of renewed competition.

Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunities for trade. This could potentially slash the time it takes to travel between Asia and the West by as much as 20 days.

Arctic sea lanes could come before – could come the 21s century Suez and Panama Canals. And that leads me to my second point.

The second point is this: To leverage the Arctic’s – the Arctic continental, all nations, including non-Arctic nations, should have a right to engage peacefully in this region. The United States is a believer in free markets. We know from experience that free and fair competition, open, by the rule of law, produces the best outcomes.

But all the parties in the marketplace have to play by those same rules. Those who violate those rules should lose their rights to participate in that marketplace. Respect and transparency are the price of admission.

And let’s talk about China for a moment. China has observer status in the Arctic Council, but that status is contingent upon its respect for the sovereign rights of Arctic states. The U.S. wants China to meet that condition and contribute responsibly in the region. But China’s words and actions raise doubts about its intentions.

Beijing claims to be a “Near-Arctic State,” yet the shortest distance between China and the Arctic is 900 miles. There are only Arctic States and Non-Arctic States. No third category exists, and claiming otherwise entitles China to exactly nothing.

That’s not to say Chinese investment is unwelcome – indeed, quite the opposite. The United States and Arctic nations welcome transparent Chinese investments that reflect economic interest and national security ambitions. Between 2012 and 2017, China invested in the Arctic nearly $90 billion. It’s planning to build infrastructure from Canada, to the Northwest Territories, to Siberia.

Just last month, Russia announced plans to connect the Northern Sea Route with China’s Maritime Silk Road, which would develop a new shipping channel from Asia to northern Europe. Meanwhile, China is already developing shipping lanes in the Arctic Ocean.

This is part of a very familiar pattern. Beijing attempts to develop critical infrastructure using Chinese money, Chinese companies, and Chinese workers – in some cases, to establish a permanent Chinese security presence.

Our Pentagon warned just last week that China could use its civilian research presence in the Arctic to strengthen its military presence, including our deployment of submarines – including deployment of submarines to the region as a deterrent against nuclear attack.

We need to examine these activities closely, and we need – and we keep the experience we have learned of other nations in mind. China’s pattern of aggressive behavior elsewhere in the – excuse me – aggressive behavior elsewhere should inform what we do and how it might treat the Arctic.

Let’s just ask ourselves: Do we want Arctic nations broadly, or indigenous communities specifically, to go the way of former government in Sri Lanka or Malaysia, ensnared by debt and corruption? Do we want crucial Arctic infrastructure to end up like Chinese-constructed roads in Ethiopia, crumbling and dangerous after only a few years? Do we want the Arctic Ocean to transform into a new South China Sea, fraught with militarization and competing territorial claims? Do we want the fragile Arctic environment exposed to the same ecological devastation caused by China’s fishing fleet in the seas off its coast, or unregulated industrial activity in its own country? I think the answers are pretty clear.

Then there’s Russia. As a fellow Arctic Council member, Russia – the other Arctic states have fruitfully cooperated in a number of areas – expansive conservation efforts. Those are to be applauded. We want cooperation to continue. But we can’t have one side cooperate, and the other side derogate its duties.

We’re concerned about Russia’s claim over the international waters of the Northern Sea Route, including its newly announced plans to connect it with China’s Maritime Silk Road. In the Northern Sea Route, Moscow already illegally demands other nations request permission to pass, requires Russian maritime pilots to be aboard foreign ships, and threatens to use military force to sink any that fail to comply with their demands.

These provocative actions are part of a pattern of aggressive Russian behavior here in the Arctic. Russia is already leaving snow prints in the form of army boots. Russia formally announced its intent to increase its military presence in the region in 2014, when it re-opened a Cold War Arctic military base.

Since then, thanks in part to its large icebreaker fleet, Russia has been able to renovate old bases and infrastructure. It claims to have built 475 new military sites, including bases north of the Arctic Circle, as well as 16 new deep-water ports. It secures this presence through sophisticated new air defense systems and anti-ship missiles.

No one denies Russia has significant Arctic interests. We recognize that Russia is not the only nation making illegitimate claims. The U.S. has a long-contested feud with Canada over sovereign claims through the Northwest Passage.

But Russia is unique. Its actions deserve special attention, special attention of this Council, in part because of their sheer scale. But also because we know Russian territorial ambitions can turn violent. 13,000 people have been killed due to Russia’s ongoing aggressive action in Ukraine.

And just because the Artic is a place of wilderness does not mean it should become a place of lawlessness. It need not be the case. And we stand ready to ensure that it does not become so.

As I said in a speech in Chile, in Santiago just a few weeks ago, American leadership stands in stark contrast with the Chinese and Russian models. When the U.S. chaired this council, we made strides to improve suicide prevention among indigenous youth, and funded new sanitation capacity in rural villages. American commitment to the region has been bipartisan, spanning multiple administrations.

The Trump administration, however, recognizes that America could do more, and we will; we intend to. Today America is sharing its focus on the Arctic and securing its future. Under President Trump, we are fortifying America’s security and diplomatic presence in the area. On the security side, partly in response to Russia’s destabilizing activities, we are hosting military exercises, strengthening our force presence, rebuilding our icebreaker fleet, expanding Coast Guard funding, and creating a new senior military post for Arctic Affairs inside of our own military.

And we’re also leveraging the important partnerships that we will expand on even this week. NATO’s Trident Structure exercise last fall was the largest Arctic military exercise since the Cold War, with over 50,000 persons participating.

On the diplomatic side too, we’re fully engaged. We’re working to strengthen our presence across the entire region and enhance our engagement with each of our Arctic partners. I’ll have more to announce on that on a later stop on this trip.

In addition to security, President Trump is committed to leveraging resources of environmentally – in environmentally responsible ways. He knows this white expanse can also be green.

Our administration helped the Arctic states seal the Central Arctic Fisheries Agreement. It was one of the first times in history that a region banded together to preemptively solve a threat to environmental resources. We should all be very proud of that.

Our administration has also freed up energy exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We’ve exported offshore energy production in the safest way possible, while also hosting – excuse me, also hosting joint oil spill exercises with regional partners.

And I’m pleased to announce today that U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry will deliver the keynote address at the Arctic Circle Assembly later this year in Iceland. He’ll also talk more there about how we plan to increase access to the Arctic’s resources, and do so in an environmentally responsible way.

Look, the facts speak for themselves: America is the world’s leader in caring for the environment. Our energy-related CO2 emissions fell by 14 percent between 2006 and 2017. The rest of the world’s rose by more than 20 percent during that same time period. Our black carbon emissions are down 16 percent since 2013 and are on track to drop by nearly half by 2035, the best of any Arctic country. Meanwhile, it isn’t clear that Russia is reducing emissions at all, despite being the largest emitter of black carbon in the entire Arctic.

The United States is achieving our reductions the American way: through scientific work, through technology, through building out safe and secure energy infrastructure, and through our economic growth, and doing it in a way that doesn’t stifle development with burdensome regulations that only create more risk to the environment.

Compare the data of the United States to China. Its – our CO2 emissions more than tripled between – excuse me, China’s CO2 emissions tripled between 2000 and 2016. Do we want that kind of output in one of the most precious and pristine corners of the world?

I want to close by talking about two principles that have long defined the Arctic – and which are needed in this new era more than ever: That’s partnerships and courage.

They’re common – they’re common threads through the centuries here in the Arctic: Indigenous peoples carved civilizations into the ice, explorers trudged onward in the face of danger and death, and soldiers and diplomats secured the region when it mattered the most. And sometimes – sometimes courage and partners came from unlikely places.

Like a bar in Duluth, Minnesota.

The year was 1955, and still at times there were no human being that was believed to have reached the North Pole by sea or land.

Yet in that bar on the shores of Lake Superior, an insurance salesman and a doctor – both middle-aged dads and living in the suburbs – decided to give it a shot. They recruited a high school geography teacher and a mechanic.

And they also sought a Canadian partner – someone more familiar with the North Country, settling on a Canadian snowplow, they snowplow – settling on a Canadian snowplow racer.

Eventually, the motley crew set out on what became a 43-day, 412-mile trek in temperatures reaching negative 60 degrees. All on the backs of snowmobiles.

They easily could have died, like so many before them. Instead, in 1968, they became the first human beings ever to reach the North Pole by land – just 15 months before Neil Armstrong made his historic first step on the moon.

Courage and partnership. Courage and partnership is what this region depends on. Especially today.

So for here at the Arctic Council, we’ve done our job. There’s more to do. We face a new era of challenge in the region. Now is the time for increased vigilance and increased partnership and even more courage.

We must hold each other accountable. And we must not allow this forum to fall victim to subversion – from Arctic or non-Arctic states.

Through courage and partnership, we can succeed. I trust that we will. And our nations – and the entire world – can look forward to a bright, peaceful, sustainable future for this indispensable region.

Thank you all for joining me here today. (Applause.)

Europe and Eurasia: Poland National Constitution Day

Press Statement

Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

Washington, DC
May 2, 2019

On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I extend my congratulations and best wishes to the people of Poland on the occasion of your 228th Constitution Day.

Widely regarded as one of the first modern constitutions in Europe, the May Third Constitution represented an historic landmark in your country’s pursuit of freedom and democracy.

It was an honor for me to have visited Poland earlier this year and to see the tremendous progress the country has made since the collapse of communism and return of freedom 30 years ago. I look forward to marking this and several other important anniversaries in 2019 with our Polish Allies and friends as we continue to strengthen the strategic partnership between our two countries.