State Department Recap: September 28-October 5, 2022

6 Oct

State Department Recap: September 28-October 5, 2022

Here’s a look at what U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other top diplomats have been doing this week:

US–North Korea 

The United States requested an emergency meeting Wednesday to address North Korea’s “dangerous and reckless” test firing of a long-range ballistic missile over Japan the previous day. Blinken said the U.S. was taking “appropriate, defensive deterrence steps” with allies and partners in response to North Korea’s latest provocation. State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters this week that the U.S. was still assessing North Korea’s launch — the 39th ballistic missile launch in 2022 — saying it “posed an unacceptable threat to the Japanese public” and was destabilizing the region.  

UN Security Council to Hold Emergency Meeting Wednesday Over North Korea’s Launch of Missile Over Japan 

US-Russia-Ukraine

The U.S. joined other nations in condemning Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions. Blinken warned Russia that Washington was “prepared” and would “impose additional severe and swift costs on Russia” for proceeding with the annexations.

Putin Finalizes Annexation Claim Rejected by Ukraine, West  

The U.S., meanwhile, continued to provide Ukraine with new assistance as the country’s counteroffensives made progress. On Tuesday, Blinken announced the 22nd drawdown of U.S. arms and equipment for Ukraine since August 2021. The $625 million in military assistance included arms, munitions and equipment from U.S. Department of Defense inventories.

“The United States stands #UnitedWithUkraine,” Blinken wrote in a tweet.

US–Pacific 

U.S. and Pacific Island leaders agreed on a partnership deal as Washington hosted its first summit with leaders from the region’s nations. On September 29, the second day of the summit, U.S. President Joe Biden announced more than $810 million in expanded programs to aid the Pacific Islands. The U.S. also pledged to recognize the Cook Islands and Niue as sovereign states, following appropriate consultations.

US, Pacific Island Leaders Reach Partnership Deal at Historic Summit

US-Iran 

The U.S. State Department said this week that detained U.S. citizen Baquer Namazi, an Iranian American, has been permitted to depart Iran and that his son Siamak Namazi has been granted a furlough from prison. Department deputy spokesperson Patel said that Baquer Namazi’s release was based on medical need, and that no money had been exchanged for his release. “There has been no facilitation of any funds transferred. That is absolutely false,” Patel told reporters this week, rejecting Iranian reports that Tehran’s release of detained Americans would lead to the unfreezing of Iranian funds abroad. Both men were convicted in 2016 on charges the U.S. described as baseless.

Iran Says Detained Iranian American Namazi Left for Oman  

Meanwhile, the U.S. plans to “impose further costs” this week on Iran for assaulting people protesting the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who died in the hospital after being detained by the government’s morality police for failing to cover her hair with a hijab.

Biden Vows to ‘Impose Further Costs’ on Iran for Assaulting Protesters  

US-Latin America 

Blinken is in Latin America this week, visiting Colombia, Chile and Peru. High on his agenda, according to the State Department, are supporting strong democratic institutions, underscoring respect for human rights across the region and reaffirming the hemisphere’s approach to addressing irregular migration.

In Bogota, Colombia, Blinken visited a center that offers services to Venezuelans, whom Colombians have welcomed. Newly arrived Venezuelans also shared their stories.

Later this week in Lima, Peru, Blinken will lead the U.S. delegation at the General Assembly of the Organization of American States, where he will reaffirm OAS’s role in advancing democracy, human rights, sustainable development and security cooperation throughout the Western Hemisphere.

SJ

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