State Department recap: January 5-12, 2022

Here’s a look at what US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other top diplomats have been up to this week:

United States, Russia, Ukraine

The United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies speak with one voice to urge Russia to defuse tensions along the Ukrainian border and reject Moscow’s demand that the alliance ceases to expand, as diplomats meet in Europe.

FILE – US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, left, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov attend security talks at the US Mission in Geneva, Switzerland, on January 10, 2022.

US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who led the US delegation to attend Wednesday’s NATO-Russia meeting in Brussels and Monday’s US-Russia meeting in Geneva, told reporters the talks are going on ended with “a serious challenge” for Moscow to reduce tensions and “choose the path of diplomacy” and “continue to engage in an honest and reciprocal dialogue”.

While NATO does not budge on its “open door” policy, the Western alliance has offered no timetable for Ukraine’s call for NATO admission, prompting some observers to assert that Russian President Vladimir Putin is already vetoing NATO membership.

US, NATO navigate diplomacy as Russia avoids de-escalation

Apart from Kiev, no one is in a hurry for Ukraine to join NATO

US, Russia Hold First Day of ‘Frank and Frank’ Talks Amid Tensions in Ukraine

United States, North Korea

The United States imposed sanctions Jan. 12 on five North Koreans who it says are responsible for securing assets from Pyongyang’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. The latest US sanctions come after North Korea said it passed what it called its second “hypersonic missile” test this year.

“We feel it will take a bit of rethinking about Pyongyang,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said when reporters insisted that current U.S. policy does not appear to be working while Korea North continues its nuclear and missile programs and that dialogue has taken place. deadlock.

US targets North Koreans in Russia, China for helping Pyongyang weapons development

State Media: Kim Jong Un observed North Korea’s latest ‘hypersonic’ launch

Kazakhstan

The State Department said it welcomed the “reports of calm” in the city of Almaty, but warned that Washington would continue to call the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CTSC) and the government of Kazakhstan to respect human rights. Secretary Blinken asked why Russia had deployed troops and condemned a shoot-to-kill order issued by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. Protests erupted in Kazakhstan earlier this month against fuel prices and turned into widespread violence, the worst since the former Soviet republic gained independence three decades ago.

Putin: no more color revolutions

Kazakh President issues kill order to quell protests

United States, Nicaragua

The United States and the European Union on Monday announced sanctions against six Nicaraguan officials for what the Biden administration called “fraudulent national elections orchestrated by their regime in November, further consolidating their control of power to the detriment of the people Nicaraguan”. The announcement comes on the inauguration day of President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo. The US Treasury Department accused the six officials of “state violence,” spreading disinformation and targeting journalists.

US announces new sanctions against Nicaraguan officials

United States, Japan

The United States and Japan agreed to sign a new defense collaboration agreement to counter emerging defense threats, including hypersonic and space capabilities after senior diplomats and defense chiefs met on January 6 at the US-Japanese Virtual Security Advisory Committee (“2 + 2”) Meeting.

Secretary Blinken said the two nations must “strengthen our alliance and meet the most difficult challenges” while citing Russia’s military build-up against Ukraine, Beijing’s “provocative” actions against Taiwan and the latest launches of missiles from North Korea.

US, Japan to launch new defense research and development agreement

US, Japan to hold virtual talks on security, Indo-Pacific region

Horn of africa

Secretary Blinken has appointed career diplomat David Satterfield as the new special envoy to the Horn of Africa “in the midst of some of the world’s most difficult conflicts”. Satterfield, 67, who has experience in the Persian Gulf states, Lebanon and Iraq, was recently Ambassador to Turkey. He replaces Jeffrey Feltman, another seasoned diplomat, who held the post in the Horn of Africa, covering the countries of Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Ethiopia, since last April.

Blinken called the appointment “instrumental” in continuing efforts “to promote a peaceful and prosperous Horn of Africa and to advance American interests in this strategic region.”

US appoints new special envoy to Horn of Africa

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