DIPLOMACY

Aug. 16, 2020


08/15/2020 12:25 PM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Jacek Czaputowicz, Polish Foreign Minister

Warsaw, Poland

Palace on the Isle

MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Ladies and gentlemen, very warm welcome to the press conference. Minister Jacek Czaputowicz, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, and Mr. Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State of the United States of America. This conference is an occasion to take stock of today’s visit and bilateral talks between Poland and the United States.

Minister Czaputowicz, over to you.

FOREIGN MINISTER CZAPUTOWICZ: (Via interpreter) Good afternoon. Welcome. Thank you very much, Director. Let me tell you that I’m very happy to be hosting here in this very unique place, in this unique setting of the Palace on the Water, Mr. Mike Pompeo. The occasion is also very unique: the centenary of the Battle of Warsaw. And the presence of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with us today has a very symbolic meaning. It signifies that President Trump is also in a way with us today.

Today’s visit shows that our countries are united on one hand by history, on the other hand in very common concern for present and for the future. And today we had the opportunity to discuss how to further strengthen cooperation in the area of security, defense, economy, and energy. We also spoke about the most pressing challenges to the international security, especially the extremely worrying developments in the aftermath of the presidential elections in Belarus. I want to say that we call on the Belarusian authorities to stop escalating the situation and to start dialogue with the civil society. Poland is very much in favor of sovereignty and independence of our eastern neighbor, Belarus.

Today we have signed an agreement of historic importance, the agreement on enhanced defense cooperation between Poland and the United States. And this is the crowning glory of our efforts to provide security to our home country and to lay down conditions for its stable development. It gives us the green light for a new quality of the American military engagement in Poland – sustainable, and visible – and for its practical implementation.

I want to emphasize that while we work to preserve and maintain the military presence of the United States in Europe, we in Poland, we are guided by the overriding need to strengthen transatlantic bonds. This is very much in the interest of whole Europe, our Central European region, and transatlantic region.

Another important event was the initialing of intergovernmental agreement on cooperation of our two governments for the development of civil nuclear energy. This is the result of the Strategic Energy Dialogue that was initiated by our two respective presidents back in 2017. And we do hope that in cooperation we will be able to achieve a lot in multilateral structures within NATO, OSCE, the United Nations, as well as nonformalized structures such as the Warsaw Process which focuses on the Middle East and the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, as well as initiatives for democracy and respect of human rights. And here we have joint perception of our shared values and in – very much in the spirit, together we intend to convene the international ministerial conference on religious freedom in November. So this will be another platform for our close cooperation.

We also wish to thank the United States for their commitment to the Three Seas Initiative. This is very reassuring. It shows us and tells us volumes about the stability of this initiative. And it is also beneficial also to the United States.

So let me thank once again and offer my thanks into the hands of Secretary Mike Pompeo for the commitment of the United States. May I hand it over to Secretary Mike Pompeo to take the floor?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Minister Czaputowicz. I think this is the fifth time we’ve been together. Let me just personally say how much I enjoy working with you, what a pleasure it has been to work with you, and thank you for you and your team’s great work hosting us here today. We’re deeply appreciative.

I want to take a moment, too, to congratulate President Duda on his victory. As I shared with him in the meeting, I hope that this trip will further strengthen the excellent bilateral relationship that he and President Trump have cultivated. And to the Polish people, it’s truly an honor to be here as America’s Secretary of State to commemorate this historic day, this historic day for freedom from your history. A hundred years ago this month, Polish valor won an epic victory against communist tyranny during the Battle of Warsaw, the Miracle on the Vistula. It’s one of the many heroic stands the Polish people have made in the 20th century, resisting Nazi and Soviet occupation. This month will also commemorate the 1944 Warsaw uprising against Nazi occupation, and we mark 40 years – 40 years of the birth of Solidarity. All great victories for freedom.

It was wonderful to be out there today with your soldiers, to see them. I was once a soldier too. To watch their excellence, to know the sacrifice that they make as part of securing freedom and helping America partner with you to secure our collective freedom was really special for me today. And so thank you for giving me that chance to be with you all.

We had great discussions with the president and with the prime minister, and now with the foreign minister. We talked about the historic agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel that President Trump helped craft – truly the most significant step forward for Middle East peace in two and a half decades. I’m optimistic that this will catalyze further opportunities for diplomatic progress in the region.

We spent a fair amount of time talking, too, about the situation in Belarus, which we are following closely. I was glad to see the release of some protesters, but that certainly is not enough. As I said yesterday in Vienna, we are consulting with our European partners. This is now my fourth European capital on this trip, and we’ve talked about the situation in each of the places I have gone to try to help as best we can the Belarusian people achieve sovereignty and freedom.

We spent time talking about our security relationship too. We had the opportunity to sign that important agreement today. The United States and Poland have proudly executed this new Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. I know it will lead to good outcomes for each of our two countries, and the work that we all do as part of NATO as well. It paves the way, centrally, for an additional thousand troops into Poland on top of the 4,500 that are here presently. That’s an important strategic move for American security, too, as we have been having discussions with the Russians on our strategic dialogue. To know that we have a friend that will help us make sure that we have strategic stability for the world is incredibly important, and we thank you for that.

Turning to energy matters, Poland has opposed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and embraced the Baltic Pipe Project, and you’ve inked deals with U.S. LNG suppliers. Thank you for that. I know it will benefit each of our two countries.

I’m pleased to note this week, too, that the United States and Poland initialed a draft memorandum of agreement to cooperate in the development of Poland’s civil nuclear program, as the foreign minister mentioned.

Staying on that infrastructure theme, I commend Poland’s leadership and investment in the Three Seas Initiative. The United States commitment of up to $1 billion to support that initiative will help build infrastructure and create important projects that have truly strategic impact on this region for many years to come. I do hope that more countries in the region will follow your lead and financially support it before we meet in Tallinn later this summer.

Poland is also joining a growing list of nations on high alert to the Chinese Communist Party’s malign influence. This is reflected clearly in the 5G joint declaration of our two countries signed a year ago. And we talked today on how we can continue to cooperate further to protect our people from the challenges that the Chinese Communist Party presents and the risks that come from its aspirations.

It should come as no surprise to anyone here that we continue to grow and expand our relationship. Poland has been a great leader in Europe, and they have been a great friend and ally of the United States. As President Trump said back in 2017, “Poland lives, Poland prospers, and Poland prevails.” May it always be so, Foreign Minister.

Thank you, and thank you again for having me here today.

MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much. May I hand it over to journalist Mateusz Roszak from the Polish Press Agency?

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) A question to Mike Pompeo for further engagement of U.S. authorities in Belarus. Considering the developments in Belarus, do you intend to not recognize the outcomes of the presidential elections, like Poland and other EU countries decided to do? Or do you consider any sanctions against Belarus, or would you like to recognize the validity of the election of the runner-up in the elections as valid? And also the same question to the Polish —

SECRETARY POMPEO: Appreciate the question. Look, we’ve said that the elections themselves weren’t free, they weren’t fair. And so we’ve spent these last days consulting with our European partners, not only the meetings that I’ve had in person but the telephone conversations that I’ve had trying to understand precisely what’s happening, and all with a common objective, as we talked about today. The common objective is to support the Belarusian people to achieve their own sovereignty, their own freedom, to build out what you’re seeing happen in these protests. These people are demanding the simple things that every human being wants: the right to have determination for themselves about the nature of their government. And so we urge the leadership of Belarus to broaden the circle, as the foreign minister said, to engage with civil society in a way that reflects the central understandings that the Belarusian people are demanding.

FOREIGN MINISTER CZAPUTOWICZ: (Via interpreter) As regards the Polish commitment and further actions to be taken by Poland multilaterally, thanks to our initiative, yesterday in the evening there was a special session of foreign ministers of European Union organized, and individual sanctions were decided on, especially on the people who committed electoral fraud and who masterminded the process and who were guilty of abuse of force against the demonstrators. And this procedure will be further on discussed in the European Union.

We also decided to what extent the sanctions should be binding in order to alleviate their potential evil impact on the Belarusian society. So we decided to target sanctions to hit only the people who are decision-makers. So this is a multilateral engagement. And yesterday, in the Polish parliament, Prime Minister Morawiecki announced the solidarity program for Belarus with 50 million zlotys set aside to this, and to support students, civil society, the victims of oppression, those who were discharged from prisons, and to free mass media in Belarus. Next to negative sanctions, we must also have a positive package to influence the civil society in Belarus. Poland is located geographically in a very special way, and therefore our interest and our preoccupation for Belarus goes without saying. This is our closest neighbor. Eight hundred thousand visas were issued last year to the citizens of Belarus; half of them were issued by Polish consulates. In Poland we have 9,000 of Belarusian students studying at various universities, and many of them benefit from scholarship programs. If young people continue to suffer oppression, they will not be left alone, they will not be left high and dry. We will certainly support them.

This is a difficult situation, challenging also in geopolitical sense. There are, of course, suggestions to organize a new round of elections. If this was fraud, election fraud, there should be a new election to legitimize new government. The question is how to organize them and how to monitor their validity and their fairness. In other words, you must take a broader perspective of that.

We would like to make sure that the Belarusian authorities are back at the negotiation table with the representatives of the civil society in order to discuss some transition arrangements until new elections are convoked. These are good ideas but they are difficult to be implemented in practice, but we continue to support the idea of independent and sovereign Belarus. We do trust that the people of Belarus themselves will work out how to get out of this problem in full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms and legitimate aspirations of the Belarus people to live in a free, democratic society, while securing also full security and sovereignty of the Belarus state.

We are ready to support the process together with other countries of the EU community. President Andrzej Duda and presidents of Baltic states pledged their readiness to support the mediation process. We wish them well, the people of Belarus. We see that the national identity is now growing in Belarus, and this will produce positive results.

MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) And now Morgan Ortagus, the – will invite the American question.

MS ORTAGUS: Abbie Williams, NBC News.

QUESTION: Thanks so much. To Mr. Secretary first, the UN Security Council delivered a decisive “no” yesterday on a U.S. resolution to extend the arms embargo on Iran after two years of U.S. effort. Do you see any alternative to a full snapback of sanctions and will you take up the Russian call for a P5+1 meeting?

And to both ministers, you just signed a comprehensive defense agreement. It will take a lot of resources to build the infrastructure within that agreement, infrastructure that already exists within Germany. Why do you feel that Poland is in the best position to ward off Russia?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So as to your first question, there were two “no” votes precisely yesterday: Russia and China. It’s unsurprising that the Russians and the Chinese would like to sell weapons to the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is unfortunate that the French and the United Kingdom members of the P5 didn’t support what the Gulf states have demanded, what the Israelis have demanded for their own security – the people who know best the risks in the region. So I regret that deeply. I regret, too, that the whole world didn’t join against the world’s largest state sponsor of terror to ensure that they can’t have weapons systems that present risk – risk to the heart of Europe, air defense systems that will prevent the access we may need in the event that Iran should ultimately move on developing its own nuclear weapons program. This was a serious mistake. We regret that.

The United States simply wanted to extend the set of rules that have been in place since 2007, and as we have said before, the United States is determined to make sure that the Iranians and this regime – this theocratic regime – doesn’t have the capacity to inflict even more harm on the world. And so we’ll continue to work on that at the UN. We’ll continue to work diplomatically to try and achieve precisely the right outcome that I think the entire world understands. I think there are a lot of people, and I’ve heard it privately on this trip, that understand that it is not in the world’s best interests to allow this arms embargo to expire. I hope they will find the courage to say so publicly and assist us in ensuring this arms embargo is extended.

As for the defense cooperation agreement, the opportunities are unlimited, the resources will be available, and the partnership will make this happen. I’m convinced of that. As for precisely the right position of our forces, the Department of Defense and the Polish military and Secretary General Stoltenberg will all make the right decisions about how best to array the forces. I always urge people in these days where the world has changed so much – troop levels matter, the number of soldiers someone has someplace. As a former tank officer, I know that. But the world’s moved on, too. Space, cyber, all the disinformation. We talked about this a great deal. This defense cooperation agreement we signed will give us the capacity to work on each of these problems in important ways. And so we’ll get our troop disposition right, but the depth and breadth and scope and scale of what we’ll be able to do alongside Poland as a result of having signed this agreement is truly important, and I am very confident that our two governments, between them, will find the resources to do this right.

FOREIGN MINISTER CZAPUTOWICZ: (Via interpreter) If I may add something to the statement, in the area of military operation, not only the physical presence and deployment is important, but it is also important to have troops deployed precisely in the locations where they should be deployed. And here we agreed, together with my colleague, Secretary of State, that the presence of American troops in Poland enhances our deterrence potential because we are closer to the potential source of conflict. That’s why we very eagerly decided to invest into our military infrastructure to make American soldiers feel at home in Poland, because we do believe their presence is important. It is important to our security and it is important that they should be deployed in Poland, and not in Germany. And here, all the scholarly knowledge of the art of war assures us that the capability of deterrence is higher if the army is deployed in the right place.

Of course, this is not hand-in-hand with the reduction of the U.S. presence on the German soil. It will be good to have also unreduced presence, American presence, in Germany. But we do understand the need for economy, and we know that the presence of American soldiers on the Polish soil contributes largely to the security of Poland and the Central European region. During his previous visit, Mike Pompeo visited troops deployed in Orzysz. I had the pleasure of accompanying him, and I want to stress how well received is the American presence in Poland.

MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much. This brings us to an end of the conference. Thank you for attending. Thank you, Secretary. Thank you, Minister. Thank you.

Aug. 15, 2020

Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Andreas Pfeifer of ORF TV
08/14/2020 04:26 PM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Belvedere Palace

Vienna, Austria

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, both countries, the U.S. and Austria, are willing to make a new deal, a new partnership. What kind of partnership could that be – there are obstacles. Austria is dealing with Huawei, is interested in a deal with Nord Stream 2, and this is all against your advice. Didn’t you convince Mr. Schallenberg?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Okay. So there’s lots of places that we – we’re likely to find ourselves disagreeing, but at the end, the core relationship, the things that we work on together, far outweigh any of these tactical differences.

Look, Austria is an important strategic partner of ours. They provide forces all over the world, right. Right after us, they’re the largest member of the peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. These are important places, important projects. We’re talking a lot about the Western Balkans. These are places where our value set way overrides any tactical difference we have on a particular policy. We’ll debate those. We’ll debate those with Austria and other members of the EU. In the end, the transatlantic alliance is enormously valuable, and Austria sits at the center and is an important partner in that.

QUESTION: So the deal with Huawei is not a problem for this relationship?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well we think of Huawei not as a bilateral issue. We think of Huawei as presenting risk. So our mission set is just to make sure everybody understands that Huawei is a element of the Chinese Communist Party. It’s deeply connected to the military. They have access to all of the information that goes across Huawei systems. That data, Austrian people’s private data on Chinese telecommunications infrastructure, is a bad idea, we believe, for anyone. We think that includes the Austrian people who want to preserve their information. And so we urge every country to make sure that their data flows only across trusted networks. It’s what we’re working our way towards in the United States. We now have 30 countries who have joined the coalition to have Clean Networks. We hope every country will come to see – to do this not because the United States asked them to, but because it’s the right thing for their people.

QUESTION: Okay. Some experts say that you’re in troubles with Germany, the big partner, so that’s why you’re looking for new friends because the world change (inaudible) Austria. Some people say that Sebastian Kurz, our chancellor, is the better alternative to Angela Merkel. What do you say?

SECRETARY POMPEO: We have a great relationship with Austria. It has nothing to do with us trying to find a – I guess the theory would be a back door to have a relationship. That’s silly. We have a great relationship with Austria because it is an important partner. It sits right here in the heart of Europe. They’ve been great partners in so many things that we’ve done alongside them. I know they’ll continue to do it. It’s the reason I’m here today.

Austria sometimes doesn’t see itself the same way we see it. We see it as important in the geostrategic group, we see it as having real capacity to influence not only the rest of Europe but the rest of the world. We count on them to do that and I wanted to come here today to talk to them about things that matter to the American people, the things that we can work on together and – to try to find our way through those prickly issues where we don’t quite see eye to eye.

QUESTION: Okay. This is the place – Vienna is the place where the Iran nuclear deal was signed and celebrated. You left the deal and you’re going to renew the arms embargo as well. So did Mr. Schallenberg convince you that this is not the right way, maximum pressure is maybe the wrong way?

SECRETARY POMPEO: We think we’ve made real progress at restricting the capacity for the world’s largest state sponsor of terror to wreak havoc across the world. They can no longer provide as much money to Hizballah. They can no longer provide as much money to the terrorist networks throughout Iraq and Syria. We’ve made the world safer as a direct result of the decision the President made not to comply with the JCPOA.

We now have an arms embargo on a nation that has no business selling the most complex, sophisticated weapon systems around the world, and purchasing those weapons. Those weapons will end up in places like Beirut in the hands of Hizballah. This isn’t about the JCPOA. This is about making sure that – since 2007, the UN has had an arms embargo applied against the Islamic Republic of Iran, and there’s – this is not the time – they have not demonstrated their capacity to allow that arms embargo to expire. We think it’s in Austria’s best interest, we think it’s in Europe’s best interest, and the world’s best interest to extend this arms embargo.

QUESTION: As every country in the world, you have to fight to deal with the corona pandemic. Some say that maybe the U.S. is suffering more than other countries because of a lack of leadership, because of late and false decisions by the Trump administration. Did anything go wrong in your country?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. This came from Wuhan, China, and the Chinese had every opportunity to act in a way that would have prevented this virus from causing hundreds of thousands of lives all across the world and trillions of dollars in economic damage. I was with a group of Austrian business leaders today. Every one of them has had their business adversely impacted; not only their bottom lines, but their ability to continue to hire Austrians and to invest around the world. This challenge falls squarely at the feet of what – they had the capacity. They knew. They stopped the travel out of Hubei Province but allowed people to continue to fly to Milan. This is how the virus got into places like Austria. It’s how it got into Europe. It’s how it got into the United States of America as well. The world needs to hold accountable those responsible for this global pandemic.

We think we have done a good job in the United States of America. We continue to work diligently to underwrite all the nations around the world who continue to need assistance. No one has provided as much humanitarian assistance as a result of COVID as the United States of America. It’s not remotely close. And we are on the cusp of having a really good set of outcomes related not only to therapeutics, but we hope with respect to the vaccine as well.

QUESTION: So no mistakes by Mr. Trump?

SECRETARY POMPEO: We think we’ve got it right.

QUESTION: Okay. So you’re a diplomat; the President is maybe not. He called, for example, the running mate of Mr. Biden, Kamala Harris, “mean” and “madwoman.” So what are we supposed to expect for the campaign until November 3rd?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. There are those who don’t think I’m much of a diplomat either, because I speak my mind as well. Look, I don’t get involved in U.S. domestic politics. I am very confident that the actions that this administration has taken for three and a half years have made the world a safer place.

You saw what happened yesterday: the announcement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, a historic peace deal, normalization between those two. That’s the result of President Trump’s hard work. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in the three and half years. We’re confident the American people will make a good decision in November as well.

QUESTION: Opinion polls tell us that Mr. Biden is ahead, at least maybe.

SECRETARY POMPEO: That’s what they said – what they said last time.

QUESTION: Is it fake news?

SECRETARY POMPEO: It’s what they said last time, too.

QUESTION: Is it fake news?

SECRETARY POMPEO: It’s what they said last time, too.

QUESTION: So Biden —

SECRETARY POMPEO: Right about this same time, I remember where Secretary Clinton’s poll numbers were.

QUESTION: So Mr. Trump does deserve a second term?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Absolutely.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you very much.

QUESTION: I would add something else if it’s possible, maybe if you, if you want to mention it, between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, go ahead. Here we go.

QUESTION: Last night, you announced a major step in Middle East politics, the recent agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Are there more countries to follow?

SECRETARY POMPEO: We certainly hope that we can continue to work to increase Middle East stability and peace. President Trump did great work. I give great credit to Prime Minister Netanyahu and to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed. They did remarkable work as well, deciding that this was in the best interest of each of their two people.

We continue to work with countries all across the region. We hope there will be more to follow who will make a similar decision that recognizes Israel’s place in the world and that they’re going to be here, and that the best interest of their people is to do business with them and normalize relationships. We’ll keep working at it, and I know that there are many countries in the region who have come to understand this. I hope we have more announcements in the not-too-distant future.

QUESTION: Oman, maybe?

SECRETARY POMPEO: It is – I can’t get ahead of it. Each of these happens on its own timeline when the time is right for their people. We hope that they will see it that way before too long.

MS ORTAGUS: Okay. Thank you.

QUESTION: Thank you so much.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Have a great day.

QUESTION: You too.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you.

QUESTION: Thank you.

Aug. 6, 2020


08/06/2020 03:26 PM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

On behalf of the Government of the United States and the American people, I congratulate and extend our warm regards to the people of Singapore as you celebrate your National Day.

Singapore is a longstanding partner and friend of the United States in the Indo-Pacific region, and since the establishment of diplomatic relations between us, we have nurtured and enjoyed a close economic and security relationship. Our shared values of stability, prosperity, and the rule of law continue to anchor our dynamic and growing cooperation. We look forward to strengthening our partnership in support of advancing our mutual interests and addressing the shared challenges we will face in the years to come.

Congratulations on your 55th anniversary. I send you best wishes for a year filled with peace, prosperity, and success.

Aug. 6, 2020


08/06/2020 12:34 PM EDT

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

On behalf of the Government of the United States and the American people, I congratulate the people of Bolivia on the 195th anniversary of your independence.

The United States and Bolivia have long shared important cultural and economic ties, and this past year marked a positive turning point for the relationship between our two countries. We commend Bolivians for defending their democracy, and pledge our support as Bolivia prepares for free, fair, and transparent elections that will reflect the will of the Bolivian people. We will also continue to work together in responding to the shared challenge of COVID-19.

We embrace the renewed relations between us and look forward to working together toward our shared goals of freedom and economic prosperity.

Aug. 6, 2020


Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Brian Hook has decided to step down from his role as the U.S. Special Representative for Iran and Senior Advisor to the Secretary. Special Representative Hook has been my point person on Iran for over two years and he has achieved historic results countering the Iranian regime.

He successfully negotiated with the Iranians the release of Michael White and Xiyue Wang from prison. Special Representative Hook also served with distinction as the Director of Policy Planning and set into motion a range of new strategies that advanced the national security interests of the United States and our allies. He has been a trusted advisor to me and a good friend. I thank him for his service.

Following a transition period with Brian Hook, Elliott Abrams will assume the position of Special Representative for Iran, in addition to his responsibilities as Special Representative for Venezuela.