Under Secretary Zeya’s Travel to Jamaica and Belize
Media Note

Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Uzra Zeya will travel to Kingston, Jamaica, and Belmopan, Belize from February 19-23, 2024, to advance bilateral and regional cooperation on civilian security, migration, and human rights.

In Kingston, Under Secretary Zeya will underscore the strength of the U.S.-Jamaica partnership and meet with senior government officials to enhance our cooperation in civilian security and law enforcement, human rights, and rule of law.  She will meet with close partners to engage on the Haiti Multinational Security Support mission.  Additionally, the Under Secretary will commemorate the opening of a Child Friendly Space developed through the U.S.-Jamaica Child Protection Compact Partnership, which provides safety and support to children who are victims or witnesses of crime.  She will explore with educators and youth opportunities to strengthen the capacity of families and communities to prevent youth violence.

In Belmopan, Under Secretary Zeya will engage senior government officials, civil society, and human rights advocates on bilateral and regional security, as well as our efforts to strengthen safe, orderly, and humane migration management, address human trafficking, counter discrimination, and protect fundamental freedoms of vulnerable groups.

U.S. Delegation to the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) Meeting on a Pandemic Accord
Media Note 

On February 19, Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto, U.S. Chief Negotiator for the Pandemic Accord, will lead an interagency U.S. delegation to the World Health Organization Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) in Geneva, Switzerland for the eighth round of negotiations on an international instrument to strengthen global pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response.  The delegation includes representatives from the Department of State, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Treasury, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to work together to find solutions to improve global pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response.  Infectious diseases do not respect national borders, and the best way to prevent the next pandemic is to improve both domestic and global capabilities.  U.S. leadership in these negotiations will help ensure that we reduce the risk of outbreaks — the vast majority of which arise outside the United States — affecting American lives and livelihoods.  The United States is the world’s leading global health and pandemic preparedness funder.  Since 2021, the United States has committed nearly $48 billion to global health efforts, including nearly $16 billion globally to end the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, by supporting critical response interventions and providing hundreds of millions of vaccine doses to more than 100 countries, alongside therapeutics, oxygen, and other medical supplies.  U.S. goals for these negotiations are:

  • Enhancing countries’ capacity to prevent, prepare for, detect, and respond to pandemic emergencies and provide clear, credible, consistent information to their citizens
  • Ensuring all countries share data and laboratory samples from emerging outbreaks quickly and transparently to facilitate response efforts, including the rapid creation of safe and effective vaccines, tests, and treatments, and
  • Supporting more equitable access to, and delivery of, vaccines, tests, treatments, and other mitigation measures to quickly contain outbreaks, reduce illness and death, and minimize impacts on the economic and national security of people around the world.

Collectively, these actions will make the United States, and the world, safer.  The United States is committed to working with all WHO Member States to develop a new international instrument that meets these goals and will advance global health security for all people.

On Senegal’s Constitutional Court Decision


The United States welcomes the February 15 decision by Senegal’s Constitutional Council to restore the presidential electoral calendar in accordance with Senegal’s constitution.  We note President Sall’s announcement that he will fully implement the Constitutional Council’s decision and take the necessary steps to organize the election as quickly as possible.  We urge all stakeholders to come together in the spirit of Senegal’s strong democratic tradition to support a free and fair election conducted in a peaceful and timely manner.  The United States stands with the Senegalese people in their unwavering support for democracy.

Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian A. Nichols and Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Ramin Toloui Previewing Secretary Blinken’s Upcoming Travel to Argentina and Brazil


Office of the Spokesperson

Via Teleconference

MR TEK:  Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to our call today previewing the Secretary of State’s travel to Brazil and Argentina.  This call will be on the record and is embargoed until its conclusion.  Joining us today are Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian A. Nichols and Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Ramin Toloui.  We’ll take brief opening remarks from each of our speakers and then we’ll turn it over to your questions.  And so with that, let’s turn it over to AS Nichols to kick us off.  Sir.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY NICHOLS:  Thank you so much, Nathan, and great to be with my colleague, Assistant Secretary Ramin Toloui, today to preview Secretary Blinken’s travel to Brazil and Argentina.  During this trip, the Secretary will meet with two key partners in the Americas to discuss a range of shared priorities.

On February 20th the Secretary will travel to Brasília to meet with President Lula.  They’ll discuss crucial bilateral regional, and global issues and celebrate the bicentennial of diplomatic relations between our two countries.  The Secretary will focus on several shared priorities, including the United States’ support for Brazil’s G20 presidency, the U.S.-Brazil Partnership on Worker’s Rights, and cooperation on the Clean Energy Transition.  In Rio de Janeiro, Secretary Blinken will attend the G20 Foreign Minister’s meeting.  On the margins of the meeting, the Secretary will engage G20 partners and others on the Multinational Security Support Mission to Haiti, a key effort that responds to the call from the Haitian people for help to restore security and stability.

On February 22nd the Secretary will travel to Buenos Aires to meet with President Javier Milei.  They will discuss multiple areas of shared interest, including sustainable economic growth, economic prosperity, human rights, the importance of democratic governance, deepening cooperation on energy and critical minerals, and trade investment opportunities between our two countries.

Brazil and Argentina are two of our most important partners in the Americas.  The breadth and deptof our relations allows us to work together to enhance regional and global security and to achieve inclusive economic growth and prosperity for our peoples through trade and investment.  We look forward to engaging with President Lula and President Milei next week.  Thanks and over to you, Ramin.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY TOLOUI:  Thank you Nathan and Brian.  Excited to be here to talk about Secretary’s Blinken – Secretary Blinken’s travel to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers meeting which will be held in Rio.  As always, these meetings are an opportunity to work with the world’s largest economies on finding solutions to the challenges that are impacting all of our lives.  We’re excited to be supporting Brazil on the ambitious agenda it has laid out for its presidency.

During his meeting, Secretary Blinken will discuss our shared priorities, including on combating hunger, poverty – hunger and poverty, mobilizing against climate change, and reducing inequality.  We will highlight how the U.S. leads the work of the United States; it is well-aligned with Brazil’s goals for its G20 presidency.  Secretary Blinken plans to highlight several concrete examples such as our efforts to develop diverse climate-resistant crop varieties and build healthy soil through partnerships like the Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils.

Secretary Blinken will discuss the multiple lines of effort that he and the U.S. Government are engaging in to de-escalate conflict in several regions.  And we are also leading on strengthening international system so it’s more inclusive and effective at responding to modern challenges.  We’re doing this through our support for UN Security Council reform, for evolving the multilateral development banks, and increasing the voice of emerging market economies in institutions like the G20 and at the IMF.  Thanks to all of you for joining today. and looking forward to taking your questions.

MR TEK:  Great.  Thank you so much.  AT&T moderator, would you mind just haring the instructions for joining the question queue.

OPERATOR:  Ladies and gentlemen, if you would like to ask a question, press 1 than 0 on your telephone keypad.

MR TEK:  Great.  Can we please go to the line of Jenny Hansler from CNN?

QUESTION:  Hi, can you hear me?

MR TEK:  Yes.

QUESTION:  Hi, thanks for doing this.  Just a more logistical question, I guess.  Does the Secretary intend to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov on the margins at the G20, as he did last year?  And do you have any additional information about any other bilats he may be having on the margins there?

And then on the meeting with Lula, given the divisions between the Brazilian leader and the U.S. on the conflict in Gaza, do you expect – how do you expect these conversations to go?  Do you think you’ll be able to bridge any gaps there?  Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY TOLOUI:  So I’ll take the first one and then have Brian take the second one.  This is Ramin Toloui.  So we don’t have any meetings to preview at this time, any bilateral meetings.  As a general matter, we’re going to underscore and continue to discuss the damage that the Kremlin’s war of aggression has caused and encourage all G20 partners to redouble their calls for a just, peaceful, and lasting end to the Kremlin’s war consistent with the UN Charter principles.  We’ll continue to describe in clear terms what’s happening in Ukraine, explain our position which is shared by the vast majority of members at the UN General Assembly and at the G20.  And let me turn it over to Brian for the second half of the question.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY NICHOLS:  So the Secretary is looking for a robust conversation and engagement with President Lula on a range of global issues.  Brazil is a key partner on a whole host of issues, and among those the issues of global peace and security.  I think it’s going to be a dynamic conversation.  The Secretary will have recently engaged with partners both in Munich and his trips to the Middle East, and they’ll have an opportunity to discuss where we see opportunities to make progress in promoting greater stability and greater prosperity for the world.

MR TEK:  Great, thank you so much.  Gentlemen, please go to the line of Simon Lewis from Reuters.

QUESTION:  Hi, thank you.  I hope you can hear me.  Yeah, I just wanted to follow up on Jenny’s question a little bit, the first question about Lavrov.  I wonder if you could talk a little bit more about how the U.S. hopes the G20 will come together with a statement on Russia’s war in Ukraine.  This has been a – obviously a sticking point in the last – like the last two hosts, I guess, of the G20.  Are you looking for stronger language on the war in Ukraine or is there now – we’re now settled into a pattern of this – the language that’s been in, I guess, the last couple of statements out of it?

And I’m wondering if the death of Alexei Navalny or the reported death of Alexei Navalny factored into that at all.  Is that something that you would want G20 nations to come together to express a view on?  Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY TOLOUI:  Alex, so Brazil did not ask or attempt to mobilize a joint statement for the foreign ministers.  And I should say that the foreign ministers meeting is not typically a venue for negotiating statements or issuing joint statements.

MR TEK:  Great.  Thank you so much.  Can we please go to the line of Shaun Tandon from the AFP?

QUESTION:  Hey there, thanks for this.  Following up a little bit on my colleague’s question but on a different issue, Venezuela – in terms of the G20, but also bilaterally with Brazil and Argentina, these two leaders, Lula and Milei, seem to have quite (inaudible).  To what extent do you expect Venezuela will factor into the discussions.  And what are you looking for from the two leaders, considering the developments in Caracas?

And just briefly, do you – could you say a little bit about what your agenda will be with Milei?  I mean, he has – the economy is just front and center in terms of his – the beginning of his tenure.  To what extent do you think the U.S. can work with him?  How does the U.S. see him at this point?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY NICHOLS:  Well, sort of – the opportunity to discuss with both countries efforts to promote democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights in our own hemisphere, will be crucial.  President Lula is certain active in that front, and as a bordering country to Venezuela, has important ties and connections to the Maduro authorities and is able to deliver key messages to them.  And the Brazilian Government has expressed its concerns about the situation there.  And they played an important role in helping to address the tensions between the Maduro authorities and the Government of Guyana over the Esequibo, for example.   President Milei has been very vocal in speaking out about the defense of democracy and human rights throughout our hemisphere, and particularly his concerns about the situation in Venezuela with regard to elections and democracy.   There’s an important opportunity to talk to both leaders about those topics as well as other challenges to democracy and the rule of law around the world.

With regard to Argentina, President Milei is engaged in a broad effort to reform the Argentine economy to deal with the overhang of massive debt that the country is suffering from and to make the government more efficient.  Those will be important topics to discuss as well as how to accomplish those crucial goals while still safeguarding the most vulnerable in society.  Argentina has tremendous potential, whether it’s in energy or in critical minerals, and talking about those trade opportunities between our two countries will be important.  President Milei was also recently in Israel, and certainly Argentina has one of the largest Jewish populations in South America, I think the largest.  And it’s an opportunity to get President Milei’s views on the way forward between Israel and Gaza.  So we have a lot to talk about there.

MR TEK:  Thank you so much.  Can we please go to the line of Aline Bronvati from – it looks like Broadcast São Paulo.

QUESTION:  Thanks for accepting my question.  You mentioned the UN Security Council.  Should Secretary Blinken discuss some type of support for Brazil with President Lula?  And we have seen an escalation of public insecurity in Brazil.  Is this topic the focus of the (inaudible) with President Lula considering the U.S. experience in dealing with an armed population?  Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY NICHOLS:  So it was a little bit difficult for me to understand; the line was a little bit garbled for me.  But the question was with regard to security or crime concerns within Brazil?  Was that the question?

QUESTION:  Yes, exactly.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY NICHOLS:  So the United States has a long history of cooperation with Brazil on law enforcement matters: cooperation through the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, which continues in terms of information sharing, capacity building, and coordination; obviously coordination through the Department of Justice on legal issues and our law enforcement agencies.  While those efforts will definitely continue, I think that’s – that’s not necessarily going to be the focus of the conversations, but that’s certainly something that we value and will continue to work on together.

MR TEK:  Thank you.  Can we go to Nike Ching from Voice of America?

QUESTION:  Hello.  Thank you very much for this call.  I would like to ask about the Chinese influence in the Western Hemisphere.  Brazil is a member of BRICS.  Can you talk about – as the U.S. and China is in a competition relationship, can you talk about PRC’s influence there in the continent, and do you have anything – bilateral meetings between Secretary Blinken and Chinese counterparts?  Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY NICHOLS:  So I’ll just note that our view on issues like that is that what we want to do is make sure that countries are able to trade with whomever they think is valuable for them, but we want to make sure that countries understand what the value proposition is, what the costs and benefits are, and to make sure that the United States is offering up a comprehensive and powerful alternative to those who may not necessarily have others’ best interests at heart.  And we want to make sure that we’re cooperating with Brazil on economic issues, not to mention the rest of this hemisphere.  The United States is the largest source of foreign direct investment in Brazil and we have a robust presence of U.S. companies in Brazil, as well as in Argentina, and we’re looking forward to deepening our economic ties between both of them.  And in terms of the scheduling and conversation of meetings, I’d defer that to Ramin.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY TOLOUI:  Yeah, as I said, we don’t have anything to preview in terms of the Secretary’s bilateral meetings at this time.  I would just amplify what Brian said about the deptof the economic relationship between the United States and Brazil and the extraordinary potential to deepen that relationship in the years ahead.

MR TEK:  Fantastic.  Can we please go to Andres Sivanza from The Politica Online?

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.  I want to know what do you think about the dollarization that Milei plans to implement in Argentina, and also the possibility of a free trade agreement focused on critical minerals also with Argentina.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY NICHOLS:  Well, I think this one’s right down the middle between Ramin and I.  I’ll just note that we don’t take a position on whether countries wish to use the dollar as their currency.  That’s up to them.  Some countries in our hemisphere do that.  It’s a choice for each government and central bank to make depending on what they view as convenient.

I don’t know, Ramin, do you have more on that?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY TOLOUI:  No, Brian, I think you’ve articulated that well.

MR TEK:  Okay.  Can we please go to Igor Patrick from the South China Morning Post?

QUESTION:  Hello.  Thanks for doing this.  I actually have two questions, one on Argentina and a second one on Brazil.  So on Argentina, we know that Buenos Aires has been engaged in discussions for several months regarding the possibility of terminating negotiations with China for the purchase of JF-17 aircraft in favor of used F-16s from Denmark.  I was just wondering if Secretary Blinken plans to address this topic during his discussion with Milei.

And the second question – President Lula has been a prominent advocate for the concept of de-dollarization in foreign trade.  He has even publicly called for the BRICS nations to conduct commercial transactions using their own currencies, and I was wondering if – what’s the official position of the U.S. State Department on this matter?  And will it be part of Secretary Blinken’s agenda with Lula?  Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY TOLOUI:  So I can jump in on the second one, and I’ll invite Brian on the first one.  So the Secretary of the Treasury is the only person in the U.S. Government who speaks on the dollar, so I won’t address that topic.  I will just emphasize that the United States is – in all of our engagement with Brazil is looking for areas of cooperation and to deepen the economic relationship, and whether it’s in manufacturing or technology and many other areas, there’s enormous potential for deeper cooperation.

MR TEK:  A/S Nichols, anything to add on the other part of that question, or —

ASSISTANT SECRETARY NICHOLS:  Yeah, sorry.  The call dropped, so I didn’t – I think I missed several minutes of content.

MR TEK:  The question was about Argentina terminating negotiations with the PRC to purchase military aircraft from them.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY NICHOLS:  Ah.  So yeah, I hadn’t even heard the question.  So the – our view is that we want to be Argentina’s partner of choice.  Argentina is a major non-NATO ally of the United States and we want to cooperate with them across a broad range of security issues, and we believe that the technology and the affordability of what we have on offer will meet Argentina’s needs.  Beyond that, it’s up to them to choose who they purchase equipment from and who they choose as providers.

MR TEK:  Okay.  And we have time for one more question, and that will go to Patricia Vasconcellos from SBT.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.  At the beginning, it was said that one of the goals of the trip is Secretary Blinken and President Lula discuss how to de-escalate tensions in different regions.  How do you believe that this talk or meeting with President Lula can be beneficial to de-escalate tensions in Gaza?  President Lula was recently in Cairo and spoke very openly about how he believes that this military operation there must be stopped in order to protect civilian lives.

And a second question, if possible, related to workers’ right.  If there is something that can be anticipated now and that goes beyond the agreement signed between Presidents Biden and Lula last year in New York regarding workers’ rights?  Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY NICHOLS:  So first on the situation in Gaza, Secretary Blinken has been working tirelessly along with many allies and partners to try and find a way forward that would include a ceasefire and progress toward a two-state solution.  We believe that Brazil, which has been vocal in trying to find a way forward to de-escalate this conflict and find longer-term solutions, is an important partner in this effort, and sharing ideas and views will be crucial to the conversation between Secretary Blinken, President Lula; Foreign Minister Vieira as well, I should note, is also someone who’s been very actively engaged on this.

And with regard to labor issues, this is a tremendous priority for President Biden, Secretary Blinken, and the entire administration.  This is an opportunity for us to talk about how do we ensure that workers around the world have the opportunity to better their lot, better their lives, to organize, to work transparently together.  That’s an important part of the conversation that we have.  And Ramin may have additional thoughts on that.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY TOLOUI:  Yes.  The Biden administration released an ambitious strategy on global labor in November, and as the question suggested, this is also a critical area of agreement between Presidents Biden and Lula.  And we at the State Department are implementing that strategy and the agreement between the two presidents.  When I was in Brazil in December, I met with Brazilian labor leaders.  When Secretary Blinken was in Davos in January, he met with a group of international labor leaders.  So one distinctive dimension of this administration has been the increased engagement between the U.S. State Department and labor leaders as a matter of course in our foreign policy.

MR TEK:  Thank you so much.  That does conclude our call.  Thank you all so much for joining us, and thank you to our speakers.  The embargo on the call is now lifted.  As a reminder, this call was on the record.  Thank you so much for joining us and have a great day.  Goodbye.

Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister Jaishankar


Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Matthew Miller:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar today in Munich, Germany, on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.  Secretary Blinken and External Affairs Minister Jaishankar discussed the need to ensure freedom of navigation in the Red Sea.  Secretary Blinken highlighted that the respective U.S. and Indian approaches to maritime security in the Red Sea are mutually reinforcing and play important roles in safeguarding economic stability in the region.  The Secretary and External Affairs Minister also discussed ongoing work to ensure lasting peace and security in the Middle East.

Promoting Accountability for the Ortega-Murillo Regime for Restricting Freedoms


Matthew Miller, Department Spokesperson

The Department of State today took additional actions to promote accountability for those involved in the Ortega-Murillo government’s relentless attacks on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Nicaraguans.  We are taking steps to impose visa restrictions on more than 100 Nicaraguan municipal officials for their role in the Ortega-Murillo government, which continues to engage in a repressive campaign that silences civil society and unjustly detains courageous individuals for exercising their fundamental freedoms.

We continue to work with the international community to promote accountability for those threatening democracy in Nicaragua.   We remain committed to supporting the Nicaraguan people and ensuring their human rights are protected.

This action was taken pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 10309, which suspends entry into the United States as immigrants and nonimmigrants of persons responsible for policies or actions that threaten democracy in Nicaragua.

Secretary Antony J. Blinken And German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck Before Their Meeting


Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Bayerischer Hof Munich, Germany

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good evening, everyone, and it’s a great pleasure for me to have the opportunity to see the vice chancellor again.  It’s quite simple for the United States:  Germany is our indispensable ally and partner.  And on virtually every single challenge we’re facing, whether it’s regional, whether it’s global, we are together.  And because of that, we’re stronger.  So, I’m looking forward to covering many of the most immediate challenges with the vice chancellor and really appreciate this opportunity to spend some time together.


VICE CHANCELLOR HABECK:  Antony, thank you very much for having me and thanks for the opportunity to discuss the difficult situations we are having worldwide.  I’d like to start with thank you for your leadership, also the U.S., but also personal.  I think what you have done, what you’re doing to ease the situation, especially in the Middle East, is outstanding.  And looking east of Munich to Ukraine and to Russia, I mean, it’s the day Navalny died.  I remember that a leading politician of the last government told me the evening before he was going back to Moscow, she visited him and said don’t do it, it will cost you your life.  And he did it, and this is – it’s for me hard to find the right words.  It’s a tragedy, really.  But that means that we have to stay strong also, in the continuing fight helping Ukraine and that Russia not win this terrible war.



Under Secretary Jenkins Travels to Munich


Office of the Spokesperson

Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ambassador Bonnie D. Jenkins will travel to Munich, Germany, from February 16 to 18, 2024, to participate in the 60th Munich Security Conference.  At the conference, the Under Secretary will hold bilateral meetings, attend side events, and engage with members of civil society and the media.  The Under Secretary will also serve as a panelist, speaking on issues related to international security.

Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with German Vice Chancellor and Economic Minister Habeck


Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Matthew Miller:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with German Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Robert Habeck at the Munich Security Conference.  Secretary Blinken and Vice Chancellor Habeck discussed support for Ukraine and ongoing efforts to establish lasting peace and security in the Middle East.

Assistant Secretary Phee’s Travel to Somalia


Office of the Spokesperson

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee and Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Mike Hammer visited Mogadishu, Somalia February 15-16, 2024.  In a meeting with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, they discussed the current state of play in the region and the importance of avoiding further tensions.  They reiterated U.S. support for Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and discussed the importance of counterterrorism efforts and planning for a seamless transition from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) to a new multinational force post-ATMIS.  Assistant Secretary Phee and President Hassan Sheikh presided over the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the construction of facilities for the Somali National Army’s “Danab” advanced infantry brigade, a cornerstone of the U.S.-Somalia security partnership.  In a meeting with Somali parliamentarians, the delegation discussed the importance of inclusive and transparent constitutional reform.  The delegation also met international partners to discuss shared interests in promoting security and stability in Somalia.  Assistant Secretary Phee recognized International Woman of Courage nominee LTC Iman Elman for her courageous leadership of the Somali National Army’s Civil Affairs Directorate and life-long advocate for peace, human rights, and dignity.


Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with People’s Republic of China Director of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Foreign Affairs Commission and Foreign Minister Wang Yi


Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Matthew Miller:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with PRC Director of the CCP Central Foreign Affairs Commission and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Munich on the margins of the Munich Security Conference on February 16.

The two sides had a candid and constructive discussion on a range of bilateral, regional, and global issues as part of ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage competition in the relationship.  The Secretary emphasized the importance of continuing to implement the progress made by the two Presidents at the Woodside Summit, including on counternarcotics cooperation and military-to-military communications.  The Secretary reiterated that the United States will stand up for our interests and values and those of our allies and partners.

The Secretary emphasized the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the South China Sea.  The two sides had substantive discussions on a range of regional and global issues.  The Secretary raised concerns over the PRC’s support for Russia’s war against Ukraine, including support to the Russian defense industrial base.  The two sides also exchanged views on the situation in the Middle East and on the Korean Peninsula and affirmed that their respective senior officials should meet to follow up on these discussions.  The Secretary discussed his recent travel in the Middle East and U.S. diplomatic efforts in the region.

Both sides recognized the importance of maintaining open lines of communication between the United States and the PRC across a range of strategic issues, including consultations and high-level meetings in key areas in the coming months.


Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Bitter Travels to Salt Lake City, Utah


Office of the Spokesperson

Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Rena Bitter will travel to Salt Lake City, Utah, on February 16 to observe a Congressional passport acceptance event for residents of Utah.  She will also meet with community leaders to discuss how the Bureau of Consular Affairs serves U.S. citizens, strengthens national security, and promotes economic opportunities. This visit underscores the Department of State’s commitment to provide passport services to the American people.


Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Verma’s Travel to India, Maldives, and Sri Lanka


Office of the Spokesperson

Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Richard R. Verma will travel to India, Maldives, and Sri Lanka on February 18-23 to strengthen the United States’ cooperation with each of these key Indo-Pacific partners.  Shortly following the two-year anniversary of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy, his trip will reaffirm the United States’ enduring commitment to a free, open, secure, and prosperous region.

In New Delhi, India, Deputy Secretary Verma will meet with senior government officials, business leaders, and entrepreneurs to advance the U.S.-Indian global strategic partnership on a full range of issues, including economic development, security, and technology.

From India, Deputy Secretary Verma will travel to Malé, Maldives, to meet with senior officials and advance shared priorities in increasing economic cooperation and promoting maritime security.  The Deputy Secretary will also tour the planned office space for a new U.S. Embassy in Malé, which will help further increase people-to-people ties between the United States and Maldives.

Deputy Secretary Verma will conclude his trip in Colombo, Sri Lanka.  His meetings with senior officials will support U.S.-Sri Lankan defense and maritime security cooperation.  The Deputy Secretary will visit the Port of Colombo’s West Container Terminal, where the United States is supporting Sri Lanka’s ongoing economic recovery through $553 million in financing to transform Colombo into a regional shipping hub.  Finally, he will meet with civil society leaders to hear their perspective on democratic governance in Sri Lanka and with government officials to voice U.S. support for the protection of free speech and open discourse.


Under Secretary Elizabeth M. Allen’s Travel to Jordan, Sri Lanka, and India


Office of the Spokesperson

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Liz Allen is on travel to Jordan, Sri Lanka, and India from February 12-22. The visit underscores the United States’ unwavering commitment to reinforcing and expanding partnerships and alliances. The trip highlights the core of U.S. foreign policy and public diplomacy initiatives: fostering freedom of expression, economic empowerment, and global collaboration.

In Jordan, Under Secretary Allen engaged with alumni of U.S. public diplomacy programs and civil society leaders, gaining valuable insights into regional perspectives. She explored the transformative impact of English Language programs on Jordanian youth, which equip them with essential skills for the labor market. She also met with State Department public affairs professionals and Government of Jordan officials to discuss integrated, innovative strategic communications as a tool of national security.

After Jordan, Under Secretary Allen will travel to Colombo, Sri Lanka to reaffirm U.S. support for Sri Lanka’s economic recovery and to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific. Her agenda includes fostering dialogue on freedom of expression and democratic values with diverse groups of stakeholders, including journalists, civil society members, government officials, and the Embassy’s Youth Forum. Her engagements with the Sri Lanka Press Institute, U.S. public diplomacy program alumni, and local content creators will emphasize the critical role of preserving diverse voices for a stable and inclusive Sri Lanka. Additionally, she will meet with representatives from Sri Lanka’s multifaith community to underscore the importance of societal inclusivity.

Finally, in Mumbai, India, Under Secretary Allen will focus on increasing women’s participation in the formal economic sector. Her discussions with business leaders and U.S. government-funded program alumni will support the United States’ strategic and sustained collaboration with the U.S.-Indian diaspora, corporations, academia, and the business sector to advance women’s economic empowerment. Her participation in a panel discussion at the University of Mumbai will shed light on the dynamic U.S.-India partnership, exploring how bilateral cooperation can yield substantial benefits for both nations and the wider region in the coming decade.


Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister Denkov and Deputy Prime Minister Gabriel


Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Matthew Miller:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met today with Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mariya Gabriel to discuss our strong bilateral relationship and shared global interests.  The Secretary congratulated Prime Minister Denkov and Deputy Prime Minister Gabriel on the recently signed U.S.-Bulgaria civil nuclear agreement and Bulgaria’s diversification of its energy sources.

Secretary Blinken, Prime Minister Denkov, and Deputy Prime Minister Gabriel discussed the importance of ensuring the safety of commercial shipping through the Red Sea.  They reaffirmed steadfast support for Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia’s brutal aggression and underscored our unwavering commitment to the mutual defense and national security of all our NATO Allies.  They also addressed the growing vitality of the Black Sea region, including multilateral initiatives for enhancing long-term stability and Bulgaria’s growing role in promoting energy security in Europe.

Special Representative Hachigian’s Travel to Munich and Barcelona


Office of the Spokesperson

Special Representative for City and State Diplomacy Ambassador Nina Hachigian will travel to Munich, Germany, February 15-18 and to Barcelona, Spain, February 18-21 to attend the Munich Security Conference and the 2024 United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Retreat.

At the Munich Security Conference, Ambassador Hachigian will join Mayor Vitali Klitschko of Kyiv, Ukraine, for a panel discussion titled The Role of Subnational Diplomacy in International Security on February 16.  She will highlight recent accomplishments of her office, the Subnational Diplomacy Unit, and the importance of strong subnational ties during conflicts like Russia’s war against Ukraine.

In Barcelona, Ambassador Hachigian will deliver remarks at the UCLG Retreat’s opening plenary on February 19.  She will discuss the importance of local governments and multilateral action in addressing global threats.

Acting Assistant Secretary Littlejohn’s Travel to Oman, Ghana, and Kenya


Office of the Spokesperson

Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Jennifer R. Littlejohn will travel to Oman, Ghana, and Kenya from February 16 to February 29, 2024.  During her visit, she will discuss nature and marine conservation, plastic pollution, the climate crisis, deforestation, nature crimes, civil and commercial space activities, and the sustainable blue economy.  She will co-represent the United States with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative at meetings in Oman focused on Free Trade Agreement Environment Chapter implementation and on environmental cooperation.  In Ghana, she will meet with partners, visit U.S.-supported projects helping to rebuild and protect Ghana’s coastal fisheries, and engage with university students studying environmental issues.  In Kenya, she will lead the U.S. Delegation to the Sixth UN Environment Assembly to promote global cooperation to address shared environmental challenges, promote gender equality; and address global issues such as the climate, biodiversity, and pollution crises.  She will also discuss opportunities for space cooperation with Kenyan officials.

Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar Before Their Meeting


Bayerischer Hof Munich, Germany

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good afternoon.  We’ve heard the reports from Russia of Aleksey Navalny’s death in prison.  For more than a decade, Russian Government, Putin, have persecuted, poisoned, and imprisoned Aleksey Navalny, and now reports of his death.  First and foremost, if these reports are accurate, our hearts go out to his wife and to his family.  Beyond that, his death in a Russian prison and the fixation and fear of one man only underscores the weakness and rot at the heart of the system that Putin has built.  Russia is responsible for this.  We’ll be talking to many other countries concerned about Aleksey Navalny, and especially if these reports bear out to be true.

On a much different note, I’m very pleased to be with my friend and colleague, the external affairs minister of India.  We have an extraordinary partnership between the United States and India that has grown stronger and stronger in recent years, stronger than it’s ever been, and it is for us among the most consequential relationships of any in the world.  We’re working closely on a whole host of vital priorities that are making a difference in the lives of people in India and people in the United States: increasing mutual prosperity, advancing democracy and human rights, addressing climate change, upholding together the rules-based international order.

This work is not just the work of a day or a single meeting, it’s the work of every day, but it’s important to be able to take stock of where we are as well as the many challenges that we’re facing, India and the United States together, both in the region and in the world.  So, I look forward to comparing notes with you about all of that.  Thank you, my friend.

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER JAISHANKAR:  Thank you.  Well, let me just add my words of welcome to the Secretary.  Tony, good to see you, and there’s a lot that we need to talk about.  I’m coming out of the Middle East, myself, been monitoring your travels and efforts there.  I think it’s important today that the very complicated issues there be addressed in an effective manner and the conflict does not escalate.  And, of course, a whole host of other issues – issues in this part of the world, issues in the Indo-Pacific – that we need to talk about.  Very glad to have this opportunity.



Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolaj Denkov Before Their Meeting

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Bayerischer Hof Munich, Germany

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good morning, everyone.  It’s so good to have our Bulgarian colleagues here with us today.  I’m very much looking forward to this meeting.  Bulgaria is an extraordinary partner for the United States, for Europe.  We see that playing out every single day in a whole variety of ways, but we are working together to rapidly increase our civil nuclear cooperation.  Of course, we’re also working on military modernization, including with F-16s, with Strykers, and most significantly as well continuing to deepen integration between Bulgaria, the European Union, and NATO.

I want to thank you, all of the leadership, for the extraordinary assistance that Bulgaria has provided to Ukraine, and continues to provide every single day – leadership for security, for stability – both with regard to Ukraine, but more broadly, the entire Black Sea region.  And we see that, of course, in the military and humanitarian assistance that Bulgaria has provided; now the trilateral mine clearing that’s underway with Romania and Türkiye; and the genuine, real, powerful support for Ukrainians who have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the Russian aggression.

And finally, I would note the important work that we’re doing together to counter disinformation – a front in conflict that demands our attention.  So, with that and in so many more ways, we’re grateful for you partnership, for the Alliance, and grateful for the opportunity to speak today.

PRIME MINISTER DENKOV:  Thank you, Mr. Secretary.  In the beginning of the Russian war in Ukraine, the position of Bulgaria became very important as part of Europe.  So, what we see is that Bulgaria is a key country for the defense and deterrence efforts in the Black Sea region.  Also, eastern (inaudible) NATO, what we see is that these capabilities should be upgraded – the mobility from (inaudible) to the north; the gas transit, again, from this region to the Central and Eastern Europe.  So, these are all problematic issues today that can be also used as opportunities to develop the region, and with the Bulgarian and the other Allies of NATO, the place to be sure that this is a stable region.  And we are very much committed, and that’s why we are here with many (inaudible) as well to work together and to place Bulgaria where it belongs to, and this is the structures of Europe and the structure of NATO, and to be reliable partners there.

And thank you very much for what you have done in the past.  We remember very well how important was your support, when Russia stopped the gas supply to Bulgaria.  And then you were there to help us, and we can rely on U.S. in the future.  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you so much.  Thanks, everyone.



Joint Statement from the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada on Countering Foreign Information Manipulation


Office of the Spokesperson

The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United Stateof America, the United Kingdom, and Canada on coordinated efforts to counter foreign state information manipulation.

The United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada remain deeply concerned about foreign information manipulation and other actions designed to undermine our democracies and human rights globally.

Foreign information manipulation is a national security threat that undermines democratic values, human rights, governmental processes, and political stability. Given the borderless nature of information manipulation, we call on all like-minded countries committed to the rules-based order to work together to identify and counter this threat. Securing the integrity of the global information ecosystem is central to popular confidence in governance institutions and processes, trust in elected leaders, and the preservation of democracy.

The present international system, based on international law and respect for territorial boundaries, is competing with an alternate vision defined by autocratic impunity. This alternate vision deploys foreign malign influence aimed at undermining our safety and security, with disregard for universal human rights and the rule of law.

The time is now for a collective approach to the foreign information manipulation threat that builds a coalition of like-minded countries committed to strengthening resilience and response to information manipulation. We can do this through coordinated, whole of society solutions that work with experts, independent media and multilateral organizations, to address these transnational security threats.

That is why today, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada jointly endorse the Framework to Counter Foreign State Information Manipulation, which affirms our shared understanding of the threat and offers a holistic view of how to address the foreign information manipulation challenge. It aims to standardize our approach to this problem and build interoperable and complementary systems to resist this threat as technologies continue to emerge and adapt. The Framework complements the high-level international commitments from the Global Declaration on Information Integrity Online  and reinforces our joint efforts and commitment to protect and promote information integrity.

The United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada intend to collaborate on building partner countries’ resilience to foreign information manipulation by advancing the Framework’s Key Action Areas: National Strategies and Policies; Governance Structures and Institutions; Capacity; Civil Society, Independent Media, and Academia; and Multilateral Engagement.

The United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada intend to jointly work on operationalizing relevant Key Action Areas through new and existing multilateral mechanisms, such as the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism , and in coordination with other likeminded partners and multilateral organizations.



Secretary Blinken’s Travel to Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, and Buenos Aires

Matthew Miller, Department Spokesperson:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will travel to Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, February 20-23.  In Brasilia, Secretary Blinken will meet with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to discuss bilateral and global issues.  The Secretary will emphasize U.S. support for Brazil’s G20 presidency and hosting of the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Rio de Janeiro, the U.S.-Brazil Partnership for Workers Rights, cooperation on the clean energy transition, and commemorations for the bicentennial of diplomatic relations between Brazil and the United States.

In Rio de Janeiro, Secretary Blinken will attend the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting to engage world leaders on our shared initiatives for increasing peace and stability, promoting social inclusion, reducing inequality, ending hunger, countering the climate crisis, promoting clean energy transition and sustainable development, and making global governance more effective.  The Secretary also plans to engage G20 partners and other key actors on international efforts to support the Haitian people.

In Buenos Aires, Secretary Blinken will meet with Argentine President Javier Milei to discuss bilateral and global issues including sustainable economic growth, our shared commitment to human rights and democratic governance, critical minerals, and enhancing trade and investment that benefits both two countries.

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