Wed, 28 Sep 2022

StateDepartmentRecap:September15-21, 2022

Voice of America
22 Sep 2022, 16:05 GMT+10

state department - Here's a look at what U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other top diplomats have been doing this week.

US-Russia

The United States slapped Russian President Vladimir Putin's move to hold referendums on four occupied Ukrainian regions to join Russia, which has been widely seen as a prelude to annexation of those territories. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken joined diplomats from other countries to call out Russia's invasion of Ukraine at the United Nations.

Blinken wrote in a tweet: 'Any Russian sham 'referenda' in Ukraine would be illegitimate and an affront to the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity that are the foundation of the @UN Charter just as world leaders are gathering at #UNGA.'

The top U.S. diplomat said Russia's aggression is worrying 'countries and people across the entire planet.'

'I think it increases the pressure on Russia to end the aggression,' Blinken said, after being asked to comment on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan, during which Modi had told Putin now 'is not an era for war.'

US-Ukraine

The United States said reports of a mass grave containing more than 440 bodies in the eastern Ukrainian city of Izium are horrifying. The bodies were discovered after the city was recaptured from Russian forces. 'This is part, horrifically, of the continuing and ongoing story,' Blinken said Friday.

While the U.S. believes Russia is committing war crimes in Ukraine, Blinken explained why Washington had decided not to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. 'There are problems in using this particular vehicle, state sponsorship of terrorism designation, that may have unintended consequences that are not only not helpful, they may even be harmful,' Blinken said during a press conference Friday. The State Department is working with Congress to find an alternative means to hold Russia accountable for its atrocities in Ukraine.

Ukraine Says 'Torture Centers' Found in Recaptured Territory; UN Wants to Investigate Mass Graves

US-Food Security

Global food prices have dramatically increased because of supply chain disruptions and rising energy and fertilizer costs caused by the pandemic and exacerbated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In response to this growing global crisis, the United States, the European Union, the African Union and Spain co-chaired the Global Food Security Summit on Tuesday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. Additional co-hosts included Germany, Colombia, Nigeria, the European Commission and Indonesia.

This week, the U.S. announced more than $2.9 billion would be used to address global food insecurity, in addition to the $6.9 billion already committed by the Biden administration this year.

US-Armenia-Azerbaijan

The United States is encouraged that fighting has stopped along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border and that no additional military actions have occurred this week.

Blinken met with Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov on the margins of U.N. General Assembly on Monday.

'There is no military solution to the differences between Armenia and Azerbaijan,' and the U.S. is prepared to support diplomatic efforts for a 'durable peace,' Blinken said.

US-China-Taiwan

The United States seeks peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and continues to 'oppose unilateral changes in the status quo by either side,' U.S. President Joe Biden told the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday.

The remarks are the first time a sitting U.S. president has explicitly laid out U.S. policy toward China and Taiwan in an UNGA speech since 1971, the year that the U.N. granted the seat occupied by the Republic of China (Taiwan's formal name) in the General Assembly and the Security Council to the People's Republic of China.

Stability in the Taiwan Strait is in the spotlight ahead of the first U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit, scheduled for September 28-29. The U.S. has been increasing its military activities in Palau in recent months amid rising tensions with China. Palau urged countries to find alternative Pacific shipping routes in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan that would make the Taiwan Strait an unsafe international shipping lane.

Blinken is also meeting with his counterparts from a group called 'Partners in the Blue Pacific' on Thursday amid geopolitical competition with China in the Indo-Pacific region.

US Opposes Unilateral Changes in Taiwan Strait Status Quo, Biden Says

Stability in Taiwan Strait in Spotlight Ahead of US-Pacific Summit

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