US Embassy Minsk Now on Ordered Departure For USG Family Members

 

On January 31, the State Department issued a Level 4-Do Not Travel advisory for Belarus. It also announced the “ordered departure” of family members of USG employees from Belarus. Ordered departure is a mandatory evacuation order. Excerpt below:

Do not Travel to Belarus due to the arbitrary enforcement of laws, the risk of detention, and unusual and concerning Russian military buildup along Belarus’ border with Ukraine. Reconsider travel due to COVID-19 and related entry restrictions.

On January 31, 2022, the Department of State ordered the departure of family members of U.S. government employees.

Due to an increase in unusual and concerning Russian military activity near the border with Ukraine, U.S. citizens located in or considering travel to Belarus should be aware that the situation is unpredictable and there is heightened tension in the region. On January 23, 2022, the Department of State also authorized the voluntary departure of U.S. direct hire employees (USDH) and ordered the departure of eligible family members (EFM) from Embassy Kyiv due to the continued threat of Russian military action. Potential harassment targeted specifically at foreigners is also possible.  Given the heightened volatility of the situation, U.S. citizens are strongly advised against traveling to Belarus.

The U.S. government’s ability to provide routine or emergency services to U.S. citizens in Belarus is already severely limited  due to Belarusian government limitations on U.S. Embassy staffing.

Read the full announcement here.
In June 2021, the Belarus Foreign Ministry summoned the Charge d’Affaires at the US Embassy in Minsk and informed him of retaliatory measures against the United States. The measures included the reduction of the diplomatic and administrative-technical personnel of the American diplomatic mission, the tightening of visa procedures, the limitation of the work of American specialists in Belarus on a temporary basis. The government also revoked the work permit for USAID.
In 2008, the Belarusian Government imposed restrictions on the number of U.S. diplomats allowed in Minsk, and the State Department was forced to reduce its embassy staff from 35 to five diplomats as well as withdraw the U.S. Ambassador. The number of U.S. diplomats was later increased to six in July 2014. The current CDA Ruben Harutunian assumed his duties as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Minsk on May 24, 2021.
In April 2020, with improved relations with the dictator in Belarus, the Trump Administration announced the nomination of  career diplomat Julie Fisher as the first U.S. Ambassador to Minsk since 2008. She was confirmed in December 2020.  It April 2021, Ambassador Fischer was reported to temporarily reside in Lithuania as she was not granted a visa to travel to Minsk. Her official bio at US Embassy Minsk says she was refused a visa by the Belarus authorities, and she relocated to Lithuania in October 2021. She currently holds the title of U.S. Special Envoy for Belarus, a position with ambassadorial rank.

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@AsstSecStateAF Molly Phee and Special Envoy David Satterfield Visit Riyadh, Khartoum, Addis

 

Around the World in Tweets: Special Envoys, and a Running List For Future Special Envoys

 

 

 

PERHAPS COMING SOON:

 

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Prince Talleyrand Talks “Not getting hands dirty” and Hostage Diplomacy with US Senate

 

Via Prince Tallleyrand (retired statesman) with commentary on diplomacy and world affairs and goes by ‘surtout, pas trop de zèle’ by way of introduction:
“So far as one can tell, there are no major diplomatic initiatives, negotiations, or plans awaiting delivery. Those boxes are ticked, with one botched announcement of a submarine deal with Australia and Britain, and another, more badly botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. The president and the secretary did not escape criticism in those instances but neither man got his hands too dirty.
Not getting hands dirty so far appears to be the main principle at play. There is an effort being waged by a special envoy, a boyhood friend of the secretary, to salvage the Iranian nuclear deal. There is another effort waged by a special envoy, a diplomat pulled out of retirement, to keep a larger regional conflict from breaking out in East Africa. There is yet another effort waged by a special envoy, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to stand between Russia and Ukraine as the two nations threaten to go to war. There is another such envoy, a holdover from previous administrations, overseeing diplomacy towards Iraq and Syria. And there is John Kerry shuttling around the world battling climate change.
About the only major effort engaging the highest levels of the administration directly is its hostage diplomacy with the US Senate over the confirmation of presidential nominees.”
Hostage diplomacy, indeed! My favorite post remain that thing about porcupines and strategic ambiguity.
Read more here.

Zalmay Khalilzad Out, Thomas West In as Special Representative for Afghanistan

 

Via state.gov:
As Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad steps down from his role, I extend my gratitude for his decades of service to the American people. 
Thomas West, who previously served as the Deputy Special Representative, will be the Special Representative for Afghanistan.  Special Representative West, who served on then-Vice President Biden’s national security team and on the National Security Council staff, will lead diplomatic efforts, advise the Secretary and Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, and coordinate closely with the U.S. Embassy Kabul presence in Doha on America’s interests in Afghanistan.  
I thank Ambassador Khalilzad for his service and welcome Special Representative West to the role.
Below is a longer bio via Carnegie where Thomas West previously served as a Nonresident Scholar for the South Asia Program:
Tom West was a nonresident scholar in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and an associate vice president at the Cohen Group.
West served for ten years in the U.S. Department of State and at the White House, working on South Asia and Middle East issues. From 2012 to 2015, he served on the National Security Council (NSC) as director for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and as a special adviser to Vice President Joseph Biden. He served a concurrent stint as the NSC’s director for Yemen. From 2011 to 2012, West served as the State Department’s senior diplomat in the Kunar province of Afghanistan, where he managed the civilian staff of a U.S.-led provincial reconstruction team. He worked at the State Department in Washington on a variety of issues, including the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Initiative, Washington’s response to the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and U.S.-Pakistan relations. He also served as a political officer in Islamabad and Karachi.
West received his BA in international studies from the Johns Hopkins University and an MA in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). 

Around the World in Tweets: Special Envoys

 

U.S. Special Envoy and Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland Visits Tripoli

 

On July 26, the State Department announced U.S. Special Envoy and Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland’s visit to Tripoli:

U.S. Special Envoy and Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland visited Tripoli, Libya July 26 where he met with interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dabaiba, attended a signing ceremony for a new 5G telecommunications contract between Libyan company Hatif and U.S. company Infinera, and held other meetings with Libyan and international representatives.  Ambassador Norland underscored the need for Libya’s leaders to make key preparations to ensure successful nationwide elections in December, including determining a constitutional basis and the election law that will govern them.  He emphasized that Libya’s leaders must make the necessary compromises to meet the Libyan peoples’ expectation of free and fair elections, an essential step towards a stable, unified, and democratic Libya.  Ambassador Norland also reaffirmed that stability and continued progress on the political and security track will lead to greater economic opportunities, foreign investments, and prosperity for Libyans.  Ambassador Norland was accompanied by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Treasury Eric Meyer.

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@StateDept Appoints Ambassador Daniel Foote as Special Envoy For Haiti

 

 

This is a follow-up to our July 8 post @USEmbassyHaiti Remains Closed Following President Moïse’s Assassination (Updated). On July 22, the State Department announced the appointment of Ambassador Daniel Foote as Special Envoy for Haiti:

The Department of State is pleased to announce that Ambassador Daniel Foote, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, will serve as its Special Envoy for Haiti. The Special Envoy will engage with Haitian and international partners to facilitate long-term peace and stability and support efforts to hold free and fair presidential and legislative elections. He will also work with partners to coordinate assistance efforts in several areas, including humanitarian, security, and investigative assistance. Additionally, the Special Envoy will engage stakeholders in civil society and the private sector as we pursue Haitian-led solutions to the many pressing challenges facing Haiti.

The Special Envoy will, along with the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti, lead U.S. diplomatic efforts and coordinate the effort of U.S. federal agencies in Haiti from Washington, advise the Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, and coordinate closely with the National Security Council staff on the administration’s efforts to support the Haitian people and Haiti’s democratic institutions in the aftermath of the tragic assassination of Jovenel Moïse.

Special Envoy Foote brings extensive diplomatic experience to this role – including as Deputy Chief of Mission in Haiti and as the U.S. Ambassador to Zambia. The Department congratulates Special Envoy Foote as he takes on his new role and thanks him for his continued service to his country.

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President Biden Appoints Jessica Stern as U.S. Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons

13 Going on 14 — GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27

 

On June 25, President Biden announced his appointment of Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International as Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons:

WASHINGTON – Today, ahead of his remarks at the White House for Pride Month, President Joe Biden announced that he will appoint Jessica Stern to be the U.S. Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons at the Department of State – a role critical to ensuring that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons around the world. The Special Envoy will play a vital role in leading implementation of the Presidential Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons Around the World. At a time when the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons are increasingly threatened in all regions of the world, the Special Envoy will bring together like-minded governments, civil society organizations, corporations and international organizations to uphold  dignity and equality for all.

Jessica Stern, United States Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons, Department of State

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, is based in New York. Jessica specializes in gender, sexuality and human rights globally. At OutRight, she has supported the legal registration of LGBTIQ organizations globally, helped secure the mandate of the United Nations Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, expanded the UN General Assembly resolution to include gender identity, and co-founded the UN LGBTI Core Group. She has provided expert opinions to governments globally, regional human rights institutions, and UN mechanisms, including UN Women where she serves as a member of multiple leadership bodies. Her writing has been cited by the Indian Supreme Court in its seminal judgment decriminalizing same-sex relations and been featured in The Oxford Handbook of Women, Peace and Security (2019). She is frequently quoted by the media, including by The New York Times, Al Jazeera, The Washington Post, BBC News, and The Guardian. She is an adjunct associate professor at Columbia University’s School of International & Public Affairs.

 

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POTUS Joe Biden Appoints Amb. Sung Kim to be U.S. Special Envoy to North Korea

13 Going on 14 — GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27

 

Ambassador Sung Y. Kim is currently the senior official for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs pending the confirmation of Ambassador Daniel J. Kritenbrink as Assistant Secretary of State for EAP bureau. On May 21, President Biden announced that Ambassador Kim will serve as the new U.S. special envoy for North Korea.
Below is his official bio from US Embassy Jakarta:

Ambassador Sung Y. Kim was nominated to be the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia on July 17, 2019 and confirmed by the full Senate on August 6, 2020.

Ambassador Sung Y. Kim most recently served as Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines from November 2016 until October 2020. From 2011 to 2014, he was the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. In between the two ambassadorships, Ambassador Kim served as Special Representative for North Korea Policy in Washington.

Earlier, Ambassador Kim also served as the Special Envoy for the Six-Party Talks with the rank of Ambassador. His previous overseas diplomatic assignments have included Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, and Hong Kong. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he worked as a prosecutor in Los Angeles, California.

Ambassador Kim was born in Seoul, Korea, and grew up in Los Angeles. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and completed a degree in law from Loyola University. He also holds a Master of Laws degree from the London School of Economics and honorary doctorates from the Catholic University of Korea and the Holy Name University of the Philippines. Ambassador Kim is married and has two daughters.

 

 

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