@StateDept: “not tracking any specific exposure to any specific individual at the ambassadorial level”

 

Via Briefing With Senior State Department Officials On COVID-19: Updates on Health Impact and Assistance for American Citizens Abroad MARCH 23, 2020

QUESTION:  Thanks for doing this.  Two things.  First, for the Senior Official One, can you respond to Senator Menendez’s letter yesterday in which he calls for the administration to invoke authorities within the Civil Reserve Air Fleet readiness program to facilitate chartering these flights to get people back, and in which he also calls for the military or the Department of Defense to make military aircraft available.

And then secondly, for Senior Official Two, as I’m sure you’re aware, the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Ambassador Marks self-quarantined on Thursday at least four days after she returned to South Africa from the United States after having spent time among other things on a U.S. Naval vessel.  Why did she self-quarantine on Thursday?  Was there something that happened between Monday and Thursday that caused her to do that, some kind of exposure?  And if not, why didn’t she self-quarantine immediately upon return to South Africa?  Or indeed, why did she return to South Africa in the first place if she had a potential exposure?  Thank you.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE:  Thank you, Arshad.  With regard to MilAir, with regard to using those assets, we are in conversations with the Department of Defense through what is called the ExecSec – ExecSec process.  They are one of the options that we might find ourselves calling on down the road.  At the moment, though, we are finding that – excuse me – that laying on charters via the K Fund, via other mechanisms we have here in the State Department is an efficient way to do this.

As I said, we are also helping private carriers increase the number of flights they have.  So, for example, going into Peru, our Economic Bureau is facilitating conversation amongst the U.S. Government agencies involved in providing this end of the regulatory approval while our embassy in Lima is working with the Peruvian authorities on getting the necessary regulatory approvals down there.  And so we’re able to increase the capacity that way.  This is a – whole-of-government is a cliche.  This is more of a whole-of-possibility effort to get people out, and so no option is foreclosed at (inaudible) and – out.

QUESTION:  Wait a minute.  Wait a minute.  What about the question that I had regarding Ambassador Marks and why she did not self-isolate prior to Thursday?  I’d like an answer, please.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO:  All right.  This is [Senior State Department Official Two].  I can’t speak on an individual case, but I can give you from a policy perspective and sort of the way we’re addressing the disparate self-quarantine and isolation requirements in over 220 locations around the world.  First, we’re not tracking any specific exposure to any specific individual at the ambassadorial level, but I can tell you when any traveler from the State Department returns to a host nation, we respect – to the extent that we can we respect their requirements.  It’s the right thing to do, and I think we would expect their diplomats to do the same when they come to the United States.

 

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Confirmations: Godfrey, Mustafa, Carwile, McKee , Marks, Cella, Plus 6 Foreign Service Lists

 

 

2019-09-26 PN888 SERBIA | Anthony F. Godfrey, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Serbia.
2019-09-26 PN890 BULGARIA | Herro Mustafa, of California, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Bulgaria.
2019-09-26 PN771 LATVIA | John Leslie Carwile, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Latvia.
2019-09-26 PN796 PAPUA NEW GUINEA, SOLOMON ISLANDS, VANUATU | Erin Elizabeth McKee, of California, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Solomon Islands and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Vanuatu.
2019-09-26 PN131 SOUTH AFRICA | Lana J. Marks, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of South Africa.
2019-09-24 PN114 FIJI, KIRIBATI, NAURU, TONGA, TUVALU | Joseph Cella, of Michigan, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Fiji, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru, the Kingdom of Tonga, and Tuvalu.
FS LISTS (Click on PN number to see the names)
2019-09-26 PN786 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Melissa McInnis, and ending Marixell Garcia, which 12 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on May 21, 2019.
2019-09-26 PN787-2 Foreign Service | Nomination for Courtney L. Lacroix, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on May 21, 2019.
2019-09-26 PN1001 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning George Habib Abi-Nader, and ending Alexis Lyn Zintak, which 204 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on July 25, 2019.
2019-09-26 PN1002 Foreign Service | Nomination for Cynthia K. Duerr, which nomination was received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on July 25, 2019.
2019-09-26 PN1003 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Jessica Abenstein, and ending David Waldron, which 6 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on July 25, 2019.
2019-09-26 PN1004 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Kendra Michelle Arbaiza-Sundal, and ending Jacqueline Leann Ward, which 95 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on July 25, 2019.

Handbag Designer Lana J. Marks to be U.S. Ambassador to South Africa

The White House announced the president’s intent to nominate handbag designer and Mar-a-Lago member Lana Marks to be his ambassador to South Africa. If confirmed, she would replaced Patrick Gaspard who served as Ambassador to Pretoria from  2013-2016.  The last career diplomat appointed as Ambassador to South Africa was Cameron R. Hume who served from 2001-2004.

Prior appointees to this position also include Donald Gips who previously served as Vice President Al Gore’s Chief Domestic Policy Advisor; career diplomat and three-time Ambassador Princeton N. Lyman; and career diplomat and four-time Ambassador Edward Joseph Perkins,

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