Middle East Policy Statements

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addresses reporters during the G-7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting at the Palazzo Ducale in Lucca, Italy on April,11, 2017. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addresses reporters during the G-7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting at the Palazzo Ducale in Lucca, Italy on April,11, 2017. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

Key Documents on U.S. policy on Middle East

Latest U.S. Policy News on the Middle East

Other sources of policy news include the following websites:

June 24, 2019
Joint Statement by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States on Yemen and the Region
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America express their concern over escalating tensions in the region and the dangers posed by Iranian destabilizing activity to peace and security both in Yemen and the broader region, including attacks on the oil tankers at Fujairah on 12 May and in the Gulf of Oman on 13 June. These attacks threaten the international waterways that we all rely on for shipping. Ships and their crews must be allowed to pass through international waters safely. We call on Iran to halt any further actions which threaten regional stability, and urge diplomatic solutions to de-escalate tensions.

May 08, 2019
Message to the Congress on the Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to the Actions of the Government of Syria (Whitehouse.gov)

March 15, 2019
Joint Statement on the Eighth Anniversary of the Syrian Conflict
The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

January 24, 2019
Readout of Vice President Pence’s Meeting with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt of the United Kingdom
Vice President Mike Pence met today with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt of the United Kingdom.  The Foreign Secretary updated the Vice President on the status of preparations for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union and both reaffirmed a mutual desire for a U.S.-UK bilateral trade agreement.  The Vice President reiterated his support for Interim President Guaido and both agreed on the need to restore a constitutional, democratic government in Venezuela.  They also discussed the situation in Syria and Yemen.

January 29, 2019
Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS (State.gov)
U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo will host a day of meetings with the foreign ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS on February 6 in Washington, D.C. The full 79-member Coalition will meet for in-depth discussions on the impending territorial defeat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, which is the result of four years of Coalition and our partners’ efforts, and a significant milestone towards delivering ISIS an enduring defeat. Ministers will discuss the next phase of the campaign in Iraq and Syria, which will focus on protecting against a resurgence of ISIS through stabilization and security assistance. Ministers will also discuss important next steps in degrading ISIS’s global networks and affiliates outside Iraq and Syria.

 

2018

November 20, 2018
Statement from President Donald J. Trump on Standing with Saudi Arabia (Whitehouse.gov)
The crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one, and one that our country does not condone. Indeed, we have taken strong action against those already known to have participated in the murder. After great independent research, we now know many details of this horrible crime. We have already sanctioned 17 Saudis known to have been involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and the disposal of his body.

August 06, 2018
State Department on the Issuance of Death Notices in Syria (state.gov)
The Syrian regime’s recent notices confirming the deaths of thousands of political prisoners in its custody affirms what the international community has long suspected and can never forget: the regime has systematically arrested, tortured, and murdered tens of thousands of Syrian civilians in response to their legitimate and nonviolent calls for their freedom, rights, and political reforms. Since the Syrian uprising began in 2011, at least 117,000 Syrians have been detained or forcibly disappeared, according to numerous human rights organizations.

August 06, 2018
Senior Administration Officials Previewing Iran Sanctions (State.gov)  – A Special Briefing via teleconference.
“So today, I want to briefly describe the actions that we’re taking today. The President has issued a new Iran executive order to reimpose sanctions relating to Iran, as you know. On May 8th, the President issued a national security presidential memorandum which directed the secretaries of Treasury and State and others to take a number of actions. And today’s announcement is just the next step in implementing the President’s decision.
Specifically, we are reimposing sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the JCPOA. The snapback of these sanctions, again, supports the President’s decision to impose significant financial pressure on the Iranian regime, to continue to counter Iran’s blatant and ongoing malign activities, and then ultimately to seek a new agreement that addresses the totality of the Iranian threat.”

June 26, 2018
Readout of the Meeting in Morocco of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS (state.gov)
Senior diplomatic representatives from the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS met today in Morocco to review the global campaign. Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition Brett McGurk provided an update on progress in Iraq and Syria and outlined the Coalition’s increasing focus on defeating ISIS’s global networks. He noted that Operation Roundup in Syria, now in its second phase, has retaken the ISIS stronghold of Dashisha. They continue to make steady progress, as the Syrian Democratic Forces work in coordination with Iraqi Security Forces to trap ISIS’s remaining remnants and ensure they have no escape. The Coalition has liberated more than 7.7 million people from ISIS to date and allowed more than 3.8 million displaced Iraqis to return to their homes.

June 05, 2018
Secretary Pompeo on Support for Ongoing Defeat ISIS Operations in Syria  (State.gov)
“We welcome the launch on Sunday of operations by the Syrian Democratic Forces against ISIS terrorists in Dashisha, Syria. Dashisha is a notorious ISIS stronghold in northeast Syria from which ISIS has terrorized the Syrian and Iraqi people for many years. These operations have been planned over many months in coordination with Iraqi forces across the border to ensure ISIS terrorists have no escape. The Department of State has been proud to lend diplomatic support through this planning process together with our Department of Defense colleagues and Coalition Partners. ”

April 14, 2018
Joined by Allies, President Trump Takes Action to End Syria’s Chemical Weapons Attacks (Whitehouse.gov)
Speaking to the Nation last night, President Donald J. Trump explained that he ordered U.S. Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with Syrian chemical weapons capabilities. He thanked the United Kingdom and France for joining America in the operation, which will continue to pressure Syria to stop using chemical weapons by integrating the other instruments of our national power: economic, informational, and diplomatic.

April 10, 2018
Explanation of Vote on a Draft Resolution on the Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria (USUN)

April 10, 2018
Ambassador Nikki Haley Remarks before a Vote on a Draft UN Security Council Resolution on the Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria (USUN)

April 09, 2018
Acting Secretary Sullivan’s Phone Calls With UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (State.gov)  Acting Secretary of State John J. Sullivan spoke by phone twice today with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. During these calls, the Acting Secretary and Foreign Secretary discussed the alleged chemical weapon attack in Douma, Syria, which killed dozens of innocent civilians and injured several hundred more. The two leaders discussed the international community’s response and potential further steps the U.S. and UK governments might take in coordination with other partners.

April 09, 2018
Ambassador Haley at Emergency UNSC Briefing on Chemical Weapons Use in Syria (USUN)

April 09, 2018
Remarks by President Trump at Cabinet Meeting on Syria (Whitehouse.gov)

April 09, 2018
UN Security Council to Hold Emergency Meeting on Chemical Weapons Use in Syria (USUN)

April 07, 2018
On the Chemical Attack in Douma (State.gov)
Spokesperson Nauert: “We continue to closely follow disturbing reports on April 7 regarding another alleged chemical weapons attack, this time targeting a hospital in Douma, Syria. Reports from a number of contacts and medical personnel on the ground indicate a potentially high number of casualties, including among families hiding in shelters. These reports, if confirmed, are horrifying and demand an immediate response by the international community.”

April 04, 2018
Joint Statement on First Anniversary of Chemical Attack on Khan Sheikhoun, Syria (State.gov)
The text of [this] statement was released by UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, and U.S. Acting Secretary John Sullivan.

 

2017

11 September 2017 Officials Release Details of Latest Strikes Against ISIS Terrorists in Syria, Iraq (Defense.gov)   U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria on Sept. 9-10, conducting 78 strikes consisting of 91 engagements, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today. Officials reported details of yesterday’s strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

21 August 2017 Secretary Tillerson’s Statement on the United States’ Engagement in South Asia   “It is vital to U.S. interests that Afghanistan and Pakistan prevent terrorist sanctuaries.”

21 August 2017 Remarks by President Trump on the Strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia   “America will work with the Afghan government as long as we see determination and progress. However, our commitment is not unlimited, and our support is not a blank check. The government of Afghanistan must carry their share of the military, political, and economic burden. The American people expect to see real reforms, real progress, and real results. Our patience is not unlimited. We will keep our eyes wide open.

05 July 2017 Statement From Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson on the Current Situation in Syria  “Before I depart for the G20 summit in Hamburg, I would like to comment on the current situation in Syria, which is a topic the President will raise in his meeting with Russian President Putin.
First, parties in Syria must ensure stability on the ground. If we do not achieve stability in Syria, our progress in defeating ISIS may be undone. Secondly, parties must work through a political process to achieve a settlement that charts a way forward for the Syrian people. Lastly, Russia has a special responsibility to assist in these efforts.”

05 July 2017 Meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS   Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Brett McGurk will host senior leaders of the Coalition for a series of meetings in Washington D.C next week.  … These meetings are taking place at a key moment in the coordinated fight and will help shape the combined efforts to destroy ISIS. Through Coalition support, Mosul is on the verge of liberation by the Iraqi Security Forces, and the Syrian Democratic Forces have taken the fight against ISIS directly to Raqqa. As ISIS is defeated on the battlefield, the Coalition will continue to increase its stabilization efforts to facilitate the voluntary return home of those who have been displaced by the violence.

11 April 2017 Remarks by Secretary of State Tillerson at a Press Availability in Italy  “The United States priority in Syria and Iraq remains the defeat of ISIS.  We are calling on our G7 partners to sustain the fight against ISIS well after the liberation of Mosul and Raqqa.  Whether in Iraq and Syria, online, or on the ground in other countries, we must eliminate ISIS.  G7 support will be critical.”

06 April 2017 Statement by President Trump on Syria  “Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and ignored the urging of the U.N. Security Council.”

05 April 2017 U.S. Humanitarian Assistance in Response to the Syrian Crisis  The sobering news of March 30 that the number of refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria has topped five million is a devastating reminder of the urgent need for continued humanitarian assistance from across the international community. Maintaining its steadfast commitment to getting lifesaving support to the people of Syria wherever they are, the United States announced that it is providing more than $566 million in additional assistance.

22 March 2017 Global Coalition against ISIS meets in Washington (ShareAmerica)    Foreign ministers and senior officials from 68 nations and international organizations gather in Washington on March 22 to discuss the coalition’s efforts to defeat ISIS.  The meeting comes at a key moment to set ISIS on a lasting and irreversible path to defeat. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will open the meeting, the first one of the full 68-member Global Coalition since December 2014.
Coalition members are united in a common goal: to defeat ISIS with a robust approach. The coalition’s combined efforts have diminished ISIS’ territory, leadership, financial resources and online influence.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks during the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL in London, England, Dec. 15, 2016. (DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks during the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL in London, England, Dec. 15, 2016. (DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)