U.S. Policy Update for Tuesday, 14 June 2016

A worker at the Volovets gas station in western Ukraine operates a valve. (AP Images)

Today’s topics:     Condolences for Orlando Shootings / The meaning of LGBTI / Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Prepcom / Ukraine energy diversification /


Condolences for Orlando Shootings

The rainbow flag is overlaid over the U.S. Embassy in London where the flag is flown at half-staff
The rainbow flag is overlaid over the U.S. Embassy in London where the flag is flown at half-staff

The U.S. Embassy joins all those worldwide in expressing their condolences to the families and victims of the horrific Orlando shootings.

If you would like to leave a message of condolence you can do so on our blog.




Rainbow flag reading 'Our hearts are with the victims of the Orlando attack'
Vigils were held worldwide for the victims of the nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. (AP Images)

13 June 2016 U.S. Muslims denounce ‘cowardly act’ in Orlando   Muslims across the United States strongly condemned the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, which left at least 49 people dead in an Orlando, Florida, nightclub.  From Berlin to Sydney to Seoul, there were worldwide vigils and messages of condolence for those killed and wounded in the weekend mass shooting.

The massacre is particularly difficult for gay Muslims. “This tragedy cannot be neatly categorized” as a fight between the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community and the Muslim community, the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity said in a statement. “Tragedies like this often lead people to look for someone or something to blame, but we ask our friends to resist this temptation. Let us instead recommit ourselves to working toward a world without hatred and prejudice.”

13 June 2016 Remarks by the President After Briefing on the Attack in Orlando, Florida



The Meaning of LGBTI

Face painted with blue, pink and white stripes (Shutterstock)
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, intersex (LGBTI)

13 June 2016 The ‘I’ in LGBTI stands for intersex. Here’s what it means

You’re probably used to hearing the term “LGBT,” but “LGBTI” might be new to you.  Nearly one in every 2,000 people is born with variations in reproductive or sexual anatomy, or has a chromosome pattern that doesn’t fit with what is typically considered male or female. Such individuals are “intersex” — the “I” in LGBTI — and can identify as male, female or neither. Along with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, intersex people are struggling in many places for recognition, equality and their human rights.

Being intersex is not as rare as you might think, but it is a condition invisible to outsiders, and some people do not discover they are intersex until they reach puberty.




Man wearing hard hat turning a valve on a pipeline
A worker at the Volovets gas station in western Ukraine operates a valve. (AP Images)

14 June 2016 Ukraine focuses on energy diversification Last winter, for the first time in its history, Ukraine got more natural gas from Europe than from Russia.

Until Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity in 2013–2014, Russia supplied at least half the natural gas consumed by Ukrainians. High subsidies, artificially low prices and murky contracts with Gazprom (Russia’s state-owned energy company) distorted the market, hindered domestic production and allowed corruption to run rampant, according to Olga Bielkova, a deputy head of the Ukrainian parliament’s energy committee.

She and her colleagues have worked to eliminate political influence over gas producers and traders. At the same time, they are working to increase domestic gas production and diversify the country’s energy sources.


Arms Control

13 June 2016 U.S. Statement to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization’s PrepCom 20th Anniversary Ministerial Meeting   As President Obama stated, the full potential of the CTBT remains unfulfilled, but the United States is steadfast in our support for the Treaty and for the critical work of the Preparatory Commission. Our dedication to the Treaty is demonstrated through unmatched monetary and technical support and our clear commitment to ensuring that the verification regime is completed, and functions as intended.

We hope that all of today’s statements of support for the Treaty will be transformed into tangible resources. Every Signatory to the Treaty must support the work of the Preparatory Commission to complete the Treaty’s verification regime and help enhance the effectiveness of the Provisional Technical Secretariat. We must all work to upgrade the International Data Centre (IDC) and ensure the completion of an effective On-Site Inspection capability.