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State Department Recap: October 28-November 3

Here’s a look at what U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other top diplomats have been doing this week:

Ethiopia

The U.S. State Department raised the travel advisory for Ethiopia to Level 4 on Tuesday, asking Americans not to travel to the country because of “armed conflict, civil unrest, communications disruptions, crime, and the potential for terrorism and kidnapping in border areas.” It came as the Ethiopian federal government declared a nationwide state of emergency Tuesday as its battle with Tigrayan forces reached the one-year mark and fighting had escalated in northern Ethiopia.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Feltman, the U.S. special envoy for the Horn of Africa, will travel to Ethiopia on Thursday and Friday. The State Department said the U.S. was increasingly troubled by the expansion of combat operations and intercommunal violence in Ethiopia and was closely monitoring the situation, calling on all Ethiopians to commit to peace and resolution of grievances through dialogue.

Ethiopian Government Declares State of Emergency

Spyware

The United States has added four foreign technology companies to its restricted-companies list, saying that they “developed and supplied spyware to foreign governments” and that the spyware was used “to maliciously target government officials, journalists, businesspeople, activists, academics, and embassy workers.” The State Department accused the companies of “engaging in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.”

US Blacklists Four Foreign Companies for ‘Malicious Cyber Activities’ 

Sudan

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he admired the millions of Sudanese who protested peacefully to express their aspirations for a democratic Sudan on Saturday. Meanwhile, a senior U.S. official said that the Sudanese military exercised restraint during Saturday’s demonstrations and that the restraint raised the possibility of the country’s return to a power-sharing agreement. 

Sudan’s Military Showed Restraint During Anti-Coup Protests, US Special Envoy Says 

China

Blinken met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi as part of the Group of 20 summit on Sunday — an outreach designed to ensure that the intensely competitive relationship between the world’s two largest economies doesn’t veer into open conflicts.

Blinken Raises Concerns about Taiwan with China 

The State Department said Blinken affirmed the areas where the U.S. and China can work together, including North Korea, Myanmar, Iran, Afghanistan and the climate crisis, while raising concerns about a range of Chinese actions that undermine the international rules-based order, including those related to human rights, Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong, the East and South China seas, and Taiwan. 

Afghanistan

U.S. officials have confirmed that a newly formed armed group resisting Taliban rule in Afghanistan has registered with the Justice Department to carry out political lobbying in the United States. A State Department spokesperson said over the weekend that U.S. officials “are aware that an entity calling itself ‘The National Resistance Front’ registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act on October 26.”

Anti-Taliban Group Registers with US to Try to Build Afghan Resistance 

Iran

The State Department confirmed Wednesday that the next round of Iran nuclear talks will resume November 29. U.S. Special Envoy Robert Malley will lead U.S. participation in these talks. Spokesperson Ned Price said if all parties are to close the remaining areas of disagreement, the talks “should start precisely where the sixth round of talks were left off.”

Leaders of the U.S., Germany, France, and the United Kingdom warned Tehran that its continued nuclear advances and obstacles to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s work will jeopardize its return to the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.

At G-20, US, Europe Urge Iran to Return to JCPOA Compliance 

Meanwhile, the U.S. sanctioned individuals and companies allegedly associated with a network of companies linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on Friday. Blinken said in a tweet that the U.S. is “firmly committed to countering all of Iran’s threatening activity and those who support it.” 

US Sanctions Individuals, Firms for Supporting Iran’s Drone Program 

 

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