Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo Announces "Crimea Declaration" Demanding Russia "End Occupation of Crimea"


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a hearing on President Trump's new National Security Strategy, 12 weeks after taking the job. He discusses diplomatic issues in Turkey and NATO, and de-confliction negotiations with North Korea, China, Iran, and particularly Russia. Pompeo explains the Trump administration's new "Crimea Declaration," which formalizes the "nonrecognition" of the conquest of Crimea and demands Russia return the contested peninsula to the Ukraine in his opening statement:

SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO: Good afternoon. Chairman Corker, Ranking Member Menendez and distinguished members. Thank you for the opportunity to be with you today.

During my confirmation hearing, you asked me to work on a host of world problems, and through 12 weeks I've been doing just that. I hope we'll get a chance to talk about each of those today.

The last few weeks, I've engaged in three areas of particular interest to this committee: North Korea, NATO and Russia.

On the subject of Russia, I want to bring something to your attention right off the bat today. Today, the Trump administration is releasing what we're calling the Crimea Declaration. I won't read the whole thing. I will submit it for the record. It's been publicly released, as well.

But one part reads as follows, quote, "The United States calls on Russia to respect the principles to which it has long claimed to adhere, and to end its occupation of Crimea," end of quote.

I want to assure this committee that the United States does not and will not recognize the Kremlin's purported annexation of Crimea. We stand together with allies, partners and the international community in our commitment to Ukraine and its territorial integrity. There will be no relief of Crimea-related sanctions until Russia returns control of the Crimean Peninsula to Ukraine. This Crimea declaration formalizes United States policy of nonrecognition.

There's another indicator of diplomatic progress I want to mention. This morning, Pastor Andrew Brunson, who was imprisoned in Turkey for nearly two years, has been let out of jail at Buka. He's still under house arrest, so our work is not done, but it's welcome progress, one that many of you have been engaged, and something the State Department has bending -- been working on diligently, as well.

We will continue to work for the speedy return of all Americans unjustly held captive abroad. President Trump will never forget about our own.POMPEO: Our diplomacy on these issues is advancing the goals of President Trump's National Security Strategy, which laid down guiding principles for American foreign policy in December. In late April, I started executing on the strategy as secretary of state. Today, on July 1 -- excuse me. Today, here we are, and I want to present you some progress. The National Security Strategy, established protecting the American people, the homeland, and the American way of life, as the pillars of our national security.

On July 17th, President Trump stated his firm conviction that diplomacy and engagement are preferable to conflict and hostility. These principles have guided our actions on North Korea. President Trump's diplomacy de-escalated a situation which the prospect for conflict was rising daily. Americans are safer because of his actions.

As far as the Trump administration's goals on North Korea are concerned, nothing's changed. Our objective remains the final, fully verified de-nuclearization of North Korea as agreed to by Chairman Kim Jong-un. As a follow up to the president's successful summit with Chairman Kim, on July 5th I traveled to North Korea to make progress on the commitments that were made in Singapore.

We're engaged in patient diplomacy. But we will not let this drag out to no one. I emphasize this position in the productive discussions I had with Vice-Chairman Kim Yong Chol. President Trump remains upbeat about the prospects for North Korean de-nuclearization. Progress is happening. We need Chairman Kim Jong-un to follow through on his commitments that he made in Singapore.

Until North Korea eliminates its weapons of mass destruction, our sanctions and those of the United Nations will remain in effect. Multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions require North Korea to eliminate all of its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.

Those resolutions were passed unanimously and they remain binding. We absolutely need every single nation to maintain the enforcement of those sanctions to which every nation has committed. The path ahead is not easy, but our hopes for a safer world and a brighter future for North Korea endure.

The National Security Strategy also calls for peace through strength. President Trump's engagement on NATO has resulted in greater burden sharing that will strengthen the entire alliance against myriad conventional and unconventional threats. Allies has spent more than $40 billion in increased defense spending since 2016.

And there will be hundreds of millions -- billions of dollars more in the years ahead. Last year's $14.4 billion in new spending was a 5.1 percent increase -- was the largest in a generation. Eight allies will meet the 2 percent this year, 18 are on track to do so by '24. The Trump administration is demanding that every country make its own commitment. NATO will remain an indispensable pillar of American national security.

We know weakness provokes our enemies, but strength and cohesion protect us. The more every NATO member contributes, the better the alliance can fulfill its mission of deterring threats to each of our nations. This is the increased commitment that the president wants.

From the outset of this administration, the National Defense Strategy and The Russia Integrated Strategy, our approach has been the same, to steadily raise the cost of aggression until Vladimir Putin chooses a less confrontational foreign policy while keeping the door open for dialogue in our national interest.

Between our two nations, the United States and Russia possess over 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons. President Trump believes the two great nuclear powers should not have a contentious relationship. This is not just in our interests but in the interests of the whole world.

He strongly believes that now is the time for direct communication, our relationship in order to make clear to President Putin that there is the possibility, however remote it might be, to reverse the negative course of our relationship. Otherwise, the administration will continue opposing tough actions against Russia in response to its malign activities.

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