For the U.S., the shifting priorities from the Obama administration to the Trump administration has been a learning curve for many of U.S. allies, as well as those who have conflicting priorities. At a recent briefing meant to highlight several key issues defined by the administration, the State Department again faced questions regarding Yemen and war crimes, as well as questions highlighting the continuing concerns regarding Iran in light of the renewing sanctions and threats from the Iranian government.
UN Human Rights Council report highlights possible war crimes in Yemen
In a report released on Wednesday regarding human rights violations in Yemen, there is evidence that international laws may have been violated, and war crimes committed. The State Department acknowledged the report and that its findings are of concern to the U.S.
Heather Nauert, spokeswoman for the State Department, noted that the report was being reviewed and urged those involved in the conflict to also review the report. She acknowledged that the U.S. supported a political solution for the country, as well as measures being taken to address and prevent such violations. She also noted that the U.S. was working with Saudi Arabia on a broad range of issues, including the conflict in Yemen.
Another conflict, this one in Syria, was also a point of discussion, particularly the increasing military activity in Idlib. Nauert noted that the Trump administration was concerned about any escalation of violence in that area, especially chemical weapon use.
“That would put civilians and civilian infrastructure in Idlib at risk. We have shared the concerns that we have about any potential offensive taking place. We’ve shared those concerns with the Russian government at many levels,” said Nauert.
Host of concerns about North Korea and China
With the shift into a trade war between China and the U.S., it is no surprise that the two countries are not seeing eye to eye on how to address North Korea and its nuclear ambitions.
She noted that the U.S. stands ready to engage with North Korea, but at the same time, there are conversations taking place that Nauert was unwilling to disclose. There are also questions about how much pressure China is putting on North Korea, which can impact the talks. President Trump also announced that he was cancelling U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s trip to North Korea.
“The President decided to postpone this trip because he felt like it was not the time to go on this trip,” said Nauert. “We have no travel to announce, but at some point he will be going to the region to meet some of his counterparts.”
There are other issues impacting the U.S. as a result of several key policy shifts by the Trump administration and based on the wide breadth of this briefing, those policy issues are going to continue to impact U.S. relations.