Reparations draw UN scrutiny, but those who'd pay say little
More than a year after Black Lives Matter protests launched a worldwide reckoning about the centuries of racism that Black people continue to face, reparations emerged — unevenly — as a high-profile issue at this year’s largest gathering of world leaders.
Biden looks to turn page on 20 years of war in UN address
President Joe Biden begins his first visit to the U.N. General Assembly ready to make the case to world leaders that after closing the chapter on 20 years of war, the U.S. aims to rally allies and adversaries to work together on a slew of crises including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and trade and economics.
Women’s groups call for UN peacekeeping force in Afghanistan
Women’s rights supporters and faith leaders are calling for a U.N. peacekeeping force for Afghanistan to protect hard-won gains for women over the last two decades as American and NATO forces complete their pullout from the war-torn country and a Taliban offensive gains control over more territory.
China wants cross-border aid and sanctions relief for Syria
China said Tuesday it wants the U.N. Security Council to not only extend humanitarian aid deliveries to Syria from neighboring countries but to tackle the impact of Western sanctions and the need to expand deliveries across conflict lines. Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun told reporters after closed briefings to the council and a discussion among members on a draft resolution to continue cross-border deliveries that he hopes “with more diplomatic efforts we can find a solution” -- not just on cross-border aid.news.yahoo.com
UN official warns digital technologies open areas for attack
The U.N. disarmament chief warned Tuesday that digital technologies are lowering barriers to malicious intrusions and opening potential areas for governments, armed groups, terrorists and criminals to carry out attacks, including across international borders. Izumi Nakamitsu told a U.N. Security Council meeting on cybersecurity that there has been “a dramatic increase in the frequency of malicious incidents in recent years” ranging from disinformation to the disruption of computer networks which are contributing to “a diminishing trust and confidence” among nations. The political and technical difficulty of determining responsibility for cyber attacks “could result in significant consequences, including in unintended armed responses and escalation,” she warned.news.yahoo.com
US envoy: Children in conflict taught to commit war crimes
Children caught in conflict are being taught to commit war crimes before they can count, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Monday, pointing to the deadliest attack in Burkina Faso in years, with more than 130 civilians killed by an armed group comprising “mostly 12- to 14-year-olds.” Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the U.N. Security Council that many of those killed in the attack in early June were children, and the horrifying raid on the village of Solhan in the West African nation's Sahel’s Yagha province saw “children killing children -- children killing children.”news.yahoo.com
With ambassador picks, Biden faces donor vs. diversity test
President Joe Biden is facing a fresh challenge to his oft-repeated commitment to diversity in his administration: assembling a diplomatic corps that gives a nod to key political allies and donors while staying true to a campaign pledge to appoint ambassadors who look like America.
U.N. special envoy warns "a bloodbath is imminent" in Myanmar if Security Council does not act
A U.N. special envoy warned the 15-nation Security Council on Wednesday that "a bloodbath is imminent" in Myanmar if it does not act to curb the violent military crackdown against protesters, according to a copy of her remarks obtained by CBS News. Special Envoy of the Secretary-General Christine Schraner Burgener asked the diplomats. A bloodbath is imminent," Schraner Burgener added. The Security Council issued a unanimous statement condemning the violence on March 10. "The military's cruelty is too severe and many [Ethnic Armed Organizations] EAOs are taking clear stances of opposition, increasing the possibility of civil war at an unprecedented scale," Schraner Burgener said.cbsnews.com
UN envoy: Myanmar faces possibility of major civil war
Anti-coup protesters run to avoid military forces during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar on Wednesday March 31, 2021. (AP Photo)CAMEROON – The U.N. special envoy for Myanmar warned Wednesday that the country faces the possibility of civil war “at an unprecedented scale” and urged the U.N. Security Council to consider “potentially significant action” to reverse the Feb. 1 military coup and restore democracy. AdIn the virtual meeting, Schraner Burgener denounced the killing and arrest of unarmed protesters seeking to restore democracy. “A robust international response requires a unified regional position, especially with neighboring countries leveraging their influence towards stability in Myanmar,” Schraner Burgener said, adding that she plans to visit the region, hopefully next week. The opposition of ethnic armed groups to “the military’s cruelty ... (is) increasing the possibility of civil war at an unprecedented scale,” Schraner Burgener warned.
Biden administration quietly ramping up aid to Palestinians
(AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)WASHINGTON – The Biden administration is quietly ramping up assistance to the Palestinians after former President Donald Trump cut off nearly all aid. AdIn general, the administration supports a resumption in aid to the Palestinians, State Department spokesman Ned Price said. Such payments were one reason the Trump administration cut off aid. The GAO based its findings on a review of aid provided to the Palestinians between 2015 and 2019, when Trump severed most of the aid. Soon after President Joe Biden was inaugurated on Jan. 20, his administration announced that it would restore relations with the Palestinians and renew aid as key elements of support for a two-state solution to the conflict.
Donors pledge more than $6 billion to tackle Syria's crisis
Announcing the total pledge, EU Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarcic said that besides the grants, financial institutions and donors offered loans amounting to $7 billion. AdThe EU said it committed to €3.7 billion ($4.3 billion) for 2021 and beyond, with €1.12 billion ($1.31 billion) coming from the bloc's executive arm and €2.6 billion ($3 billion) from the 27 EU member states. Another $5.8 billion was requested for nearly 6 million Syrian refugees who fled their homeland. AdGerman Foreign Minister Heiko Maas pledged 1.738 billion euros ($2 billion) on Germany’s behalf Tuesday, an amount he described as the country's largest pledge in the last four years. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom cut its pledge to “at least" 205 million pounds ($281 million), compared to 300 million ($411.8 million) last year.
US eyes additional UN action on N. Korea after missile tests
(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)WASHINGTON – The Biden administration said Monday it's looking at “additional actions” that the United Nations might take to respond to North Korea’s recent missile tests. “We’re looking at additional actions that we might take,” Thomas-Greenfield said of the U.S. and others Security Council members. Last week, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea in a defiance of U.N. resolutions that ban such launches by North Korea. Some experts say North Korea’s missile launches, the first of their kind in a year, were aimed at applying pressure on the Biden administration. Past short-range missile launches by North Korea have typically drawn U.N. Security Council condemnations, but not fresh sanctions.
US gives $15 million to Palestinians to deal with COVID-19
The United States says it is giving $15 million to vulnerable Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a boost to the West Bank where the Palestinian Authority had only secured 10,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and 2,000 shots from Israel for the roughly 3 million Palestinians living in the West Bank. But in recent weeks, it has inoculated over 100,000 Palestinian laborers in the West Bank who have permits to work inside Israel and its West Bank settlements. Wennesland said the U.N. and its partners will continue to support Palestinian vaccination efforts, expressed appreciation for Israel's essential role in deliveries, and urged support for the Palestinian COVID-19 response. U.S. envoy Thomas-Greenfield announced the $15 million contribution as Israel awaits the final results from Tuesday’s fourth parliamentary elections in two years.
U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield gives powerful speech at U.N.: "I know the ugly face of racism"
Thomas-Greenfield, speaking to the U.N. General Assembly on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, told the assembled leaders: "I know the ugly face of racism. Let us expose the racism and racial discrimination endemic to every society around the globe. "Diplomats aren't used to hearing personal stories in official settings and Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield gave a moving speech that was all the more powerful because it drew on her personal experience," Jamaica's U.N. Turning to the world, Thomas-Greenfield said, "For millions, it's more than a challenge. She ended with a plea: "Let us expose the racism and racial discrimination endemic to every society, around the globe.cbsnews.com
With China's treatment of Muslim Uighurs determined to be genocide, Biden administration under pressure to act
Newly confirmed Secretary of State Antony Blinken did not hesitate to express his agreement with a determination made on the last day of the Trump administration that China's treatment of its Uighur and Muslim minority populations is genocide. "My judgment remains that genocide is committed against the Uighurs, and that hasn't changed," Blinken said Wednesday in his first remarks as secretary from the State Department podium. My heartfelt gratitude to the U.S. government, particularly the State Department, for determining the atrocities against my people to be genocide, after all the pain and suffering we have gone through." While the Pentagon first referred to China's camps in its Xinjiang province as "concentration camps" in 2019, the State Department used the less harsh term "internment camps" to describe them. But he also said the Trump administration bears a share of the blame, too.cbsnews.com
"Wonder Woman" joins U.S., Israel and Google in call for high-tech fight against domestic violence
United Nations — "Wonder Woman" herself called the global fight against domestic violence "a battle between life and death." The meeting was entitled: "Terror at Home: Fighting Domestic Violence with Innovation and Technology." Other resources include: The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE, or text LOVEIS to 22522. "If combating domestic violence was a priority for U.N. member states, they would modify and apply existing technologies to fight against it." "All these factors have combined to make the already disturbing phenomenon of domestic violence increasingly worse."cbsnews.com
UN: Yemen conflict escalates as country speeds toward famine
FILE - In this Nov. 23, 2019 file photo, a malnourished newborn baby lies in an incubator at the Al-Sabeen Hospital in Sanaa, Yemen. Beasley told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday, March 10, 2021, that conditions in war-wrecked Yemen are hell. U.S. President Joe Biden’s envoy to Yemen, Tim Lenderking, last week urged the Houthis to agree to a cease-fire proposal. AdOn the humanitarian front, Yemen, which imports most of its food and other commodities, remains the world’s worst crisis. A U.N. pledging conference on March 1 raised a disappointing $1.7 billion, less than half of what aid agencies need this year, which means “we don’t have enough money to stop famine,” Lowcock said.
UN calls for reversal of Myanmar coup and condemns violence
Myanmar nationals living in Thailand hold pictures of deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi as they protest against the military coup in front of the United Nations building in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, March 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Nava Sangthong)CAMEROON – The U.N. Security Council unanimously called for a reversal of the military coup in Myanmar on Wednesday, strongly condemning the violence against peaceful protesters and calling for “utmost restraint” by the military. A presidential statement approved by all 15 council members including Myanmar’s neighbor and friend China was formally adopted at a very brief virtual meeting where U.S. Nonetheless, it will be the first presidential statement on Myanmar adopted since 2017 and reflects council unity in trying to reverse the coup. She said she doesn’t have “the solution on the silver plate” but she has some ideas, which she didn’t disclose, that she wants to discuss with the military, Suu Kyi, ousted parliamentarians and others.
US urges Sudan to build an inclusive government for all
FILE - In this July 30, 2020 file photo, residents displaced from a surge of violent attacks squat on blankets and in hastily made tents in the village of Masteri in west Darfur, Sudan. (Mustafa Younes via AP, FIle)CAMEROON – The United States called on Sudan Tuesday to build an inclusive and representative government that ensures peace, supports people on the margins and helps “those who have suffered achieve justice.”U.S. Another major rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Movement-Army in the restive Darfur region, which is led by Abdel-Wahid Nour, rejects the transitional government and has not taken part in the talks. Volker Perthes, the new U.N. special envoy for Sudan and head of UNITAMS, said in his first briefing to the Security Council that “Sudan is making significant advances in its transition. However, the remaining challenges are staggering.”AdOn the plus side, he pointed to the new Cabinet including signatories of the Juba agreement, and the government's agreement on national priorities.
On International Women's Day, laments of retreat on rights
A woman waves a feminist flag as demonstrators attempt to storm the National Palace during a march to commemorate International Women's Day and protesting against gender violence, in Mexico City, Monday, March 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)CAMEROON – U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on International Women’s Day that the COVID-19 pandemic has seen “a rollback in hard-won advances in women’s rights” even as calls for women's empowerment echoed around the globe, from Myanmar and Afghanistan to Saudi Arabia and the United States. “We stand at a crossroads as we ponder the recovery from a pandemic that has had a disproportionate impact on women and girls, ” said UN Women’s Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the U.N. observance of International Women’s Day. AdAround the world, there were expressions of concern at the state of women’s rights. According to Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission, 65 women were killed and 95 wounded in targeted attacks in 2020.
Senate approves bill to tighten controls on China-funded Confucius Institutes on U.S. university campuses
The Senate on Thursday approved by unanimous consent — without a roll-call vote — a bill that would increase oversight on Confucius Institutes, China-funded cultural centers that operate on university campuses. According to Human Rights Watch, Confucius Institutes "are Chinese government-funded outposts that offer Chinese language and culture classes." "This bill would give colleges and universities full control over their resident Confucius Institutes and restore freedom of thought on their campuses." In turn, nearly 22 Confucius Institutes have closed since the act's passage, according to Human Rights Watch. "Most agreements establishing Confucius Institutes feature nondisclosure clauses and unacceptable concessions to the political aims and practices of the government of China."cnbc.com
Biden brings no relief to tensions between US and China
Biden took office promising to move quickly to restore and repair Americas relations with the rest of the world. From Iran to Russia, Europe to Latin America, Biden has sought to cool tensions that rose during President Donald Trump’s four years in office. China and the United States are the world’s two largest economies and the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases. The backdrop is clear: The United States is convinced that it and China are engaged in a duel for global dominance. Ad“There has been huge deviation between what they believe China is and what China really is,” Yu said.
Who is Myanmar's UN envoy? Coup opponent or representative
(UNTV via AP)CAMEROON – Myanmar’s U.N. ambassador, who strongly opposed the military coup in his country, insists he remains the permanent representative to the United Nations, but the foreign ministry has informed the U.N. that the ambassador has been terminated and his deputy is now in charge. The dispute over who is recognized as Myanmar’s ambassador -- the representative of the generals who carried out the Feb. 1 coup or of the ousted democratically elected government -- is under discussion and could end up in the General Assembly, where all 193 U.N. members have seats. “I wish therefore to confirm to you that I remain Myanmar’s permanent representative to the United Nations.”The second letter to the secretary-general from Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which Dujarric said was received Tuesday, makes no mention of the coup. AdThe ministry said Myanmar’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Tin Maung Naing, has been assigned as the charge d’affaires of the U.N. mission. The General Assembly meeting was called to hear a briefing from the U.N. special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, who said it is time to “sound the alarm” about the coup.
US is 'gravely concerned' by reports of abuses in Ethiopia
Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Director of the Office of Emergency Programmes, center, visits internally-displaced people in Adigrat Town, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Accounts of atrocities by Ethiopian and allied forces against residents of the country's northern region of Tigray were detailed in reports by The Associated Press and by Amnesty International. We are also deeply concerned by the worsening humanitarian crisis,” said Blinken in a statement issued Saturday. AdThose responsible for abuses in Tigray must be held accountable, Blinken added, calling for an independent, international investigation into the reports of human rights violations. The U.S. urged the immediate withdrawal from Tigray of troops from the neighboring country of Eritrea and from Amhara, the Ethiopian region bordering Tigray.
New US envoy starts challenge to restore US on world stage
United States Ambassador to the United Nations nominee Linda Thomas-Greenfield testifies during for her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Washington. The longtime career diplomat thanked President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris, who swore her in on Wednesday, for choosing her for the “distinguished position” and said she was “thrilled” to be at the United Nations. “The United Nations is the world’s most important forum for bringing people and countries together,” Thomas-Greenfield told reporters immediately afterward. AdHer confirmation on Tuesday was hailed by Democrats and advocates of the United Nations who had lamented “America First” unilateral approach to international affairs and rejoiced at Biden’s return to multilateralism. Guterres warmly welcomed Thomas-Greenfield, calling the United States “a fundamental pillar of the United Nations and of international cooperation" and telling her, “you are not only a very distinguished diplomat, but a very passionate citizen of the world," with a strong commitment to refugees.
A look at how Biden's Cabinet nominees fared Tuesday
(Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden's Cabinet is starting to fill out, with nominees for agriculture secretary and United Nations ambassador gaining Senate approval Tuesday. “And that’s what we intend to do.”Schumer couldn’t resist a jab at former President Donald Trump, saying that all Biden’s nominees are “undoubtedly qualified for their positions, a stark departure from the caliber of nominees the Senate was made to consider during the previous administration.”But one of Biden's nominees, Neera Tanden to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget, is clearly in trouble in the evenly divided Senate. Currently California's attorney general, Becerra appeared Tuesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “I'm not sold yet,” Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the ranking Republican on the health committee, said, addressing Becerra. ___INTERIORRep. Deb Haaland, Biden's nominee to lead the Interior Department, fielded sharp questions from Republicans over what some called her “radical” ideas that include opposition to fracking and to the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield confirmed as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations
Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on her nomination to be the United States Ambassador to the United Nations on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., January 27, 2021. The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Linda Thomas-Greenfield as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Thomas-Greenfield has a lengthy career serving as an international diplomat, with most of the time dedicated to U.S. efforts in Africa. The Louisiana native an ambassador to Liberia and assistant secretary of State for African Affairs during the Obama administration. In response, Thomas-Greenfield called the speech a mistake and vowed to limit Beijing's influence at U.N. general assembly meetings.cnbc.com
Senate confirms Linda Thomas-Greenfield as UN ambassador
United States Ambassador to the United Nations nominee Linda Thomas-Greenfield smiles as she testifies during for her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Washington. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON – The Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s choice to lead U.S. diplomacy at the United Nations on Tuesday. Her confirmation was hailed by Democrats and advocates of the United Nations, who had lamented the Trump administration's unilateral approach to international affairs. Republicans who opposed her said she was soft on China and would not stand up for U.S. principles at the United Nations. “And yet, I had an extraordinary 35-year career that culminated as the assistant secretary of state of African affairs,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
Biden's U.N. ambassador nominee on America's role in the world
Biden's U.N. ambassador nominee on America's role in the world Linda Thomas-Greenfield, President Joe Biden's pick to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, says America's global leadership "must be rooted in our core values: support for democracy, respect for universal human rights, and the promotion of peace and security." Watch her opening statement from her Senate confirmation hearing.cbsnews.com
Biden's pick for U.N. ambassador lays out priorities, need to curb China's "authoritarian agenda"
United Nations — Linda Thomas-Greenfield, President Joe Biden's pick to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday "that effective diplomacy means more than shaking hands and staging photo ops." Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, speaks in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 24, 2020. "We know China is working across the U.N. system to drive an authoritarian agenda that stands in opposition to the founding values of the institution — American values. The agenda, and challengesIf confirmed, Thomas-Greenfield's agenda at U.N. Headquarters will be a full one.cbsnews.com
Biden's pick for UN post calls China 'a strategic adversary'
United States Ambassador to the United Nations nominee Linda Thomas-Greenfield testifies during for her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Washington. Johnson asked her why she had said the United States is not in a new Cold War with China. “This speech is cheerleading for the Chinese Communist Party” and makes no mention of China’s human rights violations, he said. Johnson asked her what the stronger language and tougher tactics would be toward China. “And yet, I had an extraordinary 35-year career, that culminated as the assistant secretary of state of African affairs,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
Biden fills out State Department team with Obama veterans
Biden will nominate Wendy Sherman as deputy secretary of state and Victoria Nuland as undersecretary of state for political affairs — the second- and third-highest ranking posts, respectively. They were among the 11 officials announced to serve under the incoming secretary of state, Antony Blinken. America is back.”Among the others are:—longtime Biden Senate aide Brian McKeon, to be deputy secretary of state for management. —Derek Chollet, a familiar Democratic foreign policy hand, to be State Department counselor. Price and Porter intend to return to the practice of holding daily State Department press briefings, officials said.
Biden's foreign policy team lays out a national security vision that differs sharply from Trump's
These were just two of the policy shifts that members of President-elect Joe Biden's national security team pledged to enact Tuesday at an event introducing Biden's choices for top Cabinet posts. The event offered millions of Americans their first opportunity to hear directly from Biden's nominees, who have decades of experience in foreign policy but are not necessarily household names. Taken together, their remarks previewed an approach to foreign policy that seems diametrically opposed to the one that President Donald Trump has pursued for the past four years. While few Republicans doubted the raw qualifications of Biden's nominees, there was already grumbling on Tuesday from GOP senators about the new approach. Sullivan: Mr. President-elect, "You have also tasked us with putting people at the center of our foreign policy.cnbc.com
'America is back': Biden pushes past Trump era with nominees
President-elect Joe Biden introduces nominees and appointees to key national security and foreign policy posts at The Queen theater, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. “Together, these public servants will restore America globally, its global leadership and its moral leadership,” Biden said from a theater in his longtime home of Wilmington, Delaware. Still, Biden's nominees were a clear departure from Trump, whose Cabinet has largely consisted of men, almost all of them white. Muir said the first meeting with Biden's team was held virtually on Tuesday morning and that he expected daily meetings to come — some virtually and some in person. He said normal accommodations for the Biden team have been made, including provision of briefing materials, video-teleconferencing capabilities, and office space inside the Pentagon.
Biden's choice for UN envoy signals return to US engagement
Thomas-Greenfield joined the State Department more than three decades ago, when Black women were even more of a rarity in the U.S. diplomatic corps than they are today. That makes her the most experienced diplomat of the six people named by Biden for top national security positions on Monday. Her tenure at the State Department rivals that of previous U.N. ambassadors like Richard Holbrooke, John Negroponte and Thomas Pickering, all of them white men. Other than secretary of state, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is often the most high-profile foreign policy portfolio in a presidential administration. Thomas-Greenfield's immediate predecessors — all women — highlight that dichotomy: Rice, Samantha Power, Nikki Haley and Kelly Craft.
Joe Biden names picks for secretary of State, Homeland Security chief, director of national intelligence
(L-R) U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Secretary of State John Kerry listen as President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki address reporters in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, November 1, 2013. Jonathan Ernst | ReutersWASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden announced his intended nominees for top national security positions Monday, assembling a team of experienced institutionalists to fill his incoming Cabinet. Sullivan is a former top aide to Hillary Clinton who also served as a national security advisor to Biden during the Obama administration. Biden's pick for director of national intelligence, Haines, is a former deputy director of the CIA and deputy national security advisor in the Obama administration. Little is known yet about precisely what Kerry's role will be in a Biden administration, given that his position is newly created and elevated.cnbc.com
Biden looks to rehire diplomats and others fired by Trump to rebuild the State Department
Now Thomas-Greenfield is back, leading President-elect Joe Biden’s State Department transition team to restore the department’s devastated morale. The number of young potential diplomats taking the entrance exam for the foreign service plummeted from 20,000 in the early Obama years to fewer than 5,000 now. The policies that a revived State Department will tackle include reentering multilateral global efforts that Trump eschewed, such as the Paris climate accord and Iran nuclear deal. Many former State Department workers are expected to eagerly return to their jobs, particularly under an administration that values their work. Countryman received his pink slip while he was traveling in Jordan on State Department business.latimes.com