Burkina Faso’s National Day

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I congratulate the Government and people of Burkina Faso as you celebrate your national day on December 11.

The United States supports Burkina Faso’s efforts to build stronger democratic institutions, promote economic reform, confront terrorist threats, and improve health to ensure prosperity for all Burkinabe. We applaud your cooperation with international and multilateral partners in regional peacekeeping efforts, including your role in the G5 Sahel.

Best wishes on your 58th anniversary. The United States looks forward to strengthening our partnership with Burkina Faso.

Secretary Pompeo’s Call With Georgia President-Elect Salome Zourabichvili

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

The below is attributable to Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino:‎

Secretary Michael R. Pompeo called Georgian President-elect Salome Zourabichvili yesterday to congratulate her on her November 28, 2018 election victory. They discussed U.S.-Georgian cooperation on common global security priorities, the United States’ unwavering support for Georgia’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity, and the importance of electoral and judicial reforms for Georgia’s democratic development and Western integration.

Religious Freedom Designations

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

On November 28, 2018, I designated Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, as Countries of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for having engaged in or tolerated ”systematic, ongoing, [and] egregious violations of religious freedom.” I also placed Comoros, Russia, and Uzbekistan on a Special Watch List for governments that have engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom.” Finally, I designated al-Nusra Front, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qa’ida, al-Shabab, Boko Haram, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Khorasan, and the Taliban as Entities of Particular Concern.

In far too many places across the globe, individuals continue to face harassment, arrests, or even death for simply living their lives in accordance with their beliefs. The United States will not stand by as spectators in the face of such oppression. Protecting and promoting international religious freedom is a top foreign policy priority of the Trump Administration. In July, I hosted the first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, which brought together some 85 likeminded governments and more than 400 civil society organizations to harness global attention and motivate forceful action to advance respect for the human right of religious freedom.

Safeguarding religious freedom is vital to ensuring peace, stability, and prosperity. These designations are aimed at improving the lives of individuals and the broader success of their societies. I recognize that several designated countries are working to improve their respect for religious freedom; I welcome such initiatives and look forward to continuing the dialogue.

The United States remains committed to working with governments, civil society organizations, and religious leaders to advance religious freedom around the world.

Speeches: Remarks To The First Plenary Of The 2018 OSCE Ministerial Council

Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, 2018 Meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council, Milan, Italy

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

Thank you, Minister Moavero, for hosting us this week.

Secretary Pompeo regrets that he could not be here today. He returned to Washington to pay his respects to President George H.W. Bush. During his presidency, President Bush strongly supported the OSCE. In 1990, he joined in signing the Charter of Paris for a New Europe and the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.

President Bush’s words at the 1992 Helsinki Summit are worth recalling today. He said, “Our world has changed beyond recognition, but our principles have not changed …. With our principles as a compass, we must work … to channel change toward the peaceful order that this century has thus far failed to deliver.”

Twenty-six years later, the OSCE remains a crucial element of European security. The United States helped build this architecture, we are the largest financial contributor to the OSCE, and we are committed to strengthening it.

The Helsinki Final Act speaks of sovereign equality, the inviolability of national borders, the territorial integrity of states, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. These are non-negotiable pillars of the Act. The disregard that Russia has shown for these principles – through both repression at home and aggression abroad – should concern us all. The United States stands with courageous civil society members in Russia, who face intimidation and violence.

Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine demonstrates the need for us to redouble our OSCE efforts. As we have said on many prior occasions, the United States denounces Russia’s lawless actions in Ukraine. They are flagrant acts of belligerence.

We witnessed an escalation on November 25th, when Russian vessels rammed and fired on Ukrainian ships. This was the continuation of a pattern. Russia’s repeated aggression contravenes all ten foundational principles of the Helsinki Final Act – a document to which Russia itself is committed.

The consequences are not hard to see. Russia’s destabilizing actions have prompted NATO Allies to enhance their deterrence and defense posture.

In the past four years, Russia has precipitated Europe’s largest humanitarian crisis in a generation – one that has cost more than 10,000 casualties in eastern Ukraine, and displaced more than 1.5 million people from their homes. Ukrainians have been imprisoned, tortured, and killed. Crimean Tatars and others who resist Russian rule are arbitrarily prosecuted. The OSCE should not mince words when assigning responsibility for these acts.

As Secretary Pompeo made clear last summer in the Crimea Declaration, the United States will continue to impose consequences on Russia until Moscow fully implements the Minsk agreements and returns control of Crimea to Ukraine.

We call on Russia to end its aggression in Ukraine, to release the detained sailors and their vessels, to return control of Crimea to Ukraine, and to stop harassment of unarmed, OSCE civilian monitors.

Nearly 70 of those monitors, I should add, are American citizens. The United States is the single largest contributor to the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, which acts as our eyes and ears in the conflict zone.

It’s not only recent events in Ukraine that show Russia’s disregard for OSCE commitments. There are also Georgia and Moldova.

Russia’s continued occupation of Georgian territory and failure to fulfill commitments to withdraw forces from both places have prolonged these conflicts and deepened regional divisions.

Meanwhile, in the South Caucasus, we should continue to work toward a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The failure to uphold basic principles and commitments has damaged trust among OSCE states. Russia must honor its existing commitments.

Today we had hoped to welcome agreement on some initial steps to update the OSCE Vienna Document to help mitigate concerns regarding large-scale military exercises occurring ever more frequently on the continent. A large majority of the states around this table supported that effort, but Russia made it clear it did not see a need for military transparency. I call on Russia and all participating States to work together to change that dynamic. We should intensify our efforts next year with the goal of issuing an updated Vienna Document at the end of 2019.

OSCE states cannot turn a blind eye when Russia attacks the national sovereignty and borders of its neighbors, shoots down SMM drones, undermines basic human freedoms, and weakens our common security.

The United States, for our part, will continue to support the OSCE and its comprehensive approach to security.

Thank you.

British Embassy Outreach Events In Bulgaria

The British Embassy in Sofia regularly holds events across Bulgaria to update UK nationals on the UK’s departure from the European Union

British Embassy outreach events in Bulgaria

British Embassy outreach events in Bulgaria

The British Embassy in Sofia has been holding meetings across Bulgaria to update UK nationals working and living in the country and answering their questions regarding UK’s departure from the European Union.

If you are unclear about current residency requirements in Bulgaria, or how the UK’s exit from the EU might affect you, come along to one of our upcoming events to ask the questions that most concern you.

  • the meetings are free and open to all interested UK nationals
  • please note that you must register in advance in order to attend this event and bring your ticket and a photo ID with you. You can find more information about the event on your ticket after registering
  • if you know any UK nationals who might be interested in attending, please share this page with them
  • the meetings will start with a short introduction to update you on the progress made so far in the negotiations and will be followed by a Q&A session

In our team’s continuous effort to reach as many UK expats in Bulgaria as possible, we will be announcing further outreach meetings on this page.

No events currently scheduled

Our first stops in 2019 will be Borovets/Samokov, Bansko, Vratsa, Vidin and Haskovo. We will announce more information about those meetings soon.

Past events
  • Sofia – 10 December 2018
  • Yambol – 5 December 2018
  • Burgas – 4 December 2018
  • Varna – 29 November 2018
  • Veliko Tarnovo – 15 November 2018
  • Sofia – 12 July 2018
  • Varna – 22 May 2018
  • Ruse – 23 April 2018
  • Bansko – 14 March 2018
  • Veliko Tarnovo – 21 February 2018
  • Burgas – 9 February 2018

If you have attended one of the abovementioned events but have not already done so, we would appreciate your feedback here.

More information for UK nationals living in Bulgaria is available on our Living in Bulgaria Guide. This includes practical information like access to healthcare, getting a document legalised, lists of lawyers and how to vote abroad.

You can receive email alerts whenever the guide is updated by signing up here.

Keeping informed checklist

✔ sign up to the Living in Bulgaria Guide email alerts

✔ follow us on Facebook and Twitter

✔ sign up to email alerts on Brexit

For questions concerning your rights as a UK national in Bulgaria, you can contact us here.

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