Europe And Eurasia: Lithuania National Day

Mike Pompeo

Mike Pompeo

On behalf of the people of the United States and our government, I wish to congratulate all Lithuanians on the 101st anniversary of restoration of your independence. Sveikiname!

Together, over the course of the past year, we have celebrated your centennial anniversary and all that you have achieved since your declaration of independence in 1918. We were proud to host President Grybauskaite at the White House in April 2018, along with the presidents of Estonia and Latvia, for the U.S.-Baltic Centennial Summit and the U.S. Baltic Business Forum. In honor of the Baltic centennial anniversaries, we also hosted over 100 youth from across the region to the United States on U.S. government exchange programs.

Throughout 2018, we amplified our close partnership as Allies, including through major NATO exercises like Saber Strike and BALTOPS in June 2018. We commend and thank Lithuania for its significant contributions to security and stability in the region and beyond, including in Afghanistan and Iraq, and note that Lithuania is already dedicating two percent of its GDP on defense spending. In 2019, Lithuania will celebrate the 15th anniversary of its accession to NATO and we are grateful to have such a steadfast Ally.

In 2019, we commemorate 30 years since the 1989 revolutions including the fall of the Berlin Wall and democratic milestones like the Baltic Way, which ushered in an era of unprecedented freedom and prosperity for the region and for our transatlantic community. The United States is proud to partner with Lithuania in that community. May the next 101 years continue to deepen the strong ties between the United States and Lithuania.

Foreign Secretary Statement On The Republic Of North Macedonia

A statement from the Foreign Secretary on the Prespa Agreement between Greece and Macedonia entering into force

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Following ratification of the Prespa Agreement, the Secretary General of the United Nations has been informed by the governments of Greece and Macedonia that the Prespa Agreement is now effective.

The UK Government has received a request from the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia to adopt and use the name and terminologies referred to in Article 1 (3) of the Prespa Agreement.

The UK Government will henceforth refer to Macedonia as the Republic of North Macedonia.

Following the conclusion of this historic agreement, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

Both sides have now taken the necessary steps to make the Prespa Agreement effective. Her Majesty’s Government congratulates the Governments of the Hellenic Republic and Republic of North Macedonia on their courage and determination in ending this long-standing bilateral dispute.

This is an historic moment for both countries. We look forward to working with North Macedonia and Greece both bilaterally and through the North Atlantic Alliance in the interests of European security.

The Minister For Europe Meets Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister

Sir Alan Duncan meets Vladimir Titov at Munich Security Conference

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

The Minister for Europe, Sir Alan Duncan, today (16 February) held a meeting with his Russian counterpart First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov, at the Munich Security Conference on 15-16 February.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said:

The Minister for Europe met First Deputy Foreign Minister Titov today in the margins of the Munich Security Conference.

Sir Alan underlined that we have deep differences, and the Russian state would need to choose a different path and act as a responsible international partner before there can be a change in our current relationship with Russia.

The Foreign Office Minister reiterated the UK’s and Allies’ firm stance in response to the Russian state’s reckless use of chemical weapons in Salisbury.

He noted that functional channels of engagement are important to raise concerns and discuss international issues. But he made clear that Russia must address the concerns of the international community. This includes ending its destabilising activity in Ukraine; and the persecution of the LGBT community in Chechnya.

Sir Alan reiterated to First Deputy Foreign Minister Titov that the UK Government has no quarrel with the Russian people. The UK will continue to build and strengthen our cultural ties and people to people links with Russia wherever we can.

Justice Secretary Unveils GPS Tag Rollout To Better Protect Victims

David Gauke announces national roll out of new GPS tags which will provide 24/7 location monitoring of offenders

Ministry of Justice

Ministry of Justice

  • satellite tracking to be rolled out nationwide by summer
  • GPS tags to better protect victims of domestic abuse and stalking offences
  • new tagging can toughen community sentences
  • evaluation of pilot also published shows positive findings

Justice Secretary David Gauke today announced the national roll out of new GPS tags which will provide 24/7 location monitoring of offenders. This will help strengthen supervision, enforce exclusion zones and give victims greater peace of mind.

If a tagged domestic abuser or stalker enters a banned area or a gang member is found somewhere they should not be, this new capability will issue an automatic alert and their whereabouts will be known. Victims can now feel safer in the knowledge that any breach of an exclusion zone will result in an immediate alert. The tags also provide a tougher option for community sentences which can be used alongside requirements like alcohol or drug treatment programmes.

Justice Secretary David Gauke said:

GPS tagging will help to better protect victims and give them the reassurance that perpetrators will not be able to breach an exclusion zone without triggering an immediate alert.

I am confident that this important new technology will become a vital tool to increase public protection and strengthen options for tougher community sentences.

The GPS tags have so far been rolled out to 3 regions, the North West, Midlands and North East, with other regions due to go live in the coming months. The tags will be available across England and Wales by the summer.

The new technology is also set to be piloted in London (by the London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime) to monitor offenders released from prison who have been convicted of knife crime offences. Offenders will have their movements checked against locations of reported crimes, in an effort to tackle violence in the capital.

DCC Jon Stratford, Gloucestershire Police, NPCC Electronic Monitoring lead:

The potential benefits of using this new technology to better protect victims are recognised by the police service and we’re working closely with the Ministry of Justice to identify a suitable joint implementation programme.

A wide range of offenders will be eligible for the new tags, including those subject to court-imposed bail, community orders and suspended sentence orders, as well as those on Home Detention Curfew and indeterminate sentenced prisoners released by the Parole Board.

Location monitoring can be used to:

  • enforce an exclusion zone – an offender or individual on bail can’t enter a specific location or area
  • keep a given distance from a point or address, including victim’s address or that of a known criminal associate
  • monitor an offender’s attendance at a certain activity – for example work or a rehabilitation programme
  • monitor an offender’s movements to support discussions with probation about an offender’s lifestyle and behaviours

The tags will transmit an offender’s location 24/7 to a specialist monitoring unit in Manchester and if an offender enters an excluded zone and breaches their conditions, they face being recalled to prison or returned to court.

Also published today are the findings of an extensive evaluation following a pilot involving 8 police forces, testing the delivery and usage of the GPS tags. The evaluation found that tags could have a positive impact on compliance, with the tags acting as a constant physical reminder of an offender’s licence conditions. One offender who participated in the pilot of the project said:

I’ve walked in an exclusion zone before, not realising… that was before I had the tag on, so I wasn’t really bothered about getting seen. Now, with the tag, I knew full well that if I go in to that exclusion zone, I’m going to get seen no matter what.

The pilot also found that the impact of enforcing GPS tagging on police was low and that it can potentially save police investigation time by providing vital evidence ruling suspects in and out of crimes.

The new location monitoring capabilities will be in addition to the existing curfew tagging provision already in place, which monitors offenders on licence, community sentences and those on court bail. Around 60,000 individuals are subject to these tags each year.

These measures build on a package of reforms aimed at reducing reoffending and better protecting victims, with GPS tags strengthening the supervision of offenders, so the courts will have confidence that monitoring will be strict and community sentences will be robust and effective.

The United States Delivers Additional Humanitarian Assistance In Cucuta, Colombia For The People Of Venezuela

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

The United States is responding to Interim President Juan Guaido’s request to help meet the urgent needs of the people of Venezuela. On February 16, the Department of State, USAID, and the Department of Defense, in a cooperative effort, will deliver aid ready for distribution within Venezuela to Cucuta, Colombia.

This whole-of-government response is a demonstration of the U.S. commitment to the Venezuelan people.

Department of State and USAID officials will join the flight of humanitarian assistance leaving Miami on February 16. In Cucuta, USAID, U.S. Department of State, Colombian officials, and representatives of Venezuelan Interim President Guaido will welcome the supplies to augment aid already pre-positioned at Interim President Guaido’s first international humanitarian assistance center. Working in close coordination with the Government of Colombia and President Guaido’s representatives, this assistance will address the greatest needs for the most vulnerable populations in Venezuela.

This humanitarian mission underscores the United States’ firm commitment and readiness to respond to the man-made political, economic, and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. This humanitarian assistance must be allowed to enter Venezuela to reach people in need.

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Julie Chung will represent the U.S. Department of State.

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