Corrected: Ex-diplomats warn Pompeo against eliminating U.S. refugee bureau

By Lesley Wroughton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Thirty-two prominent former U.S. diplomats and 11 aid groups on Monday urged U.S.

Reuters July 24, 2018 02:06:17 IST
Corrected: Ex-diplomats warn Pompeo against eliminating U.S. refugee bureau

Corrected Exdiplomats warn Pompeo against eliminating US refugee bureau

By Lesley Wroughton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Thirty-two prominent former U.S. diplomats and 11 aid groups on Monday urged U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to eliminate a key State Department refugee bureau, warning that the move would be "an error of grave proportion."

In a letter to Pompeo, the former diplomats and national security advisers who served both Democratic and Republican administrations, said eliminating the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) office would impact the U.S. ability to influence global refugee policy.

The letter comes barely a year after 58 U.S. policy experts warned Rex Tillerson, former secretary of state, against such a move.

The Trump administration has defended its hardline immigration policy, including a travel ban against some countries and the detention of immigrants entering the United States illegally.

"We are convinced that the elimination of PRM's assistance functions would have profound and negative implications for the Secretary of State's capacity to influence policy issues of key concern to the United States," the former diplomats wrote. "It would also be ironic, as this is one of the bureaus at State that has enjoyed strong bipartisan support over many years."

The State Department did not immediately respond to questions about the possible elimination of the refugee office.

Those signing the letter included William Burns, former undersecretary of state for political affairs; Rand Beers, former deputy assistant to the president for homeland security; Nicholas Burns, former undersecretary of state for political affairs; Ryan Crocker, former ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Kuwait and Lebanon; Ellen Laipson, former vice chair of the U.S. National Intelligence Council; Anne Richard, former assistant secretary of state for PRM; and Frederick Barton, a former U.N. deputy high commissioner for refugees.

Among the aid groups that signed the letter was Scott Arbeiter, president of World Relief; David Miliband, president and CEO of International Rescue Committee; Eric Schwartz, president of Refugee International; Wendy Young, president of Kids in Need of Defense; and Neil Keny-Guyer, CEO of Mercy Corps.

A former U.S. administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the possibility of the bureau being cut was "profoundly disheartening."

"This administration has unfortunately diminished significantly its support in many respects for the operations benefiting refugees, but this measure would compound those problems," the official said.

The United Nations reported last month that the global number of refugees grew by a record 2.9 million in 2017 to 25.4 million, with another 43.1 million people forcibly displaced.

(This version of the story corrects quote in 9th paragraph to "profoundly disheartening" instead of "proudly disheartening" as sent in error)

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Tom Brown)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.