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Transcript: Maintaining US Leadership Amid Shifting Geopolitics: A Conversation with Ambassador Kelly Craft

Heather Nauert

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Following is the full transcript of the May 21st, 2020 Hudson online livestream event titled Maintaining US Leadership Amid Shifting Geopolitics: A Conversation with Ambassador Kelly Craft

Heather Nauert: Good afternoon. I’m Heather Nauert, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. Today I’m honored to be joined by our US ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft. She has a lot on her plate these days, of course, dealing with all the global issues that the US faces at the United Nations, but also doing this job amid a pandemic, which has created an even bigger challenge. Today we’ll talk about some of the challenges the United States faces along with priorities for the United States and the Western world.

We’ll start with our relationship with China and how the United States can negotiate with a country that refuses to be transparent. Transparency would only undermine the Chinese government and so how on earth do we deal with a country like that when we have so many important issues that we have to address. We’ll also talk about the role of the World Health Organization in the pandemic, as well as the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations, refugee camps, and in developing countries. Of course, this all occurs while we continue to have crises in places including Venezuela and also Syria, so we’ll also talk to the ambassador about that.

One of the things that’s made the job even more difficult today is that she can’t conduct diplomacy face to face like a UN ambassador is accustomed to doing. She has to do that virtually nowadays, which is how we join her today. Ambassador Kelly Craft, welcome.

Amb. Kelly Craft: Thank you Heather. Thank you for having mem and what a nice change of pace from being on teleconferences with the Security Council. It’s nice to see a great friend and to be able to have this conversation to really shine the light on what’s happening in the Security Council amid this pandemic and amid our sheltering in place.

Heather Nauert: Certainly. Let’s start out talking about the WHO’s annual assembly that was held this week. A resolution was passed approving an investigation into how the WHO handled the coronavirus outbreak. It calls for an impartial, independent, comprehensive evaluation of WHO’s response yet the resolution says it does not begin until the pandemic is actually over. The question is, do you trust this process, this investigation, the process into the investigation?

Amb. Kelly Craft: You know, Heather, the most important thing that I think that President Trump has highlighted is letting the world know that the WHO ignored credible reporting on the virus and on the virus’ spread in Wuhan. Matter of fact, they said that there was not a case of human-to-human transmission and not only did they make this statement, they continued to spread Chinese disinformation and this has cost lives. It is continuing to cost lives and billions of dollars, trillions of dollars in trying to mitigate this process and this has really demonstrated to us, the US that the WHO and other member states really have not been up to the task to be able to mitigate, to prevent, to use their transparency and they have a choice.

They have a choice. They can become more transparent. They can change their ways if they would like to have the funding, the rest of the funding from the United States. My goal is to be able to restore WHO’s independence. I mean, we want them to succeed because there are areas of the world where they are allowed in. They are mitigating the process… the countries and it’s only to our benefit that they listen to President Trump. That they follow through because they need to be fully transparent and fully accountable.

Heather Nauert: Yeah. Well, I think that brings us back to 2005 and the SARS pandemic and following that, that is a time that the WHO in China both committed to be transparent to provide information almost immediately after a pandemic or a virus begins and so China and the WHO failed to notify quickly and sufficiently this time around, so how can we trust that the WHO will reform itself and that China will reform itself?

Amb. Kelly Craft: That’s a good question and that’s why we are going to have a checklist. We’re going to have a method to be able to hold them accountable and I don’t think anyone has ever brought this to light. This is what our administration has done so well, is to show the world that WHO was misleading. It has cost lives and until they show us differently, we will not be providing our funding. I want them to have transparency. I want them to have accountability because they are needed in places.

It’s been a real issue with China as far as trying to cover up situations with the WHO with the virus originating in Wuhan. We are currently working on a global ceasefire within the Security Council and China has been a real issue, and some other like-minded countries with China, in not allowing us to talk about the importance of a global ceasefire. Instead, they want to talk about the importance of the WHO. This is an ongoing process. Set aside the WHO and what we have now asked them to do, but we have China dealing with them in the Security Council.

Heather Nauert: I mean, no doubt the WHO plays an important role, but WHO has to work properly, not just for the American people but for people around the world and we’ve seen such a failure on their part this time around. I’m wondering as we look at this investigation, is there any push to go deeper because we know that China in the past has bribed senior officials in governments around the world in order to carry China’s water. Do you see any kind of investigation that goes deeper to find out if China did that here?

Amb. Kelly Craft: Our president outlined areas where the WHO failed to uphold its responsibilities and whether that’s being bribed or other methods that led to them not holding up their responsibilities. That is something that we have asked them to change. They have a checklist and we will be watching them very closely. They’ve got 30 days. They’re going to have to show us in 30 days that they are independent from China because we haven’t seen anything otherwise and obviously we want them to be successful, but not at the expense of the lives of other people.

Heather Nauert: Yeah and reading the news this past week about China destroying samples of the live virus, which could be so important to the world to have access to that was really simply just astounding. I’d like to talk a little bit about some of those who got it right. Taiwan is an example of an area that really got this right. They were transparent, they communicated to the United States and others their concerns about human-to-human transmission very early on, and there’s a push for them to be admitted to the WHO. Do you see something like that happening?

Amb. Kelly Craft: Obviously we are very supportive. For the first time we’ve actually come out with a statement and being supportive of Taiwan. They were very early on, very open with their dialogue, very eager to share the best practices and it’s very unfortunate that they have been ignored and that they have been treated in a way with China trying to really suppress them. Another example of what they’ve done within their own country, within Wuhan, within the labs. I think it’s really important that we are really stressing for Taiwan to be engaged and included and their voice to be heard regardless whether they are in the World Health Organization.

We are going to hold China accountable to make certain that they understand that Taiwan deserves to be in the World Health Assembly. They deserve to be heard and we will continue to support Taiwan and what they have done in order to help mitigate this virus.

Heather Nauert: Taiwan has more international backers now. Many traditional American allies have started to increasingly support Taiwan’s independence. China sees us as a very real threat. Beijing just said yesterday, they’ll never leave room for Taiwan independence. I wonder where we see this relationship between Taiwan and China headed.

Amb. Kelly Craft: I think what’s more important is that we see our relationship with Taiwan and we really promote Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen, she was just re-elected, which is such a bonus for the world because we have an administration there with her presidency that is going to really stress peace and democracy, and the dialogue that we have seen that’s helped us to try to mitigate this virus. We will be very supportive regardless of where China is and China knows where we stand.

It is the first time that we’ve ever really come out and promoted Taiwan and within the United Nations it is one of my [priorities], something that I’m going to make certain that everyone knows where the US stands with Taiwan.

Heather Nauert: Okay. We’ll continue to keep an eye on that. I want to talk with you a little bit more about China’s role at the United Nations. In some of my conversations with ambassadors from other countries, they talked about how China really tries to ingratiate itself with them. China providing staff assistance, China providing money. Some of those foreign missions can beef up their staffing in New York and while to a lot of folks that may not sound like a very big deal, it really ingratiates those foreign governments with China. What kind of conversations do you have with foreign ambassadors about how they see the role of China going forward and China’s attempts to even do more and influence other countries?

Amb. Kelly Craft: The way that I like to have dialogue when it comes to countries such as the African countries within the Security Council, is really to promote what we are doing, what the Trump administration is doing. Obviously American taxpayers are the most generous people in the world and we go in with low visibility, but we leave with sustainability, with high sustainability for the people. Instead, China goes in with high visibility and they leave areas with really low productivity because they’re in there for such a short time. It’s a big bang and then they leave.

We leave people having better practices. We leave people more independent and so I try to stress what our administration is doing and yes, it is a battle because China is obviously donating more and more to the UN. The US is by far the largest contributor to the United Nations. However, they’re very clever about the areas which they do contribute so that they are able to put their own people in and it’s not for reasons to highlight the United Nations. It is just to be able to get themselves in, in order to find more information on countries, in order to be able to enter into areas that are in need.

I have to deal with every day in the Security Council with the Chinese ambassador, and you remember that there were other issues that we try to find we can agree upon whether that’s fighting opioids and other areas, but they know very clearly where we stand. At the same time, I do try to approach countries from the standpoint of what we’re doing for them, and we have to just make certain that every day that I keep an eye on the fact that China is making a real move into the United Nations system.

They’re undermining multilateral institutions to advance their own interest and we have to remember this daily with what their motivations are.

Heather Nauert: I mean, look at President Xi and his announcement that China would provide $2 billion to the WHO this week. What do you think the goal is with that? Because they’re getting an awful lot of good press and a lot of media organizations are failing to see, I think really what China intends to do with that money.

Amb. Kelly Craft: Well, first of all, that pledge is short of what the United States has committed. I mean, we have a commitment of 9 billion over the next year. China, obviously their motivation is different than ours. Their motivation is to get into the system. Their motivation is to be able to mitigate what information does come out of the WHO. They’re undermining the independence of the WHO which is one of the reasons that the Trump administration is now requiring this checklist because we want the WHO to be fully independent and this is just another example of China, whether it’s WHO or the African continent or the Latin America countries.

That’s another example of where they go in and their money is not used to help the people they choose to serve. It’s self-interest.

Heather Nauert: You mentioned the phrase is waking up and we see that, as you mentioned, across African nations and other nations as well that have gotten deeply engaged in that debt trap diplomacy where China comes in with cheap money and big promises to build infrastructure and then it ends up being shoddy infrastructure and then the countries learn about what really is in that contract that they signed with China and they become increasingly concerned.

I’m glad that that’s something that you’re focused on and working on communicating that to many nations around the world. I know one area that you’re particularly passionate about is Syria and the refugee problem that persists there. I think it was your last trip that you went on, your last international trip before COVID took hold, but you went to the Syrian Turkish border. I woke up one morning and saw video of you there and I thought, holy smokes. What a great representative of the United States to have gone to Syria at that time.

Could you talk to me a little bit about the Security Council meeting that was held this week where you addressed the spread of COVID and what has come out of that?

Amb. Kelly Craft: Absolutely. I was so happy that I was able to take this trip because once I returned is when we were no longer traveling, but we were able to travel to one of the border crossings, Bab al-Hawa, and be able to firsthand see the NGOs that are registered, that are able to go into Syria and to meet Syrians who are actually the volunteers who drive the humanitarian aid across the border. Most impressive was the way that Erdoğan is treating the Syrian refugees on the Turkish side.

I mean, he is giving them a path to citizenship. He’s giving them human dignity. Their children are in school, they are working as a community and what was really to me something I’ll never forget is they all still want to go home. They want to go back to Syria. They want to be able to take their families and we as a country… our American taxpayers are the most generous in the world as I’ve said, been to every country but to Syria, they all could not thank the Trump administration enough and they were so grateful at the same time pleading, pleading with us to make certain that we call out the bad actors that we call out Iran for propping up Hezbollah, that we call out the different entities, Russia, countries that are promoting and propping up the Assad regime.

I think it’s really important with COVID-19 that this global ceasefire, obviously one of the reasons is to be able to go to the Idlib area, to the Northeast, which is going to lead me into talking about our stress for a third border crossing in order to have the humanitarian aid going to the Northeast, which our preference would be Ya’robia. However, obviously we had China and Russia working against us.

Heather Nauert: If I may pause you there for a second, because I think that’s worth delving into. There were more border crossings going into Syria, some from Iraq in which humanitarian supplies were able to make their way in. That was then reduced to two, and so you’re heavily focused on trying to get that to open up again but one thing I’m familiar with and I’m curious about is the Assad regime required some of those humanitarian organizations delivering the aid to be approved of by the Assad regime, the very machine that’s killing its own people. Explain that to me, the rationale in allowing that to take place?

Amb. Kelly Craft: Well, we have to prevent the regime from intercepting the humanitarian aid and this is why that you have to have NGOs that are properly registered, NGOs that the US works very closely with. The Assad regime, once the humanitarian aid was reaching their regime, it wasn’t reaching the people that it was supposed to be helping and we are very, very hopeful that we have started early enough. The mandate will come back in July. Now we are now starting about talking about and possibly having a separate meeting resolution just on this particular third cross-border, which is Ya’robia.

It is vitally important if we are going to have humanitarian aid cross over to reach the refugees in the Northeast and Russia and China are continuously holding the council hostage on this and it’s strictly because of their geopolitical interest… obviously you have to keep the refugees in the back of your mind every single day when you’re fighting for this because there are days that you just think, I just don’t know this is going to happen. That you have to think about my trip there. The people pleading for us to help them. We are their best hope and it’s more important that we really shine this light on China and Russia.

If they care about people, if they care about humanitarianism, then they will allow us to have this border, this third border crossing. I mean, even the WHO just recently has reported that there needs to be a third border crossing. If China is so positive about the WHO then this is an area that they should definitely be looking at for comments from.

Heather Nauert: If they only could. If they want to be secure in global health they should not veto any kind of resolution that would call for the opening of another border into Syria. You’re absolutely right about that. There was recently, and it didn’t get a lot of attention at the time because of COVID, but the OPCW report that came out on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, this OPCW report released in early to mid-April found that the Assad regime backed by intelligence from Russia used chemical weapons on his own people in March of 2017 on several occasions.

When we look at the situation in Syria so many years later, so many examples of tragedies taking place and the killing of so many innocents… where are we going wrong by the fact that we’re still engaged in this and Assad still sits in his position?

Amb. Kelly Craft: I think we have to keep in mind that obviously we have called them out. The OPCW just gave their report just recently. We know we have to, as a Security Council, hold the Assad regime accountable. We also have to stop the disinformation campaign coming from Russia and China. I mean, and this is another area that is very contentious within the council and more importantly that you engage the countries that once again as we just talked about, that China has been helping with financial short-term situations, but we’d be able to engage them, that they understand the findings and the fact that we are holding the Assad regime accountable.

If we don’t stop this disinformation campaign, it’s going to be very difficult to continue to hold them accountable because this is against the Syrian people and we have to really highlight the use of the chemical weapons from the Assad regime.

Heather Nauert: The US continues to support the UN Resolution 2254 which calls for elections and calls for a new constitution. What can we do to re-energize that process? It is been in fits and starts for several years now.

Amb. Kelly Craft: I think we really have to support our special envoy there, all the like-minded countries in the council. Once again we need to stop the disinformation campaign from China and Russia because in the council, when this is discussed, when anything is discussed with Syria it just doesn’t seem that…we can’t make a move without China or Russia trying to mitigate the votes of the other countries. I really stress to people we need to go to the countries that we know are being heavily influenced by Russia and China. We need to spend time with them. We need to talk to them. We need to tell them what the US is doing and what we’re doing for their countries.

Heather Nauert: Can you give us a few examples of some of those countries that are buying into that disinformation campaign and some of the things that Russia and China are saying about the battle in Syria?

Amb. Kelly Craft: Sure. I think they believe that Assad is fully equipped to handle this crisis on his own. Obviously they would like to see the NGOs delivering humanitarian aid to the Assad regime, to the areas that Assad has dedicated to be able to accept the humanitarian aid. Well, that can’t happen because you know then it’s not going to reach the people. Whether it’s the African countries within the council… we have South Africa, we have Niger, different countries that I feel [have] a responsibility to speak to and really stress what the US does for them and more importantly, that they can make a real difference. The elected 10, they can make a real difference in the council by standing up to Russia and China and allowing them a voice. Otherwise they don’t have a voice.

Heather Nauert: There are some Americans who feel like Syria is far away, that we’ve been able to contain Syria in a sense where it’s not effecting the scare, but there’s a very real concern about proliferation of weapons. Could you just sort of address that proliferation of weapons, chemical weapons in the region and how that could be distributed elsewhere? For example, we see Iran involved in places like Venezuela.

Amb. Kelly Craft: We have to just remember that Iran and Hezbollah are deeply involved in orchestrating and providing direct support for Assad’s horrific barbaric attacks against the Syrian people [with the] chemical weapons. If we do not shine a light on them in Syria, then they will be everywhere. You know Iran’s behavior in Venezuela. I mean, they’re bad actors. They’re bad actors all over the globe and we have a situation, as you well know, with Maduro, with Iran, with Cuba, China, Russia, everyone propping up the Maduro regime.

It is something that’s been really highlighted recently and we have to continue to support Guaidó in the national assembly and stress to him the importance of promoting a free and fair and transparent election process within Venezuela. I visited the border. I was in Columbia. I saw firsthand the plight of the Venezuelan people. Columbia, all the different countries, the border countries are already taking care of their own situation, their own poverty, especially now with COVID-19 and now they have an influx. I mean, Columbia has millions of the refugees, but they’ve opened up and that they’re taking care of.

It is a real burden on these border countries so it’s important that Venezuela does move forth with these free and fair elections so that their people can stay. Their hospitals, their healthcare systems, all of their systems are broken because of the Maduro regime so we have to really look at the countries that are propping them up, apply the sanctions, be very firm and just continue to be relentless with our shining a light on Maduro regime.

Heather Nauert: Yeah. Not too long ago, I had a conversation with our special representative to Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, and he talked a little bit about the democratic transition framework, which people hopefully will be able to go out and vote in free and fair elections, as you mentioned, may not end up in including Juan Guaidó leaving it up to the people rather to decide, but part of what makes the situation in Venezuela so difficult as you mentioned, are all the outside actors. Russia, Iran, Cuba protecting Maduro’s goons or protecting him. What is it going to take, do you think, to get some of those other countries out of the sphere of influence of Venezuela?

Amb. Kelly Craft: You know, I think we just have to maintain applying our sanctions and a maximum pressure campaign on whether it is Iran or Russia, China, Cuba. I mean we have to really constantly highlight just the atrocities that the Maduro regime to their people. I mean, I think the people need to understand that we care, that Americans are there, that we are helping the border countries. In Colombia, especially, seeing the millions of refugees and they know that the Americans are there.

President Duque of Columbia is doing an amazing job with helping with the refugees, with all of the areas where they come for medical care. I mean, they walk for days in order just to get healthcare, especially women who are near delivery. They have an incredible health care clinic for prenatal care and for maternal care. I think it’s important that we highlight this, but at the same time we have to [understand that] these countries can’t take everyone and this is why it’s so important that we continue to shine a light on the Maduro regime and obviously whomever is elected with a free fair and transparent election, we will support.

Heather Nauert: Well, and certainly one of the challenges now is with COVID and although Columbia has been so generous with accepting migrants from Venezuela and has provided the healthcare that you mentioned, they’re having difficulties themselves with COVID and so some of those migrants are returning to Venezuela as a result. Venezuela has imposed some curfews on some border towns from Columbia and then also Brazil. I’m wondering what we can do as the United States and as partners to try to prevent the spread of coronavirus through that very vulnerable population in Venezuela, and as we look at a really concerning situation in Brazil with coronavirus too. What can we do?

Amb. Kelly Craft: Well, I’ll tell you what we have done and what I think is [possible]. Once again Americans always step up, when there are needs with the COVID-19, whether it’s Peru, Brazil, Colombia, the countries, is we try to provide the necessary equipment that they need, whether it’s ventilators, whether it’s millions of dollars. I think we’ve got $12.3 million in assistance right now to the Venezuelan people but that we also give our assistance to the border countries.

It’s really difficult to not to allow the refugees to go across the borders because that’s sometimes their only escape or their only way to reach help. Whether it be, as we’ve just talked about, the healthcare, especially the pregnant women that are coming in to give birth. That’s the only place… and they give birth and then they go back home and we have to make certain that they understand they have a safe place. I have to tell you from being there, I couldn’t believe the number of young adults that are walking for weeks to cross the border into Columbia and that’s their only hope. I think it’s really important that people know that Americans are there, that we just have… have had requests from Peru for ventilators.

I mean we are helping in every way we can. President Trump is there, the leaders of the Latin America countries know that we are here to help them to receive any sort of protective gear and equipment to be able to help with the COVID-19.

Heather Nauert: We’ve talked about sanctions several times and I think it’s always worth mentioning that sanctions don’t cover, or rather medical equipment and medicine is exempt from sanctions. Sanction is obviously a big hallmark of this administration’s foreign policy but I think that is worth mentioning.

Amb. Kelly Craft: Yeah. Just think about Iran and the president in his State of the Union said we are here for you and we have made it very clear to the government in Iran that we are here to provide humanitarian aid in the form of medical supplies and different supplies but not money. The money is used then against the US, against our military, against our allies. We will never apply sanctions on humanitarian aid. We’ve made that very clear regardless of what the disinformation campaigns are out there and Iran knows.

I have made that very clear that we are here to help them to receive any medical supplies. For those people who think that we are applying sanctions on humanitarian aid, absolutely we are not and the president has made that very clear. The secretary has made that clear and we will continue to offer our help in the form of medical supplies to countries that have really rogue leadership.

Heather Nauert: Well, thank you for clarifying that. You mentioned Iran and that makes me think about the weapons embargo, the arms embargo on Iran that expires in the fall. Where do you see China and Russia coming down on that? President Rouhani has basically threatened countries that if they support an extension of that arms embargo, he will issue a “crushing response” is what he says.

Amb. Kelly Craft: Well, you know, just today Secretary Pompeo has imposed additional financial and visa restrictions on individuals and entities in Iran. I mean, we are going to continue to call them out. They are rogue, they are bad actors. We at the same time are starting now to discuss the arms embargo because it is vitally important that people understand that they have not followed this embargo and that they have… at every turn we have proved the fact that they are not following it.

Our priority is going to be working with other members of the Security Council to keep their arms embargo in place and Brian Hook will be working very closely with the USUN. He is our go-to person, our expert on this and we will be starting early in making certain that they understand that we are very serious about this arms embargo and we will not quit until they understand, even if we are having to look at all the different areas that we can apply restrictions.

Heather Nauert: Brian has pointed out that if the arms embargo extension fails, the United States will be prepared to put in setback sanctions. That makes me think about the fall as you look ahead, and so many nations around the world are going to be wondering what happens with the UN General Assembly amid coronavirus. Imagine you’re spending a lot of time having conversations about that. Can you give us a little… a preview of what that might look like, the General Assembly this year?

Amb. Kelly Craft: We would all hope that we could host the General Assembly in person, because that would mean obviously that the United States is becoming safer and safer with COVID-19 but my conversations with the secretary general since the US is the host country, there have been no formal decisions made. There are several options and obviously we have to be prepared for whether it’s an in person or whether it’s virtual, but we are working out the details now with the secretary general and the president of the General Assembly.

We would all love nothing more than to be able to have people come into New York City. However, keeping in that there’ll be thousands of people coming in and you don’t want the virus then having another start… starting back in the city and then being carried home to the countries.

We’ve not been in the UN. They were very diligent. They’ve been very clear about… they closed the UN. There’ll be no one in there until the end of July for safety precautions and we are also following very closely Governor Cuomo and the state of New York and their restrictions and that’s what we want to follow and we just want to make sure we protect… first of all, we protect the people of the United States and people coming in from different countries and then going back and spreading it again. As the host country it’s up to us to mitigate this process and to work along with the secretary general, the president of the General Assembly, and the governor of New York.

Heather Nauert: Ambassador, such a big part of your job or any diplomat’s job is that face-to-face communication, spending time together, picking up on the nuances of conversation and that’s been taken away from you because you can’t meet with people face to face. How are you conducting diplomacy virtually and how are you finding that change, that hurdle to deal with?

Amb. Kelly Craft: When I first arrived, when we first had our shutdown I thought this through. Obviously we were having a little bit of difficulties with our VTC meetings with the Security Council. Once we kind of got through… some people couldn’t get on and some people didn’t have a voice then, we’ve really, I think have a smooth process now. It’s not the same as being in person but I have been reaching out to most of the ambassadors at the United Nations and just checking on them.

And I think that personal touch of calling and saying, how are you? How are your children? How’s your family? Is there anything we can do as the host country? And you better believe they have questions, whether it’s school for their children and if I don’t have the answer, then I have an incredible team at the USUN, our host country experts or we will reach out to the governor’s team in the state of New York but it is difficult, but everybody’s in the same situation.

I think that the phone calls have really served me well because it is my way to be able to keep in touch and to keep in touch with countries that I don’t necessarily see at the UN on a daily basis because I’m in the Security Council every day. With the Security Council we have our calls daily with different members that I will get to keep in touch with. We try to keep it light at times. You try to leave your work on the video screen and then talk about what are you guys going to do with your kids this weekend or [other topics]. We try not to talk about some of the issues that we are arguing about, but instead be more of that personal touch.

At first I will tell you that I thought, oh goodness, how am I going to keep in touch with everyone? But I have found that honestly that I’m speaking to more of the ones that I don’t see, which has been really a gift.

Heather Nauert: Well, that’s important. You are a sincere and gracious woman and I can’t pick up a better person for this job at this time. Ambassador Craft, thank you very much. I hope we can have these conversations more often. We’ll discuss all of the issues around the globe but before I let you go, let me ask you one more thing. As you look ahead to the next country that you would like to visit, once travel restrictions are lifted, what would you like to focus on?

Amb. Kelly Craft: Goodness. Because when I leave a country, whether it’s South Sudan or Haiti or Turkey or the border of Syria, I don’t get on the plane and leave everybody behind. I carry them here, and I carry them here and some of the countries… I mean I promised the refugee camp that I would come back and I will, to the border in Syria. I hope that we are able to visit the border that goes into the Northeast to be able to celebrate the fact that we’re saving more lives.

I think that Syria will be… well, Turkey would be one of my first areas and also to go back to South Sudan. I mean, I feel a real obligation and how I will say, and as you well know, Heather, there is no better administration that understands the importance of American tax paying dollars in countries. It’s a really sense of pride when you travel to these countries and you see the dollars that we are all spending and the results and it also makes you fight even harder for the people that we’re helping and for the American taxpayers.

There’s not a better administration, there’s not a more caring administration to be able to represent than the Trump administration and I know you know that firsthand and it’s one of the greatest pleasures of being able to work with you is that we do understand our obligation and that is to protect our taxpayers, protect the American interests the peace and security, and then as Americans do, we’re always the first in to help the rest of the world and the last to leave.

Heather Nauert: You’re absolutely right about that, Ambassador Kelly Craft, thank you so much for your time today and I look forward to chatting with you about all these issues once again.

Amb. Kelly Craft: You too. Thank you, Heather. Thank you so much.

Heather Nauert: Thank you so much. Have a great day now.

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