The Middle East Digest provides text and audio from the Daily Press Briefing. For the full briefings, please visit daily press briefings.
From the Daily Press Briefing of June 28, 2010
QUESTION: I thought last week you said that Mitchell was going back to the region this week. Has that not happened yet?
MR. CROWLEY: I’ll take that question. I don’t know what his schedule is. He has not left yet.
QUESTION: Last week’s NSC meeting – are you satisfied by the clarification given by China to you on its agreement of selling two nuclear power plants to Pakistan?
MR. CROWLEY: Are you talking about Nuclear Suppliers Group?
MR. CROWLEY: We did raise the issue during last week’s Nuclear Suppliers Group. And we continue to seek information from China regarding its future plans.
QUESTION: So you have not – they haven’t given you full details yet? Do you need more information from them before you take a decision on it?
MR. CROWLEY: We – as a first step, we’re looking for more information from China as to what it is potentially proposing. We have a view that this initiative, as it goes forward, would need the agreement of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
QUESTION: Interior – home ministers of India and Pakistan met over the weekend. There was some discussion on sharing of intelligence, terrorism-related incident, information on – between the intelligence agencies of two countries. Do you have any comment on the (inaudible) --
MR. CROWLEY: Well, Lalit, as we’ve said many times, we encourage this kind of pragmatic and direct dialogue. We think there can be benefits to both countries. As to the nature of cooperation and sharing of information, that is obviously decisions to be made by the respective governments.
QUESTION: Do you say U.S. can also help by sharing information with both the countries together?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, and --
QUESTION: Trilateral --
MR. CROWLEY: Security cooperation is already a dimension of our relationship with each of those countries.
QUESTION: On Iraq?
MR. CROWLEY: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Has Ambassador Hill already – has he already departed the Embassy in Baghdad?
MR. CROWLEY: No, no, no, no. In fact, I’m glad you mentioned that. He was slated to stay for a year. He’s extended his time there through the existing transition. I believe he will remain in place until Ambassador Jeffrey is confirmed by the Senate.
QUESTION: Which is likely when? I mean, the Senate --
MR. CROWLEY: Well, the intent to nominate was made on Friday. Normally, it takes a few days for the actual paperwork to go forward. And we would certainly – given the importance of the transition, we would like to see Ambassador Jeffrey in place as rapidly as possible. We’re already in conversation with --
MR. CROWLEY: We are already in conversation with the Senate about that schedule.
QUESTION: On a related issue, ambassadors, is the State Department lobbying Congress to speed up the deployment of Ambassador Robert Ford to Damascus?
MR. CROWLEY: We remain in discussion with the Senate about the confirmation of Robert Ford and it is important to us. But obviously, he’s one of a number of ambassadors that are currently still in the confirmation process.