printable banner

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Robert Wood
Acting Department Spokesman
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
April 6, 2009

Index for Today's Briefing
    • Earthquake in Italy / Send Condolences to Families / Embassy Rome Providing Emergency Funding / Reached out to Americans in Affected Region / No Reports of Americans Dead or Injured
    • Missile Launch / UN Security Council Resolution / Consultations Continuing with Key Players / Want to See a Strong Response from Security Council / Secretary's Phone Calls with Japan, South Korea, China and Russia / Discuss with Capitals the Most Effective Response / Complicated Issue / Early in the Process / Differing Views / Launch Further Isolates North Korea / Weapons Proliferation / Difficult Diplomacy / Six-Party Framework
    • Binghamton, New York Tragedy / State Department's Role / Extend Condolences to Those Affected / State Department Provides Funding through Cooperative Agreement for Placement of Newly Arrived Immigrants
  • IRAN
    • Roxana Saberi / In Regular Contact with Swiss Protecting Power / Concerned about Case and Want to See it Resolved
    • Silva Harotonian Case / Charged with Unspecified Activities / Baseless Charges / Sentenced Three Years in Prisons / In Poor Health
    • Release of John Solecki / Returning the U.S.
    • Attacks / Taliban and al Qaida Continuing / Threat to the Pakistani Government / Unified Approach to Dealing with Terrorism
    • Ambassador Holbrooke in the Region / Meeting with President Karzai, Foreign Minister Spanta, Kai Eide, Speaker of the Lower House Qanooni and General McKiernan / Meeting with Female Legislators and Representatives of Civil Society


11:38 a.m. EDT

MR. WOOD: Okay. Good morning, everyone. Happy Monday. Let me just start off with a couple of points on the earthquake in Italy.

Our understanding is that the epicenter was about 60 miles northeast of Rome in the region of Abruzzo. We send our heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed in the earthquake. Our Embassy in Rome will provide 50,000 in emergency relief funding. The Government of Italy has said that no further assistance is required at present in the way of search-and-rescue assistance. The U.S. Embassy in Rome has been in contact with Italian authorities for constant updates on the situation and has reached out to Americans living in the affected region. At this time, there are no reports of American citizens among the dead or injured. That’s all I have for the moment.

QUESTION: Can we go to North Korea?

MR. WOOD: Absolutely.

QUESTION: Where do things stand in New York on your efforts to get a resolution?

MR. WOOD: Well, Arshad, consultations are continuing with the key players in the Council on the next steps. We want to see a strong response come from the UN Security Council on this issue. Secretary Clinton had telephone calls on Sunday with the foreign ministers of Japan, South Korea, China and Russia to talk about the issue. We’re going to continue to go forward in discussions with our partners in the Council to seek a strong, coordinated and effective response to the North Korean missile launch.

QUESTION: Potentially – you used the word “response” and not “resolution.” Have you sort of conceded that you don’t think you can get a strong resolution?

MR. WOOD: No, we’re just – we need to meet with our partners in New York. They need to also discuss with their capitals the type of effective – the most effective response that we can come away with in New York. So it’s very early in the process. You know how these things go in New York at the Security Council. It’s going to take time. We think that what we heard yesterday in the Security Council session was positive. There is focus on what the North Koreans did. There’s great concern about what the North Koreans did. And we’ve got to find a way to go forward that’s coordinated and, as I said, effective.

QUESTION: Do you want a resolution?

MR. WOOD: Well, we want the strongest possible response that we can get in the Security Council. I’d just prefer to leave it at that if it’s --

QUESTION: Well, why didn’t we get that yesterday? What was the problem?

MR. WOOD: Well, look, this is a very complicated issue. We made very clear that we want to see a very strong response coming from the Security Council. And it’s early in the process, Matt. These things take time and we’re going to be working hard because we don’t want to see this type of thing happen again if --

QUESTION: What happened yesterday that did not allow you to get the – at the moment, there’s no response, resolution or statement or – there’s nothing.

MR. WOOD: Well, again, Matt --

QUESTION: So why didn’t you – why weren’t you able to get that yesterday?

MR. WOOD: I said to you it’s a very complicated issue and there is great concern amongst all the parties in the Security Council about the action that the North took. We’re trying to work to make sure we get this right, that we get an effective response that deals with the issue. And as I said, this is the UN Security Council. There are differing views. But what’s important here is that we move forward and get that effective response.

QUESTION: I’m sorry. Okay, so what are the differing views?

MR. WOOD: Well, I’m not going to get into the substance of discussions of --

QUESTION: Well, I thought you said that there was unanimity and great – you know, there was great concern.

MR. WOOD: I said there was – that everyone expressed concern about the issue.

QUESTION: But then you said there are differing views.

MR. WOOD: Well, differing views in terms of how you go forward. But that doesn’t mean that people are not concerned. There was a unified expression of concern within the Council. And so what we’re trying to do now is to work with our partners and others on the Council to come up with an effective response.

QUESTION: Is there hesitance among members of the Council even to more aggressively implement the existing sanctions?

MR. WOOD: Well, look, the session yesterday was focused on trying to deal with the aftermath of this launch, and those consultations will be continuing, Arshad. I can’t speak for other countries on the Council, but I can tell you that Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Rice have been working this feverishly. The President, as you know, has spoken to the issue. And it’s going to take a little time, as I said, in the Council to get this response. But what is important, as I said to Matt, is that we get an effective, coordinated response that deals with this issue and deals with it seriously.

Yes, James.

QUESTION: I’m curious to know what makes this such a complicated issue, because you have, for all to see, the existing UN Security Council resolutions which expressly forbade North Korea from conducting exactly the kind of action which it itself acknowledges it took here. And so what complicates matters if the prohibition was clear for all to see and the action was clear for all to see?

MR. WOOD: Well, I can’t speak for other members in the Council, but we’ve been very clear all along, James, as you know, that we viewed any missile launch by the North as being provocative, not in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1718. We’ve made that very clear. But what’s important now is that in the Council, we get a coordinated response that deals with this approach effectively.

QUESTION: Is it the case that not all of the members of the Security Council or at least the Permanent Five agree that there was, in fact, a violation of existing UN Security Council resolutions? Is that true?

MR. WOOD: I’m not going to speak for others on the Council. I’ve given you what our position is with regard to that being a violation.

QUESTION: Ambassador Rice said after her – at her stakeout yesterday that the members expressed varying views on that exact question as to whether or not this was a violation of existing UN Security Council resolutions.

MR. WOOD: I said that there were differing opinions on – in terms of going forward here. And I’m not going to get beyond what Ambassador Rice said in New York. But just to be very clear once again, James, that we have got to find a way to deal with this launch and its aftermath effectively. And that’s why consultations are ongoing. That’s why the Secretary made phone calls yesterday. It is a complicated issue for a number of reasons that I don’t want to get into, but the important thing is, is that we focus on this right now. And this is priority number one right – in New York.

QUESTION: Is it – what is complicating the issue the fact that regardless of how you go forward, you can’t even secure agreement that this is, in fact, a violation of the existing Security Council resolutions?

MR. WOOD: Well, James, I’m not going to go beyond what I’ve said. Again, these consultations are going on in New York, and we’re going to find a way to get a coordinated response to this, an effective response, something that deals with this issue and prevents the North from undertaking these types of activities, again, which as I’ve said, from the U.S. point of view, are illegal under UN Security Council Resolution 1718.


MR. WOOD: Yeah, Charley’s been waiting. I’ll go to you (inaudible).


QUESTION: Please, Charley.

MR. WOOD: Oh, I’m sorry. I meant this Charley. We can come back, Charlie. Thank you.

QUESTION: What do you say to those who are characterizing it as an unambiguous win for North Korea, particularly in light of the lack of a quick, united response from the United Nations?

MR. WOOD: I would reject that characterization completely. It was not a win for North Korea. This kind of action only further isolates the North. And the fact that the Security Council is taking this issue up demonstrates how important it is that we deal with this matter and the need for it to be dealt with. And so I would reject any characterization that the North – that this is some kind of a win for the North. It’s not. The Council needs to speak and speak clearly on this, and we are going to work very hard to make sure that we do speak loudly. But I’m not going to go beyond that right now because consultations are ongoing. And what’s important here, as I said, is to try to get an effective response.

QUESTION: Can I just --

QUESTION: Can I follow up on that?

MR. WOOD: No, hang on. She’s been waiting.

QUESTION: I’d like to know what unilateral actions the United States is considering, especially those that might involve financial sanctions or putting people on lists or barring banking transactions?

MR. WOOD: Well, I’m not going to go beyond what we’re doing in the Security Council right now. We will – obviously, if there are things that we can do, we will certainly do them. But right now, the focus of our attention is in New York on trying to get a unified response from the Council.

QUESTION: So there’s no discussion of what else might be – you know, Plan B, a backup --

MR. WOOD: Well --

QUESTION: -- if there’s not an appropriate Security Council response --

MR. WOOD: There are discussions that go on, but I’m not going to get into the details of those here from the podium.

QUESTION: -- and what you’re considering?

MR. WOOD: Not from the podium here.


QUESTION: No, I (inaudible).

MR. WOOD: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Could you provide an overall assessment as to why the Administration considers the launch a failure, but they failed to succeed as far as the Japanese are concerned? It flew quite far and it flew over Japan, so --

MR. WOOD: Well, I think I’ve outlined why it was not a success, and the fact that it’s further isolating the North. If the North wants to get in the good graces of the international community, this is not a positive step in that direction. And in fact, the Security Council is taking this issue up. It demonstrates, as I said earlier, that this is an important issue for all of us. Our objective is to try to get the North back to the negotiating table within the Six-Party framework. We want to do that. That is a high priority. This is not – this type of missile launch is not a good thing for the international community. It’s not a good thing for North Korea if it’s trying to get back in the good graces of the world community.

QUESTION: So when you say failure, you’re talking politically rather than technologically (inaudible)?

MR. WOOD: Well, that was the question, I think, in political terms, so I answered in those terms.


QUESTION: Thanks. At last, North Korea has launched long-range missile. Some source said hidden intention is – of North Korea is to get direct talk with United States. What is your comment on that?

MR. WOOD: I – as I’ve said many times from the podium, it’s hard for me to give you any readout into the mindset of the North Korean leadership.

QUESTION: So, Robert, what’s your assessment of the proliferation threat following this launch? Has it increased or --

MR. WOOD: I don’t think I’m able to make an assessment at this early stage. But clearly, this is not helpful to our efforts to prevent, you know, weapons from being proliferated around the world. And that’s why the Security Council is concerned about this. The President has spoken about nonproliferation and that it’s a high priority for this Administration, and it should be a high priority for every administration in the world. So we’ll have to see. I can’t make an assessment, you know, a day and a half after this launch. We’ll just have to see.


QUESTION: As you said, there are differences, and the countries seem pretty entrenched in their positions right now where there want to go on this. But you’ve also said that what your goal is is a coordinated response. I’m just wondering which is more important right now for the United States. Is a coordinated response more important, or are you willing to allow the Council to be divided a little bit to get something more substantive that’s going to show some type of punitive action that shows North Korea that they did something wrong on --

MR. WOOD: Well, I don’t want to get ahead of the process. But I think I’ve been very clear in terms of what we want to see come out of the Council, and that’s a strong and effective response. And we’ve got to work hard to try to get that strong and effective response. And I said before, the issue’s a bit complicated, as you know, and it’s going to take time. It’s not something, I would suspect, that we could resolve in the next day or so. It’s going to take time. But we feel it’s important enough that we have to work very hard to get this kind of strong response; otherwise, we send a negative signal to the North.

QUESTION: But what’s more important – the coordinated or the strong, effective response? Which one is more important?

MR. WOOD: Well, we’d like to – look, we’d like to have a strong, effective, coordinated response from the Council. I can’t – what’s important is that we send a message to the North that this type of behavior is provocative, it cannot happen again, and that if it’s interested in getting back into the good graces of the international community, it needs to desist from this type of behavior in the future.

QUESTION: Are you convinced that they want to get back into the good graces of the international community?

MR. WOOD: Matt, I can’t get into the insight of --

QUESTION: Well, you keep saying that you think that the --

MR. WOOD: This is what the North has professed publicly and to others.

QUESTION: Right. And you – the other thing you keep saying is that it further isolates the North Koreans.

MR. WOOD: That’s right.

QUESTION: How much more isolated can North Korea be?

MR. WOOD: Well --

QUESTION: I mean, this is a country that is completely isolated and shut off from the rest of the world. How can anything that they do make them more isolated?

MR. WOOD: Well, certainly, this launch further isolates them, Matt. I don’t think there’s any question about it.

QUESTION: But Iranian --

MR. WOOD: Let me finish the answer here to Matt’s question.

QUESTION: In fact, it hasn’t further isolated them because the international community hasn’t been able to come up with an effective, coordinated response.

MR. WOOD: Matt, this is very early in the process. It’s early in the process, and it’s going to take time. And when you’re trying to get a strong response, it’s going to take time. Our diplomats in New York are going to be working this very hard. The Secretary is working it very hard. Look, we have a process. We have outlined a path for the North to pursue in the Six-Party framework.

QUESTION: What is – what does the U.S. want to see from the end of this process, this very complicated process that’s going to take some time? What is the end result that the U.S. wants? Is it a resolution that adds more sanctions, if that’s possible? Or is it something that just reaffirms the existing resolutions? What is it?

MR. WOOD: Matt, I’ve said it over and again.

QUESTION: No, no --

MR. WOOD: A strong and effective response from the Council. That’s what we want.

QUESTION: What does that mean?

MR. WOOD: Well, we’ll have to see how that plays out. I’m not going to dictate the terms of it from here because I don’t know how that’s going to – that process is going to evolve in New York. But what’s important for us is that it be strong and effective and deal with this question.

QUESTION: So to meet that criteria that you’re laying out and without asking you to define it exactly, does it have to be stronger than the 2006 prohibition which obviously failed to deter North Korea?

MR. WOOD: Look, James, we’re very early in the process, okay? And I know I’m repeating myself here, but I think it’s important for everyone to understand there is diplomatic activity going on in New York. And this launch just took place. As I said, it’s complex. We’ve got to make sure that we send a very strong and unified message to the North about this, and to would-be proliferators, those who are out there thinking about either conducting these types of launches or, you know, threatening to proliferate weapons further. And so we have to give this a little time. It’s very early. It’s too early for me to get more specific than that.

QUESTION: I understand, but, you know, you had a strong and unified and effective response from the Council in 2006 that failed to deter North Korea from conducting a launch like this, even though the prohibition carried the force of international law. So it stands to reason that what you’re trying to accomplish now should be stronger than that to provide a more effective deterrent.

MR. WOOD: Well, as I said, we want a strong response. Look, the North was engaged in the Six-Party process. We got to the point of trying to, you know, verify exactly what the North was submitting with regard to its program. It refused to put that in writing. That’s what was holding up the process.

The onus needs to be on the North. The North is the country that took this provocative act. It is further isolating itself. Therefore, the Security Council needs to take action. And we are working hard, as I said, to try to produce something that will be effective and deal with this issue. I can’t get more specific than that because there is diplomacy ongoing in New York and it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to do that.

QUESTION: Just a practical question?

MR. WOOD: Sure.

QUESTION: You were talking about the – you know, the Secretary working feverishly on this. Has she made any calls today about this issue?

MR. WOOD: I don’t have the list, but there – she is planning to make some calls today on this issue.

QUESTION: Can you get us that by the end of the day?

MR. WOOD: Yeah, we’ll try and do that.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. WOOD: Mm-hmm. Any more on North Korea?

QUESTION: I just had one. Do you think that the longer it takes to get a response shows a weaker, not a strong response?

MR. WOOD: No, I don’t think it does. I think it just shows how complex this issue is, how important it is. And that’s why we want to take the time and get the strongest, the most effective response we can.

QUESTION: Do you think it would have been stronger if you had gotten it immediately?

MR. WOOD: Well, look, I can’t speak for the – I’m not up in New York. I know that it’s a complex issue. I’ve worked up at the UN, and I know that these things take time, particularly when you’re talking about something as complex as the North Korea issue.


QUESTION: You mentioned that Secretary Clinton made a phone call with her counterparts, with China and Russia. Do you have any readout of that, and could you please introduce their conversation, what they talked --

MR. WOOD: Yeah. Look, obviously, in the aftermath of this launch, the Secretary had conversations, telephonic conversations with those other members of the Six-Party framework, excluding the North. And it was basically to express the mutual concern about this launch and how we go forward in trying to prevent the North from undertaking this type of activity again or engaging in any kind of proliferation of any weapons or materials. And so that was the gist of all of the conversations. It was really to express the concern that we all have about what the North is engaged in and to focus on how we go forward. And we’re under no illusions; this is going to be difficult diplomacy, but I think the Secretary and her counterparts all agree that this is something that we have to pursue seriously, vigorously, and we will. And that’s the basic readout I have from the conversation.

QUESTION: The Chinese readout of the phone call – or her phone call with the foreign minister is awfully different than yours. They – Xinhua says that it was all about the shootings in Binghamton.

MR. WOOD: Well, that issue came up, but it was about this issue.

QUESTION: On that?

QUESTION: One more --

MR. WOOD: Why don’t we (inaudible), please.

QUESTION: It’s just – I know you keep on saying that it’s going to take time to work this out.

MR. WOOD: Right.

QUESTION: But the countries involved have known about this for two months that North Korea is going to launch this missile. And they – you have been coordinating the response for the last, at least, six weeks. What make – what gives you confidence that these countries are now going to change their positions after they’ve had plenty of time to think about it already?

MR. WOOD: Well, look, this is a challenge that if it’s not dealt with, will not go away. And this has been a high priority for this Administration and for the other members of the Six-Party Talks, you know, to basically reach that goal of a denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The North agreed to support – it’s a part of the Six-Party framework. We want to get back to that framework. It’s in everyone’s interest to see the North denuclearize. But it’s a challenge, and I’ve outlined why we haven’t gotten further in that process. And as I said, this launch does not help matters. It makes things much more complicated. And we’re trying to deal with it at the Security Council. I can’t tell you whether, you know, in the end we’re going to be able to deter the North in the future from doing these types of activities, but I think everyone is focused – certainly, the Secretary is very focused on this – Ambassador Rice. And we’re going to get – and we’re going to try as hard as we can to get that effective response. But I really don’t have anything more I can say on it than that.

Same subject?

QUESTION: Yes. Would you like to see North Korea come back to the negotiation table, or would you rather keep them isolated as a punishment?

MR. WOOD: Keep them as a - ?

QUESTION: Isolated.

QUESTION: I said would you like to see North Korea come back to the negotiation table?

MR. WOOD: Yes.

QUESTION: Or would you rather keep them isolated as a punishment?

MR. WOOD: North Korea is isolating itself. We want to see the North come back to the negotiating table and the Six-Party framework. I’ve said that before. So the choice is really the North’s.

Same subject?

QUESTION: Yeah, one practical – another practical thing. You said that the Secretary had spoken to the other members other than North Korea of the Six-Party Talks.

MR. WOOD: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: I was aware that she had spoken to the foreign ministers of China, Russia, and Japan. She also spoke to the South Korean?

MR. WOOD: That’s correct.

QUESTION: All right. And that was all yesterday morning?

MR. WOOD: That was all yesterday.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: I have an impractical question. Given that --

MR. WOOD: Impractical? (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Quite in contrast to Arshad’s manner of questioning. Given that you had an effective and unified UN Security Council prohibition on the books and North Korea flagrantly violated it and took its sweet time doing so in open fashion, why should anyone regard that the UN Security Council is an appropriate venue in which to pursue recourse now?

MR. WOOD: Well, look, the Security Council deals with these questions of international peace and security. It’s the appropriate mechanism for dealing with this. There is, as you know, James, a resolution, 1718, that deals with this question. And we think there needs to be – since there – since we believe there was clearly a violation of 1718, there needs to be a response coming from the Security Council, and that’s what we’re seeking right now.

QUESTION: Can I go to the Binghamton (inaudible)?

MR. WOOD: Sure.

QUESTION: -- what the State Department’s role is in dealing with the aftermath of that?

MR. WOOD: Well, I mean, first thing, we want to extend or sincere condolences to all affected by this tragedy. The State Department provides funding through a cooperative agreement to the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants for reception and, you know, placement of newly arrived immigrants. And that’s basically the Department’s role in all of this. I don’t have much more in the way of details on --

QUESTION: Well, you mentioned earlier in response to my question that this subject had come up with the Chinese foreign minister. There do appear to be Chinese citizens who were killed in – killed.

MR. WOOD: Yeah, I don’t have much more --

QUESTION: And the local people in Binghamton say that the State Department – they’re working with the State Department on this.

MR. WOOD: Yeah.

QUESTION: Well, what are you doing?

MR. WOOD: Well, I don’t want to get into the details --

QUESTION: I asked a question about this Friday. I don’t --

MR. WOOD: I can try and get you further details, Matt, if you like, but I don’t have anything further than that at this point.

Sir, you’ve been waiting.

QUESTION: Iran’s Revolutionary Court has issued formal charges against Roxana Saberi. Are you aware of those charges?

MR. WOOD: No. Did these just come recently? This is – I’m not – I’m not aware of the charges.

QUESTION: And since they are dealing with security, national security issues with an American journalist, what’s – what is going to be U.S. reaction?

MR. WOOD: Well, look, we are in regular contact with our Swiss protecting power on this issue. The most recent request we made for an update with the Swiss was earlier today. You know, it’s a – as you know, the Secretary in her letter to – in her – in the aide-memoire to the Iranians made very clear that we were concerned about this case and wanted to see it resolved. And we continue to work to try to get her released.

QUESTION: And her father and mother have been to visit her for half an hour in the Evin prison. Does the State Department regard that as an encouraging sign?

MR. WOOD: Well, look, I’m not going to comment further on these issues out of privacy concerns, so I’d rather not comment on that particular issue.

QUESTION: Another Iran detainee case. Are you aware of the case of this woman, who was working for a U.S. NGO that gets State Department funding called IREX, who (inaudible) jail for three years, I believe? What’s your comment on that?

MR. WOOD: Our understanding is that an IREX employee, Silva Harotonian, was arrested in Iran on June 26, 2008 and was reportedly charged with unspecified activities related to promoting a so-called “velvet revolution” in Iran. The charges against her are baseless. We understand that she was subsequently sentenced to three years in prison. Her appeal is pending. Excuse me, her appeal is pending. She is reportedly in poor and deteriorating health as a direct consequence of her confinement. We call on Iran’s leadership to release Ms. Harotonian. As I said, these charges are baseless. And that’s what I have for you on that.

QUESTION: How come that wasn’t included in the Secretary’s letter that was passed on to the Iranian?

MR. WOOD: Don’t know. Maybe because it was because we were still confirming the details on that. I don’t know the answer to that.

QUESTION: You just referred to it as the Secretary’s aide-memoire, but these are unsigned. Is there some reason you associate it directly with Secretary Clinton where authorship is concerned or – you said her aide-memoire.

MR. WOOD: It was an aide-memoire. My – I should have been clearer on that. That’s, you know, an aide-memoire from the United States Government.

QUESTION: And on sort of a related subject, the P-5+1 PDs meeting in London, can you give us some details as to: (a) who will be representing the United States there; and (b) what our goal is there?

MR. WOOD: I’ll get you something on that a little bit later this afternoon.

Yes, Kirit.

QUESTION: Do you have anything on the Americans in North Korea? Any update on that?

MR. WOOD: No, no update. I checked this morning. Nothing to give you beyond what I said late last week.

QUESTION: And do you have anything to say about the release of the American in Pakistan?

MR. WOOD: Yeah. We are obviously very pleased to have – to see John Solecki released. My understanding is that he is – will be on his way back to the United States. We’re obviously relieved, as is his family, and we look forward to speaking with Mr. Solecki, you know, in – you know, when he returns to the United States.

QUESTION: Do you know when he’s expected back?

MR. WOOD: I don’t. Not at this point.

Let me go here. Yes, Mary --

QUESTION: Hi. The Russian ambassador to the UN was quoted in the Post today as saying, regarding North Korea, “Every state has the right to the peaceful use of outer space.” That seems
to be their position. What is the U.S. response to that?

MR. WOOD: Mary Beth, our response is basically that this launch violated UN Security Council Resolution 1718. It’s a violation of international law. And we need – we’re working in the Council to try to come away with an effective response to this launching. Iran needs to see that there are going to be consequences, and so that’s where we are at this point.

QUESTION: North Korea.

MR. WOOD: I’m sorry. Did – North Korea.


QUESTION: Iran, too.

MR. WOOD: Sir.

QUESTION: Just on Pakistan, there was – there were more attacks over the weekend, some of them claimed by leaders of the Pakistani Taliban. They say it’s a direct response to the U.S. campaign of missile attacks in northwest Pakistan (inaudible) two attacks per week. What’s your response to that?

MR. WOOD: Well, I’ve seen those reports. Look, we’re under no illusions. The Taliban, al-Qaida, other terrorist operations are going to continue their work. We have to do what we can to prevent them. And I think the Pakistani Government certainly understands very clearly what a threat these terrorists pose to their own government. And you know, we will take necessary security steps to protect our personnel, our people.

But look, this is no secret that there are terrorists out there trying to hit us and hit our allies. What’s important is that we have a unified approach to dealing with terrorism. As you know, we’ve just completed a strategic review on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Ambassador Holbrooke is in the region talking about how we can go forward in implementation of the results of the strategic review.

So we’ll continue to work this issue because it’s not going to go away right away. We have to keep working hard to fight terrorism.


QUESTION: Could you tell us where is Ambassador Holbrooke (inaudible)?

MR. WOOD: Yeah, I think he’s in Kabul today. Let me just see what I’ve got here. Yes. Ambassador Holbrooke and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullen arrived in Kabul yesterday. Ambassador Holbrooke met with President Karzai, Foreign Minister Spanta, Kai Eide, General McKiernan. And Ambassador Holbrooke also met with female legislators, representatives of civil society, and he also met with the Speaker of the Lower House Qanooni.

QUESTION: Do you have any onward (inaudible)?

MR. WOOD: I don’t have those details.

QUESTION: What was discussed with the female legislators? Was it this controversial (inaudible)?

MR. WOOD: I’m certain that that came up. I’m sure it was to talk about other issues with regard to democracy and rule of law.


QUESTION: Japan’s ambassador to Iran had meetings on Friday with the NSC at the White House and also with the director of the Middle East affairs and the minister of foreign affairs. Do you have a readout on the purpose of their visit?

MR. WOOD: I don’t. I did hear that there were some meeting. We’ll get that for you, Samir.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. WOOD: Okay, thank you all.

(The briefing was concluded at 12:08 p.m.)

Back to Top

Do you already have an account on one of these sites? Click the logo to sign in and create your own customized State Department page. Want to learn more? Check out our FAQ!

OpenID is a service that allows you to sign in to many different websites using a single identity. Find out more about OpenID and how to get an OpenID-enabled account.