1:29 p.m. EST
MR. KELLY: Okay. Well, welcome. I think, as you all know, the Secretary is going to accompany the President up to West Point tonight for the speech by the President to talk about his strategy toward Afghanistan. The Secretary will have about seven hours of hearings tomorrow beginning with the Senate Armed Services Committee at 9:00, and then that will be followed in the afternoon by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She’ll be joined by Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen at both of those briefings.
On Thursday, the same three will participate in a hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. That starts at 9:00. There will also be a hearing in the afternoon of the House Armed Services Committee, but Deputy Secretary Lew will participate in that one. Secretary Clinton tomorrow goes to – I’m sorry, not tomorrow, Thursday – goes Thursday to Brussels for meetings on December 4th.
There will be a meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of foreign ministers at NATO Headquarters on the agenda. There will also be a meeting of NATO foreign ministers with non-NATO ISAF contributing nations, and a NATO-Russia Council working lunch. She, of course, will also meet with the NATO Secretary General Rasmussen as well as with the newly appointed Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme, and Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere and EU leaders.
And that’s all I have at the top, and I’ll take your questions.
QUESTION: Can you – what is – presumably, almost all these people, or at least the leaders of these countries of foreign ministers she’s – excuse me, foreign ministers she’s going to be seeing have already been briefed about what the President plans to say tonight. What exactly is she going to be doing there?
MR. KELLY: Well, as you know, this is an international effort, and this is an opportunity for foreign ministers or their representatives from all of the ISAF contributing countries, and I think that’s 40-some countries in one place, so this is a real opportunity for the foreign ministers to – 43 nations are in ISAF. So this is a real opportunity for all the foreign ministers to get together and coordinate and talk about the strategy going forward. There’s also going to be a force generation conference of the same nations on Monday that will be – I think that will be at the military representative level.
So a lot of things are coming together, and it just highlights that this is a – this is not just a U.S. effort. It’s an international effort, and we all share common goals, and we see a common threat of – in Afghanistan.
QUESTION: Yeah, but what is she going to be telling them?
MR. KELLY: Well, it’s not just a matter of her telling them. It’s an opportunity for everybody to share approaches, to discuss how they can coordinate to make our efforts a lot more effective. They – it’s a – it’ll be a wonderful forum for them to talk about trying to avoid duplication of efforts and trying to leverage where countries have certain capabilities and certain advantages. And this is not just a – of course, it’s not just a military effort too. This is a meeting of foreign ministers, so they’ll be talking about developmental efforts and diplomatic efforts as well.
QUESTION: Does Holbrooke have any role in this?
MR. KELLY: I don’t know if we’re talking about Holbrooke’s plans at present, but he does – I know he plans to participate in the Brussels meetings. I don’t have his whole schedule, but there will be also meetings with his special representative colleagues in Brussels.
QUESTION: All right, and one more. Is this issue coming up at all at the OSCE?
MR. KELLY: This issue of Afghanistan? Not that I’m aware of. I mean, I think OSCE does have some role in certain training efforts, especially counternarcotics training efforts, and I think border guards as well. But those are --
QUESTION: Well, you better read up on that. (Laughter.)
MR. KELLY: I will. I will read up on that, Matt.
QUESTION: Ian, can you just bring us up to speed on Holbrooke, what he’s doing this week, who he’s meeting with, where he is right now?
MR. KELLY: Well, I know that – like I say, I don’t have his whole itinerary. He does plan to participate in these discussions in Brussels, these very important coordination meetings. And so he will have meetings with his counterparts.
QUESTION: Is he there already? Could you say that?
MR. KELLY: I don’t think he’s there already, Kirit, or I guess – I don’t have his itinerary.
QUESTION: Ian, speaking of Mr. Holbrooke, could you please tell us, would – give us a little more detail about his idea of a high commissioner or something akin to that? Would --
MR. KELLY: I don’t think it’s his idea, necessarily. I think it’s more of a – it’s a – and I’m not sure exactly who came up with the idea, but I want to be very specific about what this concept is. It’s about – it’s a coordinating role. It’s about coordinating civilian developmental and other resources among international partners. This is about helping build the capacity of the Afghan Government, as it is not about bypassing, as I saw in one – at least one media report today.
We are trying to better support the Afghan Government. It’s – this is the main objective of having this civilian coordinator. And it will include a role for the UN as well. So I just wanted to get that on the record, that this is not in any way an attempt to undercut or bypass the Afghan Government.
QUESTION: But where does it stand right now? I mean, is this a formal proposal? Is it something – is this being discussed informally among the allies? What’s the --
MR. KELLY: I think it’s more the latter, Jill. I’m not sure exactly what stage it’s in, and I think this will be a matter for discussions in Brussels. I am not sure if this will be a decision meeting in Brussels, but this idea will certainly be discussed.
QUESTION: Is this a requirement, though? I mean, I know it’s different. People have compared it to Dayton where it was kind of built into the process where you had a high commissioner with a lot of power. And this, granted, is not that situation, but --
MR. KELLY: Yeah, I wouldn’t use that particular matrix to put on this role. This is not – we’re not talking about someone who has some kind of proconsul-type mandate or anything like that.
QUESTION: But this – would this be something that --
MR. KELLY: This is strictly coordination.
MR. KELLY: I don’t think it’s a matter of putting requirements on anyone. I think it’s – as I said before, it’s a way for us to better support the efforts of Afghanistan to provide for its own security and provide a better economic future for the Afghan people. It’s not designed to replace local governance by any means. It’s – think of it as coordinator. That’s really what it is.
QUESTION: But has --
MR. KELLY: Yeah, Andy. I’ll get to you in --
MR. KELLY: Well, I think she looks forward to discussing this idea, and I think that we – given this multipronged international effort, I think everybody thinks it makes a lot of sense to have one person be the coordinator for it.
QUESTION: Hasn’t this idea been out there for quite some time?
MR. KELLY: Well, as a matter of fact, I remember from my days at NATO that there was discussion of having a counterpart to --
QUESTION: Yeah, like almost six years.
MR. KELLY: -- the ISAF commander, have a civilian sort of equivalent to the ISAF --
QUESTION: Is there some reason it has new energy today?
MR. KELLY: Yeah. I’m not sure, Matt. I just think that we’re all – we’re very focused on the international effort here and trying to make the effort, this multibillion dollar effort, as effective as possible.
QUESTION: Is it not true that in the past when this idea has been raised, Karzai has rejected it?
MR. KELLY: I’m not sure. I mean, certainly, we would want to --
QUESTION: And including specific – including specific candidates who have been discussed and proposed to him.
MR. KELLY: Yeah, I’m not sure. I do remember some media reports about it, but I’m not sure if --
MR. KELLY: -- he rejected certain people.
QUESTION: Well, despite the media reports, Lord Ashtown was the name that was put forward, a man with great global experience, and it was – that idea was completely quashed by Karzai. How has he been persuaded to allow something like this to proceed now?
MR. KELLY: Well, I think – like I say, I think there has to be a lot of consultation and coordination with the Afghan Government. I think that’s a requirement. I think that the emphasis in this particular role, I think, will be more coordination of international resources. And it’s important that there not be any suggestion at all of this person having any kind of proconsul role or anything like that.
QUESTION: Is that consultation underway today?
MR. KELLY: With the Afghan Government?
MR. KELLY: I’m not certain, Charley. I would imagine it would be, though.
QUESTION: So are there going to be – does the Secretary plan to meet any Afghan officials when she’s in Brussels? Will they be there? Or is this just a group of people talking about what’s going on in their country?
MR. KELLY: No, there usually is the – normally, the Afghan minister of foreign affairs is there.
QUESTION: So you would expect there – her to meet with him?
MR. KELLY: I would expect her to have a conversation with him, but we’ll have to check to see if the Afghan foreign minister does plan to come. But normally, that’s the case, that he comes.
QUESTION: Ian, are you going – are you willing to put Iran on notice? Because a lot of the military light weapons, some of the IEDs and other type military objects that are being given to, obviously, both the Taliban and al-Qaida are coming from Iran. Are you willing to put them on notice, much the way that you’ve put over the last year or two Iran with its nuclear program, in the same general sense? And a lot of people say that this particular talk tonight by President Obama at West Point is going to be for a grassroots effort, not necessarily the central government in Kabul to the people of Afghanistan. And --
MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, I – in terms of particulars of the president’s speech, I’m not going to go into that. We just have a few more hours to go. We all, I think, can have enough patience to wait till eight o’clock tonight.
On the other question that you raised, yes, we have raised concerns like this with Iran. Our concerns with Iran – of course, first and foremost is our concerns about their – the intentions of their nuclear program, our concerns about proliferation, potential for it. We also have raised our concerns about their record on human rights. But at the same time, we’re extremely concerned about their support for international terrorism too.
So I don’t know about the exact – and I’m losing my voice – about the exact particulars of what you’re referring to in Afghanistan and support for al-Qaida. And I wouldn’t be at liberty to discuss particulars like that, because we would be getting into areas I shouldn’t get into. But I do know, in general terms, we do have concerns about Iran providing support – material support – to terrorists.
QUESTION: But are you willing to put them, just on that aspect alone, with further sanctions somehow from getting these black market materials to help them in their manufacture and distribution of all this equipment?
MR. KELLY: Well, I mean, we have American men and women and soldiers from our allies facing the horrors of these kinds of weapons in places like Iraq and Afghanistan every day, and it is, of course, a real top priority to try and stop these flows of weapons. We have a number of sanctions in place already with Iran. And part of those sanctions addressed just this, the shipment of weapons out of Iran.
So I think in general terms, you know what our policy has been about Iran, that we have a dual-track policy. We’re hoping that they will help us address these concerns that – these two concerns in particular, the support for terrorism and the nuclear program – by engaging with us. But we haven’t closed the door on this engagement. But time is running out, and you’ve seen what the President has said, that he expects by the end of the year to have some kind of positive response to our offer. And if that doesn’t – if that’s not forthcoming, we’re going to have to look at other options, including pressure options.
QUESTION: So where does the situation stand right now with both the P-5+1 and within the IAEA?
MR. KELLY: Well, with the P-5+1, there was an agreement in principle, as you know, to meet again to discuss the nuclear concerns. We’ve not received an answer to that. We’re not optimistic that we will get an answer soon on it. And the P-5+1 has decided that they will meet again, and I expect they will, in the next few weeks, to look at options because we’re running out of time, obviously, in this year.
On the IAEA, I understand that in the wake of the announcement on Sunday, that they were going to build another 10 enrichment facilities, the IAEA has asked Iran to clarify what their intentions are. But there again, we don’t have any – we haven’t gotten a positive response to the proposal, but we all know about the Tehran research reactor.
MR. KELLY: Well, I think what they –
QUESTION: Every time you’ve gone back to the Iranians and asked for clarification, they’ve given you more of what they’ve said in public. And then every time that we ask about what they say in public, you say, “Well, we haven’t gotten any clarification yet.” So isn’t it obvious now what it is they’re doing?
MR. KELLY: Well, it’s becoming more and more obvious, I have to say. I mean, we still prefer to pursue the engagement route, and we think that we’ve made some very good proposals that will address their concerns, and will help them reap some rewards for their own civilian nuclear program, reap rewards in the sense of greater cooperation, integration with the international community. But if they continue not to give us a positive answer, then they’ll leave us with no other choice but to go down the second track.
QUESTION: Ian, yesterday you were talking about all of the foreign ministers that Secretary Clinton had been talking to by phone. And I just wanted to clarify, there are reports that when she had that conversation with Minister Kouchner, that she actually asked for troops. Is that correct? Or could you at least clarify what the nature of that conversation was?
MR. KELLY: Well, I don’t know exactly what I said yesterday, but what I should have said is that we don’t go into the details of –
QUESTION: Right. Predicted that you would say that –
MR. KELLY: – of our diplomatic –
QUESTION: Can you at least steer us in some direction?
MR. KELLY: Well, I think, clearly, they focused on our shared effort in Afghanistan, and looking forward to the NATO meeting, looking forward to the force generation conference on Monday. She gave him the broad outlines of the President’s strategy that will be rolled out tonight. But I think for details of what France is willing or not willing to do, I think you really have to ask our allies – have to ask the French.
QUESTION: Of course, the question isn’t what they’re willing to do, it’s what you want them to do.
QUESTION: Because we know what they --
MR. KELLY: Well, it’s not so much what we want them to do, it’s what we –
QUESTION: Well, that’s exactly what it is.
MR. KELLY: Well, we –
QUESTION: I mean, that was her question.
MR. KELLY: I know. But we don’t make demands on allies.
QUESTION: Well, you can’t change her question.
MR. KELLY: I know. I’m not changing her question.
QUESTION: Yeah, you are. You’re saying –
MR. KELLY: Well, I’m declining going into details of the contents of their conversation.
QUESTION: Well, the French would say that they – that they asked that they will not go – they will be there as long as the need to be, but no more troops. So that would seem to imply that she asked for more troops. Is that –
MR. KELLY: No, I’m not going to imply one way or the other except to say that France does have some very valuable capabilities that a lot of NATO and ISAF – NATO allies and ISAF partners don’t have in terms of rapid deployment --
QUESTION: Be as specific as you can here. (Laughter.)
MR. KELLY: (Laughter.) Rapid deployment --
QUESTION: Well, yeah?
MR. KELLY: -- and other capabilities of a major power like France.
QUESTION: You say the French have better rapid deployment ability than the U.S. or, say, a country that’s --
MR. KELLY: No, no. I’m just – but it’s an international effort, and we want to do this in concert with our allies. As I say, there are 43 countries involved in Afghanistan, and only a few have the kind of capabilities that France and the UK and the U.S. and other countries have.
QUESTION: Speaking of the international effort and the expectation that there’ll be an acceleration of troop movements to Afghanistan, can you bring us up to date in what the discussions are with Russia for the air corridor supply to Afghanistan?
MR. KELLY: Well, I know that we had intensive discussions a couple weeks ago when Ambassador Holbrooke was out there. We do have an agreement to use that corridor to overfly or transit Russian territory. And we’ve had a couple of flights – two, I said a couple, that’s two – and I’m not sure exactly what the plans are for more flights. I’m not trying to kick the ball across the river, but it really is the Pentagon that would – that has the implementation.
QUESTION: Well, they very diplomatically say that it’s actually a State Department concern, hammering out the --
MR. KELLY: Well, yeah. I mean, we did participate in these diplomatic discussions in Moscow which were focused mostly on logistical details, such as payment of fees and overflight rights.
QUESTION: But it sounds as if that kind of sputtering along won’t provide the huge potential overflights that are needed.
MR. KELLY: Well, I’m not so sure we need the – that kind of huge potential. I think it all depends on where the material is coming from and where it’s pre-deployed, and – but again, these are – I’m getting into Pentagon details here.
QUESTION: Can we stay on Russia for just a second here? It looks like there are some quite sharp disagreements between NATO and Russia on the eve of the NATO-Russia Council meeting that you mentioned. I wanted to ask you a couple of things with regard to that. First, what do you think the chance is to overcome those differences? Reportedly, Canada blocked some draft documents that were supposed to be adopted at that meeting.
MR. KELLY: Yeah.
QUESTION: And secondly, do you think there will be a meaningful discussion on the Russian proposals to create a new transatlantic security architecture that the Kremlin mentioned a number of times --
MR. KELLY: Yeah.
QUESTION: -- before? It released actually the draft treaty over the weekend. Yeah.
MR. KELLY: Right. On the NATO-Russia Council meeting, I think there was just a statement out by my colleague in Brussels, James Appathurai, who said that NATO does look forward to a productive meeting at the NATO-Russia Council on Friday. So it’s a – that’s a NATO issue, and I’ll just refer you to the NATO statement.
On the draft European security treaty, President Obama received a letter from President Medvedev which was – which contained the draft treaty. This was on Friday. We’re studying the proposal carefully, and we consider it to be an important contribution to the ongoing debate on European security, which has been taking place as part of the Corfu Process. We believe any proposal must build on the existing body of commitments we have developed together over three decades, as well as central structures such as the OSCE and NATO. These commitments and structures have helped to ensure security in Europe.
We hope to make a decision at this OSCE ministerial to continue the Corfu Process of dialogue through 2010. We welcome the underlying message in the treaty, which is a commitment to open consultations on European security concerns. We continue to embrace a comprehensive approach to security in Europe, which encompasses the political, military, economic, environmental, and human dimensions, and agree entirely with President Medvedev that we need to continue our efforts to adjust to new and emerging threats to European security.
This approach must continue to embrace agreed principles of international relations, including the indivisibility of security, the right of countries to choose their own alliances and security structures, and the requirement of host country consent for the stationing of foreign forces on their territory.
We look forward to working with the Russian Federation and our other partners in Europe in the days and months to come to further elaborate an agreed approach on these important issues.
QUESTION: So you would agree entirely with President Medvedev, and then you just listed about eight things where you completely disagree with him. Hosting of foreign forces --
MR. KELLY: Well, wait a second.
MR. KELLY: We agree entirely --
QUESTION: -- almost entirely.
MR. KELLY: We agree entirely with President Medvedev that we need to continue our efforts to adjust to new and emerging threats to European security.
QUESTION: Yeah. But then you listed about eight caveats where --
MR. KELLY: We agree on that need to address openly the emerging security threats in Europe. That’s what we agree entirely on.
QUESTION: Well – yeah, but then after that, you list these – whatever – however many number of things, on several of which you have profound disagreements with Russia.
MR. KELLY: Well, I’m not going to – yeah, we do have disagreements with Russia on some of the aspects of the way forward. I think we particularly disagree on the role of NATO and --
QUESTION: Yeah, and the right of countries to join whatever alliance they want.
MR. KELLY: And the right of countries to – yeah.
QUESTION: And the stationing of troops and --
MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, we – I think you know where we stand on that too and --
QUESTION: Just a quick tag on to this?
MR. KELLY: Yeah.
MR. KELLY: I have – actually I have some information on – yeah, on the expiration of START.
MR. KELLY: I do have some new guidance on that --
MR. KELLY: -- if you want me to go through that. I have some information on the substitute verification procedures that we started to talk about yesterday.
We’re actively pursuing the means to continue transparency and verification measures on a bilateral basis with Russia during the period between START expiration and entry into force of the new treaty. We believe that the success of the verification procedures in the existing START treaty has given us a positive base to build on in the new treaty. This positive base includes transparency, openness and predictability as part of this relationship with Russia that’s come out of the START treaty, and we want this new kind of relationship to continue.
Just to reiterate, the two presidents agreed in July that the new treaty would contain verification treaties that are adapted, simplified, and made less costly in comparison with the procedures in the START treaty. We believe the new treaty will not be identical to START in terms of the verification regime, but what is in the new treaty has to ensure effective verification of the terms of the treaty.
QUESTION: Is the – so that’s – this is this bridging mechanism we were talking about yesterday?
MR. KELLY: Yeah. I don’t if we’re calling it a bridging mechanism, per se. This is – there are sort of – it’s a politically binding bilateral agreement.
QUESTION: Okay. But would it have – would it then – so this would – it’s agreed that this would come into force when START falls out of force?
MR. KELLY: Well, that’s what we’re working towards.
QUESTION: Okay. So that – we haven’t actually got that agreement in place yet?
MR. KELLY: No, we don’t have it in place yet.
MR. KELLY: But we are working hard on it.
QUESTION: But Ian, yesterday when that question was asked, what if – you know, what if you don’t come up with something by Saturday, did you get the answer to that?
MR. KELLY: Well, first of all, we don’t want to prejudge that we’re not going to be able to come up with something by Saturday. One thing that I did clarify is that we believe that we can keep some of the – not all of them, but some of these verification measures in place via a politically binding agreement. We don’t necessarily need a legally binding agreement that there are – we could have an agreement between the U.S. and Russia that would keep some of these mechanisms in place. But I can’t – I don’t really want to go into what all the different details of it is, because we have an ongoing negotiation.
QUESTION: But does it require an additional conversation on your side?
MR. KELLY: It’s my understanding it does not necessarily.
QUESTION: Is that the difference between a political and a legally binding --
MR. KELLY: Yeah, I think so.
MR. KELLY: If I’m wrong on that, we’ll get back to you. Like I say, whenever I talk about legal matters, I always want to make sure I check with the lawyers after I say it. I should check right before I say it, but in this case, after I say it.
Yeah. Also on Russia?
MR. KELLY: No?
MR. KELLY: Back to Afghanistan, okay.
MR. KELLY: Goyal, I’ll get back to you.
MR. KELLY: Go ahead.
QUESTION: Yeah, if you are talking about international effort to Afghanistan, what is the main goal for the United States? Does the United States try to get military and operational support, or just more civilian or – and diplomatic support?
MR. KELLY: No, it’s a comprehensive approach, or a blended approach. It’s civilian and military. I think a lot of the focus of this discussion has been on the security aspects of it, which is absolutely essential, because before we can get an Afghanistan that is secure and has good governance, people need to feel safe. So I would say that this is a – we talk about different legs of the effort – the civilian part, the military part, defense, development, diplomacy. This is all one effort. It’s a blended effort, really.
QUESTION: The question (inaudible) on India is, as far as Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh’s visit was concerned here, of course, it was an honor for India, first state dinner. But what many Indian Americans here and Indians in India are asking: What was really achieved during his visit, the first dinner ever – state under this Administration? Can you give some analysis or some of your views for them to understand what was achieved during his visit?
MR. KELLY: Well, I think we achieved some important agreements, and we signed several agreements right here at the State Department. But I think the main thing was it underscored the growing importance of our relationship of the United States with the world’s largest democracy, of a country that is growing in importance not only regionally, but globally. And we, I think, opened up some new areas for cooperation and for discussion, particularly in the areas of energy and climate change. So I think it was a – it was really an historic visit, that we had some specific accomplishments. But I think in the long run, the important thing was that we agreed on the need for a strategic partnership in both regional and global issues.
QUESTION: May I have one more on HIV/AIDS, please? Going back to Ambassador – we didn’t have much time. A quick question, that – you think – don’t you think that education is the more key to focus on education globally through the UN or around the globe as far as this disease is concerned?
MR. KELLY: In terms of AIDS?
QUESTION: HIV/AIDS, yeah.
MR. KELLY: Yeah, I think education and – is the key to prevention. And prevention, of course, is the key to limiting the scope of the disease.
Yeah, in the back.
MR. KELLY: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: -- such as the Okinawa reversion and the nuclear weapons. I was just wondering if the Japan – Japanese Government has asked the U.S. Government for any help in these investigations, and whether it’s had any effect on U.S.-Japan relations.
MR. KELLY: Well, I think you’ve heard that we’ve set up this high-level working group. This is primarily to assist the Government of Japan in its review of – in particular, the Futenma replacement facility agreement. We’re going to have – there’s going to be another meeting of the high-level working group December 3 and 4 in Tokyo. It’ll be led by Mr. Kevin Maher, who’s the Director of our Office of Japan Affairs here in the East Asia and Pacific Bureau.
But I think, just in general, we’ve been very active in helping explain some of these agreements. A lot of these old agreements going back 40 years or so have been released to the public through the Freedom of Information Act and other means. And I think the key here is that we were – we do want to actively help in their review of their policy, and we’re trying to be transparent as possible.
QUESTION: So has it had any effect on U.S.-Japan relations at all?
MR. KELLY: Our relations with Japan are so broad and so deep, I can’t imagine that a review of this sort really would have an impact on the relations.
QUESTION: Nothing in particular – well, I’m wondering if you might want to give us your thoughts about the importance of the OSCE and the indispensable nature and indispensable role it plays in coordinating security in Europe, and what you think about the city of Vienna, too.
MR. KELLY: (Laughter.) On advice of counsel, I’m taking that question. (Laughter.) If there are no other questions, I will wish you all a good day.
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(The briefing was concluded at 2:06 p.m.)
DPB # 204