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U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action


Ian Kelly
Department Spokesman
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
December 11, 2009


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Index for Today's Briefing
  • SECRETARY
    • Secretary Clinton delivers the keynote address to the American Pakistan Foundation's Inaugural Gala Benefit in New York City tonight
  • POLAND
    • Under Secretary of State Tauscher and Polish Under Secretary of Defense Komorowski today signed an Agreement Between the Governments of the U.S. and Poland—a bilateral Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA)
  • PAKISTAN
    • Six Americans detained in Pakistan were visited by a consular officer/All six signed Privacy Act Waivers and expressly asked that the media not be spoken to regarding their situation/The consular officer checked on their welfare, provided a list of attorneys, and offered to facilitate communication with their families/No charges against them are pending in either the U.S. or Pakistan
  • AFGHANISTAN
    • The head of the UN mission in Afghanistan has announced that he will leave the organization next year/Kai Eide has served admirably in this position since March 2008/His work is thoroughly appreciated and he has made outstanding contributions to our efforts in Afghanistan
  • BURMA
    • The U.S. Embassy in Burma has contacted the Burmese government regarding the case of an American citizen being detained in that country/The U.S. is closely watching the Kyaw Zaw Lwin case and consular officers have visited him six times since his arrest on September 3, 2009
  • MOROCCO
    • The Secretary has spoken with the FM of Morocco regarding the case of Western Sahara independence activist Aminatou Haidar who is on a hunger strike in Spain/The topic will again be raised when the FM of Spain visits the Secretary on Monday, December 14/Ms. Haidar recently received a human rights award in the U.S.
  • IRAN
    • The U.S. still continues to have "grave concerns" regarding Iran's nuclear-related activities and violations of safeguards and restrictions/The U.S. and other nations will deal with Iran on two tracks-the first being a constructive agreement that has been placed on the table and the second being pressure/Actions against Iran must be dealt with on a multilateral basis
  • IRAQ
    • Regarding Iraqi plans to relocate the residents of Ashraf (MeK) to other locations in Iraq, the U.S. expects that such a move will be handled lawfully and humanely
  • ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS
    • Regarding a recent statement made by a senior Israeli official regarding settlement expansion in the West Bank, U.S. policy remains "crystal clear" and has not changed
  • HONDURAS
    • The U.S. pronounced the recent elections in Honduras as being fully open and transparent, and support the outcome/The election process was well-run by the electoral commission and the U.S. respects the rights of the Honduran people to choose their leaders and affect their own political will/Any allegations of voting problems should be investigated


TRANSCRIPT:

1:21 p.m. EST

MR. KELLY: Okay. Good afternoon. A couple of things at the top. You know that Secretary Clinton is going to be the guest of honor tonight and deliver the keynote address at the American Pakistan Foundation’s inaugural benefit in New York. The American Pakistan Foundation is dedicated to improving the social and economic condition of the people of Pakistan. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former prime minister of Pakistan, Moeen Qureshi will serve as honorary co-chairs of the inaugural benefit and the foundation.

Secretary Clinton saw this potential and wanted to see the Pakistani American community organize to help Pakistan the way that other successful diaspora communities have organized in the United States. That is why we encouraged members of the community to come together and establish the American Pakistan Foundation.

Most importantly, this will be a foundation completely independent of either the U.S. or Pakistani governments. We’ve lent our encouragement to the Pakistani American community to pursue this endeavor, but this is a community and not a governmental effort. There are some fields where the government is the solution, but only the hard work and dedication of an entire community can provide the long-term support for development and democracy that Pakistan so greatly needs today. Many people have worked very hard to make this foundation a reality, and that work will continue after today’s public launch.

QUESTION: Do you want to give out her speech as well? (Laughter.)

MR. KELLY: I actually cut some of that out.

QUESTION: Not enough.

MR. KELLY: We’re also pleased to announce that Under Secretary of State Ellen Tauscher and Polish Under Secretary of Defense Stanislaw Komorowski signed the agreement between the Government of the U.S. and the Government of the Republic of Poland on the status of armed forces of the U.S. in the territory of the Republic of Poland today in Warsaw.

This bilateral Status of Forces Agreement will supplement the multilateral NATO Status of Forces Agreement signed in 1951. It defines the legal status of U.S. military personnel and U.S. nationals, working in Poland in joint programs in support of our national security. This agreement will facilitate a range of mutually agreed activities, including joint training and exercises, deployments of U.S. military personnel and prospective ballistic missile defense deployments.

The SOFA demonstrates the strength of the U.S.-Poland Strategic Alliance.

QUESTION: I’m sorry, you said there was a SOFA dating from 1951?

MR. KELLY: The NATO SOFA covering all NATO allies was dated 1951.

QUESTION: With Poland?

MR. KELLY: Poland obviously was not a member in 1951 --

QUESTION: Yeah, I know.

MR. KELLY: -- but they did become a member subsequently. And of course, all these earlier instruments apply to NATO members.

QUESTION: Pakistan.

MR. KELLY: Pakistan.

QUESTION: What’s the latest on the American detainees?

MR. KELLY: A consular officer visited the detained Americans today in Sargodha. The U.S. citizens, each of them, signed Privacy Act waivers and – but expressly asked that we not speak to the media about their situation. We confirm that six of the detainees have U.S. citizenship. This visit was carried out like all such consular visits. In these kinds of visits, consular officers check on the welfare of U.S. citizens who have been detained, provide them with a list of legal counsel available, and offer to facilitate communication with friends and family.

QUESTION: They signed Privacy Act waivers?

MR. KELLY: They signed a Privacy Act waiver, but with a specific request that we not speak to the media about their situation.

QUESTION: Well, then why did they bother to sign this Privacy Act waiver in the first place?

MR. KELLY: Well, there are other parts of the Privacy Act waiver where they authorize us to speak to members of Congress or they authorize us to speak to other branches of government.

QUESTION: All right. What’s your understanding of their situation from the Pakistani authorities? Are they going to be deported? What’s the next step here?

MR. KELLY: Again, I am not allowed to talk about their situation.

QUESTION: Well, this has nothing to do with them.

MR. KELLY: Actually, it has everything to do with them.

QUESTION: It has – it doesn’t have anything to do with the Privacy Act waiver.

MR. KELLY: Sure, it does.

QUESTION: No, because the Pakistani authorities are going to do something with them --

MR. KELLY: Well, they --

QUESTION: -- which has nothing to do with the Privacy Act waiver.

MR. KELLY: I know, but it still has an impact on their situation. They have said that we do not authorize the U.S. Government or any of its representatives to talk to the media about their situation.

QUESTION: Well, wait a second. I mean, well, let’s try a different way. Was any other U.S. officials besides a consular officer visited them today – any DS personnel or FBI legats assigned to the --

MR. KELLY: I am not aware that anybody but the consular officer visited them today.

QUESTION: And are you aware of any requests by the U.S. Government to bring them back to the United States?

MR. KELLY: They are not under charges here and they’re not under charges in Pakistan.

QUESTION: What does that mean? They can just come back, or they can stay or – they’re in detention.

MR. KELLY: They’re in detention. I’m not sure what that precisely means under Pakistani law, frankly.

QUESTION: That’s not the same thing Charlie was asking, which was whether the United States would like them to be brought back here.

MR. KELLY: That’s really a question for their families. It’s not a question for me.

QUESTION: Well, I don’t know if it is. I mean, it’s --

MR. KELLY: If you’re asking me --

QUESTION: They’re in detention – they’re in detention in a foreign country.

MR. KELLY: If you’re asking me as the State Department Spokesman, do we want them to come back, that’s really not appropriate for me to answer.

QUESTION: Well --

MR. KELLY: I think you’re implying in that other issues that don’t – that wouldn’t necessarily pertain to the Department of State.

QUESTION: Well, we’re talking about a number of American citizens detained abroad. Would you like them released?

MR. KELLY: I just – I’m not going to answer that. I understand that your job is to try and get as much information as you can. I understand that and I appreciate it. I respect it. I also am, as a representative of the United States Government, I have been expressly told by American citizens they do not want me to discuss their situation to the media, so I have to respect that and --

QUESTION: But Ian --

QUESTION: We’re asking for the government’s position. What is the U.S. Government’s position about whether it wants them to come back? Not their – not their --

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- interests?

MR. KELLY: Sorry, I don’t think we necessarily have a position on – this is a – they have not been charged.

QUESTION: Right.

MR. KELLY: We – there are no charges pending here in the United States. There are no charges pending in Pakistan. Our role in this is to ensure that they are treated properly and they have access to a list of attorneys, and we stand ready to facilitate communication with friends and family.

QUESTION: Have they been treated properly?

QUESTION: So if they had been – if the Pakistanis were to release them because no charges – for whatever reason, that’s fine with the U.S. and the U.S. has no interest in them – the U.S. Government?

MR. KELLY: They have specifically asked, and they have the right under U.S. law, not to have the U.S. Government discuss their situation, so I’m going to respect that.

QUESTION: And yet Ian, you have told us a couple of facts, right? You said Pakistan consular – I’m sorry, consular officers visited in Sargodha --

MR. KELLY: That’s right.

QUESTION: -- and that six have U.S. citizenship. So you’ve told us a couple of things, so how do you define what you can tell and what you can’t?

MR. KELLY: They specifically don’t want us to talk about their situation. We – I mean, we have a job to do as well, and that job is to be available to visit American citizens who are under detention or under arrest or in jail, and offer the kind of services that I just outlined. This is the kind of statement of fact that we feel that we should be able to talk about in public, and it is clear to the individuals involved that we will talk about it.

QUESTION: But as a statement of fact, couldn’t you – it seems like a statement of fact that if the Pakistan – Pakistani authorities had notified the United States that they were going to deport them, that would be a statement of fact as opposed to something else, right?

MR. KELLY: I’m not sure that they have informed us that they plan to --

QUESTION: Right. I’m just speaking --

MR. KELLY: -- support them.

QUESTION: -- kind of hypothetically here. But isn’t that something that you would be able to tell us, as a fact?

MR. KELLY: I think once it’s public information, yes, but it’s not public information. I haven’t seen the Pakistani authorities make any official announcement on what they plan to do besides the fact that they’re not charged.

QUESTION: So do you --

QUESTION: But while they were detained and (inaudible) --

MR. KELLY: I refer you to Pakistani authorities while they were --

QUESTION: Is it safe to assume that they were given this list of attorneys?

MR. KELLY: I think it is safe to assume that we made the offer of giving them that kind of list. Whether we gave it to them or not, I don’t know.

QUESTION: Now if they’re not being charged with anything, why would they need a lawyer?

MR. KELLY: This is – it’s standard procedure for us anytime anyone is under detention, if they do want to have a lawyer, that we provide them with the kind of information that they would need to contact a lawyer.

QUESTION: Does the U.S. see these men as a security threat to the United States?

MR. KELLY: I would really refer you to the Department of Homeland Security for that question. I don’t have a view on that.

QUESTION: And presumably going over – reportedly going over to fight against American troops that are deployed in Afghanistan?

MR. KELLY: It’s all – this is all reportedly and hearsay. They haven’t been charged with anything.

QUESTION: So I can say --

QUESTION: In the speech tonight, will the Secretary touch on this issue at all?

MR. KELLY: I can’t see into the future necessarily what she’s going to say or not going to say.

QUESTION: Well, you usually kind of know a little bit about what she’s going to say.

MR. KELLY: Okay. The answer is I don’t know.

QUESTION: Since you can say very little about their case, can you at least say they were treated well? That’s one of your concerns, right?

MR. KELLY: Sure, it’s one of our concerns. But again, they said we do not want you to talk about our situation, so I can’t tell you whether they were treated well or not.

QUESTION: So --

MR. KELLY: I really think we should probably move on to a more productive line of questioning.

QUESTION: You can’t tell if they were in good condition or not; you can’t say that? Or they’ve been tortured?

MR. KELLY: No, I can’t, because they specifically said you can’t talk about --

QUESTION: So in other words, you’re going to leave it open the question that they’ve been mistreated in prison?

MR. KELLY: They specifically said we do not want you to discuss their situation.

QUESTION: You’ve gotten hung out to dry here. (Laughter.)

MR. KELLY: Hey, well, I’m here to uphold U.S. law, and American citizens have said they don’t want any U.S. Government officials to talk about their situation. So if I’m hung out to dry, I’m doing it --

QUESTION: Well, with the guidance.

QUESTION: Can you talk about the CIA missile attacks or some attacks? Some high-level al-Qaida or somebody got killed or not? Can you clarify, please?

MR. KELLY: Anybody have any productive line of questioning? (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Yeah, I got – can we move next door to Afghanistan?

QUESTION: Privacy Act waiver from (inaudible) --

QUESTION: Do you have any reaction to the decision by Kai Eide --

QUESTION: Can I just follow up on the CIA thing? Have you had – hi, if I heard correctly, we had a question about Blackwater, of being involved in this --

MR. KELLY: No, we didn’t have a question about Blackwater.

QUESTION: Well, then can I go ahead and ask that now? What do you think about The New York Times story about Blackwater working side by side with the CIA and these raids against some suspected insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq?

MR. KELLY: I refer you to my colleague across the river at the Central Intelligence Agency. So that’s three questions where I haven’t been able to answer.

QUESTION: Well, is it --

MR. KELLY: Anybody got a question that I can answer?

QUESTION: But is that the kind of thing that you would support, though, in theory, the idea? Or does it carry too many risks with it having had a contract with Blackwater before? Is this the kind of thing that just, in theory, would be too risky to do?

MR. KELLY: I’m just – I’m going to decline to answer that question. You’re asking me to get into matters that are clearly related to intelligence issues, and it is just not appropriate for me to answer that question.

Yeah, Matt, I’m sorry. You were interrupted.

QUESTION: Yeah. That’s okay. Kai Eide, the UN rep in Afghanistan, says that he is not going to extend his tour or doesn’t want to be considered to be extended. Do you have anything to say about that?

MR. KELLY: If you just hold on just a second. I understand that Kai Eide’s tour is coming to an end. We greatly appreciate the work that Kai Eide has done. He’s had a very productive partnership with us and with the UN. We look forward to continuing to work with him for the duration of his tenure. And of course, this is going to be a critical period as we transition to a new government under President Karzai.

We’ll note that his departure is in line with his original intention to remain with UNAMA for two years. There is much work for the UN and the U.S. to do together as we move forward with the Afghans on addressing major challenges like corruption and governance. And we are confident that his replacement, when named, can bring the same kind of excellent leadership to the international effort.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Lalit?

QUESTION: Different issue. This American national arrested in Burma, he’s on hunger strike for last one week. His trial was scheduled for today but was canceled and there’s reports that consular access has been denied to him. Do you have any readout on it?

MR. KELLY: Do you remember the name of this individual?

QUESTION: Yeah, Nyi Nyi Aung. He’s an American national of Burmese origin.

MR. KELLY: Yeah. I know that we’re aware of the situation, and the Embassy has been in contact with the Burmese Government to express our concern and to ensure that he’s being treated well. If I have other information, or if we have other information that we can share with you, we’ll be happy to --

QUESTION: Has the ambassador been given access to him of late, after he went on hunger strike?

MR. KELLY: I believe the answer to that is yes. But because I want to be 100 percent sure of that, let’s see if we can get you that information.

Yeah, Lach.

QUESTION: On another human rights issue. Did the Secretary talk to her Moroccan counterpart about the case of the woman hunger striker in Spain, Haidar?

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: Did she talk to the Moroccan foreign minister?

MR. KELLY: She did. She did speak yesterday with the Moroccan foreign minister and she did note our concern about the state of health for Ms. Haidar and expressed our concern that we try and resolve her situation as quickly as possible.

QUESTION: What – did she say Morocco might have let her back in? Was she as explicit as that?

MR. KELLY: I don’t think I want to get into that kind of level of detail, just that we are concerned about her situation.

QUESTION: Ian --

MR. KELLY: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Spanish Foreign Minister Moratinos is coming on Monday to visit Secretary Clinton.

MR. KELLY: Right.

QUESTION: And apparently what this woman – this case is one of the main subjects. How does the U.S. think – could mediate for – what else could the U.S. do for mediating this case?

MR. KELLY: Mm-hmm. Well, I think, first and foremost, we are concerned about Ms. Haidar’s health. Because as you note, she is on hunger strike and it’s been for quite a while. I think it’s been for several weeks, and so that’s, I think, our first concern. But I think we also want to be able to resolve this – the situation that she’s in. And I think it’s – I don’t know if we’re necessarily going to play a mediating effort in this. I think this is a bilateral issue, first and foremost, between Morocco and Spain. But she expressed in her telephone call yesterday with the Moroccan foreign minister our concern, and I’m sure she’ll express that same kind of concern on Monday with Foreign Minister Moratinos.

QUESTION: Did it come up when she met the Algerian foreign minister this week? They discussed Western Sahara and --

MR. KELLY: I’m not sure, Lach. I don’t think so.

QUESTION: Speaking about people in prison, did you have anything to say about the charges of subversion that have been quoted -- that the Chinese have lodged against this dissident, the petition -- Liu, I think his name is, the petition guy?

MR. KELLY: Matt, we did have guidance on this, but I don’t have it right now. So let me – let’s – we’ll get it to you after the briefing.

Yeah. David.

QUESTION: The Turkish Constitutional Court has banned the Democratic Society Party which has ties to the PKK. And is there any reaction to that?

MR. KELLY: I know that Ambassador Jeffrey is in town and we’re talking to him. And we – I just – I want to make sure that we give you the right reaction and give Ambassador Jeffrey a chance to talk about it. So we’ll have some reaction, but later.

QUESTION: Later today?

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: Okay.

MR. KELLY: Yeah, Jill.

QUESTION: Ian, today the Secretary had some very strong comments about Iran and the Revolutionary Guard. And she seemed to be saying that after the election they have begun to exert even more influence on what is happening in Iran.

MR. KELLY: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Was she saying, or can you elaborate a little bit on whether the – let’s say, the hardening of the position on the nuclear issue is connected at all to the growing influence of the Revolutionary Guard?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, I think – I mean, yes, we do have – I mean, we have grave concerns about the fact that Iran still has not complied with its international obligations. I think that you saw that the EU Council put out a strong statement expressing those concerns, and we certainly echo the concerns that were in the EU Council statement.

I think that we have been quite clear that – quite clear and really quite patient that we have an offer of constructive engagement on the table, and we’ve been united with our international partners in urging Iran to engage with us productively. And you know about the proposal that’s on the table.

We do have concerns about the situation in Iran. We’ve condemned the violence against those who are peacefully expressing their right to their political views. And we understand that there are some political challenges in Iran right now because of Iran’s refusal to respect the right of the people to express their views. You’ve heard what the President said that we’re – we have this offer on the table, this offer of engagement. At the same time, we have another track besides the engagement track, the track of pressure. As it becomes clearer that Iran is unable to make a positive response to this offer of engagement, we’re going to start looking more and more to the pressure track.

QUESTION: Can I ask – the State Department, though, is encouraging the Hill to slow down and work on this – on the oil – refined oil petroleum sanctions. And I wonder, are you mainly – are you worried about those kind of sanctions and focusing more on targeted sanctions on the Revolutionary Guard?

MR. KELLY: Well, I think – first of all, I don’t think that we’re – I don’t think we’re telling the Hill to slow down. I think that we want to make sure that, whatever kind of package is being considered, that it’s the right kind of package. And I think we also want to be sure that whatever we do, we do it multilaterally. I mean, that just makes good practical sense. Any kind of pressure is going to be more effective if it’s implemented broadly and not simply bilaterally.

But as we get to the end of the year, which is kind of the loose deadline the President gave, we’re going to start looking more and more about – more and more into some of these options that we have. But I wouldn’t say that we’re discouraging the Congress from doing those things.

QUESTION: On Nepal?

MR. KELLY: On Nepal?

QUESTION: Yes, sir.

MR. KELLY: Okay.

QUESTION: More than – Maoist has more than 3,000 children in their army to fight and special representative from UN Secretary General is going to visit Nepal, and Maoist still recruiting minors in their army. If U.S. has any role to play or what any views on the minors in the army?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. I know I’m racking up the list of taken questions, Goyal, but I’m going to take that question as well to make sure that I give you the right answer.

Lach.

QUESTION: On Iraq, Camp Ashraf, the Iranian opposition, says that the Iraqis are going to move them next Tuesday, I think. Are you going to try and use your influence with the Iraqis not to move them? The opposition says there’ll be bloodshed if they do attempt to do that.

MR. KELLY: Well, I think what we would do, first and foremost, is to urge the Iraqi authorities to conduct any such relocation with the residents of Camp Ashraf, that it be done in a lawful and humane way. They’ve made clear to us, to the Government of the U.S., that they do plan to do this. And this is entirely an Iraqi planned initiative. And as I said before, we’d expect this be carried out in a humane way.

We have, all along, recognized Iraqi sovereignty over the entire territory of Iraq, including the area where Camp Ashraf is located. And as I think we’ve said before, the Government of Iraq has assured us that they would not deport any of these citizens to any country where they would – if you have a well-rounded fear of being treated inhumanely.

So we – I mean, we’re engaging the Government of Iraq. Diplomatically, we respect Iraqi sovereignty. But of course, we’re making it clear that we would expect these – the residents of Camp Ashraf to be treated well and with respect.

QUESTION: Did you raise the incident that occurred a few months ago during the raid? There were a number of deaths a few months ago. Did you – was it in the background there?

MR. KELLY: Yes, we have raised that. Yeah.

QUESTION: Did you raise it in the context of this new move, that you don’t want to see it go like that?

MR. KELLY: Well, I think that’s – that incident, I think, is in the back of everybody’s mind as we consider events related to Camp Ashraf.

Yeah. David.

QUESTION: Benny Begin, the Israeli cabinet minister, is saying today that as many as 10,000 settlers could go to the – to West Bank settlements next year despite this freeze on settlements. Is there any reaction to that?

MR. KELLY: I mean, well, clearly, you know what our policy on settlements is.

QUESTION: Were you – was there an understanding that this was – that this could happen despite the freeze?

MR. KELLY: I’m not aware that there’s any understanding. But our policy is absolutely crystal clear on settlements, where our focus is on getting the two sides together to – in a negotiation working towards a comprehensive peace. And we would discourage any activity that would hinder that kind of – those kinds of talks starting up again.

QUESTION: But have you actually raised this issue with the Israeli Government --

MR. KELLY: I’m not sure.

QUESTION: -- fear of this particular plan?

MR. KELLY: This is the first I’m hearing about this particular statement by this Israeli minister.

Yeah, Lalit.

QUESTION: In the last couple of months, developments have indicated that Pakistan-based terrorist organizations like Lashkar e-Tayyiba and Jaish e-Mohammed, are trying to win over the hearts and minds of the some of the American youths over here. Is it an issue of concern to you? And how do you plan to handle that?

MR. KELLY: It’s absolutely an issue of concern for us. I mean, it’s – and it points out the need for concerted international action. Because of modern technology, these kinds of organizations with their murderous message can – they can promulgate their views anywhere in the world. Anybody who has a computer can – has access to this brutal propaganda. And it just points out the need for all countries to work together. And it also points out the importance of the partnership that we have with Pakistan in meeting this common challenge.

QUESTION: And as compared to al-Qaida and Taliban, how serious the threat from Lashkar e-Tayyiba and Jaish e-Mohammed to the U.S. national security?

MR. KELLY: Well, I don’t know if I’m expert enough really to comment on that. I mean, this is obviously – Lashkar e-Tayyiba is obviously a extremely dangerous organization. The events in Mumbai dramatically have shown that. They were – they’re willing to undertake operations across borders, and that, by definition, I think, would make them a very dangerous organization that the whole international community should take seriously.

QUESTION: May I just follow up quick? Lisa Curtis of the Heritage Foundation, she has written and she is saying that Pakistan must stop Lashkar before it’s too late, even for the U.S. and also in the region. What action do you think Pakistan is taking? And is the Secretary going to touch on this issue tonight, maybe to the Pakistani community?

MR. KELLY: Well, I don’t know if she’s going to get into sort of specific counterterrorism activities, but I’m sure she will highlight this common challenge that we face, and the common mission that we’re undertaking now with Pakistan and with other partners in the region. And so I’m sure that will be one of her messages.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Yes. Honduran elections and Clinton’s conference today. There are still a growing number of Latin American countries, human rights and democracy groups who are voicing their concerns over the outcome of the election, the run-up to the election and the elections in general. And they’re concerned about the U.S. recognition of this election of in the long run. So do you think in the long run, this was a wise decision to recognize the Honduran elections in regards to the new way forward President Obama committed to in Trinidad and Tobago?

MR. KELLY: I think what we did is we pronounced the elections free and fair, that they were conducted in an open and transparent way. They were --

QUESTION: But Mr. Kelly, before the elections, there were a lot of problems with human rights violations, judicial killings, executions.

MR. KELLY: Yeah. And we were – I mean, we were very –

QUESTION: And after that climate, how is it going to be a legitimate election?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. And we were very open about our concerns about some of those actions. But I think that the key for us is that the candidates who ran for election all declared their candidacy well before the coup in June. And the elections themselves were run by an independent body and independent electoral commission. And the Honduran people, they showed their very strong support for the elections by their turnout and their eagerness to express their democratic right. And I think we have to respect that. I think we have to respect the need of the Honduran people to look to the future, and that’s the way we see these elections. Having said that, there’s still a lot to be done in Honduras for reconciliation, and this is why we feel the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord needs to be implemented fully, and there’s still some very important things that have to be done – establishing the national unity government and establishing the truth commission.

QUESTION: And if I could just follow up with that, that tribunal – after post-election found that they went back on their statistics which found 62 percent voted for the incoming government. It was actually barely half of that really did vote in the election. It was blank ballots and some people didn’t even show up, which, you know, calls into question the legitimacy of the election if barely – with more than half the people didn’t come to vote.

MR. KELLY: Well, we’re actually not aware of that. I’m not aware of these kinds of allegations, and if there are these kinds of allegations, they should be thoroughly investigated, because as I say, the – what we have to look for is the future of the Honduran people, and it’s important that whatever government is installed enjoys legitimacy and reflects the political will of the Honduran people. But I don’t – I’m not aware of the specific allegations that you’re mentioning.

QUESTION: And one more thing on that: Representatives from Zelaya’s government here in D.C. at the embassy, including the ambassador, said that – told me that the U.S. has jeopardized its commitments to multilateral engagement with Latin America because of recognizing these elections. Do you have any thoughts on Zelaya’s comments on that as well as the embassy?

MR. KELLY: No, I haven’t seen Mr. Zelaya’s comments, so I’ll defer comment on it.

Yeah. You’ve been waiting a long time.

QUESTION: Can we get any reaction or statement for the Turkish Constitutional Court decision this afternoon?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. I was asked that a few minutes ago.

QUESTION: Yeah, I know.

MR. KELLY: We’re going to have a statement soon.

QUESTION: Sure, okay.

MR. KELLY: Okay. Thank you.

QUESTION: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:54 p.m.)



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