12:45 p.m. EDT
All right. Well, welcome on Monday to the briefing room. Hope you all had a relatively relaxing three-day weekend. I can’t say mine was entirely unbrokenly relaxed, but it was a good weekend.
Let me – I just want to make first a couple of updates to the Secretary’s schedule and then just read some remarks at the top. The Secretary is in the office today. She stopped by Deputy Steinberg’s meeting with Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, his meeting today. No readout of that yet. She’s also going over to the NSC this afternoon for a small group meeting.
And then a few words on the dramatic developments over the weekend with the OAS: As you know, on July 4th
, the U.S. joined other OAS member-states in unanimously deciding to suspend the right of Honduras to participate in the OAS. Our goal remains the restoration of the democratic order in Honduras. And we renew our call on all political and social actors in Honduras to find a peaceful solution to this crisis.
We regret the necessity of this measure and look forward to the day when circumstances will allow the measure to be lifted and Honduras’ participation resumed. It’s important to note that under the provisions of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, this suspension does not mean the end of OAS diplomatic initiatives to resolve the situation, nor does it relieve Honduras of its legal obligations to the organization, particularly full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
In this regard, we deplore the use of force against demonstrators in Tegucigalpa in recent days. We once again call upon the de facto regime and all actors in Honduras to refrain from all acts of violence and seek a peaceful, constitutional, and lasting solution to the serious divisions in that country through dialogue. Similarly, we call on all OAS member-states to act individually and collectively in a manner that protects and enhances the well-being of the Honduran people by ensuring continued outreach to Honduran civil society, maintaining the effective flow of humanitarian assistance, and rejecting the incitement and use of violence to effect political change.
And with that, I will take your questions. QUESTION:
Hey, Ian. MR. KELLY:
Have you figured out yet what – when you say you seek the restoration of democratic order, have you guys yet figured out exactly what that means?MR. KELLY:
Well, I think it means – in the most immediate instance, it means the return of the democratically elected president to Tegucigalpa --QUESTION:
Why don’t you say -- MR. KELLY:
-- the return of Mel Zelaya.QUESTION:
Why don’t you say that, though? I mean, I guess you just said it --MR. KELLY:
-- but why don’t you just say, “We call for his return?”MR. KELLY:
Yeah. Well, we do call for his return.QUESTION:
Okay. And then have you guys made a decision yet on – a determination on whether a military coup has indeed transpired, and therefore whether U.S. aid would have to be cut off?MR. KELLY:
Well, as I said on Thursday, we decided that no aid that would be subject to termination under this law – that none of this kind of aid is now flowing to the de facto regime. We are still in the ongoing process of determining whether the law applies. But we’re not inclined to make a statutory decision while diplomatic initiatives are ongoing.QUESTION:
But there are people on the Hill who feel strongly that despite concern – despite uncertainty about whether or not this was a military coup or not, their view is that it is. I mean, you know, he was arrested in his residence --MR. KELLY:
-- detained, put on a plane by the military, even if the transfer of authority may have actually been conducted by the – you know, by the congress. MR. KELLY:
And I suspect you’re going to have some explaining to do if you don’t actually make a determination one way or the other --MR. KELLY:
-- on this. Do you – you know, while diplomatic efforts are underway, it could be a week, days or weeks or months. Are you essentially going to put this decision in, which is, you know, legally mandated --MR. KELLY:
-- in abeyance until all diplomatic efforts have been exhausted?MR. KELLY:
Well, just a couple of points. One is that there are – most of our activities are excluded under this particular section of the law, and that’s the humanitarian aid and aid to support democracy-building programs.
What we’ve decided to not continue our funding of are those programs that could be construed as having – directly aiding the government or the – what we’re calling the de facto regime of Honduras. And it’s a complicated process, but we recognize that we may make this determination to terminate, and that’s why any programs that could be construed as aiding the government have – none of this aid is flowing through the pipeline now. QUESTION:
What about the – sorry, just a last one from me on this. I thought that the language only specifies aid that is – only excludes aid that is democracy- or democratic processes-related. I didn’t think that it excluded humanitarian aid.MR. KELLY:
I believe it includes humanitarian aid, as well.QUESTION:
Could you double check that?MR. KELLY:
Yeah. We can double check that.QUESTION:
Do you have any amount? How much of it has stopped?MR. KELLY:
I don’t have that information, but I can see if we can get it.QUESTION:
Well, presumably if you stopped it, someone has an idea of how much; at least, I would hope so. MR. KELLY:
That’s a fair assumption. QUESTION:
We’ll see if we can get you that.QUESTION:
Thank you. QUESTION:
That was my question, but I have another one on your contacts with the de facto government. MR. KELLY:
Both the ambassador and – do you plan on meeting a delegation coming here?MR. KELLY:
First of all, we don’t know about a delegation coming here. So this is – if the delegation is from this de facto regime, the State Department wouldn’t meet with them. I mean, if – this is a regime that we don’t recognize. But we don’t have any information about a delegation coming here.
We’ve heard that there may be a delegation going to San Salvador, where President Zelaya is now, but that’s just – again, that’s just reports that we’ve heard.QUESTION:
What about President Zelaya himself?MR. KELLY:
President Zelaya, as I understand it, and you should probably check –QUESTION:
Check exactly where? With his office in San Salvador?MR. KELLY:
You should probably check with his office in San Salvador, yeah.
Well, you know what happened yesterday. He tried to travel to Honduras. The flight was denied clearance to land. The plane first went to Nicaragua and then to El Salvador. President Zelaya met briefly with our chargé in San Salvador last night to discuss his plans. We understand his plans are to remain in San Salvador today and come back to the U.S. tomorrow. And of course, we – we’re just very focused on the need for a dialogue to restore him back and restore the democratic order.QUESTION:
If he comes to the United States tomorrow, does the Administration have any plans to meet him at a senior level?MR. KELLY:
We haven’t made any set plans, but I’m sure we will meet with him at a senior level, but there’s no definite plans yet.QUESTION:
Above the assistant secretary?MR. KELLY:
I’m not prepared to give you sort of definite information on that yet.QUESTION:
So the chargé is the only U.S. official who’s talked with him in recent days?MR. KELLY:
No. I know that Tom Shannon and Dan Restrepo met with him whenever that was, early Sunday morning, July 5th
Ian, Chinese --MR. KELLY:
Is this also on – same – yeah. Also on Honduras? Yeah. QUESTION:
Same issue. Same issue?MR. KELLY:
Okay. We’ll go here and then we’ll come back to you, Goyal. Yeah, go ahead.QUESTION:
We understand that Roberto Flores, who used to be the ambassador before the White House for Mr. Zelaya’s government, he’s back in Honduras. The initial – we were told that he went back to Honduras to present his resignation to the government of Micheletti. Now, there are some reports saying that he’s coming back to the U.S. as ambassador of the de facto government. Do you have any information on that matter?MR. KELLY:
No. No, I don’t, although I would venture to say that somebody who is representing a regime that we do not recognize would have a hard time getting credentialed. QUESTION:
But as far as you – I mean, as far as you concerned, Mr. Flores -- this is still the formal Honduran ambassador before the White House?MR. KELLY:
I’m not sure. I’m not sure if he’s – whatever the reverse of a credentialing process is. I’m not sure if he’s submitted his letter informing the White House and the State Department that he was no longer acting as ambassador. I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s been done or not.
We’ll go back to Goyal because I know he had a related question to that.QUESTION:
Thank you, Ian. China’s influence have been rising in the area, in the region. Do you know now – right now who’s behind this coup or whatever took place in Honduras?MR. KELLY:
I don’t have any information about any kind of external factors in Honduras. But we’re very focused on our common goal, which is a restoration of the democratic order.
Any military aid will be cut? Do you have any information about that?MR. KELLY:
Yeah. I think we covered that on Thursday, or even Wednesday. You know that the Southern Command has minimized contact with Honduran military --QUESTION:
But monetary. MR. KELLY:
-- personnel. QUESTION:
I mean, monetarily.MR. KELLY:
But in terms of the assistance programs, military assistance?QUESTION:
I think the only contact we have is whatever is necessary to conduct the activities of American personnel there. And I think it’s all being reviewed on a case-by-case basis.QUESTION:
Do you know what is the situation in Soto Cano? I mean, you have a considerable deployment --MR. KELLY:
-- of U.S. troops in that base. That base is under direct control by the Honduran Government.MR. KELLY:
What is the situation right now there?MR. KELLY:
Yeah. I have to refer you to my colleagues in the Defense Department on that. But as far as I know, the situation is calm.
Was there any talk of allowing Zelaya’s plane to land at the U.S. military base there?MR. KELLY:
That would be – that wouldn’t be our decision, anyway. That – as your colleague points out, that base is controlled by the Honduran authorities, so it’s not up to us to allow landing rights or anything.
Also on Honduras? No? New subject?QUESTION:
North Korea.MR. KELLY:
What is the reaction of North Korean’s launch of missile on July 4th
Yeah, we – I think we – my colleague, the duty officer over the weekend, gave a reaction. This, of course, what – we saw reports of these short-range missiles being launched. These launches are provocative, but they’re nothing new. We continue to call on North Korea to refrain from these kinds of provocative actions that aggravate tensions, don’t contribute at all to regional security. And our focus, of course, is on the implementation of our two UN Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874 that, of course, require North Korea to suspend all ballistic missile-related activity.
On North Korea as well. Is there any – is there going to be a UN Security Council meeting today at 4:00 to discuss either the missiles or is it about – the U.S. Navy ship turning back a North Korean freighter? Do you have anything on what the U.S. is pushing there?MR. KELLY:
I understand from my colleague up in New York that there is going to be a meeting this afternoon – I think at 4:00 – and I think it is to discuss the missile launches over the weekend. But I – I’ll refer you to the UN or to the U.S. mission to the UN for further details. I think after the meeting there’ll probably be some press availabilities.
Yeah, on China. There was a major riot in the Xinjiang region of China yesterday, I think. And there are press reports that as many as 140 may have been killed. Do you have any comment on the situation there?MR. KELLY:
Yes. We see that official Chinese media are reporting a death toll of 140 as a result of the violent riots in the city of Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. We’re afraid this figure could increase. And, of course, we deeply regret the loss of life. We also understand that there’s been a number of arrests.
We don’t have any confirmation of what actually sparked the unrest. And we can speculate, but I don’t think I want to speculate on what may have caused the violence. And of course, we call on all sides for calm and restraint.QUESTION:
Ian, just to follow on, this is not the first time that people have been rising for their freedom and human rights, and just like anywhere else around the globe, that they want freedom. And now, they’re calling on the U.S. to get involved or interfere, like elsewhere. You think U.S. will take a new position or action there, and China also should free those who are seeking for freedom? MR. KELLY:
Well, as the President and Secretary have said many times, we will always stand with those who are calling for restoration of personal freedoms. I mentioned that Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Dawei is in the building today, and I’m sure that we’ll raise some of these concerns that we have about the violence in Xinjiang the last few days.QUESTION:
But this is – just one more?QUESTION:
Today, it has been raised? You said that Steinberg met with him this morning.MR. KELLY:
And that the Secretary – did it come up?MR. KELLY:
I understand that it did come up.QUESTION:
And that’s based on your -- MR. KELLY:
Well, like I say, I don’t have a full readout. But if I can get you one, I will.QUESTION:
Well, do you expect it to – is he still here, or does he have other meetings?MR. KELLY:
I know he’s meeting with Ambassador Bosworth, too. I think he still is here. QUESTION:
Presumably, that would be about North Korea, though?MR. KELLY:
That would be about North Korea, yeah.QUESTION:
But, Ian -- QUESTION:
The Xinjiang regional government accuses Rebiya Kadeer, the Uighur leader here in the U.S., of orchestrating the event. Do you have any comment on that?MR. KELLY:
I have no comment. I haven’t seen that report, and I have no comment on it.QUESTION:
But, Ian, this – as far as China’s situation is concerned, it’s just like suppressing those who are seeking freedom that U.S. stands for with those people. But they can’t come out because there’s just so much suppressed – suppression by the Chinese, like in Tibet? So there were also risings in Tibet. So millions are there who want freedom in China.MR. KELLY:
But somebody has to stand with them.MR. KELLY:
Yeah. Well, I think we do stand with them. I think we do speak out when we see human rights – fundamental human rights like freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, freedom of religion. And I think we’ve very forthright about speaking out about it.
We also – I think that our concerns in general are well known, not only in China but in other parts of the world, that we will speak out when we see human rights being violated.QUESTION:
You don’t have evidence of human rights being violated right now by the Chinese authorities? MR. KELLY:
Well, I just – we don’t have all the – what we have are press reports, and we see this terrible loss of life as well.QUESTION:
I mean, exactly; 140 people dead. You don’t think there’s any kind of a problem there?MR. KELLY:
No, I think there is a problem there.
I’m sorry. Charley, yeah, go ahead.QUESTION:
Of course, this prompts questions about the placement of the Uighurs from
Guantanamo. Is that issue still in play? MR. KELLY:
Is the issue still – I mean -- QUESTION:
Yes. What’s – have those Uighurs been sent to Palau? What’s – do you have any update on – vis-à-vis -- MR. KELLY:
I don’t have an update, but I’ll see if I can get you an update.
Human rights in Asia.MR. KELLY:
As you may know, the second trial of former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim for – is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, and I wonder if you have any comment on that.MR. KELLY:
Yeah. Yeah, we just saw this just – this just popped up today. We have the Reuters story. I think that all I can say right now is we hope that the Malaysian Government will resolve this in a manner that builds confidence in the impartial rule of law and the proper functioning of democratic institutions in Malaysia. But we don’t – we haven’t – we don’t have more details right – to really comment beyond that.QUESTION:
And do you – just as this unfolds this week, I’d be interested to know if the U.S. Government has – since I don’t know that it came up when the Malaysian foreign minister was here, if the U.S. Government has made any representations to the Malaysian Government. Even though this is a judicial matter, it’s one that the Department regards – is on record as regarding as a politically motivated prosecution, I believe.MR. KELLY:
If you’ve raised this with them lately, with the Malaysian authorities, and sort of made your views known about it. So if you could check that.MR. KELLY:
Thank you.MR. KELLY:
All right, we’ll do that.
Do you have any readout of the Mitchell and Ehud Barak meeting in London?MR. KELLY:
Yeah, that just happened today. I don’t have a very fulsome readout, but I’ll give you what I have if you can just hold on a second. It’s a big world out there.
Yes, they did meet today in London and discussed a wide range of issues. We are engaging in continuing intensive discussion with all parties, and our goal is to create the context for negotiations. We’re pressing all parties to honor their obligations under the Roadmap. You know what that means. It means for the Israelis to stop all settlements; for the Palestinian, it means an end to incitements against Israel and demonstrating an ability to provide security. We believe also that Arab states should take meaningful steps towards normalization with Israel. And we remain committed to bringing this process to a point where we can start negotiations.QUESTION:
When you say a stop to settlements, are you meaning that to be a permanent stop?MR. KELLY:
We mean exactly what it says in the Roadmap, that there should be a stop to all settlement activity, including natural growth.QUESTION:
Right. But it’s been reported that the Israelis would like to propose some sort of three- to six-month freeze, and that was presented last week – at last week’s meeting. Have you taken a position on that now? And can you tell us what – if Mitchell has been able to meet with President Obama on that matter yet?MR. KELLY:
I don’t have any information on that, Kirit. You know that what we say is that we’re not going to negotiate the details of any deal through the media and from this podium, so --QUESTION:
Well, the problem with that, Ian, is that, again, you’re negotiating with the Israelis, but it’s not you who needs to – it’s not you and the Israelis who need to negotiate here. It’s the Israelis and Palestinians.MR. KELLY:
This is true. Yeah. Well, we meet with the Palestinians and we meet with the Arabs, too. We meet with -- QUESTION:
No, I know. So aren’t you thinking -- MR. KELLY:
-- with the neighbors.QUESTION:
-- you’ve gotten sidetracked on this?MR. KELLY:
Well, I don’t think – well, I mean, we’re – just because Mitchell met with Barak, no, it doesn’t mean we’re not working the other avenues as well.QUESTION:
Has the Mitchell-Netanyahu meeting been rescheduled at all?MR. KELLY:
I’m not aware that it’s been rescheduled.QUESTION:
Do you know if there are any new Mitchell-Barak meetings scheduled?MR. KELLY:
I’m not aware there will be any follow-ups, necessarily, to this one. QUESTION:
Do you think there could be a peace in the
Middle East without Iran’s interference? Because since Iranian president has been calling – wipe off Israel from the map and all those things?MR. KELLY:
Well, this Administration’s approach to the Middle East peace process is a comprehensive, regional approach. And yeah, we would expect all players, all partners in the region, to contribute towards that.QUESTION:
Iran is a player?MR. KELLY:
Iran is a player in --MR. KELLY:
Iran is – has, of course, not played a very constructive role with its export of terrorism and with the kind of rhetoric that we’ve seen. We’d like to see it do more to contribute towards Middle East peace.QUESTION:
Yesterday, Vice President Biden said it’s up to Israel to determine whether or not it’s going to strike any targets in Iran. Would Israel let the United States know before they were going to make such a strike?MR. KELLY:
You have to ask Israel that. That’s not to say that Israel’s going to make a strike.QUESTION:
Is that the U.S. Government policy, that it’s ultimately up to Israel to make such a determination?MR. KELLY:
Well, first of all, let me just step back a minute and – our goal here is to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. When I say “our,” I don’t mean just the U.S. This is the – it’s the international community. So – and we’re – so our approach right now is to be very engaged with international partners to get Iran to fulfill its obligations and responsibilities and to fully cooperate with the IAEA, as detailed in United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Having said that, Israel is a sovereign country. We’re not going to dictate its actions. We’re also committed to Israel’s security. And we share Israel’s deep concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. But for questions about what they plan to do in response to this, I really have to refer you to the Israeli Government. QUESTION:
Are you concerned at all that by saying Israel is a sovereign country and we’re not going to dictate to them what their actions are, that your words, like the Vice President’s words, may be interpreted as sort of a green light.MR. KELLY:
I certainly would not want to give a green light to any kind of military action. But I mean, what – our policy is that we – that Israel is a sovereign country and we’re not going to dictate its actions.QUESTION:
Well, why do you have to say it? I mean -- MR. KELLY:
(Laughter.) Because it is what it is. QUESTION:
Shakespeare or not. (Laughter.) Doth protest too much.MR. KELLY:
Just a quick logistical question: Can you give us any kind of more firm schedule on the vice foreign minister’s meeting in Washington – Wu Dawei’s?MR. KELLY:
I just know that he met – I’m just – right now, I’m just aware of the meeting that he had with Deputy Secretary Steinberg, Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell. And as I said, the Secretary also dropped by that one. He also has a meeting with our special representative to the Six-Party Talks, Ambassador Bosworth. If there are other meetings that he has in this building, we’ll let you know.QUESTION:
Hey, do you know, Ian, who it was that actually, from the U.S. side, who brought up the Uighur situation with the Chinese?MR. KELLY:
No, I don’t.QUESTION:
Was it the Secretary or was it Campbell or --MR. KELLY:
I’m just not aware right now.
Yes, this is a different topic. The party of President Calderon in
Mexico yesterday lost control of congress and suffered a huge blow. Some analysts are saying that this could put in danger many of the reforms in the areas of police and the economy that directly affect the U.S. What is your view on this subject? Are you worried about whether, you know, combat of narco-trafficking could be in danger because of this blow? MR. KELLY:
Yeah. Well, I just know that we have many cooperative efforts with President Calderon to promote our shared prosperity, expand the benefits of democracy and support for human rights. We work with him, of course, in the OAS with this crisis in Honduras. But we also are very concerned about reducing drug-related violence that threatens the Mexican people. But in this specific instance that you refer to, if I can get you more information, I’ll be happy to get it.QUESTION:
Thank you. MR. KELLY:
Actually, I’m going to go back to the Vice President’s statement regarding Iran and Israel. Does this statement indicate that the Administration is reconsidering its approach or attitude toward Iran? MR. KELLY:
I wouldn’t read into it any more than what you see, than, as I said, that we respect Israel’s sovereignty. We share Israel’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. But our focus now is getting Iran through this multilateral process to adhere to its obligations and responsibilities to the international community. That’s the stage we’re at right now.
Yes, in the back.QUESTION:
President Obama suggested today the idea of nuclear talks or a summit being hosted in the United States. Is this a new idea, or has it been on the table for a while? MR. KELLY:
I have seen a lot of the reporting coming out of Moscow, all the different initiatives. I know that they signed a – kind of a framework that will lead us to a successor agreement to the START regime to reduce nuclear weapons down to a much lower level. But I’m not aware of a summit here in the U.S. to -- QUESTION:
It was just mentioned today.MR. KELLY:
Yeah, was this – is this the Nonproliferation Treaty?QUESTION:
This is the security summit.MR. KELLY:
Security summit. Well, we’ll just have to get you more information on that.
Do you have anything on a meeting that Assistant Secretary Carson had in the last couple days with President Mugabe of
Zimbabwe? He is quoted as having some uncomplimentary things to say --MR. KELLY:
-- about the Assistant Secretary. Anything to say on that matter? MR. KELLY:
Well, I’ve seen those media reports. I have tremendous respect for Assistant Secretary Carson. He is our most experienced diplomat in African affairs. He’s one of the most talented people we have. And I don’t see why anybody would have those – could use those kinds of characterizations.QUESTION:
You don’t agree with Mugabe’s characterization of him as an idiot?MR. KELLY:
I do not. QUESTION:
He also said that he hoped that Carson wasn’t speaking for Obama, and the quote from Mugabe is, “I told him he was a shame, a great shame being an African American,” referring to Carson. What do you make of this, particularly given the fact that his partner in power, Mr. Tsvangirai, was here last week – or two weeks ago? MR. KELLY:
Well, I guess I would just limit myself to saying that we – of course, our concerns about Mr. Mugabe are well known as well.QUESTION:
Well, can you – and forget about what Mugabe had to say to his own media there. What about the actual meeting? What happened at this meeting?MR. KELLY:
All I’ve seen is this – the media report. I don’t have a readout of the meeting itself.QUESTION:
So you don’t know if he – you don’t know if Carson was even in Libya for this AU summit? MR. KELLY:
Oh, no, he was there. He was there, yeah.QUESTION:
Okay. So what was he doing there? I mean, what was --MR. KELLY:
Let me get you more information on it. QUESTION:
Can we go back to just one last one on North Korea and Malaysia?MR. KELLY:
I read Ambassador Goldberg’s brief Q&A with reporters in Kuala Lumpur. And it’s not clear to me whether – you know, there had been reports over the course of the weekend that a, or perhaps several, Malaysian entities may be getting singled out or targeted for doing business with North Korea. Is that the case? Was that a purpose of this meeting, to – of this visit, to share information about suspect – or Malaysian entities that are suspected of doing business with North Korea in contravention of 1874?MR. KELLY:
Yeah, yeah. I’ve seen his Q&A as well. He’s on his way back today. I think the best thing to do, Arshad, is to see if we can talk to the man himself and see if we can get a more thorough readout of both his trip to Beijing and to Kuala Lumpur. QUESTION:
Thank you. MR. KELLY:
(The briefing was concluded at 1:19 p.m.)