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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Ian Kelly
Department Spokesman
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
July 7, 2009

Index for Today's Briefing
    • Secretary Clinton Opens Briefing/Discusses Meeting with Honduran President Zelaya
    • Secretary Clinton spoke to Costa Rican President Arias and Honduran President Zelaya
    • U.S. Seeks Restoration of Order/Costa Rican President Arias Agrees to be a Mediator in the Process
    • U.S. Calls for Constitutional and Democratic Order to be Restored Through Dialogue
    • Pause in Aid that Would Directly Benefit De Facto Regime such as Military Aid/Only a Small Percentage of U.S. Aid Falls Under Statute
    • Humanitarian Aid and Aid for Democracy Promotion does not come Under Statute
    • Burma Policy Review Ongoing
    • U.S. Concerns with Burma's State of Democracy
    • U.S. Continues to Call for the Release Political Prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi
    • Violence Needs to Stop/All Sides Need to Show Restraint


2:07 p.m. EDT

MR. KELLY: Okay. I have nothing for you at the top, so I’ll take your questions. (Laughter.) My top has already been done, I think.


QUESTION: Honduras.

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: Is there any time limit for the mediation effort? And can you just clarify us where the reinstatement of President Zelaya fits into U.S. policy today? Yesterday, it seemed to be an integral part --

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: Today, it seems to have retreated slightly.

MR. KELLY: Well, no, I don’t think so. I don’t think I agree with that characterization.

QUESTION: Please explain.

MR. KELLY: I mean, our – obviously, this is a very fast moving – these developments are very fast moving. The Secretary just spoke this morning with President Arias, and then, of course, just a few minutes ago with President Zelaya.

I think our goal has been consistent throughout; that we saw the democratic order being overthrown and we seek the restoration of that order. And I think that we now have a process in place, which is very encouraging. We’ve said all along that we wanted these conflicts to be worked out through dialogue, and that’s what we have now once we get this process in place.

In terms of a time limit – well, it’s – clearly, we’d like it to – we’d like the restoration to take place as soon as possible. But we’re very encouraged that we now have a process in place.

QUESTION: Can I follow on that?

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: If it’s not true, why you don’t say the U.S. Government wants the return or restoration of President Zelaya in Honduras?

MR. KELLY: Yeah.



QUESTION: Yeah, I mean, the Secretary didn’t say that.

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, I think – if you look at President Obama’s speech in Moscow today, what he said was that we saw a situation where a democratically elected president was overthrown and exiled out of the country. And we want this principle that you can’t deal with these kinds of conflicts extra-constitutionally, and that’s the principle that we want to see upheld. We want to see the – this democratic and constitutional order restored.

QUESTION: It seems that you opened the window for a different solution in probably early elections or --

MR. KELLY: Now, we’ll see. I mean, now – I mean, we’ve said all along that (a) we want these conflicts to be resolved through dialogue and (b) we saw this as a problem for the Organization of American States and for the – for this forum of this Inter-American Forum. We now have a very good process where you have the president of Costa Rica who’s agreed to be a mediator. Of course, this is the beginning of a process. And as the Secretary said, we don’t want to prejudge how the process will play out, but we now have a dialogue in place.


QUESTION: You said yesterday that you will not recognize any commission who came from the de facto regime. Also you said that you will not go to any meeting with them. But then there is reports that Shannon was in a meeting with them. What this means?

MR. KELLY: Well, first of all, you heard the Secretary answer that question. Our focus is on getting a process in place where we can restore the constitutional order. I’m not going to – as she didn’t, I am certainly not going to comment on these reports.

QUESTION: Are we recognizing that that commission as official commission that came here?

MR. KELLY: Well, as she just said, we now have a process in place. Let’s let that process play out, this process that will be headed by President Arias.


QUESTION: A quick follow-up. You think everybody at the OAS is supporting the president --

MR. KELLY: You’ll have to ask everybody at the OAS.

QUESTION: And also, as far as U.S. --

MR. KELLY: I’m – supporting President Zelaya?


MR. KELLY: Well, I mean, you saw the resolution of the General Assembly on July 4th calling this a coup, an illegal overthrow. And so – but in terms of – I’m not going to characterize how every other country in the OAS feels towards the --

QUESTION: And it seems to me that, of course, you support democracy in Honduras, and his return also indirectly. But also at the same time, what kind of message are you getting from whoever is in power in Honduras as far as his return is concerned?

MR. KELLY: Again, let’s let this process begin and play out. I’m not going to characterize a reaction in Tegucigalpa.

Yeah, in the back.

QUESTION: I may have missed this at the outset, but whose idea was Arias as a mediator? It’s a natural choice, obviously. Was it the U.S. initiative, was it his own initiative, was it the OAS’s initiative?

MR. KELLY: I honestly don’t know the answer to that question. But I do know that, as the Secretary announced, President Arias has agreed to be the mediator. She called him this morning. I think throughout this has been kind of a collective process anyway, given we’ve been working very closely with our partners in the OAS. So I’m sure this was – and I’m searching for the right word, and I can’t find it. I keep going back to my days at the Russia desk needing a word.

QUESTION: Consensus?

MR. KELLY: Different – well, whatever. But I just don’t know the exact answer to that. I’ll stop digging the hole now.

QUESTION: The Secretary said that humanitarian aid would continue, but what, in fact, is the – what aid, bilateral aid, has been suspended? And is there a time limit on this or what’s the trigger to get it back – to get it restored?

MR. KELLY: Well, I know I owe you guys an answer on what exactly we have decided to pause, what aid we’re not pushing through. So we’re still working on this. Basically, what we’re looking at is aid that would directly benefit the de facto regime down there, so obviously, that means military assistance programs. But we’re still – I mean, we’ve taken a policy decision to stop aid that might be subject to this – the statute. And so I think that’s kind of a broad definition. I mean, it’s still a fairly small percentage of our overall aid because most of our aid would not come under this statute. And this would be humanitarian aid, which goes directly to the people – it doesn’t go to the government – and any aid that would be construed as democracy promotion.

So we’re still working on what exactly we have to, as the Secretary said, put a pause on.

QUESTION: What about anything that’s under CAFTA-DR? Is there any --

MR. KELLY: Under – sorry?

QUESTION: Under CAFTA-DR, the free trade agreement, is there anything that would be suspended or restricted as a result --

MR. KELLY: Yeah. I think we have to consult with the U.S. Trade Representative on that kind of assistance. But I’m sorry, I don’t have all the details and we’re still working on that.


QUESTION: Change of subject?

MR. KELLY: Any other on Honduras?


QUESTION: There is reports in Honduras that the money who is coming in from democracy and – you know, it’s getting in hands of the opposition guys who now are celebrating that Zelaya is out of power or out of government. Are you --

MR. KELLY: No, I’m not --

QUESTION: Will you review that situation? Is there at least any --

MR. KELLY: I’m not aware of those reports. But as I say, we’re conducting a very thorough review of all our assistance right now.

Yeah, go ahead.

QUESTION: The UN Secretary General visited Burma last --

MR. KELLY: I’ll get you next time. Sorry?

QUESTION: The UN Secretary General visited Burma last week, and nothing seems to have moved forward. And given that the U.S. has been leading the international community towards restoration of democracy there, what will be the U.S. approach now? Any comments on the Secretary’s visit?

MR. KELLY: Well, I think our concerns with the state of democracy are very well known. We, of course, have called for the release of the 2,100 political prisoners in Burma. We’ve called very specifically for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi. We are, as we’ve said many times from this podium, in the process of a policy review vis-à-vis Burma. We have a new Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Mr. Kurt Campbell. So I would suspect that we will have more to say when we will begin to wrap up this policy review and have more to say at that time.

QUESTION: Will you push for more stronger rule from the --

MR. KELLY: I’m not going to prejudge how that review will turn out.

Yeah, Dave.

QUESTION: Have you had any further --

MR. KELLY: Sorry I keep forgetting you.

QUESTION: Have you had any further engagement with the Chinese Government on the rioting in Western China? And also, this came up yesterday – the Chinese seem to be making a scapegoat out of a Uighur exile living in the United States, Rebiya Kadeer. Do you have anything to say about these repeated charges that she’s fomenting this?

MR. KELLY: On that specific charge, no, I really don’t have anything to say. You heard what the Secretary said about the situation in general. We have made our concerns known to the Chinese Government. I mentioned to you yesterday that we had the Vice Premier Wu [1] here in the building. I think he also was at the White House as well. And in addition, we’ve made our concerns known in Beijing via our chargé d'affaires.

But as the Secretary also said, we really have to be very focused on the fact that we need to stop – or the violence needs to stop, that all sides out there need to show restraint. So that’s really our priority right now.

And you have the last question.

QUESTION: What’s the U.S. position on Karzai releasing drug traffickers who were convicted in a U.S.-funded drug court?

MR. KELLY: And the last question is a taken question.


QUESTION: Well, you took my question last week about how much money the U.S. gives to this drug court, and I never got an answer.

MR. KELLY: That’s not good. We will get you answers. Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:20 p.m.)

DPB # 113

# # #

[1] Vice Foreign Minister Wu

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