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U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action


Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
July 10, 2009


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Index for Today's Briefing
  • THE SECRETARY
    • Meeting with European Commissioner Ferraro-Waldner
    • Secretary Clinton Conversation with Costa Rican President Arias
  • SUDAN
    • Special Envoy Gration Travel to Sudan
  • HONDURAS
    • US Wants to Be Helpful in Mediation Process
    • Negotiation is Best Route to Resolve Situation Peacefully
  • NORTH KOREA
    • US Position on Desire for Release of Journalists has Been Consistent/US Calls for Release as Soon as Possible/US Exploiting all Means to Secure Release of Journalists
  • INDIA
    • Special Briefings Will be Held in Anticipation of Upcoming Trip
    • Relations Between US and India Have Improved Over Last 20 Years
    • India Playing a Growing Role in World Issues
  • RUSSIA
    • US Position has not Changed with Regards to Offensive vs Defensive Strategic Weapons in START Follow-on Talks
  • CHINA
    • US Will Participate in Shanghai 2010 World Expo
    • US Following Events in Xinxiang Province/No New Reports of Large-Scale Violence Today
  • IRAQ
    • US Concerned About Unilateral Steps that Could be Taken in Iraq
    • Debate on Powers of Government Ongoing in Iraq
  • IRAN
    • US Aware of Arrested Iranian American Citizen
    • Offer of Engagement with Iran is in US Interest/How Iran Responds will Tell a Great Deal


TRANSCRIPT:

2:29 p.m. EDT

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Just to pick up where Anne-Marie left off, you heard her mention a speech by Secretary Clinton. We’ll have an announcement this afternoon with more details, but she will give a major foreign policy speech with a Q&A next Wednesday, July 15th, at the Council on Foreign Relations here in Washington, and we’ll have more details to follow.

I think a short time ago, the Secretary met with EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, and they discussed a variety of issues – the Middle East, Afghanistan – and the Secretary thanked her for longstanding assistance for the Palestinian people and for the Commissioner’s leadership in deploying an EU mission to monitor Afghanistan’s presidential election.

Earlier today, the President – I’m sorry. Earlier today, the Secretary talked with President Arias and received an update on the ongoing negotiations in Costa Rica, and they discussed how the United States can continue to be helpful as these negotiations continue at the working level.

As I’m sure you’re aware, the President will be making a speech tomorrow in Ghana, tomorrow morning, and the State Department has been doing a variety of things to help support that speech, a lot of – I think there was an announcement from the White House with details about a variety of things that our embassies in Africa are doing, promoting events, and I would encourage you to see those kinds of significant public diplomacy efforts.

U.S. Commissioner General to the World Expo Shanghai 2010 Jose Villarreal represented the United States today in signing the World Expo Shanghai 2010 Participation Agreement in Shanghai, and U.S. Consul General Beatrice Camp attended the ceremony as an official witness. So we are well on our way to participating in the World Expo next year.

We have an announcement for you this afternoon that U.S. Special Envoy Scott Gration will be traveling to Norway and to Sudan between July 9th and – or --

QUESTION: Didn’t that come out last night?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: I guess he already left.

QUESTION: That came out last night.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Okay, let it go. So I thought I’d call your attention to that. With that, I’ll be happy --

QUESTION: Can I ask about the Arias conversation? What was the conclusion of this? How can the U.S. be helpful to the working group process?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Well, obviously, the presidents had separate meetings with President Arias yesterday. I think it will be up to him to determine the pace of these negotiations. But we will continue our consultations on a bilateral basis if necessary, but certainly working within the OAS in the coming days to see if we can’t help President Arias create momentum that leads to a peaceful resolution.

QUESTION: My question is how. How can you help him create momentum?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Well, I’m not going to prejudge. They discussed it.

QUESTION: But they didn’t come to any conclusion as to how – what the U.S. can do?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: They discussed some ideas, and we are sorting through those ideas, and we’ll tell you about them as they become apparent.

QUESTION: Like what?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: I’ll leave that – leave it there.

QUESTION: Did he actually make any requests, or did they just talk over possibilities? I mean, did he say, can you do A, B, C, D, even if you can’t name those for us now?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: They talked about – I mean, he was reporting to the Secretary some of the discussions they had. Obviously, each side brought particular issues to the table, and how we can help both sides kind of clarify what their interests are, and making sure that we can find ways to reach a peaceful settlement.

QUESTION: And just one follow-up on this. Shortly before the briefing began, Venezuelan President Chavez said that he thought it was a – that the negotiations being mediated by President Arias were dead before they even began, and it was a grave error to have – by the White House to have sought such negotiations. And he also said that Zelaya is going to go back by water, air, land, whatever means possible. Do you have any response to that?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Well, I mean, it’s unclear what President Chavez thinks he’s for and against. I believe at various times, the Venezuelan Government has been supportive of a process that would lead to President Zelaya’s return. I believe that he has actually had some complimentary things to say previously about the role that President Arias might play.

So I think, obviously, that statement is premature. There is a negotiation going on. It is, as Secretary Clinton said a couple of days ago – the negotiation is the best route to try to resolve this peacefully and help Honduras return to democratic, constitutional order.

QUESTION: And your end game is – or the end result that you want to see is Zelaya return?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: We haven’t changed. That’s exactly right.

Yes.

QUESTION: I was wondering about the travel to Pyongyang by an American professor of Korean descent, Han Park, who made some comments about the two American journalists who are detained in Pyongyang and held in prison. He said that they were being held in a guesthouse, and he said that North Korea would probably release them if the U.S. offered a formal apology. I was wondering whether he had coordinated that travel with the State Department. He has in the past, apparently, acted as a go-between.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: I’ll take the question. I don’t know.

QUESTION: Was -- can I follow-up on that?

QUESTION: Go ahead.

QUESTION: No, go ahead.

QUESTION: Just the use of language by the Secretary – forgive me if this has already been addressed, but in her remarks today about this case, she expressed the regret of everybody involved for this unfortunate incident, and requested amnesty through the North Korean system. And that’s obviously a change from previous requests for their release on humanitarian grounds. Forgive me if this has already been addressed, but I’m just curious about the change of language.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Well, I think the – her language today – I think Ian Kelly had similar language yesterday. It is consistent with what the families have said publicly.

Clearly, our bottom line is what it has always been, that we hope to have these two journalists released as rapidly as possible. And now that there has been a legal process in North Korea, as the Secretary said, within the North Korean system, we would hope that there would be an amnesty that would allow that release to take place.

QUESTION: Should we regard this kind of language, making reference to the North Korean legal system and the legal process that has unfolded there, as an expression on the part of the United States Government of the legitimacy of those systems?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Well, we’re not in a position to evaluate the legal process that occurred. We did not have the ability to have an observer in the courtroom. That said, I mean, North Korea announced that these two journalists had been convicted in a legal process. Accepting that, we simply have called for their release, and we hope that happens as soon as possible.

QUESTION: Can I follow up on the language question? Because I don’t think she said everyone involved. I think she said everybody is very sorry, or everyone is very sorry. Does that mean she’s very sorry?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Well, I think, clearly, this is a regrettable incident. And we look to try to see how this can be resolved. We have called repeatedly for these journalists to be released, and we hope that North Korea does so as soon as possible.

QUESTION: Is she very sorry, though? She personally? I mean, she said everyone, and I’m wondering if she counts herself in that.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Well, I mean, obviously, you have two journalists, they’ve been detained, they’ve been prosecuted, and we would like to see them released.

QUESTION: Just on the language still. When you talk about amnesty, it does seem to imply some sort culpability on the part of the two journalists. Is it the U.S. position that they did illegally cross into North Korea?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Well, I believe that the families, and perhaps in phone calls the journalists themselves have made public statements. And I don’t want to parse those words.

Goyal.

QUESTION: Two questions, please, India and China. As far as India is concerned, when the Secretary was talking about – as far as her trip to India this time is concerned, will be one of the biggest engagement between the U.S. and India. Can you talk more about that? What kind of close engagement will be that did not take place in the last --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: That’s all right. I think in anticipation of the trip, we will have some briefers for you early next week who can go into greater detail. I believe, as the Secretary said a couple of days ago, relations between the world’s largest democracy and the world’s oldest democracy have improved significantly over the last 20 years. When you think about the – as Secretary Lew and Anne-Marie Slaughter were talking about, you’ve got changing institutions, changing forms of partnership, changing mechanisms by which we have to address and solve the challenges of the world. India is playing a vastly more significant role in these issues.

So that as you outline the fundamental challenges that we face – climate change, nonproliferation, extremism, the global economy, food security for populations around the world, respect for cultural differences around the world – India is fundamental to all of those. And so I think this is a tremendous opportunity to expand and deepen the relationship between the United States and India not just in a bilateral standpoint, but also seeing how India can play a much more significant role on a multilateral basis as well.

QUESTION: Were you speaking about India, or is that a preview of the speech next week? It sounded awfully like a preview of a speech.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: (Laughter.) (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: To go – one last question on the North Korean situation of the two detained journalists, if I might. Apart from the fact they have not, until as of now, been released, is the United States Government in possession of any evidence that previous requests by our government for the pair’s release on humanitarian grounds will not be forthcoming? Was there some response from the North Korean Government to those requests that we know about, apart from the fact that they remain detained?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Well, we have a variety of means of communicating with North Korea. We are exploiting all of those means. I’m not going to go into any detail.

QUESTION: So but you are – just so we’re clear, so you’re having direct contacts with them about this?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Well, we have always had the ability to have contact with North Korea, communicate with North Korea. We obviously use the offices of the Swedish ambassador in Pyongyang. And the North Koreans have allowed communication on a periodic basis between the two journalists and their families. So we have a variety of means of understanding what the current situation is. And we again call upon North Korea to release these journalists as quickly as possible.

QUESTION: But my question isn’t about the means that you have at your disposal, which are always there. It’s about whether you have communicated in the last couple of days what is now your twice-stated public desire, yesterday by Ian and today by the Secretary, that they should be released by amnesty. Have you conveyed that to the North officially, or are you just doing it all through the media?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: I believe we understand that North Korea is paying attention to what we’re saying, and we hope that they will release these two journalists.

QUESTION: What I was asking was whether the new language reflects some evidence in hand that the old language was not going to be abided by.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: I’m not going to go any further.

QUESTION: You understand that the North Koreans are paying attention to what you say? Is that what you said?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: I think, historically, the North Koreans pay very close attention to what the United States says.

QUESTION: Yeah, but as with everything else, they ignore everything that you say. They go ahead, they’ve launched missiles when you tell them not to, they do nuclear tests when you tell them not to, they don’t release the journalists on humanitarian grounds.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Trust me, North Korea --

QUESTION: Do you have some reason --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Whether they heed what we say, the North Koreans pay close attention to what we say.

QUESTION: All right. But you don’t have any indication that this approach, starting yesterday, this new approach, this new tack that you’re taking, is going to produce any result – a successful result?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: We hope it does.

QUESTION: Different subject? I just wanted to ask about the agreements reached between the United States and the Russian Government during the summit on the follow-on START talks. The joint understanding that was released stated that the new treaty should contain a provision on the interrelationship of strategic offensive and strategic defensive arms. And to some observers, President Obama seemed to be giving in to the Russian position when he acknowledged a link between missile defense and further offensive reductions.

Is the President, or shall I say is the United States Government, accepting the Russian position that future reductions of strategic offensive arms are linked somehow to U.S. actions on missile defense?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: I think the statement, the joint statement, simply reaffirmed longstanding positions. There was no new ground broken in that statement. If you go back as far as SALT I, there was very similar language used in virtually all agreements between the United States and the Russia in the past.

QUESTION: Is the President, or shall I say again, is the United States Government prepared to abandon the proposed long-range missile defense sites in Europe in order to gain Russian support for a post-START follow-on agreement?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: We do not think the two are linked. And as you know, we continue to review our defensive posture, particularly as it pertains to Europe. We have continued to talk to Russia to reassure Russia that our prospective plans in Europe are aimed at the burgeoning Iranian capability; they’re not directed at Russia. But obviously, the negotiation – now that we’ve had the summit, the negotiation will continue and working hopefully towards an agreement before the end of the year.

QUESTION: P.J., if there was no new ground broken and it was just a restatement of previous – what have these people been working on for the past couple months? I thought there was this big push to get a new – to get a new deal done.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: No, there was a – there’s some commentary that this represents an acknowledgement of a link. And that acknowledgement of a link has been --

QUESTION: Well, this is quite separate from the --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Okay.

QUESTION: -- from that. I just don’t understand what people have been working on for the past four months if they didn’t – you just said they didn’t accomplish anything, this joint statement doesn’t say anything new.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. The statement that James alluded to that some commentators have referenced is nothing new, and there was no new ground broken in that particular element of the statement.

QUESTION: Going back on China, Chinese are making millions of people angry around the world, including the United Nations, Amnesty International. They are going to execute those who took part in the demonstration for freedom and democracy. Now, millions of Muslims are seeking freedom and democracy in China and the Chinese have closed their mosques and also curfew.

Now, since the U.S. supports those who seek democracy and freedom – they are with them, so how are you going to relieve those in China that are seeking democracy and freedom, but they are helpless, because there is no one to help them out and they come out and they are being crushed by the system of – the Chinese Communism system?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Well, are you referring more specifically to Xinjiang?

QUESTION: Yes, sir.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Okay. I mean, we are closely following the events that are happening there. There have been no new reports of large-scale violence today. We are obviously concerned about the situation. We have political officers there on the ground who are assessing what is transpiring. We do seek, in our contacts with the Government of China, greater details, and as the Secretary called for a couple of days ago, I think in response to your question, that we encourage a peaceful resolution of the situation.

Charlie.

QUESTION: Yeah, on a different subject and then --

QUESTION: Well, can I ask another real quick?

QUESTION: A quick one on China?

QUESTION: Sure, sure, sure.

QUESTION: Well, I just want to – on that same one, whether your officers on the ground now have been able to determine whether the Chinese security forces have responded with too strong a hand.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: I think we’re still trying to assess the situation. We have reached no particular judgments yet.

QUESTION: More on China, please?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Yeah.

QUESTION: Yeah. There’s a resolution coming out of the House today calling for U.S. help for those supporting democracy in China, and there was even a comparison to Tiananmen Square, where we fell short of promoting that democracy. Is the U.S. going to ratchet up its ability to help those who would like to see a U.S.-style system in China?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: I am not familiar with what might be debated --

QUESTION: Rohrabacher’s resolution.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: I am not familiar with it. I’ll be happy to see if we offer a view on that.

QUESTION: Following up on a yesterday question I had for Mr. Kelly, are U.S. observers on the ground trained in the ability to see whether someone is being an aggressive – an aggressor or a defensive posture for the violence in the streets there?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: They’re assessing the situation. I think they’re among our more experienced diplomats with a deep knowledge of China, so I think we’ll be able to make a fair evaluation of what’s transpiring. But obviously, the situation is still ongoing.

QUESTION: And not real time, then? You won’t be able to make that – who is keeping the pace?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Well, obviously, the – first and foremost, obviously, there is significant tension in that particular part of China – historical grievances, fresh concerns about whether ethnic minorities in China receive adequate protection and have their rich culture, their language taken into account. So first and foremost, this is a – as it was in Tibet, this is an ongoing situation. It is a challenge for China. As China grows in influence and responsibility in the world, it has to adapt its practices more in concert with international norms, and we would certainly encourage a dialogue going forward within China to try to resolve these in a peaceful way.

Yes.

QUESTION: Sorry, two questions. One is a follow-up on Venezuela. Can you confirm, as Hugo Chavez said on Venezuelan TV, that he – sorry, Honduras – on Venezuelan TV that he spoke to Assistant Secretary Shannon? And if so, do you have a readout on that call?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: That Secretary Shannon --

QUESTION: Spoke with Hugo Chavez or not.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: I’ll take the question. I’m not aware of a call.

QUESTION: Okay. And then can I --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: I had a second question, sorry. Switching topics to Iraq, what is the State Department doing in response to the passage of the new Kurdish constitution that solidifies Kurdish claims over oil in the region that could preclude the national arrangement of oil-sharing?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Well, we’re very concerned about any unilateral steps that might be taken within Iraq. Obviously, as a number of U.S. leaders have said – the Vice President most recently, the Secretary in her trip to Iraq in May – Iraq has a lot of work to do. There is a debate going on within Iraq about the powers of the central government, the powers of regional government. And as we have done many times, we encourage all Iraqis to come together.

And they’ve got unfinished business in terms of a variety of challenges, but this is a reminder that clearly, if the objective for Iraq and the objective for the United States is national unity, that the sooner they can come together, resolve these outstanding issues and move forward politically and socially, it would be better for Iraq. And we, the United States, of course, will be very supportive.

Yeah.

QUESTION: P.J., in the UAE, there’s a trial upcoming on a U.S. – for a U.S. citizen on terrorism-related charges, Naji Hamdan. Can you tell – and I know there’s been consular visits to Mr. Hamdan. Can you tell us whether you think the trial will be – do you expect a fair trial in the UAE, and do you think he’s been treated fairly since he’s been in custody?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Obviously, we’re aware of it. We are watching carefully, but there’s a limit to what we can say, I believe, on privacy grounds.

QUESTION: Well, but that – on perhaps – on him – precisely on Mr. Hamdan, but in general, can you say whether you think he’s been treated fairly by the UAE and whether the UAE can conduct a trial and be fair?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Let me see if I can get that perspective for you.

QUESTION: Just to follow up on UAE, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and some number of her Republican and also Democratic colleagues, including Congressman Markey, have written a letter to Secretary Clinton asking the State Department to respond to a series of questions regarding whether the UAE has met a series of conditions that they believe it should, prior to consummation of a civil nuclear agreement. Do you have any response? Do you – are you aware of the letter having been sent and do you have a response?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: I’m not aware of the letter. I believe Under Secretary Tauscher testified on the Hill on – you’re talking about UAE 123?

QUESTION: Yeah.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Yeah, and I refer to her testimony.

QUESTION: Could you check on whether you --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Okay.

QUESTION: -- received the letter which is post for her testimony --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Sure, okay.

QUESTION: -- if you have a response? Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: I will.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: A Pakistani military spokesperson has said that the Pak army and the ISI are in touch with the Taliban leader Mullah Omar and they can bring him to the table for negotiations with the U.S. Do you – are you aware about that, the Pakistani army and ISI in touch with Taliban leaders? And would you be willing to have a negotiation or a dialogue with the Taliban leaders?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: I’ll take the question.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Two quick ones on Iran?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: One, are you aware of this Iranian American who has been arrested – detained there last night? Apparently it’s the second time in two years he has been arrested.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: We are aware of it and checking into it.

QUESTION: Okay. And you said – have you asked the Swiss if --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Yeah, I’ll see where we – I mean, obviously, we are aware of it, yes.

QUESTION: All right. And then the second one on Iran. Coming out of the G-8, it doesn’t look like anything’s going to happen anytime soon on new sanctions, but – and the President had spoken about a desire by the end of the year to figure out exactly what the Iranians are doing in response to the engagement offer and then to see how to proceed. Is that timeline still in effect? What – and what do you plan to do? Because it appears that the engagement has been – the offers of engagement have been pretty clearly rejected so far. So what is it that you’re going to --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Well, I think, first of all, Matt, the situation in Iran is still ongoing, and the demonstrations yesterday prove once again that the Iranian Government have yet to really satisfy the concerns of the Iranian people related to the results of the election. The questions that the Iranian people continue to raise have really not yet been satisfactorily addressed.

That said, obviously, we are still watching what’s happening. Clearly, the Iranian Government has its hands full with what’s happening on the ground. We’ve always expected that the issue of engagement would follow this election period. It’s kind of into overtime. So – but one of the questions that we have and the questions that Iran still has to answer is: Where does it want to take this. You have an offer of engagement in a variety of ways on a variety of issues. We are willing to engage because those issues are of serious concern to us. They are of serious concern to other countries as well, but – we’ve offered Iran a path forward, but whether they choose to move down that path, we simply still don’t know yet.

QUESTION: When does that window close? When do you consider the election period to be – you say it’s in overtime now.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Well, I think --

QUESTION: I mean, what –

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Well --

QUESTION: Well, when is it over? Is it over only if and when there is an investigation of the irregularities that meets international standards or your standards? Or are you prepared at some point, when as it looks they’re not going to do anything, the results that they announced will stand, are you still prepared to – are you still prepared to be open for engagement then?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Well, I mean, obviously, as we’ve said here many times, we are very concerned with what has transpired. I think the Iranian people are very disappointed with what has transpired. This has clearly diverted the attention of the Iranian Government from offers of engagement, whether it’s through the P-5+1 process or other processes. You had the ministerial meeting in Trieste with an offer of Iran to join that meeting. They chose not to. So I think the answer is we just don’t know yet. The offer of engagement is still there because it’s in our interest to do so. We still have the same concerns we’ve long had about Iran, and we’re looking for a way to resolve those. And we’ll just have to wait and see, continue to see how this plays out. And if there’s a point in the future where Iran decides to move down the path that we’ve outlined, we’ll be willing to engage.

QUESTION: P.J., just to follow up on that, it wasn’t clear to me. Are you suggesting that the end of the year, although you guys didn’t want to call it a timetable, is indeed still operative, or is not?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: I --

QUESTION: Let me tell you why I ask. Gary Samore said in London publicly earlier this week that, “I think if we really haven’t seen any significant progress by that time” – and in the previous sentence he referred to Obama’s comments on the end of the year – “I’m sure that the U.S. will rather work with the Europeans, with Russia and China, to try to increase pressure on them through the Security Council. We’re not there yet, and I think the Iranians need to understand that if this diplomatic opening, this window for engagement doesn’t produce any results, it’s just inevitable that they will face much stronger action in New York.”

So it just wasn’t clear to me whether you were trying to back away from the end of the year timeline or not.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Well, I don’t know. I mean, first of all, on the end of what Gary said, I mean, we are not pursuing just one path. We continue to enforce existing sanctions. And I think the actions of the last few weeks have reminded a number of countries of the danger posed by Iran. And you do have a growing convergence that recognizes the concerns and the threat that Iran faces. So I think that there is a growing consensus with the international community about the issues that the United States has long outlined are concerns about Iran.

Obviously, how Iran responds to the offers of engagement will tell us a great deal. And I think we’re still at a period where if – we’re looking for a response, we’re looking to determine, if they respond, how, and who will be the interlocutor, in what form, on what subjects they appear to be prepared to engage. And – but as they answer these questions, if they’re able to answer these questions, it will give us a perspective. And as we go forward, we’ll understand fully – more fully what they’re prepared to do, and we’ll draw conclusions based on the response if and when it comes.

QUESTION: P.J., Iranians already said that as far as the nuclear program is concerned or the elections results are concerned, they are not going to change any. That’s it then, and this is an internal matter. So how are you going to impose those through the UN or through EU or through diplomacy or whatever, like the President have already called engagement, but they are saying that now no more engagement, nothing?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: Well, I’m not sure that we’re convinced at this point that a true Iranian response has yet materialized.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Wait. A really brief one. I’ve been trying to get an answer for two days, or actually, since the end of Ambassador Goldberg’s trip out to China. And that is, does the U.S. have specific concerns that North Korea may be shipping nuclear material or technology to Burma?

QUESTION: Or other armaments, or was your question just nuclear?

QUESTION: It was just nuclear, but we can --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CROWLEY: I believe that we have concerns that North Korea may try to ship a variety of things in a variety of directions. North Korea is a serial proliferator. Their military economy is one of the means by which the North Korean Government sustains itself. They have the right to do that, but it is the proliferation risk that North Korea has demonstrated over time that is at the heart of our concerns. It is why the UN passed 1874. It is why we have Ambassador Goldberg consulting widely within the region to make sure that existing sanctions are fully implemented.

QUESTION: But is Burma one of those – a potential destination that you’re concerned about? And do you believe that Burma does have a nuclear program or nuclear ambitions, ambitions to have --

MR. KELLY: I’m not in a position to answer that question.

QUESTION: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 3:01 p.m.)



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