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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
April 9, 2010


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Index for Today's Briefing
  • DEPARTMENT
    • SECRETARY Clinton: Travelling to Louisville Kentucky / Will provide remarks on Nuclear Non-proliferation
    • SUDAN: Special Envoy Gration discusses elections with SPLM leadership / Meets with heads of international observation missions
    • AFRICA: Assistant Secretary Carson travels through Europe and Central Africa/ Meets with French and African officials
    • CHINA: Under Secretary Hormats addressed China institute for contemporary international relations / Economic relationship with China
    • PAKISTAN: Congratulate Pakistan constitutional reform committee
    • PAKISTAN: Deputy Secretary Lew arrived in Pakistan to discuss assistance programs
    • PAKISTAN: Administrator Raj Shah, arrived in Pakistan, met with civil society leaders
    • COLOMBIA: Assistant Secretary Arturo Valenzuela concludes trip to the region / Meets with leaders.
    • GENEVA: US Russia negotiators meet to discuss New START treaty / Chief U.S. negotiator Goetmoeller -
    • QATAR: Reassigned Qatari diplomat / Will be leaving country
    • KRYGYZSTAN: Situation improving in Bishkek / Embrace OCSE principles.
  • RUSSIA
    • Share responsibility for the children's welfare / Like to see the adoptions continue / Russia Suspension
  • QATAR
    • Number of conversations with the government of Qatar / Expressed Seriousness attached to Incident
  • NORTH KOREA
    • North Korea Actions and Consequences / Denuclearization of Korean peninsula
    • Iran, North Korea, and Syria not invited to the Summit / IAEA
    • Six-Party talks
  • ISRAEL
    • Nonproliferation Treaty / Obligations
    • Scientists´┐Ż Visas / No Change in Policy
  • PAKISTAN
    • Nuclear Proliferation / Confidence
  • IRAN
    • Enriching Uranium / Centrifuges / Nuclear Program
  • EGYPT
    • Democratic Reforms; Long Term Interest. On-going dialogue with Egypt.
  • GUINEA BISSAU
    • Transit hub for narcotics / Interest of the United States.
  • TOKYO
    • Base Realignment
  • KYRGYZ REPUBLIC
    • Manas Air Base / Operations in Afghanistan.
  • ISRAEL
    • Nuclear Capability


TRANSCRIPT:

1:33 p.m. EDT

MR. CROWLEY: Happy Friday to everyone and good afternoon and welcome to the Department of State. Several things to talk about before taking your questions. The Secretary of State will be traveling this afternoon to Louisville, Kentucky, where she will provide remarks at the McConnell Center for Public Policy at the University of Louisville. The Secretary will speak about why nuclear arms control, nonproliferation, and nuclear security matter to each of us and how the initiatives and acronyms that make up our bipartisan work on these issues are coming together to make our nation safer.

She will explain how nuclear proliferation and terrorism endangers our military forces, our allies, and our broader global interests. And she’ll outline the main elements of our strategy to safeguard our country and allies against nuclear attack, including strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation regime, combating the threat of nuclear terrorism, and maintaining a safe nuclear deterrent, and how steps like ratification of the new START treaty signed yesterday by President Obama and President Medvedev, the Nuclear Posture Review, and the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit next week here in Washington advance that goal. The Secretary will stress both the urgency of the challenge and the need for bipartisan resolve to meet it.

In Sudan, Special Envoy Scott Gration was in Juba this morning continuing his discussions with the Government of Southern Sudan and the SPLM leadership in advance of Sunday’s national, state, and local elections. He is back in Khartoum this evening where he will meet – where he has met with heads of the international observer missions. He met, for example, this evening with former President Jimmy Carter.

The National Elections Commission has confirmed that polling will begin, beginning on Sunday, April 11. The Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement, or SPLM, and the Umma National Party have announced that they have withdrawn some candidates from competition, but that others may continue. We view these elections as an important step in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended a 22-year war between North and South.

This weekend, there will be the deployment of a large, significant number of observers – 17,000 accredited domestic observers. And there are a number of international observers – 130 from the European Union, 100 from the African Union, 70 from the Carter Center, 74 from the United Kingdom, 50 from the Arab League, and a range of other smaller contributions by Japan, Brazil, Russia, China, and Great Lakes region of the countries as well. And we want to see these elections conducted in accordance with established plans and in a way that will reflect the will of the Sudanese people. The United States will continue to raise concerns where we see them and – but we continue to work very, very hard with authorities there and the preparations for these elections on Sunday that will continue through much of next week. But we will not hesitate to state when we think that these efforts fall short of international standards.

Staying in the region, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie Carson is traveling to Europe and Central Africa. He will visit France, the Republic of Congo – the Democratic Republic of the Congo – and the United Kingdom. In Paris, he will deliver a speech on transnational security challenges in Africa to the French American Foundation symposium and meet with a number of French officials. In Brazzaville, he has requested a meeting with President Denis Sassou Nguesso, and in Kinshasa, he hopes to meet with President Joseph Kabila. He will conclude his trip in London, where he’ll meet with officials of the Foreign Office.

We’ve posted on our website, state.gov, today the remarks of Under Secretary Bob Hormats as he addressed the China Institute for Contemporary International Relations. He laid out a vision for the broad economic relationship with China, highlighting the historical importance of U.S.-China engagement. He touched on four areas which could fall under the umbrella of our economic partnership – global architecture of cooperation, economic stability, trade, and climate change. He will also participate over the weekend in the Boao Forum before coming back to the United States.[1]

Regarding Pakistan, we congratulate Pakistan’s political parties, its parliament, and especially the members of the Constitutional Reform Committee on effectively tackling complex and substantial issues like this major reform. As a friend of Pakistan, we applaud the efforts taken by Pakistani political leaders to achieve national consensus on political reforms.

Speaking of Pakistan, Deputy Secretary Jack Lew has arrived in Pakistan. He had productive meetings today with Foreign Minister Qureshi and advisor to the prime minister on finance Shaikh. He also is spending time meeting with embassy personnel to discuss our Pakistan assistance programs.

And next door in Afghanistan, Rajiv Shah, our USAID Administrator, today met with civil society leaders from throughout Afghanistan. He visited with representatives from the national parliament, including parliamentary president Mamoud Yanous Kanuti. And as part of the mission’s work in Afghanistan, USAID assisted in the construction of buildings in which the parliament work. He also met with USAID mission staff.

Arturo Valenzuela, our Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, is concluding his trip to the region. He’s in Peru today and met with President Alan Garcia and Foreign Minister Jose Garcia Belaunde to discuss a range of bilateral interests. He’ll also meet with Peruvian analysts and opinion leaders, as well as a range of political leaders. And tomorrow, he will travel to San Martin to visit USAID-funded alternative development projects.

Earlier today in Geneva, U.S. and Russian negotiators held their last plenary session in connection with the negotiation of the new START treaty, which the President, as I mentioned, signed in Prague yesterday.

I think it’s fitting at this point to thank our chief U.S. negotiator, Assistant Secretary for Verification, Compliance, and Implementation Rose Gottemoeller, and our entire negotiating team. These negotiations began last April in Rome when the U.S. and Russian negotiators first met after Presidents Obama and Medvedev instructed them to conclude a new treaty as a follow-on to the START treaty. Formal negotiations, involving the full teams from both parties, began in May and, as I said, have just concluded. Rose and her interagency team engaged in intensive negotiations with their Russian counterparts. The delegations, guided by instructions and support from Washington, succeeded in concluding a treaty that meets the security interest of both sides. And we will, certainly here at the State Department, welcome Rose back to the office. I think she’ll be in the office on Monday.

Moving to Qatar, following the inappropriate conduct by one of its officers aboard a commercial flight earlier this week, we were informed this morning by the foreign ministry of Qatar that it has decided to reassign its diplomat, and we expect that he’ll be leaving the country shortly. Law enforcement officials have already indicated that there were no explosives with the diplomat and he was not engaged in terrorist activity.

That said, we take all federal regulations regarding air travel seriously. We’re satisfied that Qatar also recognized the seriousness of this situation, has taken appropriate steps, and we are grateful that Qatar and the United States were able to resolve this rapidly, and together we will get back to focusing on the important regional issues that reflect our strong partnership, including a pursuit of Middle East peace.

Regarding Kyrgyzstan, the situation appears to be improving in Bishkek. We note today that police have been deployed. There is still some violence, but order is gradually being restored. We want to see the situation resolved peacefully. We welcome steps taken by the interim administration, particularly its stated commitment to a democratic transition and its embrace of OSCE principles. There was a meeting today between the deputy – the acting deputy foreign minister and the OSCE special representative in Bishkek. We welcome the commitment to a six-month interim process that will lead to new elections and democratic governance in Kyrgyzstan. We also welcome relaxation of recent restrictions on media coverage there. At the end, the United States supports the people of Kyrgyzstan and that will remain our focus.

QUESTION: Can I go to Russia really briefly before we move on to perhaps more urgent things?

MR. CROWLEY: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: You’ve seen Foreign Minister Lavrov’s comments about suspending adoptions between the U.S. and Russia?

MR. CROWLEY: I have not seen those particular comments.

QUESTION: Well, he has said that. And I’m wondering if I can get a – if there’s a response to that or if you have a response to this latest case.

MR. CROWLEY: Regarding this latest case, we are obviously very troubled by it. This child, as with all of the children who are involved in adoptions between Russia and the United States, they are U.S. citizens, they are Russian citizens, and we share responsibility to ensure their welfare.

We have been in touch with Russian officials and are cooperating closely with them as we resolve this most recent case. The issue of adoptions between the United States and Russia was a subject that Foreign Minister Lavrov brought up with the Secretary when she was recently in Moscow. And we will continue to work very closely with Russia and with accredited adoption agencies to see how we can improve the situation and ensure the welfare of any children involved in future adoptions.

 

QUESTION: Do you think a suspension is warranted?

MR. CROWLEY: We will continue to work with our counterparts in Russia. This is – it is an effort that can bond Russian families and American families – the Russian country and America together. We obviously recognize that there are --

QUESTION: Okay. But my question is --

MR. CROWLEY: There are U.S. couples --

QUESTION: Is there not a yes or no answer?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, hang on a second. There are American couples that desire adoption. We want to see these adoptions proceed safely in a ways that guarantee the welfare of these children. Where Russia or any country has questions, we take our responsibilities seriously in facilitating these international adoptions.

And as you saw recently in the context of Haiti, we work very hard to make sure that adoptions are legal, they’re appropriately executed, they’re appropriately monitored, and this is a responsibility we take seriously. As to what the Russian Government will do, at the heart of it, just as we talked about in the context of Haiti, at the moment, these are Russian children, Russian citizens. We cooperate closely with Russia as these adoptions move forward. If Russia has questions, and they do have questions, we will sit down and work through recent cases. This is not the only one. There have been a number of cases in the recent past, including at least one case where a child, unfortunately, tragically, ended up dead.

So we will work this hard with Russia. We’ll work – continue to work closely with international adoption agencies, those that are accredited under The Hague Convention. And I think this is still a potential area of important cooperation between our countries. But to the extent that Russia has questions, we will seek to answer them.

QUESTION: Okay. That’s a – it was a fine answer. It just wasn’t the answer to the question I asked, which is: Do you think that it’s appropriate or warranted for adoptions between Russia and the United States to be suspended, as the foreign minister has called for?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, to the extent that Russia has questions, we will seek to provide answers and assurances. But --

QUESTION: Does that mean no, you don’t think it’s appropriate or warranted?

MR. CROWLEY: I think we understand the concern that Foreign Minister Lavrov has about this issue. If Russia chooses to suspend these adoptions, these are Russian citizens.

QUESTION: Okay.

MR. CROWLEY: That is Russia’s right.

QUESTION: So the --

MR. CROWLEY: We would like to see these adoptions continue, but we understand the concern that Russia has. We share that concern, and we will continue to work closely with Russia to resolve these issues.

QUESTION: So the long and short of it is there really is no yes or no answer to this?

QUESTION: Just so we’re clear, do you know or have any reason to believe that Russia has suspended the adoptions or –

MR. CROWLEY: As I said at the beginning, I have not seen Foreign Minister Lavrov’s specific comments.

QUESTION: Nor do you have any other reason to believe that they have been suspended?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, but again, if Russia does suspend cooperation on adoptions, that is its right. These are Russian citizens. And we think that these inter-country adoptions are important. They are valuable. We have parents here in the United States that want to open their homes to children from throughout the world. We think this is something that is very important and part of our relationship with many, many countries around the world.

But to the extent that there are legitimate questions that Russia has about the welfare of Russian children that come into American homes, we understand that concern. We share it. We are cooperating closely with Russia in this case, as with all cases, and we will work through these issues. But ultimate – but at the bottom, both governments have responsibilities and rights as these proceed.

QUESTION: P.J., are you aware of any Embassy officials turned away from a visit to the boy in the hospital? There are reports that Embassy employees or officials went to visit the boy and were turned away, and there are some reports there were physical altercations and all sorts of --

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not familiar with those reports.

QUESTION: Can you just, I guess, bring us up to speed on what the Embassy has done, then, in this specific case and what it plans to do going forward?

MR. CROWLEY: We are working through the Embassy and – to ensure the child’s welfare and safety, and to confirm that the child is in the custody of appropriate Russian childcare services. We are coordinating closely with Russian authorities and will seek to promote the best interests of this child.

QUESTION: Is there any determination of where he’ll go next, whether he’ll end up coming --

MR. CROWLEY: I do not know.

QUESTION: -- back to the U.S.?

MR. CROWLEY: I do not know.

QUESTION: And how will that be decided? Do you know?

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t. At this point – anything I say at this point would be conjecture. On that end, we’re doing what you would expect us to do. On this end, we have notified authorities in Tennessee who are looking into the circumstances under which the child was sent to Russia.

QUESTION: P.J., do you have any State Department people in Tennessee?

MR. CROWLEY: This would be a matter for domestic authorities. When we found out about the incident and the fact the child traveled to Russia unaccompanied, we notified state authorities and they are looking into it.

QUESTION: Okay. Because the sheriff there says that they were alerted about the case yesterday when the State Department contacted their office. Can you comment?

MR. CROWLEY: I think I just said that. I mean, I thought I just said that, that when we first learned about this case, we notified Tennessee authorities and they are investigating. I’m not aware that we have our own personnel in Tennessee. But as to domestic issues like this, it reverts to other agencies or to local authorities. We are working the issue (inaudible) our normal responsibilities in Moscow. But as to an investigation of the specific circumstances involving this family, that’s something that state authorities are looking into.

QUESTION: I just want to clarify. So you, the State Department, just learned yesterday about this incident?

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t have a specific timeline. I think – obviously, I think the child traveled two days ago and I believe we learned about it yesterday.

QUESTION: On the issue of Qatar, you said that the diplomat would be leaving shortly. Do you know how soon that is? And in terms --

MR. CROWLEY: I’ll refer you to the Embassy of Qatar.

QUESTION: And in terms of that decision, did the U.S. Government relay its views on such a move before – to the Embassy before the Embassy actually made its final decision?

MR. CROWLEY: We have had a number of conversations with the Government of Qatar, both here in Washington and back in the region. Our Assistant Secretary Jeff Feltman talked to the foreign ministry today and we are satisfied that we have – with the actions that the Qataris have informed us about.

QUESTION: Did you ask the Embassy to do such – to make such a move?

MR. CROWLEY: I think we expressed our – the seriousness with which we attach to this incident, the fact that the individual violated federal regulations. And the Qataris informed us that they would reassign this individual, and we welcome that.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Thank you. North Korea said yesterday that the NPR report has chilled the atmosphere for the Six-Party Talks and threatened to boost its nuclear weapons and modernize them. Any comment on that?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I think North Korea should understand that its actions have consequences. North Korea has known for quite some time what the international community and the United States expect of North Korea. We want to see the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. There’s a clear path for North Korea to move to accomplish that goal. In doing so, North Korea can benefit from improved relations with the United States and the international community.

But obviously, North Korea’s failure to take that step over many years, its reluctance to move on the obligations that North Korea itself agreed to back in 2005, there are consequences and ramifications for North Korea’s failure to act.

 

So in our Nuclear Posture Review, we have taken note of our concerns on nonproliferation. And clearly, you have two clear cases that reflect our global concerns – North Korea being one and Iran being the other. If North Korea has concerns about what is in the Nuclear Posture Review, they actually control what happens next. If they come back to the Six-Party process, if they take affirmative steps toward denuclearization, then they have no concern, they have nothing to fear from the Nuclear Posture Review that we released this week.

 

QUESTION: P.J., related to that, can you just confirm that Iran, North Korea, and Syria were not invited to next week’s conference?

MR. CROWLEY: I think that’s a safe assumption.

QUESTION: And can you say why they were not invited?

MR. CROWLEY: Well --

QUESTION: I mean, Iran and North Korea are obviously in violation of the – or you say that they’re in violation of the NPT.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we are – the governments that will be in attendance next week are – have shown a willingness to work cooperatively within the international community to strengthen the security of nuclear weapons and nuclear know-how.

The three countries that you just cited – North Korea, Iran, and Syria – have steadfastly either refused or failed to cooperate effectively with the IAEA. So we are strengthening the nonproliferation regime expressly to be able to deal with those countries that pose significant challenges to our long-term security.

QUESTION: So then why would a country, which shall go – remain nameless for the moment, that also does not cooperate with the IAEA, has not signed the NPT, why would they be invited?

MR. CROWLEY: They have – a particular country has demonstrated a track record in terms of cooperating on these issues. They have demonstrated responsibility with respect to nonproliferation issues. And on that basis, we think they are part of the solution, not part of the problem.

QUESTION: But what --

QUESTION: But Pakistan – are you referring to Pakistan in that case?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m just reacting --

QUESTION: I know what you reacting to. And I asked you a question: Are you referring to Pakistan in that – you talked about a country. What is the country you were talking about?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I --

QUESTION: Well, let me --

MR. CROWLEY: I was asked a hypothetical question. I’m giving a hypothetical answer.

QUESTION: You were not asked a hypothetical question. I’m asking you a simple, direct question.

MR. CROWLEY: What’s the question?

QUESTION: Were you referring to Pakistan?

MR. CROWLEY: No.

QUESTION: Or – no?

MR. CROWLEY: No.

QUESTION: You were referring to Israel, though. (Laughter.) What was the demonstrated track record of – at least that’s what my question was about.

QUESTION: I actually wanted to ask you about Pakistan.

MR. CROWLEY: All right, I’m happy to talk about Pakistan.

QUESTION: Can I stay with Israel for a second?

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: A demonstrated track record on nonproliferation, what is that – taking out sites in Iraq and Syria?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, on the one hand, Israel is not a party to the Nonproliferation Treaty, so it has not violated specific obligations. That said, it has a civilian nuclear program and it has a demonstrated track record of protecting the technology in its possession.

QUESTION: All right.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MR. CROWLEY: Go ahead. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Can we just go to Pakistan?

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: I think it’s fair to say that Pakistan is the country in which the greatest nuclear proliferation has ever taken place under A.Q. Khan. And I wonder if you can address why it is useful, or why you are convinced that Pakistan has or will in the future demonstrate a commitment to preventing the spread of nuclear technology and know-how.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we want to see Pakistan be part of the solution in the future. It has been part of the problem in the past. Pakistan has been a source of proliferation, and at various times in the past, we have taken specific steps against Pakistan as a result. That said, Pakistan recently has demonstrated a willingness to help the international community shut down the A.Q. Khan network. We still have questions about that and we still pursue those with Pakistan. It has demonstrated that it can secure its own nuclear weapons program, and we have confidence in the steps that Pakistan has taken.

You’re quite right; Pakistan has been a source of concern in the past. And it has been a significant discussion – we’ve had significant discussions with Pakistan on these issues. But if we’re going to strengthen the nonproliferation regime going forward, we want to see Pakistan invested in this process. And to the extent that other countries demonstrate through their cooperation with the international community that they are willing to assume that same responsibility, then the door would be open for further cooperation. In the case of the three countries that we noted earlier, they have – they are noted right now for their refusal to cooperate with the international community.

QUESTION: On North Korea, has North Korea presented any prior conditions through China to come back to the Six-Party Talks?

MR. CROWLEY: There’s nothing standing in North Korea’s way except itself. North Korea, for whatever reason, continues to fail to see its own long-term self-interest. North Korea knows what it needs to do. That has been clear in the many, many discussions that we’ve had with North Korea for months and years. Ambassador Steve Bosworth made that clear what North Korea needed to do when he met in Pyongyang in December. At that particular time, North Korea expressed an interest in moving back into the Six-Party process.

All they have to do at this point is finally say yes, come to the table, have a meaningful discussion, take the steps that they have pledged in the past to take. And there are lots and lots of possibilities. But we have made clear to North Korea there are things that you need to do if you expect to reap some benefits in this process. But the ball is in North Korea’s court. It has to take the first steps.

QUESTION: Can I go back to Israel for a second – non nuclear? Well, actually it’s – actually it’s somewhat nuclear. There’s a report in an Israel newspaper that says that the U.S. is denying visas to Israeli nuclear scientists who want to come to the States. Can you say anything about that?

MR. CROWLEY: Without commenting on individual visa determinations which are governed by the Privacy Act, we continue to issue visas to Israeli scientists, including nuclear scientists, on a regular basis. We’ve actually improved processing times for visas for scientific exchanges with Israel. So there’s been – it has been suggested there’s been a policy change. There has not been a policy change. And we continue to support exchanges with the Israeli scientific and academic communities.

QUESTION: So this report is wrong?

MR. CROWLEY: To the extent the report is that we’ve stopped providing visas to Israeli scientists as a whole, that report is wrong.

QUESTION: Is there any reaction to Iran’s announcement today about the enriching uranium equipment that is ten times as powerful?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we – as you know, we had an important meeting in New York yesterday regarding working with countries involved in the – in this issue and the prospect of a resolution on adding sanctions. For countries that are involved in this process, any doubt about what we need to do, everyone should continue to listen to leaders in Iran. This ongoing, chest-bumping about its nuclear program, there’s no – if Iran wants the international community to believe what it says, that it has peaceful intentions with respect to its nuclear program, then Iran has no leave for a third generation or faster centrifuges to be able to do what it’s doing any faster. So Iran continues to add to its own indictment of why the international community is pursuing the steps that it is.

QUESTION: But will it affect sanctions?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I think if we’re looking to strengthen the indictment against Iran, we should just heed what Iran continues to say. Its comments today just provide greater evidence that notwithstanding its denials, that we have to conclude that Iran has nefarious intentions in its nuclear program. And that’s expressly why we continue to work within the international community on additional measures and sanctions to show Iran that there’s a consequence for failure to meet its obligations.

QUESTION: Two quick questions on two different topics. First on Egypt, I sent you a link to a joint letter by a number of rights groups – human rights groups – urging the Secretary to urge Egypt to take democratic reforms. I was curious if you had any reaction to that letter and if you could explain what the U.S. is doing in that regard.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, the – I did glance at the letter and it certainly is consistent with the statement that we made here in the last couple of days. We believe that all individuals should be allowed to exercise freely fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Declaration of Human Rights. We think that all Egyptians should have a role to play, a meaningful role to play, in an open, transparent, inclusive political process. That belief is central to our value system, to our foreign policy, and we think it’s also in Egypt’s long-term interests. So we continue to support free and impartial elections in Egypt, and we continue to make that clear to the Government of Egypt.

QUESTION: And how are you expressing that directly to the Egyptians other than saying it from the podium here?

MR. CROWLEY: This is part of our ongoing dialogue with Egypt and it was clear in the Human Rights Report in the section on Egypt that we recently released, and it is part of our ongoing encouragement that moving forward, Egypt has to open up its political system to a wider range of players.

QUESTION: Okay. And then I just had one other question. It’s a little bit old. It’s from Wednesday about the Treasury sanctions on Guinea-Bissau leaders under the kingpin designation. Can you explain, I guess, some of the concerns that the U.S. Government has about drug transit through West Africa and what this is meant to be – what this is meant to avoid or whatever?

MR. CROWLEY: Sure. I mean, Guinea-Bissau is a major transit hub for narcotics from South America to Europe, and there are credible reports that corruption, specifically the complicity of government officials at all levels, helps fuel this criminal activity. This drug-fueled corruption inhibits legitimate, sustainable economic growth in honest, effective government.

The two individuals who have been designated as drug trafficking kingpins have been under review by the United States Government interagency for many months. The United States Department of Treasury has made this designation because we have reason to believe that these two individuals are involved in significant international drug trafficking activity that affects the national interests of the United States.

QUESTION: Ambassador Roos and Foreign Minister Okada had a meeting recently. Do you know what was discussed in that meeting in Tokyo?

MR. CROWLEY: How recently?

QUESTION: I believe it was yesterday or the day before.

MR. CROWLEY: I haven’t got a readout.

QUESTION: Would you check on that for me?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, they meet all the time. It wouldn’t surprise me if among the issues they discussed was our ongoing dialogue with them regarding base realignment activity. But I don’t have a specific agenda for that meeting. But if there’s anything that we – I probably – the easiest thing to do is just refer you to the Embassy if they have anything they’ve done in terms of topics discussed at that meeting.

QUESTION: P.J., may I return to Kyrgyzstan? Yesterday, you mentioned that Manas Air Base’s functioning – the functioning has been reduced. There were also the demands of new authorities there to close down the base. Do you have any reaction on that?

MR. CROWLEY: My understanding from the Pentagon is that we have resumed full operations at Manas. We do have an agreement in effect regarding the operations on that base. It’s a valuable transit center to us. It’s central to our efforts to support operations in Afghanistan that have benefits to the region, including to Kyrgyzstan. It was an issue that came up yesterday in the meeting between Roza Otunbayeva and our chargé Larry Memmott, and we will continue that dialogue to the extent that this interim administration continues to raise questions about it.

QUESTION: In what sense this issue came up at the meeting? Was it that authorities demanded the closure of Manus or --

MR. CROWLEY: No.

QUESTION: -- they are suggesting to you --

MR. CROWLEY: If I understand it, she indicated that they – she asked questions about the future of Manas. And we will continue that discussion.

QUESTION: Well, I thought you told us yesterday that it hadn’t come up.

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t think I said that. But it’s my understanding it did come up.

QUESTION: As you’re well aware, Israeli officials have said that --

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I think said that I don’t think she made anything particular demands of us, but she did say that she had questions. And we will continue --

QUESTION: Well, no, because I – well, we can go back and look at the transcript.

QUESTION: Israeli officials have said that Prime Minister Netanyahu won’t come to the summit and they have decided they are concerned that Egypt and Turkey plan to raise the issue of Israel’s presumed nuclear weapons capability at the summit next week. And we’re quoting a senior Egyptian official in Cairo and we have other Arab diplomats saying that Egypt and other Arab nations – I’m not speaking of Turkey here – had no intention of raising Israel next week. Do you have reason to believe that Israel was – that Egypt is going to raise this topic in the meeting?

MR. CROWLEY: I have no idea.

QUESTION: I was wondering if the State Department could confirm AP’s exclusive about the Sinaloa cartel being now in complete control of Ciudad Juarez in Mexico.

MR. CROWLEY: I’ll take that question. I don’t know.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. CROWLEY: Have a nice weekend.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:11 p.m.)

DPB # 53


[1]  Under Secretary Bob Hormats will make a stop in Vietnam before returning to the United States.



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