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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
May 26, 2010

Index for Today's Briefing
    • President Obama and President Calderon pledged to interdict the flow of dangerous people and goods/U.S. has explained the President's announcement to the Government of Mexico, and they fully understand the rationale behind it
    • President Lee and Premier Wen Jiabao Friday/Common view of the importance for stability along the Korean Peninsula/Will consult further with China, South Korea and others in the UN Security Council
    • China and Russia will make their own determinations of the investigation and implications/U.S. looks for a strong international response that sends a compelling message to North Korea/China and Russia have a significant role in that response
  • IRAN
    • Evaluation of Iran's letter to the IAEA continues/Continue to work aggressively in New York on the sanctions resolution


[May 26, Part 1]


QUESTION: Another border, please. The Mexican border, U.S. troops dispatched, what’s the State Department reaction? Is there a concern that it’ll create new tensions with the Mexican Government? And what efforts are made in the past couple of days that can be (inaudible) to the Mexican --

MR. CROWLEY: Not at all. Obviously, when President Obama and President Calderon met recently, they pledged to do everything possible on both sides of the border to interdict the flow of dangerous people and dangerous goods – drugs, guns, people. And so I think what the President announced yesterday is fully consistent with our efforts to do our part to stem violence and to work on our piece of this joint strategy. And we have explained the President’s announcement to the Government of Mexico and they fully understand the rationale behind it.

QUESTION: So this was part of an ongoing, you know, like a long-term policy rather than falling under the pressure of the opposition, in this case the Republicans calling for 5,000 --

MR. CROWLEY: Well, this is not the first time that the United States has brought National Guard to the border. The rationale is simply to be able to take some support functions, relieve the civilian law enforcement of certain support functions, and establish a broader presence across our border with Mexico. This frees up some resources that can be used more effectively to directly interdict the flow of illegal drugs.

And let’s understand we’re talking about flows going in both directions. It’s not about immigration; it’s not about the flow of certain things coming in this direction. We recognize, as the President has said, as the Secretary has said, we have responsibilities here both in terms of the demand for narcotics within our country, the flow of weapons from our country into Mexico that helps to fuel the violence that Mexico is struggling with. So this is part of our commitment.

And as the President announced also, there’s a – we’ll be making a request of Congress so that we can continue to increase the civilian capacity along the border to be able to secure our border as part of our long-term strategy.


QUESTION: P.J., does the Administration see China shifting its position in the aftermath of the boat incident in Korea more toward sympathy toward South Korea?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I think let’s look ahead to the meeting with President Lee and Premier Wen Jiabao on Friday. As the Secretary said in Beijing, this is a shared responsibility. We have a common view of the importance of doing everything possible to achieve stability in the – along the Korean Peninsula. So we’ll be consulting – as we did in Beijing this week, we’ll be consulting further with China, South Korea and others within the Security Council.

QUESTION: Another on North Korea?


QUESTION: The Russians are sending investigators to look at the results of the probe.

MR. CROWLEY: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: What do you think of that? And would it put pressure on the Chinese to do the same? And could it be helpful?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I’m sure that when Premier Wen is in Seoul, he’ll have the opportunity to talk directly to South Korean officials, including the president, about the investigation. As the Secretary reiterated today, we think it was scientific and we think it was thorough and we believe that the results are clear. China and Russia will obviously make their own determinations of the investigation and the implications.

China, Russia, along with Japan, South Korea, and the United States, we are committed to a process that, as Foreign Minister Yu said today, we hope will send a clear message to the North Korean leadership and that they will choose a different path. Regrettably, they continue to choose the path of provocation. And as the Secretary and others have said, we look for a strong international response. China and Russia clearly have to play a significant role in that response that sends a very clear and compelling message to North Korea.

QUESTION: Did the U.S. ask Russia to send investigators to take a look, since the U.S. was part of the --

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t think – it’s not a matter of us requesting Russia. Russia is, has been, a participant in the Six-Party process. They have a direct interest in – as we do – in peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula. I think it’s for them to make their own judgment as to the implications of the investigation. We’ve made our judgment. We are going to support South Korea and we would hope that China and Russia will do the same.


QUESTION: Do you consider new resolution at the UN Security Council to sanction North Korea as a strong response?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, as the Secretary pledged again today, we will work very closely with South Korea. As she outlined, we think that the steps that have been outlined by President Lee are prudent, we support them completely, so we will – working with South Korea and others – we will chart an appropriate course within the Security Council. But at this point, I wouldn’t predict when or how that will take place.


QUESTION: Secretary Clinton said the United States is reviewing additional actions to hold North Korea accountable. Can you elaborate on it?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, as we said yesterday, we will – we are looking for a strong international response and will have discussions within the Security Council in the coming days. And beyond that, we are obviously reviewing various options that we have. Our joint efforts, working with South Korea and other countries, is to send a very clear and compelling message to North Korea that these provocations will not be tolerated and that there will be consequences. But our efforts are designed not so much to punish North Korea, but just to put pressure on North Korea to choose a different path.


QUESTION: On India. P.J., last week, India banned over 100 terrorist organizations in the country. And at the same time in Pakistan, Pakistan arrested an army major who was connected with Times Square. What I’m asking is: What role do you think U.S. played in all these arrests or connections with the terrorist organizations?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, first of all, these were steps taken by India and Pakistan. We – security, counterterrorism are an ingredient of our dialogue in our relationship with both countries. This is a shared challenge that the United States, India, Pakistan, other countries have. It’s a global challenge. So we welcome the efforts of these countries to try to reduce the threat not only within the region, but more broadly.


QUESTION: Can I go back – if I could go back to the oil spill, the offers of foreign assistance. Have those numbers continued to come in continually over the last five weeks or did it – was it all at the start that these offers came in?

MR. CROWLEY: As I recall, I think for the most part, these offers came in within the first couple of weeks.

QUESTION: And can you characterize beyond what Mexico and Norway provided, what the other countries offered up?

MR. CROWLEY: For the most part, they have been, as I recall – I haven’t seen the list in a while – but technical things: skimmers; booms; in some cases, expertise. And we are grateful for these offers. And obviously, this is a challenge that is going to be notwithstanding efforts today to try to plug the leak – we hope they are successful – but the remediation of this is going to take quite some time. And as we can use assistance, whether through – regardless of its source, but to the extent it’s coming from international sources, we’ll welcome that assistance and we’ll --

QUESTION: You said 17 offers and you’ve only accepted – well, BP, through the UAC has only accepted two. There just seems to be a little disconnect there.

MR. CROWLEY: Again, these are very good questions. It’s – we’re the facilitators of the offers, but the judgment as to what exactly we need on any particular day and where we need it, those judgments are being made down in Louisiana.

QUESTION: And are you --

QUESTION: (Inaudible) list of the – may we see a list of the offers of assistance, what was offered?

MR. CROWLEY: I think it’ll be up to these countries if they want to characterize what particular – what specifically they’ve offered and what the terms are.

QUESTION: Any offer from India of any kind?

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t think I read them off on the list.

QUESTION: India was not among the list you read, but --


QUESTION: -- I thought maybe – you know, sometimes you get some offers.

MR. CROWLEY: If we got a formal offer, then I’ve mentioned it to you.


QUESTION: Can we go back to Sri Lanka?

MR. CROWLEY: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: The State Department has today canceled its previous Travel Warning on Sri Lanka. Now it says the situation has improved and now it’s safe for Americans. Can you give us a sense of the security situation in the country?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I think the travel – our travel guidance speaks for itself. But certainly, as we’ve moved past the direct conflict, the longer that we come from the direct conflict, the more we start to hopefully see Sri Lankan society stabilize, heal, then a great deal of effort over a number of months to deal with the displaced population of Sri Lanka. So as things stabilize in the country, obviously it has implications in terms of the guidance that we give to citizens traveling abroad.

QUESTION: Do you read something into the timing of the warn – the timing you have issued the Travel Warning because the Sri Lanka foreign minister is here and last --

MR. CROWLEY: I would say it’s a coincidence.

QUESTION: Any update with the Iran sanctions in the Security Council? Anything new?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, let’s see. We have – we continue to evaluate the IAEA – or the letter that Iran sent to the IAEA – and we continue to work aggressively in New York on the sanctions resolution.

QUESTION: You said you expected the evaluation to be concluded by the end of the week. Is that still --

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t think I said that. I said we would respond quickly to the Iranian letter, and we will respond quickly to the Iranian letter.

QUESTION: You said within a week.


QUESTION: I thought you did say within a week.

MR. CROWLEY: No. Iran said that it would provide the letter to – I believe – I’ll go back and look at my – I think I (inaudible) we’ll respond quickly.

QUESTION: Was this sanction issue discussed between the Secretary and the Chinese leadership in Beijing – during her visit to Beijing, if Secretary had discussed this sanction issue with the Chinese leaders?


QUESTION: Because China --

MR. CROWLEY: Of course. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Because China really had been saying that maybe sanctions at this time may not have been necessary.

MR. CROWLEY: Actually, Goyal, I’ll go back to last week where we announced that there was consensus within the P-5+1 on a draft sanctions resolution. China committed to that draft resolution. We’re now discussing it within the entire Security Council, and we will continue to work as hard and as long as necessary to gain the Council’s approval of that resolution.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. CROWLEY: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:05 p.m.)

DPB # 82

# # #

[1] President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
[2] Unified Area Command

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