1:36 p.m. EDTMR. CROWLEY:
Good afternoon and welcome to the Department of State. Several things to talk about before taking your questions. The Secretary was delighted to welcome President Mahmoud Abbas to the State Department earlier this morning. She was very grateful that he delayed his departure for Madrid to allow and to meet with her. And unfortunately, because of time pressures both on her schedule with a follow-on meeting at the White House with the President, and his time pressure in terms of being able – needing to depart to get to Madrid, we were not allow – able to present media availability on that.
They talked about a number of things – proximity talks and the progress thus far. George Mitchell will be back in the region next week to follow up on the meetings that President Abbas had this week with the President and the Secretary. The specific times and days are still being worked out. They talked about the situation in Gaza. The president shared some ideas on how to expand access for people and goods through the land border with
Israel while preserving Israel’s security interests, and we pledged to continue ongoing discussions with Israelis and others on how to best achieve that.
Regarding security, the Secretary commended President Abbas for ongoing efforts to strengthen governance, reflected in the fact that there was growing confidence not just within the international community, but also among the Palestinian people for the institutions of government that President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad are building. And they talked about the economy and they reflected on the successful investment conference last week and many positive economic indicators. The discussions centered on issues that all leaders in all countries are focused on: jobs, exports, tourism, affordable housing, and how to expand private sector business opportunities.
Subsequent to the Secretary’s meeting with the President, her weekly meeting, she had a one-on-one lunch with King Abdullah. He is here in town on a private visit, but they discussed a range of issues within the region.
Staying in the Near East, Assistant Secretary Jeff Feltman will be returning to Baghdad on Monday, June 14 to review developments in the country, including the status of government formation. He’ll meet with
Iraqi leaders, embassy staff, and U.S. forces in Iraq to discuss progress on the transformation of our relationship with Iraq from one focused on security to civilian-led partnership based on shared interests. He’ll return a week from today, and I think will be able to provide you a readout of his visit.
Prior to meeting with President Abbas, the Secretary met with Senator Chris Dodd and Representative Howard Berman as part of our ongoing Hill consultations on the pending Iraq – I’m sorry,
Iran, sanctions legislation. This is an example of wide-ranging and – discussions that the Secretary has maintained with members of both chambers and both parties on Iran, budget, and other issues of importance to the Department of State.
We see this as important legislation, an opportunity at the national level to build on UN Security Council Resolution 1929. We discussed a variety of concerns with the chairman. I’m not going to go into specifics, but we want to ensure that the legislation supports ongoing international efforts to enforce Resolution 1929. We want to make sure that the legislation has flexibility so we can work cooperatively with the international community, that what is in the legislation can actually be effectively implemented and is focused on the areas of greatest concern that we have with Iran.
Later this afternoon, the Secretary will be meeting with Ambassador Kim Beazley of Australia. Among other things, she will express gratitude for Australia’s help today in locating Abby Sunderland, the young woman who is traveling around the world. She will thank the ambassador for Australia’s ongoing commitment to
Afghanistan, will express sympathy over the loss this week of two Australian soldiers in Uruzgan province, and they’ll talk about rescheduling the Australian-U.S. ministerial some time later this year. You’ll recall earlier this year, the AUSMIN was postponed due to the Haiti earthquake.
Yesterday, officials met for the third U.S.-
Malaysian Senior Officials Dialogue here at the State Department. It was the second senior meeting between U.S. and Malaysian officials in four months. The interagency delegations were led by – on our side, Kurt Campbell and the General Secretary for Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Tan Sri Rastam Mohd Isa. The dialogue follows the April 12 meeting in Washington between President Obama and Prime Minister Najib in which the two leaders agreed to continue efforts to further strengthen the growing partnership between the United States and Malaysia.
Looking ahead a little bit on Monday, the Secretary will release the 2010 Trafficking in Persons, or G/TIP, report, as we call it, as mandated by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. The release will take place here at 10:30 in the Ben Franklin Room on the 8th
floor. This is the 10th
annual report, which is a diagnostic tool used to gauge the world’s efforts against modern slavery. In addition to the 176 countries assessed worldwide, per Secretary Clinton’s directive, this report will focus for the first time on the United States as part of our “lead by example” diplomacy. The Secretary will be joined by Under Secretary Maria Otero, Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca, members of Congress, and Trafficking in Persons heroes.
Each year, the Department honors individuals around the world who have devoted their lives to the fight against human trafficking. These individuals are nongovernmental organization workers, lawmakers, police officers, and concerned citizens who are committed to ending modern slavery. They are recognized for their tireless efforts despite resistance, opposition, and threats to their lives to protect victims, punish offenders, and raise awareness of ongoing criminal practices in their countries and abroad. And the report will be available online at 6 a.m. Monday at state.gov/g/tip.
Today, we learned that four men sentenced to death by Sudanese courts for the 2008 murders of two USAID employees, John Granville and Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama, have escaped from Khartoum’s Kober Prison. The United States Government has closely followed the trial of these men since the murders took place in Khartoum on January 1st
, 2008. And we’ve appreciated the Government of Sudan’s efforts and cooperation in prosecuting the murderers, who showed no remorse for their actions during the trial. The United States Government expects that Sudanese authorities will apprehend these convicted murderers and ensure that justice is served for the men killed and their families.
John Granville was 33. He worked for USAID for three years in Sudan on democracy and governance programs. He was originally from Buffalo, New York. Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama was 39, and he joined USAID in 2004 as a member of the disaster assistance response team in Darfur.
Secretary of State Clinton and USAID Administrator Raj Shah today expressed once again their full support for these brave public servants and their families. They represent the best of USAID, service to others, and compassion for those in need.
And turning to sports, of course, we’re trying to schedules this briefing between two World Cup games. We note that the games are underway, and in the first game, there was a 1-1 draw between South Africa and Mexico. And we’re looking forward to the second game, Uruguay against France in a little less than an hour. And of course, we’ll all be watching tomorrow afternoon when the United States and the United Kingdom play. But we certainly congratulate South Africa on an exciting start to the World Cup. They’ve given President – Vice President Biden a warm welcome. We look forward to a competitive tournament.
But at the same time we are saddened to learn of the death of Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter, killed earlier today. It forced him to skip the opening ceremonies. And we certainly extend our condolences to Nelson Mandela and his family. QUESTION:
Question -- QUESTION:
(Inaudible) on basketball? MR. CROWLEY:
You going to talk about basketball? MR. CROWLEY:
We’ll cover that down the road. QUESTION:
I take you to a subject you, I think, last commented on Monday, which is the WikiLeaks investigation, the release of or compromising of State Department documents. Is the State Department doing a damage assessment? MR. CROWLEY:
Well, we are doing a damage assessment. I think also today, Diplomatic Security is assisting in forensic analysis of the hard drives that – to just determine, to verify that, in fact, the leak took place, and also to see if we can identify which documents within the network were potentially compromised. QUESTION:
Is that a hard drive of Manning? QUESTION:
Which hard drives? QUESTION:
More than one? MR. CROWLEY:
In Baghdad? MR. CROWLEY:
They’ve been brought here. QUESTION:
They’ve been brought here to Washington? MR. CROWLEY:
Yeah, taken to Washington. QUESTION:
And it is more than one? MR. CROWLEY:
I want to say it’s more than one, yeah. QUESTION:
I had another question on the same subject. On Monday, it was a little hard to tell from your response to various questions just how grave a concern there is about release of this information. Is it of the nature of extremely sensitive information? Is it more along the lines of diplomatic awkwardness that this information would get out? MR. CROWLEY:
Well, Bob, at the time, and I’ll certainly repeat, that we are talking about classified cables. Classifications involve both the substance of cables and also sources and methods that can be revealed through the release, the unauthorized release of classified material. We take this seriously. Any release of classified material to those who are not entitled to have it is a serious breach of our security and can cause potential damage to our national security interests.
There’s been a – kind of a report of a very large number of documents or pages. We’re obviously trying to verify exactly what might have exchanged hands here. And we are doing a damage assessment to verify the disclosure or the leak and to identify what documents of the State Department may have been potentially compromised.
If you’re taking that large a number, it’s going to probably capture a wide range of different documents. We do cables that provide our analysis of ongoing events in the region, but obviously of greatest concern is sources and methods which we rely on when providing insight to decision makers on what’s happening around the world. QUESTION:
What are you talking about? Sources and methods, that usually is associated with intelligence but not necessarily. It could be just your contacts with people. Are you talking about intelligence contacts or are you talking about just normal everyday -- MR. CROWLEY:
Well, I mean, we don’t classify documents for just the heck of it. We classify documents because of the substance, the nature of the discussion and disclosures within those documents, and the sources that we have employed to be able to provide this kind of analysis to decision makers and posts and other officials around the network.
So it’s hard to say at this point what the potential impact is, but we have from the very outset – we learned of this breach late last month – been cooperating fully across the interagency to determine exactly what the potential impact is. QUESTION:
And one more if I -- MR. CROWLEY:
One more. On Monday, you said that you hadn’t yet contacted anyone from the website to plead or to talk to them about not publishing. Is that still the case? And why haven’t you?MR. CROWLEY:
Well, first of all, the Defense Department has the lead. It was their individual who is implicated in this. If there is a prosecution, it will be a DOD-led prosecution. We – I think we would be concerned about who you reach out to. That may jeopardize a potential successful prosecution. So we have not reached out to WikiLeaks and I don’t know that we, the Department of State, will do that.QUESTION:
Can I – just a couple of things. Why would the prosecution be a DOD-led prosecution? Wouldn’t it – if U.S. criminal laws were violated, why wouldn’t it be a Department of Justice prosecution? MR. CROWLEY:
I’ll defer to either of those agencies, but this is a military specialist and it is also a violation of the UCMJ.QUESTION:
Okay. And then another one: You said that you haven’t – you noted that this was DOD-led because it was a DOD employee, but you then also said that you haven’t reached out to WikiLeaks for fear of compromising an eventual prosecution. And does that mean that you feel that prosecuting the individual is more important than potentially preventing these tens of thousands of documents from being – becoming public?
I mean, I don’t understand why you couldn’t, without prejudicing your potential prosecution, say “Look, please don’t publish this stuff if you have it for the following reasons.”MR. CROWLEY:
That’s a hard – I understand the point you’re making, Arshad. It’s a hard question to respond to. At this point, first of all, by doing the forensic analysis on the – on hard drives will actually determine whether, in fact, we have evidence that documents that might have been downloaded actually were transmitted outside of a classified and closed network. So that’s the first step in this process, to actually verify that the rumors of a leak have actually taken place.
As to steps that we’ll – we might take down the road, but – I think at this point, we have not yet reached out to anybody outside of the government. And whether we do or somebody else does will be a determination made down the road. QUESTION:
Change of subject?MR. CROWLEY:
Earlier this week, the spokesperson of
India’s foreign ministry said that the Government of India has made the extradition request for the former Union Carbide CEO in – related to Bhopal gas leak tragedy case in early 1980s. And you also said that you don’t respond to such requests, but the Government of India says --MR. CROWLEY:
I didn’t say – on that – as a general rule --QUESTION:
-- extradition requests are confidential.QUESTION:
So – but the Government of India says that the main roadblock to this is coming from the U.S., who it says is not cooperating for the extraditions request, stating more and more information for it. Do you have anything to respond to it?MR. CROWLEY:
Well, since – if extradition requests are confidential, I’m not in a position to verify, in fact, whether we have such a request or whether we have responded to it.QUESTION:
And secondly --MR. CROWLEY:
-- in the wake of the Bhopal gas tragedy case and the judgment that has come up from the Indian court this week and this another major development here going on in the BP case, what role do you see for the U.S. companies overseas, the corporate responsibilities that they play over there overseas? Since the Administration has always been – this Administration has been sticking for accountability, more transparency for the U.S. companies here.MR. CROWLEY:
Well, I’m not sure that – it’s hard to necessarily draw a direct comparison between the two. Certainly, if I recall, in the case of Bhopal there was a settlement realized a number of years ago. And I believe that there was an effort towards remediation, although I don’t express that I have all of the facts here in front of me. You have an ongoing situation here. BP, as a private company, has stepped up and indicated it will take its own steps since it owns the well to stop the leak and to pay for the mitigation of the impact.
It’s hard to say at this point, as we’re still in the middle of the early stage of this, what – where – what that will entail. We’re working as a government aggressively with BP to try to mitigate the impact of this as we’ve detailed here. We have accepted through a variety of channels international assistance for the BP skill and continue to evaluate sources of other support that may help us to minimize the short-term and long-term damage from this. So I wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable comparing what happened in the mid-80s and what’s happening today.QUESTION:
Now, do you expect a similar kind of response from the U.S. companies overseas if they get involved with incident like the BP is having here?MR. CROWLEY:
Well, again, you’re comparing a different – there are relevant laws that we have in this country based on the opportunity of oil companies like BP to extract fuel from the Gulf of Mexico. There’s a different set of legal issues in terms of the codes of India. And I would take it on faith that companies – U.S. companies that are operating overseas are very mindful of and respectful of the laws of any country in which they operate.QUESTION:
Thank you. QUESTION:
Another subject?MR. CROWLEY:
The flotilla investigation, did that come up at all in the conversation with President Abbas? And could you give us an update – has the U.S. been talking with Israel about a potential American component?MR. CROWLEY:
It was not a substantial part of the conversation. The focus with President Abbas was more on trying to find ways to relieve the suffering of the people of Gaza. And he presented the Secretary with some ideas that from a Palestinian Authority standpoint that he felt needed to be done. And we will – and we are discussing our own ideas and we’ll also discuss President Abbas’s ideas with Israel and others.QUESTION:
Mm-hmm. But any update on U.S. – potential U.S. participation in that – MR. CROWLEY:
This is something we continue to talk to the Israelis about. QUESTION:
All right. All right. One, two. Okay, go ahead. Eli. QUESTION:
On the flotilla investigation, will you be supporting a UN resolution calling for one or a UN investigation at this point?MR. CROWLEY:
Well, to a specific question, I think, that was asked of the White House earlier today, we’re not aware of any resolution that will be introduced at the UN next week. We are in discussion with the UN. I think Secretary General Ban is evaluating the situation and it was quite within his purview to do so.QUESTION:
Well, can I follow up on that?MR. CROWLEY:
In those discussions are you encouraging Security Council members to support the resolution –MR. CROWLEY:
Well, as we –QUESTION:
-- or are you saying that maybe this isn’t the right fora? MR. CROWLEY:
Well, as we have made clear, we support an Israeli-led investigation. As the Secretary has emphasized more than once, we are open to and discussing with Israel potential ways in which the international community can participate. We believe that this has to be seen as impartial. It has to be seen as credible. And international participation in some fashion can enhance the results and the outcome and the support for the investigation.
Today in an interview, Ambassador Oren said that Israelis will be the ones heading up that commission. Have you heard that?MR. CROWLEY:
I’m – try me again.QUESTION:
In an interview today, Ambassador Oren said that the Israelis will be the ones to lead up that commission that’s being proposed by the UN.MR. CROWLEY:
Well, again, as to what might be considered at the UN, I would defer to the Secretary General. It is within his purview to evaluate actions there. We are focused on the Israeli-led investigation and looking at ways in which the international community can support that.QUESTION:
A follow-up. Do you think this commission could be – set a bad precedent for investigations that might follow with incidents involving U.S. troops or intelligence operatives in wartime efforts?MR. CROWLEY:
Well, I think as the – again, I’m not making a comment on whether the UN is considering that form of review or whether or not that will be something that the Secretary General supports. That will be something that it will be up to him to consider and then discuss with UN member states. As we have just said, we continue to support the Israeli-led investigation, but we are working with the Israelis and others to see how we might be able to introduce an international component to that.QUESTION:
Is there an Israeli precedent that leads you to believe that Israel is best positioned to conduct such an investigation? MR. CROWLEY:
That’s – QUESTION:
Are you drawing on past –MR. CROWLEY:
Again, as we have said many, many times, if the question is, does Israel, as a strong, vibrant, competent government and democracy, have the capability to lead such an investigation, the answer is yes. But just as we saw – QUESTION:
Could you cite –MR. CROWLEY:
Let me finish. Just as we saw with the recent South
Korean investigation of the Cheonan
, that when you do introduce an international component to it, you bring additional competence and you bring additional force and credibility to that investigation. We’re very conscious of the fact that, say, on Monday, I believe, at the UN in a formal meeting, South Korea and those who conducted the investigation were bringing that matter to the Council. And we think it adds just the kind of credibility that we want to see come out of this investigation.QUESTION:
Can I ask –MR. CROWLEY:
Sure. Well, I’ll come back to you.QUESTION:
Okay. Give me a follow-up on this.QUESTION:
Just a follow-up on the Bhopal tragedy case -- QUESTION:
The flotilla (inaudible)? MR. CROWLEY:
All right -- QUESTION:
All right. Let’s stay on the flotilla. Then we’ll come back. QUESTION:
Could I just follow up very quickly? Was that an issue that was discussed with the king of Jordan? I mean he’s on a private visit, but obviously the Secretary of State saw fit to -- MR. CROWLEY:
With King Abdullah, we normally highlight various issues in the region. It would not surprise me if that was a topic discussed.QUESTION:
Can I –MR. CROWLEY:
-- ask you a related flotilla question?MR. CROWLEY:
Does the U.S. reserve the right to board ships that it believes, through – I’m thinking of the counter-proliferation initiative in international waters and that’s one element, I understand, of it. But doesn’t the U.S. believe it has the right to board a ship if it’s carrying, I guess, illicit materials in international waters?MR. CROWLEY:
I think some of that authority was incorporated into 1874 and I believe some of that authority has been incorporated into 1929.QUESTION:
So just to clarify, the U.S. believes it derives authority to board ships in international water from UN Security Council resolutions and not just as a matter of self defense or –MR. CROWLEY:
Well, I’m not going to get into a deep dive into international law, Eli, but I do believe that encumbered in the UN charter is a right to self-defense. And as to things like the proliferation security initiative or implementation of UN Security Council resolutions such as 1874 or 1929, we draw authority from those resolutions.QUESTION:
This Administration, including the Vice President, keep bringing up the South Korean investigation as an example. But for that parallel to hold up, since it was a South Korean ship that was attacked, shouldn’t Turkey be actually conducting the investigation?MR. CROWLEY:
Well, I believe Turkey has indicated it is going to conduct its own investigation. That is obviously a right that Turkey has.QUESTION:
So the U.S. would be in favor of helping the North Koreans?MR. CROWLEY:
It was – yes, you’re right. It was a Turkish vessel that was boarded and certainly Turkey has the right to investigate what happened on that ship.QUESTION:
So the U.S. would be willing to help North Korea conduct its own investigation into that? If that parallel is going to hold up –MR. CROWLEY:
Well, first of all, we’re not talking about a North Korean investigation. Well -- QUESTION:
But you’re comparing the two.MR. CROWLEY:
We’re not talking about a North Korean vessel. If North Korea wants to investigate the sinking of the Cheonan,
as it indicated it might, it might start by taking an inventory of its torpedoes. (Laughter.) But look, we – as an ally of South Korea, we were happy, along with other countries, to support the Cheonan
investigation. We think we added value and technical expertise to that investigation. We certainly have volunteered, if Israel wishes to have the support and help of the United States in this investigation.
As the Secretary has said, we’re open to that. If Turkey wants our help in the investigation, we’re open to that possibility as well.QUESTION:
Couldn’t we just (inaudible) --MR. CROWLEY:
P.J., North Korea? MR. CROWLEY:
(Inaudible) any kind of collection of your own information? Because there was a U.S. citizen shot and killed (inaudible). MR. CROWLEY:
Yes, and in our --QUESTION:
(Inaudible) some people are saying that these people were shot at close proximity repeatedly, and so on.MR. CROWLEY:
I understand that, and during the course of our ongoing discussions with the Israelis and others, we are, in fact, as we said from day one, obtaining our own facts about what happened and drawing our own conclusions about what happened. QUESTION:
Can we go to --QUESTION:
Another subject, North Korea --MR. CROWLEY:
-- related. You talked about the games, the World Cup, and North Korea, we understand is playing in the games. MR. CROWLEY:
I think that’s true.QUESTION:
Yeah. Do you think they should be playing in the games? After all, they have – as you have said, maybe not using these words, thumbed their nose at the international community. Should they be allowed to play in this international venue? QUESTION:
A chance to make news.MR. CROWLEY:
(Laughter.) Well, I mean, I think we recognize the value of sport, and I would note, I think, in previous World Cups, the United States has actually played Iran in a World Cup in the not-too-distant past. And so these – there’s a – this is a tournament where countries have national teams and they compete for the right to play, and North Korea has survived the qualifying competition.QUESTION:
P.J., do you have a comment on the situation in Kyrgyzstan, which was turning in a rather (inaudible)? Do you keep in touch with the authorities in Bishkek over that? And what is the latest status of the Manas Transit Center?MR. CROWLEY:
Well, let’s see. Let’s start with the – we are concerned about reports of loss of life and injuries. And there were reports of serious Kyrgyz and Uzbek clashes in the city of Osh that began overnight. We have been in touch with the Kyrgyz Government about the violence. We have done our own checking and report no American injuries or casualties at this point. We are obviously staying on top of that situation. Meanwhile, we do continue to talk to the Kyrgyz Government about the transit center at Manas.QUESTION:
Is it open now?MR. CROWLEY:
Is it open? Is it completely functioning? MR. CROWLEY:
I’ll defer to the Pentagon in terms of what its current status is.QUESTION:
P.J., on that, they said that the Kyrgyz authorities were caught kind of unaware – unprepared for that type of violence, which appears to be ethnic. Do you have anything more on -- MR. CROWLEY:
Yeah, I don’t know. My impression is that these have been clashes among two predominant groups in the southern part of the country, and I don’t think that this violence is unprecedented. As to whether the government anticipated this, I’ll defer to the Kyrgyz Government.
All right. Okay. Follow-up.QUESTION:
As you mentioned that you will not comment on extradition treaty or extradition request --MR. CROWLEY:
Well, we do have a extradition treaty with India.QUESTION:
Well, my question is not on that. That’s what – my question is that former Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson signed a bond for rupees, Indian rupees, 25,000 on December 7th
, 1984 to get his freedom. And signed in that was a sentence that he would – will present himself whenever or wherever asked by the court or police. Now, he’s hiding in the U.S. So will the U.S. help Indian Government to track him and to bring him to justice? And --MR. CROWLEY:
I have no way of validating the – whatever document he signed in 1984. All I will tell you, obviously, if the Government of India makes such a request of us, we will carefully evaluate it.QUESTION:
Another one. For the – for – in the David Headley case, the Indian minister had specifically mentioned in his speech during his visit here to Secretary Clinton about access to Headley. Now, the access is complete. So would you like to comment on what exactly happened? And is there (inaudible) for another access or the courts will – can go ahead with the trial and sentencing?MR. CROWLEY:
Well, there was a statement, I think, released by both the Governments of the United States and India yesterday – I think for us, it was by the Department of Justice – confirming that Indian authorities had seven days of access to David Headley. And there is an agreement that we would not discuss the specifics that were in that meeting, but there were no restrictions on the questions that the Indian authorities asked of Mr. Headley.QUESTION:
Yeah, I’ll come back to you. Go ahead.QUESTION:
Will Assistant Secretary Campbell visit Japan next week?MR. CROWLEY:
Yeah – well, he will be traveling next week. I think we’ll have an announcement for you on Monday.
Just to go back to your opening comments about the U.S.-Malaysian Senior Officials Dialogue – and I’ve now read the statement that – or the media note that you put out, which makes no reference to human rights or the case of Anwar Ibrahim, was that raised during the course of the --MR. CROWLEY:
I asked that question, Arshad, myself and I’m still seeking a clarification. I’ll take the question. QUESTION:
Okay. And just – the reason I ask is obviously is – you know, the State Department has, for many years, described his case as one of – as being a victim of sort of political prosecution. And the tone of this media note is very, very upbeat about trade and climate change and ways of elevating the U.S.-Malaysia partnership. And I just wondered if that came up.
And then unrelated to that --MR. CROWLEY:
Well, let me make the point. It’s a very valid point. We have followed his case through a couple of different iterations for a number of years. We have, in fact, presented – whether it happened in this meeting, I can’t say, and we will find out and verify one way or the other. But in terms of our normal dialogue with Malaysia, we have repeatedly, for – over a number of years, expressed our concern about Mr. Ibrahim’s case, and more broadly about the implications of his multiple prosecutions on the political system in Malaysia. It is an area of ongoing concern to us.QUESTION:
Thanks. And then just one other from the – unrelated, if I may, I want to take you back to some of the questions we discussed the day that the UN Security Council voted on the fourth Iran sanctions resolution.
There is a sentiment among some diplomats that the decision to announce the agreement among the P-5+1, about the resolution on May – I think it was 18th
– two days after the Tehran declaration, and in particular, the Secretary’s statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that this was the clearest response that the U.S. could give to the Tehran declaration may have harmed your efforts to get the Brazilians or the Turks to at least abstain.
I know I raised this before but I wanted to make sure that I gave you an opportunity again to address why – (a) why it was that the U.S. Government decided to announce it had agreement on that Tuesday and why not give a little bit more time for the diplomatic string to play out, and (b) why the Secretary – whether you see any merit to the notion that the Secretary, talking about the announcement being a response to the Tehran declaration, didn’t perhaps hurt diplomatic efforts to keep the Turks and Brazilians with you on the resolution.MR. CROWLEY:
Well, let me work backwards to frontwards. First of all, in terms of the decision why Brazil and Turkey decided to vote no in the Council this week, that is something for Brazil and Turkey to explain. Why did we announce that Tuesday, that we had reached agreement with the P-5+1? Because we had reached agreement with the P-5+1 and advanced the resolution process. It is perfectly reflective of our dual-track approach in terms of both advancing and engaging and being open to diplomacy.
And even as we stand here, we continue to be open to any diplomacy that countries like Brazil and Turkey are willing to engage in, and we appreciate their efforts, or any diplomacy that Iran is prepared to engage in – and we are still open to that – and Iran, even following the Tehran declaration, has yet to pick up the phone and call the P-5+1 and say we’re ready to talk about our nuclear program. That is something we’ve been waiting months and years for Iran to do.
We have a – the same strategic goal that Turkey and Brazil have in preventing the emergence of a nuclear Iran. We do disagree on tactics. We do have a disagreement about whether the Tehran declaration provided a sufficient opening that would put a pause on the other track. Our view, and the view of the P-5+1, was that the only way to really significantly push Iran towards diplomacy was, in fact, to pass this resolution. We respect the fact that Turkey and Brazil have a different point of view.
We – and we – as we indicated earlier this week, also in our response to Iran’s letter to the IAEA, we continue – what we did in the Council was based on our ongoing concern about Tehran’s enrichment and its clear statements that regardless of the Tehran declaration, the Tehran research reactor proposal, that it was going to continue to enrich. That is in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. And on that basis, we felt it was appropriate to continue to pursue the resolution that passed the Council this week.
We respect the fact that Turkey and Brazil have a different point of view. We are disappointed that they did not join the rest of the consensus within the Council. But we will work – continue to work with them as we continue to press Iran to come forward and answer the questions that we all have about its nuclear program.QUESTION:
And you don’t think you might not have had a better chance of avoiding your disappointment and securing, if not their yes votes, then at least their abstentions, had you waited a little bit longer?MR. CROWLEY:
Well, we felt that this was the time to send a clear message to Iran. I think we are also mindful of the fact that tomorrow will mark the first anniversary of the illegitimate election in Iran and the consequent repression and restrictions on freedom of assembly and freedom of expression that have followed the election last year in Iran. So we thought that this was the right time to send a very clear message to Iran that it’s on the wrong course and has to change.QUESTION:
And just one simple one.MR. CROWLEY:
Why was it the right time?MR. CROWLEY:
I think the – it was the right time because it is – it was Iran that said very flatly, beginning in New York when the foreign ministers met on the margins of the NPT conference, and then even in Tehran with the leaders of Brazil and Turkey present, that regardless of any declaration, regardless of any TRR proposal, Iran was going to continue to enrich uranium to 20 percent. That is a fundamental violation of previous Security Council resolutions. It is a violation of Iran’s obligations under the NPT. Iran remains the only country in the world that has failed to convince the IAEA of the peaceful intentions of its nuclear program.
Mindful of the fact that over the – during the time in which we had put the TRR proposal on the table, Iran had effectively doubled the amount of enriched uranium. The TRR proposal back in October was meant as a confidence-building measure. But given Iran’s reluctance, and then its ongoing enrichment and then its 11 and a half hour proposal, we did not think that the actions of Iran were the kind of confidence building that we were looking for back in October.
And so given that broad sweep, it wasn’t ever about the TRR proposal per se, but the broader question of Iran’s obligations. And we felt this was the right step to do. We stand by our vote. We’ll have other countries explain the actions that they took.
But I think we are encouraged by the fact that Brazil, and I believe Turkey, as with other countries, have indicated they’re going to fully implement 1929. And we’re going to put the kind of pressure on Iran that is called for in the resolution.
New topic?MR. CROWLEY:
Mike McFaul yesterday at the Peterson Institute talked about the occupation –
Russian occupation of Georgia. And then he said, “Have we made progress on that central objective? My answer is no, we have not. That’s the truth. So we have this goal, we have the strategy we are pursuing.” And he kind of goes on.
My question is: Does this building share Mr. McFaul’s objective --MR. CROWLEY:
-- assessment?MR. CROWLEY:
And would you call it an occupation?MR. CROWLEY:
Well, Michael’s a friend of mine. I’ll let his words stand for themselves. But just this week, Assistant Secretary Phil Gordon met with Russian officials. We reviewed the status of the situation between Russia and Georgia. We remain concerned about the situations in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We continue to seek assurances from Russia regarding its future behavior. We want to make sure that Russia is living up to the agreement that was reached with the significant cooperation of France back in 2008. We are not satisfied with the current situation. We remain concerned about Georgia. We remain committed to Georgia’s territorial integrity. And this is – this will be part of our ongoing discussion with Russia going forward.QUESTION:
Would you agree that you’ve made no progress on this objective of foreign policy?MR. CROWLEY:
Well, I mean, on the one hand, the situation – and I’m not sure I would – I mean, we are not satisfied with the current situation.QUESTION:
Wait. Jill. I’ll come back to you.QUESTION:
Another subject.MR. CROWLEY:
This Justice Department announcement of indictments on this drug pin, do you have anything on that? The – he’s an American, alleged drug kingpin, who was arrested with – I’m sorry, who has been indicted with a number of other people, but they believe is in Mexico. Apparently a big deal.MR. CROWLEY:
“La Barbie.”MR. CROWLEY:
I’ll see what we have about it.QUESTION:
Afghanistan. In view of the recent developments in Afghanistan – the peace jirga, resignation of ministers, and Taliban are killing more people – increasingly more people than last week – what is your assessment of the current situation in the country, and what do you expect from the Kabul conference on the 20th
Well, we – with the meeting of special representatives this week in Madrid, one of their primary purposes in getting together was to begin to draw up an agenda, or support the Afghan agenda for the Kabul conference. This is – we continue to support the government. We’re mindful of the fact that President Karzai sought the resignations of two ministers. We trust that they will be replaced with equally competent ministers. This is an Afghan-led process in terms of the reconciliation efforts, signified by the peace jirga last week. Regarding the situation on the ground, as I think General McChrystal has said, this is tough business and it’s going to take some time before we see the kind of results that we want.QUESTION:
So are you still on that – next year’s deadline of June 2011 to withdraw troop – starting withdrawing troops from there?MR. CROWLEY:
There is no change in the President’s timetable.QUESTION:
P.J., answering Arshad’s question on Iran, did you call the – last year’s election illegitimate? Or does that mean you don’t consider President Ahmadinejad legitimate leader of Iran? MR. CROWLEY:
Yeah, I --QUESTION:
Because I thought the White House took rather long pause. And then they finally recognized him as the legitimate --MR. CROWLEY:
Well, we --QUESTION:
-- (inaudible) leader.MR. CROWLEY:
The government is what it is. But I think that we have all come to the conclusion that the results of the election did not reflect the will of the Iranian people.QUESTION:
Just to follow up, if I understand correctly, that you do not have access to these documents which I mentioned?MR. CROWLEY:
I’m just saying I’m not equipped to talk about a document signed in 1984.QUESTION:
I’m just – in case the Government of India approaches U.S. again with all – will – what will be the response of the State Department?MR. CROWLEY:
Let me – let – no, look, all I will say – I will repeat it one more time – is we have an extradition treaty with India. And if India makes an extradition request of us, we will give it fair consideration. Beyond that, I’m not going to go through any kind of --QUESTION:
Could you comment, has India made such a --MR. CROWLEY:
And I’m – and our lawyers here have pounded into me that all extradition requests are confidential.
Just a point of clarification on your comments earlier about the WikiLeaks investigation: Did you say hard drives are being examined – or hard drive singular? And did you say here in this building?MR. CROWLEY:
I think (inaudible) I will (inaudible) I’ll take two questions. Whether the drives are here at the State Department – I know they’re here in Washington.QUESTION:
And I’ll confirm that there’s (inaudible). QUESTION:
And one last thing on that also. How long has this forensics examination been going on? It just started today or last week or yesterday? I mean, you didn’t mention it on Monday.MR. CROWLEY:
Was it not going on then or --MR. CROWLEY:
I think the drives arrived in – here in Washington like, yesterday.QUESTION:
They were in Iraq, as you know.QUESTION:
Thank you.MR. CROWLEY:
Okay. Thank you.
(The briefing was concluded at 2:25 p.m.)
DPB # 92