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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action


Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
July 20, 2010


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Index for Today's Briefing
  • CUBA
    • US Interests Section meeting with families in Cuba of political prisoners to review current situation and perhaps get some insights into their particular plans and preferences going forward, part of our ongoing dialogue/Will stress during these meetings that we hope that Cuba will release all political prisoners as part of this process
  • RUSSIA
    • Defers to Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration on specifics of reported case involving Russian pilot arrested in Liberia/Was given consular access in New York
  • UN
    • Effective administration of the UN is vitally important/Continuing to move forward on reforms and helping to make the United Nations more efficient are critical aspects that guide our relationship with the UN
  • AFGHANISTAN
    • Taken question on number of ministry audits


TRANSCRIPT:

July 20 - Part 1

QUESTION: Unless you want to stay on North Korea – on Cuba, there are indications that the – that U.S. diplomats would meet with relatives of dissidents who are still there in prison. Is that the case?

MR. CROWLEY: It is.

QUESTION: What’s going to be discussed? What’s the point of the meeting?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we have these kinds of meetings on a regular basis, however often that might be. But in light of what has transpired in terms of release of some prisoners through the Interests Section of the Spanish government and the Catholic Church, our Interests Section in Cuba is meeting with individual families just to review the current situation, perhaps get some insights into their particular plans and preferences going forward. So this is part of our ongoing dialogue with the families of political prisoners. And again, we’ll stress during these meetings that we hope – and that Cuba will release all prisoners – political prisoners as part of this process.

QUESTION: Are you very hopeful that there is momentum for that after the previous release?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we’ll see. There has been this kind of first level of agreement, and we would expect to have further releases to Spain this week. We’ll see where it goes. We want to see all political prisoners released in Cuba. But how far and how fast the Cuban Government will go is a major question.

David.

QUESTION: P.J., do you have anything on a reported Russian demarche of the United States in connection with a Russian pilot arrested in Liberia on a drug case who was extradited to the U.S.?

MR. CROWLEY: I’ll defer to the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Agency on specifics of this case. All I will tell you is that upon his arrival in the United States, he was given consular access in New York.

QUESTION: And their complaint was that he wasn’t given it when he was initially arrested.

MR. CROWLEY: He was given consular access in New York.

QUESTION: There was a report in The Washington Post today about – from the United Nations about a – the inspector general or the deputy inspector general resigning, saying that Ban Ki-moon had set up a whole structure to block her investigations into corruption. And I wondered if you had any comment on that.

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t specifically. I probably will defer to my colleagues at the UN Mission in New York. Obviously, effective administration of the United Nations is vitally important. Continuing to move forward on reforms, helping to make the United Nations more efficient – these are all critical aspects that guide our relationship with the United Nations. But as to the specific dynamic between the secretary general and his staff, I’ll defer comment.

QUESTION: Afghanistan?

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: The Secretary mentioned the auditing procedure a little bit when she was talking to the journalists on the plane. Can you give us an update, how many ministries have been audited? You can take the question --

MR. CROWLEY: I’ll take that question. I’m not aware that we have moved – I think there were three last time I checked. Let me – I’ll check and see if we’ve completed the audits on additional ministries. I’m not aware that we have at this point.

QUESTION: I think your last update was in December or something like that, so --

MR. CROWLEY: Yeah. I think it may still be three, but I’ll take that question.[2]

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Okay, thank you.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. CROWLEY: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:57 p.m.)

DPB #118

July 20 - Part 1

[2] Ministries in Afghanistan that have been audited: Finance, Public Health, and Information and Communication Technology



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