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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action


Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
August 30, 2010


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Index for Today's Briefing
  • DEPARTMENT
    • Secretary Clinton's Schedule / Meetings / PM Netanyahu / FM Gheit / General Soliman
    • Treasury Briefing on Sanctions against North Korea
    • Execution of Four in Equatorial Guinea / Jail Sentencing Handed Down
    • Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf Trip
    • Arizona Immigration Law
  • NORTH KOREA
    • Sanctions / Luxury Goods / Illicit Activities
  • AFGHANISTAN
    • Firing of Afghan Deputy Attorney General / Fighting Corruption
  • ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS
    • Negotiations / Media Availability / George Mitchell Briefing / Vigorous Process / Team Members Travel to the Region / Getting to Direct Negotiations / Settlements
  • NORTH KOREA
    • Release of Gomes / President Carter Debrief / Private Humanitarian Mission
    • Denuclearization / Six-Party Process / Engagement / Avoiding Provocative / Steve Bosworth
    • Sinking of the Cheonan
  • RWANDA
    • Review of Report / Violations of Human Rights / Constructive Role / Progress / Peacekeeping Forces
  • IRAQ
    • Iranian Influence / Political Stalemate
  • INDIA
    • Visa Fees
  • BURMA
    • Constricting Political Space
  • LEBANON
    • U.S. Assistance to Lebanese Army / Review Ongoing
  • THAILAND
    • Viktor Bout


TRANSCRIPT:

1:36 p.m. EDT

MR. CROWLEY: Continuing on, the Secretary has been working from home, shall we say, taking a few days off last week from her duties here. She’ll return to Washington this evening. And I expect between now and Wednesday, she’ll have a handful of meetings with her counterparts as we prepare for the President’s dinner on Wednesday night and the meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas here at the State Department on Thursday.

I know tomorrow, she will meet with Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit of Egypt and General Soliman, who is the head of the Egyptian Intelligence Services. The two of them regularly interact with the Secretary and George Mitchell on Middle Eastern developments. I would expect she’ll have other meetings that are still being set up. She talked over the weekend with EU Special Representative Tony Blair. He will also be in town this week to participate in the dinner.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) about that?

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: -- those meetings are here?

MR. CROWLEY: The meetings are here, yes.

QUESTION: In this building?

MR. CROWLEY: Yes, yes. I think you’ve seen in the last –

QUESTION: Has she spoken with any Israelis, as long as you’re doing various sides, or Palestinians directly?

MR. CROWLEY: Not that I’m aware of over the weekend, no.

And as you’ve just seen an announcement from the Department of Treasury that there will be a briefing later this afternoon as we announce the specific details of the sanctions against North Korea that Secretary Clinton alluded to during her trip to Seoul last month. But Bob Einhorn will join Stuart Levey and kind of detailing for you the specific steps that we’re taking to strengthen our implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1718 and 1874. And these include sanctions aimed at North Korea’s sale and procurement of arms and related material and the procurement of luxury goods and other illicit activities.

And finally, before taking your questions, the United States was deeply concerned to learn that the Government of Equatorial Guinea executed four individuals after a summary military tribunal on August 21st. While we respect Equatorial Guinea’s right to defend its national security, the trial failed to meet minimum international human rights guarantees. We are also disappointed in the 20-year jail sentences handed down by the same military tribunal to opposition party members Santiago Asumu Nguema and Marcelino Nguema Esono. Both had previously been acquitted in a civilian court and were tried a second time for the same offense by this military tribunal. The Government of Equatorial Guinea must commit itself to upholding the rights guaranteed by its own constitution and its obligations under international human rights law.

Matt.

QUESTION: Can I just – very briefly on the North Korea sanctions? You said the procurement – what was the very end of that procurement – illicit procurement of –

MR. CROWLEY: Procurement of luxury goods and other illicit activities.

QUESTION: Is the procurement of luxury goods illicit? I mean, if they want to spend a billion dollars on scotch, don’t they have the right to?

MR. CROWLEY: We are – these steps, as you’ll hear, are aimed at – against the government and the elite who provide support to areas of specific concern to us, including arms sales and other activities.

QUESTION: Right, but is there a sanction or a penalty that exists already that makes it illegal for them to import luxury goods?

MR. CROWLEY: Why don’t you wait for the briefing at 3:00 and I’m sure you’ll –

QUESTION: Well, I’m just curious as to why you say other illicit –

MR. CROWLEY: Activities.

QUESTION: -- implying that – what? Implying that it is somehow against the law –

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not tying luxury goods –

QUESTION: Okay.

MR. CROWLEY: -- and illicit activities.

QUESTION: All right. Can I ask you about the firing of the Afghan deputy attorney general and what this – what you make of that? Does it increase your concerns about President Karzai’s commitment to fighting corruption?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, in terms of the – that specific action, we are in touch with the Afghan Government, but I’ll leave it to the Afghan Government to explain that personnel action. What he was doing was vitally important to fighting corruption in Afghanistan. It is an area that we are watching closely. We are concerned by recent pronouncements and recent actions by the Afghan Government. The Government has to demonstrate that it is living up to the commitments made by President Karzai and others, that it is going to allow the institutions that are being built in Afghanistan, including the major crimes task force and the special investigative unit to be able to function free of political interference.

QUESTION: Change of subject.

MR. CROWLEY: Sure

QUESTION: Can you give us more details about what happened on Thursday about the negotiations, the format, where they will be held, in which room, who will be participating?

MR. CROWLEY: Here Thursday?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR. CROWLEY: We’re – actually we’re still working through some of the specific details. I believe they’ll be here in the morning. We’ll probably have more to say, I expect, tomorrow.

QUESTION: Back to North Korea –

QUESTION: I’m sorry – just a bit more to say about the logistics.

MR. CROWLEY: Just I would expect that the meeting will start with some sort of a media activity camera spay where each of the leaders, including Secretary Clinton, will have a chance to make some opening remarks and I believe at the conclusion of the meeting on Thursday, we’ll have George Mitchell give you a briefing as to what was discussed. I think because of the demand that we expect – the media demand, we may move the briefing to like the Acheson Auditorium. But we’ll let you know about that. I think we’ll have those details nailed down by the end of today.

QUESTION: And just in general, what’s the best case scenario for the outcome of Thursday’s meeting: an agreement to meet again or peace? (Laughter.)

MR. CROWLEY: I think we would – while the parameters of an ultimate comprehensive peace agreement are well known, we do not expect to achieve peace in one meeting. But I think we want to see the launch of a vigorous process that will involve significant involvement by the leaders themselves as well as regular interaction with their respective negotiating teams, including the full participation of the United States supported by other countries in the region and around the world. As the President and the Secretary and George Mitchell have laid out, we think that we can reach an agreement on – within a one-year time frame. That is what our goal is.

QUESTION: There will be more than one session on Thursday or –

MR. CROWLEY: That’s a good – I mean, they’ll start off together. You never know; there could be some side sessions. I’m just not in a position to say at this point.

QUESTION: As part of the preparations for this, I’m wondering if you can tell us if the Secretary or anybody else has had specific conversations with the Saudis or if she plans to in the run-up to these talks. Is there any outreach going on with them?

MR. CROWLEY: I wouldn’t be surprised. We had team members in the region last week, including David Hale, Dan Shapiro. I understand Dennis Ross was also in the region. Last week, George Mitchell was working the phones, as were others. But I can’t – we are in regular contact with those that we trust will support the process as it goes forward. I don’t have a comprehensive list.

QUESTION: And on the logistics side, will the meeting on Thursday include a lunch or just a business meeting?

MR. CROWLEY: Depending on when – I don’t know if there’s a meal included.

QUESTION: Well, why the Europeans are not invited to the meeting at the White House?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, in fact, the Europeans are invited to the meeting at the White House. Tony Blair, as the EU Special Representative, will be there representing the EU.

QUESTION: But you don’t expect --

QUESTION: Not the Quartet?

MR. CROWLEY: Hmm?

QUESTION: Is the Quartet represented there?

QUESTION: The European Union --

MR. CROWLEY: I’m sorry. Well, he – I mean, he is also there representing; I think, Catherine Ashton as well.

QUESTION: I’m just --

QUESTION: Why not – sorry. Why not –Ashton not intend – invited. Was she invited?

MR. CROWLEY: Actually, she is on – I think she has travel coming up, if not already started, to China.

QUESTION: But she was invited?

MR. CROWLEY: She was aware of the schedule.

QUESTION: Just – you don’t expect Blair – do you expect Blair on Thursday here?

MR. CROWLEY: No.

QUESTION: You don’t. And you do – also do not expect Mubarek and King Abdullah?

MR. CROWLEY: Right. No.

QUESTION: So it’ll just be Clinton, Mitchell, Netanyahu, Abbas –

MR. CROWLEY: Correct.

QUESTION: -- and their teams?

MR. CROWLEY: Correct.

QUESTION: Yeah.

QUESTION: Back to North Korea. I was just wondering if you could tell us if President Carter’s been debriefed by anybody since his return. And secondly, the Chinese state media is reporting that Kim Jong-il recommitted himself to the denuclearization of Korean Peninsula. What do you think the prospects are? Anything changed there since this visit he’s made?

MR. CROWLEY: President Carter has not been debriefed at this point. I believe he will actually be coming to Washington tomorrow. The Secretary will have a chance to see him sometime tomorrow and, among other things, express our gratitude for the private mission that he undertook to achieve the release of Mr. Gomes.

As to public statements by North Korea, we are looking to see if North Korea is committed to denuclearization. If they are, then there are some specific steps laid out under previous agreements that they can follow. We’ll be continuing to look for – to evaluate North Korea’s actions to see if we believe that they are as committed to this process as they say they are.

QUESTION: Can you confirm that President Carter did not meet Kim Jong-il during his meeting?

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, we’ll have the opportunity to go over the trip with President Carter tomorrow. I’m not aware that there was a meeting between President Carter and Kim Jong-il.

QUESTION: On Burma --

MR. CROWLEY: Are we still – North Korea still?

QUESTION: Yes. New York Times reported recently that the U.S. is considering changing approach to North Korea and engaging more on North Korea. What is your --

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we have engaged North Korea. We continue to be prepared to engage North Korea to live up to its obligations. The Secretary did – as she does on a number of subjects, she periodically invites outside experts in for a discussion. She did so in the case of North Korea recently.

But we have a strategy that we are following that includes, on the one hand, engagement directly when it’s appropriate, also through the Six-Party process as well. And likewise, we have a strategy that involves putting pressure on North Korea, and you’ll hear more details about that this afternoon.

QUESTION: One on North Korea as well. You said we’re looking to see if North Korea is committed to denuclearization. How are you going to test that commitment? Would you just talk with the Chinese or would you think of sending Envoy Bosworth to Pyongyang?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, but to the extent that North Korea has indicated publicly that it remains committed to denuclearization it is up to North Korea to take specific actions that demonstrates that commitment.

QUESTION: Just on – so you said that Carter is going to meet with the Secretary tomorrow?

MR. CROWLEY: Yes.

QUESTION: That’s also here in the building?

MR. CROWLEY: Yes.

QUESTION: Do you expect your Special Envoy, Mr. Bosworth, to be at this meeting?

MR. CROWLEY: It wouldn’t surprise me.

QUESTION: So that doesn’t – so Secretary Clinton had a high-level meeting last week, but that doesn’t – that --

MR. CROWLEY: It wasn’t last week, just for --

QUESTION: High level --

QUESTION: I’m sorry?

MR. CROWLEY: Oh, I’m sorry, high-level meeting?

QUESTION: High-level meeting last week inviting Joel Wit and other high-level officials, previous ex-officials.

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not sure. I believe it was the week before, but --

QUESTION: And that doesn’t necessarily mean United States is considering engaging North Korea more?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we – I mean, engagement is a means to an end. And certainly, we are ready to engage North Korea when we think it is – it can be constructive. Steve Bosworth was in Pyongyang with Sung Kim in December. We have been prepared for other meetings with North Korean officials. But quite honestly, whatever might have been considered obviously was impacted by North Korea’s sinking of the Cheonan.

This is where North Korea’s actions and behavior has a very significant role in the process. If North Korea is seeking to work constructively with the international community, including the United States, then there are definitely – there’s definitely things that North Korea can do or things that North Korea should avoid doing. It should avoid provocative actions as one example. But we remain prepared to engage North Korea, but North Korea has to demonstrate to us that such engagement would be fruitful.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) President Carter. Do you expect Ambassador Bosworth and – or Sung Kim to be there as well?

MR. CROWLEY: He just asked that question.

I mean, I --

QUESTION: I fell asleep.

MR. CROWLEY: – this is still the week before Labor Day. So I don’t know who’s here, but we’ll have appropriate representation from our East Asia-Pacific Bureau.

QUESTION: Can I ask just a follow-up on the sanctions on North Korea and Carter and everything? Just to connect the dots, can you just say whether there was a consideration on holding off on the sanctions until Mr. Gomes was retrieved given that the Secretary announced this would be happening in late July right around the time that deliberations were starting on sending an envoy over there?

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, we – these are both policy aims of ours. To the extent that we had an American citizen in harm’s way, we were prepared to do whatever we could and to support whatever actions might allow him to return home. And we are gratified that through President Carter’s private humanitarian mission, this was accomplished. And during the course of our consideration of how to seek his return, we did not want to do anything that would complicate that effort. By the same token, well before President Carter’s private humanitarian mission, we announced an intention to add new sanctions and authorities to North Korea and there’s a process that one has to follow through in terms of seeking appropriate authorities and taking appropriate steps, publishing documents in the Federal Register and so forth. So I can say the two are – were both contained within our broad North Korea efforts. But I can’t say that one necessarily – they were two separate tracks that it just happens that they more or less merged at roughly the same time.

QUESTION: There were no substantive changes to the sanctions that could be linked to this in any way; correct? There were no substantive changes to the sanctions package that could be linked to this mission in any way; right?

MR. CROWLEY: No.

QUESTION: You keep mentioning about the steps North Korea should take and for the first time you said – and North Korea’s advice to avoid provocative statements.

MR. CROWLEY: That’s not the first time I’ve said that.

QUESTION: And what else steps? Have you defined those steps, like what North Korea should do?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, there are agreements that North Korea has previously signed that outline precisely what it is expected to do in terms of beginning the process of denuclearization and I have to enumerate them here. But there are specific things that North Korea has committed in the past to do and has occasionally taken a step forward, two steps back. We want to see a more consistent effort that shows North Korea’s commitment to denuclearization. Also we want to see North Korea avoid provocative actions that increase tension and, in fact, impede progress in this area. There were some things that we were fully prepared to do earlier in this year, but the sinking of the Cheonan was a tragic, unnecessary, and severe step that ground this process to a halt. We are willing to engage North Korea, but North Korea is an actor in this process and the things that it does can impact this process.

QUESTION: A follow-up on that? So the apology to South Korea or acknowledgement of responsibility over Cheonan incident is included in the steps they should take?

R. CROWLEY: It’s not for me to enumerate specific things. Maybe it’s like we’ll know it when we see it. The sinking of the Cheonan was an act of war. And it did increase tensions and we again commend South Korea for the remarkable restraint that it has shown in light of this act of war.

QUESTION: An act of war or was it a violation of the – I don’t think anyone has ever said it was an act of war before.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, it –

QUESTION: Said it wasn’t an act of terrorism, but to --

MR. CROWLEY: To the extent that there is an armistice –

QUESTION: -- a violation –

MR. CROWLEY: All right. It was a violation of the armistice.

QUESTION: Do you want to stay on the record with “act of war?”

QUESTION: You said it before.

MR. CROWLEY: Yeah, yeah. But if North Korea wants to change its relationship with the United States and other countries in the region, it has a role to play here. If it plays a constructive role, then we are prepared to respond in kind.

QUESTION: Do you consider release of Mr. Gomes as an act of peace?

MR. CROWLEY: We appreciate the fact that North Korea was willing to work constructively to resolve the case of Mr. Gomes. We’re pleased that he’s back in the United States, back with his family, and we appreciate that gesture. It doesn’t, by itself, allay the broader concerns that we have about North Korea, its behavior in the region, or its failure to live up to its international obligations.

QUESTION: It sounds as though you’re really emphasizing North Korea’s future behavior here, whereas, in the past, the Cheonan really was front and center, and you were asking for some kind of acknowledgment of responsibility. Is it fair to say that you’re weighting that less now?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, it’s fair to say that it is in our interest if North Korea, as stated, that it’s willing to abide by its commitments to denuclearize, it’s willing for us – willing – it’s in our interest to consider and to track closely how North Korea lives up to that stated commitment.

QUESTION: Could you update Chinese Six-Party envoy Wu Dawei’s visit to (inaudible) – so could you update Chinese Six-Party Envoy Wu Dawei’s visit to (inaudible), when and with whom he’s going to meet?

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t have any information on that. I’m not denying that there is something there; I just don’t have any information.

QUESTION: Can we go back to the peace process?

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: Israeli prime minister has said today that he didn’t give any commitment to the Americans regarding the extension of the moratorium that will expire on September 26th. And President Abbas has said that if there is no extension for the moratorium, then the negotiations will collapse. Did you talk to the two parties regarding this point?

MR. CROWLEY: We look forward to having the meeting on Thursday – the dinner on Wednesday, the meeting on Thursday – where we’ll have the ability to talk directly about all of the core issues, including settlements. But that’s – but the fact that you have positions on both sides, that’s – this demonstrates why we think it has been important for the parties to get into direct negotiations as the only way to come to some sort of agreement on this important issue.

QUESTION: But you didn’t get any guarantees from the Israelis regarding this point, exactly?

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, we’ve gone through this many times. We’re looking forward to the meeting on Thursday, the dinner on Wednesday, and settlements will be among the issues that we expect to discuss.

QUESTION: Just to follow up very quickly, since settlements is obviously the issue or could be the issue that could make or break the negotiation, do you expect that to be the first item to be discussed?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, the parameters of an ultimate agreement are well known. Settlements are one issue, Jerusalem is an issue, refugees is an issue, security is an issue, borders is an issue, water and other pragmatic aspects of two states living side-by-side in peace and security.

During the course of this process, we expect to address all of these core issues and see if we can’t find a formula to reach an agreement that ends the conflict once and for all. All of these issues are on the table, and we expect all of these issues will be discussed during this process.

QUESTION: Do you think that you will be able to find a solution for the settlement issue in 24 days before the expiration of the –

MR. CROWLEY: Look, we –

QUESTION: -- moratorium?

MR. CROWLEY: We have pushed hard to get the parties into direct negotiations, and we look forward to the meetings later this week.

QUESTION: Change of subject?

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: You are aware, no doubt, of this UN human rights report on Rwanda and its activities in the Congo back some years ago. I’m wondering what you think of this report and the allegations that the Rwandans committed, or may have committed, war crimes.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we strongly support accountability for serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law around the world and in the DRC. We will review carefully the report when it’s released.

QUESTION: These allegations actually aren’t really new, although they are the first time that they have come out from a UN body. Human rights groups have been talking about this since your previous experience in a previous administration.

And I’m wondering if you can explain why – after these initial reports which are pretty much backed up by the UN report – why did the U.S. continue military training for the Rwandan army when there were these allegations out there? Were they investigated and you deemed them not to be credible?

MR. CROWLEY: Again, I – let’s separate those two issues. We will review the information in the report when it is released.

We do have a relationship with Rwanda apart from the tragic history of genocide and other issues in the 1990s. Rwanda has played a constructive role in the region recently. It has played an important role in a variety of UN missions. It is in our interest to help to professionalize military forces. And we work hard on that in various parts of the world.

So we have engaged Rwanda. We have seen progress in recent years. That said, we do – it is important to have a full accounting of what happened 15 years ago and 20 years ago, and we will look to see if what’s in this report helps more fully inform the tragic events in the 1990s.

QUESTION: Okay. And you mentioned Rwanda’s contributions to peacekeeping forces. You know the Rwandans are not happy with this report at all and have said that they may pull out, or at least limit their participation in UN peacekeeping operations. Would that be a problem if they did that?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, let’s see the report, and then – we are engaged in conversations with Rwanda and within the UN, and – but we – we’ll await further comment till we see the report.

QUESTION: Well, wait, wait. You’re saying that you haven’t seen the report?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we haven’t seen the final report.

QUESTION: Well, the – but the – I mean, the report has been shared with all the government –

MR. CROWLEY: We – I understand that copies of the report have been circulated before now.

QUESTION: When you called for the direct talks to start without preconditions, do you consider the call by the Palestinians for freezing the settlements as a precondition?

MR. CROWLEY: We look – Samir, we look forward to seeing the talks, direct negotiations resume later this week. And then we’ll be happy to report to you as to what was discussed.

QUESTION: Change of subject, Iraq? The Vice President is in Iraq. I have two questions.

Do you think that the Iranian influence in Iraq has ebbed or retreated, as has been suggested?

And second, could you share with us the idea of, let’s say, shared kind of governing between Allawi and Maliki; one would head the government and one would head the – what they call the strategic council?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we are concerned about Iranian influence within Iraq. We’ve said it many times. We are conscious that a variety of Iraq’s neighbors have had an interest in what happens there. That said, I think we have complete confidence, and those of us who know Iraqis well know that they will chart their own course, and they will do so free of whatever meddling they might see within their borders.

It’s important for Iraq to resolve the current political stalemate. The Vice President has arrived and will be having conversations with Iraqi leaders over the next couple of days as we see the transition ceremony later this week, want to see the Iraqi Government formed as soon as possible, and work going forward on behalf of all Iraqis.

But this is not something that we will impose on Iraq. We will be willing to have conversations and encourage Iraqi leaders to put aside whatever individual political interests they have, and look to Iraq’s future and take steps that are – take statesman-like actions that are in the broader national interest of Iraq. And we are confident that they’ll work through these politics and eventually arrive at a new government.

QUESTION: Do you concur with the assessment that Iranian influence has regressed in recent weeks?

MR. CROWLEY: It’s hard for me to calculate that from here. I think – Iraq is pursuing its own national interest, and we think that they will continue to do so.

QUESTION: Yeah. P.J., in his latest interview from Abu Dhabi, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf blamed a tiny vociferous minority and the U.S. political system for opposition to the mosque in New York. Is that, in your mind, consistent with his bridge-building mission on the trip?

MR. CROWLEY: He has moved from Qatar to the UAE, the final stop on his tour. Those comments are his own. I’m not surprised that, during the course of interviews that he might have, that he was asked about the controversy, and – but we certainly understand that helping people understand the genuine debate that is going on in this country is a legitimate topic of discussion during the course of his tour.

Charley.

QUESTION: Please, any reaction to the Indian parliament vote on the final part of the civilian nuclear agreement?

MR. CROWLEY: Has there been another vote today?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR. CROWLEY: We have no comment at this time.

Lalit.

QUESTION: Continuing on India, India had earlier written to the U.S. expressing its concern about increasing in visa fee of H-1 and L-1 visas. You said last time that you were in talks with the Indian Government. Have you reached any – some kind of a conclusion, agreement on that, or any --

MR. CROWLEY: I think we have been explaining to the Indian Government the specifics in the legislation, and trying to understand the potential impact on Indian companies. But beyond that, I’m not sure that there is any particular next step.

QUESTION: And one more on Burma. Several Burmese generals have left, quit the army, and trying to join the civilian government. Do you think – which way Burma is going now? What’s the – is it moving towards a democracy, civilian government? Or just trying to –

MR. CROWLEY: Where to start? A dictator in civilian clothing is still a dictator. The fact that they are moving out of uniform but still constricting the political space within Burma is a problem for Burma. And we haven’t changed our view. Just taking the current political challenge and civilianizing it is not the answer.

Burma has to open up its political space, have a dialogue with the ethnic groups within Burma would allow for an effective and viable political opposition and have a real competition within civil society in Burma. Absent that kind of action, future elections, whether they involve military figures or civilian figures, will not be viewed as credible, free, or fair.

QUESTION: P.J., I just (inaudible), I’ve just got two very brief loose ends.

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: At least I hope they’re only loose ends. How go your efforts to convince members of Congress that the aid to the Lebanese – military aid to the Lebanese Army is a good thing and is in U.S. interests?

MR. CROWLEY: Our review is ongoing.

QUESTION: So it hasn’t – you haven’t reported back to them at all on whether you think Hezbollah has undue or any influence?

MR. CROWLEY: We have promised to inform Congress when we have completed our review, and we haven’t done so yet.

QUESTION: But it is still your view – so it’s still your view at the moment that this is a good thing, or this is in the U.S. interest, and in the interest of security in the region, to provide this assistance?

MR. CROWLEY: Yes.

QUESTION: Okay. And then what is the latest in the imbroglio over Viktor Bout?

MR. CROWLEY: No change.

QUESTION: Which means?

MR. CROWLEY: As far as I know, he remains in Thailand, and we look forward to having him in a courtroom here in the United States.

QUESTION: Do you see any problem in his extradition?

MR. CROWLEY: We are – no, we –

QUESTION: No, no, I mean you don’t have a problem with it, but --

MR. CROWLEY: We understand that there is a process, and we look forward to seeing him here in the United States.

QUESTION: Anything new on P-5+1 talks with Iran? Any –

MR. CROWLEY: No.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Thank you, sir.

QUESTION: Wait, P.J., can I get one question in? For Secretary Clinton’s UN report that was submitted August 20th, she talked about the Arizona immigration law. What was the motivation for putting that into the UN report?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we had a process where teams went around the country, and during the course of the preparation of our report, the issue of the Arizona immigration law came up. And that’s the reason why it was included in the report.

We’re very proud of our human rights record. We think it’s second to none around the world. But the universal periodic review, we believe, can be a model to demonstrate to other countries – even other countries on the Human Rights Council – this is how you engage civil society. And where issues arise from a genuine discussion and debate within societies, there can be issues that are resolved under the rule of law. And the Arizona immigration law is a good example of how we are debating this as a society. There is a legal case ongoing, and this issue will be resolved under the rule of law.

QUESTION: Under federal law?

MR. CROWLEY: Under federal, yeah.

QUESTION: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:13 p.m.)

DPB # 143

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