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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
August 31, 2010


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Index for Today's Briefing
  • DEPARTMENT
    • Secretary in bilateral prep meetings today as we re-launch direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians
    • US strongly condemns recent killing of a fourth candidate for parliament in Afghanistan and of five men working on the electoral campaign of a female candidate all in Herat Province
    • Secretary featured in television, radio PSAs encouraging donations to Pakistan Relief Fund
    • Assistant Secretary Blake in Tajikistan today/Met with Foreign Minister Zarifi/Travels to Moscow later in week
  • NORTH KOREA/CHINA
    • Deputy Secretary Jim Steinberg, Special Representative for North Korea Policy Steve Bosworth, Special Envoy for the Six-Party Talks Ambassador Sung Kim, and Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell will meet with Ambassador Wu Dawei of the People's Republic of China at the Department to continue our ongoing consultations with China as we have with other partners in the Six-Party process to evaluate the way forward with respect to the Korean Peninsula
    • US open to see North Korea fulfill its commitments under the 2005 joint statement
    • Secretary meeting with former President Carter on North Korea
    • US appreciates South Korean offer of assistance regarding flood/hopes North Korea will accept it
  • ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS/MIDDLE EAST PEACE
    • US will be a full participant/US also recognizes that there will be value during the course of this process in having the leaders get together on a regular basis/US will be talking about all of the issues inherent in process
    • US has clear position: anyone who accepts quartet principles can play a role in pursuit of peace in Middle East
    • US cognizant that there could be external events that can have an impact on the environment/US also cognizant that there may well be actors in the region who are deliberately making these kinds of attacks in order to try to sabotage the process/US aware that not everyone sees this in the same way/US believes that the leaders understand that the moment is now, we think an agreement is achievable
    • US wants to see a commitment to aggressively pursue these negotiations/We will do our part/We expect the leaders to do their part
  • MEXICO
    • US congratulates Mexican authorities on the arrest of La Barbie/US in touch with Mexican Government
  • VENEZUELA
    • US saddened to hear of Mr. Brito's passing, and we extend our condolences
  • AFGHANISTAN
    • Vitally important that there be a government in Afghanistan that is viewed as legitimate in the eyes of the Afghan people/There were well-understood flaws last year in elections in Afghanistan/We believe that the lessons learned are being incorporated in the plan that is being done for the parliamentary elections
  • IRAQ
    • US not leaving Iraq/US in the midst of transition from a military-dominated strategy to the kind of strategic relationship we have with many other countries in the region and around the world
  • JAPAN
    • Working level meetings on Futenma, report posted later today
    • US thinks work of the experts helps us understand remaining issues that need to be resolved, sets a good foundation for us to continue our efforts as we move towards a two-plus-two meeting in the next few months
  • PAKISTAN
    • US has formed a joint aviation coordination cell, aimed at streamlining air operations supporting Pakistan's flood relief efforts/As of yesterday, we have delivered almost 2.8 million pounds of relief supplies and evacuated almost 9,500 people
  • EGYPT
    • US wants to see competitive elections throughout the world, including in Egypt


TRANSCRIPT:

1:19 p.m. EDT

MR. CROWLEY: Good afternoon and welcome to the Department of State. Today, Secretary Clinton has begun the first of several bilateral meetings, preparatory meetings, as we relaunch direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians. As we stand here, she is meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas. Later on this afternoon, she’ll have meetings with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh and Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit. And then later this evening, she’ll meet with Quartet Representative Tony Blair and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And for some of those meetings, there will be camera sprays associated with them.

Just a short time ago, we released a statement by Secretary Clinton, which I will mention in part, that the United States strongly condemns the recent killing of a fourth candidate for parliament in Afghanistan and of five men working on the electoral campaign of a female candidate, all in Herat Province. Though it is not clear who was responsible for these killings, violent intimidation of electoral candidates and their supporters undermines the right of all Afghans to a peaceful and democratic future for their country, and those responsible for the killings must be brought to justice. The United States will continue working with our Afghan and international partners to support the people of Afghanistan as they strive to secure a peace – a future of peace, freedom, and opportunity for themselves and their children, free from fear and intimidation.

We are also – I think the Ad Council today is releasing a series of television and radio public service announcements, and Secretary Clinton is featured in them, encouraging donations to the Pakistan Relief Fund. Since the flooding in Pakistan began just over a month ago, more than 20 million people throughout the country have been affected. And these PSAs will direct audiences from around the world to visit www.state.gov, where they can donate to the fund through a secure online donation page. And of course, Americans can also donate by texting the word “FLOOD” to 27722.

Very quickly, Assistant Secretary Bob Blake is in Dushanbe, Tajikistan today. He met with Foreign Minister Zarifi conducting a review of the implementation of the bilateral work plan agreed upon between our two countries earlier this year. He will continue his visit there tomorrow before traveling to Moscow later in the week.

And finally, tomorrow, Deputy Secretary Jim Steinberg, Special Representative for North Korea Policy Steve Bosworth, and Special Envoy for the Six-Party Talks Ambassador Sung Kim, along with Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell, will meet with Ambassador Wu Dawei of the People’s Republic of China, who is their special representative for the Korean Peninsula issues, here at the Department to continue our ongoing consultations with China as we have with other partners in the Six-Party process to evaluate the way forward with respect to the Korean Peninsula.

QUESTION: A quick –

QUESTION: I have –

QUESTION: Can I just go with that one?

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: What is the specific purpose of this particular meeting? I mean, I know you have ongoing consultations with the Chinese and you talk to them all the time about North Korea. Are you hoping to get some kind of a debriefing on Kim’s visit? Are you any closer, as the newspapers suggested over the weekend, or more open to reviving dialogue with the North Koreans? I mean, what is the – why now?

MR. CROWLEY: He’s coming to Washington is the why now. But we obviously will discuss various conversations that we have had recently and I’m certain that the Chinese will give them – give us their perspective based on the meetings that have taken place in recent days in China.

In terms of your broader question, we are open to see North Korea fulfill its commitments under the 2005 joint statement, but we want to see North Korea cease its provocative and belligerent behavior towards its neighbors. We want to see North Korea take irreversible steps to fulfill its denuclearization commitments. We want to see North Korea comply with international law and obligations. If we see evidence that North Korea is prepared to move in that direction, then we are open to further engagement.

QUESTION: On the meetings, the Mideast meetings, a logistical one and then a more – one of substance. Was the Secretary ever planning to meet with President Mubarak and King Abdullah today? And if she was, why is she not?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, she’s meeting with their foreign ministers, which is --

QUESTION: I understand that. I assume that you know the reason for my question. The schedule – the first schedule that came out for today last night had her meeting with Mubarak and with King Abdullah, and then a revised schedule came out and those were changed to the foreign ministers. I just wondered --

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not aware that we ever locked in meetings with President Mubarak and King Abdullah here. I know we discussed a range of options, but the Secretary will be meeting with the foreign ministers.

QUESTION: All right. Okay --

QUESTION: Are they both in town for the meetings? Are they both here?

MR. CROWLEY: I can’t say that they have arrived yet. They may well have, but I don’t know.

QUESTION: Thanks.

QUESTION: P.J. --

QUESTION: Can I go to my question of substance? What are these – her meetings today, fine, they’re preparatory, but can you be a little bit more specific about what kind of preparations? I mean, as you mentioned, Dennis and Hale and Shapiro were over in the region, Mitchell has been on the phone and back and forth setting these things up. What more preparation needs to be done a day before they first meet each other and two days before the formal launch of the --

MR. CROWLEY: Well, first of all, tomorrow at the White House the President will have separate meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu, with President Abbas, with the other leaders. From a process standpoint, it’s typical that in advance of presidential bilateral meetings, the Secretary of State will meet with the leaders as well to help them understand our expectations for the meetings and gain an understanding of what their expectations for the meetings are. So the Secretary is meeting with the leaders today and the President will meet with them tomorrow, and then we’ll have a trilateral meeting here at the State Department on Thursday.

QUESTION: That’s great, but that’s not --

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, they’re --

QUESTION: What is it that they are – are they preparing some kind of a document, some kind of a formal – a joint statement to be released after Thursday’s talks? What exactly are they doing?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we are continuing to work on the substance of the issues that will be subject of the discussions and have been a part of our ongoing discussions with the – with both sides going back many, many months, and the support that we believe is necessary from other countries in the region and other leaders in the region such as King Abdullah and President Mubarak --

QUESTION: So they’re actually getting --

MR. CROWLEY: -- and others. We will be clarifying today where the parties stand in advance of the meetings that they’ll have and the dinner they’ll have at the White House tomorrow. We are fully engaged in the substance underneath our search for Middle East peace.

QUESTION: So they’re actually discussing substance and the issue – and the divisions that exist; they’re not just talking about logistics, what the outcome of the – Thursday’s talks are?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, those are not mutually exclusive. We hope that tomorrow will mark the reinvigoration of an intensive process. We want to see not just a successful re-launch tomorrow but an understanding that going forward the leaders will meet on a regular basis together. We, the United States, will play the role that we have played in the past and be full and substantive participants in this process. So there will be both logistical in terms of how this is going to unfold going forward as well as substantive discussions of the core issues at the heart of the process.

QUESTION: P.J. --

MR. CROWLEY: Samir. I’ll come --

QUESTION: -- are you going to play a role similar to the role you played in the past?

MR. CROWLEY: Pardon me?

QUESTION: Are you play a role similar to the play – the U.S. played in the past, or stronger role?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we will be a full participant. We have done that in the past and we’ll do that in the future. We also recognize that there will be value during the course of this process in having the leaders themselves get together on a regular basis.

QUESTION: By a full participant, do you mean that you hope to have a U.S. representative with them whenever they’re meeting?

MR. CROWLEY: No, not in every meeting. No.

QUESTION: And in terms of addressing the substance in these talks, in the sort of preparatory talks that she’s having today, as you well know, in just over three weeks after you hope to launch the direct negotiations, we’re going to hit the September 26th expiration of the partial Israeli settlement moratorium or freeze. Is she actually talking today to President Abbas and later in the day with Prime Minister Netanyahu and others on how you may hope to finesse what is the first big pothole on this road?

MR. CROWLEY: We will be talking about all of the issues inherent in the process.

QUESTION: Including that one?

MR. CROWLEY: We talk about all the issues.

QUESTION: Just to follow up, thank you, this afternoon President Jimmy Carter will be in the building and during his administration, during his presidential – during his presidency he achieved a lot in the Middle East as far as then President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin, and President Carter was in the middle of making peace. Now what --

MR. CROWLEY: Thirty-one years ago.

QUESTION: Yes, sir. What I’m asking you is what will be different now? You think these two leaders are ready then – just like then, both leaders were ready to make peace, and what strongest role you think President Obama will play this time?

MR. CROWLEY: We were full participants in the process that brought peace between Israel and Egypt, and Israel and Jordan, and we would hope that we can be full and supportive partners in achieving peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians and two states living in peace and security side by side. So this is an ongoing element of the special role the United States has played in pursuit of Middle East peace for decades.

QUESTION: And just --

QUESTION: Maybe you can make that a little bit more relevant to – do you expect the Secretary to discuss with former President Carter anything related to his Camp David talks, or is it strictly going to be about North Korea?

MR. CROWLEY: The meeting is about North Korea.

QUESTION: She’s not going to be looking for pointers from him?

MR. CROWLEY: It’s entirely possible that President Carter, given his history with this issue, may offer some advice, but the meeting is on North Korea.

QUESTION: Just to follow up, a quick one, please. During 1980s, the terrorism was not as strong as today.

MR. CROWLEY: Goyal, we might want to advance this discussion 30 years to the present. I understand.

QUESTION: Yes. What I’m asking you as far as Hamas and Iran is concerned, how are you going to bring those as far as having the permanent peace in the Middle East?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we have a clear position that anyone who accepts the Quartet principles can play a role in the pursuit of peace in the Middle East.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: P.J., we’ve just learned that four Israelis have been killed by a Palestinian gunman in the West Bank. Could you just enshrine for us what the thinking is within the State Department right now that this time these talks can be somehow different from all the other attempts that we’ve all lived through?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, but – first of all, we just saw the reports before coming up here. We are cognizant that there could be external events that can have an impact on the environment. We also are cognizant that there may well be actors in the region who are deliberately making these kinds of attacks in order to try to sabotage the process. We’re – so we’re very aware that as we go forward in this process, not everyone sees this in the same way. And there are those who will do whatever they can to disrupt or derail the process.

We will be relying on, first and foremost, the commitment that we think the leaders themselves have made to pursue peace at this time, understanding that there’s a window here where we think peace can be accomplished. And our goal is to do so, to reach an agreement within one year.

I think the other aspect is that we are conscious of – we’ll be driven by the perspective that the leaders have today on these issues, but we’re conscious that a lot of work has been done over the years, and that on both sides, there is an understanding of what needs to be done. The broad parameters of an agreement are actually fairly well known. What we need is the political will and creativity to work through the complexity and challenge of these issues and ultimately reach an agreement that ends the conflict.

But most importantly, we just need determination and political will on both sides, and also a commitment to – that as we re-launch this process, everyone has a stake in the outcome; everyone has a responsibility to create, to the extent they can, the conditions that allow a successful negotiation to be reached; and to avoid taking actions or making statements that can hinder progress. So this – but we believe that the leaders understand that there’s a – that this is a – the moment is now and that we think that it’s – the – an agreement is achievable.

QUESTION: Do you know enough about this incident to be able to say that you believe that it was indeed somebody trying to sabotage the talks?

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t.

QUESTION: And do you know enough about the incident to be able to condemn the deaths or the killings?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, anytime one human being takes out a weapon and fires and kills other human beings, it’s a tragedy. We just don’t know the circumstances under which this occurred.

QUESTION: P.J., going back to the substance, what is your expectation, close of business Thursday, of that meeting?

MR. CROWLEY: Our expectation?

QUESTION: Of the Thursday meetings. Can you spell those out? Do you want a public pledge? Are you expecting a public pledge from the two leaders, anything on paper, any specific agreement?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, this is the relaunch of direct negotiations between the parties. We’ve gone 20 months without that direct negotiation; we’re not going to solve everything on Thursday. What we want to see is the – is a commitment to aggressively pursue these negotiations. We will do our part; we expect the leaders to do their part. And from this, over the coming weeks and months, we will try to move both sides closer to an agreement that ends the conflict. That’s our goal.

QUESTION: Just to follow on the settlement freeze, with the announcement of the direct talks – I think Senator Mitchell said that the Americans will present bridging solutions when fit and necessary, don’t you think this settlement dilemma is an appropriate time to propose – for such a proposal? And did you get any indication from the Palestinians that they might be ready to accept any confidence-building measures other than a settlement freeze?

MR. CROWLEY: The – we are engaged with the parties on all of the issues. They will be discussed today and in successive days. And we expect to see progress on all of the issues.

QUESTION: On Mexico, can I ask, Mexican federal police have captured one of the most violent criminals in Mexico, Edgar Valdez-Villarreal. I would like to know, what do you think can be the impact of this capture in the drug war conducted by the Mexican Government? And how the U.S. agencies have supported Mexico with intelligence?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, first of all, we congratulate Mexican authorities on the arrest of “La Barbie.” We are in touch – obviously, we are in touch with the Mexican Government. We are working collaboratively with the Mexican Government. The investigation will continue. But this is part of the partnership that we have developed with Mexico, and we’re grateful for the aggressive action and commitment by Mexico. And our assistance has helped to expand the capacity of the Mexican Government to take these kinds of actions.

QUESTION: I understand the State Department offered $2 million reward for his capture.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

QUESTION: I understand the State Department have offered $2 million rewards for his (inaudible) – for his capture.

MR. CROWLEY: I’ll take that question. I’m not – it is quite likely. I just don’t have that information in front of me.

QUESTION: He was a U.S. national. Is he going to be extradited from Mexico?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we are in touch with the Mexican Government. The investigation continues, and I’m not here to announce any additional steps at this point.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. CROWLEY: Wait, hold --

QUESTION: Were you – just real quickly, were you actually involved in his apprehension?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not – I’m not aware that we had direct involvement in his apprehension. Obviously, we’ve been working closely with the Mexican Government on defeating international cartel leaders, and he is obviously one of them.

QUESTION: Thank you. Venezuelan farmer Franklin Brito passed away today after a long hunger strike in protesting of expropriation policies of the Chavez administration. I wonder if you have any comment on that. Do you see any similarity on what’s going in Venezuela and with Cuba?

MR. CROWLEY: I wouldn’t link what’s going on in the two countries. We are saddened to hear of Mr. Brito’s passing and we extend our condolences to his family. We did follow his case closely and – but beyond that, we’ll leave it to the Government of Venezuela to explain.

QUESTION: Two Yemeni men are being held in the Netherlands and the Dutch are holding them originally because they thought they may be on terrorist – they may be connected to some terrorism, though now it’s looking less so. The men lived in Chicago. Has the U.S. had any contact with them?

MR. CROWLEY: It’s unclear to me – I don’t know what their citizenship is, I believe --

QUESTION: Yemeni.

MR. CROWLEY: -- they’re Yemeni citizens. But on these issues, I’ll defer to the Department of Homeland Security.

QUESTION: On view of the recent killings in Afghanistan, how you – how far you are confident that the elections now will be free, fair, and secure and not lead to what happened last year?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, this is very difficult. Conducting elections in a war zone is a challenge. That said, it is vitally important that there be a government in Afghanistan that is viewed as legitimate in the eyes of the Afghan people, so it is important for these elections to go forward. There were well understood flaws last year in elections in Afghanistan. We believe that lessons learned are being incorporated into the plan that is being done for the parliamentary elections and – but we agree that they should go forward. It’s very important to Afghanistan’s future.

QUESTION: And secondly, did two representatives of Ambassador Holbrooke meet leaders of Afghan Taliban and Hizb-e Islami in Islamabad and Peshawar this month on peace talks?

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t know.

QUESTION: Can you confirm it or deny it?

MR. CROWLEY: Let me see what I can find out.

MR. CROWLEY: Okay.

QUESTION: Just to follow up, a quick one, what kind of message you think the Government of Afghanistan and the Talibans are getting as far as U.S. is leaving Iraq and also will withdraw next year? I mean, is it kind of confusing for them?

MR. CROWLEY: It’s not confusing at all, Goyal. We’re not leaving Iraq. We are in the midst of a transition from a military-dominated strategy to the kind of strategic relationship that we have with many other countries in the region and around the world. Eventually, we will do the same in Afghanistan as our emphasis transitions from military activity to civilian activity.

QUESTION: And British, they announced that they will leave Afghanistan in 2015. Any --

MR. CROWLEY: We’re aware of what the British have said.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. CROWLEY: Go ahead.

QUESTION: Just to follow up on the Wu Dawei coming to D.C, is there two – do you think there are going to be a press availability with them.

MR. CROWLEY: No.

QUESTION: Nothing, okay.

MR. CROWLEY: I’m pretty confident of that. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: I had to try. There’s rumors that Wi Sung-lac is also coming this week. Can you confirm that?

MR. CROWLEY: I’ll see what I can find out.

QUESTION: And, sorry, one more thing on the region. The working-level meetings that took place with DOD and DOS officials – a report is supposed to come out today on that.

MR. CROWLEY: Yes.

QUESTION: Is that on schedule to be released?

MR. CROWLEY: Yes. The report will be posted on the DOD website later this afternoon. It will also be posted on the State Department website later in the afternoon.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Senator Mitchell’s deputy, Mr. Fred Hof, is in Beirut, Lebanon. Do you have anything about the purpose of his visit?

MR. CROWLEY: Let me try to find out.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) North Korea. Mr. Kwon Sung-chol, North Korean Ambassador in Cuba, has mentioned if U.S. and South Korea attacked North Korea, they may – they might be using their nuclear weapons at this time. What is your comment on that?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I think the latest development is that South Korea has offered some direct assistance to North Korea to deal with its floods. That’s an example of how neighbors should act between each other, and we appreciate that offer of assistance and we hope that North Korea will accept it.

QUESTION: Why are there such intensive meetings right ahead of the talks? We understood today that there are – that intensive meetings are taking place right up until Thursday. How – it sounds like your ducks aren’t in a row as far as these talks are --

MR. CROWLEY: First of all, the intensive meetings that have been going on for months. It is not unusual when you have a meeting of presidents and prime ministers that the Secretary of State will help to tee up those meetings and make sure that we have the same expectations about – on both sides about what will constitute a successful meeting. So the Secretary is following up on the work that George Mitchell, Dennis Ross, Dan Shapiro, David Hale, and others have had in recent days and weeks, all to make sure that the relaunch of negotiations get off on the right foot. So this is just an indication of our commitment to do everything that we can at this time to help the parties achieve a just settlement.

QUESTION: Is it possible Madam Secretary will release some kind of statement after these meetings today, or is she going to sort of speak at some point? I’m aware that nothing public is scheduled.

MR. CROWLEY: I think there are camera sprays this afternoon where she’ll talk about the importance of what we’re doing. I think that the real substance of what comes out of this first round of discussions will be through George Mitchell on Thursday.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Back to the Futenma report, do you have any reaction to that report that was announced today?

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, we think the work of the experts helps us understand the remaining issues that need to be resolved and it sets a good foundation for us to continue our efforts as we move towards a 2+2 meeting in the next few months.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MR. CROWLEY: (Laughter.)

QUESTION: What exactly – you know what, I have no idea what – I’m sort of revealing my ignorance here, but what working groups are these you’re talking about?

MR. CROWLEY: The --

QUESTION: Because your answer that you just gave them could have been about anything. (Laughter.) “We look forward to the results of the working groups, they’ve been productive and helpful, and we’re looking for a resolution?”

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MR. CROWLEY: (Laughter.) You’ve been around the – you have diplomatic language. You gave one phrase from Column A, one phrase from Column B, one phrase from Column C. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: All right, so it’s U.S.-Japan?

MR. CROWLEY: This is – the report that’s coming out this afternoon involves the – a conclusion of the work of the experts group that’s been focused on Futenma and remaining issues that need to be resolved between the United States and Japan --

QUESTION: Got it.

MR. CROWLEY: -- regarding the relocation of operations from Okinawa and/or the relocation of operations in Okinawa.

QUESTION: P.J., and Japanese Government strongly wants to use the runway with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. Marines. It is a kind of concept, joint use of --

MR. CROWLEY: And the experts did work through and have crystallized for the benefit of leaders various options with respect to the runway configuration.

QUESTION: P.J. --

MR. CROWLEY: And beyond that, I’ll defer to the military to go into further detail.

QUESTION: Anything new on Cuba, travel warnings lifted? Anything you can tell us about that?

MR. CROWLEY: Nothing to announce.

QUESTION: P.J., could you please take Pakistan floods and if much efforts have been made as far as the direct aids or foods going to the people?

MR. CROWLEY: I will tell you that – the only thing I can tell you today is that we have formed a joint aviation coordination cell aimed at streamlining air operations supporting Pakistan’s flood relief efforts. And as of this moment – as of yesterday, we have delivered almost 2.8 million pounds of relief supplies and evacuated almost 9,500 people.

QUESTION: P.J. --

QUESTION: No, wait, hold on. Just on the – her meeting with Aboul Gheit, do you know – there’s some talk that Gamal Mubarak, President Mubarak’s son, is going to be in the Egyptian delegation. Do you have any idea if he’s going to be there?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not aware that he is.

QUESTION: And do you know if her discussion with Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit this afternoon will involve anything other than the talks?

MR. CROWLEY: Actually, I expect that in both the meetings with Foreign Minister Judeh and with Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit, it will go – it will be both on the Middle East peace process and bilateral issues.

QUESTION: And specifically in the Egyptian meeting, will they be talking about the importance of having a democratic election?

MR. CROWLEY: Let’s have the meeting and then we’ll read it out for you.

QUESTION: Well, I mean, is that part of her – is that a concern of yours? Is that something you would like to --

MR. CROWLEY: We obviously are – we want to see competitive elections throughout the world, including in Egypt.

QUESTION: This question was a little bit earlier, but does Carter’s visit today have anything to do with the Mideast talks? Is it coincidental?

MR. CROWLEY: No. Well, it is – it’s purely coincidental. He’s here to read out his trip to North Korea and that is the primary purpose of the visit.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. CROWLEY: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:51 p.m.)



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