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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
January 4, 2011


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Index for Today's Briefing
  • COTE D'IVOIRE
    • Communiqué Issued by African Union and ECOWAS on Situation in Cote d'Ivoire / President Gbagbo's Promise to Lift Blockade / U.S. Continues to Support Ongoing Diplomatic Efforts / No Resolution Should Include a Power-sharing Arrangement / Results of Election were Clear / President Gbagbo Should Step Down / Opportunity for a Dignified Exit / Gestures of Travel for Gbagbo Coming from a Number of Countries / Want to See a Peaceful Transition
  • ZIMBABWE
    • President Mugabe / U.S. Supports Democratic Elections and Peaceful Transfers of Power
  • PAKISTAN
    • Acting Special Representative Paul Ruggiero Travel to Region / Upcoming Trilateral / Secretary Clinton's Meeting with Pakistani Ambassador Haqqani / Potential U.S. Visit by President Zardari
    • Ambassador Holbrooke's Memorial at Kennedy Center
  • IRAN
    • Issue of an Invitation to Tour Iran's Nuclear Facilities / IAEA / Clearly a Public Relations Stunt by Iran
  • EGYPT/NIGERIA/IRAQ
    • A Rash of Attacks on Christians / Routinely Track in Monitoring Human Rights for Human Rights Report
  • LIBYA
    • U.S. Ambassador Cretz Back in U.S. for Consultations / Evaluation of U.S.-Libyan Relations
  • SUDAN
    • Important for President Bashir to be Vocal and Respect Decision of the People of South Sudan / Comprehensive Peace Agreement
  • ISRAEL
    • U.S. Received Scanned Version of Letter from Government of Israel / Does not have Formal Letter
    • Small Number of People held a Protest at Ambassador's Residence in Tel Aviv
  • NORTH KOREA
    • Governor Richardson Gave his Perspective of Trip to North Korea with Deputy Secretary Steinberg
    • Foreign Minister Yang / Ambassador Bosworth Consulting with South Korea, China, Japan / Serious Negotiation Must be at the Heart of Strategy with North Korea / Consulting Closely with Parties in Six-Party Process / Responsibility Rests with North Korea to Show that Dialogue is Constructive
  • BELARUS/RUSSIA
    • OSCE Office / President Lukashenko / U.S. Concerned about what is Happening in the Country / Will Evaluate What Steps are Appropriate / Range of Options Available / A Wide range of Discussions with Russia on Regional Issues
  • INDIA
    • An Emerging Global Power in its Own Right / Value the Role India is Playing on the World Stage


TRANSCRIPT:

1:25 p.m. EST

MR. CROWLEY: Good afternoon and welcome to the Department of State. Just a couple of things to mention before taking your questions. This morning there was a communiqué issued by the African Union and ECOWAS regarding the situation in Cote d'Ivoire. We are evaluating this communiqué, including its highlighting President Gbagbo’s promise to lift the blockades surrounding the Gulf Hotel and President-elect Ouattara’s willingness to ensure a dignified exit for President Gbagbo if he accepts Ouattara’s victory. And we continue, obviously, to support the ongoing diplomatic efforts of the AU and ECOWAS.

It is important to democracy, peace, and security in West Africa that President Gbagbo peacefully yield power, and any resolution to the current standoff must begin with the internationally endorsed acknowledgement that Alassane Ouattara has won the presidential election in November. To date, President Gbagbo has refused to acknowledge that victory. And no resolution should include a power-sharing arrangement between President-elect Ouattara and former President Gbagbo.

QUESTION: Can we stay on this just for a second?

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: Why – why should no resolution not have a power-sharing agreement?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, that would overturn the --

QUESTION: One of the --

MR. CROWLEY: Okay.

QUESTION: What happened – one of the people who was there on behalf of the AU was a guy named Raila Odinga, who happened to – happened to have been involved in his own election across the other side of the continent --

MR. CROWLEY: Yes, indeed.

QUESTION: -- in Kenya, which ended in a power-sharing agreement after much violence, less violence than I think may have happened in the Ivory Coast. Why is it – why are you ruling out a power-sharing deal here?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, quite simply, the results of the election were clear. To quote a former president, elections have consequences. No one disputes the results of the election besides President Gbagbo. And we believe that for the future of democracy in Cote d'Ivoire and West Africa that he should step down. And that is why we continue to support diplomatic efforts to resolve that with the peaceful transfer of power to Mr. Ouattara.

QUESTION: Well, why is a power-sharing deal okay in Kenya, or for that matter in Zimbabwe, and it’s not here?

MR. CROWLEY: Because you’ve had a clear election result, and we believe for the future of this country this is the best result for Cote d'Ivoire.

QUESTION: Was it --

MR. CROWLEY: Can I finish a couple things first?

QUESTION: Sure, so sorry. But it’s on Cote d'Ivoire.

MR. CROWLEY: Okay.

QUESTION: Was it the French who asked the United States to consider giving Mr. Gbagbo asylum?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I’m not suggesting that such an offer exists. Another aspect of consequences is the ongoing situation on the ground, which has resulted since the election in the deaths of a great number of people, and much of this violence has been perpetrated at the behest of President Gbagbo.

So one of the things that we’ve made clear is that President Gbagbo has many options for departing Cote d'Ivoire. And as the communiqué makes clear, there is still the opportunity for a dignified exit. But there should be consequences for the – for what has occurred in Cote d'Ivoire and the violence that has resulted from the failure to recognize the results of the election. But so --

QUESTION: Are you --

MR. CROWLEY: But President – nothing is preventing President Gbagbo from leaving Cote d'Ivoire. And as we’ve said, we are – we don’t know where he might go. But we believe at this point it’s important for him to leave soon, and the opportunity for him to leave with a dignified exit is an opportunity that is a – that window is closing fast.

QUESTION: I may have misread, but there’s a New York Times article from Friday quoting you saying that there is an offer for him to come to the United States. Is that – did I misread or is it – could you clarify what is the offer if – I mean, or what is being discussed?

MR. CROWLEY: Maybe I misunderstood the question that you were asking. We have signaled to him that if he wanted to come to the United States, we were prepared to discuss that possibility. A number of countries have made similar gestures to President Gbagbo. But that said, in the intervening time since we made our position known, he is responsible for what has occurred in Cote d'Ivoire over the past few weeks. And anything that might be contemplated would have to take into account what has happened in Cote d'Ivoire since the election.

QUESTION: So from your earlier comment, it makes it sounds as though you think that he should be – if there are charges to be brought or prosecution or anything on the human rights side, that those should follow him to wherever he may end up.

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, leaders are responsible for the security of their country and the safety of their people. And where there have been violations of human rights, of course, leaders should be held accountable in whatever country that might occur, including Cote d’Ivoire.

QUESTION: So any dignified exit that might be contemplated for him would be essentially, potentially, an exit into a court?

MR. CROWLEY: Again, let me reiterate what we’ve said all along. We want to see a peaceful transition of leadership to President-elect Ouattara. We continue to support all efforts to see President Gbagbo leave Cote d’Ivoire. If he is interested in coming to the United States – and quite honestly, there’s no indication that he is – we would entertain that as a means of resolving the current situation. But any consideration of travel to the United States would have to take into account what has happened on the ground in the past few weeks.

QUESTION: I don’t understand the urgency of him – for him – it’s important for him to leave and as soon as possible, soon. What is the urgency here, where you have a situation in Zimbabwe where a man – President Mugabe – has reaped far more repression and havoc on his country? Why aren’t you – why don’t you call for him to leave?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I --

QUESTION: Why don’t you call for – I don’t understand – this is hypocrisy.

MR. CROWLEY: We have many times said that Zimbabwe is certainly entitled to a more responsible leader than President Mugabe. I think you would have – I would avoid – I mean, we the United States support democratic elections and peaceful transfers of power. We acknowledge that in various parts of the world there are despotic leaders who are clinging to power through the manipulation of the existing system, and President Mugabe certainly is guilty of that. We want to see the expansion of political opportunity in Zimbabwe, just as we do in many other countries.

At some point you’ve got to start somewhere, and we have an election in Cote d’Ivoire. The international community, from the United Nations to the United States, has recognized the results. The leaders in the region, demonstrated by the delegation that was in Abidjan yesterday representing the AU and ECOWAS, is making it clear that in West Africa they are standing for democracy, and we support that effort.

QUESTION: So does that communiqué that you just referred to – sorry I don’t know this – include power sharing? Is that what they’re saying?

MR. CROWLEY: It does not mention power sharing.

QUESTION: Is anyone at this point proposing power sharing?

MR. CROWLEY: I believe ECOWAS has been on the record, as have we; we do not favor a power-sharing arrangement in Cote d’Ivoire.

Let me – I just wanted to mention a couple of things. Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Frank Ruggiero will travel later this week to those countries, a trip that Ambassador Richard Holbrooke had planned to make after the new year. He will meet with government officials, representatives of civil society, and the media. And it will focus on preparations for the upcoming U.S.-Afghanistan-Pakistan trilateral meeting scheduled to take place in Washington next month. He will reaffirm the United States commitment to the people of Pakistan and will continue to support Pakistan’s efforts to ensure greater peace, security, and stability in the region, now and in the future. And he will also reiterate in Afghanistan the President’s commitment to a transition to full Afghan lead for security that will begin this year and conclude in 2014.

QUESTION: Did you say when that was? Next week?

MR. CROWLEY: He will leave later this week. He will be participating in the meeting that the Secretary has this afternoon with Pakistani Ambassador Haqqani. They will talk about the ongoing Strategic Dialogue, the upcoming trilateral meeting, and a potential visit to the United States by President Zardari.

I am sure the Secretary, when she meets with Ambassador Haqqani this afternoon, will express our condolences at the assassination today of Salman Taseer of Punjab Province. From our standpoint, his death is a great loss. He was committed to helping the government and people of Pakistan persevere in their campaign to bring peace and stability to their country.

QUESTION: Will she also be congratulating the Ambassador on the robust and dynamic political situation going on in his country, which has left you unconcerned about what that government might do?

MR. CROWLEY: I am sure that --

QUESTION: Or is that just something that wouldn’t even come up?

MR. CROWLEY: I – the meeting hasn’t happened yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Ambassador Haqqani updates the Secretary on the political situation in Pakistan.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) on the potential Zardari visit, is that something that’s seen as happening next week perhaps for Ambassador Holbrooke’s memorial?

MR. CROWLEY: There – Ambassador Holbrooke’s memorial is, I think, January 14 at the Kennedy Center. There are a number of world leaders who will be coming to the memorial, and I would expect that there would be some meetings around that not only from South Asia, but from other parts of the world as well.

QUESTION: Follow up?

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: About this trilateral meeting, at what level it is? At the foreign ministers level or the presidents level?

MR. CROWLEY: I’ll take that question.

QUESTION: And who all are coming from South Asia? Do you have any confirmed list for –

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t have – I know that a number of leaders have indicated that they are coming not only in the context of Ambassador Holbrooke’s most recent work in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but also from his previous work, for example, in Europe.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: So are you done?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m done?

QUESTION: Can we go to Iran first? How upset are you that you didn’t get this invitation for the all-inclusive, all-expenses-paid luxury tour of Iranian nuclear facilities?

MR. CROWLEY: We’re just crushed. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: You’re crushed? You’re going to be sitting by the phone waiting for a call?

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, just to reaffirm, we keep checking our inbox, and no invitation has materialized. So – but I mean, these are antics that we’ve seen from Iran in the past where they try to kind of flash a shiny object and said, “No, don’t look over there; look here.” This magical mystery tour, if you want to describe it as that, is not a substitute for what Iran has to do, which is to cooperate fully and transparently with the IAEA. If I understand, the invitation is to visit facilities at Natanz and Arak. On the one hand, there’s no need for a special tour to those facilities. The IAEA – which inspectors who do know what they’re looking for, visit these facilities periodically. But we should just be reminded that the IAEA has said that – and made clear that the – Iran has not yet been able to fully answer the questions that have been raised about its nuclear programs. And so this tour or whatever Iran has planned is not a substitute for sustained, credible, and transparent interaction with the IAEA.

QUESTION: Is the U.S. encouraging members of the EU 3+3, those that may have received invitations, to turn them down?

MR. CROWLEY: Actually, I’m not aware that necessarily the E3 have received invitations either. I’ll defer to –

QUESTION: Well, how about members of the P-5 then?

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, we would not see – if we’re asked for our view, we’re not attending, but we do not see any reason for others to attend either.

QUESTION: Are you actively discouraging it, though? Do you think it’s a bad idea? Does it somehow cloud the waters over – with the talks coming up?

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t think it will cloud – it’s a pretty clear public relations stunt by Iran. So we don’t think that anyone who might take this tour is going to learn anything substantive on such a visit.

QUESTION: And a final one. Have the Hungarians confirmed to you that they’re turning their invitation down?

MR. CROWLEY: I’ve checked to see – our understanding is that Hungary among others did receive an invitation, because they hold the position as the UN – of the EU presidency. I’m still double-checking that as to whether they’ve formally replied yet.

QUESTION: P.J., on another subject. There have been numerous attacks recently on Christians throughout the Mideast and some other areas. The Pope is now saying that they are – Christians are the most persecuted religious minority in the world. Are you tracking some of this? Do you agree with that characterization? How serious is it?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we are certainly aware of a recent string of attacks against Christians from Iraq to Egypt to Nigeria, and of course, number one, we’re concerned about this, and we condemn all violence that is based on religion or ethnicity or any similar political violence. It is something that we do routinely track in the context of our monitoring of human rights around the world report on this every year as part of our Human Rights Report, and obviously, we are deeply concerned about what seems to be an increasing trend.

QUESTION: And who do you think is doing this?

MR. CROWLEY: I’d be very wary at this point about making any sweeping statements about whether what’s happened in Iraq has a bearing on what’s happening in other countries such as Egypt or Nigeria. These are all being investigated. Clearly, there are pressures on minority groups in these countries, and we would hope and expect that in – those respective governments will fully investigate these attacks and bring those responsible to justice. That’s what, for example, the people of Egypt are rightly demanding a credible, thorough investigation and those responsible brought to justice.

QUESTION: On Tunisia, there’s continued, sort of, civil unrest there, and I was just wondering –

MR. CROWLEY: What country?

QUESTION: Tunisia. Tunisia. And I was wondering what you made of the situation there.

MR. CROWLEY: Actually, I didn’t get updated on Tunisia today. So we’ll save that question –

QUESTION: When was the last time you did get updated on Tunisia? (Laughter.)

QUESTION: How about next on Libya? The U.S. ambassador to Libya has been – is now back in Washington for talks and there seems to be some suggestion that he might not go back soon –

MR. CROWLEY: Ambassador Cretz is here for consultations. This does happen. We bring our ambassadors back routinely for consultations, and we will be evaluating in these discussions where we are in terms of U.S.-Egyptian – U.S.-Libyan relations. And one of the issues to be discussed will be when he goes back.

QUESTION: Just a follow-up on the Christian question.

QUESTION: P.J., in Sudan –

MR. CROWLEY: Wait.

QUESTION: A follow-up on the Christian question.

MR. CROWLEY: All right, we’ll – all right.

QUESTION: President Bashir went down to Juba and he – while announcing that he was in favor of keeping the country together, he said that he would accept a negative decision if there was a division and that it would not lead to civil war. Do you see this as a positive sign coming from the Sudanese Government?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, certainly, it is important for President Bashir to be vocal and – as he has been, in saying that he and others should respect the decision of the people of South Sudan. We’re getting very close – within five days – of the beginning of actual voting within country. It – whatever happens, this is a decision for the people of South Sudan and comes as part of implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The North and South are going to have some kind of relationship going forward, whether it’s as part of one country, a part of two countries, and the president has made clear that he will respect whatever decision the people of South Sudan make. That’s an important statement to make.

QUESTION: The – follow-up on the Christians. In the light of this – what is happening in Egypt and Nigeria, are you going to give another thought on what’s happening in Pakistan and in India on the Christians?

MR. CROWLEY: If you have a specific question, I’ll be happy to –

QUESTION: Yes, the Orissa – incidents in Orissa State on Christians.

MR. CROWLEY: Okay. I’ll take the question.

QUESTION: P.J., Prime Minister Netanyahu today has told parliament that he has written to President Obama seeking Jonathan Pollard’s release. You can’t – it’s no longer a hypothetical. What do you have to say?

MR. CROWLEY: We have received a letter from the Government of Israel and we will review it.

QUESTION: And are you inclined to look favorably on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s request?

MR. CROWLEY: We – actually, we’ve just received a scanned version of the letter. The formal letter has not even been delivered yet, so – but we will review it.

QUESTION: P.J., recently, have you ever talked to either – Governor Richardson about detail on his North Korean trip?

MR. CROWLEY: All right. Come again?

QUESTION: Governor Richardson --

QUESTION: Have you talked with Richardson about his trip to North Korea?

MR. CROWLEY: Yeah. Just before the holiday, then-Governor Richardson had a conversation with Deputy Secretary Steinberg.

QUESTION: You never talked with – any conversation with him?

MR. CROWLEY: Hmm?

QUESTION: Have you talked with him?

MR. CROWLEY: Have I talked with him?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR. CROWLEY: No.

QUESTION: P.J., can I get back to the Mideast for a second? Did you ever get a – I presume – go ahead.

MR. CROWLEY: All right.

QUESTION: Answer this question before I rudely interrupted.

MR. CROWLEY: No, we – I mean, Deputy Secretary Steinberg was basically listening, but it was Governor Richardson who provided his perspective on his recent trip.

QUESTION: What is detail about what North Korea is saying, what he saw, the – whatever --

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we’re not going to provide a readout. If Governor Richardson wants to give any further details as to what the North Koreans told him, that’s up to him.

QUESTION: Did he visit any North Korean nuclear site in North Korea?

MR. CROWLEY: Again, I’m not going to characterize what the Governor told the Deputy Secretary.

QUESTION: Were you able to get an answer to my question yesterday about the protest at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Tel Aviv?

MR. CROWLEY: Yes. A small number of people came to the residence. They tossed one teargas canister. We do not see this as an attack on the Ambassador’s residence.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: P.J., on that letter from Netanyahu, should we interpret that as – the timing of that as connected to the issue of settlements?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, that’s a question for the Israeli Government.

QUESTION: Well, where are you interpreting it?

MR. CROWLEY: No, we’re not – we’re reviewing the letter, full stop. This is an issue that has come up from time to time in our discussions with Israeli leaders, this one and others, and we’ll review the letter.

QUESTION: On Belarus stuff with the EU, apparently the Germans in particular are sort of casting around the idea of visa bans on Lukashenko and company. I know that there are economic sanctions in place. Is there anything more that the U.S. might do to make its displeasure –

MR. CROWLEY: Well, there are a lot of things that we will evaluate in light of what has happened here. As we’ve made clear, I think you’ll see a statement by Secretary Clinton and High Representative Ashton before the day is over. But we think this is regrettable. We thought the OSCE mission was playing an important role in terms of helping Belarus develop democratic governance. We’re very concerned about the fact that I believe every single person who ran for high – ran against President Lukashenko is now in custody. This violates all international norms. And so we are very concerned about what’s happening in the country and we have a variety of options available to us as we evaluate the implications of this.

QUESTION: P.J. –

QUESTION: Have you spoken to the Russians? Have you spoken to the Russians about Lukashenko in Belarus, because Russia by its --

MR. CROWLEY: No, I mean, Russia is a full participant in – has obviously an interest in a relationship. I can’t say if we’ve had discussions. It wouldn’t surprise me if we have.

QUESTION: What kind of options do you have?

QUESTION: P.J., on South Korea –

QUESTION: Whoa, whoa, whoa, Belarus still.

MR. CROWLEY: Well –

QUESTION: You say a variety of options. What – like what?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we –

QUESTION: Do we have an ambassador there?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we have options ranging – do we have an ambassador in Belarus? (Laughter.) Hey, look, we – (laughter) –

QUESTION: Yeah. Right.

MR. CROWLEY: I’ll take that question.

QUESTION: The Chavez treatment can’t work here.

Why is it important for President Lukashenko to step down, with no power sharing?

MR. CROWLEY: Thank you, Fred.

QUESTION: He just won elections (inaudible).

QUESTION: So did Bagwell, if you listen to him. Anyway, what are the options here that you have to –

MR. CROWLEY: No, I mean, Andy was saying – I mean, in our relationship with any country, we have a range of options available to us. If – but – I’m not going to prejudge anything, but obviously we have options regarding travel, we have options regarding our economic relationship, we have options regarding assistance that we do provide to countries.

QUESTION: Right. But unless I’m mistaken, you already have – there already are sanctions against Lukashenko and his cadre, his inner circle, both financial and travel sanctions.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we are obviously –

QUESTION: You’ve got an embassy there that’s got about four people in it that has been – that – I’m just trying – I mean –

MR. CROWLEY: No, no, no.

QUESTION: You don’t – I mean, you can’t yank the ambassador because you don’t have one. You can’t – I mean, that would be something symbolic. Is there anything other than – and they’re already under sanctions, so –

MR. CROWLEY: Look, we are reviewing what’s happened in Belarus, we’re reviewing the policy implications of this, and we’ll evaluate what steps are appropriate in light of this step backward by Belarus.

QUESTION: Does the deal over the Belarus nuclear material that the Secretary struck in Kazakhstan – does that weigh on your response to this at all? Is there any fear that they might pull back from that if you go too far in expressing your –

MR. CROWLEY: Well, that – and that – we would hope that Belarus does not do that. That is in – that’s in the Belarusian interest as well as the regional and global interest.

QUESTION: Have they given you any indication that they are considering it?

MR. CROWLEY: As far as I know, no.

QUESTION: P.J., following on Matt’s question, I was asking you about the Russia because Russians, Kazakhstan, and Belarus signed a deal last year, and now they are cementing it. So you are putting sanctions, and they are forming economic zone together, so how – your sanctions at work. So have you spoken to Russians on that, because you have a setup button with Russians?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we – I mean, we have a wide range of discussions with Russia on regional issues. We’re – we don’t believe that we need to be competitors in that region, but obviously, what has happened in Belarus is a violation of international norms and a concern to us, and we think it should be a concern to Russia as well.

QUESTION: P.J., can you say anything about Ambassador Bosworth’s trip to South Korea? He’ll also be going to Japan and to Beijing. And according to news reports, he will be preparing for the visit of President Hu. What role does he play in terms of preparation?

MR. CROWLEY: Whoa, you’re – you’ve mixed apples and oranges there. Foreign Minister Yang is here in the United States and will meet tomorrow with Secretary Clinton. That discussion is very much about the upcoming visit by President Hu Jintao. Ambassador Bosworth is consulting with South Korea, China, and Japan, as we have regularly, with regard to North Korea. I do expect that both during the Secretary’s discussion with Foreign Minister Yang tomorrow as well as the President’s visit later this month, that North Korea will be a topic of discussion. But I – what Steve Bosworth is doing now is working through an assessment of where we are on the Korean Peninsula and the way forward.

QUESTION: Follow up on that?

QUESTION: P.J. –

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: How can it – Mr. Bosworth said in Seoul that he’s looking forward for starting serious negotiations on North Korea at a reasonably early time. That --

MR. CROWLEY: Well, that’s not exactly what he said.

QUESTION: Oh.

MR. CROWLEY: He – as he said, which is our policy, that we believe that serious negotiations must be at the heart of a strategy for dealing with North Korea. We’ve made clear that we are open to dialogue with North Korea, but as we’ve said many times, we have to be assured that that dialogue would be constructive, and we don’t just want to have talks for talks’ sake. So there – we do want to see specific things from North Korea, including a reduction of tension between North and South, an end to provocations, and a seriousness of purpose with respect to its 2005 obligations under the joint statement.

QUESTION: But it’s kind of like – I’m touching on what you’ve already touched on yesterday, but has anything changed from last year and this year?

MR. CROWLEY: North Korea was a challenge last year, and North Korea is a challenge today.

QUESTION: I mean, to make Mr. Bosworth travel –

MR. CROWLEY: You wanted a filing break at –

QUESTION: -- to the countries again at this timing?

MR. CROWLEY: Hmm?

QUESTION: To make Mr. Bosworth travel to the region at the beginning of this year? Like, I’m just trying to characterize this specific travel of his, what meaning it has.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, it follows up on the discussions that Deputy Secretary Steinberg and Jeff Bader of the NSS had late last year. This is a continually changing situation. We did have a spike in tension towards the end of the year. We have noted that that tension has eased somewhat, but the underlying issues are still there. We’re at the start of the year, and we’re consulting closely with our partners in the Six-Party process and trying to gain a foundation for where we go from here.

QUESTION: P.J., one more on Korea. So do you have any specific actions North Korea needs to take before restarting negotiations?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I go back to what – I mean, there are some things that we want to see, but as Ambassador Bosworth said in Seoul today, he hasn’t arrived there with a specific list in his pocket.

QUESTION: Just one more follow-up. Is -- can you say that a consensus has been made between Six-Party countries that dialogue between – to Korea should lead the Six-Party – resumption of the Six-Party Talks?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we have always supported intra-Korean dialogue, and we think that would be an important step to take in and of itself.

QUESTION: Yeah, but the reason why I ask the question is it seems like South Korean officials believe that a bilateral meeting between South and North Korea should go ahead, and then they can deliver the special conditions for North Korea to resume the talks.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, these are not mutually exclusive. If you have a Six-Party process – inside the Six-Party process are five bilateral relationships. So I wouldn’t get seized upon this too much. Obviously, Japan has its interests in pursuing constructive relations with North Korea. So does China, so does Russia, so does South Korea, so does the United States. And we are open to multilateral and bilateral dialogue, but right now, the responsibility rests on North Korea to show that such dialogue, either at a multilateral setting or a bilateral setting, will be constructive.

QUESTION: P.J. --

QUESTION: Is it correct that there are only five bilateral relationships within the Six-Party Talks? (Laughter.)

MR. CROWLEY: In the context of North Korea --

QUESTION: Only five?

MR. CROWLEY: All right. There could be many, there could be more, but in the context of North Korea, there are five bilateral relationships involving North Korea.

QUESTION: P.J., did you have any --

MR. CROWLEY: I hate these flash quizzes.

QUESTION: Did you have any chance to speak with the Secretary about her exchange in Brazil with President Chavez? Did she mention something to you?

MR. CROWLEY: I gave it my all yesterday. I don’t have anything to add.

QUESTION: You said that you were not aware of what they especially – especially that they talked. Are you more aware at this moment?

MR. CROWLEY: No.

QUESTION: P.J., Ambassador Bosworth said that he wants to begin negotiations with North Korea at a reasonably early date. So could you --

MR. CROWLEY: Again, I can go – I’m staring at the transcript of his brief media encounter and – look, we want to have – we are prepared to have dialogue with North Korea, but we have to be assured that such dialogue will be constructive, and that really is up to North Korea.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. CROWLEY: One more.

QUESTION: India has joined UN Security Council as a nonpermanent member this month after a gap of 19 years. What role do you see for India in this new Security Council?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, India is an emerging global power in its own right, and it is increasingly involved and engaged in global challenges from regional security to the environment. So we value the role that India is playing on the world stage and look forward to working with India on the Security Council.

QUESTION: And secondly, along with --

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. CROWLEY: Come on up. Come on up.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:00 p.m.)

DPB # 2



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