printable banner

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Victoria Nuland
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
August 25, 2011

Index for Today's Briefing
    • Deputy Secretary Burns at the political directors' Contact Group meeting in Istanbul / Positive / Libyan-led process / Discussed possible security needs of TNC / No anticipation of foreign military requirements but premature to speculate/ Ministerial level contact meeting in Paris next week /
    • Libyan Frozen Assets / Continuing work to unfreeze $1.5 billion in the Sanctions Committee using its own procedures for extraordinary circumstances / Secretary talked to South African counterpart yesterday / Breakdown of asset allotment for urgent needs
    • TNC first priority is for Qadhafi to renounce power / Second priority is to bring him to justice / Qadhafi's justice should meet international standards but up to Libyans to decide his fate / We are heartened by belief of justice and not retribution
    • Proliferation risks / Chris Stevens has been in contact with TNC leaders to talk further about preparation to take physical control of the facilities with remaining chemical weapons / Deepening our work together
    • All sensitive elements from the AQ Khan network were removed in early 2004 / last of highly-enriched was removed in 2009 / Supply of yellow cake is secure
    • The main concern in Libya is MANPADS/U.S. has provided $3 million to assist efforts to dispose of weapons stockpiles
    • Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa proposed to the parliament that the emergency laws be withdrawn / Positive step for Sri Lankan people / Assistant Secretary Blake's visit
    • Kidnapping of Mr. Weinstein / Our information is that the reports are regrettably untrue / Continue to work with Pakistanis and cooperation is excellent
  • Keystone XL
    • Final version of EIS to be released very soon / Release of EIS does not constitute a U.S. Government decision on whether pipeline will go forward / Just one step in the process
  • India
    • Protests in front of Indian embassy / U.S. supports right to peaceful protests, especially in the U.S.
  • Syria
    • No specifics from meeting with Turkey
  • D.P.R.K.
    • Take concrete steps to fulfill commitments to made in 2005 / Not going to discuss meetings with Russian leadership / NY meeting was to be absolutely clear of the expectations back to table


1:02 p.m. EDT

MS. NULAND: Afternoon, everybody. Sorry to be a little bit late today. You will recently have seen the statement that we put out about the participation of Deputy Secretary Burns at the political directors’ Contact Group meeting in Istanbul today. I don’t have anything further at the top. We can go to what’s on your minds.

QUESTION: Is there any additional detail you can offer about the meeting in Istanbul?

MS. NULAND: It was, from our perspective, a very good meeting. As you saw, it was focused on a number of urgent needs of the Libyan people and the Transitional National Council. First of all, the urgent need to unfreeze some of the Libyan assets so that the TNC can meet humanitarian and governance needs. The TNC made very strong statements about reconciliation, its policy with regard to respect for human rights, justice, no retribution in Libya. They underscored these points strongly. They were echoed by the international community as the guiding principles that we need moving forward.

There was discussion about the need for the TNC, as soon as it can get into governing position in Tripoli, to begin transforming itself in keeping with its own roadmap that it’s had out for about a month into an inclusive interim government with democratic and constitutional processes moving forward and representing a broad cross-section of Libyans.

There was also a discussion about the necessity of the Contact Group and donor nations supporting the Libyan people in their transitions – in their transition, but that this must be a supporting role and that this will be a Libyan-led process.

There was also some discussion about security needs that the TNC may have. It is our understanding that the TNC is unlikely to request a formal peacekeeping force, but it may need UN and international community help supporting its policing needs. And precisely what it may ask for remains to be determined.

The participants also looked forward to the upcoming ministerial level Contact Group meeting in Paris next week.

QUESTION: On the policing needs, I mean, this is something that you were being asked about much earlier in this week, and you said no, no, no, wait, wait, wait, we have to wait and see a wish list. Does this mean that that is now on a wish list that the TNC has presented, or is that something that will be presented next week?

MS. NULAND: I think this is an issue that the TNC is not going to be able to fully decide and come forward to the international community with a plan on until it has been able to establish itself in Tripoli completely and establish its needs and have a better understanding of the security situation. It has, pretty clearly, ruled out the need for full-up peacekeeping, but it has left open and left on the table the potential for UN and international support in policing. Precisely how that might come forward, I think, remains to be seen.

QUESTION: Okay. And then --

MS. NULAND: I would say, though, that the TNC, as you probably saw yesterday, it announced that it was establishing a military security committee in Tripoli to begin coordinating better civil order in Tripoli --

QUESTION: Okay. And then --

MS. NULAND: -- in those areas it controls.

QUESTION: In terms of the money and the unfreezing of the assets --

QUESTION: (Inaudible) for one quick --


QUESTION: Is the U.S. prepared to support that effort on the policing side if that request does come through?

MS. NULAND: I think we will look favorably at police support requests that come from the TNC to the UN. The UN will have the lead, but we will look at how the U.S. can help.

QUESTION: Well, to be precise about that, is the United States willing to put any U.S. citizen police on the ground in Libya, or are you simply interested in supporting this by giving money or something else? I think that may be the heart of Kirit’s question: Are you willing to put U.S. police on the ground in Libya?

MS. NULAND: I think we’re not to that stage yet. It is not clear that foreign police are going to be requested. This could come in the form of training support; this could come in the form of equipping support, so we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves in terms of the request. But we will, obviously, look at the request and try to pull our weight in the UN system.

QUESTION: Just one thing here, though. I mean, the President – it’s not decided that there will be foreign military forces in the country. I mean, you said that they all but ruled it out in terms of a peacekeeping force, but the President was very clear about no U.S. boots on the ground, which is why I’m interested in knowing whether that no U.S. boots on the ground refers to police shoes as well as military boots.

MS. NULAND: Again, I think unless and until we have a Libyan request for foreign police, which we haven’t had and it’s not clear that they will need it, it would be premature for the U.S. to get into a decision making process. But as you say, there’s no anticipation of foreign military requirement.

QUESTION: Can we go to the money, just for a second?

MS. NULAND: Yes. Please.

QUESTION: Toria, just on the security issue?


QUESTION: (Inaudible) a private security company such as Triple Canopy or Blackwater, which has changed names, and so on. But what kind of process would the State Department then subject these requests to?

MS. NULAND: Again, you’re getting into all kinds of hypotheticals. Our – what we understand at the moment is that they don’t expect they’ll need a peacekeeping force but they may need some police support. What form that takes, I think they themselves haven’t decided yet. So it’s premature to be speculating on where this is going to go.

QUESTION: In terms of the money and the unfreezing of the assets, some of your allies have been very forceful in pointing the finger at one particular country, which you and other U.S. officials were loathe to do yesterday. But since the Brits have now come out and French and others and basically said the South Africans have to step up, what’s the status of that?

MS. NULAND: Well, we’re not in the habit of naming and shaming countries from the podium. I will tell you that the status, as of the time I came down, was that we are continuing to try to work this unfreezing of the $1.5 billion in the Sanctions Committee using its own procedures for extraordinary circumstances. We will continue to work that throughout the afternoon.

I will tell you that Secretary Clinton spoke to her South African counterpart yesterday. If we are unable to make this work in the Sanctions Committee today, we also have a UN Security Council resolution ready. It’s in blue already that can be voted to release this money. So we are hopeful that this will happen today, one way or the other.

QUESTION: Now that council resolution is your – a U.S.-specific resolution, or is this the broader one?

MS. NULAND: It has a number of cosponsors. It is about the U.S. 1.5 billion.

QUESTION: Okay. It’s not about any other money? It’s just about --

MS. NULAND: My understanding is it’s about this U.S. 1.5 billion. You’ve seen reports that a number of other countries are also looking at how they can unfreeze their own money.

QUESTION: Are you confident --

QUESTION: I’m sorry. I --

QUESTION: It’s on the money.

QUESTION: It’s on money as well.

QUESTION: Go ahead.

QUESTION: The South Africans have said that they would be willing to allow $500 million to go forward in the Sanctions Committee. Is that sufficient, or would you like – in order to go through the Sanctions Committee or would you like to push ahead for the resolution or try to convince them to go up to 1.5 billion and then go ahead with the resolution if they don’t go – if they don’t agree to increase the amount?

MS. NULAND: We believe that the Libyan people need the 1.5 billion that is on the table. Let me step back a little bit and give you a little bit more detail about this $1.5 billion, if I may.

First of all, we have been working for many weeks with the TNC, ever since they began requesting the unfreezing of some of the U.S. assets on what their needs might be, and this effort has been led by Assistant Secretary Feltman. But the main point man has been Chris Stevens in Benghazi working on a daily basis with the TNC. So before we submitted the request to the Sanctions Committee, which was on August 8th, to release this 1.5 billion, we had walked through with the TNC exactly how this money could and would be used for the humanitarian and governance needs of the Libyan people.

So just to give you a little bit of an outline here, without getting too much into details, first and foremost, this is a Libyan-driven process. The 1.5 represents their assessment of their urgent needs. If and when the money is unfrozen at the UN, they will make a formal proposal, and it – we expect, based on our conversations with them, that it’ll look about like about this: Five hundred million they would like to use for urgent humanitarian needs; about 120 million would go immediately to UN organizations to pay for the services that the UN agencies are already providing in Libya. We’re talking about the World Health Organization, UNICEF, UNHCR, the World Food Program who are already working on the ground to meet the immediate needs of the Libyan people. The rest of that 500 million would be held for future needs that will come through the UN system as the Libyan people and the TNC assess what would be appropriate.

QUESTION: That’s the 500 from that --

MS. NULAND: From that first pot.

QUESTION: 120 is part of the 500.

MS. NULAND: There are three pots of money within the 1.5 – 500, 500, 500. The first 500, humanitarian needs to UN agencies. Let me also say that in working through this with the TNC --

QUESTION: We need to go back.

QUESTION: Finish explaining it because I’m --

QUESTION: You gave us 500 million for humanitarian needs, then 120 million --

MS. NULAND: Of the 500 million --

QUESTION: Of the first 500 million.

MS. NULAND: Of the first 500 million in the first basket for humanitarian needs, 120 of that would immediately be disbursed to the UN to pay for the humanitarian work that’s going on now. The rest of that 500 million would be held to pay for future UN-led programming.


QUESTION: But then there’s another – there should be another --

MS. NULAND: The second basket of 500 million – the second basket of 500 million will go for civilian fuel needs associated with electricity, primarily, and desalination, electricity, particularly in hospitals and other public facilities. The Libyan people have run up some significant bills to international purveyors who have helped them. So our understanding is that about 300 million of this 500 million basket would go to reimburse the entity or entities that have been helping Libya meet its civilian fuel needs. And the remaining 200 million of that second basket would be held to pay bills for future civilian fuel needs.

I want to say with regard to this basket, that in working this through with the TNC, they and we have been exceedingly careful to ensure that, as we make these estimates, we are paying civilian fuel bills. None of this will go for lethal or military purposes. More broadly, in this whole package, we have worked very hard with the TNC to help them to plan for safeguards, transparency, the kind of ability to audit that the international community and we expect.

Now onto the third basket, the third basket of $500 million. We expect the TNC to request that this money will go into the temporary financial mechanism that the Contact Group established a couple of months ago. That money will be held in the TFM, and the Libyan people will be able to draw on it to meet needs in the following three categories: health, education, and urgent food needs. So as the TNC establishes its requirements in these areas, comes up with bills that need paying in the area of health, education, and food, it will be able to submit those bills to the TFM steering board for payment.

QUESTION: How long is this supposed to last them? Is there an expectation of how long this – all of these pots of money will last them?

MS. NULAND: I think we’re not in a position to speak to that now. I think they’re probably not in a position to speak to it yet because they have to get fully in control before they can establish their needs. But as you know, this is an emergency stopgap measure to get them some money now, until we can get to the point where they can come forward in a concerted way and tell the international community more formally what they would like to do with regard to UN Security Council Resolution 1973 and the rest of the assets, and we can work through that.

QUESTION: Can you just talk about the auditing? The auditing –

QUESTION: That sounds a little bit of a -- comprehensive, but Jibril said today they needed $5 billion to cover immediate expenses.

MS. NULAND: This is the U.S. contribution to the immediate requests that the TNC has been making. Other countries around the world, other countries in the Contact Group are also looking to make contributions from the frozen assets of Libya that they are holding. From a U.S. perspective, we’ve been working on this for many weeks. We’ve been sitting with the TNC and taking them through the necessary safeguarding and auditing processes. We have high confidence that this is the right amount from us now, and that we have set in place structures and ways to ensure that this money gets to the right people and is used, as we said, for humanitarian and civilian needs.

QUESTION: How is the –

QUESTION: Can we talk more about the auditing of the money? You said that we’re working to put in place safeguards. Could you just explain more about what those safeguards are?

MS. NULAND: Well, again, if you go back to looking at these three baskets, the first 500, which is humanitarian going to the UN, it is going directly to the UN to pay for their programming that the Libyan people have needed and will continue to need. The second 500 million is going to pay civilian fuel bills, and these bills have been scrubbed very hard by the TNC to ensure that they are civilian, and we have sat with them as they have done that. The third basket goes through the temporary financial mechanism, which the Contact Group established precisely for the purpose of ensuring that the international community had transparency on how the money would be spent.

QUESTION: How are these priorities – how are these –

QUESTION: Victoria, there have been some reports that one of the reasons that the 1.5 was defined was because of – which you said was roughly half of – a little bit less than half of the cash of the 30 – was defined because they did not want any possibility of any money going or being controlled by Qadhafi, that there was still some concern that there might be, behind the scenes, some way that the regime could control that. Is that still a factor? And did that play any role in defining this amount?

MS. NULAND: I think the TNC in the initial phases of this discussion that we’ve been having with them was concerned that they want – they themselves wanted to make sure that the chain of custody on the money was transparent, that they could accurately represent the Libyan people, that none of it had been siphoned off by any nefarious types, and that was certainly something that we wanted as well.

QUESTION: A couple –

QUESTION: How were these priorities established? Fill us –

MS. NULAND: First, for Arshad.

QUESTION: On the second 500 million, you said that that would go to organizations that have been helping on the civilian fuel side. Does that mean that there are organizations that have been providing electricity or other kinds of civilian fuel up to this point in Benghazi or elsewhere? Or did you mean to say that that will go toward future civilian fuel requirements?

MS. NULAND: We’ll have more for you on this. As soon as the assets are unfrozen, we’ll plan a fact sheet on it. But there are commercial entities that have been providing fuel for civilian purposes that have not been paid, and they’ve been providing it to the TNC-held areas for their needs –

QUESTION: Great. Okay.

MS. NULAND: -- and we’ll continue to – and as that area expands, they are able to use it in a broader part of Libya.

QUESTION: Got it. And second –

QUESTION: Do you have any names of these commercial entities? Do you –

MS. NULAND: Again, we’ll have more for you when we can.

QUESTION: Second question, do you expect that you – do you – is the U.S. confident that it has the votes in the – at least nine votes in the Security Council to get the resolution passed if you cannot get it through the sanctions committee?

MS. NULAND: Our headcount is good at the moment.

QUESTION: Okay. And so – therefore – the other day, I think there was a suggestion that the United States might be able to do this unilaterally through its own existing statutory authorities that it was – you were investigating whether you might be able to just release the money anyway, or some of the money for humanitarian purposes. Is that now off the table, or is that still something you think you can do if you have to, if for some reason, you don’t have the votes on the committee or in the council?

MS. NULAND: That would be the final choice, but we are cautiously optimistic today that we’re not going to have to go there.

QUESTION: And you do believe that you have those authorities? You’ve now established that?

MS. NULAND: We have been working through it ourselves, but again, the priorities in the UN – and we think we’re going to get it through in the UN today.


QUESTION: My question concerns how did you establish these priorities? Because the picture that is emerging from Tripoli is really an abysmal situation as far as hospitals are concerned, with great many wounded and with trauma and so on, and not even the most basic care. So how did you establish these priorities? What –

MS. NULAND: Again, these are the Libyans’ priorities. These come from the TNC, they are based on their assessment of what their people need, not only in the areas that they controlled, but also in Tripoli and other places where they’ve had contacts throughout this crisis. And they are –and as you say, the humanitarian aspect is very much focused not only on electricity for hospitals, but medicines and other things.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Madam, as far as (inaudible) security in Libya is concerned, the Libyan people still want justice to be done. They are still looking for Mr. Qadhafi whereabout. Do you know whereabout he is, or are you helping the Libyans to find him out? Also, if you are going to support to bring him to justice?

MS. NULAND: You’ve seen the press reporting that we’ve seen about the manhunt that is underway in Libya. Neither the United States nor NATO is involved in this manhunt. It’s a Libyan effort. With regard to Qadhafi’s future, just to say again, we believe he should be held accountable for his crimes, as should his sons and others with blood on their hands, and it’s up to the Libyan people to ensure that that happens, in keeping with the highest standards of international justice.

QUESTION: Can I follow on that? If these – you’ve seen the reporting about how this apartment building has been surrounded in Tripoli. If they happen to capture him and – what would you encourage them to do? Do you want them to see --

MS. NULAND: We’re not in the business --

QUESTION: If they want to string him up from the nearest tree, is that okay with you? Or do you want to see them actually go through some sort of judicial process?

MS. NULAND: I think you’ve seen statements by Prime Minister Jibril himself that vigilante justice is not what the new state of Libya should want and speaking about the need to do this in a way that meets the highest international standards. That’s said, he’s a Libyan for Libyans to decide on.

QUESTION: In the discussions in Istanbul, when you spoke about reconciliation and rights and no retribution, did they lay out plans for how they would deal with, one, his capture and perhaps the apprehension of other leading figures of the regime?

MS. NULAND: They have been very clear, and the establishment of this security and military committee in Tripoli is an element of this. They’ve been clear publicly. They’ve been sending messages to their own for many days now that Libya needs to turn the page on the violence of the past, that they have an opportunity now to live within international standards, to set an example for the kind of future that they want to have. They’ve been speaking out, and they did again today, the delegation that was in Istanbul, against retribution, against vigilante justice, and in favor of the highest standards of international justice.

So we are heartened by that. Obviously, they’ve also been sending messages to their own fighters not to – to set a positive example for the future. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s a very fluid and dynamic situation, but the TNC is doing its best, we think.

QUESTION: But they didn’t outline safeguards since that’s – that seemed to be one of the big things of the day, safeguards that would ensure the legality of the process, that principles of law would be respected.

MS. NULAND: I think they have to get into a governing position in Libya. They have to get themselves into Tripoli and control the territory. They did speak about moving very quickly to an interim government governing structure that can set up and establish these rule of law systems and set a positive example for their own future. But again, we have to remember what this country’s been for 42 years – a state where the only rule of law came out of the head of Qadhafi. So they’ve got work to do. They’re going to need international support as they do it. They’re saying the right things, but we’ve seen in other transitional states establishing institutions that work, that are effective, that we can all have confidence in is hard work. So they’re going to need our support as we go forward with this.

Please. Yes.

QUESTION: On this – on Qadhafi’s fate, the day before yesterday, a Latin American country, Nicaragua, offered to take him in. Yesterday, Burkina Faso offered to take him in. Considering that he has a tribe that is hundred thousand members, they are well armed and so on, if he leaves safely with his family it would be an incentive for them to put down their weapons. Wouldn’t that be a kind of counsel and advice that you would give to the TNC, your allies in this case?

MS. NULAND: We are not counseling the TNC on this point, besides saying that like them, like the Libyan people, the first priority is for Qadhafi to renounce power, and the second priority is to bring him to justice. It’s up to them how they want to do that, as long as it meets international standards.

QUESTION: But madam, as far as bringing him to justice is concerned, according to those who lost millions – I mean, thousands of loved ones, including in Libya and also around the globe, including, of course, the U.S. airplane, he has killed so many people. Why can’t you bring him to justice as per under the U.S. law is concerned? Because so many Americans were lost because of him, his brutal rule.

MS. NULAND: This is the Libyans’ victory. This is the Libyans’ future. They have to make the decisions with regard to Qadhafi and those with blood on their hands.

QUESTION: A couple of quick questions. First, Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu said that he would like to see TNC or new Libya flag in UN convention next month. Do you think – would you support to that?

MS. NULAND: I think we’d all like to see that. I think we’d all like to see that.

QUESTION: Do you also agree that – rebels suggest that 90 percent of Tripoli is under their control. Do you agree with that? There are different news report on --

MS. NULAND: I don't think we’re in a position here to evaluate the security situation, neighborhood by neighborhood, in Tripoli. You’ve see what we’ve seen. The situation remains fluid. There is still fighting, so --

QUESTION: Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor – yesterday, he had an interview, and he said that there are two core principles going forward for interventions. One of – is local – relying on local forces and second is a burden sharing. Are you ready or in a position to lay out such a vision for future interventions?

MS. NULAND: I think we’ve spoken here, for the last couple of days, about a policy that was based, first and foremost, on supporting the Libyan people in their aspiration for a democratic future. And second, that was rooted in U.S. leadership to build an unprecedentedly large international community of common action. So that has been our focus on the military support side, the political support side, the economic support side.

Yesterday, I outlined the speed of some of the steps that we were able to take, that the international community was able to take to support the Libyan people, but this is their victory. This is their time. It’s not over till it’s over. But the principle that the United States would support and would help rally the international community to support the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people was the under-girding principle here and will remain so.

QUESTION: Did the U.S. or other members of the Contact Group urge these private companies providing fuel for Libya’s power needs to basically extend them credit or continue to extend them credit? Did that involve some guarantee that they would be paid?

MS. NULAND: There has been extensive conversation as these bills got older and older that we and the – well, the Libyans in the first instance, but supported by the international community, would ensure that they got paid as soon as possible. So we’re moving on to that step now.

QUESTION: And on another subject, this group, the Middle East Research Group, says one of the military commanders of the Libyan rebels, Sheikh Abd al-Hakim Balhaj, was formerly an emir of an al-Qaida-affiliated group. Would those kind of ties – should they rule out involvement in – or senior involvement, if you will, in Libya’s rebel organization?

MS. NULAND: The TNC and all of the members of the Libyan opposition that we speak with have repeatedly asserted that they want a Libya free of extremism, that they don’t want ties to terror networks, that they want to create and build a model democratic state that is open, transparent, peaceful, stable, unitary. They’re going to have to make their own decisions, as all of these countries who’ve been in transition recently have had to make. Whether past action, past affiliation, meets the smell test within the principles that they’ve laid out and that I’ve just annunciated, it’s not for us to dictate here. But we will hold them to their commitment that there will be no place for extremism and no place for terror in modern Libya.

QUESTION: I have one other thing on the civilian fuel power. Is that 500 million solely for the purpose of paying fuel bills? In other words, it is not for, for example, paying to help repair parts of the grid that have been damaged in the bombing or things like that, sort of more direct infrastructure or repair? It’s just to pay existing bills; is that correct?

MS. NULAND: That’s correct for this tranche of money – again, I think until the Libyan government can get in there and see. Then we’ll see where we go from there.

QUESTION: A new subject, madam?

QUESTION: No, no, no, I’ve got one more on Libya. What do you make of the fact that Colonel Qadhafi kept this bizarre and somewhat creepy scrapbook of your – photographs of your former boss?

MS. NULAND: I hadn’t heard that, but --

QUESTION: You haven’t seen the photo?

MS. NULAND: I think I don’t need to see the photos. But bizarre and creepy are good adjectives to describe much of Qadhafi’s behavior, so --

QUESTION: So it’s not – it doesn’t surprise you?

MS. NULAND: It doesn’t surprise me. It’s deeply bizarre and deeply creepy, though, if it is as you described.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.) On Libya. Will that money also be used to sort of finance the security of mustard gas that everybody was talking about yesterday?

MS. NULAND: This tranche of money, as described, will be for meeting the humanitarian and governance needs of the Libyan people, of the TNC. With regard to the proliferation risks that we talked about yesterday, thank you for that. Let’s talk a little bit more about this today, first of all to say that Chris Stevens in the last couple of days has been in contact with TNC leaders to talk further about their preparation to take physical control of the facilities where we have the remaining chemical weapons, the yellowcake, and about continuing and deepening our work together, which, as I mentioned yesterday, has been going on for some months on destruction of MANPADS and other dangerous conventional weapons in Libya.

But just to – there’s been a lot of confusion about what the risks are and aren’t, so let me just take a moment here to go through it on the nuclear side, on the chemical side, and on the conventional side, if you’ll bear with me on that.

First on the nuclear side, just to be clear, all sensitive elements of Libya’s nuclear program, including everything that Libya received from the A.Q. Kahn network, were removed in early 2004. The last of the highly enriched uranium, the bomb-making fuel, was removed from Libya in 2009. Libya does have a supply of yellowcake. It is at the Tajura nuclear research facility. It is safeguarded there. We are able, though our national technical means, to assert that we believe that it is secure and under any – in any case, Libya doesn’t have the means right now to turn yellowcake into anything dangerous. So that’s on the nuclear side.

QUESTION: Can you spell Tajura, please?

MS. NULAND: Yes. T-a-j-u-r-a.

QUESTION: And do you know how much yellowcake you believe they have?

MS. NULAND: I do not have that here, but we will put out a fact sheet later today on some of these issues.

On the chemical side, as you know, Qadhafi did have some mustard agent. It is now stored at the Waddan ammunition reservation. It is inside massive steel containers within heavy bunkers. These bunkers were sealed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the OPCW. Our judgment is that they remain secure. And again, these are not weapon-ready chemicals; they can’t be converted on a dime and they’re in these massive drums inside a heavy bunker and we are able to monitor the security with national technical means.

It was Tajura, the yellowcake site, and Waddan, the chemical site, that Chris Stevens has been discussing with the TNC as they prepare their own plan for taking over external security of those facilities and for finishing the destruction job that needs to be done there.

On the conventional side, there has been a lot of fear-mongering reporting about missiles and other things. The main concern in Libya is MANPADS. We’ve been working with the TNC, as I said, for a number of months. We’ve been working with all of the neighbors on any MANPADS that might have been proliferated or could be proliferated. The TNC wants to continue this work with us. I cannot, from here, today, size the MANPAD problem because I don’t think anybody knows. This was not something that Qadhafi was in the business of publishing, and he was – he’s good at hiding stuff. That also goes for stockpiles of weapons that the TNC has been uncovering around the country and wants to get rid of as it finds it.

So as I said yesterday, the USG has already provided $3 million in support through two nongovernmental organizations, the MAG International and the Swiss Foundation for Demining, to recruit and train local Libyan staff, these – and work with the TNC to get rid of some of these things as we find them, and those programs we expect will accelerate as the TNC takes full control.

QUESTION: Can I follow up real quickly? The – you did say that Qadhafi is good at hiding things. Are you – is the United States sure that the yellow cake and the mustard gas, that all of it remains in those facilities, that there are no other such agents anywhere else in the country? Can you say with any --

MS. NULAND: We have no reason to believe that there is anything else of that nature anywhere else.

QUESTION: And yesterday, you weren’t prepared to say whether the teams in neighboring countries that are looking for MANPADS had found any evidence of proliferation. Are you willing to go there today?

MS. NULAND: Again, we’re going to have a little bit more in writing on some of these programs later today. I don’t know what we’ll be able to say on that, but let me take the question for our future fact sheet on these programs.

QUESTION: Can I ask one on Sri Lanka?


QUESTION: For the first time in 20 years of civil war and when Sri Lanka got rid of the Usama bin Ladin of Sri Lanka, Prabhakaran, and now they have lifted emergency rules for the first time, and Assistant Secretary Robert Blake is going to Sri Lanka to visit. Now what I’m asking you is: Do you see or the U.S. sees any light at the end of the dark tunnel in Sri Lanka for the minorities?

MS. NULAND: Well, thank you for that, Goyal. We do welcome the news that Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa has proposed to the parliament that the emergency laws be withdrawn, and we do see this as a positive step for the Sri Lankan people. It sets up a good visit for Assistant Secretary Blake, who will be talking to the – to a broad cross-section of Sri Lankans, both to the government and to human rights groups and NGOs, about all of these issues. He’ll meet with government officials, civil society representatives, university students, political leaders in Colombo, and he’s also going to Jaffna. We continue to urge the Government of Sri Lanka to meet its international humanitarian law and international human rights law obligations, and we continue to say that if they cannot do this nationally, then the international community will have to step in. So Bob Blake will be talking about all these issues on his visit.

QUESTION: And one more thing: Sri Lanka’s ambassador to the U.S. has said, according to some press reports, that none of the atrocities were committed by his government in Sri Lanka. My question is: Do you agree with his remarks? Because according to the film or the UN reports and human rights reports, Amnesty International, State Department reports all are wrong, then, what he’s saying. And what – finally, if they have requested in any way before Secretary’s visit to Sri Lanka for any assistance, also?

MS. NULAND: We stand by the reporting that we have done, and we call on Sri Lanka to have a transparent, open, and accountable process.

QUESTION: Thank you, ma’am.

MS. NULAND: Jill. I’m sorry.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) with another subject, Pakistan/Warren Weinstein. There had been reports that he was recovered, a safe recovery, but the family is saying that those reports are untrue. Do you have any update on his status?

MS. NULAND: Just to say that our information is also that the reports are, regrettably, untrue. We call for his immediate release. We continue to work with the Pakistanis. The cooperation is excellent, but we have not found him yet.

QUESTION: Thank you.


QUESTION: A new topic? The – as you know, The Washington Post reported yesterday that the final environmental impact statement on the Keystone XL pipeline is expected to find that the pipeline would have – I think the phrase, although I’m not certain, is limited adverse impact. Is that correct? Is that indeed the final finding?

MS. NULAND: We have not released the report yet. We do expect to be able to release the final version of the Department of State’s environmental impact statement very soon, but I’m not prepared to talk about the contents of it until we release it. Just to be clear, though, the final environmental impact statement is not – does not constitute a U.S. Government decision on whether or not the pipeline will go forward. We still have to make an onward decision, which the President has delegated to the Secretary of State, working with the other agencies, on whether or not a permit should be issued. And after the EIS’s release, the environmental impact statement is released, we’ll then have a 90-day national determination period for public comment – will go through October 9th.

There’ll also be nine public meetings around the country, particularly in the affected states, and in Washington. And we will also be working with other cabinet agencies that are – that have interests and equities – the EPA, the Energy Department, Justice, Interior, Commerce, Defense, Transportation, Homeland Security. So this is a step in the process, which we expect will come soon. It’s not the end of the process. And the Department of State is committed to a transparent, open review process, which is far from completed.

QUESTION: If the public comment period is going to end on October 9th, what does the – I mean, aren’t you already within the three months?

MS. NULAND: We have a public comment period and then a 90-day review period, which includes these meetings. So after the EIS is released, there’s a public comment period on the EIS and its implications until October 9th, and then we go on and do all of these meetings around the country before we get to the permitting question.

QUESTION: So does the 90-day clock start with the release of the EIS?

MS. NULAND: I believe so, but let me take it to be sure.

QUESTION: Okay. And then that would imply, and just to be sure, that the final decision then has to be made at the end of that 90-day clock?

MS. NULAND: Again, it’s not clear to me that there is a firm timetable trigger, if the Secretary determined that more information was needed whether she could extend the clock or not. So let me take all that.

QUESTION: Okay. Thanks.

MS. NULAND: And again, when we release the EIS, we will, obviously, have a more detailed briefing by the people who really know this stuff, for all of you.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) tomorrow?

MS. NULAND: I’m not prepared to say exactly when, but it’ll be soon.

QUESTION: Well, then I’m confused about this whole 90-day thing.

MS. NULAND: I am, too, so let’s take it. (Laughter)

QUESTION: Well, but I mean, if it ends on October 9th, then you’re already – it should’ve been released two – a week and a half ago.

MS. NULAND: No, no, no. My understanding is that the public comment period ends on October 9th, that there’s a parallel clock of 90 days to do other work, including with the other government agencies.

QUESTION: Well, how do you know that the public comment period will end on October 9th if you haven’t released the report yet? I mean --

MS. NULAND: We will hold a public comment period through October 9th. Again, I don’t want to get ahead of my knowledge here. I’m going to let you all --

QUESTION: Well, it sounds to me that the public comment period has already been limited than you – by a date. If there’s already a timeline for it, then this – it – basically, a decision’s already made. Are you – has the report been completed?

MS. NULAND: It’s in the process of completion now.


MS. NULAND: India.

QUESTION: Is there anyone in the Obama Administration or State Department in touch with the Indian Government as the nonviolent protest fasting by Anna Hazare is entering 11th day?

MS. NULAND: Obviously, our Embassy has been monitoring the situation, and I think they have been saying the same thing in Delhi that we’ve been saying here with regard to our confidence and expectation that India is going to be able to address its internal matters, political disputes, through its own democratic system.

QUESTION: There have been protests in many U.S. cities, and there are --

MS. NULAND: Many U.S. cities?

QUESTION: Many U.S. cities. And there is a protest every day in front of the Indian Embassy in Washington. Are you monitoring that, and do you have any comment on that?

MS. NULAND: Well, you know we support the right of peaceful protest, including and especially in the United States.

QUESTION: Going back to Pakistan just for a minute? Ongoing bombings or ongoing attacks and killings, do you see, madam, that target killings or political killings, in Karachi especially?

MS. NULAND: I’m not prepared to characterize the situation there, except to say that this is a serious issue for Internal Security Services of Pakistan to fight extremism in Pakistan and they – and we obviously watch the situation.


QUESTION: Under[1] Secretary Burns had a meeting with Foreign Minister Davutoglu. Was the Syrian ongoing violence part of the meeting? Would you be able to elaborate on that part of the meeting?

MS. NULAND: I don’t have any specifics from the meeting, except that I know that there was an intention from – by Deputy Secretary Burns to talk about Syria. It’s been something that we and Turkey have been closely working on together as we try to ratchet up the pressure on the Asad regime.

QUESTION: Can I ask a quick question – go back to Libya for one thing? French officials have now said that they expect Secretary Clinton to attend a meeting in Paris next week. Do you have anything to announce yet?

MS. NULAND: We will be well represented, but I don’t have anything to announce at the moment.

QUESTION: And this the China report, military China report, are you concerned about this? And also, if you have received any kind of protest from the Chinese?

MS. NULAND: You’re talking about the report that the Pentagon put out yesterday?

QUESTION: Yes, madam.

MS. NULAND: Well, obviously, we stand by the Administration’s report. I would refer you to the Pentagon for any specific questions. Obviously, the report is in – speaks to some of the points that we’ve been making here about the need for transparency in military affairs to build trust, to build confidence, to ensure that we reduce the risk of misperception, of miscalculation.

QUESTION: Just quick ones, two quick ones, on North Korea. And I apologize; I know you addressed this yesterday. Can you – when you said that it would be insufficient, can you describe what would be the other steps that you would expect the North Koreans to undertake so as to be able to resume Six-Party Talks?

MS. NULAND: We spoke yesterday about our concern about their HEU enrichment, and we don’t see any reason for that to meet civilian needs. We have also spoken in the past about the need for North-South relations to improve. They made commitments in 2005 to the international community. Those are very clear. We need to see them taking concrete steps along all those lines.

QUESTION: Okay. And then one other one on this, please. Do you regard North Korea’s recent statements that it’s ready to come back and so on as a sort of ploy to try to get back into a process under which it may hope to be given incentives of different sorts from the other members of the Six-Party Talks, whether it’s heavy fuel oil or whatever? Do you see all of this as – do you think that it is either economic or food need that is ultimately driving their recently expressed willingness to come back to the table?

MS. NULAND: Well, I can’t characterize what their intentions were on their trip to Moscow. I can simply say that one of the reasons that we --

QUESTION: They didn’t go to Moscow.

MS. NULAND: Where they’d go?

QUESTION: Siberia.

MS. NULAND: Siberia, all right, wherever in Russia they visited. What I can say is the reason that we chose to have the meeting in New York that we had a month ago was to be absolutely clear in a direct channel what we thought was necessary in order to come back to the talks. So there are no secrets there in terms of our list of expectations vis-à-vis North Korea. So when they come forward with a couple of them, as we said, it’s still insufficient.

QUESTION: Sorry, on the talks. The Russians briefed you on the talks in Siberia, and did they share with you that they also believe it’s insufficient to get back to Six-Party Talks?

MS. NULAND: I’m not going to get into our conversations with the Russians on this. They are continuing.

QUESTION: On North Korea. North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has mentioned why he visited Russia. North Korea come to the Six-Party Talk without any preconditions. What about – does the U.S. have any preconditions to come – resume the Six-Party Talk?

MS. NULAND: I think I went through the list just a minute ago in response to Arshad’s question.

QUESTION: Will you confirm press reports that Turkey and U.S. recently agreed on the NATO’s phased adaptive missile system a couple days ago?

MS. NULAND: My understanding is that the talks continue, that our team is still in Turkey working on this. But we, as you know, strongly support this phased adaptive approach, and we want as many allies as are comfortable to participate in this NATO system.

QUESTION: So no final --

MS. NULAND: The team is still talking is my understanding.

No Syria today? Wow, all right. There we go.

QUESTION: Could you comment on reports alleging that there’s dissymmetry between the American position and the European position on the gas and oil sanctions? While they agreed to it – obviously – or, as it seems, oil is still flowing at 150,000 barrels a day to Europe. Could you comment on that?

MS. NULAND: Well, you saw a week ago the EU make the statement that is working now on what more it can do in the oil and gas sector. This is a very complex set of issues, so we’re going to give them some time to work through it. But our hope is that all countries that are continuing to buy his oil and gas will think hard about that.

QUESTION: Have they taken any measures to actually implement these sanctions? Are you aware of any measures that they have taken?

MS. NULAND: Again, they’re still working – on the oil and gas side, my understanding is that they are still working on the measures that they would bring to the council for a vote.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. NULAND: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:54 p.m.)


[1] Actual title is Deputy Secretary

Back to Top

Do you already have an account on one of these sites? Click the logo to sign in and create your own customized State Department page. Want to learn more? Check out our FAQ!

OpenID is a service that allows you to sign in to many different websites using a single identity. Find out more about OpenID and how to get an OpenID-enabled account.