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U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action


Victoria Nuland
Spokesperson
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
April 3, 2012


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Index for Today's Briefing
  • DEPARTMENT
    • Statement on Mali
  • MALI
    • Tuareg Advances in North
    • Aid
    • UN Security Council / ECOWAS Sanctions
  • SYRIA
    • ICRC / Humanitarian Aid
    • Kofi Annan Plan / No Evidence that Assad is Implementing Commitments
    • UN Security Council / Monitors
    • Means for Evaluating Troop Movements
  • BURMA
    • Congratulate All who Participated in Election / Prepared to Match Positive Steps of Reform / Looking at What Might Come Next / Consulting with Partners
    • Expectation that Election Results Will Be Honored / Continuing Evolution of Burmese Political System
  • INDIA/PAKISTAN
    • Rewards for Justice / Lashkar e-Tayyiba and Hafiz Mohammad Saeed
  • COLOMBIA
    • FARC Hostages Release
  • DPRK
    • Any Missile Launch would be a Violation of UN Security Council Resolutions
  • IRAQ
    • Barzani Visit / Hosted by Vice President / Deputy Secretary Burns Meeting
  • IRAN
    • Awaiting Iranian Confirmation on Proposal
  • RUSSIA
    • Proposed to Congress Creation of an Investment Fund to Support Vibrant Civil Society in Russia


TRANSCRIPT:

12:31 p.m. EDT

MS. NULAND: All right. Happy Tuesday, everyone. I have a brief statement on Mali at the top, and then we’ll go to what’s on your minds. And we will also be putting this statement out right after the briefing.

The United States remains deeply concerned about the ongoing political crisis in Mali. Mali’s territorial integrity is at stake, and its political institutions will be further weakened if Captain Amadou Sanogo and his supporters do not release their illegitimate grip on Mali and its people immediately. We commend the ongoing leadership of the ECOWAS group to restore full civilian and constitutional rule, and we echo ECOWAS’s call – that’s hard, echo ECOWAS’s call – on Captain Sanogo and his supporters to return to power – return power to the civilian leadership, consistent with Mali’s constitution.

At the same time, the United States urgently calls on all armed rebels in the north of Mali to cease military operations that compromise the Republic of Mali’s territorial integrity, and we exhort all parties in the north to ensure the safety and security of Mali’s northern populations. As civilian leadership is restored in Mali, we also urge all armed rebels to engage in dialogue with the civilian leaders in Bamako to find a nonviolent path forward for national elections and peaceful coexistence.

Let’s go to what’s on your minds.

QUESTION: Well, just on that, before, when this was a – before the coup, weren’t you fully supportive of the fight against the Tuaregs? And now you’re saying they should talk to the – they should talk to whoever’s in control?

MS. NULAND: Well, the concern has been that as the security forces of Mali have split, some of them joining the junta leaders, some of them still supporting the elected government, they have stopped fighting the Tuaregs in the north. We’ve seen the result of that, that the Tuaregs have made a march not only on Gao but on Timbuktu, that the situation has become considerably worse. We have always said that the government in Mali needed not only to be fighting, but also to be providing an opportunity to address legitimate political grievances in the north.

So our call now is obviously not only for the civilian government to be restored, but for the Tuaregs to cease their violence, and once we get back to a civilian government, for that government and those with grievances in the north to engage in dialogue rather than to be trying to settle these issues by violence.

QUESTION: Did you ever figure out how much aid you suspended?

MS. NULAND: I have to say to you, Matt, that we are continuing to work through these programs one by one. It is relatively complicated because we want to continue the humanitarian aid while we cut off anything that provides support to the government. So we’re still continuing to work through that, but we are also looking at other ways we can bring pressure to bear on Captain Sanogo.

QUESTION: Well, okay. Like what?

MS. NULAND: We will have more to say about that in coming days.

QUESTION: The French, for instance, are saying that they think it’s time for the UN Security Council to get involved. Is that something the United States supports?

MS. NULAND: My understanding is that the Security Council is discussing Mali today, and in fact there may well be a presidency statement, whether it’s today or in coming days, and we would strongly support that.

QUESTION: Syria?

QUESTION: No. Wait a sec. Just – you said relatively complicated? I mean, okay, relatively complicated I can understand – one day, two day, three days, four days, maybe even five days. But it’s now been 10, at least. It’s that complicated? That would seem to be more than relatively complicated. That would seem to be a, I don’t know, a problem of such immense proportion that the entire building, or whoever’s in charge of it, is unable to come up with this in 10, 12 days.

MS. NULAND: Well, my understanding is that the agencies that manage these programs were given about a week to report exactly what they’re doing, what the programs, one by one, fund. So for about a week of this, we were waiting for accurate information to come in to Washington. Now we’re going through the policy and the legal review, and we also have to notify the Congress. So I’m frustrated, I know you’re frustrated, but that’s what’s happing.

Okay.

QUESTION: Just following up on that, ECOWAS, one of the things they’ve talked about is an embargo, an embargo on Mali in the wake of the coup. Is that something the United States supports, and is there anything the United States can do to make that a reality?

MS. NULAND: Well, my understanding is that ECOWAS, as you know, they had threatened sanctions about a week ago, that today they actually did impose their sanctions, including closing borders, suspending flights, those kinds of things. We very much support their efforts, as well, to pressure Captian Sanogo to relinquish power.

QUESTION: The AU also today imposed travel bans and various other sanctions --

MS. NULAND: Yes.

QUESTION: -- on Sanogo and others. Is that something the United States supports and will follow, or --

MS. NULAND: Those are the kinds of things that we’re looking at.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: What would a presidential statement at this point do or achieve, from the Security Council?

MS. NULAND: Well, I think we have to see the text, but usually a presidency statement is the first step in the council expressing its concern. Let’s see what the text says, but obviously, thereafter one can do more of a punitive nature.

Please.

QUESTION: Syria?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Yes. Today, the Foreign Minister Walid Muallem issued a statement that they are cooperating with the International Committee of the Red Cross and facilitating their access to all the areas that need to be accessed, and they are cooperating with them. Do you know anything about that?

MS. NULAND: Well, our understanding is that, throughout this crisis, the ICRC has had some limited access. You know that we had given an initial $10 million in humanitarian aid. We decided to increase our aid on the humanitarian side – we’re up to some 25 million – because we were seeing some of that aid flowing to the Syrian people in need. Our concern had been that the humanitarian organizations had not been getting to the areas in greatest need, particularly when they’re under assault. I would refer you to the ICRC for their view of how they are doing, but our understanding is their access if far from complete.

More importantly, however, as you know, the assertion to Kofi Annan was that Assad would start implementing his commitments immediately to withdraw from cities. I want to advise that we have seen no evidence today that he is implementing any of those commitments.

QUESTION: Although they did make a statement that they are, in fact, withdrawing from the cities. They’re taking their mechanized units from certain areas in Homs and Idlib and many other areas. You have no way of verifying that?

MS. NULAND: In fact, our information is the opposite - that nothing has changed.

QUESTION: So there has been more deployment into these areas, these crowded areas where the demonstrations are taking place?

MS. NULAND: I can’t speak to whether there has been increased deployment, but certainly, through our own means, we have been able to verify no withdrawal of mechanized units, which is what he’s claiming credit for today.

QUESTION: So you don’t have confidence that the Syrian Government will fulfill its commitment to pull out by April 10th?

MS. NULAND: Well, as we’ve said consistently, including again tomorrow at the Security – yesterday at the Security Council, we’re going to judge this by – this guy by his actions, not by his words.

QUESTION: One thing that came out yesterday in the discussion, the – Kofi Annan’s report to the Security Council was the Russian position, and Foreign Minister Lavrov has told Interfax that they now explicitly back the demand on Assad to take the first step in withdrawing his troops. Do you read that as a change in their position? And do you think that’s an important sign, as the international community tries to sort of get a coherent view on this?

MS. NULAND: Well, I’ll let the Russians speak for themselves as to whether their position has changed in the last 24 hours. I think you do know that we have been feeling convergence on the Security Council for some two weeks now. Certainly that was highlighted by the presidency statement that endorsed the Kofi Annan six-point plan. And everybody was together yesterday in agreeing that there needed to be this timeline, and that we were waiting for the regime to demonstrate its good faith.

Please.

QUESTION: But the plans to send 250 monitors after the – April 10th is still on. Are you – when are you going to decide to send this mission?

MS. NULAND: Well, I think as Ambassador Rice said yesterday in New York at her press

event, the DPKO, the peacekeeping arm of the UN, is preparing to be able to send monitors in the event that Assad keeps his word and we are able to get a ceasefire so that they could move immediately in and provide eyes and witness, et cetera, and give comfort to the people of Syria. So that – we’re at the preparatory stage with DPKO, but obviously they can’t deploy unless we have movement on the ending of the violence.

QUESTION: Could – just to follow up on your monitoring of the situation in Syria?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: With the embassy not there, with people like Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch have no presence in Syria, and all the diplomatic missions have really lowered their presence almost to nil, nothing, how do you keep on top of the situation? How do you stay – let’s say – how do you get verifiable information on what’s going on?

MS. NULAND: Well, as you know, we maintain broad contacts with folks inside Syria. Robert Ford, Fred Hof, speak to people in Syria every single day in different parts of the country. In addition, we work with our allies and partners who live in the same neighborhood and have their own contacts. And then, as you know, we have other means for evaluating things like troops movements.

QUESTION: What’s the title of Mr. Hof?

MS. NULAND: He’s special advisor to the Secretary for Syria. I’ll get the precise title, Samir. Yeah.

QUESTION: Can we go to a different topic?

MS. NULAND: Yeah. Please.

QUESTION: Burma, Myanmar.

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Following up on your response to Andy’s question yesterday, is there a timeline for the United States to decide any further steps? Is the United States waiting, for example, for Aung San Suu Kyi and NLD supporters to actually enter parliament? Is there any timeline for when the U.S. could take further steps?

MS. NULAND: Well, first of all, as we said yesterday, we congratulate all who participated, and it does appear to be a big victory for the NLD in these elections. The – we have the preliminary results, and our statements were based on that. Our understanding is that over the next few days, those results will be confirmed in final. As we’ve said, we are prepared to match positive steps of reform in Burma with steps of our own. We are now looking at what might come next on the U.S. side. I don’t have anything to announce, but I would look for more movement from us on this in the coming weeks.

QUESTION: And is there something specific you’re waiting for, or is it just an internal process to --

MS. NULAND: No. We’re doing some internal work. We’re also consulting with partners in ASEAN, partners in the EU who may be making similar steps to coordinate them.

QUESTION: Change of topic?

QUESTION: A follow-up?

MS. NULAND: Still on Burma? Anybody? No?

QUESTION: Yeah. Let me just follow up.

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Thank you. Madam, this ruling party backed by the military government was shocked and surprised about the size of victory that Aung San Suu Kyi had in her party. Now, the situation is this time as it was in 1990, but her election in 1990 was annulled by the military government. Now, will – is she going to get some kind of place there so it will not be the situation of 1990? That’s what many Burmese are asking there and here.

MS. NULAND: Well, our expectation is that the government will honor the results as they are certified. As you know, the initial reporting is that she won her own seat, so she’ll be able to join the party. And then she has 42 other members of her party who appear to have won their seats. So our expectation is that these results will be honored and that the parliament will now reflect the results of these elections.

QUESTION: Is U.S. going to back or ask the ruling military party and government that they should have now – a kind of a free and fair general election, national election, so now she can have a place in – like as a prime minister or so?

MS. NULAND: Well, as the Secretary said – I think was on Sunday when we were in Istanbul – it’s now going to be critical for Burmese authorities to continue to work on reform of the electoral system so that it fully meets international standards, including transparency, and it expeditiously looks into any irregularities. But we are obviously hoping for a continuing evolution of the Burmese political system heading towards the next scheduled elections, which I think are 2015, right?

QUESTION: And finally, a quick one. Have you spoken – or any action or reaction from India or China? Because they both were supporting the previous government in Burma.

MS. NULAND: Well, I think you know Under Secretary Sherman is in India today. I don’t have a full report, but I’m expecting that she’s obviously talking to Indian authorities about Burma, among other subjects.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Was there a – Palestinian issue --

MS. NULAND: Yeah. Ros.

QUESTION: Lashkar e-Tayyiba. The U.S. has put out a $10 million reward for the arrest and prosecution of Hafiz Saeed, who is the head of the affiliated charitable organization. He’s suspected of being the mastermind behind the Mumbai killings. Why now? That happened more than three years ago, and his organization, as well as Lashkar e-Tayyiba, have already been on this – the U.S.’s terrorist list.

MS. NULAND: Well, this effort to arrange a Rewards for Justice bounty, if you will, for Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and also for Abdul Rahman Makki has been in the works for quite a number of months. These things are somewhat complicated to work through all of the details. So the announcements were only able to be posted when the process was complete. But there was – we’ve been working on this for some time.

QUESTION: More than a few months? More, less than a year? Can you characterize?

MS. NULAND: I think less than a year but more than three or four months.

QUESTION: Can you explain exactly what it is about – what’s so complicated about offering money for some of – what – printing the posters? What is it that’s so complicated?

MS. NULAND: Well, there is a review process to determine, in the first instance, whether offering a bounty of this kind – in this case, it’s $10 million for Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, it’s $2 million for Abdul Rahman Makki – is likely to lead to any results in the case. So there has to be an intelligence evaluation, there has to be a policy evaluation, there has to be a discussion with Congress. This is a lot of money for the U.S. taxpayer to put up. And so that process takes some time. Things have to be correlated. There is an entire review process. There’s an interagency rewards committee that has to look through this. And then the Secretary has to approve it.

QUESTION: Right. But if it’s only started a couple months ago – Mumbai was quite a – when did the process begin?

MS. NULAND: I can’t speak to whether, right after the bombing, we looked at this at that time. But I think sometimes what happens is intelligence and other information comes later with regards to whereabouts of individuals, which leads one to think that offering a reward might cause citizens who know where they are to come forward. And sometimes that isn’t evident right at the time of the crimes. So sometimes it comes up later. As you may know, one of these individuals has been appearing on television and has been quite brazen. So I think the sense has been over the last few months that this kind of a reward might hasten the judicial process, if you will.

QUESTION: So you’re saying --

QUESTION: (Inaudible) you know his television appearances, he did speak to Al Jazeera today about this bounty being placed on him. And he suggested that this is being done because he has been putting pressure on the government in Islamabad to not reopen the southern transport routes for supplies to NATO ISAF forces. Is there anything to that, or is this specifically because of his suspected involvement in the Mumbai attacks?

MS. NULAND: No, it has everything to do with Mumbai and his brazen flouting of the justice system.

QUESTION: Just to --

QUESTION: As he lives more or less openly in Pakistan, has there been communication with the Pakistani Government, the Pakistani authorities, seeking for his arrest?

MS. NULAND: Absolutely. We have been in communication with Pakistan on this issue.

QUESTION: And he is wanted --

QUESTION: Have they acceded to his placement on this list? Because there’s been some analysis suggesting that doing so could put even more strain on the U.S.-Pakistani relationship. And to follow up on that, is that something that Deputy Secretary Nides would be dealing with in his meetings in Islamabad on Wednesday?

MS. NULAND: Well, on the latter question, the full range of issues related to international terrorism, terrorist threats in Pakistan internationally, is obviously one of the subjects that Deputy Secretary Nides will be talking about. We have continued to impress on the Government of Pakistan that we believe it has a special responsibility to fully investigate and bring those to – those responsible to justice, to the extent that it can. The Government of Pakistan has regularly, in our conversations with them, pledged its cooperation in the investigations. We fully expect that it will follow through on those commitments. I would guess that this case probably will come up.

QUESTION: Is this reward has been – in the consultation of the Indian Government?

MS. NULAND: My understanding is that the primary work that is done before we offer these rewards is internal, that we do advise affected governments that we intend to do this, but it’s not a consultative process, per se.

QUESTION: Thank you, ma’am. Can we change topics?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: No. It’s – the reward is for information that leads to the conviction of – conviction where?

MS. NULAND: Wherever he can be found. It’s not specific in the way that it goes --

QUESTION: You’re trying to charge – has he been charged with the murder of the six Americans in Mumbai?

MS. NULAND: I don’t have any back --

QUESTION: I guess I’m just trying to find out, why is it for the United States to offer a reward for this guy? Is that the reason?

MS. NULAND: Well, it’s because we want to see him brought to justice. I believe that he has been charged, but I don’t have the – I’ll get you some more on that.

QUESTION: But do you – I mean, you want him brought to justice here? In India? In Pakistan? Where is it that – I mean, what – if I gave you information that he was on such street corner and he gets picked up and arrested, how do I –

MS. NULAND: My understanding --

QUESTION: -- where does he have to be convicted so I can get the money?

MS. NULAND: Okay. Let us get you some more information. But my understanding of this – and I may have it wrong – is that he’s actually been charged in India --

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS. NULAND: -- in connection with this case, that he has been at large --

QUESTION: Right.

MS. NULAND: -- and has not been able to be either arrested --

QUESTION: Right.

MS. NULAND: -- or brought to trial.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. NULAND: So the precise formulation in the Rewards for Justice announcement is $10 million for information leading to the arrest or the conviction of either – of this individual, $2 million for the other individual.

QUESTION: How much are the Indians offering for this?

MS. NULAND: I don’t know the answer to that.

QUESTION: Are they offering anything, do you know?

MS. NULAND: I do not.

QUESTION: I’m just curious as to why it’s the U.S. job to offer a reward for this guy when --

MS. NULAND: Well, we have Americans killed and it’s only cooperate --

QUESTION: I understand. Six Americans were killed.

MS. NULAND: Correct.

QUESTION: But you also have Americans killed in other places where you’re not offering any rewards or --

MS. NULAND: Well this program, as you know, we have --

QUESTION: Well, it seems to be that the vast amount of damage that this guy and his group has done is to India, and I’m not aware that they’re offering any rewards. So I want to know why the U.S. taxpayer is offering a reward. That’s --

MS. NULAND: Well, I can’t speak to whether India has its own Rewards for Justice-type program. I’m going to refer you to the Indians with regard to that. This is a program that we’ve had for a long --

QUESTION: I understand that, but --

MS. NULAND: Can I finish my point? We’ve had for a long time, when we are concerned that people who have killed Americans overseas are not being able to be brought to justice. So again, this is a case that’s been going on for a long time. This is with regard to justice being served on people who have killed Americans --

QUESTION: Right. Can you --

MS. NULAND: -- so that there is no impunity for them anywhere in the world.

QUESTION: Can we – can you find out, though, where it is that this guy has to be convicted for the reward to be --

MS. NULAND: We will get you a little bit more information on that, Matt.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. NULAND: Okay.

QUESTION: One more about the overall program?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: It’s been noted that upwards of $100 million have been paid. Is there a breakdown by amounts, since I understand that there’s no revelation of the people who get the rewards? Is there a breakdown per case, how much was paid out, and when they were paid out?

MS. NULAND: I’m going to take that, Ros. As you know, to protect those who come forward, we don’t generally advertise these things. How much – whether we do an accounting of how much has been authorized under the program and for what cases, I’m not sure. So let me take it.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. NULAND: Okay?

Said.

QUESTION: Can we go to the Palestinian issue?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Yesterday, there was a meeting between Deputy Secretary Burns and a member of the PLO Executive Committee Hanan Ashrawi. Could you tell us what has transpired as a result of the meeting?

MS. NULAND: I’m going to take that one too, Said. I don’t have a debrief on that.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. NULAND: Okay. Please.

QUESTION: Egypt?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Members of the Freedom and Justice Party, which is the political arm of the Muslim Brothers, and one of them is a member of the parliament, are in town. It’s the first level – this level visit to Washington that will meet different people. Is there any meeting going on – to take place in this building or not?

MS. NULAND: I don’t know whether we’re meeting this delegation at any level in this building. Let me take that one as well. We’ll get back to you.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. NULAND: Please, Scott.

QUESTION: Can you speak today on the release of the hostages in Colombia? And what the United States hopes happens next between the government and FARC?

MS. NULAND: Yes. And thank you for your patience yesterday. As you know, the operation was ongoing and we wanted to be careful vis-a-vis the Colombians and the Brazilians, to let them complete the operation.

So the United States is pleased that these Colombian officials, some of whom were unjustly held for up to 14 years by the FARC, are now free and that they’ve been reunited with their families. We commend the ICRC, the Government of Brazil, for the positive roles that they played in this release.

As you know, President Santos of Colombia has welcomed this release and has, in addition, again called for the FARC to renounce all violence and lawlessness and to release all remaining hostages as essential conditions to move forward with a durable peace. I think he used the term that this was positive but insufficient, and we certainly want to see further progress in this regard as well.

QUESTION: Do you believe that the FARC continues to have support from other governments in that region?

MS. NULAND: Well, you know that we’ve had historic concerns about this. I don’t think that those concerns have changed.

Anything else? Please.

QUESTION: On Pakistan?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Two questions, quick. One, are you worried about ongoing violence, especially in Karachi? And second, Pakistan is now deporting three wives of Usama bin Ladin, two to Saudi Arabia, one to Yemen. If – you had access to them because they had vital information about Usama bin Ladin’s activities?

MS. NULAND: Well, I’m not going to speak to our intelligence relationship with Pakistan. I think it’s now an internal matter between Pakistan and those governments about the disposition of the wives.

Elise.

QUESTION: And violence – ongoing violence in Karachi?

MS. NULAND: I don’t have anything in particular on that. If we have anything to say, we’ll let you know.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. NULAND: Elise.

QUESTION: There have been reports that North Korea is – in addition to the launch that you’re expecting, is also preparing even bigger, long-range missile tests, and there have been some reports that U.S. officials are quoted that it could be even more concerning than originally thought. Do you have anything on this?

MS. NULAND: I don’t have anything new on that. Any kind of missile launch of any kind is of great concern and would be a violation, in our view, of UN Security Council resolutions.

QUESTION: Iraq?

QUESTION: On the --

MS. NULAND: Yeah, Iraq.

QUESTION: On Iraq?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Yes. Massoud Barzani, the president of the northern region of Kurdistan, is in town. I asked Mark last week – he is to meet with Deputy Secretary Burns, I guess. Why is he not meeting with the Secretary of State?

MS. NULAND: Well, he’s being hosted, as you know, by the Vice President, so his senior interlocutor will be the Vice President, and then in this building, he’ll have a chance to talk with Deputy Secretary Burns.

Please.

QUESTION: Quick one on Iran, the Secretary in her comments at VMI today again references the expectation that there’ll be these talks next month. Do you have any clarity yet on this?

QUESTION: This month.

QUESTION: This month, sorry.

MS. NULAND: This month, it’s April, right?

QUESTION: Yes, we’re --

MS. NULAND: We’re – life is ticking by.

QUESTION: I’m just wondering if that’s actually been nailed down, when and where.

MS. NULAND: I think we are still where we were yesterday – that we have made a proposal, we think it’s an appropriate proposal, and we are awaiting Iranian confirmation.

QUESTION: On Russia?

MS. NULAND: Yes.

QUESTION: There was a new statement from a senior Russian official criticizing U.S. funding on democracy. Does the United – I mean, arguing that it distorts the Russian domestic process – does the United States have anything new to say to these charges leveled by the Russians?

MS. NULAND: Well, first, I would call your attention to the interview that the Secretary gave to Jill Dougherty of CNN over the weekend. I think we put out the transcript yesterday where she spoke very clearly about our support for Russians’ right to work and speak openly about their interest in more freedom, more democracy, more transparency, more openness.

We have, as the Secretary affirmed, proposed to Congress the creation of a new fund to empower Russian civil society, to protect human rights, to enhance a free and diverse information environment to work with NGOs to create the – increase the dialogue that they have with American NGOs to support the development of political leadership among young people. This would be a $50 million fund that would be drawn from liquidated assets from the former U.S.-Russia Investment Fund. We’re working with Congress on this.

And again, this is designed to support a vibrant civil society in Russia and to allow us to work with those Russian NGOs who want to work with us, to develop their skills and their voice and their ability to represent the aspirations of Russians to increasingly deepen and strengthen their democracy.

QUESTION: Quickly, going back to Iran P-5+1 --

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- in your proposal, did you also include Istanbul as a --

MS. NULAND: Yes.

QUESTION: -- venue?

MS. NULAND: Yes, yes.

QUESTION: Did you all take any position on the Palestinian bid for membership in the ICC?

MS. NULAND: With regard to the --

QUESTION: Criminal court – International Criminal Court.

MS. NULAND: To the criminal court? Well, I think – we’ve seen, obviously, the announcement by the prosecutor. This is within his mandate, obviously, to decide, so our focus is obviously, as it has been straight along, just to --

QUESTION: Oh, I know, but you know that countries take positions on things like this.

MS. NULAND: To my knowledge, we did not take any position.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. NULAND: Okay. All right. Thanks, everybody.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. NULAND: I will now be off. Have a great holiday week. Mark will be on the podium tomorrow and Thursday.

QUESTION: Oh, yeah.

MS. NULAND: (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Have a great trip.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:00 p.m.)

DPB # 61



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