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U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Remarks to the Press


Special Briefing
Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
January 14, 2010

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MR. CROWLEY: Okay. Good morning. I think if this rhythm tends to kind of work for you, we’ll do – for the foreseeable future and we’ll figure out weekends as we go along. But we’ll do some sort of, kind of morning catch-up. And then today at roughly 11:30, we will also have an operational briefing with Raj Shah and Cheryl Mills, and then we’ll come back late in the day and do one additional update and other issues as we did --

QUESTION: Not too late, I hope.

MR. CROWLEY: – yesterday. No. We’ll kind of –

QUESTION: 4:30?

MR. CROWLEY: It’ll probably be a little earlier than that. So maybe 4 o’clock is what we’re targeting for now.

QUESTION: Will that be on camera?

MR. CROWLEY: Yes.

QUESTION: And then – but there won’t be a regular – you won’t do a regular briefing?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, for the moment, it – I mean, we did it yesterday; it seemed to work okay. For today, and we’ll work this again, but we’ll – around the middle of the day, we’ll do kind of an operational update with Raj, with Cheryl, reflected on the aid side, on the American citizen and Embassy and State Department side. For at least today, I hope for tomorrow, we’ll – that’ll substitute for the traditional mid-day daily press briefing. We’ll move the daily press briefings later in the day and use it as kind of an update on Haiti again before you have your evening coverage, and then whatever other subjects you want.

Just – obviously, the Secretary is back. She landed about 4:00 a.m., did the morning shows, as you saw. She will be heading over to the White House, if she hasn’t left already, to join the President and others in the Cabinet to update him, and then I think the President will have something to say here shortly after 10 o’clock.

This morning, she also talked to the European High Representative Catherine Ashton on multiple subjects – Haiti, the Middle East – and I think Catherine Ashton may be coming to Washington next week to follow up.

QUESTION: Is Iran in there?

MR. CROWLEY: Good question. Don’t – I heard – I think Afghanistan, Pakistan. I mean, it’s a wide-ranging agenda. And we’ll certainly – whether they –

QUESTION: Actually, just on the –

MR. CROWLEY: – whether they talked about it this morning or will talk about it next week, clearly, Iran is part of the agenda with the EU and the United States.

QUESTION: But you don’t know whether that –

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t know whether that came up. It was a fairly quick conversation.

QUESTION: Isn’t the P-5+1 meeting still on for Saturday?

MR. CROWLEY: Yes. Yes.

QUESTION: Okay. You’re aware that the Chinese have now said publicly that their political director will be unavailable, something that P-5+1 diplomats find rather perplexing, given that the Chinese had proposed New York as the venue because their political director was going to be there.

Does this cause you any consternation that the Chinese may not send or will not send their political director? Do you have any idea of who they’re going to send, and if they’re going to send somebody of adequate stature to be able to be a full participant?

MR. CROWLEY: We are aware that their representation will be below the level of political director. It will be a useful meeting to have regardless of the Chinese representation. We look forward to the meeting on Saturday, and then we’ll – let’s judge the meeting when it happens.

QUESTION: Do you know why the Chinese are not sending their political director?

MR. CROWLEY: I’ll defer to the Chinese to explain.

QUESTION: Do you know – regardless of whether you can explain it or not, do you know the reason?

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, they – I mean, the meeting is scheduled, they have chosen for whatever reason the representation that they have discussed, and we will have the meeting on Saturday.

QUESTION: So you don’t know, or you do know and you don’t want to say?

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t think it’s up to us to explain. I mean –

QUESTION: But I’m not asking you to explain. I’m just asking if you know why they’re not sending their guy.

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t know that the Chinese have explained to us the choice that they have made. It will be up to them to explain.

QUESTION: So you don’t mind if they send the cleaning lady?

MR. CROWLEY: We look forward to the meeting on Saturday.

QUESTION: P.J., can I ask a specific question on Haiti, just before –

MR. CROWLEY: Sure. There’s some things I – okay, go ahead.

QUESTION: Yeah. Has the U.S. been able to get in touch with the Haitian Government and receive a request or permission before deciding to deploy this BCT from the 82nd?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we have maintained regular contact with the Haitian government, not only President Preval through Ambassador Merten, but the DART team last night after its arrival connected with their Haitian Government counterparts and were clear in terms of the – both comparing notes in terms of our assessment now that we’re on the ground as well as hearing the priorities that President Preval and the Haitian Government list.

In terms of the 82nd Airborne, they’ll be arriving this afternoon. I think you need to look at this in terms of augmentation of the UN MINUSTAH force. Clearly, Haiti does not have an army. It has limited police capacity. Law and order is important in these kinds of situations. The UN force obviously has been hit hard by the earthquake. So, having looked at it, we thought that being able to augment that capability – because the UN has been providing this valuable assistance to Haiti on a recurring basis, I think that’s how to look at the deployment of the 82nd Airborne.

QUESTION: Just a specific question on whether there was an actual request for those to come in and an actual permission for them to do so?

MR. CROWLEY: Other than saying we’ve maintained regular contact, we’re not doing things that are a surprise to the Haitian Government. We’re doing things – we’ve maintained close contact with Ambassador Joseph here in Washington. I don’t see this as an issue. The Haitian Government has made clear to us that they have profound needs, and we are working aggressively to fill those needs.

QUESTION: You know what? Picking up on that –

QUESTION: Could I just – because right from the beginning, it was impossible, apparently, to get in touch with the president. But we did have – the United States –

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, a lot depends – I mean – hang on a second. Let’s – let me –

QUESTION: Could I just finish the questioning?

MR. CROWLEY: No, let me just – I just want to make sure that the assumption behind the question is valid. The earthquake happened at 5 o’clock. In those first 12 hours, we had two contacts with President Preval, which is not to say that communications is not difficult on the island. Regular phone service is largely out on the island. One of the things that our teams have brought in over the last 24 hours is communications capability, expressly so that the Haitian Government can improve its capability to communicate within itself and communicate to its own people.

QUESTION: What were those two communications?

MR. CROWLEY: Hmm?

QUESTION: What were those two communications?

MR. CROWLEY: Oh. Ambassador Merton had two conversations with President Preval on the first night, which is not to say that – he happened to be on a program last night with Ambassador Joseph, and he acknowledged that he has yet to talk to his own president.

QUESTION: So those --

MR. CROWLEY: So that --

QUESTION: -- were the telephone conversations between Merton --

MR. CROWLEY: Yes, yes.

So – but – which is not to say that – obviously the Haitian Government is – has, like the rest of Haitian society, has been hit hard by this. You can just look at it by seeing the presidential palace. And we’re working not only to provide what Haiti requires, but also to improve the capability of the Haitian Government in this crisis so that it can function more effectively.

QUESTION: Okay. But there is one question that emerges. Some people are saying this government has been slow off the mark to get aid in. I’m not debating that. I’m just saying was there any problem --

QUESTION: Who said that?

QUESTION: There are some people who are criticizing. I won’t even --

QUESTION: Who?

MR. CROWLEY: How?

QUESTION: I don’t know. I’m not going to answer your questions. (Laughter.) Well, it’s internal conversations, you know, we’re hearing. Anyway, but let me just – can I ask you – I have a legal question, okay?

MR. CROWLEY: Okay. Go ahead. You opened this door, Jill.

QUESTION: Is there any way – is there any way that lacking – that there was any lack in getting official permission or request from the Haitian Government that might have slowed down any type of response? In other words, did he, in those initial conversations, say, please – as the ambassador said on the air – please send all you can, we really need it?

Was there a legal trigger that had to happen into --

MR. CROWLEY: No. No, no, no. And in fact, based on that very specific and early signal, not only in terms of our discussions in Haiti, but our discussions with the Embassy here, Ambassador Joseph was here yesterday and made clear, and based on both our understanding of Haiti. I mean, remember, the international community has been engaged in Haiti for a long time. This – we know this. We know the challenge. We know the terrain.

But I can’t resist picking up on the point behind your question. We are 36 hours, give or take, into – or 40 hours into the crisis. In that time, we have reopened the airport and brought it up to 24/7 operations. We continue to look at the port facility, which will be critical to be able to bring in substantially – substantial amounts of aid. And we’re trying to figure out a strategy for how to function in that port, whether large ships can dock or large ships can hover offshore, and you begin a process of ferrying goods from ship to shore.

So we have now multiple search-and-rescue units on the ground. They’re already at work. The Fairfax search and rescue team has already conducted operations in multiple locations. The LA team has arrived during the night and is beginning to function. The Miami-Dade team is, I think, en route and will arrive shortly. Other countries are bringing search-and-rescue units into place.

When we look at today, we’re focused on how this – on the evolution of this operation. Our priorities for the day are obviously search and rescue, but to begin the commodity flow, because we recognize that the Haitian need is already great and will increase in the coming days.

QUESTION: Is it food, water?

MR. CROWLEY: Food, water, medical supplies and medical capability. HHS has alerted disaster medical teams. Other countries – I think Israel is bringing in a medical capability. We --

QUESTION: Is that like a field hospital or --

MR. CROWLEY: Yeah, yeah.

QUESTION: Is the Comfort – you said that the Comfort was recalling its crew?

MR. CROWLEY: The Comfort has recalled its crew. I don’t know that it’s departed port yet in Baltimore. It will take a few days to sail down there. But obviously, not only is meeting the immediate need an urgent requirement, but being able to sustain this need over time, so that’s where the Comfort will be of enormous value when it gets there.

And by the way, I mean, to a point, Jill, you can’t – you have to – logistics matters. You have an airport with a single runway, so we have things that are queued up. You’re going to see a significant increase in the flow, but there is a capacity issue. We can’t – you can’t flow people before you know how you’re going to be able to sustain them on the ground. So we’re already looking today at – if we increase the size of the U.S. component at the Embassy, for example, they need a place to sleep. The Embassy has turned our cafeteria into a medical – a triage area. We are already reinforcing that with additional medical supplies from our warehouses in Florida and some – and supplies. But that will be flowing in today.

We’ll have some additional DS units on the ground today to help. So we’re already looking at how do we sustain our embassy operations, how – where will you bivouac and then sustain the various forces that will be coming into Haiti today and in six, seven days.

QUESTION: P.J., notwithstanding the fact that this tragedy is clearly the Administration’s fault and you guys didn’t act quickly enough because – that’s what some network --

QUESTION: And who said that?

QUESTION: -- anchors are saying.

QUESTION: Oh, I think it was a wire reporter, but in any case --

QUESTION: No, actually, it wasn’t. I just find that whole line absolutely ridiculous. How many Americans are dead that you know of?

MR. CROWLEY: We’ll try to get a number for you. We have confirmed deaths, but I’m – we’re – I’ll be sensitive about notifications of next of kin, which are occurring as we speak. We’ll try to put --

QUESTION: And you said there were three from yesterday?

MR. CROWLEY: Hmm?

QUESTION: Can you confirm the three at least from yesterday?

MR. CROWLEY: Not yet.

QUESTION: Were they civilians who were Embassy --

MR. CROWLEY: We have our first confirmed American casualty and we’ll have more to say about that later in the day.

QUESTION: Are you releasing --

QUESTION: Single casualty?

MR. CROWLEY: I am aware of a single confirmed – I mean, clearly, as --

QUESTION: When you say casualty, you mean fatality, right?

MR. CROWLEY: Fatality.

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR. CROWLEY: Fatality.

QUESTION: Is that your Embassy employee?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not – I’ll just say we have one --

QUESTION: Is that --

MR. CROWLEY: We have at least one – clearly --

QUESTION: Let me ask it this way. Is your – do you still have one Embassy person unaccounted for?

QUESTION: No. It’s a clear (inaudible).

QUESTION: That’s a good question.

MR. CROWLEY: Let’s let the next-of-kin notification process happen.

QUESTION: Has the Fairfax team actually found and rescued somebody yet?

MR. CROWLEY: I believe they have. They’ve been involved in a rescue operation. I believe they might have – back me up here – might have rescued one person.

MR. TONER: That’s what I heard too.

MR. CROWLEY: Yeah, maybe at the UN compound?

MR. TONER: Yes, that’s what I heard.

QUESTION: We heard – we’ve reported that they have.

MR. TONER: Yes.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Since --

MR. CROWLEY: Wait a minute. I just want to – a couple more things. We talked about priorities today being search and rescue, commodity flow, looking at how we sustain this disaster response over time, the medical response, the security situation, communications, helping the Haitian Government so that both they and we can communicate to the Haitian people. And since you are beginning to see a significant flow of capabilities and goods from other countries, we have to obviously be able to effectively coordinate, knowing that right now, we have to sequence these things carefully because we have that one airport, one runway.

QUESTION: Aren’t you going to start using Cape Haitian?

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, there’s a large logistical component to this. I mean, for example, Guantanamo is going to be an enormously valuable asset as we go through this. It’s in the vicinity. We’ve evacuated seven injured so far. Guantanamo has a major medical facility. So we’re identifying all of the assets in the region that we can use in order to stage operations out of here.

QUESTION: Can we go back to the deaths for a second?

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: Because you said we had confirmed deaths – plural – then you said we had a confirmed American casualty – fatality --

MR. CROWLEY: Let me – I’ll clarify. We have one confirmed U.S. fatality. We’re going through the next-of-kin notification process. I’m sure we will have more. Last one just to – we have evacuated more than 160 Americans in the last 24 hours using Coast Guard C-130s, and last evening, also taking advantage of an Icelandic air flight that came in to drop off some supplies and sent 50 men – 50 people out on that airplane.

QUESTION: Fifty on that one?

MR. CROWLEY: Fifty. So we – so far, we’ve evacuated 42 official Americans, 72 private American citizens.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. CROWLEY: Forty-two, 72, and 50.

QUESTION: Wait a minute, 42 official?

MR. CROWLEY: Forty-two official, 72 private. Those were on the U.S. C-130s. There were Coast Guard C-130s. Fifty additional citizens through the courtesy of the – of Iceland.

QUESTION: Official U.S. citizens?

MR. CROWLEY: Yes, yes. And today, we have currently roughly 370 Americans registered to depart, and we’ll have multiple flights today. That should take care of most if not all of that --

QUESTION: All Coast Guard flights?

MR. CROWLEY: Hmm?

QUESTION: All Coast Guard flights?

MR. CROWLEY: We have Coast Guard aircraft that will be making rotations today, but there could be other opportunities. In other words, anytime you have an airplane arrive and it empties out its people or its cargo, that creates an opportunity for us to flow people out of there who want to depart.

QUESTION: Are they all going to Gitmo or elsewhere?

MR. CROWLEY: In some cases, going to the Dominican.

QUESTION: Where are the Icelandair people going?

MR. CROWLEY: I think they went to --

QUESTION: Reykjavik?

MR. CROWLEY: No.

QUESTION: (Laughter.) I hear it’s beautiful this time of year.

MR. CROWLEY: I want to say Nassau.

QUESTION: Nassau?

QUESTION: When you say that you have 370 Americans departing, registered to depart --

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not – I don’t think I’m making that up.

MR. TONER: We’ll find out.

QUESTION: When you have three --

QUESTION: Did they really go to Nassau?

MR. TONER: I don’t know. I’ll find out.

QUESTION: When you say you have 370 Americans registered to depart, is that the total number of Americans that you’ve been able to contact?

MR. CROWLEY: No. We’ve been in contact with more than that.

QUESTION: Could you give a rough estimate of how many? I mean --

MR. CROWLEY: Several hundred, but – I mean, we’re also – I mean, the American community in Haiti includes people who are there, actually directly involved with NGOs. And they’re not leaving because their services are now more vitally important.

QUESTION: I’m not saying they’re leaving, but have you heard from them?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, no, no. Let me go through this. We also have Haitian Americans, dual citizens, who have chosen to live in Haiti, so – which is not to say – it’s maybe not surprising that we’ve – if I had to put an order of magnitude on it, probably we’ve talked to close to a thousand, which is only a sliver of the total American population in Haiti. But recall as well communications are still difficult. So we will obviously see that number rise, but that is something that we continue to communicate through every means possible to let people know to check in with the Embassy and let us know what your intentions are and --

QUESTION: How many Americans --

QUESTION: What is the latest message, by the way?

QUESTION: Can you tell us where these people are being evacuated to? To the Dominican Republic? To --

MR. CROWLEY: Dominican Republic – I think so far the injured have been taken to Guantanamo.

QUESTION: Is that still six?

MR. CROWLEY: Hmm?

QUESTION: There were six of them?

QUESTION: Seven.

QUESTION: Seven.

MR. CROWLEY: Seven.

QUESTION: Oh, you said seven? Sorry.

MR. CROWLEY: I said seven.

QUESTION: How many --

MR. CROWLEY: We’ve also – last – overnight we evacuated the Spanish ambassador, who was injured --

QUESTION: Given your calls to the --

QUESTION: Civilians go to Santo Domingo? Is that --

MR. CROWLEY: So far yes, the majority have gone to Santo Domingo.

QUESTION: Where did the Spanish ambassador go?

MR. CROWLEY: I think he – that’s – I think he went to Guantanamo.

QUESTION: Given that you are – how many registered Americans are missing, according to, like, your calls from the welfare whereabouts?

MR. CROWLEY: How many Americans – I mean, in – I mean, that’s a very difficult – we have three Americans in the extended official American community who are missing. We have accounted now for one of those three.

QUESTION: When you say official American, you mean like employees, spouses, children?

MR. CROWLEY: Yes.

QUESTION: That group?

MR. CROWLEY: Or liaison officers who belong to other --

QUESTION: Right.

QUESTION: To the UN?

MR. CROWLEY: No, I haven’t heard any – we have some people assigned to the UN. I haven’t heard anything --

QUESTION: But I mean, you’re getting all these welfare whereabouts through your hotline and stuff and you’re getting – and you’re in contact with Americans on the ground. So I mean, do you have a rough estimate of how many Americans you’re looking for that need to be --

MR. CROWLEY: No, I don’t think we’re there yet.

QUESTION: And, P.J., the message --

MR. CROWLEY: And obviously, on that point, what MINUSTAH has been able to do, and this is where the 82nd Airborne will be able to augment that capability. They have a presence in the city. As they extend their presence, they’re able to help to clear roads. I mean, this is going to be very important because even as we flow assistance into Port-au-Prince, your ability then to distribute it out into the city is still difficult because – so we’re trying to make sure that we – in extending your ability to function, to move, and to distribute support around the city, that also gives you the opportunity to be able to touch base with more areas of the city and look after Haitian citizens, look after American citizens. And that’s also a part of – and the teams can start to assess what’s the need, depending on that particular location.

So our – as we expand our capability on the ground, we’ll expand our ability – improve our ability to communicate not only with Haitian citizens but with our own citizens.

QUESTION: And what’s the latest message or directive to American citizens? What are they supposed to be doing?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, American citizens are checking in with the Embassy.

QUESTION: You’re telling them to check in?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we are trying to make contact with as many Americans as possible to both determine their welfare, also to determine what they need, and also to determine what their plans are. And so there are people who are flowing or coming into the Embassy, and then we’re transporting them out to the airport. There are people who are going straight to the airport. I mean, some of that depends on logistics. Depending on where you are, in some cases you can get to the airport more easily than you can get to the Embassy. But we have teams now that are in place in both locations, and as people check in with us, if they indicate that they want to depart, we are making those arrangements.

QUESTION: Well, but I’m sorry --

QUESTION: But is there a --

QUESTION: Well, just to clarify, are you saying either go to the Embassy or go to the airport if you want to be evacuated? Because that was the --

QUESTION: Yeah, because yesterday it was stay tight, be safe.

QUESTION: Well, first it was go to the airport.

QUESTION: Right.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, and that – we are – look, let’s – we are trying – we are continuing to try to expand our contact with the American community in Port-au-Prince and, first and foremost, to make sure that they are safe, to determine what they need, if they need medical care. But to the extent that as we make contact with more and more Americans, or as they contact us, we are saying that if you wish to depart Haiti, let us know, come to the Embassy, check in with us in some fashion, and then we’ll make arrangements, as we are today, for as many who want to leave to have the opportunity to do so.

QUESTION: P.J., just two really quick things, if I may just go back to Iran. Do you feel snubbed --

QUESTION: Whoa, whoa, whoa.

QUESTION: No, no, no, this is – all I want him to say is no.

MR. CROWLEY: I’ll come back to Iran. Let’s finish with Haiti.

QUESTION: But I mean, just to – just to clarify what you’re saying, I’m sorry, because you’re trying to make as much contact as you can, but people are contacting all of us and, like, “I’m an American, what should I do?” Should we tell them to go to the Embassy or the airport, or not?

MR. CROWLEY: We – they should establish contact with the Embassy. If they have no means to contact the Embassy, if they can safely travel to the Embassy, then that – we can explain options to them. And to the extent they want to leave Haiti, we’ll help them get out to the airport, on a plane, and to somewhere else where they can have a more stable situation.

QUESTION: Can they go directly to the airport?

MR. CROWLEY: Some people are going directly to the airport. But it is – we have representatives there. The key is check in with the Embassy, let us know how you are doing, what you need. And those who want to leave, we’ll process them out of the country.

QUESTION: What’s your call volume --

QUESTION: Aside from Diplomatic Security --

QUESTION: On that point real quick, what’s your call volume on the hotline? Do you have that information?

MR. CROWLEY: It’s several hundred. I haven’t seen an updated number this morning.

QUESTION: It’s in the hundreds?

MR. CROWLEY: Yeah. It’s in the hundreds.

QUESTION: Aside from the extra Diplomatic Security personnel, has the State Department sent in any other additional types of personnel?

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, we’re prepared to do that, but the ambassador has cautioned us, understandably and rightfully, that before you send vast numbers of people, we have to be able to support them. So I think that, obviously, the Embassy personnel, they’re doing an extraordinary job under very difficult conditions. We are going to have to augment and sustain that operation over a long period of time. We’re already putting in place plans to do that. But the key will be – we’re going to support the Embassy and support the ambassador any way we can. But we have to recognize, at least for the moment, there are still significant limitations. Part of what teams are doing this morning – it’s one of the reasons why you evacuate out dependents and other non-essential personnel, because it opens up places where you can – where you turn apartments into hotels so that we are – we grow the ability to bring more people in to sustain an operation on a 24-hour/7 basis.

QUESTION: What are the DS personnel doing? Providing security for American officials as they move around Haiti, or something else?

MR. CROWLEY: Yeah, I mean --

QUESTION: Or do you know that?

MR. CROWLEY: I – it’s a fair – we’ll have that answer for you later.

QUESTION: What’s the Secretary doing specifically?

MR. CROWLEY: Right now, she’s at the White House.

QUESTION: Right. But I mean, because – when she came back to do something, can you describe what that role is precisely?

MR. CROWLEY: Well --

QUESTION: I mean, what she – where she feels that she is going to concentrate her efforts?

MR. CROWLEY: I think what the Secretary wants to make sure – she will obviously make sure that the State Department is working in a tight and coordinated fashion within the United States Government. And she is satisfied right now that we are doing that. We have in this building an interagency team going 24/7 working very effectively and closely with our military counterparts. Look at the support we’re getting from the Department of Homeland Security, through the Coast Guard, and through FEMA, because there are significant search-and-rescue capabilities that FEMA has access to in addition to those that USAID have already activated. The Secretary, both yesterday and today, will remain in contact with her counterparts around the world coordinating this assistance.

And as the Secretary indicated in her discussions on the morning talk shows, she is also focused not just on saving lives today, being able to expand and sustain the disaster response in the short term, but knowing that we have a considerable challenge in terms of helping Haiti recover and rebuilding Haiti. So as she hinted, and we’ll be talking more about this in coming days, we have developed, we think, a pretty effective long-term strategy for Haiti, and that plan will have to be, obviously, updated given the current situation. But the fundamentals of that plan are there, and so this is – as she mentioned this morning, she first went to Haiti in 1975 and both she and her husband have a long and abiding interest in Haiti. She has got a close relationship and rapport with the Haitian people.

So I think that’s where she – her emphasis will be, not only making sure that we’re doing what we need to do in concert with the rest of the government, but helping to build and coordinate the international effort. But I think she is focused already on what are Haiti’s long-term needs and how do we help Haiti rebuild from this tragedy.

QUESTION: P.J., has she ruled out going down there in the next few days, or is she considering --

MR. CROWLEY: I’m told that the President is speaking now, so --

QUESTION: Is she considering going in the next few days, or has she ruled out going down?

MR. CROWLEY: I think this – the Secretary understands that right now the last thing that our team needs in Haiti is a high-level visitor that will increase the burden on an already challenging situation.

QUESTION: So that’s a no?

MR. CROWLEY: Yes. So – and so – and in fact --

QUESTION: Isn’t that enough? I mean, brevity is the soul of wit here, yeah? Can I ask you about the contacts with --

MR. CROWLEY: I was just going to say at an appropriate time, once we’re past the crisis, I’m sure she will head down there, but now is not the time.

QUESTION: Can I ask about the contacts with the Haitians? You said in the first 12 hours, there were two contacts with Preval. How about after that? And what have the contacts been lately?

And the second thing, getting back to the original questions, is there a need for the Haitians to ask? I mean, there’s already a UN mandate for this mission here, and it doesn't, of course, proscribe the U.S. or anyone else contributing troops to the MINUSTAH force. But when these guys go in, they’re going to be under U.S. command, right, not under UN command?

MR. CROWLEY: We’ll be under U.S. command supporting a UN mission on behalf of the Haitian Government and the Haitian people. We’re not taking over Haiti. We are helping to stabilize Haiti. We’re helping to provide them lifesaving support and material, and we’re going to be there over the long term to help Haiti rebuild.

But I mean, the key is we are maintaining constant contact with the Haitian Government, even given the difficult situations. What we’re doing is following the priorities that the Haitian Government has outlined for us. And obviously, in these kinds of situations, one of those keys is maintaining security and law and order. And so far it’s been pretty good. There’s been some looting, minor looting, but we understand that this is a dire situation and there’s enormous pressure on Haitian society. And we’re going to get Haiti what it needs, and we’re going to do it in as stable a way as possible.

QUESTION: Do you consider the government in command, though?

QUESTION: Hold on. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Can I just --

QUESTION: What is with you today? You’re like snapping at everybody.

QUESTION: Because this is not a CNN briefing here. You know, there’s --

QUESTION: Whoa.

QUESTION: No, it seems to be an AP briefing.

QUESTION: No, it doesn't. I’ve asked like one question. Can I just finish my --

QUESTION: Well, that statement is false.

QUESTION: Guys – you want some coffee or something? Or just –

QUESTION: I’ve got some coffee.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Lunch?

QUESTION: So you’re not looking at a long-term occupation; we’re not talking about 1915 here?

MR. CROWLEY: No.

QUESTION: Do you consider the government to be in command right now? I mean, all the reports are that the government is, like, nowhere. And I know they’re stretched thin, but there just doesn't seem to be a kind of government control over the situation.

MR. CROWLEY: Haiti has a democratic and sovereign government. We are fully coordinated and in touch with the Haitian Government. There’s no question that the Haitian Government is challenged. They have received a very serious blow. The things that we are doing are expressly intended not only to provide lifesaving support to the Haitian people but to rebuild the capacity of the Haitian Government. And we are going to do that so that – and so that we can get back to the long-term plan that we had constructed fully with the Haitian Government as a partner.

QUESTION: Because the government was pretty weak before this.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, Haiti is a country with lots of challenges, and one of those is effective governance. But it had a stable government. It was beginning to do the things that we thought needed to be done on behalf of the Haitian people. And we’re going to continue to help the government do that.

QUESTION: P.J., can I ask this real quick, if there’s any assessment from the DART team and when we can expect another dollar figure on U.S. aid?

MR. CROWLEY: I think we’re up to about 2,000 calls through the call center in terms of – now, this is people from Haiti or this is people inquiring about --

STAFF: This is people in the U.S. inquiring about --

MR. CROWLEY: People in the U.S., just in terms of the --

QUESTION: I think you said hundreds before. It was --

MR. CROWLEY: No, I was talking about something different.

QUESTION: Sorry.

MR. CROWLEY: The 888 number that --

QUESTION: If you could match that up with people that have been found, though --

MR. CROWLEY: I hear you.

QUESTION: Then just on the DART team and their assessment and whether we may hear a dollar figure on U.S. contributions or --

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, the – it’s hard to put a figure on it. From the State Department’s standpoint, we’ve already committed tens of millions of dollars. That figure is going to rise. The military operations are not cheap. So you will see – it’ll be – this will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars when all is said and done in terms of the immediate emergency response, and then, obviously, a much larger figure when you start to factor in Haiti’s long-term requirements. But I don’t think we’re anywhere near a point where you can put a significant – a measurable dollar figure on it. The cost is going to be significant.

QUESTION: I didn’t mean necessarily quantifying the logistical support that’s being done right now. I meant more in terms of any sort of donations to UN or other NGO partners that have been --

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, that’s part of what the Secretary has begun to talk to her counterparts about is the kinds of – the level of support that Haiti is going to need both in the short term and the long term.

Back to Iran?

QUESTION: Very quick, do you feel snubbed by the Chinese decision not to send their political – to send somebody lower than their political director?

QUESTION: Yes.

QUESTION: Yes, we do. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: I’m going to characterize your facial expression as – (laughter) – he officially wagged his head from side to side --

MR. CROWLEY: We – I mean, we’re going to work on this issue with our partners. We – China is part of the P-5+1 process, and we’re going to continue to engage China and other countries to convince them that the urgency of the situation requires not only additional engagement, which China does support, but additional pressure, which, obviously, China is still working through.

QUESTION: Well, do you feel snubbed or not? I mean, that’s a simple thing. And either you feel snubbed or you don’t feel snubbed.

QUESTION: Disappointed?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m – for these kinds of things, I mean, we don’t – you don’t – in diplomacy, you don’t wear a chip on your shoulder. We’re – it’s an important meeting. It’s an urgent issue. We’re going to be at the table on Saturday prepared to work with our international partners because this is a vitally important issue to the world and to the region. We’re pleased that China will be at the table, and we just expect that that individual will come with the appropriate authorities so that we can continue to make progress on this issue.

QUESTION: And last thing for me on this. Is it your understanding that the Chinese will be represented by their mission to the United Nations?

MR. CROWLEY: I will leave it to the Chinese to decide who they want to send to this meeting. We understand – and I’ll defer to the EU in terms of announcing who will attend, who will be the representatives from the respective countries. We’ll be there. We expect that our other partners will be there. And we’re prepared to move ahead together and we hope that China will join us.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Thanks.



PRN: 2010/052



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