Background Briefing Previewing Acting Secretary Sullivan's Trip to the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Toronto

Special Briefing
Senior Administration Official
Toronto, Canada
April 22, 2018


MODERATOR: [Senior Administration Official] has got a couple of minutes just to give you a little background today.

QUESTION: Oh, terrific. Well, what’s on the agenda?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: What’s on the agenda? Well, the G-7 always has an ambitious agenda, and a comprehensive global agenda. And a lot of the priority topics for us today include discussing the way forward in Syria, the – Iran’s malign activities in the region as well as Iran’s nuclear and missile program. We’ll be discussing North Korea and its nuclear program. I would say, broadly, nonproliferation will be a thematic today in our discussions. We will be discussing maritime security, the importance of freedom of navigation.

QUESTION: Talking South China Sea or --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah, just South China Sea and just generally securing the global commons for trade and commerce. And we’ll also be discussing the free and open Indo-Pacific and the importance of that. We’ll be discussing also the way forward in Ukraine. Venezuela we will also be discussing, and Burma.

So this is just probably a fraction of what we’ll end up discussing today, and I’ll be able to give a little more detail at the end of the day.

QUESTION: That would be helpful.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: This is --

QUESTION: As (inaudible) the topics, did you see Zarif’s comments the last two days on if the deal isn’t signed – this morning he was about – he was saying it was --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Which one, the supplemental agreement? When you say the deal isn’t --

QUESTION: He just said – I don’t know.

QUESTION: The original one. The original one.

QUESTION: The original deal.

QUESTION: If the U.S. --

QUESTION: The original one. If the original is abrogated, yeah.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Abrogated? Oh.

QUESTION: Yeah, if the U.S. walks away from it, they are going to resume --

QUESTION: He said it would send a very dangerous message.

QUESTION: -- and he said they’re going to resume nuclear production.

QUESTION: Resuming is one of the options, is what he said.

QUESTION: Yeah.

QUESTION: But faster.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: And so what’s the question? It’s all very interesting.

QUESTION: Does that change anything that you’re discussing today? I mean, are you – let’s – what kinds of discussions are you going to have on Iran with the rest of the G7? Specifically, do you want to close – can you close further gaps in your discussions so far?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We will be discussing the status of the negotiations with the E3 on securing a supplemental agreement to the JCPOA. The President has given until May 12th as the deadline to see if we can secure a supplemental agreement, and so we’ll be discussing the status of those negotiations today with the G7, and then we’ll also be – yeah, I’ll leave it at that.

QUESTION: How advanced are these?

MODERATOR: You all, you guys have to get on the vans. I don’t want you to be late. This will be the last one.

QUESTION: Those negotiations, how advanced are they?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We’ve been negotiating with the Europeans since January, with the E3, and we have made a great deal of progress, but it is – we’re not there yet.

QUESTION: Really?

QUESTION: You still don’t know?

MODERATOR: Guys, we've got to go.

QUESTION: Real quick, though. OPCW inspectors got into Douma. Are you concerned that everything, all the evidence has evaporated and that they won’t be able to find anything at this late date?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I would – I’d have to talk to the technical folks on that as well. That’s a technical question and I’d need to --

QUESTION: Okay.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Okay? All right.

QUESTION: Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: So see you at the end of the day.