Menu

State Department Briefing by Phillip J. Crowley, June 3, 2010

  • Written by Press Release
  • Category: Latest National News

Washington, D.C.--(ENEWSPF)--June 3, 2010.

INDEX:

DEPARTMENT
Secretary Clinton meets with Indian Education Minister Kapil Sibal/U.S.-Indian cooperation in higher education
Under Secretary Burns' meeting with Indian Foreign Secretary Rao
Secretary Clinton's meeting with civil society activists from the Middle East and North Africa
Special Envoy Mitchell's visit to the Middle East region
World Summit for the Future of Haiti hosted by Dominican Republic
Congratulations to Liberian Government on arrests in fight against drug trafficking
Burundi's expulsion of Human Rights Watch researcher Neela Ghoshal
Consular access granted to Alan Gross
Upcoming Russian adoption talks
Congratulations to people of Georgia on conduct of municipal elections
ISRAEL
UNHRC resolution on flotilla incident/investigation/Expect 12 Americans with whom we have had contact to leave in next 24 hours/U.S. supports expansion of humanitarian assistance to Gaza/Secretary's meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu/Conveyed concerns to Israeli Government/Flotilla investigation/resolution - a rush to judgment/Respect views of other countries/U.S. UNHRC presence positive and constructive/Israel in best position to lead investigation
JAPAN
Resignation of Japanese PM Hatoyama/Futenma agreement
IHH
US knows IHH (Humanitarian Relief Foundation) representatives have met with senior Hamas officials in Turkey, Syria, and Gaza over the past three years and of great concern/Has not been designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States/Cannot validate ties to Al-Qaida
IRAN
UN sanctions/President wants to see this accomplished by end of spring/Iran's refusal to comply/Timeline for vote
RUSSIA
Adoption talks/Committed to reaching agreement that better protects adopted children and families/Question taken on participants at talks
MEXICO
Arizona law on immigration/Death of Anastacio Hernandez-Rojas/Ongoing investigation by DHS and San Diego police department/Extradition of Bruce Beresford-Redman/No extradition request received
NORTH KOREA
UNSC 1874/U.S. wants to see a united response from international community on N. Korea's tragic and provocative acts
CHINA
Postponement of Secretary Gates' visit to region
AFGHANISTAN
Use of drones/UN Report/Question taken on report review
CUBA
US continues to hope that prisoners of conscience will be released rather than just relocated
RWANDA
We have visited and spoken with Peter Erlinder/He was taken to the hospital this morning and remained there overnight for observation/His U.S. and Rwandan attorneys have had access to him and we expect that due process will be accorded by the Rwandans in a timely and transparent way
KUWAIT
Question taken re. blogger detained because of accusations he insulted Emir of Kuwait
TRANSCRIPT:
1:39 p.m. EDT
MR. CROWLEY: Good afternoon and welcome to the Department of State. Several things to talk about before taking your questions. In about an hour’s time, the Secretary will meet with Indian Education Minister Kapil Sibal as we begin to get into – engaged in the India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue. And they’ll discuss U.S.-Indian cooperation in higher education and increasing our people-to-people ties. Education is a key component of our partnership with India, a key to meeting the demands of the 21st century economy.

Also, Under Secretary Bill Burns met with Foreign Secretary Rao as part of our broader discussion of U.S. foreign policy. But we have the Indian officials now arriving, and of course, tomorrow will be a significant day as we have intensive, wide-ranging discussions with a broad range of cabinet officials and a large Indian delegation.

Also today, the Secretary a while ago met with 17 civil society activists from the Middle East and North Africa, the Leaders of Democracy Fellows. This is a program under our Middle East Partnership Initiative, or our MEPI. It’s a three-month program that the U.S. provides to young civic and democratic reform leaders from the region. They have an opportunity to complete academic coursework at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and complete a professional assignment with a political, nongovernmental, or public policy organization here in Washington.
And this year’s cohort is a diverse group representing Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Syria, Tunisia, the West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen.
In the region, George Mitchell spent the day with the U.S. delegation in the Palestine Investment Conference, part of our effort to support the PA’s economic reforms and institution-building efforts. And during the course of the day, he had the opportunity to talk with President Abbas about the PIC and I think they’re attending a dinner as we speak. He will have other meetings this week with both Palestinian and Israeli officials. Some of his schedule is still being worked out.

Today, in the Dominican Republic, the DR is hosting the World Summit for the Future of Haiti: Solidarity Beyond the Crisis. This is the first time the donors have met since March 31st when the donors conference in New York pledged more than $5 billion to Haiti over two years for the nation’s most immediate rebuilding needs. Senior officials from the Department of State and USAID are part of this delegation that includes Cheryl Mills, Counselor to Secretary Clinton; Deputy Assistant Secretary Julissa Reynoso, and also Paul Weisenfeld and Christopher Milligan from USAID. And this follows up on yesterday in Haiti where the Government of Haiti officially launched the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission that was discussed also up in the UN on March 31st, which will be co-chaired by Prime Minister Bellerive and UN Special Envoy Bill Clinton.

Turning to Africa, we congratulate and commend the Government of Liberia for its commitment to the rule of law and the international fight against drug trafficking with the arrest of seven suspects on drug trafficking charges as part of a joint U.S.-Liberian undercover operation. The message being sent in Liberia is strong and clear: Liberia is not open for this type of business. The United States and Liberia are united in strong partnership to combat the international drug trade which poses a serious threat to both our countries.

Also in Africa, the United States is troubled by the Government of Burundi’s decision to expel Human Rights Watch researcher Neela Ghoshal from the country. Human Rights Watch and other duly accredited nongovernmental organizations in Burundi must be afforded the legal right to engage, operate, and report freely on political and human rights conditions within the country. The Government of Burundi should reconsider its decision to expel the researcher and allow Neela Ghoshal to return to the country and continue her work for Human Rights Watch.

And just before taking your questions, a couple of items that we had left pending from yesterday’s briefing. We have been granted access to Alan Gross in Cuba five times, the most recent consular access being on May 25th and we continue to ask that Mr. Gross be released immediately on humanitarian grounds and be allowed to return to his family.
Also, our next round of Russian adoption talks are scheduled for June 14 through 16 here in Washington. We are still awaiting final confirmation from Russia on those dates.

And finally, regarding Georgia’s municipal elections from the weekend, we congratulate the people of Georgia on the conduct of municipal elections on May 30. They were evaluated by international monitors from the OSCE and they mark progress towards meeting OSCE and Council of Europe standards for democratic elections. There were technical improvements in the administration of these elections. We did observe some irregularities in individual precincts and those concerns were noted by the OSCE regarding vote counting and tabulation processes in some precincts and districts. We are encouraged by the Central Election Commission’s efforts to increase transparency and responsiveness to electoral concerns, but we also agree that – with the OSCE that significant shortcomings need to be addressed.
Matt.

QUESTION: P.J., earlier today, the UN Human Rights Council passed a pretty strong condemnatory resolution about the flotilla incident. Among the items in this resolution is the creation of a independent fact-finding mission to go and investigate violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, resulting from the Israeli attacks on a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian assistance. I realize that you guys voted against this along with two of your stalwart allies, but it passed pretty overwhelmingly. I’m wondering if this is the kind of thing that you were thinking about when you were talking about an international component to the Israeli investigation.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I think you heard in our explanation of vote that we considered this to be a rush to judgment. I would call attention in the resolution that it actually condemned the attack by Israeli forces before Israel or anyone else has had the opportunity to fairly evaluate the facts. So that is the reason why we voted no.

QUESTION: Sorry. That’s the only reason?

MR. CROWLEY: Well --

QUESTION: Because it said condemned in the strongest terms the outrageous attack by Israeli forces --

MR. CROWLEY: Well, in other words, before there’s even the opportunity for an investigation, in our view, this resolution put the complete responsibility on Israel. We thought that was an inappropriateness. As we indicated, we thought this was a rush to judgment. We have called on and supported the – we’ve supported the UN present statement of a couple of days ago calling for a prompt, credible, transparent, impartial investigation. We continue to believe that Israel is in the best position to lead that investigation. As the Secretary indicated yesterday, we want to ensure that there is a credible investigation, and we will continue to talk to Israel and other countries about possible international participation.

QUESTION: But a fact-finding commission – a fact-finding mission by the Human Rights Council is not a welcome thing, in your view.

MR. CROWLEY: We do not support that proposal within the Human Rights Council.
Yes.

QUESTION: With the Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama resigning yesterday over the Futenma issue, he apologized for not being able to handle this issue very well. So that the two governments just made an agreement last week, right? So the U.S. is kind of involved in this political situation. So how do you see this political change in Japan, and what kind of influence will you get?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we respect the Japanese political process and Prime Minister Hatoyama’s decision. We will work closely with the Government of Japan and the next prime minister on a broad range of issues. And I think today the chief cabinet secretary stated that the Futenma agreement will be respected, given that it is a government-to-government agreement, and we share this expectation.
Yeah.

QUESTION: According to a recent poll, 80 percent of Okinawan people opposed to this relocation to Camp Schwab. And as you know, as I said, the Japanese prime minister resigned because of this. So it’s not supported by the Japanese people. So how can you still say it’s political – still politically sustainable?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, we value the U.S.-Japan security alliance. We think that the presence of U.S. forces in the region, including in Japan, is of tremendous importance and of value to both of our countries. We – and I think that’s – the importance of our presence in the region and the U.S.-Japanese alliance is underscored by current tensions in Northeast Asia. So we have, we believe, reached a fair resolution that sustains the alliance. We understand the burden that this places on the Japanese people. As part of our agreement, we have pledged to do everything that we can to help manage the impact that this has, particularly on the people of Okinawa. This will be something that we continue to work closely with the Japanese Government, but as we indicated, we think we’ve reached a resolution of this relocation plan and we will work with Japan to carry it out.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) considering the prime minister has resigned in response to this agreement, don’t you think this has damaged the alliance, this agreement?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, I’ll leave it to the prime minister to explain the circumstances under which he felt it important to resign. And our alliance is about much more than just the future of Futenma. But this is an important issue, but it’s only – it’s one of a number of – wide range of issues and common interests that the United States and Japan share. We will continue to work on this program with the Japanese Government.

QUESTION: As you said, there has been an agreement on Futenma, but there are no – the elections are now planned for July, I think, in Japan. Do you feel that the issue might come back during the campaign?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, that’s one of the reasons why we worked closely with the government over a number of months. It was a very thorough review. Everyone went back over all of the details, and I think the Japanese Government came to reaffirm that this new plan, a modification of the plan that it inherited, was the best way forward. We think we’ve – with some technical details still to be worked out, we think that this is the best way forward and we’re going to continue to work this with the Government of Japan.
Charlie.

QUESTION: Can I go back to the Gaza flotilla aftermath --

MR. CROWLEY: Before – do we – okay, good. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Can you bring us up to date on what you know about any Americans who might still be in Israel? Have all of them been sent back towards the U.S.? And do you have any numbers that are more updated than yesterday on --

MR. CROWLEY: I checked in with our consular affairs folks. They have had contact with 12 Americans. All of them have agreed to be deported. Some of them have already moved out of the country. This is not to say that these are all Americans that might have been on one of those ships, but we have had contact with a dozen and we expect that they’ll all be leaving Israel in the next 24 hours.

QUESTION: I’m sorry, did you say they agreed to be deported? Is that something you can agree to? Do you have a choice?

MR. CROWLEY: Under the Israeli arrangements, I think they had to --

QUESTION: Sign.

MR. CROWLEY: -- sign something that then led to the deportation.

QUESTION: And that 12 includes the one who was injured, right? The one person who was hospitalized and then released?

MR. CROWLEY: Yes.

QUESTION: P.J., on – yesterday, I think we were talking about IHH and the accusations that it is part – it supports terrorist organizations. There were some who said it supported al-Qaida in some fashion. Did you get some clarification on that?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we know that IHH representatives have met with senior Hamas officials in Turkey, Syria, and Gaza over the past three years. That is obviously of great concern to us. That said, the IHH, which stands for the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, has not been designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States.

QUESTION: So the U.S. does not believe it has connections to al-Qaida?

MR. CROWLEY: We cannot validate that.

QUESTION: New subject?

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: Can we stay with the flotilla?

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: Sorry.

QUESTION: Has the U.S. or has it been considering calling either privately or publicly on the Israelis to lift the siege of Gaza, as several of this country’s allies have done in recent days and even the New York Times, for that matter?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, again, we support the expansion of humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza. And at the same time, we recognize that Israel has legitimate security concerns given the attacks that have emanated from Gaza in recent months and years that have endangered the Israeli people. We will be talking to Israel and other countries about ways in which we can improve the flow of assistance to Gaza and support the people of Gaza while meeting Israel’s security concerns.

QUESTION: Mr. Davutoglu said in Istanbul that he had asked the Secretary to convey his demand that all militants would be released. Can you confirm that?

MR. CROWLEY: I did yesterday. During the course of the Secretary’s meeting with Foreign Minister Davutoglu, he expressed concern about the status of Turkish citizens, wanted to see them released. I believe the Israeli Government has indicated that all of those involved with the flotilla will be released. And you’re seeing the flow of Turkish citizens and other citizens out of Israel and back to their home countries as we speak. We understood the Turkish concerns and we conveyed those to the Israeli Government.

QUESTION: Do you know if this incident came up at all in the Secretary’s meeting with these 17 Middle East –

MR. CROWLEY: It was a relatively brief meeting. I think it was more like a photo opportunity. So I can’t say.

QUESTION: You don’t know if – were you there?

MR. CROWLEY: No, I was not there.

QUESTION: Just on the investigation, what Israel is talking about is the IDF leading its own internal investigation. So is that acceptable to the United States? Or when you talk about international presence, are you looking more to the South Korea model?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, as the president’s statement in the Security Council indicated, we support an investigation that meets international standards. There are a number of ways of doing that. We’ll be talking to Israel about how it can best lead an investigation that is broadly viewed as credible by the international community.

QUESTION: And that could potentially be led by the IDF itself?

MR. CROWLEY: Again, I’m not going to prejudge what – how the investigation proceeds. We obviously recognize that not only does Israel have its own interest in understanding what happened, there are a wide range of countries that had citizens represented in that flotilla. They, too, will want to see that this is a credible, transparent, impartial investigation. We support that objective and we’ll be talking to Israel about how best to accomplish that.

QUESTION: Speaking of talking to Israel, have there been any high-level talks between U.S. officials and Israeli officials other than the Mitchell talks today, either the Secretary or the White House or NSC, that you’re aware of?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not aware of any that would involve, say, the prime minister today, although I can’t speak for the White House. But the Secretary has not had a high-level discussion with either the – any top-tier Israeli official today, to my knowledge.

QUESTION: Does that include the defense minister?

MR. CROWLEY: She last talked to him on Monday.

QUESTION: P.J., can you give us a little more precision on the sanctions – push to bring up the sanctions at the United Nations? It’s been tabled or at least, I should say, circulated; correct? And the next step would be up for vote. Is that where we are?

MR. CROWLEY: I think there are – there’s still work being done on – technical work being done on the annexes to the resolution, so it’s hard for me to say precisely where this process is. Obviously, we think this is one of the most important issues facing the international community.
And as I said yesterday, the IAEA’s latest report underscores that Iran continues to refuse to comply fully with the international obligations. We’re going to put forward this resolution in the coming days and we expect all responsible members of the international community, especially those entrusted to serve on the UN Security Council and deal with these matters, to support the resolution.

QUESTION: So when you say put forward, you mean for a vote?

MR. CROWLEY: As we said yesterday, the President has indicated he wants to see this accomplished by the end of spring. We see that date on the horizon and we expect to meet that objective.

QUESTION: Okay, some international diplomats – some Brazilian diplomats and others are saying, “Why now,” when you do have this agreement that the Brazilians and the Turks worked out with Iran, that they have still a month to follow through on giving up that 1,200 kilograms of low-enriched uranium. Why not give it the month even if you’re skeptical, as the Secretary obviously is?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, first of all, this is one of the most urgent matters. We are very conscious of the fact, and we take the Iranian statements at face value. They say never mind any agreement on the TRR, we are going to continue to enrich uranium to 20 percent. That is a clear violation of the safeguards agreement and multiple UN Security Council resolutions.

So we are moving based on what we know, which is that Iran continues to enrich. And as the IAEA report indicates, it is not in compliance with its international obligations. The United States has reached a judgment shared, we believe, by the P-5+1 that Iran is only going to change course if we apply the kind of pressure that is represented in this UN Security Council draft resolution. So while the TRR – the joint declaration in Tehran may technically fulfill what had been the proposal back on October 1st, we don’t think that it fundamentally addresses the larger concerns about Iran’s noncompliance with its international obligations. Turkey understands that. Brazil understands that. And when this is put to a vote, Turkey, Brazil, other countries will have to judge how to proceed.

QUESTION: Can I go back to the Human Rights Council, though, for a second?

MR. CROWLEY: Yeah.

QUESTION: You said there was a rush to judgment. It didn’t agree with the initial findings. I’m wondering, in light of that, what you make of the fact that only the Dutch and the Italians voted against this with you, and that some of your closest allies, including the French, the Belgians, the Japanese, the Brits, and the South Koreans abstained.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, we understand that. One of the reasons why we joined the Human Rights Council was that we hope that over time that it would take a more balanced and appropriate response to urgent situations.

QUESTION: Right.

MR. CROWLEY: And as our statement indicated, we believe that this particular resolution is a rushed judgment. It risks further politicizing a sensitive and volatile situation. So we made our judgment that this was not the right vehicle to advance the understanding of what happened on these ships. But we respect the fact that other countries may have a different view.

QUESTION: So in the 18 months that – or 15, 16 months that you’ve been on the council, have you seen it improve?

MR. CROWLEY: We think our presence on the council is positive and constructive.

QUESTION: And how did that manifest itself in this vote?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, there was – I mean, all we can do – we have a vote. (Laughter.) We don’t dictate what the Human Rights Council --

QUESTION: Well, the previous administration didn’t – I mean, didn’t – they basically ignored the whole council because of situations like this.

MR. CROWLEY: And we don’t think ignoring these issues --

QUESTION: So your no vote is enough?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, the no vote is what we’re empowered to do as part of the Human Rights Council. We will continue to work – I mean, we’ll engage in the Human Rights Council just as we’re engaging on the margins of the International Criminal Court Review Conference. You had a briefing about that earlier this afternoon.

We are willing to work constructively with countries around the world on the most urgent issues that face us all. But we understand that there’ll be times where our view may carry the day, and there’ll be times where our – other countries have different points of view.
Yes.

QUESTION: Mr. Crowley, it is the Israeli’s actions that need to be investigated. So how can
Israel, too – best investigation – why is the United States opposed to UN investigation?

MR. CROWLEY: As we’ve said, we are completely supportive of an impartial investigation that helps us understand what happens – what happened on these ships, and more importantly, working collectively, how we can meet our common objectives of increasing the international support for the people of Gaza, and at the same time, supporting Israel with its legitimate security concerns.

We believe that Israel is in the best position to lead this investigation. But as the Secretary said yesterday, this has to be credible. The international community will be watching this very closely as it unfolds. We want to see this done in a way that meets international standards. We’ll be talking to Israel about how best to accomplish this. We’ll be talking to other countries that may want to play a role in this. And as we – as the Secretary said, we are open to ways of making this as credible as possible, including international participation. And that is our view.

QUESTION: Why – I think his question, though, was essentially why? And can you explain why Israel is in the best position to lead the investigation (inaudible)?

MR. CROWLEY: Israel is a vibrant democracy. It has effective, competent institutions of government, and Israel is fully capable of investigating a matter that involved its forces. And so can Israel conduct a fair, transparent, credible investigation? The answer is yes.

QUESTION: On the U.S.-Russian adoption talks, can you tell us how far the sides progressed towards the adoptions agreement? During the previous round of the talks, the Russians gave their American counterparts the draft agreement. Any chances that this agreement will be initialed or adopted or signed – whatever you do?

MR. CROWLEY: Huh?

QUESTION: That those documents --

MR. CROWLEY: Yeah, it’s a good question. I mean, we’re committed to reaching an agreement that improves safeguards and procedures for – to better protect adopted children and families. I believe we have a text that has been tabled on this issue, but whether we will resolve the remaining issues, I think I would not predict. We want to get it done as quickly as possible. Whether it happens in this next session or takes a while longer – these are complex issues and they have to address the legal and policy aspects of both countries. So we’ll have the next round and let’s see how that goes.

QUESTION: And who’s going to take part in the talks on the U.S. side?

MR. CROWLEY: We’ll – it’ll be led by the – an interagency team. I think – we’ll check and see. I mean, we had – we had one at a – that was led by our principal deputy of consular affairs. We had another that was experts. I’ll take the question as to who we expect to participate on our end.

QUESTION: P.J., on Mexico, as you know, there’s a lot of concerns and frustration in Mexico due to the Arizona law on immigration. These have raised due to the death of a migrant worker that was detained by the U.S. Border Patrol and beaten and shot with a taser. What is the position of the U.S. Government with regards with this incident? I understand the Mexican Government have already sent a diplomatic note about it.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, let’s separate the two issues. Certainly, we are sorry for the loss of life involving Anastacio Hernandez-Rojas. We are in touch with the Mexican Government. We believe that his family has been paroled into the United States following his death. We have received a diplomatic note from the Mexican Government. It is being investigated both by DHS and by the police department in San Diego.

And this obviously represents the challenge of securing the border on both sides, and we are very mindful of the fact that those who try to enter the United States illegally, there is a significant loss of life every year along the border as people endeavor to come here. It’s why the Administration supports comprehensive immigration reform. The President the other day, I believe in a press conference, talked again about his concerns about the Arizona law. But we continue to see immigration reform as the only way to normalize and expand the opportunity for immigrants who want to come to the United States and do so legally.
I’ll come back.

QUESTION: On North Korea?

MR. CROWLEY: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: The United States has extended economic sanctions against North Korea under the UN Security Council Resolution 1874. Is there any the U.S. has additional sanctions against North Korea?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we do have existing authorities under 1874, other sanctions. We did have a meeting here yesterday with the South Korean vice foreign minister. I believe he is in New York today. And we will follow the lead of South Korea in terms of when this matter comes before the Security Council. We want to see the international community provide a united response that sends a clear message to North Korea that these kinds of tragic and provocative acts will not be tolerated. But as to the steps that the international community takes, we’ll wait to see when the matter comes before the Council.

QUESTION: Stay in the region?

MR. CROWLEY: All right, hold on, I promised Arshad first.

QUESTION: All right.

QUESTION: As you are aware, DOD today said that Secretary Gates will not be going to China next week when he will be in Singapore and the region. And I wonder if you regard the Chinese decision that it is not convenient for him to come now as a disappointment, particularly given that senior officials had told us that they were hopeful that Gates would make a visit within a few weeks of the Secretary’s trip last week.

MR. CROWLEY: I can’t judge. I’ll defer to – I’m not – I don’t know what the explanation was from China. Clearly, the kind of senior-level engagement that we have with the likes of Secretary Clinton, Secretary Gates, others, we think it’s important. During the course of the recent Strategic and Economic Dialogue, regional security issues, military-to-military issues, were discussed. I think that was one of the bases for Secretary Gates’s trip to China. I wouldn’t hazard a guess as to the rationale in postponing this visit.

QUESTION: Can you take the question, since you – it seems like you haven’t had a chance to look into it, but as to whether or not you’re disappointed about this? Because it seemed like one of the things that the Administration has been trying to do, and for quite some time now since the Taiwan arms sale, has been to get the military-to-military contacts back on an even keel with the Chinese so they don’t get torn up every time there’s something that annoys them.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, we share that view. And there were some very detailed and direct discussions of these issues during the course of the strategic component of the S&ED. But I think the Pentagon is fully capable of expressing its views as to the reasons for a delay in this visit.

QUESTION: Okay. Well, I’m just – I’m perplexed because a senior official said to a group of reporters, “I think you will see one of the takeaways over the course of the next couple of weeks that suddenly Chinese friends might have time for Secretary Gates’s visit.” And it just seems like they got that completely wrong. I wonder what changed.

MR. CROWLEY: Again, as to the basis of China’s decision, China can explain that. As to our – the impact that that may have in terms of military-to-military engagement, obviously something we do support, I’ll let the Pentagon talk about that.

QUESTION: But do you think --

QUESTION: Can I go to the UN issue?

MR. CROWLEY: Okay, I’ll come – go ahead.

QUESTION: Do you think it’s going to impact the two sides’ relationship, especially consider the fact the two sides’ relationship’s gotten better in a couple – past few months?

MR. CROWLEY: Okay. Try me again?

QUESTION: I said, do you think the postponement will influence the relationship between U.S. and China, especially consider the fact the relationship’s gotten better in the past few months?

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, I think we value the current state of the relationship. The S&ED was wide-ranging. There were a number of cabinet officials there. We certainly see the value in having our Secretary of Defense talk to his counterparts in China. We have vitally important regional security issues to discuss, not the least of which is the current situation with respect (inaudible) sinking of the Cheonan.

Again, as to the reasons why China thought that this was not the best time to have this meeting, I’ll defer to China to explain that.

QUESTION: Hear the UN – what is he, special rapporteur or special something-or-other on extrajudicial killings, has come out today with a pretty critical report on the targeted assess of the drone strikes? I presume that the Administration still believes that these are legal, but I’m wondering if you can – if you have any reaction, specific reaction to this report.

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t.

QUESTION: You --

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t have a reaction.

QUESTION: Your legal advisor was on the telephone with some of us a little while ago, saying that there would be some kind of reaction to this report.

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

QUESTION: Can you check with his office, perhaps? I – realizing that he is halfway around the world.

MR. CROWLEY: One of my favorite lawyers.

QUESTION: And since he addressed it in an on-the-record session not so long ago, I’m also a little surprised that you have nothing to say about --

MR. CROWLEY: Well, you asked me if I have an immediate response. The answer is no. Then you asked me if I would --

QUESTION: Do you have an explanation of Administration policy on this?

MR. CROWLEY: I will not get into the matter at this point. I’ll take the question as to whether we’ve had a chance to evaluate the UN report and if we have any reaction to it. I’m not aware that we’ve had a chance to read it.
Charley.

QUESTION: Please, following up a question from yesterday, are there conversations with the Mexican Government about the extradition of the television producer Bruce Beresford-Redman?

MR. CROWLEY: My understanding is we have not received an extradition request.

QUESTION: Thank you.
Hold on. Two more.

QUESTION: On Cuba, any reactions, or what reaction does the U.S. have to Cuba’s transfers of political prisoners to prisons closer to their families, conditions that they have been negotiated by the Catholic Church?

MR. CROWLEY: Let me just broaden that point slightly. We continue to hope that prisoners of conscience will be released rather than just relocated, and as soon as possible.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. CROWLEY: Wait. Hold on. Hold --

QUESTION: Let me follow up on Jill’s question on Iran, the Iranian resolution. Could you be a bit more specific with regards to the timeline, when you, approximately, hope to introduce it for the vote? Are we talking about a week? Two weeks?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, again, the President said he’d like to see this done by the end of spring? Is that June 20 or 21?

QUESTION: Twenty-one.

MR. CROWLEY: (Laughter.) So sometime between now and then.

QUESTION: Do you have any update on the status of this American lawyer who was arrested in Rwanda? There are some reports that he tried to kill himself in prison this morning.

MR. CROWLEY: I can’t say.

QUESTION: And apparently, his wife or his family is trying to – is seeking a meeting here at the State Department.

MR. CROWLEY: All I can tell you is that we have visited and spoken with Peter Erlinder. He was taken to the hospital this morning and remained there overnight for observation. His U.S. and Rwandan attorneys have had access to him and we expect that due process will be accorded by the Rwandans in a timely and transparent way.

QUESTION: Do you know why he was taken to the hospital?

MR. CROWLEY: I do not.

QUESTION: P.J., one other thing. You know, I didn’t flag these to you guys so if you don’t have an answer, taking it is fine if you wish to do that, but I presume you’re aware of the case of the Kuwaiti blogger who has been detained over accusations that he insulted the emir of Kuwait. And I wanted to know what, if anything, the Administration or the Department may have done on behalf of his case.

MR. CROWLEY: Let me take the question.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:19 p.m.)


Source: state.gov

Park Forest Clubs and Organizations

Please Note: eNews Park Forest, Inc. is an independent media company and is not affiliated with the Village of Park Forest in any way.

Historical Society
Park Forest Historical Society

Health Department

Nurses Plus

Freedom Hall

Freedom Hall Nathan Manilow Theater

Tall Grass

Tall Grass Arts Association

Kiwanis

Kiwanis of Park Forest

Nurses Club

Park Forest Nurses Club

Baseball

Park Forest Baseball