State Department Briefing by Phillip J. Crowley, April 15, 2010

Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–April 15, 2010.


Secretary Clinton had a lengthy meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu
Secretary Clinton to give a speech at the dedication of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace
Deputy Secretary Jim Steinberg will travel to India and Bangladesh from April 20-22
Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero will travel to Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank
Tomorrow 100 community activists and leaders from around the world will participate in an International Visitor Leadership Program an initiative of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
U.S. not aware of change in policy on adoption of Russian children/Seeking clarification
U.S. working to keep the adoption process going/Sending a delegation to Moscow next week to discuss this issue
A/S Blake has finished a second day of meetings with Kyrgyz officials/ Focus on how we can be helpful/U.S. not taking sides
President Bakiyev has left the Kyrgyz Republic
U.S. has been in touch with both parties
Special Envoy Mitchell was in Washington during Nuclear Security Summit
Turkey assisting Greece
U.S.-Turkey has a shared objective with regards to Iran/U.S. will have further discussions and consult with Turkey on potential Iran sanctions
No American casualties in earthquake in China
The Qatari Foreign Ministry made their own decision to remove their diplomat from the U.S. after airline incident
U.S. will begin Six-Party Talks in concert with our partners
U.S. views President’s moves as positive steps/strengthens ties within the Balkan states
Deputy Secretary Steinberg discussed Bosnia with Turkish Foreign Minister in today’s meeting
U.S. talking to both countries about their nuclear program
Bombing /U.S. Sends our condolences/U.S. condemns violence


2:50 p.m. EDT
MR. CROWLEY: Good afternoon and welcome to the Department of State. But off camera, our very distinguished friend and colleague Robert Wood, who is finishing up training and preparation for a hardship tour coming up in Vienna, Austria – someone has to keep an eye on Ian Kelly and Glyn Davies, two friends of this podium. But we have not had a formal opportunity in some time to wish Robert Wood all the best as he moves out to be – to join an intrepid crew at the – at our mission in Vienna as they try to solve a number of world problems, not the least of which is the challenge of proliferation around the world. So Robert, once again, a nice shout out and very, very good to see you as always. And there are a lot of – we should have this press briefing in Vienna at some point in time. We now have very three – three very close friends in Vienna who will all be happy to host us all there.

QUESTION: And he will have a good time in Vienna because I spent a number of years there. (Laughter.)

MR. CROWLEY: Again, sorry for the lateness of this briefing, but we just finished a fairly lengthy and comprehensive meeting with the Secretary and Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu. There was so much to talk about that we couldn’t fit it into one or two sessions during the Nuclear Security Summit, so they met again this afternoon, continued our discussion on Armenia and normalization with Turkey, on Bosnia and Bosnia’s future role within Europe, but also talked extensively about our mutual interest in solving the challenge represented by Iran and its nuclear programs, also touched on ways in which the United States and Turkey can be helpful to Greece and its economic challenge, and touched on the situation with respect to Cyprus and also about the situation next door in Iraq. But an excellent discussion this afternoon. I’m sure you’ll have questions about that.

Secretary Clinton this evening will give a speech at the dedication of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. I think you’ve got kind of a summary of her remarks there. But tonight she will focus on how to strengthen our efforts in the region and to combat those hostile to peace, and the importance of the peace process in terms of opening the region to compromise and coexistence. And she’ll address the challenge of Hamas, also reinforce efforts by the international community to strengthen the efforts of the Palestinian Authority. She’ll make the case that it is in the interest of Israel, her neighbors, the international community, and the Palestinians themselves to support the efforts by President Abbas, Prime Minster Fayyad, and the Palestinian Authority to reach a negotiated peace with Israel and build the institutions that will be the foundations of a future Palestinian state.

Deputy Secretary Jim Steinberg will travel to India and Bangladesh from April 20 through 22. This is his first visit to India and Bangladesh as Deputy Secretary. He will meet with government officials and other political figures and business, civil society, and opinion leaders in New Delhi, Kolkata, and Dakar, and he will discuss a range of bilateral and multilateral issues that advance our bilateral relationship with both countries.

Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero will travel to Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank beginning this evening – or beginning today – following up on Secretary Clinton’s speech delivered on World Water Day. Secretary Otero’s trip will underscore the need to elevate our diplomatic efforts surrounding water, harness the power of science and technology, leverage full range of relationships, and build capacity at local, national, and regional levels. She will meet with government officials and nongovernmental organizations about a wide range of technology and policy-based solutions that address water challenges confronting the region.

With that, I’ll take your questions. Matt.

QUESTION: What is the situation, as you understand —

MR. CROWLEY: I’ll tell you, I’m sorry, I’ve got one more. Tomorrow morning, more than 100 community activists and leaders from around the world participating in an International Visitor Leadership Program initiative on volunteerism in America will be volunteering at locations throughout Washington, D.C., inspired by the call from President Obama to renew our commitment to public service. This people-to-people exchange initiative of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs will highlight America’s vibrant volunteer spirit as the program takes participants to 56 cities around the United States to participate in community service activities alongside Americans.

So with that – I’m sorry.

QUESTION: What is your understanding of the situation with Russia and adoptions?

MR. CROWLEY: As we have indicated, we have a team led by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Mike Kirby – will be leading an interagency team to Moscow next week. It includes officials from here at State and the Department of Homeland Security. They’ll travel to Moscow this weekend for Embassy meetings, then bilateral meetings are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. We will be looking for ways to work with Russia to strengthen our understandings and arrangements for the continued adoption of [i]American children by loving American families.

We are – we have sought today and will do so tomorrow as well to clarify remarks that have been made today. But at this point, we have not been informed of any change in Russian policy regarding adoptions.

QUESTION: Well, can you categorically say that there is no freeze?

MR. CROWLEY: The Russian Government has not informed us of any suspension. And – but we’re really going to Moscow next week to address what are serious and legitimate concerns about our processes regarding intercountry adoptions between Russia and the United States. But we certainly think that there are many thousands of Russian children who are not adopted by Russian families. And we have the same objective that Russia has to find loving, safe, and permanent homes, some of whom – which would be here in the United States through intercountry adoption. We would not want to see a moratorium that would adversely affect these children. So we will make that case both at the Embassy and with our meetings with Russia next week.

QUESTION: Right, but that – which is all fine.


QUESTION: But is there a suspension or not?

MR. CROWLEY: We have not been informed of a suspension.

QUESTION: Well, there’s a difference between saying you haven’t been informed of a suspension and saying that there isn’t one, right?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we are not aware of a suspension.

QUESTION: Okay. Have they – what have the Russians told you? If they haven’t told you there’s a —


QUESTION: — suspension, what have they told you?

MR. CROWLEY: Our understanding is that the comments made recently by Foreign Minister Lavrov refer to a suspension of, I think, one particular agency, not a broad-based suspension. And we are not aware of any change in Russian policy at this point.

QUESTION: Just a clarification, because you’ve already touched it broadly. Of the 250 or so American families who are nearing the completion of the adoption process and are about to pick up their children, are you aware of any change to those specific cases where they would not be able to go and pick them up?

MR. CROWLEY: Kirit, at this point, I would want – not want to make any sweeping statements one way or the other. There is concern within the Russian Government about recent incidents, more than one. We share that concern. We share the same goal that Russia has in the child’s – the children’s welfare, and we want to see more children placed in loving homes. That’s the objective that we’re working to.
I’d be very careful – I can’t say from this podium what is the status of any particular case or group of cases. We do not want to see this process interrupted. That’s why we had this – we were setting up this visit even before this most recent incident. But we are not aware of any change in Russian policy, and we would hope that we can reach a joint understanding with Russia next week so that these adoptions can continue.

QUESTION: And just to be very clear, when you say there’s no change in policy as you understand it, any adoptions are already underway, the process is already underway, and new cases – both of those can go on and continue?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we would not want to see any —


MR. CROWLEY: We would not see – we would not want to see the existent process interrupted.

QUESTION: Right, but —

MR. CROWLEY: But again —

QUESTION: — cases that are in the pipeline and new cases that want to be opened, those are not affected as you understand right now? Those can continue and then people can open new adoption cases?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, again, just as we are seeking clarification from the Russian Government about statements made today and to reaffirm that we want to work to continue these adoptions, I would refer back to Russian authorities as to what their view is of any particular current case in the pipeline. We want to see these continue. As far as we know, the adoption processes that exist are continuing, but we are seeking clarification of these statements.

But more importantly, we are sending the team so that we can – we think we can reach understandings with Russian authorities so that all adoptions, both in the pipeline and those that are being contemplated, can continue.

QUESTION: The one particular agency that was suspended, was that a Russian agency or an American agency that they suspended adoptions from?

MR. CROWLEY: That’s a good question. I’ll —

MR. TONER: I believe U.S.

MR. CROWLEY: I think it’s U.S.

QUESTION: Is there – is the U.S. going into these meetings with the Russians next week with any specific proposals about actions that the U.S. side can take that would prevent a repeat of this incident with the child being returned by himself? Is there any – have we identified any shortcomings in our own legislation or procedure that can actually change to make the Russians feel that this won’t happen again?

MR. CROWLEY: I think there can be efforts made on both sides. I mean, this is a difficult, lengthy, arduous, complicated process of children, some of whom have been in orphanages for some time. And how do you – what is the right process? We’re working with experts in both countries. You find the right child or match that child with the right family. And we have seen lately where perhaps efforts or standards on both sides have not resulted in what we all want, which is a successful adoption and a happy young child put in a loving environment and able to thrive in the process.
So to the extent that there have been recent cases, for whatever reason, adoptions have not worked out, and as I mentioned, had a couple of cases where you had children victims of abuse. We want to make sure that this process continues for the benefit of Russian children, American families, and part of the relation – the strong relationship between Russia and the United States.

QUESTION: But is there something that the U.S. Government can or should be doing?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I’ll leave it to our – I mean, I think that we’re going to explore – given what has happened recently and the understandable Russian concern about what has happened, what can we do differently, what can we do better, how can we raise standards so that we could have greater confidence in the future that these adoptions will be successful? And in the process, these are adoptions that enrich our country in particular.

Yeah, Kirit.

QUESTION: In the past, the U.S. has been reluctant to sign on to a kind of bilateral agreement with the Russians regarding adoptions. How do you feel about that right now?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I think we will – we hope to reach further understandings with Russia. I mean, actually, there is the Hague Convention and this provides an appropriate international structure, not just – because this is not just a matter between the United States and Russia. This is a – there are adoptions that we have. I’m sure there are Russian children that are adopted by families in other countries as well.
So the real issue is how can you raise standards so that all of the participants in this process – the agencies in – the orphanages in Russia, the agencies in the United States, but most importantly, the children and the families, they have confidence in the system that’s in place. Clearly, recent cases have told us that there are some things that perhaps can be done better. I mean, on our side, we want to see more countries, including Russia, join the Hague Convention. And in the process of doing so, there can be strong international standards that everyone understands, and everyone plays by that same set of rules.

So we will be talking about a range of things, but our focus right now and next week is to the extent that we have shared concerns about what has happened recently, how can we improve the situation and give renewed confidence to all sides that this can continue.

QUESTION: Russian officials recently have said that they’d like the ability to prosecute American families who have been accused of abusing or otherwise harming the children that are adopted from Russia. How do you feel about allowing that?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I think we in the United States would share that objective, and I think we have strong laws in this country as well to protect children who are neglected or abused.

QUESTION: But prosecuting them in Russia is what I – they would like the ability to prosecute them in Russia.

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not going to go that far.

QUESTION: Can we go back to —

QUESTION: Do you encourage that the American – the adopted mother be prosecuted here in the United States? Does the State Department —

MR. CROWLEY: Well, first of all, that’s a matter for law enforcement to determine whether any laws in this country have been broken.


MR. CROWLEY: I’m not sure that law enforcement has reached that determination.

QUESTION: Going back to Kirit’s first question about the 250 or so that are in the pipeline, you said you would not want to see anything stop – would not like to see anything stop. But the fact of the matter is you don’t know, do you, if these cases are actually going to be allowed to proceed. Is that correct?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, I think that there are cases that are working their way through the adoption process and the Russian —

QUESTION: But the whole —

MR. CROWLEY: — legal system. As to the disposition of any case that is going on right now in Russia, I would defer that to the Russian Government.

QUESTION: But the bottom line here is that you don’t know, correct?

MR. CROWLEY: The bottom line here is we’re —

QUESTION: “We’re seeking clarification.”

MR. CROWLEY: We’re seeking clarification —

QUESTION: So you don’t —

MR. CROWLEY: We are not aware of any change in policy. We are seeking that clarification through the Embassy. But most importantly, we want to have this direct conversation with Russian authorities, and we’re looking forward to that.

QUESTION: So can you – so how are you – how have you sought clarification of the remarks today?

MR. CROWLEY: We have been in touch with the ministry of foreign affairs. And it’s now nighttime in Russia, but we will continue these conversations tomorrow.

QUESTION: Are you satisfied with the clarifications that you’ve gotten so far? It sounds like you’re not.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, right now, to be honest, we’ve received conflicting information —

QUESTION: So the bottom line is you don’t know?

MR. CROWLEY: The bottom line is we’re not aware of any change in policy.
QUESTION: But you don’t know if there has been a change?

QUESTION: And what is the State Department telling American families today who may already be in the process of adopting or may be interested in the future in adopting children from Russia?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, right now, we are working as hard as we can to clarify what is happening to address the concerns that Russia has legitimately about their children who are in the pipeline to come to America. But at the same time, we are working very hard to keep this process going. We don’t want to see a moratorium. We think this is a process that enriches our two countries and obviously places children in need of loving homes in loving homes here in the United States. We want to see this continue, but we also recognize that we – there are some legitimate concerns that Russia has about the current program and we will seek to find ways to strengthen it.

QUESTION: P.J., this is one case with Russia, but American families adopt children from around the globe, many hundred children, including from —

MR. CROWLEY: Wait – are —

QUESTION: No, this is the same.

QUESTION: On Russia?

MR. CROWLEY: Hang on, hang on. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Including from India. This is one case. (Laughter.) Have you gotten any complaint from any other countries than this one case from Russia?

MR. CROWLEY: Look, Goyal, that’s a tough question. I mean, there are thousands upon thousands of adoptions every year. We welcome the children from any part of the world to come here, become American citizens and grow. And we regret that – any time that – I mean, any children, whether native born, whether foreign born – we have the same broad objectives here. We want to see these children come to the United States and prosper as a result. So I can’t sit here and say this is a unique problem, but I can say that we are committed to find ways to continue to bring these children to Americans – to America where we can match children in need with families who want to bring them here.

QUESTION: But do you think this kind of negative publicity will stop in the future? Many countries will think maybe they will not send their children here?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, that – I don’t think that’s the right answer. But as I said before, we do have international agreements, including the Hague Convention, that we can use to adjudicate any issues that come up, whether they’re adoptions, related to adoptions or related to family disputes. If we have strong standards geared towards protecting children, that is something that the United States has long supported.

QUESTION: I just want to clarify something. A moment ago, you just told Matt that you were receiving conflicting information about this. What exactly does that mean? I mean, are you hearing from one ministry, from the foreign ministry you’re hearing yes and from the education and cultural ministry you’re hearing no?

MR. CROWLEY: I can’t be that specific. I —

QUESTION: Without being specific —

MR. CROWLEY: Put it this way —

QUESTION: I mean, why the discrepancy?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, the comment today is at odds with comments made previously. And there – we’re still trying to clarify exactly whether – what the comments for today meant. But as I said, we are not aware of any change in Russia’s policy.

QUESTION: I guess what I’m trying to understand is you’ve spoken to the Embassy here in Washington, your Embassy in Moscow has spoken to the foreign ministry there. Has anything in their responses to you contradicted that earlier statement that seemed to say that there was a suspension?

MR. CROWLEY: I can only say it just as I just said it. We have sought clarification in the information we have received. There is uncertainly on both sides and we’re – we’ll continue that conversation as we speak and in Moscow again tomorrow and again next week.

QUESTION: But is the uncertainly more specific to – I mean, the Russian foreign ministry came out today and said that the adoptions have been suspended. If you flipped it and if Secretary Clinton came out today and said that adoptions to Russia had been suspended, I don’t know what further clarification you would need. So is the —

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean —

QUESTION: So is it really the devil’s in the details here?

MR. CROWLEY: Depending on who you talk to in the Russian Government, we have received information that says that’s right and that’s wrong. So like I say, what we’re relying upon is the fact that notwithstanding these public comments today, we’re not aware of any change in Russian policy. We have not been informed of any broad suspension. We would hope that not occur. And in fact, that’s why we’re sending the team – it will be among the issues we discuss with this team in Moscow next week.

QUESTION: There’s no one on the ground there from the U.S. State Department right now dealing with this specific issue, right? The team is – that’s going in, there was no one who went in advance of them —

MR. CROWLEY: Well, the team that will be in Moscow next week, Mike Kirby and company, they’re still here in Washington. But from Ambassador John Byerly on, we noted the Russian comments today, we sought immediate clarification within the ministry of foreign affairs. And quite honestly, we are still not certain, and that’s why we’re hesitating a little bit.

QUESTION: My final question just on the clarification —


QUESTION: — because I know you’re being very specific on the way you’re answering it, so I’d like to be very specific in the way I ask it. When you say that there are some comments from – the public comments this morning that sparked this whole question about whether there’s a suspension, in anything that you’ve heard here in Washington or Moscow, has anybody told that that may, in fact, be the case? Has anybody – is that part of the conflict, that someone has actually confirmed that, as opposed to saying something on the contrary?

MR. CROWLEY: I think I just said that, that in our conversations today with Russian officials, we’ve had people tell us that the – that today’s comment reflects a different approach, and we’ve had people tell us no, it doesn’t reflect a change in policy. So we are still working closely – we’re going to work closely with the Russian Government to resolve this.

QUESTION: Are you asking the Russians to make a public declaration of what their policy is? Is that part of what seeking the clarification is?

MR. CROWLEY: No, I – no, what we really want to do is notwithstanding – I mean, the public comments by Russia are very heartfelt. As I mentioned here, Foreign Minister Lavrov in the Secretary’s bilateral with him in Moscow last month, he brought up the issue, not because this most recent occur – issue involving a family in Tennessee – that had not yet occurred. But there had been previous instance that had raised concerns within Moscow, and we understand that completely.

So what we want to do is get to the real issue, which is how can we better work with Russia, address legitimate concerns about adoptions, reach new understandings about how they should proceed, and keep the adoption process moving forward, which benefits the children of Russia and benefits families here in the United States. We want to see this process go forward. The team next week will work with Russia to figure out how to best do that.

QUESTION: Change of subject?


QUESTION: Today, the Department of Treasury announced sanctions against two Pakistani nationals who ran charities that were funding to al-Qaida and Taliban. So now what are the expectations from the Pakistan Government? Will they be arresting these two individuals, banning the charities?

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, I am not – I cannot comment on the specific cases. I have not seen any information on them in particular. I would just simply tell you that two evenings ago, when Secretary Clinton visited with Prime Minister Gillani, we talked about the shared effort to combat extremism and we were all encouraged by the signs that we see in terms of steps that both the United States and Pakistan is taking to reduce the threat to both of our countries and the region. But I can’t comment on a particular action taken.

QUESTION: Can I just follow up quickly, P.J.? If this has come to your attention that some of the charities, not only in Pakistan but from any other countries, especially from Karachi, they are funding some of the think tanks here and then those think tanks bring the thinkers panels from – and favoring those countries. Do you have any —

MR. CROWLEY: Again, I’m not in a position to talk about any particular action or any particular group and what happens to that money. I mean, this is something that we pay a great deal of attention to – the flow of money around the world and how that money may, in certain circumstances, benefit extremist groups. But I would defer to – I mean, we have clear rules – laws in this country addressing this. We have built significant cooperation internationally on financial transactions. Now, those financial transactions can support terrorism. But as to whether any particular group has broken any set of laws in this country or Pakistan, I’m not prepared to address that.

QUESTION: But does the statement concern over think tanks here?

MR. CROWLEY: Again, Goyal, I just don’t know anything about this particular case.

QUESTION: Can we go to Kyrgyzstan and can you talk to us about the – any – whatever the latest information you have and what your understanding is of President Bakiyev’s location and whether he plans to return or not?

MR. CROWLEY: I can – Assistant Secretary Bob Blake has finished a second day of meetings with Kyrgyz officials, including, once again, the leader of the interim administration, Rosa Otunbayeva. As to the disposition of President Bakiyev, it’s our understanding, through the efforts of the OSCE, he has departed Kyrgyzstan. But beyond that, I do not know the particulars of his whereabouts or what his future plans are.

QUESTION: You don’t know where he went to from? Is that —

MR. CROWLEY: I believe it was on an airplane provided by Kazakhstan, so it is possible he is in Kazakhstan, but it’s not for me to confirm that.


QUESTION: The Kazakh foreign minister says that this was a deal arranged between President Nazarbayev, President Obama, and President Medvedev.

MR. CROWLEY: During the course of the Nuclear Security Summit, we did talk to President Nazarbayev about this, and I think at one point, President Medvedev was also in on the conversation. I think this points to strong international cooperation to hopefully resolve a difficult situation peacefully.

QUESTION: So, yes? (Laughter.) Yeah?

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, this was an international effort led by the OSCE. Kazakhstan is currently the chair of the OSCE, and we’re just happy that this has been successfully resolved peacefully.

QUESTION: So are you now confident that your operations in Manas Air Base will not be affected or it’s –

MR. CROWLEY: This was not about Manas. There’s – obviously, a political upheaval has occurred in Kyrgyzstan. There’s a process underway that will lead, within six months times, to elections, and we hope to a new government that has the confidence of the people of Kyrgyzstan. That is our focus.

Bob Blake is in Bishkek, will be leaving tomorrow, but has been in there the last couple of days to see how we can be helpful. We want to see the emergence of – the reemergence of democratic constitutional processes in Kyrgyzstan. We want to see Kyrgyzstan have the opportunity to prosper economically. That has been our focus. We have not taken sides in this —

QUESTION: I know, but have you got any assurance from the interim government that they will abide by the agreement you had with them for Manas Air Base?

MR. CROWLEY: I believe that Ms. Otunbayeva has indicated that she will abide, the interim administration will abide by the current agreement. And we, the United States, had notified Kyrgyzstan previously that we hope to extend this. I mean, every year – it’s a five-year agreement – every year, you have to notify Kyrgyzstan of the plans to continue operations there. We have notified them for the period of time that – the remainder of this year into the first half of 2011. But this was about being able to help cooperatively with other countries to resolve the situation peacefully, and today’s action was a very positive step.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Does the U.S. have any information that Bakiyev has, in fact, resigned? And does this have any bearing on the dance you were doing about whether or not we recognize the Otunbayeva administration as the government?

MR. CROWLEY: I can go back and give you a more dramatic reading that we recognize states. We don’t recognize governments. We recognize that there is an interim administration in Kyrgyzstan that is giving instructions to ministries that we continue to work with. Our focus now is on this process that leads to a new government. So this is not about the opposition or it’s not about the existing government. We have talked to the opposition. We have talked to officials within the government. We are working with Kyrgyzstan to try to move it along on a path to democracy and economic prosperity.

QUESTION: So – but when you say existing government, that – you’re drawing a distinction between that and the Otunbayeva interim administration?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, there was a suggestion yesterday that somehow we were taking sides – we were talking to one side, we weren’t talking to the other side. We’re talking to both sides. And with this step, we think it hopefully will remove the prospect of further conflict. And we will work with the interim administration, see how we can be helpful. We’re encouraged by the fact that they’re committed to OSCE principles regarding democracy and human rights. But our focus here has been how to best move this process forward towards a new government that can work on behalf of the people of Kyrgyzstan.

QUESTION: And I’m sorry, do you – the resignation question – do we know if he’s resigned?

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t know, but – I mean, he has left the country, but as to what arrangements exist between the president and the Government of Kyrgyzstan, I would defer to them.

QUESTION: So you are talking to President Bakiyev now?

MR. CROWLEY: We have not talked to President Bakiyev. We have talked to other officials within the government.

QUESTION: P.J., this morning, you called on the Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar to the State Department and now Deputy Secretary Steinberg is visiting India. Any relations, any message that she is carrying or you asked her to convey?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not sure that there’s a connection between the two. I’m sure that —

QUESTION: Because there might be —

MR. CROWLEY: — Deputy Secretary Steinberg looks forward to his visit to India and Bangladesh.

QUESTION: And Indian ambassador that you called her here to the State Department —

MR. CROWLEY: I do not know.

QUESTION: The Secretary is giving a major speech on the Middle East tonight. What is the latest update on Senator Mitchell’s contacts and the peace – where is the peace process standing today?

MR. CROWLEY: It’s standing in the same place it was yesterday, Samir. (Laughter.) Maybe it’s moved an inch to the right or an inch to the left, I don’t know. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Well, it hasn’t been able to get up.

MR. CROWLEY: Look, we continue our contacts with both parties, and some of you noted that George Mitchell was here in Washington for the Nuclear Security Summit. He had some contacts with a variety of officials here, taking advantage of the presence of key leaders from the region. We want to see – we haven’t changed our view that the best way to resolve this conflict is to get the parties into direct negotiations. The proximity talks are a means to that end, and we’d like to see both sides engaged on the substance as soon as possible.

What the Secretary will make clear tonight is, once again, this is in the long – this is in the interest of all parties in the region to support the process rather than trying to throw impediments at – in the process.

Go ahead, Ali.

QUESTION: I have a question on Turkey. You told us that the Secretary and the foreign minister, they discussed how to help Greece. And can you tell us how they are going to do it? Are they going to send money? (Laughter.)

MR. CROWLEY: Look, the – I mean, I’ll defer to my Turkish counterpart to talk about what Turkey is prepared to do. But Minister Davutoglu simply said that he – Turkey wants to find a way to be helpful to Greece, but what form that will take, I defer to Turkey. We ourselves have had similar conversations with Greece and we’re focused on how to best help (inaudible) in that process.

QUESTION: How about on Iran?

MR. CROWLEY: How about on Iran?

QUESTION: Are the Turks willing to be helpful on Iran?

MR. CROWLEY: The Turks want to be helpful on Iran.

QUESTION: Are they?

MR. CROWLEY: Yes, absolutely.

QUESTION: They are being helpful?

MR. CROWLEY: They are being helpful.

QUESTION: By doing what?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, again, as to specific actions that Turkey might take, I’ll defer to Turkey to describe those actions. I think the minister described some ambitious travel plans that he may have between now and the NATO ministerial next week in Tallin. I think we have a very, very strong understanding. And let’s remember that whatever happens involving Iran, Turkey borders Iran, and Turkey will be among the first countries to feel the impact of whatever happens. So we respect that. That’s why Turkey has been deeply engaged in this process. We have an understanding with Turkey as to what needs to happen from here. We have a shared objective, which is that no one wants to see Iran emerge as a nuclear state in the Middle East. That’s Turkey position. That’s the United States’s position. That’s the international community’s position.

And anything we can do in terms of diplomacy and engagement or pressure, we do not see these as being – we see these as being mutually reinforcing as opposed to being an either/or proposition. Turkey indicated that it will continue to find a way to engage Iran and see if can convince Iran to meet its international obligations under the IAEA. And we have made clear that we are consulting with Turkey and working within the Security Council on an appropriate UN Security Council resolution that shows – that demonstrates that there is a consequence for Iran’s failure to meet its obligations or to respond meaningfully to the offer that was put on the table last September.

QUESTION: But they’re not – they are not yet on the same page as you are when it comes to sanctions?

MR. CROWLEY: I wouldn’t necessarily draw that conclusion. I think Turkey recognizes that —

QUESTION: Well, they’ve said as much.

MR. CROWLEY: Turkey recognizes that there is work being done on a sanctions resolution, and Turkey is part of that process and ultimately will have the opportunity to cast a vote on that. At the same time, Turkey has indicated it wants to continue to see if there’s a way to resolve this through diplomacy. And obviously, at the end, what matters is what – not only what Iran does, but also what matters is the international credibility, because we all have a very significant stake in this.


MR. CROWLEY: And we’ve made clear that Iran has responsibilities. It’s clear that Iran has failed to live up to those responsibilities. And we have made clear in today’s meeting and other conversations that we think, at this point, there needs to be action on both fronts.


QUESTION: Did the Secretary show the Turkish foreign minister a draft of the resolution, which they hadn’t seen up until now?

MR. CROWLEY: No. There was no —

QUESTION: Do you know if —

MR. CROWLEY: There was no talk about – this was about a strategic approach to Iran. This was not about the nuts and bolts of a resolution.

QUESTION: But P.J., as far as —

QUESTION: But only yesterday, he complained yesterday that you didn’t show him the draft. He made a speech yesterday. He complained that the Americans refused to give us a plan.

MR. CROWLEY: And we pledged during the meeting that we would have further discussions and consult closely with Turkey as a resolution draft emerges.

QUESTION: But, P.J., as far as sanctions against Iran is concerned, Indian prime minister had a press conference in Washington. He said that sanctions will hurt only the poor people and not the elite or the government.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, and I would remind that our approach to potential sanctions against Iran is, in fact, to direct sanctions intelligently at those who are directly connected and support Iran’s nuclear program, without placing undue hardship on the Iranian people.

QUESTION: So you and India are on the same page regarding sanctions, the types of sanctions on Iran?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I can’t speak for India. I know that there’s work now being done in New York on the particulars of a resolution. That track is continuing. At the same time, if we can find a way through engagement to convince Iran to change course – at the end, what matters is for Iran to shift its present course and – but today, we reemphasized that, look, we’ve done this for a long time. Iran has showed no willingness to seriously engage the international community. It has yet to officially respond within the IAEA to the proposal put on the table last September in Geneva.
And for that, we believe earnestly that now is the time for action; there should be consequences for Iran’s failure to meet its obligations.

QUESTION: You got to speak to the Indian delegation when they were here on Iran? That was part of the readout. You got to know the–

MR. CROWLEY: We are talking to – I mean, there were 47 countries here this week, and I suspect in most, if not all cases, we found a way to talk to them. And Iran obviously was a major topic of discussion.

QUESTION: First, do you have any reports of Americans killed in China in quake – or injured?

MR. CROWLEY: Our best information at this point is there are no American casualties.

QUESTION: Okay. And then the other was there’s – in Qatar there’s been some
op-eds and reports indicating that the – that diplomat was PNG’d . Is that true or not?

MR. CROWLEY: One of our diplomats?

QUESTION: No, the guy who was kicked out last week.

MR. CROWLEY: No, it’s not true.

QUESTION: He was not PNG’d?

MR. CROWLEY: As we reported last week, in a conversation between the Qatari foreign ministry and officials here at the State Department, the Qatari foreign ministry informed us it was their decision to withdraw their diplomat. We thought that was the right answer.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. CROWLEY: So we did not take any action.

QUESTION: I just want to go back to Turkey. Turkey’s complained that when Iraq was hit by sanctions it really devastated their economy. I’m wondering if they have asked you or whether you’ve discussed any sort of help for them if Iran sanctions go forward.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I think that, first of all, there’s an international responsibility, that there are rights and responsibilities when it comes to the development of civilian nuclear energy. And there are countries that are playing by the rules, and there are other countries such as Iran and North Korea that are not playing by the rules.

You can look at a country like Libya, for example, that it contemplated a nuclear program and it chose a different path. And we have obviously welcomed that and that’s opened the door for a different kind of relationship between Libya and the United States. Likewise, for a country like Iran or a country like North Korea, there are opportunities here should they choose to abide by their international obligations. But at the same time, that the credibility of the international system is at stake. There are clear rights and responsibilities under the Nonproliferation Treaty.

And as we outlined in the Nuclear Posture Review, those that live up – live by the rules, will benefit. Those that choose not to live by the rules, will face – need to face firm action, united action, by the international community. So we —

QUESTION: Okay. But if —

MR. CROWLEY: No, we do understand. And Minister Davutoglu did bring up today that as a neighbor of Iran, Turkey will be affected by whatever course of action the international community takes. We understand that. We really do.

QUESTION: How did the Secretary respond?

MR. CROWLEY: But by the same token, at this point in time, if our shared objective is to see no further – shared objective is to prevent an arms race in the Middle East that will profoundly affect Turkey among other countries, that this is the time where the international community has to come together, has to act as one, and has to demonstrate to outlier states like Iran that there is, in fact, a consequence for its failure to live up to its obligations.

Now, once we get into – and as a member of the international community and as a key leader in the region, Turkey has responsibilities. And just as the international community came together in the context of North Korea and not only passed tough sanctions, but also have been enforcing them, we would expect all countries, including Turkey, to step up to its responsibilities. But at the same time, we will be very cognizant of the fact that in doing so there is impact. But we think that the credibility of the international system is at stake.
Go ahead.

QUESTION: Do you think you can restart Six-Party Talks before South Korea determines the course of the sinking of war ship in Yellow Sea?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not sure I understand the question.

QUESTION: Do you think you can start the Six – restart Six-Party Talks before South Korea determines the exact cause of the sinking of a South Korean ship?

MR. CROWLEY: I – we would begin Six-Party Talks in concert with our partners, but the first step is what North Korea has to do. But obviously, we continue to consult closely with South Korea and our partners in the Six-Party process on the way forward.

QUESTION: Following up on that, yesterday Campbell made some remarks that tied together the Six-Party Talks and finding out what happened to the sunken ship yesterday at a CSIS event. He said that – when asked a question, “When do you think we would be able to resume,” he said, “Well, let’s wait to see what happened with the sinking of the South Korea ship.” Do you have any comment?

MR. CROWLEY: I wouldn’t necessarily – I mean, both of those are of great concern. Obviously, we are cooperating with South Korea in terms of the investigation of the tragic sinking of that ship. Everyone wants to know what happened. We have no information at this point that there was particular action external to that ship, but that’s why it’s being investigated. It is in the joint interest of the United States, South Korea, others in the region, to see a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. That is also a joint and shared imperative. But we are looking to see what North Korea is prepared to do, but obviously North Korea’s behavior in the region has an impact in terms of creating the atmosphere for the Six-Party process to move forward.
Go ahead.

QUESTION: Thank you. I asked yesterday for a comment about a speech that Croatian President Josipovic made in Bosnian parliament where he apologized for the role of Croatia in Bosnian war. And today, he made another step in this reconciliation effort. He paid tribute to the victims of the massacre committed by the Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims during their war in 1993. So may I ask you for more elaborate comment on that?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not sure I can give you a more elaborate answer. But I mean, these are positive steps and they help strengthen ties among countries in the Balkans. And we continue to support improved regional cooperation and neighborly relations among these countries, and we think that creates an atmosphere for a change in the dynamic or reduction of tensions, the opportunity for greater understanding. And with that greater understanding, you create new opportunities that can benefit all of the countries of the Balkans.

QUESTION: One more thing if I —


QUESTION: May I ask you about talks of Secretary Clinton with the Turkish foreign minister about Bosnia? What is the position of U.S. toward Turkey mediation effort in Bosnia?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, in fact, when we greeted the foreign minister this afternoon, for part of the meeting Deputy Secretary Jim Steinberg came in to talk about the situation with respect to Bosnia, and they smiled, shook hands, and said we just saw each other last week. So Turkey is a full partner in helping encourage reforms. I think the foreign minister said that we would have some further engagement on this issue in Europe before Tallin. We obviously welcome that. We want to see Bosnia progress. We want to see countries in the region enjoy greater integration, greater cooperation. But there are things that these countries have to do, and we continue to look for ways in which we can encourage steps like you’ve seen today and yesterday and fundamental reforms, resolving issues among these countries and giving them the opportunity to advance.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Can I get some more on the trip, additional detail? Do you know if anything – if your Embassy is doing anything in London and in Europe to deal with this extraordinary number of Americans who are stranded there with all the flights being canceled?

MR. CROWLEY: That’s a very good question. Obviously, we’re aware of the almost unique situation involving the cancellation of flights due to the volcano, but I don’t know any particular actions that were taken.

QUESTION: P.J., just one clarification. You watched the presidential press conference on Tuesday at the Convention Center. When he was asked by two distinctive reporters about Pakistan’s nuclear program, which is a flare-up around the globe, and including especially in India, that President defended Pakistan’s nuclear program. And this convention or summit was about nuclear security and peace. But what I’m asking you is that when Secretary – when President met with the Indian prime minister and Pakistani prime minister, and Secretary was there both places —

MR. CROWLEY: Yes, she was.

QUESTION: — was there different tone during those meeting than what President said during his press conference?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, put it this way: I wasn’t in those meetings so I can’t characterize the – whatever the tone was. Obviously, we are talking to both India and Pakistan about their nuclear programs and the responsibilities that come with them.

QUESTION: Do you have anything on the series of bomb blasts in Burma, where several people were killed today?

MR. CROWLEY: We’re aware of it. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who were the victims of this bombing. I believe we have been told that there were three bombs that exploded. A fourth bomb was found and defused. It took place on a platform constructed for the water festival celebrations. But we don’t know who is responsible. We don’t know what their motivation was. We condemn any kind of violence that victimizes innocent civilians. But beyond that, we’re grateful that no Americans were injured in this. But obviously, we’ll be waiting to see what the results of the investigation are.

QUESTION: And finally on – very soon, the State Department will be hosting Major Economies countries meeting on climate change.


QUESTION: — for the first time after December’s —


QUESTION: What will be the agenda this time? What are you hoping to achieve here?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, it’s obviously a follow-up. I think it’s the first time that the MEF have got together since Copenhagen, taking stock of the process. I think we had a Media Note on this a few days ago, but we will see if we can’t get a full readout once the meeting has taken place.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 3:41 p.m.)

[i] Should read Russian children