Ian Kelly
Department Spokesman
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
July 28, 2009


Index for Today's Briefing
  • DEPARTMENT
    • Recognition of State Department Interns
    • Press Events Connected to U.S. China Strategic Dialogue
  • HONDURAS
    • Review of Diplomatic Visas of De Facto Regime / Revocation of Diplomatic Visas / Policy of Non-Recognition of De Facto Regime
    • Supporting the Process Begun by President Arias / Reviewing Bilateral Programs / Suspension of Certain Aid / Embassy in Communication with Authorities / Urging Honduran Congress to Support Arias Plan and San Jose Accords / Embassy Playing Important Role in Support of Process / Zelaya in Nicaragua
  • HAITI
    • Haitian Migrants Picked Up by Coast Guard / DHS Issue / Customs and Immigration Issue
  • IRAQ
    • Treatment of MEK Dissidents at Camp Ashraf / U.S. Looking into Reports / Monitoring Closely / Iraqi Government Responsibility
  • IRAN
    • Closing of Detention Center / U.S. Deeply Concerned about Arbitrary Arrests and Harassment / Call on Iranian to Release Those Unjustly Detained / Call on Iran to Resolve All Outstanding Foreign National Cases
  • CHINA
    • U.S.-China Strategic Dialogue / Memorandum of Understanding Signing by Todd Stern / Elevation of Climate Change in Bilateral Relationship / Concern for Human Rights
    • Concern of H1N1 / U.S. Students Quarantined / Embassy in Contact / Relaxed Rules
  • NORTH KOREA
    • Concern for Human Rights / Special Envoy for Human Rights in North Korea
    • Concern for Nuclear Program / Six-Party Talks / Denuclearization / UN Security Council Resolution 1874
  • SOMALIA
    • Secretary Clinton's Travel to Somalia / Support for Transitional Federal Government / Direct Military Assistance /Briefing by Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson


TRANSCRIPT:

12:57 p.m. EDT

MR. KELLY: Okay. First of all, let me recognize some colleagues in the back row. We have some of our State Department interns who are sitting in, including, on the left there as I look back, our own PA intern, Melissa Field, who is a student at the University of Pennsylvania. We really appreciate everything that you guys do for us, particularly in the summertime. But all year round, we have interns at the State Department.

First, I want to make a quick statement that we will also issue. The Department of State is currently reviewing the diplomatic visas or A visas of individuals who are members of the de facto regime in Honduras, as well as the derivative visas for family members of these individuals. We have already revoked diplomatic visas issued to four such individuals. These individuals received their diplomatic visas in connection with positions held prior to June 28th under the Zelaya Administration, but who now serve the de facto regime.

And with that – well, I’ll just also there is a press conference, as you know, a joint press – well, there’s a couple press events this afternoon connected with the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. There will be a joint event with the four co-chairs, and then Secretary Clinton and Secretary Geithner will have a press conference followed by a press conference by the Chinese principals, so --

QUESTION: Back on the visas?

MR. KELLY: Back on the visas.

QUESTION: Yeah. How many visas are under review?

MR. KELLY: Well, we’re currently reviewing the – we’ve revoked four visas.

QUESTION: And when did that happen?

MR. KELLY: I believe it happened today or maybe late yesterday. And we’re also reviewing all of the A visas of individuals who are a member of the de facto regime in Honduras as well as the derivative visas of family members of these individuals.

QUESTION: Do you know how many that is?

MR. KELLY: Well, we’re review – I don’t have an exact number of all of the A visas that we’ve issued. I just know that we’ve revoked four. And these visas were revoked down in Tegucigalpa by the U.S. Embassy.

QUESTION: So those four visas, were those people actually here and they’re having to go back?

MR. KELLY: No. These are – as I understand it, these are people who are serving in the de facto regime down there.

QUESTION: There? Okay.

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: And the visas here, these are for people who are already here?

MR. KELLY: We haven’t – yeah. You know that visa information is confidential, so we’re not --

QUESTION: But Ian, you can’t come out and open this briefing by saying that you’ve revoked visas and you’re revoking others --

MR. KELLY: Yes, I can.

QUESTION: -- and then say “I can’t talk about visas.”

MR. KELLY: I can’t – no, of course I can talk – I can’t talk about who exactly (inaudible).

QUESTION: He’s not asking who they are. He’s just asking for the number.

QUESTION: And I’m trying to get --

MR. KELLY: I said four. We revoked four.

QUESTION: I’m trying to get a feel for whether any of the visas that have been – that you are – I mean, you said that the four that have been revoked are all people who were in --

MR. KELLY: As I understand it, yeah.

QUESTION: -- Tegucigalpa, as you understand it.

MR. KELLY: Yeah, who are serving the de facto regime now.

QUESTION: In Tegucigalpa?

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: My question is --

MR. KELLY: Who are (inaudible) --

QUESTION: My question is: Of the visas that you are now reviewing, are any of those people here – i.e., if you revoke them, they’re going to have to go back --

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- or are they – or not?

MR. KELLY: Right.

QUESTION: That’s my question.

MR. KELLY: I don’t have that specific information. But if I can get it, we’ll give it to you.

QUESTION: That would be helpful.

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: I mean, the number and where they are --

MR. KELLY: No, I understand that. That’s a perfectly fair question.

QUESTION: And then last question, just a simple why?

MR. KELLY: Why?

QUESTION: Yes.

QUESTION: Yes.

QUESTION: Just so we have a --

QUESTION: Can you explain?

QUESTION: To us, explain why are you doing this?

MR. KELLY: Well, as you know, we don’t recognize Roberto Micheletti as the President of Honduras. We recognize Manuel Zelaya. And so in keeping with that policy of non-recognition, we have decided to revoke official diplomatic visas or A visas of four individuals who are members of that regime, the regime of Micheletti.

QUESTION: This is a way of – is this a way of – I mean, you could have done this, obviously, at any point subsequent to Zelaya’s removal. Are you doing this to ratchet up the pressure on the Micheletti government?

MR. KELLY: Well, I don’t think I would characterize it that way. But what we are doing is we’re trying to do everything that we can to support this process that was begun by Costa Rican President Arias and their negotiation efforts. These actions that we’re taking are consistent with our policy of the non-recognition of the de facto – of the regime of Roberto Micheletti.

QUESTION: And why didn’t you do it earlier, I guess is the question? I mean, it’s been over a month.

MR. KELLY: Well, I mean, we – I mean, it is what it is. We did it today. I – like I say, I don’t think I would see it necessarily as a turning of the screw necessarily. It’s something that we’ve done. We’re reviewing all of our bilateral programs with Honduras. Now, you know that we’re reviewing and we have suspended certain assistance programs that go – that are directly in support of a – of the regime down there.

QUESTION: And could you give us an update on who you’re speaking with, if anybody, down in Tegucigalpa?

MR. KELLY: We are – right now, we’re – as I said, we’re very focused on supporting President Arias. I know that the Embassy down there is in communication with the authorities in Honduras and in encouraging them to support the process. I don’t have a – sort of a detailed chronology of who exactly we’ve contacted, but I know that our Embassy is in contact with the authorities down there.

QUESTION: Ian, why shouldn’t we see it as, to use your phrase, a “turning of the screw”?

MR. KELLY: Well –

QUESTION: How else can one see it?

MR. KELLY: Well, it’s – fair enough. It is part of our overall policy towards the de facto regime down there. We know that – or you know that we have a policy of not recognizing the administration of Roberto Micheletti. And it’s just – it’s a step that we’ve taken to be consistent with our policy.

QUESTION: And one – one other on Honduras. I’m well aware that the Legal Adviser’s Office was examining whether the events in Honduras technically met their definition of a coup and therefore would trigger the cutoff in aid that I realize you have already suspended.

MR. KELLY: Yes.

QUESTION: Have you yet reached a determination on that question?

MR. KELLY: I’ll have to get you an update on that.

QUESTION: Ian?

QUESTION: This doesn’t mean that you’ve decided or that that review is coming to an end?

MR. KELLY: I – just like I say, I just need to – I’ll need to get you an update on that. I think in general, in terms of just to follow on to what I said before about our contacts with the regime down there, I know that our Embassy is urging the Honduran congress to send a strong signal of support for the Arias accords and for President Arias’s efforts to provide a democratic solution to the Honduran crisis. So I just wanted to add that we are trying to – we are urging the Honduran congress to support the Arias plan or the San Jose accords.

Yeah, Dave.

QUESTION: For review, what is this – what is the status of the Honduran Embassy here in D.C.? Are you having any dealings with them? Are you considering revoking their visas and sending them back?

MR. KELLY: Yeah, I’m just – I’ll have to take that question. I’m not sure of the exact details of that.

Yeah, Kirit.

QUESTION: A different topic. On Haiti, do you have anything to say about these, I guess, hundreds of Haitian migrants who have been picked up by the Coast Guard off of Turks and Caicos, and what do you plan on doing with those that have been recovered?

MR. KELLY: Yeah, I think that’s really – that’s going to be a DHS issue. I’ve seen the reports, and I know that the Coast Guard was involved in picking them up and ensuring their safety, but I think that it now becomes a Customs and Immigration issue. This – of course, we’re following it very closely, and I am sure that there will be a role for the State Department, particularly in any kind of liaison that we have with the Haitian authorities.

QUESTION: Have the Haitians asked you to return them to their --

MR. KELLY: I’m just – Kirit, I’m just not aware that they have.

QUESTION: Another subject?

MR. KELLY: Yes.

QUESTION: This MEK group in Iraq, Iranian dissidents – they’re claiming that their Camp Ashraf is under assault.

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: And that – they’re also charging that the U.S. has reneged on a promise to protect them from the Iraqis.

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: What’s your understanding of that situation?

MR. KELLY: Yeah, I do have something for you on that. We’ve seen these media reports, and we’re looking into them. As you know, the Government of Iraq has assumed responsibility, security responsibility, for Camp Ashraf and its residents. We continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure the residents of Camp Ashraf are treated in accordance with Iraq’s written assurances that it will treat the residents there humanely.

This is in accordance with the constitutional laws and the international obligations of Iraq, and the government has stated to us that no Camp Ashraf resident will be forcibly transferred to a country where they have reason to fear persecution on the basis of their political beliefs – political opinions or religious beliefs, or whether there are substantial grounds for believing they would be tortured.

Of course, this is – as I said before, this is really a matter for the Government of Iraq to handle. This is completely within their purview. But we are closely monitoring it.

QUESTION: Is it just monitoring or is there going to be negative feedback afterwards? Because reports are, you know, indicating --

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- the level of – there is some actually harsh treatment of those --

MR. KELLY: Yeah. As I say, I mean, we’ve seen these reports. It’s an evolving situation. And as it develops, of course we’ll – we will monitor it. And if the situation warrants, of course we’ll let our feeling be known about it.

Arshad.

QUESTION: Just a question on Iran. I’m sure you’ve seen the reports that Supreme Leader Khamenei has ordered a detention center closed. Is this a good thing?

MR. KELLY: I’ve only seen reports of it, so it’s hard for me to – or hard for us at the State Department to comment on something that we’ve only seen reports of. I mean, what I will say is, of course, that we’re deeply concerned about all these arbitrary arrests, detentions, and harassments that are – that have taken place in Iran, as well as the persistent lack of due process.

All along, we’ve called upon Iran’s leadership to release all of those who have been detained unjustly, and so allow them to be reunited with their families. In addition, we’re very concerned about some detentions of foreign citizens, including an American scholar that we’ve talked about here before, Kian Tajbakhsh, Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari, and there’s a French scholar, Clotilde Reiss.

They have been detained, we think, without any grounds. And we find this unacceptable and we’re urging Iran to resolve all outstanding foreign national cases, including the call on Iran to be very transparent and open about the case of American citizen Robert Levinson, who’s been missing since March 2007.

QUESTION: There’s no update on the status of Mr. Tajbakhsh or the other American citizens?

MR. KELLY: I don’t have any update right now.

QUESTION: Has anyone asked – while I had to step out, has anyone asked about the U.S.-China dialogue?

MR. KELLY: No. I mean, I --

QUESTION: Can you explain to me what exactly has been accomplished in this, the part of – the strategic review part of it, the talks here at the State Department?

MR. KELLY: Well, there – the talks are ongoing even as we speak, and of course, there’s going to be a press conference later today. So I’ll defer to the --

QUESTION: Well, I’m referring to what happened an hour later than it should have.

MR. KELLY: The memorandum of understanding?

QUESTION: Yeah. We have no information about what this memorandum --

MR. KELLY: I’ll see if I can --

QUESTION: -- actually does or says.

MR. KELLY: I’ll see if I can give you some information.

Yes, there was a memorandum of understanding that was signed. And I’ll have it for you – the information for you in just a second. It was signed by our Special Envoy Todd Stern for the State Department, and David Sandalow – S-a-n-d-a-l-o-w – Assistant Secretary of Energy. The memorandum elevates climate change in our bilateral relationship. It recommits the U.S. and China to reach a successful international agreement, and expands cooperation to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon global economy.

We believe that we’ll be able to promote and coordinate bilateral cooperation through this MOU, cooperation in the areas of climate change and clean energy. It’s going to establish an ongoing dialogue between the U.S. and China regarding what both countries are doing to reduce emissions and advance international climate negotiations ahead of the UN meeting in Copenhagen this December. And it also lays a foundation for more cooperation, expanded cooperation in areas like energy efficiency, renewable energy, smart grid technologies, electric vehicles, carbon capture and sequestration, joint research and development, clean air and water, and protection of natural resources.

QUESTION: I thought there already was an ongoing dialogue about all this.

MR. KELLY: Well, this expands and enhances the dialogue and makes it more systematic. You know that Todd Stern has gone to --

QUESTION: Right.

MR. KELLY: -- China and – so he can kick things off for this Administration.

QUESTION: But does it do anything? Does it accomplish anything other than just agreeing to continue talks?

MR. KELLY: I think it sets a framework. It sets a framework for future cooperation. It’s a memorandum of understanding –

QUESTION: Alright.

MR. KELLY: -- for a structure, for a dialogue.

QUESTION: And I’m wondering when the – when is the human rights part of the strategic dialogue? When does that come up? Is that coming up right now?

MR. KELLY: Well, I think it’s – under the strategic track, there’s a number of political issues that are discussed, and you heard the President’s comments yesterday.

QUESTION: You mean when he opened the speech?

MR. KELLY: So I’m sure it will be discussed.

QUESTION: Yeah, he made a brief mention of it.

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: But when is the actual – when does that discussion take place?

MR. KELLY: Well, as I say, it’s ongoing. I think that a lot of substance of the strategic track happens – is happening now and is happening this afternoon.

QUESTION: Okay. So what exactly is being raised on the human rights front?

MR. KELLY: Well, again, I’ll let the Secretary address that. It’s ongoing right now, and I can’t really --

QUESTION: But it is going to --

MR. KELLY: I can’t tell you --

QUESTION: But it is being raised?

MR. KELLY: I’m sure it will be raised.

QUESTION: Just to go back to this memorandum of understanding, does it mention any figures in terms of the missions or any goals? Or is it just sort of – how can I phrase this – the language to recommit yourselves to talk about it, or --

MR. KELLY: Again, as I said just a few minutes ago, it gives us a framework for talking about a lot of these issues. It’s not an agreement, per se, for each side to commit themselves to some particular target. It sets a structure for dialogue.

QUESTION: And what is that structure for the dialogue? Are you planning to meet every two weeks, every week, every month?

MR. KELLY: I don’t have the text in front of me here right now, so I’m not sure that that’s laid out in the memorandum.

QUESTION: Is the text going to be released publicly or is this --

MR. KELLY: I’m not sure that it’ll be – we’re going to try and release a fact sheet. We’ll try and get you as much information as we can.

QUESTION: But why won’t you release the actual documents? Because --

MR. KELLY: We might. I don’t know. I don’t know that we are or that we will or that we won’t.

QUESTION: So you are going to put out a fact sheet?

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: But you couldn’t have put it out when the thing was actually signed?

MR. KELLY: Apparently not.

QUESTION: Any reason for that?

MR. KELLY: Well, like I say, we’ll try and get you --

QUESTION: And also, is there any reason that that ceremony was delayed for an hour? Were there still --

MR. KELLY: I believe it was delayed because the talks were --

QUESTION: So they were still wrangling over what was going to go into the MOU?

MR. KELLY: I don’t know. What was the verbiage you just used?

QUESTION: Well, wrangling.

QUESTION: Wrangling.

MR. KELLY: Wrangling.

QUESTION: But still negotiating what was going to go into the --

MR. KELLY: No, I don’t think that was it at all. It was that the previous conversation just went longer than anticipated.

QUESTION: So the MOU has been done for some time?

MR. KELLY: I’m not sure exactly when it was actually finished, but I don’t think the delay was due to – well, maybe I shouldn’t say that. I do know that the talks in the morning went longer than anticipated.

QUESTION: So was there a spirited debate over what to put in it?

MR. KELLY: I’m not sure, Sue.

Yes.

QUESTION: Yeah. North Korean human rights issues not currently from North today at all. How does the United States concern about North Korean human right issue change in current?

MR. KELLY: Well, I think you probably saw last week in Thailand the Secretary announced that we’re going to have a special envoy on human rights in North Korea. We do have – we have a lot of concerns, of course, about North Korean behavior. But, yes, she announced that we’re going to have a special envoy for human rights.

QUESTION: She didn’t announce who it was going to be?

MR. KELLY: No, she did not.

Yes, I mean, we do have concerns and we raise our concerns about human rights in a number of different fora. We, of course, are very concerned about the arrest and detention of the two American journalists. We’re concerned about the lack of – I mean, you could go right down the line in terms of political – lack of political freedoms in North Korea. And we’re always very forthright about pointing out where we think that there needs to be improvement.

QUESTION: Is this – this special envoy is basically going to be filling the job that Jay Lefkowitz used to have?

MR. KELLY: I’m not sure what job Jay Lefkowitz had.

QUESTION: He was the special envoy for human rights in North Korea --

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, I’m not sure – I’m not sure that it --

QUESTION: -- created by the Bush Administration. This is the same position? It’s not something new?

MR. KELLY: Not knowing what Mr. Lefkowitz did before, it’s hard for me to say that it’ll be the same job.

QUESTION: Even if North Korea nuclear issue is resolved at the Six-Party Talks – but doesn’t the United States still concerned about human rights issue – same time?

MR. KELLY: Yes, absolutely. I mean, we’ve said all along that we can – we have, obviously, real concerns about the nuclear program. And we are working very hard to get North Korea back to the Six-Party Talks. But at the same time, we have concerns about North Korea’s human rights record and their lack of fundamental political freedoms for their people.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Just on the special envoy for human rights, what would he be doing exactly? I mean, would he be raising human rights with North Korean --

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- leaders or --

MR. KELLY: He or she – let’s see if we can get you more information. The Secretary announced it last week, and let’s see if we can get you more information on it.

QUESTION: Is the Republic of North Korea going to come up in the strategic dialogue?

MR. KELLY: The topic has already come up, in fact. I mean, you saw that President Obama, in his opening speech, highlighted the need to advance our mutual interests in stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. And this, of course, includes our collaboration on – in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. The issue was covered. The issue of the denuclearization and our common interests in attaining that state was covered in the discussions, and also in Secretary Clinton’s meeting with State Councilor Dai. The U.S. and China reiterated their agreement on the need for implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1874 and the need for North Korea to return to the Six-Party Talks.

Kirit.

QUESTION: Do you know today whether those American students who are being held in China over the swine flu concerns came up in the talks that we asked about yesterday?

MR. KELLY: As a matter of fact, I know that they were raised yesterday. I did ask our China people. I also know that it was – this issue has been raised in Beijing through our Embassy. They contacted the Chinese foreign affairs bureau.

(Cell phone rings.)

MR. KELLY: Robert. (Laughter.) They contacted the foreign affairs office, the equivalent of the Chinese CDC. And what we have done is raised our concerns about these quarantined Americans and our concerns about their families in the U.S. The Embassy staff remain – maintains regular contact with Americans who have been isolated or quarantined and assist them as needed, including ensuring that they’re able to call their family and friends back home.

QUESTION: And was there any assurance given that they would be – that they would no longer pose a threat or be released, or did they say that they still would like to hold them? I mean, was there any resolution to this, or no?

MR. KELLY: What I know is that the Chinese Ministry of Health has released new guidance on dealing with cases of suspected H1N1 virus, and they’ve encourage provincial and local authorities to suspend quarantine of persons who have come in contact with individuals that the quarantine rules – the rules call for quarantining those who are even in some kind of proximity to people who have flu-like symptoms. So I know that they’ve relaxed those rules a little bit.

QUESTION: You don’t know anything about this case?

MR. KELLY: Well, it’s – we can’t talk about the specific cases because of a usual – the usual mantra that I have up here that – because of the privacy concerns, the privacy of the individuals.

Sue.

QUESTION: Following the statement you put out last night on the Secretary’s travel to Africa, do you have an end date for her visit? Because that was not included in the statement. And then secondly, why is she meeting the Somali – the president of Somalia’s transitional government?

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: What’s she hoping to achieve by that? Is it a sign of, sort of, support for him?

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: Is she going to dole out more money? Or what’s the --

MR. KELLY: Well, here’s a sign of support for him. They’re going to be – the end date, we’ll communicate that separately. She does intend to underscore our firm support for the Transitional Federal Government, the African Union Mission in Somalia, AMISOM, and international efforts to stabilize Somalia. We remain committed to isolating the extremists who are seeking to prevent a peaceful political process in Somalia. And she will also underscore our ongoing U.S. commitment to the humanitarian crisis in Somalia.

QUESTION: Last month, I think the U.S. said it had given 14 tons or so of arms and ammunition to the Somali Government to help. Have you given more ammunition since then, more guns? And what is the state of sort of military assistance at the – I know that that’s probably at Pentagon, but I think it actually comes under you.

MR. KELLY: Yeah, I think it does. I think that the – some of the direct military assistance does come under the State Department. Let me take this opportunity to announce that I hope to have Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson here on Thursday, and – but in the meantime, if there’s something that we can provide you between now and then, we’ll see if we can do it. We’ll take the time.

QUESTION: Can I get a time for that?

MR. KELLY: Sorry?

QUESTION: Whether that’s going to be morning or afternoon?

MR. KELLY: I think it’s going to be around this time, around the – so it’ll be the usual kind of leading off the briefing.

QUESTION: Can I go back to Honduras for a second?

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: If you’re taking this step, why are you keeping your Embassy open? Why are you – well, why do you still have an ambassador in Honduras?

MR. KELLY: Well, the Embassy remains open.

QUESTION: I know it does. That’s why I’m asking.

MR. KELLY: Yeah. It provides a whole --

QUESTION: Well, if you’re now taking the step of not taking measures to demonstrate just how much you do not recognize Micheletti’s government, why do you still have diplomats there? I can’t think of another country in the world where this is – where there’s a similar case.

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, I don’t have guidance on this, Matt, but I will tell you that I – the Embassy in Tegucigalpa is playing an important role in helping support the process that President Arias has --

QUESTION: But their number one job is to handle relations between this government and that government.

MR. KELLY: We --

QUESTION: And that government you’re not dealing with, so why are they there?

MR. KELLY: Well, I mean --

QUESTION: Or do you have any reason to believe that they will become unwelcome because of your action today?

MR. KELLY: Well, the – an embassy does a lot of things, and I take your point that an important part of it is liaison with the government. But there are a number of other important things that the Embassy does. The most important thing we do is we look after the welfare of American citizens. There’s still quite a bit of travel going on between Honduras and the U.S., and it wouldn’t be really in our interest to close the Embassy.

We also have a number of programs that benefit the Honduran people and we have a number of outreach programs through our Embassy to the Honduran people, so there’s a lot of good work that we still do down there.

QUESTION: Can you just quickly say what you’re doing to help support the efforts of Arias, though? I mean, I know you say that you’re reaching out to Zelaya and his people, but there are – just to clarify, there are absolutely no discussions with any officials in the de facto government?

MR. KELLY: I don’t – I wouldn’t say that categorically. I know that we’re talking quite a bit to the Honduran congress. And as I said before, we’re urging them to support this – the Arias process and the San Jose accords. I can’t give you a blow-by-blow of who exactly we’ve contacted in the government.

QUESTION: Is President Zelaya still coming, or does he still have a visa? (Laughter.)

MR. KELLY: President Zelaya, I understand, is in Nicaragua. I know that he has indicated that he wanted to come back up to Washington, but we don’t have any specific information on when he’s going to come back.

QUESTION: Do you think it will be useful for him to come to Washington, or do you think not?

MR. KELLY: Well, as I said before, our focus is on what President Arias is doing. Our energies are focused on that, on supporting him and helping him and his negotiation efforts. If there is a role that he thinks that we can play vis-à-vis Mr. Zelaya, of course, we’re ready to do it.

QUESTION: But I’m unclear, though, because you say that you support – you recognize President Zelaya as the president. You support his return.

MR. KELLY: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: But you have no opinion as to whether he should come to the United States or not? I mean, shouldn’t you be – if he wants to come, shouldn’t you be giving him like a big, warm hug to show that you support him?

MR. KELLY: It’s up to him. I mean, what we’ve said is that we would discourage him from doing anything that would somehow undermine President Arias. We’ve – the President – I mean, Secretary Clinton has urged him not to do anything precipitous regarding going into Honduras absent a political solution. And again, if we can help by sitting down and talking with Manuel Zelaya, with President Zelaya, we’re happy to do it. But it’s up to President Zelaya to determine when he wants to come back here.

QUESTION: It sounds like you don’t support what happened to him and you support some kind of reversal of what happened, but you don’t necessarily support him as a political leader.

MR. KELLY: I don’t know why you’re drawing that conclusion.

QUESTION: Well, I mean, you’re not – you’re saying that you support – you recognize him as president, but at every turn, I mean, you’re not --

MR. KELLY: We have never – we’ve never turned down any requests for a meeting or a telephone conversation or anything with President Zelaya.

QUESTION: But you’ve made no comment about – like, you know, you’ve said that he should be returned because you call it part of this kind of constitutional order and rule of law, but you don’t seem to be making any strong support for him as an individual.

MR. KELLY: Our support right now is for President Arias, for that whole process to play out.

QUESTION: But he’s the one that was ousted, though.

MR. KELLY: Sorry?

QUESTION: But Zelaya was the one who --

MR. KELLY: I don’t know – I mean, I think that we have given him – I don’t know what else we can do to support President Zelaya. We – every day we call for his return --

QUESTION: Really?

MR. KELLY: -- to Honduras and the restoration of the democratic and constitutional order.

QUESTION: But when he says he wants to come here, you’re not like, okay, great --

MR. KELLY: I just said if – we’re happy to --

QUESTION: -- you’ll meet with the Secretary of State.

MR. KELLY: -- we’re happy to see him.

QUESTION: He has asked for sanctions to be imposed on specific people. So this is – are you moving in that direction with the revocation of the visas?

MR. KELLY: I’m not aware exactly what he said. He’s asking for?

QUESTION: He wrote a letter to President Obama saying that he would like to see sanctions imposed.

MR. KELLY: Yeah. I haven’t seen that letter. But I mean, as I said before, the revocation of visas is consistent with our policy.

QUESTION: Is this a first step towards more punitive measures?

MR. KELLY: Well, again, we’re still putting our full weight behind President Arias, and that process has not played out yet.

QUESTION: Can I change subjects?

QUESTION: No. Actually, one more. On this review of all the programs, you still haven’t completed the review, or you’re basically not making a determination to allow time for these negotiations to --

MR. KELLY: Yeah. I took that. I took that question earlier.

QUESTION: Just --

MR. KELLY: An update, possible update.

QUESTION: Just to go back to Camp – the Camp Ashraf question.

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: I heard what you said before about how you’re monitoring this, and – but that, ultimately, this was up to the Iraqi Government.

MR. KELLY: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: And the email I just got says that – it claims that Iraqi police forces are pouring boiling water on residents of Camp Ashraf and throwing stones at them. I mean, the allegation is that these people are being mistreated. Do you have – can you check to see if you have anything – I mean, if you believe those reports are credible and therefore if you’re actually going to intervene or speak to the Iraqi authorities about this?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Yeah, we’ll see what we can do, Arshad. Those are certainly very disturbing reports that you’re reading there.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. KELLY: Okay, thanks.

QUESTION: One more question?

MR. KELLY: No. I have a 1:30 lunch, so that’s it. Briefing’s over.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:33 p.m.)

[This is a mobile copy of Daily Press Briefing - July 28]