Ian Kelly
Department Spokesman
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
August 25, 2009


Index for Today's Briefing
  • AFGHANISTAN
    • Preliminary results of the Afghan Independent Electoral Commission; 10% of vote counted thus far
    • The beginning of a lengthy process; patience is needed; results expected in middle of September
    • Refrain from speculation until national results are announced; Allegations of corruption from Dr. Abdullah; we take allegations of fraud seriously; but need to wait for process to play out
    • Excellent Afghan-driven process in place; US is going to remain impartial; no favorites
  • LIBYA
    • US sensitive to concerns of the communities re: travel arrangements made for the Libyan delegation
    • We are talking to appropriate authorities on local and state level; and with the Libyans to highlight the concerns; no decision has been made regarding where Qadhafi will stay;
    • Not sure of our legal possibilities; it is currently being discussed; looking to come to an agreement with Libyan Government; being discussed bilaterally; also listening to citizens' concerns
    • US obligated under an agreement with UN to facilitate travel of foreign nationals to and from UN
    • Question about who provides security for foreign leaders attending UNGA: Secret Service / DS
    • Question about the need of foreign dignitaries need to notify security officials of travel itineraries
    • Question taken: have restrictions Sen. Lautenberg requesting been imposed on anyone else before?
  • STATE DEPARTMENT
    • Role in overseeing suspected terrorists being taken to third countries; do diplomatic assurances work in protecting terrorists from human rights abuse?
    • Three parts to DoS role in transfers: evaluate assurances to ensure transferees are protected; establish a monitoring mechanism to verify that a prisoner is not abused after transfer has taken place; an annual joint report from IGs of DHS and DoD to report on how system is working
    • US may need to get agreement from receiving country that consular officers/monitors be able to go in and verify that they are not being abused
    • Question taken on how process of obtaining assurances in the past has worked
    • Expect that some part of IG reports will be unclassified and releasable to the public
    • Question on using third party contractors to monitor abuse of detainees;
  • NORTH KOREA
    • Will not comment on whether North Koreans have issued invitations to Amb Bosworth and Amb Sung Kim to visit Pyongyang next month
    • Amb Goldberg has been out in the region; expect other US officials to travel to the region soon, including Amb Bosworth; neither have any immediate plans to go to North Korea
    • North Koreans must agree to the Six-Party Talks, then we will sit down with them; we don't want to disenfranchise our four-party partners; this is a regional security issue; must be resolved regionally
    • We've been consulting with our four-party colleagues on the best way to get North Koreans to come back to the Six-Party Talks; one way is to enforce UNSC Resolution 1874;
  • IRAN
    • Kian Tajbakhsh charged; If true, US would be very concerned; have called repeatedly for his release
    • No new information concerning status of three Americans hikers seized on the Iraq-Iran border
    • Not prepared to comment on IAEA report and on issue that Iran has not expanded the number of centrifuges that it has enriching uranium at Natanz
  • SOUTH KOREA
    • ROK have developed a space launch vehicle program in a responsible manner; no information that launch was conducted in any way inconsistent with its international obligations and commitments


TRANSCRIPT:

1:25 p.m. EDT

MR. KELLY: Well, welcome to the State Department. Let me just say a few words at the top about the latest announcement of the Afghan Independent Electoral Commission. You’ve all seen that there have been preliminary results released today by the IEC. These results represent 2,697 polling stations and 18 provinces, and this accounts for approximately 10 percent of all the polling places.

Today’s announcement – we want to emphasize – is the beginning of a lengthy process. We all need to be patient, allow the respective authorities to do their jobs thoroughly, and we have to wait for the results to be released. And so, as we’ve said before, we call on all parties to refrain from speculation until the national results are announced. And we expect that those announcements – that that announcement will be available, or the results will be available, around the middle of September. I think the timeframe I’ve heard is between September 17 and September 23. And then those results have to be certified by the IEC. And of course, the IEC has to go through all of the complaints that have come in about the process. So we congratulate Afghanistan for this – for another milestone in this very important development in Afghanistan’s history, and of course, we stand ready as always to support them in this process.

And with that, I’ll take your questions.

QUESTION: What’s the latest on the – where will Qadhafi stay when he comes to the U.S.?

QUESTION: Can I ask about that real quick, about Afghanistan?

QUESTION: Yeah.

QUESTION: Just briefly, can you talk a little bit about the new allegations from Dr. Abdullah about corruption? He’s produced videos with a number of ballots being stamped in succession – that kind of thing.

MR. KELLY: Yeah, yeah. Well, I haven’t seen these allegations. I would say that there is an accepted process in place for dealing with these allegations. And I – we would urge all the parties to adhere to that process for this – for the Electoral Commission to evaluate these allegations of fraud. We, of course, take all allegations of fraud very seriously, and the Afghan authorities have told us that they will take allegations of fraud seriously.

QUESTION: But just real quickly. So are you concerned then about these allegations being made?

MR. KELLY: Well, as we’ve said many times, we want – and as I just said a few minutes ago – we want to see this process play out. An important part of that process will be an open and transparent investigation through this – through the Independent Electoral Commission to investigate these allegations of fraud. But we really want all parties to refrain from speculating on outcomes or questions of legitimacy until the process plays out.

QUESTION: So you’re not concerned?

MR. KELLY: I just said that we are – we always take allegations of fraud seriously, but there’s a process in place to investigate and review those allegations.

QUESTION: I just –

QUESTION: I want to ask a Qadhafi question.

QUESTION: Yeah, if you could just answer quickly. I think, in the past, the U.S. wasn’t really happy with President Karzai and if anything like President Karzai will be back, do you think you can again work with him?

MR. KELLY: Well, Goyal, welcome back, for one thing.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. KELLY: But also we have been very clear that we do not have any favorites in this election. While this process is playing out, we’re going to remain impartial. And of course, President Karzai is one of the candidates in this election.

Yeah? Also on Afghanistan?

QUESTION: With so many claims and fraud allegations coming up from a lot of candidates, including Abdullah Abdullah, and so do you think there will be a question mark on the legitimacy of the election itself?

MR. KELLY: Well, again, there is an excellent Afghan-driven process in place. Let’s give it a chance to play out.

Also on Afghanistan?

QUESTION: Yeah, also on Afghanistan. Out of 15 million registered voters, only 5 million have come out and they exercised their right to vote. Do you think it is – do you have a little concern about it, because a vast majority of Afghan people, they haven’t participated in the elections?

MR. KELLY: I don’t know if I’d say vast majority, and I don’t think we have definitive figures on turnout, so I’ll reserve comment on that.

Anything else on Afghanistan? Are we –

QUESTION: Well, now I changed my mind. (Laughter.) Do you have any concern about the Afghanistan elections –

MR. KELLY: No.

QUESTION: – allegations of fraud, that kind of thing? Anything on that? (Laughter.)

MR. KELLY: I think I’ve answered that question, Matt.

QUESTION: Yeah, you have, actually.

Qadhafi?

MR. KELLY: Qadhafi.

QUESTION: What’s the latest on where he’s going to stay? Is he – what are your plans for him?

MR. KELLY: Well, I think you’ve all seen reports of concerns of members of the community in the New York area, families of the victims. We – of course, our priority has been and will remain the families of the victims of this tragedy. And we, of course, have said all along that we thought that it was, as the President said, it was highly objectionable for the Libyan Government to receive Mr. al-Megrahi the way they did. Having said that, we, of course, are sensitive to the concerns of the communities that might be affected by any travel arrangements made for the Libyan delegation. We are talking to the appropriate authorities both on the local level in the New York area. We’ve had contacts, of course, with congressional delegations. I think you’ve seen the – some of the letters from U.S. representatives. I know I’ve seen Senator Lautenberg’s letter.

So we are involved in discussions, but as I said before, we’re also talking to the Libyans to highlight the concerns that we have and the very raw sensibilities or sensitivities of the families who live in that area. But it is no – just to wrap this up, no decision has been made regarding where he will stay.

QUESTION: All right. Well, since you raised Senator Lautenberg’s letter, he is suggesting or asking that Qadhafi be limited in his ability to travel to the UN Headquarters district which -- if you look at a map, there isn’t any place to stay there. I guess he could – there’s a park that he might be able to pitch his tent in, but there are no hotels in that area. Is that a feasible request to limit travel between – from 42nd to 48th Street and from 1st Avenue to FDR Drive and the East River?

MR. KELLY: Well, as far as the --

QUESTION: Has that ever been done before?

MR. KELLY: -- yeah. As far as the legal levers that we would have, I’m not sure. I do know, as you just mentioned, that we do have this restriction of – on certain diplomats based in New York of a 25 mile radius and that --

QUESTION: Right. But he’s asking for something much more strict.

MR. KELLY: Well, I know. That’s – I’m just – I’m not sure of our legal possibilities. And that is something that we’re discussing right now in this building.

QUESTION: All right. Did – was –

MR. KELLY: But we’re – wait a second, Matt. But what we’re hoping for is that we don’t get to this point, I mean, that we’re able to come to some kind of agreement with the Libyan Government on it.

QUESTION: Well, whose suggestion was it for the Englewood property?

MR. KELLY: I – it wasn’t our suggestion. I’ve only seen the press reports on that.

QUESTION: So after Central Park was turned down, the Libyans looked for –

MR. KELLY: Again, those are press reports. I’m not even sure whether it was turned down or they reconsidered.

QUESTION: Well, I’m just trying to get a– did the Libyans offer Englewood up as an alternative?

MR. KELLY: I don’t know the answer to that question.

QUESTION: Well, just to be –

MR. KELLY: I know that they own property in Englewood.

QUESTION: Is it clear that they – that the Libyans indeed asked for him to be able to pitch his tent in Central Park?

MR. KELLY: It’s not clear.

QUESTION: That’s not clear to you?

MR. KELLY: Not to me. Not to me, anyway.

QUESTION: Can you please confirm that he wants a special place for his tent, or that he agreed to –

MR. KELLY: I can’t confirm that. That’s only something that only the Libyan Embassy here could confirm.

QUESTION: Yeah. So what do you – just so I understand it – well, two things. One, you talked about the sensitivities of people in the New York area, but I believe that the people who have been most vocal have in fact been the representatives, including the mayor of Englewood, and obviously Senator Lautenberg of New Jersey. So have you seen other members of Congress or other local officials from New York State objecting to his presence, or is this so far just a New Jersey thing?

MR. KELLY: Yeah, Arshad, I’m not aware of other representations to us from congressional members.

QUESTION: Okay. And then you said that you’re talking to the local officials and -- you’re talking to them and, I presume, to the Libyans, to what end? To find a community that’s willing to take him, or –

MR. KELLY: Well, I think right now we’re just – we’re listening. We’re listening to their concerns.

QUESTION: But what’s the objective?

MR. KELLY: Yeah, Jill.

QUESTION: Is the objective to find a place for him to stay where it’s not going to annoy the local community, or –

MR. KELLY: As I say, we are now – we’re discussing within this building what exactly – what the levers that we have. But what we want – I mean, we want to be able to come to some sort of consensus with Libya before we even get to that point.

QUESTION: Consensus to – consensus on what? Where exactly he stays?

MR. KELLY: Where exactly he stays.

Yeah, Jill.

QUESTION: Ian, can you just for the record explain legally what you can do with any country when it comes to the UN Security Council meeting? You grant visas, I presume.

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: How – what are the legal ramifications for giving those visas, restricting them, etc? There must be some basic --

MR. KELLY: Well, I’m going to drain my knowledge base very quickly on this issue. But what I can tell you is that we’re obligated under an agreement that we have with the UN – the so-called UN Headquarters Agreement – that generally – under this agreement, we are generally obligated to facilitate travel to foreign nationals to and from UN Headquarters in New York. And if you want more specifics than that, I’ll have to take the question.

QUESTION: But Ian, just to – in other words, you’re obligated, but is there an exception? Can an exception be –

MR. KELLY: There are exceptions.

QUESTION: And what would the basis of those be?

MR. KELLY: Well, that – as I say, you’ve exhausted my knowledge at this point.

QUESTION: So you’re taking that question.

MR. KELLY: I’ll have to take that question.

QUESTION: Ian?

MR. KELLY: Yeah, Mary Beth.

QUESTION: At what level are these conversations going on, and which offices are involved?

MR. KELLY: Well, there – we have a number of ways to talk bilaterally with Libyans. They have an embassy here and we have an embassy there, so that – I mean, it’s basically at the diplomatic level.

QUESTION: So basically, it’s the Libya desk here, or --

MR. KELLY: It’s at an appropriate level here in the State Department.

Yeah, Charlie, welcome back.

QUESTION: You said – thank you – that we’re obligated to facilitate travel to UN headquarters. You mean travel from their home countries.

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: You don’t mean from whatever locale --

MR. KELLY: Right, it’s travel writ large. But I think it – the agreement has the intention of facilitating visas.

QUESTION: Right.

MR. KELLY: Yeah, did you have --

QUESTION: My question is on the State Department’s role in overseeing terrorist suspects being taken to third countries. I’d like you to elaborate on what the State Department’s role would be and why the United States thinks diplomatic assurances will work when they haven’t worked in the past in protecting terrorists from human rights abuse?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, I think you’ve all seen the announcement of the Department of Justice. And as I understand it, the State Department role primarily falls under this topic, under the topic of transfers. And there are three parts to our role. The first part is that it’s the role of the State Department to evaluate assurances that we get from foreign governments that ensure that the transferees will not be abused once they’re transferred to the country. This is a practice that the State Department has had for some time. It has been our role to obtain diplomatic assurances.

As I understand it, there are two new aspects – well, two, maybe – well, one brand new aspect, and then one improvement on the process as it’s been. The improvement on the process is the task force calls on the State Department to establish a kind of monitoring mechanism that allows us to be able to make sure, after the prisoner has been transferred, that he is not – he or she is not being abused. And this is – the details of this will have to be worked out. I mean, this is something that perhaps an embassy could do, perhaps a third party could do. But this is one of the tasks that fall under the State Department.

The third part, which is new, is that the task force calls for an annual joint report from the inspectors general from State, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense to report on how the system is working.

So that’s basically – that’s kind of the bare bones description of where the State Department falls in. But the details are still to be worked out, how these mechanisms actually work.

Yeah, Arshad.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) the monitoring mechanism, will it involve actually visiting and confidentially speaking to those detained?

MR. KELLY: It could. As I say, we have to work this out.

QUESTION: But if it doesn’t, then I don’t see how you can ensure that they’re not being abused, if you can’t actually talk to them and if you can’t actually talk to them in confidence.

MR. KELLY: It’s a fair comment. It’s a fair comment, and we want to make sure that the mechanism works and that we receive real, credible assurances that they’re not being abused. So I would not exclude that we would write – not write into, but we would get some kind of agreement from the receiving country that consular officers or other monitors will be able to actually go in and verify that they’re not being abused. But it’s a fair comment.

QUESTION: And – sure. And also speak to them in confidence --

MR. KELLY: Right.

QUESTION: -- because if they are afraid that their cells are bugged --

MR. KELLY: Sure.

MR. KELLY: -- for example, then they might be afraid to say if they had been mistreated.

MR. KELLY: Yeah, no, I agree. Yeah.

QUESTION: Ian, can I ask, how is an annual report by four – three IG – three inspectors general, which I’m sure is bound to be thousands of pages long -- how is that going to protect people who are --

MR. KELLY: Well, I don’t think it’s – that part of it is not necessarily to --

QUESTION: -- being transferred?

MR. KELLY: -- to protect people. I think it’s an accountability mechanism, as any inspector general report would be.

QUESTION: So at the end – so whenever this report comes out, it says that X, Y, and Z were abused horribly? How did that protect them?

MR. KELLY: Well, I don’t know. We’ll see how it works out. But I think it’s to ensure that we have a mechanism in place where we can improve in performance. I mean, that’s what an inspector general does.

QUESTION: All right. And is there – there’s no monitoring mechanism at all right now? You just took it – you just took the Syrians at their word that they wouldn’t do anything bad?

MR. KELLY: No, matt, I believe there is a monitoring – I think that’s part of the whole diplomatic sanctions process.

QUESTION: So what’s -- right. So what’s new again?

MR. KELLY: Well, as I said, this is not new.

QUESTION: How is it – how is it improved?

MR. KELLY: That’s an improvement on --

QUESTION: Well, how is that an improvement?

MR. KELLY: Well, it’s just – it regularizes the –that’s not the right word, but it puts in place some kind of mechanism, which we still have to define.

QUESTION: Right. So in other words, basically, it doesn’t – not really much of anything has changed.

MR. KELLY: Well, we’ll see what it does. It hasn’t happened yet.

QUESTION: Except that you’ve got a new report coming out.

MR. KELLY: Kirit.

QUESTION: I’m sure that the --

QUESTION: Can you kind of go through a couple of questions? First, on this, when you do hope to have this all defined? Do you have a timeline for that?

MR. KELLY: I’m – I would hope it would be very soon. I’m not – I’d have to refer you to –the Department of Justice has the lead on this and this – I mean, it was just announced yesterday. The quick answer is I’m not sure what the timeline is.

QUESTION: Okay. Then can you tell us a little bit more about how the U.S. – the State Department has obtained assurances in the past? Can you tell us how that process has worked?

MR. KELLY: I think I’ll take that question because I – as you all know, I worked on the Russia desk before, so I’m generally aware of the process of getting diplomatic assurances. But let me get you a better answer.

QUESTION: Okay. And then can you tell us if there’s going to be anybody – you said that it’s possible it could be at the embassy level that the assurances and the oversight mechanism is carried out? Can you tell us if they’ll be somebody back here at State who is going to oversee that?

MR. KELLY: Well, I think these are the kind of details that we have to work out.

QUESTION: Okay. And then my last question is on the IG reports, do you expect any part of that to be public?

MR. KELLY: That I’m not sure about. But I would imagine there would at least be an unclassified part of it.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Not to exhaust your knowledge of the Libyan situation, but back to that one more time if I could. The – when a country comes to the UNGA, who provides security? Forgive me, I don’t know the – I don’t know this. Who provides security for them in the United States, for heads of state and --

MR. KELLY: That’s a good question. I believe it’s the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, but --

QUESTION: Is that – and that’s part of State?

QUESTION: That’s Secret Service.

QUESTION: Secret Service?

QUESTION: Secret Service.

MR. KELLY: Secret Service for foreign leaders. I think Diplomatic Security for --

QUESTION: Foreign ministers.

MR. KELLY: For foreign ministers.

QUESTION: For foreign ministers, okay. Is there a requirement that they notify you where they’re going to stay? I presume they have to say, hey, we’re going to be in -- you know, on 48th Street, so you can protect us.

MR. KELLY: Oh, absolutely. Yes.

QUESTION: Okay, so is there a time that they must --

MR. KELLY: Not only that, but in order for us to provide security, they have to give us their movements as well.

QUESTION: Uh-huh. So is there a timeframe here when we might expect that --

MR. KELLY: To notify the itinerary?

QUESTION: Correct.

MR. KELLY: I don’t know that there is a hard and fast timeline or deadline for informing us. But I would assume it would be within the next few weeks.

QUESTION: But just to make sure --

MR. KELLY: You’re getting at – to know when the decision will have to be made --

QUESTION: Well, yeah. I mean --

MR. KELLY: -- in terms of where he stays?

QUESTION: There’s so much murkiness about this whole thing. But I mean --

MR. KELLY: I don’t think there’s a lot of murkiness about this.

QUESTION: So have they officially said we want to stay in New Jersey, to you, to the State Department?

MR. KELLY: I just don’t know the answer to that question.

QUESTION: Really?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. I mean, personally, I don’t know if they’ve officially informed us.

QUESTION: Isn’t that kind of a basic fact --

MR. KELLY: Well, let me see if it is a basic fact.

QUESTION: -- that we should know?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Let me see.

QUESTION: Okay.

MR. KELLY: Yeah, Arshad.

QUESTION: Could we go back to the –

QUESTION: (Inaudible) I asked – I just want to make sure you got this down. Can you find out if anyone – if the restrictions that Senator Lautenberg are asking for have ever been imposed on anyone else before, because they seem to be --

MR. KELLY: I’ll take that question.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: One more on Libya?

MR. KELLY: Sure. One more on --

QUESTION: A general question on Libya. As far as release of terrorist is concerned, you think the large scale of corruption may have played a role somewhere at the high level?

MR. KELLY: The decision in what? I’m sorry.

QUESTION: The leader of the Libyans (inaudible) Scotland (inaudible) British.

MR. KELLY: I’m going to refer you to the Government of Scotland on that one. I’m not going to comment.

Yeah, Arshad.

QUESTION: Can you just go back to the discussion of, you know, renditions of people to other countries? You said that the monitoring mechanism could be done by third parties, right?

MR. KELLY: I’m – Arshad, like I say, this has all got to be worked out. I’m not ruling out that it could be done by third parties. I know from working in an embassy --

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR. KELLY: -- that this is a very labor-intensive thing –

QUESTION: Right.

MR. KELLY: -- particularly in a large country where there’s a lot of travel involved. So I’m not – that’s why I’m not excluding that --

QUESTION: Right. So you --

MR. KELLY: -- this will be done by a third party.

QUESTION: By a third party? Okay. You mentioned it as a possibility, and I guess I have two questions about that. One, you know, there are, as you well know, allegations that, in fact, contractors to the U.S. Government may have been involved in the abuse of detainees in the past. And I wonder, since the whole purpose of this system seems to be to try to prevent abuses and to ensure that there is accountability, how a third party, a non-U.S. Government party could sort of, you know, do that monitoring, and for a hold – be held accountable.

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Right. But Arshad, I’m just not going to prejudge if that’s going to be the case, that we are going to have a third party do this. I’m just saying that we still have to look at how we actually structure this mechanism. Of course, we’re going to consult very closely with interagency and we’re going to make sure that we notify Congress on exactly – on how we plan to go forward.

I mean, we know that there is a lot of concern about this issue, and about the issue of the track record of certain countries in receiving prisoner transfers like this. So like I say, I just don’t want to prejudge how we’ll do this.

Yeah.

QUESTION: South Korean news agency reported that the North Koreans invited Ambassador Bosworth and Ambassador Sung Kim to visit to Pyongyang next month. And can you confirm that? And also, have you responded to North Koreans about that? And are they planning to visit the region any time soon?

MR. KELLY: Well, I think that it’s no secret that the North Korean Government would like to have a bilateral dialogue with us. It’s also very clear what our own position is on this – that we would welcome talks with North Korea, but only in the context of multilateral talks. We’ve – what we’re concentrating on right now is consulting with our four-party partners on what the best way forward is in reaching our goal, which is getting North Korea to return to the Six-Party Talks, and with the ultimate goal of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

As you know, Ambassador Goldberg has been out in the region with that very end in mind, consulting with our four-party colleagues. We expect in the not-too-distant future that other U.S. officials will travel out there as soon as we get through this summer period. I expect that Ambassador Bosworth will be going out there. I don’t have any announcements to make right now, but I expect that he will go out there.

He just returned from South Korea. He was a member of the official delegation to the state funeral. Ambassador Kim is out of the office, as a lot of people are this time of year. But neither one of them have any plans right now to go to North Korea.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MR. KELLY: We are full aware that the North Koreans would like to have us have bilateral talks. But they also are full aware of what our position is on this, that we will not have bilateral talks until they agree to return to the Six-Party Talks.

QUESTION: Well, wait a minute. That doesn’t really address the question of whether you received an invitation for Bosworth to go or not. So have you received such an invitation?

MR. KELLY: We’re aware that they – via these press reports that they would like to have Ambassador Bosworth and Ambassador Kim. But beyond that, I don’t have any comment.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) you’re aware by – of press reports?

MR. KELLY: I’ve seen press reports, yeah.

QUESTION: Yeah. The press reports say that the North Koreans issued an invitation.

MR. KELLY: I don’t think I’d characterize it as issuing an invitation, but beyond that I’m not going to --

QUESTION: And then the other thing – wait, can I follow up on that?

QUESTION: I mean, you’ve said that you’re not going to have bilateral talks unless they agree to restart the Six-Party Talks.

MR. KELLY: Right.

QUESTION: But, I mean, are you absolutely certain that that is your position? Because I have a suspicion that you might well consider meeting them in some context simply to gauge their interest in resuming Six-Party Talks.

MR. KELLY: Well, you’re entitled to your suspicion, but I know what – our position is very clear about --

QUESTION: So – no, no, okay. So you will not meet them bilaterally. You will not meet them –

MR. KELLY: We have no plans -- Ambassador Bosworth has no plans, Ambassador Kim has no plans to go to North Korea.

QUESTION: But I think that’s different from what you said before, which is that you will not meet them unless they agreed –

MR. KELLY: Well, first we want to – if they agree to the Six-Party Talks, then we’ll sit down with them.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Well, there’s a distinction a – you said we have no plans – we won’t meet them bilaterally until they agree to the Six-Party Talks –

MR. KELLY: Right.

QUESTION: -- as opposed to saying, we won’t meet them bilaterally until they participate or return to the Six-Party Talks. So if they agree –

MR. KELLY: If they agree to the Six-Party Talks –

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR. KELLY: Sit down with our – we don’t want to disenfranchise our partners in this with our four-party partners. This is a regional security issue. It has to be resolved regionally.

QUESTION: So if they say – right now, if they said, “Okay, we’re going to return to Six-Party Talks and we’ll – let’s schedule them for – say, for January,” between now and then, you wouldn’t, theoretically, meet with them bilaterally.

MR. KELLY: You’re – no. No, and you’re asking me to speculate, and I’m not going to speculate.

QUESTION: Can I just – a point of clarification here. You said that Ambassador Goldberg had been out in the region. Is he – what – when you said that, you said he was trying to get the Six-Party Talks restarted. But that’s not really his job.

MR. KELLY: No, no, I’m sorry. Then I gave you the wrong impression.

QUESTION: I mean, he’s out there talking about the sanctions.

MR. KELLY: What I meant to say, and what I thought that I was saying, was that we are consulting with our four-party colleagues on the best way to get North Korea to come back to the Six-Party Talks.

QUESTION: Yeah, I understand that. But isn’t it –

MR. KELLY: And one of those ways is to enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1874 –

QUESTION: And that’s what Goldberg is doing?

MR. KELLY: And that’s what Goldberg is doing.

QUESTION: I just want to follow up on Matt’s question. I think you said that you would not characterize it as an invitation. Well, how would you characterize it?

MR. KELLY: I’m not going to characterize – I’m just not going to characterize any – as you know, we have all kinds of ways of communicating with North Korea, and I’m not going to characterize those communications.

QUESTION: But there was some sort of communication?

MR. KELLY: I’m just not going to characterize it.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Change of subject?

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: On Iran, the fourth group of detainees who were – people who were detained after the elections were tried in Tehran today. And Kian Tajbakhsh was among them. He has been charged with acting against national security, and espionage. Any comments?

MR. KELLY: I haven’t heard that. If that report is true, we would obviously be very concerned about that. This – we have been concerned about his detention. We’ve been trying to get information through the Swiss Embassy on him. We have called repeatedly for his release. And this is a man who has worked for many years to help build understanding between the Iranian people and the American people through his scholarly work. And I’ll have to – I mean, we’ll have to confirm these reports, but if they’re true, we would be concerned.

QUESTION: Well, the report is directly from the Iranian news agency.

MR. KELLY: Well, yeah, but I haven’t seen the reports. Let me – let us look into it and then we’ll give you a comment.

QUESTION: Okay. What about the three Americans who were seized by the border with Iraq? Any news from them?

MR. KELLY: Let me check. I don’t think I do. But again, we are – our position on that is similar, that we’ve been trying through our – through the Swiss Embassy in Tehran to get consular access to them. We’ve been trying to get more information. We’re very concerned, as of course their families are very concerned, about their welfare.

QUESTION: Is it that they’re not just giving any answers, or what’s the Iranian Government saying? Do you know?

MR. KELLY: I just don’t think we’ve been able to get consular access through our – through the Swiss Embassy. And I don’t think we’ve gotten much information either.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.) I don’t know if you are aware of the press reports. Indian students are in trouble and are being harassed in Australia. And this was the issue in the Indian parliament, and it’s continuing now. Is anyone in touch with you as far as Indian students in trouble and are being harassed in Australia?

MR. KELLY: Yeah, Goyal, I don’t have any comments on Indian students being harassed in Australia.

Yeah.

QUESTION: In Baghdad, there was a crisis, a diplomatic crisis between Iraq and Syria. They recalled their diplomatic representatives. Do you have any comment on that? Is it something you think is disturbing? It – is it --

MR. KELLY: This is something that just happened today, you mean?

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. KELLY: Yeah, I haven’t seen those reports.

QUESTION: Okay.

MR. KELLY: Let us look into it.

QUESTION: Okay.

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Arshad?

QUESTION: On Iran, we have a report out of Vienna, quoting a diplomat as saying that Iran has not expanded the number of centrifuges that it has enriching uranium at Natanz. One, do you believe that is correct that the Iranians have not increased the number of centrifuges enriching uranium? And two, if – since May. And two, if so, do you have any sense of why?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, I mean, you know that there are very deep-seated concerns about Iranian enrichment activity. It’s the -- one of the highest priorities of this Administration that we try and stop this – these activities. We have a invitation to Iran to sit down with us via the P-5+1 talks. They have yet to respond to this invitation. We are very concerned about the refusal of Iran to adhere to its international obligations.

Regarding that report that you mentioned, I think you know that we’re expecting a formal report from the IAEA in the coming days. And once we’ve had that report, we’ll be happy to comment on it.

QUESTION: Do you expect that report to address this issue?

MR. KELLY: I’m not going to get into what I – I’m not going speculate into what or what won’t be in the report.

QUESTION: Do you –

MR. KELLY: Yeah, go ahead.

QUESTION: Okay. Do you have any comment on the arrest today in New York of a guy who served as the finance chairman for the Secretary’s presidential campaign? He was arrested on fraud and forgery charges.

MR. KELLY: I do not have a comment. I’m not aware of the report.

QUESTION: Well, do you know where one might go to find a comment on it?

MR. KELLY: Let me see if I can get you that information.

Yeah.

QUESTION: There’s a report on – Taiwanese media suggests that the helicopter you sent to Taiwan, the cost is kind of too high. So do you have any comment on that?

MR. KELLY: I’m just not – what is – a helicopter? Sorry.

QUESTION: It’s a – yeah, the helicopter you sent to Taiwan, there’s reports suggest the cost is too high.

MR. KELLY: Yeah, I’m not aware of what – I don’t know what this particular contract is. If you can give us more information, maybe we can find out.

QUESTION: Sure. Thank you.

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: Do you have any comment on the South Koreans’ launch of their rocket?

MR. KELLY: I believe I do, if you hold on a second. And the comment will be – will sound very familiar.

The Republic of Korea developed a space launch vehicle program in a responsible manner. South Korea is an active member of many international nonproliferation agreements and regimes. In January of 2001, the Government of South Korea adopted and began implementing new guidelines on the possession and development of missile and rocket systems, and announced that it will develop civilian rockets only for peaceful purposes, and in a transparent manner.

And we have no information at all that this launch was conducted in any way inconsistent with its international obligations and international commitments.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. KELLY: Thanks.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:03 p.m.)

DPB # 144

[This is a mobile copy of Daily Press Briefing - August 25]