Robert Wood
Deputy Department Spokesman
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
October 30, 2009

Index for Today's Briefing
    • Secretary Clinton's Visit to Pakistan / Meeting with Leaders from Northwest Frontier Province / Humanitarian Assistance / Town Hall Participation / Meeting with Parliamentarians / Meetings with other Pakistani Officials / Visit to Polices Lines Headquarters in Rawalpindi / Embassy Reception
    • Secretary Clinton Traveling to Abu Dhabi / Meetings with Palestinians President Abbas / Meetings in the Region
    • Policy Review / Senior-Level Dialogue / A/S Campbell and DAS Marciel Travel to Burma / Meetings with Senior Government Officials / Meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi
  • IRAN
    • IAEA Waiting for Clarification from Iran /
    • Discussions on Election Monitoring


MR. WOOD: Happy Friday, everyone. Welcome to the briefing. I’m going to start off with a few items and then take your questions.

I first want to give you an update on Secretary Clinton’s visit in Pakistan. Today, October 30th, the Secretary met with leaders from the Northwest Frontier Province in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. There, she underscored U.S. support for robust humanitarian assistance for people living in these areas of conflict.

In a televised town hall meeting with Pakistani women hosted by five of Pakistan’s top women journalists, the Secretary again addressed America’s desire to build more comprehensive relations with Pakistan based on mutual trust and respect. The Secretary met with the newly elected parliamentarians at the National Assembly, reassuring them of America’s strong support for their commitment to strengthen democracy. Later, she met with a wide range of officials, including General Kiyani and General Pasha, to discuss common concerns about security and counterterrorism matters.

At the Police Lines Headquarters in Rawalpindi, the Secretary paid tribute to Pakistani police officers who protect the public and also suffer the brunt of terrorist attacks. Before her departure, the Secretary attended an Embassy reception highlighting Pakistan’s rich artistic and cultural heritage.

The Secretary is now wheels up en route to Abu Dhabi, where she will have meetings with Palestinian President Abbas. And just to follow on that, Senator Mitchell met this morning with Prime Minister Netanyahu for about two hours. He also met last night with Defense Minister Barak. The discussions were good and set the stage for the Secretary’s upcoming meetings in the region. He will meet later – he will – I think he’s meeting later today with President Abbas as well.

One other item to mention – this is on Burma. Following a recent policy review, the United States held a senior-level dialogue with representatives of the Burmese leadership in New York on September 29. To continue this dialogue, Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell and Deputy Assistant Secretary Scot Marciel are scheduled to travel to Burma November 3 and 4. They expect to meet with senior government officials and with members of the opposition, including Aung San Suu Kyi as well as representatives of ethnic groups.

And with that, I will take your questions.

QUESTION: Can I – just logistically, where is the Secretary going after Abu Dhabi?

MR. WOOD: The schedule is still being worked out. Hopefully, we’ll be able to give you some more details of her travel, but I don’t have them at this point.

QUESTION: Okay. And Kurt Campbell and Marciel are going to where, Rangoon?

MR. WOOD: I assume Rangoon.

QUESTION: Or are they going to the capital?

MR. WOOD: I believe they’re going to Rangoon, but again, this is all the details I have at this point. We’ll update it as we can.

QUESTION: All right. And then the other logistical thing is, where is Sung Kim? Did he go to New York or not?

MR. WOOD: He did not go to New York, and as far as I know, no other Department officials are going to New York.

QUESTION: So no one’s attending the meeting?

MR. WOOD: To my knowledge, no, not from the U.S. side.

QUESTION: So there will be no meeting between Ambassador Sung Kim and Mr. Ri Gun?

MR. WOOD: I think I just said that.

QUESTION: Oh, sorry.

MR. WOOD: That’s okay. Any other questions? Dave.

QUESTION: Was the ability to meet Aung San Suu Kyi a condition for Campbell going out there?

MR. WOOD: Well, I think it was important that we were able to get a meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi and some of the other opposition leaders. That was certainly an important element.

QUESTION: Is there anything new on Iran, in --

MR. WOOD: No, I don’t have anything new on Iran. The Secretary General – excuse me, the Director General of the IAEA is waiting for clarification from Iran. Again, we still believe this is an important agreement, and we look forward to a clarification from Iran. But no other update.


QUESTION: Honduras.

MR. WOOD: We’ll go here and then we’ll go there, mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Just on Honduras, has there been any talk from – on – yet on U.S. monitors going for the election?

MR. WOOD: I’m sorry, on what?

QUESTION: Has there been any – has there been any discussion yet, specific discussion, on U.S. – U.S. monitors going for the November 29th election?

MR. WOOD: I’m sure there are discussions that have been going on with regard to that issue, but I don’t have anything for you on that at the moment. I mean, as soon as we do have some details about who may or may not be going, we’ll let you know.

Samir, you had a question?

QUESTION: Yes. The Iranians are saying today that they want to start negotiations with the U.S., Russia, and the IAEA about the plan, the agreement, that this is – that I’m not going to represent their final response to the agreement before they start new negotiations about it. Is this acceptable to the U.S.?

MR. WOOD: Well, this is the first I’ve heard of this. And as far as we’re concerned, what Iran needs to do is provide, as it said it would – or shall I say the Director General of the IAEA is seeking clarification from the Iranians with regard to the proposal on the Tehran Research Reactor.

I would just say, look, we’re waiting for that clarification so that we can go forward. As I said earlier, this is a good agreement. It’s a good confidence-building measure. And we’ll have to see where we go from here. But that’s what the Director General ElBaradei is doing now. He’s trying to get clarification from Iran on this issue.

QUESTION: And one more question.

MR. WOOD: Yeah, sure.

QUESTION: Do you know where Senator Mitchell met with Abbas today?

MR. WOOD: As I say, I’ll have to double check on it, but I think he is supposed to meet with him – I think it’s either later today or tomorrow.


MR. WOOD: Yeah.

QUESTION: Do you have any comment on South Korea’s announcement that it will send 300 troops to Afghanistan? Also, South Korea said the cyber attacks on the United States and South Korea in July were conducted by North Korea’s telecommunications ministry. What would you say?

MR. WOOD: Well, I don’t have – I’m not familiar with any details on that. I’d have to refer you back to the Government of Korea. With regard to what the government may decide to do with regard to a contribution, I’d have to leave that to the Koreans – the Korean Government to announce.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. WOOD: Anything else? Okay.

QUESTION: How about the second question, the cyber attacks?

MR. WOOD: I think I answered that first. I said I didn’t have any details on that.

Anything else? Okay.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. WOOD: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:16 p.m.)

DPB # 187