Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
May 18, 2010


Index for Today's Briefing
  • DEPARTMENT
    • Secretary Clinton to Travel to Japan, China and Korea on May 20-26
    • A/S Feltman is in Baghdad Meeting with Political Leaders
    • A/S Fernandez Gave Keynote Address to Society of the Americas Council of Americas 2010 in Sao Paulo Conference
    • U.S. Welcome Report Delivered at NATO Yesterday by the Group of Experts/U.S. Looks Forward to Working with the Secretary General and Allies in Developing the New NATO Strategic Concept
    • President Obama's Signing of the Daniel Pearl Freedom of Press Act
  • AFGHANISTAN
    • U.S. Condemns Today's Bombing in Kabul
  • SUDAN
    • U.S. Condemns the Recent Offensive Action in Darfur
    • Use of Aerial Bombings and Local Militias
    • Must Refrain from Any Other Actions Which Would Undermine the Darfur Peace Process and Endanger Civilians
  • MALAWI
    • U.S. Deeply Disappointed in Conviction of Same-Sex Couple
    • U.S. Views the Criminalization of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity as a Step Backwards in the Protection of Human Rights
  • KOREA
    • Investigation of the Sinking of the Cheonan
    • Up to Korea to Announce Findings
  • IRAN
    • Consensus Reached on Draft Resolution/Presented to UN Security Council Today
    • U.S. Values the Intervention by Turkey and Brazil/Secretary Clinton Spoke to both Brazilian and Turkish Foreign Ministers Yesterday
    • U.S. Will Be Watching to See if Iran Follows Up on What is on Joint Declaration with Turkey and Brazil
    • Constructive Steps for Iran Would Be Responding to IAEA, Engaging P5+1 on Nuclear Issues


TRANSCRIPT:

2:10 p.m. EDT

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MR. CROWLEY: Good afternoon and welcome to the Department of State. I’ll mention several things before getting into the only topic that you’re probably interested in. (Laughter.)

Secretary of State Clinton will travel to Japan, China, and Korea, departing Washington, D.C., on May 20th. She will visit Tokyo on May 21st; Shanghai on May 21st and 22nd; Beijing, May 23rd through May 26th; and will conclude her travel in Seoul also on May 26th.

In Tokyo, she will discuss regional and global issues with our Japanese ally.

In Shanghai, she will visit the 2010 Shanghai Expo and attend a dinner in honor of the U.S. Pavilion sponsors. She’ll participate in a commercial diplomacy event to highlight the importance of U.S. market access and job creation.

In Beijing, she will join Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner and over a dozen U.S. cabinet members and agency heads as part of the U.S. delegation to the second joint meeting of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue together with her respective co-chairs State Councilor Dai and Vice Premier Wang.

On May 25, she will participate in an event to celebrate people-to-people engagement with State Councilor Liu. And on May 26th, she finishes in the Republic of Korea, where she will meet with senior government officials to discuss regional stability and other issues. And tomorrow morning at 11:45, we’ll have a trip briefing here at State featuring Kurt Campbell and Dave Loevinger from the Department of Treasury.

Turning to Afghanistan, the United States strongly condemns the bombing that occurred this morning along the Darulaman Road in Kabul, tragically killing and wounding innocent Afghan civilians. This deplorable act of violence also took the lives of at least six international service members and wounded several more. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for this attack, and once again demonstrate their callous disregard for the well-being of the Afghan people. The United States remains undeterred in standing with the people of Afghanistan against the scourge of terrorism.

Our thoughts and deep sympathies are with the families affected by today’s bombing.

The United States condemns the recent offensive actions in Darfur, particularly the Government of Sudan’s use of aerial bombing and local militias against Darfur rebel positions in the Jebel Moon area of West Darfur. Such operations endanger civilians and lead to mass displacement. Subsequent incidents of looting and attacks on infrastructure by the Justice and Equality Movement, or the JEM movement, further endanger civilian populations, and must immediately cease. The Government of Sudan and the Darfur rebel movements need to refrain from any other actions that would undermine the Darfur peace process and endanger civilians, and return to active negotiation in the AU-UN mediated peace process in Doha, Qatar to reach a political settlement to the conflict in Darfur. The Government of Sudan must grant access to the affected areas to the African Union-United Nations hybrid operation in Darfur, or called UNAMID, and to humanitarian organizations.

The United States is deeply disappointed in today’s conviction of same-sex couple Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza in Malawi. We view the criminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity as a step backward in the protection of human rights in Malawi. The Government of Malawi must respect the human rights of all of its citizens. The United States views the decriminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity as integral to the protection of human rights in Malawi and elsewhere in the world.

In terms of travel by some of our senior leaders, Assistant Secretary Jeff Feltman is in Baghdad again today meeting with political leaders. And today he met with Vice President al-Hashimi, Vice President al-Mahdi, Deputy Prime Minister Issawi, and Deputy Prime Minister Shaways. Likewise, Assistant Secretary for Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs Jose Fernandez in Brazil today gave the keynote address at the Society of the Americas Council of Americas 2010 in Sao Paulo this morning. He also met with business leaders, including the Chamber of Commerce and Brazilian economic officials.

We certainly welcome the report delivered yesterday at NATO submitted by the Group of Experts led by former Secretary Albright, and thanked the group for their valuable contributions to the NATO Strategic Concept’s review. The Strategic Concept will be prepared under the leadership of NATO Secretary General Rasmussen and presented to heads of state and government at the NATO summit in Lisbon in November. We look forward to working with the Secretary General and our allies as the process of developing the new NATO Strategic Concept moves forward.

And likewise, we certainly welcome the President’s signing of the Daniel Pearl press of – Freedom of the Press Act, which enhances the existing reporting requirements in the Annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices here at the State Department. We will continue and expand our description of the status of the freedom of the press in each country reviewed in the report and whether such governments condone violations of freedom of the press and whether they took measures to preserve the safety and independence of media around the world.

With that, I’ll take your questions.

QUESTION: Can I just ask you something? Didn’t it already do that – the report?

MR. CROWLEY: Yeah. We have --

QUESTION: Never mind. That’s all.

MR. CROWLEY: Yeah.

QUESTION: It already did it. So what – the point of this was to --

MR. CROWLEY: This will enrich --

QUESTION: The point of this is what?

MR. CROWLEY: I think we will go through a more detailed and fulsome analysis.

QUESTION: All right. Can you explain to us when the agreement was reached on the resolution?

QUESTION: Can we do two things related to the trip, just to get them out of the way?

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: One, do you have any reason to expect that the Futenma base matter will be resolved by the end of May, as is the Japanese prime minister’s deadline?

MR. CROWLEY: I would think we will touch on a variety of issues in Tokyo. Certainly, Futenma will be among those issues discussed. I think the Japanese Government has set its own target of the end of May to present its final ideas on the base relocation plan. As to where the discussion goes, I can’t predict. But as far as we know, right now, the process is leading towards a presentation by Japan to the United States by the end of this month.

QUESTION: And one other one on the sinking of the Cheonan. Do you have – one, to what extent will that be discussed when the Secretary is in South Korea? And two, do you believe that the – do you have any reason to think that the investigation into the cause of its sinking will have been completed by her visit?

MR. CROWLEY: That is largely up to the Republic of Korea. The investigation, I think, is admittedly in its final stages. I would expect not only the investigation itself, but obviously, the regional implications of the findings of the investigation, will be something that the Secretary will discuss with her counterparts in Korea.

QUESTION: Can I follow up on that?

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: Apparently, the investigation is over and it’s kind – reports are coming from South Korea right now that they found North Korea to blame for the incident. So how do you think this will impact – have you been briefed on – has the U.S. kind of been formally briefed on the outcome of the investigation so far? Do you believe that North Korea’s formally to blame? And how do you think this will impact your desire to restart the Six-Party Talks?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, taking those in sequence, we have been supporting the investigation. I think we have some familiarity with the evidence that has been produced during the investigation. I’m not aware that the investigation is actually final. Certainly, it will be up to South Korea to announce the findings. As to the particular timetable of when that announcement will take place, that I’d defer to officials in Seoul.

Clearly, as we have said, our focus is on broad regional security. Provocative actions that we’ve seen from North Korea over a period of time have not been helpful to regional security, have at times impeded progress in the Six-Party process. But to the extent that the South Koreans brief us in the coming days on final results of the investigation, then we will work closely with South Korea and others within the Six-Party process on the implications.

QUESTION: Well, but to the extent that North Korea is responsible for the attack, I mean, does this illustrate the need for more engagement with North Korea to make sure that they don’t do these provocative acts, or is this the type of thing that they should be punished for and further isolated? I mean, which is better for regional security?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, what is better for regional security is that North Korea cease provocative acts, cease acts of aggression that destabilize the region. We would like to see North Korea live up to its obligations and take affirmative steps towards denuclearization.

As to what the specific implications of the investigation are in terms of the process moving forward, those will be some things that we’ll discuss, I suspect, in both Tokyo and in Seoul.

QUESTION: On the resolution?

MR. CROWLEY: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: When did the – when was agreement reached?

QUESTION: And in Beijing, too?

MR. CROWLEY: It’s hard to put a – I think in the last 24 hours, we have reached agreement on a consensus draft. As the Secretary indicated, I think we will be presenting that draft to the full Council later on this afternoon. I think there’s a meeting at 4 o'clock at the UN. I believe that Ambassador Susan Rice will have a media availability after that meeting.

QUESTION: It was my understanding that in the last 24 hours agreement on timing to do it today was – that the basics of the resolution were in place last week and had been, and it was a question of how long you wanted to wait until after the Brazil-Turkey (inaudible).

MR. CROWLEY: I wouldn't necessarily agree with you, Matt. We had been getting closer and closer after intensive dialogue within the P-5+1 over several weeks. As we’ve indicated to you, not only with various meetings in New York but also calls between the Secretary and her counterparts, calls between the President and leaders of key countries, we have come to the point that we are at. Over this time, there have been – we’ve narrowed differences and come down in recent days to one or two sticking points regarding specific details of the resolution. In some cases the President talking or in some cases the Secretary talking to counterparts, further instructions had been given from capitals to our ambassadors in New York, and we reached consensus in the last 24 hours.

QUESTION: You raised consensus over the weekend, I thought.

MR. CROWLEY: I think we reached a point where the Secretary felt confident with the support of her counterparts within the P-5+1 that she could make the announcement that she did this morning.

QUESTION: When did – when was the last high-level conversation you had with the Chinese about this? If you reached consensus in the last 24 hours, presumably it was in the last 24 hours. I’m wondering who talked to whom.

MR. CROWLEY: In terms of China, you will recall in the last several days the Secretary had a conversation with State Councilor Dai and I think there were further discussions in New York. And so this was, in fact, over the weekend clarifying the details that particular countries felt were appropriate, and the Secretary even was on the phone this morning to Foreign Minister Lavrov, where everyone felt comfortable that there was consensus within the P-5+1.

QUESTION: But this resolution – I mean, you call it a consensus – it’s not – you know, it has a lot of elements that you do want, but it doesn't go as far as the United States wanted to go. And I’m wondering why, if, in fact, you think that this Brazil-Turkey deal – Iran will prove that it’s not serious and you don’t have a lot of optimism that it’s going to go forward and Iran will continue to show that it’s not serious about its nuclear ambitions, why don’t you just wait for that play out and then you could get a tougher resolution and even presumably Brazil and Turkey would vote for it because Iran would have humiliated them and embarrassed them? Why don’t you just wait to see how that plays out?

MR. CROWLEY: We can – as we have said all along, we’ve had two tracks to our strategy – the diplomatic track, the pressure track. We think they’re interrelated. So we will – on the – with the subject of the meeting over the weekend, we will see what Iran comes forward with to the IAEA over the next several days. I think one of the telling aspects of how we have reached consensus within the P-5+1 was the fact that Iran made the bold declaration over the weekend – something that our ambassadors had heard at dinner with Foreign Minister Mottaki in New York – that notwithstanding any prospective deal on the Tehran research reactor, Iran will continue to enrich uranium. And that is, as we said yesterday, a clear – it’s in defiance of five Security Council resolutions.

So I think over time it has precisely been the demonstrated unwillingness of Iran to come forward and constructively engage the international community that has helped us achieve the consensus that the Secretary talked about today.

QUESTION: P.J., two questions if I could. Yesterday when asked about the TRR deal, you were at best skeptical, saying that this could prove helpful. To what extent does introducing this resolution today represent a rejection of that TRR deal as a possibility?

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t see them as necessarily connected. The TRR deal was envisioned as a step to build confidence between Iran and the international community. The issue of the resolution is about Iran’s defiance of UN Security Council resolutions. It is about its unwillingness to engage the IAEA seriously and its unwillingness to answer the questions that the international community has about its nuclear program. So they are interrelated, but ultimately we have our eyes on the primary issue, which is the ongoing enrichment of uranium by Iran in contravention of UN Security Council resolutions.

QUESTION: That’s what I’m trying to understand, because if the TRR deal was supposed to be a confidence-building measure, how is pursuing sanctions and bringing them to the full Council, which is a major step, how is that supposed to help this confidence-building aspect? I mean, what’s to --

MR. CROWLEY: Well, to the extent that Iran continues to thwart the will of the international community, we are making clear that there is a consequence for that failure.

QUESTION: But give us an example where they’re trying to prove that they’re not thwarting. So what’s – I mean, they’re trying to build confidence, I mean, but why don’t you let them build confidence?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we are making clear to Iran that – what is expected of them. So as we look to the next several days, Iran has indicated in its declaration with Turkey and Brazil that it will present a response formally to the IAEA within the next six days or five days. That is something that we have called upon Iran to do going back many months. We will see if Iran is prepared to engage the IAEA constructively. But one of our central concerns remains the declaration by Iran that it plans to continue to enrich uranium regardless of the TRR arrangement.

QUESTION: Why should we not regard this as a rebuff, though, to the agreement that was announced yesterday or the joint declaration issued yesterday?

MR. CROWLEY: A rebuff?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, again, what the resolution is focused on is Iran’s unwillingness to abide by Security Council resolutions. And in fact, the draft resolution that will be shared across the UN Security Council builds upon the last – the previous resolutions. It will add further pressure if supported by the full Council. It will increase that teeth to what we hope and send a very clear message to Iran that – of what we expect Iran to do.

QUESTION: Well, doesn't it send a clear message to Iran that no matter what you do, we’re still going to impose sanctions against you?

MR. CROWLEY: No. I mean, we’re not moving the goal posts here. The goal posts have always been Iran’s failure --

QUESTION: It’s not encouraging. I mean, the day after they say that they’re going to do something that you’ve said yourself that could be positive if implemented, you introduce a resolution. Why don’t you just wait and see if they do it?

MR. CROWLEY: And a crucial if. Iran, we’ve seen for many months, has made public declarations but has failed to follow through. So we will be watching what Iran does in the coming days and what its formal response to the IAEA will be. At the same time, you’re seeing that the international community is un-swayed by what Iran promised over the weekend. It promised a lot, but it has failed to deliver going back months and years. Our concern is the fact that Iran continues to enrich uranium in contravention of UN Security Council resolutions. And Iran has tripped up on its own shoelaces here. It has said that it was enriching to 20 percent expressly because it had concerns about the Tehran research reactor. Now it’s saying it’s willing to potentially agree to the TRR arrangement but at the same time says it doesn't matter, we’re still going to enrich uranium. That is in violation of what UN Security Council resolutions have called on Iran to do. That is what we’re focused on. The TRR was an important means to an end to build confidence, but ultimately, this is about the failure of Iran to live up to its international obligations.

QUESTION: Did the U.S. --

MR. CROWLEY: Samir.

QUESTION: Since --

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Since you have consensus on the draft resolution, when do you expect to put it to a vote?

MR. CROWLEY: There’s no particular timetable here. I think we’re still guided by a desire to get this done as quickly as possible, in a matter of weeks. But obviously, we’re also conscious of the fact that now in tabling the resolution, others will have some ideas. There will be further changes, we would anticipate, as we go through this. But we think this is a very important step in that process.

QUESTION: So do you expect the vote before the end of the month?

MR. CROWLEY: Before the end of this month? I mean, it’ll take as long as it takes.

QUESTION: Even though Lebanon is the president of the Council this month?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, it will take as long as it takes. But I think that the President laid out a goal of having this done by the end of spring. We still think that’s a reasonable goal.

QUESTION: Just one more on the Secretary’s comments about Turkey and Brazil. I mean, you must be walking a fine line to be kind of pooh-poohing this agreement and at the same time not offending Turkey and Brazil. I mean, you introduced – they – you may not think that their diplomatic efforts will lead to much – will bear much fruit, but at the same time, haven’t you kind of handicapped any efforts by Turkey and Brazil to get Iran to do --

MR. CROWLEY: Well, let’s – again, we have said and the Secretary repeated today we value the intervention by Turkey and Brazil. The real question about this joint declaration is what does it really mean. What is Iran actually prepared to do. To borrow a phrase, is there real beef beneath this piece of paper? So that’s the real fundamental question. What is Iran actually prepared to do? Is it going to live up to its obligations? Is it going to engage the IAEA seriously? Is it going to stop enriching uranium? And then is it going to actually be willing to talk to the P-5+1 about the nuclear program? It hinted in this joint declaration that it would talk to the international community about every issue but the nuclear program. So there are clearly things that Iran has to do. If it comes forward and acts constructively, then obviously, that will be something that we and others take into account.

QUESTION: Did you give both Turkey and Brazil a heads up that this resolution would be passed around this afternoon?

MR. CROWLEY: The Secretary talked yesterday afternoon with both Foreign Minister Amorim and Foreign Minister Davutoglu. She listened attentively to their descriptions of what took place over the weekend in Tehran and she indicated that this morning, assuming that we had reached consensus with the P-5+1, we would be sharing the resolution with the full Council.

QUESTION: And what has she told them about their efforts to bring Iran to the table over the weekend leading to this deal? How does she characterize it in – based on –

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I’m not sure it’s about how she characterizes it. I mean, they described what happened and what they were able to accomplish, what they had hoped to accomplish, but weren’t able to do so in the time that was available. The Secretary reiterated to both Foreign Minister Amorim and to Foreign Minister Davutoglu exactly what she said before the Congress this morning, that notwithstanding the significant effort by Turkey and Brazil, there are still questions about this declaration, there are still very specific concerns about whether Iran would seriously engage the IAEA and whether it was willing to suspend enrichment as demanded by previous UN Security Council resolutions.

QUESTION: Well, I guess to follow on Elise’s point, did she indicate to them that Washington appreciated, in the positive sense of the word, what they were trying to achieve this weekend or not?

MR. CROWLEY: Yes, we – I mean, we have been understanding and supportive of what Brazil and Turkey attempted to do this weekend. And as the Secretary said, we remain skeptical that notwithstanding this joint declaration that Iran is actually going to fulfill its international obligations.

QUESTION: But you say that you’re supportive and appreciative, but you don’t think you handicapped it in any way? I mean, now by introducing the resolution the day after the agreement, you almost guarantee that Iran is going to react in a negative way.

MR. CROWLEY: That’s up to Iran. Iran has specific international obligations.

QUESTION: Certainly not creating an atmosphere for diplomacy, are you?

MR. CROWLEY: Oh please, we have attempted for many, many months to attempt a constructive engagement with Iran. That was the whole purpose of the meeting in Geneva on October 1st. And at that meeting, you’ll recall Iran initially said it would accept the deal and then immediately backed away from it. And it has failed to respond significantly since. It’s Iran that is unwilling to come back to the P-5+1 specifically to talk about its nuclear program. It’s Iran that has failed to engage the IAEA. It’s Iran that has failed to live up to the demands of previous UN Security Council resolutions. So we have bent over backwards to have constructive engagement with Iran. It’s been Iran that has failed to meet us half way.

QUESTION: So are you in disagreement now with Turkey and Brazil because of this agreement?

MR. CROWLEY: No, we are tabling, this afternoon, a draft resolution. It has consensus within the P-5+1, and we trust that with further dialogue within the Council that we think at the end of this process it will gain the support of the Council.

QUESTION: Do you expect them to support the resolution, the Security Council?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, ultimately, that is up to Turkey and Brazil. We will continue our dialogue with all of the countries within the Security Council and we’ll continue to watch closely and see what Iran’s response is in the coming days to the IAEA.

QUESTION: What sorts of accommodations were given to both Russia and China as you were reaching a consensus on this draft?

MR. CROWLEY: I think we are working with Russia and China and others. We think that we have produced a draft resolution that is tough, it’s comprehensive, it’s broad-based. We think it sends a very strong message to Iran.

QUESTION: But what specifically did the U.S. say it would back away from in order to address Russian and Chinese concerns?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not going to get into the particulars of the negotiation.

QUESTION: Is it fair to say that you made the judgment that, having agreed on the resolution, that announcing that agreement and circulating it today (a) would not harm the Turkish or Brazilian efforts to coax the Iranians into some kind of a fuel swap deal, and/or (b) might, in fact. strengthen the chances of Iran responding to their ideas because it would see that the sanctions train continued to move down the track?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I think first and foremost, Arshad, I would say that we are actually moving down a process that we have been following for some months. This was a priority of the Obama Administration coming in from October 1st. We had a genuine offer of constructive engagement with Iran. We put on the table the TRR arrangement as a confidence-building measure. But at the turn of the year, as the President outlined, we assessed that Iran would not be more forthcoming absent pressure that made a clear statement to Iran. And we are now moving down that process that we envisioned several months ago. The President has outlined an approach that would have this process lead to a resolution by the end of spring, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. Now, the fact that we understood completely what Brazil and Turkey hoped to accomplish in its intervention this weekend in Tehran, but we’ve always envisioned that these were parallel and mutually supporting tracks.

QUESTION: P.J., recently Russia, China, and France have welcomed Iran (inaudible). Today, you were talking about an agreement with China and Russia on a draft resolution.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, first of all, I mean, I’ll leave it to the countries that you mentioned to characterize how they viewed what happened over the weekend. I think everyone is struck by the Iranian statement that, notwithstanding any arrangement on the TRR, that Iran would continue to enrich uranium. That remains the fundamental international concern, and it’s ultimately – poses the greatest danger in terms of the true nature of Iran’s nuclear program. So I think, as the Secretary said during her testimony, this is a very compelling response to that Iranian declaration over the weekend that, regardless of the views of the international community, it plans to keep enriching and it cannot offer at this point any valid basis for that enrichment activity.

QUESTION: Why Brazil and Turkey announce an agreement and they knew in advance that this will not be acceptable?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, the – I mean, let’s understand that what you have coming out of Tehran this weekend is a significant diplomatic effort by Brazil and Turkey, but you have a piece of paper that no one knows whether Iran will actually follow through on. So there is a piece of paper, and it says that Iran will respond to the IAEA within a week’s time. Okay, let’s see what the nature of that response is. It says that Iran is willing to engage the P-5+1. If Iran is willing to do that, it knows Catherine Ashton’s phone number. It can pick up and say let’s talk.

We have said for many, many months since October 1st we’re willing to engage Iran any time, any place, provided the top issue on the list is Iran’s nuclear program. If Iran wants to talk to the P-5+1 about its nuclear program, that meeting can be arranged. But – and if Iran wants to suspend its enrichment activity as called for in UN Security Council resolutions, then that would actually be a very significant step that could open the door for further negotiations. But again, the burden is on Iran. You’ve got some ideas on a piece of paper here. The real question is what will Iran be willing to do in the coming days.

QUESTION: We’re getting reports now – I think Washington Post saying that South Korea is blaming North Korea for the torpedo attack and will be announcing that shortly.

QUESTION: They already announced it.

QUESTION: They did announce that?

MR. CROWLEY: And we will continue to work with South Korea as it completes the investigation. And when there’s an announcement, we will work with South Korea and other countries in the region on the next steps regarding what happens in light of that investigation.

QUESTION: Going off of that?

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: On the Secretary’s schedule today, she’s actually supposed to be meeting right now with Bosworth. Can you give us some kind of a --

MR. CROWLEY: That’s about right. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Can you give us an agenda of what they were expecting to talk about – Cheonan incident?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, she – I mean, the Secretary is updated by Ambassador Steve Bosworth and Ambassador Sung Kim on a regular basis. They are also keeping her up to date on developments as she prepares for her trip, where clearly, both in Tokyo and in Seoul and probably in China as well, the issue of North Korea will be discussed.

QUESTION: Will Ambassador Bosworth be on the trip with her?

MR. CROWLEY: Not to my knowledge.

QUESTION: Two questions --

MR. CROWLEY: Right.

QUESTION: -- related to Brazil.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, let’s stay on North Korea and then we’ll come back to Brazil.

QUESTION: So how do you get a consensus and cooperation from China on the matter?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we’ve enjoyed a strong consensus with China, going back to last summer when there was a resolution passed, 1874, and there – which has been aggressively implemented across the international community ever since. We will obviously be guided by the results of this investigation. Clearly, any provocative act taken against any country in the region is a matter of concern. If North Korea wishes to have a different relationship with the international community and other countries in the region, it has to stop the kinds of provocative actions that we have seen over the past few years. So we will be talking to China and Japan and Korea in light of the anticipated results of the Cheonon investigation and we’ll collectively chart a path forward.

Yeah. Same subject. Go ahead.

QUESTION: So do you support South Korea’s position to bring the case to the Security Council?

MR. CROWLEY: We will be talking to South Korea about that issue, I would expect.

QUESTION: Back to Iran, are you concerned that this move on the sanction resolution is going to affect any way the outcome of the NPT Review Conference? Because Iran is a member of the NPT and requires consensus to reach an agreement on many --

MR. CROWLEY: The NPT review conference is about the global efforts to restrict the proliferation of nuclear material. The conference is about that – global efforts. It is not about any one country in particular. But certainly, as a subtext of the ongoing NPT Review Conference, you have pledges by all of the countries of the world to abide by their international obligations. As the Secretary said in New York, conspicuously there was one country represented in the room that had failed to live up to its international obligations. So I think we will all be guided by what is happening on the sanctions resolution, but we want to strengthen the NPT. We want to reaffirm all countries have to live up to their obligations. We want to see the IAEA strengthen its capabilities so it can work constructively with countries around the world. And we want to develop a better mechanism so countries can develop civilian nuclear capabilities while limiting the possibility of a nuclear breakout.

QUESTION: But do you still believe that consensus agreement is possible in this NPT RevCon?

MR. CROWLEY: We certainly hope so.

QUESTION: P.J., Turkish officials seem to be taken away by the Secretary’s announcement as an absolute surprise. I mean, the question that we do face today is what happened. So how do we have U.S. and Russians and the Chinese agreeing on a resolution? And I – and they also claim that they have worked through every single step of the way when they were reaching the agreement with the Iranians. This is what they do claim, at least. Can you just talk to us at least about the level of coordination that they had with you as they were trying to reach the deal with the Iranians? And why do you think that they are taken by surprise by the Secretary’s statement today?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not sure that they should be taken by surprise. In her conversation yesterday afternoon with Foreign Minister Davutoglu, she indicated that we would be sharing the text of the resolution today. The Secretary talked to the foreign minister both yesterday and prior to his trip to Tehran. We’ve been significantly engaged with Turkey, going back many weeks and months. And we, again, genuinely appreciate the efforts of Turkey to try to mediate this.

But this is not about Turkey and Brazil. This is about Iran. And I think that everyone agrees that the focus should remain on Iran and what actions it will take in light of this joint declaration. And we may well have a difference of opinion as to the likely outcome of this. I think our colleagues in Brazil and Turkey may well still be hopeful that Iran is going to live up to the specific steps outlined in the declaration. We remain very skeptical.

QUESTION: So are you suggesting that even before the prime minister went to Tehran that the U.S. had informed the Turkish side that they will be coming up with a resolution in the next day or two?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, as I indicated, we – certainly, all countries have been aware that we’ve been working intensively within the P-5+1 and that we were getting closer and closer to agreement on consensus regarding a draft resolution. So the idea that we would be getting very, very close should not be a surprise to any country on the UN Security Council. But the fact is, as you outlined, that we – this was not keyed off of the meeting in Tehran. It was, in fact, just the fact that through the intensive efforts of the past few weeks we arrived at consensus just in the last 24 hours.

QUESTION: It wasn’t --

QUESTION: Can I just follow up on that?

QUESTION: No, no, no --

QUESTION: Wait, wait. The timing question is important, going around it. I mean, the Secretary herself said this morning on the Hill in response to a question that, with all due respect to her Turkish and Brazilian friends, the reason that Iran signed off on this was because they knew that the resolution was going to be presented this week. And then she said, quote, “namely today.”

MR. CROWLEY: I’m just simply saying that – did we circle today on the calendar and says this is the day that we’re going to drop a resolution before --

QUESTION: No. In fact, wasn’t the plan originally --

MR. CROWLEY: -- the Security Council, the answer is no.

QUESTION: Wasn’t the – wasn’t it originally the plan to do it over the weekend? And then the decision was made to wait until Monday, wait to see what the --

MR. CROWLEY: We have – as we’ve outlined to you going back a number of days, we have been getting very close. We’ve had high-level conversations between U.S. officials, including the Secretary and others, and we arrived at consensus just in the last 24 hours.

QUESTION: P.J., it really doesn’t make any sense. If you had conveyed this message to the Turkish side that no matter what happens in Tehran you will be coming up with a sanctions resolution, then why did you allow them to even give it a try to have a deal with the Iranians?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, the decision to go to Tehran was a decision made by President Lula and Prime Minister Erdogan, supported by their foreign ministers. We’ve been very clear in multiple conversations with Turkey and Brazil, going back to a number of meetings that we’ve had in the margins in New York, here in Washington, and we’ve been very clear on what we are doing on the so-called pressure track. So nothing that’s happening here is a surprise to anyone. Nor – as we’ve said, it was very clear when the Secretary met with Foreign Minister Amorim in New York at the start of the NPT RevCon, he outlined what President Lula’s goals were going to Tehran this past weekend. So we knew exactly what was happening on the Brazil and Turkey front. Brazil and Turkey knew exactly what was happening on the other track. And I don’t think – there’s been very, very close intensive collaboration both prior to the trip and just in the past 24 hours where the foreign minister of Turkey and Brazil outlined what they think they had accomplished. And the Secretary made clear that we still have concerns.

QUESTION: So before they left to Tehran, they were perfectly aware that you were about to announce a resolution?

MR. CROWLEY: I think that – no, no, again, the timing here I would say is just where we felt we had reached consensus with the P-5+1. Now --

QUESTION: It just happened to be the day after.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I’m just – I’m simply – I mean, look, what is remarkable here is not withstanding the activities of the weekend, you still have consensus within the P-5+1, which means we share the same concern that notwithstanding Iran’s agreement to the TRR – which of course, is caveated; it remains to be seen exactly what they are agreeing to or not. But you still have consensus within the P-5+1, including China, including Russia, that this is a resolution that should be tabled and will be tabled this afternoon. That sends a very strong message to Iran that its efforts over the past many weeks to duck and dodge and evade and avoid their international obligations, that strategy has failed.

QUESTION: But you can see where Turkey and Brazil might feel that you just didn’t give their diplomatic efforts any consideration at all.

MR. CROWLEY: I think that we have made clear to a number of countries, including Turkey, including Brazil, including Russia, including China that absent additional pressure from the international community that Iran was unlikely to change course. And in fact, I think we feel, given the public statements of Iran over the past 48 hours, that notwithstanding a TRR arrangement, they are still going to enrich, which is a contravention of UN Security Council resolutions, tells us that our skepticism is well founded. That does not mean that we don’t appreciate the efforts of Turkey and Brazil. And we will be watching to see exactly what Iran is prepared to do in the coming days when it presents its response to the IAEA. But we --

QUESTION: But they specifically undertook this mission in the hopes of, at least temporarily, avoiding a sanctions resolution. So you told them that that’s --

MR. CROWLEY: I will defer to Turkey and Brazil to describe the purposes of their trip to Tehran this weekend. We have made clear that we remain open to engagement, but the ball remains in Iran’s court.

QUESTION: The impression left, though, P.J., is that the message here – sure there is a message to Iran, but there’s also a message to Turkey and Brazil and that is, basically get out of the sandbox, that the big boys and girls are playing here and we don’t need your meddling. Do you not – you don’t accept that?

MR. CROWLEY: That’s – I mean, I just simply said – I can repeat it again, that we appreciate the efforts of Turkey and Brazil and will be watching to see if major – major if – if Iran follows up on what is on that joint declaration. We remain skeptical that Iran will, in fact, respond to the international community. And we would call, as Exhibit A, its statement over the weekend which reiterates what Foreign Minister Mottaki told the ambassadors at dinner in New York that regardless of what happens on the TRR front, that it will continue to enrich and it will continue to live up – to avoid living up to its UN Security Council resolution obligations.

QUESTION: Just to follow up real quick, what – how long are you willing to wait to see how Iran carries out any obligations it has under this new deal before you’ll put the resolution to a vote? And are there any other steps that you need to see taken before a vote – to avoid a vote? Is that – do they agree to suspend the enrichment before they do that?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, again, we will share the draft resolution with the Security Council this afternoon. That will begin a process where all of the countries involved will weigh in. Some of them may offer suggestions in terms of the particulars in the resolution. That process will take as long as it takes. But all we’re saying is we – just as we will watch to see if Iran responds to the IAEA, if it calls the P-5+1 and expresses a willingness to engage on the nuclear issue, if it is willing to suspend its enrichment program, we will watch to see if those steps are taken and followed through by Iran.

But at the same time, we --

QUESTION: Before you vote?

MR. CROWLEY: -- will continue to work within the Council on a draft resolution and we hope to get support for that resolution in the coming weeks.

QUESTION: But --

QUESTION: Hold on a second. I understand you’re going to wait – that you’re going to continue working on it, but how long are you willing to wait before you’ll actually put this to a vote, before you say they haven’t don’t it and we’re going to put this to a vote?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, again, all I can say is we – the President has indicated he’d like to see this done by the end of spring, and that remains the timeline that we are following.

QUESTION: So even if they --

QUESTION: And then just the last thing on it. Are there any other steps beyond responding – beyond responding to the IAEA officially that they need to take in order to avoid sanctions? Do they to stop enrichment?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, again, let me go back to where I was a while ago. Our major concern remains the enrichment activity that Iran continues to state it’s going to continue regardless of what the international community does. That is at the core of our concerns about Iran. The international community, going back a number of years, has expressed a willingness to engage Iran on the issues provided Iran suspends its enrichment activity. Iran has failed to do that.

The UN Security Council resolutions have called upon Iran clearly to do that. That is – that’s the bottom line. If Iran is willing to respond to the IAEA, engage the P-5+1 on nuclear issues, those would be constructive steps. But the real key is Iran has to suspend its uranium enrichment.

QUESTION: So you’re going to put this to a vote, no matter whatever they say in this declaration --

MR. CROWLEY: Well, no, as we said yesterday, we will be guided by what Iran does. There’s lot of things that Iran has said. Iran has tried to create the impression that it’s reasonable. But every encounter that we’ve seen where Iran has engaged a variety of countries, they talk a good game, but they actually do very little.

QUESTION: But back to Kirit’s question: How long are you willing to wait? Are you willing to give them a chance to implement everything that they said? If they hand in a glowing declaration to the IAEA and are ready to implement everything in that agreement, are you still going to vote?

MR. CROWLEY: I think that – well, obviously, there will be further discussion within the Security Council. All of the countries represented in the Security Council will take note as we go through this that – of what Iran does. But we’re not going to stop a process just because Iran talks a good game.

QUESTION: Would you say that what happened over the weekend helped reached a final consensus within the P-5+1?

MR. CROWLEY: I’ve been saying that we reached consensus in the last 24 hours. Others have – you have put it over the weekend.

QUESTION: No, I’m saying – would you say that the events that took place over the weekend helped in the last 24 hours to reach that consensus?

MR. CROWLEY: Without question. Clearly, Iran’s statement that regardless of the joint declaration that it would continue to enrich, that is in direct violation of UN Security Council resolutions. I think that had to have an impact on our deliberations.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. CROWLEY: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 3:02 p.m.)

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DPB # 76

[This is a mobile copy of Daily Press Briefing - May 18]