Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
June 7, 2010


Index for Today's Briefing
  • DEPARTMENT
    • Historical Advisory Committee Meeting / Production of the Foreign Relations of the United States
    • Secretary in Lima, Peru / Organization of American States Meetings / Tomorrow's Itinerary
    • Assistant Secretary Eric Schwartz to visit Australia, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia
  • AFGHANISTAN
    • U.S. Condemns Attacks on Afghan National Police Training Center in Kandahar
    • Amb. Holbrooke / International Special Reps for Afghanistan & Pakistan Meeting in Madrid
    • Resignation of Cabinet Officials is an Internal Matter for Afghan Government
    • Afghanistan Support Discussed During U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue
  • ZIMBABWE
    • Arrest of Human Rights Activist Farai Maguwu
    • Lack of Respect for Rule of Law and Fundamental Freedoms in Zimbabwe
    • U.S. Supports Kimberly Process
  • CANADA
    • U.S. Accepts Canadian Offer of 3,000 meter Ocean Boom to help with Gulf oil spill
    • Boom Payment Logistics / Reimbursement
  • MISCELLANEOUS
    • Investigation of Reports Indicating Disclosure Classified Documents/Cables by Soldier
  • YEMEN
    • Actively Seeking Information about Americans in Yemini Custody
    • U.S. Cooperation with Yemen to Reduce Threat Posed by Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula
  • ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS
    • U.S. looking at ways to Increase the Amount of Assistance to Gaza
    • Iran's intentions vis-à-vis Gaza are Benign
    • U.S. Humanitarian Aid to Gaza Channeled through Many Sources
    • President Abbas in Washington this Week
    • Increasing Aid to Gaza while Protecting Israel's Legitimate Security Concerns
    • Reconciliation Process / Hamas must make Fundamental Judgments about Renouncing Violence
    • Designation of Hamas as a Terrorist Organization
    • Reports that Rafah Crossing Point is Open Indefinitely
    • Flotilla / Still Gaining Facts on what Happened on Ship
    • Not Aware of Formal Investigation Proposal from Israelis Regarding Flotilla
    • Sharing Ideas about Investigation / Want to see Impartial Credible Investigation to Emerge
  • IRAN
    • Sanctions Vote Expected this week
  • COLOMBIA
    • Colombia's Significant and Constructive Role in Security the Hemisphere
  • INDIA
    • Bhopal Tragedy / Hope that the verdict brings some closure to the families of the victims
    • Hope Case does Not Inhibit the Expansion of Ties between U.S. and India
    • Judgment on Nuclear Liability Legislation to be Decided by Indian Parliament
  • NORTH KOREA
    • Reviewing Options to address threat that sinking of the Cheonan poses to regional security
    • Threats and Provocations to Regional Security and Stability will not be tolerated
  • RWANDA
    • Status of Erlinder / Bail Request / Look Forward to Compassionate and Expeditious Resolution


TRANSCRIPT:

2:17 p.m. EDT

MR. CROWLEY: Good afternoon and welcome to the Department of State. Sorry for the lateness of the briefing, but today we had our quarterly meeting of the Historical Advisory Committee that helps us here at the State Department with the production of the Foreign Relations of the United States historical series and always a session that we look forward to.

A few things to talk about: The Secretary is in Lima, Peru where today, she is participating in the General Assembly of the Organization of American States. She met this morning with Peruvian President Alan Garcia. And she’s also completed bilaterals with the foreign ministers of Mexico, Panama, and Bolivia, as well as the deputy foreign minister of Brazil.

Tomorrow, she will fly to Quito, Ecuador, where she will meet with President Correa and deliver remarks at the Metropolitan Cultural Center to a group of roughly 300 people, including alumni of embassy exchange programs, NGOs, youth, business leaders, members of the media, academics, and diplomats.

Turning to Afghanistan, the United States strongly condemns the attack today of the Afghan National Police regional training center in Kandahar, which killed an American police trainer and a Nepalese security guard. Our sympathies go out to those who lost loved ones in this attack. The United States will continue to stand with our Afghan partners to fight terrorism and help the Afghan Government provide security, safety, and prosperity to its people.

Also focused on Afghanistan, today in Madrid, there is a meeting of more than 30 representatives of – special representatives for Afghanistan and Pakistan for the United States led by Richard Holbrooke. But many countries have duplicated our structure and appointed special representatives for Afghanistan and Pakistan that are helping to coordinate international support to both of those governments. This Madrid meeting, in terms of Afghanistan, will focus on planning for the Kabul Conference on July 20th. And this is obviously the first opportunity for Ambassador Holbrooke and the other SRAPs to hear from the Government of Afghanistan about the outcome of last week’s consultative peace jirga.

But other agenda items this week include progress on the Afghan National Security Forces, discussion of development and humanitarian assistance programs in Pakistan, plans for the Friends of Democratic Pakistan ministerial meeting announced on Friday at the Pakistan-EU summit in Brussels.

Turning to Africa, the United States is concerned with the arrest of human rights activist Farai Maguwu in Zimbabwe last week. He was arrested after meeting with a Kimberley Process monitor highlighting the continued lack of respect for rule of law and fundamental freedoms in Zimbabwe. The United States supports the Kimberley Process and recognizes the essential role that civil society organizations such as Mr. Maguwu’s play in reducing the trade in conflict diamonds. We expect the Government of Zimbabwe to treat Mr. Maguwu fairly and review his case expeditiously.

In terms of travel this week, Assistant Secretary for Population Refugees and Migration Eric Schwartz will visit Australia, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia over the next roughly two weeks. In Australia, Eric Schwartz will attend the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – OHCA donor support group high-level meeting on June 8th and 9th and meet with Australian Government officials. In Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, he will meet with government officials and international organizations implementing assistance programs in the region.

Bringing you up to date on a couple of the current stories, on Friday, the Department of State sent a diplomatic note to the Government of Canada informing them of the Unified Area Command’s decision to accept Canada’s offers of 300[1] meters of ocean boom for the ongoing – deal with the effects of the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf. The boom is expected to arrive in the Gulf area on Tuesday. The United States Government paid for the boom out of the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. The U.S. will reimburse Canada for the transportation of the boom and for as much boom as is actually used, up to a total of $3 million. We anticipate that BP will, in turn, reimburse the Government for this expenditure.

And finally, several of you are following reports of the disclosure of classified State Department materials as part of this investigation in Iraq. The State Department is working closely with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Division, or CID, to determine the facts in this case. The investigation is in its preliminary stages, as you would expect, but we take the reports of the deliberate, unauthorized disclosure of classified State Department cables and materials very seriously. And the security of these materials is our highest priority.

QUESTION: On that point?

MR. CROWLEY: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Yeah, go ahead.

QUESTION: Were these documents taken from a U.S. Embassy, or what was the State Department complete role in this sort of connection?

MR. CROWLEY: Actually, as I understand it, they were simply our cables. And if we do reporting, we do that reporting across the interagency, including to other departments of the government, so for – but they were basically our cables. But we are obviously cooperating to, among other things, assess the impact of these disclosures.

QUESTION: So as far as you know, this is, in a sense, a secondary leak from your point of view? It’s not that these were somehow leached out of the State Department itself, but rather they were transmitted to another agency and this individual may have had access to them as a result of that transfer?

MR. CROWLEY: Correct.

QUESTION: And one other thing on this: To your knowledge, have any of those cables yet been made public? Because, to my knowledge, they have not been put out by WikiLeaks or anybody else.

MR. CROWLEY: I can’t say. But I think that obviously, that is something that we will be watching carefully.

QUESTION: You’re not aware of their public disclosure? I presume that you would have --

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not aware. No.

QUESTION: And are you seeking to prevent their public disclosure?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not sure that we’ve had any direct contact with the organization that’s involved in this. Clearly, classified information, any time it is released in the public domain, can have a potential negative impact on our security. But I’m not aware that we’ve had any particular contact with this organization. Now, perhaps other agencies of government have.

QUESTION: P.J., just one more on that. There is also, although it’s a little unclear, a reference to a previous leak of 260,000 dispatches. Can you set us straight exactly what that is? A previous leak.

MR. CROWLEY: I can’t.

QUESTION: Did you mention the number of cables that were issued?

MR. CROWLEY: I didn’t, but Jill did. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: So they --

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t – I mean, I think we are learning, and we are not the lead agency in this. We’re supporting the investigation. These are all issues that will be investigated fully as we go forward. But this is – these are classified documents. We take their release seriously. It has the – it has particular impact in terms of potentially revealing what we call sources of methods – compromising our ability to provide government leaders with the kind of analysis that they need to make informed decisions. So this is a serious issue and we are fully cooperating with the other agencies of government.

QUESTION: Can you say what period of time these --

MR. CROWLEY: Yeah. I think for particulars as to what this individual might have done and – I would probably defer to the Pentagon.

QUESTION: When is --

QUESTION: They’re your cables?

MR. CROWLEY: They’re our cables. They – but the individual involved works for a different agency and was working within his classified networks. But when we do as you would expect, when we do analysis, we share that with other agencies other government that have a direct interest in these particular issues. Our operations in Iraq are interagency, so – but the fact that they’re our cables, but they are cables that we have shared broadly so that everybody is fully informed about the analysis that we’ve done that – on the issues that are the subject of those cables.

QUESTION: I’m just trying to get some sense of whether you’re talking about an isolated case in which cables coming in one subject were --

MR. CROWLEY: Again --

QUESTION: -- compromised over a long period of time?

MR. CROWLEY: -- I’m not going to be the source of information on this investigation.

QUESTION: When was the State Department informed?

MR. CROWLEY: Wait. Hold on, one at a time.

QUESTION: When was the State Department informed that these cables were potentially out there?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, as I understand it, this person was detained in the last couple of weeks, so I assume that’s when we first learned of it.

QUESTION: So you don’t know what the State --

QUESTION: So you don’t know --

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, I will find out if that’s important to you, when we were first informed.

QUESTION: I understand that these cables are very restricted, only a small number of people can see those cables. Is that true?

MR. CROWLEY: I haven’t looked at the cables that are – that were downloaded here. All I will tell you is that we do share our analysis. In some cases, they might have gone to large agencies; in one case, to individuals. But in a way, that may go to the question of when we judge the potential impact, as – Arshad. And another issue here is not only they were allegedly passed to an entity that is not authorized to have this information, but what the impact of this will be, we’ll evaluate over time.

QUESTION: Can I change the subject?

MR. CROWLEY: Yes.

QUESTION: Afghanistan – the interior minister of Afghanistan has resigned. From the podium several times, Ambassador Holbrooke and you have also mentioned about his efficiency and one of the most efficient ministers – cabinet ministers there.

Do you have anything to say on it? Is it going to affect the efficiency of the government there?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, these were – this is an internal matter for the Afghan Government, and we hope that President Karzai will work quickly to choose replacements so that we can continue the strong partnership that we have with these ministries.

QUESTION: Just to follow on, this issue of Afghanistan was also discussed between the U.S. and Indian officials here and when they met for a very high-level meeting. Like, Indian foreign minister said that no matter what, India will stay in Afghanistan as far as reconstruction or helping in economic buildup and also on – despite Pakistan’s or their agency’s objections there.

So what I’m asking you, have you discussed this as far as tussle muscle between India and Pakistan as far as India’s presence in Afghanistan is concerned?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I think during the course of the Strategic Dialogue last week, Afghanistan was one of the topics discussed. We recognize that India has an interest in and a stake in the future of Afghanistan. We recognize that India is going to develop its own relationship with Afghanistan. We recognize that Pakistan will as well. We don’t see this in zero sum terms. We think that there’s plenty of opportunity for a range of countries to be supportive of Afghanistan to help stabilize the situation and help Afghanistan provide greater support to its people. So that was a significant topic of conversation during the course of our meetings last week.

QUESTION: But, P.J., does U.S. (inaudible) India’s presence in Afghanistan?

MR. CROWLEY: No.

QUESTION: Excuse me?

MR. CROWLEY: No, we don’t oppose India’s presence in Afghanistan. We expect that India will develop its own relationship with countries in its immediate neighborhood. We recognize that. And that’s why this was a topic of discussion.

QUESTION: New topic?

QUESTION: Yeah. Do you have anything to say about Yemen arresting, apparently, foreign – foreigners for links to al-Qaida, including a few Americans? And what can you tell us about the Americans?

MR. CROWLEY: We are working to find out more about the individuals who may be in Yemeni custody.

QUESTION: Do you have it confirmed that there are any Americans among them?

MR. CROWLEY: We understand that there may well be some Americans who are in custody. We’re trying to find out more information.

QUESTION: So I’m assuming you haven’t had any access to them yet or anything like that, or --

MR. CROWLEY: I think we’re trying to figure that out.

QUESTION: And have they given you any names? I’m not asking you to reveal them, but have you given you any names yet – the Yemenis?

MR. CROWLEY: Again, I just think the – if the question is are we aware that there are Americans in custody in Yemen, we are. And I’m not aware that we have yet had consular access to them.

QUESTION: And do you know how many?

MR. CROWLEY: Hmm?

QUESTION: Do you know how many?

MR. CROWLEY: Several.

QUESTION: Or what specifically they were picked up for, even if they haven’t been charged yet?

MR. CROWLEY: Again, now you’re into privacy issues.

QUESTION: Why can’t you give us the number? Do you not know it?

MR. CROWLEY: Twelve.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Twelve Americans?

MR. CROWLEY: Twelve Americans.

QUESTION: As long as it’s not several. (Laughter.) Just a point of note. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Dozen.

QUESTION: There are reports that they were picked up, taken into custody at the behest of their own governments. Can you confirm that?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m – we have great cooperation with the Government of Yemen. Together, we are doing our best to help Yemen reduce the threat posed by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. That’s a threat to Yemen, it’s a threat to the United States, but beyond that I’m not going to talk about specifics.

QUESTION: New subject?

QUESTION: So this is terror-related. You would not dispute that --

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not going to get into specifics.

QUESTION: Well, you said that you have terror cooperation. So why bring it up otherwise, right? I mean --

QUESTION: Could you say how long they’ve been in custody?

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t know.

QUESTION: Another subject?

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: Flotilla, latest developments. Iran’s Red Crescent is talking about participating, sending in some supplies to Gaza. Are you aware of those reports? Do you have any response, reaction?

MR. CROWLEY: We certainly are looking, ourselves, at trying to find ways of increasing the amount of assistance that goes to the people of Gaza. I don’t think that Iran’s intentions vis-à-vis Gaza are benign.

QUESTION: Could I just follow up on that?

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: This is following up on a question we posed last week about breaking down the $300 million humanitarian aid pledge to Gaza during the donors’ conference.

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: Have you been able to explain just how that money is --

MR. CROWLEY: I haven’t – we’re still working through the figures. I’ve gotten some figures back and they’re not yet at a point where I can really describe them sensibly to you. So I’m still working on it.

QUESTION: And just one more thing. I’m looking at the USAID website, which describes specific projects in Gaza as well as the West Bank. And are – these are ongoing? And these are without --

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean --

QUESTION: -- through NGOs or --

MR. CROWLEY: Put it this way: We still owe you a detailed answer. But we have had projects to support the people of Gaza for a number of years. Some of them are channeled through USAID, some go through the UN, some go through directly to NGOs who are on the ground there. So we are committed, as we have said, to supporting the people of Gaza while, obviously, continuing to isolate Hamas.

QUESTION: Do you expect to have some concrete ideas on how to do that when Abbas is in town this week? And who from this building will be meeting with him?

MR. CROWLEY: He’ll be at the White House. I’m not aware that he will be coming here. It wouldn’t surprise me that we have other meetings with some of his entourage while he’s here.

QUESTION: Would you expect this – I mean, the easing of the blockade, changing the way that the blockade is enforced --

MR. CROWLEY: We’re having a variety of conversations right now in terms of how to increase the assistance to the people of Gaza while at the same time protecting Israel’s legitimate security interests. We’re talking to Israel. We’re talking to other countries and other entities about how best to do this.

QUESTION: Are you saying that (inaudible) push the reconciliation issue with them?

MR. CROWLEY: Hmm?

QUESTION: To reconcile with Hamas, for instance, is that something on the agenda?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, there is an ongoing reconciliation process. Egypt has played a significant role in this. But at the heart of it, Hamas has to make a fundamental judgment. There are red lines that the Quartet has laid down about renouncing violence, recognizing Israel, and agreeing to existing arrangements. And so Hamas has had that choice before it for quite some time.

QUESTION: So there is no change in U.S. position? You’ll not --

MR. CROWLEY: There’s no change in the U.S. position.

QUESTION: You’ll not --

MR. CROWLEY: The real question is whether Hamas is going to make that – to cross that – make that step and then play a more constructive role in the region.

QUESTION: Do you agree with the prime minister of Turkey, who said that Hamas is not a terrorist organization and that Hamas, as resistance fighters, who was struggling to defend their land?

MR. CROWLEY: I think if anyone who looks at the last few years, with thousands and thousands of rockets fired at Israel, at the civilian population, would recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization. The United States has designated Hamas as a terrorist organization. So that is – our position is clear.

QUESTION: What do you think about the Turkish (inaudible) towards Hamas?

MR. CROWLEY: We think there is ample evidence to show that Hamas is a terrorist organization by words and deeds. It has not played a constructive role in the region, notwithstanding the fact that certain aspects of Hamas have provided social assistance to the people of Gaza. But when – it is the people of – it is the Hamas – is Hamas that through its actions have contributed significantly to the current significant humanitarian plight of the people of Gaza.

QUESTION: Have you received any information confirming an Egyptian official’s comment today that they are keeping the Rafah crossing point open indefinitely?

MR. CROWLEY: We certainly have seen that report.

QUESTION: P.J. --

MR. CROWLEY: Go ahead.

QUESTION: What do you think of that --

MR. CROWLEY: Huh?

QUESTION: -- think of that move?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we are not against the – expanding the amount of assistance to the people of Gaza. We want to make sure that whatever actions are taken, whether it’s by the Government of Israel or the Government of Egypt or other governments, that we find a way to balance providing additional assistance, at the same time protecting Israel and the region’s security interests.

Now, I think Egypt has taken certain actions in the past to try to mitigate the smuggling of dangerous materials into Gaza. We appreciate that. But whatever arrangements are being done, whether it’s a land crossing or through other means, we need to make sure, going forward, that Israel’s legitimate security interests are protected.

QUESTION: So you’re not opposed to this?

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, we are in discussion with a wide range of countries and entities to see how we can expand the amount of assistance to the people of Gaza, and while respecting and protecting Israel’s security interests.

QUESTION: Do you believe that the Egyptians have put in place mechanisms that would protect Israel’s security interests?

MR. CROWLEY: In terms of this latest step, I can’t say.

QUESTION: Well, but have you then had conversations with them to try to find out (a) whether they are putting in place such procedures, and if not, (b) to dissuade them from keeping Rafah open if there aren’t those kinds of things in place?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, the Vice President was in Egypt today, had high-level discussions with President Mubarak and others. I’ve got to believe that somewhere in that conversation, we were focused on what to do with respect to Gaza.

QUESTION: Did you make a decision about Furkan Dogan’s death? There will be any investigation, U.S. investigation about Furkan – the U.S. citizen who was killed in the raid, Furkan? There will be investigation?

MR. CROWLEY: We have not – we still are gaining more facts on what happened on the ship.

QUESTION: Can we go back to the flotilla?

MR. CROWLEY: Mm-hmm. I didn’t know that we left the flotilla.

QUESTION: Okay. The Israelis announced that they will have a group of justices investigating what happened with the flotilla, and they also said there are two internationals, one of them American. Do we know who the other justice is?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not aware that the Israelis have yet put forward a formal proposal in terms of how they are going to conduct their investigation. We are in conversation with the Israelis about sharing ideas on how to best accomplish this. Everyone wants to see an impartial, credible investigation emerge and – but as to how that unfolds, I’m not aware the Israelis have made any final determinations yet.

QUESTION: Can I just ask about the conversations you guys have been having with other countries about how to open up more aid while maintaining the security you talk about? Can you bring us up to speed on any progress you are making on those? Any ideas that are being kicked about?

MR. CROWLEY: We’re sharing a lot of different ideas, both bilaterally and also within the EU, also at the UN. I’m not willing to share any of those ideas at this point.

QUESTION: Do you have a timeline for any decisions?

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t.

QUESTION: Is that the same thing, our daily question about Iran sanctions? Could we ask you – you know, I don’t even have to give the question, P.J. You know what it is.

QUESTION: When? When?

QUESTION: When, when, when?

MR. CROWLEY: Right. This is a different topic. Are we off of --

QUESTION: We’re on a different topic.

MR. CROWLEY: Huh?

QUESTION: Oh, all right. All right.

MR. CROWLEY: All right. So we’re --

QUESTION: But it’s still legitimate.

MR. CROWLEY: What?

QUESTION: When are you calling a vote?

QUESTION: Sanctions vote --

MR. CROWLEY: This week.

QUESTION: -- the UN. This week?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean --

QUESTION: Definitely?

MR. CROWLEY: We expect to bring this matter before the Council this week.

QUESTION: Different topic, on Colombia. What’s the meaning of the trip of Secretary Hillary Clinton to Colombia? Is that country still being an important ally for the United States? And having in mind the increased relationship between Venezuela and Iran and Brazil and Iran, how important is the relationship between United States and Colombia?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, the relationship between the United States and Colombia is important. It is important because Colombia is playing a significant and constructive role in security in the hemisphere, most notably in the area of security and counternarcotics cooperation that we have with Colombia. Our relationship with Colombia is not about Iran. It’s about the role that Colombia’s going to play in the hemisphere.

But the fact that the Secretary will be stopping there is an indication of the importance that we attach not only to our bilateral relationship, but to the constructive role that Colombia plays more broadly.

QUESTION: Different topic. Has the Department ever received a formal extradition request from the Government of India for Warren Anderson, the former chief executive of Union Carbide? And if so, what is the status of any such request?

MR. CROWLEY: I’ll take that question.

QUESTION: Just to follow --

QUESTION: (Inaudible) extradition on the Mexico guy from last week?

MR. CROWLEY: Look, as a matter of policy, extradition requests are normally confidential.

QUESTION: Just to follow, it’s been 25 years after this Union Carbide gas accident in India, and (inaudible) people have not received anything at all, and what they are blaming – that it was a U.S. company and justice should have been done for the innocent people and their families. So, I mean, again, any reaction from the outcome? Because that way, they will not really believe or trust any outside companies in India if it happens – something like this as far as compensations.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, as you say, Goyal, this tragedy happened 26 years ago, and it was a terrible tragedy, one of the worst industrial accidents in human history, and we certainly hope that the verdict brings some closure to the families of the victims of this tragedy.

But just as we were talking about earlier, last week, we had a strategic dialogue with India. Our countries are closely connected. Our economies are increasingly closely connected. So I certainly would hope that this particular case does not inhibit – or the continuing expansion of economic, cultural, and political ties between our two countries. And I have – we fully expect that this will not be the case.

QUESTION: Well, doesn’t it already inhibit it? I mean, surely, this is widely understood to be one of the factors behind the Indian parliament’s inability thus far to pass the liability protection legislation that everyone acknowledges is necessary for U.S. companies to be willing to invest in India’s vast nuclear power, you know, industry. Does it not already impede your efforts? I mean, it’s years you’ve been asking the Indians to pass that legislation.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, as to – as – the Indian parliament will have to make judgment on the nuclear liabilities bill, but this case – criminal case should have no relation to the liability legislation currently before the parliament.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. CROWLEY: All right. Hold on.

QUESTION: One more.

QUESTION: Last week, Defense Secretary Gates has mentioned at the security conference in Singapore – he said the United States were considering additional options against North Korea. What is the contents of the diplomatic options or – and military options there are?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, as we’ve said, this is now a matter that is before the Security Council. As to a particular point at which the Council will formally bring up the letter it has received from the Government of South Korea, I’ll defer to the UN.

But in light of the sinking of the Cheonan, we are reviewing with South Korea and other countries a wide range of options and how we can increase the capabilities within our security alliance to address the threat that this sinking poses to security and stability in the region. So we – that is under active review.

We’re looking at a range of options in terms of additional capabilities, exercises, other training programs, but – and then with the UN, we would expect the Security Council to bring up this matter and we expect there to be a strong statement coming out of the UN at the appropriate time in the future that makes it clear to North Korea that these kinds of provocations and threats to regional stability will not be tolerated.

QUESTION: Staying with North Korea for a minute?

MR. CROWLEY: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Do you – as I’m sure you’re aware, North Korea named one of Kim Jong-il’s brother-in-laws to be his deputy on the National Defense Commission. And he has also fired North Korea’s premier. Do you have any comment on those personnel changes in North Korea?

MR. CROWLEY: Such Kremlinology. I – we don’t have any particular comment on the internal political machinations in North Korea. We certainly hope that the North Korean leadership will understand the situation that it’s placed itself in and that it needs to take irreversible steps to fulfill its denuclearization commitments, comply with international law, and to stop provocative behavior. If some reformed North Korean leadership takes those steps, then they would be actually serving the interests of their people.

QUESTION: Do you feel that it is more difficult to try to get the North Koreans to meet their nuclear obligations, including under the 2005 agreement, because there are these leadership – these changes in the leadership going on?

MR. CROWLEY: Again, who knows? We know what they should do. What we don’t know is what they will do, and we certainly don’t know why these changes are taking place at this time.

QUESTION: One more subject, it’s another one: Rwanda. The judge reportedly has turned down the bail application by the U.S. lawyer who is charged with denying the Rwandan genocide. Do you have any reaction to that?

MR. CROWLEY: We have visited and spoke with Mr. Erlinder throughout the weekend. I think we were aware that there was a bail request hearing today. We continue to look forward to a compassionate and expeditious resolution of this matter.

QUESTION: P.J., one more as far as U.S.-India is concerned. U.S. Ambassador to India who is in town – who came for this high-level dialogue, he had, when I talked to him, very positive views of U.S.-India relations, and also views of billion-plus Indians about the U.S. is very high compared to next-door neighbor, Pakistan. And also, he said that as far as this dialogue is concerned, it will bring more positive views among Indians in India and also Indian Americans here.

What I’m asking is, do you have or any secretary has any message for the Indians in India that what they feel – that U.S. is little soft on Pakistan as far as dealing with the terrorism and – but they had very high views also of this dialogue. But what they’re asking really, where do we go? It’s a triangle there.

MR. CROWLEY: Goyal, I’m not going to buy into your triangle. We have a very close relationship with India, and the world’s oldest and the world’s largest democracy should have this kind of relationship, one which we value, one which is expanding and deepening as last week’s meetings indicated. We also have a growing and increasingly valuable relationship with Pakistan. We certainly suggest that India and Pakistan need to continue the momentum that we’ve seen in recent weeks increasing the dialogue between the two countries.

But as we’ve made clear to the leaders and people of both countries, this is not a zero-sum proposition. We have – India is an important country and Pakistan is an important country and we value our relationships with each.

QUESTION: Just one quick one. I asked a couple times last week about a report that an Iranian nuclear official had sought asylum in the United States.

MR. CROWLEY: And I – we still don’t have an answer.

QUESTION: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:52 p.m.)

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