Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
August 5, 2010


Index for Today's Briefing
  • PAKISTAN
    • Flood / Additional $25 Million in Assistance to Aid in Flood Affected Areas
  • DEPARTMENT
    • Nigeria's Upcoming Elections
    • Kenya Constitutional Referendum
    • AGOA Meetings in Kansas City
    • President Forum for African Leaders Wrapping Up in DC
  • UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
    • Blackberry / Meetings / Reaching Out to Interested Countries / Security Concerns / In Touch with Operating Company / Interested in Free Flow of Information / Effect on Diplomats and Citizens
  • VIETNAM
    • Nuclear 1-2-3 Negotiation / Ongoing / Issues Are Under Discussion / Evaluating Energy Needs
  • LEBANON
    • U.S. Military Aid / Provide Support / In Our Interest / Close Cooperation with International Community
  • AFGHANISTAN
    • WikiLeaks / Return of Documents / Classified Information / Continue to Investigate / Actively Reviewing Cables
  • VENEZUELA
    • Nomination of Ambassador Palmer / Nominating Process / Hearing / Want to See Ambassador Palmer Confirmed / Robust Dialogue
  • CUBA
    • A/S Valenzuela Meeting with Cardinal / Release of Prisoners, U.S. Citizen in Custody
  • SPAIN
    • No Travel Warning


TRANSCRIPT:

1:50 p.m. EDT

MR. CROWLEY: Beginning part two of our briefing today. Obviously, we have discussed with you over recent days American response to help the victims of the devastating floods in Pakistan. And today, we're announcing an additional contribution of $25 million in assistance to flood-affected areas of Pakistan bringing our commitment to $35 million thus far in specific assistance. In addition to that, obviously, and as Dan Feldman will outline in a second, considerable effort being doing through our military in the region, assistance being provided across the border from our forces in Afghanistan to Pakistan. But just to explain the aid in a little more specificity and also the situation on the ground, we have Dan Feldman, the Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Mark Ward who is the Acting Director of USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.

Gentlemen?

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MR. CROWLEY: And finally, just to reiterate a couple of things from earlier today, you heard from Secretary Clinton and Nigerian Foreign Minister Ajumogobia on their discussion of Nigeria's upcoming elections and the next steps for the U.S.-Nigerian Binational Commission. The Secretary reiterated U.S. support for Nigeria's important election process; 2011 elections will be critical to Nigeria's efforts to sustain and advance their democracy. And the Secretary and the foreign minister also discussed the launch of the Niger Delta and Regional Security Cooperating – Cooperation Working Group, which will meet in Washington, here, next month. The United States plans to provide $1.5 million in technical support to help meet Nigeria’s power sector priorities.

The Secretary also alluded in her comments to the – strong indications that a majority of Kenyans have supported fundamental change in their country. I think the Kenyan Government is beginning to release official and final figures on the constitutional referendum, province by province. But we are very encouraged by the signs that indicate the majority of Kenyans have approved this new constitution. Constitutional reform is central to Kenyan efforts to deepen its democracy, stability, and prosperity. Kenyans are to be commended for turning out in large numbers and participating peacefully in the referendum on this critical matter.

We had the African Growth and Opportunity Act forum in Washington earlier this week. The ministers have moved now to Kansas City and today they’re meeting there with business people. Site visits today have included a coffee processor, a large farm, an animal health products producer, and the Kansas City Board of Trade, having the opportunity to discuss commercial investment needs and, in fact, do some business.

And finally, today, the President’s forum for Young African Leaders is wrapping up here in Washington. The 115 young people participating in the forum this week are actually now meeting in open time on their (inaudible) at the Newseum. Earlier today, Under Secretaries Maria Otero and Judith McHale co-hosted “The Way Forward” plenary to give delegates an opportunity to share with them ideas and plans of actions that are developed as a result of this forum.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Also today at the opportunity – the press opportunity with the Nigerian foreign minister, Secretary Clinton talked about these technical and expert talks with the UAE and others on the Blackberry issue. Do you have any more details in terms of what other countries the U.S. will be meeting when it talks about this Blackberry issue?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, as I indicated yesterday, as we have indications that countries are raising security concerns to Blackberry, we have – we are reaching out to those countries – the UAE, Saudi Arabia, India, and others – to understand the security concerns and see if we can’t work collaboratively to find solutions. So that’s a process that is ongoing here at the Department of State. I’ve got no announcements to make at this point.

QUESTION: Well has it gone anywhere beyond what you said yesterday?

MR. CROWLEY: Yes. And we are also – we’ve been –

QUESTION: So how has it gone beyond what you said yesterday?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we’ve been in touch with RIM, the company that operates the Blackberry network worldwide. We're going to have follow-on meetings with RIM to try to understand fully the issues that have been raised to the company and see if we can't determine how to meet both the security needs that these countries are expressing and also ensure the free flow of information as we are advocating.

QUESTION: Can I – Elise was asking about this yesterday and the day before, and at the time, I wasn't convinced that it was that thrilling a line of inquiry. But now I kind of – now I've changed my mind – not that you need to know that.

MR. CROWLEY: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Why are you advocating on behalf of one company in particular? Is it because U.S. government officials rely heavily on this company and its product to communicate?

MR. CROWLEY: The United States Government is not unique. Many of us in government do have Blackberrys. But as I said yesterday, this is not about one company, one network. There are legitimate security concerns and genuine complexity at the heart of the issues that various countries have raised with the company and with us.

As the Secretary has said, we have interest in trying to ensure the free flow of information using technology to expand the knowledge that's available to people and business people. If some of these companies – some of these countries follow through on what they've announced it would have an impact on the U.S. Government and our diplomats operating in different countries. So we are directly affected by what is – has been suggested. But, obviously, we know that both American businessmen, American citizens traveling abroad, the citizens of other countries would be affected as well.

So we have seen, in recent days, several countries have indicated publicly that they've got concerns, and we are actively reaching out, both to the company and these countries, to fully understand the issues involved and see if we can't, working collaboratively, find solutions.

QUESTION: And as you do this, would you say that any progress has been made in finding a solution?

MR. CROWLEY: I would say that we are going to have a number of meetings and conversations in the coming days and weeks, and we'll see what progress can be made.

QUESTION: And have you mentioned about – you mentioned about --

MR. MR. CROWLEY: All right, hold on. Hold on, one at a time.

QUESTION: Have you actually spoken to any government officials from these countries, India, Afghanistan? And if so, who are you talking to?

MR. CROWLEY: The short answer is yes. I can't be more specific than that, but we are actively engaged with a number of countries.

QUESTION: You mentioned about businessmen and traveling to other countries. When one goes to South Korea, the phones do not work there. You have to take their phones; you have to rent them.

QUESTION: No, not anymore.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: In North Korea – (laughter) – in North Korea, they don't work.

MR. CROWLEY: I know. I do not consider myself a technical expert, but I do believe that networks in South Korea are among the most advanced in the world.
QUESTION: Do you have security concerns about Blackberrys inside the U.S.? What about terrorists use those Blackberrys' network inside the U.S. for sending messages?

MR. CROWLEY: Do I --

QUESTION: Can you access those messages? Do you have a --

MR. CROWLEY: Again, I mean, on that score, yeah. I mean, we use Blackberrys here within the Department of State and we – I'm not here to make an endorsement of a particular country –
company. As I’ve said, this is not in itself about – some of the issues revolve around one device and one technology, but our advocacy for employing technology to expand information and knowledge to more people around the world is certainly about more than any one company or any one network. But I'm not here to make an endorsement of a particular company or device.

QUESTION: These countries have concerns about terrorists being – using these Blackberrys for sending messages, secure messages to their people over here. Isn't that a concern to the U.S. inside --

MR. CROWLEY: Well, there are security issues involved here. There are regulatory issues involved here. There are information – there are technological issues involved here. We're –
given the issues that have been raised recently, we have a process under way to try to understand fully what's involved and how we might be helpful in identifying solutions.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Can we move on to another topic?

QUESTION: You can’t say whether you’re talking to the foreign ministries of these other countries or their commerce departments? You can’t comment on that?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, these are crosscutting issues. We have people within the State Department who are engaged in technology and innovation strategies. We have people who are involved in information technology and the regulatory issues. We have people who are involved in economic and commercial issues. So it cuts across --

QUESTION: Is that a way of saying that you’re talking to --

MR. CROWLEY: These are issues which cut across ministries and governments, not only in our government, but in others. So we will – are engaging in a broader conversation. And as this has come up this week, we have begun a conversation with technology experts and the company itself, and we're going to see what we can – how we can fully understand what's involved here, and that could very well draw in people from different areas.

QUESTION: Have you lobbied other governments, like France or England, to help you in this effort? And how many Blackberry users are there in the government, the USG?

MR. CROWLEY: I do not know. And I'm not aware that we – right now, the conversation that we've started is with those governments that have indicated that – a specific concern about this particular network.

QUESTION: Is that (inaudible)?

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. CROWLEY: All right, hold on.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) Blackberry to accommodate these governments, maybe (inaudible)?

MR. CROWLEY: At this point, as we've said in the past couple of days, we are gaining information and perspective at this point, then, once we understand all of the issues involved –
and there are technology issues involved, there are security issues involved, there are regulatory issues involved. Once we gain a better understanding, then we'll see what we can do about developing and suggesting particular solutions.

QUESTION: So are you talking – but you are talking to Blackberry. I mean, not necessarily – in terms of --

MR. CROWLEY: We have had conversations with the company, yes.

QUESTION: And are you telling them to be sensitive to the countries’ – these different countries’ security concerns?

MR. CROWLEY: I don't think it's for the State Department to give Blackberry or RIM particular commercial advice.

QUESTION: Why is it (inaudible)?

MR. CROWLEY: Look, again – I can say it one more time, more loudly, if you wish. We have had a conversation – conversations with the company. We are reaching out to a number of governments. We're going to try to understand the issues that are involved here. And then we'll see what we can do about suggesting solutions that might meet the security concerns and the informational and aspirations that we have, not only for our people, but for people around the world.

QUESTION: Can we move on?

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: Okay. This morning, the Wall Street Journal reported that the State Department is in advanced negotiations with Vietnam on a nuclear deal which would allow Vietnam to produce enriched uranium on its own soils.

And the paper actually quoted nonproliferation experts as saying that this is a roll-back of the Administration's nonproliferation efforts. What's your comment on this? And do you – are you concerned that countries in the region might be pursuing the same thing, enriching uranium on their own soil, such as Thailand and all those countries?

MR. CROWLEY: A lot of questions there. The United States and Vietnam are engaged in a so-called, "123" negotiation that would involve civilian nuclear technology. That negotiation is ongoing, so it's hard to cite at this particular point what the specifics of an agreement would be. That's – these are still issues that are under discussion.

In terms of concerns that were expressed in the paper, we work directly with specific countries. We evaluate their energy needs and on a case-by-case, country-by-country, region-by-region basis. We have completed a successful agreement with the UAE. That agreement is what we would consider to be the gold standard. And in that agreement, which is very important and very valuable, the UAE pursuing its own interests, decided that it would forego the right of enrichment that every country in the world has.

We certainly want to see other countries make that same kind of decision and that same kind of agreement in their own interest as the Administration pursues its nonproliferation agenda. But again, these are discussions that we're having with countries that are interested in this kind of agreement, and while we will pursue our nonproliferation objectives through these kind of discussions, obviously the interests and needs of particular countries will vary from one to the other.

QUESTION: What other countries are you talking to?

MR. CROWLEY: I don't have a specific list in front –

QUESTION: You’re talking to Malaysia, aren’t you?

MR. CROWLEY: -- but there are a number of countries that are interested in pursuing these kinds of so-called 123 agreements. Obviously, we reached one with India. We reached one with UAE.

QUESTION: You can't remember one that's sort of in the middle of negotiations? I'm sure you could think of one.

QUESTION: Like Malaysia.

MR. CROWLEY: I'll see if I can – I'll see – if there's great interest, I'll see if we have a list.

QUESTION: Now, P.J., that was a very long answer that didn't really answer the question. Are you considering an agreement that would allow Vietnam to enrich on its own soil?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, again –

QUESTION: Let me finish. The Vietnamese – at least the officials who negotiated the MOU that began this process, say that they’re not interested in it.

MR. CROWLEY: All right. Just to rebut the accusation that I wasn’t responsive to the question that was raised –

QUESTION: Well, the question was: Are you negotiating a deal that would allow them to enrich uranium? And you basically danced around and said we’re negotiating a deal.

MR. CROWLEY: We are in the midst of a 123 negotiation with Vietnam. Because we’re in the midst of the negotiation, how we arrive at a final agreement and the specifics of that agreement, is something I can’t comment on at this point because the negotiation is ongoing. As I did say, country-by-country, we will pursue these kinds of agreements. Some countries will determine, as the UAE did, to forego a right of enrichment as part of its pursuit of civilian nuclear energy.

And under the – enshrined in the nonproliferation treaty, as we’ve discussed here many times, is an inherent right to pursue enrichment. We would like to see more countries make the same kind of decision that the UAE did. Whether Vietnam will reach that decision is ultimately a decision for Vietnam, but is something that we are discussing with Vietnam as part of this ongoing negotiation.

QUESTION: Well, they say that you’re pushing them – that you are pushing them not to have – to forego the right of enrichment. Are they pushing back and saying they want it? Because we’re on a counter to what they (inaudible).

MR. CROWLEY: We certainly would – as a broad policy objective as we discussed earlier this year in the nonproliferation treaty conference in New York, we do want to see fewer countries enriching uranium around the world. We definitely want to see the evolution of an international system where there are guaranteed sources of enriched uranium and under appropriate international supervision.

Certainly, for a country that may well still pursue civilian nuclear energy, obviously there are safeguards that are built into any agreement to work collaboratively with the IAEA and meet all international obligations.

So we are, obviously, interested in promoting the appropriate use of civilian nuclear energy under strict international supervision, but certainly a part of our long-term objective here is, as countries exploit civilian nuclear energy, fewer countries make the decision to enrich.

QUESTION: So it’s possible that this agreement could allow them to enrich?

MR. CROWLEY: Again, I’m not going to comment specifically on what’s being negotiated, because that negotiation is ongoing.

QUESTION: P.J. what – is there any --

MR. CROWLEY: No, hold on.

QUESTION: Can I ask a teeny-weeny question?

QUESTION: The paper said that the United States didn’t consult with China first. And so what’s your comment on this particular detail?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we have a negotiation going on between the United States and Vietnam. That does not involve China.

QUESTION: Why is it so difficult to say yes that part of what’s being negotiated is whether Vietnam would retain the right to enrich on its own soil?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, if Vietnam chooses, as part of its own self-interest and exercising its right under the NPT to enrichment that is a decision for them to make. It’s not a decision for the United States to make.

QUESTION: Well, except that it’s a decision --

QUESTION: But you also --

QUESTION: Elise, hold on a second. You said you wanted to change the subject a minute ago. What are you – but it’s a U.S. decision whether to go ahead and sign a 123 agreement. It’s not --

MR. CROWLEY: Right. And those are two separate issues. It is the right of any country, including Vietnam, to determine whether or not to – in pursuing civilian nuclear energy, whether it wants to enrich or whether it wants to obtain processed fuel from an international source.

QUESTION: So you’re willing to – you would be willing to have a 123 agreement with Vietnam that allows them to – in which they do not give up their right to enrich?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, enshrined in the NPT is a right for any country --

QUESTION: I understand that.

MR. CROWLEY: No, let me – all right, you asked the question. Now it’s my turn, okay. We recognize and we certainly would encourage countries to make the same decision that the UAE has made. At the same time, not every country is going to make that decision. If a country decides to pursue nuclear energy, and a country decides that it chooses to enrich on its own soil, then we would prospectively work with that country; number one, to make sure that their pursuit of nuclear energy meets all international safeguards; they work cooperatively with the IAEA. And we believe that that also would provide the kinds of security assurances that we think are important to make sure that any country that pursues nuclear power does not become a potential source of proliferation.

There’s not going to be any – we would like to see the day where there is an international regime and that fewer countries enrich. That is our broad policy goal, but we recognize that a particular approach is going to be different country-by-country or region-by-region.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MR. CROWLEY: Yes.

QUESTION: Lebanon -- today, a Florida congressman, Congressman Klein -- I think he sits on the Foreign Relations Committee – suggested that he’s going to bring up the issue of stopping military aid to Lebanon.

Are you in discussion with this congressman in particular or on this very issue?

MR. CROWLEY: I'm not familiar with those -- with those comments.

QUESTION: Change of subject?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, hold on. Obviously, we should just point out, you know, UNIFIL did chair a meeting with Israeli and Lebanese officials yesterday evening. The meeting was professional. Both parties indicated their interest in maintaining calm in the border area.

And since, there was a question yesterday about the nature of U.S. support to the Lebanese armed forces, we have provided more than $600 million to the Lebanese armed forces and internal security forces under a variety of programs. Much of this support is in the form of training through international military education training, so-called IMET Program.

We have provided some equipment through foreign military financing, so-called FMF aid. In any U.S.-origin equipment that's been provided to Lebanon, we have very strong end-use monitoring to make sure it is used appropriately, and we have no indication that U.S. equipment played any role in this incident earlier this week.

QUESTION: Just a quick follow up. Yesterday, you expressed the United States support to Lebanese sovereignty. I guess that is an indication that you will continue to aid Lebanon militarily and so on. If Congress should decide that they would want to cut off aid to Lebanon, military aid, in the sum – you said – cited $600 million and so on. What will you do in this case?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, let's not get beyond, the comment of any particular individual. We provide support to Lebanon because it is in our interest to do so. We do so in close cooperation with the international community for the express purpose of improving Lebanon – the Government of Lebanon's security capability, protecting its sovereignty, and contributing to broad security across the region. And it is in our interest to continue that, but obviously if individual members of Congress have questions about the nature of this aid, we'll be happy to have those discussions with them.

QUESTION: But you are -- you are sort of confident in the Lebanese army's fidelity as a national force and not being manipulated by any particular political group?

MR. CROWLEY: We are, as we've said many times, we're in support of the civilian government in Lebanon, and we think improving the capability and performance of the Lebanese Government, both across the government, but including in the security sector, contributes to stability in the region and is in our interest.

QUESTION: On the WikiLeaks, the Pentagon said that it is asking WikiLeaks to return all of the documents that were handed over to them. And I'm wondering if that was a joint request from the State Department. Are you talking to the organization about returning any cables that it has of yours? Are you encouraging other governments to ban the site for the national security interests?

MR. CROWLEY: Certainly as a government, we would like to see all documents returned, whether they're military cables, whether they're State Department cables. This is classified information that WikiLeaks does not have a right to possess. We would like to see if – we would love to see this material not released any further. If that involves a return of files to the United States government, I think that would be a positive step.

QUESTION: And then, what about – are you encouraging other governments to block the site for national security interests?

MR. CROWLEY: We are obviously not the only government that has concerns about – about WikiLeaks. I can't cite any particular conversation that we've had with other governments, but I think we collectively have the same interest in protecting classified information.

QUESTION: Do you have any – do you have evidence that the stuff that WikiLeaks says it has that it has not yet released is, in fact, classified and does, in fact, include State Department cables?

MR. CROWLEY: We continue to investigate what prospectively WikiLeaks has. And to the extent that we can identify documents that are ours that perhaps have migrated from government networks out, we are actively reviewing those cables to determine and assess potential – the potential damage to our national security.

QUESTION: Well, but wait. That’s different than – I mean, you said initially that – you said this was classified information that WikiLeaks does not have the right to possess.

MR. CROWLEY: Yes, we are – yes.

QUESTION: You’re talking --

MR. CROWLEY: Yes, we are investigating this, as you saw not only in the released documents that have already been provided to news organizations, there were classified documents there. We believe that – WikiLeaks says they have additional cables.

QUESTION: Right. But does your --

MR. CROWLEY: And --

QUESTION: -- has your investigation turned up proof that what has – what they have but have not yet released includes classified material and also that it includes classified State Department cables? Not all cables are classified.

MR. CROWLEY: Not all cables are classified, do – I mean, WikiLeaks has said that they have additional --

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MR. CROWLEY: All right. Look. WikiLeaks has said that they have additional documents, including State Department cables. We are investigating that claim. I'm only being careful because part of the process of investigating the release of these documents is actively involved in an investigation of the source of this leak.

But, you know, do we believe that WikiLeaks has additional cables? We do. Do we believe that those cables are classified? We do. And are they State Department cables? Yes.

QUESTION: Just to follow up on that, you mentioned that a couple days ago that WikiLeaks chief is not an American citizen, so you cannot talk to him and you cannot – and you do not have any power on him.

But the New York Times is one of the parties which is going through the documents. Have you spoken to them about it?

MR. CROWLEY: Have we spoken to The New York Times?

QUESTION: Yes, because out of the three newspapers, it’s one of --

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, a variety of us had conversations with various news organizations prior to the stories that emerged about these documents.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) the Philippines, there was an attack today in, I believe, the southern part of the country, and the ambassador was supposed to – Ambassador Thomas was supposed to go look at a variety of USAID projects in the area and canceled his trip. Do you have any information?

MR. CROWLEY: I don't. I'll see what I can find.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: On another topic.

MR. CROWLEY: Go ahead. All right, one, two, go.

QUESTION: Venezuela's Government called a remark of nominee ambassador, Larry Palmer, unacceptable and say it has – it’s (inaudible) request an explanation to the U.S. Government before taking final action.

What is your comment on that?

MR. CROWLEY: Repeat the question.

QUESTION: Venezuela’s Government called a remark of nominee ambassador Larry Palmer unacceptable and say it has request an explanation to the U.S. Government before taking on the final action. What is your comment on that?

MR. CROWLEY: What final action?

QUESTION: Maybe not accept Ambassador Palmer.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, Ambassador Palmer is our nominee to be our ambassador in Caracas. He has answered a number of questions as part of the nominating process, both in the hearing that was held on his nomination and in additional questions for the record that were submitted from individual senators.

He has conveyed his answers to the Senate as part of his nominating process. They convey our best judgment on issues between the United States and Venezuela. We want to see Ambassador Palmer confirmed. We value having an ambassador in Caracas to have direct conversations with the Venezuelan Government to try to clarify issues between us and improve our relationship.

We think that this is – it will be very important to have an ambassador on hand. We hope that he'll be confirmed by the Senate soon. And we hope that Venezuela will accept his credentials and begin a more robust dialogue with our representative there than has occurred in the past.

QUESTION: Are you aware – has Venezuela withdrawn agrément?

MR. CROWLEY: I'm not aware that they've withdrawn agrément?

QUESTION: But actually the Senate has rejected the nomination?

MR. CROWLEY: I don't think that's true.

QUESTION: No?

MR. CROWLEY: The – I'm not – the Senate has yet to act on his nomination. I do not believe that the Senate has voted on his nomination yet.

QUESTION: What will happen if this will be the case?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, the Senate is still in session. We hope to see a large bloc of our nominees confirmed by the Senate today, and we'll see if Mr. Palmer is among them.

QUESTION: In the meeting --

MR. CROWLEY: Yes, you're right, you're right. One, two.

QUESTION: It's on Brazil. There was just a delegation, a joint delegation from State and Treasury in Brazil this week to discuss implementation of Iranian sanctions. And they – in South America (inaudible) they’re only in Brazil and Ecuador. And I was wondering if Brazil was picked specifically because of the disagreements the Brazilian Government has had with the U.S. on the Iranian nuclear program. Thank you.

MR. CROWLEY: I'll take the question. I actually am not specifically aware of the composition of the delegation. So let me find out more.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: On the briefing yesterday of Assistant Secretary Valenzuela and Cardinal Ortega --

MR. CROWLEY: Yes. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Can we have something today?

MR. CROWLEY: Assistant Secretary Valenzuela did meet last evening with Cardinal Ortega. I think he might have spoken to a couple of you afterwards. The meeting was held at the papal nuncio. They talked about the current state of events in Cuba, the release of political prisoners. They talked about the prospect that Cuba will release more prisoners. Secretary Valenzuela reiterated our goal that all political prisoners be released from Cuban jails. During the course of their conversation, Arturo did also encourage the cardinal to continue to help us make the case for the release of our U.S. citizen in Cuban custody.

QUESTION: Well, there is such a difference. The last time when the cardinal was here, he also had meetings – nothing was reported (inaudible) this time, and he was very open. Why?

MR. CROWLEY: (Laughter.) That’s a good – this is the second time --.

QUESTION: In a very short time.

MR. CROWLEY: -- that the cardinal has come to Washington. Each time he has met with Assistant Secretary Valenzuela.

QUESTION: He also had a meeting yesterday, I believe, with the Chinese vice foreign minister. Assistant Secretary Valenzuela, if I remember correctly on the calendar, he had a meeting with --.

MR. CROWLEY: I'll follow up on that.

QUESTION: Okay, thank you.

QUESTION: There are reports of a new missile being developed by China, the Dongfeng 21-D. Are you aware of its capabilities and what impact it could have on the region?

MR. CROWLEY: That's a perfect question to ask the Pentagon.

QUESTION: Several world elders, including Kofi Annan and Desmond Tutu, have issued an appeal yesterday requesting India, China, and the United States about Sri Lanka to repeal of emergency laws in Sri Lanka, and letting UN go there and (inaudible) human rights violations or (inaudible). Are you aware of the issue? Is the U.S. doing something on this?

MR. CROWLEY: Let me see if we've – if we've seen that appeal.

Hold on. We've got a couple more.

QUESTION: I was asking about the protest in the State Department today -- the (inaudible) American protesting about (inaudible) and problem with Egyptian officials, they’re trying to threaten the Egyptian Government because of the river (inaudible) something they did. And also they protesting about the American and Ethiopian relationship and then terrorism this morning. And did you really – what do you think the American government does on this --

MR. CROWLEY: I don't know anything about these protests.

QUESTION: I have a follow up. What was your role on Nile River Basin cooperation would take place on May 14. It was signed by five African countries. And what was – I mean, do you have any role on that or do you have any --

MR. CROWLEY: We'll take that question and post the answer.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Yesterday, it was brought up about a Travel Warning to Spain that was taken down off the State Department's website. Was that prompted by reports, the April 2009 reports from the Spanish Group (inaudible)?

MR. CROWLEY: I can't --

QUESTION: The initial --

MR. CROWLEY: I can't cite a particular report. Let me see if I can get something more for you.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: -- there is no Travel Warning for Spain. Is that correct?

QUESTION: Not anymore.

QUESTION: No, there wasn't one on Tuesday or Monday, either. There's a -- there's a Consular Affairs...

MR. CROWLEY: There was – it was a reference --.

QUESTION: Yes, I understand that. But is there a travel alert or a travel warning – was there for Spain?

MR. CROWLEY: I don't believe so.

QUESTION: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:44 p.m.)

DPB # 130

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