Victoria Nuland
Spokesperson
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
April 26, 2012


Index for Today's Briefing
  • DEPARTMENT
    • Secretary's Trip to China, Bangladesh, and India
    • World Press Freedom Day / Iranian Journalist Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand
  • WIKILEAKS
    • Release of Material / Ongoing Criminal Prosecution
  • MISCELLANEOUS
    • Incident Involving Embassy Employee in Brazil / Internal State Department Investigation
    • Incident Involving Embassy Employees El Salvador in 2011 / Embassy Inquiry
    • Employee Conduct
  • SYRIA
    • Continued Violence / UN Monitors / Annan Comments and Plan / Pressure on Assad
  • NIGERIA
    • Bombings in Abuja and Kaduna / Call for Full Investigation
  • SUDAN/SOUTH SUDAN
    • Two Days of Calm / Call on Both Sides to Formalize Cease-fire
  • MIDDLE EAST PEACE
    • Settlements / U.S. Policy / Quartet
  • PAKISTAN
    • Ambassador Grossman's Press Conference / Productive Meetings / Parliamentary Review
    • Prime Minister Gillani
  • NORTH KOREA
    • Missile Display
    • Deputy Secretary Burns Meeting with Kim Tae-hyo
  • EGPYT
    • Nongovernmental Organizations
  • JAPAN
    • Force Posture Realignment
  • LIBERIA
    • Charles Taylor Conviction
  • CHINA
    • Secretary Clinton's Trip / Background Call
  • PAKISTAN
    • Warden Message


TRANSCRIPT:

1:21 p.m. EDT

MS. NULAND: All right. Happy Thursday, everyone. First, a shout-out to all the Take Your Kids to Work kids who are here today, including some of our very own. And Dana’s here with her kids, as well, in the back. And also to our Columbia University students, under the tutorship there of Professor Sestanovich. Welcome to the State Department Press Briefing Room.

Okay. We have a couple of things at the top. Then we’ll go to what’s on your minds.

As you know, we had previously announced the Secretary’s trip to Beijing, May 3rd and 4th, for the S&ED with Secretary Geithner. After the Beijing stop, the Secretary will travel on to Bangladesh and India, from May 5th to the 8th, making stops in Dhaka, Calcutta, and New Delhi. In Dhaka, the Secretary will meet with senior government officials from the Bangladeshi Government and also talk to civil society. And in Delhi, she’ll meet with the Indian Government to review progress in the Strategic Partnership, looking forward to our bilateral Strategic Dialogue, which will take place June 13th in Washington and is co-hosted by the Secretary and Foreign Minister Krishna.

And my second thing today is our journalist of the day under our Free the Press Campaign, which is going on from now until May 3rd. Today’s journalist is the case of Iranian journalist, Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand, who’s been held in Evin prison since July 2007. Kaboudvand was reporting on torture in Iranian prisons and now finds himself in one himself, and also on human rights abuses against Iranian Kurds. In 2008, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison for acting against national security and engaging in propaganda against the state. We take this opportunity to call on the Iranian Government to release Kaboudvand and the some 90 other journalist it’s currently holding in Iranian prisons.

Let’s go to what’s on your minds.

QUESTION: I got just a couple of housekeeping things. One, the other day, you were asked about WikiLeaks – the case and the judge’s order for the State Department to – has that happened yet? Have you complied with the order to release the documents or the evidence that U.S. national security interests were harmed by the disclosure of these cables?

MS. NULAND: Well, Matt, I think this is going to be somewhat frustrating to you, but given the fact that we have a criminal prosecution in a military tribunal underway, I am extremely limited in what I can say in this regard. What I will say is that the State Department is cooperating in these proceedings, but I would also remind you that the Defense Department has the lead, so I would refer you to them.

QUESTION: Is it your understanding that you – that this Department is complying with that order, though?

MS. NULAND: I’m not going to speak about individual motions, individual orders in this case – this is an ongoing criminal prosecution – beyond saying that we are cooperating in the proceedings.

QUESTION: But – well, does that mean that you have no objections to anything that’s been ordered so far?

MS. NULAND: Again, I’m not going to get into the details of the case. There are motions being thrown back and forth all over the place, and we’re not going to get into specifics.

QUESTION: To your knowledge, has the Department contested or appealed the ruling?

MS. NULAND: Again, I am not going to get into any of our specific motions in this case, and DOD has the lead. So I would ask you to speak to them.

QUESTION: So --

MS. NULAND: Matt, it’s a criminal case.

QUESTION: No, I understand that. But --

MS. NULAND: You know that we’re restricted.

QUESTION: Well, yeah. But, I mean, I think you would be able to say whether you’re complying with a motion or not, or if you’re disputing it somehow.

MS. NULAND: Again, much of this involves classified information. Some of the proceedings are classified.

QUESTION: I don’t see how any of that is classified.

MS. NULAND: I understand. But beyond saying that we are cooperating with the case, I’m sorry to tell you that’s as far as I can go.

QUESTION: Well, when you say you’re cooperating with the case, does that mean you’re cooperating with the judge?

MS. NULAND: We are cooperating with the proceedings based on the way the proceedings are laid out.

QUESTION: All right. The second thing that – unless anyone else has – wants to try on this. No?

MS. NULAND: Okay, let’s keep moving.

QUESTION: Your explanation about the events in Brazil – and I recognize the audience today is a little bit different but – than it was yesterday.

MS. NULAND: It sure is.

QUESTION: But your explanation seemed to be a bit lacking and completely – well, maybe not completely, but quite at odds with what was described by people down there. For example, you said that this woman tried to get into the car while it was moving. You made no mention of the fact that the car ran her over, which I think is probably germane. Can you – do you have any more information that you can shed on what happened?

MS. NULAND: Well, first to say that I think the guys at DOD who had the lead on this briefed on it this morning. They briefed on it yesterday. Just to give a little bit fuller picture than we gave yesterday, my understanding is that she was initially in the car; she was asked to leave the car; she got out of the car; the doors were closed. As the Pentagon guy said, the vehicle was at rest. And then, as they started to drive away, she chased after the car, tried to get back in, and that’s when she was hurt.

QUESTION: She was run over by the car? Is that your understanding?

MS. NULAND: My understanding is that she sustained some injuries. I do not have that she was run over by the car.

QUESTION: And this is – the State Department employee that was involved in this incident, what is – what has happened to that person?

MS. NULAND: Well, apologies for giving you incomplete information yesterday. We did a little more digging after we saw you. Apparently, we are conducting our own investigation into the conduct of this individual employee. The investigation is not yet complete, and we won’t be able to make any decisions with regard to disciplinary action until it’s complete and until we have all the facts.

QUESTION: Do you know why it’s – this incident happened in December, which is four months ago. Why would it take so long?

MS. NULAND: I can’t speak to that. I’m not sure what’s going on with the details of the investigation.

QUESTION: Okay. And then just can you explain how it is that – I mean, why this information wasn’t forthcoming yesterday?

MS. NULAND: I pushed a little bit and got a little bit of pushback on personnel records, and then we pushed a little harder and learned that we still are investigating.

QUESTION: Yesterday, that employee was no longer in Brazil. Was that removal from Brazil connected to this incident?

MS. NULAND: Yeah. That employee and the others who were involved in this incident were all removed from country so that investigations could go on so that they could report to their host agencies.

QUESTION: So that employee is here back in D.C. now?

MS. NULAND: I don’t have any information about the location of the employee.

QUESTION: Another question? Do you have any further information – there have been suggestions in the Brazilian press that a case will – or has been filed. I’m not sure. Have you heard anything more on whether or not there is actually a legal case pending?

MS. NULAND: As of today, no case has been filed yet.

QUESTION: There is another case now. The Secret Service is acknowledging that it’s investigating its employees hired strippers and prostitutes in El Salvador ahead of the President’s visit there last year. And the original report from KIRO quotes the strip club owner as saying that high-ranking employees of the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador were customers there. I’m just wondering if the State Department is looking into this case as well.

MS. NULAND: Well, we’ve seen this press reporting. Obviously, we will inquire of our Embassy in Salvador with regard to the conduct of our own employees. But the article alleges that they attended the establishment, not that they engaged in any illegal or unsanctioned conduct. So we will inquire of our Embassy and see what we learn with regard to that.

QUESTION: Yeah. I’m wondering because yesterday you said there was zero tolerance for --

MS. NULAND: Correct.

QUESTION: -- these types of behavior. I’m wondering, does that include visiting a business like this?

MS. NULAND: I can’t, based on one press article, evaluate what a “business like this” is. I’m not sure what this establishment involves itself with, what else might go on there. But what I can tell you is, as we discussed yesterday, under the Foreign Affairs Manual, members of the Foreign Service are prohibited from engaging in notoriously disgraceful conduct, which includes frequenting prostitutes and engaging in public or promiscuous sexual relations or engaging in sexual activity that could open the employee up to the possibility of blackmail, coercion, or improper influence. So the degree to which any employee requires investigation, that’s the standard that they’re held to. And what a subject to be talking about on Bring Your Kid to Work Day. (Laughter.)

Said.

QUESTION: Hold on one second. I’m trying – on the same thing, while trying to turn this down to a G rating.

MS. NULAND: Parents, you can explain all of this later and you can – (laughter). You can take it up with CBS News as well. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Yeah. You’ll notice, I hope, that I --

MS. NULAND: And started by AP.

QUESTION: Well, yeah. But I didn’t mention exactly what they were involved in doing. Now, to try and bring it back onto a G rating level, the cable that was sent in June --

MS. NULAND: Columbia is thrilled that this is the day that they chose to come. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: The cable that was sent in June 2008 which said – which reminded people of the FAM regulations and said that even if such business, as it were, is legal in the host country, it is still a violation. I’m wondering, does that apply to other conduct that is – that would be considered illegal in certain parts of the States, or only this?

MS. NULAND: Well, I don’t have the whole Foreign Affairs Manual here in front of me, but if you need a briefing on what we consider --

QUESTION: No, I’m just saying, gambling is illegal in lots of places in the U.S. and it’s legal in many places overseas. And so if someone goes to a casino and gambles and loses, thus making them possibly subject to blackmail or something like that if they can’t afford to pay, is that notoriously disgraceful conduct too?

MS. NULAND: Well, I don’t have anything --

QUESTION: It seems to me that you’re walking a slippery slope when you start trying to – when you start identifying specific things as notoriously disgraceful conduct or things that could bring one subject to – make one subject to blackmail, if you just identify certain things and you don’t have an entire list of what is or what isn’t. So I’m wondering if you could find out from HR or whoever the powers that be are on this what exactly, other than what’s – is there anything other than what’s listed as notoriously disgraceful conduct in the FAM? Is there anything else, or is that it?

MS. NULAND: Well, obviously, as we said, anything that can expose an employee to blackmail, coercion, or improper influence. Just to remind that our employees carry security clearances; they use classified information, they work with classified; so we have to, in the context of evaluating their eligibility for security clearance, we always look at their conduct and whether they can be coerced, whether they can be blackmailed, any of these kinds of things.

I will look – just for you, Matt – to see whether we explicitly cite gambling anywhere. But obviously, if you’re engaged in activity that’s illegal in the country, if you’re engaged in activity that could impoverish you, bring you into debt in such a way that you could be ratted out to your family members or wife or otherwise be subject to blackmail or influence, that is going to endanger your status with us.

QUESTION: The other thing about that cable is that it said that prostitution in general fuels sex trafficking. Now, one could argue there are other activities as well that fuel that kind of trafficking that are not covered, such as going to a club, as was mentioned, in El Salvador. So is that out of bounds, too?

MS. NULAND: Well, thank you for mentioning that. This instruction to employees that we sent out to the world in 2008 did have this additional line making clear that the Department’s view is that people who buy sex acts fuel the demand for sex trafficking; and given our policies designed to help governments prevent sex trafficking, et cetera, it’s not in keeping with the behavior that we want to advocate and display ourselves.

So with regard to your specific question, again, there’s a difference between going to a club and engaging in disgraceful behavior, and we expect our employees to exercise good judgment. And we review that judgment whenever their security clearances come up for review.

QUESTION: So there isn’t – you’re not aware of any blanket restriction? It’s done on a case-by-case basis? Because there are things other than soliciting prostitution that could fuel sex trafficking, are there not?

MS. NULAND: Matt, I think we’re going down hypothetical rabbit holes here.

QUESTION: Well, no, I’m trying to find out if the Department is trying to legislate or regulate what the morality is of certain things --

MS. NULAND: We are not. We are trying to hold our employees to the high standards expected of them when they have a U.S. Government security clearance and when they’re employed by the U.S. Government in an official capacity overseas.

Nicole.

QUESTION: Just to follow up on that, if a State employee engages in notoriously disgraceful behavior, is there a standard disciplinary action that they have to face, or is that left to the discretion of their supervisors?

MS. NULAND: No, each of these cases, as they are reported, comes back to the Department for disciplinary action. It is reviewed here. And there is, as there is in any case, sort of a scale of actions that can be taken depending upon the offense, from reprimand all the way to being separated from the service and losing your security clearance.

QUESTION: But --

MS. NULAND: Jill.

QUESTION: Toria, has the State Department gotten indication from ambassadors throughout the world, but especially in those regions, that these types of things, which are now coming up on a daily basis, are having a bad impact on the relationship with the given country, or just in general with the image of the United States? Is there anything, any feedback from your people?

MS. NULAND: I don’t think I can make a blanket assessment in answer to your question. I think with regard to the situation in Cartagena, it was handled very quickly and very decisively, as you saw by the Secret Service. Similarly in the Brazil case, the minute the incident happened, the Embassy and the various departments involved began cooperating with the Brazilians and allowed all of our employees to be interviewed, et cetera.

So I think what’s most important in these kinds of cases is that we be open, transparent, cooperative, and respectful in the host country.

Please, in the back. Still on this subject, or are we released from this subject? No? All right.

QUESTION: Yes. No, it’s the same topic. Yesterday, Ambassador of Colombia, Gabriel Silva asked the Government of the United States to offer an apology to Cartagena for the bad image that the city has received due this conduct of the Secret Service. Has the U.S. Government planned an apology to be sent to Colombian people and the city of Cartagena?

MS. NULAND: The President did it and the Secretary did it when we were in Cartagena on the very day.

Said.

QUESTION: Can we go to another topic?

MS. NULAND: Let’s go on to some foreign policy here, please.

QUESTION: Different topic, rated question, which is the spark in violence in Syria?

MS. NULAND: Yes.

QUESTION: There seems to be – on the international front, there seems to be a lull in activity while the government continues to conduct severe action against the opposition. Do you have any comment on that?

MS. NULAND: Well, Said, I think we’ve been talking all week about our concern that even as we try to deploy the UN monitors that the violence has not abated, and that we have very deplorable incidents where monitors are in a town like Hama in one part of the day and then they depart and later in the afternoon, people are interrogated, violence resumes, et cetera. So the Secretary said earlier this week, she said it in Paris, that we are at a crossroads in Syria, and we are very concerned that this is just another effort by Assad to say yes and mean no.

QUESTION: So it has taken like two or three weeks to deploy 12 members of this force.

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: How long will it take to deploy all 300?

MS. NULAND: Well, you heard Kofi Annan yesterday call for an acceleration of the deployment of the monitors, set a standard of trying to get the first hundred in as soon as possible, and ideally within the next 20 to 30 days. We share that concern; we share that frustration; there are not enough monitors, and we need to push as many in as we can.

But there are difficulties here. There are difficulties, obviously, given the fact that this is a very fragile and uneven situation, getting nations and individuals to be willing to serve, and there are also difficulties that – and roadblocks that Assad himself has put up that we talked about earlier in the week.

QUESTION: And thirdly, there are reports that the Syrian Government is running out of money to pay its – the army, to pay the secret service, their intelligence services, and so on. Is it the feeling now that in places like Washington, Paris, and London, that we can wait it out; we can see the collapse of the regime under its own weight through sanctions and though tightening the noose on the money – of the money noose around Assad’s neck?

MS. NULAND: Well, as we have said repeatedly, every day that the Syrian people suffer is one day too long. That’s why we have to accelerate the pressure; that’s why we have to do our best to see if we can get this Annan plan to work. That said, we certainly see what is being reported in our own channels, namely, that Assad and his cronies are running through the wealth of the country at a record pace, that the reserves are less than half of what they were when this bloodshed started, that he is absconding with the people’s money to pay for weapons to use against them, and that it is the people who are suffering, that the value of the currency is being devalued.

So there is a question. This is what sanctions and pressure are all about. They are about not only trying to influence the regime, they’re about trying to influence those around the regime who continue to support it, whether they’re the members of the military who continue to follow orders to shoot or whether they are the wealthy business class that continues to think that their fate is better with Assad – well, maybe they will think again as the economy crumbles even further.

But unfortunately, from all of this, it’s the Syrian people who suffer the most.

QUESTION: So you concur that the best policy is to wait out the regime until it runs out of money?

MS. NULAND: Our goal is to put as much pressure as we can on Assad for him to implement the plan of Kofi Annan that he agreed to. And were he to do that, the guns would be silent today, they would begin to pull back their forces, we would be in a political process. So even as we try to implement that plan, as the Secretary has said, we are going to keep the pressure on. And if he tries to wait it out, the pressure will just increase and increase and he will go. He will go. He will not be able to survive it. But unfortunately, every day that goes by he is putting more – he is also ensuring that his own people suffer until we get to that day.

QUESTION: Can we go back to the monitors for a second? I’m just wondering, if you could let us know what you see as the principal impediment to getting more monitors in there quickly. I mean, the UN has thousands of civilian and military peacekeepers in operations in the region right now. And presumably, if this is the crisis that it clearly is --

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- these people would be being deployed much more quickly. What’s the problem?

MS. NULAND: Well, I think, Andy, when you’re talking about taking people off of existing missions, which is what they did for the first tranche of monitors, you have to make a cost-benefit analysis. If you take them off one mission, then you’re starving Peter to pay Paul. So the UN is working very hard – and we talked to our folks up at our mission to the UN just before coming down here – to try to press and scramble and push, but it is not just difficulties within the UN system. You heard Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon pressing on the system themselves. It is the fact as well that the Assad regime has said all kinds of things about where monitors can come from, what countries they can be from, and et cetera. That is also a deterrent to folks who might want to volunteer and do the right thing.

QUESTION: I just have one follow-up.

MS. NULAND: Please.

QUESTION: On the opposition, sort of, part of the puzzle. I’m wondering what your assessment is, if the opposition is making any strides toward organizing itself better, as the Secretary has repeatedly called for. We have a new group that’s announcing itself in Paris now --

MS. NULAND: Right.

QUESTION: -- as an alternative to the SNC, the Transitional National Government, which doesn’t sound like a good harbinger for cooperation across the opposition forces. Are you, number one, in contact with this new group in Paris? And number two, what’s your assessment of where the opposition is now as a unified force?

MS. NULAND: On the group in Paris, my understanding is that some of the guys – Fred Hoff, Ambassador Ford – do know some of those individuals, but let me confirm that for you, Andy.

As you know, when we were in Istanbul a couple of weeks ago, the SNC put out a much more detailed platform and sense of expectations as to how the political transition will move forward. What we were seeing when we were in Istanbul, and what we’ve seen since then, is even if some of these opposition groups want to remain independent, there is a growing sense of support for that general set of principles, that roadmap of transition, those human rights standards, those standards of justice and civility and dignity that the SNC has put forward.

So there are a number of ways that this could go. The SNC could begin to take on more of an umbrella organization character. I think what’s most important for us is that the opposition be speaking from the same song sheet, if you will, about how they would pursue this transition, about what they stand for, and particularly the extremely important point of universal human rights, protecting the rights of all Syrians, no matter whether they are Sunni, Alawi, Druze, Christians, women, minorities, et cetera.

QUESTION: Victoria?

MS. NULAND: Still Syria?

QUESTION: No.

MS. NULAND: No?

QUESTION: Actually, can I ask --

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- just one more Syria question?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: All we’ve seen from the Annan plan so far is that it’s just changed the schedule of the violence, and Assad has held off while monitors are in the area and then moved his troops in after they’ve left. So it’s – it seems to raise questions about whether this plan can actually succeed. And I’m wondering what, if anything, you and other core members of the Syria group are discussing in the event that, in fact, it doesn’t work?

MS. NULAND: Well, first of all, we share the concern, we share the skepticism. The Secretary said it in her press availability earlier this week with the Australian foreign minister. She also was very clear when we were in Paris last Friday about the other measures that we think need to be prepared now in the event that the Annan plan fails, including a Chapter VII resolution, imposing universal sanctions, et cetera, and all of those things. So I would urge you to review those remarks again.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. NULAND: Shaun.

QUESTION: Different topic? On Nigeria.

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: There was a bombing today at the Abuja office of This Day, a prominent newspaper. I was wondering if the United States has anything to say about that or any information in who may be responsible.

MS. NULAND: Well, obviously, we strongly condemn yesterday’s attacks on the two offices of the newspaper This Day, both in Abuja and Kaduna. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the loved ones and those who were killed or injured. This is an attack not only on innocent people but on free speech itself in Nigeria, and we call for a full investigation in holding those responsible to account.

QUESTION: There’s been some speculation it might have been the work of Boko Haram. I don’t know if you’d consider that premature, but if it were, would that affect the U.S. determination of whether it’s a terrorist group?

MS. NULAND: Well, we are continuing to look at Boko Haram in this context. We haven’t made any decisions yet. Frankly, we’re not in a position from here to evaluate responsibility. I think we will, obviously, offer any support to the Nigerians that they may require. But that said, we share the concerns about the threat that Boko Haram poses, and this is among the reasons that we cooperate so strongly with Nigeria in terms of not only security support but also political and economic support in the north so that the vulnerable populations in the north of Nigeria can’t be sort of attracted and coerced by Boko Haram.

Please.

QUESTION: New topic?

MS. NULAND: Yeah. Go ahead.

QUESTION: On Sudan, the Sudanese foreign ministry says that conditions for negotiations are for Juba to end its proxy war against Khartoum. That’s sort of the latest line they’re coming out with. I wondered if you had an update on efforts to bring the two parties together and if this is the kind of language that’s really helpful in this situation.

MS. NULAND: Well, it’s obviously not the kind of language that’s helpful. That said, I have a small glimmer of better news with regard to Sudan and South Sudan. We’re now in our second day of no new attacks by either side. And this follows the African Union proposal of an immediate ceasefire withdrawal and getting the parties back to the table.

So while we do not yet have either side formally announcing that they have signed up to the ceasefire, this gives us a small glimmer of hope, and it’s an important step. So we call on both sides – Sudan, South Sudan – both to now formalize this ceasefire by so announcing it, to withdraw their forces from disputed areas, and to get back into the AUHIP dialogue process.

Please.

QUESTION: New topic?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: The occupied West Bank?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Israeli reports say that there are dozens of these illegal outposts that are headed towards legalization. I wonder if you have any comment on that.

MS. NULAND: I’m not going to comment on a hypothetical action. I think you know where we are on settlements, Said.

QUESTION: But they do actually name places and names, and some that you must be aware of, or the Department must be aware of.

MS. NULAND: Again, we make our views absolutely clear to the Government of Israel with regard to settlements. I’m not going to comment on actions that haven’t happened.

QUESTION: Does the Department engage in any kind of vetting process or to see what kind of settlements are taking place – what is legal, what is illegal, what is --

MS. NULAND: Are you talking about for own internal use or are you talking about in dialogue with the Israelis?

QUESTION: Right. For your own internal discussions with the Israelis.

MS. NULAND: Yeah. I’m not going to get into our internal dialogue and how we work these things. Our policy with regard to settlements is clear. We say the same thing in the room as we say here at the podium.

QUESTION: Okay, but let me just – one more. Mr. Hale, when he discusses – when he engages in discussions with Abbas or the Palestinian Authority, this topic must come up, because this is looked upon as a year where the U.S. Government is sort of busy with the elections and so on, and the Israeli Government may see fit to accelerate the process of settlement. Do you have concerns in that regard?

MS. NULAND: We have concerns about the entire situation, as you know. We have been working to try to get these parties to have increased contact with each other, ideally to get back to the table. That’s what the Quartet action has been about. That’s why we’ve had David Hale in the region again for two weeks. So with regard to where we are with the parties, I’ll say it again: this is only going to get settled when they sit down at the table together.

Jill, did you have something?

QUESTION: On Pakistan?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Can you give us an update on the officials who have been meeting in Pakistan on the relationship and kind of where we are?

MS. NULAND: Yeah. First let me draw your attention to a press conference that Ambassador Grossman gave in Islamabad today. I believe, with his Pakistani counterpart. He gave a little bit of background. But he, in an interagency team, did have productive meetings today hosted by the Pakistani Foreign Ministry, which also included representatives of the Pakistani Ministry of Defense, Finance, Interior, and others.

They talked about the full range of issues on the table in the aftermath of the parliamentary review. In particular, Ambassador Grossman laid out that we want to work with Pakistan to reopen the ground lines of communication; that we want to settle the outstanding claims with regard to coalition support funds; that we want to get back to the business of pursuing our shared counterterrorism objectives together; that we want to increase market access for Pakistani companies in the U.S., U.S. companies in Pakistan, and work on economic opportunities going both ways.

They also had some discussions in preparation for the U.S.-Afghanistan-Pakistan core group meetings that’ll happen tomorrow.

QUESTION: A quick follow-up on that.

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: That list of things that they discussed didn’t include the one that seems to transfix the Pakistanis, which is the drones. Was that under discussion? Foreign Minister Khar told us in an interview that the U.S. simply is not listening to Pakistan on their opposition to the drone.

MS. NULAND: Well, obviously without getting into discussions of intelligence matters, the entire range of issues with regard to the counterterrorism challenge that we want to work on together was discussed.

QUESTION: So everything on their agenda was discussed? Nothing – no one subject was omitted?

MS. NULAND: Correct.

QUESTION: Okay. Can I – go ahead.

QUESTION: Well, I’m just wondering if you could say if there has been any progress in narrowing the gaps on any or all of these.

MS. NULAND: Well, again, this was the first day of our team-to-team effort to reengage in the post-parliamentary review time period. So this is going to be a process. This is going to take some time, and this was really only day one, Andy.

QUESTION: And then you said that there were people from Defense, Finance, Interior, and others. Do you know what others --

MS. NULAND: On the Pakistani side.

QUESTION: Others, like ISI? Who are the others?

MS. NULAND: I don’t have anything further than what I gave you. Let me see if I can get you a sense of --

QUESTION: What about Grossman? What about on our side, on the U.S. side?

MS. NULAND: Certainly, I know that DOD was represented. I will get you a list of agencies represented, if I can.

QUESTION: Also on Pakistan?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Well, should you at least – I mean, when you do that, could you at least tell whoever it is you’re asking that it would be nice to know who was on the U.S. side since you’re advertising who was on the Pakistani side?

MS. NULAND: You mean the institutions?

QUESTION: Yes.

MS. NULAND: I will let them know that Matt Lee is personally asking.

Shaun.

QUESTION: On Pakistan as well. I realize it’s probably an internal matter, but the Prime Minister of Pakistan Gillani – there’s the verdict in the corruption allegations. I’m just wondering if the U.S. had anything that it wanted to say on that about how it affects stability in Pakistan.

MS. NULAND: With regard to this issue and others, we always say the same thing, which is that we do consider this an internal matter, and we expect that Pakistan is going to resolve these kinds of issues in a just way, in a transparent way, and in a way that upholds Pakistani laws and its constitution.

QUESTION: New topic?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: North Korea?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Still on Pakistan?

MS. NULAND: Still Pakistan? Go ahead.

QUESTION: Obviously, it is an internal matter, but you have engaged with Pakistan at a time when this has happened. The prime minister potentially faces disqualification. So with that kind of internal crisis that the government is involved in, do you think this could disrupt the talks and your efforts to bring Pakistan back on track with all those issues that you are talking about?

MS. NULAND: Well, I’m not going to speculate on the impact of an internal matter on a foreign policy matter, other than to say that we did have productive talks today and we think it’s important that we get back to our reengagement.

QUESTION: Are you saying that --

MS. NULAND: By the way, Ambassador Grossman will meet with Prime Minister Gillani tomorrow.

QUESTION: You’re saying that there’s no concern in this building about this issue – about what’s going on there internally?

MS. NULAND: I think I said that we want to see it settle and we want to see it settled transparently.

QUESTION: North Korea?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Does the State Department have any response to the reports out today that the missile display was full of fake missiles and props?

MS. NULAND: Obviously, there’s no way to know from here. It wouldn’t be the first time that such allegations have been made.

Please.

QUESTION: On South Korea?

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MS. NULAND: Yeah. Still on North Korea and then – yeah.

QUESTION: Yes. Does the U.S. officer contact the UN North Korean delegations regularly – about this issues – missile issues?

MS. NULAND: Have we, here from Washington, used --

QUESTION: -- to UN North Korean delegations --

MS. NULAND: Yeah, I don’t think there have been any --

QUESTION: Did you contact --

MS. NULAND: -- recent contacts. Please.

QUESTION: Yesterday, Deputy Secretary Burns met with ROK Deputy National Security Advisor Kim Tae-hyo. I’m wondering if you have a readout of the meeting.

MS. NULAND: Yeah, I did, yesterday. I don’t know if I’ve got – my understanding – oh, here we go. Yeah. He met with – Kim Tae-hyo met with – both with Deputy Secretary Burns and with Assistant Secretary Campbell. Understanding is that these conversations are going to cover a wide range of issues, including North Korea policy, regional security, and other alliance issues.

Nicole.

QUESTION: I asked a couple of days ago about whether State had any comment on Egypt refusing to register various American NGOs.

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: I’m wondering if you have anything new.

MS. NULAND: I have to say that when we dug into this yesterday, our Embassy in Cairo reports that they think it was bad reporting, that in fact, no decisions have been made by the Egyptians.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. NULAND: Okay?

QUESTION: Thanks.

QUESTION: Just briefly --

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- on Japan. Following up on what you said yesterday, there have been reports out of Tokyo that Japan and the U.S. will announce something on Friday. Do you have any update on the timing or any decisions that have been made?

MS. NULAND: I don’t, other than to say what we said yesterday, which is that we’re – we’ve made some progress. But we’re – we have other consultations to do, and we’ll let you know when we have something to announce.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Also on Japan?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Ozawa Ichiro was acquitted of charges of false accounting. Any comment on that?

MS. NULAND: I don’t have anything on that, I’m sorry.

Please.

QUESTION: I know you sent out a note about this this morning, but just for the sake of the cameras, can you tell us about your reaction to the Charles Taylor conviction?

MS. NULAND: Yeah. I have it somewhere, if I can find it. It must be in the front here.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MS. NULAND: (Laughter.) Exactly. So as we said in our statement earlier today, the United States welcomes the issuance of the judgment by the Special Court for Sierra Leone convicting Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The court found Taylor criminally responsible for aiding and abetting the commission of these crimes and planning attacks on Freetown in 1998 and 1999.

We understand that there were huge and joyous crowds celebrating in Freetown of people who were very relieved to see Taylor convicted. And today’s judgment is very important step towards delivering justice and accountability, not only for victims of this set of atrocities but also for setting an example for those who would commit them in the future.

QUESTION: And does the U.S. support of this extend – will it extend at all to support of the ICC and the Rome Statute?

MS. NULAND: Well, our policy with regard to the ICC hasn’t changed. This was, as you know, a special tribunal, which we also supported not only politically but financially.

Please.

QUESTION: On the Secretary’s trip to China?

MS. NULAND: Yes.

QUESTION: Is she going directly to China from D.C.? Because there are a few days before the dialogue starts.

MS. NULAND: Well, it takes a while to get there, as you know --

QUESTION: I was just wondering --

MS. NULAND: -- and then you go across the Date Line, and then you’re tired and you’ve got to sleep. No.

QUESTION: So she’s going --

MS. NULAND: We’re going directly from Washington to Beijing. And my expectation is that tomorrow afternoon we will have a background call for those of you interested in the topics for the S&ED.


Okay. Thank you all very much.

QUESTION: No, wait. I just want one more, really briefly, on Pakistan.

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: That has to do with the Warden Message that was put out by the Embassy there --

MS. NULAND: Yes.

QUESTION: -- talking about banning Embassy employees from restaurants and markets, I think, for the next two weeks.

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: It didn’t mention a reason, but everyone – as everyone knows, the anniversary of the bin Ladin raid is coming up on the 2nd. Is that what it is related to? And do you expect to see other embassies or this building putting out similar messages in the next day or so?

MS. NULAND: My understanding is that the Warden Message that we put out in Pakistan was related to Pakistan-specific information, which, needless to say, I can’t get into.

Okay.

QUESTION: Well, wait, wait. So Pakistan-related, specific Pakistan-related information?

MS. NULAND: Right.

QUESTION: Like the fact that we sent soldiers into Pakistan and killed Usama bin Ladin a year ago?

MS. NULAND: Like I’m not going to get into the specific information underpinning the –

QUESTION: It has nothing – does it have anything to do with the bin Ladin anniversary?

MS. NULAND: I cannot speak to that. My understanding is it was Pakistan-specific.

QUESTION: Do you expect there to be a new Worldwide Caution or anything like that coming out in the next few days noting that the anniversary – the one-year anniversary – is on Wednesday?

MS. NULAND: I don’t have anything to announce on that. When I do, we will announce it. Okay. Thanks.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:01 p.m.)

DPB # 76

[This is a mobile copy of Daily Press Briefing - April 26, 2012]