Jen Psaki
Spokesperson
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
August 15, 2013


Index for Today's Briefing
  • EGYPT
    • Condemnation of Attacks and Violence in Egypt
    • Cancellation of Bright Star Exercises / Evaluation of Aid / Events on the Ground
    • Relationship with Egypt / National Security and Regional Interests
    • Constructive Steps Proposed / Path toward Democracy
    • International Partners and Organizations / Parties in Egypt
    • Stability in the Sinai Peninsula
    • Resignation of Interim Vice President ElBaradei / Secretary Kerry Call with Foreign Minister Fahmy
    • Volatile Ground Situation / Protection of Freedoms
  • ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS
    • Jericho Meeting
    • Settlement Activity / Unilateral Action
    • Ambassador Indyk and Deputy Envoy Frank Lowenstein / Facilitating Roles


TRANSCRIPT:

This video is available on YouTube with closed captions.

1:30 p.m. EDT

MS. PSAKI: Good afternoon, everyone. I have one item for all of you at the top.

QUESTION: You’re very bright.

MS. PSAKI: I’m very bright. You’re wearing yellow as well.

QUESTION: I know.

MS. PSAKI: It’s a theme. It’s all hip this season.

The United States strongly condemns all attacks and acts of violence and bloodshed across Egypt. We are outraged and deplore in the strongest terms the reprehensible attacks of the past few days against numerous Coptic churches. We also condemn the recent attacks on public buildings, including police stations. There can be absolutely no place for such violence in Egypt, and we call on all of Egypt’s leaders to condemn such attacks. These attacks risk further aggravating an already fragile atmosphere. The government has a responsibility to create an atmosphere where Egyptians can exercise their universal rights, including free assembly, expression, and media. Protesters also have a responsibility to exercise those rights peacefully, and those demonstrating peacefully should not be labeled terrorists. Just as we have over the past weeks, we urge all sides to immediately take utmost steps to calm the situation and avoid further loss of life or further injuries.

QUESTION: So following on that and on the President’s comments from earlier and the announcement of the cancellation --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- of the military exercise, I want to – I’ll leave it to others to ask you about criticism of the move as not being enough. I know that there’s been some from the Hill, including from Senator Leahy, who is pretty well respected on this, and also an ally of the President.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: But what I want to ask about is: What is the Administration’s intent in doing this? Is it --

MS. PSAKI: In cancelling --

QUESTION: Right.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Is it to send a message of disapproval to the Egyptian military, or is this simply to send a message of disapproval? Or is it intended, do you hope or expect, that this will cause them to step back, rethink, and change their – what they’ve been doing?

MS. PSAKI: Well, let me first say, of course, that while we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt – I think that’s been clear by the Secretary’s comments, by the President’s comments today – that our traditional cooperation can’t endure when civilians are being killed in the streets. Going forward, as you saw evidence of this morning with the announcements, we will continue to assess and review our aid in all forms. So we talked yesterday, and have talked in the past about the F-16s. Obviously, there was an announcement made about the Bright Star exercise that was to take place in the fall. We can’t determine on behalf of the Egyptians what steps they’re going to take, but we can only encourage them to continue to take productive steps forward. We didn’t feel, given the events of the last 36 hours, that this was an appropriate exercise that should continue.

QUESTION: Right, but – so the aim of this is to get them to change course. Is that --

MS. PSAKI: Well, there are a number of steps we’re taking to encourage the Egyptians to get back on a productive path.

QUESTION: I understand. It’s more than just – it’s – this is more than just sending a message of disapproval; this is a move that is intended to get the Egyptian military to change its behavior. Is that correct?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I don’t think anyone in the government thinks that simply the cancellation of Bright Star is going to change actions on the ground. However, given the events of the last 36 hours, this was – this did impact our decision-making about aid, and we’ll --

QUESTION: Right.

MS. PSAKI: -- continue to review. But there are a number of steps we’re taking – and I think this is just an important point, broadly speaking – to continue to encourage Egyptians from all sides and all parties to get back on a productive path.

QUESTION: Okay, but I’m confused. Then why don’t you do something that you think will have an effect and will change the calculation of the Egyptian military so that they stop killing people in the streets?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt --

QUESTION: Why not do something --

MS. PSAKI: -- the point I’m making is that, obviously, this was sending a message, but beyond that, it’s about taking constructive steps. We’ve put some constructive ideas forward that we think would be productive in encouraging both sides to move back to the table. It’s not about just one step or one decision made. It’s about continuing to play as appropriate of a role as we can play from the outside.

QUESTION: But your goal is to get them to change their behavior. Is that not correct?

MS. PSAKI: Well --

QUESTION: Am I --

MS. PSAKI: I mean, you heard the President say – and I think this is an important point – America cannot determine the future of Egypt. It’s up for the – up to the Egyptian people to determine that. So yes, we would certainly encourage and continue to encourage --

QUESTION: Right.

MS. PSAKI: -- all sides to take productive steps forward.

QUESTION: But the U.S. national interest, what’s been talked about --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- so much over the – that is the goal, the policy – the goal to which the policy is being implemented is to end the violence and restore democratic rule.

MS. PSAKI: Correct.

QUESTION: That is correct? Okay. So – but you just said that the step that was announced today, that no one in the Administration thinks that this is going to get them to change behaviors --

MS. PSAKI: Well, that’s not what I said.

QUESTION: -- so I’m wondering --

MS. PSAKI: What I’m saying is that --

QUESTION: Well, I thought it was, but --

MS. PSAKI: -- there are a number of steps, including continuing to put constructive ideas forward, which Deputy Secretary Burns did --

QUESTION: Right.

MS. PSAKI: -- when he was on the ground, continuing to engage with officials in Egypt, with our partners in the region, about how to move towards a productive path forward. We’re continuing to do that as well. All I’m conveying to you is it’s not one – it’s not one piece.

QUESTION: All right. Okay.

MS. PSAKI: It’s a number of pieces, and we continue to work at it.

QUESTION: Right. But the number of pieces – you would allow that the number of pieces – the number of steps that you’ve taken thus far have not yet, or not had the desired result. Is that correct?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, this – no one has ever thought this would come quickly or easily. So we’re continuing – but we believe the door remains open for dialogue and to return to a long-term sustainable democracy. That’s why we’re continuing to work with all parties on it.

QUESTION: But you’re not arguing that what – the steps that you’ve taken thus far have successfully advanced your goal, are you?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we talked about this a lot yesterday, Matt.

QUESTION: I know. I --

MS. PSAKI: But we’re not evaluating in the middle of what is obviously a very volatile situation what the end result will be.

QUESTION: All right.

MS. PSAKI: And the end result is what’s important.

QUESTION: Okay. The end result – yes, I would agree the end result is what is important. But is the Administration confident that it is pursuing the right, the appropriate policy to bring about what its goals are in Egypt, given the fact that what it has done thus far hasn’t been successful in doing that?

MS. PSAKI: Well, our goals are for a sustainable democracy in Egypt. We’ve known this would be a long journey; it has been --

QUESTION: Right.

MS. PSAKI: -- over the course of years. So we’re pursuing several avenues of doing that, including evaluating our aid, and that review is ongoing, but also continuing to play an engaged role at the same time.

QUESTION: Right, but --

MS. PSAKI: Both are important.

QUESTION: But the question is: Are you confident that the policy that you’re pursuing will produce the desired results?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we can’t look into the future, Matt. We evaluate every day what the appropriate steps are.

QUESTION: And you believe that your – well, that what you’re doing thus – what you are doing now and have done to this date is appropriate and adequate to bring about the goal that you say that you want?

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, reaching the goal is up to the Egyptian people to reach. We can’t do it on their behalf.

QUESTION: I understand, but to encourage them to get there.

MS. PSAKI: Yes, encouraging them.

QUESTION: Do you think that what’s been done thus far is --

MS. PSAKI: We believe we’ve put some constructive steps forward, some constructive ideas.

QUESTION: And it’s been effective.

MS. PSAKI: It’s up to them to take the next steps.

QUESTION: All right. And then my last one – and I will stop, I promise, after this – do you think – is the Administration confident that the steps, that the policy that you have pursued thus far in Egypt and also in Syria --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- are worthy of a President who not so long ago won the Nobel Peace Prize?

MS. PSAKI: Yes, Matt.

QUESTION: You do. Okay.

MS. PSAKI: Arshad.

QUESTION: You said, going forward, “we will continue to assess and review our aid” --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- in all its forms. Was that phrase, “in all forms,” or “in all its forms,” meant to point to military aid?

MS. PSAKI: It wasn’t meant to point to one form or another, Arshad, just that we will – there’s an ongoing review. And obviously, events on the ground, just like the events of the last 36 hours, will certainly be a factor in that.

QUESTION: And why don’t you cut or restrict aid to Egypt now?

MS. PSAKI: Well, it’s obviously – the situation is complicated, as we’ve talked about quite a bit, given the depth of our partnership with Egypt, our national security interests in this pivotal part of the world, our belief also that engagement can support a transition back to a democratically elected civilian government. We have sustained our commitment. But of course, we evaluate and we review on a regular, if not daily, basis the scope of our relationship, and that of course includes aid of all forms.

QUESTION: That doesn’t answer the question why now is not a reasonable time to curtail U.S. aid to Egypt. Why not now?

MS. PSAKI: Well, what I was trying to convey to you was the depth of our partnership and our relationship with Egypt, and that that has been ongoing for decades, and it’s more than the events of July 3rd; it’s beyond that. It’s a broad, long-term relationship, and so we’re thinking of our national security interests, our regional interests, our commitment to the rocky path that can be a path to long-term democracy. Those are all factors as we think about it. So it’s not an easy question to answer.

QUESTION: Oh, no, I get it.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: But the President said in effect that it cannot be business as usual --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- in the U.S.-Egyptian relationship when peaceful protesters are being shot in the streets. And I don’t understand why the Administration might not seek to take a more muscular action, such as curtailing – not eliminating entirely or – but curtailing aid to Egypt. I mean, if 535, which is I think the lowest estimate of the number of people who were killed yesterday, isn’t sufficient to trigger that, what is? I just don’t understand why this isn’t the moment to do that.

MS. PSAKI: Well, Arshad, obviously, as we’ve said, as the President has said, as the Secretary has said, the events of 36 hours ago are deplorable and we’ve been very clear at our disgust of what happened. At the same time, what I was trying to convey to you was the many layers of our relationship, and that we have taken some steps to make clear our concerns. We did not deliver the F-16s that were bought, we announced this morning the cancellation of the Bright Star exercise, and we are continuing to review. I don’t have anything more to announce for you, but it is something that is – there’s an ongoing discussion.

QUESTION: Do you believe that – you talk about the depth of the partnership --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- and the strategic relationship that has gone on for 33 years; despite that, and $60 billion later paid by the American taxpayer, that we are at a point where your influence has eroded in Egypt? Do you believe with that assessment?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Said, it’s not about influence. It’s about the many layers of the relationship, including the important role Egypt plays in regional stability, the role – how important that is to our own national security, our belief that they are on a path that we are encouraging to continue, a rocky path to democracy. So these are all the factors. We understand that it’s tempting for many within Egypt to blame us for things that have gone wrong, but that is not what we think the best course is, and also we don’t think that that’s a factor in our – why this is such an important decision-making process.

QUESTION: I’m talking about the military that --

QUESTION: What makes you think they’re on a rocky path to democracy? What makes you think they’re on a path to democracy at all right now?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think we can convey it’s a rocky path given the last couple of months, but --

QUESTION: But you said you think they’re on a rocky path. Are you aware of elections being held?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Arshad, this is something that has been proposed in Egypt, as you know. By rocky path, I mean there are more steps that need to be taken, and the steps that are going to be taken – we hope will be taken in the months ahead – are part of that path. But that’s what we’re continuing to encourage.

QUESTION: But you still believe that the current Egyptian leadership is on a path to democracy?

MS. PSAKI: We still think there is – the window is open for Egypt, for the leaders in Egypt to make the right choices and take the right steps to return to that path.

QUESTION: And what makes you think that the current leadership in Egypt is not simply trying to crush by force its political opponents?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think we’ve been very clear about our concerns about the actions that have been taken, so that’s one piece of it – against their political opponents. But again, we don’t – the alternative to continuing to encourage and continuing to play a constructive role in pushing – as an outsider, pushing Egypt, with our regional partners, back to a productive path is not a viable alternative. So that’s what we’re going to remain focused on.

QUESTION: But why is it not viable to cut aid?

MS. PSAKI: That’s – I wasn’t saying cut aid. I’m saying the alternative would be to simply sit back and accept that they’re not going to return to the path, when we know there are steps that have been outlined that they can certainly take.

QUESTION: If I could go back to --

QUESTION: Jen, could I ask --

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: -- you’re talking about these constructive ideas, and that I presume is when Bill Burns went there.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Can you be a bit more specific about what those ideas are? Are they still viable?

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: And at that point, were threats issued? Is that – was it – let’s say this possibility that aid might be curtailed; was that raised at that point as a kind of carrot and a stick?

MS. PSAKI: Unfortunately, I just can’t get into specifics of what was proposed because we don’t feel that that would be productive or helpful to encouraging all sides to move – make positive steps.

QUESTION: Okay. But right now, are there constructive ideas? I mean, is there anything beyond, like, this club of the threat of stopping aid or actually stopping these military training exercises? Is there anything that can really be proposed now or is it just too --

MS. PSAKI: Well, we do – the constructive steps proposed are still viable. We think that obviously both sides need to participate, be part of a process moving forward. They’ve outlined plans in the past six weeks to reform the constitution, to have elections. Obviously, those are steps we’d like to see happen. And we’ll continue to work with our partners in the region who all have significant stakes in what happens on the ground to move toward that path. We know – we knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but we think it’s important enough that we need to remain focused on playing whatever constructive role we can play from the outside.

QUESTION: Yes, but --

MS. PSAKI: Oh, go ahead.

QUESTION: -- regarding the constructive role you are playing, what you are expecting from your partners? Because as much as I can see the – which is Qatar and Turkey in particular, which they have – supposed to have good relations with Muslim Brothers --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- that put – what we call it, describe a duck as a duck, I mean, using Senator McCain expressions. What you are expecting from them? Especially we can hear that already they are talking about the possibility or maybe a civil war may take place in Egypt, which you usually – you didn’t name it and you didn’t characterize it in that way yesterday.

MS. PSAKI: Correct.

QUESTION: What you are expecting from them?

MS. PSAKI: I did not. I still would not. What are we expecting from the Qataris and the Emiratis?

QUESTION: And the Turks.

MS. PSAKI: And the Turks? Look, I think that there are many regional partners who have a stake in Egypt, who have close ties to either side or both sides, and we can all work together. And this is something the Secretary has worked very hard on in encouraging both sides to participate in a productive path forward. So that’s what we are working with them on, and that’s what we’re hopeful will happen.

QUESTION: Just to continue a follow-up for other question asked before about these constructive ideas --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: It seems that as much as I know in the last 24 hours, Europeans start to talk about these constructive a little bit – leaked some of these constructive ideas. Beside the constructive ideas and the constructive role, what diplomatically you are trying to do now? I mean, the stands are more or less clear. The message, as you said, was sent to the Egyptian – all sides.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: What is next for United States? To send the Secretary? To send Assistant Secretary or the Deputy Secretary? Or do you have any plan?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any trips to announce for you. As I mentioned yesterday, the Secretary has been very engaged on the phone talking to regional partners, as have many officials in the Administration. There are other partners we work with, including EU High Representative Ashton, who we will continue to work very closely with on this process.

And we know – and the Secretary said this yesterday – through his conversations, Egyptian officials know what they need to do. We’ve proposed some constructive steps. We will continue to encourage them to take some.

QUESTION: Yesterday, I mean, the other question related to all parts of Egypt --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- as much as we know the leadership of the Muslim Brothers are somehow not on the scene, and the official side already you are talking with them, criticizing them, advising them, blaming them, all these things. Who is the other parts, I mean, if not the Muslim Brothers? I mean, it takes two to tango. I mean, I know tango is not an Egyptian dance, but anyway. (Laughter.) So they have to --

MS. PSAKI: You have lots of jokes today. You’re making all your neighbors laugh. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Of course, it only takes one to belly dance.

MS. PSAKI: It only takes one to belly dance.

QUESTION: Yeah, it’s a belly dancing. (Laughter.)

MS. PSAKI: Sorry, we got off track of your question. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Sorry about that. So the question, I mean, you are talking to whom? If you say all parts, how do you expect if one part already is saying, we want to reinstate President Morsy?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we’ve been clear, and this has consistently been our position, that all parties, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who we have been in touch with, and – but Deputy Secretary Burns met with representatives of when he was there just two weeks ago. So all parties includes the Muslim Brotherhood. It includes members of the government. And certainly, not only are high-level officials on the ground, but the Secretary and the Deputy Secretary and other members of the Administration have been in touch with representatives of all parties.

QUESTION: Yes. And yesterday I raised the question about Prime Minister – Turkish Prime Minister and others in the region.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: There is the issue, the possibility of taking this issue to the United Nations Security Council.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: And you said that I am – maybe you can find an answer to this --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- or a position of United States.

MS. PSAKI: Well, I did – we did – I did talk to – I did follow up on your question, I guess I should say.

QUESTION: Thanks.

MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to get ahead of any discussions. As you know, steps can take a range of forms from the UN, so I’m not going to get ahead of what they may be thinking about or what may be discussed in the weeks ahead. I would certainly point you to them to get more insight, of course, on that. I will say that we, of course, have joined many, including the United Nations, in the international community in condemning the attacks and acts of violence and bloodshed across Egypt.

And there are also several statements that the UN has made, including a statement on August 14th from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in which he condemned in the strongest terms the recent violence in Cairo that occurred when Egyptian security services used force to clear Cairo sit-ins and demonstrations. And this followed a renewed call from him several days ago for all sides in Egypt to reconsider their actions in light of new political realities and the imperative to prevent the future loss of life.

So they’ve – officials have been very outspoken on this issue and the tragedies happening in Egypt. But in terms of further steps or actions, I would not like to prejudge that from here.

QUESTION: So I mean, maybe I have to clarify.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: I’m not talking about you agree or disagree with statements, say, by international --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- organizations. I’m talking about the possibility and what’s going to be U.S. attitude if – is this an issue like a Syria issue to raise it to the Security Council, or not?

MS. PSAKI: Sure. And I was trying to answer that at the beginning part of my answer, which was just that, obviously, the UN will make determinations about what steps, if any, they would take. We’re not going to prejudge that. And if that’s something that happens, we can talk about it more at that time.

QUESTION: Well, I think the question is: Do you or do you not support calls by the Turks and others to have a UN Security Council meeting to discuss the situation in Egypt?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I just – I don’t want to speak on behalf of what the UN is considering, so --

QUESTION: This has nothing to do with what the UN is considering.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: This has what to do with whether the United States, as it has in the past, or has opposed in the --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- taken a position one way or the other over whether the Security Council should meet to discuss a certain issue. You have called for it repeatedly with Syria.

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: And that’s not prejudging.

MS. PSAKI: I understand. I will --

QUESTION: So the – I guess the – so --

MS. PSAKI: I will venture to go back one more time and get some clarity from our UN colleagues.

QUESTION: But the fact that there --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- but the fact that there is no clarity points in the direction that the Administration does not believe that a Security Council meeting on Egypt is appropriate at this point.

MS. PSAKI: I wouldn’t point you in that direction. Let me talk to them again and we’ll get you something by the end of the day.

QUESTION: But in the same vein --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- earlier today in Brussels they could not update anything on the – they said that the ball is in the U.S. court, and they said that today the funerals are taking place in Egypt and tomorrow is Friday, which is usually the demonstration day in the Islamic world.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: So have you got any assurances from the people you are talking to about that there won’t be any more bloodshed?

MS. PSAKI: I can’t speak on behalf of that. There have been, obviously, a range of conversations. What we’ve been conveying publicly is what we’ve been conveying privately, and certainly, we would condemn all violence that’s happened in the past and also any planned, of course, in the future. Beyond that, I can’t speak to private conversations.

QUESTION: During the course of the crackdown by the Egyptian army, it’s clear that many of the demonstrators who are all being described as peaceful demonstrators had caches of weapons and material, there were confrontation between the police and the demonstrators.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: There is a possibility that maybe the people were not simply out demonstrating peacefully but that something else was in the works in terms of reversing the situation by taking action, and that therefore the action of the Egyptian Government would be somewhat justified in terms of trying to prevent things from happening. Can you comment on that and what the situation was with these people on the ground with the weapons?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think that’s a lot of speculation. I know that the events on the ground are very volatile and there are many people who are looking into exactly what has happened. But we would certainly condemn --

QUESTION: It’s speculation with regard to the weapons?

MS. PSAKI: We would certainly condemn any violence from either side. That doesn’t justify additional violence either. So beyond that, I can’t speak to different reports of what may or may not have happened on the ground.

QUESTION: And secondly, with regard to the Morsy government --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Obviously, he was elected democratically, but many of the measures that he was taking during the course of his administration --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- were moving Egypt clearly away from what the Egyptian people wanted, which is why you had the massive demonstrations against Morsy at that time.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: So I was just wondering, if Morsy really was on the direction of instituting an Islamic state, would the United States – a hardline Islamic state, in fact – would the United States have been supportive of that as well --

MS. PSAKI: Well --

QUESTION: -- or concerned about that?

MS. PSAKI: Well, as we’ve said before and as you heard the President say this morning, President Morsy was elected – well, Mohamed Morsy was elected president in a democratic election, but his government was not inclusive, and he did not respect the views of all Egyptians. And so we don’t believe, as the President said the day this happened, that force is the way to resolve political differences. That’s – we still feel that way, obviously, as it relates to events of the last 36 hours. But we know that millions of Egyptians were calling for a change of course and spoke out, as we saw just six weeks ago. Beyond that, I’m not going to get into a hypothetical.

QUESTION: Or --

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: It was not inclusive and did not represent the views of all Egyptians? Is that now the new criteria? Can you name a single government in the world that represents – that respects the views of all of its citizens?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt --

QUESTION: I mean, not even this government – (laughter) – represents the views of all of its citizens.

MS. PSAKI: My point is the one we’ve made several times, which is about the 22 million people who spoke out --

QUESTION: Right.

MS. PSAKI: -- about their concerns --

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. PSAKI: -- and whether the – whether it was a democratic rule or not.

QUESTION: Okay. Can I just ask you to go back to the --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- constructive steps? When was it, can you remind me, just – that those were presented? Was it last weekend or was it before last weekend?

MS. PSAKI: When Deputy Secretary Burns was on the ground.

QUESTION: Was that last weekend?

MS. PSAKI: I believe that was about a week and a half ago.

QUESTION: A week and a half ago. So this – what – my question is about this idea that keeping these steps secret is a way to encourage them, the two sides, to accept them and agree to them and move on them. Because clearly, this policy of secrecy has been an abject failure so far to get the two sides – has it occurred to anyone in this building or elsewhere in the Administration that you’re aware of that making them public might, if they were in fact constructive and worthwhile, increase the pressure from within on both the public in Egypt and also the international community to get the two sides to actually sit down and talk?

MS. PSAKI: Well, if a determination is made that it’s productive to make them public --

QUESTION: Well, I’m not asking if --

MS. PSAKI: -- I’m sure we will let all of you know.

QUESTION: I’m just wondering if it’s occurred to anyone that keeping them secret has not actually worked so far, and that making them public might help push the two sides together.

MS. PSAKI: Well, that – we have determined that’s the best path for now.

QUESTION: And you’ve determined that because it has been so wildly successful?

MS. PSAKI: Matt, it’s been 10 days. It’s a volatile situation on the ground, very complicated, and we believe the door for dialogue remains open. So we’ll continue to work with all parties.

QUESTION: Jen?

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Would the U.S. support an emergency meeting at the UN Security Council on Egypt?

MS. PSAKI: I think this question was just asked. I’ll get a little more clarification on where we stand on that before the end of the day for all of you.

Mike.

QUESTION: Jen, the aid, the 1.5 or 1.3 --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- billion dollars annually in aid is being put in the context by Administration officials as in the U.S. national interests and national security interests.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Why? Why is it in the U.S. national security interests? How is that money spent? Is it being spent on military hardware, presumably the same hardware that’s being used to carry out the actions that you deplore and condemn?

MS. PSAKI: Well, it has a range of uses. I’m sure we can get you something that breaks that down. It’s not just our national security interests. It’s regional stability and keeping things stable in the region, and we also have an interest in backing the transition to a democratically elected civilian government. So --

QUESTION: And so --

MS. PSAKI: -- it has a range of reasons. Those are all factored in. And the money, I’m sure we have a fact sheet we can provide to you that we’ve probably provided in the past.

QUESTION: And how does it promote security throughout the region? What programs specifically are – where that money goes are promoting stability in the region?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Mike, we’ll get you a fact sheet with the specific tick-tock of where – how the money is spent. But obviously, keeping things stable on the ground, allowing Egypt to play that role in the region, remains a primary focus of ours.

QUESTION: So it’s not purely being spent on military hardware, then? There are other programs that --

MS. PSAKI: There are a range of programs. I’m sure we can get all of you a breakdown of what it’s spent on.

QUESTION: Would the cooperation between Israel and Egypt a couple days ago on the Sinai be an example of that, as a matter of fact?

MS. PSAKI: An example of stability? Sure.

QUESTION: An example of this as serving the national interest of the United States of America?

MS. PSAKI: Sure. Keeping things stable in the Sinai is certainly of utmost concern.

QUESTION: Can I follow up on the Sinai? There were four soldier deaths in the Sinai this morning. Militants claimed responsibility. Do you fear this spilling over into the Sinai from the cities? And can you specifically address the violence there?

MS. PSAKI: Sure. Well, of course the Sinai Peninsula remains an area of concern, and the current situation in Egypt has not improved the situation. A number of loosely knit military – militant groups have also formed in the Sinai. We support, of course, Egypt’s ongoing efforts there against terrorism, against growing lawlessness, and we continue to cooperate with Egypt in these efforts.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) discussed yesterday?

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: Yesterday, you said it was the policy of the U.S. Government that the state of emergency that had been declared in Egypt should be lifted immediately.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: And you said that when Secretary Kerry said that it should be lifted as soon as possible, that, as I understood it, you were saying that he meant to say it should be lifted immediately.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: The President today doesn’t put a time element on it. He says, “We believe that the state of emergency should be lifted,” but he doesn’t say immediately. Is it the policy that it should be lifted immediately, or should the President’s statement from this morning stand, that it should be lifted?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t think the two are conflicting. It should be lifted immediately. That remains our Administration position.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: And you do not – along those lines, you don’t think that the easing somewhat of the curfew is – is that a – well, I don’t – is that a positive step? They’ve announced that the curfew, I guess, will begin at 9:00 instead of 7:00 or they eased it a little bit --

MS. PSAKI: I had not seen that. Obviously, that’s not enough.

QUESTION: All right. Okay.

QUESTION: I don’t understand one other thing, though.

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: If it’s the policy of the U.S. Government that it should be lifted immediately, then why doesn’t the Secretary say that and why doesn’t the President say that?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think you’re reading into language in public statements. I am conveying to you what our position is, what the Secretary feels, what the President feels, what is universally agreed to in the Administration.

QUESTION: But they don’t say it.

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think you’re over-reading into the transcript of the President’s remarks.

QUESTION: Yes, please.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Do you think that the constructive idea that would represent – or presented by the Deputy Secretary Burns, now they are – their vitality or viability as to a possibility of to apply it are affected by the resignation of Dr. Baradei --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- as the vice president of the interim government?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I expressed yesterday, of course, our concerns with his resignation. But – and as you know, the Secretary has a personal – a great deal of personal respect for him. They’ve known each other for a number of years. Most concerning to us are, of course, the conditions that caused him to resign, which he spoke about extensively in his public statement.

But we’re going to work with all parties. As much the Secretary has a great deal of respect for him, we will – it’s not about one person, and we’re going to continue to work with all parties as we make efforts to move on a constructive path forward.

QUESTION: To be more specific, I mean most of – I mean, according to reports, most of those things were based on or related to Dr. Baradei and his involvement or his --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- be a liaison between the government and United States.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Do you think that it’s going to be affected by his resignation or this – the same ideas are still viable and be done by other people?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we have spoken with a range of officials throughout this process. The Secretary spoke – I know I mentioned yesterday he spoke with Interim Foreign Minister Fahmy. He spoke with him again later in the day. Obviously, Secretary Hagel is in touch with his counterpart as well. And Secretary Kerry has spoken with Interim President Mansour, not yesterday but in recent days. And so my point is that we are in touch with a range of officials and we will continue to be.

QUESTION: What was the purpose of the second phone call yesterday between the Secretary and Interim Foreign Minister Fahmy?

MS. PSAKI: Well, as you know, the Secretary is a big fan of personal diplomacy. He often speaks with officials a number of times in a day, when there are volatile events like the ones in Egypt. And so it was simply to get an update on where things stood and where things were on the ground and talk about things moving forward.

QUESTION: Did he mention the possibility of canceling Bright Star?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t believe that was a part of it, but I’d have to check. And I’m not sure that’s something we would read out either way.

QUESTION: Do you know if that message was delivered by this building or somewhere else, directly to the Egyptians?

MS. PSAKI: I would have to check on that for you, Matt.

QUESTION: You mean – really, after the President said this morning we told the Egyptians, you’ve --

MS. PSAKI: I’m not sure which official. I think --

QUESTION: -- it didn’t occur to anyone that it might be --

MS. PSAKI: -- as I’m understanding your question --

QUESTION: No, what building. I’m not asking --

MS. PSAKI: I --

QUESTION: Is that something done by the State Department, by the Pentagon, by who, the Embassy?

MS. PSAKI: I would expect typically by the Department of Defense, but I don’t know for fact who delivered the message to the Egyptians.

QUESTION: Can you give us the feedback on what was the stand High Representative Ashton took when Secretary – with – in the talks? It was not everything your partners have agreed to. So what was the feedback? Have they given any other ideas? Because in Brussels, they’re saying forget about now democracy or let’s stop this violence. So what was the – if you can tell us --

MS. PSAKI: I’m not sure I understand your question. Are you talking about when High Representative Ashton was on the ground?

QUESTION: Yeah. When Secretary Kerry has been talking to the friends --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- the partners, the other countries --

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: -- what is the feedback he’s getting?

MS. PSAKI: Well --

QUESTION: Not everybody’s saying that yes, yes, go ahead with what you’re doing. There are other ideas. Can you give us some – any other ideas that you’re considering?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I’m not going to read out either private diplomatic conversations or the constructive ideas that are being discussed between partners like High Representative Ashton. But obviously, the Secretary has been in touch with High Representative Ashton and other partners who have a great stake in the outcome in Egypt to discuss the events on the ground over the last 36 hours and the path forward.

QUESTION: I guess to just to follow up on this point, your top priority now, if you were to have a top priority --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- is it the restoration of order and calm, or is it the move forward toward democracy?

MS. PSAKI: Well, it certainly is both, and we think both are possible, Said.

QUESTION: So just to tie this up in --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- a knot kind of, as it were.

MS. PSAKI: How about a bow?

QUESTION: A bow. Right.

MS. PSAKI: That’s prettier.

QUESTION: It’s – yes, except unfortunately it’s not so pretty on the ground there. I don’t think any – no one is suggesting that the Obama – the Administration is to blame or is responsible for the military going berserk and killing all these people. But at the same time, your policy is intended or is supposed to have the goal of ending the violence and restoring democracy. And I just want to make sure I understand. You are – the Administration is satisfied that the path it’s on is the right one to achieve or to produce or to help encourage that result?

MS. PSAKI: I think we made clear yesterday, which remains the case today, that this was a step – a significant blow to the path. The point I’m making is that there is a path that is possible to get back on, and that’s what we’re encouraging. We can’t do that on their behalf. We can encourage it.

QUESTION: I understand that.

MS. PSAKI: We can work with our partners to push it.

QUESTION: But the Administration is satisfied that what it has done, that its approach thus far will bear fruit and is going to help encourage the end of violence and the restoration of democracy?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we can’t control that. It’s not --

QUESTION: I understand you can’t control it --

MS. PSAKI: But that’s an important point here.

QUESTION: -- but you think that you’re doing the right things? Thus far, you think that you’ve done the right thing to try to encourage the two sides in Egypt to get back to the table and to reach an agreement to end the violence and to have democracy restored?

MS. PSAKI: We feel that we have put constructive steps forward. We’ve offered to play a role on the outside to help facilitate.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. PSAKI: We’ve continued to condemn violence.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. PSAKI: And we continue to evaluate every day our policy.

QUESTION: Okay. But – I understand. But thus far, those efforts have not been successful. Is that correct? Is that a fair appraisal of the situation?

MS. PSAKI: Well, as I said yesterday, the story is not done yet, Matt.

QUESTION: I understand that. But to date it has not been --

MS. PSAKI: It’s volatile on the ground.

QUESTION: -- you have not been – your approach has not been successful in producing the results that you want. Correct?

MS. PSAKI: You know what our goals are. We’re still working at it.

QUESTION: And you think that this is going to work? That’s --

MS. PSAKI: We evaluate it every day. If we need to make new decisions, we will make those.

QUESTION: To follow up on that --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- the President said this morning, I believe it was, that the White House will continue – the Administration will continue to hold the Egyptian interim government accountable.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Are you holding them accountable now? Are these actions that you’re taking now, is that holding them accountable, and is that adequate enough?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we continue to review our relationship with Egypt. I talked about the range of factors that are part of that consideration, including the depth of our partnership, including our national security interests and regional stability. And we’ll continue to review.

QUESTION: Right. I --

MS. PSAKI: We’ve taken steps – I’m not going to sit up here and evaluate what’s adequate or not. We take – we review every day, and as we deem additional steps are necessary, we’ll take them.

QUESTION: Would you concede that the steps you’ve taken so far are, have been as adequate as they could have been?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not sure I’m understanding what you’re trying to ask.

QUESTION: I’m following up with Matt and asking that – is it – is it being successful? Is it working or not?

MS. PSAKI: We didn’t write the last chapter of this book. We’re still writing it.

QUESTION: I understand.

MS. PSAKI: And we’re still working at it. And we can’t do a daily evaluation of where things stand. Obviously, things are volatile on – in the ground in Egypt. Obviously, that’s why the Secretary, the President of the United States, people around the world are focused on taking every step we can possibly take to return to a stable path. That’s our focus. We evaluate every single day, we review every day, what steps that can be taken, whether that’s aid, whether that’s new constructive ideas, whether that’s calls, whether that’s visits. And that’s something we’re reviewing and talking about every day.

QUESTION: Jen, you just said the exact opposite thing. It was amazing. First, you started off that answer by saying we can’t do an evaluation every day, and then you finished by saying we do do an evaluation every day.

MS. PSAKI: We do a review – they’re two different things, Matt. We do a review every day of the appropriate steps. We’re not going to evaluate every day whether we’re in a good – like whether – publicly whether we’re going to --

QUESTION: Well, then what’s the point of an evaluation?

MS. PSAKI: Because we have an internal discussion --

QUESTION: Right.

MS. PSAKI: -- reviewing what steps should be taken every day.

QUESTION: Right. And thus far, that internal discussion has produced this policy, which has been successful, or not?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to define that. Said.

QUESTION: As you review in retrospect, as you review --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- does anyone in this building feel that perhaps it was a mistake not to call what happened in Egypt a coup?

MS. PSAKI: We don’t feel that – no, I’m not doing a retrospective, and our position is the same --

QUESTION: But you do review – I mean --

MS. PSAKI: -- so obviously, we haven’t changed our view.

QUESTION: Does that fact – does this argument factor in your review?

MS. PSAKI: In our review?

QUESTION: Yes. As you review what his happening in Egypt, do you look at this – the fact that you did not call it a coup perhaps was a mistake?

MS. PSAKI: We don’t.

QUESTION: Does that factor into the equation?

MS. PSAKI: Our position is still the same. We review things every single day, as I’ve said.

QUESTION: But you – but is it still the case that you – it is not, as Deputy Secretary Burns told the leadership --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- of both houses a couple of weeks ago, that you do not intend to make a determination?

MS. PSAKI: Correct. That still is the case. Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Jen, the Washington Post editorial board called the Obama Administration complicit in the violence and the crackdown. Was your attempt today off the top to deplore in the strongest terms the attacks on the Coptic churches and the police stations in an attempt to be more evenhanded in where you direct the blame for the violence?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think the President of the United States and the Secretary of State have been very clear how we feel about the violence happening on the ground. And I would point you to them as well as the consistency of statements condemning violence for the last six weeks or more that these events have been underway.

QUESTION: I guess there was some criticism on the President’s remarks this morning that said he didn’t go far enough to blame the Muslim Brotherhood for some of the violence this morning, and I thought your statement off the top condemning the attacks on the churches and police stations – was that an attempt to balance your criticism (inaudible)?

MS. PSAKI: It was an attempt to shed some light on events that were happening on the ground that we find are unacceptable.

QUESTION: So as you are fond of saying, actions speak louder than words. Six weeks of condemnation which you just mentioned, coupled with the two steps that I think you – the two active steps, actual actions --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- the delay in the transfer of the F-16s and the cancelation of Bright Star --

MS. PSAKI: And I would add the Deputy Secretary’s trip --

QUESTION: And the – okay.

MS. PSAKI: -- as well as all of the outreach and phone calls that the Secretary and Deputy Secretary and other officials have done --

QUESTION: And that – all of that has accomplished what thus far?

MS. PSAKI: Matt, this is a rocky road back to democracy.

QUESTION: All right.

MS. PSAKI: We continue to work at it, and there are a number of steps we think the government can take, but it’s up to them.

QUESTION: I’d like to change the subject, but if anyone else wants – has anything on this.

MS. PSAKI: Do we have any more on Egypt?

QUESTION: Yeah. With the attacks on Copts, can you give us a sense of who you think is behind those attacks? And are they spontaneous, are they organized by a certain party? What’s your readout on that?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any more details on that for you. I’m happy to check with our team and see if we have more details.

QUESTION: When Bill Burns talks to Khairat al-Shater or other Brotherhood officials, does he bring up the issue of protection for Christians as part of his discussions with them?

MS. PSAKI: Certainly. One of our consistent messages is the importance of protecting peaceful protest, protecting property, protecting people’s right to religion and freedom of expression, et cetera.

New topic?

QUESTION: Yeah. Can you tell us what, if anything, happened at the meeting in Jerusalem last night? Have they, at least at the bare minimum, agreed on when this Jericho meeting is going to be?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have anything to announce for you on the Jericho meeting. Obviously, that was a part of the discussion. As you know, they met yesterday. As I said yesterday, we don’t plan to read out the substance of these meetings.

QUESTION: Okay. Was there any substance?

MS. PSAKI: Certainly, there was.

QUESTION: There was?

MS. PSAKI: Yes.

QUESTION: But what the substance was was a – is a secret?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, I think you’re familiar with the – with what the issues are --

QUESTION: All right. Did --

MS. PSAKI: -- of all people on this issue.

QUESTION: Did you – were you able to get an answer to my questions yesterday about which settlements are illegitimate, which existing settlements in the West Bank and which existing housing project – housing in East Jerusalem are illegitimate in the view of the United States?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have anything new for you on that front.

QUESTION: Okay. So that means – and please correct me if I’m wrong – that the United States does not take a position on the legitimacy or illegitimacy of existing or announced settlements or construction in East Jerusalem?

MS. PSAKI: Well, our position on this, Matt, as you know, has been consistent for a long time – I venture to guess as long as you’ve been covering the State Department – on the construction of – the construction in East Jerusalem. It has not changed.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. PSAKI: We oppose any unilateral actions by either party --

QUESTION: Right.

MS. PSAKI: -- and we’re not going to prejudge --

QUESTION: Right. But you don’t call it illegitimate --

MS. PSAKI: -- the final outcome.

QUESTION: -- or you don’t use the same language in East Jerusalem as you do in the West Bank. Is that correct?

MS. PSAKI: That’s correct.

QUESTION: Okay. So but – then my question and what I said yesterday, and you said you thought that I was wrong, but I want to make sure that if I am wrong I would love to be – I really want to be corrected if this is wrong.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Once a settlement in the West Bank is announced by the Israelis or built, you no longer consider it to be illegitimate, because that is then something that the parties need to take up – the legitimacy or the illegitimacy – in direct negotiations. Is that correct?

MS. PSAKI: Well, the parties will certainly take it up. There will be land on both sides that will --

QUESTION: Right.

MS. PSAKI: -- land on either side.

QUESTION: But you do not take a position on it?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have anything new for you today on it.

QUESTION: Is that – does that – but does that mean that you do not take a position on it once it’s built or announced?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have anything different from what I told you yesterday.

QUESTION: So the only thing that you – okay, then I think that I was correct yesterday and I’m correct now in saying that the only settlement activity that you find to be illegitimate or you’ve deemed illegitimate is settlements that haven’t been built yet and haven’t been announced, settlements that don’t exist?

MS. PSAKI: Well --

QUESTION: Is that correct?

MS. PSAKI: -- regardless of the word that’s used, we don’t find any --

QUESTION: I don’t – again --

MS. PSAKI: This is important. Let me just --

QUESTION: -- again, I don’t want to get into the --

MS. PSAKI: -- let me make a point --

QUESTION: -- but no wait, but I don’t want to get into this argument between illegitimate and illegal, because as I said yesterday --

MS. PSAKI: I’m not making that point.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. PSAKI: I’m making the point that, regardless, we find these actions unhelpful. We’ve made that clear. So I understand you’re talking about the specific legitimacy versus not legitimacy. But given the sensitivity, of course, we find these actions unhelpful, and that’s consistently been our position.

QUESTION: Right. But do you understand then the problem that the Palestinians and people who support – their supporters have with the U.S. position that, essentially, once the Israelis have announced something or built it, you no longer take a position on its legitimacy or illegitimacy. You don’t --

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, they’re --

QUESTION: Because you’re leaving it up to the parties.

MS. PSAKI: They were at the table yesterday discussing all of these issues.

QUESTION: I understand that. But the U.S. no longer or – maybe no longer is not the right word. The United States does not take a position on the legitimacy or illegitimacy of existing settlements in the West Bank.

MS. PSAKI: Our position has been the same for years. It has not changed.

QUESTION: That – and that position is that this needs to be determined by – in direct talks between – in final status negotiations. Is that correct?

MS. PSAKI: They will be discussed there.

QUESTION: So you do not – okay. You don’t have a position, then, on the legitimacy or illegitimacy of existing – of actual settlements; you only take a position on settlements that haven’t been built or haven’t even been thought of or announced?

MS. PSAKI: Continued settlement activity.

QUESTION: Right. Okay.

QUESTION: Has there been any change in your commitment to UN Resolution 242 of November 1967?

MS. PSAKI: Not that I’m aware of, Said.

QUESTION: Okay. Are you aware that the Palestinians may have actually agreed to the circuitous route of the wall barrier, and in fact, they agreed to land swaps?

MS. PSAKI: The land swaps?

QUESTION: Yes.

MS. PSAKI: Yes, I’m – what’s your question?

QUESTION: My question is: Are you aware that in this last round of talks the Palestinians have agreed to land swaps --

MS. PSAKI: In the last round of talks?

QUESTION: -- and agreed to the barrier, yes.

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have anything to read out to you on the substance.

QUESTION: All right. My last question on this --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Do you have – why not have your own sort of map proposal? You have been involved in this process for a very long time and you know every little inch of it.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Why can’t the United States actually submit its own view of where those borders should be?

MS. PSAKI: It’s up to the two parties to determine.

QUESTION: Jen, in Brasilia, Secretary Kerry was saying that both he and President Abbas had been notified by Netanyahu weeks before that these announcements would be made, and that they knew full well, both he and President Abbas --

MS. PSAKI: Well, some of these announcements – and I know you know the process – have been made public in the past --

QUESTION: Right.

MS. PSAKI: -- and there are different stages of where things stand, and that’s what the Secretary’s referring to.

QUESTION: Right. So is he saying that President Abbas had agreed to come to the table to negotiations knowing that the announcements that were made this week --

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have anything further to read out on what President Abbas did or didn’t agree to.

Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) if either Ambassador Indyk or --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- Mr. Lowenstein were – would take part in --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- the talks. Did they take – did they actually get into the room with the Israelis and the Palestinians both at the same time?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Ambassador Indyk was there in a facilitating role, but we’re not going to read out for every meeting whether they were apart or not apart. These were set up to be bilateral meetings.

QUESTION: And why not, though? I mean, what’s the harm in saying whether they --

MS. PSAKI: That’s the preference of the parties participating.

QUESTION: But what’s the danger in saying, “Yeah, Ambassador Indyk took part.”

MS. PSAKI: I don’t know that there’s a danger. I’m just abiding by the preference of the parties participating.

QUESTION: So is --

QUESTION: And when you say “the parties,” you mean the Israelis and the Palestinians. That’s at their request?

MS. PSAKI: Well, it was conveyed to us through our team, but I’m sure that’s part of the discussion with all parties.

QUESTION: But – no, no – I just want to make sure it isn’t just your preference, rather than the preference of the Israelis and the Palestinians.

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any more clarification on that for you.

QUESTION: So it may be your preference; it may be their preference. You can’t tell me whose preference it is.

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any more for you on it.

QUESTION: So in the meeting room --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- is Ambassador Indyk and his team – are they like on standby to put out any fires that may occur during the negotiations?

MS. PSAKI: Well, they’re – Ambassador Indyk and Deputy Envoy Frank Lowenstein are playing facilitator roles, so they’ll be in some meetings, they won’t be in others. There’ll be bilateral meetings where they won’t be in, and they’ll be in other meetings where they will be participating.

QUESTION: So – I – do they – are they involved in sort of panel options and choices and suggestions and so on as the negotiators negotiate?

MS. PSAKI: When appropriate, they’re a part of the discussion. But it depends on – every meeting is different.

QUESTION: Do you expect that the date of the Jericho meeting will be made public?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t know yet, Matt.

QUESTION: I mean --

MS. PSAKI: I don’t know yet, if it will be.

QUESTION: Because why? I mean, wasn’t the intent – when they were first announced --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- when it was first announced that the first one would be in – or the second one would be in Jerusalem --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- and then there would be one in Jericho, there was this – I don’t think it was – was there an expectation that somehow the mere fact of the meeting in Jericho was supposed to be secret? And if it was, why was it – why did you announce it?

MS. PSAKI: Well, no. I think that it hasn’t been set yet, so we’ll make a determination as to when it’s set what we’ll announce publicly.

QUESTION: Right, because the date – the actual date of it could be dangerous? I don’t understand. I mean, if you were comfortable enough to say that it would be in Jericho --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- I don’t understand why you would not be comfortable enough to say when --

MS. PSAKI: Well --

QUESTION: -- if it has been agreed. Do you know if it has – if a date has been agreed?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t.

QUESTION: Oh. Okay.

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any update on that for you.

QUESTION: All right.

MS. PSAKI: Thanks, everyone.

QUESTION: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:23 p.m.)

DPB #139

[This is a mobile copy of Daily Press Briefing - August 15, 2013]