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P5+1: Who will represent Washington?

Who will represent the United States at the next meeting of the P5+1, scheduled to be held Feb. 4 in Germany? Per last Friday’s press briefing, the answer was Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Bill Burns. But a State Department spokesman reached Monday said the answer remains unclear. “The answer is: we don’t yet know. Obviously ...

589111_090127_burns2.jpg
589111_090127_burns2.jpg

Who will represent the United States at the next meeting of the P5+1, scheduled to be held Feb. 4 in Germany?

Per last Friday's press briefing, the answer was Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Bill Burns.

But a State Department spokesman reached Monday said the answer remains unclear. "The answer is: we don't yet know. Obviously Under Secretary Burns has attended these in the past, and I've put in requests with his office and our NEA bureau to see if we can confirm who will attend, but we simply don't have a definite answer at this point. As soon as I hear anything, I can certainly let you know."

Who will represent the United States at the next meeting of the P5+1, scheduled to be held Feb. 4 in Germany?

Per last Friday’s press briefing, the answer was Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Bill Burns.

But a State Department spokesman reached Monday said the answer remains unclear. “The answer is: we don’t yet know. Obviously Under Secretary Burns has attended these in the past, and I’ve put in requests with his office and our NEA bureau to see if we can confirm who will attend, but we simply don’t have a definite answer at this point. As soon as I hear anything, I can certainly let you know.”

That was the answer going into the State Department press briefing as of this morning, and the State Department press office did not see anything in the prepared remarks that would indicate otherwise.

Will Dennis Ross, who some sources say will be appointed U.S. envoy on Iran, make a late-breaking appearance on the schedule?

Stay tuned. And let us know what you’re hearing.

UPDATE: A colleague notes that Clinton kept the suspense alive in her remarks today, saying: “The P5+1 talks, which will reconvene next week, I believe, are an already existing vehicle that we will again monitor. And there’s just a lot that we are considering that I’m not prepared to discuss.”

UPDATE II: A friend in the know comments, “There is no one else but Burns until and unless someone else is appointed, and they aren’t going to acknowledge the possibility of someone else until that person is actually appointed. From the minute someone is appointed, it will be like they were always there.

“As to whatever the latest meeting of this or that group is on this issue, the U.S. government will decide on its position on all of this, and whoever goes to these meetings will have their instructions.”

Photo: File; MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Laura Rozen writes The Cable daily at ForeignPolicy.com.

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