The Cable

Briefing Skipper: Goldstone Report, North Korea, Jim DeMint

In which we scour the transcript of the State Department’s daily presser so you don’t have to. Here are the highlights of today and yesterday’s briefings by spokesman Ian Kelly: The State Department didn’t necessarily "pressure" the Palestinian authority to defer taking the Goldstone Report  to the U.N. Human Rights Council but the U.S. "respects" ...

In which we scour the transcript of the State Department’s daily presser so you don’t have to. Here are the highlights of today and yesterday’s briefings by spokesman Ian Kelly:

  • The State Department didn’t necessarily "pressure" the Palestinian authority to defer taking the Goldstone Report  to the U.N. Human Rights Council but the U.S. "respects" the decision as useful in not throwing another wrench into the drive to restart the peace process. No comment on reports that Hillary Clinton told Abu Mazen to sit on the report.
  • Special Envoy Geoge Mitchell is headed back to the region this week.
  • Kelly denied that the president’s refusal to meet with the Dalai Lama today was a signal that the administration is taking a hands-off approach to confronting the PRC on issues such as human rights and Tibetan autonomy. "I think these are two separate issues, the president’s decision to meet with the Dalai Lama and the path that our relationship with China is on," Kelly said. Right…
  • No reaction yet to the announcement by the North Koreans that they are willing to return to the Six Party Talks, as long as they get a bilateral meeting with the U.S. first. "If we’re on a path leading to our goal, of course, that’s encouraging," Kelly said, "But I’m not going to characterize it, until we talk to our Chinese partners."
  • South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint went to Tegucigalpa over the weekend to meet with the de facto regime against the wishes of the State Department and Senate Foreign Relations chairman John Kerry. He took with him Congressmen Peter Roskam, Doug Lamborn and Aaron Schock. House Foreign Affairs ranking Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen will soon meet with de facto president Roberto Micheletti. The State Department didn’t set up the meetings, but they did pick up the lawmakers from the airport and drive them around, Kelly said.
  • Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson (hey oh!) and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State William Fitzgerald expressed "deep outrage" directly to Guinea’s Foreign Minister Loua and junta leader Dadis Camara as the fallout from the September 28 massacre there continues. The U.S. is "engaged" and has issued a travel warning, but no specific other diplomatic initiatives to announce.
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi today in Washington today.
 Twitter: @joshrogin
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