Briefing Skipper: Hillary in Pakistan, the UN & Cuba, Honduras, Iran sanctions
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’s briefing by Department Spokesman Ian Kelly: In Islamabad today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had lunch with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, met with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, attended a ...
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’s briefing by Department Spokesman Ian Kelly:
- In Islamabad today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had lunch with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, met with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, attended a program designed to help Pakistan’s poorest women and their families, and attended a dinner hosted by President Asif Ali Zardari at the presidential residence. She pledged $55 million for humanitarian relief in Waziristan, $85 million for poor women there, and $103.5 million for the Pakistani government’s law enforcement programs.
- Kelly also gave a statement on the suicide bombing that greeted Clinton in Islamabad upon her arrival. "These attacks show the lengths extremist elements are willing to go, as they attempt to force their agenda onto a people who only wish to go about their daily lives in peace," he said. No American casualties in the attacks.
- But one American was among the six UN staffers killed in an attack this morning on a UN mission guesthouse in Kabul. "This is all part of a — of an overall campaign to intimidate the Afghan people, to try and discourage them from exercising their democratic rights," Kelly said, "It’s not going to work."
- No real comment (despite determined repeated asking) on the New York Times report stating Afghan President Hamid Karzai‘s brother is a CIA-supported drug trafficker. "We’ve made that clear to the government of Afghanistan, that we are very concerned about corruption and… once the elections are completed and we have a post- election administration in place, we’re going to discuss these issues with them," said Kelly.
- Kelly defended the embargo against Cuba, which was condemned in a vote today by the UN General Assembly. "Sanctions on Cuba are designed to permit humanitarian items to reach the Cuban people, while denying the Cuban government resources that it could use to repress its citizens," Kelly read from a sheet of paper. Only Israel and the Pacific island nation of Palau voted with the U.S.
- The administration’s delegation to Honduras arrived today and will meet with both sides of the ongoing dispute today and tomorrow, Kelly said. The delegation is led by Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Tom Shannon, principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Craig Kelly, and National Security Council Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs Dan Restrepo.
- The State Department is still waiting for a response from Iran to the IAEA proposal on transferring low enriched uranium. Meanwhile, a U.S. Congressional committee approved a new sanctions bill, but that isn’t what the administration is focused on. "These kinds of methods of pressure of course are a lot more effective if they’re done in a multilateral fashion," Kelly said, neither endorsing nor rejecting the bill on its merits.
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at email@example.com.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin
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