Briefing Skipper: Holbrooke, Eikenberry, Zelaya, Ethiopia
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: Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke is traveling to Berlin, Paris, Munich, and then Moscow, before he goes to Afghanistan for the re-inauguration of President Hamid Karzai. "These ...
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:
- Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke is traveling to Berlin, Paris, Munich, and then Moscow, before he goes to Afghanistan for the re-inauguration of President Hamid Karzai. "These routine meetings are part of continued efforts to stay in close touch with allies and partners on Afghanistan and Pakistan," Kelly said, not to talk about the Russian lethal transit agreement.
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in the Philippines and met with Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo. She announced $5 million in new funds for schools and to help recover from recent natural disasters. She also apparently defended the agreement that allows U.S. forces to operate there.
- No comment on the leaked memo from U.S. Ambassador to Kabul Karl Eikenberry which warned against new troops until Afghan government corruption was addressed. "We really have to be sure that this kind of advice that they’re giving remains confidential," said Kelly.
- Assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Craig Kelly is back from Honduras, where he met with ousted president Manuel Zelaya and de facto regime leader Roberto Micheletti. No agreement yet to implement the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord, which both sides apparently agreed to on October 30.
- No comment on reports that the IAEA believes that Iran has very seriously slowed down its enrichment processes. Also, still no official response from Iran to the IAEA’s proposal on transferring uranium to a third country for enrichment.
- Ambassador Stephen Bosworth will go to Pyongyang "fairly soon," Kelly said mysteriously.
- The U.S. has no official position on the possible postponement of the Palestinian Authority elections. "It’s up to the Palestinians themselves to decide when the best time is to have these elections," Kelly said.
- The State Department is "monitoring" but not investigating allegations that Ethiopia has politicized and therefore abused distribution of $479 million in food and anti-poverty aid they’ve received from the U.S. "Personnel from U.S. embassy in audits are increasing their field visits to observe how the assistance is distributed," Kelly said, "And they’re aware of these allegations, so they’re conducting these monitoring activities specifically with these allegations in mind."
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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