Briefing Skipper: Shanghai, Palestine, Holbrooke, ICC, Angola
In which we scour the transcript of the State Department’s daily presser so you don’t have to. Here are the highlights of Friday’s briefing at the Foreign Press Center by Department Spokesman Ian Kelly: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Shanghai, where she met today with Shanghai vice mayor Shen Jun and the commissioner ...
In which we scour the transcript of the State Department’s daily presser so you don’t have to. Here are the highlights of Friday’s briefing at the Foreign Press Center by Department Spokesman Ian Kelly:
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Shanghai, where she met today with Shanghai vice mayor Shen Jun and the commissioner of the Shanghai Expo Jose Villarreal. Special Envoy George Mitchell was in London today meeting with Israeli negotiators, while Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg was in Israel attending the Saban forum (which also featured Bill Clinton and Arnold Schwarzenegger) and having some side meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials.
- Kelly didn’t deny that the State Department delayed their briefing scrambling to assemble a response to the new IAEA report on Iran, but he still didn’t have a comment at the briefing. The State Department later released some comments, including, "The IAEA’s latest report on Iran underscores that Iran still refuses to comply fully with its international nuclear obligations."
- The U.S. is not promising to veto a potential UN resolution to recognize a Palestinian state, but "it is our very strong belief we are convinced that this has to be achieved through negotiation between the two parties," Kelly said. The Palestinians haven’t asked the U.S. to support such a resolution, yet, but they did call on the EU for support.
- Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke was in Berlin, Paris, and Moscow. In Russia, he met with a whole bunch of officials, including his "counterpart," Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin. Coincidentally there is also a technical team in Moscow to "iron out" issues in the U.S.-Russia transit agreement, but "we anticipate that regular flights will start as soon as we’ve worked out these remaining logistical details," Kelly said, adding that Holbrooke’s agenda is "a higher political level."
- Kelly wouldn’t confirm reports that the Obama administration’s new Afghanistan strategy includes a call for increased pressure on Pakistan to deal with extremists within its borders, but he did say "we certainly have more confidence now than we did even a few months ago" that Pakistan could fight the extremists if they wanted to.
- No progress on negotiations in Honduras and no comment on the letter ousted President Manuel Zelaya sent to Obama. But Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Craig Kelly has been in "constant" contact with both sides, Kelly said.
- The U.S. is sending a State-Defense Department delegation to the meetings of the International Criminal Court, Kelly admitted. "This in no way suggests that we no longer have concerns about the ICC," he said, pointing out the observing the meetings does not violate the American Service-Members’ Protection Act, in the administration’s view.
- The United State and Angola have kicked off their new Strategic Partnership Dialogue, which Clinton and Angolan Foreign Minister Assuncao dos Anjos agreed to during Clinton’s September visit there. Ther are two working groups, a security-focused one led by the African Affairs Bureau Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Donald Yamamoto from our Bureau of African Affairs and an energy-focused one chaired by coordinator for International Energy Affairs David Goldwyn.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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