Briefing Skipper: Copenhagen, Pyongyang, Amiri, Jerusalem, START
In which we scour the transcript of the State Department’s daily presser so you don’t have to. Here are the highlights of Tuesday’s briefing by spokesman P.J. Crowley: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had breakfast with leading lawmakers to discuss the climate change conference in Copenhagen. She was joined by Special Envoy Todd Stern, who ...
In which we scour the transcript of the State Department’s daily presser so you don’t have to. Here are the highlights of Tuesday’s briefing by spokesman P.J. Crowley:
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had breakfast with leading lawmakers to discuss the climate change conference in Copenhagen. She was joined by Special Envoy Todd Stern, who will travel to Denmark to represent State at the event.
- Later Clinton met with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to discuss the middle east peace process, before presiding over the swearing-in this morning of Daniel W. Yohannes as the CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Then Clinton had lunch with Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. After that she met with Alexander Downer, the UN special adviser to the secretary-general on Cyprus. Busy day!
- Ambassador Stephen Bosworth is in Pyongyang with Ambassador Sung Kim, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Schiffer, and the NSC’s Daniel Russell. The big meetings are set for tomorrow. "Their current posture in the world is unsustainable," said Crowley, "They continue to struggle to feed their own people… This is a repressive regime."
- Meanwhile, Robert King, the new special envoy for North Korean Human Rights, wass in Geneva today to participate in the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review of the DPRK.
- In other Asia news, Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Bob Blake is in Sri Lanka talking about post-conflict reconstruction and refugee issues. Undersecretary Bill Burns is in Beijing. Burns will attend the Bali Democracy Forum on Thursday and meet with Indonesian officials in Jakarta on Friday.
- No comment on whether Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri is in U.S. custody, after the Iranian Foreign Ministry accused the U.S. of abducting him. "We are aware of the Iranian claims, but I have no information," Crowley said. One press corps member tried to conflate the Amiri disappearance with Iran’s suspected involvement in the disappearance of former FBI agent Robert Levinson.
- "Then the next time that you don’t get an answer from the Iranians about Levinson, remember this," the reporter scolded. "Noted," was Crowley’s reply.
- Crowley promised American support for Iraqi government resolve in the wake of new and severe bombings in Baghdad. "The extremists who are responsible for these attacks are once again trying to see if they can’t incite the kind of sectarian violence that we’ve seen in Iraq in recent years
- State seems to be concurring with Israel’s dismissal of the EU proposal to split Jerusalem into two capitals. "We are aware of the EU statement, but, you know, our position on Jerusalem is clear," Crowley said, "And we believe that as a final-status issue, this is best addressed inside a formal negotiation among the parties directly."
- U.S. and Russian negotiators are in Geneva again ironing out the details of the START follow on agreement related to nuclear weapons reductions. "We would certainly hope that we can cross the finish line by the end of the year," said Crowley. The old treaty expired last Saturday.
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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