The Cable

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Briefing Skipper: Ukraine, Honduras, Amanda Knox, Russia, Bosworth

In which we scour the transcript of the State Department’s daily presser so you don’t have to. Here are the highlights of Wednesday’s briefing by spokesman Ian Kelly: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had two bilaterals today, in the morning with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Petro Poroshenko, and in the afternoon with El Salvadoran Foreign Minister ...

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

  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had two bilaterals today, in the morning with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Petro Poroshenko, and in the afternoon with El Salvadoran Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez.
  • She took the opportunity of her press avail with Poroshenko to talk about the Honduran elections, for some reason. "A year-long electoral process culminated on November 29 when the Honduran people expressed their democratic will peacefully and in large numbers. And we salute the Honduran people for this achievement and we congratulate President-elect Lobo for his victory. These November 29 elections marked an important milestone in the process moving forward, but not its end," she said.
  • No confirmation that Assistant Secretary Arturo Valenzuela will go to South America next week. "I wouldn’t be surprised," Kelly said…
  • Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher was in Geneva today representing American at the biological weapons convention conference. Coincidentally, the administration released a new strategy today for dealing with biological weapons. Tauscher did not pledge the U.S. to signing onto a verification regime for biological weapons, however. "Unfortunately, any kind of verification protocol that we would come up with under the convention wouldn’t be able to keep pace with the rapidly changing nature of the biological weapons threat," Kelly said.
  • No comment on the reports that five Americans from Northern Virginia have been arrested in Pakistan.
  • No comment on the Iranian allegations that the U.S. is holding Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri. "You can ask again tomorrow if you like," Kelly snarked.
  • Clinton will meet with Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-WA, to talk about the case of Amanda Knox, the American girl in Italy who was convicted of murdering British student Meredith Kercher. But State hasn’t gotten into the fray by contacting the Italians directly about the case, Kelly said.
  • The follow-on to the START agreement with Russia is still expected by the end of the year, according to Kelly, despite the old treaty lapsing last Saturday. "There are end game issues that you see in any negotiation," he said, "But the real core of the agreement, I think, is agreed on."
  • Amb. Stephen Bosworth has finished up in Pyongyang and is expected to brief the press tomorrow…

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 josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.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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