The Cable

Briefing Skipper: Pakistan, Poland, Kai Eide, Burma

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 by spokesman Ian Kelly: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave remarks at the American Pakistan Foundation’s inaugural benefit in New York. "During my October trip, I experienced the skepticism felt by ...

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 by spokesman Ian Kelly:

  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave remarks at the American Pakistan Foundation’s inaugural benefit in New York. "During my October trip, I experienced the skepticism felt by many in Pakistan about America’s motives and commitment.  This trust deficit holds us back from working together as well as we could and as well as we must," she said, "President Obama and our Administration have worked hard to change the perception of our purpose in Pakistan both with words and with deeds."
  • Consular officials continue to visit the five arrested suburban Washington men in Sargodha, Pakistan. They were expected to be deported back to the U.S. but now it appears they will stay in Pakistan for a little while longer.
  • Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher and Polish Undersecretary of Defense Stanislaw Komorowski signed a new status of forces agreement between the U.S. and Poland that will allow mobile short and mid range missile defense batteries to be deployed there.
  • No comment on the New York Times story about Blackwater working side by side with the CIA and on raids against some suspected insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • Nice words from Kelly on Kai Eide, the top UN official in Afghanistan, who apparently will step down. We greatly appreciate the work that Kai Eide has done. "He has had a very productive partnership with us and with the U.N.," Kelly said.
  • The State Department is kind of involved in the case of American, Nyi Nyi Aung, who is on a hunger strike in Burma while he awaits trial on fraud charges. "I know that we’re aware of the situation, and the embassy has been in contact with the Burmese government to express our concern and to ensure that he’s being treated well," Kelly said.
  • In other hunger strike news, Clinton spoke directly with Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi-Fihri about Sahrawi activist Aminatou Haidar, who is on hunger strike in the Canary Islands because Morocco won’t allow her to enter the Western Sahara. This will probably also come up in Clinton’s meeting with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos.

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