Briefing Skipper: Haiti, Iran, Mitchell in Lebanon, Google-China spat continues
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 State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend a conference in Montreal on Jan. 25, hosted by the Canadian government, which is meant to tee up ...
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 State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley:
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend a conference in Montreal on Jan. 25, hosted by the Canadian government, which is meant to tee up an eventual donors conference to assist Haiti.
- There are now 28 confirmed deaths of Americans in Haiti, including State Department official Victoria DeLong, as well as an unspecified number of missing U.S. citizens. 4,500 Americans have been evacuated so far.
- The State Department has been issuing visas and transporting orphans from Haiti to the U.S. and some will go on to third countries as appropriate, Crowley said. 54 children have been evacuated so far. "So we are bending over backwards to try to protect as many children as possible in Haiti and move those that we can, to get medical attention or on to their adoptive parents," he said.
- Despite the large numbers of agencies contributing to the Haiti response, State wants to make it clear who’s in charge. "Who’s running this operation? It’s Dr. Raj Shah. Who is in charge of USAID? It’s Dr. Raj Shah," Crowley said.
- Special Envoy George Mitchell is in Beirut today, meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Ali Al-Shami and Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Tomorrow, he will meet with President Michel Suleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri and U.N. Special Representative for Lebanon Michael Williams, before hearing to Damascus to see President Bashar al-Assad and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.
- Later in the week, Mitchell heads to Israel to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas. No new comment on the reports that this is all part of a push by Team Obama to restart full negotiations with a two-year timeline in mind.
- Iran may or may not have finally offered a formal response to the IAEA’s proposal for transferring its low enriched uranium to a third country, but either way, State’s not calling it a response. "I’m not sure that they’ve delivered a formal response. But it is clearly an inadequate response," Crowley said. Everyone follow that?
- On the Chinese intransigence over Iran sanctions, which included them sending a low level official to Saturday’s P5+1 meeting, Crowley said, "I don’t think that we bridged the different views that the United States and others and China have about the issue of sanctions… there are other options that countries individually can take."
- Crowley’s comment on the new attacks in downtown Kabul: "I think it only will increase our determination to work with the Afghan government and with our NATO allies and others to try to help Afghanistan in every way possible — you know, mitigate and ultimately defeat this insurgent adversary."
- Congratulations to President-Elect Sebastian Pinera, the right-leaning, Harvard educated billionaire who just won his election in Chile. "We congratulate the Chilean people for another exemplary election process, which illustrated again Chile’s enormous respect for democracy," Crowley said.
- On the Google-China spat, Crowley refused to say whether or not State would actually issue a formal protest, as he promised last week. Here’s what Assistant Secretary for East Asian Kurt Campbell had to say about it Tuesday:
I think it would be fair to say that the U.S. government has had multiple meetings with Chinese authorities on this matter and will have more in the coming days. It is also the case that we take this matter very seriously and, as Secretary Clinton said last week, that the whole issue does raise serious concerns. Now it is also clear that China has denied the allegations made by Google, but we also think that the Chinese are in the best position to explain this, and we are asking them for an explanation. We are not prepared to go into any further specifics at this time, but we will be having more discussions with Chinese interlocutors in the coming days.
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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