Briefing Skipper: Moscow, Pakistan, Juarez, Paris Club, Kim Jong Illin?
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 Mark Toner: Before heading off to Moscow, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went to the White House to join President Obama’s meeting with the Taoiseach of Ireland Brian Cowen. ...
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 Mark Toner:
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 Mark Toner:
- Before heading off to Moscow, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went to the White House to join President Obama’s meeting with the Taoiseach of Ireland Brian Cowen. Tuesday she met in Washington with Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin and spoke at the American-Ireland Fund gala. She stopped in Shannon for a refueling on St. Patrick’s Day on her way to Moscow
- In Moscow Thursday, Clinton will have a meeting and dinner with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss a bunch of stuff, "including cooperation on nonproliferation, progress on a successor agreement to START, counterterrorism, regional security issues, and of course the work of the bilateral presidential commission," Toner said. Friday she will meet with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, attend the Quartet meeting, and then come back to DC on Saturday.
- The U.S. and Pakistan will hold their first strategic dialogue talks in Washington on March 24 at the ministerial level, hosted by Clinton and Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi. "Topics will include economic development, water and energy, education, communication and public diplomacy, agriculture and security," Toner said.
- The U.S. Embassy and consulates in Mexico are open for business following the murder of three people connected to the consulate in Juarez. "No information currently indicates the victims were directly targeted due to their employment at the U.S. consulate," said Toner, adding that the investigation is ongoing.
- Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake will be traveling to India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Belgium March 17th through 30th. This will be his first visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan as assistant secretary. Blake is just "trying to get a sense of what’s going on, on the ground," said Toner.
- Afghanistan reached an agreement with the members of the Paris Club to cancel its debt to those countries. "Lifting the debt burden inherited by the Afghan government marks a crucial step on Afghanistan’s road to economic sustainability," said Toner.
- Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao met with Undersecretary of State Bill Burns Wednesday and Clinton dropped in on the meeting, but Toner didn’t have a readout. Rao talked Afghanistan at an event at the Woodrow Wilson Center.
- The State Department is confirming that Pakistan has charged five suburban Washingtonians with terrorism crimes, they had a hearing Wednesday, and a trial is coming. The charges are: criminal conspiracy to commit terrorist activities in Pakistan, conspiracy to wage war against the powers in alliance with Pakistan, conspiracy to commit depredation on territories of Afghanistan and the United States, possession and contribution of cash for proscribed organizations with the intention to be used for terrorism, and taking direction from and giving direction to others to commit terrorist acts. The U.S. has no position on the veracity of the charges and is not saying they’ve been tortured.
- No comment on reports that Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell told a private meeting in South Korea that Kim Jong Il only has three years left to live.
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
More from Foreign Policy
Saudi-Iranian Détente Is a Wake-Up Call for America
The peace plan is a big deal—and it’s no accident that China brokered it.
The U.S.-Israel Relationship No Longer Makes Sense
If Israel and its supporters want the country to continue receiving U.S. largesse, they will need to come up with a new narrative.
Putin Is Trapped in the Sunk-Cost Fallacy of War
Moscow is grasping for meaning in a meaningless invasion.
How China’s Saudi-Iran Deal Can Serve U.S. Interests
And why there’s less to Beijing’s diplomatic breakthrough than meets the eye.
Xi and Putin Have the Most Consequential Undeclared Alliance in the World
Iraqi Kurdistan’s House of Cards Is Collapsing
America’s Zero-Sum Economics Doesn’t Add Up
Scoop: Turkey and Hungary Not Invited to Biden’s Big Democracy Summit
China Used Stolen Data to Expose CIA Operatives in Africa and Europe