Briefing Skipper: START, Kyrgyzstan, Karzai, Israel, Sudan,
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 P.J. Crowley: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Prague Thursday to see President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the new START treaty. Other State Department officials ...
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 P.J. Crowley:
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 P.J. Crowley:
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Prague Thursday to see President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the new START treaty. Other State Department officials on the trip include Ellen Tauscher, under secretary for arms control, Phil Gordon, assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs,undersecretary for political affairs Bill Burns, and assistant secretary for verification, compliance, and implementation Rose Gottemoeller.
- Regarding Kyrgyzstan, Crowley said that as of Wednesday afternoon, "We have no indication that the government has ceased to function." Interestingly, Foreign Minister Kadyrbek Sarbayev and Maxim Bakiyev were already on their way to Washington when the violence broke out. Their official consultations have been canceled but Crowley said they will have meetings with the administration to talk about what’s going on.
- Crowley offered very supportive words for Afghan President Hamid Karzai and said he doesn’t believe Ambassador Peter Galbraith’s accusation that Karzai is on drugs. "He is the president of Afghanistan. He’s a partner. We work very closely with him. The Secretary had a very constructive conversation with him last week. We expect he will be coming to Washington next month."
- He also rejected the main premise of a Washington Post column that stated President Obama is "seriously considering" announcing an American plan for Middle East peace. "I would steer you away from the idea that we’re going to try to, at this point, impose a particular view on the parties," Crowley said.
- Crowley refused to confirm that there will be a P5+1 meeting of ambassadors in New York this week on Iran. He would only say that there will be unspecified meetings "in coming days." Lowering expectations, he told the press corps, "I’m not going to sit here and advertise every single meeting that takes place."
- Special Envoy Scott Gration is still in Sudan trying to fix the elections mess there. Crowley said he expects the election to go forward next week, but qualified that by saying, "We emphasize that the situation remains fluid and the facts on the ground will continue to change in the coming days."
- The State Department is "deeply concerned" with the Egyptian government’s use of emergency law to make a bunch of arrests, Crowley said. "The people of Egypt should be able to participate in the political process and ultimately determine who will run and win Egypt’s upcoming elections," he said.
- Assistant Secretary Arturo Valenzuela was in Bogota Wednesday and met with Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva, Minister of Interior and Justice Fabio Valencia Cossio, and representatives of Colombian human rights organizations. He also participated in the World Economic Forum in Cartagena. Tuesday in Ecuador he met with Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino.
- North Korea convicted American citizen Aijalon Mahli Gomes and sentenced him to 8 years of hard labor. "We continue to believe that he should be granted amnesty and immediately released," Crowley said.
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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