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Pre-Vacation Briefing Skipper: IAEA, Finland, SCUDs, Bishtek, China

Your humble Cable guy is taking some time off, heading to the Pacific Northwest to get some well-earned rest and relaxation. I’ll be back late next week, but in the meantime FP managing editor Blake Hounshell will be manning the store, and if the scoops find me in Seattle, I’ll file stories from there as ...

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Getty Images
Getty Images

Your humble Cable guy is taking some time off, heading to the Pacific Northwest to get some well-earned rest and relaxation. I'll be back late next week, but in the meantime FP managing editor Blake Hounshell will be manning the store, and if the scoops find me in Seattle, I'll file stories from there as well.

So here's the last skipper for a little while, in which we scour the transcript of the State Department's daily presser so you don't have to. These are the highlights of Wednesday's briefing by spokesman P.J. Crowley:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met Wednesday with IAEA Director-General Yukio Amano, who was in town for the Nuclear Security Summit, preparing for the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty review conference at the UN in New York next month. Clinton met Wednesday with Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the minister of International Relations and Cooperation from South Africa, and they signed a memorandum of understanding that lays out the new U.S.-South Africa strategic dialogue. Next week, Clinton will travel to Finland and Estonia. In Estonia, she will participate in the NATO informal foreign ministerial on April 22 and 23, Crowley said. Deputy Secretary Jack Lew is in Afghanistan and visited Marja yesterday, along with Ambassador Karl Eikenberry. USAID administrator Rajiv Shah is also in the region. State Department is "concerned" about reports that Syria is sending Scud missiles into Lebanon. "We've raised the issue with the Syrian government and continue to study the issue," Crowley said, "Regardless of the issue of Scuds, we remain concerned about the provision of increasingly sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah." Assistant Secretary Bob Blake is in Bishkek today and tomorrow. He met with Roza Otunbayeva, who Crowley called the "chairperson of the interim government." Blake said in a press conference there, "I feel optimistic about the steps that the provisional government already has taken and we look forward to helping to support that process as it moves forward." "We're not taking sides," Crowley said. "It sounds like you are," responded a press corps member with a grasp for the obvious. Crowley said the Manas airbase agreement is safe until July 2011. No Americans so far known to be killed or injured in the earthquake that hit China's Qinghai province. "Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been injured and displaced and all the people of China on this difficult day," Crowley said, "And we stand ready to assist China with any needs that it might have."

Your humble Cable guy is taking some time off, heading to the Pacific Northwest to get some well-earned rest and relaxation. I’ll be back late next week, but in the meantime FP managing editor Blake Hounshell will be manning the store, and if the scoops find me in Seattle, I’ll file stories from there as well.

So here’s the last skipper for a little while, in which we scour the transcript of the State Department’s daily presser so you don’t have to. These are the highlights of Wednesday’s briefing by spokesman P.J. Crowley:

  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met Wednesday with IAEA Director-General Yukio Amano, who was in town for the Nuclear Security Summit, preparing for the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty review conference at the UN in New York next month.
  • Clinton met Wednesday with Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the minister of International Relations and Cooperation from South Africa, and they signed a memorandum of understanding that lays out the new U.S.-South Africa strategic dialogue.
  • Next week, Clinton will travel to Finland and Estonia. In Estonia, she will participate in the NATO informal foreign ministerial on April 22 and 23, Crowley said.
  • Deputy Secretary Jack Lew is in Afghanistan and visited Marja yesterday, along with Ambassador Karl Eikenberry. USAID administrator Rajiv Shah is also in the region.
  • State Department is "concerned" about reports that Syria is sending Scud missiles into Lebanon. "We’ve raised the issue with the Syrian government and continue to study the issue," Crowley said, "Regardless of the issue of Scuds, we remain concerned about the provision of increasingly sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah."
  • Assistant Secretary Bob Blake is in Bishkek today and tomorrow. He met with Roza Otunbayeva, who Crowley called the "chairperson of the interim government." Blake said in a press conference there, "I feel optimistic about the steps that the provisional government already has taken and we look forward to helping to support that process as it moves forward."
  • "We’re not taking sides," Crowley said. "It sounds like you are," responded a press corps member with a grasp for the obvious. Crowley said the Manas airbase agreement is safe until July 2011.
  • No Americans so far known to be killed or injured in the earthquake that hit China’s Qinghai province. "Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been injured and displaced and all the people of China on this difficult day," Crowley said, "And we stand ready to assist China with any needs that it might have."

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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