Briefing Skipper: Pakistan, BP, Mitchell, Sudan, Bin Laden in DC?
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: The State Department is working the overseas diplomatic angle of the Time Square bombing attempt, reaching out to top Pakistani officials in a number of ways. U.S. ...
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:
- The State Department is working the overseas diplomatic angle of the Time Square bombing attempt, reaching out to top Pakistani officials in a number of ways. U.S. Ambassador to Islamabad Anne Patterson had meetings with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and spoke with Interior Minister Rehman Malik. Special Representative Richard Holbrooke also spoke with Qureshi Wednesday morning. "They recognize, as we do, that this is a shared responsibility and a shared threat to both of us," Crowley said.
- There are 13 "countries and entities" that have offered America assistance to deal with the Gulf Coast oil spill, but the State Department refuses to indentify who they are, for some reason. The Coast Guard is in charge of determining what’s needed and some announcements could come in the next day or two, Crowley said.
- Special Envoy George Mitchell met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday and will see him again Thursday. Mitchell will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday and again on Saturday. "We hope and expect formally to move forward with proximity talks before Senator Mitchell leaves the region on Sunday," Crowley said,
- Sudan envoy Scott Gration is in Juba having discussions with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and the government of southern Sudan on implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and preparations for the January 2011 referendum, but apparently not discussing what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the "flawed" election there.
- Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell is off Wednesday for Canberra to mark the anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea before he goes on to Manila to represent the U.S. at the 23rd U.S.-ASEAN Dialogue and the U.S.-Lower Mekong senior officials meeting. He is making addition but unannounced stops as well (Burma?) but will at least have a break from the grueling U.S.-Japan negotiations over the Furtenma air station.
- Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Craig Kelly and Deputy Assistant Secretary Julissa Reynoso were in Honduras Tuesday to attend the launch the Truth Commission, which is supposed to get to the bottom of the coup that ousted former President and former State Department buddy Manuel Zelaya. Meanwhile, their boss Assistant Secretary Arturo Valenzuela is in Panama, leading the U.S. delegation to the U.S.-Central American Integration System (SICA) dialogue.
- Making fun of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s claim that Osama bin Laden is living in Washington, DC, Crowley joked, "Over the past few hours we’ve done an intensive search here at the Department of State — every nook and cranny, every rock — and we can safely report that Osama bin Laden is not here."
- "I don’t know," responded one skeptical press corpsman, "There are some strange looking people down in the cafeteria."
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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