Briefing Skipper: START, Pakistan, Joe-mentum, Lula, Gration
In which we scour the transcript of the State Department’s daily presser so you don’t have to. These are the highlights of Thursday’s briefing by spokesman P.J. Crowley: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met Thursday with Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius, whose country hold the position of chairman-in-office of OSCE next year. Later Thursday, Clinton ...
In which we scour the transcript of the State Department’s daily presser so you don’t have to. These are the highlights of Thursday’s briefing by spokesman P.J. Crowley:
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met Thursday with Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius, whose country hold the position of chairman-in-office of OSCE next year. Later Thursday, Clinton went to Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers behind closed doors on the new START agreement, along with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs General James Cartwright. Congress is getting the new START documents soon.
- Crowley declined to explain exactly how the U.S. and Pakistan are working together to investigate the Times Square bombing attempt, only saying that Ambassador Anne Patterson is among the officials in regular contact with the highest levels of the Pakistani government. But he did defend Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts and expressed sympathy for their impact on the Pakistani people.
- "I think we are very satisfied with the pace of action that Pakistan has taken over the last couple of years. They’ve got a number of military actions under way," Crowley said, "And we should always recognize that these military actions have had a profound effect on the people of Pakistan. Over the past several years, arguably no other population — no other country has suffered as significantly as Pakistan has. So we recognize and support the actions that Pakistan has taken, and we recognize the burden that this has placed on the Pakistani people."
- On the Joseph Lieberman citizenship-stripping bill, Crowley said he wasn’t sure if the administration had an official position but did say that, "We in the State Department, in our actions and conversations and our advice to other countries around the world, you know, we emphasize among other things due process. And it’s important, if this is something that Congress is contemplating, that we make sure that any legislation that Congress might consider would make sure that we have due process, that we’re talking about people who are actually convicted of crimes as opposed to people who are just suspected of crimes."
- Special Envoy George Mitchell had two rounds of discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Friday evening and again Saturday. Crowley didn’t have any readout of the meetings.
- The State Department doesn’t mind that Brazilian President Luiz Ignacio Lula will go to Iran on May 15 and said they were rooting for him but didn’t expect much to come out of the trip. "At this point, our calculation is that Iran is unlikely to change course, absent a very strong statement and real pressure, you know, from the international community," Crowley said, "Brazil has indicated that it will continue to work on the engagement track. And certainly if they are successful in convincing Iran to change course, that would be a positive development."
- Special Envoy Scott Gration was in Darfur Thursday and met with UNAMID and other non-governmental organizations. He then went on to Khartoum to continue discussions with government representatives and will be in Addis Ababa Friday to participate in African Union meetings on Sudan.
- Representatives of the Turkish BDP Party were at the State Department Thursday. "We discussed a range of topics, most importantly the need for political parties and movements to distance themselves from the use or threat of force in a democratic system," Crowley said.
- Condolences for the death of Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who died this week after a long struggle with Pericarditis. "We urge all Nigerians to place their faith and support firmly behind orderly, democratic and constitutional mechanisms," 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 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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