Briefing Skipper: Hanoi, Indonesia, Kosovo, Baghdad, 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 was in Hanoi Thursday, where she met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem and participated ...
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 was in Hanoi Thursday, where she met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem and participated in a ceremony marking the 15th anniversary of normalized relations between the United States and Vietnam. Clinton said they talked about North Korean arms shipments to Burma, including possible nuclear assistance. She also held a Lower Mekong Initiative meeting with representatives from Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.
- Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced the decision to resume military cooperation with the Indonesian Special Forces, which were guilty of war crimes, especially during the campaign in East Timor. "The United States government has decided to resume limited security cooperation with Kopassus, which is the Indonesian special forces — within the limits of U.S. law — based on the democratic changes that have taken place within Indonesia and the reforms that continue to take place within the Indonesian national armed forces and Kopassus," Crowley explained.
- State Department is endorsing the decision of the International Court of Justice that Kosovo’s declaration of independence does not violate international law. "Kosovo is an independent state, and its territory is inviolable. We call on those states who have not yet done so to recognize Kosovo," Crowley said.
- Three American contractors working for the State Department were killed in recent attacks in Baghdad and two more were injured. "They played a critical role in our effort to bring a better way of life to the people of Iraq, and we extend our condolences to the families of the victims," Crowley said.
- The State Department has exchanged diplomatic notes with the Russian Federation regarding the arrest of accused drug smuggler Konstantin Yaroshenko, who allegedly was caught with "thousand-kilogram quantities of cocaine" in Liberia. The Russians weren’t given consular access within the normal time period, but Crowley says that’s now been resolved. He was arraigned on June 1 in New York but the Russians didn’t find out until after. "We sent out the consular notification. We just happened to send it to the wrong embassy," Crowley said, "We pressed the wrong button on the fax machine, to be brutally honest." He declined to explain exactly how Yaroshenko got the U.S.
- Crowley said he spoke directly to Sudan Special Envoy Scott Gration about an article in The Cable where Gration was quoted as saying the genocide indictment against Sudanese President Omar al Bashir would make Gration’s job more difficult. "Let me be very clear, what Scott Gration was reflecting in his comments was that the indictment is viewed negatively, for obvious reasons, in the eyes of the Sudanese leadership. And because of how they view the indictment and how — you know, they view the indictment as an attempt at international regime change. You know, it is the Sudanese attitude of the indictment that, in Scott’s mind, has affected Sudan’s willingness to cooperate with the international community and with the United States," he said.
- Assistant Secretary Bob Blake visited Male, Maldives, Thursday and met with President Mohamed Nasheed.
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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