Briefing Skipper: Pakistan, Mideast peace, Iran, Cheonan, Einhorn, Hiroshima
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 issued a statement of condolence following the plane crash in Islamabad that killed all 152 passengers, including two Americans. "Our thoughts and ...
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:
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 issued a statement of condolence following the plane crash in Islamabad that killed all 152 passengers, including two Americans. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and with all the people of Pakistan at this difficult time. As I saw first-hand during my visit last week, the Pakistani people are friends and partners and we will continue to stand with them," she said.
- "The secretary has had a number of conversations with leaders in recent days," regarding the Mideast peace process, Crowley said, including with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal. "We want to see the parties get into, you know, direct negotiations as soon as possible. "We’re having conversations with the parties directly and other countries that we think can be influential in encouraging the leaders to take this important step at this time," he said.
- The IAEA received a letter from Iran, State is reviewing it, but no news to report yet and no real comment on Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu‘s claim that Iran is ready to talk and stop enriching toward 20 percent if there’s a fuel swap deal. "you know, Iran has in recent months, you know, made a variety of public statements. Usually, they are heavily conditioned," Crowley said.
- The U.S. Side would welcome a meeting, if that’s what Iran is interested in. But Crowley isn’t convinced that there’s been any change in Iranian attitudes and isn’t willing to say that the new sanctions are yet having an effect. "But we’ll see whether Iran is doing this to try to forestall further action by specific countries… but we hope and we do expect that — you know, the cost of doing business in Iran is going up," he said.
- The State Department’s new arms control compliance report has a lot to say about Russia and START, but it also has a lot to say about the illicit activities of other countries, as well. "It states that Iran is in violation of Article III of the nonproliferation treaty; North Korea in violation of Articles II and III… It cites the fact that Syria has failed to provide, you know, critical information required for the IAEA," said Crowley.
- State is sticking with its own conclusion that North Korea torpedoed the South Korean ship the Cheonan, despite that Russia has apparently concluded that it was a mine. "Russia sent its own investigators to South Korea. You know, those Russian investigators can provide their own report," Crowley said. "We have reached our own conclusion and we have not changed our view."
- Bob Einhorn, State’s new envoy for sanctions, will be traveling next week to the countries of Japan and South Korea, "among others," Crowley said. State still isn’t talking much about the new sanctions targeting North Korea’s money, probably because they don’t want to tip off Kim Jong Il, who is apparently stashing $4 billion in European banks under his son’s name to avoid the measures.
- Ambassador to Japan John Roos will represent the United States at the August 6th Hiroshima Peace Memorial, "to express respect for all of the victims of World War II," Crowley said. "At this particular point, we thought it was the right thing to do."
- Congratulatios to @statedept on Twitter, which crossed 25,000 followers! Only about 275,000 more to go to catch State’s leading Twitterati @alecjross and @jaredcohen!
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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