Briefing Skipper: New START, Amman, Saudia Arabia, Jimmy Carter, Guantanamo
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 and Defense Secretary Robert Gates both issued statements praising the approval of the New START treaty by the Senate Foreign Relations committee ...
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:
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 and Defense Secretary Robert Gates both issued statements praising the approval of the New START treaty by the Senate Foreign Relations committee Thursday. "Like previous arms control treaties, the New START Treaty deserves broad bipartisan support and prompt ratification by the full Senate. We urge Senators to act quickly and approve this treaty," Clinton said. You can find The Cable‘s extensive coverage of the committee’s Thursday business meeting here, here, and here.
- Clinton left the Middle East Thursday to return to the U.S. after her third days of meetings related the peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. On Thursday she met with Palestinin President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah and Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman. She also squeezed in a meeting with Swiss Foreign Minister Michelin Kalmi-Rey. In Amman she called on all the people of the region to support the process. "Peace is once again within our reach. But it is really going to be up to all of us. The leaders may meet in the room and discuss these issues, the negotiators may debate around the table, but peace only comes from the people themselves." The State Department has a nicely organized page with all of the statements from Clinton’s trip here.
- Crowley still won’t confirm that a widely reported $60 billion arms sales package to Saudi Arabia is in the works, or that the administration is working with the Israelis to make sure they are cool with that arrangement. "On the specifics of our military cooperation with Saudi Arabia, we do work closely with Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region to make sure that our allies and friends have the capabilities that they need for their own security," he said. "Certainly Saudi Arabia and other countries have very justifiable concerns about the emergence of Iran as a less-than-constructive actor in the region."
- Meanwhile, Crowley said the administration has completed its review of arms sales to the Lebanese Armed Forces and was briefing Congress on the findings. The Associated Press reported that the administration decided it was still in favor of supporting the LAF.
- Crowley defended that the Iraqi government has agreed to pay $400 million to U.S. victims of the Saddam Hussein era. "The current government is not directly responsible for the actions that occurred during the regime of Saddam Hussein. By the same token, Iraqi leaders have accepted that they have to resolve issues, some of them with the United States but others with neighbors, such as Kuwait," he said. "These are the steps that we believe that Iraq is taking and must take so that it can enjoy the same kind of relationship with its neighbors as we hope it will."
- Crowley didn’t exactly criticized Jimmy Carter for his New York Times op-ed which argued that the North Koreans really want to return to peace talks, but he didn’t praise it either. "While we remain open to dialogue… the onus is on North Korea. It has to demonstrate, you know, that it’s willing to take steps in accord with the obligations and commitments that it has already made." As for Carter not mentioning the sinking of the South Korea ship Cheonan, Crowley said, "As a former president, as a Nobel laureate, of course his views carry weight. But by the same token, the sinking of the Cheonan is a fact."
- Clinton has tapped Robert Hormats, undersecretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs, to lead the department’s efforts on the National Export Initiative (NEI). The President’s Export Council met to discuss the administration’s progress on the NEI today and the council’s report to the president can be found here. "This is a top priority for Secretary Clinton. It plays a central role in advancing the department’s goal of using international economic policy to support American jobs," said Crowley.
- Two more prisoners have been transferred from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to a third country, this time to Germany. "Since the beginning of this administration, we have transferred 66 detainees to 26 different destinations, including the transfer of 40 detainees to third countries. And with this action today, 174 detainees remain at Guantanamo," 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 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
More from Foreign Policy
Can Russia Get Used to Being China’s Little Brother?
The power dynamic between Beijing and Moscow has switched dramatically.
Xi and Putin Have the Most Consequential Undeclared Alliance in the World
It’s become more important than Washington’s official alliances today.
It’s a New Great Game. Again.
Across Central Asia, Russia’s brand is tainted by Ukraine, China’s got challenges, and Washington senses another opening.
Iraqi Kurdistan’s House of Cards Is Collapsing
The region once seemed a bright spot in the disorder unleashed by U.S. regime change. Today, things look bleak.