Briefing Skipper: India, Israel, North Korea, Chavez, Sudan
In which we scour the transcript of the State Department’s daily presser so you don’t have to. These are the highlights of Tuesday’s briefing by spokesman P.J. Crowley: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a 30-minute meeting Tuesday with Indian Defense Minister AK Antony. India is nearing a decision on some pending arms deals while ...
In which we scour the transcript of the State Department's daily presser so you don't have to. These are the highlights of Tuesday'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 Tuesday’s briefing by spokesman P.J. Crowley:
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a 30-minute meeting Tuesday with Indian Defense Minister AK Antony. India is nearing a decision on some pending arms deals while also protesting U.S. arms deals with Pakistan. U.S. firms are vying for a potentially lucrative contract to sell India fighter jets, among other things. "We think we have the finest military hardware in the world, and if India is upgrading its defense capabilities, they should buy American," Crowley said.
- Clinton will meet with the EU’s top foreign representative Catherine Ashton Wednesday, who will help Clinton prepare for an upcoming trip to the Balkans.
- Special Envoy George Mitchell and his team are in the Middle East to meet with both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process as well as some of the Arab League countries that will meet on Monday. He’ll meet with the Israelis Wednesday and the Palestinians Thursday. He said Mitchell has some ideas for how to move forward but wouldn’t reveal what they are. "It is our absolute position that it is important for both the Israelis and Palestinians to remain in direct negotiations to reach an ultimate agreement," Crowley said. "We want the Palestinians to stay in the direct negotiations, and we want the Israelis to demonstrate that it is in the Palestinian interest to stay in these negotiations."
- What’s clear is that the U.S. wants Israel to do something to give the Palestinians incentive to stay at the table and that the U.S. wants the Palestinians to tell the Israelis what it will take for them to stay. What’s not clear is how the deal could get done. "The Israelis, the Palestinians, others in the region, the United States, everyone is advancing ideas and formulas that we hope will convince, you know, the parties to stay in the negotiation and will convince countries in the region to continue to support this negotiation," Crowley said.
- Crowley said he hadn’t seen the speech by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, where he called for relocating large amounts of Israeli Arabs out of Israel as part of any peace deal. But Crowley did make clear that Lieberman is not one of the Israeli officials the U.S. is dealing with. "We are in direct discussion with the prime minister. We had meetings last week with the defense minister. And we are actively engaged in working to continue direct negotiations," he said.
- No real comment on the promotion of Kim Jong Il’s son Kim Jong Un to the rank of four star general during North Korea’s Workers Party Congress. "I would suppose this is perhaps the ultimate reality show in North Korea. And we are simply watching this very closely," Crowley said. "And as Kurt Campbell said yesterday, it’s a bit too early to assess what the implications are."
- Crowley finally admitted that the State Department is aware of an Omani delegation that is in Iran now to lobby for the release of the remaining two hikers imprisoned there.
- Larry Palmer is still the U.S. nominee to become ambassador to Venezuela, even though Hugo Chavez has rejected him. The U.S. is not concerned about any Venezuelan nuclear program. Crowley congratulated the Venezuelan people for holding parliamentary elections where Chavez’ people only won 48 percent of the vote. "It would appear that the results suggest that there’s now a real opposition. And President Chavez and his administration will have to govern as a part of a functioning democracy, and can’t just dictate policies to a compliant legislature," Crowley said.
- Following last week’s high level meeting on Sudan, which Obama attended, the State Department thinks the parties are close to an agreement on how to hold the January referendum in the territory of Abyei. Crowley said there will be a follow up meeting next month in Addis Ababa. "And we would expect that the parties should come to that meeting prepared to reach an agreement on Abyei."
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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