Briefing Skipper: START, Pakistan, Karzai, Mitchell, Ecuador
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 Vice President and Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Varela of Panama. Later Thursday she met with National Security Adviser Shivshankar ...
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 Vice President and Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Varela of Panama. Later Thursday she met with National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon of India. Earlier Thursday morning she went to Capitol Hill to see Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and John Kerry (D-MA). With Kerry, she talked about Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the pending Senate ratification of the START nuclear reductions treaty. She said she expects the full Senate vote on START to occur during the lame duck session of Congress in November.
- Clinton, joined by Secretary for Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, was also having consultations about the administration’s report on how many refugees it will accept this year. Last year the number was 80,000, and that number will stay the same for fiscal 2011, Crowley said.
- USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah is traveling with a delegation to Nigeria to attend Nigeria’s celebration of its 50th anniversary of independence, Crowley said. His delegation includes Assistant Secretary of State for African Affair Johnnie Carson.
- Crowley downplayed the closing of a supply route in Pakistan after NATO strikes apparently killed three Pakistani soldiers. "We have multiple routes to be able to resupply our forces in Afghanistan. We are aware of, I think, one gate being closed, and we’re discussing that with the Pakistani government," he said. Crowley also spoke about the allegations that Pakistani military elements were killing Taliban prisoners. "Human rights and the issues of extrajudicial killings has been a part of our ongoing conversation, you know, with Pakistan. It’s been recorded in our previous human rights reports, and we are awaiting further information from Pakistan," he said.
- Crowley backed up Gen. David Petraeus’ comments that senior Taliban leaders are in touch with Afghan authorities as part of President Hamid Karzai’s reconciliation effort, comments the Taliban have called "baffling." "There are those who are ideologically committed to this, who will likely have to be defeated. However, we do believe that there are a mix of tribes and fighters that are not ideologically committed, and we can change their cost-benefit analysis, and, in doing so, perhaps get them to switch sides," Crowley said.
- Special Envoy George Mitchell met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday, and with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton Thursday. He’s expected to meet with Netanyahu and Abbas again before he goes on to other regional countries for meetings, ahead of the crucial Oct. 4 meeting of the Arab League. Clinton was working the phones Thursday as well, calling Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit, with the Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.
- The State Department has not confirmed that the Burmese Junta plans to release Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi from her house arrest after the upcoming elections. "We want to see Aung San Suu Kyi released today, but as to when and where that happens, that’s up to Burmese authorities," said Crowley.
- On the escalating violence in Ecuador, Clinton issued only this brief statement. "We are closely following events in Ecuador. The United States deplores violence and lawlessness and we express our full support for President Rafael Correa, and the institutions of democratic government in that country. We urge all Ecuadorians to come together and to work within the framework of Ecuador’s democratic institutions to reach a rapid and peaceful restoration of order."
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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