Briefing Skipper: China, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Hamas
In which we scour the transcript of the State Department’s daily presser so you don’t have to. These are the highlights of Monday’s briefing by spokesman Mark Toner: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner kicked off the U.S.-China Security and Economic Dialogue in Washington Monday, but don’t expect a lot of ...
In which we scour the transcript of the State Department’s daily presser so you don’t have to. These are the highlights of Monday’s briefing by spokesman Mark Toner:
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner kicked off the U.S.-China Security and Economic Dialogue in Washington Monday, but don’t expect a lot of those pesky "deliverables" that everybody’s talking about these days. And one member of the State Department press corps pointed out that while the Obama administration would only provide officials to talk about the dialogue anonymously, the Chinese held three briefings on the record.
- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Monday predicted a resumption of the P5+1 talks over its nuclear program, but toner said there’s nothing to announce yet. "And as we’ve said often, there’s two tracks here and the door does remain open. But if we have anything to confirm, we’ll get back to you" he said.
- Responding to Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s promise that any future raids inside his country would be met with force, Toner said that there very well could be more raids inside his country. "Whenever we do have actionable intelligence against someone who’s responsible for thousands of American and other deaths, other nationalities, we’re going to take action, and feel it’s within our right to do so," said Toner. Gilani also said the Pakistani government was innocent. Toner said the U.S. will wait for the results of the investigations.
- On Egypt, Toner said that the United States "strongly condemns the senseless sectarian violence and destruction that took place in Imbaba and other neighborhoods of Cairo, including the destructive attacks on churches, and just say that an attack on a religious institution or site is — irrespective of religion, is abhorrent." The U.S. is considering $1 billion of debt relief for Egypt, but no final decisions have yet been made. "It’s too early. We’re not there yet," Toner said.
- As for the Palestinian unity government that’s in the works, Toner said that it was important any deal between Fattah and Hamas include a path to peace with Israel but he also said it was hard to judge because the details of the deal still aren’t clear. "I think we’re waiting to see what this thing looks like," he said. "As the new Palestinian government’s formed, we’ll assess it based on its policies and we’ll determine the implications for our assistance."
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