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Middle East Digest: April 13, 2007

Bureau of Public Affairs
April 13, 2007

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The Middle East Digest provides text and audio from the Daily Press Briefing. For the full briefings, please visit http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/

From the Daily Briefing on April 13, 2007:

QUESTION: Do you have anything new on the missing former FBI agent in Iran? Anything new on his whereabouts, any new contacts with the Iranian Government and any comment on reports that he's being held by Iranian Government agency or officials?

MR. CASEY: Well, we talked about this a little bit this morning. We are presently where we have been. There's been no additional contacts from the Iranian Government on this subject and we still don't have any credible information about his whereabouts. We certainly are continuing to use what efforts we can through the Swiss and through the requests we've made to the Iranian Government to try and determine his exact welfare and whereabouts and status, and certainly want to see a resolution to this as soon as possible. But no, we don't have any credible information on his whereabouts and certainly that includes any possibilities of him being in Iranian detention.

QUESTION: And the last contact that you had with the Iranians via the Swiss was when they requested further information which you have provided. Where are you now in terms of dealing with the Iranians? Have you been -- you've been back to the Swiss, given then the information which has -- have they come back and asked you for more information or --

MR. CASEY: No, there have been no additional requests from the Iranian Government. They did, as you note, in response to our initial request that they look into this matter, ask us for additional information to help them do that. We've provided that information. There's been no formal communications back to us via the Swiss on that subject. We certainly hope and expect that the Iranian Government will look and do what they can to try and help us locate him and return him to his family.

*****

QUESTION: What is your reaction to Syrian American peace advocate who made an extraordinary visit to the Israeli parliament on Thursday, assuring them that Assad is serious about making peace with Israel and he could reach an agreement within six months? Do you --

MR. CASEY: I absolutely haven't seen the story, Samir, and I don't know anything about it. What I can tell you, of course, is that the pathway for Syria to have a better relationship with all of its neighbors and with the United States is pretty clear. There's some pretty clear actions that the Syrians can take to deal with the concerns that everyone has about their actions, and I think they pretty much know what they are. Nice words from the Syrians or from Syrian apologists is one thing; taking some concrete steps would be another.


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