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Daily Press Briefing
Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC
January 4, 2008

INDEX:

KENYA

Assistant Secretary Frazer’s Travel to Nairobi / Meeting Schedule and Agenda
Contacts with the International Community

BULGARIA

Readout of Secretary Rice’s Meeting with Foreign Minister Kalfin

SUDAN

Update on Investigation into the Death of Mr. Granville

NORTH KOREA

Commitment to the 6 Party Process / Disablement Continues
Final Declaration Has Not Been Produced / Needs to Be Complete and Correct
Assistant Secretary Hill’s Travel to the Region

MIDDLE EAST

Query on General Jones’s Travel to the Region
Secretary Rice and Assistant Secretary Welch will be on President’s Trip


TRANSCRIPT:

View Video

12:33 p.m. EST

MR. MCCORMACK: Good afternoon, everybody. I don't have anything to start off with so we can get right to your questions.

QUESTION: Has Assistant Secretary Frazer arrived in Nairobi yet?

MR. MCCORMACK: As a matter of fact, I just checked on that, Matt, and yes she has.

QUESTION: The plane was delayed?

MR. MCCORMACK: It was about 15 minutes ago. I haven't spoken to her but I know she was scheduled to --

QUESTION: How many meetings does she have then?

MR. MCCORMACK: I -- no, she's not quite that efficient, though, she does have a list of meetings that she has both requested as well as on the schedule. She's meeting with Mr. Odinga. We have requested a meeting with President Kibaki. I see no reason why that won't happen. As well as a schedule of other meetings, I don't have that for you right now. But if we're able to outline those for you then we'll be happy to get it to you.

QUESTION: Okay. So it's about -- I don't know, about 9 o'clock or so there. Is she doing anything today or is it --

MR. MCCORMACK: No. I don't think -- I'm sure she'll consult with Ambassador Ranneberger, but beyond that I expect she's probably going to get a good night's sleep and then start up in the morning.

QUESTION: And do you know when her meeting with Odinga is?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don't. I don't have the schedule for it.

QUESTION: Has Secretary Rice made any further phone calls to the Kenyan leaders?

MR. MCCORMACK: No.

QUESTION: No?

MR. MCCORMACK: No.

QUESTION: Does Jendayi plan on meeting with Desmond Tutu at all? He's been able to (inaudible) both sides.

MR. MCCORMACK: No, no, I don't think it's on the list. These are separate efforts. But I'm sure if there's a request or if she feels as though it's in our interest or the interest of the effort to meet with him, I'm sure she will.

QUESTION: What about any cooperation with John Kufuor and his efforts to broker a deal with both sides?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, we have been in touch with the AU as well as with some of Kenya's neighbors via our embassies to urge them to have these two political leaders come together and find a political solution. We have talked to John Kufuor -- President Kufuor. He is -- I'll let him speak for himself, but I think -- what I've seen in public comments from him is he is ready to assist, but he would want an invitation from the Kenyans before he did anything.

QUESTION: So her effort will work hand in hand with his, is that your expectation?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I expect that they're on separate tracks, but they're complementary. I guess that's probably the best way to put it.

Lambros, happy new year to you.

QUESTION: Happy new to you and all of you. Thank you very much. In the Balkans, any readout of today's meeting between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Bulgarian Foreign Minister?

MR. MCCORMACK: Right. Well, you heard from them. They talked a little bit upstairs about some of their discussions. But they talked about Kosovo, they talked about the Balkans, they talked about U.S.-Bulgarian ties, talked a little bit about Iraq and Afghanistan and the efforts that the Bulgarians have underway in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Secretary thanked them for that. They talked a little bit about the upcoming NATO ministerial as well as NATO summit at which they will address issues related to NATO's future as well as NATO membership and that's really -- sort of the long and short of it.

QUESTION: Can you be more specific on Kosovo? What did they say approximately?

MR. MCCORMACK: Approximately, they talked about the state of play and the way forward.

QUESTION: Thank you. The next question is, according to reports, a Russian fleet including (inaudible) aircraft carrier will be off the coast of Montenegro this coming Sunday, January 6th, in order, as they say, to face any Kosovo crisis, using 57 warplanes via the Montenegro airspace. Any comment, Mr. McCormack, since there are in Kosovo 1,600 U.S. troops and 70,000 NATO troops?

MR. MCCORMACK: I'm not aware of those reports, Lambros.

Libby.

QUESTION: I wonder if you had an update on the investigation into John Granville's death in Khartoum.

MR. MCCORMACK: Just partial, that we do have, I think, four FBI representatives on the ground. Those are from some of the regional posts overseas. They have landed in Khartoum. They are working with our Diplomatic Security people. I know that we have met with the Government of Sudan's security services people. They have pledged cooperation in piecing together exactly what happened to make sure that the team, the FBI and Diplomatic Security, have an opportunity to look at all the evidence, piece it together and put together a picture of exactly what happened that night. And then from there proceed onto identifying who was responsible and then bringing them to justice. But we are just really at the initial stages of this.

QUESTION: So you're no closer to understanding --

MR. MCCORMACK: No, at this point, I wouldn't say that we have a clearer picture. The team just arrived on the ground. I would expect that they will probably be augmented by others. But they have started their work. I think it's just very early days in terms of the investigation to really determine what happened.

QUESTION: Are you aware of this claim of responsibility from an al-Qaida affiliate?

MR. MCCORMACK: I hadn't heard that, Matt, no.

Yeah, Nina.

QUESTION: On North Korea, the -- I just watched a response to their foreign ministry saying that they've already made this -- about (inaudible)?

MR. MCCORMACK: Right. Well, the first thing I'll note about what they said is that they are committed to the six-party process. That is, I think, the kicker line in their statement and there is every evidence that they are still committed to the six-party process and are moving forward with the implementation of this phase of the agreement as was outlined back in October.

So disablement continues. They have yet to produce a declaration. Would we have wished they had produced a declaration by now? Absolutely, and when I say "we," all the other five members of the six-party talks. Chris Hill, when he was in Pyongyang and Sung Kim, when he was in North Korea, talked to them about the importance of producing a full and complete declaration. The Chinese have and I know others have as well. We're going to continue doing that. We want to see this as soon as possible, but we're not going to sacrifice fullness and completeness in the interest of time.

But the North Koreans need to get about the business of completing this declaration. It's important to the process. It is another data point that will indicate that they are, in fact, serious about denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, which is, of course, the objective of the six-party talks. So it proceeds. It is not -- would we have wished that it had gone faster? Yes. Part of what Chris Hill is going to do in his tour in Northeast Asia as well as to Moscow is talk about this, talk about it with the other members of the six-party talks and urge them to do what they can to encourage the North Koreans to produce a full and complete declaration.

QUESTION: Is he in Tokyo today or is he en route?

MR. MCCORMACK: He left today. He left the United States today, so -- I don't have his schedule in front of me right now. I went through it yesterday.

QUESTION: Are you suggesting that there's something about Hawaii that has changed?

MR. MCCORMACK: No, no.

QUESTION: Is it no longer a part of the United States?

MR. MCCORMACK: All right, I left that (inaudible) there.

QUESTION: He left Washington today?

MR. MCCORMACK: He left Washington today. I think -- what did I say, he left here today?

QUESTION: You said he left the United States today.

MR. MCCORMACK: Touché, Matt. There we are.

QUESTION: Sean, is the Bush Administration emphasis on this complete and correct declaration, because what they showed you originally wasn't complete and correct? I mean, it's -- you keep saying it has to be complete and correct --

MR. MCCORMACK: Right.

QUESTION: -- leads one to assume, well, maybe what they originally showed you wasn't complete and correct.

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, look, I know Chris talked to them about this when he was up there and we have had several conversations, as have others about the declaration and I'm not going to get into the specifics of the back and forth, but the fact is they haven't turned in a final declaration yet. They're going to turn that in to the Chinese as chair, conveners of the six-party meetings and we don't have that yet. We look forward to a full and complete declaration. We also look forward to their completing the disablement phase up at Yongbyon. That is moving forward and there is good progress on that.

I just have to emphasize to everybody, when you're looking at this process, if -- while we all wish that these diplomatic processes would unfold as we had planned them, sometimes they don't. And part of the reasons why they are not right now is we are breaking new ground in terms of what we're doing, in terms of disabling Yongbyon and in terms of working with North Korea in the six-party talks to get a full, complete picture of their nuclear program, not something that has ever been done before.

So that is why, when you say, "Well, it hasn't been done by December 31st, what are you going to do," and we say, well, we're going to keep working on it within a reasonable period of time, that's the reason why, because we're breaking new ground here. This hasn't been done before. But all of that said, none of what we're doing is lowering the bar. The North Koreans made certain commitments. We expect them to live up to those commitments. We as well as the other members of the six-party talks made commitments and we are going to fulfill those commitments. It's going to be action in return for action.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Is Mr. Hill going to meet with President Lee in Seoul? Is that on the agenda?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don't have his list of meetings for you. We'll try to detail those for you if we can.

QUESTION: On the Middle East, I have a very technical question which you may refer me to the White House on. Do you know if General Jones is going or is there or what his -- is he going with the President or --

MR. MCCORMACK: Let me check for you, Matt. Off the top of my head, I don't think he is, but let me check for you and see if he'll be in country.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Who from the State Department is going with the President besides the Secretary?

MR. MCCORMACK: David Welch will be and I'm not sure who else from the Near East Bureau, but David Welch is the principal person other than the Secretary who will be traveling.

Yeah, Charlie.

QUESTION: Are there discussions about extending the trip to Jordan with Secretary Rice and President Bush?

MR. MCCORMACK: I hadn't heard that, Charlie. The White House folks will be in charge of the itinerary. She's part of the traveling party this time around.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) McCormack --

MR. MCCORMACK: Lambros, you've had your --

QUESTION: On Turkey --

MR. MCCORMACK: No, Lambros. You have had your questions. Anything else?

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. MCCORMACK: All right, thanks.

(The briefing was concluded at 12:45 p.m.)

DPB # 3



Released on January 4, 2008

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