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Daily Press Briefing
Tom Casey, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 30, 2008

INDEX:

MISCELLANEOUS

Dublin Conference / US Policy on Cluster Munitions
Military Tribunals for Detainees at Guantanamo Bay

ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS

Palestinian Fulbright Recipients / Issue of Obtaining Exit Visas from Gaza
Under Secretary Bill Burns Call to Israeli Ambassador on Issue

IRAN

Comments by Iranian Foreign Minister’s Criticism of US Foreign Policy

PAKISTAN

Reported Plans by President Musharraf to Resign

BURMA

Reports Burmese Authorities Evicting Cyclone Victims from Relief Centers

NORTH KOREA

Former US Official’s Comments on North Korea’s Nuclear Program


TRANSCRIPT:

View Video

12:45 p.m. EDT

MR. CASEY: Good afternoon, everyone. Happy Friday, TGIF. I don’t have anything to start you all with, so please.

QUESTION: I know you went over this a bit yesterday on cluster bombs. But I was hoping you might comment on predictions from diplomats in Ireland that say that the U.S. will never again use the weapons in part because of European pressure on U.S. bases in countries in Europe not to use them.

MR. CASEY: Well, I haven’t seen those comments. But look, I think where we were yesterday on this is where we remain. Certainly, our officials here will take a look at the document that’s been developed in Dublin and see what implications there are or aren’t for U.S. policy as we move forward.

In terms of the military position on this, I mean, look, you can talk with our friends at the Pentagon, but I don’t – as far as I know, certainly the U.S. military perspective on these weapons and their continued necessity for U.S. troops hasn’t been changed by the discussions here.

QUESTION: Do you still plan to sell them to other countries?

MR. CASEY: Well, again, I think Steve Mull, our Acting Assistant Secretary, talked in detail about some of the aspects of that policy and what was required under it. And I’d just leave it where he left it. I don’t have anything additional on that. I must admit that even reading through the transcript myself, the nuances of that were something I was having a bit of trouble fully grasping. So I’ll leave it where Steve left it. He’s the expert on the subject.

QUESTION: Just because there are stories about this today --

MR. CASEY: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- and because we would like to fairly represent the U.S. Government’s position on it. Can you in a simple sentence explain why the U.S. Government believes it is necessary for it to retain the ability to have and use cluster bombs?

MR. CASEY: Because the U.S. military believes it’s absolutely critical and essential for our troops to be able to fulfill their missions and to do so in a way that’s safe and appropriate.

QUESTION: I’m sorry. That still doesn’t – it’s kind of like – it doesn’t really answer the “why” thing, like why this particular thing is necessary for them.

MR. CASEY: Again, I – my colleagues over at the Pentagon can talk to you in great detail about why they – those people that are in the U.S. armed forces believe that this weapon system is essential for U.S. troops and for their security.

QUESTION: Don’t you think this agreement in Ireland puts you in a delicate position regarding these cluster bombs, which is a humanitarian problem around the world?

MR. CASEY: Well, first of all, I also should point out that the United States spends a tremendous amount of effort and a tremendous amount of resources each year dealing with unexploded ordnance, dealing with landmines, dealing with other kinds of munitions to try and make sure that we do what we can to prevent civilian casualties after conflicts are over. This has been an ongoing effort on our part.

In terms of, you know, the diplomacy on this, well, the facts of U.S. policy are the facts of U.S. policy. And we will simply have to do what we can in light of this agreement to ensure that we can continue to move forward with our relations and continue to be able to apply our policies and still be able to work effectively with the rest of the international community.

Yeah, Arshad.

QUESTION: If we could go to – unless there’s more on cluster bombs, if we could go back to the Gaza question.

MR. CASEY: Sure.

QUESTION: An Israeli Government – an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman says that some of – a few of the Fulbright – it’s hard to use the word “recipient” since they haven’t actually gotten them but – have, in fact, recently left Gaza. We went back to him twice to make sure that he was referring to some of the seven, not to other Fulbright recipients, and he stuck by the statement that some of them have recently left Gaza, i.e., they got, you know, exit visas to leave Gaza. Do you have any reason to believe that is true? Have you been able to verify that?

MR. CASEY: I have not been able to verify that. Certainly, I can tell you that we have been actively speaking to Israeli officials here in Washington as well as in Israel itself about this issue today, and certainly have expressed our concerns about this issue, talked about the importance that we place on it, noted the Secretary’s personal concern about this issue. And we are working to resolve it and certainly believe that we can come to a positive outcome on this with the Israelis. But I had not heard that at this point any exit visas had actually been granted for any of the seven individuals who we would like to have go on Fulbrights.

QUESTION: What makes you think you can come to a positive outcome on this with the Israelis, given that the Israeli Government had not hitherto issued these people exit visas?

MR. CASEY: Well, I think the conversations that have been held today indicated that the Israelis appreciated and understood our concerns about this issue. They certainly heard them from us and expressed a willingness to work with us to resolve it. So I think we would take that as a sign that they would be willing, we hope, to successfully resolve this in a way that would allow these people to be able to get -- ultimately get exit visas and be able to participate in the program.

QUESTION: And why the --

MR. CASEY: Oh, sure go ahead.

QUESTION: Different subject.

QUESTION: Go right ahead. Go right ahead.

QUESTION: I’ve got lots more.

MR. CASEY: You got lots more. Okay. Well, we’ll bounce back.

QUESTION: On this subject. On this subject.

MR. CASEY: We’ll keep bouncing back and forth. I think there’s probably a few others out there, too.

QUESTION: Is it seven or eight?

MR. CASEY: Okay.

QUESTION: This morning you said eight.

MR. CASEY: Yeah. There are eight. We have eight grants available for Gaza and we initially nominated eight individuals. One of those individuals has subsequently dropped out, so we are currently talking about seven.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Dropped out or left? We’d heard a report that the person had left for Jordan, but they’ve dropped out --

MR. CASEY: My understanding is that there was one who had dropped out. That’s what we got, right?

MR. GALLEGOS: (Off-Mike.)

MR. CASEY: Yeah, okay.

QUESTION: If I could just have --

MR. CASEY: And that’s just as -- parenthetically, when we go through Fulbright exercises, not only in kind of unusual circumstances like this, but also in other countries, it’s not entirely unusual for someone who’s nominated to ultimately drop out, whether that’s for personal family reasons or because in some cases they’ve got competing academic opportunities and choose to take another one, you know, variety of different reasons.

QUESTION: Nick Spicer, Al Jazeera –

MR. CASEY: Sure.

QUESTION: And just – in this particular case, though, it’s – the cause is a military siege. Doesn’t it strike you as somewhat absurd that both the United States and Israel talk about wanting to create a stable leadership in Palestine or the future Palestinian state -- and that the people who might have the opportunity of actually forming it, are being denied any education in the United States, or at least having a hard time getting to the States?

MR. CASEY: Well, I mean, let’s talk about a few things here first. First of all, as you know, we continue to support in a number of different ways efforts throughout the Palestinian territories. That includes an extensive amount of humanitarian assistance, not only to the West Bank, but to Gaza. We, of course, are very actively engaged in promoting the Annapolis process to try and achieve a two-state solution so that there will be a Palestinian state with secure borders that can manage its own affairs and so that there won’t be the kinds of issues that there have been over time in terms of access, in terms of movement, in terms of all the other questions that are out there.

And certainly, we want to do everything we can. The fact that we have a Fulbright program that includes individuals from Gaza is just one small example of our efforts to ensure that, even despite the takeover, the illegal takeover of Gaza by Hamas and Hamas’ continued misrule of Gaza, that we do intend to continue to reach out and work with the people in the Gaza Strip. And certainly, again, the fact that we have this program, that we’re continuing it, and that we are very much interested in providing these kinds of opportunities for qualified Palestinians is a sign that, contrary to the idea that we’ve somehow looked away from Gaza or neglected it, that we very much are engaged and involved, even despite the fact of, you know, Hamas’ continued takeover or continued control of the area.

QUESTION: Aren’t you afraid, though, that -- I mean, you’re talking about the big things the United States would do and this is a relatively small thing, frankly. I mean, if you can’t make this happen, how will the Palestinians view the United States’ role in the peace process and the pressure it can bring on Israel, ultimately, to achieve the big things? Isn’t there a risk that people will blow this out of proportion?

MR. CASEY: Well, look, I would hope that what people take away from this is the fact that the U.S. is committed to working with the Palestinian people and providing opportunities for them, and that even when there are occasional problems in the process that we figure out ways to work through them. And I think, ultimately, we’ll see a successful conclusion of this and hope we’ll have an opportunity to greet these individuals as Fulbrighters here in the U.S.

Yeah, Sylvie.

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR. CASEY: And then, I know, Arshad, you got a few more and we’ll keep going around on this. Something tells me we’ll be talking about this for a little while.

QUESTION: Did you check what happened to the Fulbright recipients last year, because I think there was already problems last year?

MR. CASEY: Yeah. You know, I got a partial answer on that, but let me – let me make sure I’ve got really correct numbers on it before I come back to you and give it to you. So I’ll try and get – post something for you later on it, okay.

Arshad. And then, I know, Libby, we got you.

QUESTION: Just to follow up on a couple of things from the morning.

MR. CASEY: Yeah, sure.

QUESTION: The money that was originally dedicated for these eight, or now seven Fulbright recipients --

MR. CASEY: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- and that, if I understood you correctly this morning, has been reprogrammed so that it could be used for other Palestinians from the West Bank, correct? Has it actually been given to anybody else or is it – or could it – is it still available and could it be given to the seven Fulbright intended recipients if they get the exit visas?

MR. CASEY: You know, my personal experience managing Fulbright programs is getting pretty distant, and I have to admit that some of the discussions I had with some of the program manager folks on this quickly got beyond my either memory or current ability. But the bottom line is there is money available for these individuals to take their place this year, assuming we can get exit visas for them, and there is no question about the funding for it.

QUESTION: And has the – and just --

MR. CASEY: And in terms of – in terms of –

QUESTION: -- do you know, has it been given to anybody else yet?

MR. CASEY: As far as I’m aware, there has not been – while there had been steps taken to technically reprogram some of those funds if we were not able to get exit visas for this group, as far as I know, there have not been other nominees selected or awards made at this point.

QUESTION: And another – and a technical thing. One of the seven intended recipients told us in an interview that, you know, as the Times reported this morning, that she was indeed informed by the State Department this week that her Fulbright had been withdrawn; that’s how she described it. And I just – I don’t want to parse the words too carefully, but I would like to get a clearer understanding of just what, you guys say withheld – or not withheld, you guys say postponed, but postponed is different from withdrawn is different from canceled.

MR. CASEY: Yeah, I mean – and you know, Arsahd, I can’t speak to and I’m not sure of the exact wording of any communications that have gone back and forth on this. But basically, my understanding is what was conveyed to them was the idea that in the absence of being able to secure a visa for this, they wouldn't be able to complete the process for their Fulbrights this year and that therefore they were being postponed or deferred. You know, I think if – I think whatever the language is, though, if you’re the recipient of something like that and you’re planning on going to the U.S. to start study in the next month or so and you’re told that’s not going to happen this year, it’s going to be, you know, set off to some future date, I could certainly understand why someone would interpret that as the offer being withdrawn or canceled.

QUESTION: A last one for me on this, but it’s, I think, an important question. I mean, in a certain sense, you could argue that this is a small matter, it’s a small number of people, it’s a small amount of money. But you could also argue that symbolically it is rather powerful and we already have people in – you know, Palestinians talking about how they see this as sort of symbolic of the plight of the people in Gaza. You know, maybe you want to blame this on Hamas, but the fact of the matter is this really ultimately boils down to the U.S. Government and the Israeli Government being unable to work out an agreement so that the U.S. Government can bring people that it has vetted to the United States to study.

How do you convince Palestinians that you care about the plight of the people in Gaza when you can’t get something like this done in the ordinary course of business?

MR. CASEY: Well, I mean, first of all, I don’t think it’s a shock to anyone that sometimes even simple things in diplomacy can get complicated or don’t always proceed according to plan. But what I would point out to people concerned about this is that, you know, we do spend a great deal of time, energy, and effort working not only with the Palestinian Authority Government and with President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad and others to provide opportunities there, but even, again, despite all the issues in Gaza, starting first and foremost with its illegal occupation and management by Hamas, that we do continue to work and work very hard at providing for some of the needs of the people in Gaza and providing opportunities for them beyond that. And again, we have put millions of dollars in humanitarian assistance into efforts in Gaza. We’ve pushed strongly to do that. We’ve encouraged others in the international community to do so as well. We’ve continued to work on issues that are related to that and to meeting those kinds of real needs that are out there. And the fact that we aren’t just saying, well, we’re going to take care of basic humanitarian needs and concerns there, but actually working to engage and develop the kinds of meaningful relationships with individuals in Gaza that something like the Fulbright program represents I would hope would be a very strong indication to people that we’re very serious about engaging, and that even when there’s a technical glitch or there’s a problem like the ones we’ve seen with getting these exit visas, that we also don’t just let it rest and that we do continue to work on it and do ultimately get positive results for it. And again, I expect we’ll have some positive outcome for this in the not-too-distant future.

Yes, Sylvie.

QUESTION: But I need to follow up. What does it say about your ability to convince Israel to make the necessary concessions it will have to make when they – to reach an agreement, a peace agreement with the Palestinians?

MR. CASEY: Well, I think – look, I understand why people want to give this symbolic importance, but I don’t think it’s something that needs to be overplayed as well. Look, we all know that there are issues large and small between Israelis and Palestinians, and there are issues that affect people’s daily lives like things like this. There are also issues that play at the, you know, existential level, if you will, about borders of a future state, about what the shape and scope of it will be, about its relations with Israel and all that. Look, no one has ever said any of this is easy, but it’s important that it get worked out and it’s important that we deal honestly with one another about it.

Certainly, there are, you know, these kinds of issues that play out at the – you know, at the individual level, if you will, or at the smaller level. And you know, sometimes those issues are hard, sometimes those issues are easy. Anyone that’s ever dealt with getting visas under certain circumstances out of the U.S. Government might tell you that we aren’t always consistent in terms of our policies either. I hope we’re – I hope we are, but you know, there are problems that occur in any system. There are problems that occur in any relationship. In this instance, we have a goal that we want to accomplish. We think while it is not something that’s going to somehow instantly change the shape of our relations, it’s an important program. It’s one that I think does have importance, symbolic importance, and helps to build long-term relations between people, not between governments or between institutions in the United States and the Palestinian territories. And we want that to be able to move forward. And we are going to continue to work on this. We’re going to continue to make it possible for people to do this. But that does mean that sometimes, you know, people at the working level don’t always – don’t always see eye to eye. Sometimes it requires more senior-level discussion. Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting the system to do what’s required or what it inherently is set up to do in the first place.

So again, this is an issue, but I think, you know, we shouldn’t confuse a minor bump in the road on an individual matter with a broader difference of opinion between us and the Israelis, or a lack of interest on our part or on anyone else’s part in seeing that this – these kinds of programs or these kinds of initiatives move forward.

Libby.

QUESTION: Just to go back to just some of the more finer points there.

MR. CASEY: Okay.

QUESTION: You said there’s money still available and that there’s no question they’re still funding for it.

MR. CASEY: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: That means for these seven individuals?

MR. CASEY: Yep.

QUESTION: And so have you conveyed to them that you’re still trying to make this work? I mean, there was some impression left that they had no – now that it’s been redirected, they had no chance.

MR. CASEY: Well, look, again, I can’t speak to all of the individual conversations with the grantees. My understanding is that there’s been communications with them on this subject. But you know, how – which ones and how often and how recently, I’m not sure. I certainly know that efforts have been made recently to let them know that we’re still trying to make this happen.

QUESTION: And also, you said that you’re pretty confident there’ll be a successful conclusion, which is a little bit farther than what you said this morning. So what are you hearing from the Israelis?

MR. CASEY: Well, again, I think the discussions that people have had with the Israelis have indicated that, first and foremost, they heard our concerns about this, that they understand that this is a very important program to us, that it is something that the Secretary has personally asked to be looked into, and something that they had said – they had said in response that they would like to be able to work with us on and would like to be able to resolve. So I think we take their – these conversations as a positive sign that we ultimately will be able to come to an agreeable and positive outcome here.

QUESTION: Who’s doing the talking?

MR. CASEY: Well, obviously, our folks in the Embassy and Consulate are as well on this, and Bill Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, did speak to the Israeli Ambassador this morning as well.

QUESTION: Has it gone any higher than Under Secretary Burns?

MR. CASEY: I don’t believe so, at this point. If you’re asking has the Secretary made any calls, not that I’m aware of. They are en route back from Iceland now so – but I’m not aware of anything that’s occurred this morning. She did, as I noted, ask that Under Secretary Burns look into this issue and engage in some conversations on it, and also asked that the Embassy do the same.

QUESTION: And then, one last thing on this. It’s my understanding that this has been an issue, not just this year and not just last year, as Sylvie said, but for many years, that getting exit visas for Fulbright recipients –Palestinian Fulbright recipients. And I wonder if this – you know, I’m sure the Secretary would not have wanted this to have consumed any of her day today, and I’m sure you and many other people in this building would have preferred not to have to be working on this today – you know, all, apparently, because of the TimesThe New York Times reported it. Have you given any thought to trying to establish a – sort of a better working system with the Israelis so that these things can get handled in a more routine way and at a lower level so that it doesn’t take a front page story and the Secretary’s being blindsided by this to actually make it happen?

MR. CASEY: Yeah, well, I think one would always – one would always hope to be able to resolve issues at the lowest possible level, and one would always hope to be able to have a system in place for doing so.

I’m not sure whether -- in light of this incident, what kinds of follow-up there will be. Certainly, we do want to make sure that when we have individuals selected for our programs that we do have a clear mechanism and an easy way for that to be – those kinds of issues, including the exit visa questions, to be worked out.

Obviously, we also understand – and I just want to reiterate what I said this morning as well that we do understand that there are legitimate security concerns that the Israelis have about Gaza in particular, and certainly respect their need and desire to be able to control their borders. At the same time, we certainly believe that there ought to be a way to ensure that not only is this case resolved, but that we can find a way to make it so that there aren’t quite as many contretemps the next time we have Fulbrighters or other grantees that might need to come out of there.

QUESTION: And did you find out whether DHS had, in fact, done its vet of these seven people?

MR. CASEY: I did not. It might be a question you want to raise with them directly. But, you know, again, my understanding is that the issue here at this point is simply getting them from point A to point B.

QUESTION: Can I just -- sorry.

MR. CASEY: That’s okay.

QUESTION: A final question --

MR. CASEY: Yeah, you’re afraid of these -- it’s all right. It’s kind of where we are today.

QUESTION: What message would you send to the seven scholars who apparently learned that all of their plans were going to fall apart via email? And beyond them, what message would you send to other Palestinian scholars who might be having second thoughts about even applying now?

MR. CASEY: Well, I think the main message that I would want --

QUESTION: If you picked up the phone and said – you know, what would you say to them? I don’t think that anybody would say they were sorry.

MR. CASEY: If I picked up the phone – well, look, I think the main message that they and others should take about this is that the United States is serious about engaging with people in Gaza, about providing economic opportunity for them as well as for others, that we believe these programs are important not because they serve a particular policy interest or short-range policy goal, but because what they really fundamentally do is provide individual opportunity but also provide for real people-to-people contacts, the ability of someone to get to know the United States, not as a government, not as a set of policies, but as a country, as a society, and to get to know people on an individual level. That ultimately is really the basis for any country or any societies to be able to work successfully with one another. And that kind of foundation of trust and that kind of basis for human understanding is an important component of what we’re trying to do not only in the Palestinian territories but in other countries in the world.

QUESTION: But if – well, are you afraid other Palestinian scholars will just kind of bail out now and say there’s no point in applying because I’ll never get a visa?

MR. CASEY: Well, I certainly hope not, and I hope they would take from this example the fact that we are serious enough about the program that it is something that, if we have problems with, will be not only dealt with by our officials on the ground but will be taken up by people at the highest levels of this building, including the Secretary.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Change of subject, please?

MR. CASEY: Anybody else? Okay, please. Charlie’s ready for lunch. There we go.

QUESTION: Could you provide a reaction to some comments by the Iranian Foreign Minister in an interview today? He said U.S. policies in the Middle East are failing and are fueling hatred and resentment and weakening U.S. influence in the region.

MR. CASEY: Gee, the Iranian Foreign Minister criticizing U.S. policy – there’s a real man-bites-dog story for you, huh? Look, I didn’t see his interview, but I think one thing that’s very clear to us is that the Iranian Government is pursuing policies that are inimical to the interests of the Iranian people. Iran is only serving to isolate itself not only from the United States and the broader international community, but its neighbors through its pursuit of a nuclear weapons program in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, through its support for militant groups in Iraq which undermines the stability of one of its neighbors, through its support for terrorism which makes it a country that is not only on the U.S. state sponsors of terror list but a country of great concern to many others throughout the world. So I think if the Iranian Foreign Minister would like to criticize our policies in the Middle East, then certainly he and others are free to do so. I would also hope that those in the Iranian Government who might represent more responsible leadership might also hold that mirror back up to him and take a very hard look at the unproductive, unhelpful, and destabilizing policies that Iran is pursuing.

Okay.

QUESTION: Can we move to Pakistan?

MR. CASEY: It’s okay with me. Are you – Pakistan, Israel? Pakistan for 200.

QUESTION: Your reaction, adding to what you said earlier today, about the reports coming out of Pakistan --

MR. CASEY: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- are widespread that Musharraf is poised to resign. Your reaction? Is Secretary Rice and are others reaching out to Musharraf?

MR. CASEY: Well, I think if you go look at the transcript from Dana Perino’s gaggle this morning, you’ll see that she noted that President Bush did, in fact, speak with President Musharraf earlier today. That was in light of his meeting with the new Prime Minister a couple of weeks ago. One of the things that I understand the President said was that he looked forward to continuing to work with President Musharraf as well as the Prime Minister and other members of the government over the rest of his Administration to work with them on the key issues before us, including confronting extremism and terrorism, as well helping to advance Pakistan’s democracy and economic development.

I also don’t see anything either in her comments about his call or in, also, the comments that President Musharraf has apparently made to the media in Pakistan that indicate that he has any plans other than to continue to serve out his term.

Nina.

QUESTION: The timing of this Khaled Sheikh Mohamed trial just a couple of months before the general presidential election here – some critics – there have been a lot of opinion pieces in the press this week about the timing being very convenient for the current administration, it’s politically motivated. Can you give some reaction to that?

MR. CASEY: Are you talking about the military tribunal? I would refer you to the Department of Defense on that. I mean, this is – I don’t think it’s any surprise that military tribunals that we’ve been trying to get going, literally, for years are now getting going. And I think, again, if you go back and look at the record, repeatedly over the course of the last two or three years, people have said that – or maybe it’s not quite that long, but since Khaled Sheikh Mohamed has been in Guantanamo Bay, I think one of the things that’s been made clear is that those “high-value detainees” were going to be some of the first that would be put through the military tribunal process. So to a certain extent, if this comes as a surprise to people, no offense, but I don’t think they were paying that much attention.

Arshad.

QUESTION: Did you get a comment on – on Myanmar, both on the evictions of people from their temporary camps and on the comment about how the people of the delta could stand on their own feet (inaudible)?

MR. CASEY: Well, a little bit. First of all, we’ve seen the reports of these evictions, and certainly, we’re concerned by them. We want to see anyone who has been a victim of the cyclone be taken care of and be taken care of appropriately. I think it also, while I can’t confirm any of these individual reports, reinforces our interest in seeing aid workers be allowed full access to the affected area and be able to make their own assessments of what’s going on and be able to work in conjunction with the Burmese Government and other agencies and other governments to be able to provide relief to people.

In terms of comments about self-sufficiency of individuals in the delta, you know, I am not quite sure where that comment was coming from, but obviously, it’s clear to us and to everyone else that the people who have been affected by the cyclone are not able to take care of this rather drastic and serious natural disaster by themselves and that they need, and as far as we can tell, appreciate the support of the international community. And again, I think it’s not particularly useful or responsible to assert that those who have been victims of a terrible natural disaster that almost any country in the world would require assistance to be able to respond to are somehow not in need.

Okay.

QUESTION: Great. Yesterday at the CIS discussion on North Korea, Jack Pritchard said that – he said that he had spoken to the same colleagues 30 days ago in Pyongyang about – and that they’re very clear about phase three and dismantlement. And I was just wondering if you could give a –he was saying that it was only specific to plutonium facilities. Could you comment on that?

MR. CASEY: Well, with all due respect to Mr. Pritchard, he is a former government official. He is not involved in the six-party talks. I’m not sure who he’s talking to, but I think the Secretary, President, and Chris Hill, have all made clear that we expect the North Koreans to provide us a declaration that meets the requirements of the six parties. And you know, I said this this morning. There’s a tremendous industry in this town of former officials who all like to in some ways pretend they’re probably closer to the action than they currently are.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. CASEY: Thanks.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:19 p.m.)

DPB # 96



Released on May 30, 2008

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