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Daily Press Briefing
Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC
September 18, 2008

INDEX:

YEMEN

Update on Investigation Into Attack on Embassy / Interagency Team En Route
American Citizen Killed in Attack
Timeline of Attack / No Damage Assessment at this Time

RUSSIA

Secretary’s Speech at the German Marshall Fund / Translations of Speech
Russian Self-Isolation / Issues of Global Concern / P5+1 Meeting / DPRK
Secretary Rice’s Conversation with Russian FM Lavrov
Consequences for Russia / Russian Participation in the International System
Shared Values of the International Community / Human Rights / Freedom / Trade
P5+1 Political Directors Meeting / Discussions at the Upcoming UN General Assembly
Future Vision for Russia
Secretary’s Schedule at the UN General Assembly

GEORGIA

U.S. Policy Regarding Abkhazia and South Ossetia

LATIN AMERICA

U.S. Relations with Region / Democratically Elected Leaders Not Ruling Democratically
Cooperation in the Hemisphere is Improving / Overall Trend Line Positive
U.S. Relations with Argentina
Nicaragua’s Recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia

CYPRUS

Possible U.S. Financial Assistance for Cyprus Negotiations

IRAN

P5+1 Political Directors Meeting / Next Steps
Preventing Iran from Getting Nuclear Weapons is Not a Favor to the U.S.
Ahmadinejad Comments

NORTH KOREA

U.S. Continuing to Attempt to Move Six Party Process Forward

MEXICO

Plane Crash with U.S. and Mexican International Boundary and Water Commissioners


TRANSCRIPT:

View Video

10:37 a.m. EDT

MR. MCCORMACK: Good morning. I don’t have anything to start off with by way of a statement. So I’d be happy to take your questions.

QUESTION: Can you give us an update about the Yemen investigation, what’s going on, who is there looking into it, if anything new has –

MR. MCCORMACK: Nothing really new. Interagency team, including security and law enforcement officials, have launched for Yemen. The Yemeni side is engaged in an ongoing investigation, so we’re working – we’re going to be working with them. I expect that when our people are full up, have their kits unpacked on the ground, they’re going to be doing interviews, forensic investigation, looking for physical evidence as well; all of this with an eye towards understanding the attack, in its – all of its detail, but also gathering any evidence that might be used to hold those responsible to account.

QUESTION: Do you know who actually is it? Is it DS, FBI?

MR. MCCORMACK: It’s security and law enforcement officials. I’ve been asked just to keep it at that level of generality, so I’m going to have to abide by the wishes of the team members.

QUESTION: Okay. Why?

MR. MCCORMACK: Matt –

QUESTION: Is it secret?

MR. MCCORMACK: No, it’s not secret. I’ve just – I’ve been asked to keep it at that level of generality, and I have to abide by the – I will abide by the wishes of the team members.

QUESTION: Okay. Can you – what – there was an American who was killed in this.

MR. MCCORMACK: Sadly, yes.

QUESTION: Can you go into any more detail about –

MR. MCCORMACK: I don’t have a whole lot more to –

QUESTION: – who she was, what she was doing there?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don’t have a whole lot more detail. Her name was Susan El-baneh.

QUESTION: How is that spelled?

MR. MCCORMACK: Let me get the exact spelling for you here. Yeah, a terrible occurrence. Oh, Sarah – excuse me, Sarah El-baneh. Sarah, S-a-r-a-h; last name E-l, hyphen –

QUESTION: Susan.

MR. MCCORMACK: Susan, okay. Well, then the press guidance that we have here is inaccurate. That is really a sad thing. I apologize to the family members for that. Last name, E-l, hyphen, B-a-n-e-h.

And I – right now, we have an ongoing investigation regarding the attack. I know that her family members talked about the fact that she was there accompanying her sister and brother-in-law. They were waiting in line to apply for visas so the sister and brother-in-law could travel to the United States.

QUESTION: Okay. And do you have any more details in terms of exactly what happened? It does appear that the first car was able to breach the first outer gate. Do you have any more specifics on exactly the tick-tock of the – actually what happened?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don’t have tick-tock for you. We can try to put up the overhead image again, if you like, and I can just talk to it from the podium here as well. Why don’t we bring up that map.

If you remember yesterday, we talked about the front entrance of – maybe I’ll step away from the podium here for – in a second. We can – the first explosion was near the front entrance of the Embassy, and it took out a guard post. It did not breach the actual entrance to the Embassy. There was a second explosion that occurred a bit further down near a pedestrian entrance. So let me just step over and I’ll point out to you the main entrance and where the first explosion was. That occurred right in this area here. Then the second explosion was up in this area.

Now the first explosion took out a guard post, but it did not breach the wall; it did not breach the front entrance of the Embassy. And again, the second explosion took place, as I understand it, a couple minutes later. I don’t have an exact number of minutes for you. In that time between the first explosion and the second explosion, there were attackers that were on foot that took up positions near the front entrance of the Embassy, then you had that second explosion.

QUESTION: And both of these were from car bombs?

MR. MCCORMACK: Yes, as far as we know right now. That – those – that’s based on the reports that we have right now, yes.

QUESTION: And so – okay, so the timeline basically is the first car drives up to the main entrance –

MR. MCCORMACK: Yes.

QUESTION: – blows up –

MR. MCCORMACK: Near the main entrance, yes.

QUESTION: Near the main entrance, blows up. There is – gunmen take up positions –

MR. MCCORMACK: Near the –

QUESTION: – start shooting –

MR. MCCORMACK: Near the front, yes.

QUESTION: And then the second car bomb detonates near the pedestrian entrance?

MR. MCCORMACK: Correct.

QUESTION: And that – which also doesn’t breach anything? Would –

MR. MCCORMACK: Correct. Yeah, and again, I can’t offer you an assessment right now. And I’ll – maybe what I’ll try to do is see if we can – see if there’s a possibility of getting any photos that can show the aftereffects of the damage. I’m not sure I’ll be able to do that because this is – now falls in the realm of a law enforcement matter. As I understand it, there was not a breach of the wall. I’m sure that there was some damage to the outer wall. I can’t offer you an assessment of that damage.

QUESTION: Okay. And then the last one on this. Just – at what point was it that – or where were the gunmen who opened fire on the Yemeni emergency –

MR. MCCORMACK: Okay, let me – I’ll – again, I’ll step away from the podium for a second. I’ll show you – I’ll point out on the map generally where I understand the attackers who were on foot took up positions. And that was in these areas here, just by the front entrance. And if – you see there are two white lines slightly curved there near the front entrance. Those are like Jersey barriers. They’re large concrete planters that are intended to impede any sort of direct, head-on – the ability to kind of directly head on and make a run at the front gate.

QUESTION: And what’s the distance between the two entrances?

MR. MCCORMACK: I’ll try to get that for you. Yeah, I don’t have a scale on this map.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Sean, is the pedestrian entrance where the American citizen was killed?

MR. MCCORMACK: I believe that was near the front entrance, near that main entrance – near the main entrance.

QUESTION: Main entrance?

MR. MCCORMACK: Near the main entrance, yes.

QUESTION: And were her brother and sister-in-law killed, too? Were they Yemenis?

MR. MCCORMACK: I – they are Yemenis and Yemeni citizens, and I do not believe that they were – they were not –

QUESTION: The husband –

MR. MCCORMACK: The – I’m sorry.

QUESTION: The brother was killed.

MR. MCCORMACK: The brother-in-law.

QUESTION: I’m sorry. You said brother and sister-in-law, didn’t you? Or did I get (inaudible) –

MR. MCCORMACK: I think it was her sister and brother-in-law, yes.

QUESTION: Oh, sorry, okay. So the – one of them was injured as well, then? One was killed –

MR. MCCORMACK: Right.

QUESTION: So that there were two killed –

MR. MCCORMACK: Yes.

QUESTION: – in this party of three –

MR. MCCORMACK: Right.

QUESTION: – and one –

MR. MCCORMACK: Right.

QUESTION: And do you know what age Ms. El-Baneh was?

MR. MCCORMACK: She was eighteen.

QUESTION: Eighteen?

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah.

QUESTION: Was she a dual national or was she a –

MR. MCCORMACK: I don’t – I’ll see if I can find out more information for you, Sue, but I don’t know.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Different subject?

MR. MCCORMACK: Yes, please.

QUESTION: Thank you, Sean. Andrei Sitov from TASS. We have been given the excerpts of the Secretary’s speech, and I understand that maybe we should look at the whole speech. But even from the excerpts, what would you say is new in this speech?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, that’s for you to judge, not for me to judge. I’ll let you make judgments about that.

And just one note – actually, one logistical note. And in particular, your readership might find this interesting. We are going to be translating the speech into Russian, French, and German, and those broadcast translations will be available within a couple of hours after the speech. So I would expect within about an hour after the end of the speech, you’ll have available from the State Department for broadcast any English language as well as Russian language video, and then subsequently German and French language video. So by late this afternoon, all three of those versions should be available to the publics. Of course, news organizations could well do their own translations as well, but I wanted to make sure that all were aware that the State Department is providing those translations.

QUESTION: To go on, though, with the question about what’s new, I’m looking at this and I’m trying to figure out what it means in practical terms. That is my question to you. Because tomorrow we have the Iranian consultation, right?

MR. MCCORMACK: Correct.

QUESTION: And some other working level contacts are planned?

MR. MCCORMACK: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: So then – does that mean that – I mean, does that have a reflection on the working level cooperation between those countries?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, take a look at the excerpts, which are, of course, available for publication and use right now. And then we’re going to give you the speech this morning. It will be embargoed until delivery. I think you can see her – the Secretary, in the excerpts and then in the full speech, outlining what the consequences are for the actions that Russia has taken.

And you know, in essence, there is – Russia has a lot of self-isolation going on, both political-diplomatic, and – as well as economic. All of that said, we are – we, as well as others, have made clear that there are issues of common global concern; for example, Iran. We have an experts level meeting of the political directors tomorrow. We will seek to continue cooperation on those matters. That’s not a favor to us. It’s not a favor to France, Germany, NATO, or anybody else. But Russia has said, and as have all members of the P-5+1 have said, they don’t want to see Iran obtain the technologies that they could use to build a nuclear weapon.

The same holds true for the denuclearization of the North Korean peninsula. So we will continue to engage Russia on those kinds of issues. We will also seek to maintain, if not expand, our contacts with the Russian people. It’s unfortunate – as Secretary Rice points out, it is unfortunate – some of the decisions that Russian leadership has taken on behalf of Russia and the Russian people. And as she points out, there are consequences for those decisions.

That does not mean that we will not work with Russia as well as others on issues of identified global concern, as well as continuing to reach out to the Russian people.

QUESTION: Sean, have you shared the speech with the Russians, with your allies, beforehand?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don’t know that we have – we have not shared the text of it. We have briefed our friends and allies on it. As a matter of fact, Secretary Rice spoke with Foreign Minister Lavrov this morning.

QUESTION: (off-mike)

MR. MCCORMACK: And she didn’t go into great detail about the speech, but she did tell him she was going to be giving a speech today.

QUESTION: About –

MR. MCCORMACK: About Russia and Russia’s place in the international system.

QUESTION: I kind of assumed that she would share that with Ambassador Kislyak when she was talking to him (inaudible).

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, they spoke quite a bit about Georgia and the Georgia situation. She spoke in general about U.S.-Russia relations. Didn’t hand out the text of the speech to anybody in advance.

QUESTION: And on Georgia, if I may briefly, there was a pro-Georgian Ossetian government before the events: the government of DmitriSanakoyev, the government that the Georgians instilled. They couldn’t hold it in Ossetia because obviously it would not be allowed by the Ossetians, but it existed. My question is, do you know what happened to that government, where Mr. Sanakoyev is, what his position was in regards to what happened?

MR. MCCORMACK: The only thing I can say about South Ossetia and Abkhazia is that they’re part of Georgia.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Sean –

QUESTION: But can you take this question?

MR. MCCORMACK: I’ll look into it for you, see if there’s anything we can add.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Can I go back to Yemen for one sec? There are some things that I think we really ought to clarify for the record. It’s Susan, S-u-s-a-n, standard spelling, right?

MR. MCCORMACK: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Okay, great. Well, not great, but at least we have that correct. Our stories say that there were 16 people killed total, including the six attackers. And our stories have said that nine of the other 10 were Yemenis and one was an Indian citizen. Do you now know what is the total count of people who died in this attack and what the breakdown of nationalities is?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don’t have a final count. I asked that question this morning. I don’t have a total for you. The Yemeni authorities probably have the best handle on that right now. I can speak to the one American death in the attack.

QUESTION: And it was, indeed, she was with her sister and brother-in-law, and her brother-in-law, a Yemeni citizen, was killed?

MR. MCCORMACK: I believe that is correct.

MR. WOOD: I think now it’s the husband. It was the husband.

MR. DUGUID: We’ve got – we’re getting –

MR. MCCORMACK: All right. You know, and I have to apologize to the family for this confusion. That’s our fault. We should be better organized in – when we’re able to talk – in talking about these things.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Sean, on the speech, and I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this, but I would be remiss not to – in not bringing it up. It’s not entirely true that the speech was not shared with anyone. In fact, it was shared. I don’t know by who, but it was given last night to a newspaper after we here in the State Department Press Corps have been led to believe that these excerpts would be released for all of us. So I would just like to point that out. I don’t know how it happened, but it was unfortunate.

MR. MCCORMACK: Do you have a question?

QUESTION: Yes. On the speech itself, following up on Andrei’s line, the Secretary goes – she goes on quite a bit about how Russia has isolated itself, and I’m not exactly sure what practical – in what practical terms is this isolation showing itself. It still seems to be involved in the international economy. You mentioned yourself that – I’m sorry, in international affairs. You mentioned yourself that there’s a meeting tomorrow. There’ll be a Quartet meeting probably next week and the Six-Party Talks with the North Koreans. How exactly has this hurt Russia?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, there certainly can be consequences that play out over time. And not all consequences are necessarily government-to-government consequences. Quite clearly, Russia’s reputation in the world, whether that is in diplomatic circles or certainly in economic and financial circles, has taken a hit. And there are very real consequences for those kinds of reputational risks – damage to reputations. There are reputational risks, which I am not going to try to elaborate on from this podium.

The ability of Russia to fully participate in the international system and reap the benefits of that international system has been damaged. For example, the Secretary talks about Russian aspirations for – to be a member of the OECD, to become a member of the WTO. Certainly, both of those aspirations are at deep risk because of Russian actions. And again, these things may not have immediate consequences – some do, some don’t. But over time, unless Russia makes a different set of choices and changes course, there are – will be very real consequences for the ability of Russia to influence the international system and to fully participate in that international system and to, as a result, reap the benefits of that international system, whether that’s political, diplomatic or economic.

QUESTION: But it seems to have – have influenced. This seems to be influencing the international system.

MR. MCCORMACK: How so?

QUESTION: Well, the very fact that the Secretary feels the need – compelled to give a speech like this suggests that they still do have influence and that – and you regard that influence as negative. So I don’t understand this international irrelevance that she says. It seems to me the Russians have made themselves perhaps more relevant.

MR. MCCORMACK: Well –

QUESTION: They’re certainly getting a lot of attention from very senior officials in the U.S.

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, you know, there’s a big difference between being famous and infamous. So you know, one can, of course, come to the attention of the rest of the world for positive reasons, and one can come to the attention of the world for negative reasons. I would put it to you that Russia has put itself at the center – at the top of the agenda of the international system, not for positive reasons, not because it is being lauded or applauded or encouraged, but because it is being criticized and isolated. And that is an isolation it is imposing on itself.

The speech makes the point that Russia has an opportunity to fully participate in the 21st century. Secretary Rice makes the point that you can’t have one foot in the 19th century and one foot in the 21st century and expect to fully participate and reap the benefits of that 21st century participation.

QUESTION: She talks about how the Russians are making friends with Latin America’s few autocracies.

MR. MCCORMACK: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Isn’t it the case that basically, over the last decade, the number of autocracies in the Western Hemisphere has gone from one to three, and now perhaps four if you include Nicaragua?

MR. MCCORMACK: Look, the depth and breadth of the cooperation with the Western Hemisphere in this Administration has increased. The fact of the matter is, Hugo Chavez, for example – this refers to the Blackjacks – was democratically elected. The fact of the matter is, he has not ruled in a democratic manner. The fact of the matter is, in Bolivia, you had a leader that was democratically elected who has not ruled in a democratic manner. It is our belief that over the long term, the people of these as well as other countries will insist upon and do insist upon being ruled democratically. However, those are decisions for them and them alone to make, the people of those countries.

We believe that, the behavior of leaders of a couple of these countries notwithstanding, that overall the cooperation in the hemisphere is becoming greater between the United States and other countries in the hemisphere, and that overall the trend lines are positive. We obviously have – we have difficult circumstances with Bolivia and with Venezuela at the moment, and obviously longstanding ones with Cuba. That –

QUESTION: Also Argentina and you also have problems with Nicaragua. You also have slight problems with Honduras. So I think the trend line –

MR. MCCORMACK: No, I –

QUESTION: – really is going down.

MR. MCCORMACK: No, I believe the trend line still is, overall, positive. You have perturbations, you have bumps in the road in any relationship. But again, I would – with respect, you mention Honduras – I would not make much at all of the situation with Honduras.

QUESTION: And then –

MR. MCCORMACK: With Argentina, they’re – because of the actions of the Department of Justice, I think the Argentinean Government has tried to view this as a political comment. It isn’t a political comment. And again, we have differences – we have had differences with Argentina. But we still have areas where we cooperate with them on. We have supported them in international financial institution fora. So regardless of a – you know, in terms of the daily transaction of diplomatic business, if there are some perturbations, that’s not really what is the most important judgment.

QUESTION: The bottom line, do you have more friends in Latin America or fewer friends in Latin America than you did a decade ago?

MR. MCCORMACK: We believe we have better relations today with more people in Latin America and more leaders in Latin America than we did when we came into office.

QUESTION: And the other –

MR. MCCORMACK: And those relationships are deeper.

QUESTION: And the last thing on this is that I’m surprised that the Secretary is so blithe about Daniel Ortega and his recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and Russia. It was not so long ago that the last time that he was in power, that previous U.S. governments spent millions, if not billions of dollars trying to overthrow his government, which was being supported by, then, the Soviet Union. Why are –

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I appreciate your –

QUESTION: – you so widely casting dispersions on Mr. Ortega?

MR. MCCORMACK: I appreciate your editorial comment. I think the line speaks for itself.

QUESTION: I’m not sure that – that’s a statement of fact, Sean.

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah.

QUESTION: A very brief follow-up. Since my follow-up brought up all these philosophical issues, when I look at these excerpts, I presume they reflect the speech as a whole. My only question about this generally is, whatever Russia does these days, it certainly does not pretend to speak for anyone other than themselves and for their actions. When you give these speeches, when you talk to us from this podium, you keep talking as if you were speaking for the whole world, as if you were speaking for somebody other than the U.S. Government. The question in this comment – in this editorial comment – is: Do you think that that might be the reason why the U.S. reputation in the world has worsened so very much over the past seven, eight years?

MR. MCCORMACK: The reason why I’m able to speak with such a degree of assurance about the opinions of others is because we share values. And the fact of the matter is the preponderance of national power in this world has coalesced around a certain set of values. I’m not saying they’re exact, not saying the application of those values will be exactly the same everywhere you go around the world. But the fact of the matter is, the world has coalesced around one system. There aren’t two systems anymore. Russia – the Soviet Union is gone and this ability to try to create an alternate set of international institutions and an alternate reality is gone. That’s in the past, dead, gone, not coming back, forever gone.

QUESTION: Do you have –

MR. MCCORMACK: But – so the world has coalesced around a set of values that involve promotion of human rights, the promotion of personal freedoms, the promotion of the ability to trade freely around the world. So those – so I don’t speak for the rest of the world. I’ll speak for the United States. But the reason why what I say sounds a lot like what you’ll hear in Western Europe or other places around the world is because those values are shared. And that is the – that is one of the points that the Secretary is making in this speech, is that the Russian Government’s actions do not reflect the values of that international system.

QUESTION: But in my country –

MR. MCCORMACK: Okay. All right. I think you’ve had your editorial comment, yeah.

Yes, Lambros.

QUESTION: On Cyprus. Mr. McCormack, in response to my pending question, will the Department of State is going to allocate money to help Cyprus talks to reach an agreement, I got a quote yesterday over the phone, the answer by your press officer, Robert McInturff.

MR. MCCORMACK: So why are you asking me?

QUESTION: “We will consider –

MR. MCCORMACK: You got your answer.

QUESTION: Yes – “…will consider the assistance that the parties request,” unquote. Greek and Turkish Cypriot. I’m wondering, Mr. McCormack, what type of request you received, like, for moral support, political, or money support?

MR. MCCORMACK: Lambros, you got your answer. Why are you bringing this up?

Yeah.

QUESTION: Can we talk a little bit about the political directors meeting tomorrow? What are you hoping is going to emerge from this meeting at the end? Is the goal here to come up with a list of sanctions?

And then secondly, in terms of the timing of the Secretary’s speech, it’s sort of interesting that she chose to give the speech today, you know, the week before – just before she’s about to go to the UN General Assembly and before the meeting tomorrow, when you really do need Russia’s support. Don’t you think speeches like this are going to antagonize Russia and put them into another corner of a – maybe first the practical issues of what you –

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, in terms – it’ll be a discussion about how to move the two-track policy forward. Russia, as well as all the member states of the P-5+1, have made certain commitments regarding what steps to take next should Iran not comply with the demands of the Security Council and cooperate with the IAEA. Iran has done neither of those things. So the agreement is to move forward with a new sanctions resolution and we’ll discuss that.

Now I can’t tell you how far that discussion will get. Typically, around the time of the UN General Assembly, you don’t get much progress on these kinds of high-profile issues, shall we say, in the Security Council. It just doesn’t happen year to year to year. So I would expect that this is probably a discussion that is – will be aimed at seeing where each of the individual states within the P-5+1 are with respect to timeline and moving forward, as well as the content of what a new resolution might look like.

And look, in terms of – you know, in terms of, you know, Russia’s or anybody else’s cooperation or, you know, non-cooperation with trying to prevent Iran from developing the technologies that will allow it to obtain a nuclear weapon, that’s not doing us a favor. I think everybody agrees that Iran possessing a nuclear weapon would be a very destabilizing event for the Middle East. So trying to prevent that from happening and to reinforce and uphold global nonproliferation norms is not a favor to the United States or France or Germany or anybody else. That is acting in the interest of the international system.

QUESTION: And then President Ahmadinejad said today that – once again, he said Iran would not suspend its – the nuclear – whatever you want him to suspend. And he really sort of brushed aside threats of sanctions and said that it was – really had – wouldn’t have any impact on them and that those who wanted to put sanctions do so because of their own weaknesses, is what he said. I just wondered whether you had any comment on his latest utterances.

MR. MCCORMACK: More of the same, sadly, for Iran and the Iranian people.

Samir.

QUESTION: Do you know if the Russians are going to attend the meeting tomorrow of the P-5+1?

MR. MCCORMACK: I believe they will.

QUESTION: Sean, just on Russia, and I know you don’t speak for the Russians, but does the Secretary – has the Secretary, from her conversations this morning – conversation this morning with Lavrov and Kislyak and with anyone else that she might have had one – is she still convinced that the Russians want to integrate themselves into – you know, that they’re still pursuing what Medvedev said in his speech, that they want to join?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well –

QUESTION: Or has she come to the conclusion that they don’t – they’re not really that interested in it?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, again, you – I think in those excerpts, you’ll see that there she raises the question of, whose vision for Russia?

QUESTION: Right. There was a time when she –

MR. MCCORMACK: And which Russia? And I’m not sure if you have it in the excerpts, but I’ll say just preceding those – that particular paragraph, she talks about the hopeful vision, the “Four I’s,” I think, that President Medvedev laid out for Russia and very – and integration into the international system.

QUESTION: Right.

MR. MCCORMACK: And contributing in a value-added sense to that international system was very much part of that vision. Now certainly, Russian actions over the past months, and you can even go back longer than that, really raise the question of, well, whose vision is going to direct Russia.

QUESTION: But did she lead with that? I mean, this is her area of expertise –

MR. MCCORMACK: Right.

QUESTION: – and she has been speaking to leaders, not Dmitry Medvedev himself, but did she still – does that – does she think that that vision still holds, that the Russian leadership still wants that kind of positive, forward – positive and forward-looking vision?

MR. MCCORMACK: You know, I think I would just leave it with – you know, refer you to that line talking about whose vision. And I – you know, I don’t know if there’s a question mark at the end of the sentence, but certainly there’s a question mark over that sentence.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Just one more question. On her discussion with Sergey Lavrov this morning, did she just say to him, I just want to give you a heads-up that this is what I’m going to say today and –

MR. MCCORMACK: I don’t think there –

QUESTION: – we’re still going to deal with you on all these other issues, so, you know –

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, she –

QUESTION: I mean, what was the purpose of calling him?

MR. MCCORMACK: She had previously spoken with him. I – let me see if I can – on the 11th, yeah, last Thursday, by way of saying that she would see him in New York, at the very least, at the P-5 breakfast. And she thought it appropriate to let the Foreign Minister know that she was going to be giving the speech. There wasn’t a long discussion of it, though.

QUESTION: Does she plan to have a one-on-one meeting with Lavrov in New York?

MR. MCCORMACK: I’m still looking – still – the schedule is still coming together. I’ll let you know if they do.

QUESTION: I mean, shouldn’t that be a priority to have a one-on-one with him? I mean, if you value the relationship with Russia, then why not just have a one-on-one with him and, you know, duke it out? I don’t know.

QUESTION: That’s a great idea.

MR. MCCORMACK: (Laughter.) You know, I’m not sure that’s the way the international system works, Sue.

QUESTION: Well, didn’t people say you were talking from a Texas bar or something the other day? I mean, it’s the same kind of analogy.

MR. MCCORMACK: The Foreign – yeah, I think the Foreign Minister –

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR. MCCORMACK: – Foreign Ministry spokesman and I have – I said that they might want to get out a fainting couch for him.

Yes.

QUESTION: On North Korea. What can you tell us about the status of the Six-Party Talks other than that the U.S. is focusing on output?

MR. MCCORMACK: Nothing new. We’re still trying to move the process forward along with our partners in the talks.

QUESTION: Any travel plans for Chris Hill or Sung Kim?

MR. MCCORMACK: None that I’m aware of.

You had your question, Lambros.

QUESTION: A different subject. The Ambassador – I think his name is Lenarcic, the new head of ODIHR, O-D-I-H-R –

MR. MCCORMACK: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: – is in town. He was speaking to the (inaudible) yesterday. I wanted to ask who is meeting him. And he has some ideas for reforming the ODIHR, whether those ideas are supported by the U.S. Government.

MR. MCCORMACK: We’ll try to get you an answer. Don’t know.

Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: The plane –

MR. MCCORMACK: Which plane?

QUESTION: The small plane that went down with a State – do you have anything to say about that – on the Mexican border?

MR. MCCORMACK: Ah, yes. We – I think the White House is going to have a statement about that. But it was a tragic event where, I believe, four people lost their lives, including the U.S. and Mexican commissioners for the International Boundary and Water Commission. So it was a terrible event. It was a sad day when we learned that all on that plane had lost their life.

QUESTION: There were State Department employees on it?

MR. MCCORMACK: There were – we have a statement. We’ll put it out for you, Matt. I don’t want to try to wing this one. But the boundary commissioners were on the plane.

QUESTION: Mr. McCormack?

MR. MCCORMACK: Okay? Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 11:11 a.m.)

DPB 155


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