|Daily Press Briefing|
Robert Wood, Deputy Spokesman
September 26, 2008
|U.S.-India Civil-Nuclear Agreement / Senate Foreign Relations Approval|
|Reports that the U.S. and Russia Have Reached an Agreement on a UN Resolution on Iran|
|Meetings of the P5+1|
|Assistant Secretary Hills Meeting with the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister|
|Assistant Secretary Hills Upcoming Meeting Schedule|
|Need for DPRK to Produce a Verification Regime / Meeting Where Parties Agreed on Principles|
|Resumption of Consular and American Citizen Services in Islamabad on Monday|
|U.S. Will Evaluate its Security Posture on a Daily Basis|
|U.S. Desire to Improve Security Situation on the Afghan Border|
|Need to Strengthen Cooperation on Counterterrorism / Strong Pledges of Cooperation|
|U.S. Diplomatic Efforts / Karzai / Zardari|
|Conversations on the Margins of UNGA About the Financial Crisis / Treasury / White House|
|Need for Both Parties to Live Up to their Roadmap Obligations|
View Video 10:34 a.m. EDT
MR. WOOD: Happy Friday, everyone. I don’t have anything, so we can go right to your questions.
QUESTION: I understand that the Secretary called Congressman Berman last night about the India deal. Do you have any details on what they were discussing?
MR. WOOD: I don’t have anything about – I’m not even aware that the Secretary had a call with Berman. That may have happened. I just wasn’t informed about it. But we’re pushing – again, very hard -- to get this agreement done through the Congress. We were very happy that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved it. And it now goes on to the full Senate and the House. And we hope that this agreement will be approved and we can go forward and implement it. It’s a good thing for the United States and India, and we do want to see it happen.
QUESTION: Well, how is the timing of that going? And has there been some move to settle the time issue?
MR. WOOD: Well, I don’t want to get into the substance of it. But obviously, time is of the essence. We want to see this agreement work its way through Congress very quickly. As I said, it’s an important agreement for U.S. national interest and for India. And you know, we’re making progress. But again, it’s not done yet and we hope to see it happen. So we’ll have to stay tuned, see how it goes.
Any other questions? Go ahead, Charley.
QUESTION: Well, there’s a report out of the United Nations that Russia and the U.S. have reached new agreement on the Iran resolution.
MR. WOOD: Not that I’m aware of, at all. I’ll look into that to see if there’s anything new. But I haven’t heard anything about that. Is that a news report coming out of New York?
QUESTION: Was there an impromptu -- do you know anything about an impromptu meeting after breakfast involving --
MR. WOOD: As far as I know, there was no P-5+1 meeting. I know there was the P-5 meeting, you know, the breakfast meeting. But I’m not aware of that, Charley. I’ll look into it to see if there’s anything and we’ll let you know. But I don’t think there was anything.
QUESTION: Did you happen to get a readout of Ambassador Hill’s meeting with the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister?
MR. WOOD: Yeah, they had a good discussion on, of course, North Korea. They discussed a broad range of, you know, multilateral issues – Iran being another – and the importance of engagement on major international issues. I don’t have anything beyond that with regard to that meeting. I understand Assistant Secretary Hill will meet with the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Director General Saiki today. Obviously, the topic of discussion will be how we can move forward on the Six-Party Talks and get North Korea to live up to its obligations.
MR. WOOD: Please.
QUESTION: There’s a report on the U.S. verification plan -- the Washington Post report, saying that Ambassador Hill was opposed to the proposal and China and Russia had warned that the U.S. was asking too much from North Korea. Can you comment on the report?
MR. WOOD: Well, I’m not going to comment on a document that wasn’t intended to be made public. But look, there’s no secret about this. We’ve been very insistent – we, the Six-Party members – that North Korea live up to its obligations and produce a verification regime. This is not an onerous task, as I mentioned yesterday, that we’re asking of North Korea. In fact, if you recall July 10 through 12, there was a heads of delegation meeting in which all the parties agreed on some verification principles. And so again, the bottom line here is: We want to see a verification package form the North, and we want to see that happen as soon as possible so we can move forward with the rest of our agenda within the Six-Party Talks framework.
QUESTION: Just another topic.
MR. WOOD: Sure. Anything else on North Korea? Okay.
QUESTION: Can you bring us up to date on deliberations about resuming consular activities in Pakistan?
MR. WOOD: Yeah. My understanding is that consular services and American citizen services will resume in Islamabad on Monday. And so that’s the latest that I have.
QUESTION: And can you say – speak to continuing security concerns in Pakistan?
MR. WOOD: Yeah. Obviously, we are going to evaluate our security posture on a daily basis and take steps that we feel are prudent, if necessary. And – but I don’t have anything beyond what I said yesterday on that.
QUESTION: Any -- still on Pakistan, any response to the Pakistan Government spokesman saying that the – calling on U.S.-led forces not to violate Pakistan territory?
MR. WOOD: Well, look, we’ve said over and again that we want to work with Pakistan on trying to improve the security situation on the border. We continue to want to do that. As I said the other day, that the attack on the Marriott Hotel is a prime example as to why we need to strengthen, redouble, deepen our cooperation on counterterrorism. It’s crucial to the United States, crucial to Pakistan and other countries in the region that we don’t allow al-Qaida and Taliban terrorists to continue to operate in that area.
QUESTION: The Pakistan comments seem to be at variance with your comments wanting to work together. There seems to be a new butting of heads on just what the role of the military is along the border. Is that not correct?
MR. WOOD: No, I don’t believe that we’re butting heads. I mean, it’s a difficult situation along the border. But both countries know that it’s in our interest to work together on this problem. There are some difficulties obviously in terms of how we deal with that border situation. But we think we’ve got very good, strong pledges of cooperation from the Government of Pakistan to deepening and redoubling our efforts to fight these terrorists on the border.
QUESTION: And nothing specific about new meetings or new diplomatic efforts to work through this?
MR. WOOD: No, but there are meetings going on. I mean, President Bush is going to host President Karzai today. The President, as you know, met with President Zardari yesterday, I believe, and the Secretary’s had conversations with President Zardari. So there’s a lot of diplomatic activity going on – will continue to go on, because we have to find a way, as I said, to resolve this issue on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
Any other questions?
QUESTION: I’m sorry, just one more.
MR. WOOD: That’s okay.
QUESTION: And in the midst of the financial crisis, that’s attracting so much focus of the United States, I know you were asked whether the State Department was doing any reach out internationally to discuss this with other governments. Is there any – been any development on that line?
MR. WOOD: No, but there are conversations that are being held on the margins of the UN amongst various leaders about the financial crisis. But again, this is being handled by the White House and Treasury and I’d just kind of leave it at that.
QUESTION: So no State Department-wide instruction to ambassadors and others of how to (inaudible)?
MR. WOOD: Not that I’m aware of.
QUESTION: The Palestinian President Abbas in an interview today on another TV channel, he was complaining why the U.S. didn’t publish the report on the implementation of the Roadmap. Is there an intention for the U.S. Government to publish this report?
MR. WOOD: I’m not aware of the issue that was raised. I think what’s important here, Samir, is that both parties live up to the Roadmap obligations and that’s important in our efforts to try to move the two – the parties to a two-state solution, which is in the interest of everyone in the region – the United States and other countries around the world. So Roadmap obligations are something that we think are important. They need to be dealt with and we’ll continue to work with the parties, as we have been doing, to get them to meet their Roadmap obligations.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MR. WOOD: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Thank you
MR. WOOD: Okay. Thank you.
(The briefing was concluded at 10:43 p.m.)
dpb # 161
Released on September 26, 2008