U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: DAILY PRESS BRIEFING: QUESTION: LIKE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE?
Philip J. Crowley
May 13, 2010
Assistant Secretary Daily Press Briefing
Secretary Clinton’s Meeting With Afghan Female Ministers / Supporting
Women Leadership Secretary Clinton at U.S. Institute of Peace /
Conversation with President Karzai Readout of Secretary Clinton’s
Call with Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu U.S. – China Human
Rights Dialogue is Underway / Dialogue Led By Assistant Secretary for
Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Mike Posner and Chinese Ministry of
Foreign Affairs Director General for International Organizations Chen
Xu Russian Adoptions USAID Administrator Raj Shah in Nairobi / Will
Also Travel to Sudan Assistant Secretary Phil Gordon in Macedonia/ Will
Discuss Bilateral Issues U.S. Has Joined The Alliance of Civilizations
Human Rights Dialogue Underway / Internet Freedom / Google
Secretary Clinton Conversation With Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu
regarding Iran Tehran Research Reactor / Uranium Enrichment
Secretary Clinton to Meet With British Foreign Minister Hague Tomorrow
High Level Meeting with South Korean Officials Tomorrow/Expect to
Discuss Regional Security Issues
Under Secretary Burns and Assistant Secretary Shapiro Meeting with
the Tunisian Defense Minister
Demonstrations In Thailand
Russian Adoption Agreement/U.S. Interagency Team Continues to Meet
with Russian Counterparts in Moscow
Meetings Between U.S. And Japan
12:18 p.m. EDT
MR. CROWLEY: Okay, the Secretary – and I know we’re a little pressed
for time – the Secretary will be meeting with some Afghan female
ministers this afternoon, underscoring our support for Afghan women.
Our goals are to improve the security of women in institutions that
serves women, supporting women’s leadership in the public and private
sectors, promoting women’s access to formal and informal justice,
enforcing existing law and constitutional rights of women, improving
women and girls’ access to education and health care, strengthening and
expanding economic development opportunity for women, especially in
agriculture, and increasing women’s political participation. And I’m
sure she will talk to them about reintegration and stress that Afghan
women’s rights will not be sacrificed as reintegration efforts move
forward and that there is a commitment to have at least 25 percent
of the membership of the upcoming peace jirga be women.
QUESTION: How many ministers is that? That she’s meeting with?
MR. CROWLEY: She’ll be meeting with the minister of labor, social
affairs, martyrs and the disabled; the acting minister of health; the
director of gender and human rights at the ministry of foreign affairs.
QUESTION: How many ministers is that? Two?
MR. CROWLEY: That’s three.
QUESTION: No, no, I don’t think the director of —
MR. CROWLEY: All right.
QUESTION: It’s three officials but only two ministers.
MR. CROWLEY: You’ll see them at the camera spray upstairs in a few
QUESTION: Right. But are those the only two women in the cabinet?
MR. CROWLEY: That’s a good question. I’ll – they’re the two that are
here. I’ll take that question.
And then the Secretary moves over to the U.S. Institute of Peace,
where she will have a conversation with President Karzai, moderated
by good friend Ambassador Bill Taylor, and that will be live-streamed
on USIP.org and be covered live on C-SPAN. And I think many of you
probably will be going over there.
The Secretary this morning spoke with Turkish Foreign Minister
Davutoglu regarding Iran. During the call, the Secretary stressed that,
in our view, Iran’s recent diplomacy was an attempt to stop Security
Council action without actually taking steps to address international
concerns about its nuclear program. There’s nothing new and nothing
encouraging in Iran’s recent statements. It has failed to demonstrate
good faith and build confidence with the international community, which
was the original intent of the Tehran research reactor proposal. It
has yet to formally respond to the IAEA. She stressed that the burden
is with Iran and its lack of seriousness about engagement requires
us to intensify efforts to apply greater pressure on Iran. Now, that
was the primary purpose of the conversation. They briefly touched
on other subjects, including Middle East peace and the relationship
between Turkey and Azerbaijan.
The U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue is underway. You’ll recall that
President Obama and President Hu Jintao agreed during their November
2009 meeting that we would organize another session. Assistant
Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Mike Posner and
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General for International
Organizations Chen Xu are leading the dialogue. Rule of law, religious
freedom, freedom of expression, labor rights, and other human rights
issues of concern will be raised over a two-day period.
Moving to Russia, our teams finished a second day of meetings on
adoptions. We’re committed to reaching an agreement to increase
safeguards for inter-country adoption between Russian – Russia and
the United States. We shared our views on existing difficulties and
discussed ways to resolve them. In fact, the detailed discussions
and very complex issues were such that they stayed over and will have
another round of consultations tomorrow.
Raj Shah has arrived in – or will be arriving in Nairobi today on the
first leg of his travel throughout – to Africa and to Kenya and Sudan.
Phil Gordon departed Macedonia today for – I’m sorry, departed Kosovo
for Macedonia, where he’ll discuss bilateral issues.
And finally, the United States has decided to join the Alliance of
Civilizations. We recognize the value of the Alliance of Civilizations
as an important initiative seeking to improve understanding between
cultures and peoples. We will be the 119th[i] member country or
international organization in the alliance’s group of friends. And on
May 28 and 29, the Government of Brazil will host the next Alliance
of Civilizations’ Forum in Rio de Janeiro and the United States
will attend this forum – our first event as a member of the group
QUESTION: Why hadn’t you been a member before?
QUESTION: You’re not civilized?
MR. CROWLEY: (Laughter.) I think going back to the previous
administration had a particular (inaudible) to joining an international
QUESTION: Why, though?
MR. CROWLEY: You’ll have to ask them.
QUESTION: No, no. Why – I mean, there were concerns about this group,
were there not?
MR. CROWLEY: I mean, it was created in 2005 and we think the alliance
activities complement President Obama’s vision of more active U.S.
engagement with other nations and international organizations to
advance America’s security interests and meet the global challenges
of the 21st century.
QUESTION: Are you convinced now that the group is not going to be
promoting things hostile to Israel?
MR. CROWLEY: I think we believe that – I mean, the focus – the agenda
of this organization, we think, is very consistent with what we’re
trying to achieve in our relations with a broad range of countries.
QUESTION: Did you discuss it with Israel before announcing you’d
MR. CROWLEY: I do not know. I mean, we pursue our own national
interests. We don’t normally ask other countries permission to do
what we think is in our interest.
QUESTION: I don’t believe she said "ask permission."
MR. CROWLEY: You feeling all right? I heard a rumor you were —
QUESTION: My daughter. That’s all (inaudible). Quickly on China Human
Rights Dialogue, you didn’t mention internet freedom in the list that
you went down. Is that going to come up generally, and is the issue
of Google going to come up specifically?
MR. CROWLEY: Internet freedom is a dimension of our pursuit of
freedom of expression. That segment of the discussion will happen this
afternoon and it wouldn’t surprise me if a range of issues regarding
internet freedom comes up.
QUESTION: Including Google?
MR. CROWLEY: I can’t predict. This is – this component of the dialogue
will occur this afternoon.
QUESTION: And one other thing. Have you yet gotten a response, let
alone a satisfactory response, from the Chinese Government to your
inquiries about Google?
MR. CROWLEY: It goes back several weeks. I do not know that we
have received any indication of the – of any investigation that we
QUESTION: Can I ask about the Davutoglu? You said that she doesn’t
think any of the recent Iranian diplomacy amounted to anything new.
Was she referring to that dinner they hosted or to the conversations
that she’s had —
MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean —
QUESTION: — that they’ve had with the Iranians and the Brazilians?
MR. CROWLEY: I mean, Iran has been very busy in recent weeks having
conversations with a range of countries. Part of that conversation did
occur last week in the dinner in New York. And not only – during the
conversation in New York, not only did Iran not offer any new, Foreign
Minister Mottaki indicated during the dinner that notwithstanding
any potential agreement on the Tehran research reactor, they would
continue to enrich uranium to 20 percent, which we – which is of
great concern to us and violates their obligations under the IAEA.
So they had initially, when they announced they were going to enrich
uranium to 20 percent, they claimed at the time that it was for the
Tehran research reactor, but it’s obviously part of a broader agenda.
And that’s what we are concerned about. That’s why we continue to
pursue the sanctions resolution as part of our pressure track.
QUESTION: Was there a specific reason for the timing of this call? I
mean, why today? Why now?
MR. CROWLEY: We have maintained very close contact —
QUESTION: Did the Turks come out and say something that – I don’t
MR. CROWLEY: No.
QUESTION: The Brazilians are going this weekend, I think with the
MR. CROWLEY: Well —
QUESTION: Tauscher’s there now, right?
AMBASSADOR VERVEER: Hmm?
QUESTION: Tauscher is there now in Turkey, right? Is her visit in
any way —
QUESTION: On the 16th.
QUESTION: What — what is the purpose of her visit to Turkey at this
time? Larijani is in Turkey, too.
MR. CROWLEY: I’ll take that question. I’m not up on her travel.
QUESTION: You said that the Turks were, or that the Secretary was
satisfied what she heard from the Turks in response to her comments
MR. CROWLEY: I mean, we have an ongoing conversation. Obviously, at
some point in the next few weeks, we expect to table a resolution in
New York, and at that time, Turkey will have a decision to make in
terms of whether or not to support that resolution. We’ve had many,
many discussions with Turkey and Brazil and others who are deeply
engaged in this process. You are quite right that President Lula will
be going to Tehran this weekend. Foreign Minister Davutoglu has been
personally to Tehran multiple times trying to convince Iran to be
more forthcoming, and so we have just kept in regular contact.
QUESTION: So the answer is no, she was not – she doesn’t feel like
she was able to convince them of anything?
MR. CROWLEY: I’m not sure she necessarily intended to convince
them. I mean, ultimately, Turkey will make a judgment based on its
own self-interest and its own international obligations. We are
in conversation with Turkey, Brazil, many other countries that are
part of the Security Council and will be required to judge what the
consequences of Iran’s failure to respond or engage seriously are.
QUESTION: Does she have any plans to talk to Lula or Amorim before
the trip, before –
MR. CROWLEY: If she does, I’ll let you know.
QUESTION: And just one thing you said —
MR. CROWLEY: I’m not aware – I don’t know. You can talk to the White
House in terms of whether the President plans to talk to President
Lula before the weekend. But if we tee up a call with Foreign Minister
Amorim, I’ll let you know.
QUESTION: And you said that she saw nothing new nor encouraging
in Iran’s recent statements. Does she think that the Turkish and
Brazilian diplomatic efforts are pointless?
MR. CROWLEY: No. We have a two-track strategy. The – Turkey and
Brazil have made a substantial commitment to try to make progress
on the engagement track. We have in the past as well. We obviously
continue to welcome any efforts that – any steps they can take to
try to convince Iran to change course. We ourselves are skeptical
that Iran is going to change course. And certainly, coming out of
President Lula’s trip to Tehran this weekend, we look forward to
hearing the results of that discussion and any others that might
occur. And at that point, I think we’ll understand where – what Iran
is either willing or unwilling to do. And at that point, we believe
that there should be consequences for failure to respond.
QUESTION: So you’re saying that Lula – Lula is sort of the last
opportunity for them to be responsive to —
QUESTION: In this phase?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, we are – we continue to move forward on a
sanctions resolution, and we have a sense of urgency about this. We
want to get this done as quickly as possible. But our view remains
that we are doubtful that Iran is going to change course absent the
kind of significant pressure that comes with a resolution and the
consequences that come with them.
QUESTION: There seem to be all different options, though, on how this
Tehran research reactor deal could proceed. And I wonder, how flexible
is the U.S. being? Did she give Davutoglu any red lines about what
the U.S. would accept in this?
MR. CROWLEY: In – regarding the TRR, it was put on the table last fall
to build confidence with the international community about the true
intentions of Iran’s nuclear program. We have drawn conclusions from
Iran’s failure to even respond – much less engage constructively –
even respond to the proposal formally to the IAEA. She stressed to
Foreign Minister Davutoglu again today that it’s not about the public
statements that Iran makes. If Iran wishes to engage in – regarding
the TRR, come up with alternatives that meet the fundamental intent
of the proposal, then they can pick up the phone and call the IAEA,
which is something they have failed to do.
QUESTION: P.J., Lula is going to Moscow before going to Tehran. Has
he discussed any specific ideas with State that he might be discussing
with the Russians before going to Iran about the nuclear fuel swap?
MR. CROWLEY: I mean, we are significantly engaged with Russia on
this process and we would anticipate that that discussion would be
consistent with our stance, which is that Iran has to either respond
or face the consequences of a UN Security Council resolution.
QUESTION: P.J., the Secretary meets William Hague tomorrow. Is she
comfortable with the fact that his coalition partner is very clear
that they regard the Iraq war as having been illegal, that they’re
seeking a full judicial inquiry into allegations of British complicity
into rendition, and they’ve ruled out force against Iran?
MR. CROWLEY: She looks forward to the discussion tomorrow. She
has met William Hague before. I think, as was indicated in London
yesterday with the discussion by Prime Minister Cameron and Deputy
Prime Minister Clegg, there are lots of things that have been said
during a campaign, but now you have a coalition government. And I
think, as Prime Minister Cameron said yesterday, he seeks to maintain
a secure and effective relationship with the United States. And we
look forward to hearing from Foreign Secretary Hague about how he
sees the future of the relationship.
QUESTION: Does that security and an effective relationship depend to
some extent on rolling back on the Lib Dems’ part from both —
MR. CROWLEY: Well, these are judgments that the new British Government
is going to have to make. I mean, we recognize in this country that
there are things said during a campaign and then they have to put
together a program to govern.
QUESTION: Like Armenian genocide?
MR. CROWLEY: As the President said yesterday, this is an
extraordinarily special relationship. It is one of the most important
strategic relationships in the world. We have a shared vision of
the world, a shared agenda. I’m confident that that will be the
primary topic of conversation tomorrow, including the situation in
Afghanistan. I don’t know if Iraq will come up. It wouldn’t surprise
me if perspective on the current steps being – aggressive steps being
taken in Europe to deal with the economic crisis.
So I’m confident there will be a full discussion. There will be a
press availability tomorrow and you’ll have a chance to ask him that
QUESTION: Does that mean that you expect the – that you expect them
to not follow through on their —
MR. CROWLEY: I think, given —
QUESTION: That politics is politics, and politicians lie to get
MR. CROWLEY: No. Well, hang on a second. I mean, given —
QUESTION: Is that —
MR. CROWLEY: Given the statements made yesterday, I think the release
of – I think there was a release of kind of the basis of the coalition
government. We will look forward to seeing how the government plans
to govern over the next five years. We look forward to the discussion.
QUESTION: If they do go ahead – well, you’re not worried about a
criminal inquiry if it comes to pass?
MR. CROWLEY: I’m not – I’m just going to say we look forward to the
meeting tomorrow and —
QUESTION: (Inaudible) you say that was the last administration had
MR. CROWLEY: We look forward to the meeting tomorrow and we’ll hear
what Foreign Secretary Hague has to say about what their agenda is.
QUESTION: Another meeting tomorrow, there’s going to be a preparatory
2+2 with the South Korean Government taking place here at the State
Department. Do you have any agenda, logistics of that meeting?
MR. CROWLEY: I don’t have a specific agenda in front of me, but as with
any high-level meeting with our South Korean allies, I would expect
there will be bilateral discussions. We are making adjustments on the
military front. We will, of course, discuss regional security issues,
including North Korea. I would fully expect bilateral and regional
issues to be – to dominate the discussion.
QUESTION: Do you expect a preview of the Cheonan investigation?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, we are involved in and fully supportive of the
QUESTION: Regarding the human —
QUESTION: The never-ending, ongoing investigation. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Regarding the U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue, will there
be – religious freedom issue will be addressed? And will —
MR. CROWLEY: Yes.
QUESTION: — (inaudible) issue will be included?
MR. CROWLEY: I’m sorry?
QUESTION: Falun Gong issue will also be included?
MR. CROWLEY: I don’t know that Falun Gong will be a specific topic.
I’m not ruling it in or ruling it out. The dialogue just got underway.
You’ll have, I think, a briefing tomorrow afternoon with Assistant
Secretary Mike Posner at the conclusion of the dialogue and you can
ask him what specific issues came up.
QUESTION: Very briefly on this, the alliance, who is going to go to
this meeting in Rio? And might I suggest that it would make a lovely
stop after a return from Asia —
MR. CROWLEY: (Laughter.)
QUESTION: — if you really want to show how committed you are and send
a high-level representative. It is a ministerial meeting, isn’t it?
MR. CROWLEY: I do not know. I will —
QUESTION: Two days in Rio?
MR. CROWLEY: I will provide your recommendation to the Secretary
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: Do you have a readout on the meeting of the Tunisian
defense minister and Under Secretary Burns and Assistant Secretary
MR. CROWLEY: We’ll see if we can get you something, Samir.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: The Human Rights Dialogue is here, isn’t it?
MR. CROWLEY: Hmm?
QUESTION: The human rights dialogue is here?
MR. CROWLEY: Yes. Deputy Secretary Steinberg addressed the – both
groups – both teams at the start of the dialogue first thing this
QUESTION: Is the U.S. side raising the names of specific political
prisoners or specific cases?
MR. CROWLEY: We frequently do that with meetings that we have with
high-level individuals or delegations from China. That’s a good
question to ask Mike tomorrow.
QUESTION: But do you know?
MR. CROWLEY: I do not know what the particular items to be discussed
QUESTION: Do you have a reaction —
MR. CROWLEY: I mean, I’m sure there could well be, in the course of
a broad discussion, some specific cases that we bring up that are
illustrative of the concerns that we have.
QUESTION: How concerned are you about the violence in Thailand and
the decision by the government to shelve elections in November?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, we are very concerned. We’re watching it very
closely. It has had an impact on our embassy operations. We continue
to believe and we continue to encourage both sides that violence is
not the route to resolve these issues. Ultimately, the government
and the demonstrators have to get back together again and to find –
reach agreement on a path forward. And we are aware that a senior
general affiliated with the protestors has been shot and wounded today,
so we are very concerned about the ongoing violence.
QUESTION: Are you concerned about the violence or about the – because
it was a two-part question about the election.
MR. CROWLEY: Well, we’re concerned about both. I mean, there was an
understanding, whether it had been a formal agreement or not, on a
way forward to elections. It would appear as though that agreement
has collapsed and we would like – there’s no route to a solution
through violent confrontation. The government has to continue to have
a dialogue with the demonstrators and they need to reach an agreement
on a path forward.
QUESTION: Are there broader implications for democracy in that
country? I mean, are you thinking about these possible implications?
MR. CROWLEY: I mean, I’m not sure that now is the time for kind of
sweeping statements. There is – there are fundamental fissures within
Thai society, and the only way to resolve this and to develop a civil
and inclusive society is through peaceful negotiation.
QUESTION: What’s the effect on your embassy? You said it was affected.
MR. CROWLEY: I think it’s closed to only essential operations – let
me see, give me a second. It is closed and American citizens services
will be available for emergencies only.
QUESTION: When you say it’s closed, do you mean it’s closed —
MR. CROWLEY: I think essential personnel right now are —
MR. CROWLEY: — manning the embassy, but it’s not open.
QUESTION: Is that because of a specific threat or just because —
MR. CROWLEY: Well, I think the embassy sits on the fringe of this
containment area where some of the violence has taken place.
QUESTION: Are you close to a Russia deal? Are you close to a Russia
deal on adoptions? You sounded like it was —
MR. CROWLEY: Well, I think we have a good understanding of the issues.
We are – we’ve agreed to pursue an agreement and looking at a wide
range of steps to improve the security of these adoptions. I think
we’re confident that we will be able to reach an agreement, but
these are complex issues. I think actually getting the agreement,
which can have legally binding obligations on both sides, will take
some time to finalize.
QUESTION: On Futenma. There was a meeting between U.S. and Japan
yesterday. Do you have any readout of that?
MR. CROWLEY: It was a good meeting, but we continue our dialogue
QUESTION: How did the U.S. react to the Japanese proposal?
MR. CROWLEY: There are ongoing discussions about what to do and we’re
not done yet.
QUESTION: Anything new on the Chile investigation?
MR. CROWLEY: No.
QUESTION: Do you think it’s progress from last week?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, we have been engaged with Japan for,
obviously, many months. We continue to share ideas back and forth. I
think we’re hopeful that we can reach an understanding soon, but
there’s still work to be done.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MR. CROWLEY: Okay.
(The briefing was concluded at 12:45 p.m.)