Daily Press Briefing - July 2, 2010

Index for Today's Briefing:

    • Secretary in Ukraine today w/numerous meetings and events/In Krakow tomorrow
    • Sympathies and condolences for families of victims of attack on USAID facility in Afghanistan/Four non-Americans killed in the attack/Two Americans injured (contractors)
    • U.S. strongly condemns the attack at the Data Darbar Shrine in Lahore, Pakistan
    • U/S Burns met today with counterparts from Russia, UK, France, China, and Germany, as well as EU High Representative Ashton to review situation regarding Iran's nuclear program/Reaffirmed commitments to long-term resolutions and support for adoption of UN Resolution 1929
  • IRAN
    • 23rd Anniversary of the shoot-down of an Iranian jetliner/U.S. and Iran reached agreement in 1996 for full and final settlement of all disputes, claims, and counterclaims at Intl. Court of Justice
    • The U.S. stands behind our acknowledging and commending the Truth Commission established in Honduras/No information regarding another such commission being initiated/Former president Zelaya's claims that the U.S. was behind the coup, and that the State Dept. helped orchestrate the coup, are ridiculous
    • 1st Anniversary on July 5 of events and violence in Urumqi in Xianjiang
    • Ambassador Morningstar also on the trip with the Secretary/U.S. supports diverse energy resources in order to provide the best market for the Ukrainian people and across Europe and Eurasia
    • Questioner referred to the Defense Department and the Japanese Government on Futenma
    • Categorically denied that one of the persons accused of being a spy for Russia is hiding in the American Embassy in Cyprus
    • There is an ongoing investigation in the case of a blogger from Egypt and the U.S. fully supports it/U.S. urges calm and an adherence to the democratic process
    • The U.S. is in regular consultations both in Brussels and Afghanistan/General Petraeus met with ISAF allies in Brussels yesterday to discuss the mission in Afghanistan/The President has made it clear that there are to be no additional personnel changes that will take place/We have confidence in the civilian team there
Mark C. Toner
Acting Department Spokesman
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
July 2, 2010


12:04 p.m. EST

MR. TONER: Let me just start with a quick update on the Secretary’s trip. It’s going well. She participated in the second meeting of the U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Partnership Commission and obviously was involved in a full day of meetings, including with President Yanukovych, which I think you saw the press conference that took place. Foreign Minister Gryshchenko, former Prime Minister Tymoshenko as well as media leaders and civil society groups – I believe very soon she’ll be giving remarks at a town hall meeting at Kyiv Polytechnic University and we’ll make transcripts available as we get them done.

And tomorrow she’ll be in Krakow where she’ll participate in the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Community of Democracies as well as meet with Polish Foreign Minister Sikorski.

Our deepest sympathies and condolences are with the families of the victims of the attack on the residence and office of a USAID implementing partner in Kunduz City. Dedicated individuals such as these are working day in and day out with the Government of Afghanistan and our Afghan and international partners to tackle difficult and dangerous situations in order to help provide a better life for all Afghan people. We strongly condemn this attack and we will not tolerate such attempts at intimidation. This incident underscores the importance of the international community’s ongoing efforts to help bring about a stable and secure Afghanistan in partnership with the Afghan people.

QUESTION: Can you confirm two Americans injured in that attack?

MR. TONER: Sure, Kirit. That’s – that is correct. I can confirm that. Looks like four individuals killed and two American citizens injured.

QUESTION: Just to clarify, that’s four killed, not American; correct?

MR. TONER: Correct.

QUESTION: How serious are the injuries?

MR. TONER: I can try to get more information.

QUESTION: USAID people or contractors?

MR. TONER: I believe contractors. If that’s not right, I’ll get back to you.

We also strongly condemn the vicious attack at the Data Darbar Shrine in Lahore that killed and injured many innocent Pakistanis. This senseless act of violence demonstrates the terrorists’ blatant disregard for the lives of the Pakistani people and their disrespect for the sanctity of Pakistan’s places of worship.

QUESTION: You mentioned about the U.S. civilians. They are armed forces? Non-armed forces?

MR. TONER: In Kunduz? I said I believe they’re contractors, which would make them non-armed forces. That’s really all I have in terms of statements at the top. So I’ll take your questions.

QUESTION: Follow-up on just the Pakistan statement?

MR. TONER: Yeah, sure.

QUESTION: Just to expand on that, I mean, there have been a number of attacks recently against either Muslim minority groups or different religious groups. Is there a concern that this is expanding, that there could be more of an organized campaign against religious minorities in Pakistan?

MR. TONER: I mean, I’d refer you to the Pakistani authorities for more details on the violence and what trends may be there or may not be there. I mean they’re all, obviously, vicious terrorist attacks that we condemn wholeheartedly.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. TONER: Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean – you actually had your hand up first.

QUESTION: Yes, on an anniversary sort of – about 22 years ago, the USS Vincennes gunned down an Iranian airliner. I’m just wondering if the State Department has any comments on the 22nd anniversary of that event, whether an apology’s been issued or will be issued to the families of those killed.

MR. TONER: Well, clearly, it was a terrible human tragedy and our sympathy and condolences go out to the passengers, crew, and their families. We, obviously, regret and have regretted the loss of life. I believe in 1996, the United States and Iran reached an agreement in full and final settlement of all disputes, differences, claims, counterclaims relating to the incident at the International Court of Justice.

QUESTION: Did they apologize?

MR. TONER: I don’t believe so.

QUESTION: Why was there no apology issued?

MR. TONER: Again, it was a terrible human tragedy. Condolences go out to the passengers and crew, their families, but we’ve reached an agreement and full, final settlement of all disputes. I’m not going to discuss apology or no.

QUESTION: Can I go over to Honduras? I was wondering if anything was issued on Honduras on the anniversary of the coup.

MR. TONER: I think it was – is the anniversary today? It was last Monday, right?

QUESTION: I think it was last Monday.

MR. TONER: Yeah, I’d have to get back to you on if anything was – I don’t think – we didn’t issue anything, but I can get back to you with a comment on that.

QUESTION: Two, a couple more questions on Honduras if that’s okay. Did the Honduran Ambassador Hugo Llorens – did he meet with Otto Reich before, after, or during the coup? Or excuse me, before, after, or during Lobo’s – after his inauguration?

MR. TONER: I’m sorry. Can you ask the question again? I didn’t –

QUESTION: Sure. Did the Honduran Ambassador Hugo Llorens – did he meet with either Otto Reich, Roberto Carmona-Borjas, or John Negroponte before, after, or during the coup?

MR. TONER: The coup?


MR. TONER: I’ll have to take that question. I don’t –

QUESTION: And last question on Honduras: Is the U.S. recognizing the True Commission that’s been issued in Honduras? There’s been an independent panel of –

MR. TONER: Sure, I believe we – yeah, I believe –

QUESTION: That’s the Truth Commission you guys acknowledged, which was issued and mandated by President Lobo.

MR. TONER: Absolutely.

QUESTION: There’s been a separate one that was initiated by an independent group of Hondurans, an international that’s called the True Commission. I’m wondering –

MR. TONER: Yeah, I’m not aware of that. But we obviously stand by our acknowledging and commending the other Truth Commission. I’m not aware of the one you’re talking about. So –

QUESTION: Could you find out if you guys are –

MR. TONER: Sure.

QUESTION: -- acknowledging that?

QUESTION: Mark, could you comment on the –

MR. TONER: That’s okay. Go ahead.

QUESTION: -- on the arrest in Mexico on the killing of the U.S. Consulate worker?

MR. TONER: We just have – I’ve seen media reports. I’ll refer you to the Mexican authorities, although, if we get more details, I’ll certainly share them with you later.

QUESTION: I would appreciate that.

MR. TONER: Yeah, absolutely. I know it’s of interest. North Korea, sorry –

QUESTION: South Korean representative for six-party talks is leaving today. Any further comments about this visit?

MR. TONER: Nothing new to add to what P.J. said earlier.

QUESTION: On the theme of anniversaries, it’s the one year – I think it will be next week – the one-year anniversary of the events in Urumqi in Xinjiang, the violence there. Is there any statement that the U.S. is putting out on this? Are there any concerns about the judicial process since then or about people who may not be accounted for since the violence?

MR. TONER: Yeah, you know what? Let me see if we have anything that we want to say about that. I think we addressed it a couple weeks ago, but let me see where we are. What’s that?


MR. TONER: Was it Monday?

QUESTION: It’s this coming Monday.

MR. TONER: This upcoming Monday. All right, I’ll find out if we have anything to say.

QUESTION: On the Secretary’s visit to Ukraine – was the energy equation with Europe? Because it always comes up during –

MR. TONER: (Inaudible) in what situation?

QUESTION: The energy – the gas – it always comes up during winter when the Russians –

MR. TONER: Right.

QUESTION: So was this discussed during this trip?

MR. TONER: Yeah, I believe it was discussed and Ambassador Morningstar is also on the trip who handles our energy issues – was on the trip with her and I think is going to stay on it. I believe she said at a press conference he’s going to stay on for a few days for other discussions. In general, we’ve – our long-standing policy has always been for a diversity of energy resources –

QUESTION: Any solid follow-up on this gaseous issue? Because it always will come up – come up in winter.

MR. TONER: Again, I think we just – we’ve said all along whenever these issues arise, we always support, I think, a diversity of energy resources in order to provide the best market for the Ukrainian people and across Europe and Eurasia.

QUESTION: On Japan, the Yomiuri is reporting that U.S. officials have told Japan that they will reconsider the relocation plan Futenma by keeping the command center there while relocating infantry forces. Have you heard anything about this?

MR. TONER: I have not. I’m going to defer you to the Defense Department on the details like that, sorry.

QUESTION: Mark, Cyprus real quick. There was a – there’s a rumor out there and some reports that this 11th spy is hiding in your Embassy. Do you deny that?

MR. TONER: I can categorically deny that, yes. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Any other contacts with the Cypriot Government? Do you have any reason to believe he’s left the country? Do you have any information?

MR. TONER: I don’t have any updates beyond what we – I mean we just – beyond the taken question that we issued last night. But no updates on his whereabouts.

QUESTION: Okay, and do you have any updates on contacts with the Russian Government and whether there will be any other diplomatic shoe to drop on this story?


QUESTION: So is that to say that there will be no other shoe to drop or there’s none so far?

MR. TONER: Not that I’m aware of.

QUESTION: And no effort to encourage departures from the Russian mission in New York?

MR. TONER: Not that I’m aware of. Go ahead. Are you --

QUESTION: Okay, yeah, sure. Back to Honduras if that’s okay.

MR. TONER: Yeah, sure.

QUESTION: Zelaya, I think -- the former president – he recently said that the U.S. was behind the coup and he did specify the State Department had some handling in orchestrating the coup. Any comments on that?

MR. TONER: Yeah, ridiculous.

QUESTION: And so everything he says about the elements in the State Department --

MR. TONER: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: -- and another thing on Egypt, I know that one of the envoys left – an Islamic envoy. I could be wrong, but on the 17th to Alexandria to discuss Islamic issues in Egypt --

MR. TONER: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Yes. This was June 17th. I don’t have the specific details on it yet, right now at the moment. But I know it was June 17th they were meeting in Alexandria to discuss new challenges in the Islamic world. But it also happens to be the same city where a young boy was tortured to death by the Egyptian police. I’m just wondering if the State Department is joining the EU on calling on the Egyptian Government to investigate it and hold those accountable for torturing this boy to death.

MR. TONER: The – more details on the case you’re talking about because I --

QUESTION: Sure. The boy’s name was Khaled Said. He was a 27-year-old Egyptian blogger and he was tortured to death.

MR. TONER: Yeah. Right. We have called for – and I believe there is an ongoing investigation in that case, so we support that investigation.

QUESTION: Any concerns that Egypt is boiling – could implode as far as the political upheaval that’s taking place there right now calling for constitutional and democratic reform. Are you worried that that might have something – it might make the peace process problematic given the Egyptians are the intermediaries between the Palestinians and the Israelis?

MR. TONER: We always encourage and urge for calm and an adherence to the democratic process.

QUESTION: Do you pressure the Egyptians?

MR. TONER: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Because it doesn’t – it looks like that’s been happening for years, but there’s been no pressure.

MR. TONER: I’m not aware of any contacts we’ve had in that regard.


QUESTION: For the – it’s a follow-up on the Cyprus question. Have you been in touch with Israel and Greece? Because these are the two countries where the unofficial traffic takes place a lot.

MR. TONER: I’m not aware. And really, that’s a Justice Department question because they really have the lead in tracking this individual down.

QUESTION: Can you tell us anything about Bill Burns’s trip to --

MR. TONER: Oh, yes.

QUESTION: -- Brussels and the P-5+1?

MR. TONER: Oh, yes. Thank you for reminding me.

QUESTION: Specifically what’s on the agenda and why they’re still meeting given that you already have the resolution?

MR. TONER: Right. Well, just to – he met with his counterparts from Russia, the UK, France, China, and Germany, and the EU, as well as the EU High Commissioner Catherine Ashton, to review the situation regarding Iran’s nuclear program. They reaffirmed the commitments that they made in the statement issued upon the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1929. They also reiterated the group’s goals toward a comprehensive and long-term resolution to resolving international concerns regarding Iran. The group also agreed on the importance of ensuring swift enforcement of Resolution 1929 that’s consistent with the dual – and which is consistent with the dual-track approach. And also has communicated in High Representative Ashton letter’s to Iran, they restated the offer to meet with Iran for discussions on the nuclear issue and stressed the door remains open to Iran.

And just as your follow-up question there, again, I think this is part of their regular consultations. They are going to continue to meet, obviously, the – the passage of 1929, does not in any way connote an end to the P-5+1’s regular consultations.

QUESTION: Are they – well, could they take on other issues like the South Korean warship? And is this going to be an operating group now within the Security Council?

MR. TONER: I’m not aware of that. I think the focus now is on Iran.

QUESTION: Speaking of the sanctions, what – I know it’s awfully early, but what sort of compliance have you seen with them? What has been the – kind of the immediate reaction to them, both the UN and those from our government?

MR. TONER: Oh, I’m sorry; the question was on the part of the UN or on the part of –

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. TONER: -- countries in the world? Or --

QUESTION: From the UN resolution and also the separate sanctions put forth by the United States.

MR. TONER: You know what, it probably is too early. I don’t have a very comprehensive answer on that. I just – I’d have to get more details. Sorry.

QUESTION: What – going back to Brussels and NATO – have you issued – because you’ve already done – the new general is there in Afghanistan.

MR. TONER: Right.

QUESTION: Have you addressed issues raised by the NATO – other NATO partners? There have been unofficial reports of the doubts and what is going on, so –

MR. TONER: So your question is whether we’ve addressed those concerns or whether we’ve –

QUESTION: Have you – have you had a meeting? Are you going to plan a meeting?

MR. TONER: I believe Petraeus was in Brussels yesterday and met with the allies. So that was obviously an opportunity for him to --

QUESTION: But that’s all.

MR. TONER: Well, we’re in regular consultations both in Brussels and in Afghanistan with our allies on the ground.

QUESTION: Have those issues been addressed or not yet?

MR. TONER: Which issues?

QUESTION: The issues that were raised by the allies about what is going on internally with the Holbrooke’s interview with (inaudible).

MR. TONER: Sure.

QUESTION: He said that (inaudible) woke him up in the middle of the night and apologized.

MR. TONER: I would just say that we’re in close, regular contact with our allies in ISAF discussing our mission in Afghanistan. And the President and the Secretary have been quite clear that there’s no personnel – additional personnel changes that are going to take place and we have confidence in the civilian team there.

QUESTION: On Japan, mayor of Ginowan city which is in Okinawa, announced to sue Japanese government for the problems caused by Futenma Air Station. Do you have any comment on that?

He announced to --

QUESTION: To sue the Japanese government over the problems caused by the Futenma--

MR. TONER: I’d really – I’d have to refer you to the Japanese government for that.

QUESTION: On Holbrooke, there was somewhere – there was a – there was a talk that he was going up to the UN for consultations. Are you aware of that?

MR. TONER: I’m not. I can double-check on that. I don’t know where it – I meant to check on where he was but I’m not aware of where he’s going next.

Happy Fourth.

(The briefing was concluded at 12:20 p.m.)

DPB # 107