Remarks to the Press

Special Briefing
Ian Kelly
Department Spokesman
Washington, DC
August 28, 2009

MR. KELLY: What you got?

QUESTION: Can you give us the comment on the IAEA, Iran?

MR. KELLY: Here’s what I got, okay? And that’s actually the reason I’m a little late, is I was trying to figure out if I can give you some definitive comment on it. The fact is it’s currently in a restricted form, so I can’t give you a complete reaction. What I can give you is, based on what we’ve seen in press reports, including, of course, with your agency, Arshad, is it seems clear that Iran continues to not cooperate fully and continue its enrichment activities. As I say, I hope we’ll have a chance to comment more fully once the report is in a broader form.

QUESTION: What do you mean by restricted form? Parts of it are still classified?

MR. KELLY: I don’t know if that means classified or if it just means that it’s now – the report is for the use of the member nations, and not necessarily – although, I know that based on press reports, Reuters and AP already have copies, so --

QUESTION: Everyone is --

QUESTION: And they’re sending it out.

MR. KELLY: When --

QUESTION: I’ve got it. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Are you disappointed, though?

MR. KELLY: Let me back up then. I hope to have a more broad comment for you when we’ve had a chance to study --

QUESTION: Will you put something out over the weekend?

MR. KELLY: We’ll see if we can. I’m not going to promise that.

QUESTION: But are you disappointed that they’re not cooperating fully? Does this indicate that you’re going to impose more sanctions?

MR. KELLY: Well, I think what it indicates is that we are very concerned that they are not addressing the concerns of the international community. And I’ve said that the main concerns that we have are that they cooperate more fully with the IAEA to – they say that they want to have the right to a civilian nuclear energy program. But they also have the obligation to show the world that that is indeed what they intend to do, and they still have to address those concerns, that what they are intending to do is develop a weapons program.

QUESTION: Well, they just admitted IAEA inspectors, so is that a good step in the right direction?

MR. KELLY: Well, I wouldn’t read too much into that. I mean, I think it’s just – as I understand it, it’s just in one facility, that it’s not the kind of broad access that the IAEA’s been looking for. Look, I mean, this is an important report, all of these IAEA reports are important. We have a meeting next week on Wednesday of the political directors of the P-5+1. This report --

QUESTION: Is this in Paris?

MR. KELLY: I think it’s in Frankfurt.

QUESTION: Frankfurt?

MR. KELLY: Yeah, September 2nd. And this report is very timely, and I’m sure it’ll be a real important agenda item for their discussions.

QUESTION: A different topic?

MR. KELLY: Sure.

QUESTION: There’s reports that A.Q. Khan is – restrictions on his movement have been lifted by the – I think it’s the Supreme Court in Pakistan. Do you have any reaction to that?

MR. KELLY: If you just hold on a second, I’ll – I think, Kirit – at this point, I think I can only say that we’ve seen reports of it. We’ve asked for clarification. I think it was a decision of a court in Lahore. But at this point, it’s just press reports. And I think we’re going to be seeking clarification from the --

QUESTION: Are you troubled at all?

MR. KELLY: Well, I don’t think – I think that we need to find out exactly from the Government of Pakistan what this means in terms of the – of his ability to travel, and I’ll just leave it at that.

QUESTION: Honduras?

QUESTION: Honduras, yes.


QUESTION: What about this kind of new proposal that Micheletti has introduced? Have you gone over it? Has anybody at the State Department met with the delegation that was here this week to go over the proposal and --

MR. KELLY: Yeah, actually we’ve had – we had several meetings with the representatives of the de facto regime, including – there was a meeting today as well, an informal meeting with representatives. It was --

QUESTION: Do you know who in the building?

MR. KELLY: Just a Senior State Department Official.

QUESTION: No, no. I mean --

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- who met – no, I mean --

MR. KELLY: I’m not going to tell you who met with him.

QUESTION: Why not?

MR. KELLY: It was a senior official.


MR. KELLY: That’s --

QUESTION: You said, like last week when they met with Tom – with – you’ve said when they met with Tom Shannon, you’ve said when they’ve met with Craig Kelly. I mean, I think that has to be something that’s – I mean, how do we know how senior it is?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, I respectfully decline to name the individual.

QUESTION: So it was just here, here in this --

MR. KELLY: No, it wasn’t. It was outside the building.

QUESTION: Who did they meet with?

QUESTION: He won’t say.

QUESTION: No, no, no, who did the unnamed person meet with?

MR. KELLY: With this – these representatives of the de facto regime.

QUESTION: Some people who were here before?

MR. KELLY: The same people. They’re – yeah, the same people who arrived, whenever they arrived, Wednesday or Thursday.

QUESTION: The same people that you said last week met with Craig Kelly?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, I don’t know if it is the same – yes, I think it is the same group that was here last week.

QUESTION: Okay. So they spoke, and what about their proposal?

MR. KELLY: We’ve seen the proposal. We’re working very closely with the OAS. We’re letting the OAS take the lead on this and letting them be the ones to comment on it.

You know what our position is. We continue to believe that the San Jose Accord, the one put forward by President Arias, remains the best way forward out of the crisis, and I’ll leave it at that.

QUESTION: Well, then is --

QUESTION: What about the speculation that the United States might make a formal determination today even, that it was a coup and --

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: What’s with that?

MR. KELLY: Well, let’s talk about that for a second. I think, first of all, we’ve said all along that it was a coup. What we’re looking at is whether or not a particular provision, I think it’s Section 7008 of the Foreign Operations Act – let’s see, let me give you the exact title of that – Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act – whether that particular provision applies. And under that provision, if it’s determined that there was a military coup, then the State Department and USAID and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, all agencies providing assistance in the U.S. Government, have to suspend aid that supports the government.

Now, we’ve basically already done that. We’ve already frozen programs that would apply if that determination is made. So I just wanted to be clear, because we’ve already said there was a coup. What it is, is this legal determination that there was a significant involvement of the military. So --

QUESTION: So is it going to happen today or not?

MR. KELLY: It’s not going to happen. I do not – (laughter)

QUESTION: I mean, I think – all of us were here yesterday. We all understand what the determination is. Thank you for the lengthy explanation of it. But --

MR. KELLY: Well --

QUESTION: -- what the question was, was, is this going to happen today or not? Has she decided --

MR. KELLY: I don’t anticipate that that will happen today.

QUESTION: She’s decided to wait until the – she comes back?

MR. KELLY: Well, I’m not sure when it’s going to happen, but I don’t anticipate that will happen today.

QUESTION: So she’s not going to sign off on it today?

MR. KELLY: Not that I --


MR. KELLY: Not to the best of my knowledge.

QUESTION: Or over the weekend?

MR. KELLY: I would highly doubt that it would happen over the weekend as well.

QUESTION: Where is the Secretary’s secret location?

MR. KELLY: (Laughter.)


QUESTION: New York some – okay, Chappaqua, okay.

MR. KELLY: New York somewhere, yeah.

QUESTION: Is this – is the fact that – since the impression was left yesterday that they – she might do it today, the fact that it hasn’t been done, is that because there’s this proposal out here and because we’re talking? I mean --

MR. KELLY: I don’t think so. I think that this is a – it’s a serious decision, obviously. There needs to be quite a bit of coordination. We also have this ongoing process. We have – we’re still continuing to talk with our partners in the region. As I said before, a Senior State Department Official is speaking with, or has spoken with members of the Micheletti delegation. So, I mean, I wouldn’t read too much into the fact it didn’t happen.

QUESTION: I don’t understand why you won’t say on the record who met with them. I mean, if you could at least provide an explanation why every other time --

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- you’ve said who they met with, and you can’t say on the record this time who --

MR. KELLY: Yeah. It’s – let me speak to the individual involved, and if I can tell you, I’ll tell you.

QUESTION: You may not have anything on this, but there’s --

QUESTION: Well, can we just stick to the – is this on Honduras?


QUESTION: So you’ve seen the proposal and you’ve worked closely with the OAS, but you continue to believe the San Jose accord is the best way forward; so you rejected the proposal?

MR. KELLY: It is not for us to accept or reject. We’re letting the OAS --

QUESTION: But I mean, would this --

MR. KELLY: The OAS has the lead in this, and we’re going to --

QUESTION: But would something like that --

MR. KELLY: -- closely consult with them.

QUESTION: Would something like that be a resolution that would stop you from doing all these other measures?

MR. KELLY: Well, I think our main goal here is, as we’ve said all along, the restoration of democratic and constitutional order in Honduras.

QUESTION: Well, but do you think that that plan provides that?

MR. KELLY: If everybody – if we – I’m not going to pronounce on whether or not it provide – if it does it or not. I mean, I’ve seen reports that one side or the other is not going to accept it, but --

QUESTION: Could it convince you to postpone the determination – the legal determination of a coup?

MR. KELLY: The fact that there’s this proposal on the table?

QUESTION: Yes, yes.

MR. KELLY: I think we’re going to do everything in consultation with our partners in the region and the OAS.

QUESTION: Even the legal determination of --

MR. KELLY: Well, let’s be clear about this legal determination. We’ve already taken steps --

QUESTION: Yeah, but you didn’t do it.

MR. KELLY: -- that would have the same practical effect as the legal determination. We have frozen the aid. I mean, we can make the determination --

QUESTION: Well, it sounds like you’re backing away from what a senior official told all of us yesterday, which was that this was basically a done deal; it was just a question of when it was going to happen. Is it now no longer a done deal?

MR. KELLY: No, I’m just saying it hasn’t happened yet.

QUESTION: It still is going to happen?

MR. KELLY: Well, I’m not going to say that it’s going to happen or not, but it hasn’t happened.

QUESTION: Yeah, but is the reason it hasn’t happened now because of this proposal, or is it something --

MR. KELLY: I wouldn’t say that necessarily. I mean, what I would say is our priority is that we come up with a diplomatic solution to this.

QUESTION: So would you say that you’re backing off, then, from taking the decision and that there’s more discussion within the Administration? You’re not all necessarily on board with --

MR. KELLY: No, I wouldn’t say that. I think we’re all pretty much on board that we have to figure out ways to persuade the de facto authorities to accept what is the best plan around that.

QUESTION: Well, but you said you’re not going to determine what the best plan is, so maybe he – they think that that is the best plan?

MR. KELLY: Well, no, I’m just saying that what we think is the best plan is the San Jose accords.

QUESTION: So you’re trying to ram the San Jose accords down their throat?

MR. KELLY: No, I wouldn’t say that. Did I say that?

QUESTION: Yes, you – well, you said that we’re trying to convince them what the best way forward is, and we think that that’s the San Jose accords. But a minute ago --

MR. KELLY: Well, it’s not just us. It’s not just the U.S.

QUESTION: But a minute ago, you said that you’re not going to determine what the best way forward is for them if they think that this proposal works and it restores constitutional order.

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well --

QUESTION: So I mean, it’s inconsistent.

MR. KELLY: Yeah, but by saying ram, you’re implying that the U.S. is trying to impose its will unilaterally. This is not just --

QUESTION: Well, but by declaring it a military coup and, you know, taking other measures --

MR. KELLY: You’ve given up on me?

QUESTION: That’s fine.

QUESTION: -- isn’t that convincing – isn’t that trying to get them to follow the way that you think is the best way forward? What is --

MR. KELLY: It’s not just what we think. It’s what the Organization of American States thinks.

QUESTION: Yeah, but a minute ago – I’m sorry, a minute ago, you said that you’re not going to determine what the best way forward is for them. I mean, it’s for them to decide.

MR. KELLY: Well, it is ultimately, but we still have our own opinion. And it’s not just our opinion. It’s the opinion of the region.

QUESTION: Can we move to an easier subject?

MR. KELLY: Is there an easier subject, Charlie?

QUESTION: Sure, the Israeli-Palestinian – how about the – (laughter) --

MR. KELLY: I’m going to say something that I’ve heard many spokesmen say --

QUESTION: How about the talks next week?

MR. KELLY: -- in the past: I have nothing new for you on that.

QUESTION: How about the talks in the U.S. next week?

MR. KELLY: I don’t --

QUESTION: You don’t know whether they’re in --

MR. KELLY: We – seriously, we do not know where they’ll be.

QUESTION: -- Washington or Maine?

MR. KELLY: We don’t know if it’s Washington, Maine, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles.

QUESTION: We know it’s not Chicago.

QUESTION: When? You know when?

MR. KELLY: And we don’t know when either. Sorry. I mean, this is – I’m not trying to hide anything. It just hasn’t been decided.

QUESTION: Can you – can we go to Afghanistan?

MR. KELLY: Sure.

QUESTION: Can you give us some details on this conversation between Holbrooke and Karzai on the record?

MR. KELLY: I can. I don’t know if it’s what you’re looking for, but I have something.

QUESTION: They had cordial, friendly discussions? (Laughter.)


QUESTION: Frank discussion?

MR. KELLY: It’s a frank --


MR. KELLY: It was a frank exchange on the way ahead.

QUESTION: A frank exchange?

MR. KELLY: I also want to point out that in addition to this August 21st meeting that has been the subject of so much media attention, they met two days later on August 23rd and ended that meeting on a positive note.

QUESTION: They ate dessert or something?

MR. KELLY: I’m sorry?

QUESTION: They ate dessert or something?

QUESTION: A handshake --

QUESTION: Does that mean --

MR. KELLY: I can’t get into the details of these diplomatic discussions.

QUESTION: Does that mean --

MR. KELLY: But I can tell you that the elections were discussed and Ambassador Holbrooke did not push for a particular outcome.

QUESTION: Does that mean that the first meeting on the 21st did not end on a positive note?

MR. KELLY: It was a frank exchange on the way ahead.

QUESTION: And – but it pointedly did not end on a positive note, like the one two days later did?

MR. KELLY: Well, I think as I said, it was a frank exchange on the way ahead.

QUESTION: Well, would you say that the second meeting was possibly more cordial?

MR. KELLY: Well, it ended on a positive note.

QUESTION: Can I ask you – do you want – have more?


QUESTION: Can I ask you about Zimbabwe? Jacob Zuma today urged sanctions to be lifted on Zimbabwe. He’s – you know, he’s having a meeting – he is supposed to have meetings with them. And he says that it would be very useful if countries like the U.S. lifted sanctions, and that it would really help – it would allow for foreign aid to go in.

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, I think in the case of Zimbabwe, we have serious concerns about the regime of Mr. Mugabe. And while – we want to have a productive relationship with Zimbabwe, and I know that we’ve had good discussions with the prime minister about developing that kind of productive relationship. I don’t think we’re prepared right now to lift the sanctions because of our concerns about the regime of Mr. Mugabe. But, Sue, let me just see if I can get something else, another reaction to this from our Africa folks.

QUESTION: Can you be a little bit more definitive other than saying, I don’t think we’re prepared? Can you say, you are not prepared right now?

MR. KELLY: Let me – like I just said to Sue, let me see if I can get something from our experts on this.

QUESTION: Ian, do you have anything – you may not – but there’s a number of reports out that a North Korean ship carrying arms back for Iran was picked up by UAE authorities? Do you have anything on that?

MR. KELLY: No, I don’t, I’m afraid.

QUESTION: Can you look into that report?

MR. KELLY: We’ll see if we have anything.

QUESTION: Qadhafi tent?

MR. KELLY: I guess it wouldn’t be a briefing in August without a question on the Qadhafi tent. Well, again, I don’t really have anything new. There’s no new developments on that. You heard what P.J. said yesterday, that we are – we’re very hopeful that we can come to a resolution of this that will not offend the sensibilities of the residents of Englewood, New Jersey. You know that under the Foreign Assistance Act, we have a – we have mechanisms for us to –

QUESTION: You mean the Foreign Missions Act?

QUESTION: Foreign Missions Act.

MR. KELLY: What did I say?

QUESTION: Foreign Assistance Act.

MR. KELLY: Foreign Missions Act – sorry. I –

QUESTION: Missions Act, okay. I was trying to work out whether you were going to pay for his accommodation – yeah. (Laughter.)

MR. KELLY: We do have certain mechanisms at our disposal regarding how this property can be used. And under this – under a particular determination that’s applicable to this act, this – any use of this property other than the personal use of the Libyan ambassador and his family has to be reviewed by the State Department. And to date, the Libyan Government has not asked us to review any other use besides the personal use of the ambassador. And –

QUESTION: Is that why you sent out a diplomatic note to all missions reminding them of the Foreign Missions Act?

MR. KELLY: No, it’s not. That --

QUESTION: It was coincidental?

MR. KELLY: The wheels of government are slow, but sure, and this particular diplomatic note was generated a number of months ago, and only it was put out today – or yesterday.

QUESTION: It was only posted yesterday?

MR. KELLY: It was only posted – yeah.

QUESTION: Was it sent out yesterday?

MR. KELLY: I’m not sure. I mean, I assume that if it was posted yesterday, it was sent out yesterday.

QUESTION: So it’s just coincidental that you happen to send this note out to all missions yesterday?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. As I understand it, this is an annual exercise, sending out this diplomatic note, reminding them about the need for the State Department to review any new construction, any new adaptation of any building for –

QUESTION: So – I’m sorry, when you said that you had not – the Libyans had not asked you to review what they were doing with it?

MR. KELLY: They have not.


QUESTION: Well, they’re going ahead, I mean, there’s –

MR. KELLY: Well, okay. No, wait a second. Now they did ask for permission to do renovations. I don’t want to leave you with the impression that they didn’t do that, because they did, and that was some time ago. That was – I’m not sure exactly when – weeks, maybe even months ago. The –

QUESTION: And that was approved?

MR. KELLY: And it was approved.

QUESTION: Was that leveling out the ground for a tent or – I mean, what?

MR. KELLY: I don’t know, Sue. I don’t know if the –

QUESTION: No, I just wondered. I’m not being facetious. I’m just --

MR. KELLY: No, I know. No, I don’t believe there was any mention of a tent.

QUESTION: And if they want – if the ambassador wants to invite his leader for an evening during the UNGA, the period of the UNGA, would it be allowed? Is it something that you would allow?

MR. KELLY: For the leader to --

QUESTION: For one evening.

MR. KELLY: – to visit the property in Englewood?

QUESTION: Yes, yes.

MR. KELLY: That’s a good question. I – what I understand is if it – the determination is that the Libyan Government has to ask for the State Department to review any intention to use it, other than the personal use of the ambassador.

QUESTION: Well, the personal use is to entertain?

QUESTION: The personal use of the ambassador, yes.

QUESTION: The personal use is to entertain. I mean --

QUESTION: So if he wants to entertain --

QUESTION: -- he doesn’t have to call you up every time he has a guest.

QUESTION: Yeah. So is it possible that you – he could invite his leader?

MR. KELLY: Yeah, I don’t – this would be a legal determination, then. I don’t have an ready answer for you.

QUESTION: Can you take the question?

MR. KELLY: Well, I don’t know if we can get you the answer, because it’s a – that’s a hypothetical, yeah.

QUESTION: Will the answer come out before or after we find out whether it’s a military coup in Honduras?

QUESTION: So have you asked the Libyan – have you sent anything to the Libyans to say, listen, we have not heard from you yet? Or are you just – is that a moot point, too?

MR. KELLY: What – I mean, what we’ve done is – and as we’ve said many times, we’ve told them that there are some real sensitivities involved here. We’ve told them about the very strongly held views of members of Congress – two senators and at least one congressman. And as I said, we’re confident that we can come to an arrangement that addresses all these concerns.

QUESTION: Are – do you know that the Libyans are looking for an alternative?

MR. KELLY: I can only tell you what I’ve heard and seen in press reports that they’re in discussions with the city of New York, and they are looking for other alternatives. This – we are not directly involved in this. This is strictly between the Libyan mission and the city of New York.

QUESTION: Well – I’m sorry, but – (Laughter.)

MR. KELLY: It is. I mean, obviously, we’re interested. But

QUESTION: You guys have gone and talked to the – and I think they had a concern --

QUESTION: You just said – you just said that they had to ask you for permission, so you are involved.

QUESTION: And you’ve conveyed concerns.

MR. KELLY: We will be involved if they decide to use it. If they decide to use it for any other purpose, than the personal use of the ambassador.

QUESTION: So you mean you’re not involved in looking for other arrangement, but not that you’re not involved in where they – in whether they stay in Englewood, New Jersey or not?

MR. KELLY: At this point, our involvement has been to stay abreast of the situation and to highlight the concerns of local residents and our congressional delegation.

QUESTION: So you’ve highlighted this need for a review to the Libyans? You’ve said, hey, if you want to do this, you’ll need to come and ask us first?

MR. KELLY: They are well aware of this determination.

QUESTION: Have the visas been granted yet?

MR. KELLY: I’m not aware that they’ve even applied yet.

QUESTION: What about Ahmadinejad? Has he applied yet?

MR. KELLY: I am not aware that he’s applied either.

QUESTION: Are we done with this topic?

QUESTION: Oh, Robert Mugabe, has he applied? And he’s – oh, he always comes, you don’t stop him.

MR. KELLY: I don’t know about any visa applications for UNGA.

QUESTION: Can you say for the record whether the Secretary plans to attend the funeral in Boston? Or – sorry, not in Boston, in Washington for – or any of these things in Boston, I guess, today, for Kennedy? I think there was one today, then there’s one tomorrow?

MR. KELLY: Yeah, it’s my expectation that she will, but I can’t say definitively.

QUESTION: She’s in Boston?

QUESTION: Or will be shortly?

MR. KELLY: Like I say, I can’t say definitively.

QUESTION: Have – we done with Honduras?



QUESTION: Not done yet?

QUESTION: We’ve done it – we’ve done everything, I think.

QUESTION: Do we have any news?



MR. KELLY: No, no news.

QUESTION: We’ve gone all the way through Zimbabwe.

MR. KELLY: Arshad, I’ll be happy to talk to you, if you want me to walk you through.

QUESTION: No, I’m good. I’m good.

QUESTION: Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, what else can we --

QUESTION: We did. We did do Afghanistan and Zimbabwe.

MR. KELLY: Are we done?


QUESTION: The political directors meeting in Frankfurt --

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- who is our political director? Is it still Burns?


MR. KELLY: William Burns, William J. Burns.

QUESTION: Oh, did you guys get anything on the – I forwarded you guys that note about the Burmese refugees and their mistreatment and – no?

MR. KELLY: No, I haven’t seen that.

MS. RESIDE: They’re working on it.

MR. KELLY: They’re working on it?

MS. RESIDE: Yeah, yeah.

MR. KELLY: Okay.

QUESTION: Thank you.

PRN: 2009/861