Remarks to the Press

Ian Kelly
Department Spokesman
Washington, DC
July 1, 2009

QUESTION: Have you gotten a – can you give me a magnitude – the aid cutoff is so-called non-humanitarian aid, right? That’s the law?

QUESTION: It’s non-democratic aid. It’s not non-humanitarian, I think – I’m actually trying to call up the relevant part of the statute here, and if I can find it, I’ll be happy to read it out.

QUESTION: I’m just wondering what, in magnitude of millions of dollars, what does Honduras stand to lose if they make a determination.

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: That’s a good question.

MR. KELLY: Yeah, I mean, what the law says – this is under, as I say, Section 008 – none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available shall be obligated or expended for assistance to the government of any country. So I mean, that needs to be determined as well. It does not apply to assistance to promote democratic elections or public participation in democratic processes.

So again, let’s let this process play out and see what our lawyers say about it.

QUESTION: What about the delegation from the – from President Micheletti apparently coming to Washington? Are you going to meet with them?

MR. KELLY: You know, I’ve seen reports about that. But we just – we don’t have any specific details. And in any case, we don’t recognize that government, so nobody at the State Department would receive them and nobody at the White House would receive them either.

QUESTION: Do you have any update on the – Ambassador Goldberg’s trip?

MR. KELLY: I do. I do have an update, if you just give me a second.

He arrived – his delegation arrived today in China, but he’ll have meetings on July 2nd and 3rd in Beijing. The information we have now is that he’s going to meet with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other officials in the Chinese Government in other ministries. We don’t have a specific program that we can give you. I think what they’re going to discuss, of course, is our joint goal of implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1874.

The update that I have is that the delegation is going to go on to Kuala Lumpur and go on to Malaysia to talk to officials from the Malaysian Government on the same issue: implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1874. And then they’ll come back on July 6th, come back to Washington.

And – yeah, go ahead.

QUESTION: Why Malaysia?

MR. KELLY: Well, Ambassador Goldberg’s remit here, his mission, is to – not only to coordinate within the U.S. Government on implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1874, but also to coordinate with our partners and with other countries in the region. And so he plans to have similar – or his delegation plans to have similar meetings in Malaysia at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other ministries on this – on the same issue of implementing Security Council Resolution 1874.

That’s not to preclude that later on he’s – of course, he’s going to consult with other countries as well, but on this trip it’s China and Malaysia.

QUESTION: One can understand China because China has – China is North Korea’s largest trading partner, has a long border, but I don’t get Malaysia.

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, that’s – that’s really all I have for you in this regard is that he’s – it’s not just – it’s not like the Steinberg-led delegation where they – where we consulted with the other four parties – oh, three, because they didn’t go to Russia. This, I think, is more of a regional approach. It’s not just the four parties, but it’s also – not just Northeast Asia, but also Southeast Asia.

QUESTION: Is he meeting officials from any other governments than the Malaysian one in Malaysia?

MR. KELLY: Not that I’m aware. I think it’s just with Malaysian Government officials.

QUESTION: Will he be there on the 5th?

MR. KELLY: Sorry?

QUESTION: Will he be there on the 5th?

MR. KELLY: He’s there on the 5th. Yeah.

QUESTION: And the meetings are on the 5th or --

MR. KELLY: Meetings are on the 5th. Yeah.

QUESTION: And when does he go back?

MR. KELLY: He comes back to Washington on the 6th.

QUESTION: Ian, is there --

QUESTION: (Inaudible) this mission from the U.S.?

MR. KELLY: Sorry?

QUESTION: Who joined his mission from the U.S.? I mean, Mr. (inaudible) or Sung Kim or other --

MR. KELLY: No, not – neither one of those particular – neither one of those individuals. It’s an interagency delegation. As I said before, it’s the National Security Council, Department of Treasury, and Department of Defense.

QUESTION: And is there any reason in particular that photo spray was suddenly closed to the press – the Bolivian foreign minister?

MR. KELLY: Yeah, I have to talk to P.J. because P.J. covered that.

QUESTION: Will the Fayyad spray be okay? Will that be on camera?

MR. KELLY: Sorry?

QUESTION: The Salam Fayyad spray – will that definitely be on camera?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. On camera, yeah.

QUESTION: Do you have any guidance on Fayyad? What’s the purpose of his visit?

MR. KELLY: I do. Fayyad.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. KELLY: Well, I looked in the wrong section.

Well, as you know, the President and Secretary are firmly committed to achieving comprehensive peace and we’re devoting a lot of efforts to pursue that. We expect the Secretary and the prime minister to have a productive meeting that would cover a full range of issues related to fostering the kind of conditions that we need to start negotiations leading to a comprehensive peace between the Palestinian people and Israel. And of course, as you know, our goal is the creation of a Palestinian state living in peace side by side with Israel. And we, of course, support the Palestinian Authority as a partner for peace with Israel.

QUESTION: Now that Mitchell has successfully met with Barak, are they going to schedule a new meeting with Bebe Netanyahu, which was sort of the --

MR. KELLY: I don’t have any information on that. Of course, you know, we look forward to continuing our dialogue with Israel. We note as well that there are reports out of Israel that they have dismantled another checkpost – checkpoint. And of course, we welcome these kinds of moves and other moves that help the freer movement of people, of Palestinians within the region.

QUESTION: On North Korea. So yesterday, the announcement of a sanction on North Korea. Will it affect somewhat on your consideration of listing on terrorist sponsors countries list? I mean, technically, does it impact on your consideration?

MR. KELLY: You know, I’m just – I’m not aware that there would be necessarily a connection. What the purpose of that finding that the Department of Treasury, of course, is going to implement is to implement UN Security Council 1874 and, you know, as the press release said, to try and discourage North Korea from pursuing nuclear weapons.

QUESTION: On North Korea --

QUESTION: Is that (inaudible)?

MR. KELLY: (Inaudible) designation. That’s the word. Designation. Yeah.

QUESTION: The UN Food Agency said it’s concerned about a critical food situation as donations have dried up. Is the U.S. concerned, and what’s the status of U.S. food aid to North Korea?

MR. KELLY: If you’ll just hold on a second, I do have something on that. Here it is. I’ve got it.

Well, Lach, of course, we’re very concerned about the well-being of the North Korean people. Last year, we allocated over $4 million to NGOs. This is – this project – this $4 million project which was to implement an improvement of electrical supplies to the North Korean people, supply electricity to the North Korean people and also essential medical equipment to rural and provincial hospitals – this project is ongoing.

We, of course, have a longstanding goal of providing emergency humanitarian assistance to people all over the world. This is not linked to any political issues. We regret that, as requested by the DPRK, by the North Korean authorities, all NGO food monitors had to depart North Korea by March 31st. At that time, we had about 22,000 metric tons in storage there. We’ve learned that the DPRK has distributed this food. The DPRK has said that the food was distributed to the intended beneficiaries, as has been previously agreed by the U.S. NGOs.

In terms of what kind of impact this would have on our future willingness to provide food, our policy on food aid is based on three factors: level of need; competing needs in other countries; and our ability to ensure that aid is reliably reaching the people in need. We currently have no plans to provide additional food to North Korea. Any additional food aid would have to have assurances that it would be appropriately used.

We remain very concerned about the well-being of the North Korean people, but we are very concerned because we need to have adequate program management in place, monitoring and access provisions, and we don’t have that right now.

QUESTION: So there’s a need, but you can’t be guaranteed that it’s going to be distributed to those who need it?

MR. KELLY: That’s right.

QUESTION: So does that mean that given that the aid workers had to leave by the end of March, that you cannot conceive of giving aid if the status quo continues, if there is no monitoring, no aid workers on the ground to make sure that it’s appropriately distributed?

MR. KELLY: Well, you know, there are two imperatives here: One is that we are very concerned about the well-being of the North Korea people; and the other is that we need to have adequate assurances that this food aid will end up with the people for whom it’s intended. We work very closely with the UN and other international organizations to provide food aid all over the world, but as I said, we need to have some assurances that this aid will reach the intended recipients, intended beneficiaries.

Having said that, I’m not going to say that we will never provide food aid to people in need. But as the situation stands right now, we don’t have the kind of assurances that we require.


PRN: 2009/678