Remarks to the Press

Special Briefing
Ian Kelly
Department Spokesman, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
November 23, 2009

MR. KELLY: Okay. What can I do you for?

QUESTION: No questions. (Laughter.)

MR. KELLY: Okay. (Laughter.) It’s great to see you all, though, I must say. It’s been a few days. Who wants to start?

QUESTION: Does anyone want to start with Iran?

MR. KELLY: Mr. Dombey, you want to start?

QUESTION: I have a question.

MR. KELLY: All right. Mr. Wood.

QUESTION: Well, could we get an update on the P-5+1?

MR. KELLY: You guys are all so shy. Oh, update on the P-5+1.

QUESTION: And how the latest talks went and what’s going on with Iran nukes?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Oh, I think – didn’t Robert give you a readout on Friday?

QUESTION: I just – I flew back from Kabul on Friday --

MR. KELLY: Oh, you did. Okay.

QUESTION: -- so --

MR. KELLY: Well, let me just kind of reiterate --

QUESTION: That complicates --

MR. KELLY: -- reiterate where we are then.

QUESTION: So if there’s anything new as of today or the weekend.

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, there’s actually not a whole lot that’s new. They – of course, they met in Brussels and issued a statement where they expressed their disappointment that Iran has not been able to follow up, not been able to provide a positive answer to the proposal on the table from the IAEA to send out their low-enriched uranium for reprocessing outside the country. And we continue to urge Iran to seize this opportunity. It’s an important opportunity for them to show that they’re ready to address the concerns of the international community and, at the same time, meet the humanitarian needs of their people. But it’s a fleeting opportunity and they need to take advantage of it.

The political directors also agreed that they would have another meeting shortly, exact time to be determined, to complete their assessment of the situation and decide on next steps in the context of their dual-track approach.

Meanwhile, there’s another important date coming up with the meeting of the Board of Governors on Thursday, and they will discuss there the Director General’s assessment that Iran should have declared its facility in Qom and, therefore, has not complied with its safeguard obligations, and that the construction of a new enrichment facility would be in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions. So this meeting on Thursday of the Board of Governors will be an opportunity to discuss these issues and for the board to make recommendations in light of these developments.

QUESTION: Ian, just for clarification down here. This is Friday’s guidance, right? I mean, what you just --

MR. KELLY: This is nothing new, no.

QUESTION: Nothing new, okay. I just wanted to make --

MR. KELLY: This is Friday’s guidance, yeah.

QUESTION: I think the word fleeting --

MR. KELLY: Sorry?

QUESTION: Yeah. I think the word fleeting --

QUESTION: Yeah, fleeting is new. Fleeting opportunity – very important. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Ian, on the peace process, we’re not hearing anything from the Administration regarding the peace process. What are you planning to do? Any plan for Senator Mitchell to go back to the Middle East?

MR. KELLY: Well, Senator Mitchell’s in Washington and, of course, has had an opportunity to debrief the Secretary on his recent round of talks with Israeli negotiators. And he, of course, remains in contact with both sides, with his contacts on the Israeli side and his contacts on the Palestinian side. I don’t think he has any plans right now to go back. Of course, we have our national holiday on Thursday, so I would not anticipate anything before then, certainly.

QUESTION: Ian, may I ask on a different subject, on START?


QUESTION: Anything new for potential day of signing, because December 5th is approaching?

MR. KELLY: Sure is. Yeah.

QUESTION: There are talks that the two presidents will be meeting somewhere in Europe. Is it true?

MR. KELLY: Well, I have nothing to announce in that regard – regarding a meeting of the two presidents in Europe. You know that the negotiating teams continue to work very hard in Geneva. They have agreement on a number of issues, but they’re also trying to work out some of the areas where they need to come together. You know that when the two presidents met in Singapore, they reiterated their commitment to signing a draft treaty by the expiration date, or signing a new treaty in December anyway.

But as you know, because the treaty has to be ratified by the respective legislators, we, of course, know that we are not going to have a ratified treaty that can enter into force, so we are having discussions with Russia to see how we can continue some of the transparency and verification measures, so that these measures can continue until the treaty is ratified.

And so we’re working on kind of two tracks. One is to get that text done by early December. And then since we recognize we’re not going not have a fully ratified treaty in both capitals, we’re looking at ways that a number of provisions can remain in effect in this period between December 5th and whenever the new treaty is ratified.

QUESTION: Right. Do you think it’s realistic that the negotiations will be completed by early December?

MR. KELLY: Well, we’re certainly hopeful about it – that we’ll be able to have a draft agreement that both sides are comfortable with.

QUESTION: So you mean that since you won’t get a ratified treaty by December 5th, you will have monitors in place – the monitors who are in Russia and the U.S. – the Russians who are in the U.S., they will stay in place? There’s no worry about that?

MR. KELLY: Well, we’re working on various mechanisms to ensure that we can continue these monitoring activities that promote transparency, which is a really important part of these agreements.

QUESTION: And would – I mean, is there a risk – don’t you have a draft already available that you just sign the – once December 5th

MR. KELLY: But it wouldn’t – it won’t enter into force, though, until it’s ratified. So you need to have some kind of mechanism to keep these means of monitoring in place and ongoing.

QUESTION: Ian, any idea who might be signing those? On the Secretary’s level or on presidential level?

MR. KELLY: Peter, I really have nothing to announce on that.

QUESTION: I'm sorry. Ian, did you say there’s anything new as far as, like, a bridging mechanism for – until the treaty is ratified?

MR. KELLY: It’s something that’s being worked out that we’re still working with our Russian colleagues in Geneva.

QUESTION: So nothing to announce?

MR. KELLY: Nothing to announce, no.

QUESTION: And the fact that Lugar, you know, introduced legislation that was voted out of committee the other day?

MR. KELLY: Well, I think that’s part of it.


MR. KELLY: Yeah. But it has to be done on both sides.

QUESTION: So is that – is there time to get it done by December 5th?

MR. KELLY: Well, we certainly hope so. We think these monitoring mechanisms are important. And so we’re working on it.

QUESTION: Any update for Bosworth’s trip to North Korea?

MR. KELLY: I do not have anything to add to what we said on Friday and the day before that and the day before that.

QUESTION: I heard that his schedule will be extended to stay in the North Korea. Do – you said –

MR. KELLY: Oh, I haven’t heard that. I don’t think we have a set schedule in North Korea yet.

QUESTION: But you said they want to have – that he will stay. There are some reports saying that it’s a little more extended.

MR. KELLY: Well, like I say, we’re still working with officials in Pyongyang to develop an appropriate schedule.

QUESTION: And you don’t know what – in what order he’s visiting other countries after?

MR. KELLY: Well, we’re just – we’re not prepared to announce the details of his trip, but he does anticipate going to all five capitals: Seoul, Pyongyang, Tokyo, Beijing and Moscow. But I don’t think we’ve had all – the order put in place yet.

QUESTION: They’re still considering who will go with him?

MR. KELLY: I think we know. It’s going to be a small delegation – interagency delegation, but we’re just – we’re not prepared to announce it yet. We will be able to soon, though.

QUESTION: Yesterday –

MR. KELLY: Okay? No? Yeah.

QUESTION: – North Korea urging to replace armistice agreement with peace treaty. Do you have that (inaudible)?

MR. KELLY: I’m not sure I understand the question.

QUESTION: North Korea official newspapers urge you to replace armistice agreement with peace treaty.

QUESTION: Yeah, urging the replacement of –

QUESTION: Yeah, yeah.

QUESTION: He’s saying that the North Korean media has said is urging the replacement of the armistice with a peace treaty, which is something –

MR. KELLY: Well, we are focused on resuming the Six-Party Talks. That’s really what all our energies and all of our attention is devoted to now. That’s the purpose of Ambassador Bosworth’s trip. We don’t anticipate discussing these kinds of issues within the context of his visit. I think you know, though, as part of the Six-Party Talks, there is a provision for having bilateral working groups, but we’re not at that point, obviously. We first want to get the Six-Party Talks resumed.

QUESTION: And do you know if the Secretary is going to be in upstate New York for Thanksgiving and –

MR. KELLY: (Laughter.)

QUESTION: And I mean, is that – are people taking off for a couple (inaudible)?

MR. KELLY: She does plan to spend Thanksgiving with her family, but we don’t have anything – I have no announcements about where she’s spending it.

QUESTION: And what’s Steinberg up to – Steinberg?

MR. KELLY: I honestly do not know.

QUESTION: He’s probably working.

MR. KELLY: He’s probably working, yeah.


MR. KELLY: I’ll be working.

QUESTION: He’s writing your statements.

MR. KELLY: He’s writing my statements. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Probably so.


MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: Somalia announced that it’s going to join the Convention on the Rights of the Child. And if they do so, the United States is going to be the only country that hasn’t ratified the treaty. So I’m wondering what’s the position of this Administration on that treaty?

MR. KELLY: I’ll have to find out.

QUESTION: Could you take –

MR. KELLY: That’s a taken question.

QUESTION: Yeah. Can you do a similar on the landmine treaty? There’s going to be the conference in Cartagena next week.

MR. KELLY: Yeah, that’s right.

QUESTION: And what’s the U.S. –

MR. KELLY: We actually have some guidance on that. I can’t recall it off the top of my head.

QUESTION: You don’t have it with you?

MR. KELLY: No, I’m afraid not. But we do have guidance on that that we can send out to you, yeah.

QUESTION: If you can take that and whether you’re going to join – okay.

MR. KELLY: Yeah.


MR. KELLY: Okay?


MR. KELLY: All right. Thank you.

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PRN: 2009/1167