Background Briefing Previewing Secretary Kerry's Trip to London and Geneva

Special Briefing
Senior State Department Official
En Route London, United Kingdom
February 20, 2015


SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: So first, we are going to London, as you all know, and the Secretary is meeting with Foreign Secretary Hammond. A bunch of issues are on the agenda for this meeting per usual, but a couple just to highlight.

Obviously, Ukraine is going to be a big topic of conversation – what’s happened diplomatically, and then, of course, on the ground, actually, over the past few days particularly, I think, is going to be a topic of conversation. We constantly consult with them about possible additional cost to Russia. Given what we’ve seen, obviously, I think that’ll be a big topic of conversation.

The fight against ISIL will be another one. The U.K. participated pretty robustly in our CVE summit as well. So beyond the military piece, which is a huge piece of this and we’ll keep talking to the Brits about, the other issues that we talked about this week, I think we’ll continue conversation on that.

The upcoming Nigerian elections – I can’t remember who was on the trip to Lagos with us – but that’s been something that he – the Secretary and Foreign Secretary Hammond have talked a lot about and consulted very closely on. As you know, we were there before they were postponed, met with – we were all there – or not all of us, but a lot of us were there – very interested on our side and on the British side in these elections going forward. We’ve talked about this – reducing violence, credible – all of the things that we’ve talked about I know that Hammond is very focused on.

On TTIP, this is sort of – we’re pushing forward on those negotiations, and I think they’re going to have a chance to focus on that, which sometimes doesn’t get as much focus, but I think the Secretary wants to chat with Hammond about.

Middle East peace issues, but sort of the situation on the ground, particularly with the Palestinians, I think will be a topic of conversation, just to talk about, particularly on the PA side, some of the things we’ve talked about in the briefings lately, but the situation there.

And so I think that’s pretty much going to be – I mean, they’ll talk about other things too, but that’s what I know I’ve talked to folks about that they’ll focus on.

And then we go on to Geneva. The negotiating team is already there. The U.S. and Iranian negotiating teams are already there, Wendy Sherman and the technical experts. You may have seen that Secretary Moniz will be joining us on – he’s flying tonight and gets – I think tonight and gets there tomorrow.

QUESTION: Did DOE announce that?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: They did, mm-hmm. He’s joining. We’ve always had DOE experts as part of our negotiating and expert teams back in D.C. And I think – I know folks have asked sort of what this indicates – I think really what it indicates is the extreme technical detailed level that we’re at right now. I would urge people not to --

QUESTION: What it indicates is the extreme what?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Technical and detailed nature of where we are in the talks right now, that we’ve always had DOE experts as part of our team, both in D.C. – we have one DOE nuclear expert who travels with us. But then also the labs have done a lot of work in terms of – the national labs in terms of the technical pieces of how all of the pieces of the agreement might fit together. Secretary Moniz is obviously an expert on these issues.

QUESTION: Is this the first time he’s been in the Iran talks in any capacity?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: To my knowledge, yes. And so he will – again, what it’s, I think, indicative of is the fact that we are at a point where the talks are at such a technical level that he will be joining, and he’ll be meeting with Dr. Salehi on the Iranian side. So they’re more natural counterparts when it comes to the technical issues.

QUESTION: I mean, I get --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Is he their minister of --

QUESTION: Atomic energy or something?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: He’s the head of the AEOI – is that right – is that the right --

QUESTION: Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, something like that.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think so, yeah. He’s the head of their nuclear group, for lack of a more technical term. So they’re more – and so they’ll be meeting and they’ll be working through a lot of the technical issues --

QUESTION: Right.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: -- so that’s a more natural fit.

QUESTION: So --

QUESTION: But it’s not about his status as being a cabinet member?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well --

QUESTION: I think it is, right?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: -- in part it is because he’s a more natural fit. Dr. Salehi --

QUESTION: Right.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: -- they’re more equal in terms – when it comes to seniority. I think – and Dr. Salehi has not been a part of the team on the ground --

QUESTION: Okay.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: -- to my knowledge. You should check with, obviously, the Iranians, but when I’ve been there, I don’t remember him being there. So I think what it really indicates – it doesn’t indicate that we’re at some breakthrough. I would caution people from thinking that. But I do think it just goes to show the fact that we are working with all these different pieces of this puzzle that will be an agreement, and that they are – in order to get to one-year breakout and cut off the four pathways, how you – what you do with each piece of that is so technical that we just thought it was the right time. So he’ll be joining us in Geneva. The meetings will be at the President Wilson, so we’re all going to be in the same place, which is great, just logistically.

QUESTION: It says in the DOE statement DOE’s been involved, but it doesn’t say that Moniz --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yes.

QUESTION: -- it does look like it’s a first for his level.

QUESTION: I think it’s the first for both, yeah.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think – I mean, since I’ve been doing this for two years, he hasn’t been there, so --

QUESTION: But I mean, the point isn’t that the guys below him weren’t of scientific stature --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: No, no.

QUESTION: -- but if they’re sending their minister, you have to send the --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Correct.

QUESTION: -- top guy to talk to him --

QUESTION: Right.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Exactly.

QUESTION: -- as an equal, right?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Exactly.

QUESTION: Yeah.

QUESTION: Okay.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Exactly, exactly. Their technical experts are incredible --

QUESTION: Right.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: -- and it’s like our technical experts.

QUESTION: So he’s going to be there Sunday and Monday?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: He’s going to be there Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, I think. I think he’s flying commercial overnight tonight and landing tomorrow morning --

QUESTION: All right, good.

QUESTION: So but that would --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: -- in Geneva.

QUESTION: That gives a sense that there is a little bit more capacity for negotiating flexibility --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Technical discussions.

QUESTION: -- if you have higher people – higher stature. It’s not like they’re going to have to say, “I have to go back and call my boss,” because --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well, he’s not more senior than --

QUESTION: -- in terms of the technical level, they are the guys, right?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Right, right. I mean, he – right.

QUESTION: Right.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Right. I don’t want to get into, like, ranking him versus Foreign Minister Zarif.

QUESTION: No, no, no.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Right.

QUESTION: I mean, on the DOE side, I mean --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: But on the technical piece --

QUESTION: Right.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: -- that’s right. And I also think it shows the serious – honestly, the seriousness with which they are taking the technical aspects, that it’s --

QUESTION: “They” being the Iranians?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Correct. So I think that that – right, I don’t believe he’s been a part of it.

QUESTION: It’s a sign of the seriousness of the technical discussions?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Absolutely.

QUESTION: Right.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: And the detailed nature.

QUESTION: At the technical level, there’s nobody higher --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: At the high technical level.

QUESTION: -- for both sides. I mean --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: It’s my – and the Iranian side, that’s my understanding. I’m not – I mean --

QUESTION: There’s no scientist above --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Right.

QUESTION: Right.

QUESTION: Right.

QUESTION: Okay.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: So --

QUESTION: Who’s the guy he’s meeting with?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Salehi.

QUESTION: Salehi.

QUESTION: On the – yeah.

QUESTION: How do you spell that?

QUESTION: He used to be foreign minister.

QUESTION: Take a look.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: S-a-l-e-h-i.

So I just wanted to sort of put it into context of what I think is going to be happening this weekend. We have made progress every time the Secretary has met with Foreign Minister Zarif and are really, I think, acting with a great deal of urgency in terms of pushing these negotiations forward to see if we can conclude this. We know we’re pushing up against an end-of-March date here, and we do think there’s a sense of urgency. I think you heard the President – when he got the question in his press conference a few weeks ago – displayed the same sense of urgency, and I think that’s what our negotiators are feeling, that’s what our technical experts feel.

So we will get there Sunday morning and basically have a full two days in Geneva where the Secretary will meet with the negotiating team, who’s been there for a few days with their counterparts, see where things are, and then go into talks with Foreign Minister Zarif.

There will be, the day after we leave, a P5+1 political directors meeting – so at Wendy Sherman’s level – to brief the entire P5+1 on the conversations we’ve had. Other countries have bilaterals with the – I mean, I think – I believe the Chinese were just in Tehran. So we’ve all sort of have bilateral conversations. It makes sense to get together and out-brief each other on what’s happened and where things go from here. And then the Secretary has to be back for testimony on Tuesday, so I don’t think we’re going to be extending.

QUESTION: So that’s --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Knock on wood.

QUESTION: So Tuesday the 24th is P5+1 briefing on what comes out of the bilats?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I thought – is that the 24th?

QUESTION: Yeah, it’s the 24th.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I can double-check on the – because we leave --

QUESTION: We leave Monday.

QUESTION: Monday.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We leave – well, then it’s Tuesday. Yeah, mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Right, okay. And you say that it’s at --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: It’s --

QUESTION: -- Sherman’s level?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Uh-huh, yeah, at the political director level. So that’s --

QUESTION: Political director --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: -- the level we normally do P5+1 meetings at.

QUESTION: Right, but is she doing it? Because I thought she was coming back with us.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: She will be staying for it.

QUESTION: Okay, okay.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: So they said on – this – I thought this was February 22nd. Let me check the date. Let me check the date of the P5+1 meeting. Sorry about that.

QUESTION: Okay.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I thought it was the day after we left, but it may be concurrently with the Secretary meeting with Foreign Minister Zarif.

QUESTION: Okay.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: So we can check.

QUESTION: Can we just come back to the – tomorrow’s meetings? Is it --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: With Hammond?

QUESTION: Yeah.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Is it going to include Libya?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I’m sure it will.

QUESTION: Okay.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Last time we were in London, they met – he met with Hammond and Foreign Minister Fabius and it was mostly about Libya, so I’m sure it will, yes.

QUESTION: And then when you look at what’s going on in the ground – on the ground in Ukraine and given what Jen said today in the briefing, is it – is the Secretary trying to get a sense of where the Europeans are as far as additional sanctions or whether they think that this truce is really holding?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think – well, I think there’s no question that there have been a huge number of violations of it. And I think every – I mean, the OSCE has said that. I think everyone has seen that. I think the question is: What is the status of where we think this is going from here and what are some additional costs that could be imposed?

QUESTION: What about the discussion on providing lethal weapons?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: That’s – I mean, that’s more a discussion, I think, inside our government, quite frankly. I mean, obviously, these topics come up, but I think there’s just an ongoing discussion, interagency discussion on our side about what additional kinds of assistance. So I don’t think that would be the focus of the meeting.

QUESTION: But given --

QUESTION: Yeah, but given that General Breedlove has – given that he is sending signals that more needs to be done from a NATO perspective to reassure allies in the east, and that there is going to be some sort of naval exercise in the Baltic Sea in the next several weeks – we can’t get the date yet, and there is some growing anxiety particularly in the Baltic states, wouldn’t it be appropriate since the U.S. and the U.K. are both founding members of NATO to talk about whether or not sending in weapons would actually aggravate the situation and possibly complicate what the alliance is trying to do?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I’m sure it will be part of the conversation along the lines that you said. I am. I just don’t think it will be the focus of the conversation. I’m sure it will be a part of it. I do. But there are a whole lot of ways we can undertake more NATO reassurance that don’t involve that too that I think we’ve done already and that we can – that they’ll be talking about more.

QUESTION: Can I ask you about the nuclear stuff again?

QUESTION: Just one more thing, just a technical administrative thing?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah, uh-huh.

QUESTION: Who else is going to be in these discussions with Kerry? Which one from EUR will be with him, and is there --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I do not believe --

QUESTION: Is Toria going to be there?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I do not believe – I don’t think she’s going to be there.

QUESTION: Is there an EUR person? Is --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I don’t think so. I can check and see if anyone – if the ambassador is --

QUESTION: Yeah, it’d just be good to know who else is --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- well, who else – is there someone from State? Is there someone from – is there other – you know what I’m saying.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I’ll check.

QUESTION: Is there anybody else from the interagency, or is it just Kerry?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yes, I will check. I will check for you.

QUESTION: Yeah. Is there --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, it’s a good question.

QUESTION: On the end March – is that still – still seen as a deadline, the end March part? Because I think Jen said at a couple briefings, like the JPOA extension is end June, and that was kind of just a timeline in there.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Right. So --

QUESTION: But other people --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Right.

QUESTION: -- have said it is a deadline.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Right, right, right. So when we announced the extension, we announced two dates. We said – we’ve talked about this. We said the JP – the technical aspects of the JPOA – so by that I mean the sanctions waivers, what Iran has to do – are all extended until the end of June. But we put the goal of by the end of March.

Now, as these talks have progressed, you’ve heard the President particularly be very forward-leaning in talking about the end of March. In that press conference he said I don’t see if there would be much point to go on negotiating if we didn’t have broad agreement – these aren’t exact words – but broad agreement on the political framework, or whatever he said. So --

QUESTION: Basis, I think he said.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Basis. Right, whatever. So that concept that we set the end of March for a reason, that we wanted to put pressure on ourselves and on the Iranians, and that if we don’t – if we can’t get there, we’ll have to see where we are on March 31st.

QUESTION: Is it March 31st or March 24th?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We’ve had this discussion.

QUESTION: It’s March 31st, right?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: It’s March 31st. Now, some other people use other dates. The negotiating team uses March 31st.

QUESTION: Well, I’m just asking what dates you’re using.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: So we use March 31st, and when we announced it we said end of March.

QUESTION: So that’s a real litmus test if there’s not a basis or a framework or something.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Exactly. And a framework for agreement on the major elements of what this might look like.

QUESTION: Right.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Now, I don’t know what that’s going to look like on March 31st. I couldn’t tell you that now. But that’s what we’re operating under, and that if we can’t get to that, the question – and the President’s been very clear he doesn’t see much point to continuing to negotiate, and we’re not going to negotiate forever. So that’s why we’re so focused on it.

QUESTION: And what do you anticipate you would have? If, let’s say you’re successful, what would you have on March 30th – or 31st?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah.

QUESTION: I don’t mean --

QUESTION: Structurally.

QUESTION: -- the provisions. I mean you would have a public document? You would have a private document? You would have a JPOA Junior? What would you have?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: The real answer is I don’t know, honestly, what form it would take to outline the major elements – agreement on the major elements of what this might look like. The truthful answer is I just don’t know. But the goal is to have as much done, for the lack of a more technical term, as possible. Now, because the annexes are then what we would focus the rest of the time on, which are so technical and in the weeds.

QUESTION: Now, this might be in the weeds, but the Iranians have kind of questioned the idea of a framework followed by a detailed approach. And I think even today --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- Araqchi said something about like a new idea for formatting the talks. Is there really much thought to kind of restructuring how you go about doing this?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I don’t think so. I mean, I haven’t – the team’s been on the – I haven’t talked to them in a few hours. I don’t think so. I mean, when we all announced it together, there was the joint statement from, I think, High Representative Ashton and Foreign Minister Zarif that sort of said the same thing about March and – so I’m not sure what the internal – but – or the reading of that is in their press. But I don’t think it --

QUESTION: But if they want to agree more by the end of March, all the better, right?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well, if we could get it all done – exactly, yes. Because the annexes matter to the political agreement, right.

QUESTION: And you’d be willing on their – on your side to be able to say more and spell out more on the sanctions elements if they’re willing to say more on --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Exactly, exactly.

QUESTION: -- the concrete --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yes, yes. So yes, if we could get it done by the end of March, all of it, great. Absolutely.

QUESTION: Is Moniz planning to kind of be a part of the negotiations going forward here, or is this a one-off?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I don’t know. The answer is I don’t know. I’ll check with him.

So that’s where things are. What else am I missing?

QUESTION: Can we go back to Nigeria?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Uh-huh.

QUESTION: Given that you listed it as the third item ahead of Mideast peace, what is it about the situation in Nigeria that has both countries particularly alarmed? Is it this combination of Boko Haram blowing up everything in its path and a central government that seemingly doesn’t care about the northeast?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think it is the rise in the scale of the Boko Haram attacks, certainly. I also think it’s the postponement of the elections. And the elections piece is really key right now for those moving forward.

QUESTION: What does it say about the political climate or the political body in Nigeria?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well --

QUESTION: Is there – is this at risk, this – is this attempt at democracy at a real risk that people here in the West don’t see?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I wouldn’t – I wouldn’t overplay that notion too much. I mean, look, they have elections, they have an election commission, they have two major candidates who have been running campaigns, and they are facing an incredibly serious internal security threat. So we are certainly – understand that they have to take that into account.

I think what we’re focused on is they have election – they – now they have another chance. The elections need to go forward and they need to be as credible and free and fair as they can be.

QUESTION: Does the --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: So I wouldn’t overplay that too much, but – because they do have this sort of very – we know just being there it’s a very vibrant democracy. You can see it. But the elections need to move forward.

QUESTION: But --

QUESTION: Did you see the comments today by the foreign minister, the Nigerian foreign minister --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I didn’t.

QUESTION: -- accusing President Obama of a false narrative, saying that Jonathan is bent on using the security crisis around Boko Haram as a ruse to stay in power? There was a big interview today at The Washington Times.

QUESTION: Who said that?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: The foreign minister of Nigeria.

QUESTION: Said that about Obama about Goodluck?

QUESTION: About Obama, yeah. Anyway.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Look, the security situation is a very serious and challenging one, but we think the opposite, actually; that if you hold credible elections, if you can hold them with some semblance of not having politically related violence, then that actually bolsters the government’s ability to push back against Boko Haram.

QUESTION: Are any discussions going to be about the military operations or this initiative to work with the neighbors that’s going on now?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Probably. We’ll see. I expect – I mean, I expect that to be on the agenda.

QUESTION: Is TTIP going anywhere? It hasn’t moved in like over a year.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think --

QUESTION: Besides people saying they all support it. (Laughter.)

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Right. I think that we want this to move as fast as it can, and that’s driven in part by the substance of the negotiations, I think – well, I know. We want to push this as fast as we can, but it --

QUESTION: But the British aren’t really a stumbling block on this anyways.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: No.

QUESTION: They’re like --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: They’re – we agree on the fact that this would be a good thing for a whole lot of reasons, right. But I think talking with them about how we can push it forward more quickly is important to do.

QUESTION: The situation with the PA, how worrisome is it?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I --

QUESTION: Is it more worrisome than it was yesterday and the day before?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I don’t know if I can say if it was more worrisome than yesterday. I think that’s probably a little too nuanced.

QUESTION: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: I’m on paternity leave, sorry. (Laughter.) I don’t even know what’s going on. (Laughter.)

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I mean --

QUESTION: We’ve heard that’s PL. (Laughter.)

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I would say the same thing that we said in the briefings this week, that it’s – we’re concerned about the PA. And I don’t think we have much more beyond that.

QUESTION: I don’t know if --

QUESTION: Are you look – sorry, let me just ask it.

QUESTION: Go on.

QUESTION: Are you looking to the U.K. to try to help raise more money to keep operations going?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I don’t know what specifically we’re asking of them. I don’t know if that’s on the agenda.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: I don’t know if you asked about this before, but are you going to specifically discuss the Mosul operation? Is Kerry and Hammond going to discuss and what Britain can provide --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- as part of that effort?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: The real answer is I don’t know. I would expect they will talk about the most important current issues in the fight against ISIL.

QUESTION: Okay.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: So --

QUESTION: But I mean, is he – is he going to ask the Brits to kind of pony up? You can put it however diplomatically you want to --

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah, yeah.

QUESTION: -- to play a strong and robust role in any future Mosul operation?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I don’t know. I don’t know.

QUESTION: Okay.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I don’t know. And we’ll see what they – we’ll see how they talk about it.

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