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State Dept. Daily Press Briefing for August 25

Daily Press Briefing
Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
August 25, 2004

INDEX:

RUSSIA
- Plane Crashes
- Official Condolences
- Secretary Powell s Call to Foreign Minister Lavrov

THAILAND
- Resettlement of Hmong Refugees in the United States

COLOMBIA
- U.S. Support for Counterterrorist Efforts / Political
Dialogue

IRAQ
- Media Reports on Beheading of a Hostage
- Situation in Najaf
- Interim Government Calls on Mahdi Army to Vacate Shrine of Imam
- Ali

IRAQ / TURKEY
- U.S. Policy Toward PKK

LEBANON
- Presidential Elections

JAPAN
- U.S.-Japan Coordination in Responding to Okinawa Helicopter Crash
- Secretary Powell s Conversation with Foreign Minister Kawaguchi

DEPARTMENT
- Tariq Ramadan Visa Revoked
- Secretary Powell s Upcoming Travel to Greece

ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS
- Human Rights & Humanitarian Issues / Discussions / Documentation

SUDAN
- UN Calls for Monitors
- African Union Initiatives
- Disarming the Jingaweit Militias
- Responsibilities of the Sudanese Government
- Sudanese Commitments to Secretary Powell
- UN Security Council Resolution 1554
- African Union Role / Rwandan and Nigerian Troops
- Assessment Team in Chad

UZBEKISTAN
- Trial of Alleged Terrorists


TRANSCRIPT:

1:00 p.m. EDT

MR. ERELI: If I may, I'll begin by welcoming our visitors from Colombia. We have a distinguished delegation from south of the -- from the Southern Hemisphere, senior officials from the Colombian military and presidential and vice presidential offices. Welcome to the State Department. We're glad you're here. We hope you have a good visit to Washington.

With that, I would be happy to take the first question.

QUESTION: I think it's on the Northern Hemisphere.

MR. ERELI: Colombia?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR. ERELI: Whoa. (Laughter.) Let the record show that I don't know my geography.

QUESTION: And that George Gedda from AP does.

MR. ERELI: But George Gedda of AP does. Well, thank you, George, for correcting that, and my apologies to our Colombian friends.

QUESTION: We could get a second source from the back of the room.

QUESTION: Three or four.

QUESTION: Anyway, do you have any comments, observations, thoughts, et cetera, about the two plane crashes in Russia?

MR. ERELI: Our first thought, obviously, goes to the victims and their families. Secretary Powell called Foreign Minister Lavrov this morning to express his condolences and those of the United States for this loss.

There's a lot of speculation about what caused these crashes. An investigation is underway and at this point, obviously, I would refer you to the Russians but our understanding is no -- there is no cause that has been ruled in and no cause that has been ruled out.

Yes.

QUESTION: Have the Russians asked for any American assistance as far as investigation or anything like that?

MR. ERELI: Secretary Powell offered the Russians any forensic or technical assistance they might need, but at this point I think the investigation is fully in the hands of the Russians.

Yes.

QUESTION: Do you believe there were Americans on the plane that (inaudible)?

MR. ERELI: Our information is that there were no Americans onboard.

Yes.

QUESTION: Yeah. There have been reports that the Thai army has begun to round up Hmong migrants living at Tham Krabok and might be getting ready to send them back into Laos. I'm wondering, first of all, what you guys may know about that. But, second, is there anything the U.S. can do to help protect the human rights of those people that might be sent back in?

MR. ERELI: Well, I think the United States has been very proactive in addressing this issue and acting on behalf of the Hmong migrants, particularly as part of our refugee resettlement program.

But to the specific question that you ask, the Hmong Lao who have been living in the Saraburi Province in Thailand and were approved for refugee resettlement in the United States began arriving here in June. So this is something that's been going on for some time. Over 1,700 Hmong have arrived to date and we would expect that almost 15,000 will be admitted to the United States under this resettlement program. By the end of this fiscal year we anticipate that 6,000 individuals will arrive in this country and that most of the remaining refugees approved for resettlement will arrive in the United States before the end of the calendar year.

QUESTION: Well, about this group that's being trucked away to unknown locations, presumably for deportation back into Laos, is there anything at all the U.S. can do to help them?

MR. ERELI: We've been, I think, working closely with the Thai Government with regard to the Hmong in Thailand to facilitate this resettlement program. I don't have any specific information about the cases that you mentioned. I would simply note that the Hmong in Thailand are an important focus of our attention and that we've been very active on their behalf for some time.

QUESTION: Can we go on Colombia?

MR. ERELI: One more. Teri.

QUESTION: No, mine was on Iraq. Out of respect for our guests, please do Colombia.

QUESTION: The other day there was an extensive program on how the Delta Force helped track and kill Pablo Escobar.

MR. ERELI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: But, in the process, they've created these paramilitary lightning forces that are now battling the FARC and the FARC has taken over the drug business. Could you update us on what's going on and how U.S. involvement is?

MR. ERELI: No, I would refer you -- really, I'd refer you to the Government of Colombia to address the question of its own domestic situation. Our position, and what we've always made clear, is that we are working closely with President Uribe to bring about a reconciliation of all of the political forces in Colombia. We want to see it done, obviously, peacefully and within the scope of dialogue, but this is obviously a situation that the Colombian Government is acting decisively to address.

QUESTION: On Iraq. A terrorist group has apparently beheaded another person and is saying that he was an American. The CIA says it's not. It has accounted for all of its employees. Do you have any idea if there is any private American missing in Iraq, particularly, by the name that the group has given?

MR. ERELI: In the short time between when this wire report appeared and the start of the briefing, we checked our -- whatever records we could find, whatever records we had. We were not able to confirm. I'm not in a position to confirm these reports. Obviously, it's something we take very seriously. We are looking into it, but I can't offer you any comments to substantiate or refute what's being reported by the press.

Yes.

QUESTION: Still on Iraq?

QUESTION: On Egypt --

MR. ERELI: I'm sorry. Still on Iraq

QUESTION: Still on Iraq. A lot of fighting still around Najaf. Do you have any update on Najaf that you can give us? And also, said to continue to be heavy fighting in Fallujah, which we haven't talked about in some time.

MR. ERELI: Right. I don't have too much on Fallujah for you. Quite frankly, as you know, that's an ongoing area of activity. I'd refer you to our people in Baghdad and the Iraqis, first and foremost, for comment on what -- the latest developments there.

As far as Najaf is concerned, again, not too much new to say, really. I think you've all seen reports that the Grand Ayatollah Sistani has returned to Iraq. Obviously, he is a personage of great respect and reverence. We are very pleased that he has recovered from his surgery and we wish him well.

As far as the standoff in Najaf goes, I would just, once again, underscore for you our support for Prime Minister Allawi and his government's call on the Mahdi militia to vacate the mosque, disband his militia, renounce violence and join the political process.

QUESTION: Are you hopeful Sistani will play a role in trying to calm the situation down?

MR. ERELI: We certainly welcome constructive engagement by all parties in Iraq to bring this situation to a resolution.

QUESTION: Sistani has called publicly for volunteers to come to Najaf, where he is apparently headed. Are you pleased by that, or do you think that may just complicate the efforts of the U.S. military and the Iraqi military now trying to, as you say, bring that situation into control?

MR. ERELI: I think the situation there is quite fluid and, frankly, there are a lot of reports and statements coming out and it's not clear to me what -- or clear to us -- exactly what specific actions are being taken. So I think I'd just err on the side of caution and not comment on developments that aren't, at this point in time, fully clear. As I said before, we think the important thing is that this challenge to the government be firmly and decisively dealt with.

QUESTION: And but Sistani also called for American forces to pull out beyond the parameters of Najaf, and so on.

MR. ERELI: I'm not going to get into a back and forth, commenting on Sistani calls. What I will say is the United States position is that the Government of Iraq is working to resolve this. We're supporting the Government of Iraq, and we welcome constructive engagement by all parties in Iraq to bring this situation to a resolution.

Yes.

QUESTION: Yes, on --

MR. ERELI: On Iraq, more?

QUESTION: No.

QUESTION: Yes, including Iraq.

MR. ERELI: Okay.

QUESTION: Did the United States change policy fighting with the terrorism organizations?

MR. ERELI: No.

QUESTION: If so, why the National Security Advisor, Mrs. Rice, said that they will solve the PKK problem in Iraq using the political way, and Mr. Edelman, who is the ambassador in Ankara, he said that U.S. doesn't planning any military action against the PKK?

MR. ERELI: I don't know what comments you're referring to with regard to Dr. Rice. I can assure you there's been no change in policy of the United States towards the PKK. We regard it as a terrorist organization.

QUESTION: Do you planning to ask the Turkish Government -- sit and negotiate with the PKK terrorists?

MR. ERELI: Not to my knowledge.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: A follow-up on the same issue?

MR. ERELI: Yes.

QUESTION: According to the Turkish newspaper, Radical, today, your former Ambassador to Greece, Nicholas Burns, on February 1st, 1999, told then Greek Foreign Minister Theodore Pangalos, regarding Abdullah Salam of PKK, "Send him to Kenya and the rest leave to us." Could you please look into that, Mr. Ereli, what Mr. Burns meant that -- with that statement?

MR. ERELI: No, I'll leave that to historians to look into.

QUESTION: To the historians?

MR. ERELI: Yes.

QUESTION: But it's -- the issue's going on. The guy is imprisoned.

MR. ERELI: I don't -- I --

QUESTION: No, no. I'm not --

MR. ERELI: I don't know what quote you're referring to and I don't know what context it was provided in, and I think that both of those are necessary to answer the question. And since it's a matter of historical record, I'd leave it to the historians to look at.

QUESTION: So you cannot look into that?

MR. ERELI: I'd defer to others.

Yes.

QUESTION: From Lebanon, General Emil Lahoud has formally announced that he's going to stay or willing to stay for a second term, and the Lebanon constitution is against that and the majority of Lebanese opposing that, but that seems likely to happen because Syria is backing that President Lahoud movement. Do you have any comment on that?

MR. ERELI: I think there are a lot of suppositions there in the question, but let me try to just give you what America's policy is.

Number one, the United States strongly supports a free and fair electoral process in Lebanon. That means one that is conducted according to the established Lebanese constitution. That constitution provides for a new president every six years, selected by parliament.

The election of a president is a decision for the Lebanese people alone to make, consistent with their established constitution. It is our view that no outside country should interfere in this process. But, as a matter of policy, the United States does not take a position on individual candidates.

QUESTION: But how do you think the Syrians' role on this? It's likely to make President Lahoud move succeed here against the Lebanese way.

MR. ERELI: Well, again, those are suppositions. Our view is that, as I said before, the decision of who is the president of Lebanon is a decision for the Lebanese people, not for the Syrians and not for the Americans, not for anybody else. Lebanon is an independent sovereign country; therefore, the people of Lebanon should decide who their president is, consistent with the provisions of their constitution, which call for the selection of a new president every six years.

Yes.

QUESTION: I'd like to seek your clarification about the announcement you made yesterday. This is on the helicopter crash in Okinawa.

MR. ERELI: Yes, mm-hmm.

QUESTION: You said that the -- at the scene of the accident, cooperation and coordination between the United States and Japan is excellent.

MR. ERELI: Yes.

QUESTION: In what sense was cooperation excellent?

MR. ERELI: Well, my understanding, reading the sort of after action reports, was that local authorities, local Japanese authorities and U.S. authorities, were very quick to arrive on the scene together, quick to cordon off the area, quick to provide access, ensure the safety of the people there, and that they were both working together in concert cooperatively in a coordinated fashion.

QUESTION: But the Japanese police was denied the access, wasn't it?

MR. ERELI: That's not my understanding.

QUESTION: And they were denied the joining the investigation.

MR. ERELI: I was talking about the scene right after the accident. My information is that both Japanese authorities and U.S. units were working together. As far as the investigation goes, I'm really not in a position to comment on it, since it's not a State Department investigation.

But what I can tell you is that the United States, as it does in all its activities in Japan, is going to work closely with the Japanese Government, with the Japanese authorities, mindful of their concerns, respectful of their needs, and in a way that accommodates and responds to local views and local needs. That's the way we approach all of our activities in that country, and certainly on a case as sensitive as this one.

QUESTION: So Japanese people are -- they are not very much happy about the way the U.S. has handled -- is handling this incident. And, in fact, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi called Secretary Powell to express that regret. But you don't dispute that -- I mean, you dispute that?

MR. ERELI: The Secretary did speak with Japanese Foreign Minister Kawaguchi on Monday. They discussed a number of issues. I don't know I would characterize the conversation the way you did.

Yes.

QUESTION: What do you have to say about the case of Tariq Ramadan, the Swiss national and Muslim intellectual who was supposed to come to take up a tenured position at Notre Dame but whose visa has been revoked?

MR. ERELI: Obviously, there is a limit to what I can tell you, due to the confidentiality of visa records. But Mr. Ramadan's visa was revoked pursuant to an action by the Department of Homeland Security to invalidate the petition on which it was based. Mr. Ramadan -- or Dr. Ramadan, excuse me -- is able to reapply for another visa, and he is not ineligible for applying for a visa nor is he ineligible to receive a visa. But this particular visa that was issued based on the Department of Homeland Security petition had to be revoked.

QUESTION: Why was the petition invalidated after having been granted?

MR. ERELI: I couldn't tell you that.

QUESTION: And why should he -- Mr. Ramadan is quoted as having said in Geneva, or he told us, my colleagues in Geneva today -- I'm not certain where he is -- that he understands that he can reapply but he hasn't been given a reason as to why it was revoked or why the underlying petition was invalidated and, therefore, he doesn't, you know, see the point in reapplying.

I mean, why are you pointing out that he can reapply if you're not going to give him some sense of why it was rejected? Are you suggesting that he made a mistake and, if he reapplies, maybe it'll go through, or what?

MR. ERELI: No, I'm saying that the reason it was revoked was on the basis of a Department of Homeland Security action to invalidate the petition on which it was based. So you could apply for another visa on the basis of a different petition and be reconsidered or on another, you know, another basis. I mean, this was one type of visa. There are several different types of visas you can apply for.

So, for this particular visa, given the documentation required and the process to go through, it was revoked. But that doesn't prejudice future applications on the basis of new information or different information.

QUESTION: Are you barred by law from telling him why the underlying petition was invalidated?

MR. ERELI: I'd have to check.

QUESTION: Could you check on that?

MR. ERELI: Sure.

QUESTION: I'd be interested.

QUESTION: Have you responded to Notre Dame's request for an explanation and for --

MR. ERELI: I think we've been in communication with the university and provided them the information we can.

QUESTION: Well, since it's their petition that you revoked, wouldn't they be -- have the right to have --

MR. ERELI: That's a question to ask the Department of Homeland Security.

QUESTION: Have they asked for a review? Are you aware of any plans to review the matter?

MR. ERELI: I am not aware of any plans.

Yes.

QUESTION: Could I follow up on the Palestinian prisoner issue?

MR. ERELI: From yesterday?

QUESTION: Yes, sir.

MR. ERELI: Sure. I looked into the report that you mentioned and, frankly, we don't have any specific information on those allegations. What I can tell you is that human rights and humanitarian issues are regular topics of discussions with our partners in the region, and particularly, or including, Israel and the Palestinians, and we will certainly continue to raise these issues of concern with regional leaders.

I would also note that we have consistently made clear the commitment of the United States Government to seeing improvements in the humanitarian situation, economic prospects and well-being of Palestinians.

QUESTION: Will you take any special steps to look into the child detainees? There are about 400.

MR. ERELI: As I said -- again, as I said yesterday, reports of incidents such as these are part of our ongoing -- are routinely investigated, routinely looked into and form a big part of our annual effort to document human rights practices, as part of the Country Report on Human Rights. So I think you can be assured that credible reports, or any reports, really, that are disturbing and alarming, are looked into and form part of the activity that goes into the Human Rights Report.

Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Change the subject?

MR. ERELI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Sudan. At talks in Abuja, the Sudanese Government now says it will let in more AU, African Union, forces, but only to guard the rebels. So that doesn't indicate -- well, I don't know -- that doesn't say anything about what will happen to the Jingaweit.

MR. ERELI: Right. The UN, the United Nations, has called for more monitors and more troops to protect them. The African Union has undertaken initiatives to augment its monitoring and protection mission in Darfur. We strongly support these initiatives. I think, as you suggest, there is discussion ongoing about what the specific mission of the troops would be.

It is our view that the -- it is our view that we will support the African Union in undertaking the mission that it feels that it's capable of undertaking, and that we would urge -- and we think it's important that the Government of Sudan cooperate, both with the UN and with the African Union, in allowing these monitors and these forces to do their work and do the mission that the AU and the UN decide is appropriate.

Now, as far as the Jingaweit go, I mean, there should be no doubt. I think we've been very clear that the Jingaweit need to be disarmed; the Jingaweit need to stop their activity; those responsible for perpetrating atrocities among the Jingaweit should be brought to justice; that it is, first and foremost, the responsibility of the Government of Sudan to undertake those actions; that that is what they committed to do to Secretary Powell in July; that's what they committed to do to the Secretary General at the same time; it's what the Resolution 1556 calls for and it's what they will be assessed on when the Security Council meets again in September.

QUESTION: But if there has been no discernible progress toward disarming the Jingaweit, why would you expect the rebels to give up their weapons to the AU force and leave themselves basically indefensible?

MR. ERELI: Our view is that the Government of Sudan is not only fully capable but has the responsibility for protecting its citizens. It can do so, it has been called upon to do so, and it has the responsibility to do so. And it is our view that responsibility for disarming the Jingaweit, responsibility for taking care of the Jingaweit or for acting against the Jingaweit, rests, first and foremost, with the Government of Sudan; that should they fail to take the actions that they have committed to taking and that the international community has called for, then other measures would need to be looked at.

But, again --

QUESTION: Should they fail? Since they have failed so far?

MR. ERELI: This is, I think, what will be discussed in New York.

QUESTION: May I follow up on that?

MR. ERELI: Yeah.

QUESTION: The Sudanese Government putting the rebel disarmament as a condition for them to disarm the Jingaweit. And how do you think that the rebels should be disarmed without reaching a peace agreement? That is the core issue here, Mr. Ereli.

MR. ERELI: Right. Let me -- I'm not going to negotiate for you on behalf of the rebels or for the Government of Sudan. I will explain to you what is -- what our diplomacy is focused on and how we see a resolution -- and what we see as a resolution that works.

You're right, and we've said it many times, there can be no long-term solution to this problem without a resolution of the political differences between the rebels and the government. And that is what the talks in Abuja are designed to address.

Now, there are obviously differences, and I think it's obvious to say that's why we have a conflict. But, clearly, the talks in Abuja are a critical element in the overall approach to resolving this problem because you've got to get the rebels and the government sitting down and addressing their differences in order to have any long-term solution to this problem. But I'm not going to comment for you on a daily basis on the positions on any one side or the other in those negotiations. That just doesn't, I don't think, serve a useful purpose.

Second of all, as far as the violence in Darfur, obviously, there need to be actions taken -- well, first of all, there's a ceasefire. All parties need to respect that ceasefire but, concurrent with that, it's clear that the Jingaweit are performing acts of violence against innocent civilians. That has to stop and the Government of Sudan has a responsibility to act to stop it, which involves disbanding, disarming and otherwise prosecuting those responsible for this violence.

QUESTION: Given that the Government of Sudan has not taken many of the steps that you've called for in terms of protecting its population, disarming the Jingaweit and so on, do you think it would -- do you support the idea of the African Union forces trying to disarm the Jingaweit?

MR. ERELI: I guess that takes it a couple of steps farther than I'm willing to consider at this point. And that's why I also made the point earlier that we think that, at the present time, given the present circumstances, the Government of Sudan is capable and has the responsibility for undertaking that action.

Now, if you ask me, "Should they be, in the future, uncapable or should it be determined that they're unwilling, what alternatives would you be willing to look at or would you want to look at," I'd say that's a hypothetical I'm just not prepared to get into.

QUESTION: But I return to my question, Adam: Why would you expect the rebels to disarm for the AU if the Jingaweit are not being disarmed by the government, which, to this point, they are not.

MR. ERELI: Repeat that.

QUESTION: Why would you expect the rebels to allow disarmament by the AU if the Jingaweit are not being disarmed by the government, which they are not?

MR. ERELI: I'm not talking about disarmament of the rebels by the AU.

QUESTION: But that's what -- that's what the AU mission is -- that they're discussing now.

MR. ERELI: They are discussing. I would put it this way, and it's what I said earlier. The AU has not yet determined what mission these -- this additional force would have, so I'm not going to speculate on what mission it's had. All of your questions are premised on what might or might not happen. As I said, it's an issue under discussion. Let's let the AU determine what it feels it is in a position to do.

As a matter of principle, we believe that the AU has a vital and central role to play, that we welcome that role. We think that they have acted decisively and positively so far. I would remind you there are 155 Rwandan troops there. There are -- I'm sorry, 115 Rwandan forces there, 155 Nigerians that will be arriving shortly. This is a welcome and important development. The AU is looking at increasing that and, based on their previous performance, previous contributions, we think that would be positive.

Now, what, exactly their mission is going to be, the AU is discussing it and we'd leave it to the AU to come up with recommendations, come up with decisions based on their capabilities and based on the realities on the ground.

QUESTION: Adam, to what degree are you satisfied that the Sudanese Government is acting in good faith so far, I mean, concerning the present circumstance that you suggested? That's one.

And second, why is there a total absence of pressure on the Arab League to do something about what's going on in Sudan?

MR. ERELI: We've spoken, I think, fairly regularly about our assessment of actions taken to date. I don't really have anything much new to add to that. I would note that yesterday in the Security Council, members heard an interim report from Assistant Secretary General Kalamoh and General Cammaert, who is the Secretary General's military advisor.

I'd refer you to a press statement that was issued by the Council in which we expressed, as I just did, strong support for the African Union's leading role, commending the work of Special Representative Pronk and noting that the Sudanese Government needed to fully cooperate with the African Union and the UN and take credible action to fulfill its commitments.

I think that Mr. Pronk is in the midst of preparing his report on the sufficiency of those actions. That will be a subject for debate by the Security Council in September, early September. And beyond that, I don't have anything to add to what we've said before.

Yes.

QUESTION: Change of subject.

QUESTION: Did you have one on --

MR. ERELI: More on Sudan?

QUESTION: Yeah. A newspaper this morning is quoting rather heavily from what it says is a preliminary report on the United States investigation of genocide, and talks about having turned up a consistent pattern of atrocities committed by the Jingaweit, and also that many of these incidents appear to be on a racial basis. And I was wondering, is that -- do they indeed have a preliminary report? And does this -- should we conclude that we're heading toward a genocide determination because of this?

MR. ERELI: It -- there is a preliminary report with an emphasis on preliminary. And I would not draw any conclusions about future decisions on the basis of a preliminary report.

As you know, as we've said before, there are teams in Chad interviewing refugees in an attempt to document what has been going on in Darfur, and that this is all part of an effort to collect the facts so that we can make an informed judgment about the nature of these incidents.

That process is ongoing and I don't really have anything new to say to you about it, other than to make the point that, again, as we've said before, this process in no way, I think, comes at the expense of taking every action we can to address the needs of the people of Darfur. And regardless of what the outcome of this information gathering and decision making is, there is nothing that we are -- there's nothing we would be doing now differently, I think, in terms of helping the people of Sudan, because their welfare and protecting them and doing what we can to help them is our first and foremost concern regardless of what you -- the label you put to the suffering that they are going through.

QUESTION: Does the preliminary report that Dave just suggested say that there is a pattern of atrocity on the part of the Jingaweit that appears to be racially or ethnically based?

MR. ERELI: I haven't seen it, so I couldn't tell you.

Mr. -- oh, I'm sorry. Elise, you had a question.

QUESTION: Yeah, I have a question. This is on the hold on the nomination of Jim Cunningham. Do you have any updates on that? What do you think of the hold? Are you expecting -- are talks taking place about --

MR. ERELI: No, I don't -- I'm not up on that one.

Mr. Lambros.

QUESTION: Yes. Anything on Secretary's Powell agenda during his visit in Athens?

MR. ERELI: Nothing new.

QUESTION: It's a lot of stories in Greece as far as he's going to discuss, and you don't have anything to say?

MR. ERELI: I don't have anything to say on all the stories in Greece? No. I don't have anything to say.

QUESTION: And can you look into that to tell us tomorrow something, if it's possible?

MR. ERELI: No, I think that, you know, as is customary with Secretary Powell's travel --

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. ERELI: -- the -- we don't announce schedules ahead of time. As I said before, Secretary Powell will be attending the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games and meeting with Greek officials and, I imagine, having some press events in Greece. But beyond that, I don't think I'll have more detail for you before he departs.

QUESTION: I don't want anything on schedules because I know for security matters, but as far as for the agenda, what he is going to discuss, like this important Cyprus issue, Greek-Turkish disputes, Balkans, et cetera, et cetera.

MR. ERELI: We will have the opportunity to review the full range of bilateral relations and regional issues.

QUESTION: Adam, did you see the stories that say they're urging Secretary Powell not to come?

MR. ERELI: I've heard of them, but I think we're committed to visiting our Greek friends and sharing in this very important occasion.

QUESTION: Did you finish reviewing your policy against Turkish Cypriot?

MR. ERELI: On steps to ease the isolation of --

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. ERELI: Nothing new to announce today.

QUESTION: Six months, you know?

MR. ERELI: Nothing new to announce today.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. ERELI: Sir.

QUESTION: I have one more. A group of alleged terrorists were convicted in Uzbekistan of various acts. Human rights monitors have said that -- observed that it did not appear that the proceedings were what one would consider a fair trial. I was just wondering, did the United States observe these, and if you had any reflection.

MR. ERELI: We are looking into that issue and we'll provide you a response shortly.

Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:42 p.m.)

DPB # 141

[End]

Released on August 25, 2004


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Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

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Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

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