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State Dept. Daily Press Briefing for October 1

Daily Press Briefing Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman Washington, DC October 1, 2004

INDEX:

CARIBBEAN
- Hurricane Assistance

IRAQ
- Donor Conference in Tokyo Supporting Iraq Reconstruction
- International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq
- U.S. Representation at the Conference

SYRIA/LEBANON
- Secretary General's Report on Syrian Involvement in Lebanon
- Reaction to Bombing in Beirut/U.S. Condemnation
- Car Bombing in Syria
- U.S. Reactions to Incidents of Violence/Cycle of Violence

ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS
- Ongoing Military Operations in Gaza
- Respecting the Lives of Civilians

NORTH KOREA
- Multilateral Solution to Crisis/Six Party Process

SUDAN
- Important Steps in Counterterrorism/Presence of Terrorist
- Organizations
- Government Agreement to Expand African Union Mission in Darfur

INDIA/UKRAINE
- Weapons Proliferation Sanctions on Companies

MISCELLANEOUS
- OSCE / Query on Letter to Secretary Powell

BAHRAIN
- U.S. Concern Over De-Licensing of Non-Governmental Organization

IRAN
- On-Site Inspection Proposed by IAEA

TRANSCRIPT:

1:20 p.m. EDT

MR. ERELI: Hello, everybody. Welcome to our last briefing of the week. If I may, let me begin with some updated numbers on hurricane assistance to the Caribbean.

To date, U.S. Government assistance to the Caribbean in the wake -- to provide relief for the damage caused by the hurricanes is $13,372,000. Of this 13 million, 4.8 million is emergency relief and food assistance that has been given to Haiti. Another -- an additional -- I'm sorry, 4.8 has been given to Haiti. There will be an additional 8.5 million for immediate and urgent reconstruction needs, which brings the total to over $63 million for the countries of the Caribbean.

QUESTION: What?

QUESTION: What?

MR. ERELI: Oh, I'm sorry. Excuse me. Scratch that. In addition to the 13 million, President Bush has also submitted a request to Congress for $50 million supplemental funding for reconstruction efforts in the Caribbean. When you add the 50 million to the 13 million, we're just over $63 million.

QUESTION: Well, hold on a second.

MR. ERELI: It's $13.3 million.

QUESTION: Yeah. So if you get 16 -- if you've got 63.6 million, Haiti has gotten 12 -- 13.3 million?

MR. ERELI: No. Haiti has got a total of 5.3, and the way that adds up is they've got 2.7 of --

QUESTION: Can you just put this on paper and give it to us, maybe? (Laughter.) This is just unbelievably confusing. And I'm also assuming that the numbers that Richard gave us yesterday for the other countries are the same?

MR. ERELI: Yep.

QUESTION: Well, okay, paper would be nice, but as long as you're already in this halfway, would you keep reading?

MR. ERELI: Sure. Of Haiti, you've got -- out of the 8.5 that I mentioned as being reprogrammed, you have 2.6, and out of the 4.8 you had 2.7, so that total comes to 5.3.

QUESTION: What?

QUESTION: So it's 13.3 for Haiti, then?

MR. ERELI: Yeah.

QUESTION: All right.

QUESTION: You said at the beginning --

MR. ERELI: There --

QUESTION: All right. Since you -- since other people want to do this right now, you said at the very beginning 4.8 Haiti has gotten, but plus they're going to get an additional 8.5 million for reconstruction; is that correct?

MR. ERELI: Right. No, let me get it. We've got -- you've got three pots of money, right? You've got 4.8 which has already been spent and committed, you've got another 8.5 which is in the -- which has been found and is in the pipeline, and that comes to over 13 million. Then you've got another 50 million that is being requested. That's being requested.

Of the 4.8 already spent, we've got 2.7 was for Haiti. Of the 8 million, 8.5 that we've identified but have not yet spent, 2.6 million is for Haiti.

QUESTION: Oh, all right. Well, then -- the way you started out was you said there was 4.8 million for Haiti plus there was going to be an additional 8.5 million for Haiti. But that is not for Haiti --

MR. ERELI: No, no.

QUESTION: It's for the whole region.

MR. ERELI: For the whole region.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: What fund is this coming from, when you say we've identified --

MR. ERELI: The 8.5 million is from reprogrammed AID money and the -- I believe the 4.8 is also from AID money.

QUESTION: As in Agency for Inter --

MR. ERELI: USAID.

QUESTION: While you're talking about assistance, do you have anything on U.S. expectations of bringing assistance out of the European countries, France particularly, at the Japan conference?

MR. ERELI: I think what we're looking for in the Japan conference, really, is a follow-up to what was discussed at the -- in the United Arab Emirates and, previous to that, to Madrid, which is making good on pledges. I would note that the pledges raised in Madrid -- I don't have the figures in front of me -- I believe they're in the neighborhood of $8 billion, maybe more. But those were pledges made over the course of three years. There have already been a number of disbursements made. I don't have the exact accounting for you at this point. I think what we'll be looking for, really, is less new giving than following up on existing giving. But I would note that, you know, it's important to view this Tokyo meeting in the context of what's going on, what will be going on, in the region later in the month or in November in terms of a broad push for sustained assistance to Iraq, both in terms of reconstruction, security and political support.

QUESTION: It's a two-step -- if you don't mind describing this as a two-step process. There are funds, an IMF fund and World Bank fund.

MR. ERELI: Right, right.

QUESTION: But if there's a lag --

MR. ERELI: And bilateral assistance.

QUESTION: And there's bilateral. But if you -- right. Well, that isn't the point of my question.

If there's a step in the way, if you'll agree there's a lag, though you may say there's always a lag -- that's what people say when you ask them -- except Japan isn't lagging and the U.S. isn't lagging. Everybody else is.

If there's a lag, is the lag in putting the money in the fund, or is the lag the IMF and the World Bank doing something with the money, or is it a combination, or do you know?

MR. ERELI: I don't think there's so much a lag as the fact that much of the money from the fund has already been disbursed. I think there's a good plan for disbursing that money. I'm not aware that there's a lag in terms of either providing money to the fund or disbursing the fund. I think it's a question of coordination and follow-up more than it is tightening discipline.

QUESTION: This is kind of a logistical thing. In the debate last night, Senator Kerry kept going on about how he would hold a summit of the leaders for Iraq, and the President then said, in response, that the Secretary Powell was helping to organize such a meeting. And I just wanted to make sure that this hasn't moved from a foreign minister level meeting to a summit, which is -- a summit which is heads of state, to include the President. Right?

MR. ERELI: Right. My latest information is that, as envisioned by the Iraqis who are leading this effort with strong support and assistance of the United States and Secretary Powell, it's at the foreign minister level. There may be -- there may be heads of state participating so there -- it's entirely possible there will be some heads of state. I'm not aware that every country will be represented -- I don't think every country will be represented at the head of state level at this point.

QUESTION: So it is not envisioned as a summit?

MR. ERELI: At this point my understanding is it's an international conference at which there will be some heads of state and some foreign ministers.

QUESTION: Well, which heads of state? The Iraqi?

MR. ERELI: It hasn't been determined, but --

QUESTION: All right. Would you characterize it as a summit?

MR. ERELI: I would characterize it the way we've characterized it before, which is an international conference that Iraq has -- which Iraq is seeking to put together with our strong support.

QUESTION: So the answer is no, you would not characterize it as a summit; you would characterize it as what you delicately tried to -- in trying to avoid contradicting the President, are saying, right?

MR. ERELI: I think this is a very important international gathering that addresses the needs in Iraq and provides opportunity for the international community to support Iraq in meaningful ways -- politically, diplomatically, economically.

QUESTION: But you won't say that it's not a summit?

MR. ERELI: I'm not going to revisit old transcripts.

QUESTION: We don't use the word "summit" much anymore. There's a summit every five minutes, or a would-be or a pseudo summit all the time. So I'm not concerned about that.

But I'm concerned whether the Secretary of State will head the U.S. delegation or the President will. When the Secretary of State says he very much is for this and he's definitely going, does that preclude -- I know you can't speak for the White House, but does that preclude the President going?

MR. ERELI: Obviously, the United States puts -- you know, puts great store in and has great -- puts great store in and has great support for this conference, and I think our representation will be at a level appropriate to represent our interest and our support for it. I don't know what level that will be.

QUESTION: Just a couple of things on Syria and Lebanon. I presume you've seen the Secretary General's report which has been circulating around the UN today. I'm wondering what you make of it and his conclusion that the -- the rather obvious conclusions, since there are still Syrian troops in Lebanon, that the requirements or the call, the demands or whatever they were in the last resolution, have not been met.

And then I also wondered if you have any reaction to the car bomb attack in Beirut this morning.

MR. ERELI: On the Secretary General's report, I think it's just recently been distributed to members in New York. I haven't had the chance to see it. We'll be studying it carefully. There will be discussions in the Council next week. Based on those discussions, I think we'll, you know, we'll see where the Council stands on what the Secretary General has determined and they'll decide how they want to proceed.

On the subject of the bombing, we strongly condemn the bombing attack this morning in Beirut against the Foreign Minister of Economic and Trade Marwan Hamadeh. We extend our sympathies to the victims of this vicious terrorist attack and we wish Mr. Hamadeh a speedy and full recovery. Our Ambassador paid a hospital call on Mr. Hamadeh today. We call on the Lebanese authorities to fully investigate this attack and to bring the perpetrators and their backers to justice quickly.

QUESTION: Will you repeat who made the call -- who made the visit?

MR. ERELI: Our ambassador.

QUESTION: Last week --

QUESTION: Who is the ambassador now?

MR. ERELI: Jeffrey Feldman.

QUESTION: Last week, Adam, there was a similar attack in the capital of Syria and Damascus, which killed the person who it was apparently intended to kill, and you were unable to come up with a single word of condemnation for that attack, or asked the Syrians to -- for a full investigation. I'm just wondering why. Why is this? Why is this attack different?

MR. ERELI: This is an attack on a member of the Government of Lebanon and we believe that, as a member of the Government of Lebanon, as a dedicated public servant, as a man who has no alleged connections with terrorist activity, that that's a qualitatively different situation.

QUESTION: So he rates more in your -- his life is more important somehow?

MR. ERELI: I'm not saying that. I'm saying that he is a minister, a former minister of a sovereign government, and that that's a very different thing than someone who is alleged to be a member of a terrorist organization.

QUESTION: But -- okay. So the actual target of the -- it's not the actual -- the -- it's not the bombing itself that you condemn, it's who it's directed at.

MR. ERELI: I think what we condemn is attempting to kill a dedicated public servant who's a former minister of the Government of Lebanon.

QUESTION: Adam? You just said, "of a sovereign government," but isn't this resolution that was approved at the United Nations raising questions that the U.S. shares about just how sovereign the Lebanese Government is?

MR. ERELI: The resolution calls on Syrian forces to withdraw from Lebanon and for the Lebanese Government to extend its sovereign control over all parts of Lebanese territory. It doesn't, I think, put into doubt or question the sovereignty of that government. It just calls on -- it calls on all nations to leave Lebanon and let Lebanon exercise its sovereignty fully over entire parts of the country. So I'd make that distinction.

QUESTION: But I thought the U.S. had raised issue with the parliament in Lebanon extending the term of the Lebanese President?

MR. ERELI: But still, there is nothing we have said to call into question legitimacy, or I should put it, call into question the legitimacy of a sovereign Lebanese Government.

QUESTION: I just want to go back to what I was trying to get at before. Do you condemn all car bombings, or just car bombings that target people that you like?

MR. ERELI: You know, I don't want to --

QUESTION: Now you've --

MR. ERELI: I don't want to provide a general rule. I think what's important is we look at every situation on its merits, on its facts, on its special circumstances. This is the reaction we believe is appropriate for the circumstances of this incident. I'm not going to tell you we're going to respond in the same way if every circumstance is fulfilled. We will look at each situation on its merits and give you our opinion accordingly.

And in this case, where you have a foreign minister of a sovereign government, who is attempted to be assassinated by a car bomb and who has worked for -- worked on behalf of the sovereignty of Lebanon and the independence of Lebanon, then that's something we're going to condemn.

QUESTION: So some car bombings are okay?

MR. ERELI: I'm not going to say that either, Matt. I'm going to say we're going to look at every situation with regard to its particular circumstances.

QUESTION: When there is an incident like this, a bombing like this, you have to take it on a case-by-case basis, right, to determine what your reaction is? Is that what you're saying?

MR. ERELI: In this case, this is a response that --

QUESTION: You said you look at every -- you said you look at them all on the merits, correct?

MR. ERELI: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Okay. That would apply to me you evaluate car bombings on a case-by-case basis, some of which are condemnable and which you condemn, and others of which you might not care so much about, and you think they might be even good, as far as I can tell.

MR. ERELI: I didn't ever suggest --

QUESTION: No, I'm not suggesting --

MR. ERELI: -- in any way that car bombings are good. I simply said that our reaction to incidences of violence is a function of the facts behind those incidents and you can't say every incident of violence is the same. There are different circumstances. There are different -- considered -- there are different facts involved in the acts of violence. You know, frankly, we think that the use of violence to settle disputes is not the way to do it, is wrong. So, I think that is a simple general rule that I'm willing to state.

But I also think that -- or we also think that, as I said before, in the previous case, that when issues of terror are involved, we are talking about a cycle of violence that needs to be stopped, that needs to be addressed. And so, you know, you have to look at the different circumstances. You have to take into account the facts of each case, and based on the facts of the case that I'm talking about today, this is the response that is appropriate.

QUESTION: Follow-up. Can you -- as long as you're talking about the facts, it's been a week or two weeks now since the other car bombing Matt referred to, I believe -- do you have any considered judgment as to what happened in that case?

MR. ERELI: I don't have any new facts that, I think, change our initial reaction to that incident.

QUESTION: Which was? Which was?

MR. ERELI: I refer you to the record.

QUESTION: Right, exactly, which was -- you said it was an act of violence, but you didn't condemn it. You didn't say it was bad, correct?

QUESTION: Is the U.S. talking to Syria about this incident?

MR. ERELI: The United States is calling for a full and immediate investigation, and so to the extent that that concerns other countries, the same message would apply.

Yes.

QUESTION: I have a question about the ongoing chaos in Gaza, and also Chairman Arafat was even condemned by the Palestinian Parliament. They want -- from what you've been talking and saying here at the State Department the last year, they even want more security put in place and he's been unwilling to do that. Do you have any reaction?

MR. ERELI: I don't have any reaction to that last question. On the situation in Gaza, there are ongoing military operations in Gaza. Obviously, we understand that Israel has the right to defend itself. We've also noted with regret, reports of civilian casualties. We urge the Government of Israel to take every measure to ensure that only proportional force is used to counter the threats it faces. We urge Israel to avoid civilian casualties and minimize humanitarian consequences. These kinds of casualties can only make all of our efforts to achieve a durable peace more difficult.

QUESTION: And what do you mean by proportional force, proportional to what, in other words, one murder equals one --

MR. ERELI: No, I think that it's important, we think it's important, we've made it clear our view that it's important to avoid civilian casualties, to not target civilians, to minimize damage to innocent life and property. And it's understandable that if you're under attack by terrorists, you need to respond, but that response should be gauged at the terrorists and should not victimize innocents.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) that you're aware of? Civilians who aren't terrorists, I mean.

MR. ERELI: I -- no.

QUESTION: All right. I mean, I know you were speaking quickly and philosophically. But you're not suggesting that Israel has ever targeted --

MR. ERELI: I'm not suggesting anyone is targeting civilians. I'm suggesting that everyone should --

QUESTION: Anyone?

MR. ERELI: I'm not suggesting that one is targeting civilians.

QUESTION: Hamas doesn't target civilians?

MR. ERELI: I'm not suggesting that Israel is targeting civilians. What I am suggesting is that civilians should be -- harm to civilians should be avoided and all care should be taken to protect and respect civilian life and property.

Yes.

QUESTION: I'd like to go to another topic from the debate last night, and that was North Korea. And I wonder, how exactly do you think bilateral talks with North Korea would undermine the six-party process, given the fact that several of the members are having their own bilateral talks with North Korea and are urging the U.S. to do the same?

MR. ERELI: The United States believes that the best and most effective way to denuclearization the Korean Peninsula is through a diplomatic solution in a multilateral context. That multilateral context is the six-party framework. It is something that we have, I think, worked painstakingly and creatively with our allies to put in place.

We have chosen to go this route precisely because the bilateral experience failed, and that when we did have bilateral engagement with North Korea, they signed agreements with they promptly violated. So if North Korea wants to engage with us bilaterally, we're just reluctant to do that because we've been there, done that, and it didn't work.

I don't think that it necessarily follows that if other countries are dealing with North Korea bilaterally, that that undermines the six -- that that undermines or comes at the expense of their commitment to the six-party process. To the contrary, I think what we see in our dealings with the other partners, the other four partners in the six-party process is a recognition that is achieved some important results. There is a broad recognition among those in the Peninsula of the threat posed by North Korea, and I think the effectiveness of the approach of working together to confront that.

So we remain fully committed to that multilateral, that diplomatic approach. We think that past efforts and other approaches haven't been successful, and that this one is moving us in the right direction.

QUESTION: Don't you think if the U.S. met privately that would undermine the six-party?

MR. ERELI: You know, our focus is on dealing with North Korea through this process. There really isn't -- there aren't other issues, I think, that we need to talk about bilaterally, and therefore, the need for such a meeting. Obviously, I suppose there's the theoretical possibility of bilateral meetings, but at this point, it really doesn't -- it's not an issue that we're entertaining seriously or see the need for.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Can we go to (inaudible)? Actually, (inaudible) stay on North Korea. I mean, the fact is, Adam, that while the U.S. is using its allies to put pressure on North Korea, within the framework of these talks, there have been one-on-one talks directly with the North Koreans. Why has the U.S. apparently done -- what is the U.S. apparently adopting both approaches?

MR. ERELI: I don't think they're -- I wouldn't characterize them as one-on-one talks. First of all, not from our side. We haven't had one-on-one talks --

QUESTION: Jim Kelly has absolutely met with the North Korean counterpart, with his North Korean counterpart.

MR. ERELI: That's within the context of the six-party talks, number one.

QUESTION: That's what I said.

MR. ERELI: Number two, I wouldn't call them talks. Number three, I think there's no inconsistency in -- when you're in a six-party framework and you're in a multilateral framework, having conversations with the different groups that are there, that to qualify, to characterize those as bilateral negotiations is, I think, mischaracterizing them.

QUESTION: I didn't say negotiation. I said talks, conversations. You've had conversations with --

MR. ERELI: Sure. Sure. We've had conversations --

QUESTION: -- with the North Koreans directly.

MR. ERELI: -- with the North Koreans at the six-party talks and within the six-party talks, but that's very different from what your colleague was suggesting, which is a bilateral track to address this issue. They're, again, different things. Does that answer your question?

QUESTION: Somewhat.

MR. ERELI: Sir.

QUESTION: Still on six-party talks. I understand how this Administration think the six-party talk is important. As we know, recently, the North Korean people seemed very, very reluctant to come back to the six-party talk. However, yesterday, Secretary Powell was very optimistic. In stakeout with the Chinese Foreign Minister, he said, "They have, in recent weeks, indicated that they are still committed to the six-party talks." What does this mean? Do you have any concrete information which indicates that the North Korean people come back to the six-party talks?

MR. ERELI: I don't have any concrete information to share with you. I think the characterization is accurate, that one should not conclude from the fact that this round, the latest round did not take place as scheduled, that somehow there's a lack of interest or an abandonment of the six-party process. I think it's more of a question of timing and scheduling than it is commitment, and that's the point the Secretary was making.

Sudan. Sorry.

QUESTION: Can you update us on the status in terrorist groups there and what steps the Sudanese Government is taking to expel them?

MR. ERELI: Most of that information is in our annual report on Patterns of Terrorism. In a nutshell, we've got an ongoing dialogue with the Government of Sudan on counterterrorism issues. They have taken a number of, I think, important in -- as part of that cooperation. We continue, however, to have concerns about the presence of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Sudan. And it's those remaining associations with terrorist groups, I think, that keeps them on the list.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: Oh. I was just going to be very brief because I'm sure you don't have an answer. The governments of India and Ukraine have both said that they have complained about the inclusion of entities from their countries in the latest round sanctions, the Iran sanctions that were announced earlier this week. Do you know if you've received these complaints? And if you have, are you going to -- what's your response to them?

MR. ERELI: I don't know. I'll see if we have received them, and if we have, what our response is.

QUESTION: Okay. And in a very similar vein, the head of the press -- or an OSCE official yesterday said that he had written to Secretary Powell asking for the remaining restrictions on books published -- books by authors from countries that you don't like -- there are apparently some residual restrictions on publishing them in the United States. He's asking for them to be removed, saying that these restrictions are inconsistent with free speech. Do you know if the Secretary has received that letter?

MR. ERELI: I don't. I will check. Who was it from in the OSCE?

QUESTION: He is the special apporteur for TERF for freedom of expression, or something like that. I'll get it for you.

MR. ERELI: Okay.

Yes, ma'am.

QUESTION: Another question on Sudan. What can you tell us about the agreement that Sudan has agreed in principle to accept more African Union troops? Can you give us a sense of when you expect to be able to get more troops on the ground?

MR. ERELI: Very soon. That's probably about as specific as I can get for you. We think it's important that more troops get there quickly. We certainly welcome Foreign Minister Ismail's comments that the Government of Sudan has agreed to an African Union request for an expanded mission in Darfur. We are working with all of the parties to help the African Union rapidly deploy and expand -- rapidly deploy the expanded monitoring and protection force.

For our part, we have provided an initial outlay of 6.8 million to -- for logistical support for this deployment and we've been allocated an additional $20.6 million for immediate support. I would note, the Secretary spoke with Nigerian President Obasanjo last Thursday in New York, to go over many of the, I think, detailed and tactical issues involved with a expanded deployment.

We have made it clear to the African Union that with these funds, we're prepared to consider their request for technical and logistic support and we're encouraging our European partners to make specific and substantial pledges as soon as possible, and within the State Department, within the U.S. Government, we've established a task force to help do -- or to provide assistance from the U.S. Government to speeding up this deployment.

So the short answer is, it's important that these expanded monitor -- this expanded deployment get to Sudan quickly. We are working with Nigeria, members of the African Union, the Government of Sudan, the Europeans, and within our own government to provide the resources and wherewithal to make that happen.

QUESTION: Are there any more details on the size of the mandate?

MR. ERELI: Not that I have. I think this is something that the African Union will be discussing, but I don't have details for you.

Yes. I'm sorry, in the back.

QUESTION: Well, are you going to -- are you on the same subject, Joel, or you want to change? I want to change. Is that all right?

QUESTION: Yes.

QUESTION: Bahrain, two days ago, following up on that, the Bahrain Government said it closed the Bahrain Center for Human Rights because it continued to violate terms of its license as a center for documentation and research for human rights, not as a center for political activities, as the people in charge had used it and Abdulhadi al-Khawaja was arrested on suspicion of violating a longstanding domestic law prohibiting nongovernmental groups from engaging in political activities. Have you heard this and what is your reaction?

QUESTION: Two days ago.

MR. ERELI: We have heard it.

QUESTION: I saw the question two days ago.

MR. ERELI: We've heard about it. Our ambassador -- or our chargé has met with the Government of Bahrain to express our concern about this issue. The organization in question and its executive director are -- I think Bahrain is -- if not only, certainly the most prominent and respected human rights organization. Their -- his arrest and their de-licensing raises serious questions, serious concerns, which we have expressed to the Government of Bahrain.

Bahrain has -- the Government of Bahrain has said, as a matter of policy, that it is committed to democratization and civil liberties. It has certainly demonstrated that in practice over the years. So this is a development that certainly caught our attention and we are asking for clarification.

QUESTION: And you haven't gotten any in the last two days?

MR. ERELI: I don't have anything to -- I have not seen what -- what's come back, so I'll check and see if we've got any -- anything more to say on it.

QUESTION: Can I go back quickly to the initial discussion about the conference on Iraq?

QUESTION: Well, wait. Can I just ask about --

QUESTION: Yeah, go ahead, sorry.

QUESTION: Has there been any new conversation with the Government of Bahrain since it was addressed from the podium by you or Richard, who said exactly the same thing, a day or so ago? Has there been a new contact?

MR. ERELI: No, there has not been -- not that I'm aware of. I haven't checked. I'll check and see if there is anything new to say in terms of what we found out or what we've raised.

QUESTION: Thanks. In my initial conversation about the international conference regarding Iraq, has there been a date and venue on that?

MR. ERELI: There have been dates and venues reported, but there has been nothing --

QUESTION: Right, but the way you guys were talking about it, it sounds like it's --

MR. ERELI: There has been nothing formally announced by either the host or the Government of Iraq.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. ERELI: Joel.

QUESTION: Yes, the UN wants to visit the Iranian nuclear site and they're going to do this, I guess, maybe not as thorough as the IAEA. But do you have any comments regarding this, with respect to the debates last night with both President Bush and John F. Kerry?

MR. ERELI: I don't know what visit you're speaking about?

QUESTION: An on-site inspection.

MR. ERELI: Through the IAEA or through the UN?

QUESTION: No, through the UN.

MR. ERELI: I'm not familiar with that visit. I mean, clearly, the IAEA has called upon Iran to allow immediate on-sight visits and inspections and that's what Iran has committed to. So we would certainly look to Iran to fulfill those pledges when the IAEA and its staff want to see things.

As far as our approach to Iran goes, I don't really have any comment on the debates. My only comment would be to repeat for you, reiterate for you what our longstanding position is, and that is that Iran, by its policies of supporting terrorism, pursuing weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, and their opposition to the peace process represent, we believe, a problem, a threat that needs to be addressed. We are working through the international community and our partners in the international community to do that. Our efforts with the IAEA to confront and deal with Iran's clandestine nuclear weapons program, I think, is a good example of that, and we'll continue to pursue our diplomatic, multilateral response to that problem.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. ERELI: Thanks.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:55 p.m.)

DPB # 159

[End]


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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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