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State Dept. Daily Press Briefing for October 6

Daily Press Briefing
Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 6, 2004

INDEX:

DEPARTMENT
- Program to Combat Intellectual Property Theft / International
- Training Programs
- Duelfer Report / Informing Embassies / Length of Report / Threat
- of Saddam Hussein

IRAN
- Possession of 37 Tons of Yellowcake / IAEA Resolution / Defying
- IAEA

NORTH KOREA
- ElBaradei Comments / Ignoring Calls to End Nuclear Program / U.S.
- Proposal

BRAZIL
- Nuclear Program / Good Record with IAEA

ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS
- Commitment to the Roadmap / President's Vision of Two-States /
- Gaza Disengagement Plan / Return to Political Process / Freeze on
- Settlement Activity
- U.S. Veto of Algerian-UNSC Resolution / Unbalanced Resolution

TURKEY
- Secretary Powell's Conversation with Foreign Minister Gul /
- European Commission Reports / Accession Talks


TRANSCRIPT:


1:15 p.m. EDT

MR. ERELI: Good afternoon, everyone. If I may, I'd like to begin with an announcement that we'll be putting out after the briefing about programs administered by the State Department to combat intellectual property theft.

Today, we will be releasing $1.19 million to fund training programs to combat intellectual property theft in Brazil, Pakistan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia and Panama, as well as for initiatives in the tri-border region of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, and with the countries in the East Asia Pacific region. This is in addition to another tranche of funding, which we announced in August, $1.31 million, for projects in Paraguay, Thailand and Mexico, as well as APEC and ASEAN nations, as well as countries in the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

These two announcements, the 1.31 in August, and the 1.19 today, bring to 2.5 million, the amount of money we are spending on international training programs in various parts of the world to combat piracy and counterfeiting efforts. All of these programs are part of the strategy targeting organized piracy or STOP initiative that was announced on October 4th by the United States trade representative, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Justice and Homeland Security.

And with that, I'll take your questions. Tammy.

QUESTION: The Duelfer Report, there is a published report that the State Department has been briefing it to governments named in the report, as part of the Oil-for-Food.

MR. ERELI: Yeah. We -- I don't know that we -- we have not read the full report. We have been briefed on its -- on many of its findings. We have not seen all of the -- we have not seen the report in full. Based on what we've been briefed on the report, we sent a message to our embassies abroad last night so that they could inform host governments of what Mr. Duelfer would be releasing publicly this afternoon, and yesterday we spoke with ambassadors in Washington to brief them. So that is a process that began yesterday, but does not, I think, prejudge the public release of the report, which will take place this afternoon.

QUESTION: Which ambassadors did you speak with yesterday?

MR. ERELI: I don't have a full list of them. I think most of the ambassadors from countries named in the report. Certainly, I'll see if we can get you a full list of all of the countries that were briefed.

QUESTION: What does it mean when you say, we have not seen the full report? Does that mean you, yourself, personally? I find it very hard to believe that no one in this building has seen the full report.

MR. ERELI: No, I think I said those making -- not everyone making -- doing the briefing has seen the full report. The full report has actually been seen by I think just a few people.

QUESTION: You actually said, "We have not read the full report." I still find that hard to believe that you have not -- that no one in this building -- "we," you were speaking of the State Department, right, or using the royal "we"? Have you --

MR. ERELI: I have not seen the full report. There are some people in the State Department who have seen the full report and read the full report. There are very few, I would note, simply because the full report goes to -- and its annexes -- goes to something over -- something around 1500 pages. And so, there have been I think a limited number of people who have actually had the time to read it and contribute to it and provide State Department views.

That said, there is a larger number of people, including those who spoke to host country ambassadors, who are well briefed on the report and are very familiar with much of what's in it.

QUESTION: Okay. And presumably, you personally know that it runs to 1500 pages because someone who has seen the full report --

MR. ERELI: Yes.

QUESTION: -- has told you that?

MR. ERELI: Yes.

QUESTION: Okay. And based --

MR. ERELI: Go ahead.

QUESTION: Right, there is a little bit more substantive. Based on your understanding of what's in the report, are -- is the Department still comfortable with the position that it ultimately ended up taking in support of -- in support of the war?

MR. ERELI: The Department fully supports the President and the rest of the United States Government in assessing that Saddam Hussein was a threat; that every diplomatic effort was exhausted to confront that threat; and that when all other attempts had failed, it was the right thing to do to resort to force to remove him.

QUESTION: The Vice President last night in the debate said that the nexus of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq made Iraq a threat. This report when it comes out, according to all -- according to people who have seen it, or people who have been briefed on it, says that there were no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, and, in fact, the programs that you have often cited as reasons for the action were idle.

Do you believe that this nexus of terrorism and the potential for -- and weapons of mass destruction -- do you now believe that that was the case?

MR. ERELI: There is nothing in this report I think to call into question the conclusion that Saddam Hussein, based on his previous actions and his -- his previous actions, his declared intentions and his demonstrated capabilities in the post-9/11 world represented an intolerable threat to the United States and the rest of the world that we had every justification to act upon and that we successfully did by putting together an international coalition.

QUESTION: So let me just state it. There is nothing in this report to call into question that Saddam represented an untolerable threat to the United States?

MR. ERELI: Our conclusion is that Saddam Hussein, by his demonstrated capability and his intent, represented a threat to the United States that we needed to act upon.

QUESTION: And you know that how? Sorry -- that there's nothing in this report that would call that into question, since you, yourself, said you haven't seen it?

MR. ERELI: Based on what I have been briefed.

Yes.

QUESTION: Adam, there are reports from next door in Iran that -- and I guess it's a fine government there -- they're saying that they've got 37 tons of yellowcake ready for enrichment and it's enough to make five bombs, and the IAEA is, I guess, throwing their hands up, they can't go much further with the government there.

And also, do you think the position that the IAEA is also taking with North Korea is also justified?

MR. ERELI: Two questions. Number one, on the question of 37 tons of yellowcake, we've spoken to this before. Clearly, 37 tons is not a test, as Iran suggests; it's a production run. I would remind you that at the September board meeting of the Board of Governors meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, they passed a resolution that said Iran should immediately suspend all enrichment activities, including the production of feed material. It comes as no surprise that, once again, Iran is defying the board and is producing uranium hexafluoride feed material.

There is no peaceful use for this enriched uranium, and at the present time, in our view, it clearly indicates that Iran is continuing its efforts in a nuclear weapons program. And this is -- these are all issues which the Board of Governors will have to take under advisement in its November board meeting.

QUESTION: Just to -- on that, that guidance is verbatim from about a week and a half ago, I think.

MR. ERELI: Right. And I don't think the news is --

QUESTION: There's nothing new.

MR. ERELI: I don't think the news that is being reported today is different from what was reported a week and a half ago.

QUESTION: Well, can you -- this is -- can you just refresh me? It was during the UN General Assembly that this --

MR. ERELI: This was September 21st.

QUESTION: That guidance dates from September 21st.

MR. ERELI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Thanks.

MR. ERELI: And on North Korea, you know, we agree with Dr. ElBaradei that North Korea's nuclear programs are a concern and we agree with -- we share his disturbance that North Korea continues to ignore the calls of the international community to end its nuclear programs.

We continue to believe that the best way to do this, to address the problem of North Korea's nuclear programs, is through the multilateral diplomacy of the six-party talks. We remain disappointed that North Korea has not returned to the table for the next round. We've got a proposal on the table that we think goes a long way toward addressing this problem and we certainly look forward to having the opportunity to act on that proposal in the future.

QUESTION: And, by contrast, are you encouraged by the Government of Brazil for an open invitation to the IAEA and others to view their --

MR. ERELI: You know, I would caution against speaking of lumping all these topics together because they're very different in their scope, they're very different in their details. Brazil has a good record of cooperation with the IAEA. Their program is, in almost every -- in every respect, different than North Korea's and Iran's, and I think the Secretary has spoken to this on his visit to Brazil. There is good movement between the IAEA and Brazil. It's just a completely different kind of relationship.

QUESTION: New subject, the Middle East. What is your understanding of the Sharon government's position towards the roadmap and whether it is the basis for the creation of a Palestinian state or the basis for Israel to freeze any movement or to -- for any -- for there to be a freeze in any movement toward the Palestinian -- toward a Palestinian state?

MR. ERELI: Our understanding is that Israel is committed to the roadmap and to the President's two-state vision. I would note that Prime Minister Sharon, the office of Prime Minister Sharon, issued a statement to that effect today. So we see, based on that statement and based on Israel's declared policy, we see no cause to doubt it.

For our part, we certainly remain committed to the roadmap as the means to realize the President's vision of two states. It was most recently -- it was codified in the letter that he exchanged with Prime Minister Sharon on April 14th. Both we and Israel continue to see -- continue to look at the Gaza disengagement plan as a real opportunity to make progress in the quest for Middle East peace and an opportunity to return to a political process.

QUESTION: Did the comments that Mr. Weisglass made give you any pause or give you any reason to ask for some kind of a clarification from Prime Minister Sharon or others in the government?

MR. ERELI: I would refer you to the Israeli Government for comments on the Weisglass -- what Mr. Weisglass is being reported to --

QUESTION: Well, did you ask about them?

MR. ERELI: We certainly made it clear that it didn't coincide with what we thought the position of the Government of Israel was.

QUESTION: So there was some conversation in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem?

MR. ERELI: Yes.

QUESTION: Because who, the Amb --

MR. ERELI: Through our Embassy, our Embassy officials.

QUESTION: And who, Sharon's office?

MR. ERELI: I don't know exactly who we spoke with.

QUESTION: Okay. And can you just clear something up? When you say that your understanding is that Israel is committed to the roadmap, does that mean that --

MR. ERELI: And the President's two-state vision.

QUESTION: And the -- right, okay -- and to the President's two-state vision. Is it also your -- that Israel is committed to all parts of the roadmap, including the freeze on settlements, which would include natural growth?

MR. ERELI: Those are commitments that have been made --

QUESTION: And your under --

MR. ERELI: -- to work toward a freeze of settlement activity, including natural growth.

QUESTION: Well, to work towards a freeze in settlement activity? No, no, the roadmap says freeze all settlement activity.

MR. ERELI: Yes.

QUESTION: Not work towards a freeze.

MR. ERELI: And we are -- our position is that that is the goal that we are working toward, a freeze on settlement activity.

QUESTION: And in the meantime, it may be okay for there to be growth of settlements?

MR. ERELI: We need to get from where we are to a freeze, and that is a process that we are engaged with the Israelis on.

Yes, ma'am.

QUESTION: No, can I -- I just want to stay on this, just on Israel for a second.

Yesterday, at the UN, you vetoed the resolution, the Algerian resolution, and in a briefing here before that vote happened you had suggested that you were going -- you had said that Ambassador Danforth, I guess, and others were going to be discussing the Algerian draft and trying -- and expressing your concerns about the language and about omissions in the -- or to address the unbalanced, one-sided nature.

Did the United States make any attempt to secure changes to the draft that would have allowed it to vote in favor, or perhaps abstain?

MR. ERELI: We worked with our other partners on the Council to change the text. I think Senator Danforth made clear the United States, in his explanation of vote, the United States objections to the resolution as it was presented, those objections being that it was unbalanced and did not serve the interest or serve the interests of reaching a settlement, a political settlement, or advancing the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

We shared our concerns with other members of the Council. Those other members of the Council worked to get the Palestinians to create a more balanced text. Unfortunately, those efforts were not successful and the text that was finally put to a vote was unacceptable, and for that reason we vetoed it.

QUESTION: Did they work with the Algerians? I mean, they're the ones that --

MR. ERELI: They worked with the Algerians and the Palestinians. I think probably the Palestinians and the Algerians worked together on the text.

QUESTION: But they would not move?

MR. ERELI: But there was not -- there were not -- there were not changes, I think, made that sufficiently addressed our concerns, and for that reason we took the vote that we did.

QUESTION: Can you say briefly what those changes were?

MR. ERELI: I don't have all those details, no.

Yes.

QUESTION: Different subject. Do you have anything on the European Commission report on Turkey, and has Secretary Powell been in touch with the EU leaders about Turkey's EU case recently?

MR. ERELI: Secretary Powell spoke with Foreign Minister Gul on Sunday, and on the issue of the EU and Turkey, we would note that the European Union -- or European Commission released a number of documents today, among them a progress report on Turkey and a report recommending the beginning of accession talks with Turkey.

We haven't read fully these reports. Our understanding is that they provide a strong recommendation for the EU to begin accession talks with Turkey and they also provide a detailed look at Turkey's ongoing transformation.

For our part, we welcome Turkey's strong commitment to continue reform throughout the EU accession progress. We welcome the EU's positive recommendation on Turkey. We have long supported Turkey's eventual membership in the European Union and would certainly welcome a European Council decision in December to set an early date to begin accession talks.

QUESTION: This is kind of a shot in the dark. Do you have anything on Zimbabwe and a proposed law that would ban foreign human rights groups from working in the country and ban all foreign funding for domestic groups?

MR. ERELI: No, I don't have anything. Let me see if --

QUESTION: There was a protest today in which some people were arrested.

MR. ERELI: I don't. I'll see if I can get you something.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. ERELI: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:30 p.m.)

DPB#162

[End]


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