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State Dept. Daily Press Briefing for November 15

Daily Press Briefing
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
November 15, 2004

INDEX:

IRAN
- Iran's Letter to IAEA / EU-3 Discussions / Suspension of Nuclear
- Program and Enrichment Activity / Upcoming IAEA Board Meeting
- Query on Whether Letter to IAEA Contains Verification Measures
- Query on Whether to Expect a Change in International Broadcasting
- to Arab World in Iran Because of Secretary of State Colin L.
- Powell's Departure / Board of Broadcasting Governors

DEPARTMENT
- Secretary Colin L. Powell's Resignation
- Query on Whether Deputy Secretary of State Armitage has Submitted Resignation
- Role of Human Rights in American Foreign Policy
- Calls Coming in for Secretary of Sate Colin L. Powell /
- Congressional Calls
- Query on Secretary of State Colin L Powell's Agenda for Remainder of Term
- State Department Budget
- Query on Whether More Resignations Among Senior Officials in Department are Expected

ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS
- Query on how Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's Resignation will
- Affect Middle East Peace Process
- Palestinian Elections

MACEDONIA
- Meeting Between Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Under
- Secretary Grossman, and the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Demetrios


TRANSCRIPT:


(1:25 p.m. EST)

MR. BOUCHER: Okay, well, I think we've made the news for the day, so my expectations aren't high. I doubt if yours are either, but I'm here to answer any other questions you have.

Mr. Schweid.

QUESTION: Our expectations are very high --

MR. BOUCHER: Okay.

QUESTION: -- and our time for pursuing sources is very limited, so we'll have to go to the spokesman. (Laughter.)

MR. BOUCHER: It happens that way sometimes.

QUESTION: The Secretary made some --

MR. BOUCHER: He did.

QUESTION: -- statement about Iran that sounded upbeat. The last 24 hours the prospects had improved. What was he referring to?

MR. BOUCHER: I think there's been news on Iran. We don't have it pinned down at this point so I think we all need to be a bit careful at this moment. We have heard, and I think seen confirmed, that Iran has presented a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency that says they are going to comply with the requirements. That remains to be examined, I would say.

We're looking to hear from our European friends who have been pursuing this with the Iranians to get more detail from them, and we look forward to doing that. I think we'll hear from some of their diplomats in Washington today, so we'll hear more from them today.

And of course, ultimately, the question remains: Are they making commitments and are they carrying out commitments? And so we'll also be looking to the International Atomic Energy Agency to be able to verify the commitments on suspension and to be able to report, we hope, if the Iranians really do comply, that the IAEA would be able to report at the Board meeting, the IAEA would be able to report at the Board meeting that Iran was complying with the requirements of the Board, and that finally, in the final analysis, is the question that will matter when the time comes for the Board meeting.

QUESTION: You mean halting enrichment?

MR. BOUCHER: There were a number of requirements of the Board. The chief one is suspending all enrichment activity, and that is something that we would expect the International Atomic Energy Agency to verify and we will see if the Agency is in a position to report to the Board of Governors when they meet in late November that Iran has not only made the commitment but is carrying out.

QUESTION: All right, last question from here on this. A letter. Has the U.S. seen the letter? Have the allies seen the letter? Have the allies given you a summary of the letter?

MR. BOUCHER: I think the allies --

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. BOUCHER: I think the allies have seen the letter. I'm not sure if the U.S. has a copy quite yet. But we need to -- we certainly look forward to sitting down with the Europeans and hearing from them in some detail about how these commitments are made and expressed, and to make sure that they indeed are the kind of commitments that the Europeans were seeking, that we were all seeking from the Iranians to really comply with the requirements of the Board of Governors.

Arshad.

QUESTION: Is it fair then to say that absent effective monitoring and verification systems in place,more Iranian promises really don't mean very much to you? And secondly, why is there any reason to believe -- the Iranians seem to make a lot of promises right before IAEA Board meetings; why is there any reason to believe this is anything other than that past pattern of making promises before IAEA Board meetings?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think that's why we are making clear this needs to be more than promises. This needs to be promises made and promises implemented, and the implementation is to make -- is to put the IAEA in a position to verify it and to be able to report to the Board so that the Agency can report to the Board that these promises are being implemented.

QUESTION: Do you have any reason to believe -- I mean, even if you don't have a copy of the letter, you must have had conversations with the EU-3 about its contents. Do you believe it contains monitoring and verification mechanisms?

MR. BOUCHER: I think it has been the understanding of all the parties that that would have to be part of the arrangement that Iran is being asked to accept, and I think there are reports that Iran has accepted the entire arrangement. But as I said, it bears a certain degree of scrutiny by all of us, the Europeans first, and us with them as well, to make sure that Iran is really making firm commitments that can be verified.

QUESTION: When do you think you'll have seen the letter gotten a full --

MR. BOUCHER: I expect we'll hear a lot more from the Europeans during the course of the day today in Washington, in terms of our meetings with their representatives here, and by -- I don't know if there will be more (inaudible) after that or not, but it will be fairly complete, I'd say.

Steve.

QUESTION: Do you have any sense of whether the suspension is sustained or permanent or indefinite? And do you also understand that it covers every kind of enrichment activity?

MR. BOUCHER: I think those are the kind of details and questions one needs to ask as one looks at the commitments that are being made and to make sure that those, indeed, are effective commitments.

Yeah. Nicholas.

QUESTION: Richard, what does that mean when it comes to your insistence previously that Iran be referred to the Security Council after this meeting on Monday in Vienna?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I don't want to get ahead of the game right now. Our view has been and remains that given Iran's past behavior that Iran needed to be referred to the Security Council. For years and even decades, they had a covert nuclear program that was hidden and constituted, in our view, a clear violation of their commitments.

If they're trying to correct those violations now by some new promises, first you need to see those promises verified, and second of all, we need to discuss with others at the Board, in that case, what the appropriate action is. But at this moment, given that our information has not changed and whatever commitments there are have not been verified and reported to the Board as verified, our view has not changed at this point.

Yeah.

QUESTION: But does that mean that on next Monday in Vienna you would still insist that whatever happens, Iran be referred, or are you going to wait until after the meeting?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't think the Board meeting is next Monday is Vienna. I think it's --

QUESTION: It's on the 25th. Sorry. It's on the 25th. Sorry.

MR. BOUCHER: -- couple of weeks, yeah, a couple of weeks away, ten days away.

QUESTION: So, to you that's enough time to actually verify that, and by the time of the meeting, have a better idea?

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not -- you'd have to ask the agency what their capabilities are, but one would hope that they would be able to start this work and give us a more complete report based not only on promises and statements but actual observations that they can make.

Said.

QUESTION: Richard, was the Secretary under any kind of time window, pressure to turn in his resignation now, especially on the eve of so many events and so many upcoming meetings and so many --

MR. BOUCHER: Are we on Iran? Are we finished with Iran?

QUESTION: I'm sorry.

MR. BOUCHER: I'm happy to move on if -- okay, go. Let me -- no. The moment has come for these kind of decisions to be made. We all recognize that. The election is over. President Bush is going to continue. There is a basic principle, followed many times, that a new term is a new -- brings a new team. And that's what you're seeing now. It's not just Secretary Powell. It's others in the Administration and maybe there are others to come. I don't know. But this is a natural moment between the election and the inauguration for people to announce their departures and for the new team to be assembled and for confirmation to go ahead and just make everything work the way it should.

So, as the Secretary said to you, he has talked about the new term with the President many times. It's always been the assumption and the understanding that Secretary Powell would serve one term. I know some of you had him out the door years ago, as well as many times in the last few weeks, but the moment has now come for him to announce that. And as you see, he is going to be fully Secretary of State, fully engaged as Secretary of State until it's time to leave.

QUESTION: Just to talk about Deputy Secretary Armitage, has he submitted any kind of letter of resignation? Do you have any expectation about how long he will or won't stay?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if he's actually submitted one yet or not. I think all of us realize that the two of them, Secretary Powell and Deputy Secretary Armitage, have been a very successful team, that Deputy Secretary Armitage has been a very, very important part of that team, particularly in the work he's done with the Hill and other agencies and some of the other nations where he has traveled a little more frequently than the Secretary.

So I think we all recognize how important he's been to the team effort between the two of them, and as well as other people, but it has been a team, and I would say, so there's generally the expectation that it's like Bosnia: in together, out together. But I don't know precisely where that stands at this moment.

Sir.

QUESTION: You said that there had been an understanding that he would leave after the first term, but you have told us and he has told us countless times, "I serve at the pleasure of the President." Is there -- is it no longer the President's pleasure that he served?

MR. BOUCHER: The President, as you all can see, has decided to make some changes in his team for the second term. The issue of Secretary of State, and particularly Secretary of State Powell, is one that Secretary Powell has discussed with the President about how to go forward into a new term. It was always the expectation the President would be assembling a new team and that Secretary Powell would be finished with his work after one term. And so it was fully mutually agreed. They both came to the same understanding. There was no, you know, ask us to say, ask us -- ask him to leave, ask him to go. I mean, whatever permutations you can think of, it was just something they worked out together.

Nicholas.

QUESTION: Do you know at what point did the Secretary make it known to the President that he didn't intend to stay for the second term?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, as I've said, it was something that the both of them had talked about over some period of time. They both came to an understanding on that. The Secretary's letter was written and sent over on Friday.

Ma'am.

QUESTION: Richard, Georgetown University Press has just published an important book by Richard Alan White entitled, "Breaking Silence: The Case that Changed the Face of Human Rights," and it's about the -- it documents the case of Joe Holden Filártiga, you know, the Paraguayan physician, artist and philanthropist, who successfully sued in a U.S. court against the Paraguayan officer who had tortured his young son to death, and Dr. Filártiga's precedent made possible massive progress in the defense of human rights globally.

Now, our foreign policy toward Burma is a human rights-based policy. And how can we reconcile our promotion of human rights policy in Burma with the U.S. Department of Justice's attempts to have these human rights lawsuits against Unical for complicity in human rights abuses in Burma dismissed? Fifteen Burmese citizens are suing Unical for complicity with the Burmese Government in the torture of Burmese workers building the oil-gas pipeline from Burma to Thailand.

So there seems to be a massive contradiction in our efforts to promote and protect human rights in Burma through our foreign policy when the Department of Justice is protecting Unical from legal accountability for these same human rights abuses.

MR. BOUCHER: And do you want to let me answer the question at some point?

QUESTION: Yes, please.

MR. BOUCHER: Okay. First of all, the U.S. courts have to decide who has standing under U.S. law and who has -- how suits are to be followed and prosecuted. They are asked sometimes by judges, or intervened sometime in cases, but you'll have to ask them about how those decisions are made and when they intervene and when they don't, and what their views are in various legal cases that have been brought. And there are a great many suits that get brought in U.S. courts. Some of them succeed; some of them don't.

It is an important principle of our policy that we always uphold human rights. As you've heard from the President in his UN speech, as you've heard from the Secretary of State many times, the -- human rights, freedom and democracy are integral parts of everything else we're trying to do in the world -- building stability, fighting terrorism, et cetera. And I think there's no question that we pursue that vigorously around the world.

That does not mean -- that's a matter of policy; that's a matter of conviction; that's a matter of values and commitment from the Administration in terms of our foreign policy. That is a little bit different than how U.S. courts address things under U.S. law.

I don't think see any particular contradiction to pursue vigorously as a matter of policy the respect for human rights that all governments owe their people around the world based on international law, based on the UN Charter, the UN Declaration for Human Rights, and other more precise interpretations of U.S. law get made by the courts.

Okay.

QUESTION: But they're assuming under the Alien Tort Claims Act, and this has been upheld for many years now.

MR. BOUCHER: And those are decisions U.S. courts make under U.S. law. And that's as simple as I can answer your question.

Yeah. Nadia.

QUESTION: About the Middle East. Do you think that the Secretary's departure at this time will negatively affect this new emerging chances after the death of Arafat? And also, can you clarify -- you just said now that he's meeting with Arab leaders, but you didn't say Palestinian leaders, as such, considering that Nabil Sha'ath said he's going to meet with him on the 23rd, saying that he didn't have a schedule, a planned schedule?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, the Secretary told you the truth. We know for sure that he's meeting with Foreign Minister Shalom today. We know for sure he'll be meeting with Arab leaders at Sharm el-Sheikh and have a chance there to discuss the Middle East peace process, which remains very important to all of us, even though the meeting is about Iraq.

At the same time, he said, I think in an interview that was aired on Saturday, that he does look forward to seeing the Palestinian leaders and we are exploring the options for doing that. But as the Secretary said, there's nothing settled yet. So he told you what we do know and what we're working on, but it's just not settled yet when he'll have a chance to see the Palestinian leaders.

QUESTION: But he's going to meet him but we don't have a date yet? Or we just don't know until --

MR. BOUCHER: That means he looks forward to seeing them soon, as he said, but we don't have a date yet. Yeah.

QUESTION: Do you think his departure now will affect the whole process negatively, considering he's been --

MR. BOUCHER: No. I don't. Let's remember a couple of things. First of all, the Secretary represents the President and represents the United States of America. This Secretary is going to go out with their full support, with the full support of the President on a diplomatic mission. Whatever he does in the Middle East is what the President wants. That's always been the case.

The President has many times restated his commitment, I think. Look at the press conference on -- was it Thursday or Friday -- with Prime Minister Blair. President Bush made very, very clear how important it is that he wants to move forward on Middle East peace, on issues between the Israelis and Palestinians, and how we'll be fully committed as we move forward. I think he went through in some detail on the elections to be held, the economic progress we hope to see in the area, building a government that can be responsible internally and externally for Palestinian affairs. And that's something that the President is personally committed to. And the Secretary will go out as his representative, as his agent, as a representative of the United States of America to try to achieve those things, so what he is doing is what the President is looking for and that will continue, whoever is in the job doing it.

QUESTION: I just wanted to follow up on the election, the -- both the President and the Secretary both said that they want to help in organizing the election, whatever practical help they can.

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.

QUESTION: Does that mean that the U.S. will be pressurizing Israel to allow residents from East Jerusalem to vote in this election?

MR. BOUCHER: That's certainly one of the issues that's out there that we'll talk to the parties about, that we have talked to the parties about. But there are a lot of other things that need to be done to have a successful election. I think we're looking for all the different parties, whether it's the United States, the Israelis, the Europeans, the Palestinians themselves to do everything possible to prepare a good election and one that can truly give the Palestinians new representatives who are -- who enjoy the legitimacy of their people and who can be credible partners in the search for peace.

QUESTION: So good election means all Palestinians, including East Jerusalem and --

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to start specifying the rules for the elections at this moment, but that is certainly an issue that needs to be discussed.

QUESTION: Richard, to follow up on that, do you guys have a position on the Palestinians in East Jerusalem? Do you believe they should be allowed to --

MR. BOUCHER: At this point, I'm not prepared to take a particular position on a particular election issue.

QUESTION: And related to that, can you read out the Secretary's call, recent calls, and particularly any with Palestinian or other Arab leaders?

MR. BOUCHER: Most of the phone calls he's gotten today have been related to the news of the day. He's talked to Pakistani President Musharraf. He's talked to Mexican Foreign Secretary Derbez. He's talked to European High Representative Solana. He was trying to connect with German Foreign Minister Fischer who wanted to talk to him. And there are other calls coming in from Americans and others. So no particular Israeli or Palestinian phone calls yet at this point. He'll see the Israeli Foreign Minister this afternoon.

QUESTION: Who over the weekend? I mean, nothing post-funeral, no --

MR. BOUCHER: No. None over the weekend like that.

Yeah. Okay. Elise.

QUESTION: The Secretary said that he'd be working up until the last day and that there was a lot going on. But is there anything, on whether it be the Middle East or North Korea or specifically, things that he'd like to actually have seen done under his watch before he leaves? I mean, is he -- would we expect in the next two months that he's going to make a specific push to try and get some negotiations going?

MR. BOUCHER: The Secretary is going to be pushing forward on all these issues. There are a great many things on the agenda right now. You see that in his travels. You see that in terms of the scope of the issues to be taken up, whether it's all the APEC issues or the question of Iraq and its neighbors and getting to an Iraqi election, or the questions of our joint efforts with the Europeans around the world to expand liberty or curb proliferation or -- I'd add the meeting in Morocco, a really revolutionary new effort to support Arab efforts at reform.

So things span the globe and continue to. The Secretary has always been one to devote his attention to all the different things that need to be done and to try to push each of them forward as he can.

So I wouldn't limit that to one particular thing or another particular thing; he's going to try to keep moving forward on all these fronts, see if we can get North Korea back to the table for the six-party talks, continue to work and develop our relationships in various places, continue to push forward on things like Middle East peace, getting to Iraq elections.

At what precise moment he steps down and finally leaves this building, we'll just have to see because that, in part, depends on the speed of the nomination and confirmation process, and that's -- one can guess at it, but one can't predict it precisely.

QUESTION: Are you committing him to stay until that one's confirmed, or you're definitely not committing him to stay until one is confirmed?

MR. BOUCHER: The expectation -- and I think you'll hear this from Scott McClellan as well at the White House -- is that these Cabinet secretaries who have announced their departures will stay until successors are named and then confirmed. One can never count precisely on those processes to know how long they'll take, and so should that not work as quickly and smoothly as everybody expects, I suppose there might be other decisions later. But at this point, that's the expectation.

Cam.

QUESTION: Was President Musharraf the only head of state that he spoke with? And given their close relationship, can you give us a readout on that, or at least how long they spoke for, some details --

MR. BOUCHER: No, I'm not -- most of these are short phone calls that he's getting from friends. Sometimes they move on to other business, sometimes they don't. But he's getting, you know, congratulations, thanks, praise for the efforts that they've made together, looking forward to seeing you at the next appropriate occasion, because they all recognize that he is still going to be acting as Secretary of State on behalf of the United States, he's still going to be working all these issues and moving them forward.

So I don't know quite yet what the full extent of phone calls and messages will be. There are messages coming in; in addition to the phone calls that he's connected with, he's had phone calls from different people around the country as well, people he knows.

He did call a series of members of Congress this morning and -- before the announcement to make sure that they knew as well, so he's pretty much been on the phone all day and that's why he had to leave you this afternoon so quickly.

QUESTION: Senator Lugar. Who else did he speak with?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I want to go through the list. There's always a question with congressional calls of not listing everybody that should have been or might have been.

Ma'am.

QUESTION: Do you expect any change in public diplomacy, especially in the U.S. international broadcasting, to Arab world in Iran?

MR. BOUCHER: To the Arab world in Iran? You mean because of the Secretary's departure?

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. BOUCHER: Well, as you know, American broadcasting to the Arab world in Iran is largely the result of efforts and decisions made at the international -- the Board of Broadcasting Governors, and the Secretary does have a seat on there and he's represented usually by his Under Secretary, but he's only one of several players. That's a policy that's pretty well set, that's been very encouraged and supported by the President and the Secretary, but I don't see any immediate changes unless the Board should decide that they collectively want to make some changes.

Yeah, sir.

QUESTION: Richard, mostly over the last four years during the Secretary's tenure, there have been -- he's been undermined mostly by very dictorial-type personalities and also governments such as Sudan and the French, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea and Zimbabwe. There's been a reluctance, at least from what I've viewed, to get some help from either NGO think-tanks and maybe former State Department officials who have worked through the years that can obviously do consulting work. Is that just the call of the White House or has it been the State Department that somewhat prevented that?

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not really sure I understand the question. Certainly, there are all those problems in the world. The Secretary has faced those problems square on. He's brought forward ways of dealing with them, whether it's working with the Europeans and changing -- and the Russians to isolate Iran, to deal with the problem of their nuclear proliferation, or developing six-party talks, where we have Chinese and others as full players -- Japanese, South Koreans, Russians -- as full players and committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

More broadly than that, he's revolutionized the -- he's transformed the aid programs that we have, increasing the traditional ones and adding new ones for AIDS and support for democracy.

So there is a lot of things that he's tried to deal with, both these specific problem areas, but also some of the bigger areas as well. He has certainly drawn on expertise from outside -- former State Department people, think-tankers, and others -- and meets and talks to people like that all the time.

But his tendency, I think, one of the hallmarks of his administration has been really to work with the institution and to make the institution work, to give the institution of the State Department, the people here, more people, technology, security, spirit and belief to go forward together and to make things work based on the institutions that we have: the State Department, the embassies and all the different representatives from different departments that we have. So that has been his tendency, not exclusively. We've had special envoys. Senator Danforth started the ball rolling for us on Sudan. But, you know, I think you've seen enough of him to make your own judgments about how he's worked over the years and how effective he's been in so many of these areas.

QUESTION: Richard, what about in terms of money for the State Department? Can you talk any bit about percentages --

MR. BOUCHER: I don't have the numbers right on top of my head, but I think generally all of us here believe that given the overall budget constraints that the United States has faced and the need that we all recognize to put the money first and foremost into the personnel overseas who are fighting wars, that we feel the State Department diplomatic budget has fared well. We've seen increases in the number of personnel, which means not only can we fill our jobs but we can put people into training that they need to go on to their jobs. We've seen the -- I don't remember the exact numbers, 42- 43,000 -- does anybody remember the 42,582 or something like that? But 43,000 or so computers to connect everybody in the State Department here and overseas to the internet. So there's been a lot of things done with this money to make our diplomacy more effective, and that's been a very important thing to all of us here.

Okay, (inaudible), you had something or not?

QUESTION: Well, just really quick. I was hoping you could elaborate on other quality of life measures that he instituted for Foreign Service Officers. A lot of people talk about those measures as, you know, a huge contribution and the reason why he has been one of the most popular Secretaries of State.

MR. BOUCHER: You know, I'm not here to do the final assessment. We've got weeks and months ahead that we're going to be doing a lot of things diplomatically as well as in terms of the -- in terms of the Department. Our budget for the next year is up right now on the Hill and we're looking at what the Congress is going to do to Foreign Ops and the State Operations Budgets for next year right now, this week, and working very hard on that. The Secretary is working it, Deputy Secretary Armitage is, Paul Kelly, our Congressional Representative. So there's a lot of these things still underway.

That being said, yeah, the issue of morale has been very important to us and I think a lot of what the Secretary has been able to do, using the tools of the institution, using the people that we have, the experts that we have in different areas, people feel like they're contributing, like they're doing a very positive job for the United States and the world, and they are very happy to work for and support the Secretary in his goals.

Sir.

QUESTION: Richard, I'm not sure if you mentioned this, but when did the Secretary inform the Deputy Secretary about his resignation?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know when precisely he told him that he was going to write his letter, what day he was going to write his letter, but they have been working together all along. I think the Deputy Secretary has been very familiar with the Secretary's thinking about this matter, probably more than anybody else throughout this process. And I don't know if he told him, you know, Thursday or Friday that he was actually writing the letter.

QUESTION: Yeah, early on, so just to follow-up. You also said in together, out together, and I'm just wondering, like, not on the same day, I suppose, but within the same week, the same month?

MR. BOUCHER: We'll have to see. We'll have to see how that happens, but that's, I would say, a general expectation at this point.

QUESTION: The Deputy Secretary has no desire to replace the Secretary as Secretary of State?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't think he turns down any jobs that haven't been offered to him, but I don't really have any insights into that for you.

Sir.

QUESTION: Yeah so, in together, out together. You say Secretary Powell and Mr. Armitage are a team. Do you consider yourself to be in that team? (Laughter.)

MR. BOUCHER: Generally, yes, but I haven't made any plans either.

QUESTION: Richard, but would you expect a large turnover in the building in senior officials such as under secretaries, assistant secretaries?

MR. BOUCHER: We'll have to see. I don't think it's any reflection on any new Secretary of State, who might be announced or appointment -- appointed. I do know personally for me and for many others that there was a something about working for Secretary Powell that made us sort of stay in jobs longer than we might otherwise have done. And so for, I think, various people it might be time to move on. We'll just have to see how that sorts itself out.

QUESTION: And is there anything about the replacement?

MR. BOUCHER: For who?

QUESTION: For the Secretary -- and you.

MR. BOUCHER: No, I wouldn't -- that's a decision for the President to make. We wouldn't presume.

Okay. I guess one last one in the back.

QUESTION: Anything on the today's meeting here at the Department of State among the Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Demetrios, the Secretary Colin Powell and the Under Secretary Marc Grossman regarding the recognition of FYROM as "Republic of Macedonia?"

MR. BOUCHER: It was a very friendly meeting. They have a lot in common. They know a lot of people together. They really, I think, understand each other. The Archbishop expressed some of the feelings in the Greek community and the Greek-American community about the steps we'd recently taken. The Secretary said he understood that, made clear that we are committed, very committed, to keeping the UN process going to try to find a name, a resolution of the name issue that would be acceptable to the broader international community, that that does remain very important to us and we'll keep our efforts up in trying to do that. And I think that's one of the principle things the Archbishop was looking for us to do.

QUESTION: One on Cyprus.

MR. BOUCHER: Yes.

QUESTION: Anything to say on the press reports from Cyprus that American commercial airlines are trying to land in the legal airports of the occupied area of Cyprus by Turkey using the Treaty of Open Skies, in cooperation with the Turkish airlines in your effort to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I hadn't seen such reports, so I really don't have anything now. I'll look into it and see if there is anything to say. Okay? Thanks.

(The briefing ended at 1:55 p.m.)

DPB # 186

[End]


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Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

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