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State Dept. Daily Press Briefing June 14, 2005

State Dept. Daily Press Briefing June 14, 2005

Daily Press Briefing
Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC
June 14, 2005

INDEX:

UZBEKISTAN
Inquiry Into Events in Andijan / Condemnation of Events /
Democracy Building Efforts
Unity in Views of Secretary Rice and Secretary Rumsfeld
Department of Defense Centered Discussions at NATO / NATO
Statement Calling For an Inquiry into Events in Andijan
Human Rights Situation / Funding Withheld
Importance of Credible Transparent International Investigation /
Use of Diplomacy to Generate of International Support
Need to Generate Stability / Further Reform to Address Uzbek
People's Concerns / Greater Human Rights / Reform
Condemnation of Deaths of Hundreds of Innocent Civilians
Secretary Rice's Letter to Uzbek President Karimov

UZBEKISTAN / KYRGYSTAN
Secretary Rice's Meeting with the Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Otunbayeva
Disappointment in Kyrgyz Decision to Turn Over Uzbek Refugees /
Importance of Working Closely with UNHCR

IRAN
Elections / Iranian Peoples' Desire Greater Freedom and Democracy
Removal of Women Candidates in Presidential Election
Dr. ElBaradei / IAEA's Efforts to Determine Activities Surrounding Nuclear Efforts

DEPARTMENT
Nomination of John Bolton as UN Ambassador / Need for UN Reform

MEXICO
Reported Request from Mexico to Stop Arms Trades on U.S. Side of Border

ETHIOPIA
Condemnation of Election-Related Violence
Concerns Over Killing of Opposition Politician / Need for a
Transparent Investigation / Call to End Violence
Importance of the Nonviolent Expression of Views / Respect of
Minority Rights / Maintenance of Peace and Stability
Secretary Rice's Discussion with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles

IRAQ
Importance of U.S. Troops and Iraqi Security Forces


TRANSCRIPT:

(12:50 p.m. EDT)

MR. MCCORMACK: Good afternoon. I don't have anything to open with so I'll jump right into your questions.

Mr. Schweid.

QUESTION: Well, why don't we just jump right into this story that there was some dissension within the administration on an inquiry into Uzbekistan? I wasn't there. I look back and I don't see anything except that NATO wants an inquiry and the U.S. wants an inquiry. Was there a point that I haven't discovered when the Pentagon was off the track?

MR. MCCORMACK: The simple answer, Barry, is that there is one voice and one policy with respect to an inquiry into what happened in Andijan. Secretary Rumsfeld has reiterated it in the NATO forum. The Pentagon has conveyed that message directly to the Uzbek Government. Secretary Rice has conveyed that to the Uzbek Government in the form of a letter directly to President Karimov. So we are speaking with one voice with respect to this issue. You know, our policy our views on this are clear. We have condemned what took place in Andijan. The Uzbek people and the world need to know what happened at Andijan, and importantly so, it never happens again.

And I would just point out one other thing with respect to this issue is that we believe that our strategic objectives and our democracy objectives are indivisible in this regard. Certainly, people have raised the issue of the base, which has been used to assist with our democracy building efforts in Afghanistan and it has been valuable, but I would say that, as an administration, we do believe that our strategic objectives with respect to the region and Uzbekistan and our democracy objectives, which are well known you've heard from the President, Secretary Rice, Secretary Rumsfeld and the Vice President are indivisible.

QUESTION: Is there a certain lack of emphasis? Was there reason back at the NATO meeting last Thursday and Friday for folks to get the idea that we're not firm about this?

MR. MCCORMACK: On these process questions, I would defer to DOD. I understand Secretary Rumsfeld is going to be out soon and I'm sure that he will be asked about these questions. But I do know, because the Secretary Secretary Rice and Secretary Rumsfeld talk every single day, they talk every morning, and I can assure you they are on the same page with respect to this issue.

QUESTION: On that follow-up, I mean, nobody has you guys have been clear about saying that the U.S. Government favored an international investigation about the events in Andijan and you've been fairly consistent in that. I think the question is whether U.S. officials at NATO sought to prevent NATO from making such a call. To your knowledge, is there any evidence I mean, it may be a false is there any evidence to suggest that U.S. officials did not want and indeed sought to have the language removed at NATO, calling for an independent investigation.

MR. MCCORMACK: Arshad, there were a lot of discussions that took place surrounding the meetings at NATO, which were DOD-centered meetings. They were represented by their Ministries of Defense there, and I can't get into or have knowledge of all conversations in that respect, but what we and the Department of Defense I think is the can address all of these issues in terms of what conversations they or others may have had at NATO. But again, Secretary Rumsfeld was very clear in reiterating where we were with respect to our policy on Andijan.

And I would also note that NATO has already issued, I believe, a statement calling for an investigation into Andijan. As has the EU and the OSCE. So we have been working actively in the international arena to generate support and some momentum for an investigation.

QUESTION: And to your knowledge, were there in those a lot of conversations that you described, any efforts by members of the U.S. Government to scupper such language.

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, I have

QUESTION: You don't know or you're just not saying because you know?

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, Arshad, I don't have knowledge of you know, all conversations that go on, I was not I was not there. This was a DOD meeting. But again, you know, with respect to these process issues, I think the Department of Defense has addressed these issues in the article that you are referring to. And with respect to the substance of these issues, I think Secretary Rumsfeld couldn't have been clearer.

QUESTION: Sean, (inaudible) on a related you done now Arshad? Good. Good. On a related question, on the asylum-seeker situation, you know what I mean the OSCE I guess he's the a Foreign Minister but he's the Chairman of OSCE (inaudible). He's criticized Kyrgyzstan for sending four Uzbek asylum seekers home and urge Uzbekistan to provide access to the forcibly repatriated refugees. Does the U.S. have a position on that?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, this is an issue that came up with in Secretary Rice's meeting with the Kyrgyz Foreign Minister that she had. And we have conveyed our views on this issue through our Embassy as well as in the meeting upstairs. And I would say that we're disappointed by the Kyrgyz Government's decision on Friday to turn over four Uzbek individuals who had registered as asylum seekers to Uzbek authorities without consultation, with the representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

And without careful review, whether those people might be persecuted upon the return to Uzbekistan, are as I mentioned, our Embassy has conveyed our concerns this past Friday and the Secretary reiterated those concerns just today to Foreign Minister Otunbayeva in her meeting.

QUESTION: That's about all you can do to protect these people, isn't it?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, we also talked about the Secretary also talked about the situation with refugees that are still in Kyrgyzstan. And the Secretary underlined the importance of working closely with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees when talking about their status. And the Foreign Minister pledged that the Kyrgyz officials would, in fact, do that.

Saul.

QUESTION: On the general U.S. response to the massacre in Uzbekistan, it seems the government so far has only received words from the U.S. words condemning the massacre and words calling for an inquiry. It was obviously a big deal to you guys. You were outraged, but what action are you taking so that the government has a consequence for its actions, committing a massacre?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, a couple things, Saul. First of all, we are working actively and we have generated some international statements of support. We believe that's important and we hope that diplomatic leverage will result in an international investigation in Uzbekistan and we're going to continue to work through diplomacy on this issue.

I would note that we have and this isn't specifically with respect to Andijan but with respect to the human rights situation writ large in Uzbekistan, we have withheld aid and funding. The Secretary has not certified certain issues. So there is

QUESTION: (Inaudible).

MR. MCCORMACK: Correct. Right, correct. So there have been concrete actions that have resulted from the human from the failure to improve the human rights situation in Uzbekistan writ large.

With respect to the way forward, I think it's fair to say that we always we continuously review where we are with respect to our policies and our positions and look at those policies and how they comport with the actual facts on the ground and situations that we confront. And so we will continue to internally discuss the way forward, how to proceed, and we will also talk about the way forward with our partners in the international community.

But our focus, our immediate focus now, is to have a credible, transparent, independent investigation into what happened in Andijan.

QUESTION: So that's the immediate focus and you've talked about the diplomatic leverage. In terms of other leverage that you have, you've still got the possibility is this right? You've still got the possibility of this year again not certifying Uzbekistan for its human rights and withholding some aid? And also, you have the leverage of the base. You say your strategic objectives are indivisible from the democratic objectives. As you're reviewing this policy, is closing the base, curtailing operations from the base, an option?

MR. MCCORMACK: Saul, I don't want to get into discussing any particular policy actions or policy ideas that others outside the government may have or propose. But I would say that we do look at what our policies are, where we stand with respect to those policies and how those comport with the situation as we find them. So those are discussions that go on continuously.

Right now, we're focused on at this moment, we are focused on ensuring that there is an international investigation and generating as much international support as we can for that investigation.

QUESTION: Is there any concern that you are getting the cold shoulder from the Uzbek Government because you haven't yet chosen to use greater leverage; it's just calling for the inquiry?

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, we would hope and we have talked in the past to the Uzbek Government about the importance of changing the human rights situation in Uzbekistan and urging greater freedoms for the Uzbek people that will result in a better life and ultimately greater stability in Uzbekistan. But at the moment, what we are focused on is the international investigation.

QUESTION: What about the government itself? Do you feel you're putting pressure on a government that it might not that whose survival might not be a bad thing when you consider the alternatives? Fundamentalism is a real alternative in Uzbekistan and this is not a fundamentalist government. Do you have do you feel that the government can take the pressure of your insisting on an inquiry and all? Do you wish the government to reform and stay in power?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, one thing we've made very clear throughout, Barry, and for quite some time is that we believe that stability requires legitimacy, which has to be won not through force or imposition, but it will be generated by allowing the Uzbek people to participate in the civic life of their country. And I think that the developments as we've seen them, including in Andijan recently, underscore the need for further reform to address the citizens' concerns about poverty, human rights and injustice, things that we believe all people around the world want.

So again, this is an issue that we have talked about with the Uzbek Government prior to Andijan and we continue to urge them to take the steps they need, these first steps they need to address the immediate issue of Andijan, but also take up the larger issues of greater human rights, reforms and democracy in Uzbekistan.

QUESTION: Sean, could you talk more about this letter that Secretary Rice sent to Karimov?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don't have the dates on it but it did it reiterated our call for an international investigation. I can get the dates for you at some point. It was let me get the dates for you. I don't have it off right here.

QUESTION: Was it a week or two weeks or

MR. MCCORMACK: It's been within the past couple of weeks. It's within the past couple weeks. Again, I don't have the exact dates. We can find out those for you.

Yes. Anything else on this subject before we move on?

QUESTION: One other thing. Have you come out categorically condemning it, condemning this? I mean, the more information that you learn about the about what happened, you know, a month or so ago, the more that you realize that there were perhaps no terrorists involved, as you initially had said, and that there were perhaps a hundred or more, perhaps hundreds, as some human rights groups have alleged, of civilians who were killed.

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, there are two separate things that we are talking about here. First of all, there was the attack on the prison, which there is nothing that justifies the attack on the prison. We have condemned that. There was loss of life with respect to the attack on the prison.

Then following that, there were actions taken in which we have credible reports and which you allude to that innocent civilians in the hundreds have lost their lives. And we condemn and we have condemned those actions as well. That condemnation is based on credible reports that we have that innocent civilians were killed in the aftermath of that.

QUESTION: Yes. But why stop why are you acting as restrained as you are, if you believe that there were hundreds of unarmed civilians who were not just shot in a square, but were tracked down narrow alleyways and hunted?

MR. MCCORMACK: Right. I'm not sure that we are reacting in a restrained manner. We have condemned these actions and we think that it is important for the Uzbek people to understand what happened at Andijan so it doesn't happen again. So the families of those victims know what happened and that ultimately justice is served for what happened surrounding the events of Andijan. So that's a first step. But I think that we've been very forceful on this issue and we're going to continue to speak out on this issue, the importance of human rights and the importance of democracy in Uzbekistan.

And as I was talking about with Saul, we, you know, we always look at our policies, where we stand with those policies and the situation as we have it before us.

QUESTION: How long are you willing to wait?

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, we're you know, don't get in the habit of putting timelines on things. But again, we have been issued strong calls for this international investigation. We're going to continue working the diplomacy to generate the support at the international level for this investigation and to shine a light on what happened at Andijan.

Anything else on this issue? Okay. In the middle here.

QUESTION: (Inaudible). The Iranian woman (inaudible) ahead of Iran's presidential election. In addition, there is many opposition protests against the election. My question is what would be your position in (inaudible) close to yours in (inaudible) election?

MR. MCCORMACK: In the Iranian elections?

QUESTION: Yes. Do you have any position close to you have in (inaudible) election in the last few months? What would be your position?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I have talked about the Iranian elections over the past couple days. I have been asked about it. We've these are decisions for the Iranian people to make. We have we have associated ourselves with the aspirations of the Iranian people. We believe that all people around the world want the same things they want greater freedom, they want democracy, they want the right to send their children, whether it's a boy or girl, to school and hope for a better future for them and hope that they can go to a university, that they can study what they want.

And it's an unusual election that you have in Iran where the unelected few mullahs decide who can and can't run in an election. I would note that all the women candidates who wanted to run in the presidential election in Iran were removed from the list. By whom: by not people who were elected, not people who were accountable to the Iranian people, but by the unelected mullahs.

Yeah, back here.

QUESTION: On Mexico. The Government of Vicente Fox sent the military sent out military persons to the northern border of Mexico trying to arrest narcotraffickers and stop the violence, you are calling to be stopped a couple months ago. But the Government of Mexico also requests to the U.S. Government to stop the arms trafficking on your side to Mexico. And I wonder if you got any answer to that request last made yesterday by the Government of Mexico.

MR. MCCORMACK: I myself am not familiar with the request. I'll have to check into it for you, Jesus.

QUESTION: Okay.

MR. MCCORMACK: I'll move around. I'll come back, Arshad. Yes.

QUESTION: Majority Leader Frist is calling now for a vote on John Bolton's nomination to the UN perhaps by the end of next week and the Democrats still are looking for the documents from Bolton's tenure here at State. Is there anything that State will that the State Department or the Administration will do to turn over such documents to avert such showdown or is there anything you can offer on that topic?

MR. MCCORMACK: Certainly, we are you know, we are in contact with the Hill on the nomination of Mr. Bolton to be UN Ambassador. I don't have anything new with respect to this request for the documents. I would only reiterate that it we've seen a lot of news reports in recent days about proposals for a reform of the UN. There have been there's been a lot of discussion about that. I think that underscores the importance of a quick vote on Mr. Bolton's nomination. And we would urge a positive vote to send him up to New York to engage on these important issues of UN reform.

It's not just Security Council reform. I know that there's a lot of focus on that, but there are very important issues that need to be taken up. Management reform is something that's very important, I think, for the UN itself. Secretary General Annan has said that it's an organization badly in need of management reform and I think that that's an issue that's important as well for the American people, it's important for the Congress.

So one way to try to help move that ball down the field is to have a permanent representative up in New York and have Mr. Bolton up there working on behalf of the administration and on behalf of the American people up there.

QUESTION: Can I ask you a question on another topic

MR. MCCORMACK: Sure.

QUESTION: which is just related to the memos that have come out of Downing Street and whether or not you have anything new to offer. You know, the memos alluding to the fact that the U.S. had made its mind for military action, of course, whereas U.S. statements from that same time period were saying they were looking at something other than the military option. Is there any clarification of this? You know, there's

MR. MCCORMACK: Secretary Rice has talked about this. The President has talked about it. I think most recently the Secretary addressed it in an interview with Charlie Rose on his show and you have access to the transcript. I don't have anything to add to that.

Sure, Teri.

QUESTION: About UN reform, generally. Do you have any reaction to reports that came out this morning and it may have been too close to briefing time that there are new charges that Kofi Annan knew more about the relationship of his son's company than had been previously disclosed?

MR. MCCORMACK: I have seen those reports. At the moment, I don't have anything for you specifically on those reports. As a general matter, we have encouraged cooperation between Mr. Volcker's efforts as well as ongoing investigations on the Hill. It's an important matter to look into.

Yeah. Go to the back, yes.

QUESTION: On Venezuela. The members of the National Assembly of Venezuela, they are arriving today to Washington to make the formally request an extradition request on the case of Posada Carriles. They are also going to request accomplishment of the international treaty between the U.S. and Venezuela on this matter. Do you have any update on that? Are they going to have any meeting with some State Department officials?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don't have any update on any particular meetings with State Department officials. But this is an issue that is being handled by the Department of Homeland Security as well as the Department of Justice, so I think with regard to the specific questions about the status of this particular request, I think you'd have to address your questions to those agencies.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.) But anyway, maybe the U.S. will lose moral authority in Latin America at least on the issue of request extraditions of terrorists. Is the U.S. Government worried that that could happen in Latin America, that if the U.S. doesn't extradite this guy to Venezuela it will lose its moral authority to request extradition to a Latin American country to people that is wanted by the U.S. Government?

MR. MCCORMACK: With respect to questions about extradition, I would defer to my colleagues at the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. But I would just add only that it's important that the rule of law and legal procedures be followed in these cases and I believe that is what's happening, that these matters are being addressed in the proper channels at the Department of Justice and Homeland Security.

Yes.

QUESTION: About Ethiopia?

QUESTION: Can we just stay on Latin America for one final random question?

MR. MCCORMACK: Sure, okay.

QUESTION: I'm warning you. Do you have a reaction to a plan by some Latin American intellectuals who have been apparently encouraged by Fidel Castro to create a so-called "Hemispheric Anti-Terrorist Tribunal" to try current and former American Presidents on charges of supporting state terrorism in Latin America?

MR. MCCORMACK: That's a proposal about which I have heard haven't heard anything, any specifics of. I think that we would encourage Mr. Castro to focus on freeing people that are in his jails and providing for a more free, democratic life and maybe even elections in Cuba.

Yes. Ethiopia.

QUESTION: Ethiopia. After the election, there was violence 37 people have been killed. And The Washington Post today reported opposition leader have been killed and Amnesty International also report more than a thousand students are in jail and they are suffering at this moment. And there is also a protest in front of the State Department. Are you still asking both the government and the opposition to restrain or are you condemning the government for people, you know, to shoot them and dead?

MR. MCCORMACK: Okay. A couple things on that. We condemn election-related violence in Ethiopia. We have voiced the strong concern through our Embassy as well as through various contacts from the Secretary on down. We have voiced our concerns about the killing of an opposition politician to which you allude. This happened on June 12th, this past Sunday. And we've been informed that an investigation has begun into that incident and that we believe that that investigation should be done quickly, should be done in a transparent manner and those who are responsible for this act should be held accountable.

We also have talked about the fact that any violence or threat of violence is unacceptable. All sides need to step back from violence. The way to resolve questions and issues with respect to the election is to let the political process unfold. That's the way to do it. That's what we have encouraged all sides to do. And you know, we have, you know, also we have talked to the government about this.

We also call on, you know, student civil society, opposition supporters, government party members and political leaders to refrain from violence and to help maintain a peaceful atmosphere. So not only step back from violence, but actively help out and try to maintain an atmosphere of stability.

And we believe also that police and federal security forces should conduct themselves in accordance with international principles of human rights and that any arrested individuals should be granted due process according to Ethiopian law. And again, just reiterate that the way to resolve any questions concerning the election is through the political process.

QUESTION: A follow-up. I would like to connect it this way. Ethiopia is, as I told you last time, a strategy partner for the U.S. in fight against terrorism. The people who are protesting here or living here residing in the U.S., even in Ethiopia, think that you are supporting a murderer, that's how they I mean, understand. So if you are allied with the U.S., are you going to be exempted from being denounced of killing peoples?

MR. MCCORMACK: We are have led ourselves with the sides who support freedom and democracy and non-violent expression of their, you know, political will. And that is the side we are on. We have encouraged the government I just went through a long list of contacts that we've had with them and what we have told them to do. Those who may be on the opposite side of the political fence or a different side, have responsibilities as well, and that is part of a democracy: a responsible expression, nonviolent expression of views. The sort of political dialogue free expression is a vital part of any democracy but it's important that it be done with respecting the rights of others, minority rights, and be done in a nonviolent way.

Arshad.

QUESTION: Still on Ethiopia. I read the statement that you issued yesterday carefully and I am perplexed by one thing. You talk about the United States condemning the violence and unnecessary use of excessive force in continuing election-related violence in Ethiopia. Are you referring when one refers to the use of excessive force, typically that is applied to police or security forces you don't specify here. Are you talking about government forces conducting operations with excessive force or are you seeking to label that phrase against opposition violence as well?

MR. MCCORMACK: That was, you know, again

QUESTION: I'm just trying to understand.

MR. MCCORMACK: No, no, I understand. I understand. Again, I'd just reiterate we want all sides to refrain from violence. But we have specifically called upon the government forces and the security forces to conduct themselves in accordance with international principles, which would preclude the use of any excessive force. So that is that phrase that you're talking about is directed at government and security forces.

QUESTION: Thank you. And secondly, as the previous reporter said, there was a pretty big demonstration in front of the State Department today. You know, many hundreds of people. I couldn't count them all. And they seem to be arguing that or they seem to feel that the U.S. Government is not doing enough to try to get the Ethiopian Government to maintain rule of law and so on.

What beyond the calls from this podium and the things that you said are you doing anything else to try to get the government to restrain itself in its dealings with the protestors? And I realize they have been the cause of some violence. And you mentioned contacts from the Secretary on down. Has she made contacts with the Ethiopian Government and I've somehow missed it or

MR. MCCORMACK: She did speak with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Let me see if I have the date. It was on Thursday, June 9th.

QUESTION: Okay, I apologize. I missed that.

MR. MCCORMACK: She did speak with him and she underscored the messages that you've heard from us in public. She did that in private. And our Embassy is in very frequent contact with government officials. They also have contacts with others outside of the government as well.

So this is an issue that we have been actively engaged, not only rhetorically here, but on a diplomatic on the diplomatic side as well. So it's something that we watch. We're watching very closely and actively engaged with.

QUESTION: Last one for me on this, but to take up Saul's question, are you considering any kind of, other than rhetorical consequences for Ethiopia, if the security forces continue to use excessive force? Our reports say that an opposition Member of Parliament was shot dead while sitting around with some friends on Sunday. So I mean, are you considering any kinds of consequences or sanctions for the government? And if not, do you not expose yourself to the suggestion that, you know, strategic allies get kid glove treatment or nothing but rhetorical criticism?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I think that we are our public pronouncements on this issue as well as our diplomatic pronouncements, we hope will lead to this process, to this process unfolding in a peaceful way, in a way that resolves the tensions that clearly exist in Ethiopia. And that's where that's where our focus is now. We always look at what our policies are, whether or not our policies are producing the desired effect, whether or not we need to look at our policies based on what the situations are that are before us and the facts and the facts on the ground.

We believe, based on the facts as they are before us, that we are taking the proper course at this point. I think I would leave it at that.

QUESTION: If I could follow on that.

MR. MCCORMACK: Yes.

QUESTION: You said, if I understood you correctly, that you were calling on the government to move forward with an investigation into this quickly and in an transparent manner and that those who were responsible be held accountable; is that correct?

MR. MCCORMACK: That is correct.

QUESTION: Why are you not able to make a similar statement in terms of the timeline, which you seemed reluctant to do when I asked you about the investigation that is yet to happen in Uzbekistan? Why are you unable to make a similar statement there when in Ethiopia, albeit 37 people at least were killed, but in Uzbekistan you, yourself, acknowledge that perhaps several hundreds times as many may have been killed?

MR. MCCORMACK: I understood your question in the context of setting a deadline for action and I don't get in the habit of setting timelines in that regard. Certainly, we urge the Uzbekistan Government tomorrow to accept an international investigation but I'm not going to set any other further timetables with respect set deadlines or that sort of thing.

QUESTION: How about that those responsible be held accountable?

MR. MCCORMACK: Certainly, part of having people held accountable is to understand what happened and that's why we want that's why we want and have called for an international investigation. There is the Uzbek authorities put together, I think, a parliamentary investigation, which we declined to participate in because we didn't see that as a substitute for finding out what really happened. So in order to hold folks account hold people accountable, you have to understand what happened.

QUESTION: Has the Secretary spoken with or made an attempt to speak with President Karimov, as she did with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia?

MR. MCCORMACK: No, she has conveyed our views in a letter. And if there are any contacts between President Karimov and the Secretary, I'll try to keep you updated on those any further contacts.

QUESTION: And, actually, one other point that Saul had made earlier in his questioning of you with that piece in today's Washington Post. Are you in any way prepared to say that the reporting the thrust of the story was wrong?

MR. MCCORMACK: I'm not going to get into kind of going through line-by-line stories that appear. That's not my job. With respect to the you know, my understanding of what Secretary Rumsfeld reiterated at the meeting and discussions there, I don't have anything to add to what I've said.

Joel.

QUESTION: Sean, Mr. ElBaradei wants to return to Iran, to Parchin, where they're developing an explosive to work with nuclear weapons. And also, on North Korea, ABC's Bob Woodward visited an official, admitted directly that the North Korean Government is developing and building more nuclear weapons. We appear to be losing time. How stringent are you in any way talking to the IAEA? How stringent do you want Mr. ElBaradei to be in both locations?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, first of all, North Korea kicked out the IAEA and they said that they were withdrawing from the NPT. Our position with respect to North Korea and the six-party talks, we've gone over many times here.

On Iran, I saw some remarks from Dr. ElBaradei, which indicated that they were going to continue their investigations into various sites in Iran to try to determine what activities were ongoing and had occurred at those locations. And we believe the IAEA and Dr. ElBaradei are serious in these efforts and we encourage them to continue in those efforts, given that Iran, in the past, has sought to hide and hidden activities surrounding their nuclear programs. We believe we support those efforts to continue those investigations in Iran.

QUESTION: What about the U.S. position on whether Saudi Arabia needs to allow more access and provide more information about the small quantities under the Small Quantities Protocol? They're apparently resisting U.S. and other countries' desire to have more

MR. MCCORMACK: We have had discussions with Saudi Arabia with regard to their obligations under the NPT. On that particular question, I don't have any information to offer at this point.

QUESTION: Apparently, they're resisting and this is something that's happening inside the IAEA right now is that they're resisting any further information

MR. MCCORMACK: Like I said, I don't have any information on that right now.

QUESTION: Can I ask another question? On Iraq, do you have anything on the latest statement said to be by Zarqawi on a website saying that anyone, including the sheiks, sheikhs who may be planning to help bring down the insurgency, that they will be killed? It's just the latest

MR. MCCORMACK: I had not seen that statement. More of the same from a terrorist and underscores the importance of what our troops, working with the Iraqi security forces, are doing in Iraq.

Anything else? Okay, thank you.

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

DPB # 101

Released on June 14, 2005

ENDS


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Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

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Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

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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Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

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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