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Robert Zoellick Trip to Sudan, Jordan, and Egypt

Briefing on Trip to Sudan, Jordan, and Egypt

Robert Zoellick, Deputy Secretary

Washington, DC
July 5, 2005

(10:45 a.m. EDT)

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: What I thought I would do is I'm about ready to head off tomorrow on a multi-stop trip and I just thought I would sort of tell you guys about it and then take any of your questions. I'm going to go to Sudan, both Khartoum and Darfur. Then I'm going to be in Jordan, and in Jordan I'll have some meetings with some of the Jordanian officials. The primary purpose is we're having a -- let's see, what's it called, it's the National -- or the Commission on Reconstruction and Economic Development, which is something that we'll have an interagency team from the U.S. meeting with a number of ministers from Iraq. And then I'll also follow up the Secretary's trip in Egypt on some both political and foreign policy issues.

So I was just going to give you a little overview from some of the notes I did over the weekend and I know that some of you had a particular interest in Sudan and Darfur. And also, I asked to give you guys a copy of this, which is something that I prepared for the House representatives about a week or so ago, because I thought it gives a good summary of where we are. And for those of you that have a particular interest in Sudan and Darfur, you'll find this Background and Context section to be kind of, at least I thought, sort of a good and useful summary of the background of the conflict and kind of at least how I try to summarize in four or five pages of bullets a few hundred years of history.

Now, and also for some of you that were on the trip the last time with me, you'll remember I shared a piece that was done by Alex DeWaal. He actually came in and talked to me, and a very, very interesting guy, by the way. He's up at Cambridge at -- do you remember which center?

QUESTION: Is it Harvard?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Yeah, but there's a center of development, I think he's at. Anyway.

But one of the things that kind of that came out of that is that on this trip I'm going to be going, I start out going to some other places in Sudan, or in Darfur that I haven't been. And just in case you want some of this, I will -- I get into Khartoum late on Thursday, but then on Friday morning early we'll head out to El-Fasher, where some of you were before, but now we're going to Dobo and Deribat, which are SLA rebel-held towns in the Jebel Marra area. And so I'll be meeting -- I'll have my African Union orientation out there, meeting with some of the Dobo community leadership, some of the NGOs and visit with the IDPs in the village of Dobo and then go on to Deribat, where I'll meet some SLA commanders and some of the NGO workers and visit a medical project.

But I'm also -- and this is a suggestion that DeWaal made -- I'm trying to meet a Rizigat leader named Said Matibuol, who has managed to sort of stay neutral among all the different sort of tribal conflicts. And for some of you who I've talked about with this, I've explained that I think there's -- and you'll see this in here -- an important tribal element at some point to come back to with the development. And this is a person who Alex DeWaal spoke very, very highly of.

QUESTION: Would you mind spelling the name? Sorry, it's not familiar to me.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Yeah, Said, S-a-i-d, M-a-t-i-b-u-o-l. But I still don't have the meeting set up yet.

And then I will be back in Khartoum the next day because that's July 9th, the day that the Government of National Unity is supposed to get up and running. And so in addition to a bunch of bilaterals with Garang and Pronk and Taha and maybe Bashir, I'll also meet some African leaders.

Then I fly on to Jordan, and in Jordan I'll meet Barham Salih, the Planning Minister of Iraq, and the Minister of Finance Allawi, who is in Washington, of Iraq, who is my co-chair of this session. We're also going to be meeting some of the business community of Iraq, the Iraqi AmCham and other representatives. Then I'll have some meetings with some of the Jordanians, Marwan Muasher, who is the new Deputy Prime Minister, had been Ambassador here, and the Minister of Planning, an impressive sort of reform woman.

And then the next day we will be having our sessions that will cover sort of macroeconomics, national development strategy, oil and electricity sectors, agriculture, trade and private sector development.

And then in Egypt, I've got a set of meetings that are partly foreign policy related but also trying to meet different groups within the NDP, the governing party, and also some of the -- so both sort of reformers and traditionalists and also some opposition politicians and civil society as well as others. So that's still getting sort of set up here.

QUESTION: What day are the Egypt meetings on?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: They're going to be the 13th and 14th.

Now, just to give you a little sense of where I think we are on Sudan, and I apologize. Some of you have got different levels of interest in this so I'll just give you some of the highlights.

The purpose of this trip is to try to, first, maintain the momentum and obviously build that around the formation of this new Government of National Unity. That includes pressing in some areas where we feel they are lagging, and in also with some of the meetings again continue to learn some things in the process.

Last week, I had calls with both Garang and Taha and also met with Hilda Johnson, the Norwegian Development Minister who has played a key role in this, to try to clear up some things and make sure that the Government of National Unity was actually going to get set up on the 9th.

On Darfur, some of you may have seen this, but this is, I think, a pretty good summary of where developments. The UN Mission in Sudan issued a press release on June 28th where the headline quote is, "Mortality in Darfur has significantly declined, but the health of the people remains extremely fragile." And as Mr. DiSilva, the spokesman, went on to say, "Major progress has been made by the humanitarian community and the Government of Sudan in Darfur; however, we must not allow the situation to slide back." And this sort of fits with what we've seen, which is that you've seen a lot of progress in terms of the basic humanitarian supplies, much fewer deaths, but it remains a very fragile situation. So if you ever do write Nick Kristof, tell him, even though I've offered by e-mail about three times, that he might want to actually get a few facts on what he writes about. But that would, I know, breach the columnist's requirement.

QUESTION: Wow.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Anyway, I know Nick and I actually like him, but he keeps -- you know, he doesn't pay attention to anything that's going on there. He's just -- in his efforts to kind of flag the issue. But anyway.

So on the food and humanitarian side, there are some other facts in here that you'll find useful in this week of the G-8 summit, which is that the United States is providing between 86 and 90 percent of the food supplies to Darfur and the rest of Sudan. So one of the things, frankly, I've been working on is trying to get some of the European aid flowing.

There are a number of camp issues that -- if you want to get into more, but I'll be focusing on some of these on the trips. You might -- we visited Kalma camp. Wasn't that the big one? Kalma was the other big --

STAFF: (Off mike.)

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Okay. Kalma is another very big camp that there are issues about sort of a blockade. At the same time, they're getting the rainy season so, frankly, there's probably some need to move people out, but there was danger that people were being out in involuntary methods so we're trying to get a commitment about no forced dislocations.

On the security side in Darfur, I think it's basically as I think I discussed with you in the past, which is that the AU expansion is going forward. We've now established a lot of the new facilities through this PAE contractor and so you'll see in the back of this chart there is a chart on page 17 that kind of notes where the locations are.

QUESTION: How many AU troops are there now?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: The Nigerians are just supposed to start to come on July 1, although I think that's primarily going to be a rotation. The Rwandans are supposed to come on July 15th. Those are the ones that we are airlifting in and we're going to be trying to airlift two battalions in between July 15th and August 15th. So I think the fair thing to say is the AU deployment, the military deployment is starting -- the increases. But we have a reasonable chance because we've -- they've identified the troops for the biggest contingents to try to get this done in the July/August/September time frame. But with these things you're never totally sure.

QUESTION: To get up to 7,700?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Yeah.

QUESTION: And the airlift is being done by the United States or NATO or --

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: It's a mixture. We're doing some of the airlift. NATO is doing some airlift. I think the French are doing the Senegalese. I think the South Africans are coming on their own, basically.

STAFF: (Inaudible) subcontractor. EU is (inaudible).

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: (Inaudible) some contract air. But in addition, and this is another item that I'll be focusing on, there's facilities, and that is what we have been putting up with, if you remember, when we were in El-Fasher they had these, you know, sort of temporary sort of units for the African Union troops and most of those we put up with PAE, which is a contractor. And those have to get put up before you move the troops in.

Then there's an ongoing logistics need and also there's an operational planning role, which I've learned on these trips is increasingly important because you've got a lot of sort of platoon or, at biggest, company size units, and the question is how do you move in this area effectively. And so in that you will also have some EU and NATO forces, which the government has welcomed, but only in a logistics and planning role.

Another element that is part of the 7,700 is the police, and this is something that I've been focusing increasing attention on because within the camps this is the biggest issue is be able to get police within the camps.

And another topic that I've focused on in my recent meetings with the Sudanese officials and will focus on in this trip is whether we can urge them to take some other specific actions dealing with violence against women.

In addition, and this was positive, I don't know if you remember a month or more now, we had an AID worker who was shot and wounded, and they've done an investigation, arrested somebody, and it seems to be a serious investigation using ballistics evidence and other things.

Now having said that, the militia situation remains basically as it was before. In other words, nobody's stopped the -- the militias aren't attacking people but, in other words, no one has got the militias to stand down either. So you're in this fragile equilibrium where you've got food to the camps, the camps you've got some dangerous issues because it's rainy season and this is where there were some worries about cholera that have now been disabused; you've got sort of expanding security arrangements, the Sudanese military has pulled back, they're not having any of the flights -- this is touched on in this little document; but you still have a lot of banditry and you've even got some rebel-on-rebel conflicts because, as you recall, when we -- I talk about this, talk about humanitarian security and then the peace and reconciliation process, and the peace and reconciliation process is the negotiation that's going on in Abuja under the African Union auspices. In that, the sort of early stages are slow at best. The -- and part of this is that there's a lot of conflict among the rebels themselves. I mean, in some of the fighting that has taken place is SLA versus JEM. I've described a little bit of this in there, which are different rebel groups. But even within the SLA there's various divisions.

I'll come back to this because one of the, at least, hopes that we have is that with John Garang going back into the -- going into the government that one of the topics that I've talked to him about and he seems committed is whether he can play a larger role in pushing forward the Abuja process, which in his case can work both from the government side but also with the SLA side because, as you know, the Southerners had some ties with the SLA.

And the last point I'd just mention on the Darfur issue is that, as I think I've mentioned to some of you at some points, I'm increasingly convinced that even if you get sort of a peace accord negotiated in Darfur between the rebels and the government, that to implement it over time you're going to need to tap into some of the tribal reconciliation processes. At the same time I say that, I want to hasten to emphasize that there have been some concerns that the government could use sort of tribal outreach to bypass the process, and so that won't be a constructive solution. But if you do reach an accord, at least I'm persuaded that for the long-term sort of development, you're going to have to deal with some of the land tenure issues and some of the other migratory issues and basically to reestablish these people back on their lands, in which case you're going to need to have a tribal element.

On the CPA, the other part, the government -- you may have seen this announced that it would lift the state of emergency -- on July 9th is the day they would it? Yeah. Except in Darfur and in the East. And what that really means is they're lifting it in the South so that -- where you can start the North-South process.

This new Government of National Unity will be stood up on July 9th, if all holds. And but having said that, it's going to be a very fluid process, and what that means is that there's a provision under the CPA itself that for the first month or two that, in a sense, they don't actually -- they've got to set up the ministries, they may not have all the ministers -- they won't have all the ministers appointed. So what you'll have is Bashir as President, Garang as First Vice President, Taha as Vice President, and then over the course of the next month they'll start to fill in these other portfolios.

What's also going to be an interesting development, and I just read a cable on this this morning that you might have seen a report on this over the weekend, as part of this new Government of National Unity the Government of Sudan has released all the political prisoners, including people like Turabi. Okay? And so you now have new political maneuvering of some of the old parties in Sudan trying to figure out how they're going to relate to the government, and the government now consists of both the SPLM in the South and the old government. You might have seen that about a week or two ago there was an agreement with the NDP, which was a Northern sort of Arab-based party, to try to come into this process. This is something that the Egyptians helped try to do.

So what I'm really just saying to you is at the same time you're going to be forming this government, you're going to see a whole bunch of maneuvering and negotiating. So in addition to watching Darfur and the South, you've got to keep your eye on the other pieces. And you've probably also seen there were some reports of fighting in the East, okay, with the Beja. At least from what we've been able to identify, there was less that occurred than at least were in some of the reports. The trains were moving and the food was moving. But it's very clear that this is at least a step by some groups that feel they're not yet drawn into the process, that they're going to be trying to push their way into the process. And then this also links into things with Eritrea.

In addition to the basic sort of standup of the CPA, when I meet with Garang I'll talk about some of our assistance programs to set up the Government of Southern Sudan, which is another sort of core element. Also, the South-South dialogue, and this is interesting in that Garang can clearly be of help and deal with some of the problems in Darfur, and maybe in the East, but he's going to have his own tensions in terms of some of the militia groups that were left over in the South of all these years. And that's another area where we're trying to press the Government of Sudan to sort of support some of the groups that would reconcile with Garang. And we're actually doing some work with the Moi Institute in Kenya on this, too.

Another key item on the CPA follow-up, and probably the next -- the one of greatest importance, is to form something called the AEC, which is the Assessment and Evaluation Commission. So after the government gets stood up, then they have to, in a sense, monitor the following through of all those other details that I've touched on with you. And this is one where at least all the parties at present welcome the U.S. playing an observer role in that process as well. So that will be the key commission to stand -- to get stood up in the coming weeks.

They should also act on their interim constitution. And in the Government of South Sudan's development, there's a lot of work to be done in terms of transparency, accountability. They will start to get oil revenues under this deal, so how they get allocated and spent will be important. And, frankly, integration of some of the civil servants and others that were in the South that will now be part of the Government of Southern Sudan.

There is a Joint National Transition teams being set up that are formulating budgets for the government and the Government of Southern Sudan. As for the UN peacekeeping force, if you look on the next -- 18, you remember that in Darfur it's an AU force, in the South it's a UN peacekeeping force. There's probably about, from what I saw over the weekend, about 1,500 maybe so far that are on this. But this is slower than we would like. It's rainy season. It's been slowed down. And the reason why this is important is it's harder to get people in as the rainy season goes on.

Somebody's tape ended here.

And in addition, the security components -- some of the security components of the CPA probably can't get implemented until you get those forces in place.

And what we're starting to see is the internally displaced people, the IDPs from the North, are now starting to come back to the South, and this has actually created a food concern in some of the areas and this is the areas where we've been most pressing for European help because while you had enough food supplies in Darfur, frankly, there's been food shortages in the Nuba Mountains and some of the other areas in the Southern area.

Let's see, I mentioned release of political prisoners, I think. Also, at our urging, the government released the NGOs that were arrested, the Médecins Without Borders people, an issue I know is close to your heart. They've also done some press harassment and we've urged them to stop that. Because it's actually interesting. When you're in Khartoum, there's an English-language press that I opened up and it really surprised me because it didn't look pro-government, and I guess it's sort of a Southern newspaper that is printed and delivered to the hotel that I stay at, I guess.

This issue in the East bears watching because, again, there's a -- this is one of the things that I was talking about with Foreign Minister Ismail when he was here and with Taha and with Garang, which is that the last thing you want would be another outbreak of violence in Eastern Sudan that I think for some reasons it's not likely to become like Darfur, but, you know, that's your worry that people will overreact again and start to unleash the dogs going wild.

Another issue is that I'll be working on with them is the Lords Resistance Army. I started this on the last trip, which is these killers that have been operating in the very Southern part of Sudan attacking Northern Uganda. They bring in children as part of their militia force. The Ugandans are actually beating these guys back and the Government of Sudan now allows the Ugandans to go into Sudanese territory. But, frankly, I'd like to try to see if we could have a more of a tripartite effort among the SPLM, the Ugandans and the Government of Sudan to try to stop these guys for good.

And then there will be a number of other African leaders there, which I'll also -- who I'll also be sort of meeting on this.

Now, on the meeting in Jordan on Iraq, I'll be much briefer on this but just to give you -- I mentioned sort of the categories of macroeconomic development strategy, energy, agriculture, private sector, trade and assistance. Just again so you have the context of this, as I think I've mentioned with a number of you, when I try to focus on rebuilding Iraq or defeating the insurgency, I focus on three elements having to work together: the political, the economic and the military. And you can't beat an insurgency with any one alone; you've got to have the three integrated.

And so, you know, over the weekend we got the good news on the political front that the 15 Sunni members have been added to the constitutional committee. And the assembly blessed that, so that, you know, if you look at this in steps in terms of, you know, sovereignty, election, inclusive government, constitutional committee, you've now got the constitutional committee set up and the next key step is to get the constitution by August 15th.

Well, the economic part is what this meeting is all about and so in that sense this kind of fits between the Brussels meeting that the Secretary chaired and the meeting that's going to be held in Amman a little bit later in July, which we focus on getting the donors sort of connected more directly with the programs since this will be a bilateral effort.

And in -- I guess in another sense, one of the things that I'm trying to focus on -- and, frankly, there's been very good support and interest in this of the Iraqi ministers -- is that while you're dealing with, you know, a difficult day-to-day situation, you want to try to create enabling frameworks that will also help the long-term private sector development. And that's one of the reasons that I will meet with the AmCham and others to hear their views as we go in.

And another sort of byproduct of this will be -- remember, this is a relatively new Iraqi Government. The ministers, at least the ones that I've met, are a very impressive group. The Iraqi diaspora managed to have some very well trained and capable people. But they're still figuring out how to work together, too. And so in a way, this meeting helps bring them together.

So I've been pleased, actually, that Deputy Prime Minister Chalabi has formed an energy commission that has pulled together the oil and the electricity and the finance, which are -- and I think he also has water in that, too, doesn't he -- which is exactly some of the same players that I will be meeting to try to make sure that those pieces are working together.

And then on Egypt, as I mentioned, it's going to be a combination of, sort of, following up on the Secretary's speech and visit on political reform and also foreign policy, including things like Sudan. So anyway, wish you were coming. Of course, we're flying commercial so it won't be as nice. (Laughter.) Okay.

QUESTION: You're flying commercial?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Yeah.

QUESTION: To Sudan?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Everywhere. Once I'm in Sudan, I fly, I think I get -- what are we on? World Food Organization planes?

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: When you're a Deputy, you're kind of -- I mean, you said it. You test the life as it really looks.

QUESTION: Well, I didn't think there was a shuttle to Darfur. (Laughter.)

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well, there may be soon. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Mr. Zoellick, may I ask you, please? Briefly, you mentioned the Jingaweit and what the status is of the killings of people in Darfur. Is it -- you know, is it still happening? To what degree?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Yeah. When I referred to the militias, and there's kind of an overlap of militias and Jingaweit, the best evidence that we have from the UN and our own forces is that those forces are still in the field. So, in other words, they haven't been pulled back or disbanded by any means, that you don't have any of the large scale assaults that you had in prior months and that what you do have are sort of more examples of small clashes with either rebels on rebels, rebels with government-backed militias, including the Jingaweit. But the overall killing has, as this report suggests, has come down a lot.

But there are a lot of reasons for that. A lot of people are now in camps, okay? And so the reason the people that aren't in camps are probably in government, sort of, controlled areas. But on this trip, that's one of the reasons I'm going to the non-government controlled areas as well, because I wanted to meet some of the rebel commanders and meet some of the community people there.

And a couple of these -- on my last trip, frankly, when I was in the northern part, I think I was in some kind of a fringe area. I had sort of a mixture there and you could tell they brought in various tribal leaders and people would say various things and then people would press notes into your hands afterwards.

But if you want to get a sense, in a way, of kind of the sort of a very crude equilibrium you have is that when I was at this last camp and I was there with the AU officers, there were three guys that were observers associated with the AU forces that were in this tribal meeting. And they were introduced to me as a local SLA officer, so that's one of the rebel officers; a local JEM officer, okay; and a Government of Sudan officer. And I said, these three guys are supposed to be at war with each other, what are they sitting here? And this is how the African Union has basically established their sort of peace monitoring mission, okay?

And just to go a little step further, you see, the AU is not a heavily armed force. So if the Government of Sudan was itself still engaged in military action, they would have a hard time standing up. But the Government of Sudan's forces are basically standing down in that sense. Even some of the Jingaweit have heavy enough equipment that the AU forces would have a hard time dealing with them. But the AU, as you get more AU forces, they basically provide some blocking presence and what I've explained to some others is that at times when we've been able to identify a potential site of conflict, lets say a rebel village with Jingaweit massing, on a couple of occasions we've actually been able to get everybody to stand down by calling people in Khartoum and make sure that they, whoever has got ties with the Jingaweit, that they're not attacking and that you get the AU forces in there.

Is that a fair description? Do you want to add to that?

STAFF: (Inaudible) the UN report was very clear on (inaudible).

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Yeah. But what I want to emphasize is and it's -- take their word fragile, okay? It's a very fragile situation. So the mortality and killing is down, but there are different reasons for this. You know, one reason is, as I said, is that you went through a terrible phase where people were chased off their villages and their land and a lot of them are now in camps, okay? So that stage of the killing is complete. But now, you have the camps and so -- and that's why I said the two elements that we've been focusing on is make sure they get food and humanitarian needs in the camps, basic security; but outside the camps, you know, it's still a very dangerous place. And this affects not only people leaving the camps, but it also affects the aid workers. And so there was a problem in one of the areas, actually, where I'm going where there was a new military commander and some of the aid workers were anxious about some increase in the violence and that was another item that I raised with Taha and Ismail.

So again, you know, in any of this situation, I'm trying to give you a summary but I want to be careful not to be seen as overstating. This remains a very dangerous place.

QUESTION: As you describe it, the dynamics on the ground have changed a lot for the reasons you've described. But do you believe that the Government of Sudan's attitude toward trying to discourage violence has changed in the month since you've been there?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Yeah. I covered some of this in the testimony. It's in here, but just so to give you a brief sense. I think that the Government of Sudan sort of didn't count on the extremely strong international reaction to the mass killing, the genocide in Darfur. And so therefore, I think they, for a number of reasons, have pulled back. And that's what the evidence suggests.

QUESTION: About the release of Turabi and (inaudible) terrorism concern that causes for the United States, how much of this is on your agenda when you go meet with, potentially, Bashir, I guess?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well, our counterterrorism cooperation has been good. The main focus I've had on that is to make sure that any counterterrorism discussions we have also emphasize our strong interests in Darfur and the North-South process. So I'm actually working that from a different angle and, frankly, in a positive way to make sure that that channel in the power structure emphasizes the messages that I'm sending in the process. So that's been kind of my focus on the counterterrorism side.

In terms of Turabi's release, I just have a strong suspicion that the government will monitor his movements.

QUESTION: You mentioned that you (inaudible) to do more to support all of their efforts, including (inaudible). Is this something that you will bring up (inaudible)?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well, we've already been bringing it up. When the European Commission Presidency in Luxembourg, the European Presidency were here, I was in the meeting with the President and so I raised it and the President has raised it. I think the Secretary raised it with some of her European counterparts. And the problem in the European system, you have different players. So I was raising it with Barroso, who's the President of the Commission; and I raised it with Solana; Louis Michel is the Development Commissioner. They're just slow, but I think I got a report over the weekend that they may be releasing -- from Andrew Natsios -- they may be releasing some of the cash to buy the food. So I'm sure it'll be a discussion around the G-8, too.

But the main reason I'm emphasizing it is, you know, while it's important for the world to look on the development problems in Africa, we had a real problem now, which is getting the food. And again, it's not so much to Darfur, it's to the South. But that's very important for the follow-through because it's not a good signal if you're trying to send the benefits of peace and reconciliation and people are going home and they can't eat.

QUESTION: But it's not going -- you don't have a main thrust? There's not going to be a (inaudible) message brought to the G-8 meeting (inaudible)?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I've learned -- I mean, you know, I don't predict what Presidents do. The President is aware of the issue. He's raised it. I have raised it. You know, I sent him a memo that sort of brought him up to date on it. So I just, you know -- and on the discussion, I guess.

QUESTION: Two things. I listened to some of that June 22nd hearing. By the way, Tom Lantos said this was the greatest briefing paper he had seen in 30 years, which I'm sure that made your day. (Laughter.)

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: The frightening thing is that he wanted me to come back. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: You said that your presence at the formation of the new government on the 9th was not automatic, that they had to meet certain thresholds before you would attend. I take it they have met those thresholds.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Yeah, the biggest one is -- and again, you know, when you deal with many problems in Sudan and Africa and in general, you never know until you get there. But the key was that they would agree to stand up the Government of National Unity and as part of that to have the interim constitution. And that's why I called both Garang and Taha last week because there are issues about providing the security so Garang can come up and other aspects, but both parties assured me that I should come. So I'll find out for sure when I'm there.

Anything else, Mike, on that? Are we still on? (Laughter.)

STAFF: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: On the situation of Jordan (inaudible).

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: On Egypt, the Secretary was just --

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: On Jordan. I get the sense this is an interim kind of meeting. I mean, you're not looking for --

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Jordan or the Iraqi meeting in Jordan?

QUESTION: The Iraqi meeting in Jordan.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Interim in what sense?

QUESTION: Well, I mean --

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: It's a working meeting.

QUESTION: It looks like you're following up on the economic aspects of in terms of moving the government along. But, I mean, maybe I'm missing -- are you looking for some --

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: A big breakthrough or something? No, it's a working meeting. It's what I do. In other words, so it's to keep trying to push along, you know, their electricity program, short and long term. It's -- they've got some big budgetary issues, which they have to fulfill under this ECA, which is their interim accord, so that later in the year they can try and have an IMF standby. That's important to get their debt released. That's important so they can get the international financial aid. You know, so you need - and then -- but there are -- there will be some specific areas like we -- the TDA, which is the Trade and Development Agency, will be announcing a program where we're going to be trying to train some of their sort of oil ministry personnel.

We will have a signing of a TIFA, a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, which is sort of an early step in closer trade relations. There will be a -- we're working to see whether we might be able to complete an accord on OPIC, which would be in terms of investment risk insurance. That one hasn't been yet completed. There's another one in terms of agricultural assistance programming. We will sign something dealing with our USAID, sort of ongoing assistance, so this is not the $21 billion but this is ongoing development sort of aid. So there will be a package of agreements that are associated with it.

But I think your assumption is correct. The prime focus is to -- for me and an interagency team to meet with a series of ministers and high-level officials. We'll meet the central bank president and basically, you know, get a sense of where they are on issues of common concern, maybe, you know, make some suggestions, learn some things, press some items forward over the course of a day.

QUESTION: I was going to touch on policy, but you mentioned the big budgetary issue. I heard that the Iraqi Government had several billion dollars (inaudible).

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well it --

QUESTION: And at the same time, so they're asking for you to throw its debts out, at the same time the U.S. is also considering staying back (inaudible).

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: No, we -- our support is basically through the $21 billion that has been committed by Congress. And of that $21 billion -- this was as of last week, let's see -- there's been about $16.1 billion obligated and $8.7 billion distributed. And that, you know, goes for the schools, the health care facilities, the fire stations, water treatment facilities, sewer projects, electricity generation, a whole bunch of other things.

QUESTION: Didn't some of that get diverted for security purposes?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Earlier this year some of that was diverted for some security issues. But what you're talking about is that under this sort of ECA, which stands for -- (laughter). It's at least standby arrangement. They have a deficit that is already permitted of about 20 percent of GDP, was I think what their target was.

STAFF: (Inaudible.)

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: So that's within sort of the acceptable terms. The question is whether they will have a deficit beyond that. And those are some of the issues that I'll be trying to find out about and some of that depends on their plans for sort of oil exports. Obviously it partly depends on oil export prices, which has been to their advantage. It also depends on some of their import plans for some of the diesel fuels and others as part of the electricity.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) subsidy business?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Yeah, and then -- and that goes back into their plans for changing some of the subsidies, either in terms of fuel or foods and the timing of doing that, which is also part of their requirements to get the IMF standby arrangement. They have to tackle those, too.

So Finance Minister Allawi was here about week or two ago and I talked to him about some of that, but this will be a chance to get more specific on some of those things. And we'll have people from the treasury there, too.

QUESTION: Will Chalabi be there?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: No.

QUESTION: Is it known how much -- how much revenue do they expect from the oil sector this year?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I'm sure we have that somewhere, but I don't have it at the tip of my --

QUESTION: Is the U.S. going to teach them about fiscal restraint? (Laughter.)

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: We (inaudible) finance ours. Alexander Hamilton left something very nice, thank you.

QUESTION: Back on Egypt, Jim?

QUESTION: Yeah, I was just curious -- the Secretary was there just two weeks ago and met with Mubarak, met with civil society. What specifically are you going to be following up on? What are the issues that need to be addressed just two weeks after she was there?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Well, it's again, sort of basically working the issues. She was in, you know, relatively quickly and focused on sort of initial level, but then let me give you a sense of what I have so far, and this is subject to some change. But I'll be -- I'll probably meet President Mubarak, I'll probably meet Gamal Mubarak, I'll probably -- I'll meet opposition politicians and civil society activists. I'll meet the Foreign Minister. I'll do some press roundtables and interviews. I'll meet civil society from the intelligence. I'll meet the Prime Minister Nazif and his economic team (inaudible).

And then what I wanted to try to do is drill down a little further and I was going to meet with some of the NDP traditional leaders, as well as some of the NDP sort of party reformers. So I'm going to be there a little longer than she is and it's really try to sort of press on some of these issues related to the election processes. Again, you know, she made the points in the speech, she had some brief meetings with people, but then I'll go into it, you know, in greater detail to see from people inside and outside the government, you know, what they're doing and stating our views. And my message will be basically resonating the key points in her speech.

QUESTION: Why are you meeting with Gamal Mubarak?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I've gotten to know him over the years and he, you know, he has played a role with the reformers, particularly on the economic side, which is the people that I worked with a lot at USTR and then here. But he also has a party role, so I'm interested in learning more about his view of reform within the NDP as well.

QUESTION: Obviously, your trip will help you gauge this better, but how do you see the temperature post the Secretary's trip? It was calibrated to push Egypt along on their reforms, but you never quite know how much they're going to push back, how much it's resisted. Have you had feedback now to suggest they didn't like it or that they're happy enough they'll go with you?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I think you have different audiences here. I think that the government accepts the strong interests that the President has in promoting these issues. And I think there was belief that the Secretary was able to emphasize the points that we think are important in building a democracy, but with due sensitivity to the specific Egyptian characteristics and time frame. I think with a larger -- with the outside community, I think you get a mixture. There are some people that want things to move faster. There are some that appreciate the push that the United States is giving. And there are probably some factions of Egyptian society that will react against it, too, because the United States is seen as, you know, pressing internal change.

There was some report this morning that I didn't get a readout yet. I just got a quick report about some changes in the Iraqi information agencies -- or the Egyptian information agencies or something like that, which I have to track down because it could end up being significant in terms of sort of how they -- sort of the group of people that have traditionally sort of dealt with their external press and informational issues.

QUESTION: Are you going to meet with Ayman Nour? It depends?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: You know, I was trying to see the list and, as I said, it's the last stop of people that were invited to the opposition leader meeting. And I think -- I don't want to mislead you guys -- could you check? I saw a Nour on the meeting and I just didn't know whether it was him. But this will be like on the 13th and 14th.

QUESTION: I mean, there was interesting testimony in his trial last week, where an Egyptian security officer said that --

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Does that surprise you?

QUESTION: No, it's surprising that it came out of the trial.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Things are moving.

STAFF: One more, what's your name?

QUESTION: Can I ask a question not about the trip? It's related to one of the stories that we're tracking closely, obviously. It's the Unocal story, which was on the front page today with China's criticism of the House. Especially with your background in trade, can you give us a sense of how you feel about this in terms of the review, if it's a legitimate review and --

DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I could, but I won't, no. The main thing on this one, as you know, is that we have the CFIUS process, and so there's actually a series of rules related to CFIUS, actually backed by criminal prosecutions about sort of revealing information. So what you've seen publicly, you saw that they made a request to try to move up the process. I haven't seen this morning whether Unocal sort of has agreed with that. So, you know, it will follow the CFIUS process is the best thing I can say at this point.

STAFF: Thank you.

2005/676

Released on July 6, 2005

ENDS

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