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State Dept. Daily Press Briefing October 3, 2005

State Dept. Daily Press Briefing October 3, 2005

Daily Press Briefing
Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 3, 2005

INDEX:

TURKEY
EU Accession Talks / US Support / European Union Decision
Positive Force for Advancing Peace, Prosperity & Democracy

DEPARTMENT
Secretary Rice's Phone Calls / Discussions
US Position on the Relationship Between NATO & EU Processes
Deputy Secretary Zoellick's Travel in Western Hemisphere
Nomination of Tom Shannon as Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere

AUSTRIA
US-Austria Bilateral Relations

GREECE
US Meeting with Greek Representative on Energy Issues

ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS
Support for Efforts by President Abbas / Positive Developments
Implementation of Strategy to Outlaw Public Display of Arms
US Position on Hamas & Its Participation in Political System

SYRIA
Syria's Behavior & Relationship With Its Neighbors

AZERBAIJAN
US View of Nagorno-Karabakh / Support for OSCE Minsk Group

IRAN
US View of Bushehr Nuclear Reactor / Fuel Take Back Provision

IRAQ
Arab League Meeting / Diplomatic Mission to Baghdad
Diplomatic Support for Iraq

SUDAN
Importance of Preventing Violence in Darfur
US & NATO Support for African Union Mission / Abuja Talks

INDONESIA
Bombings in Bali / Travel Warning & Warden Message
Number of American Citizens Injured


TRANSCRIPT:

12:32 p.m. EDT

MR. MCCORMACK: Good afternoon. I don't have any opening statements. I'll be happy to jump into your questions. Barry Schweid.

QUESTION: Yeah, there's still some uncertainty but it looks like the talks on admitting Turkey or beginning the process of Turkey entering the European Union are falling apart, at least Jack Straw says they're doing very poorly. Does the State Department care to say something about whether it believes Turkey should be in the EU and is there any disappointment here about the lack of progress?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, a couple of things, Barry. We're watching the status of the discussions and monitoring them very closely. And I think you're familiar with our views on Turkey and their beginning accession talks with the EU, but I will reiterate that we believe a Turkey firmly anchored in Europe will be an even more reliable partner for the transatlantic family and a positive force for advancing peace, prosperity and democracy. The U.S. has long supported Turkey's European aspirations, but we don't have a vote in this process, although we have lent our diplomatic as well as rhetorical support to their aspirations. And that ultimately this is a matter for the European Union to decide. We're not part of the EU decision-making process but our views are clear.

Yes. Saul.

QUESTION: While obviously it is an EU process, the Secretary made -- or had conversations with Turkish officials yesterday and today. Can you just explain the motivation for that? Was that at the request of either Turkey or anyone in the EU or was it on the Secretary's own initiative?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I think that we, and the Secretary thought it was important at this time, as there are ongoing discussions within the EU as well as between the EU and Turkey, that we reiterate and underline our support, continuing support for Turkey's beginning accession talks today. Today is the scheduled start date that Turkey begin those accession talks, so she wanted to, over the course of the weekend as well as this morning, reiterate the United States' position as those discussions were ongoing within the EU and between the EU and Turkey.

QUESTION: So she spoke to Turkish and other European officials -- EU officials?

MR. MCCORMACK: She -- among other calls over the past several days, she had a discussion with Foreign Minister Gul over the weekend and then this morning she spoke with Prime Minister Erdogan as well.

QUESTION: Can I ask did she initiate the calls to both Gul and Erdogan or did Gul first call her?

MR. MCCORMACK: I think that she called -- well, in terms of Gul I'm not sure, Saul. But I think with Prime Minister Erdogan it was the Secretary that initiated the phone call.

QUESTION: And among the other calls, did she speak to Jack Straw?

MR. MCCORMACK: She very frequently speaks with Foreign Secretary Straw on a variety of matters. And I believe that she has been in touch with him recently.

QUESTION: Maybe I can be more direct with -- about the initial question, you're saying she wanted to do this. It was important. My question is did she make the phone call after a request from Britain or any other European nation for her to do so or was this actually on her own?

MR. MCCORMACK: I would just say, Saul, that this is something that she thought was important to do at this time, to reach out to Turkish officials to reiterate U.S. support.

QUESTION: Any concern then -- I mean, I realize the way you "caveated" the motivation for the call, but any concern that the United States will be perceived as interfering in what is a European Union issue?

MR. MCCORMACK: No, because I -- this is, again, underlining a position that we have had for quite some time. We have been quite open and transparent in our diplomatic, as well as rhetorical support for Turkey beginning this process. This goes back several years. At the same time that we have done that, we have also made it very clear that this is an EU process and a decision for Turkey and the European Union member-states to make.

QUESTION: What's the analysis here? Why Turkey isn't -- if you look at a map, Turkey's in Europe. What is the analysis here, why Austria and some other countries are keeping Turkey out?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, these discussions are ongoing, Barry, and I would think that that -- that those are questions best put to individual EU member-states as well as the EU.

QUESTION: Turkey is at least being leery about one aspect of the accession talks and that has to do with the way they interpret its impact on their role in NATO. Now did I understand the Secretary would have addressed that issue? What's the U.S. position on how the EU process can affect Turkey's participation in NATO vis-à-vis Cyprus?

MR. MCCORMACK: Right. Without getting into the specific discussion, Saul, I would just say that, you know, our view is that EU processes shouldn't affect or be brought into NATO processes.

QUESTION: So that seems a nice diplomatic way of saying if the EU wants to put some kind of rule that you have to support Cyprus, it doesn't actually matter when you're in NATO. You make your judgment on NATO membership, as a NATO member.

MR. MCCORMACK: I think that, you know, again, we think that decisions about NATO membership should be left to NATO members. Now, of course, there's overlap between the EU and NATO as well but decisions about NATO membership should be left to NATO members.

QUESTION: Forgive me for hogging this but just one last question, does the Secretary plan to make any other calls related to this today?

MR. MCCORMACK: We'll keep you updated if there are any other -- if there are other calls, Saul.

QUESTION: If I understand you correctly, she spoke only to Turkish leaders?

MR. MCCORMACK: You're referring to -- well, those are the phone calls with the Turkish leaders. I said among other phone calls over the past several days, she did speak with Foreign Minister Gul, as well as Prime Minister Erdogan.

QUESTION: She spoke to other Europeans?

MR. MCCORMACK: Yes, she has.

QUESTION: Over the long --

MR. MCCORMACK: Yes.

QUESTION: Three days, whatever.

MR. MCCORMACK: Yes.

QUESTION: Do you want to -- I don't want to hog it either but --

MR. MCCORMACK: We have a couple of others. Why don't we -- we'll come back to you. We'll move it around.

On the same topic?

QUESTION: (Inaudible).

MR. MCCORMACK: Okay.

QUESTION: Let me ask you did the Secretary talk to -- bring that issue up with the Austrian side? Did the Secretary talk to the Austrian Foreign Minister?

MR. MCCORMACK: No. No.

QUESTION: Did anybody from the State Department bring that issue up with the Austrians?

MR. MCCORMACK: I'm only aware of the Secretary's phone calls. We have, of course, a lot of diplomatic contacts with the Austrian Government so I can't possibly go into detail on all of those.

QUESTION: Was Austrian seen as the -- you remember that blocked the negotiations for quite some time. Does that influence the relations between Austria and the United States?

MR. MCCORMACK: I think that, you know, just several weeks ago, the Secretary had a very good meeting with the Austrian Foreign Minister. So we have a lot of bilateral issues and we look forward to working with Austria as it assumes the EU presidency. So again, there are a lot of diplomatic conversations ongoing within the EU at this moment so I think that a description of those discussions is best left to the individual member states as well as the EU. Yeah. I'm not going to have any comment on this.

QUESTION: What does the United States think of the way the Austrians approach this (inaudible) negotiations --

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, to loop back, we, of course, have stated our interest in support for Turkey as they begin their accession talks with the EU. That goes back several years. In terms of -- you know, in terms of a commentary about the position of various countries, I'm going to leave that to others. That's a matter for the EU to describe.

QUESTION: The Austrian press quotes an American diplomat saying, "Well, if Austria continues to torture Turkey, Austria will pay a price." What kind of price could that be?

MR. MCCORMACK: I haven't seen any such quote.

QUESTION: But would you say --

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, I'm speaking to you on the record from the podium of the State Department. I'm trying to express for you the views of the United States Government on this.

QUESTION: So you don't see any problems in the relations between the U.S. and Austria?

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, we look forward -- the Secretary just not a few weeks ago had a good meeting with the Foreign Minister and we look forward to working with the Austrian Government as they assume the presidency of the EU.

Yes, sir.

QUESTION: Did the Secretary send any letters to any of her-- your colleagues on this matter and can you tell us if the Secretary discussed Cyprus with Mr. Gul?

MR. MCCORMACK: With Mr.?

QUESTION: With Foreign Minister of Turkey?

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, there have been a variety of different discussions. There are several issues on the table, as I understand it, within the EU. I'm going to leave it to the member-states of the EU, as well as the EU to describe the state of play of those negotiations. The Secretary, writ large, wanted to underline our support for Turkey again in her conversations with the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister.

Yes, sir.

QUESTION: Change of subject. Did the Secretary contact the Cypriot Foreign Minister by any chance?

MR. MCCORMACK: The Cypriot Foreign Minister, let me check my phone calls. No.

QUESTION: On the same issue.

MR. MCCORMACK: Yes.

QUESTION: I came a little late. According to the Turkish press, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sent a letter to heads of (inaudible) NATO members saying that the U.S. Government will veto any attempt by the Republic of Cyprus of becoming a member of NATO in the future. Do you have anything on that or --

MR. MCCORMACK: I can't confirm that description of any diplomatic correspondence that we might have had, but I answered the question that Saul had earlier with respect to bringing EU processes into NATO decision-making processes.

QUESTION: One more question. Do you have any readout on the talks between the Greek Minister of Development Demetris Sioufas and the Assistant Secretary Paul Simons last week here at the Department of State?

MR. MCCORMACK: There was a meeting on September 28th and two representatives reviewed cooperation between Greece and the United States on a variety of energy issues, including working together in the International Energy Association and also discussed Greece's energy sector liberalization, as well as Greek efforts to expand its pipeline connections with its neighbors.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. MCCORMACK: You're welcome.

Mr. Gedda.

QUESTION: You looked like you had a list there of the Secretary's phone calls. Could you give us the names of the EU people with whom she has spoken over the past, say two or three days?

MR. MCCORMACK: We had a phone call with -- this is an unexhaustive list, this is what I have, George, I'll be happy to share it with you. The phone call with Prime Minister Erdogan. There was a phone call with Foreign Minister Gul, as well as the Cypriot President, Papadopoulos. That's what I have here listed.

QUESTION: Can you tell us then what was the message with the Cypriot?

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, it was the same that we have expressed before, that we think that Turkey -- a democratic reforming Turkey that is firmly rooted in the European and transatlantic alliances, positive for Europe, it's positive for the United States and it's positive for Turkey as well.

QUESTION: I know you --

QUESTION: Go on.

QUESTION: Is that -- it's pretty obvious, but is that the message of whatever else she may have said to the two Turkish officials?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, with the, again, with the Turkish officials, we underlined our support for Turkey's beginning the accession talks.

QUESTION: And would Papadopoulos -- did the Secretary raise the issue of NATO membership and Cyprus's aspirations and how you don't want to see the pollution of EU processes in NATO?

MR. MCCORMACK: There was a brief discussion about our point of view and that EU processes should not be brought into NATO decision making processes.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MR. MCCORMACK: Yes. It was -- that was yesterday. Yes. Yes, ma'am.

QUESTION: We know -- we all know that Washington supports Turkey's EU membership and so why is this phone calls very, you know, recently, yesterday, and maybe today -- what is the main purpose of Secretary Rice calling these leaders?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I think as many of you in this room have reported, the intensity of the discussions concerning Turkey's beginning of accession talks, the EU has picked up over the past several days and there are a lot of different conversations going on and we thought that it was an important moment in time for the United States to underline to Turkey our continuing support for their beginning accession talks with the EU. And then also with the EU to, once again, underline where we stand on that issue, emphasizing the point that this is an EU process, that it is up to the EU to make these decisions.

QUESTION: New subject?

QUESTION: You said it's important moment because there were two obstacles and, you know, as we know, one is the Austrian opposition and the other was concerning NATO.

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, what I said earlier, I'm not going to get into a play-by-play description of where the talks stand. It's best left to the EU and its member-states to describe for you.

QUESTION: Another subject?

MR. MCCORMACK: Yes. Anything else on this?

QUESTION: Fighting's broken out over --

MR. MCCORMACK: Okay. I think there was one hand that went up. Is that on this?

QUESTION: I remember that before the Copenhagen Summit of European Union 2002, Mr. Erdogan visited the White House here and then he went to the Copenhagen and then President Bush called some European leaders, including President Chirac and so on. But it was also -- it affected negatively especially that Chirac -- President Chirac said that it was not good for Turkey getting the support, diplomatic support from the United States on the European issues. Do you think that this kind of American intervention on this process might be some negative effect of Turkish membership adventure?

MR. MCCORMACK: You know, well, certainly, I don't think that we would take any steps that we thought would negatively affect something that we think should move forward. And so I think it's safe to say we are doing those things, which we think might have some positive effect on Turkey beginning accession talks. Again, with the thought in mind, these are decisions for the European Union and its member-states ultimately to make.

QUESTION: I know the intention is good, but there is also a -- I was in the Copenhagen Summit and this time, it -- we witnessed so many European diplomats and other people that they are not very happy about this American intervention into European issues, so is that still a possibility of this kind of (inaudible) for European side, from European people?

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, I don't have polling data on European attitudes on what the U.S. has said in the past and saying right now about Turkey's accession to the EU. Suffice it to say that we are doing those things in support of our point of view and our point of view, again, our opinion is that it would be a positive development for Turkey to begin its accession talks with the EU.

Yes.

QUESTION: On this subject?

MR. MCCORMACK: Uh-huh.

QUESTION: Last question. Do you think that after the start of their accession talks with the European Union, do you see a start of negotiations with Cyprus again?

MR. MCCORMACK: I'm not sure I follow --

QUESTION: After the accession talks, only a few days that Turkey is going to start the accession talks with the European Union, do you think that the talks with Cyprus are going to start again soon?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don't have anything for you on that.

Yeah, Barry.

QUESTION: Fighting has broken out --

MR. MCCORMACK: Sure.

QUESTION: Okay. Turkey's accession talks somehow connected with the accession talks with the Republic of Croatia with the EU. What is the U.S. position on Croatia?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don't have anything for you on that.

Yeah, Barry.

QUESTION: Fighting's broken out over the Palestinian Authority's attempt to enforce a ban on public display of weapons. Do you have anything -- does the State Department have any concern that this could escalate into a real civil war?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, as we have said before, Barry, and as you've seen in the recent Quartet statement, we support President Abbas in his efforts to achieve a one gun, one authority, one law standard in the Palestinian territories. We have welcomed recent members -- recent steps by President Abbas to implement a strategy that outlaws the public display of arms by individuals associated with terrorist groups. And we urge continued PA action to meet its roadmap obligations to end violence and dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism. So these, you know, again, these are positive developments. We -- the United States as well as other members of the Quartet fully support those efforts. We support them, not only with rhetoric but in terms of action as well as in funding.

General Ward is working with the Palestinian Authority as we've talked about before in this room to build the capabilities of Palestinian's security forces. In terms of organization, we have helped out as has the EU in providing them equipment, things like uniforms and communications and transportation, so we fully support the Palestinian efforts. Our views of these terrorist groups are well known, they're unchanged and we'll continue working with President Abbas as he restructures and builds the Palestinian security forces, not only to meet the roadmap obligations but also to ensure a safe, secure and calm environment for the Palestinian people.

MR. MCCORMACK: Yes.

QUESTION: The Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoting senior Israeli government official saying that the U.S. held talks with Israel recently to assess Israel's thinking about regime change in Syria. Can you confirm or deny this?

MR. MCCORMACK: No. What we're interested in seeing is a change of behavior in Syria. Syria's biggest problem is not with the United States but with Syria's neighbors, whether that be Iraq or Lebanon or other, you know, with the Palestinian people in terms of their support for rejectionist groups, in terms of their allowing terrorists to transit their territory or whether that is to try to influence the political atmosphere in Lebanon. So Syria's biggest problems are with its neighbors and we certainly stand with those neighbors as they seek a change in Syrian behavior. And I think that the United States and the rest of the international community has expressed those views very clearly and I would point you to the recent Lebanon group meeting up at the United Nations in which they called on Syria to change its behavior.

QUESTION: Can you address -- can you say anything if this --

MR. MCCORMACK: No, I can't confirm any such discussions, no.

QUESTION: Thanks.

QUESTION: You deny there was such discussions?

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, I have no information that there was any -- that there were any such discussions.

Yes.

QUESTION: Back to the Palestinian Authority. Should the Secretary's remarks at Princeton last week be construed as a declaration by the United States Government that it would be inappropriate or wrong for Hamas to be allowed to participate in the political system such as it is in the Palestinian Authority without disarming first? Was that such a declaration by the U.S. Government on Friday at Princeton that they really can't be allowed to participate -- Hamas -- in the Palestinian political process until they disarm?

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah. Our views with respect to Hamas as an organization and the development of the Palestinian political environment are well known. They're unchanged and they didn't change on Friday from the week before or the week before that.

Yes, ma'am.

QUESTION: Different subject?

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah.

QUESTION: Sean, I'd like to ask a question on South Caucasus. A group of Congress members held an event on Capitol* last week trying to present Nagorno-Karabakh as a separate entity outside of Azerbaijan. They also sent a letter to President Bush appealing to him to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as a separate entity. Is that an indication of U.S. policy change on that matter?

MR. MCCORMACK: We certainly welcome the interests of the members of Congress in various foreign policy issues including this one. Our policy with respect to Nagorno-Karabakh and efforts to resolve that issue are unchanged. We support the work that the OSCE Minsk Group as well as any efforts by Azerbaijan and Armenia to resolve any differences they may have over Nagorno-Karabakh. But simply there's no change in policy.

Yes. Libby.

QUESTION: On Iran. Assistant Secretary Rademaker made a statement and I believe spoke to the press afterwards this morning at the UN and he said, "No government should permit new nuclear transfers to Iran and all ongoing nuclear projects should be frozen." Is he speaking directly to Russia?

MR. MCCORMACK: I haven't seen Mr. Rademaker's remarks. Again, our concerns with respect to the Bushehr nuclear deal are known. Over the course of the years, our discussions with the Russian Government on that project. They have structured the deal in such a way that there's a fuel take back provision. So what that means is that once a reactor is completed, that Russia would provide the fuel for use in the reactor and once that fuel -- the time for that fuel to be removed, it would be taken back to Russia. So again, that's a, I think, a positive development because it shows that Russia shares the concerns that we have as well as the rest of the international community about Iran possessing those sensitive nuclear fuel cycle technologies and know-how.

QUESTION: Would you say that all ongoing nuclear projects should be frozen so --

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, like I said, I haven't seen his remarks.

QUESTION: Okay. Okay.

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah.

QUESTION: The reason I think we're asking about the remarks is it does seem to take the U.S. position further than where you are at the moment, so I wonder if while it's positive that you have this fuel retake agreement, if there is a worrier in the Bush Administration that Russia is nevertheless is going to go ahead with building the reactor while there are so many outstanding issues with Iran.

MR. MCCORMACK: Like I said, Saul, I haven't seen his remarks. I'll take a look at them and we'll try to get you something more on that.

Yes.

QUESTION: This weekend, there was a meeting of the Arab League on Iraq and they decided to sent the foreign -- the General Secretary Amre Moussa there, do you have any comment on that?

MR. MCCORMACK: I think it's a positive development. We have urged Iraq's neighbors as well as other countries in the region to lend their diplomatic support to the Iraqi people and to the Iraqi Government at this time. I think it's -- we think it's important to do so, not only rhetorically but also with a presence there. The Secretary attended, a couple of months ago, a meeting in Brussels in which there was a lot of diplomatic support for Iraq. I think it's important now for that diplomatic support to manifest itself in different ways.

And one thing that we have asked Iraq's neighbors to do, as well as other countries in the region to do, is to think about sending diplomatic missions to Iraq; think about establishing a permanent diplomatic presence in Iraq. We think it's important for the Iraqi Government and the Iraqi people to see that they have the support not only of the international community but their neighbors as they move forward down the pathway to a different kind of Iraq.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.) The problem is that the Arab League has not been known for being very efficient these last years. So do you think they can really help? What can they do? They --

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, again, we take this -- let's take this one step at a time, but I think it's a positive development where the Arab League has decided that they are going to send a diplomatic mission to Baghdad and to show their support for the Iraqi people. We would certainly encourage the Arab League as well as its member-states to think about other steps that they might take to support the Iraqi people. But this is a good first step.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) those other steps, are you referring to the absence of criticism among Arab countries for the activities of the insurgence in Iraq?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, as I said, George, I think rhetorical support for the Iraqis as they take on an insurgency and take on the terrorists, I think is very important -- a diplomatic presence in Iraq is important for the Iraqi people. And any material or information assistance that they might offer in fighting the insurgency, I think is important. So there are a variety of different ways that they can show that demonstrates their support.

Yes.

QUESTION: Sean, violence in Darfur seems to have come back with a vengeance in the last couple of weeks and I was wondering if the United States has been in contact with the Sudan Government about it?

MR. MCCORMACK: We have been in contact with the Sudanese Government on this issue and we think that it is very important for the Sudanese Government to work to prevent violence in Darfur. We have an AU mission that the United States as well as NATO is supporting in Darfur to help prevent any future violence. But what we would -- what we certainly have seen is a -- in those areas where the AU is operating, a reduction in violence but again that is not the -- the AU mission is not the ultimate answer to the situation in Darfur. The ultimate answer lay in a political solution. And that is why we have put a great deal of focus on the Abuja talks and the sides -- the parties coming together in the Abuja process to resolve any differences that they may have politically. I think that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement provides a good framework as well as example for the other parties that have not yet come into a compact in order to -- a political compact to resolve any differences they may have.

So we continue to be -- continue to monitor the situation in Darfur very carefully. We have seen reports of some new violence in Darfur. Certainly, those are troubling and we are going to do what we can to see that the Sudanese Government and all parties do what they can to cease any violence.

Yes, Saul.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) responsibility of the Sudanese Government for the violence?

MR. MCCORMACK: At this point, Saul, I don't think I can offer, you know, offer a complete assessment as to who might have been responsible or who might have participated in these acts of violence. But it's something that we're watching very closely.

Yes.

QUESTION: On Deputy Secretary's trip to Central and South America, I'm wondering if in addition to the specific objectives in each place where he's going, if there is a sort of a general objective to his trip, given that in a month there is a Summit of the Americas. I'm also wondering if Under Secretary Shannon will be making any such trips in the next month?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, Tom -- Tom Shannon is -- he has been nominated to be a new Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. There hasn't -- he hasn't had a vote yet. So he's still serving in his capacity as Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs over at the National Security Council.

In terms of Deputy Secretary's trip, we've put out a trip announcement. Very generally, he is there to talk about the importance of continued support for democracy, expanding democracy in the region, making it very clear that, you know, elections are one part of the democracy, but how you govern and governing democratically is very important to the region and also to talk about expanding prosperity in the region. The United States recently is the --Congress voted to support CAFTA and I think part of what he's going to be doing down in the region is also to talk about CAFTA and the importance of those countries ratifying that agreement. And so we can get in place and we can begin the process of expanding prosperity for all in the region through breaking down barriers of trade.

QUESTION: And if I could just follow up. So with this summit coming up in a month, is there -- is the administration hoping to get confirmation of Under Secretary Shannon by that time? Will that --

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, again, these things are a timetable for votes on nominees are something that is up to the Senate to schedule. Certainly, we encourage the speedy nomination and confirmation process for all of our nominees and we look forward to, we hope, a positive vote on Mr. Shannon and his subsequently being able to take his place here at the State Department.

QUESTION: Is Mr. Zoellick carrying a specific message to Nicaraguans and the opposition parties who are giving President Bolanos so much grief?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I think we have put out various statements on this issue, George. I recently issued one just last week. And I think that what he will do is reiterate what you have seen us say in the past about the importance of democracy and governing in a democratic way.

Yes.

QUESTION: What if we can go to Bali -- about the bombing in Bali? Some newspapers are saying that the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta issued a warning just before the bombings. Did the U.S. get some warning? Did they have information?

MR. MCCORMACK: I'm not aware of any such reports. I haven't seen those reports and I'm not aware of the issuance of any such warning. Now we do have in place a -- there was at the time of the bombing there was in place a travel warning that was -- that certainly the issuance of which predated the Bali bombings. And subsequent to the bombings, we have issued a Warden Message to those regarding travel to Bali. But in terms of any pre-warning, I am not aware of any such pre-warning, other than the general travel warning that we had in place already.

QUESTION: And it was re-issued maybe just before or it was --

MR. MCCORMACK: I'm not aware of it being issued just prior -- before. Let's see if we have the information as to exactly when it was issued. I'll try to get you exactly when we issued that warning.

STAFF: It's on the website.

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah, on the website. Yeah, you can look on the website. It has the date on it. I don't have the date in front of me here.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Still six Americans injured?

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah, that's the current count. Yeah.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. MCCORMACK: Okay. Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:06 p.m.)

DPB #168

ENDS


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