State Dept. Daily Press Briefing November 7, 2005
State Dept. Daily Press Briefing November 7, 2005
Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman
November 7, 2005
Parliamentary Elections / Organization for Security & Cooperation
in Europe Observer Mission Assessment / U.S. View / Improvements &
Irregularities / Call for Investigation
U.S.-Azerbaijan Bilateral Relationship
Conference to Adopt a Third Additional Protocol to the 1949 Geneva
Query on Washington Post Article / Does Not Reflect the Views of
Secretary Rice / U.S. Policy
U.S. Promotion of Democracy / Openness & Transparency in Dealing
with Issues / War on Terror
Summit of the Americas / Agenda & Accomplishments / Widespread
Agreement on Goals / Broad Agreement to Move Forward on Free Trade
of the Americas / North American Free Trade Agreement
U.S. Support of U.N. & Regional Efforts to Resolve Western Sahara
Security Situation for U.S. Citizens / U.S. Contact with French
Authorities / Warden Messages
U.S.-India Bilateral Issues & Agenda
International Atomic Energy Agency Resolution
Need for Resumption of Negotiations To Be Based on Paris Agreement
/ Shared View of EU3 & United States
Query Regarding U.S. Communications with Chinese Officials
Update on Six-Party Talks / Schedule of Assistant Secretary Chris
Hill / U.S. Focus
U.S. Policy / No Formal Communication from Government of Zimbabwe
on U.S. Ambassador's Comments
Attack on Vessel off the Coast of Somalia / Americans On Board
Existence of Criminal Activity & Political Violence
1:04 p.m. EST
MR. ERELI: Welcome, everybody. Thank you for coming today. I have two announcements to begin with. The first one we'll be putting out in written form after the briefing. It deals with the parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan. In this statement, we will share the view of the OSCE observer mission on the parliamentary elections. That assessment was that despite some improvements -- that there were some improvements in this election over previous elections. But at the same time, there were major irregularities and fraud that are of serious concern. We will urge the government of Azerbaijan to take immediate investigations into these irregularities and fraud consistent with Azerbaijan's laws, institutions and election legislation. We will also make the point that all protests and demonstrations need to be peaceful, legal. All parties should refrain from violence. Any questions on that?
QUESTION: Will all these words matter to the Azerbaijan Government? In concrete terms, how is your relationship with this government going to change? Obviously, you're very dissatisfied with the results, but they're going to stay in office, so does it change the relationship you have?
MR. ERELI: That's a pretty broad question. Obviously, actions a country takes whether it's Azerbaijan or otherwise, actions a country takes to empower its citizens and to respect international standards of civil rights and participation in the political process are important to us and have an impact on the kind of relationships that we have with those countries, whether it be in Azerbaijan or whether it be elsewhere. So obviously, these steps that have been taken and will be taken are significant. I would note that obviously as we made clear, there have been some improvements. There have been a large number of candidates allowed to register. There has been increased access to the media. There has been access to the elections in observing elections by foreign observers and that's important and that's worth noting. But obviously, as you move forward in a relationship with a country, the scope and breadth and depth of that relationship is related to the scope and depth and breadth of political participation and respect for human rights and political reform.
QUESTION: Can you just be more specific about how it's related? It's kind of -- you seem to be making sort of a conceptual philosophical link here.
MR. ERELI: Yes.
QUESTION: They've held an election, which is not at all in sync with your freedom agenda. Does it mean now that the relationship cools or are they okay to go about doing business with you on oil and on military ties, as ever?
MR. ERELI: I guess I wouldn't draw the stark lines that you have. We have a relationship with Azerbaijan. We're going to continue to have relationship with Azerbaijan. There's a number of -- a wide range of issues that we need to deal with Azerbaijan on -- energy, security, counterterrorism, economic, political, regional, multilateral -- so that's going to move forward. And I wouldn't, you know, at this point, make any specific linkages to what happened in this parliamentary election to any of those issues in -- again, in a specific way.
What I would simply tell you, in response to your question, is what impact is -- these elections are going to have and the steps the Azerbaijan Government takes is going to have on the future is to look at it in terms of, frankly, what the President said in his second inaugural, which is that America has an interest in helping empower others to find the same freedom that we have known. And that the Azeri -- that that is as true in Azerbaijan as it is true elsewhere in the world.
QUESTION: So if I'm reading it right, you can go forward -- the U.S. can go forward on all these other issues, the economic, political, military, et cetera, with a government that steals an election.
MR. ERELI: Well, I wouldn't -- I don't accept the premise of the question.
QUESTION: You said there's fraud. You said there's widespread fraud and major concern --
MR. ERELI: I said there's fraud and that there are instances of fraud in the elections, in the parliamentary elections. Those instances of fraud and reports of major irregularity need to be investigated. They need to be investigated, pursuant to Azerbaijani laws and regulations and in ways that redress grievances of people participating peacefully in the political system. That is an important responsibility of any country that is committed to democracy and the rule of law and the rights of its citizens.
And as Azerbaijan moves forward in acting on those responsibilities and responding to incidences and reports of irregularities and fraud, so it will obviously have an impact on our relationship. But if you ask me today, based on what we know of the parliamentary elections, to tell you we're going to do this and we're not going to do that and we're going to cut off this and we're not going to cut off that, you just -- you can't do that. You can set the goalposts and encourage them to kick the ball through the goal and that's what we're doing.
But (a) it's up to them to do that, (b) we've got to see what actions they take and what measures are implemented, and (c) that we've got to assess where we go from there. And at this point, one day after the elections, I'm reluctant to be drawn into a discussion of specific measures, specific actions when we're at such -- frankly, a beginning stage in all this.
QUESTION: Well, you make it sound like it's a surprise that there's all this fraud. Is that true?
MR. ERELI: Well, first of all, you know, look at my words and take my words -- the words are used carefully. I said that there were major irregularities and allegations of fraud, okay. So this is not a wholesale indictment of the entire electoral process. These are calls to investigate specific allegations that involve pre-election restrictions on freedom of assembly, police violence, detention of opposition supporters and failure to prevent and prosecute interference in elections by local authorities.
So there are specific instances and specific actions that are the subject of concern and that we need investigated, that are important to be investigated and important to address because, look, the bottom line is what credibility, what legitimacy do the elections have in the eyes of the people? And what does that say about the mandate of the elected representatives of the people to govern? And that's the issue that the Azeri authorities need to address.
QUESTION: Adam, just to be -- just to clarify for a second, are you saying right now the United States, pending the results of these investigations, the United States accepts the results of these elections as being obtained by minimally consistent international laws?
MR. ERELI: No, I'm saying the United States shares the view with the OSCE that the parliamentary elections did not meet international standards and that there -- while there was some improvement of previous elections, there were still major irregularities and allegations of fraud and that those allegations need to be addressed through investigations by the Government of Azerbaijan that are consistent with Azeri law, pursuant to Azeri law, and answer the outstanding questions that people have.
QUESTION: And give us the remedy if those allegations of fraud are proven true? I mean, what is the remedy -- to call for new elections or to take action --
MR. ERELI: I think what one would first and foremost begin with Azeri constitutional procedure and see what -- when you have substantiated allegations of fraud that call into question the legitimacy of electoral results -- what measures are provided for in Azeri law and we would look to the Azeris to take the steps necessary that their law provides for. That, I can't speak to right now. But first and foremost, the issue is what -- establishing the facts; second, taking action that is provided for in Azeri law; and third, try to produce an electoral result that is accepted as credible and representative of the will of the people.
Second statement, if I might, is the United States welcomes the announcement by the Government of Switzerland that it will convene a diplomatic conference on December 5th and 6th to adopt a third additional protocol to the 1949 Geneva Conventions. This protocol, if adopted, would create a new neutral emblem in addition to the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblems currently in use in accordance with the Geneva Conventions and that it would lead to the full membership of the Magen David Adom, Israel's National Society in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
Questions on that? Okay. Now, to anything else you want to talk about.
Yes, Mr. Peter.
QUESTION: Adam, I know there's been a lot of discussion about this -- the question of the camps, the U.S. prison camps in Eastern Europe, on the question of torture and the President coming out against torture. I have a more specific question, confirming the report in The Washington Post today, that the Secretary of State had a video conference with the Vice President while we were in Canada to actually, sort of, admonish him not to take any action without her having input. Can you comment on that, please?
MR. ERELI: I can tell you, number one, that I'm not going to talk about internal Administration policy discussions. That's something that I'm not here to do and I'm not going to get into it on this subject either.
As for the other sort of characterizations and representations that were in that article, I have basically two things to say. One is that those quoted in the article do not speak for the Secretary of State and more importantly they do not reflect her views. I think that, frankly, is the way to look at the article, to understand the quote you see in that article, as not reflecting the views of the Secretary -- not speaking for the Secretary and not reflecting her views.
QUESTION: Could I just follow up on that?
MR. ERELI: Please.
QUESTION: Just talking then in a broader sense, can we say that the Secretary of State and the State Department in general, is very sensitive to public opinion abroad and is in favor of trying to look at judicious restrictions on the use of interrogation techniques that might be considered questionable?
MR. ERELI: Our policy is clear. It's the Administration's policy. The President most recently articulated that policy today in Panama where he said, "We are going to protect Americans from attack by those who are bent on attacking us." And that we were going to do that consistent with our values and principles and that is the policy of the U.S. Government. That is what informs our discussions. But what the -- specifically those discussions entail on any given day, I'm not going to talk about it.
QUESTION: Seeing as you're representing the -- or articulating the view of the Secretary, what in her view -- what is her position on CIA prisons for detainees? Does she think that this is something that is needed to protect Americans?
MR. ERELI: That's, again, that's a subject that we've been around and around about for about five days now.
QUESTION: Well, you haven't answered the question so (inaudible.)
MR. ERELI: I'm not going to entertain the question. I am not going to entertain the question on the reports about secret CIA detention centers. I'm just not going to entertain it. I'm not going to speak to it.
QUESTION: On the public diplomacy front, obviously Bush and the Secretary were in Latin America where a major part -- a major theme down there from the Bush Administration is the freedom agenda, the President's freedom agenda. Can you just talk to the public diplomacy involved in that? Have these reports about the secret detentions sort of undermined the credibility of that message or do you think that it's sort of in a vacuum and people understand the freedom agenda for what it is?
MR. ERELI: Frankly, the question surprises me, simply because the President and the Secretary had excellent meetings in Mar del Plata in Brazil with their Latin American counterparts. And I think, number one, there was really a positive reception to the goals that the United States -- President Bush has articulated for the hemisphere, as expressed in the Monterrey Consensus and as reiterated at Mar del Plata and in his speech in Brazil, which is freedom, social justice, fighting poverty, and creating sustained economic growth in democratic institutions.
And I think that America's record of support for these ideas was something that people see -- saw in very concrete terms and talked about moving forward on it. Specifically, you know, the fact that we established the Millennium Challenge Corporation to look at aid to countries based on policies, based on transparency, based on good governance, based on social responsibility and social justice. And that fact that we've already moved forward with two countries in the hemisphere: Honduras and Nicaragua.
The fact that we've moved forward on the support of a global AIDS fund for Latin America and providing treatment for about 670,000 people in Latin America. And I think that in terms of looking ahead, you know, we made the point and there was widespread, I think, agreement on this that it's important to create conditions that allow for economic opportunity, creation of jobs and development. And the key thing to do in that regard, is to promote free trade and focus on the Doha Round so that there's widespread agreement that we need to take advantage of the upcoming Doha Round to act to end agricultural subsidies or reduce agricultural subsidies and other trade-distorting tariffs that block progress, that block growth. And that was certainly the case in Brazil where the President had excellent meetings with President Lula and I think that moving forward as we address the free trade issue in our regional discussions that the progress we make in Doha will be critical.
QUESTION: Change of subject.
QUESTION: Could I just follow up on that? There's -- most commentators or many of the commentators writing about the Summit of the Americas are describing it as a U.S. failure --
MR. ERELI: Yeah, I think that's -- again, that's kind of why I went on that long riff. I mean, the fact of the matter is -- (laughter) -- I wanted to push back on that notion very emphatically.
First of all, we go into Doha -- no, I'm sorry -- we went into Mar del Plata with a clear message and vision, one of consolidating democratic growth and democratic institutions to promote development and social justice. And that there was widespread agreement (a) on those goals and (b) on the next steps to do that, specifically focusing on Doha and the importance of eliminating trade distorting or barriers to trade or tariffs that distort trade and (inaudible) barriers to trade.
And second, that on the issue of the free trade of the Americas, which everybody is sort of saying didn't happen, well, as a matter of fact, there was broad agreement and a broad desire to move forward on foreign trade of the Americas and that the time to do that was once we settled things in Doha, once we have moved forward on distorting subsidies to move forward at a global level, to move forward on a regional level and FTAA.
The final point I would make is, look, let's look at what's been accomplished now and if you have -- if you're asserting that there's some -- that there's some push back on free and open trade, you know, first of all, NAFTA serves as a very, I think, emphatic example of the benefits of trade that two of our hemisphere partners speak to very loudly and very clearly. Second, we've got a free trade agreement with Chile, which has also proven to be a success. And third, Congress has just passed the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which I think institutionalizes a free trade pact with six of our Central American partners -- or five of our Central American partners.
So the fact of the matter is, not only is there looking ahead, a broad agreement on the importance of free trade and how to move forward, but also going into Doha, I think there's a strong record of accomplishment and benefits that were down to eliminating trade barriers and opening borders and having the kind of economic relationships and structural reform, economic reform, that ultimately benefit the people in terms of more jobs, more transparent accountable government and better services for the people in those countries.
QUESTION: Can I follow up?
MR. ERELI: Sure.
QUESTION: But how do you counter the fears -- certainly not all of the countries but several of the countries that feel that while free trade might be a good idea that, you know, U.S. agricultural subsidies and, you know, and that some of these smaller economies might get eaten up by the United States, that in their case, like, a free trade agreement would benefit the United States but that it might hinder their economic development and growth?
MR. ERELI: Well, --
QUESTION: I mean, certainly, you could acknowledge that that is the fear --
MR. ERELI: Sure.
QUESTION: Of many countries.
MR. ERELI: Sure. I mean, a couple of points, though. Number one -- I'm just trying to find it -- number one, those that are signed up to NAFTA have realized that, like a tenfold increase in -- a manifold increase in trade over the ten years, so that's -- over the ten years, I think, that it's been in effect. So argument number one is if you're afraid about free trade agreements hurting you, look at NAFTA and everybody's --
MR. ERELI: And everybody's -- well, look, you heard the same thing from Mexico before so -- number two, I think the President was very clear in Brazil where he said that we have a proposal that we're going to put forward in Doha to substantially reduce agricultural tariffs and subsidies in a first stage and over 15 years eliminate them all together. So to those who are afraid of the big guy muscling in on the little guy, we are working for a level playing field and we are trying to promote that consensus at the WTO. And third of all I'd say, again, you know, look at your partners. Look at Central America. Look at Chile. And certainly, Chile has benefited enormously. So the record -- the record of benefits is clear.
And finally, again, to put this in perspective, obviously there are going to be a few that have reservations or reluctance for one reason or another, but that is limited in number and limited in scope. But as a general proposition, the vast majority of countries recognize that free trade is in their interest, want to move forward in that direction, support the reduction and elimination of tariffs at the Doha Round and look forward, I think, to engaging in a serious discussion about a free trade agreement with United States, based on the performance of those that have free trade agreements with us. And finally, those speaking out against free trade -- the, I guess, those mired in the fears of the '50s and '60s, aren't finding any resonance among their partners in the hemisphere.
QUESTION: What led to your riff was a question about the public diplomacy aspect of this. Can I just go back to that? (Laughter.) It was -- Latin America was like the first big test for public diplomacy after the report on the secret prisons. Now --
MR. ERELI: It wasn't a big issue. In fact, I didn't hear anybody talking about it.
QUESTION: That's what I want to sort of clarify. It wasn't a big issue down in Latin America and generally for the State Department as it presses its public diplomacy campaign, is this not an issue? The fact that there were allegations that the United States restricts freedom. Does that not impact on the freedom agenda that you're pushing?
MR. ERELI: I think the United States, by word and deed, strives to be an example.
MR. ERELI: And I think that's -- we must, you know -- there's no country in the world that has a perfect system and there's no country in the world that can't stand to make improvements in some areas. And I think that everybody, when talking about allegations of abuse, you know, whether it be Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo or whatever, makes the same point that we have -- we have laws and values and principles and instructions in specific cases that we follow, that guide us. And that on occasions when there are abuses, when there are violations of those laws and principles and guidances and instructions, then we are going to take action. We are going to take action to investigate. We are going to take action to find out who's responsible and to see that people are held accountable.
MR. ERELI: I'm sorry, I'm not finished yet. So -- then again, I think that the example we're trying to set is, we've got principles, we respect those principles, we respect those values, we act consistent with them and equally importantly, we are motivated by a sense of rule of law and a sense of transparency.
QUESTION: So in these laws, values, principles, instructions and specific rules, is there guidance there that says the United States can't have secret detention facilities around the world?
MR. ERELI: We've been over that one before.
QUESTION: Well, is there? Is there?
MR. ERELI: I'm not at --
QUESTION: You entered a question about public diplomacy --
MR. ERELI: I told you, it's not --
QUESTION: -- saying, we've got all these things which guide us. Do you they guide you to answer that question?
MR. ERELI: It's not a subject I'm going to speak to.
QUESTION: Well, but I mean, you talk about by word and deed, you strive to be an example. But then you say, no country has a perfect system.
MR. ERELI: Right.
QUESTION: Okay. But, there is no other country that espouses these values as --
MR. ERELI: I would dispute that.
QUESTION: No, no, no, no, no, no. I was going to say as loudly and forcefully and calls itself a champion of spreading democracy throughout the world, like the United States does, so don't you think that if you're going to be the one that's, you know, the self-imposed kind of spreader of democracy around the world, that shouldn't you be beyond reproach?
MR. ERELI: I don't -- again, I don't -- nobody's beyond reproach, nobody's beyond reproach, nobody's perfect. No person or country can say, "we make no error; we commit no fault." And the issue is do you recognize -- do you recognize and own up to it when things go wrong and do you take action to find out why and how and take remedies? And I would submit to you that there are very few countries that can meet our example of self-examination and correction and aspirations to improvement and to always striving to be better than you are. And that's an example, I think, that finds resonance elsewhere.
Now, the other point I would take issue with is, look, the position of the United States -- the way we characterize it is spread democracy, our position is that we seek to help those who are moving to -- who believe in a (inaudible) want to change and want to help make their countries more representative, more democratic, more free because that is in the interest of the United States as I think we found out after September 11th.
QUESTION: Okay. But you also say that you're, you know, talk about your values of transparency and you'll get to the bottom of these particular instances. Why won't you talk about whether you're looking into these secret prisons? I mean, you say you don't want to talk about it --
MR. ERELI: Because I'm not in a position --
QUESTION: -- then you can't talk about --
MR. ERELI: -- I'm not in a position to talk to you.
QUESTION: Then how can you say this country, this government is all about transparency? What --
MR. ERELI: I didn't say we're all about transparency. I said we seek to deal with issues in a transparent way, but --
QUESTION: (Inaudible) in a transparent way --
MR. ERELI: Time out. Time out. Time out. Nope. You know, if -- I mean, there are things that go on that you just can't talk about, which are classified and I'm not in a position to talk about those sorts of things. You know, I think that again, in terms of openness and transparency and forthcomingness, all you have to do is read the public debate about this issue to understand that -- and I would question whether there's any country where you're going to see as much open and public debate about something like this than -- that there's any other country like that. So the fact is we've got a public debate, just because, you know -- but I can't from the position I'm in, comment on it, given the constraints that we operate in government.
QUESTION: So you're saying the existence or not of these prison camps is classified?
MR. ERELI: I'm saying that I'm not going to talk about it.
QUESTION: Well, who is?
QUESTION: Isn't the problem here is that the United States is seen as being hypocritical because you have come out many times and complained about other countries. For example, during the apartheid years in South Africa, the apartheid government was taking people in the dead of night, detaining them in secret detentions and -- that would be something that you would be strongly opposed to. If the United States is taking people in the dead of night, shipping them across to some third or fourth party would that -- are you getting these things --
MR. ERELI: Frankly, I don't -- (a) I dispute the comparison. I dispute the comparison.
QUESTION: I'm not comparing, but I'm just saying that --
MR. ERELI: Because number -- point number one,
QUESTION: -- as hypocritical.
MR. ERELI: Point number one, point number one is we're in a war on terror. We are -- we continue to be, as much as I think this gets -- although this seem to get lost in the discussion, we continue to be under attack. When you wage a war, I don't know any country that wages a war completely out in the open, its belief in and commitment to transparency not withstanding. So let's be clear about what we're dealing with here.
We're dealing with a war. We're dealing with those who are bent on attacking and killing our citizens. And we are going to take measures consistent with our values and principles to protect our citizens and be respectful of international norms. And that's the policy the President has laid out. Now, not every step along the way we are going to -- we're not going to conduct this war completely in the open, but we will do it, as the President has said, as the National Security Advisor has said, as numerous American officials have said, we will do it consistent with our values and principles and mindful of our international obligations.
QUESTION: Is the Secretary concerned that the reports have had an impact on U.S. credibility when the United States speaks about a democracy?
MR. ERELI: Not that I'm aware of, no.
QUESTION: Can I just do one more on this? It's more specific. This is a case of Yemeni men. Amnesty International says that some of them were kept in secret detention centers, U.S. secret detention centers. Subsequently, they went to -- they were sent to Yemen, they're jailed there. And Amnesty International today was calling for the U.S. to push for their release and this is particularly because -- I think the leader of Yemen is coming to Washington this week.
MR. ERELI: Don't know anything about it.
QUESTION: Can you find out?
MR. ERELI: I'll see if we have anything to say about these two gentlemen. Do you have their names?
QUESTION: I can get --
MR. ERELI: Yeah, give us their names.
QUESTION: -- and certainly, I would have pronounced them badly on the microphone.
MR. ERELI: I'm not aware that it's an issue, but I'll check.
QUESTION: Change of subject? A Moroccan king has said that he will consult with his country's political parties about autonomy for Western Sahara. Do you have any comment on this statement?
MR. ERELI: I have not seen that statement. As you know, the United States supports the efforts of the United Nations to find a resolution to the Western Sahara conflict. We also support regional efforts to improve unity among the states of the Maghreb and bilateral relations within the region. In that respect, I think, obviously the release of prisoners in Algiers and the return to Morocco was an important step. And we would certainly welcome additional steps that promote that kind of regional cooperation to address this longstanding dispute.
QUESTION: On Paris and also in France, the riots. I saw that there was another Warden Message today. I'm wondering if any of the French Government has reached out to the U.S. in consultations about how to handle this?
MR. ERELI: Obviously, we've been -- our people in the embassy have been in touch with French authorities about the security situation as it relates to American citizens and the advice we should be giving American citizens. As far as the French Government's handling of this -- and this is an issue they're dealing with -- we're certainly -- our thoughts are certainly with the French Government and people as they deal with this difficult situation.
Our immediate priority in Paris, obviously, and in France is to provide our advice to Americans in France regarding travel and safety. And to that point, we as you said, issued a Warden Message in Paris, alerting Americans to ongoing security concerns. This was the second Warden Message. The first one was issued on November 4th and the reason we issued another one today was because the unrest has spread to several locations within Paris and we thought it was important to just alert Americans in France about that.
QUESTION: Is there any reports of any Americans having been hurt?
MR. ERELI: None.
QUESTION: Or --
MR. ERELI: No.
MR. ERELI: Yes, Joel.
QUESTION: Adam, Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh has been demoted or forced to be sidelined in this Oil-for-Food scandal. And also there have been joint American-Indian military exercises. What American pressure has there been, if any? And as you all are hearing, India opposes bringing sanctions about Iran to the Security Council along with Russia and China.
MR. ERELI: Okay, that's three questions.
MR. ERELI: Question number one on the resignation or the action by the External Affairs -- Minister of External Affairs, I'd refer you to the Government of India for comment on that. We will continue to work closely and in partnership with the government on a broad agenda of bilateral issues and regional cooperation and we certainly look forward to continuing that.
On the military exercises you talked to, I don't know anything about that. I'd refer you to the Department of Defense.
On Iran, I hadn't seen the remarks you talked about and I think, frankly, you know, the way forward on that issue is clear. The IAEA issued, you know, a resolution on it. We all know what's needed and we'll work to accomplish that and meet again to review progress.
QUESTION: Can I follow up on Oil-for-Food?
MR. ERELI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: What do you think of -- or what is the U.S. Government looking at in terms of the audit that showed that more than $200 million was misappropriated or mishandled by KBR?
MR. ERELI: Frankly, you know, I'd refer you to Department of Defense on that because it was a -- under Department -- a contract that I think that was -- that was under their authority at the time.
MR. ERELI: I don't -- right.
MR. ERELI: Not a State issue. Yeah.
QUESTION: On the Iran issue. Over the weekend, Iran made two moves. One was to allow inspectors into a military site; the other was to send (inaudible) they were open to reopening talks with the Europeans. Are these moves enough to stop you wanting to report them to the Security Council or are they just sort of making nice because they're under such a threat?
MR. ERELI: I'm not going to offer interpretations for you. I'll leave it to the IAEA to comment on the site visit and as to whether that met the concerns and answered the questions that they had. And as far as the issue of resuming negotiations with the EU, again, I leave it to the EU to comment on the reports of an Iranian offer to resume negotiations. I think we've been very clear that we share the view of the EU-3, that resumptions of the negotiations needs to be based on a recommitment to the terms of the Paris agreement, including a re-suspension of enrichment related activity and that our goal is -- an objective -- guarantees that Iran is not seeking a nuclear weapons capability. And that's, frankly, what we're all looking for. And that's obviously what the IAEA Board of Governors has called for and that's what they will base their assessment on when they meet next.
QUESTION: Former president of Peru, Alberto Fujimori, visited (inaudible) Chile from Japan. And he was arrested this early morning. Do you have any comment on this issue?
MR. ERELI: I don't.
QUESTION: So you are not going to have any conversation -- Chile, Peru, Japanese Government?
MR. ERELI: It's not an issue, frankly, that concerns us directly.
QUESTION: Any reaction to the reported or to (inaudible) confirmed it now, the arrest of four Chinese nationals in Los Angeles on accusations of spying?
MR. ERELI: I had not seen those reports. But given what the nature of the -- that the issue is, I don't think I would have any.
QUESTION: Well, I wanted to know if there had been any communication with the Chinese Government or if they were (inaudible) or how that works*?
MR. ERELI: Let me see if I have anything for you on it.
QUESTION: Would you refresh my memory? Has Chris Hill left and do talks start tomorrow or the next day?
MR. ERELI: Chris Hill is gone.
QUESTION: When did he resign? (Laughter.)
MR. ERELI: But not forgotten. No, just kidding. He will -- I believe the talks will begin November 9th. Actually I should check and make sure Chris Hill is not here. He was out in the region last week, but let me check and make sure he's not back in the building. I don't think he is. I think he was planning to go directly from his talks in the region to Beijing.
QUESTION: He was here Friday.
MR. ERELI: Anyway -- yeah, he was here on Friday. I think he's left over the weekend but I'm going to have to check and get you his precise itinerary. The talks are scheduled to begin November 9th. We expect that the session would conclude before the APEC meetings begin, but, you know, the specific timing of the talks is determined by the parties involved there and so, you know, I don't really have a lot of scheduling information to share with you. Obviously our focus at these talks will be consolidating the gains that we achieved in the fourth round and laying out a framework for denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
QUESTION: Do you have any comment on the U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe? The state media in Zimbabwe are saying that Mugabe may ask for his expulsion because of some comments that were deemed negative during a speech he made last week.
MR. ERELI: Yeah. I've seen those reports. We certainly don't have any -- there's been no formal communication from the Government of Zimbabwe and that's number one. And number two, I think our Ambassador and his comments -- they fairly and accurately reflect the policy of the United States.
QUESTION: Adam, a question. Over the week, or weekend, there's been this pirate -- supposed pirate attack on a Bahamian vessel and this was off the coast of Somalia.
MR. ERELI: Right.
QUESTION: Now, they've had massive difficulties. They've had no government and apparently these two attack boats were roughly 100 miles off the coast. It's obviously in international waters. They can't get all this equipment. They apparently used, again, rocket-propelled grenades.
MR. ERELI: And the question is?
QUESTION: Are we -- because they're off the coast, do we apprehend them or does the coalition forces --
MR. ERELI: Well, let me -- I don't have much to share with you in terms of the law enforcement aspects of this incident. I will tell you that there were 48 Americans on board and, I think, 46 of those 48 are continuing their cruise. And this is, you know, obviously -- this is an act that is wrong and we need to work together to stop and prevent, but the cruise is continuing. So I don't really have much more for you in terms of detail of the incident.
QUESTION: The reason that I ask is that over a month --
MR. ERELI: No. But it was not related to the -- I don't think it's related to the attack.
QUESTION: In the last number of months there have been attacks on food freighters and so forth.
MR. ERELI: Right. But Somalia -- there's criminal activity and political violence in Somalia. That is a fact of life. And what's important is that the people and parties in Somalia find a way to arrive at a political understanding that allows for effective central government and effectively dealing with the kind of crime and conditions that spawn it. But, again, you know, our focus is on helping -- working with the Africans to help promote that kind of settlement and obviously a very robust counterterrorism effort in the Horn of Africa, with our neighbors in the Horn of Africa to prevent terrorist activity. And I would say that's what informs our policy towards Somalia.
QUESTION: I want to come back to the six-party talks.
MR. ERELI: Okay.
QUESTION: What is your benchmark (inaudible) minimum line to judge this talk being successful or not?
MR. ERELI: Don't have one to share with you. I think that, obviously what we're going to want to do is move toward implementing the Agreement on Principles that was arrived at at the last round. And I would look to, frankly, our delegation there to lay out the parameters of that in their opening statements. As I said in my remarks, our focus is going to be on a process and framework to move forward on the Statement of Principles. But more details than that, I don't have for you.
(The briefing was concluded at 1:52 p.m.)
DPB # 190
Released on November 7, 2005