State Dept. Daily Press Briefing June 8, 2006
Daily Press Briefing
Sean McCormack, Spokesman
June 8, 2006
Secretary Rice Briefed on Operation Regarding Abu Musad Al-Zarqawi
Secretary Rice's Call to Iraqi Foreign Minister Zebari
Al-Zarqawi and Rewards for Justice Program
Impact of Operation in Islamic World / Death of al-Zarqawi on
Iraqi Prime Minister Announces Completion of Cabinet
Meetings at Camp David on Iraq
Global War on Terrorism and Cooperation
UN Deputy Secretary-General Malloch Brown's Criticism of US
Secretary Rice's Phone Call to Secretary General Annan
US UN Obligations
Administration's Position on UN Funding Linked to UN Reform
Reports IAEA Report Shows Iranian Uranium Enrichment Activity
Status of Formal Response from Iran on Package
Suspension of Iran's Nuclear Program as Condition for Talks
Query on Welcoming of Pakistan's New Ambassador to US
Assistant Secretary Welch's Travel to Region/Meetings/Agenda
(12:05 p.m. EDT)
MR. MCCORMACK: Good afternoon, everybody. I have one phone call to fill you in on and then we can get right into your questions.
The Secretary at about 8 o'clock this morning called Iraqi Foreign Minister Zebari. She congratulated him on the completion of the Iraqi cabinet and also on the successful mission that Iraqi and U.S. forces carried out against Abu Musab Zarqawi. She told Foreign Minister Zebari that, "It is a good day for Iraq and the Iraqi people."
And with that, I am ready to take your questions.
QUESTION: Could you tell us when the Secretary found out about Zarqawi?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, my colleague Tony Snow over at the White House went through some tick-tock on when the President was informed and I can -- when the Secretary learned about both the fact that there was an operation that was going to be targeting Zarqawi and that it might be successful tracks with when the President heard about it. She first learned about the mission yesterday afternoon in the Oval Office. She was there when Mr. Hadley, the National Security Advisor, briefed the President, Vice President, Josh Bolten and Secretary Rice. Then last night she also received a call from Mr. Hadley in which he informed her that our military on the ground had confirmed, in fact, that they had gotten Mr. Zarqawi. And then she also had a call very early this morning, early even for our Secretary of State who usually gets up around 4:30, with Ambassador Khalilzad in Baghdad.
QUESTION: The State Department has a Rewards for Justice program --
QUESTION: Can we stay on Iraq?
QUESTION: Yeah, this is.
MR. MCCORMACK: He's getting there. He's warming up. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Some people might need context for this question. So the $25 million bounty is out for Zarqawi. Has the U.S. Government identified anybody who would be eligible for that? Did this depend on a tip or was it more like the Saddam capture?
MR. MCCORMACK: Let me walk you through what we know and then a little bit of what the process is on this. First of all, I've seen a lot of news reports that either a Jordanian individual or group provided information or perhaps a neighbor provided information which led to the strike being carried out successfully. I can't confirm those reports.
Now, the way the process works, Saul, is that -- there is a U.S. Government agency, investigating agency, would come to the Secretary of State, who is responsible for administering this program, and say that we believe that an individual meets the criteria for a reward. The Secretary would then designate an individual to convene an interagency assessment to see whether or not the information provided met the criteria for awarding an actual -- giving out the actual award.
And if the interagency review panel believes that the individual has met the criteria, then the decision goes to her for certification. If there's a question about federal law enforcement, then she would consult with the Attorney General.
So that's the process. We haven't -- it hasn't been activated at this point. We don't have a request or submission from a U.S. Government agency on this yet. If we do, then we will follow that process.
QUESTION: So it's not been activated yet, there is no formal request, but is there anybody or any group under consideration that they might sort of, you know, start this process about them?
MR. MCCORMACK: Right. Like I said at the beginning, Saul, I've seen a variety of news reports speculating about this. I am not in a position to confirm any of those for you and I don't have any information at this point that would lead to this process starting up.
QUESTION: Sean, with the event of the killing this morning, how from a State Department point of view would you put this event in the overall effort of the public diplomacy towards the Islamic world, how this event will play in the overall strategy of winning hearts and minds, getting the U.S. policies to be explained to the Islamic world?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, the action carried out by our military was done for reasons of fighting terror and preventing the future deaths of innocent Iraqis as well as others in Iraq. I think it's an important day for the war on terrorism. But it also underlines -- you saw -- you also saw violence in Baghdad as well today. It underlines the fact that this fight that this fight against terrorism in Iraq and around the world hasn't ended. And in fact, we wouldn't be surprised if al-Qaida in Iraq wants to demonstrate that it is still a force in Iraq and that it can cause death, destruction and mayhem.
But it is an important event. Zarqawi was at the top of the leadership of al-Qaida in Iraq. There were also other individuals present at that site. So any time when you're going after terror cells or the leadership, if you take out some of the members of the leadership you degrade the organization somewhat. Now, one would expect that other members of that organization might step up to try to take leadership roles, but those people probably don't have perhaps the same leadership qualities or the same experience. So you have -- if you continue to go after individuals in these terror cells, go after the leadership, over time you steadily degrade the ability of that organization to engage in acts of terrorism. We've seen that with al-Qaida around the world. That doesn't mean they're not still a threat. They are. But today was -- as Secretary Rice told Foreign Minister Zebari, today was a good day for the Iraqi people and it was a good day for Iraq.
QUESTION: What do you think about the nomination of the two security ministers? Do you think it can create a new dynamic for the U.S. operation in Iraq? Is it something you -- that can change, for an example, the number of troops on the ground?
MR. MCCORMACK: I don't know that I would necessarily make that connection. Certainly not to get lost in the news of the day is the fact that Prime Minister Maliki also announced that his cabinet was completed. That was the other part of the Secretary's phone call to Foreign Minister Zebari. It's important, an important step.
I have to point out that in the interim here while the various political parties in Iraq were coming to agreement on these three posts that Prime Minister Maliki was, in fact, performing these duties as well -- minister of interior, ministry of defense. So it's important that we -- but it is important that we have individuals now in place in those ministries who can oversee those ministries and who can work with the multinational forces in helping to provide a more stable, more secure environment for the Iraqi people. It's very important. Iraqi leadership in that regard is very important. It's an essential element of our strategy, the multinational force strategy working with the Iraqi Government to try to build up the capabilities of those Iraqi forces so that they eventually can take over responsibility for security in Iraq. So today's step in filling those posts, it's an important step.
I would note that although there were different vote totals, these individuals were approved by wide majorities in the parliament. So they very clearly had wide support across the political spectrum and that, too, is very important. I think it's an indication that through this political process that there was widespread agreement among the Iraqi political leadership that they found the right people for the jobs.
QUESTION: Do you think it can create the new dynamic for U.S. in Iraq?
MR. MCCORMACK: I think that it -- well, again, you have had a strategy for some time of multinational forces working with Iraqi forces and to build up the capabilities of those Iraqi forces. Certainly having in place permanent ministers in the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior helps that process, that those ministries will now be able to look to permanent leadership. It's not transitional leadership or acting leadership. They will have permanent leadership and that's important.
It's important for an organization, an institution, to have strong leaders at the top because they set the tone for any organization. I think if you go around the world and you look at large organizations, the leadership at the top is important because it sets the tone for an organization. And I think if you look at the résumés of these individuals, they have a background in security. The Minister of Defense has been the ground forces commander for the Iraqi army. The Minister of Interior has experienced serving in the military previously. He was also a member of parliament.
So these are individuals that have experience both in the security area as well as in the political arena. So in modern day Iraq, that's important and it's important within their system. We look forward to working with them. These are clearly capable, capable individuals who I think will have -- every indication is that they will provide strong leadership for their ministries.
QUESTION: How familiar is the U.S. with these candidates? You know, I mean, did the Secretary meet with them when she was in Iraq?
MR. MCCORMACK: I'll have to check to see if she met with them. Off the top of my head, I don't think that she did.
QUESTION: Was she familiar with them or --
MR. MCCORMACK: Certainly, she -- yes, she was familiar with them. And the Minister of Defense has been the ground forces commander for the Iraqi army so clearly there's been a strong working relationship between the multinational coalition as well as the Iraqi army. So that -- certainly they know each other very well.
QUESTION: But you can check if she had met with him?
MR. MCCORMACK: Sure, I'll check. I don't think that she did. I'll check for you.
QUESTION: Okay, thanks.
MR. MCCORMACK: Anything else on Iraq?
QUESTION: What about this conference call with the new government next week? What do you expect from this call?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, President Bush talked a little bit about the meetings up at Camp David. They're going to be over Monday and Tuesday next week, the first part of that on Monday. It's going to be -- he's going to gather his top advisors to talk about Iraq. And President Bush himself has described what he wants to get out of those meetings and then he also talked about the fact that there would be -- you would have -- he would have the new Iraqi Ambassador to the United States up to Camp David and that they would have a videoconference or conference call with the Iraqi political leadership, including Prime Minister Maliki. And again, the President has laid out what he wants to gain out of those meetings. I don't really have much to add beyond what he has said about it.
QUESTION: Now that a full Iraqi Government is going to be in power, do you think -- of course the Iraqis have been taking on more responsibility, but do you think there will be less of a U.S. footprint in terms of moving the political process forward? You've been working -- the U.S. has really been working hand in hand with the Iraqis. But now that you have a permanent Iraqi Government, do you see the U.S. taking less of a role in the political process?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, you have a permanent -- full permanent government now. I would expect Ambassador Khalilzad is going to remain fully engaged. He is always available to provide his advice and counsel and, of course, to perform his main tasks, and that is to represent the United States with the Government of Iraq. He will -- he's built up strong relationships with the Iraqi political leadership and I would expect that those relationships will continue.
QUESTION: I understand. But up until this point -- Ambassador Khalilzad in particular, but the embassy as a whole, has had a much larger role than just representing the United States. I mean, they've been working with the Iraqis in terms of setting up the ministries, working with them on the political process, setting up institutions. Do you think that that's going to dissipate now?
MR. MCCORMACK: I think that where the Iraqis want help and need assistance in terms of building their institutions, we're going to be there. We're going to be there with others as well. Ambassador Khalilzad will certainly put his shoulder to the wheel wherever it's needed.
But again, you have a permanent Iraqi Government now. And when Secretary Rice met with Prime Minister Maliki for that first time in Baghdad, he was the first one to say -- he said: This is my responsibility, this is our responsibility as a government, we need to deliver for the Iraqi people, they expect that. And I think that's a good attitude and I think that that is the attitude that you have seen expressed by this government through their actions. And Prime Minister Maliki is somebody who wants to build those Iraqi -- strong Iraqi institutions so that Iraqi leadership, elected Iraqi leadership, can deliver for the Iraqi people. And we're going to be there to help them out. But this is now a permanent Iraqi Government, a full and complete Iraqi Government. We look forward to working with them.
QUESTION: Change of subject?
MR. MCCORMACK: Anything on Iraq?
QUESTION: On Iraq again.
MR. MCCORMACK: Yes.
QUESTION: Given what happened and how it was explained this morning about the military and the White House, could you in your own words explain a little bit this perspective of the war on terror and the help the U.S. also gets from local governments in terms of intelligence, logistics, follow-ups on cases of known figures, like the case of Abu Musab Zarqawi?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I can't get into any --
QUESTION: That this is really an international war on terror.
MR. MCCORMACK: Absolutely. I fully concur with that statement. It is a global war on terror. It is an international enterprise.
In terms of specific cooperation, that's obviously not something that I can get into because if you start talking about those relationships and specific cooperation, then the next time you need that cooperation, it might not be there. But that intelligence cooperation among groups of countries, including the United States, is key to fighting and winning the war on terror. And mainly, you see this cooperation that has grown and developed since September 11th, 2001, I think in large part because countries around the world, people around the world understand that these terrorists, al-Qaida and others, are as much a threat to them and to their way of life as to the United States and other countries in the West.
So there has been a very good level of cooperation, working level of cooperation with not only states in the Middle East but elsewhere in fighting terrorism, and it's because they understand that this is their fight, too. For example -- for example, the Jordanian Government has been stalwart in fighting the war on terror, because they understand and have -- they understand terror. They have suffered from terror. The recent example of Zarqawi's group exploding bombs at a wedding party in Amman. Secretary Rice saw that for herself. She toured that facility that had been targeted with Jordanian officials, so they understand. And other countries around the world understand as well that this is our common fight.
QUESTION: One final one. Sean, is U.S. getting support from key Muslim and Arab countries as far as the war on terrorism in the area is concerned? And also I understand that there was a reward on Usama bin Laden. Is that still active and where do we stand on that?
MR. MCCORMACK: In terms of cooperation worldwide, it is a global effort of states from every region around the globe. In terms of the reward, yes, it remains active. And in terms of the al-Qaida leadership, you can bet that we and others are certainly on that case every single day.
Yes. Anything else on Iraq?
QUESTION: So do you confirm that the Jordanians were involved in the --
MR. MCCORMACK: No, no.
QUESTION: They stated it publicly.
MR. MCCORMACK: Look, I don't have -- you should talk to other people about that, people involved in these operations. The State Department doesn't launch these kinds of operations.
QUESTION: Can I change the subject to the UN?
MR. MCCORMACK: Sure.
QUESTION: Yesterday, you and Ambassador Bolton criticized Annan's Deputy for the comments he made about the U.S. and its role with the UN. Annan, if he rowed back at all, didn't row back very much. I mean, if you had a bone to pick with Malloch Brown, do you now have a bone with Annan?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, let me just repeat, those remarks the other day by Mr. Mark Malloch Brown were disappointing. Secretary Rice expressed that disappointment directly in a phone call to Secretary General Annan yesterday. And Under Secretary Nick Burns called Mr. Mark Malloch Brown today as well to say that we were very disappointed by the fact that a high-ranking UN official would single out a member- country, as he did. We find this very disappointing, almost unprecedented. I don't think that we could really find another example of that before.
Look, the United States and the UN do a lot of good work together around the world. The UN needs the United States. The United States wants the UN to be a strong, effective organization so that those funds that flow into the UN through membership dues are put to best use on behalf of those people around the globe who need it most.
The United States is the largest funder of the United Nations. It is the host country for the United Nations. We are a leading supporter of UN peacekeeping operations. We're a leading supporter of the World Health Organization, which is fighting HIV/AIDS around the world as well as the threat of avian influenza. We participate in refugee programs. We supply the majority of the budget, more than 50 percent of the budget for the World Food Program, which delivers much needed humanitarian assistance to those in real need around the world.
So we fully stand by what Ambassador Bolton said yesterday and we fully support him in his remarks. Under Secretary Burns called up Ambassador Bolton, who's now in London, to tell him that, because it's important that everybody understand that we are fully in support of Ambassador Bolton and that we were deeply disappointed by those remarks made by Mark Malloch Brown.
QUESTION: Sean, what do you think his motivations are?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I don't know. You'll have to ask him. You'll have to ask him. It was -- I think you'd be hard pressed to go back through the history books to find these kind of remarks in which a UN official, high-ranking UN official singled out a member country like that. And certainly, you know -- certainly, the Secretary Rice herself has spent many, many hours up on Capitol Hill talking with members of Congress, talking to the American people about the importance of the United Nations, about the importance of having a strong effective United Nations. And I would just remind people that it is -- that the United States is the largest funder of the UN, that those tax dollars flow in from the American people, including people from middle America and that they want to make sure that those tax dollars are put to good and effective use. So that's one of the reasons why we had been the leading advocate for management reform and one of the reasons why we supported Secretary General Annan in his management reform.
QUESTION: Was she satisfied by what she heard back from the Secretary General?
MR. MCCORMACK: I'm not going to get into the contents of their conversation, other than to say that she did express her disappointment to him.
QUESTION: A follow-up, a funding question. What is the status of U.S. funding? Will it run out at the end of this month? Will it continue beyond June?
MR. MCCORMACK: That is something that I know that Congress is considering now in terms of funding UN operations. We have in the past spent -- met our UN obligations. There was a brief period many years ago in which there was some question about that and some -- eventually a deal was worked out. But our funding for the UN continues. It's a matter right now that the Congress is considering, but right now the funding is continuing.
QUESTION: You said that you are not going to give us a readout of the Rice-Annan call. You've told us what Burns said to Malloch Brown. Did Malloch Brown apologize? Did he try and explain his comments?
MR. MCCORMACK: I'm going to let him speak for himself.
QUESTION: Okay. Just on the same issue, there's obviously a disagreement here because Annan came out and said, you know, he has to -- he stands by the statements more or less. What does this lead to in practical terms? You've touched on the funding. You say you stand by Ambassador Bolton who said, you know, the victim of this could be the UN. Well, in what sense will it be a victim? Are you thinking of withholding dues? Are you going to push harder on the reforms issue?
MR. MCCORMACK: We have in this Administration been advocates of funding our share of the membership dues. But you have to remember, too, there's another party in this, and that's the U.S. Congress. And we make the requests, we advocate for those requests, but ultimately UN officials and those around the world need to understand that their -- Congress has a vote in this, too. They have the power of the purse. So we are going to continue to advocate for funding our membership dues. But of course, Congress has a say in that as well.
QUESTION: But you're not indicating that these comments would have any impact on --
MR. MCCORMACK: No, that's not what I'm trying to indicate. No.
QUESTION: Change of subject?
MR. MCCORMACK: Anything else on this?
QUESTION: Go back to Europe, please?
MR. MCCORMACK: Okay.
QUESTION: Sorry. I'm still on this.
MR. MCCORMACK: Okay.
QUESTION: From your conversations, you've had a disagreement, do you feel you are able to move past it or have we still got this controversy out there and this disagreement out there? Have the phone calls done anything to move it forward?
MR. MCCORMACK: I think we have expressed ourselves pretty clearly on this, Saul. And we would hope that what we have said and our level of disappointment is heard up in New York.
QUESTION: So do you still hope that Malloch Brown is repudiated?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, we'll wait until -- I'll let him speak for himself.
QUESTION: Back on funding. Do you think that funding should be linked to reform, which Congress seems to want?
MR. MCCORMACK: That is to my knowledge, George, and I'll have to check into what exactly the statement of the Administration position is. That to my knowledge is not a position that we have taken at this point.
Yes. She'd been waiting and I'll come over here. Yeah.
QUESTION: Ambassador Khalilzad had an (inaudible) speaker yesterday. And he mentioned that Iran supporting the terrorism in Iraq, especially a group related to al-Qaida (inaudible) party. Do you have any comment after the event has been done today regarding the supporting of Iran of terrorism in Iraq? Have you anything else to add to --
MR. MCCORMACK: I haven't had a chance to look at his comments. We have previously expressed our real concerns about Iranian activities in Iraq and that we would hope that Iran would be a good neighbor, have good transparent neighborly relations with the Iraqi Government.
QUESTION: I wanted to do Iran and a couple of different topics, one of them being Iran's support for terrorism. And do you have any fear that the terrorism issue will be lost in the sort of buildup of excitement over the potential talks, the U.S. joining the multilateral talks over the nuclear program or would you plan to bring up the terrorism issue at the same table?
MR. MCCORMACK: I would expect that if we ever do get to the point of negotiation and, again the ball is in the Iranians' court, that certainly we would bring that up. The point of any potential negotiations would be to address the nuclear program, but you can be sure that the United States Government would bring up issues related to terrorism in the discussions.
QUESTION: Okay. And along those lines, did you see the reports just before we came out that the new IAEA report will show that Iran has done a uranium enrichment this week, a new round of uranium enrichment?
MR. MCCORMACK: I have not seen those reports. These reports sometimes come out in the press before we even get our hands on them. So I can't tell you that we have gotten our copy of it yet, but I know that it's going to be a topic of discussion at the IAEA. I think there's a board meeting on the 12th, so usually in advance of those the IAEA will issue the report. Typically what we do in these cases is we don't -- because the report remains a confidential report to the members of the Board of Governors, we don't typically comment on them in public. If at some point in the future there's something that I can share with you in that regard, I'd be happy to.
QUESTION: If that's true, does that make you question the good faith in which Iran would try to move forward as the process is just looking promising?
MR. MCCORMACK: Right. Again, I'm not going to try to comment on a report that certainly I haven't seen yet and I can't confirm it for you that the U.S. Government has received yet.
QUESTION: Can you give us any update on when you would expect Iran to give a response, a formal response to the package?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, we have previously said that they have a matter of weeks, not months, to respond. And we are looking forward to -- we hope that it's a positive response, and we hope that we hear that positive response when they speak with Mr. Solana in the coming days or weeks.
QUESTION: So you have something new about -- a new visit, no?
MR. MCCORMACK: No, no.
QUESTION: But say in your statement that he expects -- Solana expects to have contacts in the coming days.
MR. MCCORMACK: We expect --
QUESTION: When are you expecting the Iranian response?
MR. MCCORMACK: I can't predict, Saul. I can't predict.
MR. MCCORMACK: I would just bound it by saying from the P-5+1 perspective they have a matter of weeks to respond.
MR. MCCORMACK: I can't tell you whether or not they are going to have additional questions that they -- for Mr. Solana. And that might necessitate some contact before they give a formal response.
QUESTION: So just to clarify, that Solana is expecting a kind of formal response by the Iranian Government and you're not taking statements by the Iranian President or Foreign Minister about the package to be any kind of indication either way as to what --
MR. MCCORMACK: I'm not going to comment on a variety of statements coming out from Iranian officials. We'll look for a formal response from the Iranians via Mr. Solana.
QUESTION: On the issue of allowing weeks for a response, is the reason you won't specify the number of weeks because the P-5+1 members don't actually agree on how many weeks it should be?
MR. MCCORMACK: No.
QUESTION: Do you have a number?
MR. MCCORMACK: We have agreement on the timeframe.
QUESTION: You have an agreement on a specific number of weeks, it's just you don't want to say publicly what that number of weeks is.
MR. MCCORMACK: That's correct.
QUESTION: It is. Can we get it? (Laughter.) Is it six? It's not months or seven or a few?
MR. MCCORMACK: No, thanks.
QUESTION: Is it before the August vacation season? (Laughter.)
QUESTION: So I mean, Iran has seen this package last week with the understanding that sitting down to negotiations would mean that it would need to stop its enrichment process. The fact that they -- this report may say that -- and as we started again this week, if that turns out to be true, would you take that as an indication that, you know --
MR. MCCORMACK: Several levels of hypotheticals and I'm not going to get into them.
QUESTION: Can we just get one more on this.
MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah.
QUESTION: Obviously in the event of a deal, would it be the Security Council that would be the ultimate body to determine whether or not Iran could resume uranium enrichment?
MR. MCCORMACK: Saul, we talked a little bit about this yesterday. And what I'm trying to do is bring you back to where we are. And where we are right now is that there are conditions that the Iranian Government would need to meet in order to realize negotiations and that, you know. I would go one step further and to say that if there were any negotiations that those conditions would have to hold throughout those negotiations -- suspension. And that's laid out in the February 2006 IAEA Board of Governors statement. Beyond that, I'm not going to get into what may or may not happen.
QUESTION: But the general aspect of a deal that if there were to be talks and negotiations, would you then bring it back -- Saul's question -- would you bring the whole deal back to the Security Council for its blessing or a resolution endorsing it? Or is this something separate outside of the Security Council?
MR. MCCORMACK: Elise, really there are two paths here. If they choose the pathway of not negotiating, then you end up in the Security Council. The other pathway is negotiation. I'm not going to -- other than the conditions that I -- that Foreign Secretary Beckett and the P-5 have laid out, I'm not going to get into what may or may not happen in a negotiation.
QUESTION: One more, Sean. I know we talked about this yesterday, but just to continue beating it to death. The Secretary has said on the record as recently as eight days ago that Iran needed to suspend its program forever. Asked specifically, she said forever. And as of yesterday you weren't saying that Iran needed to suspend its program forever. Why -- what has changed?
MR. MCCORMACK: What we want and what everybody else wants is we don't want Iran to be able to master those critical pathways, those technologies, that know-how, in order to be able to acquire a nuclear weapon. They have signed up to the Nonproliferation Treaty which says that they are not going to try to develop a nuclear weapon in exchange for being able to develop peaceful nuclear energy. Now the international community, because of Iran's behavior, has said that they have real concerns about Iran's nuclear program and that is now -- that has expressed itself -- that concern has expressed itself through the IAEA Board of Governors statement and now a Security Council statement.
Iran has an opportunity to realize a different kind of relationship than it now has with the rest of the world. That relationship now is one where there really is very little trust, very little -- if any -- trust, on this matter of the Iranian nuclear program. So everybody is united around the idea that Iran shouldn't be able to -- it shouldn't acquire a nuclear weapon, that they can't be allowed, they can't be trusted with those technologies and that know-how -- enrichment in this case -- that might lead them to that.
And as a result, we have said that if they want negotiations then they have to suspend, they have to fully suspend all enrichment and reprocessing-related activities. So that's where we are right now.
QUESTION: Back to my point. She once said they need to suspend it forever -- in other words, end it -- and now you're not saying they need to suspend it forever.
MR. MCCORMACK: Teri, look. We and the rest of the world are united in the idea that Iran shouldn't be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon, they shouldn't be allowed to master those critical pathways and those technologies. Everybody agrees on that.
QUESTION: Following his question, is the Russian proposal is under the package or not? Because if not, then you're going to give --
MR. MCCORMACK: I'm not going to talk about, again, what's in the package. The Russians signed up to this package as a P-5+1 proposal or offer to the Iranian Government.
QUESTION: Sean, new subject? This morning I understand that Secretary met or welcomed the new Ambassador of Pakistan?
MR. MCCORMACK: I'll have to check for you, Goyal. She may have. I haven't looked at it. I haven't looked at her schedule.
QUESTION: May I have a different question then? The outgoing Ambassador of Pakistan, he called on the military government in Pakistan to have free and fair elections as soon as possible, and also he said that there's a problem in Baluchistan and the military should be removed immediately. Any comments on his --
MR. MCCORMACK: I haven't seen the specific comments, Goyal. I'm not going to comment on some remarks I haven't seen.
QUESTION: One more --
MR. MCCORMACK: We have other people who have questions. Yes, ma'am.
QUESTION: Do you have an update on Ambassador Welch's visit to Cairo?
MR. MCCORMACK: He's still there. He's had a number of meetings. I have some notes here on that. He is scheduled to be back in the -- leaving the U.S. tomorrow. I did have some notes on that. I have them here.
He has had some -- first of all, let me tell you where he's been. He's been in Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, Israel and he's also met with Palestinian Authority officials, President Abbas. Assistant Secretary Welch has met with President Mubarak, Foreign Minister Gheit and Defense Minister Tantawi. So those are the people with whom he has met and he probably will have some meetings tomorrow morning and then head home.
QUESTION: What type of topics are on his agenda?
MR. MCCORMACK: The U.S.-Egyptian relationship, talking about the situation in the region.
QUESTION: Would he specifically address recent concerns that you've had about Mr. Sharqawi and others that have been detained?
MR. MCCORMACK: I don't have a readout of his discussions, but I'd be surprised if he didn't bring it up.
QUESTION: Sean, last week in Malaysia non-alignment movement met and I don't know if U.S. had any representative there or not. But there was a resolution --
MR. MCCORMACK: I don't know either.
QUESTION: Thank you. There was a resolution by Afghanistan's Foreign Minister that terrorism and infiltration in Pakistan should not give or help al-Qaida on the soil, but it was blocked by Pakistan. Do you have any comments? Because yesterday 117 countries all agreed on --
MR. MCCORMACK: Goyal, I'm not familiar with the meeting, the outcome of this meeting. I would have to look into the specifics of that particular vote that you're talking about in order to offer a comment.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: Do you have any readout on FTA meeting?
MR. MCCORMACK: No. Check with U.S. Trade Representative's Office. They lead those negotiations. Thanks a lot.
(The briefing was concluded at 12:42 p.m.)
Released on June 8, 2006