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State Dept. Daily Press Briefing July 10, 2006

Daily Press Briefing
Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC
July 10, 2006

INDEX:

NORTH KOREA
Reports of Potential Japanese Military Action / All Options on the
Table
Diplomatic Progress / UN Security Council Resolution / Ambassador
Hill's Travel
Reports of Possible Russian Technology Sale to North Korea
Proliferation Security Initiative
Chinese Diplomatic Leverage with DPRK / Interest of Other
Countries

INDIA
Indian Missile Test / Query on Timing Given DPRK Missile Test

ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS
Reaction to Comments by Hamas Leader Khaled Meshal
Root Cause of Current Situation is the Taking of Israeli Soldier
as Hostage
U.S. Response to Palestinian PM's Call for Ceasefire / Israel's
Right to Defend Itself
Need for Other States to Tell Syria to Use Influence to Try to
Resolve Situation

AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN
Border Security Issues / U.S. Encouragement that Sides Work to
Resolve Issues

RUSSIA
Reports that Terrorist Shamil Basayev was Killed

IRAN
U.S. Expectations on Timing of Iranian Response to Proposal
Iranians Have Had Plenty of Time to Consider Proposal
Opportunity to See what Real Intentions Are

IRAQ
Relationship Between the Iraqi Government and the Multinational
Forces


TRANSCRIPT:

1:45 p.m. EDT


MR. MCCORMACK: Good afternoon, everybody. I don't have any opening statements so I'd be happy to get right into your questions, whoever wants to lead us off.

QUESTION: Did you see the story about Japan considering military action against the launch sites as a possible response --

MR. MCCORMACK: I did. I saw those comments by Mr. Abe. I think that I would just take that as his not ruling out any options. But at this point, we are all on a diplomatic course. I think that that is clear from Japan's statements today saying that they wanted to give the Chinese diplomacy their mission to Pyongyang some chance to succeed. There was a sense among other members of the Security Council that that was the right move. That it certainly doesn't preclude action in the Security Council and passing a tough, strong resolution that sends a strong message to North Korea that their behavior has been unacceptable, that they should return to the six-party talks table, that they should not engage in further missile launches. But the Security Council -- and we agree with this assessment -- decided, the eight co-sponsors of this resolution, decided that it was wise to see if the Chinese diplomacy could work. Give it a little bit of time to try to work, see if North Korea will come around on this question.

Anything else on North Korea? James.

QUESTION: Is it still the short-term goal of the sponsors of this resolution to force a resolution vote in the Security Council?

MR. MCCORMACK: What we want to do is effect the change of behavior, James. And you have multiple diplomatic tracks that are ongoing right now. You have certainly the Security Council resolution track, and we have on the table a strong resolution that the Japanese have put forward. It has eight co-sponsors. You have Chris Hill who's in the region. He has been traveling throughout the region. He's visited at least once all of the other four members of the six-party talks. He's going back to Beijing for further discussions. You have the Chinese who are sending a top-level diplomat, either already have or going to send a top-level diplomat to Pyongyang. So you have a number of different tracks that are ongoing here.

And what we're trying to do as an international community is effect a change of behavior. And we want them -- as the Secretary pointed out -- to get back to the six-party talks, get back and pick up where we left off with the September 9th* joint statement, engage in constructive behavior, don't launch any further missiles, go back to your -- go back to the moratorium that they themselves had put in place. So that's what we're trying to do, James. There are a number of different levers that the international community has at its disposal. Right now we are focused on the diplomacy in the region. I think that that's the center of gravity right now.

But at some point, if that doesn't bear fruit, then certainly the Security Council track is an option that is -- continues to be viable.

QUESTION: Is Ambassador Hill's schedule open-ended or does he have a specific itinerary with a specific return date to the United States?

MR. MCCORMACK: I'm not sure if he has his return ticket yet, but he -- the Secretary did ask him to go to Beijing. He had completed his original circuit of consultations with the other four members of the six-party talks. She asked him to go to Beijing for some further consultations. At this point, I don't think he has any other planned stops, James and I'm not sure exactly what his return date is, but it's certainly not going to -- you know, it's not going to carry on for days and days at this point. It's certainly not how we envision his mission.

QUESTION: What about his departure? When is that taking place or is he already on his way to Beijing or --

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, he was in Tokyo and -- I believe he was in Tokyo. I'll have to check my facts. I would believe he was in Tokyo and then is either headed or will head to Beijing.

QUESTION: What about Moscow?

MR. MCCORMACK: I think he already touched base in -- he already touched base in Moscow, I believe.

MR. CASEY: We believe so, but I have to --

MR. MCCORMACK: We'll check for you guys. We'll see exactly what other stops he hit.

Yes, Nicholas.

QUESTION: There were reports in the British press over the weekend; not very clear, but wonder if you know anything about it, that the Russians have tried or will sell North Korea some sort of technology or equipment that would allow them to hide some of their nuclear technology. Are you aware of those reports?

MR. MCCORMACK: I haven't seen those reports, Nicholas, but there are already existing obligations on the books in the international community to take steps not to help the North Koreans further their weapons of mass destruction or missile programs. So those are existing obligations and we would expect that the Russian Government is aware of those obligations as well.

Yes, Elise.

QUESTION: Also on North Korea, the Japanese are kind of saying that if, in the event that the United States helping Japan isn't able to prevent a guided missile attack, then the Japanese is -- are able to say that that is within their rights to self-defense. Are you concerned about a escalation of tensions between Japan and North Korea that could lead to a military conflict?

MR. MCCORMACK: George led off with this one, but -- you know, it's -- look, the way I interpreted those remarks is Mr. Abe wasn't taking any options off the table. But I think Japanese actions, if you look at them now in terms of the Security Council vote, say that they are working very hard on the diplomatic track. We're all in -- within the context of the six-party talks. The other five parties, excluding North Korea, are all knit up, consulting very closely on this.

And I think if you look at the international reaction in the wake of the missile launches, you'll see a close diplomatic coordination, a real use of the diplomatic infrastructure that we have built up via the six-party talks and it's been very helpful, very useful. And the Japanese Government is committed to using those diplomatic levers, so again, I interpret those remarks as not taking any options off the table, but really focusing on the diplomacy.

QUESTION: Just one more on this. Outside of the diplomacy at the United Nations and with your six-party allies, can you talk about any stepped up or increased coordination among your Proliferation Security Initiative countries? Is there a increased effort to try and interdict anything that might be going to North Korea? Or is that -- is it still in full swing or are you adding anything?

MR. MCCORMACK: I can check for you, Elise, to see if there's anything with which we can share with you on the Proliferation Security Initiative. It's an ongoing program, it's an important program. We have a variety of different levels of partnership with countries throughout the region in terms of blocking and preventing any ingress of technology or know-how that might further the North Korean WMD or missile technology programs, also anything that they might be trying to export. Those are important -- those are very important programs and in terms of specific cooperation, if there's any stepped-up level -- that I'm happy to check into it for you to see if there's anything that we can mention.

Let's see. We'll get back to you, Joel. Yes, ma'am.

QUESTION: At the beginning you said that you would like to give China a chance and see if they will be successful in their diplomacy. Are we talking about particularly this Chinese envoy's trip to North Korea --

MR. MCCORMACK: Yes, yes.

QUESTION: -- or you would like to give China a bit of time to --

MR. MCCORMACK: We're specifically referring to the envoy's trip to North Korea. I don't think it's any secret that China has a fair bit of leverage with the North Korean Government. They have a different kind of relationship I think with North Korea than virtually any other country around the globe. So certainly the other members of the six-party talks have been talking to China about the various leverage that they might use with North Korea, but they have also been talking about how China might use its diplomatic leverage to get a change -- bring about a change in behavior of the North Korean regime. And I think that you have seen, at this point, a commitment to the -- from the Chinese Government in terms of sending this envoy there to do that.

And we would certainly call on the Chinese Government to do everything that they can to try to convince the North Korean Government to come back to the six-party talks and engage in a constructive manner and pick up where we left off with the September 19th agreement and also not to engage in any further missile launches, to abide by that moratorium that they themselves have put in place.

Joel, we'll come back to you.

QUESTION: One more on -- just stepping back more broadly, given North Korea's history of behavior over the last dozen years or so, what is it that gives the Administration hope that this flurry of diplomatic activity that you're pursuing on these multiple tracks right now will bear fruit with the North Koreans?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, we have made progress in the past, James. If you look back where we were ten years ago, in terms of dealing with North Korea, it was essentially North Korea on the one side and the U.S. on the other, with others playing a supporting role. The world looked to the United States to try to solve their North Korea issues for them. We're in a fundamentally different place now. We now have a diplomatic infrastructure that is the six-party talks and we're using that infrastructure. We're using it to good effect. We did make some progress in the context of the six-party talks in agreeing to that September 19th joint statement. It outlines the areas for discussion. It highlights the fact that North Korea needs to bring about an end and dismantle their nuclear program. They agreed to that. That's part of the -- you look at the joint statement.

So we would call upon them to come back to those six-party talks, to again work in a constructive way. There are things in there that they would like to discuss and those are outlined in the joint statement. Certainly that's the forum where they can be discussed.

So, in short, I would repeat we would call upon them to engage in constructive behavior and get back to the table.

QUESTION: And you guys may be worse off in some ways than you were ten years ago because they have since started a uranium enrichment program and they are no longer members of the Nonproliferation Treaty.

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah, George, they had that enrichment program ongoing while the -- as soon as the ink was dry on the 1994 Agreed Framework agreement, they started cheating on it by starting up the highly enriched uranium program. Now we know about it. It's out in public. We confronted them with that. I think we can't pin back exactly in time when the enrichment program started, George, but certainly to the late '90s.

So I think that we have a full awareness of the fact that they do have the plutonium-based program. They have said themselves that they have the highly enriched uranium program. That wouldn't have come back unless the United States had confronted them with that fact.

QUESTION: Just an argument could be made that there's progress being made with the regional powers but not with North Korea. You have established this framework, you've gotten North Korea to agree to something on paper back on September 19th, but the evidence for their actual agreement in deed being somewhat scant. So is it fair to say you've made progress with the rest of the world and not with North Korea?

MR. MCCORMACK: No, I think that, again, you have this commitment down on paper; now they need to follow through on that commitment. They need to demonstrate through actions, as you point out, that they have made that strategic choice. But if we are able to bring about a change in their behavior through diplomatic means, we believe that this is the right way to go about it, through the application of diplomatic leverage, through the mechanism of the six-party talk framework. We believe that that is the most fruitful way to do it. We believe that getting into a bilateral discussion where you have only the United States and the North Koreans involved, that doesn't work. That certainly doesn't accrue to the United States' advantage in terms of negotiating it. We've seen that. We've seen that movie before where, again, the world looks to the United States to make compromises that aren't in the interest of the United States or the rest of the world.

So what you have now is a different kind of negotiating framework that we hope will be given an opportunity to work. And in order for it to be given an opportunity to work, the North Koreans need to come back to the table and we would hope that all the other members of the six-party talks and any other countries that might have some negotiating or diplomatic leverage with North Korea would use that to good effect to get them back to the table.

Joel.

QUESTION: Sean, apparently this whole Pandora's box that opened with north Vietnam has spread further in Asia. India set off its own missile test and also the Taiwanese are doing some further tests themselves and apparently in Burma they may be working out some type of military agreement between the Burmese as well as with the North Koreans. How worried are you that an entire lid can be kept on this entire situation? Is it just only the five immediate countries -- South Korea, Japan, United States, Russians and the North Koreans -- involved in this?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I think there are certainly other countries that have an interest in addressing the issue. The President has a good, long conversation with Prime Minister Howard about this. Certainly they're a country that has an interest. Canada, as President Bush discussed with Prime Minister Harper, has an interest in this issue. So I think you'll find that there is a wide array of interests among the international community in seeing that North Korea not be allowed to further develop their missile technology, their capabilities in that regard, certainly not that North Korea is -- the North Korean nuclear program is addressed, that is, dismantled. The rest of the world certainly is concerned about the proliferation aspects of that. There are certainly -- if you just look at the international reaction from the missile launch, NATO as an organization issued a statement. So this is a global concern, Joel.

QUESTION: But specifically on that Indian missile test, I mean, do you think right now is the right time, both with what you see going on with North Korea and the fact that you're negotiating this nuclear agreement that's going to the Hill, with India. I mean, is this the right time for them to be launching a long-range missile test of this nature?

MR. MCCORMACK: That is their decision to make. They did notify us in advance that they were doing this. They did notify the Pakistan Government that they were doing it in advance, in conformity with their agreement with the Pakistani Government. Look, I wouldn't try to draw any equivalence between India, the world's largest multiethnic democracy, and North Korea, a closed totalitarian state.

QUESTION: I'm not drawing a correlation between the two, but I'm saying with tensions very high in that region right now, is now the right time to be doing something?

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, they notified all the relevant parties consistent with their agreements and understandings.

QUESTION: Will the Secretary be making any reference to that event in her remarks today before this Indian-American group?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don't believe so.

Anything else on North Korea or -- you have a North Korea? Yeah, okay.

QUESTION: Japan formally insist on including the sanction in UN resolution and would U.S. support that till the end or it is going to be subject to negotiation now after Chinese came back from Pyongyang?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, let's deal with that situation when we -- if and when we get to it. The Japanese Government themselves came out -- the sponsor of this resolution, came out and said -- the lead sponsor of the resolution, came out and said they wanted to give the Chinese diplomacy an opportunity to work, see what might come out of it.

In terms of the resolution that's on the table, we're -- we fully support it. There are eight co-sponsors of that resolution. It is a Chapter 7 resolution that does call on member-states to do certain things. What it essentially does is it calls upon member-states to tighten up existing obligations with regard to nonproliferation, both technology know-how and other material going into North Korea and those things that might come out of North Korea. So it is a Chapter 7 resolution that does call upon member-states to tighten up those existing international obligations.

Okay, anything else on North Korea? Different subject, yeah, Michel?

QUESTION: Hamasleader Khaled Meshal has said today in Damascus that the Palestinian people are united on the assistance to swap the captured soldier with prisoners in the jails of the Zionist enemy. Do you have any reaction on this issue?

MR. MCCORMACK: This is -- the root cause of this current situation is the fact that a group of terrorists tunneled into Israeli territory, killed two soldiers, and took this individual hostage. The international community is interested and has been working towards his release for some time. You know, I would just question how Khaled Meshal, who is sitting in Damascus, knows exactly what the Palestinian people want.

You know, it might be easy for him to dictate from Damascus and to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people, but it is really the Palestinian people themselves who suffer as a result of the fact that Khaled Meshal and Hamas are now head of the Palestinian Authority that is not a negotiating partner for the Israeli Government or the rest of the world. They're not interested in turning away from terror. They're not interested in recognizing Israel's right to exist. So it is really Khaled Meshal and the Hamas-led government that is standing in the way of a better way of life for the Palestinian people. So, you know, it's easy for him to sit up in Damascus and make pronouncements, but he and his organization are the ones who are standing in the way of a better way of life and a better future for the Palestinian people.

QUESTION: What do you make of Palestinian Prime Minister's calls for a ceasefire -- for a renewed ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians?

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, the root cause of the current situation is this soldier being taken hostage. We're working towards -- and the states in the region are working towards gaining his release. Israel has -- certainly has a right to defend itself. We have called upon Israel to avoid any civilian casualties that it possibly can in its activities, call upon it to keep in mind the fact that one day we hope, as well as -- that it is our shared hope of all peace loving people in the region, that we can get back to the footing where you do have negotiations. So we ask them to take that into consideration in any actions that they take. And in the meantime, you also have -- the Palestinian Authority has failed to stop rocket launches into Israel, so they have certain internationally recognized responsibilities to stop terror and to dismantle terrorist networks and we call upon them to do so.

Okay. Yeah.

QUESTION: Have you talked to Syria to help in resolving this issue?

MR. MCCORMACK: I believe others have. We don't have a whole lot of communication with the Syrian Government at this moment. We have an embassy there. I can check for you whether or not we've had any diplomatic exchanges with them. But we have encouraged other states to tell the Syrian Government to use whatever influence they may have. And one suspects, since Khaled Meshal is sitting in Damascus, there might considerable influence to try to resolve the situation and have the soldier returned.

Yeah.

QUESTION: The meeting with the Pakistani Foreign Minister this morning, did the Secretary raise the concerns expressed by the Afghan Foreign Minister last week that Pakistan, in his view, wasn't doing enough to stop infiltrations of terrorists across the border?

MR. MCCORMACK: They did talk about Afghanistan. They did talk about control of that border. The Secretary talked about her very good meeting with President Karzai. Her comments in private were very similar to what you heard from her when she was traveling both in Pakistan and in Afghanistan that both Afghanistan and Pakistan have a shared interest in the stability and the security of both of each other's states. The Afghans have an interest in a stable, more prosperous and more secure Pakistan and vice versa. Pakistan has an interest in an Afghanistan that is stable, that is secure and that prospers economically. They have an interest in building up those economic ties from Central Asia down through Afghanistan and Pakistan into India. They talked about that. They talked about the importance of developing that economic infrastructure.

And part of realizing the full potential of that economic integration is the common fight against terrorism, and I think the Pakistani Government understands that as well as the Afghan Government, and we have encouraged them to work together and we are going to do everything that we can working on trilateral basis to work together to address those security concerns that they may have. There are legitimate security issues in southern Afghanistan. The NATO forces and ISAF are working to address them and we hope to enhance that partnership between Afghanistan and Pakistan in fighting what ultimately is a common destabilizing enemy.

Sorry.

QUESTION: Did the Secretary agree that would be better if Afghanistan and Pakistan wouldn't air these complaints between them in public?

MR. MCCORMACK: You know, these are ministers in their own right and they're going to speak their mind in public, but I think certainly we would encourage them, if they have any differences, to work them out and try to resolve them before they become a matter of public discussion.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Russia. Do you have a comment on the death of the Chechen rebel leader Basayev today?

MR. MCCORMACK: I've seen these news reports, Nicholas, and we still haven't -- we ourselves here have not been able to confirm it. This is -- if so, it's an individual that was responsible for the terrible, terrible terrorist attack in Beslan. So I think at this point I'm not going to get too much further into it, and if we are able to confirm those reports then we'll probably have more to say about it.

Libby.

QUESTION: On Iran. Looking forward to Wednesday and the ministers meeting in Paris, do you think you're going to get an answer from them by then?

MR. MCCORMACK: We'll see. We'll see. Mr. Solana is scheduled to meet with the Iranians tomorrow, tomorrow morning, I believe. We'll see. We'll see what pathway we end up going down at this point, the positive pathway or the negative pathway. The choice is essentially there for the Iranians to make and we hope that they provide a yes to Mr. Solana, that they are willing to meet the conditions that the international community has laid out. And I would point out, conditions that are not the United States. These are conditions that they had already agreed to with the European Union.

We hope that they say yes because that is the way into negotiations. There's a proposal on the table. But what it is, it's a proposal for negotiations. If, in fact, the Iranians do meet those conditions and stop all enrichment and reprocessing related activity, that opens the doorway to negotiations. And we have laid out what is -- the EU-3 and Mr. Solana on our behalf, the P-5+1 has laid out what our basically opening position would be on those negotiations. So we hope that it is, in fact, a positive response. We'll see what they say.

QUESTION: But tomorrow you should know how they prepare -- how they --

MR. MCCORMACK: They've had six weeks. They've had six weeks to respond to this specific proposal. It's a month and a half. We think that any government could, in this period of time, make the decision that, yes, we do want to engage in negotiations, we will meet these conditions. It doesn't -- that six weeks, the P-5+1 isn't asking them to come up with a final negotiated solution to the issue. What they are asking is give us a yes or give us a no in terms of meeting these conditions, give us a yes or give us a no to go down the positive pathway or the negative pathway. That's what's before them. It's not to come up with a final negotiated solution. That's what negotiations are about. This is about coming to the table. Are they willing to come to the table? And we'll see what the answer is.

QUESTION: Well, what happens if they don't give you an answer tomorrow?

MR. MCCORMACK: We'll see. We'll see what happens when they actually provide an answer and the ministers have a time to assess what it is that they've heard.

James.

QUESTION: When this proposal was originally presented to the Iranians on June 6th, the Secretary and others in the Administration, with great fanfare, made it clear that the Iranians had a period of weeks not months in which to make that decision and provide that response. Is that still the position of the United States Government and the allies in the P-5+1? Do the Iranians still have weeks not months or has their window shrunk at all given that six weeks have passed?

MR. MCCORMACK: It will have been six weeks at the end of the week. By my count we're not into months yet, so we're still into weeks.

QUESTION: So they will get more time, is what you're saying?

MR. MCCORMACK: We're going to -- they're going to -- they're supposed to provide Mr. Solana an answer tomorrow. The ministers are going to be meeting in Paris on Wednesday to consider what it is that they hear from the Iranians.

QUESTION: Would it be accurate to say, and tell me if it isn't so then I won't say it, that --

MR. MCCORMACK: Are you sure? (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Yes, to all things. That the patience of the P-5+1 partners is running out?

MR. MCCORMACK: James, I think that, look, I would only say that they have had plenty of time. They have had plenty of time to consider the question that is before them, and I tried in response to Libby's question to lay out exactly what it is that is before them, what is the choice that's before them. I think any reasonable person would say six weeks is quite long enough to consider that.

And I would also point out too that certainly even before this -- this isn't a new subject -- the Iranians had been thinking about this and talking about this issue for two years. They've been thinking and talking about it for two years with the EU-3 as their negotiating partners. Finally, the EU-3, out of frustration, sadly, said, "We've reached the end of the line in terms of our ability to engage constructively with the Iranians. They've made agreements, they've broken agreements, and we can't do this any longer." So we now have the P-5+1 that is trying to provide the Iranians with a choice to end -- really to discern, has the Iranian Government made that strategic choice; what are their real intentions here.

And I think that their answer will certainly be illustrative in demonstrating what their real intentions are, if they -- if their intentions really are a peaceful civilian nuclear program that benefits the Iranian people, then there is that possibility that exists down the positive pathway. So we'll see what their real intentions are, whether it's that or whether it is, in fact, that they intend to seek to develop a nuclear weapon, which is what we suspect has been their intention.

QUESTION: Is not the fact that it has taken six weeks and you haven't received a definitive reply evidence of their intentions?

MR. MCCORMACK: I'm not going to try to read anything into it at this point. I would only say, James, they've had plenty of time. They've had plenty of time at this point to provide an answer to the question that was put before them.

Sylvie.

QUESTION: They repeated today that they would give an answer by the end of August. Would it still be weeks and not month?

MR. MCCORMACK: That would appear to me to be weeks -- I mean, that would appear to me to be months. Well, it would be weeks too, but it would be months as well.

QUESTION: So it would be months.

MR. MCCORMACK: That would be months.

Yes.

QUESTION: If they say that they're prepared to do it at the end of August, why not just say, "Okay, you know, give us the date and after that, you know, agree to a deadline," at which point they'll give it to you, if they say that they're going to give it to you at the end of August?

MR. MCCORMACK: Right. Elise, you know, you can -- like I said, they've been working on this, thinking about it with the international community for two years; six weeks on this specific proposal, but essentially, you know, two years. You think that that is -- that would be long enough. Certainly, you know, they want to play kick the can down the road on this, they want to string the international community along while they continue to make progress on their nuclear program. Well, the international community says, "No, we're not going to play that game," so provide an answer to us. It's a very clear choice here. We have -- the international community has provided a very constructive and attractive offer. It allows the Iranians to realize their stated objectives potentially, via the negotiating table. And at the same time, begin to build up again that level, that degree of trust with the international community that they have really essentially worn down to nothing with their repeated statements that they were going to cooperate and then their failure to cooperate. So it provides the Iranian Government many potentially very attractive opportunities and certainly very attractive opportunities for the Iranian people. So we'll see. I mean, we'll see what their answer is going to be.

QUESTION: On Iraq. Isn't the American Administration ready to negotiate the impunity agreement for U.S. soldiers in Iraq with the Iraqi Government after Mahmoudiya's event?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I think our colleagues at the Department of Defense would be in a better position to answer that now. Right now they're operating -- the Multinational Forces are operating under a UN mandate that I think just back in -- I have to remember, just back in May or June, the Iraqi Government asked the UN to re-up. And as part of that, it's also operating under the Transitional Administrative Law.

The potential exists for the Iraqi Government to change that relationship with the international community. That has always existed. And that's written in -- that's written into the UN Security Council resolution. At this point, I'm not aware of any formal approach to the Department of Defense or other countries to change that relationship. But ultimately at the end of the day, that's a matter for the Iraqi Government to decide, but also I would expect in consultation with their international partners. But I'm not aware of any formal move at this point, Michel, to do that.

Yes.

QUESTION: Do you have anything on the rapper that had been held in Dubai on cocaine possession charges? He was released recently. Do you have anything on that at all?

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

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCCORMACK: I -- you know, I'm happy to look into it for you. I don't have anything for you. Thanks.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:18 p.m.)

DPB # 113

* September 19th

Released on July 10, 2006

ENDS


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