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US State Dept Daily Press Briefing: 26 Nov 2007


Daily Press Briefing
Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC
November 26, 2007

US State Dept Daily Press Briefing: 26 Nov 2007

INDEX:

ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS

Joint Document is One of Many Important Dimensions of Annapolis / Endorsement
Mutual Understandings of the Two Parties on How to Move Forward
Annapolis is Launching Point for Final Status Negotiations
Heads of Delegation / Abbas and Olmert
Heads of Negotiating Teams / Foreign Minister Livni and Abu Ala
Process Following Annapolis Most Important / Defined Timeframe for Two-State Solution
U.S. Has Played a Key Role / President Bush and Secretary Rice Personally Committed
Key Change is Two Parties Agreed to Two Tracks / Roadmap Phase One / Political Horizon
Building up Confidence Between Two Parties / Building up Capacity on Palestinian Side
Secretary's Schedule of Meetings /Assistant Secretary Welch Meetings
Annapolis Attendance/ Syria / Saudi Arabia / Support of States in Region
Quartet Statement

LEBANON

End of Lahud Government / Statement
Constitutional Procedure in Place / Key Institutions Playing Prescribed Roles
Military Playing Role in Maintaining Law, Order and Stability
U.S. Encouraged Leaders to Agree on Election of New President / Choice is up to Lebanese

RUSSIA

Efforts by Russia to Impede Freedom of Speech and Peaceful Assembly / Statement
U.S. Has Spoken to Russian Government on This / Counseled Them as Friends
Nothing to Fear from Dissent / Multi-Party Democracy / Peaceful Freedom of Expression
Election Monitoring Mission / Decision Was up to the OSCE
Path of Russian Democracy
Secretary Rice's Meeting with Lavrov / Agenda Topics / Missile Defense and CFE Treaty

IRAN

U.S. Agreeable to Iraqi Suggestion of Meeting via Crocker and Counterparts / Other Levels
P5+1 Meeting Schedule and Location

COLOMBIA

Continuing Level of Concern for U.S. Citizens Held Hostage
Heartening Statement by Uribe that all Hostages will be Treated Equally
Chavez Dismissal as Moderator with the FARC / Uribe Acts in Best Interest of His Country
Senator Piedad Cordoba Meetings in Washington

CHINA

Readout of Secretary's Meeting with Foreign Minister
Assistant Secretary Hill's Travel to South Korea, Japan, China / Focus on Six-Party Talks
Envoys Level Meeting in Beijing / Will Let Chinese Government Announce

NORTH KOREA

Deadline for Declaration / Expect Full Declaration Regarding Nuclear Program
Reporting to Congress on List of Terrorist Sponsors / No Update
State Department Liaison in North Korea Helping / Logistics Function

TRANSCRIPT:

12:54 p.m. EST

MR. MCCORMACK: Good afternoon, everybody. I don't have anything to start off with, so we can get right into your questions.

QUESTION: Can you give us an update on where the U.S. efforts to help the Israelis and Palestinians reach agreement on a joint document are? I gather Mr. Welch is working hard on that.

MR. MCCORMACK: He's working on that. I anticipate the Secretary will also be getting together likely with the heads of the Israeli and Palestinian delegations here to continue working on documenting their vision for how the two parties will proceed post-Annapolis. David is working on this. Folks at the White House are working on this as well. And I don't have a specific update for you in terms of -- well, you know, they have three brackets to work through or five brackets to work through. But they're hammering away at it.

The feeling is that we're still going to get to Annapolis in good shape in terms of documenting the mutual understandings of the two parties on how they're going to move forward. We're going to get to Annapolis in good shape in terms of having the international community signal its very strong support for the courageous decisions that Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas have taken to try to do everything that they can to negotiate a two-state solution between them.

And it's also going to be very important for the international community and the parties talking about what is the process that follows on Annapolis, which is really, if you want to rank order these things, probably the most important thing, the most important event that is going to emerge from Annapolis is the fact that two parties are going to commit, as they have stated, to working on negotiations that will bring about a two-state solution, and doing so in a timeframe that they themselves have defined. And they are looking within roughly the next year, give or take a few months, to see if they can achieve that.

And we're going to do everything that we possibly can to help them achieve that. I think that the United States has played a key role in getting the parties to this point, and I would expect that we're going to continue to play a very active role in this. We're going to continue to be deeply involved in it. The President is personally committed to moving this process forward. Secretary Rice is personally committed to moving this process forward. But ultimately, it's going to come down to the two parties and bridging the differences that now exist between them on all the issues that we know are out there.

QUESTION: Two things: one, a simple and short one; maybe a little longer on other --

MR. MCCORMACK: Sure.

QUESTION: Simple and short: When you say heads of delegation, the Secretary is going to meet heads of delegation, does that mean Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas, or does that mean --

MR. MCCORMACK: I'm sorry, my fault. Heads of the negotiating teams, Foreign Minister Livni and Abu Ala.

QUESTION: Great. And then second, it was sort of interesting, your choice of words. You talked about getting to Annapolis in good shape in terms of documenting. You didn't actually talk about a document.

MR. MCCORMACK: A document. There will be a document. I expect that there will be a document, as we have been talking about, as the two parties have been talking about. And you know, I know there's a lot of focus on the document, and rightly so. They have talked about it. We have talked about it. They've spent a lot of time working on it and it's an important dimension to Annapolis. But there are many important dimensions to Annapolis, and as I talked about, if I had to do the rank ordering of these things, I would think -- I would put to you that it really is what's coming after Annapolis that's the most important because the key change here has been that the two parties have agreed prior to -- in their discussions in the run-up to Annapolis, what they discovered is that they were prepared to proceed on two tracks: one, move forward in implementing the phase one of the roadmap, the confidence-building measures, basically things that will make life better on a daily basis for Palestinians and better for the Israelis on a daily basis, all the while building up confidence between the two parties and building up capacity on the Palestinian side.

While you're doing that, they also -- they agreed that you can move forward on the political track. We started talking -- back in February, I think -- about a political horizon, the famous phrase "political horizon" -- somewhat maligned at the time. But I think it was a phrase that has proved very useful and prescient because the two parties are now talking about not only what that political horizon is going to be, but what that political reality will be, and working to put down on paper those understandings that will bridge the differences between them on all the major final status issues as well as some of the other things we've been talking about -- how economies relate to one another, what is -- how do security services relate to one another, not only Israeli-Palestinian but Palestinian as well as with other neighbors.

So there's a lot of work, a lot of work to be done. But I would just point you to the idea that there are a variety of important dimensions to Annapolis, not just one.

QUESTION: One other one, short and simple one. And when she meets Foreign Minister Livni and Abu Ala, will that be -- (a) what time will it be; (b) is she going to meet them separately or together?

MR. MCCORMACK: They are -- the plan is right now for them to be together. You know, this is a rolling process here, so I would expect it probably mid-afternoon. The Secretary is over at the White House now. She's going to be there for the President's meeting with President Abbas, then she's going to come back here. And I think, you know, mid-afternoon or so, we'll get them together. It's not going to be any camera coverage or anything like that. But it's just part of the working sessions that they've had. They got together for dinner last night, just the three of them, once again to talk about Annapolis, what's going to happen there, what comes afterward. She had a meeting yesterday afternoon with Foreign Minister Livni after she arrived here in town. And as I said, David Welch, Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, is deeply involved at the working levels with the Israelis, the Palestinians as well as their interagency team that's working on the issue.

QUESTION: So that is at the State Department?

MR. MCCORMACK: Yes.

QUESTION: You said earlier that there is maybe no -- it's maybe not necessary for the participants to approve formally this coming document that you are --

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I'll try to get a better understanding as we get closer to Annapolis, meaning tomorrow, what, if any, mechanism there is for the conference as a whole to comment on or endorse the agreement that the Israelis and the Palestinians come to. The Israelis and Palestinians clearly are going to have to endorse and agree to a document. That's the whole point here. I would expect that regardless of whether or not there's any sort of formal action taken by the conference, I wouldn't necessarily lead you in that direction in terms of endorsing a document, that their presence there is an endorsement of this process and of the fact that the Israelis and Palestinians are making a commitment to try to bring peace -- bring about peace between the two of them.

QUESTION: Yeah. But if there is no document explaining if not the principles at least the work plan of the Palestinians and the Israelis, what are they going to support exactly -- something they don't know?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well -- (laughter) -- again, this goes back to the point that I've been trying to get across to you guys and that is that there are a variety of important dimensions to Annapolis and for my money, the most important of those is the fact that at -- there is a day after Annapolis and a day after that and there's a horizon, and a -- there will be in place a process that is backed by substance to try to bring about peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. And we will all be there to help them and support them in a variety of different ways. Some countries will be more deeply involved than others. I expect the United States will be deeply involved in that. There are other countries that maybe because of their past history in terms of the two parties dealing with the Middle East, they may want to specialize in some particular area, whether that's in capacity building or economic support or political support or diplomatic support. But we're all going to be there.

And the fact is that when the Secretary started talking to countries in the region and other key actors in the international community about this conference, there is really a feeling among them that this was the right time to have a conference -- to launch a process. And in essence, what Annapolis does is memorialize the launch of that process. I would argue that the Israelis and the Palestinians have actually already got a rolling start on that process in their discussions running up to Annapolis which actually led them to the point where they agreed that Annapolis, rather than an end in and of itself will be more of a launching point for going forward, launching into final status negotiations. It would take place over some time. So it is an endorsement and the signal of support for that process and the fact that these two leaders have taken a major step in trying to bring about peace to the Middle East and peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

QUESTION: So if it's not a formal endorsement, if it's only their presence that is an endorsement, what difference will we see between that and a photo op?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well -- (laughter) -- I'm trying to get through to you. You're getting really hung up on this whole mechanistic thing of, you know, raising your hand and voting on something. That's not the point. The fact is you have the -- what, all states in the region except for Iran and who have said that they are participants in this process. They want to support this process and their attendance at a senior level indicates their support for this process. That I think is incredibly significant. We have gotten to the point where in terms of the attendance and support by states in the region for this process that we have never been before.

If you look at the fact -- just to use one example -- and I'm just singling out one -- the fact that you have the Saudi Foreign Minister coming here as the Saudi Foreign Minister and not just part of another group is incredibly important. It's an incredibly important signal of support for this process. You have the Syrian Government which has made its own decision to send a deputy foreign minister. But again, another signal for support of the process from a country that, if we look at recent history, has not been very supportive of a process to bring about peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. In fact, they have served as host for many of the Palestinian rejectionist groups responsible for some of the violence in the region. So just the fact that you have these countries there is incredibly important. There's substance to this conference. As I said, they are going to -- the two parties, the Israelis and the Palestinians, are documenting how they see this process going forward -- a work plan, if you will -- as a document. And there is a day after Annapolis. And these countries are also signaling their support for that and they're signaling their support for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. That is very, very significant.

Joel.

QUESTION: Over the week, the Lahud government has come to a conclusion in Lebanon and are you calling for its parliament to put in a new President as quickly as possible, an interim President? What are you doing to shape what the Lebanese may be doing? And have you also warned Syria to, in effect, butt out of Lebanon?

MR. MCCORMACK: We've -- we put out a statement over the past several days about this and there is a constitutional procedure that is in place; if a president is not elected by a certain deadline, which was last Friday, then the cabinet serves as the -- in the stead of the president and that is according to Lebanese law. The military is playing an important role in maintaining law and order and stability within Lebanon. That's very positive. So all the key actors, institutions in Lebanese political life are playing the roles that they're supposed to as prescribed by Lebanese constitution and Lebanese law.

We as well as others have encouraged Lebanese political leaders to come to agreement on election of a new president and I would expect that that would happen in the near future. It's going to happen on their timetable, but we would encourage them to move forward and ultimately, the choice of whom will be president is going to be entirely up to the Lebanese, as it should be. We have made clear, along with others, our views about outside interference in Lebanese politics and all states playing a positive supportive role as Lebanon makes this yet another transition in their politics.

Yeah, Nina.

QUESTION: On Russia, the anti-Putin demonstrations over the weekend, Kasparov detained; the EU and the French Foreign Ministers have come out pretty strongly about his detainment. Do you have anything to say about this?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I put a statement -- put out a statement about it yesterday and look, this -- the Russians yesterday -- when they are combined with several other over the past months, designed to impede freedom of speech and peaceful assembly in Moscow in the context of Russia making a political transition and in the context of upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections is troubling.

And we have talked to the Russians about this, we have counseled them as friends that this is not positive for Russia and that it is important that people who want to peacefully participate in the Russian political process should be allowed to do so. There's nothing to fear from dissent within as long as that dissent is within the confines of the constitution and the law and that it's peaceful. And it's clearly what these people were trying to accomplish. They just wanted to express their views which aren't necessarily consonant with those of the government.

That should not be a source of concern for the Russian Government, so we have spoken out as well as others, as friends, counseling the Russian Government that there is nothing to fear from multi-party democracy, there's nothing to fear from peaceful freedom of expression.

QUESTION: Well, what about Putin's comments specifically about the monitoring of the elections saying that the State Department's meddling in its process?

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah, they're -- I can tell you there was no State Department meddling in the process. Look, Under Secretary Nick Burns and Assistant Secretary Dan Fried met with representatives of the OSCE, which was -- the organization is grappling with what action to take in terms of sending election monitors to Russia under certain restrictions imposed by the Russian Government on that monitoring mission.

And our message was very, very clear and there should be no mistaking this, that this was a decision entirely for the OSCE. Whatever they decided, whether to send the mission or not to send the mission, that was going to be entirely up to them and we were unambiguous on that point. It's unfortunate that the Russian Government put up roadblocks to the OSCE being able to effectively carry out their mission.

They made the decision on their own -- that is, the OSCE -- they made -- the OSCE made a decision on their own that -- to agree to the conditions that Russia had placed on them would undermine not only that effort to faithfully monitor those elections and provide a balanced report on those elections; it would undermine future efforts, because all it would do is -- it would encourage other governments to try to impose similar restrictions on the OSCE's election-monitoring capabilities.

And it's a program that has proved to be quite successful and widely accepted. We ourselves had election monitors during our last presidential election, so we weren't asking -- we weren't encouraging Russia to do anything that we ourselves hadn't done. So it's rather unfortunate that Russia took steps which led directly to the OSCE, nobody else, deciding that they weren't going to send the election monitors there.

Yeah, Charles.

QUESTION: Just out of curiosity, if it was entirely up to the OSCE to send your message, why did you have to send a message? Why not just not do anything and let the OSCE decide what they're going to do?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, they -- I think that they were meeting with other members of the OSCE in trying to decide what they were going to do. If they were looking for a signal as to which way they should -- which way they should lean, they didn't get it from us.

QUESTION: Sean.

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah, Dave.

QUESTION: Is it safe to assume that the Secretary's going to discuss these matters with Lavrov today?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don't know if she'll -- I don't know if she'll bring it up or he'll bring it up. If he brings it up, she'll be ready to speak to him about it, but we have made some -- we have made our views known clearly in public. We have issued statements about it and the issue of the path of Russian democracy is not a new one. We've talked to them as friends about that, but sometimes reception is a little more polite than other times. But look, we do it in a constructive, friendly -- friendly manner and we do it in a way only to offer counsel to a friend, encouraging them to do those things which we think are in the best interest of Russia and the Russian people.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Speaking of that, is there going to be any access whatsoever to the Secretary's meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov and can you -- if there isn't, because I assume they then go straight to the Quartet and then they go straight to the reception, right -- so they're not even going to be going out the door presumably, right? At least not --

MR. MCCORMACK: Probably not, yeah. I think they have a one-on-one meeting, so I'm not -- we're going to -- like with the Chinese Foreign Minister, there's -- we had an official photographer up here, I think.

QUESTION: Like with the Chinese Foreign Minister, can you get us some kind of a readout, even email points just to get a sense of what were the topics?

MR. MCCORMACK: Probably be hard to -- probably be hard -- I mean, just from a logistical point of view, it's going to be hard to do. I was able to talk to you about the Chinese Foreign Minister's meeting because I was sitting in it.

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR. MCCORMACK: I'm not going to be sitting in this one. It's just going to be the two of them. If I'm able to, I'm happy to do it.

QUESTION: Okay.

MR. MCCORMACK: But I would caution you that just because of the series of events and the schedule that you outlined, it would be hard to do.

QUESTION: And forgive me if you covered this in -- this morning, but is it mostly supposed to be missile defense or missile defense and Mid-East? And if beyond those two topics --

MR. MCCORMACK: Probably -- probably a mixture. They will obviously talk about Annapolis, they're also going to have a lot of other opportunities in the Quartet meeting as well as at the Annapolis meeting itself to talk about -- talk about the Middle East. I would expect they'll talk about Iran, talk about missile defense, talk about CFE. I know that our team is scheduled to have some informal consultations with Deputy Foreign Minister Kislyak. We have provided some thoughts to the Russian Government about how to move forward on both of these topics, break any logjams that exist. We think they're constructive proposals.

QUESTION: Missile defense and CFE?

MR. MCCORMACK: Both, yeah. On both of them. So we'll see. We'll see. I think from that we'll be able to gage the level of interest in the Russian Government in really coming to some effective solutions.

QUESTION: And do you expect there to be a -- I know there's no Quartet news conference, given the schedule of events. Will there be a Quartet statement? They nearly always issue one.

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, we're taking a look at that. We're taking a look at it to see -- seeing whether or not we will issue one.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Can you confirm that Ryan Crocker, the U.S. Ambassador to Baghdad, is going to meet with the Iranian --

MR. MCCORMACK: Oh yeah, that's one I had to -- I promised to check and I haven't had a chance to yet. I will.

But we have said in principle that we are prepared to use this channel again. This is at the behest of the Iraqi Government. They thought it would be a useful time for the sides to use that channel to talk about security in Iraq. We said yes, we agree.

As of last week, we hadn't heard back from the Iranians either directly or indirectly about an agreement on a date. I'll check to see if we have a date yet.

Now, in terms of the channel, there are different levels for that. There's obviously Ambassador Ryan Crocker with his counterpart, and then there are working groups that have been established. Ambassador Marcie Ries is the head of one of those working groups. So we'll -- I'll check for you to see (a) date (b) at what level this is going to take place.

QUESTION: And so how can you tell us? You will --

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, we'll do it on paper. A little paper thing, yeah.

QUESTION: Okay, thank you.

QUESTION: Following up on something that came up at the gaggle, P-5+1 on Iran. Do you have any sense of when and where that may happen in the next week or so?

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah, we're -- don't have -- don't have the where. I think we're -- I have to talk to Nick, but I think we're looking at as early as this coming weekend.

QUESTION: This coming weekend? And in Europe? I think that had been the plan.

MR. MCCORMACK: I think it's -- yeah, we were looking at Europe just because it's convenient geographically for everybody.

QUESTION: Okay, thanks. If you can nail that down for us, that would --

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah, I will. I have to talk to Nick about it. Okay. Anything else? Any new topics? No, no, we've got -- we got some others. You had a question and we'll move back. Yes, ma'am.

QUESTION: On Colombia.

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah.

QUESTION: I just want to know what's your opinion about the end of (inaudible). And I also would like to know if you more than ever by now are concerned about the future of the three Americans hostages by the FARC.

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, we have a continuing level of concern. Any time you have your citizens that are kept hostage, there's a steady level of concern. And we're going to continue working with the Colombian Government to do everything that we possibly can to see those people -- all of the hostages -- released safely and reunited with their families.

One of the things that was just so heartening that President Uribe has said is that all the hostages are going to be treated equally. He's not going to try to put the interests of any one nationality above another. And that's -- that is testament to the kind of leader that President Uribe is.

Well, with respect to -- with respect to the issues between Venezuela and Colombia, that is -- that is a sovereign decision for those two countries in terms of their action and their reaction to it. You know, President Uribe is a good friend. He's a person that is going to act in the best interests of his country and is somebody who has shown that he is prepared to act on the principles that he has outlined.

QUESTION: Senator Piedad Cordova came several times to Washington and she had a meetings with Department of State members, Department of Justice members, congressmen.

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah.

QUESTION: Did you trust in her word?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well --

QUESTION: As a -- the person who was representative of the Colombian Government in the humanitarian change.

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, this is somebody who has been deeply involved in this issue and I think the answer to your question really lies in the fact that we did meet with the senator.

QUESTION: Do you have anything on the Secretary's conversation with the Chinese Foreign Minister and the details of the six-party talks (inaudible)?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, they talked -- they touched just ever so briefly on the six-party talks when I was in the meeting, then they went into a more limited session with the Secretary and Chris Hill on our side, and they talked about the current state of where we are in the six-party talks and how the process is going to evolve and move forward.

On that topic, I have for you some travel -- some travel information for Chris Hill. That was something that folks asked about at the gaggle. He will be leaving tomorrow, November 27th. He's going to visit South Korea, Japan and China. And all of these meetings are in connection with the six-party talks.

I would expect that there's going to be an envoys-level meeting in Beijing at some point in the not-too-distant future, although the Chinese Government has not yet announced the dates for that. I'll, out of courtesy to them, let them announce those dates. But Chris is going to be leaving tomorrow for a tour in the region focused on the six-party talks.

QUESTION: Do you have dates for the times he's going to be in South Korea and Japan?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don't. They didn't give me that. But at this point --

QUESTION: Is it in that order?

MR. MCCORMACK: Yes, it is in that order.

QUESTION: If you'd get us the dates and put them out, we'd be grateful.

MR. MCCORMACK: Sure. Yes, we will try to get you the dates for the peripatetic Chris Hill.

Yes. Yes, ma'am.

QUESTION: Two questions on Annapolis. One, they said there will be a document and you described it because of working plans, so can you --

MR. MCCORMACK: Work -- well, work plan.

QUESTION: Can you just tell me a little bit more about what you're expecting?

MR. MCCORMACK: They're going to talk about the fact that they would document their understandings of a work plan for how the process unfolds after Annapolis.

QUESTION: And there's nothing more specific you have in terms of --

MR. MCCORMACK: At this point, no.

QUESTION: And I just wanted to know a bit about what kind of contact you're expecting there will be between the Israelis and the different Arab dignitaries. I know the Saudis said they don't want theatrics and have asked to not interact and (inaudible). Are you accommodating that?

MR. MCCORMACK: That's going to be up to, you know, all of the representatives, how they decide to interact. We will, of course, be respectful of the various relationships or the various states of the relationships among the participants. Everybody -- you know, these are all experienced professionals. I would expect that they are going to be focused on the tasks at hand. And you know, as the Saudi Foreign Minister pointed out, nobody's interested in any sort of uncomfortable situations or theatrics for the sake of photographs or videos. So we'll, of course, be respectful of that and mindful of it as we put together the various events.

Yeah.

QUESTION: On North Korea, the group that's heading to North Korea right now for the disablement, the multinational group that's heading to North Korea for disablement, are you expecting that they will get a declaration from North Korea there or do you have any update on the timeline for when the declaration will be received?

MR. MCCORMACK: Right. Well, the deadline for it is the end of the year. And I would expect that we have something final from the North Koreans closer to the end of the year. It wouldn't surprise me if, along the way, they briefed up members of the six party -- the other five members of the six parties on where they are in their declaration process. It's important that this declaration be full, that it be complete, and that it reassure all of the other five parties that North Korea is being completely forthcoming with the declaration. So that's what we'll be looking for. I would expect, along the way here, they may give some interim reports to the six parties. But what matters is what they say is their final declaration, which I would expect to come closer to the end of the year.

QUESTION: Would you expect that there'll be a draft before that?

MR. MCCORMACK: Oh, I don't know. I'm not sure. You know, that'll be up to them as to how they keep the other five parties apprised on their progress in making the declaration.

QUESTION: By saying that you expect it, though, I mean, it means you have some reason to think that it's likely to happen. Do you think it'll be an oral briefing or --

MR. MCCORMACK: I don't know. I don't know. I've learned with respect to matters of the six-party talks to believe what are facts and not to make too many predictions as to what may or may not happen.

QUESTION: But your expectation -- I mean, that's just interesting to me that you actually expect some kind of an interim report of some kind.

MR. MCCORMACK: I said I wouldn't be surprised. I wouldn't be surprised if they, at some point, updated the other five members as to where they are. I mean, whether they do is up to them.

QUESTION: True.

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah.

QUESTION: Yes. A follow-up on Chris Hill about North Korea. Please, can you comment about reporting to the U.S. Congress just for delaying -- just North Korea from the terrorist sponsors country?

MR. MCCORMACK: Nothing new to report.

Yeah.

QUESTION: About the declaration, when you said a full declaration, does that include nuclear weapons? Does the U.S. expect to see nuclear weapons on the full declaration --

MR. MCCORMACK: We expect -- let me just put it this way, we would expect a full declaration regarding their nuclear program, as do other members of the six-party talks.

Yes, sir. In the back.

QUESTION: Yes. Some media report that United States Department official has been residing in North Korea since mid-November and acting as a liaison between the United States and North Korea.

MR. MCCORMACK: Right.

QUESTION: Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

MR. MCCORMACK: Sure. I was able to track this down. There's somebody there who is helping out with logistics, as disablement teams come in and exit and that person is there to help them, you know, get in and out, also to, you know, bring in any materials that they need to do their work. So it's truly a logistics function. I would expect that once the disablement work of the teams is done, that this -- there's no longer any need for that person to be up in Pyongyang.

QUESTION: Now, how many actually are there?

MR. MCCORMACK: One.

QUESTION: One.

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah.

QUESTION: Who is that?

MR. MCCORMACK: You know, I don't know the name.

QUESTION: North Korea desk person?

MR. MCCORMACK: No. I think it might even be contract personnel.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. MCCORMACK: All right. Thanks.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:25 p.m.)

DPB # 206
Released on November 26, 2007

ENDS

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Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

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Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

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Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

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