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US State Dept Daily Press Briefing: Feb 21, 2008

US State Dept Daily Press Briefing: Feb 21, 2008

Daily Press Briefing
Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 21, 2008

US State Dept Daily Press Briefing: February 21, 2008

INDEX:
SERBIA

Situation Update of U.S. Embassy in Belgrade / Secretary Rice Has Been Briefed
U.S. in Contact with Serbian Government to Devote Appropriate Assets to Fulfill International Obligations to Help Protect Diplomatic Facilities / Situation Evolving
Embassy Belgrade Had Been Carrying Out Their Diplomatic Functions and Activities
Individuals Have the Right to Peacefully Protest
U.S. Maintains an Open Diplomatic Line with Serbian Government / Want to Have a Good Relationship with Serbian People and Serbian Government
Important Serbian Government Get Necessary Security Forces to Deal with Situation
Considered Discussion to Recognized Kosovo’s Move to Independence

UNITED KINGDOM

Diego Garcia is Territory of United Kingdom / Exchange of Diplomatic Notes in 1966 and 1976
Foreign Secretary Miliband’s Statement / Outlined Certain Understandings with Respect to Renditions and Use of UK territory and Airspace / Accurate Description of Common Understanding / Has Evolved Over the Course of Several Years of Discussions
U.S. Respects Sovereignty of United Kingdom
U.S. Regrets It Provided What Now Turns Out to Be Inaccurate Information in 2004 / Took a Second Look at Records and Found Correct Information on Refueling Stops at Diego Garcia
CIA Conducted Search and State Department Informed British Authorities on Correct Data
What Foreign Secretary Miliband Did Today Was to Correct the Record
Statement Made by CIA Director Hayden
Discussions Ongoing About High-Valued Detainees, Renditions and Legal Obligations
U.S. Would Not Knowingly Provide Inaccurate Information / Has Come Forward with Information in Timely Manner and Acted in Good Faith / Wanted to Be Certain with the Facts

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Shoot Down of Satellite / Cable Sent to U.S. Embassies with Information Provided By DOD

CHINA

Olympics / Reports of Protests Against China on Sudan / Private Citizens Make Their Own Decisions
U.S. Encourages Chinese Government to Put Best Face Forward with Respect to All Variety Of Issues
U.S. Will Continue to Have Discussions / Work on Areas of Mutual Concern

JAPAN

Issue on Japan Restarting the Refueling Mission / Is a Decision for Japanese People and Japanese Government / U.S. Appreciates What Japan Has Done in Refueling Missions


TRANSCRIPT:

MR. MCCORMACK: I don’t have anything to start off with, so we can get right to your questions.

QUESTION: Well, is there something going on in Belgrade that we need to know about?

MR. MCCORMACK: I got asked, just as I was coming down here. And so I – the reason why I was delayed is I asked for an update of the situation. Here’s the situation. We have an open line with our RSO and the security people who are at the chancery in Belgrade. The situation as it stands now is that there are some – a number of Serbian citizens who are on part of the embassy compound in the consular building area. The chancery and the consular building are separate. They are in the same compound. The embassy staff is not at the chancery or at the embassy. The only people that we have at the – right now at the embassy are the security people and the Marine guards. So they are there at the chancery. Our Ambassador was at his residence. We’re in contact with him. Under Secretary Nick Burns got a briefing from the ambassador. He has briefed Secretary Rice who’s en route back here to Washington with the Secretary on Air Force One

QUESTION: With the President?

MR. MCCORMACK: With the President, yes. And we are in contact with the Serbian Government to ensure that they devote the appropriate assets to fulfill their international obligations to help protect diplomatic facilities, in this case, our embassy. They have been up until this point, very good in providing police assets to ensure that the embassy facility was protected. We want to strongly urge them and we are in contact with them to make sure that they devote the assets to deal with this situation.

QUESTION: The embassy had been – was open today earlier, was it not?

MR. MCCORMACK: Correct. Correct.

QUESTION: And so it has now closed and everyone’s been sent home?

MR. MCCORMACK: That’s correct. I don’t know. I can’t do the time conversion here, but I think it’s after business hours there anyway.

QUESTION: So the embassy --

QUESTION: So was it closed before? It was closed before business hours ended?

MR. MCCORMACK: No. It was opened. And I – what time is it – one o’clock now. I can’t tell you what time it is in Belgrade, but I suspect it’s after business hours.

QUESTION: Yeah, but.

QUESTION: I was told it was closed today -- and only for – you know, only non-essential personnel with --

MR. MCCORMACK: I’ll check. I’ll check for you. My understanding was – that it was open. I didn’t ask that question, though.

QUESTION: So how did these people get in?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don’t know. This is still an evolving situation. So we’ll have time to go back and do a look back as to exactly what happened, were the appropriate Serbian forces in place, et cetera, et cetera. What I’ve done is given you an update now. And we want to make sure that the Serbian Government devotes the appropriate assets to deal with the situation now.

QUESTION: How many people? How many Serbian citizens?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don’t know. I don’t have a read for you on that.


QUESTION: There are only security people at the chancery right now?

MR. MCCORMACK: Correct.


QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Do you have any (inaudible) of the actual buildings themselves? I guess there was one report saying there’s smoke seen coming --

MR. MCCORMACK: I don’t at this point. We do – I did a quick check before I came out here. I don’t have a detailed read for you, but we do have an open line. With our people who are at the chancery right now.

QUESTION: Well, are these people threatening to come into the chancery?

MR. MCCORMACK: Matt, I don’t have – again, it’s a --

QUESTION: Are they actually inside the consular section?

MR. MCCORMACK: I think they’re in the building. There are separate buildings.

QUESTION: Right.

MR. MCCORMACK: Last reports I had were that they were in the consular --

QUESTION: So you do not know if that was open for business today?

MR. MCCORMACK: I do not, no. I’ll check for you.

QUESTION: Did you say – did the Serbs assure you that they would continue to provide protection as they have in the past?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don’t have the feedback on that. Like I said, up and – the reports were, you know, up until today. And I don’t know if that situation has changed, but they were providing security forces adequate to deal with the situation. That could very well be the case. The situation on the ground changed dramatically and they didn’t have adequate forces in place to deal with it. Regardless of what the case may have been or how it developed, they have a responsibility now to devote the adequate resources to ensure that that facility is protected.

QUESTION: Well, let me ask you this: Was the Ambassador actually there and then had to leave?

MR. MCCORMACK: No. He was at his residence.

QUESTION: So he was never there at all today?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don’t know.

QUESTION: Or when this happened.

MR. MCCORMACK: No, he was not. He was not

QUESTION: And the other employees of the embassy, the regular staff, were there or not there when this happened?

MR. MCCORMACK: To my knowledge, they weren’t there, Matt, but let me check.

QUESTION: So to your knowledge, then, this happened after the close of business that most people got in?

MR. MCCORMACK: I believe so. Let me – you know, let me check for you.

QUESTION: What has been the status of the embassy operations all week?

MR. MCCORMACK: Let me check, Libby. I know that the embassy was closed to the public, for a couple of days. It was open, so it was a day-to-day thing where the Ambassador was working with his team, assessing what the proper stance was, whether or not it should be open to the public. But it has been up and running. It’s been functioning. They have been carrying out their diplomatic functions and activities. The question is whether or not it was open to the public, so we’ll try to get you a read as to, over the past few days, exactly what the status has been.

Lambros.

QUESTION: Yes, along with what you were saying about the embassy, the Serbs today are protesting by thousands, downtown Belgrade against the U.S. policy vis-à-vis to the so-called independence of Kosovo.

MR. MCCORMACK: Right.

QUESTION: And that international (inaudible) run very high. Any comment?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, again, individuals have the right to peacefully protest and certainly, that is a right. The problem becomes if those protests turn to violence and if the government, which has certain responsibilities vis-à-vis the international system, doesn’t take steps to live up to those responsibilities. I don’t know that that is the case, but that’s what the issue here – the issue is at hand. Whether or not there’s a protest in downtown Belgrade, that is for the Serbian Government to deal with.

As for – as for the disagreement with our policy decision, we understand that. We have maintained an open diplomatic line with the Serbian Government. They understand clearly the reasoning behind the actions that we have taken. They disagree with those – with those actions, but going forward, we want to have a good relationship with the Serbian people and with the Serbian Government. And I know that that – the same is true for the EU.

QUESTION: And the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated yesterday, no legal basis for EU security mission to Kosovo. The whole world knows perfectly well that the negotiations were interrupted in an artificial fashion due to the extreme interference by the USA. How do you respond to those charges?

MR. MCCORMACK: Look, there are two years of negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina with the assistance of the international system to try to arrive at a solution, so everybody knows the history there. I don’t need to rehash it. This was a considered decision taken by us, it was a considered decision that has been taken by other individual states in Europe and elsewhere around the world to recognize Kosovo’s declaration of independence.

It is now the task, I would suggest, to work together as best we can to move forward, to look to the future, to look for a better future for Kosovo as an independent state and to help the Kosovar people build the institutions that will form the foundations of a democratic, prosperous Kosovo and also, to work with Serbia and other states in the region so that they have a horizon, that they have a European horizon, that they have a horizon whereby they can realize a better kind of relationship with the rest of the world. That’s certainly what we are looking for and we are open to that vis-à-vis Serbia as well as other states in the region.

QUESTION: Would the current security forces be reluctant to intervene just because of the popular mood?

MR. MCCORMACK: You know, I have no indication that that is, in fact, the case. Like I said, you know, once this incident has been resolved, I’m sure we’ll have a chance to go back and look at the forensics and see exactly what happened. But what’s important now is that the government act, get the forces there necessary to deal with the situation.

Anything else on this? Yeah.

QUESTION: Were you able to come up – or get any answers to the questions – the unanswered questions from this morning about Diego Garcia and who actually --

MR. MCCORMACK: Here is --

QUESTION: -- runs or controls it, whose sovereignty it falls under?

MR. MCCORMACK: Right. Here’s what I have been able to determine in talking to the lawyers who are the keepers of the words on these subjects. First of all, Diego Garcia is U.K. territory, territory of the United Kingdom. Now I know that that – there are other questions about -- with respect to Mauritius down the road in the future, you can talk to the UK about that. But there's an understanding that --

QUESTION: With respect to Mauritius?

MR. MCCORMACK: Right. You can -- the future status of Diego Garcia. As it stands now --

QUESTION: Oh, okay.

MR. MCCORMACK: As it stands now, it is UK territory. Now, there was an exchange of diplomatic notes in 1966 and 1976. The 1976 exchange of notes between the U.S. and the UK states, "Ships and aircraft owned or operated by or on behalf of either government may freely use the anchorage and the airfield." So, I'm not going to try to parse those words, but I think a layman's understanding of it is each government has equal right to use, as they will, for the purposes of their government aircraft or ships, either of those facilities, either the anchorages or the airstrip. So that's my full explanation as to the status.

QUESTION: So there was not some agreement subsequent to that that says that in terms of renditions or in terms --

MR. MCCORMACK: Okay, well, that I can get into. Now, this is specifically with respect to Diego Garcia and use of the airstrip. Now, Foreign Secretary Miliband in his statement, and you can go back and check the wording of this, outlined certain understandings with respect to renditions and the use of UK territory and airspace, including overseas territories. We’re in full agreement, this is an accurate description of the understanding between the U.S. and the UK with respect to the use of UK territory airspace and overseas holdings vis-à-vis renditions. So that is an accurate reflection of our common understanding.

In talking with folks who have had a dialogue with the UK about this topic, it's my understanding -- it's my understanding that this has actually been -- that this has been ongoing conversation for several years, and that this understanding has evolved over that period of time. So I can't place a specific date for you as to when the U.S. and UK arrived at this understanding. I -- you know, I think it's -- I don't want to call it an informal understanding because it's more than that. But it's not an agreement in terms of a formal -- formal use of the term in terms of a treaty or any of that -- any such thing. But it is -- this is our formal understanding, formal mutual understanding of how we will relate to one another on these topics.

Like I said, that evolved over the course of several years -- several years of discussions, so I can't give you a specific date and say, well, on X date in February.

QUESTION: Well, what is it?

MR. MCCORMACK: I cannot. I can't give you a specific date.

QUESTION: Well, what is the understanding?

MR. MCCORMACK: As Foreign Secretary Miliband outlined, I can read you the text of his statement --

QUESTION: Well, are you guys required to ask them to -- for permission if you want to use the facility?

MR. MCCORMACK: Let me read it for you and you can understand it. Again, with respect to -- keeping in mind that this our common understanding. And I'll quote from his statement: "As part of our close cooperation, there has long been an intensive exchange with the U.S. authorities in which we have set out the following: that we expect them to seek permission to render detainees via UK territory and airspace, including overseas territories, that we will grant that permission only if we are satisfied that the rendition would accord with U.K. law and our international obligations and how we understand our obligations under the UN Convention against Torture.”

On that last point, we have an understanding of what each other’s interpretation of those obligations are. So again, it clearly states that there is a respect for the sovereignty of the U.K. and that we will respect that sovereignty.

QUESTION: All right. Understanding that – was that understanding in place in 2002?

MR. MCCORMACK: No.

QUESTION: It was not?

MR. MCCORMACK: No. It evolved subsequent to that.

QUESTION: And was it in place before or after the Secretary spoke about this in December of 2005 about the whole idea of the secret prisons and --

MR. MCCORMACK: I would say – again, I can’t give you a specific date, but that is – this was part of the ongoing – ongoing discussion.

QUESTION: Okay.

MR. MCCORMACK: And the line – and I know that she talked about this in 2005 in the context of a trip that she had to Europe in which she talked a lot in public and in private with European Government officials and European publics about stories that had originally appeared in The Washington Post about the high-value detainee program. Now what she said during that time, and you can go back and look at the transcripts, which I know you have, that – she said that the United States respects the sovereignty of its friends and allies. And certainly, that is operative and I think that’s really at the core of this – of these points that – what – that Foreign Secretary Miliband made.

QUESTION: Okay. So when you say that you regret what happened in these – and when you express regret, you are not expressing regret that somehow, the understanding was violated at the time of the flights in question?

MR. MCCORMACK: No, no, no.

QUESTION: Rather you are expressing – I just want to make sure I’m right. You are expressing regret that when the Brits asked if this had ever happened, you were – what, through this administrative error, gave them the wrong answer?

MR. MCCORMACK: Correct. The latter is correct. Thanks for asking. I thought I was clear earlier this morning.

QUESTION: I just want to make sure that --

MR. MCCORMACK: No, no, I – no, I appreciate it. I thought it was clear and for everybody’s benefit, I’ll reiterate: We regret the fact that we, when asked back in 2002, provided what now turns out to be inaccurate information. At the time we provided that information in 2002, we believed it was accurate. We believed that we had done a full and complete search of all of our records. And it turns out that at – as a result of the self-initiated review of the records, that the United States Government itself took a second look at our records at the end of 2002. It turns out that there were, in fact, two refueling – refueling stops in Diego Garcia.

QUESTION: Well, now you’ve confused the hell out of me, actually. They asked about this in 2002?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR. CASEY: I think you mean 2004, Sean.

MR. MCCORMACK: Oh, 2004, I’m sorry. No, the events happened --

QUESTION: So let’s go back – the events happened in 2002 because – I don’t – I just want to make sure; it wasn’t that when the Brits asked, these flights hadn’t happened yet. They had happened and had the – had there not been this administrative error, you would have told them when they asked in 2004?

MR. MCCORMACK: Correct, correct. What happened is they went – we went through and you can talk to the CIA about their methodology in doing the search and exactly what they did because they are the ones who conducted the search. And it’s to their credit that they went through and they were very thorough and they found this information. As soon as this information was found, they came forward and informed us and in short order, we informed British – British authorities. They went through, they did a record search, they did interviews with air crews, and in the course of that at the end of 2007, that’s when this information turned up.

Yeah.

QUESTION: I’d like to go back to the embassy.

MR. MCCORMACK: Sure.

QUESTION: We have reports now that the embassy is on fire, so I suppose you don’t know about that?

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, I’ve been out here talking to you since then, so I wouldn’t have access to that information.

QUESTION: Okay. Can you tell us if there was a breach in the security services or to providing to the embassy --

MR. MCCORMACK: I think I talked about that at the beginning of the briefing. You can check it out.

QUESTION: Was the embassy evacuated this morning when this started to happen or was the staff there --

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, I don’t have the – I don’t have the tick-tock here in terms of when – when this happened. To my knowledge, this happened after business hours. I’ll check for you.

QUESTION: Okay.

MR. MCCORMACK: But in any case, the people who are now at the chancery are security people and Marine security guards.

QUESTION: Just to clarify one other point. The reports are saying that there are hundreds of protestors. Was what you had heard of that magnitude or was it less?

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, I think I answered that at the beginning of the briefing. I don't have that sort of information right now.

Yeah.

QUESTION: I just want to get back to the renditional thing.

MR. MCCORMACK: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Were you only under an obligation to tell the British about what happened because they asked?

MR. MCCORMACK: No. I think if you listened to what I said, this was an inquiry that they originally had back in 2004. We did a records search. We provided what we believed was accurate information. At the end of 2007, we decided to go back and do another search, specifically with respect to Diego Garcia, because there had been some lingering reports in public about the use of Diego Garcia, and we wanted to make sure that we had our facts straight; that we, in fact, had really touched all the bases here. We went back and doing a thorough search, and CIA can tell you about exactly what their methodology was, we uncovered the fact of these two refueling flights in 2002. We went through and verified the information and, in short order, provided that information to the UK. Because it was our obligation to provide -- we felt it was our obligation to provide them that information, not only because that's what you do between friends and allies, but also because they had provided that information that they had -- on the basis of the information we provided them, made certain assurances to their public as well as to their parliament. And we thought it was very important that they -- should they choose to do so, go out and correct the record. And that's what Foreign Secretary Miliband did today -- he went out and corrected the record.

QUESTION: These were refueling flights. Were there any prisoners ever held on the island?

MR. MCCORMACK: No. I think if you look at a statement that General Hayden has made, there -- you can read here: "There's been speculation in the press over the years that CIA had a holding facility on Diego Garcia. That is false."

This is a statement that was made by CIA Director Hayden. You can call the CIA and get the full text of it.

QUESTION: And (inaudible) to anyone you might have – that there might not have been this speculation if you had come out several years ago, or that someone had come out several years ago and said, look, we're not using Diego Garcia for this -- to hold people? Or does it serve U.S. interest somehow to have people speculating that you have these – you have secret holding facilities scattered all over the world or not?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I guess, Matt, the answer to that is -- you know, just a general answer, is that the conversation or the discussion about high-valued detainees, renditions, legal obligations, et cetera, have evolved in the United States over the past several years. It's been an ongoing discussion, which is healthy for democracy. Congress has been part of that discussion, the courts have been part of that discussion, the Executive Branch has been, the media has been an important part of that discussion. So, you know, trying to compare the discussion now as we stand here in 2008 with 2004, it's apples and oranges.

QUESTION: Okay. You know, I just want to make one more try on this -- (laughter) – about the evolution of this understanding.

MR. MCCORMACK: Sure.

QUESTION: When did that begin to evolve -- in 2004, in 2002?

MR. MCCORMACK: I --

QUESTION: And had it reached its final status in December of 2005 when the Secretary made her (inaudible)?

MR. MCCORMACK: No, I think it had been continuing beyond 2005. But it -- roughly speaking, 2003, 2004, I can't give you a specific date.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Are you not worried about the impact this could have on a close ally and their confidence in the word of the United States? You have Mike Gapes, who is a Labour Party member, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, saying that the Bush Administration had clearly misled or lied to our government, and you even have the Conservative spokesman William Hague saying that: This will undermine public trust to some extent in the arrangements we have with the United States.

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, as for the former, that I’d put down to just overheated political rhetoric. This was an administrative error. Of course, we’d never knowingly provide inaccurate information to a close friend and ally. So those sorts of allegations are really – I can’t attribute a particular motivation to people making those kinds of statements. They’re just wrong and they’re misleading. As for perceptions about the credibility of the United States, you know, all we can do is be as forthright and open as we possibly can.

I think that it speaks to our values and it speaks to the value we place in the relationship with the United Kingdom that we have come forward with this kind of information in a very timely manner out of concern that (a) we wanted to correct the record between a close friend and ally and (b) give the U.K. and the government an opportunity to correct the record in public and fully admit and refer back to the fact that we regrettably provided inaccurate information back in 2004. And that was the basis for the assurances that they had provided.

So people will have whatever perceptions that they have. I can tell you that we, in both instances, back in 2004 and now in the present day, are acting in good faith based on the – based on information that we believe to be accurate.

Yeah.

QUESTION: So what caused the rechecking of the facts? Are you or were you concerned that you might find administrative errors or do you think you’ll find any more? And are administrative procedures being tightened up, especially with such a delicate issue?

MR. MCCORMACK: On the latter, you can talk to the CIA about their procedures in this regard and with respect to their programs. We have every confidence that in both cases, the agency acted in good faith and did a good faith search, no questions about that. As for what triggered our going back to look at the records, I referenced that and there were lingering reports that were out there about the use of Diego Garcia. And people in the government took note of those reports and said, look, let’s go back and double-check. These reports continue to linger out there, so let’s go back and double-check and make sure that we are absolutely certain of our facts. And that’s – that’s really how the situation evolved.

QUESTION: But you’re – you think you’re pretty clear that you’re not going to find any more administrative errors from this time period?

MR. MCCORMACK: I certainly – I certainly know of no administrative errors. I know that Foreign Secretary Miliband said that they were going to be – they were going to be collecting further information about flights that were questioned in public, that were going to come back to the United States. And we will, of course, act in good faith to receive that information, to look at it as best we can and obviously, provide accurate information.

QUESTION: Different topic?

MR. MCCORMACK: Sure.

QUESTION: International reaction with the satellite shootdown; have you received any, have you offered any?

MR. MCCORMACK: I’m not aware of any reaction we’ve received through diplomatic channels. I know that some states have made some comments in public. I know that the Chinese have. I checked to see what we did in the wake of the DOD announcement earlier this morning or last night and essentially, what we did is took the information that DOD had publicly put out and provided that to our embassies via our cable system. We sent out a cable. And I suspect as more information evolves in terms of confirming exactly what the results of the tests were, we’re going to provide that. And if anybody has any questions, we’ll answer those on a case-by-case basis.

QUESTION: Can I ask an unrelated question?

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah, sure.

QUESTION: A protest against China for support of Sudan, people calling the Olympics the “genocide Olympics,” Steven Spielberg severing his connection.

MR. MCCORMACK: Right.

QUESTION: Is the Olympics a proper focus for protest about Chinese support for Sudan, about what’s happening in Darfur?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, individuals are going to have to make their own decisions about that. You know, private citizens are going to make a decision about whether – what platforms they use to bring attention to important issues around the world. Sudan certainly is an important issue and it’s one of great concern to the United States.

The President, though, has quite clearly stated how we view the Olympics and how we view the Chinese hosting the Olympics. We have expressed our view that – and hope that the Chinese Government will use this opportunity to put China’s best face forward with respect to all variety of issues, whether that’s human rights or fundamental freedoms for the people or China’s economic development.

So we will encourage them to use that opportunity, but the President has also clearly stated that we view this as a sporting event and he intends to go to the opening ceremonies and to use appropriate diplomatic and political channels to have the kinds of conversations that we have been having and will continue to have with the Chinese Government about hard issues. Whether that’s human rights, concerns about individual freedoms, or issues like Iran and Darfur and North Korea, we’ll use – we will – prior to the Olympics and after the Olympics, we’re going to continue to have those kinds of discussions to work on areas of mutual concern and where we – where we can, find agreement to move forward a positive agenda that serves the interests of global prosperity and global peace. And where we have differences, try to bridge the differences and when we can’t bridge those differences, you know, do so in a respectful manner.

Yes.

QUESTION: Yesterday, the Japanese restarted the refueling mission in the Indian Ocean. I wondered if you had a comment on that. And also, in relation to that, do you think that Japan should play a larger role in the global security?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, that’s going to be – that’s going to be a decision for the Japanese people and the Japanese Government, what role they play in helping assure security in the international system. They have, over the past several years, started to – started to play a different kind of role. But whether that – whether that changing role continues to evolve is going to be completely up to the Japanese Government and the Japanese people. We very much appreciate what Japan has done in these refueling missions and we’re quite thankful for their – for their efforts and their decisions to participate in that mission.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. MCCORMACK: Oh, Gollust.

QUESTION: There was an implication yesterday that you might have more to say today about the Armenian election. I’m just wondering if that’s the case.

MR. MCCORMACK: Nothing beyond – I know we had a discussion with you, but nothing new at this point.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:33 p.m.)

DPB #32

Released on February 21, 2008

ENDS

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