US State Department – Briefing welcoming Liberia as the 163rd member of the World Trade Organization Walkout- Transcript

Elizabeth Trudeau holds press briefing
Elizabeth Trudeau holds press briefing

Elizabeth Trudeau

Director, Press Office

Daily Press Briefing

Washington, DC

July 14, 2016

MS TRUDEAU: Hello, everyone. We’ll be as brief as possible today, but I do have a couple things at the top. Today we welcome Liberia as the 163rd member of the World Trade Organization. This is a significant step for Liberia’s economic integration into the global trading system and adds another voice in Africa to this important forum. We applaud Liberia for this significant achievement. We look forward to working together as a – with Liberia as a full member of the WTO.

A note I think most of you are tracking – earlier today Secretary Kerry was in Paris, where he attended the Bastille Day celebrations. He also delivered brief remarks to the press on the one year anniversary of the JCPOA. I think you’ve seen that transcript, as well as the President’s statement on this anniversary. After departing from Paris, the Secretary arrived in Moscow, where he’ll be meeting with President Putin shortly. We expect to offer a readout after that, so I won’t get ahead of this now.

And with that, Matt, over to you.

QUESTION: So you’re going to offer a readout here or there?

MS TRUDEAU: So it’s my understanding we’ll get it there and then you guys will get it here.

QUESTION: All right. So I – this was gone over at great length at the – in the White House briefing, so I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it; I’m not, at least. But on Syria and on Russia and on this proposal that’s being brought, it’s been clear for several years now – or at least more than 18 months – that the U.S. position has steadily – slowly, but steadily – evolved, shifted, coming more in line with the Russian position, which has remained consistent since the very beginning of this conflict.

And I’m just wondering why, if the kind of proposal that’s we’re – that’s being presented or that has been presented is being presented now, why couldn’t it have been presented far earlier in this process, at least after December, when the Secretary went to Moscow and essentially aligned the U.S. position with that of the Russians vis-a-vis Assad. Isn’t it – is it wrong to think that had this proposal been made earlier a lot of lives could have been saved?

MS TRUDEAU: I would dispute the view that our position has moved. Our position has been consistent, which is Assad must go, that there must be space to have discussions to create that area for a political transition to move. I’m not going to comment on the details of documents, as the White House said, that haven’t been approved or agreed to. We have long said that we would welcome Russia’s increased focus on ISIL, on al-Qaida in Syria. Our common view is that these groups pose a threat to not only the people of Syria but to both our nations.

On your question on timing, again, not going to get ahead of discussions that may be happening in Moscow. Hopefully we’ll have more later today.

QUESTION: Well, you say that your position has been consistent, but it hasn’t. It – first it was Assad must go and he must go immediately. Then it was well, maybe he can hang on for a little bit, but in the end he still has to go, but that it’s got to be up to the Syrian people to —

MS TRUDEAU: Well, it’s always got to be up to the Syrian people. That hasn’t changed.

QUESTION: Yeah. But your position on Assad definitely did change in terms of the timing of when he has to go. And now it appears to have changed to the point where you are prepared to accept or agree to joint operations with the Russians, something that they proposed well over – a month or two ago. So the – it may not – on that score, it may not have changed just yet because it hasn’t been agreed to, but you are now open to things that you weren’t open to just several months ago on that, on the military front. And I guess I just – I don’t understand why it’s wrong for people who are critical or critics of the policy, whatever it is, to point out that if you really think that this is going to salvage the ceasefire and lead to transition talks, or think it has a chance to, why wasn’t it – why didn’t you do it earlier?

MS TRUDEAU: Okay.

QUESTION: I mean, a lot – thousands of people have died in the interim.

MS TRUDEAU: We are absolutely aware of that. We have been consistent in calling not only for the cessation of hostilities to continue in Syria but also to push Russia to exert its influence on the Syrian regime to make that possible.

I’m going to unpack your – your questions a little bit. First, on the cooperation, at present, we are not conducting or coordinating military operations with Russia. It’s not clear we’ll reach an agreement to do that. In Moscow, the Secretary will discuss the importance of focusing Russian efforts on ISIL and al-Qaida while emphasizing the urgent need for Russia and the Syrian regime to meet their commitments. That hasn’t changed. We have been consistent all along on that.

And we have also said that we’re not going to commit indefinitely to diplomacy that doesn’t achieve real results. We cannot provide political cover for those seeking to pursue a different agenda. Russia has influence. It has shown it has influence. The Secretary is committed to creating the space for a political transition. Our position on Assad has not changed, Matt.

QUESTION: The point is that it – whether or not you – I mean, you say it’s not clear we will reach an agreement to do – or to conduct or coordinate joint military operations. But the mere fact that you’re considering doing it is a shift.

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah, I would dispute that.

QUESTION: What?

MS TRUDEAU: I would say that it is —

QUESTION: How can you possibly dispute that? It has been the position of the Administration —

MS TRUDEAU: We have always —

QUESTION: — that you would not – that you would de-conflict – as soon as the Russians sent their planes and people in —

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: — back in last September, the position, up until now, has been nothing other than just this de-confliction exercise. Now you are considering, have proposed, or are willing to consider a Russian proposal, but that’s – that in itself is a shift. It is not consistent with your position —

MS TRUDEAU: Our focus —

QUESTION: All right. You’re – obviously, we’re not going to get —

QUESTION: Can I follow up?

QUESTION: I have just one more, and then – and it’s brief. And that is that your colleague at the White House and you also said that it’s time – the Russians have to make a choice.

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: That they have to – this is a test. The testing has been going on and on and on and on and on. It seems clear to everybody – except for you guys, apparently – or it seems clear to most people that the Russians have made their choice —

MS TRUDEAU: We —

QUESTION: — and that it is kind of pointless to keep testing them when it’s clear that they’re not going to budge.

MS TRUDEAU: But we’ve seen repeatedly through the nature of this conflict that Russia does have influence. We saw when the beginning of the cessation of hostilities that they do have the ability to influence the regime. That is our goal here. Our points, our position have been the same all along on this, Matt.

QUESTION: All right.

QUESTION: Elizabeth?

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: To follow up, just to be clear, has the Secretary’s – is this proposal coming from the Secretary, or is it an interagency proposal?

MS TRUDEAU: So, again, I’m not going to comment on specifics of any proposal. What I will say is that the interagency, the entire U.S. Government, as we move forward has been having very robust and very vigorous conversations on this. I think my colleague at the White House addressed this. Our position, again, is that we’re looking for a future for the people of Syria.

QUESTION: So in that language, “robust,” does that mean that there are disagreements with – interagency disagreements? There are definitely officials that are coming out, talking about that they don’t think this is going to work.

MS TRUDEAU: I would say in any situation – and Josh addressed this at the White House – in any situation that’s as complex and critical and, frankly, as heartbreaking as the humanitarian situation right now in Syria, raises lot of very strong viewpoints. The conversation within the interagency among our colleagues is very vigorous. But that said, our position as an administration is very focused right now.

QUESTION: So would you say that the Secretary’s trip has the full backing of the White House and of President Obama?

MS TRUDEAU: I am not going to characterize that for the White House, but I would say that the Secretary is going to present and to have discussions in Moscow that present the Administration’s views. I am not going to get ahead of those discussions right now.

QUESTION: Because, I mean, usually when a Secretary of State goes with a proposal like this, it has the backing of the White House. But the White House has not specifically said that. And that’s what this is about.

MS TRUDEAU: Well, because I think the awkward thing is none of us are talking about any proposal right now. What we’re talking about is there’s going to be discussions that happen. They start tonight when the Secretary meets with President Putin. They’ll continue tomorrow as he meets with Foreign Minister Lavrov. Let’s see where they go.

QUESTION: But does – there has to be a proposal. I mean, there – it was published this morning.

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah. But again, we’re not going to talk about the details.

QUESTION: So that’s not a proposal?

MS TRUDEAU: I can’t speak to any specifics of any documents that may have been leaked. You know that, Lesley.

QUESTION: Well, can you at least say that there is a proposal that’s going to be made or discussed?

MS TRUDEAU: What I’ll say is that the Secretary will meet with President Putin tonight. He will certainly be engaging in a very focused conversation on Syria. Those conversations will continue tomorrow with Foreign Minister Lavrov.

QUESTION: Then just something more – very specific on clearing this. What is the aim of these discussions? I mean, both sides have been fighting ISIL. Is the aim here to try to hone in more on these groups like al-Nusrah?

MS TRUDEAU: So what we would say on that is that Russia’s significant military intervention gives it enormous responsibility for Syria’s future. The Secretary will be speaking to Russian leaders about that. We believe that it’s time that Russia decides if it’s serious about advancing its purported goals in Syria.

QUESTION: But that’s the point, though. The Russians have made themselves – have made it clear that they are serious and that they believe that what they’re doing now is advancing their goals.

MS TRUDEAU: And as we said, Matt, we have talked about times where the Russians have been helpful on this.

QUESTION: Yeah, but in pursuit —

MS TRUDEAU: I can’t speak to the Russians and what their decisions —

QUESTION: I know, but in pursuit of their objectives. And that when you say it’s time for the Russians to stand up and make a choice, well, why isn’t it clear to you guys that the Russians have made their choice? It’s been —

MS TRUDEAU: We —

QUESTION: It’s been – their position has not changed in four years, more than four years.

MS TRUDEAU: We think Russia has influence. We think that they need to use it.

Samir. No? We’ll go back. Hey, Oren. Nice to see you.

QUESTION: Hi, thanks. So the State Department spokespeople have been saying from the podium for a long time now – complaining about Russian airstrikes on members of the opposition and asking the Russians to refrain from striking on groups that are intermingled with al-Nusrah. Has that position changed?

MS TRUDEAU: No.

QUESTION: Is that going to change?

MS TRUDEAU: I’m not going to – I – no.

Laurie.

QUESTION: Yes. Turkey’s prime minister yesterday talked about returning ties with Syria, quote, “to normal.” That’s caused great concern among the Syrian opposition. Does the United States share that concern, and has it tried to clarify what the prime minister meant by those remarks?

MS TRUDEAU: Well, I’d refer you to the Turks to speak to their comments. I believe the foreign minister also spoke about it today. Our position is very clear. Turkey is an important partner in the fight against ISIL, against Daesh, continues to stand strongly with the United States and other members of the coalition. And also, let’s remember Turkey has been an extraordinary host to hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who – they’re hosting on their own land. So I would refer you to the Turks on any clarification you’re seeking on that.

QUESTION: And does the State Department feel the need to clarify that statement with the Turkish —

MS TRUDEAU: I’d refer you to what the Turks themselves have said on this, okay?

QUESTION: Well, have you asked?

MS TRUDEAU: So we engage regularly with the Turks on this one.

QUESTION: Yeah, on this.

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah, so —

QUESTION: You did? You asked him what he meant by that?

MS TRUDEAU: So we have —

QUESTION: Or you asked them?

MS TRUDEAU: We have discussed this with our Turkish allies and friends.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: And did – what did they tell you when you discussed it?

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah, I’m not going to read out that conversation, but I would refer you to them. I believe that they’ve spoken about that, okay?

Hi.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) Al Jazeera Arabic. Thanks for the opportunity. So in terms of timing, can you speak to why there’s optimism this time around? Obviously, the Secretary last week met with his Saudi counterpart and he’s in Moscow today. What makes you so certain that this time around there will be more success on something long-lasting, some kind of commitment that all sides can abide by?

MS TRUDEAU: So we’ve spoken about this at length from this podium. The Secretary has spoken about this as well. I’m not going to get ahead, as I’ve said to Matt and Lesley, of the discussions that are happening right now, actually, in Moscow, nor the discussions that’ll happen tomorrow. Our position has been clear on this. There’s got to be a future for the Syrian people. That’s what the international community is focused on.

In terms of your question, if we’re optimistic, I would say we’re very pragmatic on this. This has been a humanitarian toll that is devastating. That said, that there’s no excuse not to work on every possible track towards a solution, okay?

Hi, Nick.

QUESTION: Can I move to Saudi Arabia?

MS TRUDEAU: Are you good, Matt?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS TRUDEAU: Okay. Saudi.

QUESTION: I have another one on Syria.

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah, go ahead. We’ll come to you, Nick.

QUESTION: Sorry. Kind of a follow-up to my previous question: Are Ahrar al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam considered part of Nusrah or part of the opposition?

MS TRUDEAU: So our position on Nusrah, which is part of the UN-designated group, is that they are not party to the cessation of hostilities. Jaysh al-Islam – they are not designated on that UN group.

Nick.

QUESTION: On the 28-page —

QUESTION: Let me just make a point. Why are they not on that UN list? Why are they not on that UN list?

MS TRUDEAU: Because they have not been so designated by that UN group.

QUESTION: And the United States supports or opposes putting them on that list?

MS TRUDEAU: I think we’ve talked about this at length, Matt.

QUESTION: But again, so you go back to the point where you’re saying, well, they’re not covered – or they are covered by the cessation of hostilities because they’re not on that UN list. But the reason that they’re not on that UN list is that you oppose them being on that UN list.

MS TRUDEAU: We have also talked about the importance of groups like this to disassociate themselves —

QUESTION: Right.

MS TRUDEAU: — to move apart, to not intermingle, to not be aligned there.

QUESTION: And in – right, okay.

MS TRUDEAU: And that’s something we continue to have these very robust conversations —

QUESTION: And some of the opposition commanders today, in response to reports about the proposal, have said that they’re not going to disassociate themselves with Nusrah, because Nusrah is a formidable or a credible fighting force. So clearly, I mean, you’ve been talking to them about – and their direct sponsors for months about disassociating themselves and getting themselves away, and they haven’t done it and they won’t – they say they won’t do it. So what —

MS TRUDEAU: I guess our focus is that these two particular groups are not our biggest focus on this. We understand. We understand there’s intermingling. We understand, because we’ve spoken to them. We will continue. We’re not saying no, it’s not a problem. But we’re also very focused on the situation in the ground right now in Syria.

QUESTION: All right.

MS TRUDEAU: Nick.

QUESTION: So the House Intelligence Committee is saying it may release the 28 pages from the 9/11 report, those classified 28 pages, as early as today or tomorrow. Have you spoken with the Saudis on what may – what’s in those 28 pages? Are you concerned about the effect that this may have on U.S.-Saudi relations and have you spoken with the House Intelligence Committee?

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah. So I have no timing to announce on that. That would be, obviously, for Congress. Or I would also actually specifically refer you to ODNI to speak about their timing on that. I’m not going to get ahead of any release of any report by Congress nor detail diplomatic relations on a timeline that we’re just not aware of.

QUESTION: But have you spoken with the Saudis ahead of this to sort of —

MS TRUDEAU: Okay. Again, the timing on the release of that report, that would be a question for ODNI, and then ultimately, Congress, because that report does belong to Congress.

QUESTION: I mean, just timing aside, are you sort of laying the groundwork with the Saudis on what —

MS TRUDEAU: We’ve had multiple conversations with the Saudis about this. In terms of specific readouts or anything specifically on this, I have nothing – nothing to offer.

Yeah.

QUESTION: On the South China Sea, I wonder if —

MS TRUDEAU: Of course. Do we really have anything more we can say about South China Sea? (Laughter.)

QUESTION: First of all, do you have a response to Philippines proposed that they may send an envoy to China to discuss the arbitration?

MS TRUDEAU: Our focus, as we’ve said repeatedly from the podium, is that we encourage all claimants to avoid provocative actions and rhetoric. We would welcome any discussion among claimants. We hope that all claimants take advantage of this opportunity that the arbitration decision provided to work together and manage these disputes.

QUESTION: And secondly, could you please confirm, is there the office in the State Department called the Office of Geographer? Are they responsible for those maps that United States Government use or any official maps for the government? And what’s their responsibility?

MS TRUDEAU: Okay. So we’re talking about the rock, island thing, correct?

QUESTION: Yes.

MS TRUDEAU: Okay. So let me answer the question you’re actually asking. The United States does not take a position on whether other’s small islands around the world are rocks for the purposes of Article 1213. The terms “island” and “rock” are not mutually exclusive categories under international Law of the Sea. Under Article 1213 of the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, islands are, quote, “rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf.” I know we owed you that from yesterday, so I wanted to make sure you got that.

In terms of if there’s an Office of the Geographer in the State Department —

QUESTION: Yeah, I couldn’t find the website.

MS TRUDEAU: I can actually check. I’m not aware of one. It doesn’t mean there’s not one. So let me find out.

QUESTION: So does the State Department send your own researcher and officers —

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah, why don’t I take a look at it? Because I’m not aware of any office, but that doesn’t mean there’s not one, because there’s a lot of offices I’m not aware of. Okay.

QUESTION: And some point you mentioned the UNCLOS definition of the island. So China is challenging the court decision. It’s from the Permanent Court of Arbitration instead of the ICJ, because the example that Spokesman John Kirby reached* the other day, the case between United States and Canada, actually it’s ruled by the ICJ instead of this permanent court. So why do you think the ruling is legally binding?

MS TRUDEAU: Because both claimants agreed to a legally binding decision when they joined that —

QUESTION: No, China didn’t agree with that.

MS TRUDEAU: When they joined, they did.

QUESTION: But even the United Nations came out to say that court, the PCA, Permanent Court of Arbitration, is not connected to UN.

MS TRUDEAU: So you’re asking about the Canada or you’re asking about this decision?

QUESTION: I’m asking about this decision from this Permanent Court of Arbitration, why it’s legally binding, because the example that spokesman give me the other day, it’s a decision from the ICJ, not the same court.

MS TRUDEAU: No, it’s the Law of the Sea Convention. The tribunal’s decision in this case is legally binding on both the Philippines and China.

QUESTION: Yeah, that’s my question. Why this court decision is binding —

MS TRUDEAU: It’s provided in the Law of the Sea Convention, knowing, of course, that the United States is not a signatory but these groups are. Okay.

QUESTION: But wait. I just wanted to ask —

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: The rock island thing.

MS TRUDEAU: Yes.

QUESTION: And you mentioned a citation of a number.

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: That – what – where is that from? Is that your own definition or is that Paul Simon’s definition or is it the UNCLOS definition?

MS TRUDEAU: I would sing it for you but you don’t want me to do that. It’s the Law of the Sea Convention on the definition of island and not.

QUESTION: So you guys, even though you’re not members of it, you accept their definition of the —

MS TRUDEAU: Yes.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: But why on the map you released in 2010 says that Taiping Island – you actually —

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah. I – again, I think we went through this yesterday a bit. So what I would say is under the Law of the Sea Convention, that’s how it’s defined. In terms of the State Department’s map, again, I don’t even know if we have an office. I’ll look and see if we have an office on that. But it’s the Law of the Sea Convention and this arbitration decision. Pulling in a random U.S. map from a website is not going to influence that.

Okay. Al Jazeera.

QUESTION: Thank you. If I can change the subject to Egypt. Have you been in touch with the Egyptian authorities on the case of Aya Hijazi, a U.S. citizen? She’s been imprisoned without trial for over 800 days?

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah. So we are aware that Ms. Hijazi – let me just go here – has been detained in Egypt for more than two years and is currently on trial. We continue to call for an expeditious resolution to the case and a fair and transparent legal process, in accordance with local law and in a manner that also respects international human rights. We continue to provide all possible consular assistance to Ms. Hijazi. We meet with her frequently, and we also attended her last court hearing, which was May 21st. We will attend all upcoming hearings and continue to provide that consular assistance.

QUESTION: Can I ask about —

MS TRUDEAU: Of course.

QUESTION: — a general question, which is the issue of – it’s been brought up by groups such as Amnesty International, the issue of forced disappearances —

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: — in Egypt. Amnesty has a report where they’re saying there’s an average of four forced disappearances per day and they’re asking countries such as – in EU but also on the U.S. to pressure Egypt to stop those practices. Do you agree with the Amnesty report or do you think Egypt’s —

MS TRUDEAU: So we read the report. We think that the allegations in the report are deeply concerning. We urge all authorities in Egypt to investigate all allegations of abuse by the security forces. As we’ve said repeatedly, we’re concerned by the deterioration in the human rights environment in Egypt. We believe all Egyptians are entitled to receive equal and fair treatment before the law. They have a right to due process.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS TRUDEAU: This is the shortest ever.

QUESTION: No, no. I got a couple.

MS TRUDEAU: Of course, Matt.

QUESTION: Where to begin? Oh, right. So I’m just going to try and clear something up that’s come up for the first three – the briefings – every briefing this week.

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: And that is – this has to do with Kashmir —

MS TRUDEAU: Yes.

QUESTION: — and the violence there.

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: So on Monday and then again on Tuesday, Kirby – basically he said the same thing, that you’ve seen the reports of the violence —

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: — you’re concerned by it, but then referred questions to the Indian Government about it.

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: So he said the same thing Monday and Tuesday.

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: And then Toner was asked yesterday, and he basically referred back to what Kirby has said. This statement that – referring questions back to the Indian Government has been interpreted by India and – but also by others as meaning that the U.S. Government believes this is purely an internal Indian matter and that they should be – basically the United States is minding its own business and won’t get involved. Is that a correct interpretation?

MS TRUDEAU: No, I would say we’d have – we’ve had discussions with both India and Pakistan on this issue.

QUESTION: On the current – or the recent —

MS TRUDEAU: On a range of issues, but including Kashmir, yes.

QUESTION: No, no. On this specific – these specific recent outbreaks of violence.

MS TRUDEAU: Yes.

QUESTION: You have? Okay. There’s also been the question raised of why you’ve said that you’re concerned about the violence but you haven’t condemned the deaths of civilian —

MS TRUDEAU: So we are very concerned about the deaths of the protesters. I understand it’s over 30 now; that’s of grave concern to us. We continue to be in touch with the Government of India. We’ve been in discussions with the Government of Pakistan as well.

QUESTION: Okay. But is this something that the United States would condemn?

MS TRUDEAU: Well, we’d encourage all sides to make efforts to finding a peaceful resolution. The situation on the ground from what we understand is very complex, it remains fluid. In terms of clarity on what’s going on, in terms of the protests as well as the security force reaction, we’re still trying to get it.

QUESTION: All right. And then – but just in terms of this being an internal matter for India, while it may be taking place on territory that India claims or administers —

MS TRUDEAU: Exactly.

QUESTION: — do you – I mean, does that absolve it of any kind of criticism for any abuses that may or may not take – that may take place?

MS TRUDEAU: Well, we take – as we said and as both Kirby and Toner did say, we’re very concerned about this latest outbreak of violence on that.

QUESTION: All right. And then somewhat related to that, the head of – the leader of Lashkar-e Tayyiba is a man who you guys have put a Rewards for Justice bounty, to loosely use the word “bounty,” of $10 million. This has been an issue that’s been raised before. He is basically walking around in Pakistan openly with not a problem giving interviews, whatever. He has said that the United States, by taking the position that – or not taking any position – condemnation on the deaths in the recent violence, that you’re basically giving India a free hand or you’re encouraging them to use harsh tactics against demonstrators. Is he correct in saying that?

MS TRUDEAU: Okay. Of course not. I mean, we’ve seen the statements. We – as we’ve said from this podium many times, we remain concerned about his activities. He’s listed by UN Security Council 1267 al-Qaida Sanctions Committee. As you note, he’s also on the Rewards for Justice Program. Both LET and Saeed are designated by the U.S. Government. We would – we’re not going to respond to every statement like that. Obviously we disagree with his premise, but we’ve also been very clear with the Government of Pakistan that they must target and root out these extremist groups, all militant groups and Taliban. And I believe Toner referenced yesterday the very helpful comments from General Sharif on this.

QUESTION: Right. Is it a concern to you that this guy who has been designated by the UN and then by the U.S. is just – seems to be going about his day-to-day things?

MS TRUDEAU: Well, we remain very concerned by his activities as well as the statement, as you’ve highlighted.

QUESTION: Have you – and you have raised this with Pakistani authorities?

MS TRUDEAU: We have been very clear.

QUESTION: All right, on Israel briefly —

MS TRUDEAU: Yep.

QUESTION: — unless anyone has more on that – I asked a question yesterday about the guy who’s been named the chief rabbi of the IDF and has —

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: Did you get a response on that?

MS TRUDEAU: So we have. We understand their concerns with some of the comments that this individual made in the past. While we won’t respond to every comment, obviously there’s no justification for rape.

QUESTION: He’s made some other comments as well. Are those the only ones you’re referring to?

MS TRUDEAU: The ones that I’m tracking are the ones I’m referring to.

QUESTION: All right. And then lastly, as you began with the Iran – the Iran-iversary as some people are calling it —

MS TRUDEAU: Hashtag.

QUESTION: Yeah, in a – yeah, but I don’t think these people are supporters of the deal calling it Iran-iversary. But anyway, Foreign Minister Zarif in his comments marking the anniversary of the deal basically complained again that you guys in particular – the U.S. but also the other members of the P5+1 – have not been living up to your end of the deal and that you need to do more in terms of sanctions relief. Is that a valid complaint?

MS TRUDEAU: We would disagree. We’ve made clear that the United States will continue to live up to its commitments under the Iran deal as Iran lives up to its own commitments.

QUESTION: So there is no – the Iranian officials have said for some time that if they’re not getting the relief that they think that they’re – or that they are owed under this deal, they’re going to walk away from their part of the bargain. That – on the first-year anniversary, you would say that they do not have any cause to do that?

MS TRUDEAU: I would say that we believe that the United States is living up to its commitments. We continue to have discussions not only with our international partners but also with the Iranians on this. This is – it was certainly not a simple deal. I think you —

QUESTION: Oh, yeah.

MS TRUDEAU: — 18 days in Vienna remember the negotiations that led to this. But we believe, yes, we are.

QUESTION: Okay, thank you.

MS TRUDEAU: Great. Thanks, guys.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:34 p.m.)

(Visited 133 times, 1 visits today)
About Cholo Brooks 14307 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.