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U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

The Nuclear Security Summit

FPC Briefing
Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs
Foreign Press Center
Washington, DC
April 13, 2010

The Washington Convention Center
Washington, D.C.

MR. CROWLEY: The Secretary has had a number of important bilateral meetings today. She started the day with the prime minister of Singapore, both talking about the – our bilateral relationship with Singapore, but also other regional challenges. They spent a good deal of time talking about the situation with respect to Burma and the evolving situation in Thailand, but also talked about different aspects of our joint regional security architecture, adapting that as we go forward. The Secretary enjoyed her recent trip to Singapore, along with the President. And I’ll come back to that point when we get to Vietnam.

She had a bilateral with Foreign Minister Davutoglu and then had a couple of subsequent encounters, but focused significantly today on the current state of the process of normalization between Turkey and Armenia, as well as, in this first meeting, some discussion of Bosnia-Herzegovina, leading up to the NATO ministerial next week in Tallinn.

Talked to Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit of Egypt about the peace process and about Iran and teed off some of the discussion that will be occurring between U.S. and Egyptian officials leading up to the NPT review conference next month in New York. She talked to the foreign ministers of both Morocco and Algeria on regional issues, but in particular on efforts to improve relations between the two countries, as well as support the international mediation effort on the Western Sahara.

But in the afternoon, she shifted her attention a little bit to events in this hemisphere – had a discussion with the foreign minister of Chile this afternoon, got an update from him on the current situation in the aftermath of the earthquake in Chile. They talked about the Chilean decision despite the earthquake, where we have assisted Chile in moving their remaining stock of highly enriched uranium to this country as another one of those tangible steps in the lead-up and here at the Nuclear Security Summit. They talked about a range of regional issues from Honduras and Cuba to the future focus of the OAS.

The Secretary was scheduled to have a bilateral with the Brazilian foreign minister. That kind of – I wasn’t – I’m describing this third-hand, but that kind of evolved into a pull-aside meeting that the Secretary had with Foreign Minister Amorim and also Foreign Minister Davutoglu. I haven’t gotten a readout of that, but I assume they talked about where we are inside the UN Security Council with respect to Iran.

The Secretary then had a meeting with Prime Minister Dung of Vietnam, talked about the state of their bilateral relation – our bilateral relations. It’s been 15 years since we’ve started the process of normalization. Talked a lot about economic issues, trade issues, but also some regional issues. The Vietnamese within ASEAN do talk on a regular basis to Burma. And the prime minister brought the Secretary up to date on some discussions that the Vietnamese have had with Burma. They talked about climate change. Vietnam appreciates the leadership that the United States has shown on climate change and pledged to continue that cooperation.

The Secretary indicated that with Vietnam hosting the ASEAN regional forum in July that she planned to attend, as part of her commitment that she has made, that we would reinvigorate our interaction with ASEAN, and they also look forward to another discussion of the Mekong Delta countries, following up on the discussion they had last summer in Phuket.

And the Secretary is now in with the President and Chancellor Angela Merkel, but before that, she had a meeting with Armenian President Sargsian. So over the course of the last 24 to 48 hours, the President and the Secretary have met with President Sargsian, they’ve met with Prime Minister Erdogan. The Secretary has met with both Foreign Minister Davutoglu and President Sargsian just to continue to encourage both sides to take steps and to continue on the process to see if we can find a way to get both Armenia and Turkey to ratify the protocols of normalization that they each agreed to in Switzerland last fall.

But with that, I’ll take your questions.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. CROWLEY: One at a time.

QUESTION: Okay. Major players like Brazil and Turkey, was it the trilateral meeting with the presidents and the foreign ministers or was there a separate meeting? We had understood that they had cancelled the bilateral meeting.

MR. CROWLEY: They – I said that. They eventually had an informal meeting – my understanding was the Secretary and the two foreign ministers of Brazil and Turkey.

QUESTION: And not the presidents?

MR. CROWLEY: I’ll – the President, I believe, had a meeting with Prime Minister Erdogan. I’ll take the question. I’m – now that you asked that, I’ll see what we can find out about that.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) the meeting between Obama and (inaudible)?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not aware of that meeting. But we can get --

QUESTION: Today? Today after the --

MR. CROWLEY: Okay, I’ll defer to the White House in terms of describing the President’s schedule.

QUESTION: Do you have anything on the agreement (inaudible) summit?

MR. CROWLEY: I think we’re putting out a fact sheet on that. The United States, for a number of years, had a program called Megaports. We have arrangements with a variety of leading countries who have all engaged in significant amounts of global trade. The Megaports program is intended to help strengthen the ability working with the customs services of respective countries scaled detect within shipping containers, contraband such as nuclear materials. It’s been a very successful, very well received program. We have steadily worked to expand the Megaports effort to strategic ports around the world. I believe, in this particular case, the agreement will involve cooperation between the NNSA and Argentina, focused on the – Buenos Aires.

QUESTION: Moving to the foreign minister – Armenian president, did the genocide resolution come up?

MR. CROWLEY: In the meeting with President Sargsian, it did come up. Just – I mean, it’s not the matter of the resolution. Obviously, this is – this remains the critical issue between the two countries. So the matter of how to resolve the question about the events of 90 years ago, that issue obviously is a subtext in terms of normalization between Turkey and Armenia. But the issue of the resolution itself did not come up in the Armenian --

QUESTION: The Armenians have said that they have (inaudible) the Iranian conflict, basically moving the uranium to Turkey as part of – for having Turkey to consider with the Iranians the uranium and then (inaudible). But I wonder if you have a reaction.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, Turkey has made this offer before. The details matter. And we are – we certainly believe that the offer made last fall regarding the research reactor in Tehran and the ability to convert some of the processed fuel for Iran’s legitimate civilian and research needs is a – can be a valuable step building confidence between Iran and the international community. Iran, as you recall, in Switzerland, initially agreed and then subsequently started creating a number of conditions that made the arrangement difficult. If Turkey or other countries can convince Iran to proceed with this deal that is in Iran’s interest, but in a way that satisfies the legitimate international community’s concerns about the fuel that Iran has enriched so far. We are certainly open to those ideas, but again, the details do matter.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t know. It exceeds my knowledge.

QUESTION: Did you get a sense – a better sense of what (inaudible)?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we – I mean, obviously, this is an issue that we continue to discuss with all countries on the UN Security Council. There’s still a lot of work to do. We think we now have the process where countries are fully engaged in trying to figure out how to put pressure on Iran.

I remember an exchange in New York during the Haiti conference where Foreign Minister Amorim suggested that there’s still room for diplomacy, and the Secretary made the point, I think, that our ability to put pressure on Iran is part of our diplomatic effort. We don’t see this as an either/or proposition. We are trying to find an approach that changes Iran’s calculation of its own self interest. We will continue this conversation with a variety of countries, but obviously, this process is moving forward and at some point, we believe we will be successful in advancing an appropriate resolution.

QUESTION: When you say the details matter, is there something about the proposal that Turkey and Brazil are supporting (inaudible)?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m unfamiliar with whatever proposal that Turkey and Brazil might have advanced today. I just don’t know.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) going (inaudible) again to Iran. Did President Obama or Secretary Clinton give any message to the Brazilians to take or --

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t think that there’s any lack of clarity in terms of the message by the United States or the international community. Iran has to know that it is out of compliance with its international obligations, that as far as I know, they have yet to really offer a plausible explanation to the IAEA in terms of the secret facility in Qom, which has no legitimate civilian purpose.

I think for countries who are here, or the countries that are here, the international community’s credibility is at stake. And we can continue to discuss what is the right approach; what kind of mix of actions can convince Iran to change its calculation, what kind of combination of actions can show Iran that there is a consequence for its failure to engage constructively with the international community, failure to answer the questions that we have. But we are at the point, we believe, where decisive action is necessary. And that’s the point where we’re at and that’s what we’re talking to countries about.

And for those that may still be hesitating, you should – all you need to do is listen to Iran, see what they’re saying, what they’re doing, what they’re not doing. And we think that it is the recalcitrance of Iran to step forward and engage the international community, answer the questions that we have that brought us to this point.

QUESTION: A question on South Asia: Throughout this summit with (inaudible) the Administration talking about insecure or vulnerable materials from the post-Cold War era, was there any sense of concern that a lot of the materials could be South Asia or Asian origin* (inaudible) which are (inaudible)?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I would say all of the above. I mean, we have proliferation concerns in Asia, South Asia, in the Caucasus. And the countries that are here, are here because we believe they have an important role to play in strengthening the nonproliferation regime so that we can reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism to all countries of the world.

But this is not about a particular concern either that emanates from one part of the world or that only threatens one part of the world. This is a global challenge. This stuff is – can pop up anywhere, and as we talked about in the agreement signed today with Argentina – and we have cooperative efforts with many other countries around the world – this is about have – being able to marshal a focused effort understanding the data that – and cooperation, intelligence gathering and so forth that allows us to have confidence that we can intercept illicit shipments going forward so that this technology does not get in the hands of groups that have no right to have it.

QUESTION: Just a quick follow up on that.

MR. CROWLEY: If you can, Goyal – I got to go to the Gilani --

QUESTION: This is a (inaudible) mismatch between the (inaudible), for example, President Obama (inaudible) India and Pakistan to comply. This is a lot of the violations and (inaudible) in that region. Is there a sense that, you know, there should be more of an emphasis on security and be some (inaudible).

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, the reason why India is here is because it has a nuclear program. The reason why Pakistan is here is because it has a nuclear program. Now it has a shared responsibility, along with other countries, to secure this material to make sure it does not get into the hands of outlier states or rogue elements in the future. This is a global challenge. It is a shared responsibility. And those countries that have nuclear programs have a special responsibility to make sure that they are secure.

QUESTION: Do you think (inaudible) summit, especially given the fact that there’s (inaudible) singled out by (inaudible) would not be (inaudible). Do you think this will dent* U.S. (inaudible)?

MR. CROWLEY: I didn’t understand the question.

QUESTION: Netanyahu’s not attending the summit, the Israeli prime minister --

MR. CROWLEY: Well --

QUESTION: Especially given that (inaudible).

MR. CROWLEY: Well, put it this way. The Israeli – there’s a very strong Israeli delegation here. Israel is here and they are playing a part and they are doing their part. It’s not about any one leader. It’s about a responsibility that every state has to secure its own technology and to cooperate fully internationally to make sure that we can prevent the proliferation of these dangerous materials from getting into the wrong hands.

So that’s why Israel is here. And we welcome them here. It’s not about whether it’s a prime minister or a deputy prime minister. And we think the tone, the atmosphere, the focus on these issues has been very good. There have been very tangible results from the Nuclear Security Summit. And we think this does give us real momentum going forward to the next step in the process, which is the review conference for the NPT coming up in early May.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. CROWLEY: Our focus coming up on May 3rd is to find specific ways to strengthen the nonproliferation regime globally so that, just as we reiterate, every country has a right to civilian nuclear power, but every country also has responsibility. This is a shared responsibility. We think that should be the focus of the NPT review conference.

QUESTION: Thank you, P.J.

QUESTION: One final question --

MR. DUGUID: Sorry, no. Do you want to pass this on or I will?

MR. CROWLEY: (Inaudible.) All right. Thank you.

MR. DUGUID: Before you go, if you are interested, I have a statement here from Mike Hammer, who is the NSC spokesman. This is from Mr. Hammer:

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic accident that resulted in the death of a cyclist here in the District of Columbia on the margins of the summit. We extend our condolences to the family.”

So that is the cyclist who was injured and then died of her injuries yesterday. And that’s from Mike Hammer, NSC spokesman.

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