3:00 P.M. EST
MR. CROWLEY: Good afternoon. Let me just touch very briefly on a couple of things, and I know some of you were down the street at the State Department briefing that concluded not long ago. But Secretary Clinton departed Washington a little bit ago for Lisbon, where she will join the President and other leaders in the upcoming NATO summit. But in addition to the NATO summit, there will also be the NATO-Russia Council meeting, as well as the U.S.-European Union summit. So a lot of business that will be done in Europe over the next several days.
Among the centerpieces of the work the leaders will do revolves around the new NATO Strategic Concept. This is the first NATO new Strategic Concept in 11 years. It’ll focus on a number of new capabilities and missions for NATO, including discussions regarding missile defense and cyber security. Afghanistan will be, clearly, another significant area of discussion. President Karzai will join the NATO leaders at the summit. Secretary Clinton spoke with President Karzai yesterday, as well as meeting with Foreign Minister Rassoul, both to go through elements of our bilateral relationship but also to do some additional preparatory work for a successful NATO summit.
But in our discussions in Lisbon, I would expect a great deal of focus on the transition, which will occur between 2011 and 2014, moving towards Afghanistan leadership for its own security. And a significant amount of attention has been paid in recent months. Secretary Clinton has done an enormous amount of work, encouraging countries to provide additional training and resources so that we can be assured that Afghan national security forces will continue the progress that they have made to be able to take over the lead for security, which is President Karzai’s goal, which he annunciated earlier this year, both in the conferences in London and in Kabul this summer.
Obviously, in the terms of the NATO-Russia Council meeting, as I think Assistant Secretary Phil Gordon said to many of you yesterday, this is an area that has somewhat lagged behind the reset in U.S.-Russia relations. It’ll be a very important meeting and we’re delighted that President Medvedev has agreed to attend.
And then finally, in the U.S.-European meeting, a number of issues ranging from the global economy, following up on the G-20 meeting of recent days. Continue to talk about security cooperation, including counterterrorism cooperation. That becomes very important in light of the ongoing challenge that both the United States and Europe continue to face in terms of the terrorist threats that affect us both. And also a range of regional security issues where the United States and European cooperation is vitally important, ranging from Sudan, the Middle East, Iran, and Lebanon.
Before taking your questions, just to mention that – and you might have seen a statement that we did put out earlier today that the United States congratulates Kazakhstan on this week’s historic completion of the BN-350 spent fuel program. Kazakhstan safely shut down the plutonium production reactor in Aktau, securing some 100 tons of weapons grade spent fuel and transported the spent fuel to a new secure storage facility in eastern Kazakhstan. In securing this material, Kazakhstan, under the leadership of President Nazarbayev, has made a significant contribution to global security and nuclear nonproliferation.
And obviously, this was something that the United States cooperated on. Other countries, including the United Kingdom, played a pivotal role. But these activities were conducted in accordance with the U.S.-Kazakhstan presidential joint statements of 2006 and 2010, and certainly are consistent with the goals of the 2010 nuclear security summit, which was held in April here in Washington. And most importantly, the spent fuel will continue to be under the safeguard of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
But with that, I will open it up to questions.
MODERATOR: All right. Please remember to state your name and media organization, and also wait for the microphone. And if you have a follow-up, wait for the microphone. Don’t just start talking. We’ll start right there.
QUESTION: Sam Kim from Voice of America. Thanks for having this. I have two quick questions on North Korea. U.S. has been working with other partners in East Asia region to persuade North Korea back to the six-party talks, but unfortunately, North Korea recently announced that they started building new light-water reactor. So I want to ask U.S. Government’s concern or reaction on this specific announcement.
And secondly, on North Korea sanction by U.S., we know that there are two proposals of sanctions: first, stop proliferation and second, press North Korea to change its behavior. But we know that there are some visible outcome of first proposed, but on second size, why do we still have to believe that these sanctions would work to change North Korea’s behavior? Thank you.
MR. CROWLEY: Well, obviously, on the second question first, what concerns us most significantly is North Korea’s track record in terms of the proliferation of dangerous technology to other countries. And so we are – have taken, over the many, many years, many steps to try to minimize the proliferation risk that North Korea represents. And we will continue to sanction entities and individuals. I believe there will be another announcement today at the Department of Treasury, and this further isolates particular entities where we have concerns of illegal activity and potentially activity that can present a proliferation risk.
On the broader question of what North Korea will do, hard to say. We do know what North Korea should do, and we have made clear to North Korea that it has international responsibilities. They are spelled out in the 2005 joint statement. North Korea has committed to take affirmative steps to denuclearize, and they cannot expect a different kind of relationship with the United States or the international community until they abide by their international obligations. Those obligations exist under Security Council Resolution 1718, Security Council Resolution 1874. And in addition to that, we want to see North Korea cease its provocative steps and find ways to have a better relationship with its neighbors.
So this is our policy. We’ve offered North Korea clear path forward, but to the extent that North Korea expects to see a different relationship with the United States and the rest of the world, we will wait for North Korea to abide by its obligations. If it does, there’s potential for a different relationship. And if it doesn’t, we will continue to find ways to put pressure on North Korea and find ways to try to mitigate the proliferation risk that North Korea represents.
MODERATOR: Okay. We’ll go in the back right there, in the blue.
QUESTION: Thank you. John Zang, CTI TV of Taiwan. P.J., two questions. One, the Chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan Ray Burghardt is planning to pay another visit to Taiwan. Is there any particular message that the State Department has for him to put across to the Taiwan authorities? But do you – does he have anything to announce, like the date of the resumption of the Ikeda dialogue?
Another question. The Congressionally-sponsored U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission yesterday issued their annual report. In that report, they again called attention to the fact of the growing military imbalance across the Taiwan Strait, and also the eroding air defense capabilities in Taiwan. Given your adherence to the TRA, would this report have any impact on your decision to sell the F-16 CDs to Taiwan? Thank you.
MR. CROWLEY: Well, I’ll refrain from talking about any particular decision on any particular capability. As you say, under the Taiwan Relations Act, we are committed to provide for Taiwan’s security needs. And we are – we have an ongoing and continual process of evaluating Taiwan’s needs in light of changing circumstances in the region. And we will continue to work to work cooperatively with Taiwan on – and maintain a dialogue on what particular capabilities might be required over time.
I can’t predict any particular announcement, other than to say that we continue to encourage and are encouraged by increasing contacts between leaders in Taiwan and China. We believe that the kind of dialogue and cooperation, which remains focused and limited but is, nonetheless, vitally important to ease tensions in the region.
MODERTATOR: We’re going to go ahead and take a question from New York. So New York, you can go ahead with your question.
QUESTION: Thank you. My name is Olaolu Akande. I write for the Guardian of Nigeria. I’d like to ask about the recent controversial Iranian shipments, weapons to Nigeria. Two questions. Number one, does the U.S. think that this reflects an inadequate enforcement of the U.S. sanctions against Iran? Does this shipment of weapons from Iran to Nigeria, does it – in the opinion of the U.S., does it reflect a lack of a vigorous implementation of the sanctions against Iran?
And then secondly, Mr. Crowley, at – earlier being reported as saying that the U.S. is willing to help Nigeria on this matter. I’d like to know specifically in what areas can the U.S. be helpful in Nigeria in managing this situation. Thank you.
MR. CROWLEY: All I can say on the first question is that we have encouraged an investigation within Nigeria. As I understand it, the investigation regarding the possible shipment of arms from Iran to Nigeria remains under investigation. I believe that Nigeria has already made a report to the UN Security Council regarding the incident, and we would continue to encourage Nigeria to aggressively investigate what did occur. And we are encouraged by the steps that Nigeria has already taken with regard to this arms shipment.
On your broader question regarding U.S. support to Nigeria, of course we have the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission, which meets on a regular basis. And we continue to work with Nigeria on its long-term needs, particularly helping to strengthen its institutions of government, which are vitally important to enable a country like Nigeria to extend its sovereignty throughout its country and be able to take the kind of steps that we’ve seen in this particular instance.
We continue to talk to Nigeria about issues such as corruption. I mean, Nigeria is a country with significant wealth. However, that wealth has not yet, in our view, been sufficiently invested for the benefit of the Nigerian people. So we want to see Nigeria develop a broader economy that helps people throughout its country and in every part of its country. And the economy is a pivotal element of helping Nigeria with its internal security.
MODERATOR: Okay. We’ll come right up here in front.
QUESTION: Thank you, Assistant Secretary, for the opportunity. Ali Imran from Associated Press of Pakistan. What does this date, 2014, mean for Pakistan and Afghanistan in terms of U.S. long-term engagement towards these two countries? And second part of my question: What are you hoping to achieve in the broader South Asian region between now and 2014 in – especially with reference to tensions between India and Pakistan so that Afghanistan does not slide back into regional rivalry and tensions? Thank you.
MR. CROWLEY: It’s a very good question. Certainly, both 2011, which we envision as the beginning of a transition, where Afghanistan will take greater responsibility for its own security, culminating in Afghanistan leadership in its own security matters by 2014. It’s important to Afghanistan, it’s important to the region. And the process between now and then is focused on helping to strengthen Afghanistan’s government, both at the national level and at the local level, building up critical institutions that include both military capabilities and police capabilities.
This has the ability to help continue the transformation of this region. So it has benefits for Afghanistan, but as Afghanistan stabilizes, it has, obviously, benefits that accrue to other countries, including Pakistan, including India, and others. And as you build up institutions and they perform, you can expect to see improvements in the Afghan economy and the export of Afghan goods to other countries in the region.
So our strategy is a regional strategy, and we have invited countries, from Pakistan to India, to be engaged in and support this transition in Afghanistan. And that is perhaps the most significant change that we’ve put into effect over the last 18 months, almost two years, is to take it from being just about Afghanistan to being about the region as a whole.
We’re not going to abandon the region or we’re not going to abandon Pakistan or Afghanistan in 2014. We have a commitment to engage this region over the long term and we believe that we are demonstrating – and one of the things that will come out of the NATO summit is a – we think a partnership declaration that will demonstrate NATO’s long-term commitment to Pakistan. And from that, we would expect more definition in terms of the long-term relationship between the United States and Afghanistan.
We are seeking a partnership with Afghanistan, with Pakistan. As you saw with the President’s trip to India, we believe we’re developing a strategic relationship with that country, and it demonstrates our commitment to the region as a whole.
MODERATOR: We’ll go right here.
QUESTION: Thank you. David Nikuradze, Georgian broadcasting company Rustavi 2, Washington bureau. I was wondering if you could give me any commentary on Georgia’s breakaway regions, please? As you know, because of Russia’s veto, there is no international organization in South Ossetia and Abkhazia who can monitor the situation and condition of ethnic Georgians. How are the U.S. Government and other friends of Georgia are going to deal with Russia on this issue? Thank you, sir.
MR. CROWLEY: Well, this is a topic of discussion that we have ongoing with Russia, with Georgia, and with our partners throughout Europe. I think, as Phil Gordon said yesterday, we’re trying to build a relationship with Russia that can manage areas where we disagree. And Georgia is one of those areas where we do disagree. We respect the territorial sovereignty of Georgia. We do not recognize the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. This is an issue that we will continue to engage significantly in the region, and I would expect this will be a topic of conversation in Lisbon since this is the first NATO-Russia Council meeting since the conflict in Georgia a couple years ago.
MODERATOR: We’ll pick one right up front here, and then we’ll go to New York next.
QUESTION: Thank you. Thanks. Andrei Sitov from TASS.
MR. CROWLEY: Hi, Andrei.
QUESTION: Thank you, P.J., for doing this, and thanks to FPC for hosting the meeting. I wanted to ask about the hottest subject back home, which is the Bout affair, as related to the U.S., Viktor Bout. Firstly, the U.S. and Russia has a treaty on mutual legal assistance, yet I understand the U.S. never asked Russia to help – the Russian Government to help in the investigation of Mr. Bout. Why not?
Secondly, this is not an isolated incident. We have Mr. Yaroshenko, who was extradited from Liberia to the U.S., who was tortured in Liberia, whose case has now been referred to the working group on arbitrary detention at the UN. Can you, P.J., please, assure me that there are no other Russian citizens that may be captured somewhere and brought over to the U.S. and being held by the U.S. Government?
And then thirdly and lastly – (laughter) – thirdly and lastly --
MR. CROWLEY: You’re in danger, Andrei. When you get to the third question, I may have already forgotten the first one. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: I’ll remind you, yeah. Thirdly and lastly, does the U.S. Government know the names of all the private contractors who deliver weapons – American weapons – to countries such as Georgia? And does it mean that those contractors need to be captured and tried by Russia? Because the weapons have been used – not just intended, but used to actually kill Russians. Thank you.
MR. CROWLEY: Well, okay. Let me work through those. (Laughter.) I can’t comment on what assistance we may or may not have requested of Russia in this case. What I can say is that Viktor Bout is here in the United States. He came here under the U.S.-Thailand extradition treaty. He will receive a fair, open, and transparent trial. He’s already been granted legal representation. The Russian Government has been informed of his presence here in the United States and will be granted full consular access to him to ensure that his rights are respected and protected as we go through this legal process. Beyond that, I will defer to our Department of Justice, in terms of any comment on the case itself.
You are correct. There is a second case that is ongoing here in the United States involving the extradition of a Russian citizen from Liberia to this country. Likewise, we have notified Russia, and as far as I know, granted full consular access to that individual as well.
I can’t tell you – I don't know what other investigations are underway that might involve citizens of any country. But this is – the United States is committed to aggressively investigate, and where we can, prosecute individuals who we are – who we believe are guilty of crimes that violate our laws and also violate international laws.
These kinds of international activities and international criminal syndicates afflict the United States but also affect the national interests of other countries, including Russia. We have a great deal of cooperation with Russia, for example, in the area of counternarcotics. And so we will aggressively investigate these areas, cooperate where we can. But rest assured that under our judicial system, anyone who is a defendant in this judicial system will have all the rights and protections under U.S. law.
MODERATOR: All right. We’re going to go ahead to New York. New York, you can go ahead with your question.
QUESTION: Thank you Mr. Crowley. My name is Peter Onwubuariri. I work for the News Agency of Nigeria. The recent abduction and subsequent release of several foreigners in Niger Delta, including two Americans, has brought to the fore the frustration of many Nigerians about the upsurge or the resurgence of militant activities in the Niger Delta, in spite of the amnesty program that was offered by the federal government last year. And we are aware that the Nigerian and the United States – they are partnering together in Niger Delta under the Nigeria-U.S. Binational Commission. And I want to know whether there are new strategies the U.S. Government is recommending to Nigeria to ensure peace and – durable peace and security in that region.
Also, I would also want to know whether the U.S. will support a full military assault by the Nigerian Government to end the problem of militancy in the Niger Delta. Thank you.
MR. CROWLEY: Well, first of all, on behalf of the United States, we are very grateful to the efforts of the Nigerian Government and others. And I’m sure other governments are as well, because the hostages were released from a number of countries, including, as you said, our two American citizens. And we are very, very grateful to the efforts where they have been safely released.
The challenge of Nigeria is a difficult and complex one and will involve effective action not in one dimension but several dimensions. As I said a few minutes ago, Nigeria is a country with significant wealth. The real question is how is that wealth being distributed, and are the people in all sectors of the country, including in the Niger Delta, receiving the benefits of oil and other wealth as it is being extracted from Nigerian territory. The short answer is no, and that is one of the great sources of tension and potential violence in Nigeria.
So while better security can be part of the solution, it is not the entire solution. These are ultimately decisions for the Nigerian Government, President Jonathan and his government, to undertake. But we have encouraged and will continue to encourage Nigeria to expand its dialogue with all elements of Nigerian society, expand civil society, grow an economy that has benefits to all sections of the country, make sure that there are elections where all sections of Nigeria have a chance to participate and believe that there is a government formed that will serve the interests of all Nigerian citizens.
If Nigeria is able to accomplish this and – we, the United States will continue to help Nigeria in any way it can strengthen government performance and institutions, expand civil society. Then we believe over time, this will do more than any other step in alleviating the tension and violence, which does still tragically exist within Nigeria.
MODERATOR: We’re going to go for the gentleman in the middle, right here. Or actually, right up here in the blue. We’ll get you next. Yeah. Right there, yes. Yes, right there, sir.
QUESTION: Kim Jin San, (inaudible), Korea. Question about close FTA. Discussion on close FTA outstanding issue was failed to reach conclusion at (inaudible). Washington Post editorial this morning point out Obama Administration police trade policy was – should be blamed for this setback. What do you think about that point? And do you think there is possibility that this failure have direct impact on Korea-U.S. relationship in the future? Thank you.
MR. CROWLEY: I don't think it will – let me take the second part first. I don't think this is going to have an impact on U.S.-Korean relations. The President, President Obama, has indicated, I think, presently understands fully that we are committed to the – to reach an equitable trade agreement. And as the President and others said while in Seoul, this is something that we’ll continue to intensively work on, and our teams will work as hard as necessary for as long as necessary to reach an agreement. These are difficult, complex issues, and they’ll just need some additional time to work through.
And obviously, we have changing political circumstances in this country. And we will continue to make the case, not only in the context of Korea but in the context of Panama and Colombia, that free trade benefits the United States and it benefits other countries with which we have trading relationships.
MODERATOR: Now we’ll go. Now it’s your turn.
QUESTION: Thanks. Hi. Graham Nelson with Tokyo Broadcasting System. On North Korea, there have been reports of a lot of activity, North Korea preparing for new nuclear tests. I’d like to ask you to comment on that. And secondly, if I could follow up on Sam’s question earlier, the light-water nuclear reactor – the North Koreans told Ambassador Pritchard that it’s for the purpose of generating electricity only. Can the U.S. accept a North Korean light nuclear reactor, if it’s for the purpose of generating electricity, not for proliferation?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, on your first question, I’m inhibited from commenting on intelligence matters. Rest assured this is an area that we watch very closely, and at this point in time the last thing that North Korea should do is take this kind of provocative step as it has in the past.
Regarding North Korea’s energy needs, North Korea has legitimate energy needs, but it also has obligations that it has to meet first. As we’ve made clear on a number of occasions, we are prepared to have a discussion with North Korea about its energy requirements, but first and foremost, North Korea has to abide by its commitments and its international obligations and needs to take affirmative steps to denuclearize.
MODERATOR: We’ll go here.
QUESTION: Thank you. Hi, P.J. Michael Pandi, Jiji Press, Japan. Later this month, Okinawa will hold a gubernatorial election, and that is seen as almost the last obstacle, so to speak, before direct 2+2 negotiations between the U.S. and Japan can take place regarding the Futenma base relocation facility. I was wondering what is the Administrations’ view of when those talks might take place. I ask because in September, Assistant Secretary of Defense Gregson said he anticipated that it won’t be until the beginning of next year. So do you agree with that assessment? Could it happen before?
MR. CROWLEY: I don’t have a particular timetable. We’ve worked intensively on the Futenma issue throughout this year. We have an agreed upon game plan, and both countries, both governments, are committed to execute this plan and we will continue to do so.
QUESTION: Good afternoon, Mr. Crowley. I’m Hebah el Koudsy from Al Masri Al Youm Egyptian newspaper. Egypt has ignored the U.S. calls for assuring parliamentary election to be free and open, and yesterday, Egypt accused U.S. of meddling in its affair and trying to act as a caretaker and overseer. What’s your comment on this accusation? Thank you.
MR. CROWLEY: Well, first of all, let’s not jump to conclusions. Egypt has a very, very important election coming up, and we will be watching and evaluating, as will other countries, as to whether this election meets both Egypt’s requirements and international standards. So we’ll have the election first and then we’ll judge whether it was free and fair.
We have been very clear, including a very direct statement issued earlier this week, that we think it is in Egypt’s long-term interest to open up its society to greater participation by the Egyptian people and Egyptian civil society. We have encouraged Egypt to make sure that there are adequate domestic observers and international observers for this upcoming election. These will be decisions that the Government of Egypt will take, and we will not hesitate to provide our perspective.
This is not interfering in Egyptian affairs. This is encouraging a very close friend of the United States that its elections are vitally important and that its people want to see and have opportunities for greater participation in Egypt’s political system and have a government that is more representative of all segments of Egyptian society.
QUESTION: Thanks, P.J., for taking time to do this. A couple quick questions on Turkey. 2010 edition of the annual reports of Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index was released just last month, and Turkey was placed in 138 of the 175, down from like ninth position in 2002. On the one hand, you have a country who made – which made a lot of reforms and became official candidate for the EU. On the other hand, its freedom of press declined sharply. How do you explain this huge discrepancy?
And my second question is – we tried to ask this yesterday of Assistant Secretary Gordon as well. We are on the eve of NATO summit and still Turkey is not – has not come forward with the NATO missile system. How do you explain this? And related to that, P-5+1 meetings with Iran – apparently, your administration didn’t want Turkey to host these meetings. Last time I checked, Turkey is still part of NATO and strategic partner of the U.S. How do you explain that we not kind of not trusting Turkey to host this important meetings with Iran?
MR. CROWLEY: Okay, let me kind of skip through those. I thought Phil Gordon gave you a wonderful answer yesterday, which is that’s the reason why we’re having the summit and this will be an area of significant discussion, and Turkey will obviously make its views known about these issues.
On your third question, we are still waiting for a response by Iran to the invitation of Catherine Ashton, the European High Representative, to meet in – meet on December 5th. We have not yet locked in – Iran has not yet affirmed that date or a location. I believe Catherine Ashton has suggested that the first meeting should take place some – in a more central location in Europe, perhaps Austria or Switzerland. But we have indicated that we are open to Turkey being the possible location of a follow-up meeting. So we have no objections to Turkey playing a role in this process, but it’s our view, as shared by others, that the first meeting should be in either Switzerland or Austria.
You’re correct on your first question. Turkey has a very rich tradition of a vibrant media. We value that. I’ve lived in Turkey myself and I’ve observed that firsthand. There have been some recent incidents where the government has attempted to intimidate leading media institutions, and I can only presume that that contributed to the Reporters Without Borders judgment.
MODERATOR: We’ll go right here.
QUESTION: Christoph Marschall from the German daily Der Tagesspiegel. One short question, because you mentioned that the Secretary is already on her way and the President is still here. Are they not traveling together to (inaudible)? Any (inaudible) reason for that?
And the second and main question, before the NATO summit, also your European partners are looking to the process of ratification of the START treaty. And as far as I see, there’s no important partner of U.S. at all who is not expecting and hoping that the ratification will come sooner rather than later. So what would be your advice? Should European leaders speak out and make their hopes officially known? Or would you rather advise that that’s not such a good idea to press independently elected senators from abroad?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, on your second question, I think leaders of various questions – of various countries will see the vitally important work that’s been done between Russia and the United States, the two leading nuclear powers in the world. And the fact that they have come together, had a significant negotiation, and have reached an agreement, a treaty on reduction of the nuclear arsenals of both countries, and are in the process of presenting the treaty for ratification both to the congress and to the Duma, this sends a very powerful signal that the two leading powers in the world are adjusting their use of the shape of their and size of their nuclear deterrents. And this is fully consistent with the vision that President Obama has offered of a world that relies less on nuclear weapons, and ultimately does not see the need for nuclear weapons.
But I’m sure that this will be something that probably is seen – discussed on the margins of the upcoming summit, and I would fully expect that leaders of various countries, as they come together, will not hesitate to give their views on this important issue. And as the President said again today in meeting with some of our senior leaders – the Vice President, the Secretary of State – but also some of the great statesmen in our history, all of whom believe that this is in our national interest, and we will continue to press the Senate to ratify this treaty during this lame duck session.
On the Secretary traveling ahead of the President to Portugal, the fact that she’s got some other business to do, she’ll have a bilateral with her counterpart Foreign Minister Amado, and then she will also join Catherine Ashton in chairing, along with Energy Secretary Chu, the U.S.-EU Energy Council where we’ll talk – continue our work to help ensure stable and diverse sources of energy for European countries, particularly countries of Central Europe.
QUESTION: Thank you. This is Arshad Mahmud with the BDNews24.com.
MR. CROWLEY: Great.
QUESTION: Thank you. When President Obama was campaigning in 2008, he was very vocal about human rights violations in Kashmir. And he was very recently in India and didn’t mention a word about what’s going on in that country, which prompted perhaps (inaudible) to write a brilliant op-ed piece.
MR. CROWLEY: Just to correct you, I believe the issue came up in one of his activities. He was asked about it while he was India. Anyway. (Inaudible.)
QUESTION: The op-ed piece, which eloquently portrayed the sufferings of the Kashmiri people there. And she also raised that issue that whether the economic interest of the United States trumps all other issues. And I just wanted to hear from you about what’s really (inaudible). Thank you.
MR. CROWLEY: Well, to your last point, our relations with many countries in the world have more than one dimension. We can have an economic, security, environmental, human rights dialogue with many countries from India, to China, to Russia, to other countries. And so the fact that we can do one thing does not preclude a focus in other areas as well.
On the issue of Kashmir, we continue to encourage dialogue between Pakistan and India on this vitally important question. And we are supporting both countries in trying to find a way to discuss this issue and defuse tensions and ultimately resolve this issue. Fundamentally, we haven’t changed our view of its importance. But ultimately, this has to be an issue that is resolved, first and foremost, between those two countries. And we will continue our dialogue with both India and Pakistan to encourage a resolution.
MODERATOR: Okay, we’ll go ahead. In purple.
QUESTION: Thank you. Hi. I’m Elvira Palomo with EFE Services. A couple of questions. Due to the current (inaudible) in IT, do you think they are ready for the elections? And the other is about the (inaudible) summit. What are – what do you expect to achieve in this summit?
MR. CROWLEY: In fact, if I can just duck that question and say that later on this afternoon, I believe around 5:30, Todd Stern is – will be holding a press availability as we complete the second day of a discussion of the major economies forum. And part of that discussion is among the leading economies of how to make sure that there is significant achievements in Cancun and following up on the commitments that countries have made from last year’s meeting in Copenhagen. So I’ll defer to Mr. Stern on that.
QUESTION: On Haiti.
MR. CROWLEY: We did a significant briefing in Haiti – on Haiti earlier today, focused on the cholera situation. We are working closely and significantly with the Government of Haiti and international partners to do everything that we can to help to help Haiti help its own citizens, since cholera – it’s a tragic situation, but it is a very treatable condition. And Haiti will have significant needs to ensure a safe supply of drinking water and to continue to improve the level of public health and hygiene for all of its citizens. But tragically, we know from our experience with cholera that this will be something that Haiti will have to be dealing with for months, if not years.
Despite the cholera outbreak, Haiti recognizes the vitally important election coming up. It’s made the decision to go ahead with the election. And these two, in a way, are connected. You’re going to need an effective, legitimate government to be able to not only continue to deal with the cholera outbreak, but continue to execute the plan for Haiti’s reconstruction, which is Haiti’s plan itself. It’s a plan that was developed by the government. It is supported by the international community.
The international community, including the United States and the United Nations, sit together with Haitian officials through the interim reconstruction committee. This will transition over time to full leadership by Haiti. But in order to get to that point, you have to have the elections, which were scheduled for earlier this year but just simply could not be held in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. So we are supporting Haiti in these critical weeks leading up to the election.
And when – you have to stop and understand what Haiti has had to do to get to this point. Obviously, when you had the earthquake, one of the most significant victims of the earthquake was the institutions of government, including the electoral institutions. The voter rolls were destroyed, people were displaced. So Haiti has had to rebuild all of these capabilities, and they have done so working with the international community to help register voters.
This has been an – obviously an intensive campaign involving a very significant number of candidates for office, but this is going to be very, very important to Haiti’s future. They ultimately have to have a capable government, but a government that people believe can lift Haiti out of its current situation and lead the effort as Secretary – UN Secretary Ban has said and others to build Haiti back better.
MODERATOR: We have time for one or two quick questions. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Seema Sirohi from the Bengal Post. P.J., I wanted to ask a question about Afghanistan. You said that U.S. would be asking other countries for additional training for Afghan troops. So I wanted to ask you which of these countries you plan to request, and is India one of them? And would it include military training, or would it just be police?
MR. CROWLEY: I’ll defer to the Indian Government in terms of what it envisions its support being. The conversations that we’ve had have primarily been with countries that are already a part of the ISAF mission. India is significantly invested in Afghanistan, and we continue to encourage the role that India is playing to help Pakistan develop its economy and its – and improve its security.
But primarily, just like we saw recently – this week, where Canada announced that it’s going to transition its existing military effort from a combat role to a training role, there are many other countries – some within NATO, some outside of NATO – who have provided military forces. And we’ve asked if they can increase the number of trainers that they have committed to this effort and countries – I don’t have a list in front of me – but have responded accordingly. And that will be something that you’ll see discussed this week at Lisbon, because in order to get to 2014 with a fully capable Afghan national security force, this training component is vitally important to the long-term strategy.
And we’ve devoted a great deal of effort to try to encourage international support to provide the kind of training not only on the military side, but on the police side so that we can continue the progress that we are seeing to improve, not only the security on the ground, but the forces that ultimately we will increasingly turn over that security responsibility to.
MODERATOR: We’ll do our last question right there.
QUESTION: Younghae Choi, Dong-A Ilbo of Korea. I would like to ask you a question regarding on the (inaudible) FT. Korea representatives will visit Washington, D.C. for further negotiations. Do you have any time – deadline or a timeline table for the completion of the FTA? Actually, it’s not easy to pass the Congress, the bill, if we pass over the issue next year. And another one is that I heard that your strong concern is arising in United States Congress about – if (inaudible) to reach an agreement in this year, it will hurt your core alliance of the U.S. and Korea relationship. What do you think about that? Thank you.
MR. CROWLEY: As I think I answered that question a little bit earlier, the U.S.-Korean relationship has many dimensions. It has economic dimensions and security dimensions. I cannot – the economy is a fundamental issue in our relationship, but it’s not the only one. We have an alliance with Korea, and that’s not going to change. But the fact that we have a reliance – have an alliance and Korea, and the United States have significant economies, it means we should find ways to further deepen our trading relationship.
That is what the FTA is about. It is complex, and we understand that more work needs to be done to reach an agreement that is fair, equitable, and serves the long-term interests of both countries. The President in Seoul instructed our team to work – continue to work hard and work as aggressively as possible, but take the necessary time to reach an agreement that we can present to our Congress. That is still our intent. I can’t tell you how long that will take. But it is something that we are committed to and we’ll do everything we can to finalize in the coming weeks and months.
MODERATOR: Thank you.
MR. CROWLEY: Thank you very much.
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