2:30 P.M. EDT
THE WASHINGTON FOREIGN PRESS CENTER, WASHINGTON, D.C.
MS. HARF: Thank you so much. It’s a great honor to be here. Like Margot said, I am looking forward to this being the first of a regular series of briefings. On a personal note, the first podium briefing I ever did actually was at a Foreign Press Center, last year at the Democratic Convention. So it certainly holds a special place in my heart, personally, and I’m happy to be here today representing the State Department. And I’m really happy to be talking to all of you and to answer questions from our very active foreign press corps, and I’m just looking forward to the conversation. I don’t have anything at the top other than to say I’m happy to be here, and we’ll go ahead and I think Margot will be calling the questions, so I’m happy to answer them.
MS. CARRINGTON: Okay. We’ll start right here, second row.
QUESTION: Hi. Mehrnoosh Poorzeiaee from the BBC Persian.
MS. HARF: Hi.
QUESTION: My question is about Iran. A new round of talks is due soon with Iran, and also new pushes for the Senate to go ahead with new round of sanctions. State Department is very active to convince the Senate Banking Committee for the pause that the Administration is looking for, and Secretary Kerry is going to meet with them. Can you tell us about how he plans to convince the Banking Committee and the toolbox he’s using, and do you hope that you will achieve the pause you want?
MS. HARF: Well, thank you. It’s a great question. As many of you probably know, I was in Geneva for the last round of the P5+1 talks, and we’re heading there again next week, as you mentioned. I think I’d make a couple points. The first is that, as we said coming out of the last round, that we had talked at a technical and substantive level that we, quite frankly, had not had before with the Iranians through the P5+1. We believe that this is a time when there is a potential diplomatic opening to make progress on a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis, which I think all of us could agree is the preferred solution to this situation.
And quite frankly, we have an obligation to test this period. There’s a new president in Iran, a new negotiating team on the Iranian side, and we have an obligation to test this potential diplomatic opening to see if we could get a diplomatic solution.
So as part of that, we believe that a pause – a small pause – in new sanctions being imposed by Congress is in the best interests of the negotiating process, that we believe that we need some time and space to test this diplomatic opening and to see where this path may lead. As we know, the reason we’re back at the table today is because of – is exactly because of the incredibly harsh sanctions we have in place. But right now we think it’s in the best interest of the negotiating process to take a step back and take a small pause to see where this could go.
QUESTION: But do we know that – do you hope that this going to happen? Or if it doesn’t, how damaging it’s going to be to the talks?
MS. HARF: Well, we’ll continue the discussions. Tomorrow, Secretary Kerry, as you mentioned, and Secretary Lew will be up on the Hill briefing the Senate Banking Committee on Iran in closed session up on the Hill. So it’s an ongoing conversation with Congress. And again, I would reiterate, one of the reasons we’re here is precisely because Congress has worked with us to impose incredibly harsh sanctions. Excuse me. So we’re going to keep working with them. We all have the same goal here of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And those conversations, of course, will be ongoing.
QUESTION: And quick question on Iran.
MS. HARF: I’ll stay up here for a while. Last follow-up, and then we’ll move on. It’s okay. Go ahead.
QUESTION: The – Iraq heavy water reaction has been on the side of the discussions mostly, and most of the attention has been on Fordow. Do you think if there is any plan to put that on the forefront, considering then some reports on – and the analysis that having trying to embrace that as a big concern?
MS. HARF: Well, I’d make two points. The first is that, in terms of the details of what’s actually being discussed at the table, we have purposefully kept those very quiet – we have as well as the Iranians have. And I think that’s a testament to how serious all sides are taking this. We’ve also said, broadly speaking, that all issues are on the table for discussion. That would obviously include the different facilities you mentioned, other issues as well. Those negotiations will continue next week in Geneva. I’m sure we’ll be talking about it a lot more after that.
MS. CARRINGTON: Okay. We’ll go here, and then we’ll go to New York after that.
MS. HARF: Great.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MS. HARF: You’re welcome.
QUESTION: Donghui Yu with China Review News Agency of Hong Kong. We have seen a lot of rise in rhetoric in the past week over the dispute between China and Japan, and yesterday the Japanese Defense Minister said that the intrusion by China in the territorial water around the Senkaku Islands falls in the gray zone between the peace time and the emergency situation. So do you see the escalating tension over there? And under the current situation, what kinds of role that the United States will play to mitigate it – the tension? I know have said that the United States will see the dispute resolved by the diplomatic way or peaceful means. But what kinds of role the United States could play? Thank you.
MS. HARF: Well, thank you for the question; it’s a good one. I’d make a couple points. The first is that we obviously believe that good relations between countries in the region are actually in the interest of those countries and of the United States. So we would encourage the use of diplomatic and other peaceful means to manage and resolve these kinds of disagreements.
Our position on these territorial issues has not changed. We’ve been very clear and consistent on that. But we do believe that it’s up to the folks on the ground themselves to try and work through these issues diplomatically. Obviously, we’ve talked about them in multilateral situations – when I was in – with the Secretary at ASEAN in Brunei, two ASEANs ago, in the middle of the summer. Obviously, this issue comes up. He was just recently on a long trip through Asia where this came up in multiple settings as well. We are encouraging the parties to work through this diplomatically, helping in any way we can to encourage that, but again, it’s up to the folks there to work through them through diplomatic means.
MS. CARRINGTON: Okay. We’ll take a question from New York. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Thank you very much for this opportunity. This is Kahraman Haliscelik with Turkey’s national broadcaster TRT. I have two quick questions for you. One, on Syria: Syrian coalition recently said that if Mr. Assad was part of the future of Syria, which means it was part of the transition, they would not attend the Geneva 2 conference. What is your stance? Do you believe that he can be part of the transition, or do you think that he has no place in the future of Syria? And what do you tell the Syrian coalition about this?
And my second question is about the NSA surveillance program. We have --
MS. HARF: Can I do your Syria question first, and then go to your NSA question? Stay on the screen. I will come back to that, I promise. Just so I don’t forget all the questions you asked on Syria.
So, on Syria and on Geneva – so the political transition that will come out of the Geneva 2 conference is based on the Geneva 1 communique. And what that outlines, that communique, is that a transitional government needs to be based on mutual consent. And there is no way under mutual consent that the opposition would allow Assad to play a role in the future of Syria. We’ve been clear that he’s lost all legitimacy and cannot play a role, but the terms laid out in Geneva 1 make that very clear.
We’ve also been clear that at a Geneva 2 conference, there will be a delegation representing the regime and there will be a delegation representing the opposition. As we all, I think, are well aware, the composition of those delegations is still being discussed. The coalition has an upcoming general assembly meeting of their own to start discussing and hopefully make some decisions on what their coalition will look like.
Ambassador Ford and others have continued – excuse me – talking to the coalition, to the opposition, to help work with them to get more unified, and indeed, to get a delegation that’s ready for Geneva 2. But obviously, it’s complicated and it’s difficult, and we are still tracking, hopefully, towards late November but don’t have a date set for the conference yet.
And your second question on NSA.
QUESTION: On the NSA.
MS. HARF: Yes.
QUESTION: We have credible sources telling us that actually the Turkish leadership has been under the surveillance by the NSA. Now what do you have to say on that one? Has this come up in any of the conversations between the leaders, or the foreign ministers, in fact? And what is the extent of NSA’s surveillance? I mean, you probably won’t answer that one. But what is the extent of it on Turkey?
MS. HARF: I like when you preface your question like that. I also like the television situation. We might want to do this in the briefing room over at State. I like it.
It’s – obviously, I know – I’m sure there are a lot of questions in this room about NSA and surveillance. I’m sure we will have a lengthy discussion on that today. In terms of Turkey, we obviously don’t speak specifically to alleged intelligence activities about any one country or another. I think the – there’s a couple of overall points I’ll make here about NSA, and then I’m happy to open it up to more questions on that.
The first is that there is an ongoing review right now. That is an interagency review – it includes people from the State Department – but who are looking at a couple of different things. They’re looking at our head of state collection, they’re looking – and posture. They’re looking at how we coordinate with our closest allies and partners, because quite frankly, we have very robust intelligence sharing relationship with many of our allies and partners around the world – and what further guiding principles or constraints might be necessary.
And look, at the end of this review, which is going to be done by the end of the year, if we need to make changes, we will. We’ve been very clear about that. And the President’s also been very clear that just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should do something. And it doesn’t – it doesn’t just speak to our security. We need to do what we must to protect our security, but it also needs to fit into our broader foreign policy strategy of how we achieve our objective. And quite frankly, as part of this process, we’re talking to our partners and allies. And if we do this right, we believe we can not only allay some of their concerns, but also forge stronger intelligence sharing relationships going forward. So that’s sort of the ultimate goal of this process. And those conversations are ongoing, and I’m sure they will be in the coming weeks and months as well.
MS. CARRINGTON: Go ahead. Go here.
QUESTION: Hello. Paul Lewis from the Guardian newspaper. Following on the line from the NSA, U.S. intelligence leaders have said that spying on other foreign leaders is routine, all nations do it. In the words of Clapper yesterday, it’s a hardy perennial. And yet the White House has made clear through off-the-record briefings and Feinstein on-the-record that Obama has stopped the monitoring of Angela Merkel’s phone. Why would he stop something which is routine among all nations?
MS. HARF: Well, a couple of points on that. The first is that I’m not going to confirm one way or the other specific alleged intelligence activities. As I said, one of the things the ongoing review is doing is looking at our posture regarding heads of state. That’s ongoing. If we need to make changes, we will do so. So I’m not going to speak to those specifics, necessarily.
But again, we’ve said that our broader intelligence gathering efforts need to not only speak to how we best protect our security, but also how we best protect privacy, and how it fits into our overall foreign policy strategy. So that’s – all those discussions are ongoing right now. I’ll let the DNI speak for himself. We have said broadly speaking that we collect the kinds of intelligence that many countries around the world collect, and indeed, that many countries around the world share with one another, because it’s important. So without speaking to any specifics, that – what he said is certainly true.
QUESTION: Okay. Let me ask in that case – I mean, I don’t think that answered the question at all, so I’ll ask some specifics about specifics, something that the White House has said on the record.
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: So they said on the record that Merkel’s phone has not – is not currently being monitored.
MS. HARF: And will not be.
QUESTION: And will not be. And I think that’s an assurance the President gave the Chancellor of Germany. Is there any reason the U.S. would not give a similar assurance to another world leader?
MS. HARF: Those conversations are – I don’t know if you’re talking about a specific person or --
QUESTION: Well, let’s say the President of France or Spain were to --
MS. HARF: Well, so those conversations would be ongoing directly and individually as people raise those concerns. And one of the things we’re doing right now is talking to individual partners and allies about their concerns and how our relationship will work together in the future. And it’s case-by-case basis.
QUESTION: If a leader of an ally phones the White House and asked to know whether their phone is being monitored, they will be provided an answer, yes or no?
MS. HARF: We’re having those discussions with anyone who raises them in diplomatic channels. They’re ongoing.
MS. CARRINGTON: Okay. The row in front there. This gentleman, third floor.
MS. HARF: Lots of hands here.
QUESTION: Hi. My name is Uros Piper. I’m a correspondent of Tanjug news agency from Serbia. My question is on Kosovo. A few days ago, authorities in Pristina said that they will arrest Serbian Minister Vulin if he enters Kosovo. And yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister from Serbia said that they will together go to Kosovo on Friday because the elections. So my question is: What is the purpose of that move from Pristina? Because it looks like that they don’t want Serbs to go to the elections on Sunday. And what is the position of State Department on that? Thanks.
MS. HARF: It’s a very good question, one to which – I hope I don’t have to say this too many times today – I don’t know the answer. But I’m happy to take the question, and if you give one of us your contact information – I’m sure they have it – I am happy to email you an answer. I just don’t know the answer. I’m sorry. I hope I don’t say that too many times, but I appreciate the question and thank you for it.
MS. CARRINGTON: We’ll go to New York.
QUESTION: Hi. Marta Torres from La Razon newspaper from Spain. How is the mood between the White House staff and State Department people among the spies and the intelligence community given that there has been a German delegation this morning in the White House, and there has been some other people from the European Union in the White House? It seems that the White House people are trying to keep things down after all the mess that – if I can say that – that the intelligence community has been done.
MS. HARF: Well, just a couple points. I’m glad you raised the delegations in town. Maybe this would be helpful. I’m sure people know this, but I’ll say it again.
We do have several delegations in town. Today, there are three European parliamentarian committees in D.C. for meetings with congressional counterparts, the Administration, and other U.S. stakeholders. They did meet at the State Department today with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland. So State Department is very engaged. We’ve said throughout this process we’ll talk about these issues through diplomatic channels.
As you mentioned, there’s also a German delegation in town today. They are meeting at the White House. Also have some meetings at the State Department as well.
So I think it’s important to remember that the White House, the State Department, the intelligence community, all of us here, are working towards a common goal, right, of doing what we can to both protect our people, our allies, quite frankly, and figuring out the best tools to do that. Are there a variety of opinions? Of course. I’ve worked in a number of different agencies in this government and I always know there are a variety of opinions, but that’s actually a good thing. That’s why all of these folks are sitting together today on this interagency review process that’s led by the White House to say, okay, what can we do, what should we be doing, and why or why not? And that’s why – this is the review that will be done by the end of the year.
And I should make the point here that when that review is completed, our goal is to put as much of that out as that out as possible. Obviously, some things will remain classified, but we think it’s important not only to talk one on one through diplomatic channels, to governments, but we think it’s very important to talk to the American people, and also people around the world, to tell them and to show them that we had a process, we’re making changes if we need to, and quite frankly, to reassure folks about what we do, what we don’t do, and why we do or don’t do things.
MODERATOR: Okay. We’ll go to the gentleman in the back there. Yeah.
QUESTION: Thank you. My name is Andrey Surzhanskiy. I’m with ITAR-TASS News Agency of Russia. First of all, thank you for doing this briefing. My question is on arms control. Is the issue of further reduction of nuclear weapons still well on the agenda of this Administration? And if so, would you be willing to go along in reducing your arsenals if you don’t reach a deal with Russia on this issue?
And secondly, if I may, this Administration has been saying until recently that it’s still committed to the CTBT Treaty. The question is this: Can we expect any actions from this government in the foreseeable future in terms of pushing U.S. Senate to ratify this treaty? Do you have such plans at all? Thank you.
MS. HARF: Thank you. On the second question, I don’t know of any upcoming specific plans. We are still committed to the CTBT. Obviously, it’s part of our broader arms control agenda that we’ve talked about since the President first outlined it in his speech in Prague, certainly through our nuclear security summits that we had in Washington and in Seoul over a number of years. And this is definitely one of our priorities. The New START Treaty that we got done in the first term was, I think, one of our biggest successes in foreign policy.
So what we’re looking to do now, broadly speaking, is to continue working with Russia to reduce our arsenals. We’ve said that this needs to happen on both sides, right? We’re not going to unilaterally reduce our arsenal, but that’s why we work closely with the Russians on this issue. Other priorities are continuing to lock down loose nuclear material, particularly in that region but elsewhere. You talked about the CTBT. Also, of course, falling into this arms control category is preventing additional states from getting nuclear weapons. When we talk about Iran, for example, that certainly falls into this category.
So we will certainly keep working with the Russians on this issue. This is one area, when people ask about our relationship with Russia, that I think we have had success. I think we both see that there are ways we can work to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons by working together, and certainly hope we will continue to do so.
MODERATOR: Okay – take a question here.
QUESTION: Thank you. John Zang with CTI TV of Taiwan. Have a couple of quick China/Taiwan questions for you.
MS. HARF: Okay.
QUESTION: President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan, in a recent formal address, said that the relationship between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan is not a international relationship, which has caused quite a stir among opposition supporters. How does the United States see President Ma’s characterization of the cross-trade relationship? How would the United States define that kind of relationship?
A second question: There are people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait who say that there might be a possible meeting between President Ma and President Xi, given the relaxed atmosphere and increased exchanges across the Taiwan Strait. Would the United States support and facilitate such a meeting between leaders of the two sides? Thank you.
MS. HARF: Thank you for the questions. Well, first, I’d say that broadly we welcome steps that both sides of the Taiwan Strait have taken in reducing tensions and improving relations. And clearly, we hope these efforts will continue. So I don’t know any specifics about that reported possible meeting, but clearly, broadly speaking, we hope these efforts will continue.
We believe, and we have always believed, that maintenance of cross-strait stability is essential to promoting peace and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region. Whether or when or how to engage in political talks is really a matter for appropriate authorities on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to decide. I think that speaks to you question about a possible meeting. We support peaceful resolution of differences in a manner that’s acceptable to people on both sides of the Strait, and again, hope that some of these efforts we’ve seen to reduce tensions will continue.
MODERATOR: Okay. We’ll take on question from here. Then we will come to New York. How about here in the middle, the gentleman here.
QUESTION: Oh, hi. I’m Nick O’Malley from the Sydney Morning Herald. I wanted to go back to the NSA. Clearly, revelations about the NSA’s activities have now become part of the negotiation process with – a trade negotiation with the EU, and complicated that to some extent. I was wondering if, similarly, concerns about the NSA have been raised in talks between the U.S. and the partners in the TPP.
MS. HARF: It’s a good question. Let me speak to the first half of what you said, and then I will address the second half. I think you’re referring to TTIP, I’m assuming, in the first half of your question. So the next round of TTIP negotiations are actually being scheduled right now. So I think it’s fair to say that we’re moving forward on this goal.
One point we’ve made, and I think this speaks to both TTIP and TTP, is that we do not – while these are incredibly important issues to discuss, and they should be discussed as such, we do not want or think these disclosures and these discussions should distract from working together on very important trade agreements. If we just want to talk about the conversations we’ve had with our folks about TTIP, we think it would be a mistake to let these issues distract from our mutual goal of negotiating a 21st century agreement that increases bilateral trade and investment, creates jobs, and increases international competiveness. These issues are too important, quite frankly, to let us be distracted by the conversations about NSA. They’re important conversations; we just think they should be separate.
QUESTION: Have they been raised, though? Have partners in those negotiations around Asia and the Pacific raised concerns?
MS. HARF: Not to my knowledge. I don’t have knowledge into every single conversation, but again, not to my knowledge. And as I mentioned, in TTIP, where they have been raised, again, we’re working to schedule the next round right now, so hopefully that will move forward as well. And we did get a lot of work done on TPP during our recent – during the Secretary’s recent trip to Asia as well. I should point that out.
MODERATOR: Okay. I promised to throw it to New York, so let’s do that.
MS. HARF: Yes, going to the TV.
MODERATOR: New York, go ahead.
QUESTION: Good afternoon. This is Sylviane Zehil from L’Orient Le Jour, Beirut. My question is on Lebanon. Today the United States expressed deep concern on the situation in Lebanon, especially in Tripoli, the north part of Lebanon. And also, they hold a lot of weapon coming from Syria to Lebanon. How – what are the mechanism put in – new mechanism put in place to protect Lebanon from the fallout of – from the war in Syria?
MS. HARF: Well, it’s a great question, and I think that we’ve seen not just in Lebanon, but in Iraq, elsewhere, the horrible spillover effect that Syria has had in the region. Not only has it hurt the Syrian people, but it’s hurt people all around the region, including in Lebanon and Iraq and elsewhere. So we will keep working with our partners in the region. We will keep working with the Lebanese Government, with the Iraqi Government to help them build their counterterrorism capacities, to help them manage the spillover effect of this violence from Syria.
And quite frankly, it’s why we think it’s so important to get to a Geneva 2 situation, where we can resolve this politically, because we’ve been clear that there’s no military solution, that this will continue, the violence will continue. It will continue in Lebanon, in Iraq, and elsewhere around the region if we don’t get a political solution as soon as we can.
MS. CARRINGTON: Okay. We’ll go to the lady right here, in the middle here.
QUESTION: Thank you. Thank you very much. I thought we already used up the – this line with the questions. (Laughter.) Anyway, thank you for this opportunity. My name is Jenny Ilustre. I’m with the Malaya Philippine News Daily. Please give us the latest update on the framework agreement regarding the presence of U.S. troops in the Philippines. And what are the likelihood that it will be implemented before the year’s end because of the escalation of the situation that is also affecting the region? And thank you very much.
MS. HARF: Thank you for the question. I think this is the latest. I’m happy to check when I get back to the office to make sure I haven’t missed anything. But I know we talked about this during the Secretary’s – Secretary Hagel and Secretary Kerry’s trip to the region.
As we do with our other friends and allies, we and the Philippines are reviewing our cooperation to ensure we are adequately addressing our common security interests. We’ve held multiple rounds, as you know, on this agreement. We made progress on it when we were there on the trip. I can get the latest in terms of actually what’s happening there, but I don’t have an update past what the Secretary said when he was there during his trip.
MS. CARRINGTON: Can you use the mike for the follow-up, please?
MS. HARF: Yeah.
QUESTION: I’m hearing that the next round of talks might be starting from square one again instead of a final round of talks. Are there any – have they hit any snags on this? And is the 20-year duration and the number of troops at a time, the number of fighter jets at a time – has the numbers changed?
MS. HARF: Well, I don’t know the specifics on numbers. I’m happy to look into that a little bit. But I would take issue, I think, with the notion that it’s starting from square one. I do think we’ve made a lot of progress on these negotiations throughout a number of different rounds of talks. I know we made progress when we were there on this recent Asia trip. I would disagree with the notion that we’re starting from square one. I think we’re making good progress and hopefully can get this done soon.
MS. CARRINGTON: Okay. We’ll take a question from the middle, in the back there. There’s no quota per line, by the way, just to be clear. (Laughter.)
MS. HARF: Sometimes people have to tell me that too. It’s okay.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. My name is Fouad Arif from the Moroccan News Agency. Marie, first of all, it’s great to see you here at the National Foreign Press Center.
MS. HARF: Thank you.
QUESTION: My question is with regard to Edward Snowden. What’s the status of your conversations with the Russians? Are you still talking to the Russians to hand you Snowden? Or have you ceased talking to them in this regard? Thank you very much.
MS. HARF: So I don’t have any new updates for you. As we’ve said from the beginning of the Snowden situation, when he ended up in Russia, that we – a couple points: That we obviously believe he needs to be returned to the United States as soon as possible to face the three felony charges that he is currently charged with. We think that needs to happen as soon as possible. We have raised this, as you know, with the Russians and believe that he needs to be returned to the United States.
We’ve also said that we don’t want this issue to inhibit our ability to work with the Russians on other issues. So I would note the fact that we and the Russians worked together very closely just over the past few months on negotiating and getting agreements on how to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.
So there was a lot of talk, I know, when Edward Snowden first ended up in Russia about what this meant for the future of the U.S.-Russia relationship. I think it’s clear that while we have differences, we have a lot of places where we can work together on – like the gentleman from the Russian paper asked – on nonproliferation, on the Syria CW issue. And again, next week, we’re going to the P5+1, sitting right there with the Russians in a very united way.
So I don’t know of any new conversations. Our position hasn’t changed on him. We still call for him to be returned.
MS. CARRINGTON: Okay. We’ll take a question from New York, New York hub.
QUESTION: Yes. Hello. Martin Burcharth, U.S. correspondent for the Danish newspaper Information. I’d like to ask you – you mentioned heads of state – it’s in regard to NSA. Well, Angela Merkel is not head of state. She is what is equivalent to a prime minister. Senator Feinstein on Monday said that she wanted spying to not be directed at prime ministers and presidents. So I’m left perplexed by your statement of head – by you saying heads of state. I’d like you to clarify that. And is there a possibility that in the future the NSA actually would also spy on ministers at a lower level? First question.
Second question, it relates to the same issue.
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: We have the Five Eyes agreement between a number of commonwealth nations and United States on security relationships, which is much tighter than it is with the second tier, the B group, which encompasses most European nations. Are you saying – I’m hearing you saying that all these relationships will be renegotiated by the end of the line and we will know more about that at the end of this year. Thank you.
MS. HARF: Thank you for the questions. On the first question, I said that the review was looking at several things, but basically, the review is looking at sort of everything we do and whether we should be doing it. So I appreciate the point on the civics lesson about heads of state versus ministers. I do. But I wouldn’t say that heads of state is all encompassing for what the review’s looking at. That’s just an example.
But the review is looking at everything we do and whether we should be doing it, whether it helps our foreign policy, whether it helps our security, and how that fits into privacy. So that’s all being reviewed right now. The review is scheduled to be done by the end of the year, and as I said, when that happens, we will endeavor to share as much of it as possible.
On the second question, we are continuing our discussions with close allies and partners about how we work together. We want to continue these. We want to be as transparent and open as possible because we think they’re important issues. And quite frankly, as I said, we believe that this is an opportunity to do a couple things. One is actually to allay some concerns, because while I won’t speak to specific allegations, some of what’s out there isn’t true, and it’s important to clarify for them privately, diplomatically, what’s not, but also to say, “Okay, how can we work together going forward? How can we share intelligence? How can you trust us that we’re not stepping outside the lines, that you can trust us?” Right? Because that trust is incredibly important.
So those conversations are going on with a number of partners around the world. I would take issue with your B-group suggestion. Our close allies and partners – we’re having those discussions right now – as you said, the Germans are in town today – and we’ll keep having them going forward.
MS. CARRINGTON: Okay. We have a question way in the back, proving you get a question even if you don’t get a seat. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Thank you.
MS. HARF: There are some seats up front. You don’t want to come sit in the front here?
QUESTION: (Inaudible.) Richard Latendresse with (inaudible) TVA network. (Inaudible) foreign policy issue – anything new on Keystone? It sounds like – it looks like a decision will come only in 2014 unless you have something else to --
MS. HARF: I don’t have any update on Keystone. As you know, the process we’re undertaking at the State Department is ongoing. We’ve never said there was a timeline for when it’s done. We believe that we need to take the time to do it in a very rigorous manner. We’ve been incorporating for a long time a huge amount of public comments we got on it, but I don’t have an update on timing for you. Again, there’s just nothing on the schedule at this point.
QUESTION: But definitely not before the end of the year?
MS. HARF: I don’t even want to guess because then if it comes next week, you’ll call me and yell at me, so I just – I don’t have any idea. Thank you.
MS. CARRINGTON: Okay. Unfortunately, I think we may only have time for one more. I apologize to New York because we’d like to have a --
MS. HARF: I’ll come back in a few weeks. Don’t worry.
MS. CARRINGTON: Yes, this’ll be a regular event. We’d like to have a chance to sort of do a toast with Marie before she leaves for another appointment, so I’ll take a question in the front here.
QUESTION: Thank you. Thank you very much. Mounzer Sleiman with Al Mayadeen TV.
MS. HARF: Hello.
QUESTION: There was background briefing today on visit of Prime Minister Maliki and I didn’t get the chance to ask my question, so I’m going to --
MS. HARF: Okay. Well, you can ask me on the record here, look at that.
QUESTION: Yeah. (Laughter.)
MS. HARF: Even better --
QUESTION: Well --
MS. HARF: -- if you get an answer. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Right. What Maliki will be able to get from United States as far as tools to fight in the fight to counter terrorism? There was in – a kind of statement from the background suggests that there would be sharing of intelligence, of information, et cetera. But those will not be sufficient. The Government of Iraq is asking for tools like some military equipment, especially helicopters and other tools. And one goal of United States for Iraq to improve its relation with the region --
MS. HARF: Absolutely, mm-hmm.
QUESTION: -- one country was missing from the discussion is Saudi Arabia. What’s your assessment of that? Is the United States playing and mediating a role in that regard, especially with the accusation that Saudi Arabia is a part of the turmoil that occurring now in Iraq?
MS. HARF: Thank you for your question.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MS. HARF: I will talk a little bit about Iraq. I appreciate it. As folks know, the – Prime Minister Maliki is in town. On Friday, he’ll be meeting with the President at the White House. And this visit, I think, really underscores the importance of the U.S.-Iraq relationship, but also the Strategic Framework Agreement that right now we’re operating under in terms of our bilateral relationship.
I think a couple of points: The first is that we know that the terrorist threat in Iraq is getting worse. We know it’s an increasingly tough problem for them. That’s why we’re committed to working with the Iraqi Government to help them get the tools they need to fight it. Counterterrorism tools are different in every country for every different situation. A part of that is intelligence sharing, absolutely. Part of that is talking about military equipment. I know we’ve talked about that a little bit.
I would say that we, at this point, delivered more than 14 billion in foreign military sales to the Iraqi Government. This has provided, I think, some good capabilities. We also want to keep working with them to figure out what else they need. We’ll work with Congress on that, of course. And whether it’s training, whether it’s equipment, we’re certainly committed to that relationship going forward.
What was the second part of your question? Oh, the Saudis.
QUESTION: The Saudis.
MS. HARF: Yes, thank you, sorry.
QUESTION: But can I follow up on --
MS. HARF: Yes, go ahead.
MS. CARRINGTON: We’re running short on time, though, just --
MS. HARF: Follow up quickly, quickly, quickly.
QUESTION: You did not say anything specifically. You said 14 billion, but they still, with the 14 billion they got, they --
MS. HARF: They need more.
QUESTION: They need more. They need --
MS. HARF: And we’re in discussions with them right now.
QUESTION: --- specifically for surveillance for the borders, for --
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: -- also to fight with helicopters and others, maybe drones. Are these things that they can get?
MS. HARF: Well, without getting into specifics about what they may or may not get, those discussions are what’s going to happen over the next few days, so I don’t want to get ahead of that. But we’ve been working with them, we’ve been working with Congress, to figure out what the right tools are for them to fight terrorism, what the most effective tools are to fight terrorism, and we’re going to keep having those conversations.
You did point out that regionally Iraq has worked to improve its ties. Whether it’s high-level visits with Turkish leaders, ending Gulf War-era disputes with Kuwait, those have been important steps in the process, and we would encourage them to do more of that.
The relationship with Saudi Arabia is one I know folks think is a very important one. I don’t – in terms of a specific role we’re playing, obviously we are close partners with both of those countries and would encourage them to work through any issues they might have. But again, I don’t have a specific – anything specific for you on a mediating role. But we would encourage both of them to keep working together, because, quite frankly, they share a lot of the same security concerns in the region, whether it’s spillover from Syria, whether it’s what’s going on with Iran and their nuclear program.
We have a lot of the same goals here, so we’ll keep working with both parties to get everyone to a good place.
MS. CARRINGTON: Okay. Unfortunately, that’s all the time we have. Ms. Harf is staying for a few minutes to have a glass of wine. You’re all invited to join us. Please, if you don’t mind --
MS. HARF: I would like a glass of wine every day at about this time. (Laughter.) I’m going to come back every week and do this. Thank you all very much. I really appreciate it.
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