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State Department Briefing, September 13

13 September 2005

North Korea, Egypt, China, Japan, Iran

State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli briefed the press September 13.

Following is the transcript of the State Department briefing:

(begin transcript)

U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing Index
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
1:04 p.m. EDT

Briefer:  Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman

-- A/S Hill's Schedule in Beijing/Resumption of Six-Party Talks/Statement of Principles

-- Security at Rafah Border Crossing Following Israeli Withdrawal

-- Secretary Rice to Attend President Bush's Meeting with President Hu/Additional Meetings Scheduled With Secretary Rice and Other Chinese Officials

-- President Bush Congratulated Prime Minister Koizumi and the LDP on Victory in Elections/Assessment of the Past by All Parties in the Region

-- Call for Re-suspension of Enrichment Activity and Return to Talks with Europeans/Broken Commitments/U.S. Engagement with Europeans and the IAEA



1:04 p.m. EDT

MR. ERELI:  A small but committed following, thank you for coming.  I don't have any statements to start off with today, so let's go to your questions.

QUESTION:  Do you have anything to say about the dinner in Beijing where the six-party process got off Tuesday night, their time?

MR. ERELI:  Well, let's go -- let's start before that.  Assistant Secretary Hill arrived in Beijing today from Seoul.  In the afternoon, in Beijing, he had a bilateral with the Chinese delegation and that was followed by a brief heads of delegation meeting that focused largely on logistical issues.  And then the third event was the heads of delegation dinner hosted by the Chinese.  It included conversations with all the parties.  It wasn't a long dinner.

I think on the basis of our discussions with the parties in Beijing today, it was agreed to resume where they left off in August, specifically with the Chinese fourth draft of a joint statement as a starting point.  And they agreed that they want to see progress at the talks this week.

I would note that tomorrow we are looking forward to separate meetings with all five delegations, as well as a heads of delegation meeting.  So I think the real serious, substantive engagement on the fourth draft will begin in earnest tomorrow.

QUESTION:  Did the North Koreans talk about their requirement that they be allowed to have a civil nuclear power capability?

MR. ERELI:  I'm not going to speak for the North Koreans.  I think you know what our -- we've been pretty outspoken and clear about what our views on that are, that, you know, North Korea needs to get out of the nuclear game period.  But obviously, as Assistant Secretary Hill has made clear, when you are in these kinds of negotiations, you've got to deal with all the issues on the table.  That is what we are working toward and trying to achieve agreement on a statement of principles.  That's what we will be doing tomorrow.

QUESTION:  Could you talk about the developments at the Rafah crossing?  It's our understanding that Egyptian border guards were essentially letting anyone and everyone go back and forth and jump the fence, both yesterday and today.

MR. ERELI:  Yes.

QUESTION:  Is the United States at all concerned about that?  Have you been in touch with either the Egyptians or the Palestinians about it?

MR. ERELI:  There is nothing particularly new we have to say on that.  I don't know if I've seen the reports that you're referring to.  Obviously the role of the Egyptians in terms of supporting border security in the wake of the Israeli withdrawal is something that has been worked out to the satisfaction of all sides -- Israeli, Palestinian and Egyptian.  That this is an important role that Egypt is playing.

It's a significant contribution, we think, to not only facilitating withdrawal but also to supporting security and helping the Palestinians and meeting, you know, the needs of both parties for security and for moving forward in terms of helping the Palestinians exercise control over that territory.  But as far as recent events, given -- that have transpired since the Israelis left, I don't have anything new for you on that.

QUESTION:  Could you check?  I mean I guess we've got eyewitness --

MR. ERELI:  Yes.  Well, I'll see if we've got anything.

QUESTION:  -- accounts of essentially of no control.  People just walking back and forth and the Egyptian guards not stopping them.

MR. ERELI:  I'll see if we've got anything on it.

Don't all raise your hands at once.  Yes.

QUESTION:  President Bush is going to meet with the Chinese President this afternoon in New York.

MR. ERELI:  Right.

QUESTION:  I'm wondering if Secretary Rice is going to meet her counterpart.

MR. ERELI:  Secretary Rice will certainly be part of the meeting with President Hu and President Bush.  What other meetings are scheduled with the Secretary and other possible Chinese officials, I'd refer to our press office in New York.  They've got the latest there.  If you don't have the number, we can give it to you.


MR. ERELI:  Okay.

QUESTION:  Thanks.

QUESTION:  As we discussed yesterday the Japanese (inaudible) democratic party had (inaudible) the other day in the general election.  Some people, some people, especially in Japan's neighboring countries like Korea, South Korea or China, are afraid for the Prime Minister to pay visit to so-called Yasukuni Shrine again.  I'm wondering what is the U.S. idea -- U.S. position, regarding with this issue.  Do you support the Japanese Prime Minister to pay visit to the Yasukuni Shrine or you don't like the Japanese Prime Minister to do that?

MR. ERELI:  Let me first point you to a statement issued by the White House yesterday, in which President Bush congratulated Prime Minister Koizumi and the LDP on its victory in the elections.  President Bush also called -- I think Scott McClelland talked about this in his briefing earlier today -- President Bush called Prime Minister Koizumi to congratulate him.

As far as the specific issue that you raise, I think the U.S. position is well known that there needs to be an honest and forthright assessment of the past by all parties concerned in the terrible events of the earlier part of -- the middle part of last century.  This is a process that all nations go through.  It is an honest and open historical assessment.  There are clearly sensitivities in the region and it is up to the countries in that region, I think, to note and work with an awareness of those sensitivities.

QUESTION:  So you mean then Japan, China or South Korea should discuss together on this issue?

MR. ERELI:  I don't really want to elaborate further.

Yes, ma'am.

QUESTION:  President Bush in his press conference with President Talabani a short while ago, said on the Iranian UN Security Council question he didn't exactly answer the question of whether he thought it would be -- that referral would come soon.  But he did say something at the end about we'll see what the Iranians' answer is during their visit to New York.  Is the Administration expecting some sort of statement or interaction with the Iranians in New York that would give you some answer on their nuclear development questions?

MR. ERELI:  I think what we are expecting, frankly is we are expecting and believe Iran should re-suspend and return to negotiations with the Europeans.  I mean the fact of the matter is they committed to the Europeans to have talks.  They walked away from those talks.  They broke their commitment to the Europeans.  That's a bad thing.  And that's something that, first and foremost, I think, shows where the Iranians are, not just with respect to us, but with respect to other important members of the international community.  And so what we want to see is a return to those talks and a re-suspension of the enrichment activity, and that is what the Europeans are working towards, that's what we are working towards.  And I think that's what the international community wants to see as well and this being done in a way that can also lead to answering IAEA -- outstanding questions from the IAEA.

QUESTION:  But that's where --

MR. ERELI:  It's up to Iran.  Could they say something about it in the UN?  Yeah, I suppose they could.  I don't have any sort of update to the diplomacy on this issue to share with you with specific respect to what's going on in the UN in the next couple of days, other than to say that this is something that we remain actively engaged on with the Europeans, with the members of the IAEA Board of Governors because it is a big step backwards that we want to reverse.

QUESTION:  What does "actively engaged" mean at this point?  I mean, for the last couple of weeks, there's been --

MR. ERELI:  I don't have anything -- I don't have any specific new steps to share with you in New York on that.  I think that -- I just don't have anything new to share with you on that.


(The briefing was concluded at 1:16 p.m.)

(end transcript)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

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