State Department Briefing, November 16
16 November 2005
Iraq, Spain, Israel/Palestinians, Ireland, Egypt, Ethiopia, Turkey, Syria, Bulgaria, China
State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli briefed the press November 16.
Following is the transcript of the State Department briefing:
U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing Index
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
1:10 p.m. EST
Briefer: Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman
-- Iraqi Response to Reports on Detention Center/Detainee Treatment
-- U.S. Position on Iraq's Investigation into Allegations of Abuse
-- Query on CIA Flights using Spanish Airports & Relations with European Nations/Cooperation with European Countries in the Global War on Terror
-- Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried's Meetings in Spain
-- Embassy Correspondence and Conversations
-- Rafah Border Crossing Agreement
-- General Dayton's Start Date and Role as U.S. Security Coordinator to the Middle East Peace Process
-- Special Envoy to Northern Ireland Mitchell Reiss's Meetings with Robert McCartney Sisters and British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Peter Hain
-- Assistant Secretary of State C. David Welch's Travel & Meeting Schedule
-- Parliamentary Election Process and Results/Democratic Development
-- U.S. Position on Elections and Violence/Respect for International Standards/Opening of Media Organizations
-- Foreign Minister Gul's Visit to Syria/Shared Goals with Respect to Syria's Behavior
-- Government of Syria's Cooperation with Mehlis Investigation Terms
-- U.S. and Bulgarian Cooperation on Security, Economic, and Political Issues/Negotiations on U.S. Military Bases
-- Reports of Chinese pressure to Revoke Reporter's APEC Credential/U.S. Support for Equal and Free Access of the Media to Public Event
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2005
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
1:10 p.m. EST
MR. ERELI: Good afternoon everyone, welcome to our briefing today. Who would like to ask the first question? Saul.
QUESTION: You've probably seen the report that State Department officials agree that Castro has Parkinson's disease. Is this something you can confirm?
MR. ERELI: No. I can't. I don't have any information on that.
QUESTION: Because it's classified or --
MR. ERELI: No. It's because I just don't have any information. I'll see if there's anything we have that we're prepared to share with the public.
QUESTION: The Iranian -- you remember the case in Iran of the Canadian journalist and you and Canada or the Western governments complained that the trial wasn't fair. Apparently they're reopening the case. Is that something you welcome?
MR. ERELI: I'm not familiar with the latest developments. Let me see if I can get you an update. You're 0 for two. One more.
QUESTION: I can strike out?
MR. ERELI: Well, I don't know. You're the pitcher; I'm the hitter.
QUESTION: How about -- actually, I think this one is going to get me a strikeout. So Britain has agreed to extradite a computer expert and his name's Ahmad. You guys, for a while, have been trying to get him over here because -- accusing him of raising funds for militants in Afghanistan and Chechnya.
MR. ERELI: Yeah. I think that's probably law enforcement -- it is a law enforcement issue, so I'd refer you to law enforcement agencies.
QUESTION: Can I just ask a couple of things on, I think what's the diplomatic aspect of it and that is in negotiating with the British Government, I think you have to make a pledge that you wouldn't -- if this guy's extradited -- send him to Guantanomo or to a third country. Can you --
MR. ERELI: Right. I'm not familiar with those discussions, frankly.
QUESTION: Have you been asked about Iraq?
MR. ERELI: No. I've been asked about three things, which I didn't really give an answer for --
QUESTION: Well, I was going to ask about the Canary Islands, but before we get to that -- but before we get to that, this detention center, whatever, allegations of torture, does this complicate U.S. efforts to have a multiethnic successful election for parliament and a balanced, ethnically balanced new government so that Iraq can move down the path to democracy? Does it make implementing the policy more difficult because most of the people seem to have been Sunnis?
MR. ERELI: I think when looking at this important -- or this story, it's important to pay attention to what the, first and foremost, to what the Iraqis are saying. Since this horrible incident came to light, the Iraqis, first and foremost, have been very clear about where they stand on the matter. They have said that the alleged -- the treatment that is alleged to have meted out to these prisoners is against Iraqi law, that it's wrong, that they have undertaken to ensure that the detainees in question are protected and receive treatment, that actions are taken to find out who is responsible for -- what merit there is to these allegations and who is responsible and that investigations will -- and actions be taken.
And moreover, they've also said that they are going to be conducting a comprehensive investigation not only into this incident but into all facilities where detainees are being held. So I think the Iraqis have been very, very decisive and very action-oriented on this issue because they recognize that, like us, that allegations of abuse like this have a noxious effect and need to be confronted and contained and redressed quickly and effectively and transparently, and that's what they're doing.
QUESTION: Noxious effect. Well, obviously it's bad business but does it have a noxious effect on U.S. policy?
MR. ERELI: I don't see the connection, frankly.
QUESTION: You don't think it's one more problem to be overcome?
MR. ERELI: Abuse of prisoners is a problem for anybody involved with it, whether it be Iraqis under Iraqi authority or others. And that's why it's important that when abuses come to light they be -- action be taken swiftly and decisively. And that's what's happened here.
And you know, I think there's a political process underway in Iraq. I wouldn't necessarily make a connection between one incident or one set of circumstances and the other.
QUESTION: You've mentioned, you've noted, that Iraq has said it will conduct a comprehensive investigation. Some Sunnis are calling for an international investigation. Is that something you think is wise?
MR. ERELI: I think this is something that the Government of Iraq has responsibility for. They are taking steps that they think appropriate and obviously we are cooperating and supporting them as they request. But I think that we're all on the same page here that this kind of treatment is something we need to make sure doesn't happen and to take effective action in this case in which it has happened.
QUESTION: So are you confident they can conduct a credible investigation?
MR. ERELI: We have every reason to believe that they can and will.
QUESTION: Adam, the UN's special investigator for torture, Manfred Nowak, is also saying he believes there should be an international investigation conducted probably by the United Nations because he said these are not the first -- obviously, these are not the first allegations of abuse and he thinks they all should be looked at by an international body.
Are your comments about -- are your previous comments applicable to that suggestion as well?
MR. ERELI: This is something, I mean, I would leave it to the Iraqi Government to comment on its reaction to statements by UN officials. Our position is that the Iraqi Government is taking steps that are necessary and welcome and that we are going to work with them to help ensure that this is a full, complete, transparent and effective investigation.
QUESTION: Adam, would any member of the Security Council or whatever forum --
MR. ERELI: This is not an issue to refer to the Security Council.
QUESTION: Not now, but is it -- in any forum it may come up, you would say this is not necessary?
MR. ERELI: Again, right -- under the present circumstances, what we have now we believe that what the steps the Iraqi Government have taken are effective and it's sufficient, I think.
QUESTION: Change of subject? Can we go back to the CIA prisoners' flights --
MR. ERELI: Why not.
QUESTION: -- for Europe? Because now the reactions are widening, it's not only Spain; it's Germany, Hungary, Italy, Morocco, Norway, Poland, Romania, and Sweden. So can you still say it doesn't have any impact on your foreign relations?
MR. ERELI: I would say that -- I think, if I remember them all correctly, with all of those countries that you mentioned, we have close, cordial, cooperative relations on a wide range of issues, including cooperation on the global war on terror. And that kind of understanding and cooperation and partnership continues.
QUESTION: Was Spain one of the countries our friend cited?
MR. ERELI: If it was that -- what I have just said certainly applies.
QUESTION: Evidently, the discord or call it whatever you will, has spread to the Canary Islands, which is a Spanish possession and --
MR. ERELI: I wasn't aware of that.
QUESTION: I wasn't either. But there is, you know, they're asking Madrid to explain reports that airports in the Canary Islands were being used for covert missions, presumably to deal with transporting terror suspects. Do you know anything about --
MR. ERELI: I do not.
QUESTION: -- the use of the Canary Islands?
MR. ERELI: I wasn't aware of that report and certainly not aware of any reported intelligence activities.
QUESTION: Yesterday you told us that nobody contacted the State Department on that?
MR. ERELI: Right.
QUESTION: Can you update us on that?
MR. ERELI: I can update you. I can tell you that our Assistant Secretary for European Affairs, Dan Fried, was in Madrid yesterday and today on a previously scheduled visit. During his time in Madrid, he had meetings at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where he and Spanish officials discussed a wide range of issues, bilateral, as well as regional and multilateral, and that this subject did come up in a general manner. And I think that's how I'd characterize the conversation.
QUESTION: Can you explain what "a general manner" means? I mean, did they bring it up and ask for clarification on U.S. policy or --
MR. ERELI: No. I wouldn't characterize it that way. I would just say, you know, they talked about the issue since it's been in the news lately.
QUESTION: And they talked about the news reports or they talked about what had happened between --
MR. ERELI: Mostly it was about news reports.
QUESTION: Does that mean that officially the Spanish Government hasn't contacted the U.S. Government to help it with its investigation?
MR. ERELI: I think that this -- that is the scope of our discussion of the issue.
QUESTION: So far.
MR. ERELI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: That does effect --
MR. ERELI: Their conversation.
QUESTION: That conversation?
MR. ERELI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: But even if the Spanish Government didn't, the Norway Government asked an embassy official some explanations, so at least there was one request.
MR. ERELI: Well, previous questions were about what has Spain done.
MR. ERELI: So yesterday, I was asking specifically about Spain. Today --
QUESTION: So, and we've --
MR. ERELI: Now, if you ask me what -- if a Norwegian official asked one of our embassy --
QUESTION: Or another European government?
MR. ERELI: Well, I don't -- I'll see if I can give you an update but generally, I mean -- I don't know how to put it. We're not -- it's (inaudible) difficult for us to give you a running list of every embassy, at every level, and every conversation we've had on this. I just -- you know, that's not, I don't think, something we're going to -- we're in a position to do or that's very enlightening, frankly. What I -- I think the way to -- the best way to explain this is: In the countries that you mentioned, we have good and productive and cooperative relations and on a whole range of issues, including global war on terror, and that we continue to deal with our partners in these countries as friends, as partners, and working together in pursuit of a common agenda. But I'm not going to be able to get into providing you readouts of every conversation that we have at every level of the government with every level of our embassies on these different issues.
QUESTION: Well, we (inaudible) all that. How could you possibly be aware of all of that? But the underlying question here is: Have other governments complained?
MR. ERELI: I've given you as full a presentation of this issue and the scope of this issue in our dealings with foreign governments that I can. If there are new developments or if -- that bear on this, I'll be happy to share them with you. But this is what I've got for today.
QUESTION: Well, one last thought on it. Have there been any complications about the transport of the suspects because of the sensibilities -- have there been -- I don't know if you know this. Have we had to -- has the U.S. had to change its procedures --
MR. ERELI: This whole issue is not something that I am either informed about or, were I to be informed about, would I be in a position to speak about. So I guess I'd answer the question that way.
QUESTION: Just one more on that. If these -- given that you have such close cooperation with these countries, why would they have to be asking you about -- in the first place about these actions since, supposedly, you would have taken them with their full knowledge?
MR. ERELI: Well, again, since I don't know what -- anything about the actions being reported, there's not much -- there's not really a way I can answer the question.
QUESTION: But you acknowledge that it's been brought up at least once so far --
MR. ERELI: In discussing public reports and I would say that we had discussions on that issue as friends, and allies, and partners on the global war on terror.
QUESTION: Would you acknowledge the fact that these questions may strain the relationship with the --
MR. ERELI: I don't think so. No. I don't think there is a strain. I do not detect or have to report to you any strains as a result of reports on these issues.
QUESTION: Change of subject. Adam, the Australian Broadcasting Company is saying that Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom met with PA's President Abbas by accident at a technology show in Tunis, Tunisia. And there's still talk of Hamas. There's elections scheduled through January 2006. And will this undermine Secretary Rice's agreement on the border crossings --
MR. ERELI: No connection whatsoever.
QUESTION: And commerce?
MR. ERELI: First of all, I don't know anything about the Australian Broadcasting report. I don't know anything about a purported meeting. I'd refer you to the parties for any question regarding those issues.
As far as the agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians on movement of people and goods and borders, that is an agreement that has a dynamic and a momentum of its own, and that we look forward to being implemented with the close involvement and partnership of the Quartet special envoy, the U.S. Security Coordinator, and the EU, and our embassies on the ground.
QUESTION: Is there something going on right now with the Ireland? Because we know that --
MR. ERELI: Which island?
MR. ERELI: Ireland. I'm sorry. Excuse me. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: It is an island. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: It is an island. Because the McCartney sisters are in town and I was wondering if they are going to be -- to meet somebody in the State Department.
MR. ERELI: Well, yes, they are going to -- there will be a meeting tomorrow with our special envoy for Northern Ireland, Mitchell Reiss, with both the British Secretary for Northern Ireland, Peter Hain, as well as Ms. McCartney and Arnold, who are the sisters of Robert McCartney.
The purpose of the meeting with Mr. Hain is to discuss developments in Northern Ireland's peace process and to coordinate our efforts to advance that process. And the purpose of the meeting with the sisters of Robert McCartney is to discuss recent developments in the case, the course of the investigation, and how we can help them and the people of Ireland achieve justice for Mr. McCartney's murder.
QUESTION: Can I go back to the Mideast for a second?
MR. ERELI: Sure.
QUESTION: General Dayton, when is he scheduled to start and is there a transition period with General Ward, over in the Mideast, and also can you elaborate a bit on what the Secretary meant when she said, "expanded mission" for General Dayton?
MR. ERELI: Right. I don't have a date for General Dayton's start. I believe the mandate of General Ward expires in December. So -- but I'll have to check on that and get back to you. As far as sort of the expanded mission, I'd refer you to the agreement between the parties and in that agreement there are specific roles for the U.S. Security Coordinator to play and that represents -- well, an expansion of his duties and involvement -- but obviously consistent with the overall goals and purpose of his mission.
Yes. Okay. Same subject?
QUESTION: Yeah. Is Assistant Secretary Welch still in the region or is --
MR. ERELI: Yes. Assistant Secretary Welch is in Egypt today where he is meeting with Egyptian Government officials, briefing them on the agreement, having consultations and I expect he'll be back at the end of the week.
QUESTION: Is he planning any visit to Libya?
MR. ERELI: Not that I'm aware of.
MR. ERELI: Sure.
QUESTION: Results of the run-off elections show that the Muslim Brotherhood has significantly strengthened its number of seats. Since the U.S. doesn't have contact with them or officially, what is that -- how is that going to impact discussions -- discussions you can have with the Egyptian legislature?
MR. ERELI: I wouldn't want to speculate or prejudge the results of these elections. A couple of points to make: One is the parliamentary elections are taking place in three rounds; the second round was concluded yesterday. There will be a third round in the coming weeks. We will obviously want to wait until those three rounds are finished and results certified before commenting on those results.
I think what's important to the United States is that the process provides access, equal and equitable access, to all those who want to vote; that those who vote can have confidence that their choices are going to be fairly tabulated and reflected in the final outcomes; and that the whole process serves to further the democratic development of Egypt. And frankly, that's the perspective with which we look at what has happened this week and last week, as opposed to the specific results and specific -- in specific districts.
QUESTION: Well, obviously it's something you have to be thinking about. They've doubled the number of seats in the second round. It's not likely they're going to drop out of sight.
MR. ERELI: Well, I'm not real sure about that. I'm not -- again, I don't think -- I think it's a little bit premature to speak to who won, and what their program is, and what that represents. First of all, the tallying and results aren't final. Second of all, it's -- I'd leave it to the analysts really to opine about what it means and what its implications are. Our point of view is that a free and open and fair electoral process that results in a representative parliament is a good thing for Egyptians and a good thing for the United States.
QUESTION: How do you view the greater tolerance being shown by the Egyptian authorities towards Muslim Brotherhood? They're banned as a political group and yet --
MR. ERELI: Yeah.
QUESTION: They're campaigning and all their candidates are running as independents. Is that something that you applaud as part of this opening up of freedoms?
MR. ERELI: Again, I think that what we're looking for is -- people to be able to participate freely as candidates and as voters. And to the extent that that is achieved in Egypt and in the parliamentary elections, it is a good thing. But I don't really -- I'm not in a position to speak to any particular political tendency or any particular political program. That is something for the Egyptians to vote on and to decide. The United States does not have a preferred outcome in these elections.
What the United States believes is that those who want to run and participate in the political system and the political process, legally and through established procedures and according to the laws of Egypt, should be able to do so on a free and equal basis with anybody else and that the people of Egypt should be free and unhindered to express their preferences in voting for them.
QUESTION: One key there is that the Egyptian law bans the Muslim Brotherhood from running as a political group. Any consideration --
MR. ERELI: It bans parties on the basis of religion.
QUESTION: Okay. So --
MR. ERELI: That's what it bans.
QUESTION: So any consideration to asking the Egyptian Government to change that law?
MR. ERELI: There's -- that's not an issue for us. The issue for us is people being able to run, present themselves as candidates, and receive equal treatment with other candidates and other parties. That's what we want to see.
QUESTION: Adam, change of subject. Yesterday, you couldn't miss it; there was a rally by some upwards of nearly 20,000 Ethiopians here in Washington between the Congress, the World Bank, here at the State Department, at the White House. And they're talking again about jailed opposition leaders, which also may include journalists, and there's a total media blackout from Addis Ababa that's controlled by the government.
What are the procedures? They are demanding new elections and an end to this 14-year dictatorship. Do you agree with them and what's the next step?
MR. ERELI: The United States has made clear its position on the elections in Ethiopia and the recent political violence in Ethiopia. We've made it clear in a number of ways: First and foremost, by statements issued by the EU missions and our Embassy in Addis Ababa on November the 6th.
Second, by a statement issued by the State Department, I believe it was November the 8th.
Third, in meetings with Ethiopian officials in Addis Ababa and opposition leaders as well in Addis Ababa and through conversations with our senior officials here in Washington and the capital there, and we've made clear where we stand on the issue in a number of ways -- as follows:
Number one, violence should stop and no party to this issue should take acts that lead to the destruction of life and property. That's wrong and that's to be avoided.
Second, that the government should take steps to either release or charge those in detention and they should do so expeditiously. And in the case where people are charged, that due process, transparency, and international standards be respected. Specifically, that those detained and those accused be provided defense counsel, access to international -- representatives of the international organizations and international human rights groups, relatives, and loved ones; that a commission of inquiry into the violence be established.
And, as you point out in your question, that the rights of the media be respected in Ethiopia and that private media facilities be reopened so that the people can know what's going on.
So we have made those points, I think, clearly and consistently to both the government and the opposition and we will continue to work to assure that people's freedoms are respected and that peace and an absence of violence prevail.
QUESTION: Turkey's Foreign Minister paid an unexpected visit to Syria today to meet with Bashar Assad and Turkish Foreign Ministry official said he would urge the Syrians to cooperate with the United Nations on the Hariri killing probe. Does the United States have anything to do with this visit and have you by any chance asked the Turks to take a message to the Syrians?
MR. ERELI: This was a visit that was decided on and organized and undertaken by the Turkish Government, and so I'd refer you to them for any readout or comment on the visit. I think that our view is that we and Turkey share the same goals with respect to Syria, and that is that it end its objectionable behavior, whether that be in terms of supporting insurgency in Iraq or interfering in Lebanon, and that more specifically it take concrete action to fulfill UN Security Council resolutions, both with respect to the independence and sovereignty of Lebanon as well as cooperation with the Mehlis investigation.
QUESTION: A follow-up. When Turkey's Prime Minister visited Washington in June, there was kind of a disagreement between Turkey and the United States on Syria, and this was made public by U.S. officials on the record. How do --
MR. ERELI: What -- I'm not familiar with the disagreement you're talking about.
QUESTION: Yeah, Dan Fried said, for example.
MR. ERELI: Pardon?
QUESTION: Dan Fried, for example, said we and Turkey have differences. Anyway, at this point --
MR. ERELI: On Syria?
QUESTION: On Syria, yeah.
MR. ERELI: I don't remember that.
QUESTION: At this point, do you -- how do you qualify Turkey's position or Turkey's relations with Syria?
MR. ERELI: I'm not in a position to talk about Turkey's relations with Syria. As I said, it is our view that the United States and Turkey share common goals and common objectives with respect to Syria, and they are as I just described.
QUESTION: Stay with Syria?
MR. ERELI: Sure, go ahead.
QUESTION: Actually, not long before we came out, I think it emerged that Syria has proposed a venue for the Mehlis investigation and they're actually choosing the UN offices in the Golan Heights. What do you think of that?
MR. ERELI: I don't really have a comment on it. I think that this is something that -- this is a process that Mr. Mehlis is entrusted with, specifically the investigation into the murder of Hariri, including the interviews with detention of people that he suspects may be involved or may know of -- may have information pertaining to his investigation. So the UN Security Council resolution is clear, 1636, that Syria needs to fully cooperate with Mehlis, including accepting Mehlis's terms about who he sees and where he sees them. And so that's something that Mehlis and the Syrians are working on, and I'd leave it to Mr. Mehlis to comment on his views on how that's going.
QUESTION: You say Syria should accept the -- Mehlis's terms. It seems that here -- that Syria is laying down its terms. Is that what's inappropriate or this is the result of a negotiation?
MR. ERELI: Like I said, this is something that's being -- that Mr. Mehlis is charged with. It's a process that Mr. Mehlis is conducting, and I'll leave it to Mr. Mehlis to speak to. Our view is that, as we've said before, whatever Mr. Mehlis wants, Mr. Mehlis should get and that's the import of 1636.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) News Bulgaria. Can we go to the talks, which are going now on between Bulgaria and the United States regarding United States military bases, eventually to be established --
MR. ERELI: We could, but I don't that I'll have much to help you out on. What's the question?
QUESTION: Okay. Your State Department representative is now in Bulgaria, and it's supposed to be the final stage of the talks. But something new is going in Bulgaria now. The people of the country are -- they simply don't buy the case. Bulgarian Government was not able to make the case for U.S. military bases to be established on Bulgarian soil, so opposition is rising up. And my question is United States is put in between two hard points. First, your interests obviously leads you to pressing helping these bases established as soon as possible. The other point, you see a very democratic process is going on in Bulgaria now of opposition, which is absolutely legal. What choice you will do? Will you put first your democratic values and step back, give time to the people in this country make their decision or you will press Bulgaria for quicker decisions?
MR. ERELI: It's not a choice as you present it. The United States and Bulgaria are close friends and allies. We work together in pursuit of common objectives, and that -- in the security area, in the political area, and the economic area. And our approach in these specific negotiations is to basically end up with a win-win for both sides.
Now, obviously, we are sensitive to Bulgarian concerns and Bulgarian issues and that informs our discussions with the Government of Bulgaria. I would leave it to the Government of Bulgaria to respond to what the domestic considerations are. But the position of the United States is we value Bulgaria as a friend, we need them as an ally, and we are going to deal with them on that basis and take their concerns fully into account and come to an -- and when we do come to an agreement, hopefully we come to an agreement, it will be an agreement that I think meets the needs of both sides in a mutually satisfactory way.
QUESTION: Mr. Loftis left an impression that if Bulgaria doesn't give up its right to veto eventual combat missions launched from the U.S. bases on Bulgarian soil, there is no chance for agreement.
MR. ERELI: Frankly, I can't speak to the details and the substance of our negotiations. I can simply say that they will be conducted in the spirit of friendship and respect that becomes two allies and partners.
Let's go to the back.
QUESTION: Adam, have you seen the media report, AP and -- I think both AP and AFP report that two U.S.-based media reporter got their media credential revoked by the APEC meeting organizers due to the pressure from the Chinese Government side and --
MR. ERELI: Yeah, we've seen those reports. We're looking into them. Frankly, at this point, I don't have more details or information to share with you on the reports. What I would say, obviously, is that we believe as a general principle all media should be treated equally and we support freedom of the press.
QUESTION: Do you know about all the other cases happened before the revoke of the media credential that --
MR. ERELI: Where? In --
QUESTION: Also in Busan and in Seoul --
MR. ERELI: I don't know if --
QUESTION: That --
MR. ERELI: I mean, I'm not -- this is the one issue that we've been made aware of that we're looking into. I'm not familiar with the other issues that may or may not be out there that you raise. I don't, frankly --
QUESTION: I'm just talking about the still same media network whose -- some other reporter affiliated with the same media network and was objected from doing their media work properly just because of the pressure from the Chinese Government.
MR. ERELI: Yeah. Like I said, when dealing with this issue, we are looking into it, we're trying to find out the facts. We are working, as we always do, to support equal and free access of the media to public events.
QUESTION: Basically, a follow-up. President Bush, this morning, shortly before he arrived in China, spoke about freedoms in China in a speech he delivered in Japan. And last week, Governor Schwarzenegger arrived in China on a trade mission. Is Governor Schwarzenegger speaking for the White House because he's come out in talking about (inaudible) individual rights.
MR. ERELI: Well, since I'm not speaking for Schwarzenegger or the White House, I can't answer the question.
QUESTION: Would you have any comment on the situation in Kazakhstan where an opponent to President Nazerbayev has been killed and his party says it's a political gimmick?
MR. ERELI: Yeah. That was an issue we were looking at yesterday. Let me see what I can get for you on that.
(The briefing was concluded at 1:48 p.m.)
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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