Daily Press Briefing
Daily Press Briefing
July 12, 2013
Index for Today's Briefing
U.S.-India CEO Forum
Contact with Russian Official
U.S.-India CEO Forum
Monitoring Situation Closely / Call for End of Violence
Ambassador Patterson's Meeting / Path Forward
Human Rights Report
Assistance to the Opposition / Discussion with Partners
Support for the SMC
Concerns about Violent Extremists
Malala's Speech at the UN
Sam Rainsy's Pardon
1:24 p.m. EDT
MS. PSAKI: Hi, everyone. Happy Friday. I have two items at the top for all of you. One is a readout of the U.S.-India CEO Forum that took place this morning. Today the State Department hosted CEOs from seven U.S. and six Indian companies for a session of the U.S.-India CEO Forum. Deputy Secretary Burns was pleased to welcome to the State Department Treasury Secretary Lew, Commerce Secretary Pritzger, U.S. Trade Representative Mike Froman, and Deputy National Security Advisor Caroline Atkinson and their Indian counterparts, Finance Minister Chidambaram, Commerce Minister Sharma, and Deputy Chairman Planning Commission of India Montek Singh Ahluwalia, along with the CEO Forum co-chairs Ratan Tata of the Tata Group and David Cote of Honeywell.
U.S.-India bilateral trade is nearing $100 billion, and the CEO Forum today reviewed our very robust public-private cooperation in support of that and how we can further enhance U.S.-India economic engagement, including how our governments can expand opportunities for our private sectors in trade, investment, and innovation. The participants also enjoyed very productive conversations anew as well as ongoing collaborations on water and energy efficiency, agricultural technology, aviation, security, health, and more, underscoring the true depth and breadth of the U.S.-India partnership. The U.S.-India CEO Forum is a key element in the broad U.S.-India economic engagement following up on our conversations at the June 24th Strategic Dialogue.
And my only other item is that – and you've seen this in the press, but just wanted to confirm for all of you – that next week there will be a meeting of the P-5+1 political directors in Brussels on Tuesday, July 16th. Under Secretary Wendy Sherman will be leading the U.S. delegation. As you know, they meet regularly, and this will be to discuss the way forward.
So with that, let's get to –
QUESTION: Just to start, you don't have any update on the Secretary's scheduled plans?
MS. PSAKI: I do not. I do not right now.
QUESTION: Can we start in Russia –
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: -- with Mr. Snowden? I'm wondering if, since he has now asked the Russians for asylum, there has been any contact between this building and the Russians about your feelings about his status.
MS. PSAKI: Well, I can tell you – I hadn't seen – or I don't have independent confirmation, I guess I should say, about any request he's made. I can tell you that we have been in touch, of course, with Russian officials. Our Embassy in Moscow has been in direct contact on the ground. We are disappointed that Russian officials and agencies facilitated this meeting today by allowing these activists and representatives into the Moscow airport's transit zone to meet with Mr. Snowden despite the government's declarations of Russia's neutrality with respect to Mr. Snowden.
QUESTION: So I'm sorry. You're disappointed that they let someone into their own airport?
MS. PSAKI: Well –
QUESTION: I don't get it.
MS. PSAKI: Well, that they facilitated this event, of course.
QUESTION: Well, why?
MS. PSAKI: Because this gave a forum for –
QUESTION: You don't think that he should have a forum? Has he – he's forfeited his right to freedom of speech as well?
MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, Mr. Snowden –
QUESTION: All right.
MS. PSAKI: -- as we've talked about – let me just state this –
MS. PSAKI: -- because I think it's important. He's not a whistleblower. He's not a human rights activist. He's wanted in a series of serious criminal charges brought in the eastern district of Virginia and the United States.
QUESTION: Okay. I'm sorry. But I didn't realize people who were wanted on charges forfeited their right to speech – to free speech. I also didn't realize that people who were not whistleblowers or not human rights activists, as you say he is not, that they forfeited their rights to speak, so I don't understand why you're disappointed with the Russians, but neither that – leave that aside for a second.
The group WikiLeaks put out a transcript, I guess, essentially, of Mr. – what Mr. Snowden said at the airport. At the top of that transcript, it contained – it said that the Human Rights Watch representative from Human Rights Watch, researcher who went to this thing, while she was on her way to the airport, got a phone call from the American Ambassador asking her to relay a message to Mr. Snowden that – basically the message that you just gave here, that, one, he is not a whistleblower, and, two, that he is wanted in the United States. Is that correct?
MS. PSAKI: It is not correct. First, Ambassador McFaul did not call any representative from Human Rights Watch. An embassy officer did call to explain our position, certainly, that I just reiterated here for all of you today, but at no point did this official or any official from the U.S. Government ask anyone to convey a message to Mr. Snowden.
QUESTION: Did anyone from the Embassy call any of the other groups – representatives of groups that were going to this meeting – that you understood were going to this meeting?
MS. PSAKI: As I'm sure would be no surprise, and as you know because we even had a civil society event when the Secretary was there, we are in regular touch, as we have been today. I don't have an update on the exact list of calls, though, for you.
QUESTION: But you can say pretty conclusively that this one call did happen, and that it wasn't the Ambassador. So were there others? Do you know?
MS. PSAKI: We have –
QUESTION: Did calls go to other groups?
MS. PSAKI: -- been in touch with –
MS. PSAKI: -- attendees.
MS. PSAKI: I don't have any specifics for you, though.
QUESTION: Okay. And the – and you have made no secret of the fact that any country or government that gives Mr. Snowden asylum or allows him to transit through, that there would be some serious consequences for – grave consequences in their relationship with the United States.
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Have you made the same – and presumably that would apply to individuals who would help him stay – help him avoid returning here to face justice. Is that – that's correct?
MS. PSAKI: I'm not sure what that exactly means.
QUESTION: Well, I'm – what I'm getting at is these groups, the human rights groups that are respected human rights groups –
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: -- which you yourself, as well as previous spokespeople have quoted from –
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: -- in relation to other situations, have taken a side in support of Mr. Snowden, and I'm wondering if there are any consequences for them if you – if they aid and abet Mr. Snowden in staying away – out of the reach of U.S. authorities.
MS. PSAKI: Well, we obviously don't think this was a proper forum or a proper elevation of him. Beyond that, the way that I think it's been asked, but also the way we've thought about it, is more about governments and our relationships with them and their aid or decisions to aid Mr. Snowden.
QUESTION: Right, but I guess the question is: If you think this was an inappropriate forum, did you try to dissuade these groups from going there?
MS. PSAKI: From attending?
MS. PSAKI: Not that I'm aware of, Matt. Obviously –
QUESTION: Okay. So the call –
MS. PSAKI: -- they were invited to attend.
QUESTION: So the calls were just a reminder of your position. Did you say to Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International that if you guys help Mr. Snowden, support him in some way so that – to keep him from facing justice back in the United States, that there would be consequences for them?
MS. PSAKI: I don't have any readouts of these calls. Our focus remains on –
QUESTION: Okay. Well, then can you say –
MS. PSAKI: -- conveying to the Russian Government the fact that they have the ability to help return Mr. Snowden to the United States.
QUESTION: Did you tell them in the calls that you did not think that Mr. Snowden should have the opportunity to express his view?
MS. PSAKI: Matt, I don't have any readout for these – of these calls for you. We did --
QUESTION: Okay. Well, forget about the calls, then.
MS. PSAKI: We did convey the broad point that I've made.
QUESTION: Okay. Well, then forget about what you said or what the Embassy people said in these specific phone calls. Do you believe that Mr. Snowden should not have had the opportunity to express his views at the airport in Moscow today?
MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, I think we broadly believe in free speech, as you know.
QUESTION: Except when it comes to this.
MS. PSAKI: But we cannot look at this as a – I know we like to ask about sweeping scenarios in here, but --
QUESTION: No, this is not sweeping at all. This is very specific, related to one guy in one place in one city, one airport, one time. So I just – do you think that it was inappropriate for Mr. Snowden to speak publicly? Do you – I mean, not that – whether you're disappointed in the Russians. Do you think that he should not have had the opportunity to speak publicly?
MS. PSAKI: Our focus, Matt, is on how our concern about how Russian authorities clearly helped assist the ability of attendees to participate in this.
MS. PSAKI: That is of concern to us. Our focus is on returning Mr. Snowden to the United States. Beyond that, I just don't have anything more.
QUESTION: Okay. I'm just – I'm trying to get – you are saying that this essentially – it wasn't a press conference, but it might as well have been. And you don't think the Russians should have helped to facilitate a --
MS. PSAKI: Facilitated a propaganda platform for Mr. Snowden.
QUESTION: -- a propaganda platform. Okay. So this is, to your mind, something like them bringing out a defected spy from the Cold War and putting him on a platform and having him rail against the United States. Is that what the Administration believes?
MS. PSAKI: I'm not going to draw comparisons along those lines. But let me say --
QUESTION: "A propaganda platform" is close enough.
MS. PSAKI: -- that Mr. Snowden could – should return to the United States to face these charges that – where he will be accorded a fair trial. That's where our focus is.
QUESTION: Well, is this a propaganda platform or is this kind of putting in train a process for asylum? Because last week, or two weeks ago, the Russians said that they would consider his request for asylum if Mr. Snowden would stop leaking material about – or leaking information about U.S. surveillance programs. Now, he wouldn't do that before, and he tried some other areas for asylum.
Now, in this propaganda platform, as you call it, he said that he has decided to – not to leak any more information, or he doesn't have any more information, but he's done. So are you concerned now that this is him accepting conditions for Russian asylum publicly as opposed to just some kind of propaganda? I mean, is that your real concern here, that these are the conditions for asylum and now he's publicly meeting them?
MS. PSAKI: Our concern here is that he's been provided this opportunity to speak in a propaganda platform, as I mentioned a few seconds ago, that Russia has played a role in facilitating this, that others have helped elevate it. But we still believe that Russia has the opportunity to do the right thing and facilitate his return to the United States.
QUESTION: Well, but --
MS. PSAKI: I don't have any independent knowledge, as would be no surprise, of what he has officially requested, what has officially been --
QUESTION: Well, it's pretty public that Russia --
MS. PSAKI: -- accepted or not.
QUESTION: Okay, but it's pretty public that Russia said that they would consider his asylum petition if he said that – if he would agree publicly to stop leaking information. Now he's done that.
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: So is that propaganda, or is that publicly agreeing to Russia's conditions and kind of moving the asylum petition along?
MS. PSAKI: I'm just not going to make an evaluation of what Russia's conditions are and whether he meets --
QUESTION: Well, you don't have to make an evaluation. They've said it publicly.
MS. PSAKI: -- let me finish – whether he meets them. That's not the point here. The point is Russia helped facilitate this. They have the ability and the opportunity to do the right thing and help return Mr. Snowden to the United States. It's not about what the conditions are.
QUESTION: But you don't – I mean, is it – I mean, your concern now is that this is – that Russia's – by facilitating – I mean, are you really upset that this is propaganda, or are you really upset that Russia is moving closer to accepting to this guy's asylum?
MS. PSAKI: Well, we don't know that. This is a step that was taken today. Obviously, we continue to call for his return. They have a role they can play in that. Beyond that, I'm not going to speculate what they are or aren't going to do.
QUESTION: Jen, can I just ask: What level of seniority was the U.S. official that called Human Rights Watch?
MS. PSAKI: I don't have an exact position for you on that.
QUESTION: And --
MS. PSAKI: It was not the Ambassador, though.
QUESTION: Okay. And how did the U.S. get to know about this visit? Was – were you informed by the Russians or by Human Rights Watch?
MS. PSAKI: We learned when it was made public, just as many of your organizations did.
QUESTION: Can I just --
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: In the conversations that the Ambassador, or whoever it was the Embassy had – not with the Human Rights people, but with the Russian Government --
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: -- did you tell them that facilitating this appearance by Mr. Snowden was problematic, that you thought that they shouldn't do it?
MS. PSAKI: I --
QUESTION: Did you ask them not to do it?
MS. PSAKI: We made our concerns and our view on Mr. Snowden clear.
QUESTION: No, but I – specifically about giving him this propaganda platform, as you called it.
MS. PSAKI: I just – I don't have any more to read out for you from the private phone calls, Matt, just that there – we have been in touch.
QUESTION: Well, I mean, did you ask the Russians, please don't do this, we think he's a criminal and needs to come back? Did you – did – I mean, did you ask and they rejected the request?
MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, we've been clear publicly --
MS. PSAKI: -- countless times what our view is --
QUESTION: I understand that, but --
MS. PSAKI: -- and we've consistently made the same points privately, today and any other day.
QUESTION: Right. But did you say that you would look negatively on them providing him a, quote-unquote, "propaganda platform?"
MS. PSAKI: I just don't have any more on the specifics of the calls.
QUESTION: Well, is the United States Government now in the business of trying to discourage people or governments from facilitating people having – meeting with human rights activists? I don't get it.
MS. PSAKI: Matt, this is not a universal position of the United States. This is an individual --
QUESTION: So it's just in this one case.
MS. PSAKI: -- who has been accused of three – of felony charges.
QUESTION: But surely – Jen --
MS. PSAKI: This is not a unique --
QUESTION: Okay. He's been accused. Do you remember the old line that we're supposed to all know – he has not been convicted of anything yet.
MS. PSAKI: And he can return to the United States and face the charges.
QUESTION: But he can also surely – people who are accused of crimes are allowed their right of free speech, are they not?
MS. PSAKI: Matt, I think we've gone the round on this.
QUESTION: No, I mean, it's a legitimate question. I mean, you talk about even in Russia that journalists have been persecuted and political activists have been persecuted and you call for free speech around the world. But you're not saying that Mr. Snowden has the right of free speech?
MS. PSAKI: That's not at all what I was saying. We believe, of course, broadly in free speech. Our concern here was that this was – there was obvious facilitation by the Russians in this case. We've conveyed that. We've conveyed our concerns. I'm saying them publicly.
QUESTION: So you're upset – you're not upset about the press conference; you're upset that the Russians facilitated it.
MS. PSAKI: We certainly are upset that there was a platform for an individual who's been accused of felony crimes.
QUESTION: But what does that matter, really? I mean, people that are in jail or are on trial in the United States, they give press conferences or they speak out all the time. I mean, it sounds to me like what you're not really upset with the act that he spoke; you're upset with the fact that the Russians did something on his behalf.
MS. PSAKI: I think I've expressed what we're upset about.
QUESTION: I don't --
MS. PSAKI: And you keep saying what we're upset about. But I think I've made clear what we're upset about.
QUESTION: Madam, can I just follow up real quick?
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Just a quick – I'm sorry – question on this. The Secretary has said in the past that this issue with Ed Snowden is just not his portfolio, and that all of this is being handled primarily through the Justice Department. Can you clarify what the State Department's role is, then? Because obviously there is contact today on the ground in Russia with diplomats involved.
MS. PSAKI: Well, I think just for context's sake, for everybody, that was said after a meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov. Obviously, there are a number of issues that we do discuss and will continue to discuss with the Russians. But we're going to express concerns where we have them. We have been in touch on the ground; Embassy officials have been in touch on the ground with Russian officials. So yes, of course we have expressed our concerns, and they have been expressed previously. But the Secretary was making that comment in the context of his meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov.
QUESTION: So what is the regular channel of communication between Embassy officials, or is it at a higher level? I mean, has Deputy Secretary Burns been in more regular contact? We haven't really heard in recent --
MS. PSAKI: I just don't have any other specific calls or contacts to read out for you. Obviously, there are many components of the government who are engaged and involved in this issue, but beyond that, I don't have anything specific for you.
QUESTION: Is it this building's role, then, to formally request a denial of asylum? I mean, what is the communication here? If the issue of him being a fugitive is handled through Justice, what is it that State is doing?
MS. PSAKI: Well, we would like to see him returned to the United States, and he can be put on a plane to do exactly that.
QUESTION: So does that mean the issuance of an actual letter from the State Department? Would the counselor issue a letter on State Department letterhead, or is that simply reserved for the Attorney General?
MS. PSAKI: That's ahead of where the process is right now. I've – I think as events unfold, we'll – we can provide you all updates.
QUESTION: Jen, on this point that you were talking about just now, there was apparently a fresh offer for asylum if he stops leaking. That was made today. I understand that was made today --
MS. PSAKI: Which Elise just asked about. Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: -- like a couple of hours ago. So what is exactly your position? I didn't understand it. So you – did you tell the Russians that that is rejected, that is unacceptable? What language did you use?
MS. PSAKI: Well, we've conveyed outside of that – I don't have any independent confirmation of what's been offered or what's been approved or accepted, beyond that Russia has the ability to do the right thing, the opportunity to do the right thing, and facilitate his return to the United States.
QUESTION: And second, you said that he's not a whistleblower; he's a felon. Now, according to --
MS. PSAKI: I said he's been accused --
QUESTION: He's been accused, okay.
MS. PSAKI: -- of felony crimes. Yes.
QUESTION: He's not – yeah, but apparently public opinion polls in America show that, three to one, the public says that he's a whistleblower. Does that factor in, like the petition in Egypt, in any way?
MS. PSAKI: I think you're linking a lot of things together there.
QUESTION: No. Okay, what is --
MS. PSAKI: I'm conveying he is a United States citizen.
MS. PSAKI: He's facing crimes in the United States. He can return to the United States and face the charges.
QUESTION: Okay, so public opinion should not matter in this case. That's what you're saying.
MS. PSAKI: In terms of defining --
QUESTION: This is a purely legal --
MS. PSAKI: -- his specific role, I'm giving you an overview of the U.S. Government view.
QUESTION: Jen, just a quick follow-up. Are privately – Russians are telling you in Moscow or at the United Nations or in Washington about this offer?
MS. PSAKI: Are they privately --
QUESTION: Asylum, yeah.
MS. PSAKI: I just don't have any updates on that for you, Goyal.
QUESTION: When was the last time before today's contacts did anyone from this building talk with Russian officials? Or have all of the conversations been strictly from the Justice Department?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I think even Secretary Kerry spoke briefly with Foreign Minister Lavrov about it when they last met. So obviously, there have been contacts at a range of levels. I don't have any update for you on the last high-level contact from the building, but it's fair to say that the State Department, just like other administrative – Administration departments, where appropriate, have been very engaged. We've been working very closely with the Department of Justice, as Secretary – as the Secretary also said.
QUESTION: But wouldn't it be logical to assume that if the entrée was made for Amnesty and Human Rights Watch and WikiLeaks and other people to get into this transit zone, that the Russian authorities would have had some sort of heads-up and would have conceivably made some sort of arrangements in order to get them into an area where, theoretically, they're not supposed to have access because they're not, quote, "in transit"? And wouldn't the U.S. have had more of an alert before finding out from the media today that this event was going to happen?
MS. PSAKI: Well, you are correct that this is an area only accessible with the assistance of Russian authorities. Beyond that, we, of course, saw the announcement earlier this morning online, or wherever it was first made, but that was the first we learned of the plans for this event.
QUESTION: Is it your position that in his meeting with these human rights activists, Mr. Snowden committed more violations of American law?
MS. PSAKI: I don't think I was suggesting that, Matt.
QUESTION: Okay. Then I just don't understand. I think this is an incredibly slippery slope that you're going down here, that the U.S. Government is going down here, if you are coming up and saying to us that you're trying to prevent an American citizen – albeit one who has been accused of serious crimes – from exercising his right to free speech. You don't agree with that?
MS. PSAKI: I believe that what I've conveyed most proactively here is our concern about those who helped facilitate this event --
MS. PSAKI: -- and make it into a propaganda platform.
QUESTION: Right. And --
QUESTION: Or a public asylum --
QUESTION: -- the propaganda platform aside, free speech covers propaganda. Last time I checked, it covers a lot of things. And I don't see, unless he's somehow violated U.S. law by speaking at this – at the Russian – the transit line at the Russian airport, I don't see why you would be disappointed in the Russians for, one, facilitating it, but also, apparently from what it sounds like, tried to discourage them from – tried to discourage this – them from allowing this event to take place in the – to take place at all.
MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, this isn't happening, clearly, because we wouldn't be talking about it, in a vacuum. And this is an individual, as we all know, who has been accused of felony crimes in the United States. We have expressed strongly our desire to have him returned --
QUESTION: I understand.
MS. PSAKI: -- to face those charges. This is all applicable context to these circumstances.
QUESTION: But as you have also said, he is a U.S. citizen.
MS. PSAKI: He is, yes.
QUESTION: He remains a U.S. citizen, and he enjoys certain rights as a U.S. citizen. One of those rights, from your point of view, is that he has the right to come back and face trial for the crimes he's committed. But the rights that you're not talking about are his right to free speech, his right to talk with whoever he wants to, freedom to assemble. I don't understand why those rights are – why you ignore those and simply say that he has – that he's welcome to come back to the United States to exercise his right to be tried by a jury of his peers. Why is that the only right that he gets, according to this Administration?
MS. PSAKI: I don't think that's what my statement conveyed.
QUESTION: All right.
QUESTION: Has the – I just want to find out, has the U.S. spoken – had contact with the Russian Ambassador here to convey that message?
MS. PSAKI: I'd have to check on additional contacts beyond what I just stated.
QUESTION: Is there a belief in this building that the Russians are not dealing with the U.S. in good faith regarding Edward Snowden?
MS. PSAKI: I think our belief is what I stated, which is that they still have the opportunity to do the right thing. We are disappointed in their – with their role in facilitating the events of this morning, but we will continue to convey that we'd like to see him returned, and they can play a role in that.
QUESTION: How much is this – sorry.
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: I was just going to ask: Has the Administration sent any officials or any people representing the Administration to this transit area in the Moscow airport to try to make contact with Snowden directly?
MS. PSAKI: Not that I'm aware of.
QUESTION: How – if the Russians accept his asylum decision, how badly will this damage the relationship? Is it – is this the most important issue in the relationship with Russia right now?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I'm not going to rank them. Obviously, we work with Russia on a range of issues. There's no question that, as we've stated broadly with any country that would have a role in assisting him either in transit or in a final place for him to live, that that would raise concerns in our relationship. However, we're not at that point yet. They still have the --
QUESTION: Raise concerns, or would it damage the relationship irreparably?
MS. PSAKI: Well, at least this hasn't happened yet. They still have the opportunity to do the right thing and return Mr. Snowden to the United States, and that's what our hope is.
QUESTION: But you don't really think that's going to happen. I mean, you're growing resigned to the idea that they're going to accept his asylum petition --
MS. PSAKI: I'm not – that's not at all what I stated.
QUESTION: Do you – and this is not contentious, I don't think. Do you know if the Secretary has any plans to talk to Lavrov? I mean, yes, I realize it's not necessarily their specific portfolios, but now that it is a diplomatic thing --
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm. I'm not aware of a planned call, Matt.
QUESTION: Could I ask – the WikiLeaks statement that Edward Snowden put out, he accepted all extended offers of asylum, including the one from Venezuela, and said that that relationship is now formal, that he's now an asylee. Does the U.S. recognize this?
And he also said that that would give him some kind of international legal protections. And in that case, as an asylee, what kind of implications would that have for the U.S.'s continuing efforts to extradite him?
MS. PSAKI: Well, it's not for the United States to recognize. Our position and our message to every government we've communicated with has been the same, which is that we'd like to see him returned to face the charges he's been accused of. I don't have any independent confirmation of what's been offered or accepted in any of these cases.
QUESTION: New subject?
MS. PSAKI: Are we done with Snowden? Okay.
MS. PSAKI: Oh, go ahead.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) in summary just to say that today's events have not changed the U.S. position and have not changed his legal status, Snowden's status?
MS. PSAKI: On the second, not that I'm aware of. And on the first, absolutely, it has not changed our position.
QUESTION: U.S.-India summit?
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: This CEOs forum was part of the yesterday what investing in India, the United – USIBC, U.S.-India Business Council, summit yesterday, 38 years of U.S.-India trade and business relations where these 500 Fortune member companies were there. My question is that now they are turning to rather investing in India but investing in America by the Indian companies more than $11 billion and created over 100,000 jobs in the U.S.
Question is that they are saying $94 billion only between – trade between the two countries, but last year they were talking about this will reach to $500 billion. So where is the problem? What is the gap? Where – how these two countries can follow it? We're talking so much trade and financing and largesse to financing – I mean countries and moving forward and so much has been going on, trade and investment and so forth. So what is the future of these two countries as far as moving forward?
MS. PSAKI: Well, Goyal, let me simply say that obviously the fact that the U.S.-India CEO Forum happened today, that there were robust conversations about the trade relationship, the importance of that, and continuing to expand on it speaks to how much we value the India partnership.
QUESTION: Can we go to Egypt?
MS. PSAKI: Sure.
QUESTION: It seems to have been, at least thus far today, relatively quiet. Well, maybe quiet is not the right word, but non-massacre-ish. How's that?
MS. PSAKI: Okay. I'm not aware that's a word. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Yeah. (Inaudible.)
MS. PSAKI: It's a Friday.
QUESTION: I just made it up, but – (laughter) – but I'm just wondering if you're encouraged by what you've seen in response to your appeals to the military for extreme restraint, or maximum restraint and your appeals to them to stop these arbitrary arrests of the Muslim Brotherhood and others and on your calls to everyone to take it down a notch, be calm.
MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, we obviously are monitoring this very closely day by day, both on the ground and from Washington, of course, and we're not going to get ahead of that process. Of course, the most important steps that can be taken now are continued steps toward the democratic transition, doing that through an inclusive process which includes all sides, and continuing – and a focus on calling for an end and a reduction to violence, but I don't want to make an evaluation day by day, because obviously the events continue to be volatile and fluid on the ground.
QUESTION: Right. That's fair enough, and I realize that today is not over yet, especially there, and Fridays have traditionally been or historically been a day of concern. But can you say if at least you're encouraged that you think that the message is getting through?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I just – I don't want to – we're in a --
QUESTION: Whether or not this – whether or not they actually act on it or do what the things that you have suggested or say that you think are in the best interests of the Egyptians people, I'm just wondering if you – if there's any – if the Administration believes that its message has gotten through to the people who need to get it?
MS. PSAKI: I can't make an evaluation of that on their behalf. We continue to call for and we continue to convey for the fair treatment and the good treatment of those who are detained, and continue to express the concerns I've expressed a couple times this week.
QUESTION: Do you think it's incumbent upon the military or anybody else to declare some reasoning or cause for these detentions?
MS. PSAKI: Well, certainly rule of law would be requiring there to be a process exactly along those lines.
QUESTION: Now – and do you see that?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I don't know. I know every case is different, but --
QUESTION: But have you not --
MS. PSAKI: -- we still continue to view these as politically motivated arrests and still continue to believe that they should be released.
QUESTION: Jen, let me ask you on the statement made by the German Foreign Minister today. They called for the release of President Mohamed Morsy. Do you concur, or are you likely to do the same thing anytime soon?
MS. PSAKI: We do agree.
QUESTION: You do agree that he must be released.
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: When – a follow-up on this. When the military releases President Morsy, will you be recognizing him as the President of Egypt or not?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I know there was yesterday a legal question, I believe from Nicole, who I think just stepped out, on this specific – along these specific lines. So let me just give you an answer on that in terms of who we work with. It is, of course, up to the Egyptian people, as we've said a number of times, to determine their future and the path forward. We are working with the interim government, and we – and I can also confirm for you that Ambassador Patterson has met with the interim president as well.
QUESTION: But the Egyptians have voted for President Morsy one year ago, and now there is no elections.
MS. PSAKI: Well, part of it is the path forward and where things go from here. And there, of course, have been a plan – there has been a plan that has been laid out as a first step, but moving forward with an inclusive process is what we would like to see. And while yes, we, of course, recognize that Morsy was – President Morsy was democratically-elected, the question – this is more – and I've said this before as have many other officials – it's about more than what happens at the ballot box. Most democratic transitions take years to take root and stabilize, especially following decades of autocratic rule. And what we're focused on now is continuing to encourage that process to move forward by including all sides.
QUESTION: Does this mean, if they will release him tomorrow, you will – you're not recognizing him as the President of Egypt?
MS. PSAKI: We – I think I just stated who we've been working with, but obviously it's up to the Egyptian people from here.
QUESTION: So far you have been unable to designate what happened in Egypt as a coup or not a coup. Yesterday, an Egyptian scholar, Muna Makram, called it "popular impeachment." Do you agree with that term, that it was a popular impeachment?
MS. PSAKI: We have no defined it yet. We are taking the time to evaluate, and continue to do that.
QUESTION: But you've also said that you are taking into account the fact that upwards of 30 million people on the streets, 22 million on the signature, their voices should count for something and you should – it should – you're noting that this is reflecting the popular will of the people. So does this – is this case going to be applied in all cases now, that when you decide what happened, whether someone was taken from power or not, what the people demand is possibly a factor in here?
MS. PSAKI: I can only speak to what we're looking at in this case.
QUESTION: Well, it does set a precedent, though.
MS. PSAKI: It's not intended. Every case is different, every country is different, and we've always said that.
QUESTION: Are you concerned that it might set a precedent? Are you concerned that this actually might be a precedent for the future?
MS. PSAKI: Well, we haven't made a decision yet, Said. So there's nothing to set a precedent on.
QUESTION: I just want to come back – you said that the U.S. agrees with the German call that Morsy should – President Morsy should be released. Have you conveyed that officially to the Egyptians?
MS. PSAKI: I know we're in regular contact; I'd have to check if that has been specifically conveyed privately.
QUESTION: But the fact that you agree with it means that you must also be feeling that he should be released now, and one would think that that would have been officially – have --
MS. PSAKI: I'll have to check on the exact lines of communication on that civil point.
QUESTION: Would that have been communicated during Ambassador Patterson's meeting with the interim president?
MS. PSAKI: Again, I don't have any read out of that, just that they met.
QUESTION: Do you know when she met?
QUESTION: Jen, this is something that you've decided on today that you think he should be released, or is this something that just had gone – you had not said or others have not said from podiums before, but had always been your position since he was taken into custody – or since he was detained under house arrest?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I can't speak to all of the internal thinking on everything, but obviously we haven't said it before today.
QUESTION: Can you – I know. So, but is this something that – had this been the U.S. position prior to today? Or was it just decided today that you should call for his release publicly?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I just did it today publicly.
QUESTION: Okay. Can I ask --
MS. PSAKI: Beyond that I don't want to --
QUESTION: Well, then can I ask why today you decided to make this call, as opposed to the day after or the day that he was taken into – under house arrest?
MS. PSAKI: Well, we've expressed concerns from the beginning --
MS. PSAKI: Just – this is relevant – as the President in his statement and as we have from podium and other places about the – his arrest, about the arrests, the politically motivated arbitrary arrests of other Muslim Brotherhood members, and yesterday I made clear obviously --
MS. PSAKI: -- that it's difficult for an inclusive political process to move forward. And beyond that I just – I don't have any peel-the-curtain-back anecdotes for you here.
QUESTION: Well, does it mean when you're calling for it, that you believe that he is – that the reason for his detention was politically motivated detention? It was a politically motivated detention?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I think we've expressed our concerns about his detention from the beginning.
QUESTION: Could you get a readout on --
QUESTION: But until – I just want to know why it was --
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: -- that you didn't, until today, make an express call for his release. Or had you – had that always been your position, that just you didn't want to – there was a reason that you didn't want to say it publicly.
MS. PSAKI: I just don't want to get into the sausage-making behind the scenes here.
QUESTION: Are you concerned --
QUESTION: Well, that's fair enough that you don't want to get into the sausage-making, but this Administration represents the American people.
MS. PSAKI: I agree with you.
QUESTION: And the American people – and the rest of the world – would like to know exactly why it is that you're – that you do what you do and you say what you say when you say it. And --
MS. PSAKI: I certainly understand that. And if there's more I can share with you, I'm happy to do that.
QUESTION: But Jen, why are you pressing – as Matt has said, why are you pressing the army to release President Morsy, if he's not the president anymore and 22 million people in Egypt have agreed with the army's steps?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I think that our view, as we stated a number of times here, is that – our fundamental goal, I guess I should say, has that – has been that an inclusive and sustainable democracy where all sectors of society, where all Egyptian people, are fully represented will represent all sides. Beyond that, we – and we feel that includes, of course, the Muslim Brotherhood and other representatives that have been detained.
QUESTION: And do you think that his release won't complicate the situation in Egypt?
MS. PSAKI: I just can't speculate on that.
QUESTION: So if I understand correctly, you're saying – you're calling for his release because you think his detention is politically motivated, in other words, that he had not broken – committed any crime. Is that correct?
MS. PSAKI: Well --
QUESTION: Your understanding – the American – the U.S. Government's understanding is that President Morsy did not actually commit any crime?
MS. PSAKI: We're not here to make an evaluation of that.
QUESTION: I know you're not. But you're --
MS. PSAKI: The United States doesn't make an evaluation of that.
QUESTION: But you believe that he has been unjustly detained?
MS. PSAKI: The President said that in his statement a week ago.
QUESTION: Well, yeah, but you didn't call it – he hadn't said that he should be released until today.
MS. PSAKI: But we've conveyed our concerns --
QUESTION: So did something change?
MS. PSAKI: -- from the beginning.
MS. PSAKI: Go ahead. Oh, go ahead. One more.
QUESTION: Yes. You mentioned that Ambassador Patterson met interim president.
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: When was that?
MS. PSAKI: I don't have a date for you. I'll check if that's something I can get to you.
QUESTION: It's not yesterday, today?
MS. PSAKI: I don't have an update for you.
QUESTION: Okay. Regarding the President, or ex-President, Morsy and you're asking for his release, you want to be treated as a citizen, Egyptian citizen, or a former president, or giving an asylum for him?
MS. PSAKI: That's not for us to decide.
MS. PSAKI: Do we have one more on Egypt.
QUESTION: Yes. Yes, in Egypt.
QUESTION: No, not Egypt. I wanted to change topics.
MS. PSAKI: Okay. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Recent – I mean, I raised this issue two days or three day ago. It's the, whatever you can call it, Patterson issue in Egypt. Because I can tell it that even today, as late as today, she was part of the – even Friday sermons, speeches given by different sheikhs in Cairo, regarding what they call it or whatever they say, it is her interference in Egyptian internal affairs. I raise this issue two days ago and I get an answer, but it seems that – do you care about this issue? Do you want to ignore it or you want to put in a different way?
MS. PSAKI: I'm not sure I'm understanding your question.
QUESTION: The question is: How really you are concerned about this issue if U.S. Ambassador becoming an issue in a place like Egypt?
MS. PSAKI: Well, we – I think I used some pretty strong language on how we feel about the motivations for these claims, which are false. And I also reinterred and I'm happy to reiterate again today that she is an incredible foreign servant – Foreign Service officer. She is a valued Ambassador. She is someone the Secretary personally thinks very highly of. And we'll continue to refute any false accusations or claims that are out there.
QUESTION: The reason that I'm raising this issue is not that – I mean, I'm not trying to agree or disagree with your evaluation. It's definitely – it's not a propaganda platform here. It's – the issue is how we can convey this message to the Egyptians. I mean, it seems that it's not – they are not getting – not even Egyptians on the high-level media or whatever, they are trying to do the same story again and again.
MS. PSAKI: Well, the best antidote to falsehoods or inaccurate claims are the facts. And we'll continue to convey them from here and at every opportunity on the ground as well.
QUESTION: Change topics?
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: On Tuesday, the Israeli soldiers arrested a five-year-old Palestinian child in the occupied city of Hebron, and they blindfolded his father and so on. Are you concerned that they seem to be arresting younger and younger children with every passing month and year and so on?
MS. PSAKI: Well, we have seen, of course, Said, the reports. I would note that on our – that as a part of our Country Report on Human Rights Practices, which we release regularly, as you know, this addresses – this report addresses the issue of treatment of minors and expresses our concern.
QUESTION: But that's a very young minor. I mean, he's five years old.
MS. PSAKI: Well, we – that's why we have expressed concerns about this in our Human Rights Report, and I would point you to that.
QUESTION: But do you make the point clearly to the Israelis not to arrest five-year-old boys?
MS. PSAKI: I'm not aware of recent calls on this specifically, but obviously our Human Rights Report --
QUESTION: (Inaudible) generally five-year-old boys don't typically commit crimes?
MS. PSAKI: Well, obviously that's why it was released as part of our Human Rights Report and why our concerns were expressed. That report is made public. And obviously, concerns we have are expressed regularly through many channels.
QUESTION: Wait, I'm not sure I understand. This specific case is mention in the Human Rights Report?
MS. PSAKI: No. The treatment of minors, which is the broad issue that Said was raising.
QUESTION: Oh, you're not --
MS. PSAKI: But this is a recent incident over in the last couple of --
QUESTION: I know. Because you're not saying – you're not aware if this has been raised, this specific case has been raised with the Israelis?
MS. PSAKI: Correct. I'm not aware of a specific call on this case.
QUESTION: Could you find out if --
MS. PSAKI: I will check if there has been any.
QUESTION: I think – because I think that was the question. I'm not sure.
MS. PSAKI: Oh, I wasn't hearing that as the question, but if that is, we'll check if there has been.
QUESTION: Thank you, Matt, for clarifying, but that was the question, actually.
MS. PSAKI: Oh, thank you to Matt for clarifying.
QUESTION: On Syria, please. In Doha, you'll recall that the Secretary said that each of the London 11 would choose on their own approach to increasing the scope and scale of their assistance to the rebellion. Can you give us an update about where the United States is now in expanding the scope and scale of its assistance to the rebellion?
MS. PSAKI: Well, just to give everybody the history we're all familiar with, just a couple of weeks ago the President made clear, of course, that the use of chemical weapons by the regime would change his calculus, and it did. And he – we made an announcement to expand the scale and scope of our assistance. I don't – I still am not able to discuss specifics or give an outline of what exactly that entails. We continue to support efforts, of course, of the international community and other governments to make their own choices about what assistance they will provide. And the Secretary remains in close contact and coordination about that.
QUESTION: Did you see the editorial in The Washington Post this morning about the Administration's policy on Syria?
MS. PSAKI: Yes.
QUESTION: Which called it feckless. I'm assuming, but I don't know, so I want to ask the question that you do not agree with that characterization.
MS. PSAKI: I do not.
QUESTION: You do not. So feckless is one of those funny words. I haven't looked it up in a while, so I did on this. And the main definition that seems to be shared by most online dictionaries that I looked at is "ineffective." So if you do not agree that the Administration's policy has been feckless, I'd like – what metric are you using to say that it is effective, that it has been effective. Because as far as I remember, the policy of the Administration, articulated by Secretary Kerry when he first took over was to change President Assad's calculations. Since that articulation of policy, President Assad has changed his calculations, or seems to have changed his calculations, from one where he was not sure if he could win to one where he now knows that he – or thinks that he can win. The opposition, instead of getting stronger, has lost ground and has become more disparate and more – less cohesive. Their attempts to form a solid, one block have, to date, been unsuccessful, and things have gotten worse rather than better in terms of their organization. So I'd just like to say what – ask what you mean or how it is that you can say that this policy has been effective.
MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, I think the context here is incredibly important, especially the fact that the situation on the ground is one where the Secretary is focused on on a daily basis, as are many members of the Administration. We have taken steps. As you know, I just mentioned some of them in response to Scott's question, and we continue to consider other options with the focus on taking steps that will be most effective in continuing to strengthen the opposition. We've worked with them on the political front; we've also worked with them on the ground front and taken steps to change that.
MS. PSAKI: But –
QUESTION: But – well, first of all, what you told Scott was that you didn't – you said you couldn't talk about the steps that you have taken.
MS. PSAKI: Correct. And that's been the –
QUESTION: So don't – so those – so don't come back –
MS. PSAKI: I did say we've expanded –
QUESTION: -- and say that you just –
MS. PSAKI: -- the scale and scope –
QUESTION: But – okay.
MS. PSAKI: -- and we continue to consider other options.
QUESTION: All right. Fair enough. But one would think that a metric for measuring success or effectiveness or a policy would be that the people that you're supporting get more organized and get stronger rather than getting less organized and falling apart into disparate little groups and have less power and less control – less area under their control.
MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, they did –
QUESTION: So I –
MS. PSAKI: -- elect leadership, as you know. We continue to work with them on moving forward on expanding the membership and leadership. That's just one component. We also remain focused on talking to our partners, including Russia, including others on planning for a conference. We've had several meetings about that. We also have taken steps on the third tier of this to provide additional assistance on the ground. I can't get into the specifics of that, but we've talked about it before. And finally, we continue to consider other options. So this is a – no question, a challenging situation on the ground, a volatile situation on the ground, and that's why we're focused on it every single day.
QUESTION: But I still haven't heard what metric you're using to say that this has not been feckless, that the policy has had feck or whatever – (laughter) – or that it has been – has been effective. I don't see it, and I'm not hearing it from you, and I don't think anyone else –
MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt –
QUESTION: -- is hearing it from you. You're saying that you're going to consider taking other steps. There are steps that you've taken that you can't talk about, but the metric that people can see from the ground, which would be a more, better organized – stronger and better organized opposition that's controlling more and more territory, is the exact opposite of that.
MS. PSAKI: Well, I think I referenced just that the fact that the opposition has had elections. That's one step. I have referenced – we've continued to provide aid, increase aid. The Secretary and other members of the Administration have been leading the charge and giving aid directly through the SMC and continuing to work with General Idris on the ground. So we are focused on this every single day.
QUESTION: Right, but I think –
MS. PSAKI: I'm not going to get into evaluation –
MS. PSAKI: -- day by day. It's a complicated situation.
QUESTION: But I think the point of the editorial, and what I'm trying to get you to explain, is why it is not – why it is wrong to say that the policy is feckless, because you can't point – just – saying that you put money into it doesn't mean that it's a –
MS. PSAKI: I – that's not all –
QUESTION: That doesn't mean that it's effective.
MS. PSAKI: That's not all I said. That's not all I said.
QUESTION: Well, it's pretty much the only –
MS. PSAKI: I talked about the different tiers of assistance and all the steps that were taken.
QUESTION: Jen, don't you think that it's important for the people to see the consequences for Assad crossing the redline that President Obama has drawn?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I think that's why we took the steps we did, and I am sorry that I'm not able to go into more specifics on this.
QUESTION: But you didn't know – or we don't know about the consequences yet. We don't see any consequences.
MS. PSAKI: Well, the consequences were taking the steps we announced a couple of weeks ago.
QUESTION: Jen, on the SMC front, General Idris and his folks say they have not received a single bullet from the U.S. That's lethal aid. On the nonlethal front, on the things that Secretary Kerry has outlined that he intended to give to them, what has the U.S. delivered, and when was that? When was – what is the last thing that the U.S. has actually given to the SMC?
MS. PSAKI: I'd have to get you an update on it. I know we've done that periodically, which I'm happy to do. We are in daily contact with the SMC to discuss what we can do to help support their needs. We're committed to helping them, to working through them as the moderate political and military opposition representatives, and I can't get into specifics about the announcement. As we all know, and I've stated a few times, that the President – we made – the Administration made just a couple of weeks ago. But I can assure you that we are in close contact. A great deal of aid has been delivered. I will see what update we have on all of the announcements we've made.
QUESTION: And is that Ambassador Ford, or is that somebody else who is in contact with –
MS. PSAKI: He certainly is, but I'm certain it's not him every single day.
QUESTION: One --
QUESTION: Are you – do you have any updates – I'm sorry.
QUESTION: Just one more question on that. There were reports about an al-Qaida attack on Free Syrian Army members –
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: -- and folks linked to General Idris. Is there a reaction to that from the Department?
MS. PSAKI: We do note, of course, reports that the al-Qaida-linked militant group, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has killed a senior FSA commander, also known as Abu Bassel al-Ladkani. We have long made clear our serious concerns with respect to the threat of violent extremist elements in Syria who seek to co-opt the revolution against Assad for the own depraved purposes. That's why we've taken a range of steps to work through the SMC, to work through the moderate components of the opposition.
QUESTION: So does this make you – so originally, one of the concerns was that when you gave weapons to the rebels, you didn't know if it would hand – end up in the hands of jihadists, because they were working together. Does this make the lines – delineate the kind of fault lines of who's working with who a little bit more clear for you now?
MS. PSAKI: Which piece of this? The --
QUESTION: Well, I'm saying, like, if the rebels and the Islamists or al-Nusrah or al-Qaida-related groups are clearly – there's problems between them, does this give you more confidence that when you give aid to the rebels, the FSA, that it's not going to end up in the hands of Islamists because they're not working together?
MS. PSAKI: Well, this is one case. I would hate to make a sweeping evaluation. Obviously, we've taken – that's why we work through General Idris and the SMC, and why we're continuing to take every step possible to make sure the aid – any aid – goes through the moderate opposition. We do know, of course, some of the extremist groups and elements of this, of the opposition. We don't know all. Or I – so I don't know that I have an evaluation beyond that of what it means about who's working with whom.
QUESTION: Do you have an update on the situation on the ground in Homs?
MS. PSAKI: I don't have an update for you today, Said, beyond the one we talked about just a couple of days ago.
QUESTION: Okay. But it seems that the Free Syrian Army and the rebels are getting ready to abandon Homs and go defend a more defensible --
MS. PSAKI: I don't have an update or any independent confirmation of that.
QUESTION: You don't have any update. But – okay. Does that kind of situation calls for some sort of urgently supplying the rebels, perhaps with weapons that are held up in the pipeline?
MS. PSAKI: I'm not going to speculate on all these. I haven't seen those reports. Our concern a couple of days ago, which I would venture is still our concern, is about the ability of humanitarian assistance to get in, and of course, continuing to communicate with, as we do on a daily basis, the SMC and their leaders about their needs on the ground.
QUESTION: So this does not give added urgency to supplying the rebels with arms and other supplies that they might need to hold on?
MS. PSAKI: Said, we certainly look at all circumstances on the ground, as well as a range of other issues, as we think about future decisions.
QUESTION: Is Ambassador Ford still in the building doing his work?
MS. PSAKI: I believe he is. I'm not sure if he's on travel, but beyond that, I don't have any updates on his whereabouts.
QUESTION: Pakistan quickly?
MS. PSAKI: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: Malala, the 15-year-old who stood nine months ago against the Taliban, and now living in UK, and today she was addressing the United Nations Youth Assembly – first time ever the UN gave such a honor to her. What she was telling that she's still living under the threat of Taliban, but she is not going to bow down to the Taliban as far as girls' education is concerned in Pakistan and around the globe. Her message was today that there is also child slavery that she's talking about in many countries. My question here: She's still under the threat of Taliban; what they are saying is if they find her anywhere, they will kill her. So what message you think you have for the Pakistani Government as far as Talibans in Pakistan? She – obviously, she cannot return to Pakistan.
MS. PSAKI: Well, I know – I did hear that she gave a wonderful set of remarks, Goyal, this morning. And certainly her bravery in the face of such violence is inspirational. Education for girls is critical, it's an issue we care deeply about, and it's key to both political and economic progress, and certainly we discuss a range of issues, as you know, with the Pakistani Government.
QUESTION: But as far as education for the girls, what message do we have now in Pakistan and in other countries where --
MS. PSAKI: That it is critical to political and economic progress.
QUESTION: I've got two very brief ones.
MS. PSAKI: Okay.
QUESTION: First is a non-Snowden Russia question.
MS. PSAKI: Okay.
QUESTION: Yesterday, your predecessor, Toria, and Mr. Baer – I think that's his name, the nominee for the OSCE – both said that the Magnitsky list is being reviewed and would – and more names would be added. Do you – is there any timetable --
MS. PSAKI: I don't have any timetable on that.
QUESTION: -- for that? Is it possible just to ask? I don't know that we'll find out.
MS. PSAKI: Sure. I don't think we will have one, and that's always been an option.
QUESTION: I know, but --
MS. PSAKI: But I'm happy to check for you.
QUESTION: -- but I don't know if there's, like, a statutory requirement or something like there was the first time around --
MS. PSAKI: Sure.
QUESTION: -- there was. And then the second one is, I'm wondering if you have any reaction to the pardon of the Cambodian opposition leader, San Rainsy, by the king.
MS. PSAKI: Sure. I do. We welcome the decision to accept the Prime Minister's recommendation of a royal pardon for opposition leader Sam Rainsy to return to Cambodia without incarceration. We call on the Cambodian Government to facilitate a safe environment for his return and allow for his meaningful and unfettered participation in the elections. While his safe return will be a significant step in the right direction, we encourage the Cambodian Government to continue implementing recommendations by the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Cambodia aimed at free and fair elections.
QUESTION: Thank you. Have a good weekend.
(The briefing was concluded at 2:21 p.m.)
DPB # 117
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