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Military

Daily Press Briefing

Marie Harf
Acting Spokesperson
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
April 7, 2015

Index for Today's Briefing

DEPUTY SECRETARY BLINKEN'S TRAVEL
KYRGYZSTAN
YEMEN/REGION
IRAN
CUBA
JAPAN
CANADA
MIDDLE EAST PEACE
PAKISTAN
JAPAN
SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS
SYRIA/RUSSIA
YEMEN

 

TRANSCRIPT:

MS. HARF: Hi. Welcome to the daily briefing. I have two items at the top, and then we'll get to your questions. And I have to be off the podium at about 5 till 1:00 so let's – your questions are always essential, I know, but let's keep them extra essential today.

Some readouts of Deputy Secretary Blinken's meetings overseas yesterday: He was in Lebanon in Beirut, where he met with the Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam, the Lebanese Armed Forces commander, the speaker of parliament, and the UN special coordinator for Lebanon. He also participated in a roundtable of UN and NGO officials to discuss the humanitarian response in Lebanon and the way forward.

Today he was in Riyadh, where he met with Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, the Minister of Interior Mohamed bin Nayif, Yemeni President Hadi. He also met with the Minister of Defense Muhammad bin Salman. He, I think, did a press conference or will be shortly, so be on the lookout for that transcript as well. His next stop is Abu Dhabi.

And today, the Kyrgyz Republic commemorates the fifth anniversary of protests calling for greater public accountability and respect for human rights. This ultimately led to the first democratic transition of presidential power in Central Asia from the interim president – and I'm going to do the best I can at these names, everyone – Raisa Atambayev – bayev, to the current President Almazbek Atambayev as well – I know this name sounds sort of familiar, so I wanted to be as accurate as I could there – after elections in October 2011. It's also fitting that today marks the arrival of their foreign minister in Washington to co-chair the Third Annual Bilateral Consultations in which we will discuss a full range of bilateral and regional issues.

Brad, start us off.

QUESTION: Just following up on the Deputy Secretary's meeting --

MS. HARF: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- with the Yemeni president. What was his message? I didn't see the press conference. Maybe it's happened.

MS. HARF: I'm not sure of the timing, if it's happened or will shortly.

QUESTION: I'm not sure we'll be able to see it here.

MS. HARF: We'll certainly have a transcript. Hello, Matt.

QUESTION: Okay. Can you just describe the message he was coming to – with to meet the Yemeni president?

MS. HARF: Well, it's the message we've said repeatedly over the past several days and weeks, that we – that President Hadi remains the legitimate president of Yemen, that we are supporting the Saudi-led coalition in a variety of ways in their response to the unilateral aggressive military action by the Houthis. So this was a message he spoke with the Saudis about and also with President Hadi about as well.

QUESTION: How fast would you hope to see him return to his country that he is the legitimate leader of, as you say?

MS. HARF: As quickly as possible, of course.

QUESTION: But you don't have any hopes of that being immediate, do you?

MS. HARF: Well, this isn't about what we hope for. It's about what we think is possible. We believe that the path forward here needs to be a return to political dialogue. Obviously, that is a challenge at the moment. So we hope that this will happen soon.

QUESTION: Just on the sequencing of that, do you hope that the dialogue would facilitate his return, or that the military efforts of the Saudis and others would lead to his return and then Houthis that are on the run would then ask to join the dialogue?

MS. HARF: I don't have anything to predict in terms of sequencing.

QUESTION: Well --

QUESTION: Can you talk about the --

QUESTION: I mean, do you have a --

MS. HARF: -- I have no idea.

QUESTION: What's the strategy here? It's not working at this point, right?

MS. HARF: Well, the strategy writ large has been to support the anti-Houthi coalition as they are taking action against the Houthi in order to prompt a return to political dialogue. I don't have more specifics to outline about the timing of what each piece of that might look like.

QUESTION: So what are the --

MS. HARF: Yes, Roz.

QUESTION: So what is the decision to send in more arms to the coalition – what kinds of weapons are we talking about? How quickly can they be delivered? And is it envisioned that at some point the U.S. might be joining the air war against the Houthis?

MS. HARF: Well, I saw those reports, and I think those actually aren't entirely accurate representations of the conversations on the ground. I'm checking with the Deputy Secretary and his team. I don't have a full readout of those meetings. But it's my understanding that he reiterated in general what our policy has been to logistically support this coalition, including with things like intelligence. So obviously, that's what we've been doing for a long time. I think some of those reports might have been a little inaccurate, so I'm checking with our folks and seeing if we can clarify a bit.

QUESTION: But the Reuters report is quoting him on the record as saying we're going to speed up weapons deliveries to the coalition --

MS. HARF: I'm checking to see if those are accurate, Roz. I'm not entirely sure they are. That's why I'm checking with the team on the ground.

QUESTION: And what about the idea of whether the U.S. would be inclined to join the air war in any fashion beyond providing refueling?

MS. HARF: I haven't heard talk of that. As we've said, we are supporting this effort with logistical support, intelligence support, obviously, to the Saudis as they lead this effort. But I don't have anything else to predict in terms of what might happen.

QUESTION: You don't have or there is no intention to speed up the arms --

MS. HARF: Support?

QUESTION: Yeah, to the Saudis.

MS. HARF: Well, we've said we're giving logistical support, including intelligence. I don't have any new announcements to make for you about what that support might look like. We understand this is a very serious situation. We've been providing it as quickly as we can.

QUESTION: What about the possible deployment --

QUESTION: Can I follow up on that one just --

MS. HARF: I think Said had a follow-up, and then I'll go to you, Arshad.

QUESTION: It's okay. Very quickly, what about the possible deployment of ground forces? I mean, there was talk that they are reaching out to the Pakistanis. There is talk that they are doing it among themselves – the coalition led by Saudi Arabia. Do you have any comment on that?

MS. HARF: I'm not really going to get into hypotheticals, I don't think. I've seen some of those comments, but I don't have any more analysis to do of what that might look like.

Go ahead, Arshad.

QUESTION: Just on the – clarifying on – you're uncertain about those reports being accurate.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: You're talking about the reports quoting Deputy Secretary Blinken?

MS. HARF: Saying that we had promised to send weapons and additional weapons to the anti-Houthi coalition, that's correct. I just spoke with his team. I'm going to talk to them on the ground. It's my understanding that he reiterated our longstanding policy of providing logistical support that the military is providing to the Saudi-led coalition, but I'm checking on those details.

QUESTION: Okay. Because what he's quoted as saying is, "We have expedited weapons deliveries," so I just wanted to see if your concern was that he was misquoted and that's not what he said, or if he said it but misspoke.

MS. HARF: Arshad, this just happened. I'm trying to talk to the team on the ground. I'm trying to get a little more clarity about all of those issues right now. I just don't have any more updates for you.

QUESTION: A couple more on Yemen. Do you have any updated plans or non-plans on possible evacuations?

MS. HARF: Nothing to update for you on that. As we've said, we are putting out information – and yesterday, I think Matt asked how we're sending information to American citizens. If you enroll in STEP, which is our online system, we will text message you or send you emails. We also post it on our website, our embassy website, disseminating information to folks to let them know what their options are. I think one thing to remember here is that it's – really, each individual needs to assess their security situation and determine whether it's better to shelter in place or try and take advantage of one of these other opportunities that we are alerting people to.

QUESTION: And then I just had a separate question on Iran's role. Is it your understanding that Iran's support in terms of weapons and/or other, let's say, questionable assistance to the Houthis continues, or has that dried up at this point?

MS. HARF: It's my understanding that it continues. I haven't heard that it has ended.

QUESTION: I mean, how are they still getting weapons into the country if --

MS. HARF: I'm happy to check on how that's actually working on the ground --

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS. HARF: -- but it's my understanding their support continues.

QUESTION: Staying on evacuations --

MS. HARF: Well, let's go to Matt – okay, go ahead. Go ahead.

QUESTION: I was late. I'll wait.

MS. HARF: Okay, go ahead.

QUESTION: And it's on the same topical – the Indian ministry of external affairs has posted on their Facebook page more than 26 countries requesting them for help in this, and U.S. is one of them in there.

MS. HARF: (Sneezes.)

QUESTION: Bless you.

QUESTION: Bless you. Can you --

MS. HARF: Okay. It's allergy season, everyone. Sorry. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Can you confirm if we have requested them, or what is the status?

MS. HARF: Well, we sent messages – an emergency message to American citizens in – who had – in Yemen and posted on our website that advised – on April 6 that advised they may be able to leave Yemen on an Indian naval ship. We also understand that the Government of India may be chartering flights out of Sana'a. The airports remain closed, but they are open on a case-by-case basis for, I think, chartered flights. So the Indian Government has offered to assist American citizens with – and give them the opportunity to use these – either the ship or other ways to get out of the country. So we are grateful for that.

QUESTION: How many have availed of this opportunity? Do you have any figures?

MS. HARF: We're aware of some American citizens, a small number, who have availed themselves of these opportunities. We just don't have a good estimate on that.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. HARF: Yes, Matt.

QUESTION: I would like to go to Iran --

MS. HARF: Okay.

QUESTION: -- and the President's rather unusual sales job in this most recent interview in which he said that after 13 years, Iran would have the capability or could have the capability to produce a weapon. Is the idea simply --

MS. HARF: That quote, I think, that people are referring to – I think his words were a little mixed up there, but what he was referring to was a scenario in which there was no deal. And if you go back and look at the transcript, I know it's a little confusing. I spoke to the folks at the White House and read it a few times. It's my understanding that he was referring to – even though it was a little muddled in the words – to a scenario in which there was no deal.

QUESTION: But I thought that without a deal, they could – they're at breakout in two to three months --

MS. HARF: Correct.

QUESTION: -- not 13 years.

MS. HARF: Right, right. He wasn't saying something different. It was more of a hypothetical: Well, look, without a deal, this is what could possibly happen. He was not indicating what would happen under an agreement in those years.

QUESTION: So after 13 years, if there is a deal based on the parameters that you got in Lausanne, the Administration's contention is that they still would not be able to – they would still not be able to produce – they would still be a year away?

MS. HARF: Well, as we've said, we needed to get to a year breakout – up to – at least a year breakout time for at least 10 years. Given that we're still – part of the negotiations remains what happens to some of those pieces in those further-on years, I don't have a specific breakout time to put onto those years at this point, but obviously we want as long of a breakout time for as long as possible.

QUESTION: So the year --

MS. HARF: So it would not be zero. I mean, that's why he was addressing a hypothetical scenario in which there was no agreement.

QUESTION: Does that mean that the year – say, year 11 – hasn't been decided?

MS. HARF: I'm happy to check with our technical team, Matt, and see. There's some – there's still some items to be negotiated in those years and when it comes to some of the research and development, for example, which affects breakout time.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: As I said, I think, yesterday or the day before or last week, breakout time doesn't go up very quickly, it doesn't go down very quickly. These – there's all these different pieces to this.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: Given there are still pieces of those additional years to negotiate, I don't have a specific breakout time to give you today.

QUESTION: But we've been told since the beginning that there would – 10 years for one thing, 15, 20, 25 --

MS. HARF: Fifteen, 25, absolutely. Those are – and – but many of those are transparency measures. Some of the issues that affect breakout, like research and development, for example, in outer years, is still being negotiated.

QUESTION: So your contention would be, then, that in the out years, should Iran move within the agreement to closer than a year breakout or even actually develop a weapon, they --

MS. HARF: Well, they would not be able to develop a weapon under the guidelines they are operating under, including the Additional Protocol, which is a forever commitment.

QUESTION: Well, if they abide by it.

MS. HARF: Correct, and if they don't, we will see that very quickly, and we will have every option on the table --

QUESTION: So --

MS. HARF: -- we have today. We will have them then to respond quickly.

QUESTION: So the benefit is that you'll be able to see them building a bomb, right?

MS. HARF: That's – Matt, that's what we've always said, that they have the technological knowhow in their country already. They have mastered the nuclear fuel cycle. So the goal with this agreement has always been to push their breakout time to a year, to get the kind of transparency that we would see very quickly if they attempted to break out and we would have time to act. That's always been the premise underlying this agreement.

QUESTION: Okay. So – all right. But you're saying that all of the out-years stuff is still to be negotiated?

MS. HARF: No.

QUESTION: Oh.

MS. HARF: I said some of it is, and so that's why I don't have a precise breakout time to give you today.

QUESTION: In terms of the --

MS. HARF: Not all of it; some of it.

QUESTION: And the transparency, though, is resolved?

MS. HARF: Well, as we – well, transparency's a big topic with a lot of things under it. Obviously, the Additional Protocol is a key part of transparency. That's a forever commitment they've already agreed to, as is modified Code 3.1. When it comes to the three covert – or, excuse me, overt facilities – Arak, Natanz, and Fordow – we've already worked out with them a very serious inspections regime to include technological things like cameras. So there are some details, yes, that still need to be worked out. But much of the transparency already has been.

QUESTION: Is it not correct that Iran already said that it would abide by the Additional Protocol --

MS. HARF: As part of this --

QUESTION: -- years ago?

MS. HARF: They may have said that, but they haven't.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: And so as part of the JCPA, they have agreed to first provisionally apply it and then ratify it, which is the process countries go through under the Additional Protocol, and they have agreed to do that.

QUESTION: Okay. Is PMD something that's in the out years?

MS. HARF: Well, PMD's always an issue. As I've said on PMD, and I'm happy to say it again, that we have with the Iranians – this is obviously one of the issues that still needs to be discussed, but we have a path forward and have an agreement that they will undertake a PMD access list process. Now what that – how that plays out over the next three months is something that still needs to be negotiated.

QUESTION: I understand, but you're – you envision that within the first 10 years or you envision that within the out years?

MS. HARF: I don't have more specifics than that.

QUESTION: So it could be either, is that what you're saying?

MS. HARF: Well, it still has to be negotiated. But the PMD access list obviously is something that's very important to us, period.

QUESTION: Yeah, but anyone can draw up a list. That doesn't mean – a list of sites, you mean?

MS. HARF: A list, as I said, of people and places where the IAEA will have access required. That's the process we will undertake over the next three months to come to an agreement on that list. As I've also said, the Additional Protocol and what we've agreed under the parameters have built-in mechanisms for the IAEA requesting access anywhere --

QUESTION: Right, right. But is that --

MS. HARF: -- and the process for resolution if there are disagreements about whether they should have access.

QUESTION: Is that – does that – is that list actually to be negotiated?

MS. HARF: Correct, there's a --

QUESTION: So in other words, they could give you --

MS. HARF: They've agreed to undertake this process.

QUESTION: They could give you a list that, say, does not have Parchin on it?

MS. HARF: As I said on Friday – I know you weren't here – we would find it very difficult to imagine a JCPA that did not require such access at Parchin. But yes, the specifics of that list are – still remain to be negotiated, but we won't agree to a final comprehensive joint plan of action if we can't agree to a list that we are happy with.

QUESTION: So Marie --

QUESTION: Can I follow up on that? On the ratify, on the --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: It's my recollection that the JPOA did indeed say, in sketching out the outlines of a future comprehensive agreement, that Iran would implement and seek to ratify.

MS. HARF: Correct.

QUESTION: But the parameters that were released on Thursday doesn't – in the portion on the Additional Protocol does not say ratify, it just says implement. And I wanted to ask --

MS. HARF: There's no reason. It's the same thing. Same context.

QUESTION: It's the same thing. So you still expect them to ratify.

MS. HARF: And they've agreed to do so. Correct. Yes.

QUESTION: Great. And then second thing –

(A power outage occurs. There is a pause before recording resumes.)

QUESTION: Yesterday I asked you about (inaudible).

MS. HARF: Yeah.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) for the dispute (inaudible).

MS. HARF: Sure. You can put them right here. Look, at the lip right here. Keep going, Arshad.

QUESTION: Yeah. And you said that you would check to see if there's more you could share on that.

MS. HARF: Yeah. We don't have more details on that to share publicly at this point. But suffice to say it would be a quick resolution process, and when we have more on that I'm happy to share.

QUESTION: May I --

QUESTION: One last one for me on this.

MS. HARF: Yeah.

QUESTION: In terms of the Additional Protocol, you're, I'm sure, well aware that there's a visa clause in the Additional Protocol that requires – in the model one – that requires the country to grant a visa within 30 days, which is not that --

MS. HARF: A visa for the inspectors?

QUESTION: Correct. Yes.

MS. HARF: Got it.

QUESTION: But it's a way to ensure that the country doesn't just slow-roll things by not granting the visas. But my question is: Does your dispute resolution process envisage something quicker than 30 days? Or is it the benchmark and the Additional Protocol --

MS. HARF: I'm not going to say that 30 days is what is in our dispute resolution process. We're just not going to get into more details on that. And I am happy to check on the visa clause. I actually wasn't aware of that, so I can check.

QUESTION: Okay. But my – just so we're clear, when you say you're not going to talk about that, you can't say if it would be quicker than 30 days or --

MS. HARF: I understand that you want more details on it, but I'm just not going to give them to you at this point.

QUESTION: May – I just want to follow up on the inspections. I asked you yesterday about precedent, if there is any precedent --

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: -- that the IAEA could follow. Absent precedent – or maybe there is in Iraq precedent – by the way, this reminds me of the Iraq (inaudible).

MS. HARF: This is amazing.

QUESTION: So how would they do it? I mean, they would have offices, they would come like in (inaudible)? How would they do it?

MS. HARF: In terms of the centrifuge storage – I'm trying not to laugh; this is just amusing to me – but in terms of the centrifuge storage, so they will be stored by – they will not – excuse me. The centrifuges will not be stored by the IAEA. It will be stored under IAEA surveillance and monitoring. And yesterday I said they will be stored in facilities that are monitored by the IAEA. They – we have confidence in their ability to do this. I don't have more details for you on where else they might have done this – in other countries, I think you're asking, right?

QUESTION: So is this like the minibar, where if they pull one out it automatically goes to their computer --

MS. HARF: I'm probably not going to use that example --

QUESTION: Bad example.

MS. HARF: -- to compare something in Iran to.

QUESTION: That they will know immediately if one is taken off the shelf?

MS. HARF: Correct. And as I said yesterday, in order to put back together the centrifuge cascades in their configuration to enrich uranium, that would take over two years.

(Announcement about power outage.)

MS. HARF: Breaking news: The power's out. (Laughter.) I'm not sure the Iran team meeting's going to start at one if the power's out upstairs.

QUESTION: Let's remove that number from the transcript.

QUESTION: I hope they have generators for upstairs. Don't you?

MS. HARF: I don't know, guys. This is – okay.

QUESTION: Let's move on.

MS. HARF: Let's just do a couple more.

QUESTION: Do you have anything new on, I think, Cuba, you wanted to ask about? Anything new on the state sponsor of terror review?

MS. HARF: No. The process is ongoing. I think you heard Ben Rhodes today on a conference call mention that we believe it will be completed soon. I'm not sure what his exact words were. So the process is moving forward. I would agree with his assessment that nothing new to update folks on today.

QUESTION: And when you say it will be repeated – will be finished soon, that means you have basically all the information you need to make the assessment --

MS. HARF: I'm just not going to get into the internal process, but --

QUESTION: But you do on things like Keystone, for example.

MS. HARF: No. I don't think I've ever talked about the internal process.

QUESTION: You've said that we have received all the information from other agencies --

MS. HARF: Well, but that's a total – that's a different kind of – I mean, yes, the internal process continues. I'm not going to get into the specifics, but --

QUESTION: Why? Is – are any of the agencies slow-rolling you?

MS. HARF: I'm not sure this is the same in terms of other agencies. I understand that they provide input, but I think that may have happened a while ago.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) not complete --

QUESTION: There's a report out there that the State Department will --

QUESTION: -- the review is not complete?

MS. HARF: Let's just do one at a time. Let's just do one at a time. Go ahead.

QUESTION: So the review is not yet complete?

MS. HARF: And when we – when it is complete and ready to go and we have something to announce, we will do so.

QUESTION: Have something to announce is different from it being complete.

MS. HARF: I just said when it's complete.

QUESTION: Right. So you're not saying whether it's complete.

MS. HARF: I'm saying – well, which part of it, Arshad? There are a number of parts of it. Eventually the President will have to make a determination.

QUESTION: Right. But I'm talking about the State Department review. Is that now complete?

MS. HARF: Well, but the State Department review is part of a bigger review that we make a recommendation, the President signs off on it. No, we do not – that process is still ongoing. It is not yet complete. When it is complete, we will let folks know. But we do expect that to be soon.

QUESTION: You expect that to be soon. Do you expect that to be before the Summit of the Americas?

MS. HARF: I don't have more specific predictions to make for you on timing, except for that we hope it's soon, or we expect it to be soon.

QUESTION: There's a report --

MS. HARF: Yes. Go ahead.

QUESTION: There's a report that says within a day you will recommend that Cuba be taken off the terror list.

MS. HARF: I've seen a number of anonymous reports guessing about when this might happen. Given the process is still ongoing, I don't have anything else to predict at this point.

QUESTION: And is it yet on the Secretary's desk? I mean, is it --

MS. HARF: I can't see who that is.

QUESTION: Is it still not to the Secretary's --

MS. HARF: I'm just not going to get into where it is in the internal process until we're finished.

Yes.

QUESTION: On Japan, do you have a reaction to the blue book on foreign policy?

MS. HARF: I'm sorry. You have to speak up, because there's no microphones.

QUESTION: On Japan, they just now issued a blue book on your foreign policy. What's your reaction?

MS. HARF: I hadn't seen that. Let me check with our team and get you a response.

QUESTION: Can I ask you a quick one about a treaty between the U.S. and Canada?

MS. HARF: You can.

QUESTION: The Columbia River Treaty is apparently now being reviewed after 50 years of being enforced. Can you update us on where the review process is and what the deadline is to make a decision on whether to re-ratify the treaty?

MS. HARF: Yes. The U.S. Government has already begun to engage internally on the Columbia River Treaty. We're deliberating issues surrounding the treaty, gathering input, Brad, from various federal agencies at this – federal government agencies at this time. We will get perspectives from people. Also, there is no deadline for negotiations on this. It does not have an expiration date. It is an agreement that went into effect in 1964.

QUESTION: Is there any anticipation that the U.S. would want to withdraw from the treaty for any reason?

MS. HARF: I haven't heard any more on the treaty except for what I just told you.

QUESTION: Okay. Any indication from the Canadians that they're also undertaking a similar review?

MS. HARF: I'm happy to check. I haven't heard, Roz. I'm happy to check for you.

QUESTION: Thanks.

MS. HARF: Just a couple more.

QUESTION: I just wanted to ask on the Palestinian issue real quickly.

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: I wonder if you followed up on the arrest of the Palestinian legislator, the female Palestinian legislator Khaleda Jarrar.

MS. HARF: I don't have anything more for you than yesterday, Said.

QUESTION: I also wanted to bring your attention, today the Israelis raided a house and actually handed over a warrant – like an arrest warrant for a child 11 years old, that has agreed to go and turn himself into the (inaudible) at the settlement of (inaudible). I wonder if you have any comment on (inaudible).

MS. HARF: I hadn't seen that. Let me check with our folks. That's helpful. Thank you. Thank you, I'll check. Yes.

QUESTION: Have you heard anything on Pakistan? The judge ordered that criminal charges be filed against a former top CIA lawyer who oversaw its drone program.

MS. HARF: I had not heard that.

QUESTION: His words --

MS. HARF: I'm happy to check, but I expect we'll have no comment.

QUESTION: Marie, just one more on Japan. Have you seen the – their decision on the textbook changes and where Japanese Government they want to use a textbook and also soften the tone on the – their aggression in World War Two?

MS. HARF: What was your second question? I'm sorry.

QUESTION: What's your reaction on Japan's adjustments to their textbook, especially on the part where they want softened tone of aggression (inaudible)?

MS. HARF: So we don't have specific reactions on particular textbook questions. I know we've gotten these in the past, and we're just probably not going to wade in there. In terms of historical issues, we have consistently encouraged Japan to approach these historical issues arising from the past in a manner that is conducive to building stronger relations with its neighbors, but no specific comment on the textbook.

QUESTION: But in general, do you think the moves to adjust the textbook on the historic issues (inaudible)?

MS. HARF: We just don't have more comment on the textbook issue.

Yes, go ahead.

QUESTION: I have just a question on new information relating to Sergeant Bergdahl. There is allegations now – it's related to the NCIS investigation in 2009 that showed he apparently showed intent to travel to Uzbekistan, did multiple searches on his computer related to Russian organized crime, and also made contact with a local Afghan in what seemed to be an effort to basically ease his departure from the base. So I was just wondering if you have any comment on these allegations and whether in light of this information it's changed the position that he served with honor and distinction.

MS. HARF: Well, I think those are – given there's an investigation ongoing – questions not best answered here. But there is an ongoing investigation, so I'd point you to the Department of Defense. I know they're the ones undertaking the investigation. They can speak to that; we certainly can't.

Anything else? In the back. I can't see who it is.

QUESTION: Yeah, it's Alex (inaudible) with ABC News.

MS. HARF: Thank you.

QUESTION: I was just wondering, is there any planned meeting between Bruno Rodriguez and John Kerry?

MS. HARF: Between the Secretary of State and the Cuban foreign minister?

QUESTION: Yes.

MS. HARF: We expect there may be at the upcoming Summit of the Americas. The schedule's not quite confirmed yet, but we will let folks know as we are able to do so. But nothing – nothing to confirm at this point, but there's a chance that there will be.

QUESTION: Is there a chance that the President might meet with President Raul Castro?

MS. HARF: I think the White House has spoken to this and said that they're – they expect to interact --

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MS. HARF: "Interact," I think, is the word they used, or there to be an interaction. But I think they can speak more to the President's planned schedule.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. HARF: Anything on the meeting between the Syrian regime and the opposition, internal opposition in Russia?

MS. HARF: Let me see what I have on that. This is hard to do with one hand. Okay. Yes, just give me one second.

This is a Russian-led initiative, as we've said before. We were not invited nor were we involved in the planning. I think the Russian Government can give you more details. We've been clear that we welcome any initiative that makes genuine progress towards addressing Syrians' core grievances and works towards a sustainable solution to the conflict, of course, in line with the Geneva communique principles. But we're not involved in it.

QUESTION: And any update on the Yarmouk camps?

MS. HARF: No, no update on that today.

Anything else? Yes. So just – I have to hop off in just a second anyway, so --

QUESTION: Just one minute. Can we go back to the non-evacuation of U.S. citizens from Yemen?

MS. HARF: We can.

QUESTION: The website Matt was mentioning yesterday, StuckInYemen, they say that hundreds of U.S. citizen are still trapped in Yemen. There is a U.S.-American --

MS. HARF: (Sneezes.) This is like the most crazy press briefing today, by the way. (Laughter.) I'm sneezing. There's no lights. Yes.

QUESTION: There is a Yemeni American citizen who is coming back to San Francisco this afternoon. So I don't – I'm not saying that it's easy, but I don't understand why what the Indians are able to do would not be possible for the U.S. to (inaudible).

MS. HARF: Well, it's just a balancing act – hi, Matt – between resources and the security situation. We have at the State Department heard from probably hundreds of American citizens, many Yemeni Americans, and not all of them ask how they can leave. Some of them just ask what resources we have, what we could – what other – what possibilities there are. But not all of them uniformly ask to leave, so I just want to put that in a little context.

And that's why we're highlighting for people opportunities to leave on other, as we've said, aircraft or maritime vessels. And at this point, again, no plan to evacuate American citizens. We are giving them opportunities, though, to do so or are highlighting opportunities for them elsewhere.

QUESTION: Marie, I know you probably talked about this before. Are they mainly Yemeni Americans or are they like (inaudible)?

MS. HARF: Overwhelmingly dual citizens.

QUESTION: Are there families with children and so on?

MS. HARF: The ones that we are aware of are overwhelmingly dual citizens. But again, we don't have a good count for how many there are just because there's no way to do this. We would encourage people who, as Nicolas mentioned, go on this other website, they should go on the State Department website. That's the best way for them to get information from us about possible ways to either get out or support that we can offer.

Anything else, guys?

QUESTION: Good, thank you.

MS. HARF: Thank you.



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