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Daily Press Briefing

John Kirby
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
March 21, 2016

Index for Today's Briefing




3:12 p.m. EDT

MR KIRBY: Good afternoon, everybody.


MR KIRBY: I do not have an opening statement today, so we can get right at it.

QUESTION: Okay. I just – first, I have a just a logistical kind of question. Last week, last Thursday, it was not only the deadline for the Secretary to decide on the determination of genocide for ISIS but also the deadline, I believe, unless I'm mistaken – in the same legislation, it was also the deadline for the – him to make a determination on the situation with the Rohingya, Burma.


QUESTION: Unless I missed it, there was no mention of that. I'm just wondering – so is this something that you're missing the deadline on or has --

MR KIRBY: No, no. If you look --

QUESTION: -- that review been completed and he has determined that it is not?

MR KIRBY: Yeah, if you look in our report, you'll see that it is – we – you're right, we were asked to make a determination on that. It is in our report to Congress. But no, we did not determine that – while it's without question that they continue to face persecution, we did not determine that it was on the level of genocide.

QUESTION: Okay. Sorry, which report was it? I didn't --

MR KIRBY: The report back to Congress.

QUESTION: Was that released?

MR KIRBY: I don't know.

QUESTION: Has anyone seen this?

MR KIRBY: In any event --

QUESTION: Okay. So in any event --

MR KIRBY: -- no determination of genocide against Rohingya.

QUESTION: -- he did the review and decided that it is not --

MR KIRBY: Yes, that's right.

QUESTION: -- it does not constitute genocide?

MR KIRBY: That is right.

QUESTION: Does it – because I haven't seen it --

MR KIRBY: And that was communicated to the Congress.

QUESTION: Okay. Well, I'll take a look at it. But is there an explanation as to why he found that it was not?


QUESTION: There is? Okay. Well, then I don't – you don't have to go through it here if it's out there.

MR KIRBY: Yeah. Okay. All right.

QUESTION: Then non-logistically, on – you will have seen comments made in Moscow today that the Russians are apparently not happy with the state of cooperation on the ceasefire violations, the state of cooperation between them and you guys. And there was – it was said this morning that starting tomorrow, unless the cooperation improved, the Russians were going to go ahead and unilaterally take action against people who are violating the ceasefire. What's going on here? Do they have a point?

MR KIRBY: Actually, no. In short, they don't. I mean, there has been coordination already as we talked about through the ceasefire task force in terms of working through being able to collect and analyze information about violations. So there has been coordination. And so, I mean these things have been discussed at length and they continue to be discussed in a constructive manner, this idea of looking at the cessation of hostilities and potential violations to it.

I'd also say the statement that we saw quoted to a Russian general that we'll act unilaterally runs counter itself to the spirit of the cessation of hostilities agreement, which everybody agreed to, as you know, back in February. Our expectation is that Russia will refrain from unilateral actions and respond to our counterproposal on the modalities for implementing the cessation of hostilities agreement. So there has been dialogue back and forth, therefore no reason for anybody to say that there needs to be unilateral action taken.

QUESTION: What's the counterproposal?

MR KIRBY: Well, I'm not going to get into the details of that, but it is – but we have been talking at quite some length with Russian officials about how to manage the cessation going forward.

QUESTION: Well, to your knowledge, has there been any action taken against people who have violated the cessation of hostilities?

MR KIRBY: You mean like some sort of legal action?

QUESTION: Any kind of action, whether it's military, legal, calling them out, maybe --

MR KIRBY: I'm not aware of any specific –

QUESTION: -- naming names?

MR KIRBY: I'm not aware of any specific action to date. I would remind you, though, that the cessation still is holding now going into its fourth week.

QUESTION: Well, right, but there have been violations and you've talked about them. So you're saying – and they were last week, I believe. So you're saying that there hasn't been action of any kind, whether it's military or legal or otherwise --

MR KIRBY: If you're asking about a repercussion --


MR KIRBY: -- as a result of a violation --


MR KIRBY: -- I'm not aware of any specific repercussions. That's not ruling things out in the future, but there is a process here by which these things --

QUESTION: I guess I'm trying to --

MR KIRBY: -- these modalities are discussed and coordinated with the Russians.

QUESTION: Well, I'm trying to find out what that process is, because the Russians don't seem to be happy with it. And I wanted --

MR KIRBY: I can get you a primer on it. I'd rather not get into the whole details, but we do have – there's a pretty lengthy structure, a process to how these things are collected and looked at. And we can get you somebody to explain that to you in greater detail.

QUESTION: Well, it's not so much the collection and the looking at that I'm interested in. It's the response. Who decides what gets done to whom if a violation has been confirmed?

MR KIRBY: We'll get you a primer on the process. We'll get you a primer on the process. But as I said, Matt, it's – this idea that we're not having a dialogue with the Russians on this, that there is no coordination on monitoring the cessation, is simply not borne out by the facts.

QUESTION: Do you expect this to be part of the discussions between Kerry and – in Moscow this week?

MR KIRBY: This particular charge? I don't know, Lesley. I mean, we don't really think there's a need to have a specific discussion about this particular point, because as I said, we believe that there has been a constructive dialogue about the cessation of hostilities. But clearly going into the trip into Moscow we fully expect that events in Syria will be front and center on the agenda, to include the cessation of hostilities, how it's going and how we can keep it in place, as well as, more importantly, the discussions in Geneva between the opposition and the regime brokered through the UN.

QUESTION: What kinds of things does he – does the Secretary want to broach with the Russians this week?

MR KIRBY: Well, again, I think I've outlined the key issue. I mean, one of the main reasons to go is to talk about Syria and where things are going from a political perspective in terms of the talks in Geneva and the movement and progress on the political front, as well as the cessation of hostilities and the delivery of humanitarian assistance. I'm told there was yet another delivery today near or in Aleppo. So I mean, that's ongoing. We'd like to see more and we'd like to see – we'd like to see that delivery – those deliveries be faster as well. So there's plenty to talk about just in terms of Syria. I also have no doubt that Ukraine will be a topic of discussion, as it always is when we meet with Russian officials. So I think there will be lots, lots on the agenda.

QUESTION: Can I follow up on the issue of violations? Okay, somebody must be keeping a tally on violations, correct? You must have a tally that so many violations have taken place in this area or that area. How are they likely to compromise the cessation of hostilities or jeopardize the cessation of hostilities? You must have that, right?

MR KIRBY: The task force is collecting or has been collecting reports of violations to the cessation of hostilities, and that is all being brokered through the task force. Obviously, we don't – the right number of violations is zero. We don't want to see any. A cessation of hostilities continues to hold even despite the reports of violations. And as I said before, I'm not going to get into a discussion of each and every claim or allegation of a violation.

QUESTION: So besides bringing those who violate the ceasefire to task at one point or by whatever mechanism that is available to you or the Russians or the task force itself, it seems to be holding, which means – the ceasefire is holding. These violations could not be so severe. They are not of the sort of the size or horrific kind of violations --

MR KIRBY: Well again, without characterizing each and every claim and each and every violation, they have not reached a point either in number or scope that they have – that they have jeopardized the cessation thus far. But that doesn't mean that we're not taking each claim seriously and that we want to see even alleged violations go to zero. But by and large the cessation of hostilities continues to hold now into its fourth week.

QUESTION: Can you tell us whether it's the Syrian Government forces that are responsible for the majority of those violations?

MR KIRBY: Well, I think – yes, as we've said before, I mean, by and large the greatest number of reported violations have come from the regime.


QUESTION: John, on the genocide discussion, I just had something to clarify. The congressional resolution calls the ISIS atrocities against the Kurds a genocide – among other minorities, of course. In my understanding – but the Secretary Kerry statement from last week didn't include the Kurds among other minorities in his explicit reference to genocide. Am I right to understand it this way, that Secretary Kerry or the State Department believes that the crimes against Shia Muslims, the Yezidis, and Christians are genocide, but not the one against the Kurds?

MR KIRBY: The Secretary said that we have found that even though the record isn't complete, it's complete enough to be able to determine that genocide has occurred against Christians, Yezidis, Shia groups, and others. And I think I'm going to leave it the way the Secretary talked about it.

QUESTION: But why didn't he explicitly include the Kurd? Is it because ISIS doesn't kill the Kurds for who they are, for their ethnic group?

MR KIRBY: I'm going to leave it where the Secretary left it with you guys, and --

QUESTION: But it's not clear.

MR KIRBY: -- as he also said – as he also said, we still don't have a complete record. It's difficult to know with fullness every atrocity that they have conducted. And that is why – frankly, that's one of the reasons why making the determination and making that announcement was so important, was to help, as I said at the time, galvanize the international community so that we could collect more evidence and collect more information. Okay?

QUESTION: Thank you.


QUESTION: Amnesty International told RT this morning that Turkey's military operations in its predominantly Kurdish areas, quote, "resemble collective punishment." There are at this point many allegations of Kurdish civilians killed during those operations. Has the U.S. looked into this at all?

MR KIRBY: Are you talking about operations inside --

QUESTION: Inside Turkey.

MR KIRBY: Inside Turkey?


MR KIRBY: I haven't seen the Amnesty report, so I don't have anything to add other than to say that we've talked about this before. We understand that Turkey is under a real threat from terrorists. That's – I think that's beyond dispute when you just look at what's happened in the last few days alone. And they certainly have an obligation to protect their citizens from that threat, as any sovereign nation would. As they do so – and we've said this before – we want them to do it with an understanding of their international obligations, and particularly those to protect innocent life and civilian infrastructure. But I have not seen the Amnesty report, so I can't comment on it.

QUESTION: Not only Amnesty, but any reports of international law violations by Turkey which would – do you think Turkey is in compliance with international law with the way it carries out curfews and military operations in the south --

MR KIRBY: I'm going to leave it where I left it before. We have made very clear our concerns as Turkey continues to deal with a very real terrorist threat inside its own borders. And that, again, is beyond dispute. We've made clear our concerns about the manner in which operations against terrorist groups should be conducted. I think I'm just going to leave it there.

QUESTION: Just about – one more question about it – and in this – after our crew traveled to the city of Cizre in Turkey, which had been under curfew for months, and after our reporter showed the level of destruction there and locals saying that some 150 people were burned to death in basements of apartment buildings, RT put out a petition calling on the UN Human Rights Council to investigate the alleged mass killing of Kurds in Turkey. Do you support the call?

MR KIRBY: I haven't seen that. I haven't seen RT's report or a call for it, and I'm not going to get ahead of decisions that may or may not be taken up inside the UN. I'll go back to what I said before, because apparently I need to say it again: We've been very clear with Turkey about what our expectations are as they prosecute – sorry, go after the terrorist threat inside their borders. And we are able to have that discussion frankly and candidly, directly with Turkish authorities, and we're going to continue to do that.

QUESTION: But would you support the call to investigate those allegations at least?

MR KIRBY: I'm not going to get into a hypothetical. I'm just not.

QUESTION: Investigate – it's not a hypothetical.

MR KIRBY: Yes it is.

QUESTION: There are actual allegations, and would you like to investigate them?

MR KIRBY: I'm not – I've answered your question, ma'am.

Yeah, back there.

QUESTION: Can we change the subject?

QUESTION: Can we stay on Turkey one more question?


QUESTION: Sorry that. About the attack in Istanbul from last week, has there been any contacts between the U.S. Government or the State Department and your Turkish counterparts on whether Turkey wants to be more engaged against ISIS after this? Because it was clearly conducted by ISIS. Or are they maybe refraining from being part of the coalition more effectively because of that ISIS might --

MR KIRBY: I know of no change in Turkey's cooperation with the coalition as a result of recent attacks, the one in Istanbul that you're talking about in particular. I know of no change in their posture or their willingness to cooperate and support the coalition, and I would remind you that they are in fact a key contributor to coalition efforts against Daesh with the permission of the – the use of some of their facilities and bases, as well as other assistance that they're offering. And oh, by the way, a big chunk of that is, of course, caring for now 2.7 million Syrian refugees on their side of the border.

So Turkey is – it's not, as I said, a theoretical thing with them, what's going on with Daesh and inside Syria. It's practical, it's tangible, it's right there inside the country, and we're grateful for the support that they continue to offer the coalition. I know of no such changes to that as a result of these terrorist attacks.

In the back there.

QUESTION: Yeah, thank you. Jahanzaib Ali from ARY News TV. Sir, Pakistani and Indian leadership will be here in D.C. for the nuclear summit. So what concerns United States has about their WMDs – I mean, when the relations are already tense between the two countries?

MR KIRBY: Well, I mean, we routinely discuss issues of nuclear security with Pakistan, if that's what you're asking. And as for the tensions between India and Pakistan, I mean, we welcome efforts that have been taken and efforts that may be taken in the future to work out those issues bilaterally between the two countries. We look forward to having Pakistan represented at the Nuclear Security Summit coming up and to being able to continue to have meaningful dialogue about issues of nuclear security.

QUESTION: Sir, Pakistan is taking its place in the NSG, the Nuclear Supplier Group. So will U.S. support Pakistan for this cause?

MR KIRBY: Nuclear Suppliers Group? I don't have – I'd have to – you'd have to let me get back to you on that. I don't have a specific answer.

QUESTION: Sir, one last question. It's about the incident happened in India last week at their nuclear facility. Sir, this is not the first time happening there – I mean, few accident were reported in past too. Sir, is there any kind of contact on this issue with India? I mean, it's look – a serious problem there.

MR KIRBY: You're going to have to slow down a little bit.

QUESTION: All right.

MR KIRBY: What was the question again?

QUESTION: Sir, there is an incident in India at their nuclear facility, and this is not the first time that incident happened at the same facility. So are you in contact with India on that? I mean, it's a big issue there. I mean, the leakage of that nuclear water or something like that is being happening from the last week. Have you seen that --

MR KIRBY: You're asking me are we in contact with India about an incident that happened in Pakistan?

QUESTION: Yeah, yeah, yeah – no, sir, in India.

MR KIRBY: In India?

QUESTION: I think – are you aware about that incident?

MR KIRBY: I'm not aware of that specific incident.

QUESTION: All right. So can you please take that question?

MR KIRBY: I'll take a look at that --

QUESTION: All right. Thank you.

MR KIRBY: -- and get back to you.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

MR KIRBY: I'm not aware of that particular --

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR KIRBY: Yeah, go ahead.

QUESTION: Secretary Kerry is meeting representatives of the FARC in Havana. Can you confirm that, please, and what is it about?

MR KIRBY: He is meeting with – separately with members of the Colombian Government, as well as some of the FARC negotiators today down in Havana. He'll discuss with them both – in both meetings, he will discuss the ongoing negotiations and reaffirm our strong support – the United States strong support – for President Santos' effort to reach a just and lasting peace accord in Colombia.

QUESTION: I mean, it was mentioned during the news conference with Obama and Fidel – no, not – and Raul Castro. Obviously, it's a top priority for the U.S. to see this. Is his effort maybe trying to get these talks moving faster, or – I mean, other – beyond just declaring support for it?

MR KIRBY: I think, without getting ahead of the process, the Secretary fully supports the efforts that have already taken place and the discussions and talks that have already occurred. And again, without getting ahead of it, I mean, there has been progress, and I think the Secretary views his meetings today as an opportunity to sort of – to get updated on the progress that's been made and to see what the future can hold here in terms of rounding it out and getting something complete. But I don't think the purpose of the meeting is to spur one thing or another. It's really, I think, just to, again, make it clear – make it more clear, if I may – how supportive we are of the process and to continue to offer whatever support we can to completing it.

QUESTION: Are they separate meetings?

MR KIRBY: Yes. As far as I know, these are two separate meetings, one with the representatives of the Colombia Government and then one with negotiators representing the FARC.


MR KIRBY: Two separate meetings.

QUESTION: I have a Cuba-related question. So in the press conference – you saw it, right?

MR KIRBY: I did.

QUESTION: The Obama-Castro conference. So President Castro was asked about political prisoners, and his response was essentially, "Well, we don't have any. But do you have a list? And if you do, give me a list and I'll release them before President Obama leaves."

Does – I don't expect you to speak for the White House, but does the State Department have a list of political – people it believes are political prisoners that it would like to see Cuba release, it wants released? You had one in the past. You had one when – or you at least asked for certain people to be released as part of the whole rapprochement.

MR KIRBY: Matt, I don't know if we have – I don't know if we have an exhaustive list. Clearly, there are people still detained for political purposes, and we routinely raise their cases. But --

QUESTION: Yeah. But can you give the Cubans a list of people that you think are political prisoners who should be released?

MR KIRBY: Let me --

QUESTION: I mean, it sounds like quite an offer from President Castro if he said that – show me the list and I'll release them.

MR KIRBY: Let me take the question.

QUESTION: If you --

MR KIRBY: Let me take the question because I don't – if there is such a list, I don't have it in front of me. But clearly, we know that people continue to be detained for political purposes there and it remains an issue of concern, and we routinely raise this issue now that we have this dialogue with Cuban officials.


QUESTION: Can I change topics to the Palestinian-Israeli issue?


QUESTION: I just want to ask a question to help me understand your policy. Now, the United States continues to be, or wishes to be and to continue to be, an honest broken in its efforts to broker a deal between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Correct? Is that – would you say that that's – that is your position, that you want to continue to be an honest broker to bring about a deal?

MR KIRBY: We've said – Said, we've said that we want these issues worked out between the two sides.

QUESTION: I understand. I'm just saying that you --

MR KIRBY: Between the two sides. We didn't – it wasn't about putting ourselves in the middle of it.

QUESTION: I'm saying that you see yourself as an honest broker in trying to broker a deal at one point or another.

MR KIRBY: I just – I'm not going to repeat the word "honest broker" and it's not what we --

QUESTION: Okay, but that is actually a term that your former colleagues, in fact many secretaries of state and so on, suggested (inaudible) --

MR KIRBY: Nothing has changed about our policy that we want the two sides --

QUESTION: But that is not the same --

MR KIRBY: -- to take the right steps to move forward.

QUESTION: Right, but that's not the same as remaining neutral on the Palestinian – in terms of taking sides. You could very well take Israel's side. That does not mean – being an honest broker is not the same as being neutral, correct?


QUESTION: And I'm trying to understand, because this kind of – whatever it is, this description, has lately been --

MR KIRBY: You're – but you're trying to get me into campaign rhetoric here.

QUESTION: I'm not trying to get you to do anything.

MR KIRBY: Yes you are, and I'm not going to go there.

QUESTION: I'm trying to get you to – okay, I'm not talking about --

MR KIRBY: Look, look, we – Said, Said, nothing has changed about our policy.


MR KIRBY: Nothing has changed about our desire to see a two-state solution realized. But as I said and we've said ad nauseam, both sides have got to prove willing and able to take leadership roles in ratcheting down the violence and the incendiary rhetoric and taking affirmative steps to make more – to make more possible that two-state solution. And to date, we haven't seen that. We haven't seen that leadership exerted, and that's where we are. So I --

QUESTION: I understand. I'm trying to understand whether it is imperative to conduct an honestly brokered deal with neutrality. Is it – is one tied with the other? Is one – or are they mutually exclusive?

MR KIRBY: I don't know how I can answer that question when I don't know what you mean by the definition of honest broker here.

QUESTION: I'm asking you because that's what's been --

MR KIRBY: We aren't – that's not the role we're trying to play. It's not the role we're trying to play.

Yeah, one more.

QUESTION: John, a Shiite group in Iraq called Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq said this about the latest deployment of U.S. troops in Iraq: Quote, "If the U.S. Administration doesn't withdraw its forces immediately, we will deal with them as forces of occupation," end of quote. Are you concerned that U.S. forces in Iraq may have to fight not only Daesh, but also militia who see them as an occupying force?

MR KIRBY: Another hypothetical question. I haven't seen the comments, so let's just run down again what we're doing in Iraq. First of all, we're there in a very small number, less than 4,000 as I understand it. They're in an advise/assist capacity. They are there at the invitation of the Iraqi Government for a very discrete military purpose. This is – and people tend to forget it – that inside Iraq, the fight against Daesh is an Iraqi fight. It is an Iraqi campaign plan that they are executing. Yes, they get some support from the coalition. Yes, some of that support comes from the United States. Most of it is in terms of trying to improve their battlefield competency and capability. That's the purpose for American troops on the ground. They are not in direct combat roles in the fight against Daesh inside Iraq.

QUESTION: Just – has the Iraqi Government – also on this story. Has the Iraqi Government – more – as I understand, more U.S. troops were sent to Iraq recently. Has the Iraqi Government requested or authorized the additional forces that the U.S. has sent to Iraq?

MR KIRBY: There are no additional forces sent to Iraq. I'm not sure where you get that idea.

QUESTION: The latest news about --

MR KIRBY: What latest news?

QUESTION: About Marines sent to Iraq to --

MR KIRBY: Those Marines were – they were already there.

QUESTION: Adding --

MR KIRBY: They were doing – they were in – I'm going to stray a little bit now. You know I don't like talking about the military stuff, but the – they were already there. They were already there in the appropriate advise and assist capacity.

QUESTION: So you would not – you're saying that there's no additional deployment, no additional --

MR KIRBY: You can check with my colleagues at the Pentagon for troop numbers. I don't know that, nor would I make it a habit of speaking to it. But as I understand it from the conversations this morning that I know we've had with our colleagues in the Pentagon, there are no additional forces being sent to Iraq. And no U.S. forces in Iraq – none, zero – that haven't been approved and coordinated with the Iraqi Government – none. And there are no additional in terms of what you saw happen over the weekend. And again, our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of that --

QUESTION: So just --

MR KIRBY: -- young Marine who was killed. And obviously, we're – our thoughts are with the Marines that are injured in hopes for their recovery.

QUESTION: Just to clarify, so no additional Marines were sent to protect U.S. military advisors in Iraq just recently?

MR KIRBY: No additional forces were sent to Iraq separate and distinct from what was already there. As I understand it – and again, I highly encourage you to talk to my colleagues at the Pentagon – but as I understand it, these Marines we're talking about that were involved in this incident over the weekend were already in Iraq and they were on – they were on a mission that was in keeping with the advise and assist mission. They were not sent additionally from the United States; they were already there. And every U.S. serviceman or woman that is in Iraq is there at the invitation and with the coordination of the Iraqi Government.

I already got you. Abby.

QUESTION: This is going back to a statement put out Friday, but given that the human rights situation in Egypt has been deteriorating for a long time --


QUESTION: -- can you provide a little more insight into the impetus behind the Secretary's statement on Friday? Has the U.S. seen a sharp decline in human rights within Egypt or --

MR KIRBY: I think the Secretary – I mean, you saw his statement. I mean, right in the first line he says – he calls it a deterioration. And I think, without getting into one or two or three tipping points, that – it wouldn't be a fair way to characterize it – he has just – he felt strongly that it was time to say what he was thinking, and that is that we have seen a deterioration in the human rights situation in Egypt and he felt it was the appropriate time to state his concerns.

QUESTION: Is there a call for anything specifically, any specific action on the part of the government as far as what you're looking for?

MR KIRBY: Well, I mean, it's – again, it's right there in his statement. I mean, we continue to call on Egypt to do more to protect basic human rights and to not stifle political dissent and press freedoms. So I mean, it's – again, I don't think I could say it any better than he did. I mean, we have these concerns. These are concerns that we have certainly made before both publicly and privately with Egyptian leaders. And again, the Secretary felt like given recent events, that what he saw, what he believed we were seeing was a deterioration. That a situation that already wasn't great to begin with was not moving in the right direction, and he felt strongly that he needed to say something about it.

QUESTION: But that is not going to stop the United States from supplying Egypt with arms and money and so on.

MR KIRBY: I don't have any – I don't have any --

QUESTION: To the tune of $1.4 billion.

MR KIRBY: I don't have any changes to the aid and assistance package to talk about today.

QUESTION: You saw the Egyptian foreign minister's response, his statement?

MR KIRBY: No, I did not.

QUESTION: Let me tell you then. He basically said thanks, but no thanks. I don't need your – we don't need your tutelage on human rights. You have any response to that?

MR KIRBY: Yeah. Is that an exact quote?

QUESTION: "Tutelage," I believe, is, yeah.

MR KIRBY: Well, I haven't seen the comment, so I refrain – I'll refrain from reacting to comments I haven't seen. But let me just put it this way. I mean, this isn't about tutelage. This is about a fair and abiding concern about the human rights issues in Egypt. And frankly, it's also about a fair and abiding concern about Egypt itself and wanting to see Egypt succeed and to do well by all Egyptians. I mean, when we make these comments about human rights in whatever country it is around the world, it isn't about picking on an issue or just saying it for the sake of saying it. It comes from an honest desire to see human beings be able to live better in places all around the world. And many times, particularly when it's a country like Egypt where we have a strong bilateral relationship, it is in fact an honest effort to show our desire to see that nation succeed and that nation improve and that nation be stronger and more vibrant and more healthy.

Okay, thanks, everybody.

QUESTION: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 3:45 p.m.)

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