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Military

Daily Press Briefing

Elizabeth Trudeau
Director, Press Office
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
June 27, 2016

Index for Today's Briefing

IRAQ
UNITED KINGDOM
IRAQ
BAHRAIN/REGION
SYRIA/REGION
COUNTERTERRORISM/IRAN
LEBANON
MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS
TURKEY/RUSSIA
INDIA
JAPAN
RUSSIA
VENEZUELA

 

TRANSCRIPT:

2:05 p.m. EDT

MS TRUDEAU: Afternoon, everyone. Happy Monday. I have one item at the top, and then I promise this will be the world's shortest briefing, so hopefully we can go out and enjoy the afternoon.

First, on Iraq, we congratulate Prime Minister Abadi and the Iraqi Security Forces for the liberation of Fallujah. This is a major step towards the total defeat of Daesh in Iraq. We do send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the Iraqi forces who died in liberating the city. We do remain concerned about the humanitarian situation for Iraqis fleeing the fighting. However, we have seen significant progress by the UN and Iraqis in recent days to provide for the basic necessities of internally displaced persons. As we announced last week, we're pleased that the United States will host a pledging conference in Washington on July 20th in order to raise support for urgent humanitarian, stabilization, and de-mining needs in Iraq. U.S. is joined in its leadership of this event by Canada, Japan, and Germany, as well as dozens of representatives from around the world, in an effort to help the people of Iraq weather the humanitarian crisis and destruction wrought by Daesh.

And that's all I have. Matt.

QUESTION: Actually, I don't – you don't have anything to add to what Secretary Kerry said earlier in London and Brussels about --

MS TRUDEAU: I don't.

QUESTION: -- Britain and the EU?

MS TRUDEAU: The Secretary spoke extensively on Brexit, as well as in Rome, so I – I'd leave his remarks.

QUESTION: Let me just ask this.

MS TRUDEAU: Sure.

QUESTION: Is there anyone in this building that you're aware of, or interagency, that's looking at this and how – and the impacts that it will have on U.S. foreign policy, U.S. diplomacy?

MS TRUDEAU: Well, I think we all continue to take a look at this. This --

QUESTION: But, I mean, is there some kind of a special task force --

MS TRUDEAU: I'm not aware of any special task force, no, Matt.

QUESTION: All right.

QUESTION: Iraq?

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah. Lesley, you're good?

QUESTION: No, I'm good, thanks.

MS TRUDEAU: Okay, (inaudible).

QUESTION: Thank you. So are you confident that Fallujah is completely liberated now?

MS TRUDEAU: So we've seen the reports. I think DOD also spoke to this today. The Iraqis have spoken on this. Certainly, it's a fluid situation, but the Government of Iraq has said that all parts of Fallujah are liberated.

QUESTION: Have you seen media reports that the Shiite militias which played a huge role in liberating the city have abused Sunni civilians, and what do you make of those reports?

MS TRUDEAU: So we spoke a little bit about this yesterday, and we'd note Prime – or not yesterday, last week. We'd note the prime minister's comments. Prime Minister Abadi has been consistent on the need for all Iraqi forces to be under the Iraqi Government's command and control. He's also publicly and repeatedly emphasized that Iraqi forces must take all care to protect civilians and property. I'm going to refer you to the Government of Iraq to speak to that, but that's something we take very seriously.

QUESTION: Just one more Iraq question.

MS TRUDEAU: Sure.

QUESTION: The Iranian Government has been shelling the Kurdish areas in the north, wounding at least five civilians, including children. Have you seen those media reports and do you have any --

MS TRUDEAU: So I've seen – yeah, thanks for the question. I've seen those reports. We're not in a position to confirm those. I'm going to refer you to the Government of Iraq as well as officials in the KRG.

QUESTION: But if that happened, which there are pictures – pictures of civilians --

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah, as I said, I've seen the reports --

QUESTION: Okay. Will --

MS TRUDEAU: -- but I cannot confirm them.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS TRUDEAU: Okay. Said.

QUESTION: I just wanted to follow up on the situation for the civilians.

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: There's something like 83,000 people. It seems that the humanitarian agencies or – couldn't – were not expecting that many, and they are really in dire conditions. Is there any kind of sort of emergency efforts by the United States and by others --

MS TRUDEAU: Well, you saw our announcement last week.

QUESTION: -- to take care of this unfolding – yeah – I saw – I understand.

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah, on the 20 million.

QUESTION: But – right. But apparently there are a lot more people that are --

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- being placed in tents and so on right outside of Fallujah, a lot more than expected.

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah. So we are very aware of that. We're working very closely with the UN. As I said, we announced last week that additional 20 million. This is a situation that we take very seriously. I think the pledging conference will be an important next step as we take a look not only at stabilization but rebuilding that area as well.

QUESTION: And just one last --

MS TRUDEAU: Sure.

QUESTION: -- follow-up on the alleged Iranian shelling --

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- of Kurdistan. Would that be, like, a major development as far as you're concerned? Would that be something – would that complicate --

MS TRUDEAU: Again, I just can't confirm it. As we had talked about, all I've seen are the media reports, so I'm not in a position to say one way or another.

QUESTION: But Iran – Iranian Government has said – has confirmed that they are doing it, and they said it is – they're going after the anti-Iranian Kurdish rebels.

MS TRUDEAU: Mm-hmm. So on that, I'm going to --

QUESTION: So the Iranian Government, the Kurdish government, they have both confirmed that that's actually taking place.

MS TRUDEAU: Then I'm going to refer you to the Government of Iraq, and as I said, officials in the KRG to speak to it.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MS TRUDEAU: Sure, Samir. Hi.

QUESTION: Hi. Did you see the remarks by the Iran Supreme Leader Khamenei inciting young people in Bahrain to revolt against the government?

MS TRUDEAU: No, actually, I didn't see those remarks.

QUESTION: Can we stay in the region?

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah, of course.

QUESTION: Syria.

QUESTION: Hold on, can we – Bahrain.

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: There's been some developments in the case of Nabeel Rajab. Do you know – what is your --

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah. We are concerned that Nabeel Rajab will face trial for a series of tweets he published last year. The United States believes no one should be prosecuted or imprisoned for engaging in peaceful expression or assembly, even if considered controversial. We believe societies are strengthened, not threatened, by peaceful expressions of opinion and dissent. As the Secretary underscored to the foreign minister, we believe recent government actions against civil society will only lead to greater instability, with potentially serious implications not only for Bahrain but for the greater region.

And Ros, you wanted --

QUESTION: Can I follow up on Bahrain?

MS TRUDEAU: Sure. Are you staying in Bahrain, Ros?

QUESTION: No.

MS TRUDEAU: Okay. We'll do Said and then we'll bounce over.

QUESTION: Very quickly, because --

MS TRUDEAU: Sure.

QUESTION: -- there was an editorial today in The Washington Post basically accusing the government of inciting – and the royal family of inciting sectarian rhetoric and so on – and violence.

MS TRUDEAU: I think I'll leave the comments where I left them, which is Secretary Kerry's comments last week to the foreign minister, Said.

QUESTION: Thanks.

MS TRUDEAU: Go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. There was a joint Al Jazeera/New York Times report – rather, I should say New York Times/Al Jazeera report – alleging that some members of the Jordanian intelligence structure may have taken weapons intended for rebels fighting against the Assad regime and sold those weapons on the black market. What is this building's reaction? What conversations has it had with the Jordanian Government? We all know that weapons turn up on the black market all the time, but given the complexity of the situation in Syria, it does raise some alarm bells.

MS TRUDEAU: Okay, so thanks for the question. We have no comment on that report. There is an ongoing investigation. The United States remains committed to Jordan's security and stability, and we're proud to stand side by side with Jordan in the global counter-ISIL coalition. But on that particular report, there's an ongoing investigation. I just can't speak to it, Ros.

QUESTION: The CIA does not comment either on its covert transfers of weapons, and yet, it is a U.S. Government policy. Who else should we ask about this?

MS TRUDEAU: As I said, I have no comment on that.

QUESTION: More of a policy – these weapons potentially ending up in the hands of extremists – is it a consequence that the U.S. is willing to accept in order to prop up rebel forces in Syria?

MS TRUDEAU: As it's an ongoing investigation, I just don't have a comment on that report.

QUESTION: It's a policy. It's not the only red flag out there. For example, last September, the Pentagon acknowledged that the Syrian rebels that it trained gave at least a quarter of their weapons cache to al-Nusrah. How many red flags do there have to be for the U.S. to stop arming rebels?

MS TRUDEAU: So we're going to leave it where I left it.

Matt, you had a question?

QUESTION: Yeah, I – who's doing the investigation?

MS TRUDEAU: It's actually an interagency investigation, but the State Department is contributing to it.

QUESTION: So what are the other agencies involved?

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah, I can't speak to all the different agencies, but it's multiple U.S. agencies. We're contributing information.

QUESTION: Well --

QUESTION: But she does raise a good point, that --

QUESTION: Wait, hold on, hold on.

QUESTION: Sure.

QUESTION: Just one thing. Just, I mean, the White House was just asked about this in their briefing, right?

MS TRUDEAU: I believe they were.

QUESTION: Yeah. You know what they did?

MS TRUDEAU: They refused to comment on it.

QUESTION: No, no. They referred the questions to the State Department and to the FBI.

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah. So – and on this I'm saying there's an ongoing investigation --

QUESTION: But you won't even say who's doing the investigation?

MS TRUDEAU: It's my understanding it's interagency. It's multiple government –

QUESTION: So which ones?

MS TRUDEAU: I don't have a rundown of who exactly. If I have anything more, we'll come back to you on that.

QUESTION: I'm going to hold my breath.

MS TRUDEAU: Hold on one second.

QUESTION: How long should I hold it?

MS TRUDEAU: Probably not until the end of the briefing.

Said.

QUESTION: I wanted to ask you – there were also allegations that these weapons were actually used to kill Americans, American trainers and so on, in Jordan.

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: Can you comment on that?

MS TRUDEAU: I --

QUESTION: You're not aware?

MS TRUDEAU: As it's ongoing, I really can't, Said. I'm sorry.

Okay, Ros.

QUESTION: She was raising – she was touching on a really good point.

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: Is there any reason why the U.S. Government should be in the business of providing weapons to anyone who is not a part of a nation-state's military? Because it seems every time that some rebel group gets its hands on U.S.-provided weapons, they end up in the wrong hands, they end up being sold for whatever on the black market. Is this something that U.S. foreign policy and military policy really should even be considering?

MS TRUDEAU: I know you'd like a comment on it, Ros. I just can't at this point. If we have more that I can offer it, we certainly will.

QUESTION: But just in general terms, is this just --

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah, I can't Ros. I'm sorry.

QUESTION: Is this just really a good idea?

MS TRUDEAU: Said.

QUESTION: Can I go to the Palestinian --

MS TRUDEAU: Are we done – nope, I don't think so.

QUESTION: No, but this isn't about that. This is a --

MS TRUDEAU: Okay. Hold on --

QUESTION: This is somewhat related.

MS TRUDEAU: -- and then I'll go to you, Said.

QUESTION: Did you have any comment or do you have any comment on the comments made Friday by the leader of Hizballah, that basically the Iranians are funding and supplying the entire movement?

MS TRUDEAU: So without getting into intelligence matters, I can say that we do believe sanctions on Hizballah and those who support them have made a difference. We will continue to use all tools at our disposal, including sanctions, to target this group, which we have designated as a foreign terrorist organization. Our designations over the past year – designating Hizballah procurement networks, financial/commercial front companies, and so on – have been highly effective. The Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act – which we passed earlier this year, further builds on that – has created a climate throughout the world where financial institutions are rejecting Hizballah. We believe that this has had an impact on Hizballah. We're seeing their response now.

QUESTION: Is it --

QUESTION: I'm sorry, hold on. Did you hear – even hear the question that I asked?

MS TRUDEAU: I did. It was a question on asking about his comments on how we're – how we are cutting off the financial networks around Hizballah.

QUESTION: Well, yeah. That wasn't my question, though.

MS TRUDEAU: Okay.

QUESTION: My question was about him basically admitting that the Iranians are paying and supplying them with everything.

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah. We believe that we have tightened the noose around Hizballah so they are no longer able to receive those funds.

QUESTION: You don't --

QUESTION: (Inaudible) with cash.

QUESTION: You don't think that Iran is still supplying Hizballah? Because --

MS TRUDEAU: Well, no, what we're saying is we have seen those remarks, but we believe that through this financing act, we are reducing the scope of the money that can go in.

QUESTION: Yeah, but they say he's getting his money from Iran cash.

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah, and I'm going to leave my remarks where I left them.

QUESTION: Wait, wait. I'm extremely confused. You don't – the Administration does not – no longer believes that Hizballah is getting any significant financing from Iran because --

MS TRUDEAU: I didn't say that.

QUESTION: -- because of the --

MS TRUDEAU: I didn't say that. I said we believe that our sanctions are making a difference. We're not saying that it's a done deal. We're not saying there's not financing. We're saying, though, that significant steps have been taken to tighten that noose.

QUESTION: Well, yeah, from – on their financing from Iran?

MS TRUDEAU: Designating all of their networks to reduce their ability to receive funding, yes.

QUESTION: From Iran?

MS TRUDEAU: We believe – yeah --

QUESTION: My question is solely related – look, we – it's been the position of – since successive U.S. administrations that Hizballah is a Iranian proxy, that it does get – and so now, the guy – now Nasrallah comes out and says yes, that's actually true, but you're not – and so I'm just wondering – you are saying that the U.S. sanctions that you put in place in Lebanon and – on Hizballah have curtailed, significantly reduced, slightly --

MS TRUDEAU: Funding.

QUESTION: -- short – slightly reduced funding that the group gets --

MS TRUDEAU: Significant.

QUESTION: -- from Iran?

MS TRUDEAU: We believe that's the case.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: On Lebanon --

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- do you have any reaction to the suicide bombings against Lebanese --

MS TRUDEAU: We did.

QUESTION: -- army in Lebanon?

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah, thank you. The United States strongly condemns the multiple terrorist suicide bombings in the eastern border village of Qaa, Lebanon. We offer our condolences to the families of those killed, wish a speedy recovery to those injured in the attacks. We applaud the efforts of the Lebanese Armed Forces to defend Lebanese territory against terrorism and protect the Lebanese people. We reiterate our strong support and commitment.

QUESTION: Can we go to Palestinian-Israeli issue?

MS TRUDEAU: We can.

QUESTION: First of all, do you have any comment about the rapprochement between Turkey and Israel?

MS TRUDEAU: Yes, we have. We welcome that.

QUESTION: Right.

MS TRUDEAU: We've seen that. We think this is a significant step. It certainly adds to regional stability.

QUESTION: Now, let me ask you, in the – during the meeting between the Secretary of State – Secretary Kerry, and the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, was the focus almost entirely on the Turkish-Israeli rapprochement?

MS TRUDEAU: So --

QUESTION: Because that's what some in the Israeli press are saying, that basically --

MS TRUDEAU: So I think you saw their comments after it. I've got a little bit of a readout too I can offer, so let me do that.

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS TRUDEAU: So they had a good meeting; they discussed many different issues but focused significantly on the challenge of beating back terrorism, specifically in respect to Israel's challenge in the Sinai and the Golan Heights. They did talk about the progress being made between Israel and Turkey. They talked about regional economic challenges as countries confront terrorism and also how we can work together with other countries in the region to deal with those. And finally, they also talked about Brexit and how that might or might not impact all economies. So it was – really, it was a wide-ranging meeting.

QUESTION: Yeah. In other words, they did not talk about restarting the peace talks --

MS TRUDEAU: I think in any meeting that the Secretary has with the Prime Minister, the idea of advancing peace certainly comes up, Said.

QUESTION: So you would say that it was peripheral in their discussion?

MS TRUDEAU: No, I would say that's always a central issue that we discuss, but I would say it was a very wide-ranging conversation, long meeting.

QUESTION: I wanted to follow up on a couple things from last week --

MS TRUDEAU: Sure, of course.

QUESTION: -- on the issue of the justice ministry in Israel. Minister Shaked --

MS TRUDEAU: Shaked.

QUESTION: -- I think said that they are going to introduce a much wider – more restrictions on social media.

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah, I understand it's draft legislation.

QUESTION: Right.

MS TRUDEAU: So we actually looked into it. Certainly, this building is following it, as well as Embassy Tel Aviv. In general, as you know, we support freedom of expression, free flow of information regardless of the medium. We also, though, do condemn incitement to terror. But again, we understand it's draft legislation. We haven't really seen the final version.

QUESTION: Turkey?

QUESTION: And let me just ask you --

MS TRUDEAU: Hold on one second and then we'll move.

QUESTION: I just want to ask you about the United Nations has warned about the imminent demolition of the – of Palestinian homes and so on in a refugee camp. I wonder if you have any --

MS TRUDEAU: Okay. As we have said many, many times, punitive home demolitions are counterproductive. They exasperate – exacerbate an already tense situation.

Okay. Turkey.

QUESTION: Yeah. You just commented on the rapprochement between Israel and Turkey, but what about the letter Turkish president has sent to – president of Turkey – of Russia, Putin, it has been reported widely, the – in which he apologized for the downing of the Russian jet. As a NATO member, I want to know whether the Turks had consulted with you prior to sending that letter. And also, what's your comment about the apology?

MS TRUDEAU: Okay. I'll tell you all I've seen are the Kremlin spokesperson's comments, so I'm not in a position really to say either way. I'd refer you to the governments of Turkey and Russia to speak to it. Okay?

QUESTION: So did the Turks in any way, at any capacity, consulted the United States?

MS TRUDEAU: I could not speak to that. As I said, the first I've seen was actually out of the Kremlin on this. So if we have more, I'll certainly come back to you, but I have nothing more to add.

QUESTION: Can I – it does seem a bit unusual that you're willing to comment on the Israel-Turkey rapprochement but you're not willing to comment on the Turkey-Russia rapprochement.

MS TRUDEAU: Well, it's a question that – I've only seen the comments from the spokesperson, whereas on both sides people have publicly stated that's --

QUESTION: Well, yeah, okay, but, I mean, the Turkish side has spoken and the letter is out for --

MS TRUDEAU: Oh, okay. Actually, I didn't know that, so, thanks.

QUESTION: India?

MS TRUDEAU: Let's do India, and then we'll move to Asia.

QUESTION: Do you have any update on – can you – about India joining the MTCR to the --

MS TRUDEAU: I do.

QUESTION: Oh.

MS TRUDEAU: So thank you for the question. India demonstrated to all MTCR partners a sustained commitment to nonproliferation and it has a legally based effective export control system that puts into effect the MTCR guidelines and procedures and administers and enforces such controls effectively. All 34 current members, including the United States, agreed India met the standard and that India's membership would strengthen international nonproliferation.

QUESTION: So there are reports that today at a ceremony India is being inducted into the group. Do you – in the U.S. or somewhere – do you have anything on that?

MS TRUDEAU: Actually, I don't, no.

QUESTION: Okay, thank you.

MS TRUDEAU: Asia.

QUESTION: Do you have anything on --

MS TRUDEAU: I'll let you guys sort it out.

QUESTION: Do you have anything on Deputy Secretary Blinken meeting with the vice foreign minister --

MS TRUDEAU: I do. Deputy Secretary Blinken met with Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama today at the Department of State. They did discuss bilateral and regional issues of mutual concern between the United States and Japan as well as global cooperation.

QUESTION: Do you have anything specifically on what they discussed in regards to Brexit?

MS TRUDEAU: I do not. I think the meeting just ended.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS TRUDEAU: Hi.

QUESTION: Also on Japan --

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- do you have any comment on the case over the weekend, I believe, of the new DUI case in Okinawa?

MS TRUDEAU: I just saw those media reports before I walked out. I'm going to refer you to the Department of Defense to speak to them.

QUESTION: Is there --

QUESTION: Well --

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah, I – literally, I've only seen the newsflash on that.

QUESTION: So, wait, wait. On the Blinken meeting with the --

MS TRUDEAU: Sure.

QUESTION: -- deputy foreign minister --

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: He was at a swearing-in ceremony at 1:30.

MS TRUDEAU: With – in Somalia --

QUESTION: Yeah, then --

MS TRUDEAU: It's my understanding it happened right before.

QUESTION: Oh. So, then, that meeting didn't just end?

MS TRUDEAU: Well, "just end" is a relative term. It's like you holding your breath, Matt.

QUESTION: Yeah, I'm still holding it. Can you tell?

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: But I think that it's not out of the – out of line to ask for something --

MS TRUDEAU: No, fair enough.

QUESTION: -- more specific than matters of regional --

MS TRUDEAU: Regional – let me see what else I can get.

QUESTION: -- mutual interest and regional concern. That's like a --

MS TRUDEAU: No. Obviously, Japan's an important ally. If we can get more, we certainly will.

QUESTION: That's like a SLORC-era readout.

MS TRUDEAU: SLORC?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS TRUDEAU: Nice.

QUESTION: Former Burmese junta.

MS TRUDEAU: Nice, thank you.

QUESTION: Can I --

MS TRUDEAU: I'm sorry, are we back on India?

QUESTION: Yeah, just --

MS TRUDEAU: Okay, good. Abigail, I'll come to you next.

QUESTION: I just wanted to clarify that when – is there a deadline, is there a date when India will join or like – your statement is that, okay, India is welcome, it has done --

MS TRUDEAU: You know what? I'd refer you to the group or, in fact, to India itself to speak about the accession protocol.

QUESTION: Okay. Okay, thanks.

MS TRUDEAL: Abigail.

QUESTION: Do you have any comment on the report out suggesting that Russian intelligence and security services have been harassing U.S. diplomats?

MS TRUDEAU: I do.

QUESTION: Can you --

MS TRUDEAU: Over the past two years, harassment and surveillance of our diplomatic personnel in Moscow by security personnel and traffic police have increased significantly. Other western embassies have reported the same thing. The safety and well-being of our diplomatic and consular personnel abroad and their accompanying family members are things we take very seriously. We have raised and we will continue to raise at the highest level any incidents inconsistent with protections guaranteed by international law, and we will respond appropriately in accordance with U.S. and international law.

Yeah.

QUESTION: One of the incidents they described is someone breaking into their home and rearranging their furniture. How pervasive is that sort of attack on U.S. diplomats?

MS TRUDEAU: I'm not going to speak to individual incidents that were in a media report. What I will say is that we see an increase and we take it seriously.

QUESTION: So --

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: But is this just in Moscow or is this everywhere? Because the report seems to indicate that it was – that it's further afield.

MS TRUDEAU: So harassment of U.S. diplomats by host government services is a longstanding problem that does occur inside Russia. While we can't rule out such harassment that could occur elsewhere, I just don't have specifics on other countries to read out to you at this time.

QUESTION: The report indicated that the Russians feel that their diplomats have been similarly harassed. Is that true?

MS TRUDEAU: Russia's claims of harassment are without foundation.

QUESTION: So you said you take it seriously.

MS TRUDEAU: We do.

QUESTION: What exactly have you done?

MS TRUDEAU: Secretary Kerry has raised this with President Putin.

QUESTION: How --

QUESTION: Is that it?

MS TRUDEAU: Well, and we continue to raise it on all other levels. You may recall in January, we also withdrew our acceptance of credentialing from five of the six Russian honorary consuls in the United States. This action was taken in response to continued Russian interference with our diplomatic and consular operations in Russia, including but not limited to this widespread harassment.

QUESTION: Were – those are the same honorary consuls who were just given an award – just given awards in the Kremlin?

MS TRUDEAU: I – to be honest, I'm not tracking the awards, Matt.

QUESTION: Okay. So when did Secretary Kerry raise this with President Putin, and does he raise it with Foreign Minister Lavrov as well?

MS TRUDEAU: I know he's raised it with President Putin. It's my understanding that this has come up. I don't have an exact date on that readout of when that came up.

QUESTION: But you said he's raised it --

MS TRUDEAU: Recently.

QUESTION: -- like, the last time he saw him?

MS TRUDEAU: You know what, let me double check that, and I'll get you an exact date.

QUESTION: All right. And it has come up with Foreign Minister Lavrov as well?

MS TRUDEAU: It has.

QUESTION: It has not?

MS TRUDEAU: It has.

QUESTION: It has.

MS TRUDEAU: Lesley, you had a follow-up?

QUESTION: No, I wondered, how recent was the last time?

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah, let me see if I can get an exact date. We may not be able to read out those exact dates, but I'll see what I can get for you guys.

Okay.

QUESTION: No, I have one more.

MS TRUDEAU: We've got one more and then we're good.

QUESTION: Venezuela.

MS TRUDEAU: That was pretty slick, guys.

QUESTION: Venezuela.

MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.

QUESTION: I don't know if you have anything new on this, but I'm wondering if you do have any updates on the case of Francisco Marquez, the American citizen who was arrested in Venezuela.

MS TRUDEAU: I do, thanks. We're aware of reports that a dual U.S.-Venezuelan citizen, Francisco Marquez Lara, was arrested. He was charged with money laundering and public incitement. We take our obligation to assist U.S. citizens abroad seriously. We're providing all possible consular assistance. As in any country where a U.S. citizen has been detained, we expect the Government of Venezuela to accord the U.S. citizen the full extent of his rights to due process under international and Venezuelan law.

QUESTION: Do you know – did they – did the Venezuelan authorities notify you that he was – had been arrested?

MS TRUDEAU: I don't know that.

QUESTION: Do you know if there has been a consular visit?

MS TRUDEAU: I don't know that either.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS TRUDEAU: Okay. Thanks, guys.

QUESTION: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:28 p.m.)



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