Division Press Briefing – December 12, 2022

December 13, 2022
Division Press Briefing – December 12, 2022

2:14 p.m. EST

MR PRICE: Good afternoon, everybody.

QUESTION: Afternoon.

MR PRICE: All proper. So we’ve got one factor on the high, after which I look ahead to taking your questions.

This morning, Secretary Blinken, Administrator Energy, and White Home Gender Coverage Council Director Klein introduced the discharge of the up to date 2022 United States Technique to Forestall and Reply to Gender-Based mostly Violence Globally. The up to date technique will direct an inclusive, regionally led, and survivor-centered strategy to stop and reply to gender‑based mostly violence via U.S. overseas coverage and help.

A number of key parts within the up to date technique are the intersectional and inclusive approaches to gender-based violence; the reinforcement of our dedication to doing this work in a survivor-centered, trauma-informed method; and the combination of gender-based violence prevention and response as a strategic precedence throughout our overseas coverage objectives.

We’re grateful for the funding of time of over 450 people throughout 200 organizations who share their experience to make sure this up to date technique to stop and reply to gender-based violence is complete and cemented in our U.S. overseas coverage.

With that, Matt.

QUESTION: Nice. Thanks, Ned. Pleased Monday.

MR PRICE: Pleased Monday.

QUESTION: I simply wish to see if we will get you on the report on updates, if there are any, on the 2 Americans. The primary, clearly, is Brittney Griner, and if there’s something you may add to what we all know or what we heard from – over the weekend, not less than from the U.S. Authorities perspective. After which second is on Grant Wahl.

MR PRICE: Positive. Let me begin with the second. I believe lots of that we’ve got been engaged on the passing of Grant Wahl since we first discovered of it on Friday night. Our ambassador in Doha, Timmy Davis, has been in shut and almost fixed contact with the household of Grant Wahl. Ambassador Davis has been in, in flip, shut and common contact with senior officers from the division.

We labored almost across the clock – I ought to say our embassy labored almost across the clock to assist the household see to it that their needs had been fulfilled. And this morning, we did affirm that Grant Wahl’s stays and his belongings had been repatriated to the US’ simply as an embassy officer had accompanied Grant’s stays in Doha, an officer – an embassy consular officer – accompanied his stays and his belongings on the flight again to the US. At this level we are going to defer to the household to talk to the following steps. I do know that they’ve spoken publicly to their needs, and naturally, we labored very intently with the household over the previous 48 hours to assist fulfill these needs.

With regards to Brittney Griner, we’re not going to be able to supply a lot in the way in which of updates going ahead. You heard from Ambassador Carstens and Brittney Griner’s representatives that she is certainly at Fort Sam Houston on the Joint Military Medical Middle. It’s each not for us to talk to updates from right here out, however in a method, we’re not able to take action. The broader level is that the course of therapy that any returnee undergoes at Fort Sam Houston or elsewhere, it’s not a preset prescribed set of steps. It’s a dialog that specialists can have with Brittney, with Cherelle, with different members and events to find out what’s in her greatest pursuits. And so whether or not that course of therapy lasts days or longer, that isn’t a query for us. That’s as much as Brittney Griner and to her, I’m certain, family members.

QUESTION: Okay. Nicely, because it relates then to additional American detainee – wrongful detainees abroad, are there any updates in any respect on these?

MR PRICE: Matt, our replace, after all, is that we proceed to work these instances day‑in, day‑out, across the clock. As , we frequently don’t give standing updates. It tends to be that our solely replace is when we’ve got welcome information of a return. That’s what you heard late final week, final Thursday from us within the context of Brittney Griner. It’s what you’ve heard from us a variety of occasions over the course of this administration. So I’m not able to supply updates into the standing – the actual standing of different instances apart from to notice that we’re often participating with the households and family members of these Individuals who’re wrongfully detained all over the world. We’re often participating with governments and representatives of nations that maintain Individuals in wrongful detention to do every part we will to see their launch as quickly a we will.

QUESTION: Can I simply observe up on that, then?

MR PRICE: Positive.

QUESTION: So President Biden mentioned this, and also you guys have mentioned this as effectively, that Russia is sadly treating Paul Whelan in a different way. So I perceive you wouldn’t converse to love what you guys do on this every day. However what are you guys going to do in a different way? What’s the U.S. Authorities going to do in a different way to safe his launch?

MR PRICE: Nicely, look, we’ve got made very clear our dedication to do every part we probably can to see the discharge of wrongfully detained Individuals launched. And naturally Paul Whelan does stay wrongfully detained in Russia. As in all instances, sadly, the opposite facet will get a vote. The opposite facet will get a veto. The opposite facet has used that veto, sadly, with regards to Paul Whelan.

They had been – the Russians need to date not been keen to barter severely or constructively on Paul Whelan’s launch as a result of they’ve and had at all times handled him in a different way than Brittney Griner and different wrongful detainees as a result of they do have the sham espionage fees connected to his case. Nonetheless, we’re dedicated. We’re going to be artistic. We’re going to be relentless in working with Paul Whelan’s household, his family members, and in flip with the Russians to do every part we will to see this case resolved as quickly as we will.

A pair factors. We now have now demonstrated on two separate events that we’ve got an acceptable channel with the Russian Authorities that has repeatedly proved its utility. This can be a channel that has been in existence for the reason that two presidents met in Geneva in June of 2021. In fact, quite a bit has modified on this planet and definitely in our bilateral relationship since then. However one thing that has not modified is the viability of this channel. And actually, we’ve been in a position to display its effectiveness.

So we’re going to proceed to interact in a principled, constant method with the suitable Russian authorities to safe Paul’s launch. When Trevor Reed got here house in April, we wished on the time for nothing greater than that Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan may have been on that airplane. When Brittney Griner got here house late final week, we wished for nothing extra on the time than that Paul Whelan may have been on that airplane. We’re decided {that a} airplane will likely be dispatched to Russia earlier than lengthy to deliver Paul Whelan house. It’s a dedication we’ve made to his household. It’s a dedication we’ve made to Paul.

Roger Carstens has spoken to Paul Whelan; different senior officers within the authorities have spoken to Paul Whelan up to now couple days. Our message to Paul, our message to each American who’s wrongfully detained is: Cling tight. Hold the religion. We’ll come to get you.

QUESTION:  Proper. If you say Russians haven’t been keen to barter severely on Paul Whelan, are we speaking a couple of particular proposal that the US Authorities has made relating to Paul Whelan since final Thursday that they haven’t entertained but?

MR PRICE:  So I’m not going to go –

QUESTION:  Or are we speaking about like basic?

MR PRICE:  I’m not going to enter the precise timeline. What I can say is that we’ve got made very one – effectively, one very well-known proposal to the Russians, and I say “well-known” as a result of Secretary Blinken introduced it from this podium in July. It was clear that the Russians weren’t going to maneuver severely or constructively on that individual proposal. So within the months, within the intervening months between July and final week, we’ve got been in common dialogue with the Russians to place ahead alternate options, permutations, concepts, that might have resulted within the launch of Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner.

Secretary Blinken was very clear when he spoke of the substantial proposal, the preliminary substantial proposal that we put ahead in July, that the proposal was for each Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner. It was made clear to us over the course of these intervening months that the Russians had been at that time not able to barter severely or constructively for Paul Whelan. However we’re going to maintain at it.

QUESTION:  Final one on that one: since final Thursday this channel that you simply guys have established with the Russians, has there been any communication via that channel with the Russians about Paul Whelan or Marc Fogel or anybody else?

MR PRICE:  I’m simply not going to enter the specifics. And this was the identical posture we took earlier than Brittney Griner was launched; it was the identical posture we took earlier than Trevor Reed was launched in April. We don’t do a play-by-play of our diplomacy and our negotiations, however I can guarantee you that we’re dedicated to doing every part we will to see Paul Whelan returned to his family members.

QUESTION:  Recognizing you don’t do a play-by-play, I simply wish to be sure I – to get you to make clear your remark from a short while in the past once you mentioned, a airplane will likely be dispatched to Russia to get Paul Whelan.

MR PRICE:  I used to be – thanks – thanks, Matt. Thanks, Matt. I used to be – sure.

QUESTION:  Since neither of the earlier two releases have concerned sending a airplane to Russia —

MR PRICE:  Sure. Thanks.

QUESTION:  – that’s – you didn’t imply that, did you? You meant that —

MR PRICE:  I don’t count on – I don’t count on that we’d be dispatching a airplane from the US to Russia. There are clearly methods to impact repatriations with —

QUESTION:  Yeah. No, I perceive. However, I imply, once you say one thing like that, it will possibly – it may give individuals the concept issues are superior sufficient that you simply’re speaking about really sending a airplane immediately into Russia.

MR PRICE:  Thanks for the chance to make clear.

QUESTION:  Could I ask a query in a different way?

MR PRICE:  Anything on this earlier than we —

QUESTION:  Only one extra fast query on this.

MR PRICE:  Then Alex, after which I’ll go to —

QUESTION:  Russian deputy overseas minister claims that U.S. shouldn’t be being constructive in Istanbul talks. Is there something particular at Istanbul talks that we have to find out about? I discover that he’s utilizing current tense. Is there an ongoing dialogue?

MR PRICE:  We did affirm that final week a senior official from the division did meet with the Russian counterparts in Turkey to debate bilateral points between the US and the Russian Federation. We had been very clear; in truth, we had been most likely clearer about what was not on the desk than what was on the desk. This was not about strategic stability. This was not about Ukraine, after all. This was not about wrongfully detained Americans., This was a couple of fairly slim set of bilateral points – bilateral irritants, you would possibly name them, together with staffing ranges at our embassies, for instance.

So we’re not going to enter particulars, however we imagine it’s essential to have traces of communication with the Russian Federation in occasions of rigidity however particularly in occasions of – in occasions of battle. That’s what that is about. We now have a number of avenues to speak with the Russians. We’ve already talked about two of them in the midst of this briefing. We’re decided to do every part we will to keep up that dialogue and to pursue our pursuits.


QUESTION: Talked a couple of single assembly in Istanbul, or there’s an ongoing —

MR PRICE: The – our senior official has returned to Washington.


QUESTION: And simply – I’m simply – has the U.S. been express with Russia about there being a value or consequence if Viktor Bout does go forward and supply help, bodily or logistical, in any option to the continued conflict in Ukraine? I ask as a result of over the weekend he mentioned that he wholeheartedly helps the conflict and he would volunteer if he may.

MR PRICE: I’m not going to weigh in on these feedback. The one factor I’ll say, Kylie, is that we’ve been clear in any completely different contexts, any variety of contexts, together with with the Russians, that we’ve got a variety of instruments at our disposal to counter the vary of threats and challenges that the Russian Federation poses, that Russian people would possibly probably pose, or that people in Russia would possibly pose to the US. We received’t hesitate to make use of instruments as acceptable to go after anybody who poses a risk to the US or our pursuits.

QUESTION: So protecting him from offering help to the Ukraine conflict wasn’t any kind of pre-negotiated a part of this prisoner swap?

MR PRICE: I’m simply not going to enter the precise talks apart from to say what’s well-known by now, that in the end we arrived at a formulation that noticed a swap involving the discharge of Brittney Griner in return for the discharge of Viktor Bout.

Anything on this earlier than we transfer on? Positive.

QUESTION: A fast query. So there was a report on Friday that Russia needed to see Vadim Krasikov launched in Germany in change for Whelan. Are you able to affirm it? And if sure, if the U.S. tried to work with German companions on this, are able to proceed engaged on the difficulty?

MR PRICE: The one factor I can affirm is what you mentioned, that there was such a report. I’m not able to talk to the veracity of that particular report. What I’ll say is that we’re going to depart the mechanics of that dialogue and diplomacy to the suitable channel. However I’ll reiterate what I’ve mentioned, that the Russians haven’t but been able to barter constructively or severely relating to Paul Whelan as a result of they’ve persistently handled him in a different way than different American wrongful detainees, together with Trevor Reed, most just lately together with Brittney Griner. That isn’t going to discourage us in any method by any means. We’re going to be dedicated, we’re going to be artistic, and we’re going to be relentless in our efforts to see Paul Whelan launched.

Anything on Russia-Ukraine? Okay, Nazira.

QUESTION: Thanks. Two query, Ned. One about two days assault in Kabul, and quantity two about there’s a former President Karzai assembly with Tom West. Any replace? As a result of Afghan individuals ought to know that United States know are concerned in regards to the president, former President Karzai have Tom West assembly.

MR PRICE: So first on the assault at the moment in Kabul. We’ve seen these studies, the studies of violence, studies probably of deaths and casualties. We condemn within the strongest potential phrases using violence in opposition to harmless civilians. The Afghan individuals have been subjected to ranges of violence for – which are far too excessive for a lot too lengthy, and we condemn unequivocally what has occurred at the moment.

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Clearly, these studies are contemporary out of Kabul. The assault seems to bear among the hallmarks of ISIS-Ok, among the brutal ways that this particularly brutal group has used to perpetrate assaults in opposition to the individuals of Afghanistan. We proceed to name on the Taliban to stay as much as the commitments that they’ve made to the worldwide group, to the US bilaterally in some instances, however most significantly to the commitments that they need to their very own individuals. And a kind of commitments is to supply a society that’s free from this kind of terrorist violence. So we’ll proceed to observe very intently and we proceed to face with the Afghan people who find themselves struggling needlessly because of these ranges of terrorist violence.

To your second query, Particular Consultant for Afghanistan Tom West was on journey final week. He traveled to Japan, he traveled to India, he traveled to the UAE to satisfy with authorities counterparts, media and civil society, enterprise leaders, and different communities and – communities and people with ties to Afghanistan.

In Dubai and Abu Dhabi when he was within the UAE, Tom West met with Afghan enterprise leaders to debate the necessity for improved monetary and financial insurance policies to profit the Afghan individuals and with political leaders. And that features, as you referenced, Hamid Karzai and former Balkh Governor Atta.

In Indonesia – and I ought to point out that Rina Amiri was additionally on journey final week as effectively. Rina Amiri was in Indonesia, Switzerland, and Turkey, the place she met with Afghan ladies and civil society leaders to listen to their views and to amplify the plea of the Afghan individuals for the Taliban to respect the rights of girls, women, and different at-risk communities, and to provoke an inclusive nationwide dialogue. We do welcome the Taliban’s resolution to permit former President Karzai to journey to the UAE. We noticed that as a constructive step. We wish to have interaction with representatives of the Afghan individuals and a broad vary of representatives of the Afghan individuals.

In all of their commitments, Tom West and Rina Amiri have urged the worldwide group to return – excuse me, to proceed to advocate for the return of ladies to secondary college and girls to work. We all know that’s completely indispensable to Afghanistan’s safety, to its stability, and to its prosperity as effectively.

QUESTION: Who decide for Hamid Karzai in Saudi? United States is concerned about that, or simply Taliban decide Hamid Karzai as a key member to go and make a negotiation right here?

MR PRICE: We meet with a spread of Afghan stakeholders, with a spread of voices. It was not solely Hamid Karzai that Tom West met with, however he met with one other consultant of the Afghan individuals whereas he was there. That is one thing that he does often, that Rina Amiri does often, that others right here do often as effectively.


MR PRICE: Sure, sir.

QUESTION: Jalil Afridi from The Frontier Publish. I’m right here after two years as a result of State Division hadn’t renewed overseas journalist credentials.

MR PRICE: Welcome again.

QUESTION: However I used to be often right here since Mr. Kirby was right here, and it’s superb to see you. I’ve been listening to it on-line.

So my first query is that simply with regard to Afghanistan and inter-relating it to my skilled visa, so State Division took two years for decades-old journalist to resume their credential. Are you continue to happy that the State Division did a superb job with the thousand of Afghans that got here right here? Do you continue to imagine that their vetting course of was accomplished effectively?

And since Peter had had this query within the White Home as effectively, about Homeland Safety publishing a report that these – the vetting course of was not accomplished effectively, and though the poor man had denied and rejected that report that it was not reality. However are you guys nonetheless happy that the vetting course of was accomplished effectively? And is that this administration going to take the accountability if those that got here in these two years do one thing, God forbid, in future? Will this administration take the accountability?

MR PRICE: Nicely, let me simply put a finer level on one a part of your query. This can be a course of that’s ongoing. Our dedication to the individuals of Afghanistan doesn’t have an expiration date connected to it. You might be referring to the 120-plus, 124,000 people whom the US Authorities helped to evacuate from Afghanistan in the course of the technique of the navy withdrawal. That’s one finite set of people. However our dedication to Americans, to lawful everlasting residents, and extra to your query to Afghans who’ve partnered with us over the course of the previous – over the course of the previous 20 years, that dedication is ongoing.

And actually, since September 1st of 2021, now for some 15 or so months, we’ve got continued to make good on that dedication by facilitating the departure from Afghanistan of these Americans, these lawful everlasting residents, these companions of ours over the course of that 20-year navy engagement, who’ve chosen to depart. And naturally, our first precedence is to Individuals, to LPRs, and to their quick relations. However hundreds of Afghans have been transited out of Afghanistan beneath the auspices of the U.S. Authorities since September 1st of final 12 months when that formal evacuation course of got here to an finish, and that may proceed to occur going ahead.

As a part of that course of for our Afghan companions, whether or not it’s the processing of those that had been welcome right here beneath Operation Allies Rescue, beneath Operation Allies Welcome because it subsequently turned identified, or as a part of the SIV processing – once more, to your query, there’s an intensive vetting course of. It’s a course of that entails not solely this constructing; it entails our Division of Homeland Safety, the FBI, the Intelligence Group extra broadly, pulling upon each obtainable supply of data to guarantee that somebody is suitable for resettlement right here in the US.

This can be a course of that has been honed over the course of many, a few years now, and due to the inclusive, complete nature of the vetting course of it’s not at all times a fast course of. We try and see it accomplished simply as rapidly as potential, however it’s a thorough course of wherein we’ve got confidence and the American individuals ought to have faith.

QUESTION: Only one extra query, though I do have contradiction about this, as a result of State Division officers and Pakistani officers off the report have mentioned that they’ve doubts in regards to the vetting course of, however simply shifting onto another query.

You guys, the State Division and the White Home, has any collaboration with one another with regard to – as a result of as , Secretary Blinken and Joe Biden, President Joe Biden, are two people that even their opponents agree on their overseas coverage power, that there’s – that is one among their strengths. How in regards to the media? Do you – and there’s a White Home press, Ms. Karine. Do you guys have any, like, sharing of details about worldwide journalists and easy methods to promote the U.S. coverage overseas, or this stuff will not be mentioned between you two?

MR PRICE: Might you make clear your query? Do you imply —

QUESTION: Principally what I’m saying – does the State Division informs the White Home press secretary in regards to the overseas journalists working in Washington, D.C., and to interact them or to not less than after they come to press conferences – simply to present a small instance, like, for instance, if Matt was in Pakistan presidency for 3 months, going to press briefing and never getting a possibility to ask a query.

MR PRICE: I see.

QUESTION: Would that look any awkward? Like, does Ms. Karine – do you, like, focus on in any respect with them? As a result of, I imply, I’m simply coming to Pakistan, to be trustworthy with you. Query is, like, in previous couple of months, the way in which Mr. Donald Lu has grow to be standard in Pakistan – I imply, even president has grow to be that standard. So, like, do you inform Karine that if a Pakistani journalist is there, not less than give them a possibility to ask a query?

MR PRICE: I perceive. We now have an everyday dialogue and dialogue with our White Home counterparts. They after all know the indispensability of overseas journalists to our broader overseas coverage mission. In fact, there are overseas journalists on this room daily, there are overseas journalists within the White Home press briefing room daily, and I understand how a lot our White Home colleagues worth the White Home’s personal overseas correspondents’ affiliation and the way beneficial, in flip, having that affiliation is, as a result of our messages should be understood and digested not solely on this nation however all over the world. And with a purpose to do this, I perceive – I do know my colleague on the White Home understands as effectively – that we’d like to have the ability to converse to individuals such as you, people who find themselves disseminating these messages effectively past our nationwide borders.


QUESTION: Thanks, sir.

QUESTION: Hello, Ned. I want to transfer on to the U.S.-Africa summit – really, to the margins of that summit. There are various leaders invited, together with those from Rwanda and the DRC – this in opposition to a backdrop of renewed combating within the jap Congo and stress on Rwanda and its help of the – presumably help of the M23 rebels. I used to be simply questioning if the Secretary would seize the chance that he has right here with the 2 leaders being right here – or going to be right here – to possibly get them collectively, dealer some kind of dialogue, and – as a result of the – clearly the chance is true in entrance of him.

MR PRICE: Yeah, there are a selection of alternatives that the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit will current within the coming days. A few of them need to do with peace and safety on the continent. That, after all, will likely be a subject of debate in many alternative fora over the following few days. As , it is a battle and a set of tensions that Secretary Blinken has grow to be personally invested in – traveled to Rwanda and the DRC in August as tensions had been flaring in an effort to interact the leaders of each international locations, to induce a de-escalation and to induce steps that may put an finish to those hostilities.

He’s continued to be personally engaged with counterparts in each international locations, this week, after all, and we’ve continued to see ranges of violence which are of concern. We stay deeply involved by developments within the jap DRC, significantly the renewed M23/FARDC hostilities. These hostilities actually resumed in earnest in October they usually’ve continued since. We’ve been deeply troubled by studies of killings of civilian areas beneath M23 management.

We – simply as we did once we had been within the area, as we’ve accomplished since that journey, we’ve urged all armed teams to stop hostilities. We’ve referred to as for a swift and thorough investigation of and accountability for these chargeable for these studies of atrocities. And we help the African‑led mediation efforts to handle the regional tensions in jap DRC. The East African Group, Kenya, Angola have performed an essential function in all of this. We spoke to that function once we had been within the area within the late summer time, however all three have continued to interact with Rwanda and the DRC.

We urge implementation of the commitments that got here ahead after the November assembly in Luanda. There was a communique that was put ahead following that assembly. These commitments embody a cessation of hostilities, the M23’s withdrawal, and an finish to state sponsor to armed teams, in addition to condemnation of hate speech and the resumption of consultations between the DRC Authorities and home armed teams via that Nairobi course of. So we proceed to induce the DRC and Rwanda to work with each other, to work constructively with their neighbors, specifically Kenya, Angola, and thru the East African Group, to meet these commitments that had been put ahead.

QUESTION: However there will likely be no three-way assembly or something like that (inaudible)?

MR PRICE: I couldn’t converse at this level to any conferences which may be on the schedule, however I can guarantee you that tensions within the jap DRC will likely be on the agenda.

QUESTION: Can we keep on the Africa summit?

MR PRICE: Positive.

QUESTION: I’m questioning if Secretary Blinken in his conferences will elevate any considerations about Chinese language lending and funding within the area, and if sure, what would be the message, mainly.

MR PRICE: Humeyra, you’ve traveled with us and heard us lengthy sufficient to know that we have a tendency to not converse in relation to every other nation. We are inclined to have conversations with international locations which are about the US and what we will do, and, in some instances, what our comparative benefit is. Within the Africa technique speech that the Secretary laid out to the continent and to the world once we had been in South Africa a number of months in the past, the Secretary made the purpose that the US is prepared, keen, and in a position to be the associate of first resort for the international locations throughout the continent.

We acknowledge the vibrancy, the power, the chance that’s introduced on the continent, and that’s not alternative for us; it’s alternative for the international locations of Africa to attain with us. And that’s actually what we imply once we say partnership. We’re not in search of a relationship that’s transactional, that’s extractive, that’s burdensome, or leaves nation in a – leaves varied international locations in a extra fragile, poorer state after a deal is signed.

QUESTION: Is {that a} characterization for a way you guys see Chinese language funding within the area?

MR PRICE: It’s a characterization of what we’re not in search of. What we’re in search of is true, real partnership with the international locations of Africa, a partnership that may permit us to unlock the potential, whether or not it’s via commerce and funding, whether or not it’s via people-to-people ties, whether or not it’s via deepening diplomatic initiatives to advance our pursuits and the pursuits of the international locations on the continent.

QUESTION: Yeah, but it surely’s little doubt that China has expanded its footprint in that – throughout that continent. So, I imply, let me ask it in a different way: Is that this like a – I imply, do you see this as a possibility for the U.S. to deepen its ties with the international locations there?

MR PRICE: In fact. In fact. That is – that is what the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit is all about. On the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in 2014, we invited heads of state and authorities to return to Washington to start this dialog as a continent. Now some eight years later, that is one other essential alternative for Africa to return to the US as a continent to debate areas the place particular person international locations bilaterally, groupings of nations multilaterally, or the continent itself, whether or not via the AU or different advert hoc groupings, can work intently with the US.

We wish to use the summit to deepen that partnership. We expect we’ve made good headway over the course of the previous few years throughout this administration, however there’s nothing like face-to-face diplomacy; there’s nothing like having the related leaders from throughout the continent in the US for these discussions.

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MR PRICE: Sure, Janne.

QUESTION: Thanks. Can I observe up Chinese language points there? Chinese language’s President Xi Jinping declared that crude oil buy will likely be made within the Chinese language cash, yuan. What’s the U.S. place of the hegemonic competitors with the greenback as China declared internationalization of the yuan?

MR PRICE: What was – sorry, what was the final a part of your query, Janne?

QUESTION: What’s the U.S. place on the hegemonic competitors with the greenback as China declared the internationalization of the yuan, the Chinese language cash?

MR PRICE: Nicely, it’s only a undeniable fact that enterprise transactions all over the world oftentimes are denominated in U.S. {dollars}. I wouldn’t essentially name that hegemonic. I’d name {that a} consequence of time and comfort and historical past.

I believe the underlying level of your query is one thing that we will supply a bit extra on since you appear to be referencing Chinese language purchases of Russian oil, if I – if I heard accurately. We’ve labored with international locations all over the world, after all, to do what we will to carry Russia to account for the brutal conflict of aggression that it’s waging in opposition to the individuals and the nation of Ukraine. As a part of that, we’ve got sought to restrict the revenue-making skill of the Kremlin. We’ve put in place a variety of steps, together with on December fifth, per week in the past now, placing into place the worth cap on the export of seaborne Russian oil.

We don’t suppose that international locations must be deepening their financial ties with Russia at a time of its brutal aggression in opposition to the individuals of Ukraine. We’ve put in place this oil cap in order that world power markets proceed – can proceed to be steady, can proceed to be provided with out offering the Russian Federation the income that it will in any other case accrue and in flip use for its brutal conflict of aggression in opposition to Ukraine.

Now, a variety of international locations have agreed to adjust to this oil cap, however even for international locations that aren’t formally a part of the oil cap, the cap has the impact of miserable the worth of Russian oil. Even earlier than it went into impact, the worth of Russian oil was decreased because of the promise of the oil cap. Markets, after all, are forward-looking. As quickly because the oil cap – plans to institute it had been introduced, that had implications on the worth of Russian oil.

So whether or not international locations are formally a part of the worth cap or not, we encourage them to benefit from the implications of the worth cap with regards to the worth of Russian oil, which in flip will deprive the Russians of income they’d in any other case accrue from these gross sales.

QUESTION: Another query now, and simply flip to Secretary for East Asia and Indo-Pacific Kritenbrink visited China and South Korea and Japan. How would you describe your background over these three international locations right now? And through this go to to South Korea, will you focus on South Korea electrical automobiles? Electrical automobiles.

MR PRICE: Electrical automobiles.


MR PRICE: So we did announce final week that Assistant Secretary Kritenbrink accompanied by the Senior Director for China and Taiwan Laura Rosenberger and our Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for China and Taiwan – excuse me, Deputy Assistant Secretary for China and Taiwan Rick Waters did journey to – would journey to the PRC.

They met with PRC Vice Overseas Minister Xie Feng in Langfang on December eleventh and twelfth. They went there for a variety of causes, partly to observe up on the 2 presidents’ – the dialog the 2 presidents had in Bali in November, however in addition they mentioned preparations for Secretary Blinken’s personal journey to the PRC early subsequent 12 months.

The talks had been candid. They had been substantive. Assistant Secretary Kritenbrink and Senior Director Rosenberger made clear that the US would proceed to compete vigorously, arise for U.S. pursuits and values, defend the rules-based worldwide order, and coordinate intently with allies and companions. These are the factors that we make in all of our engagements with senior PRC officers.

In addition they emphasised the significance we place on bringing house U.S. residents who’re wrongfully detained or who could also be topic to exit bans, noting that it’s a private precedence for the President, for the Secretary of State as effectively.

They exchanged views on key regional and world points, together with Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and the risk to regional safety and stability that the DPRK poses as effectively.

In addition they explored potential avenues for cooperation the place our pursuits do intersect. That features on challenges similar to local weather change, well being safety, world macroeconomic stability, and world meals safety as effectively.

After the conferences in China, the Assistant Secretary and Senior Director Rosenberger, they traveled to Seoul and Tokyo for consultations on a spread of regional and bilateral points. They had been there from December twelfth via the 14th.

QUESTION: Final one. Final one, excuse me. Why doesn’t the US impose sanctions on China and Russian particular person entities to assist North Korea?


QUESTION: Why China and Russia shouldn’t be sanctioned? I imply extra sanctions relating to —

MR PRICE: Nicely, Janne, we’re at all times in search of people who could be acceptable to sanction beneath our varied authorities, together with these authorities which are focused on the DPRK’s ballistic missile program, its nuclear weapons program, its WMD program extra broadly. If there are people who’re acceptable for using sanctions, we received’t hesitate to try this. We’re – we’ve got made very clear that we are going to proceed to carry the DPRK to account for its risk to stability and safety in Northeast Asia and probably effectively past.


QUESTION: Thanks. To observe up Secretary Blinken’s go to to China, logistically may you clarify why the conferences in Langfang as a substitute of Beijing?

MR PRICE: I would want to confer with you to PRC authorities for that.

QUESTION: And relating to the talks, have they talked the latest arm gross sales to Taiwan?

MR PRICE: Did they focus on latest arms gross sales to Taiwan?


MR PRICE: Past the readout that I simply offered, I’m not able to transcend that. However in each senior-level engagement with the PRC, we make very clear that we proceed to uphold, to respect our “one-China” coverage and the weather that undergird it, as we proceed to meet the necessities which are put ahead within the Taiwan Relations Act.

QUESTION: And once you discuss Secretary Blinken’s go to to China early subsequent 12 months, are we speaking about January or February?

MR PRICE: At this level, we’re simply able to say early subsequent 12 months. I believe we’re on the preliminary levels of scheduling the go to, so I wouldn’t wish to get forward of the place we’re.

QUESTION: And can the COVID outbreak in China have any influence on this journey deliberate to China?

MR PRICE: Once more, we’re planning this. We’re on the early levels of planning this with the assistant secretary’s journey and Laura Rosenberger’s journey. We’ve had face-to-face discussions relating to this, however we do look ahead to the chance to proceed the face-to-face dialog that President Biden had with President Xi in Bali final month when Secretary Blinken does journey to China early subsequent 12 months.

QUESTION: Which sort of interactions between this constructing and China will happen earlier than Secretary Blinken’s go to?

MR PRICE: There’s at all times a spread of preparatory discussions earlier than any senior-level journey anyplace. I’d hazard to guess that these discussions could also be much more intensive within the run-up to Secretary Blinken’s journey to the PRC as a result of this would be the first senior-level journey throughout this administration to the PRC and one of many first senior-level interlocutors to journey to Beijing for the reason that outbreak of COVID in early 2020.

So there’s numerous preparations to do. We’re within the early levels of that. And as quickly as we’ve got extra to announce relating to the small print of the journey, we are going to.


QUESTION: Concerning COP15, I ponder if 30 by 30 – does the administration think about {that a} ground or a goal that’s bold? Can – is there extra we will do?

MR PRICE: Nicely, we’re —

QUESTION: And I’ve one other query.

MR PRICE:  We’re at all times taking a look at what extra we will probably do with regards to COP15. In fact, it does current a possibility to advance worldwide efforts to avoid wasting nature, to reverse and probably even restore unprecedented world lack of biodiversity, and to guard nature for generations to return. We have a look at COP15 because the potential to be a turning level with regards to these essential points.

I believe you had been on the decision this morning when our Particular Envoy and Assistant Secretary Monica Medina mentioned her upcoming journey to COP15 and the objectives we’ve got for that. Not solely will we set a excessive normal for ourselves, however we imagine that by demonstrating our personal ambition with regards to these points – local weather, organic variety – we in flip generally is a catalyst for different international locations to do the identical.

And we hope COP15 is a chance for international locations to return with bold targets and commitments in hand, and probably even to depart COP15 with much more bold commitments in hand. However we’ll have extra to say about all of this because it will get underway.

QUESTION:  As a follow-up, is there any likelihood that among the biodiversity ambitions that we’ve got may get into talks with, say, China or – as an space the place we’ve got – may have settlement?

MR PRICE:  Local weather, shared transnational challenges like this, are completely areas the place our pursuits intersect. You heard from us for – you’ve heard from us persistently that when the US and the PRC aren’t in a position to cooperate successfully and even focus on successfully these transnational challenges, it doesn’t simply maintain the US again, it doesn’t simply maintain China again, but it surely presents a problem to your complete worldwide group.

Nations all over the world count on the US and China to work constructively to see the place we will probably cooperate with regards to these transnational climates like biodiversity, like local weather, like world well being, just like the risk from narcotics and cooperation with regards to counter-narcotics. That’s one thing that we’re decided to do. One of many causes President Biden thought it so essential to satisfy with President Xi in Bali, to now have a variety of conversations with President Xi in the course of the course of this administration, is to discover, is to check the proposition that we will deepen cooperation with the PRC in areas which are in our mutual pursuits. And it’s simple that that is one among them.


QUESTION:  Thanks. The Palestinian problem. A human rights group referred to as on the State Division to invoke the Leahy Legislation on a battalion referred to as Netzah Yehuda. It’s a infamous battalion. They’re the one in whose custody final 12 months an American citizen died, Omar Assad. I ponder in case you have any touch upon that. And would, really, the division suggest such a —

MR PRICE:  Nicely, Stated, per the Leahy Legislation, which by the way in which is simply an essential legacy, one of many many essential legacies, of Senator Leahy, one thing that I believe rightly carries —

QUESTION:  Oh, yeah.

MR PRICE:  In fact.

QUESTION:  In fact.

MR PRICE:  In fact. However simply to herald him and to herald it, it’s one thing we take very severely. All safety drive models which are nominated to obtain help from the division, together with coaching, are vetted in line with the Leahy Legislation. And we handle our safety relationships all over the world within the context of human rights and the rule of legislation and in accordance with U.S. laws, together with on this case with the Leahy vetting legal guidelines. We’ll not waver from supporting efforts aimed toward selling respect for human rights or the rule of legislation, for accountability, for justice, for reconciliation as effectively.

QUESTION:  Talking of Omar Assad, it’s been 11 months at the moment, as a matter of reality. Are you anyplace close to figuring out what actually occurred?

MR PRICE:  Nicely, after all Omar Assad was an American citizen. Our ideas proceed to be together with his household, together with his family members now almost a 12 months after his demise. We’ve acknowledged this a number of occasions now. However we had been and are extraordinarily involved in regards to the circumstances surrounding his demise, and we urge the swift conclusion into the continued felony investigation. We do word the assertion on the report of the IDF commander’s inquiry into the trigger and its findings, together with the dedication that, quote, “the incident confirmed a transparent lapse of ethical judgment,” and a failure to guard, quote, “the sanctity of any human life,” and in addition to the – and we additionally word that disciplinary motion is being taken in opposition to three commanders of the unit concerned within the incident, the unit on the coronary heart of your query.

QUESTION:  And one final query. Right now a younger Palestinian lady, 16 years outdated, was shot and killed on the roof of her home by one other infamous group. They’re those – they’re referred to as Mista’arvim. They costume like native Arabs and so forth, they usually go about searching the Palestinians. I ponder in case you have any touch upon this. Ought to there be an investigation into this factor? Ought to folks that have dedicated this crime be held accountable?

MR PRICE:  Nicely, equally, Stated, we do categorical our profound condolences to the household of Jana Zakarneh, the younger teenage lady who was killed. This – it’s a tragic incident. It’s a heartbreaking incident any time you hear of a civilian being killed in all these operations. We perceive the IDF is enterprise an investigation into what occurred. We hope to see accountability on this case. I did word that outgoing Prime Minister Lapid did supply his condolences to the household of Jana Zakarneh, and we word that that her tragic demise comes within the context of the escalating violence within the West Financial institution that we’ve famous and lamented for a while now.

It’s this alarming improve in Palestinian and Israeli deaths and accidents, together with accidents to quite a few youngsters and now the demise of a younger Palestinian teenager – we reiterate the necessity for all events to take steps to de-escalate the scenario. It’s very important that the events themselves take pressing motion to stop even larger lack of life.


QUESTION: I’ve a query in regards to the president of Turkey. I’m certain chances are you’ll know that he threatened, once more, Greek – individuals in Greece. He mentioned that his missiles will assault Athens. And I needed to know in case you have any remark since that is the worst risk ever coming from Erdoğan in opposition to Greece.

MR PRICE: Nicely, look, we remorse this escalation of provocative statements. It’s particularly regrettable at a time when unity and cooperation is required most amongst our personal NATO Allies. We urge all of our allies to keep away from threats and provocative rhetoric. All that an escalation of rhetoric will do is to is to lift tensions and to distract us from the unity of objective, the unity of objective that we have to confront any variety of challenges, not the least of which, after all, is the risk that the Alliance probably faces from Russia, and naturally the continued lively risk that the individuals of Ukraine face from Russian aggression.

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QUESTION: I’ve one other query. Do you may have something to inform us about this scandal, the European parliament and the accusations that Qatar paid thousand of euros to some parliamentarians there?

MR PRICE: Nicely, we’re intently monitoring developments on this case. We’re intently monitoring the developments of the corruption investigation into present and former EU officers. We’ll proceed to observe how this unfolds. However for remark, we’d have to refer you to Belgium and to the EU as effectively.


QUESTION: Yeah, so that you clearly spoke in regards to the demise of Grant Wahl earlier and his stays being returned to the U.S. However what in regards to the circumstances surrounding his demise? I imply, his brother mentioned that he had been receiving demise threats. His brother additionally mentioned he didn’t imagine he died from bronchitis and that he’s – his quote was “legitimately suspicious” about what might have occurred. And his brother additionally mentioned that there have been NYC police in Qatar wanting into the scenario. So I assume do you – are you able to converse to what the U.S. is doing to look into the scenario, how they’ll maintain Qatar accountable for being clear and letting all people know what occurred there? And do you share that authentic suspicion that his brothers mentioned he has?

MR PRICE: With regards to the New York Police Division, I’ll have to refer you to them to – for something they might be enterprise. However I’d word that NYPD has had a liaison officer in Qatar as a traditional course of enterprise.

With regards to the tragic demise of Grant Wahl, what I can say is that his stays had been repatriated at the moment. The household has spoken to the truth that he’ll – his stays will bear an post-mortem on this nation. It’s my understanding that his stays are actually within the possession of the New York Metropolis health worker.

What I may say is that we’ve got seen no indication of foul play or something nefarious at this level. We did obtain wonderful cooperation from our Qatari companions. As quickly as we discovered of Grant Wahl’s passing, our ambassador, as I discussed earlier than, was in common contact with senior officers within the Qatari Authorities in an effort to see to it that we had been able to meet the desires of the households as expeditiously as potential. Our Qatari companions had been cooperative, they had been responsive, and consequently, Grant Wahl and his – his stays and his possessions have been repatriated as of earlier this morning.

QUESTION: Could I ask a Syria query?

MR PRICE: Positive.

QUESTION: Right now, the Turkish overseas minister, Çavuşoğlu, acknowledged that there are talks between Syrian intelligence and Turkish intelligence to debate methods and means to returning Syrian refugees. So my query to you: Do you are feeling that the situations are there for the Syrian refugees to return? That’s one.

And second, he additionally mentioned throughout some – a parliamentarian session that there’s every kind of talks between Syria and Turkey on problems with terrorism and different points. So simply your remark.

MR PRICE: These are these are significantly better questions for Turkey. We very a lot commend Turkey for its function in serving to to supply protected haven to so many Syrians who’ve been compelled to flee from their houses, from their communities over the course of the now greater than a decade of civil conflict inside Syria. We welcome every part Turkey has contributed to the humanitarian response that international locations all through the area have offered.

In fact, Syria now’s – there proceed to be a variety of risks and dangers posed all through the nation. So we proceed to work very intently with Turkey, with our companions on the bottom as effectively to see to it that the progress that we’ve got been in a position – within the context of the International Coalition to Defeat ISIS has made, lately particularly, the progress in opposition to ISIS, in opposition to Daesh – to see to it that that progress shouldn’t be reversed and to see to it that the momentum we’ve got that might at some point see many extra Syrians return to their homeland – to see to it that that momentum is maintained.

QUESTION: So is it nonetheless your feeling that situations will not be such the place they’re – really can permit for the return of Syrian refugees?

MR PRICE: This isn’t a query for the US. This can be a query for Turkey with regards to —

QUESTION: Nicely, the rationale I ask it’s because you guys mentioned that earlier than. You mentioned that you simply imagine the situations will not be anyplace close to ripe for the return of refugees. However possibly the conflict has ebbed just a little bit to permit for that.

MR PRICE: In fact, we’ve seen progress in opposition to Daesh, however there continues to be ranges of violence within the civil conflict, the civil conflict that’s roiled the nation for greater than a decade now. And we proceed to commend all the international locations within the area – Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, others – which have opened their arms and opened their borders to these fleeing violence from the civil conflict and from the specter of terrorism in Syria.


QUESTION: Thanks, Ned. A few questions on the area, ranging from Iran. Could I get a response to Iran at the moment executing second prisoner detained in the course of the protests? His title was Majidreza Rahnavard. Do you may have any leverage on Iran to stop them from conducting these executions?

MR PRICE: So first, with regards to the extra horrific information popping out of Iran, we all know that Majidreza Rahnavard is the Islamic Republic’s newest sufferer. He was swiftly executed after what can solely be described as a sham trial. We perceive that he was additionally executed publicly; he was hanged in public. The regime has rounded up and detained hundreds of individuals for his or her involvement in these protests. A lot of them now face harsh sentences, together with the demise penalty and sham trials that lack any due course of. We denounce this draconian therapy within the strongest phrases.

These harsh sentences and now the primary public execution, not less than, are supposed to intimidate Iran’s individuals. They’re meant to suppress dissent. They usually merely simply underscore how a lot Iran’s management really fears its personal individuals. As Iran’s management continues its violent crackdown on peaceable protesters, they need to know that the US is watching, however extra importantly the world is watching, and we’ll proceed to coordinate with our allies and companions all over the world to confront Iran’s human rights abuses.

To the second a part of your query, Alex, we’ve got a spread of authorities. We now have exercised lots of these authorities already within the context of the violent crackdown on the protests on the a part of the Iranian individuals, the efforts of the Iranian regime to suppress these peaceable protests, to chop off the Iranian individuals’s entry to the skin world, their skill to speak with each other. We’ve used our human rights authorities, together with within the tranche of sanctions that we spoke to final week, on – upfront of Human Rights Day, to carry accountable those that are chargeable for this brutal crackdown.

QUESTION: When you discuss to Iranian protesters, they at all times have considerations that Iranian Authorities’s narrative continues to be capable of finding its option to Washington. They discuss lobbying teams. I don’t wish to title the names, however – I additionally know that this would possibly transcend your payroll, however is it one thing you guys are nervous about, that Irani lobbying teams are nonetheless roaming round and pushing their narratives?

MR PRICE: Nicely, our Division of Justice, after all, oversees a program that sees to it that brokers of a overseas energy are registered as such, so I’d refer you to the Division of Justice for questions pertaining to home exercise on this nation. However it’s after all a priority to the US, the power of Iran to challenge repression past its borders, one thing we name transnational repression. We now have taken word of the regime’s efforts to pursue its critics effectively past its borders, together with, in some instances, right here in the US. That, after all, is of nice concern to us and one thing we take very severely.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

Let me transfer round, simply because we’re working out of time.

QUESTION: Another query – only one extra ultimate query on – Azerbaijan-Armenia. I’m certain you may have seen media studies that there’s a rigidity build up involving the hall between Azerbaijan and Armenia. I don’t wish to get into rabbit gap of who began what, he mentioned, she mentioned, however my query is: We now have seen Putin calling two sides speaking, Western Europeans categorical their considerations – the place is the U.S. at this level? Can you hold your eyes on the ball?

MR PRICE: I believe we’ve got. We now have persistently centered on this problem, on the necessity to de-escalate tensions, on the necessity to set these two international locations on the trail to a long-lasting, complete settlement. We, after all, introduced the 2 international locations collectively on the overseas minister stage right here in Washington. We did that in New York on the margins of the UN Normal Meeting. And Phil Reeker, our senior advisor, has been actively engaged with officers in each international locations to see to it that we’re doing every part we will and, most significantly, that these two international locations are doing every part they will to see to it that these tensions are de-escalated.

Take a pair ultimate questions. Sure, in – go forward.

QUESTION: The administration has acknowledged help for African Union membership within the G20. Do you may have any background on that? Why now? Is it due to the summit right here in Washington, or is there extra – are you able to discuss to – just a little bit extra on that?

MR PRICE: So that is one thing that the President will converse to in the course of the course of the Africa Leaders Summit, however we imagine, briefly, that it’s previous time for Africa to have a everlasting seat on the desk in worldwide organizations and initiatives. We’d like extra African voices in worldwide dialog, together with conversations that pertain to the worldwide economic system, democracy and governments – governance, local weather change, world well being – primarily each transnational problem and alternative that we face.

And the President in making the assertion goes to be following via on his commitments and listening to our African companions relating to what it’s that they need and what they search. This announcement builds on the technique that Secretary Blinken specified by South Africa over the summer time. It additionally responds to requests from the AU president and South Africa, the one African G20 member at the moment.


QUESTION: I even have a query in regards to the assembly in Istanbul between Russian and U.S. officers. Are there any agreements following the assembly? That is my first query. And second query: Have you learnt of any conferences, related conferences, being deliberate in the intervening time sooner or later?

MR PRICE: So I’m not able to talk to any potential future engagements, besides to say that we imagine within the worth of such engagements as a result of we imagine in the necessity to preserve open channels of communication. These channels are essential always, however they’re particularly essential in occasions of rigidity, and definitely when it comes to occasions of battle, as we’re seeing now with Russia’s aggression in opposition to Ukraine.

As for the outcomes of the assembly, once more, it was a gathering that was narrowly centered on a small set of bilateral points, bilateral irritants that are inclined to in some instances get in the way in which of productive conversations between our two international locations. However I simply don’t have any extra particulars to supply.

QUESTION: Are these irritants nonetheless in place?

MR PRICE: I believe it’s honest to say that we’ve got extra to debate if we’re to take away these irritants fully.

Shannon, do you may have a – did you may have a query?

QUESTION: Oh, me. So for the – really, I do have a query. I apologize if it was introduced up. However there are studies that one other American was killed whereas combating in Ukraine, and her title is Rebecca. I used to be simply questioning if the State Division has any touch upon that. And I do know, after all, you’re restricted on what you may say due to privateness and so forth.

MR PRICE: I’ve seen these studies. What I’ll say – these studies are unconfirmed. With out going into specifics, we’ve got famous earlier than misinformation and disinformation circulating within the context of this battle. However what I’d say from right here is that these studies are unconfirmed.

Thanks all very a lot.

QUESTION: Wait, wait. Was there any State Division function or involvement within the switch and return of operations of the Lockerbie suspect?

MR PRICE: We’ll have extra to say on this later at the moment. What I can say now’s that you simply noticed over the weekend that the Division of Justice introduced that United States is taking custody of the alleged Pan Am Flight 103 bombmaker. We perceive that Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi has been charged for his alleged function within the bombing of Pan Am 103, and he’ll be making an preliminary look in Washington, D.C. on this hour, so I don’t wish to get forward of that.

However we’ve got persistently made the purpose in regards to the lengthy arm of American justice. This was a terrorist assault that resulted within the deaths of 270 individuals almost 34 years in the past and taking victims from 21 nations together with 190 Individuals. We are going to at all times bear in mind the victims of this heinous act. We now have by no means stopped pursuing justice on this case on behalf of the American individuals. If the Division of State has a possibility to assist our associate companies, together with the Division of Justice, fulfill justice in a case like this, we received’t hesitate to try this. However I simply don’t wish to get forward of the method right now.

QUESTION: Nicely, I’m not asking you to get forward of any course of. I’m asking you when you had any function within the precise getting him right here to the courtroom?

MR PRICE: I – what I can —

QUESTION: Are you suggesting that we are going to get extra info at this listening to in regards to the State Division’s function, if there was one?

MR PRICE: I believe you can be listening to extra on this case typically after this – after this look, however —

QUESTION: However what I’m desirous about is any State Division function in what has occurred to this point.

MR PRICE: It’s —

QUESTION: Not what’s going to occur at a courtroom listening to later this afternoon.

MR PRICE: It’s protected to say that this occurred in session with acceptable Libyan authorities, and the US is in common contact and dialogue with our Libyan counterparts, however I would want to depart it at that.


MR PRICE: Thanks all very a lot.

(The briefing was concluded at 3:20 p.m.)

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