Press Releases: Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation Tom Countryman Travels to the Republic of Korea and China


Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Tom Countryman is travelling to Seoul, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Beijing, China July 28–August 1.

Assistant Secretary Countryman will meet with senior ROK officials in Seoul July 28–30 to discuss U.S.-ROK civil nuclear cooperation and a broad range of issues related to joint efforts on strengthening the global nonproliferation regime.

He will travel July 31–August 1 to China, where he will meet with his Chinese counterparts to discuss a wide range of nonproliferation issues. He will participate in a roundtable at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. This event will be attended by leading NGOs and academic institutions with expertise on nonproliferation activities.

For more information about the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, please visit our website: http://www.state.gov/t/isn/.

48 Killed, 10 survivors in Taiwan pl

48 Killed, 10 survivors in Taiwan plane crash
Thu 24 Jul 2014 at 08:52

NNA – Taiwan’s TransAsia Airways said Thursday that 48 people were killed and 10 survived when one of its turboprop passenger planes crashed after an aborted landing during stormy…

Daily Press Briefings : Daily Press Briefing – July 23, 2014

1:48 p.m. EDT

QUESTION: Good afternoon.

MS. HARF: Hello and welcome to the daily briefing. I have just a couple things at the top, and then happy to go into questions, of course.

First, I’m sure many of you have seen that today is the Dutch day of mourning. Today, we join King Willem-Alexander, Prime Minister Rutte, and all of the people of the Netherlands in mourning the loss of the 193 Dutch residents who died when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was downed over eastern Ukraine. No words can adequately express the sorrow the world feels over this loss. On behalf of the American people, we again extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims of this terrible tragedy.

As the President said yesterday, we will work with the Netherlands to make sure that loved ones are recovered, that a proper investigation is conducted, and that those responsible for the downing of flight MH17 are brought to justice.

And second, a quick travel update for people. Excuse me. The Secretary, as you saw, is in Jerusalem and Ramallah having some meetings today. He’s met with President Abbas, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and Prime Minister Netanyahu, who I think is ongoing as well, that meeting. So has traveled there to continue discussions on the ceasefire. As we said, he’s always happy to get on the plane and travel if he wants to and needs to. So, with that.

QUESTION: All right. I’m sure we’ll get to Ukraine in a second, but I want to start with the Mideast.

MS. HARF: Okay.

QUESTION: Two things. One, the FAA extension of the flight ban; and second, the vote at the UN Human Rights Commission.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: I’ll start with the Human Rights Commission.

MS. HARF: Okay.

QUESTION: Why did you vote against forming a panel of inquiry? The statement that was given before the vote by the – your ambassador there said that whatever steps that the commission would take should be balanced and should not single out Israel. Was it your understanding that what was approved in the end is unfair to – would be unfair to Israel?

MS. HARF: And one-sided. So we do strongly oppose today’s special session at the Human Rights Council and the resulting resolution as the latest in a series of biased, anti-Israel actions at the Human Rights Council. We strongly oppose the creation of this kind of mechanism that you spoke about because it’s one-sided. No one’s looking here at Hamas rockets, no one proposed looking at anything else other than Israel in this case, and again, we oppose it as one-sided.

QUESTION: In her opening statement, the commissioner for human rights talked about the possibility or potential that war crimes had been committed, not just by Israel but also by Hamas. Was that not your understanding of what this commission would – your understanding of —

MS. HARF: Well, we were voting on a resolution that had certain language in it —

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: — and that was looking at certain things, and that was one-sided in nature.

QUESTION: Can – what was it precisely about the language, do you know, that was —

MS. HARF: That it was one-sided —

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: — in nature.

QUESTION: I mean, it talked – yeah, but what was that language? What was the offensive language?

MS. HARF: I can pull the specific language for you after the briefing, but —

QUESTION: The title of the resolution seemed to be respecting – or “A resolution on the respect for international law and norms in the Palestinian territories,” and then including East Jerusalem. Is that problematic?

MS. HARF: I haven’t seen the specific title. As I said, the resolution in general, we view as one-sided and biased, and therefore we voted against it.

QUESTION: So you were concerned that this might turn out to be Goldstone 2?

MS. HARF: Again, we were concerned about it for being one-sided and biased, and it’s something we’ve said, quite honestly, we’ve said in the past by actions this body has taken.

QUESTION: All right. Does it surprise you that you were the only country to vote against?

MS. HARF: There were a number of abstentions. That’s my understanding.

QUESTION: Yes, there were 17 – all of Europe. Do you —

MS. HARF: And other countries as well. I think there were some countries in there that weren’t in Europe, that aren’t in Europe.

QUESTION: Right. But —

MS. HARF: Look, we make clear – as we have said repeatedly, we will stand up for Israel in the international community, even if it means standing alone, and I think you saw that today.

QUESTION: Okay. But that doesn’t tell you anything, though, that you’re standing alone?

MS. HARF: I don’t have any more announcements to do on it, Matt.

QUESTION: All right. On the FAA decision —

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: — there’s still continually this line coming from some in Israel and some here that this is all a political decision, that it’s —

MS. HARF: Totally inaccurate.

QUESTION: — and it’s designed to push the Israeli Government into accepting a ceasefire that it otherwise would not want.

MS. HARF: It’s a totally inaccurate line, period. We – the FAA makes decisions based solely on the security and safety of American citizens, period. That is the only thing they take into account. I don’t know how much more strongly I can say that. People can choose not to believe us —

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: — but those are the facts, and people aren’t entitled to their own facts but certainly they can have their own opinions.

QUESTION: Okay. Do you know, has – were there any – aside from the call that Prime Minister Netanyahu made last night, I guess, and then his meetings today —

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: — I presume that he brought it up again in the meetings with the Secretary?

MS. HARF: I don’t have a readout yet.

QUESTION: I’m not asking you to speak for that, but —

MS. HARF: Yeah.

QUESTION: — you’re not there. But do you – are you aware of any other interactions between the Israelis and the State Department on this issue?

MS. HARF: On this? Not to my knowledge. I’m happy to check. I mean, we have folks on the ground, obviously. I just don’t know.

QUESTION: I understand.

MS. HARF: And look, we do understand that the Israelis want to return to normal air travel in Israel. Obviously, they want to restore a calm and normal life. We want them to be able to do as well. That’s why we’re trying to help broker a ceasefire. That’s the purpose of everything the Secretary is doing.

QUESTION: So would you – I mean, how likely – and I know you can’t speak for the FAA, so let’s talk about just the – your – the State Department’s Travel Warning which preceded this. At least —

MS. HARF: And I’m – let me make a point on the Travel Warning, though, because you asked about this yesterday, because there were some conspiracy theories that you were bringing up as well about why the timing. It takes a while to get travel updates updated and done, and travel warnings updated, but we did issue security messages from our embassy and consulate on the 8th, 9th, and 11th re: rocket attacks. So it’s not like yesterday suddenly we thought there was a security issue, which you mentioned. It’s been a consistent conversation we’ve had with American citizens.

QUESTION: Right. But —

MS. HARF: So I’m pushing back on the timing issue a little bit.

QUESTION: Okay. I mean, it wasn’t me making the argument, I was —

MS. HARF: Well, it was you asking the question.

QUESTION: Well, I was asking you about the criticism that was —

MS. HARF: So I’m pushing back on that criticism.

QUESTION: Got you. Okay.

MS. HARF: Yep.

QUESTION: Is it likely that either of these things, the Travel Warning or the FAA warning, are going to be lifted before a ceasefire is ordered?

MS. HARF: I have honestly no predictions to make. We constantly make decisions based on the situation on the ground. The Travel Warning obviously is under our purview. We’ll continue to look at the situation. The FAA can speak to their processes as well.

QUESTION: Right. But the —

MS. HARF: I have no way to make a judgment about likelihood on either.

QUESTION: Okay. All right. So I’ll leave that and then just go back to my UNRWA questions from the other day.

QUESTION: Well, the Secretary was – Matt —

QUESTION: Yeah.

QUESTION: Can we just – can I just go back to —

QUESTION: Sure.

MS. HARF: Sure.

QUESTION: Because yesterday it was asked about Hamas’s capabilities of —

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: Do you have anything further? And you said you would.

MS. HARF: I did. I got a little bit for you. Give me one second. So Hamas does have rockets that can reach Ben Gurion Airport. During current fighting, Hamas rockets have landed north of the airport, although the accuracy of their rockets does remain limited. Israel’s Iron Dome system, which, as you know, we worked very closely with them to develop and fund, has monitored and, with quite a high degree of success, destroyed many of the incoming rockets which could reach this area as well as other areas. Hamas’s anti-aircraft missile capabilities are still being determined. We don’t have confirmation that Hamas has launched heat-seeking anti-aircraft missile during the current conflict or that Hamas has access to the type of anti-aircraft missiles like those we saw – judge bring down Malaysian aircraft in Ukraine.

So I tried to get a little more about the capabilities for you.

QUESTION: Yeah, thank you very much for that. I mean, it’s helpful to get perspective. Was that kind of thing taken into consideration, do you know?

MS. HARF: I’m guessing all of that was taken into consideration. The FAA worked very closely with the intelligence community, with people that do analysis on these kind of things before they make these determinations. So I’m assuming it was in this case.

QUESTION: So did you – when you said Hamas has not used heat-seeking —

MS. HARF: There’s no confirmation —

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: — that Hamas has launched heat-seeking anti-aircraft missiles during the current conflict.

QUESTION: Is – do you – is it your assessment that they actually have these kinds of weapons.

MS. HARF: Not to my knowledge. I’m happy to check. I don’t know the answer to that, Matt.

QUESTION: Marie, on the FAA ruling, I mean considering that when this conflict began, Israel had, like, seven Iron Domes. Now they have 10. And the rocket firing has really been reduced dramatically. Why is this such a – why such a —

MS. HARF: Because a rocket landed very close to the airport, and I think if you were a passenger on an airliner taking off or landing at that airport, you’d be pretty nervous about that.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: Iron Dome has been very successful, but security of America citizens is top priority, and that’s why the FAA made this decision.

QUESTION: Can I go back to the Human Rights Commission?

MS. HARF: Just one second. Let me say one more thing about the FAA.

QUESTION: Okay. Sure. Oh, sorry.

MS. HARF: I know you probably saw Jen’s email but – last night – that the FAA notice to airlines does not apply to military aircraft, which is why he could land.

QUESTION: Right. So, but on that —

MS. HARF: I just wanted to clarify that, that was a Taken Question —

QUESTION: But on that, you said that if you were a passenger you would be pretty nervous. Was the Secretary nervous flying into —

MS. HARF: Secretary —

QUESTION: He’s never nervous?

MS. HARF: Well, as you saw, we didn’t announce the trip until it was down.

QUESTION: No, no. I understand that.

MS. HARF: Yep.

QUESTION: But you said that if you were a passenger on a plane flying in —

MS. HARF: The Secretary’s not nervous, Matt.

QUESTION: He is not nervous.

MS. HARF: The Secretary’s very happy to be there meeting with people right now.

QUESTION: And can you speak for your other colleagues?

MS. HARF: I’m not —

QUESTION: Was anyone on the plane —

MS. HARF: This is a ridiculous line of questioning.

QUESTION: No, it’s not —

MS. HARF: Yes. Said. Wait. We’re going back to Said.

QUESTION: — because if it’s a danger, it’s a danger. And if it’s not, if the Secretary thinks it’s not a danger that’s something else.

MS. HARF: We’re going back to Said.

QUESTION: I just wanted to follow-up on the Human Rights Commission.

MS. HARF: He was very – he and our whole team were very comfortable landing at Ben Gurion.

QUESTION: Okay. Which would seem to, I don’t know, belie the FAA’s concerns, no?

MS. HARF: Take that up with the FAA.

Yes.

QUESTION: I will.

QUESTION: Yeah. On the Human Rights Commission, are you opposed in principle to have any kind of commission to look into possible war crimes by either side, to go one —

MS. HARF: We’re opposed to one-sided and biased inquiries of any kind.

QUESTION: And that – if – you believe that this one —

MS. HARF: We believe this one today was.

QUESTION: — this one is one-sided?

MS. HARF: Would have been and that’s why we voted against it.

QUESTION: What would – okay. What in the language of this resolution that makes you say that it is one-sided?

MS. HARF: Well, I am happy to see if there’s specific language that we can point to. Again, it was what they were – that would be evaluated in the resolution and in this commission of inquiry, what they would be looking at was purely on one side, which by definition, I think, makes it one-sided.

QUESTION: So it’s not really a knee-jerk kind of reaction, as we have seen in the past? Every time there is an effort to look into Israel’s —

MS. HARF: Well, unfortunately the Human Rights Council has often put forward one-sided documents. The international community has often put forward one-sided documents – excuse me – and we have opposed those as well.

QUESTION: Okay. Now I asked you yesterday on the hospitals – the bombing of hospitals, and so on.

MS. HARF: Uh-huh.

QUESTION: Both ABC News and NBC News, they followed – they accompanied medics and ambulances and so on and went to the hospitals and house and so on, and they saw no evidence of firing rockets from there. So what makes you think that these hospitals have been used to launch rockets or to hide rockets or to hide fighters and so on?

MS. HARF: Well, we have evidence —

QUESTION: Do you have solid evidence?

MS. HARF: Generally speaking – not speaking about any specific hospital, Said, or any specific target of Israeli activity, we have evidence throughout many years of Hamas using hospitals and schools, ambulances, other civilian places to hide rockets, to hide fighters. We’ve seen that throughout this conflict. Again, I’m not making a commentary on any one specific hospital or location, but we have seen that. We have seen Hamas do that in the past and have done that in this conflict.

QUESTION: Now I just want to go —

MS. HARF: And that’s not acceptable. I think if you are a Palestinian living in Gaza who just wants to go use a hospital or a school, you would not want Hamas using them to store rockets in.

QUESTION: Okay. Now let me ask you about the ceasefire points.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: It seems that the Egyptians, at least for now, are not flexible or are unwilling to sort of introduce any new element.

MS. HARF: I have no idea how you could even make that assessment. Everybody who is in these negotiations is not talking about them publicly. We’re talking about them privately.

QUESTION: The Egyptians are talking about their proposal publicly.

MS. HARF: Well, you’re making one assessment, and I think that we are —

QUESTION: I am not making it. They are. They’re saying —

MS. HARF: You called them inflexible.

QUESTION: No, I said inflexible. They said that they —

MS. HARF: Right.

QUESTION: — what they submitted or what they proposed last week stands, that they’re —

MS. HARF: Well, we’re in discussions about what a ceasefire might look like. That’s why the Secretary is shuttling back and forth between Cairo and Jerusalem and Ramallah so he can see if we can get a ceasefire here. What the eventual contours of that looks like are being discussed right now.

QUESTION: And my last question on this: Today the Palestinian Authority submitted to Secretary Kerry their own version of what a ceasefire agreement should look like. Do you have any reaction to that —

MS. HARF: I can’t confirm that. I can’t confirm that report, Said.

QUESTION: You cannot confirm that report.

MS. HARF: I cannot confirm that report. I’m not going to comment on any of the rumors out there about what these negotiations look like, a line that should be familiar to everyone in this room.

QUESTION: Although you won’t comment on the specifics —

MS. HARF: Uh-huh.

QUESTION: — there was something that Tony Blinken said earlier today about demilitarization of Gaza. Are you more concerned with getting an immediate – just an end to the fighting right now, or is – and is demilitarization something that would be later on? In other words, that’s not necessarily a part of the negotiations going on now?

MS. HARF: So obviously, our top priority is getting a ceasefire and achieving a ceasefire. What the contours of that ceasefire will look like, I’m obviously not going to outline. But longer term, the issue of rocket fire does need to be addressed. We’re very serious about that. Again, how that looks like, what that looks like, I’m not going to get into the details of that either.

QUESTION: Okay, so it’s – but it’s fair to say that some kind of demilitarization or some kind of dealing with the rocket fire in the future is not necessarily on the table right now. What you’re more —

MS. HARF: I’m not telling you what or what is not on the table right now. What I’m saying is we need a ceasefire. What that ceasefire looks like, I’m not going to detail. But longer term, we do need to deal with the rocket fire.

QUESTION: On my UNRWA question from yesterday, do you know if the – so there was this – they confirmed a second – finding a second batch – cache of rockets in a school. Do you know how those were handled? And more broadly, had your discussions with the UN, with UNRWA, with the PA and Israel come to a better option for dealing with things like this?

MS. HARF: We’re still having those discussions. I’d refer you to UNRWA to discuss the second batch. I don’t have all of the details on that. I think there’s been some confusing information out there. They could probably speak better to what happened to that other batch of rockets. But the conversations continue, and I think hopefully we’ll get to a better path forward.

QUESTION: Okay, so you’re not exactly sure what they did —

MS. HARF: I think it’s probably best for UNRWA to speak to this. They have the most up-to-date information.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: Yes, Nicole.

QUESTION: Is there any discussion about structuring this ceasefire through a UN Security Council resolution or working through the Security Council instead of trying to put together something on a bilateral or multilateral basis?

MS. HARF: I haven’t heard of that. Obviously I’m not going to talk about specifics that are being discussed in the room, but what we’re focused on is working with Egypt and other regional partners – of course, with Israel and the Palestinians – to see if we can get something here.

QUESTION: One more on the flight cancellations.

MS. HARF: Yeah.

QUESTION: It’s not just Matt that’s been critical and conspiratorial. Senator Cruz – (laughter) –

QUESTION: I haven’t been critical or conspiratorial.

MS. HARF: You’re being put in a category with Senator Cruz, so let’s see where this one goes. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Senator —

MS. HARF: I can’t wait for this.

QUESTION: Yeah. Thanks a lot, Lucas. That’s not —

MS. HARF: You’re welcome, Matt. Thank Lucas later.

QUESTION: Senator Cruz just released a statement saying that the FAA’s flight suspension to Israel is economic blackmail and that the Obama Administration is —

MS. HARF: It’s ridiculous.

QUESTION: — doing this to punish Israel.

MS. HARF: It’s ridiculous and offensive, quite frankly. The FAA takes its responsibilities very seriously. I will speak for them in that case. They make these decisions based solely on the security and safety of American citizens, period. For anyone to suggest otherwise, it’s just ridiculous, Lucas.

QUESTION: His argument is that tourism is an $11 billion industry for Israel and that while these flights are cancelled and Israel is losing money, the aid to Hamas continues.

MS. HARF: Well, we certainly care about Israel’s tourism industry as well, but we care more about the rockets being stopped from coming into Israel to kill innocent civilians in Israel. We care more about getting a ceasefire, and we care more about protecting American citizens. So clearly, I think Senator Cruz is completely wrong on this. We make decisions about security based solely on what’s in the best interest of American citizens. And look, one of the reasons – the main reason, if not, that Secretary Kerry is investing so much energy into getting a ceasefire is so Israel can return to normalcy, so they can return flights, so we can move past the Travel Warning, so Israelis and visitors and anyone don’t have to run to bomb shelters because Hamas is firing rockets at them. So I’d urge him to take another look at his comments on this.

QUESTION: But you can still fly to Beirut, can’t you, and other hotspots around the country?

MS. HARF: The FAA has a full list of places that we don’t fly. Someone asked about North Korea the other day. You cannot fly, I think, places in North Korea as well. So I would take a look at that. But there are times – in parts of Ukraine, Crimea we have warnings out as well. And these are all designed to protect American citizens here. And again, this is a temporary notice. The 24-hour notice has been renewed for another 24 hours. Our goal is to get this ceasefire in place as soon as possible so we don’t have to take these steps.

QUESTION: Marie, if I may follow – just to follow up on Nicole’s question. The sort of – what format this ceasefire should take? Back in 2009, there was a resolution – a UN Security Council Resolution 1860, and then in 2012 or just an agreement. Is it your feeling or this Department’s feeling that if you frame it in a United Nations Security Council resolution, would be more robust and would have to be – have better chance of being sustainable?

MS. HARF: Well, we’ve talked about 2012 as sort of —

QUESTION: Right, right.

MS. HARF: — one of the standards that we’re looking at here. I don’t have anything beyond that on what the discussions look like.

QUESTION: Same topic, real quick.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: The Secretary said he was going to Cairo, back to Cairo. Any confirmation or details of when?

MS. HARF: I’m sure he will. I don’t know when. I’m not sure we know when.

QUESTION: He said immediately after the – or not immediately, but after the (inaudible).

MS. HARF: I don’t have details on timing, but he will eventually return to Cairo and could possibly return to Jerusalem and Ramallah.

QUESTION: There have been some riots in Paris over the issue of Gaza. I’m wondering if you see that as indicative of any larger international feelings towards either side.

MS. HARF: Well, let me say first that we obviously have seen some of the horrific anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments that have come up during some of these protests; not all of them, but some, which we would of course strongly condemn as we always do. But I’ve been asked about these for three days and I don’t think my line’s changed that people have a right to freely express themselves. That’s something that is important to us, but we do want people to remember that Israel has a right to defend itself and that its citizens are living under constant threat of rockets from Hamas that are the responsibility of Hamas to end. And I would just caution people to keep that in mind.

QUESTION: Last thing for me, and it sets a perfect segue of – because we’ve heard —

MS. HARF: Great.

QUESTION: — that phraseology any number of times from the White House, from this podium as well.

MS. HARF: We are remarkably consistent.

QUESTION: Yes, I know. How do we square that no country would tolerate rocket fire with things like Pakistan and Yemen and rocket fire that has killed civilians from the U.S.?

MS. HARF: Well, they’re wholly different, and I’ll tell you why.

QUESTION: Please.

MS. HARF: Hamas is a terrorist organization firing rockets indiscriminately with the purpose to kill civilians. Our counterterrorism operations, wherever they are, are taken with a great degree of care to protect civilian life. The President has spoken about this several times in speeches, and they are in fact designed to go after terrorists who are trying to kill more civilians. So any equivalency is just – I guess the word of the day – ridiculous and offensive.

QUESTION: And so when mistakes are made, it’s a mistake, it’s – you take every care –

MS. HARF: Right. The President has been very clear that we take extraordinary care to prevent civilian causalities, which is the exact opposite of what Hamas does, who tries to kill as many civilians as they can. We take extraordinary care when conducting counterterrorism operations.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: Can we go to Ukraine?

MS. HARF: Anything else on this?

QUESTION: On (inaudible).

MS. HARF: No. If your hand —

QUESTION: No.

MS. HARF: No? Then don’t keep your hand up if it’s not about Gaza. (Laughter.) You’re trying to play a trick here. Let’s go to Ukraine.

QUESTION: I was wondering if the Department has any comment on reports or Ukrainian Government claims that two more planes have been shot down from Russia.

MS. HARF: Yes, we have seen those reports. We are still looking into them. We have, of course, seen a history of the separatists shooting down planes in the past, I think about a dozen before MH17. And look, if true – and we hopefully will be able to confirm whether it’s true soon – it would only be further evidence that Russian-backed separatists are using advanced surface-to-air weaponry less than a week after shooting down a civilian airliner and killing 298 people. Again, it’s hard to imagine any of this happening without Russian support.

QUESTION: Dovetailing off that, I mean, you said to me yesterday that the fighting is by and large outside of the 25-mile radius of the crash site.

MS. HARF: Forty kilometer —

QUESTION: Yeah. Or whatever.

MS. HARF: — or whatever. But numbers matter.

QUESTION: At this point, I think it was three miles outside of the crash site. I mean —

MS. HARF: No. I think you have wrong information there. There hasn’t been – they have maintained – the Ukrainians have maintained a ceasefire. The 40-kilometer ceasefire they have declared around the crash site, the Ukrainians have maintained it.

QUESTION: Okay. Are you concerned that a break in ceasefire could impede the investigation?

MS. HARF: Well, obviously, we would be concerned about the separatists not upholding a ceasefire. The Ukrainians have repeatedly shown their willingness and ability to do so.

QUESTION: India?

QUESTION: No.

QUESTION: Wait. Can I continue on Ukraine?

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: You’re kidding, right?

QUESTION: Well, yesterday – this is sort of related Ukraine, I guess, and Russia. Yesterday the intel community said they were going to lay out evidence sort of backing their assertions about who brought down Malaysia Airlines 17. They did lay out a bunch of different things, but they didn’t actually lay out the real documentation that supports those assertions. Why haven’t we seen —

MS. HARF: I’m not sure exactly what you’re looking for. Well, they did a couple things yesterday. They showed – they walked through an intelligence assessment case and they talked about some additional pieces of declassified information that I can walk through today that bolsters our case that we know what happened here. They also showed imagery of training facilities; they showed imageries of the site, including a trajectory based on classified information that they were able to provide that showed the trajectory of the SA-11. So those are important, and let’s get – let me finish —

QUESTION: Yeah, go ahead.

MS. HARF: — and then you can keep following up.

So a couple things they said yesterday, which I think are significant which we had not set before, that the audio data provided to the press – and we talked a lot about these open source reports, right, these audio messages that people have said are certain people or that prove things – they were provided to the press by the Ukrainians. It was evaluated by the intelligence community analysts, who confirmed these were authentic conversations between known separatist leaders.

And then another key point they talked about yesterday, and we can talk more about the rest of this, is the – this notion the Russians have put out there about a Ukrainian fighter jet. They’ve argued that an Su-25 fighter might have shot down the aircraft with an air-to-air missile. They have judged that engagement would be implausible for the following reasons: The Su-25 is a ground attack aircraft. The only missiles it carries are short-range – excuse me – are short-range, infrared-guided missiles. Ground photography from the crash site is consistent with the expected damage from a surface-to-air missile, but it is – does not correspond, in fact is inconsistent with what we would expect to see for an air-to-air missile, as Russia claims.

Third, Russia – this is a little separately here – has also released a map with the alleged locations of Ukrainian SA-11 units within range of the crash. This is another red herring they’ve put out there. We are confident that this information is incorrect. The nearest Ukrainian operational SA-11 unit is located well out of the range from both the launch and the crash site. So part of their case yesterday was not only giving more information about what we know, but giving our professional, technical assessment of some of the Russian claims that, I think, we have tried to increasingly knock down.

QUESTION: When you said – when they – when you said they showed evidence of this, what do you mean by that, “they showed”? They – I mean, did they have a presentation? I —

MS. HARF: Well, they – they did. They did. They showed some imagery, they showed a number of images; they showed some maps, they showed some graphics. I’m happy for you to get in touch with DNI Public Affairs, who can probably give you that packet that they showed. They showed some – one of the maps that we actually have posted on our Facebook page and our Kyiv Embassy that shows the trajectory of the SA-11 missile. That trajectory is based on classified information. I can’t detail all of what that information is, but that is based on the information we have.

QUESTION: And some of the evidence U.S. is relying on are social media postings and videos made public by the Ukrainian Government. Have those all been authenticated?

MS. HARF: Again, that’s why I said the audio data, which is part of the social media, has been authenticated by the intelligence community analysts. Social media is obviously only one part of the puzzle here. It’s something we look at, but obviously, we back everything up to the extent that we can when we can with other intelligence as well.

QUESTION: Marie.

MS. HARF: Matt.

QUESTION: On your three things that you say were new: one, on the audio data being analyzed and being authenticated. That was not new yesterday. That was actually in the statement that the Embassy in Kyiv put out on Sunday morning —

MS. HARF: Okay.

QUESTION: — before Secretary Kerry appeared on those —

MS. HARF: That the intelligence community had authenticated all of it? I – it’s my understanding that that was not all out there on Sunday, but I’m happy to check.

QUESTION: Well, I believe it was. But I mean, there’s no – it doesn’t —

MS. HARF: Okay. Well, I disagree with you, but I’m happy to check.

What’s the next thing?

QUESTION: Well, you can look at the statement. I mean, it says that they’ve been authenticated. So I would say that that wasn’t new.

MS. HARF: Okay. Happy to check.

QUESTION: Secondly, I’m not sure that – I know that there were some suggestions that the Ukrainian fighter plane shot down this – with a missile, but the —

MS. HARF: So the Russians have basically had a couple of alternative explanations.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: There was the Ukrainian fighter jet. I think we – the intelligence community went to great lengths yesterday to show why that’s not the case.

The other – one of the other things they said was that it was a Ukrainian SA-11 system that the Ukrainians had fired. Again, I think they made very clear why that’s not also the case.

QUESTION: But the theory that – or the – I don’t know what you would – the suggestion isn’t necessarily that the Ukrainian jet – I mean, you have – you’ve discovered that the Ukrainian jet was in the vicinity, but it was not capable of shooting (inaudible) down —

MS. HARF: No, I can’t confirm that there was even a Ukrainian – we have no confirmation that I have seen that there was a Ukrainian jet.

QUESTION: Oh, that there was even —

MS. HARF: I’m not saying there wasn’t. I just can’t confirm it.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: But regardless, the notion that this kind of Ukrainian jet the Russians are talking about could have done this with the kind of missile and the kind of debris we’ve seen – it just doesn’t match up.

QUESTION: Because I think the suggestion is that whoever fired this missile may have been shooting for that plane, like what we saw today in terms of a shoot-down.

MS. HARF: Which in no way makes it better.

QUESTION: Well, I’m not saying it does. I’m not saying it does at all, but it’s not —

MS. HARF: And I don’t know what the intentions are of whoever was on the ground pushing the button. I don’t.

QUESTION: And the last thing about this —

MS. HARF: Clearly – well clearly, I know the intentions were to launch a sophisticated missile and to kill people. Whether those – they were trying to kill Ukrainian military officers or civilians, we’re still waiting to find out.

QUESTION: I – yeah, okay. I’m not arguing that one is better than the other.

MS. HARF: Okay. I know.

QUESTION: I’m not saying that.

MS. HARF: Just responding to your question.

QUESTION: I’m just saying – and then on the – this trajectory thing that you said was put out by the Embassy —

MS. HARF: I didn’t say that was new yesterday. We posted that a few days ago.

QUESTION: Right. But I mean, if you just look at that – a lay person looking at it, it’s a line drawn on a satellite photo with no – nothing to back it up.

MS. HARF: Well, as I said, it’s based on a series of classified information —

QUESTION: Which we have to —

MS. HARF: — which we are —

QUESTION: — we have to take the leap of faith to believe that – right?

MS. HARF: Well, Matt, we are trying to put as much out of this out —

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS. HARF: — information out about this as possible. We are trying very hard to do so. It is a process that takes, I think, more time than any of us, certainly you or I, would like.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: But I think I would make the point that it’s much more time-consuming to declassify real evidence than to make it up, which is what the Russians have been doing for days now.

QUESTION: Okay. Well, be that as it may, are you saying that at some point, the IC is hopeful to —

MS. HARF: We are working to —

QUESTION: — that they will be able to put —

MS. HARF: We’re working to get more information declassified and put out there as quickly as we can. It’s just a difficult process (inaudible).

QUESTION: Okay. But do you understand that given the conflicting claims, no matter how ridiculous you say the other side’s version is and no matter how implausible it might be – but saying that you’ve put together the imagery showing the root of this —

MS. HARF: Trajectory.

QUESTION: — trajectory showing imagery.

MS. HARF: Just one piece. It’s one piece of evidence.

QUESTION: Well, I know, but anyone can draw a line on a map. They can. I mean, I’m not saying that —

MS. HARF: That’s not what our intelligence community does. That’s not what the U.S. Government does when we go out there and present a case to the world. We have —

QUESTION: So —

QUESTION: Can I just —

MS. HARF: Wait. We have to protect sensitive sources and methods. We have to, because if we don’t, we won’t be able to get this kind of information in the future if they’re compromised because of a declassification. Believe me, I want to be able to declassify more.

QUESTION: Right, okay.

MS. HARF: They want to be able to declassify more. And it’s not about a leap of faith. We are laying out a very comprehensive argument based on a number of different pieces, right. So if you look at all of them in totality —

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: — look at the entire picture, it presents a very compelling case about the kind of missile, where it was fired from. Those are the two key pieces, right. The kind of missile that took down this plane we are very confident is an SA-11, we are very confident it was fired from Russian-controlled territory. We are very confident that the two alternate stories the Russians put forward aren’t plausible.

Who put their finger on the trigger? We still need to find that out.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: But suffice to say, the Russian separatists we believe fired this, in general, could not be doing what they’re doing without the Russians. And responsibility lays at the feet of President Putin, not just for this but for every incident that we have seen throughout this conflict, period.

QUESTION: All right. So Putin is – it’s Putin whose fault this is; that’s what you’re saying?

MS. HARF: I think I was just pretty clear.

QUESTION: What you’re saying – okay. So you said that – you say it’s a very compelling case, but you – it is a circumstantial case, is it not?

MS. HARF: It is a case based on a number of different pieces of evidence, Matt – across the board, a number of different pieces. Whether you’re looking at what we talked about yesterday, whether you’re looking at what we’ve seen on social media, whether you’re looking at the kind of SA-11 which is a missile that essentially gets fired straight up does what it does, and that’s exactly what we saw in this case as well.

So we’ve laid out a very detailed case. We will continue to declassify as much as we can. But again, we’ve been very open about our assessments here. The Russians have repeatedly lied about what’s happening on the ground. They said there weren’t troops in Crimea when there were troops all over Crimea. So there’s just no credibility on their side. And I understand the need to put out more information, but look, the notion that they’ve shot down dozens – over a dozen planes now – and this is just the one that wasn’t them – also just doesn’t pass the common sense test.

QUESTION: Marie —

QUESTION: Okay. Hold on a second. So – but – and I understand the – your desire to protect sources and methods, but we have here an incredible tragedy where almost 300 people died.

MS. HARF: I agree.

QUESTION: Is that – protecting sources and methods are more important than getting —

MS. HARF: No.

QUESTION: — to the bottom of who —

MS. HARF: Well, those two things aren’t mutually exclusive here. A, if we think an investigation can go forward, then we’ll get to the bottom of what happened here. We believe we do have a good assessment about the things I’ve talked about. The investigation about who did it specifically to a person is ongoing. But look, part of the reason we protect sources and methods is because we want to be able to see these things in the future if they tragically – something like this were to happen again in the same area, the way we found out information this time. So —

QUESTION: So you’re saying that – but just to be clear, that the imagery, the trajectory imagery that you have that —

MS. HARF: In that one sheet, mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Right, right, right, exactly.

MS. HARF: I think it’s the green line.

QUESTION: That is – yes, that there are sources and methods for how you know that trajectory —

MS. HARF: Uh-huh.

QUESTION: — that people are concerned are going to be somehow —

MS. HARF: Correct.

QUESTION: — tainted if —

MS. HARF: Correct. Not just tainted, but compromised.

QUESTION: That are going to be compromised if you —

MS. HARF: Yes, correct.

QUESTION: I mean —

MS. HARF: Well —

QUESTION: Okay. I guess —

MS. HARF: Having spent six years in the intelligence community —

QUESTION: I know. That’s what I – I know that’s what —

MS. HARF: — I know there are a variety of ways we can figure these things out, many of which are quite sensitive and many of which I think we don’t want to lose.

QUESTION: All right.

MS. HARF: So look, believe me, I’m pushing my colleagues at the DNI —

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: — as much as I love these —

QUESTION: Do you – but I —

MS. HARF: — conversations with you about this. We are pushing and they’re pushing, and we’ll see if we can get more.

QUESTION: Okay. But do you – I mean, would you expect —

MS. HARF: I have no prediction.

QUESTION: — or you don’t know? You don’t expect more or you —

MS. HARF: I have no idea.

QUESTION: All right.

MS. HARF: Look, I think there will be. I think we’re just working through it.

QUESTION: Okay. One other thing that’s unrelated to the intel.

MS. HARF: Uh-huh.

QUESTION: Are you aware of the reports that several journalists have been detained or kidnapped – one a Ukrainian, the other one a Brit? Do you know anything about this?

MS. HARF: I saw some reports about some journalists. I think we’re still trying to track down the facts there. I’ll see if there’s more after I get off the podium.

QUESTION: Okay. Ambassador Pyatt had tweeted something about —

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: — one of the —

MS. HARF: Yeah. Obviously, we are concerned about these reports. Let me see if there’s more details.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: Yeah.

QUESTION: I just wanted to ask you – you said the blame lays at Mr. Putin’s feet just now.

MS. HARF: Yes, yes.

QUESTION: Does that mean that they are involved in issuing the orders issued down there?

MS. HARF: I didn’t say that. I said that these Russian separatists who we strongly believe fired this missile would not be there operating without the support of President Putin and the Russian Government, would not have been trained without the support of President Putin and the Russian Government, would not be armed without the support of President Putin and the Russian Government. They would not be there doing what they’re doing, period, so they could fire an SA-11 without the support of President Putin and the Russian Government. Yes, direct responsibility lays there.

QUESTION: And also – okay. I wanted to ask you also on integrity of the crash site.

MS. HARF: Uh-huh.

QUESTION: Who’s in control now? I mean —

MS. HARF: Let me see if I – the Dutch are leading – give me one second – the investigation.

Just a couple quick updates. The black boxes are now in the United Kingdom. The reason for doing so is that the British have a specific kind of aircraft forensics laboratory needed, and the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch is a highly respected and capable investigation authority.

Let me answer a few more taken questions from yesterday, and then I’ll get to your question, Said.

QUESTION: Sure.

MS. HARF: Not all of the remains were, tragically, handed over yesterday. Potentially, the remains of some 100 people are still missing. We don’t have exact numbers. Obviously, it is critical that international investigators, led by the Dutch, receive immediate and full access to the crash site.

In terms of access to the site, we – they have on the ground in Ukraine begun the difficult work of piecing together exactly what happened here. Today, we understand that they do have better access than they’ve had in the past days. We are, though, troubled by reports of looting, evidence tampering, and the failure to transport, as I just said, all of the remains of all of the victims to Kharkiv and into Dutch custody. So that is the latest I have in terms of the situation and the investigation.

QUESTION: India?

QUESTION: On Ukraine itself?

MS. HARF: On Ukraine?

QUESTION: Hold on.

MS. HARF: Yeah, on Ukraine.

QUESTION: Based on the intelligence information that you released yesterday and what you have been saying today, it looks like it was a case of mistaken identity by the Ukraine separatists that hit the Malaysian plane.

MS. HARF: That’s not what they said at all.

QUESTION: That’s what you are concluding, right?

MS. HARF: No. That’s not what I said either. I said we don’t know yet the intentions of the people who fired the SA-11 from the pro-Russian separatist-controlled territory. We just don’t know what their intentions are.

QUESTION: So my question is —

MS. HARF: It may – they may have been targeting a civilian airliner; they may have been targeting a Ukrainian fighter jet, which they’ve done over a dozen times now. Either way, they’re clearly trying to kill people with an SA-11.

QUESTION: So when the Malaysian Airlines was passing through that part, there were some other passenger planes which was crossing that area, including one of Air India, which was under 25 miles away from the Malaysian planes. And then plane carrying Indian prime minister was passed around one hour before that.

MS. HARF: I haven’t heard that.

QUESTION: Do you know from intelligence information that any of these planes were – could have been a target or could have been hit by these missiles here?

MS. HARF: I haven’t heard – I haven’t heard that.

QUESTION: Can you check?

MS. HARF: I can check. I haven’t heard it, though.

QUESTION: One more?

MS. HARF: Ukraine?

QUESTION: Staying on India?

QUESTION: One more?

MS. HARF: No, let’s stay on Ukraine.

QUESTION: Ukraine, one more.

MS. HARF: Okay.

QUESTION: Thank you.

Madam, what message do you have for the grieving families from this terrible incident? What they are asking the United Nations and the United States and the global community: Are we safe to fly in the future, and what steps are you going to take in the future that such incident doesn’t happen? Because many families believe not only these terrorists here in this area, but many other terrorists may have access also to the similar weapons, including in Pakistan or Afghanistan, and anybody could be the next target.

MS. HARF: Well look, I think you heard the President speak about this. I spoke about it at the beginning of the briefing, that one of the reasons, if not the most important reason, that we are so committed to finding out what happened here is so we can hold the people who did it accountable, that people cannot get away with shooting civilian airliners out of the sky. That’s just wholly unacceptable, and that countries that support these kind of separatists, like we’ve seen Russia do, also need to be held accountable. And that’s why you’ve seen additional sanctions; that’s why we’ve said there could be further steps, because that’s just not something that we will allow, that we will stand by and watch, and we do need to get to the bottom of what happened here.

QUESTION: Do you believe, Madam, that other terrorists like al-Qaida in Pakistan or Abu Baghdadi in Iraq, who have challenged already India, U.S., and other countries – that they may have similar weapons?

MS. HARF: I can check and see who else we think has these weapons. I just don’t know that off the top of my head.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madam

MS. HARF: Thank you.

QUESTION: Marie, Senator —

MS. HARF: Yes – no, let’s stay on Ukraine.

QUESTION: One more on Ukraine.

Senator Carl Levin called this an act of war. What is your response?

MS. HARF: Well, look, we’ve been very clear about what’s happening in eastern Ukraine. You have separatists backed by a foreign country who have invaded and been killing people with impunity, who’ve been shooting down Ukrainian military jets, who’ve been – who’ve now taken down a civilian airliner, who’ve been terrorizing populations in eastern Ukraine.

I would also note, just for balance here, that there have been some areas liberated by Ukrainian forces, where people are able to go about their lives without the fear of separatist violence. The Ukrainian Government is providing food and water and hope, I would say, to the residents in those liberated areas. And one of the main places they have restored electricity, water, and train service is to Slovyansk, which we’ve talked about. It was on July 9th, so it was a little while ago. But we have seen steady progress in terms of them regaining territory.

QUESTION: But is this alleged act by the separatists, or by Russia, an act of war?

MS. HARF: I don’t think I have any more terminology to put around it, Lucas. I’m happy to check and see.

QUESTION: An act of terror?

MS. HARF: I’m happy to check and see if there’s more terminology I’d like to put around it.

QUESTION: Your – when you say that the blame for this lies directly at President Putin’s feet, does that also mean that you think that his call – some – seemingly more conciliatory call yesterday for – to support a full and open investigation, do you think that’s duplicitous? Is that —

MS. HARF: Well, I just think that the words need to be backed up by actions, which, unfortunately, we haven’t seen very much of from the Russians lately.

QUESTION: Got you. I had one question semi-related to this.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: That is yesterday you talked about the French going ahead with their transfer of this Mistral ship to the Russians. It turns out today that the Brits have also been continuing to —

MS. HARF: I don’t think that’s actually —

QUESTION: Is that not correct?

MS. HARF: — accurate. No. And I’m not sure it’s in my book here. I have – they put out a statement very strongly denying this.

QUESTION: Denying it, okay.

MS. HARF: I will send it to you as soon as I get off the podium. I’m not sure I stuck it in my book here, but —

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: — they have gone on the record.

QUESTION: And denied the earlier reports. Okay.

MS. HARF: Yes, so —

QUESTION: So in other words —

MS. HARF: — I’m sorry I don’t have it.

QUESTION: No, no, it’s okay.

MS. HARF: Apologies to my British colleagues who may be watching.

QUESTION: You don’t need to – I’m not asking you to respond on behalf the British Government. But I’m just saying —

MS. HARF: No, no, no, but they – no, but I did have that and I wanted to – we’ll get it to you.

QUESTION: But you accept their denial and you don’t have any questions about their —

MS. HARF: We don’t have any questions about the British.

QUESTION: What about French?

MS. HARF: Period, sort of full stop. Well, we have big questions —

QUESTION: Ever?

MS. HARF: — about whether they would go through with something like that, yes.

QUESTION: So what is the latest? How long ago, how many days has it been that you raised it?

MS. HARF: Well, we raise it consistently with the French. The Secretary has spoken again today to French Foreign Minister Fabius. I don’t have a full readout of that call, but needless to say, I think it’s been raised recently.

QUESTION: And is it that the U.S. wants to just cancel that transaction, or just not to ship it until they start behaving properly?

MS. HARF: I don’t think we think it’s appropriate to provide that kind of material to the Russians at this time. I’m not sure what form that would look like, but we just don’t think they should do it. However they don’t do it, they shouldn’t do it.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MS. HARF: Ukraine. Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: In your statement last night, Marie, at 9:58, you congratulated the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council, and you said, quote, “Today the Council agreed to accelerate preparation of additional sanctions.”

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: But no new additional sanctions were taken. Was that really a disappointment to the West, to the United States?

MS. HARF: Well, they talked about a number of additional things they could do. No, I mean, I put out a statement saying quite positive things and I don’t have much more to add beyond that.

QUESTION: But wouldn’t you like to see

First general discussion on EU trade policy with the new Committee on International Trade (INTA)

European Commission

[Check Against Delivery]

Karel De Gucht

European Commissioner for Trade

First general discussion on EU trade policy with the new Committee on International Trade (INTA)

European Parliament

Brussels, 22 July 2014

Mr Chairman, Honourable Members,

Thank you for inviting me to the first full meeting of this Committee.

I am happy to see that the Committee has grown larger – which I think is a fair reflection of the importance, and even the respect, it has gained over the last few years. I am also happy to see quite a few familiar faces, but also many new faces – offering us an excellent mix of experience and new insights.

I sincerely hope that I will continue to work together with you in the same spirit of intense and constructive cooperation as with your predecessors in this Committee. You can count on me to remain as committed and transparent to this Committee as I was in previous years. My successor will need to have a very large shoe size if you consider what we have achieved during the last legislature. Indeed, our joint work with the Parliament and this very active Committee has in recent years contributed greatly to the conduct, legitimacy and accountability of the EU’s trade policy.

This Committee has been very active on the legislative front, adopting legislation that adapted our trade policy instruments to the Lisbon Agreement, as well as to the new global trade environment. This includes two important regulations related to investment policy, the review of the Generalised System of Preferences and the Enforcement regulation. I note with satisfaction that the compromises found between the Parliament and the Council fully respected the spirit of our initial proposals. This being said, there are still a few legislative procedures pending, and I will come to that in a minute.

We also managed to ratify and provisionally apply free-trade Agreements, such as with Korea, Colombia, Peru and Central America, offering EU business new opportunities in growing markets. All in all, more than 20 trade agreements, large and small, were submitted to Parliament’s consent during this term. Practically all passed with very comfortable majorities. This shows that there is a broad agreement on the key principles of European trade policy enshrined in our Treaties: open markets – both at home and abroad, a broad concept of the trade barriers we need to address, and a need to ensure we can compete on fair terms.

This is why the agreements that I just mentioned are new generation agreements, covering areas that bring additional value to the European economy – for example, services, public procurement, geographical indications, and a greater promotion of the recognition of EU standards.

These agreements are now being implemented, and are starting to bear fruit. The EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement entered into force in July 2011. We see today the benefits of this agreement with a more than 20% increase in our exports during both the first and second year of implementation. A considerable part of your work will also consist of monitoring the implementation of these agreements as well as those that you will be called upon to approve in the next few years.

This Committee has indeed witnessed the finalisation of quite a few agreements that are now ready, or about to become ready for consent: the DCFTAs with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, which are now signed, our deal with West Africa, which will soon be ready for signature, and the political agreements with Canada and Singapore, where we hope to finalise the outstanding technical issues soon. Only last week, we concluded negotiations on an Economic Partnership Agreement with Southern African countries and with Ecuador on its accession to the agreement we already have with Colombia and Peru. One agreement I would still like to conclude over summer is with the East African Community. However, this shall not be done at the cost of our obligation under the treaty to safeguard human rights through EU trade agreements.

One last point on EPAs, before the end of the month, the Commission hopes to present a solution to Council and Parliament to help preserve preferences beyond 1 October for Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Fiji and, if the conditions are right, Cameroon too, in the light of recent positive developments. I cannot pre-empt a College decision by saying more but would of course appreciate the support of this Committee at the right time.

In the meantime, we have more than 15 active bilateral negotiations underway, including with the US, Japan, Mercosur, Morocco and Vietnam, which you will be called to monitor in the following months and years.

If you really insist, I could say something on TTIP. We had a very long debate in plenary only last week. And I would of course be ready to take your questions on the most talked-of negotiations in town. Chief negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero was with you this morning to report on last week’s negotiations.

I will only add to what you have heard a point I made last week. I am a strong believer in public debate and on my watch we have had plenty with this Committee and your colleagues in plenary. I am also conscious of my responsibility to present facts and substance, and not false truths about a negotiation that is not even concluded. We are not what our detractors make us out to be. The Commission negotiates on the basis of existing EU legislation and hears a very broad range of views on an almost-daily basis. We know where our responsibilities lie.

I will only have a few months left to work together with you under the mandate. And I hope that we can use this time to move forward on a number of pending issues that I consider important.

First of all, there are two legislative proposals that the Commission made in March 2012 and April 2013 respectively, the International Procurement Instrument and the Modernisation of Trade Defence Instruments. Parliament has considerably advanced but the Council is still examining them. The current Italian Presidency is very dedicated to move these files forward. I very much hope that this Parliament will resume work as left off in April, so that you could be in a position, when Council is ready, to swiftly move to negotiations and find fair compromises together.

A brief word too about a recent proposal on conflict minerals, which I am deeply interested in, for I have seen the human tragedies caused by trade in conflict minerals in Africa. The proposal is based on a carefully-thought approach to promote responsible sourcing from conflict-affected areas without disrupting legitimate trade without which communities have no viable economic livelihoods other than recruitment in armed groups. So I welcome the fact that Parliament is now in a position to start examining this important piece of legislation and I hope that the balance we sought can be preserved.

Finally, we have also proposed in June to extend autonomous trade preferences for Western Balkan countries for another five years. I hope work can start soon on this file, even if preferences granted to Bosnia and Herzegovina may be suspended as of 1 January 2016, unless they fully treat Croatian exports as EU exports.

As regards pending negotiations, we are moving step-by-step towards conclusion with Canada. Following the political break-through of last October, our negotiators have worked very hard to finalise all remaining technical issues and to transpose the elements of the break-through into legal text. In some instances this has proven more difficult than we thought, but I am confident that the end is now in sight. As soon as the negotiators have completed their job, you will receive the consolidated text of all chapters. However, it is clear that this is one of the most ambitious agreements we have concluded so far going well beyond what Canada conceded to the US in the context of NAFTA. This is no mean achievement.

The FTA with Singapore is the EU’s first agreement with a Southeast Asian economy, laying down state-of-the-art rules on the full range of trade issues. Negotiations in the investment protection chapter started later and are being finalised as we speak, to be included as an integral part of the FTA for signature.

In March, we have launched negotiations on an investment protection agreement with Myanmar/Burma. No Member State has concluded one with this country, so this agreement will give EU investors much needed guarantees for their investments. We will push for the inclusion of provisions on sustainable development, covering social and environmental issues of relevance in an investment context, and to promote Corporate Social Responsibility and responsible business conduct. In addition, negotiations with China will also continue.

Before concluding, I would like to say a few words about the multilateral trading system, which despite the many other efforts underway, remains the cornerstone of the EU’s trade policy. In December last year, Members of the World Trade Organization reached a historic agreement on several issues from the Doha Development Agenda, including a brand-new Trade Facilitation Agreement, and opening the door to further work on the DDA. We are also advancing on a number of closely related initiatives. Negotiations to liberalise trade in environmental goods and services were formally launched this month, and we are moving towards concluding the review of the Information Technology Agreement, to liberalise trade in several products not covered before. Lastly, work is also advancing on the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) to create a better playing field in trade in services, despite the challenge of how to dock such a large plurilateral agreement within the WTO system.

Minister Fast Announces Next Round of Negotiations Toward Canada-Japan Free Trade Agreement

July 22, 2014 – Ottawa, Ontario – Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today announced the sixth round of negotiations toward a Canada-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The negotiations will take place in Ottawa from July 28 to July 31, 2014.

A joint study on the possibility of a Canada-Japan economic partnership agreement concluded that a trade agreement with Japan could boost Canada’s economy by $3.8 billion annually, which is equivalent to the creation of almost 25,000 new jobs, and increase Canada’s exports to Japan by as much as 67 percent. An agreement would strengthen bilateral trade and investment opportunities in many areas, benefiting all sectors of the economy, including agri-food products, forestry and wood products, fish and seafood, manufacturing, natural resources and financial services.

Quick Facts

  • Japan is Canada’s fourth-largest merchandise export market and its second-largest trading partner in Asia, making it an important market for Canadian businesses.
  • In 2013, bilateral merchandise trade was valued at more than $24 billion, with Canadian exports to Japan valued at $10.7 billion.
  • Japan has long been Canada’s largest source of cumulative foreign direct investment from Asia, with nearly $17.3 billion invested in Canada at the end of 2013.
  • Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, was identified as a priority country under Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan.

Quotes

“Improving access to strategic markets in the Asia-Pacific region is at the core of Canada’s long-term prosperity and a key part of our government’s ambitious pro-trade plan to create jobs and opportunities for hardworking Canadians across all regions of the country. The momentum of our landmark conclusion of an agreement with South Korea is carrying us forward in the region. Bilateral EPA negotiations with Japan are continuing in parallel with our two countries’ involvement in the negotiations toward a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement to deepen Canada’s relationship with one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic regions in the world.”

– Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade

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Body of fugitive S.Korea ferry busin

Body of fugitive S.Korea ferry businessman found
Tue 22 Jul 2014 at 09:02

NNA – A body found more than a month ago in a South Korean plum orchard has been identified by authorities as that of a businessman who headed the family that owned the operato…

Daily Press Briefings : Daily Press Briefing – July 21, 2014

1:48 p.m. EDT

MS. HARF: Hello everyone.

QUESTION: Welcome back.

MS. HARF: Thank you. It’s good to be back in the United —

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MS. HARF: — it is. I missed all of you, even though I saw some of you in Vienna.

Apologies for the delay. There’s a lot going on, obviously. Welcome to the daily briefing. Just a quick update at the top: The Secretary is en route to Cairo right now, where you know he will be meeting with our partners to discuss the situation in Gaza, to talk about a cease-fire, to talk about a host of issues. So he’s en route, will land later this afternoon.

With that —

QUESTION: Right. Well —

MS. HARF: Kick us off.

QUESTION: — I’m sure we will get back to Gaza and the Secretary’s activity, but since he hasn’t arrived yet, I’m expecting that you won’t have a whole massive amount more to say than what we already know. So let’s start with Ukraine.

MS. HARF: Okay.

QUESTION: I’m wondering, first, if you have any reaction to the Malaysian prime minister’s announcement that they have gotten a deal with the rebels to turn over the black boxes and to – and the train has apparently – with the bodies has apparently left. Is this a positive sign in your —

MS. HARF: Well, if true – obviously, we think that there should be a full investigation, full access to the site. We can’t confirm independently these reports, but if true would be a step in the right direction. I would say this in no way legitimizes this person who has claimed leadership over this area, but we need access and his people control the area, so obviously this would be a step in the right direction. But we can’t at this point independently confirm either of the things you asked about.

QUESTION: Okay. And then you are perhaps familiar with the briefing that the Russian defense ministry gave this morning in which they laid out satellite images or radar tracking images talking about a Ukrainian fighter plane that was apparently near this – the Malaysian airlines plane. They also asked questions, a series of questions to you – meaning the U.S. Government – to produce the documentation, the evidence that Secretary Kerry, Ambassador Power talked about but didn’t offer any forensic evidence, or at least intel evidence. How do you respond to that?

MS. HARF: Well, a couple points. You saw the Secretary yesterday speak very clearly about our assessment that this was an SA-11 fired from Russian-backed, separatist-controlled territory; that we know – we saw in social media afterwards, we saw videos, we saw photos of the pro-Russian separatists bragging about shooting down an aircraft that then they then – they then – they then – excuse me – took down once it became clear that it may have been a passenger airline.

There is a preponderance of evidence at this point both sort of out there in the public domain and also from our information that points to the fact that there was a SA-11 launched from separatist-controlled territory. We assess, of course, that the Russian-backed separatists have this system, and one of the main reasons we have called for a full investigation is so we can get all the facts out there.

So what I encourage the Russians to do at this point is to push the separatists that are backed by their government to allow access, to allow investigators who are in Ukraine waiting to go into that area right now, and that’s what I would call on Russia to do at this point.

QUESTION: Right. But what they’re saying is that you should – they’ve put their – what they have out on the table, or at least they say they have done that.

MS. HARF: Well, I haven’t seen any of that. Again, we’ve made an assessment based on a broad range of information. We know this was fired from Russian-controlled territory. It is our assessment, very strong assessment this was an SA-11 that we know the Russian-backed separatists have. We, again, continue to gather more information and call —

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: — on Russia to push the separatists to allow for a full investigation.

QUESTION: How is it exactly that you know that it was fired from Russian – I mean, from separatist-held territory?

MS. HARF: Well, we have a great deal of information that the Secretary laid out yesterday, and I can go back through some of it today. But we do know first that Russian-backed separatists were in possession of an SA-11 system as early as Monday, July 14th. This is from intercepts of separatist communications posted on YouTube by the Ukrainian Government.

QUESTION: Well, is there anything – okay, is there anything other – because there’s other —

MS. HARF: I can keep going if – or you want to jump in.

QUESTION: Well, is there stuff that’s other than social media that you’re talking —

MS. HARF: Yes, absolutely. There is.

QUESTION: Okay. So what is it that’s other than social media?

MS. HARF: At this point, Matt, we’ve said what our assessment is, very strong assessment publicly. If there’s more information that that’s based on that we can share, we’re happy to do so. We’ll continue looking at that. But look, this is what we know as of right now. Based on open information which is basically common sense, right – we know where it was fired from, we know who has this weapon – backed up —

QUESTION: Well, I don’t —

MS. HARF: — backed up —

QUESTION: — I mean, it’s disputed, though.

MS. HARF: — backed up by a host of information that we have gathered about who did this, where it came from, and what the weapon system was. So one of – we’re just telling you what we know now.

QUESTION: Right, right. But —

MS. HARF: One of the reasons we’ve called on Russia to push the separatists it backs into an investigation is so we can get all the facts. Instead of holding press briefings and making statements, maybe the Russian Government should call on the separatists they support to allow an actual investigation.

QUESTION: Right. But that’s what you’ve done. You’ve held press – well, Security Council meetings and going —

MS. HARF: Well, we don’t have leverage with the separatists. I would say the Russians do and they’re not using it. So let’s have them use it.

QUESTION: Well, okay. But I mean, I think we’re talking at cross-purposes here. I’m asking you —

MS. HARF: It wouldn’t be the first time.

QUESTION: (Laughter.) No, that’s true. What I’m asking – I mean, there are social – all you’re willing to present publicly that backs up your version of the story, which may well be the correct version of the story, but all you have —

MS. HARF: “May well be.”

QUESTION: Well, it may well be. But I don’t know because I haven’t seen your evidence that shows that the missile was launched from rebel-held territory. But you’re saying – so the only thing you’re willing to put out publicly is the social media accounts, I mean the social media stuff.

MS. HARF: That’s part of it.

QUESTION: Right. But there are social media accounts that says – that disputes that or that claims to present a different version. So are you saying —

MS. HARF: What would that version be, Matt?

QUESTION: Well, I don’t – there are many, many theories.

MS. HARF: Any —

QUESTION: But you’re saying that all of those accounts —

MS. HARF: Most of which are completely illogical, I would point out.

QUESTION: Well, but all of the accounts that do not support your version of events are wrong —

MS. HARF: No.

QUESTION: — and all of the ones that do support it are right? Is that what you’re saying?

MS. HARF: Look, we make assessments based on a variety of intelligence and a variety of information, some of which we can talk about publicly and some of which we can’t.

QUESTION: Well, is the – are you —

MS. HARF: And we also – and look, if you just take a step back, right, we need there to be an investigation so we can get all the facts, period. But on top of that, we have public information, which is, of course, the easiest for us to talk about —

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: — of the separatists bragging about having the system, bragging about the attack that took place, and then walking back from it when it became known that it was a passenger jet. I would ask people who don’t believe our assessment to say, “Okay, what other possible explanation could be – could there be for that?” They defy logic, right?

QUESTION: Well, I don’t know if it defies logic or not, but —

MS. HARF: So when you start from a place of you have separatists out on – again, this is the easiest piece of information for us to talk about – online bragging about it, start there and then work from there and work from all of the evidence we have that we are confident we know where it was fired from, we’re confident we know what it was, and it points in a certain direction. Again, we would encourage Russia to support an investigation if they don’t believe the facts.

QUESTION: Right. It points in a certain direction, but I’m not sure it would stand up to an international —

MS. HARF: I strongly disagree. I absolutely believe that it would.

QUESTION: — investigation. Well, are you willing, if not at this moment in time now but soon, to put forward the intel that you say backs the claims that were made on social media? And in particular, it seems to me that the Secretary was very definitive, as you were just now, at saying that you know for sure 100 percent —

MS. HARF: I didn’t say 100 percent. Nothing is 100 percent in any world, Matt. But go ahead. It is our assessment, very strong assessment.

QUESTION: Okay, very strong assessment that the rocket – that the missile was fired from the rebel-held territory.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: And I mean, you can’t – there is no social media that I’m aware of that would lead to —

MS. HARF: Well, at the time that MH17 flight dropped out of contact, we detected a surface-to-air —

QUESTION: Yes.

MS. HARF: — missile launch from a separatist-controlled area in southeastern Ukraine.

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS. HARF: Which we believe was an SA-11. What you want is the intelligence that underlies that?

QUESTION: Yeah. Well, I mean, they – the Russians have challenged – I’m not – I’m just saying the Russians have said —

MS. HARF: I’m just trying to clarify the question.

QUESTION: — have said we’ve shown – we’ve put out our radar images which show this Ukrainian plane near at least – well, they have. I mean —

MS. HARF: Right.

QUESTION: Why don’t you put out your —

MS. HARF: Well, unfortunately, I don’t have original declassification authority, Matt. But —

QUESTION: Okay. Is —

MS. HARF: Wait, let me finish. But look, we have endeavored to make public as much information as possible. Obviously, if you’re dealing with an intelligence assessment in part, we are sometimes limited in what information we can share. That’s why I think you saw the Secretary speak much more forward-leaning about why we believe this and how we believe it.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: Sometimes you can’t get into all the specifics. We endeavor to put as many out as possible. We’re continuing to see if we can do more.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: I will say that.

QUESTION: So okay —

MS. HARF: Yes, we are —

QUESTION: So there is a possibility —

MS. HARF: I can’t promise you anything, but we’re continuing to see.

QUESTION: There is —

MS. HARF: And I would also say that the Russian Government has a long history during this conflict of misinformation and propaganda that they’ve put out, so I would take anything they say about this with a very large grain of salt.

QUESTION: Well, okay. But I mean, the problem – are you committing now to at least doing – that the intel community is doing its best to declassify stuff that they can put out and at least end the conflicting claims put forward by both the U.S. —

MS. HARF: Well, I would say that the Administration in general is attempting to put out as much information as we can about what underlies our assessment. I would also say that these aren’t competing narratives from two equally credible sources here. The Russian Government has repeatedly put out misinformation and propaganda throughout this conflict in Ukraine, so I would caution you from saying that this is just two equally credible sources.

QUESTION: Well, all right.

MS. HARF: Although you’re happy to report it that way.

QUESTION: No, I just —

MS. HARF: But I would take issue with it.

QUESTION: Well, I mean, again, you might be right, but I don’t see how you can say that everything we say is right and everything the Russians say is a lie.

MS. HARF: That’s not what I said.

QUESTION: That’s exactly what you just said right now.

MS. HARF: That’s not what I said. I said I would say that we are not two credible – equally credible parties when it comes to what we say publicly about the conflict in Ukraine.

QUESTION: And your argument would be that the U.S. is more credible than the Russians are, right? Is that what you’re —

MS. HARF: I’m not even dignifying that question with a response.

QUESTION: Well, I mean —

QUESTION: Marie, did you see the —

QUESTION: But you’re leaving that impression, Marie.

MS. HARF: That we’re more credible? Yes. We don’t put out mass amounts of propaganda. We don’t put out misinformation about what’s happening there repeatedly over the course of this conflict, which I’ve spoken about from this podium day after day. Absolutely.

QUESTION: But can you tell us —

QUESTION: The problem with that is is that all of 2002 and the beginning of 2003 was propaganda and misleading information that was put out by the United States.

MS. HARF: Okay, Matt. I’m sure that’s a tempting historical analogy to make, but it in no way impacts at all how we are doing this assessment or what we’re doing.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: And maybe someday you’ll finally stop using that as a straw man all the time.

QUESTION: It’s a —

QUESTION: Well Marie, one of the big things is showing evidence.

MS. HARF: Yeah. I – agreed. Agreed.

QUESTION: I mean, in court or anywhere, and I think that’s what Matt’s saying, is show the evidence, independent evidence of what you got in intel. I mean, the Russians —

MS. HARF: So we —

QUESTION: — said today that they did not deliver any SA – you’ve seen it – bulk missile system. I mean, is there evidence that you have seen – not what the Ukrainians or anything online has shown, but it’s something that the U.S. has got evidence that they – that the Russians supplied this to them?

MS. HARF: This specific system.

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS. HARF: So a few points. And again, I agree that evidence is important and we are attempting to put out there as much as possible. I do think that’s why you saw the Secretary and me today going much further in why we say we believe – why we believe what we say. And I know it’s frustrating. Believe me, we try to get as much out there as possible. And for some reason, sometimes we can’t.

Look, I think it still remains to be seen, right, how the pro-Russian separatists got whatever – the SA-11, the specific one – I’m not assigning culpability there. But we know that there have been legions of young men crossing the Russian border with very sophisticated weaponry. This would not happen without at least the acquiescence or the support of the Russian Government.

These are complicated systems, right, that it takes training on. We know that the Russian Government’s been training the pro-Russian separatists. We know, period, that what’s happening in eastern Ukraine would not be happening without the support of the Russian Government. So we need a full investigation to determine exactly where the SA-11 came from, but we know that the pro-Russian separatists have many of the weapons they have, have the training they have, and have the support they have because of the Russian Government.

QUESTION: They could have stolen it from the Ukrainian —

QUESTION: Does the U.S. – does the – did the U.S. actually have – independently noticed that a Ukrainian warplane was the in the vicinity of the Malaysia —

MS. HARF: I don’t know if I can confirm those reports. I’m happy – I don’t even know if that’s true. I’m happy to check on it.

Yes.

QUESTION: Could they have stolen it from the Ukrainian military? I mean, the Ukrainian military has the same system, correct?

MS. HARF: Again, as I just said, I think we – we’re still – part of the reason we want to do an investigation is to determine the origins of the SA-11 system that we believe was used here. But regardless, it was fired from pro-Russian separatist area. We know that these pro-Russian separatists have shot down planes throughout this conflict – other planes, Ukrainian military planes – they’ve bragged about it online – with a – using a variety of systems. So this fits into a certain pattern we’ve seen here, but I would underscore this is why we need an investigation that’s not impeded, where there’s full access – you heard the President speak about it this morning, and that’s the best way to get all of the facts, is for there to be an investigation.

QUESTION: Is the fact that the Malaysian Government – if it’s true, they cut that deal with the separatists – does that in any way sort of elevate the separatists into a sort of legitimate status, and what —

MS. HARF: Well, as I just made clear, it does not give them any legitimacy —

QUESTION: I understand. I —

MS. HARF: — but they control the area and we want – our biggest concern at this moment is for the loved ones of those lost on that plane to be able to have their loved ones return home with dignity. It’s insulting that the separatists are not allowing them to do so.

QUESTION: And the other part of that question: Do you think that the Malaysian Government in a way did not coordinate with you and the other international parties by doing that on their own so to speak?

MS. HARF: Said, I don’t have any analysis of that to do. As I said, this doesn’t in any way confer legitimacy on the so-called leader there. But it is the truth that his fighters do control the territory, and our biggest concern right now is getting the remains of those lost on the plane, and allowing access for an investigation.

Yes, James.

QUESTION: Marie, I wanted to follow-up on various aspects of this, and begging the indulgence of my colleagues for the various strands I want to pursue with you.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm. Okay.

QUESTION: But first just to follow up on this notion of the disclosure potentially of some of our intelligence information or product by way of satisfying the world’s questions about this affair. Perhaps the more apt analogy than 2002-2003 is Adlai Stevenson at the UN where we had a very serious charge that the Soviet Union at that time had installed missiles on Cuba, and we shared our photographic reconnaissance by way of making that point.

Is that the kind of thing you say the Administration’s considering doing here to satisfy the world’s questions about this?

MS. HARF: I would actually compare it to a more recent event, which is when we talked about the chemical weapons use in Syria. That’s something I lived through, so I know more acutely than Adlai Stevenson’s activities at the UN. But on that, there were a lot of questions, and we attempted to, as the days went on, make more information available until we got to a point where we basically put out an intelligence assessment, not – we didn’t put out every piece of information, but we were able to get as much out there. That’s what we’re trying to do right now. Obviously, it’s always a balance.

QUESTION: Some sort of white paper, as we saw in the Syrian conflict?

MS. HARF: I have no idea what that would look like, but we’re trying to put as much information out as possible.

QUESTION: The reason I ask this is because Secretary Kerry himself seemed to me to be rather forward-leaning in his discussion publicly of intelligence product —

MS. HARF: Absolutely.

QUESTION: — in a way that was inconsistent with the repeated statements we get from podiums like this that we cannot discuss sources and methods. So, for example, he stated, “We ourselves tracked the imagery of the launch of this surface-to-air missile. We have the trajectory recorded. We have the intercepts of their conversations. We know this from voice identification. We have a video.”

MS. HARF: Yeah.

QUESTION: It seems to me that, having displayed so much of that information across the country on various channels yesterday, the Administration should be quite prepared to back that up.

MS. HARF: It’s in no way inconsistent, James. I think the balance we always try to strike is when we can put as much information out publicly without threat to sources and methods. Many times we can’t. That’s not just something we say because it’s fun to say. Having worked in the intelligence community, it is a fact. But in cases like this, in cases like Syria’s chemical weapons, we endeavor to put as much out as possible when we can do so. And that’s why I was making the point that he was quite forward-leaning yesterday, because we believe it’s important.

QUESTION: A couple of very quick other things —

QUESTION: Can I just have one very briefly, because I want —

QUESTION: There’s no such thing with you, Matt. Come on.

QUESTION: Yeah, no, there – this time there is.

So is that —

MS. HARF: I agree with your colleague, by the way.

QUESTION: Is all – really? Ganging up, huh? (Laughter.)

I just want to make sure – so you’re saying that the information that the Secretary – that James just went through – the imagery, all that kind – that this is stuff that you’re going to provide to the investigators?

MS. HARF: I did not say that, Matt.

QUESTION: Oh.

MS. HARF: I said that we endeavor to make as much public as we can.

QUESTION: But whether or not it’s made public, you will give them to the investigation team, right?

MS. HARF: Well, the Dutch is leading the investigation. We’re obviously a part of it, as are other countries as well. I don’t have anything to preview for what we’ll provide to them, but we’ve said we’ll cooperate as much as we can.

QUESTION: Sorry.

QUESTION: Secretary Kerry stated during his round of interviews yesterday, in particular with Fox News, “It’s been seriously compromised,” speaking of the investigation. The Secretary’s a former prosecutor.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: As a former prosecutor, it seems to me he should know that when he says a given investigation has been “seriously compromised,” that the faith that the world may have in the final product of this investigation is also going to be seriously compromised.

MS. HARF: Well, James, I would take it a step further, and I would say at this point, because of the lack of access, we are very concerned. But that doesn’t mean that there’s not a future for this investigation; that if investigators are allowed in today, tomorrow, in the coming days with full, unfettered access, they can do an investigation. Look, there’s a lot of technical expertise out there in terms of investigating plane crashes. And he was very clear, though, that we are outraged about the lack of access here. Not just us, but every country around the world, particularly those who lost people in this plane crash. So look, we are very committed to this investigation. We are providing some FBI and NTSB officials to help with it and are willing to help in any way we can.

QUESTION: Two more things, and then I will yield to my colleagues. When he was asked by NBC News about our dealings with the Russian Federation, Secretary Kerry said – and specific to President Putin, “It’s a question of whether or not you’re going to get the cooperation necessary.” And he adds, “We’re trying for the last time to see if that will be forthcoming at this moment or not.” What did the Secretary mean by “the last time”? “We’re trying for the last time.” Is that an indication that if the kind of cooperation the U.S. wants to see from Russia is not forthcoming at this moment, that we will cease our engagement with the Russians in some way?

MS. HARF: Well, I think you heard the President speak this morning very clearly, that responsibility – direct responsibility – for cooperation with the investigation by the pro-Russian separatists lies with President Putin. He was very clear about that. We have also said, James, that if they do not de-escalate here, that if they don’t take steps – you heard the President again say this morning – there will be further consequences.

We have also said, at the same time, that there are times we work with the Russians. I was just in Vienna for a few weeks where we sat on the same side of the table with the Russians, on the same page on the Iran nuclear issue.

QUESTION: But what is, “We’re trying for the last time to see”? What is that —

MS. HARF: I don’t think I have anything more to parse of his words, James. What he was conveying is that this —

QUESTION: To ask the meaning of the words is not parsing them. He said —

MS. HARF: I’m telling you the meaning of what he said —

QUESTION: — “We’re trying for the last time.”

MS. HARF: I am telling you how the Secretary views our relationship with Russia.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: Okay? He views it – again, in this – when we’re talking about Ukraine, you heard the Secretary or you heard the President very clearly say they have a direct responsibility to push their backed separatists to work with the investigation; that if they do not, if they do not de-escalate, there will be further consequences. I don’t think the Secretary was meaning to convey anything beyond what we have said for months and months publicly.

QUESTION: Last thing. To your point, when he was asked by ABC News if these – this set of events is going to make the Europeans likelier to back stiffer sanctions on the Russian Federation, the Secretary’s reply was “We hope Europe will be.” So that produces the question of whether or not the horrific nature of this set of events hasn’t catalyzed a single one of our European partners to tell us that, in fact, they are ready for stiffer sanctions.

MS. HARF: Well, we’re in discussions with them all the time. As you know, there’s a Foreign Affairs Council meeting, I believe tomorrow, of the European Union. And look, we think and hope that this should be a wakeup call for the Europeans, particularly in terms of imposing additional costs on Russia. We certainly hope it will be. We’ve been clear that we will continue to take additional steps.

QUESTION: And lastly, Reuters reported today, and I’m quoting now: “The expected handover of the bodies and the black boxes, and reports by international investigators of improved access to the wreckage” weakened a new case for broader sanctions against Russia laid out by Western leaders. Would you say that that’s false?

MS. HARF: I didn’t see that quote, but I think what is clear here is you have a situation where there is a crash site in an area controlled by separatists back by Russia. And Russia needs to use its leverage over these separatists to provide access.

QUESTION: Does this newfound set of steps that looks like cooperation – does that weaken the case for stiffer sanctions?

MS. HARF: I can’t confirm that any of those steps are actually happening. I’ve seen the reports, but I think we need to see many more actions on the ground.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

MS. HARF: Yep.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) talked repeatedly about responsibility, that Russia has ultimate responsibility. If indeed it is proved that the separatists did shoot down MH17, how are they to be held accountable? Is there supposed to be a trial? Does their leader go on trial? Do the people who fired the missile go on trial? If the ultimate responsibility lies with Moscow, how is that government held accountable? What’s – what is the U.S. and the international community looking for here specifically?

MS. HARF: Well, I don’t have anything specific to preview for you. I think – I don’t want to get ahead of the facts, and what we’re focused on right now is getting all of the facts.

QUESTION: Would this be a criminal case?

MS. HARF: Again, I don’t want to get into specifics here. I know we’re looking into a variety of options in conjunction with our partners, but nothing specific to outline today.

QUESTION: Is – are families being told that they should perhaps back away from any sort of civil litigation until they figure out exactly why this plane fell out of the sky and who was behind it?

MS. HARF: I don’t have details on what the communications with the families are like. I just don’t have those details.

QUESTION: Is there a role for the Security Council (inaudible)?

MS. HARF: Well, today at 3:00 p.m. the Security Council will be meeting to consider a resolution – let me just pull up this information – expanding on its call on Friday for a full, thorough, and independent international investigation in accordance with the international civil aviation guidelines, for appropriate accountability, and for full and unrestricted access to the crash site. This is a resolution we fully support. Obviously, we think these tenets included in it are very important. That’s happening at three today.

QUESTION: Is —

QUESTION: Are you pretty sure that it will pass, that no one will veto it?

MS. HARF: I don’t want to make a prediction, Matt, on what might happen at three. I think we’ll all be watching it. Of course, we hope that everybody supports it, but we will wait and see.

QUESTION: What would you say – and I realize this is a hypothetical, but since you’re so strongly in favor of it, if there was a veto, what do you think that would show?

MS. HARF: Well, I think what we’ve said – well, first, it depends on who vetoes it.

QUESTION: I think you know who I might be referring to.

MS. HARF: Well, I don’t ever want to presume to understand what you’re asking – (laughter). No, but being – look —

QUESTION: Then how can you possibly answer any of my questions if you don’t know what I’m asking?

MS. HARF: What we’ve said is – look, what we’ve said is Russia has said words publicly about supporting this investigation, and we need to see actions now to back up those words.

QUESTION: Right. Well —

MS. HARF: And obviously that would not be an action that would be supportive of the investigation.

QUESTION: Fair enough. The German foreign minister, the Secretary’s friend and colleague, Foreign Minister Steinmeier said earlier this – today that anyone who is trying to obstruct the investigation into this crash either has something to hide or has no heart or both. Is that something that you would agree with?

MS. HARF: I would certainly agree with those sentiments, yes.

QUESTION: Okay, so in other words —

MS. HARF: Absolutely.

QUESTION: — if someone does veto it, they’re either heartless or they’re hiding something or both?

MS. HARF: Well, we – I would have to see what the reasons behind that veto were, but in general, yes. Look, this is – you heard the President speak this morning, I think, about this in a way that made clear that these are people who want their loved ones back. I mean, this is disgusting and insulting that they would cut off access to a crash site like this, and we need to see that stopped.

Yes, Lucas.

QUESTION: I just had a quick follow-up. A short time ago, Ukraine President Poroshenko called for both the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic to be added to the international terror list. Would the State Department support that, and is there any plans for the State Department itself to add these two entities to terror watch lists?

MS. HARF: I haven’t seen that. Obviously, we don’t talk about the processes of how we determine whether or not someone would be on it. I haven’t just seen those reports. I’m happy to check with our team.

QUESTION: But would you support their addition to the watch lists?

MS. HARF: Again, we don’t talk about our deliberations about whether or not groups or people are added to these kinds of terror lists. We’ve been very clear, regardless of what we call it that what they’re doing in these areas is completely unacceptable and against international law.

QUESTION: Would you be against their inclusion on an international watch list?

MS. HARF: I know you’re trying to ask it five different ways, and I’m not going to answer in any of those ways, that we don’t talk about those kind of deliberations.

QUESTION: And just —

QUESTION: While you were away, however, Marie, they were added – both – to the sanctions list.

MS. HARF: Thank you for keeping me up to speed, Matt.

QUESTION: And just one quick one.

MS. HARF: This is a group effort today.

QUESTION: How much evidence do you need to blame Russia for this action?

MS. HARF: Well look, we want to be very clear about the facts before you make statements, which is why I think when you see the Secretary go out and be as clear as he was yesterday, that should be a signal to people. So we’re still trying to get the facts here. And it’s true that it’s not possible for the separatists to function the way they are without support from Russia, without the training, without the sophisticated weaponry. So we need to get all the facts about this specific incident, but we know that the pro-Russian separatists could not function the way they’re functioning without the support from Russia.

QUESTION: So you are blaming Russia.

MS. HARF: I certainly am blaming the Russians for the pro-Russian separatists’ behavior in general, but we need to get all the facts about this specific incident. We don’t – I don’t want to go out there and put culpability on anyone until we have all of those facts. That’s why, if Russia has nothing to hide, they should push their separatists to allow access.

QUESTION: Can we go to Gaza?

MS. HARF: Anything else on this?

QUESTION: I want to ask about Putin.

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: Today I believe that Assistant Secretary Burns is meeting on the Australian.

MS. HARF: I believe they had a phone call. I can check if there was meetings as well.

QUESTION: Oh, okay. Is there —

MS. HARF: I can check. I know the schedule’s been a little in flux with the Secretary’s travel.

QUESTION: Okay. Is there any kind of effort to maybe push Russia or bar Russia from participating in the G20?

MS. HARF: I don’t know. I can check. I haven’t heard of any, but let me check.

Yes. On this still?

QUESTION: Yes. There’s been reports of a new offensive in Ukraine in the Donetsk region this morning. Are you concerned that this new fighting is going to undermine efforts to get access for the international observers to the site?

MS. HARF: No. The president of Ukraine has called for a 40-kilometer cease-fire, which he has committed to around the crash site. The fighting is outside of that 40 kilometers. It’s actually about double, 70 to 80 kilometers away, so we are not concerned about that.

Anything else on this? Yes.

QUESTION: I was wondering if there is a point when the crash site becomes too tainted in order for investigators to become useless, essentially.

MS. HARF: I mean, look, every day that goes by that we don’t have access it becomes more challenging, but we do believe there is a credible – a full investigation that can still be done. That’s why we need access immediately for the investigators, the team that’s led by the Dutch. And look, I think we can always get information. We want every piece of information we can get. That’s why we need the investigators there.

QUESTION: Is there any information in terms of the bodies that have been moved that is coming into the State Department?

MS. HARF: So we’re seeing reports that they’ve started to be moved. Obviously, it’s very important to us – I can’t confirm those independently – that the bodies be repatriated to their families, as you heard the President speak about this morning, as soon as possible. The way this has been handled up until this point by the separatists has just been horrific. And again, that needs to change (inaudible).

QUESTION: And finally, in terms of the black boxes —

MS. HARF: Uh-huh.

QUESTION: — have you heard any information about where they might be, who might have control of them, and who might ultimately become in possession of them?

MS. HARF: Yeah, let me see. I think I have something about that. Let me see if I have it right here.

I don’t think we have full fidelity at this point. Yes, we have seen the various reports, but do not have a definitive answer on if they’ve been found or where they are. We have called on both the separatists and on Russia to turn over any investigative information, of course, including the black boxes, to the investigators.

Yes.

QUESTION: Okay. About Gaza —

MS. HARF: Oh, about Gaza. Okay. Anything else on Ukraine?

Okay, let’s go to Gaza.

QUESTION: So the President earlier said – said earlier that the Israelis has made, like, significant damages to Hamas, like infrastructure.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Does he mean, like, the 67 people who’s been killed – civilian killed in Shujai’iya, I mean, when he say that? I mean, I don’t understand because Hamas, like, still like firing rockets and civilians still, like, fallen.

MS. HARF: So as the President said this morning, Israel has a right to defend itself against rocket and tunnel attacks from Hamas, and as a result of Israel’s operations they have done significant damage to Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure in Gaza. He also said that we have serious concerns about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives, and then followed that up by saying this is why it’s so important right now to – for the Secretary to be going, for the international community to work to bring about an immediate cease-fire on the ground.

QUESTION: I understand. I watched the whole, like, speech. But the thing is, like, what are the significant damages? I don’t see them. I mean, I see, like, civilians keep falling down in Palestine, however —

MS. HARF: Well, I’ll let the Israeli Government speak to its operations. But they’ve spoken about particularly rocket and tunnel attacks coming from Hamas in Gaza, and I know they’ve been quite focused on those kind of attacks and thwarting them. But I’ll let them speak to their own military operations.

QUESTION: Let’s talk about the Secretary’s travel. Can we talk first about —

MS. HARF: I’ll go to you in a second, Said.

QUESTION: — one, the Secretary and the President have both said let’s try to get back to the terms of the 2012 —

MS. HARF: Correct.

QUESTION: — cease-fire. If my research is accurate, neither Israel nor Hamas was actually at the table for that final round of talks. Those talks were conducted between Secretary of State Clinton and the former president Mohamed Morsy. Why would going back to this with neither of the two sides at the table actually be a viable process?

MS. HARF: Well, the Secretary and the President both have been clear that they have spoken about the November 2012 cease-fire because, look, overall our preference here is a cease-fire as soon as possible. That’s what the Secretary is going to Cairo to talk about with the Egyptians, with Ban Ki-moon and with others. So at this point, we do believe that there’s not another viable plan out there, that this is not a negotiation about rewarding a terrorist organization. Obviously, our position on Hamas hasn’t changed. But this is an important point to talk to the Egyptians, who do play a role here and have played an important role in past cease-fires, as you’ve noted, to see if we can get to a cease-fire here. I would also emphasize that this is hard and that I think the Secretary will be there on the ground talking to the Egyptians, but that I think we need to be realistic about how hard this is. We’d like to see progress as soon as possible, but this is a very difficult challenge.

QUESTION: Is it hard because unlike the Morsy government, the Sisi government has no relationship with Hamas and thus ostensibly has no leverage?

MS. HARF: It’s hard because when you’re trying to broker a cease-fire, as you heard the President say today, tensions are obviously very high, things are quite tense on the ground, that this is just a difficult thing to do for a variety of reasons. But the Secretary thought it was the right time to go and try and see if we can make some progress.

QUESTION: Because two years —

MS. HARF: Okay, let’s do one at a time, everyone.

QUESTION: Because two years ago, Hamas —

MS. HARF: We’ll get to all of you. Yeah.

QUESTION: — said that it was willing to go along with the cease-fire, and in fact, called it a victory for its side because it felt that Morsy was representing its interests at the bargaining table. What is the U.S. prepared to do? To whom is the U.S. prepared to talk? Is it going to talk with leaders in Qatar? Is it going to talk to leaders in the UAE? Is it going to talk to Iran? Who has the leverage that might be able to persuade Hamas to sign on to some sort of cease-fire?

MS. HARF: Well, the Secretary will be meeting with the Egyptians, Egyptian President al-Sisi, the foreign minister, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, as well as other senior officials. He’s also been on the phone with President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu a number of times over the past few days, and including other regional partners as well. So while we understand Qatar’s role, the Secretary has spoken to the Qataris as well, we have said all along that we support the Egyptian initiative for a cease-fire, and that is the effort the Secretary is going over there to build on to see if we can make some progress on. But obviously, we encourage anyone who has influence with Hamas to use that influence to push them to accept the Egyptian cease-fire proposal, no matter who that is.

QUESTION: Is the U.S. –

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

QUESTION: Has the U.S. specifically —

MS. HARF: Let’s finish Roz.

QUESTION: Has the U.S. specifically made that request of the Qataris, of the leaders in Dubai, of the Iranians, of others who may have influence that we’re not aware of?

MS. HARF: Well, to my knowledge, we haven’t spoken to the Iranians about this. As you know, we just concluded several weeks of nuclear negotiations where that was focused exclusively on the nuclear issue, not on other regional issues, as has been the tradition. I’m very publicly saying that anyone, including Iran, should use their influence over Hamas to get them to accept the cease-fire. I’m happy to check on the specific conversations with the Qataris and with the UAE in terms of what those look like, but we’ve been very clear that anyone who has influence should use it.

QUESTION: What about – what realistically – what is the U.S. prepared to bring to the table that hasn’t already been brought up? Two years ago in the cease-fire, one of the ideas was in terms of loosening border controls, was allowing the EU and the Palestinian Authority work together to control those border crossings so that Palestinians in Gaza could get in and out, so that supplies could come in. Is that the immediate goal, trying to get something that never really was consummated two years ago?

MS. HARF: Well, I’m not going to detail before – or preview before the Secretary is even on the ground what our private discussions will look like as we attempt to help with this brokering a cease-fire here that really needs to go into place as soon as possible. So I’m not going to preview that for you. I’m sure we’ll talk about it more in the coming days.

QUESTION: But what is to induce either side to sign onto it if there isn’t at least a target that wasn’t even achieved two years ago on the table?

MS. HARF: Again, I’m not saying we’re not having those discussions privately. I’m just not going to outline what those negotiations will look like over the coming days.

QUESTION: Marie, do you still believe the Egyptians actually do have some influence in this situation —

MS. HARF: Well, clearly —

QUESTION: — given their own internal politics as well and that you’re talking about a government that’s come out of a military leadership, and it’s not the same government as the Morsy government was two years ago.

MS. HARF: That’s true. We’ve been clear that we support the Egyptian proposal today, that we believe this is the best path —

QUESTION: Yeah, but do they have any influence? I mean, it was rejected by Hamas.

MS. HARF: Well, I don’t think we would support something if we don’t think it had a chance of succeeding. So look, we do believe that they have an important role to play, have played an important role. We’ve seen the Secretary have a number of conversations with all of the parties, except for Hamas, of course – I’m not changing our position on Hamas – about the way forward here. So I think that we believe that there’s a path forward here; it’s going to be difficult, but that this can lead us to a cease-fire as soon as possible.

QUESTION: And is he planning to talk with the main protagonists in this, which are, of course, the Palestinians and the Israelis?

MS. HARF: Well, the Secretary has spoken a number of times over the phone over the past few days with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas, and those discussions will continue.

QUESTION: But he’s a great believer in face-to-face diplomacy, so —

MS. HARF: He absolutely is. I don’t have anything to preview in terms of additional travel —

QUESTION: And did you —

MS. HARF: — for the Secretary, but he certainly picks up the phone all the time and has spoken to them regularly over these past few days.

QUESTION: And so today Palestinian President Abbas is in Doha meeting with the Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, and they’ve ended their talks, calling for an end to what they say is Israeli aggression and lifting of the blockade, but also saying that they’ve agreed that all Palestinian factions should work towards a cease-fire. Given the comments just by Secretary Kerry yesterday, which he basically put the blame on Hamas for refusing cease-fire efforts, do you believe that this meeting today could be helpful as everybody works towards trying to get a cease-fire?

MS. HARF: Well, I haven’t seen the details of that meeting yet, but any meeting that eventually works to get towards a cease-fire here would of course be helpful, because we need all the parties to buy into a cease-fire for it to work, obviously. And the Secretary was very clear that responsibility here does lie with Hamas, and we need all of the parties to come together and really – we need to get back to a cease-fire as soon as possible, and he’ll see if he can make some progress on the ground.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) responsible for the bombing of the al-Aqsa hospital today?

MS. HARF: I haven’t seen those reports; I’m happy to look. I just haven’t seen them.

QUESTION: I have a couple. Just in – to nail down. You say that the Secretary feels that Egypt has an important role. I mean, what is their important role at this point? I mean, as we’ve been discussing, it’s not the kind of political influence that they have with Hamas. Is it more about their border – their – the fact that they border with Hamas and what they can do to help shore up the cease-fire, kind of physically and materiel – material-wise?

MS. HARF: Well, they certainly play a key role in the Arab world in general. I mean, I know we’ve talked about that a lot in this room regardless of who the leader of Egypt is, quite frankly. It partly is the border. It partly is the fact that they still have a peace treaty with Israel, right. And so they are someone who can talk to the parties and who can try to help us get back to a place of a cease-fire. And they’re certainly one part of this, but obviously, we can’t do the work for them; neither can the Egyptians. We need the parties on the ground to actually accept and adhere to a cease-fire.

QUESTION: Where is the Secretary meeting with Ban Ki-moon? In Cairo?

MS. HARF: In Cairo.

QUESTION: Oh, okay. Because you know that he’s in Doha right now.

MS. HARF: They are meeting in Cairo.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

QUESTION: And then, also I have one other question: What – have there been any American – Palestinian-Americans that you know of that have been killed in Gaza?

MS. HARF: Not to my knowledge. I’m happy to check.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. HARF: But you did see, I think we put out a statement last night —

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS. HARF: — about the two dual – or the two American citizens who —

QUESTION: Do you have any more details about who they are and what they were doing?

MS. HARF: I just have a little bit, I think; not much more than last night. We can confirm that two IDF soldiers killed in Gaza were U.S. citizens, Sean Carmeli and Max Steinberg. Officials from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and the Department of State have been in touch with both families; obviously extend our deepest condolences to the families on their loss. We don’t have much more information than that at this point, except for – we’ve seen press reports, and I think we can try – we’re trying to confirm this – they were part of the Golani Brigade; two of 13 IDF soldiers killed on July 20th. We’re trying to confirm this right now. We’ve just seen some press reports on this.

QUESTION: Does that give you cause to discourage Americans from joining foreign forces?

MS. HARF: Well, in general, U.S. nationals can serve in military forces. It’s different in every country, obviously. We don’t have a number for how many serve in the IDF, but we know many do, and I don’t think have much more of a position than that.

QUESTION: Okay. Let me go back to the Secretary’s trip. Is he taking anything with him other than the Egyptian proposal or the two – 12 proposal that he says we want to go back to? For instance, is he taking with him the possibility of going back into Resolution 1860 that was adopted on January 9, 2009, which speaks of lifting the siege, speaks of opening the crossings and so on?

MS. HARF: As I just said to Roz’s question, I’m not going to outline what the Secretary’s private conversations will look like before he’s even arrived. I’m sure we’ll talk about them more in the coming days.

QUESTION: Would he be open to these suggestions?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to speculate in any way, Said.

QUESTION: Can I ask —

QUESTION: No, I – go ahead. I have some more.

QUESTION: No, you’re going to get the same answer over and over and over. (Laughter). On the IDF – those American soldiers. Is this something that is specific to Israel and the IDF?

MS. HARF: What? Is what specific?

QUESTION: Well, that it being – that it is okay or that there’s no problem legally for an American citizen —

MS. HARF: No, military service in foreign countries usually does not cause loss of nationality or problems since an intention to relinquish nationality normally is lacking, obviously – many times dual citizens or they just have a desire to serve. So usually it’s not – U.S. citizens can lose their citizenship if they perform certain acts working for certain countries or with the intent to relinquish their nationality. But with the IDF, certainly, and with other countries, I can see if I have more details. This is something that happens fairly frequently.

QUESTION: Well, I’m just thinking – how about Iran? If an Iranian American joined the IRGC —

MS. HARF: That would be quite different, Matt.

QUESTION: Okay. So there is a – there —

MS. HARF: Absolutely there’s a difference. It depends on —

QUESTION: — there’s a big distinction. Or if a Korean American went to North Korea and joined the North Korean army, that would be a problem?

MS. HARF: I can guarantee you we would respond very differently.

QUESTION: Or a Chinese American and the – I mean, where does – is —

MS. HARF: Where is there a line?

QUESTION: Yeah, where – or is there one?

MS. HARF: I can see if there are more details on that.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: I actually think there are —

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: — rules written up about this. Certainly, service with the IDF is something that many Americans do proudly and we have no issues.

QUESTION: I understand that. I just want to know about other ones.

MS. HARF: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

QUESTION: On Thursday, UNRWA reported that it had found 20 missiles – or rockets, sorry, in one of its schools. I asked about this on Friday; I got the answer in a kind of a TQ way, which —

MS. HARF: Okay.

QUESTION: — you can please repeat now if you’d like to, but it was a commendation. Do you want to do that? I have a question that follows onto the – what you —

MS. HARF: Okay. Why don’t you go ahead and follow on?

QUESTION: Well, my – over the weekend there were reports that UNRWA basically gave these rockets back to Hamas after finding them.

MS. HARF: Hmm. I can check on that. I had not seen those reports.

QUESTION: Well, in the response that I got on Friday – maybe you – it’s short. Do you want to read it?

MS. HARF: I don’t have it in front of me, so I’m not going to read it.

QUESTION: Oh. Okay. Well, you commended UNRWA for doing what – the right thing, what you said was the right thing in handing over these rockets to the local authorities. Now, in Israel, people are saying, “Well, the local authorities in Gaza are Hamas.”

MS. HARF: Understood the question.

QUESTION: Okay?

MS. HARF: I understand. I just don’t know the answer. I’m sorry.

QUESTION: All right. So —

MS. HARF: Let me check. I will follow up on that and I will attempt to get you an answer right after the briefing.

QUESTION: All right. Last one: You said that there’s – the Egyptian plan is the only plan out there. The Israelis say —

MS. HARF: It’s the viable one.

QUESTION: Well, the only viable plan out there. The Israelis say that this plan needs to be – this proposal needs to be strengthened.

MS. HARF: Well, clearly part of what —

QUESTION: And I —

MS. HARF: — we’ll be discussing is what it eventually looks like, how we can get all the parties to agree to a cease-fire.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: I’m not saying exactly the format it’s in right now. Obviously, we believe it’s an important —

QUESTION: So your —

MS. HARF: — format, an

CBSA initiates investigations into the dumping and subsidizing of certain oil country tubular goods

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced today that it is initiating investigations into the alleged injurious dumping of certain oil country tubular goods originating in or exported from Chinese Taipei, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam and the alleged injurious subsidizing of certain oil country tubular goods originating in or exported from India, Indonesia, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam.

The investigations follow a complaint filed by Tenaris Canada of Calgary, Alberta, and Evraz North America Inc. of Regina, Saskatchewan (“the complainants”). The complainants allege that the dumping and subsidizing of these goods are harming Canadian production by causing the following: price depression and price suppression, lost sales and market share, loss of employment, reduced profits, reduced capacity utilization, and negative effects on capital investments.

The Canadian International Trade Tribunal (the Tribunal) will begin a preliminary inquiry to determine whether the imports are harming Canadian producers and will issue a decision by September 19, 2014. While the Tribunal is examining the question of injury, the CBSA will investigate whether the imports are being dumped and/or subsidized, and will make preliminary decisions by October 20, 2014.

Should the CBSA make a preliminary determination of dumping and/or subsidizing, the investigations will be continued for the purpose of making a final decision within 90 days after the date of the preliminary determination. If the CBSA’s investigations reveal that imports of the subject goods have not been dumped or subsidized, that the margin of dumping or amount of subsidy is insignificant or that the actual and potential volume of dumped or subsidized goods is negligible, the investigations will be terminated.

Although duties to counteract the dumping and subsidizing are normally only applied to goods released on or after the date of the CBSA’s preliminary determination(s), if the Tribunal determines that an unusually large increase in harmful imports has occurred prior to the CBSA’s decision and that the retroactive application of anti-dumping or countervailing duty is therefore justified, duty could be levied on the goods brought into Canada as of today.

A copy of the Statement of Reasons, which provides more details about these investigations, will be available on the CBSA’s Web site at www.cbsa.gc.ca/sima-lmsi within 15 days.

Quick Facts

  • Dumping occurs when goods are sold to importers in Canada at prices that are less than their selling prices in the exporter’s domestic market or at unprofitable prices.
  • Subsidizing occurs when goods imported into Canada benefit from foreign government financial assistance.
  • The Special Import Measures Act protects Canadian producers from the damaging effects of such unfair trade.
  • As of June 30, 2014, 43 such measures are in force, covering a wide variety of industrial and consumer products. These measures have directly helped to protect more than 37,000 Canadian jobs and over $7 billion in Canadian production.

 

Associated Links

 

Canada Border Services Agency, Anti-dumping and Countervailing

Canadian International Trade Tribunal

 

 

– 30 –

 

Contacts

 

Media Relations
Canada Border Services Agency
613-957-6500

Follow us on Twitter (@CanBorder), join us on Facebook or visit our YouTube channel.

Press Releases: Interview With David Gregory of NBC’s Meet the Press

QUESTION: Secretary Kerry, welcome back to Meet the Press.

SECRETARY KERRY: I’m glad to be with you, David. Thank you.

QUESTION: The President demanded absolute cooperation from Russia, from the separatists in eastern Ukraine, and now the whole world is watching, and the startling developments that the rebels are removing bodies from the crash site, putting them on refrigerated trains, even talk of removing the black box. What do you say about that this morning?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, what’s happening is really grotesque and it is contrary to everything that President Putin and Russia said that they would do. There are reports of drunken separatist soldiers unceremoniously piling bodies into trucks, removing both bodies as well as evidence from the site.

They promised unfettered access, David, and the fact is that right now – they had 75 minutes on Friday, yesterday three hours. There were shots fired in the area. The separatists are in control. And it is clear that Russia supports the separatists, supplies the separatists, encourages the separatists, trains the separatists, and Russia needs to step up and make a difference here.

QUESTION: How might the investigation be compromised the government’s ability to determine with certainty who fired this missile based on what’s happening now? And specifically, I speak here about these reports of the black box being removed.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, let me tell you what we know at this point, David, because it tells you a lot about what is going on. In the last month, we have observed major supplies moving in. Several weeks ago, about 150-vehicle convoy, including armored personnel carriers, tanks, rocket launches, artillery all going in and being transferred to the separatists. We know that they had an SA-11 system in the vicinity literally hours before the shoot-down took place. There are social media records of that. They were talking, and we have the intercepts of their conversations talking about the transfer and movement and repositioning of the SA-11 system.

The social media showed them with this system moving through the very area where we believe the shoot-down took place hours before it took place. Social media – which is an extraordinary tool, obviously, in all of this – has posted recordings of a separatist bragging about the shoot-down of a plane at the time, right after it took place. The defense minister, so-called self-appointed of the People’s Republic of Donetsk, Mr. Igor Strelkov, actually posted a bragging statement on the social media about having shot down a transport. And then when it became apparent it was civilian, they quickly removed that particular posting. We —

QUESTION: Are you bottom-lining here that Russia provided the weapon?

SECRETARY KERRY: There’s a story today confirming that, but we have not within the Administration made a determination. But it’s pretty clear when – there’s a build-up of extraordinary circumstantial evidence. I’m a former prosecutor. I’ve tried cases on circumstantial evidence; it’s powerful here. But even more importantly, we picked up the imagery of this launch. We know the trajectory. We know where it came from. We know the timing, and it was exactly at the time that this aircraft disappeared from the radar. We also know from voice identification that the separatists were bragging about shooting it down afterwards.

QUESTION: Right.

SECRETARY KERRY: So there’s a stacking-up of evidence here which Russia needs to help account for. We are not drawing the final conclusion here, but there is a lot that points at the need for Russia to be responsible. And what President Obama believes and we, the international community, join in believing, all, everybody is convinced we must have unfettered access. And the lack of access – the lack of access, David, makes its own statement about culpability and responsibility.

QUESTION: Given that – given that and what comes next, The Washington Post has editorialized this weekend what was missing from the President’s comments when he spoke out on Friday was a clear moral conclusion about the regime of Vladimir Putin or an articulation of how the United States will respond. What about it?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, we’re in discussions about that right now. I had a conversation yesterday with my counterpart, Foreign Minister Lavrov, and made it very, very clear that we need this cooperation. We’re going to try to find a way immediately to determine whether or not that’s going to be forthcoming. As you know, President Obama only the day before this incident took place unilaterally moved in order to impose tougher sanctions. And he imposed sanctions on Gazprom, sanctions on energy companies, sanctions on military companies. We’ve taken tough sanctions. We hope this is a profound wakeup call for those countries in Europe that have wanted to kind of go slow and soft-pedal this. And —

QUESTION: But call Vladimir Putin what he is. What is the threat that he and Russia present to the United States and to the West?

SECRETARY KERRY: It’s not a question of the threat that they present to the West, David. It’s a question of whether or not you’re going to get the cooperation necessary in a way that they have said that they would. And we’re trying for the last time to see if that will be forthcoming at this moment or not. But obviously, the additional sanctions are reflections of the President’s exhaustion of patience with words that are not accompanied by actions.

Going back to the meetings that I had with Mr. Lavrov in Geneva several – what, a couple months ago now, the fact is they agreed to do certain things and the Ukrainians agreed to do certain things. Ukraine declared a ceasefire. Twenty-six soldiers of Ukraine were killed during the course of the ceasefire.

We need Russia to publicly, publicly start to call for responsible action and itself take actions that they can take with the separatists that they have encouraged, they have inflamed, they have supplied, they have trained, and that are still engaged in a contest for the sovereignty of Ukraine itself. Russia said they would respect the sovereignty of Ukraine, but that is not respectful to be transferring those weapons across. That’s why the toughest —

QUESTION: But I detect in your words, Mr. Secretary, some reluctance to make this a one-on-one battle. You want to give Russia a little bit more room here. But the question is still about consequences. How can anyone view this as anything other than the lowest moment between the United States and Russia in the post-Cold War environment?

SECRETARY KERRY: David, you can get into these grand sort of proclamations about where things are and where they aren’t. The fact is we live in an extremely complicated world right now where everybody is working on ten different things simultaneously. Russia is working with us in a cooperative way on the P5+1. We just had important meetings in Vienna where we’re trying —

QUESTION: This is about Iran’s nuclear program.

SECRETARY KERRY: — in order to try to deal with Iran’s nuclear program. Russia was constructive and helpful and worked at that effort. Russia has been constructive in helping to remove 100 percent of the declared chemical weapons from Syria. In fact, that was an agreement we made months ago and it never faltered, even during these moments of conflict. So this is more complicated than just throwing names at each other and making declarations. There has to be a continued effort to find a way forward, and that’s what we’re trying to do. But we’ve made it clear even as we do that.

There is no naivete in what President Obama has done with respect to these very tough sanctions. And the United States has been working diligently with Europe trying to bring Europe along. They’ve included additional sanctions. We think, frankly, that they may need to be tougher. And it may well be that the Dutch and others will help lead that effort because this has to be a wakeup call to Europe that this has to change. We cannot continue with a dual-track policy where diplomacy is winding up with nice words and well-constructed communiques and agreements, but then there’s a separate track where the same policy continues.

QUESTION: Let me ask you —

SECRETARY KERRY: This is a moment of truth for Mr. Putin and for Russia. Russia needs to step up and prove its bona fides, if there are any left, with respect to its willingness to put actions behind the words.

QUESTION: The war in Gaza also is occupying your time. What is it that you think Israel stands to gain from its invasion into Gaza and the bombardment of Gaza?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, this is a very, very difficult moment also and a very difficult situation. Israel has been under attack by rockets. I don’t think any nation in the world would sit there while rockets are bombarding it, and you know that there are tunnels from which terrorists have come jumping up in the dead of night, some with handcuffs and with tranquilizer drugs on them, in an obvious effort to try to kidnap people then hold them for ransom. The fact is that is unacceptable by any standard anywhere in the world. And Israel has every right in the world to defend itself.

But we’re hopeful, very hopeful, that we could quickly try to find a way forward to put a ceasefire in place so that the underlying issues – so that we can get to the questions. But you cannot reward terrorism. There can’t be a set of preconditioned demands that are going to be met. So we support the Egyptian initiative joined in by Israel and others to have an immediate ceasefire, and we’re working that ceasefire very, very hard. I have been in touch all yesterday, the day before, many days now, with my counterparts. The President has been in touch with Prime Minister Netanyahu, I think day before yesterday. They will talk again today. I talked to Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday. And I believe the President wants me to go very, very shortly to the region in order to try to see if we can get a ceasefire in place.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, before I let you go, I want you to answer critics who accuse this President of an uncertain course in his foreign policy. And it harkens back to something the President wrote in his own book, Audacity of Hope. He wrote this critical of the Bush years: “Without a well-articulated strategy that the public supports and the world understands, America will lack the legitimacy and ultimately the power it needs to make the world safer than it is today.”

SECRETARY KERRY: David, let me —

QUESTION: Is that the problem President Obama faces?

SECRETARY KERRY: No. Let me tell you what he faces maybe is a problem with a bunch of critics who want to jump to conclusions without looking at the facts. But the facts could not be more clear: The United States of America has never been more engaged in helping to lead in more places than we are now.

I just came back from China where we are engaged with the Chinese in dealing with North Korea. And you will notice, since the visit last year, North Korea has been quieter. We haven’t done what we want to do yet with respect to the denuclearization, but we are working on that and moving forward.

With respect to Syria, we struck a deal where we got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out. With respect to Iraq, we are deeply involved now in the process of government formation, helping the Iraqis to be able to choose a government of unity that can reunite it. They’ve elected a speaker. They’re about to elect a president. We believe that’s moving forward.

On Afghanistan, we helped strike a deal recently to help warring parties in contest of the election to be able to come together and hold Afghanistan together.

With respect to Iran, we – this President has taken the risk of putting together a negotiation. For the first time in 10 years, the Iranian nuclear program is actually being rolled backwards, and Israel and the region are safer than they were.

We’ve negotiated a ceasefire in an effort to try to bring troops into South Sudan. We’ve negotiated a disarming of the M23 rebel group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We’re negotiating a major economic treaty, a package trade agreement —

QUESTION: Right.

SECRETARY KERRY: — with Europe, 40 percent of the world’s GDP. Same thing in Asia.

I would tell you something, David. One thing I’ve seen for certain: People aren’t worried around the United States and sitting there saying, “We want the United States to leave.” People are worried that the United States might leave. And the fact is that every fundamental issue of conflict today, the United States is in the center leading and trying to find an effort to make peace where peace is very difficult. And I think the American people ought to be proud of what this President has done in terms of peaceful, diplomatic engagement rather than quick trigger, deploying troops, starting or engaging in a war of choice. I think the President’s on the right track and I think we have the facts to prove it.

QUESTION: Secretary Kerry, as always, thank you for your time.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you.

Training volcano scientists from around the world to predict, respond to eruptions

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Disaster trainingTraining volcano scientists from around the world to predict, respond to eruptions

Published 16 July 2014

Scientists and technicians who work at volcano observatories in eleven countries visited the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory earlier this month to learn techniques for monitoring active volcanoes. The International Training Program in Volcano Hazards Monitoring is designed to assist scientists from other nations in attaining self-sufficiency in monitoring volcanoes and reducing the risks from eruptions.

An uncommon undersea volcanic eruption // Source: hljtv.com

Scientists and technicians who work at volcano observatories in eleven countries visited the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory earlier this month to learn techniques for monitoring active volcanoes.

The International Training Program in Volcano Hazards Monitoring is designed to assist scientists from other nations in attaining self-sufficiency in monitoring volcanoes and reducing the risks from eruptions. Field exercises on Kilauea and Mauna Loa Volcanoes allow students to observe and operate a variety of instruments, and classroom instruction at the Observatory provides students the opportunity to interpret data, as well as plan a monitoring network for their home volcanoes. U.S. scientists are providing training on monitoring methods, data analysis and interpretation, and volcanic hazard assessment, and participants are taught about the use and maintenance of volcano monitoring instruments. Participants learn about forecasting events, responding rapidly during volcanic crises, and how to work with governing officials and the news media to save lives and property.

A USGS release reports that the annual program, organized by the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, with support from the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa and the joint USGSU.S. Agency for International Development Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, has been training foreign scientists for twenty-four years. This year’s class included sixteen volcano scientists from Chile, Colombia Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Italy, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea.

“Hawaiian volcanoes offer an excellent teaching opportunity because our volcanoes are relatively accessible, they’re active, and USGS staff scientists can teach while actually monitoring volcanic activity,” said the USGS’s HVO Scientist-in-Charge, Jim Kauahikaua. “The small investment we make in training international scientists now goes a long way toward mitigating large volcanic disasters in the future.”

“Providing training in volcano hazards assessment and monitoring is by far the most cost effective strategy for reducing losses and saving lives for those developing nations exposed to high volcanic hazards risks,” said CSAV director Donald Thomas. “The goal of our course is to provide our trainees with an understanding of the technologies that can be applied to an assessment of volcanic threats as well as how to interface with their respective communities to increase awareness of how to respond to those threats.”

“The training program directly benefits the United States, through international exchange of knowledge concerning volcanic eruptions, and it serves as an important element in our country’s humanitarian assistance and science diplomacy programs around the world,” said the USGS’s VDAP chief, John Pallister.

The international participants learn to use both traditional geological tools and the latest technology. To anticipate the future behavior of a volcano, basic geologic mapping brings an understanding of what a volcano is capable of doing, how frequently it has erupted in the past, and what kind of rocks, and ash it produces. Using Geographic Information Systems, the students learn to predict lava flow paths, conduct a vulnerability assessment, and tabulate the predicted costs associated with the damage from a lava flow. Participants are trained in the emerging field of infrasound monitoring, which is critical for rapidly detecting volcanic explosions and rift zone eruptions, as well as basic seismological fundamentals, and a survey of pre-eruptive seismic swarms at various volcanoes around the world. Monitoring and modeling deformation of a volcano focuses on different techniques from traditional leveling methods to GPS and satellite-based radar.

The release notes that providing critical training to international scientists began at HVO, leading to the creation of CSAV to continue the legacy. Since 1990, almost 200 scientists and civil workers from twenty-nine countries have received training in volcano monitoring methods through CSAV. USGS’s HVO continues to provide instructors and field experiences for the courses, and VDAP has a long-term partnership with CSAV, providing instructors and co-sponsoring participants from countries around the world.

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