State Department Noon Briefing, June 3


Thursday June 3, 2004

U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing Index
Thursday, June 3, 2004
1:15 p.m. EDT

BRIEFER: Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman

-- Director Tenet's Resignation
-- Deputy Secretary Armitage's Conversation with Director Tenet

-- Designation of Hassan Abdullah Hersi al-Turki under Executive Order 13224

-- OAS & Democratic Charter Venezuela and Haiti
-- Secretary Powell's Upcoming Visit to Quito
-- U.N. Taking Over Security Operations in Haiti
-- Constitutional Process Underway in Venezuela

-- Discussions on UN Security Council Resolution
-- Iraqi Foreign Minister's Zebaris' Public Presentation Today
-- June 30 Transfer of Sovereignty Date

-- U.S. Granting $300 Million in Special Assistance to Egypt/Iraq Supplemental

-- Travel Warning/Ordered Departure/Warden Messages/Terrorist Threat
-- Strength of Saudi Oil Industry

-- OPEC Meeting in Beirut/Oil Production Increases

-- Assistant Secretary Burns' Contact with Saeb Erekat
-- Changing the Palestinian Leadership/Role of Mr. Arafat
-- Egypt's Positive Role in Effort to Improve Security Situation

-- Desire for Reform in the Region/ Broader Middle East Initiative
-- Update on Travel to the Region by Burns or Satterfield

-- Deputy Secretary Armitage's Meeting with General Larbi Belkeir

-- Meeting of President of Syria and New Prime Minister of Spain
-- Spain's Role in Promoting Peace in the Middle East
-- Syria's Role in Confronting Terrorism

-- Arms Sales Deal/Delegation of Taiwanese Legislators Coming to Washington

-- Deputy Secretary Armitage Meeting with Director-General Mitoji Yabunaka
-- Next Round of Six-Party Talks



1:15 p.m. EDT

MR. ERELI: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to our briefing today. I don't have any announcements, and I'm pleased to take your questions.

QUESTION: Does the Secretary have any thoughts on Director Tenet's resignation?

MR. ERELI: I have not spoken with the Secretary. I have spoken with Mr. Armitage, and Mr. Armitage actually spoke with Mr. Tenet today before the announcement. And I think he represents the views of all of us when he says that George Tenet is a great patriot, and has been a great director of the CIA.

QUESTION: Would you attribute that directly to him?

MR. ERELI: Yeah.

QUESTION: He holds that view, even though the Secretary went to the United Nations and presented what he now says is faulty information based on questionable sources that the CIA had provided him?

MR. ERELI: Let's be clear. It is our belief that the Central Intelligent Agen -- the fine men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency under the great leadership of the director has served our nation well and served the State Department well. And we stand by the report of February 5th, February 3 -- February 5th, sorry -- stand by the report of February 5th. If you look at what has been found out in Iraq since that report, a great deal in there has been borne out by the facts, facts about Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, facts about missile programs, facts about weapons programs and capabilities and intent.

You were referring to one aspect of that report about mobile bio labs, a source who turned out to be inaccurate or to be faulty. You can follow up on that and do troubleshooting on that, but that's a completely different issue, and I think has no bearing on the matter at hand, which is Director Tenet's decision for personal reasons to leave the agency, and don't make a link between the two.

QUESTION: But it was Secretary Powell who said he was disappointed and he had regrets about it.

MR. ERELI: Right. And, I mean, that's -- that's the statement of fact, that I don't see what one has to do with the other.

Anything else?

QUESTION: Can you -- what can you tell us about Mr. Hassan Abdullah Hersi al-Turki, also known as Hassan al-Turki, who has been designated, I think, as a foreign terrorist. It's in the -- it's in the Federal Register this morning.

MR. ERELI: We will be putting out a statement on that shortly, sort of elaborating on the Federal -- on the Federal Register. I don't have it for you right now, though, if you'll just give us about an hour.

QUESTION: The one thing I want to know is who he is and what he's alleged to have done.

MR. ERELI: It will be in the statement.


MR. ERELI: Saul.

QUESTION: On Latin America, with the Secretary going down to Quito on Monday, there are two issues involving the OAS and its Democratic Charter, with respect to both Venezuela and Haiti. Now, there's different statements coming out, but the Caribbean community doesn't -- wants to use a Democratic Charter to say that Haiti has had this rupture in the democratic process; and on the other hand, Assistant Secretary Noriega has said that the tool of the Democratic Charter could be used against Venezuela because of the process of the referendum, that maybe it's not working out as it should.

So when the Secretary goes down, is he going down to convince other foreign ministers that the Democratic Charter should be used on Venezuela and not used on Haiti?

MR. ERELI: Without getting too far ahead of things, because I think the Secretary and the party will brief on this prior to the visit, let's just say that, with regard to Haiti, it's important for us that CARICOM and the OAS recognize the important changes that have happened in Haiti and do all they can to support the Government of Prime Minister Latortue and help contribute to Haiti's attempts to build prosperity and democracy for their people.

There are already some very positive signs in this direction. The United Nations is soon to be taking over peacekeeping operations there, or security operations there with a large and important Brazilian contingent as part of that. In the area -- with regard to Venezuela, you see a, I think, a constitutional process underway that has been, I think, remarkably peaceful and successful to date, in the sense that the procedures are being followed and results respected.

This is something to be welcomed and it is an outgrowth of cooperation between the Government of Venezuela, the people of Venezuela, the Friends of Venezuela, the OAS and the Carter Center. So we see in both, I think in both instances, cooperative efforts to promote change and to promote reform, and to -- within constitutional limits and with respect to the rule of law, unfolding. And that's what -- that's what we're going to -- the momentum. That's the momentum that we're going to try to encourage to keep going.


QUESTION: Could we move to Iraq and the UN resolution?

MR. ERELI: Sure.

QUESTION: Ambassador Negroponte is saying that there's only fine-tuning left to be done on the resolution, and maybe you could address that since other countries aren't saying it's quite to that stage yet.

MR. ERELI: I think that we've had, and we are having, as the Secretary said yesterday, good, healthy discussions at the UN, and, I would note, between the Secretary and many of his Security Council colleagues. There are, as you would expect, I think, a number of different views being presented, being taken into account. We are confident that those views can be accommodated and that we can have a good, strong resolution that both reflects the will of the international community and takes into account the views of the new Iraqi government.

Yes, Arshad.

QUESTION: Moving on. Egypt -- the United States and the Egyptian Government signed an agreement this morning for the United States to give Egypt $300 million. I've read Ambassador Welch's speech, which is on the Cairo Embassy's website, and I have a couple of questions:

One. Was this $300 million part of the supplemental, I think, past last April that included monies for various countries that may be affected or may have been affected by the Iraq war?

Two. If so, why has it taken it so long -- has it taken so long for Egypt to get the money from the United States?

Three. And this stems partly from what Ambassador Welch said about Egyptian reforms in various areas -- trade, fiscal policy and monetary policy -- did Egypt's getting the money -- was Egypt's getting the money contingent on its undertaking these reforms?

That's pretty much it.

MR. ERELI: In answer to the first question, yes, this $300 million was part of the Iraq supplemental.

As to why it took so long, or why it took so long to provide the money to Egypt following the passage of the -- or the appropriation of the money, I will endeavor to get an answer for you from the Embassy and from the Near East Bureau. And what is the relationship between -- between the issue of reform and the money?

Obviously, the money is in recognition of or in support of Egypt's ongoing reforms. It is a cash grant that is given to Egypt for them to -- for them to spend as we've discussed, but the precise modalities of and the terms under which this money came available, I'll check into it.

QUESTION: Thank you. I, just, I'm particularly interested in knowing whether it was contingent in any way on reform or not. And -- yeah, great. Thanks.

MR. ERELI: Teri.

QUESTION: On Saudi Arabia, I know that there's been a Travel Warning out and the Embassy had ordered departure since the middle of April. But after the last attacks is the Embassy there offering any extra help to private citizens who might want to leave the country, or do you know of requests that people are now more desperate and paying more attention again to the recommendation to get out?

MR. ERELI: There has been no sort of change to the status of Travel Warnings and information provided to American citizens in Saudi Arabia other than a number of, I think, Warden Messages and other communication between the Embassy and the American community in Saudi Arabia to keep them informed of what's going on.

Anecdotally, frankly, we have not seen a rush to the exits by the American community in Saudi Arabia. And to the contrary, we're seeing especially, based on sort of contacts in the eastern province, a recognition that, yes, there continues to be a terrorist threat, but at the same time, those people living there continue to go about their work and to take appropriate precautions, aware of the situation, but not leaving in large numbers.

QUESTION: Also on Saudi Arabia. Are you confident that the measures that the Saudis have in place to protect the oil supply are sufficient, given the terrorist threat to that area?

MR. ERELI: Again, I think Assistant Secretary Boucher addressed this issue yesterday. There is no -- we see no cause for concern about -- regarding oil production or this strength of the Saudi oil industry based on these attacks. I mean, these are -- there's a terrorist phenomenon that we all sort of know about and are dealing with, but Saudis are in a strong position in terms of their -- in terms of managing the oil industry and ensuring stability of supply.

QUESTION: Do you have any comment on the oil -- on the OPEC meeting taking place in Beirut today?

MR. ERELI: I believe they've -- OPEC made an announcement on production increases. We see this as a welcome action that demonstrates that producers are taking concrete and immediate steps to address global oil supply needs. This decision will result in much needed new supplies to the market, and we look to producers to fulfill the commitments they've made in Beirut.

Finally, it's important to point out that supplies of energy consistent with the needs of a growing world economy are crucial to continued and lasting global economic prosperity, particularly for the developing world. And we believe that oil producing and consuming countries have shared interests and mutual responsibilities in fostering economic growth.

QUESTION: Do you see any possibility here that the oil producers, mostly Arab countries, by tinkering with the production this way, continue to keep America, Japan, China, others, obligated, dependent on Saudi oil instead of doing more for themselves?

MR. ERELI: We don't believe --

QUESTION: Isn't this part of a -- well, other administrations have, administrations, unlike this one, that spoke in terms of self-sufficiency, that spoke against gas-guzzling automobiles -- which are all over the garage downstairs, by the way -- see the Saudis and the others as playing it cleverly: increase production a little bit, whets your appetite, and you relax and you don't go ahead and do -- look for alternative sources. You don't see this kind of game going on?

MR. ERELI: We see this, as I described it, as an issue of mutual responsibility to match supplies consistent with demand and not a question of advantaging one country or another country.

QUESTION: And how can you say, please, that the Saudis -- that terrorism and oil have not -- whatever the words you used -- have not affected the Saudi situation? Oil prices went up $2.40 right after it. Doesn't the terror cause panic and cause people to pay more for oil?

MR. ERELI: Yeah. I'm not going to offer you opinions. I'm not going to offer you opinions about the impact of terrorist attacks on market perceptions. The question was: are you concerned or do you see signs that the terrorist attacks have impacted on Saudi Arabia's ability to produce oil and meet production targets and supply requirements? And the answer to that was no.

QUESTION: All right. Let me please clarify one more thing. I'm not sure -- you say they're not rushing to the exits in Saudi Arabia. Do you want Americans to leave or not? If they leave, doesn't that help satisfy the terrorists' aim of -- well, 90 percent of the oil work in Saudi Arabia is done by Saudis -- doesn't that feed into the terrorists' aim of hurting the oil industry? I don't understand. Do you want Americans to leave or do you want them to stay?

MR. ERELI: I'd refer you to the Travel Warning. I think it's pretty clear. We think it's important that Americans understand what the threat is and certainly defer travel to Saudi Arabia, and that those Americans in Saudi Arabia should look at their situation and make the appropriate judgment based on their -- on what they believe is best for them.

But it's important that they know what they're dealing with, and the U.S. Government assessment of the situation, and that's all laid out in the Travel Warning and Public Announcements.

QUESTION: Well, if you make a judgment, the most vulnerable would seem to be people working in the oil industry because that's the target of the terrorists. So if they took your -- heeded your advice, they would say, hey, I'm involved in oil production. I better get the heck out of here. But that would affect oil production. So I don't know how the U.S. is manipulating this, how you want to play it.

MR. ERELI: I don't think we're manipulating it at all.

QUESTION: I don't mean it in a nasty sense.

MR. ERELI: We are --

QUESTION: Do you want people to stay and help production? Do you want people to leave? Do you want them to look after their own well-being?

MR. ERELI: These are individual private citizens --

QUESTION: Oh, I know.

MR. ERELI: -- who need to make decisions that are right for them based on having full access to the facts and the best advice available. And that's what we try to provide.

QUESTION: Can I go back to something you said a while ago? You said that you looked for the OPEC producers to meet their -- the commitments that they made at the Beirut meeting. Do you have any reason to doubt that they're going to do what they said they'll do, which is increase production by 8 percent?

MR. ERELI: I think it's important to state that commitments made should be followed through, as a matter of course. And --

QUESTION: Is there some reason to think they're not going to? Or, it sounds like you're worried that they're not going to.

MR. ERELI: I wouldn't speculate whether, you know, whether we think they will or they won't. But I would say that perhaps there's been a history of -- or, in the past, commitments made have not always been followed through. So, in this case, we take note of the commitments made and think that -- and are looking forward to those commitments being honored.

Yes, Nadia.

QUESTION: Change of subject?

MR. ERELI: Sure.

QUESTION: I wanted to ask you about Saeb Erekat visit with Mr. Burns, if he met with him today and what was the context of the meeting and why he didn't meet anybody else? I mean, that's -- is that normal for him not to meet anybody else from the Administration?

MR. ERELI: I'll have to check. I wasn't aware that Saeb Erekat did have a meeting with Mr. Burns. So let me first confirm that. And second, as to having other meetings in the building, I don't know if he requested them. So that's something I'll have to check on for you.

QUESTION: Something else regarding the Middle East again. Yesterday, in the Senate hearing, there were criticism for the Greater Middle East Initiative, and particularly, talking about the Israeli-Palestinian question from more than one source -- Prince Hassan of Jordan was talking about it; and Senator Lugar and Biden, as well, talked about it. And they were saying, basically, unless you solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is no chance that this initiative that the President's going to propose in a few days time is going to have any chances of succeeding. Do you think that's fair?

MR. ERELI: I would reject the characterization of this as an either/or proposition. You can't do one unless you do the other. It's an either -- our view is that both are important. Both need to be pursued with energy and determination, and that's what we're going to do; to suggest that because we're trying to respond to the desire for reform in the region, that somehow we're taking our eye of the ball in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is just not true.

But at the same time, it's not fair to say, we can't, because we're so involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, do anything else, particularly when you've got a phenomenon, frankly, that can't be ignored. And that phenomenon is a growing momentum for change, coming from the region, that is calling out for a response. And you see it manifested in the Alexandria Declaration, the Sanaa Declaration, the Arab Human Development Report.

So, you know, in this world, you can't be an ostrich, sticking your head in the sand, refusing to recognize and respond to phenomena that basically impose themselves on you. And what we're doing is saying, okay, recognizing that there is this need for -- this desire for reform and trying to support it in ways that, frankly, relate to and help other issues -- the issues of extremism, the issues of terrorism, and the issues of, I think, faith in the future.

But again, that's not to say that because we're doing that, our commitment to, or energy that we're expending on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will diminish.


QUESTION: And also Prince Hassan said that he feared the initiative will stay as initiative because we are closer to election, and therefore nothing is going to be really achieved, practically.

MR. ERELI: Stay tuned to Sea Island. That's what I would -- how I would answer that one.

QUESTION: Oh, I see.

QUESTION: Adam, the Secretary's interview with French TV3 was very critical of Arafat, a hindrance, a disappointment, virtually called on the Palestinians to find a new leader and said we want to embolden. This is a view that the Quartet now shares. Is the U.S. getting any assistance from Egypt or other prominent Arab countries in trying to change the Palestinian leadership?

MR. ERELI: Egypt has been very helpful and has played a very positive role in working with us, with the Israelis and with the Palestinians in trying to improve the security situation there, trying to help the Palestinians meet their commitments in acting against terror, in trying to help empower the Palestinian Authority -- maybe empower is the wrong word -- helping the Palestinian Authority to develop the wherewithal, if you will, to translate into action what they know they need to do. And I think we're very grateful for Egypt's support and effort and originality and energy in this effort.

QUESTION: Wether security is done, which is very, very important, of course. But my question really was: is Egypt weighing in in any way to try to get Arafat out of there, or at least get him in such an innocuous, nominal role that you can proceed? Because if you look at the Secretary's words, I mean, he called Arafat a hindrance and he didn't accept the French interviewer's suggestion that Sharon was a hindrance as well; he said quite the opposite.

So it seems that he is not playing the role, he says. He's not -- and he didn't play a role in the Clinton years; he was a hindrance there, too. Does Egypt agree with that, and are they doing anything to try to persuade Arafat to step aside?

MR. ERELI: I don't want to speak for the Egyptians on this, Barry. I'd refer you to them for their views on Arafat. I think ours are, as the Secretary said, well-known and have not changed.

QUESTION: I should have put the question, has the U.S. asked Egypt to intervene to get Arafat to step aside?

MR. ERELI: I think the United States has -- well, we don't even have to ask. Egypt is playing and continues to play a positive role in trying to address ongoing security shortcomings of the Palestinian Authority.

QUESTION: When you say to help develop the wherewithal, I mean, does that imply that they have absolutely no idea what to do and how to do it?

MR. ERELI: No, no.

QUESTION: Because, I mean --

MR. ERELI: I wouldn't make it that sweeping a statement. It means that --

QUESTION: Well, when you say that -- well, I'm just saying, like, that term kind of implies that they don't have the knowledge or the capacity, when all along Administration officials had said it's more of a issue of political will and the desire to crack down on terrorism.

MR. ERELI: I think it's an issue of deciding how to move forward. And there's a lot of assistance that friends can provide, both in terms of technical advice, in terms of training, in terms of experience, in terms of political support. These are difficult challenges that the Palestinian Authority faces. They're challenges, I think, that have gone unmet for too long. And there are, I think, important contributions that countries like Egypt, who have a long history of association with the Palestinians, who have a long history of developing security apparatuses, can bring to the table, that can help move the Palestinians in the direction that they say they want to go.

QUESTION: You agreed a while ago to check and see if Mr. Armitage had a meeting with Mr. Erekat.

MR. ERELI: No, Mr. Burns.

QUESTION: Mr. Burns. I meant Mr. Burns. I have Armitage in mind for other things, like the CIA. (Laughter.) With Mr. Burns.

Could you -- could you take this as a request? Could you broaden our interest, if someone like Burns is going traveling in the area, and we know why he would, to try to move this process along -- you're kind of eager to meet your goal of a Palestinian state sometime in the next seven or eight months -- could you please let us know? Because a lot of this stuff we learn about third hand. There seems to be a -- NEA doesn't seem to think this is the public's business to -- but if there's such a meeting, it reasonably enough would have been on the calendar. There are much less interesting meetings that appear on the daily calendar.

So, please, and please don't take it as criticism, but we'd like to know who might be in motion, if anyone is, apropos peacemaking.

MR. ERELI: I will check and see if we have any update on travel, planned travel for Assistant Secretary Burns.

QUESTION: Thank you. Or someone like him. I mean, Satterfield has done some heavy lifting, too. (Laughter.)

MR. ERELI: Okay. Or Mr. Satterfield.

Yes, Arshad.

QUESTION: Do you have any kind of a readout, speaking of less interesting meetings, of Mr. Armitage's meeting with the Algerian Presidential Chief of Staff? Or can you get us one?

MR. ERELI: Yeah, I'll get you one.


QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. ERELI: Just to make sure -- no, I think we've got more.

Yes, sir.

QUESTION: Yes, sir. I wonder if you had a chance to review the statement that came out of the meeting of President of Syria, Bashar Assad, with the new Prime Minister of Spain after the -- at the conclusion of two days visit. They have emphasized their mutual recognition to their mutual work and confrontation of, you know, toward the issues of terrorism, WMD and peace in the Middle East. And they emphasized in their statement also the need for dialogue in the world and not imposing sanctions, and also Syria has emphasized the unique role of Spain, that Spain can play in the future in bringing peace to the Middle East. Would the United States be supporting such a role, strong role, for Spain in the future?

MR. ERELI: There's not really too much in that declaration that -- I haven't seen it, but none of it really strikes me as anything that we would object to. I think the important point here to make is that if Syria really believes that we should all act against terrorism, then there are certain things that it can do that have been the subject of dialogue between the United States and Syria for some time, but which despite our ongoing dialogue doesn't seem to have produced anything in terms of concrete actions by Syria. So, you know, that's what my comment would be on those issues.

As to Spain's role in promoting dialogue and promoting peace, we certainly welcome that. Spain is a close ally and has been -- has been involved in the region and on the issue for a long time, and certainly brings positive things to bear.

QUESTION: Do you think that could take place during -- at the -- during the remaining time of this Administration, between now and the new election, presidential election? Or it will have to wait?

MR. ERELI: That what could?

QUESTION: The leaning on Spain to play a stronger role in the Middle -- in bringing peace in the Middle East since it has a lot of mutual understandings with the Arab world.

MR. ERELI: Well, I don't know what strong role, or how you judge strong role or not strong role. We've got, if you're talking about the issues, our issues with Syria, that's primarily a bilateral -- that's a bilateral concern. It's an issue that we've pursued bilaterally, and it's an issue that, I think, we need to see action on.

These are concerns that have implications for the entire region. To the extent that, to the, I think, to the extent that Spain can contribute or any country can contribute to moving Syria in the direction of abandoning its support for terrorist organizations and groups and individuals who want to destroy Israel, destroy the peace process and continue to occupy Lebanon, that would be helpful.

QUESTION: Syria has, during the visit of President Assad with the King of Spain and the new Prime Minister, he emphasized the need for Syria to have peace with Israel and called on Israel to abandon the aggressive policies of Mr. Sharon and invited Israel, actually, to come back to the peace negotiation table; and also the talks have emphasized, during the press conference, they emphasized, also, Syria's role in confronting terrorism.

MR. ERELI: What's the question?

QUESTION: Well, do you agree with Syria? I mean, there has been lots of -- there have been lots of American statements recognizing Syria's role in confronting terrorism and helping save hundreds of American lives.

MR. ERELI: I think I've stated as best I can what our position is, that Syria -- we've made clear what we're looking for Syria to do and we're waiting for action. So let me just leave it at that.

QUESTION: Adam, could you -- would you care to try to handicap when the resolution on Iraq might be ready? I ask because the Secretary, in several interviews, has spoken of -- this is, you know, soluble, he sees a happy resolution, and yet I think every country but the Solomon Islands wants to change the resolution. I'm exaggerating, but everybody's lined up for changes, from Chile to Russia. What's going on, I mean?

MR. ERELI: I would not want to give you a deadline. We would like action on this resolution in a timely way. We also recognize that there are a number of views, discussions need to continue. We are looking forward to hearing from Foreign Minister Zebari today, from Secretary General's Special Envoy Ambassador Brahimi later in the week.

So this is -- these discussions are going, obviously, are going to continue. It's important to get the input from everybody. But at the same time, let's remember that the purpose of this resolution is to recognize the new government in Iraq and that government takes power on June 30.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. ERELI: Yes, Saul.

QUESTION: Does it have to be as late as June 30th? The interim government's already in place, and if you get this resolution done beforehand, are you open to handing over power before June 30th?

MR. ERELI: We're still looking at a June 30th transfer of sovereignty date. That's what the planning is. I wouldn't rule out something earlier, if all the circumstances and planets aligned in that way. But right now, our focus is June 30th.

Yes, ma'am.

QUESTION: Yeah, Taiwan's cabinet yesterday approved --

QUESTION: Still Iraq?

MR. ERELI: I'm sorry. Still on Iraq?

QUESTION: Yes, one more, please.


QUESTION: The new Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has asked the Arab foreign ministers to join the discussion in the Security Council regarding the resolution. Does the U.S. welcome the participation of the Arab foreign ministers? Do you think it's an overdue matter that they should have taken part in the discussion a long time ago?

MR. ERELI: I haven't seen those comments, so I really wouldn't want to comment on them. I think it's an issue that if, as I said, if Iraq is promoting that and will, you know, be discussed at the Security Council and at the UN. But I -- I'm not -- I haven't seen what he said exactly, so I wouldn't want to comment on it.

Yes, ma'am.

QUESTION: On Taiwan, Taiwan's cabinet yesterday approved a special budget of $18 billion U.S. dollars to buy arms from the U.S. Now the bill is waiting to be passed by legislators. I wonder if you can confirm that the U.S., through American Institute in Taiwan, has invited Taiwan's legislators to come to Washington and Hawaii later this month to see the weapons Taiwan is going to get to help push the deal. Are you aware of such a delegation coming?

MR. ERELI: You're asking me to confirm two things that are both speculative: a) that there's been an invitation; and b) what the subject of the invitation is. I can't confirm -- since I can't confirm a), I'm not going to confirm b). I'll look and see if there's anything we can say about a delegation of Taiwanese legislators coming to the United States, and that's what I'll check on.

QUESTION: Can you tell us the U.S. stance on this potential specific arms sales deal?

MR. ERELI: Not really, since it's currently under debate within Taiwan. I think we've always said that we are committed to providing for Taiwan's defensive needs.


MR. ERELI: But I don't have any specific comment on this proposed legislation that is within -- still in the Taiwanese sort of process of debate.



QUESTION: Can you give us any preview today of today's meeting between Assistant Secretary Kelly and the Japanese Director General, Mr. Yabunaka?

MR. ERELI: What I can tell you is that Deputy Secretary Armitage will be meeting with Japanese Foreign Ministry Director General Yabunaka tomorrow afternoon. One of the objectives of the visit is to brief U.S. officials on the trip that Director General Yabunaka took with Prime Minister Koizumi to Pyongyang on May 22nd, as well as Japan's view of the North Korea situation.

QUESTION: Can you say anything about the next round of six-party talk in terms of this bilateral consultation?

MR. ERELI: Not specifically. I mean, obviously, you know that we're looking to convene a third round of six-party talks before the end of this month. There was a working group meeting that ended last month, and I think efforts to convene that working group are -- I'm sorry -- efforts to convene the full meeting of the six-party group will continue. But I don't have anything specific to add to that.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Just to clarify something, was it by the end of this month or the end of next month that you --

MR. ERELI: This was the end of June, wasn't it?


MR. ERELI: End of June.


QUESTION: Thank you very much.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:55 p.m.)


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