State Department Briefing


Friday  June 20, 2003

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) Friday, June 20, 2003 1:20 p.m. EDT BRIEFER: Philip T. Reeker, Deputy Spokesman Index: ANNOUNCEMENTS Participation at the World Economic Forum in Jordan World Refugee Day KENYA Closure of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi LIBERIA President Taylor's Commitments to Ceasefire/Accra Talks President Taylor's Indictment by the Special Court in Sierra Leone BELGIUM Additional Universal Competence Law Cases Against U.S. Officials NORTH KOREA Reports on Arsenal of Nuclear Warheads Contact with Japan on North Korean Nuclear Weapons Program Discussions with UN Security Council Permanent Members ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS American Citizens Injured/Killed in West Bank Shooting SAUDI ARABIA Consulate in Jeddah Providing Refuge to American Citizen Sara Saga ANGOLA Missing Aircraft IRAN IAEA Board of Governors Report on the Iranian Nuclear Program MEXICO American Citizen Duane "Dog" Chapman PAKISTAN Press Reports Concerning F-16 Sales MR. REEKER: Welcome back, everyone, to the State Department on this lovely Friday. Secretary Powell, as you are all aware, I am sure, is in Jordan this evening with his traveling party. He has had a number of press availabilities today, so I will refer you to those in terms of discussions he has had today. As you are aware, he will be attending the World Economic Forum in Jordan this weekend. They will be talking about a number of the President's initiatives: the Middle East Partnership Initiative, the U.S.-Middle East Free Trade Arrangement. And Ambassador Bremer, the head of the coalition provisional authority in Iraq, will also be attending the World Economic Forum, and he will be joined by an advisory group of Iraqi business men and women, and there will be economists and other political leaders there focusing on getting the Iraq economy going, reform in the banking sector and measures to encourage foreign and domestic investment in Iraq. So those are things to look to. And, of course, next week there will be the meetings in New York hosted by the UN, a donors conference on Iraq, and there will be a number of Iraqis attending that as well. So that is looking ahead. I did want to note that the Secretary will be back on Monday, but today, Friday, June 20th, is World Refugee Day. I am going to call your attention to the fact that the United States joins with the international community in recognizing today as World Refugee Day. This is a day that extols the welcome given to refugees around the globe. Since World War II, more refugees have found permanent homes in the United States of America than in any other country, and almost 2 million refugees have been resettled in the United States since 1975. Our country continues to reach out and admit refugees from around the world, even under the most challenging security circumstances; to wit, in 2002, even in the aftermath of the most serious attack on our nation's security on September 11th, 2001, the number of refugees resettled in the United States exceeded the total accepted by all other countries in the world combined. This year, World Refugee Day -- the theme of World Refugee Day is "Shared Wishes, Shared Dreams, Refugee Youth and Us." And it's highlighting the many young people who are refugees. So we are joining the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees in celebrating the resilience and determination of refugee youth, and of all refugees throughout the world. This year, this fiscal year, so far the United States has provided over $255 million to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and we call upon the international community to continue to support the UNHCR to ensure that basic needs are met. Terri. QUESTION: What can you tell us about threat level and closure of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya? MR. REEKER: Kenya. The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi is completely closed today to review its security posture. As you are aware, we often close our embassies or other diplomatic offices abroad to review security. That is mentioned in our Worldwide Caution on Security that has been in place for some time. The Embassy, just as any of our diplomatic posts abroad, constantly reviews security and takes appropriate actions when warranted. We do expect that the Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya will remain closed Monday and Tuesday. But, obviously, we will keep you current on that as the weekend goes by and those days arrive. QUESTION: Is there anything you can tell us about reports coming out of various government agencies as to the specific threats in Kenya? MR. REEKER: No. I have nothing more detailed on any intelligence, but as we have indicated in the past, we do monitor this very closely. As you know, East Africa has been an area of terrorist threats and, indeed, terrorist attacks in the past. History has shown, of course, the previous bombing of our embassy in Nairobi, the horrible bombing in Mombassa, and so those threats are still out there. We continue working, obviously, with the Kenyan Government, but with other governments in the region and all around the world to counter those threats, to do whatever we can to stop terrorism. QUESTION: And has the Kenyan Government been receptive and helpful in providing security? Sometimes we've had not as much -- MR. REEKER: We continue to work very closely with the Kenyan Government on security for, obviously for our mission, our buildings and our personnel in Kenya and in the overall worldwide fight against terrorism in terms of intelligence sharing, in terms of law enforcement cooperation, in terms of other actions that we have been taking on that. QUESTION: So you're happy with the level of cooperation? MR. REEKER: Yes. QUESTION: When you say completely closed, you mean that nobody's -- nobody's going there, or just closed to the public? MR. REEKER: That is my understanding, that it is completely closed today. I can't tell you that there is, you know, not a single person that may go in or out, but there are no public services being offered. Obviously, for American citizens in need of emergency services, they can contact the Embassy. There are emergency numbers available and we can always endeavor to help Americans in need, but basic services provided by the Embassy in terms of visas and other things would be suspended today, and Monday/Tuesday if it remains closed. Anything else on Kenya? No? Then let's start with this gentleman, and we'll come back to the lady here. QUESTION: Do you have anything to say about Charles Taylor reneging on his pledge to step down as leader of Liberia? MR. REEKER: I have seen a number of wire stories coming out of the region. I think it is important to keep the record straight in terms of the commitments that Charles Taylor has made to date, but remind you that earlier this month, June 4th, before the assembled heads of state and delegates at the Liberia peace talks at Accra, Ghana, Charles Taylor announced that he would not seek to remain as President of Liberia beyond the end of his current term in January. Then on June 17th -- and we talked about this earlier this week -- his representative signed a cessation of hostilities agreement in which he promised to seek, within 30 days, a comprehensive peace plan which would, among other things, and I quote from the agreement, "cover the formation of a transition government in which he would not serve." We believe that Charles Taylor must abide by these two commitments, and we call on the delegates to the Accra talks to agree promptly on the terms of the transition government, as they had agreed to do, and we hope that this transition government will be able to take office as soon as possible. We believe that there is no place for Charles Taylor in the transitional government or in any future government of Liberia. Yes, sir. QUESTION: What do you think of the attitude of Belgium, who added three more names on the list? MR. REEKER: You are talking about the issue of the universal competence law in Belgium. QUESTION: Yes. MR. REEKER: If I can note the facts there, we have been informed by the Government of Belgium that three new cases were filed in their courts against U.S. officials: one against President Bush, against National Security Advisor Rice, against the Defense Secretary Mr. Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz and Attorney General Ashcroft; another case was filed against President Bush and Secretary of State Powell and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, as well as British Prime Minister Blair; and a third case was filed against Secretary Powell. As we have repeatedly said, Belgium's universal competence law makes it possible for people with a political agenda to put American officials, as well as other nations' leaders, at risk. It is becoming difficult, I think, for our leaders to travel freely to Belgium. Two of those cases were filed by people who are not even Belgian citizens. The law that allows the filing of these cases, as we have said before, is indefensible; and these cases demonstrate that even with the recent amendments the law does not work and, we believe, should be repealed. Jonathan. QUESTION: As I am sure you know, under the new procedures, these cases are referred to the host governments. MR. REEKER: That is what I just said. QUESTION: Yeah. Did you? I didn't hear you. MR. REEKER: I said the Belgian Government has informed us of these new cases. QUESTION: Yes, okay. MR. REEKER: Didn't use the word "refer," but -- QUESTION: Well, they have informed you of them, but they have done more than that. They have actually remanded them -- if I could use a technical term -- to the U.S. judicial system. MR. REEKER: Then I would refer you to those parties. QUESTION: Okay. But, so what's your problem with this then, since being referred to the U.S. judicial system, which will presumably follow the example of the British judicial system, which is basically throwing them away? MR. REEKER: I think I just outlined our problem with this, that this is something that we think is putting our leaders at risk. The law doesn't work. We think it should be repealed. And that is our view. It is the view we have held and the view we will continue to hold. QUESTION: In what sense does it put them at risk, since the cases have been remanded to the U.S. judicial system, which is -- MR. REEKER: Well, every time one of these cases comes up, we have to go through this process, Jonathan. And that is exactly what I described -- you know, three new cases that they have informed us of, that they have remanded, as you said. And I just think it is quite clear that it is becoming difficult for people to travel freely to Belgium if they have to, you know, always be expecting some new case to arise that will be remanded or not. So I think I have stated our view on the law. We have made that quite clear, and we are having a thorough discussion on this. It is something that is up to the Belgian Government to fix. QUESTION: Did Belgium give immunity to the travel -- to the international organizations over there? MR. REEKER: I don't follow your question. QUESTION: I think Belgium can give immunity to people who travel to see the international organizations. MR. REEKER: I suppose they can. QUESTION: You will accept that? MR. REEKER: Well, that is simply a statement of fact that is based on a hypothetical. I don't know what you're doing there. I think I have made our position clear on that situation. As I said, it is something that is the subject of discussions, and we think is up to the Belgian Government to fix what we consider to be a problem. Now -- on this? QUESTION: No. MR. REEKER: Yes, and the lady behind you was going to go first. QUESTION: Do you have an idea on who filed the suits? MR. REEKER: It is not for me to talk to the specific suits. I'm sure you can find that out. QUESTION: You said that two of them are not even Belgian citizens? MR. REEKER: That's right. QUESTION: So can you say -- MR. REEKER: No. QUESTION: -- their nationality? MR. REEKER: It is not for me to do that. I am pointing out one of the things that is reflected in this law, that two of them are not even Belgian citizens that are filing these cases. QUESTION: On North Korea. A Japanese newspaper reported that Washington told Tokyo that North Korea has several small-scale nuclear warheads for ballistic missiles. Have you heard of such reports and do you have any comment on them? MR. REEKER: I have seen a variety of press reports on that. As you know, it is not our practice to comment or speculate on reports that involve intelligence-related matters. But what I can say, which should be of no news to you, is that we have stated publicly on many occasions that we believe North Korea may have one, possibly two, nuclear weapons. Secretary Powell made that point in his press conference in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, just two days ago, on Wednesday. Once again, I think we are all quite aware that North Korea is also actively pursuing a nuclear weapons program that we have insisted must be verifiably and irreversibly ended. And I think it is a fact that is well established that North Korea has flight-tested medium-range missiles. So the facts and the statements that have been made in the past remain the salient facts here. Terri. And then we will go back. QUESTION: I understand that an American citizen has been killed in a shooting in a West Bank settlement. MR. REEKER: Yes. There were four U.S. citizens who were shot near the settlement of Ofra, around Ramallah today. One of those citizens was killed. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family of the deceased. And in deference to the family and their specific wishes, we will not be releasing details regarding the deceased. The other three United States citizens are being treated in a hospital for their injuries. A consular officer from the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem has met with them already. As I indicated, we don't have Privacy Act waivers to provide any further information on that situation. Yes. QUESTION: On the issue of North Korea, I'm wondering if you have ever formally or informally contacted Japan on that regard? MR. REEKER: We talk to Japan constantly on the issue of North Korea. I think you are quite aware of that. We have meetings at a variety of levels, including the regular Trilateral Coordination Group meetings with Japan and South Korea, the most recently one held last week in Honolulu, and you saw the statement from that. We are in regular consultation with Japan, with South Korea, with China and other governments about the situation with North Korea. We have made quite clear, as Secretary Powell did again in Cambodia this week, and many others in the international community made clear, that we want to seek a peaceful and a diplomatic solution to this, that North Korea can get itself out of the situation it has put itself into by verifiably and irreversibly ending its nuclear weapons program. Jonathan. QUESTION: Yes. Did Sara Saga leave your Consulate in Jeddah, as she had planned to do? MR. REEKER: No, the U.S. citizen Sara Saga remains at the United States Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with her two children. Ms. Saga is free to depart Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Foreign Ministry approved this request during a meeting with the chargé d'affaires of the United States Embassy on June 18th and they processed the necessary paperwork for her departure. We understood that yesterday, Sara Saga had decided that she would leave Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. Consulate officials had told her that she could voluntarily change her mind about that decision. And the latest news we have is that she has done so. So she has made that -- QUESTION: Sara has changed her mind? MR. REEKER: Exactly. QUESTION: So she's what? Planning to stay in the Consulate at the moment or planning to go home or -- MR. REEKER: I can't speak for her. At this time she remains in the Consulate, and she may remain in the Consulate as long as she desires. QUESTION: On North Korea. After the -- you brought the case to the UN Security permanent members yesterday, what do you expect next? What do you want the members to do? MR. REEKER: Well, this is the situation with North Korea, as we were just discussing, and as the Secretary noted this week, there is no issue of greater urgency to the United States, and a consistent view among nations at the ASEAN meetings, regional foreign meetings in Phnom Penh, that nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula cannot be tolerated. As you know, the Security Council, that is, the United Nations Security Council, has been considering the issue. Since the International Atomic Energy Agency reported the matter to the Council in February, we have been continuing to have discussions with other Council members. We have been exploring the possibility of a presidential statement, as a means to convey authoritatively and unequivocally, the international community's concern to Pyongyang. We do continue to believe that a strong public statement from the Council would strengthen our diplomatic efforts to reach a peaceful solution, and would complement efforts by countries in the region aimed at multilateral talks with North Korea. So we have continued to have those types of discussions with the permanent five members of the Security Council, and, of course, with South Korea and Japan, as I mentioned earlier. QUESTION: But right now, no other actions? MR. REEKER: That is exactly what we are looking at. I think many members of the Security Council would agree on the importance of speaking clearly on this issue, and we are discussing the timing and modalities for doing so. Our view remains that North Korea must visibly and irreversibly, verifiably dismantle their nuclear weapons program. And we have begun to circulate a draft text as part of the discussions that we have been having. We have shared these ideas with other concerned governments in New York, but I couldn't speculate on any timing or any further meetings at this point. QUESTION: And the draft text on this is on -- MR. REEKER: We have begun -- QUESTION: -- North Korea's nuclear program? MR. REEKER: Right. What we were looking at in our discussions with other Security Council members was exploring the possibility of a presidential statement, as a means to convey our concerns to Pyongyang as part of our multilateral diplomacy. And that is part of the discussions that we have been having with the permanent five members of the Security Council, as well as other countries. QUESTION: Okay. But you say there is no timing decided on -- MR. REEKER: No, I couldn't speculate on timing. QUESTION: Can I go back to Charles Taylor for a minute? MR. REEKER: Sure. QUESTION: Some of his people have drawn a connection between his reluctance to leave office and his indictment by the court in Sierra Leone. Have you heard from anybody? Presumably, you do have contacts with Charles Taylor's government occasionally. MR. REEKER: We have an ambassador in Monrovia. QUESTION: I know, exactly. Have you heard this from them? Is this what they're telling you? MR. REEKER: Don't know. I haven't seen any such reports like that. QUESTION: And then, is there any connection between this -- this issue and your rather lukewarm support for the indictment or for -- MR. REEKER: I reject your characterization, as I often do, Jonathan. You can, you know, do your own analysis from your seat there. We have been strong supporters of the special court. What I have referred you to is specifically to the prosecutor in that court for any indictments and the facts on that. I am not aware of any particular discussions on this. I haven't seen the reports that you are referring to in terms of comments in that regard from Charles Taylor's people, as you described them, but our view on Charles Taylor and the commitments that he has made quite publicly to the world remains what I described earlier. QUESTION: Okay. Well, can you just go over it again, because it did -- it has changed a couple of times. How does it stand today? Do you think that Charles Taylor should surrender to the court immediately? MR. REEKER: As I told you, you need to refer questions to the court for what they have requested and what their -- any indictments that they have announced. That is not for me to discuss here. That is for the court to suggest. We have supported the special court in Sierra Leone. We have supported justice and continue to support justice for those who were part of the atrocities that took place in Sierra Leone for the crimes against humanity and the war crimes. But in terms of details and specifics on what that court has asked for, what their indictment calls for, you need to talk to the court, to the prosecutor there. QUESTION: Well how does this -- can I just ask -- why is this any different from the case of the ICTY in The Hague, where -- which -- where you demand that the indictees present themselves and voluntarily surrender? MR. REEKER: Because every case is different. This isn't that case. I don't know why you are bringing that case into it. I have said, if you want to ask questions about the specific case that this court may be bringing, or the charges against Charles Taylor, and indictment, talk to them about it. Our view on the court and our support for it, I have reestablished again today. I reject your notion of lukewarm support for that court. I think we were one of the strongest supporters and provided funding for the creation of that special court. Yes. QUESTION: One question back on the Saga case. Do U.S. officials continue to discuss with the Saudis whether Sara's two Saudi citizen children would be allowed to accompany her if she left? MR. REEKER: Let me go through what else we can say about that. I told you already that we understand that Ms. Saga has, at this time, determined that she was going to remain in the Consulate. That is the latest news that I have. And as I said, she may remain as long as she wants to. Since her arrival at the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, she has had the full support of U.S. officials there and from our Embassy to Saudi Arabia, which is based, of course, in Riyadh, and here in Washington. We have been vigorously engaged with the Saudi authorities at very high levels. The chargé d'affaires, of course, has been in Jeddah to assist in pressing this case with the Saudis. I will remind you that the Government of Saudi Arabia made a commitment back in September of 2002 that all adult women would be free to travel out of Saudi Arabia, that is, all adult American women. And in every case raised with the Foreign Minister since this commitment, permission has been secured for American citizen women to depart. None of the women who have been granted such permission have chosen to depart and we keep in regular contact with them. So we are in touch with them on this case. QUESTION: Right. But you didn't answer my question. Is part of the discussion that her two children could continue to go? You have already achieved her permission to leave the country. Are you still discussing whether her children would be allowed to accompany her? MR. REEKER: The commitment, in terms of what the Saudis have committed, to doesn't extend to children of those women. QUESTION: I understand that. That's why I'm asking. MR. REEKER: And under Saudi law, any child who resides in Saudi Arabia with his or her Saudi citizen father requires the father's permission. And so that is an issue in terms of the fact that she, Mrs. Saga, and her husband share legal custody of their two children. Obviously, neither parent wants to be separated from their children. So that is a custody issue that they will have to keep looking at. QUESTION: So there's no sense in discussing that? No sense in the U.S. Government discussing that with the Saudi Government, then? MR. REEKER: It is an issue that the two parents would have to address. QUESTION: Okay. MR. REEKER: Yes. QUESTION: I would like to ask about the 727 that vanished in Angola last month and whether the Americans are leading the search, how they are conducting it, and where they are focusing. And the Angolans say that it was a converted oil tanker. Any idea on why someone would take a -- MR. REEKER: A converted oil tanker? I don't know -- I have read a variety of reports about that. As we have said before, our interest and search began when an American citizen who owns this aircraft reported the plane missing to the FBI on May 25th. And we have been working, that is, the State Department, with civil aviation authorities and governments throughout Africa, to try to locate this missing aircraft, and we are continuing that search. I don't have any real news there. I would call it a continuing search, a continuing investigation. There is no particular information suggesting that the disappearance of the aircraft is linked to terrorists or terrorism, but it is still something that, obviously, we would like to get to the bottom of. Yes, sir. QUESTION: Phil, you haven't had a chance to brief since the IAEA completed its deliberations on Iran. I was wondering if there is disappointment here at the statement that was issued. Also -- MR. REEKER: I do believe my colleagues at the White House and other -- including the Secretary's traveling party, have addressed that quite fully. QUESTION: Okay. President Putin said today at his news conference that he has been assured by President Khatami that Tehran has no plans, intentions, to develop nuclear weapons. Any reaction to that? MR. REEKER: I saw the reports, press reports, of President Putin's press conference, and I can say that I hope that ours doesn't last as long, but I just don't have a transcript. I haven't actually seen President Putin's remarks. In terms of the IAEA Board of Governors and their statement, as we have made quite clear since that statement came out, we welcome the conclusion that the IAEA Board of Governors made that Iran must live up to its Nonproliferation Treaty safeguards obligations and must cooperate fully with the IAEA to rectify outstanding problems and answer unresolved questions. The Board, as you are aware, explicitly shared the concerns expressed by Director General ElBaradei, the Director General of the IAEA, in his interim report which was issued June 6th and documents Iran's failures to report nuclear material, facilities and activities, as required by its safeguards obligations. And the Board called on Iran to grant all access deemed necessary by the IAEA and called on Iran not to introduce nuclear material into the enrichment facility at Natanz pending resolution of outstanding issues, and also called for Iran promptly and unconditionally to conclude and implement an additional safeguards protocol that would give enhanced transparency to Iran's nuclear program. So this is an interim report, obviously, but it already confirms that Iran has failed to meet its obligations. And it is something that is ongoing, but does certainly confirm the growing international consensus that Iran's nuclear activities, their program, is of great concern. And we are going to continue to support IAEA's request to provide follow-up to this interim report and be watching that very closely. We expect more inspections and further reports and further action by the Board in coming months. Yes, sir. QUESTION: On, actually, the North Korea problem, since the discussion regarding the North Korea is going on between the U.S. and the other four permanent council members, the security members, and this discussion doesn't include the Chinese Government, as China is a -- MR. REEKER: The other four would include the Chinese Government. QUESTION: Yeah, I notice there is Russia and -- because I just don't know if there's different discussion between U.S. Government and the Chinese Government is going on or is the same frame. MR. REEKER: No. As I said, the other four -- the United States is the fifth of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- so that includes China, obviously Russia, France and Great Britain. And we have been discussing and sharing this draft of a -- QUESTION: So the draft, it will be including the Chinese part, right? MR. REEKER: Yes. We have shared with the Chinese the draft presidential statement that we have looked at as a possibility that we have been exploring in terms of how the Security Council might convey to Pyongyang the international community's concerns about their nuclear weapons program. And we are going to continue to pursue that in our discussions with China, as well as other countries on the Security Council and other countries for whom this is of great interest and concern, as demonstrated at the ASEAN meetings in Phnom Penh. Terri. QUESTION: Do you have any information on this bounty hunter, Duane Chapman, who's being held, an American citizen being held in Mexico? MR. REEKER: I have certainly been watching on television and seen pictures of Duane "Dog" Chapman, but I don't have any information I can share with you. QUESTION: Do you have -- I mean, he's an American citizen. You obviously have -- on his case -- MR. REEKER: I have no information that I can share with you on this American citizen. QUESTION: Phil? MR. REEKER: Yes, sir. QUESTION: On Iran again, the administration spokesmen -- maybe yourself, also, have used this argument -- have taken up the issue of Iran's nuclear program expressing doubt as to why Iran would want to develop nuclear energy peacefully since they have so much natural gas and oil. But isn't it the case that the Iranian nuclear program actually began under the Shah during the "Atoms for Peace" program, and it's been a long-term commitment of Iran and many other nations that oil and gas is a natural resource and might be used better to improve the overall standard of the country, rather than being used to generate electricity, which can be done more effectively and cheaper with nuclear energy? MR. REEKER: I don't know. That's a historical discussion that I am just not aware of. What I -- QUESTION: But the argument has been used. They say because they have all this oil -- MR. REEKER: I am glad I am not aware of that argument. It is not something that I am familiar with at all. What I am familiar with are the facts, and that is that the capacity for generating energy that Iran claims to be pursuing through this nuclear program provides less energy than what they burn off every year in terms of natural gas production. So it leads one to question quite seriously, particularly with the lack of transparency that the IAEA report has documented, what Iran is actually doing with this. So it is of great concern to us. We have been sharing those concerns with the international community for some time and we are seeing that the international community is sharing some of our concerns. And that is why we've expressed our support, welcomed the report from the Board of Governors of the IAEA, and said that we will continue to support the IAEA in their efforts to pursue the recommendations that were made. QUESTION: Thank you. MR. REEKER: No, I'm sorry. We have some other -- but you can leave, Terri. You will be -- you are quite welcome to. (Laughter.) Please, go right ahead. QUESTION: This is on Pakistan. Certain administrators from Pakistan are here in the U.S. are reporting that the U.S. would be ready to deliver to Islamabad F-16 jet fighters. I don't know if you have anything on that. MR. REEKER: There were stories, press reports, about F-16 sales that were in the Pakistani press that I had checked out a couple of days ago that suggested that a U.S. official had provided information regarding F-16s. That story is a fabrication, is what I was told. And so I don't have anything further on that. Well, that is it. That was easy. Have a good weekend. (The briefing was concluded at 1:55 p.m.)


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