State Department Briefing, August 12, 2003
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
MR. REEKER: Well, welcome back to the State Department, everybody this fine Tuesday afternoon. I have no formal statements or announcements, so I would be happy to defer to one of our fine colleagues from the wire services.
QUESTION: Yeah, Phil, I was just wondering if you could go a little bit beyond, or maybe you can't, what the Secretary said this morning about the situation in the Middle East and also tell us what Assistant Secretary Burns' plans are now that -- since he happens to be in the region.
MR. REEKER: Well, certainly, as the Secretary echoed this morning, our sentiments are that we condemn in the strongest possible terms the horrific acts of terrorism that killed at least two innocent Israeli civilians and injured many, many more this morning.
There can be no excuse for the violence and terrorist attacks that the Israeli people have been forced to endure, and our deepest condolences go out to the victims of this vicious attack and their families. This clearly illustrates, I think, why a temporary cessation of violence or a ceasefire cannot be an end in itself. The Palestinian Authority, as we've said, must act now to dismantle terrorist capabilities, to dismantle the capacity of these terrorist organizations, these enemies of peace, and the networks that perpetrate such attacks, and work to prevent any future attacks.
As we've said before, and as the roadmap made clear, all parties have responsibilities in bringing peace to the Middle East. But ending terror must be the highest priority. All parties, the Palestinians, the Israelis, our partners in the region, we must all work together immediately to end terror and open up the path to peace that the Secretary talked about this morning with the young people from the region.
It is essential that international and regional leaders do their part to halt all assistance, including funding flows to any groups engaged in violence and terror, and we continue to raise that with parties in the region.
You mentioned Assistant Secretary Burns. He is in the region today. I believe he is in Tel Aviv. He may also have been in Jerusalem today. I don't have exact details of his whereabouts at this particular moment. He has been traveling in the region, as we have discussed, meeting with officials, obviously, from all parties. He was in Egypt. He will be meeting, as well, with Jordanian officials in Amman, discussing the pursuit of the comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace.
QUESTION: Mr. Abbas, apparently, is traveling, too. Has -- are they -- have they been -- met? Have they linked up, Burns and Abbas?
MR. REEKER: I don't know yet, Barry.
QUESTION: Or will they?
MR. REEKER: I just don't know what meetings Bill Burns has had specifically today. He is in the region, but I'll have to get a readout at the end of the day and see if we have more details on the meetings he has had, specifically with whom. As you know, we are in touch with Prime Minister Abbas on a fairly regular basis as well as our regular dialogue with other Palestinian officials, and have continued to stress the need to take action.
As the Secretary mentioned last Thursday when he was talking to the press, it is absolutely important that the Palestinian Authority dismantle the capabilities, the capacity, of these terrorist organizations to perpetrate these actions like what we saw today.
QUESTION: Well, his response to that has been that it would touch off a civil war if he took that action. So I -- am I imagining an impasse? Is there a way around these two different views? They are opposing views. You say, "Go at it." and he says "I can't, it'll make things worse."
MR. REEKER: I am not exactly sure what specific references you are making, Barry. I think we have been continuing to talk to the Palestinians. They have talked about the goals that we all share and the Israelis share, and that is moving down the roadmap toward peace, and that it is quite clear that ending terror has got to be the highest priority in that process.
The Secretary talked again this morning about how these terrorists, these members of these groups that attack and kill, murder innocent civilians, are the enemies of peace, are taking away the dreams of young Palestinians, of young Israelis, of all of us, who have been working on this effort.
And so it is incumbent upon the Palestinians, it is incumbent upon regional leaders, everyone in the international community to do all we can to halt any assistance, any flows, any support that goes to terrorist groups to root out their capability and capacity for perpetrating this type of violence.
QUESTION: The Al-Aqsa Brigade that claimed responsibility for one of the bombings, they're linked to Fatah. Fatah is part of the Palestinian structure. Where are we headed with this? I mean, does Abbas bear any responsibility? Does Arafat? Are they freelancers just making up their minds on a given day to kill Israelis, or is there something more nefarious afoot?
MR. REEKER: Barry, I don't think I can offer you any details on the bombings: who's responsible, who has accepted responsibility, who has done it. The fact of the matter is these types of attacks occurred, and we cannot let these things continue to occur. As I said, we all have to take every action we can.
It's incumbent upon Palestinian leaders to exercise their leadership on behalf of the Palestinian people, who suffer also when their dreams are derailed by the enemies of peace. And that is what we will continue to pursue. That is what we continue to talk about, not only publicly, but in our private dialogues with leaders on all sides. It's incumbent upon them to take this action and to dismantle the networks and capabilities of terrorist organizations, whoever they are.
QUESTION: Has the Secretary made any calls on this?
MR. REEKER: I talked to you about, let's see, the Secretary's call yesterday with Foreign Minister Shalom. Obviously, before this particular one, Sunday he had spoken with Prime Minister Abbas. Since this action today, he has spoken to Spanish Foreign Minister Palacio, not on this particular subject, and with Secretary General Kofi Annan, as well as with the Ghanaian president Kufuor. They talked about Liberia.
QUESTION: One thing the Secretary has talked about periodically over the last several months is calling on other countries in the region to try to help the Palestinians rebuild the Palestinian Authority, rebuild its capacity to go after terrorism. And I wonder if it's your judgment that they actually have the capacity, the muscle, the intelligence, and the arms, whatever it is, to actually go after these groups?
MR. REEKER: They can certainly do everything that they can to exercise leadership and to make ending terror the highest priority. I don't know that I can, right now, give you an analysis of particular capabilities. But as the Secretary indicated, as we have already talked about, they have got to do everything possible to root out the infrastructure and the networks that allow such attacks to take place.
QUESTION: Same speech, different subject. And I hesitate to ask this question, but I've got to do it. Did the Secretary mean to imply that he might be retiring in the not too distant future when he said that -- when he told the Seeds of Peace group that they would be inheriting the world and the region in the not too distant future and that he wouldn't be around, that he would be retired and doing something else?
MR. REEKER: Well, I think it is inevitable that all of us at some point, hopefully, will retire -- even you. (Laughter.) And I think the Secretary would expect to do that, too. I think that type of over-analysis -- it was a very clear statement of what the Secretary was talking about with these young people from the Middle East region that as generations move on, which we all inevitably do, there are certain inevitable aspects of the human condition, Matt, and a retirement, I hope, is one of them.
So I think that was exactly what the Secretary was talking about, that we are working as hard as we can while we are actively engaged in such matters to try to leave a better world, a better region, a better Middle East for the new generations to come. And that is what we pursue in so many areas, certainly, of foreign policy and what the Secretary has dedicated himself to and continues to serve at the pleasure of the President as the Secretary of State and our chief diplomat in trying to carry out these activities and make the world a better, more peaceful place for generations to come.
QUESTION: But he shouldn't be misunderstood to have been suggesting this eventual retirement would happen in the not too distant future?
MR. REEKER: I don't know how you could. I mean, I think it's just --
QUESTION: You could listen to what he said and you can read the -- read the transcript. That's how you can come to that conclusion.
MR. REEKER: Well, listen to what I said and listen to what he said on this subject in recent days, and I would point you back to those things again.
QUESTION: Well, no. I was going to reiterate Matt's point that he said, "You'll inherit this in the not too distant future and I'll be retired," and --
MR. REEKER: Let me tell you, Elise that a group of young people, young people from the Middle East, Israelis and Palestinians, were here in the building today for a briefing, and the Secretary spoke to them passionately about our goals and visions for the Middle East. And I would just refer you to his remarks.
Fortunately, we post the remarks lest anybody be twisted by the interpretations that sometimes come up in this room. So everybody can read the remarks and see what the Secretary said for himself. He was not suggesting anything about his own tenure. He was suggesting exactly what the statements referred to, and that is that the generations to come will be inheriting these situations from all of us who are working on them now. And I think that the meaning of that was certainly clear to those that were listening.
QUESTION: It seems as if, possibly from Syria and Iran, you have spoken about this before, they're intent in helping spur on this vindictiveness and violence from the terrorist groups, Hizballah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and such. And they are saying, meaning the militant groups, themselves, that it's a natural reaction to the Israeli attacks and it's self-defense. Is there anything more -- not necessarily with teenagers that can be done -- more with adults and others to end this cycle of violence?
MR. REEKER: Well, listen to exactly the conversation we have had, Joel. That is what we have been talking about. This has got to end. And I would point you to the Secretary's remarks. There is no excuse. There can be no excuse for violence and terrorist attacks like those that the Israeli people have been forced to endure and what we saw again today that took innocent lives and injured many others. There is no excuse for it. There is no justification.
We have a process where all of us in the international community are participating, where the parties have agreed on what their goals are and how we can achieve those goals. And that is what we must follow. But to do that we have got to end terror; and that applies to everyone. It applies to regional leaders, and we have made that very clear to countries that we have labeled "State Sponsors of Terror," like Syria, like Iran.
The support for groups like Hizballah is something that we have talked about on a very regular basis from here. It is something that the Secretary has raised with Syrian leaders directly in Damascus. They have got to take advantage of the new situation in the Middle East and think about where they want Syria to be, and do everything to shut down these organizations and to cut off and end the capacity for these groups to perpetrate the violence against innocent people.
QUESTION: New subject?
MR. REEKER: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Yeah, North Korea. The Deputy Secretary, this morning or overnight, but in the daytime, I guess Australia time --
MR. REEKER: Someplace.
QUESTION: -- said that the six-party talks would begin in Beijing on the 27th of April. I'm wondering if you have anything on that, to add to that, and also what you expect, if anything, out of the informal talks that you're going to be having this week?
MR. REEKER: As Deputy Secretary Armitage indicated in an interview in Australia, the six-party talks could begin on August 27th. We are not yet in a position to announce details for the talks, but they are expected to take place in the last week of August in Beijing.
As we have also discussed, the People's Republic of China is coordinating with the other participants: with the United States, with North Korea, with the Republic of Korea, with Japan, with Russia, and we expect that PRC will finalize and announce dates and any additional details that we can assume.
And as far as the informal trilateral consultations that we discussed yesterday, that those will begin the afternoon of August 13th, that is, tomorrow afternoon, here in Washington. There will be Japanese representatives as well as South Koreans working together to prepare for the six-party talks, which as we just said, may take place the last week of August.
Our Assistant Secretary for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Jim Kelly will be leading the U.S. delegation along with Director General of Asian and Oceanian Affairs Mitoji Yabunaka from Japan, and Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Soo Hyuck representing South Korea.
QUESTION: Meet here?
QUESTION: The usual suspects?
MR. REEKER: Exactly. What I just said.
QUESTION: No, the delegation, I didn't know if you meant to Beijing oró
MR. REEKER: No, no, no, meaning our delegation for the trilateral consultations taking place here, in Washington.
QUESTION: Which leads to the, well I mean, I was going to --
QUESTION: Do you want me to ask it or do you want to ask it?
QUESTION: I'll ask. You know, we know the Deputy Secretary said that we know who is not going to be in the delegation that goes to Beijing based on what -- or at least one person isn't going to be -- based on what the Deputy Secretary said, that would be Mr. Bolton. Is -- have you decided on who will represent the United States in Beijing?
MR. REEKER: No, I'm told no decision has been made, and as we discussed that is really a decision for the President and the Secretary to appoint our delegation, the head of our delegation and the team that would participate in those talks. Obviously, as Mr. Armitage has said, the United States will be determining who the United States' delegation is, not another country, not North Korea.
QUESTION: A firm no that Undersecretary Bolton will not be in the delegation?
MR. REEKER: I will leave it for the President and the Secretary to decide and we will let you know.
QUESTION: Oh. So you're suggesting that when Deputy Secretary Armitage said that Bolton was not planning -- he had not planned -- or was not --
MR. REEKER: I am not suggesting that at all. I am saying I have no information on the delegation. Exactly what Deputy Secretary Armitage said would seem perfectly logical given what you know about the previous delegation to talks that involved the North Koreans.
MR. REEKER: But I don't have any information on who will lead the delegation. I am simply making the point that the decision will be made, clearly, by the President and the Secretary. The U.S. delegation will be determined by the U.S., not by anybody else.
Jesus. Welcome back, we haven't seen you in a long time.
QUESTION: Thanks. On Mexico. First,
MR. REEKER: Mexico.
QUESTION: I wonder if you can tell me since when was the last time that the State Department and the Mexican government met to discuss the, according to the Mexican Government, ongoing technical discussions and immigration?
MR. REEKER: It is an ongoing, sort of continuous dialogue. I could not tell you the last specific meeting, but I think there are aspects of it that are ongoing and talked about continuously through our diplomacy. I can check and see if there was a specific meeting that we could point to, but it is a topic of ongoing discussion.
QUESTION: And I wonder if the State Department has a final decision on the situation of consular IDs that the Mexican authorities are giving to the Mexicans living in the U.S.?
MR. REEKER: No. It is not entirely a State Department decision. It is a matter that involves a lot of different government authorities, different entities, across the United States system, and so it is something that we are working on interagency and looking at it. The State Department is participating in that discussion, but I am not aware of any particular determination or decision, and it is not something that is necessarily for the State Department, alone, to be talking about.
QUESTION: There will be on more on the Hemisphere, in Cuba. Is the U.S. Government has any remorse on the situation that these six Cubans having with the Fidel Castro government? Their trial to hijacking a boat?
MR. REEKER: I am not quite sure what you --
QUESTION: Do you have any remorse that they are --
MR. REEKER: Could you give me something more specific? Remorse about?
QUESTION: Well, it seems a report I read this morning that they could be sentenced to more than ten years in prison. In Cuba.
MR. REEKER: I think -- I mean, I am not sure that I have seen all the various reports on the subject. We talked at length about our views in terms of immigration policy and what we stick with for dealing with the Cubans that are attempting to flee Fidel Castro's Cuba. We have talked about that before. We have an immigration accord which is something we try to follow very closely to make migration safe, to make sure that those that are trying to escape can do so safe and legally. And so that is a practice that we have.
On the basis of that, as we have said before, we -- when we do encounter situations like those aboard ships interdicted at sea, as we have since 1995, those who can demonstrate protection concerns are taken to the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay for further processing, and those who are determined to have a well-founded fear of persecution or are likely to face torture remain at Guantanamo until such time they can be resettled to third countries.
And I think the case you are talking about, the "Gaviota 16" case, consistent with that, those aboard the Gaviota 16 were given the opportunity to talk to specially trained asylum officers from the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of the Department of Homeland Security, and they determined that the migrants did not quality for protection.
It was Cuba that made unsolicited assertions that it would seek lenient sentences for those accused of the serious crimes of armed robbery and kidnapping, and that it would offer clemency to ensure that no sentence exceeded ten years.
We insisted that the Cuban assertion be made more directly and explicitly and that it be made public, internationally and in Cuba, and the Cuban Government complied with those demands at the time.
QUESTION: Do you trust the Cuban Government in this case?
MR. REEKER: I don't think we place any particular trust in the Cuban Government. But we will look and see that they try to live up to these international commitments that they made.
QUESTION: Can I ask you -- it's another subject?
MR. REEKER: Yeah.
QUESTION: I have in my hand a glossy magazine the State Department, or the U.S. Government, at least, is producing for the Arab world.
MR. REEKER: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Could I ask you a little bit about it? It's very slick. I've seen two issues. I can't read them.
MR. REEKER: Come on, Barry.
QUESTION: But according to The Washington Post, there are a lot of issues that aren't in the magazine, you know, like al-Qaida, the Arab-Israeli conflict, that presumably would be of interest. Can you talk about the magazine a little bit? What's the purpose of it and how much is it -- that old question -- costing the taxpayer?
MR. REEKER: Sure. The Hi magazine, which is in Arabic,
MR. REEKER: -- the two issues that have been released so far. This is something the State Department was pleased to introduce in July, when the first issue came out. It is an Arabic language monthly magazine aimed at young readers. I think the target audience is sort of the 18- to 35-year-old audience throughout the Arab world.
It is associated with a website, and it is designed to engage people in that generation in a constructive, interactive dialogue on many aspects of American society. That includes education, technology, careers, health, subjects that are relevant to younger generations everywhere around the world.
It is a commercially produced product. So we have been working with a commercial magazine company. It is distributed throughout the Arab world, around the Middle East. It is sold at newsstands in the Middle East. And we think it is an opportunity to establish this type of dialogue, an opportunity for younger people in the Middle East who are interested in these topics to read some interesting stuff.
And it is being sold on newsstands throughout the Middle East, or also available by subscription. So it is a competitive, commercially produced and distributed publication, and the intent, over time, is to make the magazine self-financing, or as self-financing as possible through advertising, through newsstand sales, and through paid subscriptions.
So I think if you look at it, the quality of it makes it competitive with any magazines that are available on the newsstand, and that is why we decided to promote it as a commercial publication.
Initially, production of the magazine has required an outlay of about $4.2 million a year. It is a part of our public diplomacy efforts for this very large region, this important region, where we have been looking at opportunities to reach out to, particularly, young people, to talk more about the United States, and as I said, about our culture, about our society, and help to promote a better understanding of who we are, of our diversity, of our very broad and variety of aspects of our culture.
QUESTION: Is it freely available to -- I mean, aren't there countries that would rather not see the United States portrayed so pleasantly as this magazine --
MR. REEKER: As far as I know, it is available on newsstands in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, in the West Bank, in Gaza Strip, in Israel, in Morocco, in Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, Cyprus, and also in Greece.
QUESTION: About how much does it cost?
MR. REEKER: It varies from place to place, depending on local currency, but the average is about $2.00 a copy.
QUESTION: Phil, same subject.
MR. REEKER: Yeah.
QUESTION: Do you have the name of the company, of the magazine company that you're working with?
MR. REEKER: Yeah, it is called the Magazine Group, based here in Washington, D.C. It is a leader in custom-designed magazines with strengths in production and graphic design that produces the magazine.
Another organization called the Levante Group out of Beirut, Paris and London is one of the largest distributors of American magazines in the Middle East region. And they are distributing it and managing subscriptions; and then we have other firms that are contracted for regional advertising, promotion and marketing. And it is printed at a U.S. Government printing facility in Manila.
QUESTION: One other question.
MR. REEKER: Okay.
QUESTION: One of the criticisms of some of the public diplomacy tools is that they focus on U.S. culture, and that U.S. culture and U.S. products are already very popular in the Arab world and elsewhere throughout the world, and that what people are really looking for is some kind of better explanation of policies or a change in policies.
And how do you think that this will be -- magazine will be a tool to help people in the Arab world or Arabic readers understand U.S. policies better? Is there anything in the magazine that describes these things?
MR. REEKER: I think -- I couldn't predict the exact content of each part of this magazine, as it continues to be produced on a monthly basis. But obviously, it has got different sections. There may be different topics. There are other publications, some of them done electronically, some of them printed, distributed in Arabic or the appropriate local language all around the world, that are part of our public diplomacy efforts.
Some of them are very focused, almost academic, journals and publications on U.S. foreign policy and topics about our foreign policy, explaining the foreign policy process, giving a realistic approach to our foreign policy, contrary to some of the views and the mistaken impressions that are held out there or are perpetuated in some media around the world.
So there is a whole variety of things available targeting different audiences, different groups with different interests. I think when you are trying to reach out and have a dialogue with, particularly young people, you need to think about the areas that they are interested in talking about. And so perhaps targeting our audience with a dense and comprehensive foreign policy journal is not going to be a bestseller on the newsstands. But certainly, we make available a lot of information about our policy in our posts abroad, our embassies, and their public affairs sections are very involved in promoting this dialogue, and in advocating and explaining U.S. policies.
QUESTION: Well, it seems to --
QUESTION: How many copies are you printing?
MR. REEKER: How many copies? 50,000 is the initial print run.
QUESTION: Per month?
MR. REEKER: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: And who writes these stories?
MR. REEKER: Oh, we should have gotten you a particular briefing on this.
QUESTION: Freelancers or government officials or --
MR. REEKER: I think there is a mixture.# Let's see here if I have any more specific details. It talks about different sections that are in it. Since I can't read Arabic, I can tell you that they have a section called "The Mirror" that has questions for America, questions from America, areas that feature arts and literature, health and fitness, music, sports, feature stories, photos, celebrity profiles, issues on education, careers, technology.
And Tom is going to hand me something that has to do with -- he's going to get me something that goes into the details of who writes it. I know we have, through our Bureau of International Information Programs, there are professionals who have been working on public diplomacy publications and other things for many years. Some of them are also freelancing, contractors. It is a professional publication just like some that you or your colleagues might write for.
-- Hi Magazine articles are written by American and Arab journalists QUESTION: Phil, and a simple one. What's the website that you alluded to? Do you have the URL?
MR. REEKER: We would have to get that for you.
QUESTION: Time Magazine --
QUESTION: As I said, I can't read Arabic either, but one of the messages seems to be chocolate. There are two very glossy, very attractive chocolate ads. Can I assume that Cadbury and Lindt pay for the full-page ads?
MR. REEKER: Yeah, I think I talked about the fact that we have an advertising --
QUESTION: Well, you wanted to --
MR. REEKER: Right, exactly. It's a for-profit, hopefully, magazine, eventually.
QUESTION: Phil, so you can't -- you're waiting to find out who actually writes the material that's in it? Is that what --
MR. REEKER: Well, there are lots of different people that write it.
QUESTION: Well, does anyone from the government sign off on it to see if it's, you know, appropriate to -- if it matches U.S. policy?
MR. REEKER: Who has the final say on content?
MR. REEKER: I think what's what you're asking.
MR. REEKER: The State Department or the magazine group?
MR. REEKER: Well, let me tell you that the magazine group, chosen through a competitive bidding process to handle the editorial and production side of the magazine, submits a list of topics for the various sections of the magazine as designed by people expert in this area. They submit that to an in-house State Department editorial board which reviews these topics and submits comments to the magazine group.
This interactive process between the State Department and the publishing company, we think, is very useful in working this dialogue that we hope to promote -- where you have professional magazine producers who are expert in content, in how to reach particular target audiences, you have people expert in the region and distributing magazines there, and that is what we have tried to tap into.
QUESTION: Are you aware of anything that has been turned down?
MR. REEKER: I am not personally aware of that, but I would think just as any editorial process takes place, even at your esteemed institution of journalism, there is an editorial process, and I would suspect there are things that have been edited and turned down.
QUESTION: And have you volunteered to conduct any of these celebrity interviews with the various starlets yourself, Phil?
MR. REEKER: We'll be interviewing you, Matt. We have plans to do celebrity journalist interviews. I think it would be a great area of interest to some of the young, aspiring journalists of the Middle East region.
QUESTION: Phil, can you say who has the final say? If it's this interactive process, who ultimately decides? The editorial board? Is it the State Department in-house group? Who makes the final decision on what goes in there?
MR. REEKER: I guess it's an interactive process with the final editorial board of the magazine that's made up of people from the State Department as well as that, just like any process that goes on. You know, I don't know that I could describe it any better than that, Arshad.
QUESTION: You had a professional person who knew how to make ads and so on in Charlotte Beers. And her products didn't seem to go very far. What makes you think that this new glossy method of trying to spread U.S. culture would do better than that?
MR. REEKER: I think that is pretty much what I talked about for the first 10 minutes of this presentation.
QUESTION: Well, I heard all of it. I didn't hear, really, an answer.
MR. REEKER: I think what Under Secretary Beers did was bring in a lot of new and innovated approaches to reaching different audiences, to using different methods, to liaising with the private sector. They were important things that helped those involved in public diplomacy rethink some of the approaches. A lot of it was based on polling and marketing techniques.
And despite your assertions that, you know, it "didn't go very far," I think some of the efforts were very interesting, were exactly what they were meant to be: one step in a lengthy process of engaging foreign audiences to talk about the United States, to have a dialogue in a process that is something that is not an instant news fixture, is not designed to create or change opinions immediately, but to develop broader understandings, to have, indeed, a dialogue which will take place over years, over decades, and, indeed, over generations.
QUESTION: So is this one of her ideas that just got started now?
MR. REEKER: Couldn't tell you, I have no idea.
QUESTION: And why didn't the State Department announce this? It's been on the shelves for two months now, since the beginning of July.
MR. REEKER: I certainly knew about it. And I think it was announced all over the region. It is not being sold here. I don't know if you wanted us to do a promotion for you.
QUESTION: Well, again, you did with some of her ads that you put out in the region and not in the United States.
MR. REEKER: I don't know, Terri. I guess you have just got to be around. I don't know what to tell you.
QUESTION: Yeah, but when I am not around. How are they selling? Can you tell us that?
MR. REEKER: I don't have any figures on sales. We have done initial print runs, as I told your colleague, about 50,000 --
MR. REEKER: -- selling all over the world there. I just don't have any figures back. I don't know that one -- since it started, it was released in July, I don't know what date in July, but --
QUESTION: The first week.
MR. REEKER: -- in sort of, yeah, basically, looking at a month, I don't have the sales figures at this point.
QUESTION: Phil, you alluded earlier --
MR. REEKER: Yes, Matt.
QUESTION: -- to dense and comprehensive foreign policy journals that the -- that are otherwise out there. To the best of your knowledge, is this the first time that the State Department or the U.S. Government has gone in for a glossy kind of --
MR. REEKER: No, it is not at all the first time. I am quite familiar with many publications that we had in public diplomacy. There was something called Dialogue magazine. Why don't we maybe have a whole discussion about public diplomacy over the past 10 years? I would be happy to talk to you about it because those are the 10 years I have been involved in it, but there were lots of glossy magazines.
QUESTION: I wasn't necessarily, I'm sorry -- and those were actually sold and intended to be for-profit?
MR. REEKER: I am not sure if this is the first for-profit,
QUESTION: That's what I'm getting at.
MR. REEKER: Then you could ask that. I would have to check and see.
QUESTION: Do we know if this is the first time that --
QUESTION: The Soviet magazines weren't sold. They were given away.
QUESTION: The Soviet magazine --
MR. REEKER: Soviet Life, yeah.
QUESTION: Soviet Life was given away?
MR. REEKER: I don't know. I think we are digressing here. Does anybody else have any other topics of interest?
QUESTION: Phil, this question might have been raised earlier. And, if so, please forgive me.
MR. REEKER: If it was, I am not going to repeat it.
QUESTION: Okay. If you could give me an update on the State Department stance with regard to the visit of tourists, Israeli Tourist Minister, who will be here to try and encourage -- he will talk to a number of Christian fundamentalist groups, radio talk-show hosts and the like, to encourage tourism to Israel in spite of, I guess, the State Department warning about Americans traveling there; but will also speak in favor of maintaining the fence or the wall, which of course, has been a bone of contention between the United States and Israel. What is the State Department's position on this? Do you see this as a --
MR. REEKER: I don't know anything about an Israeli Minister's visit. You can check with the Israeli Embassy. Certainly, Israeli officials come here, just as officials from around the world come here all the time. They meet with the press, many of you included. They meet with groups. They say what they want to say. Our positions on these subjects are well known.
The Secretary has described for you our concerns with the fence, which are concerns that we have shared with Israel, which they have said they are taking into consideration, which we continue to discuss with Israel. And the Secretary has outlined for you why we have those concerns.
In regards to our consular information for travel and advice to American citizens all around the world, we have also discussed many times that that information is based on information we have that we try to provide so that individual Americans can make their own decisions about their travel choices.
We don't make any particular decisions for people. We try to present information so that they can make their own well-informed decisions. That is what the travel warning for Israel and the West Bank and Gaza is about. That is what other travel warnings we have are about. That is what our worldwide caution is about. It is a dangerous world out there, often particularly for Americans, who have, as you know, been the targets of terrorism, or who can get caught up in other situations anywhere around the world. And that is why we make that information available to American citizens through the website, www.travel.state.gov, in case you want to check up on it yourself.
QUESTION: Phil, another quick one on the magazine. You ran through the list of countries fairly quickly, but was Saudi Arabia on it?
MR. REEKER: Yes.
MR. REEKER: Matt?
QUESTION: Just on the subject of travel warnings, has the State Department decided that the only safe place for Americans to gather in Indonesia is at the Embassy?
MR. REEKER: I don't follow your point. Has the State Department decided that the only safe place --
QUESTION: -- that the only safe place in Indonesia for Americans to gather is at the Embassy?
MR. REEKER: I don't know that that is what our travel warning or information for Indonesia --
QUESTION: There was a warden message put out saying that they were going to have a big meeting of American -- the American community there tomorrow and that it would be at the Embassy. And it said that it was an unprecedented move to have it at the Embassy because they had decided that based on their current assessment that it was the only safe place in the country for Americans to gather.
MR. REEKER: Often as you will notice, and even in our worldwide caution, we talk about gatherings.
QUESTION: Yeah, yeah. Is that a --
MR. REEKER: I can't give you anything more than what you are reading through that message, but it is something that we make quite clear, and I think it is quite obvious that gathering in large groups that may be particularly in non-secured locations is something that people ought to think twice about. And so if the Embassy is trying to brief Americans in a community about security situations or other topics, the Embassy is often a good location. I know that does occur around the world at various times.
QUESTION: In -- there's a quote from Afghanistan that Hamid Karzai wants to either kill or execute Taliban guerillas, especially those that are involved in the murder of pro-government officials. Do you think that's appropriate thinking on the religious --
MR. REEKER: I am not exactly sure what you are talking about, Joel, but I think we have been involved, along with Afghan forces, along with an entire coalition from around the world, in fighting the Taliban, which allied itself with al-Qaida, which perpetrated attacks against our country, and has perpetrated attacks against other innocent civilians around the world. So that is a fight we are still very much a part of in Afghanistan and around the world, frankly.
So I don't know about the specific comments you are referring to, but I think we have been quite clear, the President has been quite clear, that we are going to continue to fight terrorism wherever we can around the world.
QUESTION: Do you have any update on Lockerbie? There are reports out of the UN that says that there's been a deal signed off on by all three relevant governments and the practical details are what remains to be worked out. Do you have any sort of a --
MR. REEKER: I don't think I have anything particularly new. You know, we are pleased with the progress that has been made. As the Secretary said yesterday, we think we are getting closer to a settlement. We had yesterday in London -- I think we talked about it yesterday -- a working level meeting, a trilateral meeting, to discuss technical issues regarding Libya's obligations under UN Security Council resolutions related to the Lockerbie Pan Am 103 terrorist attack. So we --
QUESTION: But your information doesn't go so far as to say there was a deal?
MR. REEKER: No. I don't have any more details for you on that.
QUESTION: Okay, thank you.
QUESTION: Phil, one other on Lockerbie. There is an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, which suggests, which says that if there is a resolution to lift the sanctions, the United States will abstain. Has the United States taken any position that it would abstain?
MR. REEKER: We don't take a position until we take a position. So if there were such a resolution, you will find out our vote when it happens.
QUESTION: Well, so --
MR. REEKER: Joel.
QUESTION: -- General Musharraf has said that he calls for Kashmir ceasefire talks, and he is also intent on talking about human rights violations. Now, they have had talks here in Washington and the recent talks in the last day or two concerning Kashmir. What goals or what --
MR. REEKER: I have certainly seen some of the reports. I think you are referring to reports of President Musharraf's call for a ceasefire along the Line of Control.
MR. REEKER: As you know, we support any efforts to reduce tensions between Pakistan and India. That is something that we have said for a long time. We are pleased to see further steps in the reduction of tension, like the conference that was taking place in Islamabad where Indian parliamentarians were attending, and we would certainly continue to urge both countries, India and Pakistan, to increase their engagement with each other. We very much support the building of productive relationships among the countries of South Asia, which helps promote development and peace and stability there.
MR. REEKER: Yes, Matt.
QUESTION: Sorry. I'm surprised that no one else has asked about this, given the amount of coverage that it got on live TV yesterday. But you mentioned that the Secretary had spoken to Kofi Annan and to the President of Ghana about the situation in Liberia. Is there anything to update on the situation in Liberia? Did the commander -- are you aware -- go ashore to begin his consultations --
MR. REEKER: Yes.
QUESTION: I asked the question to the Pentagon but --
MR. REEKER: Yeah, well, they could maybe give you some more details on that, but I think you also heard the Secretary this morning talk about the fact that we have been working on Liberia. Now that Charles Taylor is removed from power, we have an American military presence in the region and our commander has been ashore, I understand, talking with the forces from West African countries and looking at how we can take additional steps. As we said, the primary focus is on the humanitarian relief there.
Now, there were reports that rebel forces from the Movement for Democracy in Liberia, the MODEL, were advancing north of Buchanan towards Monrovia. We have been in direct contact with the group to insist that they stop that kind of activity, and in the strongest terms we are telling all parties to this to cooperate with the Economic Community of West African States, with the ECOWAS mission, the so-called ECOMIL mission in restoring peace.
Those responsible for re-instigating violence clearly have no concern for the best interests of the Liberian people and their actions threaten further the safety and security of the Liberian people and would call into question the suitability of those responsible as partners in the future Liberian Government.
So the humanitarian situation continues to be dire in Monrovia, in Buchanan, and in Monrovia the Freeport has been under the control of the LURD rebel group. But the group's commanders have said the port will be open for humanitarian assistance when the peacekeepers take possession of it. And we are working to see that transition as soon as possible.
QUESTION: Just to come back to one other thing. When you said the Secretary spoke to Foreign Minister Palacio of Spain.
MR. REEKER: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Was that about the U.S. investigation into the strike on the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad in which a Spanish journalist (inaudible) almost died?
MR. REEKER: No, not that I'm aware of.
QUESTION: Has there been any contact with the Nigerian Government since Charles Taylor left, left Liberia yesterday?
MR. REEKER: Well, we have constant contact with the Nigerian Government through our diplomatic dialogue.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) Secretary call?
MR. REEKER: No, I gave you the Secretary's phone calls. I think he was planning to talk to Nigerian President Obansanjo, and as he did with the president of Ghana, President Kufuor, and also, I would think would expect to talk to the South African President to congratulate them for their role in helping to move this process along. It was a process that many West African leaders worked on. The United Nations has been very involved. The Secretary talked to Secretary General Annan again today and as well as our efforts in pushing this along. And our focus is really on helping the Liberian people now.
QUESTION: Saudi Arabia is saying that the U.S. has determined that this gentleman, #Mr. Al-Bayumi, was not a Saudi official, and -- this is the one that was responsible for the Riyadh bombings. Has the U.S. determined that there is no link to this gentleman?
MR. REEKER: Don't have anything on it. For that type of investigation, I would refer you to the FBI.
QUESTION: In Ankara today after a high level meeting, the statement issued on the deployment of Turkish troops in Iraq, where it says the decision will be taken in due course, but in the statement, one of the parts mentioned is eliminating terrorist, you know, groups in Iraq. And Secretary Powell said they are working to end any threat coming from PKK or KADEK-like organizations. Any progress in that respect because their number, estimated number --
MR. REEKER: It is an ongoing effort. I will refer you to what the Secretary said about it in just recent days. And if you wanted the specifics on the ground, I might suggest you talk to Central Command or the Coalition Provisional Authority.
QUESTION: There is discussion about a UN mission in Iraq, and is the United States committed to it? The Russians are putting through a resolution or a petition for a resolution.
MR. REEKER: We talked yesterday, Joel, about what the Secretary General had asked the Security Council to do in terms of endorsing the Iraqi Governing Council and for authorization to establish a UN assistance mission for Iraq. We continue to have consultations on that. There has been some draft language floating around with regard to the Secretary General's requests. And we continue to have these informal discussions and hope to reach a resolution soon, and then obviously, would have a vote in due course.
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