Tuesday, September 06, 2011

September 6, 11, My Qs and As with the State Dpt. Spokesperson Victoria Nuland

[Reds are Turkey-Israel-Gaza siege related conversation asked by other reporters]

Palmer Report, TR-ISR Relations, What US is doing About it
QUESTION:  On Palmer report, it was released on Friday – the UN Commission’s report.  What’s your understanding about the findings of the report so far?

MS. NULAND:  First let me say that, as you know, the U.S. strongly supported the establishment of the UN Commission under the chairmanship of Mr. Palmer.  And at the time, we called for the commission to conduct an independent, credible, and transparent investigation.  We very much appreciate the thorough and professional work of the commission.  And we particularly note some of the recommendations at the end of the report with regard to how similar situations could be avoided in the future, and we call on all relevant parties to take note of those and to use them well.  So that’s our essential assessment there.

QUESTION:  So to Turkish Government, I am sure you are aware how the reaction came from that.  Basically, the Turkish president called it null and void, and it seems biased, and now the Turkish prime minister explained further sanctions.  Do you think – are you going to – able to find some kind of solution, these two allies of yours?  Things are – looks escalating as the hours go by. 

MS. NULAND:  Well, we are concerned.  We have, over many months, tried to work with our ally Turkey and our ally Israel to strengthen and improve their bilateral relationship.  We still believe that getting back to a good partnership between them is in each of their interests, and we will continue to work for that goal with both of them.  But we are concerned about the state of the relationship today.

QUESTION:  I just have one more.  Turkish B plan – they call Turkey as a B plan sanctions or B plan towards Israel.  One of the issue is Turkey decides to send its – dispatch its fleet to eastern Mediterranean.  Do you have any objections to this decision?

MS. NULAND:  Well, you’re taking me into hypothetical situations.  Our emphasis with both the Government of Turkey and the Government of Israel is to hope that we can deescalate, we can defuse, and we can get them back to talking about improving their relationship.  There are freedom of navigation issues for both Turkey and for Israel, but we want to avoid future confrontations and we want both of these strong allies of the United States to get back to a place where they have a good working relationship with each other.

QUESTION:  Does that mean you agree with the premise of the report, that while maybe the attack on Marmara was excessive, the siege itself is legitimate, correct?  The siege on Gaza is legitimate?

MS. NULAND:  I’m not going to parse the report.  I’m not going to comment on one aspect or the other aspect back to the report.  I would simply say that we favored having this report, and we believe that they did a thorough and professional job.

QUESTION:  But you are satisfied that the report does answer all the issues involved in this?

MS. NULAND:  I think I’ve said what I have to say on the Palmer report.


QUESTION:  Madam, on Pakistan? 

QUESTION:  No, no, no.  I’d like to stay on this for a second.  When you say that you’re concerned and that you’d like to see these two allies get back together, how – what kind of talks have you had with – what kind of conversations have there been between U.S. officials and those in Turkey and in Israel?

MS. NULAND:  Well, first with regard to Turkey, as you know, Secretary Clinton had a long bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister Davutoglu in Paris, and those conversations have been followed up in recent days in Ankara by our ambassador.  We’ve had a number of conversations with Israel on this and on other matters over the last few days.  And as you may know, we have Ambassador Hale and Dennis Ross in Tel Aviv today.

QUESTION:  And they’re talking about this?

MS. NULAND:  I think they’re talking about the full range of issues.  The primary reason for their visit, obviously, is to talk about getting the parties back to the negotiating table and avoiding bad scenarios in – at the end of the month in New York.

QUESTION:  Yeah.  But as it relates to Turkey – we’ll get into the Israel-Palestinian thing, I’m sure, in a second, but what – as it relates to the situation with Israel and Turkey, what are the – what are you telling them?

MS. NULAND:  Our view remains that these countries need to have a relationship with each other, and I think we’re continuing to try to work on how that can happen.

Turkey's Campaigning for PA Statehood Bid

QUESTION:  Turkey also decided to actively campaign for the Palestine statehood recognition at the UN.  Is it concern for you?

MS. NULAND:  Of course, it’s a matter of concern.  Our position is well known.  We think that this taking action at the UN in September is not going to lead to lasting peace, two states side by side.  Only negotiations can do that.

Turkey-NATO Misille System Intelligence Sharing

QUESTION:  Turkey also agreed on this NATO missile system over the weekend while it was also stating its sanctions against Israel.  My question is, one of the conditions Turkey put forward was to – not to share the intelligence with Israel.  Is this condition met? 

MS. NULAND:  I think you saw that we, along with NATO, welcomed Turkey’s decision to participate in the Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense.  This is a NATO system, and it is designed to protect NATO. 

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