Monday, November 28, 2011

Ny Qs&As with VP Biden's senior officials, November 28


Conference Call:

Q    Thank you.  Thank you, presenters, for information and detailed account of the trip.  My question, first question, is to National Security Advisor Mr. Tony Blinken.  You, sir, I believe, mentioned that one of the items on the agenda is assistance against PKK, which you described as a common enemy.  Turkey has been seeking to get [reapers] from you and as we understand there are some problems with the U.S. Congress.  My question is, do you have any news that you will be [relaying] to the Turkish counterparts on this? 

And the second question, on the Entrepreneurship Summit in Istanbul.  Again, you had mentioned that one of the forefront issues is going to be regarding the Arab Spring, and I believe there will be attendance from these countries.  What specifically -- I mean, how you are thinking to drive, in this summit -- channel this new countries on the path to democracy?  Is there any specific mechanism?  Are you planning to put -- to help more in these countries?

And my final question is on Iran.  There was a threat by the air commander -- Air Force commander of the Irani Air Forces over the weekend, saying that in case of an attack by U.S. or Israel on Iran the first target will be the newly installed NATO radar system in Turkey.  What is your response to that kind of threat?  Thank you.

MR. BLINKEN:  Thanks very much.  Let me take the first and third questions and have Rashad speak to the summit.

First, on the PKK question.  As I indicated, we stand, in the United States, strongly with our NATO ally, Turkey, in its fight against the PKK.  That’s why we sent the U.S. government team to Turkey last October, just after that terrible PKK attack on Turkish soldiers, to discuss additional assistance to the Turkish government in its fight against terrorism. 

And there are a number of things that we’re doing that are assisting Turkey in this fight.  And first I should say we’re going to continue to provide a full range of meaningful and effective support for our ally, Turkey, against PKK terrorism, from national defense to diplomacy, law enforcement, intelligence cooperation.  This is something that has to be multifaceted to deal with the problem.

We’ll be providing three SuperCobra attack helicopters to Turkey.  We transferred four Predator UAVs from Iraq to Incirlik at the air base in Turkey.  We -- obviously all U.S. operations in Incirlik occur under agreements with the government of Turkey.  We’re also supporting continued cooperation between Iraq and Turkey in combating the PKK, which is a common enemy of Turkey, Iraq and the United States. 

     We established as you may know with us, Turkey and Iraq a three-way security dialogue to address cross-border terror threats, and we’re working to strengthen that.

     And one of the other things we’re doing is we’re working with Europe to clamp down on illegal PKK fundraising and money laundering.  So in all of these areas, we are working very closely with Turkey.  And this is something as I indicated that the Vice President will talk about when he is in Turkey.

     In terms of the question on Iran, and then I’ll turn it to Rashad on the summit.  A few things I think are worth saying.  I think making threatening statements doesn't serve anyone’s purpose, least of all the Iranians.  The fact of the matter is that the world is deeply concerned with Iran’s activities in a number of areas starting with their nuclear program.  We’ve seen that most recently in the very strong resolutions that were adopted by a wide margin at the IAEA following its report on Iran’s nuclear program, and also at the U.N. General Assembly on the Iranian assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador in Washington. 

     Turkey shares our goal of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.  And of course, Turkey has a long history of -- ties to Iran as well as a long common border.  But Turkish leaders told us repeatedly that they strongly support international efforts to encourage Iran to engage with the P5-plus-1 toward a diplomatic resolution of the concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.

     And of course, we think it’s very important that Turkey, a NATO ally, agreed to host the radar which is a NATO program -- very important to the defense of all NATO countries against the growing missile threat that is emerging in the world, and we’re very pleased that Turkey is standing up as a NATO ally to do that.

     Rashad, did you want to say something about the summit?

     MR. HUSSAIN:  Sure.  We are expecting participants from a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa including Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen and others.  And we continue to believe that economic and social entrepreneurship are powerful forces for creating opportunity and sparking innovation, also for lifting people out of poverty and helping transform societies.

We’ve seen certainly throughout the Arab Spring that entrepreneurs have been at the forefront of pushing the envelope when it comes to change within societies, and the summit will allow entrepreneurs from all over the world to come together and share their experiences and discuss what they’ve been doing, some of the ways that they’ve been able to overcome obstacles that they face to expand their networks.

     We also will continue to promote in this summit and beyond trade, investment, regional integration as we support political and economic reforms in the Middle East and North Africa, and we’ll also be continuing to assist in combating corruption and aiding those efforts.

     The Vice President will speak a little bit more about this and get into a little bit more detail in some of the specific initiatives that we’ll be implementing with Turkey and with other countries in the region.

No comments: