Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Qs and As with the State Dept Spox Nuland, 06-26-12

Reds by other reporters

Turkish Military Mobilization to the Syrian Border

QUESTION: So while you are trying to get Annan plan work and the armors and heavy armors pulled back, at the same time, Turkey now is – sent its military convoy to the border this morning. It’s quite known on media and credible news reports. Are you concerned that there would be some events or incidents happening at this border?

MS. NULAND: Well, first of all with regard to our ally, Turkey, as you know – and NATO has issued a statement to this effect and NATO Secretary General Rasmussen has been out in front of the press – NATO met today to hear Turkey’s briefing on the incident and stood in strong solidarity with our ally, Turkey, particularly with regard to any further incidents, called the incident that happened unacceptable, condemned it in strongest terms, et cetera. So we will continue to stay in close touch with Turkey about its security concerns and stay solid as allies, as we always do.

QUESTION: How would you assess Turkey’s briefing today at NATO? Were you satisfied by Turkey’s arguments?

MS. NULAND: My understanding is it was a very productive session.
QUESTION: The Turkish Prime Minister today, referring to last Friday’s incident, talked about new rules of engagement when it comes to Syria and talked about how such incidences would be treated as a threat going on. Does that kind of talk worry the United States about raising tensions even further along an already tense border?

MS. NULAND: Well, I’m going to refer you to Turkey to whatever decisions it’s made about its own military posture. We understood those public statements to refer to how Turkey would respond if its territory were incurred.


QUESTION: Wait a minute. I mean, you guys can surely have a position on what he said. And as I understood it, what he said was that if their territory was breached that they would respond militarily. Is that a good thing for him to lay out that line?

MS. NULAND: I’m not going to comment directly on his statements or his comment beyond saying that I think the statement that the alliance made today at 28 expressing our solidarity with Turkey and our commitment to her as an ally speaks for all of us.

QUESTION: Now, you mentioned something about breaching Turkish sovereignty and so on. Are you aware of any incident where Syrian forces or Syrian airplanes have breached actually Turkish airspace or Turkish boundaries?

MS. NULAND: Again, I think that conversation’s better directed – that question is better directed to the Turks in terms of the precise technical question.

QUESTION: Just – Turkish officials today said Syrian helicopters five times breach the Turkish airspace, just to respond to that question.

MS. NULAND: Thank you. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: My question is: At this point, is – U.S. is ready to extend any arm assistance to Turkey for any aggression or in case of any event at the border (inaudible)?

MS. NULAND: Well, Turkey is our ally. As NATO said today and as the Secretary General said today, we’re prepared to look at any request that Turkey wants to make.


QUESTION: Have there been any requests or have there – has there been any contingency planning in the event of a further provocation or act of aggression?

MS. NULAND: Well, like the U.S. military, NATO prepares for all contingencies. So I’m not going to speak to details, but as you know, the setup today was a briefing followed by the very strong political statements of support.

Annan Plan
QUESTION:  Just to follow up, Victoria, I mean, yesterday’s statements from this building and a statement by Ambassador Rice basically said that the Kofi Annan plan is basically kaput.  So you’re saying that it is not, that it’s still – it is alive and kicking and it can go forward? 

MS. NULAND:  That is not the way I would have read what we had to say about that.  We have never characterized the plan in those terms.  We have certainly been clear that there are concerns that the plan’s not being implemented, therefore the monitors can’t do their job.  And the international community has got to come together in a united way to give Kofi Annan more support and to get this plan implemented.

QUESTION:  So what – I mean, just to follow up on Arshad’s question, what would constitute the go forward post the 30th of June?

MS. NULAND:  Said, I think I just outlined what we’re looking for.  We’re looking to set forth a framework for a political transition that includes the ceasefire, includes the pullback of heavy weaponry, that gives a path forward for the Syrian people so that they can see that they’re going to have a political transition, they’re going to have the right to choose their own government, and that the rights of all Syrians – whether they are majority or minority, men, women – are going to be protected by the process.  And then we’ll be able to move forward from there.

Iran Participation to the Syrian Meeting
QUESTION:  -- would you say that the two sticking points to having a meeting are Iran’s participation and the getting to a new political reality post-Assad?  Would you say those – are those the only two, or are there more?

MS. NULAND:  Again, I think I’ve said what I have to say about our work to get to a conference that’s going to be productive.  We want to make sure that if we do this, it’s not going to be an empty meeting, that it’s going to actually produce results for the Syrian people. 

QUESTION:  At this – you will be going if Iran goes or not?

MS. NULAND:  Again, we are still working on the participation.  We do not think that Iran has a place at the table.


QUESTION:  Have you received an invitation, Toria, or – from Annan?

MS. NULAND:  Well, we’ve been working with Annan on what the terms would look like, so we are still working on how it’s going to look.

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