U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing | September 6, 2022

Department of State Daily Press Briefing – September 6, 2022


Good afternoon everybody, sorry being a couple of minutes late. Um so I’m only four minutes late in fact as if there is any indication of well uh well here to here for you and welcome thank you. I have one quick thing off the top and then I’m happy to turn to your questions. So first and foremost we congratulate Liz truss on her becoming the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of great Britain and Northern Ireland. The UK and the US are the closest of friends and allies and we look forward to continuing our close cooperation with the Prime Minister Trust and the new government on a range of important priorities including continued support to Ukraine in the face of Russia’s war and preserving peace and economic security and the rule of law in the indo pacific are unparalleled defense and security alliance and special relationship founded on shared values and common beliefs promote security and prosperity for our two nations and for the world our countries are deeply linked by our economic ties and the bonds between our people. The U. K. Is our largest foreign investment partner and biggest partner in the services of trade and our respective companies directly employ more than one million workers in the other country. So again a immense congratulations to Prime Minister and with that matt away, nothing else. Okay just one extremely brief on that. Do you know if in between the time that she while she was still foreign secretary like before she went up to she had a close professional relationship with you know the two spoke between the time that she was chosen between yesterday today while she was still okay, I want to start in the middle, let’s start with Israel and your guys response to the I. D. F. Report on the killing of but also on the situation with the Palestinian NGS. Um So number one on the idea report yesterday, I’m I’m a little confused as to what your actual response and what your actual position is. This is an American citizen who was killed. You have called for accountability and get, there does not seem to be any accountability there. And the statement that came out yesterday in Meds name um mentions accountability, but are you satisfied that this is that the Israelis have done what they need to do in terms of this case. So we continue to understand the importance of accountability in this case and we’re going to continue to press our Israeli partners to closely review its policies and practices on rules of engagement and consider additional steps to mitigate the risk of civilian harm, protect journalists and prevent similar tragedies in the future. Ultimately, um that is a key goal for us as the statement from ned said yesterday is is to underscore that similar actions and similar occurrences don’t happen in the future. Um And that’s what we continue to reiterate with our Israeli partners. But do you think that accountability has been achieved?

So again we continue to underscore the importance of accountability in this case. And we’re continuing to press our Israeli partners, forgive me for not accepting that doesn’t mean anything. I mean I I continue to underscore the fact that it’s important that you know, the sun rises in the east sets in the west, but which it does, but there is, do you consider that you believe that Israel has taken steps to hold whoever is responsible for her death accountable then if I could just start actually back up, what does accountability mean to this administration look bad?

So I’m not going to categorize that in one way or the other for you from here, that’s for our Israeli partners to determine what for us to do and what the role we’re continuing to play is pressing Israel to closely review its policies and practices to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again. But that’s not what accountability is unless you guys have a different definition of it than than the dictionary. So what does accountability mean for this administration apology?

We’re sorry it happened. Maybe it looks like it happened by accident, so but it won’t happen again. That’s the that’s what accountability for something more. We are continuing to press Israel to review its policies and practices and that is what how does that that doesn’t reviewing their practices and policies does not mean accountability for this woman’s death, does it look like it does in your view are our thoughts remain with the al family as they grieve, this tremendous loss. Um not only as you all know, Green was a US citizen and she was a fearless reporter. And part of our vision of accountability is ensuring that activities like this, that something like this does not happen again and that’s something and that’s something that we continue to raised directly with Israel, that it closely review its policies and practices on the rules of engagement to take additional steps to mitigate risk, to protect journalists, to protect civilian harm and to ensure that similar tragedies don’t happen in the future. Okay, well what is then the other part or other parts of accountability And from your perspective, matt, I think I’ve answered your questions a couple of times. I will just reiterate again, You said some stuff in response to my questions a couple of times. I don’t think you’ve answered, I’ll let someone else go on. I don’t want to move to the N. G. O. S. Sure. So you you had said that you were looking for additional information to you know, support the Israelis allegation that support the Israeli’s decision to close down these offices. And I’m wondering if you ever got that we continue to engage directly with our Israeli partners on that. We strongly believe that respect for human rights and the importance of strong civil society are critically important. Uh And we’ve made clear to the Israeli government and the p a that independent civil society organizations in the West Bank must continue their important work. I don’t have updates on this. Beyond what ned briefed on this a couple of weeks ago. We continue to seek additional information from our Israeli partners, but don’t have an update. They never brought the information that they said that they were going to I just don’t have any other updates on this. When you said a couple of weeks ago, that was before the Israelis had brought this, what they said was gonna be this. They promised that they were going to bring you we are in direct communication with the government of Israel and we’re continuing to seek additional information. Thank you for that. It’s great to see you behind question a bit further. You know, obviously know who the soldier is, you know, and they basically they statement that you have support. There will be no account. So how is that, how does that check, suppose with, you know, you talk about the family, your thoughts are with them, you know, all this good stuff. How are they, how are they going to receive accountability or justice in this case?

Again side, uh we continue to press Israel directly and closely at the Senior most levels to review its policies and practices on this to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again in the future. Uh that’s something we’re continuing to be really engaged on. But you know what it happened, it happened right after there were two journalists have been killed, it happened time and again?

There are 21 Palestinian journalists in Israeli prisons and so on, you know, the Israelis are killing kids every every day and teenagers and so on. So I don’t know when you say that we talked to them at the highest level, I mean do they heed your call, do they listen to you or they just pretend that you’re not saying?

I said, I’m not gonna read out every diplomatic engagement that we have, but I will mention again that we continue to press Israel to closely review its policies and practices on the rules of engagement, to take steps to mitigate risk, to take steps to protect journalists, to take steps to protect civilians and prevent similar tragedies like this happening in the future. We, the United States contain to support press freedoms and protections of journalists in carrying out their work and we call on democracies and all responsible actors to ensure that journalists can conduct the vital work that they do, you know, so pathetically, I mean, they could be listening to you and they will eat you, you know, your warning to them not to do it again and so on. But in fact, they do it again. Hypothetically, if this had happened elsewhere, would your position be the same if an American journalist was killed, let’s say somewhere else, and another different democratic country that the police come down the street, let’s say in India or elsewhere, would your position be the same in your opinion side?

I’m not going to get into it back and forth on hypotheticals, in any situation, we continue to support press freedoms and the protection of all journalists and in this situation we again are pressing Israel to closely review its policies and practices, to address the rules of engagement, to take steps to mitigate risk, to take steps to protect journalists and civilians and to ultimately ensure that something like this does not happen again. A couple more questions, let me ask you about the new rules that Israel is imposing on those who visit the West Bank and Palestinians are going to get married and they are demanding like, you know, in time on you have any comment on that. Yeah, so, um I think you might have seen that Ambassador Nides spoke a little bit about this over the weekend, but to reiterate uh since February, the State Department, including through our embassy in Jerusalem and the Office of Palestinian Affairs have engaged directly with the Israeli government on on these rules and will continue to move so do so going forward. We continue to have serious concerns with the published protocols, particularly the role in determining whether individuals invited by Palestinian academic institutions are qualified to enter the West Bank and the potential negative impact on family unity, as you mentioned. It’s important to ensure that all of these regulations are developed in a way that’s coordinated with key stakeholders including the Palestinian Authority. And we fully expect the government of Israel to make necessary adjustments to ensure transparency as well as the fair and equal treatment of all U. S. Citizens and other foreign nationals traveling to the West Bank. So if myself or my brothers or members of my family and so on that hold both American citizens citizens should go back and they are they get, you know, interrogated almost on on issues of land ownership. Well, who are they visiting?

Why are they whatever they be staying?

And so they have a recourse, Can they come to you and say this has happened to me?

I demand accountability. So we are continuing to engage with Israel on these pilot procedures that were published this weekend, that as you said, impact the entry study and work or residents of potentially thousands of people um in the West Bank, we understand that Israel plans for them to go into effect on October 20th. We note that there are some improvements in some of these regulations from the original draft in February, but we remain concerned about potential adverse impact of these procedures and how they could impact Palestinian civil society. How can impact tourism, impact Family Unity Investment and other healthcare and academic institutions honestly. You know, the problem is with the pilot program, you should look into that. Welcome to the podium switch over to Russia. The White House said today that President Biden has made a final decision against designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, designating Russia was something that Ukraine has pushed for what has been, keeps response to this final decision being made. What has been uh I’m not gonna speak to the response for from from Ukraine. I’ll let our Ukrainian partners speak to that. But as the president has said, we don’t think that a state sponsor of terrorism is the most effective or strongest path forward to hold Russia accountable. The designation could have unintended consequences for the world. And Ukraine as well. I’ll note that according to humanitarian experts and NGOs have spoken on this, it could seriously affect the ability to deliver assistance to Ukraine. It could drive critical humanitarian and commercial actors away from facilitating food exports and engaging in the country. It could also undercut potentially multilateral coordination that has been very critical in holding Putin accountable and doing our part in ensuring that Ukraine is in the position to work. Everybody go ahead and have a legal analysis of whether Russia is a state sponsor of terrorism. As you know, that’s a process that is determined by the Secretary of State and I don’t have any updates to right now, Alex, I call the U. S. Intelligence. Russia is purchasing North Korean. We also discussed how Russia is cooperating with Iran on drones if imposing secondary sanctions and calling the tourism the way it is uh, is not the best way to address the problem then, sorry, if calling Russia, if let’s say given the fact that Russia has been cooperating with North Korea and Iran purchasing breakfast against Ukraine. If calling Russian border this which is a state sponsor of terrorism, No. What other means do you have in mind to call accountability?

Well, there are a number of lines of effort that we have at our disposal to continue to hold Russia accountable. Our sanctions being one of them. And I think just last week, we breathed out some metrics on the economic consequences that that are directly being put upon records, economy because of their barbaric and unjust actions in Ukraine?

But go back to the crux of your question. As you said, the Russian Ministry of Defense is in the process of purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for use in Ukraine. This purchase, this indicates that the Russian military continues to suffer from severe supply shortages due in part because of export controls and sanctions. Another examples of lines of efforts that we have to hold Russia accountable just and others blaming European energy crisis on sanctions and also at some point us behind this crisis, do you have a response to, sorry, can you repeat the first part of your question and allies are explaining the sanctions, um, as a reason why, uh, so we’ve seen those reports. Um, but what I would note is that these kinds of this kind of rhetoric continues to demonstrate that Russia is not a reliable supplier of energy and that we remained within in sync with our ally partners in our commitment to promoting European energy security, reducing our collective dependence on Russian energy products and continuing to place pressure on the Kremlin Russia, the Iaea report today, I wonder what you make of it and what the next steps diplomatically hard to safeguard that facility. And and this idea of a demilitarized zone. I mean, you know, everyone keeps talking about that having the Russians pulled back, but it also would mean not having having the Ukrainians pull back from that area. Uh and I wonder what you make of that. Sure. So on the report, when you received the report earlier today and our experts here at the State Department are reviewing it, I don’t have any immediate reaction to offer, but we continue to remain concerned about such uh military and violent activity so close to a nuclear power plant. That continues to be incredibly concerning. Some initial takeaways though, I believe the report touched on observations of physical damage at the power plant. And that continues to be something we find incredibly troubling as well. Uh as we’ve from the department have said previously, fighting around a nuclear power plant, uh, certainly presents a serious risk, which is why we have continued to call for immediate withdrawal from the facility. And that continues to be our belief on that. You have any ideas?

Who would enforce some kind of demilitarized zone?

What would, what would, what would the U. S. Like to see in terms of a demilitarized zone?

Who could enforce that?

I’m not gonna qualify at one way or the other from here. But I think it’s important to note that Russia is the one that is illegally and justifiably in Ukraine and Ukrainian territory and infringing on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine by being at the ZN PB. Can I I just wanted to things one on this whole idea of holding Russia accountable for the invasion of Ukraine. So accountability means something different in the context of Russia invading Ukraine than it does for the U. S. Partner and ally like Israel, that certainly that certainly is not what I was trying. I mean I realize the two situations are apples and oranges, but the word accountability is the same word and it should have the same definition. Well, the two as you noted, the two situations are apples and oranges, they completely but accountability it doesn’t change right. Or at least it should maybe and if it does and if there are different standards for different countries, then it would be great if you would tell us that anyway, that that’s kind of a report. Question. The main question is, am I correct in thinking?

And I realized these reports are relatively recent in, so there may not be anything on the ground. But have you seen any evidence of either Iranian drones or North Korean weapons being used in Ukraine by Russia. I’ve never to this point specifically at the NPP or or no anywhere. I don’t have any any updates on on the usage. So as far as you know, these transfers are saying are still in progress in these weapons with drones or artillery whatever had not yet arrived and then used in the I’m just I’m not gonna speak to the specifics of that. That’s probably a better question for the pentagon. But I would again reiterate the declassified language on both. Do you have a standard definition you guys have like a legal language and how you classify countries state sponsors of thousands?

I’m sure we’ll be happy to get you a specific. Just going back to that north, going back to that North Korea. I mean if if there are actual shipments couldn’t they couldn’t they be interdicted at sea because it’s be violating U. N. Resolutions. If that’s something you guys are working on bringing up in the U. N. I’m not gonna review anything from here. But to your point. Yes this would violate uh U. N. Sanctions on the DPRK by doing this?

Multiple U. N. Security Council resolutions prohibit U. N. Member States from procuring from the DPRK all arms and related material. This Security Council imposed this prohibition over a decade ago in response to the DPRK is weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile program?

While all U. N. Sanctions are a serious violation?

I think particularly concerning here is that a permanent member of the Security Council is floating these measures. Can we stand to Ukraine before we shift away just quickly and welcome to the North Stream pipeline that Russia’s shut the gas supply off?

Um does the department have an assessment and or a comment as to why Russia is doing that?

Well. Uh my understanding is that they are they have reduced flow due to claims of maintenance and supposed oil leak, but we have not found those claims to be credible and other experts in the private sector and otherwise have also found that to be not credible as well as I stated to Alex’s question, this is just another example of Russian actions demonstrating that they are not a reliable energy source and we continue to remain in lockstep with our allies and partners in our commitment to promoting European energy security, reducing our collective dependence on Russian energy and maintaining pressure on the Kremlin. Anything else on Ukraine?

We just went to Alex, go ahead. Okay, so this is actually returning to the beginning about Liz trust um that you’re looking forward to continuing close cooperation on various things such as support to Ukraine. But what is your take on Northern Ireland and what sort of cooperation you can have their because mistrust as you know has driven the legislation to scrap parts of the Northern Ireland protocol. So, are you concerned about the strength of her conviction on this issue now, as the Prime Minister, do you think there’s any way you can sway her on this?

Uh I’m certainly not gonna I’m not gonna speak to any potential legislation or anything like that in another country. But what I will say is that the U. S. Priority remains protecting the gains of the Belfast and good Friday agreement and preserving peace and stability and prosperity for the people of Northern Ireland. We have welcomed the provisions in the EU UK trade and Cooperation agreement and the Northern Ireland Protocol is a way to manage the practical challenges of preserving distinct EU and UK markets while preventing the return of customs infrastructure on the land border. Um, anything else going back to rescue before we close out?

I know we’ve been jumping out a little bit. Go ahead and I’ll come to you jenny, I promise. Just us, you’re going back briefly to the state sponsor of terrorism branding. I want to just be clear on that phrase. Final decision. It’s the view of the administration that there are still red lines that Russia could cross that would merit the designation. Again, I’m not going to get into hypotheticals from here. What I will reiterate again is that this is a designation Authority that rests with the Secretary of State, but also as the President said over the weekend, we do not think that this is the most effective or strongest path forward to hold Russia accountable. The designation could have unintended consequences for both Ukraine and the world broadly as well. Jamie go ahead. North Korea will be keeping both eyes Iran nuclear deal. What differences do you see between the Iran nuclear deal and negotiation with North Korea in the future and with Iran and North Korea’s nuclear technology cooperation be including the negotiations?

Yeah, thanks Jenni. So uh both uh North Korea with a nuclear weapon and in Iran with a nuclear weapon are things that we view as deeply problematic and destabilizing not just for the world but for their respective regions as well. And that is why as it relates to the Dprk, we continue to push for a complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and we’re going to continue to stress our commitment to dialogue with the Dprk without preconditions. While we’re also take all necessary actions that we need to address the threat of Pyongyang that it could pose not just on the United States, but on its allies and partners as well. At the National Security advisors meeting was ahead in Hawaii last week, uh South Korea states, they agreed to take strong countermeasures if North Korea conducts its seventh nuclear. What is a strong level of measures, What is its uh I’m not going to review any actions or measures from here. But I do want to take this opportunity to note that uh that special representative for the Dprk some Kim is in Tokyo to meet with our multilateral partners, the Republic of Korea and Japan on this very issue where he will again uh stress our joint efforts to achieve a denuclearized Korean peninsula. And also stressed the importance of US commitment to taking dialogue even while we take necessary action to address the threat. Pyongyang. Anything else on Dprk Leon?

I’m sorry I skipped over when I was going through. Um moving on to Ethiopia uh avoid my camera. Is there uh you guys have been very sketchy about his schedule and who he’s seeing or not seeing as far as we know now. He’s already seen the U. N. Representative there. Can you give us any information as to who is he going to see and give you some details on this trip?

Sure. So to just share for folks and we I believe the media note about this over the weekend but U. S. Special envoy for the Horn of Africa Ambassador mike Hammer arrived in Ethiopia on September 5th to support efforts to get the TPLF and Ethiopian government to come to an immediate cessation of how hostilities and participate in au led peace talks while in country. Ambassador Hammer will consult with the Ethiopian government, the African Union Representatives and international partners on the next step forward. I’ll also just use this opportunity to reiterate what some from the administration said last week that we are deeply concerned about renewed fighting in Ethiopia. The US condemns the TPLF offensive outside of Tigre. We condemn the Ethiopian government’s airstrikes and ground offensive and we condemn Eritrea’s reentry into the conflict as well. These actions are increasing tensions throughout the region and worsening the humanitarian situation. In our view there is no military solution to this conflict. Um and just a follow up to that. So has he seen the European officials yet?

I don’t have any specifics to read out about his travel at this point. Beyond what I know, thank you and welcome to the on china and Taiwan. After the State Department analysis has approved new packages of arms sales to Taiwan. China has rejected and threatened to take actions. What is the U. S. Response to china. Um And uh it’s objection of the well there is no reason for china to react. These systems are for defensive purposes. And the United States has been providing defensive capabilities to Taiwan for decades which is in line with our longstanding commitments under not just the Taiwan relations act, but is also consistent with our one china policy. In line with that pa policy. The U. S. Will continue to meet Taiwan’s defense needs. This package was in the works for some time precisely because we expected it would be needed as china increased its pressure on Taiwan. We have and we will continue to be responsible steady and resolute and keep our lines of communication open with Beijing but also continue to support Taiwan inconsistent in ways that are consistent with our policy. Can I just go up to what degree does the U. S. Decision on the quality?

And Taiwan, Taiwan is based on the level of threats that Taiwan is facing from china. So consistent with the Taiwan relations act, the US makes available to Taiwan defense articles and services necessary to enable it to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability. I’ll note that since 2010 the executive branch has notified congress of over $35 billion in arms sales to Taiwan on Iraq and Syria sure go ahead on Iraq Assistant Secretary’s visit. Our reliefs visit to Baghdad interview, What is she trying to achieve them?

Sorry about that was just finding something. So I don’t have any I don’t have any specifics to offer on her travel beyond the media note that was put out over the weekend. But what I will note is that we again believe as it relates to Iraq that now is the time for all parties to resolve the current impasse above all, we urge all of those involved to remain calm. Abstain from violence and pursue peaceful avenues but we’ll see if we have any updates from in the later part and then the part is the U. S. Oil companies. The pressure on US. Oil companies. Is that part of the discussions there?

I don’t have anything to preview on Syria. Nick nick rangers visit to Northeast Syria. What can you tell me about that?

And does it having a U. S. Diplomatic mission there doesn’t indicate any seriousness and US stands on the situation there or trying to de-escalate the Turkish attacks on Northeast Syria. I don’t have anything for you on that from here. But it will follow with you after the briefing and see if we can get you in in Iran. Iran. Go ahead over the weekend. High Representative Borrell said the whole process is in danger when it comes to reviving the J. C. P. O. A. On Thursday. You called Iran’s latest response uh not constructive. How would you characterize where the process stands right now?

Yeah. I mean to to reiterate what the administration said at the tail end of last week, Iran’s response did not put us in a position to close the deal. We’ve consistently said that gaps remain and it’s clear from Iran’s response that these gaps still remain on on Iran as well. Um Backronym Ozzy’s family. Um He’s wrongfully detained in Iran is saying in a statement today that he requires urgent surgery. Um I’m wondering if his clearly deteriorating health situation has triggered the U. S. To do any more to try and secure his release. So I don’t have any updates to offer on his medical condition but 21 2nd apologies again. So I don’t have anything to offer on his medical condition uh due to privacy concerns. I’m just not gonna get into that. But as it relates to Iran we are continuing to approach uh negotiations to secure the release of for wrongfully detained us citizens with the utmost urgency and we continue to urge Iran to do the same. Uh Iran must allow Baka and mozzie Emma Ciardi and Murad tape says to return home to their local ones and just sticking on Americans wrongfully detained. Um When it comes to Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan um the lawyer for alexander Vinick who is a man, a Russian man accused of money laundering. He’s now calling for the Russians to include Vinick in a potential prisoner swap for villain. And Griner has have U. S. Officials just discussed that specifically including him in a potential prisoners with the Russians. Yeah I’m not I’m not gonna get into specific details or negotiations from here. I will reiterate that the U. S. Government continues to urge Russia to release wrongfully detained individuals Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan as you all know, the secretary came and spoke to you all a number of weeks ago where he was clear that there was a substantial proposal on the table weeks ago to facilitate their role. And our governments have communicated repeatedly and directly on that proposal. And just one follow up on that. Does the departure of Ambassador Sullivan disrupt at all conversations that were occurring regarding Greiner and Whelan’s release. No those conversations and engagements continue to be ongoing. Sure you and then I’ll come to you in the back. Um Last time the U. S. Embassy again I’m just not going to get into the specifics of our engagement and negotiations from here. Uh Michelle. Yeah I have a couple of questions. Counselor is in the U. S. A. Today and he met with Foreign Minister discussed Libya Yemen and what is he trying to achieve there?

Yeah so Councilor Derek is in the U. S. A. Today. Um it’s part of travel to the region and he’ll be going to Pakistan after that. But I will see if we can get you some specifics on his engagements in the U. A. Plus decision to decrease its production in October by $100,000. How do you view this decision?

Yeah. So um the White House put out a statement over the weekend addressing this and so I will reiterate that this administration has been clear that energy supply should meet demand to support economic growth and lower prices for American consumers and consumers around the world. This administration has taken action including historic release from of oil from us and global strategic reserves uh And working with allies on a price cap on Russian oil to ensure we maintain a global oil supply even as we punished for their actions. U. S. Oil production is up by more than half a billion dollar, half a billion barrels per day since the beginning of the year and is on track to be up by more than one billion barrels per day by the end of the year and one more on top. So I have no travel to preview for uh Special Coordinator Hochstein but we remain in close touch with both governments. Uh Special presidential Coordinator Hochstein continues his robust engagement to bring the maritime boundary discussions to a close. We continue to narrow the gaps between the parties and we believe a lasting compromise is possible and we welcome the consultative spirit of both parties to reach a resolution. Um let’s go back to the pharmacies and other prisoners in Iran. The families are understandably concerned that their fates are tied to the outcome of the nuclear talks. Given the latest setback. Does the US believe prisoners walk as possible in the absence of provided agreement and what’s your message to those families?

So again, I’m just not gonna get into specifics of negotiations or engagements from here. But what I will reiterate is that the US will always stand up for our citizens who are wrongfully overseas. We’re continuing to approach negotiations to secure the release of our for wrongfully detained US citizens with the utmost urgency and we’re urging Iran to do the same and release them and we believe that these individuals could be returned home to their loved ones. Yeah, go ahead. The Biden administration announced the first U. S. Pacific island country summit for September 28th. You talk about the significance of that summit and the primary aims in the context of increased Chinese engagement with the region. Sure thing. So as you saw our our colleagues at the White House announced the first U. S. Pacific Island Country summit. This will be the first ever U. S. Pacific island country summit which will be held at the end of September the summit will demonstrate a number of things. But first the U. S. Commitment and its enduring partnership with pacific island countries and the pacific region that is underpinned by shared history values and people to people ties The summit will also reflect our broadening and deepening cooperation on a number of key issues including maritime security, addressing climate change, pandemic and global health response, economic and trade recovery and ties environmental protection but also advancing a free and open indo pacific I don’t believe we have. Yeah, one more Iran on Iran’s wrongful detention there uh Iran sentence to what human rights organizations say. L. G. B. T. Q. Activists too dark. Um do you have any comments on Iran’s um sentencing people for defending human rights?

Yeah. So we are aware of those reports that Iranian authorities have sentenced to L. G. B. T. Q. I Plus activists uh the US firmly opposes all human rights abuses against LGBT Q. I. Plus persons and urges governments to repeal laws that criminalize individuals on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and characteristics. We do not have further details regarding the specifics of the case. Unfortunately, at this time, thank you so much called to yesterday. I don’t but we can check out they discussed the conflict. Something that we have discussed previously. You mentioned before that the U. S. Support for the process also, you know, uh negotiations with two sides direct negotiations question is we did not see US representative process meeting last week. I just trying to figure out what you talk about supporting the process, moral support, different support as well as you know, Alex. This is a it’s an EU led process. It’s not a US led process. But I also want to use this opportunity to note that Ambassador Reeker, our senior adviser for caucuses negotiations will be traveling to the region this week and what will be his first trip in this new role. Uh This is the first of what we expect to be regular travel to the region. He Spartz this evening and will be going to Armenia Georgia and Azerbaijan. Uh, And in all three countries will meet with senior officials to discuss key issues in the region as well as looking for pathways to assist partners and engaging directly and constructively to resolve outstanding issues and further regional cooperation. one more. Uh any comment on Russia trying to buy military equipment from North Korea and Iran, I address this at the top for, you know, you’re okay just for you. I will again reiterate that the Russian military defense is in the process of purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for use on the battlefield in Ukraine. This purchase indicates that the Russian military continues to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine, due in part to export controls and sanctions. And we expect Russia trying to purchase additional North Korean military appointment going forward as well. One last question we talked about that before. There have been I don’t have anything on that from here. Um I don’t have anything on that here. Alright, thank you. Alright, thanks everybody. Thank you. Mhm.

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